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Tag Archives: the spiritual realm

Neglect What is Natural

The apostle Paul devotes two chapters of his letter to the Church at Rome to what is natural. Romans 7 provides a personal confession by Paul of what he knows is right but getting his body to do this is a completely different story, Romans 7:15-18. The next chapter reveals the internal struggle between your fleshly desires and God’s Spirit, Romans 8:5-8. When your mind wanders, you’ll end up doing what’s natural.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [[p]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. 25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting], Matthew 16:24-25.

Frank Peretti introduced me to the spiritual realm through his series of books on what life would be like if we could see the ongoing battle between angels in demons. Piercing the Darkness and This Present Darkness opened my mind to this tug of war between the natural and supernatural, Galatians 5:16-18. The apostle Paul likely provided Peretti the inspiration for his books in Ephesians 6:10-20. When prayers cease, the Devil takes the upper hand.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed [q]life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] [r]life [in the kingdom of God]? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done, Matthew 16:26-27.

Based upon the passage above, Jesus expects his followers to neglect the natural, any fleshly desires. Jesus set the example in Philippians 2:5-9, laying down his life to take away the sins of the world. Turning the other cheek when someone hits or hurts you isn’t natural. Nor is forgiving someone who transgresses against you over and over again, Matthew 6:13-15. Nonetheless, until you are born again spiritually, John 3:3-5, neglecting what is natural will be a losing proposition. Success is the process of arriving to faith.

by Jay Mankus

The Angels of the Four Corners of the Earth

One of the visions by John that makes up the book of Revelation alludes to archangels. Bible scholars agree that archangels are assigned to the Four Directions, ” “Four Corners” or “Four Winds of the earth”. After doing some research, Uriel oversees the north, Michael watches the south, Raphael concentrates on the east, and Gabriel is the guardian of the west. These are the angels of the Four Corners of the Earth.

After this I saw four angels stationed at the four corners of the earth, [a]firmly holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind should blow on the earth or sea or upon any tree, Revelation 7:1.

The archangels continue to reside in the supernatural realm today. While most people have never seen an angel, you may feel or sense one’s presence. Perhaps you were delayed for a few minutes so that you avoided that major accident on your way home from work. Unfortunately, I tend to be so busy and consumed with my own weekly schedule that I don’t take time to consider these angelic warriors.

The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe] and each of them He delivers, Psalm 34:7.

According to King David, the angel of the Lord surrounds those who fear, revere and worship God. Bible scholars believe David is either referring to commissioned agents of God, a celestial court, manifestation of Divine presence or Jehovah Himself. While certain regions are controlled by powers of darkness, Ephesians 6:12, archangels delegate other angelic servants to help maintain order in their corner. As you read today’s featured passage, may you begin to appreciate what goes on in the spiritual realm.

by Jay Mankus

The Unleashing of the Seven-Fold

Over the past 30 years, I have been introduced to theology which is the science of God. After attending seminary for a couple of years, the deeper you get, the more confusing the spiritual realm becomes as you’re introduced to various theologians with opposing views. During a recent study of the Book of Revelation, I discovered a new concept that John calls the seven-fold Holy Spirit.

I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you, John 14:25-26.

John was first introduced to the Holy Spirit during a conversation with his spiritual mentor. Jesus’ last week on earth has been given the title Passion Week. As His death on a cross approached, Jesus turned to the future when his presence would be replaced by an invisible counselor. Jesus compares this spiritual entity as an advocate and intercessor when you are in need or uncertain of what to do.

Out from the throne came flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne seven blazing torches burned, which are the seven Spirits of God [[c]the sevenfold Holy Spirit]; Revelation 4:5.

Acts 2 describes the unleashing of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. A first century doctor is like a reporter on the scene explaining this as a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, Acts 2:2. As great as this encounter was for Jesus’ followers, John has a vision of the sevenfold presence of the Holy Spirit. This unleashing of the Holy Spirit provides a glimpse of what heaven will be like.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 74: Don’t Believe It

One of the first Christian rock bands that I found that was as good as popular secular music is Legend. The release of Legend’s debut album Legend Seven coincided with my senior year of college. I can recall a couple of Friday afternoons when I rolled down my windows and blasted Don’t Believe It as I drove down Main Street to unwind. Don’t Believe It was inspired by a warning from the apostle Paul.

Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, Ephesians 6:11-12.

This song refers to ungodly beliefs, lies planted inside the thought life of human beings. One of the greatest weapons of the Devil is convincing individuals that other people are to blame. Yet, behind the scenes in the spiritual realm, the Devil is serving as the mastermind of all evil. Subsequently, the message of Don’t Believe It still applies today with a call to stop believing the liar and chief, the Devil.

by Jay Mankus

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

The expression “hear no evil see no evil” originated from an ancient Japanese proverb. The full proverb is “see no evilhear no evil, speak no evil.” This phrase was popularized in the 17th century as a pictorial Shinto maxim, carved in the famous Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine in Nikkō, Japan. Meanwhile, in the middle of the first century, the apostle Paul used conspicuous while referring to bad and good behavior evident to all who are watching.

The sins of some men are conspicuous (openly evident to all eyes), going before them to the judgment [seat] and proclaiming their sentence in advance; but the sins of others appear later [following the offender to the bar of judgment and coming into view there], 1 Timothy 5:24.

Perhaps referencing a previous letter sent to Galatia, Paul pulls back the curtains of the spiritual realm in Galatians 5:16-25. Deep inside of every human being is an internal struggle between good and evil. This particular passage is where the term dualism comes from. This biblical theology states that the universe contains opposing powers of good and evil, seen as balanced equals where a third party, a judge is necessary to intervene.

So also, good deeds are evident and conspicuous, and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden [indefinitely], 1 Timothy 5:25.

From a modern perspective, gossip and slander are never a good thing to practice. Paul urges the church of Philippi to focus on the positive, Philippians 4:8-9. While you will have opportunities, moments in life to correct and or rebuke close friends, don’t dwell on the negative. If you want to be depressed, just watch the nightly news. The best way to be a source of hope and light in this world is by taming your tongue, James 1:19 so you can keep the Proverb Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil .

by Jay Mankus

If I Could Coax You for a Minute

Coax is one of those words that might be used in the first round of a spelling bee, but is often replaced in daily conversations with more common expressions. Coaxing someone refers to persuading gradually, typically by flattery to draw individuals toward your point of view. In a first century letter to a church that he helped plant, the apostle Paul is disappointed by recent news of the Galatians’ spiritual slide. Thus, Paul devotes an entire chapter to coax these Christians back on track by using the good news about Jesus Christ.

Would that I were with you now and could coax you vocally, for I am fearful and perplexed about you! – Galatians 4:20

While writing a teenager pastor, Paul paints a dark picture of what this leader will have to confront and face in the near future. The Bible contains 55 passages that reference end times, with several of these accounts in the New Testament. The apostles regularly urged first century Christians to have a sense of urgency, living each day as if Jesus will return today to judge the living and the dead. Yet, when a day comes and goes, demons and seducing spirits are on the prowl, a spiritual predator lying in wait for the weak and wounded.

But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach, Through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared (cauterized), 1 Timothy 4:1-2.

Thus, if I could coax you for a minute, take a moment to examine the world around. Why are people angry? What is the source of hatred? Is this country truly falling apart of like the media suggests or is this simply a ploy to hide evil intentions? Is former president Trump really as evil as he’s portrayed on television or is Satan disguising himself as an angel of light to deceive the masses? If you really want to know what’s going on in the world, turn your attention to the spiritual realm and you might be surprised by what you find, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

by Jay Mankus

Getting Your House in Order in 2021

The Bible uses the term house when referring to the first century church. However, other verses suggest the mind of church leaders. Ideally, this is where the things of God’s will and understanding of faith forms a spiritual house. Meanwhile, the apostle Paul applies temple, usually associated with a place of worship, in connection with a human’s body. When you combine these two expressions, getting your house in order refers to cleansing and purging your body of your past to make room for God to abide and dwell within.

But when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid] places in search of rest, but it does not find any, Matthew 12:43.

In the passage above, Jesus is speaking to some religious leaders who are searching for a sign from God. Using an evil and adulterous generation as a transition, Jesus points to the spiritual realm that negatively influences broken, tired and weary souls. While freedom from addiction and bad habits is possible, the stronger the unclean spirits attached to individuals are, the harder it is to break free. Recovering addicts are never truly in the clear as when unclean spirits return, houses not in order will be easy prey as temptations intensify.

Then it says, I will go back to my house from which I came out. And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So also shall it be with this wicked generation, Matthew 12:44-45.

Most recovering addicts tend to have some form of accountability. Whether this involves a group that meets weekly, a mentor you stay in contact with monthly or a good friend who isn’t afraid to demonstrate tough love, accountability helps the weak begin their recovery. Nonetheless, only when reminders of addiction is purged and removed will the healing process progress. Therefore, if you want 2021 to be a year where freedom reigns, get your spiritual house in order this year.

by Jay Mankus

When Voices of Doubt Wear You Down

Over the past month, I wanted to refresh my mind of the spiritual realm. I decided to reread Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti, opening my mind to what is going on behind the scenes spiritually. Peretti’s style of writing does a good job of illustrating how demons like doubt can wear individuals down. Comparing evil spirits to pests that feed on negativity, Christians that don’t take the spiritual dimension seriously will be overwhelmed as spiritual warfare intensifies.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind, James 1:6.

Jesus’ earthly brother compares doubt to crashing waves upon a shoreline. As someone who loves going to the beach, waves are relentless. While tides rise and fall, waves keep coming. While the size of waves varies depending upon the weather, waves don’t call time out, pause or take time off. Rather, one after another, waves weaken body surfers and boogie boarders with each crashing blow. James’ analogy doesn’t consider voices of doubt.

For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides], James 1:7-8.

The passage above transitions from physical waves to waves of emotions. Whenever confidence is invaded by doubt, hesitation is conceived. Instead of building confidence, doubt erodes human minds spiritually like crashing waves on sandy beaches. While salt water exposes hidden debris, doubt makes minds unstable. As soon as thoughts begin to slip, voices of doubt will wear you down. As this enfolds, make sure you follow the apostle’s Paul advice in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to take captive your thought life when doubt tries to invade your soul.

by Jay Mankus

Diakrisis

Pneumatikós is an adjective which is derived from pneúma, the Greek word for spirit. Pneumatikós refers to the spiritual realm,  the invisible sphere in which the Holy Spirit imparts faith. In the passage below, the apostle Paul choses the Greek word πίστις. As individuals begin to listen to and read the Bible, hearts, minds and souls are persuaded by conviction to believe in the risen son of God, Jesus.

But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? 17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself), Romans 10:16-17.

As individuals enter into a personal relationship with God, Romans 10:9-10, a variety of spiritual gifts are imparted. One of these gifts is Diakrisis, the spiritual gift of discernment. Whenever anyone begins to hear voices, logic questions if you are crazy or not? However, as I sought counsel from other spiritual leaders, I wasn’t sure what to do or how to proceed. Several years later, I attended a 2 day conference on discernment. During one workshop, I realized that writing was one of the best ways to utilize Diakrisis.

But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. 16 [And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear (unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives], 1 Peter 3:15-16.

A few days after attending this event, I spoke with a woman from my Bible Study. After picking her brain about her own blog, Express Yourself 4Him was conceived. Like anything in life, the initial years was a learning experience, trying to figure out the content, format and overall objective. Using what I learned as a high school Bible teacher, Diakrisis led me to turn my posts into a daily devotional. Although some topics that I chose may not relate to you, I feel called to share my faith through writing about what God is teaching me daily. This is Diakrisis in action.

by Jay Mankus

The Devil and Karl Marx

A decade before writing his Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx wrote the following in a 1837 poem. “Thus Heaven I’ve forfeited, I know it full well. My soul, once true to God, is chosen for Hell.” Based upon Marx’s own words, the evils wrought by his oppressive ideology and theory caused Karl to part ways with God. When you add up all of the total carnage, Marx’s Communism has led to the deaths of over 100 million souls. Perhaps, some where along the way, Karl teamed up with the Father of Lies.

You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false, John 8:44.

While studying the past, professor Paul Kengor was inspired to craft The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism’s Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration. Michael Knowles writes in the foreword “few others writing today who use terms such as collectivism and individualism only take this debate so far. Ultimately the fight comes down to spiritual warfare: good versus evil.” Kengor’s book details the clash of the modern, devilish forces of socialism and communism. You won’t get this in public or higher education.

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, Ephesians 6:10-12.

During the first century, the apostle Paul’s eyes were opened to the spiritual realm, recognizing how political and spiritual leaders became pawns of the Devil. If you don’t engage the enemy, spiritual footholds will be seized, Ephesians 4:26-27. Instead of being a helpless spectator, watching your city, state, and country fall apart, put on the full armor of God. When you’re unsure of your next move, pray in the Spirit so that your prayers will provide a hedge of protection for spiritual warriors on the front lines. The future of America is on the line Tuesday, November 3rd. Your vote may be the difference from keeping the Devil and Marxism from taking over.

by Jay Mankus

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