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Tag Archives: the Sword of the Spirit

So That Hope Survives

Ambition, aspiration, cravings, dreams, longings and yearnings are all associated with hope. When theses desires begin to slip away, individuals have to fight with determination so that hope survives. Whenever your confidence is shaken by defeat, failure or a loss, hope is like a dim light surrounded by darkness, ready to be snuffed out by unforeseen events.

But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

In a letter to a community with a troubled pass, Paul reminds this church that Christians are children of the light. Thus, as the Devil continues to bring and drag up skeletons from your past, don’t let doubt creep into your mind. The longer negative thoughts continue to linger, the closer the enemy comes to achieving his goal, John 10:10.

For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), 1 Thessalonians 5:9.

The apostle Paul flips the script in the passage above. Instead of always being on defense, Paul takes up the Sword of the Spirit to go on offense, reminding believers of the ultimate prize. God’s end game is salvation, the opportunity to be reunited with Jesus in heaven. Hope is like an exit sign in the distance, the only way to God, John 14:6. When darkness blocks your path from this doorway, hope is what keep souls alive, surviving to live another day.

by Jay Mankus

The Invasion of the Mind

The Invasion of the Body Snatches debuted in 1956.  This science fiction film introduced the thought that normal human beings could be replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.  In the original movie, a doctor discovers that the population of his small town is secretly being replaced.  Twenty two years later, a remake features a scene change as San Francisco is under attack by clones who are swapping out bodies.  While this classic horror flick put fear into the audience, Satan has his own ongoing scheme known as the invasion of the mind.

Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil,” Genesis 3:1-5.

Based upon the passage above, the invasion of the mind begins by planting seeds of doubt.  If your belief system begins to crumble, develop holes or fall apart, the boundaries that once kept you safe and out of trouble can disappear.  When prodigal spirits are conceived within human minds, individuals will push the limits, exploring areas once forbidden by God.  Every day there are reports of strange news stories, mostly embarrassing, a sign of souls looking for love in the all the wrong places.  Despite this decline of morality, Satan is convincing modern people to rely on justification as a means to rationalize what the Bible calls sin.

For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ, being ready to punish every act of disobedience, when your own obedience [as a church] is complete, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

Evidently, the apostle Paul saw disconcerting signs from a first century city.  While its unclear how many people were infected, the invasion of the mind was under way within Corinth.  New Christians trying to break free from previous addictions, habits and unhealthy patterns were failing, just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  To address this concern, Paul introduces a plan to fight back against this invisible attack.  Like the modern phrase “fight fire with fire,” the only way to defeat Satan is by using spiritual weapons.  Fasting, prayer and worship are key to reclaiming minds poisoned by the world.  Yet, the greatest asset is the Sword of the Spirit, the Bible which can be used for defense and offense.  Like a spiritual fast break, good defensive praying can lead to regaining lost ground.  May the reality of this invasion of the mind keep you spiritual sharp, putting of the armor of God daily to ward off evil spirits.

by Jay Mankus

 

Deep Darkness

The title deep darkness suggests a place exists that is so dark, pitch black, that no one can see.  Typically, an evening sky provides moon light or stars in the country to help the human eye to adjust to the night.  On the other hand, Solomon who coins this term may be referring to a spiritual condition.

But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble, Proverbs 4:19.

A narcissist is defined as an individual who is excessive in their self-absorption.  This character trait tends to be egocentric, extremely independent and wrapped up with one’s self.  Perhaps the passage above inspired C.S. Lewis to create a state known as diabolical pride.  Those who reach this phase in life are blinded from reality, unable to recognize that which is causing them to stumble.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it, Proverbs 4:23.

According to Solomon, the key to escaping deep darkness involves placing a shield of faith around your heart.  The apostle Paul takes a different approach, calling for the breastplate of righteousness in Ephesians 6.  In view of the powers of darkness that are a clear and present danger, the human heart is the last line of defense.  Once poisoned, souls begin to embrace evil.  Thus, the only way to overcome deep darkness is through the light of Christ.  Take measures today to safe guard yourself with the Sword of the Spirit to ward off future attacks and temptations that seek to lure you back into deep darkness.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Stand, the Sword and the Spirit

Between 1950 and 1956, author C.S. Lewis wrote seven children novels known as the Chronicles of Narnia.  The first and best known, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was made into a modern movie by Disney, released in theaters on December 9th of 2005.  Narnia is only accessible through a wardrobe, found by accident during a game of hide and go seek.  After no one believes the youngest, Lucy, Peter secretly follows her, having his own encounter with the White Witch, symbolic of Satan.  As I look at our current society, it appears that fantasy has become reality as many are now under the power of darkness, held prisoner by the Devil.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes, Ephesians 6:11.

Aware of this situation, Paul wrote a letter to the church at Ephesus.  Within a chapter known as the armor of God, the apostle reveals three essentials necessary to withstand this battle.  First, the only way to endure fierce spiritual attacks is to arm yourself with the full armor of God described in chapter 6.  A stand will not be successful without each piece in place.  Second, a soldier of the cross must carry the Bible to fight back like Jesus did during his fast and temptation in the desert, Matthew 4:1-11.  Finally, when you feel like you can’t hold on any longer, pray in the Spirit to lead and keep you from falling.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, Ephesians 6:17.

Every day opportunities await, to rise and fall.  To draw near to God or slip closer away toward the gates of hell.  While this realm is invisible and dismissed by academia, faith helps me to see glimpses of Narnia.  Yet, unless I fan into flame the gifts given to me, 2 Timothy 1:6-7, I too will fall.  Since no one is immune to temptation, don’t allow yourself to fall asleep, under the spell of the White Witch.  Rather, arm up by taking a stand with the Sword and Spirit today.  Then, you too might experience something similar to the Chronicles of Narnia.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Jealousy is in the Air

The presence, sight or trace of gifted, special or talented individuals can be a tough pill to swallow for a typical American.  Whenever average, mediocre and middle of the road people come in contact with someone who appears to be more blessed, an uneasy feeling grips souls.  Subsequently, when the conditions are ripe, a spirit of jealousy fills the air around the insecure.

But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast, Genesis 4:5.

As children experience new emotions for the first time, coping with these feelings can be challenging.  In fact for some, this may be the root of temper tantrums, overcome by the moment or unable to accept reality.  This is where we find Cain in the book of Genesis, frustrated by his younger brother’s success.  Despite his hard work as a farmer, God was more pleased with Abel’s giving heart as a shepherd.  Sensing a mounting tension, the Lord tried to intervene, but it was too late as jealousy was conceived inside of Cain.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God, Galatians 5:19-21.

When in the air, jealousy can turn mature men into childish individuals.  By products of this sinful nature produce fits of rage, selfish ambition and division among groups.  Once conceived, jealousy breeds envy, blinding one’s perspective of your own gifts and talents.  Therefore, the next time you sense the presence of jealousy in the air, fight back with prayer and the sword of the Spirit.  If you claim God’s promises in prayer you will likely avoid following in the footsteps of Cain.

by Jay Mankus

The Declaration of Rhemas

The word graffiti is derived from the Greek word grafe which means writings.  In the biblical context, grafe refers to the written word of God.  As you read words of the Bible, the Logos is the message within these writings.  Finally, the revelation of the Logos is called a rhema, when a believer makes a public declaration of a written truth.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, Hebrews 4:12.

When you add these  3 concepts to the only offensive piece of the armor of God, the Sword of the Spirit comes alive.  The Bible serves as a two way player, defending lies made by enemies of the faith and piercing the hearts of those living in denial.  As individuals listen to solid teaching, the words of the Bible come to life, serving as a spiritual weapon.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, Ephesians 6:17.

In the first century, Jewish leaders and Roman officials attempted to silence first century Christians.  Peter and John were taken into custody, warned to stop talking about Jesus.  However, the bolder these apostles became, Acts 4:29, the greater the church grew.  Therefore, let the declaration of the rhemas commence so that the sword of the spirit will transform the souls of mankind.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

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