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Tag Archives: This Present Darkness

The Shield of Saving Faith

The initial shield as described by the apostle Paul in the Bible is called a scutum. The scutum was a large body shield measuring roughly 2.5 feet wide by 4 feet tall. Auxiliary soldiers had a different shaped shield as these shields were mostly made of wood, gluing a few layers together to make the curved shape. This shield was then covered in leather and a sheet of linen cloth added to the front. Designs were usually painted onto the front following it’s completion. After the 3rd century the oval or round clipeus became the standard shield for Roman soldiers.

And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. 16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one], Ephesians 6:15-16.

According to Psalm 7:13, flaming arrows were used during battles in the Old Testament. As technology improved, so did the accuracy which made Roman shield’s life saving. Prior to battle, these shields were soaked in a fire retardant substance to extinguish incoming flaming arrows. When bombarded by the enemy, soldier’s would dig their shield’s into the earth at an angle to protect their entire bodies from harm. Perhaps, this specific detail is why Paul refers to this weapon as the shield of saving faith.

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

In a letter to the Church at Corinth, Paul refers to the necessary mindset to ward off spiritual attacks. Whenever wars occur, soldier’s can become exhausted mentally and physically. If you don’t get enough rest or your confidence is shattered, it’s only matter of time before defeat and death set in. However, as Christians learn to fight fire with fire by using spiritual weapons to fight invisible supernatural forces, momentum can change at a moment’s notice. Therefore, the next time you feel like you’re getting pelted by this present age of darkness, pick up the shield of faith and stand your ground.

by Jay Mankus

Piercing the Darkness of an Election

Research for my latest screen play has led me to revisit Piercing the Darkness. This 1988 novel by Frank Peretti is the second book in a series that unveils the ongoing war between angels and demons. This Present Darkness first opened my eyes to the spiritual realm back in 1986. While cutting edge at the time of it’s publication, the current trials facing Christian Schools, Churches and Public Education is so unbelievable that the mainstream media de-emphasizes these threats with terms like conspiracy theories.

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.

Now that the 2020 Election is over, you might want to know what or who was behind the $8 billion spent on Campaign advertisements. While some were positive, focusing on why you should support and vote for an individual on the ballot, the majority were negative. Or should I say a combination of embellishments and mis-truths designed to smear political opponents. When comments are taken out of context and media interviews altered, anyone can be made to look like a failure or fool.

Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. 16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God, Ephesians 6:13-17.

If a politician can’t win on their own record, desperate campaigns are tempted to follow in the footsteps of Primary Colors. This 1998 film was rumored to be based upon Bill Clinton’s strategy to win the White House. Like any form of compromise, there is often a web of deception, sweeping every negative news story under the carpet, out of plain sight. Whether you voted for Biden or Trump, the truth will prevail in the end. Commercials may make one candidate to look like a saint or rising star, but you can’t hide from your record. Despite having most cable news networks, newspapers and social media on the side of Democrats and Progressives, spiritual forces continue their battle behind the scenes to determine who will control America’s future. While the Democrats have the inside track currently, you never know what God has up His sleeves.

by Jay Mankus

The Master of Disinformation

Piercing the Darkness, a Frank Peretti novel, was first published in 1988. Building upon the first book in this spiritual warfare series, This Present Darkness, Peretti seeks to peal back the spiritual dimension to reveal what is happening behind the scenes. One of the lesser known demons has gained dominion over Bentmore College in Peretti’s book. The name given to this entity is the Master of Disinformation.

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief [of the celestial] princes, came to help me, for I remained there with the kings of Persia, Daniel 10:13.

Peretti’s fictional character is consistent with a biblical account in the Old Testament. Apparently, Daniel was granted access to the spiritual realm, made aware of a demonic presence that possessed a foothold in Persia. While it’s unclear how the demonic prince of Persia fought Daniel, the Master of Disinformation seeks to deceive, distract and de-emphasize the real threat with other information to change the narrative.

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 6:12.

The apostle Paul appears to have had a similar experience during a visit to Ephesus. Instead of pointing out one particular spirit, Paul places these dark forces into 4 categories. When you take this information and consider the possibilities, it’s not too far fetched to believe in a modern demon of Dis-information. When social media sites collude to ban, censor or hide certain facts from the general public, the Master of Dis-information is alive and well today. This is where prayer provides spiritual googles to reveal what the darkness is trying to hide. Fast and pray so that truth prevails.

by Jay Mankus

Resisting Evil Desires From Within

Meteorologists use barometers to measure atmospheric pressure.  Since pressure can be used to predict short term changes in the weather, barometers reveal a glimpse of future events.  While weather forecasts remain inconsistent despite high tech equipment, those with the gift of discernment tend to have a higher success rate.  If this is true, perhaps there is a barometer of the soul.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.

During an extended stay in Ephesus, an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, the apostle Paul makes an astute observation.  When defeat, failure and trials occur, many people focus on external factors as the cause.  Paul disagrees claiming there are invisible forces to blame, dark, demonic and supernatural forces attempting to steal your joy in life.

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul, 1 Peter 2:11.

Peter provides another perspective, likely reflecting upon his public betrayal of Jesus in the verse above.  Certain desires can be overwhelming, wearing you down over time.  Before you know it, temptation lures individuals to act in direct contrast with their morals causing a war against your soul.  Warning others not to fall into this trap, a barometer of the soul is essential to escape evil desires from within.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” Genesis 4:7.

The mind is like a human computer, created long before Serry and Elexia.  Prior to killing his brother, God was able to read Cain’s thoughts.  Troubled by what he is thinking, the Lord lays out Cain’s dilemma, sin is crouching at your door.  Likewise, today individuals must rule over evil thoughts with biblical truths, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Success is achieved through taking your thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.  Any other means will ultimately lead to indulgence.  In view of this, meditate on God’s Word daily to purge yourself from evil desires from within.

by Jay Mankus

 

Under the Power of the Devil

An addiction starts off as a habit which can lead to an obsession, causing individuals to fall prey to compulsions and cravings.  Such behavior can develop into sinful patterns, tendencies that slowly become the norm for one’s life.  While psychologists may narrow in on a few possibilities, Luke has another explanation in Acts 10:38.  In his day, many souls were clearly under the power of the devil.

Based upon the accounts within the 4 gospels, demons and or spirits can attribute to various medical issues.  Beside the obvious, demon possession, like the case in Matthew 15:22, spirits can influence hearing, movement and speech, Matthew 8:16, Mark 9:17-18 and Luke 13:11.  Although I am not an expert; nor did not spend the night at a Holiday Inn Express, yet I do believe there is a correlation between good health and being under the power of the devil.

Some where between fiction and reality lies the spiritual realm.  While unseen, Ephesians 6:12 mentions a place where dark and supernatural powers exist.  Author Frank Peretti has used a series of novels: This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness and The Oath to illustrate this mystery.  Though fiction, no one has been able to capture this spiritual dimension like Peretti.  Therefore, if you have tried everything in your power to resolve your current problem like the disciples in Matthew 9:19, rely on prayer to free you from the power of the devil, Matthew 9:29.

by Jay Mankus

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