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Escaping the Demons of Your Past

And Jesus said to them, “This kind of demon cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” – Mark 9:29

Have you ever asked someone a question who in their response tried to answer like they were an expert but in the back of your mind you realized this individual doesn’t have a clue?  Well, Jesus’ disciples, particularly Simon Peter gave off this vibe.  However, one day during an unusual encounter, Peter met his match, unable to help a desperate soul escape the demons of his past.

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”- Matthew 12:43-45

In the passage above, its hard to distinguish if Jesus is referring to an actual event or merely using a parable to prove a point.  Nonetheless, this image does apply to anyone who has ever battled some sort of addiction.  Numerous times people say they want to stop their bad habit, yet a mysterious force places each on the verge of temptation day after day.  Thus, whenever you break free of these grips and began to clean up your temple, the human body, demons won’t give up without a fight.  Therefore, its essential to have a game plan to counter demonic oppression.

Answer me quickly, LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:7-8

While King David faced his own demons, three answers were revealed after the prayer above.  First, David realized the more time he spent reading the Bible, God’s unfailing love would replace the guilt down deep in his heart.  Second, David recognized he couldn’t achieve victory over the demons of his past without initially trusting in the Lord’s power.  Finally, listening to the Holy Spirit for direction and guidance could begin to turn his life around.  If this blog finds you losing to your past, may the words of the Bible lift you up, give you hope and help you escape the demons of your past.

by Jay Mankus

 

What Tables Would Jesus Turn Over Today?

The final 7 days of Jesus’ earthly life is often referred to as Passion Week.  Beginning on Monday, Jesus experienced several different emotions.  While approaching Jerusalem, Jewish broken down in tears, having compassion on lost people, unable to discern what was about to happen.  A few hours later, Jesus is enraged by a temple corrupted by the world, becoming more like a flea market than a house of worship.  The Bible claims Jesus turned over tables, trying to eliminate impure motives from this holy place.

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ ”                  Luke 19:45-46

According to the Bible, God sees all things.  If today was the beginning of his final week on earth, I wonder if Jesus would respond in a similar manner.  How much compassion would be displayed?  What anger would be demonstrated and where else beside the temple would Jesus target?  Although its just a hunch, I believe Jesus would go into the house of saints, throwing idols off their shelves, trying to purge believers from their worldly ways.  After this visit, Christians must decide for themselves, relying on freewill to determine, “who will I follow?”

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. – Hebrews 4:13

One of the greatest misconceptions about Christianity is that God forces individuals to do this or do that.  Essentially, the Lord gives freedom, like Adam and Eve in the Garden with just one rule to follow.  Although the fall of mankind has complicated life, each day involves choices, Deuteronomy 30:15-16.  According to Moses, good choices lead to life and bad ones to death.  Therefore, if you want to honor God and avoid from having the tables turned over in your own temple, the body, choose the narrow path today, Matthew 7:13-14.

by Jay Mankus

 

Who’s the Bigot Now?

Bigotry is often cyclical, with ebbs and flows as nations rise and fall.  Depending upon one’s exposure, upbringing or stubbornness, prejudices are hard to break, especially if the world around you is rapidly changing.  In the 20th century, Archie Bunker was a symbol of America’s bigotry.  Despite the comical elements of this hit television series, the content was a sad reality of a segregated society unable to embrace the Great Melting pot of immigrants.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 7:12.

Near the end of the 1970’s in several mid-Atlantic states, desegregation tried to changed this dilemma.  As for me, I became the minority overnight, bused to inner city Wilmington for three years of Elementary school.  In hindsight, the shoe was on the other foot, as I was exposed to the daily hatred African Americans faced in a country dominated by white people.  Similar to the scene in Remember the Titans, Coach Boone played by Denzel Washington tells his assistant Coach Yoast, “welcome to my world,” following by a drive by shooting at his home that endangered his daughter.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” Galatians 5:14.

Today, ambulance chasers, media sound byte paparazzi and those searching to smear a rising political star will occasionally use bigotry, intolerance and race baiting to accomplish their goal, to destroy their enemies.  When you add the advent of modern technology, it doesn’t take long for an embarrassing moment, foolish act or slip of the tongue to go viral.  Instead of following the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you want others to do unto you, some will do whatever it takes to get ahead.  Therefore, rather than improving race relations the selfish are using this sensitive issue to divide souls.  Although pockets of racism still exist, some aren’t improving this situation by bringing up old wounds of the past.  Actions, time and truth will reveal who the bigots are now.

by Jay Mankus

 

What is this World Coming to?

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, John 1:5.

Safe schools, tranquil neighbors and model citizens are becoming rare.  Not so long ago, parents told their children to go outside and play, not coming home until dinner without any fears or worries.  Now, a pilot can’t even go to the bathroom without his own plane being taken over and crashed into a mountain side.

To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace, Luke 1:79.

If events like this happened once a year, maybe hope for a better world might still exist.  Yet, a deluge of horror movie concepts have become a common occurrence, inspiring copycat acts of violence nearly every day.  In an attempts to obtain 15 seconds of fame, innocent victims are left dead, dying or scarred for the rest of their lives.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, Matthew 5:16.

Some where among the negativity, there must be a city on a hill, a shining example of God’s goodness.  Unfortunately, these lights are harder to locate than the Aurora borealis.  Perhaps, this may explain the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon of the Mount, encouraging his followers to become salt and light.  Although you and I can’t control the path individuals are on, you can blaze a trail for others to follow to avoid a world gone crazy.

by Jay Mankus

A Hostage of Peace

Words like captive, pawn and victim are often associated with a hostage.  Despite this negative connotation, hostages can find a state of mind where peace is achieved.  Such is the case for a pastor arrested in communist China, sentenced to a prison camp for proselytizing where a cess pool became his home.  Days led to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, forced to dwell in a place which most gagged on the stench.  Yet, in this living hell, this man of God imagined the words of the Bible he read throughout his years of ministry.  Overtime, a transformation conceived a hostage of peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you, Isaiah 26:3.

In August of 2012, Tenth Avenue North released The Struggle, an album that featured several songs with powerful lyrics.  One of my favorites is Hostage of Peace, commences with the idea earthly battles begin in the heart.

Feel the silence
There’s a war beneath our skin
Let it begin
It’s hard to fight
It’s hard to lead resistance
It’s our hearts we’re up against

Although the world around human beings may fall apart, Ten Avenue North encourages individuals to cling to the promises in the Bible.  When danger approaches, the author of this song suggests to cry out to in prayer to find the loving arms of our heavenly Father.  This is where an individual can become a hostage of peace.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord, Hebrews 12:14.

Decades following this pastor’s travails, would modern Christians be able to survive if stripped away from their spiritual foundation?  With temptations lurking around every corner, waiting to pounce on unprepared souls, could a strong faith endure without access to the Bible?  God willing, American believers won’t have to experience the trials of nations in spiritual bondage.  However, if the culture continues to embrace and lean toward leftist beliefs, church leaders will need to prepare their congregations to obtain a hostage of peace.

by Jay Mankus

Banned from the Bible?

The origin of the term history derives from the Greek word ἱστορία.  Translated into English, ἱστορία refers to an inquiry where an individual acquires knowledge through an investigation.  According to the writers of the History Channel’s latest project, Banned from the Bible, content was excluded from the original 66 books known as the Holy Bible.  However, when I read their argument online, I realized this network is trying to reinvent history rather than genuinely research it.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 2 Timothy 3:16.

At the end of the first century AD, Anno Domini, Latin for in the year of our Lord, a controversial mentality began.  A predecessor to humanism, Gnosticism sought to pursue a hidden or secret knowledge which spread to church leaders.  From the third to the fifth century, Gnostic thinking influenced works such as The Life of Adam and Eve, The Book of Enoch, The Book of Jubilees, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Mary and The Apocalypse of Peter.  In response to this threat, rabbinic Jewish leaders meet at the Council of Jamnia in 93 followed by bishops and Roman Empire Constantine at the Council of Nicea in 325 to form a consensus on the God inspired books of the Bible.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law, Deuteronomy 29:29.

Like any professional editing process, high standards must be kept and maintained to prevent any heresy from becoming published.  Thus, liberals will cry foul whenever pieces that discredit Jesus aren’t accepted or embraced.  In their minds, if Jesus isn’t God, they can act, do or say whatever they want.  Banned from the Bible?  Yes, not for the reasons mentioned in progressive publications.  Rather, history confirms from the Easter letter of Athanasius in 367 that only 66 books made the final cut, 39 from Old Testament and 27 New Testament books.  These are the facts, not opinion, why the Gnostic letters mentioned above have been omitted from the inherent Word of God.

by Jay Mankus

 

Rushing Ahead in Life Without God’s Help

Are you in a hurry to get to no where?  Do you comment on drivers who make your daily commute a stressful experience?  If so, perhaps you are trying to rush ahead in life without God’s help.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10

It’s ironic how much difference spending 15 minutes with God can make in a person’s day.  Whether its reading a chapter of the Bible, following a devotional or time spent in prayer, this effort spiritually prepares individuals for their day.  While things may fall apart around you, the Holy Spirit uses the knowledge you gain from a quiet time to develop perseverance.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:6

Unfortunately, this year I’ve been eager to rush ahead in life, often without God’s help and guidance.  Subsequently, 2015 has achieved lackluster results.  If I’ve learned one thing, leaving the house without the Lord has left me more irritable, less productive and not the person I want to do.  Therefore, the next time you feel like rushing out the door, slow down, make time for God and trust in the Lord for the day at hand.

by Jay Mankus

 

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