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Tag Archives: devil

Going Over the Edge

Every day tragedy strikes someone an earth.  On the surface, authorities write up reports based upon the physical evidence.  However, sometimes there is a hidden force that goes unnoticed, demonic influences that causes individuals to go over the edge.

“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.

I’m not sure why the devil or demons don’t make the front page of the news more often, but perhaps a spiritual bliss is clouding the minds of Americans.  If you visit third world nations, powers of darkness are visible and part of daily conversations.  Unfortunately, many people in this country have been lulled to sleep spiritually, often sweeping controversial and taboo topics under the rug left for someone else to ponder.

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

If you study Jesus’ teaching in the four gospels, demons are part of his training.  During a trial run, Jesus sent his disciples out two by two giving them authority to cast out demons.  However, on one occasion, prayer was necessary before complete deliverance could be accomplished.  Following this unsuccessful attempt, Jesus was disappointed by his disciples lack of faith.  Similar to a teacher’s rant to inattentive students, Jesus rebukes them with a response of “weren’t you listening?”  In view of this, the next time someone displays unusual behavior or goes over the edge, maybe it’s time to consider the role demons play to get to the heart of these matters.

by Jay Mankus

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Wanted: Dead or Alive

In 1987 Bon Jovi released the song Wanted: Dead or Alive as their third single from the Slippery When Wet album.  The title of this song pays homage to Jon’s admiration of Old West heroes.  Whether this was a poster or a sheriff seeking to purge his town of criminals, this phrase became synonymous with a quest for justice.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers, Proverbs 21:15.

While classic movies pay tribute to the age of Cowboys and Indians, one aspect of life has not changed.  Evil continues to exist today in various shapes and forms.  Demons masquerade as angels of light using the gullible, weak and unknowing as accomplices of the Devil.  Jesus even had to rebuke one of his own disciples, Peter, proclaiming, “get behind me Satan.”

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, Amos 5:24.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of western sheriffs, Jesus offers some interesting advice.  According to the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 16, if you want to find life you must be willing to lose it.  Meanwhile, if you attempt to save your life, you will lose it.  Today, God is searching for new deputies.  However, before you enlist you must consider the cost: do you want death or hope to come alive?

by Jay Mankus

Going to the Dump

Every  summer I was exposed to a local dump in Maine.  Since our cabin did not have garbage pick up, guests were expected to take all their trash to be disposed of at the county recycling center.  The smell of the bags in the August heat was fowl, but this was all part of the complete experience of going to the dump.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Matthew 11:28.

While addressing the masses one day, Jesus refers to a different kind of dump.  The context of this discussion is based upon individuals carrying around baggage.  Whether its depression, stress or worry Jesus doesn’t want people to go through life alone.  Rather, when trash in life begins to pile up, drop to your knees to unload the garbage you have collected.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

The world proclaims he who dies with the most toys wins.  Yet, when people pass away your body will eventually become dust.  Thus, our bodies are on loan from God.  The Holy Spirit is the source of life for human souls.   The opposing force known as the sinful nature wages war by bombarding minds with trash from life.  To combat this weapon used by the Devil, go to the dump daily to unload worries in prayer which God replaces with rest.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

I Choose to Believe

One of the names ascribed to Lucifer in the Bible is the angel of music or song.  This nick name has led Bible scholars to claim the Devil uses secular music to corrupt the hearts and minds of countless individuals.  While this may be true to a certain extent, there are plenty of wholesome songs that I have come across which do just the opposite.  Several of these contemporary artists either elevate the faith of Christian or encourage some to believe.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you, Ezekiel 28:14-15.

In my life, music plays a vital role in the ebbs and flows that I experience.  Although I go through periods of disappointment, unable to find the right song for the difficult stretch in life, artists, ballets and songs can arrive just in the nick of time.  As I struggle to come to grips with my son’s Diabetes diagnosis, I was reminded of an album I purchased earlier in the year.  When I heard this Phillips, Craig and Dean’s song on my birthday, I knew just what to do.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin,” John 8:11-12.

The ballet “I choose to believe” talks about how one phone call can change your life.  One day everything is fine and the next your world is turned upside down.  Yet, within the emotions of the trial standing in your way, everyone has a decision to make.  In the case of a woman caught in adultery, she was on death row, about to be executed when a young lawyer named Jesus intervened.  I don’t think she was hopeful early on, yet at the end her life was saved.  In the same way, I still have my health and my family.  While I may not have the money to cover all the added expenses, I simply choose to believe.

by Jay Mankus

The Value of a Soul

One of Jesus’ commands made to first first century followers involves the human soul.  After the heart, the soul is placed in front of the mind as the second most important part of the human body.  The context of this passage summarizes the first and greatest commandment.  This message highlights the value of a soul.

Jesus replied: “ ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,’ Matthew 22:37.

While talking to his disciples, Jesus suggests that its possible to forfeit your soul.  Maybe He was trying to warn Judas Iscariot of his initial thought of betrayal.  On the other hand, Jesus appears to recognize an unhealthy pattern within Peter.  Beginning to think like Satan, Jesus brings this concern front and center, afraid that one of his leaders could have their soul poisoned by evil.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? – Matthew 16:26

This caution continues today with countless distractions to lure a soul away from God.  The Devil still uses the same temptations Jesus endured in Matthew 4.  Every day physical, mental and spiritual obstacles lurk around every corner.  The question is will you allow temporary pleasures to alter your standards?  Whatever your decision, may you embrace the value of a soul by resisting the Devil and drawing near to God.

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

 

Tell Me How You Really Feel

From 1993 to 2002, Bill Maher hosted the late night television show Politically Incorrect.  Debuting on Comedy Central, this thirty minute program was designed to be cutting edge, tackling controversial political issues deemed taboo.  However, when this show moved to ABC television in 1997, Politically Incorrect became politically correct.

Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, Acts 13:9.

In this age of instant information, cell phone videos, dashboard cams and you tube videos can get the out-spoken in trouble.  However, this hasn’t stopped 2016 republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.  Almost daily Trump is caught saying something outrageous in the eyes of the media, who demand an immediate apology.  Despite this weekly criticism, the Donald sticks to his convictions, not afraid to tell America how he really feels.

“You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?” – Acts 13:10

There was a time in history when there was a clear distinction between truth and lies.  During the first century, apostles of Jesus made it their ambition to expose false teaching.  While today most people would call this rude, the apostle Paul didn’t mix words.  In fact, Paul took Donald Trump’s in your face politics to a new level.  When a sorcerer attempted to keep citizens of Paphos from being introduced to the gospel, Paul called Elymas a vessel of the devil.  While I tend to be soft spoken, sometimes its important to tell people how you really feel to shine light on individuals living in darkness.

by Jay Mankus