RSS Feed

Tag Archives: fear

All You Zombies

 

My first introduction to the concept of zombies came in the form of Creature Double Feature presentations each Saturday.  This syndicated horror show began airing on the east coast in the 1970’s.  Since I lived just outside of Philadelphia at the time, I was intrigued by the thought of watching movies usually reserved for theaters.  About a decade later, the Hooters, a up and coming band from Philadelphia released All You Zombies, a single from their second album Nervous Night.  Using biblical references from the Old Testament, the lyrics contain a stanza where the band asks God, “where have your children gone,” hiding in the dark.  The context suggests fear, peer pressure and sin cause many human beings to become like zombies, void of the abundant life within John 10:10.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life, Matthew 27:51-52.

Recently, the fascination with zombies has been brought to the forefront through The Walking Dead on AMC.  Premiering in the United States on October 31, 2010, this series uses a post-apocalyptic setting where Rick Grimes plays a sheriff deputy who awakens from coma only to find the world overrun by zombies.  However, you don’t have to resort to Hollywood or science fiction to believe in zombies.  All you have to do is read the accounts within the four gospels of the Bible to find the origin of the term zombies.  Matthew was an eye witness to this strange but true event.  In the minutes following Jesus’ resurrection, the bodies of holy figures mentioned in the body came out from their tombs.  If the holy city refers to Jerusalem, the Night of the Living Dead wasn’t just a film that debuted in 1968.  Rather, saints of the past walked through the capital of Israel either in grave clothes or in a resurrected form appearing to many people until Jesus ascended into heaven forty days later.

They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people, Matthew 27:53.

Thirty five years after the Hooters released All You Zombies, the call remains the same.  As a chorus in this song proclaims, “You don’t have to hide anymore!”  Sure, we all have hidden sins, secret scars or parts of your life that you are be ashamed.  Nonetheless, God wants his children to break free of their past by coming toward the light of Christ.  Many people wait as long as possible, hoping someone comes along to stand with them.  Yet, faith requires trust, not walking by sight.  Individuals must place their eyes toward heaven, praying for the Holy Spirit to guide you where to go and what to do.  Perhaps, this is why a disciple introduced the readers of his gospel to the power of numbers, Matthew 18:19-20.  When two or more are gathered, God’s power is unleashed.  May this blog inspire you to come out of your comfort zone to serve God by using all of your talents and gifts.

by Jay Mankus

Putting the AWE in Awesome

According to a recent study, awesome is one of the most popular words to express something which is considered amazing.  Due to the overuse of this term, awesome has lost some of it’s luster.  This bastardization of the English language has prevented a clear depiction, watered down by too many comparisons with less descriptive words.  Perhaps, it’s time to restore order by putting the awe back in awesome.

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! – Psalm 33:8

One of the barriers to appreciating awesome is the recent trend of public displays of disrespect by athletes, leaders and politicians.  In some cases, celebrities, journalists and members of the media are encouraging these acts, considered acceptable behavior as long as it’s done to those individuals who possess politically incorrect views.  When disrespect reigns, honor and reverence disappear.  Awe can not be experienced unless a healthy fear and respect for high offices are restored.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love, 1 John 4:18.

According to Luke 19:10, Jesus came to earth to seek and restore that which was lost.  This was accomplished by demonstrating a love that has transformed cultures since the first century.  This agape love is so powerful that souls are overwhelmed, brought to tears by the grace and mercy of God.  Incomprehensible to the average person, perfect love casts out the fear of God’s wrath depicted in the Old Testament.  One prodigal life at a time, Jesus came to earth to mend broken hearts.  Dying on a cross, serving as a perfect lamb, Jesus’ resurrection conquered death, putting the AWE in awesome.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Escaping the Demon of Dread

 

Dread is one of those words rarely expressed verbally, but it’s affects are on display daily.  This inner fear causes individuals to anticipate something with great apprehension.  Synonyms include emotions such as anxious, terror and worry.  Whenever someone experiences overwhelming events, the demon of dread has a way of attaching itself to souls.  Unless you are prepared, things can snow ball out of control, inciting panic.  This is a normal day for those under the extreme burden of dread.

“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. 

This reality isn’t just a rerun of some Halloween horror movie made by Hollywood.  Rather, anyone without discipline, faith or a set routine can experience this spirt like a black cloud that hovers over your life.  Dread influences minds, transforming a normal person into a miserable son of bitch, pardon my French.  If you overcome initial attacks, the passage above suggests demonic entities run in packs, feeding off of each other.  Even after sweeping your spiritual house clean, you are still not out of the woods.

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

Prior to his death and resurrection, Jesus sent out his disciples two by two.  The purpose of this exercise was to prepare these disciples for the future, life after Christ.  Similar to a trial basis, this gave Jesus a chance to see who would sink and who would swim.  Following this time on their own, Jesus had a question and answer session for disciples, serving as an evaluation of their journeys.  One team came across a demon that wouldn’t leave.  In response, Jesus replied, this kind can only be driven out by prayer.  Today, many people, including me are oppressed by dread.  While I am an amateur in the arena of demons, the only way to escape the demon of dread is through prayer.  May this advice lead you to find peace in the near future.  If necessary, fast and pray so that healing will arrive soon.

by Jay Mankus

 

Undaunted

Earlier in the week, I watched a documentary on near death experiences.  Similar to an episode of Project Afterlife, Destination America examined the experiences of two individuals who flat lined, then came back to life.  During these interviews, the man and woman describe their moments hovering above their bodies and the heaven and hell like encounters that followed.  Rarely do people get second chances at life, but for those granted a special exception, perspectives on life radically change.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen, Hebrews 13:20-21.

While I don’t recall the exact title, this show tried to help others understand unsolved mysteries about life.  The man selected for this episode was a neuro surgeon, spending a large portion of his career saving the lives of others.  In this scenario, the roles were reversed as his life slipped slowly away after several seizures.  His recollections of the afterlife altered the path of his new life.  This surgeon recalls a place similar to the accounts of hell in the Bible.  Dark, alone and filled with a constant eerie noise, it didn’t take long for panic to set in.  Upon waking up days later, his wife and son could see the fear in his eyes.  Like the reality show Scared Straight, this man didn’t need to go to prison to quickly turn his life over to God.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.

Meanwhile, the woman who was in a car accident, went through a much more pleasant experience.  Like scenes from the I Saw Heaven, this individual is reunited with family members who had died and gone to heaven.  She details one conversation, the last before waking up in the hospital.  An aunt tells this woman that her work on earth is not finished.  The Lord is sending you back to complete the purpose and will God has for you.  “Live fearlessly,” undaunted by the barriers and obstacles that exist.  After hearing this message, I feel like this applies to all believers, hoping to please God.  May this testimony inspire you to go through life undaunted, trusting in angels, divine intervention and God’s power to cross the finish line on earth.

by Jay Mankus

A Ghostly Encounter

As Halloween approaches each year, I’m always wondering how to respond to this secular holiday.  After reading a passage today about what the disciples appeared to see, this is as good of a time as any to address ghostly encounters of the Bible.  Depending upon which source you reference, a ghost can take the form of an apparition of a dead person.  This manifestation may appear as a glimmer, shadow or spirit.  However, you want to define a ghost, based upon the passage below it’s clear that Jesus’ own disciples believed in ghosts.
But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear, Matthew 14:26.
One of the most famous ghostly encounters in the Bible occurs in the Old Testament.  During the reign of Israel’s first king, Saul’s prophet Samuel and spiritual mentor dies.  When this source of discernment was no longer available, Saul panicked following a rare defeat on the battlefield.  Turning to a medium which he banned from his kingdom, Saul sends servants to find the Witch on Endor.  Despite fear of breaking the law, Saul convinces this witch to perform a séance.  This term is French referring to taking a seat, a session to bring back spirits from the dead.
Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”  “Bring up Samuel,” he said.  When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”  The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”  The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth,” 1 Samuel 28:11-13.
Unlike the séance which takes place in the 1990 film Ghost, the spirit of Samuel comes back to give King Saul a message.  Instead of receiving comforting news, the ghost of Samuel communicates the impending doom set to fall upon Saul.  This chapter brings up multiple issues to contemplate.  However, the greatest lesson from this ghostly encounter can be found in who you trust.  While God has allowed certain individuals to communicate with spirits of the past similar to the Sixth Sense, trusting in the Lord alone is essential.  Anything else opens the door for fear which the disciples experienced in Matthew.  Therefore, despite what you might encounter in this life, make sure that you practice the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 so that you are sheltered by the Holy Spirit.
by Jay Mankus

It’s Not What You Say, but How You Say It

It doesn’t take much for a coach, parent or teacher to get under a teenager’s skin.  Sometimes the tone chosen is demeaning.  Others come across as pompous or smug, alienating the individual they are talking to.  Meanwhile, impatient adults have a tendency to take out their frustrations upon young people, creating an even greater generational gap.  This disconnect proves that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

When you are reading a book, sometimes the context of previous events isn’t a hundred percent clear.  Thus, you are forced to go back to make sure you haven’t missed anything important.  In the passage above, you have to understand who Saul was before he changed his name to Paul.  This former Pharisee was a perfectionist, critical by nature, eager to point out flaws.  Therefore, the words Paul choses serves as a reminder to himself and his leaders within the church at Ephesus to focus on the positive, not the negative.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:7.

While writing a letter to a teenager, Paul reveals an important truth about the Holy Spirit.  Although the world tends to emphasize imperfections, staying optimistic isn’t impossible.  Rather, one of the fruits of God’s spirit is self-control, the discipline to control your own tongue.  The language you choose to express daily is a conscious decision.  Unfortunately, many don’t realize the power of words.  Every coarse joke, put down and sarcastic remark influences others in a negative manner.  Therefore, make sure the next time you open your mouth, you think before speaking for it’s not what you say, but how you say it.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Fight for the Family

I heard an interesting saying last weekend while listening to a sermon on television.  During a conversation about parenting at church an elder replied, “when children stop listening to parents, they begin following what adults practice.”  These habits develop, form and shape what young people become.  When adults become hypocritical in the eyes of their children, the ability to have a lasting influence is lost.  This is where the fight for your family often begins.

Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows, Nehemiah 4:13.

In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, Nehemiah received news that the walls surrounding Jerusalem were broken down, leaving the people of Judah in danger.  Serving as a cupbearer to the king, similar to the secret service today, Nehemiah got approval to take some time away to oversee the rebuilding of the wall.  While fasting and praying, Nehemiah received a vision that enabled the construction to be completed in less than two months.  This job was completed so fast due to motivation, fixing the portion of wall closest to your home.  This concept inspired families to take ownership of their portion of the wall, eager to fight for and protect their neighbors.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses, 1 Timothy 6:12.

In modern times, the fight for your family is becoming more complicated.  Recently, parents of Charlie Gard were not allowed to leave the country to receive experimental medical attention.  Subsequently, Charlie was left to die in the hospital.  Depending upon the laws of your country, state or city, government regulations in some cases are taking away the rights of parents.  Meanwhile, progressive political views are slowly eradicating Judeo Christian values from American culture.  Those who stand up for the Bible are regularly maligned, ridiculed and shunned by the mainstream media.  If Christian continue to cave and fold to public pressure, traditional families will be a thing of the past.  In view of this fear, apply the words of the apostle Paul by fighting the good fight of faith. in changing times to fight for your family.

by Jay Mankus