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When the Enemy Perverts Silence

In the Christmas Classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, who scrambles to locate $8000 which his cousin Billy misplaced at the bank.  Retracing his uncles steps, George runs into Mr. Potter played by Lionel Barrymore at the bank.  Instead of handing George the money that he found wrapped in a newspaper, Potter accuses George of various crimes.  This dilemma leads George to pray for a miracle.  When he receives is a right hook to the face at his local hangout, George turns to suicide as a logical solution to his problems.  When prayers lifted up to God go unanswered, Satan replaces this silence with perverted whispers in the minds of human beings.

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.

During one of his visits to what is now modern day Greece, the apostle Paul seems to have uncovered some type of demonic activity going on in or around Corinth.  Just like Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies, Satan has a history that does not include the dark side.  Anakin Skywalker followed the force, on pace to become the next Jedi.  Likewise Satan, known as Lucifer was an arch angel, one of God’s most magnificent creations.  At some point, this fact went to his head, wanting to glorify himself.  Despite being kicked out of heaven, this ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, didn’t lose his angelic powers.  Thus, Satan is able to disguise himself as a vessel of light.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

If there is a word that best describes the Devil today its relentless.  This demonic entity is always scheming, using lust and temptation as open doors to come into and ruin lives.  Murders aren’t on the rise just because of crime, drugs and hatred.  Rather, when broken, desperate and lost souls continue to experience silence after cries for help, the enemy perverts silence.  According to Isaiah 1:15, God is silent when individuals fail to repent.  Any type of addiction furthers distance between you and God.  If you want to end this silence, follow the blueprint within Isaiah 1:16-17.  As genuine confession and acts of penance follow, God promises grace, forgiveness and healing.  Don’t let the Devil’s deception to continue to ruin lives of loved ones.  Rather, fast, pray and worship the Lord so that evil will be exposed and brought to the light.

by Jay Mankus

 

More Than A Mindset

There will always be people that you meet in life who think they know everything.  Whenever you interact with these individuals there is a tendency to hear comments such as “I know how you feel.”  Trying to relate to your situation, this mindset is flawed, clouded by arrogance, pride or narcissism.  In order to obtain a Christ like perspective, you must develop a balanced approached, more than merely a mindset.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns,” Matthew 16:23.

During a meaningful conversation with his disciples, Jesus introduces expectations for those who desire to follow him.  Based upon the passage above, Peter possessed preconceived notions.  This mindset bred selfishness, preventing Peter from understanding the concerns of God.  Becoming a disciple is not just actions inspired by faith.  Rather, actions must work hand in hand as individuals consider the concerns of God by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me, Matthew 16:24.

There are 3 stages which must be completed before a genuine disciple produces spiritual fruit.  The initial step involves fulfilling Galatians 2:20, dying to self so that the concerns of God will replace selfish thoughts.  As this transformation begins to take shape, Jesus wants his followers to take up their cross.  Either this means to take ownership of your faith or to literally pick up the cross like Simon in Matthew 27:32.  Just like the saying there is no I in team, following Jesus refers to crossing out the I or me so that God’s kingdom becomes your sole priority.  This is the criteria Matthew details for a disciple which is more than a mindset.

by Jay Mankus

Fighting for Harmony

Most people don’t view life in terms of harmony.  Yet, musicians and song writers seek a place or state of mind where creativity flows.  Others withdraw to a secluded location, retreating to regain joy and purpose for life.  Behind the scenes, in one way or another, we are all struggling to find harmony.

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding, Romans 14:19.

Prior to beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus spent forty days in the desert.  Fasting, praying and seeking God for insight, Jesus avoided the typical distractions within daily life.  This time of reflection served as a transitional period from a carpenter to a fisher of men.  Jesus turned his attention away from financial needs toward building a spiritual team of disciples.  Along the way, Satan arrives in Matthew 4:1-9 to disrupt this harmony.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind, 1 Peter 3:8.

Similar visits occur today by demons seeking to divide families, communities and nations.  Based upon current events, it appears the Devil is accomplishing his goal.  Anger, dissension and gossip are on the rise, fueled by social media.  Instead of attacking the source, people are fighting one another with words of hate.  Perhaps, it’s time to withdraw into the wilderness to reverse this trend by fighting back to regain a sense of harmony.

by Jay Mankus

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

Life Is Not A Video Game

Last Wednesday Delaware made the national news for the wrong reason.  About a mile from where I taught high school for ten years, a police officer was shot and killed in a Wawa parking lot.  Like a casualty in Call of Duty, Halo or Gears of War, Corporal Steven Ballard’s life was taken in cold blood.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes, James 4:14.

While I am not blaming video games on his death, violent content causes desensitization.  When individuals play hours upon hours of these mature games, the human mind can lose touch with reality.  You can’t hit a reset button when someone you love passes away.  Rather, life is precious, fragile as you only have one life to live.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

According to one of Jesus’ disciples, Satan is like a thief trying to ruin your life.  This occurs through demonic forces attempting to steal your joy, kill dreams and destroy families.  Bad decisions and poor choices lead some to become an accomplice to evil.  May the tragedy of this officer’s life serve as a warning to those wandering into murky waters.  Think, reflect and pray as life is not a video game.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Greater is He Who is In You

One of Jesus’ disciples makes a power statement in a collection of small books known as the Catholic Epistles.  One specific letter written by John addresses the two opposing forces within this world.  The first, the Holy Spirit and latter the ruler of the air, Satan.  Although both are invisible, John wants to encourage those who may be fighting a losing battle that God is greater.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world, 1 John 4:4.

However, stating this and believing it are two different things.  Whether you’re an athlete, competitive or trying your best to survive, experiencing a series of failures can break anyone’s momentum.  The devil preys on doubt, planting seeds within minds to second guess God’s power and who really is in control.  Subsequently, even the confident go through periods of darkness, fighting inner demons which seek to attack your heart, soul and mind.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds, 2 Corinthians 10:4.

At some point, the disciples passes the Christian torch to the apostle Paul whose missionary journeys gave birth to churches throughout the Middle East, Europe and Africa.  According to Paul, the only way to stand your ground against the enemy involves changing your tactics.  Whenever faith begins to falter or wilt, taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ is crucial.  As soon as this discipline is put into practice, then and only then will you truly believe that greater is He who is in you than is in the world.

by Jay Mankus

Angels with Error

The book of Job, the person not what Trump wants to create, is the oldest book in the Old Testament.  What this means is that Job was finished prior to Genesis.  Why its not clear if Job lived before the flood, he does talk about walking with dinosaurs.  Due to the atmospheric changes in the weather following the flood and lack of dinosaurs mentioned on Noah’s ark, Job could have died prior to Genesis 7.  Another clue is found in the first few chapters of Job’s book, referring to Satan by name twice and angels with error.  All of this leads me to believe Job experienced a moment in time when 1/3 of the angels were kicked out of heaven, falling to earth in the form of demons.

If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, Job 4:18.

Theology introduces many terms which were created and developed to help common church going individuals to understand the complex.  One of these biblical ideas is the concept of free will.  The definition eludes to freedom given by God to make choices without coercion or force.  This element also applies to angels, also known as cherubs, seraphim and archangels.  The context of Job 4 is Eliphaz, a close friend of Job addresses and begins to contemplate why Job has endured several trials.  While the initial statement refers to trust, one possible explanation is that angels with error, now demons, have unleashed their wrath.

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day, Jude 1:6.

According to Jesus, everyone will face a day of judgment.  While the facts of life will be presented in the form of video clips that include highlights and low lights, this will be a scary day for all.  Nothing that you do now can save you.  What I mean by this is that in the end, there is no one righteous.  All have exercised free will, falling short of God’s glory.  Yet, Romans 5:8 gives the hopeless hope through God’s demonstration of love.  While I deserve hell and damnation, God sent His one and only Son to restore that which was lost, Luke 19:10.  Despite angels with error, eternal life is in reach of the humble by grace through faith.  Reach out today by accepting God’s free gift, Romans 6:23.

by Jay Mankus