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Tag Archives: soul

Stronger Than You Think

Like any start to a new year, the longer you make it in fulfilling resolutions on the calendar, confidence and optimism grows.  Those who use hope as a catalyst for change begin to see the fruits of their rededication toward accomplishing goals in life.  Signs of progress make successful individuals appear stronger than you think.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

Unfortunately, most people don’t make it through the first week before breaking one of their vows.  Diets are ruined by leftover treats from Christmas and New Years.  Exercise programs are put on hold after you pull a muscle, over doing it after your first few work outs.  Meanwhile, those attempting to cease bad habits from their past are lulled back, unable to escape addictive behavior.  These poor souls seem weaker than the rest, plagued by one bad decision after the other.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

According to the apostle Paul, there is a solution for those of us who have already failed miserably in fulfilling New Year Resolutions.  In your time of need or moment of weakness, pray.  As you slow down by crying out to God, ask for the Holy Spirit’s intervention.  When you do, the Lord will replace blank ideas with the right course of action.  This is where blind faith pays off, trusting in God to guide you through failure so that victory becomes a certainty.

by Jay Mankus

 

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Battle Scars

In 1998, a film brought the battlefields of war into movie theaters across the country.  Using the invasion on the beaches of Normandy during World War II as a backdrop, Saving Private Ryan graphically depicts the brutal nature of war during an extended battle scene.  Those who survived were haunted by images of splattered blood, cries for help and the silence of death.  Some of these individuals returned home with visible signs of this violent venture.  Others possessed emotional and mental scars, like a part of their soul was ripped out and left behind.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.

More than eighty years later, descendants have their own battle scars.  Survivors of the Holocaust have to live with the knowledge of what happened to innocent Jews.  Immigrants have the memories of the hell they went through just to make it to America.  Meanwhile, those living in crime infested areas stay awake at night wondering, who is going to be next?  There are many that express how unfair life is or could be.  Yet, blaming, complaining and denigrating others didn’t save the world from Nazi Germany.  Rather, victory is achieved by forgetting your own battle scars by coming together for a greater purpose and cause.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, Matthew 11:29.

Instead of making situations better, divisiveness by modern politicians is only adding scars, one soul at a time.  Words are cheap, a campaign slogan to help get elected.  Yet, what this world needs are leaders who inspire others to rise above their own battle scars to make the most of life.  My largest scar is three inches long, what’s left of an ankle surgery from high school.  Prior to this procedure, I was told by doctors that I would never run again.  My Christian friends refused to believe this fate, offering up prayers to the Most High.  In the end, these prayers of intervention proved science wrong, healing me to be able to compete in athletic competitions throughout my life.  While not every story has a happen ending, come to Jesus with the battle scars from your past so that you will find rest for your soul.

by Jay Mankus

 

We’ve Become a Byproduct of Our Environment

From 1992 to 1999, Melrose Place aired on Fox.  This popular television series gave a glimpse of the elite living in Hollywood, California under the guise of Melrose Place.  Since I was in my last year of college at the time of this show’s debut, I never followed it, catching a scene or two while channel surfing before it’s departure 8 years later.  Looking back at an episode from season 6 that I recently watched, it’s clear that America has become a byproduct of it’s environment.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—Romans 5:12.

One of the draws to dramas like Melrose Place is that sex sells.  At least this was the rationale for entertainment up until the sexual harassment scandals of 2017.  Perhaps, Hollywood will be forced to alter their content in the aftermaths of sexual misconduct by stars that were uncovered.  Unfortunately, the damage has been done.  Love has been confused with lust as actors and actresses jump from one sexual encounter to the next without any consideration of the soul.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do, Galatians 5:17.

Subsequently, broken relationships, failed marriages and sexual confusion has become the norm.  Sleaze adult advertisements like Girls Gone Wild encouraged young girls entering college to engage in the acts of the sinful nature.  In an attempt to capture elicit sexual content, alcohol was used to coerce drunk and naïve individuals into embarrassing acts, indulging their flesh.  While good people still exist and have overcome the odds to remain holy and pure, the same can’t be said for a growing majority addicted to sin.  I’m not sure what the future holds, but America has become a byproduct of our past environment.  May God help us all to find deliverance!

by Jay Mankus

Taking as Many People with You as Possible

During a visit to the city of Corinth, the apostle Paul discovered a passionate group of sports fans.  Instead of modern sports like basketball or football, Corinthians embraced Track and Field as host of a Summer Olympics type of annual event.  Thus, Paul felt compelled to use words in one of his letters that appealed to this culture.  Within 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul compares evangelism with a race, hoping to win as many people as possible to Jesus Christ.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, Matthew 10:28.

Years earlier, Jesus reveals an interesting concept to his disciples in the passage above.  While speaking about persecution, Jesus provides a heavenly perspective to a common event followers of Christ will encounter.  Human nature tends to make individuals fearful of what other people think of you.  However, Jesus warns the disciples about worrying about the wrong thing.  Rather, be on guard against the Devil, the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, who uses temptation to ensnare souls toward a life in hell, eternally separated from God.

Who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time, 1 Timothy 2:6.

The Bible is filled with promises about life and the future.  John 3:16-17 reveals why God the Father sent his son Jesus to earth.  Upon completing God’s will for his life on earth, Jesus gave himself up as a ransom, paying the price for the sins of mankind.  This selfless act made it possible for fallen creatures to have a place in heaven, John 14:1-4.  Thus, anyone who makes their eternal reservation, 1 John 5:13, should want to take as many people with you as possible.  May the hope of a new year inspire souls to fulfill the great commission, Mark 16:15-16 so that the afterlife will serve as a great big family reunion in the sky.

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

 

Replacing the Desire to Be Cool with Christ

No matter who you are, everyone has a desire to be accepted by others.  This craving for acceptance causes many to react differently around their peers.  At some point the desire to be cool trumps doing the right thing.  If this behavior persists, there is little room for Jesus to co-exist.  Therefore, sooner or later you have to decide between being cool or following Christ.

“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.  “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? – Matthew 15:16-17

In the past week, conviction was awakened me from a dead and dying soul.  What I have discovered from the Holy Spirit is that I care more about being cool than living out my faith.  In the passage above, the disciples had become dull, numbed by worldly influences.  Today, these temptations are greater than ever, successfully distracting many from practicing character, integrity and godly principles.

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them, Matthew 15:18.

According to Jesus, the heart is the core of this matter.  While Pharisees and religious leaders believed eating food without washing your hands made people unclean, Jesus corrects their flawed thinking.  King Solomon referred to the heart as the well spring of life.  Those individuals who don’t guard their heart, allow coolness and the sinful nature to reign, taking over.  Thus, unless you begin to purge yourself by beginning to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, transformation will not occur.  May this blog speak to your heart by replacing the desire to be cool with Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Previews of Coming Attractions

If you get the chance to go to the movies, you will see a series of previews of coming attractions that will appear in theaters sometime in the near future.  This is an easy way to promote a return visit by wetting your appetite.  Following these trailers, visual images of food and drinks may entice you to break for the snack bar before the featured film begins.  However, as cable options continue to improve in the form of movies On Demand, families are waiting to watch films in the comfort of their own homes.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, Galatians 2:20.

While listening to a sermon last weekend, the pastor compared becoming a Christian to previews of coming attractions.  The point he was trying to make was that those who decide to follow Jesus are suppose to become more like Christ day by day.  The preview illustration refers to actions, behavior and words that should emulate the love of Jesus.  This transformation should result in noticeable differences.  Thus, the next time you encounter someone who has recently accepted Christ into their hearts as Lord and Savior, expect a kinder, gentler soul.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.

To keep this new life going, Jesus introduces an analogy to encourage individuals to continue growing spiritually.  The source for life is compared to a living vine.  Spiritual progress is made by remaining connected to this source.  However, anyone who get’s disconnected, unplugged or removed stops growing.  Anyone who decides to find life in anything else becomes idle and will eventually lose all momentum like a withering branch.  If you claim to be a Christian, what are you previewing?  Are you a hypocrite like me at times, displaying a watered down faith or are you bearing spiritual fruit daily?  May this sermon speak to you, serving as inspiration to get reconnected to the living vine, Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus