Charisma Magazine | Informing Christians from Spirit-filled Perspective. Thu, 27 Oct 2016 20:11:36 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb If You're on the Fence in This Election, Hear Pastor Jim Garlow Explain Why the Nation's Future Is at Stake

When is the last time you shared an article? Most of us only share funny photos or videos. Yet an amazing 3.9 million people have shared an article on by Pastor Jim Garlow of San Diego that has gone viral. It is essentially an apologetic for why to vote for Donald Trump even if you don't like some things he has said or done. 

You can listen to my podcast with Pastor Garlow in which he talks about how the unknowns about Trump are better than the knowns with his opponent Hillary Clinton, starting with her stand on abortion, what judges she will appoint and her party's radical leftist platform.

We must persuade our friends that this is more important than personalities—that the future of our constitutional government is at stake (and our religious freedoms) if every law passed at the state or federal level is ruled "unconstitutional" by judges and justices who concoct "rights" out of thin air and read into the constitution anything they want it to say. 

So listen to Garlow. He makes sense and his article originally published online Aug. 11 (and printed in our October issue of Charisma). Do your part in getting out the vote by sharing this with as many people as you can.


Read Pastor Jim Garlow's groundbreaking article below (originally published Aug. 11, 2016).

If You're On the Fence About Your Vote, This Pastor Clarifies How the Very Future of America Is At Stake

By Jim Garlow

I have been asked "the question" so many times regarding Trump or Hillary. By way of background, I have followed every national convention—Republican and Democrat—from the time I was age 9, and have attended most of the GOP Conventions from 1984 to the present. I have watched the news virtually every day from the age of 8. I have never seen anything like what we are observing.

In spite of the unprecedented nature of this election cycle, I will attempt to respond to "the question." I am not demanding that anyone else share my view. But I was asked. Here is my best attempt to answer as I am able to see things at this time:

1.   The Democratic and Republican party platforms are as different as night and day, in my opinion, as far apart as evil vs. good. The 51-page Democratic platform is the most leftist ever. (I don't care for the "right vs. left" nomenclature. I am far more concerned with "right vs. wrong.") The Democratic platform contains many points which are anti-biblical. (Time does not permit me here to identify what is meant by "anti-biblical," which is covered in my new book Well Versed: Biblical Answers to Today's Tough Issues.) It is thoroughly socialistic (a socialist is a communist without a gun). The 54-page GOP platform is one of the strongest GOP platforms ever. A biblically alert person could be comfortable with almost all of it. Party platforms are a big issue to me. Although some "blow off" party platforms, I do not. Nor do many people up and down the ballot who are running for office. This is a serious and very important item. I have a hard copy of both platforms in front of me now. Most people have never checked out what the party platforms say. They should. If a person is not drawn to the "top-of-the-ballot" candidate, they ought to at least consider voting for the candidate attached to the best party platform.

2.   Analogy #1: Both candidates are flawed. We all know that. But permit me an analogy: As a pastor, I would rather deal with a church attendee who is blatant and brash in his sinning than one who is devious, lying, cunning and deceptive. Both are problematic, but one is easier to deal with than the other. If I were a pastor bringing correction to a parishioner, I would prefer dealing with a "Trump-type" any day over a "Hillary-type." The chances of making progress with the "Trump-type" are many times greater than the "Hillary-type."

3.   Analogy #2: When my (late) wife's remarkable and much loved oncologist said, "Don't take Carol to that alternative (non FDA approved) treatment." I asked, "Why not?" He said, "The unknown." I said, "Doctor, your 'known' is much worse than the alternative treatment's 'unknown.'" I took her to that alternative treatment. One year later that same oncologist went to the alternative treatment doctor to see how it was that Carol had improved so much. While this alternative treatment did not ultimately save her life, it likely stretched two to three years of life to six years of life—by the admission of another one of her brilliant young oncologists who later said, "Without any medical training or scientific fact, you have put together a protocol of treatment that has moved her into the top fraction of 1 percent of survival rates of all patients with Carol's particular cancer. Application of the analogy: Hillary's "known" is considerably worse—many times over—than Trump's "unknown."

4.   Trump has lots of sins in his past (actually, we all do), and—in the present—says things he should not say. I make no attempt to defend any of the things he has said. There is no need to rehearse the wrong things he has said. We know what they are. He should not have thought or said them. But there is no need to rehash them here. So we won't. But let's turn to the other candidate. Although America has had some scandal-ridden candidates in its history, we have never seen any one major party candidate more constantly scandalous as Hillary (along with her husband). She seems to exceed all previous boundaries for wrongdoing. The scandals just don't stop. In the same way we did not take time to list all of Trump's misstatements, neither will we here rehash the seemingly continuous string of horrific scandals of the Clintons.

5.   Trump is slowly being surrounded by increasingly good people. From time to time, I receive encouraging calls regarding this. Can these good people impact Trump? We will see. In contrast, I see no reason for any encouragement regarding the people who surround Hillary.

6.   Trump is right on approximately 75 percent of the issues. I wish it was 100 percent. It is not. I am in hopes that those beginning to surround him can help him connect the dots on more issues. Hillary is wrong on 100 percent of the issues.

7.   This next issue might be one of the most important, but I suspect few will understand its significance. Trump opposes globalism. Hillary thrives on it. Globalism is far more than "geographical" or "eliminating national borders and boundaries." It is spiritual and demonic at its core. Few—very few—understand this. This is quite likely one of the main reasons why Trump is hated. Do your homework on this one. Think "principalities and powers." Serious. Extremely serious.

8.   Not voting is not a viable option, contrary to what the "purists" claim. It is not my intention to begin a war of the issue. I know that some radically disagree with this. My view? They have the right to be wrong.

9.   Voting for a third party candidate is—regardless of what is said—a complete "throw-away." No third party candidate will be elected, or even come remotely close to being elected. And yes, that matters to me. And for the record, the Libertarian ticket—Johnson and Weld—is nearly as bad on many issues as Hillary. When I listen to them, I am stunned people of their ability have ever made it to elective office.

10.   Trump has moved pro-life. Hillary is pro-baby killing, and prides herself on that, and honors the organization—Planned Parenthood—that actually traffics human parts from dead babies whom they have killed. This is below anything we have seen since Nazi Germany. The gall of Hillary! The Clintons have evaded justice for decades and likely will continue to. But they will someday stand before the Great White Throne. They will have to give account of their support of the ripping babies to shreds in the womb. For the record, those who vote for those who support the genocide of pre-borns will also have to give an account.

11.   Trump wants to defend the nation (which is the purpose of government). Hillary has a horrific track record as Secretary of State, and due to hundreds of millions of dollars given to her and her husband's foundation, she is beholden to those who want us dead.

12.   Hillary claims "everything is fine" in America. This defies every single fact, but facts have never been an interest of Hillary's. Trump understands that it is 11:59 p.m. on the "cultural clock." America is near the end—morally, economically, militarily and, sadly, spiritually. There are very clear identifiable indicators—measurable ones—that America is no longer the world's leading power. That day is over. Hillary will hasten the final destruction. Trump could either slow that down—or possibly, with God's help—reverse it. Maybe.

13.   Trump will address the massive government spending. Hillary will expand it above the existing unsustainable debt the U.S. currently is carrying (almost $20 trillion plus unfunded liabilities to Social Security, etc).

14.   Trump will expose—and I pray, bring down—"the systemic evil" (crony, deceitful, misuse of capitalism) that reigns among many high-dollar lobbyists. Hillary thrives because of them.

15.   Trump will stop the massive overreach of government. Hillary will extend it.

16.   Freedoms come in "threes." Political freedom, economic freedom and religious liberty coexist together. Take one away and the other two will eventually disappear. One cannot exist without the other two. The genius of America is that it had all three, until recently. Trump fully grasps the loss of religious liberty. I have heard him speak on it in person on several occasions. He knows that economic and political freedoms are evaporating. He will reverse that. Hillary will decimate all three.

17.   Every rational person knows the Supreme Court appointments are paramount. Trump has listed 11 superb potential nominees. Hillary's appointments would snuff out the tiny vestige of the three freedoms that are left (mentioned in the statement above).

18.   I make no excuse for wrongdoing or wrongful, hurtful words from either candidate. Candidly, I want King Jesus. He rules in my heart. And yours too, I suspect. And I want Him to rule here—now. But that day is not fully manifested—yet. In the meantime, we prayerfully, carefully navigate this challenging election season, with great concern that above all, we honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in every arena of our lives, including the voting booth. That is my hope. I believe it is yours as well. 

Editor's Note: Dr. Garlow has written a follow-up article about President Obama's shaky relationship with Israel. You can find that story here.

]]> (Steve Strang) Featured The Strang Report Blogs Thu, 27 Oct 2016 17:30:00 -0400
Discovering the Unrivaled Beauty of Your Crown

Last year I was at the Colour Conference with my beautiful daughter-in-law, Juliana. While I was there, the Holy Spirit said to me, "You've written on lions. You've written on swords. Now you're going to write on a crown." So when I came home, I started to research different crowns. Admittedly, I have a little annoyance with the whole princess tiara thing, so I didn't necessarily have a good attitude about crowns. But one afternoon, that all changed.

I was driving home when I received word that a gentleman who distributed our resources in the Middle East had been killed by an ISIS missile. In the course of explaining the circumstance of this man's death, our international resource coordinator said to me, "Some are called to give much; others give all."

It was then that I realized giving all was the crown that I was supposed to write about: The Crown of Life. By all accounts this could also be called the martyr's crown. Many of the heroes listed in the book of Hebrews' "Hall of Faith" found this crown, as did Stephen, Peter and so very many followers of Christ—including our friend in the Middle East. This crown is purchased at a cost without rival.

"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death" (Rev. 2:10-11).

I love how The Message says verse 10: "I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you."

After hearing of the tragedy of this man's death, I felt ashamed. I suddenly felt as though my life was an insulated, empty shell and everything I knew and had was as fragile as the bubbles my grandchildren blow.

I had so many "whys." Why do I have so much when others are giving all? Where was the justice? I wanted to process the disparity of the anguish I felt. Then I realized I was comparing. I was right to feel the contrast, but comparison was useless. There was no answer. There is only a serpent that has become a dragon. Under the influence of dragons, men and women do awful things to one another. I realized I had a choice. I could keep asking angry questions, or I could allow the question marks in my life to be changed to exclamation marks. I wiped my tears and decided to let the life of this man and so many others who are suffering around the globe to punctuate mine.

We have this point in time. None of us is promised tomorrow, but you know this moment is yours. And the power of your choices can redeem all your moments.

You have been seeded with a stunning story of promise. The book of your life can remain closed, or you can continue to turn the pages. Listen to Paul's message to the Galatians:

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life" (Gal. 6:4-5, MSG).

So how do we make a careful exploration of who we are? We get into the presence of God. We don't ask friends or parents, and we don't look at our past. We ask God in His presence, and we go into the Word of God, and we read who He says we are.

I write about the Crown of Life in the hope that all that waits within you is realized. Let us now live a life that is unrivaled in beauty, power, virtue and reach, some giving much, others giving all. {eoa}

Lisa Bevere is an international speaker, best-selling author, and co-founder of Messenger International. In her transparent style, Lisa shares God's Word woven with personal experiences to empower lives with freedom and transformation. Her heart breaks over social injustice. As an advocate for change, she rallies others to be an answer to desperate problems near and far. Lisa begins her days with mochas and ends them laughing around the dinner table. Lisa lives in Colorado Springs with the love of her life, author and speaker John Bevere, and their family.

]]> (Lisa Bevere) Featured Women Life Thu, 27 Oct 2016 18:00:00 -0400
A Prayer to Help You Control Your Anger

If you're going to get control of anger in your life, you must base your identity in Jesus, understanding that He loves you unconditionally, that you are His, that you are valuable and that He has a purpose and plan for your life.

If you build your identity on anything else, you'll struggle with insecurity your whole life. You can build your identity on your job, but you can lose your job. You can build your identity on how good-looking you are, but you may lose your good looks. You can build your identity on the person you married, but he or she is going to die. You can build your identity on being popular, but you're not always going to be popular.

If you build your identity on anything that can be taken away from you, you're going to be insecure, and insecurity is at the root of your anger. Until you start feeling secure about yourself, people are going to be able to push your buttons. When you know who you are and whose you are, people can't push your buttons. They can't get to you. Anger and insecurity go together. The more insecure you feel, the angrier you feel.

The Bible says in Proverbs 29:25, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the Lord will be safe" (MEV).

When you get angry, your mouth just reveals what's inside your heart. A harsh tongue reveals an angry heart. A negative tongue reveals a fearful heart. A boasting tongue reveals an insecure heart. An overactive tongue reveals an unsettled heart. A judgmental tongue reveals a guilty heart. A critical tongue reveals a bitter heart. A filthy tongue reveals an impure heart.

On the other hand, an encouraging tongue reveals a happy heart, a gentle tongue reveals a loving heart, and a controlled tongue reveals a peaceful heart.

You know what you need to get rid of your anger problem? You need a heart transplant. Fortunately, God specializes in heart transplants. It's called salvation! God gives you a brand-new heart and a brand-new identity. You don't have to find your identity in your job or your bank account or your good looks or your relationships, because you find your identity in what God says about you.

Jesus can heal the three things that cause anger: hurt, frustration and fear. Jesus can heal your hurting heart with His love. Jesus can replace your frustrated heart with His peace. Jesus can replace your insecure heart with a heart full of his strength and love.

If you pick up a crying baby and hold him close so that he feels warm and secure, he stops crying. He stops being angry. When you feel secure and accepted in Jesus Christ, your anger is going to dissipate.

Maybe you need to pray this prayer today: "Dear God, I admit I have a problem with my anger. I let other people push my buttons, I get even, and I don't think before speaking. I'm asking for your help. Help me to reflect before reacting. Help me to learn to release my anger appropriately. I want to find my identity in You. I surrender myself completely to You. Come into my life. Save me. Amen."

If you prayed this prayer today, write me at And to learn more about finding your destiny by following Jesus, go to and click on the "Know God" tab. There is a video and a guide explaining what it means to trust your life to Jesus. {eoa}

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Rick Warren ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 27 Oct 2016 17:00:00 -0400
Husbands, Never Forget These Things Once You Are Married

Each day when I log onto Facebook, one of the first things I see is a Facebook Memory. Each memory is something I or someone else posted to Facebook in the past.

I then have the option to repost and share this memory. It's cool when I see a picture of our kids four or five years ago and relive the memory.

My first response to seeing the memory is usually, "I forgot all about that," whether it's a moment or a certain way our kids or even my wife used to look. Sometimes we forget pivotal things in our marriage, and it's not a good thing.

These are three things you should never forget once you are married:

1. What attracted you to her. I remember one of the first dates my wife and I had when I first got my own apartment. She and her girlfriends came by before me and my buddies all went out. She was a little nervous and sat in the chair closest to the door (I guess just in case she had to suddenly bolt). I remember it because even today when she's a little nervous she sits up very straight and has perfect posture. To this day when I see her sitting like that, it's cute to me (yes, I used the word cute), and I remind her, "That's the way you sat the first time you came to my apartment." Seeing her sitting like that attracted me then, and when I see her sitting like that today, it takes me right back to that moment—her look, her smile, her uncertainty, but also interest and trust in me.

2. What attracted her to you. Every once in a while, my wife will remind me how meticulous and organized I was when we were dating before marriage. She'll bring up the fact that I always had Kleenex in my bathroom, and that my car smelled so great, and every single thing in my car had a place and was always in its place.

She loved that about me. Remembering this helps me do some of those things that my wife finds attractive even 15 years later. Over the years, it's easy to relax and take things for granted.

Maybe you used to go above and beyond to attract her, but you don't anymore. Maybe you just have become too comfortable and don't even do the basic things. I challenge you to look at yourself and no matter where you are, step it up—do the things today that attracted her to you yesterday with the same excitement and passion.

3. Your commitment to her. The commitment to love her "for better or for worse ... in sickness and in health ... till death do us part." Remember those words? You made that commitment when you said, "I do." But if you are honest, you don't always treat her with love during the worse. Maybe you've even considered ending your relationship before "death do you part."

Your wife may have changed, some of which may not be for the better. It doesn't matter. You should never forget the commitment you made on your wedding day. That commitment wasn't a contract or an "if this ... then that" type of commitment. The commitment is unconditional.

Remembering these things will rekindle the fire, passion, and newness in your relationship you experienced early on. Those things made you take the steps to "I do" and will keep both of you and her saying "I do" over and over again. {eoa}

Jackie Bledsoe is an author, blogger, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father of three, who helps men better lead and love the ones who matter most.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Jackie Bledsoe/For All Pro Dad) Featured Men Life Thu, 27 Oct 2016 16:00:00 -0400
This Health Lie Comes 'Straight From the Pit of Hell'

I was shocked to find the following message on a website, in which a Christian man wrote about being overweight:

"The moment I looked in the mirror I realized I was insulting the God I love and who I'd pledged my life to serve ...The single moment of greatest shame, sorrow, rage, and self-loathing of my entire life ... 278 lbs."

The man's post made me wonder if there are other Christians who think the same way.

While I empathize with this man's feelings, the thought behind them is a lie straight from the pit of hell.

Forgive me if I sound angry about this, but the thought of Christians accepting the enemy's lies as the gospel truth makes me mad.

Sometimes we accept these lies out of ignorance because we don't know what God's Word says.

But other times, we accept the lies when we believe our feelings (which the enemy can manipulate) above God's word.

The only way to combat these lies is with the truth.

To prove that being overweight does not insult God, I must go to the Bible. In the Bible, I can only think of two individuals who were described as "fat." One of them was God's priest. Even though God rebuked him, the rebuke was not because he was "fat."

Having the proper perspective about the size issue is essential to reaching your ideal weight permanently. While condemnation can motivate you to change temporarily, it won't last. You'll end up feeling hopeless ultimately.

Permanent changes must be motivated by love. God want us to bring every concern to Him—including weight issues.

Most of these originate from the heart, not the body.

Proverbs 4:23 advises, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life."

I have read some quotes from older Christian weight-loss resources that said things like "Whenever you see a fat Christian, you're looking at one who is not walking with the Lord" and "Slim is how God meant us to be."

The Bible supports neither of these statements. They promote the idea that your outward appearance is an indication of your spiritual condition. But appearances can be misleading.

For example, the religious leaders in Jesus' day looked good. But He said to them, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness" (Matt. 23:27).

God is always more concerned about the contents of a person's heart above what they show on the outside.

Another example is David's selection as Israel's future king. At first, the prophet Samuel assumed that David's older brother must be the one that the Lord had selected. After all, Eliab looked the part!

However, 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us differently: "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees. For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'"

In fact, I don't recall anywhere in the Bible where a person was rebuked about their weight. The only two stories I remember in which it was even noted that the person was obese was Eli the priest and Eglon, King of Moab in the Old Testament.

But the weight was just mentioned as a description of the person; it is not written that God Himself judged them for their excess weight.

In Eli's case, God rebuked him because he failed to control his corrupt sons. This was a heart issue on Eli's part—not an issue of the body.

Returning to the Christian man who posted that his appearance was insulting God, I found out in a later message that the man had gained weight in the first place because of a heart issue; he had learned that the woman he was to marry didn't really love him.

The man used food to smother his grief over the lost love. He used food to try to fulfill a role in his life that the Lord was supposed to fill. According to Psalm 147:3, "He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds."

Now, you may ask: Is there any situation in which your body's condition does matter, apart from its appearance?

I would say "yes." Here's a quick story:

Once there was an old, Southern church in disrepair. The members worshipped the Lord with all their hearts.

But there was one problem; the members neglected to pay the church's electric bill. Their electricity was disconnected during a heat wave with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Would that scorching heat impact the people's ability to worship during the Sunday service? Highly likely! Although the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.

To me, the best reason to achieve and maintain your ideal weight is not for appearance sake; it is being able to fulfill your spiritual purpose with energy and vitality—free of physical distractions. Eating healthy and proper exercise are a key part of that goal, necessary body maintenance while you are here on this earth.

This is more important than maintaining your household dwelling. After all, you take your body with you wherever you go!

In summary, having excess fat on your body does not insult God. However, I do believe God is grieved when we don't trust Him with our concerns and instead trust in other things to comfort ourselves.

Hear the Lord's heart in this matter from Jeremiah 2:13:

"For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water."

Emotional eating is ultimately a broken cistern that can't hold water. But when you put your trust in the Lord, He will heal you emotionally and physically—the best of all worlds! {eoa}

Once 240 pounds and a size 22, Kimberly Taylor can testify of God's healing power to end binge eating. She is an author and the creator of the Christian weight-loss website Visit today for inspirational health and weight-loss tips.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Kimberly Taylor, C.W.C.) Featured Health Life Thu, 27 Oct 2016 15:00:00 -0400
True Friendship With God Carries These Special Privileges

I have never been able to read these verses without tears: "The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. ... But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD" (Gen. 6:6,8).

Favor with God saved the world, and it can save a city near you. I want to be like Noah, a friend of God, who protects the heart of God. Favor can change the mind of God. Wow! What a thought! Israel knew God's acts, but Moses knew God's ways.

Special Privileges

Friends have special privileges. John 15 says, "I no longer call you slaves because a slave does not know what the Father is doing. But I call you friends because all things I have heard from the father I make known to you."

I want to know how God thinks so I can think like He does. I want to how to love like He does, feel like He does and help like He does. I don't want to live by His rules, I want to live with Him and in Him and let Him live in me, through me and around me.

Hope to the Hopeless

I long to bring hope to the hopeless and make the joyless laugh! I really like to make people laugh—a lot. I think I grew up in so much pain that laughing became a door of hope for me. I like to make God laugh too! I want God to enjoy me.

I think I entertain Him. He told me He thinks I am funny. I think He is too! I find so much humor in the Bible. I think God wrote much of it with a smile. So much of the Bible would be understood differently if we could see the expression on His face as He dictated the book.

This is my goal in life: to love God as a Father and friend, and to learn how to love people like He does. Even people who are unlovely—like I was—those days are over for me. If you knew me you would love me! I do!

Do you want to be a friend of God? Tell me about it in the comments below. {eoa}

Kris Vallotton is the senior associate leader at Bethel Church in Redding, California, where he has served with Bill Johnson for three decades. He has written several books, including the best-selling The Supernatural Ways of Royalty and Heavy Rain.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Kris Vallotton ) Featured Relationships Life Thu, 27 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0400
Influence Your World for Jesus With These 2 Key Qualities

"Then the presidents and officials sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom, but they could find no occasion or fault because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him" (Dan. 6:4).

Although he was a stranger in a strange land, a Hebrew named Daniel experienced unprecedented advancement. While the Babylonian kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar passed into darkness, Daniel remained. Even with changing nations and the shifting rule of kings, he continued to be placed in a unique position to speak.

Even the Persian, Darius, whose rule followed the Babylonians, was so impressed with this Hebrew that he planned to place him over the entire kingdom. The Scriptures affirm, "Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and officials because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king thought to set him over the whole realm" (Dan. 6:3).

What was it about Daniel that enabled him to occupy such a unique position before kings and men? I think the answer to this is found in Daniel 6:4.

"They could find no occasion or fault because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him" (Dan. 6:4).

As this passage affirms, Daniel was an empowered leader devoid of corruption or negligence. Though others tried to find dishonor, all they could find was trustworthiness. What a powerful depiction of what a man of God should be.

Over the years I have been around a lot of ministers and have only encountered a small percentage who are truly like Daniel. This observation really shouldn't surprise anyone. There has obviously been a lot of corruption and negligence in the pulpits.

Yet, this verdict is hard to swallow for most ministry leaders. First of all, most don't think they are corrupt. They have a "perfectly good reason" for any lapse of ethics in their lives. Thus the issue of corruption is not all that well-received and even harder to prove. That is why I think we need to zero in on another attribute in this passage.

The issue of negligence is much easier to discuss and apply to our own lives. You have to ask yourself whether things are being left undone. Are there people you should be meeting with, but have put off? Are you considering the bigger issues that really affect the ministry? I know we don't think of ourselves as corrupt, but are we negligent? I believe that a general lack of follow-through has been crippling the impact of gospel for decades.

We admire Daniel and his ability to influence kings. Thankfulness rises in our hearts as we are reminded that God rescued him from the lion's den. Yet, we forget that, among other things, Daniel's story was written to provide a model for us. Even in the midst of a dark, corrupt society, leaders are expected to demonstrate something more. No matter how difficult it might be, leaders are still called to live like Daniel.

In this glorious hour of grace, I believe God is empowering you to become something more. The power of the Holy Spirit is moving through the earth; causing great changes in hearts and minds. Despite the failures of the past, God is now enabling you to abandon all corruption and negligence. In the power of His strength, you will ultimately find yourself becoming trustworthy— just like Daniel. {eoa}

Steve Gray led the Smithton Outpouring and the Kansas City Revival. The founder of World Revival Church, Steve is a best-selling author and award-winning filmmaker.

]]> (Steve Gray) Featured Women Life Thu, 27 Oct 2016 13:00:00 -0400
This Fragile Source of Strength Will Only Stunt Your Spiritual Growth

My best and brightest moments have been laced with weakness.

We met our first two children in Ethiopia and spent our first days of parenting in a tempered state of shock over the rolling meltdowns. While adopting our second two children from Uganda, I saw miracle-level movements of God I'd never before or since seen. Even in the times when we've repeated the stories, I feel that lump-in-my-throat awe over just how rare they were and how near He felt. And yet in between those miracle days were tearful nights under mosquito nets and terse words spoken to the man I love, the one who brought us there, and more of my own meltdowns than I'd like to admit over power outages and the broken shower in the guest home and the smoggy air.

Nate tells the stories from Uganda—these glorious moments that only God could have orchestrated—to new friends and others who hadn't heard what we saw, and I can't help but flash back to the argument we had outside of the van scheduled to take us to our court appointment, and in front of the unsuspecting driver who quickly got schooled in American conflict.

I birthed my first biological baby after 12 years of marriage. Twelve years of waiting and more than long hours of labor.

Yet somehow I still imagine the most glorious moments I have ahead of me in God to be seamless. I look at others who've accomplished what I consider to be great feats of faith and ignorantly assume they came with ease.

Recently, a friend who has been a missionary to a remote village in Africa for years witnessed those she loved getting their hands on the very first translated New Testaments in their language. Translators had been working for 20-plus years on these pages and the ones in her community now held their own Bible, in their native tongue. My friend sent me pictures and I cried—I couldn't get it out of my mind for days, this momentous event of hungry people getting the food of the Word. But when we finally connected so that I could hear her voice telling me more of the story, she cautioned me. This is complicated, Sara, she said. Bibles that could be read fell in the hands of many who have never read anything in their own language. This pinnacle moment was, in fact, another beginning toward a different ascent. These Bibles would be sweated over before they were read.

Our greatest moments in God are laced with weakness and we humans don't like it.

Though I quote Paul's letters to my children and to my fickle heart, I often forget what he walked through in order to be able to say "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13). I love that David was a man with a pulse melded toward God and one about whom God looked through his boyishly-rouged cheeks to see a heart that could hunger, but I'd like to ignore the tryst that leveled his life and made him weak and needy for God and the son who stealthily betrayed him.

I want His best moments to also include me, at my best. I give accolades to friends who "pulled it off" and slap an "I'm doing well" on the times when I feel best about my motherhood and my home and my marriage and my writing and my friendships. I still want the great strength of God and my own great strength too.

But it never happens that way. No, never.

When my human strength attempts to compete with His glory (let's be honest: near daily), I am subtly despising the unique way (read: unfamiliar, unconventional, not-of-this-place-where-we-live) that He moves in power.

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, the excellency of the power being from God and not from ourselves" (2 Cor. 4:7).

It's a rare thing that I call my weakness a treasure. But to skip to that step and merely use the verbiage—while still secretly wanting the glory of God to seamlessly manifest within my tightened life—I miss what David had, what Paul had. (And, ahem, I then lead people to me.)

They knew His eyes on them when all hell broke loose in their life. They knew destitution of the heart and body and yet also how one received a look from God that made that single moment their richest. They knew what it was like to have their heart race, in love, from love, all because of a surprising brush with the near gaze of God in their most unsuspecting hour.

When I'm admittedly weak (because, as my husband sometimes tells me, my stated "weak moments" are truly just the ones where I'm acknowledging a weakness that was already there before I noticed it), I'm supple, receptive. His glory streams brighter through all the holes in my countenance.

So people, let's stop dreaming about the day when it's all slick and we're strong and then God is glorified. It's a myth.

In your sweatpants and a top knot and un-showered, He has power and He sees you. At the height of some sort of messy unfolding of a new thing He's led you to do, He has power and He sees you. With your arms around a child who would rather be anywhere else than with you, He has power and He sees you. By the bedside of a friend, He has power and He sees you. In your own hospital bed or nursing a tireless infant at 3 a.m., He has power and He sees you.

In the kingdom of God, all those places about which we've been complaining, where we feel so weak, are in fact the places for our greatest access to the truest glory.

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor. 12:9).

Sara is a wife to Nate and a mother of five whose arms stretched wide across the expanse between the United States and Africa. After almost a decade of Christian life she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. God met her and moved her when life stopped working for her. And out of the overflow of this perplexity, came her writing, both on her blog and in her book: Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet.

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]]> (Sara Hagerty) Featured Women Life Thu, 27 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
4 Ways the Holy Spirit Does Not Lead You—and 1 Big Danger

How you ever missed it? Have you ever resisted God thinking it was the devil? 

Sometimes when our emotions get wrapped up in a thing, it's more difficult to discern His leading—especially when the flesh or soul doesn't like the way He is leading. Sometimes our flesh wars against the Spirit (Gal. 5:7). When we surrender ourselves to God's will, it becomes far easier to discern His leading.

That said, there are ways Holy Spirit absolutely does not lead. Wrong teaching, ignorance of His ways, spiritual laziness and a failure of the five-fold to equip the saints for the work of the ministry have led many to follow the world, the flesh or the devil thinking it was Holy Spirit—and that has brought plenty of heartache into the lives of many. Here are four ways Holy Spirit does not lead—and one warning of a current danger.


1. Holy Spirit doesn't control, manipulate you or twist your arm.

An apostle I worked with once pressured everyone in his church to get into flipping houses. I personally lost about $100,000 under that controlling mandate. Another woman in the church went bankrupt. Many others lost small fortunes and saw their credit ruined. It wasn't the will of God at play! That was man's will hoping for the tithe that came off the flip!

John 16:13 says Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you. Leading and guiding is different than controlling, manipulating and browbeating. If God was going to manipulate and control people to do anything, it would be to join His family. But we have a choice. Now, the Spirit's conviction may feel like pressure. Holy Spirit will stretch you. Holy Spirit may allow you to feel His grief, but ultimately He won't force you to do anything.

2. Holy Spirit will not lead you into sin. 

I once heard of a man say God told him to divorce his wife and marry a younger woman. That's a sin, according to Scripture. Holy Spirit leads us away from sin, not toward it. He convicts us of our sin rather than sanctioning it. 

Consider these verses: John 16:8—"When He comes, He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment." Galatians 5:16—"I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." And James 1:13-16—"Let no man say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted with evil; neither does He tempt anyone. But each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then, when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and when sin is finished, it brings forth death."

The church needs to stop blaming its sin on the devil—and on Holy Spirit. 

3. Holy Spirit does not lead us through fleeces.

In the Old Testament, people put out fleeces, but in the New Testament, God speaks to us through His Son (Heb. 1:2). There's only one time in the New Testament we see believers putting out a fleece, of sorts, and it was before they were filled with Holy Spirit. We see the apostles cast lots in Acts 1:26 to determine who would take Judas' place in the apostolic ministry Jesus commissioned. 

We shouldn't follow signs; signs should follow us. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for asking for sign. God may answer fleeces from time to time in His mercy, especially for unbelievers. But even Gideon knew he was risking the Lord's anger when he asked for a second fleece (Judg. 6:36-40). Again, God wants a relationship with you. The devil can confirm a fleece. 

4. Holy Spirit will not misuse Scripture.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, Satan twisted Scriptures to try to get Jesus to violate the Father's will. He took Psalm 91 out of context, hoping Jesus would cast Himself down from the high place. But Jesus understood the whole counsel of God and responded rightly, "It is also written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God'" (Matt. 4:7).

We need to be students of the Word so we don't justify our wrong decisions based on a false leading from a false spirit or our own soulish desires and carnality. God does not contradict Himself.

5. Addressing the overdependence on prophets

Romans 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." Please notice it does not say that as many as are led by the prophets of God are the sons of God. I am not against personal prophecy. It is a valuable gift in the kingdom. But when we rely more on prophets than we do on God, we're tapping into idolatry and perhaps spiritual laziness.

In the New Testament, prophets are to equip you (Eph. 4:11-12), not lead you and guide you. That's the Holy Spirit's job. If you could see the number of emails, Facebook messages and other letters I get demanding, begging and offering to pay for prophetic words, you'd understand where I am coming from. If you need a word from a prophet, God will send you a prophet with a word. But please seek Him. He wants to speak to you directly. You are your own best prophet.

]]> (Jennifer LeClaire) Featured The Plumb Line Blogs Thu, 27 Oct 2016 10:00:00 -0400
The Distinction Between Your Gifts and Producing Kingdom Fruit

There is a moral rift in the foundation of our nation. But the Bible is very clear that judgment begins with the house of God.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:17, "For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God?"

God's judgments are good. Judgment is different from wrath. Wrath is God's destruction against sin. Judgment is God's righteous discipline bringing redemption and restoration. God's wrath destroys. His judgments redeem.

As we look upon our nation today, we can quickly see our moral foundations decaying. But this is just a sign that there is a much deeper problem. Not only is there a crack in the foundation of our nation, there is a crack in the moral foundation of the church.

If we are to see God's hand of blessing and favor remain upon America, the church within America must repent of all compromise and sin. We must allow God to cause His fruit to grow in our lives. This fruitfulness in the church will not only have a profound impact upon us, but upon our nation as well.

Jesus Is Looking for Fruit

Jesus is looking for fruit in the lives of His people. It's not enough to look good from a distance. He's looking for fruit up close.

Mark 11:12-14 says, "On the next day when they had returned from Bethany, He was hungry. Seeing from afar a fig tree with leaves, He went to see if perhaps He might find anything on it. When He came to it, He found nothing except leaves, for it was not the season for figs. Jesus said to it, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again.' And His disciples heard it."

From a distance things can look great. The fig tree looked great from a distance. It was filled with leaves. But when Jesus got up close, He discovered there was no fruit on it.

I want to draw a broad parallel here between the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. From a distance the operation of the gifts of God in our lives can look great. The gifts are without repentance. You can start off right. You can begin operating in gifts of the Spirit because of your relationship with God. But it's not enough just to start right. We have to finish right. It's possible to begin with a strong relationship with God, but then begin to ride on the gift God has given you and stray from Him in your heart.

It's possible to have strong gifts that can be seen from a distance. But you can only see what fruit there is on the tree when you get up close.

In Season and Out

Our true fruit is revealed through the relationships closest to us. Only when you really get to know a person can you see what fruit they really have. Jesus not only wants us to be leafy trees operating in gifts. He wants to find fruit. His destiny for us is that we would be fruitful trees.

Jesus took this so seriously that even when the fig tree was out of season for bearing figs, Jesus still held the tree responsible for not having fruit. The truth is, no matter what season it is, no matter what our circumstances are, no matter if it's a good day or a rough day, Jesus wants us to be bearing fruit. It will not always be easy to bear good fruit. It requires a death to the desires of the flesh and to the self-life. But God wants us to be ready in season and out of season.

In 2 Timothy 4:2-5, Paul writes: "Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths. But be self-controlled in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, and prove your ministry."

God Is Determined to Have a Church That Bears Fruit

Joel prophesied in Joel 2:22-24, "Do not be afraid, beasts of the field, because the wild pastures flourish, because the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their abundance. And children of Zion, exult and rejoice in the Lord your God, because He has given to you the early rain for vindication. He showers down rains for you, the early rain and the latter rain, as before. Then the threshing floors will be filled with grain, and the vats will overflow with new wine and oil."

As God continues to work in His people, He will cause wilderness places to become green pastures. He will cause dry, dead places to come alive. He will cause the tree to bear fruit and the vine to have full strength. God is releasing a strength in His people to bear the fruit He desires us to have. He's making His people strong in Spirit.

Full Maturity and Harvest on the Threshing Floor

As God releases a heavy latter rain upon His people, He is going to cause every sown seed to spring forth to full maturity and harvest. Every seed of God's Word that has been sown on the inside of us will spring forth to maturity. In other words, God is causing His people to grow up. He is bringing His corporate body into a place of maturity.

One of the signs that you are growing into a place of maturity is that things that offended you before will no longer irritate you. You will be less offendable. You will have less reactions from your flesh and will be led more by the Spirit. Another sign of spiritual maturity is that you are learning to resist temptation and walk and live in a way that pleases God. Spiritual maturity will be reflected in your thoughts, attitudes and behavior, especially with those closest to you.

It's time we really evaluate ourselves in the light of God's presence and truth. It's time to deeply repent of the besetting sins of our flesh, turn away from ungodly attitudes and offenses and fully surrender to God's dealing in our lives.

The threshing floors will be full of grain. This speaks of a mature harvest. It will not only be a harvest of souls, but it will also be a harvest of God's Word in you, causing you to be a mature son or daughter of God. Every area of our lives that has been placed on the threshing floor will produce a harvest of maturity and fruitfulness.

The Impact of Living Out of the Overflow

The vats will overflow with new wine and oil. Out of a place of maturity and harvest, God is bringing His people into a place known as "overflow." We are going to live out of the overflow of God's presence and anointing in our lives. It's not just a new season. It's a new dimension. God's people will carry so much of His presence and power that there will be an overflow of His presence from our lives, changing the atmosphere around us. This overflow of fresh anointing will not only transform us but will have a profound impact on the world around us.

God is not a God of just enough. He is always a God of more than enough. He doesn't want to give you just enough anointing for yourself. He wants to give you so much of Himself that His presence and power overflows out of you to reach the world around you.

Prayer of Agreement

Father, I humble myself before You today. I build an altar in my life. I give myself to You. I repent of every area of sin and compromise. Forgive me for offending You. Cleanse me and make me righteous in Your eyes. Holy Spirit, help me to live in a way that pleases You. Cause Your fruit to grow in my life. Bring me to a place of maturity in every area. Release a fresh anointing and empower me to live in the overflow of Your Spirit. Fill me to overflowing with your power. I repent of all hypocrisy and besetting sin. Heal my spirit, soul and body. Restore Your abiding presence in my life. Father, heal our nation. Turn America back to You. In Jesus' name, amen. {eoa}

Matt Sorger, author, prophetic messenger, revivalist, healing evangelist, teacher, television host and philanthropist, has served in full-time ministry for over 23 years, spanning over 200 nations of the earth through travel and media ministry. He hosts a weekly teaching program titled Power for Life. Matt moves in a unique anointing that fills entire rooms with the tangible glory of God with many healed, set free and empowered. He teaches believers how to live a life saturated with the glory of God and brings a great balance between authentic, supernatural encounter and solid biblical truth. He reaches cities and regions by partnering with and impacting local churches to see a great breakthrough of the Holy Spirit.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Matt Sorger ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 27 Oct 2016 09:00:00 -0400
R.W. Shambach's Daughter Explains How You Can Move in the Miraculous

Very few Christians these days are experiencing miracles as the first believers did nearly 2,000 years ago. That always bothered evangelist and healing minister R.W. Schambach, who passed on to glory in heaven in 2012.

Donna Schambach, R.W.'s daughter, is carrying on his ministry legacy and reminding Christ followers know they can have the same power Jesus carried in his time on Earth.  

"My dad believed in the name of Jesus. It was his calling card to the miraculous," Donna said on a recent episode of Sid Roth's It's Supernatural. "When we have the Holy Spirit within us, we can do the same things Jesus did. So many people are wondering how they can have that operation in their lives. There's only one way: There is power in the name."

Watch this short video of the conversation between Roth and Donna Schambach and find out how you can have the healing power of Jesus. {eoa}

]]> (Shawn A. Akers) Featured Supernatural Spirit Thu, 27 Oct 2016 08:00:00 -0400
Holy Spirit Uses These 4 Methods to Guide You in His Will

I had a vigorous discussion with a colleague the other day. Reflecting on some of the deeper realities of God, our conversation pivoted into an exploration of how life-change happens.

I think that most everyone is interested in spiritual growth. Yet, how does the desired maturation actually transpire? What is it that elicits this transformation?

My friend and I discussed the fact that God can effectively operate in a myriad of ways. As you probably know, the architect of the cosmos has never been limited by means or methods. I love the fact that His benevolent actions are often characterized by intense displays of imagination and wonder.

Nevertheless, in the midst of all of this, there are particular approaches that seem to be utilized more than others. There are certain avenues of engagement that more readily come to the forefront.

In the following article, I would like to point out some prominent ways that personal development takes place. My friend and I talked about this subject at length, and now I would like to briefly discuss it with you.

Here are four ways that life-change happens:

1. Revelation

Encountering foundational truths from God's Word is a catalyst for personal transformation. As kingdom precepts are accessed, our perspective widens, and we begin to observe previously overlooked realities. Revelation enables us to hear and see. This illumination, not only ignites the imagination, but it also becomes an invitation for exploration.

Disclosing some of God's inexplicable mysteries, Solomon, the sage, declared: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter" (Prov. 25:2).

2. Encounter

Through heaven's reverberating glory, the sons and daughters of the Most High are uniquely positioned for the future. Divine encounters often become the impetus for identity and advancement. As a touch from God is encountered, we not only discover His goodness and glory, but we also find our place in a family. One brief moment with God can utterly transform the bitter and the broken.

From time to time, we need to be reminded of Jesus' desire for engagement. He said, "I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

3. Connection

Experiences of revelation and encounter bring us into edifying connections with fellow sojourners. As "family members" begin to "do life" with each other, we come into sync with healthy rhythms and patterns. Despite claims to the contrary, everyone was uniquely designed for connection. I understand that relationships can wound, but they can also heal.

Many of the answers we seek are woven into the tensions of community. The writer of Hebrews exclaims: "And let us consider how to spur one another to love and to good works" (Heb. 10:24).

4. Activation

It isn't adequate to only know and feel. We were also formed to express the unfathomable mysteries of the kingdom. Often what's needed the most will not be evident until the dormant gifts of God are activated. Many are waiting for the river to part before they advance, not realizing that the waters will never recede until they make the first step.

Sometimes the answer is found in casting off the constraints of the past and boldly pursuing our inheritance. "Therefore, since we are encompassed with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1). {eoa}

J.D. King, director of the World Revival Network and co-pastor at World Revival Church, is writing Regeneration: Healing in the History of Christianity. King is a sought-after speaker, writer and author. Learn about J.D. King's book that is currently in the final stages of development: Regeneration: Healing In the History of Christianity

]]> (J.D. King) Featured Women Life Wed, 26 Oct 2016 18:00:00 -0400
4 Sources of Your Thoughts and How to Manage Them

Have you ever gone through a day and said, "Where in the world did that thought come from?" Or maybe you exclaimed, "Wow, that thought came out of nowhere!"

We've all experienced that that from time to time, but most do not realize that thoughts do not just jump out of thin air.

For the most part, we learn many of the ways that we think. When you are born, you needed to be taught basically everything. Left alone you would die. You are not like an animal; you need to be taught how to feed yourself, think for yourself and live life for yourself.

During the journey, you picked up thought systems and ways of living, behaving and doing things. Some are good; some are great. Some are not so great. Some are not of God at all. Some are downright killing you.

We have to address how we learned to think, because it set the framework for how we think today. Our parents, teachers and friends influenced not only what to think on, but what thoughts to cultivate in our lives. If you are anything like me, there are some adjustments that need to be made so that you can walk in a more prosperous way.

Of course all of us have a genetic effect, where certain thought patterns are more active in our family line. We may have a genetic bent to certain thoughts, but regardless, we as human beings need to be taught how to think and learn how to process life. If we don't have proper mentoring and guidance, we can become wide open to thoughts that can paralyze us; with little understanding how to discern destructive thoughts.

One of the most empowering things that every Christian needs to understand is that not every thought is your own thought. In fact, most of your thoughts are not your own! In my Healing and Freedom From the Inside Out training series, I help people understand the four sources of thought:

  • From God
  • From interaction with others and our five physical senses
  • From recall of thought patterns that have already been established in our lives
  • From the enemy

If you are not able to dissect which thoughts are coming from the enemy, then you will have deep challenges in life. The biggest problem is that those thoughts sound like your own, as though you came up with them.

Fear can sound like you.

Anger feels like its all you.

Little do we realize that an intruder is getting into our thoughts.

This is why discernment is so important. 

Forget about trying to discern what's going on in other people. Let's actually learn how to discern what's going on in us first. We spend so much time looking at others that we miss our own thought invasions.

The enemy uses subtle thoughts to weave a story about God, yourself and others. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy in every way by giving you thoughts that give you a distorted lens on life. He uses his megaphone to keep you bound in dysfunctional patterns and hold you back from wholeness in your life.

So what do we do about this? The plain truth is that you alone are responsible for what you will do with your thoughts. No one can take this responsibility away from you. Many people want to be rescued from the difficult thoughts, but the only way to overcome them is to face them and shut them down from having power in your life. 

You are the gatekeeper of your thoughts. That is the role your human spirit has to do—decide which thoughts will gain access and which will be torn down.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:3-5, MEV).

Many have not develop their "taking thought captive" muscles. They go along with whatever thought pulsates through their being. Too many are "too easy" for Satan. His army can throw a thought our way. Next thing you know we are riddled in bondage and defeat.

Where do you need to be more aware of your thoughts? 

Where can you be more aggressive in taking your thoughts captive; fighting the good fight of faith? {eoa}

Mark DeJesus has been equipping people in a full time capacity since 1995, serving in various roles, including, teaching people of all ages, communicating through music, authoring books, leading and mentoring. Mark's deepest love is his family; his wife Melissa, son Maximus and daughter Abigail. Mark is a teacher, author and mentor who uses many communication mediums, including the written word, a weekly radio podcast show and videos. His deepest call involves equipping people to live as overcomers. Through understanding inside out transformation, Mark's message involves getting to the root of issues that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day to day peace. He is passionately reaching his world with a transforming message of love, healing and freedom. Out of their own personal renewal, Mark and Melissa founded Turning Hearts Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inside out transformation. Mark also founded Transformed You, a communication platform for Mark's teachings, writing and broadcasts that are designed to encourage people in their journey of transformation.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Mark DeJesus ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Wed, 26 Oct 2016 17:00:00 -0400
Parenting Children Through This Crazy and Chaotic Presidential Election

Can we admit this has not been our favorite presidential election season? I'll admit it. I'm one who tends to see the more positive angle in every scenario, and it's honestly difficult to do this time.

A man with young children asked me recently how he and his wife should parent their family during this season. It's a great question. Regardless of whether or not your choice for president is clear, tensions have never seemed higher. This is true even among believers. Children surely have sensed the tension in us. 

I don't have all the answers—and my children are grown—but I have a few. 

Please understand, this is not a political post. This is a dealing-with-life-around-you-as-a-parent post. And I would suggest these for other times when their world is scarier than normal. 

Here are seven suggestions for parenting children during this presidential election: 

1. Help them see hope. There is always hope, right? If you're following after a Savior named Jesus who has overcome the world—there is always hope! Children will seldom be more hopeful about their future than you are hopeful about yours.

2. Don't shelter them. Everything should be age-appropriate, but pretty much every newsstand and every television has something about this election. They hear it at school and in the restaurants and stores. They see you react to Facebook posts. There really isn't much of a way to escape it completely if they are old enough to carry on a conversation. 

3. Don't overexpose them. I certainly don't think I would sit an elementary child in front of the television every night—and, really, this is regardless of what's on television. Again, the child's age is important as well as their interest level. When I was in elementary school, I actually cared about current events. I wanted to watch the news. I do think as parents we should monitor not only how much they watch, but also how it seems to be affecting them.

4. Allow them to ask questions. It's probably best to see if they have questions and let them guide the discussion with how much or how little they want to know. No question should be off limits, and I don't think there should be many "we're not going to talk about it anymore" rules. If children are curious enough they will find information somewhere and where better than from you?

5. Read Scripture together and pray for and with them. The ultimate answer for our day is the truth which never changes. I find great comfort in the Psalms. Children love to read. Find a good Bible for children and read truth together. And I have often heard and said, "Prayer doesn't always change the circumstances, but prayer always changes me." The same is true for children. There is a comfort in prayer—when you "take all your burdens to the Lord and leave them there." Children learn faith from you. Share your faith with them. (The Scripture and prayer time will help you also.)

6. Teach them biblical principles of how to respond to the world. Regardless of the times, we are to love our neighbors, care for others, and strive to live in unity. We even have to respect authority—unless it differs from the commands of God. Those are timeless biblical truths. You can certainly teach them principles of government you adhere to also, but mostly we should be shaping the character of our children—of course, ultimately into the character of Christ. And wow, wouldn't it be great if the character of Christ impacted our politics today?

7. Have some fun with them. You need it and so do they. The fact is, when we've been living under the cloud of our times like this election has done for many of us our own energy level might be drained. You may be missing some enthusiasm you usually have. But, children need to laugh and play. They need to have fun within the safety of their parent's strength. Maybe turn off the television, play a game, or do watch something which causes everyone to have a big belly laugh. Couldn't we all use one of those about now?

Those are just a few thoughts to get you thinking. I have written similar thoughts before on helping children respond to fear from tragedy. You can read another post HERE. What would you add to my list?

(And, I'm really not looking for political commentary here—just trying to help some young families parent.) {eoa}

Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. For the original article, visit

]]> (Ron Edmondson ) Featured Men Life Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:00:00 -0400
2 Ways to Make Christian Weight Loss Easier

Several months ago, a nice lady emailed me about her difficulty in losing weight. She mentioned that she had issues in turning to sweets whenever she was stressed.

In her message to me, she was beating herself up for her perceived lack of discipline.

She wrote, "Kim, right now I have some cookies in my cabinet and I'm tempted to go and eat them. Why doesn't God give me the discipline to resist them?"

After assuring her that I too would struggle under similar circumstances, I shared with her a principle I live by, which comes from the martial arts:

"The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into one in the first place."

In her case, the best way to resist the cookies was to avoid bringing the cookies into the house in the first place.

Are you creating daily "fights" with yourself by surrounding yourself with food temptations? If so, you are making weight loss needlessly hard!

In setting yourself up for Christian weight-loss success, you must create a healthy "safety zone" around yourself. The fact is, people do what people see.

If you don't have healthy foods in your home, healthy snacks at the office for emergencies, or prepare before you visit restaurants, then you are pretty much at the mercy of whatever you see or smell.

Here are two tips to create a healthy safety zone around yourself and help yourself to Christian weight loss success: 

1. Keep healthy foods available and within reach. Be sure that you have plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein in your home. One thing that helps me out is to batch cook on Saturdays. I cook vegetables, chicken breasts and oven-fry fish; bake sweet potatoes; and freeze it all in smaller containers. That way, when I'm busy during the week, I can just take something out of the freezer and maybe add a side item for a quick meal.

This allows me to reach for food that satisfies me from the inside-out rather than surrounding myself with foods that just satisfy my tongue.

Another tip is to keep a fruit bowl on the counter or dining room table. Keeping it within sight and reach makes it more likely you will eat it. Whenever possible, avoid bringing the high-fat, high-sugar items into your home.

But if you must, make sure it is the smallest possible box or bag you can get. The principle is, if you can't (or don't want to) avoid the temptation, then minimize the damage by practicing wise portion control.

2. Be prepared whenever you eat away from home. While it is true that some fast food restaurants are offering healthy items on their menus today, most menu items are still either fatty, salty, sugary or a combination of the three.

Be honest: If you go into Burger King and smell the hamburgers and fries, how likely is it that you will order a salad? You don't want to lead yourself into temptation.

However if you must go to a fast-food restaurant, then I recommend that you check out the establishment's website beforehand. Usually, they will post the menu and provide nutritional statistics on the items they offer. You can decide ahead of time what you will have. Then, go to the drive-thru to get it. That way, you won't be tempted by the smells of the unhealthy stuff.

At work, keep a water bottle or jug on your desk that you sip on throughout the day. Many times, we eat food when our body is really crying for water.

Also, keep a few snacks with you so you aren't at the mercy of the vending machines. Apples, oranges, small packs of raisins, almonds, pretzels, air-popped popcorn with Parmesan cheese, or low-sodium tomato soup or vegetable soup are some examples of food you can keep with you for emergencies.

Proper planning is good for your health and your waistline. {eoa}

Once 240 pounds and a size 22, Kimberly Taylor can testify of God's healing power to end binge eating. She is an author and the creator of the Christian weight-loss website Visit today for inspirational health and weight-loss tips.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Kimberly Taylor, C.W.C.) Featured Health Life Wed, 26 Oct 2016 15:00:00 -0400
What Evangelism Should Look Like in a Digital, Social Age

In ministry, some things must never change, but others must change constantly.

Clearly, God's five purposes for his church are non-negotiable. If a church fails to balance the five purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism, then it's no longer a healthy church, and it's in danger of becoming simply a social club.

On the other hand, the way or style in which we fulfill these eternal purposes must continually be adjusted and modified because human culture is always changing.

For instance, when I first started Saddleback Church, fresh out of Southwestern Seminary, computers were in their infancy, slow and cumbersome and capable of very limited functions. The internet was just a crude academic network and nobody had even heard of email. Now I often sit in my pajamas and have conversations with people across the globe.

In addition, you can get on a plane and within a few hours fly to almost anywhere in the world, and that means there's even less of an excuse for not being involved in foreign missions, even if just for the short-term. The times, they are a-changing, and they'll keep right on a-changing whether we want them to or not.

And that's why at Saddleback, any time a new tool becomes available, we embrace it. Before the World Wide Web, there was Gopher, and Saddleback used it. And we've used the web, Facebook, Twitter and every other major social media tool since.

Our message must never change, but the way we deliver that message must be constantly updated to reach each new generation.

In other words, our message of transformation must never change while the transformation of our presentation should be continual, adapting to the new languages of our culture.

Consider this: the word "contemporary" literally means "with temporariness." By nature, nothing contemporary is meant to last forever! It is only effective for a while and only relevant in that particular moment—which is what makes it contemporary.

What is considered contemporary and relevant in the next 10 years will inevitably appear dated and tired in 20 years. As a pastor, I've watched churches adopt many contemporary styles in worship, programming, architecture, music and evangelism. That's OK, as long as the biblical message is unchanged.

But whatever is in style now will inevitably be out of style soon, and the cycles of change are getting shorter and shorter, aided by technology and the media. New styles and preferences, like fashions, are always emerging.

Let me give you a word of advice. Never attach your church to a single style—you'll soon be passé, and outdated. One of the secret strengths of Saddleback Church is that we're constantly adapting; we've changed styles of worship, programming and outreach many, many times in the last 36 years, and we'll continue to do so because the world keeps changing.

The only way to stay relevant is to anchor your ministry to unchanging truths and eternal purposes but be willing to continually adapt how you communicate those truths and purposes.

In 36 years at Saddleback, we've never had a planned, organized visitation program. Yet, we've baptized over 47,000 people! Our church has grown simply by inviting one person at a time, friends from work, school, the neighborhood and social networks.

Our members are constantly on mission to bring their friends and neighbors to our weekend services, where we reach out to unbelievers—particularly those who have no real church background—by singing songs they can embrace, voicing prayers that help them relate and preaching messages they understand. We make Christianity available on an introductory level to any visitor to Saddleback.

You might wonder if we attract these visitors by watering down the gospel, but we don't; we simply communicate it in ways that unbelievers understand! Jesus drew enormous crowds (called multitudes) without compromising the message. He was clear, practical and loving, and He presented His timeless message in a contemporary fashion.

Lost people have a need for meaning, a need for purpose, a need for forgiveness, a need for love. They want to know how to make right decisions, how to protect their families, how to handle suffering and how to have hope in our world. These are all issues we have answers for, yet millions ignore the message of Christ because we insist on communicating in ways that make little sense any more.

In a sense, we've made the gospel too difficult for a changing culture to understand. Let me give you this analogy: Imagine a missionary going overseas and saying, "I'm here to share the Good News, but first you have to learn to speak my language, learn my customs and sing my style of music." You can immediately see why this strategy would fail!

Yet we do that all the time in a culture that is in radical flux. If we want to reach people in the current century, we must start thinking differently. I believe the most overlooked requirement in the church is to have spiritually mature members—members who unselfishly limit their own preferences of what they think a church should look like in order to reach lost people for Christ. As Jesus said in Luke 5:38, "But new wine must be put into new wineskins."

Here's a simple tradition to break in the 21st century: Stop thinking of the church as an institution. Emerging generations are desperately looking for community. You and I may know that the church is a community, but emerging generations have never seen it that way. They've seen a list of rules, not a loving community. This is a prime example of an opportunity to re-state the eternal truths of the Bible in a fresh, contemporary way,

Emerging generations are also focused on the experiential, and that means we have to adjust the way we teach and preach because most traditional churches focus almost exclusively on the intellect. In the 21st-century church, we not only want people to know about God, we also want them to actually encounter God.

Of course, this means rather than preaching simply for information, we should also preach for action. Our message is not meant to just inform, but to transform the lives of those in our congregation. In almost every single sermon I preach every point has a verb in it—something to do. What are you going to do now that you know this godly truth?

Why do I do it this way? Because God says, "Be doers of the Word, not hearers only," and our entire purpose driven process at Saddleback is designed to move people, not only into intimacy with God, but also into service for Him, where they'll experience a deep and broader faith in the midst of community and ministry.

Since planting Saddleback, spiritual seekers have changed a lot. In the first place, there are a whole lot more of them! There are seekers everywhere! I've never seen more people so hungry to discover and develop the spiritual dimension of their lives. That's why there's such a big interest in Eastern thought, New Age practices, mysticism and the transcendent.

Today seekers are hungry for symbols and metaphors and experiences and stories that reveal the greatness of God. Because seekers are constantly changing, we must be sensitive to them like Jesus was, be willing to meet them on their own turf and speak to them in ways they understand.

Remember, the world changes, but the Word doesn't. To be effective in ministry we must learn to live with the tension between those two.

My prayer is that God will use you the way He used David, as described in Acts 13:36, to serve God's purpose in your generation. We need churches that are both purpose-driven and postmodern, timeless and timely at the same time! May God use you greatly and may you fulfill His purpose for your life. {eoa}

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Rick Warren) Featured Evangelism Evangelism & Missions Spirit Wed, 26 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0400
The Secret to Walking in God's Unwavering Strength

Jesus turned this world on its head. Things people thought they knew crumbled in light of His teaching.

The first are the last.

The greatest is the least.

The rich are the poor.

Life is found in death.

Strength is found in weakness.

Second Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." You see, our weaknesses do not negate our strength. It's not about ridding ourselves of all our weaknesses, but allowing our weaknesses to become our strength. Allowing God to become our strength.

I still have weaknesses. Lots and lots of weaknesses. And for a while there, I think I was trying to make them go away. I had mistakenly thought I had to be or feel strong in order to accomplish anything significant for the kingdom of God, but I was wrong.

I've shared bits and pieces of our adoption story with you already, so I won't bore you with more of the details now. But I will say this: I was called to leave my entire world behind, including my wonderfully awesome and amazing husband and two daughters, to take a one-way ticket to Africa when I was at my weakest. I felt weak emotionally, physically and mentally. But what scared me most was that I felt weak spiritually. I can't even begin to tell you how this baffled me. Why, I wondered, in all these years of waiting, does it have to be now?

But then I got it.

My time alone in Africa was ridiculously beautiful in so many ways, but it was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. I wrestled like never before. I cried buckets of tears for so many reasons, but through it all, I learned a valuable lesson. It's OK to be weak. Weakness draws us to our ultimate source of strength. And it is in Him alone that we find true strength.

We were never created to do it all or to be it all but were created to know the One who holds all things together. The One who is all.

I came home from Africa broken, elated and blessed beyond words, but broken. And for the first time, I just sat in it. I wasn't trying to make it go away, and I wasn't scared of it because I think I knew for the first time that I had been broken for a reason. And there I found strength. True strength. I learned I didn't need to be strong, because He was. He is my strength and my shield (Ps. 28:7).

And here's the thing. Our brokenness does not disqualify us from living victoriously and making an impact with our lives. In fact, it's the very thing that qualifies us. It puts us in the race. It gives us a platform to speak into others' lives. It gives us skin in game. I mean, after all, we can't make an impact in a broken world without having been broken ourselves, right?

Used to think I could be strong and resilient if I could just conjured up enough strength within myself to overcome whatever life threw at me. To pull myself up by my bootstraps, so to speak. But I don't believe that anymore. Instead, I believe true resilience and strength comes from knowing God. Knowing His heart toward you, that you are loved beyond measure by the Creator and sustainer of all things. Knowing who God made you to be, that there is a purpose for your life that is beyond your wildest dreams. It comes from a place of healing or working toward that end, a perspective of your past, present and future that is rooted in Truth, the belief that God has good things planned for your future, and a connection to people who spur you on toward being the person you were created to be.

True strength is rooted and grounded in Jesus. He alone has the strength we need to not only endure the ups and downs of life but to thrive in the midst of them. {eoa}

In 2010, Laurie Coombs was called to forgive the man who murdered her father. What happened as a result of that journey is chronicled in her book, Letters From My Father's Murderer (Kregel, 2015). She blogs at and is a regular writer for and Coombs and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their two daughters and are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.

Coombs can also be found on Facebook (lauriecoombs), Twitter (lauriecoombs) and Pinterest (laurieacoombs).

]]> (Laurie Coombs) Featured Women Life Wed, 26 Oct 2016 13:00:00 -0400
Remember These Truths When You Feel Like Giving Up

We've all been there! The point when you want to give up. Something or someone sets you off and you want to quit and run the other direction.

I get it. I've been there. This post is for those moments when you want to hide and feel like you can't keep going anymore!

Here Are Your 5 Reasons Not to Quit! 

  1.  You are worth it.

Even now you may find yourself in the pit of despair, sinking lower and lower into the dark abyss and wondering why life is so hard. But I warn you, stop sinking! Fight your way out and keep on going. You are absolutely worth it and deserve the best. Yes, life isn't fair and nothing will be handed to you on a platter, but everything worthwhile takes a little effort, and you are more than worth the effort.

  1.  The people around you are worth it. 

I get that the people around you may be the ones who are driving you crazy, but I know there are other relationships in your life who need you. Maybe they don't always express their gratitude or appreciation, but regardless, without your presence in their lives, they would feel incredibly less "full" without you. So if not for you, stay in the game for them today and maybe someday they will thank you!

  1.  Your future is worth it. 

It's official none of us live in a Disney movie, but like each of the characters you too have a purpose and destiny to live and it's waiting for you to step into each and every day. Maybe today feels like you're in a horror movie with everything going wrong, but tomorrow, and the next day after that, is a new day. Who knows what might happen!

  1.  The generations after you are worth it. 

It may not seem like your actions and behavior effect those who come after you, but they absolutely do. Whether it's those in your family or at work, the younger generations are always reacting or responding to the older generations. Be mindful of who is around you and take note of the influence you have.

  1.  The roses are worth it. 

When life is hard, I know it can feel impossible to see any good or recognize anything you can be thankful for, but that is just what you must do in these moments. Stop and smell the roses, even if there's only thing in front of you to be grateful for. Stop and smell that rose like you've never smelled a rose before! Over time you'll realize it's these little things that actually make the journey so fulfilling.

And if none of that works to get you out of the pit, just keep swimming!

Keep going, stay the course, and eventually the sun will come up on a new day. It's science, and you can't argue with that! {eoa}

Mikaela Kate is passionate to see you reach your full God-given potential! Her heart is to inspire the next generation to discover who they are and what they are made to do. There is a unique voice locked within you, and Mikaela Kate is authorized to release it! A speaker, writer and coach, Mikaela Kate has invested seven years developing college-age men and women into leaders. Conducting Bible studies, women's groups and young adult teams, she encourages others to go further and higher—taking their gifts, passions, and skills to the next level! A graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in marketing, she discovered her love for strategic thinking, big picture ideas and meeting people where they are. These skills and passions later equipped her to plant a church with five other staff members (Veritas Church, Iowa City, Iowa). From there she moved to Sheffield, England and worked as the Young Adults Leader at St. Thomas Philadelphia. While in England her passion for America grew and her desire to see her native land transformed for Jesus ignited. She sees people living out their God-given purpose as a key to the transformation of this nation. Mikaela currently lives in South Carolina and is an active member of The Father's House Church. You can reach her by email at or on her website at

]]> (Mikaela Kate) Featured Women Life Wed, 26 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
10 Ways to Pray for a Troubled America

The Old Testament clearly shows that the rise and fall of Israel was determined by its spiritual condition. When the people worshipped God, and their leaders honored His laws, Israel prospered. When the people drifted into sin and idolatry, and Israel's kings forgot the God who delivered them from slavery, the nation went into decline. Foreign armies eventually invaded.

The same principle applies to any nation—and certainly to the United States, which was founded by people of faith who embraced the Bible. We have known seasons of spiritual revival, and in the past we have elected leaders who called on Jesus Christ as the true God. We have also gone through periods of spiritual darkness. When you review our 240-year history, it seems we are facing our darkest hour spiritually.

But I am not discouraged as we head into this uncertain season. God intervenes even in the darkest times. Elijah called down fire from heaven when an evil leader sat on the throne. When Israel faced certain defeat, King Hezekiah prayed and witnessed divine deliverance.

God is always willing to rescue His people if they pray.

As we head into the final days before this crucial 2016 election, I challenge you to do more than vote. Please pray big, God-sized prayers. A president or a political party cannot solve our national crisis. We need urgent help from heaven. Here are 10 things we should include in our petitions:

1. That our leaders will turn to God. It was President Theodore Roosevelt who said: "A belief in Jesus Christ is the very fountainhead of everything that is desirable and praiseworthy in our civilization." Yet today political correctness prevents our leaders from barely mentioning faith. It's as if we are ashamed of what made our nation great. Pray that our next president and his or her cabinet will be drawn to love the Lord in a personal way.

2. That our president will rediscover God's forgotten laws. In the days of King Josiah, when the nation's moral compass went missing, the scrolls of the Old Testament were found in a closet. When the king heard the words of the Scriptures, he tore his clothes, repented and called the nation to serve God again (2 Kings 22-23). Pray that our next president will follow the footsteps of Josiah and bravely call for a reformation.

3. That God's prophets will have access to government leaders. Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Elisha called on the kings of Israel to obey the Lord—and Israel was blessed when leaders heeded their message. Even when Israel went into captivity in Babylon, God put his servant Daniel in a strategic position of influence. Pray that our leaders will open their doors to those God is sending to speak for Him.

4. That we will have righteous judges. John Jay, the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, did not hide his Christian faith. He wrote: "The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the Word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next." Today, most of our judges have no knowledge of Christian morality; instead they create their own laws in a moral vacuum. Our judges are now responsible for redefining marriage, secularizing the country and taking away the rights of the unborn. Pray that God will raise up judges who honor God's laws.

5. That we will stop shedding innocent blood. About 3,000 unborn babies die every day in this country. But this devaluation of life is not only evident in the slaughter of innocent children. It is also seen in the sex trafficking of children and women; in the mistreatment of immigrants; in violence against racial minorities; and in exploitation of the poor by greedy corporations. God judged Israel not only for the horrible practice of child sacrifice but also for unjust treatment of the poor (Mal. 3:5). Pray that justice will be restored in our land.

6. That our children will be protected from evil. When the evil Queen Athaliah took the throne of Israel, she slaughtered all the children in the royal family so she could control the country. The enemy hates the next generation and seeks to snuff it out. Pray that America's children will be delivered from the schemes of Satan—such as illegal drugs, promiscuity, sexual confusion, fatherlessness and harmful entertainment. Pray that the church will respond by nurturing a new generation of youth who follow Christ.

7. That God will defend us from our foreign enemies. Whenever Israel strayed from God, invaders appeared on the horizon. When King Hoshea became king of Israel, he "did evil in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 17:2). The result? The king of Assyria "invaded the whole land" and put Hoshea in prison. The United States has rarely experienced foreign invasion, but if we don't return to God soon it will be unavoidable. Terrorists are already plotting. Pray earnestly for mercy in this area.

8. That our economy will not crumble. In the days of Elisha, the spiritual condition of Israel was so bad that God sent a famine that resulted in economic crisis. It was not unlike a Great Depression—and it was so bad that people resorted to cannibalism to survive. Could that ever happen in America? We face similar judgment if we don't return to the Lord wholeheartedly. America's prosperity could vanish overnight if we forget the source of our true wealth.

9. That a great spiritual awakening will revive the nation. After Josiah heard God's Word and repented, he triggered a national turnaround. He burned idols, stopped child sacrifice, removed occult priests and reinstituted the Passover. No king in Israel turned so dramatically back to God (2 Kings 23:25). Could the same thing happen in America today? I believe it is possible. And in this age of grace, God can pour out His Spirit in a fresh way. Even while sin abounds, grace can much more abound. Pray with expectation for a nationwide revival.

10. That God will show mercy instead of judgment. When Hezekiah became king, "he did right in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 18:3) and he removed the idolatrous high places in the land. The result was that God showed mercy to Israel and even extended the king's life. God is willing to grant more time to America if we will humble ourselves and pray.

Some Christians have given up on this country and pronounced judgment on it. But if we would pray instead of criticize, the Father of mercy will respond. James 2:13 says: "Mercy triumphs over judgment." Let's be the true salt and light in our culture. Let's shine in the midst of darkness. {eoa}

]]> (J. Lee Grady ) Featured Fire in My Bones Blogs Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:00:00 -0400
Understanding Demons and the Ranks of Hell

When it comes to spiritual warfare, evangelist David Diga Hernandez says believers are not to take it lightly.

While God ultimately rules all things and we should not fear demonic things, Hernandez says that, make no mistake, demonic beings are powerful and we are not to be frivolous in our approach to the battle.

"We are to approach spiritual warfare filled with the Holy Spirit," Hernadez says. "Approach it with reverence. You have the power over every demonic being that would try to attack you. But demonic beings certainly dwell on the earth and they do have influence." 

In this video, Hernandez says Scripture gives very clear insight into the structures and ranks in hell. Watch for keen insight as to what believers need to be leery of. {eoa}

David Diga Hernandez is author of 25 Truths About Demons and Spiritual Warfare, an evangelist, healing minister and host of Encounter TV. His evangelistic healing ministry is marked by a distinct presence of the Holy Spirit. A rising voice of healing, Hernandez is a unique and emerging spiritual leader, called to take God's saving and healing power to this generation. 

]]> (Charisma Staff ) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Wed, 26 Oct 2016 08:00:00 -0400
Why This Church Shut Down Its Kids Ministry

The two girls, their brother and their parents were about 10 rows in front of me. During the first worship song, the dad realized his young son was seated, distracted and not singing.

What happened next is one of the best things I've seen in a long time. The dad got his wife's attention and, by pointing, communicated his concern. She gently helped their son to his feet. Then she guided him to switch places with one of his sisters. His dad gently put his large hand of security and love on his shoulder when he arrived next to him. I believe he communicated, "You're my son. I want you here by me."

All of this took place in just a few seconds and I bet most people didn't even notice. Everyone in the family was calm. The boy wasn't shamed. Rather than the dad communicating, "You are bad," he communicated, "God is worthy to be praised."

That dad impressed me.

When this church service began, the pastor explained that children are welcome in the service. There's no other place for them to be. They discontinued their children's church program a while ago. The leadership want children to worship and learn alongside their parents.

To help him make the point that it is possible for children to handle a church service well and benefit from it, he asked us to raise our hand if that was our experience. Of course, many of us raised our hands.

As the pastor acknowledged that church might be challenging for some children, he held up a bright lime green "Pastor's Pal" bag that doubles as a backpack. Children who had one stood and waved and we clapped because they were in church. I wanted a bag!

The church is self-publishing quarterly books for their children to use during church. There are fun things to do, a place to write notes about the sermon and questions parents can ask children after church.

Everything in me wanted to applaud what this church was doing:

  • The church leadership wondered if something they had been doing a long time was the best thing to do.
  • They asked God for guidance.
  • They decided, planned and bravely made the change, losing some families in the process. These parents didn't agree that "adult church" was in their children's best interest. They were unwilling to guide their children and risk being occasionally distracted. They were sad to lose some families, but I'm impressed that these pastors knew this might happen and didn't get discouraged. They kept the big picture in mind.
  • They created the Pastor's Pal program to help children be successful.
  • They've checked with parents to see how it's going and have collected great testimonies.

During the pastor's "Pastor's Pal" announcement and then throughout the service, I thought about these fortunate children. Might they be less apt to leave the church and their faith later because they're experiencing more of church now? Might worshipping as a family help everyone in the family? Might parents' modeling help children see their parents as their authority?

I am still smiling as I think about this. I'd love to know what you think. {eoa}

Dr. Kathy Koch is the author of Screens & Teens: Connecting With Our Kids in a Wireless World.

]]> (Dr. Kathy Koch) Featured Women Life Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:00:00 -0400
Why You Should Count the Cost of Your Anger Before Taking Action

If you calculate the cost of anger, you're less likely to get angry when somebody's pushing your buttons.

The Bible is very specific about uncontrolled anger:

  • "An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression" (Prov. 29:22, MEV).
  • "A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger appeases strife" (Prov. 15:18,  MEV).
  • "He who is slow to wrath is of great understanding, but he who is hasty of spirit exalts folly" (Prov. 14:29, MEV).

When you get angry, there is a cost: You're going to get in trouble. You're going to sin. You're going to cause arguments. You're going to make mistakes.

When you lose your temper, you always lose, whether it's respect, the love of your family, your health or even your job.

Maybe you use anger to motivate people to do the right thing. Don't do it! In the short run, you may get the short-term payoff. But in the long run, anger always produces more anger, more apathy and more alienation.

How many kids have become alienated from their dads or their moms because of out-of-control anger? How many people have been alienated from a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a husband, a wife, or a friend because somebody lost his or her cool? Anger destroys relationships faster than anything else.

So when someone starts pushing your buttons, before you retaliate, ask yourself, "Do I really want to push back? Do I want to cause a needless argument? Do I want to act foolish and fly off the handle?"

Proverbs 14:29 says, "He who is slow to wrath is of great understanding, but he who is hasty of spirit exalts folly."

Instead of retaliating when someone pushes your buttons, trust that God will help you control your anger. He's right there with you, helping you to let go of your anger.

Talk It Over

  • What methods do you use to keep your cool when someone gets angry with you or attacks you?
  • How might anger have cost you in your relationships?
  • Instead of using anger and intimidation, what is a better way to lead people? {eoa}

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Rick Warren ) Featured Relationships Life Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:00:00 -0400
10 Ways to Show Godly Respect to Your Wife

A marriage without respect will not thrive. But sometimes it's hard to know how to show respect to your spouse.

Where respect falls in the hierarchy of needs and desires may differ somewhat between men and women, but it's a vital need for both sexes. Not demonstrating respect to your spouse will kill any real intimacy between you. Without respect you cannot be—and feel—connected to each other.

As a wife, you may feel as though your husband should earn your respect before you offer it. But if the situation were reversed, would you want him to demand you earn his love before he offers it to you? Showing respect for him should be a gift you voluntarily offer whenever possible.

As a husband, you may not realize how much the degree to which you show respect to your wife causes her spirit to either shrivel and die—or thrive and grow. If you want your wife to be a queen and display her beauty to you, treating her with respect will go a long way toward allowing her to do just that.

So here are some practical ways in which you can show respect to your spouse:

1. Listenreally listento them. Paying attention to and devoting real energy to understanding what your spouse is trying to communicate shows that you value what they have to say. Listening without interrupting or putting them down shows that their thoughts, ideas, opinions, and feelings are important to you.

2. Seek out their opinion. Don't wait for your spouse to always initiate conversation. Seek out ways and times when you can ask for their input on what you are working on, struggling with or interested in. Doing so shows you think they have something of value to offer.

3. Celebrate their wins. When your spouse accomplishes something that was a challenge, reaches a milestone or takes an active step toward fulfilling a dream, celebrate with them. Make a big deal—in appropriate measure—over their win. Brag about their win to others, as appropriate. Be your spouse's biggest cheerleader.

4. Ditch the criticism. That doesn't mean you sweep problems or issues under the rug. It does mean you don't nag. Period. No condescending comments. Express the concerns you have clearly, privately and with the purpose of solving a problem or offering support, not tearing down your spouse.

5. Guard their reputation. There will be things your spouse does that you don't like, or that hurt you. Don't air their dirty laundry to your friends, on social media or otherwise in public. If there are some serious issues about which you need advice or support, seek out a counselor, pastor or older godly Christian to get input from—privately. 

6. Speak well of them in public. This is the converse of No. 5, and it's one of the most powerful ways in which you can show respect. Speak well of your spouse in public or on social media. And it's great when your spouse can catch you doing this; it validates how much you respect him/her. And make your positive words real; no underhanded or qualified praise.

7. When you cause them pain, apologize. You don't want your spouse to dismiss your hurt feelings, so don't make that mistake with them. Your spouse feels how they feel; acknowledge that. Even if the pain you caused them was unintentional or seems unreasonable to you, apologize and make it right as much as you are able.

8. Be your best self. Take care of yourself in a way that your spouse can be proud of you. You're not doing it because your spouse wants you to, but taking care of your health, your appearance and your attitudes/behavior shows you care enough about your relationship to bring your best self to it.

9. Study your spouse. You study things that really matter to you. Studying your spouse—becoming increasingly aware of their moods, fears, strengths and love language—shows that they are the most important thing in the world to you. You're paying attention; that demonstrates respect.

10. "If it's important to you, it's important to me." If your spouse cares about something, you must care about it too. You may not feel the same as your spouse does about sports, fashion or what a particular person says or does, but you can care about it because you care about your spouse and the impact that issue, person or situation has on them.

Few things demonstrate disrespect more than making your spouse an afterthought in your life. Taking the time and energy to learn how to show your spouse respect will pay big dividends. Respect will strengthen and fuel your marriage in powerful ways.

Does your spouse know that you respect him/her—by what you say and do? If you're not sure, ask. And then invest the time and energy in learning how to demonstrate respect to them in the ways that will mean the most to them.

Question: How well are you demonstrating respect to your spouse? Is there a way you could do that better? You can leave a comment below. {eoa}

Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board certified OB-Gyn physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life that Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at

For the original article, visit

]]> (Carol Peters-Tanksley) Featured Men Life Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:00:00 -0400
The One Thing Self-Disciplined People Do Faithfully

Have you ever wondered what separates the self-disciplined person from the undisciplined person? See if you can recognize the difference in this story.

A man decided that he wanted to become a tightrope walker. He had been friends with an experienced tightrope walker for years. He admired his older friend's skill, fitness and grace.

He envied how the crowd "Oohed" and "Ahhed" as his friend navigated a thin rope several feet high in the air. He saw how his friend drank in the crowd's thunderous applause after he completed each dangerous stunt in triumph.

The man didn't feel good about himself and he thought the key to change was getting the crowd's approval. After all, he thought, that's what his friend had and he was the most confident man he knew.

So one day, he told his tightrope-walker friend that he noticed a wire between two buildings downtown and he intended to walk across that. He was going to do it during the lunch hour when there would be lots of people around to see and applaud him.

"No!" The experienced tightrope walker said, "You've never even walked across a stick on the ground, never mind a tightrope. Let me train you. First, you'll begin with a beam on the ground. That will start to train your balance.

Once you master crossing that, then we'll raise the beam off the ground a few feet. We will keep raising the bar as you improve, giving you more complicated crossings to build up your skills. With time, you will learn to become an experienced tightrope walker too."

The man frowned. "That's too much work! It will take too long. Plus, there is no crowd around to see me practice. I want that love and approval you get."

The friend shook his head. "You are only seeing the end of my story. You didn't see the work it took to get here. I spent hours training—even when nobody was watching, even when nobody applauded me. I practiced every day. Sometimes, I even fell off the beam! But I got back up. If you want to become a tightrope walker, that is what you must do. Plus, I don't do this to get the crowd's approval. That only lasts a short while anyway. I am doing this because I love to do it. Friend, you need to approve yourself right now for who you are—not because of what you do."

But the man left the experienced tightrope walker, thinking he was going to do the stunt anyway. He wanted the shortcut to applause, not all that work and practice his friend talked about. Surely there was an easier way to becoming a professional tightrope walker! He was going to find that easier way.

A few weeks later, the experienced tightrope walker was shocked to see the man's picture on the news. But it was not a happy news story. The man had attempted the tightrope walking stunt. However, he did not get the applause he was seeking. He only got the reaction of a horrified crowd as he fell to his death.

This man's story illustrates an important key to self discipline—one key that he ignored. Did you guess what it was?

You can find a clue to self-discipline in how God Himself operates:

"For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11).

Our God is a thinking, planning God! He does not act on impulse. He works a plan.

That is the only difference between disciplined and undisciplined people. Self-disciplined people work a plan every day.

The word "discipline" comes from the word "disciple." A disciple is a person who is trained, one who follows a plan of instruction.

While a disciplined person works a plan every day, an undisciplined person goes through each day without a plan. They spend the day wishing and hoping that things will work out. They allow life to "just happen" to them. Their moods rule them or else, they allow outside influences to pull them in different directions.

Subconsciously, they think success is just going to fall into their laps, like winning the lottery.

But for the disciplined person, it is a different story. They have a clear picture in their minds of what they want, seeing the end from the beginning. They see what they want in action, in living, breathing color.

Then, they develop a plan for getting there. They take on the attitude of a student. They may make mistakes, but they learn from them. They may have to adjust their plan, but they keep their picture before them mentally.

They are always working on a plan.

When someone tries to persuade the disciplined person to act contrary to what they want, they just say "I can't do that. I'm working a plan."

A disciplined person is usually a person of integrity. Most do the right thing, even when nobody is watching. They keep working their plan, even when no one else is around to applaud them for it.

Don't fool yourself; success is never an accident. Although you may not have seen it, that successful person you admire worked a plan to get where they are. If you want to become more successful, then you too must become a person who works a plan every day. Never start your day without a plan.

Remember: The main reason that people fail is because they never work a plan to succeed every day!

Today, decide to become a person who "works a plan." And you too will succeed. {eoa}

Once 240 pounds and a size 22, Kimberly Taylor can testify of God's healing power to end binge eating. She is an author and the creator of the Christian weight-loss website Visit today for inspirational health and weight-loss tips.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Kimberly Taylor, C.W.C.) Featured Health Life Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:00:00 -0400
The Wall Believers Must Aggressively Tear Down

Recently while praying over a situation affecting many of our friends both in Israel and internationally, I saw a picture in my heart of a massive stone wall, indicating the difficulty of the problem. The wall was too big to destroy or to climb over.

The bottom of the wall was not connected to the ground, with some space between the two. There was light coming through the strip between the wall and the ground. The light was emanating from the other side of the wall.

The wall represented the pride, ego and honor of the leaders involved. The solution to the situation was on the other side of the wall—represented by the light. The strip below the wall was large enough for a person to pass through to the other side if he simply bowed down low enough.

There was no other obstacle. The space was open. Anyone could pass through to the "enlightened" solution. The only thing that had to happen was for the leaders to humble themselves, and everyone else for that matter. Nothing else was needed. With humility the situation could become glorious.

It's such a simple yet challenging principle of Scriptures. If we humble ourselves, God will lift us up (James 4:10Matt. 23:12). If we are prideful, God purposely hides from us His wisdom and knowledge (Matt. 11:25-29).

Pride was the cause of the first sin, and the root of satanic rebellion. If we can avoid that one temptation, we will be on a good start for the rest of our spiritual "walk." As Yeshua humbled Himself, so should we (Phil. 2:5-9).

However, pride often seems to just "spring up" by itself. We have to push it down. We have to humble ourselves in a rather "aggressive" way. Yet humility almost always seems to bring about much positive fruit. {eoa}

Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International. He and his wife and full-time partner in ministry, Betty, have a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the body of believers worldwide.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Asher Intrater ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0400
Breaking the Fierce Bondage of Body Obsession

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 

"I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:1-2).

I believe that all born-again children of God have a desire in their hearts to walk in the will of God. This Scripture is really clear on how to do that: First, you have to present your body to God and then transform your mind with God Word. Then, you will be able to prove God's will in your life. The word "approve" in this Scripture means to come into agreement with the Word.

One definition I found for "sacrifice" is an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

What is your motivation to take care of your body? Are you willing to give up food that tastes good but is not nutritional? You can have food that tastes good and is nutritional for you. It just takes a little time and preparation, which you don't feel you have, so you just grab something to kill the craving. Athletes are willing to go on a strict diet and exercise regularly just to win an award and the approval of men. You, child of God, have an eternal reward.

"For the kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).

Living in this world that is "body obsessed," it is hard to keep the right attitude about your body. You neglect it, you reject it always looking for a different look, and some are trying to perfect it (body builders often worship their bodies).

Psalm 119:73 says, "Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments."

As a born-again child of God, I believe we have within us the desire to please God. God set up principles for good health in His Word. He doesn't just want you to have a clean heart. He wants your mind and body to be in good shape so He can use you more effectively.

Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap. When you are not getting enough rest, you are sluggish, and you are not sensitive and alert to the voice of God. Jesus made it very clear in John 10:27, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."

It is hard to get out of bed a little early to read the Bible and have some quiet time when you are totally exhausted because you have not taken care of your body, exercised and eaten a healthy diet and you are stressed out over money. It is also hard to be a positive influence on your family and friends when you are discouraged, depressed and disappointed, a reflection of an unhealthy soul (mind).

How do you stop this crazy lifestyle? You repent! One day I saw the words, "The devil wants you fat!" I had an immediate burning desire in my heart to change. It was a moment that brought repentance and an awareness that I was responsible and accountable for the care of my body.

"Repentance" is defined as the action of repenting, sincere  regret or remorse. If you truly regret something, your behavior is going to change. You will want to change and make things better. Repentance is from the spirit within which affects your behavior. Transformation brings change. Information, which the world offers, has no power to bring change.

Addiction is a spiritual problem. It cannot be fixed by information only. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit revealing to you the truth. Once I repented of my sin, God gave me a battle plan that worked from the inside out and took 90 pounds from my body! {eoa}

Joyce Tilney is founder of Women of God Ministries, teaching women today from women of yesterday at  She is the author of Why Diets Don't Work – Food Is Not The Problem. This is not another diet plan; it is a battle plan. After surrendering her food addiction to the Lord, He gave her a battle plan that worked from the inside out taking 90 pounds from her body. For more information visit,

]]> (Joyce Tilney) Featured Women Life Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:00:00 -0400
Teach Your Child to Worship Willingly With This Scriptural Method

First let me tell you what this is not. It is not a commentary on whether one or both parents should stay at home, work from home or focus on managing family and career. It is not about whether you should or shouldn't have children, or how many you should have. It is also not a comparison between people who are parents, and people who are not.

So what is this? Thanks for asking. It is simply my thoughts on the wild season of parenthood. The one where the littles are wild and the chaos is strong. The one that leaves you tired, smelly and maybe a little crazy.

As a worship leader, it is easy to feel like this season is so all-consuming that your identity is being swallowed up. You watch your gifts and talents fade to the back while you join the management game. Managing the noise, managing the mess, managing the hungry little people who constantly need you. Seriously, why would you even bother to attend a corporate worship event? You can't possibly participate.

Friends, here in the land of the wild ones, choices are made, the important choices that affect your children. Children, wild, quiet, ornery, beautiful, funny and crazy all have the same access to Holy Spirit as you do. They are just as capable as you in experiencing the power and presence of God.

No matter how they do it, it's our job as parents to stay engaged. We are the director of the orchestra.

I generally see two kinds of parenting at worship services.

  1. The Military Parent

    No. 1 is the military parent. This parent demands that their children stand, behaving respectfully, giving honor to God. They raise their little hands and sing with hollow eyes and hollow hearts. Little obedient robots that never experience God.

  2. The Checked-Out Parent

    No. 2 is the checked out parent. They just want to worship. They are gloriously experiencing the worship, and fully engaging themselves. Meanwhile their kids end up running, unchecked, back and forth. It's loud and disruptive. These kids are having so much fun, but also never experience God.

  3. The Engaged Parent

    I present to you option No. 3, the engaged parent. I have found that parenting is in fact worship. Tending to the hearts of our children is a very valuable thing in the eyes of God. It is also very hard work. We can allow our kids to experience God uniquely. Asking them what they feel when Holy Spirit is moving in them. How do they connect? They may need to dance and spin. So dance and spin with them. Give them boundaries of space and volume so that they aren't disturbing others. They may feel and see in pictures. Give them a notebook and a pencil. Ask them to draw or write what Holy Spirit shows them. Some very profound pictures have come out of one of my picture feeling/seeing sons. They may get on the floor and just be with Jesus, or play the "drums" on the chairs. No matter how they do it, it's our job as parents to stay engaged. We are the director of the orchestra. We are stewarding them, and helping them to see, feel and know what it is to experience God. It takes our time and our energy. Sometimes it will mean that we don't get to just go away to our happy place in worship. But it is a beautiful different kind of worship, one that is a treasure in the eyes of God.

Parents, be empowered. Stay engaged and present with your kids. I promise you that this is only a season of your life. This is a sacrifice of praise that you can only offer for a limited time. It is worship like no other. Give yourself to it fully, and you will not regret it!

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6

"Look, children are a gift of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Ps. 127:3).

Reprinted with permission from NextGen Worship. Hayley Kahler is a proud mother to three boys and wife to Clint Kahler. She loves Jesus, coffee and chocolate. Hayley has led worship with her husband for 20-plus years.

]]> (Hayley Kahler) Featured Women Life Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
Prophetic Word: 'The Winds of Heaven Are Now Entering the Earth'

I just finished ministering here in Middletown, Ohio, at Dutch Sheet's An Appeal to Heaven National Conference! Last night's session was just incredible. Dutch read a portion of the prophetic word I released at Passover describing how April 25-Oct. 20 would be the most tumultuous and confusing time this nation has seen in over 160 or 170 years (click here to read on the Elijah List).

The Spirit of God then led me to prophesy about the Winds of Heaven now entering the earth. We must understand that we are in a new season.

Read this prophetic word or watch the video, and join us in declaring:

"The winds of heaven are now entering the earth!"

"For the last eight years, I have been blowing winds in the heavens. Winds have been stirring and stirring and stirring in My heavens. But now those winds are released to come into the earth realm. What has been stirring in heaven will now blow in the earth.

"Brace yourself! Brace yourself! Brace yourself! Brace yourself! For the winds that will now blow are the winds I've been holding back over the last eight years. Because I've been holding them back and you've been asking for them to blow earlier—now I will release them. I am acting on how you have sought Me in the last eight years.

"These winds will begin to gather an army of those who have been faithful and those who will now gather into a place they didn't even know they belonged. The winds of adversity will now produce an army (of which) people will say, 'It is the LORD's army that has changed the course of history!'"

"Tonight, and beginning this week, you will be bringing the turning point winds into the earth and rearranging the course of what is to become. Nations will begin now in their realignment with other nations, but I will blow off the façade that has been holding you captive.

"Because you have gathered here in this turning-point state (Ohio), now the turning point winds will come. What I've held back for eight years, I must now release. What goes on through May (as you begin to honor Me, and walk with Me, and gather with Me) will create a nation that has been covered over by the enemy's hand.

"The winds that now blow in the earth will cause the hand of the enemy that has been controlling the movement of strategy in the earth in this nation to be seen. No longer will the enemy have an upper hand in this land!" {eoa}

]]> (Chuck Pierce ) Featured Prophetic Insight Blogs Tue, 25 Oct 2016 09:50:00 -0400
The Secret to Finding Your Life's Significance

"Why am I here?" "What is my purpose?" These are two of what is known as the "great philosophical worldview questions." They're questions we've all asked from time to time. Certainly, on more than one occasion, I've dropped to my knees to beg God for the answers. And so have you, I'm sure.

The Search for Significance

We all want to feel like we're consuming Earth's resources for a purpose. We all want to be needed, significant and worth something. But too often we look to possessions, achievements or people to define these things.

In doing so, many of us live desperate for the arrival of a when.

  • "When I graduate, then I'll have accomplished something."
  • "When I get married, then I'll be complete."
  • "When I have children, then I'll have a legacy worth living for."
  • "When I get that promotion, then I'll have arrived."

The problem with this is that the arrival of a dream never fills you with the significance you thought it would. When you've finally reached the level you waited so long for, a new one is introduced. Like chasing after a dangling carrot, significance is always just out of reach, but never attained. And so the search just goes on and on. 

You're reading from the experience of someone who's done this more than I wish to admit. So far, I've been blessed with some tremendous favor in the first few decades of life. But the excitement of shaking hands with famous political figures, a graduate degree, published articles, a book and TV appearances each quickly faded and never gave me the sense of worth I thought they would. And then dangerously, when opportunities seemed to slow for a season, I nervously questioned if God had moved on from me.

The Source of Significance

Finally, God intervened in a very matter-of-fact way. He instructed me to stop working for significance and start to receive it. With this, I saw that I had two choices. I could continue the search for worth in achievements and in the eyes of other people. Or I could start to see my worth in the eyes of the One who saw me worthy to lay down His life for.

This is a word for you, too. If you're on the exhausting search for significance—stop! Find it in what Jesus said: "Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends ... you did not choose Me, but I chose you" (John 15:13–14, 16, MEV).

Check marks on your to-do list don't determine your value. Trophies, pay raises, promotions and recognition don't either. Hear this: There's no greater worth than to be chosen to be a friend of God. And amazingly, you don't have to work to achieve it, you simply believe it, receive it and rest in it. {eoa}

Kyle Winkler equips people to live in victory. His mobile app, Shut Up, Devil!, is the No. 1 spiritual warfare app; and his recent scripture confessions album, Experience Freedom, has helped thousands identify with the truths of God's Word. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Get daily encouragement from Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.

]]> (Kyle Winkler ) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Tue, 25 Oct 2016 09:00:00 -0400
Doing This Can Help You Stay in the Will of God

I think it is interesting that 2 Samuel 23:12 tells us exactly where Shammah strategically positioned himself. It says, "He took his stand in the midst of the plot of land." He wasn't standing out on the fringes, and he wasn't in one of the corners. He was right in the very center of the field.

I have seen many people who were called to a particular field, but over the years they became distracted. They lost their focus and wandered to the fringes of their field and sometimes even drifted into other fields they were never called to serve. If you are going to remain in the center of God's will for your life, you must resolve to stand in the middle of the field to which He has called you and remain focused without allowing the enemy to distract you from that call.

Several years ago I preached in Madrid, Spain, in a stadium used for bullfights. Wanting to get the full cultural experience, the night before our campaign began, I went to see my first (and only) bullfight. I will never forget that experience because it became a powerful lesson for my life.

I witnessed the brutal death of a half-dozen bulls that night. Most of them had been raised far from civilization and had rarely seen human beings before. Once they were released into the noisy chaos of the bullfighting arena, they began to get angry, looking around for a target to attack. There, in the middle of the arena, stood the matador. He began to wave his cape, and the bull flew into a rage.

Now you must understand that for the matador, this is an extremely dangerous sport. These undomesticated bulls, essentially wild animals, are 1,000-pound killing machines. They could easily trample, crush or gorge the small, cape-waving man to death. But the bullfighter has a secret weapon—distraction.

The bull charges the matador over and over again, coming closer and closer to his opponent. But just when the bull is about to hit his target, suddenly another man rushes in from the side and stabs the bull with a lance and then runs away. The bull turns to see his surprise assailant and begins to move toward him when another man runs in from the opposite side and stabs him with another lance and runs away.

The lances dangle from the bull's thick hide. Although the stabs draw blood, they are far from mortal wounds—the bull is an extremely tough animal. But this peripheral assault serves a very important purpose. It effectively distracts the bull from his main target: the matador. If the bull could just stay focused on one target, he would almost certainly win every fight. But he is continually changing his target, going after one distraction and then another. What the bull doesn't realize is that he is in a race against time. The blood flowing out of the lance wounds begins to weaken him. Minute by minute the bull grows weaker, slower, and more faint. Finally he collapses in the sand, and this is when the matador moves in for the fatal blow.

Through the Holy Spirit we are equipped to live fruitful and effective lives, accomplishing all that God has for us to do. The devil is no match for the Spirit of God who lives within us. Greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world.

But like the bullfighter, the enemy has a secret weapon—distraction. If the devil can't stop us, he will attempt to derail us with one distraction and then another. The devil knows something we so often forget—that we are in a race against time.

As with the bull whose wounds are bleeding, time is running out for all of us. Every minute that we are distracted from what God has called us to do is a minute closer to the end of the fight. The devil will even use "good" things as distractions if he can to keep us from the best things that God has in store. {eoa}

Daniel Kolenda is an evangelist and the president and CEO of Christ for all Nations (CfaN), the worldwide ministry of evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.

]]> (Daniel Kolenda ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:00:00 -0400
3 Crucial Questions to Ask Your Teen Who Wants to Date

My daughter decided not to kiss dating goodbye—and I was OK with that.

In 1997, Joshua Harris released I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Hundreds of thousands of Evangelicals read this book. It eventually sold more than a million copies and the language of "courtship" ensconced itself into the 1990s' Christian speak. I was a youth pastor at the time and I too read Harris' book. Like so many parents, Harris' thinking fit nicely with my view of the world. Namely that there was a breed of human—the teenage boy—who would soon be out to get my little Jacquelyn. And furthermore, there was going to be no way I would let this happen.

For many Christian parents—particularly men—this is a familiar narrative. Like sentries on duty in wartime, we think it is the job of parents to keep boys away from our daughters. While well-intentioned, many Christians (including myself) used this book as further evidence that our daughters should offer an emphatic "NO!" to anything that looked like dating. In my family's case, I pushed a belief on my daughter that she did not share. What I tried to do was control my daughter instead of talking with her. Rather than sowing understanding, I was trying to cultivate compliance. This approach backfired. It merely pushed my daughter and her dating life underground

In my 20-plus years as a school teacher, I've realized there are two approaches to our teenage daughters and their dating lives. The first is the, "I have a shotgun and am not afraid to use it" approach. While we joke about this approach, many Christian parents view dating this way. We really don't want our daughters involved with boys and are willing to scare boys into not dating them. The second approach is a laissez-faire approach. This is the "Don't get pregnant or an STD" approach. For the non-Christian world, this is all too common. As long as a girl doesn't get pregnant or an STD, then pretty much everything is permissible. Between these poles, I believe there is land in the middle that parents should stand on.

This land is one where parents teach rather than tell. It is a land where there is discussion and not directives. It is a place where compromise takes the place of compliance. In short, parents together with their daughters build a mutual understanding of what dating will look like. This is a very hard thing to do for many families. The fear that our daughters will make monumental mistakes clouds our thinking and judgment. As a result, we try to get our daughters to bend to our wishes.

There are three key questions that should be at the heart of any discussion around dating:

  1. What do you hope to get out of dating?
  2. What are boundaries you want to observe as you date?
  3. How will you date so that it won't impact your future happiness?

Parents should talk these questions out with our daughters. Even if we aren't 100 percent satisfied with the answers to these questions, they are the basis from which parents can instruct and discuss what dating might look like.

Seven years after botching the job with my oldest daughter, I was given another chance with my younger daughter. This time around I was more open to the idea of my daughter dating. Was I happy about it? Not really. My desire to protect my daughter was still strong. But instead of coercing her into my way of thinking, I was focused on allowing my daughter to be who she was. I let her explore the world of dating and relationships with input from her mother and me. I did not force her to go it alone because I insisted she kiss dating goodbye—even when she didn't want to. I let my youngest daughter decide if she wanted to kiss dating goodbye, and I'm OK with that. {eoa}

Daniel Anderson is a former college all-American basketball player, an expert educator, and a father of two grown daughters and a son. As a veteran high school teacher in the public school system, Daniel was troubled by how his students approached dating and relationships. He and his daughter, Jacquelyn Anderson—a 20-something and also a high school teacher—decided to address this need by equipping parents with The 10 Myths of Teen Dating, their first book together. Daniel and Jacquelyn both make their home in Portland, Oregon. Find out more about Daniel and Jacquelyn at

]]> (Daniel Anderson) Featured Women Life Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:00:00 -0400
Finding Peace in a Fallen and Selfish World

Peace. We all want it. Politicians promise it, beauty pageant contestants promote it, and social scientists study it.

Is peace even possible while living in the sin-filled world of compromise, difficult people and selfish agendas? Is peace one of those commodities that you and I will only experience once we reach the glorious gates of heaven?

Peace. Where is it?

Perhaps the disconnect between humanity and that ever elusive treasure known as "peace" is that we have been looking for peace in all the wrong places. We have mistakenly believed that international treaties have the power to guarantee peace, that peace is found on the sun-soaked beaches of Hawaii or that financial success will assuredly deliver peace.

"For He Himself is our peace" (Eph. 2:14).

Jesus Christ is peace personified! There is no peace to be discovered in any location, in any event or in any tangible luxury apart from the person of Jesus. 

The devil wants to steal your peace, but Jesus wants you to enjoy His peace and His presence! The enemy wants you to look for peace in all the wrong places. He wants to keep you on a never-ending scavenger hunt that only leads to one frustrating dead end after another.

Jesus has the gift of peace in the midst of every storm, in the center of every battle and in spite of every human disappointment.

I no longer pray for understanding when I am going through a difficult or confusing situation in life because I know that I have been given something infinitely more valuable and eternally more significant than the simple understanding that the human mind is able to deliver.

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7, MEV).

Peace trumps understanding every time! Peace has more power than mental processing or than human comprehension will ever deliver!

I have also learned not to pray for peace. Now, before you label me as a "heretic" of the very worst kind, let me explain this decision with a well-loved and oft-quoted scripture.

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Is. 26:3).

Peace is the result of trusting the good, good Father. If I don't have peace, it's not because He hasn't given it, but it is because I refuse to trust Him. When my mind is immovably set upon the One who is the Prince of all Peace, nothing will be able to destroy or diminish the peace that I have been given when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior! He has promised never to leave me and never to forsake me, so I know that I am the beneficiary of His ever-present peace.  Peace is Who He is!

"Seek peace and pursue it!" (Ps. 34:14).

When you decide to seek peace in every situation in life, you are actually deciding to seek Jesus because He is the One who is our peace in every storm, during every election and while traveling through every season in life. When you seek Jesus, you will find peace. When you look for peace, you will always find Jesus!

I have always wondered why we have religiously declared, "May he rest in peace," after a loved one has died. I believe that God wants His children not just to rest in peace after dying, but He wants us to live in peace this side of eternity!

So today, my challenge is to live in a place of extravagant peace! Enjoy peace! Celebrate His peace and His presence in your life! Peace is the gift of His presence in your life. {eoa}

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at

]]> (Carol McLeod) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:00:00 -0400
The Dad Whisperer: Connecting With Your Child's Heart

It all started two years ago during an interview on a nationally syndicated radio program that heralds out of Chicago called "Chris Fabry Live." I had just written my book, Dad, Here's What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting With Your Daughter's Heart, when Chris and I had the privilege of talking about it.

An incredible host, Chris knows how to talk about dads and daughters in large part due to the fact that he's a father to nine children!  

During the interview he said something that caught me by surprise, while simultaneously touching my heart: "Michelle, you should be called 'The Dad Whisperer.'" I was immediately moved and excited that he affirmed my deep desire to positively support fathers.

Let's be honest. The fact that I, as a woman, am passionate about fathering isn't the norm among my female colleagues. And yet my passion grows year after year as my heart aches for women across this nation who make really poor life decisions that can often be traced in large part to a "dad wound" or a "dad void." In an attempt to address the root of the problem, God has sent me to Mars as an ambassador, I guess you could say.

Ever since Mr. Fabry suggested I be called "The Dad Whisperer," I have cherished that name. I continue to be overwhelmingly amazed that men write me and call me asking for input about their relationships with their daughters. And I'm thankful they know that I'm their ally and am championing their cause to be a better dad.

A few months ago I was telling a male colleague about my being called "The Dad Whisperer," and he boldly said,

"Michelle, you do understand us men and we can tell that you do. Actually, this is a fitting title for you because you actually are a dad whisperer. In truth, we don't like being shouted at by a woman and we wouldn't listen to you if you did!"

So here I am, two years after hearing that title from Chris, and have recently accepted an invitation by a local radio station to host my own program. I probably don't have to tell you the name we've landed on: "The Dad Whisperer"!

In preparation for my inaugural program that will air at 2:30 p.m. on Mondays in Portland, Oregon on 93.9 KPDQ, which started Oct. 17 (for those of you who don't live in the area and want to listen, I'll be posting the podcasts on my website at, I was challenged to finish this sentence:  

If I could whisper to dads, I'd want them to know ...

How much they matter. Despite anything that men may have been told by our culture, the media, their family, or even their girls (especially during adolescence when most everything is upside down and backward), their influence and impact make all the difference in a daughter (and son) being strong and healthy and vibrant. Daughters (and sons) internalize their dads' view of them. That's one big reason dads matter.

That they don't have to be perfect, but they have to be present. In other words, there has to be the investment of quantity time, not just quality time (which runs counter to what we often hear, but the truth is that time is key to deepening relationships). When you're home, Dad, your family needs time with you (not all your time, but some of your time) where you are availablelistening, asking questions, playing games, eating meals, laughing, wrestling, throwing the ball, helping with homework, watching a favorite TV show together and so on.

Their affirmation goes deep and sticks. I don't know what it is about a dad's words that pack such a punch, but they do. The research confirms this as well. Conversely, words that are contrary also stick. But since my goal here is to come alongside and support you in your desire to do fathering right, I want to remind you of the power of your positive words to motivate, inspire, lead and breathe life into the core of your kids.

That apples don't fall far from trees. What I mean by this is that your kids are a reflection of your positive and negative traits. I imagine that the child in your home who has a special knack for pushing your buttons is probably the one who is most like you. So rather than focusing on what your son or daughter is doing wrong and camping on constant correction, try looking within yourself and make changes there first. Then your little apples will be healthier and sweeter since the tree is standing tall with deep roots.

That I am their champion. For real. No hidden agenda. I promise! I honestly don't have a desire to control or manipulate men. But I really, really, really believe that if the hearts of fathers turn toward their children then our whole nation will improve for the better. Girls will stop "looking for love in all the wrong places" (cue music) and boys will stop pursuing physical power as evidence that they are strong enough and will instead believe in who they are apart from performance. I guess that goes for girls too.

So there you have it. I guess I'm officially embracing a new title: The Dad Whisperer.

As I get started, feel free to send me questions you'd like me to address on the air or "hypothetical scenarios" that might have you confused or lost or stuck as a dad to a daughter (how's that for a good way to say that your stories will always stay confidential). Write me at and let's start the conversation.

I'd be grateful if you could humor me as I finish with the most corny close to any blog I've written to date! This is a variation on an old quote I heard years ago that comes to mind as I sign off:

I'll see you here, there or ON (rather than IN) the air! {eoa}

Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon, and has served in that role for the past 17 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a nine-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to help them focus more intentionally on consistently pursuing their daughters' hearts. She released her first book titled, Dad, Here's What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter's Heart. She invites you to visit for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero he wants to be and his daughter needs him to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook and Twitter.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Michelle Watson ) Featured Men Life Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:00:00 -0400
These 6 Daily Thoughts Can Make You Healthier

You are what you think. The Bible teaches that as we think, so are we. Our bodies respond to the kind of thinking that takes place within us.

Negative, toxic, doubting, unbelieving, hopeless, fear-based and unloving ways of thinking are detrimental to your health and sanity. But God has created our bodies to thrive in amazing vitality and wholeness when our lives are built upon ways of thinking that add life to your temple.

Quite often, the condition of our health can be traced back to the quality of our thought life; not just the thoughts we present to people, but what we really think within ourselves, about our life, God and others.

The solution is not only to removing toxic thinking, but filling your life immediately with thoughts that produce life and health.

The following are six kinds of thoughts that can add life and health to your body. You can start activating them today.

Just like physical exercise, these thoughts need be practiced every day. They may not come natural to your patterns, but they are natural to who God says that you are.

1. Gratitude

Start every morning off with gratitude. Before your feet hit the floor, take a deep breath and begin to thank God for all that He is, all that He has done and all that He is doing. Begin to look at your life through the lens of appreciation, for this will form your expectation throughout the day.

When you are grateful, you are less prone to be stressed and angry, two toxic mindsets that are harmful to your health.

2. Forgiveness

All day long, forgiveness needs to become a way of living. You will be bombarded all throughout your daily interactions to become more embittered at people and life. Jesus spoke of forgiving 70 times 70, meaning you will constantly need to forgive and carry the power of grace in your life.

The moment we let the trap of being offended gain a foot hold, a seed of bitterness creeps in and sets up shop to defile you. Bitterness, unforgiveness and anger are major disease causers, because your body was created to live in love, grace and forgiveness.

Every day, let go of those who have hurt you and wronged you. In fact, before you go to sleep at night, just release all the people in your life who could potentially be instruments of bitterness in your life. Your body will thank you for it.

3. Thoughts That Promote Self-Nurture

You cannot wait for others to affirm you for you to come to peace and self-love.

Our bodies need to be nurtured, and you can do this by how you speak and think to yourself.

I encourage people to do a very simple declaration over their life and health. It is very simple. It says:

  • God loves me.
  • I love myself.
  • I love my life.
  • I have what it takes to overcome.

Sometimes I repeat it until it sticks.

This simple phrasing helps us focus our attention on what matters; God's love for me and His flow in my life to help me overcome. It stirs up gratitude in my heart. It focuses my attention to His love so that loving relationship becomes a priority throughout the day.

To nurture myself, I must say yes to God's love for me and accept it into my being. So many people, including myself, can often be so unkind to ourselves. One day I felt God speaking to my heart, saying, "The thoughts you allow in your mind about yourself are so harsh and abusive, you may want to call family protective services. You are being trained to be abusive to yourself."

Wow did that open up some revelation in my heart! I was not being a good friend to me. Satan had trained me to be an enemy to myself in my thoughts. To reverse this, I began to look at myself like I would look at someone else; thinking, "What does this person need in love to break forward?" It's sometimes easy to see that for someone and give that out, but often hard to see that toward ourselves, where it is so desperately needed.

So I decided every day to allow only thoughts about me that are based on love. The Bible says that love is patient and kind, so I decided to welcome thoughts that are kind toward me and thoughts that promote patience toward me in my journey. What a new way to think, but one that has been so refreshing and freeing!

4. Face Your Fears

Every day, do something that scares you. Step into something that you have been avoiding. Face something that has been tormenting you and crush it.

Facing our fears is so good for our bodies, because our physiology has a stress response built in. So many spend their lives avoiding anything that activates their stress response, thinking that's the answer. When in fact, stress can be good for you. It challenges you to grow, rise to the occasion and develop a sense of faith you did not carry before.

Certainly, chronic stress and anxiety are not good. But why not turn the tables on your fears and get excited about the new challenge ahead of you, which will cause you to grow!

Don't try to live in a cocoon; get out there and face your fears!

5. Process Your Grief

Every day you have disappointments, losses and unexpected pains that comes your way. Its important to put into your daily regimen, times where you process those things out with God. Take some time to cry, mourn and cast your cares upon God.

Keeping that stuff pent up or ignoring it all the time is deadly to your health and well being. At some point, you will snap and explode if those areas are not addressed. I have ministered to hundreds of people that have never simply grieved.

Go ahead and mourn; grieve the losses of your life and disappointments. Then get back in the game and love on others.

6. Thoughts That Lead You to Love on Someone

Every day of your life, give who you are to someone and love them. Take some time to love someone that even stretches your ability to love. Find someone who you can give of yourself in time, finances or energy and bless them.

Selfishness and being self-consumed are not good for your overall health and they keep us in isolation. Get out there and help someone. Put yourself in a position where you are able to get out of your battles and help those who are struggling in their own life.

Above all, let's make it our aim to develop a new training to think in ways that are helpful to our overall health and wholeness. The Bible has been speaking to this for centuries.

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, even as your soul is well" (3 John 1:2, MEV).

"Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8, MEV). {eoa}

Mark DeJesus has been equipping people in a full-time capacity since 1995, serving in various roles, including teaching people of all ages, communicating through music, authoring books, leading and mentoring. Mark's deepest love is his family: his wife, Melissa; son, Maximus; and daughter, Abigail. Mark is a teacher, author and mentor who uses many communication mediums, including the written word, a weekly radio podcast show and videos. His deepest call involves equipping people to live as overcomers. Through understanding inside-out transformation, Mark's message involves getting to the root of issues that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day-to-day peace. He is passionately reaching his world with a transforming message of love, healing and freedom. Out of their own personal renewal, Mark and Melissa founded Turning Hearts Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inside-out transformation. Mark also founded Transformed You, a communication platform for Mark's teachings, writing and broadcasts that are designed to encourage people in their journey of transformation.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Mark DeJesus ) Featured Health Life Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:00:00 -0400
Why You Must Set Healthy Boundaries for Yourself

If you don't manage your life, others will. If you don't take care of yourself, no one else will.

If you don't set boundaries for yourself, the crowd will get what they think they need from you, but soon there will be nothing left to get. Then they will discard you like an old pair of shoes.

Managing Your Soul

If you set boundaries to manage your soul, many won't like it. They will accuse you of being arrogant, uncaring, not spiritual, unloving and so forth. They will tell you about the life of Jesus, who never turned away anyone. Of course, He didn't begin His public ministry until he was 30 and died at 33. He also had no wife or children to take care of, no soccer games to go to, no sleepless nights, up caring for a crying babies and so on.

If you have a public platform, most people think you are obligated to carry out their will, pray for them at their convenience, take pictures until all you can see are lights and hear every detail of their story, while 40 other people wait in line behind them, follow you out to your car or talk to you over the bathroom stall. You are expected to answer every post, email, phone call and text.

If you love God and are passionate about caring for people, if you give people hope and believe in miracles, if you pour out your soul for the broken and the poor, if you are radically generous, you will have favor with God and man.

But if you don't steward the favor of God, if you let the fear of man be your shepherd, if you convince yourself that you are the savior of the world, obligated to meet every need that you are exposed to, you will crash and the crowd will find another savior.

Learn to Say No

So a little advice from an aging man; chill—you are not that important. Have fun! Enjoy your life. Learn to say no! Operate out of overflow. Let Jesus love on you. Let the crowd think whatever they want, and remind yourself that there is always enough time to touch everyone Jesus sent to you.

For more on this subject, check out my book Supernatural Ways of Royalty.

If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, sign up here.

Do you have healthy boundaries in your life? Tell me about it in the comments below. {eoa}

Kris Vallotton is the senior associate leader at Bethel Church in Redding, California, where he has served with Bill Johnson for three decades. He has written several books, including the best-selling The Supernatural Ways of Royalty and Heavy Rain.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Kris Vallotton ) Featured Relationships Life Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0400
One Important Action You Don't Want to Forget in Prayer

If you're prayer life is like mine was just a few years ago, you start with great intentions of praying for an hour, get through your prayer list, look at your clock and realize that it's only been 10 minutes.

The biggest frustration I faced in prayer was that I never really felt like I had actually connected with God.

And that's what prayer is, connecting with God on a deep level.

Partnering with Him in seeing His will accomplished here on Earth.

This is very different from prayer being a time when I recite to God all my needs from 1-10, one sided, one dimensional.

When I actually start partnering with God, when I make that connection with Him and when I discern what His will in in a certain situation and begin praying with authority according to His will, suddenly the one-dimensional relationship becomes multidimensional!

But what does it take to get there?

That's the question right?

What I believe most people miss in prayer is this:

Waiting on God

There used to be an old Pentecostal term: Pray through.

You'd go to the altar and kneel to pray, and if you got up too soon the deacon's big hand would descend upon your head, push you back down to the carpet as he'd boom out, "Pray through, sister! Pray through!"

This could happen multiple times before suddenly something inside would break and you'd walk away that day completely and utterly changed from the inside out.

But in this just-add-water, microwave, instant-meal society which we live, we have forgotten what it means to wait on God.

You see, in prayer there is no just-add-water, microwave, instant-meal results.

Connection with God, partnering with God, and seeing His will be done on Earth requires waiting. It requires praying through.

Yes, there will be sleepless nights.

Yes, there will be sore knees.

But in exchange you will enter into a partnership in which you know when you've said amen you've literally met with the King of all the Universe, the Lord of all Lords, I Am that I Am.

I can't tell you what this one thing has done for my prayer life.

In the past few years my prayer life has deepened, and continues to deepen each and every day, and learning to wait in prayer is just one thing that has transformed my understanding of prayer.

And I want to tell you more about what has transformed my prayer life!

I have put together a seven-day teaching called "7 Days to a Better Prayer Life."

While many of you remember that registration for this Bible study ended a week and a half ago, because it was so popular, I decided to open it up for anyone to purchase at any time.

While I may not be officially leading the study anymore, you are free to purchase the study and work through it at your own pace.

With this Bible study you receive lifetime access to seven videos, a 70-page prayer journal, and a private Facebook Group in which you can talk about prayer with other women and even ask me questions, because I am still present and active in the group.

You may check out the Bible study here: "7 Days to a Better Prayer Life." {eoa}

Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her Bosnian hero. Together they live with their two active boys where she enjoys fruity candles, good coffee and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. Her passion for writing led her to author her best-selling book The Missional Handbook. At A Little R & R she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. You can also find her at Missional Call where she shares her passion for local and global missions. She can also be found at on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.

]]> (Rosilind Jukic) Featured Women Life Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:00:00 -0400
Listen to Messianic Rabbi Charlie Kluge Explain the 8th Day of Sukkot and How it Relates to Jesus

Today is the end of the joyous Jewish celebration called Sukkot, which we call Feast of Tabernacles. I had the privilege of interview Messianic Rabbi Charlie Kluge of Gesher Shalom Synagogue in Orlando, the author of our new book called, The Tallit: Experience the Mysteries of the Prayer Shawl and Other Hidden Treasures.

 I urge you to listen to the podcast below. Rabbi Kluge is a wealth of information about how today (ending at sundown) is the eighth day of Sukkot—an extra day to spend time with God and to call a solemn assembly. The Jews call it Shimini Atzerit, which means eighth assembly.  

It also coincides with Simkatorah which is sometimes celebrated on the eighth day, and sometimes the ninth day. It is a joyful time of the ending of reading the Torah, and starting over in the new year to read the Torah passages again.

A couple of years ago, when I had attended The Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, I had the privilege of being at the Western Wall at sunup with more than 10,000 people, most of them Orthodox Jews who were celebrating Simkatorah. Rabbi Kluge explained this much better than I can. I urge you to listen to him. Later, I am going to invite him back to do another podcast on the mysteries of his book, The Tallit.

Like me, I know many of my readers are interested in learning more about our Jewish roots, and to understand and enjoy the wonderful meanings in the Jewish holidays. If you know others who also enjoy this, be sure to forward this and encourage them to listen. If you don't already subscribe to my podcast, or "like me" on Facebook, please take time to do so today.

]]> (Steve Strang ) Featured The Strang Report Blogs Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
Slay Your Spiritual Giant With This Undefeatable Weapon

In 1 Samuel 17:45-51, we read about David, the shepherd boy with his slingshot in hand, fearlessly rises to the occasion, accepts the challenge, ignores the obvious, and with full confidence in His God replies to Goliath's threat.

"You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a shield, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have reviled. This day will the Lord deliver you into my hand. And I will strike you down and cut off your head. Then I will give the corpses of the Philistine camp this day to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And then all this assembly will know that it is not by sword and spear that the Lord saves. For the battle belongs to the Lord, and He will give you into our hands" (1 Sam. 17:45-47).

After making his declaration of faith, he takes action, pulls back on the slingshot and releases his faith. The small stone flies through the air and hits his enemy right-smack-dab in the middle of the forehead. The mighty terror falls on his face to the ground, dead! David picks up Goliath's sword and chops his head off. As the Philistine army sees what happens to their prized champion they flee as fast as they can, and David, the shepherd boy, becomes the new world champion!

I know your enemy, Satan, is bearing down hard, and he is fully equipped with the latest up-to-date weapons called AIDS, ALS, cancer, and diabetes, and the death reports are frightening and overwhelming. But as a Christian, you have an even greater weapon in your sling, "Jesus, the Rock." You pull back, and let your faith loose, and that giant will tumble down! {eoa}

Becky Dvorak is a prophetic healing evangelist, and the Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe, Greater Than Magic, and the soon-to-be released, The Healing Creed. Click to learn more about Becky.

]]> (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
Equipping Believers to Command the Forces of Darkness

There is a lot of superstition that surrounds demon possession, and because of that, believers carry a lot of unfounded fears in their hearts, evangelist and healing minister David Diga Hernandez says.

"If we look to the Word of God, for our information and for our revelation on this topic, then we will be equipped to become people who can command the forces of darkness and to release those who are bound," Hernadez says.

As Hernandez explore this topic through the Bible in this video, he will address questions believers have in their hearts about this controversial subject. {eoa}

David Diga Hernandez is author of 25 Truths about Demons and Spiritual Warfare (Charisma House, 2016), an evangelist, healing minister and host of Encounter TV. His evangelistic healing ministry is marked by a distinct presence of the Holy Spirit. A rising voice of healing, Hernandez is a unique and emerging spiritual leader, called to take God's saving and healing power to this generation.

]]> (David Diga Hernandez ) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:00 -0400
You Need This to Experience the True Fire of the Holy Spirit

You can live a life of extraordinary, supernatural power! The secret is actually quite simple. God's power is obtained through a lifestyle of intimacy with Him.

Jesus understood the connection between power and intimacy. Luke 5:15-16 says, "Yet even more so His fame went everywhere. And great crowds came together to hear and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. But He withdrew to the wilderness and prayed."

Jesus was constantly flowing in the anointing and releasing the power of God through His life to others. The level of His anointing was in direct proportion to His prayer life.

Everything He accomplished in His earthly ministry was birthed out of the time He spent with the Father in prayer.

In John 5:19 Jesus declares, "'Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.'" The mighty power that flowed through Jesus' life to work miracles was a direct result of His communion with God.

God taught me this truth early on in my walk with Him. Both before and during my years in pastoral ministry I would spend hours a day waiting in His presence.

At that time I had no idea how God would use me to bring His love and power to thousands. I would often walk into my office at the church as a young pastor to find the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit waiting there for me. Periodically I would spend all day and night locked in my office basking in the radiance of His glory.

One day I felt guilty for spending so much time in prayer. I knew there were practical things that needed to be done. But God said to me, "Matt, if you do not have this time with Me now, you will not be able to walk in what I have for you in the future."

Instantly, all the guilt was gone. I knew that my future ministry would be released out of the time I was spending with God. And of course, the tasks I had to do always got done.

After five years of pastoral ministry, during which the anointing of God increased on my life, I suddenly found myself being launched out by Him into a worldwide, prophetic healing ministry. Over the last several years, we have seen thousands saved, healed and delivered by God's power.

I attribute the anointing I have today to the years of hidden devotion I had with God both as a young person and a pastor.

I could write pages of accounts of divine encounters in which the power of God has been released as a result of my cultivating a relationship with the Holy Spirit in my life. One particularly memorable event occurred during a church service in West Virginia. It was 8:30 p.m., and we had already been worshipping for an hour and a half. Suddenly God said to me, "At 9:00 p.m. My power will hit this place."

I knew something extraordinary was about to happen. I stood at the pulpit and encouraged those in attendance to continue worshipping. Then I instructed the ushers to close off all the air vents. I didn't want anyone to mistake the air conditioning for the wind of God.

The members of the congregation lifted up their hands and began to worship with a new fervor. The atmosphere became electrified with a supernatural faith.

At precisely 9:00 p.m. I could feel a surge of power hit my body as the person of the Holy Spirit swept across the sanctuary. Some could feel a physical wind blowing over their bodies, while others felt a tangible fire. God had invaded the meeting!

People ran forward testifying of God's healing power. Many were instantly healed of fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, chronic back pain, chest pain, shoulder conditions, knee injuries, pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis.

As we have allowed the Holy Spirit to move in our meetings since that incident, we have also witnessed the healing of cancer, the opening of deaf ears, the restoration of sight to blind eyes and the ability to walk to the lame, as well as the healing of deep emotions. Glory to God!

Let me encourage you to continually develop a lifestyle of intimacy with God. Not only will you experience His tremendous power, but you will also enjoy getting to know Him, walking closely with Him and learning the secrets of His heart. You will discover that fellowship with Him is the greatest joy a person can experience.

You can walk intimately with God and live in the reality of His presence every day of your life. You can continually release His glory in a hurting and lost world. Whether to the woman in the grocery store who needs healing from arthritis or to the multitudes in Africa and India who are starving and lost in spiritual darkness, you can carry God's power and love as you intimately walk with God each day of your life. {eoa}

Matt Sorger, author, prophetic messenger, revivalist, healing evangelist, teacher, television host and philanthropist, has served in full-time ministry for over 23 years, spanning over 200 nations of the earth through travel and media ministry. He hosts a weekly teaching program titled Power for Life. Matt moves in a unique anointing that fills entire rooms with the tangible glory of God with many healed, set free and empowered. He teaches believers how to live a life saturated with the glory of God and brings a great balance between authentic, supernatural encounter and solid biblical truth. He reaches cities and regions by partnering with and impacting local churches to see a great breakthrough of the Holy Spirit.

]]> (Matt Sorger ) Featured Supernatural Spirit Mon, 24 Oct 2016 08:00:00 -0400
What Happens When You Actually Listen to God

True friends are hard to come by. Ron and Jackie Hill are those kinds of friends.

While we only go out with them about once a year, it feels as if we have just seen them the week before. We know that if we needed them, all we would have to do is call, and they would drop everything to help. 

Once they shared a heartwarming story about their daughter Sarah. Sarah is a behavioral therapist who specializes in working with autistic children. She has a heart for these special kids. At one time she found herself with only 20 hours of work a week. Finances were tough.

Wisely, she began to seek the Lord, and boldly asked Him for more hours. As she prayed, she heard the Lord say, "Volunteer." She prayed some more. Again she was impressed in her spirit with the simple word "volunteer." Sarah honestly admitted that she responded out loud with, "Have you lost your mind, God? I don't have enough gas to even get back and forth to work. How am I going to be able to drive somewhere to volunteer?" And as God so often does, He merely repeated, "Volunteer." Obediently, albeit a bit reluctantly, she obeyed.

Sarah was attending a very large church, and asked to volunteer as a Sunday school teacher for autistic children. With her credentials, she was welcomed with open arms. Shortly after that, the therapist group she works with let her know that they had a client for her. When she went to meet them she immediately fell in love with the family. As they talked, the parents shared that they needed her help on Sundays. Her heart sank. Sadly, she explained that she could not help them because of her commitment to the church.

They explained that their need was for someone to help them so that they could go to church. When she asked them where they attended, it was the same church where she volunteered. These godly parents wanted someone to take their autistic child to the very Sunday school class that she was helping in. In other words, they were now going to pay her to do what she had volunteered to do at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

God never speaks to us in startling ways, but often in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Elijah desperately needed to hear from the Lord. Standing in a cave on a mountain, "the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind split the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lordwas not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake came, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, a fire came, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire, a still, small voice" (1 Kings 19:11-12, emphasis added). And in the gentle wind, Elijah heard the voice of the Lord.

In each of our lives, the Lord usually speaks to us in a still, small voice. And like the young boy, Samuel, we must learn to respond with "Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening" (1 Sam. 3:9). Nothing comes into our lives without God Himself speaking into the situation. Too often, our spirits are so overwhelmed with the circumstances we find ourselves in, that we forget to say, "Speak, Lord."

This week in your walk with Christ, when you find yourself not sure which way to turn, practice saying out loud, "Speak, Lord." As you learn to take this vital step in your deepening relationship with the Father, remember to listen and obey. His answer may not make total sense. But if you ask for His guidance, He promises to answer.

God usually doesn't shout. Most often, you will sense a gentle blowing. And in that warm wind of your spirit, you will find the voice of God. As you listen, your spiritual ears will grow more and more acute, and like Jesus did, you will learn to hear God's voice all the time. I promise. {eoa}

Prayer Power for the Week of Oct. 23, 2016

As we approach this week, take some time to reflect on your spiritual walk, realign your priorities to always seek God first before undertaking any new endeavor, and listen to His still, small voice. Thank Him that He orders your steps and has the perfect plan for you. Ask Him for the divine connections you need to accomplish His plans for you. Continue to pray for worldwide revival and remember those persecuted for righteousness sake. Ask the Lord for a global harvest of souls and for revival to ignite and spread throughout our own nation. Join those who are heeding God's Word in humility to turn from their wicked ways, and seek His face. He has promised to heal our land if we do so. Ask for His leading when you cast your vote in the upcoming elections (2 Chr. 7:14; 1 Kings 19:11-12; 1 Sam. 3:9).

]]> (Leonard Davidson) Featured Power Up! Blogs Sun, 23 Oct 2016 22:00:00 -0400
How You Can Help Reverse the Moral Collapse in America

"That you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore" (Eph. 6:13-14).

It's breath-catching, heart-breaking and soul-searing to watch our nation implode morally and spiritually. The mental picture of the Twin Towers on 9/11 collapsing in a cloud of debris and dust comes to my mind as I pray for America.

It is not buildings that are collapsing today. It is us—our nation.

What can God's people do?

We can humble ourselves, seek God's face and pray. Yes, we can!

We can fast. Yes, we can!

We can turn from our wicked ways. Yes, we can!

We can return to the Lord our God. Yes, we can!

We can plead for God's mercy to hear our prayer, forgive our sin and heal our land. Yes, we can!

And we should do all of the above!

But I believe it's also time for something else. It's time to take a stand against evil by applying our biblical values not only to our worldview, but to all we say, do or think, which includes the way we vote.

In the Old Testament book of Esther, God's people were threatened by an evil decree. Queen Esther fasted and prayed. But if she had done nothing else, she would have ensured the triumph of the wicked. Instead, she acted on what God laid on her heart. She stepped into the situation, encouraged by her uncle, who exhorted her, "And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?" (Esth. 4:14)

As a result of the action Queen Esther took after her prayer and fasting, the evil was exposed, but it was not defeated. So her action alone was not enough. God's people themselves were called to get involved. Each and every one of them were called upon to resist the evil that was threatening. They answered the call, stood up to the enemy, and the tables were turned (Esth. 9:1) God's people won the victory over the evil.

Like Queen Esther and God's people of her day, I believe it's time for you and me to take a stand against the evil that has come into our nation. Evil that defies God in rebellion against His Word and against His principles. Evil that is trying to destroy the very fabric and foundation of our nation.

This November we have the privilege of taking a stand the American way—at the ballot box. Make it your priority to know the candidates you are voting for, from the presidential race to the Senate races to the governorships to the judicial races to every other contest on the ballot. Go to the polls on Nov. 8 and vote your biblical values.

Nothing less than God's blessing, or judgment, is at stake in our nation. {eoa}

Anne Graham Lotz, the second child of Billy and Ruth Graham, is an acclaimed Bible teacher and the founder of AnGeL Ministries. She also is the author of books, including The Glorious Dawn of God's Story and The Vision of His Glory, both from Word Publishing. 

]]> (Anne Graham Lotz) Featured Women Life Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:00:00 -0400
2 Ways to Protect Yourself Against the Enemy's Attacks

Several weeks ago, thieves smashed the windows of eight cars in our church parking lot during the Sunday morning worship service.

It was devastating. When those members came out to their cars after the service was over, they discovered shattered glass on the ground and found valuable property stolen.

How could such a thing happen on church grounds—on God's property?

But it happens all the time. I'm not talking about just the natural but in the supernatural.

Let me explain.

I've been meditating on John 10:10 lately in which Jesus called Satan a "thief":

"The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

In the natural, you would take safety precautions if you knew you lived among thieves, wouldn't you?

At our church, we normally have security guards patrolling the parking lot during our Sunday services.

But we found out later that no one was on guard that particular Sunday due to a scheduling mistake. It turned out to be a costly one.

Consider your life. Has the enemy destroyed or stolen something from you?

I can think of several things he is robbing Christians of right now:

  • Health
  • Relationships/marriages
  • Children's futures
  • Finances
  • Peace of mind
  • Joy

Are we doing everything we can to protect the territory that the Lord has given us? Your territory includes your body.

The Lord has made you a steward over it and it is your job to protect it. Scripture gives us another warning about the protection issue:

"Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8).

We cannot allow ourselves to get "drunk" off food (gluttony/bingeing) or anything else in the natural that keeps us bound.

Too often in the Christian community, we minimize eating issues. So while we are mentally impaired, the enemy is robbing us blind!

Isn't it time we sober up and start standing guard over our territory? The Lord is ready to help.

The following are two ways you can start protecting yourself better when it comes to your health:

1. Internal Protection. To me, this is the area where Christians fail to protect ourselves most. We allow the enemy to sow lying thoughts into our minds and let them grow.

In my Take Back Your Temple program ebook "Psalm Therapy" I define a lying thought as any pattern of thinking that contradicts God's Word.

When we don't take the time to find out what God's Word says and implement it, then all we have is what the devil says. That is the default programming of this world.

Many Christians are walking with the enemy in their daily lives without even knowing it. And of course, the devil is happy that they keep him close so that he can keep on stealing!

A good question to ask yourself in your thought life is:

"Where are these thoughts taking me?"

Some thoughts lead you where you don't want to go! The enemy can deceive you into making darkness your closest friend.

2 Corinthians 10:5 gives us this guidance: "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."

Romans 12:2 also says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. So this is the main work that you must do if you want to take back what the devil is stealing from you.

If you are in bondage to negative thinking and mental strongholds, then I urge you to check out the Take Back Your Temple program because I show you how to get free in this area, using biblical wisdom.

2. External protection. Assess your environment to see what foods you keep close.

Here's a simple guideline: Keep close those things that help you to do good; keep away those things that lead you into doing bad.

Here's an example from many years ago: A lady wrote me about her weakness for cookie binges. She told me that she had cookies in her cabinet right then and was tempted to eat them.

She wrote that she didn't know why the Lord didn't remove the temptation from her.

Here's a question for you. Let's say you had a known thief who lived in your neighborhood. Would you leave the door to your house wide open for him to come in and steal what he wanted?

Of course not.

Would you expect the Lord to come down from heaven and shut the door for you?

I hope not—otherwise you'd be waiting a long time! You see, the Lord gives us wisdom on what to do. Our responsibility is to do what the Lord says.

I am sure that the Lord told the lady she needed to get rid of the cookies because they were a snare to her.

But here's an uncomfortable truth; sometimes people want to have an affair with the enemy while being married to Jesus.

They want to leave the door open just a crack so that the enemy can sneak in for what they think will be a short, midnight visit. But the enemy does not work like that. If we give him an inch of territory, he will eventually take it all!

In the lady's case, she wanted to keep the cookies close so that she could still eat them when she wanted. She was making provision for binge eating in her environment.

I understand this issue well. I've written about how I love the taste of Pepperidge Farms coconut cake. I used to buy a cake with the intention of just eating one slice a day.

But it never happened. I would always eat up eating the whole cake in one sitting.

Eventually, I faced the fact that this cake was a weakness of mine. Even though it's been over 13 years since I ate a whole cake by myself, I still don't tempt myself by bringing cake into our house.

I no longer make provision for binges/gluttony.

I live by a principle in the martial arts: "The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into one in the first place."

It is wise to keep your food weakness far from you—at home, work, whatever territory you occupy.

Good planning beats great intentions every time!

If you are not willing to do this, then you need to confront the fear behind it. Ask yourself: "What do I fear will happen if I don't keep my food weakness close to me?"

If you are not sure what specific internal and external protections you need to put in place, then seek the Lord in prayer about it. Ask Him for wisdom.

Seek Him with all your heart. Your heart is the "holy of holies" in your temple.

The Lord is your best defense because He is committed to seeing you finish well. He wants you to walk in freedom in Him, not in bondage to anything.

God will do His part in securing your protection. Will you do yours? {eoa}

Once 240 pounds and a size 22, Kimberly Taylor can testify of God's healing power to end binge eating. She is an author and the creator of the Christian weight-loss website Visit today for inspirational health and weight-loss tips.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Kimberly Taylor, C.W.C.) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:00:00 -0400
10 Ways Communication Can Break Down in Your Marriage

I write and speak about marriage for a living. It's my job and it's my ministry.

So what I'm about to say is hard, but I'm hoping it helps somebody. A few months ago, my wife and I were having a really tough time in our marriage. I'm talking tough to the point where we were questioning some of the things we teach, the things I've written about and the things we speak about. We just couldn't come to a resolve.

So we called for help. We called on a husband and wife who are our marriage mentors and occasional crisis marriage counselors. After several text messages and a couple phone calls, the husband shared his thoughts about the problems we'd been having: communication.

We were terrible at communicating. And if we didn't change it our marriage was going to continue to struggle. The same goes for your marriage. As your communication goes, so goes your marriage.

Here are 10 common communication breakdowns in marriage:

1. Not really listening. The biggest problem to communication is just not listening. Many of our communication problems would go away if we just intently listened to one another.

2. Speaking before thinking. Guilty! I'm guilty! So many times I say things as a reaction, and those times it usually doesn't go well. Take your time and think before speaking and responding to your wife.

3. Only talking about what you want to talk about. I call this throwing up on her. Sometimes I just overload her with things I'm dealing with, not caring to hear what she's dealing with. Too many of those conversations and you might be calling your marriage mentors for help as well.

4. Raising your voice. You can help yourself in this area when you think before speaking as mentioned above. You may need to take a breather to gather yourself, but raising your voice doesn't serve you or your wife well.

5. Negative non-verbal communication. Your non-verbal communication—facial expressions and gestures—will impact your conversations as well. Maybe you didn't say anything wrong, but you sure did say something wrong with your negative body language, which can be received as worse.

6. Speaking in superlatives. "You always." "You never." "Every single time." Have you ever uttered those words? There are few things, if any, that your wife always does, never does or does every single time. Using these words can be harmful to your marriage.

7. Degrading your spouse. This should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Never ever degrade your spouse. You should look to build her up, to encourage her, to love her as you love yourself. Degrading her has no place in your marriage.

8. Playing the blame game. If a miscommunication or a mistake is made, don't let your first instinct be blaming your wife (even if it is her fault.) The blame game or pointing fingers doesn't work. You are one. That means you both have a joint responsibility in whatever happened. Talk through it together, find the learning opportunity for her and for you.

9. Seeking to be understood first rather than to understand. Strive to know what she is thinking, what she is feeling, what she is dealing with. Before you try to get her to understand you, first understand her and her point of view. It just may change your point of view before you even share it.

10. Bringing up the past. Do not keep score and do not bring up your past victories or your wives past losses (mistakes). There is no positive purpose in that. It is a losing strategy when it comes to communication in marriage. {eoa}

Jackie Bledsoe is an author, blogger, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father of three, who helps men better lead and love the ones who matter most.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Jackie Bledsoe/For Featured Men Life Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:00:00 -0400
Scripture Says Pain, Health and Sin Share This Unexpected Connection

Sin, pain and health. There is often a connection. The Bible makes this truth very clear.

Please understand, I'm not saying that health issues are always the result of sin. But unconfessed sin can sometimes directly lead to health issues—mental and physical.

This past week, I delivered a workshop for Faith Community Nurses in Georgia. My topic was "Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine. What's the Christ Follower to Do?"

During my research, I learned that, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH) the No. 1 reason why people turn to alternative modalities and therapies, rather than traditional medicine, is because they are in physical pain. They are seeking relief from chronic pain—back pain, neck pain and joint pain.

More than half of American adults (125 million) had a musculoskeletal pain disorder in 2012.

Sometimes the pain is rooted in a skeletal or biological issue or imbalance. Often this comes about as a result of an accident or injury.

But sometimes the pain can be caused because people are in internal conflict with God or with themselves because they have sinned or are living in intentional sin. This internal conflict can cause tension in the muscles and other body tissues. Soft-tissue tension can sometimes compress the tissue or bone against nearby nerves and result in pain. Sometimes the pain becomes chronic.

Sure, a massage or an acupuncture treatment, an anti-inflammatory pill or physical therapy can provide short-term relief. But if the pain is rooted in the inner conflict or guilt that stems from sin, the treatment or pill may very well not cure the pain.

What the Bible Says About Pain, Health and Sin

The Bible addresses pain health and sin head on. Let's look at a few key verses in Psalm 38:

"O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. For Your arrows pierce me, and Your hand presses down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation, nor is there health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have passed over my head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness. I am bent, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am numb and completely crushed; I have roared because of the groaning of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before You, and my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; as for the light of my eyes, it also is gone from me. My friends and my companions stand back because of my affliction, and those close to me stand at a distance. ... For I am ready to stumble, and my pain is continually before me" (vv. 1-11, 17). 

Clearly David felt guilty from his sin. He was in mental anguish. He likely could have experienced arrhythmia in his heart. He experienced searing pain. In the New International Version, verse 7 reads, "My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body."

Do you see the connection between his sin and the pain and poor health that David experienced?

Let's look at another Scripture where in Psalm 32, beginning with verse 1, David writes the following:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord does not count iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was changed into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not conceal. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin" (vv. 1-5).

Internally, David felt guilty because he knew that he had committed sin. This internal conflict—his guilt and negative emotions—undoubtedly caused harmful chemicals and hormones to be released within his body, resulting in inflammation, sickness and pain. God permitted this. God designed us in such a way that our sinful behaviors (our will/choice to engage in sin) and our mind, emotions and body are all intricately connected. Nothing happens in isolation!

For more insight into biblical principles and examples related to sin and health read the following verses:

Sin, Pain and Health—The Prescription

The spiritual prescription or solution to pain and health conditions that are rooted in sin is confession to God and turning from the sin. The healing occurs through God's forgiveness and in recognizing His forgiveness. Remember what David wrote in Psalm 32:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord does not count iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. ...  I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not conceal. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin" (Ps. 32:1-2, 5).

As we receive God's forgiveness from sin, we can release our guilt feelings. The tension can then fall away. The body stops releasing harmful substances. It returns to balance. We can again experience God's peace. This all promotes good health and a lack of physical pain.

So you see, there is a connection between sin, pain and health.

If you've been experiencing chronic pain or a health condition that your health care provider has not been able to cure, I encourage you to prayerfully ask God to help you examine your heart and your behaviors (Ps. 139:23-24). Ask Him if you are holding on to any resentment toward someone. Ask Him to show you if there is any recurring or unconfessed sin in your life. If He shows you anything, be obedient to confess and follow through with what He shows you to do.

Be encouraged! God loves you so much that He sometimes brings physical pain or sickness into your life so that you'll turn from sin and grow closer to Himself! {eoa}

Dale Fletcher, executive director of Faith and Health Connection Ministry, is a speaker and wellness coach who lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina. He conducts workshops and retreats on the link between the Christian faith and health. Connect with Dale at and on Facebook.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Dale Fletcher/Faith and Health Connection) Featured Health Life Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:00:00 -0400
How Jesus Dealt With Fame—and What That Means for You

"He told the disciples to have a small boat ready for Him because of the crowd, lest they should crush Him. For He had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed on Him to touch Him. When unclean spirits saw Him, they fell down before Him, crying out, 'You are the Son of God.' But He sternly ordered them not to make Him known" (Mark 3:9-12, MEV).

In recent years we have witnessed the spectacular falls of gospel ministers with high profiles. How does this happen? They forget how Jesus dealt with fame.

What did Jesus do when adoring crowds gathered around Him? This text tells us.

First, He genuinely cared for people with needs. That's why so many came to Him. He came not to get something from others, but to give.

Jesus never asked, "What's in it for Me?"

I was channel surfing one day and caught a television preacher saying, "God blesses those who bless rich preachers." He told his live audience that they should come up and stuff his pockets with money. Jesus' own example tells us He abhors such greed.

Any ministry goes astray when its focus moves away from helping others. Jesus didn't heal to attract a crowd—He healed because He felt compassion for the suffering.

Second, Jesus placed limits on His use of power. When He saw that the pushing crowd posed an imminent danger to safety, He arranged an escape plan by having a boat ready.

He could just as easily have ordered an invisible barrier to drop down from heaven and separate the people from Him.

Sometimes we want the Lord to do things for us that we can do for ourselves. Jesus' provision of the boat shows that He left to human agency the things that can be done by human means.

The evangelical and charismatic landscape is littered with examples of spiritual leaders who abused their power and position for self-interest. Jesus never did that.

Third, Jesus' ministry spoke for itself. He didn't need a public relations team "promoting" Him.

Notice how Jesus dealt with the demons. The evil spirits were the only ones thus far in His ministry who knew who He really was, the Son of God. But He completely muzzled them.

Why wouldn't He accept the demons' testimony? After all, it would have electrified the crowd—especially if Jesus had let them talk about their fall from heaven and the glory of Jesus before He became human.

But Jesus didn't want or need the endorsement of evil. His church needs to learn that as well. Too often we seek the approval of politicians, academics, entertainers and sports heroes. We somehow feel their recognition validates us within the culture.

Let the church's witness speak for itself! May our words, deeds and examples be the means to influence others to come to Christ. I talked with a noted public figure, a friend of mine, saying to him, "Your dad would be so proud of you."

"Oh," he said, "my dad would never use the word proud. He would say grateful."

Leaders in Christ's body have gone astray when they became proud. They let others "promote" them until they began to believe their own larger-than-life press releases.

Whether or not we are in the spotlight, let us live humbly—seeking God's approval rather than the applause of people or demons.

A Prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray that Christian leaders may truly follow Your example. Help them to keep the spotlight on You and not on themselves. {eoa}

Excerpted from Dr. Wood's book, Fearless: How Jesus Changes Everything, available from Vital Resources. 

George O. Wood is the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. For the original article, visit

]]> (George O. Wood ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0400
Discovering What Your Ministry Really Is

I caught myself thinking this morning.

I was contemplating my role in "ministry" and had to stop and shake myself a bit. For some reason, I had switched my definition of ministry to "that which I do for the church" instead of "that which I do for God."

You see, I have specific things that I do because I am part of the Church. I think, mostly.

But that isn't my ministry.

I have certain things that I do because I am a student and teacher. I think, mostly.

But that isn't my ministry.

I have certain things that I do because I am a parent and wife.

But that isn't my ministry.

I am a master organizer and earn my living as an operations manager.

But that isn't my ministry.

In my work, while procuring the necessities of life, and even at leisure, I meet people who are fascinating. I have a knack for connecting people to the next step in their journey with Jesus, and connecting people with each other so they don't have to walk alone.

This is the best part of my ministry, but it isn't my ministry.

My ministry is how I serve God in all of the above pieces. My ministry is how I serve God and His mission on earth. The Church is His body, which is busy fulfilling His mission. I, as a piece of the body, am serving God when I am supporting His mission to draw all people to Himself—to bring hope to the hopeless and change out mourning for joy. When I think, when I parent, and wife (yes, I just used that as a verb), when I bring order to a work environment, and when I see people as Jesus does and help them connect to themselves, others and Him—in all these ways I am working at God's mission.

(I think that last paragraph was getting close to rivaling Paul for run-on sentences.)

What happens if I decide that only my work for the church is my ministry? Well, out of 168 hours in the week, I spend roughly 12 teaching, studying, thinking and attending church services. If we throw in another five for devotions and prayer then roughly 10 percent of my life is spent in ministry, while the other 90 percent lacks reason and focus.

If, however, I classify everything I do as ministry, then I start to recognize when God shows up in the little moments, when helping someone feel "real" brings them a step closer to Jesus—and I even begin to value my sleep as a resource for energy instead of a drain on my time. I take care of my body because every minute counts. God is on the move—in my church, in my home, in my various work environments, and even on the commuter bus. When I am alert and focused, I get to join Him at His work everywhere I go—and that is my ministry.

God is on the move—in my church, in my home, in my various work environments and even on the commuter bus. When I am alert and focused, I get to join Him at His work everywhere I go—and that is my ministry. {eoa}

Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor, a ministry and development coach, teacher, writer and speaker with over 20 years experience speaking to women and empowering families. She has written several bible studies including Wisdom for Living, which looks at Psalms and Proverbs, and Walk Away from Fear. Kim also blogs on and is an Operations Manager for a nonprofit organization.

]]> (Kim Martinez) Featured Women Life Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:00:00 -0400
Drive Out the Enemy's Whispers With This Key Discipline

I was having some ridiculously petty thoughts yesterday, and do you mind if I don't tell you what they were? They swirled around disappointment and frustration, ending in a big pile of self-pity. Just so you know, I'm 69 chapters into reading Psalms and have noticed that David sings the same song over and over again, so I'm feeling less bad about my repeat struggles.

"What's wrong?" said that man of mine, as I snuggled on his chest. That's when I gave him a big earful of all my feelings—bless him—including my own chastisement of myself.

"How I feel isn't right, but it's still how I feel," I said.

"I know," he said.

"I can hold onto good thinking about as long as I can hold a plank," I told him. "Three seconds."

"You could hold a plank longer than three seconds," he said.

"Nope. Look," I said, from my cozy place on the couch, "I can't even get into a plank."

Then I asked if he could remember when Caleb was little. We used to try to get Caleb's attention to tell him something, but that was challenging. So I would bend down and secure his cheeks in my hands. "Caleb, look at me," I would say. "Look. At. Me." His lips would say, "OK," but his eyes could not focus on me for even one second.

"Look, Caleb. Look at me." Nothing. Not possible. But the kid was so stinkin' cute with his coke-bottle glasses that we finally just gave up on getting his full attention and took what we could get.

In Hebrews 12:2, we read:

Let us look to Jesus.

Yeah, I fix my eyes on Jesus about as well as Caleb could fix his eyes on his parents.

But I keep trying.

What else can we do but just keep trying to get our thoughts to line up with Bible truth instead of wallowing in a pit of lies?

After confessing my feelings to my husband, a Bible verse came to my mind that firmly set my thoughts back on the rail of truth. I shouted the verse from the kitchen, like a warrior going into battle.

"That's right," responded Matt in a loud voice.

Bad feelings usually come from bad thinking, and bad thinking has to give the right-of-way to Scripture.

Are you overwhelmed by feelings you know are not based on truth? What can you do, at least in this moment, to fix your eyes on Jesus? {eoa}

Christy Fitzwater is the author of A Study of Psalm 25: Seven Actions to Take When Life Gets Hard. She is a blogger, pastor's wife and mom of two teenagers and resides in Montana. Visit for more information about her ministry.  

]]> (Christy Fitzwater) Featured Women Life Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
This Ploy From the Enemy Can Keep You From Your God-Given Destiny

God has a wonderful plan for each of our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

When we put our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we put ourselves in a position to walk out our God-given destiny.

Sadly, many believers in Christ aren't living out their destiny because of fear. The fear of man is a common problem that causes us to worry about things like, "What will they think of me? What are they going to say about me? What will they do if I don't do what they want? What if they reject me? What if they don't like me?"

Everyone struggles with insecurity and the fear of rejection to some degree. And there's nothing wrong with wanting people to like you. But when we are so focused on being people pleasers that our fear of being rejected, judged or criticized controls our choices, we're being controlled by the fear of man.

If we're going to get free of fear and really pursue everything God has for our lives, we have to make a decision that we won't let fear be the ruling factor—we will not live with fear! Instead, we can learn how to live courageously by the grace and strength we have in Christ.

The True Meaning of Courage

It's important to understand what it means to live courageously. It doesn't mean we will never feel fearful, because the truth is, we will never completely get rid of the feeling of fear. But it does mean that when we feel afraid, we can do whatever we need to do through Christ who gives us strength (Phil. 4:13). We can follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and do what God puts in our hearts to do, rather than settle for an okay or average life. And God wants to do amazing things in our lives that will likely pull us out of our comfort zones and require us to walk by faith to do them.

Now, I'm not talking about making foolish choices or doing things that are dangerous because you don't want fear of those things to hold you back. Being free from fear means we can be bold and take risks instead of just doing what seems "safe" but keeps us from becoming everything God has created us to be.

I remember when I had to make some bold, scary choices so I could move forward in God's plan for my ministry. I had friends who didn't think I had the right personality to be a Bible teacher. There were people in my church who didn't think women should teach the Word. And there were family members who didn't understand the call of God on my life and they rejected me because of it.

It was a very hard time, but I'm so glad God gave me the courage I needed to do if afraid. Now it's scary to think about where I would be if I hadn't trusted God and followed His plans for me because of fear I'd lose my friends and not be well thought of by others.

The Strategy to Conquer Fear

The only way you can conquer fear is to confront it—to keep going forward with God while the enemy of fear is trying to drive you backward. Remember that "God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7 AMPC).

When you're struggling to do what you know God wants you to do, go to the Word for encouragement. Here are a few powerful Scriptures (AMPC) you can use to conquer fear:

Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice."

Psalm 118:6 says, "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

Psalm 27:1 declares, "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?" 

Romans 8:31-32 says, "If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?] He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?"

The Word of God has power to set you free from fear! Take time to study these verses and pray for God to help you live courageously in His will for your life. You'll discover there's nothing more exciting than overcoming fear and finding freedom to fulfill your destiny! {eoa}

]]> (Joyce Meyer ) Featured Straight Talk Blogs Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:00:00 -0400
In Our Chaotic Society, This is the Only Thing You Can Rely On

Intimacy with God is important for standing unshaken in these uncertain end times is because it's the only thing that cannot be taken away from you. It's the only thing that cannot change.

Relationships Change

First, we've all experienced change in relationships—people can disappoint us, hurt us, let us down, and make mistakes (no one  is perfect). They can even "push our buttons," and then we end up dwelling on them all day. For example, someone speaks to me in a derogatory or frustrated tone which pushes my button, and then I'm angry, shut down, or feeling like a "bad girl" the rest of the day. When our mood or our happiness depends upon other people, we will always be going up and down like a roller coaster!

Circumstances Change

Second, our circumstances can change—my best laid out plans for the day continue to be interrupted, and so I'm dwelling on everything that I'm not getting done. As a result, I'm frustrated, stressed out, angry, and short with others. Perhaps I'm in a great mood until I hear that things look bad for my husband's company or that my daughter had a rough time at school. Then I end up feeling down, discouraged, negative, and fearful for the rest of the day.

God Never Changes

Whenever our mood or feelings are dependent upon anything other than God, that circumstance or person has become God to us and is on the throne of our lives. God always gently reminds me—"You've forgotten that I'm the only thing that can't change. Everything else in your life can change at any moment! You're looking for your happiness to be based upon everything going as you planned, or people responding the way you think they should, and this will never happen because only I cannot change!"

There is no variation or turning with Him! (See James 1:17.) "For I am the Lord, I do not change" (Mal. 3:6). Whenever I'm disappointed in a person, organization, or circumstance, God shows me that I was looking to them to be who only God can be or to do what only God can do!

Everything and anything can be taken away from us—jobs, religious freedoms, finances, health, relationships—except for our intimate relationship with God. Once we finally accept this fact, then we will not rely upon anything else but our intimacy with Him to determine our happiness, mood, joy, and emotions.

Intimacy Is Not an Option

As these end times become even more uncertain and most likely more difficult, intimacy with God will no longer be an option or a "nice to know" teaching for those hardcore Christians who have all the time in the world to do Bible studies, for the "super spiri- tual," or for women only! It simply won't be enough to have only "head knowledge" about God. It won't cut it to attend church just because it feels good and has a fun social environment. You are going to need moment by moment intimacy, true encounters with the person of Jesus, not just an intellectual belief in Him. Your very survival will depend upon it in these end times—spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Practice for the Future

We're talking life or death here! He's giving you "practice" now in drawing close to Him so that you will be able to stand strong and unshaken as things continue to heat up even more. I believe very strongly that God really wants you to get this point now before it's too late, while there's still time to get it!

View the daily struggles in your lives as practices for the future. They are opportunities to focus on what you do know about God and His character. Otherwise, you will fall prey to the enemy during uncertain times. You will blame God for your circumstances, become fearful, stressed, frustrated, confused, angry, unforgiving—and look just like every- one else who is in the world. You will block God's light and His purposes through you.

Make it a habit when you wake up in the morning, starting now, to focus on that one thing you have to do that day—growing in intimacy with God. If you can do it now with the usual ups and downs of daily life, you'll be able to remain strong no matter how uncertain the times become in the future. {eoa}

The preceding is an excerpt from Excerpt Part 2 from Jeanne Nigro's book, Unshaken: Standing Strong in Uncertain Times (Destiny Image, 2016).

Jeanne Nigro is a seasoned teacher, speaking at conferences, retreats, churches, congregations and professional organizations around the world, and through her television and radio programs, FACETS OF THE STONE. Her messages are relevant, practical and life-transforming whether she is bringing Old Testament truths to life, healing strongholds of the heart or preparing believers for Jesus' return. She is passionate about leading her audiences to experience greater intimacy with God, mobilizing them out of fear, stress, apathy and frustration and into action and purpose in these uncertain times. Her blogs are regularly featured with the Messianic Times, Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and charismamag.comFor more about Jeanne, visit

]]> (Jeanne Nigro ) Featured Relationships Life Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:00:00 -0400
Our Choices: God or a Hole in the Ground

"Some years ago, the well-known astronomer Hugh Ross and I were taking part in a radio talk show at The Ohio State University. We were discussing some theme related to the origin of the universe when an irate woman called in and began to attack us with a volley of words. Her charge was that our conversation was really nothing more than a smoke screen for reversing Roe v. Wade and taking away a woman's right to an abortion. Remember, we were talking about the origin of the universe. 

"Throughout her tirade, she repeatedly insisted, 'It's my moral right to do what I choose to do with my body!' Finally, when she paused for a breath, I said, 'All right, ma'am, since you brought it up, I'd like to ask you a question. Can you explain something to me? When a plane crashes and some die while others live, a skeptic calls into question God's moral character, saying that he has chosen some to live and others to die on a whim; yet you say it is your moral right to choose whether the child within you should live or die. Does that not sound odd to you? When God decides who should live or die, He is immoral. When you decide who should live or die, it's your moral right.

"There was a pin-drop silence" (Ravi Zacharias in The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists).

To me, the amazing thing is that the abortionists will frequently claim to be Christians. In fact, they will claim the exclusive right to the message of Jesus and accuse Bible-believers of usurping His message for their narrow, joy-killing purposes.

When a person sets his mind to deny reality, after that, anything goes. Nothing is a stretch for them thereafter.

A woman wrote to the editor of our local newspaper, attacking a piece I'd written (in which I had taken the traditional, orthodox position on the deity of Christ and the responsibility of His disciples to share the gospel) to say, "The Christ I serve would not be so narrow-minded."

I wrote back, "And where did you find this Christ of your very own? Because the only Christ I know about is the One revealed in Holy Scripture."

I think I know the answer to my question. She concocted a "Christ" of her own imagination.

Then, having created her own god, she is now free to have him stand for the very same values she holds. How convenient.

The image which Isaiah preached about comes to mind here.

"The workman melts a graven image, and the goldsmith spreads it over with gold, and casts silver chains. He who is too impoverished for such an offering chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a graven image that shall not totter" (Is. 40:19-20).

Does not the idolater see how ridiculous this is? Isaiah wonders. 

He follows his little reverie with this blast: "Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants are as grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely shall they be planted; scarcely shall they be sown; scarcely shall their tree take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away as stubble. To whom then will you liken Me, that I should be equal to him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one of them is missing" (Is. 40:21-26).

Isaiah is saying something like: "Use your heads, people! You can do better than this! Open your eyes! Look at the world around you!"

It's not like there is a pantheon of gods from which we are allowed to choose one of our liking. There are indeed religions galore, a veritable smorgasbord of choices of how and whom one will worship. But the actual choice is what it has always been: God or a hole in the ground.

Here's how the prophet Jeremiah put it:

"For My people have committed two evils. They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13).

God or a hole in the ground.

That is and has always been the choice.

A cistern is a hole in the ground you dig yourself. At best, it contains stagnant water. But a broken cistern holds nothing. It contains air. It is empty, vanity and the essence of disappointment.

The living God presents Himself as "the fountain of living waters." Six hundred years later, the Lord Jesus told the city of Jerusalem as it was in the middle of one more of their interminable religious rituals, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38).

We recall the words of the prophet Isaiah: "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? ... Seek the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near" (Is. 55:1-2, 6).

Religion may be a DIY project. But salvation and Truth are not. They are revealed, they are given, and they are bestowed.

On that Easter Sunday morning, there was a hole in the ground where a body had previously lain. But the stone had been rolled away to reveal that the One who had been its occupant was no longer within. The living Christ was up and a-loose.

"But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20)

Ever since that day, people have been choosing whether to believe in that living Christ or to accept the hole in the ground as their alternative.

It's still the only choice. Dress it up any way we please, fancy up all those other religions, and we are still left with the choice of Jesus Christ or nothing, or hell, which is worse than nothing.

"There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

No other name. No other way.

Nothing could be clearer than that. {eoa}

After five years as director of missions for the 100 Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe McKeever retired on June 1, 2009. These days, he has an office at the First Baptist Church of Kenner, where he's working on three books, and he's trying to accept every speaking/preaching invitation that comes his way.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Joe McKeever ) Featured Evangelism Evangelism & Missions Spirit Fri, 21 Oct 2016 08:00:00 -0400
This Faulty View of God Only Breeds Frustration in Your Life

A couple months ago, my family and I joined a new church. Because it is a fairly large church, I'm still learning many people's names, especially the children's. So when Timmy wanted to have a little girl named Taylor over for a play date recently, I had a hard time making that happen. Here's how the conversation went:

Timmy: "Mommy, can Taylor come over?"
Me: "Who's Taylor?"
Timmy: "She's a girl."
Me: "I don't know her mom's name. If I don't know her mom's name, I can't look up her phone number and call her and ask her to bring Taylor over."
Timmy: "Then just call Taylor. She'll tell you her mom's phone number."

I told Timmy that things don't work that way, and I even tried to explain why. But Timmy wasn't buying it. He obviously believed that he had provided sufficient information for me to locate Taylor and make a playdate happen, and that if I wasn't doing so, it must be because I didn't want to help him.

I thought about trying to explain some more, but I knew it wouldn't change anything. Timmy was not willing to give up his preconceived ideas about how things work, listen to my explanation and adjust his thinking. In his mind, I ought to be able to do exactly what he wanted me to do, and if I wasn't doing that, there was only one possible explanation: I didn't want to.

You and I look at this scenario and laugh. It seems silly to us that Timmy would question someone with an understanding of how things work that is (at least, at this point) vastly superior to his. It's even more ridiculous that Timmy would come to a false conclusion about my willingness to help simply because I didn't do what he wanted.

Yet you and I do the same thing to God. We bring our limited understanding to the table, believing that obviously, the best thing for Him to do would be to do what we think He should. Sure, we know His understanding is far superior to ours, and we even acknowledge that He is working out His plans and purposes in ways we may never comprehend. But just let Him act like the far superior Being that He is by rightly refusing one of our requests, and we conclude that He doesn't really care, doesn't really love us, doesn't really want to help.

That's just plain ridiculous.

Who are we to think we can understand Him well enough to rightly conclude something negative about Him, especially when His superiority over us far, far exceeds even our intellectual superiority over our children?

We are His creation, not His peer.

Job 36:23 says, "Who has prescribed His way for Him? Or who can say, 'You have worked iniquity'?"

Adapted from Megan Breedlove's blog, Manna for Moms. Megan is the author of Well Done, Good and Faithful Mommy and Manna for Moms: God's Provision for Your Hair-Raising, Miracle-Filled Mothering Adventure (Regal Books.) She is also a stay-at-home mom with five children.

]]> (Megan Breedlove) Featured Women Life Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:00:00 -0400
8 Eye-Opening Reasons Worry Is a Waste

Excessive worry is a habit that will drive a person into an anxiety disorder. Talk to most people, and the negativity they express often carries large threads of worry in it. Worry empowers a hopeless lens on life. Because of it, we as a culture have become bound by this incessant habit that need not be a part of our lives.

So what do we do about this annoying habit called worry? The following reasons why worry is a waste will help you gain leverage over its operations.

1. Worry is a liar. The nasty work of worry is that it convinces you that you need to mull over an issue again and again. We have become convinced that if we worry enough, we will finally solve the problem or resolve the conflict in our thoughts. We have been subtly trained that worry will help us. It takes advantage of our heart to show genuine care over a matter, but lures us into torment. Soon, its all we become familiar with—to worry about things.

2. Worry is a peace stealer. By its very nature, worry is filled with torment. It first comes as a seemingly reasonable way to deal with uncertainty or conflicting issues. Worry is the operations of a spirit of fear, designed to keep you locked in to a never-ending pattern of narrowly focusing on an issue. We pay so much attention on worry. Meanwhile, our peace is being stolen thought by thought.

3. Worry keeps you from being present now. One of the greatest experiences that worry steals from our lives is the blessing of being in the here and now. Instead of being present and experiencing what is in front of us, worry trains us to anticipate the "next thing" that could come, the possibility of something going wrong. Worry tells us, "This will only be for a little bit, then you can relax." Years and decades later, we are still worrying and not experiencing our lives with joy. Your children, spouse, relatives and friends all lose out on being connected to you. Even though you may be present physically, in your mind, worry has taken you somewhere else.

4. Worry drains you of energy with no return. Plainly stated, worry is a waste of time and energy. Jesus said it well when he said, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"

Worry is like putting money into a jar that has holes at the bottom. No matter how much energy you put into it, you will only get drained, not replenished. Read Matthew 6:27. 

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength." – Corrie ten Boom

"Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere." – Erma Bombeck

5. Worry stifles your personality. Over time, we become so trained by worry that it becomes a part of who we are. Many people have become one with worry, and it has immersed into their personalities. They now become "worrywarts," taking most situations as a cue to go into the patterns of worry. People around you receive the affects of this constant fear projection in your life, and it stifles their relationship with you.

6. Worry steals your health. People with chronic worry will not develop solid health over the long term. Persistent worry will cause the gastrointestinal system to malfunction. Worry often comes in the form of fear of the future, fear of failure or fear of conflict. These strongholds can affect the body's chemistry negatively, creating an imbalance to overall homeostasis. Heart conditions and high blood pressure can result in people who are not able to drive out the temptation to worry.

7. Worry will make you a control freak. The more we worry, the more we become compelled to act on the worry. Fear has a driving force to it, so eventually, the programming of worry will teach you to constantly take matters into your own hands. Those who struggle with control have a fear issue driving the need to feel safe by controlling circumstances or people. Yet being in control of life is a myth. Worry does not want you to be free from control issues, so it keeps the dreaded scenarios playing in your mind.

8. Worry steals how God made you to be. God did not design you to live in chronic worry. Despite what many people would think, He did not originally form you to be made with worry. It is the counterfeit of God's rest in our lives. Jesus warned us that we would have trouble, but to take peace. Our Savior has overcome the world, so as we walk through this world, we must learn to release our cares and shut down the programming of worry over our lives. God did not create us to be worrywarts.

So if God did not create us to worry all the time, and if He commands us not to worry, then where does worry come from? Who told you to worry? This is where we need to see how the enemy uses a spirit of fear to train us in worry's ways.

If you struggle with worry, why not take a few moments to come to God and repent for serving its ways? Take authority over that worry and drive it out of your life today! Enter into the rest of God that He has for you. In there, worry has no place to land.

Question: Can you name some more reasons why worry is a waste? What do you do to combat worry and keep it far from your life? {eoa}

Mark DeJesus has been equipping people in a full-time capacity since 1995, serving in various roles, including teaching people of all ages, communicating through music, authoring books, leading and mentoring. Mark's deepest love is his family: his wife, Melissa; son, Maximus; and daughter, Abigail. Mark is a teacher, author and mentor who uses many communication mediums, including the written word, a weekly radio podcast show and videos. His deepest call involves equipping people to live as overcomers. Through understanding inside-out transformation, Mark's message involves getting to the root of issues that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day-to-day peace. He is passionately reaching his world with a transforming message of love, healing and freedom. Out of their own personal renewal, Mark and Melissa founded Turning Hearts Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inside-out transformation. Mark also founded Transformed You, a communication platform for Mark's teachings, writing and broadcasts that are designed to encourage people in their journey of transformation.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Mark DeJesus ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 20 Oct 2016 17:00:00 -0400
A Holy Marriage Requires a Daily Dose of This Biblical Mindset

We live in a time in history when it seems that happiness and personal fulfillment are the goals of every endeavor. When people are faced with challenges in life or marriage, the first question they often ask is: "What will make me the happiest?"

If your job is not bringing you happiness, then quit. If your marriage is not making you happy, then you owe it to yourself to get a divorce. But there is a trap in this thinking that many of us never see; we focus on being happy more than we do on God's design for us.

God designed us to live for Him and to live for others. When we are driven merely by happiness and self-fulfillment, we bring destructive behaviors and consequences into our lives and relationships. There is no place this is truer than in marriage.

God wants your marriage relationship to make you and your wife more like Him. God wants to use your marriage to help make you not just happy but, more importantly, holy. As we learn to embrace God's plan for marriage, a wonderful thing happens. We become both holier and happier.

When we move toward loving God and our wives with the same grace with which He loves us, we get to experience a deeper and more fulfilling joy than surface-level, temporary happiness. God designed us to live a life characterized by sacrificial love and service. God is working every day in our marriage to help us become the men He made us to be.

healthy marriage requires that we die to our selfishness on a daily basis. This makes marriage challenging but also an amazing place to learn to love and sacrifice. Marriage is not about finding the perfect person and effortlessly living happily ever after. That's where a lot of guys miss it. Author and theologian Stanley Hauerwas puts it like this:

"Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become 'whole' and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough, we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person.

We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married."

The beautiful thing about marriage is that it continually invites us to focus on another person and not just ourselves. Two people dying to themselves to serve and love one another. Showing each other the same grace God shows us.

In laying down His life, Christ modeled the kind of sacrificial love we are called to have for our spouses (Eph. 5:25). Because self-sacrifice is not in our nature, this kind of love can come only from depending on Christ. We can't fake this kind of love. We can't will it to suddenly appear within us. It's there only because of what Christ is doing in us.

It's there because of the amazing power of God's grace in our lives. Author Paul Tripp calls God's grace "the most powerful, protective and beneficial force in the universe." God shares it with us to save us and also so we can share it with others, including and especially our wife.

It's not always easy; we are imperfect individuals battling with our own flesh, but Scripture promises that God is always there for us and that if we will draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). As He comes near to our own hearts and near to our marriage in His grace, we're empowered to love our wives. {eoa}

For the original article, visit

]]> (Authentic Manhood Staff) Featured Men Life Thu, 20 Oct 2016 16:00:00 -0400
What It Means to Be a Healthy Christian Woman

How do you know if you're healthy? What does "healthy" mean anyway—as a woman, as a Christian? Are you too old to be healthy?

As a women's health physician, I regularly see firsthand the impact of lifestyle, emotions, relationships and spiritual life on a woman's health. Every day I am privileged to help women find ways to experience a more "fully alive" kind of life in all these areas.

Take a few moments to watch this short video. You'll see other women just like you. And you'll find out:

  • What it means to be a healthy Christian woman
  • What factors impact how a woman looks and feels
  • Why a Christian woman should especially care about her health
  • The single most important thing you can do to improve your health. And the best news: that single most important thing doesn't cost a penny!

Can you relate to any of the women you saw in the video? Do you have any reasons why you would like to experience better health? What would that look like for you? Which area of your life do you find most challenging to live healthy? {eoa}

Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board certified OB-Gyn physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life that Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at

]]> (Carol Peters-Tanksley) Featured Health Life Thu, 20 Oct 2016 15:00:00 -0400
3 Ways You Can Strengthen Your Biblical Worldview

God expects you to know not only what you believe but why you believe it. And now, more than ever, our world needs Christians who can explain what they believe and why they believe it to others.

Why? Because most of the people in the world don't have a clue as to what they really believe.

Our culture shows obvious signs that we live with a confusing hodgepodge of worldviews. Some are guided by materialism—the idea that all there is to this world is what we can see and touch. Others are dominated by hedonism—the idea that the pursuit of pleasure is higher than every other pursuit. Still others are governed by pragmatism—the idea that whatever works for you is all that matters.

So how, in a generation represented by such a confusing mix of viewpoints, do we strengthen our biblical view of the world? In at least three ways:

1. Learn the truth. Jesus concluded His most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, with a story about two different men who built houses. One built his house on the shaky foundation of sand. The other built his house on the solid foundation of a rock. When the storms came along, the winds blew, the waves rose and everything crashed in, Jesus said the guy who built his house on the shaky foundation of sand watched it collapse. But the guy who built his house on the solid foundation of rock saw his house stand the test of time.

You're going to have plenty of earthquakes in your life: financial earthquakes, spiritual earthquakes, health earthquakes, relational earthquakes and moral earthquakes. You may have some career earthquakes and marital earthquakes too. If your foundation is not solidly built on truth that doesn't change, you're going to crumble.

And as a leader, you're responsible for helping other people to build their lives on God's truth as well. That's why I'd recommend using tools such as the 40 Days in the Word campaign, the CLASS system, a Foundations course, and listening to Pastor Tom Holladay's Drive-time devotionals. The more we can do to get into God's Word and to get God's Word into the people we're leading, the better.

2. Discern what is false. 1 John 4:1 says in The Message paraphrase, "Don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world."

I love the Bible! Sometimes it's just flat out in your face. It just tells it like it is. And the Bible is blunt when talking about false teaching. It gives us truth to learn and, having learned the truth, it gives us the encouragement to reject falsehood and error.

That doesn't mean being skeptical or cynical. Cynicism is built on resentment, bitterness and hurt. Discernment, on the other hand, is built on love and truth. So learn the truth, and then discern and reject what is false.

3. Turn from the world to the Word. The Bible says in Romans 12:2, "Do not be conformed to this world." And what is the "the world?" It's the world's value system—materialism, hedonism, individualism, secularism. And the Bible goes on, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The "renewing of your mind" has to do with changing your worldview, your belief system so "that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God." God's will for your life is good, it's pleasing, and it's perfect.

I love this verse in The Message paraphrase. It says "Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

Proverbs 15:14 says, "The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness." You've got two options on what to build your life on—truth or trash. What you put into your mind is what's going to come out in your lifestyle. If you want to change your life, you've got to stop feeding on trash and start feeding more on truth.

Our modern 24-hour news cycle makes it appear that everything is important when it's not. You can probably go a week or two without news and you'd still be alive. But you can't go a couple of days without hearing from God's truth and keep growing in spiritual maturity.

The pathway to joy is choosing to see everything from God's perspective, and we only see things from God's perspective when we've built our worldview on the truth of the Bible. {eoa}

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global internet community for pastors.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Rick Warren ) Featured Culture Life Thu, 20 Oct 2016 14:00:00 -0400
Turn Your Prayers From Flimsy to Robust With This Key Method

Often I attend prayer meetings where various requests for healing, finances, safety in travel or job promotions are divvied out. Naturally, we desire prayer for such things. But a closer look at God's Word would reveal deeper and more divinely inspired ways to pray for friends and family.

Is there a cancer? Yes, prayer for healing is in order, but so is prayer for the robust blessings of Psalm 119:140: "Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them" (NIV).

How rich to pray, "Lord, this cancer is testing Your promises in the life of my friend who is ill, but You are faithful to every promise You've made to her. May Your servant love Your promises through this time of testing."

Is there a need for finances? Yes, prayer for needed money is in order, but so is prayer for the rewards of Proverbs 15:17: "Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred" (MEV).

How invigorating to pray, "Lord, financial blessing isn't the focus; Your Word says that love should be. May we learn to live on little if it means leaning harder on You, as well as each other."

When I pray for disabled children I know, I intercede with Matthew 19:14 in mind: "But Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them. For to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'" In verse 15 we're given a picture of Jesus tenderly placing His hand on each child.

"Lord Jesus," I'll say, "Your heart went out to children when You walked on Earth. I can picture You tousling their hair, bouncing them on Your knee, and laying Your hands on their heads to bestow a blessing. If Your heart went out this way to the boys and girls who could walk up to You, how much more must Your heart overflow toward little Jeanette with spina bifida or Benjamin who has cerebral palsy? Today, may they feel Your hand of blessing on their heads."

Often it's good to quote an entire passage, substituting a person's name for the pronoun in the passage. Colossians 1:9-12 is a good example of Scripture to pray this way:

I ask God to fill Susan with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And I pray this in order that Susan may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work she does, being strengthened with all power, so that she may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully give thanks to the Father.

Remember, God's Word is alive, active and powerful. Prayers laced with the Word of God not only bring about fundamental changes in people and situations, but such prayers keep us in touch with God's priorities. Weaving God's Word into our prayers brings His purposes to the forefront of every request.

The Enlargement of His Promises

E.M. Bounds was known for his extraordinary prayer life. He once testified, "The Word of God is the fulcrum upon which the lever of prayer is placed, and by which things are mightily moved. God has committed Himself, His purpose, and His promise to prayer. His Word becomes the basis, the inspiration of our praying, and there are circumstances under which by importunate prayer, we may obtain an ... enlargement of His promises."

I will never forget the time I received an "enlargement of His promises" from praying Scripture. It was in the early '80s, not long after the honeymoon was over for two newlyweds: Ken and me. I learned that my new husband preferred to spend Monday nights in front of the TV with chips, salsa and the NFL rather than being my hands to write out my Bible study for me. Horrors, I thought, he's not a man of the Word!

I was itching to change my husband, but my nagging and scolding only made things worse. Feeling like a martyr, I sought help in God's Word and stumbled across these words in Philippians 2:3-4:

Let nothing be done out of strife or conceit, but in humility let each esteem the other better than himself. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Yikes, that's me, I thought. I've wanted Ken to change for selfish reasons so he'll meet my expectations. And to be honest, I don't consider him "better than myself." I feel I'm the one in the right. I feel I've got it spiritually together, not him.

I was convicted. These verses catapulted me into a major prayer advance for Ken. I sincerely wanted to follow God's Word and have humility of mind, as well as to regard Ken better than me. How could I look out for his interests? I feverishly flipped through Scripture until I found the perfect passage to pray for my husband.

"Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He will receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah. Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may enter. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle" (Ps. 24:3-8).

I'd spend evenings in our bedroom, praying, "Lord, You want Ken to stand in Your holy place, to have clean hands and a pure heart. May You cause him to lift up his soul to You and receive Your blessing. May he seek Your face. Lift up the gates of Ken's heart that You, the King of glory, might come in! Lord, say to him, 'I, the King of glory, will come in and rule your life. I, the Lord, strong and mighty.'"

I can't tell you how many times I prayed this way. But now, years later, it's clear that Christ sits on the throne of my husband's heart. (He's in the process of memorizing the entire Sermon on the Mount; I didn't put him up to it, really!) Something else is clear: Ken still loves Monday Night Football. What has changed is that so do I! And I've found other "hands" to help me write out my Bible studies on other evenings.

Speaking Christ's Language

I began praying Psalm 24 over my husband believing that God would change him, but God did much more. He changed me. It was, as E.M. Bounds would say, "an enlargement of His promises." I'm convinced we are still feeling the repercussions of that Scripture prayer. That's because it was based on Psalm 24 and was alive, active and powerful, bringing about fundamental changes in me where it counted most—and in my husband too.

The Bible is our prayer book, and we'd be remiss to neglect its riches. It holds the key to finding God's will when we pray, providing balance and meaning. Great themes abound—God's holiness, wisdom, faithfulness, sovereignty, love and mercy—all of which beautify our praises, adorn our intercessions, embroider our petitions and give weight and significance to every supplication.

Most of all, using the Word of God in prayer is about as close as we can get to the Living Word, the Lord Jesus. If we're going to pray in His name, it makes sense to speak in His language.

How could using God's Word as a model for prayer help you keep His priorities in the forefront? What are some Scriptures you can use to pray for someone in your life or over a situation you're facing? {eoa}

© 2001-2016 Revive Our Hearts Excerpted from Speaking God's Language: How Scripture Can Add Power to Your Prayers, by Joni Eareckson Tada. Originally published in Pray!Magazine, copyright 2006 by the Navigators. Used by permission of Joni and Friends.

]]> (Joni Eareckson Tada) Featured Women Life Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:00:00 -0400
Your Only Way to Survive Life's Thrashing Waves

"I've learned to kiss the wave that slammed me into the rock." —Charles Spurgeon

This is an unconventional, unexpected response to the things that catch us unaware. Recently I watched as my granddaughter Sophia played in the waves. She reveled in the wonder of taking each wave head on. No matter how many times the waves knocked her over and she found herself submerged, it was all a game. Laughing, she found her feet, wiped her eyes and emerged, ready to meet the next one.

Spurgeon is not referring to a rocky coastline, but to Christ the rock. Each day is a new opportunity to determine how we will respond to life's waves. If we become defensive, then any issue that comes to light will remain a problem. If we humble ourselves, then the trial allows the Holy Spirit to increase our depth and therefore our capacity for godliness. Becoming a deep well takes a healthy involvement with life. Depth cannot be purchased—it must be pursued.


Join John and I in a deeper conversation on this topic in the podcast above. {eoa}

Lisa Bevere is an international speaker, best-selling author, and co-founder of Messenger International. In her transparent style, Lisa shares God's Word woven with personal experiences to empower lives with freedom and transformation. Her heart breaks over social injustice. As an advocate for change, she rallies others to be an answer to desperate problems near and far. Lisa begins her days with mochas and ends them laughing around the dinner table. Lisa lives in Colorado Springs with the love of her life, author and speaker John Bevere, and their family.

]]> (Lisa Bevere) Featured Women Life Thu, 20 Oct 2016 11:00:00 -0400
7 Ways to Cultivate Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

Too many of God's people are led by fear, doubt, man-pleasing, presumption, assumption, idols in their heart, false prophets and fleeces. Romans 8:14 says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God."

Every believer has to make a decision in this hour: Who's in charge? The Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you into all truth (John 16:13). He'll also lead you through danger, difficult decisions, conflict resolutions and every matter of life great or small.

The key here is perceiving rightly, trusting wholeheartedly and obeying fully. If you are going to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you prophetically, you need to develop an ever-increasing sensitivity to His Spirit. Here are seven ways I've discovered in my pursuit of His heart.


1. Pray in the Spirit. You may have read about my recent journey through Europe. My passport was stolen. My luggage was lost. About a month before I went to Europe, the Holy Spirit told me to pray in tongues more. I'm glad I did, because I'm sure it activated Jude 20—I built myself up in my most holy faith and walked through those trying times.

Remember, 1 Corinthians 14:2 says, "For he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men, but to God. For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries."

I am convinced I prayed out this journey before it happened. I am convinced the Holy Spirit prayed through me, combatting difficulties I could not have foreseen. Perhaps if I had prayed more, I would have avoided some of the drama. But at least I had a cool spirit through these difficult situations.

2. Ask God for that sensitivity to His heart. I pray this type of prayer every single day. I need, want and must have a greater and greater sensitivity to His heart. Many times, we have not because we ask not (James 4:3). If you're on my Mornings With the Holy Spirit prayer calls, you'll hear me pray this and other consecrating prayers frequently. This must be a constant pursuit as the spirit of the world works to distract us from His heart.

3. Spend time with Him. Any relationship demands a time investment. I arise early in the morning to seek His face—indeed, I rise at 4 a.m. Intimacy with God is a matter of priority. What do you value most in life? You may not even have to give anything up. You may just need to reorder your day, learn some time management skills, shut off your smartphone for periods of time, and determine to press in. You are responsible for your time and every change starts with a quality decision.

4. Practice the presence of God. Cultivate an awareness of His presence. Talk to Him throughout the day. Ask Him for guidance, grace and whatever else you need. Thank Him, praise Him, glorify Him in your heart. Think of Him before you take a step, before you open your mouth, and let Him shape your thoughts.

5. Pursue holiness. He is the Holy Spirit. If you want to attract the Holy Spirit into your life, you need to consecrate yourself more and more. Cut out the activities that don't please Him or edify you. Don't purposely do things that grieve Him. Be quick to repent.

6. Know Him as Helper, Intercessor, Advocate and Standby. Get to know the many attributes and operations of the Holy Spirit so you can put your faith on Him to be Who you need when you need Him. Check out my article: 5 Ways the Holy Spirit Can Help You Right Now.

7. Set your heart to do His will. Some people are scared of God's will. I used to be worried about what I would have to give up, what people would think of me, what I would lose and more. True freedom came when I surrendered my will to His will. If you set your heart to do His will in daily life, you'll be quick to obey when it matters most. Remember, slow obedience is just a form of disobedience.

Say this prayer if you want to walk more closely with the Spirit:

Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask you to give me a heart that is sensitive to Your heart. Help me develop an awareness of Christ in me, the hope of glory. Teach me to turn to You throughout the day and help me avoid the distractions and little foxes that spoil me vine. Let me hear your voice more and more clearly as I pursue Your heart with all of mine. {eoa}

]]> (Jennifer LeClaire) Featured The Plumb Line Blogs Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:00:00 -0400
The Key for Believers to Stand Strong in Uncertain Times

Intimacy with God is not head knowledge of God. It is heart knowledge of who He is, His incredible love for you, what He's done for you, how He sees you, and His wisdom and power that become real and alive to you throughout the day.

Even in the book of Daniel, we see that intimacy with God is the key to standing strong in uncertain times. When he prophesied future times of persecution, believers falling away and the defilement of all things holy to God, he stated that the people who knew their God (know Him intimately, that is, not just with head knowledge) would stand strong and be used mightily by God! "The people who know their God will display strength and take action" (Dan. 11:32).

When I think about intimacy with God, what comes to mind is experiencing a close connection with God that impacts every aspect of my life:

  • I'm thinking what He thinks.
  • I'm feeling what He feels.
  • I'm speaking what He says.
  • All throughout the day I'm dwelling on who He is, how much He loves me, what He's done for me, how He sees me, how much He enjoys and desires to be with me every minute of the day.
  • I'm allowing His love and how He sees me to permeate every thought, emotion, attitude, word and action of my day.
  • I'm acting upon the wisdom of His Word and hearing His voice guide me.
  • I'm aware of Him working in every little detail of my life.
  • I'm seeing Him as my perfect Bridegroom, not just intellectually but emotionally and experientially.
  • I'm aligning with His heart in all things.

Let's take a look at why intimacy with God is your key anchor for standing strong and unshaken in these uncertain end times.

Intimacy With God Is Your Primary Purpose in Life

Life is really much simpler than we make it out to be. What do I mean by that? We make life so stressful and complicated by focusing on all we have to get done each day, the fears and the "what ifs," all the things and people we wish we could change in our lives, families, communities, government and world in general. Then, on top of that, we add all of the technology that was intended to somehow simplify our lives. Instead, it has made us 100 times busier and more stressed out as a culture than we were 20 to 30 years ago! It used to be that when work was over at 5 or 6 p.m., it was over. Now we can never get away from it thanks to our modern conveniences of email, text and social media that carry with them the expectation of immediate response! It seems we are "on call" 24/7 to everyone and anyone's request.

However, it is important to remember that the overload we all feel is not from God. He doesn't make things complicated and high pressure for us. He's not a God of confusion, but of clarity (1 Cor. 14:33). His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). God actually desires to simplify our lives, and contrary to many misperceptions we have of Him, He's for us; He's not out to crush us!

In fact, He's made it clear that you only need to focus on one thing! In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus says, "you are anxious and troubled about many things"—That accurately describes me; how about you?—"But one thing is needed" (emphasis added). That "one thing" is intimacy with God, and again, it's the key to standing strong in uncertain end times. {eoa}

The preceding is an excerpt from Excerpt Part 2 from Jeanne Nigro's book, Unshaken: Standing Strong in Uncertain Times (Destiny Image, 2016).

Jeanne Nigro is a seasoned teacher, speaking at conferences, retreats, churches, congregations and professional organizations around the world, and through her television and radio programs, FACETS OF THE STONE. Her messages are relevant, practical and life-transforming whether she is bringing Old Testament truths to life, healing strongholds of the heart or preparing believers for Jesus' return. She is passionate about leading her audiences to experience greater intimacy with God, mobilizing them out of fear, stress, apathy and frustration and into action and purpose in these uncertain times. Her blogs are regularly featured with the Messianic Times, Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and For more about Jeanne, visit

]]> (Jeanne Nigro ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:00:00 -0400