Charisma Magazine | Informing Christians from Spirit-filled Perspective. Mon, 03 Aug 2015 04:08:28 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Judas Goat and Breaking the Jewish Code by Perry Stone

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]]> (Charisma Magazine) Featured Daily Giveaways Mon, 03 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0400
Could You be in a Pruning Season?

A weeping, flowering cherry tree is one of the most beautiful of all of the ornamental trees. We bought my mother-in-law one for Mother's Day many years ago. She was so excited. Being a certified nurseryman, I planted the tree exactly the way it should be done. The next year it bloomed nicely—and even better the next year. 

However, after about four or five years, my mother-in-law called me right after the tree had bloomed. She expressed concern because the tree barely bloomed at all that spring. In fact, she said it was pitiful. The next time we went for a visit, I took my pruning clippers and small pruning saw. While she watched, I got the ladder and went to work. Several times I heard her say, "O my," and "O dear."

Correct, effective pruning is different than just "shearing" the tree to look like a lollipop. There are two basic types of branches that need to be removed. The first is a branch that is growing the wrong direction. These branches rub the other branches and can cause disease. They also block out the sunlight that is needed for flower buds to form. 

The other type of branch to prune is a "sucker" branch that shoots out beneath the graft. These branches are incredibly dangerous to the life of the tree. They will draw all of the strength and energy from the tree into themselves, and the tree will often die—but only above the graft, which is where the blooms grow. 

When I completed pruning, there were enough trimmings to fill a pickup truck. My mother-in-law had gone inside and explained to the rest of the family that she was very sure I had killed her tree. I told her to trust me, but it was pretty obvious that I had lost "favorite son-in-law" status. 

Then, nine long months later, I received a phone call from her. She was so excited. Her tree had bloomed—and not just bloomed. It was covered in so many blooms that it looked like a huge pink snowball. And my "status" was instantly reinstated (whew).

John 15 says that we are the vine, and that our heavenly Father is the Vinedresser. Verse 2 says that "every branch that bears fruit (blooms), He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit (bloom even more)" (NASB, emphasis added).

Hebrews 12 tells us that the Father disciplines the children He loves. We picture that as the proverbial "spanking," or punishment. In reality, the word discipline has the same root as the word disciple. Our Father loves us so much that He wants to disciple us—and sometimes He uses pruning to do just that. 

He prunes the "branches" of our lives that are growing the wrong way. He prunes the branches that are growing from beneath the "graft," sprouting out of our flesh. This pruning is not done to hurt us or punish us. We are not being sent into the corner, grounded until we decide to "be good." No! That's not it at all. He is simply pruning us to make us more like His Son. He lovingly disciples us to look and act like Jesus. How deeply He loves us! He loves us enough to prune branches that have some blooms—in order that we can have many blooms.

This week in your Christ walk journey, understand that the "testing and trial" time that you are going through may in fact be a time of pruning. Try to understand that this is a sure sign that your Father loves you—that He desires for you to "bloom." Not just a few small simple blooms, but tons of blooms with lots of fruit.

Perhaps some of your branches have begun to grow in the wrong direction. Or maybe your flesh has "sprouted" a branch that, if left un-pruned, would drain the strength out of your spirit and your spiritual life. It's an unholy branch that would eventually destroy your effectiveness, causing you to have no beautiful blooms and no fruit. Blooms display a healthy, vibrant, intimate walk.

Relax! Your Father is lovingly pruning you. When the "springtime" of your journey comes around again (and it will), you will bloom more beautifully than ever. I promise.


Prayer Power for the Week of August 3, 2015

This week thank God that He prunes the "branches" of your life that are growing the wrong way, and that He knows what He is doing to get the most beautiful results. Determine to stay connected to the vine (Jesus) so that you can produce the abundance of fruit He desires for you.

Continue to pray for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit around the world, and especially in our own country. Pray that the body of Christ would unite in prayer and purpose to see God's will done on earth as in heaven. Continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the persecuted church and those in authority over us. John 15; Heb. 12; I Tim. 2:1-4

]]> (Leonard R. Davidson) Featured Power Up! Blogs Sun, 02 Aug 2015 22:00:00 -0400
A Gift of Healing

Kathryn Kuhlman doesn't like the faith healer tag the press has placed on her.

It's difficult, she says, to have reporters come to her miracle services who know nothing of the power of God to scrutinize her healing ministry.

Yet the press seems mesmerized by the little lady from Concordia, Missouri, to whom thousands flock to receive prayer for healing.  It continues to give her nationwide exposure.  

In the past year, she has been the topic of two articles in People Magazine, one in McCalls, one in Ms. magazine, in scores of lesser known magazines, and in newspaper articles, as well as a guest on talk shows.  

People magazine called her "the country's reigning faith healer."

Christianity Today called her the best-known woman preached in America.

In spite of all of this, Kathryn Kuhlman seems awed by it all.

"All I know is that I have yielded by body to Him to be filled with the Holy Spirit," she once told an interviewer, "and anything that the Holy Spirit has given me, any results there might be in this life of mine, is not Kathryn Kuhlman.  It's the Holy Spirit."

This kind of simple humility makes the ministry of Kathryn Kuhlman all the more believable.

It give her credibility in a profession of "faith healers," if you will, that is full of charlatans like Marjoe, whose self-confessed hypocrisy made him a movie star and gave a black-eye to all genuine evangelists.

This is one reason why people flock to her.  In the 125 public appearances a year, she ministers to an estimated 1.5 million.

They come by the busload.

Wheelchairs line the backs of the auditoriums where she ministers.

Some are carried in on stretchers; the blind are led in by the hand.

The well come, too, just t be a part of the miracle services.

In a typical service, an all-volunteer choir sings as the people file in.

When Miss Kuhlman arrives on stage, she leads several rousing, refrains of "How Great Thou Art," or her theme-song, "He Touched Me."

Then, pronouncing each word distinctly in her own unique accent, she says "I know that not one of you has come here today to see Kathryn Kuhlman.  I have not healing virtue whatsoever.  I am an ordinary woman, an instrument of the Holy Spirit."

A holy hush falls over the crowded auditorium.

"Father God," she prays.  "We bow in the presence of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, careful to give you all praise; all honor; all glory.  We don't want to share   in that glory."

The service is lively.  Jimmie McDonald, a black man from Tampa, sings.  There are testimonies of healings and a light monologue from Miss Kuhlman.

She told once about meeting Pope Paul VI in Rome.

"He took my hand and told me I not only had his blessings, but his prayers," she said.  "That couldn't have happened 20 years ago. or even 10 years ago.  I, a Protestant lady minister.  He, THE Pope.  I tell you, this it the work of the Holy Spirit, moving in our day."

The moving of the Holy Spirit is a frequent topic in her meetings.  She emphasizes the unity among denominations brought by the Holy Spirit.  She stresses that it is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that produces the many miracles.

"It is simply unbelievable when you see these priests and Catholic sisters meeting with all the Baptists and the Methodist-you can't tell one from the other," she says.  "It's the unity of the Holy Spirit."

She also talks about not knowing why God called her to the ministry she has.

"I do not believe I was God's first choice in this ministry, or even His second or third," she once said.

"This is really a man's job.  But someplace men failed.  I was just stupid enough to say, 'Take nothing and use it.'  And He has been doing just that."

"I think that in God's plan there are those, however, whom He calls for a definite work," she continues. 

"For instance, I could not do the work of Billy Graham.  I do not think that Billy Graham is called do my work."

"I believe that God has chosen certain people for certain ministries.  But everyone can have just as much of the power of God.  Every minister can have just as much of the power of God as I have if they will pay the price."

Miss Kuhlman began her evangelistic career at age 16 when she set out with a pianist friend on a bus to Twin Falls, Idaho.  She begged the elders of a tiny Baptist church to let her preach.  They did, and she packed the church.

She traveled for years, preaching where she could.  During a revival service at the Evangelical Church Alliance in Joliet, Illinois, she was ordained.  She continues to hold papers with that organization although she considers herself a Baptist.  Oral Roberts University since that time has conferred upon her the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

In 1946, a woman stood during a service and testified she had been healed of a tumor the night before during one of Miss Kuhlman's meetings.  That was the first healing in one of her meetings, and it set the course for the rest of her ministry.

Today, she heads the Pittsburgh-based Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation which is said to gross $2 million a year.  That funds her radio and television ministry, pays the office staff of 30 and helps fund some 22 mission stations around the world that she sponsors.

In spite of the size of her ministry, and the years she's been in it, she says she often "dies a thousand deaths before I walk out on the stage."

"You'll never know how I feel, " she once told an audience.  "All people see is the glamour - the white pulpit dress.  They don't see the hours in prayer, the heartache.  It's a hard, hard ministry."

Yet she says that learning to believe God to do miracles is so simple, even a child can do it.  "I'm overwhelmed by God and His power."

"When I come out on stage, there is an anointing that comes on me, and it is very difficult to explain."

"These things are supernatural.  That's the reason it is so hard for the natural mind to comprehend.  But there is an anointing that comes upon me.  I am completely taken over by the Holy Spirit - just completely.

"But there is a price you pay," she continues.  "You cannot expect an anointing for four hours during a service if for 20 hours you have lived a different life than one totally consecrated to Him.

"And He gives you this wonderful anointing, but I still have nothing to do with these miracles."

Miss Kuhlman says that even after many years of ministry, she still does not understand why some for whom she prays are healed and some are not.

"I don't understand why God performs miracles.  I don't know why some are healed who have no faith and others who have faith aren't healed.

"Whether or not anyone is healed is in the hands of God.  At no time is it my responsibility.  But I'm human and you'll never know how I hurt on the inside when I see those who came in wheelchairs being pushed into the street again,"  she says.

"I feel for them; I love them, I want them all to be healed so badly," she continues.  "And yet it is not within my power to give it to them."

"I think that maybe by being a little longer in the service, or maybe if I had cooperated more with the Holy Spirit, they might have received their healing."

The fact that everyone is not healed is criticized by some.

Dr. William A. Nolen in his book, "Healing, A Doctor in Search of a Miracle,"  followed up some of the ones who testified of healings in Miss Kuhlman's meetings.

Some of the people, he found, had ailments which improved if one's attitude improved.  Others had symptoms that go in cycles such as multiple sclerosis.  Still others, Nolen said, were not healed at all.

Nolen, who wrote about his investigation of Miss Kuhlman's ministry in McCall's Magazine, asked her if any of the "patients yer cure are simply hysterical?"

"Of course," she told Nolen, laughing.  "Aren't any of the patients you treat hysterical?"

"I admitted they were," Nolen wrote.

Then, he asked her how she gets along with the medical profession.

"Wonderfully well," she told him.

"I have nothing against doctors, and hope they have nothing against me.  I don't cure people- the Holy Spirit cures through me.  Doctors cure people, too.  I think doctors are wonderful."

Nolen concluded Miss Kuhlman knew little of medicine, then added, "I don't believe she is a liar or a charlatan or that she is consciously dishonest.

"I think she sincerely believes the Holy Spirit works through her to perform miraculous cures."

People like Nolen who know nothing of the power of God are unfair to themselves when they scrutinize her ministry, Miss Kuhlman says.

"(The person) may be otherwise very intelligent, but it is quite unfair, really, to himself and to the servant of God.  And so I leave them also in the hands of God," she once told an interviewer.

She admits she knows practically nothing about medicine and therapeutic science.

"That's why I have doctors on the platform," she says.  "One doctor who came to our sevice wondered how I could take the healings of arthritis so lightly.  He regarded them as the greatest miracles, because as a physician he know there was no cure."

But more than the healings, Miss Kuhlman says her ministry has a greater purpose.

"My purpose, she declares, is the salvation of souls.  Divine healing is secondary to the transformation of a life."

]]> (Steve Strang) Featured Pages from Our Past Charisma Magazine 40 Year Anniversary Sun, 02 Aug 2015 17:00:00 -0400
How We Picked the Top 40

As Charisma reflects on its 40th anniversary, we decided to focus this special issue not on the magazine or our organization but on those who we believe the Holy Spirit used to radically change our world.

For the past four years we have used that tag line: "Inspiring people to radically change their world through the power of the Holy Spirit."

When we articulated that motto it reflected what we've tried to do from the early days of the magazine as well as the other parts of our media company—books, Internet and Bible publishing.

With the way the world is hurling out of control we wonder what difference we've made. Yet we know that like the time of Elijah when Israel was so wicked and yet 7,000 had not bowed their knee to Baal, we know today that millions have been swept into the kingdom by the Pentecostal movement and its offshoot, the charismatic movement of the 1960s and '70s.

But this is not about us; it's about those we've covered.

That was our criteria: Those on the list had to have been covered by us in our 40 years. Most were on the cover but not all. Most are identified with the charismatic movement but not all—such as Billy Graham, Luis Palau or Rick Warren. They are full of the Holy Spirit, but so are many we covered, like Bill Bright and others we wrote about.

We agonized over the list, knowing it would not please everyone. Other media might have chosen a very different list and it would have been just as good as ours. Still, this is through the prism of Charisma as we have reported over the years on the work of the Holy Spirit.

We decided early that no one connected with our organization could be on the list or we might have included Lee Grady or Jennifer LeClaire. I would have liked to include my late mentors Robert Walker or Jamie Buckingham. We decided early that no more than half on the list could be those who are deceased like Derek Prince or Fuchsia Pickett. As it turned out, only 13 of our 40 have gone to their heavenly reward.

Some like Sid Roth are somehow representative of other messianic Jewish leaders. We couldn't include all. We included a couple of broadcasters like Pat Robertson, but we couldn't include everyone. Others like James Robison or Kenneth Copeland have huge media ministries, but they aren't only leaders in the media.

Our list includes Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians and women. But we decided not to be bound to being politically correct. It's just that as we've covered what's happening in the Christian community we've been bridge-builders among many groups and denominations. As we reflect on our four decades of Christian journalism those groups were reflected.

One thing that was involved in our very subjective decision-making process was integrity. A few names of people who have been greatly used of God have stumbled or had questions about them. As far as we know everyone on the list has high moral character.

Everyone on the list was greatly touched by God and was used of God to influence millions of people. In the process many built huge organizations from scratch in order to extend their impact.

But organization size was a byproduct of what they did for God and didn't influence our selection process. Each has an interesting story that is difficult to tell in a few words, so we tried to focus on how God used them to influence others, hoping our readers will be inspired to do the same.

]]> (Steve Strang) Featured Charisma Magazine 40 Year Anniversary Sun, 02 Aug 2015 14:00:00 -0400
My Friend, The Bible

I felt vaguely uneasy that Sunday morning several years ago as I looked around the bare, echoing room where my hostess was arranging child-sized chairs in a semicircle around her desk. I was visiting friends in a west Texas town. My hostess had asked me to attend the Bible class which she was teaching, and even before the class began I suspected that these men and women were going to know a lot more about Scripture than I did.

For as we had come into church a few moments earlier it seemed that every single person was carrying a Bible. It's just a cultural phenomenon, I said to myself. Back home in New York, in our own Episcopal church, if you brought a Bible with you on Sun­day it meant you'd been asked to read the Epistle during the communion ser­vice. But this was not an Episcopal church in New York, this was a Baptist church in west Texas. And there were Bibles everywhere.

The classroom began to fill up. It was an old man who finally noticed that I was not carrying a Bible. I remember that he had a freshly scrub­bed and sunbaked face, and that he carried two Bibles. He put them down on a miniature chair, took his coat off, hung it carefully on a wall peg, and sat down. Then he spoke to me.

"Here, young fellow," he said, han­ding me one of his Bibles. I was gratified that someone could still call me young, since I was well past forty, at the time of that Texas visit, and what was left of my hair was already beginning to gray.

The old man couldn't let me have his real Bible, the large, black, leather-bound and dog-eared one. But he did hand me The Living Bible and I felt grateful. Not only for the loan, but because he had given me this par­ticular version: I was one of those people who, in spite of the fact that I had been a Christian for several years, had read the Bible through eagerly shortly after my conversion, and had been an editor on an inter-faith magazine for years, still did not feel really comfortable with the Scripture. I couldn't seem to get a handle on the book. The Living Bible, though, in its green binding, seemed enough like any other book to put me at ease.

My hostess was handing out mimeographed sheets. When mine reached me I noticed with a shudder that it contained a list of Bible references. As surely as I sat in that kindergarten chair we would shortly be going around the circle, looking up passages and reading them aloud.

My eyes scanned the list. I wouldn't have trouble with Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Psalms, the Gospels, some of the Letters. But there were those other names on the list, the ones I could never find. Did Habakkuk come before or after Haggai? And for that matter, where was Haggai?

And then, sure enough, my hostess began at the far right. "Charles, would you please read our Philemon?"

Charles flipped to Philemon.

Quickly I counted the number of chairs between me and Mr. Philemon, and found that I was Second Samuel. Not bad, I riffled the pages of The Living Bible and found Second Samuel.

By now it was the next person's turn: she had an easy reference in Acts.

But to my horror my hostess asked Mrs. Acts to read another passage too, which threw my count off. I was no longer Second Samuel. If my count were not thrown off again, I would be Titus. But if one other person should read two passages, I would be —Habakkuk!

I was hoping against hope that the Lord was not in a playful mood when an out occurred to me. Maybe this Bible had an index!

While everyone was paying atten­tion to Mr. Lamentations, I turned to the front of my Living Bible and sure enough, there was an index. Surrep­titiously I held the book open to that page and waited. Mr. Lamentations finished. Mrs. Ezekiel read a short passage and then, as I had feared, another. I was next — I was Habakkuk! Even as my hostess was saying, "John, would you read the next passage?" my eyes were scanning the index. Sure enough, there it was. With the smugness of a schoolboy who has been asked the one question he knows how to answer, I turned right to Habukkuk and started reading.

Just as I finished, a merciful bell rang and the class was over.

And then the first of two fragile events occurred, events which were separated by a few weeks of time but which were prophetic for me in the sense that in them I heard God speaking.

The first of these two statements came from the lips of the old man who had lent me his Bible. When it came time for me to give the Bible back to him, he asked the usual polite question.

"You here for long, fellow?" But then, without transition, the old man with the shining chin added the words which I know now came straight from God. He stroked his Bible and said, "This is where you find the answers to your problems."

That was all. The old man turned away.

But that afternoon as I was packing for the trip home I came across my own Bible. I took it out of my brief­case and in my mind compared its crisp pages with the much-fingered Bible the old man had brought with him. Why wasn't I using my Bible the way these people were? This is where you find the answers to your problems the old man had said. Was I missing something vital? Had these people discovered in their Bibles a quality I never dreamed of? In spite of that first eager reading after my conversion, the Bible remained for me a formidable book, the province of scholars and preachers and grandmothers, a book about God and about people who lived thousands of years ago. It just didn't occur to me that this was also a book about me.

It wasn't until another day, weeks later, that God spoke to me again about my relationship to the Bible.

And as so often happens, He spoke through the casual remark of a friend.

Back in 1959 I had had a second bout with cancer. Out of that fear filled experience had come a direct, personal encounter with Jesus in a hospital room in New York. With it came a healing, and later a stunning, second personal encounter with the Holy Spirit, all of which I've described in a book titled They Speak With Other Tongues.

And that's where the trouble began. Because a book that is even partially autobiographical always captures its author at a point in time. A person frozen on the pages of a book is dif­ferent from the person who goes on living, changing, sometimes growing, sometimes regressing. People who met me in the pages of They Speak With Other Tongues, were not meeting the me of 1966 or 1971. Those first days after my conversion had been utterly joyful and strangely problem-free. But as time passed I began to recognize the shadow of old habit patterns. The sequence had a familiar ring because I had lived through it in my marriage to Tib. During the first blush of our love affair, our joy in finding each other was so great that we just didn't have time for problems. But the honey­moon experience of conversion is what life with Jesus was all about. Bit by bit the Lord began to bring me down to earth, where real growth in Him must take place.

Oh, I didn't understand at the time that Jesus was involved in this re­emergence of problems. Quite the contrary. Jealousy, anger, over­indulgence, sex-fantasies, fear — if I were the sort of person who had these problems, where was the victory Jesus had won for me! I tried my best to push down these ugly aspects of myself. When they wouldn't stay there, I felt more and more guilty.

And it was in the middle of this drift into guilty living that I found myself in west Texas, hearing an old man say that the Bible held the answer to our problems.

Just a few weeks later, because I am spiritually deaf and need to be shouted at, the Lord spoke to me a second time about the Bible.

Guideposts magazine, where Tib and I worked, was holding a writer's workshop in Holland.  Between classes Tib and I sampled Dutch life. Ignoring the care she usually puts into her trim figure, Tib joined me in Holland's famous chocolate and pastry. Then, in reaction, we switched to raw herring and bicycled for miles along the canals. The little hotel where we were staying was all tile and thatched roof. Our room was on the third floor which you achieved by way of a series of ladders — the Dutch called them stairs.

Late one night after Tib had gone to bed I sat up talking with an old friend who was also one of the work­shop teachers, Jamie Buckingham.

"I've been meaning to ask you, John," Jamie said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his hands behind his head, "how is your spiritual health?"

"Spiritual health?"

"Yes. You were talking at the workshop today about building scenes. Let's do just that. Here you are in Holland where you and Tib wrote God's Smuggler. Let's imagine that Brother Andrew has just driven up to this hotel from another of his Bible smuggling trips behind the Curtain. He hops out of his van and throws his arms around you, Dutch style, and starts to tell you about a narrow escape he had at a border search. He's having a praise service tonight to thank God for his safe return and he wants you to come. Now here comes the tension you're always telling writers to look for. Because on this same evening you also have a chance to spend time with some old drinking buddies. Which would you prefer?"


"Maybe that's unfair. I know you don't care much for meetings. Let's try another scene. You're at home now. It's Sunday, and church time rolls around. Would you rather get your tomato plants out? Or, you and Tib have to make a decision. Is your first impulse to talk the issues through, or pray them through? In other words, what's your spiritual condition?

And I had to admit the truth. Jamie was sensing something. My spiritual health was shaky and getting worse. I guess it showed. I never had been much of an actor.

So that night, into the small hours, Jamie and I talked about the ebb and flow of spiritual vitality. Jamie called this time the beginning of my Walk in the Spirit. The Leap, he said, launched us into the Christian dimension. The Walk was for life. It was on The Walk that each of us came to grips with his own nature.

And then, just as he was yawning and standing up to leave, Jamie asked that question.

He asked it casually. "How close are you staying to the Word, John?"

"Do you mean the Bible? Well ... I hear Scripture read each Sunday."

"That's a start. But do you read the Bible every day, by yourself?"


"Then start at once, John. Did you know that most vitamins have to be replenished daily? So does rest. So does muscle tone; your muscles start to deteriorate in three days without exer­cise.

"Your spirit's health follows the same law. If you don't stay close to the Bible, you'll get spiritually flabby within three days. Then if a problem crops up, you'll have no spiritual power to meet it with."

Jamie left. But I was thinking hard. Twice now I had heard the Lord speak about the Bible. Twice He linked His book to the problems I was facing.

I found that I could not forget that visit to Texas or that midnight scene in a small Dutch hotel. It was as if the Lord were saying: The time is here for a new kind of relationship between you and Me. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. He seemed to be urging me to begin by developing a new way of reading the Bible, not the breathless, can't-lay-it-down experience I had known before, but a more disciplined, day-in, day-out approach.

All right. I would try it.

]]> (John Sherrill) Featured Pages from Our Past Charisma Magazine 40 Year Anniversary Sun, 02 Aug 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Read the Historic Cover Story on Kathryn Kuhlman from Our Second Issue

Over the years Charisma has celebrated it's anniversary in various ways.  On our tenth anniversary we had a banquet featuring Phil Driscoll.  On our 20th we had a banquet with Oral Roberts.  At year 25 we sponsored a conference featuring Benny Hinn and others.  At year 30 we had a huge food giveaway in downtown Orlando to the poor.

So how to celebrate our 40th anniversary?  We decided to make the celebration in the magazine itself.  I believe the result is one of the most beautiful issues we've ever produced!  My congratulations to Dr. Steve Greene, the newly named publisher of Charisma and his team for an outstanding job.

While this isn't a promotion to subscribe, I urge you to track down a copy. The easiest way is to subscribe this month so that your subscription begins with this keepsake edition.

We decided to not focus on ourselves as much as on the people we covered. In 40 years we've covered hundreds of people and written thousands of stories. It wasn't easy to narrow it down to 40.  Today we reprint here the article from the August 2015 issue of Charisma in which we explain how we selected the "40 People Who Radically Changed Our World."  It's an overview telling about all 40.  

Beginning tomorrow with Kathryn Kuhlman and Bill Bright, we will print two of these stories every weekday (Monday through Friday) all month.  In most instances we will also publish an article these leaders wrote in Charisma.  I've been spending time going through old issues and being reminded of some great teaching articles, many of which are as helpful today for our readers as when we published them!

On weekends we will run other articles from the past that we believe will edify and inform our readers.  These will go on social media for a new generation to benefit from.

Today because we're kicking off our month-long celebration I decided to run the cover story from our second issue about Kathryn Kuhlman.  It is a rewritten version of a story I wrote for The Orlando Sentinel where I worked at the time.  I pitched my editors on a story on this famous "faith healer" (as the media liked to call her.  They made it the cover story for the newspaper's Sunday magazine.

I took a bus from Orlando to St. Petersburg, FL where her meeting was held.  I wrote about the experience including a couple of people who said they were healed!

I found a wonderful video on YouTube of a Kathryn Kuhlman service from 1974 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It is classically Kathryn Kuhlman! We plan to run that video on our website today and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did.  It was much as I remember the service in St. Petersburg.

I was able to interview Miss Kuhlman backstage after the service. It was a powerful meeting and she seemed to be excited by the experience.  She was known for gesturing and being overly dramatic.  She was like that in our interview which was conducted standing as a bodyguard with a nasty scar on his face stood by and watched.

I took no photos of the interview and I can't remember if I recorded it on a cassette tape recorder.  But I vividly remember asking her who would take over her ministry someday.  She was about 68 at the time and apparently in good health.  It seemed like a reasonable question for a reporter to ask.

She bristled and said that Jesus was going to come back before her ministry was over.  And we moved on to another question.

Later when I read Jamie Buckingham's biography of her called "Daughter of Destiny," I discovered her health was not good and she probably knew she was had not long to live.  She died the following February 20, 1976 only four months after this article appeared in Charisma.  I rewrote the Sentinel story for this fledgling magazine.  I believe it was the last feature written about her before she died (It's a glimpse at the last year of her ministry and is sufficiently different than what we will run tomorrow that I felt it warranted republishing today).

A couple of years later I got to know Benny Hinn and he and I have been friends for many years.  Some have said that he took up her healing mantle.  However, while he sang in the chior at some of her services, and was influenced by her, he never met her.  And when I interviewed her she probably had no idea who Benny Hinn was!  

I was pleasantly surprised as I went back through our bound copies of the printed magazine to be reminded of how interesting many of the articles were even in those early days of our magazine.  Each weekend we will publish ones we think will bless you.  And all will have appeared in our first decade leading up to 1985.

Let me comment on another article we will post today.  It's called "My Friend the Bible" by my longtime friend John Sherrill.

He and his wife Elizabeth wrote or coauthored many books including The Cross and the Switchblade and God's Smuggler which I read as a teenager.  As a beginning journalist I considered them to be famous authors and never imagined I might get to know them someday.  That happened through Jamie Buckingham who considered Sherrill his writing mentor!  I continue to be in touch with John, now 91, and entertained he and Elizabeth in our home last year.  So when we came across this article I was reminded how good it was.  And with our emphasis on Bible engagement with the publishing of the Modern English Version, we decided to republish it later today.

It will be interesting to post these articles from our archives (we are calling them "Pages from our Past") on social media for a generation who never saw them the first time.  And to think that when they were printed, the internet didn't exist and computers were just becoming common.  

If you don't subscribe to the print issue, click here for a special rate and start with this keepsake edition. And keep coming back each day.

]]> (Steve Strang) Featured Perspective Charisma Magazine 40 Year Anniversary Sun, 02 Aug 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Jonathan Edwards and His Famous Sermon

Editor's note: In the first issue of Charisma (August/September 1975) this article appeared as part of an editorial package written by Founding Editor Steve Strang.  Because of the power of the exerpt from his famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

Historians record that Jonathon Edwards was a small, frail man who preached in a quiet monotone, without gestures.  He was also one of the greatest intellectuals American society has produced.

Edwards pastured in Northhampton, Mass., when the Great Awakening broke out.  Like other preachers during this period, he began traveling to nearby churches.  The reason—there were so few converted ministers that those who were saved were in great demand as the revival spread.

It was on the road that Edwards preached a sermon that historians say is the most famous in American history—"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."  It is said he preached it as a last-minute substitute for another preacher at Enfield, Conn., on July 8, 1741.

Historian Monroe Stearns credits Edward's sermon with ending the superstitions of the Middle Ages and initiating the concept that man is responsible for his own happiness through coming to God.

The sermon had a great impact the day it was preached.  The congregation shrieked and groaned and cried out "Oh, what shall I do to be saved."  It got so bad, Edwards stopped his sermon to ask the people to be more quiet.

The 7,600-word sermon is still studied by seminary and Bible college students.  An excerpt follows:  

"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

Deuteronomy 32:35

"Their foot shall slide in due time"

In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God's visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God's wonderful works towards them, remained (as verse 28) voice of counsel, having no understanding in them.  The expression I have chosen for my text, "their foot shall slide in due time," seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed.

  1. That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to a fall.  This is implied in the manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by their foot sliding.

  2. It implies that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction.  As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning.

  3. Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down.

  4. That the reason why they are not fallen already, and do not fall now, is only that God's appointed time is not come.  For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide.


The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons in this congregation.  This that you have heard is the case of every one of you that are out of Christ.  That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you.  There is the dreadful pit of glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell's wide gaping mouth open and you have nothing to stand upon, not anything to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.

Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have not more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock.

Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment, for you are burden to it.  The creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly.

The sun does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts, nor is it willing a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon.  The air does not willingly serve you for breathe to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of God's enemies.  

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked.  This wrath towards you burns like fire.  He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire.  He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight.  You are 10,000 times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.  

There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful, wicked manner of attending his solemn worship.  Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell...but that God's hand has held you up.

God seems not to be hastily gathering in his elect in all parts of the land; and probably the greater part of adult persons that ever shall be saved, will be brought in now in a little time, and that it will be as it was on the great out-pouring of the Spirit upon the Jews in the apostle' days; the election will obtain, and the rest will be blinded.

Therefore, let everyone that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come.  The wrath of Almighty God is not undoubtedly handing over a great part of this congregation.  Let everyone fly out of Sodom.  "Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed."

]]> (Steve Strang & Jonathan Edwards) Featured Pages from Our Past Charisma Magazine 40 Year Anniversary Sat, 01 Aug 2015 17:00:00 -0400
The 40-Year Odyssey of Charisma

Editor's note: How the Holy Spirit guided Charisma from a magazine to a media company is an amazing story of God's grace and blessing. This article appeared in the anniversary issue August 2015. Today the magazine kicks off a 31-day anniversary celebration on

My favorite Scripture is Ephesians 3:20: "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all we can ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us."

As I look back on the 40-year odyssey of Charisma, this has been true again and again. God has done exceedingly abundantly more than I could have dreamed as a young newspaper journalist who in 1975 wanted to use my talents to do something significant for God. My talent was to write and to network. I'm not a singer or a preacher. I didn't feel called to be a foreign missionary. What could I devote my life to where my wife could also serve with me?

In hindsight, I can see God's hand and I want to give Him glory for anything that has been accomplished! But at the time I merely had an opportunity to start a small magazine for my church, Calvary Assembly in Orlando, Florida. On a practical level, it provided a way for me to supplement my meager salary as a beginning reporter. I'm not sure I even had a great vision for a magazine. It was merely the door God opened and I walked through.

At the time there were several well-known, successful Christian magazines, so competition was tough. I had no money personally to start a publication, let alone a business. But God must have had a plan, and it was a good plan. Slowly I was able to learn the publishing business. I learned to network with leaders. And I wrote or published articles on Christian growth, on charismatic teachings and on new ministries that were popping up—like TBN, Kenneth Copeland or Marilyn Hickey.

As time passed I began to develop a vision and I could see what our unique position was in the world of publishing. I could cover the burgeoning charismatic movement as a journalist, informing and inspiring and covering stories the secular press didn't cover or the mainstream evangelical press ignored.

The first year I worked full time at the local newspaper—one of the largest in Florida—and did Charisma as a part-time job. Then I took a leap of faith, quit my job and delved full time into what has become my life's work. Little did I know about the changes that would happen in the charismatic renewal, in the culture or in the media. Nor could I envision a company where four decades later we would publish best-selling books like The Harbinger in both English and Spanish, release a new translation of the Bible (the Modern English Version), or publish several magazines including Ministry Today and Christian Retailing. In 1975 the personal computer hadn't been put on the market. And I could never have envisioned what we know as the Internet or how it has changed our lives.

While I'm known as the founder of Charisma, no one accomplishes anything alone. My wife, Joy, has not only stood by me as a wife, but she has been a leader in our company, competently guiding our finances and figuring out in the early days how to do what we had to do with very little cash flow. Today the issues we face are much more complex and she has a steady hand as a financial person. But even more importantly, she is a spiritual woman who has helped keep me and our organization focused on pursuing the Holy Spirit.

Over the years leaders such as Jamie Buckingham, Jack Hayford and Marilyn Hickey have come alongside to encourage and help guide. And the Lord has brought us a talented and motivated team of people who understood that what we did was more than just publishing or media; it was a ministry. Over time people come and go, but those who buy in stay a long time. Today our average staff person has been with us nine years. And we have a very diverse staff—43 percent minority—which reflects the diverse readership we have. They are motivated to inspire our readers to radically change their world.

Forty years is a long time to cover in a few words. In 1986 we incorporated Christian Life magazine, which included book publishing and another magazine. Its founder, the late Robert Walker, had been doing back in 1939 what I was doing in my generation—reporting on what God was doing in the world. So our "merger" was smooth and helped catapult us into the big leagues of evangelical publishing. As an organization, we have moved several times in Central Florida and built several buildings before our present headquarters in Lake Mary, Florida. We've won many awards. I've had some great experiences ranging from interviewing three U.S. presidents to getting to speak at the United Nations. But it's not about me. It's about the vision and serving the body of Christ.

In many ways these last 40 years have been difficult. When we face new struggles I try to encourage the staff that struggle is not new. We've always struggled. But that's when we must have faith and God comes through! And yet they have also been great years. I have few regrets. I am richer because of the people I've met, those I've worked with and the articles we've written or the books we've published.

The changes of the past few years in our culture and the wave of iniquity is like nothing I've seen in my lifetime. At a time like this I believe what we do is even more important. As far as media companies go, we are small. What can we do? We can merely be a light! In the middle of a sunny day, a candle doesn't add much light. But where there is total darkness a single candle brings a lot of light. There is so much darkness that shining our light is more important than ever.

As Christian journalists, we must stand for righteousness. We must publish the truth. We must report on those people and ministries who are making a difference. We must encourage and motivate—and sometimes confront. We see ourselves as part of the body of Christ trying to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to stand for righteousness in our world. But we can't do it alone. We must partner with you and together we can accomplish more than anything we can do alone.

Someone said life begins at 40. Charisma (and our organization) is 40, but we're not done. We're just beginning. While Joy and I are getting to the age when we are thinking about succession, we're thankful we have a new generation of leaders in Charisma Media who are committed to carrying the vision into the future.

I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His mercy and grace and for whatever has been accomplished! And we know we need Him more than ever. So I ask you to pray for us—that we will be strong and full of faith; that we will follow after righteousness and not compromise. And that we will withstand the attacks of the enemy as we try to be faithful to the vision God gave me as a young journalist to report on what God is doing around the world.

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma

]]> (Steve Strang) Featured Charisma Magazine 40 Year Anniversary Sat, 01 Aug 2015 14:00:00 -0400
The Spiritual Revolution That Shook the American Colonies

Editor's note:  This article was from the first issue of Charisma--August/September, 1975.  That was the beginning of the Bicentennial Celebration and this brand new magazine wanted to tie in to what America was celebrating.  Founding Editor Steve Strang wrote this article (as he wrote many of the early articles.)  As history, it's as thought-provoking today as when he wrote it.  Do you agree with his arguments he gleaned from what various historians have written?

Fifty years before a Lexington minuteman fired the shot heard around the world, another revolution began that shook the American colonies.

It was a spiritual revolution which historians call the Great Awakening.  It was marked by waves of religious enthusiasm as preachers like George Whitefield traveled the seacoast from Maine to Georgia, preaching that sinners should repent.

American history's most famous sermon--"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God:-- was preached in 1741 by Jonathon Edwards at the height of the great revival.

History records that sinners repented by the hundreds.  Taverns closed as whole towns repented.  Often people were so moved by conviction they trembled and shrieked and fell to the ground moaning and begging God to forgive their sins.

Edwards writes about a young woman in his congregation who was so convicted of sin she declared that "it was pleasant to think of lying in the dust all the days of her life, mourning for sin."

The preaching about turning from sin and the importance of salvation over the rituals of the state church in places like Massachusetts, was important in the light of history.

The result of the revival, which continued strong for 15 years and the effect of which continued for many more years, was to establish early in American life the importance of a man serving God as his conscience, not the state, dictated.

Thousands of newly converted people were forced by their churches to leave because their new convictions about the importance of salvation often threatened the existing ecclesiastical power structure.  This fostered the growth of new churches like the Methodists and toppled any hope of one denomination becoming dominant and becoming the American state church.

Some historians consider the Great Awakening a major turning point in American history, yet it is frequently overlooked.  While the national remembers its 200th anniversary this year and next, the Christian community can be inspired by remembering one of the greatest revivals on this continent.

The Great Awakening, besides being a major spiritual renewal, did much to foster a feeling of independence in the colonies and helped wipe out the class structure brought to the New World from Europe.

It also fostered education and several major universities like Dartmouth, Princeton and Brown, had their genesis in the revival.  In addition, it stimulated missionary work among the Indians and slaves.

Historian Monroe Stearns wrote:  "The Great Awakening's essential purpose was to fulfill the royal law of love—to cause men to serve not themselves but one another and to join in an effort to improve society.  The vision it revealed of the social good led to a challenge of the rulers of colonial society in America and into the discussion and activity that produced the movement for independence.

The Great Awakening has been, however, relegated to relatively minor role by most historians who view it as only emotional hysteria that they say has characterized revivals throughout our history.

The truth is, however, that despite emotionalism that characterized some of the Great Awakening from 1720 to 1760, it was the first great move of God on this continent and was the first of many revivals that have come to America since then.

To understand the importance of the revival and its impact on America, it's important to understand the religious and social structure of the day.

Many of the early immigrants to America came because of religious oppression in Europe.

The French Huguenots were the first Protestants to flee to America.  In 1562, more than half a century before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, a small group of Huguenots arrived in Florida in present day Jacksonville, hoping to escape the massacres of Charles IX of France.  But within months, their settlement was destroyed by an agent of Philip II of Spain.  Not one Huguenot survived.

In 1620, the English Separatists among them soon headed for Rhode Island with Roger Williams looking for religious freedom the Puritans did not give them.

The Pilgrims were followed in 1656 by the early Quakers who, being unwelcomed in New England, settled in New Jersey, then in 17682 in Pennsylvania.

By the early 1700's, group after group of other Protestants seeking freedom from European intolerance began to arrive.

Of course, not every new settler in the new world came for religious liberty.  Many came for economic and political opportunities not available to them in Europe.  But many of the immigrants did come to worship God as they saw fit.

This desire for religious liberty and their deep faith in God was all that strengthened many of these early colonists to brave the perils of the American wilderness.

But after a few decades the original closeness to God that drove the early settlers to seek religious freedom was replaced by the coldness and rituals of the churches the settlers established.

This is what Theodorus Frelinghuysen found in 1720 when he was sent by the Dutch Reformed Church in the Netherlands to minister to Dutch settlers in New Jersey.

Frelinghuysen was a member of the Pietists who believed the power of the Holy Spirit could only be felt because it worked on the heart, not the brain.  They put no emphasis on complicated church doctrines, but on having a "change of heart," and becoming one with God.

Frelinghuysen preached that in order to be a member of the church and take communion, one must be born again.  He caused quite a stir among the young and the poor who readily responded to his message.

The established, more prosperous members at first resisted, then began to become converted.  Within five years his congregations had so increased and so many people had become converted, other ministers began inviting Frelinghuysen to preach at their churches, hoping for similar results.

Frelinghuysen greatly inspired a Presbyterian minister, Gilbert Tennent, and worked with him, breaking down denominational walls.

While Tennent and Frelinghuysen were preaching in New Jersey, Jonathon Edwards was causing a stir in New England with his sermons.

When he became minister in 1729 of the church of Northhampton, Mass., he found a generation of New Englanders who had grown up in spiritual confusion and who didn't know how to be saved.

In addition, the churches of that area were controlled by the wealthy merchant class—the same people who controlled the government and who oppressed the people.

The Puritan Church had for many years preached salvation, but as the merchants began to seize control, more liberal ministers began to say salvation was not necessary for church membership.

Edwards resisted this trend, and preached faith in Christ was necessary for salvation.  He began to see results.

In 1734, after five years at the church, he reported "a concern about the great things of religion prevail abundantly in the town, till old and young, and from the highest to the lowest...Scarcely a person has been exempt, and the Spirit of God went on his saving a truly wonderful and astonishing manner."

Word of the revival spread up and down the Connecticut River valley and by May, 1735, 25 towns had experienced similar awakenings.

The revival subsided until 1739 when a 24-year-old minister from England named George Whitefield began to preach in the New York area.

Whitefield had come to America in 1738 to establish an orphanage in Georgia.

Whitefield was such a magnificent speaker that many people came to hear him merely because of his speaking and acting ability.

He frequently preached on streets or in open fields.

Benjamin Franklin, who heard him in Philadelphia, estimated that Whitefield's voice was so powerful 30,000 people could hear him at once, because he repeated key sentences four times—once in each direction.

Whitefield was so eloquent at raising money for his orphanage, that Franklin wrote he left his purse home on purpose when he went to hear him.  Still, he had in his pocket several pieces of copper, several silver dollars and five pieces of gold.  

"As he proceeded," Franklin wrote, "I began to soften and concluded to give him the copper.  Another stroke of his oratory made me ashamed of that, and determined me to give him the silver;  and he finished so admirably, that I emptied my pocket wholly into the collection dish, gold and all."

The Great Awakening was not without its problems, however.

Often when people felt convicted of their sins, they thrashed about on the floor, moaning and shrieking.  Emotionalism was so widespread that it turned off many who had not been touched in their hearts with the Gospel message.

Rev. Jonathan Parsons of Lyme, Conn. wrote that some converts acted as if "the joints of their limbs were loosed and their knees smote one another...Several stout ones fell as though a cannon had been discharged and a ball had made its way through their hearts."

One lady, Sarah Sparhawk, of Marlboro, Mass., was "like one deprived of her reason" and "was brought home (from church) by some young men.  She often lay there crying out, screaming and striving much in her fits for an hour or two."  

Trances, visions, and something called "the jerks" became commonplace.

The opposers of the revival were led by Charles Chauncy, pastor of the old First Church in Boston.  He objected to the "preaching of terror" and the "bodily effects."  He attacked the whole movement as a dangerous explosion of emotion.

Edwards saw the extremes of the revival, but still considered the Awakening a "surprising work of God," and stedfastly defended it.  He said the excesses of emotion were "enthusiastic delusions" or "impressions upon the imagination."

He thought, however, that to oppose the revival as some ministers did, was evil.  The "prevailing prejudice against religious affections at this day, in this land" was caused by none other than Satan, Edwards wrote.

He warned the critics of the revival that "for persons to despise and cry down all religious affections, is the way to shut all religion out of their own hearts, and to make thorough work in ruining their own souls."

There were other great preachers in the revival.  John Wesley, father of Methodism, was one.  He preached in Georgia a number of years, and had an impact on the life of George Whitefield.  But mostly Wesley's influence was limited to England where a similar revival was taking place.

Samuel Davies, a Presbyterian, spread the revival to Virginia in 1748 where he had to get a license from the governor to preach.

The Anglican clergy opposed this non-Anglican in Virginia and took him to court saying he had no right to preach.  The issue went to London in 1753 for a verdict and Davies won in 1755.  It set a precedent for religious freedom in the colonies.

As the Great Awakening began to subside people like Davies continued to spread it until the 1750's.

The Awakening had a long-run effect on education, social and moral structure of America for many years.  But its main impact—and this should never be forgotten—was spiritual.

Men's lives were changed when they encountered  a personal faith in Jesus Christ.  Despite the emotionalism that accompanied the movement, many new converts were made, and these converts had a different way of living.

Jonathon Parsons wrote of the new converts that "bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking seemed to be put away from them, with all malice...Rough and haughty minds became peaceful, gentle, and easy to be entreated... Their faith worked on love, and discovered itself in acts of piety towards God, charity and righteousness toward men and sobriety toward themselves.

That's what true revival is all about.

]]> (Steve Strang) Featured Pages from Our Past Charisma Magazine 40 Year Anniversary Sat, 01 Aug 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Our Anniversary Celebration Has Something for You Every Day in August

Welcome to the special 40th anniversary celebration of Charisma. Beginning on the first of August and running to the 31st, we will give perspective on what has been going on in the Spirit-empowered movement.

For this month, we are "taking over" the website to celebrate this special milestone. But it's not about us. It's about those whose lives have been touched by the Holy Spirit and hopefully in some way by Charisma.

We won't just report on history, but we'll be sharing insights about each of the four decades. For some who lived it with us, it will bring back memories! For a younger generation, it will provide understanding of what God has done and hopefully bless you as we reprint some of our best articles from the past.

Every weekend we will run articles from our archives--we call it "Pages from our Past."  We've published thousands of articles but these are ones we believe are still relevant today.  

Since today kicks off our celebration I'm including some things from our very first issue that I believe you'll find interesting.   For example, we reported on how the Great Awakening shaped the colonies in the period leading up to the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War that followed.  It's an article I wrote (as I wrote many in the early days).  It represented what some historians have postulated in the past but it's not something most secular historians would consider.  Read it and decide if it's valid.

You will also read a short article by Jonathan Edwards and an excerpt from his famous sermon: "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."  It's a powerful sermon that most Christians have heard of but few have read.  The short excerpt merely gives you a taste of what that sermon was like.

The year 1975 started a yearlong celebration leading up to America's bicentennial in 1776. Both events were featured in the first 32 page issue of Charisma, which cost only 50 cents. Charisma initially appeared as a church magazine for Calvary Assembly in Winter Park, Florida. I remember, we printed 10,000 copies and gave most of them away!

I'm showing the first issue. That's Thurlow Spurr of Spurlows fame on the cover.  At the time Thurlow was the minister of music at Calvary Assembly.

Space won't allow us to reprint as many articles as I am out of the first issue.  But that issue was special because it was first!  When we do republish articles it is because the editorial team feels they will minister to you.  there is one exception.  It's the first editor's column I wrote in the very first issue.

It was a wrap up of what would be in the issue (much as I'm doing here for this anniversary celebration) and I tried to give a bit of a vision for why we were publishing Charisma.  I have added it at the end of this to give you a glimpse into how this really was a church magazine yet in a sophomoric way I had a vision for something much more.  In hindsight what I wrote doesn't seem very profound. I was only 24 and I had no idea what the future held.  I knew there would be a few people who would enjoy reading it.

That leads me to an article we will run online tomorrow, Sunday, August 2,  that's taken from our anniversary issue in which I took my monthly column to recount our own 40-year odyssey not only as a magazine but as a publishing/media company that it spawned.

Tomorrow you will also read about the "40 People Who Radically Changed our Lives."  This was the cover story for the anniversary issue.  The phrase gives a nod to our own company motto that we coined four years ago, which we hope inspires you! Even though the words are new, I think it represents what we've been trying to do since we began in 1975.

If you read our print magazine you'll see how we ran short features on each of these leaders.  To include all 40 we will run two a day each weekday all month.  Many of these leaders also wrote articles for us.  As appropriate we will reprint some of the articles that are still pertinent today. I believe you'll be inspired by them.

If you are not a subscriber to the print version of Charisma magazine, click here now for a special rate and begin your subscription with this keepsake edition.

Give me your feedback. You can reply in the comments section online or email me at and tell me your memories of Charisma or if you like the articles we are putting up.


Now here's "The Editor's Column" I wrote in the first issue under the headline "Introducing Charisma magazine."  Notice how much I refer to Calvary, often referring to it as "the Body"--which was religious jargon popular at the time.  Notice how I referred to myself in the third person.  Notice how I referred to the magazine as being "first-class".  It was printed on uncoated paper and the artwork and layouts were amateurish--so it was anything but first-class. Maybe that showed we had a vision for when the magazine would be better. Finally the run-down of the articles gives you a sense of what that first issue was like, which is one of the reasons I'm reprinting this here.


The publication of this magazine begins a bold new ministry for Calvary Assembly.  

The church already has one of the best youth ministries in America; a top-notch choir and nationally-known minister of music, and is one of the state's fastest growing churches.

The church also has been experiencing a move of the Holy Spirit and a new depth of Christian growth as God teaches the Body, most recently about the necessity of discipleship.

There's a love that permeates the entire body.  The feeling of love is one of the things most visitors notice most frequently.

But the ministry of the body is limited to the 2,000 or so people who attend services weekly or the ones who hear the daily radio broadcasts.

This magazine was designed to broaden the ministry-to share the Gospel to thousands more in Central Florida.

When we decided to publish, we decided to go first-class, with colorful, lively layouts and top-notch writing.

We didn't want to become the kind of boring publications many "religious" journals are.

Instead, we decided to be contemporary so we could speak to the secular community while still being a religious publication.

We live in a secular society and we believe in reaching that society with the Gospel in a contemporary way.  That is why we went first-class with this publication.

Of course it cost money.  That's why we accepted advertising.  we felt it was a way to defray costs, because our readers, after all are consumers.

The real emphasis of this magazine, is to communicate the love of Christ and the joy of serving Him.  We've experienced this in our own lives and Christ's love is evident in the body at Calvary.  We want to share that with our readers.

The result is the magazine you are reading.

We even chose the name- Charisma- because it goes along with the philosophy behind our beginning this new journal.

The word originally refers to the Holy Spirit.  It is the word from which the charismatic renewal gets its name.  We are a part of that move of the Holy spirit of which Joel prophesied.

But the name also has a secular meaning today- referring to men who are leaders whom others follow.

We seek to communicate the Gospel in secular world.  We believe we can, like Paul, say to those in the secular world- follow us as we follow Christ.

Also, in these pages, we will feature, from issue to issue, people who have not only a secular charisma , but are filled with the charisma of Christ.

In each issue we will bring you articles that speak of Christ in a contemporary world.  We will also print articles that teach believers and edify the Body.

Each issue will feature an interview with a well-known person in the religious community.  This month we featured Thurlow Spurr, who is pictured on the cover.

Thurlow has been for the past 20 years an innovator in contemporary sacred music has been and where it's going, and how it is able to edify the body of christ.

There is also a photo feature of the tremendously popular "Freedom Celebration"  produced in June by Thurlow and the Calvary Concert Choir in Orlando.  The patriotic program emphasized that there will always be good in America as long as it remains one nation under God.  

The authors of articles in the issue have varied backgrounds.

Our pastor, Dr. Roy A. Harthern, comes from Great Britain.  He has pastored in Beaumont, Texas, as well as Jacksonville and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Pastor Harthern is also beginning a regular column under his byline in this issue.

He writes about people in the nation's capital who have a personal faith in Christ.  In addition, he writes in this issue about the necessity for discipleship in Christ's Body, if it is to grow as it should.

George Clouse- who wrote of how God helped him dissolve a $38,000 debt after he claimed Romans 13:8 - is the head machinist at the Orlando Sentinel Star.  In the three years George has been filled with the Holy Spirit, he has been a dynamic christian witness at the Sentinel Star as well as recently becoming a shepherd in the local Body.

Joyce Strader is the wife of Pastor Karl Strader, of First Assembly of God in Lakeland, Fla.  Besides being a vital part of her husband's ministry, she is mother of four.  She writes this issue of how her youngest daughter taught her a new truth about love.

Alex Clattenburg wrote " A Trial Is No Error."  He is a local businessman and youth pastor of Calvary Assembly's Rock House - one of the most dynamic youth ministries in America.

Your editor is a reporter for the Sentinel Star, covering local government, as well as being a sometimes freelance writer.  He is also director- with his wife Joy- of the college and career division of the Rock House ministry.

The next issue of Charisma will feature a person interview with Kathryn Kuhlman as well as a story of her ministry of healing and the testimonies of people miraculously healed by the power of God.

]]> (Steve Strang) Featured Perspective Charisma Magazine 40 Year Anniversary Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:00:00 -0400
The Fruit of the Tolerance Movement in the Church

It was never the intent of the Lord for us to sit idly hidden behind four walls. He created us to have an interactive relationship with Him, to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. To be about our heavenly Father's business, to go out into all the world (not to be conformed to this world, but to transform it; to allow the creative power of His Spirit to manifest miracles through us), and to be wise and lead others to Him. (See John 4:23-24; Luke 2:49; Romans 12:2; Mark 16:15-18 and Proverbs 11:30.)

The Word says we are to raise the spiritual foundations and reestablish the pathway for our future generations. One of these foundations is the supernatural power of faith. The next generations need to be taught how to inhabit this spiritual realm of the Holy Spirit.

It is sad to say that, because of religion, scores of people today are turned off and embittered toward the church. Many parents no longer teach their children about Jesus. Our future generations are ignorant concerning the most important part of life, Jesus Christ. About 15 years ago, my mom was stunned by a little boy's question during VBS, "Who is Jesus?" Regrettably, countless numbers of people, both the young and the old, do not understand the answer to this all-important question.

While I sat on a plane from Guatemala to Minneapolis, a young lady next to me, after she learned that I was a Christian author, inquired of me about my beliefs in God and my personal opinions concerning current issues. This woman was raised in a Christian home and lost her father to a terminal illness at a young age, but had a mother who faithfully held the family together during the difficult years that followed. This young woman attended a Christian college, but she did not know the Lord. She was currently angry at the church for the stance it took against current social issues, such as homosexuality and wanted to know what I taught my children concerning the tolerance movement. I shared openly and honestly my deep Christian faith, but I kept the doors of communication wide open for further discussion. I shared with her the following testimony about the effects of the tolerance movement that I have witnessed.

One time as I walked into a hospital for the terminally ill in Guatemala, I was asked to pray for a dying man and his family. As I sat down next to the person, I couldn't help but note the spiritual confusion of the institution where this man was dying. In an attempt to be tolerant of different religions, this institution hung a collage of different religious figures on the walls and displayed various religious statures and trinkets. This hodgepodge of conflicting religions caused an uncertainty concerning faith and sent forth a subliminal message that they themselves did not know what to believe and that they lacked faith. This atmosphere of doubt left this family in a state of despair. They lacked the security and support to believe for a miracle, they had no hope and, without hope, they had no faith. The tolerance movement produces doubt, unbelief and insecurity.

This young woman made another comment to me. She said, "This prayer stuff doesn't work for me." I replied, "No, it won't work if you don't believe. Prayer is communication with God and you cannot have intimate fellowship with someone you do not know. It is like talking to a spouse you do not have."

She went on to explain to me that her generation is more knowledgeable and accepting of different religions because they are taught to do so in public school and, as a result, she felt they were better than the previous generation. I explained to her that I am not religious and that religion is dead. She was a little taken back by my response. But I continued to explain to her that I believe in having relationship with Jesus Christ.

With tear-filled eyes, she continued to challenge me with deep questions about the Lord. Even though her remarks spilled over with unbelief, I would not allow her doubt to dictate my responses. I shared with her many testimonies filled with supernatural healings and miracles. She had never encountered a believer in Jesus who actually walked in miracles before. She started to see God in a whole new light. The bitterness she harbored toward the church and Christians lessened. As we stepped off of the plane, we hugged and she said to me with a tender tone in her voice, "You have given me many things to think about."

Dear heavenly Father,

We ask You to forgive us for being religious in our spiritual walk, for being callused in our hearts toward You, for being filled with the things of this world but empty in our spirits and void of hope for others. Help us to be living testimonies for Your glory, which draw and woo people to You. May we take serious our call to be witnesses to the lost, to be tools in Your hands to repair the breach and to mend the violations of mistrust that we have caused in others. May we be Christians who act out what we say we believe and walk in the miraculous so that the world may know You are the one, true God.

In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Excerpt from Greater Than Magic. Becky Dvorak is a healing minister and the Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe and Greater Than Magic. 

]]> (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Is Jesus' Matthew Prophecy Being Fulfilled Even Now?

Famines, epidemics and earthquakes are how Jesus foretold the beginning of sorrows in Matthew 24

In the United States, there were more than 260 earthquakes in the last seven days. Those startling statistics include a 4.5-magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma and a 6.9-magnitude shaking in Alaska.  

"There is a backstop—the craton, that ancient unbudgeable mass at the center of the continent—and, sooner or later, North America will rebound like a spring," writes The New Yorker's Kathryn Schultz.

And perhaps that rebounding is exactly what Jesus meant. 

One might be prone to brushing off the statistics as an improvement in the scientific recording of earthquakes, but that assumption would be a mistake. 

Of the past, and future, earthquakes, Schultz writes: "In fact, the science is robust ... we now know that the odds of the big Cascadia earthquake happening in the next 50 years are roughly 1 in 3. The odds of the very big one are roughly 1 in 10. Even those numbers do not fully reflect the danger—or, more to the point, how unprepared the Pacific Northwest is to face it. The truly worrisome figures in this story are these: Thirty years ago, no one knew that the Cascadia subduction zone had ever produced a major earthquake. Forty-five years ago, no one even knew it existed."

Those are in the United States, alone. 

Expand the global observation and timeline of these earthquakes, and the picture is far from comforting. Take a look at Nepal earlier this year, or Japan in 2011.

Though scientists from across the world are attempting to predict the quakes, the words of Jesus appear to be manifesting before our eyes: "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, epidemics, and earthquakes in various places" (Matt. 24:7).

]]> (Jessilyn Justice) Featured Prophecy Spirit Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
Why You Need to Learn to Disengage

You've heard the conversations:

"Hey man, what's going on?"
"Busier than ever! You?"
"Me, too. Busy, busy, busy! I can't remember the last time I took a vacation."
"Me either!"

Now, this would be unusual:

"Hey, man, what's going on?"
"Not a whole lot. Just enjoying the day. You?"

The thought would be, "That guy's a loser!" That's because men are action figures. What we do is an integral part of our identity. That's not all bad until it gets twisted to where we define ourselves by what we do and measure ourselves by our accomplishments.

One man was so busy that he had a hard time disengaging when he came in the door after his typical long days at work. His five- and six-year-olds were naturally excited to see their daddy when he came home, but his wife could tell that he was always distracted and even seemed a little irritated by his children wanting his attention.

His wife was a smart woman. When the kids would try and get his attention, she would say, "Kids, Daddy's not home yet."

They would look at her, and look at him, and say, "Sure he is, Mommy. He's right over there!"

Then she would whisper to them, "We know that, but he doesn't know it yet. Go outside and play for a while. He'll be home in about 20 minutes." She created the margin he needed to disengage from work and reengage with his family. He couldn't do it, so she did it for him.

Maybe that's the kind of stuff God had in mind when he created a "helper" for man. To be so strong, sometimes we as men can be so helpless.

One of my bad habits, which seemed like a good idea, was to use the drive time home to catch up on leftover calls from work. After all, Ephesians 5:15-16 (MEV) says, "See then that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise men, making the most of the time because the days are evil." In my mind I was making the most of the time.

Sometimes I would be on the phone when I pulled into the garage and stay on the phone another five minutes while I finished the call. One day my little girl came out to greet me, excited about telling me something that happened in her world that day. I kind of waved her off and said I was on an important call and would be done in a minute. No big deal to a 6-year-old. But as she went about her way what I said bounced around in my head. I had just communicated that my phone call was more important than her. Maybe she didn't get that, but I sure did.

Here's what I started doing. I designated a safe zone on my way home. The first one I set was the entrance to my neighborhood. I would tell whomever I was talking with that I had just entered the safe zone and needed to get off the phone so I could get ready to be with my family. But the distance from the entrance to my neighborhood down the street to my house didn't allow me enough time to mentally disengage. So, I backed up my boundary a few blocks. Then I backed it up about a mile. The three-mile boundary finally worked. It helps me be intentional about creating margin. For those three miles I start thinking about my wife's schedule that day, wondering what my daughter's day was like, so when I pull in the driveway and walk through the door I'm all there.

A lot of guys who know me are fine when I interrupt our drive-time conversation and tell them I have to go. Most will say, "You must have entered the safe zone!" It's called creating margin and it's catching on with some of our men.

I wish I could say I've mastered this, but I haven't. It's a constant struggle because I like to accomplish things. I'm a project guy and I can tune everything out when I'm engaged in a project, especially one I really like. But knowing when to disengage makes me a better man. I actually create a better project. It makes me a better husband, a better Dad, a better neighbor ... a better ... oh, you get the idea.

Adapted from Fight Club – Some Things Are Worth Fighting For by Tierce Green.

Tierce Green is the Executive Pastor of Small Groups at Woodlands Church in The Woodlands, Tex., where he speaks to over a thousand men each year in a seasonal gathering called The Quest. He is also a teaching pastor in the bullpen for Senior Pastor Kerry Shook. Tierce was a popular speaker and consultant for the 26 years previous, and wrote curriculum for organizations including LifeWay and Student Life.

]]> (Tierce Green) Featured Men Life Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
If You Have This Condition, Skipping Breakfast Could be Especially Bad for Your Health

People with type 2 diabetes who skip breakfast and fast until noon may have blood sugar spikes throughout the day, a small study suggests.

When 22 patients with type 2 diabetes missed their morning meal, they had higher-than-usual surges in blood sugar after lunch and dinner, the study found.

Skipping breakfast was also linked to less efficient processing of glucose by the body, or a reduced ability to convert blood sugar into energy.

The researchers had expected that skipping breakfast wouldn't be healthy. But they were surprised at the extent to which glucose metabolism suffered, simply because participants hadn't eaten breakfast, said lead author Daniela Jakubowicz of Tel Aviv University.

"This means reducing the amount of starch and sugars in lunch and dinner will have no effect on reducing elevated glucose levels if patients also skip breakfast," she said by email.

Globally, about one in 10 adults have diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. Like the patients in this study, most have type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity and aging and occurs when the body can't make or process enough of the hormone insulin.

Previous research has linked skipping breakfast to an increased risk for weight gain and diabetes, Jakubowicz and colleagues note in the journal Diabetes Care.

The current study involved 12 men and 10 women who were about 57 years old on average, and overweight.

On test days, patients were asked to fast overnight, then come to the clinic for blood tests and either two or three meals, depending on which part of the experiment they were completing.

Participants consumed the same balanced meal with the same number of calories for lunch and dinner.

Two to four weeks later, they repeated the process, but switching to either eat or skip breakfast - whatever they hadn't done in the first phase.

On test days when patients skipped breakfast, their blood sugar was 40 percent higher after lunch and 25 percent higher after dinner than on the days when they had three meals.

Skipping breakfast may have made it difficult for the pancreas to produce the right amount of insulin to properly control blood sugar, Jakubowicz said. Normally, beta cells in the pancreas release insulin in response to elevated levels of sugar in the blood.

Missing the morning meal may cause the beta cells to "forget their vital role," she said, delaying the release of insulin and allowing blood sugar levels to remain high for longer periods of time after lunch and dinner.

Because the study only included people with diabetes, it's not clear whether healthy people would experience similar blood sugar spikes after skipping breakfast, the researchers acknowledge. It's also unclear how long the blood sugar spikes might last.

It's also possible that the last meal the night before might influence blood sugar the following day regardless of whether or not they ate breakfast, said Tanya Zilberter, a researcher in metabolic diseases with the Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes in Marseille, France.

A late dinner might lead to high blood sugar the next day, Zilberter, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email.

"It might be that the duration of the overnight fast matters more than the timing of the first meal of the day," Zilberter said.

For the original article, see

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]> (Lisa Rapaport/Reuters Health) Featured Health Life Fri, 31 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Isaiah Prophesied This About a Revival in the Desert

Isaiah had prophesied that before the Lord came, a messenger would be raised up in the desert.

Why the desert? Why not the city, the seacoast, or verdant plain?

On about thirty occasions, I have been in the location where John the Baptist ministered. I always marvel that he could attract people down to where he was at 1,200 feet below sea level. Jerusalem is a steep twenty-mile climb up over 3,500 feet, and the Judean countryside is highland area. It is only a 30-minute drive, but try walking!

Perhaps you would not mind the day's walk downhill to where John preached and baptized, but you certainly would not like the walk back up! Who today would walk one day to get to church, and then another day to get back home?

When planning strategically for new church buildings, we want location, location, location. We want to make it easy for people to come, park, and walk to the front door. We are all about access.

That is all well and good, but John was not about access. You had to want to get to him.

God wanted John out in the desert—that is why Isaiah prophesied it 800 years earlier.

Throughout church history, the Holy Spirit has used unusual places to begin powerful spiritual movements: a small town in Germany called Wittenberg where Luther posted his 95 Theses, a mission in London where Wesley felt his heart strangely warmed when he heard someone read Luther's commentary on Romans, a former stable in Los Angeles converted into the Azusa Street Mission where the Pentecostal Movement caught fire, and a rented opera house in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where the Assemblies of God was born.

God is not impressed with the grandeur of a place. He is concerned about the emptiness in the heart. John addressed that emptiness by passionately proclaiming that God forgives sins.

That is why people went out to John near the place where the Jordan River empties into the Dead Sea. They came because he had an authentic message from God.

When an authentic message from God is wedded to an authentic hunger in the heart, a powerful spiritual movement gets underway.

That is the challenge before us today. Those who proclaim God's Word must do so with conviction and passion. People will not be attracted by those who mumble religious words or simply say interesting things—even if they do so in multimillion-dollar buildings.

On the other hand, the greatest preachers of God's message will see no results if people's hearts are not open to receive, repent, and be cleansed of sin.

A Prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray for an authentic work of Your Spirit in my church and community. Just like the mass of people from Judea and Jerusalem who came to John, I pray for a great movement toward You in this land.

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

]]> (George O. Wood) Featured Prophecy Spirit Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
A Prophetic Call to Teenagers to Freedom From Culture

I am writing for the liberation of teenagers. I write to challenge teenagers to "live as people who are free" (1 Peter 2:16, ESV). Be wise and strong and free from the slavery of culture-conformity. To put it another way, I am calling teenagers to a radical, wartime lifestyle.

The Creation of "Teenagers"

As teenagers, you should know that the idea of "teenagers" was created only seventy years ago. The word "teenager" did not exist before World War II. Between children and adults, there was no such category of human being. You were a child. Then you were a young adult.

Just a hundred years ago, you would bear crucial responsibility at age thirteen on the farm or in dad's business—or mom's kitchen and weaving room. You would be trained for gainful employment, or domestic enterprise, by age seventeen, and would marry before you were twenty, and be a responsible husband and father—or wife and mother—by your early twenties.

This scenario is perhaps hard for you to imagine. And I am not saying we can go back to that era, or should want to. My aim is that you be liberated by the truth. The truth will set you free. The truth that you do not have to fit into the contemporary lockstep expectations put on you by your culture or your peers.

Very few teenagers have an awareness of history. That ignorance leads to a kind of slavery. Most teenagers are slaves of the expectations of their peers and of the big industries that market their fashion and music and technology and entertainment.

This slavery is so pleasant—and so consistently rewarded—that the possibility of being free from conformity to teen culture rarely enters your mind. Being aware from history that other possibilities exist can set you free for radical "wartime living" in the name of Jesus.

What "Teenager" Meant Seventy Years Ago

In 1944, when "teen-age" was still hyphenated, Life magazine covered the new teen phenomenon. The article said,

"There is a time in the life of every American girl when the most important thing in the world is to be one of a crowd of other girls and to act and speak and dress exactly as they do. This is the teen age."

This was not a very enviable beginning for the meaning of "teenager." Things have not changed much in sixty years. A teenager wrote to my hometown newspaper:

"Most of my friends often are not comfortable with what is popular, but we wear it anyway. Standing out is just not always worth the struggle. Society tells us to be different, yet mainstream.

"How do you dress to please yourself, your parents, and your peers? You can't. Teens end up compromising their values to fit in. If we intend to make it through high school, or even junior high, without being tormented, then we must dress to please our peers.

We are the up-and-coming leaders of this nation, and we must see what we have become and change. (Minneapolis StarTribune, November 16, 2002: A23).

It is not easy to be a Christian teenager. You desperately want to be liked. To be rejected by friends can feel devastating. But just like this young woman, you know deep down that living to be liked is slavery. And if you belong to Jesus, that slavery may be a torment worse than rejection.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.

]]> (John Piper) Featured Women Life Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Ex-wife of Former NFL Player Tells Story of Abuse and Betrayal

Dorothy Newton, the former wife of three-time Super Bowl champion Nate Newton, wants to bring hope and healing to every woman, who suffers in silence or who knows someone who suffers from physical abuse, through her new book, Silent Cry: The True Story of Abuse and Betrayal of an NFL Wife (Zondervan) that's coming out in October.

"My objective is not to expose juicy details about a famous athlete, but to shine a light on domestic violence in hopes of helping others escape it and find healthy and meaningful lives on the other side," said Dorothy Newton.

Approximately 1 in 4 women has been a victim of severe physical abuse by an intimate partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and recent cases involving NFL stars Ray Rice and Greg Hardy have thrown a spotlight on the problem.

Although many abused women remain silent because of shame, Dorothy shares unflinchingly about her past and credits "a sovereign God who sees, knows and understands the depths of despair" for making her whole again.

Domestic violence became a part of her life when she was a child. One of six children, she grew up in poverty in Louisiana. Her stepfather drank and gambled and beat her mother.

After she became the first person in her family to graduate from college, Dorothy moved to Dallas, where she met Nathaniel "Nate" Newton, an offensive lineman for the Cowboys. They began dating and had their first child before they married.

"Sometimes I looked in the mirror and saw my mother staring back at me, but I shrugged it off," she writes. "Our relationship wasn't like that of my mother and stepfather. Nate didn't beat me. I could leave if I wanted to."

After they got married, he soon grew violent. When he was angry, he would shove her and grab her throat. Eventually, he began beating her until she couldn't move. One time, he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her around the house. Another time, when they were arguing over a credit card bill, he hit her in the face over her left eye.

"Whenever he was upset, he abused me," Dorothy writes. "Then he would apologize and want to 'make things right.' I know it sounds crazy, but I honestly thought I deserved the abusive treatment as punishment for my sins."

After a friend of hers told the Cowboys of Nate's issues, he threatened to kill her, pointed a gun at her and put their unborn baby in danger. She had tried many times before, but finally Dorothy convinced Nate that it was time for a divorce.

Although it took time to break free of his influence, she managed, with God's help, to turn her life around. Today, she works as a health-care administrator, recently earned her M.B.A, is a frequent co-host on Daystar Television Network and regularly speaks on the topic of abuse.

"I believe there is a way out, and God will help you find it. He can hear your silent cry," writes Dorothy Newton.

Dorothy talked to her ex-husband, a six-time Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys to get his blessing before writing Silent Cry. Nate Newton, who has since remarried and become a Christian, was interviewed for the book. Sheila Walsh, Bible teacher and best-selling author, wrote the foreword to Silent Cry. The book also contains several appendices with helpful tips for victims of domestic violence and their families and friends.

]]> (Julie Shutley) Featured Women Life Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
3 Things That Short Circuit Your Faith

God has a great plan for each person's life, and He wants us to enjoy every day of our lives. But we can't do it if we live in fear and lack confidence. Confidence is the belief that you're able to do what you need or want to do. God gives us confidence, but we need to know how to access it by faith.

God-given confidence is actually the grace of God. We usually hear grace defined as God's undeserved favor or God doing something for you that you don't deserve. But it's really more than that. It was life-changing for me to learn that grace is also God's power, freely given to me, to enable me to do with ease what I could not do on my own with any amount of struggle or effort.

Think about this for a minute. Everyone who accepts Christ as their Savior is taught that we're saved by grace through faith. Ephesians 2:8 (AMP) says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." But the same way we are saved is the way we are supposed to live. In other words, once we are born again, God wants us to do everything in life by grace through faith.

This has been one of the greatest revelations of my life. I remember how exciting it was to realize that God is not just there to help us when we have an emergency. God wants to be involved in every single thing we do on a day-to-day basis. There's nothing you're involved in that God doesn't care about, and He wants you to pray and ask Him to help you with every detail of your life. He doesn't want you to live striving in your own effort to do anything. God wants to be your close, personal, intimate friend.

I was a Christian for years before I learned how to access God's grace, or power, to live my everyday life. First, I had to get an understanding that once I was saved, God didn't expect me to live right by my own strength. Just as I couldn't "earn" salvation through my own works or effort, I also couldn't really change my heart or behavior in my own strength. Jesus says in John 15:4 (NIV), "No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain joined to the vine. In the same way, you can't bear fruit unless you remain joined to me."

Every day we need to come to God and tell Him, "God, I can do nothing without You. Nothing in my life is going to work without You. Apart from You, there is nothing good in me. My confidence is in You. I need You all the time. I believe You and trust You, Lord." When we humble ourselves before God and ask Him for help, we can access His grace through faith.

So to help you do that, I want to share three things that commonly short-circuit our faith, cutting off our access to God's power: complaining, self-pity and pride.

  • Complaining is a negative attitude that keeps us from being thankful for all God has done, is doing and will do. It is a sin we need to repent of, and then be determined to thank God in all things, at all times. His grace and blessings always outweigh the things we think are wrong in our life.

  • Self-pity is simply a "poor me" attitude. It is a form of idolatry because it causes you to focus on yourself and think, "What about me?" But we can't be pitiful and powerful at the same time, so let's decide to give up all self-pity.

  • Pride takes credit for what God has done and steals His glory. It makes us independent of God, and we can't bear good fruit apart from Christ.

Before I learned how to live my life by God's grace, I was a mess. I was a nagging wife, manipulative and controlling. And I wasn't satisfied living like that. Then God helped me by opening my eyes to see that I couldn't really change until I started taking His Word seriously and trusting Him to change me. When I made a firm decision to pray and study the Word in areas I was weak until the truth made me strong, then God's grace gave me the power I needed to overcome the things that were wrong. And I keep going forward in my journey with God the same way today.

God has all the power you need to do anything you need to do. He loves you and wants to give you His power to live your everyday life with joy. Lean on Him with absolute trust in His wisdom and goodness, and live with God-given confidence.

Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has authored more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the "Enjoying Everyday Life" radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit

]]> (Joyce Meyer) Featured Straight Talk Blogs Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Genetics Expert Confirms the Reality of Adam and Eve

Modern-day DNA research is confirming the biblical account of Adam and Eve, according to one genetics expert. 

Answers in Genesis' Georgia Purdom has recently released a documentary explaining her findings and the scientific support for the records presented in Genesis. 

"One of the most compelling genetic evidences for an original human couple created by God is mitochondrial DNA research done by creation geneticist, Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson," Purdom says. "He clearly shows that the common human female ancestor of us all (biblical Eve) lived within the biblical timeframe of several thousand years ago."

Jeanson has also done research disproving the evolutionary timescale

What the scientific jargon breaks down to is this: If evolution were true, if men and women had been roaming the planet for years, there would be more genetic diversity.

By focusing on the DNA, these scientists have been able to evaluate that men and women can trace their roots back to a man and woman, Jeason writes

Though Jeason's timeline differs, his research echoes a study claiming all men can trace their lineage to a single man who lived 135,000 years ago, a "Genetic Adam."

"The Y chromosome is passed down identically from father to son, so mutations, or point changes, in the male sex chromosome can trace the male line back to the father of all humans," LiveScience's Tia Ghose writes. "By contrast, DNA from the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cell, is carried inside the egg, so only women pass it on to their children. The DNA hidden inside mitochondria, therefore, can reveal the maternal lineage to an ancient Eve."

For creationists, the scientific evidence backs not only the existence of Adam and Eve and the truth of Genesis, but the overwhelming support for the need of Christ in a broken world. 

Without Adam, Eve and original sin, Purdom says, we wouldn't have a need for a Savior—and salvation wouldn't be a necessity.

But through this research, geneticists are proving the case for Christ, not just creation.

"We need the good news, grace and life, which is found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ," Purdom says. "Jesus is the solution to the problem of evil that began in Genesis 3. Paul made this connection very clear in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15."

]]> (Jessilyn Justice) Featured Apologetics Spirit Fri, 31 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Why the Intercessors Are Under Such Strong Attack

I saw many of the people of God pressing into prayer and the secret place and suddenly a whirlwind seemed to "come out of nowhere". It was a whirlwind of opposition/attack sent by the enemy to bring distraction and hinder the place of "communion"  and "intimacy" for the people of God. 

Many were struggling to press in through prayer. Many were fighting against fatigue that would hit heavily in their prayer time and times of worship. Many feeling a "battle" to "connect" with the Lord in the secret place. 

There is an attack released upon the people of God who are pressing deeper into prayer and intimacy with Him in the secret place, because the Lord is unlocking new realms of revelation and areas of breakthrough.

The people of God are moving into a new level of revelation concerning their authority in Christ and a great awakening is happening in their hearts concerning their identity in Him. The sons and daughters of God are arising as they are pressing in. 

I saw many disheartened by this battle in the secret place and this battle in prayer. Do not be discouraged, do not be in despair by this battle, for I sensed the Lord saying that this battle is an INDICATION of what is waiting for you ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS!!!! 

Some of you are but A PRAYER AWAY from breakthrough and the enemy is attempting to do all he can to keep you from that place. 

Some of the greatest encounters with Him, revelation and explosion of insight into His Word await you. Heavenly strategies, wisdom and keys to spiritual warfare are going to be opened up to you at a new level.

Bill Johnson says that "Fire ALWAYS falls on sacrifice" and that is exactly what I feel the Lord is saying. IN the place of battle, IN the place of opposition and distraction that is coming at you in the secret place, OFFER Him praise, PRESS THROUGH and get into the Word, IN the battle continue to pray even if you feel like nothing is shifting. OFFER HIM your praise, adoration and positioning despite the battle. The FIRE OF GOD is attracted to your sacrifice.

Your praise, your sacrifice to Him, is like a beautiful incense rising to Him that is not only seeing heaven rain down on you, but DISARMING the whirlwind attempting to knock you off course.

I saw the fire of God fall on the people of God bringing transformation, freedom, healing, positioning for greater momentum and EYES being set on fire to SEE like they have NEVER seen before in the spirit. 


I also felt the Lord saying that as His people press through this battle, take communion in the secret place with Him and focus on HIS sacrifice for us, a turning will take place. 


The enemy is attempting to counterfeit what the Lord is releasing. Whirlwinds from heaven are being released into the secret place as His people meet with Him and minister to Him with their praise and adoration. Out of the encounters with Him in the secret place, whirlwind changes will occur in the natural.

I felt the Lord saying "EVERYTHING that My people need for breakthrough is found in Me and in encountering Me. When these encounters are entered into and the instruction and revelation are released in them and put into action, My people will see many things turned around suddenly."

Lana Vawser has a heart to encourage the body of Christ and individuals in their walks with Jesus, to have deeper intimacy with Him, and to learn to hear His voice. She operates in the prophetic and loves to share the heart of God with others. Lana has written her first book, titled Desperately Deep—Developing Deep Devotion and Dialogue with Jesus, and loves to see others grow in all that God has for them.

]]> (Lana Vawser) Featured Prophecy Spirit Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
3 Ways We're Hurting Our Kids

If there was a shortcut to parenting, I thought I would have found it by now. I haven't ... not even close. But that doesn't mean I haven't tried. And it doesn't mean I haven't failed. Still we all keep looking and hoping, don't we?

Baby music classes do not give our kids a fast track to music scholarships in college. T-ball at age four doesn't mean the pros at twenty. Reading a Bible story at bedtime every night won't lead us to growing a godly teen. There are no quick fixes, perfect extracurricular actives, or even right methods of spiritual guidance that will result in perfect kids. We cannot skip the rough stuff in life and move directly to GO to collect our rewards of growing godly adults. Don't we wish it was all that simple?

There are a few things we can cut out that will benefit our kids: the latest gadgets, pricey fashion, electronic games, and social interaction that cuts out face-to-face social life. But we parents often pile on those things when we can't be there with time, attention, and connection. I've been guilty of it. "Here, play with my tablet for a while so I can finish this quick task."

There are things we might think will help, but they are actually hurting our kids:

  • The right preschool will not make up for time with parents, learning about life, relationships and caring for God.
  • The right moral stories will not make up for serving as a family, discovering there are real people behind the "issues" who need a helping hand, who need hope.
  • Even great biographies of heroes of the Christian faith cannot fill in for models of godliness. Instead, children need to see parents on their knees, crying out to God and discussing how God's truth overcomes the world's lies.

Yes, it's important to share stories of Christian faith (I've even written a book for that!), but Mom and Dad—your story is the most important one your child will read ... and they read it in real, living, breathing flesh.

To teach your children patience, compassion, self-control, and wisdom, you have to have those things.

To teach your kids to be content with who God made them to be, you need to be content. 

To teach your kids to trust God and follow His dreams for you, you must do it.

To teach your children how to pray, you must know how to pray ... and do it.

I wrote a book to inspire children called Prayers that Changed History. I highlighted 25 historical people and shared how prayer transformed their lives and impacted the world. I would LOVE for you to buy this book for your children. But first, I'd love you to read it for yourself. Some of these historical figures will be familiar to you. Others will be new, but my hope is that you will take time to read these stories and let them impact your heart first. Then I hope you will consider how to ask God to revive your own prayer life.

There is no shortcut or fast track to raising godly kids. Instead, you must be a model of day-in and day-out love and service to God. The way you live is the most important way to determine the type of life your child will live, too. Put yourself on the right path and guide your children to follow. And the best way to do that is spending your time in God's Word and on your knees, living the life God called you to. You never know how that will change your family's history ... no shortcuts needed.

Tricia Goyer has written more than 35 books, including novels that delight and entertain readers and nonfiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine. 

]]> (Tricia Goyer) Featured Women Life Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Discerning the Spirit of Absalom in Your Midst

The Bible says that to those whom much has been given, much will be expected. Church leaders bear a lot of responsibility for their congregations and need to be diligent to avoid spiritual pitfalls.

Recently, Bishop Ron Webb spoke to Jim Bakker about a specific type of spiritual warfare that targets those church leaders. The Absalom spirit, he says, spreads division among leadership and provokes rebellion.

Thankfully, Webb knows how to fight back.

Watch the video for his words of wisdom.

]]> (Taylor Berglund) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
A One-Step Way to Strengthen Your Daughter's Identity

Let's take a walk down memory lane.

I am guessing that when you and your wife/partner went through the process of choosing a name for your daughter it was a very big deal. No doubt you labored to get just the right one.

You probably ruled out the majority of them because at one point or another one of you knew someone with that exact name who didn't wear the title very well.  

Yet somehow, finally, after months of deliberation, when hope was almost gone that you'd ever agree, the perfect one emerged!

Then you both pondered it for a couple of days (or weeks) just to make sure it sat well. You may have even spoken it out loud a few times while considering every possible nickname that might be derived from it, culminating with making sure it tucked itself nicely next to your surname.  

And the more you let your mind wrap around that final choice, her beautiful name began to take on a life of its own, like music to your ears. You eagerly anticipated how your little offspring would soon come alive to the sound of that name, a name that you had given her, a name that would be forever linked to her identity as a girl and a woman.

It was that name that became the hook upon which your heart would hang all the love you could ever imagine giving to your precious treasure.

And even now you probably don't have to reach very far back into your memory bank to recall the first time she cooed and smiled as you called her by name, an experience that left you feeling things inside your heart as a man that you'd never felt before. It was then you knew you were a dad.

And all of that was tied to your little girl being called by her name. By you.

I'm here to tell you that she still needs to hear you lovingly say her name.

But not only that. If you really want to hit it out of the ballpark as a dad, you can teach her the origin and meaning of her name to help her more fully understand who she is. In doing so you give her a gift that will deeply impact her heart.

When I was thirteen years old, my dad started meeting bimonthly with me and my younger sister. The poor guy didn't have a clue how to be a dad to daughters yet when a mentor suggested that he meet individually with his girls to help lead and train us, he was committed to giving it a try. I was nervous at first because I knew it would be awkward, just him and me. But it got easier over time.

He covered topics like dating, overcoming fear (since I struggled big time in that area), sibling relationships, and even explored the meaning of my name. This all was new and intriguing, and I remember being most impacted by this idea of knowing that my name had an origin long before me that was tied to generations of women whose name I shared.

I still recall learning that my sister's name meant she was gracious, which gave her one thing to focus on. But upon opening the name book and reading about mine, my heart sank. I hated what I read. At first, anyway.

I was overwhelmed at the enormity of what it would require to live up to its meaning when I learned that Michelle was a Hebrew name that meant "who is like God" or "godly woman." Here I had an inbred assignment to embody the entire character and nature of God Himself! Yikes!

But there's a flip side of that overreaction. At the same time that I felt burdened with the task at hand, it also meant that God and I had a deep personal connection because my name was tied to Him.

Here I was an insecure teenager with a bad complexion and wonky emotions, but now I felt tied to a Person much bigger than myself. This honestly helped give me a stronger sense of identity beyond what I could comprehend at the time.

Learning the meaning of my name gave me something solid to hold on to.

Did you know that you can reinforce the strength of your daughter's identity by highlighting the fact that her name actually has historical roots and meaning? And by doing so you are emphasizing and celebrating her who (who she is) and not just her do (what she does).

It's one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into her because it ties to her core, to that special part of her that is as unique as her DNA.

Why not take ten minutes right now to look online for the meaning of your daughter's name and then write her a note to tell her about it. You can even share one or two examples of how you see her living out that meaning.

I guarantee that she will thrive upon hearing your affirmation because her name gives her something powerful and good to connect to. Being a dad who affirms his daughter by underscoring the rich qualities attached to her name will put you in the top tier of fathers in the world.

Do it today:  Find the meaning of her name and put it in writing. You'll be glad you did ... and so will she!

(To support your venture, here are three websites where you can type in her name and quickly find everything you need:

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 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, 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 they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook and Twitter.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Dr. Michelle Watson) Featured Men Life Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Divorce Can Lead to Greater Risk of Heart Attack

Divorced women do worse than divorced men when it comes to heart health. Family therapist Linda Mintle explains why the sudden shift in lifestyle is often more stressful for women than men.

Surprisingly, the trend even extends into remarriage. When divorced men remarry, their heart health improves, but divorced women who remarry still are at high risk for heart attack.

Watch this video featuring CBN News Medical Reporter Lorie Johnson:

For the original article, visit CBN's Healthy Living blog.

]]> (Lorie Johnson/CBN News) Featured Health Life Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Doug Stringer: The Eagle Is Balding

In late April I received the news from my doctor that I had stage 4 lymphoma. My aggressive chemotherapy treatments began on June 16, right after I returned from serving as coordinator of The Response South Carolina in Charleston. Surrounded throughout this time by the love and prayers of so many friends, my family and I are so thankful that the adverse side effects have been minimal.

One thing I have not escaped, however, is the loss of hair. It first became obvious on Friday, July 3, as I was preparing for a prayer and fasting event for our country the next day.  By the time Saturday evening came around, I had lost most of the hair on my head. But the Lord has a way of taking these kinds of circumstances and using them as "prophetic dramas," where we live out in the natural a word He is giving us in the spiritual. Our life experiences then become a life message that is bigger than ourselves, a message beyond the circumstances we've been through. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.    

After realizing the hair loss was a reality that Friday night, I felt the Lord speak to my spirit. "The eagle is balding," I said to Lisa. I was half joking, trying to make light of things. As Proverbs 17:22 says, "A merry heart does good like a medicine." Yet I knew the Lord was also placing something in my spirit that He wanted me to share the next day.

Our National Symbol

America's national bird is the bald eagle, representing strength and courage. They have incredible eyesight, with the ability to spot predator attacks on their nests from miles away. According to the book The Eagle Story, published by Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles: How to Conquer Habits, "The eagle has exceptionally sharp vision because it has two 'fovea,' compared to only one in the human eye. The cones in an eagle's fovea are small and tightly grouped, allowing the eagle to see very small details from extreme distances. For example, an eagle can spot an object as small as a rabbit from a distance of up to two miles!"

The book goes on to explain that the eagle has two sets of eyelids: conventional eyelids as well as a pair of clear eyelids called nictitate membranes, which can be shut for protection while not inhibiting the eagle's ability to see. While some experts say that no creature can stare at the sun without going blind, others argue that the extra eyelids on the eagle allow it to look into the sun with no damage. Regardless, when feeling weak and weary, with their eyesight dimming from age, eagles will soar toward the sun to rejuvenate themselves. This is what Scripture speaks of when it says, "But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint" (Is. 40:31).

A few days before the Lord began speaking to me about the eagle, one of our intercessor friends and her husband were awakened in the night by the sound of an eagle's cry coming from the alarm of a cellphone that was not even turned on. She prayed about what God was saying to them, then wrote to me after they heard about what I shared at the July 4 meeting: "The eagle represents America," she said, adding that it also stands for rational things, instruction in truths, renewal, resurrection, the prophetic, leaders, seeing clearly and wisdom. "We believe your personal battle parallels the battle for America."

The Roots of Freedom

How disheartening it has been for so many of us who have prayed and cried out for our nation to see the highest court in the land setting itself up as god in the house of God. These are the people we trust to interpret the law, yet they have totally redefined the nation's Constitution in a manner so far from what our Founding Fathers intended. They have crossed the line, assuming to dictate to God, the highest of all authorities, what is law and what is not law. Truth is truth, no matter who tries to change it.

Our nation's first president, George Washington, said in his first inaugural address, "We have God to thank for America's birthday!" Then he said, "No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency." How things have changed.

President Ronald Reagan said this: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States, where men were free."

Like our Founding Fathers, Ronald Reagan understood that freedom naturally decays as societies expand unless people of principle defend it. That tendency has been true at every point in human history and always will be. Government has the necessary role of defending our liberty, free speech, the right to property, but virtue can become a vice when it attempts too much. We must be watchful to ensure that the government's good intentions don't become the overreach that becomes tyranny.   

We've recently seen the tyranny of overreach from the highest court of the land, so we now appeal to the greatest courts of heaven, to the most Supreme Being—the Creator of the heavens and the earth, unto whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. Jesus Himself is the one we fix our eyes on. Though at times we feel weak, we know that when we wait upon the Lord, He will renew our strength. We know that when we fix our eyes on the brightness of the Son of God Himself that we will not to be blinded, but we will come back and be awakened as a church to impact the soul of our nation.

United to Save the Nation

Shortly after leaving the July Fourth prayer gathering, we received numerous encouraging messages from people who were touched by this word in season. One person wrote, "The headline in today's Houston Chronicle is, 'Nation Unites to Save Bald Eagles.'" A few days later, I went to a hospital in Clear Lake to see a young man who is also battling cancer. As we arrived and walked down the hallway, some of his family in the waiting room suddenly heard the loud shriek of an eagle and looked up to see a program on the television about bald eagles. Then they turned to see Lisa and me walking down the hallway at the same time, and they knew it was a confirmation of the July Fourth message. I believe God is using that confirmation to say He wants His church to unite to save the nation.

In 2011, Houston hosted The Response, a day of fasting and prayer for our nation, at the request of the governor of Texas. As of this writing, we have helped facilitate The Response prayer gatherings on behalf of the Governors of Louisiana, and South Carolina; and are working on gatherings in several more states.  

Who would have thought The Response South Carolina on June 13 would gather the church in South Carolina to pray in unity just four days before the tragedy at Mother Emanuel AME Church? The initial reaction of many who participated in that prayer gathering was disbelief that this would happen after so many came to repent and pray for their state and their nation. Yet, as we began to engage in conversation with the pastors and intercessors there, we were reminded that God's timing is perfect. 

Many leaders of various racial and denominational backgrounds in the Charleston area believe The Response was the very thing that helped them become the church unified, crossing racial, generational and denominational barriers to walk through a horrific time of racism and hatred. In fact, we did not initially intend to hold the event in Charleston, but it turned out to be God's providence. Thousands of Christians united after the tragic shooting in Charleston to become a coat of many colors, standing up for their brothers and sisters, unlike other cities where we've seen riots break loose. Even when the outside agitators came, the Church in that city said "No," and became an example for the rest of the nation. From the leadership of the AME denomination to the local congregations, the Church of Charleston sent a message to all of America on forgiveness, healing, and hope.

Of course, we only built on a foundation laid by generations of intercession that had gone before, but God allowed us to be part of a catalytic moment and to see an answer to the prayers of reconciliation and unity we had prayed just days before. The church comes in great numbers, linked arm in arm, in authentic love and unity. What the enemy intended for evil, God used for good, because the church of Charleston and South Carolina was united.

This is what God desires for His church across America. As we see the erosion and unraveling of so many of our moral foundations. He desires for His church to come together in unity and soar above the many distractions of the enemy.

A New Generation

True intercession is not just hiding in the prayer closet. It's standing in the gap between the living and the dead, like Moses and Aaron, as they grabbed the censers of incense (symbolic of intercession) and ran to stand in front of those who were perishing, begging for God to stop the plague of sin. They cried out for mercy, for God to move on behalf of their people. Likewise, many of you have prayed, some of you for decades, crying out in intercession, "God, stop the plague of sin! Stop the lies of the enemy over this nation!" God is hearing your cry. He hears the cries of His people, and He is still on the throne. He didn't bring us to such a time as this to leave us hanging.

There is a cleansing taking place. Many pastors we've looked up to and leaders in politics and business are falling and failing. But in the midst of the cleansing, God is raising up a new generation of Samuels, Esthers, and Ruths, a generation of Deborahs, Daniels, and Josephs. They are a new, prophetic generation of righteousness. Just as God exposed the sins of Hophni and Phineas and raised up Samuel as a righteous judge and voice of truth in his generation, so is He now going to expose unrighteous judges and raise up a new generation of judiciary. God is raising up prophetic voices who are not just prophesying for their own self-adulation and their own gain, but because they fear God and seek His kingdom first.

We are a generation that needs strength to come in to our destiny. We must fix our eyes on Jesus; soar on heights toward the Son. Only the brightness of His presence will reveal the greater reality and greater authority God wields. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can soar above our weakness and renew our strength. Then we can fulfill God's call and destiny in our lives and nation. God still has plans for America, if we as the church will unite to His purposes.

We cannot be informed only by what we see and hear on the news. We cannot let the circumstances around us dictate who we are. God has the final word. Who will we believe? I choose to believe the Word of the Lord. He never waivers. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

One in a Thousand

There is a spiritual cancer in America. Many leaders are experiencing an attack in the natural realm that mirrors the spiritual state of the nation. But I believe for many the sickness is a lie of the devil to distract them and the church from the spiritual war that rages over our country right now.

There are those in governmental leadership who still recognize a higher authority. Some bold and courageous men and women are rising up to speak into the very core of what's happening in our nation—like governors who are not afraid to say, "Our nation needs prayer!"

Let us not forget, however, that our nation will only be restored to its God-ordained destiny by the church uniting in intercession. When Abraham cried out for Sodom, he pleaded with God to spare the city if there was even one in a 1,000 found righteous. [NOTE: Some commentaries say there were around 10,000 people which would be one in 1,000. Other commentaries say there were around 1,000 people in Sodom.] There are still righteous men and women in our land. We must follow Abraham's lead and intercede for our nation in like manner. Only by fixing our eyes on the Son can we intercede for our nation out of love, as Abraham did.

Church, you and I are the hope of Christ to a dying world. We are God's chosen ambassadors, to be the tangible expression of Jesus, to demonstrate truth in love, a love the world does not understand. It is not a love that tramples the sacred blood of Jesus, but a love that shares the truth uncompromisingly in the spirit of grace and mercy. Only then can those who hate and oppose what we stand for see the beauty of holiness.

As I have been writing this article, several of my sons in the faith have messaged me saying God has given them a Scripture for me during their times of prayer. That Scripture is Malachi 4:2, "But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings."

The Son of righteousness is rising, and He will bring healing to the nation.

Even as the eagle in its time of weakness regains its strength by soaring toward the sun, we the church—and the nation—in our time of need must fix our eyes on the Son and soar together toward the brightness of His presence. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2), we can believe for awakening in the church in America and for revival to spread throughout the land.

As the nation unites to save its national bird, the bald eagle, the question we must ask is this: Will the church unite to save the nation?

Doug Stringer is the founder and president of Somebody Cares America/International. You can find him on line at

]]> (Doug Stringer) Featured Culture Life Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Why You Should Stop Putting People in a Box

I read a news story today that completely wrecked me. That's not entirely true, it was in fact the accompanying YouTube clip that turned me into a blubbering mess.

It was a story on Donald Gould and his beautiful gift of music, you can read the article and watch the clip here:

Other than the beautiful music, what struck me was the wording of this article, in particular the headline: Homeless Man Donald Gould Amazes locals with beautiful piano performance.

Oh how we love to categorize!

I get it. Headlines are meant to grab, they're meant to pique your interest, and pique it did. But leaving behind the context of media, isn't this exactly what we do in 'everyday' life?

'She's a single mom ...'
'He's a drug addict ...'
'They're alcoholics ...'
'He's been in jail ...'
'She's an adulteress ...'
'He's got cancer ...'
'She's bulimic ...'

We define by scandal.
We define by difficulty.
We take the lowest point of a person's life and if not indefinitely, at least for a time, we define them by this life stage.

Quick disclaimer: I know that my clustering of these labels may cause offense, it's not intended to. I myself have been a single mum, this certainly was not my lowest point or even a low point. For me it was the polar opposite—the ignition of redemption! It was, however, still a label people used to define me at that time. The above labels were chosen simply for example purposes only, and in no way am I trying to link or compare any of the labels to each other. A gifted or eloquent writer would be able to paint a picture for their reader without the need for clunky disclaimers. I am neither, so clunky it is.

I don't think for a even a second that there's any malice behind this kind of labeling for the majority of us who have caught ourselves (myself included) doing this. I think it's just how we relate, how we memorize. We search our memory cache and we fit people comfortably into their allotted space.

There's a few problems with this though, the glaringly obvious one being that people change!

We all have a story. We all have a complex series of events, chosen or otherwise, that have led us the place we find ourselves in today. But unless you drop dead right upon this sentence, and it is my sincere hope and prayer that you do not, your story is incomplete. There is much still unwritten!

A pregnant woman does not forever remain pregnant, nor is she described as such. She hopefully goes on to birth more of her story, to add to it, to introduce a new character, a character who will evolve, entwine, enrich, expand and add complexity to the initial story, a story that was never really initial, but instead merely the flow-on from another's story, and theirs before it, and so on.

This is how we must view our fellow journey persons; as incomplete stories, great and intricate works in progress.
After all, isn't this how we would have others view us?

I am greater than my lowest lows.
I am more than the collective sum of my mistakes.
I am more than my highest highs.

It takes divine grace to see ourselves for what we can and will be. It takes that same grace to see others the same way.

Given that I have a not-so-secret penchant for clunky, here's my rewrite of the above headline:

"Donald Gould amazes community with his musical gift, proves there's always more than meets the eye!"

What headlines will you rewrite today?

Bek Curtis is an Australian-based blogger.

]]> (Bek Curtis) Featured Women Life Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
The Secret to Healthy, Loving Relationships

Do You Know the Most Recited Bible Verse at Weddings?  

I don't know for sure the most recited verse, but I have a pretty good idea, and I think you will agree with me, the famous love verse in 1 Corinthians 13 makes its way into a lot of summer weddings.

Although, how many people know the verse which immediately follows this Scripture? Probably not that many, and the reality is it could be the secret to long-lasting, healthy relationships. Read on to find out more!

So let's dive right into it! The verse which follows 1 Corinthians 13, says this,

"Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy" (1 Cor. 14:1).

It's not too surprising the pastor stops before this verse. Saying to "eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy" is a little out there for the light-hearted, joyous wedding.

Paul, the writer of Corinthians goes onto the say that prophecy is for the strengthening, encouragement and comfort of God's church.

In short, we are meant to speak aloud God's heart for His people, to His people.

Often prophecy can seem like a word that's only used to describe the spiritual giants of the past, or the super weird Christians of today. Yet Paul directs this verse to the whole body of Christ (that's you and me).

He is encouraging us to speak into being the truth, love, and grace we hear, sense, and feel God is saying to us. If we need to double check if it's words God would actually say, we can confirm them with Paul's checklist.

Is it strengthening, encouraging and comforting God's people?

Paul could have said anything after he unleashes the famous love chapter.

He could have said, "Follow they way of love and desire spiritual gifts, especially service."

"Follow the way of love and desire spiritual gifts, especially hope." 

"Follow they way of love and desire spiritual gifts, especially generosity."

"Follow they way of love and desire spiritual gifts, especially sacrifice.

"Follow the way of love and desire spiritual gifts, especially _______________."

Yet as Paul looked at the church and the hearts of the people (which are no different than our hearts today), he said, "If you want to pursue and press forward in the way of love, then speak truth to one another in prophecy" (MSG).

In the simplest of terms, Paul is saying...

Your VOICE is POWERFUL. It can be a weapon of love or of pain and hurt.

I recently read an article where a woman stated the verbal abuse she endured in the marriage was more painful and difficult to work through than the physical abuse.

This isn't the first time I've heard this, and I am sure you still have words that ring through your head that someone said to you years ago, maybe even decades ago.

All to say, our words carry force and the way to follow love is to keep speaking love to one another.

I wonder how many marriages would have stayed together, how many relationships would stick it out, if only they continue to follow this way of love.

Since Adam and Eve first fell in the garden, there has been a battle for our voices, whether it's collectively or individually, the enemy knows the power we carry.

Paul knew it too.

He knew when you make love your destination, then speaking truth, life and blessing becomes a natural reaction.

God used His voice to create the world, and to create us as well. He was modeling the key to our destiny and the secret to healthy relationships. To speak aloud truth, encouragement, destiny, life and, most of all, love.

And the good news is, if you have a wedding or two to attend this summer you will more than likely get a reminder of what the word of love truly means as hear 1 Corinthians 13 recited once again!

So pay attention, you might walk away with more than just a party favor!

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, Mikaela Kate is authorized to RELEASE it!

A speaker, writer, and coach, Mikaela Kate has invested seven years in developing leaders from college-age men and women. 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.


]]> (Mikaela Kate) Featured Women Life Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
How Jezebel Killed One of the Greatest Revivals Ever

Before Azusa Street in 1906, there was the Welsh Revival in 1904. It was one of the greatest revivals ever and perhaps the one with the most tragic end. That's because the spirit of Jezebel cut off the voice of Evan Roberts, a young man God used to set a nation on fire for God.

As history tells it, over 100,000 souls came to Jesus in Wales over the course of nine months. Hundreds of thousands more would come to know the Lord over the next couple of years—and it all started in Moriah Chapel in Loughor, South Wales where Roberts gathered with a few youth and began to pray, "Bend us! Bend us!" and eventually "Bend me! Bend me!"

"It was the very next month that Roberts had his first vision. While strolling in a garden, Evan looked up to see what seemed to be an arm outstretched from the moon, reaching down into Wales," writes Roberts Liardon, author of God's Generals. "He later told a friend, 'I have wonderful news for you. I had a vision of all Wales being lifted up to heaven. We are going to see the mightiest revival that Wales has ever known—and the Holy Spirit is coming just now. We must get ready."

Beware the Spirit of Jezebel

The pastor of his church let him start holding meetings on Oct. 31. The meetings turned into a two-week revival marked by fervent faith, strong intercession and late-night services that sometimes lasted until sunrise. Those meetings ignited a revival that spread across the world, including to Azusa Street in Los Angeles. But it wasn't long before Roberts cracked under the strain of the pressure.


"By 1905, Roberts' mind became confused from physical and emotional exhaustion. He began hearing conflicting voices in his head and doubted his ability to distinguish the voice of the Spirit among them," Liardon writes. "He would rebuke his listeners for not being pure of heart, while he became increasingly obsessed with examining his own self for un-confessed sin. He feared most that he would be exalted instead of God and became overly critical of his audiences and church leaders."

The revival finally fizzled out in 1905 when the spirit of Jezebel operating through Jesse Penn-Lewis, a Welsh evangelical speaker and author, beguiled young Roberts. Penn-Lewis seduced and deceived the revivalist in the prime of his anointing.

Penn-Lewis, whose doctrine was largely rejected in Wales and is even now described as apostate teaching by some modern theologians, sought to ride on Roberts' coat-tails. Ironically, this Jezebelic woman flattered him with words that aimed to ease the suffering he was experiencing from the religious spirits in the midst of revival. But her smooth words didn't heal his soul. He suffered a nervous breakdown and went to live at this wealthy woman's home to recover.

"They built their new home around his needs, including a bedroom, prayer room and private stairway. It was there that the great revivalist was confined to bed for more than a year," says Liardon. "Evan became ever more isolated and reclusive as years passed. He refused to see friends, and eventually family. He allowed Penn-Lewis to dictate who he would see, and what he would do. They wrote a number of books together, the first one, War on the Saints, was published in 1913. Mrs. Penn-Lewis stated the book was birthed from six years of prayer and testing the truth. Within a year after the book was published, Roberts denounced it. He was quoted as saying it had been a 'failed weapon which had confused and divided the Lord's people.'"

Jezebel Hates Revival

Although he lived to be 72, Roberts stopped preaching in his early 20s. That's the story in brief. If you'd like to read more, check out God's Generals: Evan Roberts. The moral of the story is that Jezebel hates revival. As I've written in my book, The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel, this spirit hates the prophetic voice, but it also hates signs and wonders and miracles—and revival. Jezebel is an anti-Christ spirit that will stop at nothing to pervert the voice of God or even an entire move of God.

In an age where we're seeing a revival of the devil's witchcraft rising, it's important to discern the times and seasons. God wants to usher in a revival that's greater than the Welsh revival and Asuza Street and the Jesus People movement and the Voice of Healing movement and the charismatic movement combined. He wants to bring in the latter rain—but spirits like religion and Jezebel are opposing those with the boldness to obey God's voice.

Ultimately, God will have his way. I am believing for a Third Great Awakening. But as we move closer toward that reality, we must remain on guard for the enemies of revival. We must learn to discern the subtle operations of religion, witchcraft and Jezebel. We must root out anything in us that would give these spirits a hook in our heart. And we must contend for the freedom of others trapped in these snares.

Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual AwakeningMornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of GodThe Making of a Prophet and Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer's Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.

]]> (Jennifer LeClaire) Featured The Plumb Line Blogs Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400
George O. Wood Speaks Out on Christ's Return

"But concerning that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray. For you do not know when the time will come" (Mark 13:32–33).

On the Mount of Olives facing Jerusalem, Jesus neared the end of His teaching about the future. Less than 72 hours before His crucifixion, He outlined the course of human history.

We now look back and see the remarkable accuracy of Jesus' prophecy about events that would mark all ages leading up to the end time when He would return. Disciples in all centuries would need this information that the road wouldn't be easy nor their burdens light. They would witness the growth of false religions both inside and outside the church, ethnic and social conflict, disasters in nature, and persecution against them from all sides. In spite of all the travail, Jesus knew that His story would be told throughout the whole earth and that those who endured to the end would be saved.

The news about the course of the age may be gloomy, but the future for Jesus' followers is bright. He lets us know that He will return in great power and glory with all the angels and gather His elect from the ends of the earth.

In His statement, Jesus made a clear distinction between the Father and Himself as the Son. He did not explain the nature of that relationship (that is left to other parts of God's Word), but His statements tell us there is a distinction in the midst of their unity within the Triune God. One piece of knowledge is exclusively known by the Father—the day and hour when Christ returns.

Bible scholars may disagree as to whether Jesus, in His present exaltation at the right hand of the Father, now knows. But clearly, at the time Jesus made these remarks, He didn't know.

My question is this: If even the angels do not know, and Jesus did not know, why do we have so many "date-setters" even today? You can research and discover that there have been numerous false prophecies in the past centuries where authors and so-called prophets set a date for the return of Christ. Date-setters will always be wrong; you can count on it. What we know for sure is what Jesus told us—what the course of the age would be like.

The Lord encourages and warns us to be prepared at any moment. I think of the young woman in the news recently who was at church and in an adjacent room a man was showing off his gun. It discharged. The bullet pierced the wall and the woman. She did not know the hour or the day.

It is so with us. None of us know our own time—either by death or by Christ's return. You do not know the time when He will come for you.

Jesus' concern is that we stay awake. The temptation is to be hypnotized by the cadence of everyday routine so that we forget He is always at the door. You must therefore be on guard and alert in all moments—when you are tempted to sin, to despair, to think that you have all the time in the world to correct what you have done or left undone.Today is indeed the day of salvation. Today, you might go home!

George O. Wood is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. This article is excerpted from Dr. Wood's forthcoming book, Fearless: How Jesus Changes Everything, available in September from Vital Resources.

For the original article, visit

]]> (George O. Wood) Featured Supernatural Spirit Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Satanist Bows to Jesus, Gets Filled With the Holy Spirit and Preaches the Gospel

"He can make your back feel better," his mother said. And she was right. The "doctor" healed 9-year-old Pedro Ochoa's back—the excruciating pain was gone!

But this was no ordinary Honduran doctor. The man was a self-described "new age white magic" doctor—a Satan worshipper. Little did the young boy know that from that moment on, Satan had plans for Pedro's life.

Pedro's father was a businessman who traveled extensively. He divorced Pedro's mother after she had an affair. Pedro, now 14, and his two younger sisters chose to stay with her. Two months later, Pedro's mom walked out on the children, leaving Pedro in charge of his sisters and an infant cousin she had been caring for.

"I felt so vulnerable," Pedro recalls. "So incredibly hurt."

Feeling powerless to change his situation and that he needed protection from the world crashing in around him, Pedro remembered the doctor who healed him through white magic.

"When I told him about my situation, the doctor said he could help me," Pedro recalls. "He told me that he could give me power and a god who is going to care about me and make me rich. He said that I would be able to grow a lot in this religion and become so powerful that I would be invincible if I would study the materials and consecrate myself to this god."

For a young boy desperate for control in his life, the promises of the white magic doctor were just what he longed for. Pedro agreed to become a student. He went through the ritual of consecrating himself, including donning an amulet that connected him to his idol/god (the spirit world), and declaring his love for his god.

"At this time in my life, I knew Christians, but I didn't know anything about the Bible," Pedro says. "To me, Christians just worshipped a different idol or god; I didn't know that there was only one true God."

The doctor's promises, however, weren't empty. Powers soon became evident in Pedro's life. "I started training, and I began to grow in this power—I started with moving small objects with my mind—and my powers continued to grow."

But the power came at a price. "I started hearing this voice," Pedro says. "And I knew it was the devil. He would tell me that my destiny was to go to hell with him—it was the reason I was born—and to fight in this huge battle against Christ/God, who is a selfish god that wanted all the glory and praise for Himself. Satan wanted me to fight to help take back what God had stolen from him."

Pedro sank deeper and deeper into Satanism. He soon was placed in charge of a group of other teens who also desired to grow "their powers." Pedro says he was given visions about the teens, insight into their lives, making it easy to convince them to follow his lead. They held séances and spoke to the dead, they used an Ouija board regularly with great success, and they spent an inordinate amount of time in cemeteries where things went on that he prefers not to discuss.

As he reflects upon his life, Pedro says there were things he came to realize. The more into Satanism he sank, the less human he was. "I didn't cry, I didn't laugh ... I had zero feelings," he says. "Also, I would later learn that these powers I thought were mine, were actually demons working through me. I had opened doors to them and they worked to not only deceive others, but me too! But at the time, I just believed that I was superior to everyone around me."

"Everyone," that is, except for these "weird" people.

"Nothing scared me anymore," Pedro says. "My friends and I were totally in the darkness. But every now and then a weird person would walk by. I knew nothing about God, but these people made me scared. I didn't want to be close to them. I wanted to run away from them—there was something shining on them ... it was just too shiny for me, to the point that I couldn't even look at them!"

Pedro says that he would later learn that these people weren't just Christians by name, but people who had the fire of the living God within them—and he feared them for reasons he did not understand.

And although Pedro didn't know it at the time, his battle with Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit was going to take place much sooner than he imagined.

Now a freshman in college, Pedro found himself in a U.S. English class with an older teacher who was one of those "on fire" Christians. Pedro wanted to turn in a paper late, but the teacher denied him, saying he would fail—but if Pedro would attend his Saturday meeting he held in the class each week, he could turn in his paper after that.

The meeting? A Bible study!

"That Saturday, the moment I crossed the gate into the college, something hit my spirit—it was scary, like I was about to die," Pedro says. "My body started shaking and I wasn't even close to the room yet, and the closer I got, the worse I felt ... it was like this crazy scared thing moving inside of me, from my head to my feet ... it's hard to put into words how scared I was. I was sweating and felt like I was going crazy. It wasn't a human scared, it was all the demonic power and devils living in me who were scared to come into the presence of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, ... but I didn't know that then, all I knew was I wanted to run fast and far away from that place."

Pedro attempted to turn his paper in and leave, but the teacher refused the paper, saying he would need to sit through the meeting.

"They started to talk about God, the Bible, the Son of the Living God, the ABCs of salvation, the Cross," Pedro says. "I was listening, but fighting with stuff inside of me. But the words started to hit me. God loved me; died on the cross for me; He was not against—he wanted to rescue me!"

As the meeting concluded, the group stood to sing a song and the teacher began to pray for each person. As he prayed, people began to fall to the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit. Pedro knew he was in the presence of some kind of supernatural power as people were falling to the cement floor, but not getting hurt.

Then the teacher came to Pedro.

"We were eye-to-eye when he began to pray and boom! It was like an explosion," Pedro says. "I fell to the ground, but it felt like falling on a bed. My body began to shake like crazy. I felt this power like electricity going through my head, feet, legs, hands. I knew this was my last day on earth. I remember thinking I can't receive this kind of power—it was too much, my body is going to explode! It was so strong, I couldn't resist, like millions of volts in my body."

Pedro began to yell loudly as he felt the moment of his death approaching—whatever "it" was, was killing him.

But he didn't die.

"I suddenly realized I could breathe," Pedro says. "Then this voice came into my mind and kept repeating, 'God is real! God is alive! Jesus is real! God is touching you now!' I started to cry like a baby. I opened my eyes and in that moment I realized that the power that was in me was nothing compared to the power of God, which was now touching my soul. I realized I was on the wrong side of the line—I didn't want to fight against God, I didn't want to be an enemy of God."

Pedro stayed on the floor as the powers of darkness drained from him and the Holy Spirit worked in him. After some time, the teacher returned, helped him sit up, then prophesied over him that for the next three days, he wouldn't be able to sleep as the Lord wanted to speak with him.

It was as the teacher prophesied. For three days, Pedro did not sleep. "Those three days shaped my life," Pedro says. "God revealed Himself to me, explaining things to me, helping me to understand His power, and how I was now coming to the light, the side of God."

Pedro moved to Miami not long after his salvation experience. He says he could no longer hang around with his old friends, because when he was in the same room, their efforts to contact "the dead" no longer worked. About six years ago, Pedro, who worked in television, moved to Peoria, Illinois, to assist a church in developing television programming.

He is now the director of evangelism at Hilltop Campus Church, an Assemblies of God U.S. Missions Chi Alpha Campus Ministries church plant near several colleges and universities in Peoria, Illinois. Ironically Pedro, who is now 34, spends time mentoring young people to grow in their prayer lives and experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

"Christians need to understand how powerful the name of Jesus is," Pedro says. "When Jesus is 100 percent in our lives, we are so powerful against the enemy. Nothing is comparable to the power of Jesus—remember, the devil and all the darkness is limited because they are creations, not the Creator. Those who serve Satan can yell and say things, but inside they are scared, shaking, and wanting to run!"

Although Pedro says that early on he would battle with Satan's attempts to reclaim his life, the Holy Spirit remained his constant companion. Through prayer, Pedro even rejected the healing the Honduran "white magic" doctor performed on his back, which resulted in several years of pain for Pedro before God stepped in and performed His own healing. "That healing I had as a child was Satan's hold on my life," Pedro explains. "When I renounced it through prayer, my struggles with Satan were lifted."

Pedro says he never intended to share his testimony, as he was deeply ashamed of his past life. But through the encouragement of Hilltop Campus Church interim pastor and AG U.S. missionary Dale Crall, Pedro, now the Holy Spirit-controlled follower of Christ, has begun to open up about his experiences.

"Pedro is one of the most spiritually discerning and truth-living Christlike believers I've ever met," Crall states. "He is highly favored of God and is gifted in everything he does. He brings God's presence in all he does."

"One of my burning desires is that Christian people can know the power of God's Word and live in the reality that God is real and close to us," Pedro says. "That when you walk into a room, people can feel the presence of the Lord with you—it will change your life, and may change their lives too!"


]]> (Dan Van Veen/PE News) Featured Evangelism & Missions Spirit Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
One Reason You May Not Be Getting Healed

People suffer spiritually, emotionally, and physically from a lack of knowledge. A deficiency of knowledge, especially in God's Word, is destructive. God says through His prophet in Hosea 4:6a, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." He goes on to say that His people even reject it. They are unaware that everything that manifests in the physical world is an irrefutable result of spiritual occurrences around them. When it comes to partaking of the Word of God, many are malnourished.

They do not have the substance to live victoriously. This insufficiency of the supernatural power of God causes great damage to the body of Christ. It hinders God's miraculous intervention to reach His people. God wants us to understand His supernatural ways. And according to John 16:13 in the Amplified Version of the Bible, He sends His Truth-giving Spirit to guide us into all truth, including the revelation knowledge of the supernatural. Jesus shares the power source of this truth in John 8:31-32. He says, "If you remain in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

A woman in Los Angeles, CA was so bound from arthritis that she could not walk, stand, sit, or lie down without nonstop intense pain. There was no doctor, medicine, treatment, or therapy that could relieve her from this pain. This woman lived a life of misery, and lost her will to live.

The message of this particular healing service was about the power of forgiveness. And the truth of the Word that she heard me speak witnessed on the inside of her. Her friends carried her to the altar. When I saw her I asked her if she was ready to forgive the person that had hurt her. She said yes, she was ready.

She prayed, "Father God, forgive me for not dealing with my anger properly, and allowing it to turn into bitterness. I forgive my husband for his unfaithfulness, and I release him from my vengeance. And in doing so, I am free from the sin of bitterness and the physical effects it has on my body, and I can now boldly stand before Your throne of grace and make my petition for healing made known. I am free to receive Your healing power in me, in Jesus' name I pray, amen."

Instantly, she was released from the hideous results of bitterness, and her body was healed and made whole. In that moment as she stood before His throne of grace, her body straightened out, all the pain and swelling were gone, and her strength was returned.

She looked up at me and said, "The message is true, and I am free!"

The truth that this woman needed to hear was that of forgiveness. It was the key to unlock her healing and deliverance from arthritis that was destroying her body from the inside to the outside.

The Word of God says that bitterness dries up the bones (see Prov. 17:22).

What's inside the bones? Marrow. What is bone marrow? According to Medical News Today, "Bone marrow is soft, gelatinous tissue that fills the medullary cavities - the centers of bones. There are two types of bone marrow: red bone marrow (also known as myeloid tissue) and yellow bone marrow (fatty tissue).

"Both types of bone marrow are highly vascular and enriched with numerous blood vessels and capillaries.

"The bone marrow makes more than 200 billion new blood cells every day. Most blood cells in the body develop from cells in the bone marrow."

In simpler terms, marrow is a gelatin like fluid, and it produces red and yellow bone marrow. The red bone marrow helps your body produce blood, by making red blood cells. What's in the blood? Life is in the blood.

The Bible tells us that bitterness dries up the bones. It zaps the very life out of a person. I have seen in healing line after healing line when people suffering from arthritis will forgive those that have done them wrong, and release them from their bitterness that they are most often instantly healed and made whole. There is power to heal in forgiveness.

This is no coincidence, the Word of God is truth, and it clearly says concerning these matters:

  • "A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones" (Prov. 17:22).

  • "For if you forgive men for their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men for their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins" (Matt. 6:14-15).

  • "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outbursts, and blasphemies, with all malice, be taken away from you. And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you" (Eph. 4:31-32).

  • "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was in every sense tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us then come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:15-16).

Steps to Forgiveness

  • Make a quality decision today to forgive by faith.
  • Repent from bitterness.
  • Release the person that hurt you from your vengeance.
  • And stand boldly before the throne of grace and ask the Father for what you have need of in Jesus' name.

Becky Dvorak is a healing minister and the Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe and Greater Than Magic. Visit her at

]]> (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
What You Really Need to Know About the Gifts of the Spirit

The gifts of the Spirit are supernatural and they "come upon" a believer suddenly in what is known as a "manifestation of the Holy Spirit." They flow through a yielded, obedient servant of God.

They have nothing to do with human ability, natural talent or learned behavior. God never intended to accomplish the work of the church through human effort, but through believers endowed with special spiritual qualifications whom the Spirit could direct and through whom He could work. The gifts are not "extras" or bonuses for those who are super spiritual. They are essential operations in a properly functioning body of believers.

First Corinthians 12:4-11 lists the traditional nine gifts of the Spirit:

  • Word of wisdom
  • Word of knowledge
  • Faith
  • Gifts of healings
  • Working of miracles
  • Prophecy
  • Discerning of spirits
  • Different kinds of tongues
  • Interpretation of tongues

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not carefully planned actions or well thought out words. Neither are they natural abilities to be used at a believer's discretion. The gifts of the Spirit are the divine tools or equipment that God gives to believers so that they will be effective witnesses for Christ.

The gifts of the Spirit are "part of the package" believers receive when they are filled with the Holy Spirit. We could picture them as being in a toolbox that the Holy Spirit hands us when we are filled with the Spirit, i.e., receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They are the "tools" that will get the job done as God intended. These gifts, like the tools in a toolbox, may require instruction as to their correct use, and those who are proficient in their use can help the beginner.

The gifts of the Spirit are not the same as the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to his followers after his death on the cross and His resurrection. "When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit' " (John 20:22). Then, just before he was taken up in a cloud and ascended to heaven, He told His followers not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father ... "but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now ... you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses ..." (Acts 1:5-8). The gifts (tools) we receive are "power tools."

Gifts are the "shining forth" of Him who is within the believer.

Verna Linzey is the author of The Gifts of the Spirit, published by Creation House and from which this was excerpted. She is also an evangelist and a Bible translator. 

]]> (Verna Linzey) Featured Supernatural Spirit Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
How to Find the Funny in Fatherhood

Dads come from many different backgrounds, and we're in various stages of life and relationships. Some of us are in our 20s; others are pushing 50.

We might be married, single or divorced. Our kids range in age from infants to teenagers, and some of us are granddads. Some of us grew up in single-parent households, and some had both parents at home.

Despite all the differences, and regardless of who you are and where you came from, fatherhood is a state of mind. What matters is that you are there. And as we all know, being there isn't always easy. Often, that's where the comedy comes in.

It's like that fated call on an airplane: "Is there a doctor on board?" Sometimes situations with your kids call for a jester to save the moment— and that's where you come in.

Baby wipes are important, but trust us, a sense of humor comes in very handy when dealing with a poop explosion. It's also very useful when handling a whole new set of questions from your prepubescent son within earshot of your entire family, or when you're just managing a kid's tantrum. Life with kids is full of these chaotic moments, and without humor, these trying experiences can quickly become overwhelming.

Remembering to see the humor in stressful times is not easy. Pressures from the outside are constant. As bad as those are, more often than not, we (because of our manly pride and need to be the "strong father figure") add to that stress.

Sometimes it's not easy to see the funny when the bacon you worked so hard to bring home falls on the floor and is eaten by the dog. Sometimes it's not laugh-out-loud funny when you can't get your kids ready for school on time despite detailed written instructions from their mom. Sometimes the teenager with attitude isn't material for a sitcom, but more like a real-life knot that is difficult, if not impossible, to untangle.

All these things can be funny because they're messy and imperfect. And imperfection is often funny because it's human. So, in that moment when you want to run outside and do a primal scream because of something your child just did, look at it as the makings of a hilarious story you can tell your friends at the next poker game or golf outing.

A healthy sense of humor doesn't necessarily come naturally; it's a muscle you can exercise like any other. But as a dad, humor can really come in handy and help you make the most of those little (and sometimes big) wins along the weird fatherhood trip you are taking. Wins like the insane laughter with snot pouring out your kids' noses, or the times when you come home to cries of "Daddy!" and get mugged as you enter the house, and pull a muscle in your back. Or it could be the kid who "larts" (a combination laugh/fart).

The point is, fatherhood demands that you have a sense of the absurd, a sense of humor, and an ability to laugh at yourself and at life. It's not always easy. Sometimes, it's almost impossible. But, as long as you have breath in your body, you can use that breath to laugh.

Marc Kaye is a comedian, writer and songwriter who performs regularly in the greater NYC area and has produced various web series, movie shorts and skits. He is a dad of two, a member of The Dads of Comedy and he blogs regularly about comedy, parenthood and his ongoing quest to quiet the never ending chatter in his mind. You can follow him on Twitter @MarcKaye1 and on his blog here.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Marc Kaye & Alex Barnett) Featured Men Life Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Experimental Drug Found Effective in Slowing Alzheimer's

Patients with mild Alzheimer's disease who took Eli Lilly's experimental drug solanezumab early in the course of their disease preserved more of their cognitive and functional ability, according to new Lilly data released on Wednesday.

Lilly presented new follow-up data from two large trials of the infused medicine on Wednesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in Washington.

Researchers and investors have been keen to see if the results would firm up solanezumab as a lead contender to be the first treatment to effectively slow progression of the memory-robbing disease.

In 2012, the original 18-month studies of solanezumab, called Expedition and Expedition 2, each included about 1,000 patients with mild to moderate disease. The drug failed to slow cognitive declines or loss of abilities of daily living for the entire patient population.

But when Lilly analyzed results only for mild patients, the data suggested solanezumab caused a significant 34 percent slowdown in mental decline and an 18 percent slowdown in loss of functional abilities compared to placebo, researchers said.

To better assess whether mildly impaired patients benefit from the drug, Lilly extended its two trials by another two years and only enrolled those with mild disease. 

Researchers continued to provide solanezumab to patients who had taken it during the studies and also allowed patients who had been given placebos to switch over to solanezumab.

Lilly had previously reported that after the first six months of the extension study, patients who had taken solanezumab all along continued to show a greater benefit than those who switched to the drug later.

Company researchers on Wednesday said that difference remained statistically significant 12 months into the extension trial and continued to a lesser degree at two years.

"Visually, when you look at a graph, the two patient groups are seen as parallel lines," in terms of different cognition and functional abilities, said Hong Liu-Seifert, a research adviser at Lilly. "And we continued to see the two lines remain parallel to each other" over the two year extension.

Lilly said solanezumab was well tolerated during the extension study, having similar safety to that seen in earlier trials. 

But cardiac events were seen more frequently in the initial trials among patients taking solanezumab than in the placebo group, an issue that will be examined closely in a newer and larger trial called Expedition 3 that is now underway.

Should solanezumab prove successful in that 2,100-patient study of patients with mild Alzheimer's, within several years it could become the first approved drug to slow the course of the disease affecting 5 million Americans, Lilly officials said.

John Boris, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, estimates it has potential to capture more than $10 billion in annual sales and boost Lilly earnings for years to come.

Company shares have jumped 24 percent so far this year, compared with average 12 percent gains for other large drugmakers, largely on faith in solanezumab.

Lilly's Extension 3 study will only enroll patients shown by brain imaging tests to have beta amyloid brain plaques, and thus Alzheimer's rather than other types of dementia. Lilly estimates 25 percent of patients in the failed earlier Expedition studies actually had no beta amyloid deposits, and therefore would not have benefited from solanezumab.

Solanezumab works by blocking formation of a protein called beta amyloid believed to cause toxic brain plaques that are considered a hallmark of Alzheimer's.

Eric Siemers, medical director for Lilly's Alzheimer's team, said if solanezumab can slow disease progression by roughly a third, as it did in the first two Phase III trials, that would be very meaningful to patients.

"In 18 months of treatment with solanezumab, patients could delay six months worth of progression" of Alzheimer's, he said. "That gives you more opportunity to do things that are important to you, before you progress into later stages of the disease."

Siemers said beta amyloid is believed to build up in the brain for 10 or 15 years and steadily kill neurons before Alzheimer's symptoms appear.

Patients who took solanezumab from the start of earlier studies may have preserved many brain cells, he speculated, while those that began taking it later were not protected for the initial period. "They can't get those brain cells back; they are gone forever."

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]> (Thomson Reuters) Featured Health Life Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Are You Afraid of the Future?

Fear is all around us.

It penetrates and saturates our culture as water does a sponge. We read it in the headlines every morning. We hear it on the news every night.

We feel it in our bones, in our muscles and in our hearts.

Yes, we feel it in our hearts.

But, it doesn't have to be this way. Throughout the Scriptures, God continually commands us not to fear. It's interesting, isn't it, that He gives us a command?  A command from God implies that we are able to obey it.

So, why are we afraid? I would propose that we are afraid because we do not know God.

God is love, and in Him there is never anything to fear. Scripture tells us that "perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18). God, who is Perfect Love, will drive out fear every time. But here is the clincher: We must trust Him and believe Him when He says that there is nothing to fear for those of us who know Him.

The bottom line is that we get rid of fear by getting to know God intimately. Here is His promise to us found in Isaiah 26:3: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

The antidote for fear: is to keep our minds fixed on God. And why do we keep our minds fixed on God? It's because we trust in Him. And why do we trust Him? It's because He is God and perfectly trustworthy!

Are you struggling with fear today? Then turn your eyes toward Jesus and keep looking into His beautiful face. Keep your thoughts fixed on Him. As you do, His peace will drive out every fear.

Dr. Maryann Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults, including the book You Were Made for Greatness. You may reach her at or at her blog here.

For the original article, visit

]]> (MaryAnn Diorio) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
The First Step to Move From Victim to Victory

The most challenging aspect of being a survivor of abuse is loneliness. Survivors often don't speak of what they've been through not only because of the shame attached but because it can feel as if no one else understands.

Survivors don't want to be looked at differently yet what they've been through IS different than someone who hasn't been abused in any way and their struggle can be a daily battle with conflicting emotions. Rarely does a survivor feel they can trust their own emotions because they've been told they don't matter, to stifle them, or what they feel is wrong.

Hopeful Hearts Ministry is dedicated to help give a VOICE to survivors of abuse. To be the avenue in which they can find their voice with others who have gone through the same struggles with emotions, insecurities and fears. You are not alone.

I've been struggling lately with being able to trust my feelings. Should I feel this way? Do I have a right to feel this way? How do I handle feeling this way? Am I acting like a victim because I feel this way?

That's the worst, to have overcome so much and then to fear being lumped back into the "victim" mentality. The reality is when we face and voice the emotions (even the self-pitied, selfish ones) it shows you aren't a victim, that you are recognizing the pain (especially if it's irrational) and working through it.

A victim relishes their pain, swims in the pit of despair and can not see beyond their sorrow. They don't want to talk it out and have anyone in that pit because it's only big enough for one. They don't seek prayer or guidance out of the pit. They'd rather decompose in misery.

It is a choice. To be a victim or to be a survivor. We didn't have the choice of what was done to us but we certainly have the choice to overcome or remain in the pit dug by the perpetrator(s).

Survivors, you know who you are—you are reading this and saying to yourself "I don't ever want to be in that pit again because it is a pitiful place to be." But sometimes it is hard to not feel loneliness at times when our insecurities, shame or fears flare. Unfortunately, life will deal other blows that cause the flare up, but be encouraged!

Remember who you are—God's wondrous masterpiece! (Eph.2:10); what you've overcome—Victorious! (1 Cor. 15:57); and your strength—I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength! (Phil. 4:13). The old feelings might arise, but you are a made new! Jesus said, "I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5).

And remember, you are not alone. Write me any time ... I'll listen.

Shannon is the author of EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me...Irreplaceable Him and founder of Hopeful Hearts Ministry, an advocacy non-profit organization (501 c3) giving a VOICE to survivors of abuse.  She is a featured columnist with Choose-Now  "Shannon Deitz: On Hope",  has been featured on, Lifestyle & Charity magazine and Catholic Women's magazine. She and her husband, Neal, live in Kingwood, Texas, where they are active in their local church and community. The couple has two sons, Ryan and Seth, who provide them with endless joy and reason to continually count their blessings.

]]> (Shannon Dietz) Featured Women Life Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
How God Intervenes

Tragedy here. Tragedy there. Tragedy everywhere. This is how it seems sometimes.

In the old days, you could decide to not turn on the television and probably avoid the news. That's not the case anymore. There are headlines here, there and everywhere.

Discouragement can set in.

As a believer in the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, I don't want to be discouraged.

I believe what God's Holy Word declares about Him. He is on the throne. He is omnipotent—He has unlimited authority and power. Nothing surprises Him. He intervenes when He wants to.

Scripture encourages me. Scripture reminds me that God intervenes. I need to remember this today. And tomorrow. And the day after that. He is active and aware and not wringing His hands worried about what His people are or aren't doing.

The book of Esther has some of my favorite truths about God intervening.

In Esther 2:1-9 we learn that Esther was "lovely in form and features." God intervened because only beautiful women could be in the harem from which the new queen would be chosen. God also intervened because Esther won Hegai's favor. He was the king's eunuch in charge of the women.

In 2:17 we learn Esther was chosen to be the queen. This changed everything. Any number of women could have been chosen. God intervened.

Another evidence of God intervening is found in Esther 2:21-23. Esther's cousin, Mordecai, who raised her when she was orphaned, "just happened" to be in the right place at the right time to learn that some men were plotting to kill the king. As a result, he was able to save the king's life. This, too, changed everything.

I realize you may not be following me well if you're not familiar with the fascinating story of Esther and Mordecai. I encourage you to read this short Old Testament book. You'll find other evidence that God intervenes.

Allow God's Word to encourage you. Be reminded that God is active and involved. Also, allow your life to encourage you. I think it's impossible to not remember times when God showed up and made a positive difference.

God intervenes. Pray expectantly! Watch optimistically! Let's not be discouraged.

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

]]> (Dr. Kathy Koch) Featured Women Life Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Three Relationships Every Christian Needs

When Jesus began His ministry, He did not rent a coliseum for an evangelistic campaign, start a mailing list, or put billboards all over Jerusalem announcing His healing ministry. No, the first thing He did was assemble a group of close followers.

He called them His friends.

Mark 3:14 says Jesus appointed the Twelve "so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach." Notice that His relationship with them was not just about the work of ministry. He was not just calling followers to perform a task. He was not a foreman employing hired hands. He wanted their fellowship first—and then he would let them preach out of what they learned from Him.

Jesus is all about relationships. And He specifically told His disciples that He didn't want this relationship to be performance based. He said: "No longer do I call you slaves ... but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).

In many parts of the church we've forgotten about the essential need for fellowship and tried to build the church without it. We developed a sterile church model that is event-driven and celebrity-focused rather than genuinely relational.

We build theater-style buildings where crowds listen to one guy talk. The crowds are quickly whisked out of the sanctuary to make room for the next group. Many of these people never process with anyone else what they learned, never join a small group and never receive any form of one-on-one discipleship.

Because we lack relationships today, we have tried to fill the void with technology. We think if we can create a wow factor with cool video clips, 3-D sermons and edgy worship bands, the crowds will scream for more. I don't think so. Trendy can quickly become shallow.

I've had enough of this sterile religion. I've learned that ministry is not about getting big crowds, filling seats, tabulating response cards or eliciting raucous applause. It's not about running on the church-growth treadmill. Religion that focuses on externals cannot produce life. If our faith does not flow out of relationship with God, and result in deep relationships with others, then it is a poor imitation of New Testament Christianity.

Do you need to go deeper in your relationships? I tell Christians all over the world that they need three kinds of relationships in their lives, apart from family relationships:

1. "Pauls" are spiritual fathers and mothers you trust. All of us need older, wiser Christians who can guide us, pray for us and offer counsel. My mentors have encouraged me when I wanted to quit, and propelled me forward when I lost sight of God's promises. In the journey of faith, you do not have to feel your way in the dark. God gave Ruth a Naomi, Joshua a Moses and Esther a Mordecai. You can ask the Lord for a mentor to help guide and coach you.

2. "Barnabases" are spiritual peers who are close, bosom friends. They know everything about you, yet they love you anyway. They are also willing to correct you, bluntly if necessary! They provide accountability in areas of personal temptation. They offer a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. And they will stay up all night praying for you when you face a crisis.

Everybody should know the benefit of Proverbs 18:24: "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." But you cannot find faithful friends without seeking to be one first. Don't wait for your Barnabas to come to you—go and find him.

3. "Timothys" are the younger Christians you are helping to grow. Jesus never told us to assemble crowds, but He did command us to make disciples. Relational discipleship takes a lot of time and energy, but investing your life in others is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life. Once you have poured your life into another brother or sister and watched them mature in Christ, you will never settle for superficial religion again.

Like Paul, we must go out and find our Timothys. We must invest in them personally. It's not about preaching to them; they want a relationship with us that is genuine. They want spiritual moms and dads who are approachable, accepting, affirming and empowering. If we don't mentor them now, there won't be anyone running alongside us when it's time to pass our baton.

The Christian life is a vibrant, love relationship with God—but it doesn't end there. I pray you will open your heart and invest in the people around you.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter @leegrady. He is the author of 10 Lies Men Believe and other books. You can learn more about his ministry, The Mordecai Project, at

]]> (J. Lee Grady) Featured Fire in My Bones Blogs Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Jesus Wasn't Liked by Some, but He Was Likeable

My post last week, "Are You a Likeable Christian," received a pretty decent response and sparked some strong debate. To refresh your memory, I wrote to extol the virtues of my friend Justin Lathrop's new book, The Likeable Christian.

While some people agreed with my assessment of the subject, I'm afraid many misunderstood the point. Please allow me to elaborate.

One reader posted on Facebook, "When you preach the truth you will not be liked ... when called, you are not here for a popularity contest. It is written you will be hated for my name sake. Those drawn to you are done so by the will of God. Truly loving others is a willingness to endure for His names sake and preaching in places where you will not be liked ... but are needed. Are we to seek approval from people?"

The reader quoted Galatians 1:10, which says, "For am I now seeking the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? For if I were still trying to please men, I would not be the servant of Christ."

The Scripture is 100 percent correct. No, we should not seek the approval of men, and we should not seek to be liked. Jesus did not seek anyone's approval, and he was not liked by everyone. He was even hated by some. Anyone who reads the Bible knows that.

Another reader posted on our message board, "'Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man" (‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:22), and, 'If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first' ‭‭(John‬ ‭15:18,‬ ‭NIV). Neither of these would impress me that Christ was likeable."

Jesus Christ wasn't likeable? I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case.

The point that many are missing is that is there is a huge difference between being "likeable" and being "liked." Jesus didn't care about being liked, but He did care about being "likeable." That is the trait that we should all aspire to.

Jesus wasn't liked by some; and why was that? It was because of the hardness of those people's hearts, not His. The Pharisees' hearts were not focused on the good of the people. Their hearts were focused on themselves and how the public perceived them.

That resulted in their hatred of Jesus. But that doesn't mean Jesus wasn't likeable. If we are likeable, then people are more apt to be drawn to us and will listen to what we have to say. There are those who will not like what we have to say, and therefore will not like us. We shouldn't care about that. We need to keep preaching the gospel as instructed and portray Christlike character, which is that of a "likeable"—and loving—person.

The simple message: Be a Christ follower who is pleasant to be around. Smile. Laugh. Don't repel people with self-righteous venom. Be compassionate. Give of yourself—including your time and your finances.

And even if your points are factual and valid, don't try to be right all of the time. It's annoying. Believe me—I've been there.

Some people may not like what I write, but that's OK with me. I believe my words are said with a loving heart and I am doing what the Lord wants me to do. Jesus' rebukes were said in love and some hated Him. If that's the case with me, I'm in good company.

And as I always like to say, "There is that." God bless.

Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup For the Soul. You can read his blog here.

]]> (Shawn A. Akers) Featured Step Out of the Boat Blogs Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
How Can We Know That We Are Saved?

While in Ontario, Canada, Sue and I passed two Jehovah's Witness women standing on a busy street corner with racks of books and pamphlets they were giving to those passing by. As we passed, I felt a compassionate drawing toward them and so retraced my steps and politely opened a conversation with them.

I began by asking them how, according to their church, a person can know they are saved and will go to heaven. The one who was obviously the leader answered that we cannot know if we are saved until we die. She then quoted the words of Jesus, "He who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matt. 24:13).

I responded with the question, "Does that mean that at the end of our life if our good works outweigh our bad works, we will be OK?" She replied, "Yes." I then asked, "So what was the need for Jesus to come and die for our sins?" They did not have an answer.

The conversation then turned to who Jesus is when they mentioned the name "Jehovah." I asked, "Do you believe Jesus is Jehovah?" She answered with an emphatic "No!" (Jehovah Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the Archangel). I then asked, "Why then did Jesus receive worship from people?"

I went on to say, "In the Old Testament only God is to be worshipped and it would be blasphemous for anyone, even an angel, to receive worship, but Jesus allowed people to worship Him." I then quoted John 8:58, where Jesus identified Himself with God who spoke to Moses from the burning bush and identified Himself as I Am. I pointed out that Jesus said to the Jews, "Before Abraham was I Am," and that the Jews then attempted to stone Him for blasphemy.

At this point the leader politely brought the conversation to a close. I exhorted them to "follow Jesus" and went on my way with a sense of knowing I had obeyed the Lord and borne witness to His name.

Since then, I have thought on their human-centered concept of salvation that if our good works outweigh our bad works, we will be OK. The Bible, however, is very clear that we have already been weighed in God's balance and found wanting. What God said to of the Babylonian King Belshazzar is true of the entire human race, You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.

The human race in general, and every individual in particular, has been weighed in God's balance and found wanting. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," Paul said in Romans. 3:23. "All we like sheep have gone astray," the prophet Isaiah said, "We have turned, every one, to his own way" (Is. 53:6).

The whole world stands guilty before a righteous and holy God. God would have been righteous and just to have sent every one of us to hell. Not a single angel would have protested. John makes this point when he said that the one who does not believe in Christ is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

This sense of guilt before God is innate in human beings. This is why humans are incurably religious. Everywhere you go, people are religious and are seeking to assuage that innate sense of guilt with a religion of works or by hiding within a group, like these two with whom I conversed.

God, however, does not offer "group" salvation. Every individual, whether a pope or a pauper, must deal personally with God. All are alike in His sight. He is not impressed with human pomp and circumstance. The ground is level at the cross.

In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul said, "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ , that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."

The good news is that we can have assurance of our salvation, not based on what we have done, but based on what He has done. We do not have to wait until the end of our life to know if we are saved. Here are five ways to be sure:

1. We realize that we have already been weighed in heaven's balances and found wanting. Know that you already stand naked, guilty and condemned before a righteous and holy God.

2. Flee to Christ. Put your faith completely in Him. Do not try to hide in a group or church. Lay hold of Christ by faith and take Him as your personal Savior and Deliverer.

3. As you put your trust completely in Him there will come an assurance in your heart. The old time Methodists called it the "inner witness," based on Paul's words in Romans 8:16, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."

4. Walk in faith every day. Your life will not be perfect, but it will be different. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Trust Him every day for His strength and power to be a living witness to others of His mercy and grace as He promised in Acts 1:8.

5. As you walk with Him in faith each day, that inner sense of assurance will grow until you will know that you know that you are saved as much as you know your own identity. You will have no doubt that if you died today you would immediately go to be with Him.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, revivalist and Bible teacher. His latest book, The Faith & Vision of Benjamin Franklin, is available from Amazon. You can read about his vision for America and another Great Awakening by visiting his website at 

For the original article, click here.

]]> (Eddie L. Hyatt) Featured Evangelism Evangelism & Missions Spirit Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
Jumping Off the Deep End

I remember the city pool I used to frequent when I was a kid. I loved that pool, and I spent many hours there every summer. One of my favorite things to do was jump off the high dive. That diving board was at least a hundred feet up in the air. You had to gather your courage just to climb the ladder and walk out to the end of the diving board. Then, you had to muster up some serious courage in order to take the leap off the end of the board, into the water that waited for you a mile below.

Even though I was a good swimmer, and even though I'd gone off that board a million times, I still felt that shiver of fear when I got ready to jump. So I can understand why my kids, who are still learning to swim, are afraid of jumping off the side of the pool and into their swim instructor's waiting arms. It's scary. Sure, the teacher says she'll catch you, but will she really? Or might you somehow go under water? Like all the way, with even your head under?

As I watched my children's instructor trying to coax them to jump to her in the water, I thought about how much we moms are sometimes like my children. We fear entering something that might be dangerous. So we stand there, arms outstretched, bouncing a little, but afraid to get our whole body into the jump and leap forward, because we're afraid we'll go under. We're afraid He won't really be there when we hit the water's surface. After all, bad things happen sometimes in life, right? Even to good people. So how do we know we can trust God to be there for us when we really need Him?

Or perhaps we've been pushed off the edge of the pool by someone's death or by tragedy, and we're desperately hoping someone will be there to catch us and help us keep our head above water. Will God meet us? Or will we drown?

Those are honest, heart-wrenching questions, and they deserve an honest answer. The answer is this: Yes, sometimes bad things happen to us. Sometimes, when we leap into the pool, we do go under. But it's not because God is simply standing by, arms crossed, not even trying to catch us. If that's what we think, we're badly mistaken. No, when we jump into the pool, God is standing there with His arms reaching for us, ready to catch us as we begin to fall. And if we go under, He goes under with us, holding us tightly in His arms.

God didn't promise that we'll never have trouble, but He did promise to go through everything with us. He also promised that our trials won't overwhelm us. Yes, sometimes they seem overwhelming, and relief takes forever in coming. Sometimes, it doesn't come until heaven. But it will come. We'll shake the water droplets from our hair and wipe them from our eyes, and we'll realize we've made it. God has safely brought us through one more time. And then, I imagine we'll do what my children always do when I catch them when they jump—we'll cling tightly to the One who saved us and rest our head on His shoulder. He'll set us back on dry land, and going under will have become only a memory—a memory, and a testimony to the grace of God in bringing us through.

Isaiah 43:2—"When you pass through waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame kindle on you."

John 16:33—"I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world."

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 blogger and a stay-at-home mom with five children.

]]> (Megan Breedlove) Featured Women Life Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Why Satan Loves Detached Believers

A church family will help keep you from backsliding.

None of us are immune to temptation. Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin.

God knows this, so He has assigned us as individuals the responsibility of keeping each other on track.

The Bible says, "But exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Heb. 3:13).

"Mind your own business" is not a Christian phrase!

We are called and commanded to be involved in each other's lives. If you know someone who is wavering spiritually right now, it is your responsibility to go after him and bring him back into the fellowship.

James tells us, "Brothers, if any one of you strays from the truth and someone corrects him,let him know that he who converts the sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19).

A local church also provides the spiritual protection of godly leaders. God gives the shepherd leader the responsibility to guard, protect, defend and care for the spiritual welfare of his flock (Acts 20:28-29; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; Heb. 13:7).

We are told, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch over your souls as those who must give an account. Let them do this with joy and not complaining, for that would not be profitable to you" (Heb. 13:17b).

Satan loves detached believers, unplugged from the life of the body, isolated from God's family, and unaccountable to spiritual leaders, because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his tactics.

Don't let him get a foothold in your life! Stay connected to your church family.

Talk It Over

  • What kind of relationships will you have to develop if you want accountability with people in the body of Christ?
  • How should you pray for your church leaders?
  • What do you need to do to reconnect with your church family? Who do you know who needs to be brought back into your church family?

Rick Warren  New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. 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.

]]> (Rick Warren) Featured Church & Ministry Spirit Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
For the Sake of Your Kids, Stop These Embarrassing Facebook Posts

One of my favorite movies is Uncle Buck starring John Candy. When the parents in the movie have to go out of town suddenly, they call on Uncle Buck to watch their three kids.

One of those kids is an angry and rebellious teenager. When he drops her off at school right in front of a crowd, his car smokes and then lets off an explosive backfire. When the smoke clears, it reveals the teenager hiding in embarrassment. All of this brings enjoyment to Uncle Buck.

After that, she threatens to not be there when he comes to pick her up when school ends. To this, he replies, "Stand me up today and tomorrow I'll bring you to school in my robe and pajamas and walk you to your first class."

Adults, particularly parents, have been embarrassing teenage kids for ages. I am thankful every day that I grew in an era before the Internet. It has given parents an easier opportunity to mortify their kids.

There is no bigger medium for parents to do this than Facebook. After talking with teenagers, there are certain things they really wish their parents would stop doing. Don't shoot the messenger. I too had to evaluate my own Facebook behavior. These are your kids talking.

So for the sake of your kids, stop these embarrassing Facebook posts:

1. Checking in. If this was ever cool at all, it sure isn't anymore. There are a few people who need to know our exact location. The rest of the world doesn't.

2. Share this is you believe ... It's one thing to share something, but another to pressure others to do the same. Telling people to share if they agree with some generic or cheesy saying is nothing more than an annoying chain letter.

3. Throwback Thursday. Doing TBT every once in a while is fine, but every week is too much. Also, make TBT about you, not your kids. The last thing they need is a picture of them in diapers on the Internet for all of their peers to ridicule.

4. Liking your own comment, post or status. We know you like it or you wouldn't have said it, posted it or shared it. It comes across like you are trying to impress people or are needy for support and affirmation. You wouldn't applaud yourself after giving a speech; let others applaud you. Better yet, make your statement and let people respond as they may without looking to accumulate likes. Sometimes true genius is not appreciated until later.

5. Incorrect shorthand usage. If you use shorthand, make sure you know what you are communicating. Too many bad things have been communicated by parents who thought LOL meant Lots of Love, among others. Personally, my advice would be to write in complete sentences and use correct spelling. Their generation is losing the ability to do that well. I think we should model it to them any chance we get.

6. Sharing quiz results. Everyone loves quizzes to see what Star Wars character they'd be, etc. Keep the results to yourself though. Most of the world doesn't need to know that you're most like Han Solo.

7. Bad selfies. Posting a selfie that is out of focus or at a weird angle says, "I'm trying to do what the kids are doing, but I'm not good at it." Either do it right or don't do it at all.

8. Overposting and oversharing. This is the problem of too many posts and sharing overly personal information. Limiting the frequency of your posts normally helps with the second thing. Personally, I try to limit myself to one a day at most and I'm told that even that might be too much.

9. Overbearing political views. Political convictions are good. However, you are divisive when your political posts consistently demonize opposing parties and viewpoints. You represent the entire family when you post something. People can have emotional responses, not just towards you but also your children (for right or wrong).

10. Instagram. They would rather you not be here at all. They see this as their thing. You already took over Facebook and they don't want to move again. It's good to be there so you know what they are doing, but save your posts for Facebook.

BJ Foster is the content manager for All Pro Dad and a married father of two. For the original article, visit

]]> (BJ Foster/ Featured Men Life Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
10 Reasons Christ Followers Should Take Care of Themselves Physically

I confess that I don't always take care of myself as I should. I have to work hard to maintain a healthy weight, keep my blood pressure down and other things that are healthy for you.

As a Christian, though, I see this issue as more a spiritual one than a physical one. Here are 10 reasons believers need to take care of themselves:

1. We are created in God's image. The Bible is quite clear here—we are made in the image of the Creator. That image was marred in the fall of Adam and Eve, but not destroyed. That fact alone should give us reason to take care of ourselves.

2. This body is the only one we have. This point might sound silly, but sometimes we live as if we have bodies to spare. When this one is worn out, we don't have a replacement until the day of resurrection.

3. Poor discipline is a bad witness. It's hard to tell people to be disciplined in their Bible study, prayer life and giving when they can look at us and see we are undisciplined in exercise and eating. A lack of effort in one area of life is often indicative of problems in other areas.

4. Bad health is costly. Eventually, the costs of poor health add up. Medical bills pile up. Insurance costs increase. Moreover, bad health makes us less productive at work. Others are forced then to carry some of our load.

5. Our families deserve better. Frankly, it's unloving not to take care of ourselves. Our families worry about us when we struggle to climb steps or find clothes to fit. Our love for them ought to motivate us to do better.

6. Being out of shape might indicate idolatry. Those words might be difficult to hear, but they're necessary ones. If we cannot push away from food in order to take care of our bodies, we must ask if something other than God has become our god.

7. Better health equals more energy to do God's work. God's work is not easy. Those of us in ministry know that the burdens are sometimes heavy. The hours are often long. Being out of shape makes the work only that much more difficult.

8. Proper care requires rest, and it's biblical to get rest. God expects us to take time off, focus on Him, and enjoy His blessings. In fact, not taking time to rest can be self-centered (that is, we think we must be doing everything). I struggle here, but I'm learning.

9. We might be called to the mission field. Many missions organizations will not consider sending someone who is out of shape. The work is often rigorous, and the stresses of cross-cultural living are only compounded by poor health.

10. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. This truth is difficult to comprehend, but God really does live within us (1 Cor. 6:19). He who created us and dwells in us expects us to be wise stewards of the body He gave us.

Maybe you want to make a commitment to take better care of yourself. If so, tell us how we can pray for you.

Chuck Lawless currently serves as professor of evangelism and missions and dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Chuck Lawless ) Featured Health Life Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Prophetic Word: Ministry Leaders, God Wants to Propel You in the Spirit Realm

I felt the Lord drawing me in to His presence. Then an unction came upon me to pray specifically for His servants, leaders and ministers in His kingdom.

I could feel His heart for you; His desire for a refreshing of your spirit and soul and that He would break your heart for what breaks His heart. I felt that your heart would unite with His and that you would come into spiritual alignment with His will and calling on your life. I felt that you would be refreshed and renewed in Him, have abundant life, health, prosperity and that you would not grow weary in your calling.

I transitioned to praying in the Spirit for God's servants, and He gave me the interpretation. God wants your heart to be united with his heart. He wants to give you an outpouring of his love for His people. He wants you to burn with love for His people. He wants to invigorate you.

He desires to sustain you. He sustains you through his love, because when you have an overflowing vessel of His love, it can't help but continually sustain you. You are always filled.

He wants to refresh you with His living waters, pour out new wine on you, he wants to fill you with revelation of His scriptures and pour out an everlasting abundance of knowledge. He desires to you use in greater measures.

I hear the word propelling right now in the spirit realm. He wants to propel you in new places, new spheres of influence and new places in the Spirit. He wants to increase your prayer life. He wants to lavish His abundant love upon you. He wants to renew your strength as an eagle.

God says now is not the time for weariness and heaviness; they must go. They have no place in the kingdom. He says, "You are victorious; you have the victory; you are victorious."  Victorious because of His great love and nothing cannot be conquered when you have His love. His love will propel you into new places, new assignments and new anointings.

He said, "I am going deeper because the time is here that My kingdom must manifest. I desire to come in like a fresh morning rain. I love you with an everlasting love. I have anointed you, appointed you, chosen you. I desire to fellowship with you and renew your strength."

There are great things coming. "Get ready, My people," He says, "Get ready. Abundance! Outpouring! Refreshing! Renewal! Now is the time for prosperity in your soul, growth, abundance and transition. Yes, it is a time of transition, but good transition. You will be learning new things, abundant things about My kingdom. My Kingdom will prevail. Get equipped. Get ready! I am going to release the increase you need to advance My kingdom. My kingdom shall prevail. No weapon formed against it shall prosper, and no weapon formed against you shall prosper when you are equipped, prepared, ready and armed for battle. Yes, get yourself armed for battle. Get yourself armed in My Word. Permeate yourself in My Word, permeate yourself and saturate yourself in the revelation of My Scripture."

Allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher and instructor. Seek Him for guidance into my Scripture that is life and abundant health to your soul. Your soul is not perishing; it is renewed daily when you feed it my Word. Your mind, will and emotions need my Word, which I have brought forth. It is abundant life and light. It is refreshing, renewing and everlasting.

Bury yourself in My word. Allow it to come forth and birth new sprouts in you. Water those sprouts with My love. In the word, there is love and power that will spring forth and cause new things to grow in you. As you bring those things forth out of the depths of My Word, you will bring forth the change the world longs to see.

Kathy DeGraw is the founder of DeGraw Ministries ( She is a prophetic deliverance minister who is passionate about releasing the love and power of God. She travels hosting conferences, teaching schools and evangelistic love tours. Kathy enjoys empowering and equipping people through writing and is the author of five books.

]]> (Kathy DeGraw) Featured Prophecy Spirit Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Breaking Through the Barriers That Hold You back

Have you ever stopped to think about the power you give to whatever you believe? It's true. Once believed, a lie's power in your life will grow and grow until it becomes a tyranny.

Tyranny is a very strong word that describes an actual stronghold. It describes a process of thinking so oppressive and hopeless that those under its domain soon become depressed and disillusioned. Tyranny creates a bondage so far-reaching that its tentacles are felt in every area of life.

Does something have such a hold on you? If so, I want to radically interrupt your torment. I believe you can be free from the bondage of any tyrant that holds you captive—whether it's a lie you've believed about your appearance, fear, pride, unbelief, disobedience, addiction or something else.

Whatever holds you captive in the natural is rooted in the spiritual. It has grown from a seed, a word, a disapproving glance, a rejection, or a comparison. Each story is different, but God's truth remains steadfast and absolute. It is His deepest desire not only to set you free, but also to banish your deepest and darkest fears.

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32)

God wants to counteract the lies with His truth. He seeks to restore and reassign value to the precious, to discard the vile, and to breathe life, hope and direction where there has been discouragement, death and confusion.

In what area has the enemy established a stronghold to keep you captive? Are you ready to be free from this tyranny?

This week, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see, your ears to hear and your heart to understand the things He is speaking to you. Give Him permission to change your perspective, and ask for the grace to embrace truth so it can bring forth fruit in your life.

Lisa Bevere originally wrote about this topic in her book It's Not How You Look, It's What You See. You can click here to learn more about that message.

]]> (Lisa Bevere) Featured Women Life Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
What Does God Call 'Good'?

A young man came running to Jesus one day.

He must have been anxious about something. He was a wealthy man with some community status. But his question reveals he was feeling a measure of emptiness inside.

"Good Teacher," he addressed Jesus, "what must I do to gain eternal life?" (Luke 18:18).

Jesus response is a little unsettling. "Why do you call Me good? No one is good, except God alone" (Luke 18:19). Jesus' immediate focus was not on the question of eternal life, but the young man's measure of excellence.

Was the young man saying Jesus was a good teacher; one of the good guys; or was he saying Jesus is absolutely good?"

What is intrinsically good?

How does one measure good and evil?

What is the plumb line?

Jesus clearly answered that question. Good and evil are not determined by society or culture. Jean Paul Sartre had it wrong. Man is not autocratic and the will of the people; the ballot box; not even the Supreme Court is the one who determines good and evil.

Good and evil are not determined by society or culture.

Where does one turn when a nation's social engineering goes adrift? To whom will psychiatry, medicine, congress and sociology turn when they have drifted into a moral free fall? What is the measure that tells them when the nation is culturally and morally bankrupt? What guideline assures the social order will not be ravaged by crime, violence and intimidation? Who determines if they have crossed the line into sexual perversion?

There is One alone who sets the standard. "Why do you call Me good? No one is [absolutely] good, except God alone." Almighty God is plumb line of good. All-knowing God is the rule of social order. Omniscient God is the measure of good evil for all nations, all societies and all cultures for of all time.

When God delivered the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt and was taking them to establish a new nation with a new culture. He gave clear instructions what would be the measure for good and evil for their national laws; their cultural norms and for their interpersonal relationships. "For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy, for I am holy" (Lev. 11:44).

When Jesus established the church, He gave the same instructions during His Sermon on the Mount. "Therefore be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). This standard is not just the divine fiat that declares a person to be "the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus" when they have repented of their sin and experienced new birth. It is to be the standard for their daily life.

The Apostle Paul declared: "Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. And do not let sexual immorality, or any impurity, or greed be named among you, as these are not proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse joking, which are not fitting. Instead, give thanks. For this you know, that no sexually immoral or impure person, or one who is greedy, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them" (Eph. 5:1-7).

The same apostle wrote to the church in Thessalonica urging them to live their lives in a way that is pleasing to God because they knew the commandments Jesus Christ had given to them. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3).

Where does a nation look to find the anchor bolts that will secure it from societal and moral destruction?

They must look to the living God. His Holy Word will give them the wisdom and understanding.

His precepts and principles will be the plumb line for good and evil.

Dear ones, the church is to be the living example of that standard for a nation gone adrift. But when the church of Jesus Christ compromises God's holiness, yields to tolerance, adopts political correctness, and silences her voice that distinguishes between the sacred and the carnal, the nation is left with no certain standard for measuring good and evil.

The church has put a covering over the light of God leaving the nation in darkness.

The church has bleached her cultural flavoring.

She is good for nothing and she will be trampled under the feet of ungodly men.

F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dean has been married 45 years to his wife, Wanda. They have three children serving in full-time Christian ministry. Their two daughters are missionaries in Croatia and their son is planting a church in Portland, Oregon. They have nine grandchildren. Dr. Dean is known for training many leaders who are presently in full-time ministry around the world. He has completed a Master's degree in Ministry, a Master's of Theology and a Ph.D. in practical theological with an emphasis in marriage and family counseling. His enthusiastic and challenging ministry has made him a popular teacher and conference speaker. He has written eight books and is presently writing the third book in a trilogy Freedom Series. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

]]> (F. Dean Hackett) Featured Women Life Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Prophecy: Donald Trump Shall Become the Trumpet

In His great wisdom throughout the course of human history, God has chosen not only to fulfill His plans and purposes through men and women who have yielded to the sound of His voice, but He has also chosen to accomplish His will through men and women who have ignored and rebelled against Him. One such man was King Cyrus mentioned in Isaiah 45.

Isaiah prophesied of Cyrus and speaks as a mouthpiece of the Lord when he declared, "I have even called you by your name [Cyrus]; I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the Lord and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.
I strengthen you, though you have not known Me, so that they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other" (Is. 45:4-6).

What a powerful and profound prophetic declaration to a man who did not know or serve the Lord! Could God not use the wicked and ungodly to bring about His plans and purposes thousands of years ago and can He not still do the same thing again, especially in the midst of the crisis that we find America in today?

I was in a time of prayer several weeks ago when God began to speak to me concerning the destiny of Donald Trump in America. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, "Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger."

As the body of Christ, we must keep our ears and eyes open as we continue to move toward the 2016 elections in the United States. I believe that God is not only going to use the prayers of the saints to bring about His plans and purposes, but He is even going to use those who do not know Him. What a great comfort and source of encouragement we have in the wisdom of God in this hour.

Just as Job declared to God in Job 42:2, "I know that You can do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from You." Let's begin to pray in faith, knowing that God can do all things and that no purpose of His in the 2016 elections can be thwarted!

Jeremiah Johnson planted Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida, and is on the Eldership Team. A gifted teacher, book author, and prophetic minister, Jeremiah travels extensively throughout the United States and abroad as a conference and guest speaker. Jeremiah and his wife, Morgan, reside in Florida with their two children: Bella Grace and Israel David. Check out Jeremiah's new book release, I See A New Prophetic Generation and visit him online at Behold the Man Ministries or connect with him on Facebook.

]]> (Jeremiah Johnson) Featured Prophetic Insight Blogs Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400
How to Pray Prophetically Over Your Nation

Donna Childress shares this vision (I met her at GLOBAL last week): "I would like to take time to share a vision that I had while in Washington D.C. I recently moved to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I received an email from my friend Kathy in Myrtle Beach about one of our friend's named Annette.

Annette received a word from God that she was to go to Washington D.C. and pray around the White House on April 1, 2014. She would also pray around the Capitol Building the next day. She was also instructed to email a few friends so they could pass on the message that she was going and to meet her in Washington if anyone was interested.

She and her friends did not know how they would pay for her trip or where they would stay; they were depending on God to provide. When I heard about it, I volunteered to let them stay with me and I told them they could drive back and forth because it was only a couple hours away. I also felt led to go with them.

Here is what happened upon our arrival in Washington:

In the natural: As we were walking up the street of the White House on the North West Side, I saw the layout with the barricades that looked exactly like a dream I had the night before. As we were approaching the White House, I looked and, in the natural, I noticed how very clean everything appeared. The streets and sidewalks had no dirt or trash on them. I also noticed the buildings straight in front of me. They were all lined up in perfect rows. I could not believe my eyes just how clean everything was.

In the supernatural: God showed me a large carpet lying over the whole city of Washington and all the dirt was swept under it. 

This started our prayer walk around the White House praying for the president and our nation.

The next day, we went back to pray around the Capitol Building. As we were leaving the city:

In the natural: A big cyclone of dirt stirred up and appeared in front of our car. 

In the supernatural: I saw the carpet being lifted, all the dirt pouring out and then I heard God say, "I am lifting, I am cleaning and I am exposing." 

How to pray prophetically (comments from Mark): When Daniel noted what God intended to do (Dan. 9), he came into agreement with it by praying and fasting for it to be accomplished. I have chosen to pray for God to expose wickedness and evil and to remove it from Washington D.C.

David even went so far as to pray and ask God to remove the wicked from the face of the earth (Ps. 109). Let the Lord lead you as to how you should pray. We do know we are commanded to pray for our governments (1 Tim. 2:1,2), so let's do that.

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice teaches on how to see vision and hear God's voice. This allows you to not only deepen your relationship with God but also be instructed by Him in how to pray for situations. 

Mark Virkler is founder and president of Christian Leadership University and co-founder of Communion With God Ministries. The co-author of more than 50 books with his wife, Patti, Mark has received a Master of Theology from Miami Christian University and a Ph.D. from Carolina Christian University.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Mark Virkler ) Featured Prayer Spirit Tue, 28 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
9 Defining Marks of the Overcoming Church

I am more convinced than I have ever been that we are on the doorsteps of the Third Great Awakening. I believe that revival is beginning to gain momentum across this nation. I also believe that revival and awakening are needed now more than ever.

My great desire is for this movement, this revival to be sustained and that it would never end. That we would fully move into the fulfillment of moving from glory to glory and faith to faith. Therefore if continual revival and awakening is our inheritance, then they must also be accompanied with reformation. On the local level, there has to be adjustments made in order to sustain the move of God.

I believe that God gave us a pattern, a paradigm or a model in the book of Acts called the Antioch Church that gives us a glimpse of what is available and necessary to sustain a thriving movement.

It is not the will of God for us to live in sin cycles or revival cycles. It is His will that would live in the place of communion continually that would position us to sustain what comes from heaven, even when it touches the hands of our humanity. While Antioch was not a perfect church, there are some foundational things that were present that allowed them to sustain as a thriving body in a very difficult time of persecution and tremendous growth.

City Transformation

Antioch was the third most powerful city in the Roman Empire behind Rome and Alexandria. It was a place known for business, commerce, sophistication and culture but also very much known for its immorality. It was a thriving city that was the capital of the Roman province of Syria. During this time cities and regions were often identified by the characteristics that were displayed in that city.

For example, Jerusalem was known as the religious city. Rome was known for its power. Alexandria was known for its intellect and Athens for philosophy. However, the defining characteristics of Antioch were business and immorality. So the birthing of the Gentile church was nothing short of miraculous.

Acts chapters 11-13 give us the narrative of the gospel being preached in Antioch. It was the beginning of fulfillment of the words spoken by Jesus to preach the gospel to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. What is so amazing about this revival, this movement that was sparked, is that we see firsthand the gospel of Jesus Christ coming to, infecting and completely transforming an utterly pagan city. This gives me great hope that if a city like Antioch can be transformed, so can my city!

Defining Marks of the Antioch Church

There are 9 defining marks of the Antioch church that we can learn from and apply. I also believe that these defining marks carry in them the DNA of reformation needed to sustain the revival and awakening that is upon us.

1. The Antioch church and accompanying revival were birthed out of persecution. Acts 11:19 says, "Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only."

After the stoning of Stephen, the believers were scattered. However it was this persecution that positioned them to have a platform from which to launch. They were declaring their testimony and the goodness of Jesus. Persecution did not keep them from preaching the gospel. They were not so ashamed of their past that they kept silent. They were so filled with the Holy Spirit that seemingly negative obstacles were launching pads for revival and awakening.

2. Antioch was a place of revival and awakening. Acts 11:24 says: "For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord."

There was no mistaking that revival was upon the community of believers in Antioch. So much so that the Apostles sent Barnabas to check out what was taking place. He was so marked that he stayed and sent for Paul. People were coming to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ at a very rapid rate. Evangelism was second nature.

3. Antioch had a strong focus on the Word of God. Acts 11:25-26 says: "Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a considerable crowd."

There was a solid foundation of teaching the scriptures at Antioch. There was a need for sound teaching in order for this movement to be sustained. Living according to the scriptures was a way of life.

4. Antioch was place of identity. Acts 11:26 says, "And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch."

Although it was supposed to be a negative term at first, Antioch is the first place the term Christian is used. It was a place of identity so much so that even though the opposition was attempting to brand this group of believers in a negative way, they were so secure in their pursuit of God that it became a distinct privilege and it still is a privilege to be called a Christian.

5. Antioch was a giving and missional church. Acts 11:29 says, "Then every disciple, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea."

They were not so inwardly focused that they could not see the needs of others. I love this concept. Agabus declares by the Spirit of God that a famine is coming. The church prepares itself so that they can sustain but also be an answer to impending need. We need more prophetic voices that not only have the ability to alert us as to what is coming, but also have the ability to hear the voice of God and gain His heart for a solution as well. We are not a prophetic people because we can see that America is in a mess. We are prophetic because in the midst of the mess we can see and declare the strategy for America to be once again burning with the fires of revival and awakening. This will position us to be willing to give of our time and our resources.

6. Antioch was a church with a plurality of leaders. Acts 13:1-2 says: "In the church that was in Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they worshipped the Lord and fasted ... ."

We are never told that there was one person running the show. There were many prophets and teachers. This was such a unique setting that the Holy Spirit spoke to separate Paul and Barnabas and we are never even told who released that word. This is a model where the one-man show was never an issue. I am convinced that one of the true indicators of sustained revival will be that pride, ego and entertainment are slain on the altar of unity and humility. I believe the team model of ministry is why the New Testament church was so successful. It wasn't about the man it was about the mission to tell the world of the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. There was no room for ego.

7. Antioch was a worshipping church. Acts 13:2 says, "As they worshipped the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'"

The word ministered in the Greek is the word leitourgeo, which means to perform religious duties. It also is where we get the word liturgy. So they were literally ministering before the Lord in in the office of the priest. It was defining mark of this movement. If revival is to be sustained, then worship has to be a primary action. You cannot pray for revival and not honor the one who brings revival. They were literally "priesting" before the Lord daily in worship.

8. Antioch was a praying and fasting kind of church. Acts 13:3 says, "Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off."

Fasting and prayer were foundational principles for the church at Antioch. I love that they heard the word of the Lord to send Paul and Barnabas and they bathed that word in prayer in fasting. I believe that the detriment to our nation is not the activity of sin, but the activity of the prayerless church. Prayer and fasting are still necessary. Ministers are still needed to lie between porch and altar in fasting and intercession. The answer for our nation is a burning, praying church!

9. Antioch was an apostolic and prophetic hub (Acts 11-13). The foundation of the church at Antioch was built on apostles and prophets, not pastors and associate pastors. While all are necessary and I believe that Acts 11-13 shows that four of the five-fold ministry gifts were present, apostles and prophets were still leading the charge. Antioch was place of sending. Paul and Barnabas came at the beginning of the movement and the word of the Lord came for them to be sent and they were sent. Watch this: The church didn't fold. Two of the greatest preachers and leaders in the New Testament were removed and the church kept on thriving. This was a result of the foundation that was built from the beginning.

The Reason It Worked 

Jesus was the sole reason for the connection and mix of ministry gifts. It was their common belief in Jesus as the Messiah that made this movement work. It wasn't positions, titles, programs or music. The common thread was that they were willing to lay their lives down for the Jewish man called Jesus.

I believe that God is releasing a fresh wave of the Antioch Paradigm because it is a proven, documented model that can spark and sustain revival and awakening. God is releasing a grace for establishing revival hubs across this nation in the pattern of the Antioch Church that will thrive in the face of persecution.

There is a remnant rising form the ashes of burning movements of times past with a heart for the harvest and evangelism. I believe that there is a fresh baptism in the love of the Word of God that is being poured out in this moment. God is releasing the mantles of identity to a fatherless generation who hunger and thirst for righteousness once again.

Giving and missions will mark these Revival centers. Uncommon unity will be the banner on the body of Christ. The one-man show will give way to unity and humility. I declare that there is another worship movement that will be released. Churches where the sole purpose of their gatherings will be to look into the fiery eyes of Jesus with worship and adoration.

The prayerless church will move in to the fulfillment of her true identity to be a praying, thriving church. I see the Lord restoring the function of the apostle and the unction of the prophet to the proper role and responsibility that was originally intended. I'm so thankful that He gave us a pattern and a model from which to draw from.

God is releasing the Antioch paradigm.

Ryan Bain serves on the Senior Leadership team at Awakening Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Ryan burns to see Awakening and Reformation come to this nation and specifically the city of Louisville. He, along with his wife Rebekah carry a mandate to train and equip a generation to walk in the fulfillment of their God-given destiny.

]]> (Ryan Bain) Featured Church & Ministry Spirit Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
The Powerful Secret to Heal the Sick

I know that the thought of ministering healing in the name of Jesus can be rather intimidating for some, but we need to remember that we do not go alone. The Holy Spirit, who lives and resides inside of every believer in Jesus Christ, is the one working in and through us. Let me share a personal testimony of what happened the first time I ministered healing to someone.

Back in 1991, in Guatemala City, on a short-term mission trip our team was going door-to-door sharing about Jesus and inviting the people to come to an evangelistic campaign that we were holding in their neighborhood. At one home the people already were believers in Christ, so I asked them if there was anything that I could pray with them about. They said "Yes" and asked us to wait. The interpreter and I sat down in their one room home and waited. Soon afterward they returned with a little girl who had been deaf since birth and could not speak.

I did not know much about healing back then, but I laid my hands on her anyway, and I rebuked a spirit of deafness and commanded her ears to be opened, and immediately she could hear, and speak. Her first word was, "Hallelujah!"

I share this testimony because sometimes we think we can't minister healing to someone because we do not know enough about healing. But here is a powerful secret. If we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we have what it takes to minister to the sick. His name is Jehova-rapha, the Lord who heals us, (see Exod. 15:26). And in 1 John 4:17, we are encouraged with a life-changing truth about our identity, "as He is, so are we in this world." And as His ambassadors, (see 2 Cor. 5:20) we are commissioned to go and evangelize the world with power, and if we believe we will lay hands on the sick and they will recover, (see Mark 16:15-18). Go ahead, take a bold step of faith and minister healing to those around you. You've got what it takes!

Becky Dvorak is a healing minister and the Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe and Greater Than Magic. Visit Becky at

]]> (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
WATCH: TD Jakes Goes Off on Grammy-Winning Singer

Sometimes we all need a talking-to, and who better to give us wise counsel than a godly man?

But for Toni Braxton and her family, it wasn't a gentle reminder to get back in line. 

"You're spoiled. You're flat-out spoiled," TD Jakes told the family. "I deal with people who have real problems—people who are losing their limbs, who need a kidney transplant—and those families go through that with more dignity than you can go through who stood on stage?"

Start the video at 22:30 to see what else he said.

]]> (Jessilyn Justice ) Featured Music The Buzz Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
7 Love Actions to Show Your Spouse

Romantic movies often trick us into thinking that grand gestures equal big love. They tell us we need to write a message in the clouds or paint words on a billboard or shout it from the top of a mountain.

However, I'd suggest that many small acts of love add up to a lot more than one big gesture. It's the little things, day in and day out, that show your unwavering love and commitment.

So, I'd like to share with you seven love actions to show your spouse:

1. Write a note. Surprise your spouse with a long love letter and put it on their pillow one morning. Or leave sticky notes with short words of encouragement on the bathroom mirror or the kitchen table. To help get you started, here are some things you can write: "10 More Things Husbands Want to Hear From Their Wives" and "10 More Things Wives Want to Hear From Their Husbands."

2. Bring flowers. Bringing a bouquet of flowers to your spouse is a great way to show you were thinking of her. Set the flowers in a vase of water on the counter or by the door. This way, they will be there all week long, and every time she passes them, she'll be reminded of your love.

3. Make the bed. Mornings are constantly a rush to get out the door. But I promise you, the 60 seconds it takes to make the bed is always worth it. When my wife, Susan, comes in at night from a long, hard day to find the bed made, she smiles knowing I made the effort to make her happy in this small way.

4. Cook dinner. There's nothing like good smells from good food cooking in the kitchen when we get home. So take over one night and make a meal for the whole family. Love your spouse well by trying a new recipe or just sticking with one of her favorites.

5. Plan a creative date. Get creative by planning a simple date that fits your lifestyle. Go for a picnic in the back yard, go to a pizza diner down the street, go for a walk, watch the stars come out at the park or go out for morning coffee. Whatever you do, be intentional in making your spouse feel special on the date.

6. Hold hands. After being married a few years, it's easy to forget the simple things in your relationship. Holding hands is one of those things. When you're out to dinner, driving in the car together or just sitting on the couch at home, grab your spouse's hand.

7. Call and text. Even if daily schedules have you and your spouse in different places, don't go all day without communicating. Give them a call during your lunch break just to see how they're doing and to tell them you love them. A quick call or text will reassure them that they are important to you and on your mind.

What are some other love actions you take to love your spouse?

Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit

]]> (Mark Merrill/Family First) Featured Men Life Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
This Little Known Connection Could Be Deadly for Your Heart

People don't usually think of the heart and the liver as being closely connected, but what happens to your liver absolutely impacts the health of your heart.

The liver is your body's largest internal organ, and it is vitally important for processing nutrients and also removing toxins from the food we digest. If it's not working properly, toxins can build up and cause damage.

One of the chief causes of poor liver function is fatty liver disease, a condition that causes the liver to swell with fat.

Because the liver naturally contains some stores of fat, a certain amount of fat content is expected. But if that fat accounts for more than 10 percent of the organ's total weight, it is considered fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver disease comes in two types: alcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Alcoholic fatty liver disease happens in people who abuse alcohol—a risk that we have known about for a long time.

But the type of fatty liver disease that is becoming epidemic in the United States is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD.

I often write about the dangers of abdominal fat and how having too much fat around your belly creates inflammation, which helps to kick off the process of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and leads to heart disease.

The same thing happens when your liver is too fatty. Whether that inflammation comes from a fatty liver or fat in your belly, the result is the same. Your risk of heart disease goes up.

In April, a long-term study found that NAFLD was a strong independent risk factor for the early development of coronary artery disease, even in the absence of other traditional, recognizable risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and triglycerides.

In addition to heart disease, NAFLD also leads to diabetes. In fact, studies show that about 70 percent of people with diabetes also have fatty liver disease.

Although there are drugs in the pipeline, there is currently no medication to combat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. However, you can actually manage the condition—and even reverse it—in the same way you do heart disease.

Lose Weight. A 2009 study of 50 patients found that those who lost 5 percent of their weight improved their blood glucose levels and reduced the fat in their livers. Those who lost 9 percent of their body weight actually began to see liver damage reverse.

Eat Better. Whether you're losing weight or not, it's important to improve your diet. Replace processed and fried foods with whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish or meat that is not fried. Some studies show that the Mediterranean diet, with its reliance on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil may also protect the liver.

You should also eliminate refined sugars from your diet.

Exercise. In 2011, a study of obese people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease found that walking one hour a day on a treadmill for seven consecutive days jump-started metabolism and helped reduce inflammatory damage.


Chauncey W. Crandall, M.D., F.A.C.C., chief of the cardiac transplant program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, practices interventional, vascular and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his postgraduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the cardiovascular surgery division. Known as the "Christian physician," Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Chauncey Crandall/M.D., F.A.C.C.) Featured Health Life Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:50:00 -0400
A Word for Those Fearing the Doom and Gloom

The Lord woke me up at 5:13 a.m. recently from a prophetic dream. In the dream I was walking out of my childhood home in the country to do my daily chores. We lived on a cattle and horse farm, so there were always plenty of chores.

As I walked out, three faithful dogs that always went with me everywhere greeted me. Then things started changing suddenly, as I looked across our place, I saw ministry leaders that we are currently in ministry with, and they were all in quicksand.

Now we all know that when you're in quicksand you never panic. The leaders were whispering, "Help us." In the dream, as I walked toward them, the ground became solid and they were freed. Some climbed out of their situation with a little help. Others I had to drag out of the miry clay. The Scripture that stuck out to me was Numbers 16:48, "He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped."

As I was pulling the leaders from the quicksand I saw a sheep running scared. It ran right past us and no one was able to help because they were themselves in need of help. Then the sheep was caught by three demonic beings and forced back into the barn.

As they carried the sheep back toward the stables and barn I followed after them. When I got close to the barn door I heard a voice say, "We will kill some, steal some and make the other to act dead." Immediately the first part of John 10:10 came to mind: the thief comes to steal, and to kill and to destroy.

At this moment fear came over me and I ran into the house, found my safe place, and started praying. The Lord spoke this to me: "My ministers in this hour will walk in fear or faith. They will decide in the safe place which one they will choose. The safe place is the place of prayer." I started asking God for a greater revelation of this prophetic dream in my morning quiet time. This is what God showed me:

"My leaders are sinking into the things of the world" (that's what the quicksand represented) "that seem so familiar to them. They need someone to lend a hand and pull them out. They couldn't help the flock (sheep) because of this. The enemy was there to kill some, steal some, and force others to play dead."

Isn't this a picture of to many believers today? They act as if they are dead. God needs leaders to arise. I felt the Lord say, "My flock is so scared in America right now and they need a voice to speak life into them, but so many key voices are sinking right now and have lost their voice."

The word of the Lord came to me about ministers in this hour. He said we can't be afraid of what's around the corner, but we must walk in faith, knowing that whatever comes their way God will get them through.

If you're sinking into things today, cry out for help and God will send you someone to lend you a hand. If you're sinking, you can't minister to the sheep God has entrusted into your care. Remember the last part of John 10:10: "But I have come to give that you will live more abundantly." America needs her prophetic voices to arise and not be afraid of the attacks of the enemy. I believe the flock of America will be saved!

Joe Joe Dawson is the president of Burn Texarkana Revival center and House of Prayer. Pastor Dawson also serves as staff evangelist for First Assembly of God in Texarkana, Texas, where he also is now the Tribe College/young adult pastor. Burn Texarkana has one revival/awakening service a month at First Assembly and also has Burn on the Road meetings in neighboring cites monthly. There are four Burn Texarkana prayer meetings each week! Joe is married to the love of his life, Autumn, and together they have three kids: Malachi, Judah and Ezra. He also serves on the leadership team of New Bread Revivalists Network.

]]> (Joe Joe Dawson) Featured Prophecy Spirit Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
How a Lie Can Lock You Down

"(We are) 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. 10:5).

In the Hebrew Calendar, we are in the month of Av, this month is represented by the Tribe of Simeon, and has been said to be a month in which keys to reverse the curse are released. Now for some people this can be a bunch of rhetoric, but for me, this month has proved to be exactly what it says it is. It is a key giving, curse reversing, kind of month. What God has been showing me in just this first week of this Hebrew month of Av is blowing my natural mind, exciting my spiritual mind and healing my soul.

Since God is omniscient, meaning He is all knowing, He knew we were going to be born in this time in history, He knew we would be having the challenges personally and corporately that we are having, and He decided in His omniscience to have us be alive for such a time as this. So, God is not moved, nor surprised by anything that is going on in us, through us, or even around us, personally, nationally or internationally. Do you agree?

So, since this is all TRUTH, then where is the lie that is keeping us powerless, keeping us bound, keeping us locked up, held back? The problem is not with God, He is bigger than we can even comprehend, He is more powerful than we recognize, and He is more loving than we believe, so the issue lies with our vain imaginations. Somewhere inside of us, we have come to believe a lie, which when we come into agreement with it, becomes a stronghold and hinders what God wants to do in us and through us. Stay with me.

Yesterday, I was watching a sermon by John Paul Jackson and the Lord was speaking directly to me through this man of God. The Lord showed me that I have lived with a stronghold of believing what others have said about me. Now for me, it was a spirit of intimidation that I come into agreement with. This spirit of intimidation eroded at my confidence and kept me in the realm of knowing and even understanding, but not believing.

Believing is putting our whole weight on God, it is not doubting, fearing or even flinching when an attack comes because you know what He said and He is not a man that He should lie. So, I would second guess myself, that I heard clearly, or that I was really as up to date as I thought I was when it came to obedience.

Why is this significant? It's significant because the intimidator kept me from believing what God was saying about me, and, in doing so, kept me from receiving what God wants to pour out on me. I am not a mistake, God knew the personality He gave me, the body type I would have, everything about me and He called me to be a mouthpiece for Him. I did not ask for, have an opinion about or get to give advice on any of these things.

He made me like this and He likes what he made, He actually said it is very good. So, my vain imagination was that I did not like what He made and some others have not either, so I tried to dumb it down, shut it up, tone it down, and in doing so, I came into agreement with the intimidator to stay down, and this is a vain imagination that exalted itself over the knowledge of God.

I don't know what stronghold you are stuck in and honestly you probably don't either, for the enemy is very subtle and sneaky. But this I do know, the mystery of why things are not working is in the history and as we allow the Lord to look into our history, and show us the lie that has us locked up, we will be given keys that will reverse the curse in our own lives, so we can cast down vain imaginations in the lives of those we love. I'm free and now I see and agree with who God has made me to be. It's about to get really fun!

Lisa Great is an author, speaker and blogger with Mouthpiece Ministries International. She has been in ministry for over 25 years, she has a BA in Youth and Family Studies, a MA in Education. She can be reached at;; or on her Facebook page Lisa Great.

]]> (Lisa Great) Featured Women Life Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
How You Can Hinder God

I was recently recalling an occasion in my life when I spent a lot of time and effort trying to fix a situation in my own strength. The outcome, as you can probably imagine, was a disaster. My ideas, my wisdom, my experience and my advice were so filled with my own fleshly desire to see quick resolution of conflict and peace prevail that, to my shame, I neglected the kingdom purposes of God ... and indeed, God Himself. 

Dallas Willard has stated in Hearing God: "There is no avoiding the fact that we live at the mercy of our ideas. This is never more true than with our ideas about God. Meaning well is not enough. Those who operate on the wrong information are likely never to know the reality of God's presence in the decisions which shape their lives and will miss the constant divine companionship for which their souls were made."

These words brought up the memory above, and, although I made a mess of things with my efforts alone, I am more than thankful that God has forgiven my lack of pressing into Him for His counsel, peace and purposes for the situation I was attempting to fix. There have been not-so-nice consequences for my lack of listening to the voice of God, but over time, He has worked to bring healing and restoration into the situation.

Pondering all of this, I have to ask the question: "How can I resist the urge to live at the mercy of my own good ideas about situations, people and even God?" We are responsible to handle the Word of God with accuracy: "Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). If we can hear through the Spirit the accurate way to move forward, or to even stay out of the way in places where the wisdom of God is clearly needed, it seems much conflict and stress could be avoided or diffused in Christlike ways. 

In seeking the Father for answers, there came some clarity. When I am tempted to insert my will and desires into the life of another person or into a situation:

• I should first prayerfully submit my will and my desires to God. As Jesus modeled, I must only say or do what I hear God telling me to say or do. His silence should always compel me to also be silent and/or to refrain from acting. 

• I should ask: Father, where are You working in the midst of this person's life/this situation to gain His insight and perspective.

• I should pray for His presence and power to be inserted into the life/situation so that He will receive honor and glory in the midst of whatever result occurs.

Now, Father, give me the strength to follow the steps You have given me so that I will press into Your presence as Your Son, Jesus Christ, always did! May I never throw myself headlong into a situation where You belong and I do not. Give me the fruit of self-control to subdue my desires to fix people and situations, allowing You to move in power and enabling Your glory to be seen. Help me, in my everyday life, to seek first the "divine companionship for which my soul was made." It is only then that I will live and move and have my being (Acts 17:28) in You alone.

Kim Butts is the co-founder of Harvest Prayer Ministries and the author of The Praying Family. (C) 2015 Harvest Prayer Ministries.

]]> (Kim Butts) Featured Women Life Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
James Goll: The Coming Collision Between Shaking and Glory

There are diverse views on the end times, including at least three different historical theological views concerning eschatology. Major different voices contend for our attention today, everything from escapism to run and hide, to replacement theology concerning Israel and the church, to ultimate reconciliation, to the absurdity that there is no literal hell, and on and on it goes. In this age of false acceptance, just about anything goes. After all, God is a God of Grace and Love, right? Yes, but He is also the God of Justice and Truth.

Let's make sure we keep certain basic truths in place in the swirl of many opinions. I often find myself in the role of taking complex things and deciphering them into foundational simple and understandable truths. But for now let's push a pause button on that subject, and let me give you a partial biblical perspective I hold. Yes—the glory and the shaking come together! That's clearly what the Word of God says.

From Haggai 2:2-9

"Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, saying: Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not, in your eyes, as nothing in comparison? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord, and be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong all you people of the land, says the Lord. Work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Hosts. According to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear. For thus says the Lord of Hosts: Once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and earth, the sea and dry land. And I will shake all the nations, and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of Hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lordof Hosts. The glory of this latter house will be greater than the former, says the Lord of Hosts. And in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of Hosts."

Layers of Scriptural Interpretation

There are often layers to scriptural interpretation and application: the context of the historic setting, the prophetic perspective for both then and later on, the personal application for our own lives, and much more. Another principle in interpreting Scripture is: first in the natural and second in the spiritual.

Here in Haggai 2 we have the historic recordings concerning the first and the second temples. The first was grand in external splendor, an architectural wonder of all the ages. After the desolation and then a time of despair, a second temple was built—but it did not compare to the earlier grandeur. But the Word of the Lord came forth in that situation declaring that the latter glory of this house will be greater than the former. Bottom line:

  • The first temple was built in grandeur
  • The first temple was destroyed
  • The second temple was built—appearing in the natural as "nothing in comparison"
  • A prophetic declaration was released in the midst of disillusionment, "The glory will be greater!"

Likewise, the early church saw great glory followed by a great decline. Five hundred-plus years ago we stepped into a new era called the Great Reformation with such truths as "the just shall live by faith." Now we are stepping into the Convergence of the Ages with accelerated movements and motion of the current-day operation of the Holy Spirit.

The pattern is similar in the natural and in the spiritual. Bottom line:

  • The first apostolic church was birthed in glory
  • The church went into a great decline
  • The second apostolic age appears on the scene in infancy and controversy
  • A prophetic declaration is released in the midst of uncertain times: "The glory will be greater!"

It is my belief that in modern church history, we have crossed the threshold from the Third to the beginning of the Fourth Great Wave. (See my article on "The Beginning of the Fourth Wave." For more on this subject, please see the new book by Julia Loren, The Future of Us, with my chapter concerning these issues—available in our EN Resource Center.

From James 5:7-11

"Therefore be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Notice how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until he receives the early and late rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is drawing near. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, lest you be condemned. Look, the Judge is standing at the door. My brothers, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them happy who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the purpose of the Lord, that the Lord is very gracious and merciful."

As I have read this passage over and over for years, there are at least seven things to glean in parallel understandings from these writings of James 5.

  • Be wise
  • Be patient
  • Strengthen yourself
  • Continue
  • Do not complain
  • Look to the model of Job
  • Know that the Lord's dealings ultimately result in compassion and mercy!

The Early and Latter Rain

In the natural, in the Middle East, the early rain falls from mid-October to mid-December. The purpose of the early rains is to soften the ground for plowing, and it waters the freshly seeded fields so the seeds can germinate. The latter rain falls from late February to early April. The purpose of the latter rains is to cause the grain to come into full growth and maturity and thus preparing for a harvest.

Jeremiah 5:24 proclaims, "They do not say in their heart, 'Let us now fear the Lord our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.'"

So which is it? Shaking or glory? Darkness or light? Fear or faith? Fatalism or furious love? Stagnation or progressive revelation? Lukewarm Churchianity or passionate believers with hearts on fire? Tribulation generation or hope ambassadors generation? Desolation or restoration?

Oh my beloved, the Scriptures in the New Testament say that in the Last Days difficult times will come. But that is not the end of the story!

Yes, the shaking and the glory are on a collision course. But guess which force wins? Or maybe it should be stated, 'But guess WHO wins?"

Isaiah 60:1-3 says it really well. "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. The nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising."

I see a glorious eschatology where light exposes darkness—and the glory of the Lord covers the earth as the waters covers the seas. Amen and Amen!

Dr. James Goll is the founder of Encounters NetworkPrayer Storm and helps carry on the work of Compassion Acts. For information on his online school visit: James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today. 

]]> (James W. Goll) Featured A Voice Calling Out Blogs Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400
How Do I Raise My Prophetic Child Correctly?

When I was in my mother's womb, she had a prophetic dream where the Lord told her to name me Jeremiah. He outlined in detail many specific instructions for my life and the destiny that was before me.

At 9, I remember openly prophesying from the platform in the church that my father pastored and receiving prophetic dreams almost nightly starting at 11. By the time I was 13, I was prophetically ministering weekly in a homeless shelter downtown with a worship team.

I grew up in a prophetic culture where I actually was taught and believed that I could function in the gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit regardless of my age. Looking back on those years, I recognize how intentional my parents really were in encouraging the gifts God had given me and also making great sacrifices to create an atmosphere where the gifts could grow and mature. But you must understand, there is so much more to the journey.

After hearing my prophetic testimony with the Lord, one of the most frequent questions I receive from parents around the world is how to raise prophetic children. What do we do with our son, who, at 9 years old is having crazy prophetic dreams that are scaring us and others? One woman told me: "I didn't ask God for this prophetic little girl. Her sense of right and wrong drives me nuts! What do I do?" My answer to this question has typically shocked many parents, but it is the secret to my personal prophetic journey. How do you raise prophetic children?

I certainly do not have all the answers, but I do have my convictions from how my parents raised me by the Holy Spirit and how I choose to raise my children now. As a parent or guardian, the greatest contribution you can make to the life of a prophetic son or daughter is to teach them to listen and obey your voice and provide appropriate consequences when they choose to ignore or disobey your words.

One of the primary issues in the current prophetic movement is that we have made hearing the voice of God the measuring line of maturity when in fact it is merely elementary. I know 10,000 prophetic people who can hear the voice of the Lord and even do a great job teaching others to do the same, but I know very few prophetic voices in the earth who actually obey the voice of the Lord as a lifestyle.

God does not speak because He loves to hear the sound of His voice. He speaks because He wants us to obey. We need to stop asking our children, "Did you hear me?" and start inquiring, "Have you obeyed me?"

Parents, part of training healthy and mature prophetic children is helping them to understand that being utterly dependent and obedient to your instructions will lead them down the path of life and when they choose to disobey, they will reap destruction and consequences. They must not only see you as a parent who hugs and kisses them when they walk in obedience, but also parent who discipline them when necessary.

Boundaries create safe environments for children and are necessary to establish security and peace. Without them, there is all sorts of unnecessary chaos and disorder. As a young prophetic person, your child must understand by the example that you set what God is really like. He is not only a loving Father, but also a Dad who chastises and rebukes when He must. His discipline and consequences for our rebellion are not a sign of His rejection of our lives, but actually a hallmark of His love for us.

If your prophetic child never knows a God by your example who will discipline them when they disobey His voice at an early age, they will certainly never accurately hear and obey His voice when they are older and out of the house.

Dr. James Dobson speaks great wisdom when He says, "I firmly believe in acquainting children with God's judgement and wrath while they are young. Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to skip over the unpleasant verses in the Scriptures. The wages of sin is death, and children have a right to understand that truth from an early age."

Teaching your kids that there are terrible consequences for sin, even if you repent, will bear forth more fruit in their life than you can imagine.

There are 116 places in the Bible where we are told to "fear the Lord." So many children are only taught about a God who is a loving Father, but have never heard of a God of judgment because their parents hid part of the truth from them.

By what authority do we eliminate God as a just judge to our children and portray Him out to be a Santa Claus in the sky who only ever gives presents? Don't forget, God gives spankings too."

Raising prophetic children is no small assignment, but it can be done by God's grace. It starts with modeling for them who God really is, a God who is rich in mercy and grace, but also a God who is just and disciplines those whom He is jealously in love with.

I believe a new prophetic generation is being raised up in the earth right now. Many of them are 9 years old, some are 12 and others are teenagers. These young men and women all have one primary thing in common: parents who rather than let them get away with rebellion and independence without consequence, have chosen to faithfully discipline and instruct them in love.

These children know the voice of their parents and they have been taught to obey. They understand the consequences of their disobedience and are therefore more than ready to mature in the prophetic call upon their life.

This will be a new prophetic generation that will respond to God's voice with startling quickness and will be constantly eager to accomplish His will upon the earth without delay. The need has never been greater! Keep up the job well-done, parents. Heaven is cheering for you and so am I.

Jeremiah Johnson planted Heart of the Father Ministry in Lakeland, Florida and is on the Eldership Team. A gifted teacher, book author, and prophetic minister, Jeremiah travels extensively throughout the United States and abroad as a conference and guest speaker. Jeremiah and his wife, Morgan, reside in Florida with their two children: Bella Grace and Israel David. Check out Jeremiah's new book release, I See A New Prophetic Generation and visit him online at Behold the Man Ministries or connect with him on Facebook.

]]> (Jeremiah Johnson ) Featured Prophecy Spirit Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
How to Combat Betrayal in the Church

Betrayal—we've all been hurt in the church and among the body of Christ. Betrayal comes in several forms like people abandoning us, not believing in us, hurting us, speaking behind our backs and not valuing what we have to bring to the Kingdom.

Betrayal originates from both others' and our inner hurts and wounds. Inner hurts and wounds from past experiences and relationships left unhealed can and do affect the church, the body of Christ.

Psalm 51:10 says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." When we are hurt or wounded, we need to look inside ourselves and discover where healing needs to take place. There is a saying: "Hurting people hurt people." Hurting people do hurt people inside and outside the church.

It seems as though church betrayal is all around. People come in and try to take control, prompting some to leave the church. Many feel they have so much to offer the church, but when things don't go their way they start causing trouble for the pastor and the congregation.

Conflict arises among leaders when this happens and people begin to argue, disagree and get offended. When offense sets in it leads the way to betrayal and division and people in the church get upset, quit committees and commitments and start leaving the church.

What is the answer to hurt and betrayal in the church and how do we get it to stop? I believe it first starts with prayer and discernment about who should be in church leadership. In the body of Christ in general, 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. This puts pressure on the volunteers and leaders to do more, work harder and pick up the slack of those who don't want to volunteer.

Due to the limited amount of volunteers when a new person comes into the church a pastor is seldom left options than to hurry and put them in a leadership position or a main volunteer role. The pastor sees good qualities in the person and implements them without the proper amount of prayer and discernment out of desperation.

The person volunteers, gets involved and soon when their character is revealed, we discover that there are emotional and spiritual issues that need healing. This often causes more harm than help to the church in the long run.

Waiting to implement people in certain positions until relationships have been formed and characters have been revealed would be an asset to the church that would bring unity and cooperation instead of division and dissension.

The next thing we need to do is properly train our volunteers, leaders and people in our church and ministry. Proper training comes from leadership having a set action in plan ahead of time and being on the offense and not the defense. What is required to volunteer in your church or ministry?

We have two mandatory resources that help fight against church division and disunity and are required reading for our ministry volunteers. 

The Bait of Satan by John Bevere is a great book on the spirit of offense. It identifies offense and helps you heal from offense. I can still remember a time someone suggested it to us while we were in a church conflict. We had never heard of the book or study that comes with it, and my husband's small group did a study on it that changed our lives.

We now recommend it to everyone as preventative measures and not defensive measures. It is required reading within the first three months of being in our ministry having a desire to serve.

I have found that Perry Stone's book The Judas Goat is another great book and a must-have for all ministries. This book on betrayal exposes the enemy's tactics of how people can come in and destroy the church. It makes the reader aware and educated on relationships and how to protect what God has given you.

I strongly suggest again that all leaders read this as preventative measures to church conflict. There are also benefits in this book for people who have been hurt from the church in discovering what went wrong and how to prevent such things from happening again.

As leaders of the church we need to be responsible for the hurt that is going on in our churches. If we can provide our congregation and volunteers with reasonable guidelines and suggestions on how to prevent hurt, than it certainly is our responsibility.

Ultimately, we need to teach forgiveness and we need to model love. The latter truly covers a multitude of sins. When we extend love to each other, healing begins.

Kathy DeGraw is the founder of DeGraw Ministries a ministry releasing the love and power of God.  She is a prophetic deliverance minister who travels hosting conferences, teaching schools and evangelistic love tours.  Kathy enjoys writing and is the author of several books that educate, empower and equip people.  For more information visit

]]> (Kathy DeGraw ) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Mon, 27 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400