Charisma Magazine | Informing Christians from Spirit-filled Perspective. http://www.charismamag.com/component/content/?view=featured Tue, 28 Jul 2015 04:36:18 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb The Powerful Secret to Heal the Sick http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23913-the-powerful-secret-to-heal-the-sick http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23913-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 authorbeckydvorak.com

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
WATCH: TD Jakes Goes Off on Grammy-Winning Singer http://www.charismamag.com/entertainment/music/23868-watch-td-jakes-goes-off-on-grammy-winning-singer http://www.charismamag.com/entertainment/music/23868-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.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Jessilyn Justice ) Featured Music The Buzz Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
7 Love Actions to Show Your Spouse http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/19502-7-love-actions-to-show-your-spouse http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/19502-7-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 markmerrill.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (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 http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23888-this-little-known-connection-could-be-deadly-for-your-heart http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23888-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 chaunceycrandall.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (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 http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23898-a-word-for-those-fearing-the-doom-and-gloom http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23898-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.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Joe Joe Dawson) Featured Prophecy Spirit Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
How a Lie Can Lock You Down http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23912-how-a-lie-can-lock-you-down http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23912-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 mouthpieceministries.net; mouthpieceministries.wordpress.com; or on her Facebook page Lisa Great.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Lisa Great) Featured Women Life Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
How You Can Hinder God http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23911-how-you-can-hinder-god http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23911-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.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Kim Butts) Featured Women Life Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
James Goll: The Coming Collision Between Shaking and Glory http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/a-voice-calling-out/21259-the-coming-collision-between-shaking-and-glory http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/a-voice-calling-out/21259-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: geteschool.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today. 

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jeremy.burns@charismamedia.com (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? http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23881-how-do-i-raise-my-prophetic-child-rightly http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23881-how-do-i-raise-my-prophetic-child-rightly

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.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Jeremiah Johnson ) Featured Prophecy Spirit Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
How to Combat Betrayal in the Church http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-warfare/23893-how-to-combat-betrayal-in-the-church http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-warfare/23893-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 degrawministries.org.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Kathy DeGraw ) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Mon, 27 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
Will Your Church Rehire the Holy Spirit? http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/power-up/23867-will-your-church-rehire-the-holy-spirit http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/power-up/23867-will-your-church-rehire-the-holy-spirit

For much of my life I felt unqualified as a leader in the kingdom of God. Whether I was working as a youth pastor, an evangelist, a lead pastor, or an author, I have always known that without the help of my closest adviser and guide, I would not make it!

This adviser has been with me my whole life. He was with me as a boy when I was lost in a ruthless world. He was with me when I heard the call of God at a children's camp during a puppet show where I was a sixteen-year-old camp worker. He was with me when I was running from God. In fact, He drove me crazy. It seemed in every direction I went, He was waiting for me.

He was with me when I met my wife. He was with me when I held my son and my daughter for the first time. I have shared so many memories with this dear friend. He has guided me as a husband, father, son, pastor, and evangelist. Whether it was when I lost my sister or held my first book in my hands, He was there.

I, of course, speak of the Holy Spirit.

Recently while praying, I heard God say to me, "Son, why is the church ashamed of My Spirit? Why has My Spirit been fired from most churches? Do they not realize that they cannot do true ministry without Me?"

As I prayed, I began to ponder what the Lord had asked. For years I have cried out for revival to hit America. I believe that revival happens when God gets so sick and tired of being misrepresented that He shows up. I believe it also happens when the church cries out for intervention from above because it doesn't want to continue through the doorway of mediocrity and often-plagiarized self-help sermonettes with no power.

This generation wants to see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual leaders of today act as if they have out-grown the move of God. To decide that this generation is not worthy of the same supernatural encounter you once had as a youth means the death of tomorrow's church.

To decide that we must keep the passionate in the back rooms and back rows of churches means a slow death. We must not relegate the moves of God to retreats, encounters and youth services. It will be the undignified who awaken the unqualified.

We have become so adept at watering down the blood of Jesus in our messages that it now represents a pink slip for the firing of the Holy Spirit. He has been fired from many churches and places of worship and ostracized as too intrusive and too disruptive. Maybe He is forced to fly under the radar, living in the gymnasiums of youth services, the Bible studies of homes, and encounter weekends twice a year, because He has caused more upheaval than any person in history.

Listen to me, unqualified. You will never accomplish anything without the power of the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and let the intellectual and spiritually dry theologians of the day lead with their man-driven knowledge, but you and I must be inhabited by the third Person of the Trinity. God is moving through those of us who still allow Him to be God! For those who do not believe in the anointing at work in our lives, I need only to point to this verse:

"Little children, it is the last hour. As you have heard that the antichrist will come, even now there are many antichrists. By this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us.  But they went out, revealing that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things" (1 John 2:18-20, MEV).

I believe there are many who are more impressed with the aesthetics of the church than the anointing in the church. We often put more importance on the lighting, stage set, and sound than we do on crying out for an encounter with God. But great programs, warm bodies, and full offering buckets have never transformed the hurting. It is the Holy Spirit who does the work.

I will close with a final question for the unqualified. Is it possible to do what you are called to do without the habitation and partnership of the Holy Spirit in your life? I think the answer is a resounding "no." I challenge the church to hire the Holy Spirit back.

What do we have to lose? Everything!

UnqualifiedAdapted from Unqualified by Pat Schatzlane, copyright 2015, published by Charisma House. This book is a must-read for those who feel unqualified to be used by God. You will learn the truth about God's plan to use every submitted person. To order your copy click here.

Prayer Power for the Week of July 27, 2015

This week, as you recognize that you can't accomplish anything without the power of the Holy Spirit, thank Him that He is ever present and willing to connect with you and those around you. Yield yourself anew and allow Him to work through you to accomplish His purposes. Be sure to give Him the glory when He does. Continue to pray for a global outpouring of His Spirit, more laborers into His harvest fields, and more grace for the persecuted church. Remember those in authority over you and heed His admonition to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (1 John 2:18-20).

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Pat Schatzlane) Featured Power Up! Blogs Sun, 26 Jul 2015 22:00:00 -0400
3 Ways God May Be Speaking to You Right Now http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23907-3-ways-god-may-be-speaking-to-you-right-now http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23907-3-ways-god-may-be-speaking-to-you-right-now

Faith hears into the realm of the supernatural. A well-trained spiritual ear will hear and know the voice of the Lord. Jesus says in John 10:27, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." Notice He says that His sheep, not the lambs, hear His voice and follow Him.

What is the difference between sheep and lambs? Maturity. And it is mature faith that hears and recognizes the voice of the Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, and will follow Him.

Spiritually speaking, maturity doesn't necessarily come with time or age. There are many in Christ who have been redeemed for many years, but yet they can only handle the milk and not the meat of the Word. They have to be bottle-fed, and are unable or unwilling to feed their own faith. Why? Carnality.  Unless we die to our sinful nature and selfish desires we cannot develop spiritually, and our spiritual senses, such as our ability to hear His voice, are stunted.

There are several ways that we hear the Lord speak to us.

  1. Through His Word.

  2. Through the inner voice.

  3. Through an audible voice.

When we move out of religious duty and into actual relationship with the Lord, He will communicate with us while we fellowship with Him in His Word. It says in Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

The inner voice is another way the Spirit speaks with us and is found in Isaiah 30:21: "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left." This is one of the more common ways that He speaks to us.

I was traveling with a friend on a train in a foreign country and as we were chatting I heard the Lord say to me through the inner voice, "The man sitting across from you is following you." My friend was unaware what the Lord has just spoken to me. As she continued to speak, I looked up and sure enough this man had been following us.

He also will speak to us at times with an audible voice as He spoke to Moses in the burning bush (see Ex. 3:4). On different occasions the Lord has awakened me from my sleep by audibly whispering my name, "Becky." I can physically feel the breath of His voice in my ear, giving me clear instruction on what I am to do at that moment or revealing to me in the supernatural realm things that are taking place.

In 1 Samuel 3 we read about a young boy named Samuel who ca hear a voice calling out to him, but he does not recognize the voice speaking to him. It takes the maturity of Eli to teach him who is calling out to him and how to respond to the voice of the Lord.

It is of utmost importance that we train our spiritual ears to hear and recognize the voice of the Lord. To do so we must know the Word of God. The more we know the Word, the more we understand Him and His ways and we can protect ourselves from voices that would mislead us. The Lord will never compromise His Word. This is important when we learn to recognize His voice. Jesus says in Matthew 13:9, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

There are three sources of voice that could possibly speak to our spiritual ears.

  1. The voice of God
  2. The voice of Satan
  3. The voice of human reasoning

The voice of God is always honorable and faithful to the Word of God. It releases freedom to the hearer and never compromises the Word. In Hebrews 4:12 it says, "For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart." In John 8:32 Jesus says, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

The voice of Satan is deceiving; it twists the Word of God just enough to make it sound appealing and accepting to the human flesh. In John 8:44b Jesus says concerning Satan: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

The voice of our human reasoning is based upon our five senses and our emotions and is limited to human intellect. It says in Proverbs 28:26a, "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered."

A mature spiritual ear hears and knows the voice of our Lord; it protects us from misguiding voices and is trained to follow after the will of the Spirit of God in all situations.

To learn more about the senses of our faith read my book Greater Than Magic.

Becky Dvorak is a healing minister and the Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe and Greater Than Magic. You can find her at her website, authorbeckydvorak.com.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Fri, 24 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Why Is Pop Star Miley Cyrus Rejecting Her Christian Roots? http://www.charismamag.com/entertainment/music/23861-why-is-pop-star-miley-cyrus-rejecting-her-christian-roots http://www.charismamag.com/entertainment/music/23861-why-is-pop-star-miley-cyrus-rejecting-her-christian-roots

Dear Miley Cyrus,

You're blunt, you speak your mind and you yell about what you supposedly believe, that is, if you haven't also outgrown believing in anything the way that you have "outgrown" the Bible. I'm a 21-year-old woman, and I grew up with Hannah Montana. There was an entire generation of girls who wore your face on their T-shirts, sang your songs and played with dolls that were made to look like you. Girls looked up to you; girls emulated you; girls supported you. When your "Can't Be Tamed" music video premiered, the public exploded saying, "It's too vulgar." "She's too young," they protested. Even I remember trying to defend you to my parents, to stand up for you. You were just growing up. You were trying to break out of the Disney mold.

Recently, your article for Paper magazine was released, along with a set of extremely revealing photos of you. It seems that every time you want to gain more attention you wear less clothing. However, the pictures are not the most shocking part of the magazine spread. In reading the interview that you did for the magazine, I have to admit that I was shocked, extremely offended and a little bit hurt by the things that you said.

In the beginning of the interview, you talk about being an animal activist, which, as an animal lover, I can very much respect. Then, somehow the interview transitions very quickly to bashing beliefs that are very important and sacred to me and many other people around the world. Calling the story of Noah's Ark a fairytale is not only extremely offensive, it's also frankly untrue. Maybe instead of bashing Noah, you should be thanking him for having the courage to follow God's lead no matter the social backlash that it caused him. Social backlash is something with which you seem to be very familiar. You should understand better than most others how difficult it can be to withstand. Maybe instead of condemning people for believing in Noah, you should be commending them for standing up for what they believe.

In the article, you are quoted saying you're "the least judgmental person ever." Somehow, after reading the interview preceding this quote, that feeling does not resonate true. I do feel judged by you. You called everyone who believes in the Bible immature children who still believe in Santa Claus.

I think that I need to tell you what possibly many other Christians have not told you before, and that's that you are loved. You may no longer believe in God or the things written in the Bible, but that doesn't make them untrue. God still loves you no matter what you say about Him. That's the incredible thing about Him. You may have given up on Him, but He'll never give up on you. I want to personally apologize to you for anyone who may have told you differently, but please believe me when I say that God will never stop loving you. It hurts my heart to know that you may never know what it is to truly experience that love from God which triumphs any other kind of love that you try to experience through what you call expression and love.

My prayer for you in the future is that you find the true love that can only come from turning back to the faith your parents taught you when you were young. I hope that you truly believe me when I say I will be praying for you, and I hope that other Christians will be also. I know what it is to feel empty and to find your worth in how many people know your name, but I also know what it is to find your identity and security in the words that are written in that book that you compared to fairytales. Miley, the only way that the Bible compares to a fairytale is that when you truly understand the words written within it, you can't help but feel like a princess. That is a desire that no woman outgrows.

This article originally appeared on movieguide.orgWant to know what God's doing in Hollywood?

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jessilyn.justice@gmail.com (Moriah Dee/MovieGuide) Featured Music The Buzz Fri, 24 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
You're Invited to Help 'Charisma' Celebrate A Huge Milestone http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/the-strang-report/23905-you-re-invited-to-help-charisma-celebrate-a-huge-milestone http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/the-strang-report/23905-you-re-invited-to-help-charisma-celebrate-a-huge-milestone

The August 2015 issue of Charisma just came off the press and we're excited about it. A new issue has come out more than 400 times. We get excited about each one every month. But this one is extra special: It's our 40th anniversary!

It's the biggest issue we've had in years, and one of the nicest we have ever produced. If you subscribe, you'll get it in the mail in about a week.

We wrote about 40 leaders "who radically changed our world." They were people we wrote about in the last 40 years—many but not all appeared on the cover. We will feature at least one a day during the month of August. Because we've decided to celebrate Charisma's anniversary all month long, I need your help.

We have some exciting things planned for each day, such as a daily giveaway of 40 gifts to those who register. We will also have video greetings from leaders you know commenting about Charisma, or what the Lord has been doing the past four decades or just telling interesting stories about their experience with the magazine.

I intend to focus on one decade each week, trying to give perspective on trends in the church and culture that we've covered. But I don't want it to just be a history lesson. I want to write about what's interesting to you. For example, we've had more than 430 different covers. What interest is there in putting all those covers online?

Friday morning I recorded my weekly Strang Report podcast (I hope you'll sign up if you haven't already). I invited my listeners to email me with their ideas. (We also put this on Periscope, a form of social media I recently discovered). I told my listeners to send me their ideas, and we created an email account, anniversary@charismamedia.com, where you can write me directly. I'll see every email that comes in.

To create a little interest, I'll give a new large print version of the Modern English Version to the person who sends me the 40th email. We'll email the winner so you can send us a mailing address.

When you write, you can also tell me your own stories of Charisma and what the magazine means to you. This is my way to make this an interactive process as my staff and I complete our plans for this special issue online.

The events will be on charismamag.com, which presently has more than 1.4 million unique visitors a month. This is in addition to the several million that come to our other websites, such as charismanews.com, ministrytodaymag.com and so forth. I hope that friends like you, through our use of social media, can create a lot of interest in this special anniversary month.

Everything will culminate with a special reception at our headquarters in Lake Mary, Florida, just outside Orlando. We expect a few friends from the area to drop by for this reception. But I'm curious how many from outside Central Florida would be interested in visiting our headquarters that day and joining this special celebration.

I won't tell you now which 40 people we featured in Charisma this month, nor will I go in to the other articles we ran on upcoming leaders who are younger than 40. In the print issue, you can also read thoughts from Lee Grady and Jack Hayford about what we can expect in the future. You can read that in our print issue. Yet day by day we'll publish online the articles from the magazine, plus new material.

And remember, your input will help us decide what goes up online. Remember, please send me your ideas at anniversary@charismamedia.com.

Steve Strang is the CEO and founder of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook (stephenestrang).

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Steve Strang ) Featured The Strang Report Blogs Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:30:00 -0400
How to Write a Letter to Your Daughter She Will Never Forget http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23862-how-to-write-a-letter-to-your-daughter-she-will-never-forget http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23862-how-to-write-a-letter-to-your-daughter-she-will-never-forget

One of the greatest gifts you can give your daughter is to affirm her through writing. In a world where written communication is most often casual (texts, emails, tweets), a letter in your own handwriting stands out.

I'll never forget when Abba Project dad Dennis surprisingly noticed that his 13-year-old daughter Olivia not only kept the letter he wrote her but placed it on top of her desk for her friends to see. He had completely expected her to be embarrassed by his card and hide it, especially from her peers. So, as you can imagine, his heart melted when he saw the positive impact his written words had made.

The beauty of putting your thoughts, dreams, love, truth and feelings for your daughter into written form is so that she can read and reread it. She will treasure the things you write to her both now and for years to come.

How do I know this? Because I and many other girls have saved our dad's notes.

I'll tell you a heart story to bring this to light. My dad started a tradition a number of years ago where he creates a one-of-a-kind birthday card for all of us girls by using a template on his computer (you can do the same thing by going online and doing some exploring). Without a doubt, my all-time favorite card is the one he made for my 50th birthday. He made a list of 50 things he and my mom love about me and number 33 is the one that melted my heart:   

I laughed uproariously when reading that because I had no idea he'd remembered such a seemingly insignificant thing that I'd said. But it showed me that he had listened when I said I absolutely love the sound that the choir of frogs make twice a year at the end of my street. It's music to my ears. And he counted it among the things he loves about me.

I share all of this to say that whether or not you're artistic or creative, just the fact that you notice and bring to light the unique things about your daughter, things you find adorable, enjoyable and memorable, you are providing a pathway to her heart that will be a treasure to her forever.

If you're a dad who has already begun this practice, then great.

Yet whether or not you've written letters before, here are a few dad-to-daughter letter-writing ideas to add to your repertoire:

  • What was one of the first things you remember about her when she was born and you looked at her for the first time?
  • What beauty did you see in her then and what beautiful features do you see in her now? (Girls love hearing about their eyes, smile and the unique features that you see as beautiful)
  • Write about a favorite childhood memory you have of her.
  • What strengths do you believe she has, both in terms of skill and in her person (her character, personality).
  • Tell her specific reasons you're proud of her.
  • Write about what obstacles you have seen her overcome—emphasize such qualities as courage, resilience, strength, commitment, endurance, power.
  • Write about dreams you have for her future, whether in the form of your wishes for her or things you pray about for her—do this without preaching or lecturing, only encourage.
  • Tell her what it means to you to spend time with her.
  • Communicate why you love being her dad in this season of her life (add current things about her age right now that you're aware of and highlight them as positive)
  • Let her know that you will always be there for her, telling her what it means to you to be her dad.

If writing is not your thing, still do it (I know ... I'm being a tough teacher right now). I promise that your daughter will thrive in direct proportion to the words you speak (verbal and written) into her life. 

And the more you hone your writing skills, the easier it will become. 

On your mark, get set, write.

 

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 drmichellewatson.com 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 drmichellewatson.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Michelle Watson) Featured Men Life Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
5 Health-Changing Reasons to Focus on the Positive http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23901-5-health-changing-reasons-to-focus-on-the-positive http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23901-5-health-changing-reasons-to-focus-on-the-positive

You'd have to be living under a rock not to notice how the world seems to be spinning out of control politically, economically, spiritually and even meteorologically.

From escalating acts of terrorism around the world to unprecedented weather patterns above it, students of Scripture are watching as Jesus' prophetic words unfold into reality:

"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, epidemics, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. "Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. And you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake" (Matt. 24:7-9, MEV).

In a previous article, I wrote about five ways in which fear damages our health. For example, fear can weaken your heart and your immune system, as well as lead to depression. Focusing on the chaos swirling around us and fretting about the future can easily breed health-threatening fear.

We quickly become blinded to the astounding work of the Holy Spirit, deaf to His call for us to join Him in the harvest, and insensitive to the impact He is having on the hearts of millions. The bad news makes the Good News seems distant and detached from the crises we face today.

As I was reading in Proverbs this week, I sensed God speaking to me regarding my own fixation on the ever-sensationalized news and disheartening current events that compose a vast amount of the media I see each day. Chapter 15, verse 30 reads:

"The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy" (Prov. 15:30, MEV).

If good news equates to good health, then to what does bad news equate? I know that for me personally, it equates to fear, which as I mentioned earlier, can wreak havoc on our bodies.

Before I write any further, I want to clarify that just as I don't believe it's necessary or even correct to ban my clients from ever eating cupcakes or cheeseburgers, I similarly am not suggesting that we swear off tuning into the nightly news or averting our gaze from heart-rending headlines. (Being informed enables us to pray more specifically, which is one reason we shouldn't bury our heads in the sand.) I simply wish to point out what God's Word has to say about thinking on the positive, or in Paul's terms, on what is "pure" and "lovely" and "of good report." 

In these last days, we must not let the enemy pollute our minds and stifle our spirits by stealing our joy. There is much to look forward to and much beauty and goodness to share and experience as we endure until Christ's Kingdom comes.

Here are a few reasons why we should make a concerted effort to focus on the positive, not just for the sake of our emotional health, but our physical health as well:

1. Improves longevity. In a study of nearly 1,500 people with an increased risk of early-onset coronary artery disease, those who reported being cheerful and relaxed had a one-third reduction in coronary events like a heart attack. Those with the highest risk of coronary events enjoyed an even greater risk reduction of nearly 50 percent. This was true even when other heart disease risk factors, such as smoking, age and diabetes, were taken into account.

2. Improves cell immune function. Clicking away from the talking heads to a few laughing ones will do more than make you chuckle—it will make you healthier! Humor improves immune cell function, helps you ward off illness, decreases your chances of cancer, and also increases your chance of living after heart disease hits. There is power in a good "LOL!" Of course, it's best to ward off heart disease before it occurs by eating healthy, managing your stress, and exercising regularly.

3. Reduces frequency of colds and the flu. Psychology Professor Sheldon Cohen, of Carnegie Mellon University, found that optimistic people are less likely to get more mundane, day-to-day illnesses (like a cold), and even when they do they are less likely to report symptoms.  Essentially, "happy" emotions like optimism and self-esteem send signals from the brain to your body's organs, strengthening immunity.

4. Boosts motivation. When you look for the silver lining behind every cloud and choose to remind yourself of the Good News' power of the ubiquitous bad, you will naturally feel more motivated to form healthy habits that will enable you to lead a fulfilled life, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising daily, reading and listening to enriching material, spending quality time with loved ones, and lending a helping hand to total strangers.

On a biological level, being active in particular causes your body to release endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel good—no major athletic ability needed. Endorphins even have the capacity to relieve depression and anxiety. And, when working out makes you happy, you're going to continue to do it, creating a healthy cycle of happiness as you honor the body God's given you.

5. Decreases stress. Did you know that the simple act of smiling has been shown to decrease stress levels? A smile sends a message to your brain that you're happy, which then signals it to pump out feel-good endorphins. When this happens, your breathing and heart rate slows, thereby helping you de-stress. And as an added bonus, smiling is contagious! Studies show that something as simple as seeing a friend smile can activate the muscles in your face to make that same expression, without you even being aware that you are doing it. (Sounds like the yawning phenomenon, doesn't it?)

This week, I challenge you to look on the bright side, to seek out the goodness in the world around you. Take breaks throughout your day to think of and thank God for your blessings, no matter how small they may seem to you.

Smile at a co-worker or a salesclerk who seems to be feeling blue. Read a blog that makes you laugh, or shamelessly watch a funny cat video on YouTube. Go to the park and throw the Frisbee around with your kids. See a Pixar movie with your spouse. Anything that will make you smile will make your soul shine as well.

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

Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House's Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman's Guide to Total FitnessPerfect Fit: Weekly Wisdom and Workouts for Women of Faith and Fitness, and her latest book, Immeasurable: Diving into the Depths of God's Love. Her popular website can be found at dianaandersontyler.com and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925.

For the original article, visit dianaandersontyler.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Diana Anderson-Tyler ) Featured Health Life Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
5 Ways to Add Laughter to Your Life http://www.charismamag.com/life/relationships/23858-5-ways-to-add-laughter-to-your-life http://www.charismamag.com/life/relationships/23858-5-ways-to-add-laughter-to-your-life

Studies have shown babies and children laugh hundreds of times a day. Adults, on the other hand, often barely make it to double digits. Even joyful people can feel weighed down by the pressures and heartaches of life.

But Jesus said whoever humbles himself like a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:4).

Maybe it's time to turn your troubles over to God and become more like a child—full of joy and laughter. Here are five things the Bible says about laughing, along with a few ways to bring out your inner child:

1. Take time to laugh. "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance" (Eccl. 3:1, 4).

If you've been on this planet for more than a few years, you know life isn't one big laugh. It's filled with difficult trials. Even so, the Bible declares there is "a time to laugh." Some ways to incorporate more laughter into your life: Talk to a friend with a good sense of humor, retell a funny story from the past or play a practical joke on a good friend or family member. Need another idea? Spending time around children or pets is typically a surefire way to ramp up the laughter.

Do you find it hard to laugh? Sometimes fear and anxiety can steal your joy. Here are some steps you can take to conquer anxiety and get back to laughing.

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

Don't keep joy to yourself. Share the "good medicine" of a joyful heart with others. Have you brought joy or laughter to someone today? If not, think of a way you can make one person laugh. It'll bring joy to both of your hearts.

Michael Jr. is a Christ follower and comedian who has shared his story through BGEA's My Hope project. Check out this 2-minute stand-up segment for a laugh.

3. Lighten Your Load. "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh" (Luke 6:21).

Have you ever been so sad that you thought you'd never laugh again? If you are a follower of Christ, you are blessed to be part of God's kingdom. The God of the universe can bring you comfort and inner peace even as you struggle with a heavy heart.

Being "blessed" is about experiencing hope and joy regardless of circumstances. King David once wrote about it this way: "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness" (Ps. 30:11). Feeling burdened today? Ask God to lighten your load.

Did Jesus ever laugh or was He solemn all the time? Billy Graham's Answer.

4. Savor surprises—and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself. "And Sarah said, 'God has made me laugh. All who hear will laugh with me.' Also she said, 'Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age'" (Gen. 21:6-7).

Abraham's wife, Sarah, waited 90 years to become a mother. Thinking there was no way she could provide a family heir herself, she was downright dumbfounded when told she would have a son. She had to laugh out of pure joy. Think of a time when you were pleasantly surprised by God's timing.

5. Expect great things. "Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. 'The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad" (Ps. 126:2).

When God led His people out of captivity and brought them back to their homeland, they were so relieved and thankful that they laughed and shouted for joy. After spending 70 years as captives, one of the first things they did was build an altar and worship God.

It can be easy to dwell on things that aren't going your way, but remember the verse above—God does do great things. Keep an eye out this week for the great things He is doing in your life, then take a moment to thank Him for it.

Billy Graham has spent decades preaching about our serious need for Christ, but he also has a lighthearted side. Read 10 funny stories from his 6-plus decades in ministry.

True joy begins with knowing the God who created you. Find peace with God today.

For the original article, visit billygraham.org.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) Featured Relationships Life Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Does the Holy Spirit Feel Welcomed in Your Temple? http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23904-does-the-holy-spirit-feel-welcomed-in-your-temple http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23904-does-the-holy-spirit-feel-welcomed-in-your-temple

Recently I was asked to speak about the spiritual aspects of weight management and found myself remembering a very difficult season in my life when I was in a pit of unhealthy body issues.  The whole topic made me uncomfortable.

It's not easy for me to reflect on that time.  However, the truth is, God lifted me out of the slime and demonstrated to me how my flesh, bones, blood, and organs were created in wonder. I am a wonderfully and fearfully made temple of the Holy Spirit.

Do You Think of Your Body as a Wonderful Place for the Spirit to Dwell?

Glancing at new research on this issue, I discovered how 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at sometime in their lives.  For many reasons, people struggle with body dissatisfaction.  By age six, girls can start to express concern about their bodies.  This breaks my heart.

Here's a brief story of how God rescued me.

When I was 21-years-old, a senior in college, I realized I had an issue with eating.  From all appearances, I was a successful student, I was in good physical shape (I even taught aerobics), my friendships were strong and I was working to help pay for school.  To deal with the stress, I started to restrict myself from certain foods.  Something was wrong, though, as I knew I was restricting myself from something deeper.

What was I truly restricting myself from?  

I remember the day I was in our little apartment standing in the kitchen when I devoured a pan of cinnamon rolls in minutes.  It happened before I even knew it.  As I looked up from the dark pit, I asked God, "Why did I just do that?" Soon after, I heard, "It's an intimacy issue. Your goal is to enjoy me forever and not fill up on anything else."  (Don't think sexual intimacy here - think emotional connection).

It didn't take me long to let my closest women friends in on my struggle. Just telling them, brought both my hands out to the edges of the pit.

What was I so hungry for?

The preacher in Ecclesiastes 2:11 says, "When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless  . . ." Several verses later he concludes that a woman or a man can do nothing better than "to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.  This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or drink or find enjoyment?" (24-25).

I was hungry for satisfaction and here's what I learned through the years about enjoying God through seeing my body as a wonder of His creation:

  • Body care or weight management is a daily craft: a little bit everyday is enough

  • Body care is not just physical: Psalm 139 says we were knit together and fearfully made

  • Body care is meaningful: it's wise to please God by feeding ourselves with plenty of healthy foods

  • Body care is not about being in control but practicing self-control

  • Body care is not about conforming but being transformed

How are you encouraging the younger women around you to see their bodies as a wonder of creation? Be sure of this: they are watching you. I'm asking myself this as I spend my hours with three teenage daughters.

Let's share our lessons with one another in transparency and awe of God's creation. Not much in our social media culture encourages us to enjoy God by loving, as opposed to worshiping, the bodies he gave us.  Body care and weight management is an art and a skill that can be meaningful as we accept that they are temples of the Holy Spirit—created in wonder for his Spirit of Wonder.

Pam Havey Lau is the author of Soul Strength and numerous articles for Fullfill magazine and Christianity Today's Her.meneutics.  She teaches communications at George Fox University. Her latest book release is A Friend in Me: How to be A Safe Haven for Other Women. Visit www.pamelalau.com to learn more about Lau.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Pam Havey Lau) Featured Women Life Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Are You Asking God the Right Questions? http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23902-are-you-asking-god-the-right-questions http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23902-are-you-asking-god-the-right-questions

"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood" (John 1:14, MSG). Do you realize who this is talking about? Who is the Word? And what neighborhood has He moved into?

"Everything was created through Him; nothing—not one thing—came into being without Him" (John 1:3, MSG). "The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word" (John 1:1-2, MSG).

It sounds like some kind of riddle. Of course we know who the Word was, it tells us that "the Word was God" (John 1:1-2, MSG). 

Who is the Word?

Why not just go ahead and say the Word is Jesus? What's the reason for all of the riddles and mysteries? To the readers of the day in which John wrote the gospel, using "word" or "logos" to refer to Jesus would have brought forth the Greek meaning of a mediating principle between God and the world. Jewish readers would understand the "word" of God as an instrument for the execution of God's will.

"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth" Psalm 33:6, NIV). "He sent out His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave" Ps. 107:20, NIV). Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens" (Ps. 119:89, NIV).

What John was doing by using the actual word "logos" or "word"  to describe Jesus was to say this personal being was a mediator between God and man, fully God, fully human and fully on our side.

The Word with Skin

The news that the Word put skin on and moved into where individuals live was an earth-shattering, world-changing revelation. John was trying to explain the unique, extraordinary existence of a human being such as we have never before seen on earth.

His proclamation would fall on deaf ears of those who had no interest in understanding. Ah, but to those who wanted to listen, He Himself was, and is life.

"What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out" (John 1:4, MSG).

Radical Message

Of course, the whole reason John was writing His epistle was to share with people how to move from death to life" (see John 3:16). It was a radical message for its time.

He quoted Jesus as telling the Jewish leaders "you have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all all about Me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from Me the life you say you want" (John 5:39-40, MSG).

The Living Word

All along they were missing the most important thing:  Jesus, the Word, was living among them. He had the power to teach them how to live in relationship with God. He was Truth (see John 14:6) standing right in front of them, but they were too blind to reach out and ask Him real questions that mattered. They were too busy trying to catch Him doing something wrong when all He was doing was offering life.

It's why He moved into our meager existence. Only one like us could show us the way out. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We only need follow Him in our everyday lives to find the way out.

Like the Jewish Leaders

It's interesting to me that we have become so like the Jewish leaders of old. We ask Jesus questions like, Why couldn't you stop that war? Why did my grandmother have to die? Couldn't you fix it so there would be no natural disasters? We actually demand Him to do things like, Give me a job. Get me a bigger house. Make me lose weight.

And all the time Jesus is telling us things like, "My desire is to give you everything in abundance more than you expect‑life in its fullness until you overflow" (John 10:10, TPT). Yet, we still question the hardships we feel we have to endure in life.

Turn on the Light

You want more from Life? Turn on the Light. Follow His words. Do what He shows you to do from His Word. Follow the life He led. It would be nearly impossible to be as outspoken as Jesus was and not be killed. He knew what He was doing. He knew men hated His words of life, because darkness cannot stand the Light. The Light kills darkness.

Yes, but that's the beautiful quality of the Light. No matter what Light always wins. Always.

I don't know about you, but I'm eternally grateful that the Light moved into my neighborhood, rearranged things, cleaned up and shined truth into the dark, dusty corners where lies like to hide. I am grateful that each day He illuminates my life even more.

And all I have to do is flip the switch.

Teresa Shields Parker is an author, speaker and coach. Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching and Accountability Group provides support, encouragement, weekly videos, action steps and an online group for those wanting to be intentional about their weight loss efforts. Click the title to take you to the information page for Sweet Change.

Her new book, Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation, published Dec. 2014 is now the #1 Christian weight loss memoir on Amazon, shares the stories of 17 individuals on the weight loss journey and includes much information from Teresa. Download a free chapter HERE.

In her first book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds, she shares transparently and openly about the challenges of losing an extreme amount of weight. Sweet Grace Study Guide gives practical tips on weight loss.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Teresa Shields Parker) Featured Women Life Fri, 24 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
How to Overcome Doubt and Live With Bold Faith http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/straight-talk/23896-overcome-doubt-and-live-with-bold-faith-how http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/straight-talk/23896-overcome-doubt-and-live-with-bold-faith-how

In Acts 27, there's a great story about the apostle Paul. He was travelling by ship with some people when "a tempestuous wind swept through, called the Euroclydon" (v. 14).

For days they were caught in the storm, and at one point it was so fierce, they were "violently tossed by the storm" (v. 18) and had to throw the ship's equipment overboard. They ended up without food, hungry, stranded—seemingly without hope.

In that moment, Paul stood in the midst of the survivors and said to them, "I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you ..." (v. 22). He then shared that an angel of God told him this, and said in verse 25, "So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith (complete confidence) in God that it will be exactly as it was told me."

How could Paul, in the middle of a horrible storm, ask the people to "take courage" and have a good attitude? Because he believed in his heart—without a doubt—"that it will be exactly as it was told me" (vv. 22, 25). I love that! It's a great picture of the power of faith in God when all hope seems lost. And we can have the very same faith that Paul had if we will overcome doubt.

We all face storms in life. Some are more difficult than others, but we all go through trials and tribulation. That's why we have the gift of faith. Ephesians 6:16 calls it "the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the fiery arrows of the evil one." Doubt is a type of "flaming arrow" that the enemy uses to attack our faith.

We usually experience doubt after we've made a decision. In James 1:6, the Bible says having doubt is like being tossed about like the wind, which feels like you're trying to go in two different directions at the same time. And it's miserable to be torn between two places, not able to decide what you really believe. It's in those moments we have to choose whether we are going to believe God or the enemy ... God or our feelings ... God or what people tell us ... God or our circumstances.

When doubt comes against us, we have to lift up the shield of faith. We do this when we open our mouth and say what God's Word says, rather than grumbling and complaining about the problem. Our faith is released as we say, pray and do the Word. So in those times, open your mouth and say, "I believe that everything God has told me will come to pass!"

Maybe you're doubting whether you can hear God's voice or not. This happens because we usually doubt ourselves more than we doubt God. Now I'm not talking about actually hearing a voice; I'm talking about that knowing we have inside our hearts about what is right or wrong. That's the still, small voice of God. Believers in Jesus Christ all have it, but many don't have the confidence to trust it.

The Bible says in James 1:5 that when we need wisdom, we can go to God, ask Him for it, and He will give it to us "liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding." What this means is that even with our imperfections, God will be faithful to us and give us what we need if we will ask Him for help. He loves us, blesses us and uses us in spite of us, because He is faithful! And we never have to doubt that.

I've learned through my own relationship with God that He's not expecting me to be perfect; He wants me to do my best to be in His will and take steps of faith as He leads me, through His Word and the promptings He speaks to my heart. Remember, He wants us to put our confidence in Him. God really does want to speak to you personally and lead you in His great plan for your life. So don't be afraid to step out and do what's in your heart. If you make a mistake, you'll learn from it and go on. That's how we "step out and find out." And we all have to do it.

I want to encourage you to begin making confessions every day that will help you grow in your faith and confidence in God. We need to make declarations like: "God loves me. He wants to speak to my heart. I can hear from God. He is faithful to me and will lead me in His will for my life. And I believe it will be exactly as God has told me!" By God's grace, we can be bold in faith and overcome every attack of doubt during the storms of life.

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 joycemeyer.org.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Joyce Meyer ) Featured Straight Talk Blogs Fri, 24 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Prophecy: The Apostolic Mantle Is Coming on First Nations People http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/prophetic-insight/23895-prophecy-the-apostolic-mantle-is-coming-on-first-nations-people http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/prophetic-insight/23895-prophecy-the-apostolic-mantle-is-coming-on-first-nations-people

In the Bible "firsts" are always sanctified or set apart by God. The Bible begins in Genesis, the book of beginnings or "firsts" of things, and then throughout His Word "firsts" continue to hold a special place with God.

The firstborn is blessed, first fruits are desired and first love is the term God uses to describe man's relationship with Him. It was during my recent trip to the Southwest that God showed me how much He honored "firsts" with His love for the First Nations people in America.

I was enjoying a great time of ministry in Arizona with my wife and son. We had taken some down time to relax and take in the sites. During our travels in the state, I shot some footage in Sedona and really felt a strong stirring in my spirit about the Father's prophetic plans for that part of the country. 

Traveling across the state to take in some canyon views, we pulled into a park that hosted several craft stands with Native American jewelry and other items. I walked over and was looking at all the beautiful pieces when something deep inside of me broke loose. It was like a dam releasing a rushing river. I was overtaken with a surge of love and intercession for the Native American people. I had to walk off by myself and begin to pray in the Spirit.

When we left that area what was happening on the inside of me did not leave. We traveled on to Williams, Arizona where I was scheduled to minister. It was during this meeting that we began to pray for the Native American population and First Nations people throughout the world. Again, I experienced a tremendous surge of the Father's love and His dreams for the people who have often been mistreated, misunderstood and overlooked. 

Then the word of the Lord began to burst forth from my belly:

I am sending the apostolic into the Native American population to give the young men and women hope and dreams not from natural men but from the hand of God Himself, the ultimate Father."

The apostolic mandate and mantle is coming upon the Native American lands and the First Nations people. The reservations shall become revival zones. The Lord is raising up revival hubs in Native American lands. He's raising up places of power, apostolic destiny and glorious outpourings. I see Houses of Prayer being established upon the reservations. These are places that will host the presence of God and release intercession. 

I see apostolic mothers and fathers being sent to the land to release dreams, destiny, strategy and apostolic DNA. There is a sending mantle and assignment coming forth in this hour for First Nations people. 

This word bubbled up out of my spirit with such passion that it was evident God was speaking and proclaiming His love for these people. I had not studied or had much exposure to the Native Americans, nor heard much about First Nations people but this word was connecting me to these people.

Although this word was new to me, it was a validation of what God has been speaking. Jeremy Stands Overbull, pastor of Arrow Creek Christian Center in Pryor, Montana, and founder/director of Crow Awakening writes this ...

"I believe that the Crow Nation is being raised up to play an integral role in what God is going to do with the next great outpouring. It is our belief that America will never walk into the fullness of revival until Native America steps into their rightful place as the host people of this land. We are no strangers to revival. We have had several revival outbreaks that seemed to happen right before a revival in America. As of late, our tribe has been one of the only nations in the world to make public law proclaiming Jesus Christ is Lord over the Crow Nation. This law is significant because we have the right to govern our people without having outside influence from the United States Government. We believe this will be important because, as the laws in America will target churches and ministries and try to govern what they say, ministries and churches on native reservations will be able to freely preach a true gospel without threat or interference from the government. We believe there is about to be a shift, with reservations becoming revival outpost pockets throughout the United States." —Jeremy Stands Overbull

I see and hear in the Spirit prophetic sounds coming forth from the reservations and First Nation lands. There is a new breed of Native American warriors and Davidic minstrels coming forth. I see a movement of musicians, intercessors and minstrels arising from the First Nations people. There are sounds that will release the glory of God over the land.

It is a new era in worship in the territory! This is a now moment for worship to arise. There are Davids tucked away in the wilderness with a sound of desperation that will burst forth releasing captives and bringing forth glory.

Dr. Billy Graham was quoted as saying that the greatest moments of Native history lie ahead of us if a great spiritual renewal and awakening should take place. He went on to say that the Native Americans have been a sleeping giant and that the original Americans could become the evangelists who will help win America for Christ! Remember these forgotten people.

This is a call in the Spirit for prayer! God is releasing a burden in the hearts of people to begin to pray for the Native American people and First Nations people around the world. He wants His light to shine forth upon them and within them. I call forth intercession now to partner with heaven's heart towards these precious people. There is a birthing in prayer that will bring forth the fruit of this word.

There is an urgent call in the Spirit for apostolic fathers and mothers to go and sow into the reservations! This is key to what God is saying. It is going to take divine partnership and a tearing down of walls that would try to separate. It is also going to take a strong apostolic thrust. Hear the call, heed the call and go forth! There is a David call for young Native American and First Nation men and women to arise with dreams, vision and unity to give birth to revival hubs minis-tries, houses of prayer and outpouring meetings. The favor of the Lord is coming upon those who will step out and do what Abba is putting in their heart. 

"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues fail for thirst, I, the Lord, will hear them, I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together" (Is. 41:17-19).

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Ryan LeStrange) Featured Prophetic Insight Blogs Fri, 24 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Don't Believe What the False Prophets Say About America http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23860-don-t-believe-what-the-false-prophets-say-about-america http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23860-don-t-believe-what-the-false-prophets-say-about-america

America is truly a divided nation, but the things that divide us may not be exactly what you think.

Many times we look at someone's physical appearance and automatically think they are against us. We may see someone and see they are definitely in a lower or higher social class then we are or maybe they voted for a different political party than we did.

We are truly a divided nation. It seems that a huge portion of the news is all about division. The news has turned into more of a drama showcase than any reality show or soap opera could have ever been. Watch the news and you'll see just how much America is divided by race, religion, social status, gender, gay or straight, Elephant or Donkey or even urban versus rural lifestyles. Mark 3:25 says, "If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." America is so divided on many fronts rights now, but God has a plan!

Always remember what the Word of God says: "For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12, MEV).

People think they are fighting people and political parties and genders. This is a spiritual battle! Yet most people will gauge all things through how they see them from their natural eye.

Proverbs 3:5 admonishes us to, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." We must learn to lean not on the natural sight to see what's going on in the world around us, but rely on our spiritual eyes and ears to perceive and understand what God is saying in every situation or circumstance in life.

Too many times we take things at face value but God has a greater plan. John the beloved disciple laid his head on Jesus Christ's chest—he knew the heartbeat of Christ. We need to know the times and seasons we are in, like the sons Issachar. The sons of Issachar had analyzed their times and had perceived correctly what those times were all about. They knew what to do because they understood and saw what was really going on.

"From the sons of Issachar, those having understanding of times and what Israel should do: two hundred of their captains with all their brothers at their command" (1 Chron. 12:32, MEV).

Throughout the history of ancient Israel, the tribe of Issachar is portrayed as a family that was destined to prosper both physically and spiritually. The ancient Rabbis taught that the sons of Issachar were not only "mighty men of valor" but they were also called to serve the other tribes in the areas of finance and the ministry of God's Torah.

The ones that hear God and know Him will always lead the ones who don't. We must always stand on and for the Word of God! The world around us may seem like it's going crazy, but I hear the voice of God saying hang on I'm about to revive you again America!

"For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears" (2 Tim. 4:3, MEV).

Don't be afraid of the false prophets spitting out threats and demands. Listen to the voice of your heavenly Father. I still believe in an awakening coming to America that will drive us to unity. Psalm 133:1 declares: "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" (NIV). Right now people in America are living foolishly and without cause, but the Word says in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (MEV).

Peter told his spiritual son Titus, "We also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various desires and pleasures, living in evil and envy, filled with hatred and hating each other. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, being justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:3-7, MEV). We are to be the light of God to a dark and dying world.

I love these two Scriptures in the Book of John: John 1:5 says, "The light shines in darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it" and John 8:12 says, "Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.'"

We must remember who we are in Jesus: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9, MEV).

When God sets someone free they are free like it says in Ephesians 5:8, "For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light."

God has a plan for unity for the American church and don't live in fear for what you are seeing, but rather let's live in Faith. John 10:10 reminds us, "The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." When the enemy throws something at America remember God has a much powerful answer. Things may seem to be getting worse in the natural, but know that we are about to experience an awakening in the American church. The sleeping giant, the American church is about to be awakened! 

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.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Joe Joe Dawson) Featured Prophecy Spirit Fri, 24 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
Pastor's Teenage Daughter Will Not Sell Out to the World http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23900-pastor-s-teenage-daughter-will-not-sell-out-to-the-world http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23900-pastor-s-teenage-daughter-will-not-sell-out-to-the-world

When I was younger growing up in church, I would hear people share their testimony on stage. They would start off by sharing how they were in the world, some would say they did drugs or alcohol or other sinful things they were involved in and how Jesus saved and delivered them.  I thought that was really powerful and it is.  However, for me growing up in the church and not being the world, I thought "what kind of testimony would I have, I don't think I would have a testimony."

One day I told my dad that I wouldn't have a testimony because I've never done anything like that or gone out into the world.  But I remember what he said to me that was so impactful.  My dad told me that the greatest testimony is when someone doesn't go out into the world and wilds out but stays in the church and lives passionately for the Lord. That's what I have tried to live for is staying in the church living passionately for the Lord. That will be my testimony!

As a Pastors' kid, I've heard a lot of statistics stating that PK's can be the worse kids in the church or they aren't serving the Lord. I can understand the pressures or how the enemy can attack the pastors' family. However, I have decided to dismiss that lie and stay in church and serve God with my whole life.

One of my favorite scriptures is Psalms 27:4 "One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple." Honestly I really appreciate my father for sharing that with me about my testimony, it gave me such a new perspective on life and how I should live mine. My father has always helped me, encouraged me, and supported me in all aspects of my life. He is the one that has given me the opportunity to do ministry and use my gifts and talents for the Lord.

Since the age of 12 I have been swimming in ministry. I was given the opportunity to have my own Children's Christian TV Show, minister to children in our Outreach Ministry, and have had the opportunity to do music and release an album that I helped produce. Through all of this I have had to keep my relationship with Jesus strong. For me, music is such a big part of my life and it definitely reflects in my relationship with Christ.  I will not sell my gift and talents that God gave to me the world!

I love to take time and really worship Jesus with passion and zeal. This is something that I really want my generation to grab a hold of is to have a heart of worship towards the Lord. I just released an album titled "Overflow" and while writing it I really tried to capture the spirit of worship in all the songs and in every genre.

The entire album was about encouraging young people to let praise and worship overflow out of them. In Psalms 119:171-175 (NIV) 171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. 172 May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous. 173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, Lord, and your law gives me delight. 175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me", this is the scripture that the album was based off of.

Since I've been producing albums, all my music is free to download and I give away free CD's so my generation will have every opportunity to hear my music, be ministered to by music so they can live out-loud for Jesus!

I encourage my generation to live out-loud for Jesus and not be ashamed. I believe that God has called me to be a voice to my generation to speak out and be bold about His message. I believe it's time for young people to turn their hearts from the world and to go before God on bended knees and worship Him with their whole heart, soul, mind, and body. Now is the time for my generation to overflow!

Madison Reyes is 17 years old and has grown up in the church under her parents Luis and Tricia Reyes, Senior Pastors of The New Church Of Joy in Waukegan, IL.  Madison ministers through her TV Show "The Maddie Rey Show" and produces Music Albums under "Maddie Rey".  Her music is available at www.maddierey.com and Reverbnation.  All of her music is free to download. Madison travels around the Nation being a voice to the younger generation through her music and ministry. 

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Madison Reyes) Featured Women Life Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
WATCH: Sadie Robertson's Answer on 'Family Feud' Will Have You Giggling http://www.charismamag.com/entertainment/tv/23835-watch-sadie-robertson-s-answer-on-family-feud-will-have-you-in-giggles http://www.charismamag.com/entertainment/tv/23835-watch-sadie-robertson-s-answer-on-family-feud-will-have-you-in-giggles

From Uncle Si to brotherly high jinks, Duck Dynasty has been known to bring the laughs. The family proved no differently on the celebrity rendition of "Family Feud."

Watch the video to see what Sadie Robertson had to say when asked what a "sexy perfume for a female dog" would smell like.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Jessilyn Justice) Featured TV The Buzz Thu, 23 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
8 Things Your Wife Should Expect From You http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23856-8-things-your-wife-should-expect-from-you http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23856-8-things-your-wife-should-expect-from-you

More and more couples seem to be writing their own marriage vows these days. Susan and I did the same thing 26 years ago.

Ours included some traditional vows but also reflected the uniqueness of our personalities and commitment before God to one another. Then, after we got married, we discovered our differing gifts and divvied up household responsibilities according to those gifts. For example, Susan is the financial person, so she pays the bills. I can fix things; when something is broken, I repair it.

While wedding vows, personalities, responsibilities and many other things will differ from marriage to marriage, there are nonnegotiable marriage expectations that should be the same for all spouses. Husbands and wives should be able to expect certain things from one another. So here are 8 things your wife should expect from you.

Remember: Each is a way in which you demonstrate your love for her. 

1. A relationship with Jesus. If you and Jesus are tight, then you will be close and intimate with your wife as well. The more grounded you are in the Word, the better you will be able to handle the hurdles that come with your marriage.

2. Trustworthiness. As I shared in Unlocking the Door to Intimacy in Marriage, being trustworthy means you are who you say you are. That is, you are authentic ... the real deal. It also means you will always speak the truth and don't keep secrets from your wife. Susan knows I don't keep secrets from her. I'm always "open for inspection." For example, Susan knows my computer password and can access it any time to see what I am reading and looking at. She can also see my calendar at any time. Susan can also pick up my Smartphone any time to read my texts and emails and check out what kind of music I'm listening to.

Being trustworthy also means that you'll do what you say you'll do ... that your wife can "take it to the bank," so to speak. For example, if you tell her you'll pick up some milk on the way home, make a note to remind yourself to do it. Don't forget and dismiss it as not being important.

3. Faithfulness. You're certain you'd never give yourself physically to another woman ... but what about mentally and emotionally? Even if you don't go looking for porn, do you let your eyes and thoughts wander when something or someone alluring comes into view? Just for a moment or two?

Faithfulness isn't just about what you don't or won't do. It's about what you do to make sure that commitment is honored. Jerry Jenkins' book Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It looks at the ways we can guard the borders of our marriage garden.

His advice includes avoiding "just the two of you" travel or meetings with another woman whenever possible. No jokey, flirtatious or suggestive talk. And if you pay a compliment, make it about the woman's hair or clothes, not directly about her.

4. Provision. In our homes, we have a clear responsibility to provide for the physical needs of our wife and children. That means that we must work and earn money to provide for those needs. That doesn't necessarily mean we have to be the sole breadwinner. Many couples both have jobs these days. If that's so, where and how are we helping in other areas of home life?

By the way, don't think that putting a paycheck on the counter covers it all either. In addition to financial and physical needs, we must also support our family emotionally and spiritually.

5. Protection. Chivalry may not be dead, but it's in poor health. For me, the growing lack of gentlemanliness in society is a worry. Opening a door for a woman or walking on her outside in the street are marks of respect. Here are the "4 Benefits of Showing Chivalry to Your Spouse and Daughters."

We live in a dangerous world: Someone is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds. Your wife and your children need to feel safe and protected—and not just physically. You may have a home security system to guard against burglars. But what about other kinds of "home invasion," like harmful media? Are you on the alert for your wife and family?

6. Leadership. Some people get a bit bent out of shape over this one, but a man is called to lead his family. A man who loves his family well will lead his family well. When a man's wife and children know that he always has their best interests at heart, they'll follow him. Love is leadership's unseen essential.

7. An attitude of servitude. This is the antidote to the previous leader thing getting out of whack. As leaders, we should not look to be served but to serve in our homes. What does that look like in your home? How are you serving your wife and children? What are you doing to ensure that they are becoming all they can?

Being a servant means that the world does not revolve around you. That her needs and desires, their needs and desires, take precedence over your planned fishing trip, your golf game or your night out with your buddies. When they know they are important, they will follow you.

8. Sexual intimacy. It's easy to think that sexual intimacy is only a priority for guys, but it's important for women too, though perhaps in a slightly different way. Women derive physical pleasure too, of course, but there is also a big emotional component. Your pursuit demonstrates that she is desired and delighted in, that she is still the one. It is also an active expression of your faithfulness. So don't look at your neighbors' lawn; instead, take the time to water your own grass, so that it's the greenest it can be.

Are you meeting these fundamental expectations in your marriage?

Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit markmerrill.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Mark Merrill/Family First) Featured Men Life Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Psalm Therapy: Healing Negative Emotions God's Way http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23854-psalm-therapy-healing-negative-emotions-god-s-way http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23854-psalm-therapy-healing-negative-emotions-god-s-way

Once there was a girl who was talented, pretty, and smart. She had a bad temper, however.

When she became angry, she said and did hurtful things. Her father became concerned about her and decided to teach her a lesson.

He gave the girl a bag of nails and a hammer.

"Whenever you lose your temper, go out back to that old fence," he told her. "Take one of the nails and hammer it into the fence as hard as you can. Hold nothing back." 

Over the next few weeks, the girl did what her father asked. Eventually, all the nails were gone.

"Now, pull out one of the nails," her father said. The girl did it.

The father then said gently, "Even though the nail is gone now, there is a hole left behind. You can patch it, but this fence will never be the same. That is what you do to others when you say or do hurtful things. You always leave a hole, no matter how many times you say you are sorry." 

Many Christians have 'holes" left behind from past hurts. If you don't allow God to heal them, they can impact your ability to love others and have a healthy relationship with yourself.

To help you manage your emotions (and avoid creating "holes" in others), I am pleased to announce my newest e-book, Psalm Therapy: Healing Negative Emotions God's Way. In the book, you will learn how people in the book of Psalms dealt with emotions like feeling abandoned, angry, comfortless, doubtful, fearful, and others.

If you don't have a Kindle, don't worry. You can get free Kindle reader apps for your Computer, Tablets, and Smartphones here.

Be blessed in health, healing, and wholeness.

Kimberly Taylor is the author of The Weight Loss Scriptures and many other books. Once 240 pounds and a size 22, she can testify to God's goodness and healing power. Visit takebackyourtemple.com and receive more free health and weight-loss tips.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Kimberly Taylor, C.W.C.) Featured Health Life Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Why You Have Constant and Complete Access to God http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/23853-why-you-have-constant-and-complete-access-to-god http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/23853-why-you-have-constant-and-complete-access-to-god

Our 16-year-old son is saving for his first car. We have a car fund at our house, and we match every dollar that he puts in it. He's working hard to earn money. At this point, it's all work and no benefits but with the hope that one day he will have his car.

Working for something you do not yet have—that is an apt description of Old Covenant living. In the Old Testament, God's people looked forward to what He had promised, but they didn't see it in their own lives. So they constantly worked for what they did not have:

  • Holiness. All they had was the law that described what real holiness looked like. 
  • Forgiveness. They were never free of the guilt from their sin.
  • Access to God. Only one person in Israel, the high priest, one day a year was allowed into the holy of holies, where God was.

When Jesus died on the cross, His shed blood inaugurated the New Covenant, in fulfillment of God's promise to His people, as recorded in Jeremiah 31 and quoted in Hebrews 8—a covenant where His people would be given internal power to walk in His ways, complete forgiveness and constant access to intimacy with God.

Sadly, many so-called "Christians" today live more like they're part of the Old Covenant than a partaker in the New Covenant. For example, they want holiness, but are not willing to pay the price for it.

Maybe it's like this for you. In your home, you may have a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall. "I try to live by those things," you say. "I don't always make it, but I try really hard." That's what people in the Old Covenant did, constantly working for what they did not yet have.

But for those of us in Christ, "we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10).

Or what about this: Do you ever think that your pastor has more access to God than you? I'm sure you wouldn't say that out loud, but maybe you would ask him to pray about something and say, "I am so glad that you are doing this because you have a direct line."

But so do you—in Christ, you have complete and constant access to God.

Suppose my wife and I decided to give our son a car. He would come home from school one day and see a brand new car in the driveway. But imagine if he didn't drive it and he was still saving money in his car fund. How foolish would it be to have a new car and not drive it?

It is foolish to work for something that has already been given to you. Old Covenant people lived for what they hoped to have some day; New Covenant people can live from what they already have in Christ—holiness, forgiveness, and access to God. To put it another way, New Covenant people drive the car that has been given to them!

We don't need the Ten Commandments on our walls anymore, because we have his Spirit expressing the Life of Christ in us and through us. He has made us holy. Hebrews 10:22 encourages us to "draw near to God" because of it. You don't have to go through your pastor or anyone else to have access to God.

One simple way to draw near is to open the Scriptures and listen. Just say, "Holy Spirit, what do you want to say to me?" Read a verse and just pause. If anything pops into your head, as long as it aligns with Scripture, assume that's Him talking to you. And as He talks to you, talk back to Him. You can actually get into a conversation with God!

The Old Testament saints would have died for this, and in the New Covenant we have it! Hebrews 10:17-18 says,"Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.  And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary." We have unending access to God because Jesus paid for our forgiveness completely on the cross, "once for all" (Heb. 10:10).

So our access to God is uninterrupted into infinity. We are fully forgiven. He has made us holy. Our behavior might not always reflect this reality, but in His grace our behavior does not change it.

Pete Briscoe is the senior pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, Texas, and a co-host of "Telling the Truth," a Bible-teaching radio program.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Pete Briscoe) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 23 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
What Would You Say to Your Father's Murderer? http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23894-what-would-you-say-to-your-father-s-murderer http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23894-what-would-you-say-to-your-father-s-murderer

Letters from My Father's Murderer is an extraordinary true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God.  When her father was murdered, Laurie Coombs and her family sought justice—and found it. Yet, despite the swift punishment of the killer, Laurie found herself increasingly full of pain, bitterness, and anger she couldn't control. It was the call to love and forgive her father's murderer that set her, the murderer, and several other inmates on the journey that would truly change their lives forever.

This compelling story of transformation will touch the deepest wounds and show how God can redeem what seems unredeemable.

Q: Why did you want to write Letters from My Father's Murderer, which details such a tragic and painful part of your life?

To be honest, I didn't initially want to write this book. I wanted to share my story, but I knew writing it in a book would require me to bare all. I knew I'd have to share difficult things, and I didn't want to. But greater than my resistance was my desire to see people experience freedom and redemption and healing as I had. I wanted God to be glorified for what He had done in and through my life.

I knew God was calling me to write this book. And I knew God well enough to know that if I answered that call I'd most assuredly see lives change as a result of the message He has given me. God allowed me to see something good could come out of the ashes of my past. I could play a small part in the grand story He has been unfolding since the beginning of time. I could participate in what He's doing in the here and now for the good of many. And so, I chose to say yes, and of course I'm now completely on board.

Q: Tell us about the significance of the few interactions you had with your father just prior to his murder.

About one month before my dad died, he said to me, "Laurie, when I die, I want people to remember me for who I am. I don't want anyone turning me into something I'm not." The comment sort of stunned me at first. It came out of absolutely nowhere. My dad continued to tell me people only want to talk about the good parts of a person after they die. "But that's not who they really are," he said. "There are good parts and bad parts to every one of us."

For many years, I didn't understand why my dad said that to me—obviously, neither one of us knew he was going to die—but as I began to write this book, his words came to mind. I knew then, without a doubt, God had him speak those words to me more than a decade before I needed them to give me the freedom to share my story however God would lead.

Q: You're very honest in the book about the mistakes your father made and how that affected your teen years and even your choice to reject the faith you had been raised in. Was that difficult for you to do?

Absolutely. I had to do a lot of thinking and praying about how to write what God wanted me to write in this book. But ultimately I knew God was calling me to truth. My dad was an amazing man. A wonderful father. I really was a daddy's girl. But he wasn't perfect. And neither am I. It's my hope that I conveyed my imperfections throughout the book as well.

Q: Before sentencing at trial, what did you tell the jury on the day you stood in the courtroom and came face-to-face with your father's killer?

I told them about my dad. I tried to make my dad real to them. And then I left them with a challenge. I said,

"Until the day of Anthony's death, we will have to deal with the fact that there is a man out there who took our dad's life. How long this murderer will spend in prison is left up to you, and we encourage you to help our family in our pursuit of justice.

"This tragedy, which has affected all of our lives, is not over. This will be something we must live with for the rest of our lives; nonetheless, only when justice is served will we be able to move on with our lives and have closure.


"Leonardo da Vinci once said, 'He who does not punish evil commends it to be done. Justice requires power, insight, and will.' I challenge you to uphold justice and sentence Anthony to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole."

Q: What made you decide to begin corresponding with your father's killer? What did you hope would come from it?

God had freed me from the anxiety and depression after coming to Jesus, but then He began to show me I was irritable pretty much all the time. It was ugly, and quite honestly, I didn't like myself very much. I began to pray for God to show me why I was like this. Why can't I just be nice? I wondered. And then He showed me that the root of my irritability was anger, which had ultimately turned into bitterness.

I prayed, asking God to remove the bitterness in my heart, and that's when I heard His gentle whisper tell me, "It's time to forgive." But then He took it a step further. "Love your enemy," He said. God's call to forgive and love my enemy resulted in the correspondence between the man who murdered my dad and me. Initially, I wasn't sure what would come out of our interaction, but I did know where God was taking me. I knew He was leading me toward forgiveness and healing. I didn't know what that journey would look like along the way, but I did know wherever I ended up would be a good place.

  Q: Tell us about the moment you were finally able to forgive.

Forgiveness came when I least expected it. My correspondence with the man who murdered my dad had gotten heated. He was blame-shifting and justifying, and I was obviously not OK with that. All I wanted to do was rebuke him—I almost did—but instead, God said to me, "Laurie, leave him to me. Now forgive." And I did. But it wasn't of me. If I had my way, I would have met all the blame-shifting and lies with a rebuke. Instead God called and enabled me to give that which I had already been given. He called me to give grace and love and forgiveness.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,"and he was right. The moment I extended grace and love and forgiveness, I began to see the man who murdered my dad change before my eyes. 

Q: Your father's killer wrote, "Your testimony may have saved a life,in one of his letters. What did he mean by that?

The man who murdered my dad chose to share what God had done through our journey during a church service with his fellow inmates. He shared an article I had written. He told them nothing is unforgivable. He encouraged them to place God in the center of their most broken relationship and pray. Then he told them I had encouraged him to live his life to the glory of God. I had told him that just because he was in prison doesn't mean he had wasted his life. I challenged him not to allow his life, nor my dad's death, to be in vain. The men were crying as he spoke, and after he shared a man came up to him to tell him he had been planning to murder a man when released from prison. He said because of this testimony, he decided to pray and forgive instead. I was stunned. God had used my dad's death possibly to save another life. It was incredible.

Q: What have you learned from your interaction with him?

Oh boy. A lot. More than I can ever say, really. God used this chapter of my life to teach me just about every aspect of the gospel. I learned what it looks like to follow Jesus. I learned more about who God is. I learned how to let go of control. I learned to press through obstacles. I learned how to calm my fears. I learned to be in complete reliance upon Jesus. I learned how to wait on the Lord. I learned about sin and judgment. I learned I am no better than any other, and my sins are no better than those of the man who murdered my dad. I learned true forgiveness is only accomplished by the grace of God. I learned the Christian life is not a life of passivity. I learned how to lay down my biases and seek God's perspective. I learned forgiveness frees us from a victim mentality. I learned God is a God of the impossible—and so much more. Now I certainly don't do all these things perfectly, but I sure did learn a lot through my journey of forgiveness.

Q: What is his status today? Do you maintain regular contact with him?

I do still have contact with him. It's still ridiculously crazy to me that things have turned out the way they have. God has put a man who was once my enemy in my life. The man I once hated is now someone who works alongside me in my calling. The message he shares in there is the same one I share out here, so we do still write every now and again—but now our letters are centered around how God would have us use our story.

Learn more about Laurie Coombs and Letters From My Father's Murderer at www.lauriecoombs.org and on Facebook (lauriecoombs), Twitter (lauriecoombs) and Pinterest (laurieacoombs).

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Audra Jennings) Featured Women Life Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
How Praise Creates Your Breakthrough http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23892-how-praise-creates-your-breakthrough http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23892-how-praise-creates-your-breakthrough

We are in a fresh new season of revival that will literally bring a refreshing of power and glory into the nations like never before. This being understood, we need to know that there is a supernatural power that is released in praise that alters both the physical and non-physical realms that shift society and nations when released.

When the praises go up, the glory comes down. It's that simple. If we are going to see the necessary breakthrough in our personal lives, churches, cities, regions and nations, then we need to understand the subatomic power of praise.

Sound is an amazing force. Ray Hughes says, "A pair of 30-inch speakers connected to a tone generator can generate a note low enough to literally, physically, move a building off its foundation." We are continually in the presence of ultrasonic and subsonic sound waves. Ultra—meaning "above/beyond," are waves above our threshold of hearing and sub—meaning "beneath," are waves beneath our threshold of hearing. Just because we can't physically hear them doesn't mean they don't exist. They do!

Making History and Breaking the Sound Barrier

Here's a quick bit of important history. The speed of sound is the distance traveled during a unit of time by a sound wave. In dry air at 20 °C (68° F), the speed of sound is 343.2 meters per second (1,126ft/s). This is 1,236 kilometers per hour (768 mph) or approximately one mile in five seconds.

In aerodynamics, the sound barrier usually refers to the point at which an aircraft moves from transonic to supersonic speed. The term came into use during World War II when a number of aircrafts started to encounter the effects of compressibility, a collection of several unrelated aerodynamic effects that "struck" their planes like an impediment to further acceleration. By the 1950s, new aircraft designs started to routinely "break" the sound barrier. 

Some common whips such as the bullwhip or spare-whip are able to move faster than sound: the tip of the whip breaks the sound barrier and causes a sharp crack—literally a sonic boom. Firearms since the 19th century have generally had a supersonic muzzle velocity.

It was in the X-1 that Chuck Yeager was credited with being the first man to break the sound barrier in level flight on 14 October 1947, flying at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13.7 km). He had christened his plane the Glamorous Glennis. The rocket-powered aircraft was launched from the bomb bay of a specially modified B-29 and glided to a landing on a runway.

Prior to Chuck Yeager's success, there were many failed attempts to break the sound barrier most of which resulted in fatal or near fatal crashes. As the plane would reach the speed of sound, water molecules would form at the nose of the craft causing external pressure and push the aircraft backward. Vibration would cause the plane to begin to break up and nose dive or veer off uncontrolled resulting in tragedy.

The Sonic Boom

To break the sound barrier one would have to push through the resistance at the nose of the plane by thrusting forward. As the plane would begin to break the barrier, water vapor and pressure would move to the tail of the craft and as full penetration would occur, the barrier of resistance would become the catalyst of Sonic Thrust causing it to catapult forward and create what is known today as the Sonic Boom.

At the point of reaching the sound barrier one can either release the pressure and fall back where it is comfortable and predictable, or one can by thrust forward to where few have gone before and BREAK THROUGH into the sonic boom level.

The Subatomic Power of Praise

Praise means to commend, to applaud or magnify. For the Christian, praise to God is an expression of worship, lifting up and glorifying the Lord. It is an expression of humbling ourselves and centering our attention upon the Lord with heartfelt expressions of love, adoration and thanksgiving. High praises bring our spirit into a pinnacle of fellowship and intimacy between ourselves and God—it magnifies our awareness of our spiritual union with the Most High God.

Praise transports us into the realm of the supernatural and into the power of God. "Blessed are the people who know the joyful shout. They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your presence" (Ps. 89:15).

There are many actions involved with praise to God—verbal expressions of adoration and thanksgiving, singing, playing instruments, shouting, dancing, lifting or clapping our hands. Unpretentious praise and worship pleases the Lord. According to Scripture, the various expressions of praise bring blessing to the Lord. He eagerly awaits the fragrance of our affections, desiring to manifest His sweet presence and power in our midst. "... the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father seeks such to worship Him" (John 4:23).

Reprinted from Elijah List. Jeff Jansen is Founder of Global Fire Ministries International in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The mission of GFMI as an apostolic and prophetic ministry is to pave the way for personal, city, regional, national, and world revival. The ministries of GFMI include: Global Connect, Global Fire Churches, Kingdom Life Institute, Global Fire TV, and international conferences and crusades. Jeff Jansen is well-known for his miracle/healing anointing and prophetic ministry worldwide, often giving revelatory directives for not only individuals but regions and nations. Jeff is also Founder and Senior Leader of Global Fire Church Murfreesboro, from which the Global Connect initiative of church planting and networking was birthed.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Jeff Jansen) Featured Women Life Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Prophets Are Not Psychics or Witches or Shamans http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/the-plumb-line/23890-prophets-are-not-psychics-or-witches-or-shamans http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/the-plumb-line/23890-prophets-are-not-psychics-or-witches-or-shamans

Every day I get at least a handful of digital requests from precious people all over the world desperately seeking a prophetic word. As I've said before, some come begging. Others come demanding. Still others come with money in hand to buy a prophecy or dream interpretation.

don't sell prophecies and dream interpretations. I'm not a psychic. I don't read crystal balls. I'm not a shaman. I don't divine the hidden. I'm not like Buddha. You can't rub my belly for good luck. Honestly, as much as my heart goes out to people who are desperate to hear the voice of God, if I endeavored to "go to the throne" to get a word from God for everyone who inquired, I'd have to isolate myself in a cave and live on bread and water.

Don't get me wrong. I am not against personal prophecy. I prophesy over people at the Awakening House of Prayer and various conferences all the time. But as I've said many times, prophetic ministry doesn't operate like a gumball machine. You can't put in a quarter—or send an email or Facebook message—and out comes a prophetic word. It just doesn't work that way.

Phony, Fake Prophets

True prophets don't work to make you dependent on their gift to guide you. Phony prophets specialize in this area. True prophets live by the Ephesians 4:11 model: to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Phony prophets specialize in clever marketing schemes to put a quick buck in their pocket in exchange for a prophetic word that may of come from their spirit—or a familiar spirit—but isn't likely to have originated with the Spirit of God.

JOIN JENNIFER ON FACEBOOK FOR SPIRITUAL COMMENTARY AND ENCOURAGEMENT. CLICK HERE. 

I recently ran into one of these phony prophets. We'll just call her Jade. Perhaps ironically, this all-powerful Internet prophetess purchased prophetic training materials from my website. Apparently, the post office dropped the ball and delayed the delivery. My office checked the tracking and let Jade know that the materials were definitely in transit and apologized for the delay.

We didn't hear back from Jade until seven months later, when she suddenly surfaced with a complaint that she hadn't received the printed materials. Jade also shared how she felt stuck and had so many issues to deal with in her life. She was frustrated and unhappy. We tried to minister to her and checked on the order with the Post Office.

Meanwhile, we noticed Jade sells prophetic words on her website. Shocked to come email to email with an Internet prophetess, we asked her how much she charged for personal prophecy. To our amazement, Jade then offered to "get a prophetic word" for us but warned that "I own my own business and work day and night, so sometimes it takes me a long while to deliver the prophetic words."

According to the Post Office, the package was delivered over half a year ago! Nevertheless, we refunded her money immediately for the entire order, including the digital materials she had already received. Then we got our prophetic word, but it was word curses from the pit of hell. We broke those words, in Jesus' name. But that got me wondering, do phony, fake Internet prophets offer a satisfaction guarantee for their prophecies? Selah.

Thankfully, we didn't pay for any prophecy, but I know many people do. They pay prophets for bogus words and make major life decisions based on those words and wonder what went wrong. I talk about this in my book: Did the Spirit of God Say That? Again, I don't sell prophecies and dream interpretations. I'm not a psychic. I don't read crystal balls. I'm not a shaman. I don't divine the hidden. I'm not like Buddha. You can't rub my belly for good luck.

The Holy Ghost Is Not for Sale

Of course, not all fake, phony prophets are on the Internet. I recently heard of a well-known prophet who would not prophesy at the altar until he received an offering from each individual who wanted a prophetic word. There were even credit card machines for easy swiping so folks wouldn't hold up the line. Yes, really.

When I get phone calls, emails and Facebook messages begging, demanding and offering to pay for prophetic words, it grieves me because I can see clearly that there is still a major misunderstanding about prophetic ministry in the body of Christ. And that can put these precious believers in danger of getting merchandised, deceived and otherwise steered in the wrong direction in the name of sincerely "seeking God." I don't have time to respond to each and every one in detail about the role of the prophet, why it's inappropriate for prophets to charge for prophecies or how to hear from God.

But let me assure you of this: God wants to speak to you. In fact, He's probably speaking to you more than you realize. I have a free prophetic teaching series on YouTube about how to discern the voice of God. It's old and the quality isn't the greatest, but it may help you. There are also many books on the topic.

Precious saints, God wants to speak to you directly. Don't run to a prophet—and don't pay a prophet—for prophetic words. Run to God and sow your time into fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. You won't be disappointed and you won't walk away with a manufactured poor prophecy that leads you in the wrong direction. The Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you into all truth (John 16:13). That's a promise from King Jesus. Amen.

Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 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.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Jennifer LeClaire ) Featured The Plumb Line Blogs Thu, 23 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Guarding the Anointing That Breaks the Yoke http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/23850-guarding-the-anointing-that-breaks-the-yoke http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/23850-guarding-the-anointing-that-breaks-the-yoke

"Guard the treasure that was committed to you through the Holy Spirit who lives in us" (2 Tim. 1:14).

When a man or woman pays the price to steward the anointing of God upon their lives, all hell takes notice! Religious activity and service void of the power of the Holy Spirit is of no concern to Satan.

What he absolutely loathes is the anointing because it is the only thing he is afraid of. This truth is clearly demonstrated in the life of Christ:

"They went to Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. They were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. In their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 'Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.' Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be silent and come out of him!' When the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, it came out of him" (Mark 1:21-26).

The anointing is what breaks the yoke of bondage (Is. 10:27) and causes those under the influence of the devil to be liberated. "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). Therefore, the enemy utterly despises men and women who walk in the anointing of the Spirit's power. He will do whatever he can to render ineffective and impotent such servants of the Lord.

One of Satan's most successful tactics is to distract God's servants so that they pursue that which is of lesser or no significance than a life fully yielded to the Spirit. We see him at work in the church in Jerusalem. In the midst of a white-hot revival, the enemy introduces a strategy to sidetrack the apostles from giving themselves unceasingly to prayer. His method was to downgrade their calling from that of apostle to administrator. If the enemy cannot succeed with a strategy that will result in our destruction, he will settle for a plan that culminates in our reduction.

In the New Testament we read of the special authority given to apostles to demonstrate and display the gospel with miracles, signs and wonders following (Acts 5:12, 19:11; 2 Cor. 12:12). More than anything, Satan wants to prevent such supernatural power from being made manifest in the earth. He knows that apostolic demonstration will cease when apostolic devotion is abandoned. If the devil can't make us bad, he will make us busy. Either way he wins as his strategy results in the common goal of a life that is no longer marked by the Spirit's anointing.

The apostles in Jerusalem would not be duped by the devil. They knew that to do so would result in an impotent gospel presentation. Upon identifying the enemy's threat, they implemented a plan to counter it. "So the twelve called the multitude of disciples together and said, 'It is not reasonable for us to leave the word of God and serve tables. Brothers, look among yourselves for seven men who are known to be full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint over this duty. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word'" (Acts 6:2-4).

Don't fall prey to the devil's schemes. Cherish and invest in intimacy with God more than anything else. The purest expression and highest form of ministry is communion with Father God. Everything we need flows out of our relationship with the Lord! Powerful, prophetic proclamation in public stems from passionate, praying in private. Apostolic demonstration is determined by apostolic devotion.

Guard the anointing. Guard your heart. Guard your time. Amen.

Glenn Bleakney is the founder and president of Awake Nations Ministries. With uncompromising conviction and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Awake Nations with Glenn is taking the gospel of the kingdom to the nations of the world. Many lives have been saved and transformed through the power of God manifest before their eyes through signs and wonders! Sign up for Glenn's weekly devotional, Living Supernaturally at awakenations.org.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Glenn Bleakney) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 23 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Heidi Baker, Todd White Watch Holy Spirit Fall on Thousands http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/church-ministry/23841-heidi-baker-todd-white-watch-holy-spirit-fall-on-thousands http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/church-ministry/23841-heidi-baker-todd-white-watch-holy-spirit-fall-on-thousands

A Holy Spirit fire was ignited in Nuremberg, Germany, this past week. In a stadium where Hitler once raised up and trained his army, friends from around the world came together for one purpose: at an event called Awakening Europe they came to see people saved and transformed by the love of God.

On July 9-12, 2015, about 25,000 people from more than 20 nations gathered together in Germany to glorify the name of Jesus in Europe. Ben Fitzgerald, Todd White, and others assembled a large family of Jesus lovers to send throughout the world carrying the fire of the Holy Spirit and the love of God. Heidi Baker, Jesus Culture band, Jake Hamilton, and others rearranged their schedules to be a part of what God was doing to re-awaken Europe and to see God's kingdom come.

Ben Fitzgerald, an Australian born evangelist who was also a pastor at Bethel Church Redding, said that Germany was ripe for what God wanted to do in all the earth. He said, "A great catalytic fire is going to leave Germany and go across Europe and millions of people are going to come back to God in the next few years." Fitzgerald saw the beginning of his dream come true this weekend in Germany.

At Awakening Europe, there was no other agenda but Jesus. There was no competition, no striving, no trying to get a higher position. If anything, people were trying to get lower still so they could lay down to worship before King Jesus. Awakening Europe appeared to be a fulfillment of Paul's words in Philippians 2:1-3 of "having the same love, being in unity with one mind," and of Psalm 27:4: "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that will I seek after—for me to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to see the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple."

This conference was more like a huge family reunion than anything else. Everyone worshipped Jesus together and sought to invite even more people into the growing family of God. It was such a pure offering unto the Lord.

Faith also marked Awaking Europe. The speakers and leaders seemed to walk in high levels of faith. Fitzgerald and White stepped out in faith to rent a stadium when they didn't have the funds. Even when the conference started, they were short thousands of dollars. On the final day, however, all the money came in to cover the costs. Awakening Europe was a present-day Nehemiah story coming together.

The conference started with a Thursday night session with no real agenda other than worshipping Jesus. Fitzgerald, White and others gave room for the Holy Spirit to take over the stadium. They simply knelt down on the stage to worship and invited God to come and lead. A chorus that regularly flowed throughout the conference was, "Holy Spirit I surrender, I say yes to You. Jesus, Jesus."

There was desperation in their cries for more of the Holy Spirit. There was passion in their voices. There was a sacred hunger present.

On Friday, White called for all who had not yet encountered God's love to stand up. Many people responded. White asked them to run quickly to the end of the stadium where a ministry team was prepared to receive them. Hundreds of people cascaded towards the field so they could give their lives to Jesus. White had the several thousands gathered at the end of the field get down on their knees and repeat a prayer. Following this, he had the rest of those in the stadium extend their hands and ask for a baptism of fire. There was a special presence in the stadium that night. When the Holy Spirit crashed in on them, they could no longer hold back the tears. People were marked by the love of God like never before.

Walter Heidenreich and Heidi Baker spoke on Saturday. At one point, hunger for more increased as a young woman ran onto the field as fast as she could. She wanted more of God. This hunger is similar to what Baker experienced in the late 1990s. At one meeting, she ran up to the front of a church in the middle of Randy Clark's message because she was so hungry for more of the Holy Spirit. She was marked by Clark's prayer that day. Hunger attracts the heart of God; those who are hungry shall be filled.

Europe indeed was awakened to hunger for something more this week. Thousands were saved. Many were set free from shame. Multitudes were activated to be Jesus to those around them in their everyday lives. Many in and outside the stadium were physically healed and encountered the love of God like never before. Hope arose in the hearts of those present. A nation was lit on fire by the Holy Spirit. Ripple effects for eternity will come from what God poured out this weekend. Years and even generations from now, stories will continue to be told about how God met hungry people in Nuremberg, Germany at Awakening Europe.

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May this conference be a template, a new wine skin for carrying what God wants to pour out in our generation. May releasing the heart of God always come from a place of being united in love as a family. May every conference or church meeting begin with no other agenda than to worship and encounter the living God. May space be made to yield to  the spontaneous leading of the Holy Spirit. May a sweet sacrifice of our yielded lives always be poured out before our King. May every single gathering of believers forever be marked and led by seeking the face of Jesus. 

I pray that you would receive a fresh impartation of what God did at Europe Awakening, that you would run after Jesus and never look back. May God help you to realize that you need family to fulfill your destiny. May He surround you with kindred spirits who will burn with you. May faith arise so you will have courage to step into the impossible. May hunger increase so that you are so desperate to have more of Jesus that you will take hold of Him at any cost. May everything you do come from a place of deep intimacy with Jesus. May you be undone for anything else but knowing Jesus and making Him known. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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jessilyn.justice@gmail.com (Jennifer A. Miskov) Featured Church & Ministry Spirit Thu, 23 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
The Big Lesson I Learned About Submission http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23889-the-big-lesson-i-learned-about-submission http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23889-the-big-lesson-i-learned-about-submission

With a great huff I drove to our local grocery store and bought a big bag of Tide and a bottle of fabric softener.

I felt like the biggest cheater in the blogosphere.

After all, I had blogged about and written a book of my own tried-and-true recipes for chemical-free cleaning products. I had Tweeted and Instagrammed my lovely homemade, 2-ingredient laundry detergent that was significantly less expensive than anything I could buy.

I felt like my creativity and frugality were highly insulted. And all because he wanted his clothes to smell like laundry detergent.

Hrumph!

And then that little voice said something that both made sense ... and irritated me.

Don't you hate it when that voice makes sense ... and still tells you that you're wrong?

Yea, me too!

Because I really, really wanted to be right this time!

This is what the voice said:

It's impossible to submit in the big things until you learn to submit in the small things.

The thing is this: its not about me, my blogging reputation or how creatively frugal I am. Because I can have all those things in tact and live in a home where there is constant tension because I refuse to submit my right to be right.

Or ...

I can submit my right to be right and assure my husband that his needs and wants are my greatest priority in the home.

And this is what I've been learning in 2015, as I've made a greater effort to be more present with my family.

I am learning that my husband's wants and needs—no matter how trivial they may seem—need to come front and center.

Not because it's a nice thing to do.

Not because he deserves it because he's a really great guy.

Not even because there are 100 reasons why I love him.

(and all of those things are very true, and they really good reasons, but they are not the reason)

The reason is because the Bible says that a wife should be submitted to her husband.

Wives, be submissive to your own husbands as unto the Lord. – Ephesians 5:22

In my mind I had always viewed submission as something a lot more spiritual than laundry detergent.

In my mind, I had divided the home into "his and hers." His being the car and garage, and hers being the home and whatever makes it function—such as the laundry.

And I'll be honest, I'm still not there yet. Next month we'll celebrate 8 years of marriage and I feel like I'm only just now "getting" this idea of submission that has always seemed so nebulous and foggy.

I used to talk about it a lot as a single person, because without a husband requiring my submission it was black-and-white.

Suddenly I found myself married and someone telling me what to do!

The nerve!

Oh—and for the record, I'm also 2 years older than him. A fact I have brought up a time or two, lest he forget that bit of leverage I have.

Not that age factors into this very important biblical principle. God frankly doesn't care if I'm younger, older or much older.

So, I stopped talking about submission almost entirely, because I felt that until I had begun to comprehend this complex idea of submission, it was best that I just be quiet.

And yes, it is complex. It's complex because it requires two people to lay down the rights and their lives.  The Bible tells women to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord, and the husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.

But it does not say that if our husbands don't love us as Christ loves the church that we can hang that over their heads as an excuse as to why we refuse to submit.

See how complex this is?

It requires us to surrender our will and our right. It requires us to lay down our lives.

So, today as I pull a load of nice-smelling, chemical-laden clothes out of the washer and prep them to hang on the clothesline, I do it with great love and surrender.

Oh—and thanksgiving because there is peace in our home.

I have given up so little, and received so much!

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

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Rosilind Jukic) Featured Women Life Wed, 22 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
WATCH: Rapper Trip Lee Has 3 Words for Christian Porn Addicts http://www.charismamag.com/life/culture/23822-watch-rapper-trip-lee-has-3-words-for-christian-porn-addicts http://www.charismamag.com/life/culture/23822-watch-rapper-trip-lee-has-3-words-for-christian-porn-addicts

There's such a stigma surrounding pornography, how are men and women supposed to repent when they're afraid of the reaction?

Repentance cannot come without confession, but rapper and pastor Trip Lee is ready to step up and be there for people who are struggling. 

"It's a unique sin. Because at this point you don't have to go anywhere to indulge in it. You don't have to make a long series of bad decisions to fall into it," Lee says in a video. "There's often this kind of despair, feeling they're imprisoned by their sin."

Watch the video to see the three ways you can find your way to freedom.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Jessilyn Justice) Featured Culture Life Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
You Can Love Your Spouse More When You Realize This About Them http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23846-you-can-love-your-spouse-more-when-you-realize-this-about-them http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23846-you-can-love-your-spouse-more-when-you-realize-this-about-them

It seems obvious enough, but many people get married with unrealistic expectations of the person they are marrying. Here is a newsflash for you: Nobody is perfect.

Here's the point: You both bring something into your marriage that is destructive. It is called sin.

Most of the troubles we face in a marriage aren't intentional or personal. In most situations, we don't face difficulty because our spouse intentionally did something to make our life difficult. In moments of anger, that could happen. But most often, what's really happening is that our lives are being affected by the sin, weakness and failure of the person we are living with.

If your wife is having a bad day, that bad day will splash up on you in some way. If your husband is angry about his job, there is a good possibility that he'll bring that anger home with him.

When your ears hear and your eyes see the sin, weakness and failure of your husband or wife, it's never an accident—it's always grace! God loves your spouse, and He's committed to transforming him or her by His grace. And, he has chosen you to be one of His regular tools of change. He will cause you to see, hear and experience your spouse's need for change so that you can be an agent of His rescue.

These are precious moments of ministry, but we tend to turn moments of ministry into moments of anger. Rather than serving God's purpose, we tend to personalize what is not personal. For example, at the end of his bad day at work, your husband doesn't say to himself, "I know what I'll do. I'll take my bad day out on my wife so that her day gets as wrecked as mine."

No, the trouble you're experiencing is not about you directly. It's your trouble because this angry man is your husband, but what you're experiencing is not personal in terms of conscious intentionality. You're simply living with a flawed person, so you'll experience his sin.

Here's what happens next: When you personalize what isn't personal, you tend to be adversarial in your response. What motivates you is not the spiritual need in your spouse that God has revealed, but your spouse's offense against you, your schedule, your peace and so on.

What should be your response in a moment of ministry (for my spouse) becomes a response in a moment of anger (against my spouse). Rather than desiring to minister to your spouse, what you actually want to do is get them out of your way so you can go back to whatever was engaging you before.

When we respond in an adversarial way, we actually escalate the trouble that the other person splashed up on us. This leads to something else: We settle for quick situational solutions that don't get to the heart of the matter. Rather than searching for ways to help, we tell the other to get a grip; we attempt to threaten them into silence or we get angry and turn a moment of weakness into a major confrontation.

Even during the best of times, you'll experience the sin, weakness, and failure of your spouse. It's inevitable—you're married to a flawed person. But on the Cross, Jesus Christ provided everything you need to respond in a godly way. What response will you choose?

Dr. Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. Paul lives in Philadelphia and is hopelessly in love with his wife, Luella. They have four grown children.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (David Paul Tripp/For Authenticmanhood.com) Featured Men Life Wed, 22 Jul 2015 15:50:00 -0400
5 Top Food Sources For Fatty Acids Vital To Your Body http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23847-5-top-food-sources-for-fatty-acids-vital-for-your-body http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23847-5-top-food-sources-for-fatty-acids-vital-for-your-body

The essential fatty acids identified as Omega-3 are vital to your well-being, but Omega-3 is not a substance the body produces naturally. Thus, in order to get the amount of Omega-3 you need for optimal health, you will need to consume foods containing it.

There are a variety of food sources containing Omega 3, so you can diversify your diet and still get the amount of Omega-3 your body requires.

A-Linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid are three major types of Omega-3 fats. The latter fats are those identified as those that are capable of alleviating inflammatory conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids help boost the body's immune system functioning as well as the health of your joints. It also contributes to cardiovascular, eye, skin, and brain health. According to health experts, every adult should consume at least 1000 milligrams of EPA and DHA daily. The following food sources are excellent sources for Omega-3.

1. Chia seeds. You will get 4915 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids per one ounce serving of Chia Seeds. Add some Chia Seeds to a bit of yogurt or put some in a smoothie to get your daily dose of Omega-3. You will also be getting a good natural dose of magnesium, vitamin B-12, iron, and calcium as well.

2. Flaxseed. One tablespoon of whole flaxseed contains 2338 milligrams of Omega-3 and 606 milligrams of Omega-6. Flaxseed is also an outstanding source of vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, folate, choline, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber. You can add flaxseeds to soups, salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and bread.

3. Eggs. A single large hard-boiled egg has 39 to 150 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids. You will also get 594 milligrams of Omega-6, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, choline, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. The yolks of the eggs contain the most Omega-3 fatty acids since farm-raised chickens consume a diet high in Omega-3.

4. Salmon. A four-ounce raw salmon contains 1600 milligrams of Omega-3. A three ounce fillet cooked with dry heat contains 1237 milligrams of Omega-3, just over 50 milligrams of Omega-6, vitamin A, niacin, folate, vitamin B-12, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, and potassium. You can bake or grill salmon, and there are hundreds of recipes so you can diversify your diet.

5. Walnuts. Adding walnuts to your favorite salads, homemade bread, and muffins of simply eating them as a snack gives you a dose of Omega-3. A quarter cup is all you need to get 2600 milligrams of the fatty acids your body craves. Walnuts are also a good source of vitamin A, folate, fiber, and magnesium.

Don Colbert, M.D. has been board-certified in Family Practice for over 25 years and practices Anti-aging and Integrative medicine. He is a New York Times Bestselling author of books such as The Bible Cure Series, What Would Jesus Eat, Deadly Emotions, What You Don't Know May be Killing You, and many more with over 10 million books sold. He is the Medical Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando, Florida where he has treated over 50,000 patients.

For the original article, visit drcolbert.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Don Colbert, M.D.) Featured Health Life Wed, 22 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
What's Next After You Have Been Slain in the Spirit? http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/23843-what-is-next-after-you-have-been-slain-in-the-spirit http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/23843-what-is-next-after-you-have-been-slain-in-the-spirit

I've fallen in the Spirit – What do I do next?

What happens when we fall in the spirit and what should be our reaction?

Our first reaction when we have fallen in the spirit and aren't familiar with this can be, "Oh great I have fallen in the spirit and everyone is looking at me. What do I do next?" What happens when we fall in the spirit and what should be our reaction?

The best explanation I've heard of falling in the spirit is that when the supernatural (God) meets the natural (us) something has to give and it is us that gives. What should be our response? We should embrace it and discover what God has for us.

When we fall in the spirit there can be many reactions such as:

  • Why is this happening to me?
  • What just happened?
  • Why did I feel woozy and fall?
  • Did the person praying over me push me?
  • Everyone is looking at me.
  • That hurt.
  • I feel/look silly.
  • What do I do next?

These can be some of the realistic thoughts that go through your mind. The first thing you should do is just relax and rest in the presence of the Lord, after all you just fell under the power of God. If you fell under the power of God, obviously there is a reason. Relax and enjoy the state of rest you are in and most of all don't be in a hurry to get up. Stay on the floor and focus on the Lord. Try not to think about what to do next or what is happening and most of all don't worry and concern yourself with what people around you are thinking.

While we are in the presence of the Lord there can be many things that are happening:

  • We can be in a place of rest.
  • Receiving impartation.
  • Receiving healing and deliverance.
  • Receiving instruction, revelation and knowledge
  • Receiving something, but we don't know what.
  • Having a vision or encounter with Jesus.
  • Receiving the answer to a prayer.

The most important thing is not to get up until you feel the presence lift off of you or until you feel released by the Spirit of the Lord. When we fall in the Spirit sometimes God just plain needs to get our attention, because we have been too busy to slow down and listen to him. This is a way he communicates with us. We may get up and feel as if we received nothing, it is in those times rest and impartations happens. We can't explain it at the moment, but we know we were in the presence of the Lord.

I remember a time I had prayer for a tooth that needed a root canal and crown. I went down in the spirit and laid there and didn't really feel anything. I didn't receive revelation, but as I stood up all of a sudden I felt the power of God on me so strong I had to be assisted walking to my vehicle. I went home and continued to be in the presence for hours. At my surgeon's appointment the dentist said, "What are you doing here, there is nothing wrong with your tooth, go home." The reaction wasn't at that moment, but subsequent, I basked in the presence of the Lord until I felt released to get up. You don't always know what you get at the moment, but you need to trust God that you are getting something and He knows best.

As you are prayed for and as the Spirit comes upon you, don't be scared or hesitant to be in the presence of the Lord it is wonderful. Focus on the Lord and remember for that moment of time it's just you and him and nothing else matters.

Kathy DeGraw is the founder of DeGraw Ministries a ministry releasing the love and power of God. She 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, including A Worship Woven Life and Flesh, Satan or God. Connect with Kathy at www.degrawministries.org.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Kathy DeGraw) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Prophecy: A Season of Grace is Coming http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23864-prophecy-a-season-of-grace-is-coming http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23864-prophecy-a-season-of-grace-is-coming

"You are entering into a time of grace that you have not known before. My grace will be very strong upon you.

"The earth is shaking, it is quaking, it has been deeply moaning the evil that fills this place, but My children will increase in the power of My grace. My grace is all-sufficient for the challenges My children face. The end is near. It is nearer than you realize. Embrace the strength of My grace.

"Things will not be like before; they will be different in every form. But My victories will be greater than you've experienced before.

"The political arena is very unstable and soon to collapse. Many will fear, but know that I am drawing near.

"The economy as the world knows is crumbling from beneath them. Many will take their lives for fear of failure. That is a life controlled by the spirit of mammon.

"Wickedness is becoming wickeder than you have seen before. Right will become wrong and wrong will become right in the eyes of the unregenerated soul. It will be worse than in the days of Noah. Perversion will be worse than it has ever been. What was once inconceivable to the average person will become acceptable and normal. My Word prophesies these things; they cannot be stopped.

"But in the midst of great filth is a safe haven for My beloved Bride. In My presence she will find refreshing for her weary soul. Deep in My presence she will hide and ride in safety in the midst of a terrible and frightful storm. Even though the waves of this storm will crush and destroy, My Bride will outride the storm.

"Understanding of My Word will continue to increase; things will become clearer and clearer as the time draws nearer.

"My Bride needs to press into My Holy presence. She needs to be cloaked in My grace. She will need to pick up her pace in order to complete her race as she will soon look upon My face and she will be dressed in a bride's fine, white lace.

"The tables are set. Everything is in its place. The white linens are laid and the banquet feast has been prepared. Invite everyone who will come to join us for the finest banquet that has ever been served. The bread and the wine have already been given. There are still yet invitations that have no reply; many have not been sent yet. Invite the people to come and feast with Me.

"Time as you know it will change. The clock is winding down on this phase of time. And the new millennium is being ushered in. Eternity as you speak of is at hand.

"Grace is the word for this hour, and its power you will receive as you gaze upon My face. An occasional glance will not receive; it's the fixed position that sets its release.

"Bitter is the wine of religion, but sweet to the taste is the wine of My fellowship. I came to restore the sweet flavor of My wine. Now it's time to take and taste My wine and dine with Me and My Father. My Spirit is calling; the invitation is in the wind. And this wind is blowing to all corners of the earth, refreshing those who will take My cup and sip of the eternal sweetness of My wine."

This word from the Lord was given to Becky Dvorak on October 5, 2010 for the body of Christ and is included in her recent book, Greater Than Magic on pages 165 – 167.

Becky Dvorak is a Healing Minister and Destiny Image author.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
How to Pray for Your Future Husband http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23863-how-to-pray-for-your-future-husband http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23863-how-to-pray-for-your-future-husband

Are you still praying for a husband? Do you feel like giving up? Maybe you started praying in your teens and you're in your 20s, 30s, or 40s now. Perhaps you've started to believe that your prayers are doing NOTHING. Sometimes it may seem like that's true, but it's not. Your prayers are working ... but in ways you may not see for years and years to come.

Robin Jones Gunn and I wrote the book Praying for Your Future Husband a few years back, and one of our favorite things is receiving letters from women of all ages. Some of these letters include wedding photos! And many more of these women simply thank us for encouraging them on the journey.

If you're still waiting ... then keep praying! Here's some encouragement for you to do just that:

Robin: This sacred privilege of communicating with our heavenly Father is more than a cozy, open invitation to come to Him anytime, anywhere. Even though His ears are open to the cries of His children 24/7, prayer is more than that. Prayer is also an act of obedience. We are exhorted to pray for others and to pray without ceasing.

Neither Tricia nor I pretend to have prayer all figured out. What we do know is that God hears. He sees. He knows us. He cares more than we can ever comprehend. And most important of all, God answers prayer.

Perhaps you've noticed that the way God answers prayers often isn't what we expect. We look back years later and see that what God did was oh so much better than what we first envisioned when we sent our heartfelt requests heavenward. He created us, and He desires the best for us. God always gives His best to those who leave the outcomes with Him.

Another, even more amazing mystery is that, when we pray for someone else, we change. All of us were made to be loved, to give and to receive love. When your heart connects through prayer to the One who is the source of true love, you'll find that praying for your future husband will wondrously result in your heart being changed. And when your heart is changed, your life is transformed.

What sort of changes will God bring about in your future husband's life as a result of your praying for him now? We don't know.

As you pray for him, what sort of changes will God initiate in your heart? We don't know that either.

But we do know one thing:

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear (Lamentations 3:25-29, The Message).

Tricia: I love that last line: "Wait for hope to appear." Isn't that what you need most when you're still praying for your future husband, especially when so many of your friends are married and have children?

Perhaps you've prayed and prayed, but God hasn't answered. Your prayers seem like bulbs planted in a winter garden. Each time you check for results, all you see is barrenness, debris and frost. You doubt the warmth of your faith when you first planted the prayers in a season of light and hope.

Patience, dear God Lover. Nothing is wrong with your prayers. Leave all of them safely hidden with the Lord. Hold fast to the hope that He has heard and is at work in the garden of your heart.

One bright spring morning you will be stunned when you see what God's resurrection power has done with those requests you buried so long ago.

What is it that the Lord is asking you to work on in your life during this season? Please don't compromise your standards. Don't start making excuses to justify why you're settling for actions or relationships that you know in your heart aren't what you want your life to be about.

How can you change that destructive behavior today? What are the new choices you need to start making?

Most importantly, be at peace. See this time as an opportunity for God to develop His patience in you. And don't forget: Love is patient.

Will you get married one day? Statistics say that you will. We all know that staying married is a whole lot more important than just getting married. How you spend this stretch of waiting and allowing God to develop His patience in you will only benefit you during the difficult times that all married couples go through.

And just as there are two people in every marriage, there are two people who are learning patience as they wait for each other. If you're having a hard time, your future husband most likely will, too. Your prayers will make a difference.


How do I pray for God to develop patience in my future husband?

  • Pray he will turn to God and that God's peace will help him to be inwardly calm and willing to wait.
  • Pray he will have a quiet and steady faithfulness to God.
  • Pray he will be content in every state he finds himself in.
  • Pray his eyes will be focused on things to come, rather than things he wished he had now.
  • Pray he will not push for answers before the time is right.
  • Pray he will trust God's sense of timing.
  • Pray he will be reminded of all the times God has been patient with him.
  • Pray he waits with hope and expectancy.

Of course, as you pray these things for your future husband, be sure to pray the same for yourself. Patience is like holding a closed bud of promise in your hand. Imagine that closed, white rose in your mind. Consider allowing each petal to unfold slowly, in its own way. Can you see the beauty of each stage? Can you see God's hand wrapped around yours, watching the unfolding with you?

The Love Story

Will your love story come true? For many of you it will. Concerning your future husband it could be in the near(er) future, or like some, it could be years in the distance. It could be a quick romance. It could be a slow falling in love. It could be exactly like you pictured it or like nothing you ever dreamed. But when the day comes that your story is celebrated by your closest friends and family, you'll know that every prayer was worth it. And you might even wish you'd prayed more, because prayers are the first gifts you give to your future husband. Gifts that heaven participates in giving.

While we can't guarantee every one of you will have that type of love story, there is another type we do believe will take place. Everyone, everywhere can have a beautiful love story with her God. It begins the moment you look into His eyes, realize how much you are loved, and give your love and commitment in return.

While we cannot guarantee your prayers will lead you down the aisle to a waiting mate, we do know that every prayer whispered is precious to God. None of them are wasted. While we hope your prayers for the man of your dreams come true, we know that your prayers bring you closer to the God of your eternity. And seeing the love in His gaze is the most beautiful love story of all.

If you are to be committed to anything, be committed to preparing your heart for God's — in this way — and in every other aspect of your life. The love you'll experience will be life-changing, and the celebration in eternity is one to look forward to with all your heart.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Tricia Goyer) Featured Women Life Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
3 Things Miley Cyrus Just Doesn't Get http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/23859-3-things-miley-cyrus-just-doesn-t-get http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/23859-3-things-miley-cyrus-just-doesn-t-get

Pop star Miley Cyrus is all about shock value. She gyrates on stage in a nude bikini. She sticks her tongue out with bad-girl attitude in glitzy photo shoots. She peppers every interview with at least a dozen F-bombs. She's the queen of sassy. She's rude, crude and angry at the world—and many people follow her stage antics, if not out of appreciation then out of sheer curiosity.

The former Disney-clean singer, who is now 22, has completely shed her innocent Hannah Montana image. Today Cyrus has evolved into a one-woman media circus. She's part vaudeville clown, part porn star and part angry poet—and she has millions of young followers who can't wait to see her latest wardrobe malfunctions or read her unprintable comments.

But this girl is just getting started. The attention-loving performer (and daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus) has now become a social justice crusader. Her cause? She's speaking out on behalf of transgender teens who feel misunderstood.

Last month Cyrus launched her Happy Hippie Foundation, an effort to showcase transgender youth and their struggle for acceptance. Since she has 23 million followers on Instagram, she posted artsy photos of 11 transgender people. The subjects included a 19-year-old film student who has transitioned from female to male; a blond woman who used to be a guy; and a 24-year-old who identifies as neither male nor female. (He/she prefers to be called "queer, bi-racial and agender.")

Why does Cyrus care so much for this issue? She says she's tired of gender labels. She thinks if you were born a boy but feel like you're a girl, then you should be free to embrace your new identity. "People try to make everyone something," Cyrus says. "You can just be whatever you want to be."

To underscore her point, Cyrus has told reporters in the past few weeks that she has had sexual relationships with both men and women—and that she might have a husband or a wife in the near future. She also says she felt androgynous long before she ever heard the hip new term "gender fluid"—which describes someone who doesn't identify fully with being male or female.

"I didn't want to be a boy," she told Out magazine. "I kind of wanted to be nothing. I don't relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that's what I had to understand: Being a girl isn't what I hate, it's the box that I get put into."

I can't compete with Miley's huge following on social media, and my opinion will never be as popular as hers. But I wish more people would think before they drink her Kool-Aid. There are three basic truths Miley Cyrus just doesn't get:

1. Gender is fixed. For thousands of years people have been fairly content to function as male and female. We didn't need categories for "bigender," "pangender" or "genderqueer"—three of the 56 new gender categories you can now choose on Facebook. Look at nature and you can see that all living species are male and female. It is insane—and really, really bad science—to pretend that human beings are exempt from this rule.

2. You can't just "be anybody you want." I appreciate Miley Cyrus' ambition to help confused teens find acceptance. But she's not helping anybody by telling them they can change their gender just by having surgery, hormone injections or wardrobe changes. A male who has a sex change is still a male inside. And to tell a teenager that he or she should get a sex change operation should be considered child abuse.

Back in June we all learned that a white woman in Washington, Rachel Dolezal, pretended for at least 10 years to be black. When she was questioned about her fraud, she said she "identified as black." She was laughed off the public stage because everyone knows you cannot "decide" to change your race. So why are we applauding people who "decide" to change gender? And why, why, why would we encourage immature teens to do this?

3. Ultimately, gender is God's idea. Sorry to get religious about it, but the argument finally comes down to fundamental ideas from the Bible. God created the world, and when He made people He created gender. "So God created man in His own image ... male and female He created them" (Gen. 1:27). He didn't create gender to put us in a box of limitation; on the contrary, we will never know true freedom if we don't embrace the identity He gave us.

Miley Cyrus wants to help people with gender confusion, but she's actually confusing them even more with her latest campaign. It's time we tuned her voice out of this discussion.

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 themordecaiproject.org.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (J. Lee Grady) Featured Fire in My Bones Blogs Wed, 22 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Could You Handle a Prophetic Rebuke? http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23842-could-you-handle-a-prophetic-rebuke http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23842-could-you-handle-a-prophetic-rebuke

As God revealed seven aspects of His character and nature to Moses in Exodus 34:7 (Graciousness, Compassion, Longsuffering, Loving-kindness, Truthfulness, Forgiveness, Justness) He finished revealing Himself by saying, "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."

In order to fully understand how God is revealing Himself to Moses in Exodus 34, it is important to note that there are two groups of people that God is directing Himself towards in this portion of Scripture. There are those who respond to His truth and there are those who reject it. It is to those who reject the truth of God in the Old Testament that He will "by all means not clear the guilty."

Exodus 34:7 is an expansion of the chesed/love and emet/truth balance that is at the core of God's character and nature. In fact, sixteen times in the Old Testament, love and truth are wrapped together in a bundle. If the people responded to God in repentance and love—He would keep chesed for thousands of generations and forgive their iniquity, transgressions and sins. God's lovingkindness in the Old Testament was reserved for those who responded rightly to His truth. But to those that refused His truth, they also forsook His love and they by all means were not left unpunished. 

In Exodus 20:5 it says, "You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them who hate Me." God's dealings with His people under the Old Covenant were entirely dependent upon their response to the truth of His Word. To those that hated God, He would visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation. To those who loved Him and kept His commands, He would show His lovingkindness towards them.

Proverbs 1:23-31 is a powerful parallel passage that continues to drive home this understanding of the character and nature of God as it says, 

"Turn at my reproof; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded, because you neglected all my counsel, and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes, when your fear comes as desolation and your destruction comes as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 'Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me early, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, they would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof. Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.'"

This passage of Scripture is directly focused on the response of the people to God's interactions and his dealings with them. It is clear according to the Old Testament, that God's judgment was reserved for those who rejected His truth and therefore forsook His love. He would not leave those guilty ones unpunished, and the entirety of the Old Testament is proof of just that reality.

If this is how God dealt with humanity under the Old Covenant, according to how they responded to His truth and words, how then does He deal with His people under the New Covenant? Is there any type of judgment reserved for not only unbelievers who hate him, but also believers in Christ who forsake His commandments and stray from the path?

Let's take a look at 1 Corinthians 11, as Paul addresses the saints in regards to partaking of the Lord's Supper. In 11:29-32 he says, "For he who eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and unhealthy among you, and many die. If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we would not be condemned with the world."

Paul is sharing with the believers at Corinth that if they do not partake of the Lord's supper out of having judged their own hearts and motives rightly, then God Himself would judge them and that His judgment is His discipline for their lives. 

God is portrayed under the New Covenant as one who disciplines His children, as any good father will do diligently. On multiple occasions in the New Testament, the Father Himself is the disciplinarian in His family of sons. In fact, in Hebrews 12:5-11, He instructs believers to not take His discipline lightly, and not to faint when reproved by Him, because "for whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and scourges every son whom He receives." 

In this passage the writer equates the discipline of the Father as both the proof of His fatherhood and the proof of our being His sons! Mature sons acknowledge both of these realities, while sons who still live out of an orphan-heart view any idea of being disciplined as somehow being rejected by God. In both 1 Corinthians 11 and Hebrews 12, discipline is considered a type of judgment that God releases upon the lives of believers when they do not respond to Him in a way that pleases Him. 

I believe God is positioning the bride of Christ in this hour to a place where they will receive His correction, discipline, rebuke and therefore His justness without interpreting it as rejection. His judgment upon our lives is a demonstration of His goodness toward us as His people. The issue is not over whether He loves us, but over whether our own orphan hearts can receive His love for us. 

At times, the words of the Father bring great comfort to our hearts. In other seasons, His words sting in order to bring adjustment. We must always remember that whether the words comfort or sting, they are still coming from the same voice of our loving Father!

When the post-resurrected Jesus spoke to the believers at Laodicea, He said to them in Revelation 3:19, "Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent."

The same Greek word for "judgment" in 1 Corinthians 11 is the same word here for discipline. In other words Jesus said, "Those whom I love I rebuke and judge."

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.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Jeremiah Johnson) Featured Prophecy Spirit Wed, 22 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Are You a Likeable Christian? http://www.charismamag.com/life/culture/23849-are-you-a-likeable-christian http://www.charismamag.com/life/culture/23849-are-you-a-likeable-christian

Before you get angry and upset about the title of this article, please hear me out. I am not trying to tear down anyone's character, nor am I trying to tell you how to live your life as a follower of Jesus Christ.

It's simply the question I came up with—about myself no less—after reading The Likeable Christian by Justin Lathrop, a friend of mine and a pastor in Red Oak, Texas. As he does with most everything I read from him, Justin challenged me to stop and think about this. As a disciple of Christ, am I really demonstrating likeability at all times?

When I take a good, hard look at myself, the answer to that question is an unequivocal "no." But what does it mean when I say "likeability?"

I believe Justin defined it well when he said, "Likeability requires nothing more than living like Christ, actually doing what He did, and loving people the way He loved them. When we live like that, we can be free because the rest is up to Him."

In that regard, I would say my life and my character have vastly improved over the past year. I hope that the people around me would say the same.

However, I can honestly say that I never lived up to my end of the bargain for the better part of the first 48 years of my life. I've not been an unlikeable person by any stretch of the imagination, but I also wouldn't label myself as very likeable, either. I would say I was somewhere in between, sort of lukewarm. And we know what Jesus said about that: "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth" (Rev. 3:16, MEV).

Like many people I know and those I see comment on social media, I played the part of what Rick Warren refers to as an "angry Christian." If injustice reared its ugly head in any form, you can bet that I had something to say about it. And no, I didn't say it in a very Christ-like manner. I didn't say what needed to be said in love. And yes, the Holy Spirit reminded me in a not-so-gentle manner of my inconsistent "Christian" behavior.

A great example of my struggles came Sunday during a family gathering. A member of my wife's family, whom I thought was solid in her faith, stunned me when she informed me that "everything in the Bible isn't true." She also told me that, in essence, you didn't have to be "born again" to reach heaven. I could elaborate, but that's for another post. I didn't handle it well and said some things I shouldn't have. Lord, forgive me, and I will ask her forgiveness as well.

But why was I angry? Was I angry about her flippant attitude toward the Bible, or was I angry at the fact that I thought she knew Jesus better and that I was potentially looking at another lost soul? I would like to believe it was the latter.

As Justin points out in the book, "We can't bully someone into changing. We can't spout truth in love when we call out sin left and right. None of those responses to sin will gain us likeability; none will convince people of God's love. The only way we can bring about change and share the message of Jesus that has changed us is through love—no matter the sin, no matter the circumstance—just love."

Because of our self-centered human nature and the desire to be right (again, that was all me), that type of love simply isn't easy to produce. Jesus spent a lot of time around sinners, but he didn't shame them into his way of thinking. He simply loved them, and His love changed them.

"We can't bully someone into changing. We can't spout truth in love when we call out sin left and right. None of those responses to sin will gain us likeability; none will convince people of God's love. The only way we can bring about change and share the message of Jesus that has changed us is through love—no matter the sin, no matter the circumstance—just love."

Again, that's likeability.

As Justin says, "Our job is not to tear people down—neither the people nor their sin. We can't do anything to change someone's behavior, and this isn't our responsibility. Our responsibility is to love and care for people and to treat them how Jesus did."

That doesn't mean that we should compromise the Word of God or keep quiet about sinful lifestyles or habits. When people did things contrary to the Word, Jesus let them know about it. He told the adulterous woman to leave her life of sin. But he also defended and protected her, too.

When culture counteracts the Word of God, we must tell the truth. But, we must say it in love.

So, how do we know if we are a likeable Christian? 1 John 2:5-6 tell us, "But whoever keeps His Word truly has the love of God perfected in him. By this we know we are in Him. Whoever says he remains in Him ought to walk as He walked" (MEV).

Are we walking just as He walked? True Christian faith results in loving behavior, and that's why John said the way we act can give us assurance that we belong to Christ.

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.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Shawn A. Akers) Featured Culture Life Wed, 22 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
How We Should Respond to a Hostile Culture http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23855-how-we-should-respond-to-a-hostile-culture http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23855-how-we-should-respond-to-a-hostile-culture

The Jewish people were facing a very real threat.

There was a growing hatred of their moral values. Their belief systems and family values were contrary to the culture. More and more people saw them as a threat to the nation. There was a growing undercurrent pressing for the Jewish people to conform to the culture of the day. Political pressure began to stir this caldron.

The prime minister set in motion a plan for destroying every Jew who did not follow the politically correct morals and cultural values.

God had strategically placed His representative to make a difference at that momentous time.

Esther, a Jewish virgin, was chosen queen, from all the women who had been selected to go through the preparation. Her beauty and elegant bearing was succeeded only by the critical hour in which she rose to position.

Esther's cousin, Mordecai, stated it well.

"Do not think that in the king's palace you will be more likely to escape than all the other Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, protection and deliverance for the Jews will be ordained from some other place, but you and your father's house shall be destroyed. And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:13-14).

This was the very reason Esther was born.

She had been given the favor and grace of God to make a difference at such a juncture in history. Through her intercession the Jewish population was delivered from genocide.

The church in the USA has been given a similar task.

There are many in America who wish the Bible believing Christians would retreat into obscurity. The moral standards, belief systems and family values of the Bible believing Christian are counterculture. The pressure to conform to the politically correct and cultural norm is becoming extreme. Into this caldron of social upheaval, a leader has come to power who is fomenting divisiveness and mounting the pressure to conform.

The church is not here to protest the evil but to shine the light of God into the ever growing darkness. Like Esther, the church is here to lead the people out of destruction and into safety and deliverance.

The church was born to plunder hell and populate heaven.

Jesus said He would build the church to crush the gates of hell. He has given the church the authority to bind the powers of darkness and to lose the people held captive by sin and demonic forces. The church does her work best, not by protesting the level of evil, but by increasing the intensity of her light.

The church can increase the wattage by living holiness and righteousness more consistently, loving the sinner more passionately, giving mercy and grace more kindly, and speaking the truth more faithfully.

When the church lives holy, loves passionately, gives mercy and grace kindly, the truth spoken without compromise will not sound like a noisy gong or blaring trumpet. Rather, loving conviction will be applied by Holy Spirit to the heart of the sinner. They will be saved from a multitude of sin!

Church, do not think you can compromise with political correctness and show tolerance to a culture in moral free-fall and escape the consequences. "For if you remain silent at this time, protection and deliverance for the Jews will be ordained from some other place, but you and your father's house shall be destroyed. And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14).

Indeed, this is a difference making time. The church is at her finest hour. This is why Jesus built His Church,

"For such a time as this!"

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 fifteen others, and currently serves as Lead Pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dean has been married forty-five 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 Masters in Ministry, a Masters 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.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (F. Dean Hackett) Featured Women Life Tue, 21 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Why Electing Godly Leaders Is Critical in 2016 http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/for-such-a-time-as-this/23545-why-electing-godly-leaders-is-critical-in-2016 http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/for-such-a-time-as-this/23545-why-electing-godly-leaders-is-critical-in-2016

What would America be like today if just 4 percent of evangelical Christians had voted differently in 2012? Would it still be facing exploding debts, moral bankruptcy and growing international dangers?

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee addressed this question at The Awakening 2015 conference in Orlando, Florida, earlier this year. "Now here's the sad part," the former Arkansas governor said. "There are 80 million self-identified evangelicals in America today. You know how many are registered to vote? Half of them. But of the half that are registered do you know how many voted in the last presidential election? Half of them. And how many of them voted in the off-year election of 2014? Half of that number. If 4 percent more had voted differently in the 2012 presidential election ... we would be talking today about (a different administration)."  

In America, we have the freedom to select our leaders through the voting process. That's why what we see happening to our great country is such a needless tragedy. If we had simply voted, the unraveling of America now unfolding around us may have been averted. This month we chose a contemplative boy for the cover of Charisma with the headline, "This Election Will Impact Generations." His T-shirt reads: "Think About Me When You Vote." As Rev. Franklin Graham noted, we're likely to "lose everything if we don't get involved in this next election, and we only have this next election" to not only vote in far greater numbers, but become politically engaged. The future of our children and grandchildren depends on Christians voting, becoming politically active and running for office.

For decades, the church has largely shooed politics—preferring to avoid anything controversial. It's been good for filling the pews and church coffers, but the impact on America has been devastating. During this time, as Graham pointed out, "Satan and his demons" have worked their way "into every level of our government." As a reporter at the Los Angeles Daily News and a contributor to Reuters and Newsmax for more than two decades, I had a front-row seat to watch this play out. I saw how our government was largely taken over by progressives, secularists and globalist elites who followed what some now describe as "the plan" to "unmake America." If powerful forces are truly working to radically transform America into something unrecognizable, it's time to bolt wide awake, vote and make sure our voices are heard in the corridors of power.

In an interview for our upcoming end-times issue in September, Dr. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind series that sold 80 million copies, encouraged believers to get "involved more in what I think will be the most important election in American history, or at least since Abraham Lincoln." LaHaye says the "current administration seems bent on destroying this nation and our relationship with Israel"—adding its desire to "change our great policy of blessing Israel" would be "fatal to our nation's future! It is my ardent prayer that evangelical pastors will lead their congregations to pray earnestly for the 2016 election and that their congregations will become informed on where their leaders stand on Israel, become registered to vote, and not only vote themselves but help all their members and friends to vote also," LaHaye says.

At this critical hour, are we going to hand the nation our forefathers fought and died for over to the forces of darkness simply because we're too busy to be bothered with voting and politics? Until recently when the church largely retreated from the public square, pastors often spoke about political issues, ran for office and served as statesmen. It's time to do so again. Now is not the time to shrink from our destiny, but to boldly follow the Lord's calling on our lives come what may.

In a guest column, American Renewal Project founder David Lane is encouraging 1,000 pastors to run for office. He believes it could ignite a spiritual movement that America has not seen since the Great Awakening, an event that preceded America's founding in 1776. It could happen again.

As history reveals, and as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt could tell us if they were alive today, there is always hope—even in America's darkest hours. But for this to happen we must act and do the good works that Jesus has called us to "for such a time as this."


Troy Anderson is the executive editor of Charisma and a Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative journalist and author. Follow him on Twitter (TroyMAnderson), Facebook (troyandersonwriter) or online at troyanderson.us.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Troy Anderson) Featured For Such a Time as This Blogs Tue, 21 Jul 2015 16:40:00 -0400
8 A's of Effective Parenting http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23836-8-a-s-of-effective-parenting http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23836-8-a-s-of-effective-parenting

Over the last 26 years of being a parent, I've learned a lot. One important thing I've learned is that parenting is all about relating.

When I say relating, I mean really identifying with and connecting with our kids. In The 6 A's of Relational Parenting, youth expert Josh McDowell shares six factors that play into good, relational parenting. I've used his 6 A's as the basis for my thoughts in this post and have added a couple more.

Here are the 8 A's of effective parenting:

1. Affirmation. When we affirm a child's feelings, it gives them a sense of authenticity. When our children are sharing their feelings or opinions, they want us to listen to them, identify with them and affirm them.

It would go something like this: Your son comes home and says, "Man! My math teacher made me so mad today. He said I wasn't trying." Your instinct might be to try to downplay the situation like this: "Oh, son, he probably didn't mean anything by it. Let it go." Or you might say—before you even address his feelings—"Now son, were you trying? Maybe he had a point." Or "You're a big boy now; you can't get so upset about things."

Those are all attempts to control or fix the situation. Instead try this: "Son, I am so sorry that happened. How do you feel about it now?" Then just listen, let him know you understand how he's feeling and thank him for sharing his feelings. In doing so, you are telling him that he can be real and authentic with his feelings and with you. Even when we don't agree with our children, we can still affirm their feelings and them as individuals.

2. Acceptance. When you give unconditional acceptance, you give a child a sense of security. This basically comes down to one principle that must be conveyed to our children: "I don't love you because of what you do or achieve; I love you because you're my child." Our love and affection should not be based on grades, behavior or achievements.

3. Appreciation. When we express appreciation, it gives a child a sense of significance. Appreciation is one of the most powerful motivators for right behavior in our kids. The more we "catch" our children doing things right and we express our appreciation, the more motivated they will be to behave better. You can express that appreciation by saying something like: "Thanks for telling me the truth about what happened. I know it wasn't easy, but I really appreciate the way you are owning and taking responsibility for your actions."

Appreciation can also be expressed by writing a short note of encouragement to your child. Here are "7 Notes You Should Write to Your Child."

4. Applause. When we applaud our children, it gives them a sense of confidence. As parents, we sometimes get so focused on instructing and disciplining our children that we forget to applaud them. Your applause can literally be putting your hands together for your child at their recital, their game or their school. It can also be with your words. These "6 Short Sentences Your Child Needs to Hear You Say" will help you get started. We must be bold in applauding our children.

5. Availability. When we are available to our children, it gives them a sense of importance. We can say all we want about how important our children are to us. But if we're not available to them, our words will ring hollow. Sometimes, our automatic response to our kids when they approach us is: "Not right now. I'm busy." But our children should come before our TV watching, our hobbies and our work. So when our kids come to us, our response should be to stop, drop and listen. Stop what we're doing, drop to our knees and listen to them, hug them and play with them.

6. Apology. When we apologize to our children, it gives them a sense of trust. Over the years, there have been many occasions that I have apologized to my wife, Susan, and our five children. Fessing up about our mistakes, confessing when we are wrong, and asking for forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of humility and strength. Trust is earned, and one way to earn the trust of my children is for them to know that I am completely trustworthy and honest. Admitting my error and apologizing for it helps earn that trust. It shows them that I'm the real deal, not a guy who always thinks he's right.

7. Affection. When we show our children affection, it gives them a sense of lovability. All children want to feel like they are lovable. If they don't get love from you, they will get it somewhere else. Here are a few things you can do to show affection. Wink at your daughter across the dinner table. Give big hugs to your son. Develop a bedtime tuck-in routine for your children. Hold your daughter's hand. Have a special nickname for each of your kids. Wrestle with them on the floor. Give them piggyback rides.

8. Accountability. When we hold children accountable, it gives them a sense of responsibility and self-control. Children need the disciplines of responsibility and self-control to function successfully in life. As parents, we must create rules and boundaries for our children. Once those guidelines are set, we must be consistent in enforcing them.

What are some ways you can demonstrate these 8 A's to your children on a daily basis?

Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit markmerrill.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Mark Merrill/Family First) Featured Men Life Tue, 21 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
11 Things to Know About Keeping Your Brain Healthy http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23837-11-things-to-know-about-keeping-your-brain-healthy http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23837-11-things-to-know-about-keeping-your-brain-healthy

No matter what our age, we all want our brains to function their best. However, this is of particular importance as we age.

We all know people who are of an advanced age who are as sharp as a tack, and others who are that same age who don't think clearly or quickly. We wonder what we need to do to end up like the first person.

Recently, the Institute of Medicine, which is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, released a report that identifies what helps and hurts brain function as we age. The results were published in this month's AARP bulletin.

Let's start with the bad news first so as to end on a positive note.

Things That Can Harm the Aging Brain

1. Depression. People who suffer from depression have an astounding double the risk for brain dysfunction, including dementia. One possible explanation is that depression causes changes in the brain's hippocampus.

2. Difficulty seeing and hearing. Being able to see and hear well are directly associated with healthy cognitive function, including memory. People who can't see or hear often avoid social interaction, which is a key factor in brain health. Also, according to a Johns Hopkins study, adults with hearing problems appear to have a greater rate of brain shrinkage as they age.

3. Medications. Antihistimines, sleep aids, and antidepressants have been shown to increase the risk of dementia. So if you are depressed, which is also a risk factor, try to deal with it naturally, such as with adequate sleep, exercise, a healthy diet, and prayer.

4. Stress. Daily stress can cause memory problems, but stress that lasts for months and even years is associated with a faster decline of brain health. Many of us can't eliminate the stress in our live, such as traffic jams and difficult relationships, but we can deal with stress effectively, in the same ways we deal with depressions: adequate sleep, exercise, healthy diet, and prayer.

5. Air pollution: Long-term exposure to air pollution is linked with brain shrinkage, brain damage, and impaired brain function, according to one new study.

6. High blood pressure and diabetes: These are also risk factors for heart disease. Doctors have been linking brain health and heart health for years now. Exercising, eating right and maintaining a healthy weight can lower blood pressure and reverse diabetes.

Things That Help the Aging Brain

1. Exercise: The best is exercise that causes you to breathe heavily for at least 30 minutes straight ... combined with weight lifting. People whose brains benefited the most from exercise were people over the age of 65.

2. Intellectual stimulation: When it comes to the brain, "use it or lose it." Having a natural curiosity and continuing to learn are excellent for brain function. Some of the best ways to help your mind stay fit are learning a new language, reading, and writing.

3. Social stimulation. Connecting in a positive way with other people has been proven time and again to keep our minds young. Spending time with friends and loved ones, such as at church activities, volunteering, and playing games all help preserve brain function.

4. Healthy diet. Stay away from processed foods containing hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and sugar. Research shows a link between packaged food and brain shrinkage. On the other hand, scientists have discovered healthy fats are good for the brain. These include fish oils and other Omega-3 fats as well as the fats in nuts, avocado, coconut oil, and olive oil.

5. Good sleep. This means getting plenty of deep, restful sleep. Some people suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that usually affects people who are overweight. It is a condition whereby the throat closes during sleep and causes the person to stop breathing temporarily and wake up momentarily, then go back to sleep ... a cycle that repeats itself all night long. As a result of the constant waking-up, people with sleep apnea never enter into the deep, restorative sleep necessary to repair our brains. People with sleep apnea are at increased risk for memory problems and dementia. If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor as there is a non-pharmaceutical treatment called a CPAP that works great.

For the original article, visit cbn.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Lorie Johnson/CBN News Medical Reporter) Featured Health Life Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
3 Keys to Strengthen Yourself in the Lord http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/23834-3-keys-to-strengthen-yourself-in-the-lord http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/23834-3-keys-to-strengthen-yourself-in-the-lord

David's life shows us that the ability to strengthen and minister to ourselves is a vital skill that we must learn if we are going to develop the character to fulfill our potential as kings and priests.

It is impossible for anyone to reach his ultimate destiny in life without learning to minister to himself. We can best appreciate the significance of this ability by understanding the nature of the role to which we are called.

When Scripture says "we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:10), the implication is that every one of us has a destiny to stand in a position where we influence people around us. Each of us will have a different size and kind of sphere of influence, but we are all called as leaders in society. We are not called to "rule over others" in the sense of domination.

In God's kingdom, the power of rule is the divine enabling to serve others more effectively. And just as kings are to provide protection and prosperity for their citizens, so those who serve well in God's kingdom will offer safety and blessing to all who come under their influence.

Here are three keys to strengthen yourself in the Lord:

1. Take initiative. Perhaps the first quality that distinguishes a leader is initiative. God knew David would succeed as a leader because he took the initiative to seek Him in the secret place. This is the same quality of maturity that He is looking for in us.

To experience the positive peer pressure and momentum of a move of God in a corporate group is wonderful. But those who seek God's face and pursue His destiny for their lives when nobody is around, are the people who possess the initiative required to strengthen themselves. If they learn to sustain their initiative to seek God by strengthening themselves in testing, they will be the people who will experience the personal breakthroughs that release a corporate blessing to those around them.

2. Pursue longevity. God wants us to learn how to strengthen ourselves through Him because developing our skills will promote spiritual longevity. We need longevity because our destiny and potential cannot be attained in a few years; they extend to the end of our lifetime here on earth.

For this reason, I like to tell the students in our School of Supernatural Ministry, "Anyone can burn for God for a year. Come back in twenty years, take me out to coffee, and tell me you're still burning." Then I spend much of the school year teaching them the tools I've learned for strengthening myself.

It's obvious that the students possess enough initiative to pay the price to come to school. But without discovering and using tools to minister to themselves, they won't, I'm convinced, be able to sustain the desire that brought them initially. Sadly, I know too many Christian leaders who lack this ability, and as a result are suffering from burnout or moral failure.

3.  Past the Test of Lonely Seasons. Now, let me be clear that learning to strengthen ourselves does not mean that we develop an independent lifestyle. Our lifestyle as believers is always focused on serving, loving, and leaning on the body of Christ.

But for the sake of becoming mature and growing in favor so that we can bless those around us, God brings moments into our lives when we have to stand alone in difficulty and testing. God will even blind the eyes and deafen the ears of our closest friends in those moments so we can learn to minister to ourselves.

We must recognize this because I know a lot of believers who fall into bitterness, thinking their friends are failing them in a hard time. Understanding God's priority to teach us this lesson helps us to avoid that trap.

 

Bill Johnson is author of the Strengthen Yourself in the Lord curriculum (from which this article was excerpted). He is a fifth-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the works of the Holy Spirit. Bill and his wife, Beni, who are senior pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, California, also serve a growing number of churches that cross denominational lines, exhibit power, and partner together for revival. Bill has dedicated his life to equip all Christians to experience God's presence and operate in the miraculous—as expressed in his bestselling books When Heaven Invades Earth and Hosting the Presence.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Bill Johnson) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Tue, 21 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
How to Get Your Joy Back Again http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23851-how-to-get-your-joy-back-again http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23851-how-to-get-your-joy-back-again

"I'm so tired," she says, looking down at the table, her finger tracing the wood's grain. "I just don't know what to do."

I nod. I know that place too.

"I mean, my daughter's so intense. I've read every book and article that's supposed to help. I've tried everything people recommend. All that work with counselors led us nowhere. The classes, support groups ... even getting her an IEP ..." Her voice trails off. She's looking for something. Words? Feelings? Maybe the magic bullet she's missed that would make everything just ... work. Or make any sense whatsoever.

"And you know what? I even tried that crazy idea from the tabloid magazine!" She laughs. But her eyes search mine for judgment.

"See?" I seize her levity. "You're as nuts as I said you were!"

She laughs again. I smile too. Then tears fall. Fast.

"We're doing the best we can with our daughter," she continues. "I just don't have a clue how I'm going to do this forever! I can't even relax sitting here at lunch with a friend."

Tears keep coming. I hold her hand and we sit together. I want to embrace and hold her tight. Make her laugh again. Tell her she's not alone. But she may as well be on an island at the South Pole right now. Even sitting with someone who understands as I do—even amidst the smiles, the touch, the gallows humor—the isolation she feels is almost palpable.

What about you? How are you holding up?

If you're like me, the answer is probably something like, "What do you mean ... 'me'?" And if that's how you're feeling, I assure you, you are not alone.

There's not much space in a family with special needs kids for us as parents to have a life of our own.

Chronic stress unravels us. It agitates us and messes with our weight, sleep, memory, energy level, and long-term moods. It blanches our view of life, ourselves, our marriages, and our kids. Then again, I don't have to tell you that. You're already living it.

As a mom of four—the older two foster-adopted who, between the two of them, boast diagnoses of bipolar disorder, anxiety, ODD, ADHD, seizures, enuresis, encopresis, sensory integration problems, and speech and developmental delays—I've struggled hard and often with feeling numb and resentful. I've been angry over what I've lost: the family I imagined, the kids I'd dreamed about, the life where I didn't have to do damage control with onlookers as my twelve-year-old goes ballistic in the middle of a supermarket parking lot. I've longed for the alternate universe where I don't constantly struggle with feeling guilty, inept, lonely, and depressed, especially when I consider what life is like for my two younger children, who are growing up in a family with an intensity they never asked for.

The point here is not to add to your stress ... or to languish in mine. It's to recognize how real and intense our daily stressors can be, and how crucial it is to our health and well-being to learn to thrive despite them all.

Because as airline attendants remind us at the start of a flight, in order to be the best help to those nearest to us, we've got to put our own oxygen masks on first. Only then can we help others well.

  • What would it take to rediscover the "you" God made, apart from your role as a parent?

  • Who do you know that could help you along the way?

  • What first step might you take to begin the process of taking good care of you?

Excerpted from Laurie's Wallin's book, Get Your Joy Back ©2015 Kregel PublicationsLaurie Wallin is a speaker and the author of Get Your Joy Back: Banishing Resentment and Reclaiming Confidence in Your Special Needs Family. A certified life coach,  she has helped people for over ten years to get unstuck and live powerfully by discovering and developing their strengths, identifying and releasing resentment and pursuing their God-inspired hopes and dreams. She blogs at LaurieWallin.com, and is on Facebook (LivingPowerLifeCoaching), Pinterest (lauriewallin), and Twitter (mylivingpower).

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Laurie Wallin) Featured Women Life Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
How I Moved Past My Awkwardness to Pray for People to be Healed http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23848-how-i-moved-past-my-awkwardness-to-pray-for-people-to-be-healed http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23848-how-i-moved-past-my-awkwardness-to-pray-for-people-to-be-healed

Over the years several individuals have asked me to share my thoughts on the ministry of healing. They were particularly interested in learning how to operate powerfully in an evangelistic context. One man said that he wanted to get over the awkwardness and really begin to touch the lives of people.

I understand the questions and even the hesitation that many feel in this area. Ministering healing can appear difficult to those who have never functioned in it. In fact, when I started out, I struggled with this (and often still do).

Most have the idea that it's overly "mystical" or even the byproduct of a perfect Christian life. I don't think that this is the right way to look at it. God often uses regular, everyday believers who are still finding their way. I'm so glad that it doesn't take "perfection" to touch the lives of others. If that was required, I would certainly be disqualified (and you would be too).

I also want to point out that healing is deeply relational; even "ordinary" in its outworking. It is not taking people out of their "earthly" experiences. Instead, healing is bringing the power and truth of Jesus into a fractured human body. Arguably, it is one of the most incarnational realities imagined. We engage and watch as the glorious God of the universe brings life to broken, corruptible flesh.

I want you to understand that healing doesn't have to be so complicated. It begins by simply taking notice of ill individuals. You might see them in the checkout line or standing next to you at the gas station. Reach out and show some genuine concern about their life. People can usually tell whether you're speaking to them out of a posture of love or not.

In a calm, reassuring voice, say something like, "I noticed that you're in pain. Do you mind if I ask what happened?" Give them a moment to explain what's going on. As you're carefully listening and interacting, be sure to get their first name and affirm their great value to you.

After they share their diagnosis, be sure to mention that you're a Christian and that you love to pray for people. Ask, "Is it alright if I pray for you?" Often, they will say, "Yes," thinking you intend to intercede later. Explain that you would like to pray for them right now—if that is at all possible.

There are a few things to consider when you actually get the opportunity to pray (sometimes you don't get that opportunity to pray, but you should bless them just the same). First of all, it's good to be at peace. If you're overly agitated, it will be hard for them to receive from you. Secondly, keep in mind that you don't have to be loud or even pray for an extended time. It is not length or volume that brings healing. These things can make a real difference in people's receptivity.

As you begin to pray, invite the presence of the Lord to come. Pray that His goodness and strength would be manifest. Bless the Lord and thank Him for all He has done! Center everything you are doing in the person and work of Jesus. 

Then out of a position of authority, simply command - in the mighty name of Jesus—that the pain leave their body. Be direct and firm against the infirmity! Demand it to go! Throughout the New Testament they prayed prayers of command, not prayers of petition. We should always try to follow the Scriptural example when we pray. 


Also, if appropriate, you might ask if you can lay hands on them in the place where they feel the most pain. "Laying on of hands" is a dynamic way of imparting the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

After you've prayed for a minute or two, it's good to ask them how things are going. Find out if the pain has lessened or if they feel anything "different" taking place in their bodies. When a person is experiencing a touch from God, they may feel tingling, coolness, heat, peace, joy, or perhaps nothing at all. Have them provide a little feedback so you can get a sense of how things are going.

If there's a sense of breakthrough, ask them to do something they couldn't do before. For example, if pain was in their leg, have them now put a little weight on it and walk. Obviously wisdom must be shown in each circumstance. The ill should only be encouraged to respond in a way they're completely comfortable with. I've found that sometimes the healing comes in a moment of response.

Obviously not everyone will respond favorably to this kind of prayer engagement. Healing doesn't fit the common understanding of Christianity in North America or Europe. Because of this, some will reject your efforts. This is always disappointing.

Nevertheless, the possibility of rejection is probably not our biggest problem. I believe the greatest impediment to the ministry of healing is our own insecurities and fears. Christians often become their own saboteurs.  

It is important that one doesn't allow the awkwardness and discomfort to dissuade them from making an effort. It is not always easy, but Spirit-filled believers need to press in anyway.

I always get a knot in my stomach when I talk to someone about their illness, but I refuse to let that stand in my way. I have pressed against the awkwardness and have personally engaged hundreds of sick people. To my great joy, many were powerfully impacted by the mercy of Jesus. I've seen healing take place in gas stations, restaurants, and department stores. While my sincere efforts are occasionally rejected, most of the time people are genuinely open to an encounter with Jesus.

I think it's time for Christians to get over the awkwardness and discomfort and start advancing the kingdom. It is time to be brave. There is a sick world that is desperately waiting for us to advance. Will you join me?

J.D. King is the director of the World Revival Network.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (J.D. King) Featured Women Life Tue, 21 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Prophecy: When the Gadites Rise the Goliaths Will Fall http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/prophetic-insight/23852-prophecy-when-the-gadites-rise-the-goliaths-will-fall http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/prophetic-insight/23852-prophecy-when-the-gadites-rise-the-goliaths-will-fall

"When the Gadites rise the Goliaths will fall." I heard the Holy Spirit speak those words Tuesday night after I hung up from our Appeal to Heaven prayer call.

We're praying out the prophecies over the nation and we were praying out a prophetic word Tim Sheets released, part of which read: "As Esther, they will rewrite them by My statutes. Governors of the culture will now come forth. Remnant warriors will now emerge who have the heart of David, the wisdom of Solomon and the tenacity of Paul."

While I was praying through that part of the prophecy, the Holy Spirit started showing me the Gadites. I began to pray for the mighty warring Gadites to rise and take out the Goliaths. Again, when I hung up I heard the Holy Spirit say, "When the Gadites rise the Goliaths will fall."

Who Are the Gadites?

The Gadites came from the tribe of Gad. Gad was the seventh son of Jacob. His name means "troop." The Bible describes the Gadites as "men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with a bow, and who were skillful in battle, who went to war" (1 Chr. 5:18). When Jacob blessed his 12 sons before he died, he prophesied, "Gad shall be attacked by raiding bands, but he shall raid at their heels" (Gen. 49:19). In other words, it looked like Gad had lost the fight but he made a comeback. Isn't that what it looks like in America even now?

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We find another mention of the Gadites in 1 Chronicles 12:7-9: "From the Gadites mighty men of valor, men of the war battalion, who could handle shield and sword, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and who were as swift as the gazelles on the mountains, separated themselves for David in the stronghold in the wilderness" (MEV). Remember, it was the Gadites who stood on the side of righteousness with David amid Absalom's great rebellion. The Gadites are the ones who will stand strong amid the Great Falling Away we're seeing in the church even now.

Matthew Henry's Commentary describes the Gadites this way: "They were able-bodied men, men of incredible swiftness, not to fly from, but to fly upon, the enemy, and to pursue the scattered forces. In this they were as swift as the roes upon the mountains, so that no man could escape from them; and yet they had faces like the faces of lions, so that no man could out-fight them. They were disciplined men, trained up to military exercises; they could handle shield and buckler, use both offensive and defensive weapons ... They were daring men, that could break through the greatest difficulties. What enemies those were that they met with in the valleys, when they had passed Jordan, does not appear; but they put them to flight with their lion-like faces, and pursued them with matchless fury ..."

Goliath Must Fall

The Gadites had faces like lions. I like that. It means the fierceness and boldness showed on their faces, intimidating their enemies. Proverbs 28:1 says, "The wicked flee when no man pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion."

How bold is a lion? They aren't called the king of the jungle for nothing. The Bible calls the lion "strongest among beasts" (see Prov. 30:29-30). Amos asked, "The lion has roared; who will not fear?" (Amos 3:8) You can hear a lion roar from miles and miles away. And Peter warns us to, "Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). Of course, Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (see Rev. 5:5).

Goliath, on the other hand, was just an uncircumcised Philistine. Unlike the Gadites, Goliath was not in covenant with God. Goliath could not claim the promises of God. Goliath may look big—and he is—but he is no match for the Gadites. In your life and in this nation, Goliaths have risen up to war against us. But take heart. When the Gadites rise, the Goliaths will fall. Rise up now, bold as a lion, and decree and declare your victory over Goliath. Stand for truth amid the rebellion! It's time to roar! Decree and declare that the Goliaths attacking this nation will fall, in Jesus' name!

Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 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.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Jennifer LeClaire ) Featured Prophetic Insight Blogs Tue, 21 Jul 2015 09:50:00 -0400
Prophetic Voices We Did Not Heed http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23833-prophetic-voices-we-did-not-heed http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23833-prophetic-voices-we-did-not-heed

Some will call it being an alarmist. But nevertheless, recent events not only in the U.S. but globally indicate the age many thought we would never see is unfolding before our very eyes.

We should not be dismayed, however. The prophets of old, the teachings of Jesus and the writings of the apostles all told us this day was coming—we simply didn't believe it would come within our lifetime. 

What we are witnessing did not happen overnight, and to lay out before you how and when the "process" of societal reconstruction would take several posts. Suffice it to say that, by the 1970s (Leonard Ravenhill) and 1980s (Francis Schaeffer, David Wilkerson, and others) many saw what was unfolding in American culture and the devastating effects that would take place once the cultural shifts gained momentum.  

Here we have the world spirit of our age—autonomous man setting himself up as God in defiance of the knowledge and the moral and spiritual truth that God has given. Here is the reason why we have a moral breakdown in every area of life.

The titanic freedoms that we once enjoyed have been cut loose from their Christian restraints and are becoming a force of destruction leading to chaos. When this happens, there really are few alternatives.

All morality becomes relative, law becomes arbitrary, and society moves toward disintegration. ... At this point "right" and "left" will make little difference. Those choices are only two roads to the same end; the results are the same. An elite—an authoritarianism as such—will gradually force form on society so that it will not go into chaos leading most people to accept it.

"We can expect the future to be a further disaster if the evangelical world does not take a stand for biblical truth and morality in the full spectrum of life. For the evangelical accommodation to the world of our age represents the last barrier against the breakdown of our culture. And with the final removal of this barrier will come social chaos and the rise of authoritarianism in some form to restore social order." – Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (1984)

Schaeffer laid it out before us so vividly, but no one heeded the call. The consequences are now obvious. 

We live in a Post-Modern era that is marked by Neo-Pentecostalism and Neo-Propheticism. 

In this Post-Modern era of the "Emerging Church" what has emerged is a Neo-Pentecostal movement that embraces charismatic figures rather than the charismata of the Holy Spirit. Rather than embracing the power of the Holy Spirit, it embraces a message of personal empowerment and entitlement.

Much of the worship is designed to solicit an emotional response rather than worship of the true and living God. Congregants have become addicted to a feeling rather than seeking a clear revelation from God.

We live in an age of idolatry. Yet today's idols are not figurines crafted from stone, wood, or metal but are images of success and prosperity. Americans worship the bold and the beautiful, celebrities, athletes, power brokers and even thugs and gangsters that shape values and morals upon which many within the church pew make their decisions. Rather than the Scriptures shaping core beliefs and values that determine attitudes and actions, Hollywood, Wall Street, Madison Avenue and the sports arena hosts the prophets of the age and influence who and what we are.

Americans spend billions of dollars on movies, videos, sports, and an endless array of ways to absorb the heart and mind of the millions who believe they can find fulfillment by filling their spirit with sound bites, dazzling visual effects, unnecessary realism, violence and voyeurism. One entertainment insider said the driving force behind entertainment is "self-actualization." Americans live vicariously through actors, athletes, pop and western singers, and perpetuate their idolatry by emulating them, purchasing their clothes designs and attempting to live their lifestyles.

If we say the Post-Modern church isn't tainted by this influence, we deceive ourselves.

Neo-Propheticism finds itself powerless to address the Neo-Paganism of the American culture. There are many self-proclaimed prophets and prophetesses who wrap empty promises in packages of gold and glitter.

Listening to the false prophets of wealth and prosperity with the intent of positioning itself to receive the mantle or an impartation, the church is hardly equipped to fight the issues that once laid dormant but now rear their ugly heads with a vengeance—child and spousal abuse, drugs, family disintegration, pornography and homosexuality.

No amount of binding and loosening or declarations of prosperity present effective measures to address the shift of moral values in the church pew much less outside the four walls of the church. No longer can the church claim to be salt and light but have played the fool and become insipid (or "played the fool," Matthew 5:13f). 

The Apostle Paul saw the solemn descent the world would take. Some call it an apostasy, a deterioration of faith in the church. But the word is actually better translated "rebellion." It isn't simply a falling away from the faith; it is shaking an angry fist in the face of God. This rebellion doesn't deny His existence as much as it launches a militant campaign against Him—and the remnant of believers who remain faithful. Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:

"Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For that Day will not come unless a falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself as God. ... Now you know what restrains him that he might be revealed in his time. ... and with all deception of unrighteousness among those who perish, because they did not receive the love for the truth that they might be saved. Therefore God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: that they all might be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:3-4, 6, 10-12, MEV).

The true Post-Modern Day prophet faces a daunting task, but it isn't unlike those who have gone before. Challenging the status quo has never been easy, nor has it always been successful (in terms used for success today). There is a remnant, a number of believers who are becoming more and more discontent with the status quo, of being entertained, of being fed self-helps rather than the Word. There are those who are tired of preachers who are place their message above the Word and whip the congregation into a co-dependent altar service.

There is a growing number who are looking for revival, restoration, and reformation. It can happen.

Leonard Ravenhill wrote in his introduction to his book Sodom had no Bible (1979):

"When we get humble enough, and low enough, and desperate enough, and hungry enough, and concerned enough, and passionate enough, and broken enough, and clean enough, and prayerful enough, then God will send us a revival that equals and surpasses the awakening this country experienced in the days of Charles Finney."

Schaeffer and Ravenhill had their fingers on the pulse of America and recognized the fading heartbeat of the church and sounded the alarm. They were prophetic voices we did not heed. Consequently, should the church in America attempt to sound an alarm today, not only may it be too little too late, congregants remaining true to the faith may also experience something they thought they'd never see—American societal persecution.

Mark Ledbetter is the Alabama Disaster Relief Coordinator at the Church of God Chaplains Commission in Sylacauga, Alabama.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Mark Ledbetter ) Featured Prophecy Spirit Tue, 21 Jul 2015 09:00:00 -0400
The Secret to Experiencing and Releasing God's Supernatural Power http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/supernatural/23832-the-secret-to-experience-and-release-god-s-supernatural-power http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/supernatural/23832-the-secret-to-experience-and-release-god-s-supernatural-power

"And look, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8).

Have you ever stopped to consider how remarkable it is that after three years of teaching and training His followers, Jesus said they still weren't ready? He had answered their questions, modeled every form of ministry imaginable, and walked them through the Scriptures (see Luke 24:27), but it wasn't enough.

The thing they needed was power. In my new book, Power to Deliver, I focus mainly on God's power for deliverance from demonic torment. However, before we step out to operate in the supernatural, I want us to consider the very source of God's power. 

What comes to mind when you hear that word—power? Do you immediately think of God, or are your first thoughts related to worldly expressions of power—people who possess influence through politics, wealth or celebrity? Perhaps you equate power with good preaching: "That was a powerful message." Or maybe you think it is limited to the regeneration of the human spirit at salvation.

The Power Is Actually a Person

Sadly, few of us associate power with the Person of the Holy Spirit. This was certainly the case in my own life. In my early experiences with the supernatural, I learned to think of power primarily in terms of phenomena. Power was an "it"—something that happened which could not be explained by the laws of nature. After I was saved, however, I discovered that power is not an "it" but a "who." The source of God's power is found in the essence of His being. Power is not just what He does; it is who He is.

When we fail to cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit, we cut ourselves off from the true source of power and end up chasing ever-decreasing phenomena. Knowing the Holy Spirit, talking to Him, and meditating upon Him—these are the keys to releasing His presence and power in our lives.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how well you know the Holy Spirit? So many believers fall into the trap of thinking of Him as a glorified Santa Claus who comes to distribute gifts. We relegate Him to this role and completely miss out on the relational intimacy available to us.

Get to Know God on Earth

Jesus placed great emphasis on the Person of the Holy Spirit. He actually told the disciples it was better for them that He leave so they might receive the Spirit:

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away" (John 16:7).

Even in His resurrected body, Jesus can only be in one place at a time. His Spirit, however, can be everywhere. This is why Jesus said His departure is to our advantage. He wants all men and women to experience a relationship with Him through the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit. And this benefit is just the tip of the iceberg.

"For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7).

Here Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Helper. Other passages describe Him as our comforter, our teacher and our guide (see John 14:6, 26, 16:13). These are all personality descriptions! And there is more—according to Scripture, the Holy Spirit has a mind, will and emotions (see Rom. 8:27, 15:30; 1 Cor. 12:11). He speaks, He testifies, He prays, He can be grieved, He can be insulted, He can be resisted and He can be quenched (see John 15:26; Acts 7:51, 13:2; Rom. 8:26; Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19; Heb. 10:29). What does this mean? It means the Spirit is a Person with a personality. He is not a cloud or a funny feeling; He is the expression of God's inner nature.

How Are You Treating the Holy Spirit?

The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we treat the Holy Spirit accordingly. Do we know Him and talk to Him as a Person?

He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you (John 16:14).

Think about this for a moment: The Father determined it was not enough to send us His Son as a teacher, prophet, healer, redeemer and savior. He did not stop there in His pursuit of our restoration. He had to take His own Spirit, the very depths of His personality, and give it to everyone who said yes.

The most precious and sacred thing we possess as humans is our spirit. It is the core of our being, the essence of our existence, and we cannot give it to another. But the uncreated God is not bound by the laws governing human spirits. He can and does share His Spirit with us!

Steve Beauchamp is the author of Power to Deliver: A Guide to Spiritual Warfare and Freedom and a senior leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. He currently serves on the Pastoral Care leadership team and is the director of the Prophetic, Healing, and Deliverance courses at the IHOP University. Stephen has also served as a missionary in Western Europe and ministers regularly internationally. Stephen and his wife Sage both graduated from the Brownsville Revival School of ministry.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Steve Beauchamp) Featured Supernatural Spirit Tue, 21 Jul 2015 08:00:00 -0400
7 Ways to Minister to Today's Youth http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23845-7-ways-to-minister-to-today-s-youth http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23845-7-ways-to-minister-to-today-s-youth

In 7 Family Ministry Essentials, written for church leaders who have a passion to disciple kids and teens in partnership with the Holy Spirit and the family, Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman capture the guiding essentials to build a strategy for life-changing family ministry in this ultimate leadership resource. These seven essentials emphasize:

1. Empowering families to take spiritual leadership in the home

2. Forming lifetime faith that transcends childhood beliefs

3. Teaching Scripture as the ultimate authority of truth

4. Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit to teach and transform

5. Engaging every generation in the gospel of God's redemptive story

6. Making God central in every biblical narrative and daily living

7. Participating in community with like-minded ministry leaders

In the interview below, the authors share more about the mission of their book.

Q: 7 Family Ministry Essentials calls for a strategy change for children's and student ministries. What are some of the most common practices that need to be changed in these ministries today?

Anthony: The practices that need changing are the ones that don't bear fruit. Just because we have always done something one way doesn't mean it will be effective in this generation. We need to be willing to re-imagine ministry based on meeting the needs in our generation. Tradition is a wonderful thing but not when it gets in the way of transformation. Yet change for change's sake is also hollow. Leaders are best when they initiate change to breed a cultural change—meaning one that permeates the culture in such a way it remains long after we are gone and bears fruit.

Marshman: I would add that specifically within student ministries, leaders tell parents they are the primary disciplers of their children but oftentimes do nothing about it. Leaders have the opportunity not only to encourage parents to live out that role, but equip and support them with the resources to do so.

Students need space to meet with the living God during student ministry gatherings. Students also need opportunities to speak about their faith experiences within their faith community. It's key for students not merely to agree with what their youth leaders are saying but to begin to live out and speak about the reality of their own personal faith inside and outside the walls of the church.

Q: What are some practical ways parents can make spiritual deposits into their child's life?

Marshman: First and foremost, parents can make spiritual deposits into their child's life by loving Jesus deeply. As parents deepen their love and dependence upon the Lord, it becomes easier to entrust their children into His hands. In moments of struggle, parents can surrender their children into the hands of a gracious God. In moments of triumph, parents will praise and worship God as the ultimate, generous gift giver.

Additionally, parents can put their honest faith journey on display. Admitting their weaknesses and showcasing their own dependence upon the Lord through every season can radically impact their child's life by modeling true discipleship.

Q: Why are parents quick to pick up a book about potty training or discipline, but hesitant to try to learn about how to teach their children spiritual discipleship? How can ministry leaders help them overcome their fears?

Anthony: We all want a quick fix. We all want to be in control of the outcomes of our children. Spiritual discipleship is neither of those. It is supernatural. Only God can change a heart or transform a life. We need His wisdom and His power. This requires us to be in an intimate relationship with God. Often parents' faith is not that vibrant at the time of child-rearing, and it is impossible to give away something they don't have. And even when it is vibrant, it is difficult to relinquish control and trust God to transform a child's life when and as He chooses. Parents are required to be faithful and role models; they are not required to make their children spiritual.

Marshman: Ministry leaders can help parents overcome their fears by informing them of their role as a spiritual parent, to create environments for faith formation to come alongside what the Holy Spirit is doing in the life of their children. God doesn't call them to change their children, God calls them to love Him, love them and entrust Him with the transformation.

Q: How can a youth or children's minister foster the leadership a parent should have in their family, if that parent is overwhelmed and spiritually immature themselves?

Anthony: Baby steps. Meet them where they are at and disciple them just as we would a child or a teen. We must help them see the connection and then lead them one step at a time. Often we overwhelm them with all they should be doing. It's not attractive for parents to think they are failing at yet another thing. We need to give them a small win!

Q: When one thinks about the state of the family, even within the church, it can feel hopeless. But you say it could change in as little as one generation. Why?

Marshman: We are in the midst of a movement. Typically, movements are things we look back on in the past. It's critical to see in the past five years, family ministry has begun to take ground within churches. Church staffing structures are changing to include an emphasis on the families, youth pastors are joining in on the efforts, and children's ministry leaders are impassioned like never before to recognize their jobs reach far beyond children. It could absolutely change in as little as one generation because God is on the move through family ministry. When you feel hopelessness, remember God is in the habit of using broken families for His glory.

Learn more about Dr. Michelle Anthony at www.michelleanthony.org, on Facebook or by following her on Twitter. Learn more about Megan Fate Marshman at www.meganfate.com, on Facebook or by following her on Twitter

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Audra Jennings) Featured Women Life Mon, 20 Jul 2015 18:00:00 -0400
LGBT Activists Warn Public Not to Watch Ray Comfort's New Movie on Homosexuality http://www.charismamag.com/life/culture/23844-lgbt-activists-warn-public-not-to-watch-ray-comfort-s-new-movie-on-homosexuality http://www.charismamag.com/life/culture/23844-lgbt-activists-warn-public-not-to-watch-ray-comfort-s-new-movie-on-homosexuality

Despite the message of love that permeates Living Waters Publications' newest film, Audacity, LGBT activists are warning others away from watching it, giving it poor online reviews with comments such as "avoid at all costs."

For the film's executive producer Ray Comfort, however, this is music to his ears. "This is the best thing that could have happened. It's not even out yet and they are telling people not to watch it. That's going to make them want to watch it to see how any movie could possibly be that bad; and they are going to get a shock when they see it."

A scripted film, Audacity follows the struggle of Peter (Travis Owens) as he is confronted with the tension between the cultural acceptance of homosexuality and what the Bible says is true. While trying to live out his Christian beliefs, he finds that there are a lot of uncomfortable questions he has to answer. But acting out of love for his friends and even strangers, Peter is able to live out the values of the Bible and show others the courage it takes to follow the Bible when its teachings are not popular. Viewers will find Audacity to be culturally relevant but still boldly sticking to its biblical principles.

Since its special pre-release online for $19.99, thousands have flooded to audacitymovie.com to purchase the film, wanting to see for themselves how a Christian can be both biblical and loving toward gay friends and family members. The timing of its release—June 24—didn't hurt, with the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling coming out two days later.

"This is the best response we've had to any of our movies, and I'm sure it's because of its timing," Comfort said. "Many church leaders such as John Piper and Ken Ham are commending it and posting the trailer on their Facebook pages.

"After watching it, Kevin Sorbo, star of God's not Dead said, 'I give it second-best Christian movie—God's Not Dead is No. 1! Ha!'" Comfort continued. "This was no doubt in response to one reviewer who said, 'Hands down the best Christian film I have ever watched.'"

Hundreds of LGBT activists have flooded imdb.com to register their negative comments in advance of the film's Aug. 19 scheduled YouTube debut. But Comfort doubts many of them have actually watched it. "They would rather have a quadruple root-canal by a blind dentist than pay $19.99 to watch a Christian movie on this subject," he said, adding that "The Friendly Atheist" ripped into the movie with a 70-minute review with more than 7,000 downloads in just three days, pointing to the popularity of the controversial topic.

While nearly a thousand individuals have given the film the lowest rating, hundreds more have given it the highest, leaving comments such as "The storytelling was masterful and the twist at the end was Hitchcockian. I am impressed with the sheer excellence of the production. Ingenious!"

The filmmaker is reaching out to Christian leaders who aren't afraid to speak out on this issue, hoping to communicate that "Audacity" is more than just another documentary showing gay parades, and ex-homosexuals testifying that they are now happily married as Christians. We are asking Christians to help us reach leaders by sharing the trailer with them, as it quickly dispels any of those presuppositions," Comfort stated.

The trailer can be viewed on audacitymovie.com.

Starring Travis Owens (Friday Night Lights), Molly Ritter (Atrophy, Madison), and Ben Price (Australia's Got Talent), Audacity explores the conflict between Christians and homosexuality using both a thought-provoking plot and real and unscripted street interviews conducted by Ray Comfort.

Audacity is the fifth film produced by Living Waters Publications, a biblical evangelism media company led by Founder and CEO Ray Comfort. For more information, visit livingwaters.com.
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taylor.berglund@charismamedia.com (Melany Ethridge) Featured Culture Life Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:00:00 -0400
3 Ways to Marry Work and Family to Achieve Goals http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23825-3-ways-to-marry-work-and-family-to-achieve-goals http://www.charismamag.com/life/men/23825-3-ways-to-marry-work-and-family-to-achieve-goals

"It's just business, nothing personal." That is one of the worst quotes I've heard.

It is a basic excuse that says I took this action or didn't take this action because there is no personal relationship between us. No matter if we are making decisions for a Fortune 500 company or our families, each one of those involves relationships with people that make it personal.

Therefore, we should consider both in decision making. We should marry work and family to set and achieve goals. Zig Ziglar calls it "home field advantage." The best way to achieve that home field advantage is not separating the two, but bringing them together.

Here are three ways to accomplish that:

Be Consistent

Some of us have a work voice and home voice. We also have a home demeanor and a work demeanor. The way you handle yourself in front of your boss should be consistent with the way you handle yourself while with co-workers and peers—as well as how you handle yourself while with your wife and kids. 

If you don't go off the handle at work when someone does something wrong, then don't do that at home. If you go the extra mile and do things that someone else was supposed to do, do the same at work. Every relationship, at work or at home, is personal because it involves people. You should treat them as such no matter where you are.

Consider the Impact

What will happen if you take on this new project or accept this new role which requires more travel? What happens if you take a few minutes extra in the morning with your kids and you arrive just in time or a few minutes late to work? What happens when you don't follow your budget and now you need to request overtime?

What we do at home impacts work. What we do at work impacts home. You need to plan for both. Many men plan for their work, career, and maybe financial goals. But that is not complete without including family goals. If your goal is to travel "x" times this year, will that require extra work hours, a promotion, or a side business? When setting goals, make sure to set personal, career and family goals.

Be and Give Your Very Best

Have you ever worked with someone who was having relationship problems at home? Have you experienced a time in your marriage when work has been stressful for your wife? Those challenges bleed to other areas. But when things are going well with both, they feed off each other, and it's a wonderful thing. Be sure you are 100 percent in while at home, and 100 percent in while at work, but make sure your boss and family know and respect your other role. Introduce both worlds.

Sometimes our kids, maybe even our wives, don't really know what we do or what it takes. Invite them into that world and introduce the people who exist in that world with you. Talk about the work you do or how your work/company serves others. Talk about what you like as well as what is challenging for you.

Do the same for those you work with. Let them know you have a wife and kids, and share about them as appropriate. Put pictures on your desk. Talk about what you did with your wife and kids recently. Bring your family to family-friendly work events.

Work is not just business; it's personal. Home life is not just personal; it involves your work. Marry them in order to get the most out of both and use these three things to help you.

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

For the original article, visit allprodad.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Jackie Bledsoe/For AllProDad.com) Featured Men Life Mon, 20 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0400
6 of the Most Misdiagnosed Health Issues http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23830-6-of-the-most-misdiagnosed-health-issues http://www.charismamag.com/life/health/23830-6-of-the-most-misdiagnosed-health-issues

Few things are more frustrating to patients and doctors than an elusive diagnosis. Patients sometimes undergo batteries of tests, appointment after appointment, failed treatments—and still the suffering continues. 

We expect doctors to have answers. But very often they don't.

These six conditions are among the most difficult for doctors to diagnose accurately: 

1. Thyroid disorders. Richard Shames, M.D., author of "Thyroid Power," tells Newsmax Health that "thyroid imbalance is probably the most misdiagnosed of all conditions and the number of prescriptions for thyroid medication exceeds that for almost any other category of illness."

Thyroid hormone affects every cell of the body, so an imbalance is misdiagnosed for a variety of illnesses. If the thyroid is too high, the symptoms are restlessness, insomnia, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, weight loss, and shakiness, says Dr. Shames. 

If it is too low, things are reversed—fatigue, lethargy, and weight gain may result. 

If you have any of these symptoms, ask for a full thyroid check including not only the standard T4 and TSH tests, but also a free T3 and TPO antibody check.

2. Lupus. Steven Victor, M.D., a dermatologist with ReGen Medical in New York, says that lupus is commonly misdiagnosed as seborrheic dermatitis because both conditions cause a similar rash. 

A blood test can confirm lupus, which is an autoimmune disease.

3. Lyme disease. Dr. Victor says that the potentially debilitating disease is so hard to diagnose that it is often called "the great masquerader" in medical literature. 

Most think of the classic "bull's-eye" rash when considering Lyme, but the disease can also present as hives or joint pain.

"It's important to order a Lyme disease blood test if you think the patient could have been in an area where ticks are present," Dr. Victor says.

4. Celiac disease. This condition causes an allergic-like reaction to gluten and often has vague and non-specific symptoms that can make it difficult to diagnose, says Shawn Khodadadian, M.D., a gastroenterologist with Manhattan Gastroenterology. 

"Not all cases of celiac disease are marked with gastrointestinal symptoms," he says. "Patients can present with atypical signs such as dental enamel defects, neurological symptoms, increased liver enzymes, and anemia."

If celiac is suspected, a simple blood test can diagnose it.

5. Fibromyalgia. Fatigue, widespread pain, brain fog, and severe insomnia can signal this often misdiagnosed condition, says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of "The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution." 

"Physicians are poorly trained to diagnose fibromyalgia even though it affects six million people," he says. "About 85 percent of cases are misdiagnosed. Doctors will even tell patients they are suffering mental illness." 

There are no lab tests to spot this disease or its cousin, chronic fatigue syndrome. But Dr. Teitelbaum has devised a simple quiz that can help a patient determine if they have fibromyalgia. It's on his website at endfatigue.com. 

6. Migraines. Most physicians simply prescribe over-the-counter pain medication for severe migraines and never attempt to find the cause of the condition.

"Over 80 percent of migraines are caused by food allergies," says Dr. Teitelbaum. "So it's important to identify the triggers so they can be avoided." 

For the original article, visit newsmaxhealth.com.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Lynn Allison/Newsmax Health) Featured Health Life Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Should Personal Prophecy be Released Privately or Publicly? http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23824-should-personal-prophecy-be-released-privately-or-publicly http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/prophecy/23824-should-personal-prophecy-be-released-privately-or-publicly

In the contemporary British Pentecostal and charismatic scene, there has been a growing trend over the last decade or so for leaders to adopt the strategic "attractional" model for church worship services.

Often, to ensure that the meetings are 'seeker-friendly,' it can mean that classical Pentecostal spiritual phenomena, such as tongues and prophecy, are actively discouraged in the public setting, based on the assumption that the visitor will find these spiritual gifts too bizarre. Paul's instruction to the Corinthian charismatics to "calm down" so that the guests at church won't think that Christianity is utter madness is brought to the forefront (1 Cor. 14:23), although it would seem that the apostle's desire is for intelligibility rather than any embarrassment over spiritual phenomena, such as might be the case today. For Paul, authentic and accurate prophecy deployed in mission was most definitely "seeker" aware (1 Corinthians 14:24).

Defending their charismatic pedigree, these leaders insist that the prophetic gift has certainly not been axed from the church's DNA and is actively at work in small groups, prayer meetings and often during "altar time" on Sundays. However, what can be observed is a very distinct and fundamental change in the practical outworking of the prophetic in the contemporary church, and one that does not often allow for significant evaluation of the words being spoken. In the old model, certainly among the British Pentecostals, the prophetic word would be spoken out by a church leader or member for the whole church to hear, either spontaneously or through the church microphone if approved.

This "corporate moment," where all were able to hear the word, often meant that the nature of the prophetic message was somewhat broad—it was, after all, intended for the larger congregation to hear. Thankfully, any dubious theology or over-stepping of the mark by the "prophet" (e.g. harsh rebuke, or fortune-telling style guidance) could be instantly corrected by a mature leader, helping to bring the "judging' or 'evaluating" element to bear upon the spoken word, in line with Paul's Corinthian command (1 Cor. 14:29). It is clear that at Corinth this was the approach and the speaking prophets were limited to three messages, probably due to time constraints.

As we jump forward to the 21st century, with its "ministry teams" ready to pray and sometimes prophesy over people during the Sunday morning "appeal," we see a very different model at work. Certainly, there could be more than three prophetic words shared, due to the nature of the event, but much more significantly, the prophetic gift is sometimes being used for personal instruction and direction, and in a very private context.

Similarly, in the house, prayer or small-group setting, the presence of a mature leader, able to discern, correct or helpfully evaluate prophecy, is not necessarily guaranteed; even to suppose that prophetic words would be delivered corporately into that smaller setting if it is not being "modeled" by the leaders of the larger church service. In short we have moved prophecy from mostly public to mostly private—from the dynamic declaration to the whispered word.

Now, this is not to suggest that personal prophecy has no New Testament foundation whatsoever, but it should perhaps be considered to be extraordinary rather than the standard practice. It certainly isn't private.

Agabus is our primary example, but he is a designated, Ephesians 4:11, capital "P" Prophet with a track record of predicting future events (Acts 11:28). Even when he does speak specifically over Paul's life (Acts 21:11), the surrounding context of the passage shows that it was not a private moment, but one in which other Christians were obviously present and listening.

Similarly, the prophets at Antioch who provoke the timing of the missionary launch of Barnabas and Paul are clearly operating in a setting that at least includes all of the church leaders (Acts 13:2), if not the broader Antioch Christian community. These leaders rejoice at the word and commit any action to prayer (Acts 13:1,3).

This would appear to be the standard pattern for a New Testament prophetic ministry: prophets, of varying kinds, may speak, but never 'in a corner," and firm decisions are made by leaders (aided by prophecy perhaps), but never by the prophets themselves. Notice: Agabus' incredible prediction of a coming famine leads to a decision made by others, not actually by him (Acts 11:27-30). Isn't that interesting? He was a guide but no means was he the governor.

So here is my word of caution for leaders who, with all good intention, seek to retain the spiritual gift of prophecy within a seeker or attractional context—let's be careful that in gagging the un-interpreted tongues-speakers to seemingly obey one part of Paul, we don't unleash an equally unbiblical charismatic practice. Arguably, prophecy without evaluation is no better than public tongues without interpretation, with the "distinguishing of spirits" the possible support gift to the prophetic in Paul's mind.

No senior pastor wants church people subject to untested, secret, personal guidance from a would-be Isaiah this coming Sunday morning or on Tuesday evening at lifegroup. While we as the shepherd lovingly seek the 'one' lost sheep in mission, let's not feed the 'ninety-nine' to the prophetic wolves, albeit well-meaning wolves who may not realize the danger of their open mouths or the sharpness of their teeth.

I am certain that the Holy Spirit can help us to do all things well but it may be time for a re-think about how best and biblical to incorporate prophecy in attractional church models that keeps close to all the wisdom and direction that flows from 1 Corinthians' wonderful fourteenth chapter.

Peter Cavanna is a lecturer at Mattersey Hall, the AOG National Ministry Training Centre in the United Kingdom. Along with a whole host of other topics, he teaches the flagship Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies course to second-year students. He also oversees the British Pentecostal Archive at Mattersey, housing thousands of original documents from the Pentecostal revival in the U.K.

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (Peter Cavanna) Featured Prophecy Spirit Mon, 20 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0400
How Praying in the Spirit Reveals Mysteries http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23840-how-praying-in-the-spirit-reveals-mysteries http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23840-how-praying-in-the-spirit-reveals-mysteries

Many years ago, while washing the breakfast dishes, I was praying in tongues. I'm not sure how long I had been praying in the Spirit, I only know that I found myself leaning against the kitchen wall and I heard myself say aloud to the Lord, "An orphanage?"

Oftentimes, when we speak in tongues we pray into existence things that are hidden from our natural understanding. As it says in 1 Corinthians 14:2, "For he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men, but to God. For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries." This word mysteries (Strong's G3466 - mystērion) means hidden thing, secret or mystery. 

In regards to the opening testimony, the Spirit of God was revealing His plans for my husband and I that neither of us knew about. He was about to send us to Guatemala as full-time missionaries, and one of His assignments for us was to start an orphanage.

I fully believe that the Lord desires us to know His plans and purposes for us, and speaking in tongues reveals His will to us and prays them into existence.

Also, as we surrender our human tongues to the Holy Spirit He discloses secrets that are necessary to know in order to minister to people effectively.

Case in point, I was ministering to a couple in another country. The woman was a follower of Jesus Christ and was believing for a miracle for her husband who had lost his mind. And no one could figure out why.

As I began to speak in my heavenly language, the Holy Spirit gave me the following vision and exposed the stronghold. I saw a row of empty clothes hangers hanging from a pole. I then saw a communist ring on his finger. I told them what I saw and asked if it witnessed with them. It did.

They were unequally yoked, she was a believer in Christ, and actively involved in the things of the Lord, and he was a communist. But when their situation was discovered they lost their dry cleaning business. And the financial pressure was more than he could bear and he lost his mind.

In the natural I had no way of knowing about this situation, but by this supernatural gift of communication (tongues) with the Holy Spirit the secret stronghold was exposed, and the steps to his healing were known; he was to renounce communism and give his life to Christ.

The gift of tongues is so powerful, and it's an entrance that leads to the other gifts of the Holy Spirit. I pray you receive this gift today.

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

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:00:00 -0400
5 Keys to Making Your God-Given Dream Come True http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23839-5-keys-to-making-your-god-given-dream-come-true http://www.charismamag.com/life/women/23839-5-keys-to-making-your-god-given-dream-come-true

Almost every week someone approaches me with a dream to write a novel or make a movie, start a business or launch a ministry ... I offer my advice, but mostly I rally their faith to go after the dream.

In the back of my mind I'm wondering if I'm wasting my words. I've seen the odds of those who will actually do something and those who will live the rest of their lives with the dream still "out there" somewhere ... unfulfilled.

Who knows the countless lives they could have touched if they had stepped out in faith and believed God?

Dreams are the stuff of life. Without vision (a revelation of what God is doing in the earth) people perish. Hope dies, faith has nothing to attach itself to and eventually the joy of living seeps away.

My dream has always been to impact the nations with God's presence. I've been in full-time ministry, written books and developed Bible college courses, but in 2006 the dream took on a new expression when God began dropping movie ideas into my heart.

It was a busy season in my life, but when the stories came, I chose to obey and start writing! I learned the formatting, honed my screenwriting skills by attending seminars and intensives in Hollywood and dedicated my free time to writing the movies God was breathing into my spirit.

Fast-forward to today, I've completed post-graduate work in UCLA's Professional Program in Producing Film and Television, started a production company with my husband and am now producing an award-winning short screenplay I wrote.

Two Keys is about two teenage girls—one Israeli and one Palestinian—whose worlds collide as they struggle to make their lives count in Jerusalem. It's a bold topic, but at this point in my life it's either go big or go home. Even though we're still crowd-funding the project, Hollywood talent is already attached to the film as well as Integrity Music artist Dustin Smith as composer!

Sounds like a dream come true, right? But behind the dream is a lot of faith, a ton of courage, and loads of self-discipline to move toward the dream. Did I say LOADS of self-discipline?

What has God put in your heart? What is he stirring deep inside you? Here are things I've learned that can help you step towards your dream.

Write the dream down.

Have you written your dream down? God told the prophet Habakkuk, "Write the vision..."

If the dream seems incredible or too far out of reach—good. The bigger it is, the better. Stretch yourself past who you are to reach into the infinite realms of who he is.

Come up with a plan.

Have you thought the dream through? Start mapping a path towards it.

Start with an easy 1-2-3 list of small and manageable steps. Your faith will grow as you pull the dream into the believable with bite-sized chunks of action.

Research your options.

Check out the possibilities of how your dream can play out and develop a well-researched strategy to accomplish it. Think vision, mission statement, long and short-term goals.

The extra time spent in development will serve the dream well. What's the sense of writing a blog if nobody reads it? Do your homework and get serious about doing something of excellence for the Lord.

Get good counsel.

I'm not talking about listening to all the naysayers. There will always be somebody ready to squelch your zeal and construct a low ceiling over your life.

At the same time, it's important to share your dream with people that will give you reliable input. The wisdom from God is first pure, then peaceable, willing to yield and full of good fruits. Good counsel, even if it's not what we want to hear, will bring peace. And in the end, if you're willing to yield to it, it will bear abundant fruit.

Pray over the vision.

Make sure your dream is thoroughly prayed over and not rushed into. Take the time to let the Lord speak and refine and even correct points where necessary.

Sometimes the dream is "now" and sometimes "not yet." Do you trust the Lord? As you pray, he'll lead and guide so you avoid missteps in this journey of faith.

Can you hear me cheering you on? Quit dreaming and take action! Press in and go after your dreams—and the One who inspires and provides for the impossible to become reality.

Laura Woodworth is an award-winning screenwriter and producer with Source Entertainment. Her film project Two Keys brings hope to this generation that even in the most impossible situations your life matters. Your faith can make a difference. You can support this outreach project with a tax-deductible contribution at www.twokeysmovie.com.

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ldhaywood@gmail.com (Laura Woodworth) Featured Women Life Mon, 20 Jul 2015 11:00:00 -0400
How Does the Holy Spirit Actually Move? http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/a-voice-calling-out/23838-how-does-the-holy-spirit-really-move-goll http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/a-voice-calling-out/23838-how-does-the-holy-spirit-really-move-goll

"The earth was formless and void,darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water" (Gen. 1:2).

Negative Responses to the Holy Spirit

We are not just to be open to the Holy Spirit, but we are to passionately pursue Him. But there are several warnings given to us in Scriptures of attitudes and actions to avoid in our relationship with and to the Holy Spirit.

1. Do Not Neglect or Ignore

Paul uses the word ignorant 13 times in the epistles. "Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant" (1 Cor. 12:1).

2. Do Not Grieve

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice" (Eph. 4:29-31).

3. Do Not Quench

"Do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thess. 5:19).

4. Do Not Blaspheme

"Therefore I say to you, all kinds of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven men. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt. For the tree is known by its fruit" (Matt. 12:31-33).

5. Do Not Insult

"How much more severe a punishment do you suppose he deserves, who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded the blood of the covenant that sanctified him to be a common thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" (Heb. 10:29).

When you insult someone, they remove their presence from you. 

 6. Do Not Tempt

"Peter said to her, 'How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also" (Acts 5:9).

Positive Responses to the Holy Spirit

Not only are there warnings listed in Scripture, but there are positive responses specifically listed for us to obey.

1. Be Born of the Spirit

"Jesus answered him, 'Truly, truly I say to you, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God'" (John 3:5).

Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

"Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly I say to you, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again." The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit'" (John 3:3-8).

2. Receive and Be Baptized in the Spirit

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

"I indeed baptize you with water to repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matt. 3:11).

 3. Be Continuously Filled

"Do not be drunk with wine, for that is reckless living. But be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18).

4. Know and See the Spirit

"I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever: the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it does not see Him, neither does it know Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you fatherless. I will come to you" (John 14:16-18).

5. Be Led by the Spirit

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).

6. Pray in the Spirit

"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful" (1 Cor. 14:14).

"But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith. Pray in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 20).

7. Walk in the Spirit

"I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16).

8. Hear the Spirit

"Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion" (Heb. 3:15).

A great definition of moving in the Holy Spirit is to so flow with the Lord as to not cast two shadows.

3 Things to Do With the Holy Spirit

1. Honor Him as a Guest

Welcome Him on a first-name basis without over-familiarity. Acknowledge Him as the third person of the Godhead, with His own distinct personality (John 16:13). Honor Him and desire His presence.

2. Seek Him

Ask for Him and seek to be equipped by Him (Lk. 7:7-11). He is more than a "special guest." He is our equipper. Ask the Father in Jesus name to be equipped by the Holy Spirit to do the ministry work.

3. Give Him Freedom and Liberty

Yield to Him (2 Cor. 3:17). When the Holy Spirit is Lord, there will be freedom for the people. Let the Holy Spirit be in control.

4. Principles of How the Holy Spirit Always Moves

Read John 14:16-21 and John 16:5-15 before proceeding into the following points.

a. In and Through (by means of) the Written Scriptures

He never moves contrary to the Word of God. He compliments and does not compete with the Word of God.

b. In Agreement With the Father and the Son

There are never three wills in the Godhead. The Holy Spirit reveals the counsel of the Father and the Son.

c. Brings Jesus Into a Greater Reality

The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus as a living reality, and brings us into a deeper relationship with Him.

d. A Life-Giving Source

He brings us into the life of the Lord Jesus. He is interested in maturing our character, not just bringing us personal comfort. He is interested in bringing us truth, not false assurance or deceptive consolation. He woos, convicts, shepherds and leads us to the life-source of God.

e. Moving the Believer to Be a Witness

He helps us overcome our fears and He stretches us outside of ourselves, bringing both maturity and fruit. He motivates us to testify of the love and power of God.

Preparations to Flow in the Holy Spirit

1. Avoid Hurrying or Rushing

Quiet yourself before the Lord. Avoid being like a stirred-up fish bowl and rest before His presence.

"I wait for the Lord, with bated breath I wait; I long for His Word! My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning" (Ps. 131:5-6).

"I composed and quieted my desire, like a child given suck by his mother; like a child who sucks is my desire within me" (Ps. 131:2).

2. Pray in the Spirit

"He who speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church" (I Cor. 14:4).

3. Get Involved

Seek God for something to take when you attend a gathering. Purpose in your heart to get involved and don't go just to receive.

4. God Wants to Use You!

Yes! God wants to use little ole me! Believe that the Lord wants to use me to impart to others.

5. It's Only by Grace

Ask God for a revelation of grace. That way all the glory goes to God to whom it all belongs.

Closing Thoughts

1. The Kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit

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

2. Rivers of Living Water Shall Flow

Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. Pray for this to occur in your life. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).

Father, I ask that out of my inner most being that streams of revelation, power and life would flow out of me. I stir up the gift of God within me. River of God flow out of me onto dry ground! In Jesus Name!

Dr. James Goll is the founder of Encounters Network, Prayer Storm and helps carry on the work of Compassion Acts. For information on his online school visit: geteschool.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today. 

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shawn.akers@charismamedia.com (James W. Goll ) Featured A Voice Calling Out Blogs Mon, 20 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0400