Charisma Magazine | Informing Christians from Spirit-filled Perspective. Sun, 04 Oct 2015 05:08:54 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb If You Are Saved, Are You Also Healed?

I've recently been re-reading Christ the Healer by F. F. Bosworth (the second time through in the last three months)—an excellent book on healing. Bosworth continuously raises the question, is physical healing part of Christ's redemptive work on the cross? His conclusion is, yes, Christ died to redeem us physically as well as spiritually. We can experience healing from sickness and disease as well as forgiveness of sin.

Since putting into practice some of the principles he describes, a painful knee condition I've been dealing with for several months has just about disappeared. (You may say, "Well it would have gotten better anyway!" but it was noticeable how often when I chose to believe God's Word, the pain went away.)

So I've been exploring the topic.

One of the chief passages about what Jesus accomplished through his finished work on the cross comes in Isaiah 53.

"He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

"Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed" (Isaiah 53:3-5, NASB).

The words, griefs and sorrows, which come twice here, are the Hebrew words  choli and yagon. According to Strong's Hebrew Concordancecholi is translated as "grief" three times, but words like "disease," "illness" and "sickness" twenty-two times.  Yagon is translated as "sorrow" four times, but words like "pain" twelve times.

So it seems that "A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief might be equally well (or better)  translated, "A man of pain and acquainted with sickness," and "Surely our griefs he bore and our sorrows he carried," as "Surely our sickness he bore and our pain he carried."

That's how Matthew interpreted it too.

"When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: 'He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases" (Matt. 8:16-17).

Makes you think!

Adapted from Felicity Dale's blog, Kingdom Women. Felicity Dale is an author and an advocate for women in the church. She trains people to start simple, organic house churches around the world. 

]]> (Felicity Dale) Featured Women Life Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Here's What It Means to Be Spiritually Vigilant

Think of America before and after 9/11 and you'll understand vigilance.

Nowadays everyone is on high alert, especially where large crowds gather. The smallest thing, such as a package left unmanned, triggers the evacuation of malls or airports.

Threats of violence now fall under the criminal act of terror threats. That's a new crime. A life of vigilance requires new laws, new behaviors and even new slogans—"If you see something, say something" comes to mind—to reinforce an attitude of watchfulness.

Think also of the impact of the Boston Marathon bombing. A new slogan came to life in its aftermath too. Within one year of the event, about 70,000 T-shirts were sold with the words "Boston Strong" on them.

This simple message rallied Bostonians and other Americans to be courageous in the face of our new world. That tragedy challenged us to become even more vigilant, especially at major sporting events.

As a runner, my attitude toward prerace screenings of my personal belongings is that of welcome. Years ago I would have considered it a nuisance. Today, I applaud it. I see it as one aspect of living with a heightened sense of alertness.

Consider what it's like to be in a place where vigilance isn't in place. On a recent trip to Rome to see the Vatican, my wife and I, along with other tourists, walked through the customs checkpoint in Rome's airport undeterred. It was strange.

No one stopped us to see our passports, search our bags or inspect other important documents. In fact, out of my peripheral vision I saw one American question the relaxed customs officer with his rich New England accent. "Don't you need to check my papers?" he asked.

The American's attitude toward vigilance was so ingrained that he was extremely reluctant to pass through the checkpoint without some type of clearance.

The Italian officer smiled and spoke in English slowly so the American could understand his accent: "Get out of here!" The shocked American struggled to appreciate the lack of vigilance applied in this situation. Yet he listened and walked on briskly to get away from the uncomfortable feeling of life on the sidelines.

Some believers are sidelined because they've become discouraged by the fight. They have not learned how to pace themselves when it comes to spiritual warfare. This battle lasts a lifetime.

It starts when we're born, and it should take on a new clarity when we're born again. But it ends when we die. The battle ends when heaven's gates open to us.

Until then we must find ways to keep ourselves vigilant and engaged without becoming overwhelmed or decommissioned by discouragement at the length of the war.

Just as soldiers need furloughs and the Coptic priests need shifts to guard the grotto, you must pace yourself to be a career soldier. Leading a balanced spiritual life is a surefire way to create respite for yourself.

Allegiance should not be one-sided. We must join God on our knees in His battle against evil and wickedness. Disdain for the fight is the same as declaring to God, "Fight Your own battles!"

Johann Albrecht Bengel, the Lutheran theologian in the 1700s who greatly influenced John Wesley, suggested, "We do not have God's permission to quit praying until He gives us some answer." It's wrong not to wield the weapon of prayer! {eoa}

David D. Ireland, Ph.D., is the founding and lead pastor of Christ Church in New Jersey. He is an author, an international speaker and a diversity consultant to the National Basketball Association.

To learn more, read this...

Learn how to fight your spiritual enemy skillfully and bring deliverance to captives through Pastor David Ireland's latest book, The Weapon of Prayer: Maximizing Your Greatest Strategy Against the Enemy (Charisma House). You can find it at and or wherever Christian books are sold.

]]> (David Ireland ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Fri, 02 Oct 2015 16:50:00 -0400
5 More Ways to Really Love a Woman

On Thursday, I shared five of the most practical marriage ideas I've picked up over four decades of working with men. (These are straight out of my book Man Alive). Here are five more that are crucial for keeping your marriage alive and well:

1. Accept her unconditionally. Happy wives don't feel like they have to perform to be loved. They don't feel like they will be rejected if they don't meet a set of standards. For Pete's sake, if your wife has fat ankles, don't say something stupid like, "Why don't you do ankle exercises?" Jesus accepts each of us "just as I am," as the old hymn says, and smart mates accept each other as is too. Intimacy means that I know who you are at the deepest level and I accept you.

2. Encourage her with words. Your mate has an emotional bank account into which you make deposits and from which you make withdrawals. If you're grumpy when you get home from work, you are making a withdrawal from her account. When you encourage your spouse when she feels down, you are making a deposit. (Make sure to keep track of the account balance!)

We all need to be lifted up when we feel blue, but the most successful couples go one step further—they create a positive environment. They verbally affirm each other at every opportunity. They try to catch each other doing things right. They pass along compliments others make about their mate. They never pass up an opportunity to express appreciation: "I love the way you fix your hair." "That was a great dinner." "I love having you for my wife." "Thank you for running such a smooth home."

Encouragement is the food of the heart, and every heart is a hungry heart.

3. Take care of her financially. Money problems create more stress on a marriage than any other outside threat. Here is the money issue in a nutshell: is it right to spend so much on a lifestyle today that your wife would be forced into panic mode if you were not around anymore? Successful couples have resolved to live within their means. They do not live so high today that they fail to provide for retirement and premature death.

4. Laugh with her. The antidote to boredom in marriage is lively humor. If your partner says something even remotely funny, laugh! Keep track of what brings a smile to her face and what makes her laugh till her sides hurt. If neither one of you is funny, watch funny movies and make some funny friends.

5. After God but before all others, make your wife your top priority. Once I called three friends to pray for a difficult challenge I faced the next day. One week later I called each of them to let them know how it turned out. "Oh yeah," every one of them said, "I've been meaning to call you."


Men, you and your wife are the only two people who are really in this thing together. Everyone else will phase in and out of your lives—even your children. One day soon the party will be over and all your golfing buddies will have moved to Florida to live in little condominium pods and drive around on streets made for golf carts.

And, there will be only two rocking chairs sitting side by side—one for you, and one for her.

Doesn't it make sense to invest today in the person who will be sitting next to you then? Be your wife's best friend.

Patrick Morley is the founder of Man in the Mirror Ministries. For the original article, visit

]]> (Patrick Morley/Man in the Mirror) Featured Men Life Fri, 02 Oct 2015 15:40:00 -0400
Could These Vegetables Be Inflaming Your Body?

Many people have heard of deadly nightshade, which is a poisonous plant, but there are a number of nightshade vegetables, both popular and not so common, that are safe for consumption. Edible species within the Solanaceae order include eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and paprika, as well as foods like pepino, tomatillo, and pimento.

Surprisingly, while the latter-mentioned foods are healthy food choices, there is growing evidence suggesting the alkaloids in nightshade vegetables may contribute to the onset and/or persistence of chronic pain and inflammation.

As part of the Solanaceae order, nightshades consist of more than 2,000 different botanical species, including perennial and annual plants, trees, and shrubs. The term Solanaceae originates from Latin and references the solanine alkaloid compound the nightshade plants produce. While not considered true nightshades, ashwagandha, goji berries, huckleberries, and blueberries also produce solanine. Solanine is a nerve poison within the plants, serving as a defense against plant-eating insects.

Solanine is just one of the steroid alkaloids and cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids in nightshade vegetables. Potatoes and eggplants contain solanine, peppers contain capsaicin, and tobacco contains nicotine. The glycoalkaloids in vegetables like potatoes have a negative impact on the permeability of the intestinal tract and contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Dr. Norman F. Childers and Dr. M.S. Margoles write about the negative effects associated with the accumulation of glycoalkaloids in the body in an article appearing in The Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery. According to Dr. Childers, the founder of the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation, the accumulation of glycoalkaloids, whether alone or in conjunction with other cholinesterase inhibitors like pesticides and caffeine, can have negative effects on the body.

Some of the effects include the onset of inflammation, muscular tenderness, pain, spasms, aching, and stiffness. The latter symptoms may only last a few hours after nightshades consumption, but the negative effects can last up to 90 days if the individual consumes large amounts of edible nightshades.

The effects of edible nightshade consumption may contribute to or worsen arthritic conditions. Osteoarthritis is one of the leading disabilities in the United States. According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2012 there were 52.5 million diagnosed cases of arthritis in the U.S. The number of those affected is predicted to increase dramatically within the next 15 years and predictions suggest that by 2030, some 67 million individuals will have diagnosed arthritis. Roughly two thirds of all sufferers are females. The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis, followed by conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritic conditions affect men, women, and children; as such conditions know no boundaries related to gender, age, or race.

The medical costs of such conditions can prove staggering; in 2003, the medical costs associated with arthritis were around 128 billion each year. Since the mid-1990s, medical care and disability related costs related to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions have exceeded $300 billion a year. Finally, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released a report in 2011 suggesting that 116 million people live with chronic pain conditions, which in turn is resulting in more than $635 billion in lost productivity and health care costs every year. Some experts assert that many arthritic conditions are misdiagnosed and may actually be caused from the consumption of edible nightshades instead.

90-Day Ban on Edible Nightshades

People suffering from musculoskeletal pain disorders, rheumatism, lupus, and alternative conditions related to arthritis often find that consuming edible nightshades has a negative impact on their health. To determine if nightshades are affecting an individual, it is recommended that the individual avoid all food sources falling under the definition of nightshades as well as those that have similar effects. The foods and products should be avoided for a period of 90 days.

Once the 90 days have passed, the individual can reintroduce one selection at a time back into the diet. The individual should take careful notes documenting how one feels after eating. If the individual notes any of the symptoms associated with nightshades consumption, then the food should be eliminated from one's diet.

List of Edible Nightshades


Bell pepper

Blueberries (contain inflammation inducing alkaloids)

Cayenne pepper

Chili pepper


Goji berries


Green pepper

Ground cherries

Homeopathic Nightshade (Belladonna) treatments

Huckleberry (contain inflammation inducing alkaloids)



Pepino melon


Red pepper


Soy Sauce (US made with genetically modified soybeans cut from Petunia (a nightshade plant).





Wax pepper


Additional Items to Eliminate

Baking powder made with potato starch.

Edible flowers like Devil's Trumpets, Angel, Day Jasmine, Chalice Vine, and Petunia.

Envelope seals: Refrain from licking them as some may contain potato starch.

Medications, either over-the-counter or prescribed, containing potato starch filler.

Sleeping pills containing scopolamine or atropine.

Topical pain treatments containing capsicum: It originates from cayenne pepper.

Don Colbert, M.Dhas been board-certified in Family Practice for over 25 years and practices Anti-aging and Integrative medicine. He is a New York Times best-selling 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

]]> (Don Colbert, M.D.) Featured Health Life Fri, 02 Oct 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Give Away the Word and Change Someone's Life

Editors Note: Listen to the special bulletin Strang Report titled "Give Away the Word" on the charismapodcastnetwork.

When the Iron Curtain fell, the readers of Charisma helped raise tens of thousands of dollars in the early 1990s to deliver inexpensive Bibles in Russian through Terry Law Ministries. I visited Russia with Terry and stopped in Sweden to see the Russian Bibles literally coming off the press our readers helped pay for. How exciting!

A few years later, I went into communist China with missionary Dennis Balcomb. At the time, the official Chinese church rationed Bibles that were in much demand, so missionaries asked tourists to take Bibles across the border in their luggage.

It was the only time before or since that I actually smuggled something across an international border. I never expected to be caught, arrested and held for several hours before the Chinese authorities decided to release me after they confiscated the Bibles. (I was told the guards would sell those Bibles on the black market so the Word of God got through in spite of my arrest.)

That incident lit a fire under me to get Bibles into China. When I shared the story with the readers of Charisma, we raised $100,000 to buy 50,000 copies at only $2 each.

Give-now-buttonTwo decades later, I have the privilege of publishing a brand-new translation called the Modern English Version. If you've read my e-newsletter, the Strang Report, or read articles and seen ads in Charisma, you know this translation is not only the biggest project we have ever undertaken but also the most important since it is God's Word. Long after I'm gone and Charisma is no longer published, the Word of God will live on!

Charisma Media has embarked on a bold project to put God's Word in the hands of hundreds of thousands—and perhaps millions—of people, free of charge through an initiative we call "Give Away the Word." But we need your help and the help of other Charisma readers.

A Bible with approximately 1,000 pages is pricey. Quality Bible paper, gilding and leather covers are not cheap. Yet a quality Bible will last a lifetime. We have many attractive versions of the MEV. I'm thankful that, in only one year, the MEV is in the top 10 translations. I'm told that is a major achievement.

There are many who cannot afford a high-quality Bible. Or maybe Bible reading is not a priority, so they won't invest the money. Maybe they are curious about Christianity or are new converts. Maybe they are prisoners with lots of time to read, but they don't own a Bible.

To meet this need, we have published an inexpensive $3 version of the MEV. The idea is to make it available to anyone. We need your help to make it available for free.

We are partnering with Christian Life Missions (CLM), the 60-year-old nonprofit partner through whom we've raised millions of dollars for worthy causes over the course of several decades. Recently, Charisma readers raised $175,000 for J. Lee Grady's The Mordecai Project to build an orphanage for girls in India.

A $10 donation will cover the cost of four copies of God's Word. A donation of $100 will buy 40 Bibles and $1,000 buys 400 Bibles. As usual, every dollar you give will go to this project.

While we are starting small, we believe, based on our past experience with distributing Bibles, we can eventually raise at least $1 million. It's an ambitious goal, but it's doable over time—with your help.

Ministries that have heard of this project have assured us there is a huge need, especially for a translation in modern English that people can easily understand. Recently, Convoy of Hope—a faith-based nonprofit that distributes food, water and emergency supplies—agreed to be our primary partner in this venture. Convoy of Hope will give away the Bibles during inner-city outreaches in the United States. OneHope, an international ministry that shares the Scriptures with young people around the world, is partnering with CLM on international efforts to make sure the Bibles are distributed in regions of the world in need of the Scriptures.

We believe this is something the Lord has laid on our hearts to do. Our prayer is that through this small effort, we're going to have countless stories of people's lives being changed.

Through the years, we've learned that the readers of Charisma feel a call to missions, and this mission is to give away the Word to as many people as possible. Too many people are not literate in the Scriptures because they don't understand the Bible, so they can't apply the Scriptures to their lives. The transforming power of the gospel cannot really germinate within their spirit until they read the Word of God.

Through this massive Bible giveaway, we provide the opportunity to do that. For the cost of a fancy cup of coffee, you can supply a Bible to someone. Won't you respond generously with a tax-deductible gift? Mail your check to Give Away the Word, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746. To donate online at {eoa}

]]> (Steve Strang) Featured The Strang Report Blogs Fri, 02 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0400
7 Times Jesus Chose to Pray

"They came to a place which was named Gethsemane. And He said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray" (Mark 14:32).

If your life is marked by prayer, then prayer will be your constant companion in crucial moments. If you're grateful in ordinary times, you'll be grateful in times of loss and stress. If you grumble all the time, you won't react well when you face great adversity.

We find Jesus praying as He enters the most crucial hours of His life. But He didn't wait until Gethsemane to pray. All through His ministry He prayed. Look at the key moments in His ministry when He prayed:

At His baptism. Luke notes, "when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened" (Luke 3:21). Jesus was praying as began His ministry with His baptism by John. Heaven is likewise open when we pray. The skies aren't made of brass. Our prayers don't bounce off the ceiling. When we pray, God listens.

Prior to the selection of the Twelve. Luke tells us that Jesus spent the night in the hills praying before He selected the disciples in the morning (see Luke 6:12). We do well to imitate Jesus when we face key decisions. Do we make such choices with prayer? There has never been an effective servant of Jesus who led a prayerless life.

After rejection. Jesus did mighty works in Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, but was rejected by the people in those towns (see Matthew 11:25–26). The rejection had to sting. What did Jesus do? He said, "I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth" (v. 25). How do we respond when others turn against us, when a spouse walks out on us, a child rebels, or a friend betrays? We must do what Jesus did—repair through prayer. We get refocused when our heart turns toward Him.

Prior to a breakthrough. A turning point came when Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do the people say that I am?" (Luke 9:18). That question arose as Jesus finished a time spent in private prayer (see Luke 9:18–20). If we want others to come to Jesus, then let us follow His example. People aren't birthed into the kingdom unless someone prays. Who are you praying for that they, too, will confess Jesus as the Christ?

At a high moment of revelation. The transfiguration of Jesus occurred as a result of Jesus going away with Peter, James, and John to a high mountain so they could pray privately (Matthew 17:2; Luke 9:28–29). We can also experience times of great joy and intense exhilaration in prayer, just as the disciples were filled with Spirit and with joy (Acts 2:4, 46).

In others' moments of need. Mary and Martha were overwhelmed at the death of their brother, Lazarus. Jesus ordered the stone removed from Lazarus' grave and then prayed (John 11:41–42). In moments of great sorrow, we can affirm our faith by praying as Jesus did, "Father, I [know] that you have heard me" (John 11:41, author addition).

Now we find Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Escape was possible. It was just a quick walk up the slope of the Mount of Olives and He could have disappeared into the Judean desert. But He stayed and prayed—for us! There are moments when no miracle happens, when we must not run away but must stick to our post of duty. What stabilizes and gives us fortitude to remain is prayer.

A Prayer: "Lord Jesus, may I follow Your example and pray in the key moments of my life, even as I do day by day."

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

]]> (George O. Wood ) Featured Prayer Spirit Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Why Am I Sick?

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why am I sick?" We can find the answer to this question in the Word of God. John 16:33 tells us that in this world we will have tribulation, or difficult times. Not because God has planned hard times or tragedy to come our way, but because we have an enemy, Satan who is bent on our destruction.

John 10:10a calls Satan a thief and tells us that his intentions are to steal, to kill, and to destroy. What do sickness and disease do? They steal, kill, and destroy. How do they do this? They rob us of our health, strength, peace, joy, and our hope for the future, exhaust our resources, tax our relationships, and try to kill our bodies.

So, why are we fighting with sickness and disease? Because Satan seeks to destroy us through his weapons of sickness and disease.

Becky Dvorak, Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe and Greater Than Magic, is a minister of divine healing and miracles, conducts healing services, seminars and conferences globally. Along with her husband, David, they have been full-time missionaries since 1994. For the past 20 years, they have been living by faith and serving Christ in Guatemala, where they have a healing ministry and a children's home, Life Tender Mercy Home. They celebrate 35 years of marriage, have 8 children—3 adult biological and 5 adopted—and 6 grandchildren. 

]]> (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Fri, 02 Oct 2015 13:00:00 -0400
How God's Blessing Can Become an Idol

There's a pattern in the church that we need to be aware of and it's not a new one, in fact, it happened over and over again throughout the Bible.

We have a habit of turning God's provision into idols and loving the gift more than the giver. You see, everyone of us will enter a time of desperation and need for God, whether big or small. It may be because of our own actions or the results of life's wicked turns.

Either way, this desperation drives us closer to God as we call on His name and earnestly seek Him. Time goes by and God answers our prayers, usually in a way we didn't expect. Our mourning is turned to dancing and we are caught up in the goodness of God.

We devote ourselves to care for our newfound treasure whether success, family, money, friends ... etc. As time goes by, sometimes this care turns to obsession. We begin to worship the gift instead of the giver. What was once a blessing from God, to remind us of His faithfulness, has been turned into an idol.

"While traveling to Jerusalem, He passed between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, men with serious skin diseases met Him. They stood at a distance and raised their voices, saying, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!' When He saw them, He told them, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.' And while they were going, they were healed.

"But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. He fell facedown at His feet, thanking Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus said, 'Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the nine? Didn't any return to give glory to God except this foreigner?' And He told him, 'Get up and go on your way. Your faith has made you well'" (Luke 17:11-19, HCSB).

Out of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed, only one returned. The others continued on, glorying in their gift from God. The one who returned did so to give worship to the Healer, not to the healing. Because of this, he found wholeness that the others did not receive. Don't limit God by walking away with a blessing and forgetting who gave it. Devote yourself in thanksgiving to the One who has provided for you and you will see more than you thought possible!

Bailey Riza is a young, passionate, up-and-coming voice in the music industry. A worship leader, songwriter and recording artist, she has a wealth of experience and a dynamic approach to teaching and leading. She is a member of the Faith Alive Band and travels throughout North America performing and ministering in many different arenas. Her songs have been featured on the Faith Alive Show as well as on Daystar Television Network. Her latest EP, "Coming Alive," topped the iTunes charts in Canada! She was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada, and attends Faith Alive Family Church, where her parents are senior pastors. She loves her family, church and country and has a zeal to see this generation experience a powerful outpouring of God's presence. 

]]> (Bailey Riza) Featured Women Life Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Would You Want to Be Friends With You?

I spent many years as a very negative person. I have teasingly said that if I thought two positive thoughts in a row my brain got into a cramp! During those years in my life I was lonely and had very few friends. I had no idea why people didn't like me, but I now know that my sour attitude was one of the reasons.

Did you know your thoughts and attitudes have a tremendous impact on those around you and even affect your friendships? A positive attitude attracts friends, whereas someone who is negative may find themselves isolated and alone. Like the old saying goes, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

My husband, Dave, has always been a very positive person and a good influence on me in this area. Early in our marriage, I got irritated because he was always cheery and hopeful when life seemed so dark and dreary to me. Although it was frustrating at the time, his behavior eventually caused me to want to change so I could be more positive and enjoy life too. 

However, the greatest change came as a result of my relationship with God and studying His Word. Romans 12:2 literally changed my life. It says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God." 

Becoming a positive person begins with filling your mind with God's Word and learning to think like He thinks ... then choosing to allow these faith-filled thoughts to flow through your words and attitudes to the people around you.

I believe many people who think and speak negatively aren't even aware of how it affects their relationships. Really, the only people who enjoy a negative person are those who are also negative! Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happy, quickly discovers that being with a negative, sour person doesn't bring them joy. 

So let me ask you: Are you the kind of person who others want to be friends with? Are you the kind of person you want to be friends with?

I want to be the kind of person people are glad to know and call their friend. I want others to be glad when they run into me at the coffee shop and have a few minutes to chat. When I am at a gathering of people, I would like to be sought out by others because they like my attitude and being with me adds to their joy.

I am sure you feel the same way, but we must realize that if we want to have that kind of positive effect on others, we will need to be positive people. I don't think that anyone would say they don't want people to like them, but they must also realize that nothing good happens accidentally. If we want to be well-liked, we can choose to be likeable. If we want friends, we can choose to be friendly!

One of the spiritual laws that we are taught in God's Word is that we reap what we sow (Luke 10:27-36; Gal. 6:7). If you want more friends, then sow a seed and choose to be a good friend to someone else!

I once heard that even if people don't remember what you say to them, they do remember how you made them feel. For example, my exercise coach is a very enjoyable, positive, encouraging person, and I always look forward to seeing him. His attitude makes the entire experience pleasant. Even though the exercises themselves are usually difficult, he makes me feel as if I am amazingly strong through his positive comments to me.

On the other hand, I had another trainer a few years ago who wasn't very positive or encouraging. When he would correct my form, he would do it in a rather negative, condescending way. He actually thought he was helping me, but the truth was that he was discouraging me!

Really, it's pretty simple: If you want friends, be the kind of person other people want to be around—positive, encouraging and uplifting.

If you realize you are negative, or that you have let the disappointments of life sour your attitude, then ask God to start changing you. Facing truth is the doorway to freedom!

As you renew your mind with God's Word and begin to choose positive thoughts, words and attitudes, you will become someone that other people want to be around ... someone they want to call friend. 

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

]]> (Joyce Meyer ) Featured Straight Talk Blogs Fri, 02 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0400
When Healing Ministry Is a Spiritual Battle

I have had the privilege to minister in 46 different countries around the world. My main message, "You have more power and authority than you realize and more power and authority than you are currently using. You aren't waiting on God to give you more." 

Having gown up in church my entire life and having been taken as a boy to see many ministers who operated in healing and prophetic, I always wondered why I wasn't seeing more happen in my life and in our church. I prayed very respectful prayers, asking God to come and heal individuals, but it just didn't happen. 

I was always using the classic, "Lord if You would just heal them, it would be such a great testimony to spread your fame." Or I would pray, "You should heal them because they are an intercessor in the church and it would prove who You are to so many if You would heal them." One day the Lord rebuked me and I heard Him in my spirit say, "You need to stop asking Me for healing and speaking to me as if you want healing more than I do. I want to see them healed more than you do!"

I was perplexed by this message. The Lord then began to instruct me that I was given authority and power that I wasn't really using. I had this notion that I had to be good enough to earn the Lord hearing me to heal others or that I needed to have read my Bible and prayed enough (all of which I do and need). But I then began to realize none of us can be good enough to deserve what He did on the cross and gave so freely. 

He then began to speak to me about studying the Scriptures on how Jesus and the disciples prayed. I noticed they were praying drastically different then I was praying. They weren't asking for a thing. They were thanking the Father then commanding the body to be healed. So why have we developed a posture of requesting something that has already been given to us? 

Why are we discouraged with the lack of seeing healing in our churches amongst Christians when the majority of places did healing was right out in the open in the public with unbelievers? Pastors are constantly asking me to consult them on what has gone wrong when they used to see healings, but then it seemed to ebb or stop all together.

Don't Give Up

We must realize that even as some of the greatest spiritual opposition is coming against the church, some of the greatest power we experience is in the advancement of the kingdom. The fastest, most dramatic healings I see occur on the streets, often in areas of great spiritual darkness. Jackie Pullinger once asked, "You want to see a revival? Plant your church in the gutter."

Our simple acts of faith in praying for healing in these environments are like a weapon of mass destruction against the kingdom of darkness. Sometimes it feels more like trench warfare. As we've continued to send teams of people to certain areas in our city, we've seen the numbers of healings begin to grow exponentially.  

We've come to see certain zones as healing "hotspots" that were originally some of the darkest and most intimidating places to approach. It's like once the enemy suffers "casualties" in that area, he begins to run screaming the moment he sees us coming. 

Healing is the kingdom of heaven breaking in, and it doesn't come without resistance. James 4:7 says resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Too many times we miss out on healing, blaming lack of faith on our part or on the part of the person being prayed for. 

I've seen people healed when I had no faith, I've seen people healed who had no faith, I've seen people healed when neither of us had faith. But the act of praying for the individual was always required to see something happen.

Robby Dawkins has been speaking and writing full time and is currently based out of the Vineyard Church of Central Illinois since 2013. Having been in over 46 countries around the world, God has used him to help build the church internationally as well. He has ministered in many Muslim countries and in 2 of the top 10 most dangerous countries according to Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Visit him online at

]]> (Robby Dawkins ) Featured Supernatural Spirit Fri, 02 Oct 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Hollywood Actress Takes on Old Demons in Viral Music Video

Entertainer Tisha Campbell-Martin's powerful new single preaches the freedom of forgiveness.  

Campbell-Martin uses the musical poetry of "Steel Here" as a way to purge anger, grudge, pain, low self-esteem, self-deprecation or any negative emotion."

In the video, Campell-Martin inscribes herself with the words her alleged rapist wrote in an apology letter. The star goes from darkness to light, from shame to freedom, in the single.  

"It allowed me to FORGIVE and I'm so incredibly grateful," she writes on Instagram.  

Watch the video to see what we mean. 

]]> (Jessilyn Justice ) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Fri, 02 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0400
How Parents Can Teach Their Child to Recognize and Prevent Sexual Abuse

It's perhaps a parent's greatest fear—that at some point his or her child will become a victim of sexual abuse. The statistics are alarming: Approximately 1 in 5 children will become victims by his or her 18th birthday. Authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb have responded to parents' concerns by writing God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies, a resource for moms and dads who want to protect and educate their children.

Q: What prompted you to write God Made All of Me? What age range was it written for?

The book is for 2- to 8-year-olds. We wrote it because we have two young children and know parents need tools to help talk with their kids about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch. It allows families to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes. Our goal is to help parents and caregivers in protecting their children from sexual abuse. Because private parts are private, there can be lots of questions, curiosity or shame regarding them. For their protection, children need to know about private parts and understand that God made their body and made it special.

Q: What do the statistics about childhood sexual abuse tell parents about the importance of tackling this topic with their kids?

Child sexual abuse is more prevalent than most people think, and the offenders are usually people parents and the children know, not strangers.

Approximately 1 in 5 children will be sexually abused by his or her 18th birthday. A child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a recognized, trusted adult than by a stranger. Most victims of child sexual assault know their attacker; 34 percent of assailants were family members, 58 percent were acquaintances, and only 7 percent of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim.

Of child sexual abuse victims, approximately 10 percent of victims are age 3 and under, 28 percent are between ages 4 and 7, 26 percent are between ages 8 and 11, and 36 percent are 12 and older.

Q: You were intentional about using the terms "appropriate" and "inappropriate" when referring to kinds of touch, instead of the words "good" or "bad." Why?

It is important to be clear with adults and children about the difference between touch that is appropriate and touch that is inappropriate. Experts discourage any use of the phrases "good touch" and "bad touch" for two main reasons. First, some sexual touch feels good, and then children get confused wondering if it was good or bad. Second, children who have been taught "good touch" or "bad touch" would be less likely to tell a trusted adult as they perceive they have done something bad.

To your child say something like: "Most of the time, you like to be hugged, snuggled, tickled and kissed, but sometimes you don't, and that's OK. Let me know if anyone—family member, friend or anyone else—touches you or talks to you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable."

Q: Why do you encourage moms and dads to use the proper names when referring to private body parts, even for young children?

It can be uncomfortable at first, but using the proper names of body parts is important. This knowledge gives children correct language for understanding their bodies, for asking questions that need to be asked and for telling about any behavior that could lead to sexual abuse.

Offenders most likely will not talk to children about their private parts by using the anatomically correct names for genitalia. They will likely use some playful-sounding term to make it sound more like a game.

Q: How did you approach talking about this issue with your own children?

We started by teaching them the proper names of their private parts at an early age and telling them their bodies are strong, beautiful and made by God. We read books to them from an early age on this topic and would talk about who can help them in the bathroom or bath and that it was OK for the doctor to check their private parts at appointments when Mom or Dad is present.

We would also role-play different scenarios to get them thinking what they would do if someone approached them and wanted to touch their private parts, show theirs, take pictures and so on. Play the "what if" game with them at the dinner table with different scenarios to see their thinking and problem-solving skills. "If someone asked you to show them your private parts and promised to give you candy if you didn't tell anyone, what would you do?" Remind them they can tell you anything and anytime without fear of getting into trouble.

We've also tried to instill a sense of control our kids have over their own bodies. We would tell them to say "no" or "stop" when they were all done being hugged, tickled or wrestled. We encourage them to practice this with us so they feel confident saying it to others if the need arises. We also tell them they don't have to hug or kiss a family member if they don't want to and teach them how to express this without being rude. It is important to empower children to be in charge of their bodies instead of at the mercy of adults.

Q: Is there a way to educate your children about this without instilling fear?

To teach children about sexual abuse, it is important to explain about private parts. Clearly identify for your child which parts of their anatomy are private. Explain to your child that "some places on your body should never be touched by other people, except when you need help in the bathroom, are getting dressed or you go to the doctor."

You can do this with young children during bath time or have your child dress in a bathing suit and show them that all areas covered by a bathing suit are "private." The bathing suit analogy can be a bit misleading because it fails to mention that other parts of the body can be touched inappropriately (like mouth, legs, neck, arms and so on), but it is a good start for little ones to understand the concept of private parts.

To teach about sexual abuse offenders, it is important to teach your kids about "tricky people." Tricky people are grown-ups who ask kids for help or tell kids to keep a secret from their parents. Teach your kids not to do anything or go anywhere with any adult at all, unless they ask for permission first.

Q: What do parents need to know about child offenders?

Although strangers are stereotyped as perpetrators of sexual assault, the evidence indicates a high percentage of offenders are acquaintances of the victim.

Most child sexual abuse offenders describe themselves as religious, and some studies suggest the most egregious offenders tend to be actively involved with their faith community.

Sex offenders are often religious, and many of them attend church. In a study of 3,952 male sex offenders, 93 percent of these perpetrators described themselves as "religious."

Dr. Anna Salter, a sexual offender treatment provider, states it is important for parents and child-serving organizations such as churches to avoid "high-risk situations." This is because "we cannot detect child molesters or rapists with any consistency" and thus "must pay attention to ways of deflecting any potential offenders from getting access to our children."

Many youth organizations have prevented the abuse of children in their care simply by limiting the access of potential offenders to boys and girls. Child abusers count on privacy to avoid detection of their criminal behavior. When churches or other faith institutions remove this privacy, it becomes more difficult for the offender to succeed.

Q: Is it a bad idea to force our kids to sit on an uncle's lap or to return Grandma's kiss? What are some ways parents help their extended family understand the physical boundaries they allow their kids to have?

It is important to teach kids how to say "stop," "all done" and "no more." You can reiterate this by stopping immediately when your children express they are all done with the hugging or tickling. Your reaction is noteworthy for them as it demonstrates they have control over their bodies and desires.

If there are extended family members who may have a hard time understanding your family boundaries, you can explain you are helping your children understand their ability to say no to unwanted touch, which will help them if anyone ever tries to hurt them. For example, if your children do not want to kiss Grandpa, let them give a high five or handshake instead.

Q: What are some practical things parents can do to protect their children?

In our book, the last page is to parents and is called "9 Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse." Some of the key practical things parents can do are: teach proper names of private body parts, talk about touches, throw out the word "secret" and identify whom to trust.

Q: What advice do you have for parents who want to create an open environment in their home, so children always feel comfortable talking to them about issues related to their sexuality or body?

We remind parents some people are out there looking to prey on our children. We have a duty to protect and prepare them for the world and to fight for them. By talking with them candidly (and, again, developmentally appropriate) about their bodies, we are setting up safeguards around them.

Dr. John T. Chirban has written an excellent book titled How to Talk to Your Kids about Sex that we highly recommend to all parents. He explains: "Someone is going to teach your kids about sex. ... Shouldn't it be you?" His book gives parents tools to talk with their children about the connections between sex, intimacy and love.

Q: What is personal safety education?

Education is important in preventing inappropriate sexual behavior or contact. By teaching children about their bodies and discussing appropriate and inappropriate touch, you are helping them understand their ability to say "no" to unwanted touch, which will help them if anyone ever tries to hurt or trick them.

Our friend Victor Vieth, the senior director and founder of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, explains, "Personal safety education involves simply telling children that the parts of their bodies covered by bathing suits are not supposed to be touched by others and, when they are, they should tell someone. If the person they tell doesn't believe them, they should keep on telling until they are believed."

Parents are quick to teach about fire and swimming safety but are hesitant to encourage personal safety training, which is designed to empower and protect children against offenders.

Q: It's every parent's worst nightmare, but what should a mom or dad do if he or she suspects his or her child might have been the victim of sexual abuse?

You can call your local sexual assault crisis center and talk with a child advocate or hotline volunteer about your concerns. They will be able to point you to the proper authorities. Some areas would have you speak with a detective, where other areas would have you talk to a victim witness advocate. Don't ask probing questions that could instill fear in your children. Just assure them you are so proud of them for telling you what happened and that you believe them and your job is to keep them safe.

Q: Tell us about GRACE. What does it offer to the church and families?

GRACE stands for "Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments," and the mission is to empower the Christian community through education and training to recognize, prevent and respond to child abuse. We help educate churches and other faith-based organizations about how to protect vulnerable individuals from abuse, and we help churches love and serve survivors of abuse who are in their midst. Check out GRACE at

To keep up with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, visit You can also follow Justin's page on Facebook or follow the Holcombs on Twitter (@justinholcomb and @lindseyholcomb).

]]> (Audra Jennings) Featured Women Life Thu, 01 Oct 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Why the Church Must Tell Israel: 'Here Am I'

At the new Friends of Zion Museum in Israel, visitors complete their tour by watching a 3-D film featuring the heroic stories of Christians such as Corrie ten Boom, Oskar Schindler, Raoul Wallenberg and others who helped save the lives of tens of thousands of Jews during World War II.

After watching the film, each visitor is challenged to make the biblical commitment of "Hineni"—a Hebrew word meaning "Here am I"—to defend God's chosen people. At a time when Israel faces a host of serious threats—the push for a United Nations' vote to create the Palestinian state, the dangerous Iranian nuclear deal and worsening anti-Semitism—it's critical for the church to follow the biblical mandate to stand with Israel by declaring, "Here am I."

Today, a spiritual hunger exists among the Jewish people, and many of them are increasingly open to the possibility that Yeshua, or Jesus, is the Messiah. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed more than a third of American Jews are of the opinion that believing Yeshua is the Messiah is compatible with being Jewish.

At the same time, millions of Jews are returning to their ancient homeland and more than half now live in Israel. Many biblical scholars view this as a fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:24: "For I will take you among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land."  Today, many believe God is doing something extraordinary and new among the Jewish people. Sid Roth, host of It's Supernatural!, believes the restoration of the Jewish people to their Messiah will be the catalyst to release the greatest Gentile revival in history. "When these Jewish people come to the Messiah, it will be the devil's worst nightmare," Roth says. "These Jewish people are going to turn the world upside down." This is one of the reasons why America and the church need to stand with Israel. It's time for the world to hear the voice of faith leaders, pastors and believers expressing their rock-solid support for Israel. Preach a sermon. Call your congressional representative. Write a letter to the editor. Israel is in crisis and needs our help.

Earlier this summer, President Obama raised the possibility that the United States would allow a U.N. vote on the creation of the Palestinian state if the Israelis and the Palestinians don't make meaningful movement toward peace. Many faith leaders have expressed alarm, saying the proposal could bring "a curse on our country." Liberty Counsel Founder Mat Staver noted that no nation that has opposed Israel or taken the land of the Jews has survived. "Babylon, Persia, Rome and Nazi Germany have all ceased, but Israel and the Jewish people remain," Staver says.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the nuclear agreement with Iran as a "historic mistake" threatening Israel and the U.S. The danger is greater than many people realize. Iranian leaders believe the end of days has arrived and their messiah, the "Twelfth Imam," is coming to reign over the world. They believe they need nuclear weapons to destroy  not only Israel, which they call "the little Satan," but also the U.S., the "great Satan."

Despite America's changing foreign policies, the good news is that U.S. evangelicals remain Israel's strongest supporters. A LifeWay Research poll found 80 percent of senior pastors agree Christians should support Israel.  

America exemplifies how God can bless a nation that stands by Israel. While the U.S. doesn't have a perfect record, it helped defeat the Nazis in World War II and until recently has been Israel's staunch ally. It would be foolish for the U.S. to turn its back on Israel, especially in light of God's warning in Genesis 12:3: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse ... ."  

After 2,000 years of persecution—the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Holocaust—the shofar needs to be heard from every church and synagogue in the land, warning of the dangers facing the Jews.

Today, Christians have an opportunity to share the Good News. As Roth notes, the "spiritual blindness judgment" is ending and Jewish people are open to the gospel for the first time in nearly 2,000 years. "I see the greatest awakening in history on the horizon," Roth says. "Will you put your faith on the line with my faith?"

We must do our part. Israel's survival is at stake. Just as ten Boom, Schindler, Wallenberg and many others risked their lives and careers to protect the Jews during World War II, we must do the same now—declaring to the world: "Here am I."

Troy Anderson is the executive editor of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter @TroyMAnderson, Facebook (troyandersonwriter) or sign up for his "For Such a Time as This" column at

]]> (Troy Anderson ) Featured For Such a Time as This Blogs Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:00:00 -0400
5 Ways to Really Love a Woman

Consider the multitude of problems men face—the problems you face. Now put the marriage problem in one stack, and all the "other" problems men face in a second stack.

The marriage problem alone is bigger than all the other problems men face combined.

Easily the biggest problem men face, as a group, is that their marriages are not working the way God designed.

Before we get practical, the reason practical often doesn't work is that men don't, in their heart of hearts, have the right "theology of marriage." Or, knowing what's what, they either don't believe it, don't want to believe it, or did believe it but lost their faith because it's not going the way they wanted.

The correct theology of marriage is based on Ephesians 5:25. "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it."

"As Christ loved the church" means that we are to love our brides "in the same way" or "equal to" the way Christ loved His bride.

What's interesting is that it's not the way "Jesus" loved. Rather, the reference is to His title as the Christ—the Messiah.

In theology there are three very well-known, classic offices held by Jesus in His capacity as the Christ: prophet, priest, and king.

So when the Bible tells us to love our brides "equal to" the way Christ loves His bride, that means we are to love our wives, and by extension our children (the fruit of our union), as prophet, priest, and king.

As the prophets of our wives (and children) we are responsible, like Christ, to bring the gospel and the Word of God to our families. Examples include "along the way" discipleship, having them in church, praying before meals, mentoring moments, and/or family devotions.

As the priests of our wives (and children) we are responsible, like Christ, to pray for (and with) our families and mediate with them to the Father.

As the kings of our wives (and children) we are responsible, like Christ, to provide for all of their temporal needs.

Of course much more could be said, but with this better understanding about "the theology of marriage," let's now turn it into something we can actually execute. How can we excel at loving our wives as her prophet, priest, and king—practically speaking?

Here are five of the most practical marriage ideas I've picked up over four decades of working with men. (These are straight out of my book Man Alive).

1. Pray with your wife. Shaun from Bozeman, Montana, asked his men's group, "How many of you pray with your wives?" Only one of the eight men said that he did. They started holding each other accountable. Here's what Shaun said about it a year later:

The benefits when we are obedient in this area are amazing. Here are some comments from the men about what happens when they pray with their wives on a consistent basis:

"I feel a closeness to my wife that wasn't there before."

"Communication between us is better."

"The petty things are just not a big deal anymore."

And I'll tell you this, it's pretty hard to be upset with your wife or to be arguing and still come before God with a clean heart. It forces us to communicate and humble ourselves with each other before we do something as intimate as praying together. It just permeates through the rest of your family and day.

Ask your wife if you can take some time each day to pray together. Patsy and I always start the day with prayer for one to three minutes, and then we pray again when we're together for dinner.

2. Pray for your wife. Not long ago I wrote a book called The Marriage Prayer with David Delk. The book is titled after a very specific 68-word prayer that we believe captures the essence of what the Bible teaches on marriage.

One day, a few months after I had started praying the marriage prayer myself, I was settled into my favorite chair and deep into a book when I saw Patsy walking by with the trash. I literally leaped out of my chair and said, "Here, let me get that for you."

Immediately I stopped. What just happened here? I wondered, since I was pretty sure I had never done that before!

And then a phrase from the marriage prayer popped into my mind: "I want to hear her, cherish her, and serve her—so she would love You more and we can bring You glory."

This prayer has also been transforming for other men. One man said he started putting his empty Splenda packets in the trash instead of leaving them on the counter. You have to start somewhere.

Here's the whole marriage prayer:

Father, I said, "Till death do us part"— I want to mean it. 
Help me to love You more than her,
and her more than anyone or anything else.
Help me bring her into Your presence today.
Make us one, like You are three-in-one.
I want to hear her, cherish her, and serve her
So she would love You more and
we can bring You glory. Amen.

Think about this: you are likely the only person in the whole world who will remember to regularly pray for your mate. Copy this prayer, pray it every day for your wife, and watch God work. Learn more about the Marriage Prayer—including a version for a wife to pray—at

3. Spend time alone with her. How we spend our time reveals what is really important to us. Successful couples spend time together. They develop shared interests, such as bowling, reading, hiking, Bible studies, board games, or walking around the neighborhood. Patsy and I have always kept a weekly date night as a top priority.

Early in our marriage, I started hanging out at the table after dinner for about twenty minutes just to be with Patsy. We've done this for decades. A few years ago I also started rubbing her feet with lotion as we talk. I can guarantee you who she'll say is her best friend!

4. Listen to her deeply without giving an overly quick reply. Communication invariably shows up as the number one problem in marriage surveys. And the greatest weakness in communication with our mates is the problem of giving an overly quick reply. We attach high value to our mates when we listen sincerely and patiently to each other. Listening deeply requires that we don't respond too quickly, don't criticize, and don't give advice unless the other person asks for it. (Everyone dreads being "fixed.") Listening lubricates marriage and cuts down on friction.

5. Touch her. Successful couples touch each other. They hug, squeeze, embrace, pat, hold hands, put their arms around each other, and sit close enough to touch when watching television. Nonsexual touching leads to genuine intimacy. Touching her is like recharging her battery.

Note: This is the first of a two-part series. Tune in Friday for part two. {eoa}

Patrick Morley is the founder of Man in the Mirror Ministries. For the original article, visit

]]> (Patrick Morley/Man in the Mirror ) Featured Men Life Thu, 01 Oct 2015 16:00:00 -0400
5 So-Called 'Healthy' Snacks That Aren't

Yogurt makers tout the immune system-boosting punch of probiotics. Protein bars are pitched as nutritious alternatives to candy bars. And granola, trail mix, and fruit smoothies have become synonymous with healthy snacking.

But are these so-called "healthy" snacks all they're cracked up to be? The answer, health experts say, depends on many factors and varies product-to-product.

A new Consumer Reports analysis found, for instance, that while some protein snack bars are a good nutritional bet, others have as many calories as a Snickers bar. Greek yogurt is a protein-rich source of probiotics, but some fruit-on-the-bottom varieties contain more sugar than a cup of ice cream. And certain fruit smoothies and brands of granola and trail mix have the same nutritional profile as a can of soda or a couple of donuts.

The take-home message: Big differences in nutrition, calories, sugar, and fat make it essential for consumers to read labels of any snack foods of beverages they buy.

"Snack bars might seem like a healthy choice for those munchie moments, with images of wholesome berries and nuts on the wrapper and claims such as 'superfoods in every bite,' " Consumer Reports' experts noted in the magazine's recent analysis of protein bars. "But the truth is that not all bars are a healthy snack—some have about the same calories, fat, and sugar in every bite as a candy bar."

Robert Newman, a certified nutritionist and wellness expert from East Northport, N.Y., notes that healthy snacks do exist in the form of packaged bars, servings, and drinks. But fresh fruit, nuts, Greek yogurt, and other whole, unprocessed foods are equally convenient, portable, and satisfying—and don't contain "processed junk, usually too high in carbohydrates," he tells Newsmax Health

"The whole food approach is always the best approach," he adds. "I prefer organic walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. To be decadent I add dark chocolate flakes or chips. A handful of the above will satisfy most appetites and provide healthy fats, carbohydrates and a small amount of protein."

That said, if you do opt to choose snack foods, here are some ways to be sure you're getting the best nutritional bang for your buck.

1. Yogurt: Plain Greek-style yogurt is packed with more protein than traditional yogurt and lower in sugar and carbs than flavored varieties. But be aware that some fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts are surprisingly high in calories, carbs, and sugar. A typical six-ounce fruit-at-the-bottom yogurt serving can pack nearly 30 grams of carbs and nearly as many grams of sugar—the same amount in a candy bar.

Tip: Buy plain Greek yogurt, be sure to mix in the liquid that tends to float on top (that's beneficial whey) and add your own fresh fruit, berries, or raw nuts.

2. Protein bars: Despite what many believe, many snack bars are not much more nutritious than high-calorie candy bars. Many of the bars tested by Consumer Reports often contain soy protein or chicory root—less-than-wholesome ingredients—as protein sources. Calories in the bars tested ranged from 90 to 270 per serving; fat, from 2 to 9 grams; sugars, from 2 to 20 grams; fiber, from less than 1 gram to 9 grams. 

Tip: Read the label of any bar you buy, to be sure you're not eating too much sugar. High-quality brands rated by Consumer Reports included: Kind Plus Cranberry Almond, Abound Pomegranate & Cranberry (CVS), Larabar Blueberry Muffin, Raw Revolution Cranberry Almond & Coconut, and Raw Revolution Cranberry Almond & Coconut. Also: don't buy into the idea that protein bars are healthy alternatives to whole foods like lean beef, eggs, poultry, fish, beans, beans, and legumes. 

3. Trail mix, granola: Many varieties of trail mix and granola contain unsalted nuts, seeds, dried fruits, oats, and other whole foods that are good for you. But be aware that some enhance flavor by adding sweeteners and candy—packing calorie counts of 300 or more and up to 20 grams of sugar per serving.

Tip: Read labels closely for serving sizes, calorie counts, and sugar levels. 

4. Smoothies: A cool smoothie may seem like the perfect way to end a workout and some varieties do contain healthy vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and natural juices from fruits and vegetables. But be aware that some smoothies—particularly those with added chocolate or sugar—are little more than milkshakes masquerading as healthy beverages.

Tip: Check the ingredients label and make sure it contains low calories, and no more than 12-15 grams of carbohydrates or sugar per serving to guarantee you're not killing the health benefits of that workout.

5. Prepackaged salads. Many fast-food joints have added prepared salads to their menus. But some of those ready-to-eat salads contain 1,000 calories or more—as much as a conventional fast-food meal.

Tip: Avoid salads loaded with cheese, croutons, high-calorie dressings, and meats. Instead, choose salads with healthy ingredients you can see through the package—mostly fresh vegetables and greens. And be aware: baked or deep-fried veggie or fruit chips are not healthy alternatives to fresh produce. In fact, many products are simply potato chips with some veggie powder sprinkled on top, and they are typically loaded with calories, fat, sodium, and carbs. 

]]> (Nick Tate/Newsmax Health) Featured Health Life Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Daniel Kolenda: The Sedative of Excuses

Jesus said, "Seek, and you will find" (Matt. 7:7, MEV), and this is especially true of excuses. If you are looking for an excuse, you can always find one.

Some people are too young. Some are too old. Some are not smart enough. Some are not experienced enough. Some are not privileged enough. Some don't have enough money. Some don't have the right abilities. For some it's not time yet; for others it's too late. Excuses are a penny a pound, plentiful and cheap—and God does not buy them!

We become extremely creative when we want to make an excuse. Our excuses can often sound very noble and even spiritual at times. We use excuses to fool others, but they are especially effective at helping us to fool ourselves. We use them as a sedative to soothe our conscience and to make us feel better about our own disobedience and laziness.

My friend, God has a wonderful plan for your life, and He invites you to partake of it, but excuses are a dangerous enemy that can keep you from possessing what God has for you. I have seen how excuses have kept so many wonderful people from realizing their God-given potential. This is a great tragedy because life is so short, and time wasted can never be recovered.

This book has been written to help you discover God's will for your life, but the discovery of God's will for your life is never going to be enough in and of itself. Knowing God's will and fulfilling it are two entirely different things! The reality is that many people already know what God has called them to do. Even if they don't realize it or won't admit it, God has already revealed His will to them in one way or another. But they never achieve all that God has given to them to accomplish. And they never enter into the fullness of the blessings God has prepared for them because they comfort themselves in disobedience and laziness through excuses.

Although there are far too many excuses to mention, I would like to address a few in the upcoming studies that are especially common. As you read through the list of excuses, I would like to challenge you to allow this to be a sort of diagnostic test. Examine your own heart to see if you are allowing these excuses or others like them, to keep you from walking in the fullness of what God has for your life.

Note: This Bible study was taken from Chapter 14 of Daniel Kolenda's book, Live Before You Die. 

Daniel Kolenda is a missionary evangelist who has led more than 10 million people to Christ face to face through massive, open-air evangelistic campaigns in some of the most dangerous, difficult and remote locations on earth. He is president and CEO of Christ for All Nations and hosts an internationally syndicated television program.

]]> (Daniel Kolenda ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 01 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0400
10 Ways to Encourage Your Child

Jill Savage and I thoroughly enjoyed writing No More Perfect Kids to help you. There's a lot of good, practical help in it for when your children question who they are and get frustrated.

As the school year is off and running, I thought this excerpt from the book may be timely for you. I hope so! You can get more if you buy the book. Hint! Hint!

10 Ways to Encourage Your Child
An excerpt from No More Perfect Kids by Jill Savage and Dr. Kathy Koch

Parenting is hard work and sometimes it seems our kids do more wrong than right. Add in household responsibilities such as laundry and meals, spilled milk at the breakfast table, a child who comes in from playing outside and is covered in dirt and sibling rivalry in which the kids pick at each other all night, and sometimes life just isn't easy. Fatigue is normal, and frustration is too. Learning not to act unkindly in our frustration is a journey requiring grace for ourselves and our kids.

Even in the midst of real life, it's important to say far more encouraging words to our kids than correcting words. When we encourage kids, we give them courage. It's empowering, freeing and strengthening. When encouragement is the norm, children will learn they can take risks, try new things, ask for help and make mistakes without the fear of losing the acceptance, love and support of their parents.

It's not easy to give encouragement, especially on the hard days. There are, however, steps we can take to increase encouragement in our home.

Here are 10 Encouragement Enhancers you can use in your family:

  1. Don't expect perfection. When we expect perfection, we notice every little thing that's wrong, which creates an environment of discouragement.
  2. Encourage childlike behavior. There's a difference between childish behavior and age-appropriate childlike behavior. Discourage the first and encourage the second.
  3. Value what your kids learn. We need to pay at least as much attention to what's being learned as we do to grades being earned and performances at games and concerts. This is one way we communicate that our kids are more than what they do and how they do.
  4. Resist the urge to judge all performances. One way to emphasize learning rather than performance is not always to ask about their scores or grades.
  5. Ask them how they feel. When talking about one of their athletic competitions, concerts or tests, sometimes ask first how satisfied they were with the outcome. Two-way conversations about grades, concerts and competitions will be more profitable than one-way judgments.
  6. Notice their strengths. Point out their character, attitude and action strengths to help them when they work to make progress in weak areas.
  7. Don't worry about their challenges. Understand some areas will remain challenges for our kids no matter how hard they try. Trying to get kids to change what they can't improve is a sure way to discourage them.
  8. Celebrate what's real. When one child deserves to be celebrated for something significant (for example, no C's on a report card for the first time in a year, a soccer championship, art being displayed in the county library), don't create fake celebrations for your other kids in order to be "fair." Use these opportunities to teach children to genuinely celebrate their siblings.
  9. Introduce them to overcomers. Discuss relatives and local people your kids know who have overcome great odds. Read biographies and autobiographies of people who have been highly successful even though they also struggled. We can often learn our greatest lessons from our greatest challenges.
  10. Have fun together. Play with your kids. Relationships are deepened while building forts and having tea parties with your little ones and going shopping and watching ball games with your older ones. The fun, relaxed moments you share make tough times easier to walk through and go a long way to creating an encouraging family culture.

Be patient with yourself as you work to increase the encouraging environment in your family. If you choose too many things to change, you and your kids will be overwhelmed, and you will make little progress. Don't look back with shame or guilt either. Today is a perfect day to look forward with hope, choose one Encouragement Enhancer to start with and walk in a positive direction! {eoa}

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

]]> (Dr. Kathy Koch) Featured Women Life Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Is Consistency Overrated?

"Consistency is overrated." I love that statement!

"That is the most freeing statement I've heard in a long time." That's what one mom said when we freed her from the guilt she experienced because she couldn't always be consistent. She continued, "It makes so much sense now. Thank you." Here's what we told her.

If you're doing simple behavior modification, then consistency is essential. Giving the reward or punishment every time you see the behavior will reinforce change. But if you're using a heart-based approach, you have more effective tools you can use to make lasting change.

Behavior modification as a science began in the early 1900s when Pavlov made some exciting discoveries as he worked with dogs. If he consistently rang a bell just before he fed the dogs, then he could get the dogs to salivate by simply ringing the bell. This discovery of how to motivate a dog was picked up by Watson in the 1920s and he began to apply behavior modification to people. In fact, it wasn't long before behavior modification became a primary way to help people stop smoking, lose weight and deal with a host of other behavioral issues.

Kids Are Not Animals

People, however, are different from animals because they have hearts and that affects the learning process. The heart contains things like emotions, desires, convictions and passion. In short, the heart is a wrestling place where decisions are made. A child's tendencies come from the heart. When a child lies to get out of trouble, that's a heart issue. If a brother reacts with anger each time his sister is annoying, that's a heart issue. Simply focusing on behavior may provide some quick change, but lasting change takes place in the heart.

Parents who simply use behavior modification often end up with kids who look good on the outside while having significant problems on the inside. Consistency can teach kids to appear good, clean and nice, but other parenting skills must be added to the picture in order to help children change their hearts.

Here's Rhonda's Story

Rhonda finds this principle particularly helpful. "I have four kids and a household to run. Invariably I'd have to sacrifice consistency in an area with one or more of my kids to accomplish my other tasks. When I realized that there's more to parenting than just being consistent, it freed me up to work on bigger goals with my kids. Now I realize that there's much more to parenting and I feel empowered with other tools as well. I'm continually asking question about my children's hearts and I'm learning a lot about how to mold and influence them to go in the right direction. I'm seeing more change in my kids with this new approach."

Please don't misunderstand us. Consistency is important, especially when kids are young. But if you think more broadly about parenting and embrace creativity into your training, then you'll be more effective at molding the hearts of your kids at any age. Your primary task as parent is to teach your kids, and a little work in the creativity department can make all the difference.

Deuteronomy 11:18-20 not only tells parents to train their kids, but it tells them how to do it. Notice the opportunities God designed for creativity: "Therefore you must fix these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, so that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

If you take that verse apart, you'll start thinking about your own home and your own kids and creative ways to teach them about life.

Even in Old Testament times God knew that kids learn best through life experiences. Thinking beyond behavior, to the hearts of your kids will give you new insights and freedom.

This parenting tip comes from the book, The Christian Parenting Handbook, 50 Heart-Based Strategies for all the Stages of Your Child's Life by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. These 50 strategies help you add creativity to your parenting and see beyond the behavior problems.

]]> (Dr. Scott Turansky and JoAnne Miller) Featured Women Life Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:00:00 -0400
13 Reasons Christians Don't Walk in Miracles

Jesus assured us that signs would follow us if we believe. So why do so many believers come up short when they try to cast out devils? Why do they lay hands on the sick and the sick stay sick? Why do they long for miracle-working power but continue to struggle day in and day out with powerlessness?

It could be because they don't have the faith for it, but it could also be that they haven't paid the personal price to walk in God's power. Yes, we have authority over devils and sickness. Yes, we carry the kingdom of God with us wherever we go. Yes, miracles, signs and wonders happen according to God's will—not our own. 

But I submit to you that there could be many things standing between you and the manifestation of His miracle-working power. That was the case in Voice of Healing evangelist A.A. Allen's life. Before Allen's miracle ministry took off, he was struggling with these questions: "Lord, why can't I heal the sick? Why can't I work miracles in Your name? Why do the signs not follow my ministry as they did that of Peter, John and Paul?" Good questions. They are questions every Christian should be asking.

Doing Away With Besetting Sins

"I have found in my travels as an evangelist, as well as in experiences gained in pastorates, that most people have a pet sin (that) they have pampered and petted, and developed, for years. Paul terms it, 'The sin which doth so easily beset us.' (Heb. 12:1.) ... your "besetting sin." He also says it must be laid aside if we are to gain the prize at the end of the race: 'Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.'"


Some of you may stop reading right here. It always gets quiet when I teach or preach about sin. But here's the thing: We like to look at someone else's sin and say that's the reason they don't get healed. Yet Jesus healed sinners over and again. We need to be less focused on the sins of those who need a miracle and more focused on our own pet sins that prevent us from walking in God's power to set the captives free.

"He (needs to have) shown you what in your life needs cleansing before you can experience the power of God. Your pet sin is the sin that you do not want the preacher to preach about," Allen says. "It is the sin for which you are always ready to make an excuse. It is the sin which, although you would not admit that it is sin, you prefer to do it when you think no one is going to find out.

"It is the sin which leads you captive most easily. It is the sin which you are always ready to defend. It is the sin which causes the clouds of doubt and remorse to cross your spiritual sky, whenever you really feel the need to contact God," Allen continued. "It is the sin (that) you are most unwilling to give up. It is the sin (that) you think is so small that God should scarcely be able to see it, yet so large that you are sure you could never live without it."

Practical Examples of Besetting Sins

Besetting sins sometimes look rather innocent. Some people like to say they are discerning, for example, but they are just critical. Some like to say they are gathering intercessors, but really they are just gossiping. Some like to say they have the gift of exhortation, but really they are flattering people with manipulation to get their way. Some like to say they exaggerate a bit, but really they are flat-out liars. The list goes on and on. Some pet sins are more serious than others, but they are all serious to God. And sometimes it's not sin; there's just no grace for you to do it.

Allen sounds like when he said, "Thousands of those who profess to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ today would have more power in their lives if the time they spend in listening to the ball games and 'soap operas,' and 'perpetual emotion dramas' were spent listening to the voice of God, alone in the closet of prayer. These are some of the 'little foxes that spoil the vines,' destroying the tender grapes and robbing God's people of fruitfulness."

Here is the list that God gave Allen:

1. He must realize he couldn't do greater quality miracles than Jesus.

2. He could walk as Jesus walked.

3. He must be blameless like God Himself.

4. He must measure himself to Jesus alone.

5. He must deny his fleshly desires with fasting.

6. After self-denial, he must follow Jesus seven days a week.

7. Without God, he could do nothing.

8. He must do away with sin in his body.

9. He must not continue in shallow, pointless discussions.

10. He must give his body wholly to God forever.

11. He must believe all God's promises.

Numbers 12 and 13 were pet sins that he did not share with anyone, even his wife.

"Christ is sufficiently interested in pointing out the way, that if you desire to find the way of perfectness, He will place his finger on your pet sins, and show you what is keeping you from the goal," Allen says. "When you come inquiring how you can be perfect, He will not send you away without an answer."

The question is: Will you dare to ask? Are you willing to pay the price? Are you willing to deal with your pet sins? How bad do you want to see miracles?

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

]]> (Jennifer LeClaire ) Featured The Plumb Line Blogs Thu, 01 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0400
End-Time Expert: Why There's Not a Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Following the biblical pattern of the Shemitah combined with the signs of the end times, it makes sense that some would speculate that the tribulation is close.  

But will Christians have to endure the prophesied events, or will Christ rapture us away to His kingdom? 

The second is more likely, author and speaker John Shorey tells the Jim Bakker Show. 

"The church people want God to do everything the way they think it should be done," Bakker says. But God is not bound by human thought. 

For Shorey, that means taking a closer look at when the rapture will happen in regards to the Great Tribulation.  

Take a look.

]]> (Jessilyn Justice ) Featured Prophecy Spirit Thu, 01 Oct 2015 09:00:00 -0400
This Mountain Can and Will Be Moved

There is a tremendous shaking, sifting and shifting happening right now across the body of Christ. The heat of the season and the pressure that has come with it is bringing a lot of "dross" to the surface in many hearts.

Last night as I was falling asleep I heard the Lord say that issues of the heart are being brought to the surface in many lives and are overwhelming and looking like mountains. The "issues of the heart" that have come to the surface for many have become so intimidating and so big that many have become "stuck" in the revelation of the wounding, lies, strongholds and struggles that have come to the surface.

I felt the Lord saying these "issues of the heart" have not been brought to the surface to intimidate you, to overwhelm you, or to discourage you, but actually to POSITION YOU for HEALING.

The Lord has REVEALED these things because He wants you HEALED. As you get before Him and share these "issues of the heart" with Him, radical healing and wholeness is going to take place. Perfect love is going to be PERFECTED in you. Shame, fear, struggles, anxieties, worries, crippling strongholds and lies are going to be melted away by His perfect love. 

Don't look at this "heart issue" that has come to the surface as a mountain that cannot be moved. It's about to be melted away. Don't become a victim of this mountain, don't allow yourself to fall into discouragement or condemnation but KNOW that you are moving into greater realms of wholeness and healing. 

The Lord is extending you, He is strengthening you, He is awakening you MORE to the TRUTH of WHO YOU ARE. 

You may feel like these "issues of the heart" are causing a "breaking" and they are, but it is a glorious breaking. A glorious breaking to release you into greater dependence upon Him, greater trust, greater revelation of His love and who you are. You are actually being promoted into new levels of dependence and revelation of His DELIGHT in you and radical LOVE for you. 

He is undoing you with His love and goodness, bringing you into greater freedom. 

In this glorious undoing, not only are things that have entangled you melting away, but He will flow through you more powerfully than ever before.

The breaking process can be painful and uncomfortable but He is carrying you, surrounding you with His love and comfort to BRING YOU TO LIFE. His arms are wrapped around you. You are safe in Him and there is no reason to fear. He is loving you to life!

You are actually moving to a place of greater strength in Him than you have ever been as you embrace this process. Anything hindering you is being broken off. It's time to let go. To free fall into His arms, and see that is the SAFEST place for you to be. To let go of striving, to let go of performance and step into the overwhelming beautiful revelation of His love. 

Embrace to process, fall into His arms and you are moving forward in greater WHOLENESS into a WHOLE NEW WORLD!

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

]]> (Lana Vawser ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 01 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0400
How One Woman Broke Her Addiction to Social Media

"Mom, I think you like your computer more than you like your family." Ellie stood in front of me—and my computer—fists on her hips and waiting for eye contact.

"Oh sweetheart, that is not true! Of course I like you better!" I responded defensively.

"No mom. You spend more time playing with your computer than you spend with us."

I reached for the top of my laptop and slowly began to lower it in an attempt to close the computer. However, I was in the middle of reading a blog post, or an email, or some status update on Facebook, or checking stats on my blog, or something, or anything, or absolutely nothing. Still, it took all the willpower in me to close that screen instead of finishing whatever it was I was doing at a time.

Someday, I will be begging for Ellie's time and it will be too late if I don't change this. I have to be present if I want to be a part of my girls' lives. They are more important. I don't ever want to regret this. Not ever.

"You know what Ellie; I think that I should not be on the computer from the time you come home from school until the time you go to bed." I finally said.

"Really?" Ellie's sweet and excited voice was accompanied by a big smile.

"I will try my best."

It is not easy

I didn't anticipate for it to be this hard. Like a drug addict going through withdrawal I find myself constantly standing by my computer. "I can check my email really quick; it will only take a couple of minutes." I know it only takes "a couple of minutes" for me to be lost behind the screen. A couple of minutes soon become another afternoon spent with my online friends rather than the family I love and actually get to do real life with.

That is the hardest part. I have exchanged real relationships for those that take place through a computer monitor. I chose to do "virtual" life rather than real life. It makes no sense, absolutely no sense at all. Especially when my family is the one I sacrifice. Ironically, it is my family that I love the most and they are the ones that really matter in my life.

The seriousness of it all

I have an addiction, and it is damaging my real relationships just as much as if I were an alcoholic or a drug addict. I have become an absent mother and wife, all for the sake of social media.

Recently, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page (Yeah, ironic, isn't it?) a link that tells you the average time you spend online each day. She was brave to have her number displayed on her Facebook wall. Do I want to know? I was already struggling to keep my afternoons free of my computer; did I really want to know the seriousness of my little addiction? So I clicked on the link and the number broke me. The result of "9.8 hours a day" was not only embarrassing, but also shameful, because I could no longer deny that I sold my life to social media and I didn't even realize it. So I am taking my life back!

Those results are what led me to write this post, because I told you I would be real. But also, because now I have more people to keep me accountable. Because I know that this is a real problem easily dismissed because "everyone else is doing it" but the pull of this media-saturated-culture is so strong that it is destroying our relationships. I cannot sit back behind the screen and do nothing about it. I have to take ownership of my time, of my life, and the gifts that God has given to me.

I do not know if you struggle with this or not, but if you do, we can stand together. We can take ownership of our life and get it back. We can become present to the people we love and care for. It will be hard, it will be really hard. The temptation is only a click away. But it will be worth it, so incredibly, absolutely, and completely worth it. Time to stop living behind a screen, and start living life to the full.

Adapted from Ellen Stumbo's blog at Ellen is a pastor's wife and she writes about finding beauty in brokenness with gritty honesty and openness. She is passionate about sharing the real – sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly – aspects of faith, parenting, special needs, and adoption. She has been published in Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone, and Mamapedia among others. 

]]> (Ellen Stumbo) Featured Women Life Wed, 30 Sep 2015 18:00:00 -0400
6 Reasons Why Anxiety, Worry and Fear Are Issues for Believers

As a supplement to the message I did on anxiety and trust, I asked my friend Dr. Jennifer Degler to do a guest post on my blog with her thoughts and observations on the issue of anxiety and Christians.

A psychologist, life coach, author, speaker, wife and mom, Jennifer is passionate about helping people create healthy, successful relationships. You can find Dr. Jennifer podcasting and blogging about marriage, sex, parenting, friendships, and spiritual and personal growth on the Healthy Relationships Rx website.

Here's what she had to say:

About 20 percent of the U.S. population has an anxiety disorder. That's about 1 in 5 people, or 40 million adults. If you were allowed to pick your psychological disorder, pick anxiety because it's very treatable. Not every psychological condition is treatable, but anxiety responds very well to treatment; however, only about one-third of suffering anxious people ever seek treatment. If left untreated, anxiety can lead to depression.

When I was in graduate school in the 1980s, depression was the common cold of mental illness. Now it's anxiety. Americans live in one of the safest countries in the world, but after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the anxiety levels of Americans skyrocketed.

I think overexposure to and over-consumption of anxiety-provoking material, such as 24/7 scary news stories and increasingly violent movies and video games, has contributed to the rise in anxiety disorders. You would think anxious people wouldn't watch a lot of news and crime shows, but they tend to be heavy consumers, usually because they are subconsciously watching for what the victim "did wrong" in a misguided effort to keep themselves safe by avoiding similar behaviors. Unfortunately, instead of making them feel safer, overexposure to anxiety-provoking shows and news stories just makes them feel more unsafe and keeps their brains in a hypervigilant state.

Anxiety tricks our brain, and the amygdala in particular, into activating our fight vs. flight response when we aren't actually in danger. For example, when we watch a scary movie, our brains are tricked into thinking we are in danger even though we are safe in the theater. So our heart pounds, our palms sweat and we breathe faster—until the movie is over. Then we realize we are safe, and our brain and body calm down.

For chronic worriers or those with an anxiety disorder, worry about the future is the scary movie. Those "What If" worries about an uncertain future hijack the brain, trick it into activating the fight vs. flight response, and cause physical, emotional and spiritual distress. Once anxious people understand this neural hijacking, they are much less self-condemning of their anxiety and better able to use body-centered techniques to calm their anxious brain.

Here's my favorite quote to use in conjunction with teaching clients body-centered techniques, such as mindfulness or progressive muscle relaxation, which help them use their five senses to pull their anxious mind back into today. 

"Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me today." —Elisabeth Elliot

And, most of the time, we are OK in today. Dry, warm, fed, roof over our heads—that's today, and we are OK in today. It's in the imagined future that we aren't OK.

It's so much better to live in the land of what is instead of the land of what if.

In my opinion, fear, worry and anxiety are particular problems for Christians for the following reasons:

1. Christians overspiritualize fear and anxiety. They tend to believe it's all a spiritual thing and overlook the genetic, personality and trauma contributors to anxiety issues. And when believers hear another person tell of their anxiety struggles, they tend to prescribe only spiritual solutions for a mind/body/spirit problem. If you have an anxiety disorder, you are unlikely to be able to "pray it away" any more than you could pray away diabetes.

2. Christians carry shame over their anxiety and fear because they tend to believe it always indicates a lack of faith or an immature faith. They believe lies such as "Good Christians never feel afraid or anxious" or "If I struggle with worry, I am a weak Christian."

3. Because of the shame, they tend to cover over how much they are suffering from an untreated anxiety disorder. They gloss over it, call it being "stressed out," and don't share their stories in community where they could possibly receive support and encouragement to get treatment.

4. Christians can give each other truly unhelpful but sounds-so-spiritual advice for managing crippling fear and anxiety, such as "Just let go and let God" or "Just give it to Jesus" or "Just lean into Jesus." What in the world does this look like practically?

5. Christians can be suspicious of helpful body-centered techniques for managing anxiety. It's like we are Gnostics who believe the body is evil and only spirit is good, when in fact, body-centered techniques work well to reduce anxiety because of the way God made our brain.

6. Because Christianity offers peace, hope and a certain eternal future, it is particularly attractive to anxious people. So baseline, you'll find more anxious people in a church than waiting in line to bungee jump. I don't have hard statistics on this, but I think the incidence of anxiety disorders in a church congregation is higher than the 20 percent you find in the general U.S. population. Plus anxious people tend to also be imaginative, deeply feeling, empathetic people—the kind of people who are drawn to the kindness and compassion found in good churches.

If you are the 1 in 5 persons who struggles with anxiety, worry or fear, please get treatment from an experienced mental health professional. While treatment may not make the anxiety go completely away, it should help you suffer much less and be able to enjoy the abundant life and peace Jesus promises.

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

]]> (Ron Edmondson) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Wed, 30 Sep 2015 17:00:00 -0400
What Do Men Seek From Church?

I am often asked, "Why are the men leaving the church today?" Sometimes it comes out as, "What can we do to keep the men of this church?" or "How can our church reach more men?"

There is no easy answer, but in this article I would like to provide some basic principles that will help you develop a male-friendly church. The overriding principle is simply this:

The environment you develop is more important than the events or programs you put on. A man is looking for an environment that is consistent with who he is as a man and a place where he feels comfortable belonging and becoming the man God wants him to be.

1. Relevance. Most men in our society today do not see the value of going to church because it is not speaking their language, and it is not addressing the issues they face. For example, a recent survey showed that 92 percent of church-going men have never heard a sermon on the subject of work. The unspoken message is: What you do for 60 to 70 hours a week does not relate to what you do on Sunday mornings. The most important issues for men are their work, family, marriage, sexuality and finances—and rarely are these addressed from the pulpit today? Some of the key questions men are asking are:

  • What is true masculinity?
  • What is success?
  • How do I deal with guilt feelings?
  • What is male sexuality?
  • Is purity possible today?
  • What does a healthy marriage look like?
  • How can I raise my children to be successful?
  • How can I be a man of integrity in the workplace?
  • How can I be a leader in the home, church, workplace and world?
  • What is my purpose in life?

2. To be involved in a cause greater than themselves. Men want to be involved in something driven by a compelling vision. Men want to know what hill the church is climbing, where we are going, what we are about. The church has the greatest and most far-reaching mission on Earth, and we should not be bashful about challenging the men of our congregation with it.

3. A shot at greatness. I have never met a man who wanted to be a failure or a loser. Men want to win. They want to be heroes. They want to come in first. Unfortunately, it seems the church today wants nice men, not great men.

4. To be challenged. Men tend to view the world around them as something to be overcome or conquered. It's high time we told them they do not have to check their competitive drive at the door of the church. If they are seeking risk, adventure, change, competition and expansion—tell them how to find it within the mission of Jesus.

5. Action. Men today are looking for something to do; they do not like sitting around and theorizing about the 27 views of the second coming of Christ! Men measure themselves by productivity and gain a portion of self-image based on what they do. Their desire for adventure is often expressed in the desire to be on the solution side of things. Many churches today are in maintenance mode, rather than being missional.

6. Men are looking for leaders, and they want to be leaders. This principle is simple: Men do not follow programs, they follow men. They want to follow a bold, courageous, visionary leader. Establish an environment where strong leadership is attractive. Not only are men looking for a leader to follow, they want to become leaders themselves. They want to lead in their family, workplace, church, community and world. One of the things you can do is equip them to lead.

7. Fun. If men walk into a church and see a bunch of serious, stoic-looking people, shouldn't they wonder if Christianity really is a killjoy? The world is a serious place; men are looking to laugh and have fun to balance that reality. They love a good joke, funny story or movie. I encourage you to develop a ministry environment in which men have fun together.

8. Brothers. Most men have many acquaintances, but very few men have a good friend. According to statistics, the average man over 35 years old does not have one close friend. Men need teaching on how to develop and strengthen friendships and an environment where they can find genuine male friends.

9. Healing. Many are using socially unacceptable means to deal with their pain—making their work or their hobbies their life, misusing sex, drugs or alcohol. Unless these wounds and hurts are dealt with in a healthy way, they will never become the man that God wants them to be. They will never be able to have healthy relationships or move on from childish behavior.

I hope some of these insights from my own ministry to men will serve you well as you seek to minister more effectively to the men of your church and community.

Steve Sonderman is the associate pastor for men's ministry at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wis., and the author of How to Build a Life-Changing Men's Ministry.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Steve Sonderman) Featured Men Life Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Breast Cancer Diagnosis Provided Author With 'Fresh Start'

I love fresh starts, don't you? There's something awesome about the opportunity to clear the decks and begin again.

I enjoy opening the cover of a brand-new book or the potential of a blank piece of paper. How about a set of just-washed sheets on your bed, or getting a mulligan when you whiff the ball? There's something about a new start that gives us a sense of hope and a fresh wind in our sails.

Isn't that the reason we make New Year's resolutions or set goals? We take a look at where we've been and where we thought we'd be by now. We evaluate our progress, deal with our disappointments, and consider a new plan of action. That's why the changing of the calendar from December to January fills me with a sense of hope.

When I received the heart-stopping diagnosis of breast cancer, the initial trauma left me shell shocked, openly exposed on a battlefield for my health.

Thankfully, some experienced soldiers in this fight came to my rescue. They took my hand and led me to safety and hope. Thanks to them, I learned that this diagnosis was not the end, but a fresh start for me.

Maybe you've had a few "Oh no" moments too. This battle called life may have left you standing on the sidelines. You might have sustained a few hateful blows from our enemy, or maybe even some friendly fire from those you love. Well, be encouraged!

Our God is all about the second chance. He's always inviting us to begin again with Him. He never leaves us on the battlefield alone or unequipped. There are countless sisters in the same territory who want to rush to your aid. In the very place you thought you were beyond recovery, you can in fact be saved.

The preceding is an excerpt from Jan Greenwood's book, Women at War: Declaring a Cease-Fire on Toxic Female Relationships (Charisma House, 2015).

]]> (Jan Greenwood) Featured Health Life Wed, 30 Sep 2015 15:00:00 -0400
De-Mythologizing the Culture of the Christian Church

I was recently interviewed by PE News, which is the official news source of The Assemblies of God, about church culture myths that are believed and spread by many throughout the country who are both inside and outside of the church.

As I always say, facts are our friends, and when we come along a ridiculous proposition or obscene statistic that makes us wonder, we ought to proceed in wisdom and with an extra measure of discernment.

Below is the article containing the interview. James Bradford and David Drury were also interviewed in the same article, and I respect both men greatly.

In much of society and even the church, presumptions exist about evangelicalism that may not necessarily be true. PE News asked a panel of experts to debunk some of the cultural myths currently gaining currency. Those participating in the discussion are Assemblies of God General Secretary James T. Bradford; David Drury, chief of staff to the general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church; and Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. They all answered cultural myth questions posed by PE News Editor John W. Kennedy.

Myth 1: Millennials (those born between 1981-96) are leaving the Church in droves.

Bradford: This has not been our overall experience in the Assemblies of God. At the end of 2014, those under 35 years of age constituted 54 percent of our 3.15 million adherents in the U.S. Those ages 18-34 constituted 23.4 percent of all of our adherents. Over the past four years, the number of millennials in our churches has increased by 4.3 percent.

Stetzer: LifeWay Research has found the dropout rate for young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least one year in high school is about 70 percent. But of those who left, almost two-thirds return and currently attend church.

In short, millennials are becoming secular in droves, often dropping their Christian self-identification.

If you believe that many millennials once called themselves Christians are no longer doing so, you'd be correct. The next generation is much more secular. However, what is not that different is the percentage of those that are devout religious people. True believers often attend church regularly and have more conservative social values.

In short, millennials are becoming secular in droves, often dropping their Christian self-identification. Yet, there are many who are still devout believers, and that percentage has not dropped in "droves."

Drury: The reality is that each generation experiences variations in church attendance at certain ages, and somewhat predictable returns later. However, sticking our church leadership head in the sands during this time would be unwise. There are certainly cultural realities to our day that are not following a pattern from the past. Some of the reasons we hear young people leaving the church are disconcerting, and include loss of faith in God, opposition to the positions of the church on moral issues, distrust of leadership, or even questioning our evangelical view of Scripture. While the problem of young people drifting away from the church is not a new pattern, the problems we are facing are, in fact, new.

Myth 2: Overall church attendance is plummeting.

Drury: Overall church attendance in my movement is actually growing and has been for more than a decade. A majority of this growth can be attributed to our larger churches, but overall in the last decade we are seeing a growth in attendance (up 21 percent), conversions (up 38 percent) and baptisms (up 48 percent), reaching record marks in those areas multiple years in a row.

Bradford: Assemblies of God major worship service attendance has increased annually 13 out of the last 14 years. Our experience is that there is less brand loyalty to the Assemblies of God than a few generations ago, but those Assemblies of God churches where people authentically encounter God, grow in understanding the Scriptures and become a part of life-giving relational communities are growing, some dramatically.

Stetzer: In 1950, according to Gallup, 39 percent of Americans said they attended church. In 2013, according to Gallup, 39 percent of Americans said they attended church. There have been fluctuations up to 49 percent (in 1955 and 1958) and down to 37 percent (in 1940 and 2011), but church attendance has remained consistently around 40 percent. Evangelicals have actually increased over the last few decades.

Myth 3: Millions of American Christians are abandoning the faith.

Stetzer: According to the most recent research from Pew, the Christian share of the American population declined almost 8 percent from 2007 to 2014. But when you look more closely at the numbers, you see those who are no longer identifying as Christians were not living out any real, vibrant faith.

As a matter of fact, when looking at evangelicals, they make up a larger percentage of the population today than they did in 1972, according to the General Social Survey. Today, 1 out of 8 Americans is a church-attending evangelical. Even in Pew's study, they found the raw number of American evangelicals has increased in the last seven years from 59.8 million to 62.2 million.

Two-thirds of American churchgoers say their church has done enough to become racially diverse.

Bradford: Over the past 25 years, we have seen 47 percent growth in Assemblies of God adherents, compared to a 29 percent population growth (according to U.S. Census statistics). The annual number of conversions to Christ through U.S. Assemblies of God churches has nearly doubled over that same period of time. We find spiritual awareness and hunger growing in the culture.

Myth 4: Christians in the U.S. don't have to worry about being persecuted.

Drury: Currently, Christians in the U.S. do not have to worry about the level of persecution that the church experienced many times throughout history or that much of the church around the world today still experiences. However, there are some concerning trends in the U.S. As of now, our churches have not had to change their practices in the face of Supreme Court rulings. However, nonprofits and Christian educational institutions have had their religious practices of conviction threatened. We should not be shrill about such threats, but to ignore these issues is to betray a lack of care and attention that is required to be not only faithful stewards but also good Christian American citizens, who believe these rights of the religious should be protected by the First Amendment.

Bradford: There is a distinct sense in which evangelical Christians have already been marginalized, stereotyped and now ridiculed. These are the first steps towards being vilified and overtly persecuted. Right now the evangelical church in America is facing the stiff headwinds of cultural secularism, moral relativism and even aggressive atheism. As a result, the margins of acceptability for the Christian worldview are shrinking in society. Some of our ministries to university campuses are feeling this in very specific ways as ministry groups are being asked to move off campus in some regions of the country.

Stetzer: There have been several recent instances where religious liberty has been eroded in America. Christian clubs have been "derecognized" by colleges and universities. Politically and legally, we are in the midst of contentious debates over the extent of our religious freedom in terms of health care and marriage. I do not believe these should be considered persecution. When we refer to this as such, we lessen the real examples in places like the Middle East. Our current issues not rising to the level of persecution does not mean we will never experience it in the United States.

Myth 5: Sunday morning is still the most segregated time of the week in the U.S.

Bradford: A new Pew Research Center report cites the Assemblies of God as the most diverse evangelical denomination in the U.S. Pew reports Assemblies of God adults are a third non-white. Our own statistical research, based on all ages of adherents, indicates we are now 42 percent nonwhite.

Stetzer: Churches are doing better and denominations are becoming more diverse, but there is still a significant amount of improvement to be made. LifeWay Research found two-thirds of American churchgoers say their church has done enough to become racially diverse. Almost all Protestant pastors (90 percent) say racial reconciliation is mandated by the gospel. However, more than 8 in 10 congregations are made up of one predominant race. American churchgoers like the idea of cultural and ethnic diversity, more than the actual practice of it in their church.

Drury: The church in America has been a slowly awakening giant in matters of race. Some of the reason that reconciliation has been so slow to take root is that the non-African-American church has not participated in the process wholeheartedly. Too often African-American churches are asking for this journey, and the rest of us are not involved enough and are unwilling to give up the power to others and humble ourselves to the realities.

One area I am seeing great hope is how the church is beginning to respond to our immigrant neighbors in North America. God can break chains of racism. In America, we now have a diverse Pentecost opportunity right in front of us.

Myth 6: If we elect the right political candidate, this nation will turn around.

Stetzer: Jesus is not coming back riding a donkey or an elephant, so let's not get too excited about a political savior.

Yet, Christians are called to be good citizens and engage in the political process. But we must always be aware that our hope and true citizenship rests in the kingdom of God, not in an American politician. Too often our confusion of the two results in our hindering the spread of the gospel. If we are not careful, we can make it appear as if the only way you are welcome at church is if you belong to a certain political party. As citizens of the United States we have certain First Amendment rights, but as citizens of God's kingdom we have a responsibility to lay down those rights if they interfere with the mission of our King. And He is the one who will ultimately set all things right.

Drury: That hasn't worked before and I don't suspect it will this time. I don't hold out for hope in government, but instead hold out hope for Jesus. The solution to the world's problems lies not in a political party or ruling policies, but in the hearts of men and women surrendering to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We know that our citizenship is of a higher variety, and our highest allegiance is to the Father in heaven, above any flag on earth.

Bradford: The heart of spiritual renewal lies in people coming to repentance and faith in Christ. Cultural, political and economic forces can play a limited role in preparing people's hearts, but it is a work of the Holy Spirit to bring authentic spiritual renewal.

Ed Stetzer is the executive director of LifeWay Research. For the original article, visit

]]> (Ed Stetzer) Featured Culture Life Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:00:00 -0400
3 Keys to Overcoming Anxiety

I was sitting in the center of the long room, at one of the fancy new electric typewriters. It was a timed typing test in my first semester of typing class. She said go, and I could not keep up.

In one of my finest moments, I ripped the paper out of the machine, crumpled it in a ball, and threw it on the floor. "I cannot do this!" I yelled.

The teacher was chagrined and quite speechless.

I practiced and practiced and one day beat that typing teacher in a test of speed and accuracy. Then I grew up and worked 10 years as a medical transcriptionist, typing an average of 80-90 words per minute.

Now I'm in my place as teacher, and I see frustration every day. Students try to do something new, and they don't get it. Reactions vary from apathy and giving up, to tears and arms crossed in anger.

I've decided frustration is good.

Frustration means you've come to something new that you don't understand or can't master immediately. It means you're about to grow and cross into something you've never understood or accomplished before. Frustration means a teacher is stretching you.

My favorite reaction to frustration is questions. The best students start asking "Why?" and "How?" They keep asking until you've given them a satisfactory explanation or until they can do what you've asked them to do.

Rule No. 2 in my class:

Be an Aggressive Learner. Ask Your Questions.

Paul says:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God" (Phil. 4:6).

See the frustration Paul is addressing? He gives us no options for going to either extreme of giving up or of freaking out.

"Start asking your questions," Paul says. Pray. Ask.

Keep asking. Keep asking. Keep asking. That's what good students do. They push the teacher until they get the why or the how figured out, and a good teacher can't wait to help them push through the frustration to a place of new understanding or new mastery of a skill.

No doubt you have some new hard thing in front of you right now. How are you responding to it? {eoa}

Christy Fitzwater is the author of 'A Study of Psalm 25: Seven Actions to Take When Life Gets Hard.' She is a blogger, pastor's wife and mom of two teenagers and resides in Montana. Visit for more information about her ministry. 

]]> (Christy Fitzwater) Featured Women Life Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:00:00 -0400
What You Can Learn From 2 Businessmen Who Impacted a Nation

A lot is said these days about Christian businessmen and ministry in the marketplace. Entire ministries have grown up focused on this. We featured this topic as the cover story in the most recent issue of Ministry Today magazine.  

This is a story about a different type of marketplace ministry—more than simply witnessing to your friends, which is the extent of which many business people in the marketplace will practice their faith.

This is about Graham Power, a South African businessman with whom I have become friends and who has made a huge impact on nations for the kingdom of God.

A couple of months ago, I attended a networking conference with him and learned about his "Unashamedly Ethical" program—now in 107 countries, including Jamaica—through another Christian businessman named Robert Levy, whom I describe below.

Graham is one of the most interesting men I have ever met. He came to faith in Christ in middle age, yet he has accomplished more than most Christians who grew up in the church have. He launched the Global Day of Prayer, involving millions of Christians over the past decade praying in many countries on Pentecost Sunday.

In 2010, he launched "Unashamedly Ethical" from Africa, a continent known for its vast corruption. He told me the program is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14—that God will heal the land if people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways—which means living clean, ethically and with godly values.

Graham has preached this message around the world for the past five years, including at a recent Lausanne Conference. That led to an invitation to Jamaica, a nation of 2.7 million people.

It was there he met Robert Levy, who became a successful businessman raising chickens. He exports chickens worldwide. Because of United States laws about importing poultry from other countries, his business in this country is to provide eggs for chickens to hatch. It is a lucrative business—worth well over $100 million a year.

To give you an idea of the kind of business he runs, here is Levy's mission statement on his website: "Our beliefs are the core of who we are. They drive our vision and sustain our business. With God's guidance, we give our best effort to meet the needs of our customers, employees, contractors and the community every day. We are committed to service, fairness and the building of goodwill."

Robert arranged for Graham to speak to Jamaican church leaders about the importance of having the "courage to commit" to the unashamedly ethical standards. His speech received an overwhelming response. He also met with business leaders who responded similarly. Finally, he met with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and her cabinet, both of whom decided to support the unashamedly ethical program.

"God worked in the most marvelous way," Robert told me. "There was such an anointing on Graham."

He added that Powers won Jamaican governmental leaders over when he apologized as a white South African for apartheid and what his people had done to blacks in his country.

Graham told me he considers corruption to be "the greatest weapon of mass destruction facing mankind," adding that it "grows like a cancer."

Yet God has raised up an African businessman to speak to a world prevalent with corruption and to bring biblical ethical standards to the marketplace and government.

The results in Jamaica were so astounding they were trumpeted in a four-page section in the national newspaper. Talk about having an impact in the marketplace!

The report said in part:

"In the early 2000s, one man decided enough was enough and took a stand against corruption and the rapid moral decay taking place across the globe. He spearheaded a movement for clean living and life led by ethics and the values of the Christian faith. He is Dr. Graham Power, who launched the Unashamedly Ethical campaign in 2010.

Newspaper-photo"During the period Feb. 11-16, Dr. Power met with Jamaica's church, State and business leaders and urged them to join the movement against the cancer of corruption that is plaguing the island by pledging to uphold ethical values.

"Over 5,000 companies and more than 100 nations have accepted the Unashamedly Ethical challenge—Jamaica being among the most recent signatories, with over 500 responses in less than a week.

Here's how to make the commitment to live Unashamedly Ethical:

"I commit:

1. To be entirely truthful in all I say.

2. To be faithful to my family relationships.

3. To do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but to look out for the interests of others.

4. To refuse to elicit, accept or pay any bribes and to encourage others to do the same.

5. To be diligent without being harsh, and striving to be just and fair.

6. To be a peacemaker.

7. To do my work wholeheartedly.

8. To submit myself to just and ethical governing authorities.

9. To remember the poor by investing generously and sacrificially in the broader community.

10. To collaborate with my peers to impact our community and nation.

Has this inspired you? What awesome God-inspired goals can you achieve for God? If you're a business person, you can use Graham Power as a role model to make a difference in your world.

If you'd like to learn more about Unashamedly Ethical you can register online at

Please share this with friends and leave your comments below.

]]> (Steve Strang ) Featured The Strang Report Blogs Wed, 30 Sep 2015 11:00:00 -0400
10 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

I walked into my favorite grocery store. I was tired. I hadn't eaten that day and it was close to 5 pm. I had just made the decision to eat sugar-free and gluten-free that morning. I was going to the store to buy something healthy to fix for supper.

I had not thought about the looming obstacle I would encounter. I knew it was there. It's always there right as I head down the main aisle. Today, it seemed to be larger and more intimidating than ever—the bakery case.

My downfall has always been the combination of sugar, flour and cinnamon. The large cinnamon rolls called to me. The voice in my head was urgent and loud, "You haven't eaten today. You need to eat something. You need energy. You might drop dead if you don't eat."

I listened to the voice and added my own rationalities. "I do have a long evening ahead and I haven't eaten. I do need energy. I could grab these now and start that healthy eating thing tomorrow." I was telling myself this as I took a plastic baggie, grabbed the tongs and had my two choices in the bag.

Gods' Voice

As I was tying the bag, I heard another voice in my head. This one was soft and quiet. It simply said, "What are you doing?"

The still, small voice arrested me. I had been on autopilot listening to the voice of the tempter who sided with my fleshly desires. All of sudden, I knew what I was doing was everything I had vowed I would not do.

I put the bag back in the bakery case and went to choose my skinned and deboned chicken breasts, salad ingredients, broccoli and fruit. That was in 2011. That was the last time I willingly listened to that overt voice.

The Tempter's Voice

For years, I listened to it all the time. See, the voice of the tempter always has an element of truth to it. What he tells me is half-truth, half-lie. In the past, he hadn't needed to be too subtle. He just put the bait out there and like a hungry, naive fish, I'd bite and gobble it up and more and more and more. He would sit back with a smug smile. Mission accomplished.

Part of the reason I always listened to him was that it sounded so logical to me. My rational mind agreed with him because my flesh wanted something sweet and carb-laden with all the unhealthy fats.

What the tempter didn't take into account was that this time I really meant it. I had made a firm decision. I was going to listen to the voice of God. I had invited God to tell me when I was making a wrong decision.

How God Speaks

Because I had asked Him to, God spoke to me. It was different than the voice of evil. Instead of asking me to mindlessly do something, God asked me to think about what I was doing.

God believed in me. He believed if I would use the brain He gave me, I would recognize the lie and go with the truth.

This one instance, and many others throughout the years, taught me a lot about distinguishing the voices speaking in my head. I only want to listen to the voice of God. These days, I can tell which voice is His.

10 Things About God's Voice

  1. He will lead me to the whole truth, not a half-truth.
  2. He will not violate Scripture, but fulfill it.
  3. He will lead me toward my destiny, not away from it.
  4. He will redirect me according to His ultimate will.
  5. He will cause me to think rather than act on impulse.
  6. He will lead me away from fulfilling fleshly desires and towards fulfilling my ultimate kingdom purpose.
  7. He is loving, kind, understanding, soft and gentle.
  8. When I argue with Him, He doesn't argue back. He simply states a truth.
  9. He is always speaking to me and speaks my language.
  10. I know His voice.


Beginning to fulfill my destiny really began with learning to take care of my body by eating properly. I couldn't go toward the purpose and plan God had for my life when I was morbidly obese and could barely walk. His desire was that I would become healthy so I could move to the next part of His plan for my life.

The evil one knows this. He always hits at my weakness. As with everyone, my weakness will be something fleshly. For others it might be drugs, alcohol, sexual addiction, pornography, gambling, cigarettes, over-spending or any number of things. These become things that pull God's children away from focusing on the main thing: God.

Jesus said it this way. "The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Satan's No. 1 mission is to steal, kill and destroy my destiny. So if he can, he will lead me off-course.

Every time he would do this, I would have the nagging suspicion the voice speaking to me wasn't God. However, I rationalized it because it was just what I wanted. After all, didn't God want me to be happy? This kind of rationalization would always propel me to listen to the wrong voice, even though I knew it was wrong.

My I-Want

My mind is not bad. When I became a Christian, I received the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). Learning to exercise it is another thing. I must be tuned in to God's station so my mind is really functioning in conjunction with the Spirit of God. I must be desiring to be led by God rather than by my own desires.

When I want my way, I can have it because I have free will (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:6). I can be just like Eve. My I-want voice can scream louder than the voice of God. The devil will agree with what I want. However, if I want to hear it, God's voice will whisper softly to me. That whisper will speak louder than every other voice combined if I let it.

I choose whom I want to listen to. I really know the voice of God. I know what His purposes are. I know how to discern His voice. I just choose whether or not I want to follow it.

His Sheep Hear His Voice

Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27). Why do sheep follow the voice of the shepherd? Because they trust him. He protects them. He feeds them. He finds water for them, shelter when needed and soft places to lie down.

When I really began to understand God wanted only good things for me, not disaster (Jer. 29:11), I asked His advice. I longed for His voice. I began to live my life based on what He said to me

The Sound of His Voice

I began to hear Him everywhere—in the soft giggle of a child; in the soaring flight of a hawk; in the tired, ragged woman asking for a quarter; in the silence; in the click of the computer keyboard; in the voice of musicians and preachers of the gospel; in God's Word; and yes, in the gentle voice I've come to know and love speaking in my mind, heart and spirit. It's a voice that fills all of me. There is no voice like it.

"He said, 'Go and stand on the mountain before the Lord.' And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind split the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake came, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, a fire came, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire, a still, small voice. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood in the entrance to the cave. And a voice came to him and said, 'Why are you here, Elijah?'" (1 Kin. 19:11-13).

"So, God speaks to you?" the journalist queried the well-known pastor. "Is it an audible voice?"

The pastor looked him in the eyes and said, "No, it is much louder than that."

How Does God Speak to You?

If God is speaking to you about your health being a major roadblock to His plans and purposes for your life, run don't walk and sign up today for Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching and Accountability Group. It is my heart's desire to help you get free of the bondages of extreme weight. No hype here. Just truth. I can tell you unequivocally this is one time I do know what I'm talking about. You know if I am speaking to you. Here's the link: Don't wait. Your destiny is calling.

]]> (Teresa Shields Parker) Featured Women Life Wed, 30 Sep 2015 11:00:00 -0400
What Donald Trump Doesn't Get About Immigrants

This week I preached at a pastors' conference in Brookings, South Dakota. Before I arrived I assumed the sponsoring church, Holy Life Tabernacle, would be a mostly white congregation, since South Dakota is 82 percent white. But, when I walked into the Sunday service, I was greeted by Ghanaians, Rwandans, Nigerians and Congolese, most of them students or professionals who had recently moved to this small community north of Sioux Falls.

There were so many internationals in the service that I decided to ask everyone who had been born in another country to stand. There were more than 75 foreigners attending the church that day—about one-third of the congregation. Even pastor David Kaufman and his wife, Jeanne, who have been sharing Christ on the local university campus for years, were surprised to see how many foreigners have made Holy Life their home church.

That Sunday I made sure these internationals felt appreciated. "I want to say to each of you: Welcome to the United States!" I told them. "We are glad you are here!" They all smiled and clapped—and the Ghanaians cheered when I noted that they had the largest group.

I will be honest: The reason I so eagerly welcomed these immigrants is that I'm absolutely ashamed of the way many Americans act toward our foreign friends. And the current presidential campaign is not helping.

Case in point: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump—who seems to thrive on being intentionally offensive—insulted all Mexicans this past summer when he claimed that immigrants entering the United States from Mexico are a bad influence on our country. He said: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists."

To make his jabs even more hurtful, Trump told audiences that if he becomes president he will deport the entire undocumented population and end the practice of giving citizenship to children born to foreigners on U.S. soil. Trump said in July: "I will build a great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall."

I've been a Republican since I began voting at age 18. But Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric is enough to make me forfeit my association with the GOP. It's a shame that a candidate who claims to care about the future of the United States would be so hateful toward people who came to this country looking for the American dream. It's even worse that Trump's attitude is shared by some Christians who should know better.

There are three things we should remember about immigrants:

1. Immigrants are a blessing to our nation. Trump either slept through history class or he has a very short memory. America was shaped by immigrants—those who came from Ireland, Italy, Poland and Norway in the 1800s; the Hmong and Vietnamese refugees of the 1970s; and the Latinos, Africans and Indians coming here today. Immigrants start small businesses and stimulate the economy. Contrary to what Mr. Trump believes, immigrants do not breed crime; studies show that they are actually less likely to be jailed for a crime than U.S.-born citizens.

2. The church is called to welcome and care for foreigners. The Bible commands us: "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself" (Lev. 19:34a). Our immigration policies should be tempered by kindness and a desire to share our blessings, not hoard them from the poor or less fortunate. In August a Donald Trump supporter told Hispanic reporter Jorge Ramos—who is a U.S. citizen—to "get out of my country." He might as well have waved a swastika flag. The incident indicated that some of Trump's fans are promoting a sick, racist nationalism that could fuel anti-immigrant violence. Christians should be modeling the opposite.

3. God has a prophetic purpose for immigrants. Mr. Trump believes he can just build a wall to keep Mexicans out of our country. But what if God wants to bring Mexicans to the United States for His purpose? What if He wants to create a haven of protection in our country for refugees from Syria? The apostle Paul preached that it is the sovereign God who created the nations and "appointed fixed times and the boundaries of their habitation" (Acts 17:26). We could actually find ourselves fighting God if we resist showing kindness to the immigrants God wants us to protect.

Many Americans today fear that immigrants are coming here to spread crime or terrorism. Of course we have to be vigilant to prevent Islamic extremists or violent gangs from entering this country. And of course we can't just let anyone set up camp within our borders without enforcing the law. But let's not forget that some of the worst terrorism on U.S. soil was carried out by crazed U.S. citizens, including white supremacist Dylann Roof who shot nine African-American Christians in a South Carolina church last June. Our biggest threat of violence is not from outsiders.

The Christian community should be standing in solidarity with the huddled masses of immigrants who come to our country seeking a better life. Shame on Donald Trump and any other political candidate who wants to slam the door on foreigners.

]]> (J. Lee Grady ) Featured Fire in My Bones Blogs Wed, 30 Sep 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Re-Digging the Wells of Revival: Dutch Sheets' Visits to Cane Ridge and Wales

Scripture makes it clear that the Lord accomplishes His purposes on the earth not through one man or movement, but through the labors and legacy of many across multiple generations (Heb. 11:39-12:2). Working through a divine timeline that extends beyond a single lifetime, the Lord desires that we honor and build upon the foundations laid by those who have gone before us.

In Genesis 26, we are told that when Isaac dug water wells, he didn't get to start with his own. Isaac recognized his hereditary right and responsibility to re-dig and restore the ancient wells of his father Abraham, which the Philistines stopped up after he died.

It was after re-digging his father's wells that that the Lord appeared to Isaac and pronounced over him the same blessing previously spoken over Abraham. Not long after that, the Lord allowed Isaac's servants to unearth his very own well.

I have spent more than a decade of my life teaching about the synergy of the ages; exhorting believers that in order for us to move forward in fulfilling God's purposes for our generation, we must reach back to remember, honor and add to what He has done through previous generations. Through a recent sequence of events, however, the Lord once again invited me to tap into some historic wells of revival in order to release a fresh river of His glory to flow into our generation.

A few months ago, I was invited to minister at a small log cabin-style church in Kentucky, which happens to be the site of the historic Cane Ridge Revival of the late 1800s. During that powerful move of the Holy Spirit, tens of thousands of people came by wagon to the hillsides of Kentucky, hungry to hear the preaching of the Word and bask in the glory of God for days at a time. At these camp meetings, it was common to see dozens of ministers preaching simultaneously across the countryside, while multitudes were strewn along the ground, being moved upon by the extremely weighty presence of God. This revival swept through the southern states and beyond, helping to birth the Second Great Awakening! I found it most interesting that the Lord set up my itinerary in such a way that from Cane Ridge, He sent me to Wales—another extremely significant site of revival history!

Moving From Well to Well

The nation of Wales is the place where revivalist Evan Roberts was baptized in the fire of God and commissioned by the Lord as a leader in the world-reaching Welsh Revival of the early 1900s. So many people were radically saved in that spiritual outpouring, that the nation of Wales experienced societal transformation. Judges had no cases to try, and law enforcement officials had no crime to deal with, so they formed traveling evangelistic singing groups!

The presence of God was so strong among the common people that pubs closed down, sporting events were cancelled, thousands of depressed and drunken miners came to Jesus, and hundreds left everything behind to give their lives on the foreign mission field. It is believed that since the 1900s, there has never been a revival in world history that cannot trace its roots back to the nation-shaking Welsh Revival.

Wales was also home to Rees Howells, another significant contributor to revival history. His life of intercession, chronicled in the biography, Rees Howells Intercessor, has greatly influenced many people and movements of prayer, myself included. After being powerfully swept into the Welsh Revival, this former miner-turned-missionary devoted the rest of his life to serving the purposes of God for his generation—in the place of prayer.

In 1924 Howells founded The Bible College of Wales to train others in what the Lord had taught him. That place soon became a house of prayer for all nations, with students and staff joining Howells in fighting world battles on their knees. What transpired on that small campus unquestionably affected the course of world history, and has left a legacy of prayer that the Lord is inviting us to lay hold of today.

Fighting the Battles of the Kingdom 

Howells' intercessors prayed all through World War II, engaging in the spiritual warfare necessary to take down the demonic powers encroaching upon the governments of nations through the dictatorial leadership of men like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. They also prayed fervently through the 1948 U.N.-mandated vote on Israel's status as a nation. Even after Howells' passing, their ardent intercession continued under the leadership of his son, Samuel. They prayed through the Cuban missile crises, the Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR, and also helped pray in the signs and wonders movement of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Their story could be likened to Moses' hilltop intercession affecting Joshua's frontline battle. Scripture states that as long as Moses held up the staff of God in his hand, Joshua and Israel prevailed, but when Moses let his hands down, the enemy prevailed. Through this prophetic act of intercession—lifting up the rod, which represented the authority and power of God—the Lord faithfully responded by releasing victory on the battlefield (Ex. 17:8-16.) Likewise, Howells and his intercessors continually "held up" spiritual authority in the heavenly realms while soldiers experienced miraculous breakthroughs, enabling them to execute victory on the battlefield.

During WWII in particular, God would give Howells prophetic insight concerning what was going to happen next and where they needed to strategically focus their intercession. After class each day, these devoted intercessors would contend in travailing prayer for hours and hours on end, sometimes praying through the night. They were determined to match in the spirit realm, the level of intensity and self-sacrifice experienced by heads of nations and soldiers on the frontlines of battle.

Impassioned about fulfilling their godly calling, Howells said, "If I am not called up to fight, and I know another way to help them and I don't do it, I ought to be killed instead of them. They are facing death ... for you and me. If they suffer more than we suffer for them, it will be our lifelong shame." Howells and his students gave their lives to fighting the battles spiritually as if they were called to the frontlines of the war. With each new assignment, these hidden intercessors prevailed in their prayers, and the world marveled and breathed heavy sighs of relief at such dramatic turnarounds.

Re-Digging a Well

Despite the rich revival history at The Bible College of Wales, this spiritual well had fallen into disrepair. After the death of Howells' son, Samuel, the directors of the school found it too costly to maintain the campus and keep the school running. For decades, the property went further into decay and was about to be sold to a developer for housing.

The Lord, however, had other plans and saw to it that this spiritual well was preserved and unstopped. He moved upon the heart of a pastor from Singapore, who not only caught God's vision for restoring that place but also was willing to pay the price to make it happen. This pastor raised $10 million to purchase and restore the historic Bible College of Wales so that people from around the world could drink from this well of revival once again!

As a student of revival history, a teacher on intercession, and one called to awaken this nation to the purposes of God through prayer, it has always been a great desire of my heart to visit Wales and drink from its spiritual wells. Right after my time of ministry at Cane Ridge, I had the great honor of not only visiting the Bible College of Wales, but also serving as a key participant in the rededication ceremony for this historic well of revival.

During our stay at the Bible College, Ceci and I were assigned to the room of Rees' son, Samuel Howells. This room sits directly above the prayer room where decades of nation-changing prophetic intercession took place—what a privilege! Among the gathering of key leaders from around the world, I was also extended the honor of rededicating Howells' Ebenezer stone of remembrance (1 Sam. 7:12).

Similar to what the prophet Samuel did to commemorate Israel's victory against their enemies, Howells set up a huge stone as a continual reminder of the Lord's providence and provision. Inscribed on one side of its marble top is the phrase, "Faith Is Substance." On the other side, the words, "Jehovah Jireh." When, as part of the rededication ceremony, this remembrance stone was relocated to the center of the campus and anointing oil was poured upon it, we could sense the glory of the Lord.

In that very holy moment, God met with me in a powerful way. I was overcome with the Lord's kindness at gathering us all to this place to drink from this historic well. In that moment, I pledged to help carry on Howells' legacy of prayer and recommitted my life to raising up a movement of prayer to take out the giants of our day and usher in a Third Great Awakening.

The rededication ceremony at the Bible College was not the only special appointment the Lord had planned for me. The same Singaporean leaders that restored Howells' campus also purchased the little church in Wales where revivalist Evan Roberts met with God.

During the renovation process for converting that church into a house of prayer, the original Bible used by Evan Roberts during the Welsh Revival was found sitting under decades of dust on the pulpit of the church! I marveled at this find. You can see the Bible and the remembrance stone among the pictures below.

Paying the Price

I am so grateful for the Singaporeans who accepted the Lord's invitation to take on the extremely costly and painstaking restoration of this well of revival history. But the investment required for releasing God's river of revival into the nations of the earth doesn't end with restored facilities.

God desires to raise up Roberts-like revivalists and bands of Howells-like intercessors through which He can release a greater awakening and shift the course of nations today. This will require a high level of commitment. These men were so powerfully used of God because they complied with the great extremes God required of them. This is a principle repeatedly seen in Scripture.

As I prayer-walked the grounds of the Bible College of Wales, while I communed with the Lord in the church where Evan Roberts met with God, and even now, I hear Holy Spirit asking, "Who will pay the price in this generation?" God used Howells and his intercessors to contend against and defeat the demonic powers and principalities trying to take over the world.

Today, the goliaths of Islam, communism, human trafficking, abortion and the sexual rights agenda are standing at our door. Never has there been more at stake. We need the same warrior spirit of Howells' era to arise in us—both in the place of prayer and in being a prophetic voice. No doubt, God has a plan. He always does something great in the face of the impossible!

I believe the Lord allowed for the restoration of these spiritual wells in Wales because He is releasing a spirit of contending prayer and revival into the nations of the earth once again. I believe we will see a new momentum of intercession—appealing to heaven and fighting kingdom battles on our knees, until the greatest Great Awakening the world has ever seen occurs.

You are a part of this! There is a spiritual inheritance available to you. Young people, especially, it is your time to arise! The Lord is anointing you to overthrow the Goliaths of our day and contend for the destinies of nations. The Lord is searching for those who will say, "I will pay the price." For those who invest their lives in these costly battles of intercession, He will show Himself strong! (See 2 Chronicles 16:9.)

Dutch Sheets is an internationally recognized teacher, conference speaker and author of The Power of Hope. He has written more than 20 books, translated into over 30 languages. His first work, Intercessory Prayer, sold nearly a million copies and is being used to empower believers worldwide for passionate prayer and societal transformation.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Dutch Sheets) Featured Revival Spirit Wed, 30 Sep 2015 09:00:00 -0400
What If Jesus Had Become a Politician?

It's a good thing Jesus was above reproach. Otherwise, He could have been seen as simply another politician who fell for Satan's empty promises and what the world has to offer.

He is the perfect example for believers to follow when the seduction of sin taps us on the shoulder and the enticement of self-gratification presents itself.

In Matthew 4, we read the story of the Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness. After Jesus fasted for 40 days, Satan came to tempt him not only with food but also with fame and power (which was not Satan's to give, by the way). At that moment, Jesus' temptation was to take the world as a political ruler and to shun His plan to save the world from sin. Satan's job was to try to distort Jesus' perspective by making Him focus on worldly power and not on God's plans.

Like many rulers and government heads who followed—including many in power today—Jesus could have thought only of Himself and what He could gain from the situation. Thank God for Matthew 4:10 where Jesus said, "Get away from here, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'"

Had Jesus given in and not lived out His purpose of the cross, our one-way ticket to the lake of fire would still be punched. No "get out of jail free card" here.

Daily, Satan fulfills one of his duties by attempting to entice us with materialism and power. He attempts to lure us away from the safety of God's Word and entangle us in things in which we have no business being involved—desires for which we need to lie, steal and cheat to fulfill.

Remember the parable Jesus taught in Luke 8? Are you a "thorn patch" person who, after hearing the Word, goes out into the world and is choked with cares, riches and pleasures of life that bring no fruit to spiritual maturity? Or, are you a "good ground" person who will follow Jesus no matter what the cost?

If you find yourself in such a situation, ask yourself not what would Jesus do, but what did Jesus do. Away with you, Satan!

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

]]> (Shawn A. Akers) Featured Step Out of the Boat Blogs Wed, 30 Sep 2015 08:00:00 -0400
When Love Fails

I know we said, "'Till death do us part.' But, I just don't love him anymore."

Those are painful words, spoken in a marriage counseling session. How can that be?

How is it possible for a man and a woman, deeply in love and passionately committed to one another at one time, to stop loving? How is it possible for a child raised in a Christian home to stop loving their parents?

The Apostle Paul wrote in "the love chapter" the amazing words, "Love never fails."  Yet, we know love does fail. Did the Scripture lie or did someone make a mistake?

Jesus gives us clarity in Matthew 24:12. "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (KJV).

This is a difficult verse, at best. Let's try to un-package it.

"Iniquity" (anomia) is disrespect for the law or someone who chooses to live above the law. It is living without law; wickedness.

"Wax cold" (psugeesetai from psuchoo) means breath cool; blowing cool air; or the loss of temperature. A culture or an individual who chooses to live lawless will experience the cooling of natural love in their heart; even to the point of rigor mortis.

How does Jesus' explanation help us understand the failure of love in a marriage; between a child and their parent; or between a child of God and the Lord?

A heart of iniquity is self-focused and full of envy. They ask, "What do I need? What am I missing? What do others have that I don't have? What am I missing out on? What should I be experiencing that I am not experiencing?

Their thoughts are focused on what their mate is not doing.

The believer's heart is fixed on what God has not done for them or on prayers God has not answered.

The child is offended by the parent's failure.

The words of a self-focused person are filled with, "You never..." and "You did this to me."

The result of such focus is loss of joy and a lack of desire to serve. Those things that used to bring joy become irritating or frustrating. Little tasks that were a delight or pleasant to do because they brought pleasure to the other person are now resented. Feelings of expectation rise up and they begin thinking, "It is not fair. They shouldn't expect that of me."

Control of the imagination is compromised.

Thoughts of what it would be like with another person creep into the mind throughout the day. Eyes begin to wander, looking at other men or women and fantasizing being with them. Memories of old times and the fun experienced begin wandering through. Feelings of missing those times flood in. Slowly the attachment and attraction to your mate weakens.

The joy of being a Christian weakens. Pleasure in movies with compromising scenes and the soft pornography of pop culture becomes attractive.

The imagination is awakened even more.

Fantasizing about another person becomes greater.

Now you are becoming emotionally attached to another person. They may not even know you are having such thoughts. Transference is happening. Emotions that rightfully belong to your marriage partner, your parents, your Lord and Savior are given to another.

Opportunity to speak with that person is sought. Conversations are extended; greetings are expressed friendlier; handshakes become friendly hugs. Emotional attachment becomes stronger and the imagination fired up even more. Love for your mate is weakened; emotional estrangement is becoming obvious.

Spiritually, less time is spent in prayer and Bible reading is overlooked. Church attendance is not as attractive.

The emotional estrangement leads to wrong behavior. Friendly hugs become more intimate and lingering. Words of endearment enter the greeting. Suddenly, one or the other cross the forbidden line and express the hidden affection and emotional adultery is entered into. This will eventually lead to physical adultery.

Jesus sternly warns the believer about allowing their love for the Lord to become "lukewarm." Such a believer will be deceived, thinking their walk with the Lord is still good and yet they are lost.

The apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, "Now the goal of this command is love from a pure heart, and from a good conscience, and from sincere faith" (1 Tim 1:5, MEV).

The child of God must carefully guard their moral purity and discipline their imagination. Love will not grow cold in the heart of one that diligently maintains a spirit of mercy; that extends grace to their mate; and gives forgiveness even when it is not deserved. Authentic trust is crucial to maintaining a heart of love.

When trust is breached, even secretly in your thoughts or emotions, it gives opportunity for the enemy to "breathe cool" on your heart of love.

Jesus modeled unfailing love. His words are anchors for our soul.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you" (John 13:34).

]]> (Dr. F. Dean Hackett) Featured Women Life Tue, 29 Sep 2015 18:00:00 -0400
5 Prophetic Signs in the Heavens That Converge in 2015

A key theme of my book, Blood Moons Rising, is how five prophetic signs, including the four blood moons, are warning that we may be coming upon a very turbulent period for mankind. And as I will discuss, this is already happening. However, I believe that, starting in September and October of 2015 through 2016, it may get progressively worse.

There are five great signs in the heavens that all converge in 2015. Among these signs are the blood moons which culminate with the fourth and final total lunar eclipse on Sept. 27, which also happens to be the High Holy Jewish feast day of Sukkot. It is very significant how all the other signs seem to be converging in September/October 2015, and all during High Holy feast days.

A blood moon is a total lunar eclipse. It is called a blood moon because of the reddish color that the moon takes on as the earth passes in between the sun and the moon. 

After Sept. 27, we will have witnessed 4 blood moons; all four having occurred on high holy feast days that God had appointed for the Hebrews as recorded in the ancient Scriptures. This is significant because the ancient Rabbis reveal that when these signs occur during God's appointed feast days, it means that God is warning of something big about to happen.

By the way, we also experienced two solar eclipses in the midst of these blood moons, which are considered to be an omen for the world. 

God revealed in the book of Genesis that the heavenly bodies would not only be for seasons but also for signs. In the Gospel of Luke, God revealed that before the end of days there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. 

As if the blood moons and solar eclipses of 2014 and 2015 all happening on God's appointed feast days were not enough, in Blood Moons Rising I reveal how the seven-year Shemitah, the 50-year Jubilee and related prophetic cycles are all converging in September/October 2015 and why this is so significant for mankind. 

We should take considerable notice of what has happened in the past two Shemitah years. Let's review what has already taken place since the first blood moon of April 2014:

  • The emergence of the ISIS terrorist army.
  • Global economic and financial instability persists and may get exponentially worse in 2015/2016.
  • A massive exodus out of Syria by refugees.
  • Russia has moved significant assets including troops to the border.
  • Since 2014, there has been an alarming increase in the rate of violence and civil unrest in America.
  • In America, police shootings and policemen being shot has escalated since 2014.
  • In 2015, America entered into a nuclear deal with its sworn enemy, Iran.
  • Many already forgot that in 2014 Israel engaged in a war with Hamas and other terrorist groups.
  • Relations between the West and Russia have eroded since 2014 to Cold-War levels.
  • We experienced an Ebola virus outbreak in 2014 that even reached the USA.
  • In 2014 and 2015, three nations defaulted on their debt—Argentina, Greece and Puerto Rico; the latter being a U.S. territory.
  • In 2014, the USA started bombing missions in Iraq against the ISIS terrorist army. The USA built up a coalition of 10 nations that pledged to fight against this ISIS terror group. Yet to date we have witnessed little, if any, progress to stop this army 

I can go on and on, but I hope this makes my point.

I believe that the heavenly and prophetic signs that are converging right now have never been as important to heed. In my book I reveal and explain other significant prophetic cycles, such as the 49- to 50-year Jubilee and seven-year Shemitah cycle, which are also converging in 2015, and why this makes the 2015/2016 time frame as the most significant period for the unfolding of end-time events.

Robert Rite is the author of several nonfiction books, including Signs in the HeavensRevelation Mysteries Decoded, and his most recent release, End of Days.

]]> (Robert Rite) Featured Prophecy Spirit Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:00:00 -0400
How Not to Cheat in a Relationship

When you Google "cheating," you come up with a lot of websites that will help you do it. That tells a lot about our society.

On your wedding day, cheating is the farthest thing from your mind. You may even think: We love each other. That will never happen to us. It's important to realize that none of us are above it.

When you don't take the measures to protect your marriage from cheating, you will find yourself even more vulnerable to temptation. How to not cheat in a relationship is to continually practice activities that keep you from it.

Here are 3 things my wife Lauren and I do:

1. Realize we are not above it. The minute you think it couldn't happen to you is when your guard goes down. That mentality will put you in a much weaker position and make you more susceptible to wander. It's important to be alert and focused on your commitment to your spouse.

2. Reading Scripture. God's word is instrumental in both Lauren's and my life. It keeps us focused on His ways rather than our own, which helps us hold to what is right both morally and in our relationship.

3. Talk and pray about it. Talking about it keeps us connected and on the same page. It ensures that nothing comes in between us. Similar to reading Scripture, praying about it focuses our minds and hearts on the right things. However, it also invites God's protection over our marriage and His daily renewal.

Tony Dungy is a national spokesman for All Pro Dad and a former Super Bowl-winning player and coach in the NFL. For the original article, visit

]]> (Tony Dungy/For All Pro Dad) Featured Men Life Tue, 29 Sep 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Antibacterial Soaps Can Harm More Than Help

Yet another research team has come out with a report against the use of antibacterial soaps. South Korean scientists discovered that antibacterial soaps only kill more bacteria than regular soaps do, if the antibacterial soaps are exposed to the bacteria for hours.

When the antibacterial soaps and the regular soaps were both used for 30 seconds, both killed the same amount of bacteria.

The active ingredient in antibacterial soaps is a product called triclosan. Current law forbids soap manufacturers from using more than 0.3 percent of it in antibacterial soaps. The South Korean researchers found that such a weak percentage of triclosan means it does not kill more bacteria than regular soap and water. They discovered the percentage of triclosan needs to be much greater than 0.3 percent to kill substantially more bacteria than regular soap.

However, don't let that 0.3 percent of triclosan make you think it's safe. As it turns out, it could be harmful in a number of ways, according to years of research that has even gotten the attention of the Food and Drug Administration.

In fact, the FDA is considering banning triclosan unless soap manufacturers can prove that it's safe.

The FDA is concerned about reports that triclosan causes hormonal disruption. Equally concerning is the theory that triclosan contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is because when we use antibacterial soaps, the residue goes down the drain and ultimately into our water supply. So we end up drinking the stuff. Plus, the triclosan-tainted water is used to grow the foods we eat.

Remember, we only want to kill some bacteria. Much of the bacteria in our bodies, especially in our gut, are good, and we need them to maintain a healthy immune system. If we do away with all the bacteria in our gut we can suffer all kinds of bowel trouble and more.

So as cold and flu season approaches, remember the best way to prevent against getting sick is to wash your hands often. But just use regular soap and water. Ideally, use warm water and lather for at least 20 seconds, or about the time it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.

Lorie Johnson is the medical reporter for CBN News. For the original article, visit

]]> (Lorie Johnson/CBN Medical Reporter) Featured Health Life Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Why Should We Keep Praying for Our Wayward Government?

I was in prayer and thinking about our nation. I was discerning how to pray for a nation that is going away from God and the principles we were supposedly founded upon.

I thought, "how do people pray who aren't passionate about our country? How do people pray who don't support what is going on in the government? How do people pray when they are not passionate about intercession and praying for our government and country?  How do people pray when they don't know if their prayers will produce the change they desire?"

We pray and we pray in faith. We cannot stop praying for our country and government whether we support it or not.  I have heard people say they are not passionate about praying for our country, but shouldn't we be? Our government has control over things that affects us, therefore we should be praying for our government, country and leaders, but how do we pray?

Here are some prayer points I hope will assist you in praying for your nation!

  • Pray the Word of God. Search your Bible and pray for conviction for people to change their ways and come to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • That God's salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (Is. 49:6).
  • That creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).
  • "Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations" (Ez. 14:6).
  • "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!" (Joel 3:14).
  • God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ (Col. 4:3).
  • "The gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world" (Matt. 24:14).
  • "Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Phil. 2:11).
  • Humble yourself with prayer and fasting on behalf of your country. Jesus instructed us to fast and pray. He modeled a life of fasting and prayer. We too can fast and pray for our nation and government leaders.
  • "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chr. 7:14).
  • Pray during your prayer time that the Holy Spirit would convict our leaders to make righteous decisions, according to the Word of God. Pray for people to hold their congressmen and government officials accountable to their promises. Pray for people to appoint godly officials with conservative beliefs. Pray for leaders with conservative Christian beliefs to come into offices. Pray for the conviction of wrong decisions and beliefs, that the Holy Spirit would convict them and they would act on the conviction they receive.
  • "When He comes, He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment" (John 16:8).
  • Declare and decree out for change to come and call forth the goodness of God to manifest in the lives of all people.
  • Penetrate this country, God, with the magnificence of your presence and power. Show your people by demonstration of your greatness!
  • His goodness and power shall prevail and the gates of heaven shall be opened on behalf of this land.
  • Conviction come upon the leaders to work together in unity and harmony for the country and the kingdom of God.
  • Call the backslidden to come back to God.
  • Call forth the love of God to saturate this country and the people.
  • Ask God for this country as His inheritance and possession. "Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession" (Ps. 2:8).
  • Speak that favor will surround us.  "For You, LORD, will bless the righteous; You surround him with favor like a shield" (Ps. 5:12).

We cannot step aside and say it is not my responsibility or passion to pray for my country or government. We shouldn't complain about what the government is doing and talk idle chatter about the decisions being made if we are not actively praying for the change we desire to happen. We have to be active participants in praying to bring change and revival, and not merely spectators.

The truth is you may be upset and not agree with the decisions of the government and country in which you are living, but with God all things are possible through the power of prayer. Pray for your country and call forth the goodness of God to saturate His people! 

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.  She has led prayer and healing services for over 15 years. She travels to Washington, D.C. once a year to pray for her nation and currently stops at state capitols all over the U.S. on her love tours. Connect with Kathy at

]]> (Kathy DeGraw ) Featured Prayer Spirit Tue, 29 Sep 2015 14:00:00 -0400
12 Ways to Recover From Betrayal

Awhile back, I received this desperate text from a hurting friend. She had discovered that some ministry leaders she greatly admired and who had played a significant role in her spiritual growth had been leading a double life—teaching one thing while covering a blatantly ungodly lifestyle.

"Sleepless night. I am angry; I am hurt; I am scared; I am in unbelief and a host of other things. Been thinking all night how everything I believed was a lie and how I am a fool and realizing how the last fourteen years of my life has been built around two people who today I don't even know. I hate it all."

My friend was experiencing the piercing bitterness of betrayal. If you have ever been through something similar, you know it's natural to feel hurt, sick to your stomach, like your world has been rocked. But while those feelings are natural, they're not a healthy place to live for an extended period. I trust my response to my friend will bring you comfort, hope, and some practical ideas for how to move on and find healing.

This will not be an easy journey. But He will walk through it with you. He will hold you when you cannot hold yourself. I haven't been quite where you are. But I have been through intense disillusionment where my faith was deeply shaken. I can tell you that He is faithful and true.

Here are a few thoughts and suggestions as you walk through this painful process:

  • Be honest with God about what you are feeling. He can handle it.
  • Get some sleep. You have been incredibly depleted by this whole situation. When we are physically depleted, we are more vulnerable to believing things about God that just aren't true.
  • Listen to music that speaks strong biblical truth to your heart. Listen to "Hidden in My Heart" lullaby CDs! Keep them playing; listen over and over and over.
  • Park in the Psalms for a while. Read slowly. See how the psalmists cried out to the Lord in their pain and how in time He lifted their heads. Keep reading, even when you don't believe it or feel it.
  • Find a few verses that speak to where you are right now; memorize them and keep reciting them over and over again. I have been doing that recently with Psalm 18:1–3.
  • Take walks. Listen to sermons or music as you do. Being sedentary fuels depression and unreliable emotions.
  • Don't draw conclusions based on what you think or feel during the night hours. The enemy seems to create greater fear, doubt, and unbelief during the darkness.
  • Meditate on Jeremiah 17:5–10 and Psalm 118:8–9. How does the Lord want to transfer your trust from "men" to Christ?
  • These feelings you are experiencing will take time to deal with. That's OK. It took me eighteen months to walk through my "darkest night of the soul." The night will not last forever.
  • Guard against bitterness. I believe my journey would not have had to be as long as it was if I had not given in to bitterness.
  • Be careful about becoming isolated. When you are struggling, reach out to Him and to others. You can't fight this battle alone. If you try, it will be easier for the enemy to take you under.
  • "Don't doubt in the darkness what you have seen in the light."

You will come through this, but not because you are strong—"We are weak . . . but He is strong." In time, you will come to know and believe and love Him in even deeper ways than you ever imagined possible.

Be still before the Lord. Wait patiently for Him. He will not forsake you. He will deliver you. And He will make you an even stronger instrument in His hand. {eoa}

Taken from Nancy Leigh DeMoss's blog post "How to Move On When You've Been Betrayed." Used with permission.

]]> (Nancy Leigh DeMoss) Featured Women Life Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:00:00 -0400
For Those Who Feel Like Nobody

You are not normal.

Is this statement surprising? Or does it perhaps carry a negative connotation? It doesn't have to. The reality is that you are an anointed child of the Most High God, the Creator of all things seen and unseen.

This means you are a potential threat to the enemy. But as you may remember, while you may be a target, you also possess the potential to be a hero. God has already written you into the storyline of faith heroes—and it is an epic of triumphant proportions filled with miracles, signs, and wonders.

The Bible describes the heroes who have gone before us as those "willing to live in the risky faith-embrace of God's action for them" (Rom. 4:12, MSG). The relationship is further explained by looking to the story of our father of faith:

"We call Abraham "father" not because he got God's attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody" (Rom. 4:17).

Have you felt like a nobody? Good news. God is in the business of making somebodies out of nobodies! He invites all of us into what He is doing. If we will trust in Him and yield to His leading, He will write His story in our lives. He will make us the heroes we were born to be. We read that:

Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own" (Rom. 4:3).

The question before us is, are we ready to do the same? If so, then it is time to step into all God has already done for us. This allows His Spirit to begin a new work within us. It shows we believe that in Him we are more than conquerors. As we turn this corner and set our hearts on this course, God positions us so that something unseen but wildly significant can happen.

I urge you, go to God today and commit yourself to engage with what He is doing. Invite Him to lead you and make more out of your life than you could have imagined possible. Who can say what great things are in store if you will but believe!

If you want to dig deeper into this topic, check out Lisa Bevere's book Girls with Swords: How to Carry Your Cross Like a Hero.

]]> (Lisa Bevere) Featured Women Life Tue, 29 Sep 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Prophecy: You Can Sound the Alarm, But ...

Nine months ago, I heard in my spirit a strong and clear word from the Lord. This encounter was at a stadium prayer event that changed my mind about the supernatural—and signs and wonders have been following me ever since.

I'll always remember it. It was January 24, 2015 at The Response prayer rally in Baton Rouge. Thousands of people were crying out to God for our nation when I heard the words below in that still small voice I so love. I've waited nine months to release them on this platform because I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of what the Lord was saying—and I was waiting for His timing. I believe the time is now. Here is the prophecy:

"My blood is sufficient. My covenant is sure. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is truth. You need not operate in fear but embrace the power to cleanse that's inherent in repentance. I want to cleanse America. But it starts with purifying your hearts.

"The church in this hour must herald the message of repentance in the same way as preachers in the Voice of Healing movement heralded the message of healing. Then will you see the manifestation of My presence and the wells of the supernatural will be unlocked and many who are lost will be restored to My love.

"It starts with the message of repentance. This is the message that I need you to shout from the rooftops in this hour. Everything the church needs to fulfill her call in this hour flows from a contrite heart. You can sound the alarm but without repentance it will fall on deaf ears.

"Many are entering eternity every day without My Son because they have not heard this message. Some of them are sitting in the church right now. Start there with this message and it will position the church to rise up in My power for My glory."


When I asked the Lord how the voice of healing preachers heralded the message of healing, He gave me three points: repetitive, passionate and scriptural.

The Voice of Healing preachers were repetitive. You heard many of the same core messages about God's power to heal and deliver over and over again in these tent meetings. The Voice of Healing preachers were passionate. Think of A.A. Allen jumping up and down and Jack Coe's exuberant singing. And, of course, the Voice of Healing preachers were scriptural. These preachers knew that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word (see Rom. 10:17) and they kept their messages in line with the Word of God.

Two-Sides to One Word

After much prayer, I've come to the conclusion that there are two sides to this prophetic word: We need to repent in the sense that we need to ask forgiveness of our sins and stand in the gap for our nation. Indeed, we need to see repentance in the church—widespread repentance. But it's not just changing the way we think about sin—and turning away from it—that is required in this hour. We need to change the way we think about the supernatural.

When Jesus rebuked the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida for not repenting after they saw the mighty miracles He did (see Matt. 11:20-21), that word repent is the Greek word "metanoeo." Metanoeo means "to change one's mind, i.e. to repent; to change one's mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins."

The spirit of religion, along with a lukewarm mindset, prayerlessness and the tradition of men, has all but killed miracles, signs and wonders in our churches. Paul saw this threat in his day, which is why he gave his spiritual son Timothy this advice about those in the church that "have a form of godliness but deny its power." In 2 Timothy 3:5 he said, "Turn away from such people."

We need to turn away from thoughts that limit God in our lives. We need to turn away from a powerless expression of the gospel. We need to turn back toward faith in God to heal the sick, cast out demons and, yes, even raise the dead. God is a God of miracles! Jesus walked on water. Jesus healed a man born blind. Jesus healed the deaf and dumb. Jesus fed many thousands of people with a few loaves and fishes—more than once. Jesus raised people from the dead. Jesus healed a man's withered hand. Jesus turned water into wine. Jesus healed a paralytic.

Getting Back to the Great Commission

I could go on and on—and it wasn't just Jesus. The apostles and the disciples in the book of Acts did miracle after miracle—even special miracles so that handkerchiefs which Paul had touched were brought to the sick who were then healed (see Acts 19:11-12). And Jesus told them, "Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these, because I am going to My Father. I will do whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:12-13).

The supernatural is part of the Great Commission! A lost and dying world doesn't want to engage with a lukewarm religion. In fact, it's obvious that the world finds lukewarm Christianity tasteless. When Jesus issued the Great Commission in Mark 16, He was very clear that "these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

We need to repent—to change the way we think about the supernatural. We need to believe God to walk in His supernatural power. People are dying and going to hell because the power of the gospel has not been demonstrated. Religion in many cases has replaced relationship. It's time to press into what God wants to do in this hour—and I believe He wants to restore the supernatural to the church in a convincing way. Like Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: "For the kingdom of God is not in word, but power" (1 Cor. 4:20). {eoa}

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

]]> (Jennifer LeClaire ) Featured Prophetic Insight Blogs Tue, 29 Sep 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Miracles Reported as Revival Takes Root in 'Upper Room' State

In the commonwealth of Kentucky, the desperate cries of this generation are igniting a revival that could change the face of this country. 

From out of the cornfields of one of the poorest areas in the country, men and women are experiencing miracles and the fresh presence of the Lord. 

"People are running to the altar and there's a groan of revival," Ryan LeStrange says. LeStrange is an apostolic minister, co-founder of and senior leader of New Breed Revival Network. "Repentance and weeping are breaking out. ... There's a real intense kind of intercession for the state, and Kentucky is the upper room state." 

People from neighboring states are pouring into the cornfields of Kentucky to see deaf ears healed and the lame walk, LeStrange says. The key to letting the revival spread is embracing the supernatural. 

To describe what's happening, LeStrange recalls a vision he had in which the borders of Kentucky were on fire: 

"I watched as fire moved from the borders into the heart of state," he says. "The fire was going in and out, pulsating like the beating of the heart ... (It's) the ignition of many fires that are ultimately going to set the heart of the state on fire." 

LeStrange isn't the only one seeing the prophetic significance of Kentucky ... or the flames. 

Renowned prophetess Cindy Jacobs released the following word over the state: "The Lord would say ... 'I am moving you into a new season where you are going to start seeing flames.'

"I am literally seeing this vision of these small camp fires. They are small camp fires all over the state. ...  The Lord says there are roots that are becoming shoots in the state of Kentucky that are going to grow to oak trees ... that are going to help preserve this nation in surprising ways. You will see some good news come in some ways that people will say, 'What state is this? ... Oh, it's that state of Kentucky.' 

"The Lord says, 'I have got it in the works and I'm going to do it. I am going to bring the great revivalist out of this state once again. Great revivalists ... My burning ones are going to come out of Kentucky. They are going to be used to set this nation aflame once more.'" 

But to understand where Kentucky is going, one must first understand its history, says Rick Curry. Curry is the senior pastor of King's Way Church in Pensacola, Florida, and chairman of the board of The Sentinel Group, which documents transforming revival in the nations.

Many of these areas where the Lord is moving are old coal-mining towns that have been nearly destroyed from economic downfalls. 

Coal mining was the heartbeat of the land. Even though young boys would watch their fathers die from mining-related illnesses, they would still carry on in the mines, putting tradition and history first.  

When the industry went under, these families not only lost their incomes, but their identities.  

"I think there is really a great measure of desperation particularly in Eastern Kentucky, in the mountains, an increased desperation in those areas by and large because of loss of jobs in coal mines," Curry says. "This desperation is drawing hearts of people to return to the Lord, and it's reflected in the revivals that are happening."   

What's driving the Kentucky revival is the synergy of the generations, Curry says.  

"There's a cry for the heart of the Father to manifest His holiness, His goodness, His mercy, His grace that indeed we might see a harvest reaped as never before." 

So how appropriate, how prophetic, that this new harvest is beginning in the cornfields of Kentucky. 

]]> (Jessilyn Justice ) Featured Revival Spirit Tue, 29 Sep 2015 09:00:00 -0400
What Role Do Prophets Play in the Age of Strong Delusion?

One of the most interesting characters in the Bible is Jacob.

Isaac and Rebekka had twin boys, Esau and Jacob. The character of Jacob was seen at the time of the birth of the two boys. Esau was born first but when Jacob came out of his mother's womb he was holding his brother's heel. Therefore, he was named Jacob, "one who trips another."

This flaw in Jacob's character was made evident when Esau was returning from hunting and was famished. Jacob bought Esau's birthright for a pot of beans. Now, Jacob owned the birthright but knew his father Isaac would never bless him with it. Therefore a plan was contrived between Jacob and his mother Rebekka to deceive Isaac and obtain the birthright.

Esau was a hairy man and Jacob was not. So Rebecca placed animal skins on Jacob's arms so the almost blind Isaac would think it was Esau. Isaac was manipulated through deception to bless Jacob with the birthright instead of Esau.

Deception is very prevalent in today's culture. Advertisers blatantly deceive consumers promising their product will do wonderful things for them. That same advertiser will always list all the positive aspects of their product but never tells the negative results and aspects of the product. The unwitting consumer, expecting to buy the wonder product only to find out they were not told the complete truth or they had been deceived.

The practice of deception is rampant through out our entire culture. Children are deceiving parents, parents are deceiving children, wives and husbands are deceiving each other, pastors and churches are practicing deception and my list could go on and on. Lest I forget this one, politicians are deceiving the voters, never telling us the complete truth.  

The opposite of deception is honesty. Where has the principle of just being honest gone in our society? One principle I have operated by for a number of years is, "Just give me all the facts and I can make a wise decision."

How many times have we as parents only received part of the facts from our children concerning a situation in their lives? Using partial information we storm up to the school to set the teacher straight about our darling who would never lie. We enter the parent/teacher conference with an attitude of righteous indignation. We are going to defend our little, sweet, innocent child to the death. The conference begins and we find out the teacher had not mistreated our child, but our darling had been the guilty party and the teacher had acted very responsibly in the situation. Armed with all the information we return home again with righteous indignation but this time we have all the facts and our little darling will be on restrictions the rest of their life. Our little, sweet, never tell a lie darling had deceived us.  

The answer for deception is truth and honesty. The Scripture teaches us we will know the truth and the truth will make us free. It is time for the body of Christ to take off our masks and become real, speaking all the truth and nothing but the truth. Let's just lay the facts on the table and then we can all walk in the freedom brought by the truth.

While on staff at a church when my wife and I began dating, I pondered how to keep the talk to a minimum and make sure the right information gets out. So, my decision was very simple. I simply got up on a Wednesday night and told the entire congregation I was seeing someone and told them who it was. I did the same thing when we became engaged. The church embraced us and today we serve together at that same church. But if we had deceived them and slipped around to see each other, tongues would have been a wagging and our relationship would have been doomed.   

Final thought: We are at a crucial time in history. Awakening is beginning to happen but also evil is abounding. The answer for the deception of this time is for prophets, especially, to rise up and begin to boldly declare truth to this nation. Today, our society and especially political leaders need prophets like Nathan who will boldly confront the king decreeing, "David, you are the man," prophets like Elijah who will unashamedly confront the false prophets of our day regardless of personal danger.

We desperately need voices like John the Baptist crying out, "Herod, it is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." In the history of our nation it has always been the church that has held governmental leaders accountable. The cries of liberty and freedom came first from the pulpits of America. Pulpits across America thundered with the cries to abolish slavery prior to the Civil War. God, may the churches of America resound with truth and honesty. Of course, all of the fivefold ministers must declare truth, but the heralding voice of the prophet must be heard above all crying out. {eoa}

James Rawlins is the Founder and President of Keys of Awakening Ministries Inc. He has served in ministry for over 40 years as a pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet and author. He pastored churches in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi and served as a missionary in Romania. He has served as a college professor, principal and teacher of a Christian school.  He has authored several books and his latest book is Twenty-one Keys of Awakening, A Prayer Journal for Personal and National Revival.

]]> (James Rawlins ) Featured Prophecy Spirit Tue, 29 Sep 2015 08:00:00 -0400
How Prophecy Is Igniting a Trail of Hope Across This Landmark State

A faith-filled movement rumored to have been prophesied by Corrie ten Boom is igniting revival and inspiring hope across Arkansas.  

"Corrie ten Boom is said to have been flying over Arkansas when she looked down and asked where they were," says apostle Clay Nash. " ... I see a great move of God coming over there and affecting the nation." 

And so Nash and other leaders are following the Holy Spirit from "Hope to higher ground." Other prophets, including Chuck Pierce and Dutch Sheets, have been involved in the movement as well.

The Trail of Hope is a 12-month traveling revival. The ToH team is going from one point of Arkansas to another, witnessing healings and miracles at each location.  

In Mount Magazine, for example, someone received a prophetic word about an increase in angelic activity, releasing angels to find things that have been lost.  

For Nash's ministry, a set of blueprints missing for 11 years was suddenly found in a storage closet. Another young man lost his wallet at a fair, but later he found it under a pile of his clothes.  

With each prophetic word, Nash says the gathered are careful to judge and implement them. In Mount Magazine, a word was given comparing evangelists to timber cruisers, that is, people who scout a forest to determine how to proceed.  

"God spoke in Mount Magazine, anointing people there to become timber cruisers to mark those ready for harvest, because we believe a great harvest is coming." 

While Arkansas is currently the only state in which Nash and his ministry are operating, he expects them to travel around the Southeast in the future. Next April, he wants to start a Trail in Mississippi and is also looking at Tennessee.  

Since the start of the Trail, the spiritual climate of Arkansas has gone from hot to very hot.

"There is hunger, movement, more signs and wonders and moving of the Spirit as a result of [the Trail of Hope]," Nash says. "We hope other leaders across the nation will pick up on it and move in. But we feel every one of [the Trails] needs to be designed for that state culture."

As for Arkansas, Nash is forging ahead. 

Nash says at each city, they will gather rocks to deposit in the next location, emulating Joshua 24:27: "Joshua said to all the people, 'See, this stone will be a witness for us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord that He spoke to us. It will be a witness for us, lest you deny your God.'"

And thus is the Trail of Hope. 

]]> (Jessilyn Justice ) Featured Prophecy Spirit Mon, 28 Sep 2015 17:00:00 -0400
Here's How to Build a Legacy of Faith for Your Children

Research and experience both support the truth that parents are the single most important factor in determining a child's view of God and whether or not faith will become a cornerstone of his or her adult life. Although it is a great responsibility, moms and dads need not panic at the daunting thought.

In Pass It On: Building a Legacy of Faith for Your Children through Practical and Memorable Experiences (David C Cook), HomeWord president Jim Burns and founder Jeremy Lee give parents a year-by-year plan for sharing rites of passage that will set the foundation for their child's faith.

Q: Why is it important for parents to create a spiritual legacy for their children?

Burns: We have a phrase at HomeWord: "One of the major opportunities of the church is to mentor parents; parents mentor their children, and the legacy of faith of continues from generation to generation." Authorities tell us that the greatest influence in a young person's life is mom and then dad. It's time for parents to get serious about being intentional with spiritual legacy.

Lee: Parents are the greatest spiritual influence in the life of their child. In short, their words weigh more than anyone else's words. If they're willing to have faith-based conversations and model their faith, they have a great chance of passing that faith on to their child.

Q: Explain what you mean when you ask parents to think "generationally."

Lee: Parents are not just parents. They are the spiritual patriarchs or matriarchs for the next three-to-four generations, meaning what they do today doesn't just matter for their kids, but for their grandkids, great-grandkids and beyond. When you think about it from that perspective, you see that passing on your faith as a parent is not something to be afraid of, but an occasion to rise to.

Burns: Several times in the Old Testament we learn you can "inherit the sins" of a previous generation to the third and fourth generations or at least inherit the "sin bent" of the previous generations. However, the Scripture is also clear that the love of God can influence for 1,000 years. Even for parents who come from somewhat dysfunctional families like Cathy and I did, they can make a commitment to be the "transitional generation." We had to make a decision early in our marriage and parenting to either "repeat or recover" from those past generational sins. When a parent chooses to recover, part of the recovery is passing on a healthy faith to the next generation. Passing on key topics, celebrations and traditions like we have in the book, becomes an easy way to make that happen.

Q: The thought of orchestrating a spiritual legacy for your family can seem daunting. How does Pass It On help simplify and clarify the task?

Lee: The reason I love Pass It On is because it's not just a book you read, it's a book you use. Many Christian parents have a desire to pass their faith to their children, but they find it intimidating.  So in this book we give them a simple yet powerful way to "whet their appetite" for spiritual leadership in their home. Each rite of passage is a path toward an easy "win" in the battle to share our faith. My desire is that it will start to ease parents' fears about creating a spiritual legacy and inspire their creativity so they'll keep at it and not give up.

Burns: Pass It On is a road map to help parents develop faith conversations in the home. It's easy to follow, and the experiences are powerful memories and milestones.

Q: What is a rite of passage, and how does it help a child internalize a truth or lesson?

Burns: It's simply celebrating a milestone in the life of a child and family. Sometimes a rite of passage is very spiritual, and other times a rite of passage is getting a driver's license or learning to tell time. By celebrating rites of passages along the way, it keeps faith present in the basic aspects of life.

Lee: A rite of passage is an invitation to something greater than yourself. It's crucial for all cultures to extend an invitation to things such as family and faith. In my opinion, it's one of the reasons our culture is struggling. The most common rites of passage in our culture are a "sweet 16" birthday party and/or the loss of virginity. Those aren't invitations to something greater than themselves; those are invitations to themselves. When parents invite their kids to faith through rites of passage they are helping their child connect to God's greater story.

Q: Would you describe one of the rites of passages Pass It On encourages parents to experience with their kids?

Lee: I think my favorite one is the manhood/womanhood ceremony in the 12th grade. It's actually the one that inspired everything. I was invited by a dad to his son's manhood ceremony. His son was turning 18, and the dad had invited a group of men to come and teach him what a man of God looks like. The dad then asked his son to kneel down as he went to the closet, got a Braveheart sword he had ordered off the Internet and laid it on his son's shoulder. Then he said, "Son, I have friends who are 30 and 40 years old who act like boys because no one ever told them they are men. I'm telling you tonight that based on the authority given to me by God as your dad, you knelt down as a boy, but you will rise as a man." Can you imagine what that son must have felt in that moment? He was unleashed into the world with his father's full blessing and a clear understanding of what a man of God looks like.

Burns: My favorite is the purity code in middle school. Kids are making major decisions that affect the rest of their life at a young age. We now know without a doubt that the more positive, healthy sex education kids receive from home, the less promiscuous they will be. It's a really cool celebration that gives parents and their kids the opportunity to talk about a really important decision in their life. We ask kids to commit to the purity code, which says, "In honor of God, my family and my future spouse, I commit to sexual purity." They learn how to:

  • Honor God with their bodies
  • Renew their minds for good
  • Turn their eyes from worthless things
  • Guard their hearts

Q: What about families who are getting a late start? Is it too late to build a legacy if your kids are in their teens already?

Lee: It's never too late. It's always better to do something rather than nothing. I tell parents to begin right where you are. For some parents you may have to begin with an apology and a promise that your spiritual involvement will increase in your child's life.

Also we encourage parents to feel free to change the order of the rites of passage or adjust the whole thing as needed for their family. The whole purpose of this book is to inspire parents to lead their children spiritually. If they feel inspired to do something differently or better, then we have done our jobs.

Burns: It's never too late and never too early to begin. Pass It On works at any age. Begin the process wherever you want, and grandparents can always lead the way by doing this with their grandkids. {eoa}

For more information about Jim Burns, visit or follow him on Facebook (Homeword) and Twitter(@drjimburns). To keep up with Jeremy Lee, visit  or follow him on Facebook (yojeremylee) and Twitter (@yojeremylee). 

]]> (Christine Gipson) Featured Men Life Mon, 28 Sep 2015 16:00:00 -0400
How Fasting Can Radically Change Your Life Forever

What if one simple act—one singular dedicated effort or sacrifice—could better your life, your soul forever? What if that sacrifice took just an hour or two or even an entire day?

Would you do it? Would you consider it worth it?

What if that very sacrifice could sharpen your focus, open your heart and move the hand of God in others and your own life?

If what I asked has peaked your interest, know that I inquire because I have the answers to these questions based on personal experience. What I have to share has the ability to better your life forever once you make the choice to take the adventure.

Twelve years ago, my friend Wendy and I felt prompted to journey down the road of fasting and prayer together. But why would two average women who love to talk and do typical "girl" stuff, and who also really love food, want to give it up for any period of time? God whispered in the inner places of our being to draw closer to Him in a new way.

Suddenly, we didn't want the status quo anymore. We believed and we studied, but in the hidden parts of our heart, we knew there was more. We wanted to engage in the spiritual realm on a deeper level, one we had not yet experienced. We wanted more ... so much more.

So, one day a week, from Monday night after our family dinners to Tuesday night before family dinner, we would fast and pray. We were ready for powerful changes, amazing answers to our requests and nothing short of miracles. What we got was instruction and a thorough look into the condition of our soul.

It was hard, to see what still existed in the corners of our minds and the recesses of our hearts. We found the thoughts, the unforgiveness, and the resistance to righteousness still alive and well. Big and little wrongs, judgments and critical spirits. Excessive self-awareness in danger of becoming narcissistic, fear, striving.

However, we were not bombarded with this all at once. Our God is very gentle, very kind. Yet, He is truth and truth was what He intended to show us.

Did He show us our shortcomings to condemn us? Never! He showed us this to better us, to mature us, and to prepare us to come before Him with those sincere, heartfelt requests we desired to have answers to. Yes, and He was, as Scripture puts it, "doing a good work in us."

When we fasted and prayed, our senses were heightened. We focused on getting alone in our own special designated locations to get quiet, to listen and speak once we had been spoken to. On occasion we would speak first, but that was usually to worship and confess anything that had been revealed by our loving Lord. This spiritual discipline tuned our ears to hear the voice of God so that He could meticulously take the sin, the baggage, the past hurts and present trepidations and give us the peace of His presence. We allowed Him control and, as we relinquished our very lives to Him, He would work His good and perfect will in us to much greater and richer places only found through Him.

As time went on, we grew quickly. No longer did we dread the hours we couldn't eat, nor did we binge the night before just so we were sure we had a reserve to live from.

Instead of hungering for food, we hungered for time alone with God, looking forward to His gentle correction and His drawing near to us in a way that filled us with peace, joy, hope and purpose. We were energized and eager to know more about Him, more about us and use what we learned to help encourage others to do the same.

In both of us, God strengthened our faith for the tough times. This was valuable during times of job loss, illness and relationship issues. Sometimes life's pain can cut so sharply you can't find the words to pray. That's when your fasting friend can intercede for you, giving you peace that your concerns—if not from you own mouth—still reach God's throne with the same intensity. The weighty value these prayers carry for a hurting heart provides hope; the hope that eliminates stress that could lead to irreparable health damage. 

Our book, Fast Friends, The Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer, releases October 1. It is our chosen path, ordained by God and it has forever altered our very existence.

Our lives don't look the same as before. We see people differently; we see life differently. We have new aspirations, new leading and guidance, new eyes with which to see ourselves and the future. It's all because a God who loves us more than we could ever comprehend planted a seed of desire to draw closer to Him. Fasting and prayer was the tool, finely fashioned by the hand of God, and the plan, lived out in the Bible by many of the faithful, for us to follow.

We received answers. Some were yes, some were no and some told us to wait. Some spared us and our loved ones from pain and sorrow of which we are not aware. Some answers are yet to come because God's timing is not ours.

One answer that comes quickly to mind concerns Wendy's daughter, Sydney, who was born with cerebral palsy. When Sydney was 4-years-old, the doctors estimated she would need multiple surgeries until her growing ceased. As we fasted and prayed that God would overrule that diagnosis, Sydney continued to grow. Today, she is 14 and surgery hasn't been required.

Fasting and prayer is a lifestyle. God willing, we will continue to fast and pray together until our time is done.

And that "so much more" we were seeking? It has exceeded our hopes and dreams and manifested in ways we would never have fathomed. If God could empower Wendy and me to live this way, He can do the same for you.

Will you join us and dare to live life in the spiritual realm, where you will meet with and know God in ways that you never thought possible? Will you dare to become everything God wants you to be in order to truly know Him? We can promise you will never regret it.

We were made in God's image and created for more than what this world has to offer, and so were you.

Suzanne Niles is the co-author of the new book Fast Friends, The Amazing Power of Friendship, Fasting and Prayer. Find out more at

]]> (Suzanne Niles ) Featured Health Life Mon, 28 Sep 2015 15:00:00 -0400
10 Things a Believer Will Never Regret

A life modeled after Jesus is hands down the greatest life one could ever live. And while a life apart from Christ may be filled with many toils and regrets, there are many things you will never regret doing when it comes to life as a believer:

1. Praying (1 Thess. 5:17). Prayer brings is closer to God, His love and His sovereignty. When we pray, we are in direct communication with the one who created us. Praying may not always be easy, but it's something that's always worth it.

2. Giving your life to Christ (Rom. 12:1). I cannot recall anyone who has ever regretted encountering the love, grace and almighty purpose of Jesus Christ in their life. It's something this world cannot offer.

3. Reading your Bible (Ps. 119:105). God's Word is a life-source for the soul. And while we read the Bible to learn more about God, His direction and our purpose in life, God's presence within our lives will continue to grow stronger.

4. Putting others before yourself (Phil. 2:3). Humility is key. No one in their right mind has ever regretted finding a sense of humility in their life. Seeking after Jesus will continuously chip away our pride, and, in turn, teach us to put our neighbors before ourselves, as well as think of ourselves less.

5. Loving your neighbor (Mark 12:31). We love because God first loved us. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is the definition of love itself, and our calling as Christ followers is to love our neighbors, no matter the circumstance. Many people have regretted ignoring their neighbors, but nobody has ever regretted loving them.

6. Extending grace (Matt. 6:15). None of us deserve God's grace but He continues to showcase it anyway. We are broken, messed up and jacked up people, but because of grace we are free from the bondage of our past. Extending grace to others will free us just as much as we think it will bring them peace.

7. Allowing God to guide you/having faith (Prov. 3:6). You won't regret allowing God to guide you. Why? Because God's plan in life is for you to embrace His will, trust His promises and fulfill the calling of the Great Commission. Following God's guidance isn't always easy, but it's definitely always worth it.

8. Resisting temptation (James 4:7). Temptation will lead you down a path contrary to that of God himself. As Christians we are called to flee temptation, and instead pursue the path that Jesus has laid out before us. Temptation leads to sin, and sin always leads to regret.

9. Taking refuge in the arms of God (Ps. 118:8). God is our protector, comfort and shield in times of need. The arms of God are a refuge for those who need it, and relying on his strength is something you will never regret doing. Take comfort in the arms of God, and understand that there is no safer place to be.

10. Abstaining from sexual impurity (1 Cor. 6:18). Purity paves the way to intimacy. And although our culture has turned sex and promiscuity into a hobby, God's yearning for our lives in and out of marriage is sexual purity and abstinence from extramarital relations. Watching porn, having sex before marriage, and engaging in relationships outside of one's marriage are all things you will regret in the long run.

Stay focused on God's plan for your life.

Jarrid Wilson is a husband, pastor and author relentlessly sharing the love of Jesus. For the original article, visit

]]> (Jarrid Wilson ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Mon, 28 Sep 2015 14:00:00 -0400
When Your Spouse Commits Adultery

My favorite love story is found in the book of Hosea. God told the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute (Gomer), so some of her children would be born from other men. This is an illustration of the way God's people have been untrue to Him, openly committing adultery by worshiping other gods (Hosea 1:2).

Gomer continued to live in adultery, but Hosea remained faithful. Here he was, rejected by the one he loved, as she continued to break his heart. Most people would have given up, but Hosea refused to divorce her.

Finally, Gomer leaves. Now Hosea is feeling the loneliness of abandonment while having to raise his children alone. Gomer then goes from man to man, until she finds herself so low she is sold into slavery.

I can relate to Hosea. After 20 years of marriage, the love of my life committed adultery and left me and the children to go live with the other woman. In the midst of intense emotional pain while my world was turned upside down, I cried out to God for help. The Scripture that God planted in my spirit was "let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9, ESV). God reassured me that I would have the strength to love my husband unconditionally, even though I was in pain.

God tells Hosea, "Go and get your wife again. Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery. For the LORD still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts" (Hosea 4:1, NLT).

"But she doesn't deserve to be loved! She betrayed you! You married the wrong person! You deserve better!" the world screams. But Hosea obeyed God. He bought Gomer back for fifteen pieces of silver and about five bushels of barley and a measure of wine (Hosea 3:2). He paid the price for someone who was already his, someone with a rebellious heart who wanted her own way. Hosea redeemed Gomer, just as God redeemed us. How was Hosea able to show unconditional love for Gomer when she did not love him back? The love of God filled his heart.

While my husband was gone, God began to work on his heart and draw him back home. He humbly returned, expressing deep regret for what he did. God filled my heart with agape love for my husband and gave me the ability to see him the way God does. God renewed my marriage and made it stronger than it ever was.

Has someone broken a promise to you? Are you dealing with a broken heart? Maybe this is an opportunity to demonstrate the grace of God. Grace is unmerited favor. There are no strings attached. How did God show His love for us? "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, ESV). God loves us in spite of our performance.

Can you love others this way?

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:7-11, ESV).  

Jaylin Palacio is the author of He Will Never Leave You (2014), a book about marital infidelity, the faithfulness of God, and the healing power of forgiveness. Her mission is to bring encouragement to many people dealing with the devastation of infidelity. It is also available in Kindle version. Join her email subscriber list for betrayed spouses.

]]> (Jaylin Palacio) Featured Women Life Mon, 28 Sep 2015 13:00:00 -0400
When Life Leaves You Breathless

Some of you may have experienced those more rare moments in life when you literally feel like you can't breathe, when everything in and around you crashes, when grief in unimaginable measure throws an unexpected blow and knocks you to the ground. It's a moment you can't conceive until you're in it, and with all your might, you wish you could turn back time and somehow make it all different. But you're helpless for change, though you literally groan for it.

I can't wrap adequate words around that moment when I received the phone call that told me that my dad was gone. It was a nightmare that still stings, that still brings tears, that still causes an ache to pulse in sudden moments as sweet memories of his life and pained memories of his death run together, hemorrhaging out of a broken heart.

I'm finding, in a really up close way, that grief truly is a journey, and I've been walking it a day at a time.

But that one-day-at-a-time, one-step-at-a-time journey is challenged by the fast-paced swirl of "normal life." We're still trying to catch our breath, but our busy schedules press; the spinning world that we wish would stop for just a few minutes, won't; that accusing inner-voice relates hurry-up-and-get-yourself-together whispers to our tired hearts.

The daily grind pulls us forward to where we're not ready to go yet, tries to hurry us along that journey of grief, pushes us to run laps our legs are still too weary to run.

Even some religious voices tell us to stop weeping and "Rejoice!" because our loved one is in heaven. But for those of you who've mourned the death of one you love, you know that rejoicing is not the path your heart immediately, fully steps onto. You're broken in a way that sometimes feels almost beyond repair, and rather than clapping, "He's in heaven!" you're instead throbbing under the crushing reality, "He's not here. O God, he's not here anymore."

The reality is, we can't hurry out of grief. We can't go around it. We can't go under or over it. We have to go through it. And our beautiful Lord, who is near to the brokenhearted, is waiting to take hold of our hands and lead us through that dark, dark valley.

We've got to go through it, but we don't have to go alone. The road is grievous, and those pressures within and without urge us to move along and get on with our lives. Quickly.

But in the midst of a spinning world and a full schedule and lots of voices ... take a breath.

If we try to skip ahead to a celebration or stuff the ache, we're attempting to force our emotions into an unnatural place.

Because death is meant to be mourned. It is sorrow upon sorrow, as Paul wrote. It's an earth-trembling, heart-shaking reality, and it's right to feel the sting of it ... because it is so wrong to our God.

It's not a part of His kingdom. And when His dwelling is finally among us again, His all-consuming, magnificently invasive light will leave no room for sorrow, crying, pain, or death. He's kicking all of those things out—because He never wanted them thrashing through His creation in the first place.

When the widow at Nain lost her son, Jesus didn't pass by the man's coffin and simply say, "It was just his time to go ..." No. Jesus, moved with compassion, demonstrated how He felt about death, and He foreshadowed what He would ultimately do about this painful reality that has gripped humanity. He brought the widow's son back to life.

Our Lord hates death, too. So much that He went to unfathomable lengths to destroy it.

And He succeeded.

He submitted Himself to that which He hated so that the perpetual hold it had on humanity—His prized ones, His beloved ones—would be broken. Forever.

And now, gloriously, death is not the end for those who are in Christ. Because He broke the grave open, we who have joined our lives to the heart of the Living One hold confidence in God's promise of our resurrection.

The dead in Christ will rise — and when this mystery collides with the pounding ache we feel over death, gratitude becomes explosive.

We'll breathe our last ... but we'll never die. We celebrate the hope of a coming day when Jesus will utterly demolish death. Totally. Once and for all.

But for now, in this present age, death still has measures of victory—because people are still dying. Hospitals are still receiving the terminally ill and fatally wounded, babies are still dying in the womb, poor ones are still perishing in starvation and for lack of clean water, the innocent are still slain at the hands of unjust men.

Death still stings.

Things are not OK right now.

And we need to mourn. It is right to mourn.

The death that sweeps away life's breath is evidence of the not-yet. Death is not yet swallowed up in triumphant life.

... because Jesus is not yet here. 

That glorious declaration, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" does not come until... 

Until Jesus breaks open the sky.

Until His feet are back on this earth.

So as we mourn death, there is a sacred mourning for our hearts to touch–a place of mourning the absence of the One who has promised to obliterate it.

Death's grief ushers us into deeper longing, into greater knowing and remembering, into holy groaning—we need Jesus here. 

And until He is, we mourn. We mourn death. We mourn pain and sickness.

Ultimately, we mourn His absence. 

When we try to avoid or bury death's sting to put on our brave or happy faces, we miss the opportunity to fall over into His heart, and to peer into what He's feeling.

We miss the sacredness of what Mary of Bethany got to touch when her brother died. We miss weeping with God, and letting our tears flow down with His.

And we miss our heart's healing—because only those who allow themselves to break, who let their shattered pieces fall before the feet of Jesus, who let Him catch their unhindered tears, who let their brokenness bring them into the arms of the Comforter ... can be truly restored.

We may try to hurry out of grief, or go over it, around it, or under it. But unless we go through it, those wounds won't meet their healer. Instead, they'll meet us again and again, down the road, when those "Band-Aids" we've put on fail to hold their stick and fall off to expose the old wound that still bleeds.

So we don't shut our hearts down. No, we run vulnerably into His—because that's where our hope and healing is found.

Have you lost someone you love?

Give yourself permission to feel ... and to take your time. In a busy world, with busy people, and a busy schedule—remind your heart that it's OK to go slow. Take some breaths in His presence as you drive to work today. Listen for His voice. Whisper your prayers while you prepare dinner or fold laundry. Sneak away with Him to a quiet place and open up the Word that has the power to give life to a fainting heart. Do today with Him, and trust Him for tomorrow. Just one day at a time.

Give yourself permission to fall apart ... and to weep. Cry it out with Jesus. Crumble on the living floor. And let Him hold you, right there, and keep your tears. Get vulnerable with God. Get vulnerable with trusted friends, invite them into your ache, and ask for their continuing prayers.

Really, it feels scary to go there. Because for most of us, the path of grief is uncharted territory. Because we haven't walked it before ... until we have to.

But when grief hits, let yourself go to the unraveling, crumbling, melting, breaking place before God.

Go there.

Don't go there to sulk and drown in your despair.

Don't go there to stay. Go there to take hold of the One who will lead you out.

Go there with God. Take this road into His heart.

Go there to lean. To talk to Him. To commune with Him in a very deep place.

Go there to weep with the God who never desired that His image-bearers would die. Go there to feel even just a piece of His holy, grieving heart crying out, "Adam, O Adam, where are you?"when He knew that He'd lost His precious son, when He knew they'd be separated, when He felt the first-ever pangs of death sweep through His earth. Feel, with Him, the grief and the hatred that He Himself has over death.

Go there to feel His tears mingle with yours.

Go there to find your healing.

Go there to let your heart touch the reality that things are not OK until ... and so more fully enter into the cry, "Come, Lord, Jesus."

Go there. And don't rush out. Find Him, right there—in the middle of your darkest night and greatest ache. Because He's there.

And surely, you're going to walk through and come out of this wilderness, leaning on your Beloved.

Kinsey Thurlow is a minister at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. She is an advocate for the fatherless and her husband, Jon is a worship leader and minister at IHOP-KC.

]]> (Kinsey Thurlow) Featured Women Life Mon, 28 Sep 2015 11:00:00 -0400
The HolySpirit: 7 Declarations for 5776 and Beyond

Biblical Basis for the Voice of the Lord:

God still speaks today! Are you listening? What are you hearing?

While we agree that the canon of Scripture is closed, we believe that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. What He did before He continues to do. One of these ongoing activities is that of "communication." The Holy Spirit wants to speak to each of us personally. 

Man lives by the ever-proceeding word of the Lord. Take a look at this Old Testament verse quoted by Jesus in the New Testament.

Deuteronomy 8:3 states, "He humbled you and let you suffer hunger, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord."
Matthew 4:4 states, "But He (Jesus) answered, 'It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."'"

With this in mind, let take a look at seven decrees I sense the Holy Spirit is asking us to align with in this New Hebrew Year and Beyond. 

7 Decrees for 5776 and Beyond!

1. My Word is alive and active. This phrase of course comes from Hebrews 4:12. But recently I had a visitation where the "glory of the Lord" appeared in my living room from floor to ceiling as a cylinder of His presence, and amber colors swirled around. A DNA ladder appeared in its midst as the entire element was rotating. Then a voice came from the pillar and stated, "My Word is alive and active!" I heard it over and over, again and again.

There is life in the Bible. It is the only book that when you read it—it reads you! Meditate on the Word. Love the Scriptures. God's plan, purposes and ways are taught in this precious book.There will be a revival of the Word of God!

2. It is a time of apostolic motion. We have entered into the second apostolic age of the church. We are living the "Convergence of the Ages" and the "Days of Acceleration." Bishop Bill Hamon of Christian International calls this period "The Day of the Saints."

It is now a time of apostolic motion. I did not say "apostolic succession." Batons of leadership and stewardship are being passed from one generation to another in this coming year. But it does require one generation to graduate to heaven for this occur as if often the past typical model. No! There are new things for these seasoned leaders graduate into and thus there is the necessity to empower the next generation to lead. It is truly a time of the joining of the generations.

3. The art of interpreting signs and wonders goes to a higher level. A spirit of fear has been cultivated by well-meaning leaders and many believers by misinterpreting and overevaluating the present "signs of the times." Thank God we are at least learning to read the signs and are no longer ignoring them! This is a step forward. But there is a wave of confusion that could come upon different sectors of the body of Christ as predicted, and thus expected, "economic melt downs" and other despairing reports are not occurring as stated. But God has a remedy!
Out of necessity and calling, a higher level of discernment and wisdom for properly interpreting the signs of the times will now increase. It is time to go higher like Joseph did (see Gen. 37:18-19 to 46:27-28). God will deliver us from misery Christianity and escapism into glorious eschatology.

4. It is the end of 500 years of the Great Reformation and the beginning of the Great Transformation. Historians usually date the start of the Protestant Reformation to the 1517 publication of Martin Luther's "95 Theses." Add 500 years to this and it is the year 2017. So as we turn the corner into the year 2016, it is the hinge of the close of a 500-year history of the Great Reformation. But a hinge on a door is for both opening and closing. We are turning the corner into the beginning of the Great Transformation of the church. The Fourth Wave of the Holy Spirit in modern church history has already begun. 

5. The release of "divine intelligence" for hope solutions. I have also recently experienced a realm of what I understand to be called "divine intelligence." The lives of Joseph, Daniel and Solomon are scriptural examples of this for us. God gave them "divine insight" or "divine understanding" or one translation calls it "divine intelligence." This includes the gifts of the Holy Spirit but blends this with the New Testament understandings of "having the mind of Christ." 

I believe it is a release of the seven attributes of the Spirit of God as recorded in Isaiah 11:1-3 and twice in the book of Revelation. It would be the Spirit of wisdom, understanding and counsel. Hope solutions are being released in this hour and in the coming years to bring heaven's solutions to difficult problems in the earth realm. It is time for hope solutions!

6. The beginning of a fresh move of the Holy Spirit among the "nomads" of the earth! While I was in worship, I was shown a vision of an unusual movement of the Holy Spirit that is beginning among nomads or the displaced peoples of the earth. I saw them on a pilgrimage, leaving everything behind as they are seeking refuge in the natural. But they will find their refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Tens of thousands of Muslims will come to faith in Jesus as their one true God! Angels, healings, miracles and appearances of the Lord Jesus Himself will appear to these nomadic peoples scattered across the face of the earth.

Right after I had this open vision, it was confirmed in the news the next day that there are 57 million nomads wandering the face of the earth. God will be calling some to go and be like "Holy Spirit gypsies" among them; loving them, singing with them and praying for them. It is a new field ripe unto harvest!

7. It is the beginning of a great harvest. Yes, we are crossing the threshold unto a fresh release of laborers empowered by the Holy Spirit for such a time as this. Believers will be "sent ones" into the fields of the harvest.

Seer-prophet Bob Jones declared in 1983 that three signs would occur to let us know that the beginning of the great 1 billion-soul harvest had begun. Bob declared:

1. Abortion would be perfected by a pill. (No one thought Bob knew what he was talking about at the time. But for years now, we have had the "day-after" pill.)
2. The U.S. government and other governments of the world would embrace the gay agenda in their court systems. (This was confirmed by the recent U.S. Supreme ruling embracing same-sex marriage.);
3. Laborers in the rice fields of China would watch 24/7 worship on unplugged television sets on their wrists. (This is an obvious statement concerning smart watches and other similar inventions.)

While I do not rejoice in these signs coming to pass, I do move into redemptive interpretation and declare, "These are the beginning of the days of a great harvest!"

We see in part, know in part and speak in part. I trust these parts will be used to encourage you. Please note that these seven declarations need to be prayed into being, and birthed into their mature fulfillment. Will you join me in that task?

]]> (James W. Goll) Featured A Voice Calling Out Blogs Mon, 28 Sep 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Daniel Kolenda: Delayed Obedience Is Nothing More Than Disobedience

Procrastination is the devil's best friend. The devil knows that delayed obedience is disobedience. The devil knows "tomorrow" never comes.

Many people have missed salvation not because they rejected it, but because the devil convinced them to just put it off for a little while. He convinced young people that they have plenty of time. He convinced others to wait because of relationships or pet sins they were not ready to forsake. The devil knows there will never be a more perfect opportunity to follow Jesus than when He calls.

Have you ever heard someone quote the verse that says, "Today is the day of salvation?" Actually there is no such verse in the Bible. Second Corinthians 6:2 actually says, "Now is the day of salvation" (emphasis added). To say "today is the day" is not urgent enough.The time is now!

If a person is drowning, he doesn't need to be rescued sometime today. He needs to be rescued now! When Jesus calls, He doesn't mean "get back to Me sometime today." He means answer now! Don't procrastinate! Don't wait! Respond immediately, forsake everything that holds you back and follow Jesus! Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Let me take a moment to especially address those who have the evangelistic calling as I do. Jesus said to that young man in Luke 9:60, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But you go and preach the kingdom of God." When it comes to God's will for your life, this matter of answering God's call is especially urgent for those who have been called to preach the gospel.

Imagine that you are a doctor. In fact, you are the best doctor in the whole country, and there is a deadly plague sweeping through. All around you people are dying left and right. You are the only one who knows how to cure the disease. You are the only one who has the vaccine. You are rushing to the hospital to save hundreds of patients who are on their deathbeds when someone on the side of the road calls out, "Hey, you. Come over here and help us bury these dead bodies." You would reply, "I'm sorry. I cannot help you. I'm too busy saving lives to bury bodies."

My friend, we have the most critical of all mandates. All around us people are perishing by the millions. We have the answer for the plague of sin and death. "Little children, it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18, NIV). The need could not be more urgent, and the time could not be more appropriate. There are a lot of good causes that need someone's attention, but none are more important than the call to preach the gospel. We need to let someone else do the "good" things while we stay focused on the most important thing—winning souls! We are not called to bury the dead—we are called to raise the dead!

Note: This Bible study was taken from Chapter 14 of Daniel Kolenda's book, Live Before You Die. 

Daniel Kolenda is a missionary evangelist who has led more than 10 million people to Christ face to face through massive, open-air evangelistic campaigns in some of the most dangerous, difficult and remote locations on earth. He is president and CEO of Christ for All Nations and hosts an internationally syndicated television program.

]]> (Daniel Kolenda ) Featured Evangelism Evangelism & Missions Spirit Mon, 28 Sep 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Blood Moons: Is God's Billboard Delivering a Message?

Have you had a chance to see any of the blood moons that have decorated the heavens over the past year?

Blood moons are a somewhat common. What's rare is so many of them appearing so close together forming what's called a tetrad.

CBN's Erick Stakelbeck first reported on blood moons more than a year ago and his story went viral. It's been viewed more than a million times.

We wondered why Erick decided to cover blood moons andwhy he thinks so many people are interested.

Historically blood moon tetrads have coincided with major events for Israel and the Jewish people.

"I don't believe in coincidences," Erick says. "Fasten your seat belts."

Don't miss this Beltway Buzz Video Short with Erick Stakelbeck discussing blood moons.

]]> (Jennifer Wishon and John Jessup/CBN) Featured Prophecy Spirit Mon, 28 Sep 2015 08:00:00 -0400
What's That Noise?

I came home from a women's leadership meeting at church one night to find everyone had already gone to bed. Feeling hungry, I went into the kitchen and fixed myself a bowl of fresh blueberries. They were in season and were magnificent.

Then I heard it. It was a strange noise I had never heard before. It sounded like the lower notes of a cello and it was occurring at five- and 10-second intervals. Not only was the noise unusual, but my dishwasher and the entire kitchen counter would vibrate at each interval.

"What in the world could that be," I thought. Our dishwasher was in its last stages of drying, so I turned it off. But the noise and vibrations continued.

I went to the bedroom and woke my husband. "Art! Art, wake up! There's a strange noise in the house. It's a low, humming sound, and it's causing everything to vibrate."

Art's a sound sleeper, so he simply turned over and said, "It's nothing. Don't worry about it. It's probably the hot water heater." But we had only recently purchased the hot water heater, which had been installed, inspected and reset. Could this possibly be the cause?

Now, settled in the bedroom, I could still hear the noise and feel the subsequent vibrations. It was not just in the kitchen now. It encompassed every room.

Being the woman of faith that I am, I said, "We have to do something. We just can't sit here. What if there's something wrong with that heater and it explodes? It can cause a fire. I'm calling the fire department to check it out."

At those words, Art got up and went out to the garage. He examined the heater, then went to the fuse box and turned off the connection to the heater. That should do it. It didn't. The noise continued.

Now I was really getting worried. Art went back to bed and turned over. "I have an early day tomorrow, and I need my sleep," he said." The Lord will take care of us."

"Well, I'm staying up in case something happens," I said. I gathered some treasured belongings and asked if our valuable papers were secure in our fireproof box in case I had to quickly grab them on the way out of the possibly exploding house.

I spent most of the night watching old reruns and praying during the commercials. Then I started timing the noises like a midwife. One, two, three, four, five, and I would hear the sound and feel the shaking; one two, three, four, five, and the cycle continued. In between "contractions" I prayed, "Lord, what is this? Help us, God." I finally gave way to exhaustion and fell asleep.

In the morning, we awoke to the same rhythmic sounds. "Thank You, Jesus," I said. "We're still here. We're alive and well. The house is still standing. But what is that noise?"

Our son woke up and we asked him if he heard the noise and felt the shaking. He said yes and mentioned that the night before he had turned on a switch he thought was connected to the water heater because the water was not hot enough.

Switch? What switch? He then walked into the garage and turned it off. The noise and shaking stopped, and our electrician later discovered it was connected to our attic fan, which we never used. I felt so foolish. The reality was much less foreboding than my imagination had been.

So while my husband and son slept peacefully, I had stayed awake waiting, watching, praying and imagining the worse. Have you ever felt that way? Have you had situations that were beyond your control and you didn't know what to do?

Sometimes we don't know what's happening, why or how a situation is going to work out. We have no answers. We only have questions and we are forced to wait for and depend on someone who knows more than we do to take over and bring the solution. As much as I prayed, God did not show me what was going on. Instead, He allowed me to stew in my own fears. He knew I was perfectly safe from harm. He knew what was happening and that my fears were unfounded even if I didn't. Instead of fretting, I could have slept in peace and safety, according to Psalm 4:8.

There are times when a major crisis disrupts our lives and we feel equally helpless in the face of it. God knows all about that too. He knows the end from the beginning and He has already promised that all things will work out for our good no matter what it sounds or looks like (see Rom. 8:28).

He knows how to handle each situation, and we can rely on Him totally for even the smallest details of our lives—whether it's the unfamiliar noise and shaking of an attic fan, or the shaking of our security through unemployment, illness or loss of a loved one. We may not understand what's happening when we're going through it, but in His time He will give us understanding and we will rejoice at the final outcome (see Jer. 29:11). 

Prayer Power for the Week of Sept. 28, 2015

This week thank the Lord that He is always watching over you and that His plans are only for your good. Praise Him that He knows it all and will answer all your prayers toward that end.

Rely on the Scriptures to help direct your prayers to align with His will. Continue to pray for our national leaders concerning the economy, the military, international relationships and Israel. Pray that we as the body of Christ would unite in prayer and purpose for God's kingdom to be established globally. Keep praying for revival in our nation and around the world (Jer. 29:11; Rom. 8:28; Ps. 4:8).

]]> (Ruth L. Whitfield) Featured Power Up! Blogs Sun, 27 Sep 2015 10:00:00 -0400
10 Questions to Ask Before Judging

Who are you to judge me?!"

This question makes the rounds frequently. On the blogosphere, in the Twitter feed, pinned and posted, the message is blaring: "You have no right to judge me!"

And in one sense, I totally agree. I have no right to judge you.

If I were the authority of the universe, I would have that right.

If I owned the corner on truth, I would have that right.

If you came into existence because of my will and creative effort, I would have that right.

If my word were the final say, I would have that right.

If I were God, I would have that right.

But the fact is, I am not God, but God has spoken. He has given His judgment on matters of ethics and morality. He is the authority of the universe. He does own the corner on truth. We did come into existence because of His will and effort. His Word is the final say. And God has the right to judge.

In fact, God is the Judge.

And He is a gracious judge.

"Should not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25).

God has provided us with His judgment through His Word. When Christians address moral issues and make a judgment based on Scripture, we are not "judging" that individual on the basis of our own authority. Our judgment is delivered from the authority of God's holy Word—not our own fallible word. Admittedly, we can mishandle His Word; we can misinterpret it and muddy the delivery or misunderstand the context at times. But delivering clear scriptural truth is God's Word bringing judgment.

Jesus' Instructions

Jesus gave some pointed instruction as He warned us about judging others. He didn't tell us not to deliver judgment; He told us how to deliver it:

"You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matt. 7:5).

He gave these specific instructions to warn us that we'd better not confront someone else's sin until we first deal with our own hearts. This same instruction is repeated in the Gospel of Luke. Later in the book of Matthew, Jesus gave a process we refer to as "church discipline," in which the first step involves confronting someone in their sin:

"Now if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother" (Matt. 18:15).

That sounds an awful lot like "judging" someone.

In Paul's letter to the Galatians, he provides us with a bit of guidance in how we approach someone when we need to confront them and "deliver a message of judgment" (a word of truth from Scripture):

"Brothers, if a man is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, watching yourselves, lest you also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).

Paul's instruction is helpful, it places a guiding principle for us to follow as we approach someone who is "caught" or entangled in a sinful lifestyle. Paul (as inspired by the Holy Spirit) warns us that we are in danger of falling into the snare of sin and we must be careful and watchful of our own hearts. Our motive in having this conversation must be restoration.

Preparing Our Hearts

Some questions that might help with heart preparation before "delivering judgment" would be:

  1. Is my motive pure? Is my greatest concern spiritual deliverance or restoration?
  2. Am I approaching this issue as a self-righteous bigot, or am I offering truth as one who is equally in need of God's transforming grace?
  3. Am I more concerned about winning an argument for morality than I am concerned about my opponent's need for salvation or spiritual growth?
  4. Am I prepared to give a biblical and gracious defense of my position?
  5. Am I addressing a truth issue, or is this a preference issue?
  6. Is this the best time to have this conversation?
  7. Have I thoroughly prayed over this conversation?
  8. Am I reacting in pride or humility?
  9. Are my emotions sinfully involved with this issue?
  10. Can I convey love to my opponent as I deliver this message of truth?

Have you been slammed for issuing "judgment"? I hope you'll run through the questions above when you're tempted to confront someone. Jesus provides ample instruction for delivering the truth in love, and when we fail to do that, we aren't being faithful to love Him or others well.

What are your thoughts on "judging others"? {eoa}

Taken from Kimberly Wagner's blog post "10 Questions to Ask Before Judging" on Used with permission. 

]]> (Kimberly Wagner) Featured Women Life Fri, 25 Sep 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Forget the Blood Moons, Look at This End-Time Cloud

Hues of blues, pinks and other pastels encircled a jelly-fish-like cloud over the mountains of Costa Rica.

Spectators pointed with both their fingers and cameras, capturing the sign in the sky.

Some are looking at the phenomenon as the beginning of end-time prophecy. Watch the video to see what we mean. 

]]> (Jessilyn Justice ) Featured Prophecy Spirit Fri, 25 Sep 2015 17:00:00 -0400
A Great Move of God is Coming, But He Will Use the Unqualified

When Pat Schatzline wrote I Am Remnant in 2014, it hit such a chord with people that he renamed his ministry "Remnant Ministries International." As he traveled around the country speaking at churches, pastors and others would tell him—often with tears—how it resonated with them and that they were part of the remnant God was calling, but that they felt unqualified.

That led to his latest book, Unqualified, which shows how God always uses those who are unqualified to accomplish His will—in other words, those who are humble and know they must depend on God because they can't do it themselves.  

The book resonated with me because I certainly felt unqualified when I started Charisma magazine as a 24-year-old newspaper reporter. I still feel unqualified as I try to mobilize the church, involve myself with the culture wars or speak at places like the United Nations about the persecuted church.

I had the privilege of publishing Unqualified, but time doesn't allow me to read all the magazines, Internet content and books we publish. Yet somehow I felt drawn to this book. I try always to read a book during my daily quiet time to challenge me spiritually, and I'm glad I read this one.  

Pat is the consummate storyteller. Known for his crazy humor and unique ability to communicate God's Word with passion, he says his desire is to introduce a generation to the awesome love of the Father and to see God's last day remnant make a stand for truth through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The chapter that grabs most readers is titled "Ah, Sovereign Lord," in which Pat shares how he learned the nature of God. He also tells about a troubling dream during the summer of 2014 in which a wave washed across a map of the United States. In the dream, he shouted to people to jump to safety. One day he was crying out to God, reminding Him that He'd promised never to destroy the world again with water.

He writes, "Then I heard God say, 'Son, the dream you had was not the destruction of America, but a wave of My glory that will flood America!

"I said, 'Lord, I want to see America shaken by Your glory, but it seems so far away.'  The Lord then spoke again to me. He said, "Get ready, because it is coming!"

How encouraging that message is in a time when what we see around us and the messages we hear from leaders are often the opposite.

I knew I was in for a treat when I saw 25 endorsements in the front of the book received before it was published. I'd never heard of many of the people, but there were also well-known leaders like Sid Roth who wrote, "If you are unqualified plus Jesus, you are qualified and chosen to be front and center for the greatest harvest in history."  

Marcus Lamb went even further, "The book will help change the course of the church for generations to come."

One thing I liked is the way the author added "quotes" from a wide variety of people on what it means to be unqualified. These are "extras" because they aren't part of the text itself. If you simply flip through the book and read them with their gray background and different type font, they will inspire you.

Some like Joel Stockstill have national influence. He wrote, "The unqualified are those who have paid the price to walk closely with Jesus but have not been noticed by man for extreme gifting or personality. The playing field is being leveled by the Lord of the harvest and the laborers of true passion are being released."

Others were students like 20-year-old Tommy Vardaman of Portage, Indiana, who said,  "I would rather be considered unqualified, because then it is no longer about what I can do but what He can do through me."

The one I like best came from pro bass fisherman and winner of the 2014 Bassmaster Classic—Randy Howell of Springville, Alabama. He wrote, "The fishermen that Jesus called were the perfect example of the unqualified, but the only qualification Jesus asked for was faith."

Who should read this book?

  • Anyone like me who likes to be inspired during their quiet times
  • Pastors looking for pithy content to inspire their sermons
  • People in general who feel unqualified and want to be encouraged—almost like a spiritual pep talk
  • Those believing for an end-time harvest who want to understand strategies and to see God's plans and purposes

UnqualifiedPat's book is for the humble and for those with a heart to serve the kingdom.

"The spiritual depth of the unqualified will not come from degrees on the wall or memberships in prestigious God clubs, but from the classroom of brokenness," Pat says. "God doesn't look at polls or opinions when He chooses His leaders. He always looks for someone with a heart, regardless of what the world thinks."

Do you remember the book The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren? It was also a book that resonated with people. But when it came out, Rick Warren was not well known. Pastors and others who had been touched by his ministry began talking about the book. The book took off, inspiring and influencing millions to find purpose in their lives.

I urge you to purchase Unqualified and read it. It's available wherever Christian books are sold or you can quickly download it on Kindle. You can purchase it through one of the online bookstores like Christian Book Distributors or

Pat believes passionately in this message. He's on a mission. The book is born out of that—not just a desire to write a book. But, he needs your help to forward this message on social media or to talk about the book within your circle of friends.

And as always, leave your comments below.

]]> (Steve Strang ) Featured The Strang Report Blogs Fri, 25 Sep 2015 16:00:00 -0400
3 Things 'Wives Must Submit to Their Husbands' Doesn't Mean

Biblical submission is a highly controversial topic in today's society, and I believe the definition has been twisted and molded into something it was never meant to become.

I believe submission within a marriage goes hand in hand. And while many people like to spin Scripture in order to hold an iron first over their wife, I believe God's intention for marriage was something quite different. It was never meant to be about control. It was never meant to be about ownership.

Our Household

When it comes to the Wilson household, my wife and I have come to the agreement that we will discuss big decisions as a couple—all in hopes that we are truly seeking what is best for our family in the eyes of God. Your household might be run a little bit differently, and that's OK. The point is to come to a decision that you can both get behind as a married couple.

My wife has entrusted me with leading our family, but that doesn't mean I am the almighty dictator. In fact, it's quite opposite. I never make decisions without her. I value my wife's opinion and voice just as much as I do my own. It's an honor to lead our home together, and the reality is I couldn't do it without the support and wisdom of my wife.

She's a champ. We do it together and that's how it should be.

What Does the Bible Say?

"Wives, be submissive to your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head and Savior of the church, which is His body. But as the church submits to Christ, so also let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, and that He might present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. In this way men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord cares for the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I am speaking about Christ and the church" (Eph. 5:22-32, MEV).

After reading through those passages of the Bible, it's clear what God's intention for marriage is. But while the intentions seem clear to me, I believe many others have interpreted these words for their own benefit. Let me explain ...

Here are three things "Wives Must Submit to Their Husbands" doesn't mean:

1. A husband gets to bully his wife around. Biblical submission and bullying don't mix. Let's not forget that Ephesians 5:25 states that a man must love his wife as Christ loved the church. Christ never bullied his people but instead loved cared and nurtured them on a daily basis. Let's also not forget that Ephesians 5:28 states that husbands must love their wives as their own bodies. When putting both of these verses into personal application, a husband is not to bully nor control his wife, but instead love and nourish her the way Jesus loves his own people.

"My wife has entrusted me with leading our family, but that doesn't mean I am the almighty dictator."

2. A wife must submit to whatever her husband says. A man isn't his wife's boss, nor is he her slave master. Being a man doesn't give one any special treatment in the eyes of God, nor does it give someone the freedom to make one's wife do whatever he pleases. This isn't a dictatorship. Mutual respect and honor must be present in any marriage that is yearning to last the test of time.

3. A wife has no say in decision making. As much as some men would like it to be, this isn't true either. Marriage is a joint effort. And although some households might decide on giving the man the final say in big decisions, one must understand that a woman's voice is just as important if not more in certain circumstances.

The Bible states that a man and woman will become one flesh in the eyes of God, which means both parties must work together for the betterment of their marriage, family and life.

Jarrid Wilson is a husband, pastor and author relentlessly sharing the love of Jesus. For more from Jarrid, visit

]]> (Jarriid Wilson) Featured Men Life Fri, 25 Sep 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Will This Year's Flu Vaccine Be Another Colossal Failure?

It's fall, and health officials are beginning their yearly push to convince Americans to get the latest version of the flu shot.

Last year's vaccine was a tremendous dud—a new strain of H3N2 influenza emerged after the vaccine was formulated, and the shot was a poor match. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admitted it did little to protect against flu. 

This year's vaccine has been designed to protect against the new H3N2 strain, and the CDC hopes it will be a good match for this year's virus, although the agency admitted in a recent advisory that it's impossible to predict the upcoming flu season.

Should you get the new vaccine? The CDC says "yes," and CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., got his yearly shot during a news conference meant to convince others to follow suit.

Not so fast, says holistic family physician David Brownstein, M.D. "In the past, the flu vaccine hasn't worked for most of us, and there's no indication that it will this year," he tells Newsmax Health.

"The flu vaccine has been around for over 30 years, and there is not one single study showing that any flu vaccine has helped prevent the flu in the majority who receive it," says Dr. Brownstein, author of the newsletter Dr. Brownstein's Natural Way to Health.

"Nor has it been shown to prevent flu complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalizations and death, in well over 90 percent who receive it. As usual, they are taking their best guess as to which strain of flu will be predominant, but they have no way of being sure," he says.

Even when the flu vaccine matches the circulating strains of influenza, the shot performs poorly, and does not offer 100 percent protection, Dr. Brownstein argues.

"Whether they are right or wrong, the cases of flu are about the same whether the vaccine is a good match or not because flu shots don't work," he says. "A review of 50 studies that included more than 70,000 adults found that 100 people needed to be vaccinated to avoid one case of flu. That means the vaccine failed 99 percent who took it—they received no benefit at preventing the flu."

Although seniors are especially urged to get the flu shot, some experts say it doesn't protect older people, and the government knows it. 

Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson says the government has ignored numerous studies showing the vaccine was ineffective in the elderly, and a 10-year-old study was ignored because the results weren't what were expected. 

"It found that after decades and billions of dollars spent promoting flu shots for the elderly, the mass vaccination program did not result in saving lives," Attkisson wrote. "In fact, the death rate among the elderly increased substantially."

Dr. Brownstein agrees. 

"There are no good studies showing that the flu vaccine is effective for seniors," he says. "When you take apart and break down a recent study that the government uses to promote the flu vaccine to senior citizens, you'll find that 217 elderly people had to take the high-dose flu vaccine to prevent a single case of flu — that's a 99 percent failure.

"In addition, every single person was exposed to possible adverse effects. It's vital to always bear in mind that the flu vaccine can cause side effects, including Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome (GBS), and has been linked with narcolepsy in children and an increased risk of Alzheimer's." 

He also points to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity which found that flu shots aren't effective in obese people. 

Johns Hopkins scientist Peter Doshi, says that although the vaccines are being pushed on the public in record numbers, they are less effective and cause more side effects than admitted by the CDC.

Dr. Brownstein also notes some formulation of the flu shot contain trace elements of mercury and formaldehyde. Although CDC and other health authorities say these preservatives are at levels so low they pose no harm, Dr. Brownstein disagrees.

"There is simply no justification for injecting any living being with mercury or formaldehyde, especially pregnant women," he says. "I guess I could encourage people to get vaccinated if the flu vaccine actually worked and did not contain toxic additives, such as mercury and formaldehyde. But it doesn't work, and it does contains toxins, so I advise people to avoid it.

"There's no real reason to believe that this year's vaccine is going to be any better than in the past." 

For the original article, visit

]]> (Sylvia Booth Hubbard/Newsmax Health) Featured Health Life Fri, 25 Sep 2015 15:00:00 -0400
When People Around You Act Like Pharisees

"The Pharisees and certain scribes who came from Jerusalem gathered around Him. When they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, ritually unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews, unless they wash their hands ritually, do not eat, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the market, unless they wash, they do not eat. And there are many other traditions which they have received and observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and bronze vessels and dining couches" (Mark 7:1-4, MEV).

What question would you ask Jesus if you had walked a hundred miles to get to Him? I doubt you would ask Him, "Why don't Your disciples wash their hands before they eat?"

These religious leaders aren't the only ones who ask the wrong question. I've seen it happen in the church.

I was once called upon to meet with a small group of people who were upset with a pastor's decision. I drove 150 miles to meet with them. They were led by a long-time church member who is now in his 80s.

The church sanctuary sat about 1,000 people, but the congregation had dwindled down to about 100. They had been so divided that a new pastor was appointed to lead them, and the church, in the next two years, had grown to around 300. Good progress!

This group wanted me to listen to their grievance. I asked, "What's the problem?"

Their elderly leader answered, "The pastor moved the church nursery without our permission." The nursery had been at the back of the church and so many new families were coming that the pastor had wisely relocated the nursery near the front. This group was upset because they hadn't been consulted.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people like them who are more interested in their own agenda than in people coming to Christ.

So many conflicts in the body of Christ result not from division over doctrine, but division over preference.

We can be as bad as the Pharisees in picking the wrong issue!

The likes of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law have never gone away. There are still those today who look at the small things they deem wrong rather than the wonderful things God is doing! They nitpick at those who are doing the work of God because the way that work is being done doesn't please them.

The Pharisees' faultfinding with Jesus came at the very time the sick were being healed in villages, towns, and the countryside (see Mark 6:56). They should have rejoiced rather than criticized.

Mark takes time to explain the custom of hand-washing. His parenthetical aside shows us he is writing to a non-Jewish audience who wouldn't be familiar with the customs of the Pharisees.

Is it wrong to wash your hands before you eat? By no means! There are hygienic reasons for that. We are careful in handling food lest we contaminate our body with unwanted germs. But the Pharisees had substituted a ritualistic legalism for matters that were best left to individual judgment. Jesus let His disciples violate these rules because such proscriptions had no bearing on one's relationship with God.

Let's not repeat their mistake. Jesus is more interested in clean hearts than clean hands.

A Prayer: "Lord Jesus, help me not to be a person whose initial tendency is to find fault with what someone else is doing. Help me first to look for the good, and if any fault remains, then grant me wisdom to know how to address it lovingly."

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

]]> (George O. Wood) Featured Church & Ministry Spirit Fri, 25 Sep 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Why Do Christians Compete With One Another for Position?

When I lived in Malaysia, I was given the opportunity to go to a conference in Bangkok, Thailand. While there we rode a tuk tuk, which is a Thai taxi, down to the plaza where they were selling anything and everything you could think of. With the Thai Baht being 36 to 1 against the U.S. dollar, we felt like millionaires in that place with our minimal money. While there, I found a T-shirt that I liked and it said 'SAME SAME' on the front and 'BUT DIFFERENT' on the back.

Little did I know how true these words were in so many areas of life. As I was blessed to travel to a variety of international cities, like Bali, Indonesia; Singapore; Phuket, Thailand; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I came to realize that all cities, cultures and even people are same same, but different.

One of the challenges Christians around the world face is competition in the body of the Christ. People are competing for pulpits, positions and people. We measure success by the size of our church, the title we carry, the amount of money in our bank account or the places we have been and experiences we have had.

Whether in one of the large churches in Nigeria or small house churches in China, believers are battling the same voices that seek to put them in competition with one another, rather than in complimenting each other. It is same same, but different in the church just like in the world. But this should not be, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are to be the light of the world, not the echo of the darkness.

Mark 10:45 says, "For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

Every human being that is called by the name of Jesus Christ is the same, we have the same calling, we carry the same value, we are all called to be servants, but we are different in our function. There is only one calling for a believer and that is to be a servant, but there are a variety of functions that this calling operates out of. In the kingdom of God, there is no hierarchy, no competition, because we are all servants of the Most High God and each other.

Jesus' calling was to be a servant, but His function was to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and die for the sins of the world. Even though His function changed throughout His life from carpenter's assistant to Rabbi, His calling as a servant never did. That is why John 13 says that Jesus, knowing who He was, took a towel and began to wash His disciple's feet. He knew He was called to be a servant, so whatever function He did had no relevance to His value.

Every person has the same value in the eyes of God, He values us as servants, sons, daughters, and no one has more value than another to God, so where does the challenge arise? The challenge comes because we as people place differing values on differing functions.

We have been taught that the function of apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, evangelist, president, pope or CEO has more value than that of dishwasher, domestic engineer, street sweeper, or janitor. We decide what functions have what value and so we jockey for position, we speak of promotions, and we have an identity crisis when our function changes, because we see value in function. But God only places value on calling, the calling to be a servant.

If you think about it, every function is just a different way of being a servant. We could end the battle of pride, envy, jealousy and jockeying for position if we realized we all have the same calling, the same value, but different functions and responsibilities.

Galatians 5:25-26 says, "Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let's keep in perfect sync with God's Spirit. This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride and envy" (VOICE).

We are the same same, but different.

Lisa Great is an author, speaker and blogger with Mouthpiece Ministries International. She has been in ministry for over 25 years, she has a BA in Youth and Family Studies, a MA in Education. She can be reached at;; or on her Facebook page Lisa Great

]]> (Lisa Great) Featured Women Life Fri, 25 Sep 2015 13:00:00 -0400
8 Ways to Look at Yourself Through God's Eyes

You can learn a lot from not knowing anything about science.

Let me explain.

The other day, Kenny asked me whether a "space storm" was the same thing as a black hole. Not knowing what a space storm was, I asked him, "What is a space storm?"

"Well," Kenny said, "it does such-and-such."

"No, not what does it do, but what is it?" I asked.

Again, Kenny tried to answer by telling me the things that happened within a space storm.

"Kenny," I said, "What is it composed of? What is its essence?"

"Hmm," Kenny said. "Well...I don't know."

I don't blame him. It's much harder to define a thing's essence than it is to discuss what the thing does.

Could you define yourself in regards to your own essence? Could you describe yourself, apart from anyone you know, anything you own, or anything you do?

There are many reasons why we sometimes get confused as to who we really are. Past sins can seem to define us, because we can't forget them. I'm the person who ...

Present occupations or roles in life seem like they are perfectly adequate for classifying us. I'm a student. I'm a lawyer. I'm a mom.

Or maybe it's what we own that imparts to us an identity: I'm rich. Or our talents: I'm a singer. Or our physical attributes: I'm pretty.

All of these things may be true. We all have sins in our past. We all have roles in the present. And we all have adjectives that describe us.

But none of those things is who we are.

What, then, is our identity?

My friend, if you are "in Christ"—in other words, if you have a personal relationship with Jesus—here is your identity:

You are clean (John 15:3). "Liar" or "adulteress" or "drug user" is not your identity.

You are healed (Isaiah 53:5). "Wounded" is not your identity.

You are chosen (Colossians 3:12). "Unwanted" is not your identity.

You are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are no longer who you used to be.

You are capable (Philippians 4:13). "Not good enough" is not your identity.

You are powerful where once you were weak (2 Corinthians 12:10). "Helpless" or "ineffective" is not your identity.

You are victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57). "Loser" is not your identity.

May I offer you a few more?

You are Christ's friend (John 15:15). You are complete (Colossians 2:10). You are a daughter of light (1 Thessalonians 5:5), anointed by God (1 John 2:27), and a joint heir with Christ to all God's riches (Romans 8:17). You have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Let no earthly thing define you—not what you've done, not what others say you are, not whom you know or what talents you possess.

You are far more than any of these things.

You are who God says you are.

By Megan

]]> (Megan Breedlove) Featured Women Life Fri, 25 Sep 2015 11:00:00 -0400