Charisma Magazine | Informing Christians from Spirit-filled Perspective. Sat, 10 Oct 2015 11:26:47 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb 3 Vital Truths About Supernatural Healing

It sounds absurd, but I have come to the realization that a large portion of the body of Christ has this twisted belief that God is cruel and steals life and our loved ones from us. 

Do you feel confused about what to believe concerning healing? Many people are unsure these days about what to believe anymore. And rightly so. When we remove the standard of God's Word, and teach from human opinion and experience instead of what God says concerning healing then, yes, people will be confused about healing.

I remember many years ago, I did not have the revelation that it was God's will to heal. Even though I heard some amazing healing testimonies, I just didn't understand that it was for all of God's people.

I can look back into my memory and see myself on my knees in our living room begging, pleading and even bargaining with God and making desperate promises that if He would spare the life of my child and allow him to be born full-term that I would never have another child. It sounds absurd, but I have come to the realization that a large portion of the body of Christ has this twisted belief that God is cruel and steals life and our loved ones from us.  

But when we choose to make God's Word our standard, we eliminate doubt and confusion and give people a spiritual foundation on which to base their faith so that they can believe and receive their supernatural healing from the Lord.

We are instructed in Ephesians 6:14 to gird our waist with truth. It is always our responsibility to study the Word of truth and to wrap our lives within it. This will keep the contamination of false doctrine out and the security of God's truth in.

There are many Scriptures in both the Old Testament and the New Testament that support supernatural healing, but I will give you just three for now to start you on your journey of truth about healing.

  • "Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed" (Is. 53:4-5).

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

  • "When He was in a certain city, a man full of leprosy, upon seeing Jesus, fell on his face and begged Him, 'Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.' He reached out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I will. Be clean.' And immediately the leprosy left him" (Luke 5:12-13).

Click here for more healing Scriptures.

Becky Dvorak is a healing minister and the Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe and Greater Than Magic. Visit her at Becky travels around the world and ministers with signs and wonders following. Check out her Events Calendar to see if she will be ministering in your area. Most events are free of charge, and all are welcome to come.

]]> (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Fri, 09 Oct 2015 18:00:00 -0400
How Do Believers Complete the Reformation?

It was the same vision again and again, and Derek Frank was getting more than a little frustrated by it. Frank was on staff at a large charismatic church in England.

It was the late 1980s at the height of the charismatic renewal movement when visions and interpretations were common. Yet "no one could interpret mine," Frank says.

Each time he saw the same thing: a large building with an imposing Greek-style entrance with pillars, steps and a cobblestone courtyard. The people going in and out were dressed in medieval clothing. The scene changed to the 21st century with people wearing headsets while attending a conference.

"The vision always ended with the command to 'complete the Reformation,'" Frank says.

Finally, Frank asked God to either explain the recurring vision and command, or stop showing it to him. God answered—by stopping the vision.

Fast forward a few years. Frank was in Geneva, Switzerland, walking in the old part of the city when he saw something that shocked him. "In front of me, precise to the last detail, was the very building I had seen so often in my vision," he says. It was the Cathedral of St. Pierre, seat of John Calvin's Reformation.

That Calvin, Frank knew, was a contemporary of another great reformer, Martin Luther. Could God be saying, Frank wondered, that the reformers of the 16th century had left something unfinished, something that remains to this day—and that He wanted Frank to help complete it? But what?

Frank began a journey studying the Reformation, what it accomplished and what it might possibly have left incomplete. He knew that the reformers—Luther, Calvin and many others—reversed many of the abuses, sinful practices and erroneous beliefs of the medieval church. Luther, for example, revolutionized what had been accepted church theology by insisting that the Bible says we are saved not by works but by grace alone. He was imprisoned because he fought for the right of people to read the Bible in their own language.

Likewise, Calvin contributed greatly to the Reformation. As "supreme governor" of Geneva, he used scriptural principles to transform a city filled with crime and corruption into a model city. Isaiah 33:22, for example, became the basis for developing Geneva's legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

In that respect, Frank knew that these and other reformers were to be commended. Yet he found another alarming belief that the reformers not only didn't stop but actually perpetrated: anti-Semitism. Frank found shocking evidence that Luther, Calvin and other reformers disliked Jews.

Luther, for example, who once fought the papacy because of its oppression against the Jews, eventually turned against the Jews himself. He wrote a 65,000-word book called The Jews and Their Lies in which he called Jews "stupid fools," "miserable," "blind," "senseless" and "thieves and robbers." In the book, he urged the authorities to "eject them forever from this country ... do not grant them protection (or) safe conduct."

In the same book, Luther openly urged Christians "first to set fire to (Jews') synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord ... so that God might see that we are Christians.... Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed."

Frank learned that Calvin was anti-Semitic too. While he purposely designed Geneva to be a city of refuge, there was no refuge there for Jews, who at the time were persecuted throughout Europe.

Calvin wrote the Jews' "rotten and unbending stiff-neckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone." He also wrote that Scriptures such as "and so all Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:26) do not refer to Israel itself. Instead he said, "The Israel of God is what Paul calls the church."

Today, this belief is known as "replacement theology," meaning that God broke His covenant with the Jews and instead gave it to the church.

Anti-Semitism in the Church

As Frank read these and other instances of open anti-Semitism among the reformers, he could not forget God's command to him to "complete the Reformation." In 2014, he and his wife, Francoise, and their filmmaker daughter, Vanessa, produced a docudrama called Let the Lion Roar ( The film exposes the anti-Semitism of the early church reformers, shows how it still affects the church today and urges believers to "complete the Reformation" by reversing the anti-Semitism and replacement theology that still exist in the church.

The title comes from Amos 3:8. "The lion has roared—who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken—who can but prophesy?"

The film includes cameo appearances by Sid Roth, Chuck Pierce, Robert Stearns, Jim Goll, Jaci Velasquez, Paul Wilbur, Boede Thoene, Mark Biltz, Stephen Baldwin, Don Finto, Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, Kevin Sorbo and others. The film has been shown in 49 nations and will be in Christian bookstores in early 2016.

"We actually toned down a lot of what we could have said," says the film's director, Vanessa Frank, "and used only 10 percent of what we could have used. The list of leaders goes on and on. We depict a little of what they said, but it doesn't do justice to the volume of sermons telling people (to commit) full-on anti-Semitic hate crimes—telling them to set fire to synagogues and worse."

Adds actor Brad Stine, who plays Ambrose of Milan: "This film deals with some very well-known, famous and important founders and fathers of church history who also had these incredibly anti-Semitic moments. Frankly, it's shocking. (But) if you're a Christian, you should know what you believe. You've committed your life to this thing; you need to know all of its flaws. These were brilliant men who could also be brilliantly wrong."

"Centuries later," says Vanessa Frank, "Hitler said he was only continuing what the church had been doing for 1,500 years. Most historians recognize that what went on in World War II would not have happened if people had not been indoctrinated that one of the most influential people of their nation—Luther—taught the persecution of Jews. That's the culture in which World War II was able to take place."

The Necessity of Reform

Earlier this year the Franks were at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tennessee. While waiting for breakfast one morning, they talked with Jani Salokangas, the marketing and young adults director of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ). They told him about Derek's visions and the resulting film.

Now it was Salokangas' turn to be stunned. He'd recently had three vivid dreams in which a man sat at a desk writing fervently for days at a time, which turned to months and years.

"His ink is writing history," Salokangas remembers. "This message is about to transform nations." Finally, the man rises from his desk and leaves the room with his masterpiece, "yet the air is suddenly filled with a heavy dread of a work unfinished. Something must have been forgotten."

As the man leaves, Salokangas sees what is left behind on the desk: a small, solitary star of David. Salokangas knew the man in his dream was Luther.

"Luther's anti-Semitism would blind him to one of the great truths (that) remain buried by the Reformation: that God still has reserved a central place for the Jews in His redemptive plan for the world," Salokangas says. "Israel's restoration simply lay forgotten on Luther's desk. This left a crack in the Reformation's foundation, which has hindered many Christians from seeing the full scope of God's redemptive purpose."

At the same time God was highlighting to the Franks the necessity of reformation, He was also speaking it to ICEJ. In fact, ICEJ had already planned that "reformation" would be the theme of its annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration and conference in Jerusalem this fall, which thousands of believers attend from all over the world. There are many areas where the church desperately needs reform, says ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler, and one of them is that "the early church's understanding of God's enduring purposes for Israel and our connection to the Jewish people must be brought back to mainstream Christianity today."

How Did This Happen?

How in the world did anti-Semitism infiltrate the church?

After all, when the church was born on Pentecost in Acts 2, it was almost 100 percent Jewish. The 2,000 new believers who were swept up by the power of the Holy Spirit that day were nearly all Jews. They realized that Jesus (Yeshua to them) was the Messiah, and they didn't give up their Jewishness or become Christians. They remained Jewish, as believers in Jesus, and kept their customs, feasts and their Jewishness. They were not "converted" to Christianity. In fact, unbelievers were converted to Judaism—Messianic Judaism.

The church continued this way for 300 years. "When Constantine came to power, however, all this began to change," says Dr. Robert Heidler, author of The Messianic Church Arising. "Like many Romans, Constantine hated the Jewish people. ... (He) determined to establish the paganized Christianity of Rome and Alexandria as the standard for the entire church. Every church in the empire was commanded to conform to this non-Messianic standard. Those who would not conform were severely persecuted."

The shift intensified as the church began to twist Scriptures like Genesis 12; Jeremiah 31:36; Isaiah 60:3, 61:6 and 62:1-2; Hosea 2:14-16; Zephaniah 3:14-17, 8:14-15 and dozens more where God promised He would never break His covenant with the Jews.

Instead, church leaders preached that God was angry with Jews for "rejecting" Jesus, saying He not only withdrew His covenant from them, but gave it to the church instead. They "replaced" Jews with the church—and replacement theology was born. Frank calls it the "great deception."

Anti-Semitism in Today's Church

Well into the 21st century, many mainline denominations and even some charismatic churches still believe the lie of replacement theology and actively preach it from the pulpit.

Let the Lion Roar director Vanessa Frank once attended a church that taught replacement theology, and she just assumed it was true. Then she went to a conference where a speaker laid out the fallacy of that belief.

"He said if God would renege on that promise, what does that say about His character?" she remembers. "If He reneges on His promises to the Jews, what does that mean for His promises to Gentiles?"

Frank hopes the film will stimulate debate and cause believers to ask questions about things they've assumed to be true. Responses to the film have been "polarizing," she says.

The message the film shares is "a very, very, very hard message to swallow," she says.

"It's a very offensive message—the message of God choosing Israel and His eternal love for Israel. It's offending today (just) as it was 2,000 years ago and even further back in the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For many people, it's not what they want to hear."

Is This Really Important?

Many well-meaning Christians who respect Israel nonetheless feel that focusing on Israel and replacement theology is not a critical issue when there are so many other more immediate crises facing the church. They argue it is a minor issue and a distraction.

Three reasons point to why this theological view is significant.

First, "replacement theology always leads to anti-Semitism," says Ron Cantor, author of Identity Theft. "(It) means we get the promises, (but) Jews keep the curses. ... While (some) claim that you can be replacement and not anti-Semitic, history would testify that eventually it always leads to the death of Jews."

Many Christians today "are absolutely not anti-Semites, and they would never sanction the persecution of the Jewish people in Jesus' name," adds Dr. Michael Brown, author of Our Hands Are Stained With Blood. "But the sad fact of history is that it is this very theology that opened up the door to centuries of 'Christian' anti-Semitism in the past, and it is threatening to open up that ugly door once again in the present."

Second, replacement theology disempowers the church by disconnecting it from its roots.

"The devil can't reverse the fact that the Jewish Messiah has come," says Derek Frank. "He can't reverse the resurrection, that the church is the light of the world and has inside them the light of the world, or that they are a people who turn the world upside down. The devil couldn't reverse that, but he could disconnect believers from their roots. A tree whose roots are damaged doesn't pull up what it is supposed to. Therefore the fruit is damaged and the tree can't stand when the storms come. This is the devil's strategy of replacement theology. Once you buy that lie, you disempower the church."

Third, if replacement theology is true, then God is not a covenant keeper but a covenant breaker. If He broke His word in this instance, then everything else He said eventually can be discounted.

A rising movement within the church says it is time to complete the work of the Reformation by exposing the lie of replacement theology and ending the sin of anti-Semitism in the church.

Exactly two years from now—in October 2017—the church will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. It is time, this movement says, to complete the work that the reformers left unfinished.

Diana Scimone is a journalist who has written extensively for Charisma for more than 25 years, particularly on issues of justice, global missions and the move of Holy Spirit among persecuted Christians. She is founder and president of the Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking and author of Audacious and numerous children's books including Born to Fly and the Adventures With PawPaw series.

Sid Roth discusses how acting in Let the Lion Roar stirred up a deeper compassion for his Jewish people at

]]> (Diana Scimone) Featured Revival Spirit Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:00:00 -0400
Jim Bakker's Powerful Story Embodies God's Redemptive and Merciful Love

I have known Jim Bakker since the heydays of PTL in the late 1970s. I wrote a Charisma cover story about him in May 1983 after traveling to the relatively new Heritage USA to get a behind-the-scenes look at what was then an increasingly controversial ministry.

Readers might remember that things spun out of control only four years later for PTL and Jim Bakker. This downward spiral came after allegations of financial wrongdoing—mostly "overselling" so-called timeshares—and after his denomination defrocked him when a short-lived extra-marital affair hit the newspapers.

If that wasn't bad enough, PTL eventually went bankrupt and Jim's wife, Tammy Faye, divorced him and married his best friend. Jim went to prison for five years.

In short, Jim Bakker lost everything.

But unlike many high-profile people who become caught up in a public scandal or spend time incarcerated, Jim found humility. His famous book about his ordeal sums up his journey in its three-word title: I Was Wrong. While in prison, the job of the man who had met with U.S. presidents and had run one of the largest non-profit ministries in the nation was to clean toilets. But, he used whatever spare time he had to diligently study the Word. That's what really changed him.

The miracle is that, after all this, Jim Bakker has rebounded. I saw this firsthand when I visited him at his new facilities near Branson, Missouri this week.   

As a Christian journalist, I have covered Jim Bakker for many years. I knew many people from his PTL ministry. I knew Tammy Faye—who has since passed away—and her new husband.  Even so, I could never be counted among his inner circle of friends. However, I did consider him a friend.  

After his release from prison, Jim and I went to dinner once when he visited Orlando. It was my way of reaching out to a broken man. His fortunes were so low that the dinner invitation took him by surprise.

He slowly began to put his life back together. He lived in a one-room apartment at the Pastor Tommy Barnett-founded L.A. Dream Center. I visited the Dream Center in the early days and wrote about it. I remember meeting Bakker there and meeting his lovely new wife, Lori Graham Bakker. We did a story on her life where she admitted to having five abortions and about how God had healed her and used her testimony for good.

Jim has now built a new ministry near Branson called Morningside. It has a hotel and condominiums, campgrounds, a media school, television studios and many other amenities. Everything is done with excellence and Bakker has assembled a top-notch team.

I couldn't help but draw parallels to what Bakker did at PTL. Only this time, everything is paid for. And while everything is nice, no one can call what he's done opulent (a word often used to describe things at PTL).

For me, however, the amazing thing is that Jim Bakker has rebounded. He is now 75 and he works 16-hour days. He seems to have more energy than men half his age. Most people who experience the enormous loss Jim Bakker has experienced would have given up and rotted away somewhere out of sight. Not Jim Bakker. He learned whatever lesson he needed to learn, and believed God that he could dream again.

Historians will spend decades dissecting the life of Jim Bakker. He is a very complex man, yet he's also a great man. Maybe he went too far at PTL. Maybe he wasn't accountable. Obviously, he made some big mistakes. Yet in my opinion he did no more wrong (and a whole lot less) than hundreds of other leaders who either didn't get caught or had only a minor setback. However, Jim Bakker lost everything.

To some, his name still exemplifies the worst in flamboyant Pentecostal preachers. He has been criticized for his focus on end-time prophecy and encouraging people to prepare for hard times by storing food or having backup generators. He's not a perfect man and he's the first to admit it (but then who among us is perfect?).

But he's not a quitter. He has come back after he lost everything except his life. And that should be an encouragement to everyone who reads this or who watches him on TV. That's because all of us will face loss of some sort—even loved ones. Some might face an unhappy marriage or deal with wayward children. Some might lose a job, struggle through a bankruptcy or face serious illness like cancer. 

While your loss might not be as bad as Jim Bakker's, it probably will hurt as much as his loss did him! At your lowest point, take comfort that God can give back your dream and help you rebuild your life as he did with Jim Bakker.

We recorded a couple of television programs while I visited Morningside. The first is scheduled to air Monday, October 19. I hope you will watch.  

At the end of the program, Jim Bakker stood and looked at the camera and said something that's not cliche—it's something he knows from the depth of his soul: "God loves you—He really does!"

]]> (Steve Strang ) Featured The Strang Report Blogs Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:00:00 -0400
5 Things Kids Need to Hear After Their Parents' Divorce

My wife and I separated three years ago. Honestly, it could have happened sooner, but for several years I was paralyzed by fear. I wanted to avoid hurting my three boys the way my dad's leaving had hurt me, and I was really afraid that I might lose touch with my children.

It's been a hard transition for all of us. At the same time, some really great things have happened. One is that my love for my kids is as strong as ever—and they know it. And their love for me has grown. Our relationships are strong.

I've learned some things about being a great divorced dad, especially about communication. Here are my five best pieces of advice for fellow divorced dads about talking with your kids after the divorce—things your kids need to hear from you:

1. "Nothing is off limits." Let your kids know it's OK to talk about the divorce, and open doors for this to happen. I know many of us men aren't great at talking about our feelings, or those of our children. But this is crucial to helping them (and ourselves) through the most difficult parts of the inevitable life-altering changes that divorce brings.

I've made this commitment to myself and I communicate it to my boys: No conversation or question is out of bounds. I may not be able to fully answer every question, but I'll do my best to address it while still trying to honor and respect their mother.

2. "It's been a while since we talked about this." I'm very intentional about bringing up this topic at regular intervals—every month or so for the first six months, and then less often as time goes on and everyone begins to adjust to the new normal. But even now, three years later, I still occasionally bring it up and ask. I want to stay current with how my three teenage sons are doing.

For example, the other night during dinner, I simply said, "Hey guys, it's been a while since we talked about Mom and Dad's divorce, and with all the changes over the past few years, I just want to check in and see how you're feeling about it. It's always OK to talk with me about anything you may be thinking, feeling or going through." I then gave each of them time to express themselves, ask questions and simply talk freely. We discussed it for a bit, and they seemed satisfied.

Then I assured them of how much I love them, miss them and want to be a good dad for them. It was a little bit awkward, but mostly it felt right. And my boys all thanked me and said, "We do want to talk about it, but we never know how to start." Your kids may feel the same way; they may just need you to give them the opportunity and freedom to talk. So don't ignore the divorce as if it never happened; open that door occasionally, even if it's hard for you. It's important to talk about it. If your kids are young, they may not talk much, but you can still share with them how much you love them and how committed you are to them.

3. "It hurts me too." It's important for your kids to know that you don't take all the changes and challenges lightly and that you miss them as much as they miss you. Share your heart about this and tell them often. Initiate it.

4. "It's not your fault." Children often feel responsible for their parents' divorce, especially if they're young. They might blame themselves, thinking that if they behaved better in some way, they could bring their family back together. It's their way of making sense of a difficult and complex situation.

That's why your kids need to hear again and again that the divorce had nothing to do with them; this was a problem between Mom and Dad, and it was not their fault in any way. Keep repeating that to them, even when you know they're sick of hearing it. Ask them to repeat it back to you to make sure they get it.

5. "Everything is going to be OK." Remind your kids regularly that, though there are many changes going on, change is not always a bad thing. In fact, many good things grow out of the soil of change. Assure them often: "Mom and Dad both love you very much, we always will, and things will turn out just fine."

Using these five statements and having these kinds of conversations with your kids can help you build fantastic relationships and give them the perspective and the affirmation they need during a tough situation.

You can still be a great dad after a divorce. Don't ever give up! There is always hope because you will always be your children's dad, no matter what. And they will never stop loving you. It's never too late to turn this around, even if you haven't done these things up until now. There's no time like the present to begin. {eoa}

Keith Zafren lives in Kentucky and is founder of The Great Dads Project and author of the award-winning book, How to Be a Great Dad—No Matter What Kind of Father You Had. He teaches practical fathering skills and offers personal coaching to fathers, including his FREE video training course for busy fathers who want to be great dads. Keith has spent 17 years learning firsthand how to raise three great kids—now all teenagers—and stay close to them, no matter what.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Keith Zafren) Featured Men Life Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Study: Early Detection Keys Breast Cancer Survival

Even with recent strides in breast cancer treatment, a woman's chances of surviving the disease still partly depend on early detection, a new study says.

The study of nearly 174,000 Dutch breast cancer patients found that survival rates improved between 1999 and 2012—and that included women with more advanced cancer.

Still, women's survival odds were best when their tumors were caught early, the researchers reported in the Oct. 6 issue of the medical journal BMJ.

"The general prospects for a woman diagnosed with breast cancer in the Western world are very good," said lead researcher Dr. Madeleine Tilanus-Linthorst, of Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Her team found that among women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2006 and 2012, the five-year survival rate was 88 percent. That compared with 83 percent among women diagnosed with the cancer between 1999 and 2005, the study said.

The brighter outlook extended to women with more advanced cancer. Among those with larger tumors—more than 2 inches across—the research revealed that the five-year survival rate rose from 63 percent to 73 percent.

However, the smaller a woman's tumor at diagnosis, the better the outlook. Of women diagnosed in more recent years, nearly all survived at least five years if their tumor was caught when it was less than three-quarters of an inch across, the study found.

In fact, their five-year survival rates were comparable to those of an average woman their age who'd never been diagnosed with breast cancer, the study showed.

"Catching the cancer early is still highly important," Tilanus-Linthorst said.

Of the women diagnosed between 2006 and 2012, she noted, 65 percent had their tumors caught when they were still less than three-quarters of inch in size.

Dr. Harold Burstein cowrote an editorial published with the study. "The cancers caught these days are smaller and better-behaved when you look at them under a microscope," said Burstein, an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. 

"And this study shows that even with the treatment advances of recent years, tumor size still matters," he said. 

That might sound unsurprising, Burstein noted. But the substantial improvements in breast cancer treatment in the past decade or so have raised the question: Is early detection as important as it used to be?

Those treatment advances include "targeted" drugs such as Herceptin that zero in on specific abnormal proteins found in certain breast tumors; wider use of hormonal therapies that lower the risk of a breast cancer recurrence; and better chemotherapy regimens, according to the study.

In this study, women diagnosed with breast cancer in more recent years were more likely to receive those treatments. They were also more likely to receive "breast conserving" surgery—where only the tumor and some surrounding tissue are removed—and less likely to undergo a mastectomy, the study found.

Even with those therapy changes, though, tumor size at diagnosis remained a key factor in a woman's outlook, the researchers said.

And that, Burstein said, underscores the value of mammography screening.

The study did not actually look at the effects of breast cancer screening, Burstein pointed out. "But," he said, "I think this indirectly supports mammography screening."

That's important, he said, because the benefits of mammography screening have been debated in recent years, especially when it comes to women younger than 50.

In the United States, mammography guidelines vary. The American Cancer Society and some other groups suggest yearly mammograms starting at age 40.

However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) suggests that women begin screening at age 50, and continue every two years. Women in their 40s are advised to weigh the pros and cons of screening.

The "cons" include false-positive mammography results that lead to invasive testing—as well as unnecessary treatment of tiny tumors that would never progress to threaten a woman's life, according to the USPSTF.

The "pros," Burstein noted, include catching and treating tiny tumors that would have threatened a woman's life. {eoa}

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

]]> (Thomson Reuters Staff) Featured Health Life Fri, 09 Oct 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Prophetic Destiny: 3 More Tests of an Overcomer

Get ready to step into a new season.

September 13-15 marked the beginning of a new year on the Jewish calendar (5776). While nowadays we use the Greco-Roman calendar system, I feel the Jewish calendar has prophetic significance, and I always sense something stirring in the spirit around this time of year.

Usually coinciding with Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), September is also a significant month for me personally: It's when I got married to the love of my life, when I was ordained and when I received a prophetic dream to move to Los Angeles.

This Jewish New Year is extra special because it is the Year of Jubilee. On the Jewish calendar, years are observed in seven-year cycles, with a sabbatical year on the seventh year. Then at the culmination of every seven cycles (a total of 49 years) comes the 50th year: the Year of Jubilee, when all agricultural work ceased, all land was returned to its original owner and all slaves were released into freedom! (See Leviticus 25:8-24.)

God wants to unload His immeasurable blessings on you in this New Year!

If you want to walk in the fullness of what God is doing, you must partner with His prophetic plan both for the church as a whole and for your own journey of faith.

On Tuesday, I shared the first two tests you must overcome to see your prophetic dream come to pass as you pursue your God-given destiny. Today let's take a look at the next three:

3. The Purity Test. In Genesis 39 the story of Joseph continues as he faced a test that every person has to go through: the purity test.

"Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he refused" (Gen. 39:6-8).

Joseph passed the purity test with flying colors. What was his secret? He had the right perspective that was aligned with the fear of the Lord: "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Gen. 39:9).

If you want God's blessing and favor, you must flee from immorality—and run straight to the Lord!

4. The Prison Test. The next phase of Joseph's journey was another test of character. After being falsely accused of rape, Joseph was sent to the king's prison (Gen. 39:17-20). There he was sustained by the Lord as he kept his heart from bitterness due to injustice.

To overcome the prison test, you must persevere and hold onto hope that is anchored in God. Perseverance means fighting the battle while you are waiting.

Perseverance produces character (Rom. 5:3-5), and character is the key to supporting your destiny. Deep character comes through deep trials.

5. The Prosperity Test. Finally, through a series of God-orchestrated events—including extraordinary prophetic insight that came through the interpretation of dreams (Gen. 40-41)—Joseph came into a place of power and influence as his prophetic destiny unraveled (Gen. 40:38-44).

The final test boils down to how you handle prosperity and favor when it's given to you. It's not just about reaching your destiny but what you do with your destiny.

When God prospers you, it's your responsibility to intentionally give Him all the glory.

Joseph's story is a tale of trials and testing, but it's also a testimony of God's faithfulness to complete the work He started.

God has a dream for you! His thoughts for you are higher than yours, and you are called to greatness in His Kingdom! {eoa}

Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the Founding Pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the Founder and President of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Che Ahn) Featured Prophetic Insight Blogs Fri, 09 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Real Hope for a Marriage on the Rocks

What can you do when you're at the end of your rope, when you've tried everything to get your marriage back on track and nothing is working? Giving up might seem like your only option.

That was the experience of Hans and Star Molegraaf. After only a few years of marriage, things seemed absolutely hopeless. But that's often the point when God gets to do what only He can do.

We encourage you to listen to their amazing story of how God did a miraculous work of restoration in their lives. We have loved getting to know Hans and Star. Their story inspired us as nothing we have ever heard before. We hope it will do the same for you.

Listen to the podcast. {eoa}

Barrett Johnson leads a national parachurch family ministry and blogs at He recently released his second book, Your Imperfect and Normal Family.

]]> (Barrett Johnson) Featured Women Life Fri, 09 Oct 2015 13:00:00 -0400
3 Big Reasons the Grace Message Needs Balance

Over the past couple years, I have walked through a season of great brokenness.

Upon the first blow, my response was resentment. I grew bitter and judgmental. Pride distorted my vision and to myself I appeared more holy, more righteous and more acceptable to God.

Self-righteousness does that. It distorts your vision until, in your own eyes, you are the only right one.

Then in 2012 God took me on a journey through 1 Corinthians 13, showing me how this passage speaks to the church, about how our relationship with the body of Christ needs to be.

Suddenly the true grace of Jesus Christ became more real to me than ever before.

I had been focused on God's holiness and righteousness to a point that couldn't see His grace and love!

Suddenly I was seeing Jesus in a whole new way!

Now my relationship with Him took on a whole new dimension.

But in the joy of my new discovery of grace, My heart wanted to go to a new extreme.

I fought hard to keep the pendulum from swinging too far in the other direction of hyper-grace, which isn't really grace at all.

This is important, because there is a great tendency in the body of Christ today to label certain actions grace when they are not grace, while labeling the antithesis judgement when it is not judgment.

It is as if grace and judgment are two camps that are mutually exclusive and divided by an abyss.

But as wise believers who walk in the fear of the Lord, we must find a balance where we walk in true grace that is not afraid to call sin what it is, but still extends loving arms to the world and a brother in sin; that sends out a clarion call for holiness in the church while extending grace to a weak member of the body; that refuses to allow society to determine what is right or wrong and yet sees the world around them with the same compassion Jesus had.

Men and women of God who will weep over the lost, broken and fallen with true agape love!

3 Reasons Why Grace Must Have Balance

1. Without balance it becomes permissive. When grace is not balanced by the holiness and righteousness of God, it grows permissive. Permissiveness is not the nature of God. Nowhere in the Bible do we see that God permits sin. Ever.

In fact, we see just the opposite. The Bible tells us to be holy as He is holy. It says, "Therefore be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).

The requirement for heaven is perfection.

And all of this would be discouraging for us, if not impossible, if it were not for grace,

Grace enables to do what we could not otherwise do!

Through grace, God forgave our sins, when the penalty should have been death. But He didn't stop there; grace is in abundant measure to us each day so that we have the power to reject sin and embrace holy living.

Grace doesn't say, "To err is human. So don't worry about it."

It says, "To err is human, but you have Almighty God dwelling in you, so you can rise above sin and live holy!"

That is grace!

2. Without balance it negates Christ's sacrifice. When grace is not balanced by righteousness and holiness, it permits a measure of sin and insults the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

If God is prepared to look the other way when we sin, why did He reject His Son on the cross?

Furthermore, why did Jesus die at all?

If some sin is permitted under grace, who decides which sin is permitted and which sin isn't, and on what verses do we base this assumption?

And if it's true that some sin is permitted or able to be swept under the rug of grace, then what do we do about heaven? The Bible teaches that perfection is the requirement.

Grace—true grace—enables us to walk in the power that Christ purchased for us when He descended into hell as a victorious warrior and ripped the keys of death, hell and the grave from Satan's slimy talons!

"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit that lives in you" (Rom. 8:11).

This is grace! God bestowing upon us the power to live a new life – resurrection life!

3. Without balance it keeps people enslaved to sin. When grace is permissive and assumes that God will let certain sins slide, it keeps believers enslaved to sin!

Instead of teaching them the truth that Jesus died to free them from sin, we bind them with chains of deception!

Grace—true grace—breaks these chains with the truth that we have been given the power to live free from sin!

That is what Romans 6-8 is all about.

Paul gave us the key to unlock the chains of sin and walk in the freedom of Jesus' resurrection power!

Yes, he admitted to his own struggle with sin, but he didn't leave it there! He didn't leave us hopeless!

He reminded us that while we live here on earth in an earthly body that is at odds with a spirit that is born again and set free. By the grace of God, we now have the power to choose to walk in freedom!

That is the message of grace!

Not easy-believism.

Not permissiveness.

Rather, grace is the power and authority to reject sin and live in the freedom Jesus purchased on the cross!

Grace is so much more than undeserved favor; it is more than just forgiveness of sin. This definition without the rest of the truth about grace is like eating the appetizer and leaving out the main dish!

Grace is also the ability to stand in the power and authority given to us by the blood of Jesus Christ against the power of sin. And when we do sin, inadvertently and unintentionally, we know that we already have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ. So we don't have to live under the condemnation of that sin, but have free and full forgiveness right now.

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

]]> (Rosilind Jukic) Featured Women Life Fri, 09 Oct 2015 11:00:00 -0400
4 Things We Need to Change About How We Think

My father became a Christian when he was 83 years old. There were many times throughout the years when I thought, "He will never change!" But I kept praying for him. And thank God, eventually, he did change—he experienced the greatest transformation of all.

To be transformed means you are changed entirely from the inside out. When we become born-again Christians, 2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMP) says we are "a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!"

The Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and He works in us—transforming our mind, will and emotions—so we become more like Jesus day by day. As we grow spiritually, the good work that's happening inside us can be seen through the way we live, and we become testimonies of what God has done.

Sadly, many times people don't believe they can be completely changed. And often they don't believe other people can change. But the only thing that never changes is God (Hebrews 13:8). And He wants us to dare to believe that He "is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]" (Ephesians 3:20, AMP).

The question is what are you expecting God to do for you? Maybe you're having a hard time believing that your kids can change, your marriage can improve or that you can ever lose weight, get a better job or get completely out of debt.

But Jeremiah 29:11 says God's thoughts and plans for us are "for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome." He has a good plan for you, and you can dare to believe He can heal you anywhere you hurt and help you with every problem you face. It's time to start expecting more from God than you've ever believed He would do for you before.

The key to having what God wants you to have is learning to think like He thinks. And Romans 12:2 teaches that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. I've discovered several ways we need to change our thinking so we can live with the mind of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:6).

We need to change our thinking about ...

  • God. It's so important for us to know who God really is. He's not an angry God, and He's not "harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant" (Matthew 11:30). God loves you, and if you know how much He loves you right now, then you'll have hope that the things in your life that need to change can be changed.
  • Ourselves. If you don't like yourself, you're going to have difficulty in every area of your life. Don't demand perfection from yourself. No one is perfect, and no matter what we do, we usually don't think it's enough: we don't pray enough, work hard enough, study the Bible enough, etc. God spoke to my heart one day and told me, "Joyce, you're never enough, but I'm always more than enough." That's why Jesus came! Believe that, in Christ, there's more right than wrong with you, and you can do whatever you need to do in life through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 15:5; Philippians 4:13).
  • Trials, or the hard, painful things we go through in life. Habakkuk 3:19 says God is our strength and He will help us to "walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make spiritual progress upon [our] high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!" James 1:2-4 encourages us to "consider it wholly joyful...whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials," because "the trial and proving of your faith" are what God works through to make us "fully developed ... lacking in nothing."
  • The level of importance we put on what others think about us. It's easy to let what others do and say affect us, and to feel like "If you don't like me, my day is ruined." But the truth is, if we're more concerned with being a people-pleaser than a God-pleaser, we won't become what God created us to be and do what He's calling us to do (Galatians 1:10).

I want to encourage you to study Scriptures that reveal God's true character and His heart for you. And dare to believe that there's nothing in your life He can't change—including you!

Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and The Mind Connection (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, 09 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Are You at Your Wits' End?

I received a phone call recently from a dear friend. Panicked, she began to tell me that she felt as if she were at her wits' end.

I instantly related to her words. I have used that phrase before, haven't you? In fact, I believe we're in a season right now that the enemy would love to have us confess that we are hopeless and helpless, even feeling as if we were losing our minds! But that is a lie.

Let's examine where this phrase originated and then we will discuss the fact that God wants us focused on His ability to empower us and equip us to experience victory and finish well.

Have you even wondered where that idiom came from: "I'm at my wits' end?" Actually, it means that you've been worried and upset and have tried every which way you knew to solve a problem, but you couldn't solve it! Sometimes people might say, "I'm at the end of my wits!" It still means the same—you've tried everything, you're upset and you've reached your limitations, both emotionally and mentally, while attempting to complete a task or solve a problem.

Are You at Your Wits' End?

Believer, amazingly, the phrase originated in the King James Version of the Bible and is documented in Psalm 107:27: "They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end." This verse is referring to people who go back and forth in their devotion and passion to the Lord. I believe that we are in a season when the enemy is trying to quench our passion by trying to wear us out! We are facing decisions that need answers, building projects that need finances, physical illnesses that need healing, right? Yet, if we do not remain focused on His Word and His truths concerning His ability to watch over His Word and perform it, we might be tempted to waver in our faith and our trust in Him.

The ancient definition of "wit" is "knowledge" and "wisdom." Therefore, we can say that this phrase means that many people could be at the end of their knowledge and wisdom in finding answers and solutions. We all want to fulfill divine purpose and finish well. To us, as believers, it means we must have faith and seek God's divine wisdom for this season and the seasons ahead. It is easy to become frustrated right now, especially with so many different prophetic voices and opposing views concerning these times.

We Need God's Divine Wisdom to Finish Well

Do you know who the wisest man (other than Jesus Christ) that ever lived was? Sure you do: Solomon! This man started his walk with the Lord with tremendous zeal and passion, only to waver later and lose his focus. I want to share something that will keep us on track and help each of us end well.

Solomon was King David's son. When David grew older, God designated Solomon to succeed his father as king. However, Solomon recognized his inability to govern the people of Israel. I suppose you might say he felt "at the end of his wits!" as he attempted to govern well. So, early in his reign, Solomon offered a sacrifice in Gibeon and waited there all night long, hoping to hear from God. Well, as you know, God was faithful and appeared to him in a dream.

God told Solomon that he could ask for anything and God would give it to him. In humility, and I love this part, this young, inexperienced king asked for an "understanding heart" to judge the people. In receiving this, Solomon hoped that he might be empowered to "discern between good and evil." God was so pleased with his request, He not only gave him a wise heart (wisdom), but also he added multitudes of material blessings! (1 Kin. 3:4-13). 

Solomon used this divine wisdom in his handling of the case of a disputed baby (1 Kin. 3:16-27). He identified the real mother in the dispute by threatening to cut the child in half, fully waiting for the child's real mother to relent and give up the child to the other in order to spare her child's life. This is an awesome example of how Solomon had God's wisdom—who would think of that? Yes, it had to originate with God!

We also know that Solomon was knowledgeable in natural science (1 Kin. 4:33) and had general marked levels of intelligence (10:1-9). In the book of Proverbs, we read the demonstration of Solomon's wisdom that we treasure today (Prov. 8:32-36). There is no doubt that Solomon provided us many practical guidelines for successful living. Yet, though for a while he may not have felt he was at his wits' end because he had sought God for wisdom, I believe he was eventually feeling that way later in life when Satan found his Achilles' heel.

Solomon's weakness was when he sinned and disobeyed God's commandments by marrying foreign women. God was explicitly clear about this commandment in Exodus 23:32-33. The issue was this: He married foreign women and then worshipped their foreign gods! Thus, Solomon backslid right into the sin of idolatry.

Believer, whenever we go astray from God's directives, it is Satan's plan to cause us not to use wisdom and, especially, not to finish well. Not putting God first is a form of idolatry. Solomon was given wisdom in response to his asking for wisdom. The same wisdom is available to us. 

James 1:5-6 tells us to ask for it, but always asking in faith that we've received. We will be at our wits' end if we don't put God first and use His wisdom every day of our lives. We are in a season where we must be like Joshua and remain focused on our assignment. Let's talk about Joshua and how he maintained passion to finish well.

Joshua Finished Well

Joshua proves to us that it is wisdom to heed God's commandments and directives. Joshua 1 is one of my favorite passages. The book starts with God telling Joshua that Moses is dead and that it would be he, Joshua, who would lead God's children into their promised land. Several times within the very first chapter, God instructs Joshua to be strong and to have courage.

This tells me that Joshua might have been tempted with fear; after all, he was leading the entire nation across the Jordan River and into their promised land. However, they were going to have to go to war to take that land. Did Joshua and the Israelites need courage? Absolutely! Did they need to remain strong? It was a must-have! But how would Joshua do that? How was Joshua to remain encouraged and have strength to move forward?

God gives more instruction to Joshua, and this, my friends, was his insurance policy. It's our insurance policy, as well, as we move forward and finish well:

"Be strong and very courageous, in order to act carefully in accordance with all the law that My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn aside from it to the right or the left, so that you may succeed wherever you go. This Book of the Law must not depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may act carefully according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way successful, and you will be wise. Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Josh. 1:7-9).

Meditating on God's Word

Dear ones, the way to fulfill destiny and finish our race well is to do just as Joshua had to do. Joshua remained strong and courageous by meditating on the Word of God day and night and doing what the Word said. As New Covenant believers, we are not under the Law of Moses; so for us, today, to be successful is to meditate on the Word of God. To meditate means to "ponder, keep in mind, imagine, speak and utter." This means that we are to keep in mind only what God instructs and says.

To finish this race, remain strong and encouraged, we cannot meditate (ponder, utter and so on) upon anything other than the Word. The word "meditate" is connected to the word "consider." I know that in this season that the Lord instructed me to consider only what He has said concerning issues that I am facing on a daily basis. I travel and speak a lot, and this is one of the main messages I speak to the body of Christ: Do not consider what it looks like in the natural—only consider what God says! 

The New Testament uses Abraham as a very good example for us. When God first spoke to them concerning having a child, their names were Abram and Sarai. (God later changed their names to Abraham and Sarah). At one point, when God told Sarah and Abraham that they were to have a child, Sarah actually laughed at God. They were both skeptical because they were both old.

Yes, like many of us, they focused on and considered the natural. So, in a desperate attempt to have a child, they came up with their own plan and had Ishmael. (I think maybe some of us have done that also. I know I have!)

However, God would not honor Ishmael, and so He spoke to them once again and confirmed that they would have a son together. You know the story; they had Isaac who later fathered Jacob (Israel). What happened? Where did the shift come from? After Abraham was even older now and Sarah was older also?

The book of Romans is clear that Abraham finally chose to "consider" (meditate, ponder, imagine, speak and utter) what God had said! Romans 4:19 says, "And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body to be dead (when he was about a hundred years old), nor yet the deadness of Sarah's womb."

Believers, maybe many of us have messed up a bit and wavered in our faith and maybe even created an Ishmael. But it's never too late to make the wise choice to "consider" and "meditate" on what God said. Abraham fulfilled destiny by considering God's promise. Joshua had to continue to consider and meditate on the Word of God in order to shout down the seemingly impregnable wall of Jericho!

Think about it. Joshua was to use only the weapon of a shout in warfare. He was not allowed to use any other weapon than the obedience of marching around Jericho for seven days. They marched once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day. They were not allowed to mutter a word.

But I'll bet Joshua was meditating and considering constantly! Yes, he kept imagining that wall falling down; he kept meditating on God's promise and at the right time, he led the army in a great shout. And just as God promised, the Jericho wall fell, and the Israelites took the city. Now that's a good example of finishing well in a certain season. 

Let's Finish Well

Precious saint, I know these are difficult times, but in spite of that, God is empowering us with a shout! Though walls and even mountains stand before us, God is faithful to deliver us. Let's decide today to only consider the Word of the Lord. Let us meditate on His greatness and His faithfulness. Psalm 91 is clearly given for times such as these. Taking time to meditate on that passage will prove comforting for every believer, no matter what challenge he or she faces.

Instead of being at our wits' end, let us ask for God's wisdom and then passionately meditate and consider the fact that what He says He will do—He will do it! I have written several books that would encourage you, but the one that I believe would be well worth reading in this season would be Silencing the Accuser: Eight Lies Satan Uses Against Believers. My latest book, Faith After Failure: Reconnecting With Your Destiny, would be very helpful as well. Both books are faith-builders and also give time for self-reflection so that you can shift into victorious living.

In closing, I want to talk about Jeremiah—a man who at first focused on his weaknesses. God, however, focused only on Jeremiah's strengths and potential to fulfill destiny. God touched Jeremiah in such a way that he was able to "see" his destiny. Yes, Jeremiah saw a new season, meaning that he was able to see himself as God saw him. Rather than focusing on his disappointments in himself, Jeremiah's eyes were opened to see himself as a victor.

Believer, God wants to touch you today as well. God wants you to consider (meditate on) the fact that He will watch over His words and bring them to pass!

Allow me to pray for you and impart strength and courage to your spirit:

"Father God, I pray for each reader. I pray that You would touch their eyes so that they would see that their future is in Your divine hands. Lord, I pray for an impartation of strength and courage and that each person would have confidence in You and Your Word. Father, You state that You will watch over Your Word to perform it. I pray that You will watch over the destiny of every reader. Thank You for empowering us to meditate and consider the Word of the Lord and thank You for the  shout that you are placing within each person's spirit. Thank You, Lord, for a strong finishing anointing and the impartation to finish well. In Jesus mighty name! Amen!" {eoa}

Dr. Sandie Freed co-labors with her husband, Mickey Freed, doing the work of the Lord as a ministry team. In addition, they are the founders of Zion Ministries Training Center in Bedford, Texas, and Lifegate Church International. Sandie has traveled nationally and internationally, teaching dreams and visions seminars and on spiritual discernment. Her ability to adequately prophesy and discern spiritual strongholds over regions has released numerous breakthroughs for individuals and ministries. Sandie has authored Dream On and 11 other books, most of which are in several different languages.

]]> (Sandie Freed ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Fri, 09 Oct 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Projecting Love Requires Self-Examination

I believe we are living in a time of great opportunity. We are in a season when we are seeing the Word of God revealed in front of our eyes as prophecy is being fulfilled.

We are noticing the signs of the times. "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled. For such things must happen, but the end is still to come" (Mark 13:7). "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and glorious day of the Lord comes" (Acts 2:20).

We don't know the day or the hour (Matt. 24:36), but we are being warned. With this warning we are being given great opportunity to repent, forgive and extend God's love. 

We don't have to be like the virgins who didn't have their lamps ready and filled with oil when the bridegroom came (Matt. 25). We have time to be ready, willing and prepared. We still have time to offer forgiveness to others, repent of our sin and disciple people to live a life for Christ.  

In 2 Peter 3:14, it says we want to be found diligent by Christ, in peace, spotless and blameless when He comes. That is accomplished through forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. As we receive and offer forgiveness we will be found in agreement to the will of God.

As we approach the end times and people face challenges we need to be the light in the world. People in the world are going to look to us. We need to be so emptied of ourselves and our emotional bondage that we can be useful for the kingdom. We can't effectively be the light in the world when we are living in sin, when we harboring unforgiveness or have areas in which we need emotional healing. Our primary focus should be to get the junk out of our trunk (ourselves) so we can love and serve God and people.   

It is all about God's love, showing His love and being His love. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to come in and convict us and direct us into a place of holiness. The world needs love and God desires to use us to convey his love. When we truly begin to love in the fullness of God, we will be involved in fewer arguments, (just one example of the many benefits we will receive being love).

What once seemed important enough to dispute over now seems insignificant. The self-centered side of us will disappear. True love thinks of the other person before ourselves. We have been taught to love, but now we need to example how to truly extend both the agape love of the will and the phileo love of the emotion.   

In order to be love, we must first self-examine and discover where we are living in sin and unforgiveness. Emotional ailments and ungodly physical actions hold us in bondage from which we need to receive deliverance. How can we truly manifest the love of God and teach others to do the same when we are harboring grudges, unforgiveness and offense? 

In 1 John 2:9-10 it says, "Whoever says he is in the light but hates his brother is in darkness even until now. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling." 

God needs us to release those transgressions so that He can fill us with an even greater measure of His love.

As prophecy continues to release, as the financial economy of the world is unstable, as tornadoes and hurricanes destroy land and people, as diseases continue to manifest, people are going to need hope and assurance. Hope and assurance is found in Jesus Christ, through us. 

How can they find the solace they seek when we are dealing with our own inadequacies and when they see us living in anxiety, stress and fear? What makes what we have (the love of God) attractive when we are displaying things that are not of God? 

What attracts one person to another? People are attracted to a person who operates in love, a person who is caring, giving, longsuffering and patient.

These are some of the characteristics of love that we should emanate. When we put on love and take out the things of the flesh, people will be drawn to us, but more, they will be drawn to Christ in us. The Bible instructs us to put on Christ. "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts" (Rom. 13:14). When we put on Christ and repent, we are putting on love. In the end times, people are going to be seeking support and strength from those who are love, those who are strong in their faith.

We are witnessing the indication that the end times are approaching. The good news is that we have been forewarned and still have time to repent and change our ways. When we remove sin from our lives, when we forgive those who have offended us, we can adequately be love to those around us. We need to exude the love of God in every instant, every situation and every moment. We need to seek God to remove everything that is unproductive and unfruitful in our lives. We need to allow Him to reveal to us and convict us of our sin in order to remove every unclean action, thought and word from our lives. We need to not rebel against Him when He reveals our sin to us.

Repenting is acknowledging the mistakes we have made, receiving the forgiveness Christ purchased at the cross and then extending that forgiveness to those who have wounded us. The sin we live in could be adultery, fornication, anger, unforgiveness or manipulation, just to name a few. In order for love to come into us at the measure that God desires, we must remove what is not love, things such as bitterness, resentment, rejection and pride. 

I was recently grieved as I studied the book of Revelation at the number of people that didn't repent. With everything that was happening, the bowls poured out and the plagues being released upon the earth, the people did not repent and change their behavior. They had seen the hand of God released and still chose not to follow Him. The thought that entered my mind was how this parallels to what is happening in the world today. People are living in sin and are unrepentant or even unaware of their sin.

In the book of Revelation people kept in their wicked ways and they kept rebelling even though they saw the hand of God. We have the Word of God right here in front of us! It is our great instruction book! It tells us what to do: repent and be love! We are also told of the blessings that those who follow Him will receive. The word of God says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8). I want to see God. I want to get to heaven and hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matt. 25:23).

As we release people from the offenses against us, from the hurt, pain, the need to justify and the desire to get retribution, we not only release others, but ourselves. Christ extended forgiveness to us: "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you" (Eph. 4:32). It is an act of God's great love that he gave to us when we extend it to others.

When we stay in perpetual relationship with our Father, he will show us areas of our lives that need to be cleaned up and purged. When we are purged of the junk in our trunk, than we have more of him to give out! We cannot give out what we don't have. Therefore, "But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection" (Col. 3:14).

When we put on love, we can be help in the time of need to a hurting and confused world. People will desire what you have: the God of love. Forgive as you have been forgiven by Christ and put on Christ, the God of love!

Kathy DeGraw is passionate about releasing the love and power of God and is the founder of DeGraw Ministries. She has written several books including A Worship Woven Life and Flesh, Satan or God, along with several articles for Charisma Magazine online. Follow Kathy on Facebook or at

]]> (Kathy DeGraw ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Fri, 09 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0400
3 Ways to Prepare for Change

I put out a frantic text to my cohort. "I can see my life shrinking. Soon it won't be bigger than my couch."

This was a critical moment in my recent transitions. We all reach that point—some of you aren't as dramatic as I was. I knew I was in trouble because I couldn't see past the end of my nose. I wanted to curl up in bed and never talk to anyone again ... ever ... unless they had chocolate, then I might say something rude so they'd drop the chocolate and run. 

My grown-up brain knew I was in trouble, so I reached out to friends. "Tell me what life is like after the kids move out. Paint a picture for me that brings hope."

This particular wall was brought to you by my second child moving out to start her own life and live with friends. I was proud of her, and terrified for me. You see, I have four kids. We managed the oldest going off to school, moving her residence to CA and then getting married with only two meltdowns. But this is different. My younger three children have always been like dominoes. Where one goes, the others quickly follow. Within a year we will have all college students and above (my youngest will be in Running Start). The future is here!

This is the time I planned for! Since I was 16, I've planned for this day. I decided very young that the best years of a woman's life are 45 or 50 to 70. I saw it coming and every decision I made was with this time frame in mind. Yet, here I sat, facing a blank wall of the future. (For those of you who know me, I've been "in transition" for about 8 years ... but that's another post.)

Thank God for friends! My girlfriends (cohort) didn't wallow with me, instead, they prayed. Within a week, I had a plan for transition. I don't have a clear vision of the future, but I do know that I need to be firmly in transition before the future will show itself. So, here is my plan for transition:

The first step in transition is knowing what you are letting go of, and letting go of it. As a pastor, I found the best way to help a family start the transition involved with the death of a loved one was to have them go through photos, remember together the past. So, I started. I went to the basement and dug through all the boxes, bins and files of childhood I'd saved for my kids—then I sorted it all into bins: one for each child, one for Wes and myself, and one for genealogy (my mother-in-law's hobby that I'm saving for my children). Then, I went through the pictures, and kept those that might mean something to the kids some day. This phase will be done soon.

The next step in transition is redefining who you are without what you lost. Don't panic. I know I'm not losing my kids, but I am losing:

  • Social buffers
  • Reasons to interact with others (soccer anyone?)
  • Distraction/Excuses
  • People who force me to choose to be happy/look on the bright side
  • People who force me to create a schedule

So, as I redefine who I am, I am going through the rest of the house and systematically culling (which means to gather from many resources and to "reduce a population (of animals) by selective slaughter", both of which are appropriate here ..., well, not killing animals, but getting rid of the excess stuff)—everything that we don't have a use for needs to go away. So far I've discovered that I have three (almost) identical sets of artists pencils. Every time I go on vacation, I buy a new set. Can you imagine how much space I will have?

The third step in transition comes all on its own. New Direction. This comes out of walking through the first two steps. It isn't something you can force—yet I find myself reaching ... maybe I can do more work here ... maybe I should volunteer to help there ... what about ... ?? The trick is to sit. Let the process do its work, and wait for God to show up.

I've watched friends go through this phase—and the turn comes suddenly. Within a few days or a week, what was becomes old, and there is a new future on the horizon. So now is the time to settle everything so that it won't be on my to-do list when the new future arrives.

Are you in transition? What is your game plan?

Kim Martinez is a regular contributor to Ministry Today magazine's blog. She is a writer, speaker and ministry coach. You can hear more from her at

]]> (Kim Martinez) Featured Women Life Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Sid Roth: The Harvest is Ripe in Israel

Why are Christians not leading Jewish people to Jesus?

Many believers have been misled by a spirit of deception. They have been told that a Jew who follows the old covenant is accepted by God without Jesus—so why witness to them?

Paul gives the definitive answer in Acts 4:12, "There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Most Jewish people have been deceived as well. From childhood we are told or it is implied that we cannot believe in Jesus and remain Jewish. We are told this by the Jewish community as well as the church.

Even a Jewish atheist has a desire to remain Jewish. Why? When we Jewish people were scattered to the four corners of the earth and eventually persecuted by our chosen nation of refuge as the Bible predicted in Deuteronomy 28, God had to devise a plan for those who survived.

God put His entire reputation on the line when He guaranteed that as long as there were waves, sun, moon and stars, there would be Jewish people on the earth (Jer. 31:35-36). The Jewish people lost their country, their temple and were murdered or had to flee for their lives for nearly 2,000 years. Any Jews who survived all of this should have assimilated into other religions long ago.

What is the secret of how God kept us as a distinct people? He put an instinct within us that says, "I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew." The majority of Jews—even a secular Jew who never sets foot in a synagogue—still identify as being a Jew.

So when a well-meaning Christian says, "You must convert to Christianity," what a Jew hears is: "You must stop being Jewish." This goes against our God-given instinct for Jewish survival.

The word "Christian" means "one of the Messiah's." By that definition, I am a Christian. But by Christian and Jewish usage it has come to mean "no longer Jewish." I cannot go against my God-given instinct. Instead, I refer to myself as a Jewish believer in Jesus as Messiah.

Why was it so important to God that the Jews remain a distinct people? We know the Jewish people were chosen to evangelize the Gentiles and did a great job at the first coming of Jesus. But the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. And God has chosen the Jewish people to evangelize the Gentiles just before Messiah's return.

When will this happen? At the "fullness of the Gentiles."

The 'Fullness of the Gentiles'

Every Gentile believer must understand the term, "the fullness of the Gentiles." As a new believer in Jesus, I was taught this referred to the time when all the Gentiles who were going to be saved had been saved and then God would bring about the salvation of Israel. But that never made sense to me because, even during the Tribulation, both Jews and Gentiles will be saved.

Then God showed me clearly the meaning of "the fullness of the Gentiles." As I studied the Bible, I found clues to know when this would take place. Luke 21:24 says, "They (the Jewish people) will fall by the edge of the sword and will be led away captive to all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." On June 7, 1967, Jerusalem was once again in Jewish possession! But God said we must look for one more thing.

In Romans 11:25-26, Paul writes, "For a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved ... ." The key to this mystery is found in two places in these verses. First, Israel would be judicially blinded to the gospel in part. In other words, a remnant of Israel would be saved, but most would be blinded until this judgment was over.

How can we know when the judgment of blindness is over? The obvious answer is when we see large numbers of Jewish people turning to Jesus. We see this happen in our recent outreaches in Israel! But why now and not in 1967?

The second part of the answer is found in the meaning of the Greek word for "fullness." It can be translated "maturity." In other words, when the Gentile believers are mature in their biblical understanding of the Jew, Israel and the supernatural, Jews will be saved in larger numbers until "all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:26). The call of the Gentile is to evangelize the Jew. Paul states in Romans 11:11, "I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid! But through their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles—to make them jealous."

I feel like a type of John the Baptist crying in the wilderness that the judicial judgment for the sin of spiritual blindness is over, and it's time for the Jew to come home—home to Israel and home to God.

Isaiah 40:2 says, "Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been pardoned, that she has received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins."

No Longer Future but Now!

The spiritual blindness judgment is over! We Jewish people are now open to the gospel for the first time in almost 2,000 years. But Paul nails the problem in Romans 10:14, when he says: "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"

Until the spiritual judgment ended, the best a Christian could do was have "Bless Israel" meetings without evangelism, give toward the return of Jews to Israel or supply humanitarian aid. And God knows we still need all of these.

But I want to shout it from the rooftops—the spiritual scales are off, the curse is over, and Jewish people are now open to the gospel! But even though we are ready to receive the Lord, our minds are still programmed with the lie that says, "You can't be Jewish and believe in Jesus." The only way to do a "mind bypass" around our intellectual arguments is through a demonstration of signs and wonders. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:22, "For Jews request a sign."

Last year, I led an evangelistic meeting in Jerusalem I called a "Lecture on the Supernatural." I promised that many who attended would be healed in their seats. The auditorium was jam-packed with 550 unsaved Jews. Many were instantly healed, and the majority stood up and prayed a prayer of salvation. This year I went back and held another outreach with 650 unsaved Jews in attendance. A total of 98 percent boldly stood up and prayed with me to receive Jesus as Messiah!

I have done these lectures all over the world, including Brazil, Germany, the United States and the former Soviet Union, with similar results. Why? Because I approach the Jew the biblical way, not with wisdom and clever words of men, but like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

Just like Paul, when I demonstrate God's kingdom through signs and wonders, I earn the right to present the King! When people are instantly healed, it is as if the spiritual scales come off and they are open to the gospel.

The Law of Evangelism

As we reach out to the Jewish people with the Good News, we activate what I call the "Law of Evangelism." When God called the first Jew, Abraham, it was with a heart to reach the rest of the world—the Gentiles. When Jesus wanted to reach the whole world, He said He went only (or went first) to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Again, this was a spiritual seed to reach the whole world. When Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, wanted to reach his prize, he went to the Jew first (Rom. 1:16). "To the Jew first" is not just God's historical order for evangelism. It is His spiritual order, and it produces supernatural results.

My desire is to evangelize all people. When I go to the Jew first, I supernaturally reach more Gentiles than if I go to the Gentile first. One example is my evangelistic outreach in Kaifeng, China. I learned that Jewish silk traders had settled in Kaifeng centuries ago. Before leading an outreach, I went to Kaifeng to "spy out the land." I found the remnants of an ancient synagogue as well as a number of Chinese-Jewish descendants and a Jewish museum.

The director of the museum asked me why I wanted to bring a tour group and hold a meeting there. I asked him to open his Jewish Bible to Isaiah 49:12. It read in his Chinese language: "Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, and these from the land of Sinim." But in his Bible it did not say "Sinim." It said the real meaning of the word: "China."

Isaiah was saying that in the last days, Jews from China would return to Israel! How did Isaiah know there would be a nation of Israel in the last days? And even more amazing, how did he know there would be such a thing as Chinese Jews? The answer is simple. God dictated the prophecy, and Isaiah was being a good Jewish secretary!

I returned to Kaifeng with a group of believers, and we evangelized the Chinese Jews. I later learned that one of the Kaifeng Jews I led to the Lord immigrated to Israel just as Isaiah prophesied. My visit also triggered the Law of Evangelism. When I went to the Jew first in China, God spread my message about Jesus to that entire city. People actually recognized me on the streets from seeing me on local television. This would never have happened unless I went to the Jew first.

The Law of Evangelism is very important to God. Paul tells us in Romans 11:12, "Now if their (the Jewish people) transgression means riches for the world, and their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fullness mean?" The fullness, or maturity, of the Jews will culminate one day. According to Romans 11:15, "For if their (the Jewish people's) being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" As the Jewish people are restored to the body of Messiah, they will restore literal resurrection-from-the-dead power to the church. Get ready to witness the release of creative miracles in large numbers not seen since Bible days!

Better yet, the salvation of the Jewish people will usher in the return of Jesus. In Matthew 23:39, Jesus said to the Jewish people, "For I tell you, you shall not see Me again until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

The restoration of the Jewish people to the body of Messiah will be the catalyst to release the greatest Gentile revival in history. The prophet Amos predicted this. He said that when the tabernacle of David is restored, it would usher in such a great Gentile revival that there would be more fruit than we had laborers to harvest it. What is the tabernacle of David? The word for "tabernacle" in Hebrew means "house" or "family."

Who is the family of David? The Jewish people! When the Jewish people are restored to God, this is what will happen according to Amos 9:13: "Indeed, the days are coming, says the Lord, when the plowman will overtake the one who is reaping, and the treader of grapes the ones who is sowing the seed ... ." And what will be the result of the initial Jewish harvest? God promises in Isaiah 27:6, "Israel shall blossom and bud and shall fill the whole world with fruit."

It is past time for the "fullness of the Gentiles." It is the Gentile Christians' finest hour. I appeal to you as Mordecai appealed to Esther: "For if you remain silent at this time, protection and deliverance for the Jews will be ordained from some other place, but you and your father's house shall be destroyed. And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?" (Esth. 4:14).

The Jewish Express

A friend of mine, Penny Lea, was speaking at a pro-life meeting when she was approached by an elderly German man. He told her about an event that happened when he was a youth in Germany that continued to haunt him. As a child, he would attend church with his family every Sunday. During worship, a train would pass by on the tracks next to the church. As the church members sang, they could hear people on the trains shouting, crying and wailing. These were Jewish people jammed into cattle cars being taken to the gas chambers to be murdered. When the cries became too objectionable and loud, the pastor said, "Sing a little louder!" The young boy was now an elderly man, but the screams were with him every night.

Now I want to tell you about another train. It is called the "Jewish Express." It will stop in cities all over the world. Why? Because the Jewish people were scattered to the four corners of the earth. Jews are lining up at the "train stations." They board the train by receiving Jesus as Messiah. The Jewish people waiting to board are increasing, but few are telling them about Jesus. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

The Jewish person God has placed in your life is not an accident. You are the one who has that Jewish friend or former classmate. You are the one who knows a Jewish doctor, lawyer, dentist or merchant. You are the one chosen by God to evangelize them.

You may feel like you are not equipped to witness to a Jew. This is why I wrote a booklet I want to give you as a gift on how to reach the Jewish people. I draw on my more than 40 years of experience in Jewish evangelism, and now I want to pour it into you. Please visit to get your free copy of The Mystery Law of Evangelism Revealed.

Israel Ablaze for Jesus

I have a vision. I see Israel ablaze for Jesus! I see people going to Israel not just for tours, but to get under the 24/7 cloud of glory. I see many new Jewish believers boarding the Jewish Express train as modern-day Paul the apostles. I see Orthodox rabbis boarding who will be the greatest Bible teachers since Jesus. I see Jewish businessmen boarding the train who will make Christianity the head and not the tail. I see Jewish Hollywood movie stars, producers and directors who will use the entertainment industry to evangelize the world. Can't you hear the whistle blowing?

The devil knows his time is short. The world is quickly turning anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. Will you "sing a little louder?" Or will you be like Queen Esther and boldly stand up for the Jewish people?

You have been called to the kingdom for such a time as this. Esther (the church), as you rise up to evangelize the Jew, no matter how dark the world gets, the glory of God and the blessings of Abraham will overtake you. Those who give to Jewish humanitarian causes and participate in "Bless Israel" meetings have found this to be true. But if God will bless you for this according to Genesis 12:3, how much more will He bless you for Jewish evangelism at the fullness of the Gentiles?

The only thing we take to heaven is souls! It's time to be "mature" and enter the great Jewish harvest that will catapult us into the greatest Gentile harvest in history!

"Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you" (Is. 60:1-2).

Sid Roth has a passion for people to experience the power of God for the purpose of having intimacy with Him. Roth is a pioneer in the convergence of Jews and Gentiles in Messiah Jesus that brings about an explosion of God's power. His television program, It's Supernatural!, documents miracles and is viewed internationally.

Sid Roth shows the power of "first to the Jew, then to the Gentile" on The 700 Club at

]]> (Sid Roth) Featured Prophecy Spirit Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:00:00 -0400
10 Ways to Make Your Wife Feel Beautiful

The National Eating Disorder Association found that 80 percent of women are unhappy with their weight. Pop culture is a big factor in that.

Seventy-five percent of women portrayed in sitcoms are officially underweight. The average American woman is 5'4" and weighs 140 lbs. The average model is 5'11" and weighs 117 lbs.

Our culture's definition of a beautiful body is getting more and more unrealistic. This twisting is causing many women, perhaps your wife, to feel unattractive.

As a loving husband, you have to counteract our culture. If you implement the following 10 things, your wife will tell you, "You make me feel beautiful."

1. Straight up tell her. Tell her often and in different ways. Don't wait until she needs it. Let her know when she isn't expecting it.

2. Make sure she catches you looking—at her. Perception is built on small details. A glance, a word, a raised eyebrow, a smile.

3. Never view pornography or "girlie" magazinesthe message will be clear. A husband more interested in other women devastates his wife's self-esteem.

4. Never compare her negatively to other women. If you really believe your wife needs to look better, tell her she's beautiful now. If you want her to lose weight like her sister or get toned like your neighbor, the last thing you should do is point that out.

5. Place her picture prominently on your desk and carry it in your wallet. Introduce her to your friends as, "My awesome, beautiful wife." In other words, develop and support a culture of positive regard.

6. Shower her with gifts and tokens of love at unexpected moments. Communicate how valuable she is. Nothing does the job like unconditional, generous, spontaneous love.

7. Compliment her in front of your children. Make sure your kids know how special and lovely their mother is. They will repackage those sentiments. The truth will leak out and do its work.

8. Purchase intimate apparel, have it gift wrapped and leave the package for her with a love note. Need we say more? I don't think so.

9. Be deliberate about romance. Be the guy who worked so hard to win your wife's affection before you were married. Be courteous, sophisticated, funny and romantic. Whoever that guy was, bring him back.

10. Treat your own physique with respect. Let your wife see how you respect your body and your health. Self-respect is a value that replicates within the family. "My wife deserves the best that I can be."

For the original article, visit

]]> ( Staff ) Featured Men Life Thu, 08 Oct 2015 16:00:00 -0400
5 Things You Didn't Know About Brown Fat

Each individual carries white fat cells as well as brown fat cells on the body. White fat stores calories, while brown fat creates a source to burn energy as well as produce heat for the body. The brown fat cells are packed with mitochondria, which is more beneficial for the individual.

For many years, researchers believed brown fat only existed in babies. Through evidence revealed in scientific studies, researchers have found adults can also carry brown fat stores, usually in smaller amounts. Further documentation also reveals that individuals with lower indexes for body mass hold more brown fats, giving clues to a positive metabolic relationship.

With obesity continuing to rise at alarming rates, researchers are seeking to find ways brown adipose can be used to help heavier individuals to lower their body weight. Here are five interesting facts everyone should know about this healthy type of fat:

1. Individuals who spend time in the colder temperatures activate brown fat stores. Interestingly, people who spend more time in cooler temperatures help activate the brown fat stores they hold. Even better news is the possibility to increase the amount of brown fat within the body.

According to research by NIH (National Institute of Health), the stores of brown fat help to regulate the temperature of the body in a healthy manner. Other researchers abroad have noted brown fat is helpful to babies since they cannot "shiver" to keep the body warm. Therefore, this type of "fat stores" helps keep the blood warm in a natural and healthy way.

2. Brown adipose tissue is found in unreliable locations. Typically, this healthy fat source is found on the back of the neck as well as near the back of the shoulders. The challenge for scientists comes in that not everyone has the same amount of storage and the location can be unreliable.

One group of researchers from National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) found a number of younger men in good health who held brown fat stores in the chest region as well as along the spinal column. In other individuals, stores were also found within the abdominal region, which provides an interesting view of the tissue being located in various places.

3. Everyone has some amount of brown fat within the body. Researchers agree strongly everyone has "stores" of this healthy fat within the body (to some degree). The question arises as to how much the body has and how to increase the growth of this healthy fat store within each individual. More healthy fat stores will bring more health benefits overall.

4. Brown fat tissue is difficult to find and the cost is expensive. Scientists have realized that brown tissue is difficult to locate within the body, and this slows the process of further research. Brown fat cells are often intermingled with white fat cells within the body. Cypress, a researcher from NIDDK, notes that cat scans (CT) along with PET scans must be used to visualize the most active brown cells. The challenges to this method include costs involved as well as the need to use an injected medium of radioactive material.

5. Brown fats may be activated by taking a special pill in the future. Research studies conducted by Cypress provides evidence mirabegron can stimulate brown adipose activity. While a number of patients were being treated with a specific drug for their overactive bladders, researchers found a boost in the activity of these healthy fats. This discovery brings newfound evidence to the forefront.

Further benefits in using a drug to enhance brown tissue activity will bring more benefits to many individuals in the future. Those who are obese will have the option to lose more weight through increased activity of healthy fats.

Patients with fatty liver diseases (seen in one-fourth of the U.S. population) may also benefit from the increase in brown fat tissues.{eoa}

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 Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:00:00 -0400
The Fatal Mistake of Pastors Who Don't Preach About Hell

At first glance you'd probably think I'm resistant to change.

I don't drink Starbucks coffee. I'm still not used to women having tattoos. I'm not getting an earring any time soon. And my wife says I still have the same haircut I had when I was in fifth grade. I assume she thinks that's a bad thing.

By all appearances, you'd think I'm someone that wants to keep things just the way they are. But I'm not. I love change. I love the thrill of staying current, or even staying one step ahead. I love anticipating trends. I'm usually not too concerned with running with the pack.

But there is one change that troubles me: It's the lack of talk about hell by pastors.

I'm not troubled by who is going to hell. Unfortunately for Boston Red Sox fans, this is one thing we all agree upon.

I'm troubled by the lack of talk about, writing about, preaching about, and deeply held conviction regarding the reality of hell by pastors today.

Why is this happening?

We Pastors Want To Appear Compassionate And Inclusive

When my daughters were in elementary school, their school put on an annual holiday musical program. Every year I stood there with our camcorder and joked with my wife that it should be renamed to, "The Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Buddhist/Skeptic/Hindu/Catholic/Keep-Everyone-From-Being-Offended Holiday Special."

As a public school, the lengths to which they are willing to include everyone's traditions and beliefs appears comical, but should be applauded. However, when that same spirit infiltrates the church, it must be cast out. Accommodation in the kingdom of Jesus is always the first sign of betrayal.

Too often we want to appear more moral than God. Too often in outreach-focused churches we feel the need to acquiesce to the avalanche of pluralistic pressure to back off of this key doctrine. However, I tell senior pastors that I coach that if you really love people, at some point you'll compassionately tell them the truth, even if you risk having them walk out your church doors.

As important as being compassionate and inclusive are in the context of a growing church, the overriding virtue that should be held up is faithfulness – both to Scripture and the God who breathed it.

We Pastors Have Strayed From Sound Doctrine

Two years after leaving graduate school, I came to the realization that I really didn't believe in hell any more. I was too smart to believe in hell. Three years sitting under the gentle but consistent pressure of doctrinally questionable professors quietly eroded my convictions on this key teaching. Like so many church leaders I've met over the years, I bought into the lie that I could serve the God of the Bible but not believe in the entire Bible.

During a long retreat at a local monastery I performed an exhaustive word study of the phrase "false doctrine" in the New Testament. When I was finished the Holy Spirit did a number on me. I felt convicted, as I should have. I felt awful, as I should have. I came to the conclusion that I was a liar, as I should have. I dropped to my knees in tears. I repented before God of my duplicity.

I rushed home and called together my Leadership Team, repented, and asked for their forgiveness as well. That Sunday I stood before my congregation and wept, asking for their forgiveness. It was a turning point in my calling before God.

Over and over again, we are warned that church leaders must hold to the deep truths of the faith. Hell is one of those deep truths, albeit unpopular. Over and over again, we are warned not to be drawn away by unsound doctrine. With pain in his voice that came from years of heading off church train wrecks, Paul pleaded in his final words to Timothy to preach the Word, every last bit of it, regardless of how unpopular it became.

I'm pretty sure that exhortation still stands.

As a senior pastor, why or why don't you preach about hell to your church? {eoa}

Brian Jones is the founding Senior Pastor at Christ's Church of the Valley . Connect with Brian at or on Twitter @brianjonesblog.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Brian Jones) Featured Church & Ministry Spirit Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0400
3 Things You Need to Succeed as a Leader

"Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others." —Christopher Germer

Are you a leader of a ministry to those in great need? Maybe you teach in the inner city, serve teen moms, or work in your local food pantry. Maybe you are on staff at a church. Or maybe you find yourself volunteering in a prison or crisis pregnancy center. All of these ministries are wonderful, but also draining for leaders.

Leaders give a lot. Leaders also have needs. Yet most of us do better at taking care of others than we do ourselves. The problem is that if we don't care for ourselves, then how can we expect to have anything to give? We can't.

Why do you need to prioritize self-care?

  1.     Every leadership position has challenges.
  2.     Every person you serve will have needs. No leadership job is easy.
  3.     There will be obstacles along the way.
  4.     Every leader has limits. There is only so much we can do, so much we can say and so much we can give.

What every leader needs most:


Some groups/meetings will be more challenging than others. Some days nothing will run smoothly. You will be misunderstood. Your to-do list will grow. Your efforts may seem futile.

You need faith to know you are making a difference. You need to focus on what's unseen—the words that speak to the hearts of those you serve.

"While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).

Have faith that you will make a difference for that one person when he or she needs it most. Have faith that it will matter for eternity.

As I serve in ministry, the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 has helped me more than any other passage. The crowds pressed around Jesus, but Jesus focused on one man: "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." There were many needs, but Jesus focused on one.

Trust that the Holy Spirit in you will stir your spirit, and out of all the people who have needs, Jesus will guide you to the one person with whom you need to spend an extra amount of time.

You will not be able to see the difference you are making right away, but with the Holy Spirit's guidance, you are making a difference.


Do not quit. Those in need have had more people quit on them than they can count. When you feel like giving up, ask God to strengthen you. Seek Him and seek the encouragement of others. Don't be shy about telling others that you need encouragement!

When you feel drained:

  •     Read your favorite Scripture verses.
  •     Write in a prayer journal.
  •     Think back on success stories from your program or other programs.
  •     Talk to a friend, mentor and or fellow leader.
  •     When you feel like giving up, remember a time when someone did not give up on you.


Every leader needs clarity once in a while. Take time to regroup. Instead of looking ahead, look back. Ask, "Why did I want to support this group of people in the first place?"


  •     What were your goals when you started?
  •     What was your motivation to step into leadership?
  •     What did God speak to your heart back then to confirm your decision?
  •     How did other mature Christians confirm that this was your calling?

When I get discouraged and overwhelmed, I look back and remember how far I've come as a follower of Christ. I also remember that God is in the transformation business. This is His work; I'm just joining Him in it.

Clarity also means understanding we can't save anyone with our own strength. It means understanding that some people are also not ready to be rescued from their problems.

Pam Farrel, in her book Woman of Influence: Ten Traits of Those Who Want to Make a Difference, said: "I learned that if I always performed a rescue, the woman never learned to lean on God. ... I now realize that I shouldn't work harder at a person's recovery than she is willing to work."

We are not the Savior of those who are in need. We need to point them to Jesus. Our efforts will not fix them. We can only help. Each young woman must be willing to do that hard work by herself. She must stand before Jesus alone. Accept that, and release the burden to Jesus.


Leaders give a lot of themselves, and our leadership role is just one aspect of our lives. We are wives and moms. We have jobs and we care for our home. We are church and community members. That's a lot!

Pam Farrel also says in Woman of Influence, "Sometimes it's not a spiritual problem; you just need a nap!"

If you don't have clarity, strength or faith in your ministry, sometimes it's not a spiritual problem but rather a physical need for rest. We need to take care of ourselves. We must sleep when we're tired, eat food that will fuel our bodies, move and enjoy life!

When we are completely worn out, we can't serve anyone. When we are tired, we will make rash and foolish decisions. When we are exhausted, we will want to give up. When we are at our wit's end, we won't show the love and compassion we should to the people we serve.

"It is in vain for you to rise up early, to stay up late, and to eat the bread of hard toil, for He gives sleep to His beloved" (Ps. 127:2).


Being a leader is as much about what God wants to do with you as it is about them. God has ways He wants to grow you, mature you, stretch you and mold you. When you face challenges, He will be your answer. (He will give you the answers you need!)

The needs of the needy people you serve will bring you to your knees—where is exactly where you should be. Your worries and needs as a leader will take you to God for help and strength, and you'll discover Him in ways you never have before!

God is forming you into the image of His son, and He's using your leadership role to do it! It's a blessing that you can join Him in this transforming work, starting with yourself!

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

]]> (Tricia Goyer) Featured Women Life Thu, 08 Oct 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Is Prayer a Spiritual Obligation or Your Life?

I grew up in a praying family. From earliest childhood, I was encouraged to commit everything to God through prayer. Nothing was either too important or too insignificant to leave in God's hands.

My parents did not teach me about prayer with their words, but with their lives. They had more than "a prayer time"—a section of their days set aside for praying. Instead, prayer permeated and controlled every aspect of their lives.

Prayer, I later came to realize, can be an activity or it can be a life. You can think of it in terms of "my prayer life," as you would say "my home life," or "my work life"—as if prayer were one compartment among many. But I knew that prayer as a task or an activity would not meet the deep yearning I had to know God.

It was not a prayer life I wanted, but a praying life—a life of ongoing and continual interaction with God. Andrew Murray has said, "Answered prayer is the interchange of love between the Father and His child." I want an uninterrupted flow of love between the Father and me. Isn't that what you want? Isn't your heart crying out for that?

You see, there is an undercurrent of prayer always active in a believer's life. The Spirit of Christ is within you crying out, "Abba, Father" (Gal. 4: 6). To put it in today's language, He is calling out, "Daddy! Daddy!" The Spirit is always praying the Father's will, and the Spirit is housed in you (Rom. 8: 9, 11, 15, 26-27; 1 Cor. 6: 19).

At some level, in every believer, prayer is always happening. The praying life is Christ. It is the life of Jesus Christ operating in you.

The key to learning to live a praying life is this: Learn how, more and more often, to tap into the undercurrent of prayer, the active presence of Jesus in you. Join your voice with His in harmonious prayer. When I became a young adult, I realized that a praying life was not built on information communicated from one person to another, but on a life-absorbing relationship with God.

I sensed the difference between a prayer life and a praying life, and I knew which one I craved. I knew that there was only one who could teach me to pray—who could be my prayer teacher. To Him I brought my inadequacy and my hungry heart.

"Lord," I cried, "I know how to say prayers, but I don't know how to pray. Teach me to pray!" In response to my heart's cry to teach me deep truths about prayer, God began to open His Word to me in new ways.

Familiar passages took on fresh meaning. Dull, dry passages pulsed with new life. I felt myself being "taught by the Lord" (Is. 54: 13).

To this day, some 40 years since I embarked on this soul-quest, it is still new. Each time I discover a concept, He brings me opportunities to put it to the test. The words of the Scriptures shape my life and define my experiences. Slowly but surely, He is building my life into a praying life.

As I submitted myself to God for instruction in prayer, He seemed to ask me, "Jennifer, why do you want to learn to pray?" I knew all the "right" answers, but they had a hollow, false ring to them.

My experience must have been similar to Peter's. How surprised he was when Jesus did not accept his glib answer to the question, "Peter, do you love Me?" Each time Jesus asked, Peter must have been forced to look deeper inside his heart for the true answer. That is always God's starting place—your truth. No matter how ugly your truth is, He can work from it. What He can't work from is pretense.

As He had with Peter, God peeled back the layers of my practiced, memorized answers that I got from other people until my truth emerged. And my truth was not pretty. "Father, I want to know how to pray so that I will know how to get You to do what I want You to do when I want You to do it. I hope to learn how to make the best possible use of prayer for my benefit."

Once I reached that point of honesty, I knew my course was set. God could work with me now because He could begin with my weakness. At the point of my weakness, His strength would be put on display.

My prayer teacher could begin by teaching me a new purpose for prayer. This book tells of my journey so far. But the journey never ends. Every single day I learn something new about prayer, or I learn something in a deeper way. It is my hope that when others read what I have learned and the inner changes that have occurred, they will be inspired to sit at the Master's feet.

Jennifer Kennedy Dean is an author, speaker, conference leader and executive director of the Praying Life Foundation. You can visit her online at

]]> (Jennifer Kennedy Dean) Featured Women Life Thu, 08 Oct 2015 11:00:00 -0400
5 Clear Signs Witchcraft Is Attacking You Right Now

"Welcome to witchcraft season. This is the time of year when people start attacking and accusing you for no reason, rebelling against authority, and otherwise walking in the flesh. Take authority over it in the name of Jesus. Don't bow to the intimidation and manipulation. And by all means, don't tap into it! I'll be writing more about this next week."

On Oct. 2, I offered that simple exhortation on my Facebook page. Of course, I was flooded with responses from the saints—some of whom were battling witchcraft in that moment and some of whom had never heard of spiritual witchcraft. I believe witchcraft is one of the powers in the hierarchy of demons Paul listed in Ephesians 6:12. Just as the Holy Spirit is the power of God, witchcraft is a power of the enemy.

Webster's Dictionary defines witchcraft as an irresistible influence or fascination—and the Bible warns us not to be bewitched: "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified" (Gal. 3:1)


Obviously, there is a spiritual force that the Bible is warning us about. It causes us to take leave of our senses. Witchcraft releases strong confusion against our minds so that Jesus is not the clear focus of our lives. Once that happens, we are more vulnerable to the vain imaginations the enemy whispers to our souls. We have a responsibility to know about this spiritual wickedness and guard ourselves against it. With that said, here are eight signs you are under a witchcraft attack right now.

1. Confusion: Witchcraft makes you question yourself, question your friends, question your leaders—question God. When witchcraft attacks, it's difficult to make sound decisions, you may forget your keys, forget important appointments, or even forget what the Word says. When strong confusion hits your mind, you can be sure it's not coming from God. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33).

2. Trouble paying attention: When witchcraft attacks, it can feel like your mind is scrambled like an egg. You have trouble staying focused on the tasks at hand. Your mind wanders to and fro. You just can't keep a train of thought or pay attention to what you are hearing or reading. It can be difficult to hear from God and discern the devil. We must walk in 1 Peter 5:8: "Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

3. Wanting to hide in your cave: I like my cave. I like being alone with God, but when I feel tempted to hide in my cave rather than face the world—when I feel like David when he said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away and be at rest" (Ps. 55:6)—I know I'm under attack. When Jezebel sent a messenger of fear with a word curse threatening Elijah's life, he ran scared and left his servant behind, sat in a cave and wished he was dead. That's a witchcraft attack.

4. Forgetting who you really are: You are a child of the King. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). You are blessed coming in and blessed going out. Everything you put your hand to prospers. That's your legal position. But when witchcraft attacks, you feel like a worthless worm. You forget who you are in Christ, have little to no interest in the Word, church, praise, worship or the like. You may feel guilt, condemnation or self-pity.

5. Discouraged, depressed and ready to quit: We all get discouraged from time to time, but when witchcraft attacks, you may just want to throw in the towel; send your resignation letter to God; quit, give up, cozy up in bed and pull the covers over your head. The devil comes to wear you out (Dan. 7:25), yet the Bible commands us not to grow weary in well-doing and promises we'll reap a harvest if we don't give up (Gal. 6:9). There's the tension, but let's be clear. The devil is trying to steal your harvest. Don't let him.

A final word: As I said in my Facebook post, this is the time of year when people start attacking and accusing you for no reason, rebelling against authority and otherwise walking in the flesh. We all need to be careful about tapping into spiritual witchcraft and releasing word curses against others and ourselves.

In part two of this article, I'll share three more signs that you may be under a witchcraft attack and give you a list of specific scenarios that will open your eyes to the attack. For sake of space, if you want to learn how to battling witchcraft attacks against your mind and body, read my article "Overcoming Witchcraft Attacks Against Your Mind and Body" and check out my book Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft.

]]> (Jennifer LeClaire ) Featured The Plumb Line Blogs Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Michael Brown: The Demonization of Christianity

When a white supremacist murdered black parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina, there was national outrage leading to the banning of the Confederate flag and a fresh discussion of race relations in America. But when Christians are targeted and murdered on a campus in Oregon, much of the nation yawns.

According to eyewitness reports, the Oregon shooter asked students what their religion was, and if they said "Christian" he shot them in the head. Yet the secular media, for the most part, is focusing more on gun laws than on the shooter's alleged anti-Christian motivation. Why?

Can you imagine what would have happened if the shooter went into a creative arts class, asked the students to declare their sexual orientation, and if they said "gay" shot them in the head?

There would be a massive media frenzy, with instant accusations of national homophobia and pulling of quotes from Christian leaders whose failure to support same-sex "marriage" would somehow make them complicit in the deaths.

The same thing would have happened if the killer had targeted Muslims, with immediate charges of "Islamophobia" shouted from coast to coast.

Not so, though, when it's Christians who are killed for their faith.

Is it any surprise, then, that hours after the eyewitness accounts had been released and well after conservative news outlets were reporting the alleged targeting of Christians, liberal news outlets had not said a word about the alleged anti-Christian connection?

It could well be that the Oregon shooter suffered from a mental illness, which suggests that we can't read too much into his actions. But why, then, did we read so much into the Charleston shooter's actions, since he reportedly suffered from a mental illness as well?

The Oregon attack is also one isolated incident, which suggest that we can't extrapolate too much from it in terms of national sentiments toward Christianity. But why, then, did we extrapolate so much from the Charleston shooting in terms of race issues?

When it comes to the Oregon massacre, we still don't know all the facts and, at this point, only God knows the motivation of the murderer. But we do know there is a growing national climate of extreme hostility toward Christianity, and from professional news media to popular social media, it is open season on committed followers of Jesus.

It's one thing to have a civil debate on the meaning of marriage or to disagree on what the Bible teaches on sexuality or to have different perspectives on the best way to address transgender issues.

It's another thing entirely when your failure to support the redefinition of marriage or your adherence to biblical sexuality or your opposition to gender-neutral bathrooms gets you branded as a sick, vile bigot worthy of death.

Today, it is not just the Bill Mahers and Dan Savages of the world who are trashing Christianity and vilifying conservative believers. It is not just radical liberal professors on college campuses who continue their aggressive attack on people of faith.

Today, Bible-bashing and Christian-mocking is a favorite pastime on social media, replete with unprintable insults, ugly invective and death wishes galore. Simply stated, it has become part of the larger pop culture.

Within a 72-hour period last week, at least six different people posted death wishes on my Facebook page, some getting into graphic detail (including the person who didn't know how to spell pancreatic), while scores of others posted comments that were so ugly they were immediately blocked.

At about the same time, a reviewer of my newest book (which, by the way, has an entire chapter calling on Christians to take the highest moral ground and to overcome evil with good and hatred with love) claimed that, "This book is in pure and perfect alignment with the views of white supremacy groups and the KKK."

Also about this time, someone posted on my Facebook page, "Oh goody another neo Nazi crazy fanatical zealot posting their (expletives) on my wall." (Actually, we post things on our page; we didn't post anything on that person's wall.)

Of course, this is nothing new for me or other conservative believers, since ridiculous rhetoric like this has been coming our way for years.

The problem is that more and more people actually believe this baseless drivel, and instead of comments like this coming from the most extreme anti-Christian groups and individuals, similar remarks are becoming more and more mainstream.

In short, we are not just dealing with the incremental criminalization of Christianity in America (to use the words of Janet Folger and Mike Huckabee) but with the demonization of Christianity (and Christians) in America. And while this is hardly the first time in the last 2,000 years that believers have been demonized—far from it—it may well be the first time in American history that hostility to the faith is so vile, mean-spirited and widespread.

At this point, we have no idea whether this hostile climate contributed to the Oregon massacre. But it is certain that words have consequences, that hateful people do hateful things, and that when you declare an ideological war against Christianity, the results could be deadly—literally.

This calls for renewed faith, renewed courage and renewed boldness.

As we unashamedly confess Jesus' name here on earth, He will unashamedly confess our names in heaven.

]]> (Michael Brown) Featured Spiritual Warfare Spirit Thu, 08 Oct 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Have You Done Too Much Damage? It's Not Too Late

It's no secret that our generation has wandered severely off course: Schools resemble battlegrounds, the family is in chaos, sexual perversion is an epidemic and truth is mocked.

We should be mourning for our nation and the future of our children. Are we too numb or indifferent to comprehend? 

"Wander" means to depart, stray or retreat from what we know to be right. Proverbs 13:15 reminds us that "the way of the transgressor" is hard. For many, this is an understatement if we are fighting against God ... fighting against what we know to be right. As the old hymn so brilliantly declares, "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love."

Conviction is a gift ... it's very healthy to mourn and repent (as long as we don't not stay in that state). God's mercy and grace finds a way to open the ears of our understanding, sometimes through painful circumstances. When we feel the pain of burning asphalt, we retreat for cooler ground. In the same way, pain often helps us return to God. But many mistakenly believe that they've done too much damage; that God can't use them now. But that's not true. God will often use pain to lead us back to Him.

God is always pursuing: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). Even when I was living like hell, heaven was beckoning. Even when I was denying My Savior He never denied me. "Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your lovingkindness remember me, on account of Your goodness, O Lord" (Ps. 25:7).

You'd be amazed at what God can do with humility, brokenness, and repentance—like clay in the hands of a potter He molds and shapes as we submit to His work. Religion tries to reach up to God: do, do, do. But Christianity can be defined as God reaching down to man—He pursues sinners; sinners do not pursue Him. "Men do not seek God first; God seeks them first; and if any of you are seeking Him today it is because He has first sought you" (Charles Spurgeon).

There are no excuses for rejecting God. He uses conviction, the Word, books, articles, blogs, friends, pastors, teachers and preachers to spread His message of love and grace, repentance and salvation. In order to enter hell, a person has to fight God, ignore His love, suppress conviction and reject His pursuit.

Evolution, for example, is simply a by-product of angry men who do not want to submit to God. They have rejected His call and have suppressed conviction—they worship the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1). To say that we evolved from primordial ooze is the height of arrogance. "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Ps. 14:1).

Some may argue, "How can a loving God send anyone to hell?" He doesn't send anyone—they reject Him and separate themselves from His love. With this comes questions that I cannot fully answer, but I will not judge God based on my limited understanding. In practical turns, I still drive my vehicle even though I have no clue how it all works.  

Romans 1:18-20 tells us that "we are without excuse" because God's attributes are clearly seen; they bear witness to a Creator. In the act of salvation, God receives all the glory and all the credit. We are never outside of His sovereignty and control. But we must receive His offer of salvation.

Let me leave you with this question: If the enemy goes to and fro like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8), and the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him (2 Chr. 16:9); who finds you—the adversary, or God? Are you loyal to God by obeying His Word, or do you often stray from the Shepherd and become easy prey?

Don't let this discourage you, "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). Fall forward into God's arms of restoration and forgiveness. Jesus said, in Mark 10:15, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter it"

Receive it today and be and experience tremendous peace and hope—from the atheist to the adulterer, and from the addict to the arrogant—it's not too late. Turn to Him today.

Here is a much-watch video, "How to Ignite a Heart of Worship":


Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. He recently released his 7th book, Desperate for More of God at Shane's sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at Follow him on Facebook at

]]> (Shane Idleman ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0400
21 Reasons I Gave Up Sugar

I am passionate about two things—my love of God and giving up sugar. The two go together. There was a time in my life, even though I was a Christian and would tell you I loved God, I reserved a big space in my heart for a substance—sugar and anything made with sugar.

I gave it up and here are just a few of the reasons.

  1.     It made me really, really fat—super, morbidly obese fat.
  2.     It made me constantly tired and fatigued and yet, I couldn't sleep.
  3.     It made my brain foggy and made it hard to think.
  4.     It made me emotionally, psychologically and physically dependent on it.
  5.     When I started, I couldn't not eat it. It became something I had to have.
  6.     I used it to anesthetize any emotional pain or angst.
  7.     It was not a good example to set for my children.
  8.     It leads to type 2 diabetes.
  9.     It leads to high blood pressure.
  10.    It leads to congestive heart failure.
  11.    It is linked to colon cancer, which runs in my family and was the cause of my mother's death at age 61.
  12.    It wreaked havoc with my metabolism and digestive system.
  13.    It became my reason for living. The only reason I looked forward to any outing with family or friends was for the sugary treats that would be there.
  14.    It dampened my libido.
  15.    It was as addictive, or more addictive, than many drugs.
  16.    I became co-dependent on it, like a bad friend I thought I couldn't live without.
  17.    I thought it brought me comfort, but it was most definitely an uncomfortable comfort.
  18.    It put distance between me and others, physically and emotionally.
  19.    It made it hard for me to walk, shop or work and nearly impossible to exercise. My joints ached constantly.
  20.    I allowed it to become a stronghold in my life. It controlled me rather than me controlling it.
  21.    I trusted it more than God.

The bottom line for me is, sugar was the cause of my super morbid obesity, a place no one wants to go. Trust me.

Gaining Weight

Putting weight on, even gaining up to 430 pounds, is not difficult. It felt as if I had a gift at gaining weight. It might take me a year to lose 100 pounds and just several months to put it back on.

Yo-yo dieting should go on the list because sugar is the reason I would gain weight quickly after losing weight. When I would go without sugar for nine months or so, I would lose weight. Then, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas would come. I'd start back with the sugar, rationalizing even God wouldn't ask me to stay off sugar during the holidays.

Mindset of Addict

In reality, I was living in a sugary world. My life revolved around things made with sugar. I was like the drug addict mother who stops doing drugs while she's pregnant. Then, when the baby is born with all its parts intact, she starts the drugs again as a reward to herself for abstaining for nine months.

I understand this mindset of an addict. I would do the same thing. I'd abstain from sugar for a long period to reach a weight loss goal. Then, I'd start right back rewarding myself for reaching my weight loss goal by eating something with lots of sugar, something I'd been dreaming about for the entire time I was dieting. In my mind, I had not given it up. I was only postponing relishing it again.

Body Confusion

Meanwhile, my body was constantly confused by what I was doing. No wonder my metabolism and digestive system was totally out of whack. With type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, not to mention no libido, it had turned on all the warning signals. I, however, was good at ignoring those blinking lights.

The change happened when I made a firm decision to give up sugar for good. It was a specific moment in time, but the walking out of that decision continues a day at time. Yes, just like an alcoholic or drug addict.

I know taking one more bite will throw my body back into the tailspin of yo-yo dieting. I actually apologized to my body for what I did to it. I know I am a tri-part being and so I just said, "Body, my soul, mainly my emotions, has been leading us. I've put spirit in charge now. Spirit is connected with God's Spirit. Spirit will lead us all. I apologize for how I've made you feel. If we all work together, things will be much better. Will you forgive me?"

Like the nice body I now have, my body forgave me. We've been working together better these days, especially since releasing more than 260 pounds.

Many More Reasons

I know there are many more than 21 reasons to stop eating sugar. Oh, here's another: to stop putting money in the pockets of food manufacturers who are actually catching me in their net of added sugar purely for profit.

I'll stop for now. I hope I've given you enough to at least begin to think about giving up the white stuff. Of course, the last reason on my list is the most important because loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength is just everything.

"This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matt. 22:38-39). The second is what I'm doing now by writing this post.

10-Day Now

If you're ready to start, I've got a free resource for you. #KickSugar is a 10-day course to help you begin the process of getting rid of sugar. There are 10 videos, transcripts, recipes and, at the end, more freebies. Yep, I'm that passionate about helping you get rid of it. Just go here and begin your journey to sugar freedom.

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 bondage 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: {eoa}

Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.

]]> (Teresa Shields Parker) Featured Women Life Wed, 07 Oct 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Sheila Walsh Encourages Believers to Take 5 Minutes With Jesus

Christianity could revolutionize the cultural landscape if each of us were to take five minutes with Jesus each day, author and speaker Sheila Walsh says.

Believers often get so caught up in the headlines—from the Islamic State to the U.S. Supreme Court to the end times—that they forget the power of prayer. And when they do pray, Walsh says, Christians have a "give, give, give" attitude above the "Let my life be a gift for you."

To counteract this, the former host of The 700 Club and speaker in the Women of Faith lineup is encouraging believers to take five minutes to spend with Jesus. That's it—five minutes.

Walsh's ultimate goal is to motivate women, in particular, about the power of prayer. How often do we Christians pray as a last-ditch effort rather than as the primary weapon? More often than we should. "There is no force in the world greater than when women pray," Walsh says. "When God's girls get a picture of powerful prayer, they join together and things shift."

Culture could be revolutionized for the kingdom if each of us stopped blabbing about the negatives and focused, instead, on God's forgiveness.

"The real gift of forgiveness sets you free," Walsh says. "It's God's gift to us to live in a world that's not fair. Forgiveness is huge because the enemy has nothing in his arsenal to fight forgiveness. You choose to forgive to silence the enemy."

But frequently, women forego time with their Creator because they put their eyes on their families, work, errands and "me-time." The enemy uses those time challenges to create strongholds on earth. By neglecting her prayer life, a woman puts herself in a position to fall victim to lies.

"We're all incredibly busy, and there are so many demands on our time," Walsh says. "We live in a world that's really shifting as we see a rise of evil in unprecedented ways. Many feel it's not long before Christ returns again, and my passion is to help women be strong until then, to stand in the midst of what's true."

The key to opening the heavens and seeing the power of the Holy Spirit is for Christians to live their lives according to Romans 12 and present themselves as a "living sacrifice."

Then, and only then, will we see our world change for God. {eoa}

]]> (Jessilyn Justice ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Wed, 07 Oct 2015 17:00:00 -0400
What Is It Like to Be a Christian on Everest?

I have had a life-long interest in Everest—starting at an elementary school assembly in a tiny South Dakota town where I listened fascinated as a mountaineer related tales from the first American ascent of the world's tallest mountain.

Since then, I've read a small library of books on Himalayan climbing. I've also stood on Everest's summit. Naturally, I wanted to see the new movie Everest.

The movie is a reasonably accurate portrayal of climbing. The characters in Everest struggle through some of the most dramatic and terrifying moments of their lives. As Rob Hall talked with his wife while stranded high on the mountain and doomed to die, one sad thought occupied my mind: In the midst of fear, hopelessness, and the uncertainty of life and death, there was no thought of crying out to God.

This was also my experience on Everest. No thought of God seemed to cross the minds of my fellow climbers, despite the stunning beauty of the mountain and the fear caused by extreme conditions. On my three Everest expeditions, I was the solitary believer in Christ, alone with my God in an unbelieving environment. 

What is it like to be a Christian on Everest? I frequently talk with other believers who see my experiences on Everest as something extraordinary. But as a believer, I don't see it that way. What God requires of me on Everest, God requires of every Christian.

Like any other Christian, I want to do what God created me for. The 1996 tragedy dramatized in Everest was a turning point in my life and career. Reading Krakauer's book prompted me to write a film proposal, which landed me at K2 Base Camp in the summer of 1999, where I filmed a series for National Geographic. Three Everest expeditions as a high altitude cameraman for other companies followed.

However, I've never felt that I pursued Everest. Instead, God has opened doors for me to climb. Once on the mountain, I learned something significant.

I am not a hot climber, but I'm comfortable and extremely competent at altitude. I saw that God had made my body for climbing. I adjusted easily to the thin air at altitude. When my oxygen failed an hour below the summit, I was able to continue to the top, film and descend. I did not lose my appetite high on the mountain, as many climbers do. I did not have to train hard to be fit for climbing. Clearly, I was doing what God had created me to do.

Sensing I was in the center of God's will gave me confidence and removed worry and fear. Does this mean it was all fun? Like every other Christian, I still had to persevere, even when doing what God had designed me for. I've eaten more dal bhat than I care to remember. I've missed the luxury of showers and gone months without seeing my family. I've exerted myself to the point of exhaustion.

Climbing the French Spur on Everest's West Ridge, I worked harder than I've ever worked in my life. Isn't this what God wants for each believer? Where are you competent? What are your gifts? What is the mountain that God has for you? Put your heart into it and work for the glory of God.

When I'm climbing, I'm like every other Christian working a secular job, surrounded by those who don't know Christ. My task is to walk the walk no matter where He has put me. Placed among mountaineers, I saw my contribution as one link in the chain Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 3:6, "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase."

At K2 Base Camp, I grieved with climbers after the death of their teammate, killed by rock fall high on the mountain. Though I was a newcomer to their mountaineering circle, they approached me with a request: Would I conduct Mehi's funeral? That was a rare chance to freely share my faith with other climbers.

Usually, the opportunities seemed smaller. Profane speech is the norm in base camp, but high on the mountain, in a tent alone with one other climber, the profanity would be gone. I might not have the chance to actually share the gospel with my friend, but maybe my presence would be the opening of that man's mind where the missing thought of God could enter and bear fruit someday. Though it seemed that no one noticed, some of my mountaineering comrades were watching my life. For what believer working in the world is this not also true?

As followers of Christ, God wants our worship. In 2006, I climbed to a place few people have ever gone. I arrived alone on Everest's snow-covered West Ridge and looked out over mountains that had loomed large in base camp but were now small hills below me.

In that moment my heart was full with the worship of God. I knew my fellow mountaineers would experience the exhilaration of reaching the ridge and the beauty of the view, but that they would not be worshipping God. Only I can return to God the worship that He has put in my heart. That is true for every Christian.

What brings you joy? Where has God put you? Wherever that is, give God the worship that you alone can give. 

David Rasmussen has over 25 years of experience as a cinematographer and director of photography specializing in documentary films. His latest project, Finding Noah, a documentary about an archaeological expedition on Mount Ararat in search of Noah's Ark, will premiere nationwide for a one night only event on Oct. 8. For more information, visit  

]]> (David Rasmussen ) Featured Men Life Wed, 07 Oct 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Are These 7 Everyday Habits Aging You Faster?

Everyday habits may be aging you, says Dr. Erika Schwartz, chief medical officer at the Age Management Institute in New York City. "Many times, we do things every day—or don't do—often without even thinking, that can make us look older," she tells Newsmax Health. 

If you indulge in any of the following six habits, you are causing your skin to wrinkle prematurely:

1. Crash dieting. Crash dieting can cause wrinkles and sagging skin, because as you age, skin has less elasticity and can't adjust to rapid weight loss. If you need to lose weight, aim for losing no more than one or two pounds a week. And some doctors advise seniors not to be concerned if they gain a pound or two—as long as they're not overweight—because an extra pound here and there can fill in wrinkles and help you look younger. 

2. Multitasking. Multitasking creates stress, and stress releases free radicals that are responsible for aging. A 2012 study in the journal PLoS ONE found that just one week of work stress can harm DNA by shortening telomeres, the caps at the ends of DNA strands that protect chromosomes. Shortened telomeres are linked to heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and other diseases of aging. Stress can also make you more likely to indulge in other behaviors that add years to your face, including grabbing unhealthy snacks.

3. Keeping your home too warm in winter. It's tempting to ramp up the heat indoors when it's cold outside, but high temperatures lower humidity. The drying effects can parch your skin, causing wrinkles to be more prominent, and can make you itchy and cause your skin to flake. Use a humidifier to counteract dry air. Keeping rooms a bit cool can also help convert fat-storing white cells to fat-burning beige fat cells. 

4. Munching candy bars. "Your sweet tooth may be adding years to your face," says Dr. Schwartz. Sugar in the bloodstream forms damaging molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs form and harm the protein fibers that keep your skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, your skin begins to wrinkle and sag, says Dr. Schwartz. 

5. Not sleeping enough. "Sleep is crucial," says Dr. Schwartz. "If you don't sleep seven to eight hours a night, you don't give your body time to renew itself, manufacture hormones and keep you from aging. People who sleep are always the ones who look younger than their chronological age." Try to get 7 to 8 hours a night. 

6. Not washing your face every day. If you don't, you're making yourself look older, says Dr. Schwartz. "Wash with an organic cleanser and scrub makeup off your face." Although moisturizers hydrate skin and help make wrinkles less noticeable, never moisturize on top of a dirty face. "If you do, you'll clog your pores and wind up with pimples and other skin problems that can make you look older." 

7. Smoking. You should already know this, but in addition to shortening your life, smoking can age your skin prematurely, and the more you smoke, the more wrinkling you're likely to have. It's not only your face, says the Mayo Clinic. Smoking, which narrows blood vessels and impedes blood flow to the skin, also increases wrinkling on other parts of your body, including your inner arms. 

For the original article, visit

]]> (Sylvia Booth Hubbard/Newsmax Health) Featured Health Life Wed, 07 Oct 2015 15:00:00 -0400
What's the Difference Between Being Offended and Being Persecuted?

There are two key mistakes American Christians tend to make when thinking about the intersection of religion and culture. The first is to have an attitude of a "majority" culture, a mindset that incorrectly conflates a civic morality with Christianity and seeks to build coalitions to "turn America back" to Christ.

But there is another mistake too, and that is to have a fearful, hand-wringing siege mentality. While it's true that religious liberty is genuinely imperiled, perhaps more than at any time since the revolutionary era, we will not be able to articulate our commitments in this arena if we don't know how to differentiate between state persecution and cultural marginalization, between public oppression and personal offense.

Several years ago, I was flipping through magazines on an airplane when I came across a couple of pages that spiked my blood pressure. A beer advertisement was tagged with the headline, "Silent Nights Are Overrated." A few minutes later, in a second publication, there was an advertisement for an outdoor grill which read: "Who Says It's Better to Give Than to Receive?"

My first reaction was a personal, if not tribal, offense. "Would they advertise in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan with the line 'Fasting Is Overrated,'" I fumed, "or by asking in India, 'Who Says Everything Is One With the Universe?" I was missing the point.

The truth is, these companies were trying to sell products, not offend constituencies. Taking shots at any group's religious beliefs isn't good economics. I'm willing to bet whoever dreamed up these ad campaigns didn't "get" at all that they might be making fun of Jesus Christ. Madison Avenue probably didn't trace through that the song "Silent Night" is about the holy awe of the dawning Incarnation in Bethlehem.

To them, it probably seemed like just another Christmas song, part of the background music of the culture during this season. Saying it's "overrated" probably didn't feel any more "insensitive" to these copy writers than making a joke about decking the halls or reindeer games. The writers probably never thought about that the statement "It is better to give than to receive" is a quotation from Jesus via the apostle Paul (Acts 20:35).

It probably just seemed to them like a Benjamin Franklin-type aphorism, along the lines of when someone says "scarlet letter" without recognizing Hawthorne or "to be or not to be" while not knowing the difference between Hamlet and Huckleberry Finn.

We ought not fume about such things, as though we are a protected class of victims. We ought to see that our culture is less and less connected with the roots of basic knowledge about Christianity. Many, especially, in the culture-making wing of American life, see Christmas the same way they see Hanukkah. They know about Menorahs and dreidels, but not about the Maccabean fight. That ought not to make us outraged but prompt us to see how our neighbors see us—sometimes more in terms of our trivialities than in terms of the depths of meaning of Incarnation, blood atonement and the kingdom of Christ.

This means we need to spend more time engaging our neighbors with the sort of news that shocks angels, redirects stargazers and knocks sheep-herders to the ground. That will seem strange, and that's all the better, because it is strange. An Incarnation safe enough to sell beer and barbecue grills is a gospel too safe to make blessings flow, far as the curse is found. Not everything that offends us should offend us, and not everything that offends us is persecution.

But there is genuine persecution, in every era, and we ought to work for congregational cultures that recognize this. In one sense, many of our congregations are already on the way at this point, those churches with a culture of strong missions advocacy. These congregations may spend time praying for different people groups around the world, and may even visibly signify their concern for the nations with flags of various countries positioned throughout the church.

Part of our missions focus should be concern about religious persecution and violence, and not just of Christians. After all, how can we love the world with the gospel if we are apathetic to, for example, global anti-Semitism or the burning of houses of worship of religious minorities? We should pray for human rights and religious freedom for everyone, everywhere, not just for those who believe our gospel.

That said, our congregational cultures also should cultivate a special focus on those within the body of Christ who are hounded, beaten, imprisoned and jailed around the world, just as the Scriptures call us to do (Heb. 10:33-34). This is not only a matter of the "strong" standing up for our "weak" brothers and sisters around the world. In one sense, of course, it is.

We have relative freedom, we can pressure the State Department to act, we can send relief to communities in peril, and we can use technology to alert the global community to what is happening to religious minorities persecuted around the world. But our remembering of those persecuted is not only so that we can advocate for our brothers and sisters but also so that we can learn from them how to live as Christians.

When we encounter those persecuted Christians around the world, we see a glimpse of what Jesus has called us to do. We see the sort of faith that isn't a means to an end. We see the sort of faith that joins the global body of Christ across time and space, in the confession of a different sort of reign. We see a gospel that isn't American affluence, with heaven at the end.

When we pray for those in prison for their faith, we remember that the gospel came to us in letters written from jail. When we plead for those whose churches are burned in Egypt, we remember that our hope isn't in building religious empires but in a New Jerusalem we've never seen. When we weep for those who are (sometimes literally) crucified in the Middle East we are reminded that our Lord isn't a life coach or a guru but a crucified Messiah.

That can remind us of the gospel we signed up for in the first place, and free us from our fat, affluent, almost-gospels, which could never save in the first place. And we can be reminded that the persecuted Christians for whom we pray and advocate very well may be those who will send missionaries to carry the gospel to a future post-Christian Europe or North America.

The most important thing the church can do to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience is to hold to the gospel itself. Many Christians in the history of the church have gone to jail, from the book of Acts to right now. We ought to work diligently to keep Christians, and others, out of jail for religious convictions. But there are worse things than going to jail.

After all, one can maintain freedom by simply accommodating to the spirit of the age.

The prophet Daniel's cohorts, those who prayed to the king's statue, never saw the inside of a lion's cave. Pontius Pilate lived to a relatively ripe old age, untroubled by the sort of state harassment that did away with the apostles. Judas Iscariot was never arrested for anything, collaborating as he did with the state to carry out their dark mission. Those who fell away from the early church escaped the Colosseum with their lives. All it cost them was a pinch of incense, a momentary mumbling of "Caesar is Lord," and their souls. God forbid.

We should protect our legacy of a free church in a free state. We ought to pray and work for a "quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim. 2:2).

But that is not the ultimate sign of our success. It is better for our future generations to be willing to go to jail, for the right reasons, than to exchange the gospel of the kingdom for a mess of Esau's pottage. Sometimes jails filled with hymn-singing, letter-writing, gospel-preaching Christians can do extraordinary things. {eoa}

This article is adapted from my new book Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel.

Russell D. Moore serves as the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. Prior to his election to this role in 2013, Moore served as provost and dean of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also taught as professor of theology and ethics.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Russell Moore) Featured Culture Life Wed, 07 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0400
What Every Mom Can Learn From Moses

You would think that of all the people depicted in the Bible, the moms would be the ones who could best understand our frustrations as mothers. That's probably why there are so many books titled something like, "Moms of the Bible." We're supposed to read about moms and learn from them. Be inspired by them, even.

All of that is well and good. But lately, I've come to think that the biblical personage who could best understand a mom's frustration is Moses.

Moses was a father, but not a mother. He wasn't even a woman. How could he be the one who best understands moms?

Consider his words to God for yourself, and see whether you agree that he understands:

"Why have You hurt Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your eyes, that You lay the burden of all this people on me? Have I conceived all this people? Have I given them birth, that You should say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse bears the nursing child,' to the land which You swore to their fathers? Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep to me, saying, 'Give us meat, that we may eat.' I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If You do this to me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your eyes, and do not let me see my misery" (Num. 11:11-15).

I kid you not! That's what Moses said. (You can look up the full passage in Numbers 11.)

Yet we also know that Moses is the only human being ever to have seen God's face (see Ex. 33:11 below).

That means there is hope for you and me, moms. We don't have to be some kind of superspiritual Christian in order to have a close relationship with God. Intimacy with Him is possible for anyone who desires it—even for us!

I'm not saying that our emotions are always righteous (far from it!). What I'm saying is that if we do what Moses did, we can still have precious intimacy with God, even though we're not perfect.

What did Moses do? He talked to God about what he thought and how he felt. He didn't just stuff his feelings down, or try to deal with them in his own strength. He admitted he needed God, and he begged God for help.

But Moses didn't just come to God when he needed something. He came to God often. He loved God with his whole heart. He maintained that relationship all the time, not just when he wanted to ask God to do the genie thing and pop out of a bottle and rescue him.

Moms, did you realize you can bring your thoughts, emotions and frustrations to God? Moses did, and God didn't zap him to death. Instead, He helped him. God's not going to zap you either when you come before Him honestly and pour out your heart. He will help you—not condemn you.

So take a cue from Moses. Seek a relationship with Him always, even when things are going well. And when something comes up, admit what you think and how you feel and pour your heart out to God.

Doing so won't prevent you from experiencing intimacy with Him. In fact, it's necessary in order for intimacy to happen. You have to share your heart.

Exodus 33:11 says, "The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When he returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tent." {eoa}

Adapted from Megan Breedlove's blog, Manna for Moms. Megan is the author of Well Done, Good and Faithful Mommy and Manna for Moms: God's Provision for Your Hair-Raising, Miracle-Filled Mothering Adventure (Regal Books.) She is also a stay-at-home mom with five children. 

]]> (Megan Breedlove) Featured Women Life Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Are 'House' Churches a Fad?

In 2007, in the book Small Is Big!: Unleashing the Big Impact of Intentionally Small Churches (originally The Rabbit and The Elephant) which I co-authored with my husband, Tony, and George Barna, I wrote the following under the subtitle, "A fashionable fad":

"Another hazard we face is that of becoming fashionable, the latest phenomenon in church statistics, the trendy alternative to traditional church. There will always be people who hop onto the bandwagon because they want to be part of the latest thing, not because the Holy Spirit is leading them."

That has proved to be very true. When house church, or organic church, or simple church became a buzz word, many people jumped in. But, as I go on to say, if people don't truly live out the DNA, they will soon find that what they have is only a pale substitute for the real thing.

Thankfully, those days are over. We're no longer a fashionable fad.

I was very encouraged to read a recent blog post by entrepreneur and author, Seth Godin. (His blog is well worth following. He is able to clarify thoughts, especially about the digital age, in an extraordinary way.) The post is very short, and so I quote it in its entirety.

A fad is popular because it's popular. A fad gives us momentary joy, and part of the joy comes in knowing that it's momentary. We enjoy a fad because our peers are into it as well.

A trend, on the other hand, satisfies a different human need. A trend gains power over time, because it's not merely part of a moment, it's a tool, a connector that will become more valuable as other people commit to engaging in it.

Confusion sets in because at the beginning, most trends gain energy with people who are happy to have fun with fads, and it's only when the fad fans fade away (yes, I just wrote "fad fans fade") that we get to see the underlying power of the trend that's going on.

I believe we have moved from fashionable fad to Holy Spirit-inspired trend. Could it be "for such a time as this"?

Small is big! {eoa}

Felicity Dale received her medical training at Barts Hospital in London and worked as a family doctor before leaving to look after her own family of four children. She and her husband, Tony, pioneered a church in their medical college and later in London's East End. Co-founder of House2House Ministries, Felicity has authored three books, including Small Is Big! with George Barna and Tony.

]]> (Felicity Dale) Featured Women Life Wed, 07 Oct 2015 11:00:00 -0400
The Urgent Crisis of the Young American Male

Just one day before a crazed young gunman killed nine people in Oregon last week, police arrested four males who planned to go on a bloody rampage at their high school in central California. Fortunately those four juveniles are now in custody—but it doesn't lessen the pain of the families who lost loved ones in the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon.

What is happening? Why are so many disturbed young men in the United States carrying out massacres? Consider these four recent cases:

1. Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, Oct. 1, 2015, using five handguns and a rifle. He killed himself after the rampage. An unemployed loner, his parents were divorced and he lived with his mother. He suffered from mental disorders, and neighbors said he sometimes paced the floor of his apartment until 4 a.m. According to posts online, he was fascinated with guns and frustrated that he didn't have a girlfriend. When he broke into a classroom last week he asked some students if they were Christians before shooting them in the head.

2. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is an avowed white supremacist who shot and killed nine people, including a pastor, in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015. He used a .45-caliber Glock pistol. His mother left his father before he was born, and his father was later accused of abusing his second wife. A high school dropout, Dylann used drugs, showed signs of obsessive compulsive disorder and was convinced that African-Americans are taking over the world. In his online posts he talked of starting a civil war. He will stand trial in July 2016.

3. Elliot Rodger, 22, went on a bloody rampage on the University of California/Santa Barbara campus on May 23, 2014. First he stabbed three Chinese men (two of them his roommates), then he shot three students at a sorority house using three semi-automatic pistols. Then he killed himself. Coming from a divorced home, he was described by those who knew him as a loner who had been bullied in school. In a video he posted on YouTube just before his shooting spree, he said he wanted to punish women who had rejected him, and to punish sexually active males because they had a more enjoyable life.

4. Adam Lanza, 20, was responsible for storming into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012, and killing 20 first-graders and six adults. He murdered his mother first, then used her rifle to shoot his victims, and then killed himself. After the incident, investigators learned that Adam suffered from numerous mental problems. He loved horror movies and was fascinated by mass killings. Adam had had a strained relationship with his father since his parents separated in 2002.

A growing number of young men—even teens—are snapping. What is causing this?

The debate rages today about gun control—and certainly a case can be made that these men should never have had access to handguns or rifles. But this dilemma can't be solved simply by stricter background checks. (Elliot Rodger, for example, stabbed three of his victims with a knife, one of them 94 times. In other cases, they used guns owned by family members.)

In the cases I've described, each young man came from a broken home marked by abuse, rejection or neglect. Each was tormented by inner demons that caused him to be fascinated with conspiracies, weapons and violence. And after each massacre, people who knew these young men said they detected that they were deeply disturbed and needed intervention.

Other factors may have played a role, including drugs, video games, violent entertainment and broken relationships. But one clear factor is mental illness and an obvious lack of support for families that struggle with this problem. A lot of young men in this country today are battling anxiety, compulsive behaviors and serious psychological problems, and we can't sit back and wait for politicians to solve this.

We need spiritual answers—and the church must step up to the plate to provide more help to people like Christopher, Dylann, Elliot and Adam before they reach the breaking point. That's why I'm grateful California Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay (whose 27-year-old son battled depression and committed suicide in 2013), have organized a conference on mental illness that begins today. The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church will convene at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, Oct. 7-9.

"It's time to break the silence and stigma surrounding mental illness," says Kay Warren. "Every church, regardless of size or location, can be a place of refuge and love and compassion for those who need it most."

Hopefully Saddleback's willingness to apply the gospel to this taboo topic will result in a wave of healing in this country. For too long we have ignored this complicated problem—or we've deliberately swept it under the rug. The church should be the place where families go to find answers to mental illness—and not after a school massacre but before it happens.

For more information on the Gathering on Mental Health and the Church, go to {eoa}

]]> (J. Lee Grady) Featured Fire in My Bones Blogs Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0400
This Truly Is the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Perhaps this is true at every point in the history of a God-ruled, sin-pervaded world. It was true in 1859, and it is true today.

Charles Dickens wrote The Tale of Two Cities in 1859. It begins,

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

He was referring to 1775, the time of the French Revolution. But his point was, that period was like the present period in 1859. In the mid-19th century, "it was the best of times and the worst of times."

In 1859, Charles Spurgeon was 25 years old, George Müller was 54, Hudson Taylor was 27. And Charles Darwin was 50 years old, John Stuart Mill was 53 and Friedrich Nietzsche was 15.

Rebellion and Revival

God was mightily at work in 1859. In China's Millions, the most thorough history of the China Inland Mission, Alvyn Austin wrote,

"In 1859, while Hudson Taylor was still in China [on his first missionary term before founding the China Inland Mission], a revival broke out in Northern Ireland that led to a religious movement so pivotal in British religious history that it came to be called the Revival or "Awakening of '59." ... Although Taylor missed the first phase of the revival, he arrived in Britain in time to reap its benefits. As J. Edwin Orr noted, "there is reason to believe that the whole [of the China Inland Mission's first] party [of 1866] was made up of converts and workers of the 1959 Awakening. ... It is generally agreed that "something happened" in 1859–60, and that its ripples continued to reverberate for the rest of the century." (82–83, 85)

The astonishingly fruitful ministries of Spurgeon, Müller and Taylor were riding the wave of God's great work in their day. It was the best of times.

But other things happened in 1859. Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and John Stuart Mill, the atheist and utilitarian, published his essay "On Liberty."

So alongside growing secularism in science and politics, growing materialism in the industrial revolution, and growing self-reliance, as God was rejected by many, there was a great spiritual awakening and a great global advance of the gospel of Jesus. It was the worst of times and the best of times.

The Good

The same is true today: It is the best of times and the worst of times.

For example, historian Mark Noll points out, "In a word, the Christian church has experienced a larger geographical redistribution in the last 50 years than in any comparable period in its history, with the exception of the very earliest years of church history" (The New Shape of World Christianity, 20). He fleshes it out with concrete examples:

  • At the beginning of the 20th century, about 71 percent of professing Christians in the world lived in Europe. By the end of the 20th century, that number had shrunk to 28 percent. Now 43 percent of the Christians live in Latin America and Africa.
  • In 1900, Africa had 10 million Christians, which was about 10 percent of the population. By 2000, the number of Christians was 360 million, about half the population of the continent. This is probably the largest shift in religious affiliation that has ever occurred, anywhere.
  • There are 17 million baptized members of the Anglican church in Nigeria, compared with 2.8 million in the United States.
  • The number of practicing Christians in China is approaching the number in the United States.
  • Kenya has more people in Christian churches on Sunday than Canada.
  • This past week in Great Britain, at least 15,000 Christian foreign missionaries were hard at work evangelizing the locals. Most of these missionaries are from Africa and Asia.

It is the best of times in the history of world Christianity.

The Bad

Or is it? Noll concludes,

Doesn't the recent history of Christianity spell out the obvious: God's in his heaven, all's right with the world? Not exactly. If our era has become the best of times, it remains also the worst of times. ... The ever-expanding numbers who are turning to Christ in the Global south constitute the great marvel of recent history, but ...

Global terrorism, ISIS, hypocrisy, colonial imperialism, racism, materialism and a kind of decadence in the West that turns our shame into our glory with historically unprecedented audacity: calling marriage a union between two men, calling a man a woman because he wants to be one, and calling a baby's legs and arms and hearts "fetal tissue" for the taking.

It is the worst of times. And, the best of times.

The Best and Worst Today

In my lifetime I have seen a glorious and surprising revival of love for the God of sovereign grace and for his mighty gospel. Thousands of churches, seminaries, colleges, discipling centers, publishing houses, magazines, books, videos, websites, radio programs, global missions, music artists (from classical to rap), campus ministries, urban ministries, counseling centers, prolife efforts (and more) have come into being with a dynamic of God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated joy and missional courage (what we used to call evangelism) and passion for racial harmony and robust Reformed theology. And none of this is limited to one ethnicity or nation. It is the best of times.

On the other hand, I have witnessed with sometimes depressing heaviness the evisceration of the historic name "evangelical" to a meaningless conglomerate of people whose "evangelical" identity is that they all had grandparents who once believed what the reformers did. I have seen the mainline Protestant denominations collapse from gospel influence to faint cultural echoes. I have watched the rise of enormous churches and ministries who preach and export to poor nations a prosperity "gospel" that mutes the biblical teaching on suffering and reduces the glorious gospel to earthly betterment rooted in human attitudes, not the glory of Calvary.

And to mention just a few more of the many sorrows: the rise of a generation that knows little of the Bible, the disappearance of the weight of God's awesome presence in worship, the glorification of immorality in entertainment, the explosion and ubiquity of pornography, the indifference in churches to justice for all ethnic groups, the decimation of whole neighborhoods through a dominant drug culture, the collapse of the family with the prevalence of premarital sex and easy divorce and the absence of responsible fathers.

And the rise of civic leaders who, instead of standing against the disintegration, function as cheerleaders.

It is the worst of times, and the best of times.

How to Live in a Day Like Ours

What then shall we do?


1. Don't assume any specific historical trajectory of good or evil is fixed and unchangeable. God evidently loves to do his surprising work in hard and unlikely times. Surely, this is one of the implications of the history of Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament. Even great and good kings are sometimes followed by monsters. And wicked kings have godly sons. Josiah was the son and grandson of two of the most wicked kings (Manasseh and Amon). He became king at eight years old. At 16 he turned the nation on its head with a righteous reformation (2 Chronicles 34:1–4). It is unpredictable. It could happen at any moment, because God is sovereign.

2. Trust the sovereignty of God to turn the insanity of the nations to serve his purposes. In the face of deadly opposition, the early church prayed with the words of Psalm 2, "Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?" (Acts 4:25). In vain? They succeeded in killing Jesus!

Yes. But what had they really achieved? The praying Christians make it clear: "Truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place" (Acts 4:27–28).

They plotted in vain against the Lord and his anointed. Because, in all their fury, they simply fulfilled what the Lord had planned: the salvation of the world.

3. Let us labor to bind the minds and consciences of our young people to the word of God as infallible, and glorious, and utterly timely, and penetrating, and invincible. "The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

"I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!" (2 Timothy 2:8–9).

4. And, as the apostle Peter says, "Let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good" (1 Peter 4:19). Ready to suffer—for Christ's name. Full of trust—in Christ's grace. Doing good—by Christ's power. He reigns over this sin-ravaged world. Therefore it is the worst of times and the best of times. {eoa}

John Piper is the pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, where he first sensed God's call to enter the ministry. For 6 years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at

]]> (John Piper) Featured Culture Life Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:00:00 -0400
Thank God He Loves Me When I'm Unlovable

I will be the first to admit—and my wife and children will reluctantly back me up on this—that I am unlovable at times.

Anyone that has ever spent significant time around me during my nearly 50 years realizes that I have a temper. It's a character trait I do not embrace.

Drivers on the road irritate me constantly. The injustices of this world—especially when it pertains to the godless acts of our government officials such as our "esteemed president")—aggravate me. The cold, callous attitudes of not only the unsaved but of some in the church when it comes to societal issues makes my flesh want to tear into those people. My "righteous" anger leads me to believe those people are simply unlovable.

But doesn't that type of attitude reflect the character of a callow Christian, someone who hasn't experienced Christ's love and grace to a great degree? Doesn't that make me just as unlovable as those I accuse? I understand I am human and that humans get angry, but most times, it doesn't lead to Christlike behavior.

As a Christ follower, however, there are two things I know. The first is that if you are a child of God and have repented of such anger, God has afforded you grace and you are forgiven. "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy" (Ps. 103:8).

No matter what you do (outside of the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Ghost), Scripture says His love is unconditional. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). Not that you may take that as a license to wallow in your sin, but you know you are forgiven if you sin and repent.

The second is that you are a work in progress. In my case, the Holy Spirit convicts me daily of my un-Christlike attitudes and behavior. As Paul said in Philippians 1:6, "I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ."

In his book, Lord, Teach Me How to Love (which I am re-reading), Creflo Dollar writes, "No matter how you treat Him, His love remains the same. That's how He wants us to be." Isn't that the way we should be? 

I mess up every hour of every day, and I am well aware of it. I'm about as unlovable as they come sometimes. I pray daily that God's love is continually nascent in my heart so that I can show others the love and grace God has shown me.

Won't you make this a daily prayer of yours? Won't you pray with me that God will make you lovable to the world and not only to Him?

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

]]> (Shawn A. Akers) Featured Step Out of the Boat Blogs Wed, 07 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0400
When 'What Ifs' Keep You Up at Night

It is the middle of the night and I'm awake. Wide awake.

Yesterday I stayed home from work because I've been fighting a wicked cold or flu thing and I slept most of the day. I was actually thinking I might be well-rested for the next day.

No such luck.

Part of the problem is my house got quite warm and I just don't sleep in warmth.

Secondly, I'm anxious.

"do not be anxious about anything ..." (Phil. 4:6, ESV).

Every time I say the word anxious, those words pop into my head.

And yet, I'm having difficulty letting go of my fear.

It's this storm coming.

It's feeling unprepared.

It's the fact that I delayed something I shouldn't have. Been on my to-do list for three months. Since I bought this house.

And I haven't done it ... just kept moving it to the next day.

For three months.

So many things are like that for me .. .there is just so much to do. What other really important things have I missed, forgotten, or put too far down the list?

I'm watching the rain drizzle right now, and fearing the deluge that is predicted.

I keep praying ... placing my fear in God's hands ... and then picking it back up again ... then repeating the process until I can't sleep.

I have thought about walking around my home praying. I began my walk and then decided that I want to write some verses down and place them around my house. I've wanted to do that for a while as well.

Why did I buy a house close to water?

Water and me ... well, we have a history. Wet basement over and over again. Wet yard ... rivers running through it over and over again. Wet. Wet. Wet.

Even my kids have joked that we will just have to accept that we are destined to own a water park at some point in our lives ... I'm just hoping it isn't my first floor.

"but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

"let your requests be made known to God ..." (Phil. 4:6).

I am I need to start thanking.

I am so very thankful for this wonderful house. So thankful for the dreamy yard. So thankful for the beautiful wood floors. So thankful for the bedrooms for children. So thankful for a washer and dryer that work. So thankful for air conditioning. So thankful for my relaxing backporch. So thankful for kind neighbors. So thankful for my little kitchen. So thankful for a place to live.

Oh but even as I pray and know know know that I can trust my God who gave this all to me ... I'm fearful.

I know it is because sometimes things still go horribly awry. Sometimes prayers aren't answered the way I hoped ... the way that seemed best.

What if...?

How often have I uttered that phrase, if not aloud at least in my head ... and even my heart?

Too many times.

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).

Deep breath.

Peace ... peace I can't even understand.

Seems illusive at the moment.

I feel desperate for it. I can almost taste it, but ... why am I struggling?

God says present my request with thanksgiving ... let God know what I'm feeling, thinking, worrying about, thanking Him for ... and the peace will come.

It doesn't seem like I have to do anything but give it to Him ... and not be anxious.

Is it in the process of praying that the peace comes? Do I just pray until it pours over me like syrup? Soft and smooth ... stick-to-me peace?

Do I make myself not anxious?

I don't think so, because if I could I wouldn't need to pray and it would be my own peace not His.

So ... how do I give up this little bit of panic that is clawing at my chest?

Back to my knees ... Lord, how do I have peace?

I'm desperate for a few more minutes of sleep, but I want to feel that peace that surpasses all understanding ... for both my heart and my mind.

Right now it feels like my mind needs it most.

It's whirling and I'm weary.

How do I grasp it God?

And again ... I'm reminded.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;

"for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

OK ... pray.

Father, for me right now, it is the fear of losing my home in a storm. This precious home You have given to me and my children. This lovely home that I long to grow old in with people I love nearby. This dear place You provided my little family with ... this house. Lord, You know me ... You know my fears and my anxious thoughts. And you know that sometimes I worry about dumb stuff, but, Lord, this feels huge. This house, in the three months we have been here, has had some little hiccups ... and even those have felt discouraging to me. Oh Father, I'm so afraid. I'm so afraid of losing more. This past week You have revealed to me that I have an idol of control in my life. This is definitely not something I can control ... at all. I can't even begin to control the weather or the water or even the insurance company, but Lord, I can trust You. I know I can. So why am I so afraid? I think I know why. It is because I know sometimes You use difficult things to bring us closer to You ... and I do want to be closer to You, Lord. I'm just so afraid of more difficult things. More struggles. More heartache. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. I believe You are good. I believe You love me. I believe You have a plan. I believe You will provide. I believe I can trust You. I believe You know me and know what is best. There is not one thing that happens in my life that has not first gone through Your hands. Lord, I trust that Your hands hold only good for me and my children. Lord, I have to grab hold of Your peace and say, "Your will be done" and rest in that. Lord, I know You are good and wise and loving and faithful and kind. Lord, practically speaking, could You allow me to get flood insurance tomorrow? Please. If I do, I know it is all You. If I don't, I know that it is Your plan that I trust You without it. Either way, I trust that You are working.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

P.S. I have no insurance until the end of the month, BUT I have peace. I'll take that peace any day! God is so good. I didn't believe I could feel peace about all this, but I do. And that, my dear friends, is totally a Holy Spirit thing! God is so gracious to me. I laid it before Him, left it there, and He gave me peace in return! I'm so thankful! More than I can say.

Storm is coming, but it's OK.

A dear friend sent me a passage this morning that TOTALLY blessed me:

"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders" (Ps. 107:28-32).

God is good all the time ... with floods and no floods. All the time God is good!

Sue Birdseye is an author and single mom of five kids that range from four to 17 years old. Her book, When Happily Ever After Shatters (Tyndale House) is in bookstores. This is adapted from her blog,

]]> (Sue Birdseye) Featured Women Life Tue, 06 Oct 2015 18:00:00 -0400
Museum: A Tribute to the Friends of Zion

Each faced a moment of decision—an opportunity with eternal impact.

Many said, "Yes," but their choice often came at a great cost. They took action when others cowered in fear. Some gave up their careers, and others died poor and forgotten.

Many risked their very lives. Some were just doing their duty. For others, it was a conviction of the heart.

Some are famous—Corrie ten Boom, Oskar Schindler, Winston Churchill, Queen Victoria, Woodrow Wilson and Harry S. Truman. Others—Arthur James Balfour, Orde Wingate, John Patterson, George Bush and John Henri Dunant—are less well known but equally significant.

They are the heroes of Zionism—the hidden heroes of Christianity who helped protect the Jews from persecution and establish the state of Israel. Their stories are told at the new, state-of-the-art Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem.

The museum, the first in Israel to celebrate Christian heroes and their history, was dedicated Sept. 8 with the museum's international chairman, former Israeli President Shimon Peres; its Israeli chairman, General Yossi Peled; and more than 25 Israeli diplomats present.

It was a day designed to honor the Christian men and women who provided aid and assistance to the Jews during their quest to return to their homeland and gain independence.

The Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem portrays the story of Christian love and support for the Jewish people. It showcases the contributions made by Christian Zionists to the rebirth of the Jewish state in 1948 and their support since then.

The museum has a special relevance in our day. The five-story building has been transformed into the highest-tech interactive museum per square foot in Israel and possibly the world. The museum is located on some of Jerusalem's prime real estate at 20 Rivlin Street, 600 meters from the Temple Mount, across from the future home of what will be the largest Jewish museum in the nation, the Simon Wiesenthal Tolerance Museum.

I have enjoyed a lifelong love affair with Israel and led more tours than I can count. Each time I visited Israel, I found myself wishing to take my groups somewhere that celebrated Christian Zionism. Today, dozens of places exist where one can learn of the evil that people falsely professing to be Christians visited upon the Jewish people.

The Crusades, pogroms, the Inquisition and the Holocaust are and should be well-documented. I also wanted to visit someplace where Christian heroes were celebrated.

Certainly, trees are planted at Yad Vashim in honor of the righteous among the nations. My groups always wanted to see the trees for ten Boom and Schindler. Even so, I always felt that a place dedicated to the positive history of Christian Zionism would be a great addition to tours of Israel. With the opening of the Friends of Zion Museum, there is such a place. Christians who love the Jewish people unconditionally can be inspired, and Jewish people who have never known about Christian heroes such as ten Boom can find friends they did not know they had.

Unearthing the Heroes of Christian Zionism

In 1988, Mike Evans and his ministry partners purchased the home of ten Boom in Haarlem, Holland, and transformed the house and clock shop into a wonderful museum. Her story is virtually unknown among the Jewish people and, for that matter, the vast majority of young people in this generation. This is despite the story of Anne Frank being known by Jews and Christians worldwide.

Evans wanted to bring the story of the ten Boom family to Jerusalem, but in researching that possibility, he encountered hundreds of individuals who not only assisted the Jewish people during the Holocaust, but also helped to establish the state of Israel.

In 2012, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the Christian Zionists' role in Israel's history: "I don't believe that the Jewish state and modern Zionism would have been possible without Christian Zionism. I think that the many Christian supporters of the rebirth of the Jewish state and the ingathering of the Jewish people in the 19th century made possible the rise of modern Jewish Zionism."

The Friends of Zion Museum has documented the oft-hidden history Netanyahu referred to. For example, spotlighted in the museum is the story of John Henri Dunant, a Swiss-born banker and humanitarian. Theodor Herzl first labeled him a "Christian Zionist." Dunant, the founder of the International Red Cross, also inspired the 1964 Geneva Convention and he was the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize.

Also spotlighted is Horatio Spafford, whose four daughters were drowned at sea. After viewing the site of their watery grave, he penned the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul." Spafford and his wife went to Jerusalem and built the largest orphanage in the city. The orphanage is now called The American Colony.

George Bush also holds a place of honor in the museum. This George Bush was never president of the United States. He was, however, an ancestor to both Bush presidents. He was a college professor, born in Vermont in 1796. He was a Presbyterian pastor who taught Hebrew and Oriental Literature at New York University. Bush was an ardent believer in the return of the Jews to their rightful land, then called Palestine. In 1844, Bush wrote The Valley of Vision—based on the dry bones mentioned in Ezekiel 37. The book was a clarion call to Christian Zionism and sold more than 1 million copies.

The museum also showcases Orde Charles Wingate. He was a Bible-believing British army officer who created a special military unit in Palestine in the 1930s that later became the Israeli Defense Forces.

Colonel John Patterson, after whom the prime minister's brother, Jonathan, was named, is a significant figure at the museum too.  Patterson, a Christian, commanded the Zion Mule Brigade, which became the first Jewish fighting force in 2,000 years.

Combating the Rise of Anti-Semitism

As a former Christian university president, I am deeply concerned about the warped historical view being taught on many campuses. Too many young people have bought into an anti-Israel worldview politically. Others have fallen into the trap of "replacement theology." I have been disappointed to see some of my evangelical colleagues and leaders embrace this theology.

The Friends of Zion Museum seeks to address this serious issue. The museum's educational experience combats anti-Semitism and inspires Christians to learn of their biblical history and heroes and their biblical relation to Israel and the Jewish people. The museum is an exciting high-tech vehicle to combat anti-Semitism. This museum is especially needed as the world turns its back on Israel and supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

As part of the international program of the museum, Peres presented President George W. Bush in March with the first Friends of Zion award in acknowledgement of his friendship with the Jewish people. President Peres traveled to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas to present the award.

In April on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Friends of Zion Museum hosted a global event that was aired on 13 satellite networks with about 6,000 churches in more than 50 countries participating live. This broadcast was a show of solidarity with Israel that honored Christian heroes who stood by the Jewish people during World War II. Eli Wiesel, President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared on that special.

In the last few months, many of the most prominent evangelical leaders worldwide have toured the Friends of Zion Museum and have lent their support. These include Dr. Jack Hayford, chancellor of The King's University, who said, "This brief and impacting moment has left me tearful, speechless and with a sense of accountability."

"You can't miss it," says Gordon Robertson, chief executive officer of the Christian Broadcasting Network. "If you're on a trip to Israel, this should be your first stop. It will inform you. It will inspire you. It will enlighten you. Don't miss it."

Mark Williams, general overseer of the Church of God, says, "Floor by floor, it was just amazing. I just hope you and your family will take advantage of the opportunity to visit the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem."

Excellent Visual Effects Captivate Audiences

Dr. George Wood, general superintendent of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, said, "It was spectacular! The kind of visual display and advanced technology is unlike anything I have seen in the whole wide world."

If one cared nothing at all for the subject matter, the technology itself is well worth seeing. More than 150 Israeli multidisciplinary experts created the experience in 30 months. The museum contains the largest onyx video-mapping floor in Israel and perhaps the world, and is equipped with more than 30 video projectors, 45 LCD screens and about 50 speakers.

The museum houses the largest employment of digital equipment per square meter ever in a single museum. The music, which is originally scored, is broadcast on a surround-sound system. A unique, complex animation method called "rotoscoping" brings live action footage into a painted setting that transforms each story during the museum experience.

The tour begins with a unique surround-sound aerial excursion over the land of Israel synchronized with sculptured topography of the biblical land and the 12 tribes of Israel. All aerial shots were originally filmed for this segment with 4K cameras—the largest digital-filming format available.

Visitors then board a high-capacity experimental "time-machine" elevator. As the elevator rises, the surrounding glass surface comes to life with a spectacular sound-and-light show. It is the largest exterior glass elevator in Israel with a unique LED video network beneath its glass interior that combines sound effects and narration for a superb sub-system.

The Founder's Theater holds another first—the longest indoor seamless surround projection system in a museum in Israel (24 meters). Its transparent LED multimedia onyx floor adds a surprising dimension to the storytelling. New to me were the handcrafted wooden figures digitally mapped with animated videos on each polygon of the sculpture's design. The Visionaries Gallery features another first—a hand-drawn mural crafted by a team of artists, then digitalized and animated. The mural wall is comprised of 36 LCD screens with infrared sensor technology triggered by touch. When this still mural comes to life, 11 separate animations are activated on the largest interactive mural in Israel.

The Lights in the Darkness Theater uses digital rotoscoping. I found it a moving experience to say the least. This theater is the first of its kind.

Visitors are able to see the visual content projected onto their own hands. That content features pictures of some of the Jewish people rescued by Christians.

The grand finale is a 3-D stereoscope with a custom silver screen. Wearing distinct polarized 3-D glasses, visitors see their own faces embedded in the show as a live feed.

How the Museum Will Impact Israel

More than 7,000 individuals from all over the world have already toured the Friends of Zion Museum. Perhaps the most moved of the visitors are the Israelis themselves. One elderly lady said, "Goose bumps, goose bumps. We are not alone."

The museum has purchased a second building. Erected in 1874, the building is one of the first homes built outside the walls of Jerusalem. Here the guests are given the opportunity to leave their impressions using highly advanced technology, comparable to that employed in the 9/11 memorial in New York City.

In the second museum building, guests enter one of three stations that record visitors' impressions. In the state-of-the-art recording facility, the guest is guided through an experience to share his impressions, complete with snapshot photos. The facility is equipped with the most advanced lighting, audio and technological programming to produce the guest's first, intimate and authentic impressions on different topics.

Guests' impressions are also presented in a gallery of framed portraits that cover the walls of the Reception Center. The Impression Gallery will also be available online. Personally, I found one of the most intriguing facilities in the museum Reception Center to be a multimedia broadcasting facility which allows pastors to speak to their congregations live from Jerusalem.

Museum tours are available in 16 languages and online. One can take a virtual tour of the museum by going to The online tour tells the stories showcased in the museum and allows those who cannot travel to Jerusalem to benefit from the same experience free of charge. This tour has been translated into 13 languages.

The Friends of Zion Museum experience is a remarkable combination of cutting-edge technology, historical narrative and emotional inspiration. Tours, visiting academic groups and individuals will find the Friends of Zion Museum an exciting addition to their visit to Jerusalem. {eoa}

Dr. Mark Rutland is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books and many articles. His column appears in each edition of Ministry Today magazine. Rutland's weekly television program is broadcast on TBN Salsa, and he is heard on a daily basis in multiple radio markets. As the executive director of The National Institute of Christian Leadership, he teaches hundreds of church and business leaders from around the world. In the past, he has served as the president of two universities and as a megachurch pastor. He is currently the president of Global Servants, an international agency that, among other works, operates homes for tribal girls on two continents.

Take a sneak peek of what visitors will see in the Friends of Zion Heritage Center at

]]> (Dr. Mark Rutland) Featured World Religions Spirit Tue, 06 Oct 2015 17:00:00 -0400
5 Obstacles to a Great Christian Marriage

I love marriage. I love the idea of marriage and the process of marriage.

But, marriage isn't easy. It's actually hard to have a good marriage.

One of the toughest verses in the Bible to obey is Ephesians 5:31 which says, "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."

One flesh.

The process of blending two very different people is what causes stress to many marriages.

In my work with marriages, I've identified five of the major obstacles to making a great ONE out of two very different people. Sometimes simply understanding what obstacles exist and knowing they are common to most marriages—you are not alone—can help us learn to see them not as obstacles, but as God-given opportunities to grow a stronger "one flesh."

5 major obstacles I have seen are:

1. Lack of biblical knowledge about marriage. There is very little premarital training in churches today or even in most homes that are raising children who will one day marry. When my boys got their driver's license we sent them to four Saturdays of classes. How much training do most of us get for marriage? The fact is that most of us are somewhat surprised by marriage and we don't really know how to make it work. We need to do a better job training people for marriage.

2. Differences in men and women. Men and women are designed differently by God—not just physically, but emotionally. We look at the world differently. We process information differently. We expect different things from relationships. We have wrongly tried to equalize everything when it comes to men and women. I strongly agree we need equality when it comes to things like workplace treatment or educational opportunities, but when it comes to matters of the heart, and especially marriage, we better know that God designed a difference in men and women.

3. Communication styles. Because of our differences, men and women communicate differently. Men tend to communicate thinking to thinking; while women tend to communicate heart to heart. One of the reasons Cheryl and I might have conflict is because I say things I intend for her mind to hear and it's received with her heart. We need to remember that we communicate differently.

4. Outside influences. Every marriage has influences beyond their immediate control, but that have profound and direct impact on the marriage. Some of those influences include:

  • Children
  • In-laws/other relatives
  • Friends
  • Pressures of life/stress
  • Satan

All of these are normal influences in any marriage. Some of them are even welcome influencers in the marriage. The key is not to let ANY of them distract from the plan God has for the marriage to become one flesh.

5. Differing goals/objectives. Remember every couple is made up of two unique, differently designed individuals. That means each one brings unique qualities, personalities and opinions to the relationship. Again, that's part of God's overall design to make two people one.

Some of the major differences include:

  • Outlook on life; usually one is more positive and one is more negative.
  • Differences in family backgrounds
  • Personality differences Introvert/Extrovert; Thinker/Feeler;
  • Organized/Disorganized
  • Parenting Objectives

The overall goal of marriage is not to make both parties in the marriage like one of the parties.  It's to make ONE new unit out of the two. Discovering how to blend one flesh out of two different people takes years and requires practice, patience and lots of hard work. Remembering that differences are a part of God's plan and can actually help us build stronger marriages.

Remember also God didn't promise this would be easy. In fact, the very next line after the difficult verse I shared in the opening of this post says, "This is a great mystery" (Ephesians 5:32).

If you are married, praise God for the mystery He gave you today.

What other obstacles have you seen to having a great marriage? {eoa}

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

]]> (Ron Edmondson ) Featured Men Life Tue, 06 Oct 2015 16:00:00 -0400
5 Ways to Guarantee Success With Your Diet

With an obesity epidemic that is out of control, getting healthy is one of the most important things you can do. Unfortunately, good intentions of trying to eat better and exercise more aren't enough to guarantee success, and most people fall short of their dieting goals.    

Losing weight can be a tough battle to win. Once you've picked a diet and exercise plan, there are five more things you can do to help guarantee success.  

Know Your Why

There's an old saying in the world of peak performance: "Without knowing why you're doing something, the how doesn't matter." This applies especially when you're tackling big goals like becoming fit. My personal why when I was losing weight was to take back my life, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. How about you? You need to know the reason you're engaging in this weight-loss venture and then you'll fight more soundly when it gets rough. Once your why is answered, the how will follow.

Write about Your Body Vision

Just like you would write a business plan to ensure success in your career, you need to write a business plan for your body. It doesn't need to be 50 pages long, but it does need to include the details of the image you want to create. It might include describing the way you want your six-pack abs or legs to look as you shape and sculpt them through exercise, or how big you want your arms to be. Make sure you describe the way you will feel when you reach your goal. This will keep you motivated when the going gets tough.

Embrace The Discipline

Something is fundamentally motivating about being on the path to success. The fulfillment the warrior feels when she is fighting the war is unique and unlike any other form of pleasure. It's a deep psychological satisfaction that accompanies fighting the good fight.

Being successful on your diet is no different. Don't just endure the discipline; embrace it. Stare it down. Look it straight in the eye.  When you feel those late-night hunger pangs and cravings, experience them fully. Think about the way it feels in your stomach and your mind.

That's the feeling of victory telling you if you can do this, you can do anything. Instead of fearing the pain or avoiding it, embrace it and the discipline required to continue. You'll start looking in the mirror and seeing the person you really are and were always meant to be.

Accept Reality

The power of psychological delusion in the weight-loss process is formidable. Looking in the mirror and seeing the image you want to see instead of your real self creates a disassociation between fantasy and reality. It's easy to avoid reality because it can be harsh and even cruel, but that doesn't change the fact that it's real. It all boils down to the way you want to spend your life. Do you want to live in the real world or fantasyland?

Stop pretending you aren't overweight and that being fat doesn't matter. Decide to wake up and see the world as it is and yourself as you actually are, instead of mentally medicating yourself with childish fantasy.

Pay The Price

We all know everything in life has a price, and losing weight is no exception. It's your body and your battle to fight. No one can do it for you. For some, success comes quickly. Others will endure a long, drawn-out battle. Whichever experience you encounter, you'll have to pay the price. Think of it this way: You're already paying the price for being overweight, and if you stay that way you'll be paying for the rest of your life. Pay the price one time to become successful and reap the rewards permanently.

The choice is yours: Continue just dabbling around with your diet or really embark on your weight-loss journey and conquer it once and for all. Start taking responsibility for your habits, actions and behaviors and see how good it feels to finally win this fight. {eoa}    

Steve Siebold is author of Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People and Fat Loser! Mental Toughness Training for Dieters.

]]> (Steve Siebold) Featured Health Life Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:00:00 -0400
What Makes Your Kids Enjoy 1 Church Over Another?

Recently my family and I went on a Disney Cruise.

The cruise was a gift from my grandmother when she passed away 10 years ago. Cruises were one of her favorite ways to vacation and she wanted to make sure each of her grandkids experienced one, as well. At the time that she passed, our family was so young we opted to wait until they were older to take the epic trip.

So, January 2013 was the year to experience a cruise. A Disney cruise, no less.

Short of winning the lottery, I never would have considered trying to save money to go on a Disney cruise. Now, after experiencing one, it's all I can do to scrimp, save, beg, borrow and steal to go again. Some way the McClain clan will ride the waves of another Disney ship. It was that good.

There are so many great things I could share about the experience. But my biggest takeaway from this trip is the value Disney places on relationships. I didn't comprehend it until I experienced it.

I've always viewed services as something to be done with excellence and efficiency. Wait staff and cleaning crews in particular. These areas of service should be almost invisible in their presence yet impeccable in their craft.



Yet obviously at work.

I experienced something completely new on this cruise.

We had a stateroom attendant that took care of our room. She came in every morning and made beds, moved furniture into place and cleaned our bathrooms. She returned every evening to set up the beds and prep the rooms for sleep. She left little gifts every time she came. Chocolates. Finger sandwiches. Mini-cakes. Towel animals.

I expected to have my room prepped by an attendant.

I didn't expect our family to fall in love with her.

But we did.

Narissa is incredible. A native Jamaican, she shared about her teenage kids and husband living in Jamaica. She talked of her love of country music and how she dreams of visiting Tennessee. She loved on my kids, left them special treats, always asked about their activities and showed genuine interest in them. She patiently listened as they blurted out stories and silly jokes.

Narissa is a beautiful woman who loves what she does, and it was evident every time we saw her. She does more than just clean staterooms. She cares for families. She helps create an unforgettable experience that embeds itself into the hearts and minds of those in her care.

I hope to see Narissa again. In fact, if she came to Tennessee, I would invite her into my home, leave chocolates on her pillow and attempt to make towel animals for her.

The shift is striking simply because what I experienced exceeded my expectations.

I expected to have a great cruise. I expected to have a clean stateroom.

I didn't expect to make a new friend.

The experience reminds me of the importance of relationships.

Relationships enhance an experience beyond expectations. They add an enriching aspect to an event. In kids ministry, I can host a ton of great events, including the weekend services. But if I want to make them greater, richer, more enticing, there must be a relational connection. There must be some aspect that connects people emotionally.

As we continue to strive toward a relational model in FPKids, I'm convinced more than ever that kids and adults want to be known. And the best way to know someone is to be consistently present in their lives. Orange calls that "Showing Up Predictably."

We don't have to come with all the answers, or all the right questions, or all the right reactions. We just need to come, to show up every week and to show up predictably.

In so doing, we get to know the kids God brings to us. We learn more about them. We open the door to listen to their silly jokes and blurt out their crazy stories. And in all of that, we touch them deeply. We become a trusted friend. We become the reason they want to come back.

I have this crazy dream.

That kids will walk away from church feeling as if they matter, as if they're important, as if God has a plan for their life, and if they come back over time, they will hear more about that plan from someone who believes it too.

A volunteer who simply wants to do something important with his time can decide to serve in kids ministry.

Gina McClain is a speaker, writer and children's ministry director at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. For the original article, visit

]]> (Gina McClain) Featured Women Life Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:00:00 -0400
How Do You Know If a Message Is Prophetic?

My father's family helped to start the first Pentecostal church in Western New York. 

My family attended the local Methodist church every Sunday morning when I was growing up. My mom played the organ and my dad taught the adult Sunday school class. Church life was in our blood and in our very DNA.

When I was 7, my father decided that he wanted his family to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in the church setting. So, although we continued to attend the Methodist church every Sunday morning and serve there, we also began to attend Sunday evening services at the Assembly of God church in a neighboring community.

Instead of staying at home and watching Lassie or The Wonderful World of Walt Disney on Sunday evenings, we went to a church where the power of the Holy Spirit was moving and alive. 

We drove to this Pentecostal house of God through blizzards and through thunderstorms. Weather didn't keep us home ... weariness didn't keep us home ... homework didn't keep us home ... and holidays didn't keep us home.

We went to church! It was who we were and what we did with our lives. There was no whining involved ... no questions asked ... no excuses given.

The Sunday night service began at 7 p.m. with a lively song service, but that was only the beginning! The evening wasn't complete without vibrant testimonies, a Bible-based sermon, and then it was time for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to move. I remember that most Sunday nights, we lingered at the altar until 10:30 or later. God was there ... He was real ... He spoke even to children!

I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when I was 8 at that precious Pentecostal altar.

No matter how late we arrived home from Sunday night service, all three Burton children went to school on time on Monday mornings. The call to honor God with our lives went beyond the altar and into the everyday.

When it was time for college, God made it abundantly clear that I was to attend Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU was a place where the Holy Spirit was recognized as a vital and life-giving force.

ORU was a place of worship, of prayer, of hearing God's voice and of dynamic and Spirit-led challenge! And I was there!

I met the man of my dreams at ORU, and we have served the Lord in charismatic churches across the country for 38 incredible years! What a rich honor to be chosen to love the people of God who are simply hungry and thirsty for more of Jesus.

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that has impacted my life greatly not only as a child, but also as a college student and throughout my adult life has been the gift of prophecy.

Have you ever received a prophetic word that just seemed crazy to you? Has anyone ever prophesied gloom, doom and sin over your life?

Have you ever cringed at the proclamation of a self-described prophet and wondered where God was in all of the charismania?

I have. I have wondered, and I have shaken my head in disbelief, and I have asked God to protect unsuspecting victims from the verbal abuse of an overly eager and zealous prophet or prophetess.

I believe in the gift of the prophetic. I believe that God is still speaking today and that one of the ways in which He speaks is by giving words of knowledge and wisdom to men and women who have been called and anointed for such a ministry.

I have often received such words that have resonated in my spirit with fervor and a heartfelt agreement that the God of creation was speaking to me! Imagine that!

However, I have also heard hollow words of condemnation and misplaced authority that a man or woman of God has no business speaking!

So what do we do? Where do we go from here? If we are to be the people of God in this generation who believe in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, how do we exercise such gifts in a healthy and godly manner?

I believe that we approach this in the identical manner as we approach anything else that requires God's heart and God's oversight. We must go to the Word of God for instruction and boundaries.

"But he who prophesies speaks to men for their edification and exhortation and comfort" (1 Cor. 14:3).

Edification. Exhortation. Consolation.

Those three words determine the boundaries of the prophetic.

Edification. Exhortation. Consolation.

If a word edifies the listener to whom you are speaking ... give it!

If a word exhorts or brings refreshment to the listener ... give it!

If a word consoles or calms the listener ... give it!

Otherwise ... don't give it!

As I minister to women all across America through the written and spoken word, this is how I view the gift of the prophetic in my ministry:

I go mining for gold in the heart of God concerning a person or a situation and then I place that valuable and beautiful gem found in the heart of God into the life of the listener.

The New Testament prophet was given the extraordinary role of edifying people, exhorting people and consoling people! What an honor! {eoa}

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical, biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books: No More OrdinaryHoly Estrogen!The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released on Aug. 1. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. 

]]> (Carol McLeod) Featured Prophecy Spirit Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0400
7 Weapons the Enemy Uses to Defeat You

There are seven mighty weapons the enemy primarily uses from his arsenal.

1. Pride

The kingdom of darkness was birthed in the pride that filled Satan's heart (Is. 14:12-18). Satan's arrogance had its roots in his physical beauty (Ezek. 28:12-18). The original sin took place in the Garden of Eden, as a result of the serpent's appeal to the pride of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:1-7). Pride is one of the three root sins of mankind.

"For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). Satan will use pride to keep people from seeking God (Ps. 10:4). Jesus said pride comes out of the heart of a person and defiles them (Mark 7:22). Pride is the root of all contention and strife (Prov. 13:10). The Apostle John wrote of the dangers pride and how Satan will use it to fight against the church.

"I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to put himself first among them, did not accept us. Because of this, if I come, I will bring up what kinds of works he does: ranting against us with malicious words. Not content with that, he does not accept the brothers, and stops those who want to, and throws them out of the church. Beloved, do not imitate that which is evil, but that which is good. Whoever does good is from God, but whoever does evil has not seen God" (3 John 9-11).

"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov. 16:18).

 2. Greed

Satan's heart is not only filled with pride but with greed.

"You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I set you there; you were upon the holy mountain of God; you walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. By the multitude of your merchandise, you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire" (Ezek. 28:14-16).

Satan tempted Balaam to prophesy against the people of God for great wealth (Num. 22-23). The apostle Peter warned the church in 2 Peter 2:1-16 of the demonic strategies used against Balaam. Jude warned of these same strategies in Jude 1-11.

Jesus also warned the church at Pergamos of these satanic strategies (Rev. 2:14). The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. He gave five dangers of greed in 1 Timothy 6:9-10. It makes a person more vulnerable to temptation, it sets a spiritual snare, it creates foolish and hurtful lusts which will drown a person in destruction and perdition, it causes a person to err from the faith, and it pierces a person through with many sorrows.

Jericho was the tithe city of the promise land, set apart by God. No one was to take spoil for themselves, it was all to go into the treasury of the Lord (Josh. 6:17-19). One greedy man took some of the spoil bringing judgment upon himself, his family and the nation of Israel (Josh. 7:1-21).

Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit when they told the Apostle Peter in Acts 5:1-10 that they were bringing the whole price of their land as an offering to God. They kept part of the money for themselves, lying to the Holy Spirit and the apostles. Judgment was both swift and deadly.

3. Appetites of the Flesh

Demonic forces corrupted the early generations of mankind through sexual sins (Gen. 6:1-5). Satan trapped the Israelites by tempting them with sexual sins in Numbers 25:1-8 and 31:16. Satan took down Samson in Judges 16:5-20 by enticing him through the appetites of the flesh.

The apostle Paul warned the church at Thessalonica of this powerful weapon of the enemy (1 Thess. 4:1-8), and also warned his spiritual son, Timothy, of the strong snare these appetites are to men of God who want to be vessels of honor in the house of the Lord in 2 Timothy 2:19-26.

4. and 5. Rebellion and Stubbornness

Satan is the author of rebellion. He planned an attempted overthrow of heaven as described in Isaiah 14:13-15. He prompted a rebellion against Moses and Aaron by Korah and Dathan in Numbers 16:1-50. Saul was a self-willed and rebellious king over Israel, animated by powers of darkness (1 Sam. 13:1-14, 15:1-11).

We read in 1 Samuel 15:23 that rebellion is like witchcraft and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry. The apostle Paul warned the church in 2 Timothy 2:23-3:9 of the dangers of rebellion and stubbornness.

 6. Bitterness

Unforgiveness gives the enemy a foothold (Eph. 4:26-27). "Give place to the devil" in Ephesians 4:27 means to give him an area of jurisdiction.

Jesus declared in Matthew 18:21-25 that unforgiveness in a person's heart causes God to have to turn you over to tormentors. Bitterness will bring defiling into every area of a person's life, relationships and endeavor (Heb. 12:14-16).

 7. Condemnation

Satan was the accuser against Job (Job 1:1-12, 2:1-7). He is called "the accuser of the brethren" in Revelation 12:10 and accuses the believer to God day and night. The tactics he uses are domination, intimidation and control. The Midianites used these tactics to keep Israel in bondage to their tyrannical rule in Judges 6:1-5.

In 1 Samuel 17:1-24 we read that the Philistines used this same tactic against Israel with Goliath. The enemy has used this mighty weapon to control people, groups and nations for centuries. The following are some examples of the means used by the enemy in history.

In his book Western Civilizations, Edward McNall Burns says that the Assyrians "depended upon frightfulness as a means of overcoming their enemies. Upon soldiers captured in battle, and some upon noncombatants as well, they inflicted unspeakable cruelties such as, skinning them alive, impaling them on stakes, cutting off ears, noses and sex organs, and then exhibiting the mutilated victims in cages for the benefit of cities that had not yet surrendered. The accounts of these cruelties come from the records of the Assyrians themselves. Their chronicles boasted of them as evidence of their valor."

The Roman Empire used crucifixion and other means of cruelty to intimidate their subjects. John Foxe, in his book Foxe's Book of Martyrs, says: "'In so much that (as Eusebius recordeth) one might then see cities full of men's bodies, the old there lying together with the young, and the dead bodies of women cast out naked, without all reverence of that sex in the open streets.'"

The Nazi's used open cruelty to bring intimidation, domination and control. Kazimierz Smolen, in his book Auschwitz 1940-1945: Guide-Book Through the Museum, says: "The prisoners then recalled scraps of information so nightmarish that it could hardly be believed. They went back to the period just after the end of World War I, when the name of Corporal Adolph Hitler had begun to appear ... his storm troops (SA), the main purpose of which was to spread terror ... demonstrations occurred in Berlin in 1932. ... Reich Stag was set on fire. ... Unused factories were changed into the first concentration camps. The Nazis had put thousands of Germans behind wires and bars. 250,000 anti-fascists were sent to concentration camps up till 1939, and 32,000 among them were executed with the ax."

In the early years it was not just Jews who were placed in concentration camps. Germans, who were believed to be anti-Nazi, were also interned.

The powers of darkness have used dominating fathers or mothers, employers, husbands, boyfriends and other family members to inflict his damage and gain a foothold in individual lives. Intimidation, domination and control are maintained through mental and emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA), jealousy, anger and temper.

Whether attacking a small child or seeking to gain control over a whole nation, these seven weapons have proved very effective for the powers of darkness. Satan and his demonic army use them with skill and deadly intent. God has not left the human race vulnerable to these forces, without protection and hope of victory. He has given to us weapons that are "mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds." {eoa}

Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as Lead Pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett - Foundational, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

]]> (Dr. F. Dean Hackett) Featured Women Life Tue, 06 Oct 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Prophetic Destiny: 2 Tests of an Overcomer

As I shared in my blog last week, everyone has a prophetic destiny and God-given dream that we are called to walk into. But the key is you have to know how to go from your dream to your destiny.

Why is it that certain people reach their destiny while others get stuck in life? If we look at the life of Joseph, we can identify five different tests that you must overcome as you are prepared to come into your destiny.

Here are the first two:

The Pride Test

"Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more." (Gen. 37:5).

When he was a young man, Joseph received a prophetic dream that showed he was destined for greatness. Yet he lacked wisdom when he shared it with his family.

The truth is that if you can't handle the vision and call on your life, you will never be able to handle the reality of the destiny. You must overcome pride by choosing humility (1 Peter 5:5-7).

When you are truly humble, you are secure in who you are. And this security will take you through the pride test every time you go to the next level of favor and responsibility.

The Potiphar Test

After Joseph was sold as a slave, an Egyptian officer named Potiphar bought him. Instead of resenting Potiphar, Joseph chose humility and worked in his household:

"And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him" (Gen. 39:3-4).

How well you serve those who are over you is the key to overcoming this test in life. It could be a parent, a boss or a pastor—in any case, you are called to imitate Joseph, who did not work for Potiphar but for God.

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men ..." (Col. 3:23).

Stay Tuned

On Friday, I'll share the remaining three points in the tests of an overcomer walking in prophetic destiny. Until then, may our Heavenly Father shine His face upon you and give you the shalom of Yeshua (Jesus)! {eoa}

Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the Founding Pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the Founder and President of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Che Ahn) Featured Prophetic Insight Blogs Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:50:00 -0400
Why You May Not Want to Marry a Preacher

"Do not be unequally yoked..." 2 Corinthians 6:14 (a reference to Deuteronomy 22:10 where Israel is told not to plow with a team composed of an ox and a donkey).

We all agree that Scripture teaches believers should not marry unbelievers.

But, would it be an unequal yoke for one called into the ministry to be wed to a Christian who resents her spouse's ministerial calling and resists the demands that this life has?

Surely we can agree that not everyone should marry a preacher.

(The obligatory disclaimer: In our denomination, preachers are men. I know some women pastors in other denominations and respect them very much. But I know nothing of the pressures they face. Thus, for me to write for their situation would be highly presumptuous. Please do not write accusing me of sexism or prejudice against women. Thank you.)  

When I began this list a few days ago, mostly I intended it as a light-hearted piece since I'm a preacher and love pastors and their families. Any woman who marries a called servant of the Lord should feel special to Him, I'm thinking, and she needs to know what she's getting into. And then, I decided to ask for help.

I invited Facebook friends to suggest reasons why someone "might not want to marry a preacher."  I expected soft answers. Oh my, the responses.

But first, here is my original list:

1. A preacher lives with his work 24/7/365. Even on his off days and vacations, his mind is always on his work. If you want to be married to a husband who works 8 to 5, this man is not the one for you.

2. A preacher wakes up at night and gets out of bed to look things up and write down ideas.  His getting up and coming back to bed will disturb you. This is normal. If you would resent such interruptions, do yourself and him a favor and say 'no' if he proposes.

3. Preachers live by faith, as depicted in Hebrews 11. They will sometimes do the strangest of things for the flimsiest of reasons and the only explanation they can give is "I felt the Lord wanted me to do this."  If you want a man who is never a mystery, keep looking.

4. Preachers live for others. If you want a husband who is devoted only to you, choose another husband.

5. Preachers do not live as well materially as others, for several reasons. One, the profession is not one of the higher paying careers. Two, they give a tithe and more to their church. Three, they are generous in every other area of their lives. And four, even if money is plentiful, they would not want to live lavishly and set a bad example. If you want to live in a mansion and have servants, choose another husband (and good luck with that!).

Soon, the comments from Facebook friends began pouring in. To my surprise, most were as serious as a heart attack. According to several, young women not only "may" not want to marry a preacher but would be crazy to do so. 

So much hurt and anger came spilling out. These ministry wives were quick to say:

  • "The preacher is never at home."
  • "You are the last of his priorities. Everyone comes before you and the kids."
  • "The church boards are cruel and selfish and demanding."
  • "A pastor's wife is never allowed to have friends. I'm so lonely."
  • "I have wished a thousand times I'd never married a preacher."
  • "The pay is insulting, the benefits imaginary, and the support from the churches undependable."

Yikes. What is this, I wondered. So much hurt, so much pain.

I was surprised that very few wives of ministers countered these statements with their own testimonies, saying how wonderful a life it is, how the rewards outweigh the burdens and stresses, how special a pastor's wife should feel.

Their silence ought to tell us something.

The bottom line for all this ... do not marry a preacher if ...

1. You do not feel a similar call from God on your life.  Otherwise, your expectations will be directed toward your husband and you will be eternally frustrated. Someone asks, "Where in the Bible do you find God calling ministers' wives?" Answer: Nowhere. It's just basic common sense, I think. You don't find Him calling artists or agriculture specialists or communication consultants, but every mission field has people with gifts in these areas who can testify of God's call upon them.

2. You are not a person of prayer. Only the strength of the Lord is going to protect you and empower your service. Abide in Him always. "It is necessary always to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1). Of all Scriptures, the verse which seems to fit pastors' wives is 2 Corinthians 3:5, "Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God."

3. You think a husband should be home every night for dinner and put you and the children first in his life. (This is about you and your expectations. We can hope the pastor/husband/daddy will get this right, but if you demand it, it's all downhill from then on.)

My observation is there will often be tension between where a pastor wants to be this evening and where he should be. No one can tell him what to do. Pray for God to give him two things: great wisdom and an understanding wife.

4. You do not love the people of the Lord. Nothing helps us to treasure the Lord's people more than a great love for Him and a healthy understanding of our own sinful, needy natures. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30) should be the mantra for all of us. If, however, my love for Him is a sometimes thing and my life revolves around me and my needs, this life is going to be a nightmare.

5. You expect church people to always act like Christians. We all—every church leader!–do well to lower the expectations we put upon others. Remember these people are "but dust" (Psalm 103:14). Most will get this right, but some church members can be childish, demanding, mean-spirited, and as carnal as anyone in the worst tavern in town. Do not be blindsided by their misbehavior. Stay prayed up.

6. You cannot live with people scrutinizing everything you do, from how you raise your children to the way you wear your hair. You must be able to ignore it or laugh it off. One lady used to tease me relentlessly about the suits I wore. These days, she would be amazed how few preachers wear suits!

I will promise you one thing, wife of a minister: From your home, you will see the worst side of the best people (God's children). But determine that you will love them anyway, and God will use you in amazing ways.

7. Finally, do not marry a preacher if you expect your rewards down here on earth. The great payoff for servants of God comes not in recognitions and bank accounts down here but in the promises of God for a later time. "You shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:14).

If that sounds like so much smoke blowing, please do the minister a favor and say 'no' when he proposes to you. Do not saddle him with the burden of a spouse who is forever unhappy at his life-calling.

So, marry the man—if he asks and you and your folks agree this is "of God."  I will tell you this from personal experience:

  • There are 10,000 rewards to serving the Lord as a pastor and wife.
  • There are indeed a thousand headaches and stresses. But these come in every career. It's called life. The minister's home will have its share but so does every other residence up and down the street.
  • Nothing helps you stay focused on keeping close to the Lord like knowing you have to teach that class Sunday morning (or preach that sermon) and need to stay on your knees and in the Word to do it well.
  • God has a few sweet godly saints in every church who will love you and pray for you and will compensate for the ogres. Ask Him to show you who they are. Then, pull them close to you.

If God calls you to marry a minister, I pray He leads you to the right one, and that you will have—as Margaret and I did before the Lord took her to Heaven last January—52 years of service to Him, and a lifetime of satisfaction in knowing you made a lasting difference in people's lives. {eoa}

After five years as director of missions for the 100 Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe McKeever retired on June 1, 2009. These days, he has an office at the First Baptist Church of Kenner, where he's working on three books, and he's trying to accept every speaking/preaching invitation that comes his way.

For the original article, visit

]]> (Joe McKeever) Featured Church & Ministry Spirit Tue, 06 Oct 2015 09:00:00 -0400
When You Crack Under Life's Pressure

"While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, 'You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.' But he denied it, saying, 'I neither know nor understand what you are saying.' Then he went out to the porch, and a rooster crowed. The servant girl saw him again and began to say to those who stood by, 'This man is one of them.' But again, he denied it. A little while later, those who stood by said again to Peter, 'Surely, you are one of them. For you are a Galilean, and your speech confirms it.' Peter began to invoke a curse on himself, and to swear, 'I do not know this Man of whom you speak.' And the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said to him, 'Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.' And when he thought on this, he wept" (Mark 14:66-72, MEV).

Peter had a deep fault line in his personality, and it shows here. He didn't do well under pressure.

I think every follower of Jesus identifies with Peter. We don't want to exhibit braggadocio like Peter did in the upper room at the Last Supper, and say: "Lord, that would never be me" (Mark 14:29). Jesus knows the stuff we are made of, even when we do not.

Peter's problem with pressure continued well into his Christian journey. Look at what happened in Antioch. Gentile believers were coming to Christ in great numbers. Peter broke kosher dietary rules to eat with them. For the first time in his life he was eating meat and dairy products at the same time.

However, certain members of the very observant Jewish believers came to Antioch and were not happy with Peter's conduct. What did Peter do? The same thing he did in the high priest's courtyard. He wilted! Paul rebuked him (Galatians 2:11).

Peter withdrew from table fellowship with the Gentile believers because he couldn't take the pressure of adverse opinion. This cracking under pressure comes long after the resurrection! It represents a fault line in Peter's personality that the enemy exploited.

Perhaps you identify with Peter. There is an area in your life where the evil one knows you are susceptible. He will keep coming back to your weakness time and time again.

Did Peter ever get over his vulnerability to pressure? Yes, most definitely! At the end of his life he has made his "calling and election sure" and was prepared to soon put aside "the tent of this body" (2 Peter 1:10–14). Early church tradition says that Peter chose to be crucified upside down because he wasn't worthy of being crucified as was his Lord.

Luke's Gospel tells us that after his third denial, "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter" (Luke 22:61). No wonder Peter "broke down and wept."

Do you also weep when you have failed the Lord? Is there remorse? Granted, the Lord sees that we crack under pressure, but does that nevertheless grieve us when we fail? Or do we go on sinning or failing in a cavalier manner?

Don't you love the Lord's great grace? Jesus never gave up on Peter. In fact, after the resurrection, Peter was the first of the eleven disciples to whom Jesus appeared (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5). The Lord looks at us when we fail, but He holds out His arms afterward to enfold us in His amazing love.

A Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am so grateful that You continue to love me even when I fail. I love you. {eoa}

Excerpted from Dr. Wood's newly released book, Fearless: How Jesus Changes Everything, available from Vital Resources. George O. Wood is the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. For the original article, visit

]]> (George O. Wood ) Featured Spiritual Growth Spirit Tue, 06 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0400
Psychiatric Crisis Specialist Engages His Community Through Honesty

Many Christians view psychology with a skeptical eye. But for Jamie Blaine, psychology has been his way to reach his community with Christ's love.

Early in his career, Blaine was assigned to handle late-night psychiatric crisis calls for the only mental hospital in his small southern town. His pastor told him that it would be a good opportunity; he could teach the "least of these" about Jesus.

A year later, Blaine came back to his pastor with a surprising truth: "Pastor, these people are teaching me about Jesus."

"I know it's the way most Bible translations say it, but I've just never felt comfortable using the term, 'the least of these,'" Blaine admits. He added later, "I don't think I was any different from them. I was the least of these too. ... In the dark, lonely places, we are all so much the same."

That realization prompted Blaine to embrace honesty and transparency, whether talking with a lifelong church attendee or a disenfranchised atheist. The key to evangelism isn't a "four-point plan" or elaborate apologetics, says Blaine: "Just be humble. Just be down to earth. And if you find something to appropriately laugh about, that's just bonus."

While Blaine recognizes the church sometimes fails at promoting honesty, he thinks the church is on the right path overall.

"I've seen good things happening in the last 10 years or so," he said. "I love the church. ... Let's be sure not to forget all the good and wonderful things the church does, and we need to keep doing those things. I think the church is doing a lot better than people give it credit for."

Blaine's book, Midnight Jesus (Thomas Nelson), releases Oct. 13. {eoa}

]]> (Taylor Berglund) Featured Books The Buzz Mon, 05 Oct 2015 17:00:00 -0400
When You're Reaping a Bad Harvest

Many of God's people suffer from the consequences of bad choices. Even though they're repentant, they still struggle to be free from the pain and shame of the past.

Recently, I ministered to a young man in a healing service who struggled to be free in Christ for things that took place in his past. The Holy Spirit revealed the hurtful issues that brought him to the situation he is living in today.

As a young boy he was abandoned by both of his parents. This rejection left deep wounds and scars that led him down a dark path of satanic worship, substance abuse, and addictions. He was feeling so hopeless that he contemplated suicide that morning. But instead found himself weeping and crying out to his heavenly Father at the altar that morning for deliverance.

Perhaps, you find yourself in bondage to sinful behaviors and the consequences they bring, pain and shame. If this is you, here is a word of encouragement from the Lord for you.

The effects from pain and shame,

Have made many spiritually lame.

As Satan plays his unrelenting game,

Your joy begins to wane.

You wonder if you are spiritually sane,

Because you can't rid yourself from blame.

But Jesus came,

To take the blame,

To suffer pain,

And release you from all shame.

He heals the lame,

And makes another sane,

From His Word He does not wane.

Because He will forever remain the same.

The Bible says in 1 John 1:9 that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." And it goes on to say in 2 Cor. 5: 17, "Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new."

Don't lose hope because Jesus willingly shed His blood for you so that you can be forgiven, delivered, healed and set free from the bondage of pain and shame.

Becky Dvorak is a healing minister and the Destiny Image author of DARE to Believe and Greater Than Magic. Visit her at Becky travels around the world and ministers with signs and wonders following. Check out her Events Calendar to see if she will be ministering in your area. Most events are free of charge, and all are welcome to come. 

]]> (Becky Dvorak) Featured Women Life Mon, 05 Oct 2015 18:00:00 -0400
How to Teach Your Son to Become a Godly Man

When I was in my mid-30s, I had a life-changing epiphany. I worked on the road a lot as a financial adviser, but on this day I was in the office on my computer.

When my boss walked in, I buried my face into the computer screen as she spoke with others. I was filled with anxiety and hoped I would go unnoticed. I realized at that moment, that was how I normally responded to my bosses. Then a question reverberated in my brain, Why are you hiding? I wanted to find out why I was afraid of the authority figures in my life.

Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I didn't feel like an adult. Physically, I was in my 30s, but internally, I felt like I was twelve and I was afraid they would find out. That fear kept me from being comfortable with my true self. Instead, I would try to play the part I thought they wanted in order to mask what was going on inside. I would always be in awe of those I felt like had the keys to a kingdom of which I didn't have access.

Sons need their dad to show them how to be a man. My dad was amazing in so many ways. He taught me a lot. I loved him, he loved me, and I wouldn't have wanted anyone else as a father. There were many reasons I felt the way I did that had nothing to do with him. However, somewhere along the way, there were things that were missed in bringing me into manhood. As I have studied what I was missing, I have narrowed down the following things in teaching a son how to become a man.

1. Identity. Unfortunately, the world communicates to our kids that they need to be a certain type or way to be "successful" or perhaps even "acceptable." When they believe it, they conform and/or perform for approval. In other words, they hide their true self. If they have been rejected by an authority or their peers, they will bury it even more. Our boys need a strong understanding of who they are as individuals. Until our sons are able to authentically be themselves, they will remain in perpetual childhood. Bringing a boy into manhood involves nurturing his real self to the surface. A man is not made; he emerges. We draw him out with unconditional love, listening, encouragement, and gentle coaching.

2. Belonging. Although being independent is often lifted up as a virtue, we were never meant to live that way. We were meant to be connected to one another through love and belonging. It is a major factor in our maturation process. Our sons need to know they are worthy of belonging otherwise they will never feel good enough. They will always feel as though all others are a step ahead. It will inhibit their ability to be vulnerable which leads to stunted emotional growth. A father is one of the most powerful factors in a son feeling worthy. Our boys need our presence and approval. Merely spending attentive time with him verifies his dignity. Affirm his value so that he knows it is not based on his accomplishments, but on who he is.

3. Voice. In Walt Whitman's poem "O Me! O Life!" is the line, "That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse." Our sons are made with gifts and talents. They have wisdom gained through their own experience; a story to tell. They have powerful things to offer the world. A child shrinks into his parent's arms (or computer screen), but a man stands up and contributes his verse. Help him find his gifting by encouraging him to try new things. Give him room to toil and let him know it's OK to fail. Give him space to find his voice. Don't sculpt it for him or be quick to shoot it down. Affirm it instead.

4. Ceremony. I believe this is something our culture has lost when it comes to bringing boys into manhood. There are still cultures that do it, but they are declining. Have a ceremony that communicates he has gone from a boy to a man. We have weddings and graduations. This is equally important. Here is an example of a blessing ceremony. {eoa}

B.J. Foster is the content manager for All Pro Dad and a married father of two. For the original article, visit

]]> (BJ Foster/ Featured Men Life Mon, 05 Oct 2015 16:00:00 -0400
Here Are Some Natural Ways to Elevate Your Mood

Many health experts, as well as lay people, believe doctors over prescribe antidepressants. In just the last 20 years, the number of people taking antidepressants has exploded. One out of every 10 Americans takes one, and that number jumps to one of out every four middle-aged women.

Recently I interviewed Dr. Sara Gottfried, a California gynecologist and author of the fabulous Hormone Reset Diet. She told me she discovered her successful weight-loss program after a frustrating experience with her own doctor, who, when told she was moody, lacking energy and clearly overweight, prescribed an antidepressant.

Gottfried was skeptical that an antidepressant was the answer to her problem. She was right. She suspected it was hormonal in nature, and tested her hormones (something her general practitioner failed to do), which were wildly out of whack. After balancing her hormones, she lost the weight and regained her joy ... all without any pills.

One of my friends complained to her doctor about experiencing brain fog and lethargy. He prescribed an antidepressant. Like Dr. Gottfried, my friend was skeptical and felt an antidepressant was not the answer.

She was right. She got second and third opinions until one physician hit upon the correct diagnosis: Lyme Disease. She was treated with an antibiotic, not an antidepressant, and her symptoms dissipated.

A woman in my aerobics class mentioned she ditched her antidepressants when she started doing strenuous cardiovascular exercise combined with weight lifting. She said the doctor who prescribed her antidepressants never even told her there was a natural alternative to the medication.

A brain researcher has written a fascinating book about other natural ways to mitigate feelings of depression. It's called The Upward Spiral, by Dr. Alex Korb.

Korb uses his knowledge of the way the brain works to teach people how to rewire their brain's circuitry, focusing on two primary areas: the prefrontal cortex, which is the thinking part, and the limbic system, the feeling part.

He bases his theories on scientific studies that have proven to increase happiness.

One of the most interesting tips in his book is when you are feeling depressed, ask yourself, "What am I grateful for?"

As it turns out, gratitude stimulates the production of dopamine. This is what the antidepressant Wellbutrin is said to do. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that deals with the brain's reward and pleasure centers and regulates emotions.

Additionally, gratitude boosts levels of serotonin, which is the claim of the popular antidepressant Prozac. Like dopamine, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is considered a contributor to feelings of happiness. Gratitude is enormously valuable in boosting well-being.

If it seems difficult focusing on the things and people for which you are grateful, take heart. Dr. Korb says the more we practice gratitude, the easier it becomes, kind of like building a "gratitude muscle."

Nancy Lee DeMoss penned the highly successful Choosing Gratitude, which is a comprehensive tutorial about how to increase gratitude. I interviewed her last year for a piece that aired on The 700 Club on Thanksgiving. It changed my life. Gratitude not only improves our mood, but also our relationships and overall health.

Another tip Dr. Korb recommends to stymie the blues is to label negative feelings. The simple act of identifying the emotion you are feeling helps alleviate it. We need to recognize and name our feelings, not bury them. All you need to do is describe the emotion you are feeling in just one or two words.

Here's another great tip: touch. Human contact makes us happy. It can be something as slight as a handshake or a hug. If you don't have a lot of physical contact in your life, getting massages on a regular basis will do the trick.

Finally, we become happier when we make decisions. It gives us a feeling of completion, closure and accomplishment. Try not to fret about making the perfect decision, sometimes that's not realistic. Instead, try focusing on making a decision that's "good enough," and move on. {eoa}

For the original article, visit

]]> (Lorie Johnson/CBN News Medical Reporter) Featured Health Life Mon, 05 Oct 2015 15:00:00 -0400
Pop Star Ciara Is Teaching 1-Year-Old Son to Praise Jesus

Ciara, pop singer of hits such as "Goodies" and "1, 2 Step" from 2004, has spoken out recently about teaching her 15-month-old son, Future, to praise Jesus.

"The other day we were saying, 'Thank you, Jesus' and I would say, 'Say, thank you!' And he would say, 'Tank you!' I'd say, 'Je-sus' and he'd say, 'Yee-yus,'" the singer told People about her son. "It is so sweet!"

Ciara, who shares her son with former boyfriend Future, a rapper, says her son is going through a developmental stage in which he repeats everything he hears.

"He's like a parrot now. He's in the parrot stage so he [copies] everything you say— which you have to be careful with!" she told People.

Earlier this year, the 29-year-old generated media buzz when she and her boyfriend, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, shared publicly that their relationship is celibate.

Wilson, 26, has made it undeniably clear on social media that he is a Christian. He has often tweeted Bible verses and identified himself as a "Jesus follower" who is "too blessed to be stressed" and "too anointed to be disappointed."

Conversely, Ciara is not known to publicly discuss her faith. However, recently she seems to have adopted Wilson's habit of occasionally tweeting Bible verses. For example, she tweeted, "Write the Vision, Make it Plain, Habakkuk 2:2," over the summer. Just one week ago, she tweeted, "God Is Soooo Good!"

Though her son is just over a year old, Ciara is already thinking about his adult future. Though she isn't considering that he will become an entertainer, she insists that she'll support him in whatever profession he decides to pursue.

"I'll support him with whatever his heart desires as long as it's something positive and productive. My mom was hesitant about me being in music, but she gave me room to figure it out. It's important to allow your kids to pursue their dreams," she told the British newspaper Metro.

"You don't want someone to wish they could have achieved something but were forced to do something else. But, show business is a tough world. Ideally I wouldn't want him to do it, but if his heart desires it then I'll support him."

Along with tweeting Bible verses, Ciara has also talked about her son being a gift from God.

"Honestly, I feel like everything in life happens for a reason, and my son has been the greatest gift that God has given me in my life and been the most game-changing thing that's happened to my life, in a necessary way," she said on Power 105.1 FM's syndicated radio show, The Breakfast Club, earlier this year.

While, like all parents, the singer confesses that having a child isn't always a walk in the park, she spoke about the importance of finding a balance in life to enjoy being a parent.

"It's really all about balance, scheduling things, and mapping out your day, so you don't feel overwhelmed. It is a lot of work having a child, but it really boils down to balance at the end of the day," she previously told Refinery 29.  "You should really enjoy the process and trust the process of having a child while you're juggling everything. It can really be fun if you look at things in a positive and exciting way. Be excited about the whole challenge of it all."

Ciara told Page Six that she's in a good place in life and relying on God to determine her future, including any possible marriage plans with Wilson.

"God knows everything that's to come in the future, and I think it's best to let Him keep taking control of things. Life is sweet, and I'm very thankful for all the great things happening in my life. I'm very happy."

We applaud Ciara for choosing to "train up a child in the way he should go," as the wise King Solomon wrote in Proverbs, and pray she will continue to draw closer to the Lord and unapologetically proclaim her faith. {eoa}

This article originally appeared on 

Want to know what God's doing in Hollywood?

]]> (Diana Tyler/Movieguide) Featured Music The Buzz Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0400
How the Church Can Display God's Power

Imagine you are blindfolded in the middle of a battlefield. The deafening sounds of explosions are drowning out the shouts of direction from those around you. From where you stand, all you perceive is that there is a war against you. Without vision or distinction between your enemy and allies, you begin simply aiming for what you believe is aiming for you.

Without a biblical understanding of the spiritual battle that surrounds us, this is what we end up doing. We aim at those we are meant to fight alongside, causing division and undermining our ability to fight our true adversary. Scripture tells us:

"... We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12, ESV)

We cannot assume that just because something is outside our realm of notice it has no influence on us. It is time we use our minds!

Here is the bad news: your mind is engaged in a wrestling match, and there is no way for you to opt out. The good news is that you have the power to choose what you wrestle with.

Our enemy wants to divert our focus from the unseen wrestling match. He doesn't want us to strike at the source that is actually casting the shadow. But the truth is, people have not targeted you—even though at times it may feel that way. Something far more cunning and ancient has you in its sights. The enemy strives to create and continue the division among mankind because he is afraid of the power you carry.

Shortly before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed:

"... Then they'll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you've sent me and loved them in the same way you've loved me" (John 17:23, MSG, emphasis added).

If we're united, there's a chance the world might yet believe, but if we're divisive and divided, the odds are stacked against us!

Division has been the natural course of this world since the fall of mankind. It never glorifies Jesus, and although it has many faces, it ultimately has a singular goal: destruction. Unity and peace, on the other hand, require intentional and strategic wisdom. We have to employ heaven's actions to counter our culture's initiatives.

What might happen if we were one heart, one voice, one vision and purpose, one name, one kingdom to glorify Jesus? We would walk in a way that our weary earth would glimpse heaven.

Today, ask God to help you distinguish the real enemy from what that enemy would use to distract you. Is there any area of your life where you need to combat the power of division? Invite the Holy Spirit to give you a strategy for creating unity. What is He revealing to you?

If you want to learn more about fighting the right battles, check out Lisa Bevere's book Girls with Swords: How to Carry Your Cross Like a Hero.

]]> (Lisa Bevere) Featured Women Life Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Read This If You Are Facing Big Changes

Sometimes you wake up, and you know that big thing is happening today. You'll take that first-day-of-school picture and walk your little blonde-headed girl, in her brand new Mary Janes, to kindergarten.

Or you'll open the door of your classroom and meet your new students for the first time, and will they eat you for lunch, the way that lady told you they would a few decades ago?

Or you'll pull away from your house, knowing the next time you walk into the kitchen it will only be necessary to buy one gallon of milk instead of three.

I stretched and yawned under my grandma's quilt yesterday morning, knowing that would be the day I would take on the title "empty nester," and it felt like the first day I begrudgingly drove a mini-van full of soccer kids. It had to happen.

Change comes, even though you push as hard as you can on the brakes.

So I laid under the quilt, with the sound of the box fan in the window and a humid warmth in the air. I thought about that boy leaving for college, and thankfulness welled up where I thought tears would be.

Thankful that I got to carry a child in my womb and then in my arms.

Thankful that my boy was healthy, except for those eyes that crossed when he was two and required glasses.

Thankful that he was fun, even if he did tie me into his room with a jump rope that one day when he was four years old.

Thankful that he called Jesus, Lord, when he was little and that I catch him singing praise songs at the top of his voice when he thinks I'm not listening.

Thankful that he still lets me kiss his cheek.

When the pain of change comes like the mini-van you never wanted to own, the best soothing balm is gratitude—to look purposefully at all the good God has piled up in our lives in the past, and won't He keep being good to us?

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 Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Scriptural Declarations: Israel and the Middle East

It is imperative that we stand with God, and stand with the Jewish people in this hour.

Not only does Scripture provide clear demarcations and declarations regarding Israel and His plan for salvation which I outline below, it also shows us how we are to respond in proclamation, praise and prayer! Join me for such a time as this in calling forth God's purposes for the Jewish people around the world!

The Bible is our foundation for life, revealing the very nature of God Himself, and how we should then live in relationship with Him in light of these absolutes. The people of Israel are God's chosen people, through which He foretold, demonstrated and then extended His plan for the salvation of all mankind through Jesus Christ. Let's look to Scripture as our roadmap for end-time events related to Israel and the Middle East, and accept the invitation God has extended for us to partner with Him as watchmen on the walls for the days in which we live!

The Miraculous Birth of a Nation 

The Scriptures foretell a regional dispersion of the Jewish people followed by a regional regathering. In detail, the prophetic Scriptures predict a second worldwide scattering followed by a second worldwide regathering. We have these Scriptures being fulfilled in our lifetime!

Isaiah 43:5-6: "Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, 'Give them up,' and to the south, 'Do not keep them back. Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth.'" 

Isaiah 11:11-12: "In that day the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, who shall be left, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. He shall set up a banner for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."

On May 14-15, 1948 the nation of Israel was reborn out of a time of tremendous persecution, and out of the ashes of the horrific holocaust of WWII. But ultimately, God's redemptive plan and purposes prevailed. The enemy of God and His redemptive purposes for the Jewish people and all the peoples of the earth, are under attack again. Satan and his lying demons are stirring evil men's hearts to "cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be no more remembered" (Ps. 83:4). But we must take a stand and be God's friends and Israel's friends in this tumultuous hour.

7 Clear Scriptural Demarcations and Declarations 

1. The only reliable source. The Scriptures, God's distinct prophetic words, provide the only reliable source of light upon the current situation in the Middle East.

2. The ultimate destiny. God has determined the ultimate destiny of both Israel and the church in eternity on the basis of His foreknowledge. Its outworking in time is guaranteed by the irrevocable covenants which God has made with each of them. God will perform His very own Word!

3. Dependency upon God's grace. For all good that God has promised to Israel and the church, both are equally and totally dependent upon God's grace which can be appropriated by faith. We are saved by grace through faith!

4. Tests and pressures lie ahead. Tremendous tests and pressures lie ahead for both Israel and the church, but those who faithfully endure will be privileged to share God's kingdom with Him throughout all eternity.

5. Acknowledging our spiritual inheritance. Authentic Christian believers from gentile backgrounds owe their spiritual inheritance to the God of Israel. One appropriate way to acknowledge their gratitude is to stand by Israel and to uphold them with fervent intercession.

6. The future of the Middle East. The people of the Middle East will never know true justice and lasting peace until they are submitted to God's ruler—the Lord Jesus Christ. This is true for every nation, all mankind, every ethnic background, every individual person, and every people group of the earth.

7. God's plan of salvation. There is only one way to salvation and it is by placing faith in the atoning work of the cross of God's only son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except by believing in Christ Jesus!

Lessons From Our Bible – A Jewish Book

"I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book."

The Bible is essentially a record of God's plan for salvation of mankind highlighting Israel's history, written by Israelites, partly in the form of history and partly in the form of prophecy.

1. Old Testament authorship. Jewish authors wrote all 39 Books of the Old Testament. (Of course, this is the human agency we are acknowledging, as we believe God inspires all Scripture directly.)

2. The Messiah's background. Jesus was born a Jew, died a Jew and will return as a Jew.

3. Location of gospel accounts. All the events of the gospels (except the flight to Egypt) take place in the land of Israel.

4. The people of the gospels. Over 90 percent of the people portrayed in the gospels are Israelites.

5. New Testament authorship. Every one of the 27 books of the New Testament has Jewish authorship (Luke might be considered as a possible exception, but he was a proselyte to Judaism).

6. The establishing of the early apostolic church. The main instruments for establishing the early apostolic churches and spreading the gospel of the Kingdom were Jewish.

7. Background of the disciples All 12 apostles chosen by Jesus were Jewish.

8. The condition of the future city of God. The future city of God, the New Jerusalem, as recorded in the book of Revelation is inscribed with the names of the 12 tribes of Judah.

9. Characteristics of the foundation. Its foundations carry the names of the 12 apostles of Jesus.

Statements by Early American Fathers Emphasizing their Reliance on the Word of God

The statements below, and many others like them, reinforce the inspiration, authority and the necessity of relying upon and building within the constructs of the Bible. They also give us a warning of consequences that could occur when we as a people or any governing society err from the absolutes in the Word of God.

1. George Washington – "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

2. Abraham Lincoln –  "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man. All the good Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book."

3. Daniel Webster – "If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures. If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering, but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.

Our Significant Scriptural Response

1. Proclaim – (Jeremiah 31:10) "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far off, and say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock."

2. Praise – (Psalm 8:2) "Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength because of Your enemies, to silence the enemy and the avenger."

3. Pray – (Jeremiah 31:7) "For thus says the LORD, "Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; publish, praise, and say, 'O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel.'"

Our Prophetic Posture in Prayer

We are called to stand in the gap as believers in the Messiah and pray and take a stand for the God of Israel and the nation of Israel. God is raising up a corporate Esther for such a time as this. Will you join me in proclaiming, praising and praying, "He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd does his flock." And declare, 'O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel.'" Amen and Amen! {eoa}

For the original article, visit

]]> (James W. Goll ) Featured A Voice Calling Out Blogs Mon, 05 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0400
Adventures in Prophetic Treasure Hunting

Years ago I traveled to Gilbert, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. I was there speaking at a local church, and in the afternoon we went to a low-income housing project to distribute food and clothing.  

As I was standing there handing out stuff, a few people from the church mentioned to me they had heard about "treasure hunts," which is when you ask God to help you identify specific people to pray for, sometimes based off physical descriptions, objects or locations. They asked me if I knew how to do that. 

"Sure I believe in it, I love it. But, it's not necessarily the tool I use the most but it is very effective," I said. I use a similar tool with my kids, many times when at a park or at the mall with my family, I will sit on a bench in the center and have my boys (whichever ones are with me waiting for my wife) to pray and ask the Lord to show us something for the person who is about to come sit with us. 

We discuss it together and when the person comes, we tell them what we just did and ask if it applies or makes sense. Whether it does or doesn't we ask if we can pray for them. My youngest kids do it.

I shared this with these guys with me in these projects—"Let's go over here and pray and ask for God to show us some stuff."  

We went over to the side and started praying asking God for clues as to where and whom we should pray for. While we're praying, three people from these projects came over and join us. The guys I was with had their heads down praying.  

I had to tease them a bit. "Has God given you a description yet of the people we're supposed to be looking for?"

Without looking up, they said "No, not yet."  One said, "I'm just not seeing anything."

I finally grinned and said, "Open your eyes, do you see them now?" Some said, "No, still nothing."

But a few looked up in surprise and asked, "You mean these guys?"

I said, "Yep, we were asking for clues and God sent them straight to us, let's pray." 

We told the guys that had walked up that we were here with the church handing out stuff for the families, and we were just praying asking God if there was anyone in the community who needed prayer for anything, especially healing. It turned out all three of them needed healing.

One of the men's shoulders was frozen, and you could see it was prominently forward and that he was in pain. I asked him to move it and show me where he felt the pain and how far it would rise to. We started praying and commanding his shoulder to have full mobility and for all pain to leave.  

As we were praying, all of a sudden his shoulder moved back in we heard this loud pop. Just watching it happen made my shoulder hurt. I also sensed the Lord prompting me to pray for his back. I asked him if he was experiencing a lot of back pain, and he said, "Yes! My back is in terrible pain." We started praying, and instantly the pain left.  It happened right there, right in that moment. 

Another young man in their group had a big bandage on his leg. After we had prayed for his friend, I nodded over to his leg. "What happened to it?" He sort of shook his head. "I have this flesh-eating bacteria that eats away at my skin." He pulled apart the bandage and there was a hole in his leg about nearly 2 inches wide. 

I said, "Oh man!" It just looked so painful. It was bleeding and oozing clear liquid. It was really, really bad. I looked at him and said, "I would love to pray for your leg, if you want." 

I had the guy whose back and shoulder just got healed lay hands on the guys leg and had him simply repeat after me commanding this hole in his leg to grow back together.

Let me be very clear; we are never commanding God. We have no right to do that. But, these bodies were made by God.  

Sickness, disease, and decay had no part in His original design. This is all a part of Satan's counterfeit kingdom, his attack and destruction of humanity as God's crown jewel of creation. The Scripture says, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by Him and for Him" (Col. 1:16).

When we pray for healing, that's what's happening. It's the kingdom of God breaking in, overturning the rule of Satan and sin in this world, and taking back dominion that's been lost. Whenever Christ announced the kingdom of God being present, healings occurred. 

This doesn't mean that we don't use doctors, and medicine, and science. This is not incompatible, but understanding the spiritual aspect of healing and the authority we have in Christ allows us to speak healing, life and new creation over our bodies. We're seizing it; we're recapturing it. 

We started speaking to this hole to close up, for this infection to die, and the bacteria to die. After we prayed we asked him to check it again. He pulled down the pad again and we were dumbfounded to see the hole in his leg was about half the size smaller.  

The bleeding had completely stopped, there was no more pus surrounding it, and it wasn't red with infection any more. We began to pray over it again. I stood up and grabbed the young man's hands. I looked him in the eye and I said, "I want you to know that God loves you, and this is His hand is on your life. There's purpose that God has for you. He wants to use you to do great and incredible things. And what God has just done by touching, in us by praying and seeing your body being healed, He wants to do with you to transform this neighborhood, to transform your family and to turn the world upside down." 

The young man began to cry. He looked at me through his tears, and said, "I can feel it as you say it." The young man gave his life to Christ right then and there.

This was a rough neighborhood, and the guys we were praying for had probably seen it all. It was a community that had a lot of need, and a lot of brokenness surrounding it, but right there we were turning around and we were seeing layers of Satan's power being stripped away before our eyes as powerful freedom was being released over this young man.  

That's how we see that dominion being restored. That's how we see the kingdom come. Just as the veil in the temple was torn by Christ's death on the cross, it's like a veil is being torn before our eyes as we pray for people. Not everyone we pray for automatically becomes a believer, but almost all of them experience God's love. It's a glimpsing encounter with heaven and an invitation to draw closer and make it a lifelong pursuit.   

I share this story to convey my understanding of how healing is inextricably tied to Christ's message announcing the kingdom of God, and the good news of us learning to walk in the authority Christ gave us through his death on the cross. There's a reality there that we have yet to experience fully, but is available to all of us on a daily basis.  

I believe it's more a question of degrees. Paul urges us on constantly for deeper and deeper revelations of God's love for us, and that we would all be moving from glory to glory. People have commented to me about my kids: "When your kids were praying for me, I never heard anybody pray with such authority because they were commanding my neck to come into alignment. They were commanding it to happen, and we saw that many times it did." 

From the youngest Christian to the elders among us, we have more authority than we realize we because we just don't use it. Start using it. Take time to develop it. Many times I will pray seven or eight times before I see the full healing take place. My experience is that healing is a struggle in the spiritual realm, and the more we press in to see the kingdom of God come, the more victories we see, and the more terrifying we become to the enemy. The more quickly he flees. For the Kingdom! {eoa}

Robby Dawkins has been speaking and writing full time and is has been 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 two of the top 10 most dangerous countries, according to Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Visit him online at

]]> (Robby Dawkins ) Featured Supernatural Spirit Mon, 05 Oct 2015 08:50:00 -0400
Cindy Jacobs Speaks Out on Significance of Fourth Blood Moon

For the past two years, millions of people worldwide have been fascinated by blood moons from four successive lunar eclipses called a tetrad. Many seen them as a sign God Himself has placed in the heavens.

During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns the color of blood. It's extremely rare to have four blood moons in a row fall during the biblical feasts commanded by the Lord.

The last of the tetrad was on display Sunday night. It's the first one visible from Israel.

And like the previous three eclipses, it falls on the first day of a biblical feast, this time the Feast of Tabernacles.

Many who came to Israel to witness the blood moon believe it's a sign of harvest.
"But we really sense that the Holy Spirit is coming with a massive harvest, a great awakening, and I believe this red moon is a harvest moon. That's an indicator of a jubilee of jubilees for the souls of man," Cindy Jacobs, with Generals International, told CBN News.

Previous blood moon tetrads—all falling on Jewish feast days—have coincided with major events for Israel and the Jewish people.

In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain and Columbus discovered America, which would become a safe haven for the Jewish people. In 1948, Israel was reborn as a modern nation. And in 1967, Israel recaptured Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.

Bob O'Dell co-authored a book about the blood moons, titled Israel First!. He believes they're a sign of good things ahead for Israel, but perhaps troubling times for nations that come against her.

"I personally believe that in the years ahead we will begin to look at Israel in a new way, that these blood moons mark a new phase in the life of Israel," O'Dell told CBN News. "It's no longer about the Israel that is struggling to survive, but now it is about an Israel that is learning to thrive."  

O'Dell says it will be more than 500 years before four blood moons fall again on the first days of the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles. {eoa}

]]> (Chris Mitchell/CBN News) Featured Prophecy Spirit Mon, 05 Oct 2015 08:00:00 -0400
For This Time, God Has Called the Jonahs

Are you a prophet on the run? Are you running away from your assignment to speak the word of the Lord? Are you running from the presence of the Lord? Are you hiding? You can run, but you cannot hide from God.

The Lord is calling the Jonahs. You will not be the first and you will not be the last because there are Jonahs in every generation. There are prophets running from God today. Don't be a prophet on the run. You have been called to bless your generation. Don't run and hide from the call. Embrace it and obey God today.

For those who don't want to speak for the Lord, I pray that His word in your heart will be like fire shut up in your bones (see Jer. 20:9)!

God told Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh. Jonah instead went the other way. Jonah ran from the presence of the Lord. There are many prophets who are like Jonah. I call them prophets on the run. They sense and know the call of God to be a prophet, but they say, "I cannot handle that calling."

If you are a prophet on the run, then you know you cannot hide from God. You cannot hide in the bottom of the ship as Jonah did. You cannot hide from the presence of the Lord.

In Psalm 139:8-9, 12 David wrote, "If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell at the end of the sea ... even the darkness is not dark to You, but the night shines as the day, for the darkness is like light to You." Even the darkness cannot hide from God, Jonah tried to hide, but God knew where he was. God knows where his Jonahs are. He knows where every prophet is.

Jonah did go to Nineveh. Jonah did speak the word of the Lord to that city. The results were astonishing. The whole city repented and was spared.

Jonah's assignment was to speak to a city. What is your assignment? How many lives hang in the balance as a result of your calling? How many people will be blessed when you obey God?

This is a call for the Jonahs to arise and go to Nineveh. Where is your Nineveh? Whom are you sent to? These are questions every prophet has to answer. 

Your Jonah experience has prophetic significance. Even Jonah's experience was prophetic. He was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights. This was a picture of Christ being in the heart of the earth three days and three nights (see Matt. 12:40).

When you are prophetic, even your experiences will be prophetic. Jonah was prophetic even when he was running away from the call. Prophet, you can't escape. You have been designed by God to be a prophet. You will see things even when you are running from the call (see John 1:11-12).

Jonah knew what was going on when the storm came. The men on the ship did not know, but Jonah knew. Prophets know when they are running. They know the trouble of running from the call. Jonah told the men to throw him overboard. Then a big fish swallowed him. Jonah cried out to God from the belly of the big fish. He promised God he would pay his vows.

Prophets, many of you have vowed to serve and obey the Lord, but you are running the other way. It is time to keep your vows, promises, dedications, and obligations.

Arise and obey, Jonah. Don't get yourself in trouble. Necessity is laid upon you. You have to obey God. You have to arise. Jonah prayed, and God brought him out of the fish's belly. God will bring you forth when you pray.

There are many ministers who have accepted the call to preach but are running from the prophetic calling. Maybe your group does not believe in prophets. Maybe you have seen people call themselves prophets who did not have good character. Maybe you have seen false prophets. These are reasons why some run from the call.

Prophet AriseGod is calling and transitioning many of His ministers. Many have been called to be prophets, but they are fearful. Don't be a Jonah. Don't run from the call. Embrace it. The prophet's ministry is designed to bring deliverance and salvation to many. Nineveh was spared and blessed because Jonah was there.

Adapted from Prophet Arise by John Eckhardt, copyright 2015, published by Charisma House. Has religion and tradition hindered you from rising up into your true calling? If so, this book is a must-have for you. It will help you understand your anointing, unique characteristics, call and purpose while providing healing and deliverance where needed. To order your copy click here.

Prayer Power for the Week of October 5, 2015

This week respond to God's calling, whatever it is, by surrendering to His will and agreeing to do, say and go wherever He leads. Continue to pray for revival to ignite in our churches and spread throughout the nation. Pray that our leaders would seek God and ask for His wisdom to govern righteously. Begin to pray now for the upcoming elections and ask the Lord for direction in how you should vote. Remember Israel and the persecuted church. Pray for opportunities to share Christ and His love everywhere you go (Jer. 20:9; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; 2 Chron. 7:14). {eoa}

]]> (John Eckhardt ) Featured Power Up! Blogs Sun, 04 Oct 2015 22:00:00 -0400
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