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Prepare the Way of the Lord

In some liturgical circles, last Sunday, November 27, marked the beginning of the season of Advent for the year 2011. This, the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, is the time of year during which we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Lord. On a natural plane, we decorate our homes and buy gifts for family and friends; on a spiritual plane, we purify our hearts.

The spiritual tradition dates back to the days of John the Baptist, a man who was appointed by God to announce the coming of Christ and "prepare [His] way" (see Mal. 3:1) by encouraging the people to repent of their sins. The Bible tells us, "The word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight" ' " (Luke 3:2-4, NKJV). read more

Understand Your Spiritual Authority

When Adam and Eve were created, God gave them authority to manage all matters on the earth. “The heaven, even the heavens are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Ps.115:16). Satan convinced them that God was holding out on them, and he appealed to their pride to be all knowing like God (Gen. 3:5). Each of us has an innate sin nature that wants to be boss, not just a steward of what God has entrusted to us. However, stewardship is man’s role to represent God’s interests and to execute His will on earth.

When man sinned in the Garden of Eden, that authority was transferred to Satan. He was given free rein over the earth because of man’s disobedience. It was not until Jesus came to earth and reclaimed that authority through His death and payment of sin that man could stand against the power of Satan (see Col. 1:19-20). read more

Encountering Jesus Through Your Pain

In the Bible, we see God dignifying those who suffer and sharing in their pain. He points us to the joy that is to come and gives us supernatural grace to triumph over our suffering. One of the most helpful skills we can develop as believers is the ability to meet Jesus in our own pain, therefore being able to lead others to Him in theirs. read more

God's Supernatural Door to Joy

Have you ever looked through a kaleidoscope lens to see a picture form, only to turn the base and experience an entirely new picture form before your very eyes?  I had this kaleidoscope effect happen to me one day—surprisingly, at a time when I least expected it.

I was sitting on the couch, feeling overwhelmed by some challenges, and feeling less than up to facing any of them.  This is when I prayed. And this is when the kaleidoscope thing began to happen in a way that I could only describe as supernatural of God. read more

Magnify!

Magnify. Growing up, we never had PlayStation, Wii or Xbox. We lived on a small ranch in Colorado and had a lot of work to do. Cleaning stalls, painting fences, irrigating the pasture and picking up rocks (Colorado soil grows rocks) were necessities of the life we lived.

My brother and I are only 17 months apart in age, and we were really each other’s entertainment. We spent a lot of our spare time riding our bikes and creating adventures. Our imaginations worked overtime to invent new games. Cowboys and Indians was a favorite, as well as building forts and hideouts. We even had a secret place in the hayloft of the barn. read more

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

One of life’s most perplexing mysteries is why bad things happen to good people. We have all heard the stories of how the most dedicated teenager in the church was abruptly killed in an automobile accident, or how the beautiful young mother with three children is stricken with cancer and suddenly passes, leaving her infants to be raised by loving family members. Why the righteous suffer has always been an enigma.

There is no one set reason or explanation as to why bad things happen. However, after years of ministry, I have some observations as to what may, at times, help prevent bad things from occurring: read more

The Therapy of Forgiveness

When I first met my husband, Jim, he was a man with a past. For the prior 15 years he had been a heroin addict on the streets of Chicago, involved in every kind of sin imaginable. He had been an alcoholic as well, and to support his addictive lifestyle he had become a criminal, spending much time in jail. He had married and divorced not once, but four times.

On January 21, 1972, Jim knelt before the Lord and prayed a very simple prayer: “God, I don’t know much about you, but if you’ll make me happy like these Christians here [at Chicago Teen Challenge], I’ll do anything you want me to do.” read more

Find God!

What could be more important than finding God? Take a day, a week or a month and do nothing but seek Him, persisting until you find Him. He has promised, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

If we truly find Him, no one will have to tell us to be humble. No one need convince us our old natures are as filthy rags. As we truly find God, the things that are so highly esteemed among men will become detestable in our sight (Luke 16:15). read more

Rest in the Storm

My husband, Steve, and I once owned property that had an eagle’s nest on it. One day after a spring storm we went out to check on the property and found that a third of the nest had been blown down.

As I looked at the fallen pieces, it occurred to me that often when we think of eagles we picture the majestic bird that is our national symbol—a bird that is able to soar high above any tempest that might come along. We rarely think of eagles as having to go through storms. read more

The Movie

One of the things that good “Baptists” did not do back in “the old days” was go to the theater. As a very young boy I wasn’t sure why, but it seemed to have something to do with going to heaven, along with not having long hair (guess that shows my age).

One summer, when I was about 9 or 10, my brother and I went to stay with some adult friends in Albuquerque, N.M. They were a bit older than our parents and had no children. We loved going and staying with Herman and Cleo. This particular summer, the movie Bambi was in a theater in their city. Cleo decided to take us. She reassured us that it would be fine and that she would take the blame.

I remember my emotions so clearly. Fear … coupled with childhood excitement. We got popcorn and the lights dimmed as the movie came on. The story opened with Bambi as a new fawn simply trying to get his legs under him to stand up and walk. We then delighted in his adventures with his friends, Thumper and Flower.

The music, songs and scenes made us smile and even laugh out loud. Bambi even meets Felin, the little doe fawn. Love blossoms. What a joy! Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, things changed. “Man,” as the movie calls the hunter, disrupts the peace and quiet. In horror and fright we watched as Bambi’s mother is shot and killed. Who shoots a baby’s mommy?

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a short time later the forest is burned to the ground, once again by “Man.” First Bambi is orphaned and now he is homeless. Suddenly I understood why Baptists didn’t go to movies. I can remember wanting to leave. This “movie” thing was not what I had hoped.

Then, the scene changes dramatically. Springtime arrives. New growth comes and lying in the bushes is Felin with two fawns. The camera pans back and there stands Bambi on the bluff looking over his kingdom, the proud “Prince of the Forest.” As horrible as things had gotten in the movie, I was glad I stayed. The ending made it worth it all …

Look at Revelation 21: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth … and I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them … And God will wipe every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death.’ … Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful’”  (Rev. 21:1-5, emphasis added).

This world we live in is full of sorrow, pain, tragedy and trials. Sometimes, if you are like me, you feel trapped. Afraid. Wondering what it’s all about. Remember this, the evil one, Satan, is the “prince of the power of the air.” He runs free in this world. He has turned God’s wonderful creation into his playground. Sin, filth, degradation and unforgiveness abound. Life often seems unbearable.

However, here is the joyous good news. We know what the end of the “movie” is. Our Champion, Jesus Christ, wins. His kingdom is restored. Alpha and Omega destroys the enemy once and for all. There is hope, because we have His Word, which records the end of the story for all to read.

As you journey this week in your Christ walk, rejoice. We know the end of the story. Life may be tough right now. You might have some health issues, or experienced the recent loss of a loved one. There may be strife in your marriage. You might not have enough money to make ends meet. Do not lose hope! Just when you think the “movie” could get no worse, your Champion will be there.

And in the end, we win in a big way. There will be no more tears. No more mourning, or pain or even death, but life eternal. Everlasting. And we will cry with the saints of all time, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God” Just hang on. The end of the “movie”—the end of the story, recorded for all to read—makes it worth it all. I promise.

PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 10-3-2011

This week look beyond your circumstances and “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” Thank Him that we can rely on His Word and that what He has promised He will fulfill. Continue to lift up Israel when you pray for our allies, and remember our military and their families. Thank Him for the continual protection of our nation and pray for repentance, revival and righteousness to permeate every aspect of our society. Pray for your pastors, for unity in prayer and purpose and more laborers for the harvest. Ps. 100:4; Rev. 21:1-5

To enrich your prayer life and learn how to strategically pray with power by using appropriate scriptures, we recommend the following sources by Apostle John Eckhardt: Prayers that Rout Demons, Prayers that Bring Healing, Prayers that Release Heaven on Earth and Prayers that Break Curses. To order any or all of these click here. read more

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