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
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
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
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
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
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. 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
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
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
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
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
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 toour
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