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What Is the Holy Ghost Trying to Tell You?

Although the Holy Spirit speaks expressly, we see through a glass darkly. Sure, it’s easy enough to understand the words of that still, small voice in your spirit. But impressions, dreams and visions aren’t always as clear as we’d like them to be—and reasoning blocks discernment.

I remember a time when a friend of mine was planning a trip to Los Angeles. She told me she was nervous about going, but I reasoned that it was a natural case of “the nerves” because she had an important meeting there. The week before she left, I started to get impressions that something bad was going to happen to her in Los Angeles. But it was like seeing through a glass darkly.

At first, I thought it was just fear. I was going through a major trial at the time and had so much coming at me from so many different directions that sorting through it all was more than a little challenging. Nevertheless, I pled the blood of Jesus and claimed the promises in Psalm 91 over my friend every day. The impressions—what I reasoned were imaginations—didn’t stop. Yet I never had a clear word of the Lord “come unto me saying.” read more

Pursuing God in the Dead of Winter

How hot is your spiritual passion when it’s 40 degrees below zero outside?

Because I grew up in Georgia’s sweltering humidity and I now live in Florida’s year-round sunshine, I am not fond of cold weather. I’d rather go barefoot in the sand than trudge through snow in heavy boots. To me, it’s “cold” when I have to wear anything heavier than a T-shirt and shorts, or if I have to cover the Sago palm in my front yard with a plastic sheet on a chilly Florida evening.

But because I told God a long time ago I would go wherever He sends me, I ended up in the Canadian city of Saskatoon two weeks ago. It was minus 40 degrees F on my first night there. Snow was piled everywhere, and the Saskatchewan River was frozen solid, yet my hosts told me this was a “mild” winter. Locals, who start their cars 10 minutes before going anywhere to warm their engines, joke that there are four seasons in Saskatchewan: “Almost winter,” “winter,” “still winter” and “road construction.” read more

sandiefreed

Supernatural Grace to Do the Impossible

When I was praying about the year of 2012, I kept hearing the Lord speak to me about grace. In fact, when you observe the year 2012 and actually add the numbers—two plus zero plus one plus two—it all adds up to five. Biblically, the number five is the number for grace. Therefore, when I heard the Lord begin to minister to me concerning this year and He continued to speak of grace, I really got encouraged when I added those numbers together!

Most of us are aware that grace is unmerited or undeserved favor. I believe this year we will revisit the gift of grace and gain greater understanding of God's goodness. Because God's grace is undeserved, this means that God's goodness is not expressed to each of us because we are good; it is given to us because He is good!

Sometimes it's hard to even wrap our minds around this fact. This is because most of us have, in reality, believed that grace is based upon performance and our religious works. However, receiving grace from God has absolutely nothing to do with our performance at all; it is completely based upon undeserved favor. Think about this for a minute. If God's favor were based upon our ability to do right and perform well, then we would not need His grace, would we? We would then believe that because of our own abilities we have been blessed. This is such a deceptive lie of the enemy. read more

harry-jackson

Class Warfare African-American Style

The New York Times recently featured an innovative MBA program at George Washington University. Not only was the course of study designed to enhance the professional business skills of its participants, it hoped to teach personal business and economics to people vulnerable to personal financial failure.

Who were they? Astute cultural analysts? Children of single-parent households? Convicted felons? People with learning disabilities? No, one of the groups targeted by GWU was retired professional athletes, especially those who played in the NFL. GWU understands something that numerous political ideologues do not: Personal financial management skills must be acquired if personal or business wealth is to be sustained. In other words: “It’s one thing to make money, but it takes skill and training keep it.”

Why would the academics target athletes and other professionals with volatile incomes? The answer is simple: Moving from boom to bust has landed scores of athletes and entertainers in the “poor house.” After watching this year’s Super Bowl, it’s especially hard for most Americans to say the word poverty in the same breath as professional football or award-winning entertainment. Nonetheless the tension between potential, passion and poverty is illustrative of America’s current national financial dilemma. The U.S. is still the richest nation in the world, but we are in danger of squandering our blessed position of influence and our prosperity. read more

The Value of Loneliness

In May 1984 Billy Graham spoke at Westminster Chapel. His subject was “loneliness.” He took his text from a strange verse; Psalm 102:6, in the King James Version, in which the psalmist likens himself to an owl in the desert. Graham definitely hit a nerve! There are so many people today who are lonely.

Loneliness is a painful condition, a dreaded state that, given the choice, most people would do anything to avoid. It is enforced solitude.

There is obviously a significant difference between enforced solitude and chosen solitude. Some of us appreciate the bliss of solitude. Jesus needed to get away from the crowds, and there are some who, by nature, are loners; they love it that way. My friend Robert Amess calls himself “the complete loner,” but he is not lonely. read more

jenniferleclaire1

Putting Spiritual Discernment Back Into Spiritual Warfare

I was raised in spiritual warfare. By that I mean, soon after I got saved I plugged into an apostolic church that vowed to run to the battle line to wrestle spirits of Jezebel, witchcraft, religion—and whatever else was opposing the purposes of God.

My church home was akin to a spiritual war zone. We were always on red alert through prophetic warnings, dreams and visions about the next attack. Indeed, spiritual warfare was a consistent thread in most of the praise, worship, equipping classes, Sunday morning sermons and leadership lessons.

You might call it “extreme apostolic.” We hunted down the demon(s) behind every doorknob like a child with a sweet tooth hunts for chocolate Easter eggs. Looking back, it seemed at times like a contest to determine who could present the most detailed dream or vision about the enemy’s impending plan. Once the enemy was spotted, a shouting match with the principality or power ensued that left you with a sore throat—and no respite from the warfare.

I was in a spiritual warfare ditch, where the enemy and his plans were ultimately exalted over God and His plans. Don’t get me wrong. I believe wholeheartedly in spiritual warfare. But we can get into a ditch with any principle if we take it to the extreme. So we have to ask ourselves: What causes us to take biblical principles to the extreme? read more

Whitney Houston and the Silent Shame of Addiction

The pop diva’s death should remind us of an uncomfortable reality: People in church take drugs.

Anyone who has listened to Whitney Houston’s rendition of “I Love the Lord”—or who saw her perform with CeCe Winans and Shirley Caesar at the 1996 Grammy Awards—knows she had an incomparable voice best suited for gospel music. But Whitney chose a broader path: When the doors opened for her to make a pop album in the 1980s, it became the all-time best-selling debut album by a female artist. She became America’s diva.

But all her worldly success didn’t help her overcome her personal demons. Her stormy marriage was marred by domestic violence. She admitted in the 1990s that she took cocaine every day. She tried rehab three times over the course of eight years. Her voice was so damaged by her drug habit that people walked out of her comeback concert in London in 2010. She became a pathetic shell of her former self. read more

jenniferleclaire1

Putting Spiritual Discernment Back Into Spiritual Warfare

I was raised in spiritual warfare. By that I mean, soon after I got saved I plugged into an apostolic church that vowed to run to the battle line to wrestle spirits of Jezebel, witchcraft, religion—and whatever else was opposing the purposes of God.

My church home was akin to a spiritual war zone. We were always on red alert through prophetic warnings, dreams and visions about the next attack. Indeed, spiritual warfare was a consistent thread in most of the praise, worship, equipping classes, Sunday morning sermons and leadership lessons.

You might call it “extreme apostolic.” We hunted down the demon(s) behind every doorknob like a child with a sweet tooth hunts for chocolate Easter eggs. Looking back, it seemed at times like a contest to determine who could present the most detailed dream or vision about the enemy’s impending plan. Once the enemy was spotted, a shouting match with the principality or power ensued that left you with a sore throat—and no respite from the warfare.

I was in a spiritual warfare ditch, where the enemy and his plans were ultimately exalted over God and His plans. Don’t get me wrong. I believe wholeheartedly in spiritual warfare. But we can get into a ditch with any principle if we take it to the extreme. So we have to ask ourselves: What causes us to take biblical principles to the extreme? read more

The Perfect Dinner

Years ago, when my husband, Terry, and I were dating, I set about to fix what I called the “perfect dinner” for Valentine’s Day. On the menu were Terry’s favorites: baked pasta with marinara sauce smothered in cheese, salad and buttery garlic bread. How difficult was that? In a word, highly!

You see I was a woman with an unsavory “kitchen past” and a long list of disasters to prove it. My most recent one was when my popovers (containing too much baking soda) exploded like hand grenades in the oven!

“Well, never mind,” I told myself, as I braved the kitchen to fix the perfect dinner. Terry didn’t need to know about my hidden disasters, just tonight’s grand performance of undaunted love revealed perfectly on a red linen tablecloth. read more

God’s Bouquet of Love

“Call in! Your chance to throw a brick or a bouquet!”

The radio host was inviting his coast-to-coast listeners to air a grievance or grudge against someone—their chance to get even. Or they could call in and compliment someone. The choice was theirs!

Most were angry callers with a grudge and a beef to air. The disturbing thing was that they were taking fiendish delight in putting people down and flattening them before the public. The radio airwaves were thick with tension and hate.

Then came the call that changed things. A sweet lady was calling in to tell her teenage niece how much she loved her. “I want to throw her a bouquet tonight,” she said, “to express my love for her.” read more

jenniferleclaire1

Don’t Give Up: God Wants to Encounter You in a New Way

Do you remember when the Lord spoke to the apostle Paul in the night by a vision? He said: “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10).

That’s the Scripture that came to my mind last Friday after I came home from the spa. Yes, the spa. See, I’m not too proud to admit that carrying the weight and fighting the spiritual warfare that goes along with planting a church, writing a new book about the Jezebel spirit, producing worship songs, commenting in a weekly national radio broadcast, working in media ministry at Charisma, raising a teenager as a single mother—I’ll stop there—I’m not too proud to admit that sometimes the warfare against my mind and body is so intense that it borders on overwhelming.

When that happens, I’ve learned that I need to unplug and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to me. And that’s what I did last Friday afternoon. I never imagined that God had someone in the spa ready and waiting to speak a word in due season that would remind me of just how great our God is and how much He really cares. But that’s just what happened. Call it a divine appointment. God had stationed a powerful prayer warrior (with a strong Jamaican accent) in that spa to minister to me by the power of the Holy Spirit. read more

bishop-eddie-long

Who’s to Blame for the Eddie Long Soap Opera?

{jcomments on}Why the yearlong circus surrounding Eddie Long involves more than just broken leadership

I don’t know Eddie Long. I’ve never met the guy, have no idea where his heart is and am in no place to judge where he stands before God. But considering the soap opera surrounding him over the past year—from a sex scandal to a burglary case to multiple lawsuits to his church’s school closing to divorce to being crowned “king”—it’s safe to say this probably wasn’t the guy’s favorite year. It’s also obvious, based upon the state and fruit of his ministry, that after walking through a season of true healing (which I pray he’ll do), he needs to reconsider the people surrounding him—those in his “inner circle.”

Part of Eddie Long’s true healing, if it comes, will involve ‘fessing up to whatever mistakes he needs to own. But an equal part will be recognizing that he, for whatever reason, succumbed to one of the American church’s most destructive paradigms: the leadership bubble. I’m referring to the incredible man-made force that insulates thousands of pastors, bishops, apostles, prophets and ministry leaders (particularly in the charismatic movement that I cover) and makes them unapproachable superbeings who sweep in from the heavenlies to deliver divine messages on Sunday mornings, and then are swept away by the winds of their assistants, never to be bothered by the commoners. read more

Phoney Rabbis, Lost Discernment and the Eddie Long Disaster

Why did people applaud Bishop Long’s bizarre “coronation” in Atlanta?

Question of the week: What should you do when a megachurch pastor is accused of serious financial and/or sexual misconduct?

A.     Ask the pastor to step down so he or she can receive ministry, and then conduct a thorough investigation.

B.     Flatly deny all allegations and wait until the storm blows over.

C.     Use church funds to pay off the people who made the sex abuse accusations.

D.     Ask a guest preacher to call the pastor to the stage, wrap him in a 312-year-old Torah scroll and ask an “expert” in Old Testament language to declare him a “king” so he can be exonerated of all wrongdoing. read more

Revival or Disaster Headed for US West Coast?

One of the greatest revivals of all time began at Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906. The wretched former stable burned so brightly with the glory of God that for a time it was called “the second most famous address in the world.” God can do it again, and will, if we want it enough.

Every revival in history seems to be the result of a few people becoming so hungry for God that they wanted Him more than oxygen. Those who have such hunger will not be denied. It’s time to seek a revival that becomes the most famous address in the world. It’s time to seek a move of God that won’t quit moving.

I’ve seen in visions and dreams the destruction that is destined, especially on our West Coast. This has caused some to say that I have a hatred for our West Coast, which is not true, but rather the opposite. I really can’t help what I dream, and though a psycho analyst might say it is the result of deep feelings, I know these are prophetic dreams. They never leave me pleased, but rather I’m grieved enough to take all of the heat for sharing them with the hope that people will listen, repent, and they will not have to come true. read more

jenniferleclaire1

How to Get Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

We are emotional beings. God gave us emotions—and God Himself has emotions. Our emotions can be a great motivator at times and a great enemy at other times.

Think about it for a minute. Sometimes we feel joyful; sometimes we grieve. Sometimes we feel bold; sometimes intimidated. Sometimes we feel triumphant; sometimes completely and utterly physically and emotionally exhausted.

Is it possible that we could avoid the extreme highs and lows of the emotional roller coaster if we maintained God’s perspective? What if we could wait on the Lord, mount up with wings as eagles and take a prophetic perspective of our lives—then rejoice in the Lord for the victory? read more

Please Stop the Holy Ghost Smackdown

Do you want the real power of the Holy Spirit? Then don’t pretend by pushing people to the floor when you pray.

I love it when the Holy Spirit shows up in church gatherings. Whenever sinners are converted, backsliders repent, bodies are healed or self-centered believers are broken by God, we see evidence of the Spirit’s work. But I don’t appreciate it when people fabricate spiritual manifestations to prove God is using them.

A few years ago a popular charismatic preacher spoke at a meeting I attended at a church in Orlando, Fla. After his message he asked all ordained ministers to run to the platform so he could lay hands on them. Immediately this man’s team of beefy bodyguards began grabbing people, dragging them onto the stage and holding them in place until the evangelist could pray for everyone. read more

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Surrender of the Vision Keeper

If you find yourself more drawn toward prayer than promotion, more toward humility than hype, you are being prepared by the Lord for the glory of God. What He is working in you is typical of what God is establishing in thousands of other believers.

However, before the Father ultimately reveals Christ as Lord over the earth, He will first reveal Him as Lord over the church. And while we should rejoice, we must also take heed. For until we are standing face to face in glory with Jesus Himself, we are going to be in transition. To each of us, Christ's call remains, "Come, follow Me!" (Luke 18:22). If we will walk with Him in obedience, He will take us into the fullness of His presence.

Still, transitions can be frightening. The uncertainty of those passages between spiritual plateaus can hold us hostage to yesterday's blessings. Let us recall with godly fear that the bronze serpent, which brought healing to Israel in the wilderness, by Hezekiah's day had become an idol that had to be torn down.

Our hearts must bow to God alone, for even spiritual gifts, when isolated from Christ the Giver, can become idolatrous. Therefore to successfully navigate this season of change, the Lord will require of us a fresh surrender to His Lordship. He will demand that our preconceived ideas and expectations be submitted to Him. For if we are continually telling the Holy Spirit where we expect to go, we neutralize our capacity to hear where He wants to take us. read more

harry-jackson

Rewriting History: The Victor’s Privilege

The last few years I have been repeatedly disappointed by the bickering and pettiness displayed by our legislators, political pundits and candidates for office. I have longed for representatives who are informed and articulate, who habitually seek the best laws and results for the land. Unfortunately, the history I have reviewed recently suggests that we may be more like our forefathers than we would like to believe.

Those who long nostalgically for more civil times should not read some of the pamphlets distributed during the election of 1800 when Jefferson defeated Adams! Neither should they watch the movie Conspiracy, which discusses the way Washingtonians accused of working with John Wilkes Booth were unfairly stripped of their rights and executed. Although the political process was fraught with danger and contention, there were also many leaders who paid a real price for their convictions.

For example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has loomed larger than life in the hearts and minds of Americans since his assassination in 1968. The massive monument which now stands on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is a physical manifestation of the spiritual giant he has been to so many of us over the past two generations. Today’s leaders can only hope to capture a fraction of the respect from his followers and fear from his opponents that Dr. King commanded during his lifetime. Yet this was never the life that he sought for himself. Indeed, if there is one lesson we can learn from this man today, it is that the best leaders are often reluctant to bear the burden of leadership, because they understand the cost is so high. read more

Getting Angelic Assistance

In Acts 27, the apostle Paul was a prisoner on a ship with 276 passengers onboard. Launching the voyage in the winter, the ship headed into a violent sea storm, called Euroclydon. The ship tossed like a leaf in the wind and was in danger of splitting into pieces. No stars or light from the moon was seen for many days, and because of the dangerous rocks and quicksand, it appeared that Paul and the passengers would drown in the murky waters.

Paul had been on an extended fast and was praying for God’s intervention. God released a heavenly messenger to bring Paul this encouraging Word: read more

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