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Sabine Barig-Gould apologized for the famous English hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers” he wrote in 1865. Why? For writing it so quickly that some of its lines were “faulty.” He permitted hymnbook compilers to change some of the lyrics, such as the phrase “one in hope and doctrine” to “one in hope and purpose” and “we are not divided” to “though divisions harass.”
If Barig-Gould were alive today, he may be compelled to offer his permission to change the title, adding the word “wounded” to the plight of the Christian soldier.
Sadly, there are too many wounded saints limping around the church trying their level best to serve God. Rather than walking in their Christ-given victory, they are walking in emotional defeat that oft holds them in bondage. Beloved, many of us have battle scars but many others are still the walking wounded. They need the healing balm of Gilead, spiritual medicine to heal their souls. But they also need natural, practical help to break free. read more
Pentecost’s power is more than wind, fire and supernatural hoopla. Without love it is just noise.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Pentecostal”?
A. · · A woman with a beehive hairdo, support hose, Granny
shoes and no makeup?
B. · · Someone rolling on the floor while speaking in tongues uncontrollably?
C. · · A slick-haired televangelist in a white suit who begs for donations?
D. · · A sour-faced Christian who looks like he just sucked all the juice out of a lemon?
E.···· A sincere Christian who passionately loves God and people and believes in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit?
I wish we all could answer E., but we Pentecostals have an image problem. I’m not ashamed of the word itself, but I don’t use it as a label because the bad stereotypes (A., B., C. and D.) have just about ruined it for the rest of us. Many people associate Pentecostals with dry legalism, fanaticism, charlatanism and downright hatefulness. read more
A young woman called me looking for a prophetic word. She was befuddled, sore vexed and all-out desperate to hear from God about a certain situation.
This young, Spirit-filled woman, we’ll call her Tammy, insisted she just couldn’t hear from God. She had prayed. She has worshipped. She had read books on how to hear the voice of God. Yet she adamantly confessed that she could not hear a word. She called me because she wanted to me to “go to the throne” on her behalf.
Tammy went on to rehearse every detail the devil was telling her. She told me how the devil said she was going to get fired on the next round of job layoffs. She told me how the devil said her car was going to break down soon. She told me how the devil said she was going to get sick. And she was full of fear.
Can you see the contrast yet? Tammy did not believe she could hear the voice of God—and this after I had coached her for weeks on how to quiet her soul and listen for that still small voice—yet she could tell me every lie the devil was whispering in her ear with pinpoint accuracy. And her fear testified that she believed those lies. read more
Robert Stearns' Jerusalem Banquet in New York City is a magnificent event that brings together Jews and Christians who share a love of and support for Israel. read more
Day and night. Night and day. These are themes that run through the Bible—from Genesis to Revelation—and they are awakening the praying church to new realms of intercession.
Fellowshipping with God through prayer and worship is what we were created for. It’s just that simple. Yet how easy is it to stray from this reality when the spirit of the world is tugging on your sleeve with trouble, with persecution, with the worries of this life, or with the deceitfulness of riches?
How easy is it? Too easy in an American church that’s being lulled to sleep by a false gospel working its way into our mindsets through compromised Christian television preachers and seeker-friendly congregations that look to make numbers rather than disciples. read more
In the days leading up to the Global Day of Prayer, let’s bombard heaven on behalf of the United States.
Twelve years ago a South African businessman, Graham Power, felt God nudge him to organize a prayer gathering in the city of Cape Town. About 45,000 Christians responded to the call by jamming into a rugby stadium in March 2001 to intercede for their nation.
That was the beginning of the Global Day of Prayer, an event that will likely involve millions of Christians in 220 nations on Pentecost Sunday, May 27. This year organizers are encouraging people to extend their prayers for 10 days prior to the event, beginning on May 17. They are also urging pastors to fuel the prayer with sermons about the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s power. read more
Ive never understood why only a few Pentecostals celebrate Pentecost Sunday. Maybe its our revivalist tradition that came from the sawdust trail where anything that hinted of formal religion was thrown out. read more
On May 9 President Obama finally openly voiced his support for gay marriage. Already he has falsely characterized opposition to abortion as a war on women, thus stating his support for abortion rights and further adding fire to his campaign to ignite gender and class warfare.
Evidence of suppression of Christian expression in the military grows. Under Obamacare, freedom of religion has been abridged in the requirement that our Catholic brethren provide employees with birth control coverage through their health insurance programs. The president's "concession" requiring only the insurance companies to make that provision is no concession at all. The Catholic Church still pays for the service. It makes no difference that we Protestants do not share the Catholic conviction concerning birth control. It would be a mistake to assume that this requirement doesn't touch us. If the Catholic conscience can be overridden in this case in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state, then other religious freedoms for the rest of us can be similarly abridged.
These are not simple differences of political opinion, but are rather issues of morality that matter deeply to God. As America's moment of decision approaches, take note and remember these things, together with much that will yet be revealed in the course of the presidential campaign. Listen carefully to what the candidates and their surrogates say, note what is actually done by both of them and then vote according to your conscience. read more
The president’s decision to endorse same-sex marriage is a great disappointment for many people. His statement—which he announced Wednesday—is of great concern to those who still believe in traditional marriage.
These people fall into two major categories—those whose belief systems are informed by their spiritual background and those who have been convinced that redefining marriage will be a horrible social experiment that will further weaken America’s declining structure.
Many in the faith community have suspected for some time that the president’s announcement was coming. It seems as though the administration feels that this moment will bolster the same-sex marriage movement from the crushing defeat it experienced in North Carolina. read more
Reclaiming the process of discipleship will require a total overhaul of how we do church.
I get funny looks from some charismatic Christians when I tell them I believe God is calling us back to radical discipleship. Those in the over-50 crowd—people who lived through the charismatic movement of the 1970s—are likely to have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to the dreaded “D word.”
That’s because the so-called Discipleship Movement (also known as the Shepherding Movement) turned a vital biblical principle into a weapon and abused people with it. Churches that embraced the warped doctrines of shepherding required believers to get permission from their pastors before they bought cars, got pregnant or moved to a new city. Immature leaders became dictators, church members became their loyal minions, and the Holy Spirit’s fire was snuffed out because of a pervasive spirit of control. read more
These past weeks, I felt the Lord leading me to do certain things like sorting through my old records, files and to do housecleaning (throwing out things that are no longer useful to me). This gave me time to work and talk with the Lord. In the process, I found myself sharing my struggles with Him.
I felt that I have not done enough for Him. As I go over the years past, I noticed that many times I felt the Lord leading me to do something which I obeyed wholeheartedly, then along the way events overtook me and I had to let go of those projects and let go of the vision.
These experiences make me feel like I have been a failure. The enemy of our soul has been quick to pick up the momentum to continually use these memories to torment us about our shortcomings. Many times I felt that I have missed my calling, failed the Lord and am a total failure. I was in this state of mind when the Lord interrupted me with that “small still voice” to give me His message. Furthermore, it was impressed to me that this message is not for me alone. Many of God’s warriors are standing in the same place where I am now. So my prayer is that as I share this message with the body of Christ, that you please allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart as well. read more
We may not be able to do much about the current leadership in these arenas other than pray. But if you’re a parent, you can have a positive impact on the next generation. How? By instituting ethics training in your home. This is where it begins. Parents have the God-given responsibility to guide and instruct their children – the future business and spiritual leaders of our nation.
Where do we go to find appropriate foundational truths that lay the groundwork for ethics and morals? How can we purposefully and systematically train our children and ourselves to do the right thing, even when it hurts? Joyce Meyer, Christian speaker and author, states in one of her teachings on integrity, “True integrity is doing the right thing even when no one else is looking.” Isn’t that what we want in our children and ourselves? read more
God can—and often does—speak through natural encounters in our everyday lives. So when I saw two U.S. Army soldiers pumping gas in the car next to mine last week—and when my spirit suddenly went on high alert—I knew the Lord was trying to show me something.
See, I used to live a mile outside the gate of Fort Rucker in Ozark, Ala. Interacting with military personnel was part of everyday life. But since I returned to South Florida 10 years ago I haven’t seen a single military man (or woman). At least not one in uniform. These men were dressed in their camouflage gear complete with boots. No one else seemed to notice them, but I couldn’t take my spiritual eyes or ears off them.
As I watched and listened to how they interacted, I was impressed with both the camaraderie and respect they showed one another. I noticed at least one of them had been deployed—risking his life for the security of the nation—and returned home safely from war by the patch on his sleeve. Finally, before they left, I stepped out and thanked them for serving our country. The major’s smiling response: “It’s our pleasure.” Humble.
When I got back in my car, I asked the Lord what that was all about. He said, “What if these soldiers were out in the middle of the battlefield arguing with each other?” read more
The Lord wants to unleash a gushing river of new wine into the church today, but we must leave some things behind.
A woman from Orlando, Fla., was in the news last month because she decided to retire from driving her 1964 Mercury Comet. Rachel Veitch, who is 93, bought the car new for $3,300 when gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon. Today the light yellow car, which Veitch calls “Chariot,” has 567,000 miles on it.
That’s great news for Veitch—who will probably get $44,000 for the antique car because she took such good care of it. But whoever buys it will either store it in a fancy garage or display it at an auto show. There are not too many miles left on this relic of the past. read more
“‘The time is surely coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord’” (Amos 8:11-12).
The thought strikes me that the famine is not so much for the lack of speaking as the lack of hearing. I have had the increasing impression that God’s people do not know how to hear the word of God. Or, unlike the Thessalonian converts from paganism, they do not believe that the word they are hearing is indeed God’s word.
Therefore, the word is received casually if not indifferently as the word of man, that is to say, without effect. Perhaps we have been filling up on verbal “junk food” and have dulled our appetites for “real food” by the profusion of much speaking of our own that leaves us sated if not bloated, and therefore we suffer malnutrition in the midst of seeming plenty. Certainly we lack the evidence of growth and change that the word of God should accomplish, and we seem fixed in our immaturity and shallowness. read more
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