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What If Bethlehem Had Smartphones?

I wonder if more people would believe in Jesus if His birth had been a trending topic on Twitter.

Matthew and Luke are the only Gospel writers who wrote about Jesus’ birth, and we aren’t sure who provided them with firsthand reports. Jesus’ mother was among the earliest Christian disciples, so we assume she shared her story with them. All details were passed down orally, without the aid of technology. There were no radios, televisions, tape recorders, iPads, walkie-talkies, cameras, cellphones or fax machines in first century Israel. The only form of “instant messaging” required a guy to run from one king to another over a period of days.

I wonder: What if the key players in the Christmas story had access to wireless devices? Pardon my literary license as I imagine the script: read more

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Why the Earth (and the Heavens) Are Shaking

As the year 2011 comes to a close, it is hard to be unaffected by the massive earthquakes that occurred these past years. Remember, it was just 2004 when the great South Asian Tsunami roared along the Indian ocean, suddenly rising and striking the coastlines of nine nations. Over 230,000 people died, and millions more were left grieving and homeless. Scientists tell us that this great disaster not only changed the landscape of Asia, it actually caused the planet to wobble on its axis. read more

Hope, Peace and Joy

What a value!  Last year, a colleague related an interesting story. Evidently, his daughter needed some new Christmas plates. Those of us who are men should be very grateful that God created women to live our lives with us. Otherwise, we would use the same plates all year—even at holiday times.

Now, you can even decorate with a larger plate to go underneath the regular plate. The larger plate (called a charger) is available in a multitude of colors, one for each season and/or holiday. And of course, they can’t go in the dishwasher because they are too delicate and must be washed by hand. But, I digress. read more

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Are You Reasoning Yourself Out of Prophetic Wisdom?

God has given us the ability to reason—but too much mental reasoning blocks spiritual discernment and breeds plenty of confusion.

With that in mind, is it possible that you are reasoning yourself out of prophetic wisdom that could be blocking your spiritual growth, your blessings, and even the full manifestation of your destiny?

I’ll admit it. I am analytical. I tend to reason through every possibility before making a decision. But I also pray after my thoughtful analysis and ultimately submit my plans to the written Word and the Spirit’s leading (which always agree). Of course, I’m not perfect. But my purpose is to lean not on my own understanding—even when my own understanding seems plentiful in my own eyes (Prov. 3:5-6).

Because the human heart is deceitful above all things there is an ever-present danger of flowing in pride instead of flowing in the Spirit (Jer. 17:9). This is especially true when we consider ourselves well-versed, experts even, in any area. Knowledge puffeth up (1 Cor. 8:1), after all, and pride comes before the fall (Prov. 16:18).

If we rely solely on our own reasoning—our own understanding—we could find ourselves shipwrecked. But if we rely on the Spirit’s wisdom—on His reasoning—we may find ourselves with a haul of blessings so big we can’t contain them. Indeed, we can see this very principle in Scripture. read more

The Biology of Christmas

The virgin birth contradicts the laws of science. But our faith rests on the miracle of the Incarnation.

My wife and I have four girls, and I was in the hospital room for each birth. There was a normal amount of blood, but no serious complications. Our oldest took forever to be born. Our second was in such a hurry that we thought she might end up on the floor of a hospital hallway. Our third tied her umbilical cord in knots in the womb. And our youngest calmly slipped out as if to say: “OK, I’m born. What’s next?”

I had very little to do in the delivery room. My wife was the hero. She sweated, strained, pushed and gasped for hours. I stroked her arm a few times—and ate some doughnuts.

“The concept of a woman giving birth to a baby without a man’s involvement is ludicrous to unbelievers. It contradicts all the laws of biology.” read more

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America Needs Our Prayers

I've received several warnings recently concerning terrorist attacks against America, and I want to ask you to join me in praying for protection from these attacks. Within the last few months I have had several credible dreams presented to me about this, five of them within the last week.

While warnings such as these are subjective in nature, and dreams always need careful discernment and interpretation, I feel that the dramatic and sudden increase of these warnings merits this call to prayer. read more

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

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Discerning the Call to Prophetic Intercession

There’s plenty of talk about prayer, prophetic intercession, standing in the gap, making up the hedge, prayer burdens, and, of course, spiritual warfare. But how do we discern the call to prayer? How do we recognize a proverbial prayer burden?

These questions may seem simple, but far too many saints have come to me carrying burdens they thought were their own when in reality they were feeling the weight of oppression over a person or a city. I know how they feel. It took me some years to learn to accurately divide soul and spirit. read more

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Breaking the Power of Vicious Circles and Demonic Cycles

Have you ever felt like you are living in a vicious circle? Even now you may be trying your best to solve a problem only to discover that every step you take is making the problem worse—or even creating new problems.

If that’s you, stop and ask yourself—is this a vicious circle or a demonic cycle? In other words, is one trouble in your life leading to another because of the classic law of cause and effect, a law that can easily snowball for better or worse? Or are you wrestling against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places? (Eph. 6:12)

Before we go on, let me state emphatically that every obstacle or setback we face in life is not rooted in demonic activity. Becoming super-skilled in spiritual warfare isn’t going to solve all of your problems because all of your problems aren’t originating demons. Getting hyper focused on identifying demons and tearing down strongholds can actually perpetuate the vicious cycle. What we magnify tends to manifest. Magnify the devil and he seems bigger in your eyes. Magnify Jesus and His glory inspires you to overcome by His grace. read more

A Word for the Weary: God Will Finish What He Started!

The devil is busy trying to abort God’s promises. Hang on and keep believing.

Here’s a trivia question: Which building project took the longest to complete?·

A. The construction of the Pentagon.
B. The carving of Mount Rushmore.
C. The digging of the Panama Canal.
D. The building of the Empire State Building.
E. The carving and assembling of the Statue of Liberty.

The answer is C. It took 31 years to dig the Panama Canal, mainly because that superhuman task was started and stopped several times due to floods, mudslides, unexpected costs (the total bill for the United States was $375 million in 1914) and a horrific death toll (20,000 French workers and 6,000 Americans died on the job site.) The moral of that story: Expect delays when you cut a 50-mile-long canal to connect two oceans. 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

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Why the Church Needs a Change in Strategy

It doesn't take a prophetic voice to point out that our nation and our world are in trouble and the trouble we're facing won't go away any time soon. The body of Christ must prepare to stand in the midst of it to exert influence for the kingdom of God—and the clock is ticking. It remains to be seen whether we have adequately prepared spiritually, in attitude or materially for what must come. read more

jenniferleclaire1

Discerning the Call to Prophetic Intercession

There’s plenty of talk about prayer, prophetic intercession, standing in the gap, making up the hedge, prayer burdens, and, of course, spiritual warfare. But how do we discern the call to prayer? How do we recognize a proverbial prayer burden?

These questions may seem simple, but far too many saints have come to me carrying burdens they thought were their own when in reality they were feeling the weight of oppression over a person or a city. I know how they feel. It took me some years to learn to accurately divide soul and spirit.

The turning point for me was during a mission trip to Nicaragua. I woke up feeling severely depressed for no apparent reason. I felt down and out, like giving up, throwing in the towel, calling it quits and running home to pull the covers over my head. It felt like my best friend had just died. I sat there for about 20 minutes trying to figure out what was wrong with me and crying out to God to help me escape these oppressive feelings.

As I persisted, I heard that still small voice in my spirit saying, “Despondent. This is how the people of this nation feel. Pray.” Despondence is a feeling of extreme discouragement, dejection or depression. Once the Lord gave me that insight, I joined with others in a circle to pray against the oppression with the weapons of our warfare, which are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4). read more

Warning: Pray This Prayer at Your Own Risk

When I said to God, “Here am I, send me,” a real adventure began.

More than 12 years ago I found myself at a church altar in Orlando, Fla. God had been dealing with me about leaving my comfort zone. I had a great job with nice benefits, yet I felt spiritually unfulfilled. I knew there was an amazing adventure in front of me, but I had placed serious limitations on my obedience.

As I buried my head in the carpet in that church, I realized God was requiring unconditional surrender. He wanted me to wave a white flag. I knew what I had to say, but it was difficult to form the words. Finally I coughed them up. I said the same thing the prophet Isaiah prayed long ago: Here I am, send me! (see Is. 6:8.) read more

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A Prophetic Call to Pray

Like many other intercessors, Cindy Jacobs, co-founder of Generals International, was at TheCall Detroit last weekend. As the solemn assembly gathered, Jacobs released a prophetic word for the United States and Israel. Here is what the Holy Spirit spoke to Jacobs on 11-11-11:

For the Lord says the United States is fast approaching her "tipping point." I am ready, says God, to reach out and balance but even if tremendous prayer is poured out, it will only steady the nation for a season unless there is a heart-felt turning back to the Lord. read more

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TheCall Detroit Draws 30,000 Intercessors on 11-11-11

As I arrived at Detroit’s Ford Field to participate in TheCall—a summons to prayer, fasting, repentance and sacrificial worship that began at 6 p.m. Friday and ran for 24 hours—I passed a nearby park where protesters set up an “Occupy Detroit” camp.

As we parked the car, we could see about 35 men, most of them black, singing “God Loves Everyone” to the tune of “We Shall Overcome” and marching with a police escort toward Ford Field.

I didn't wait to hear what they may have said or talk with any of them. I was too eager to join the prayer service inside. In fact, despite the national headlines over the Wall Street protests, no one inside seemed to notice the occupiers were there. The crowd of about 30,000 that gathered at Ford Field had a different purpose: praying for America. 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

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Spiritual Abuse, Christian Cults and Controlling Ministries

It’s irresponsible to loosely toss around emotionally charged accusations. Phrases like “spiritual abuse,” “Christian cults” and “controlling ministries” can be very harmful. I wouldn’t want to stand before Jesus and give account for misspoken words that carry the potential to tear down what He is building.

On the other hand, it’s also irresponsible to turn a blind eye to spiritual abuse, Christian cults and controlling ministries. I wouldn’t want to stand before Jesus and give account for supporting ministries that are tearing down what He is building.

When spiritual leaders are caught in sex abuse scandals, the secular and Christian media alike pen stories that offer the detestable details and dogged denials. But spiritual abuse, cultish churches and controlling ministries are less often exposed than pastors who coerce teenaged boys and unsuspecting church secretaries to have sexual relations.

That’s because victims of abusive church authority structures may not even realize what they are enduring until they escape its grip. Spiritual abuse is often subtle. Christian cult leaders don’t always operate like Jim Jones. Controlling ministries tend to hide behind the guise of spiritual coverings. And far too many outsiders are not willing to even question the messages and practices of such churches. It takes lovers of truth with spiritual discernment to recognize the sometimes-subtle signs of abusive churches. And it takes courage to confront it. read more

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Let Us Answer the Call in Detroit

On 11-11-11, Veterans Day, God is summoning His prayer warriors to battle at Ford Field in Detroit to war spiritually for the next generation. The occasion: TheCall Detroit, a gathering that is not about us, not about those who will assemble there—but about a great healing God wants to do in Detroit and in America.

Detroit, in so many ways, is a microcosm of America's dilemma, and God's desire is to bring healing to Detroit and turn America around. This city, rich with the history of black and white working together in the 1860s on the last stop to freedom of the Underground Railroad, is also the same city where riots broke out over racial tensions in 1967. read more

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