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.
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.
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.
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.
Faith can sometimes be that indescribable understanding that whatever happens, whatever takes place, God is in control and we just have to get out of the way and let Him do what only He can do.
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.
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.
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.
Have you ever been treated unethically in a business transaction? Have you ever been grieved by the lack of integrity in a pastor, evangelist or other minister? Sadly, we live in an age in which leaders in both the secular and the spiritual arenas seem to be making up their own sets of rules about how to conduct their businesses, their ministries and their lives.
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?
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?”
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.
“‘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.
Jim Bakker believes The Harbinger is one of the most important books he's ever read because of its prophetic insights. The book highlights how God dealt with Israel when the people rejected Him, and how the same warnings in Isaiah 9:10 still apply today.
Bakker is featuring Cahn on his national television show all this week. He invited us on the show at their new facility called Morningside outside Branson, Mo.
Robert Walker was born 100 years ago today, April 30. He was my friend and mentor. I consider him a great man and this is my way to honor his memory and to thank God for his life.
Robert Walker founded Christian Bookseller magazine, Creation House, Christian Life Missions, and Christian Life magazine, which merged with Charisma in 1987. I have continued his publishing legacy. I wrote articles in Charisma and Christian Retailing, and have arranged for a reception in his honor as part of the regular Christian Life Missions board meeting. I hope you'll read on about this great man who inspired so many.
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).
This is not about tired; it is about weary. Weary is spiritual. Although tired and weary may at times feel closely related, they are worlds apart. Tired is physical; weary is spiritual.
When you are tired you are dealing with the physical realm. Being tired means you need physical rest or a break, some sleep and quite possibly a vacation. Weary does not respond to the same treatment as tired. You can go away for a month to rest and relax but you may still be weary.
If you are tired you may need to change some life habits. You may need to begin to exercise or exercise differently. Perhaps you have a physical problem that needs medical attention. The point is, tired is physical. You cannot pray tired away. You do not rebuke tired. You cannot lay hands on someone and cast out tired.
I remember when the Holy Spirit spoke those words to me some years ago. I had just taken a devastating blow—a one-two (three-four) punch from the enemy. It sent me reeling with a spinning head and wobbling legs.
Let’s just say I never saw it coming.
But when the Holy Spirit spoke those eight simple words to me it broke the spiritual oppression that was trying to settle on my soul. I suddenly had an all new—more hopeful—perspective. Instead of focusing on my immediate past, I began to immediately look for the next step in God’s good plan for my future.
Have you encountered a setback lately? Something unexpected that spoiled your plans and disappointed your heart? It could be a failed relationship, a broken dream, a financial calamity, a health issue. Beloved, see this setback for what it is. Setbacks are delays. Setbacks are hindrances. But setbacks are not necessarily failures. You did not fail because you encountered defeat. You only fail when you choose not to get back up and keep going. It's just a setback. It's not your future.
I remember sitting at the dinner table with my parents at 8 years old. During that season, the “no elbows on the table” rule was in full force. In addition, my mother constantly chided me for using slang as opposed to proper English. Those three to four years seemed like hell on earth. Nonetheless, years later, I could trace my success in school to my family dinner table and a few great teachers.
My parents always said, “For a black man to do half as well, he must be twice as good!” For them, education was almost a “sacred privilege,” which had been denied my ancestors because of the black and Native American social status. Today, I am shocked by the almost unfathomable swing from my black community’s sense of excellence and purpose to an entitlement mentality.
Not long ago, both The Washington Post and The New York Times reported a growing national trend: Black students are suspended and expelled from school at two to five times the rate of white students. Both articles highlighted the unintended bias of teachers and administrators, zero-tolerance school discipline policies and school leadership styles as possible causes for this development—and undoubtedly they are contributing factors.
But I wonder whether forcing teachers to sit through another mandatory sensitivity seminar or lobbying to relax school discipline policies will improve the long-term prospects of black students in America?
Many Christians debate whether the devil is on the earth or in hell; can he dwell in Christians or only in the world? The fact is, the devil is in darkness. Wherever there is spiritual darkness, there the devil will be.
For most, the term spiritual warfare introduces a new but not necessarily welcomed dimension in their Christian experience. The thought of facing evil spirits in battle is an unsettling concept, especially since we came to Jesus as lost sheep, not warriors. Ultimately, some of us may never actually initiate spiritual warfare, but all of us must face the fact that the devil has initiated warfare against us. Therefore, it is essential to our basic well-being that we discern the areas of our nature that are unguarded and open to satanic assault.
Jude tells us, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (1:6, NASB).
When Satan rebelled against God, he was placed under eternal judgment in what the Bible calls “pits” (2 Pet. 2:4) or “bonds” of darkness. The devil and the fallen angels with him have been relegated to live in darkness. This darkness does not simply refer to areas void of visible light. The eternal darkness to which this Scripture refers is essentially a moral darkness, which ultimately degrades into literal darkness. However, its cause is not simply the absence of light; it is the absence of God, who is light.