In 2012, Jesus is calling us to re-enroll in
the school of discipleship.
Besides being the Year of the Dragon in
China, 2012 is full of global observances. World Peace Day was Jan. 1, World
Rabies Day is Sept. 22 and the World Day for Laboratory Animals (huh?) is
April 24. There is also Global Hand-washing Day (Oct. 15), Star Wars Day (May
4), International Cat Day (March 1), and—for all Johnny Depp fans—International
Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19).
I don’t know who comes up
with these odd celebrations, but I’d like to add one more. Can we declare 2012
the Year of Discipleship?
At the threshold of this
New Year, people everywhere are concerned. Escalating political,
economic and social unrest have caused many, even believers, to become
perplexed and fearful about the future. Jesus warned us that before His
return, perilous times would come. But thank God, He has provided a way
for us to not only survive but even thrive during even the most
difficult of times. Allow me to illustrate.
family and I are certified scuba divers. One of the first things I
learned as a diver is that inclement weather doesn't necessarily
indicate that you're going to have a bad dive. As a matter of fact, the
storms can be raging on the surface, but deep below the divers are
experiencing a spectacular kaleidoscope of colorful choral and tropical
In relation to
this upcoming year, the Lord has spoken to me of rough weather ahead.
So, in anticipation, let's all recognize the stormy seas, determine to
dive deep and experience the peace of God. 2012 will be a great year as
we hear His voice and obey His every command.
The greatest joy one can know in
life is the presence and peace of God. As we open our hearts and spirits to Him
we give Him opportunity to speak to us and to fill us with His joy and peace.
The Bible tells us that in His
presence “is fullness of joy” (Ps. 16:11, NKJV). Because this is true, our most
important APPOINTMENT each day must be our time alone with God and His Word, a
time when He can speak to us and we can speak to Him.
Satan, our No. 1 enemy, would
rather have us do anything than keep this appointment. So we must ask for and
receive God's help in order to be faithful on a daily basis.
While I was praying over 2012, I received impressions about many things—some warnings and some promises. But what burned most on my heart to share with the masses wasn’t a list of predictions or a prophetic directive. What burned most on my heart to share are four simple words: Revival begins with you.
We yearn to see signs, wonders and miracles manifest today as they did in the book of Acts, don’t we? But are we willing to pay the price the early church paid? Are we willing to die to self? Are we willing to relinquish control to the Holy Spirit so He can move like He wants to move? Are we willing to repent for the character flaws that hold us back? Are we willing to walk in love and unity with true believers who don’t believe exactly the same as we do? Are we willing to war against the spirit of compromise that is raging against the church in this age? Revival begins with you.
The book of Acts never fails to fascinate me. It is the Holy Ghost in action, the gifts of the Spirit made manifest, a charismatic believer’s delight. Indeed, many of us want to see the Holy Ghost move in the church—and in the world—like that again. Well, I beseech you to consider these four words: Revival begins with you.
Israel was an example of a corporate group who had to
overcome several things to enter their promised land. The following spiritual
assignment will allow us to move forward into the fullness of God’s plan for
our lives as we look toward 2012.
Make a list of old cycles.Now is the time
to break from any old cycle that has held your promise and destiny in
captivity. Declare that your Passover time of deliverance is now beginning. Ask
God for signs, wonders, and miracles that will intervene in old cyclical
structures of your life.
As I have prayed about the coming year, I’ve sensed three clear
Some people are terrified of 2012. They worry
because the Mayans of ancient Mexico mysteriously ended their 5,126-year-old
calendar on Dec. 21, 2012—as if they expected the world to end that day. This
silly hypothesis became the basis for several New Age books and a goofy
disaster movie, 2012, in which actor John Cusack avoids meteors and
earthquakes just in time to get his family aboard the modern version of Noah’s
ark (built in China!) before the rest of the world is destroyed by a tsunami.
I’m not afraid of 12/21/12 because (1) Ancient
Mayans never actually said the world would end in 2012—and even if they did,
they didn’t have an inside track to God; (2) Doomsday predictions have never
been accurate; and (3) Jesus holds the future in his hands. As long as I’m in
relationship with Him, it doesn’t matter what happens on earth. I’m secure.
Early one Sunday morning I found myself pacing back and
forth in front of the altar in my church’s sanctuary, crying out to God. With a
heavy heart I wept, asking God to send His glory to my church. “Please send
Your glory to us,” I pleaded.
That was when the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me,
“Fuchsia, what are you looking for?”
I replied emphatically, “The glory.”
He continued, “When the glory comes, what will it look
After more than a decade of watching the war on Christmas rage—we’ve seen everything from battles over “Xmas versus Christmas” to a ban on nativity scenes and beyond—I’ve concluded that we have to keep fighting.
The war on Christmas is, after all, a war on Christ. Jesus advocates for us before the Father (1 John 2:1). The least we could do is advocate for Him before man. (This is where you offer a good, hearty “amen!”)
Honestly, I get a bit weary of reporting on the twists and turns of the atheistic, humanistic (and other “istic”) affronts launched against all things Christian during this time of year. And you may get a bit weary of reading about it. But we must not only read about the war on Christmas—we must also engage in it.
The truth is, the spirits behind the war on Christmas don’t stop battling after we take our dying Christmas trees to the end of the driveway.
God has given us the ability to reason—but too much mental
reasoning blocks spiritual discernment and breeds plenty of
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).
As the world celebrates Jesus’ birth, Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani
faces the threat of execution.
Those of us in the West who are blessed with religious freedom think of
Christmas as a cheery occasion. But how would you like to spend the holiday in
a dark prison cell in Iran—where inmates without any legal protection are
sometimes rounded up at night and hanged in secret mass executions?
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been in the Lakan
prison, near the city of Rasht, Iran, since October 2009. He was arrested after
he complained to authorities that the local school was forcibly teaching Islam
to his two sons, Daniel, 9 and Yoel, 7. (The Iranian constitution supposedly
guarantees religious freedom.) The charges against the pastor, who leads a
400-member congregation in Rasht, were later changed: He was accused of
apostasy and evangelism.
It was late afternoon on Christmas Eve. I was getting ready
to pay a visit with my church cell group to The Meadows nursing home. Each of
the five members of our group was to take a plate of cookies, to mingle a bit
and to wish everybody “Merry Christmas.”
The phone rang and changed that. It was Miss Evelyn, our
group leader, giving me short notice with a tall order that our little group
was now to “sing like a choir” to the group at The Meadows. “Well, they asked
us in good faith, so it’s up to us to have good faith that we can do it!”
stated Miss Evelyn.
The first and worst cause of error that prevails in our day is spiritual pride.
So said Jonathan Edwards, a preacher, theologian and missionary to Native Americans who lived in the 1700s. Edwards went on to say that spiritual pride is the main door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those who are zealous for the advancement of Christ—the chief inlet of smoke from the bottomless pit to darken the mind and mislead the judgment, and the main handle by which Satan takes hold of Christians to hinder a work of God. Powerful words!
If that was true in Edwards’ day—and it was—then how much more is it true in our day?
Think about it for a minute. In Edwards’ era, there were no megachurches, no Facebook pages where charismatic preachers could woo millions of “fans,” no global satellites to broadcast prosperity messages to the masses, and no Hollywood Christianity with all its trappings. In Edwards’ era, rather, Europeans were fleeing to North America, in part, to gain freedom from oppressive religious systems.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.