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We've all heard our fair share of faith messages. We walk by faith. We speak by faith. We live by faith. We prophesy according to our faith. We inherit the promises of God through faith (and patience). You've probably memorized all those Scriptures, too.
We've all marveled at the heroes in the Hebrews 11 "Hall of Faith." There we are edified by accounts of God's faithfulness to His people throughout the Old Testament. There we learn the practical elements of how faith works in the New Testament. Your Bible is probably colored and underlined on those pages just like mine.
Indeed, we've all learned that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. We are convinced that acting on the Word brings results (see Rom. 10:17). We know (that we know that we know) that if we don't doubt in our heart but believe those things that we say will come to pass we will surely have whatsoever we say (see Mark 11:23). We've learned well.
Ultimately, whatever we receive from God, it comes by faith. I'm oversimplifying, but that's the anatomy of faith in a nutshell. Now what about the other side of the coin? read more
Terrorist bombings. Middle East turmoil. $3.95 gas. Killer floods. Moral breakdown. Fragile economies.
No wonder Charlie Sheen is going crazy!
Seriously, there’s a lot of bad news out there. Negative headlines make people fearful, agitated, addicted or even sick. But from what I’ve read in my Bible, Christians should not freak out every time a gloomy cloud settles over us. We, of all people on earth, should be full of hope.
A few days ago a friend asked me what I thought about a prophecy from a well-known Christian leader. This man has predicted a financial collapse in the United States by sometime next year. Other Christians have foreseen terrorist attacks, assassinations, bread lines and even the total breakdown of society. My friend asked me: “What are you hearing from the Lord about the future?” read more
Do you take your relationship with God serious?
If you’ve listened to my teaching much at all, you probably know I had a rough childhood. In fact, I didn’t really have one.
I was seriously abused throughout my childhood. My life was horrible! I don’t remember ever being really happy until I was in my 20s. My mind was a mess; my emotions were a mess; I didn’t know how to maintain a decent relationship; I had all kinds of fears; I developed phony personalities to protect myself; I was lonely, in debt, miserable, depressed, discouraged and physically sick. For many years I had a big mess in my life. read more
There is a great battle raging for the souls of mankind, and as Christ’s return draws nearer, we see this battle intensifying. As never before, the church must be ready for the days ahead, armed with the truth of God’s living Word. Today, I want to share with you a vision God recently gave me of pulpits shaking.
The good news is we believe this shaking we are about to speak of is all a part of God’s preparation. He is preparing His Church for a greater work in the earth, and everything not grounded in the truth of God’s Word must be stripped away. This shaking is something to rejoice in, knowing that God is at work in us all, preparing us as vessels to do greater works in the earth, for His Kingdom and glory. read more
The Watch of the Lord is a global prayer network begun in 1995 in response to the Lord asking us, "Watch with Me."
In January 1995 we invited about 20 people to spend the following Friday from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Saturday keeping the "night watch," fasting sleep for spiritual reasons. We gathered to wait on God in worship and prayer and share in communion through Jesus' body and blood in the Lord's Supper.
Every Friday since, we have done the same. We have celebrated the watch with as many as a thousand watchmen present. And now there are watches throughout the United States and abroad. We find ourselves in the midst of a renewed visitation that is manifesting the glory of the Lord! read more
Stress. There have been so many books written on the topic you could literally fill a library—Amazon offers more than 32,000 books on the sore subject!
There are Christian books, secular self-help books, stress-reduction workbooks—even a Stress Management for Dummies book—all written by the “experts” from just about every angle under the sun.
I’ve read enough of those 32,000-plus books on stress to tell you about what anxiety does to the body. I know the common stress reduction techniques 10 ways from Sunday. I’ve taught on stress from the pulpit. I can parrot the Scriptures we’re supposed to confess when stress comes knocking on our doors. I get it.
And guess what? I still get stressed out some days. read more
When someone dies right after you shake his hand, you realize how close we all are to eternity.
Last Saturday, in between two sessions at a ministers conference in Virginia, I noticed an older black man sitting near me. Everyone else in the hotel lobby was chatting and drinking coffee, but this man was sitting alone—and he seemed troubled. It was time to go to the next workshop, so I walked over to the guy, said hello, shook his hand and added, “God bless you, sir.”
No big deal—just a casual gesture. Or so I thought.
A minute later there was a commotion in the lobby, and I heard someone say that a man had collapsed. Paramedics arrived within minutes. People were praying. My friend Dayton, the host of the conference, asked everyone to clear the area so the emergency workers could do their job. read more
So, what is your story? Who has been cruel to you? Perhaps bitterly cruel. What injustice have you suffered? How have you been mistreated? Perhaps miserably so. Who has cheated you? Abused you? Mistreated you? Lied to you? Lied about you? Maybe it was last week. Maybe it was a lifetime ago. read more
I am calling you from beyond! You have been held in a place that I am calling you from. I am beyond where you are now. Come from where you are to beyond! Come from where you are to beyond! Come from where you are to beyond! For I am marshalling My army and I am calling you forth. I am causing you to be raised up. I am calling even the dry bones to come together this season. I am calling together and raising up this mighty army. You will go forth in My name. You will see kingdoms brought down. You will see kingdoms raised up. This is the season and the hour that I am marshalling My army. read more
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”—1 Peter 5:6-7
We’ve tried as we might to humble ourselves by responding the right way when folks treat us the wrong way—but if we’re honest we’ll admit that it hasn’t always worked. Indeed, we’ve often left the scene of the offense with a bad attitude, complaining to God about how Sister So and So got it all wrong.
We’ve tried as we might to cast our cares upon the Lord—but if we’re honest we’ll admit that we’ve often attempted the task in our own strength. Indeed, we’ve often cast our cares (or our complaints, in many cases) onto a friend instead of the Lord and walked away still trying to carry the oppressive bundle on our already-aching backs.
What’s the problem? Sometimes we take Scriptures out of context. In doing so we lose the fuller meaning. First Peter 5:6-7 offers a strong case in point. Here, the apostle is exhorting us to humble ourselves. But that exhortation comes with a practical how-to instruction that we often forget to employ because we have memorized verse 6 as an individual command and verse 7 as a separate individual command. But the reality is that we humble ourselves in this context by casting our cares on the Lord. read more
I’m old enough to remember when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Freedom protesters danced in the streets in Eastern Europe and Communist regimes fell like dominoes. A huge door of evangelistic opportunity opened in a region where Christians had suffered unimaginable persecution.
The fall of the Soviet empire caught most Christians by surprise. Even though many believers on both sides of the Iron Curtain had been praying for a spiritual breakthrough, few expected the entire region to open so suddenly. Many American Christians remained suspicious—especially those who had warned that Yury Andropov was the Antichrist. (Oops! Wrong again. He died after being in office for only 15 months.) read more
Why God wants you to invest your life in Christ—today
I like this saying: The greatest gift you can give your family and your world is a healthy you! In this day and age, there’s a lot of focus on appearance—your clothes, makeup, your car, your house, even the kind of computer you have. But you can look great on the outside and be an absolute wreck on the inside. That’s how I used to be. I dressed myself up every day, but inside I was a mess in my mind, emotions and attitude.
The Bible says Jesus came to make us completely whole—spirit, soul and body. He wants to heal every part of us because He’s “into” wholeness. He wants to restore everything we lost through sin, ignorance, attacks of the enemy and mistreatment from others. Listen—God is a God of restoration. read more
Egypt is in transition. President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, clearing the way for the armed forces to restore order and shepherd a transition to civilian rule in the September elections. An Open Doors source in the area says the reaction by Egyptian Christians to his resignation is mixed, and it is unclear how the resignation will affect the country's 10 million minority Christians. A spokesperson with Voice of the Martyrs says Egypt's military doesn't have a very good track record when it comes to Christians. There is still much communication going on—e-mails, phone calls, facebooking, tweeting, blogging, and perhaps also an increase in Bible reading, as we try to discern the course Egypt will take and how it will affect the world.
There are at least three Scripture passages that will ultimately come to bear on Egypt: read more
I consider myself open-minded about worship. My tastes in music are eclectic, so I love everything from Hillsong choruses and black gospel anthems to classic hymns and Spanish worship artists Marco Barrientos and Jesús Romero. My playlist even includes Native American, Nigerian and Iranian worship.
I love any music that stirs my soul and points me to heaven, so worshipping the Lord with other believers is one of my favorite pastimes. But there are a few things I’d like to say to worship leaders. Please don’t take these comments as criticism but as encouragement from a brother who has “seen it all” when it comes to the Sunday morning drill. read more
It is imperative that the body of Christ accurately discern the times and seasons we find ourselves in. As the sons of Issachar, we too, must be aware of not only what God is doing at the moment, but we must be aware of what is looming before us.
I have been listening intently to what the Spirit of the Lord is saying for this hour. As we enter into 2011, I believe God in His goodness, is giving us insight and direction for the upcoming season. read more
My Egyptian friend Nadia*, who was raised in a Christian family in Cairo, has been glued to Twitter, television and various blogs since violent demonstrations erupted in her country two weeks ago. But she is also praying—and asking the Christian community in the United States to join her.
“For the church in Egypt, it feels like we are going through a spiritual birth canal,” Nadia told me in an interview this week. read more
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