In the oil country of western North Dakota I met a brave woman pastor who is blazing a spiritual trail.
Barb Becker is one tough lady. Raised by alcoholic parents in a mining camp in Wyoming, she lived a rough life that included drugs and promiscuity. People continually told her she was good for nothing. She hated herself and became suicidal.
But in 1985, on the same day she planned to kill herself, she bought a little book called Power for Living for 25 cents at a second-hand store, read the Christian testimonies in it and prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior. She became so hungry to know God that she read the Bible straight through four times in three months and ended up getting baptized in the Holy Spirit.
“Savor this time, because the next thing you know, he’ll be all grown up.” I can’t count the number of times older parents have offered my wife and me this advice for raising our two little boys. We heard it so often when our oldest, Brayden, was an infant that the conversations became laughably predictable.
A total stranger (usually a grandmother, dragging her reluctant husband) would walk by our table at a restaurant, peer into Brayden’s car seat, ooh and aah over him, and, after asking how old he was, present her well-worn pearl of wisdom. As Brayden grew older, the interaction differed slightly—he’d initiate a game of peekaboo with a couple sitting across the room, or a grandpa would stop to ask him about his toy—but the advice was always the same: Savor this time.
No, not like that—His choice is for you to fulfill your destiny
God chose me. He didn’t just get stuck with me, and He didn’t settle for me because there was no one else He could choose. He deliberately chose me. And the same is true for you too.
I didn’t have a special talent when He chose me. The thing I do best is talk, and He’s made me a mouth in the body of Christ. My voice is unusual and unique—not the kind of voice you would think He would choose to broadcast all over the place. But God has given me the opportunity to speak to billions of people around the world. And I don’t always use correct grammar or pronounce words just right, but we don’t have to be polished according to the world’s standards to be used mightily by God.
Early one Saturday morning, I was sitting on the deck watching a female robin build a nest (or rather try to build a nest). She had chosen a location on the downspout that comes off the gutter. The spout was heavily sloped and made of shiny white aluminum. The surface was obviously very slick. I watched for about an hour.
She had made amazing progress. Then suddenly, as she landed on the nest it started to shift. She actually spread out her wings to use them like feathered arms trying desperately to hold the nearly completed nest in place, but to no avail. The nest slid off and fell two stories to the ground below.
There is a moral rift in the foundation of our nation. But the Bible is very clear that judgment begins with the house of God: "For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17, AMP).
God's judgments are good. Judgment is different from wrath. Wrath is God's destruction against sin. Judgment is God's righteous discipline and brings redemption and restoration. God's wrath destroys. His judgments redeem.
As we look at our nation today, we can quickly see that our moral foundations are decaying. But this is just a sign that there is a much deeper problem—there is also a crack in the moral foundation of the church.
Last week one of
my best friends showed me what it really means to selflessly lay down your
Last week one of
my best friends, Chris Maxwell, organized a two-day prayer gathering for me in
north Georgia, where he serves as the pastor of a Christian college. Chris had
listened to me whine for months about how confused I was about my future. He
took it upon himself to contact a group of my friends, and they agreed to take
time off work to pray with me about some important decisions.
Chris not only
gathered nine men for this prayer retreat, but he also solicited counsel from
other friends who couldn't attend, and from my wife. When I sat down in that
living room on the first night, they put me under a microscope and proceeded to
meddle in all my business. It was 48 hours of probing questions, wise counsel,
sober warnings, gushing encouragement, brotherly affection and in-your-face
Have you ever heard the statement, "The battle is in the mind"? I have countless times. I've even ministered on the topic.
But have you ever asked yourself, "What battle?" The battle that goes on in our minds is the relentless siege by Satan upon our thought life that is intended to cause us first to think, and then to behave and speak contrary to the Word of God.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. –Genesis 1:1-2
I love this verse! One of the words that stands out to me is "hovering." I picture the Spirit of God bursting with passion to create, almost as if He is pulsating like a heartbeat and ready. Suddenly, something new bursts forth.
This scripture grips me because I see the Spirit of God doing the same thing today. He is hovering; He is bursting with excitement to create again, to birth the "new" on the earth.
His heart is to topple the mountain of media, as we know it today. He is stirring His bride and the prayer movement in the earth in happy holiness and joyful righteousness so we will be a people wholly given to the Lord and to His purposes.
This past Sunday, an excited and focused group of people
gathered together for a singular purpose - to let our government leaders know
that we stand for traditional marriage and for the right to vote on issues that
affect the moral compass of our society.
Deitrick and Damita Haddon, the
Rev. Walter Fauntroy and the Rev. Alveda King (niece of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr.) were among the notables who spoke. Here
is the speech I delivered at that event.
Today we are gathering in front of the greatest symbol
of American power - the Capitol. We come here today to express our confidence
in the institution of marriage. More specifically, we have also come to say to
the residents of Washington, D.C.; our two houses of Congress, the Supreme
Court and the President of these great United States that marriage (in its
traditional form) is one of the nation's richest treasures.
We've dumbed down
the gospel for too long. Let's rediscover the Bible and become mature
I love words.
That's why I do a crossword puzzle every day—not just because it is the mental
equivalent of a three-mile bicycle ride, but also because I enjoy discovering
that a word such as "coulrophobia" means a fear of clowns, or that
"jobbernowl" means a stupid person.
especially important to us as Christians, not only because Jesus is the logos—the
word made flesh (see John 1:14)—but because our faith rests on the truth
revealed by God in the Bible. We can't really know Him apart from the
God-inspired words that describe who He is and what He has done for us.
The opposite of confidence and worth is self-pity. Self-pity occurs when we feel we are warranted to receive but get passed by. This can occur in our natural or spiritual life. Self-pity helps define our moment or, may I say, cause us to miss our moment. We feel we are deserving or entitled to a blessing, and we lose faith when we see a blessing slip past our life.
One of the best examples of self-pity is the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda (see John 5). Jesus knew his full condition and then asked the man if he wanted to be healed.
Let's stop the
hypnotism, the guilt manipulation and the high-pressure gimmicks. It's time to
reclaim our lost credibility.
rather go to the dentist for a root canal than watch a telethon. But while
channel surfing a few nights ago I tuned into PBS and discovered that Aretha
Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul, was hosting a fundraiser for the
network. Seated at a piano, she was offering a 5-CD collection of classic
rhythm and blues hits in exchange for a donation to public television.
It was simple.
There were no gimmicks, no games and no strings attached in Aretha's offer. If
you gave the suggested gift, she explained, PBS would mail you a big slice of
American pop culture—including songs by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey
Robinson, the Four Tops, Al Green and Aretha herself, singing her classic
Obstacles and difficulties in life can be challenging! B.C. Forbes was a Scottish financial journalist and author. He once said: "History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They finally won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats. Disappointments acted as a challenge. Don't let difficulties discourage you."
Often our obstacles can be used to activate dormant giftings within us that we have failed to realize. These difficulties can also bring new strength to our lives. Don't you love the way the very situations we hate and avoid at all costs can be used to propel us into something wonderful?
Have you ever been in a predicament and someone appeared from out of nowhere to help you? That's happened to me more than once.
Years ago I took a trip from Oklahoma to Michigan driving an old, worn-out car. During the middle of the night somewhere in Missouri my car broke down. Here I was, a female with no credit cards, no AAA, no cellular phone and very limited cash, stranded in the middle of the night on the highway. I prayed and asked the Lord to help me.
Almost immediately from out of nowhere a man in a pick up truck appeared, fixed my car and made sure that I made it safely on my way. Whether he was human or an angel, heaven only knows. But of one thing I'm certain, he was sent by the Lord to help me out of a potentially dangerous situation.
God is shaking His church and removing corruption. But we share the blame for giving charlatans a platform.
Al Capone once controlled all of Chicago. The notorious 1920s gangster bribed the city's mayor, bought the police and presided as king over an empire of casinos, speakeasies and smuggling operations. He dodged bullets for years and lived above the law—and earned the nickname "untouchable" because no one could bring him to justice.
Before Capone finally went to prison in 1932, he justified his crimes by saying: "All I do is satisfy a public demand." He didn't take responsibility for the pain he caused because he knew mayors, policemen, community leaders and bootleggers supported him the whole way.
I found this word in my file recently. I received it in July 2005. It was a very strange experience at the time because it came while I was in the midst of a panel discussion dealing with leaders. I was sitting behind a table on the platform at our church during a women's conference where about 500 women were present.
Suddenly, it felt like we were having an earthquake. I could feel a distinct rumbling under my chair, as if all the earth under me were shaking. I not only felt it, I heard it. Everything was shaking—everything.
As I was re-reading this word recently, I heard the Lord say that it is for now. I did not send it out when I first received it. I held on to it.
I believe this word will help guide you, help create understanding in you about the times and seasons we are in, and give you the key to the door of deliverance.
Here is the word:
There is a rumbling in the earth. God is rumbling you out of mindsets, positions, identity, locations, relationships, bondages, fears. I was sitting here, and I could hear it. I could hear this constant ongoing and seemingly unending rumbling of rocks under us, and it was shaking everything. It was as if we were standing on rocks, round rocks, and they were all moving and rumbling. And they just kept rumbling. We could hardly maintain our footing.
When my husband and I went out to dinner
one night we were served by an extremely helpful waitress. This woman seemed to
anticipate our every need; she even suggested an item that was not on the
Throughout the evening, she served us with both joy and efficiency.
She made our evening so pleasant that the next time we went to that restaurant,
we requested her as our waitress. In a society in which mediocrity has become
the standard, she distinguished herself by her excellence.
When Mary and Martha sent news to Jesus that their brother, Lazarus, was about to die, Jesus didn’t respond the way his friends expected. He actually snubbed their request. The Bible says when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, “He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was” (John 11:6, NASB).
For those two anxious women, that was a very, very, very long time. Doubts tormented them. They thought: What kind of friend is Jesus, anyway? Why didn’t He rush to our aid? Mary was especially troubled by Jesus’ seemingly insensitive delay.
When moving from
point A to point B, we sometimes feel trapped in between. Trust God to guide
you to your destination.
A few months ago
I passed through the tiny community of Between, Ga. With a population of only
148, the place is not much to write home about. (And besides, it doesn't even
have its own zip code). The town got its name because it's halfway between
Atlanta and Athens, Ga. But as I passed the local convenience store I couldn't
help but imagine the strange reactions I'd get if I lived there.