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It's Not Just a Fairy Tale

Cinderella's story has no doubt left an indelible mark on most of us; many say that it's a bad one. Many have unfairly blamed the fairy tale for creating illusions in women's minds about what their expectations should be.

But even in this fantasy, there is truth: There is a Prince who will lift you from shame to acceptance, from rags to riches.

Like every damsel in the books we've read, we all need to be rescued. We've built fortresses around our hearts, and the tower walls intended to protect us have imprisoned us. But the Prince of Peace will not allow us to be separated from our destiny or from Him forever. read more

Up One Day, Down the Next

The foundation for our perception of truth has to become God's Word if we ever intend to have a consistent walk of faith. Our ever-changing emotions are totally unreliable.

Trusting in the final authority of the Scriptures and the leading of God's Spirit has everything to do with victorious living. The world we live in is hostile to our beliefs and our way of life, so daily it is necessary to re-establish our hearts and minds in righteousness.

Thus, the renewing of our minds according to the Word of God is an ongoing process requiring discipline and courage. But there is the enabling of the Spirit--the Helper on the inside, who was sent to give us wisdom, strength and the power to overcome the world. read more

The Spirit's Fruit is Love

Ultimately, the purity of our charitable works will stand or fall based on the motivation of our hearts. And the foundation for our service must be a genuine love for God that transforms all else we do.

What a marvel of grace it is that God should love us. But what an awe-inspiring miracle it is that we could be empowered to love Him in return.

Divine love was God's sole mot ivation for sending Jesus to Calvary. His demonstration is our model. read more

When a Thirsty Soul Found Love

Like so many women today, the woman at the well sought to fulfill her longing for love and validation illegitimately. What Jesus did for her is what He does for a woman now: love her completely and assign the highest value to her life.

Christ's gift to her and to us is living water that eternally flows from Him. This is "the gift of God" that satisfies every thirst and hunger forever. read more

Smart Ideas to Grow Your Business

Entrepreneur Gail Pittman found her niche when she began "playing around with pottery" at her kitchen table. Without formal training in art or business, Gail started small and trusted God to direct her steps.

Not everybody will feel led to start a business from scratch. However, fulfilling the call of God is a mandate from heaven for all of us.

When we put Jesus first, He uses our abilities and gifts and expands them so that they become greater than we've ever imagined. We need only to surrender to His will and trust that His timing is perfect. read more

Side by Side Ministry

From creation, God has elected to reveal the fullness of His glory through both men and women. Priscilla and Acquila were a married couple mentioned in Acts and Romans as co-laborers in the evangelistic ministry of Paul the apostle.

Phoebe was described by Paul as a "servant" or "deacon" (diakonos). It is believed that as his partner, she was the courier who represented Paul in delivering his letter to the church at Rome. read more

Don't Quit Now

At first glance, evangelist Olivia Mitchell's life didn't appear to be promising. She was born to an interracial couple in the 1950s and subjected to ridicule, neglect and repeated acts of abuse.

Many others would have given in to despair and failure when faced with such trying circumstances. But with God's help Olivia persevered.

In Christ there is always hope. We mustn't allow circumstances to force us out of the race when certain victory is just around the corner. read more

Overcoming the Shame of Abortion

Every one of us has known the reality of separation from God because of sin and shame. But the hope of the gospel is that God's mercy extends to anyone who will look to Him and accept His gift of salvation.

Abortion leaves in its wake devastated women. Millions of them today need to know that God still loves them and wants to make them whole. read more

God is in Control

Hannah Whitall Smith had a tremendous revelation of the sovereignty of God. She allowed for no "second causes" in her life but was pleased to receive from the hand of the Lord all that He purposed and permitted.

Smith taught that the things with which we struggle will serve God's will if we allow them to. She understood that when we fail to surrender to God in the middle of troubles, we deprive ourselves of His divine comfort when we need it most. read more

Remembering the Latter Rain

Moves of the Spirit of God are always precipitated by spiritual hunger and repentance. Revival restores to us the knowledge and the experience of the gospel's truth.

When the Spirit of God is poured out, our spirits are awakened to the reality of Christ's presence, His love for the world and His victory over every bondage of the enemy. God will attend to the cries of any group of believers who will ask Him for a visitation and be willing to pay the price in prayer. read more

Who Are We to Pass Judgment?

Few of us really understand the role that our critical thoughts play in our relationships. Nor do we realize how our opinions or prayers can shape or influence another person's behavior.

Often we can be extremely merciful with ourselves while at the same time being merciless, unforgiving and impatient with other people.

Our struggles may be different, but God is at work in all of us. Not one of us has achieved perfection; only Christ. read more

Responding to the Patriarchal Spirit

Any woman who has served in Christian ministry has observed it. The patriarchal spirit seeks to prohibit the release of women into leadership roles.

Today there are scores of men who are championing the cause of women in the church. Yet the theological and cultural debates go on.

Christ elevated the status of women. He will continue to do so as long as our hearts are pure and our focus is on Him! read more

Watching and Waiting

God blesses and energizes those who sacrifice by fasting sleep in order to pray. Special grace accompanies this experience, along with the privilege of witnessing miracles, healings and visitations of God's Spirit.

Being available to God all through the evening hours and denying the flesh produces an environment that welcomes His manifest presence, provokes intercession and brings clarity of His will. Once God reveals what is on His heart, the waiting watchman is invited to intercede in agreement with His purposes. read more

Unconditional Trust

No more profound biblical example of costly obedience and trust exists than in the figure of Abraham. His trust in God was resolute, and his worship was expensive--it cost him everything.

He was asked to sacrifice not only his son but also his interpretation of what God had promised in the generations that would come through him. Nevertheless, he was willing to trust God with the consequences of what He required, and he established a testimony of faithful obedience by which all followers of Jehovah could be inspired. read more

Good and Perfect Gifts

The book of James admonished first-century Jewish believers to forgo the lure of worldliness and, in spite of persecution, to hold fast to their faith.

More than an epistle of trials, testings and temptations, James is a book of assurances and promises from the God of love to those who would choose to walk in the freedom of knowing Him. read more

The Psalm of Rest

To be a follower of Christ is to enjoy the blessings of His fellowship, His protection and His provision. For it is His duty to preserve the lives of those in His care.

As in nature, a disobedient or unruly sheep is subject to danger and appointed for chastening by the Shepherd. But along the paths of obedience reside provision, peace and rest from enemies within and without.

The very presence of our Shepherd refreshes and restores us. His persistent love and kindness will pursue us forever. read more

Woman to Woman

In her moment of greatest rejoicing, Mary, the mother of Jesus, sought the maturity and wisdom of her older cousin, Elizabeth, who had also received a miraculous visitation.

But upon Mary's appearance, the older Elizabeth became subject to the younger woman, because of the magnitude of Mary's assignment from God.

These two women's lives were strategically intertwined; they were family, but more. Their relationship was eternally significant. The same would be true of the relationship between their sons--John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah. read more

Leading Children into Worship

Children naturally seem to welcome the reality of God. In their innocence, once they are introduced to the Lord, they accept His existence and, unless they are hindered, readily begin to relate to His presence.

Adults need the freedom to worship, sing and dance with the abandon of children. Our natural reserve makes it all the more important that we embrace and encourage the enthusiasm with which our children interact with the Spirit of God. read more

The Requirement of Absolute Surrender

In each of us the ongoing work of the Spirit is the cultivation of a yielded heart, obedient to His most subtle promptings. More than an act of the will, it is a continual dying to self that releases in us the power to overcome the flesh and surrender to God.

Andrew Murray acknowledges our role in willing our lives to be yielded to God's purposes but de-emphasizes it. He stresses instead our dependence on our faithful God to supply both the desire for surrender and the power to activate it. read more

The Heart of a Worshiper

Worship is an attitude of the heart that expresses itself in a lifestyle wholly given to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Only a heart that is yielded to His will and purposes can truly worship Him.

Yet, worship is why we are here. For the Almighty, who created all things, finds pleasure and delight in us when we turn our hearts to Him and away from all that He has made for us to enjoy. read more

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Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit