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8 Ways to Tap into God

Learn ways to connect with God’s supernatural power.

I will never forget the moment a 12-year-old deaf girl stepped onto the platform where I was standing. I had been led to pray for deaf ears to be opened, and as God’s presence and glory filled the room, miracles began occurring all over the stadium.

My team brought this young girl up to testify. When they brushed back her long brown hair, I was astonished. She had been born without ears. Where her ears should have been, there were just little holes in the sides of her head. The anointing of God had come upon her when I prayed for deaf ears, and she felt a popping in her ears. At that moment, eardrums were formed on the inside of her head. Her hearing was opened for the first time in her life.

I knew the miracle had nothing to do with me. My part was simply to lead the people in worship until the glory of God came and then let God do the rest. That night in Mexico we saw many healed by God’s power, even several people who were crippled.

I had first witnessed the amazing healing power of God when I was 14 years old. But during the next several years I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t seeing more of that same power demonstrated in weekly church life.

I was tired of powerless prayers. When I prayed for someone I wanted something to happen! Combined with my frustration was an insatiable thirst and longing for a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. Two things were happening simultaneously: God was making me dissatisfied with the status quo, and He was placing a spiritual hunger in my heart that drove me into hours of communion with the Holy Spirit.

During the last 20 years, God has taught me many things about living a life full of spiritual power. The most important thing is that walking intimately with Him and having a deep grounding in His Word are essential for Him to release tremendous power through us. I’ve been blessed to witness the demonstration of His power through me thousands of times in the lives of countless people.

Another thing I’ve learned about God’s power and gifts is that although they flow out of His grace and are activated by faith, personal preparation in the areas of character, integrity and holiness enable us to sustain a constant flow of His power through our lives.

However, we must always remember that He is the source, and it is by His grace that we are qualified to be partakers of His heavenly glory. It has nothing to do with our efforts or works. If it did, we could take some of the credit. Since it doesn’t, God gets all the glory.

He wants to develop our character so we will be grounded in Christ and will properly steward the power He pours through us. But you don’t have to wait until you are a mature Christian to allow God to use you. You can begin to operate in the Spirit the moment Christ enters your heart.

This was true in my own life. I experienced many encounters and many moments of God’s power during my early years as a Christian. Those encounters shaped who I am today.

On the following pages are eight secrets to operating in the creative, miracle-power of God. This is by no means a simple three-step process, but I do believe if you apply these principles to your life, you’ll see signs and wonders released through you on a daily basis.

1. Cultivate God’s presence in your life. The more you can cultivate an environment that’s conducive to the Holy Spirit, the more of God’s presence you will carry. The more of His presence you carry, the more power you will have.

You cultivate this environment by spending time doing whatever it takes to have the person and presence of the Holy Spirit hanging out with you. Quickly confess and repent of the slightest leaning toward sin or spiritual darkness. Pray in tongues often. Cover yourself under the blood of Jesus. Meditate in the Word. Express worship to the Lord through song and prayer.

Constantly invite the Holy Spirit to be with you in evident ways as often as possible. Avoid anything that would grieve Him. You’ll find that as your life is filled with the atmosphere of the Holy Spirit, miracles, signs and wonders will be a natural overflow.

2. Cultivate God’s faith in your heart. True supernatural faith flows out of the spirit and affects the mind—not the other way around. Faith defies logic and natural reality for a higher spiritual reality. It causes natural things to line up with what God has already accomplished spiritually.

We must live in the Word and constantly renew our minds. Faith is born from revelation in the heart. When truth is revealed to your mind and heart by the Holy Spirit through the Word, faith comes alive on the inside of you. John 8:32 says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (NKJV).

Soak your mind and spirit in God’s Word by constantly setting your thoughts on it, and the revelation of truth will produce supernatural faith in your heart. Heart-faith produced by the revelation of truth is the ultimate key to operating in God’s power, and the Bible tells us it comes from Jesus: “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]” (Heb. 12:2, The Amplified Bible).

3. Add action to your faith. The power anointing comes for a reason and has an intended purpose. Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (NKJV).

The power anointing for healing and miracles will manifest only if you’re praying for sick people to be healed. You must be intentional in looking for opportunities in which this anointing will be needed. The Bible tells us, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). The power anointing is given to help other people in a supernatural way and in the process reveal God’s heart and nature to them.

Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. Stay focused and tenacious. No matter what you see, set your vision higher, know and understand God’s will and truth, and allow His faith to move you to action. This action will release the power of God and produce the miraculous.

4. Passionately pursue spiritual gifts. First Corinthians 14:1 tells us to earnestly desire spiritual gifts. I often lay my hands on my own belly during times of prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to stir up and manifest the gifts of the Spirit that are within me. Spiritual gifts of healing, working of miracles, words of knowledge and faith are all invaluable manifestations for the ministry of the miraculous. As you ask God to stir them up, He will.

The Greek word for the gifts of the Spirit is charisma, which Strong’s Concordance defines as “gifts of grace; a favor which one receives without any merit of his own.” You can’t work for or earn them. They are given freely by the Holy Spirit just as salvation is. You can have all of them—and the more you pursue them, the more you will have!

5. Practice prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:14-21 gives an account of the healing of an epileptic boy. The disciples couldn’t cure him, but Jesus did. When Jesus was asked why the disciples had no success, He said it was because of their unbelief.

It wasn’t a question of God’s will. Nor did Jesus focus on the boy’s faith. It was the level of faith in the disciples’ hearts. Yet He also pointed out that “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (v. 21).

Prayer and fasting help to release God’s faith within us. It’s the faith that produces the miracle, not the fasting. Fasting and prayer in this instance serve as the passageway into the fullness of faith that exists in God’s heart. Again, it isn’t by our works, but by His faith and grace extended toward us.

6. Learn to hear God’s voice. To operate in the supernatural we must develop a keen sensitivity to the person of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t work the same way all the time, and we need to hear His direction for each situation.

Consider Jesus. He saw signs and wonders on a consistent basis in His daily life, but He never prayed the same way twice. Sometimes He laid hands on people; sometimes He instructed them to take a specific action; sometimes He did unusual things Himself such as spit in mud and put it into a person’s eyes. He was unconventional but completely Spirit-led.

The key is He did only what He saw His Father doing (see John 5:19). His ability to hear and see the actions of His heavenly Father came out of the time He spent with Him in prayer and communion. If you want to sensitize your spiritual eyes and ears, you must put yourself in a place where you can see and hear God. 

This will often require you to pull away into a “deserted place” so you can place all your heart and mind on Him. When you exercise your spiritual senses by learning to listen and not just talk, you will be led by the Spirit to see wonderful manifestations of His power.

7. Associate with the anointing. A major key for me in being brought to a new level of God’s power was learning that it was OK to go where God was moving. Some people think: If God wants to give me something, He can come right here into my room. I don’t need to go anywhere. Of course God can meet us in our own rooms, and many times He does.

However, that doesn’t negate the fact that you can literally “catch” the anointing by putting yourself in a place where God is moving. Find people and ministries that are carrying God and get around them. We learn from one another and receive impartation of power through association. 

These corporate encounters with God do not replace your hidden devotion expressed in the place of private prayer. They simply add to and enhance your relationship with God.

I’ve been blessed to have been able to associate with some of the most anointed people on the earth today. My fellowship with them has not only stirred my faith but also released a transference of wisdom, revelation and power into my own life and ministry. 

Anointed fellowship, whether from meeting with another person or from listening to anointed teaching CDs and videos, is crucial to cultivating the anointing in your life. Associate with God’s power by hanging out where He is.

8. Be motivated by love. Love must be the foundation for everything you do. Without it, power can lead to pride and self-inflation.

Love is the greatest manifestation of God’s power. It was because of love that Jesus walked in total obedience. It was because of love that the power of sin and Satan were defeated.

Love is what motivates our faith (see Gal. 5:6). Love is what causes us to live in the Spirit. Love is the greatest virtue of all.

Without faith you can’t please God. But without love you can’t know Him at all. Love filled with truth is the ultimate spiritual weapon against sin, temptation, offense, disunity, sickness, oppression and spiritual corruption, and death. Love conquers all.

As you apply these principles to your life with God, expect to see His glorious power and anointing released in you and through you. 

There is someone out there who is waiting for a miracle. They need God’s touch. Your life and obedience to God may be the missing ingredient! 


Matt Sorger (mattsorger.com) is a revivalist who hosts international miracle crusades and conferences for equipping Christians in the power of the Holy Spirit. He first experienced God’s power at age 14 after seeing his mother supernaturally healed. While pursuing a degree in medicine, he was called into ministry.

 


 

Discover other keys to help you flow in God’s supernatural power at supernatural.charismamag.com read more

Practical Ways to Fight for Social Justice

The world has a lot of major problems that we in affluent nations tend to ignore. The trouble is, these issues are so big they make us feel like there's nothing we can do, so we don't do anything. That's why Mike and Danae Yankoski wrote Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice. It breaks down some of the biggest needs and provides information on ways we can do something about them. Please read our interview with Mike and pray about how you can help.This article was originally posted in New Man e-Magazine.

New Man: For those that haven't heard of it, what does the term "social justice" mean?

Mike Yankoski: Social justice is the necessary outworking of the radical love that Christ has shown for us. As followers of Christ, we know that God loves us, and we are commanded by Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves. Social justice is the way of working that out in the world. People in this world are hungry, without clean water, fighting diseases and human trafficking, and our response to these things needs to be framed by God's love for us.

New Man: How did you get into this? read more

5 Steps to Experience God

Here are five simple steps you can take to begin a relationship with God:

1. Recognize your need. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, NASB). All of us are sinners, and we must admit our need for a Savior.

2. Repent of your sins. Because God is completely holy, our sins create a wall that separates us from Him. By confessing your sins you will find forgiveness. “Repent” means to make a 180-degree turnaround. The Bible promises: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

3. Believe in Jesus. God worked a miracle when He sent His only Son to die for us. We don’t have to pay for our sins … Jesus paid it all! We can’t work for our salvation. It is a gift from God, and all He requires is that we believe. Put your faith in Him. The Bible says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

4. Receive His salvation. God has given us this free gift, but we must accept it. Thank Him for sending Jesus to die on the cross for you. Thank Him for His amazing love, mercy and forgiveness. Then ask Him to live in your heart. His promise to us is sure: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

5. Confess your faith. The Bible assures us: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). You have been born again and are now part of God’s family. Tell someone else what Jesus has done in your life!

This amazing experience can be yours. Embrace God’s love and receive the salvation that only Jesus Christ gives.

If you have walked through these five steps, you can say this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me. I recognize that You are the true Son of God, sent to earth to pay the full price for all of our sins. I believe You were raised from the dead and that You live forever in heaven. You are God Almighty, and I surrender to Your lordship. I am sorry that I have lived my life apart from You. Please forgive me for thinking that my life could have true meaning without You, My Creator and Lord.

I turn from my sins and choose to follow You. Please wash me clean and come into my heart. I give You all my hurts, my fears, my unforgiveness, my pride, my greed and all the garbage of my past. Thank You that I can start my life over again with You. Amen.” read more

Terms of Offense

Terms of Offense

Why some believers in Christ don't want to be called Christians.

 

Charisma places accuracy at the forefront in each story we publish, but sometimes even our most carefully crafted words can send the wrong signal. This was the case in a recent article we published about Messianic Jews and Israel’s statehood, which included the subheading, “These brave Christians are sharing the love of Jesus in Israel.” With the exception of the word “brave” (Jews in Israel living out their faith in Yeshua are brave indeed), we’ve learned that the rest of the phrase could be damaging to Messianic Jews’ vital task of making Yeshua real to Jewish people. Our friend Eitan Shishkoff, a Jewish believer and director of Tents of Mercy in the Galilee, graciously explains why in the following article.

As believers in God’s Son, we stand at a crossroads today of two major developments rooted in our spiritual history. Each emerged from events that took place more than 40 years ago. One is the spiritual renewal that swept the world beginning in 1967. The other is the rebirth of Israel as a nation, highlighted by the recovery of Jerusalem as a Jewish city, also in 1967. 

The late Bible teacher Derek Prince used the term “parallel restoration” to refer to this simultaneous restoring of God’s full activity in the church and the resurrection of Israel from exile’s oblivion. This awakening of both the church of Jesus and the Israel He loves constitutes nothing less than the preconditions for His second coming. 

At this intersection is a curious figure: the Messianic Jew. His arrival coincides with the events of 1967. From that year on, the Spirit of God touched many searching young Jews, like me, and we found Jesus. Then we returned to our Jewish heritage as New Testament disciples of Jesus, or in Hebrew, Yeshua

Thus, the “Messianic Jewish movement” was born, giving rise to congregations founded to provide a spiritual home for Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua who want to celebrate the biblical Jewish roots of their faith. 

We are a curiosity because we tear down the wall between Jews and Jesus erected by both church and synagogue. That wall is built on the foundational “rule” that says: “If you’re Jewish, you can’t believe in Jesus. If you do believe in Jesus, you’re no longer Jewish.”

This rule is the primary reason we had not discovered our Messiah in the centuries since His birth—and it was unintentionally affirmed in a recent issue of Charisma, for which I was interviewed as one of the Israeli believers. Messianic Jews truly appreciated being featured, but when I read the description of us as brave Christians sharing our faith in Israel, I was shocked. 

I know the term “brave Christians” was meant as a serious compliment, but it simply is not our self-understanding. We have not converted to Christianity. We have returned to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through His Messiah, Yeshua.

Our life practice, residence in the land of Israel and testimony before our people are a collective reality, which is that Jesus has made us more Jewish than ever, and through Him we have come to deeply value and celebrate our biblical Jewish heritage in a fresh, Spirit-breathed way. This is our evangelism. This is the way we would like to be known.

Concerted campaigns in several Israeli cities have publicly condemned us as nothing more than a mission to convert Jews to Christianity. These accusations threaten relationships we’ve worked years to develop. They severely miscommunicate the testimony of Yeshua, making Him irrelevant and undesirable to Israelis. This “turning Jews into Christians,” which was even strongly indicated by several references in the article, is patently not our aim. 

So, if we are not bringing Israelis into Christianity, then what are we doing?

We are seeking with all our hearts to introduce our people to Yeshua, the Messiah promised by the prophets. We are rejoicing in the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy that God would make a new covenant with us. We are growing new houses of worship—not as missionary churches, but as indigenous, Hebrew-speaking, Yeshua-centered congregations in Israel. 

I am grateful that Charisma regularly focuses stories on Israel. As Israelis and as Messianic Jews we are aware that not all Christians have acknowledged modern Israel as the dramatic fulfillment of biblical prophecy that it is. Many don’t know that more Jewish people embrace Jesus as the Messiah today than at any time since the first century. Charisma stands with us.Thank you!

How then do Israeli Messianic followers of Yeshua want to be known by the global church? 

We want to be known as those who have come home. We’ve rejoined the nation of the patriarchs and the apostles.

Like Yeshua’s first disciples, we see ourselves as those who have neither rejected their heritage nor converted to another religion. 

We are called by God to identify ourselves as New Covenant Jews, heralding the return of our King with the words, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39, NKJV). 

At the same time, we delight in the true brotherhood shared by all His followers, Jew and non-Jew. We are one in the Spirit and sincerely covet your friendship and prayers. 


Eitan Shishkoff is the founder and director of Tents of Mercy, a network of Messianic congregations and humanitarian aid works in the Galilee region of Israel.


Hear Eitan Shishkoff detail why it could be offensive to call a Messianic Jew a Christian at shishkoff.charismamag.com read more



Healing the Pain of Childlessness

What do you say to a sister in Christ who can’t get pregnant?

I said something stupid today. Trying to offer a word of wisdom without casting false hope to a woman with a high-risk pregnancy, I made a comment that went over like a lead balloon. Although Maria has two children, she has also lost two babies to the same physical complication currently endangering her unborn child, and she is afraid to bond with the seven-month-old baby in her womb because she knows the baby could die during childbirth.

 

“I have another friend who lost three babies,” I told her, “and when they learned during one of the pregnancies that their baby wouldn’t make it, they just decided to love that child for whatever time they would have her in the womb.” That couple’s love for their unborn child provided some meaning during their time of grief, but it wasn’t exactly a word of encouragement to Maria, whose legitimate fears have robbed her of any joyful feelings about her pregnancy.

It’s not as though my statement was out of context; we were talking about the painful emotions associated with infertility. I sensed an instant bond between us because I’ve walked down a similar path. But of all people, I should have known better than to try to console her with someone else’s story.

As I apologized for my dispiriting comment, I assured Maria that her guarded heart is a normal human reaction to the grief she’s already experienced. I call it the wall of sorrow.

The Bible gives us an inside look at another woman’s sorrow in the story of Hannah (see 1 Sam. 1). Hannah felt dejected and ashamed because she was unable to have children.

Her husband, Elkanah, loved her very much, but he had a second wife, Paninnah, whom he apparently married to bear him offspring. Peninnah provoked Hannah to bitterness year after year by reminding her of her barrenness.

During one of Hannah’s annual pilgrimages to Shiloh with Elkanah, she was so consumed with sorrow that she wept and could not eat. When she went to the temple, her anguish was so great that she couldn’t even verbalize her prayers. Eli, the priest, judged her weeping as drunkenness and scolded her (see vv. 13­–14).

Later, realizing he had misjudged her, Eli pronounced a blessing over Hannah, saying, “May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of Him” (v. 17, NLT). To Hannah, this was a spiritual breakthrough. It meant that God had heard her prayers. She soon composed herself and went on her way.

Eventually, Hannah conceived and gave birth to Samuel, whom she took to the temple at the age of 3 to live out his life in service to the Lord. Later, she gave birth to five more children.

Not every infertility story has an ending like Hannah’s. But this account does show the gut-wrenching struggle of a woman who entrusted her wounded heart to the Lord and awaited His loving answer to her cry.

It’s not shameful to be childless in our culture, but it can be devastating when it’s not by choice. Almost 5 million couples in the United States experience infertility at some time in their marriage.

Yet most often, couples who struggle with this trauma are met either awkward silence or inappropriate advice, even in the church. Comments like “Just relax, honey” are both an insult and a trivialization of what is usually a muddle of medical, emotional and spiritual mysteries.

So what can we do or say to help someone who is struggling to overcome the pain of childlessness? Here are some general guidelines:

1. Be a friend. Genuine, supportive friendship is the greatest gift we can offer to anyone dealing with infertility. A childless wife sometimes feels like a misfit, even in today’s society.

She may have more spontaneous lifestyle than woman with the responsibility of a family, but she may be too old for the college crowd and too young to be a companion of women whose child-rearing days are behind them. Yet with her peers—young mothers—she can be painfully aware of the “survivor’s guilt” that new moms sometimes feel around women who are struggling just to conceive.

2. Communicate. While it’s good to be sensitive to a childless women’s feelings, don’t assume she is jealous or unable to rejoice in your happiness with your children. She undoubtedly will have days when she would love to attend your daughter’s school play, and other days when just seeing a baby could send her into tears.

The key is honest communication. Allow her to freely accept or decline your invitations. If she is uncomfortable around your children, plan a ladies’ night or couples-only event.

For a woman in your community or church who is struggling with infertility, your physical presence and availability may fill a barren place in her day-to-day routines that even her family can’t. if yours is a long-distance relationship, phone calls and letters during this season of life will be priceless, and they will undoubtedly come at just the right moments.

3. Acknowledge her spiritual state. Don’t be surprised if this friend displays a pessimistic outlook on life or seems obsessed with having a baby. Realize that the month-after-month disappointments she experiences or the hormonal changes that take place with each pregnancy, along with the grief of lost babies, only heighten her wall of sorrow.

A woman who continually experiences disappointment and death may find it hard to have a positive outlook. Conversely, if she masks her sorrow, it may be because she is afraid to reveal her pain lest she seem unspiritual. She may also be angry at God or feel that He is punishing her.

Help your friend work through her spiritual confusion. Let her know that she doesn’t have to understand God’s plans and purposes in order to trust Him. Provide a safe place where she can wrestle with her spiritual questions.

4. Recognize the uniqueness of her experience. Realize that husbands and wives may deal with their questions and grief differently. Despite Elkanah’s deep love for Hannah, his question, “You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” (1 Sam. 1:8) shows his inability to understand her pain.

This kind of marital dynamic is not unusual. The guilt and blame that can emerge from infertility are enough to set many couples on the road to divorce. A supportive, accountable relationship with another couple may help, but because infertility issues seem to be (and sometimes are) so permanent, couples may not take the initiative to seek others out.

In addition to struggling with guilt, couples going through infertility workups are often paying high medical expenses and living in “limbo,” always leaving room for the possibility of pregnancy. The ongoing plan for a family affects everything from career decisions to vacation choices and the kind of automobile to buy. The tentative nature of their existence and the insecurity of “not knowing” may be more difficult on the wife than on her husband.

In general, a little understanding and a lot of honest dialogue go a long way toward healing the pain of infertility. The goal is to walk with your friend until she finds a solution to her situation. God’s answer may be a miraculous pregnancy, the building of a family through adoption or foster parenting, or the peace to live a childless, yet fulfilling lifestyle.

Until the answer comes, don’t be like Peninnah who provoked Hannah to bitterness. Don’t be like Hannah’s husband who trivialized her pain or like Eli who misunderstood her anguish. Don’t be too quick with your words, like I was with Maria. Even encouraging words can be received as a prophecy, so don’t be push or presumptuous.

Instead, be like Jesus, the friend who sticks closer than a brother, who wept at the tomb of Lazarus and then raised him from the dead. And when you don’t know what to say, just remain silent, shedding an empathetic tear or giving your friend the opportunity to share her heart. Your presence alone can speak volumes, resurrect her faith and help break down her wall of sorrow.

Anahid Schweikert is a free-lance journalist in Onalaska, Wisconsin.

 

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6 Ways to Worship ‘In Spirit and Truth'

As God's worshippers, how can we match the mission of Jesus with the music and expressions of worship we embrace.  And how do we facilitate worship as a lifestyle? It may require us to take practical steps toward personal change:

1) Refocus. Reductionist Western worship is possible because we have lost a sense of awe and reverence for who God is, fashioning instead a God in our own image. Author Mark Labberton writes in his book The Dangerous Act of Worship: "The God we seek is the God we want, not the God who is. We fashion a god who blesses without obligation, who lets us feel his presence without living his life, who stands with us and never against us, who gives us what we want, when we want it." Let's refocus on who really matters. read more

Love Is Being Satisfied


 A dictionary definition of envy would be something like "a feeling of discontent aroused by someone else's possessions." That is what I mean by being unsatisfied. However, love gives one a feeling of being satisfied. The person who is unsatisfied is still looking for his identity, wanting to know who he is.

Three things can be said about envy. First, it is of the flesh; it flows from nature. We don't have to go to school to learn how to be envious; everybody grows up that way. read more

Easy Ways to Bless Mom

Here are some unique, inexpensive and easy ways to reflect God’s love to your mother this season. Why not go out of your way to make your mom feel special this Mother’s Day.

Goody Basket
Make mom a goody basket. Fill the basket with small items you know your mother will love.

De-stress-her 
Treat mom to a massage at a classy spa or a nice relaxing night at a hotel in town. read more

Power to Persevere

Power to Persevere

Through Christ, you can do whatever you need to do in life

 

 

On July 2, 1932, in Atlantic City, N.J., a baby boy was born. Six weeks later, a couple adopted the infant, but when he was 5 his mother died. His father moved from state to state looking for work and taking his young son with him. At age 12, the boy landed his first job at a restaurant counter—and loved it. When he was 15, his father wanted to move again, but by then the young man was working at the Hobby House restaurant in Fort Wayne, Ind., and didn’t want to leave his job. So he dropped out of school, moved into the local YMCA and went to work full time. 

Several years later, his Hobby House boss offered him an opportunity. The man owned four Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlets that were failing. In four years, with hard work and determination, the young man turned the restaurants around financially, sold them back to KFC and received a portion of the profits from the sale. He was once a high school dropout, but now he was a millionaire at age 35.  read more

But God… I Hate My Situation

But God… I Hate My Situation

I have discovered that as we seek the Lord our most difficult periods can be transformed into wonderful breakthroughs into God’s love. For me, one such season occurred during the years 1979 to 1981.

The association of churches with which I was aligned had fallen under spiritual deception. Not only were its core doctrines increasingly seeded with New Age influences, but also immorality crept in, and key leaders began leaving their wives for other women. read more

Faith That Conquers Cancer

In 1982, Ruby Holland Hutchins was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was told she would never have children. In 1997, she learned she had a rare disease called pulmonary sarcoidosis. In 2000, doctors told her she had stage-four lung cancer and would die in three months.

Today Hutchins has two adult daughters, no longer has pulmonary sarcoidosis, and her doctor told her she has been "healed" and no longer has lung cancer. The Memphis, Tennessee, resident says it was her faith in God that made the difference in her recovery.

"Faith is not a feeling and it's not a fact," she told Charisma. "To have faith is to know God and believe His Word. When I responded to the ordeal in faith, the Word became flesh to my very body." read more

Planet’s Fastest Woman Slowed by God

“I really feel like God put me in a situation and slowed down my life enough to say: You know what, Marion, I should be the most important One in your life.”
—Marion Jones

Once named the fastest woman on earth, Olympic track star Marion Jones could no longer run from God when she found herself in a federal prison.

“God put me in a situation and slowed down my life enough to say: You know what, Marion, I should be the most important One in your life,” she told the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Jones described her relationship with God, prior to her conversion, as nominal, consisting of a flippant “Lord, help me” before a track race or an offhanded ”Thank you” if she ran well.

She quickly ascended to fame and fortune after the 2000 Olympics, when she became the first woman to take home five medals. Gracing the covers of Vogue and Time magazines and signing million-dollar endorsement deals, Jones thought she had finally put herself on the right tack.

But in 2007 everything came to a screeching halt when she was convicted of perjury for lying to federal officials about taking performance-enhancing steroids.

She was stripped of her records and medals and sentenced to six months in Carswell Federal Prison in Fort Worth, Texas. She says she unknowingly took the drugs, but did recognize them when confronted about them.

While in prison things got worse. A fight with a fellow prisoner landed Jones in solitary confinement for 49 days with only a few photos of her young children, her Bible and her memories. There, during what she calls “probably the worst part of my life,” she turned to Christ: “I found myself opening up [the Bible] and the Word was just kind of oozing into me. I was like a sponge. Sometimes God puts you in situations where there’s nothing else and you have to turn to Him, and I feel comfortable saying that.”

Two years after being released, Jones signed with the Tulsa Shock in the WNBA. Today she travels the country with her ministry, Take A Break, inspiring youth and college students to think before making decisions that will affect their future—something Jones wished she’d done when she was questioned about her steroid use years earlier. Last year God opened a door for Jones to share her message internationally at the invitation of the U.S. State Department.

She considers the work she now does even more important than her previous occupation.

“I wouldn’t wish [my experiences] on my enemy—but actually I would, if it would change them in such a positive way,” she says. “It has helped me to prioritize what’s important in my life and it’s not fame, it’s not fortune. It can only be Him. I’ve finally realized that I have a plan and it’s His plan for [me].”  read more

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The Million Heirs Club

As a 15-year-old Daniel King was inspired to set a goal larger than most could even dream. He’d read a success book that told him to aim for earning $1 million by age 30. But King, who grew up on the mission field, set a different goal: to see 1 million souls saved by the time he was 30. 

“Instead of trying to become a millionaire I wanted to lead 1 million ‘heirs’ into the kingdom of God. And God started opening up doors,” he said.

At 28, just two years shy of his 30th birthday, King led his 1 millionth heir to Christ during a crusade in Haiti. Though most Christians never witness such a feat, it was only the beginning for King. Now 33, the evangelist has set a new goal of leading 1 million people to Christ every year.

King is feverishly working to reach this new objective in places such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, Ethiopia and other nations in the 10/40 window, where the message of Christ has never been heard. His crusades consistently draw tens of thousands, and his efforts to train local pastors have resulted in planting 14 house churches with 70 people or more attending each.

“For me it’s an awesome privilege to go to these places and tell people about Jesus,” King says. “They’re so hungry for the gospel, and when you go to a nation and you see thousands and thousands of people who want to hear about Jesus, you see how powerful the message of God’s love really is.”


 

On the Rise

“God is·supernaturally·raising up a movement of young people like I have never seen in 27 years of student ministry—ever. It is as if the Spirit of God is just beckoning this to happen.”···—Jay Mooney, after the Converge21 USA conference­, where young people and church leaders fervently prayed for and discussed the future of the Holy Spirit-empowered movement. read more

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Miracle Turns Strip Club Into Church

In a move to redeem some prime real estate in South Florida, a Haitian church purchased a closed strip club with the intent of turning into God’s house.

Eglise Assemblee Evangelique de Christ in Boynton Beach, Fla., bought Platinum Showgirls strip club last spring for $600,000. Though the property was theirs, they couldn’t hold services in the building until it was renovated and up to code.

The problem: finances. Eglise Assemblee spent all its money to buy the building and had been paying high rent at an interim facility. That left them without money to wrap up the redemptive project. read more

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Model Fights Against Cosmo Magazine

 

Model and actress Nicole Weider is leading a change.org campaign demanding that the magazine Cosmopolitan be sold in a non-transparent wrapper to adults only, to prevent children from buying and reading material inappropriate for their development. The model initially created a YouTube video displaying her discontent with the magazine and posted it to her fast-growing website geared toward Christian teenage girls, ProjectInspired.com.

But Weider (pictured) received so many responses from girls who had been negatively affected by Cosmopolitan that she decided to create the change.org petition. At press time, the petition included almost 24,000 signatures. “We are not asking Cosmopolitan to change their content,” explains Weider. “We simply want them to take responsibility for it.” —Gina Meeks read more

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Water ignites spiritual flames


Water is often used to extinguish fires, but Water Mission International has been using H2O to ignite Holy Ghost blazes around the globe. Founders George and Molly Greene closed their lucrative engineering firm in 2001 to engineer safe water filtration systems in areas where children die daily of water-borne illnesses. What they discovered was astonishing: The more water they purified, the more communities were open to hearing the gospel.

“People are always questioning about how this [water] system works and asking how they can acquire it,” Uganda’s Glory Center pastor Charles Neddje says. “We always tell them about our great God. Can you imagine that even nonbelievers come willing to offer us land to plant churches because of this water system? It is an iron tool for the gospel.”

But with 884 million people without clean water around the world, there is much work still to be done. So the Greenes are enlisting Western churches to help during Water Sunday, March 22. Congregations are dedicating a portion or an entire service to raising funds and awareness to help end the clean water shortage. Through video and photos, attendees are shown how quickly the gospel is spread by giving an impoverished area a purified water source.

“The goal of our projects is not just to provide physical water, but to share the Living Water message as well,” says Kevin Herr, a Water Mission representative. “When a project is completed we have a special celebration ceremony and when appropriate, show the Jesus film.”

Water Mission has provided clean water in 49 countries and hopes to be a world leader in water filtration by 2017. ­­—Felicia Abraham read more

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Faith Catapults NBA Coach’s Bounce Back

A cardiologist once gave Monty Williams a crushing diagnosis: an enlarged muscle was making it difficult for Williams’ heart to pump blood. The doctor said the condition meant an end to Williams’ college basketball career, the end of his NBA dream—and possibly the end of his life.

Two years later, the condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy vanished. Doctors called it inexplicable; Williams called it a healing from God. A 6-foot-8-inch forward, Williams played nine seasons in the NBA. Chronic knee injuries tested his faith and led to his retirement.

Today, Williams continues to proclaim his faith as the second-year head coach of the New Orleans Hornets, despite relentless hardship. Over the past year and a half, the NBA’s youngest coach has seen his general manager fired, his top scorer blow out a knee (then opt out of his contract), another player arrested, a third player lose two relatives in a fatal car accident and the franchise sold to the NBA. 

“Adversity,” he says, “has a way of getting us to listen to God.”

His second season began with more trouble. The Hornets dealt their best player, Chris Paul, to the Los Angeles Clippers in a controversial trade. Yet through numerous trials early in his coaching career, Williams has shared the source of his strength with media. “No question, it’s my faith in Jesus Christ,” he says. “I read my Bible in the morning and I study in the evening. When tough times do come, it’s not easy. But I realize a guy like me is blessed to be in this position.”

Previous challenges make NBA conflicts seem minor. Williams says he suffered abuse and molestation as a child. He became suicidal when he learned of his fatal heart condition. With God’s help, Williams has emerged with a strong faith and a powerful testimony. 

The Lord is present in our most trying times, Williams says, working all things for our good.

“I’m blessed to be in this business,” he adds. “I pray I can keep this attitude as long as I’m able to coach.”       —Ken Rodriguez  read more

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Raising Her Voice to Change Poverty and Child Abuse

Recording artist and singer Beckah Shae says one of the most underutilized weapons Christians have is their voice. The Dove-award nominee isn’t referring to her soulful crooning; she’s talking about speaking out against injustice. Every day, she notes, children go hungry and young girls and boys are trafficked for sex—not because there aren’t enough people to change that, but because those who are aware of the problems aren’t vocal enough about them. 

“This is the most powerful thing for me—to be a voice. I have a powerful platform right now,” Shae says. She uses her voice in numerous ways, including to create contemporary Christian albums such as Destiny, her most recent. She is also a spokesperson for Kids Alive, which fights poverty, and for A21, which rescues girls from sex trafficking.

The songstress says she was both heartbroken and elated when she visited Kenya to see the work Kids Alive was doing during the drought that has created a hunger crisis in east Africa. She witnessed the ministry helping to rescue orphans who had been physically abused, then meeting the spiritual, physical, educational and emotional needs of the children who had nowhere else to turn.

“It’s more of a family-type setting. They make it like a family so it’s not like an orphanage,” she says. 

Shae and her husband, a music producer, sponsor a child with Kids Alive. She is committed to helping—and using her voice to tell about the injustice and the work being done in Kenya to change it.

“It’s not about everything we do,” Shae says, “it’s about [our lack of] doing anything.”

Beckah Shae’s favorite quote:

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
         —Martin Luther King Jr.  read more

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Bikers Deliver Christmas Gifts, Santa-Style

On a crisp and sunny Saturday recently, hundreds of bikers from around the Carolinas descended upon the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., with gifts strapped to their motorcycles for the Fourth Annual Bikers with Boxes event. The group is an annual supporter of Operation Christmas Child, an outreach by Samaritan’s Purse that last year alone gave 8.2 million underprivileged children Christmas shoe boxes. 

“We’ve just really been thrilled that this has been an annual event and that the bikers have embraced it,” said Diane Wise of the Billy Graham Library. “Bikers are the most generous group of people.” read more

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Growing Faith on a Farm

 You’ve probably heard of Sunday school classes being the catalyst for mission trips, cell groups and friendships, but have you heard of a Sunday school class spawning a farm? 

Neither had Joe and June Richey—at least not before they started Questfarms, a farm that houses and employs special-needs adults. They were inspired to start the farm after teaching the Christian education class at their church and realizing their students needed support beyond the childhood years.

“When we came here we came with an idea. There weren’t any books that said: ‘This is how you start a farm for mentally-challenged people,’ so we had to just pick along,” says Joe Richey. read more

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