On July 21, the House Education and Labor committee marked up HR 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, by a vote of 30-17 - the single largest investment in higher education in history that will significantly reduce loan debt burden for college graduates, according to The Institute for College Access & Success.
HR 3221 reinvigorates the Pell Grant program, which provides need-based aid to over 7 million current college students. The bill raises the Pell Grant maximum to $5,550 for students of the most modest means, and guarantees that the Pell Grant amount will increase thereafter on a yearly basis by the cost of living plus 1 percent.
It also cuts the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans, and invests in community college access programs that should help hundreds of thousands of students get to graduation.
These investments are paid for by cutting excessive lender subsidies from within the loan programs, and redirecting those funds toward higher education.
Watch testimonies from young women healed of a myriad of addictions through the Mercy Ministries program in Nashville, Tenn. Also watch an interview by Joyce Meyer with the ministry's founder, Nancy Alcorn.
How can you demonstrate God’s love in your community? Here are just a few things Jesus might do:
Pray fervently. If your church has an intercessory prayer group, participate in it. If not, start one, and encourage others to join you in interceding regularly for the lost in your city.
Be an active school parent. Prayer may not be allowed in the classroom, but the government can’t stop your light from shining in a school environment. Become friends with the principal, teachers and other parents.
Celebrate holidays in style. Gather neighbors, co-workers or relatives for Christmas or Easter. Then tell the old, old story of Jesus’ birth or resurrection in a brand-new way.
How do you live with the guilt and shame of taking the lives of four of your children by legal abortion? Only through the blood and healing of Jesus Christ.
Within the next three months after my last abortion, I tried to take my life twice by overdosing on drugs. Friends and family knew nothing except that I had returned to the drugs and was once again out of control. The truth was that I hated myself and couldn't live with the memory of my decision.
You can’t just ignore the shame caused when you kill an unborn child. But you can find mercy and forgiveness.
My son David never had the chance to live because I made the choice to abort him in 1988. I was divorced with two children and was living a very promiscuous lifestyle. When I discovered I was pregnant I felt irritation and fear. To hide my sin of sex outside marriage, I chose to abort my child, even though I knew it was wrong.
Initially, I felt relief. The unwanted pregnancy was taken care of. I didn't tell anybody what I had done because I was too ashamed. In order to forget about it I stuffed down my feelings and didn't allow myself to think about it at all.
Learn what the Bible says about our culture’s hot-button issues with a gift from Charisma, the book 'Personal Faith, Public Policy' by Harry R. Jackson Jr. and Tony Perkins. Download your free copy before July 31:
Christians don’t have to be casualties of the global recession. God has set principles in place to help His people live recession-proof. Watch a free tutorial from well-known Christian financial adviser Dave Ramsey and learn God’s keys to moving forward when the economy is standing still.
KENN RENNER The number of real estate agents in the Austin, Texas, area has shrunk 30 percent since last year, reflecting a decrease in average monthly home sales in 2008 of more than 50 percent, according to Realtor Kenn Renner. However, after seeing his sales double the first two months over the same period last year, the head of Renner Realty is aiming for a 50 to 65 percent increase in 2009-he hopes to reach $20 million. Symbolizing his optimism is the early March listing of an $800,000 home that sold in four days, prompting the seller to remark, "This is a God thing." "We surrender the whole business to Him," says Renner, a member of Glory House Christian Center. "With the power of prayer and our model of doing things-people are looking for that. They want encouragement." Though an independent agent for 25 years, Renner says last fall God directed him to become an affiliate of Keller Williams Realty. The Austin-based franchiser is now the nation's third-largest residential real estate firm. Renner liked the priorities of co-founder/chairman Gary Keller: God first, followed by family and then business. "As a stereotype, [business owners] put business first," Renner says. "It's proven that God first is more biblical." Though not a direct beneficiary of the federal stimulus bill, Renner says one provision of federal legislation adopted in February helped boost his business. The bill changed what had been a $7,500 no-interest loan to an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers. The provision didn't attract much attention from the news media-or Renner, until God told him to send out postcards to his tenants directing them to call him about federal housing assistance. "God said, ‘Get the word out,'" Renner recalls. "Nearly everybody who calls me has no idea about the $8,000 credit. Part of it is revealing what's already there. It's really being aware of the signs of the times. It's a pretty exciting time." Another step he took recently was adding a note to his Web site that for every home sale, Renner Realty donates $360 to Fullness in Christ Ministries, a Texas ministry founded by charismatic pastor Ras Robinson. That sum helps educate a child in Peru or the Philippines for a year. "It's one of the ways I'm letting people know this is a Christian business," Renner says.
DENNIS FEDORUK The current downturn is the third Dennis Fedoruk has weathered since he started The Brainy Baby Co. in 1995. However, thanks to increased direct-to-consumer products, his company's sales more than doubled the first two months of 2009. Although he doesn't expect that to continue, Fedoruk still forecasts an increase of 20 to 30 percent for the year. "There's a certain amount of an evergreen nature to our business," says the president of Brainy Baby, which produces videos, books and other products for toddlers. "It is children's education; we have 4.5 million new babies every year; and people will spend money on educational products for their children." Aside from such customary factors boosting sales, Fedoruk sees God's signature written all over a healthy 2009. He talks about the phone ringing and bringing unexpected business or word of distribution into another country. Brainy Baby items can now be found in some 200 nations through sales outlets or video downloads. Although the company's products are aimed at general markets, Brainy Baby is working on a faith-based line for release later this year. The new items will be one way the company can acknowledge the Father behind its prosperity. "God never fails," says Fedoruk, who attends a nondenominational, charismatic church in a suburb of Atlanta. "I believe He is behind everything we do. We never worry; we just practice Matthew 6:33 [‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you'] and go about God's business." Although he believes a stream of negative media reports has magnified the public's gloomy outlook, the executive says God has been teaching him to remain steady in today's recessionary environment. Acknowledging that he could constantly worry if he let his mind "go wild," Fedoruk says God has assured him that if he stays on the course He set without turning right or left, things will be all right. "If you're doing what God tells you to do, you're definitely beating a different drum," he says of bucking the trend. "As believers, we know that. We're not always beating the drum of popularity, but if you just stay focused on what you're doing, God will see you through."
The Word of God admonishes Christians in Psalm 122:6 to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (NKJV).” Join with believers around the world as we obey our biblical mandate to pray for Israel. Leave your prayer below.
Learn 12 secrets that will transform your life, family, health, and finances
In Breaking the Jewish Code, Perry Stone reveals how anyone can apply these time-honored principles in their life to create wealth, live in health, build faith, raise successful children, and pass on generational blessings.
View Perry Stone's video about Breaking the Jewish Code.
Topics include ...
Understanding the secret of the Hebrew covenant with God and why it works
The spiritual principles of health, wealth, and creating prosperity
Feasts, Sabbaths, and yearly celebrations—why success is also about family and enjoying life
How to leave a legacy and pass on the blessing to future generation
Twelve dynamic keys to success that Jewish people have known for 3,500 years
About Perry Stone
Perry Stone is an international evangelist and the founder of Voice of Evangelism, a ministry that strives to spread the gospel through revivals, television and other media. He is the author of numerous books, including Breaking the Jewish Code (Charisma House).
I have a friend who says, "God is always working on 10 levels at once; if you don't understand that, you will miss the other nine!" When healing doesn't come in the way or timing we would like, we should not despair and begin to believe that God no longer heals. As many famous theologians have attested, it is a grave error to define God only by one's experiences.
Henry Wright, author of A More Excellent Way, says, "If you don't believe God heals in the 21st century, then fine. For you, He won't!" Isaiah said it this way, "‘What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it saying, "Stop, you're doing it wrong!" Does the pot exclaim, "How clumsy can you be?"'" (Is. 45:9, NLT).
What a sobering experience. My tour today began with a visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum located on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. After reflecting on what I saw, it’s clear no other place so far has impacted me like this one.
First we went into the Valley of Communities where we watched a short video of life among Jewish people before Adolf Hitler executed his sinister plan to destroy them.
I'm so sleepy my eyes are burning, but I must tell you about the sites I saw today.
We started the tour with a scenic drive through the valley of Jordan where I could see in the distance the kingdom of Jordan. The mountain curved around and around until we were headed in the direction of the Dead Sea region. I'm told the region is the lowest point on earth, about 419 meters below sea level.
Arthur Blessitt says his near-40-year journey carrying a 12-foot wooden cross around the world was more than an evangelistic trek-it was a lesson in living by faith.
Evangelist Arthur Blessitt finished carrying his 12-foot cross to every nation of the world last June, but that doesn't mean his nearly 40-year journey to spread the gospel around the globe has ended.
"I felt Jesus speak to me and say, ‘Lay the cross down,'" he told Charisma. "And I didn't know if I'd ever pick it up again. But then I heard Jesus say to me, Now I want you to release the cross."
He believes releasing the cross partly means spreading his passion to preach the gospel to the masses. With the March 24 release of the documentary titled The Cross:The Arthur Blessitt Story, the charismatic evangelist hopes to do just that.
"When you finish [watching the film], our prayer is that everyone would either fall at the foot of the cross or take up their own cross," Blessitt said.
Now 68, Blessitt first came to prominence in the 1960s when he spent his time witnessing to hippies, bikers, strippers and drug addicts on Sunset Strip. Then in December 1969, he sensed God leading him to take the giant cross that hung above his Christian coffee house and carry it on foot across the U.S.
He has since logged 38,102 miles-traveling to 315 countries and all seven continents. His journey was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records lists as the "World's Longest Walk."
"Far too often religious differences have caused the cross to become a symbol of conflict," Blessitt said. "Part of my mission over the years as I've walked around the world has been to help people understand the cross for what it truly is: the ultimate symbol of God's love for all humanity."
Blessitt has gone into 52 war zones, and he has raised the cross in China and North Korea. But he said his greatest memories are the times when he was spending time with people in their homes, sharing the gospel and receiving their hugs. He said he misses "the little children running after the cross, the people praying, the people reaching out their hands to touch me, to touch the cross."
The Cross producer Matt Crouch, founder of Gener8Xion Entertainment, said the film is not meant to make Blessitt seem larger than life, but to show that he's just the opposite.
"The movie's about the world's reaction to the cross and [Blessitt's] reaction to the cross," Crouch said. "What will face every person watching the film is, You will have a choice either to reject or accept God's calling. What will you do? ... [Blessitt's] not Superman; he's everyman."
Blessitt said throughout his journey, he learned to hear God's voice more clearly and to walk by faith. "I had good theology as a young preacher, but walking around the world has made me live it," he said. In the early days of his ministry, he said he sensed God saying, "I'm grounding you to powder so I can blow you where I will."
His faith has been tested every step of the way. In Spain, he says God told him to give a bullfighter his coat, his only source for warmth. And in Africa, he battled doubts about his calling when a missionary told him he'd never be able to walk across a continent rife not only with ethnic conflict but also disease.
"The sovereignty of God is that if He wants me to walk tomorrow, He'll have to keep me alive," Blessitt concluded. "As time went on, I learned to [rely on God]. Jesus said: ‘Go to the Iraq border. Go to Saudi Arabia.' And you reach a point where you realize only God can get you there. It's total trust.
"People perceive you to be bold," he added. "But you're just walking with Jesus."
Blessitt said he used to keep track of the number of people who came to Christ during his travels, but the crowds got too big. "I pray with people, and God knows if they meant it or not," he said.
Crouch said God is always pushing the least likely people to do the most important tasks. "Arthur had a stroke before he was to take the cross across America," Crouch noted. "Who can qualify as the least likely? That's the message for audiences."