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The Source of Pure Delight

Several years ago I was introduced to the poignant Irish hymn "Be Thou My Vision" for the first time. It quickly became a favorite, especially the stanza that reads: "Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise / Thou mine inheritance, now and always / Thou and Thou only, first in my heart / High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art."

Whenever I hear this verse-and I sing it often-I imagine the glorious, eternal riches of our inheritance in Christ. It is true that on Earth and in heaven, God has by His grace provided for us "one blessing after another" (John 1:16, NIV). Yet without eyes to see Christ as our inheritance and our chief aim, we don't recognize His blessings for what they are. read more

How to Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit

Find out the simple steps you can take to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

When we meet Christ and put our trust in Him, we are "born again" (John 3:3) and we receive the Holy Spirit in our hearts. This is the most important decision we will ever make. This happened to the disciples of Jesus in John 20:22, which says: "[Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'"

But before Jesus ascended to heaven He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the "promise of the Father" had come (Luke 24:49). He told them that if they would wait there they would be "clothed with power from on high." In Acts 1:8 Jesus told His followers that they would receive "power" to be His witnesses. read more

Today's Servant of Christ

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. —Hebrews 6:10

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Grace Is Not Cheap

Grace Is Not Cheap

It is true that grace is free.But beware of any message about grace that does not lead you to true discipleship.

I have learned by hard experience to be thankful for consumer reports about products offered on the Internet. Reading the customer reviews can save a potential buyer a lot of grief and money. Nowadays, because of the usefulness and availability of these reports few people would consider making a purchase of even something as small as a cell phone or an MP3 player without doing some due diligence in the form of research. read more

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Being Uncomfortably Content

Meditating on the Bible is one way to find God's peace and contentment. Here are helpful verses taken from the New King James Version.

"When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." -Deuteronomy 24:19

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. -Psalm 56:3 read more

Prayer That Works

Read this if you don't want your prayer life to become mundane.

Everyone has a different preference when it comes to prayer and how he or she feels is the best way to connect with God. The important thing is that you don’t want your prayer life to become mundane and never grow or change. You want it to be fresh, exciting and even explosive in the Spirit. We all want our prayers to be effective, and anyone who is full of the Spirit has the anointing to pray powerful prayers that produce miracles.

We can pray in such a way that our prayers just flow. We don’t have to force them. They can even become prophetic—the heart of the Holy Spirit pouring out of our words and expressions.

Several years ago, we were praying at a prayer meeting in our church, asking the Lord to use the ministry more effectively to touch lives in our city. The Lord directed us to pray in such a way that our prayers would have “bull’s-eye” accuracy.

We knew the Holy Spirit wanted to develop specific prayers that were going to be like instruments of warfare targeted toward building certain key parts of the church’s vision. After that time of prayer, we were amazed at the number of breakthroughs we experienced in our ministry.

As believers, we sometimes pray randomly, repeating things—not really thinking about what we are saying. To pray effectively, we must pray calculated prayers, with biblical, Spirit-led accuracy. 

These kinds of prayers are like swords in the Spirit (see Is. 49:2-3). They shoot out, and something just “clicks” when you pray them. You know you hit the target and don’t walk away wondering if you received the answer.

James 5:16 tells us it is “effectual” prayer that avails much. The Amplified Bible says that is prayer that “makes tremendous power available.” 

Effectual prayer is accurate, targeted prayer that is done with action. In the Greek, it is the word energeo, which means to be “efficient, full of energy, and to display working activity.”

In other words, when you hear someone pray with effectual prayer, you don’t have to wonder whether it’s working because there is energy behind it. You can sense and feel power on it.

One way to ensure you are praying prayers that work is to pray according to the Bible. Rather than just praying whatever you think, find out what God’s will is for the situation and bring your prayers in line with it. God has a certain way of thinking when it comes to things in our lives, and we need to align with that. 

Case in point: When you need prayer for physical healing, you may feel terrible in your body and want to cry to the Lord about how bad things are for you. However, a more effectual way to pray is to find the Lord’s promises about healing from Scripture and pray in agreement with God.

This doesn’t mean you cannot cry out to the Lord in your time of adversity. What you need in order to stay accurate in prayer, however, is then to refocus on trusting in God and His promises.

When you make a habit of praying this way, you will learn to pray from the river of your spirit. You plug into the Holy Spirit’s way, the source of power in you, because you are agreeing with the Lord’s opinion. 

Instead of trying to swim upstream, you are flowing with the current. Remember that when the power of the Holy Spirit flows out of you like a river, it contains miracles, blessings and answers to prayer. Accurate prayer will help you flow in all those things.

Suddenly, instead of praying random, disconnected prayers, you are grabbing hold of the blessing that God has already placed in the river of your spirit. A new energy and confidence will come to your prayer life, and you will have conclusive results because you are targeting what you need with what God has already promised.


Brenda Kunneman is co-founder, with her husband, Hank, of One Voice Ministries and co-pastor with him of Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha, Nebraska. She ministers worldwide in conferences and churches and is the author of several books, including The Supernatural You (Charisma House). read more


Shut Your Mouth

Our mouths were created to praise and worship the Lord. Every part of our being was created to glorify God here on earth.

Our hands are to lift in praise to Him daily. Even the trees of the fields rejoice and clap their hands. So often, however, we use these God-given, fearfully and wonderfully made bodies to do things that Satan wants us to do. Remember, Satan has no power to make you do anything, even sin. Sin happens in our lives because we are led astray by our own lusts. We learned earlier the way to keep us from giving into our own lusts and fulfilling them is to stay filled with the Spirit. One of the ways to stay constantly filled with the Spirit is to use our mouths to praise, sing spiritual songs and hymns, to give thanks and to make melody in our hearts. If we are busy praising and worshiping the Lord, we will not have time to give into our own lusts.

 

One of the ways I like to keep myself filled with the Spirit is to have good praise music and hymns playing throughout the day when I am home doing my chores. I sing along with the hymns, and I also love to play classical music that lifts soul and spirit. I mostly concentrate on Handel and Bach. The world tries to drag us down, and can easily do it if we set ourselves in front of the boob tube all day long or even have it playing while we are doing other things. Remember, Satan is the prince and power of the air. He loves to use TV and radio to gain an advantage over us.

Another way we can stay filled with Spirit is to refuse to allow anything to come out of our mouths that would wound or hurt others. Our mouths were created to praise God and also to praise and edify others. David knew his own weakness in the matter of the tongue, and he calls upon the help of God to set a watch over his mouth. This morning let's pray a prayer that David prayed. "Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight. Set a watch over my mouth, and may my mouth, be used today only to praise You and to edify and praise others."

READ: Zechariah 2:1-3:10; Revelation 13:1-18; Psalm 141:1-10; Proverbs 30:18-20 read more

The Fruits of Pride

1 Timothy 6:1-21 One of the reasons we are critical and judgmental of others is because we are walking in pride instead of walking in love. There are two forms of pride—superiority and inferiority. We either think too highly of ourselves, or too lowly of ourselves. When we think too highly of ourselves, we delight in criticizing and putting down others. When we think too lowly of ourselves, we often try to elevate ourselves by putting others down. Whether we think too highly of ourselves or too lowly of ourselves, we are not seeing ourselves as God sees us. Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us, and when He looks at us He says one thing, "You are worth the death of My own Son." This is the price that was paid for you, and therefore you are seen by God as a precious treasure—a treasure worth dying for, and He did just that. read more

A Great God

Isaiah 48:12-50:11 This passage in Isaiah speaks of God's greatness and His infinite interest in mankind. This very morning I enjoyed a lesson on the "Fear of the Lord" that gave documented facts about the great expanse of our universe. The teacher shared how many light-years it would take for us to travel to a far galaxy, and it was mind boggling. We are just now coming to the understanding of the vastness of our universe. Yet, God says He spans the heavens with His right hand. The span of my own hand is about five inches or less. Think of how big God is who can span the whole universe with His right hand. read more

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Truly Listening to God

There are two reasons why God has difficulty in getting us to listen to Him.

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. —1 Samuel 3:9

What can be more important than correct listening? We only worship God to the degree that we hear Him speak. This is why there are injunctions throughout Scripture about hearing and listening. Jesus would frequently end a parable with the words, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

What we are talking about is the ability to recognize and respond to the Spirit's impulse. I consider this to be the highest level of spirituality that exists.

There are two reasons why God has difficulty in getting us to listen to Him. The first is our inability to absorb or take in His counsel. We all overestimate our capacity to grasp and take in things, not realizing that if God were to tell us all there is to know, our minds would snap. God has to deal with us where we are.

The second reason why God has difficulty in getting us to listen to Him is that there is sin within us as a result of not walking in the light. We say, "Lord, speak to me."

God answers, "I did speak, but you wouldn't take it."

We say, "I didn't want that. Lord, speak to me."

"I am speaking."

"No, Lord, speak to me."

God is trying to reach us, and we hear Him to the degree that we are walking in the light. Is it possible that God is trying to speak to you along a certain line, but you are saying, "I know God wouldn't say that to me"?

When we get to the judgment, the Lord could look at us in much the same way and remind us of certain areas of our life, and we will be speechless. It's very important that we should be transparently honest with ourselves. The final tragic result of disobedience, of course, is that God stops speaking to us.

Excerpted from Worshipping God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004). read more

How to Hear God

Have you ever thought God was saying something to you, but you weren't sure it was really His voice you were hearing? Have you found yourself thinking, How do I know it was really God I heard and not my own imagination—or worse, the enemy?

God's solution is simple: "'If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him'" (James 1:5, NIV). When we need to know if we are hearing God's voice, all we have to do is ask Him!

We can go to God, tell Him what we think we heard Him say, and then ask Him to confirm it or correct our hearing on the matter. God wants to give us an understanding of what He says to us because He wants to communicate with us. He is eager to teach us to correctly hear His voice. read more


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Wisdom for Adversity

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. —Psalm 91:1

An elderly man stood up in a testimony service, waved his handkerchief, and said, "I've been serving the Lord for fifty years, and I want to testify that in that fifty years I have never been down-.-.-.-not one day-.-.-.-not one time."

There was also a young man in that service who had recently given his life to Jesus. He stopped the old man as he was leaving and said, "I don't understand. I gave my life to Jesus, and it seems like all hell broke loose. How can you say you have never been down?"

The old gentleman replied with words of wisdom, "Son, I've never been down, because I have always either been up or getting up."

If you are fighting a little adversity, dance longer, shout louder, and pray harder. Tell the devil you are not giving up; you are enduring to the end. Born-again, Spirit-filled believers may wobble, but they don't fall down. Claim His promise today: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand" (Psalm 37:23-24).

Lord, whenever I stumble, lift me up by
Your hand. Uphold me in Your arms.
Cover me with Your wings. Shelter me in
the Rock. Amen. read more

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Idol Worship

When we spent three weeks in India in 1980, we agreed with our pastor and his wife that we would not visit any of the Hindu temples. We did not want to expose ourselves to the spirits that dwelled in these temples. We knew that even though man had made the idols in these temples, demonic spirits were all around them.

While we were in Madras, a man came up to us and asked us if we wanted to see a museum that had bronzes that dated back to the eleventh century. We agreed to follow him, and later wished we had not. As we entered the museum we felt the heaviness of demonic spirits and soon realized that all the bronzes were idols the Hindus worshipped. Some were so grotesque in appearance we wondered how anyone could worship such an image. Our pastor quickly made a beeline for the door and said, "We've seen your gods, but personally I prefer Jehovah God."

Psalm 115 tells us all about idols. Idols have mouths, but they cannot speak; eyes, but they cannot see; ears, but they cannot hear; noses, but they cannot smell; hands, but they cannot handle; feet, but they cannot walk. This psalm goes on to say, "Those that make them are like to them; so is everyone who trusts in them" (v. 8). read more

Secrets

No More Secrets

Confessing your sins openly and honestly is a key to spiritual victory. Don't hide in the darkness!

Secret burdens can be very difficult to bear. I know. For nearly 35 years I carried a secret--a life hidden away in my inner world that no one knew anything about. Now all of that was changing as I sat in my family room with 15 other people. Gathered around me were my wife, her parents and sister, three of my four teenage children, and several college students who were closely connected to us because of my job at Asbury College in Kentucky.

I had called this family meeting with the express purpose of confessing my sins to those I had sinned against, and seeking their forgiveness. On the outside my life looked pretty good. A successful ministry, all-American family, beautiful wife and kids. But on the inside my life was in shambles.

At home I was a perfectionist husband and demanding father, and my family was pulling away from me because of my negativity and control. An undercurrent of anger flowed just beneath the surface of many of my interactions with Marilyn and our children. This turmoil was fueled by my own irritation at myself for the recurring failures in my life and my inability to rise above habitual sin.

Now all this was changing right before my eyes.

Five days before, I had lain on the floor in the grand ballroom of the Regal Riverfront Hotel in St. Louis, overwhelmed by the incredible power of the Holy Spirit. I had been attending a conference at which, in response to a word of knowledge by a member of the conference staff, I had experienced a "power encounter" with the God of the universe. He reached deep into the recesses of my inner world and broke the stranglehold that pornography and masturbation had on my life.

Not only was I delivered of this secret sin, but a few minutes later I also was given the grace to bring it into the light. I confessed it to my friend Jeff James, who was attending the conference, and then I called Marilyn, confessing and repenting to her for the duplicity in my life.

Now, back at home, I sat nervously amid my family and friends. I would be telling them the truth--the rough, unvarnished, unmitigated truth about my secret world of pornography use--and seeking their forgiveness for how I had sinned against them.

Shortly after I began my confession God filled the room with His presence, visiting us in power. The family meeting that began at 7 p.m. didn't end until almost 4 o'clock the next morning.

We experienced healing, deliverance and restoration of broken family relationships. Any doubts I had about God's work among us were dispelled when my mother-in-law fell under the power of the Holy Spirit after I prayed for her.

Private Sins

From the beginning, sin has always involved hiding. After Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. David tried to hide his sin with Bathsheba--going as far as to arrange the murder of her husband.

Adam and Eve used fig leaves to try to conceal their failure, but most of us hide behind lies. To cover our sin and its consequences, we stitch together flimsy excuses and decorate them with ornate stories in an effort to keep others from discovering who we really are or how badly we have failed them. The closer someone comes to discovering the truth about us, the more creative our lies must become to keep the secret hidden.

The logical result of hiding is that lying becomes a way of life. As believers, this means our everyday lives might be filled with religious activity, but we end up proclaiming one thing and living another. We live in an artificial world constructed of a combination of blatant lies, implied lies and half-truths.

But a lie is a lie, even when we're deceiving ourselves with lines such as: "That's not so bad," "I'm only hurting myself," "No one knows."

We also are likely to embrace the lie that we are stuck and there is no way out of our problems. When this happens we are siding with the accuser of the brethren, the "father of lies" (see John 8:44). Satan will enlist us to testify against the truth of God's grace, which says He can liberate us, and stand with self-accusation, which says He cannot.

When the devil lies, he speaks his native language. And as the father of all lies he has sired lying "twins" to help him hold people in bondage.

Shame and Pride are the twins the devil uses as spiritual extortionists. They continually extract hush money--making us regularly pay from our already bankrupt lives. Emotional and spiritual poverty, along with broken relationships, are the high costs of listening to Shame and Pride when they tell us to keep our sins hidden.

Like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of author Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, they sing the same song with the same results. They conspire to keep us hiding and bound.

Shame says: "You better not let anyone know. What will they think?"

Pride echoes: "You better not let anyone know. What will they think?"

So we continue trying, under a shroud of silence, to work out the problem by ourselves, with no allies, assistance or accountability.

One of the lies I believed for so long was that no one could truly understand my struggle. I was a spiritual leader in my circles, and if I couldn't fix the problem, who could?

Hounded day and night by my failures, I concluded my situation was so unique and my failures and sins so grievous that no one could even identify with me, let alone help. I knew what the Bible said--that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (see Rom. 3:23)--but I believed no one could understand what I was wrestling with.

The writer of Hebrews tells an entirely different story from what I believed: "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Heb. 4:13-16, NIV).

Before God, there are no secrets and no places to hide. But does He understand our struggles with sin?

According to verse 15, He was tempted in every way I was (yet didn't sin). Therefore I can go before Him with confidence that I will find mercy in my time of need--and ample supplies of grace.

During the years I struggled, I held to the promise of forgiveness in 1 John 1:8-9: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (NKJV).

I describe these verses as the "vertical pathway to forgiveness." I had walked this path so frequently, though, that it had been worn almost to a rut. I longed for the day I could be truly free and not have to drag myself wearily back to the mercy seat because of the same old sins.

In my efforts to confess my sin to God, I had shed tears at altar rails on three continents. I had made bargains with Him I couldn't keep. I had poured out my heart to Him, pleading for deliverance. But I had always returned to the same old sins.

Before my experience in St.Louis, I had tried to deal with my sin issues privately with God. Fear, shame and pride kept me from bringing my struggles into the light and telling anyone else. I not only had lied to my family, but also had lived in self-deception (see 1 John 1:8).

But after I shared with Jeff what God had done for me and then called Marilyn, the miracle of James 5:16 began to work in me. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (NIV).

This dimension of forgiveness became a key component in my healing and deliverance. After I had brought my confession into the light, the enemy no longer could use the fear of someone finding out to keep me bound.

Confessing to others can be called the "horizontal pathway to forgiveness." Vertical confession (to God) and horizontal confession (to one another) form the shape of a cross--and when combined, the completed work of the cross becomes real in our own experience.

In my situation, the confession of sin unlocked the closed hearts of my family. They no longer saw me as the Mr. Perfect I pretended to be but as a fellow struggler in need of the grace of God. And I have watched as hundreds of times my story has opened the doors for others to say, "It's my story, too."

Hiding No More

The Christian landscape is littered with the ruined lives of leaders and followers who fell into sin and became victims of the fallout when their private sins were made public against their will. I wonder how many of these fallen might have finished well if they had chosen to tell others of their struggles.

One time during an interview I was asked, "Tell me, Harvey, are Christians hypocrites?" I replied that I believed the accusation was a fair one.

The word "hypocrite" was used in ancient Greek drama to describe an actor. Many Christians act as if their lives are healed, as if they have it perfectly together, when they actually are broken, wounded, sin-saturated pretenders afraid to risk being known for who they are.

I went on to answer the interviewer that the church should be a hospital, a place where broken and wounded people come to be healed and patched up by God. Then I told my own story.

God is never shocked by anything we do. All our days are already written in His book. In spite of all He knows about us, He still chooses to love us and invite us into a relationship with Himself.

If we too fostered an atmosphere of love, acceptance, healing grace and open confession, then the church would operate more like an emergency room for the fallen than a museum of the successful. We would never be surprised to find sick and suffering people in a hospital, would we? Neither should we be surprised to find sinners (that's us, friends) in God's house seeking a soul cure.

Charles Wesley's hymn "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" includes the verse: "He breaks the power of canceled sin / He sets the prisoner free." Our sins were dealt with for eternity on Calvary. There is nothing more we can do to add to the efficacy of Christ's blood.

A strong dynamic is set in motion when we confess our sins to one another. Sin's power breaks because shame, fear and pride no longer can hold us hostage.

When we humble ourselves before our brother or sister, we can receive prayer and comfort--and hear someone "with skin on" remind us: "You are forgiven in Jesus' name."

I have held numerous sufferers who have sobbed their way through confessions of sin and brokenness. And I have been able to look them in the eye and say with authority, "Your sins are forgiven, just as mine have been forgiven."

 


Harvey Brown Jr. is president of Impact Ministries in Wilmore, Ky. He is featured on the DVD, Living in the Freedom Christ Gives: Finding Healing and Wholeness in a Sexually Broken World. It is available at www.impactministries.org. read more

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Intimacy in Worship: The Heart of a Worshipper

In the early days of my developing a relationship with the Lord in worship, I frequently saw His feet as I bowed before Him. That seemed to be the extent of my faith in worship; but, as my faith increased, He didn't leave me there at His feet. Little by little the relationship grew until I stood in His presence and saw Him face to face.

We begin by knowing Him as King. That in itself is glorious. But He wants to take us further. He wants us to know Him, not only as King, but also as heavenly Bridegroom. He wants us to know Him as the Beloved, the Lover of our souls and He whom our souls love. read more

Yelling

Talk Your Way Out of Difficulty

The tongue is the red carpet we throw out to Satan to walk right into our lives with his special delivery of troubles.




Psalm 50:1-23 There is one promise of God that will be fulfilled in every life. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Because we live in a fallen world, there will always be trouble.

This psalm reveals two important responses we should have when trouble comes our way. Verse 15 exhorts us to call upon the Lord in our day of trouble. Verse 23 exhorts us to praise the Lord and to order our conversation aright.



If we will call upon the Lord in the day of trouble, the promise is He will deliver us. If we will praise the Lord and order our conversation aright in the day of trouble, He will show us His salvation.



The moment we enter troublesome times, we should first pray—and then we should be careful about what we say. God will be glorified when we do these two things. If we fail to call upon God in our troubled times, the hope of being delivered through or out of the trouble will be slim.



Preventative medicine is better than a cure. A lot of the trouble we find ourselves in is self-inflicted. We have submitted to fleshly lusts instead of following the Spirit. The preventative medicine to keep us out of trouble is God’s Word and prayer. We can prevent the majority of troubles in our lives if we are not anxious about anything, but instead pray about everything. If we stay in God’s Word daily, chances are we will be able to discern the origin of the thoughts we have throughout the day. Our thoughts usually come from three sources: God, our own flesh or the devil. We will only be able to recognize the counterfeit if we know the Truth, and we find that in God’s Word. We only can take those thoughts captive to Jesus if we recognize who gave us those thoughts.



Another preventative medicine is to be careful about what we speak. There is a proverb that says, “He that keepeth his lips is wise; he keeps his soul from troubles.” We get into trouble many times just because we have not been wise in our speech.

David, when he wrote this psalm, knew that the only way God could be glorified in our lives was if we learned to order our conversations aright. The tongue is the red carpet we throw out to Satan to walk right into our lives with his special delivery of troubles.



Even if we guard our tongues, pray about everything and stay in God’s Word, some troubles will come our way simply because we live in a corrupt world. Tribulation is in the world and always will be until the Lord sets up His kingdom on earth. The moment trouble comes knocking on your door, you need to begin to praise the Lord because you know He is in control. His plan is to work good out of what Satan means for evil.

The moment you begin to praise the Lord, a glory shield is placed around you because you have ordered your conversation aright. You will not be overwhelmed by whatever trial is facing you. You will be at peace and can even experience fullness of joy in the presence of the Lord. read more

The Spirit has Anointed You

God never intended for us to minister in our own strength. We must allow the Holy Spirit to empower us so we can walk in a supernatural dimension.

 

Church life was boring when I was growing up. We sang the first, second and fourth verses of the songs from the hymnal. The pastor preached a three-point sermon and dismissed us by noon sharp. Although there were people who responded to altar calls and received Jesus as Savior, nothing else exciting seemed to happen.

 

When I was 30, our youngest son, Mark, was miraculously healed of a condition that the doctors said would become cancerous by the time he reached adulthood. For the first time in my life I realized that the Lord still heals. read more

Unleash Your Faith

Unleash faith's prevailing power and watch obstacles and hindrances fall away.

As I was walking to my car from the grocery store recently, I was swept along by several strong gusts of wind. They caused traffic lights to sway, flags to ripple and pop, and drivers to take extra caution. Leaves, paper and other loose items in the wind's path were helplessly tossed about.

Suddenly I realized how very much like faith that wind was. Driven by the potency of God's Word, the assurance of Christ's love and the power of the Holy Spirit, faith operates in much the same way. It sweeps past obstacles and hindrances, clearing debris such as fear, doubt and unbelief out of the way and taking authority over the circumstances and conditions that threaten to impede our promises. read more


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Is Something Missing?

Many Christians follow all the "right" rules and carefully live "the Christian life," but inside they are wondering: Is this it? Is this all there is? I experienced that same emptiness in 1976 when as a young Christian I realized that doing the right things brought temporary happiness but not deep, satisfying joy.

In those early days of my walk with God, I could only see Him from a distance. Even though I was doing what I thought He required of me, I still felt that I needed change in my life. I was searching, but I didn't know what I was searching for. read more


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Purified by the Fire

This is a message from Matt Sorger, founder of Matt Sorger Ministries, who received prophetic insight for the body of Christ at a service in Chesapeake, Va. We are presenting an abbreviated version of the second part of his message, which emphasizes God’s desire for a pure bride who has been refined and who has learned the secret of complete satisfaction and joy.

God is not looking … for gifted individuals. God is looking for pure, clean vessels that have been refined in the fire of God. … [He is] getting the bride ready. He’s getting the bride ready for His coming. He’s calling. He’s calling the bride. “Get your garments ready. Get your wedding dress ready.” … He’s coming back for a pure, spotless, clean bride. read more

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