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Develop Active Listening

Learn how to develop an active listening ear to the voice of the Spirit.

If we are going to learn how to develop active listening to the voice of the Spirit, there are a few characteristics that we need.

The first characteristic required for active listening is an open mind. That means, a mind closed to nothing that coheres with holiness. Paul says about this, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure . . ." (Phil. 4:8, KJV). read more

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Declaring War on the Enemies of Joy

The book of Nehemiah says that "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10, NIV). Do you wonder how that can be true when you find it hard to maintain your joy for five full minutes? Do you think this is a biblical truth that applies to everyone but you? Think again.

The joy of the Lord is our strength. It is God's will for our lives. And what He wills, He is able to accomplish in us—even in the midst of a bustling holiday season when we feel pulled in every direction.

If the joy of the Lord is our strength, then it stands to reason that joy would be a major focus of attack by the enemy. He wants to weaken us in whatever way he can. In order to fend off his attack, we have to be aware of the joybusters and strength-zappers he uses against us. Here are seven of them: read more

Breaking the Worry Habit

When I ask the people in any audience, “Do you worry?” the response is a nearly unanimous, “Yes!” Many admit to having a master’s degree in worry. They have perfected the art of worrying with a lifetime of practice. And in all the worry, nothing of real value is gained.

Worry will never change an outcome, solve a problem or invite a miracle. Creativity will. Persistence will. Action will. Prayer will. But worry cannot. In fact, worry will keep you from doing all the things that will make a difference. read more

The Freedom to Forgive

Every day in our world, in our society and in our individual communities, somebody is treated unfairly. Someone is hurt, even though he or she didn’t deserve it. Someone is lied to or lied about. Someone is ignored or attacked. Someone is singled out or discriminated against. Many of us don’t have to look far to find such mistreatment—because we’re the ones who experience it!

If you’ve been the object of slanderous gossip at church, or passed over for a promised promotion on the job, or harassed because of someone else’s prejudice and fear, join the club. We all feel the pain of unfair treatment at some point in our lives. read more

Make a Joyful Noise

Psalm 97:1-98:9 God loves silence, but He also loves songs of praise and joyful sounds. He created each bird with a special song. I love to be awakened by the song of a red bird, and this happens often since we live in woods that are swarming with red birds. When God created the heavens and the earth, He created them to declare His glory. Even the trees clap their hands in joy. The heavens rejoice and declare His glory. Every time I hear a clap of thunder, I am reminded of the awesome and glorious power of God. read more

God Expects Respect

Colossians 3:18-4:18 One of the major problems with youth in our culture today is their lack of respect for parents and teachers. Our son Ron wanted to be a teacher of chemistry in high school. He finished his degree at Georgia Tech and then began his practice teaching at a high school in an exclusive neighborhood. He experienced such a great lack of respect from his students that he decided not to finish his practice teaching. Later Ron had the opportunity to teach in China, and the students respected and honored him. He loved teaching in China, and he plans to return. read more

Ownership Transfer

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. —1 Corinthians 6:19-20 read more

Don’t Let the Paralyze You

Don’t Let the Past Paralyze You

So many people allow negative experiences and broken dreams to stop them. Yet God has the power to propel you beyond your disappointments.

Have you ever heard the statement, “Experience is the best teacher”? It’s true. The problem is that experience can teach you the wrong things as well as the right ones.

A person who is severely bitten by a dog, for example, generally has a lifelong dislike—and often fear—of dogs. People can have all sorts of fears and phobias because of one bad dream, accident or tragic event in their lives. read more

It's Time to Believe


As a preacher, I've noticed something tragic about the body of Christ: We have lost our fear and reverence for God. We have taken His holy Word and turned it into an entertaining book of fables, some of which we halfheartedly believe, and some of which we don't believe at all.

We are interested in the Bible, but rarely are we inspired by it. Sure, we love the stories of victory, but we do not walk in its promises. If the truth were told, many of us would find out we've been in outright rebellion to God's Word.

We jump and shout in church over themes such as faith, obedience and fellowship, but we're not blessed because the Word has simply become a book of amusing stories instead of life-changing truths. It's like the movies: We cheer our favorite biblical characters on to victory with only a dream that someday that same victory will be ours.

Not only do we mistreat the Word, but we also entertain strongholds in our lives that have developed as a result of immaturity. And even though the Bible tells us to lay aside every sin and weight that easily besets us, we continue to entertain these strongholds.

One of the most common strongholds I see in the body of Christ is unbelief. This sin is detrimental because it keeps us barricaded from the power and blessing of God. The Bible makes it clear that there's not one situation we will go through for which God hasn't already made a way of escape through our belief. But we simply don't have faith in God.

In the book of Joshua, God commanded an uncommon faith in His Word by instructing the priests to take up the ark of the covenant and to walk around the city seven times, blowing their trumpets and shouting so the walls of Jericho would fall down. The people, hungry for the presence and power of God, obeyed and were victorious (see Josh. 6).

Many believers have heard this story and countless others like it, and they still don't believe God for personal victory. Some enter the boxing ring of life with a fight-and-see attitude. But mature Christians go in knowing they will come out champions. This is not a name-it-and-claim-it thing. It's simply trusting God.

The situations in life that seem to knock us out of the ring hold the greatest promise. But we will not enjoy the fulfillment of the promise until we have defeated the problem. Although we have heard this many times, we still don't believe it.

If we are walking by sight, then we won't be able to see the victory. But if we are walking in the Spirit, we know that when we get tired, He will help us. All we have to do is show up for the battle, and the Spirit of the Lord will come upon us.

God has anointed believers to accomplish what He has ordained. But many Christians have spent their lives running away from battles, not realizing that it's the enemy who is afraid. God is telling us to take the city, but we are so wrapped up in our religion that we can't hear Him.

There was a time in my church when some religious people were complaining that the congregation was standing up too long during the worship service. Obviously these people didn't understand that spiritually hungry people don't want to sit down. In fact, those religious people didn't come back to church the next Sunday because they decided that "it didn't take all of that" to worship God.

Unfortunately, believers fail to understand that it's going to take that and more to be what God has called us to be. When God wants to move, we need to be willing to follow His lead. We have no authority to tell God no.

His blessings are reserved not for religious folks but for hungry folks--those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (see Matt. 5:6). But people who are caught up in the laziness of religion, performance and protocol will miss the move of God.

Don't be among those who miss God's blessing. You may have heard the promises a hundred times before. It's time to start believing them.

Bishop Eddie L. Long is the pastor of the 18,000-member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta. He is the author of Taking Over (Creation House). read more

Refuse to Live in Fear

Fear and fear of failure extinguish the fires of success in our lives.

Remember when your friends in grade school would dare you or double-dare you to do something? You had a lot of courage back then and you weren’t afraid to accept a dare, no matter how difficult the challenge. But it seems the older we get and the more experiences we have, the more real our fears become.

Fear is one of the most crippling forces plaguing believers today. Like a thief, it robs us of our courage and desire to excel in life. I’ve heard many speakers say the word “fear” is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real, and it is. But more importantly, fear is the absence of faith and a tactic used to stifle our progress and cause us to give up on our dreams and aspirations.

God affords us many opportunities to fulfill our purpose and destiny, but the mere presence of fear and fear of failure extinguish the fires of success in our lives. However, failure can be beneficial if we learn how to fail forward. In other words, if we use temporary setbacks and obvious failures as opportunities to learn and grow—and avoid making the same mistakes over and over again—we will be successful.

Here are four lessons I’ve learned:

• Failure should never get a chance to take root and flourish in our lives.

• Failure is never final when we learn from past mistakes and correct them.

• Failure is simply a stepping stone to success when we fail forward and get up.

• Life’s failures become the best teachers because they help us gain invaluable experience.

Kingsley FletcherThere are many types of fear, but the end result is the same: a future robbed of its potential and an individual haunted by the mystery of what might have been.

So how do we overcome fear? By daring to do. Dare to do what you as an individual have been called to do. Dare to be successful. Dare to dream big and accomplish your goals. Dare to act on your faith. Dare to make a positive difference. By daring to do, we can dramatically diminish our level of fear.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23: 4-5, NKJV). Can you imagine what it feels like to “fear no evil”? This is exactly the provision we have been given to protect and set us free from the bondage of fear.

How would you live your life without the presence of fear? How would you act if you knew you could not fail? What would you do differently if you had nothing to fear? What goals would you aspire to achieve if you knew failure was not a possibility?

Consider this: What if Mother Teresa had refused to dedicate her life to service and altruism because she feared living in poverty? What if Nelson Mandela had refused to oppose apartheid in South Africa because he feared imprisonment? What if Martin Luther King Jr. had refused to promote civil rights and preach a message of peace and nonviolence because he feared assassination?

What if Jesus had refused to accept the sins of the world and redeem mankind because He feared dying on the cross? Where would we be if some of the world’s most notable heroes had succumbed to fear?

The best way to overcome fear is to face it. Don’t allow fear of failure or fear of the unknown prevent you from pursuing your goals and fulfilling your God-given destiny in life. Go after your dreams with fervor and passion. Ask for help when you need it, and don’t stop until you receive it!

Start today. Determine in your heart and mind to leave a legacy of greatness and a life characterized by faith, not fear.


KINGSLEY FLETCHER is an international minister, educator, humanitarian and the author of Who Says You Can’t? (Charisma House), from which this column is adapted.

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