Not in Vain

Probably our greatest hindrance in doing the will of God is the fact that it involves sacrifice.

The Christian life seems to be a strange experience in this way, and many people (even believers) today either choose to gloss over the uncomfortable component of sacrifice or ignore it altogether.

Even during the joyous celebration of Christmas, as believers, we should not overlook the fact that the baby in the manger was destined for the cross. The truth remains that our salvation, God's free gift to us, was not without cost. read more

Wrinkle-Free Bride

Have you ever heard the expression "going to hell in a handbasket"? Doesn't it sometimes seem--at least, judging by our leaders--as if that's what the body of Christ is doing? We have high-profile charismatic preachers divorcing their wives to marry someone else, evangelical pastors falling prey to Internet pornography, mainline denominational priests sexually abusing their congregants' children and, more recently, a homosexual priest being raised up to the position of bishop. As a Christian journalist, I hear the reports--and I cringe.

But I have learned that if we focus on what we see, we can easily become discouraged. So I choose to keep my eyes on Jesus, the magnificent Bridegroom, and my heart anchored in His Word, which tells us that Christ gave Himself for the church "that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:27, NKJV, emphasis added). His plan is for us to be a glorious church--a beautiful, wrinkle-free bride. read more

Securing the Future

Like Mama Bears who fiercely protect their cubs, rightous women can become a powerful force in safeguarding America's destiny.

On a beautiful May morning in our nation's capital, the sun was streaming into the ornate reception room just off the floor of the United States Senate. Usually this is a very busy room, noisy with the hustle and bustle of senators scurrying on and off the floor or meeting with their constituents and staff.

Sometimes this space is filled with the well-heeled lobbyists of industry or a civics class visiting the Capitol. Often I listen to the echo of my own footsteps as I walk these halls or stand here alone, waiting to talk with a senator. read more

Why The President Needs Your Prayers


Not long after the multiple tragedies of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush was asked what he would like Americans to be praying. His reply was revealing. He said, "That there's a shield of protection, so that if the vile ones try to hit us again, that we've done everything we can, physically, and that there is a spiritual shield that protects the country."

Clearly, Bush is a man who understands the power of intercessory prayer. He recognizes that there is a realm beyond the seen, a spiritual realm, that influences human events. He knows that prayer has power in this realm and that a praying people erect a "spiritual shield" that can withstand attacks of every kind. read more

Pray With Desperation

NOBODY IN MY FAMILY watches Desperate Housewives. My wife and I are raising four teenage daughters, so the last thing we need is a sleazy prime-time soap opera about suburban women who consider adultery an acceptable way to cure boredom.

No thanks. I'll change the channel.

On the other hand, I do want my girls to grow up to be desperate. Not like the women who live on the fictional Wisteria Lane, but more like Hannah--the Bible's original desperate housewife. We could use a big dose of her desperation today. read more

Are You Praying for Leaders?

If you are especially burdened to intercede for governmental authorities, it's possible you've been anointed for a special assignment.

Who can forget the memorable Wednesday night in January 1991 when television viewers watched with astonishment as the Gulf War unfolded before our very eyes? The war appeared to be a struggle over Kuwait's crude oil. However, oil is symbolic of power, both physically and spiritually.

Saddam Hussein did not count on the fact that God's people would gather throughout the land to pray. Not unlike the prideful Goliath, Hussein was swiftly defeated and made the laughingstock of the entire world. God honors the prayers of His government intercessors! read more

God's Interceding Forerunners

In obedience to Jesus' explicit command, 120 believers waited in the upper room for the promise of the Father, and while they waited, they travailed in prayer. For 10 days they gave themselves to intercession.

Luke records their steadfast spiritual labor: "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication" (Acts 1:14, NKJV). This is a key fact that reveals that intercession was an integral part of the birth of the church.

In that miraculous moment, the Holy Spirit fell in power. Peter preached Christ, and suddenly 3,000 souls believed, repented and were born anew (see Acts 2:37-41). The travail of the 120 brought forth new life for many. This is the calling of God's interceding forerunners everywhere. read more

Calling All Intercessors

The local weathermen warned us regularly in spring 2006 about the dreadful hurricane season Florida residents were facing. The two previous years had been record-breaking in our state and across the Gulf region for damage due to hurricanes. In Orlando, where I live, three storms hit within six weeks.

At a conference I attended in May 2006, several leaders discussed the dismal forecasts. As we talked, it became clear that the Holy Spirit was prodding us to do something. After all, Jesus has authority over the winds and the waves (see Mark 4:39), and He gave His authority to us. By the end of the discussion, three of us who have intercessory prayer networks totaling about 10,000 people committed to take a stand in prayer against the storms and their probable devastation.

During the next month I connected with several other leaders whom God was also directing to stand in prayer regarding the storm season. We began to ask the Holy Spirit for His strategy and were amazed at how specifically He directed us to pray. We decreed: "No storm of hurricane strength will hit American soil." read more

Israel's Time of Visitation


It was July 2000 and in Israel not only the political climate was hot, but also the temperature--the thermometer was well over the 100-degree mark. Despite the blistering heat, I and 450 fellow Aglow women traveled to the Holy Land just as peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians began at Camp David.

It was more than just a sightseeing trip; we were on a mission ordained by God. For the next several days we traveled through Israel, praying, worshiping and loving the people. We proclaimed the love of God and the holy purposes for His people, those whom He calls "the apple of His eye" (see Zech. 2:6-8). read more

Shhh! God Is Calling

My wife gave me an iPod for my birthday last July but I waited until Christmas to open it. Of course I appreciated the gift. But I avoided opening the box because I didn't want to tinker with another new form of technology.

I have reached my limit. And I am not the only one suffering from high-tech fatigue. I see this condition everywhere. People talk on cell phones while driving. Some use their phones while e-mailing from their laptops. I see guys chatting in airport restrooms using their remote earphones. (No thanks. I'll call from the gate area.)

I've even watched two people sit together in a restaurant while they phone other people at the same time. What we've lost in real connection with human beings we've made up for in increased broadband speed, sound quality and added video features. After all, who needs the lost art of conversation when we have TiVo, BlackBerry devices, Bluetooth headsets and smaller, sleeker MP3 players? read more

The Upper Room Experience

There is a substantial difference between being filled with the Holy Spirit and not being filled. The apostle Peter went through a period of stumbling, defeat and insecurity. But Jesus had promised the disciples they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them, and they would be His witnesses.

Peter lived that experience in the upper room where it says: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:2-4, NKJV).

For three years, Peter walked with Jesus and saw the most glorious moments of the Lord's ministry. But when Peter had to make a stand for Christ, he refused to do so. In the upper room, when he received the fulfillment of Christ's promise, the fullness of the Holy Spirit enabled him to become a faithful witness.

We do not change because we witness miracles and wonders, nor do we change because we attend a beautiful worship service. Only an upper room experience can transform us--a personal experience with Christ through His Holy Spirit. read more

Walking by the Spirit

Some christians beleive being Spirit-Led applies to only one aspect of their lives. But God wants us to be guided by Him in all areas.

One day shortly before the November 2000 presidential election, I came home from work and found my son listening to sound clips on his computer that had been posted on Rush Limbaugh's Web site. The clips were recordings of the voices of women who, previously unsure about their choice for president, had de-cided to vote for Al Gore. Their reason? He had kissed his wife publicly before giving his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention!

"It made my knees go weak," one woman commented. Another said she nearly swooned when she observed Gore's public display of affection. Several admitted that the kiss alone had caused them to become avid Gore supporters. read more

Becoming One With God

Achieving true oneness with the trinity requires laying aside our own self or soul-life in order to live by the thoughts, desires and choices of Christ.

The bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11 changed all our perspectives. Nonbelievers watched the crumbling towers and faced their own mortality. Believers saw the beginning of the end.

Seeing that we have little time to allow the Holy Spirit to bring us into conformity to the life of Christ, we asked ourselves, How should we then live? We recognized that of ourselves we were sloppy, self-indulgent witnesses to Christ, and suddenly we were galvanized into a deadly seriousness about our Christian walk. read more

Will You Ride With Him?

There is no difficulty in life that can hold you captive when you know that the victor, the word of God, lives in you.

As Christian women we are often told to read the Word of God. "The Word is your defense against the attacks of Satan," people say. So how come it looks as if the enemy is winning in our lives more often than not?

"Lord, am I faithless?" I cried out to Him not long ago. "Do I doubt your Word? Why isn't there more victory in my life?" In response, God led me to Revelation 19:11-13--a picture of the victorious Christ riding into battle on a white horse. But what did this Rider have to do with me and my battles, right here and right now? I wondered. Again, God responded, leading me step by step through the Scriptures until I understood this powerful message of hope and victory. read more

The Ingredients of the Anointing


Throughout my teen-age years, my aunt owned a catering business. She was known particularly for her ability to bake wonderful cakes--as beautiful as they were delicious. These weren't your everyday oven fare made from butter, eggs, sugar and flour. These were anointed cakes, and they included a secret ingredient.

I remember one occasion when her daughter asked her to bake a huge cake for a friend's baby shower. My mother and I and several others were in the dining room when she was putting the cake together.

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Lord, Send Your Wind

The Holy Ghost is in us to do more than make us shout. He has come to give us the power to live holy.

This year marks the observance of the 100th anniversary of the Church of God in Christ, the body of believers I am privileged to serve as general supervisor of the Department of Women. Our founder, Bishop Charles H. Mason, was sovereignly led to establish the denomination after having experienced the great move of God during the Azusa Street Revival. Four years later, Mason called Mother Lizzie Woods Robinson to serve with him as the first organizer of the women's department.

During the early years, the women came together on occasion to fellowship, encourage one another and pray. Eventually, their soul-winning and evangelistic work would lay the foundation for the birthing of churches and the expansion of the ministry. read more

God and the Voting Booth


On Resurrection Sunday this year we had a special visitation in our church service, but it was not from the Lord. A group of men and women from New York visited my congregation that day.

From an insider I learned that most of the people in this group were on paid leave from their regular jobs in New York so they could work on a "special project" in Florida. This project entailed recruiting and encouraging people to vote in the upcoming election. read more

Time For A Revolution

Recently Charisma magazine reported on a crusade in Nigeria that was hosted by German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. During the six days of the crusade, a record number of people--3.4 million--made decisions to receive Christ.

In a television interview not long after the crusade Bonnke said:"The tide is coming in! The immovable is now movable; the impossible is now possible; the incurable is now curable!"

I believe Bonnke's comment was a prophetic statement about the spiritual atmosphere in the world today. Many leaders, both Christian and secular, have sensed a turning of the spiritual tide. Related to the recent change of leadership in our nation, a secular newscaster declared that "God is in," and U.S. News & World Report raised the question, "Is America undergoing a spiritual awakening?" read more

Lord, Send Your Fire!

Recently my husband, Steve, and I visited Argentina, where revival has been taking place for several years now. Over and over again we heard the same message proclaimed: God is pouring out His fire to purify and prepare a bride who is without spot or wrinkle. This message is based on the declaration John the Baptist made about Jesus, "'He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire'" (Matt. 3:11, NIV, emphasis added).

One of the results of being baptized in fire is holiness, a characteristic that was the primary focus of the Spirit in the late 1800s. It defined the Holiness movement and set the stage for the Pentecostal movement that followed at the turn of the century.

But gradually the emphasis in the Holiness movement changed from seeking to develop a pure heart to simply following a set of rules, and true holiness--taking on the nature of God--was lost. We settled for a doctrine of partial holiness: one that allowed a watered-down purity to coexist with carnal hearts full of compromise, competition and division. read more

Believe God Loves You

Many of us don't know and understand the love God has for us, so it's hard for us to be completely dependent on Him. First John 4:16 says, "And we have known and believed the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (NKJV).

We know God loves us because He tells us so. And, we know by His actions. He sent His only Son to suffer and die in order to take away our sins and provide us with eternal life so we could be with Him forever.

Many of us intellectually know that God loves us. But do we really believe He loves us? Do we claim all that He has for us?

Knowing and believing are two separate things. If we believe God loves us, we have no cause to worry about anything. He is the only one who will never let us down. There is no one like Him.

Many times we feel we don't deserve God's love, but it's not about what we do to earn His love. It's about what He did for us--He gave.

What matters to God is that we learn to accept His love as freely given to us. God's love makes it possible for us to work through any situation that comes our way. read more


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