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

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

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

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

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

Your Future Matters More than Your Past!

Destiny is about looking forward.


During my youth, I did everything I knew to fit in. As a result, I fell in with the wrong crowd, did the wrong things and was on the wrong road to my future. Had there not been a major intervention by God, I would probably have been dead before the age of 20.

But God did intervene. And today, as a pastor, I often encounter people at my church with problems similar to the ones I had in my teen years in Baltimore, Maryland. For years now, my message has never changed: God doesn't make mistakes. He has never given up on you. God loves you and wants to see you fulfilled in life. God has a purpose and calling—a destiny—that He seeded into you when you were first conceived in your mother's womb, and He is still holding it for you today. read more

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

Take a Stand for Righteousness


When Katherine Harris became secretary of state in Florida in 1998, she had no idea she would play a significant role in the history of our country. But when her position required her to certify the outcome of the 2000 presidential election in her state, she took a stand based on what she believed was right—legally and in the eyes of God. Because her decision resulted in Florida's choosing George W. Bush over Al Gore by only 537 votes—and swinging the national election in Bush's favor—she was vigorously opposed, but she remained firm in her conviction.

Most of us will never be thrust into a situation in which the eyes of the entire nation are upon us, as Harris was. But each of us must be ready to take a stand for what is right. Beth Moore says we must follow the example of biblical characters such as Daniel and his fellow exiles, who lived a life without compromise.

In the last 40 years American courts have ruled Christianity out of public life and undermined the Christian foundation on which our country was built. As a result, righteousness has ceased to be valued and ungodly living has become the norm—much of it protected by law. Unless the trend is stopped, we risk losing our Christian heritage altogether. 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

Hold On To Your Faith


Last fall, in spite of our prayers, Central Florida residents faced the possibility of going through a second hurricane. Every weather report we saw indicated that one was heading our way. My husband and I had already been through a first round and experienced some damage to our home. Surely, it couldn't happen again!

When Frances, the second storm, arrived, my family was out of town. I kept praying and declaring to myself that no matter what I found after I got back, God said it was all going to work out for my good (see Rom. 8:28).

It was easy to have faith--until I walked into the house and found the ceilings collapsed, water standing everywhere and the smell of mold permeating the air. How could this disaster turn out for our good? 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

God and the Voting Booth

NOT EVERY POLITICAL ISSUE IS DEBATABLE FOR BELIEVERS. SOME CHOICES CAN BE READILY DISCERNED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD AS RIGHT OR WRONG.


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

Women of God, Arise!

SIX INTERNATIONAL LEADERS ARE CALLING THE WOMEN OF GOD TO RISE UP AND TAKE THEIR PLACES IN THE CHURCH.


Is God mobilizing women for kingdom authority in our day in a way we have not experienced since the book of Acts? Six women with decades as leaders in international ministry believe He is, and they're already moving forward with plans to mentor, advance and release women into their destiny in God.

On July 6-7 these leaders met face-to-face for the first time in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to share what they sense God is doing among women today and where they think He's leading women tomorrow. They believe God sovereignly spurred them into action. Furthermore, they are convinced that women who are serious about living for God stand on the brink of a worldwide movement that will position them in the kingdom for such a time as this. read more

True Worship


For the last 17 years, I've been on a journey to learn all I can about what true worship really is. I studied, taught and listened to others teach about worship.

And do you know what I have learned? Worship is not complicated. On the contrary, it is quite simple.

Worship starts with God's love. As we receive His love for us, we respond to that love. Our relationship with Him must be based on the understanding that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16, NKJV). read more

Why The President Needs Your Prayers

HERE ARE SEVEN AREAS FOR TARGETED INTERCESSION FOR OUR NATION'S LEADER.


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

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

Be Strong and Courageous


At our annual Charisma Women's Conference this spring, God spoke a powerful word to the nearly 8,000 women who attended. He said that it is time for us as women to step forward and accept the authority He has given us. He reminded us that we are empowered and authorized by His Word to do whatever He tells us to do.

The promised land described in the Old Testament is a picture of what God has available to us (see Josh. 1). He has a promised land for each of our lives--a destiny that only we can fulfill. Your promised land is the will of God for your life, and the only place you will find total fulfillment.

But to take your land, you must heed the admonition given to Joshua: "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go" (v. 7, NIV). read more

Israel's Time of Visitation

IN THIS HOUR, GOD'S HOLY PURPOSES ARE BEING REVEALED AROUND THE WORLD. I BELIEVE IT IS A TIME OF GREAT SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE FOR ISRAEL.


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

The Simplicity of Praise

God isn't looking a perfectly sung worship chorus but for the simple expression of our hearts.

Hagan-Worship FILLER It always seems to begin and end the same--a torn envelope, then a tearful stream.

Birthday rituals, especially those between a papa bear and his cubs, have a way of doing that. I'm as normal, I suppose, as any papa bear at the moment when, just prior to the cake and candles, I begin the jubilee by accepting my birthday cards from the kids. Responding joyfully to their eager offerings, I quickly thumb open the cards with heartfelt surprise. Then, without trying to look unappreciative for the coins spent, I swiftly glance past all the artwork and poetry. read more

Let Us Bow Before Him

If we are to see the church strengthened and the nation healed, we must learn how to approach the throne of God in humble, reverent worship.


America is in a time of crisis. During the last several decades, more and more people have turned away from God, no longer wanting to hear what He has to say about their lives and circumstances. The result has been a frightening moral decline that threatens to destroy our country from the inside out.

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, however, many ears have begun to open again. Fearful and uncertain about the future, many people are more willing than ever to listen to what God, through His church, has to say about the evil that has befallen our nation. read more

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