OLD TESTAMENT PRIESTS WERE CONSECRATED TO GOD THROUGH THE USE OF SPECIAL OILS. TODAY, WE MUST BE SURE WE DON'T MIX THE WRONG ELEMENTS WHEN WE SEEK TO CARRY HIS ANNOINTING. 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.
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
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
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?"
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.
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
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
You can trust God to bring it to pass--as long as you don't settle for less than his best.
Many of us are pregnant with a word that God has spoken to us either directly or through someone else. But if we have been carrying the word for a season with no indication that it is about to be birthed, we can become discouraged.
What promise has God proclaimed to you personally? Is it the restoration of your family? A ministry that mends the brokenhearted? Or a business that prospers and produces? read more
Probably the best advice my mother ever gave me came when I was finishing my senior year of high school. We were in one of those mother-and-daughter heated discussions because I had made some decisions that were breaking her heart. Like a broken record, she had repeated her speech over and over. It went something like this: "You lie in the bed that you make."
Faced with my "Oh, no, here we go again" attitude, my mother was completely frustrated. She blurted out, "You can come in here and fool me, Paula. You can fool your family and your friends, but you'd better be honest with yourself!"
I knew she was right. She had hit a nerve, and eventually, it proved to be the advice that would change my life. read more
PROCURRING THE PROMISES OF GOD REQUIRES PERSEVERANCE. ARE YOU WILLING TO PRESS THROUGH ADVERSITY TO FULFILL YOUR DESTINY? Your life is about more than merely existing. You are pregnant with promises from God, and He has an assignment for you! But are you willing to endure the process to procure the blessings that are inside of you?
Joseph is the perfect example of a man who was pregnant with promise and yet had to walk through the processes, trials and hurts of life to attain his destiny. He was the son of Jacob and Rachel (see Gen. 30:22-24). Because Joseph "was the son of his old age," Jacob loved him more than he did his other children, and he gave him a coat of many colors (Gen. 37:3, NKJV). read more
The beginning of a new year is like a mile marker on the path of life--a checkpoint to show how far you've come. It's a good time to think about where you are on the road to destiny.
When you were younger, what did you expect to have accomplished by this point? When you first got a vision of what God had planned for you, where did you think you would be by now? Are you moving forward--or has the climate of fear in our country paralyzed you and prevented you from making progress?
Many of us have allowed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the subsequent declaration of war to immobilize us. We have allowed fear to supercede faith--and to rule our thoughts, feelings and actions. read more
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
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
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).
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.
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
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
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