God seems nearer to us when we are grieving the loss of someone we love. Trusting His Spirit to enable us, we will find ourselves going on, with our strength renewed, one step at a time.
2 Cor. 1:1-101 Thess. 4:13-14
Heb. 4:14-16Rev. 21:4
In our grief, we are often tempted to give in to anger and blame. But to do that is to forfeit the Holy Spirit's comfort and healing. How do we avail ourselves of God's help? How do we hinder the Spirit's comfort?
Father, draw especially close to all those who are grieving the loss of someone special today. May they know Your divine peace, joy and eternal encouragement. Amen.
Brenda J. Davis is the acquisitions editor for Creation House. read more
Gov. John Lynch released the following statement today regarding same-sex legislation in New Hampshire:
“The gay marriage debate in New Hampshire has been filled with passion and emotion on all sides.
“My personal views on the subject of marriage have been shaped by my own experience, tradition and upbringing. But as Governor of New Hampshire, I recognize that I have a responsibility to consider this issue through a broader lens.
“In the past weeks and months, I have spoken with lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens. My office has received thousands of phone calls, letters and emails. I have studied our current marriage and civil union laws, the laws of other states, the bills recently passed by the legislature and our history and traditions.
“Two years ago, we passed civil unions legislation here in New Hampshire. That law gave same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights and protections as marriage. And in typical New Hampshire fashion, the people of this state embraced civil unions and agreed we needed to continue our tradition of opposing discrimination.
“At its core, HB 436 simply changes the term ‘civil union’ to ‘civil marriage.’ Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change.
“I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families.
“I have also heard, and I understand, the concerns of our citizens who have equally deep feelings and genuine religious beliefs about marriage. They fear that this legislation would interfere with the ability of religious groups to freely practice their faiths.
“Throughout history, our society’s views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded. New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections.
“That is what I believe we must do today.
“But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty. In their current form, I do not believe these bills accomplish those goals.
“The Legislature took an important step by clearly differentiating between civil and religious marriage, and protecting religious groups from having to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their fundamental religious beliefs.
“But the role of marriage in many faiths extends beyond the actual marriage ceremony.
“I have examined the laws of other states, including Vermont and Connecticut, which have recently passed same-sex marriage laws. Both go further in protecting religious institutions than the current New Hampshire legislation.
“This morning, I met with House and Senate leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language that will provide additional protections to religious institutions.
“This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions. It will make clear that they cannot be forced to act in ways that violate their deeply held religious principles.
“If the legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it.
“We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity.
“I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it.
Below is the language Gov. Lynch has proposed for the same Sex legislation.
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I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals, and such solemnization, celebration, or promotion of marriage is in violation of their religious beliefs and faith. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such religious organization, association or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society.
II. The marriage laws of this state shall not be construed to affect the ability of a fraternal benefit society to determine the admission of members pursuant to RSA 418:5, and shall not require a fraternal benefit society that has been established and is operating for charitable and educational purposes and which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if to do so would violate the fraternal benefit society’s free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and part 1, article 5 of the Constitution of New Hampshire
III. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed or construed to limit the protections and exemptions provided to religious organizations under RSA § 354-A:18.
IV. Repeal. RSA 457-A, relative to civil unions, is repealed effective January 1, 2011, except that no new civil unions shall be established after January 1, 2010. read more
The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples.
One of the sisters had posted a note on the apple tray: "Take only one. God is watching."
At the other end of the table in the lunch line was a large pile of tempting chocolate chip cookies. Next to them, a child had left a note: "Take all you want. God is watching the apples." Author Unknown read more
In 1944, I was in my early teens and spending the summer with my sister, Sissy, and her husband, Ted. Sissy, her four children and I were about to leave for a trip in her old station wagon, when Ted surprised her with a brand-new car he'd just bought for her.
This was in the days before seat belts, so I had the privilege of holding the new baby, Linda, on the road. It was Saturday, and there were lots of construction signs but no workers. For miles, the signs warned us of the deep ditch next to the shoulder of the extremely narrow road.
My sister was fumbling with the radio and ran off the highway. She pulled hard on the steering wheel but there was no controlling it. She screamed, "Hold on!" read more
Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release May 7, 2009 NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, 2009 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
Throughout our Nation's history, Americans have come together in moments of great challenge and uncertainty to humble themselves in prayer. In 1775, as the Continental Congress began the task of forging a new Nation, colonists were asked to observe a day of quiet humiliation and prayer. Almost a century later, as the flames of the Civil War burned from north to south, President Lincoln and the Congress once again asked the American people to pray as the fate of their Nation hung in the balance.
It is in that spirit of unity and reflection that we once again designate the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer. Let us remember those who came before us, and let us each give thanks for the courage and compassion shown by so many in this country and around the world.
On this day of unity and prayer, let us also honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. We celebrate their commitment to uphold our highest ideals, and we recognize that it is because of them that we continue to live in a Nation where people of all faiths can worship or not worship according to the dictates of their conscience.
Let us also use this day to come together in a moment of peace and goodwill. Our world grows smaller by the day, and our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife; and to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. As we observe this day of prayer, we remember the one law that binds all great religions together: the Golden Rule, and its call to love one another; to understand one another; and to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth.
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a "National Day of Prayer."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 7, 2009, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon Americans to pray in thanksgiving for our freedoms and blessings and to ask for God's continued guidance, grace, and protection for this land that we love.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
By James W. Goll, Chosen, softcover, 272 pages, $14.99.
This book starts with a bang by detailing a 2006 vision in which an angel appeared before author James Goll wearing a glowing robe and a gold sash emblazoned with the words: “Israel Awakening.” From there, Goll never lets up. He delivers a combination of history lesson, prophetic revelation and a stirring call to action. Many readers are likely to feel embarrassed after reading the author’s recap of the church’s shameful history, which ultimately helped fuel Adolf Hitler’s murderous elimination of 6 million Jews. Echoing the cries of “Never again!” heard in Israel, Goll urges Christians to let that be their watchword in standing against the anti-Semitism rising again across the world. The Coming Israel Awakening is also excellent resource material, including an overview of Israel’s history, a recap of revivals and Holy Spirit movements, and a list of referral ministries. It will also inspire readers with such facts as: Christianity is the world’s leading faith (twice the growth rate of Islam), it is mushrooming in Africa, and it has created an explosion of conversions since Israel’s rebirth in 1948. —Ken Walker
What to Do on the Worst Day of Your Life
By Brian Zahnd, Christian Life, hardcover, 160 pages, $14.99.
Brian Zahnd, senior pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Mo., uses David as an example for how we should respond on our worst day. On David’s worst day, he and his men returned home to find their city burned, their houses looted and their families kidnapped. Their first response was to weep. Zahnd affirms that God does not expect us to deny our sorrow but also explains there is a time to stop crying and start rejoicing. Holding on to grief, he writes, will turn it into self-pity and keep us from victory. He discusses other steps that must be taken: resist bitterness, find encouragement in God, receive a word from God, reorient vision, regain passion, attack, recover all, celebrate recovery, give. Zahnd doesn’t deny that tragedies and difficult events create heartbreak. But he balances empathy with challenge. He states that emotions and the reality of situations must be acknowledged but that we must also keep moving forward, believing God will fulfill His promises. —Leight DeVore
Praying for Those You Love
By Jack Hayford, Chosen, softcover, 176 pages, $13.99.
Christians have always held a strong desire to share the good news with others in hope of leading them to Christ. That desire is even greater when trying to reach loved ones. Jack Hayford explains that instead of trying nonstop nagging or guilt trips, the best way is to live a godly example and pray consistently. Hayford begins by emphasizing the reality of spiritual warfare and the need to intercede in prayer for loved ones instead of using condemnation and judgment. He gives solid, practical teaching on how to pray, the power of prayer, and even praying for someone you don’t really want to pray for. Winning loved ones to Christ requires patience and faith. But Hayford provides encouragement and instruction for anyone wanting to stand in the gap for family and friends. —Jeff Friend
More Than a Theory
By Hugh Ross, BakerBooks, hardcover, 304 pages, $17.99.
As author Hugh Ross notes, what people believe about the origins of life colors every other aspect of their views on our existence and is one reason the creation-evolution debate rages on nearly a century after the infamous Scopes Trial. Yet, as the oft-published astronomer and founder of Reasons to Believe points out, this issue is more than a “young earth vs. atheists” dispute. He identifies nine major perspectives. His thesis will upset many. Young-earth creationists will dispute his belief in a universe more than 13 billion years old, and evolutionists will carp about his statement that they seek to censor any theory that differs from Darwinism. The book’s scientific terminology and discussions may lose many lay readers. Yet those interested in a detailed exploration of creation will find “More Than a Theory” quite useful. And, Biblical supporters will appreciate how Ross draws a picture of a highly complex world that, scientifically speaking, started with a Creator. With best-selling atheist Richard Dawkins reportedly set to release another book soon, Ross’ contribution is a valuable one for Christians searching for solid proof of divine origins. —Ken Walker
Free Yourself to Love
By Jackie Kendall, FaithWords, softcover, 256 pages, $13.99.
It’s not a matter of if you’re going to be greatly wronged; it’s a matter of when. If it hasn’t happened already, forgiveness will become your greatest challenge. Jackie Kendall tackles the nitty-gritty of handling damage done to us and exposes the subtle but common ways people exercise pseudo-forgiveness. Some people minimize offense, others rush to forgive without feeling the pain and trauma, and the “big-hearted” explain away the behavior, while others cover up or keep emotions in check by being highly driven. It may all be “natural” behavior, but Kendall points out that no matter how you dress it up it still enlists you in the Victim Entitlement Society. The person most affected is you: “Unforgiveness is a form of self-abuse,” she writes. In fact, for a Christian, she says it is an “oxymoron.” “Love is one of the key characteristics a follower of Jesus should display, and forgiveness is a synonym for love,” Kendall writes. Her dramatic personal history and many other stories shared underscore “forgiveness tools” and biblical principles to help you be a person who authentically forgives. —Marsha Gallardo
By Twila Paris, Koch Records.
Music veteran Twila Paris is back with a solid collection of gentle pop that is in keeping with her past work. Though far from edgy or innovative, this clean-sounding album is quite good at points, particularly with “You Lead Me,” which has a jazz-piano motif that reminds one of Ginny Owens; and “Alleluia,” a pretty ballad that brings to mind Amy Grant. It’s probably the best song here, although “We Know Love” and “You Are a Great God” are good and occasionally offer just the right touch. The biggest criticism here is that this album can at times seem cloying, or at least too mild-mannered. But much of this quiet music is tailor-made for a Christian women’s conference, especially the snappy “Live to Praise You”; and that’s undoubtedly the target audience for this pleasant collection of biblically based songs. —Cameron Conant
By Hillsong Kids, Integrity Music.
Follow You offers rousing songs wrapped in melodies that will immediately capture kids’ attention and spirits. From the get-go children will sing and praise—and bounce and head-bob. Even the most reserved child (or parent) will get into the groove hearing the young audience sing along. The title track is a fun, energetic, rocking song about prayer and declares that “nothing will ever stop me from living for You.” “Spinning Around” reminds us that God is everywhere and His love is deep and wide. The slower ballad “Trust and Obey” is a song of commitment to doing what God says. A highlight is “I’m So Glad/ You are Here (the Same Power).” Hearing the younger vocalists leading the crowd in declaring their need for Jesus is particularly moving. The music on this CD is certainly geared to a young audience, but there is nothing childish about the lyrics and truths presented. Children will be encouraged to devote themselves to the all-powerful, all-loving, ever-present God. The fun energy on this live recording will remind kids that God is not boring—a reminder that “big church” needs from time to time. Kids can also join in the action with the DVD, which features music, memory verses, teachings and funny moments. —Leigh DeVore
I Believe There Is More
By Don Moen, Integrity Music.
As enjoyable as high-energy, fast-paced praise and worship music is, there is something refreshing about the simple, easy-listening music Don Moen offers on his latest release, I Believe There Is More. His collection of 14 songs, including nine tracks he wrote or co-wrote, are more mellow than most of the worship music offered today. But that certainly doesn’t diminish the power his music will have to help listeners enter the presence of the Lord. Moen goes a little country on “Thank God I’m Free,” an energetic song of praise. Title track “I Believe There Is More” is a song of faith declaring that even though God has done great things so far, He is going to do still more. “O God of Abraham,” with a Celtic touch, declares that God can do anything. “I’ll Say Yes” is a song of “casting aside any fear and price” to obey. Although this album isn’t the rousing music some might be used to, there is a sense of peace that comes through in Moen’s straightforward yet more mellow approach. Listeners will be encouraged and renewed as they allow the music and lyrics to wash over them. —Leigh DeVore
By Mike Dellosso, Realms, softcover, 320 pages, $13.99.
Mark Stone hears eerie screams and seconds later someone dies. He is determined to find out what the screams mean in hope of saving lives. When he hears the screams during a phone call with his estranged wife, he is even more invigorated to figure out why this is happening and how to stop it.
By Deborah Raney, Howard Books, softcover, 320 pages, $13.99.
Still grieving the deaths of his wife and daughter, Doug DeVore can hardly keep going for his other five children. Their day-care owner, Mickey Valdez, becomes a steadying force in their upside-down lives. Doug and Mickey begin a whirlwind courtship and quickly marry. But soon they both face new expectations and overwhelming emotions.
By Beverly Lewis, BethanyHouse, softcover, 368 pages, $13.99.
Grace Byler comes from an ordinary Amish family. But they have secrets. When her mother disappears, Grace calls off her marriage to her long-time sweetheart. While she tries desperately to put her life back together, she questions all she has known and been taught. But in the midst of the turmoil, Grace senses God’s love and mercy.
SAMPLE THE SONGS
For song samples, video clips and more on the artists featured in this month’s Vibes, click here. read more
One day I was working at my desk when one of my co-workers mentioned that Charles and Frances Hunter, the "Happy Hunters," were holding their last healing crusade. She had read in Charisma about Frances Hunter's bout with breast cancer.
Hearing about this, I felt as if someone had just flattened me. I thought, Frances Hunter, this wonderful instrument of God, how could this be? I have known the Hunters and been ministered to by them since 1988, when they came to my church and taught on healing.
Within minutes, I was crying, and my friend was praying for me. My co-worker asked me if the cancer I'd battled a few years before had returned. I confessed that I did not know because there were so many sensations and feelings that I was dealing with in my body and mind. read more
(Rev. Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries sent this response on March 12, 2009)
Lee, I think what you call "the Lakeland disaster" would be disputed by multitudes of people who got healed or touched there. If you are such judge of this what gives you the credentials? What moves of God have you led? What have you built? Paul the apostle claimed to have authority for building and for tearing down, but what gives you authority to tear down the work of others is having built something yourself.
I, Todd, Bill and Jack all know this is a very serious matter, and are treating it as such. I am deeply offended that you would call our work "a travesty." The Lord had far more grace for sinners than for the self-righteous, who He had no grace for at all. I am personally far more concerned for you than for Todd.
Lee, I love some of the things you write, but I also feel that some are straight from the mouth of the accuser. I do think you have done at least as much damage to the church as Todd's fall has by your unrighteous and unfair judgments. I don't think you have earned the credentials for it, and you're putting yourself in far more jeopardy by trying to be such a self-appointed judge.
I'm quite sure you will misunderstand what I'm saying, and I'm definitely not implying that we want to cover anything up, or promote cheap grace. We have just started the process and its being judged negatively. Give us some time, and some grace. Grace is, by the way, something we are supposed to be giving to each other.
If you care to follow this, Todd and I will be doing Video Special Bulleting each week that will be posted on our website, U-Tube, and carried by many others. These will be short, like the first, only about 10 minutes, but we want to cover the mistakes Todd has made, and as much as we can in the time we have, how he fell into some of the traps he did, strictly for helping others to not have to go through what Todd has. He will no doubt be doing a lot of public apologizing during this time because the public deserves these apologies.
I think you owe Todd, myself, Bill, and Jack apologies for your presumptuous judgments. I think they should be as public as this letter was. If not, I feel that I will have to address this publicly, and I don't think that is in your best interest.
I also think you need to come down and spend some time with Todd and me. If you have problems with someone we have Matt.18 as a guide to how we should deal with them. Read the first part of that chapter. This was given to help protect people from becoming stumbling blocks, which the Lord made quite clear was something we do not want to be. If you think being a journalist exempts you from complying with Scripture, I would like to know what philosophy you have bought into that trumps Scripture.
Sorry if this comes across as harsh. I don't mean for it too but I am quite busy and just don't have the time that I would like to maybe be a bit more tactful. read more