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I Have a Dream

by Robert Ricciardelli

The last few days I have been waking up thinking about Martin Luther King Jr. I kept hearing his "I Have a Dream" speech as I awoke each of the last few mornings. He is one of my heroes of the faith; a difference-maker, and a catalyst for good and for the generations. I asked the Lord if there was some further meaning to my thoughts about him. He said, "I gave him a dream, and I have given you a dream."

I decided to write out my dream in honor of one of my hero's dreams. Thank you, Lord, for Dr. King, who stood for You, stood for freedom and gave his life for the cause of that freedom. I write this in honor of him and the legacy he left for us all:

"I have a dream that one day the kingdom nation of God will rise up and live out the true meaning of Christ's all-consuming creed that fulfills all laws and prophecies with these words: 'The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, and also love your neighbor as yourself. read more

Courageous Dvd Cover

Guys Can Take 'Courageous' Step With Movie's Video Release

Guys who have been touched and challenged by the message of the faith-based police drama, Courageous, to become the godly influence in their home that God intended, have an opportunity to share it with others in a low-key way, starting tomorrow.

The hit movie from the makers of Fireproof releases on DVD, providing a great opportunity for men to host a small group viewing or invite non-Christians friends who may have felt uncomfortable going to see it in the theaters to watch together at home.

The makers at Sherwood Pictures—based at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.—have reported hundreds of testimonies of husbands and fathers who have been inspired to turn their lives over to God in a new way through the movie.

Among those who have written to the producers is Aimee, who told them: "I want to thank you for what you have done to my marriage. My husband is a police officer, so the movie particularly struck close to home. Not only has he stepped up to be what God intended him to be, he has given up addictions and vices that were crippling and shattering our marriage and the relationship he had with our kids." read more

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Integrity for the Race

God wants to develop His character in us so we can persevere for the long haul. Yet how he does it is often anything but easy.

We are not born with integrity. Integrity is something that is developed in our lives through the choices we make every day.

Integrity is an internal standard and conviction. It is having a sensitive conscience before God. The more sensitive your conscience is, the more in tune with the Holy Spirit you will be. As you follow your conscience, you will develop integrity in your life. True character and integrity are revealed in the choices you make when no one else is around. read more

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Restoring the Feminine Soul

Many women go through life wounded and broken. But no matter the source of the hurt, Christ can repair the damage.

I grew up around a lot of negative lifestyles. For years as a child, I experienced grief, abandonment, abuse and homelessness. Some people think that if you ignore past hurts, they will just go away. But the anger and the core feelings that are born in an abusive environment can strangle an individual's emotional and developmental growth.

Many women have had to deal with the kind of mistreatment that was intended to control and subjugate them. Abuse of any kind breeds fear and damages the soul, made up of the mind, will and emotions. Ill-treatment devalues a woman and wears down her self-respect. read more

We Need to Be Loved

We all have not just a desire—but a need—to be loved. Watch as Beth Moore explains what happens when we don't go to God to get our cup filled, and how we can come to Him to be filled.

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No Longer Silent

Your heavenly Father has a beautiful plan for your life—one that no one else on Earth can fulfill because you are unique. You are the only one of you that God has.

However, religious tradition and Jewish custom have been relentless in their suppression of women. Even those extraordinary women who have overcome female subjugation and have launched out and done exploits in Christ’s name have had little recorded about their triumphs of faith. read more

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In Search of the Perfect Body

Having the shape of your dreams isn't your ticket to happiness. It's learning to love the skin you're in.

Imagine a world where everyone looks like Barbie and Ken. Try to imagine yourself as a Barbie, talking to the other Barbies and Kens.

Would you like yourself? Would you think you were as pretty as the other Barbies? Would you be envious of them?

Would everyone in the group be happy with how they look? Or would some be depressed, struggling with a negative body image? Would others feel better than everyone else based on how they look? read more

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Beauty From the Inside Out

You'll need more than cosmetics for great-looking skin and a lovely appearance. You'll need to understand the health and beauty connection.

Beauty truly does radiate from within. A healthy, vibrant woman defies age. As a testimony and reflection of our self-esteem, inner beauty and vibrancy, true beauty is the result of inner vitality, balance, health and happiness, not vanity.

Optimal nutrition, stress-relieving exercise and a positive frame of mind are requirements you must tote along on your continued journey toward complete balance. A balanced body and a beautiful spirit are better than the very best cosmetic application or surgery. read more

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For 2012, Let’s Get Serious About New Year’s Resolutions

Every year we make New Year’s resolutions, and every year we forget them by March. But what if we could actually make our goals happen? What if we could actually stick with it?

To make resolutions work we have to first learn how to make change happen in our lives—how to embrace it, and how it use it to take us to the next level. So this year, before you lock in resolutions, let’s study this list of how to position ourselves for change. I’ll pulled these from my book Jolt! and I think they’ll help you in 2012: read more

A word for the Grand Poobah

People often ask me if I have a title. My normal reply is:  “You can call me Lee. Or if you want to sound formal, you can say, ‘Brother Grady.’” But my reply doesn’t always satisfy everyone. 

All kinds of labels have been pinned on me: Reverend, pastor, prophet, apostle … even bishop. Once I was introduced to a church as “Dr. Grady” and I almost crawled under my seat. I only have a college degree. There are no letters after my name.

Today it seems we’ve developed a title fetish. For a while everyone in charismatic circles was becoming a bishop (and some were installed into this office with rings, robes and strange hats). Then the same guys with the pointy hats started calling themselves apostles. Then the prophets got jealous and started calling themselves apostles too. And I knew one lady who required people to call her “Exalted Prophetess.”  read more

The Change of Mind That Changed My Life

Someone once said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” Change is a part of life. It’s also uncomfortable and can be scary. Here are a few facts about change:

It’s a process. And it’s often a lengthy one that requires long-term commitment.

It’s frightening. Even though we usually want change, we also like to be in control. But we have to be willing to let go of something to move toward something new—without knowing exactly what the new thing will be like.

It takes action. It comes when we confront our fears. read more

Judgment in a ‘Don’t Judge Me’ Culture

Few things rile Christians more than talk of God’s judgment in the wake of disaster. When mass tragedy hits it’s become routine for some prophet, preacher or politician to stir up controversy by pronouncing God’s role in the matter. The problem for believers, however, is discerning exactly what that role is.

After Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, multiple leaders in the prophetic movement declared God had judged the already poverty-stricken country for its spiritual ties with witchcraft. Japan’s quake and tsunami last year yielded similar “words from the Lord,” some of which harkened back to warnings issued decades earlier. Yet these prophetic responses also drew the ire of fellow leaders upset by those whom they felt were misrepresenting God’s heart as if He were gloating over the millions suffering through these tragedies. 

Around the same time another judgment prophecy warned of a massive earthquake that would hit California and the West Coast. When catastrophe didn’t come as predicted, many local believers—particularly those who feel called to California—not only questioned the prophecy’s source, but also took issue with the implied theological ramifications.  read more

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Charisma Online

No More Religious Persecution in China?

With reports of 30,000 people accepting Christ daily, one thing is for sure: God is moving in the most populous country in the world. But missionary Dennis Balcombe says the 21st century Chinese church is not experiencing the same persecution their predecessors did. Visit balcombe.charismamag.com to watch an exclusive interview with Balcombe and Charisma Editor Marcus Yoars.

 

CMOnline_4Praise from prison
As a Christian living in communist China, Dorothy Sun spent six years in prison and 14 more working in a forced-labor factory. She has since become a U.S. citizen. Today she returns regularly to China with her husband, Freddie, who also was jailed there for his faith, to work with house churches and spread the gospel. Watch their amazing testimony at sun.charismamedia.com.

 

How fasting can be edgyCMOnline_2

 Visit fast.charismamedia.com and find out how choosing prayer over your dinner plate can help you reclaim your spiritual edge. Watch as pastor Jentezen Franklin gives key principles to fasting that will catapult you into your spiritual destiny and restore your edge.

 

CMOnline_5Win The Harbinger

Starting in 732 B.C., God gave Israel nine prophetic warnings of coming judgment for refusing to repent. Messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn writes that the same nine harbingers are now manifesting in America with profound ramifications for this nation’s future. Win a copy of his compelling prophetic novel at 
harbinger.charismamag.com.

 

Recession? What recession?CMOnline_3
You can live free from the fear that grips people during economically tough times. Go to recessionfree .charismamag .com to find out how.

 

Get our free app

With the Charisma Mobile app, news, reviews, commentary and more will be sent to your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm webOS or Nokia phone. Download the free app by going to app.charismamag.com. read more

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SpirituaI Trends to Watch in 2012

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The doom-and-gloom crowd always expects the negative. But behind the troubling headlines, God is working in surprising ways.


Some people are terrified of 2012. Their fear is based on the fact that the Mayans of ancient Mexico mysteriously ended their 5,126-year-old calendar on Dec. 21, 2012—as if they expected the world to end that day.

This stupid hypothesis became the basis for several New Age books and a silly disaster movie, 2012, in which actor John Cusack avoids meteors and earthquakes just in time to get his family aboard the modern version of Noah’s ark (built in China!) before the rest of the world is destroyed by a tsunami.

I’m not worried about 12/21/12 because (1) Ancient Mayans never actually said the world would end in 2012—and even if they did, they didn’t have an inside track to God; (2) Doomsday predictions have never been accurate; and (3) Jesus Christ holds the future in His hands. As long as I’m in relationship with Him, it doesn’t matter what happens on earth. I’m secure.

Despite strange weather patterns, global terrorism and the spectre of an economic crash, I’m actually optimistic about where we’re headed in 2012. Through my research and travels, I’ve noticed these emerging trends—some negative, some positive—that will shape our future: read more

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God’s Requirements for Recession-Proof Living

How to not only survive but even prosper amid today’s economic challenges{jcomments on}

Before a pilot takes off on a flight, he goes through a checklist of things that must be cleared to ensure his plane is in good working order. If he forgets to check his list, he may miss something, and that could cost him his life. This awareness causes him to be extremely careful not to make any mistakes. As Christians, we should be as diligent in our everyday lives at searching the Scriptures to see if we are missing something God’s Word instructs us to do. 

We are under grace, so I am not talking about earning anything from God or obeying by our own power. It is His grace that enables us to obey His Word, as Hebrews 12:28 states:  “Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” 

From searching the Scriptures, we know that the Bible says part of God’s covenant with us is prospering us (Deut. 8:18; 28:2). Yet do we even know what biblical prosperity is? Is it synonymous with being financially rich? No, I don’t believe that. 

The Bible’s definition of prosperity is “sufficiency in all things.” Biblical prosperity is God’s grace abounding toward us so that we have sufficiency in everything. Here’s the way 2 Corinthians 9:8 defines it:  read more

Feedback

“The roots of the NAR were Christians in small groups. When we gather together so we can influence the world, true relationships form.”

—Linda Jones

 

Forming the reformation

I enjoyed “The Truth About the New Apostolic Reformation” (by C. Peter Wagner, November), but my view of the church world is that the basic building block is not in its right place. The roots of the NAR were Christians meeting in small groups where people knew each other, and there were personal relationships. When we gather together to be refilled so we can influence the world, then the result is that true godly relationships are formed. 

Linda Jones, Panama City Beach, Fla.

 

Classifying catholics

I am a Catholic priest who has enjoyed reading Charisma for 20 years. The article “So Help Us, God” (by Stephen Mansfield & David A. Holland, November) speaks of odd teachings, and groups together Muslim teachings about Gabriel and Mohammed, Mormon teachings about spirit babies and spirit bodies, and two Roman Catholic teachings. The authors might not agree with Catholic theology, but to group this with the other teachings is unfair. 

Monsignor Vincent M. Walsh, Darby, Pa.

 

Outreach versus inclusion 

I have to adamantly object to the article, “Out, But Not Disqualified” (by Richie Hughes, November). The writer said we should accept homosexuals into our churches and let them be involved in sharing their gifts. Homosexuality, along with adultery, thievery and other strongholds, are not of God’s design. Yes, we need to reach out to all those in “lifestyles.” We need to inform them that God is ready to deliver them from any bondage they do not like.

Roy Proctor, Enterprise, Ala.

 

Messy ‘housekeeping’?

Disturbed. That’s how I felt after reading Kimberly Daniels’ “Spiritual Housekeeping” (November). The easy way she attributes misguided giving, oppressed youth, traditions of men and elders becoming “demonically old” as manifestations of demonic spirits  is disturbing. Jesus said religious leaders made God’s Word ineffectual by their traditions, not “generational religious spirits.” Paul attributed his Pharisaical works to zealous ignorance, not demonic activity. 

Jim Mackey, Duncanville, Texas read more

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