THE ABSENCE OF FAMILY, FRIENDS AND HOLIDAY TRAPPINGS DAMPENED MY CHRISTMAS SPIRIT. BUT MY BABY DAUGHTER HELPED ME TO FOCUS ON WHAT WAS TRULY IMPORTANT.
It was a Saturday night, just two weeks before Christmas 1998, and instead of marching through the malls in search of gifts and glitter, I found myself driving along a dark country road with my precious 19-month-old daughter, Olivia. This was more than a road trip. My husband and I were moving from western Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where Don's new job was taking us away from our home of over 10 years.
There were no Christmas parties this year, only packing sessions. And I was less than thrilled with the idea of moving to what I considered a too-remote area in a too-cold climate. In fact, I was having a hard time hearing God's voice on the matter. "If I could just get a sense of purpose for this place, maybe I wouldn't feel so gray about it," I prayed. read more
Kelly Clark refers to it as "the fall heard around the world."
Entering the 2006 Winter Olympics, Clark was the
odds-on favorite to repeat as gold medalist in the snowboarding
halfpipe event. But even though a nasty spill erased that dream, a
decision to accept Christ two years earlier provided a much softer
landing. "If I hadn't had that shift in my life, I think my world would
have come crumbling down," Clark says.
Prior to 2004, Clark's life was consumed by
snowboarding. Her world-class journey started as a 7-year-old at
Vermont's Mount Snow ski resort and has resulted in a globetrotting
career chock-full of jaw-dropping medal performances. read more
On Jan.13 during The 700 Club segment about the devastation, suffering and humanitarian effort that is needed in Haiti, Pat Robertson also spoke about Haiti's history (see video below). His comments were based on the widely discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caïman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history combined with the horrible state of the country has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God's wrath. If you watch the entire video segment, Robertson's compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them. His humanitarian arm has been working to help thousands of people in Haiti during the last year, and they are currently launching a major relief and recovery effort to help the victims of this disaster. They have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications, which are now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders will immediately begin operations to ease the suffering. - Chris Roslan, spokesman for Pat Robertson.
It was a long, exhausting drive from my Lafayette home to my mother's bedside in the small Alabama town where I grew up. Nothing in my years as a pastor's wife or my experience as a registered nurse had prepared me for this journey.
Twice in 1997, the Great Physician had intervened, astonishing the medical doctors, who had offered no hope. Prayer had prevailed, and my mother's life had become a living testimony to the entire hospital staff of God's miraculous healing power.
Shuttling back and forth across the endless miles for the last few months had taken a huge emotional and physical toll on me. Mother's wish not to live with me during this time was a decision that I honored but agonized over. read more
One weekend near the end of 1999 I set aside time to be in the presence of the Lord and pray. On Saturday morning I sat up in bed and began to wait on Him.
Suddenly I heard footsteps walking across the kitchen and coming toward the bedroom door. I knew there was no one else in the house. But the next moment, an angel was sitting on the side of my bed.
He had in his hand a teaspoonful of honey. At first I could only smell it, but then my mouth was filled with the flavor of honey.
I looked up a few Scriptures about honey to try to understand the meaning of this visitation, but nothing clicked. So I asked the angel, who was still in the room but no longer visible, "What is this with the honey?"
He replied, "Have you never read about Jonathan? When he ate the honey, his eyes were enlightened."
I found the passage the angel referred to in 1 Samuel 14. Saul had forbidden the people to eat, but Jonathan had not heard his command (see vv. 24,27). So when they came through the wood, Jonathan dipped his rod in a honeycomb and ate some honey (see vv. 26-27). When one of the people rebuked him (see v. 28), he said, "See, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey" (v. 29, KJV).
After I read the passage, the presence of the Lord grew stronger and stronger, and for 2-1/2 hours I saw open visions.
Since I had this experience, I have smelled honey many times when I have been praying for people. The honey represents the enlightenment of the eyes--the revelation of the Spirit.
I share this experience to encourage you to press in for similar revelation. God never does something for one person only; He pours out His Spirit and anointing over the whole body of Christ--to those who will receive. He wants all of us to be able to look into the Spirit realm so that we may see what He sees, including angels. read more
Since the magnitude 7 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince,
Haiti, on Jan. 12, Christians have tried to shine a spiritual light on
the tragic event. Below Charisma has compiled
various responses from Christian leaders.
Disappointed By Pat Robertson's Statement By Myles Monroe In the aftermath of what the Red Cross, United Nations and other agencies now consider the greatest tragedy in the history of our Western Hemisphere-the massive 7.0 earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince, the capital city of Haiti-the reaction by leaders and the common man were predictable. Click to continue
The Disaster in Haiti By Kimberly Daniels I got up early the morning after the earthquake in Haiti to pray. As my prayer partner and I began to cry out for worldwide relief and support, miraculous rescues, protection for missionaries/orphans and the immediate needs of the people, the Lord interrupted our flow. Clearly I heard the voice of the Lord say, "Do not get in the way of My vengeance!" Click to continue
Haiti and Earthquake Theology By Robert Jeffress Concerned Americans have been shaken by sobering images from ubiquitous news footage of rubble and rescue in Haiti after a magnitude 7 earthquake rocked the tiny poor Caribbean nation earlier this month, prompting many to ask, "Where is God and why would He allow such extensive suffering?" Click to continue
My husband, Benny, and I married in 1977 and decided to wait a few years before having children. After three years, our desires changed, and it wasn't long before we discovered a fertility problem.
For the next seven years, we went through fertility testing and treatments and suffered the typical frustrations every infertile couple goes through. We even began adoption proceedings.
The waiting seemed endless, and the paperwork was overwhelming. At times, it was difficult to believe God. We prayed for healing in order to conceive our children, but instead, God led us down a path of joys and heartaches we would never have chosen. Looking back now, we wouldn't have had it any other way. read more
Patricia Bailey boldly shares her message of faith in some of the most treacherous places on earth.
Missionary evangelist Patricia Bailey is not one to give up easily, especially when it comes to carrying out what she says is an urgent call on her life to fulfill the Great Commission. The vivacious 44-year-old has spent the last 20-some years ministering around the globe--from Europe to Africa to the Middle East. In recent years she has focused on regions closed not only to the gospel but also to women.
Patricia preaches salvation and deliverance and ministers in signs and wonders throughout the area known as the "10/40 Window"--the most populated yet least evangelized countries in the world. These nations encompass the majority of the world's Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. read more
Don't see your limitations as obstacles to God. Think of them as opportunities for Him to accomplish the impossible through you.
As I swerve in and out of traffic on Brooklyn's busy streets, it's hard to ignore the bumper stickers pasted onto nearly every car. If I ever put a bumper sticker on my car, it will probably read: "She doesn't know what she's doing; she just keeps doing it." That's the joke about me that circulates in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, the church my husband, Jim, and I have loved and labored in for the last 29 years.
But despite--or maybe because of--my many inadequacies, I've seen God do some amazing things. Sunday after Sunday, as I direct the 275-member Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, my eyes rest on a sea of faces--brown, black and white--each concealing a remarkable story. read more
Susannah Thompson was born in 1832. Her early years were spent in London, where often she accompanied her parents to the New Park Street Chapel.
She was converted upon hearing a sermon taken from Romans 10:8: "The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart" (KJV). Recalling this experience she wrote: "The Lord said to me, through His servant, 'Give Me thy heart,' and, constrained by His love, that night witnessed my solemn resolution of entire surrender to Himself."
But Susannah soon became apathetic. She seemed unwilling to open up to others concerning her state--until she met Charles Haddon Spurgeon. read more
I remember vividly the day my entire world changed. It was January 24, 1997, the day my husband, James R. "Jamie" Peebles Jr., died in a car accident.
We were going to my mother-in-law's house, and Jamie was driving. Suddenly, he laid his head on my shoulder and said, "Pam, I don't feel well."
With the car still in motion, I threw the gearshift into park, jumped from the car and began screaming for help. The next sounds I heard were tires squealing and cars crashing against one another. read more
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Most of us would agree that we are called to give testimony to the saving power of Jesus Christ. But are we responding to the call?
The world is full of people who are dying. They are not dying for want of more sermons or Christian periodicals or religious stories or theories or creeds. They are dying for straightforward, honest, loving, earnest testimony about what God can do for souls. That's what they want.
Those poor men in the shops, in the theaters, in the dance halls--all of them, everywhere--that is what they want: somebody to come and take them lovingly by the collar and tell them that God is God and that He can save them. "He has saved me, my brother, and He can save you!" That is what the world wants. One word like that is better than a sermon, and it will do more for the salvation of the world.
It is time there was a change. The world is famishing for lack of real spiritual bread. It wants something to eat, and you give it a stone!
But God is raising a people who know what it wants and how to give it, who know how to testify to what God has done for them and to what He can do for other poor famishing souls; who can say: "Here, my friend, He can save such as you. I was like you once. I was a slave of sin--the slave of drink, or a blasphemer, or a liar, or a thief, or addicted to some bad habit worse than any of these. I was such a slave, and He has saved me.
He has broken my fetters and set me free. He has saved me, and He can save you." That is what the world wants: testimony witnessing.
Has He saved any of you? Are you testifying to your poor, famishing, sinking fellow-men? Do you ever look at them and think about where they are going? Do you pity them, love them, long after them in the bowels of Jesus Christ? Do you know anything of that longing?
If so, how can you forbear testifying? "Ye are my witnesses of these things," Jesus said, everywhere, at all times, among all people! (See Acts 1:8.)
It is in the nature of the case that a witness must witness before other people, before living hearers. That is the place to witness, and before enemies, and when he does not know which way the wind will blow, or how the words of God will be received. He must be a true witness, even if he has to seal his testimony with his blood.
This was the kind of witnessing the martyrs did. I often wonder whether there would be any martyrs now. Sometimes I think that the greatest boon to the church of Christ would be a time of persecution.
We would find out, then, whether you are willing to forsake all to follow Him. You know that if the martyrs had taken the standard of religious life that exists now, they would never have been martyrs. They would have looked after their own skins and left the Lord to look after the gospel. But they felt it necessary to be faithful right through, and when they could have gotten off easily, they refused to do it and went to the stake and let the flames lick up their blood.
Those are the witnesses the Lord wants--outside, everywhere, always at it. "Always?" you ask. Yes, always. Why? Because men are always dying and being damned!
Perhaps your friends and neighbors are among them. You get a phone call saying one of them died instantly of a heart attack. And the echo in your soul afterward is, "What I wouldn't give to go and have one talk with him!"
But he's gone! Where is he gone? If he were unwashed and unpardoned and unsaved--where is he gone? I got so wrought up once on this point that I almost lost my reason. I could not sleep at night for thinking of the state of those who die unsaved.
It was this view of the case that led me to open my mouth first in public for God.
I had long had a controversy on this question in my soul. In fact, from the time I was converted, the Spirit of God had constantly been urging me into paths of usefulness and labor that seemed to me impossible.
Some who have heard me speak would hardly believe that I was one of the most timid and bashful disciples the Lord Jesus ever saved. For 10 years of my Christian walk my life was one daily battle with the cross---not because I willfully rejected, as many do, for that I never dared to do.
I used to make up my mind I would, and resolve and intend, and then, when the hour came, I used to fail for want of course. I now see how foolish I was and how wrong. But for some four or five months before I commenced speaking, the controversy had been signally aroused in my soul that God had awakened years before, but that, through mistaken notions, fear and timidity, I had almost allowed to die out.
I was brought to very severe heart searchings at this time. I had not been realizing so much of the divine presence. I had lost a great deal of the power and happiness I once enjoyed. During a season of sickness, one day it seemed as if the Lord revealed it all to me by His Spirit. I had no vision, but a revelation came to my mind.
He seemed to take me back to the time when I was 15 and 16, when I first gave my heart to Him. He showed me all the bitter way, how this one thing had been the fly in the pot of ointment, the bitter in the cup, and had prevented me from realizing what I would otherwise have done.
I saw how it had hindered the revelation of Himself to me and hindered me from growing in grace and learning more of the deep things of God. After He showed it to me, I prostrated myself on my face before Him and promised Him there in the sick-room: "Lord, if Thou wilt return unto me, as in the days of old, and revisit me with the urgings of Thy Spirit that I used to have, I will obey, if I die in the attempt. I care not; I will obey."
About three months after that I went to the chapel of which my husband was a minister, and he had an extraordinary service. He was having a meeting in which ministers and friends in the town were taking part, and all were giving their testimony and speaking for God.
I was in the minister's pew with my eldest boy, then 4 years old, and there were some thousand people present. I felt much more depressed than usual in spirit and was not expecting anything particular, but as the testimonies went on, I felt the Spirit come upon me.I felt it to the extremities of my fingers and toes.
It seemed as if a voice said to me, "Now, if you were to go and testify, you know I would bless it to your own soul as well as to the souls of the people," and I gasped again and said in my soul, "Yes, Lord, I believe Thou wouldst, but I cannot do it." I had forgotten my vow--it did not occur to me at all.
All in a moment, after I had said that to the Lord, I saw the bedroom where I had lain, and I saw myself there prostrate before the Lord promising Him that, and then the voice seemed to say to me, "Is this consistent with that promise?" I almost jumped up and said, "No, Lord, it is the old thing over again, but I cannot do it," and I felt as though I would sooner die than do it.
Then the devil said: "Besides, you are not prepared to speak. You will look like a fool and have nothing to say." He made a mistake. For once, he overdid himself. It was that word that settled it.
I said, "Ah! This is just the point. I have never yet been willing to be a fool for Christ; now I will be one." Without stopping another moment, I rose up in my seat and walked up the chapel.
My dear husband was just going to conclude. He thought something had happened to me, and so did the people. We had been there two years, and they knew my timid, bashful nature. He stepped down to ask me, "What is the matter, my dear?"
I said, "I want to say a word." He was so taken by surprise, he could only say, "My dear wife wants to say a word" and sat down. He had been trying to persuade me to do it for 10 years. He and a lady in the church, only that very week, had tried unsuccessfully to persuade me to go and address a little cottage meeting of some 20 working people.
I got up--God only knows how--and if any mortal ever did hang on the arm of Omnipotence, I did. I just got up and told the people how it came about. I confessed, as I think everybody should when they have been in the wrong and have misrepresented the religion of Jesus Christ.
I said: "I dare say many of you have been regarding me as a very devoted woman, and one who has been living faithfully to God, but I have come to know that I have been living in disobedience, and to that extent I have brought darkness and leanness into my soul. I promised the Lord three or four months ago, and I dare not disobey. I have come to tell you this and to promise the Lord that I will be obedient to the heavenly vision."
The Lord, as He always does when His people are obedient, opened the windows of heaven and poured out such a blessing that there was not room to contain it. There was more weeping, they said, in the chapel that day than ever there had been before. Many dated a renewal in righteousness from that very moment and began a life of devotion and consecration to God.
Since that day, He has never allowed me to open my mouth without giving me signs of His presence and blessing. While the devil kept me silent, he kept me comparatively fruitless; now I have ground to hope and expect to meet hundreds in glory whom God has made me instrumental in saving.
Will you be encouraged, my sister? Never mind trembling. I trembled.
Never mind your heart beating. Mine beat nearly through.
Never mind how weak you are. I have gone many a time from the bed to the pulpit and back again.
It is not by human power, wisdom, might or strength; it is by My Spirit, saith the Lord. He loves to use the weak things, that the excellency may be seen to be of God.
We are talking about souls who are dying and going to an eternal death. Will you not rise up? Begin, and the Spirit of God will fall upon you, and you will overcome the devil "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of [your] testimony" (Rev. 12:11, KJV).
Thousands will be won! "Ye are my witnesses," saith the Lord. "Witness of Me everywhere and always."
Catherine Booth(1829-1890) was the wife of the Rev. William Booth, the founder and commander-in-chief of the Salvation Army, and the mother of nine children. By nature shy and reserved, she eventually became a much-sought-after, powerful preacher. read more
Most historians consider John and Charles Wesley the two founders of the Methodist church. But behind these men stood a strong mother whose influence molded and shaped their destinies.
Susanna Annesley was born on January 20, 1669, in London, England. She was the youngest of 25 children.
Her minister father took special interest in Susanna and gave her rare opportunities for "formal" education. He also allowed her to take part in theological discussions with his minister colleagues. read more
IT IS GOD'S HOUR FOR THE RELEASE OF WOMEN IN EVERY ASPECT OF MINISTRY. BUT HOW DO WE PREVENT AGE-OLD GENDER BIASES FROM HOLDING US BACK?
Several years ago I sat in a meeting of pastors and leaders, waiting for my turn to speak. During the introductory message, one of the most influential pastors of the city shared on the topic of unity as a foundation for change in the city. What he had to say was very good, except for one thing--all his comments referred to men.
"We men need to love our city," he said. Another time he made the statement that "'the guys' need to step up to the plate and start reaching out to the lost." read more
Learning to trust God can seem impossible during the difficult times in our lives. I know because I have been there.
I have heard many stories of broken marriages being healed and restored by the power of God. My story is different. When my own marriage was in trouble, I hoped and prayed for reconciliation. But that never happened, and the marriage ended in divorce.
For a long time, I was in total despair. I carried feelings of guilt, shame and failure for not being able to save my marriage. Many times the hurt was almost unbearable. My sorrow seemed to drown out any encouraging words from family and friends. read more
Arriving home from work one day, I thought I was alone. God knew that I wasn't. Making my way to the back of the house to take a relaxing shower, I turned on the light in the hallway. I also turned up the volume on the radio to hear it over the running water and the exhaust fan.
As I stepped out of the shower, something in the hall caught my eye. I walked from the bathroom to the bedroom and flipped on the light.
To my utter horror a stranger was standing by my bed, a stocking over his head and a knife in his hand. Terror constricted my throat, but inside I heard, "Call upon Me and I will deliver you."
"Jesus!" burst from my lips, followed by "I bind you in the name of Jesus!" Immediately I ran down the hall. I knew my screams would not be heard over the radio, and I realized that I must get out of the house.
I reached the front door, but I knew I'd never get the security chain off in time. When I whirled around to face the masked intruder, he was standing two feet away. He raised his knife and bellowed: "I'll cut you in pieces. Go lie down!"
The calming voice of God told me to obey the authority of that knife for the moment. I whispered, "In Jesus' name I will lie down" over and over as I headed back toward my bedroom, assuming that the intruder was right behind me.
As I re-entered the hallway, I prayed, "Lord, I know it is not Your will that I die like this, and I don't know how, but I know You are going to save me." Entering my bedroom, I noticed the intruder was no longer behind me.
The Spirit of God told me he had left the house. After a few minutes I called 9-1-1. The police found the intruder's tracks under the window, where he had apparently broken in, and by the back door where he'd probably exited. The deputy was surprised I escaped unharmed.
All I could reply was, "Jesus did it!"
I've learned that prayer can carry us through not only daily needs but through deadly crises as well. Even if we find ourselves trapped in a corner, we have a prayer weapon to use in our defense–the name of Jesus. read more
IF YOUR HOUSE IS LIKE OURS, GETTING READY FOR CHURCH CAN BE A REAL ADVENTURE. HOW DO YOU SURVIVE IT ALL AND REMAIN IN THE SPIRIT?
Most days I am a Spirit-led woman, though I sometimes possess an exceedingly great capacity for distraction--and chocolate. I have great intentions always, but my willpower is often weaker than my want to. At no time is this demonstrated in a more dramatic way than on the first day of the week.
A typical Sunday morning will find our family preparing for church. Our goal to leave the house at 8:30 sharp is once again thwarted. A quick glance at the clock on the microwave reveals it's already 9:05. read more