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Where You’d Least Expect Him

She wasn’t wrapped in swaddling cloths in a manger; instead, she was tangled in sweat-drenched sheets in a crib. That’s how Maria spent most of her days at the Guatemalan orphanage. The 7-year-old couldn’t talk or turn over in her bed. She had little control over her body. Yet her smile could illuminate a room.

Maria (pictured) had been rescued from near starvation deep in the Sierra de las Minas, but the prolonged malnutrition left her so mentally and physically impaired that she now looked barely half her age and was bed-ridden in a room filled with babies and toddlers. Despite the intensive care she’d need for the rest of her life, her beaming grins came fast and easy. 

From a natural perspective, there was no reason Maria or any of these kids should’ve been glowing with smiles. Most of them were birthed in horrific situations. A couple of the young girls had been tied to a post for two years and were merely 13 and 14 pounds when rescued. Another pair of siblings—babies only three months apart—faced severe health problems as a result of their father and grandfather being the same man. Incest, rape, abuse, drugs, divorce, murder ... these were the elements surrounding the children as they entered a dark world. read more

Giving at Christmas

Christmas is a time for memories. For me, putting together this issue brought back memories as we picked the very best Christmas articles over the last 36 years. While preparing, I reread all of my Christmas-related columns.

Some had to do with Christmas customs; others were about the culture wars to take Christ out of Christmas. Some years, I showed pictures of my staff or my young family and shared my own Christmas memories.

When we chose to include the best Christmas articles we’ve run in the last 36 years, I thought I’d pick my best column. But we soon decided I needed to introduce this issue, share my own memories and do what I’ve done at many times in the past: encourage you to give this year at Christmas. read more

The Biology of Christmas

My wife and I have four girls, and I was in the hospital room for each birth. There was a normal amount of blood, but no serious complications. Our oldest took forever to be born. Our second was in such a hurry that we thought she might end up on the floor of a hospital hallway. Our third tied her umbilical cord in knots in the womb. And our youngest calmly slipped out as if to say: “OK, I’m born. What’s next?”

I had very little to do in the delivery room. My wife was the hero. She sweated, strained, pushed and gasped for hours. I stroked her arm a few times—and ate some doughnuts.

Normal births are amazing, whether they occur in hospitals or homes or the back seats of taxis. But when I consider the birth of Jesus, I’m in total awe—not just because of Mary and Joseph’s bumpy ride from Nazareth, Mary’s lack of a doctor (and no anesthesia!) and the crudeness of the manger, but also because of how Jesus was conceived. Mary was a virgin. Joseph, the “father,” had nothing to do but stand in the background.  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

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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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2012: America’s Final Warning?

{jcomments on}More than 2,700 years ago God gave ancient Israel a specific warning accompanied by nine symbolic signs of things to come if it didn’t return to Him. Those same harbingers of destruction are today reappearing—in uncanny detail—in America. Has God issued the same prophetic message for our nation of what is yet to come?

Is it possible that there exists an ancient mystery in which is hidden the secret of America’s future? Is it possible that this mystery lies behind everything from 9/11, to the War on Terror, to the crash of Wall Street and the global economy, to the Great Recession and more—even the words and actions of American leaders, including the president of the United States? And is it possible that this mystery contains a prophetic word—a message to America from God, a warning of national judgment?

It might sound like the plot of a science fiction novel or an Indiana Jones movie, but it’s real. In fact, it’s so real that it has affected and is affecting the course of our nation to this day. read more

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Bearer of the Harbinger

{jcomments on}Jonathan Cahn's new book, The Harbinger, isn't just an exciting read; it's a bold prophetic message and biblical mystery wrapped in one powerful story. But there's far more to this timely revelation—and the person delivering it—than what's on the page.

As he looked across the waters of the Hudson River from the Statue of Liberty, the twin towers of the World Trade center spiking the New York City skyline, Jonathan Cahn had a deep sense of foreboding.

The Messianic rabbi had joined with other prayer and prophetic leaders at the nation's symbolic gate—Lady Liberty greeting the many immigrants arriving at nearby Ellis Island, where they would take their first steps in their new land—to seek God. They had gathered with a shared burden to pray for the city and a sense of concern about a possible terrorist attack on the United States.

Two years later, the suicide flights that stunned the world would touch Cahn's, too. His future wife, Renata, was to have been at the World Trade Center for an appointment but changed her plans at the last minute, as did other members of his congregation who worked there. Two who were in the Twin Towers were among those who escaped before the collapse. 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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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

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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