About 15 years ago I was in a department store in northern Virginia with my oldest daughter, Margaret. She was a precocious, talkative 6-year-old with a flair for the dramatic. You just never knew what this child might say to perfect strangers.
We walked past the women's lingerie section and Margaret impulsively grabbed a pair of lacy, pink panties off a rack and twirled them in the air with her finger. Then she declared to every shopper within range: "I am going to wear these panties when I am 18!"
Horrified, I ducked my head and pulled Margaret toward the escalator, trying to avoid eye contact with the amused customers who overheard her awkward proclamation. They were probably thinking to themselves, That little girl is going to be quite a handful when she grows up.
My husband, Steve, and I own property that has an eagle's nest on it. One day after a spring storm we went out to check on the property and found that a third of the nest had been blown down.
As I looked at the fallen pieces, it occurred to me that often when we think of eagles we picture the majestic bird that is our national symbol--a bird that is able to soar high above any tempest that might come along. We rarely think of eagles as having to go through storms.
Yet if a storm comes while young are in the nest, the mother eagle has to leave her soaring and return to the nest to protect them. When it is over, she has to rebuild what has been lost and go on.
By nature, I am a doer--and I like projects, whether they are related to decorating my home; running Strang Communications, the business my husband and I started in 1981; or helping a person get his marriage or his finances on track. But a number of years ago I learned that the activity of a Martha is meaningless without the heart of a Mary. We aren't to be one or the other, but both--at the same time.
In other words, our goal is not to break down our daily lives into segments, making sure that we "pray" as much as we "do." Our goal is to learn how to pray and do simultaneously. Paul says we are to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). How is this possible when we have so many responsibilities to attend to?
The key, as Quaker Thomas Kelly describes in his book, A Testament of Devotion, is to live on two planes at once. It is possible, he says, to remain in continual communion with God while also carrying out the duties of our individual stations in life. Our spirits maintain the inner connection, and our minds and bodies do the work.
Seminaries are beginning to support the calling of women to full-time ministry. Which institutions are on te forefront of this trend?
Jennifer Kemp was fairly certain God was calling her into the ministry, so to test the waters, she decided to take a weekend course at a seminary near her job in Boston. The class, "Proclamation and Communication," had two women and 22 men.
"The first night," Jennifer recalled, "one gentleman asked me why I was in seminary. I said, 'I am not in seminary right now. I am taking this class to see if seminary is something I'd like to pursue in the future.'
I once heard a message in church on "the balanced life." The speaker made the point that we need to give equal time to each of the most significant areas of our lives so we don't get out of balance.
I felt prompted to do a search on the word "balance" in my small computer Bible to find scriptural backing for the message. The only reference given that contained the word was a verse in Proverbs, and that had to do with a scale--in other words, with weights and measures, not with the way we use our time.
What I found did not convince me that the preacher was right. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me the truth, and He replied, "The truth is that being wholehearted for God is the key to balance."
I was browsing in a Christian bookstore one day in December 2003, when a sparkling silver bracelet caught my eye. Because I was there to purchase a Bible cover, I was about to walk past the jewelry counter, when the Lord spoke to me and said clearly, "Buy the bracelet."
Under my breath, I said, "Lord, I don't think I want it."
Amid incredible loss, you can still trust God to bring good out of every situation. I know because he did it for our family.
The start of the year 1999 crackled with excitement. God's blessings and promises to our family seemed so near, we could almost reach out and touch them. In 1998 we had traveled and ministered together in churches around the country--Harry and I preaching as a team and our three children, Harry III, Roman and Gabrielle, singing, laying hands on the sick, and ministering in the services. Many people told us we had the most unique ministry to families they had ever experienced.
Now we were entering a new year and a new level of ministry. Our travel calendar for 1999 was booked solid. We were scheduled to take God's message of love and hope to more people in more places than ever before. read more
If racial differences are not a stumbling block for you, great. But like me, you may be prejudiced and not know it.
Most prejudiced people see through a black or white glass. But I grew up judging through a multifaceted prism the many races, cultures and ethnic groups that surrounded me.
I was born in Puerto Rico to a Cuban family, which makes me "Hispanic"--the general descriptor for people from all Spanish-speaking countries, regardless of racial background or ethnicity. Growing up Cuban meant that I learned at an early age to be proud of who I am and where I came from. (I can trace my family history back through four generations in Cuba all the way to the Basque region of Spain.) It also meant that I inherited a good dose of prejudice--the sort of prejudice that becomes a way of thinking and clouds one's perception of life. read more
The phone call jarred me. A friend in her mid-40s, who had survived a bout with breast cancer and been cancer-free for three years, had just passed away. Suddenly, only a few weeks after learning that the cancer had returned, she was in eternity.
What if you knew you had only a short time to live? What legacy would you want to leave your family and friends? How would you want them to remember you? Would you have regrets?
Hebrews 9:27 reminds us that "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (NKJV). We will be held accountable for what we do with our lives.
Argentine revival leader Claudio Freidzon says a three-year recession in his nation brought spiritual renewal
An Argentine revival leader whose church doubled in size after a financial collapse in his nation believes the American church could see revival in the midst of the current economic recession.
Claudio Freidzon, pastor of Rey de Reyes church in Buenos Aires, says a three-year recession in Argentina brought an unparalleled time of spiritual renewal as believers learned to trust God, not money.
He believes that despite the financial turmoil in the U.S.—or perhaps because of it—the American church has an opportunity to see a similar renewal. “We’ve seen here that after every crisis we have a great breakthrough in the spiritual realm,” Freidzon told Charisma.
During the Argentine recession from 1999 to 2002, the peso plummeted in value, resulting in runs on banks as anxious citizens tried to withdraw their money before the decline grew worse. When the government imposed stringent rules to save the banks in 2001, violent protests broke out in the streets.
Freidzon, who was a leader in a 1990s revival that saw thousands come to Christ at evangelistic events held across Argentina, said his church saw declines in church giving because of the crisis, but ramped up its outreach efforts nonetheless. Rey de Reyes offered medical and dental clinics throughout Buenos Aires, and assisted with job searches and construction projects, among other efforts.
Before the economic collapse, Freidzon’s church drew roughly 12,000 people each week. But today, he said, Rey de Reyes has more than 25,000 members and hosts seven worship services every Saturday and Sunday—“all of them packed.”
Now, seven years since the economy began to stabilize, Freidzon’s church is seeking to transfer its influence into politics. The church hopes to open a Christian university that will train youth for both secular and ministry work.
“I realize the importance of having born-again people in high levels,” Freidzon said. “I believe we are going to prepare the next Christian president of Argentina.”
He said the government used to block the church’s evangelism efforts, but as it began doing more to help the poor, relations improved.
He said lawmakers have pledged to help as plans for the university unfold, and the government has begun classifying their ministry work as being “of interest to the province,” a stamp of approval that gives the church broad access.
“That means that they open the province,” he said. “They say: ‘You are welcome. Do whatever you want. Preach wherever you want. Go to the schools, go to the jails, go to the streets.’ That is new for us.”
Argentina’s economy continues to struggle, with the global recession taking its toll and a severe drought worsening unemployment. But Freidzon is optimistic about his nation’s future. He said more and more government officials are contacting the church for prayer, adding that he has met Vice President Julio Cobos and is hopeful he will one day pray with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Freidzon said the 1990s revival that was marked by large-scale prayer meetings never completely ended. “In our church, 18 years since the Holy Spirit visited us, the people are still looking for more,” Freidzon said. “They are excited. ... Here, they are still hungry for more of God.”
—Richard Daiglein Buenos Aires, Argentina read more
I grew up in a home where my mother, father, grandmother and grandfather all loved and trusted in Christ as their Savior. I came to know Jesus for myself at church camp.
At 19 I married a man who was 32. My husband was very critical. Once he told me that he never could love me and said he had asked me to marry him only because he didn't think he would find anybody else.
My husband was full of pride and placed a lot of importance on making money and having a good reputation. Even though he wasn't really interested in Jesus and the Bible, he went to church. He said he wanted to be good and do good. read more
Throughout the history of India it was traditionally men who were concerned with improving the status of women. It was not until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that a number of influential women reformers arose. The most notable of these was Pandita Ramabai.
Pandita was born in 1858 into an orthodox Hindu Brahmin family. This upper-caste sect mandated prepubertal marriage for girls and denied women educational opportunities. However, Pandita's father was a priest, scholar and social reformer who had a liberal, progressive view of the caste system. While traveling on endless pilgrimages throughout India he gave public lectures on the need of women for education. He provided Pandita an extensive formal education with a focus on Sanskrit.
Pandita soon became a famed lecturer who, like her father, championed women's rights. She had witnessed the suffering of child widows and the uneducated and wanted to help them. Oppressed women became her first call to service. read more
Having been raised by an alcoholic father and an enabling mother, I learned to see God as harsh, unbending and unaccepting of me. I believed that He would harm me at His whim and that He was never pleased with my efforts or gifts. I thought He was like my father.
As a 30-something mother of four, I was falling apart emotionally. I had seen numerous counselors and been on medication for clinical depression. But despite all my efforts, I could not find freedom or peace.
At my lowest point, a good Christian friend mailed me an awesome worship CD that was full of songs extolling God as the lover of our souls. Inspired by thoughts of His stubborn love for me, I was compelled to search the Scriptures to see what I could find about the true nature of God. read more
A few months ago I spent time with Heidi Baker, a missionary who has a large ministry based in Mozambique, Africa. She and her husband have founded many orphanages and planted thousands of churches.
She described the miracles she has witnessed of provision of food for the orphanages and of God's intervention on her behalf with the Muslim government of Mozambique. She also told me about the visitations and personal encounters with God she has experienced as a vital part of her spiritual walk. Though often the miraculous interventions she witnessed came in response to serious challenges or persecution, it was clear from her description that she lives a supernatural life.
According to the American Dictionary of the English Language, the word "supernatural" refers to things that are "beyond or exceeding the powers or laws of nature; miraculous." The supernatural realm is beyond what we see, and it is where we are all called to walk. But many of us have the idea that only a chosen few are called to live supernaturally. read more
Our pastor's son, Marty, was determined to stay in college. But the income from our small congregation made this an "iffy" situation--at least if it depended on help from his family.
My own daughter, Dana, was also in college, and the contrast between her circumstances and Marty's raised questions in my mind. My child had all the material goods that a freshman in college needs--a new car, clothes and an allowance.
Marty, on the other hand, struggled constantly with shabby clothes, a poor specimen of transportation that seemed to inhale the income from his part-time job, and little money for trips home and sundry other expenses. Why, I wondered? read more
In the 1930s, a young couple moved to Port Arthur, Texas, to work in the oil refinery. At that time, church attendance was not on their agenda at all.
But every morning before 9, a little lady, with her Bible tucked under her arm, passed in front of the family's apartment. It soon became a part of the mother's morning routine to watch for the woman to pass by.
One morning the lady stopped and knocked on the family's door. When the mother answered, the woman invited her to an old-fashioned tent revival in the area. The written invitation seemed to speak to the young mother all day from its resting place on the dresser. read more
I'm a big fan of schedules. I prefer the security of a solid plan and a definitive timeframe. I hate having to wait, and I hate having to rush.
However, being an obsessive planner can sometimes make living with God's timing a little difficult. We have all had that conversation with God when we say: "Hello! Your timing could use a little work." I have said this—more than once.
Six years ago my husband and I were expecting our first child. We were so excited. But our hopes ended in a miscarriage. read more
True Spiritual Authority operates in an environment of Godly wisdom that releases women to fulfill their callings in every area of life.
The old saying is true: "A woman's place is in the home." It's just not her only place.
Many women today bristle when they hear that old axiom. They get defensive when they hear the word "submission" or the term "spiritual authority." A big reason, no doubt, is that many women have experienced abuse in their homes--both emotionally and physically--under the banner of "submission." read more