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Last week many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives for Christ. How should we respond to the cry of the martyrs?
Last week while millions of Americans crammed into theaters to see Alice in Wonderland in 3-D, many Christians in other parts of the world were attacked, raped or killed for the cause of the gospel.
This past weekend I received an urgent message from my friend Christopher Alam, a U.S.-based evangelist, who was writing from Southeast Asia to inform me of a terrible atrocity in Myanmar.
As a Christian counselor I have listened to many married couples express feelings of frustration and hurt because of their inability to effectively communicate with one another. Studies prove that communication breakdown is a major source of conflict, one that can eventually lead to other problems in the marriage, such as a lack of intimacy and divorce. Statistics prove the truth of what the Bible says in Proverbs 18:21: "The tongue has the power of life and death" (NIV).
However, there is a remedy. Many of the struggles married couples face, in fact, can be avoided with the use of some simple communication tools. Learning to use these tools to express ourselves in more effective ways fosters better understanding, which results in greater emotional intimacy.
There are 5 strategic keys that will help propel you into your future and the destiny God has for you this year. Ask Him for specific insight and direction for you and your life, and allow Him to manifest in these areas throughout 2010.
1. God is sounding a wake-up call.
God is sounding a wake-up call to the body of Christ! There has been a lull and a spirit of slumber that has spread over much of the body in the last couple of years. We have become satisfied with "church as usual." Unfortunately, many people have settled into a place of comfort and complacency—but God is shaking and waking this sleeping giant once again!
Last week I spoke to a group of ministry leaders associated with a particular Pentecostal denomination in South Carolina. Many of these men and women are hungry for a fresh move of God, but they are also aware that they aren't effectively reaching people for Christ. Most of their small congregations are getting grayer by the day.
I told these folks they have only two options: Change or die.
The D.C. OSP was created in 2004 under the Bush administration. These $7,500 scholarships made it possible for students to attend a private school. The students that used these scholarships felt a greater degree of safety as well as made major academic strides. A federally mandated evaluation of the program also showed these private school students received the equivalent of 3.7 months of additional learning than others. This has been done while actually reducing the District's costs as these students only received half of the city's $15,000-per-pupil assessment.
Avoiding them or trying to pray the problems away was of no use either. Troubles sometimes arrived in a rush with no advance warning. It was confusing. Shouldn't believers be exempt from the normal living that existed for nonbelievers? Doesn't the writer of the psalms tell us that the crooked will be made straight? Doesn't Jesus calm troubled waters? But I also kept coming across words such as "suffering," "trials" and "testing" from New Testament writers. Could it be that somehow the Father allowed those dreadful situations in my life? If so, why?
I didn't want to say what I was seeing because I thought some poor soul might be visiting for the first time and, not knowing there were such things, be scared to death. So I altered it a bit and said, "I see ropes wrapped around someone's lungs. Because of that constriction they aren't able to breathe, and God wants to heal them."
Hundreds of years before the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early church on the day of Pentecost, the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, newly anointed as a priest, got a free preview of how God would send the Holy Spirit to empower His people. The preview came in the form of a Technicolor vision that included a stormy wind, a cloud that glowed with fire, flashes of lightning and strange, four-faced cherubim that were empowered by God's divine energy.
Ezekiel wrote of these heavenly creatures: "In the midst of the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches darting back and forth among the living beings. The fire was bright, and lightning was flashing from the fire. And the living beings ran to and fro like bolts of lightning" (Ezekiel 1:13-14, NASB).
Last month Catherine Davis and her Atlanta-based Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) organization launched a groundbreaking effort to stop the egregious number of black abortions in their state. The organization decided to use billboards to present its case for life - that's right - billboards.
The 80-billboard campaign permeates the skyscape of Atlanta. Because of its scale, the campaign is nothing less than cutting-edge innovation. The billboards read, "Black children are an endangered species." The words encircle the face of an adorable black child. In addition to the message, the only Web address listed is toomanyaborted.com.
Last Friday night, February 26th, my husband, Mike, and I had an unusual night. We weren't speaking at a conference, traveling or busy, so we stayed home and watched the movie Robinson Crusoe.
The next morning we watched in shock and distress as news reached us that an 8.8 magnitude earthquake had shaken Chile during the night and that a tsunami wave had rolled over Robinson Crusoe Island just off the Chilean coast.
While watching the news and praying, I recalled speaking at Chuck Pierce's Starting the Year off Right conference in Denton, Texas, on December 31, 2009. Chuck prophesied that the Lord would begin to buckle highways as a sign of rearranging the order of the earth so that the covenant with God's land could now manifest in a way that it was stopped from manifesting in the last season.
I was released from the hospital after undergoing major surgery, and it felt good to be home. I slowly hobbled into the house; every muscle in my body was hurting. I grabbed my down comforter, wrapped it tightly around me like a burrito and began to melt beneath its warmth. Just as I had started to drift off into a nice sleep, I was abruptly awakened. The front door opened and a shot of lightning flashed by me. It was O'Reilly. She soared into the living room where I was nursing my wounds and skyrocketed right for me like a heat-seeking missile.
Because of His great, wonderful and intense love for us, God poured His life out for us freely (see Eph. 2:4). That is revolutionary love! Real, revolutionary love must give itself because it can never be satisfied doing anything less.
Christians were shocked last week after learning that Benny and Suzanne Hinn are divorcing. Do ministers owe us an explanation for their failures?
Judging by the calls and e-mails I received last week, charismatic Christians were confused and dismayed when the Los Angeles Times broke the news that healing evangelist Benny Hinn and his wife, Suzanne, are getting divorced. The comments I heard were mostly sympathetic: "I am so grieved." "This is a wake-up call." "This is heartbreaking." "I'm praying for the Hinns."
And a few people were angry: "What is happening?" "Here we go again." "This is why the secular world looks at us and laughs!"
Last week Sarah Palin appeared on Bill O’Reilley’s cable news talk show discussing a crude joke levied at her on the animated television show — The Family Guy. For those who may not have seen either the show itself or the O’Reilly interview, here’s what happened.
In the animated show two Sundays ago, a teenaged character named Chris is romancing Ellen, his classmate. She has Down syndrome. As Chris delves into Ellen’s background, she makes this statement, “My dad’s an accountant and my mom is the former governor of Alaska.” The fact that the actress who does the voice for Ellen, Andrea Fay Friedman, has Down syndrome in real life complicates this story. In fact, Freidman attempted to make Palin the bad guy by saying that the former governor has no sense of humor.
Perhaps God spoke to you at a particular time or was present on a particular occasion. At the time, it didn’t seem as if it was God who was doing the speaking or even if God was present at all. You underestimated, if not rejected, what He did or what He said. Only years later did it become clear to you that you had failed to recognize His presence.
I remember many years ago, when Louise and I had moved away from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for only 18 months, we came back and found that Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church had been started. Before we went away, it had been a vacant lot with a big sign on it that read, "Future home of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church." That sign just stayed there month after month for a couple years. We wondered: What is happening here? When will that church start?
"Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Eph. 5:14, NASB).
We are in a fresh season of awakening. People are beginning to experience, hunger for and thirst for God in new ways. People everywhere are finding God as they have not found Him before. We have witnessed in recent weeks that people are beginning to think differently from before, perhaps even beyond how they've thought before. God promised to pour out His Spirit on all flesh (see Joel 2:28-29).
If you find yourself in an anxious season of difficult transition, take comfort from the life of Isaac.
If you had told me seven years ago that I would resign my comfortable magazine job in 2010 and make a shift toward public ministry, I would have asked if you were smoking an illegal plant. I liked my paycheck and my benefits. And in 2004 I was trying to figure out how I would put four kids through college when I had no extra money in the bank.
Fast forward to 2010, to the middle of the Great Recession. They say the economy is showing signs of improvement, but I don't see this in Florida, where the foreclosure rate is still one of the nation's highest. Yet right in the middle of these uncertain economic times, while the unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent, I sensed God telling me to make a career change.
It intrigued me that so many of our national luminaries could collaborate on such an expansive project. After watching the commercials and trailers, I am personally going to make a point of watching this entertainment phenomenon. Further I am convinced that the film reflects a cultural hunger. The theme of the movie taps into the fascination of people of all ages finding and maintaining true love. All of us want to find a soul mate. We are wired that way.
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