Nearly three weeks ago, Washington, D.C.'s former mayor, Marion Barry, spoke at the first citywide rally that said no to same-sex marriage reciprocity in D.C. It was at this rally on April 28 that the former mayor declared for the first time that he was against same-sex marriage. The next week, true to his word, Barry voted against the D.C. measure, which is still in a 30-day review by Congress prior to becoming law.
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The power of choice that God has given to every person cannot be overestimated. How dramatically our right to choose affects the course of our lives! Naomi's choice to return to Bethlehem-Judah would ultimately result in her personal restoration. Ruth's choice to follow Naomi and serve Naomi's God brought her to a wonderful destiny.
Orpah's name means "stiff-necked or skull." The decision Orpah made to stay in Moab reflected the inflexible, unyielding character described by her name and resulted in her death in obscurity—she was never heard of again. Such is the end of stiff-necked people. It is better to have a harnessed heart than a stiff neck.
Ruth's name means "friend." She proved her friendship to Naomi and to God by her willingness to leave all she held dear to follow Naomi and serve her God. This beauty of character is to be revealed throughout the rest of the narrative as Ruth gains a reputation in the whole city of Bethlehem-Judah as a virtuous woman.
Ruth's treatise was a sevenfold declaration that revealed her heart's determination. The key words in Ruth's treatise were "I will." These two words expressed the intent of her heart and formed the basis of her decision. As we observe Orpah's tearful decision not to follow Naomi, we understand that Ruth's choice was not based on emotion or sentiment, but on a decision of her will.
Decision itself is exhilarating and refreshing. Some people never know the joys and delights of walking with God because they do not choose to make decisions in favor of God, His Word and His ways. Decisive people are seldom the subject of continued despair; they are steadfastly minded. As we decide to follow God's will, our decision will have wonderful results in our lives, as Ruth's did.
The treatise of "I wills" made by Ruth consisted of seven elements: "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me" (Ruth 1:16-17, KJV).
This last "I will," though not explicitly expressed, is understood, for Ruth was declaring in essence, "I will seal this treatise with a covenant. The Lord do so to me and more also if ought but death part thee and me."
Ruth's resolve is a classic for all of literature. As an expression of love and loyalty, these words cannot be surpassed. Here is supreme devotion; here is love to the uttermost, not only passionately expressed, but as history declares, determinedly fulfilled. The beauty of its form and the utter devotion of a genuine and self-conquering love has made Ruth's vow one that never shall be forgotten. The secret of such love and loyalty is kinship in the matters of the soul and of eternity. There can be no true love, no lasting loyalty, without this kinship of soul and spirit.
Ruth's vow has stamped itself indelibly on the heart of the church. Believers throughout history have followed her example in choosing to live, and die, for God alone. How many have gained their courage to face martyrdom from reading the testimony of Ruth!
Like Ruth, we should resolve to pursue God to the end, casting our lot with the separated, sanctified people of God, cleaving to the eternal God of the Bible. Like Ruth we should enter God's field and be willing to serve. Like Ruth, we should abandon ourselves to our glorious, heavenly "Boaz," and stay at His feet until morning.
Adapted from the book From Our Hearts to Yours, copyright 2008, published by Charisma House. This book is a compilation of articles written by strong women of God that will cause you to see how much God really loves you, and empowers you to become a better mother, wife, woman and friend. To order a copy click on this link:
The epidemic of moral failure among men in the church today is directly tied to our lack of healthy relationships.
Despite the proliferation of iPhones, Blackberries, e-mail and social networking Web sites—not to mention Starbucks locations—many Christian men, if they are honest, will tell you they are lonely. They may Twitter several times a day to co-workers; they may have occasional golf buddies; they may even grab coffee with colleagues from time to time. But so many men who attend church regularly are friendless.
This was made real to me last weekend when I spoke to a group of men at a large charismatic church in Rochester, N.Y. I was talking about three different types of relationships we need: (1) "Pauls," who serve as spiritual fathers; (2) "Barnabases," peer-level encouragers who support and challenge us; and (3) "Timothys," younger men we inspire and mentor.
Editor's Note: Today's Prophetic Insight is a word that was given to Cindy deVille on the morning of the National Day of Prayer, May 7, 2009, and was published on May 12. You can listen to an audio clip of it at shekinahtoday.org. The word is preceded by an introduction from the author.
It was great to see many Christians throughout the land gathering to pray for America on Thursday, May 7, during our National Day of Prayer. As my husband, Darrel, and I began to pray, God began to speak and share His heart with us. As God's people we want to see a great awakening and reformation, but do we realize what we are asking for? Do we understand that this kind of thing does not come without a price, without sacrifice?
When we study the Great Awakenings of old, we see that they were birthed only through much prayer and travail. A little dab will not do us. I believe we are standing on the threshold of the greatest outpouring we have ever seen, an outpouring of the glory of God in the church and then in the earth. This is not a small thing but a great, big thing that God is going to bring forth by His Spirit, and it will require great prayers ascending to the throne of God.
Continuing his week-long pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called for a "sovereign Palestinian homeland" and identified with Palestinian "suffering" during a one-day visit to Bethlehem and other parts of the West Bank.
The pontiff stood alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as he delivered his strongest public support yet for Palestinian statehood.
"Mr. President, the Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers, secure and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders," the pontiff said. "I know how much you have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades," he added.
The Clarion Fund released its newest documentary film, The Third Jihad, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. this week. The film is igniting discussion about radical Islam in America.
Clarion's first documentary film, the award-winning Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, communicates the global threat posed by the radical elements of Islam. The Third Jihad shifts the focus to the growth of radical Islam on American soil via "Cultural Jihad," the use of the democratic system to transform the American way of life from within to a society governed by Sharia Law (Islamic religious law).
Somehow it seemed impossible-retracing Moses' footsteps in the Sinai desert in nine days when it took the children of Israel 40 years. When I was first invited to join a pilgrimage to the mountain of God, it seemed so remote, I could barely comprehend the fact I might actually go.
But I determined to go, despite the tough preparation that was necessary. I needed to shop for special equipment for the desert, spend weary miles jogging to get into shape, and read-including the first five books of the Bible.
On our calendar May 14 is the date of Israel's independence. The Israelis celebrate their Independence Day on the 5th day of their month Iyar, which was April 29 this year because they go by the Jewish calendar.
Thirty years ago today I was in Israel when the country celebrated its 31st anniversary. Jamie Buckingham, 12 other Americans and I went to climb Mount Sinai. It was my first trip to Israel-indeed my first trip outside the United States. What an experience! We met in Israel with some Christian friends of Jamie's who took us around to interesting sites. My reaction-like so many others-was that it made the Bible come alive.
At my second daughter's college graduation this weekend I saw the future of our movement.
Some people twitch or roll their eyes when you say the word Pentecostal. The term conjures up outdated images of either (1) slick-haired, Bible-thumping preachers who spew saliva on the unfortunate souls seated in the first three pews, or (2) scowling women with their hair in buns who know how to scare you with glossolalia.
Say goodbye to the worn-out stereotypes. Last weekend I saw the future of the Pentecostal movement when my wife and I attended a graduation ceremony at Emmanuel College, the liberal arts school in northeast Georgia that was founded 90 years ago by the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. What we witnessed on Saturday was a refreshing reminder that God has raised up a new generation of young people who are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Besides the fact that the Israelis are perhaps the most determined people on the face of the earth, Gods Word says that the Jews are His chosen people, the apple of His eye, and they will survive.
Why are wives often ignored when male church leaders mess up? Their healing must be addressed too.
The Bible lays out the plan of Godfrom creation through the millennium. You and I are in that plan, somewhere along the Creators timeline.
Jonathan Bernis discusses the city of Jerusalem and why it is important.
The days in which we are living are some of the most turbulent in history, and they are not without peril. The kingdom of God suffers violence (see Matt. 11:12), yet these are still times of hope and peace for those who know who they are in Christ. In order to survive the onslaught of the enemy against us, we had better learn to become women who are mighty in spirit. During the course of my life, I've found six practices to be very effective in overcoming the power of the enemy and walking in victory.
1. Be confident in your calling
When you are confident in your calling, you don't have to seek anyone's permission or approval. You know you are called because of the witness of the Holy Spirit inside you, but Satan will try to make you doubt that your calling is real.
God never told us that we were going to float along on this journey to become all that He destined for us and never have another problem. But He did promise us this: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you" (Is. 43:2, NKJV). You must decide now that you're going all the way.
2. Have strength in adversity
When I left home to pursue God's call on my life, I knew it was not going to be easy. On the day I was preparing to leave I suddenly thought, Maybe I should go to church, one more time. At the close of the Wednesday night service, my pastor called me onto the stage and said to me, "God says to tell you, ‘You are not your own; you have been bought with a price. I have chosen you and appointed you to go to the nations of the earth, so you can't do what you want to do."
Without anyone touching me, I was slain in the spirit. Hours later, when I got up, I had a new confidence, a greater boldness and a determination to go on that hell could not touch.
Jesus said: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you" (John 15:16).
You too are not your own. Be strong and don't abandon your calling.
3. Develop godly character
You must be painstakingly conscientious about everything-attitude, lifestyle, personal worship and gifts. The enemy of your destiny has already been defeated; so don't allow yourself to be sidetracked by his devices.
4. Practice violent faith
I believe that sometimes we come up against things in our lives when simply believing won't be enough. Violent faith combines determination with spiritual aggressiveness and raw, if you will, guts. As you practice it, your prayer life and hunger for God will increase, and there will be a determination forged in you that nothing can shake.
5. Be persistent in prayer
Taking back what is yours from the forces of darkness takes courage and is not for those who are passive or faint of heart. It is for the person who would say: "This is it. I am drawing the bloodline today. I will never be the same again." You can choose to say, "I know what the outcome of this thing is going to be, so I am going to lift my head up and rejoice, because right now the Father God is working it all out."
6. Praise God
One thing I have learned and am still learning is that you don't praise God when the answer comes; you praise God until the answer comes. Something happens when you lift your hands and your voice to praise God in the midst of all hell surrounding you.
Begin to rejoice in God. See yourself mighty in spirit and walking in victory. What you can see with spirit eyes in the supernatural, you can believe to come forth in the natural.
I see the devil fleeing in terror because you and I are rising up now, and we know that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down [Satan's] strongholds" (2 Cor. 10:4). We are women, mighty in spirit, who are strong in the strength of our Lord. And in His power we are victorious!
Adapted from the book From Our Hearts to Yours, a compilation of articles written by powerful women of God intended to help you know the love of God, deepen your relationship with Him, and become a better mother, wife and friend, copyright 2008, published by Charisma House. To order a copy click on this link.
Last Tuesday an early morning e-mail alert was sent to gay activists instructing them to secure seats in the D.C. City Council chambers. The activists were aware that our local coalition of ministers and churches were planning to attend the meetings to hear the final vote on a same-sex reciprocity bill which, if ratified, would allow marriages performed in other jurisdictions to be acknowledged in D.C.
In an effort to help Internet users discover Israel's holy places and modern sites, the Consulate General of Israel in New York has released a Facebook application of the Holy Land.
Holy Land Trivia: From Creation to Creativity, offers a pictorial encounter with many significant places in Israel, and gives users the opportunity to share newly-gained knowledge with Facebook friends.
The application, designed to appeal to users of all backgrounds and especially to Christians, contains three multiple-choice quizzes about different locations of interest throughout Israel. The questions cover knowledge on holy sites in Israel, modern Israel, and a combination of the two.
I love Jerusalem! I love it because it’s a beautiful city and because it is where Messiah taught, laid down His life for the sins of mankind, and was resurrected, triumphing over death. It is the city of the great kings David and Solomon, and the place where the prophets and other great Bible heroes came to worship God in the temple.
From a human perspective, Jerusalem would not rank as one of the world’s most important cities. Even when biblical history was being written in Jerusalem’s streets, the city was not as significant as Alexandria, Rome or Athens.
Still, 3,000 years after King David’s reign, most of the world’s population believes that Jerusalem is the most important city on earth. There is only one possible reason: It is important to God and to His plans for the last days.
As the state of Israel recognizes Independence Day this month, Israelis around the world pause to celebrate 61 years of freedom.
Click below to watch video.
Editor's Note: The following word was released by prophetic minister James Goll earlier this year. For a free MP3 download, go to encountersnetwork.com and click on "Prophetic Insights."
I trust the few thoughts I share below will encourage your heart and stir up your faith. We see in part and prophesy in part—and this is a part of what I am seeing and hearing in the Spirit for 2009 and beyond. I trust it will mesh with the part the Lord is showing you!
It is the year of the woman. Women in ministry and leadership will be released globally across the body of Christ. The two righteous seeds of Michal Ann Goll and Jill Austin have been sown into the ground, and there will be a harvest of women in both spiritual and secular leadership arising to be champions of the poor, justice, prayer and creativity and flowing freely as the prophetic anointing increases.
It is a time when the nine gifts and the nine fruits of the Spirit will come together. Character to carry the gifts will be emphasized, and accountability that empowers will help create new wineskins for the new wine.
Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told reporters this week the Obama administration is "on a collision course with Israel," and said the president's Middle East policies are "very dangerous," The Jerusalem Post reported. Gingrich made the comments during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference.
‘"They are systematically setting up the most decisive confrontation that we've ever seen,'" he added. To read more, click here.
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