Page 8 of 378

The Holy Spirit in You

Have you settled for only a small part of the Holy Spirit? It's time to acknowledge who He really is and His divine purpose in your life.

Many Christians seem to have the idea that the Holy Spirit is an "it," a manifestation of the power of God or the gift of tongues. But the Holy Spirit is none of these. He is the third Person of the Godhead, a divine Person with a plan for our lives.

And He doesn't come to us haphazardly; He is a Person of purpose. God has an eternal plan and purpose for every individual who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is God bringing that purpose to reality as we learn to yield to His will for our lives. read more

The Higher Place of Faith

Every believer holds a deposit of heaven inside. But we must discipline our minds daily to reflect on the nature of Christ and what is most essential to faith in Him.

Roughly speaking, the word "faith" seems to be used by Christians in two senses or on two levels. In the first sense, it means simply belief—accepting or regarding as true the doctrines of Christianity. That is fairly simple.

But what does puzzle people—at least it used to puzzle me—is the fact that Christians regard faith in this sense as a virtue. I used to ask how on earth it can be a virtue—what is there moral or immoral about believing or not believing a set of statements? Obviously, I used to say, a sane man or woman accepts or rejects any statement, not because he or she wants to or doesn't want to, but because the evidence seems good or bad. read more

Supernatural Favor

When I first began my ministry, I was scared. In those days, women were not as widely accepted in the pulpit as they are today. Afraid of being rejected, I bent over backward to behave in the way I thought would please people. The only problem was that I was trying to earn approval, and it didn't work.

At the time, I knew nothing about supernatural favor. I didn't realize that favor is a part of grace. In fact, in the New Testament the words grace and favor both are translated from the Greek word charis.

The grace of God is the favor of God. And the grace of God causes good things to happen in our lives through the channel of faith. It is not by human power or might but through God's Spirit of grace that we find favor with God and man. read more

When (and Why) ‘The Vow’ Breaks

by Gina Meeks

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a true love story of a couple's Christ-centered commitment winds up shredded by Hollywood's moviemaking machine in this sign-of-our-times "chick flick."

Kim and Krickitt Carpenter's real-life story is one of sadness, true love, and God's grace and protection. The couple—whose inspirational account was first told in their 2000 book, The Vow (B&H Books), and now in a movie by the same name—never gave up on their marriage, despite tremendous obstacles thrown in their way.

After only 10 weeks of marriage, the Carpenters were involved in a life-threatening accident the day before Thanksgiving in 1993. Though Krickitt was given a less-than-1-percent chance to live, she eventually awoke from her coma. But Kim's excitement to have his wife back didn't last long: Krickitt had no memory of meeting him, getting married or going on their honeymoon. Doctors explained that the last year and a half of Krickitt's memory was gone and would possibly never return.

Throughout their struggles to restore the life they'd dreamed of sharing, the Carpenters clung to God and centered their broken relationship on Him. And through His goodness, they were able to save their marriage and push past Krickitt's memory loss and personality changes caused by her severe head trauma.

That's what happened in real life. Onscreen, however, it's a different story—literally.

The major motion picture, which hits theaters 16 years after the Carpenters signed over the rights to their story, is not only a prime example of what happens when a true story goes through Hollywood's fine-tuned moviemaking machine, it's also a tell-tale sign of our culture's modern fixation with antiheroes and not-so-happy endings.

Starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, The Vow had every opportunity to be a heartwarming romance to the likes of The Notebook—a broken man fighting for the woman he loves, no matter the cost. Unfortunately, it hardly measures up to the Carpenter's truly inspirational story.

The film is about Leo, a record studio owner, and Paige, an art student and sculptor. From flashbacks, we see the young couple happy and in love, with Leo constantly wooing his beautiful bride. But after the two suffer a car accident four years into their relationship, Paige wakes up with no memory of her husband. And it's at this point where the movie takes a major detour from the true story.

In fact, Paige has lost five years of her memory and last remembers being engaged to another man, Jeremy (Scott Speedman). She can't recall leaving law school to become an art student, meeting her husband or even that she's been estranged from her family for a number of years.

Although the relationship breaks down after the accident, the couple's fairy-tale romance is depicted in an enjoyable way through a series of flashbacks. The little snippets into their love story pre-accident portray two kindred spirits falling in love and getting married in the beautiful city of Chicago. Leo continues to romance Paige even after they're married, and she is clearly smitten.

But when Paige wakes up, her commitment to Leo has vanished. Although she briefly tries living with the husband she can't remember, the young wife quickly escapes to the comfort of her old life—ex-fiance and all. Leo fights for her, trying to help jog her memory with their wedding video, apartment and her art studio.

His attempts to win her back culminate with him taking Paige on a romantic date. Paige keeps her promise—which she doesn't recall making—to skinny-dip (wearing underwear) with Leo in Lake Michigan, and the couple even share a kiss or two. They really hit it off, and it seems their love story is back on track. But shortly after, Leo gives up on the woman he loves.

With all of the negative elements added to the story—Paige's controlling parents, the man she almost married trying to win her back and Leo's absence of a family—The Vow becomes another case of Hollywood furthering our culture's supposed preference for depressing endings in the name of "reality." Add to this a bedroom scene that features partial nudity, a rear-view shot of Tatum fully naked and an opening sequence graphically reenacting the auto accident, and this PG-13 film clearly proves it's not family friendly.

For all its changes from book to the screen, however, The Vow's most glaring omission is also the most important part of the Carpenters' real-life love story: their faith in God. To this day, Krickitt still can't recall an important segment of her life, yet she continues to remain faithful to the vow she made to her husband as she puts all of her hope and trust in God. She and Kim place their Creator in the center of their relationship and relentlessly work on recovering what they once had.

"We don't have a story without God. And that story really is about commitment—commitment to Him and commitment in marriage," Kim told the Christian Reader.

In a recent interview with The Daily Times (Farmington, N.M.), Krickitt said: "I would love to say that I fell in love with him again because that's what everybody wants to hear. I chose to love him and that was based on obedience to God, not feelings."

Sadly, though not surprisingly, The Vow heavily focuses on the feelings and not at all on their obedience to God. In fact, the movie never even mentions God other than when characters—including the couple—take God's name in vain (along with using profanity).

Most people enjoy a movie more when they haven't read the story in a book. And that's obviously the case with The Vow, which misses out on telling a truly romantic—and yes, just as realistic—story without all the dark elements. Yet even for those who have nothing to compare it to, the movie still lacks the quality of romance (and acting) most chick flicks offer. While it offers plenty of awww moments and is sure to leave its (mostly female) audiences fawning over Leo's sweetness, this Vow ultimately breaks down in depicting a heartbroken husband winning back his wife.

Gina Meeks is an assistant editor for Charisma magazine. read more

phil_cooke1

Why Some Pioneering Christian Media Ministries Survived

Regarding my last post on why so many pioneering media ministries collapsed, why did others survive? What did they have that others didn’t? Did God just bless them more, or are there identifiable traits that we could focus on and learn for the future. I think the latter’s true, and here’s a few thoughts why some pioneering Christian media ministries have not just survived, but thrived:

1. They weren’t afraid to change. When Joyce Meyer called me into our first meeting, she had frankly hit a wall. Her fundraising, donor development, TV and mail response—all of it was pretty flat. It took some time, but I had to make her understand how critical it was to change, and that there was no going back. It took a few months of give and take, but when she finally “got it,” a light went on and she never looked back. About that time, her youngest son, Dan, came onboard as ministry COO and helped me take it to another level entirely. He took her to the Hillsong Conference in Australia, and when she saw that, she came back a changed woman. She let us make employee changes, redesign the TV department, lose the dress codes, make some structural changes in the organization, and in a very short time, things dramatically turned around. Now today, Joyce Meyer lives for change both personally and professionally, and her response from donors and her audience is incredible. read more

malaria-6-dollar-net

How You Can Help Fight the War on Malaria

Want to be part of saving the world from a preventable disease? Here are some practical ways to support this effort:

1) Pray. Too many have suffered, died or lost loved ones because of malaria, and it doesn’t have to be this way. Intercede for those suffering from the disease and the families mourning the loss of loved ones. Pray that God would stir people’s hearts to help put an end to this disease. With your help, malaria can be eradicated by 2015. Is God leading you to be a part of this war? If so, prayer is the first line of defense.· read more

woman-praise-heaven

Learning to Love Him

What does it take to love God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength as the Scriptures command?

Among our friends in ministry is one who literally died, appeared before Jesus in heaven and was sent back to Earth to complete his service to our Lord. Now he touches untold thousands for Christ.

In relating his death experience, he says that he found himself in heaven in a line of people who were standing on a moving path. One by one, each person in the line appeared before Jesus. All those on the path were dressed in white and were exceedingly happy. read more

Revival or Disaster Headed for US West Coast?

One of the greatest revivals of all time began at Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906. The wretched former stable burned so brightly with the glory of God that for a time it was called “the second most famous address in the world.” God can do it again, and will, if we want it enough.

Every revival in history seems to be the result of a few people becoming so hungry for God that they wanted Him more than oxygen. Those who have such hunger will not be denied. It’s time to seek a revival that becomes the most famous address in the world. It’s time to seek a move of God that won’t quit moving.

I’ve seen in visions and dreams the destruction that is destined, especially on our West Coast. This has caused some to say that I have a hatred for our West Coast, which is not true, but rather the opposite. I really can’t help what I dream, and though a psycho analyst might say it is the result of deep feelings, I know these are prophetic dreams. They never leave me pleased, but rather I’m grieved enough to take all of the heat for sharing them with the hope that people will listen, repent, and they will not have to come true. read more

Revival or Disaster Headed for US West Coast?

One of the greatest revivals of all time began at Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906. The wretched former stable burned so brightly with the glory of God that for a time it was called “the second most famous address in the world.” God can do it again, and will, if we want it enough.

Every revival in history seems to be the result of a few people becoming so hungry for God that they wanted Him more than oxygen. Those who have such hunger will not be denied. It’s time to seek a revival that becomes the most famous address in the world. It’s time to seek a move of God that won’t quit moving.

I’ve seen in visions and dreams the destruction that is destined, especially on our West Coast. This has caused some to say that I have a hatred for our West Coast, which is not true, but rather the opposite. I really can’t help what I dream, and though a psycho analyst might say it is the result of deep feelings, I know these are prophetic dreams. They never leave me pleased, but rather I’m grieved enough to take all of the heat for sharing them with the hope that people will listen, repent, and they will not have to come true. read more

f-Wiese-Recession-Proof_1

The Keys to Prosperity

So what requirements has God established that lead to a pathway of prosperity? The Bible reveals several overarching keys.

1) Seek Him. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). All what things? All the things He mentioned in the verses preceding verse 33—such as treasures upon earth or what you will eat or drink or wear. We are not to seek those things first. We are to seek the kingdom first.

What does it mean to seek the kingdom? It is seeking to do His will. His will is what He did on the earth, such as healing all (Acts 10:38), casting out devils (Mark 16:15-18) and preaching repentance (Matt. 4:17). read more

phil_cooke1

Is the Pioneering Age of Religious Media Over?

Of the classic and pioneering media ministries of the last 50 years, very few are recognizable anymore. As a result, I believe that era is definitely over.

The Crystal Cathedral has officially closed escrow and the iconic glass sanctuary designed by architect Philip Johnson is now a Catholic church. But the sale represents much more than how one media ministry lost it’s way.

Oral Roberts built the most successful media ministry of his time, and the massive financial response built a university. But it became apparent that a second generation of leadership couldn’t sustain it.

Today, his son Richard has left the university and the ministry media outreach is a fraction of the size it was at one time. Now, thanks to new leadership like Mart Green and Dr. Mark Rutland, Oral Roberts University is experiencing a rebirth and explosion in growth, but only because it’s in fresh, new hands. read more

Until Death Parts Us

Decide today that you're in your marriage for the long haul.

When we see marriage as a covenant, not a contract, it’s confirmation that we are meant to stay together until death parts us. In A Model for Marriage, Jack and Judy Balswick point out that “the core characteristic of a covenant marriage is commitment, a factor that is profoundly important to marital stability, according to research findings.”

The very nature of wedding vows implies a covenant, but for most brides and grooms, the common attitude is to see marriage as a contract that can be broken. Typically, a couple—despite vowing to endure better or worse until death—live by the principle that they’ll stay together only as long as their spouse fulfills their end of the bargain. That’s an attitude that feeds into the “short haul” approach. read more

single-woman

Aren't You Married Yet?

I'm not about to start singing the blues over being single. Neither should you.

"Why aren't you married?" has to be the single most asked question I get at this point in my life. What does a person mean when he poses this question?

Is he really asking me, "What is wrong with you?" It sure feels like it! read more

God's Faithfulness

Christine Caine shares the story of Sarah, who gave birth past the age of childbearing because of God's faithfulness. Watch to find out why Caine says God is looking for women to be faithful and trust Him to make impossible situations possible.

{youtube}OKw_iSYMFyY{/youtube} read more

The Test of Wondering Why

Recently, a friend’s letter arrived that reminded me of the importance of resting our hearts on what we know to be true about God, especially when faced with circumstances that lead us to question His will.

He wrote: “As a family, God has been speaking to us recently through the death of my youngest sister, Freda, on August 31. We have no details yet. She sailed on September 18 of last year... after 10 years’ patient waiting for the way to open. read more

The Key to Contentment

Psst ... need a clue? Check your heart.

Are you a content, satisfied, joyful Christian? If you are, can you say that you are consistently content, satisfied and joyful? I know few Christians who are consistently content. I used to be one of the discontent.

I grew up in an abusive situation and experienced a lot of disappointment, discouragement and discontentment because of it. For many years I believed good things wouldn’t happen to me and that it was better to expect nothing so I wouldn’t be disappointed. Well, it didn’t work, and I was still miserable anyway. See, I was expecting nothing, and nothing is what I got.

It was a breakthrough for me when I realized that God truly loves me unconditionally and has good plans for my life. He wants to bless me and be good to me. But He also wants me to trust Him and put my expectation in Him so He can do great things in my life. read more

f-Abraham-LifeAfterDeath

Life After Death

Three years ago Riva Tims lived through a high-profile scandal that ended her marriage, stripped her of a thriving ministry and left her with virtually no income. Last fall her ex-husband, Zachery Tims, was found dead in a New York hotel room. Now Riva opens up about the details of her journey—and how God has brought her new life.

 

The roar of the engine at 30,000 feet couldn’t silence the noise inside Riva Tims’ head as she flew to New York City last fall. It had been less than 24 hours since she’d learned that Zachery Tims, her ex-husband and the pastor of an 8,000-member church in the Orlando, Fla.-area had been found dead in his hotel room.

How is this happening? Maybe there’s been a mistake. Maybe it isn’t true. I’m not ready to lose him yet.

It just didn’t settle with her, even while she held her children’s trembling bodies as they cried upon hearing the news. Inside, she held on to a faint hope that maybe this was all a sick joke. But as she stood in the cold morgue and stared at a picture of the lifeless body of the 42-year-old father of her four children, it finally hit her, as if part of her had also just died. read more

f-Delgado-HowMuch

How Much Have You Invested in Your Marriage?

To avoid spiritual bankruptcy in your marriage, it’s key to start investing now. Here’s how seemingly ‘small’ things can save you big in the long run.

 

Ask any couple who has survived financial bankruptcy, and you’re likely to hear how the process can wreak havoc on all areas of their life. Few things put a strain on a marriage as much as when a bank account is depleted.

Yet countless couples fail to realize the same principle applies in the spiritual realm. A marriage will not survive spiritual bankruptcy unless the couple starts depositing quality investments into the relationship.

When you attempt to strengthen your marriage, however, realize you will likely face opposition. Satan delights in tormenting Christian marriage by stealing faith and joy. Marriages without the practice of spiritual warfare are at great risk. To bolster against the attacks, make these 10 investments in your covenant to spark the fires of faithfulness for a happy marriage! read more

f-Haywood-Jeff-Farmer

Jeff Farmer’s $6 Mission to Save the World

The Pentecostal leader crossed lines to rally denominational heads for a mammoth goal: End global malaria by 2015. Now he’s targeting believers with a simple $6 plea that could unite the church and change the world.

 

Jeff Farmer was recovering from cancer surgery when he read the statistics in a World Vision newsletter: 1) Every 45 seconds a child age 5 and under dies from malaria, according to the World Health Organization; 2) Although the United States successfully eradicated malaria 60 years ago, this deadly disease spread by infected mosquitoes kills nearly 2,000 children every day. The World Health Organization’s commitment to wipe out malaria across the globe by 2015 has been joined by secular organizations such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NBA and many others.

Among Christians, however, charismatic and Pentecostal churches have been missing in action for the fight to eliminate malaria. But that changed when the Holy Spirit gave Farmer, president of charismatic Open Bible Churches, a wake-up call to help bring an end to the disease. Farmer had been meditating on Psalm 91 during his ordeal of discovering he had cancer and the ensuing surgery when God began to speak to him about malaria—a stealthy, silent killer.

“The deadliest predator in Africa is the mosquito that strikes the most vulnerable [people] at night,” Farmer says. “God began to show me through Psalm 91 that ‘terror by night’ [v. 5] is malaria because the female mosquito, which carries the parasite, strikes primarily at night.” read more

f-Shiavi-Abigail-Litle

Fighting for Israel

Why an American family, despite paying the ultimate price, continues to engage in a conflict that isn’t their own.

The terrorist attack punctuated a spring day in Haifa, Israel, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on a city bus full of children heading home after school. As usually happens in Israel after a terror attack, phones began buzzing with friends and family calling to check on the well-being of their loved ones.

Israel was in the throes of the second Palestinian uprising from 2001 to 2004. Residents lived daily with the threat of bombings and shootings in any metropolitan area. Tensions were palpable, security guards were hired at all public establishments—from post offices to supermarkets, and tourism was down drastically.

Philip and Heidi Litle were home sifting through photos of their children dressed for Purim, the biblical commemoration of the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people recorded in the book of Esther, when the calls started coming in to their home. The Litles did a mental review of the whereabouts of their five children. They all should have been accounted for, not on the bus in question, according to initial news reports—which were rushed and inaccurate with a bevy of misinformation stemming from confusion at the scene. read more

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit