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A few years ago a Christian friend of mine, who happens to be an ordained clergyman, was participating in a pro-life march in New York City. Several evangelical and Roman Catholic groups were represented, so there were, predictably, vigorous counter-demonstrations. Many of these were led by gays.
My friend said that for many long minutes a counter-demonstrator kept pace with him from a few feet away, screaming hateful obscenities at him. His tirade slowing down for a few seconds, he shouted this strange question at my friend: "Why do you people hate us?"
The question seemed quite unrelated to the pro-life issue, which of course it is. The questioner identified himself as a gay activist.
You can live a life of extraordinary, supernatural power! The secret is actually quite simple. God's power is obtained through a lifestyle of intimacy with Him.
Jesus understood the connection between power and intimacy. Luke 5:15-16 says: "Great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed" (NKJV). Jesus was constantly flowing in the power of God and releasing it through His life to others. The level of His anointing was in direct proportion to His prayer life.
A quiet revolution is under way in the Middle East as vast numbers of Muslims, propelled by dreams and visions, are coming to faith in Christ.
Patricia Bailey-Jones is on the leading edge of a new trend as more African-Americans head to the foreign mission field. Charisma caught up with her in Angola.
In the heart of Seattle, the Church of the Undignified has become a refuge for ex-drug addicts, prostitutes and gangsters living in an anything goes neighborhood.
Many believe that the next generation of Christian leaders has unprecedented opportunities to complete the Great Commission. I agree. But I believe those who desire to successfully appropriate these opportunities must fit the following profile.
Imagine this not too far-fetched scenario: Mom and Dad are going out together for a few hours, and before they leave they make a simple request of their young son: "Johnny, we will be back in a few hours. Before we get back, could you please straighten up your bedroom?"
Mom and Dad enjoy their evening out together, but they're shocked by what they see when they return home.
The lawn is freshly mowed. The living room has been vacuumed. All the dinner dishes have been washed.
The Master Creator, the God of the universe, wants to walk with you and talk with you.
He has given you a language that is creative and powerful enough to open the heavens and release His glory, His majesty. Nothing that occurs on your journey through life comes as a surprise to your heavenly Father. He uses everything to complete His work that He has begun in you. You are His masterpiece!
God sent the Holy Spirit to you. He not only walks with you, but He also abides in you. When you have done all you know to do and feel like giving up, the Holy Spirit is present to strengthen you. When your faith seems exhausted, He activates the faith of the Son of God that abides in you. He lifts you up. He leads you into a place of rest and peace that passes understanding. He never leaves you without support. He gives you the courage to approach a holy God who is present to hear you when you pray.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. —1 John 5:14–15
Something powerful is on the horizon. The Lord is equipping His church for the greatest outpouring the world has ever seen. We must do everything possible to prepare our hearts and to train others for this soul-saving revival. We also must be willing to be used by the Lord in new, unfamiliar ways.
A fresh evangelistic anointing is about to rest upon true believers. Fear will give way to Holy Ghost-boldness as the Spirit of God directs His people into uncharted spiritual territory. The thirsty masses are about to be handed an unsolicited cup of cool water that will change them for eternity.
In an interview with a major news organization I was asked if the evangelical church should be responsible for solving the world's starvation and disease epidemic. Though I don't believe the answer lies solely with the church (it's a little more complex than that), I do believe that we are mandated to feed, clothe and help the poor. If we don't, then according to the Word of God, our religion is lifeless.
We all want the genuine manifestation of the Holy Spirits power. But we must be careful not to allow counterfeits.
Without question Israel, and its capital city, Jerusalem, are of paramount importance in the plans and purposes of God. And we know God uses believers to work with Him in prayer for the carrying out of His plans, His mysteries, on the earth (see 1 Cor. 14:2).
That's why He commands us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6, NKJV). But this does not mean we are to pray simply for the absence of war. It also means we are to pray for Jerusalem to fulfill its prophetic destiny.
Understanding the word "peace" is a key to understanding this command. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. The root word for shalom is shalem, which means "whole." Shalom therefore means the peace that comes from being whole. God's will for Jerusalem is that it be whole—undivided. But about 12 years ago the Israeli government was leaning toward dividing the land and eventually, Jerusalem. So we took a group to Israel to pray about the upcoming elections.
When I'm speaking at conferences and events across the country, I'm often asked why so many ministries use the media. After all, it's a very expensive business. Couldn't we use that money for feeding the hungry or helping the homeless? Wouldn't Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, James Dobson (and even your local pastor) be better stewards if they spent God's money on more traditional evangelism?
All good questions. No one wants to waste financial resources or damage opportunities for reaching the lost. So, my first response to such queries is to study the life of Jesus.
How did He reach people? Where did He reach people? How did He make an impact on them? What can I learn from His life and ministry?
It has been 50 years since Pentecostal preacher David Wilkerson moved to New York City to reach violent gangs. His message has restored hundreds of thousands of lives.
Fifty years ago, David Wilkerson seemed an unlikely candidate to attack the Goliath-like monster of drug addiction. He was an obscure 26-year-old Assemblies of God preacher from rural Pennsylvania when he traveled to New York City in 1958 to share Christ with seven teens accused of murder.
At the time, he knew little about drugs, addiction or New York’s gang-infested inner city. What he did know was that the Holy Spirit could destroy any stronghold, even one as insidious as drug addiction.
One of the highlights of my life is the time I put flowers on the grave of a man I had never met. I first heard this man's name—Samuel Zwemer—in the 1980s during a class at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the oldest and most prestigious Muslim university in the world, sometimes called the "brain of Islam."
My professor taught us that throughout history Christians had attempted to destroy Islam. He reminded us of the bloody battles Christians had waged against the Islamic world during the 200 years of the Crusades. He pointed out the Western colonialism that had been practiced from the late 1700s to the mid-1900s.
"Now Christians have a new strategy to defeat Islam," he added. This strategy was embodied in the name and picture I saw in my textbook: that of Samuel Zwemer.
Jesus told the disciples to pray with Him because He wanted to prepare them for the trial that was coming. But they kept falling asleep.
Jesus, on the other hand, did pray, and as He did, an angel strengthened Him in spirit, enabling Him to endure the cross. The disciples didn't pray--they slept--and proved that the flesh truly is weak.
This is why prayer is so important. As Christians, many of us have the idea that everything in our lives will be perfect simply because we are Christians. But Jesus clearly warned us, "In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you]" (John 16:33).
That's not to say we should be negative. But we need to be realistic and understand that very few things in life are perfect. Jesus said we would have to deal with temptation, tribulation, trials, distress and frustration. These things are part of life on this earth--for the believer as well as the unbeliever.
When temptation comes, our spirit is willing to do what is right, but our flesh will not help us. Our flesh will pull us under if we don't pray and ask God to strengthen us in spirit and to circumcise our hearts to resist temptation.
Crucifying the flesh is never a particularly enjoyable experience, but as followers of Christ, we are called to suffer as He suffered. First Peter 4:1 tells us, "So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God]."
It is important to understand the difference between suffering in the flesh and suffering demonic affliction. Giving up the selfish appetites of our flesh does not mean we are to suffer from sickness, disease and poverty. Jesus died to deliver us from the curse of sin. But unless we are willing to suffer in the flesh, we will never walk in the will of God.
The apostle Paul wrote, "But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]" (1 Cor. 9:27).
Paul is speaking here about self-discipline. Self-discipline is keeping ourselves going in the right direction without being pressured by someone else.
The problem is that somehow we have gotten the wrong idea that everything in life is supposed to be easy. We need to be people who are self-motivated and self-disciplined. We must do what is right because it is right, not because someone is forcing us to comply.
When we get up in the morning, we should set our thoughts on walking in God's will all day long. We might even say to ourselves, "Even if I need to suffer in order to do God's will today, I purpose in my mind and heart to be obedient."
Remember--even in the face of our suffering, there is hope, for Christ has overcome the world! Paul wrote, "Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer" (Rom. 12:12). Decide ahead of time that you will face each day with the determination to please God, whether your flesh is willing or not.
Joyce Meyer is an internationally recognized minister and author of more than 60 books.
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