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Posts tagged ‘New American Standard Bible’

Something Is About to Change.


davidravenhill
David Ravenhill

For almost 50 years of ministry, I have heard the prophetic community tell us we are on the verge of something new. They use terms like a new anointing, new alignment, new generation, new move, a new season, change is coming, there is a shift in the heavenlies and God is about to do a new thing. Others have told us God is raising up a new company. I don’t recall how many new companies I’ve heard about over the past 50 years. There have been at least a dozen or more that come to mind.

This growing chorus of change seems to be getting louder and louder. However, by the time one word regarding change is given, another has already replaced it.

This all begs the question: Are these genuine words or just the earnest desire of those longing for some type of recognition in the prophetic community? While the answer may well be yes to both of these possibilities, there is also a third one to consider.

Just the other day, I was reading Paul’s letter to the Romans where he tells us, “The anxious longing of creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. … For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Rom. 8:19, 22, NASB). Not only does Paul tell us that all of creation is in labor, but he goes on to state, “And not only this, but also we ourselves … groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (v. 23.)

I believe what we are hearing from our prophetic brethren is the groaning and longing of those who yearn for the fullness of God’s purpose to be revealed. This deep longing is being expressed through them in a variety of ways and words. They are feeling and sensing what creation is going through and can sympathize and identify with it. While not content to settle for things the way they are, they are voicing their frustration and longing through these cries of change.

I have never held to the belief that God is forever updating and changing His plans as though His former plans were failing. It has always troubled me to hear that God is about to do something new, which implies He wasn’t doing it that way before.

Take, for instance, “a new anointing for evangelism.” Does that mean all of a sudden God has had a change of mind regarding the lost? I don’t think so! His longing to seek and save the lost has no variation whatsoever.

There is no doubt in my mind that we, along with the rest of creation, have not yet fully seen all that God has prepared for us. While I don’t pretend to know all that is implied by Paul’s phrase “the sons of God,” I do know that it is not a new company that will proudly strut their spiritual superiority before the rest of the body of Christ.

The day is rapidly dawning in which we will see all our longings, desires and groanings realized, which will be “the redemption of our bodies.” The birth pangs are definitely intensifying and becoming more frequent with each passing day.

Until that day, let’s patiently bear with those who can’t fully articulate what they are feeling other than to say, “I’m sensing something is about to change.”

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ PROPHETIC INSIGHT.

DAVID RAVENHILL

5 Keys to Rebounding From Financial Ruin.


couple breaking piggy bank
(© beemanja/http://www.istockphoto.com)
OK, here are some tried-and-true tools, gleaned from different people who’ve been there, done that, to help you grow trust in Papa God on your journey through the valley of the shadow of financial death.
1. Don’t Give Up Hope
He will continue to be faithful to us no matter what: “If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful. Christ cannot deny who he is” (2 Tim. 2:13, CEV).
Separate your needs from your wants. Sometimes we get confused and pray for a Mercedes when what we really need is a bicycle. But Yahweh, Master of all things great and small, knows the difference: “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need” (Phil. 4:19, MSG).
2. Sweeten Your Bitter Words
You might have to eat them one day. Don’t dwell on the unfairness of your poverty. Be careful what you say; be careful what you think: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right” (Phil. 4:8, NLT).
3. Keep Communication Lines Open
Scripture tells us, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17, NASB). Talk to your heavenly Father—even cry out your frustrations. Then dry your tears and thank Him for the blessings you do have. If you need a little perspective on your blessings, visit a surgical ward. Or a homeless shelter. Or a battered women’s center.
Remember what God has done for you. He gave you the ultimate sacrifice: His Son on a cross. Salvation. Eternal life. Quote John 3:16 to refresh your recall.
4. Keep Serving Others
Do this even if you feel you’re the one needing service: “God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do” (Heb. 6:10, NLT). Give of yourself to the poor and needy even when you think you don’t have anything to give.
The best blessing you can give someone is your time. Use your downtime to bless someone.
5. Keep Your Eyes Fixed on Jesus
Do the things you know you need to do to honor your Savior, even if you don’t feel like it: “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you” (Prov. 4:25). Go to church, hang out with believers, study your Bible and listen to Christian music—because feeding our faith starves our fears.
Hey, I know all too well that ominous dread that seizes your heart when official-looking men with clipboards appear at your door. Or when your electricity is turned off. Or when you run out of answers when your kids don’t understand why they can’t go places and do the same things their friends do. And you’re bone tired. And more discouraged than you’ve ever been in your life.
I really do know. I’ve been there. And I want to offer you hope. There is life after financial death. Cling to hope, dear one, because fear is devoid of hope, and hope is devoid of fear. And as Lazarus discovered, hope is what Papa God does best.
Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ Spiritled Woman.
Debora M. Coty is the author of 10 books and is a newspaper columnist, orthopedic occupational therapist and tennis addict. Follow her on Twitter @deboracoty.

Why Accountability Is Good.


Do you have an accountability partner?
Do you have an accountability partner? (Stock Free Images)

Recently, I have been on a mission. The mission is to keep those around me accountable in their Christian walk. It has been a blessing and an eye-opener.

The blessing is that the people I have been asking questions about their daily devotions have been excited to have me ask. They seem to have had a renewed focus on their relationship with God.

This, in turn, has had a reciprocal effect on their relationships, their families and their outlook on life. I am blessed to hear the stories of how it has helped them.

The eye-opener is the fact that it has made me more accountable because those whom I am keeping accountable are doing the same for me. Look at what is says in Matthew 7:3: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (NASB).

What I am doing here is not judging. I am keeping my fellow brothers accountable for their relationship with God. If they/we have this relationship with God, then everything else falls into place. Our relationships fall into place, our work falls into place and our church falls into place.

Accountability is not judgment; accountability in not meddling; accountability is the deep and true concern for your fellow brothers and sisters.

If you don’t have an accountability partner or group, find one. They will help you in ways you could have never imagined.

Accountability helps with the healing of our heart. It helps by listening to others who have gone and/or are going through the same things as you. And it helps by making you not want to let that person down by doing your best in devotion, confessing and listening. But most of all, it makes you not want to let God down.

Once you feel that relationship with God, it makes it harder to let go. And that is where we all need to be. So accountability is good. Try it; you just might like it.

“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness” (1 Pet. 5:1-2).

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

Flood of Aberrant Doctrines Endangering True Faith.


r-loren-sandford
R. Loren Sandford
I am burdened with concern right now for the body of Christ. The days are urgent, and time is limited. We need to be ready, alive and alert to the Spirit. People around us are hurting, the world rushes toward coming catastrophes, and yet I see too many believers who should know better falling into self-centered emotional turmoil, moral compromise and inconsistency at just the time when we need to be at our finest and most focused. Lives are at stake.
I’m not just talking about my own flock. I see this in too much of the wider body of Christ, even as a remnant sharpens its hunger and passion for God. In my book Visions of the Coming Days, I wrote of the preparation we need to be making, but I despair that few have read it and that even fewer understand the urgency of what they’re reading. I wrote of a sense of hope for the economy from 2012 into 2013 and said that it could not last. This current period of relative improvement has lulled many of us into complacency, a sense that it’s all going to be all right. It isn’t. We’ve been given a limited season of grace in which to prepare for difficult times, more than just economically, and we must use it.
In these days, if we take our eyes off our Savior for even an instant, the enemy of our soul will access our vulnerabilities and weaknesses and use them to drag us down. We will be scattered from one another, isolated and disconnected at a time when our relationships need to be firm and strong. First Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith” (NASB).
The big cats hunt by separating their prey from the flock or herd so that they can be brought down and devoured. Think of Peter’s concern as a significant part of the force behind Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 6:18: “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
“Alert” and “perseverance” work with greatest effectiveness through solid relationships in which we see and know what is happening in the lives of our brothers and sisters. We strengthen our relationships through faithfully worshipping together in larger gatherings (Sunday or Sabbath), through teams doing ministry together, through cell groups meeting faithfully in homes and by guarding the health of our families.
In the midst of this, a flood of aberrant doctrines threatens to destroy the very foundations of our faith. I won’t name them here. I’ve done that in other places. These become possible when the body of Christ becomes more interested in spiritual experience than in biblical grounding and when ignorance of what the whole Word of God has to say opens access points for deception. Interest in responsible Bible study has tragically waned in recent decades until the average Christian has become functionally biblically illiterate, effectively disarmed against lies wrapped appealingly in kernels of truth. Let’s keep the experience, but let’s ground it in responsible study of the whole counsel of God once delivered.
Rise up, saints! Whether you feel it or not, this is the hour of our exaltation, the day of our destiny in Him, a strategic moment in history! Don’t miss it!

R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colo. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic PeopleThe Prophetic Church and his latest, Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare, which are available with other resources at the church’s website.

Relevant Messages Require Transparency.



C-Pastors-Heart
© Stephen Boatright

Recently, I’ve been “reinventing” myself and re-evaluating my methods after 22 years of pastoring the same church. I come from a deep heritage of Pentecostal preachers, where fiery, Holy Ghost, sweat-filled sermons are the cure-all. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible makes it clear in Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (NASB). But is the gospel really communicated only through me? And does effective communication rely only on my preparation and my delivery?

Not long ago, I was challenged on this by a very successful pastor who attended one of our services. He told me, “You muscle everything! Everything that has to be communicated, you communicate by yourself, in the pulpit, with no support.” He said that at his church, the messages are communicated by everyone from staff to parking lot attendants and by multiple vehicles such as T-shirts (on the parking attendants), video screens and banners. His insights really opened my eyes, and I immediately began reallocating funds to staff these areas of support.

Since then, I’ve discovered some key principles for effective communication, which center less on me and more on the people I’m teaching. Here’s what I’ve learned about driving home a relevant message:

Communicating a relevant message requires me knowing and caring about my audience.I think back to Ezekiel and his charge from God to communicate His Word to the exiles at Tel Aviv. Scripture says he went to them “in the heat of my spirit” (Ezek. 3:14, NKJV). In other words, Ezekielthought he had all the answers. But once he arrived there, he “sat among them for seven days—deeply distressed” (v. 15, NIV). He began to get a heart for those to whom God had sent Him. Have you studied your audience? Are you acquainted with their needs, hurts and passions? To be relevant to people, we must care about them. This is the key to relevancy. 

Communicating a relevant message requires me thinking about everyone who’s listening.I had the honor of speaking at Ed Young Jr.’s C3 Conference this year, where Ed talked about the “three chairs” we as pastors must keep in mind. The first chair, he said, is occupied by the visitor who has no knowledge of the gospel. The second chair is occupied by the new believer. The third chair seats the seasoned Christian. We must prepare our messages in such a way that we keep all three chairs in the front of our minds.

Communicating a relevant message requires transparency.Recently, I stood in the pulpit with tears running down my face and spoke honestly of our family’s struggle with our oldest son’s drug addiction. Afterward, thousands of teenagers responded to the altar call and accepted Jesus as their Savior. And we heard from many parents who, feeling like failures because of their children’s lifestyle decisions, were freed of guilt. It was one of the most transparent days of my life. I gave my congregation insight into my real pain. “Getting real” allows us to become touchable and makes our faith more authentic.

No one living in our culture today would argue that this is a different day. People are bombarded with information. But when it comes down to it, communicating a relevant message reflects our heart for God and for people. May we always have a heart that thinks first about those we’re teaching and allow that to shape how we communicate an eternity-altering story.

Written by Ron Carpenter


Ron Carpenter is senior pastor at Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, S.C. Connect at RonCarpenter.com.

Do You Really Believe God Is Good?.


woman praying
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

The successful outcome of our lives revolves around one thing: our view of God’s nature. What we believe about the nature of God shapes our attitudes, our choices, our relationships and our expectations.The foundation of our faith must rest in this reality: God isgood.

David said of God, “You are good and you do good” (Ps. 119:68, CEV). This must be our most basic worldview and our permanent mindset, no matter what happens. We can’t let life paint our view of God. Rather, we must let this correct view of God paint our view of life.

When things don’t go our way, we have a choice: to question God or to believe that God’s goodness will somehow turn it around. What we believe at that moment has the power to change everything. That’s why it’s so vital to establish your view of God as He truly is: infinitely good beyond our wildest dreams or expectations!

Our faith in God’s goodness renders powerless the negative circumstance in our life. When we know how good God is, we know the bad thing in our life doesn’t stand a chance. Nevertheless, as soon as something bad happens, many people ask, “Where is God?” But the better question to ask is, “Where am I?” The answer is: in the hands of a good and loving God. When you realize that, no matter what is going on around you, everything is going to be all right!

When God and your problem are in the same room, one of those things has to change. Since God’s nature never changes, your problem will! Good always overcomes evil (Rom. 12:21).

Psalm 27:13 says, “I would have despaired unless I believed I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living” (NASB).

Are you tempted to despair—to give up on your miracle, your marriage, your kids or your job? Are you tempted to give up on giving or in believing your breakthrough is coming? The strength to keep going doesn’t come from willpower but from the assurance that you will see God’s goodness show up.

It’s coming!

Storms surely come in life, but don’t let them paint your view of God. See every obstacle through eyes that are laser-focused on God’s goodness, and you will respond with confidence and peace. Remember, the outcome of our life is not determined by what happens to us but by how we respond. Our assurance in God’s goodness is what will lead us to respond with faith and confident expectation!


Gregory Dickow is the founder and pastor of Life Changers International Church, one of the largest churches in the Chicagoland area. He also is the host of The Power to Change Today—an international television ministry that reaches a potential audience of more than 900 million households weekly.

Deliverance From the Idolatry of Emotions.


r-loren-sandford

We live in a time when most people in our culture don’t think. Instead, they “feel,” and they believe that what they feel is truth. Most of what we see on television (both news and entertainment) and read in magazines, on blogs and in books is crafted to generate an emotional response and, in feeling it, to accept the feeling as truth. Critical thinking—objectively identifying what is right and differentiating that from mere visceral, emotional responses—is simply bypassed. This affects moral judgment, leaving us susceptible to moral compromise when such compromise “feels” right to us as a result of the constant conditioning we’ve experienced or when it promises some kind of reward.

This idolatry of emotions renders us vulnerable to believing any lie we’re told, as long as the liar can make us feel something, be it excitement, anger, outrage, self-importance or even love. In the political world, for instance, the party that can best inspire emotion in the electorate prevails, regardless of the logic of the issues (or lack of it). In the church, morals and standards of righteousness have fallen into a wholesale state of deterioration because the idolatry of feelings tells us that what feels right is right, regardless of the clear teaching of God’s Word.

The surrounding culture exerts relentless pressure, reaching into and subtly conditioning our doctrines, practices and sense of righteousness when the opposite should be true. We should be influencing the culture as leaven of the kingdom of God.

The result of this cultural influence and its idolization of feelings has been the inevitable shipwreck of so many lives and ministries that we now have diminished moral credibility in the eyes of the world we seek to impact. The culture tells us there are no moral absolutes and that whatever you choose to believe is your own truth if it “works for you.” Thus, too much of the Christian world has adopted a standard based not on an eternal plumb line but on our own shifting moods and feelings.

In a recent discussion regarding a significant cultural shift now underway that flies in the face of a clear biblical, moral prohibition, someone asked my son and co-pastor, “Why can’t we just go with the culture?” My son gave a brilliant reply: “That was what got 6 million Jews exterminated in World War II.” In the absence of the absolute law of God embedded in Scripture, what the mass of people felt when the media of the day manipulated their emotions came to be accepted as truth. When societies divorce themselves from the standard of God’s Word, destruction inevitably follows.

Godly reasoning identifies the right and calls on feelings to follow after. Feelings are a good thing, a gift of God, but only when brought under the discipline of God’s eternal Word, every line of which is God-breathed love designed to ensure that we live well and avoid unnecessary suffering.

The prophet cried, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9, NASB). How then should we function? The apostle Paul knew the truth: “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).

I would suggest that God gave us emotions to enjoy and to alert us to pleasures, dangers and the condition of our inner man—not for the purpose of making decisions. For decision-making, He gave us the capacity to reason in order that we might objectively identify the right thing to do on the basis of God’s Word and then discipline the heart to follow after. Under discipline, the heart follows the direction set by a redeemed mind. Left to themselves, emotions generate delusion. Will we think with our feelings or with a Holy Spirit–inspired capacity to reason?

In short, in these crucial days God calls us to reject the emotional idolatry of the culture around us, to return to the plumb line of the Scriptures—to an accurate understanding of them—and to see in them the imprint of the Father’s heart, His love and His blessing. “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord” (Is. 1:18).

This is not the spirit of religion, nor is this legalism. Revealed in every line of Scripture is the selflessness of the cross, the love of the Father and the way to live well, in wholeness and in peace. It is the gift of grace by the Holy Spirit, and it works.

Let us be the light shining in the darkness that Jesus calls us to be. Let us be a people who gather in and heal those damaged by the delusions of the world. Let’s enjoy our emotions, and let’s treasure what they bring us. But, unlike the culture around us, let us not make decisions by them to the detriment of our lives and our faith.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE.

R. LOREN SANDFORD

R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic PeopleThe Prophetic Church and his latest, Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare, which are available with other resources at the church’s website.

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