I know it’s been a busy month for everybody trying to wrap up things before the Christmas holidays, but let me just state that Jesus is the Reason for the Seasonand the whole point is no matter how inaccurate historians maybe about Dec 25th being Jesus’ birthday (which most of us know that it is not), the whole point is, it is a time of celebration concerning the Fact that Christ came to Save us all from the penalty of sin which is death, through what He did at Calvary by dying on the Cross and Resurrecting from the dead three days later in fulfillment of the scriptures.
Our Lord Jesus came down from Heaven to be born as a man to teach us all about God’s Kingdom, bear our sins on the cross and defeat the power of death so that we could all be redeemed and be reborn to be reunited with Him again by acknowledging that He is indeed our Savior. Such compassion shown by our God is worthy of all our praise and when you begin to realize, Jesus’ birth was not done in vain, the master plan was to restore all of us back into the fullness of our positions as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Through this, we have so much to be thankful for and so much to give to God and to others by our way of worship back to the Father for all that He has done for us.
Jesus came down to give us the gift of hope through salvation so that in return, we would do the same by blessing those around us with the same gift of hope to return back to the heart and the love of the Father.
Extend your love to others so that the light of Christ love shining through you can reach others who live in darkness.
If God owns it all, why do so many Christians find themselves lacking? Here’s how to experience the miracle of supernatural abundance from your heavenly Father—and what that really means.
I like to share the story about two girls who met at a camp on the East Coast. A bratty, rich girl introduced herself to the other: “Hey, there. I come here every summer because my daddy owns part of this property. Do you see that speedboat on the lake? My daddy owns that boat. Do you see that mansion on the side of the mountain? My daddy stays there when he comes to visit me.”
Looking upward, she then exclaimed, “Oh! Do you see that airplane? That’s my daddy up there,” and waved enthusiastically, as if the passengers could see her.
“So, who’s your daddy?” she asked in a condescending tone.
The other preteen was a good Christian girl but wasn’t wealthy. In fact, her mother had sold some of her personal jewelry to cover the camp’s registration fees. Feeling embarrassed and insignificant, the girl looked down at the dirt by their cabin.
Then she smiled and lifted her dejected head. With a twinkle in her eyes she said, “Do you see that large lake that your daddy’s boat is in? My Father created that lake. And you know that mountain your daddy’s cabin is on? My Father owns that mountain. As a matter of fact, do you see that big, blue sky your daddy’s plane is in? My Father owns that sky.”
Check Your Perspective
After reading that kind of story, you might be thinking, “So if God owns it all, why am I lacking?” The quick answer is that you possibly have a wrong perspective.
Perspective is everything, as shown by a recent experience my husband, Tommy, and I had. On a dark county road we noticed a red, out-of-control pick-up truck approximately 300 feet in front of us. Weaving back and forth, the driver jerked the truck from left to right and then sashayed into a circular pattern. We immediately called 911 to alert the authorities, only to discover later that the driver worked for the Texas Department of Public Safety and was testing a new type of road base. From our limited perspective he was a drunken fool. In reality, this good man was working late at night to keep our roads safe.
Perhaps you have a wrong perspective of God, believing He wants you to barely get along. But God is not like an earthly father who would say to his son, “Now, son, you know that I am a millionaire, but I don’t want you to become proud, so you can have only a dollar for lunch today.” No, no—a thousand times no. He is a loving Father who would say something more like, “After football practice, let’s go out for pizza; in fact, invite the whole team.”
I challenge you to renew your mind and think bigger. Spend time in Isaiah, where it says, “Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing” (40:15, NKJV).
One drop. Ponder that when your faucet drips tonight. Let one drop fall on a plate and stare at it. In God’s mind that drop represents 196 nations on the earth. You can tap into the unlimited resources of heaven by meditating on His greatness.
Know the Father’s Heart
It’s normal for parents and grandparents to lavish genuine gifts on their children. My paternal grandfather rewarded each of his granddaughters with a dress when we broke our thumb-sucking habit. My two older sisters both selected a conservatively priced dress. Not me! I spied a cheerful polka-dotted dress with a full petticoat and a matching kelly-green coat. Yes, it was the most expensive dress in the department. But Granddaddy never flinched. As a 5-year-old, I wore his love proudly. While my sisters teased me, they could have done the same thing if they had wanted.
Let me be clear: I believe God wants believers to prosper us with as much as He can trust us with. God is a Father. The New Testament refers to Him as a Father no less than 245 times, including more than 100 times in the Gospel of John. The issue of a believer’s prosperity is not his treasures but his pleasures. If you are ready to serve God wholeheartedly, whether abased or abounding, God can trust you and prosper you. Your Father loves you, but don’t forget that you’re on assignment.
Remember Your Source
So, let’s talk about how to live in light of God’s generosity and the truth of our need. My husband, Tommy, and I know all about this, as years ago we founded a youth camp, called Discovery Camp, that forced us to learn what we believe about faith and finances.
Early in the process, we made a covenant with each other to obey God wholeheartedly, to never merchandise the anointing, and to never, never, never develop sticky fingers. To assure that we could put the ministry on solid financial footing, Tommy refused to receive a salary for the first five years. I believe much of the supernatural provision in our lives is a direct result of that covenant. As we strive to do God’s bidding, He has been faithful to exceed our greatest expectations.
When we started, a retired accountant asked us how we planned to pay for everything, such as $6,000 in monthly land payments, food for thousands of campers and staff salaries. I remember thinking, “What a dumb question. Doesn’t he know that God provides where He guides?”
To give you some quick background, for several years Tommy and I had led successful youth ministries, first separately and then as a couple. When we married, it represented the grand climax to our respective youth networks. Brimming with optimism as we set out on our camp venture, we mailed out newsletters to 2,000 friends and ministry contacts, inviting them to support us for $5 per month.
Initially I questioned Tommy: “Only $5? Why not suggest $10? Or $25?”
“No, Rachel,” he responded. “Only $5. They are all members of a good church, and our objective is be a friend to the local church.”
Reality struck us between the eyes a month later when only 42 people responded to our newsletter. It didn’t take long to do the math—$5 times 42 people equaled $210. Suddenly that $6,000 land payment looked more like $60,000.
“What are we going to do?” I asked.
Grinning, he replied, “We’re gonna get busy reaching kids for Jesus like He sent us here to do, because God is faithful.”
I’m not sure how we made those first few payments, but we remained faithful and steady. I watched, amazed, as we were never late on our mortgage or other bills. Plus, Jesus wouldn’t allow us to call anyone for financial assistance. He continually reminded us, “Men are not your source.”
Dare to Be Debt Free
In January 1992, faith rose up in our hearts to pay off the mortgage on the camp property. Tommy led our staff in a strong confession of faith: “By Dec. 31, this ministry will be debt-free.” We confessed this constantly, despite our bills dramatically increasing each month.
(By the way, miracles don’t happen just because you repeat something over and over like a parrot. It’s the Holy Spirit who deposits in your heart the faith to believe for something. He makes suggestions that you can accept or reject. If you choose to agree with God and mix your confession with faith, you’ll receive the manifestation. I’m not referring to a selfish-oriented “blab it and grab it” claim but a genuine faith promise that advances the kingdom of God. When God is the initiator, He is inviting you to be a part of a miracle.)
Tommy felt financial burdens pressing on his shoulders that year. The cost of operating a 553-acre campus requiring ongoing maintenance of land and vehicles, staff housing, insurance and food costs seemed to regularly escalate. We rejoiced if the monthly electric bill stayed under $20,000, while Tommy said things like, “Lord, if You help me pay this camp off, I’ll give away free camps to hurting kids.” Keep in mind, no megachurch or rich men’s committee underwrote us, just faithful pastors, partners and friends who obeyed His voice. We had numerous “$5 grandmas” who accepted the call to intercede. Great will be their reward in heaven.
You have to come to the place where you declare confidently, “Man is not my source, the mail is not my source and events are not my source. God is my source.” We spent that entire year standing on His promise to be debt-free by the end of the year. On Dec. 24, I looked at the calendar and wondered why God seems to take such pleasure in last-minute miracles. Friends, don’t let go of your promise in your 11th hour. God is faithful.
By Dec. 26, we miraculously had the funds in the bank. However, we still needed to complete some legal paperwork. Our confession remained strong because we knew that “He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). Sometimes if the door doesn’t open, you have to kick it down. Such was the case for our debt-free miracle. Tommy drove 300 miles to collect the necessary paperwork and then drove another 200 miles to finalize everything. Although some banks weren’t open because of the Christmas holidays and some doors slammed in our face, we never wavered in our confession of faith. On Dec. 29, with a check in hand for $139,604.35, we raced to the title company. Against all odds and to the glory of God, we paid off all 553 acres of the camp on the last business day of the year.
Keep Your Vows
In gratitude for God’s goodness and remembering Tommy’s vow, the next year we committed to give free camps to 2,000 underprivileged kids. We covered their registration and food and underwrote the $400 fee for a rental bus to bring them to camp. Some came from orphanages or lived on the streets with their homeless mothers. We saw no Scooby-Doo sleeping bags or designer jeans at those camps. One child’s lunch plate shook as he marveled, “I’ve never seen so much food on one plate!”
More than 20 years later, we have remained true to our vow. More than 25,000 children from impoverished backgrounds have enjoyed free camps, and most of them have decided to follow Christ. So have many of their chaperones. It seems that giving camps to these poor children opened heaven’s windows and released supernatural provisions. Solomon addressed this principle twice in Proverbs: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given” (19:17); and “He who gives to the poor will not lack” (28:27).
Make Room for the Supernatural
Tommy had just completed a sermon series titled “Seizing Your God-Given Opportunities” when a friend alerted us about a feed store in the process of being dismantled in Uvalde, Texas. Even at a super-low price, buying iron from the dismantled building sounded like a hassle, yet Tommy felt an inner witness to pursue it.
After the iron was delivered to the camp, we learned it was worth double the price we had paid for it. It was a case of supernatural provision! We used those funds to build classrooms for our Texas Bible Institute.
The same thing happened with our camp road, which started out as 1,800 feet of dirt base. In Texas we enjoy what the locals call “gully washers,” which are relentless, torrential rainstorms. For nine years we lived regularly with mud, mud and more mud. Campers routinely tracked mud into the dorms and chapel. Our guests’ vehicles frequently got mired in the muck. We used to joke that in heaven, our shoes wouldn’t be muddy.
God is sooooo good that I just had to share this little story here about what Faith is. Sometimes we have things that we can and cannot do in life. With the things we can do, we must do those things to the best of our ability, but with the things we cannot do, that is when we must learn to lean on God for help. Seek Him and Enjoy this Story.
The hit miniseries The Bible is setting records on cable television for the History Channel, with as many as 13 million viewers tuning in for the blockbuster. But certain aspects of the filming were even more remarkable, as producer Mark Burnett reports highly unusual occurrences behind-the-scenes that he labels miracles.
The epic five-part series, which runs through Easter, is the most-watched entertainment program on cable television, according to ABC’s Good Morning America.
The show has many celebrities following it, including rapper and actor L L Cool J, actress Lisa Rinna, and even Oprah, according to ABC. Oprah tweeted throughout the most recent episode several times, particularly about Samson: “Samson distracted by Delilah. fatal flaw,” she noted. Oprah’s interest and involvement may boost the ratings even higher.
R & B superstar Cee Lo Green’s musical addition to the production is also attracting a younger audience, giving a fresh new feel to a time-honored story.
The making of the TV behemoth was filled with strange happenings that Producer Mark Burnett can’t quite explain. When the actor who portrays Jesus told Nicodemus “The Holy Spirit is like the wind,” a strong rushing wind that felt like the exhaust behind a 747 almost blew the set over and sustained for 20 seconds, Burnett told Entertainment Weekly.
“Everyone just looked at everyone like, ‘What just happened?’” Burnett said.
The production – filmed in Morocco — also hired a ‘snake wrangler’ to make sure that dangerous reptiles did not get near the actors, and he usually found one or two snakes each day.
However, on the day the momentous crucifixion scene was filmed, the snake expert found an unprecedented 48 venomous snakes crawling around their re-created Golgotha – the place where Jesus defeated Satan, who is often depicted in Scripture as a snake.
When the baptism of Jesus was filmed in a reservoir, the producers were alarmed when part of the actor’s unique costume came off and floated away.
“Four days later, a kid showed up from many, many, many miles away, who had been seeking us through the desert to return this to us,” Burnett told Entertainment Weekly. “He didn’t know what it was why he should seek us, but he felt he had to return it.”
The series will air its final installment on March 31, Easter Sunday.
Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead, the angels were given a space in the cold basement. As they made their bedroom the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied…. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”
The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good nights’ rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.
The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel “How could you have let this happen!? The first man had everything, yet you helped him,” she accused. ”The second family had so little, but was willing to share everything and you let their cow die.”
“Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied.”When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave her the cow instead. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”
Sometimes this is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way you think they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You might not know it until some time later. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”
In this fast, I’ve been basking myself in uplifting praise songs. It really prepares your spirit to worship and to fight as you pray seeking God for direction and instructions. Worship is a lifestyle and in this Daniel fast, it is the most powerful tool to have close by when you encounter attacks coming out of nowhere. Fix your heart, mind, body and soul towards Jesus. He can protect you from confusion, depression, pressure, anger, and any type of negative thoughts that start to attack your mind. Spiritual Warfare is not a joke. For those that are participating in the 21 Day Daniel Fast, it is imperative that you focus your mind to think positive and wholesome thoughts. Guard your mind and hold it captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Bless your soul with worship when you are feeling low…it’s a mighty weapon of warfare that should not be underestimated especially at this time. Fill your spirit with WORSHIPand it will be so natural by the time you come into a Sunday service to lift your hands and give the Lord PRAISE. Some people can be soooo down that they are unable to lift their hands because something is missing in their lives. It’s worship….don’t wait until Sunday pops by to get your worship on. You’ve got to practice it everyday until it becomes natural to you. Many have this amazing weapon of warfare, but can’t get delivered simply because they aren’t using this weapon of warfare. It’s time for God’s people to rise up and Give the Lord Praise and Worship so that they can see Him move mightily in their lives.
If we want to sing songs of DELIVERANCE….we have to fill our spirits with WORSHIP everyday! If you don’t, then it will be as if you are going into battle without weapons hoping that you will win. God ensures victory when we give Him Praise and especially when we Worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. So today, fill your spirit with Worship and fix your attitude about Worship. The strategy of the enemy is always to steal the Lord’s worship so what better way than to distract us from using this powerful weapon of warfare by robbing our attention and focus from God by making us focus on our problems rather than seeking God and seeing God as the answer to our problems. Fill your spirit with songs of Deliverance and surely God will Deliver you out of your trial.
You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songsofdeliverance. Selah
My Sister Sharon just found this awesome song called Awesome God and I just have to share it here. It’s sooooooo good. The original song is greatm but this remix is just awesome. I pray that it ministers to you today. It’s by Charles JenkinsRemix ft.Jessica Reedy, Isaac, Da truth, Canton Jones – KB4. I’ll also post the original song by Charles Jenkins.
Enjoy these songs everybody and may it bless your spirit today Everybody!
Today the third person of the Trinity is underappreciated by those who misunderstand Him and misrepresented by those overzealous for His manifestations. Somewhere between those extremes we must realize our desperate need for a genuine move of the Holy Spirit.
The world is full of books about God the Father who created the universe, and more books are written about Jesus the Son of God than anyone who ever walked on this planet. But isn’t it interesting that far fewer books have been written about God the Holy Spirit?
When teaching on prayer, Jesus declared, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13, emphasis added). You’d think that promise would create a huge desire to know more about this promised Helper—?who He is and what He does. And it would be even better if we were to experience Him as a living reality the way the early believers did.
We know that Jesus the Son is seated at the right hand of the Father (Luke 22:69; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1). So that means the Holy Spirit is God’s only agent on Earth. He is the only experience we can have of God Almighty, the only way we can have the work of Jesus Christ applied to our lives and the only way we can understand God’s Word. Without the Holy Spirit, we are like the disciples before Pentecost—?sincere but struggling with confusion and defeat.
More than 100 years ago, Samuel Chadwick, a great Methodist preacher and leader in England, summed it up concisely: “The Christian religion is hopeless without the Holy Ghost.”
The early church provides the perfect illustration of that hopelessness. It was made up of simple men and women. The leaders were former fishermen and tax collectors who fled in fear when Jesus was arrested and needed them most. They weren’t courageous and faithful. In fact, they lacked faith and courage. They were the least likely to be put in charge of any Christian enterprise.
Yet after the events in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, those same nobodies were suddenly transformed. With courage and faith, they turned their community, and eventually the world, upside down.
It wasn’t a result of their seminary training; they didn’t have any. They couldn’t hand out copies of the New Testament; it hadn’t been written yet. It wasn’t because they were wealthy and had the greatest sound system and light show at their church; they were poor people without a church building.
To the existing Jewish religious establishment, those early Christians were mocked as unlearned and ignorant people with few resources. To the Roman Empire they seemed fanatical and strange.
But one thing they did possess was the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them to rely on the Spirit for everything. The early believers knew well that Christianity was hopeless without the Holy Spirit.
Giving the Spirit His Due
The Holy Spirit is underappreciated and underpreached by the 21st century church. There is a prejudice of sorts against the Holy Spirit that impedes many from learning more about Him.
The body of Christ is often divided into two sides. One side stresses the Word of God, separating itself from what it views as the emotional fanaticism often linked to those emphasizing the work of the Holy Spirit. The other side is sometimes known for drifting into unbiblical manifestations and unorthodox teaching while attributing it all to the Spirit of God.
Seeing the abuse and bad teaching, many on the first side will say: “I’m not interested in experiences and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. I just want to study the Word.”
But it was the Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible, and there are lots of promises concerning His person and work. How can anyone treasure God’s Word without giving the Holy Spirit His rightful place?
To those who move in circles strongly emphasizing the Holy Spirit, they must be reminded that everything must be tested by Scripture. The Spirit never contradicts the Word He gave us. He also never puts the focus on the preacher, because the Holy Spirit was sent to glorify Christ alone (John 16:14).
Somewhere in the middle is the kind of Christianity we see in Scripture, where the Word of God is honored along with a childlike dependence and openness to the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can make the things of Christ real and alive to people.
Christianity does not stop at the cross where Jesus died and paid the price for our sins. After Good Friday was Resurrection Sunday, when the Spirit raised Christ.
Yet so many of us live with faint trickles and shallow pools of the Spirit, rather than the promised rivers of living water. “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38, emphasis added).
By this He meant the Spirit. Everything about the Spirit speaks of powerful currents of life that refresh us and flow out to bless others.
Let’s remember how any person becomes a Christian: Before a person can feel the need for Jesus Christ as Savior, he or she must first be convicted of sin. “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit shows us our sin and our need for a Savior. That is what every believer experiences in conversion to Christ.
Bill and Annette Wiese have been changed forever by 23 minutes of unthinkable horror.
When Bill Wiese says he’s been to hell, he isn’t using a metaphor. He says he saw and felt its horrors for precisely 23 minutes.
At exactly 3:23 a.m. on Nov. 22, 1998, Annette Wiese awoke to her husband’s screams. Rushing down the hall of their Santa Ana, Calif., home to the living room, she found him lying on the floor in a fetal position, his hands grasping at the sides of his head, begging her to pray for him.
Wiese explained in gasps to his wife that God had taken him into hell, a place that many people don’t believe exists.
“I knew that most people on the surface of the earth did not believe or even know that there was a whole world going on down here,” Wiese says. “This place was so terrifying, so intense and so hostile that it would be impossible for me to exaggerate the horror.”
Wiese described being mauled by four enormous fiends and feeling complete terror. He had insatiable thirst, he breathed putrid air, heard endless screaming and was aware of intense flames and a gigantic pit.
“It was terrible,” he says. “I was thinking, I have to get out. Only, in hell, you understand you’re never going to get out.”
Although Wiese had been a Christian many years, he says God blocked his awareness of that so he would experience the hopelessness of hell. “The fact that I knew God was kept from my mind,” he says.
When suddenly Christ removed Wiese from his torment, He told him he was to preach the message that hell exists and assure unbelievers it is not God’s desire for them to suffer for eternity.
The visit, chronicled in Wiese’s book, 23 Minutes in Hell, started the Wieses’ evangelistic journey. They founded Soul Choice Ministries and since 2007 have transitioned from successful real estate careers in Southern California into full-time ministry.
Both are longtime Christians and neither had a prophetic inkling of the event Wiese would go through or their call to evangelism. Wiese does not know why God chose him to carry this message.
“The only possible reason I can think of,” he says, “is that God knew I would draw attention to His Word and point people to what the Word has to say [about hell].”
He believes God wants the message delivered to the unsaved for salvation and to Christians to invoke witnessing. His description of his visit is sobering enough to do both.
“It’s impossible to know the hopelessness of hell,” he says. “Here, even if things are terrible, you think you can die and get out. But there you can’t die. And you know you’re never going to get out.”
His message stirs an adverse reaction in many people because Wiese claims hell is not a biblical metaphor but an actual place. Hell, he has discovered, is under fire by some Christians.
“The doctrine of hell has disappeared this century,” he says. “God wants me to draw attention to His Word that says hell is real—not allegorical but [a] literal burning hell—and people will go there if they don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
“It’s not important that [people] believe me,” he says. “It’s important they believe what the Bible says. Hell is real, and I don’t want anyone to go there.”
It would be naive and irresponsible to suggest that all spiritual dreams result in a true God connection. Dreamers who mistake their own subconscious thoughts or even demonic influence as divine instruction can make grim and historic mistakes. Recently a woman in a rural village sacrificed her child in the river out of obedience to what she thought was a dream from God. So how can you discern whether a dream is from God?
It’s biblical. Make sure it doesn’t contradict the Bible. Scripture forbids many kinds of spiritism, including sorcery and consulting psychics (see Lev. 19:31, Deut. 18:10-13). It’s a good idea to get counsel from a trusted pastor or Bible teacher.
It’s convicting. “Usually, when you are very in tune with spiritual things, if you have a dream you are convicted by it,” says Abraham Sarker, author of Understand My Muslim People. (See Is. 6:1-6.)
It lingers. Unlike most dreams that fade from memory, a dream from God lingers and might bother you until it fulfills its purpose.
It comes to pass. Many dream conversions are based on testimonies of people whose dreams literally come true, as in the account of Saul and Ananias (Acts 9:10-19). An aid worker tells about a woman in Indochina who cried when she first met the worker’s friend. She recognized the man from a dream she had. In the dream, this man told her he had a message for her. “So she talked with him, and he led her to the Lord,” says the worker. This type of experience is commonly reported in the underground church.