A Single Step to Avoid the Enemy’s 3 Steps to Destruction

Seattle-municipal-kingdome
Don’t let the enemy cause you to implode. Kyle Winkler says to follow this step. (Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

The enemy has no power over you. God wants you to put your trust in that.

You’ve heard that the enemy’s goal is to destroy. But did you know he uses three progressive steps to do it?

In this guest post by my good friend, Kyle Winkler, watch as Kyle reveals the three steps of the devil’s destruction and the single “step” to avoid it altogether.

Love is: Insert Your Name Here

praying-broken-heart
Follow Jesus’ way to love. (Lightstock archive photo)

The love chapter is indeed powerful.

1 Corinthians 13 is such a powerful chapter, especially verses 4-8, which read:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

If God calls us to a life of relational love as a way of showing that we are followers of Jesus, then we can put our own name in place of the word love in these scriptures to gauge whether we truly love as Jesus does.

  • Shawn is patient and kind.
  • Shawn does envy or boast.
  • Shawn is not arrogant or rude.
  • Shawn does not insist on his own way.
  • Shawn is not irritable or resentful.
  • Shawn does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
  • Shawn bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  • Shawn never fails (in his quest for relational love).

I know I’m not there yet, but that’s exactly where I want to be. It takes practice. Confess these things every day and live them out. You will know when every else sees the difference in you. God loves you.

And remember, do something today to step out of the boat and become a kingdom champion. “I press toward the goal to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14)

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Journey to Hearing God’s Thoughts

Hearing-God
We need to remove the pressure from ourselves to hear God perfectly. (Getty Images)

God’s thoughts ought to produce more love, grace, transformation and fruitful relationships.

Note: This is a guest post from my good friend, Mark DeJesus. His blogs really get to the heart of your life and your relationship with God. Please check it out, and check out his blog at markdejesus.com.

By Mark DeJesus

The subject of hearing thoughts from God can be an incredibly powerful learning experience. Yet there can also be many concerns when it comes to the subject of receiving thoughts from God, hearing from God or being led by God.

Many destructive choices can stem from someone saying they were directed by God and we have witnessed many people slide into mental health struggles while continuing to credit God with everything they did.

It is our heart to encourage and equip people to hear from God, but to also process it out in a healthy way. God’s thoughts ought to produce more love, grace, transformation and fruitful relationships. If not, we can end up saying we are hearing from God, when in reality, we may be open to deceptive thought system.

You Were Made to Receive God Thoughts

The good news is that you can receive a thought from God and the adventure can be amazing! Yet the cry of so many is that they struggle to receive thoughts from God, sense His voice or walk with an ongoing connection to His love.

Well take a deep breath. It’s OK, because nobody hears from God perfectly! We are in a process and journey of learning what it means to gain clarity, while giving ourselves permission to grow each day. Melissa and I want to cut through the religious facades that people put on and the super-spiritual capes that get presented and be more vulnerable with the fact that we are learning.

We need to remove the pressure to hear God perfectly and allow our relationships to grow together in mutual honor of what God may be saying and doing in each of our lives.

But what are some healthy habits so that we can hear God thoughts in a better way? How can I make this journey more fruitful? How can I protect myself from thoughts that will lead me into dangerous territory?

In this episode, we want to do just that by sharing 3 healthy and helpful habits that will strengthen your thought life.

For the original article, visit markdejesus.com.

Mark DeJesus has served as an experienced communicator since the 1990s. As a teacher, author, coach and radio host, Mark is deeply passionate about awakening hearts and equipping people towards transformational living. Through his own personal transformation, Mark is experienced in helping people overcome and live fruitful lives. He is the author of 5 books and hundreds of teachings. He hosts a weekly radio podcast show called Transformed You and blogs at markdejesus.com. His writings have been featured on sites like CharismaMag.com.

Nothing, Lord, Nothing!

Praising-God
Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. (Darryl Showers)

If this isn’t the best news a follower of Chris can receive, I don’t know what is. 

Paul tells us in Romans 8:38-39, And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, NOTHING in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Not even Satan himself can drive a wedge between us and our wonderful savior.  He’ll use our sin against us to convince us that we’re not worthy of his love, but 2 Corinthians 5:21 assures us that, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

And despite what many may argue, as children of God, we cannot, with our deeds–with anything we do–be in more right standing with Christ because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Don’t allow Satan or any one person deceive you into thinking that’s even possible.

“Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”

This concept is very simple to understand and the benefits are easy to obtain. As a child of the risen Savior, all you have to do is believe it and receive it!

Now, there may be an emotional disconnect between ourselves and Christ, but that’s self-condemnation, and that’s one of the biggest lies you’ll ever hear from the devil. Cling–cling I say for your very heart and soul–to the Word of God. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

Do not–and I repeat DO NOT–allow the enemy to convince you that your sin has rendered you worthless to God. That is exactly what Satan wants. He will spout of the venom of deception and try to convince you that God does not approve of you.

But you know what? Love and approval are two very different things (thank you Pastor Ed Garvin for your wonderful sermon last Sunday about Jesus and the Samaritan woman). Love is unconditional and everlasting. Approval is fleeting; it’s finite and it’s shallow. Unfortunately, many, including even the most ardent believers, have allowed the disapproval of others to mask the truth that God will never leave you nor forsake you.

“You are loved by and are in right standing with Jesus, no matter what you do”

You can view that sermon above, starting at the 6:00 mark. I compel you to watch the rest of it. You will be blessed and it could change your life.

If you’re hurting, discouraged or disappointed because someone has insulted you, called you worthless and told you your life will never amount to anything, please listen carefully to what Pastor Garvin has to say. You are loved by and are in right standing with Jesus, no matter what you do. That doesn’t give you a license to sin, because God does discipline His children.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children” (Heb. 12:5-7)

In this twisted culture, we have somehow connected love to approval, Pastor Garvin says. And, the enemy will exploit this. So many of us bear the scars of disapproval, but that comes only from man. And what can man do to you? Nothing. If God be for us, who can be against us?

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Prov. 29:25).

It’s the safety of the Lord’s love, and God’s love will NEVER leave you no matter what you do or don’t do.  It’s in God’s Word, all there in black and white. Trust these words, because you ARE loved. NOTHING can separate you from that. What great news!

And remember, do something today to step out of the boat and become a kingdom champion. “I press toward the goal to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14)

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

If the Enemy is Attacking You, Think on These Things

enemy-attacks
Don’t back down from the enemy. He’s scared and that’s why he will attack you. (Flickr)

If you feel like Satan has targeted you, it’s because he’s scared. Really scared.

By Shawn A. Akers

Did I not tell you that this book was incredible? Shake Free: How to Deal With the Storms, Shipwrecks and Snakes in Your Life is probably the most encouraging book I’ve ever read. In my opinion, it certainly is the best book Rev. Rodriguez has ever written–and I’ve read a few of them.

Check out these posts that hammer home my point: Just Shake it Off!, ‘For With God, All Things are Possible,’ and this Quote of the Day.

Today, I want to share with you an excerpt from the 12th chapter. Rev. Rodriguez says:

  • If the enemy is attacking you, it’s because God is about to use you.
  • If the enemy is attacking your life, it’s because God is working in you.
  • If the enemy is attacking your weakness, it’s because you’re about to display God’s strength.
  • If the enemy is attacking you right now, it’s because you’re so close to arriving in Rome (Paul’s destination). So close!

I don’t know about you, but I feel blessed. The enemy is attacking me right now. He’s attacking my life, and he’s attacking my weakness. That means God is about ready to use me, he’s working in me and I’m about to display God’s strength.

That’s enough encouragement to carry me throughout the day, the week, the month and the year. I hope you take this encouragement to heart.

The enemy doesn’t want you to do anything that will bring God glory and further His kingdom. If you’re doing that, then he’ll try to undermine you. Take up your weapons and fight Him–tooth and nail.

Do something today to step out of the boat and become a kingdom champion.

“I press toward the goal to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14)

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Man of God Should Bear Good Fruits

Fruit-bearing
A man will be judged by the fruit he bears. (via Flickr)

Otherwise, it gives room for avoidable doubts. 

Note: This is a guest post by Victor Uyanwanne. You can visit his wonderful and inspirational blog here.

By Victor Uyanwanne

A man of God will bear good fruits. He is not a man of God if he doesn’t!

In my Nigeria where I live, just like in many places around the world, I have realized that many people are quick to be called “men of God.” But the question is, “are all of them truly men of God?”

What I have also come to realize is that some of those so-called men of God hardly live up to that identity.

I am not saying this because I am judging them. But rather because, it can be seen that many of them are not conducting themselves in ways that bring glory to God.

If someone is a man of God, he should not say and do things that are attributes of men of satan.

How can you be a man of God and your lifestyle has no regard for the word of God?

  • A man of God should conduct himself in obedience to God.
  • A man called of God should seek to please God more than men.
  • A man of God should bear fruits that bring glory to God.

Otherwise, it gives room for avoidable doubts.

The sad truth is that many people who claim to be men of God are really not what they claim. And from such people, we should be wary.

Remember the warning Jesus handed us in Matthew chapter 7:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.“

Beware of fake men of God.

The above advice is as relevant today it was when it was given over two thousand years ago. It will be to your own peril to neglect it.

Many people who claim to be prophets are ravenous wolves in sheep clothing. But as Jesus hinted us, “we [will] know them by their fruits.”

A man of God will bear good fruits. He is not a man of God if he consistently bears bad fruits.

One source quoted the late American evangelist, Billy Graham to have said:

“A Man of God is one who depends on the Grace of God, preaches the Word of God, stays in the Will of God, fulfils the Purposes of God, respects the Servants of God, edifies the Family of God, is filled with the Spirit of God, devotes himself to the Ministry of God, loves the Word of God, and lives for the Kingdom of God!”

What’s your own idea of a man of God?

Victor Uyanwanne lives in Lagos, Nigeria, with his wife and two children. His blog is meant to encourage believers to inspire one another to greater things in Christ.

Defeating the Spirit of Rebellion in a Strong-Willed Child

Kathy-Amber
Kathy and Amber DeGraw

No matter how tough it is, there is hope for your child.

NOTE: The following is a guest post from my good friend, Kathy DeGraw. I, too, have a strong-willed teenager. This advice from her is wonderful, powerful and best of all, biblically sound. Kathy is a great teacher.

By Kathy DeGraw

I never thought it would happen to our family. I’m sure many Christian parents say the same thing.

We were all passionately on fire for the Lord—all but one.

The verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6 MEV) took on new meaning after my experience. I learned crucial tenets in the process of dealing with a rebellious child and how not to push her further away from God but draw her back to God.

I never doubted my child would come back. I knew all along the Spirit would take hold of her and set her on fire to become a world changer.

There is hope for your child too. There is hope for any child! The key to deliverance is two-fold; not only for the child but also for the parents.

The parents need to rely on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and insight. Children need to bind flesh, submit their strong will and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them. We cannot change our children or force them to change, but by the grace of God and guidance of the Holy Spirit we can expect change when we follow the Spirit’s leading.

The foremost thing parents need to do is to pray this simple prayer over their child: “Holy Spirit, convict them and expose the truth to them.”

This prayer is simple, but it is also in its purest form as we are not praying in manipulation, control or self-made agendas of what we want to see changed in them. The Holy Spirit knows better than anyone what prayers our children require and how to reveal their shortcomings to them.

As pastors, it was difficult for my husband and I to discover our daughter wasn’t interested in the pursuit of Jesus as the rest of our family was. Even though our daughter was never into drugs, smoking, drinking or sex, her hyper-sensitive extreme teenage attitude and rebellion was a great strain and stress on our family.

The greatest adjustment for me was to learn to keep my mouth shut when I wanted to enforce my will or control certain situations. For example, there is the time when I discovered she was listening to country music when only Christian music was allowed in our home.

I believe the keys listed below are crucial in helping rebellious children come back to the Lord instead of driving them further away. It worked for me, and I hope and pray it will work for your child. Remember, there is always hope with God.

You have to learn to choose your battles. While my friend would force worship flags into her daughter’s hands to try and encourage her relationship with the Lord, I took a step back and asked the Holy Spirit, “What do you say about this situation and what should my response be?”  I believe we need to rely more on the Holy Spirit than our flesh and natural reaction if we want to win the war on rebellion. For me it has helped over the years to get to know who the Holy Spirit is and how He can help me. Charisma Media has a series called Life in the Spirit. It can help you draw close and learn more about the Holy Spirit too.

I believe the keys listed below are crucial in helping rebellious children come back to the Lord instead of driving them further away. It worked for me, and I hope and pray it will work for your child. Remember, there is always hope with God. Just look at how Saul converted to Paul.

Here are five keys in dealing with a rebellious child:

  1. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead. Seek the Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead and guide your conversation and actions with your child, including when to speak, when to stay quiet and what direction to take next.
  2. Back off. Don’t push your child, force your opinions or attempt to control them. Give them the space they need. Pushing and forcing them will only lead them further away.
  3. Pray through declaring prayer. Speak out and declare out your prayers. Bind and restrict the enemy. Take authority in the spiritual realm and make sure the devil knows you mean business. (I declared over my child’s room four times and then I saw dramatic change. You can read about it in my Creation House-published book, Speak Out.
  4. Pray over their possessions. Anoint their bedroom, vehicle and possessions with anointing oil. Pray over their food while you prepare it and their clothes while you fold the laundry. Pray and speak out loud into the atmosphere of their bedroom or vehicle.  Anoint their clothes, bed, toothbrush, whatever you can get your hands on, and claim and call them back to the Lord.
  5. Prophesy it! Prophesy their destiny into the atmosphere. Speak and declare that they are a world changer and will impact nations. Speak into the spiritual realm that the devil will not have your child, but that they will be set on fire for the Lord. Speak and declare, and prophesy what you want to see happen—not in a controlling or manipulative way, but according to the word of the Lord.

Never give up hope that your child will change; keep believing like we did. The Lord told me three times upon dropping my daughter off at college, “This is my will for her life.” She went to a secular college and her faith began to bloom. She took a stand against partying, sexual activities, abortion and homosexuality. She made her faith and stances known in the first year.  She came home that summer and worked on her relationship with me, we are now best friends.

Every year she went back to college, God released more things through her life, she started to blog, and even wrote an article for Charisma Magazine online. She went on mission trips, got involved in a youth group, led Bible studies and, by the last year, was living in a church home in a leadership position. Every summer she came home and worked on another part of rebellion, rejection, or relationships. Instead of her parents, she needed the Holy Spirit, for a time, to lead, guide and convict her.

My girl, who once went to church out of obligation now can’t wait to get inside the church doors of an apostolic prophetic spirit-filled church. She recently approached me and is begging me to allow her to travel the nations and minister with me. Upon moving her back home recently, after her graduation, she requested a prayer corner to be set up in her room, which we gladly obliged.

Again, I want to reiterate the key elements: Don’t give up hope, give distance, pray and declare, and let them have the space they need. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you and them. I encourage you to learn how to lean and rely on the Holy Spirit through Charisma Media’s Life in the Spirit Series.

Learn more about the power of declaring prayer through my book Speak Out.

Kathy DeGraw is a prophetic healing and deliverance minister and the founder of DeGraw Ministries. She is passionate about releasing the love and power of God to empower and activate people. She is the author of several books including; Speak Out, Warfare Declarations, Who is Speaking? and Powerful Prophetic Proclamations. You can connect with Kathy on Facebook at facebook.com/kathydegraw/ or visit degrawministries.org.

 

 

Today Pray For: Noam Chomsky

Noam-Chomsky
Noam Chomsky needs our prayers (Chomsky’s Philosophy YouTube page)

This man needs our prayers more than just about anyone.

There are liberals and then there are people who simply hate God. Noam Chomsky is one of the latter.

In this article on CBN News, Chomsky, a world-renowned liberal professor “who’s harshly critical of conservative public policy positions,” recently told college students at a special lecture that this generation “is facing the most awesome question that has ever arisen in human history: the question is will organized human life survive.”

He also said, “People in high places now claim to be devout Christians, and on the basis of Christian ideals they’re saying let’s proceed to destroy the world.”

In the past, Chomsky has attacked Christianity and mocked God. I’m not sure how old he is (you can judge by the photo), but it doesn’t look as if he has much time for this earth. It is God’s will that everyone come to repentance and not perish, isn’t? Aren’t we to pray for our enemies? If we believe God’s Word, then we all need to pray for this man. I pray for his heart and I pray for his soul. Therefore:

“Dear Lord, I pray to you with all my heart that you do something miraculous to change and transform the heart of this man, Noam Chomsky. You know what He has done and what He has said against you. But on the cross Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Mr. Chomsky may know exactly what he is doing. But then, he may not because he may not have ever known about Your truth–your message of grace and redemption. We pray against the forces and legions of Satan that have hold of this man and pray that they set him free right now in the name of Jesus. He obviously holds a great deal of influence over a great many people. Transform his heart and his mind so that he can influence people for You. And protect those who hear him speak now from the venom that the enemy spews to turn them away from you. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.”

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Prov. 10:12) 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Shake it Off!

puff-adder
A poisonous snake bit the apostle Paul. After all he had been through, he simply shook it off. (Danny Chapman via Flickr)

In Christ, you are strong. Nothing hell sends your way can stop you as a child of God–if you trust Him and you won’t allow it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you need encouragement, you need to read Samuel Rodriguez’s book, Shake Free: How to Deal with the Storms, Shipwrecks and Snakes in Your Life.

Read this passage: “When your God-given confidence and ability are born out of adversity, grounded in hope and powered by faith in the living God, you can shake off everything hell may send your way. You are no longer who you used to be. You are not who others say you are. You re not even the person you may think you are!

Paul went through storms, shipwreck and near death, only to have a viper bite him! What did he do? He just shook it off and nothing happened.

Storm survivors are not afraid of snakes, Rodriguez says. You’ve survived your storms, and you’re still here. Through it all, you grabbed hold of the promise that if God is for you, there is no one who can be against you!

  • Through it all, God provided.
  • Through it all, God protected.
  • Through it all, God promoted.

“They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 1:19)