Category: Holy Spirit empowered

Grace Your Tongue: Do You Have Mouth Disease?

Argument-tongue
The Bible says death and life are in the power of the tongue. Which will you choose? (Kurt Bauschardt via Flickr)

If so, ask the Holy Spirit to heal it.

Note: This is an excerpt, used with permission, from my friend Carol McLeod’s book: Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue. Carol is a wonderful writer. Enjoy!

By Carol McLeod

During this month of April, I hope that you have enjoyed reading some of the principles from my new book, Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue, as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you!

I pray that as you read this final excerpt from my book that you will examine your speech habits and decide to begin again today!  Decide that you will change the words that come out of your mouth from frustrating to forgiving … from impatient to gracious … and from accusatory to encouraging!

Now listen to me … none of us is immune from mouth disease so this week’s blog is going to hold great challenge for you!  But I believe in you … You can do it!

It is time for you to stick out your tongue and say, “Ahh!”

Have you done that dreaded but extremely vital self-examination lately? Now—look in the mirror as you do it.

Do You Have It?

Do you have “mouth disease”? Are you infected with an “oral bacteria” of the very worst kind? Have the germs of the culture attached themselves to your vocal chords? Is your tongue rife with verbal viruses?

What is it with women and their words? What is it with anyone and their words?

We are definitely defined by the stuff that proceeds out of our voice boxes.

The organ that lies between our pearly whites has the capacity to control our very lives.

It is as if we are compelled by a force of nature to continually talk, and we often refuse to stop talking until we have the very last word in every conversation and in every argument.

The vile eruptions that come tumbling unbridled out of that lovely orifice called the mouth are often what color our relationships and the atmosphere of our homes.

Our words have the propensity to direct us, to define us—and to drive us.

It is as if we are compelled by a force of nature to continually talk, and we often refuse to stop talking until we have the very last word in every conversation and in every argument.

The anchor verse that will change the way we talk is found in Proverbs, the book of wisdom that is changing our thought processes, giving boundaries to our emotions, and now will impact the way we speak.

Perhaps you have previously read it and wondered what application it had for your life:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Prov. 18:21).

The stark reality is that, someday—in the not-too-distant future—you are going to be forced to eat the fruit of what you have chosen to say.

When dealing with the tongue, your options are twofold: you can speak life or you can speak death. There is no middle ground between those two choices.

There is no gray area when it comes to the words that you speak.

That’s it. Just life or death. Which will you choose?

When you understand that you have the power to speak life or death every moment of your existence, it will underscore the fact that controlling your own tongue will be one of the most vital endeavors of your life.

First, you must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ; next, you must guard your heart faithfully; finally, you must put a bridle on your tongue.

If you don’t first think something or feel something, then, in all probability, you will never say it.

Any idea or opinion begins in the mind, travels to the heart, and finally comes out of the mouth.

Perhaps there is no other life matter that we should take more seriously than the matter of the tongue.

The ability to discipline your tongue is more important than the number on your bathroom scale, more essential than your education, and more profitable to you than climbing the corporate ladder.

Consistent discipline in the attempt to manage your mouth will create more beauty than will a home that is attractively decorated and provide more true wealth than will a full retirement fund.

According to the always-applicable truth of the Bible, your tongue has the power to control the type of life that you will enjoy in all of your tomorrows.

Will your life be a fruitful one?

If you can maintain godly government over your tongue, your life will be one of joy and peace; you will cultivate a home atmosphere that is warm and inviting, and you will maintain friendships that flourish.

Conversely, if you refuse to regulate the discharge that comes out of the cavity that lies beneath your nose, your life will be dry and brittle. Nothing beautiful will grow in your life, and you will be known for “halitosis” of the very worst kind!

When Craig and I had our first child, Matthew, every time the pacifier came out of his mouth, we threw it away and plucked a new one out of the sterilized packaging. No dirt was going to touch the lips of our precious, darling boy!

When we had Christopher, just two years later, we could no longer afford the volume of new pacifiers that our previous behavior required, so we placed his discarded pacifiers into boiling water on the stove. Every evening, whether a pacifier had been thrown to the ground or not, it received the boiling treatment under my watchful eyes.

Then, when we had our third son, Jordan, I would merely run his dirty pacifiers under running water at the kitchen sink. I wasn’t picky about the temperature of the water; hot or cold water would do. I justified that it was clean enough after a dousing of fresh water from my kitchen spigot.

When our fourth child, Joy, would throw a beloved pacifier out of her mouth, I would simply put it in my own mouth to clean it off. Just a quick lick, and it was as good as new to go back into her little rosebud mouth.

And finally, with baby number five, Joni Rebecca, I didn’t even bother to replace, to boil, to rinse, or to lick. I would just pick the pacifier up off the ground and put it efficiently back into her mouth.

We can laugh at the way we have parented over the years and how diligently or how casually we have protected our children from germs, but the truth is that none of us would knowingly expose our children to a fatal disease.

There is not a compassionate or concerned person who would willingly bring bacteria or viruses into breathing distance of their loved ones.

Yet, if it is true that our tongues hold the capacity to pour serious and life-altering matter on those whom we love, it is vital that we examine the words that we speak and the tone of voice they are spoken in.

The Holy Spirit is speaking to you, and He is reminding you that words have power for good and power for evil.

Words can bring life, and words can destroy. Words can revive, and words can kill.

You choose … which will it be in your life?

Carol McLeod is a best-selling author and popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. She also hosts highly successful Just Joy! outreaches. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Visit her website at justjoyministries.com.

Is the Church Addressing Homosexuality All Wrong?

Bible-study-beach
Let us love homosexuals, not thump them with the Bible. (Getty Images)

Breaking my own rules about addressing this, but it’s what I believe God wanted me to say.

Shawn A. Akers

With the words of this article you, as a believer, may think I am totally cracked. You might even call me a heretic. I really don’t even like writing about these issues anymore because of God’s conviction.

But this is different. Please, hear me out.

There are good reasons why Mike Pompeo has yet to be confirmed by senators as the U.S. Secretary of State. There are good reasons why the state legislature of California is in the process of passing a bill with the aim of banning Christian books and resources which address issues of homosexuality and gender identity.

And, there are good reasons why the LGBT community’s attitude is to, and pardon my expression, “damn the torpedoes” when it comes to educating our children with their agenda.

Did you ever stop to think that the church is totally responsible for the anger of these people? And did you ever stop to think that these lawmakers may be pressing these issues simply out of spite against the pomposity of some and the naivete of perhaps “well-intentioned” but misguided believers? Think about it.

Make no mistake about it. The Bible is very clear in its views on homosexuality, and I am very much in support of what it says, Old Testament and New Testament. It’s all there in black and white, and it is my faith that the Bible is both inerrant and infallible.

God tells us in Ezekiel 3:18-21, “If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me. If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”

What that tells me is that we must “warn” people of their sin—we must tell them the truth of God’s Word. Pastor and author Anthony Michael of York, Pennsylvania, recently said, “If you never get to the truth you’re not loving people at all, because the most unloving thing you could do to somebody is withhold the truth from them.”

The preacher said Christians have sometimes had a lack of compassion and love for people who need to hear the truth, especially during preceding decades in which Christians held more firmly to the reins of cultural power. But there is a different way to do it.

Because of what has been preached from our pulpits live and on television, and the dialogue that has been spouted on all types of social media, most are already well aware that homosexuality is a sin. These people have been figuratively beaten over the head with this rhetoric, and many times, in a very hateful manner.

Is this the way God really wants it? Do we actually believe that by continuing to inundate them with Scriptures like Deuteronomy 22:5, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-27, Jude 1:7, 1 Timothy 1:10 and Mark 10:69 that we are actually going to change their minds and their behavior? Not likely.

If they haven’t heard these Scriptures before, read them to them.

If we continue along the path we’ve taken, it will continue to make it worse and widen the gap between not only us and them but them and God. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to stand before God one day and have him tell me that I was the reason why a certain person didn’t come to salvation because of my condescending and condemning attitude.

So, what do I propose? Simply this: Since most already know what the Bible says about homosexuality and everything associated with, I would suggest that when you are speaking with any certain person, tell them exactly that. “I know you know what the Bible says about it. I’m not going thump you over the head with my Bible and tell you what I think of your lifestyle. I am not your judge and jury; only God holds that position. I’m only instructed to plant a seed.”

“But is this the way God really wants it? Do we actually believe that by continuing to inundate them with Scriptures like Deuteronomy 22:5, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-27, Jude 1:7, 1 Timothy 1:10 and Mark 10:69 that we are actually going to change their minds and their behavior? Not likely.”

“I compel you to contemplate what God’s Word says about this and search your heart about it. Pray about it if you feel prompted to do so. Like the rest of us, the decisions you make for your life are between you and God and between you and God only. I have presented to you what I believe is the truth. I will pray for you and I will here for you if you need to talk about anything. No matter what, I’m here for you.”

To those who are angry about the Supreme Court’s decision in 2016 to legalize same-sex marriage, my advice is to let it go. Same-sex marriage is the law of the land now. Homosexuals are American citizens, too, and they deserve the same rights as every other American. That should NEVER have been a question.

But let me be clear: I am NOT condoning or approving of the homosexual lifestyle or same-sex marriage. I am very much opposed to it. God gave man his own will, and God will not override it.

The hearts of many are simply too far from God to submit to His will. And that includes the hearts of heterosexuals who have fallen so deep into sin—sin that is no less abominable in God’s eyes—that they think they are more righteous than they are.

But God is the God of the impossible and only through the Holy Spirit will men’s hearts and minds be transformed. It is up to as the church to pray fervently EVERY day for that transformation. That is, if members of the church care even the least bit about this instead of simply brushing it aside.

Please let know what you think of this article. My heart has changed radically in recent years, and I believe for the better. Let me know, in a respectful way, if you have different opinions.

Remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.

  • You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eyes, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt. 5:7)
  • But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5)
  • “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9)

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

Whatever Your Troubles, They Simply Cannot Compare

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Asia Bibi still sits on death row in Pakistan for a simple act of kindness. (Facebook)

Think about these people and what they are going through. It will sober you up quick.

By Shawn A. Akers

Recently, my family and I have been beset by financial problems. Major car repairs, house repairs and braces for both of our children. The bills have piled up.

Our retirement nest egg has dwindled by a significant amount, and in these uncertain times,  that has become cause for major concern.

Yet through all of this, God has found a way to make me realize a very sobering fact. No matter what we are going through, our struggles cannot stack up to the plights of so many others around the world right now, including those who stand up for the sake of the gospel.  Our troubles simply cannot compare.

  • Pastor Andrew Brunson has languished in a Turkish prison for more than a year and a half simply because of his faith. He faces a life sentence and has become a political pawn in a chess game between the Turkish government and the United States. I cannot imagine what the anguish he and his family have endured.
  • Asia Bibi, a Christian convert from Islam, has spent seven years in a Pakistani prison and remains on death row for giving a Muslim coworker a cup of water while they worked in the fields. The grief her husband and two daughters face every day must be agonizing.
  • And what about Pakistani Christians who are constantly murdered because of their faith and for turning away from Islam? Pakistani Christians are holding true to their faith despite the persecution. Their dedication to Jesus is much more than what most of us can fathom.
  • Many American families have children that have been diagnosed with fatal diseases. Every day, parents heart-wrenchingly watch their children fight for their lives.
  • What about those who have nothing to eat on a daily basis–in this country and worldwide?

Those are only a few examples. Again, our struggles cannot compare to theirs. It’s not even close.

When are going to wake up and realized how blessed we are? When am I going to REALLY be grateful to God for what he has blessed my family and I with?

I do not minimize what we are experiencing, and certainly our financial woes put a great deal of stress on our family. I certainly do not minimize the tribulations of other American families and the extent of their circumstances.

When are going to wake up and realized how blessed we are? When am I going to REALLY be grateful to God for what he has blessed my family and I with?

Do you often find yourself complaining to God about your hardships? It’s OK because God forgives, but is it really THAT bad?

There is no way of getting around it. In America, we are spoiled and we don’t realize just how good we have it. The sooner we all realize this and the more grateful we are, the more good we can do for the kingdom.

Take your mind off your own troubles today and think about what you can do—if only to pray—for those who really need your help. I would love to pray with you about your trials and tribulations. Please let me know how I can.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16)

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4)

Remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Declaring and Decreeing Through Prayer

Minister-Kathy-Degraw
(Kathy DeGraw Facebook Page)

Declaring isn’t a “name it, claim it” game. You take a biblical fact, a word of knowledge, or a revelation that the Father has given you, and activate your faith.

Note: This is an excerpt taken, with permission, from my friend Kathy DeGraw’s book, Speak Out, published by Creation House.

By Kathy DeGraw

Declaring and decreeing is putting out and calling forth what you received through prayer. It distributes out through the power of your words what you received in prayer. Declaring is activating your faith and creating movement in the natural based on the revelation you received. I like to say that prayer is where we take in from the Father and declaring is where we put out what we received. It is taking everything you received from the Father in the secret place and releasing it to establish the kingdom and break down strongholds.

Declaring charges the atmosphere around you. When you start to declare things that you know in the natural and keep declaring them, the Holy Spirit will arise within you and start giving you further revelation about what else to declare. When you receive discernment and co-labor with the Holy Spirit your prayer time ignites, and you become excited to pray!

One morning as I was meditating I heard the following in my spirit: “Give me favor, unexpected blessings, and help me reach people far and wide.” I repeatedly kept hearing these words in my spirit and then started speaking them out in prayer. Repeatedly, for fifteen to twenty minutes, I kept speaking out in a normal tone, “God, give me favor, unexpected blessings, and help me reach people far and wide.” I prayed and spoke out the words the Spirit told me to pray. When we spend time with Him, He will lead and guide us in prayer. I prayed those words until I felt the Spirit of the Lord release me to pray in a different direction.  I experienced 15 manifestations of that prayer declaration in just one day!

Declaring isn’t a “name it, claim it” game. You take a biblical fact, a word of knowledge, or a revelation that the Father has given you, and activate your faith. Put authoritative words with it to call the spirit realm into action! We don’t go around loosely naming and claiming. When in alignment with God’s will, anything can manifest in our lives.

Declaring is not for everything we want. If it were, everyone would have everything and would go around declaring all the time.

There is power in the out-spoken word when we ask according to God’s will. He knows what His will is for our lives and what He desires to impart. We need to make sure when we are asking that what we are seeking from Him is to accomplish His will. Therefore, when you ask, make sure you are not asking amiss (James 4:3).

Declaring is not for everything we want. If it were, everyone would have everything and would go around declaring all the time. The Scriptures give us the guideline for declaring by saying, “In accordance to His will.” He will reveal His will to you and guide you in declaring by His Spirit.

Declaring is to speak out and reveal something in the spiritual to cause it to happen in the natural. It is to proclaim out and speak out with words in order to get a response. Declaring can include releasing some positive thoughts out of your mouth at the beginning of the day. It can include:

  • I declare I am going to be happy, joyful, and full of God’s love today, demonstrating God’s love to all I encounter.
  • I declare forth unity, love, and restoration in my marriage.
  • I declare my body is going to be full of strength to accomplish God’s work.
  • I declare I am going to have favor in the sight of the Lord and with man
  • I call forth a good Christian job to come my way where I will have influence and favor in the marketplace.
  • I call forth the full release of my prophetic destiny.
  • I call forth doors to open on my behalf where I can share my talents, giftings, and love of the Lord.

Our Father God declared over Jesus, His Son. When we look at the story of Jesus being baptized in water and prophetically declared over we see that a series of events took place. The Father spoke a prophetic declaration over His Son:

And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  —Mark 1:10-11

God declared out loud! It was a declaration from our Father over His Son. As powerful as it was, immediately the devil came in and activated on the out-spoken word and prophetic proclamation by the Father.

Prophetic declarations will bring forth both results and warfare, but there is a positive aspect in knowing how to declare. When you know how to declare you can decree against the warfare that will attempt to attack your situation.

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 @ https://www.facebook.com/kathydegraw/ or visit http://www.degrawministries.org.

How Do You Speak Truth with Love and Compassion?

compassion-love
How do you speak God’s truth with love and compassion? (Getty Images)

How this concept manifests can be puzzling.

Shawn A. Akers

I love to read Dr. Michael Brown’s columns and to listen to his radio show. He is a man of great moral conviction and, I believe, like David, he is a man after God’s own heart.

Dr. Brown addresses today’s cultural issues from a biblical standpoint. Today’s edition of In the Line of Fire titled “Free Speech: Use it or Lose It,” is a great example of his wonderful insight into the problems we face every day in this country. Whether many want to face it or not, we, as conservatives, are indeed losing our ability to speak our minds and our hearts as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

Dr. Brown tells us that, “For many years I’ve said that, when it comes to America, I’m more concerned with the absence of light than with the presence of darkness. In the same way, I’m more concerned with our failure to speak freely than with those who are trying to silence us.”

Dr. Brown goes on to say, “Why must we dance around these issues with the constant fear of stepping on people’s toes? How can we possibly take gospel-worthy stands if we are such people pleasers? … And what about those who are not preaching behind pulpits or speaking over the airwaves? Who’s stopping us from speaking the truth in love on our social media outlets? … Why don’t we share our faith and our convictions more clearly and boldly and publicly?”

My concern with Dr. Brown and others like him is that he is telling us to speak the truth—the truth of God’s Word—with love and compassion, but he is not telling us how to do it.

Yes, believers must speak with authority and with the direction of the Holy Spirit when we are addressing such issues. But, don’t you think non-believers and carnal Christians have heard just about everything we have to say already? Most likely, they already feel like we’ve beaten them over the head with a club a hundred times.

Dr. Brown says, “I’m all for being sensitive and compassionate. I’m all for using wisdom. But true compassion speaks the truth. Love warns. Wisdom doesn’t waver.”

All true. But how is that manifested in the natural realm, sensitively and compassionately?

Instead of telling them for the 101st time that homosexuality is sin or abortion is murder, shouldn’t we take another approach? Shouldn’t we simply say, “You know how I feel about it and what God’s Word says. The way you feel about it is between you and God?”

Yes, we can repent and God in His mercy will eagerly forgive us. But what do you say to a person who doesn’t believe he or she needs forgiveness for their actions? How can we bridge this gap and truly penetrate souls for the kingdom?

One day, we all will be judged. ALL of us. I won’t be held accountable for what you say and do, only for what I say and do. That thought is daunting enough.

We cannot change other people or their hearts; only God can. Your own efforts to do so will be futile.

When we repent, God, in His mercy, will eagerly forgive us. But what do you say to a person who doesn’t believe he or she needs forgiveness for their words and actions? How can we bridge this gap and truly penetrate souls for God’s kingdom?

This thought may be old school, but the biggest impact on others’ lives is the example you set. Are you completely sold out to Jesus and living your life by His Word, or do you constantly compromise to the world’s standards? Do you have the mind of Christ?

“Be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).

I am interested to know what you think. Am I missing something? Is there some simple answer about how to speak the truth with compassion? I have sought the answer in genuine and ardent prayer, and opened my mind to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. I would also love to hear your thoughts and what He has told you.

And remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pray Today For: Pastor Robert Morris

Robert-Morris
Gateway Pastor Robert Morris (YouTube)

Lift Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris in prayer today for radical physical healing.

PLEASE … include these people in your prayers today. If believers bombard heaven, things can change!

We pray for those in the news and for those who need the love of Jesus in their hearts. If there is anyone you feel compelled to pray for in this blog, please email me at akersofracing@aol.com.

Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, has undergone three surgeries in the past 12 hours for internal bleeding. Gateway Facebook posts revealed that Morris had a blood vessel bleeding in his abdomen and a blood clot the size of a cantaloupe.

Doctors have successfully stopped the internal bleeding, but Pastor Morris’ wife, Debbie, is asking for prayer to keep his blood pressure stable. Therefore we pray for this incredible man of God:

“Father God in the name of Jesus we lift Pastor Morris up to you and ask that you lay your hands on him and give him complete and radical healing in the name of Jesus. Thank you that you have allowed doctors to stop the bleeding, and we pray that his blood pressure does stabilize. Lord, you have used this man well for your kingdom purpose, and he is not done yet. Help him to get back on his feet again so that he can continue the work for which you have ordained him. We praise You and thank You for your mighty healing power. In Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53:5)

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 30:17)

UPDATE FROM GATEWAY FB PAGE (5 p.m. ET): “Pastor Morris is doing much better and his blood pressure is normal. He still has a fairly lengthy road to full recovery, so we’re asking you to please continue to pray for his complete healing.”

Praise God!

 

 

One Sure Way the Evil One Can’t Touch You

Mind-renewal
Begin renewing your mind today. (Getty Images)

It takes commitment, but it’s well worth it.

Shawn A. Akers

As we often do, my brother, Kevin, and I became involved in a deep theological discussion. It was the evening of a Good Friday, and it seemed appropriate.

We began talking about purity, grace and transformation, and it all led to one point: renewal of the mind.

Kevin and I came to an agreement that you can indeed be a Christian by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and that He died for our sins. That’s the easy part. Anyone can do that—even the staunchest atheist.

But, then comes the hard part—living for Jesus every day in a way that is good, acceptable and perfect, according to Romans 12:2. That, my friend, does not come by watching football, playing golf or by playing video games.

And while none of those things is sinful (unless you put them before your relationship with God), they certainly won’t put you in the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

The only way to do that is to renew your mind, and the only way to discover the mind of Christ is through prayer and immersing yourself in God’s Word. Joyce Meyer says that “God offers us a new life, but His Word makes it clear that we must completely renew our mind (learn to think differently) before we will experience the new life He offers.

It could take a long time. Even the rest of your life.

But it’s well worth it.

My salvation came in 1989 at 23; but it wasn’t until recently that I began the process of allowing God to renew my mind. What took me so long, you might ask? I had to convince myself I really wanted the wonderful life that God offers, and that nothing else in this world could satisfy me like He can.

The only way to do that is to renew your mind, and the only way to discover the mind of Christ is through prayer and immersing yourself in God’s Word.

Once I realized Alabama football or St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball or watching movies on TV or even food couldn’t bring me happiness or fulfillment, I turned to Jesus. My only regret—the years I wasted with all that other stuff.

I now find myself hungry for God’s Word and what it means to live for Him. It’s a spiritual hunger I never have experienced before. I want desperately to know what God wants from me every day. I want desperately to know what I can do to help bring others into the kingdom. I want desperately for Him to use me for His purposes.

IHOP-KC’s Mike Bickle says that our lives are to give evidence that God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect. Our lives are to display the goodness of God’s will. He says that when refuse to be conformed to this world, then we “identify and resist the spirit of the world and its values. “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but it is of the world.” (1 John 2:16).

We need to learn to think as God thinks, and that means we think according to God’s Word. As Meyer says, this process won’t take place automatically, but it is something we need to chose to do and it is a process that requires a commitment of time and effort.

“There are multitudes of people who believe in Jesus, but they never experience victory in their lives to a lack of knowledge or an unwillingness to apply the principles they have learned,” Meyer says. … The good news is that although it is quite a battle in the beginning, it does get easier. We learn to recognize wrong and destructive thinking much quicker, and because we have learned the value of thinking properly, we can immediately choose thoughts that benefit us and help us enjoy God’s plan for our lives.”

If I think it is impossible for me to ever behave the way Jesus did, then I will never do so. If we believe it is possible and begin to live it out, then purity and holiness will take hold in our lives. You won’t be perfect, but you will see a tremendous transformation.

And once there’s transformation, you will be a shining example to help others renew their minds. Can you imagine what that could lead to?

Confess these things out of your mouth every day:

“I am greatly loved by God (Rom. 1:7).

“I am strong in the Lord and the power of His might.” (Col. 1:11).

“I have favor with God.” (2 Cor. 13:14).

“I have the mind of Christ.” (Phil. 4:7).

“I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me.” (1 John 5:18).”

And, remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.

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.

God, Where are You?

woman-crying
All of us have wondered at one time or another where God is in our lives. He’s preparing you for better things; just trust Him. (Getty Images)

Here is why you must embrace your time in the wilderness.

By Shawn A. Akers

At one time or another, this thought has come to most every believer’s mind. Stuck in a wilderness or in the middle of a barren desert, God’s presence seems hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

But you are not alone, and you are in good company. Moses walked where you are now walking. Whether it was God forming a plan for him to lead Israel out of Egypt or wandering 40 years waiting for the Promised Land, Moses longed for the elusive presence of his God.

Then we see Joseph, whom God gave dreams and visions of great leadership and achievement, only to have his brothers throw him into a pit and be sold into slavery. He languished for years in prison after false accusations against him, wondering if  God would ever show up.

You MUST embrace these times in your own wilderness knowing that the Lord will give you strength in your journey to spiritual maturity. And yes, it is a journey, one that involves change and a willingness to grow and learn.

And what about Job, who lost everything he had including his children, his health, possessions and even the support of his wife? Jesus himself, who spent weeks in the wilderness to face the forces of darkness?

You MUST embrace these times in your own wilderness knowing that the Lord will give you strength in your journey to spiritual maturity. And yes, it is a journey, one that involves change and a willingness to grow and learn. He’s pruning you. He wants you to stop wallowing in pity and realize He is preparing you for better things.

If there are any barriers that are keeping you from His presence or knowing Him intimately, ask God in prayer to remove them. Ask the Holy Spirit to intervene so that nothing inhibits you from emerging from your wilderness or desert knowing that God will never leave you nor forsake you.

You will never have to ask where He is in your life ever again.

And remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.

“God has said, “Never will I leave younever will I forsake you” (Heb. 11:5).

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faithproduces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (Jam. 1:2-4).

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.

Pray Today For: Asia Bibi

Asia-Bibi-Christians
Christians are severely persecuted in Pakistan. (CBN News YouTube Channel)

Asia Bibi needs your prayers more than ever.

PLEASE … include these people in your prayers today. If believers bombard heaven, things can change!

We pray for those in the news and for those who need the love of Jesus in their hearts. If there is anyone you feel compelled to pray for in this blog, please email me at akersofracing@aol.com.

Aasiya Noreen, a Christian mother of two, has languished in a Pakistani prison for nine years under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. She is accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Mohammed, a charge she denies after she drank the same water as Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries.

Otherwise known as Asia Bibi, she was arrested, jailed, tried and sentenced to death in 2010 for her “crime.” She was jailed for a year before officials formally charged her. She recently received a gift of faith from Pope Francis, and her story can be read here.

But, as a believer, I implore you to pray for Aasiya and her release and for God to save her from this sentence of death. Therefore:

“Father God, in the name of Jesus we come together as a body of believers to pray for this brave woman, this mother of two children and three step-children, that has spent the last nine years of her life in a Pakistani prison for what Pakistani officials call a “crime” of blasphemy. We know and You know that the only crime Aasiya committed is that she is a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, unabashed and unashamed. The fact that she would not convert to Islam has offended the people who have accused her, but she is not ashamed of who she is and is not ashamed of the gospel, therefore she will not renounce her faith in Christ.

“She’s frightened, she’s tired and she’s lonely. We ask that you lift her up, give her peace in her heart and her mind and help her to realize that You will never leave her nor forsake her, no matter what happens. Do the same for others that have undergone similar situations.

“Bless Aasiya and her family. Help her to find favor with those who would help her to find a way to gain release from this Pakistani prison. Help her to find favor with those who have accused her. Miraculously turn their hearts and open their eyes to You and the overwhelming love that pours out from you. Father God, protect her, and protect her family. We know how volatile Pakistan is and how they hate You. Only You can do the miraculous. Only You can do the impossible. We praise You and thank You in the precious name of Jesus.”

“O my God, I trust in You; may I not be ashamed; may my enemies not triumph over me.” (Psa. 25:2).

“They will not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they will be satisfied.” (Psa. 37:19)

What You Can Do During Your Dry Season

desert-dry-season
If you’re in a spiritual desert, wait. It’s going to rain (Alan E., via Flickr).

You may feel like you’re in a spiritual desert, but your rainy season is coming.

By Shawn A. Akers

Have you ever felt like God’s Living Water, his beautiful stream, has simply dried up in your life? Perhaps you’re unhappy with your job. Maybe your finances are in dire straits. Or, it could be you have experienced years of infertility and don’t know if God really cares.

As I have shared in previous blogs, my wife and I are going through some financial troubles right now. We have incurred some huge bills in the past year–braces for both of our children at $7,000 each; a new air conditioner at nearly $10,000; two auto repair bills at more than $1,000 each. Sometimes you wonder when the storm will cease and you beg for grace and mercy.

But that’s minimal compared to the pain of couples who have struggled with infertility. My wife and I dealt with that issue years ago, and I wrote a piece for Charismamag.com detailing it.

After four-plus years, I still receive emails from those who have encountered issues in having children. One, whom I won’t name by name, writes (it’s cleaned up a bit but not fully): “My husband and I have gone through the infertility struggle for almost 11 years now. We got married young. Today I’m 33, he is 37 we are currently blessed with one son who’s a surviving twin;after 3 failed IVF we have since had another 4 failed ivf; as we had wished to have another baby. Our case is male factor infertility; it’s hard as I’ve lost all hope we would not desire to use and donors as we want to be 100% biological parents. My faith in God is really low but see that there’s nothing or no one I’m supposed to depend on but Him. I would try to make myself feel better with alcohol as I’m extremely depressed. I’m at my lowest but see that the only light is God.  From yesterday I told myself that I would pray about it as my husband does believe. I’m just skeptical if to me it doesn’t make sense. It’s hard for it to sit in my head.”

I have counseled those who have written me, and, praise God, some have written back to say that God has blessed them with children. But it’s heartbreaking to hear of the pain this woman has been through.

After much prayer and seeking God, I ran across this passage from John and Lisa Bevere’s book Pathway to His Presence, that I pray will find a way into her heart. It applies to others’ situations also, others who have experienced a “dry season” and felt as if God was nowhere near them. If you are going through something similar, I pray this blesses you:

“These dry times are ripe opportunities for heart-to-heart discussions with the Father. It is at such times that we are most receptive to His counsel and guidance.”

“Perhaps you feel frustrated as you search for direction from God. Maybe you’ve prayed and silence was the only response. Job, a patriarch of one of the oldest books of the New Testament, had such an experience. His life fell apart–his wealth disappeared, his sons and daughters were suddenly killed, and he was struck down with a physical illness. Yet, throughout every trial, Job remained faithful and trusted the Lord. out of his doubt and frustration, he cried, ‘If I only knew where to find God, I would go to His court. I would lay out my case and present my arguments. Then I would listen to His reply and understand what He says to me (Job 23:3-5).’ Job knew that God was in charge of his life. Yet for a time he felt that God eluded him and heaven was silent.

“You may run up against a set of circumstances that raised many questions in your mind, and it caused you to want to plead your case face-to-face with God. These dry times are ripe opportunities for heart-to-heart discussions with the Father. It is at such times that we are most receptive to His counsel and guidance. It is then that our dry spirits long for the cool refreshing, living water only He can give. Every Christian passes through a wilderness experience at one time or another. It’s not the time to seek His hand, but the time to seek His heart. Seeking God’s heart produces character and strength. Your time in the wilderness prepares you for the promised land. … The wilderness experience is designed to train and prepare you for a new movement of God’s Spirit in your life–provided you enter the experience with wisdom and a heart for God. Enter it with the wrong attitude or simply search for an escape route, and you will probably experience hardship, frustration and even defeat. It’s critical to understand God’s purpose for dry times.”

If you need a lift from the pit of hell you are experiencing, I would also like to recommend a book called 41 Will Come, by Chuck E. Tate.  With God’s help, it will lift you up.

Please let me know if this touches your heart and it blesses you. I would love to pray for your situation. Thank you for reading.

And remember to do something to come up higher in your kingdom calling today.

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.