Category: Holy Spirit empowered

It’s Simply Time to Follow My Own Advice

Joyce Meyer knows exactly what I’m talking about. (Joycer Meyer FB page)

I’ve never one to shy away from transparency in my blogging, but this piece may be especially difficult for me to write.

For quite some time, I have struggled with surrendering my children to the Lord. Years, to be exact. And for years, I have made them, my wife and myself, miserable because I’ve attempted to make things work the way I’ve wanted them to.

I am full cognizant of the senseless aggravation and stress I’ve put my family through, not to mention myself. And, I am keenly aware of the damage I’ve done to my relationships with them with my self-rightetous anger. Certainly, they deserve better from me.

I have finally reached my wits’ end, and I’m tired. It’s time to take my own past advice and lay it at God’s feet and leave it there. I’ve gotten good results from that one. So, what’s taken me so long? If I knew the answer to that one …

As an editor at Charisma Media for the past seven years, I have been privy to a great deal of godly counsel. Whether it be the incredible wisdom of our publisher and my friend and mentor, Dr. Steve Greene, or people whose writing I enjoy regularly like Joyce Meyer or my friends Lee Grady and Pat Schatzline, my soul is blessed daily.

Today, while editing the August issue of Charisma, I read Meyer’s column titled, “Give it God: God’s willing to help you if you’re willing to let go of control.” In it, Meyer talks about her own struggles with relinquishing control of her life–her marriage, her children and her ministry–to God.

For years, she toiled as a mother trying to make her children into what she thought she should be instead of “trusting God and choosing to believe everything would work out well in the end.” Growing up, her daughter, Laura, was “extremely messy and unorganized.” Her son, Daniel, struggled in school and she was convinced that she “would have to care for him for the rest of her life.”

“I spent so much time worrying and trying to change them on my own, and most of my efforts only seemed to make things worse!”

“Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55:22

Without a doubt, I can relate to that emotion.

Laura Meyer now works for her mother and organizes her schedule. Daniel Meyer is now the CEO of Joyce Meyer Ministries. In other words, Joyce learned to let go and trust God, and look what happened.

“I look back and realize how much time and effort I wasted worrrying and struggling when God had things under control all along,” Meyer says. “God doesn’t want us to struggle; He wants us to believe. He wants us to relax and enjoy our lives even while we’re waiting for change. “

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”

Isaiah 41:13

Can anyone of you relate to this? I’d love to hear from you.

So, the time has come. It’s time for me to stop wasting time–and my life–and making my family miserable. I’m still going to be dad to my children, and a husband, but I’m going to be better. Much better, and joy will reign in our household because I know that has been God’s plan all along.

Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Or how about Isaiah 41:13, which says, “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”

And then there is Philippians 4:6-7, which reads, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

It’s time to relinquish control. It’s time to start enjoying life as God intended. I ask for your prayers to help me see this through. God bless.

A Life of Freedom Requires This

Pray for God to help you live a pure and holy life. It will lead to freedom. (Lightstock)

Thanks to my Pastor, Ed Garvin, I was reminded this morning just how powerful, and freeing, Psalm 119 can be. That’s IF you believe God’s Word is true.

Psalm 119 compells us to stay true to God and His Word no matter how bad the world becomes. I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but the world hasn’t exactly gotten any better, and we are drowning a sea of impurity with the temptation to do this, or the temptation to do that.

In his sermon, Pastor Garvin asked the question, how do we stay pure in a “polluted” society? Simple: Obedience to God’s laws is the only way to remain guilt free, and it’s the only way to way to be truly happy.

“How do we stay pure in a ‘polluted’ society?”

Pastor ed garvin, calvary orlando

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good deal to me, and it’s a good way to guard your heart from the “pollution” of the world. Psalm 119 says:I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good deal to me, and it’s a good way to guard your heart from the “pollution” of the world. Psalm 119 says:

‘Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! BLessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity, They walk in His ways. You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. Oh that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes. THEN I WOULD NOT BE ASHAMED (emphasis mine). …

We would all do well to pray, every day, some of the psalmists next words:

“Oh let me not wander from Your commandments!

Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You. …

Teach me Your statutes. …

Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your law. … Do not hide your commandments from me.

Teach me, o Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.

Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things (emphasis mine) and revive me in Your way.”

As believers, don’t you think that type of purity would be most pleasing to our wonderful and gracious God?

We should do what God wants, regardless of what the world thinks. Make the psalmists’ prayer your own today, asking God to turn your heart toward His statutes and not toward the world.

I want freedom. I’m going to make this a priority in my life. Won’t you join me?

Is Your Light Shining Before Others?

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 Let your light so shine before men every day (Lightstock)

Pastor Samuel Rodriguez has become one of my favorite authors and preachers. When one of his books are published, you can be sure that I’ll soon have my nose buried in it.

Although I don’t know him personally, I have interviewed him. He’s one of our authors at Charisma and a frequent online contributor. He’s one of God’s anointed, and like E.F. Hutton (retro commercial reference), when he speaks, people listen.

Pastor Sam, as we like to call him, once asked the question in his book, Be Light: What do we need to change today to become a more perfect mirror and reflect the light of God?

For one, I believe, we need to recognize who we are in Christ and just how much He loves us.  Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” How does that make you feel?

Believe it. HE LOVES YOU THAT MUCH, even when you mess up! Sometimes, I can’t belive some of the awful things I do and says, yet God still loves me enough to forgive me.

And second, as a believer, open your heart, be humble and judge yourself. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you where you’ve made mistakes and where you need a heart change.

We can all use such a dose of humility at times. Don’t let your pride get in the way. God loves a contrite and humble heart. He knows you messed up, and He loves it all the more when you know it and want to do something about it.

Revivalist Bert Farias told our publisher, Dr. Steve Greene, in an interview on the Charisma Podcast Network:

“We need holiness and fear of the Lord to really be restored as people of God today. The Lord is going to judge the world. He said in His Word that judgment begins first in the house of God. As people of God, we must judge ourselves … the more we judge ourselves, the more impact we will have on masses of people out there that don’t yet know the Lord. Judgment is good. … We need to expose areas where we need to change. It’s all for our good and for the glory of God.”

“God loves a contrite and humble heart. He knows you messed up, and He loves it all the more when you know it and want to do something about it.”

Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.” (NIV) If we live for Christ, we will glow like lights, showing others what Christ is like.

But many believers, me included at times, hide our light by being quiet when we should speak, going along with the crowd, denying the light, letting sin dim our light, not explaining our light to others or ignoring the needs of others.

But that’s not what our faith is about. As Pastor Sam says, “our faith is transparent, transcendent and transformational. .. The church is called to bring people to faith, to follow his mission, to spread His hope and to be His light so that others can experience the touch of the Master. The church must know who Christ is in order for the world to know who Christ is. He is the son of the living God.”

So, if you’re on the road and someone cuts you off, calm down and ignore it. If someone in the grocery store is talking and won’t move, pleasantly ask them to excuse you. If someone takes your parking spot, calm down and find another one. If your teens are being teens, don’t get upset and yell at them. Hug them and love on them, even if you don’t feel like it.

Let the light of Christ shine through you. Make it so visible that people can’t help but recognize, that’s Jesus, the Light of the world!

 

 

Spiritual Warfare: Satan Knows Exactly What He is Doing

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Don’t allow the enemy to escalate situations and cause irreversible damage to your family (Getty Images)

I don’t care what anyone says, Satan knows exactly what he is doing.

When we mention the words “spiritual warfare,” some Christians get upset and point out when it is said that “spiritual warfare” is present that we give to much creedence to the enemy, that he doesn’t have that much influence, and that we’re diminishing God’s power and glory.

To me, that says there is no enemy, that it is man and man only that creates friction between himself and God. Frankly speaking, I believe that gives man too much credit. Sure, it is in our own hearts where we ultimately sin against God. In other words, the devil didn’t make us do it.

However, I do believe that the enemy, Satan, knows exactly what he is doing and he does have a hand in the friction that occurs between ourselves and God; also between ourselves and our loved ones. Because of our frail human nature, the enemy knows exactly which buttons to push with us and at exactly the right time to do it. He knows he can cause, or if you prefer, help to cause, chaos in your life.

In other words, according to John 10:10, “the thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy.” Steal, kill and destroy. The thief, or Satan, revels in it.

I know that there are times when an argument within my family can be avoided or can subside before it gets really heated. But, then, my wife or one of my kids will say something that Satan knows will particularly get my goat (or vice versa, I am guilty of such action as well). The enemy knows those particular words will penetrate my heart so much that I will escalate the argument to a place where it doesn’t need to go, to a level that will cause bitterness, resentment and damage to our family. When that happens, Satan has you right where he wants you and he is belly laughing because his evil plan worked to a T.

Am I alone here? Maybe I am, and may it is simply my selfishness. But, I must believe that I’m not the only Christ follower who experiences this. Ours is not the only Christian family Satan preys upon in this manner. Divorce statistics and the breakup of the family unit as a whole are clear evidence.

And it is not because we want this to happen. I don’t believe anyone chooses chaos and revels in hate and bitterness that becomes so severe that divorce becomes an option. No, I choose to believe that most people, especially Christ followers, strive for peace and joy to permeate their homes instead of rancor and vitriole.

A time for transparency here, and I’ve never been afraid of that. I have failed so many times in these types of situations, so much so in the 22 years I have married to Patty that I have lost count. I have allowed the enemy to push those buttons within me that takes arguments to another level. The arguments, thank God, have never produced physical violence, but the voice tone and the language are, to say the least, ugly.

It shames me to think about it, but then that’s exactly what the enemy wants as well–a Christ follower condemning himself. But we all know that, according to Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The enemy wants to keep us wrapped up in that bondage, but as believers, we know that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

So, we can we do when chaos and tension begin to arise within us and our homes? What can we do to fight the enemy? Yes, you can put on the whole armor of God, as Paul tells us in Ephesians 6,  “that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” In layman’s terms, what I have learned to do, and I’m still fairly new at it, is to recognize the escalation point of the argument and cry out to Jesus to cut it off immediately. I am desperately learning through the Holy Spirit’s prompting and God’s Word to put down the insurrection in my heart before it ignites into a mass explosion that produces irreversible damage to the ones I love.

We must recognize in that moment what Satan’s ultimate plan is, which is to cause division in your family. We must recognize that he revels in bitterness and resentment that leads to the destruction of your marriage covenant and to the bond with your children.

We might have the ulimate victory in Jesus, but the enemy knows exactly what he is doing and what he is capable of. Don’t let him have the satisfaction. You can stop him dead in his tracks.

 

Kathy DeGraw — Defeat is Not an Option

compassion-love
We have been given Jesus’ authority. Use it. (Getty Images)

Jesus conquered the grave. We have been given His authority. We are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. He persevered, therefore so can we. The next time you are feeling weary remember: Defeat wasn’t an option for Jesus and, since the Spirit of God lives in you, it’s not an option, either! — Kathy DeGraw, co-founder of DeGraw Ministries

An Unplanned Holy Spirit Impact

Praising-God

I had planned to go the theater and watch the Pure Flix film “Unplanned” for quite some time. As an editor at Charisma Media, I had heard about the film and I have supported the pro-life movement for years.

I had read the reviews and knew that it would be good. But, I had no idea of how the Holy Spirit would speak to my heart during and after the viewing of this movie. I left the theater knowing I would never be the same.

Watch this video to understand why you need to be in constant prayer for the pro-life movement and why you need to support this film. Your life could change, too.

 

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

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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 Christ 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.