Category: Holy Spirit empowered

URGENT PRAYER TODAY FOR PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON

andrew-brunson
Please don’t ignore this. Pastor Brunson needs our prayers desperately. (ACLJ.org)

In the name of Jesus, we ask you to be in constant prayer for this man today and every day.

Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held in a Turkish prison for more than 20 months, was back in court Monday and denied terrorism and spying charges. None of the charges levied against Pastor Brunson are true, but he could wind up facing 35 years in prison for the false accusations.

I have asked for prayer for Pastor Brunson in this blog before, but I am asking especially that you join me in bombarding heaven RIGHT NOW for this great and courageous man of God.

If you are not familiar with it, you can read more about his plight here on charismanews.com.

Therefore I pray: “In the precious name of Jesus, we pray for favor and mercy and grace upon Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is not only enduring false imprisonment in Turkey but who is also facing false accusations of terrorism and clandestine activity. Lies by unscrupulous witnesses have helped to make this trial a farce. The Turkish government is prosecuting Pastor Brunson and using him as a political pawn.

We pray for our wonderful, gracious and merciful Almighty God to soften the hearts of those who are against him and transform their hearts to see that what they are doing is unjust.  We pray for our lawmakers and our executive branch, especially President Donald Trump, to be able to make a difference and to let the Turkish government know, firmly, that this will not be tolerated.

We pray for Pastor Brunson and his mind, that you keep it fresh and filled every day with the things of the Spirit and to help him to continue to trust You and know that You will deliver him from this unjust situation. We pray for Pastor Brunson’s family and take away any fear they might have of what might happen to Pastor Brunson. We pray that he be turned to his family as quickly as possible.

Lord, I pray that everyone who reads this will be on their knees praying for Pastor Brunson, and his family. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7, MEV)

“Be strong and of a good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, it is He who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6, MEV)

 

 

 

 

 

The Kind of Prayer We Believers Need to Learn

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Pray for the protection from sin (Lightstock)

This type of prayer will lead us into right standing with God.

By Shawn A. Akers

Throughout his adventurous and very interesting life, King David endured incidents of intense persecution and danger. But what was most impressive about David is that he not only prayed for protection from his attackers during these perilous times, he also prayed about protection from sin.

“Make me to know Your ways, O Lordteach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day. … Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. (Psalm 25:4-5, 20-21, MEV)

“Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies” (Psalm 141:3-4)

So what are we talking about here? We’re talking about living a life of righteousness–or right standing with God. As believers, shouldn’t we hate sin more than suffering?

Our relationship with Christ not only allows it, but it also presents us with an obligation to become a person of deep moral commitment. Jesus, to whom we owe everything and to whom the believer is supposed to surrender everything, gives us guidelines by which we are to live a happy and respectable life.Our relationship with Christ not only allows it, but it also presents us with an obligation to become a person of deep moral commitment.

The first chapter of James tells us that we are to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.” We are to lay aside all filthiness and remaining wickedness and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.” We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Our relationship with Christ not only allows it, but it also presents us with an obligation to become a person of deep moral commitment.

When we fall into trials and tribulations, which James assures us we will in this life, our temptation to sin can accelerate. When we face trials in our relationships, our jobs, our finances, etc., be extra careful about sin’s pull on your mind and your flesh. Satan will work overtime to get you do to something you don’t want to do and he will try to convince you that you will feel better during these tough times if you just give in. Don’t allow that lie to penetrate your heart.

Remember, “when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and when sin is finished, it brings forth death” (James 1:15). But also remember that, because you have been given life in Christ, you are now to live the righteous life that God desires.

Living righteously suggests a thriving, spiritual relationship with God that leads to freedom. Living righteously is always a genuine decision one makes to remain attentive to the presence and power of God. It is motivated by love and reverence for the One who created us and cares for us.

  • “Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth” (Col. 3:2)
  • “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
  • “Let love be without hypocrisy. Hate what is evil. Cleave to what is good” (Rom. 12:9).
  • “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

As always, 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

 

‘For With God, All Things are Possible’

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God can do great things with your broken pieces! (Flickr via Tee Cee)

This book is so good, and so helpful for believers, it’s worth quoting it two days in a row.

“God will use pieces of your wreckage to get you to shore. No matter what mistakes you’ve made or what detours you’e taken while straying from where God wants you to be, it’s not too late. No matter what you’ve said or haven’t said, what you’ve done or haven’t done. No matter the depth of your pain, fear or anxiety. No matter how dark your secret or how terrible your addiction. God can do great things with your broken pieces” — From Rev. Samuel Rodriguez’s book Shake Free: How to Deal with the Storms, the Shipwrecks and Snakes in Your Life”

  • “If it’s broken, God can fix it.”
  • “If it’s empty, God can fill it.”
  • “If it failed, God can restore it.”
  • “If it’s sin, God can forgive it.”
  • “If it’s dead, God can resurrect it.”

Nothing is beyond God. Preach it, Rev. Rodriguez!

“For with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote of the Day: Rev. Samuel Rodriguez

Shake-Free
(Photo via Samuel Rodriguez FB page)

Every believer should be equipped with these pearls of wisdom. 

“Never let your problems drive your direction. Don’t let your crisis become your compass.”

  • Do not be driven by what you see; be driven by what God said.
  • Do not be driven by past mistakes; be driven by future miracles.
  • Do not be driven by feelings; be driven by faith.
  • do not be driven by being a victim; by driven by being victorious.
  • Let all you are and all you do be driven by the Spirit of God.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, from his book, Shake Free: How to Deal with the Storms, Shipwrecks and Snakes in Your Life.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14)

 

Pray Today For: Our Nation

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Pray today for our nation and this National Day of Prayer (Getty Images)

On this national day of prayer, show God that you grieve for the condition of our country and you sincerely desire its healing.

PLEASE … join in unity with other believers today this National Day of Prayer. If believers bombard Heaven, things can change! If you know anyone specifically that needs prayer, use the comments below and we will deluge Heaven to help them. Open your hearts today and pray!

It is the National Day of Prayer, so I hope and pray that everyone has been petitioning God for their family members, friends, their church, church leaders, America’s leaders and themselves. Also do not forget to pray for our nation itself, which, if you haven’t noticed, is teetering on the brink of an “unholy” war.

Hatred and prejudice against God’s children–and the ungodly attitudes of many in the church against unbelievers–have put this nation on the edge of civil disaster. If you don’t believe that, then pick up a newspaper or watch the news on TV. Therefore we pray:

In the name of Jesus, we pray today for our nation. There is so much division; there is so much hatred and their is so much misunderstanding; and we beg God for forgiveness for our the hardness of hearts.  Help us to be tolerant, help us to be patient and help us to convey and live out Jesus’ message of redemption that He paid so dearly for on the Cross. Help us to show non-believers that we belong to Him and not to the world, for our righteous behavior to penetrate their hearts so that they can see Christ and Christ alone.

We pray today for racial division to be wiped away and that people will love others for who they are and not hate for the color of their skin or their nationality. We pray for hatred between religions–including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and others–to be shattered by the love of the Cross. Satan, you are defeated.

We pray for those who are not in agreement with our views on anything from sexual orientation to abortion, immigration, etc., and for those who do not know Christ as their Savior. We pray that they come to the saving knowledge of Christ not only for their own sake but for the sake of peace and harmony for this nation.

We pray for our president, Donald Trump, that he comes to know you more and more every day and develops your heart. We pray that you guide him to do the things that you want him to accomplish and for him to deny himself and his flesh every day for your sake and the sake of Your Word and this country. We pray this for all of our leaders–national, statewide, and local.

We pray for our churches, that any darkness that has made its way into them be revealed and cast out in Jesus’ name. We pray that hypocrisy will come to light and God’s justice will be done. We pray that you will sear the hearts of all believers to completely surrender to the cross and to Your will and for us to completely deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow you daily. Help us to be salt and light to the world instead of slaves to the culture and hypocrites that can be easily called out.

We love you, Lord. Have Your way in us. Help our lives reflect Your glory. We are confident that You will bring greater things because you are the God of the impossible! In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14, NIV)

 

What Would Influence LGBT People to Return to Church?

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Pastor Clay Peck (YouTube)

The answer to this poignant question may very well surprise you.

By Shawn A. Akers

So you think all members of the LGBT community are hard-hearted and closed-minded? Think again. In fact, it’s the church that needs a change of attitude says Clay Peck, lead Pastor of Grace Place.

Peck asks this question: “What would influence LGBT to return to church? The answer:

  • Feeling loved
  • Given time (patience)
  • No attempts to change their orientation
  • Authenticity
  • Support of family and friends

Note: Point No. 3 assumes that they have heard the truth of God’s Word. And if they have been church members, it is generally assumed they have.

As much as my attitude and thoughts on this subject have changed over the past couple of years, last week I lent my own thoughts to this crucial issue hoping it would help heal the divide.

Peyton Jones of Christianitytoday.com recently wrote this: “People in a life of homosexuality need love without blame, and without reservation. As we all do. The cause of our condition isn’t as important as allowing it to be used for the glory of God. … What we need is ‘discipleship in community.’ People who define their identity by their sexuality need the church community as part of their transformation process to finding their primary identity in Christ. … The community is also a tool of conversion. We need to find people already among us who have been there, who have wrestled with God on these issues and found both love and truth. … Everyone craves love. Many people have lived with years of rejection as a result of their sexuality. Unconditional love can heal the hurts they’ve experienced and point the way to following Jesus in spirit and in truth.”

In the below video highlighted on Charismanews.com, Peck, in a sermon, issued his own public apology to the LGBT community. But, he didn’t change his theology. He simply explained another way to love LGBT people and to help bring them back into the kingdom.

While Peck said things a bit more eloquently, here is a blog I wrote that basically says the same thing. Please check it out.

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

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31)

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 Key to Walking in Supernatural Favor with People

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Do you want to walk in supernatural favor with others? (Michael Villaneuva via Flickr)

 You can begin to put this principle into practice in your life today.

Note: This is a guest post from my friend, Kyle Winkler. His ministry is incredible and can train you in much-needed spiritual warfare. Check it out at kylewinkler.org.

By Kyle Winkler

It’s well chronicled in my messages, books and articles that much of my early years were scarred by the wounds of rejection. Childhood timidity led to being painfully left out of social groups.

Then my born-again experience at 16 years old caused great tension in my devoutly-denominational family. Not to mention my first steps into full-time ministry, which grew intense criticism from both family and friends alike.

The reality is that rejection is an unfortunate fact of life. People have always passed over others for superficial and unfair reasons. People have always found reasons to disagree with the sincerest decisions or opinions. And they always will.

But the danger when you feel something so much is that you can eventually take on that feeling as a quality of who you are. And that’s so much of the story of my life. From childhood, an identity of rejection was cemented into me and then reinforced even through the adolescence of my Christianity. Because who you believe you are often determines how you behave, my actions and reactions were skewed accordingly. Allow me to elaborate.

People have always passed over others for superficial and unfair reasons. People have always found reasons to disagree with the sincerest decisions or opinions. And they always will.

Continue reading “The Key to Walking in Supernatural Favor with People”

Grace Your Tongue: Do You Have Mouth Disease?

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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?

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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.