Monday, March 31

Bill Winston Devotional : Word for Today

Bill Winston Teachings
Whatever is dead in your life, if you take the Word of God and apply it, it will live again!

When you see the impossible don't stop, that's where your stuff is.

In society, when the faith of people start dying out, the progress of that society will slow as a result

Sometimes we try to innovate in our own strength. God says call out to Him and He will show you unsearchable things. Jeremiah 33:3

An idea is the most fragile thing in the world. If you don't write it down, you will forget it.

Laugh at things that look impossible and you will do exploits for the Glory of God.

Whatever God is going to do for you must first be declared with your mouth. Say it, believe it and stay with it until you are fully persuaded.

Christian Student Barred from Preaching on Community College Campus Files Suit

HAMPTON, Va. – A Christian student has filed a lawsuit against a Virginia community college after the school allegedly prevented him from preaching the Gospel on campus.
Christian Parks is a student at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) in Hampton, Virginia. An evangelical Christian, Parks has openly preached the Gospel on several occasions while on the TNCC campus.
According to a lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in the U.S. District Court in Newport News, Parks is passionate about his Christian faith.
“Mr. Parks’ Christian faith governs the way he thinks about marriage, morality, politics, and social issues,” the suit explains, “and it causes him to hold sincerely-held religious beliefs in these areas.”
“Mr. Parks believes it is his duty to inform others, including members of the TNCC community, for their own benefit, that they have sinned and need salvation through Jesus Christ,” the suit continues. “Through personal conversations, the distribution of religious tracts, and open-air preaching, he communicates in a loving way that all people (including himself) are sinners and that salvation and eternal life are available only through Jesus Christ.”
Last fall, Parks publicly preached the Gospel on four different occasions in a courtyard on the TNCC campus. According to the ADF lawsuit, Parks’ preaching was not inflammatory in nature; instead, he simply discussed God’s existence and described Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
However, the third time Parks preached the Gospel in the campus courtyard, he was confronted by three uniformed police officers from the TNCC Police Department. The officers ordered Parks to stop preaching. Though Parks thought the officers’ actions were unconstitutional, he complied with their order.
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A few days later, Parks began preaching in the same courtyard for the fourth time. Once again, campus police officers silenced him, according to the ADF lawsuit.
Following the second encounter with the campus police, Parks asked TNCC administrators why he was not allowed to preach on the school’s campus. He was told that, in order to do open-air preaching, he would first have to join a registered student organization and then receive permission from TNCC officials four days in advance of any preaching.
If Parks does not comply with these regulations, he could be subject to disciplinary actions, including suspension or dismissal.
The ADF lawsuit condemns TNCC’s strict policies and argues that the school’s silencing of Parks’ preaching is a violation of his First Amendment constitutional rights.
“It is repugnant to Mr. Parks that he, as an individual citizen and student at a public community college, must notify the government in order to speak on campus when he feels convicted by his religious faith to speak and preach on campus,” the suit contends. “Mr. Parks also likes to spread his message about religion in reaction to current events.”
The ACLU of Virginia also criticized the school’s speech-limiting policies, writing in a letter to the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) that the school’s policies deserve “substantial revision.”
“If accurate, the complaint against VCCS describes a clear violation of the constitutionally protected free speech rights of a community college student,” the ACLU letter states.
The ACLU urges the Virginia State Board for Community Colleges to revise their public demonstration policy.
“[W]e urge you to take immediate steps to ensure that a revised demonstration policy that takes into account the free speech rights of students, faculty, staff, and the general public is considered and adopted by the Board without delay,” the letter adds.
David Hacker, Senior Legal Counsel for ADF, says free speech is a vital component of college campuses.
“Free, spontaneous discourse on college campuses is supposed to be a hallmark of higher education rather than the exception to the rule,” Hacker wrote in a statement. “We hope that Virginia Community College System will revise its policy so that students no longer have to jump through unconstitutional hoops to exercise the freedoms that the First Amendment protects.”


Max Lucado Teachings : You Are His

God’s grace defines you! Society labels you like a can on an assembly line. Stupid. Unproductive. Slow learner. Fast talker. Quitter. But as grace infiltrates, criticism disintegrates. You know you aren’t who they say you are. You are who God says you are.  Spiritually alive; heavenly positioned…“seated with him in the heavenly realms” and “one with Jesus Christ.”

Of course, not all labels are negative. Some people regard you as clever, successful. But it doesn’t compare with being “seated with him in the heavenly realms!” God creates the Christian’s resume! Grace defines who you are. The parent you can’t please is as mistaken as the doting uncle you can’t disappoint.
Listen, God wrote your story. He cast you in his drama. You hang as God’s work of art, a testimony in his gallery of grace. According to Him, you are His. Period.

John MacArthur Teachings - Are Visits to Heaven for Real?

A pastor’s book recounting his son’s visit to heaven rose to the top of the bestseller list and became a major motion picture. Christians were quick to spread the word, but could such visits be for real?
In recent years, Christian booksellers have inundated the evangelical world with testimonies from people who say they visited heaven in near-death experiences. Their stories are full of specific details about what heaven is like, who is there, and what is happening in the celestial realm. But when we compare their claims with Scripture, it becomes clear that they are merely figments of the human imagination, not true visions of heaven as it is described in God’s Word.
The best known of all these tales, Heaven Is for Real,1 is to be a major motion picture, released in April 2014. It is the story of Colton Burpo, whose parents believe he visited heaven when he was just four—during surgery after a burst appendix nearly took his life. Colton’s descriptions of heaven are full of fanciful features and peculiar details that bear all the earmarks of a child’s vivid imagination. There’s nothing transcendent or even particularly enlightening about Colton’s heaven. It is completely devoid of the breathtaking glory featured in every biblical description of the heavenly realm.
Heaven Is for Real There’s nothing transcendent or even particularly enlightening about Colton’s heaven.
Stories like Colton’s are as dangerous as they are seductive. Readers not only get a twisted, unbiblical picture of heaven; they also imbibe a subjective, superstitious, shallow brand of spirituality. Studying mystical accounts of supposed journeys into the afterlife yields nothing but confusion, contradiction, false hope, bad doctrine, and a host of similar evils.
We live in a narcissistic culture, and it shows in these accounts of people who claim they’ve been to heaven. They sound as if they viewed paradise in a mirror, keeping themselves in the foreground. They say comparatively little about God or His glory. But the glory of God is what the Bible says fills, illuminates, and defines heaven. Instead, the authors of these stories seem obsessed with details like how good they felt—how peaceful, how happy, how comforted they were; how they received privileges and accolades; how fun and enlightening their experience was; and how many things they think they now understand perfectly that could never be gleaned from Scripture alone. In short, they glorify self while barely noticing God’s glory. They highlight everything but what’s truly important about heaven.
It is quite true that heaven is a place of perfect bliss—devoid of all sorrow and sin, full of exultation and enjoyment—a place where grace and peace reign totally unchallenged. Heaven is where every true treasure and every eternal reward is laid up for the redeemed. Anyone whose destiny is heaven will certainly experience more joy and honor there than the fallen mind is capable of comprehending—infinitely more than any fallen creature deserves. But if you actually saw heaven and lived to tell about it, those things are not what would capture your heart and imagination.
You would be preoccupied instead with the majesty and grace of the One whose glory fills the place.
Sadly, undiscerning readers abound, and they take these postmodern accounts of heaven altogether seriously. The stratospheric sales figures and far-reaching influence of these books ought to be a matter of serious concern for anyone who truly loves the Word of God.

The Bible on Near-Death Experiences

There is simply no reason to believe anyone who claims to have gone to heaven and returned. John 3:13 says, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” And John 1:18 says, “No one has seen God at any time.
Four biblical authors had visions of heaven—not near-death experiences. Isaiah and Ezekiel (Old Testament prophets) and Paul and John (New Testament apostles) all had such visions. Two other biblical figures—Micaiah and Stephen—got glimpses of heaven, but what they saw is merely mentioned, not described (2 Chronicles 18:18; Acts 7:55).
Only three of these men later wrote about what they saw—and the details they gave were comparatively sparse (Isaiah 6:1–4; Ezekiel 1, 10; Revelation 4–6). All of them focused properly on God’s glory. They also mentioned their own fear and shame in the presence of such glory. They had nothing to say about the mundane features that are so prominent in modern tales about heaven (things like picnics, games, juvenile attractions, familiar faces, odd conversations, and so on). Paul gave no actual description of heaven but simply said what he saw would be unlawful to utter. In short, the biblical descriptions of heaven could hardly be any more different from today’s fanciful stories about heaven.
Lazarus of Bethany fell ill and died, and his body lay decaying in a tomb for four days until Jesus raised him (John 11:17). A whole chapter in John’s Gospel is devoted to the story of how Jesus brought him back from the dead. But there’s not a hint or a whisper anywhere in Scripture about what happened to Lazarus’s soul in that four-day interim. The same thing is true of every person in Scripture who was ever brought back from the dead, beginning with the widow’s son whom Elijah raised in 1 Kings 17:17–24 and culminating with Eutychus, who was healed by Paul in Acts 20:9–12. Not one biblical person ever gave any recorded account of his or her postmortem experience in the realm of departed souls.

Crossing the Boundaries

Far too much of the present interest in heaven, angels, and the afterlife stems from carnal curiosity. It is not a trend biblical Christians should encourage or celebrate. Any pursuit that diminishes people’s reliance on the Bible is fraught with grave spiritual dangers—especially if it is something that leads gullible souls into superstition, gnosticism, occultism, New Age philosophies, or any kind of spiritual confusion. Those are undeniably the roads most traveled by people who feed a morbid craving for detailed information about the afterlife, devouring stories of people who claim to have gone to the realm of the dead and returned.
Scripture never indulges that desire. In the Old Testament era, every attempt to communicate with the dead was deemed a sin on par with sacrificing infants to false gods (Deuteronomy 18:10–12). The Hebrew Scriptures say comparatively little about the disposition of souls after death, and the people of God were strictly forbidden to inquire further on their own. Necromancy was a major feature of Egyptian religion. It also dominated every religion known among the Canaanites. But under Moses’s law it was a sin punishable by death (Leviticus 20:27).
The New Testament adds much to our understanding of heaven (and hell), but we are still not permitted to add our own subjective ideas and experience-based conclusions to what God has specifically revealed through His inerrant Word. Indeed, we are forbidden in all spiritual matters to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6).
Those who demand to know more than Scripture tells us about heaven are sinning: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29). The limits of our curiosity are thus established by the boundary of biblical revelation. In the words of Charles Spurgeon,
It’s a little heaven below, to imagine sweet things. But never think that imagination can picture heaven. When it is most sublime, when it is freest from the dust of earth, when it is carried up by the greatest knowledge, and kept steady by the most extreme caution, imagination cannot picture heaven. “It hath not entered the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Imagination is good, but not to picture to us heaven. Your imaginary heaven you will find by-and-by to be all a mistake; though you may have piled up fine castles, you will find them to be castles in the air, and they will vanish like thin clouds before the gale. For imagination cannot make a heaven. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered the heart of man to conceive” it.2
What God has revealed in Scripture is the only legitimate place to get a clear understanding of the heavenly kingdom. God’s written Word does in fact give us a remarkably full and clear picture of heaven and the spiritual realm. But the Bible still leaves many questions unanswered.
We need to accept the boundaries God Himself has put on what He has revealed. It is sheer folly to speculate where Scripture is silent. It is sinfully wrong to try to investigate spiritual mysteries using occult means. And it is seriously dangerous to listen to anyone who claims to know more about God, heaven, angels, or the afterlife than God Himself has revealed to us in Scripture.

The Glories of Heaven

It is, however, right and beneficial for Christians to fix their hearts on heaven. Scripture commands us to cultivate that perspective: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth” (Colossians 3:1–2). “While we do not look at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
Such a perspective is the very essence of true faith, according to Hebrews 11. Those with authentic, biblical faith acknowledge that they are strangers and pilgrims on this earth (v. 13). They are seeking a heavenly homeland (v. 14). They “desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (v. 16). The “city” that verse refers to is the heavenly Jerusalem, an unimaginable place—the very capital of heaven. It will be the eternal abode of the redeemed. No wonder Christians are intrigued with the subject.
But no matter how much they might obsess over what heaven is like, people who fill their heads with a lot of fantastic or delusional ideas from others’ near-death experiences have not truly set their minds on things above. If the inerrant biblical truth God has given us is the only reliable knowledge about heaven we have access to (and it is), then that is what should grip our hearts and minds, not the dreams and speculations of human minds.
John MacArthur is pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California and president of The Master’s College and Seminary. Dr. MacArthur is also the author of more than one hundred books, covering a great expanse of Christian topics. He also is heard worldwide on his radio program Grace to You.

Joyce Meyer Teachings : Love Includes Everyone

But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
—Luke 6:32 NKJV
The Bible teaches us that love is the most important thing to be concerned with. It is “the main thing,” and we should let the main thing be the main thing in our lives.

Are you majoring in things that really don't matter and paying very little attention to walking in love? For many years that was exactly what I did, and the result was an unfulfilled, dissatisfied feeling that I couldn’t get rid of no matter how I tried. I had a relationship with God; I even had a ministry to others! But I was not happy and couldn’t understand why. It seemed that I had most of what I wanted in life, but joy evaded me. As I cried out to God to help me, He showed me that I had my priorities out of line. I was more concerned with how I was being treated than with how I treated others.

I believe love can be seen or not seen in how we treat people, especially people we come in contact with who don't particularly interest us or have any ability to do anything for us. According to Jesus, our love should include everybody, not just those who can pay us back. He said if you merely love those who love you, what credit do you get? Even a sinner can do that!

We don't have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to help us do easy things, but to do things that are hard and sacrificial. Loving some people is very hard. They don't act lovable or even seem to want to be loved. They certainly don't reciprocate any affection shown to them. But when we begin to treat others as we would like to be treated and not as they are already treating us, we are obeying a principle that releases multitudes of blessings into our lives and pleases God.
Love Others Today: Help me, Lord, to love everyone – even those who are difficult to love.

Andrew Wommack Teachings : The Unpardonable Sin

andrew wommack devotional

LUKE 12:10; MATTHEW 12:24-31; MARK 3:22-30

      The word "blaspheme" means "to speak evil of; defame; or revile." In context, Jesus is saying that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is attributing the working of the Holy Spirit to the devil. Many people in the Bible did this, including Saul, who became the Apostle Paul. However, we see in 1 Timothy 1:13, that Paul said he received mercy concerning his blaspnemy because he had done it "ignorantly in unbelief." Therefore, the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost Jesus is warning against must be willfully reviling the Holy Ghost with knowledge of what is being done.

This parallels Hebrews 6:4-6, where qualifications are placed on those who can fall away from grace. This passage indicates that only a mature Christian can commit such a thing. Likewise, with blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, rash statements spoken against the Holy Spirit in ignorance or unbelief by those who don't really know what they are doing can be forgiven.

From our human perspective, no clear line can be drawn as to when someone becomes accountable for blasphemies and has committed this unpardonable sin. We can be assured that God knows the hearts of all men and that He will judge righteously concerning this. However, God's Word does show us that when anyone becomes a "reprobate," they lose all conviction from God (Rom. 1:28).

Therefore, anyone who is convicted and repentant over having possibly blasphemed the Holy Ghost has not yet reached the place where it is unpardonable or they wouldn't care. Keep your heart tender and sensitive to Him. Listen to His voice speak to you through His Word today.
MATTHEW 12:31, "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shalt be forgiven unto men: but blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."

Evangelism : Reinhard Bonnke - Offering Prayer

 Reinhard Bonnke Quotes
When our spirit soars to God it is on the wings of prayer. Prayer swings open the door into the dwelling of God Himself. Like the Bible, which is substantially a book of prayer, a church building is basically “a house of prayer” (Matthew 21:13). Only human beings can pray. 

We are unique in this respect. Angels worship, but we never hear of angels praying and prayer elevates us far beyond the animal level. Animals are not people and prayer is not in their nature. A dog sees its master kneeling in prayer but has no idea what is going on. 

People look up to God, but animals look up only to people. Atheists and uncivilized people can know God, but other creatures are at the farther side of an impassable gulf and do not even know that spiritual things exist. Prayer is also the wonder gift of the grace of God and our highest natural capacity. No person ever born can rise higher than on their knees before God. 

Men of genius—Beethoven, Michelangelo and Newton produced immortal work—and all of them prayed. Prayer was their most outstanding performance, coming from their spirit not merely their brain.

 Isaiah 29:14 puts it like this: “Behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” This standpoint is reinforced in Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NIV), where we read: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord.” 

We can all move on that plateau, whether we are people of great intelligence or the simplest of mortals. “The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 29:19). God bless you.

Saturday, March 29

Happy 61st Anniversary to Apostle Frederick K.C Price and Dr. Betty R. Price.

"Happy 61st Anniversary to Apostle Frederick K.C Price and Dr. Betty R. Price.

Devotional : Corrie Ten Boom Forgiveness

"We may have been the Lord's only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, 'In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world' (John 16:33).

We too, are to be overcomes bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate."
-Corrie ten Boom, [message] Time of Tribulation
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
-Matthew 5:14-16

Devotional : Joyce Meyer - The Dangers of Rebellion and the Way Out

There were many years in my Christian life when I was stubborn and rebellious. It took about three years for me to learn to submit to the Holy Spirit’s direction to put my grocery cart where it belongs in the parking lot. And it took more years than I want to admit to learn to listen to my husband, Dave, and take his advice without arguing and having a bad attitude about it.
I remember one day when I was praying fervently for my ministry to grow and how God got my attention about my rebellious behavior toward Dave. I was crying out to God and saying, “Oh, Lord, I rebuke the devil! God, please let my ministry grow so I can help more people.” Then He very clearly spoke to my heart and said, “Joyce, I cannot do one more thing in your ministry until you do what I’ve told you to do concerning your husband.”   
This was so hard for me. My rebellious attitude had developed throughout my childhood when I was struggling to survive the abuse I experienced almost daily from my dad. I vowed to myself then that when I was able to leave home and be on my own, I would never let anyone tell me what to do again. So it took awhile for me to let the Holy Spirit heal the wounds in my soul and teach me how to submit to the authority He put in my life.

Giving Up Rebellion Will Get You Out of Trouble

If you’ve got a mess in your life, there’s a good chance you haven’t been doing what God’s been telling you to do. However, if you will start making right choices, God will give you the ability to get through it and things will turn around for you. But be prepared, because when you start making an effort to be submissive, your flesh is going to have a screaming fit and you’ll need to spend a lot of time on your knees.
You may be wondering, If it’s so hard to do, why should I care? Because God withholds blessings from the rebellious for their own good – if He blesses disobedience, it will breed more disobedience.
I can honestly tell you that if I hadn’t surrendered my rebellious heart to God, my marriage wouldn’t be good, my relationship with God would have suffered, and my ministry wouldn’t have grown. You see, rebellion, and the disobedience it causes, keeps us from having the power of God that’s available to us as Christians. I don’t think there’s anyone who would say they don’t want or need more of God’s power in their life.

The Dangers of Rebellion and the Way Out

We need to know what rebellion is to really understand why it’s so dangerous. Rebellion is not just outward behavior but it’s an attitude problem and a heart issue. It resists authority, is likened to witchcraft in the Bible (see 1 Samuel 15:23), makes us unprofitable (see Hebrews 13:17), and brings judgment upon us (see Romans 13:1-2). These are just a few results.
But the good news is, we don’t have to live this way. I’m living proof that God can heal and change your heart to be submissive to His authority, as well as the people in authority over you that He puts in your life.
There’s a popular scripture that says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 NIV). The word delight means “to be pliable and moldable in God’s hand.” So if you will be pliable in His hands, allow God to mold your heart, and do with you, in you and through you what He wants to do, then He will give you the desires of your heart.
I say this often and it bears repeating here: Anything God asks you to do is for your benefit. He alwayshas your best interest at heart. And He’ll never ask you to do something without also giving you the ability to do it. 
We just need to spend a lot of time with Him, learn to trust Him completely, and submit our will to Him. As you do these things, the Holy Spirit will faithfully lead you out of trouble and into the life that Jesus died to give you – a life of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!

The 'Prosperity Gospel' That Almost Killed Me

I'm in a bathtub. I can't get up. I feel like I'm about to die. Mercury poisoning.
The water in the tub has grown cold. Maybe that's why I feel so cold. I've been marinating in my own soup stock for the past two hours. I'm floating in and out of consciousness. Whenever I can concentrate I begin to pray.
Jesus, please, save me. Please, heal me. I repent, I put my whole heart into prayer right now, and I cast out any doubt or fear. I know you can heal me. Please heal me! My mom's keys are rattling in the doorknob now, and I hear the door thud shut in the distance. I hear her purse sliding across the counter and her keys landing next to it. I barely recognize her figure as she tries with all of her wiry might to pull me out of the tub. I spend the next two days in the hospital. My mom wants to know why I didn't let her know, why I didn't want to go to the hospital, why I didn't do something.
"Mom, Jesus is my doctor. I'm blessed, and I know that he would have healed me." This is me trying to live out what I think is true Christianity.
I just got saved two months earlier. I'm fresh out of jail, and I'm walking around the projects where I used to stomp like a tiny teenage giant. I've got a bare back, a few tattoos, and a Bible in my hand. I'm just praying for the opportunity to share the Christ with someone.
I meet a man named Roger who invites me into his home. He buys me lunch, and we spend all day talking about the Bible. This guy knows way more than I do. I've never heard anyone spout off so many Scriptures in such rapid-fire succession. "This guy is legit," I say under my breath.
Over the course of the next six months, this man indoctrinates me with the prosperity gospel. Just a few months earlier, I'd never even opened a Bible. I have no idea I'm being given arsenic in my Kool-Aid. I take it all. I believe it all. I know it's true. It has to be. It's all right here in Scripture. Look, she touched the hem of his garment and was healed. Look, Jesus couldn't heal them because they didn't have enough faith. Look, all throughout the Old Testament you see curses for sins and blessings for righteousness. Prosperity for the good, pain for the bad. It's so plain. So obvious.
But stuff isn't making sense. I'm still without a job. I can't pay my rent. My mom isn't getting saved, and I keep getting cold sores. None of these things should be happening. There must be sin hidden somewhere in my heart.
Now I have the flu, and I don't have any money to buy groceries. I just need to claim it. I just need to rebuke Satan and his lies, and believe that what I've proclaimed in the name of Jesus will surely come to pass. Maybe I'm not tithing enough. Time to double up. I'll get it back one hundredfold. Maybe more. I just need to sow in faith.
But it's still not happening. "Roger, hey man, I don't understand. It seems like this stuff isn't working. What am I doing wrong?"
"Dude, I don't know exactly what it is, but I know the problem ain't with God or his Word. It's got to be something in your heart or in your life. Let's pray about it."
Fast forward a year. I'm 19 and married now. We're struggling hard. I can't pay the rent or the electricity bill, and I just lost another job. My wife wasn't saved when we met. She gets saved during the course of our friendship, and somewhere in there, she starts listening to me and taking in all the "truth" I'm giving her. She does wonder, though, about the disconnect. When the ATM receipt says we're $40 in the hole, I rebuke myself, the ATM, and the receipt. I claim my blessing even in the face of this lie from Satan. I know Jesus is looking down on me, proud of my strength amid such persecution and adversity. "In the name of Jesus!"—I keep claiming what he's promised me.
The prosperity gospel and word-of-faith movement are basically the same thing, but I've never heard those labels before. All the good Bible-loving Baptists fear me because I probably robbed their sons, stole their cars, or vandalized their church. Yet because of my powerful testimony, scores of churches invite me to come and share. I preach a false gospel every time I go. Not once does anyone ever sit me down and talk with me about the danger to my soul. Not a word. Not a peep. Not to my face, anyway. Now I know they waited respectfully until I left, and then talked among themselves about how sad it is to see such passion so misdirected.
All I know, the only thing I know, is that I love Jesus. He saved me. I was destroying myself and anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in my gravitational pull. I was dying, and I was going to die twice. One night, on an empty road in the middle of nowhere, in a scene so strange it has to be true, Jesus saved me. He saved me from sin, death, and hell. I want to spend the rest of my life serving Jesus with all of me. I think this refuse called "gospel," this message of prosperity and proclamation, is what I must do. So I obey. In my mind, this is what it means to be a Christian. This is all I've known. I think this is what God wants of me. So I continue in white-knuckled obedience. I keep pressing, keep pushing. And one random day I join Myspace.
I like to argue on Myspace. I'm 19 with a big mouth. The internet offers me a perfect avenue to express myself and condemn those who can't see the truth I see, obey the law as well as I do, and lack the faith I radiate like a fiery sun. I'm perusing this wasteland one evening in Seattle, and an old man pops up on my QuickTime video player. He's really bringing the thunder. He's preaching on holiness like no one I've ever heard. I'm hooked. I go to the next video.
Amazing. I've never heard anyone preach this way. I go to the next one. It says "John Piper: Prosperity Gospel Sermon Jam." I'm excited. He's going to really give the jolt I need to keep going.
But after the clip I'm furious. I close my computer. Another wolf. Another preacher who just has it so wrong. The video was the worst attack on my faith I've ever seen or heard. I stop watching right after he says "this crap called gospel!" Unbelievable.
I carry on with my life, but I just can't help it. I keep going back to YouTube, and eventually to this website that has all of his teachings. I tell myself I'm just going to read or listen to or watch his other stuff. I'll avoid the stuff I don't like—the stuff that's wrong. The other stuff is just too good, though. It's breathing life into my soul.
I don't remember much about the night the truth took over. Sometimes our brains protect us from the trauma of reliving the pain over and over again. But this night, I'm crying. I'm devastated. I've been considering the possibility for months now, and it finally clicked about five minutes ago. Almost everything I think I know about God, the Bible, the cross, and the gospel is wrong. Dead wrong. I feel it now, down in my bones, and it burns with the pain only God can give.
Repentance begins. "Amber, baby, we need to talk. Everything I've ever taught you about Christ is wrong. Can you ever trust me again? Can we start over? Will you give me another chance?"
I feel like an adulterer. I begin undoing everything that needs to be undone. I failed as a husband, and by the grace of God I'm trying to fix it. I have no one and nothing. I don't have any non-prosperity gospel friends, since I ditched them if they couldn't get with the program. They were only holding me back and hurting my faith. That's what I told myself. Now I'm alone. I do have the internet, though. . . .
So I'm watching Paul Washer videos and spending hours on I've never even heard the word reformed, and I can't find one single book about the prosperity gospel. Not one that's attacking it, anyway. That's what I really want.
I'm hurt—badly. I don't trust anyone, and I'm angry at everyone—at Christians, anyway. Why didn't anyone tell me? How could I have been so blind? I'm angry at myself. I'm broken, but the Spirit is carrying me.
God did heal my mercury poisoning, but it wasn't because of my power to proclaim that healing into existence. And he accomplished a far greater rescue when he delivered me from the prosperity gospel. It's been nearly six years since the Lord saved me from myself and the damnable heresy that had ensnared me.
I'm writing this account from Peru where my family and I are trying to reach a people group who don't have the gospel. I'm still picking up the pieces. I still have a hard time praying for healing, or prosperity and blessing, both of which are thoroughly biblical. I still feel my diaphragm twitch whenever someone says "in the name of Jesus." I know the truth now, and I try to walk in line with it every day. The white-knuckled discipline I once devoted to the prosperity gospel, I now devote to trusting fully in the finished work of Christ and the grace I breathe in to survive.
Here's the bottom line: I was a heretic. But Christ had saved me from my sin, and he saved me from my heresy too. When it comes to embracing the prosperity gospel, I doubt you would've found anyone more dedicated or ruthless. I was the chosen one. But I was ensnared in a false gospel. And so is everyone else trusting in this "crap called gospel," to borrow a phrase from that old man's video.
Brothers and sisters, call it what it is. Pastors, call it what it is. Don't let even a hint of this junk live in your church. Preach against it, and preach a gospel that shines so bright and burns so hot that any counterfeit that tries to approach it burns up upon entry. Don't treat this disease like an asymptomatic sniffle in an otherwise healthy body; treat it like the cancer it is. Preach, teach, counsel, shepherd, and pray a clear and true gospel, and leave no room for anything less glorious or true.
If you meet someone lost in this false gospel, please, please, please love them and tell them the truth. Sit them down, buy them lunch, and open up your Bibles. Speak life. Be brave. Odds are, no one has ever loved them enough to tell them the truth about themselves. The truth is they cannot be saved by a false gospel, and the prosperity gospel is certainly that.
Jesus saved me from the prosperity gospel, and he can save more. He will save more. How could he not?
Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the January-February issue of the 9Marks Journal, devoted to the prosperity gospel.
Sean DeMars is currently serving the peoples of Peru by preaching, teaching, and living God's Word. He and his wife were sent out by Decatur Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Decatur, Alabama. You can follow him on Twitter.


Devotional : Dr. Billye Brim - Signs of the Last Days

God is trying to get our attention. He is sending powerful signs using the celestial bodies—moon, sun, and stars­—that something is about to happen in the earth!

Scientists have predicted the coming of four “blood moons.” These same blood moons were prophesied of in Joel 2:30-31; Acts 2:19-20; and by Jesus, in Mark 13:24-26. Every time they have appeared during Passover we have seen fulfillments of prophecy that changed history. We are set to see the first of these signs during Passover this year—April, 2014.

Join us at Eagle Mountain International Church as Dr. Billye Brim hosts "Signs of the Last Days", an end times update on God’s calendar which will inform, prepare, and ready you for what is to come. 
Service Times, March 30-31:
Sunday, March 30th - 10:00 am, 6:30 pm
Monday, March 31st - 10:00 am, 7:15 pm

Childcare will be provided:
Sunday - 10:00 am:  birth through 6th grade
Sunday - 6:30 pm:  birth through 6th grade*
Monday - 10:00 am:  birth through 5 yrs.
Monday  - 7:15pm: birth through 6th grade*

All services will be live streamed at and made available in the archives following the services

*Please note: Grades 1-6 will be in the 5/Kindergarten room for Sunday and Monday evening services. SKA building will be open Sunday morning only.

Devotional : Rev Uma Ukpai - Attitude of Gratitude and The Breakthrough Prayer

uma ukpai sermons

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life; it can turn what you have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, it turns chaos into order, it turns confusion into clarity, it turns a house into a home, it turns a meal into a feast and it can turn a stranger into a friend. Beware! What you take for granted can make you grounded. There is no obstacle for the One who has the Gratitude 2 Sam 6: 23. Be Blessed.".

Father, teach me to completely and totally depend on you. You my obstacle shall now obey only the voice of transformation and reformation; you shall now become a ladder to my destiny and blessings. I decree, every good thing that is dead in my life, be resurrected and shine forth to beautify my destiny. You my problem, my red sea; by the power in the name of Jesus, you shall now become my Red Carpet in Jesus name. Amen

Seven Practices Of Growing Healthy Churches

fastest growing church in america

I have been involved in a number of conversations lately about church growth. What should growth look like? How does it look different for various sizes of church?  Should you add services or multi-site?  Are the measurements for success primarily attendance and budget?  Can you be successful without numerical growth?  If not, what is a healthy rate of growth?  What about the growth within your people and the making of disciples?  And on and on and on….
In the March edition of Inc. magazine, Leigh Buchanan interviews Stanford professors Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao about the practices of companies who successfully grow and scale.  I found their insights quite applicable for some of the things needed for churches to grow.
While this is obviously not a fully-inclusive list, the following are 7 Practices Of Growing Churches I gleaned from the article:
  1. Growing Churches Focus On Church Health More Than Church Growth - Intuitive church leaders know attendance and budget only tell a portion of the story.  Rick Warren introduced us to the concept of church health.  Rick reminded us healthy things grow.  Therefore, focus on church health.  Rao points out, “When people think of growth, usually they think of anatomy.  How big are the limbs?  But the real thing is physiology.  Is stuff circulating well – the blood and the oxygen?  Even if your anatomy is very developed, your physiology can be bad.”
  2. Growing Churches Demand Excellence – Growing churches know the level of excellence must keep pace with the level of numerical growth.  Sutton says, “Companies grow well and scale badly when they focus on running up the numbers but not the quality.”
  3. Growing Churches Are Vigilant About Their Mission, Vision And Core Values – As the company grew to over 13,000 stores, Howard Schultz acknowledged the “watering down of the Starbucks experience.”  In contrast, Sutton notes Facebook employees are “internalized in a very deep way what is sacred and taboo at Facebook.  They are are going to take their eyes off that mindset ball.”  Shawn Lovejoy, Lead Pastor of Mountain Lake Church, says, “You must be mean about the vision.”
  4. Growing Churches Ruthlessly Stop Doing Unproductive Ministries – When is the last time you brought about a necessary ending to an unproductive ministry?  When is the last time you killed a golden calf?  Rao notes, “If you are getting big, before you add a new meeting, figure out which meeting you can kill.  Before you put in a new rule, see which rule you can kill.”  This is simply good stewardship.  Rao goes on, “Subtraction is very important because in an overloaded organization, when you subtract, it is giving a gift.”  Give your church a gift this week.  Go ahead and kill a ministry that needs to die.
  5. Growing Churches Identify, Spotlight And Leverage Their Top Producers- Cascading is a term that used when someone in your church is already doing something right.  Effective church leaders identify and release staff and volunteers who cascade and create positive catalytic activity.  These “catalysts” will grow your ministry and make your life easier.  They free you up to focus on only what you can do as a senior leader.  Kaaren Hanson, Vice President of Software Design company Intuit, sums it up well when she says, ”The way you know you’ve succeeded is to ask yourself, ‘If I stopped putting energy into this, would it continue to go well?’”
  6. Growing Churches Not Only Embrace But Foster Change – Warren said in his Ted Talk, “When the speed of change around an organization is faster than the speed of change within the organization, the organization becomes irrelevant.”  Fast growing churches understand change is their constant companion.  Rao concludes, ”With fast growth, the rate of change is phenomenal.”
  7. Growing Churches Celebrate – Sutton asks a final question, “In the end you have to ask: ‘Are we happy living in the world we’ve built?”‘
Pastors and church leaders, I leave you with two final questions – While you may have grown numerically, is Jesus happy with the church that has been built?  If not, what changes do you need to make?

Joseph Prince Ministries - Ask God For Wisdom

joesph prince
God wants to give you wisdom and guide you in the affairs of life. 
If you ask Him for wisdom, He will always answer your prayer because He wants you to have wisdom. 

James 1:5 says that when you ask for God’s wisdom, He will give it to you liberally and without reproach. Once you've asked, believe that you have received! Expect Him to guide and lead you to steward and make sound decisions in your finances. He'll lead you to do the right thing at the right time!

You no longer need to live a life of shame, reproach, and dishonor for your failures, all because Jesus was spat in the face, mocked, and beaten for you. See the humiliation your Savior endured to give you double honor for your shame in this liberating message and be set free from a life of condemnation and defeat.