Monthly Archives: February 2015

What If We Ate A Few Less Cookies This Year?

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It’s one of those chilly evenings in February. You are watching television when the doorbell rings. You hit pause on the remote and walk to the front door, expecting to see the neighbor’s daughter selling Girl Scout Cookies. But instead of a girl pulling a red wagon filled with overpriced cookies, you are confronted by eleven million abandoned Indian children. Each child has a hand out, begging for help. Each looks desperate and malnourished. You blink your eyes and hope the nightmare scene in front of you will change.

I know. I know. This is unrealistic and will never happen on our front porches.

Yet, the fact remains that there are eleven million abandoned children between the ages of 4 years and eleven years of age on the streets of India. Most are abandoned by parents who can’t afford to feed them. These children don’t have the option of blinking their eyes and hoping their nightmares will end because they won’t…unless we decide to help them.

How can we help?

By sponsoring a child through Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope program for only $30 per month. Gospel For Asia has helped 72,000 children so far and hopes to sponsor 500,000 children in the near future.

Maybe we could eat a few less cookies this year and help Gospel For Asia reach its goal one child sooner.

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Filed under 10/40 Window, Christianity, Gospel For Asia, India, Poverty, Prayer

What’s Our First Response? (Part 2)

Untergang der Titanic ("Sinking of the Titanic") by Willy Stöwer, 1912

Untergang der Titanic (“Sinking of the Titanic”) by Willy Stöwer, 1912

When I wrote Part 1, my thinking was that the answer to the question – What’s my first response – would be to pray. But after reading the comments on Part 1 and upon further reflection, prayer may not be the best answer for us at the precise moment that calamity ambushes our lives.

Why?

Let’s say, our ship is rapidly sinking in the midst of the ocean or a tsunami is staring us in the face or an epic earthquake strikes our homes, are we really going to take the time to pray? Probably not. Every second may be the difference between living and dying. We will need to react without thinking.

How can we do that?

“It is better to live ready than to get ready!” (Smith Wigglesworth)

To Wigglesworth, living ready meant spending time with the Lord and His Spirit in prayer and studying the Word on a daily basis. Wigglesworth then expected the Holy Spirit to lead him in every situation – expected or unexpected.

Is this scriptural?

One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. (Luke 6:12 NLT)

The next few verses reveal that Jesus called all of His followers together for a meeting. There He chose twelve men to be His inner group or apostles. Now, do you really think He interviewed the whole group to find the best men? No, of course not. Jesus lived ready and was the Son of God. The Holy Spirit then led Him to choose Peter, Andrew, John, James, and the rest of the apostles.

What about us believers?

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

The secret to being led by the Holy Spirit is to follow Jesus’ example, and in the words of Smith Wigglesworth, “living ready at all times.” To do this, we need to spend time in prayer and study the Bible on a regular basis.

So, what is my answer to the question: “What’s my first response?”

I don’t know right now, but I will know at the time because I live ready and expect the Holy Spirit to lead me if calamity strikes. As for now, I will walk in peace, trusting the One who can see my future before it happens.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Prayer, spiritual warfare

What’s Our First Response? (Part 1)

Untergang der Titanic ("Sinking of the Titanic") by Willy Stöwer, 1912

Untergang der Titanic (“Sinking of the Titanic”) by Willy Stöwer, 1912

In her article, “The Simple Secret to Surviving Any Crisis or How to Prevent Paralysis During an Emergency,” Patricia Lewis quoted military survival instructor, Dr. John Leach, on how we can prepare ourselves ahead of time:

“All you have to do is ask yourself one question – if something happens, what is my first response? Once you can answer that, everything else will fall into place. It’s that simple.”

Lewis also quoted Dr. Leach’s research on survivors and victims from dozens of life-threatening disasters from around the world:

“… around 75 percent of people are so bewildered by the situation that they are unable to think clearly or plot their escape. They become mentally paralyzed. Just 15 percent of people on average manage to remain calm and rational enough to make decisions that could save their lives. The remaining 10 percent are plain dangerous: They freak out and hinder the survival chances of everyone else.”

Why do 75% of the people in life-threatening calamities freeze and become mentally paralyzed?

Today, most Americans have the attitude that someone will take care of them and therefore they have nothing to worry about. They’ve lost the courage to think for themselves, so they put their lives into the hands of others. This propensity starts young, when schoolchildren are taught to accept without question whatever is the current government line, rather than learn independent thinking skills. As adults, we specialize in denial unless told otherwise. (Patricia Lewis)

I read this article three times before it dawned on me: most of us Christians belong under the 75% heading of victims who will be bewildered and freeze in almost every crisis. We may even fall under the 10% grouping that will freak out and hinder others in their chances for survival.

Why?

Well, what do we Christians really know?

For sure, we know how to sit in pews.  Stand when told to stand.  Sit when told to sit. Sing when told to sing. Throw a check into an offering plate when told to give. Say “Amen” when told to respond to a sermon.  And leave all decisions in the hands of the paid professionals – the clergy.

This is not biblical discipleship because we are not equipped, not built up, not walking in the unity of the faith or the knowledge of the Son of God and in His fullness.

So, what can we do?

Each of us needs to ask himself, “If something happens, what will be my first response?”

Then, we need to come up with the right answer for ourselves now.

(Continued in Part 2)

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

I Hear Asia Calling

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For the last six months, I have been fasting and praying one day a week for the nations where Christians are suffering the worst persecution. I used Open Doors’ World Watch List to chart my course, beginning with North Korea on 9/5/2014 and then India last Tuesday.

My plan was to continue down the World Watch List for the rest of 2015, but my Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation changed my mind. When I read about India, it dawned on me: India and the rest of Asia hold major parts of my heart.

Therefore, beginning with Tuesday, March 3, 2015, I will be fasting and praying for India and one other nation in Asia each Tuesday.

Why am I waiting until March 3rd to make a change? I will be taking a short vacation this Tuesday through Thursday.

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Filed under Kingdom of God

To Listen or Not to Listen to Prophecy…That’s the Question (Part 6)

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With our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection, He made the Old Covenant obsolete.

With this, we no longer need to appoint a high priest to go into the Holy of Holies to offer gifts and sacrifices for our sins. Jesus is our High Priest forever and His blood has cleansed us from all our sins. We also no longer need a Temple because we are His living temples and His Spirit dwells in us.

Thus, the ministry of the New Testament prophet has changed dramatically from that of the Old Testament prophet.

First: the New Testament prophet is still a mouthpiece for the Lord, but he no longer is the Lone Ranger galloping into town on a white horse ready to speak the word of the Lord to people. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all believers can prophesy and are encouraged to do so.

Second: Prophecies spoken by a prophet (or a believer) are not to be accepted as prophetic words straight from the throne of God without being judged first by other believers. We judge prophecies by checking scripture and our inner spirits.

Third: A prophet or believer can no longer burst onto a scene, like a church, and prophesy. Everything has to be done decently and in order. Thus, the Holy Spirit has to make a way for the person to prophesy.

Fourth: If a prophet or a believer makes an error in his (or her) prophecy, he is to humble himself and ask forgiveness. Believers are to forgive him as the Lord has forgiven them.

Fifth: Prophets are still held accountable for prophesying words of warning and the full counsel of the Lord, but the sting of failing to do so has been removed at the cross.

The one thing that has stayed the same is that prophets or believers who prophesy may suffer afflictions, even severe ones.

Okay, what can we do to encourage believers to prophesy?

(Continued in Part 7)

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Gifts of the Spirit, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare

Thursday’s Prayers for America (2/19/2015)

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 “Deception lasts until the faith for the deception is all used up.” (Francis Frangipane)

Last week, Chris Hayes, a news anchor, stated, “Global warming is the single most important thing we face.” He further added, “A 100 years from now, people will look back and be like, ‘How did they talk about anything else, ever?’  Like, didn’t they understand they were sitting tied to train tracks with a train coming?”

Hayes uttered his statement only a few hours before ISIS beheaded 21 Christians.

I assume that Haye’s faith for believing “global warming is the single most important problem” would have been all used up if he would have been the twenty-second prisoner bowing down in front of an ISIS terrorist on the beach that day.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, help us Americans to refocus our priorities so that we continuously walk in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. (Based on Acts 9:31)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Fasting, Kingdom of God, Prayer, spiritual warfare

Tuesday’s Prayers for Prisoners (2/17/2015)

Each Tuesday I pray and fast for nations where Christians suffer the worst persecution around the world. This week I am praying and fasting for:

India. 1.3 billion people with 59 million Christians.

The oppressive caste system is blocking social mobility. Economic wealth is unevenly distributed. A new Hindu government (in power since May 2014 and led by Hindu hardliner Narendra Modi) is radicalizing society. All traditions of Christianity are affected by persecution in India, but Christian converts from a Hindu background and non-traditional Protestant groups are suffering most. At the top level the influence of fundamentalist Hindus has increased. Hindu radicals have started monitoring Christian activity in much detail. Many of them have planted spies in churches. Reports on pastors and church members beaten because of allegations of conversion are frequent; sometimes Christians are even killed. (World Watch List)

Prayer Points for India:

  • For Christian converts to stand strong against those who are trying to force a return to Hinduism
  • That hatred against Christians instigated by radical political parties may end
  • That the new government of Narendra Modi will give Christians the freedom to express their faith without violence in every part of India.

India is the world’s largest democracy and the second most populous country, behind China. It is a highly diverse country, with a multitude of languages, cultures and religions. The social and political structures in India are largely determined by religion, caste and language. Despite India’s increasing presence in the global economy, the vast majority of the rural population remains impoverished. India is the birthplace of Hinduism and has the second largest Muslim population in the world, after Indonesia, with at least 14 percent of its 1.2 billion people claiming that affiliation…(The Voice of the Martyrs)

The lyrics for the song, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, are based on the last words by an Indian man who along with his family converted to Christianity. His children, his wife, and he were executed for refusing to renounce their beliefs in Jesus. If you have the time, listen to the above song and the narrator tell the history behind the song…awesome.

Today, I prayed:

Lord, I pray for all of the believers in India who have decided to follow You, although they may wonder about their beliefs from time to time and may not have anyone to walk with them, I pray they will never turn back from following You. (Based on the lyrics of I Have Decided to Follow Jesus by S. Sundar Singh)

Join with me on Fridays to fast and pray for prisoners, according to Hebrews 13:3.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

Click on to see MyGFA site.

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Filed under 10/40 Window, Christianity, Church, Fasting, India, Kingdom of God, Prayer, spiritual warfare