Category Archives: Gifts of the Spirit

Prayers for America (7/20/2017)

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Flames and smoke engulfed the colonial home. On the second floor, the husband held his two-year old daughter in one arm while he kicked the window open. Glass exploded outward, falling onto the stone patio, twenty-five feet below. His wife crowded close to him.

“Help! Help us! Please help,” screamed the husband, looking over his shoulder at the flames burning through the bedroom door.

A neighbor quickly appeared on the patio below with a long extension ladder.

“Thank God. You’ve heard my pleas,” screamed the husband.

“Could you please answer a few questions first?” said the neighbor.

“Like what?”

“Are you a Christian? If so, what kind are you?”

“Yes, I’m a Baptist.” the husband proclaimed. “Please hurry.”

“Don’t worry,” replied the neighbor, “just a few more questions, okay?”

“Please hurry!”

“Do you speak in tongues?”

“No. The flames are coming through the door.”

“So far, I like your answers. Do you believe in dispensationalism?”

“Not sure. Hurry.”

“Hmm! That’s not good. It shows lack of study on your part,” said the neighbor, “Oh well, let’s move on. Are you a member of a missional church or the emergent movement?”

“Yes,” shouted the husband, looking over his shoulder at the flames climbing the walls.

The neighbor shook his head. “I ain’t helping someone who might believe the Bible is not the inerrant word of God,” said the man, turning and walking away with his ladder.

 

Of course, the above story is silly, right?

But we do this sort of thing all the time in our churches and think it is okay there.

I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

For most of us, this first hurdle will be a tough one to jump over because we have spent our whole lives collecting Christian labels, much like a Boy Scout earns merit badges.

Our labels include: Baptist, Methodist, Assembly of God, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Catholic, Anglican, Dispensationalism, Reform, tongues, prophecy, Word of Faith, missional, emergent, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Conservative, Liberal, Red Letter, simple church, nondenominational, and thousands more.

But if you really want to help your neighborhood and city survive upcoming catastrophes, then you need to rip those labels off your Christian identity cards. These divisive labels will not save one person during a catastrophe, but instead they may hinder your preparation efforts.

So, even if you speak in tongues three hours a day or can walk on water across the San Francisco Bay or can raise the dead by snapping your fingers or have memorized the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation, be quiet and don’t mention it. Be the humble servant who is comfortable with just being a Christian.

Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away. (Proverbs 27:10)

(Excerpt from Planning + Preparation = Survival by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook)

My prayer today:

Lord, help us to love You with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Based on Luke 10:27)

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

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

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Prayers for American Christians’ Eyes to be Opened (7/18/2017)

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Carol and I, along with our friends, Tony and Janelle, moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in late 1997 to join The Watch of the Lord prayer ministry and to attend All Nations Church. Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda headed both ministries.

Each of us felt the Lord directed us to move there. Our billfolds lacked money and credit cards, but faith filled our hearts, believing God would somehow supply our needs.

We pooled out money together and rented a room with two double beds at the Charlotte Residence Inn. The room contained less than two hundred square-feet of floor space with a kitchenette, two beds, four chairs, table, and a bathroom.

A mortgage financing company hired the four of us as telephone sales reps on our second day in Charlotte. The company paid its employees on a biweekly basis, which meant our first paychecks arrived two weeks later. This posed a problem because we only had enough money for one week of rent at the motel.

Each morning the four of us gathered together and prayed for our finances, as in, “Oh Lord, help! HELP!”

We introduced ourselves to the church and ministry as soon as it was possible. The members said we were the answers to many prophecies spoken to the group about people moving from different parts of America to be a part of the ministry. Their words encouraged us, but our money still dwindled daily because of food and gas.

A couple from All Nations Church invited us to their home for a small group meeting and Christmas party on the last night of our motel rental. The four of us agreed not to mention our dire financial needs to the group, but instead, we were determined to trust the Father, according to Matthew 6:6 −

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

The married couple lived in a beautiful new two-story home located in a picturesque area with tall pine trees. It had a large living room, three bedrooms, fireplace, two bathrooms, and large kitchen. A perfect place for four needy, soon to be homeless, believers like us.

The meeting began with Christmas songs and prayers, with the group then waiting on the Lord to hear His voice. The group leader broke the silence by turning to Tony and Janelle.

“Do you guys need something?” he asked, looking at them.

Tony and Janelle shook their heads.

“Not really. The Lord is taking care of us,” said Tony.

The group returned to waiting on the Lord, but the leader was not satisfied and again turned to Tony and Janelle.

“I just don’t feel good about your answers. What do you need?”

Tony and Janelle answered again in the same manner.

“The Lord is taking care of our needs. Thanks for asking.”

The leader would not quit. He continued to ask them what they needed.

“Okay, here’s the story,” Janelle finally said, “we’re out of money for rent and groceries starting tomorrow morning. We don’t know where we shall go or how we’ll survive until we get paid next week.”

How do you think these joyous, Christmas celebrating Christians replied to her statement? And remember: it was December and cold outside.

The group’s leader digested Janelle’s statement for a moment. He motioned with his hands.

“Let’s gather around these two couples and pray for them.”

Tony, Janelle, Carol, and I stood in the middle of the living room while ten Christians placed their hands on our shoulders and prayed. They cried out to the Lord with passion for our circumstances.

I cheated a little by keeping my eyes open and watching the group. Oh Lord, I thought, this looks like the sum total of their aid for our needs. If so, I feel like puking all over their carpet for their level of Christianity.

The rhythm of their prayers reached a crescendo and backed off, waiting for someone to speak.

“I see the Lord raining drops of gold on the four of you,” prophesied a woman. “And all you have to do is reach up by faith and grab what you need. Just reach up right now.”

The prayers ended and we sat down again.

What a convenient prophecy, I thought. They actually believe they don’t have to help us in our time of need because of the woman’s prophetic words. Shouldn’t someone ask how much gold we were able to cram into our pockets during the prayers? Why did the Holy Spirit unmask our financial needs? To reveal our lack of faith or to reveal the group’s hypocrisy?

Various Christmas cookies, fudge candies, sandwiches, chips, and potato salad kept the four of us busy after the prayers. We stuffed ourselves and then graciously said our goodbyes and left.

(Excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who by LarryNevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

My prayer today:

Lord, break the hearts of American believers now to prepare us for the future times of lack in our nation so that we don’t answer people’s needs with our dead faith. (Based on James 2:15-20)

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

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for American believers’ eyes to be opened.

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Spiritual Warfare in San Francisco (Part 6)

 

A Paraphrase of a Paraphrase

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning He was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and He sat down and taught them. As He was speaking, a crowd of Evangelicals and their pastors brought a man who had been caught in the act of homosexuality. They put him in front of the crowd and before Jesus.

“Teacher,” the Evangelicals said to Jesus, “this man was caught in the act of homosexuality with another man. The Law of Moses says he must be killed because homosexuality is an abomination. What do You say?”

The Evangelicals were trying to get Him to say something they could use for their cultural and political arguments, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with His finger. They kept demanding an answer, so He stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then He stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the Evangelical accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the man. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the man, “Where are your Evangelical accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” he said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go.” (Paraphrase based on John 8:2-11 NLT)

The Law of Moses required the death of adulterers and homosexuals. So my paraphrase is not off the mark in a biblical sense. Yet it is in error because of my omission of the last four words Jesus said at the end of verse 11: and sin no more.

This omission is where the spiritual battle is being fought in San Francisco and in the rest of America.

(Continued in Part 6…the full series to date  can be read here.)

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Inside Israel

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The Shuk in Jerusalem

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —

Greetings, Dear sisters and brothers.

May The Lord be blessed and glorified and may His blessings and encouragement and breakthroughs be seen in your (and my) lives today.

“I’m traveling for a month.  I’m going to New York, America!”  Hezzi (short for Ezekiel or Ye’khez’ki’el in Hebrew – meaning God will strengthen me or God is my strength) announced to me with a huge, excited grin.

“You have never been to New York, America?”  I asked him.

Hezzi is no longer a 25 year old youngster, but is a 68 year old news man, well known in Israeli radio and television.  He grinned ear-to-ear. “Nope!  I have never been to America!  I am so excited to see New York and Los Angeles and Los Vegas.” He looked like a little kid.

Moshe walked in. “Hezzi is going to America for the first time,” I said.

Hezzi turned around with a big grin.

“America?” Moshe shook his head. “AWFUL place! Stay home and save your money!  The fruit and vegetables taste old and expensive.  A fortune!”  He shook his head and hands at the same time before continuing. “AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN IT’S GOING TO RAIN.  I mean…in the SUMMER !  You can’t even plan ahead because you don’t know!  Crazy weather and crazy people!  Stay home!”

Hezzie’s face hit the ground.  Totally deflated and ready to give away his ticket was written all over him.  “Moshe! ” I said, looking at him with eyes staring at him and hoping to make him feel a bit guilty. “Hezzie is excited about his trip and he is GOING TO ENJOY IT. It is JUST HIS FIRST TRIP there and he will come back and it’s going to be GREAT.”

Moshe caught my tone and changed his.  “Oh yeah, Hezzie!  Just a month long trip?  You’ll love it. It’s going to be exciting.  Everything is so big and so different than here.  It will be fun!”

Hezzie perked right back and soon we were both wishing him. ‘Nessiah tova’. (have a good trip)  I hope that he does enjoy it and comes back safe…AND…having heard a few testimonies perhaps.  He has a childlike joy for learning.  It will be fun to hear his report.  I DID make sure to tell him though that NY, LA and Los Vegas are NOT QUITE representative of America.  I think he got it.

 

School is out and Israelis are traveling.  Some can afford it, many young ones or professors find work outside the country, some put their trip on overdraft − the Israeli phenomena where the bank becomes like a credit card. Just go into minus and deal with it somewhere down the road.

Israel can be a tense place to live. Travel is a way that many Israelis let off steam.  We live in a tiny country where all of our neighbors are either at war or hate us and would like to engage us in a war − not to mention tension INSIDE our borders. But we have been given an amazing country, a most beautiful and fruitful one, and I for one, am happy to stay.

Daily I witness acts of mercy and kindness that I have come to take for granted.

Riding home on the train from work yesterday, I noticed the jovial mood among the armed soldiers also traveling for Shabat.  There seemed to be more of them than usual dressed in sandals and casual civilian clothes with their weapons strapped on their backs and then it hit me: Summer.  They are off to guard groups of young people on hikes or gathering for camps, and I remembered the unfamiliar feeling when I first understood this nearly 23 years ago, that the soldiers in our midst, armed with some heavy duty automatic weapons are there to PROTECT us and for no other reason. That was humbling, and still is.

I got off the train in front of my apartment and noticed that the ice cream place across the street from us was jammed with perhaps several hundred young people, laughing and carousing while they ate their ice cream. I was again impressed by the unique character of a nation that has fought to keep their children alive and still cherishes the children.  I know that I have told you this but it bears repeating, that during WW2 there was a very large children’s aliyah. Many kibbutzim were often made up entirely of war orphans but for a few volunteer young adults or a doctor or director who would teach the children how to plant and build and defend themselves.  These were literally communities of children caring for children.  Many of them are still among us and perhaps someday God will give me a clarity of words to describe the relationship that this country has with her children.

In fact, I just found out that this has been designated “the week of the soldier.”  Since the soldiers are all our own kids, it becomes very personal.  I was listening to a description of what was happening this week to try to honor our soldiers.  Seems as if many individuals and organizations spontaneously volunteered to come together and “Bless the Soldiers.”  The ideas were to surprise them: with hugs, with free coffee, meals, goodies, free admission everywhere, spontaneous parties, pizza parties, water park parties and so forth. The public was encouraged to join in with donations, buying tickets and handing them to a soldier. It’s really catching on. But, being a people that can be known for … uh… emotional overkill, I had to laugh when I noticed a soldier on the train today being loved and encouraged by a couple of grandmotherly ladies. They wanted to get up to give him their seat and the like. I had the feeling that his mind was on guarding the borders, and perhaps he had had enough of being pampered.

 

In the light of the news TODAY, and in the Light of the Words that I read THIS MORNING, it is shocking how evident it is that we MUST hold fast to The Anchor that He has given us in His Word, by His Spirit or we WILL be swept away in the overwhelming flood tide.

Probably you know that two UN resolutions were passed: one denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the second, denying Jewish ties to Hebron.  This is, in fact, the world standing and denying the Bible, and we must understand what this means.  The Jewish ties to Jerusalem as recorded in the Scriptures, are far too numerous to begin to record here, and I am sure that you know them.  It is interesting to me that on Shabbat as I read to my husband, we were reading of the purchase by Abraham of the cave in Hebron, Machpelah by name, as a burying place, first for Sarah.  Last night, at kehila, part of our study in the Word included Joshua 14:6-15:

It surely seems to me that we are in a greater battle, contending for the Truth of The Word of God than perhaps during any other time in history.  I keep hearing the serpent in the garden saying, “Has HE REALLY said…?”

 

I glance at the world news – fires, floods, wars, murders, freak storms, rages – and know that each of you is also in a pressure cooker, as the heat under the world is turned up on us all.  I wonder how any of you can ALSO care about Israel…BUT…I know that as we cling to Him and His Word, we LOVE what He loves and our hearts bears what HIS HEART BEARS. So as the days wind down, the focus center in on Israel, and especially JERUSALEM.

It is interesting to note AGAIN that Yeshua and the disciples had ONE BIBLE and that did not include the New Testament. That holds so many implications for us.  HE, Yeshua, Jesus, IS THE WORD.  The living Word from Genesis through Revelation.  All of it. 

As I ride the bus and train, people are immersed in one of two things: their smart phones or the scriptures.  In the morning, the train and bus are crowded with people praying and reading the scriptures.  It is not at all uncommon to see people standing and facing the Temple Mount and praying in the Jewish manner of davening (a rhythmic half bowing), or tying on the tfillin, wrapping the leather strap around their left arm (to the heart) and continuing to secure the small box that has the law delicately inscribed within to their foreheads while committing their hearts and paths to The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

On the 18th of this month, it will be 23 years since we received our citizenship!  It remains amazing to me…”The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” I would have NEVER GUESSED the path that my life has taken.

At work I get to speak with many people nearing the end of their lives.  They are afraid and I ask The Lord, “How do I speak?  How do I share with them when I can not share Your Name?”

He directs me to His creation, the doors that we entered through into this life and I find myself speaking to and comforting many with hugs and words that I can only PRAY direct them to HIM.  It would make ME feel wonderful if I could share His Name, but without His door to the heart, it just hardens their hearts and I learn from Him how I am to share and pray for His increase.

And while daily life continues here in Israel, from our Northern Border with Lebanon, we have received the alarming news that Iran (Persia) has succeeded in supplying Hezbollah with much stronger and abundant weapon power and enabled them to build deep underground storage facilities as they prepare for the winding down of war in Syria and focusing on Israel.

We appreciate your prayers as always,

Your sister J in Jerusalem

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Prayers for America (7/13/2017)

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Three days before His crucifixion, Jesus walked with His disciples on the road to Bethany, a four-mile journey from Jerusalem. He stopped at the summit of the Mount of Olives for a rest. The Temple and the city lay below Him in a panoramic scene.

Peter, James, John, and Andrew approached Him privately to ask about His prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. “When will these things happen and what will be the signs when these things are about to take place?”

Jesus ignored the “when” part of their questions and spoke about the signs of what He termed the days of vengeance.  The prophet Isaiah, many years earlier, had used a similar term to refer to the punishment of God’s enemies.  A later prophet, Hosea, used the term: days of retribution.

The Lord specifically spoke about the destruction of Jerusalem with His disciples, which eventually occurred in 70 AD. We modern believers also look upon His words as being apocalyptic, or referring to the last days just before His return.

For the sake of this chapter, let’s view Jesus’ discourse as reported in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 22 in the same way the disciples did at that time, which was strictly about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Jesus stated that wars, earthquakes, and famines would take place and the disciples would be persecuted. But the disciples were not to worry because their persecutions would be opportunities for them to preach. Yet, when its enemies surrounded Jerusalem, the end was near for the city. The believers should then quickly flee to the mountains and not even return to gather their possessions.

Jesus specifically instructed the disciples to do something:

But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on the Sabbath. (Mathew 24:20)

But pray that it may not happen in winter. (Mark 13:18) 

It’s interesting to note Jesus did not tell the disciples to pray that Jerusalem would be spared. That particular judgment had already been ruled on by the Judge and was an irrevocable one.

What Jesus did say revealed the compassion that our Lord has toward His people.

He placed the responsibility for the timing of the destruction of Jerusalem – as to season and day of the week – into the hands of the disciples. His reasoning for doing so was that He did not want to add bad weather or Sabbath travel burdens to the people’s woes.

What eventually happened is amazing.

The attack by Titus and the Roman armies began in late March 70 AD, and the final siege of Jerusalem ended in September of the same year. The disciples’ prayers were honored, as the attack did not occur in wintertime.

Is there something we can learn from this particular example of Jesus’ compassion?

 

For me, a light switched on when I read the verses because of my wife.

Let me give you some background, okay?

We now live in Temecula, California, which is half way between San Diego and Los Angeles. My job is in Temecula, but my wife works in a city thirty miles south of the city.

Can you envision a worse situation than my wife being stranded thirty miles away from our home if a massive calamity happened? It could be days or weeks before we would see each other again. Because of possible communication problems, we might not know if the other were injured or even dead. How horrendous would that be for us?

So, when the light switched on that morning, I prayed the following prayer:

“Lord, I ask that You schedule my wife’s work and travels so she is at home when any massive calamities or terrorists’ attacks happen in California. I trust You to honor this prayer in the same manner You did for the disciples’ prayers about the siege of Jerusalem.”

There is no partiality in the Lord. What He did for the disciples, He will do for us.

(Excerpt from Planning + Preparation = Survival by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook)

My prayer for today:

Lord, help American believers to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church right now. (Based on Revelation 2:7)

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

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

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If God Loves Us, Why Do We Still Suffer (Part 4)

It’s fun to think how God might have called a big assembly in heaven to discuss how to best train me for my calling:

All the top angels might have arrived on time for the special meeting in the Throne Room and sat around a large conference table. God would have asked for suggestions on how to handle the problem child named Larry. Perhaps, Gabriel raised his hand.

“Yes Gabriel?” God would have asked.

“Let’s have him fix and clean hundreds of toilets. It might humble him enough so that You can eventually use him as a worker in Your kingdom.”

“Hmm! Good idea, but let’s hold that one for later.”

“What about moving him all over the country so he feels like a pea in a tin can, with You constantly shaking him around?”

“Yes, Michael, another good idea. We can train him like we did Israel in the wilderness. But still, we need to put him between a rock and hard place to squeeze the pride out of him. Clarence, do you have any ideas?”

Clarence would have shrugged his wings. “Why not try the car crash routine again? It worked well with George Bailey.”

“Brilliant! That’s it! We’ll send Larry to at least ten dealerships as a salesman. Let’s work it out so he’s fired at the first four dealerships and totally unsuccessful at the last six. He’ll weep and shake with fear whenever he walks into dealerships from then on,” God might have said, while gazing at His ministering angels. “Now, each of you, go out and make this happen. We’ll have fun watching Larry die daily.”

 

The Lord spoke to my heart a month later at Lambdi Car and Truck Center when I was washing my hands in the men’s restroom: “You’re going to be fired again.”

The Lord’s words angered me. I walked to my desk, grabbed my coat, and went outside. There, I walked all over the car lot, telling the Lord what I thought of His handling of my life.

“I’m sick and tired of being fired. This is wrong! What kind of testimony does this demonstrate to unbelievers and my wife? This is terrible! Can’t You do better than this?”

On and on I ranted for over thirty minutes while Leo Lambi, the other salesman, a financial officer, and secretary watched, wondering if I had flipped out. I eventually came to the conclusion that God was going to do what He wanted with my life. After all, He is God.

“Okay, Lord, do what You want to me.”

Two days later, Lambi called me into his office.

“Larry, I’m letting John and you go. Business is slow, you know. I’m hiring a former sales manager from Fort Dodge. The two of us can handle the business in the future.”

“The Lord told me you would be firing me the other day. So, what do you want me to do? Finish out the week or what?” I asked.

His face revealed shock about my statement.

“You can work or go home now. John has already left.”

I worked the rest of the week and sold the most expensive car on the lot on my last day of work for Lambi Truck and Car Center.

(An excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who (a Memoir) by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

We have to remember there were other people involved in my life when I worked at the auto dealerships. The income was needed to help provide for them. So, why would the Lord allow my family and me to endure such pain and suffering?

God hated my pride and wanted to rid me of as much of it as possible. Period.

Trials are meant to change us. We need to embrace the pain and suffering, allowing them to change us into the image of Christ.

(Continued in Part 5…the full series to date  can be read here.

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Prayers for American Christians’ Eyes to be Opened (7/11/2017)

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What was God thinking when He chose Donald Trump to be president of the United States? And if God did put Trump in office, shouldn’t the president quit offending people with his many Twitter attacks and act more dignified?

“God will offend our minds to reveal our hearts to us.” (Mike Bickle)

I am not an apologist for President Trump nor do I claim to know all of what God has in mind for Trump’s presidency. Yet, I do know this: all who voice their thoughts on killing, assassinating, cutting off his head, impeaching, undermining, calling him and his wife vicious names, and whatever else reveal their hearts to the whole world. No amount of public relations’ touchups afterwards can erase their words.

Also, everyone who agrees with these horrible words, but has not voiced them as yet, has a major heart problem, which needs to be handled right away.

My prayer today:

Lord, send Your Holy Spirit to convict us American believers of our evil thoughts, which are stored up in our hearts and defiling us. (Based on Mark 7:20-23)

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

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for American believers’ eyes to be opened.

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Filed under America, Christianity, Church, Fasting, Gifts of the Spirit, Kingdom of God, Prayer, President Trump, Prophecy, spiritual warfare