A Case of Mistaken Identity: An Excerpt from Priscilla Shirer’s Fervent

Fervent by Priscilla Shirer

Priscilla Shirer is Vyrso’s author of the month. She is an accomplished Bible teacher and well-known conference speaker, and has written many inspiring ebooks, including her new release Fervent. Check out an exclusive excerpt from Fervent below, and keep reading with the Priscilla Shirer Bundle, which includes Shirer’s God is Able and One in a Million, available for just $3.99 through August 31.

 

It was a tragic scene.

Abby, a nineteen-year-old college sophomore, was returning home with four other friends on a spring break outing to Disneyland, when the SUV in which she was riding experienced a blowout that turned into a fatal accident. Two of the girls were ejected from the car and died on the scene. Abby was identified as one of them.

As word reached the families back in Arizona—two girls dead, three critically injured—typical parental worry over a college road trip turned to unspeakable grief. Abby’s parents spent the next few days combing through the shock and horror, planning the details of their daughter’s funeral while three other parents prayed for their own children’s recovery, some of whose bruises and swelling made them almost hard to recognize as they lay in the hospital.

On Saturday, however, six days after the accident, hospital officials informed two of the families that there had been a horrible mistake. Two of the girls, who bore a striking resemblance, had been misidentified. Parents who’d been sitting by the bedside of a young woman they believed to be their daughter were told the staggering news: she wasn’t their daughter after all. Their daughter had actually died in the accident. And Abby’s parents? They were given news they could have never imagined receiving . . .

Abby wasn’t dead. She was alive.

The initial shock of what they were hearing turned to disbelief. Disbelief then turned to joy. But the joy was mingled, too, with anger—anger that they’d been forced to live for six days in agony because of a reality that wasn’t true, a grief that they had no need to feel or experience.

It all boiled down to a case of mistaken identity.

The enemy wants you to suffer from a case of mistaken identity. [Click to Tweet!]

Makes his job a whole lot easier. And makes your defenses a lot weaker. He’s working overtime to keep your identity masked, to keep the truth from coming out—that you are indeed alive and free and empowered by God’s own Spirit to fight victoriously against him. He’d rather conspire to keep you in a constant state of mourning, grieving over who you wish you were, instead of relishing who you really are, exacerbated by insecurity and crippled by self-doubt.

That’s why he doesn’t want you praying—not fervently— because fervent prayer keeps your true identity in focus. [Click to Tweet!] Reminds us of who we really are and taps into the power we really have in Christ.

This authentic identity is possibly quite a bit different from the one you perceive when you look at yourself in the mirror each day, or when you’re fidgeting through an awkward social encounter, or when you’re sizing yourself up against the well-dressed accomplishments of other friends, other church members, even (and you know it’s true) even total strangers. It’s also not the identity your enemy wants in your head when he’s moving strategically against you, when he’s maneuvering himself into attack position. He wants you lifeless, disengaged, brainwashed into believing you have nothing of value to offer.

That’s why he doesn’t want your nose in the Word or your knees on the hardwood. Because that’s where the light comes on. That’s where you find out the good news, perhaps the surprisingly euphoric news—that you are alive, fully equipped to stand firm against him. “Formerly darkness,” the Bible says, yes. Formerly. At one time. But now “Light in the Lord” . . . “children of Light” . . . able through Christ to produce “the fruit of the Light” (Eph. 5:8–9).


This is an excerpt from Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer (B&H Publishing Group). Used by permission.

Get the Priscilla Shirer Bundle for $3.99 today and be sure to check out more exclusive bundle deals featured on Vyrso.

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D. A. Carson on Prayer and Scripture: An Excerpt from Bible Study Magazine

Bible Study Magazine

For a limited time get James: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary free when you subscribe to Bible Study Magazine

Featured in the September-October issue is D.A. Carson, one of the most respected New Testament scholars in the world. 

But it hasn’t always been that way, as a young chemistry graduate, Carson planned to pursue a PhD in organic synthesis and begin a career in research. When his pastor asked him to assist over the summer, he says, “I thought he had me confused with someone else. There were a number of young adults in our church who had decided to head into ministry. The pastor and I argued over my summer plans for close to two hours, and eventually I won. I spent my summer in a research lab.”

Even so, the seed had been planted. Carson went on to become a pastor, author, seminary professor, and co-founder of The Gospel Coalition. 

Below is the excerpt, “Prayer and Scripture” from the most recent issue of  Bible Study Magazine: 

When spending time in the Word of God, Carson seeks a blend of devotional reflection and serious study. “It’s important to read the Bible regularly, faithfully, and devotionally. I’m a bit suspicious of an approach that advises people to think critically and academically only when they’re preparing a message or doing exegesis, but when reading devotionally to do so without taking notes or consulting a commentary—just to sit there feeling mystical. That’s a mistake.”

“Personal Bible reading ought to have oomph to it. If you don’t understand something, there’s nothing wrong with taking a commentary off your shelf so that you can understand the passage better. [Click to Tweet!] Likewise, if you’re preparing a message, there’s something wrong with a study so detailed and structured that it doesn’t include an element of reverence and fear. According to the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 66:2, God looks to those who are contrite and humble of spirit, and who tremble at his Word. Whether you’re writing a commentary or having your morning devotions, you ought to have the sort of reverence that is always God’s due.”

In his own devotional life, Carson says he’s never restricted himself to one way of doing things. “John Stott famously followed the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible reading scheme for the whole of his Christian walk. For quite a few years I strenuously followed it, and two of my books—volumes one and two of For the Love of God—came out of that time. Sometimes I use a portion of my devotional time to memorize a chunk of Scripture—a chapter or several chapters or a small book. A while ago I read and reread Proverbs, and collected them into various topical arrays so I could see what kind of emphases were there.”

In one of Carson’s recent publications, Praying with Paul, he talks about his habit of making lists for prayer. Praying with Paul aims to deepen readers’ relationship with the Word of God in their prayer lives. “I wanted to address a fairly simple question: How do we learn to pray? We learn by the models around us. [Click to Tweet!] In my conservative family home, using the King James Bible, I learned to pray in Elizabethan English, or in slightly archaic French. Someone who is converted at a campus group meeting at age 23 with no Christian background will probably learn to pray less formally. But where are the best models from which we can learn? They are the prayers that God himself has left for us in Scripture. This book fastens on eight or ten of Paul’s prayers to see not only what he is praying, but also why. Are there patterns in the things that he’s praying for? There’s nothing wrong with praying about anything, but if we want to reform our prayers to be more in line with those of the apostles, we need to study the apostles’ prayers. I hope that, in working through the book, readers will learn to pray the prayers of the apostles in their own context.”

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Learn more about what Carson has to say on making disciples when you subscribe to Bible Study Magazine, and get your free commentary. Get it today!

 

 

 

 

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Watch Where You’re Going: An Excerpt from Priscilla Shirer

Priscilla Shirer Bundle

Priscilla Shirer is Vyrso’s author of the month. She is an accomplished Bible teacher and well-known conference speaker, and has written many inspiring ebooks, including her new release Fervent.

Right now, get two of Priscilla Shirer’s ebooks, God is Able and One in a Million, bundled together in the Priscilla Shirer Bundle for $3.99!

Below is an excerpt, “Watch Where You’re Going,” from God Is Able, an ebook written to encourage everyone trust God because through him, anything is possible!

“Unto Him.” What valuable words to pocket into your living vocabulary. Perhaps that’s why Paul included it twice in his Ephesians 3 doxology—the most powerful of all prepositional phrases—one time in both verses.

“Unto Him . . .”

“Unto Him . . .”

Twice the chance you’ll never forget it.

Because let’s be honest, we are always turning somewhere.

More often than not, we turn to others—to our friends, our pastor, our family, our prayer group. And that’s fine. That’s helpful. But if that’s all the turning we ever do, we’re just piling on blankets without ever cranking the heat up. We’re putting a Band-Aid on our forehead instead of taking an aspirin for the headache.

The very best our best friends can do is to sympathize with our troubles. They can cry with us, pray with us, keep their ears open for us, put in a good word for us. But they can’t do what God can do. They’re not able the way God is able. Sure, He can use our various support systems to give us a hug, an observation, or a piece of wise counsel, but He alone has the power to invert situations, revert conditions, and overhaul circumstances. He’s the only one who can give us exactly what is best, who can know us all the way to the back wall of our hearts, and who can flow everything that touches us through the ageless wisdom of His will so we are constantly within His loving care and keeping.

Sometimes, on the other hand, we turn to ourselves. After all, that’s what we’re conditioned to do. To dig in and try harder. To do it without anybody’s help. Or maybe we’re just hoping nobody else will see the mess we’ve made until we’ve done our best to fix it. We don’t want them to find out how much struggle goes on behind our smiling faces and our perfect families. But turning inward leaves us fully exposed to pride and confusion, to stilted perspectives and limited resources. We think we’re doing what’s best. We’re trying not to bother anybody. But becoming overly introspective can cause us to slide into an abyss of discouragement as we carefully consider all the ways we don’t seem to measure up.

Christianity was never meant to be so intrinsic. It is extrinsic. It is all about looking outward toward Jesus, not inward at ourselves. [Click to Tweet!]

Our enemy is the one who wants us focused on ourselves—on our humanity, frailty, and need. God, however, wants us focused on Him—on His deity, His ability, and His boundless power. He’s never overwhelmed or put off by our problems. He’s not bothered by us, by the concerns  of our hearts or the needs in our lives, no matter how much or how often we turn to Him. In fact, if we don’t turn to Him and lay it all down, we only succeed at resisting His ability to reach in and change this.

To reach in and change us.

So we need to watch our preferred tendency for turning only to others, or turning only to ourselves. But we also need to be careful about turning too easily and exclusively to our junk. To television, to the Internet. To movies, sports, and hobbies. To numbing wastes of time, if not to shameful lacks of self-control. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just easier to shop than to deal with our lives. A great pair of shoes or a snazzy new gadget from the (insert common red or green fruit name) store tends to deaden us to our reality, in exchange for a few very expensive moments. We trade our own complicated world for a fantasy world that’s easier to decode, control, and star in. We hope that maybe our problems won’t seem as bad when we come back to them. At least we’ll have had a few hours off— with our new pair of red heels or our shiny new phone.

Who can blame us for that?

But while turning to healthy recreation can be a good part of coping with difficulty, we can’t ask a gripping TV series to minister to the heart of our troubled teen. We can’t eat enough Mexican food to reheat the coolness that’s  descended on our marriage. We can’t play enough computer games or follow enough celebrities online to satisfy what’s missing or make up for what we’ve lost.

God alone is able. Turning to Him is the secret to finding wholeness and to seeing our situation reversed in Jesus’ name. [Click to Tweet!]

Nothing really changes when all we do is talk to each other. We just leave the restaurant with ten dollars less than we had when we walked in. We go back to our business and try to remember where we left things off. But when God speaks—listen to me now—worlds come into existence! New things are created! Old things pass away! Now is the time to start doing some turning. Not turning any which way you please, but turning completely and consciously unto Him.

———

Get the Priscilla Shirer Bundle for $3.99 today! And be sure to check out more exclusive bundle deals featured on Vyrso.com.

This is excerpt from God is Able by Priscilla Shirer (B&H Publishing Group) has been used by permission.

 

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Holding Tight to the Issues that Matter Most: An Excerpt

My Final Word

One of the most eloquent and influential evangelical Christian leaders of our time was Charles W. “Chuck” Colson

However this wasn’t always the case, prior to his conversion he served under President Richard Nixon.

Colson soon became known internally as Nixon’s hard man or the evil genius of the administration. This fact later became all too well-known during the Watergate scandal, when Colson was as identified and arrested as one of the Watergate Seven.

Shortly after his arrest he read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and eventually gave his life to Jesus. 

His conversion sparked a radical life change; he plead guilty to obstruction of justice  then went on to serve time prison. Once released he soon became the leading voice on all Christian worldview matters up until his death in 2012.

In the capstone to his career Colson’s My Final Word: Holding Tight to the Issues that Matter Most, Colson issues a clear call for Christians to think critically about today’s most pressing issues.

Below is the excerpt, “Our Christian Heritage,” from My Final Word:

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the dedication of the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, a beautiful structure rising out of the Virginia countryside in a shape suggestive of the famous photo of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. While I sat waiting for the festivities to begin, I was struck as I looked around me at the incredible camaraderie that all of these Marines and former Marines enjoyed. An eighty-five-year-old man sitting right behind me said, “I’ve been a Marine for sixty-seven years.” What he meant is what Marines say: once a Marine, always a Marine. He enlisted when he was eighteen, did his duty in the Pacific, came home, and built a life for himself. But here he was, halfway across the country, celebrating the opening of the Marine museum.

Jim Lehrer, the PBS newscaster and a former Marine, explained it well: “What’s important to understand about Marines is that they know that their safety depends on the person on their right and the person on their left.” You are bonded together in battle.

As I sat there on that beautiful autumn day with jets streaming overhead and flags waving, I was struck, not only by the beauty of what I was watching, the heritage being celebrated, but by a sort of envy. Why can’t the church feel this way? Why can’t we believe that our safety or our discipleship or our Christian faith depends upon the person on the left and the right? Do you think that when you look at the people in the pews around you?

During his talk, President George W. Bush introduced the parents of Jason Dunham, a young Marine corporal from upstate New York, born on November 10, the birthday of the Marine Corps. He was born, as Bush put it, to be a Marine. It was then announced that Dunham was being posthumously awarded the highest military honor that can be given: the Congressional Medal of Honor. Dunham had been leading a squad of Marines who were suddenly attacked. They were in hand-to-hand combat. An Iraqi militant seized Dunham by the neck, and Dunham shouted to his comrades, “Watch what he’s got in his hand!” At which point the insurgent threw a live grenade into the midst of the Marines and released his grip on Dunham. The young man immediately turned and fell on his helmet over the grenade.

Why did he do it? To save the men serving under him: true heroic altruism—the one thing that Darwinian theories of natural selection can never account for. It’s also the very thing the Bible calls Christians to be prepared to do: “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

As part of the ceremony, the various battle flags of the Marines were paraded in front of the dais, starting with Tripoli, going through a score of names familiar to every Marine: Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Fallujah. The colors carried into the battle by the Marines were displayed. I don’t think I was the only one in the crowd with my spine tingling, my chest swelling with just a little more pride. One of the things that drive Marines to be the best at their trade is their proud heritage. They know how important it is that they carry on that tradition.

I wonder how many Christians really understand the proud tradition of the faith: how the martyrs in the first century gave their lives to preserve the gospel; how Christians through the years have done the greatest works for the improvement of mankind; how William Wilberforce led the campaign against the slave trade and slavery itself. We all remember Mother Teresa, perhaps, but how about the saints of bygone years? How about the Christians in the Roman Empire who stayed to tend the sick when the pagan doctors fled in the great plagues—and many paid with their lives for it.

The story of human history is a great cosmic battle between good and evil. [Click to Tweet!]We’re engaged in that battle on God’s side. Would that we had the sense of loyalty and commitment and responsibility for heritage that I saw on exhibit in the faces of those proud Marines.

Nagging questions, these, in the midst of a glorious autumn day in Virginia.

———

 Get Colson’s ebook My Final Word and learn from years of experience.

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Helen Steiner Rice: The Woman Behind the Poetry

Helen Steiner Rice

Get The Poems and Prayers of Helen Steiner Rice, which has nearly four hundred original poems—sixteen of them rare and previously uncollected—and one never-before-published prayer discovered in the Helen Steiner Rice Foundation archives.

Known for positivity and encouragement, Helen’s poetry has been an inspiration to thousands over the years.

As she faced hard times she sought and found God’s goodness and love, and she intentionally encouraged her friends, family, and ultimately the nation through her simple but beautiful poetry.

The woman behind the poetry:

Helen was passionate. Helen grew up in the early 1900’s and had big dreams. She aspired to attend college, fight for women’s rights, and even hoped to one day be a congresswomen.

Helen trusted God. During her senior year of high school her father grew sick and died. In the fall she put aside her ambitions of attending college, and she began working to help support her mom and sisters.

Helen remained faithful. Her circumstances were less than ideal, but she worked hard at her job and by the time she was in her early twenties she was named her company’s advertising manager and later took a position as a spokesperson to advocate for women consumers and women in the workplace.

Helen was motivated. After traveling the nation to speak, she decided to opened her own speaker’s bureau and was soon a popular motivational speaker.

Helen was human. At age 28 she fell in love with wealthy banker Franklin Rice and the two married.

Helen faced tragedy. A few months into their wedding the New York Stock Market crashed, Franklin’s bank soon closed, he lost his job and a lot of money. His financial situation drove him into a deep depression and after three years of struggling to find work, he committed suicide.

Helen used her gifts. She worked her way up in the greeting card industry and where she earned the nick name “Ambassador of Sunshine”. She wrote humorous poetry, poems to inspire, and Christmas rhymes. Her poems “The Priceless Gift of Christmas” and later “The Praying Hands” were featured on a popular TV show, and eventually “The Praying Hands” become one of the most popular greeting cards to be produced.

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Get the largest, most complete collection of Helen Steiner Rice poems when you get The Poems and Prayers of Helen Steiner Rice today!

 

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Forgiveness Always Wins

Sara Horn

Today we have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from Author of the Month, Sara Horn on the topic of forgiveness. Sara has written more than seven books including the popular My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife and her latest release How Can I Possibly Forgive? Rescuing Your Heart from Resentment and RegretGet it now!  

He walked into their church on a Wednesday evening and they welcomed him. As they did every week, the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church settled into a time of Bible study, with no idea that before they were through, Dylann Roof would pull out a gun and murder nine of them solely for the color of their skin.

We have no words when something like that happens. How could something so ugly, so vile, and so heartbreaking happen in a place that should never know those things?

But then we hear the words of the victims’ families, words they spoke to Roof after he was arrested and he stood in court to hear the charges against him.

“Hate will not win.”

“I forgive you.”

“May God have mercy on your soul.”

No one might expect any of these families to utter those words in the aftermath of what happened, but they did. Through muffled sobs and obvious pain, they released what our world would say was their right—to hate, to seek revenge—and relied instead on God’s grace to sustain them. They made the choice to put their trust for justice not in man, but in their Heavenly Father. Though Roof had showed no mercy where their loved ones were concerned, those families instead looked to God for his mercy in their time of need, and for his strength in their time of sorrow.

They forgave someone who didn’t deserve forgiving.

As believers in Christ, we know that forgiveness should be our auto response but generally it’s not. Maybe that’s why the Bible talks about it so much.

Here are just a few of the verses we find in Scripture about forgiveness:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13)

“For if you forgive others their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

———

Shortly after I’d turned in the manuscript to my last book, How Can I Possibly Forgive?, I was confronted with a situation that required forgiveness—and brought its own share of deep pain, hurt and a realization that my trust in this person had been sharply betrayed. Though they were sorry for their actions, there were lingering consequences—consequences which directly impacted me, though I’d done nothing to deserve what I suddenly faced.

In that moment of my friend’s confession, I realized I had a choice: forgive this person, or withhold forgiveness. I could willingly keep a suddenly broken, far from perfect relationship and take steps to repair it, or I could cut it off completely. Though it was difficult, choosing to forgive my friend reinforced what God had taught me in the previous months before.

Not every situation we encounter will result in a renewed relationship or friendship and in certain cases, it shouldn’t. Some relationships can be toxic, or distracting. Sometimes we’ll encounter someone who refuses to be sorry or admit any responsibility for what’s happened between you. Sometimes filtering a relationship out of your life is necessary.

But is forgiveness still possible in every situation? I believe it is [Click to Tweet!], especially when we think less about that person’s unforgivable actions and more about the forgiveness God extends towards each of us.

Forgiveness is intentional.

It is a daily choice to “forgive freely,” as we find in the meaning of the Greek word charis or charizomenoi. Do a word study as I did—it was interesting to me how often the word “forgive” is used as a verb. Something to act on.

If we believe that “love is a verb,” as the popular phrase goes—then doesn’t it make sense that forgiveness is a verb as well?

Here are three truths about forgiveness we can remember and act on, starting today:

1. Forgiveness is possible with God’s help. God loves to help us come back to him, and when we are dealing with a hurt that brings up pain and resentment and other negative emotions, we are inching or sometimes leaping away from him. But forgiving someone will never keep us at arm’s length from God; our forgiving actions will only bring us closer to him.

2. God expects us to forgive. This has no room for negotiation, friends. God wants us to forgive. He wants us to forgive our enemies who do us wrong, forgive our friends who say careless things, forgive our family members who make us want to cry or tear our hair out. He wants us to let it go, and he expects us to do it. Jesus said in Luke 6:37, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

3. True forgiveness releases hard feelings. The person you need to forgive may never offer an apology or admit any wrongdoing. But your forgiveness for their wrong releases those feelings that keep you from walking forward, maybe even from starting a new friendship or pouring into your current relationships because you’re afraid or because you now have great doubt and mistrust of other people.

Other emotions could be holding you back from the plan God has for you. When we keep kindness and compassion in our hearts (Ephesians 4:32), it’s difficult to hold anger and cynicism at the same time. Get rid of the junky feelings —get rid of those negative emotions that come when we refuse to forgive someone. Offer up forgiveness, breathe in God’s grace, and let that grace shine out to others.

That day my friend came to me with news that hurt our relationship could have been the last day we spoke. But instead, it was the day God led me to lead my friend back to a renewed and right relationship with God. It’s now been over a year, and I have had the blessing of watching my friend grow stronger in their relationship with the Lord, something that might not have happened had forgiveness not occurred. You never know how God will use you for his purpose if you make yourself available to be used. [Click to Tweet!]

The families of the victims of the Emanuel AME church shooting chose to show God’s love to Dylann Roof despite their own human pain and emotion. Roof reportedly wanted to start a race war, but he failed. Because of the actions of those families—not of hatred but of hope, not of spite but sincerity—Roof lost. But there is hope even for this killer.

Even through the process he will undergo for conviction and sentencing, he may still have time to confess, repent and receive salvation as one victim’s son implored him to do, the same opportunity Jesus offered to the thief who hung next to him on a cross. We never know how God may use what those family members willingly offered—grace and forgiveness—to change a killer’s life.

Hate will not win.

Forgiveness always will.

 ———

Get Sara’s ebook, How Can I Possibly Forgive? today!

 To learn more about Sara, visit her website at sarahorn.com, sign up to receive updates and receive a free printable of Forgiveness Scripture Memory Cards to help you in your own study and pursuit of forgiveness. It IS possible!

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The Next Great Move of God

The Next Great Move of God

Today’s guest post is by Jennifer LeClaire, director of the Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder and president of Christian Harvest International and Strategic Prayer Action Network, author of several books, and an internationally-known speaker.

Today, LeClaire focuses on themes from her newest release The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening.  

 ———

A Divine Crisis. . .

Natural disasters are claiming lives in America. Economic disasters are driving poverty in America. Agronomists are predicting famine in America. Politicians and schoolchildren are being shot in America. Pastors are falling into sexual immorality in America. Violent protesters are taking to the streets in America. All the while some Americans are arming themselves for another Civil War.

Christians are meeting with persecution in the marketplace.

“Without divine intervention, what we call America will be gone within the next couple of years. It’s that critical,” says Evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, pastor at The River at Tampa Bay. “The handwriting is on the wall. Only God can save us now. This is not a game. If we don’t see a turn in the next two or three years, America as we know it will sink into the abyss and will be gone forever.”

No politician can fix the problems our nation is facing. We need another Great Awakening.

The good news is God wants to bring another spiritual awakening to America [Click to Tweet!].

Making an Appeal to Heaven. . .

The revelation of making an appeal to heaven as it relates to taking back our nation for God unfolded to Dutch Sheets, an internationally recognized author, teacher and conference speaker, through several prophetic encounters over the course of about 12 years—and it’s igniting fires of revival and awakening in the United States and beyond.

Many, including myself, believe that it relates directly to a Third Great Awakening in America.

One of those prophetic encounters was a dream a young man named Thomas shared with Sheets.

In the dream, Sheets was a boxer facing five giants in five rounds. One by one, he knocked out those giants with a single punch, alternating fists. One of the boxing gloves said “Everlast,” which is a common brand name for boxing gloves but nevertheless prophetic. The other glove said “Evergreen.” Sheets knew God was talking to him about taking out the giants in America.

“When I look at the giants in America, I get overwhelmed,” Sheets says. “I have to get my focus off the giants and get my focus on the Lord. He can do this. This is not too hard for God.”

Transforming Revival Is Possible. . .

Transformation is possible in America and indeed transforming revival has broken out in communities around the world.

A transformed community is a neighborhood, city or nation whose values and institutions have been overrun by the grace and presence of God; a place where divine fire has not merely been summoned, it has fallen; a society disrupted by supernatural power; a culture that has been impacted comprehensively and undeniably by the kingdom of God; and a location where kingdom values are celebrated publicly and passed on to future generations.

Transforming revival starts with an appeal to heaven [Click to Tweet!].

It’s time to make an appeal to heaven and many are responding to the call in what some are calling the next great move of God.

In my book, The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening, I was struck by how so many voices from so many camps in the body of Christ—Sheets, Greg Laurie, Reinhard Bonnke, Mike Huckabee, Kenneth Copeland, Howard-Browne, Cindy Jacobs, and the list goes on and on—are essentially saying the same thing. America is a nation in crisis—and God wants to wake us up, bring us in line with his heart and heal our land.

For all the doom and gloom prophecies over America, there is yet a rising cry from respected voices from various streams of the body of Christ that sense God’s heart—and God’s hope—for America even in the midst of discipline.

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Want to know more about this topic? Get The Next Great Move of God today,  featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham, and others.

You can learn more about author Jennifer LeClaire at JenniferLeClaire.org.

 

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3 Things We Can Learn from Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot was a true servant of the Lord! She impacted many through her lifetime and found God at every bump in the road. She is a true inspiration to all men and women looking to serve the church.

There are so many valuable lessons we can learn from her example, including:

1. Take a leap of faith

Elisabeth grew up in a home where the gospel was preached and as she developed a deep love for Christ, she saw it as her calling to spread his Word.

She didn’t waste any time—her adventure began upon graduating from Wheaton College in the 1940s. She took a leap of faith and moved as single woman to Ecuador so she could reach out and spread God’s love to the Quichua Indians.

2. Don’t quit when times get hard

In Ecuador, Elisabeth not only spread God’s love in the tribal areas, she also developed a relationship with Jim Elliot and they were soon married. They were given the opportunity to minister to the unreached Aucas tribe. Jim and four missionaries entered the area and met with the Aucas, unfortunately their tribe was fierce and the five men were speared to death.

Elisabeth didn’t quit, pack her bags, and go home. Instead she and her ten-month-old, Valerie, stayed in Ecuador and continued to build relationships with the Auca people, the very ones that murdered her husband.

3. Share your experiences

Eventually Elliot and her daughter, Valerie, returned to the U.S. When they were back, Elisabeth wasted no time in reflecting on her experiences and sharing them through various writings and speaking engagements.

She shared her experiences and expressed God’s great love for her at all times in the good and the bad. She has written many influential books that will continue to inspire those after her and encourage us to follow in her legacy.

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Elisabeth Elliot‘s life was dedicated to serving God and building up his kingdom. Christ calls us to follow in her footsteps, to take that leap of faith in order to more fully serve him, to preserve through times of suffering and love those who we have every reason to hate, and most importantly to  share our experiences and encourage others to follow in God’s footsteps.

Elisabeth Elliot Quote

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Finding Friendship: An Interview with Dr. Leslie Parrott

Soul Friends

We had the privilege to speak with Dr. Leslie Parrott, a family and marriage therapist and speaker who has co-authored many books with her husband, Dr. Les Parrott, including the New York Times best-seller, Saving Your Marriage Before it StartsMaking Happy, and many others.

What are “soul friendships” and why are they important for women looking to grow in their faith?

I don’t think that there is a woman out there that would be surprised by the thought that as women, we deeply desire great friendships . . . . In general what sociologists have discovered is that women fear a rupture in a relationship more than they fear a loss of independence. Most women I know resonate to their core that, yes, relationships matter to me.

I think of a soul friend as a deep-spirited friend. We know intuitively what it means to be a deep-spirited friend, where it isn’t just based on shared lifestyles or shared interests or the same quirky sense of humor. There’s a sense that there’s a connection that’s soul-to-soul. . . .We’re acknowledging the journey that we’re all taking and we’re walking through it together.

You’ve written and co-written many titles on relationships and marriage. What called you to write Soul Friends and focus on friendship rather than romantic relationships?

This book is different in that what I’m talking about is not just that we need friends, but how to create great friendship, which is an important thing. I myself started a small group 12 years ago that has been a central thing in my life and I can’t imagine traveling the last dozen years without the company of the sisterhood. The depth of our spiritual growth is accelerated by the gift of sharing it with a friend. [Click to tweet!] [In the book, I’m] talking about the beauty of friendship and the importance of spiritual growth, and how those two things go hand-in-hand.

 

What do you think are some of the greatest challenges for women looking to develop and maintain these deep and spiritual friendships?

There are a lot of challenges. One of those is we’re all so completely aware of our failings and there’s a timidity in [reaching out to other women] that comes from that.

Also, I think there are stages and seasons of life where we feel kind of lonely. For example, if you’ve got an infant, your life is ordered around the needs of that baby and that can be a monastic experience sometimes. Or if your work schedule is demanding and you don’t feel as if you have one inch of margin for some optional activity with girlfriends.

There are sacrifices we all make on the alters of our heart where friendship feels like it doesn’t get nurtured because life doesn’t make room for it in this season, and there are also private insecurities that hold us back sometimes from risking connecting with friends.

In the context of Bible study and devotional time with God, often times there is encouragement to break off into individual “quiet time” to reflect and pray. How do you see this interacting with the importance of community and friendships?

Gary Thomas who wrote Sacred Pathways, really influenced my thinking about spiritual growth—it’s one of my favorites because I think he nailed it when he talks about how God has hardwired us all differently to lean into certain things to grow spiritually. Some of us are relational, and if we try to pray on our own we fall asleep or lose track, but if you put us in a small group we can pray for hours and our spirits come alive because we’re hardwired to grow relationally. Other people aren’t hardwired like that, they might be hardwired to grow intellectually or out in creation. All of these ways are biblical, but we each have our own growth pathways. I love that concept. It freed me up for the richness of diversity in how to grow [spiritually.]

The small group I started wasn’t a devotional, we didn’t read a book together. Our structure was that we’d come together and someone would ask one opening question. We’ve prayed together and grown together, been immersed in Scripture, and read together out of those questions. Community is important but I don’t think there’s a formula that works for every woman on her Jesus journey.

I would encourage women to open their eyes—there might be ways to connect around them that they never even thought were points of connection that turn out to be these beautiful, deep-spirited places.

How can women and moms begin to fit time for friendships in to a busy life to start creating those deep friendships? Where can women and busy moms begin to find friends?

Be willing to join a MOPS group or small group at church. Volunteer for something where you know you’re likely to connect with people who have the same values. Women are longing for this and even if they aren’t able to say, “Yes,” because of the season of their life, it leaves them feeling encouraged that someone actually cared enough to reach out and invite them.

I took a big risk when I was in that season [as a mom]—it was a season for me where my mom had some major health concerns,  I was professionally in a demanding season, I had a toddler who was a one-pound, pre-mature baby and had special needs, and I discovered I was pregnant. Life just felt undoable for me.

The surprising thing I did was not cut back, but I felt that I needed to start a small group, which felt absurd at the time. I invited six women I knew, none of whom knew each other, and I thought they would all turn me down because they were all so busy, but we were all so hungry for it that we made it work. We tried scheduling our time together and in the beginning we could only meet once every three weeks. But we did it! We would start at night after the kids had gone to bed and we’d meet until midnight. It was an unbelievable thing to make it work, but 12 years later the fruit of that is unmistakable. I would encourage anyone, even though it doesn’t seem easy, or convenient, or make sense, to risk it!

Women might have friends from different places—other moms, a friend at church, a few connections at work—but they don’t coalesce so you don’t feel this synergy with your friends. Be a little risky—don’t think in terms that [all of the people in a potential group] have to already fit together or click or connect. Don’t feel limited by what’s already happening—create a way to get together!

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Check out Dr. Leslie Parrott’s, Soul Friends: What Every Woman Needs to Grow in Her Faith to learn more about friendship, spiritual growth, and the importance of deep-spirited friendships.

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Why R.C. Sproul Believes Every Concerned American Should Read This Book

The Other Worldview

A cataclysmic change has occurred over the past few decades: our culture as a whole has switched worldviews. Today’s predominate worldview has abandoned the distinction between God and his creation, instead asserting that everything is essentially one. What should Christians think about this?

In his new book, The Other Worldview, Peter Jones explains the difference between what he calls “Oneism” and “Twoism.” He exposes the pagan roots of Oneism, and he traces its spread and influence throughout Western culture. Most importantly, he shows us why Oneism is incapable of saving anyone or truly changing the world for the better.

Pre-order The Other Worldview today.

 

 

 

R.C. Sproul so strongly supports the message of The Other Worldview that he wrote the foreword to the book.

Here’s an excerpt of what he had to say about it:

We have seen the noonday sun reveal the destruction of the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of sex, and the sanctity of the sacred itself. The culture is not merely post-Christian and postmodern. It has become not only neopagan, but neo-barbarian.

Ideas have consequences. The ideas of the New Age, of our age, have their roots in ancient Gnosticism. That particular philosophy embraced a form of pantheism or monism: God is ‘the One’—the sum of everything. All is God, and God is all.

Of course if everything is God, then nothing is God. The very word ‘God’ can point to nothing individuated from everything. It becomes a meaningless, unintelligible word.

Peter Jones has labored to show the distinction and impact of a zeitgeist of Oneism (monism) versus Twoism (duality). The Twoism of which Dr. Jones speaks is not an ancient form of dualism which embraced equal and opposite forces of good and evil. No, it is a cosmic duality that sees—sharply and vividly—the distinction between creature and Creator, and the relationship between the two.

This is not a simple problem of arithmetic wherein we learn to count from one to two. These numbers have suffixes. The suffix -ism is added to the one and the two. The suffix -ism adds to a simple number an entire worldview or philosophical standpoint embraced by either.

Dr. Jones provides for us a clear map. This map traces the historical paths, the philosophical routes, and the cultural lanes that have brought us to the Age of Aquarius. It is a must-read for every concerned American—and especially for every Christian who weeps at the graveside of his culture.

The Other Worldview is currently available for pre-order, and you can get it on sale for $9.99.

Pre-order today and save!

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