Everything changes when we understand that we are sons and daughters of God.
"Wow, what are these?" a baby must wonder the first time he touches his toes. Eventually, he realizes that those toes belong to him. He's in wide-eyed awe, learning more about himself each day. As he continues to grow into adulthood, the wonder of those first moments of self-discovery fades, but he never ceases to learn more and more about the unique person God made him to be.
Similarly, the body of Christ is constantly growing and learning about its own identity. Through much sacrifice and discomfort, it has gained unprecedented influence in the world today.
The church started out teetering with a small band of timid disciples. These 12 men were initially double-minded about coming out of hiding after Jesus' death. Yet they emerged, the gospel was proclaimed, and the church was securely birthed.
More than once I’ve led a team of evangelists in a series of crusades in Madras/Chennai, India. The last time I was there, the magnitude of the people’s needs was totally overwhelming. Every kind of sickness and disease imaginable was represented in the vast crowd that thronged to hear the Word of God.
It was amazing to see the response of these precious souls receiving the greatest miracle of all: the born-again experience. However, as I watched, a gnawing question rose up within my spirit. I recognized it as coming from the Lord, and it shook me to the very core of my being.
“When will I be presented to the multitudes today as I was presented yesterday? Have I changed in 2,000 years? Is it not still My desire to heal the sick and set the captives free?”
God gave every believer the power to heal as Jesus did. But releasing such miracles through you is all about recognizing authority.
Learning to hear God’s voice and follow His lead is joyful and exciting, yet I must admit it also keeps me on edge. I was at Grace Center, a great church outside Nashville, Tenn., when a woman came to me for prayer. She was afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis head to toe. As I moved to pray for her, I felt a check in my heart that I was not to pray. In this case, something was different. I could tell Jesus was going to heal her, yet it felt as if I would interfere with the work of God if I prayed or laid hands on her. I wasn’t even allowed to make decrees of healing over her or pronounce her well, as Jesus did with, “Go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter” (Mark 7:29).
This woman’s healing was to be a school of the Spirit for me. I asked her to close her eyes so the other ministry going on around the room wouldn’t distract her. She did as I requested. Then I sensed a heat on the back of my neck, obvious but subtle. It felt like hot oil slowly flowing downward, so I told her the anointing was flowing down her neck. She said she felt it. When it reached the base, I told her the neck should be healed by now. She moved it about in ways that would have caused pain before, only to find that it was, in fact, healed.
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Where was God when Superstorm Sandy pounded the Eastern Seaboard, killing at least 50 and causing historic destruction? And where was God in 2011 when the tsunami and earthquake claimed more than 200,000 lives in Japan?
In the wake of such incredible loss and disaster, we struggle to understand how a God who is all-powerful and all-knowing can also be considered good and loving. Pastor and teacher Erwin Lutzer tackles this tough subject head-on in his book, Where Was God?
“The question of natural disasters is very important,” said Lutzer in a phone interview last year. “The Bible even records stories of natural disasters.” During our discussion, Lutzer answered a number of questions that are detailed in his book.
After 10 unprecedented years as the best-selling non-fiction hardback in history, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? is being re-tooled and re-released by Zondervan.
“There is an entire generation who was too young to read The Purpose Driven Life 10 years ago but are now asking the critical question of , ‘What on earth am I here for?’” said Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. “This anniversary edition represents a new approach for a new generation incorporating a new understanding of barriers that keep people from finding their purpose, based on thousands of readers’ letters I have received.”