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Kim Martinez 2

During Christmas Season, Make Sure to Take Time for God

 

There is a concept called Margin. I first learned about margin the hard way. When my oldest child went to kindergarten, I mapped out the route, and figured out exactly how much time it would take to arrive at school on time. With this information, I calculated what time I needed to leave every morning.

For the next three months, every morning was a race against the clock, and most days I lost – I would pull onto the school grounds just as the bell rang.

Then my husband was laid off and took over the morning duty, and suddenly, my daughter was arriving with time to spare. I was in awe! I asked him how he managed to get her to school on time. With a bit of reflection, I discovered that I hadn’t created space for the time it took to get a baby and kindergartener to the car, or the time it took to get from the car to the classroom.

When life gets busy, sometimes we find that we are rushing from event to event, hoping we make it on time. First we decorate the church, then our home. We plan for the holiday parties in each ministry area, and the church staff. We prepare for the Christmas concert, and Christmas service, then comes the New Years’ service. For a few moments, we pause – often after pulling an all-nighter to wrap presents - and have a Christmas get together at home.

The weeks of December are often bundled with joy and energy. Yet in all that activity, it is easy to get so wrapped up in doing that we end up in January totally wiped out, not able to even hear our own thoughts, let alone God’s voice.

This season can be different. There is a growing trend (again) to focus on the spiritual disciplines. As I have been going through several books on the subject, there is one resounding theme: Space.

And this is what I learned: I am the only one who has the authority and ability to create space in my life. Even if I have other people to report to, space will never be created in my life unless I lead the charge.

As you progress through this Christmas season, here is a simple tool to help you reflect on how you spend your time, and where you might need to create space:

Take a moment to make a grid on a piece of paper – then fill in the boxes with your activities for the last week. If you are very crammed, you might even just do the last three days.

Do you notice a pattern? What can you do to focus your time on the most critical items on your agenda? What are you doing that really isn’t urgent, isn’t important, and could be done by someone else?

Now, where is your time with God on that grid? What can you do to create space in your activities, and create time for your relationship with God?

In this season of celebration, remember to take time to nurture your soul. After all, your relationship with Christ really is the reason for the season, and those around you will learn from your example. read more

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Isaac Hunter's Suicide Note Discovered in Wake of Affair, Domestic Violence Allegations

In the week following Isaac Hunter's resignation as senior pastor of Summit Church, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Hunter was in a downward spiral of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal thoughts, according to a domestic violence petition filed Friday.

“I currently fear for my life and the lives of our three children,” Rhonda Hunter wrote in a petition for a temporary restraining order against her husband. “Isaac is unstable and has demonstrated erratic behavior, alcohol abuse, and fits of rage.”

Circuit Judge Roger J. McDonald granted Rhonda Hunter's petition the same day it was submitted. The order bars Isaac Hunter, 35, from the couple's home in Winter Park, Fla., his church, his children's schools and his wife's workplace.

Isaac Hunter admitted to an extramarital affair and resigned from his post as senior pastor at Summit Church in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 28, one day after his 13th wedding anniversary. Hunter is the middle child of prominent evangelist Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla., and spiritual adviser to President Barack Obama. read more

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Shame on the UN: A Bold Reaction to Palestinian Statehood

On Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations’ General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. The Jewish leadership accepted the plan; the Arab leadership rejected it. Sixty-five years later, on Nov. 29, 2012 (Thursday), Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, excoriated Israel, praised Islamic terrorists and received the overwhelming approbation of the General Assembly, which voted 138 to 9 (with 41 abstentions) to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state.”

Abbas was perfectly clear: “The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: ‘Enough of aggression, settlements and occupation.’” The world, then, through the U.N., would be rebuking Israel with its vote.

To be sure, President Abbas made some conciliatory remarks, such as, “We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel.” But these remarks were completely overridden by his unstinting condemnation of Israel, whose policies, he claimed, “have thrown [negotiations] into the intensive care unit.”

How could he claim that he came to the U.N. to “launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace”? read more

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Evangelist Steve Hill: Culture Wars Won at Calvary

Culture wars are real. I’m speaking of the battles that continually pursue between those who hold to traditional values and those who are opposed. My friend, the gospel is greater than any force that comes against it. When we preach the pure Word of God, amazing results follow. Please allow me to give you an example.

The governor of Alabama once invited me and several of my evangelist friends to a historic meeting. It was a Saturday afternoon rally in support of keeping the Ten Commandments posted at the State Supreme Court.

Upon arrival we were shocked to see more than 25,000 people gathered together on the front lawn of the governor’s mansion. Surrounding the crowd were all the major media networks broadcasting this historic event.

I remember asking the governor what he wanted me to say at this secular rally. His response was crystal clear: “Preach the gospel and give an altar call.” read more

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Did You Miss This in the News?

Check out some links below to recent stories from Charisma News that you'll find interesting and informative. You can also sign up to receive stories on your smart phone by signing up for the free Charisma News app by clicking here.

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Franklin Graham: Is There Hope for Revival?

Can revival come to America?

If revival can come to a wicked city like Nineveh in response to the preaching of God’s Word by Jonah, then I believe there is hope for our nation.

The results of the recent election show a definite move toward secularism and a shift away from Christian values and biblical morality. In some states, same-sex marriage was approved and marijuana was legalized. Unbelievably, whether it was apathy or indifference, there were millions of evangelical Christians who stayed at home and did not go to the polls. Had more Christians exercised their right and privilege to vote in this election, perhaps the outcomes on the national and state levels could have been quite different.

However, I believe that followers of Jesus Christ can still make a crucial difference in our country going forward. read more

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7 Reasons Prophetic Voices Are Silent

As a pastor I have been involved in political, economic and social issues in order to be holistic in ministering to the needs of our community, as well as functioning prophetically to influential elected officials. In this context, I have observed how many leaders also involved in holistic ministry have “behaved themselves” in regards to speaking out prophetically on major biblical issues. My opinion is that we are all called to be prophetic—especially preachers of the gospel (1 Peter 4:11).

For example, during the past decade I have been a major proponent of preserving biblical marriage and have worked against legalizing alternate forms of marriage such as same-sex marriage. As I have helped lead the charge, some of my good friends have intentionally remained silent for a variety of reasons.

The following are some of the reasons pastors have muzzled their prophetic voice: read more

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Adversity Brings Opportunity for Supernatural Victory

We are living in times that can cause both great fear and great opportunity. These are seasons where the faithful and wise people of God can flourish.

It is not because all is peaceful or that challenges and hardships are diminishing, but these are the days that great character is forged. As we contend with difficulties, strong hearts and minds are being formed and creative new strategies for life are being birthed.

Deep calls to deep and extreme necessities call upon great virtues. When minds become transformed and passionate hearts are engaged, then those qualities, which would otherwise have lain dormant, awake to new life and new opportunities. The Spirit of God empowers and releases these battle tested messengers of light to bring forth His power, presence, and glory upon the earth like never before. read more

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One Nation Under God Precludes Nationalism

We have just come out of a presidential election. Some Christ followers are happy, some are not, some have concern, and some continue to live in fear. I do not have a problem with concern, but I do have a problem with fear.

Fear has the ability to imprison the faith and hope within us. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, and it is impossible to live in the overcoming power of the Kingdom of God within us. God is much bigger than who is in charge of our nation or any nation. Whoever is in charge should never be an opportunity to allow fear to grip us.

Romans 13 says, "Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear." read more

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Franklin Graham Urges Prayer for President Obama, America

Our country finds itself in perilous times, facing uncertainty and anxiety stemming from economic challenges, global instability and threats to our freedom and security as a people.

Having just come through a divisive national election, I am urging pastors across this country to lead their congregations in praying daily for our president, Barack Obama, and all of our elected leaders--for wisdom, Divine guidance, and that God would accomplish His will and purposes.

While politics is noticeably partisan, prayer must never be partisan. Americans need to come together, and people of faith should lead the way, by praying diligently for our leaders whether or not they agree with them or their policies. God's Word commands us to pray for 'kings and all who are in high positions.' (I Timothy 2:2) read more

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