Are You Missing Out?

by Kiplin Batchelor

“But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:4-6).

Judas said a good thing! Feeding the poor is kind, noble and praiseworthy. Who would not be impressed by such thoughtfulness for the less fortunate in society? To an undiscerning person, Judas is—at this time—a champion of social justice and a lover of the poor. However Jesus, Who always sees much deeper than what worshippers advertise, saw the hidden deceit behind Judas’ beautiful facade. Judas spoke with apparent compassion, but the truth is, while Mary bowed before Jesus in vulnerable and selfless worship, Jesus’ treasurer stood tall in self!

We often don’t think of a worship setting for something like this, but how many times do people say beautiful words that are intended to impress others, so they are perceived to be more than they really are? Judas could have kept silent as a mere observer in the room, but he opened his mouth and revealed his hidden deceit in the midst of worship. He not only wanted money, he wanted to appear good to Jesus and the influential crowd of Pharisees at dinner.

Judas is a humbling reminder that the stench of a wrong motive can be present while the fragrance of worship fills a room; Judas is a timely reminder that a worshipper’s heart can shift from Jesus the Divine treasure and be preoccupied with earthly Roman coins while doing ministry. He is a reminder that one’s proximity to Jesus doesn’t guarantee or equate to intimacy—we can be in the same room with Jesus, but our heart can be a thousand miles away. The difference between Mary and Judas is the difference between impressing people or loving Jesus, and all true worshippers must crossover to loving, if worship is truly worship.

Judas cheapens an opportunity to worship! Although his words may have impressed those who were close enough, it must have been disheartening for Jesus to hear his own inner-circle-follower market a great idea and a lovely self image—yet, all the while concealing theft, misappropriation of funds and betrayal. Unfortunately, Judas missed an incredible moment to join Mary in selfless worship at Jesus’ feet! Instead of being a participant who captures and seizes a moment in extravagant worship, he became a subtle, undermining critic! Like Michal who labeled David’s worshipful dance as undignified, Judas labeled Mary’s worshipful gift as a waste. What led him to think Jesus wasn’t worth a year’s salary? I have come to realize that those who struggle with God’s worth always struggle with worship. These are always the first to criticize and attack those who pour out all at the feet of His Majesty.

What is equally powerful in this story and many others in the Bible is that Jesus is not afraid, offended or incensed at His children displaying varying expressions in worship. The God of simple and quiet reflective moments in silence before Him is also the God of the exuberant and passionate worship. When He told the religious group to leave Mary alone, He allowed her to be unconventional, undignified, unrehearsed and unperturbed by her elitist environment, her terrible past and by the propriety that filled the room. Real worship kills self image, and it must do so, or we will see ourselves more than we see Him when He shows up.

Simon the Pharisee entertained Jesus over a meal, and Judas was distracted, but Mary bypassed all the pretentiousness and superficiality at the dinner and made worship her priority. One man invited Jesus to a meal, but one woman worshipped Him at that meal — there is a big difference! We must go beyond entertaining Jesus in our lovely auditoriums and actually worship without thinking our passionate expressions are too much. Mary saw her opportunity to worship Jesus, and she took it. Will you do the same? Don’t miss out on your opportunity to worship Him!

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CFNI And The Lindsay Legacy

by Dennis Lindsay

CFNʼS TWELVE FOUNDATIONAL PILLARS

When Joshua was about to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land, Moses gave him a directive. “When you cross over, take twelve stones and inscribe upon them the rules for blessings and curses. And when the next generation asks the question, ‘What is this memorial all about?’ explain the blessings and the curses” (Deuteronomy 27:2-4).

This is what I believe legacy is all about, and why it is strategically significant to pass on God’s initiative to the next generation. This is why we have established the 12 foundational pillars at CFN as a memorial of remembrance for the staff, the student body and all the visitors who come to CFN. Through my parents, God founded the 12 foundational pillars that have guided us and provided the blessings of the Lord on this ministry.

“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about His power and His mighty wonders” (Psalm 78:4).

SPIRITUAL INHERITANCE

Spiritual inheritance is given freely to those who have withstood the trials and tests of adversity, put in the time, and paid the price. It is freely given by one’s spiritual forefathers. This means it is not to be spent on ourselves; it is given for building God’s Kingdom. We are to take what is here and pass it on to the next generation. Revivals often die and moves of God dwindle to nothing because they become “fatherless” or are not stewarded sufficiently.

WONDER: THE FOOLISH PLAN OF GOD

Consider the Christmas story. Imagine Joseph, the husband of Mary, saying: “Why me, a simple man of trade, and why Mary? She’s just an ordinary girl—and a baby in a stable? I’m not one to second guess what angels have said, but this seems strange.”

It also seems strange that Jesus grows up in obscurity, finally comes out of the “shadows” at age 30, gathers a mixed-bag of followers, who desert Him at the moment of His greatest need. He’s buried by a rich friend after his battered body perishes. A rag-tag group of frightened men and a few weeping women are his closest friends. Bizarre! Later, after rising from the grave, He commissions this crew of misfits to take the message of His life, death and resurrection to the whole world. They are called to live sacrificially and overcome evil with good. Yet, they turned the world upside down. This story seems so unbelievable, like so many of our own.

A WOMAN TO LEAD FOR 4O YEARS

Many were filled with wonder and apprehension when God chose my mom to lead Christ For The Nations. She carried the torch for 40 years after Dad suddenly and unexpectedly graduated to Heaven. With a German, Lutheran background, a Foursquare college degree and a Pentecostal, Texas heart, she learned to bark orders—kind of like when Jesus’ mother gave orders at the wedding in Cana. Yet, Mom had a grandmother’s heart and a heart after God. As a result of her dynamic management and leadership, the ministry took on exponential growth.

WHY ME, LORD?

Today, one might ask, “Why me, Lord? Why do you love me, Lord, and how could you ever use me to touch others?” When I think about myself in my early years of becoming President of Christ For The Nations, I am reminded that I had no formal training for this position. The Holy Spirit spoke to me, saying, “I know you don’t have any experience, but as long as you remember that, I will use you, bless you and provide a team of individuals who can lift and hold your arms up. I am filled with wonder why God selected me—the youngest of three children—to carry on this ministry.

The prophetic words continue to confirm my appointment in light of my doubts. Yes, I am filled with wonder, but I know it is just for a season, a short assignment. I serve while watching affirmations unfold that God is even preparing my three children for appointments, if they choose to accept.

PASSING THE TORCH

I’m blessed. I have an honored and respected family name. I have been handed a well-established ministry. All my life I have been exposed to the power of the supernatural. My parents worked laboriously and sacrificially. My inheritance came at no cost to me. Having served as President and CEO of Christ For The Nations for over 30 years, I realize I have been given the opportunity to bless future students and equip them for the ministry. I have been mentored and trained by a number of elders, and a General in the Lord’s Army—my mom.

Now, I am currently mentoring my children who have the legacy, heritage and call to continue serving in the ministry my parents founded. All three of my children were born and raised on CFN’s campus, graduated from CFNI and worked for the ministry as they were growing up. I believe I’m preparing them for leadership roles when the appointed time arrives, and they follow in their grandparents’ footsteps.

My oldest daughter, Missy, with a Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.), has a prophetic gifting and teaches with me. Hawni, my second daughter, has her Master of International Business Administration (MBA) and has the gift of management, much like my mom and my wife’s mom, who established our campus bookstore and managed it for 25 years. Hawni helps us strategize and organize key events as she has time. Our son, Golan, with his Master of Business (MBA), has become CFN’s Chief Operation Officer. After 30+ years and 101 weekly logistical meetings, I have been partially replaced by Golan. His newlywed spouse—Krissia (a CFNI grad)—has her degree in law and hopefully will be assisting with legal issues. They have given Ginger and me our first grandchild. She was named after Mom, Freeda.

It is interesting to see the strengths I believe God has given each of my children. Missy’s is righteousness and holiness, Hawni’s is excellence and professionalism and Golan’s is justice and compassion, and with his wife, Krissia, involved in law, we have a double dose of justice, along with her giftings.

Now, I am blessed to spend more time with God—praying, writing, teaching and reading His Word. My hobby of Creation Science is blossoming unimaginably. That is what I remember my dad doing every time I went into his room—praying, reading, writing another book or preparing a message.

Legacy is passing the baton to the next generation. Building a bridge for these younger warriors will enable them to carry on the ministry, to impact their generation for the cause of Christ. I look forward to what God will continue to do at Christ For The Nations with the next generation of leaders.

“Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren” (Proverbs 13:22).

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Melody of Love

CFNI 42nd Live Worship Recording

by Maria Erokhina

Music is powerful. It accompanies us through joy and pain, victories and loss. Music can reopen old wounds and yet bring healing, it can kindle a flame in one’s heart and cause tears to flow, drive a soul toward hopelessness or fill it with hope—all within moments.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God in your midst … He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Have you ever heard God sing to you? On February 10, Christ For The Nations captured this unique, pure, beautiful sound coming from the Father’s heart in our new worship album, Melody of Love.

CFNI starts every day with worship. During our morning chapels, countless students have had life-changing encounters with God. These encounters revealed their destinies and lit a fire in them that they now spread in the nations by serving as missionaries, church-planters, standing up for justice and being the voice of truth in the marketplace. Phil King, CFNI student and one of the worship leaders featured on Melody of Love, said, “This live recording was an extension of what we experience every day in chapel. The whole reason we hit ‘record’ was to capture it and send it out.”

Melody of Love is a compilation of 13 songs, most of which were written by CFNI students and alumni. Gabriel Allred, Phil King, Maddy Hunt, Jordan Stewart, Hannah Holland, Robert Quintana, Faith Schneider, Kiplin Batchelor, Stephen Azan and others, in cooperation with a featured guest, Leeland Mooring, brought this project to life. The creators of the album said that it took a miracle to prepare for the recording in a short period of time. They recall, “We would often sit down together in faith and pray, ‘Lord, we’re recording in a few weeks. We need songs.’” Time after time, God gave them words and melodies.

The title track, Melody of Love, was birthed as a result of such prayers and collaboration. It started with the line that Leeland played: “I hear you singing over me a melody of love.” Maddy Hunt, David Moore and Phil King contributed their ideas and this beautiful anthem about God’s unstoppable affection for His children was created. It starts with the words, “You have searched and known me, set Your eyes upon me. I am undone …”

Another song, Burn Spirit of God, that quickly became a favorite among CFNI students, was literally born in the shower. Phil King was getting ready to go to bed after a long day, when God dropped into his heart, “Burn Spirit of God, come fill my lungs with praise. Burn Fire of God, come seal my heart with a flame.” This song talks about offering ourselves as a living sacrifice to God and placing our lives on the altar where His fire sets us ablaze.

Incredible Love was written by two friends, Kiplin Batchelor and Stephen Azan, former CFNI students who now serve on staff at Christ For The Nations. They prayed and asked the Lord to give them a revelation of His love. Kiplin recalls, “As we were exploring the theme of love in the Bible, we were astonished to realize that love had existed before Adam and Eve met in the garden. We exist because the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Who are love, said, ‘Let’s create …’ That’s where these lyrics came from—‘Before the universe was formed, the Trinity sat enthroned in Love … Love has always been, and love will always be …’

This song carries the message of God’s incredible, selfless, timeless love that is not defined by gender, skin color, the level of your education or social status. This love gave His life for you, and it still pursues you, even when you’re at your worst.”

Some of the songs in this album came from deep places of overcoming and finding healing. Jordan Stewart was raised in a Christian home and was faithfully serving God, while keeping a terrible secret that impacted every part of her life. At five years old she was molested in the school bathroom. She confesses, “I was broken and depressed. I even contemplated suicide a few times.”

One night Jordan decided to get honest with the Lord about the things that caused her so much pain. Right then she felt an urge to go to the piano, and Take Us In came forth. God used this song to speak healing and restoration over her life. Over the years, Jordan has seen it minister to many people, helping them experience salvation and deliverance.

Nine years ago, I was singing Take Us In from brokenness. Now I’m singing it from freedom. This song reminds me of what God has done for me. It says, “You have broken the divide and You silence every lie, You trade our shame for robes of white.”

The two themes in this album are God’s passionate pursuit of our hearts and our response to His call. Both are tied closely together—when we taste God’s goodness, “Fill me, send me, I’ll go” becomes our willful choice and a joyful response.

Phil King says, “When I was a little kid, I used to hold the globe and weep over it, saying, ‘God, use me to touch the nations of the Earth.’ I felt such a strong, supernatural, fiery love for them. On the night of the recording, when we sang all these songs about going out and touching the nations, laying down our lives for the Great Commission, it was amazing to see CFNI students coming from over 60 countries to worship together. It was a dream come true.”

Christ For The Nations has been recording live worship albums for 42 years. Our songs have been translated and sung all around the world, touching thousands of lives and bringing God’s presence into countless homes, churches, cities and countries.

As you listen to Melody of Love, we pray that your heart will be open to hear the love song that’s coming from the Father’s heart.

To purchase Melody of Love, go to cfnmusic.com/42.

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Never Shrink Back

(the story of Keir Tayler)

by Maria Erokhina

Keir Tayler is modern-day apostle who exemplifies absolute commitment to the cause of Christ and calls others to a greater courage in the Gospel.

Here is his story.

Acts 9 Experience

Keir was born and raised in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He qualified in Medical and Veterinary Technology (Histopathology and Bacteriology) and dedicated 14 years of his life to serving in the military, as a part of a Special Forces unit.

During one significant offensive operation, when their group of 70 fought against 5,000 terrorists, Keir was wounded in both legs. In agony, he cried out loud, “God if you want my life, You can have it.” The Lord answered his prayer with an Acts 9 experience—suddenly, Keir was surrounded by bright light and Jesus appeared to him, just as He appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus. God’s presence became more real to him than his pain and the terror of what he’d seen, and his bleeding stopped.

Keir (bottom row, second from right) and his fellow soldiers of a Special Forces unit

Since then, Keir’s greatest desire was to know Jesus Who came to his rescue on that battlefield. Later, someone asked him, “You cried out to God, offering to give Him your life, but He didn’t take it from you, He gave it back to you. So what are you going to do with it?” Keir’s answer was simple, “I will serve Him for the rest of my life, doing whatever He asks me.” Today, Keir has been serving the Lord for 38 years.

The Taylers Come To CFNI

In 1980, after the war in Zimbabwe was over, Keir, his wife Callie and their two small children relocated to Dallas, Texas, U.S.A., where they enrolled in Christ For The Nations Institute. Talking about his CFNI experience, Keir says, “For the first six months at CFNI, I cried every day. The worship, led by Mike Massa and Dutch Sheets, was phenomenal. For two years, I worshipped together with 1,400 students every morning, and the presence of God during those moments washed away the torment, the pain, the aguish and the memories of the war. I had a tremendous hunger for the Word of God; I took every course where His Word was taught. And the love that was there was just incredible.”

The Keirs graduated from CFNI in 1982. During their time in America, they had an opportunity to minister in many churches and were ordained by the Beverly Hills Church. Then they went back to Africa to fulfill the call of God on their lives.

Where The Streets Have No Name

Upon returning to their homeland, Keir became the children’s pastor in a local church. Later, he started taking mission trips to South Africa, Mozambique and other places. This ministry started to increase rapidly, and soon embraced other churches and ministries. That led Keir to found Hand In Hand International.  When talking about the mission of this ministry, Keir says, “My hand is in Jesus’ hand, and your hand is in mine. He trains us to raise up others. Is not about one person, but we’re a family, a church doing the Lord’s work together.” Hand In Hand International has reached 40 different nations, equipping churches and conducting over 100 open-air Gospel crusades.

This photo was taken during an open-air crusade in Mozambique

The skills that Keir had obtained while he served in the Special Forces were a perfect fit for the kind of evangelism his teams are doing. They often go to places “where the streets have no names,” and pioneer churches in areas where no one wants to go. Sometimes they have to walk for three days to get to those places, but it’s so worth it in the end. “We’ve seen amazing miracles and healings, and a countless number of churches have been planted,” Keir says, adding, “I don’t want to stop until I see the revival. CFN’s co-founder Freda Lindsay prophesized over me, saying, ‘You’ll be sent to awaken churches.’ I’ve held on to that commission, and I live to see people awaken to who God really is, to see His Kingdom manifest, to see barriers and limitations removed and signs, wonders and miracles break forth. That’s why we bring revival to the local Church—so that the Church can take it into the world.”

Longing For Revival

Keir and Callie Tayler

This passion fuels Keir to go forward. He says, “Jesus is the best encourager and friend. You can go through anything when you know that He’s close to you, that He approves and loves you. There’s nothing better in this whole world than to be a son and a daughter of the King, completing the mission He’s given you.”

Keir encourages people to press on toward the mark—to fulfill the calling and mandate of God. He says, “Never shrink back from it; give yourself to this cause completely. We’re living in the greatest times. Paul the Apostle is seriously jealous as he is looking at us—and this is just the start! I strongly believe that the best is yet to come. Keep pushing forward!”

Keir and Callie have been married for over 40 years, serving the Lord with their three children and nine grandchildren. To learn more about their ministry, visit keirtayler.com.

If you would like to connect with Keir and Callie, email them at keir@handinhand.co.za

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CFNI – My Spiritual “Boot Camp”

By Peter Tsukahira

In the summer of 1974, I hitchhiked from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the campus of Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, to attend a session that was taught by the well-known Bible teacher, Derek Prince. I had heard that his teachings were powerful, but arrived there not knowing what to expect. The meeting hall was packed with hundreds of people, and Brother Derek, as he was called, was speaking with passion about “deliverance”—identifying demonic forces and casting them out.

Spring 1975 – Peter celebrating Passover with a seder (festive meal) with his fellow students

Clearly an Englishman, Derek Prince spoke with unusual conviction and authority. As a new believer, I had never heard anything like this before.  Soon I realized that I needed deliverance.  Some young people from the staff began to pray for me. Then I was taken into a carpeted room that was already full of people who were praying out loud. There was a sense of urgency and authority, as well as love and acceptance in the room.  The staff members put their hands on my head and prayed in bold voices, rebuking evil spirits and bondages that had formed in the years when I was immersed in the world of drugs and darkness. Soon, a deep sense of peace came over me.

After that experience, I knew I was supposed to attend CFNI. My wife and I said goodbye to our friends in Santa Fe and drove an old 1956 Volkswagen “Beetle” as far as Wichita Falls, Texas, where it died by the side of the road. We continued in a rented car that took the last of our cash. Friends had blessed us with a going away gift—a money order worth $250. However, soon after arriving to the school, it was accidentally put in the washing machine and destroyed. My two years at CFNI were not off to a good start!

The classes at the school were stimulating; I devoured the Bible-related studies and read chapters of the Bible every day. I knew that I was growing in faith, but it was a surprisingly difficult path. The main problem was inside of me. I felt like I was on a spiritual and emotional rollercoaster. Some of the time, I felt strong and capable of obeying the Lord. The rest of the time, I was failing. Although I was free of demonic control, my thoughts, will and emotions were still not yielded completely to God.

In addition to dealing with impure thoughts and ungodly cravings, I realized that the deeper, underlying motives of my heart were corrupt. I tried fasting to gain control over my inner life, but soon I found that even if I forced myself to stop eating, later I would sneak into the snack area and gorge myself on junk food. Things were going from bad to worse, and I wondered how long it would be before I gave up. I knew that leaving the school meant leaving the life God had for me. I was trapped and sinking.

Spring 1976 – CFNI graduation

At this very low point, two things helped me to persevere and survive spiritually. One was having believing friends and mentors, and the other was finding useful work. Dennis Lindsay, the son of CFNI’s founders, was one such friend. In spite of our hugely different backgrounds, he and his wife Ginger reached out to me. Their lives of faith, though not easy, seemed natural and unforced. They enjoyed doing fun activities in addition to their ministry work. Just being with them was an encouragement and a much needed “reality check.” I couldn’t understand how in my rough, unpolished state someone like Dennis could see anything valuable in me. One day, he told me that he let God choose his friends for him. I didn’t fully realize it then, but through our friendship, Dennis was passing on to me valuable truths about God’s Kingdom.

Another friend, a fellow student also named Dennis, helped me in quite another way. Since I had so little money, I was always looking for work. I tried selling Amway products from door to door, but quickly realized that I couldn’t succeed as a salesman. At that time Dennis came to me and said, “God told me to give you my job.” He was a commercial teller at the Guarantee Bank across from CFNI, and I was hired on the strength of his recommendation. I went to my classes in the morning and worked every afternoon. That work raised my self-esteem and helped me become more disciplined in my daily life.

John Garlock, who was CFNI’s Director at that time, heard that I had taught Japanese classes for beginners at my university and gave me an opportunity to teach Japanese to anyone interested at CFNI. A handful of students showed up, but one of them, a nineteen-year-old student named Bill Wood, showed unusual zeal. Later, he moved to Japan, married a Japanese woman, and today he is a respected teacher who has written numerous books in Japanese.

Peter with some of the African refugees that the ministry shelters

While teaching Japanese at CFNI, I began to experience a special kind of joy from the Lord. My spiritual gift of teaching was beginning to unfold; that gift continued to emerge in the years that followed. I realized that this is what I am called to do in Israel and many other nations around the world.

My two years at CFNI began the process of shaping me into the person I was created to be. It was like a spiritual “boot camp,” where I was not only learning the Bible, but also discipline and other difficult but valuable lessons in life. By the end of my time there, I felt that I was strong enough to walk out a lifestyle of faith on my own and help others in their journeys with the Lord.

WHERE IS HE NOW?

Responding to God’s call, Peter moved to Israel with his family in 1987. There he co-founded Kehilat HaCarmel, an Israeli Messianic congregation, and became the director of the Or HaCarmel Ministry Center, located on Mt. Carmel in northern Israel. The vision of this ministry is to build the local, indigenous believing community by reaching out to Jews and Arabs, serving the poor, giving refuge to women and children and helping to transform the lives of those with addictions.

Peter’s international teaching ministry has impacted many around the world with an understanding of God’s heart and purposes for Israel. He is the author of God’s Tsunami: Understanding Israel and End-time Prophecy, My Father’s Business: Guidelines for Ministry in the Marketplace and Culture of the Kingdom.

Peter overlooking the Jezreel Valley where Megiddo (Armageddon) is located

He says, “Be ready to do whatever the Lord says to you. Launch out when you are young and trust Him. If you are married, pray together about every major decision, and do not make your move until you both are in agreement with God. Your gift from God will make a way for you, and He will cause all things to work together for good when you love Him and respond in faith to His call and purpose.”

To learn more about Peter and his ministry, visit

carmelcongregation.org.il,

mountcarmelsom.com,

godstsunami.com

cultureofthekingdom.com.

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Resurrection

By Gordon Lindsay

This is very likely the last article written by Gordon Lindsay before the Lord called him home in April 1973, first published in the April 1974 issue of Christ For The Nations magazine.

“‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

Over 4,000 years ago, Job asked the question, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14). Fortunately, he was able to find the answer, as in Job 19:25-27 he says, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the Earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

Of all the religions of the world, only Christianity dares to offer the hope of resurrection.

AT THE EMPTY TOMB

Not long ago, I stood at the empty tomb in Jerusalem. I have never gone there without a feeling of deep emotion, realizing that death that had been defeated. Over the world there are billions of graves, marking the universality of death, but this tomb is empty! Only one Man was able to meet death and make it bow, cause it to flee in terror!

Yet for a short time, death claimed victory even there. Up above that tomb, less than a hundred yards   away, stands Mount Calvary. Jesus took the place of a man and hung on a rugged cross between Earth and Heaven. In my mind, I can envision the events that took place there.

I see Him in His agony while the women and His frightened mother Mary look on, shaken with grief and sorrow. I hear Him say to the thief crucified beside Him, who asked the Lord to remember him in His kingdom, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” I hear Him say, “It is finished,” completing the plan of salvation.

I see the body of Christ taken from the cross, wrapped in grave clothes and placed in the cold tomb. Soon a great stone is rolled against the tomb, and soldiers who were appointed to watch over it file into the garden. The disciples are bewildered and discouraged. They are now hiding for their lives, fearful that the Sanhedrin will perhaps give them treatment as Jesus received.

THE RESURRECTION

All is still at the tomb as the hours pass. But God’s clock is ticking away. One day, two days, three. In the dead of night, Heaven’s clock suddenly strikes the hour! The lighting of God flashes! An angel comes from heaven, rolls back the stone and sits upon it! Those guarding the tomb witness the quaking and fall to the ground as dead. Recovering, they rise to their feet and flee from that place. The tomb is now empty. The grave clothes lie there as if the person they had enfolded evaporated through them.

Soon, as the day begins to break, the women are drawing near the tomb to complete the act of preparing the body for its long residence. They are conversing one with another in subdued tones, “Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?” As it comes into view, the women simultaneously utter a cry of surprise. “The stone is rolled away!” Then they perceive an angelic being sitting on the stone, who informs them, “He is not here, for He is risen. Come see the place where the Lord lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples…”

Upon hearing the astounding news, Peter and John rush to the garden to see what has happened. John, who is faster than Peter, arrives first, sees the open tomb, but does not enter. Peter, lumbering on behind, reaches the tomb, but does not pause in his stride until he is inside. They both find the tomb empty.

When the other disciples hear about what has happened, they dare not believe the report, fearing they will be disappointed once more. Meanwhile, the Lord appears to Peter, who remembers too well how he denied his Master. We can only imagine the tears and the heartbroken confession he must make as he falls at the Master’s feet. Gently, the Lord has him stand to his feet as He reassures His penitent disciple.

That night Jesus appears to all the disciples, except for Thomas, who is absent. Then He appears several times at different places. And finally, on the last day, He leads them out to Mount Olivet and gives them the Great Commission as found in Mark 16:15-18: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The world evangelism that followed that command can only be explained by that one word – RESURRECTION! The apostles have seen Him dead and buried, but now they see Him alive again! Under the inspiration of this great event, they go everywhere, preaching the Word and making disciples.

Today, we too have heard this glorious message. Once again, the cry of Pilate, who gave Christ over to crucifixion, goes forth to every person living on the earth: “What then will you do with Jesus which is called the Christ?” To accept Him means to receive life. He says, “Because I live, you shall live also.” May God grant that everyone who reads these words be ready to meet Him when we see Him face to face on the coming day of the Great Resurrection.

 

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CFN Foundational Pillars: Integrity

By Dennis Lindsay and Missy Lindsay

WHAT IS YOUR RULER FOR MEASURING A CHRISTIAN’S GREATNESS?

MOM—HOW CRAZY CAN YOU BE?

I remember one weekend before Christmas, when I was about 12, I went shopping with Mom at a large department store, where she purchased a number of presents. The following week, Mom read in the Dallas newspaper that a robbery had taken place where we had been shopping. The manager made an appeal to customers, who had made purchases on the day of the robbery, to write another check to cover their purchases.

Mom looked at her checkbook and the receipts, realizing that her purchases were made on the day of the robbery. She wrote another check and mailed it to the department store. I thought, “Why would Mom do such a foolish thing because there was no way she would ever be accused.” However, I eventually learned that integrity is the same in the dark as it is in the light.

Much later in life, the IRS personally audited Mom, questioning her annual tax return because she had virtually given away her entire year ’s salary to charitable causes, living only on her Social Security. After several months of government scrutiny, Mom was exonerated from all suspicion of misrepresentation.

MY DAUGHTER MISSY’S MEMORY

“One of the great memories I have of Grandmother was when she called me over to her apartment to pray a blessing of impartation over me—she spoke of integrity. She said, ‘We pray, Lord, that you will set an example through her of her keeping her word. Let her word be her bond, so when she makes appointments, Lord, help her to steadfastly keep them.’ Since then I have always sought to keep my word, sometimes to a fault. I love what King David says about integrity. ’He who swears to his own hurt and does not change it.’ Integrity never changes. Grandmother wrote, on a yellow piece of lined paper, the very last words my father would ever hear from her, “Son, leave a legacy that no man can contest.” In other words, live your life above reproach. ‘For a good name is to be more desired than great wealth. Favor is better than silver or gold’” (Proverbs 22:1).

HOW DO YOU MEASURE A CHRISTIAN’S GREATNESS?

Is greatness based on a miracle ministry, with signs and wonders following, or is it dependent on those who lead large, prosperous Christian organizations, or those who have worldwide TV networks?

When we witness one who is anointed with power, authority and the gifts of the supernatural in operation, we tend to think that is all it takes. Jesus reminds us, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe” (John 4:48). The bottom line is greatness in God’s eyes is not just based on being one who performs miracles.

JESUS PROVIDES THE RULER FOR GREATNESS

In Matthew 7:20, Christ winds up His Sermon on the Mount by warning individuals about being caught up in the “glory” of the miracle workers, calling them false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing. He then gives us the “RULER” for discerning who is great and who is phony — “. . . by their fruits you shall know them.” He didn’t say, “Look for great signs, wonders, miracles or the spectacular.” He simply said that men are to be judged by who they are, not what they do. “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign . . . ” (Matthew 12:39).

This does not diminish the miracles of God or the gifts of the Spirit. However, the Bible never says we are to gauge a man’s spirituality, his greatness or sincerity by these power gifts. Miracles can be mimicked; gifts can be imitated. History is filled with these cases. Integrity and the fruit of the Spirit can never be imitated. The fruit crowds out all selfish ambition. Gifts are external, but fruit is internal. The basic test for any ministry is not the gifts that are in operation, but the character of the individual and the fruit in their life.

BE FRUITFUL

Five times God tells us to be fruitful in John l5:2, 4, 5, 8 and 16, with the last verse saying, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.” Fruitfulness here means character; furthermore, the seed comes from the fruit—not the breadth of the ministry, but the depth of the ministry.

HOW TO BE FRUITFUL

There are two basic principles for growing fruit in one’s life that are outlined in John 15. First, abiding in the vine — staying in the Word. There has to be a reciprocal relationship. The vine is dependent on the fruit, and the fruit is dependent upon the vine. Second, there must be pruning. This develops good fruit and is accomplished by obeying the Word of God. Discipline is better known as pruning. If we do not prune or discipline ourselves, then God will help us (Psalm 119:67, 71).

WHAT KIND OF A LEADER IS GOD SEEKING?

God seeks leaders with godly character. There must not be compromise. I’ve learned that there are three essential elements for becoming a great spiritual leader: Intelligence, Energy and Integrity. If you don’t have integrity, the other two will strangle you. Success is based solely on God’s assignment for you.

Gifts of the supernatural are not given because of one’s character, maturity or experience. Gifts are given because of one’s faith. There must be a balance between integrity and the gifts — without integrity it’s just a matter of time before you sink. “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall” (Proverbs 10:9).

A CFNI PILLAR:  INTEGRITY

Dad and Mom taught us many lessons about integrity from the Word of God. My dad founded the ministry of Christ For The Nations on the principles of integrity. Dad’s integrity was that of promoting other ministries, rather than his own. He gave the platform to others, becoming the megaphone of their messages and miracles in the monthly magazine he published, The Voice of Healing, now The Voice.

As one secular author, David Edwin Harrell, Jr., in his book All Things Are Possible, describes,

“Lindsay was particularly wary of those evangelists who seemed to have an inordinate ambition to magnify themselves and those who seemed to hope to amass money for personal comfort. Lindsay clearly saw and certainly expressed more openly than any other man the destructive and divisive excesses in the movement.”

Integrity was the key factor in Dad’s influence on my life — not wealth, fame or power, but the Word of God and obedience to His will. He treated others with dignity and respect, no matter their gender, color or culture. His life was a life of integrity and fruit of the Spirit. This is the legacy he left to his family, to the Christ For The Nations ministry and to the world.

 

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God’s Plans Are Bigger

(the story of Manami Braga da Silva)

By Maria Erokhina

Manami (Mana) was born and raised in the beautiful Japanese city of Toyama. Growing up in a pastor’s home, she faced the challenges of the environment where Christians (who constitute less than 1 percent of the population) are criticized and deal with strong spiritual opposition. These family and societal pressures often cause believers to refrain from consistent involvement in church and ministry. Mana, her parents and four sisters know what it’s like to be faithful to the Lord in a culture bound by traditions, consumed by materialism and lacking a moral compass.

Mana heard about Jesus from her parents, but she never experienced the true joy of having a relationship with Him. Her heart still carried the pain from the trials she had gone through. After high school, she worked for three years in order to save money to study at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, becoming a CFNI student in 2012.

Talking about her CFNI experience, she says, “My time at the school was just incredible. The Lord touched me deeply there. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without CFNI. For me, it was the beginning of everything.”

Mana and her CFNI friends

At CFNI Mana met wonderful friends who supported and encouraged her, but most importantly, she received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and her heart began to heal. Her family and the people around her noticed the changes God had made in her during her season at CFNI. She graduated from the Global Missions and Children and Family majors in 2014.

After CFNI, Mana joined the staff of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries in Tokyo, Japan. She worked with American missionaries, held Bible studies at different university campuses, helped with translation, and organized parties and events for students to have fellowship together. Every summer, they would host several short-term missionary teams who served at different churches and shared the Gospel with Japanese youth. During her time in Tokyo, Mana also taught English, both in a language school and as a private tutor.

Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, Tokyo, Japan

The transition from Dallas to Tokyo was not easy for Mana; it was difficult to come back to an atmosphere so shockingly different from the friendly Christian environment at CFNI. There were many obstacles that she had to face. She was struggling with loneliness and asking the Lord to bless her with a man that she would spend her life with. “To be honest, waiting was quite challenging for me,” she confesses, “Sometimes, I thought that I would never meet my husband. In Japan, where the percentage of Christians is very low, many Christian ladies end up getting married to unbelievers. I didn’t want to compromise; therefore, I was praying for a miracle.”

In August 2015, while visiting her family in Toyama, Mana asked her father: “I need God’s special blessing for marriage. Not a regular blessing, but a special one. Will you pray for me?” After his prayer, Mana’s heart started to race, and she knew in her spirit that she would meet her future husband soon. In response to Mana’s faith, God sent her the answer from the opposite side of the world.

Tiago Braga da Silva, a young man from Portugal, had always been fascinated by Japan and its culture and was looking for an opportunity to serve there. He arrived in Tokyo nine days after Mana’s father prayed for a special blessing on her. He was there to help build a community center in a city that had been severely affected by the tsunami of 2011. When Mana met him, she knew in her spirit that he would be her future husband. They became really good friends, started a serious relationship and then Tiago proposed to her in January of the next year. She said yes to the miracle that God had sent her. The couple was married on May 14, 2016 in Portugal, where Mana has moved and currently resides. Mana says, “I’m so happy that I patiently waited for the best man that God was preparing for me.”

Tiago and Mana’s wedding

Tiago and Mana are enjoying their marriage and serve in their local international church. “Portugal is a beautiful and peaceful country, with good weather and great food. I am still adjusting to the new environment, language and culture. With the support of my husband and our families, I am getting used to my new life. Every day, I want to count God’s blessings as I am reminded of this scripture: ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” she says (Jeremiah 29:11).

Tiago and Mana trust God with their future and choose to be thankful for each day. Mana says, “I give thanks to our Lord, who is the loving Director of our lives. Sometimes make our plans, but God’s plans are beyond our expectations. Praying and waiting are some of the hardest things we can do, but it’s so worth it.”

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God Still Changes Lives

By Stephen Samuel

Is there a place on Earth that fosters the presence of God? Is there a place where Jesus still appears? Is there a summer camp that can change the heart of a troubled youth? At Christ For The Nations, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “YES!” In this article, Stephen Samuel shares his testimony of an encounter with Jesus at Youth For The Nations summer camp (YFN), showing the impact of providing a place for God to move and transform lives.

A Family Crisis

My family moved to the USA from South India in the 1980s. My brother and I learned English quickly, but it took us years to adapt to a drastically different culture. That reality hit me sharply while attending public school. I was the poorest, shortest and shyest kid in my class, so I quickly became an object of ridicule, and most of my classmates avoided me as if I had a communicable disease.

At that time, my little sister Peace was born. She suffered from many health problems and fought hard for her life. We enjoyed her laughs, her cute smile and celebrated her victories in many medical battles. However, the doctors’ predictions were not promising, and our only hope was God healing her.

One day, when I was eight years old, my mother ’s piercing scream woke me up early in the morning. I jolted out of my bunk bed, and my brother and I rushed into her room. We found her wailing with grief as Dad hung up the phone. Trembling, we heard the devastating news that our 3-year-old little sister had died a few moments earlier. The four of us knelt around my parents’ bed and did the only thing we knew to do. We prayed. We pleaded. We cried. Then we hurriedly dressed and rushed to the hospital.

When I walked into the hospital room, I saw Peace. I tried to convince myself that she was only asleep. I placed my little fingers on her cold forehead and was struck with the realization that she was gone. I cried all the tears that I had on the two-hour drive back home; the wells of sorrow erupted deep within me. I prayed to the only One Who could save my sister ’s life, but He did not answer.

A week later, I was back in school. I walked up the long stairway toward my class. I didn’t dare lift up my head; it seemed like everybody was staring at me. The teacher met me at the door. She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry, Stephen.” That simple act of kindness was too much for me. I turned and rushed down the hallway into the boy’s bathroom. Crouched in the corner, I cried bitterly, asking the questions that come with every tragedy: “What kind of God would allow this to happen to me? Wasn’t He supposed to keep us from evil?”

Slowly, time muted the anguish, but my wound grew deeper and evolved from grief to anger. There was a deep rage seething inside of me toward one person — God. I was broken and feared relationships. I was afraid to be hurt again and resolved never to open my heart. My solitude consumed me for years. I dressed in dark colors and spoke very little. I struggled at school; I felt like I didn’t measure up to my classmates.

The harshness of racism in our community only affirmed the pain in my heart. We would often find our front yard littered with trash — beer bottles, fast food remnants, dirty diapers and other filthy things. I had no idea why people would do that to us. Then a neighbor told me, “It’s because ya’ll ain’t white.” I also saw church people do malicious things to my parents, who were pastors. Church splits, betrayals, blatant manipulation . . . time after time these incidents were killing the little hope I had of happiness.

My dad was a hard worker, and from an early age my brother and I were buried in work. From studying to cutting grass, to menial chores around the house or church, I worked hard to keep my mind busy. In my free time, I would find a dark corner in my room and simply sit there pondering the great sorrow within me. Suicide became a common thought. My parents, themselves burdened with the loss of a child and feeling the weight of poverty and the responsibility of running a church, noticed that something was wrong and tried to help me as much as they could. But it wasn’t enough. None of us knew what to do.

The Week That Changed Everything

In 1994, I turned 16. That summer, a small youth group invited me to a camp called Youth For The Nations. There were cute girls in that youth group, and that was the only reason I agreed to join them, never realizing that this one week would transform my life.

After arriving on the campus of Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, the first activity was the evening worship service. The speaker that night was Greg Johnson, a man I had never heard of before, but I was pretty sure he was going to preach one of a thousand sermons that I had already heard. So I proceeded to do what I normally did during church — daydream, count the squares on the tiled ceiling, and ask myself, “Why am I here?”

Then Greg said something that captured my attention: “Listen to me, some of you have been fighting suicide, you have fought God, and you are angry with Him.” He went on to fully describe the depression and anger in my soul. I gazed at him critically, resisting his words. I thought, “He doesn’t know what I have gone through!”

“But God sees you,” Greg replied as if reading my mind. Then he called everyone who wanted to “surrender to Jesus” to come forward. I had heard that call a hundred times before. I didn’t move. Greg extended the call again. Not really understanding what I was doing or why, I slowly made my way to the front. When I reached the platform, I called out for the first time in years, “Jesus, if You really want me, I have nothing to give to You.”

With that confession, I knelt down under a heavy weight of dark oppression. That moment, I felt my heart’s pain intensifying. The loss, the betrayal, the wounds . . . all those negative feelings were overpowering. Then, suddenly, a powerful sensation of heat, like a blanket, fell on my back. The weight of the darkness dissipated under an unfamiliar healing touch, and I slowly lifted my head to find that I was bowing at the feet of Jesus.

“Stephen,” He said, “Before you were formed in your mother ’s womb, I called you and ordained you a prophet to the nation. Follow Me.” In that moment, He dispelled every shadow of fear. My body began to tremble, and tears poured down my face for what seemed like hours. I realized that the Jesus standing in front of me was not the distant, indifferent god that I had so bitterly accused in my thoughts. When I saw Him, I knew that He was everything I’d ever needed. When I rose up from that place of prayer, I felt alive again, as if I had awakened from years of hopelessness. The horrible season of pain and fear ended, and a new journey began as I stepped out of the darkness and into His light.

Where Is He Now?

Stephen has a heart for missions that was planted in him at YFN. In addition to leading numerous mission trips overseas, he serves as a Campus Pastor with Chi Alpha Ministries at Lamar University and is the Missions Director at Cathedral Church in Beaumont, Texas. Over the years, he has brought many teens to YFN to experience the same life-changing presence of God that transformed him.

To  learn more  about CFNI’s summer youth camps, go to youthforthenations.com.

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We’re Responsible For Killing Our Own Giants

By Randy Bozarth

This article was originally published in the July 1998 issue of Christ For The Nations magazine.

There is a popular saying: “Wherever you go … there you are!” It means that wherever you go, you still have to face yourself. There is a subtle disease in the body of Christ today—a victim mentality which says, “I can’t do this because something stands in my way. I can’t do this because this person is in my way. I could do better if this person would help me. I could be more of a conqueror if I could just get over this mountain or get over this situation in my life.” The victim mentality has slipped into the Church. We blame everybody else for our discomfort or our lack of happiness. But we’re responsible for killing our own giants.

When we have faith in God, we have faith for the impossible; no mountain will be too big for us. And faith is not something we can catch; it’s something we have to realize in our own lives. How was it that David became a giant killer? David’s own words were, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37).

There’s a restlessness in the Body of Christ today – a restlessness which is built upon people looking to man. But faith comes through a personal experience and a relationship with God. We have a fast-food mentality in the body of Christ. If someone can’t provide it quickly enough, then we become disappointed. No pastor or Bible teacher can give us faith. We have to wrestle with faith in our own lives. We have to come to grips with what we believe. No three-point message, no tape or book can impart faith either.

When Martha thought that Jesus was late in His attendance to Lazarus, “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God?’” (John 11:40). Faith will cause you to cheer on others. “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.” Man is always working with God. “Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you’” (verse 41). Jesus was full of thanksgiving. We’ve lost our thankfulness in the body of Christ.

“Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!”‘ (verse 43). There is authority when we have faith—a belief that when we pray, we will hear from God and see Him respond. There’s an authority when we speak. “And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. And Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go”‘ (verse 44). Even though we’re saved and filled with the Spirit, we are not productive until we are loosed! There’s a loosening of our spirit that happens when we begin to embrace faith as a way of life.

Jesus commanded and called Lazarus forward, but when he came forth, he was still bound. There has to be a freeing in our spirits, and only faith can do that. There’s a responsibility on our part. Because we live in a victim culture, we can easily develop a victim mentality. We too often look to others to help us get free. The world gives no hope, but the believer who believes that Jesus is still able to restore and resurrect that which is dead will see the glory of God. “Jesus said…‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 9:23).

It is imperative that you and I believe God to overcome the giants hindering our walk of faith or keeping us from knowing God. There are several giants that rob us of our faith.

CYNICISM

The first giant is cynicism. This is faultfinding or a sneering disbelief in sincerity. Ours is a generation of cynics. People have a doubtful and disrespectful view of things in general. Even Christians are cynical. Listen to what you say, and listen to what others say. We can never walk in faith and do what God has called us to if we have a cynical spirit. It becomes a giant if we allow it to control us. If we are going to step out with boldness and take advantage of the opportunities that are before us, we have to slay the giant of cynicism.

DOUBT

The second giant that we must slay if we’re going to step into a life of victory is doubt. We have to embrace the implanted Word, which is able to save our souls (James 1:21). We have to decide to grow up. Being born again by the Spirit of God is a gift (Ephesians 2:8, 9), but to grow and mature is a choice. Doubt means to waver – to be undecided. The spirit of doubt is birthed in constant criticism of decisions that others make. Doubt is not a one-time event; it’s a stronghold!

SKEPTICISM

The third giant is skepticism. There have been so many hucksters and rip-off artists in the last few years that believers have grown weary of even trying to believe that anything could be good or right or real. The enemy wants to steal our faith through skepticism. But we have to protect our faith. We must guard our hearts, or we’ll become cynical, doubtful or skeptical.

UNCERTAINTY

The fourth giant is uncertainty – the inability to find something secure on which to place our faith. We are easily defeated and find uneasiness when God doesn’t answer prayer. Soon legitimate questions turn to confusion, and we are no longer certain whether God wants to bless or judge us, love or discipline us, help or deal with us. It’s our faith that will carry us into our God-given future.

DISCOURAGEMENT

The fifth giant is discouragement. Discouragement comes when the mountains we are seeking to move won’t budge. We ask the Lord to help us with a difficult habit, but it is still there. Disappointment is real. There will always be people in our lives who disappoint us. That’s not a negative confession; that’s the truth. But faith overcomes disappointment.

Faith is the only thing that God has given us that will help us to be overcomers—the only thing that can deal with discouragement, doubt and cynicism. In 1 Samuel, the Amorites had invaded Ziklag. They burned it and took the women and children captive. David and his men wept until they could weep no more. “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). Faith – something that was already there – rose up on the inside of David, and he strengthened himself in the Lord. There’s a time to allow faith to grow in our lives, where we learn to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. We move beyond our feelings, beyond our situation into faith.

APATHY

The sixth giant is apathy. Believers are often unwilling to get involved. Apathy sets in when we begin to be cynical and skeptical, full of disbelief and doubt. There’s no desire to go out of our way or suffer personal expense to see the Kingdom advanced. That’s what is happening in the Body of Christ today. Christians complain, “I’m not getting fed.” It’s primarily our responsibility to feed ourselves. If we want to be overcomers, we need to get alone with God and build our faith in God! Otherwise, we will go back around the mountain and face the same giant, the same issue, over again.

Begin to slay the giants of cynicism, doubt, skepticism, uncertainty, discouragement and apathy one by one, and watch as Lazarus comes forth. Those things that have been choking and holding us back will begin to be unwrapped. We’ll find the joy we’ve been looking for, and we’ll have a personal revival. Faith is the answer…and it is already inside all of us.

Randy Bozarth, June 17, 1949 – March 11, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       

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