In my 33+ years as a Christian leader, I noticed most of my emotional and spiritual growth have come during times of intense pain and challenges to my leadership. While most of us would love to grow merely from the accumulation of information, the truth is that we need to experience revelation in order for the knowledge to transform our inner being. That is why I often tell people: We cannot grow from only attending Bible studies and saying prayers; we must live these studies and prayers out in our lives so we can realize the growth!
Ever since Adam and Eve were alienated from God the Father in the Garden of Eden, an orphan spirit has permeated the earth causing untold damage! (By “orphan” I am referring to a sense of abandonment, loneliness, alienation, and isolation.) Almost immediately after the fall in Eden, the fruit of this orphan spirit resulted in jealousy culminating in Cain murdering his brother Abel because God the Father didn’t receive his offering. To make matters worse in contemporary society with the breakup of the nuclear family large amounts of people are not only alienated from God but are brought up without the loving care and security of their biological fathers.
Text: Matthew 5:4
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
For many years I wondered what this verse meant. I used to think that God wants us to feel bad for all the sin in the world and walk around depressed or sad all day. But now I believe this verse has to do with the need for us to fully face and deal with those things that hurt us. Only those who fully enter into this process of grieving over wrongs done to them, or for sin, will ever be able to process their pain to the point where they can be comforted by God.
In this article, I am using the term “religion” to refer to man-made effort that utilizes works to please God. It is very easy to mistake being religious for having a relationship with God. All religions in the world are based on religion which is a man-made attempt to reach God. However, Christianity is supposed to involve having a genuine relationship with God (2 Cor. 13:14).
The following is a chapter from Joseph Mattera’s latest book “Travail to Prevail: A Key to Experiencing the Heart of God”.
When I came to Christ in January of 1978, I was the kind of person that could read the bible for many hours, but I had a hard [difficult] time praying for more than a couple of minutes.
All that changed in June of 1978 when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Within a few months I was able to pray for a long time without getting bored.
Text: Job 37:6-7 (ESV)
This week there was a blizzard in New York City that dropped 20 inches of snow. Both the commissioner of the NYC Sanitation Department and the mayor of the city took huge hits to their reputations because, as of the writing of this article (three days after the storm hit) many of the streets still have not been plowed! This is so scandalous that some in the New York City Council are also thinking about having hearings to investigate why this happened.
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