Daily devotions


3 Important Church Trends in the Next 10 Years

- Ed Stetzer in Christianity Today - "Based on research, statistics, extrapolation, and (I hope) some insight, I notice 3 important trends continuing in the next 10 years.

Trend #1: The Hemorrhaging of Mainline Protestantism
This trend is hardly news—mainliners will tell you of this hemorrhaging and of their efforts to reverse it....

Trend #2: Continued Growth of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement
The second thing I think you’re going to continue to see is the continued growth of Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement. The Charismatics and Pentecostals have already won the worship war—most churches are now comfortable with what would be "Calvary Chapel" worship in 1980. They are in the process of winning the spiritual gifts debate concerning cessationism, a view which seems in decline in the next generation....

Trend #3: Networks will Explode in Number and Influence
Denominations still matter—and they actually, for example, do most of the church planting in North America. However, networks are growing in influence and impact....



Earthquake damage in KathmanduA magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal early on Saturday 25 April, devastating the capital region of Kathmandu. Early reports suggest that more than 3,400 people have died and communities and businesses have been destroyed. This is the worst earthquake to hit the area in 81 years.

The Salvation Army has been at work in Nepal since 2009 and is responding to the urgent needs - currently the provision of shelter and clean water. But we need your help.

International Salvation Army leader General André Cox encourages Salvationists and friends around the world to support this important appeal for funds: 'The Salvation Army is present, we are known, and we have a responsibility to step up and support the relief and rebuilding efforts.'

Read more HERE.


Poll: Israel is One of the World’s Least Religious Countries

The algemeiner:
"Perhaps it’s the Jewish state, but the state of Judaism in Israel might raise a few eyebrows: according to an international Gallup poll, Israel is now one of the world’s least religious countries.
Nearly two-thirds of the Israelis polled either described themselves as not religious, or convinced atheists. Fifty-seven percent of Israelis described themselves as non-religious, while 8% said they were convinced atheists. Just 30% described themselves as religious.
This makes Israel less religious than Japan (62%), Germany (59%), Switzerland (58%) and South Korea (55%). The Jewish state was neck-and-neck with the U.K. and the Netherlands, which both had a 66% non-religious population.
And it makes it far less religious than others in its neighborhood. Seventy-five percent of the population in the Palestinian Territories identified as religious. In the Middle East and North Africa, 82% of interviewees identified as religious...
...According to the Gallup poll, worldwide young people appear to be more religious than their elders. About 66% of people under 34 said they were religious, compared with other age groups."

Read more HERE.


'Some of My Best Men Are Women'

- Charisma Magazine - General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, is known to have said, "Some of my best men are women!"Isn't that an interesting quote spoken by one of the most powerful Christian leaders of the 19th century?

"Some of my best men are women!" Just let those profound words soak into your heart for a minute and then let me stretch you just a bit farther ...

I wonder if these words are not also in the heart and mind of God at this moment in history? I wonder if when the Father looks down from His bird's eye view of all that is happening on the earth today, if He turns to His Son seated on His right side and with a twinkle in His eye echoes the words of William Booth, "Some of my best men are women"! And, I wonder if the Holy Spirit, who is most certainly eavesdropping on the conversation, raises His fist in the air in complete agreement with the Father. I wonder."


"A betrayal of the Gospel"

What Martin Modéus is actually saying - Olof Edsinger
From FSAOF blog - Translation Sven Ljungholm

The discussions about biblical interpretations and viewpoints that have long been expressed within the Christian churches have in recent days also moved into the national press. Not totally unexpected, it is the (church's) perspective of homosexuality that has come into focus. We are many, of course, who’d wish that they rather talked about something of a more general concern, but we don’t choose the era in which we live, so unfortunately it’s just a matter of accepting the situation. Issues related to sex, relationships and marriage are, of course, also very important - both for society and for the individuals concerned with these issues.

On Monday Bishop Martin Modéus wrote a post in Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish Daily-pages) Opinion, where he went heavy handed in an attack on 22 Pentecostal pastors who on Friday spoke out on these issues in Dagen (Today – a Sweden’s large Christian daily). As a priest and bishop Modéus has many virtues, and his letters contain a good number of choice comments about the Christian faith’s message of love. But beyond this - what is it really that one of the Swedish Church's foremost representatives says? Let me give some examples of what I find is deeply problematic - if not dishonest.
Read more HERE


3 Ways to Discern God Is Moving You in a New Direction

- Glenn Bleakny in Charisma News - "There invariably will come a time in our spiritual journey when the Lord will solicit our cooperation in permitting Him to guide us in a new way. His preference is that we would sense His leading, fully cooperate and move in the new direction.
However, as is all too often the case, He must intervene in the affairs of our lives due to the fact that we are comfortable and entrenched in our present course of action.

To secure our attention and place us on the pathway God desires, there are strategies the He employs that are very effective. As much as we are not to be ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Cor. 2:11), we must be even more knowledgeable of the ways of the Lord (Ps. 25:4). Knowing God's ways will result in us experiencing His mighty acts (Ps. 103:7).

Here are three ways God works to move us in a new direction...."


‘I Met Messiah': New Website Shares Video Testimonies Of Jews Who Received Jesus

- From Prophesy News Watch - "A new website has been launched that shares the video testimonials of Jews in professional business who have all received Jesus as the Messiah.
Launched by Eitan Bar, a Messianic Jew himself, IMetMessiah.com is an evangelistic effort to speak to Jews curious about Jesus.
“As Jewish people, most of us grow up without considering whether or not Yeshua is the Messiah expected by our people for millennia,” he explains on the site. “Yet, something happened in our lives that changed each of us and caused us to rethink the usual Jewish views about Jesus.”
“We offer these stories to you and hope that your relationship with God will deepen through meeting our storytellers,” Bar says.
With over a dozen testimonials posted online and many more marked as forthcoming, IMetMessiah.com presents the testimonies of Mottel Baleson, now a messianic preacher in New Jersey, Michael Goldstone, the founder of Regency Lighting, Grant Berry, creator of Styli-Style Cosmetics, and others.
Berry said that as he moved to America from Israel and became successful in the beauty industry, he he still felt empty and depressed. However, a make-up artist that he began working with, named Maria, soon told him about Jesus. He then ventured on a spiritual journey as he opened up the New Testament and began reading.
Berry said that he tried to pray to God each night over a period of three weeks but felt like his prayers were bouncing off the ceiling.
“I was frustrated,” he recalled. “Here Maria was, this Christian girl that had a relationship with my God—the God of Abraham—and here I was, a Jew, trying to have a relationship with my God—the God of Abraham—and nothing. I was disconnected.”
Berry told her about his frustration with feeling that he was unable to reach God.
“I have been trying to tell you for six to eight months … You can’t have the Father without the Son,” Maria replied.
He immediately returned to his apartment where he cried out to God to show him if Jesus was really the Messiah. Berry said that he felt a rushing wind in his being and knew that God was speaking to Him. From that moment, he believed."


Kierkegaard: “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

Søren Kirkegaard
- Sven Ljungholm in FSAOF blog - "Soren Kierkegaard, the 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian, focused much of his work on religious themes such as faith in God and the institution of the Christian Church. The Lutheran Church was though an institution he strongly criticised for what he saw as the ‘empty formalities’ of the Church of Denmark. Kierkegaard, whose surname translates as ‘the church garden’, advocated instead that each person tremble seeking and working out their own salvation.
In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul, the church’s greatest missionary and principal author of the New Testament wrote to the Christ followers in Philippi; “What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning…. redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure..."

What to Do with the Dull Parts of Scripture

- Andrew Wilson in Christianity Today - "Even the building instructions and genealogies.

 I’m convinced the most boring parts of the Bible can teach us far more than we realize.

If we were to list the most tedious sections of Scripture, three types of passages would probably dominate. First would be the lists: genealogies, exile records, and census information. Second: purity laws, like those associated with the Book of Leviticus. The third type consists of descriptions of buildings, like the second half of Exodus, parts of Kings and Chronicles, and the end of Ezekiel. Many of us are exhausted by reading these sections, skimming them in our Bible reading plans and rarely expounding on them in our preaching and teaching.provide crucial teaching."


The Iran Deal and How Not To Buy a Middle Eastern Carpet

TIME - Michael B. Oren, Israel’s former Ambassador to the United States, is a Member of Israel’s Knesset from the Kulanu Party.

Want to purchase a carpet in the Middle East? If so, the first question the merchant will ask you is, “How much do you want to spend?” Seasoned buyers never answer. They know that whatever amount they cite will become the baseline for the negotiation. They understand that the merchant’s smiles, the many cups of tea he serves, his invitations to stroll along the riverbank, are all part of his selling tactic. So, too, are his protests — in response to any offer — of wounded pride. Veterans of Middle East carpet markets expect the give-and-take to be lengthy, even exhausting, but are always willing to leave the shop.

Chertoff: Iran Deal Worthless Without the Right Enforcement MechanismsISIS Defeat Must Be PoliticalObama, Castro Could Have Historic Encounter Amid Thaw NBC NewsHigh Winds Flip Truck As Twister Sweeps By NBC News'Like a Bomb Went Off': One Dead as Tornado Levels Illinois Town NBC News

The parameters agreement for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran is an ideal example of how not to buy a Middle Eastern carpet. In 2012, President Barack Obama declared that, “The deal we’ll accept is that they end their nuclear program” and “abide by the UN resolutions” demanding that Iran cease all uranium enrichment and dismantle its nuclear plants. The Security Council’s five permanent members plus Germany could have offered the lowest possible price as their final bid — take it or leave it. Iran would have had little choice but to sell the carpet.

Yet, in reaching the parameters agreement, international negotiators were worn down by the protracted talks. They were persuaded by Iran’s displays of warmth and earnestness, and accepted its claim that the nuclear program was a matter of national pride similar to America’s moon landing. Most damagingly, when asked by the Iranians “how much do you want to spend?” the P5+1 replied by recognizing the Islamic Republic’s right to enrich and to maintain its nuclear facilities. This became the new baseline and the only remaining questions were: How much enrichment and how many facilities? The haggling had scarcely begun and already the merchant profited....

Read more HERE.

The General´s Easter Message