Do you celebrate Christmas?

In the midst of chaos, there is HOPE…
There is a reason to celebrate Christmas!

Towards Excellence wishes you Merry Christmas and a very fruitful New Year!

 

Journey to Jesus: How to Read the Bible

The following Bible study workshop led by Anne Graham Lotz is courtesy of AnGel Ministries.

This free, online Bible study workshop is designed to lead you on a journey through Scripture to a fresh encounter with Jesus. It can be used for individual or group study. The workshop presents the same 3-question Bible study method that Anne teaches in the workshop session of Just Give Me Jesus revivals.

There are two videos. In Part 1, the Instruction video, Anne explains her 3-Question method of Bible study. In Part 2, the Interactive video, you can be part of a group that is learning to apply what they have learned in Part 1.

Part 1: Instruction on How to Study Your Bible:

 

Part 2: Interactive Bible Study Workshop:

 

Use the lessons you have learned from watching the above videos and apply them to your own Journey to Jesus!

Featured Resources:

  • Directions for the “3 Question” Method – download
  • Bible Study sample worksheet  – download
  • Blank worksheet for “3 Question” Method  – download

 

Note: Spanish version of this Bible Study Workshop is available here!

Copyright © 2016 Anne Graham Lotz (AnGeL Ministries) Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved http://www.annegrahamlotz.org

Trick or Treat! Are you Ready?

“Prior to October 31, in the western world, with great eagerness, shops, entertainment centers, restaurants, shopping centers and even schools are getting ready to celebrate appropriately the so-called Halloween.”

 

20161030_131414A few hours before the big celebration, where the renowned phrase “Trick or Treat?” has especially captivated thousands of children, precisely millions of children, adolescents and adults in several countries around the world are getting ready to celebrate, “innocently”, the “party of death.”

And I will not delve into the historical part and the origin of this celebration, because it has already been sufficiently researched and written about it. In fact, at the bottom of this article, I put into consideration a couple of resources for those interested in learning more in detail about this “innocent celebration.”

Prior to October 31, in the western world, with great eagerness, shops, entertainment centers, restaurants, shopping centers and even schools are getting ready to celebrate “appropriately” the so-called Halloween.
Then I wonder and I extend this question to all my readers, Is Halloween a party that we must celebrate, especially if we identify ourselves as followers of Christ or clearly, as Christians?

And to answer this, one must know its story (below / suggested resources) and analyze it from the perspective of the Bible.

For this purpose, I will briefly share at least three important aspects:

1. Halloween, a commercial party
In October 2015, Money reported that Americans spent USD 6.9 billion in

Halloween, an innocent party?

Halloween, an innocent party?

total on Halloween parties.[1] All this amount includes candy, costumes for children and adults, even pet costumes.

Perhaps as Christians, should not we think more responsibly in the “stewardship of the resources we have”? How is it possible that we waste so much money on irrelevant activities like these? Should not we invest all this money on more important causes and for instance, more aligned with our social responsibility?

We must not forget that we are all simple stewards of the resources and assets that God has given us while we are in this world.

Now, do not get me wrong! We all have the right to have fun and enjoy with family and friends. But, knowing the origin of this celebration, do you think it is wise to pursue and follow these customs?

2. Halloween –or party of death, a pagan celebration
20161030_132844According to an article published in History.com, “Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. Celts believed that on the night before the new year [November 1], the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future.” [2]

Against this, what does the Scripture tell us?, 10 “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…” (Deuteronomy 18:10 -12)

If the origins of Halloween promote pagan customs like these and clearly enters the spiritual side of darkness, Should Christians participate in such celebrations? I believe that the Scripture is self-explanatory.

3. A celebration innocently dangerous and diabolic

October 31 is not only a customs, masks and sweets celebration, it is

Let us protect our children!

Let us protect our children!

tragically a celebration of diabolic rituals during which, animals and even children are sacrificed. These days I became acquainted with the testimony of Beth, who through her blog bravely confesses, “I cannot even say how many Halloweens I was forced to be involved in rituals on Halloween… I don’t think any person can truly fathom the reality and the evil of a satanic ritual…”[3]

If such actions are the outcome of the so popular Halloween each year, do we still want to participate in this “innocent party”? God, our creator, specifically tells us in His Word, 11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11).
And this is exactly what this blog intends to do -to expose the works of the biggest enemy of soul of the human beings, Satan. Certainly, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; but Jesus has come so we all may have life and life to the full.” (John 10:10).

Therefore, I invite you all to analyze more deeply this issue and decide for yourselves whether it is right that as followers of Jesus or clearly Christians, we should play along the game of “trick or treat” and be or not part of this dark celebration disguised as light and color.

“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”       (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Recommended Sources:

. Passion for Truth /  Should Christians celebrate any version of Halloween?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJtXWUPVwtY&list=PL17h3jSzhSTPid1w6lAi-cLD5cV_Tkike

Sources:

(1)  http://time.com/money/4069887/halloween-spending-costumes-candy/

(2) http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

(3) http://www.theothersideofdarkness.com/i-was-abused-in-a-satanic-halloween-ritual/

 

 

Greatness Starts with Small Beginnings

“Our sincere words and our honest attitudes will impact the life of a child forever.”

 

Throughout my journeys, this principle has become a reality. And in my encounter with the youngest children of various communities, I have been able to testify that wit, intelligence and creativity are a natural part of the human being, regardless of their ethnic group or origin.

Dany dusted off an old camera and started to dream of the magic world of photography!

Dany dusted off an old camera and started to dream of the magic world of photography!

Sometimes having a conversation with a child can often be more difficult than with an adult. That eagerness to learn more through countless questions – some are difficult to answer, by the way – is what allows children to expand their world, to grow, to develop an extraordinary intellect.

Of course, as we know, not all the children have these opportunities, many of them are limited and they come across major hurdles that hinder them to thrive in their learning and eventually become adults with great skills.

The environment of poverty and extreme poverty in which many children live around the world, is the biggest obstacle they face. An environment that represents not only the lack of financial resources and all that it entails, but especially the lack of a healthy and motivating atmosphere, an atmosphere that may push them to grow and explore a wider world, full of opportunities, the opportunities that their parents certainly, did not have.

However, and although this reality is the mark of countless communities, it is so rewarding to come

This little girl´s curiosity will surely help her to make her dreams come true

This little girl´s curiosity will surely help her to make her dreams come true

across little kids whose wit, intelligence and creativity still has much potential, which fortunately, has not yet been cut short. Yes! A lot of potential, for those who have the chance to interact with them and their families, we are instruments of transformation and we contribute, so that one day they will reach their full potential and make evident their greatness that already exists in them.

How? Very easy! Our sincere words and our honest attitudes will impact the life of a child forever. Wess Stafford, former CEO of Compassion International, states it this way: “The spirit of a little child is a lot like wet cement. When a child is young it takes little effort to make an impression that can last a lifetime.”

Sebas, a rebellious boy for some; for me, a clever boy who needs guidance and motivation in life

Sebas, a rebellious boy for some; for me, a clever boy who needs guidance and motivation in life

 

 

Let us remember! Our tongue has the power of life and death, to build and destroy… let us use it to sow life, and life in abundance. The next time you find a child, regardless of either their origin or their condition, speak to them words of life and encourage them to pursue their dreams through hard work, with honesty and passion. There is surely greatness in the heart of every little child!

 

 

Photography:  Cecilia Yépez & courtesy of Tim Neeves.

With Wings to Fly [Con alas pa´ volar]

“We all have a new opportunity. A healthy family represents a healthy nation.”

Katherine Palma & Fabio Nieves, protagonists

Katherine Palma & Fabio Nieves, protagonists

 

“Love never fails” is the phrase that identifies the contents of the new Ecuadorian film production “With Wings to Fly” [Con alas pa´ volar].

A dream come true is what the creators of this dramatic comedy genre work feel. After two years of hard work, Executive Producer Byron Liger and Director Alex Jácome along with a select group of producers and actors are now sharing with the Ecuadorian community this feature film, whose main purpose is to reach the heart of families, especially those who are experiencing such critical situations as separation or even divorce and as a consequence, their children are the ones who suffer most.

Current rates of divorce in the world are alarming. Just a few examples are 61% in Spain, 56% in Cuba, 53% in the United States, 27% in Panama, 20% in Ecuador and 36% in South Korea.[1] These rates are troubling and do not even take into account statistics regarding free unions which are also increasing. All of this is a reflection of a broken society and of families in which there is no commitment and where children suffer from a lack of emotional stability.

With the star participation of well-known Ecuadorian artists such as 11-year-old Felipe Centeno, Fabio

Arturo Allen & Alex Jácome - Premiere in Quito

Arturo Allen & Alex Jácome – Premiere in Quito

Nieves and Katherine Palma, and producer, scriptwriter and Mexican actor Arturo Allen plus a large group of Ecuadorian actors, the storyline of this film develops through the lens of 11-year-old Tito dealing with his parents’ separation. He desperately seeks refuge in his teacher, Mr. González, who does not hesitate to give him opportune advice. Nevertheless, in the imagination of this small boy, and as Arturo Allen who plays the part of Mr. González says, “He begins to twist what the teacher tells him and he starts getting crazy and mischievous ideas in order to try to keep his parents together.”

Amidst laughter, tears and suspense, the message of this film basically highlights three marvelous non-negotiable principles: love is not a feeling, it is necessary to forgive and know that God can restore a person, and especially that He can restore families. In Byron Liger’s view: “We all have a new opportunity. A healthy family represents a healthy nation.”

FB_IMG_1471480717003

 

“With Wings to Fly” [Con alas pa´ volar] will be released in Ecuador on August 19 nationwide. There is much expectation within the country, and that is not all. Its producers have an even greater dream of taking this feature film to the big screen of Latin American theaters and beyond. This is a film that entertains and will make you laugh and cry all at the same time, but most importantly, it is a film whose message will penetrate your heart no matter what your marital state is. “With Wings to Fly” [Con alas pa´ volar] is full of inspiration, hope and a promise of transformation.

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://records.com/countries-with-the-highest-divorce-rates

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_demography

Let´s get ready! _God is Speaking — [Towards Excellence]

By Anne Graham Lotz …Blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. [Revelation 1:3] Do you long for revival? Not a tent meeting. Not a series of church meetings. But an outpouring of God’s Spirit that results in God’s people waking […]

a través de God is Speaking — Towards Excellence

God is Speaking

By Anne Graham Lotz

 

…Blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

[Revelation 1:3]

 

Do you long for revival? Not a tent meeting. Not a series of church meetings.

But an outpouring of God’s Spirit that results in God’s people waking up…to God! I do! And as I have prayerfully pondered what more I can do to work for revival, God has reminded me of what took place in the beginning. Genesis 1 relates that God’s Spirit hovered over planet earth, preparing and energizing it to receive God’s Word. Then every day God’s Word went forth, a change took place, until in the end God blessed it, said it was very good, and saw His own image reflected there in man whom He had created.

What has impressed me is that from the beginning, God has used the combination of the preparation of the Spirit, which in application for us is prayer, and His Word to bring about change. For the last eighteen months, AnGeL Ministries has been calling people to prayer through various online initiatives such as 777: An Urgent Call to Prayer; Mayday! Mayday! A Distress Call for Prayer; and most recently, 111: PrePrayer for the New Year. And this May my new book, The Daniel Prayer, was released, which not only challenges people to pray as Daniel did, but helps to lead them in prayer that moves Heaven and changes nations. Now, after all of this preparation of the Spirit, I would like to see what would happen if together we listened to the Word of God.

In the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles, when King Josiah rediscovered God’s Word and read it to the people, revival was the result. In Nehemiah 8, when God’s people returned to Jerusalem following their years of captivity in Babylon, Ezra read God’s Word to the people, and revival was the result. In Acts 2, after ten days of prayer in the upper room, the Spirit fell at Pentecost, Peter preached the Word, and 3000 people were saved!

In these days of chaos and confusion, hopelessness and helplessness, what would happen if everyone hit life’s pause button and made the time to listen to what God has to say? I want to find out.

So I am partnering with Faith Comes By Hearing in order to offer the audio of God’s Word in over 900 languages for one hour each day, for eight days, in the eighth month of August.

Please join me. Help pass the word to your family, friends, church, and online community. Catch the vision. Let’s not just long for revival. Let’s ignite revival!

God is speaking. Will you listen?

 

GodSpeaking(5x7)card_edited

 

Copyright © 2016 Anne Graham Lotz (AnGeL Ministries) Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved http://www.annegrahamlotz.org