THOUSANDS OF CONTESTANTS have competed to conqueror seemingly impossible obstacles to claim NBC's American Ninja Warrior title. Johnathan Morin, a 2008 Rhema graduate and youth pastor, is one of those competitors. Never did Johnathan imagine God would give him such a platform to share the Gospel.
Johnathan grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. In high school, he dreamed of playing college football. As a star varsity defensive end, he spent hours at the gym lifting weights to strengthen his upper and lower body. On the field, he competed hard. College recruiters were impressed with his athleticism and tenacity. One Big South school offered him a full-ride athletic scholarship. Johnathan was living the dream.
Over a school break, Johnathan visited some friends in Pennsylvania. There he attended a church service and God began to speak to his heart. "You're going to be in ministry," the Lord told him. "I want you to say no to college football. I want you to say no to the scholarship."
Johnathan was frustrated. He couldn't understand why God would tell him to turn down something he had worked so hard to obtain. All his coaches, friends, and teachers were on board for him to play college ball. He wrestled with the decision. But he knew the Lord had only good plans for his life, even if he couldn't see the full picture. His parents, both devoted Christians, had graduated from Rhema Bible Training College in 1979. And he had always sensed a call upon his life.
"Fine," Johnathan said in surrender. "I'll do it. I'm all in." His coaches and friends thought he was crazy to turn down a full scholarship. But Johnathan wanted God's plan more than his own reputation. He chose to follow Christ.
After graduating from high school in 2002, Johnathan spent a few years working in his uncle's church. In 2006 he stepped out in faith, packed his bags, and traveled to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, to attend Rhema Bible Training College.
// Craig W. Hagin
THERE ARE ALL KINDS of phobias today. Some common fears are walking across a bridge, being in a high place, and being in an enclosed space (claustrophobia). Unfortunately, far too many Christians are filled with fear.
Second Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (NKJV). If God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, it should be obvious that fear comes from the devil.
As Christians, we should never allow fear into our lives. If we're fearful of something, we're giving place to the devil in that area. And if we're fearful, it's because we really don't know our God. We don't know how much He loves us—or that He is big enough and strong enough to take care of everything for us.
If we're in a situation where we don't know what to do, fear is not the correct response. God never wants us to panic. But He doesn't want us to try and figure out what to do either. He wants us to trust Him.
What Fear Is
In looking up the definition of fear, some people go to the Greek and Hebrew. Me, I went to a thesaurus.
Synonyms of fear include "anxiety, despair, dismay, doubt, dread, panic, suspicion, uneasiness," and "worry."* These are things we experience when we're fearful.
// Brenda Thomas
HAVE YOU EVER considered that the first four letters of the word testimony spell t-e-s-t? You can't have a testimony without passing a test. The great news for believers is that every test we face is an open book test—all the answers are found in the Bible! There isn't anything we face in life that Jesus has not already given us the ability to conquer and triumph over.
One of my favorite scripture passages is Second Corinthians 2:14—"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." How often does God cause us to triumph? Always! In the Amplified Bible Classic Edition, that same verse says, "But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ's victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere." God leads us where? Into triumph.
That verse didn't say that God leads us out into a dry, barren place. It didn't say that He leads us into traps, snares, and plots of the devil so Satan can beat up on us. No! God always leads us where? Into triumph. Into victory. How often does He cause us to triumph? Always!
Always is a great word. Sometimes it helps us to get the full impact of a word by looking at its definition. Two dictionary definitions of always are "at every instance"1 and "for all time."2 I like that! Jesus said, "For all time I'm going to cause you to triumph. For all time you are a trophy of My grace and goodness."
Isn't that good? We can always count on God. He is faithful and reliable. And He always brings us through to victory!
Empowered by the Spirit
RHEMA'S REACH circles the globe. That truth was never clearer than at Winter Bible Seminar & Rhema Worldwide Homecoming 2016. The Rhema family from across the U.S. and around the world gathered in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in February for a week of encouragement, instruction, and fellowship.
Key themes were:
• In these end times, God's Word is the only safe ground.
• We must take our places in prayer.
• The earth's harvest fields are ripe and much work remains.
Healings were wrought, hearts were strengthened, and thousands of believers left empowered by the Spirit to do what God has called them to do. Here are highlights.
// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
LAST MONTH I asked you a thought provoking question. Are you a pessimist or an optimist? I want to continue on the same subject this month. Do you see a glass with liquid in it as half full or half empty? When giving directions, do you describe a traffic light as a red or green light? Isn't it interesting that many people automatically go to the negative description?
If you have been depressed, lost your joy, or have been grumpy to those around you, I challenge you to change your focus. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines focus as: "to concentrate attention or effort." I want to encourage you to focus on positive things every day.
When I am tempted to become negative about my circumstances, I focus on the Apostle Paul. If anyone had a right to develop a negative attitude about life, Paul did. He was put in prison, whipped five times with 39 lashes, beaten three times with rods, and stoned once. He was shipwrecked three times and spent a night and a day adrift at sea.