Are You a Wounded Healer?

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Are You a Wounded Healer?   Wounded Healers God’s Secret Weapon:

Wounded Healers God’s Secret Weapon

Dear Friend,

It is clear that a new breed of weapon is about to emerge.  They are the wounded healers.  Who are these people?  Well, they do not have every hair in place or a clean record.  They are not the sanitized, prissy version of the Body of Christ.  They have messed up and then gotten back up.  Trampled and left for dead, God restored them! They have no image to protect or ego to wound.  They are the most dangerous people that Satan will ever face!

They gained all new appetites in the furnace of affliction. They do not need the glory and they eschew titles and awards.  Their unswerving passion is to show compassion and take prisoners of love.  You cannot get them to fight over doctrine because they have been to the Cross.  They know the Blood that bought and then brought them back to life.

They are like Peter at Pentecost.  Only a soul handed another chance after denying the Lord three times will understand the inner fire of a wounded healer.  Who could write such a dangerous song as Amazing Grace but John Newton whose plaque says “Once an infidel and libertine A servant of slaves in Africa, Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the Gospel which he had long laboured to destroy.

 You cannot find such zeal in religious do-gooders who never brave beyond ivied halls of respectability.  You will not find this flame in the bleachers where the cold souls sit and keep score but will never take the field.

Wounded healers do not boast of clean uniforms and of battles evaded, but of scars and gates of hell invaded.  They have no preaching pedigree but a song that sets the captive free.

We all know of the verse in Daniel 11:32 that says,” Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. “    What we tend to overlook is the verse that comes later that speaks of the wounded healers.  Daniel 11:35 says,” And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

 This is a word for you my friend!  Your attack is not to destroy you but to refine you!  Your rejection and your abandonment are not meant for shame but for purity.   It does not matter how your garments appear to Pharisees when they are white before God.

The most incredible news is this… though religious voices have disqualified you; your destiny is yet for an appointed time!   The door that God holds open stays open!

Now let us look at another aspect of the Wounded Healer.  They are able to reach the masses that the regular church cannot.  Therefore, they are the perfect weapon for this moment in the end of all things. If only these special ops believers could see who they are and lose their need for the approval of cookie cutter Christians then they will become God’s tractor beam for lost souls.

Getting rid of the fear of man was the principal prize that so many of you gained in adversity.   So many of you wrote to me about the horrific events of your life and in the face of everything else, it became so real, how much God meant everything and the approval of your judges meant nothing.  Truly, you shouted, “If God is for us, who can be against us!”

Many wrote of the life of power that rose out of the ashes of despair. They felt equipped to do more than ever. They felt useful and lethal!! AMEN!!    This has to be the purest meaning of  2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

 Look around you and you will see how a new generation of leader is coming to the fore.  They do not wait for committee approval.  They rent a school auditorium in a bad area and just start preaching.  They preach raw sermons with an open heart and crowds come from everywhere.

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Their frontline ministry is unlisted in the who’s who of the council of Churches but Jesus feels just fine showing up every time they meet! Look again and see others who carry “unlicensed weapons”.  They open their homes to youth.  They send out food, clothes and love in the most unconventional ways imaginable all with the smile of God.

Wounded healers may not wear denominational labels.  They do not schmooze in the right rooms but they carry the fight to where it matters the most.  They operate under direct orders of the King of Kings!

When you see one you will know them.  They will not judge you and no matter how far gone you feel they will see you through the lens of the Holy Spirit.  They will see you as you will look after your miracle has come.  You will feel welcome in their presence and you will look priceless in their eyes.  They do not view the sinner as a commodity but as kidnapped royalty.

Someone told me that a certain section of the church would never listen to me again.  I did the math, subtracted that group, and found that there were still another 240 million souls in the United States alone.  I fully intend to go after every one.

What about you?  What will you do with your adversity, pain and shame?  All I can do is tell you what I did.  At the lowest point of my life, God was waiting for me to make a choice.  My choice is to minister wherever the door opens and preach from now time on as if each message is my last.

Deciding to go on when you feel nothing but agony is the greatest victory that you will ever win.   Not caring who gets the credit will rip the lid off your limits.

What are you and I waiting for?  We have loved ones to snatch back!  We have miracles to unleash on lost souls.   There is a whole world out there that has never even heard of church fights or legalistic regulations.

When Elijah told the widow to go and get as many containers as she could and God would fill them with oil, she realized that the condition of the cans, bottle, pails, or pots was not important.  God put oil in all of them.   Wounded healers are not perfect containers, they are simply full of oil and that is all that truly matters.

God knows what he is doing.  Saul of Tarsus was the wounded healer of all of the twelve disciples.  He felt unworthy to be a disciple and said so in no uncertain terms.  Yet, he attributed his surpassing labor for Christ to a sense that he was a broken vessel.

Jesus showed another power of the wounded healer in Luke 7:44- 47 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.  You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.

Therefore, to all you wounded healers I say you will not get credit from the religious peanut gallery so you will have to be content with accomplishing more than any of them will for Christ and loving the Lord more than they can ever imagine.

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The worst attacks of Satan I have ever heard of are striking God’s people right now. Here is what you do.

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 The letters in my mail bag   lately have shaken me to my core. These are the most vicious attacks I have ever heard of.  More of you than ever are locked in the battle of your life.  With breathtaking suddenness, Satan has stripped people of everything but their soul.

Dear Friend,

I read your letters.  It is a cherished part of my ministry. Yes my prime directive is to “Preach the Gospel to this generation with ever increasing effectiveness”, but there is another urgent calling on my life.  I am called to our partners. You are an important part of my calling.

Our main intercessors have been involved with MMM for over 30 years! We rarely talk about it, but we have watched your children grow up, wept with you over your losses, fought for marriages and rejoiced in your victories.  We have helped some of you find a home church, a college for your kids and even jobs!

Some are surprised when I answer their letters, emails and phone calls personally.  As a matter of fact, as the ministry grew, I was advised many times to turn this part of my ministry over to others because I was so busy. Those that know me well know that I will never stop pastoring our partners.

Your letter is important because we can pray over your need.  They are just as important because they let me know how the enemy operates.  It is impossible to answer every letter.  This is why I work hard to make Fresh Fire a personal letter that answers the needs I read about in your prayer requests. Yes, Fresh Fire is a window to our work worldwide and a vital source of love gifts to win souls but to me it is so much more than that!

The letters in my mail bag lately have shaken me to my core. These are the most vicious attacks I have ever heard of.  More of you than ever are locked in the battle of your life.  With breathtaking suddenness, Satan has stripped people of everything but their soul.

I took your letters, my Bible and a deeply burdened heart to prayer.  I asked the Lord to open my understanding.  I asked Jesus to rise up and rebuke the devourer. What you are about to read emerged from that time of prayer.

When my understanding was opened I saw something strange. This new attack is like a dragon with three heads.  I want to warn you that you may see yourself in the portrait that I am about to paint.  Be prayerful over this letter. God wants to use it to identify your attack and to arm you to slay it.  This letter will not spell the end of attacks on you but it will give you the divine edge you need right now! Remember, these attacks are not reported by weak or carnal Christians, but by warriors of God on the front line!

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Here are the three heads of the dragon.  The first attack I see is like a poisonous bite, the second is like suffocating squeeze and the last is like claws tearing lives apart.  This is the trifecta of tribulation!

1. The serpent’s bite.  You feel toxic. Something has bitten you.  You feel that you are gradually losing control of your body and mind.  Your heart races and fearful images flood your mind. You reel under a cloud of confusion. You jump from one solution to another trying to get the upper hand but all the while feeling that something outside you has taken control of your life.  You are exhausted. The least demand of your day can drain you.  You find yourself alone and crying and unable to explain your emotions to even your closest friend.  The people you love are drifting away.  You are gripped with paralyzing feelings of dread.  You feel helpless to make important decisions. You sense disaster is just around the corner.

2. The serpent’s squeeze.  This attack is sudden and crippling. Something came out of nowhere and changed your life in an instant. Your crisis is mummifying you.  You want to run but you cannot move.  You want to scream but your voice is trapped within you.  This attack often strikes at a time when all is going well.  It feels as if everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and there is no way out.  You cannot breathe.  The point of this attack is panic.  The enemy wants you to do something rash.  The devil wants you to abandon your place in God.  He wants to do permanent damage.

3. The serpent’s claws:  This attack is designed to tear people apart.

For silly reasons, people take offense. Disagreements that should be settled easily escalate into name calling, abuse of power, and end in incurable breaches.  Marriages are breaking up over trivial matters.  Churches are splitting over inane issues.  Children are turning on their parents without provocation or prior history of problems. Friends who once walked together suddenly become worst enemies bent on each other’s destruction. A disgusting wave of believer on believer hatred is spreading.

Yes, these three shocking attacks are everywhere.  Not a day passes where I do not hear of each and everyone.  From all quarters I am getting desperate prayer requests.  People say, “Please pray I am so down I cannot get out of bed,” or “I am drowning in fear,” or “I do not know what is going on, friends and family are tearing each other apart!”

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There is not doubt that we must take drastic action!  We must not panic or cave into the trap of Satan.  We must not forget our God and the power of His word.  So please take a deep breath and listen to this strategy to neutralize your Satanic attack!

The word react kept coming back to me again and again.  The Holy Spirit kept saying, “Learn how to react to your attack.” Victory and defeat are not decided by what happens to me. I choose the result. It kept coming over and over…react, react, and react. Then it turned into REACT, REACT, and REACT!  Finally, it was R.E.A.C.T.   An acronym for: Remember Enforce Abandon Continue Train. Here is a 5 step strategy to stop these vicious new attacks and launch a withering counterattack!

Remember!  You must remember the amazing victories of your past and how you won those battles.  Psalm 20 “some trust in chariots but we will remember the Lord our God.”You must remember your God.  Nehemiah 4:14 says “remember the awesomeness of God and fight…”  You must remember who you are and what your future is. Abigail reminded David that he was a king and to judge himself against 1Sam:25:29 his future.  Finally Paul said, in Romans 8:18 “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us!”   The thing you want to do most now is to get relief from the pain of raging storm.  The devil would gladly give you peace.  You simply have to give up on what you were born to do.

Enforce! You must enforce the victory of the Cross on Satan! Things are not what they seem.  You know that Satan is the master of disguise.  If you leave it to Lucifer to define your reality defeat is certain. The devil relies on your weakness of mind to keep the lie going.  Our enemy kills through special effects.  Bending reality is his stock and trade. The goal of his smoke and mirrors is to get you to accept disaster.  He cannot kill you but he can get you to kill yourself through a fatal panic attack.  (insert Luke 21) It is up to you to impose reality on the evil one.  He must know that he cannot win. He must suffer the results of 2 Corin 10:4. You must put your foot where it rightfully belongs; on the small of his neck!  No matter how out of control your crisis feels the truth is that God is in control and you are His einforcer!

Abandon:  In every attack there is something you must abandon, something that you are holding onto that is actually holding onto you.  2Tim 2:24 (insert).  You may want something bad to happen to someone else.  You may be fantasizing about a destructive relationship.  You may be entertaining suicidal images.  You cannot hold these and gain victory.  Forgive your enemy; cut of the parasites, lighten your load so that you can attack with speed and clarity.  There may be someone that is no longer supposed to be in your life. As T.D. Jakes said, “their part of the story is over, let them go.”

Continue: You were doing something that forced the devil to attack you.  Some harbor the illusion that Satan will let up if we stop doing what riled him up in the first place.  The opposite is true.  You must redouble your efforts to do whatever you did that made Satan mad.  If you cave in, it will embolden him to do this to you again.  On the other hand, if you press on, it will show him that future attacks are futile.  The secret to your victory is to declare your intention to do more than you did before.  Look at Peter.  He was beaten for the healing of the man at the gate beautiful and ordered not to preach about Jesus.

What was his reaction? To pray for boldness to preach and for more miracles! Acts 4:29 “Lord Behold their threats and grant unto your servants boldness that we may preach your word while You stretch forth your hand to heal and let signs and wonders be done in the name of your holy Child Jesus.”

At the moment that you least want to you must get up and rage against the dragon.  He must understand that you are not going to back down, back up or back out of your marriage, ministry, family, career and your life.  Figure out what it is that you were doing that this dragon hated most.  Tell him you will to do it again, do it more and better do it than ever.  The humiliation that Satan hurled at me through the pastor’s lunch only forged a deeper determination to get workers to win souls.

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Train:  Yes, you will see victory.  However, victory is no time to let up. It is the scourge of our flesh that we do not like to get ready for future attacks.  Our flesh takes no thought for intense prayer or setting in place a strategy for future attacks.  George Barna said that the majority of pastors today preach motivational sermons but they do not teach strategy.  When Paul said in 2Cor 2:11 (insert) he was training the Corinthians to fight and to be ready for the next fight.

When General Patton said, “no amount of courage will avail against an educated bullet,” he was talking about the urgency of training.  Spirit-filled bravado is useless unless it is backed up by a life that is an educated bullet.

After every attack every believer needs to go through a debriefing! Now is the time to ask urgent questions. What did you learn from your last attack?  What were the mistakes and pitfalls you will avoid next time?  What weakness in me does the enemy use to get in and disrupt my life? What will I do now to keep friendships strong, my body healthy, my children safe, my marriage loving and my money secure against future assaults?

So here is the bottom-line.  You are not crazy.  Your attacks are vicious, intense, and completely unfair.  The essence of your crisis is supernatural. This is why your counterattack must be supernatural! These 5 steps are not human wisdom, or soothing psycho-gooblygook.  You can rest in the power of God and the Word of God for victory if you will REACT!!

UNDER THE GLARE: COMPROMISING BEFORE THE MEDIA AND THE CULTURE.

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By Mario Murillo

Thomas Jefferson said, “in matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

America has changed so fast that many believers wonder if they should change with the times.  Indeed, some of our most famous Pastors have stunned the faithful by saying that they now endorse gay marriage and openly state that the Bible is wrong about hell.

There is a phrase that echoes in my spirit, “either it is always true or it was never true.”  Truth has a stubborn way of staying the same.  Righteousness is timeless.  It does not flex, bend, or twist in the wind of modern thought.  Likewise, love is unchangeable:  full of mercy but it cannot rejoice in a lie.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be stripped of any part of its message if it is to impart eternal life. The central place of signs and wonders wrought by the Holy Spirit also does not change.  Jesus irrevocably welded miracles to the preaching of the Gospel when He said, “these signs will follow those who believe.”

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Either it was always true or it was never true. Here are examples of the timeless advice of the Bible for preachers today.

1. Integrity in the media:  Proverbs 25: 26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.   This warns Pastors who suddenly lose their moral compass under the hot lights of a talk show studio. You must quote the Bible and be quick to answer questions about the Cross, hell, sin, marriage and repentance.  America needs to hear the truth… you can be poison instead of healing if you betray  your calling!

2. Changing because of the success of compromise.  It is easy for a preacher to envy the wealth and prestige of secular celebrities and media pastors who have built empires in the name of God.  Psalm 73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

3. When you leave out truth from your sermon you are dooming the younger generation:  When the Psalmist realized how he was slipping because of envy he also saw that he could take down a generation with him.  Psalm 73:15 If I had said, “I will speak thus, “Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.

4. Don’t make any decision until you see the Glory of God in prayer where you will get a true perspective.  Psalm 73: 16 When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me—17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.

5.  Make sure your pulpit is selfless.  Preach what helps them not your career. Acts 20:20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.

Now some final advice for all of us:

Either it was always true or it was never true applies our hope:

Now some final advice for all of us:

If ever there were verses that were designed to encourage conviction and standing in times that screamed for panic or compromise it is these verses:

Psalm 62: 5-12  My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. 7 In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah 9 Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor. 10 Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. 11 God has spoken once, Twice I have heard this:That power belongs to God. 12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.

I SHALL NOT BE MOVED! Either it is always true or it was never true that He will heal us, protect us, guide us, restore us, and multiply our giving.    Honesty, integrity, fidelity, faithfulness and purity are always valid or they were never valid.  Those who move away from the demands of the Bible will also lose the mighty results of obedience.  Standing like a rock on our principles will release God’s best!

Ted Cruz Kneels in Prayer Outside the White House

Photo: Ted Cruz Kneels in Prayer Outside the White House

Here’s a shot of Sen. Ted Cruz praying in front of The White House yesterday.

No, he’s not praying that Barack Obama will overturn Obamacare and no, he’s not praying that he will occupy the presidency one day. Instead, he’s alongside Rev. Rob Schenck (from Faith and Action) and Rev. Frazier White (a Democrat and Obama supporter) praying for Saeed Abedini, who has been in an Iranian prison for one year. He is being persecuted for his faith to Jesus Christ.

Who says Ted Cruz isn’t bipartisan?

I have not only interviewed Ted Cruz many times, but I have spent time with him and his family. He is true Bible-believing Christian who is not ashamed of the Gospel. Of course the liberals don’t want to hear that nonsense. They’ll now be busy trying to figure out how to distort this picture in Adobe Photoshop.

Below are the words of Rev. Rob Schenck, the man who organized the prayer.

“In the image you see me at the center with my prayer stole as we intercede in Jesus’ name for our brother in Christ and imprisoned pastor, Saeed Abedini, who has suffered in an Iranian prison for one year because of his faithful witness to Christ. Kneeling with me on my left (the significance of the placement should be noted) is the U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a tea party Republican from Texas. Sen. Cruz just made wall-to-wall headlines for his 20+ hour filibuster opposing Obamacare, the President’s signature legislative achievement.

On my right (again, note the orientation) is Rev. Frazier White, a Democrat community organizer from my neighborhood of Capitol Hill, and a huge supporter of President Obama. At the moment the photo was taken, though, the politically polar opposite positions of the Senator and the Pastor were irrelevant.

We were bowed before the Holy, the Supernal, the highest Lord in the universe, and the One and Only Eternal King. Everything else: party labels, policy positions, job descriptions, accents, zip codes, skin color, filibusters and organizing, were all utterly and completely dwarfed. In that moment of prayer–especially for a fellow Christian, a persecuted believer, whose circumstances are for most us unimaginable–our political and cultural squabbles seemed petty.

Pastor White, Sen. Cruz, Rev. Pat Mahoney, Jordan and Anna Sekulow, myself, and so many others, were there in front of the White House to do the really and truly important business of crying out to God for one of our own that was suffering for his faith.

Family, Feelings, Finances

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Open Bathrooms and California’s War on Kids: A Daddy’s Perspective

Open Bathrooms and California’s War on Kids: A Daddy’s Perspective

 

This is not the sort of post I normally write, but I have a daughter. So, here goes. California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law yesterday establishing an open bathroom policy in the state’s public schools. This policy is the first in the nation to allow students to choose which bathroom they will use based on their gender identity. So, little boys who consider themselves transgender are now allowed to use the little girls’ room at school. I won’t get into the details of the law; you can read that at CNN. I’ve got more important things to say.
First, as a daddy, there is no way – let me say that again – no way! my little girl will ever – ever! – attend a school in which little boys, particularly of the adolescent variety, are given entry to the girls bathroom. No way. No how. No sir. Any father who allows his daughter to darken the doors of such a place is colluding with the powers that have abandoned their responsibility to protect children in favor of putting children at obvious risk.
Second, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there will soon be a significant escalation in the number of pubescent boys who are suddenly experiencing confusion about their gender identity and discovering, after all, that they themselves are transgender students. “Yes, yes,” Johnny will say, “I’m beginning to feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body. May I have the hall pass? I need to use the restroom.” We are fools, if we think boys who have no question about their gender identity will not abuse this law in order to take advantage of girls.
Third, given what I’ve just said, we must conclude that California has it out for its children. This law will not only create further confusion for students, it will also create situations in which kids will get hurt. And it comes from the halls of the state legislature. Make no mistake. California has codified it’s war on children.
Finally, I’m not really surprised by this, and you shouldn’t be either. You can tell a lot about a society by the way it treats its kids, and in this society we’ve been sacrificing children to the false gods of convenience and consequence-free sex for decades. We now have laws on the books that will make it easier and easier for children to inflict exceedingly significant (sexual) damage on one another. Truly, we have received the penalty for our error. We have been given over.
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Poll: Obama approval drops to 43%

CBS NEWS/ September 25, 2013, 6:30 PM

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Poll: Obama approval drops to 43%

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus

President Obama’s job approval rating is just 43 percent now, down slightly fromearlier this month and the lowest since March 2012. Forty-nine percent disapprove, the highest it has been in two years.

His approval rating among women has dropped since earlier in September, from 49 percent to 43 percent now.

Positive assessments of the president’s handling of the economy has also dropped five points in the last two weeks, to 41 percent now. Just 40 percent approve of his handling of foreign policy, while 49 percent disapprove – the highest disapproval he has ever received on this measure.

This poll finds an uptick in evaluations of President Obama’s handling of the situation in Syria since the announcement of a plan to eradicate Syria’s chemical weapons; still, a majority disapproves of that as well.

Personal evaluations of the president are also down. Thirty percent say he cares a lot about people like themselves – the lowest level measured since he took office.

Despite the other setbacks for the president in this poll, a majority of Americans (58 percent) see him as a strong leader; those views have remained consistent for a few years, but are substantially lower than in the early years of his presidency.

Congress and the President: Strengths and Weaknesses

In his dealings with Congress in general and on key issues, the president fares better. He receives credit from about half of Americans for reaching across the aisle and trying to work with Republicans in Congress – but that represents a drop from 60 percent in January 2012.

However, far fewer Americans see Republicans in Congress reciprocating. Just 23 percent say they are trying to work with the president, and 70 percent say they are not.

And on some key issues, the President holds an advantage over the Republicans in Congress; more say they trust him to handle the economy (47-33 percent), health care (45-40 percent) and the budget deficit (44-38 percent).

Also, the policies of the Republicans in Congress are widely viewed as favoring the interests of the rich (65 percent), while a quarter of Americans say the same for those of the Obama administration. A quarter also says the administration’s policies favor the middle class.

Views of Congress

Most Americans disapprove of the job both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are doing overall, but Republicans receive more criticism. Just 21 percent now approve, down from 25 percent over the summer. Approval ratings for the Democrats in Congress are also down by five points, to 31 percent.

After an uptick earlier this month, Congress’ job approval rating is about where it has been for the last few years – just 14 percent approve, and four in five disapprove.

Reducing the Deficit

Most Americans continue to seek a balanced approach to deficit reduction – both through tax increases and spending cuts. Sixty percent advocate a combined solution, compared to the 33 percent who think the deficit should be reduced by cuts in spending alone. Just 4 percent think taxes should be raised without a cut in spending.

Most Republicans (53 percent) want the deficit reduced with spending cuts alone, while most Democrats (77 percent) and independents (58 percent) want a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

Respondents were asked to choose what to cut from the largest items in the federal budget, and more Americans are far more willing to cut government spending in the military (49 percent), over Medicare (20 percent) or Social Security (14 percent). Cutting military spending is the top choice of Democrats (62 percent) and independents (50 percent), while Republicans slightly favor cuts in Medicare (33 percent) to cuts in the military (28 percent).

The Economy

As they have for over five years, Americans pick the economy and jobs as the most important problem facing the country today, far ahead of health care and the budget deficit.

Most Americans continue to have a negative view of the condition of the national economy. Nearly two thirds say the economy is bad, including nearly one in four who says it is very bad.

Twenty-nine percent of Americans think the economy is getting better, though nearly as many – 27 percent – think it is getting worse. Forty-four percent think it is about the same.

Direction of the Country

Amidst a struggling economy and the impending possibility of a government shutdown, the percentage of Americans who think the country is headed in the wrong direction has risen. Just 29 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction – down six points since July – while the percentage who says it is off on the wrong track has risen six points, from 60 percent in July to 66 percent today. The percentage who says the country is off on the wrong track is now the highest it has been in over a year.

Views of the Affordable Care Act are reflected in views on the direction of the country as a whole. While 54 percent of those who approve of the 2010 health care law think the country is headed in the right direction, an overwhelming 86 percent of those who disapprove of that law think the country is headed off on the wrong track.

The 2008 Bailout

Next week marks five years since the federal government “bailout” of the financial industry – formally, the Troubled Asset Relief Program – was passed amid the 2008 financial collapse. Looking back on it now, a majority of Americans (59 percent) still disapproves of government money having been used to rescue banks and financial firms.

At the time, Americans were also opposed; just three in 10 in an early-October 2008 poll approved of the relief package after it was passed. Americans doubted it would be effective, though many economists have called it necessary under the circumstances.

The measures were passed by Congress and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush. Today’s Republicans and tea party supporters, in particular, disapprove in retrospect, while Democrats are more mixed.

Looking back on 2008, Americans widely believe (79 percent) that more bankers and financial executives should have been prosecuted following the collapse.

The 2008 crisis wasn’t the first in U.S. history, and Americans expect there will be yet another banking crisis someday: almost eight in 10 think this is likely.

Today, Americans voice mixed confidence in another key economic institution, the Federal Reserve, and its ability to promote growth. Just under one-third express confidence in it, 38 percent have not much or no confidence, and another three in 10 don’t know enough about it to say.

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This poll was conducted by telephone from September 19-23, 2013 among 1,014 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News/The New York Times by Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.