Archive | Faith RSS feed for this section

What Just Happened with the SWAT Team?

20 May

police-755410_1280

So, last week was Police Week, and I went to a Police Academy as a Prayer Volunteer with a Christian radio station. Approximately 900 children were there as well as all these different departments with the Houston Police Department. The bomb squad, two different helicopter squads, a lot of other departments, and the SWAT team were there.

Before going, I spent a day getting focused and prayed up. I didn’t watch TV other than the key parts of the Astros game and a few minutes of news. I prayed, sang worship songs, and asked God to use me. I fervently prayed that hearts would be prepared to encounter God. All the way there on the 50-minute drive, I prayed and worshipped.

Well, God did a mighty work. I had trouble figuring out how to put what happened into words when I tried to explain to one of my granddaughters the excitement of the time there. It all sounded wrong and I regretted saying anything.

Then God stepped in and told me exactly what happened. Thanks to somehow stumbling across a sermon by A. W Tozer on YouTube, I learned that it was all about the Holy Spirit. Instinctively, I had known there was nothing I could give as a Prayer Volunteer. It had to be God working through me. As a former minister in prisons as part of a team, I learned that when we all focus on God, the Holy Spirit does incredible things. We all operated as one, even though we didn’t even discuss a game plan. It was all God doing everything through us back then.

Back to the event–until two extra folks came toward the end, there were six of us there as part of the Prayer Volunteer team. Two people walked around with Buddy the Prayer Bear. A mother and daughter stayed at the radio station tent, and one was the supervisor. Then there was me, all chomping at the bit in the Spirit to pray for police officers and plant seeds of the gospel somehow with children.

The radio station had bracelets, magnets, and “business cards” with Buddy the Bear and the station’s radio ID to hand out to kids. I gave out hundreds one at a time while blessing the kids, telling them God loves them, and being genuine and focused on reaching souls for Jesus.

At the radio station tent, the supervisor, Ricky, shared with a few of us how he had a rough upbringing and first heard of God because the public school brought them to a church. We were putting information about finding God into the kid’s hands, and I realized these were public school children who I have such a burden for. I often pray that God would make a way for me to minister to school children.

Then there were prayers with police officers. It was such a powerful time. I’m behind the Blue all the way and recognize that police officers truly are good guys, with rare exception. They deserve our support!

The Holy Spirit was there! Praying was kept brief but I could tell it was the Holy Spirit guiding me as to how to pray. Everything I did was in pursuit of witnessing, and it included supervising a couple of teen girls as they waited in a long line for the bathroom while their entire group was far away watching a live demonstration of a police chase (the three of us missed the best part of all the demos).

The very last thing that happened before it was over was that I was in front of the SWAT team and almost all the kids suddenly ran off with their groups. The SWAT guy named Stilts had been writing autographs, and I joked about having nothing for him to write on. Then I had him sign my lanyard. He explained that Stilts is his SWAT team name and everyone has one.

The members of the SWAT team were like friendly giants, engaging me in conversation. They all signed my lanyard–Lurch, Spongebob, Gucci, and Moose, who told me Stilts was the guy in the famous picture who carried a woman and her baby to a boat during Hurricane Harvey.

Then I asked Moose if I could say a prayer for him and the department and he said sure. He held out his hand across the table, to hold my hand. I said a prayer and another of the guys joined in before we finished. They were just awesome about it and seemed as blessed as I felt. That fact really blessed me, too. It had been that way with every prayer.

So many seeds planted! So much love of God was spread around and many prayers prayed. It was an outpouring of God there through the Holy Spirit. But it wouldn’t have happened that way if I had gone in an attitude of self-sufficiency. I desperately sought God prior to going, and it made room for the Holy Spirit.

It’s more than all of that, though, I’ve waited for literally years to be used by God again in this way. God keeps showing me that the wait is over. I am to live the way I did before the event–every single day, and that’s what I’m striving to do and determined to do without fail, by the grace of God.

 

The Power of Moving in Faith

16 May

auschwitz-2559130_1920

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (a book and movie) is a riveting true story of a devoted Christian family in Haarlem, Netherlands, that helped many Jews to survive the Holocaust. What’s most incredible about what happened to Corrie is the way God’s light shone through unimaginable darkness. Starting with the German occupation of the Netherlands, their lives went from disturbing to difficult to excruciatingly painful to impossible to survive.

Although other family members ended up dying in concentration camps, Corrie survived, as did most of the Jews she and her family helped to feed and hide. What she went through was a triumphant expression of not only the existence of a loving God but also the supernatural power that comes with moving forward in faith.

On my own Christian journey, I’ve experienced that God can and does do the impossible, but His amazing acts happen in response to faith and obedience.

A stark example is what Abraham, the father of our faith, did. He waited a very long time for his miracle child of promise, Isaac. Then one day God clearly told him to go and sacrifice Isaac on a mountain. This is in Genesis 22:1-18. Abraham did not delay in obeying what the Lord told him to do. He literally believed God wanted him to kill his son but at the same time he knew God would bring his son back to life because of the promise.

He didn’t understand but he obeyed; and God stopped him from sacrificing his son, just as the knife was raised in the air. He provided a ram as a substitute sacrifice. And God’s promises to Abraham were fulfilled and are still being fulfilled. (Later, Jesus, God’s own Son, actually was the sacrifice paid for all of our sins.)

Do you want your life to be filled with wondrous acts of God? It can be! To make it happen: Live a God-focused life–put God first! Then cooperate as God leads you on what may seem to be a completely indirect path to the desires of your heart. He’s always up to something good! If you’ve been blessed to see a vision of what God has for you, don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s now up to you to make it happen. Steps of faith and trust that God will bring miracles to pass are the only ones that keep you on the path.

Anytime you find yourself having to do a very hard thing in order to live a life of faith, be encouraged! By obeying at such times, you advance the kingdom of God. You are getting closer to a time when life will be lived in a continuous stream of God’s power and favor to accomplish His wonderful purpose for your life. Nothing the world has to offer could ever begin to compare with the wonders of a life of faith.