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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.

 

Stevie McHugh, Come on Down!

22 Mar
runner-competing-in-race

The race is on! (Photo by Jean Beaufort)

Joseph’s story in Genesis tells of a man filled with a God-given dream of promotion. Before he became 2nd only to the Pharaoh in all the vast land of Egypt, he was enslaved by jealous brothers who loathed him. Then he acted with incredible integrity and yet was thrown in prison on false accusations. Finally the waiting was over. His number was up. He was called to the front, and he was ready for the fulfillment of the dream. Guess whose name has just been called, folks?

Although I’ve suffered nothing like what Joseph went through and my dreams aren’t nearly as lofty, Jesus has called me into the part of my life I’ve been looking forward to. Thank God for His grace, which is the desire and power to do His will. I’ve been living un-victoriously in the realm of health, and how hard is it to lose weight, especially when you’re no longer a spring chicken?

Here’s how Jesus spoke, which altogether has made me realize the time for action has come:

1-He opened my eyes to the need for Christians to rise up in the midst of a world spiraling downward and shine the light of Truth. In the U.S., political correctness targets Christianity and violently shuts the mouths of Bible-believers. We need to stop cooperating, and I do mean including me. The strategy God instilled in me was to “Be the Love of God” and be part of a movement that changes from complacency and worldliness to reaching out in love to actually help others as opposed to merely sitting on pews. (This revelation happened after reading a sermon by famous preacher Spurgeon, who pointed out how hard the devil works to silence the wonderful Good News. I mean, he has been diligent! Obscuring the most powerful force on earth is quite a feat, like hiding the sun. The love of God is that force.)

2-He whispered to me, “Take up thy bed and walk.”  This is a scripture about a lame man. He was being told to get up, pick up after himself, and walk. Okay. Same message for me. I’ve been hindered by all kinds of physical ailments, but recently God showed me I have more endurance than I’ve realized. I’m good to go. To me this meant: Get up in the mornings, make your bed, walk on the treadmill or take a brisk walk on the street for at least 30 minutes, take a shower, and then get to work, which is at my computer. (Get fit! Lose that extra poundage!)

3-I’ve been invited to participate in ministry with my writing. At the same time, I’ve begun volunteering at Houston Christian radio station KSBJ, where I’m connecting with a lot of amazing people. The message has been clear: Stevie, come on down to KSBJ! We need you whenever you can possibly come for prayer and other types of service.

4-I got a deadline for my God-writing project. Aubrie asked me to write her a devotion book so that she can learn about God. Last night, with no prompting of any kind from me, she mentioned that her goal is to read the Bible every day (but she wants to understand it – this I know). We were reading her challenging spelling words for the week, which prompted her statement. She’s waiting for me to provide her with these devotionals, and how could I possibly disappoint her? (It is currently about 7 a.m. Aubrie heard me proofreading this and said she needs to read her devotion that I write after school. I still need to write the first one, but it’s already outlined.)

There is actually more that I could say, but the point is my time of waiting is over. It’s like when Rocky was tapped for a major fight. I mean, it was really go time, no doubt about it. My life has that same motivating background music right now, angel rendition.

We are all prepared by God, we all wait, and we all have a calling. If you’re in a waiting time, just keep praising the Lord and believing in His faithfulness. If you’re going through a fiery trial, rejoice, God says! It means He has big plans for you, and it will be worth every millisecond of pain.

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:19 ESV

How to Be Happy When You’re Not Where You Want to Be

31 Mar

Selah, a fellow blogger, regularly posts gorgeous pictures of nature.  Today I literally wept as I looked at her images of the great outdoors.  A shot of their campground brought back a flood of delicious memories of childhood in which my daddy brought the family camping every summer at various locations across Texas.  Cousins or friends usually joined us, and the adventures were always awesome.

The desire of my heart is to live in the country and experience nature, but where has the good Lord placed me?  Directly in the heart of the fourth largest city in all of America!  This is literally the opposite of where my heart longs to be.

But don’t get the idea that this is a whining session.  I’m merely stating this fact in order to say that when we moved into our spacious new home, it was with me having decided that I would embrace city life.  I am purposely making it my own.

Before, I think I may have gone around town sort of gritting my teeth and/or holding my breath.  Now, I’ve opened my arms and heart wide to say, “This is where God has placed me, and I rejoice!”

We are members of the Houston Zoo and visit there frequently.

What a difference this decision has made.  My entire being is more relaxed, and the possibility of being an effective witness for Christ is no doubt ramped up.

My family is right here, and I’m sure that’s a great reason for God to have me in Houston.  So for now I will do what my daddy did.  I’ll bring the kids on major outdoor excursions every year, though I doubt we’ll camp the old-fashioned way (I don’t feel safe enough as a single woman in charge…armed with joy as my only weapon.)

A 2009 adventure -- a visit to Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas Hill Country.

 

Hebrews 11:8

New King James Version (NKJV)

Faithful Abraham

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

My Wait That Led to Prison

30 Mar

 

One of the reasons it takes devotion and courage to walk out the Christian life is because waiting is a big part of it.  (Who likes to wait?)  Well, I intentionally waited with patience this week on some pressing issues; by the grace of God, to be honest, it wasn’t even difficult.  Frankly, it has been a special time lately such as I haven’t experienced in a while, as though God’s hand is on me, helping me behave.

My patience this week paid off – all of the issues that were such a problem in my new home were amazingly resolved.  So I’m reminded that waiting really is an awesome thing, if you’re waiting for what God wants you to be patient for.

I once waited for 12 years for the opportunity to minister.  It’s what I wanted to do more than anything, but the good Lord had spoken to my heart that when my (now ex-) husband says it’s time to minister, that’s the same as God saying so.  The day arrived when, indeed, the ex told me I had his full support to go out and share the gospel wherever God opened doors.

God had been inspiring me to write songs ever since I became a Christian.  Somehow, in no time at all, I became a part of a prison ministry.  It was absolutely an amazing time.  I was part of a team of terrific people.  The other singers had far superior talent to mine, but I had a sincerity that seemed to touch hearts.  Not only that, but when I went into the prisons, I felt the love of God poured out through me like a gushing river.  Being a love conduit in prisons was a season that I consider the spiritual highlight of my life.

It wasn’t just the prisons; waiting those 12 years opened a lot of doors.  I prayed about my mediocre singing, asking God to make me more of a blessing in the prisons.  And He blessed me to write some rap songs which I performed, to the shock of inmates across Texas; and I became a huge hit.

Then out of nowhere, God blessed me with a television show ministry for youth, which was a deep desire of my heart.  It was offered at no charge, and God blessed that effort, too.

My waiting produced a whole heck of a lot of fruit during that period of my life.  It produced good results this week, too.

I think as Christians we’re always waiting for something, and that’s what keeps us moving forward in dependence upon God.  Is what you’re waiting for what God has in mind for you?  I think tomorrow I’ll confess here what I’ve been waiting for that God didn’t have in mind and about how now I have a new freedom for letting it go.

Philippians 3:20-21

New King James Version (NKJV)

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.