Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

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.

 

Deeply Moved by the Music

24 May

Every time my heart has a question or a complaint that I’ve repented of, God always answers.  Seriously, in the decades that I’ve been a born-again Christian, the Creator has consistently revealed His presence.

I’ve struggled recently because I moved and had to move again.  Home is the most important place to me, as only God understands.  And I murmur about living in a big city when I long to live in the mountains encompassed by nature, a longing which makes my earthly dad seem near.  Well, through American Idol of all things, God has reached into my heart and given me unforgettable assurance that I’m in the right place and God will change my attitude so that I embrace my place.

Phillip Phillips

 

Phillip Phillips, our new American Idol, sang his single “Home” last night, and pretty much everyone who heard it was blown away, based on the crowd’s roar and reviews, etc.  And for me listening to it was a spiritual experience, which seemed strange at first.

But then I became familiar with the words.  The song was like a conversation with God in which He took my hand and leaned in close to whisper powerful words of reassurance.  The words of the song follow (I don’t know yet who the writer is):

Home

Hold on to me as you go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone.

Cuz I’m going to make this place your home.

Settle down.  It’ll all be clear.

Don’t pay no mind to the demons —

They fill you with fear.

The trouble, it might drag you down.

You get lost; you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone.

Cuz I’m going to make this place your home.

I’m gonna make this place your home.

Grace-Filled Moments, Like Manna From Heaven

23 May

My daughter Maddie initiated a new morning ritual today, and what a slice of heaven.  She comes over each day with SirCalvin, my youngest grandchild, who I babysit; and then I bring her to work a bit later.  Today our new tradition started in which we sing a worship song with the kids, read a scripture passage, and pray.  Logan prayed a sweet prayer this morning, asking God to help him be a good student next year in 3rd grade and also asking God to bless his awesome 2nd-grade teacher to have a great class next year.

Yesterday my oldest daughter, Nikki, sent me information about an inexpensive talk-to-type product.  I’ve already ordered it, and it will make it possible for me to write without having to use my arthritic fingers.  The cost was under $30!  Based on reviews, it’s bound to be an excellent tool that works very well.  That seems like a miracle blessing to me.

And last week I let go of a job that didn’t pay enough but supplied steady income, when I could press through to complete the work (lately I couldn’t).  I’m so thankful that God replaced what was lost with good pay and plenty of hours.  I wrote my first piece for this employer today, and he was pleased.  God is so good, to supply my needs like this. Oh, and to top it off, this person is literally a top nutritional expert.  I trust that everything I learn will sink in and help me form new personal eating and health habits.

And the loved one I mentioned in Sunday’s post, the one at the bottom of the barrel – I heard from her and she’s climbing her way back up.  Potentially good signs of progress are there.

One of the best moments of the day was after I told Maddie that I was worried I alienated my reading audience with yesterday’s blog post.  She hadn’t read it yet, but I told her about my analogy.  Maddie told me that not to say it was to be guilty of the thing I was writing about – not doing something Jesus-related because of fear of rejection.  Also said she needed the motivation to be bold in her faith, which my blog supplies.

It’s like there’s a pin prick of a hole in heaven, and it’s directly over me.  All this outpouring of grace is even more fun than catching snowflakes on my tongue.

A Car Wreck and Possibly Alienating Coordinating Analogy

22 May

Just as the toddlers got settled in the basket outside our car at Kroger, we heard a car crash nearby.  Looking in the direction of the noise, I witnessed an SUV crash into a white car parked on the far end of the parking lot and then skid around before finally stopping.  I pushed the kids in that direction to get the license plate of the car that was making all the trouble, in case the person decided to hit and run.  The guy whose car got smashed up walked up and was wondering why the heck his new car was crushed in on one side.  I gave him my card as a witness.  Some lady had sped through the parking lot and a truck hit her before the part of the crash that I saw.

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I don’t know what was going on with that lady, but what struck me was that the car that was way off on the end of the lot, supposedly safe from being dinged by other car doors, is the one that got badly damaged.  It got me to thinking about how all of our plans to “play it safe” are subject to fail.  And there’s one area where I’ve noticed all my Christian life that people play it safe, and that’s in choosing not to get overly enthusiastic about Jesus.

If you think about it, usually only preachers and missionaries live sacrificially and are sincerely head-over-heels for Jesus.  Not many everyday Christians can be accused of being more excited about Jesus than anything else.  Truth is, the overall “church in America” has more of the world in it than it does devotion to Jesus Christ.

Never will forget the deacon at a Baptist church who spoke up one Wednesday night at church during a Bible discussion.  He outright and unashamedly admitted that he chooses to please man rather than God.  As a person who has been lopsided about maintaining a God-focus, I can say it really does create friction in relationships.  The easy-going road that invites everyone to roll out their welcome mats is not the one which follows hard after God.

The way I see it is that people like that deacon play it safe like that white car at the end of the parking lot.  But in the end, they’re the ones that weren’t as wise as they thought.  There will be great reward in heaven for people who live for the things above rather than the things below.  And there will be great loss of reward for those who didn’t; talk about an inconvenient truth!  Even more inconvenient that having to deal with all the hassle of a wrecked vehicle.

Here’s my disclaimer: This post may sound a bit like I’m feeling spiritually superior, but I don’t mean to.  I’m so far from a perfect Christian it’s ridiculous, but no one who knows me can deny that I have a heart after God and obviously not after the world. 

Free-Falling into Cushy Faith

21 May
Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames

Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you sometimes freak out over concern that a chair won’t hold your weight?  If you do, you’re either a very rare person or you’re struggling with extreme obesity.  The fact is that most of us sit all of our weight in chairs every day without a second thought, and the furniture holds us up just fine.  I believe that this “chair” principle is a perfect example of how life is meant to be lived when our faith in Jesus is genuine.

My situation recently got very scary.  I actually had good reason to believe that I had a limited amount of time left in which I would be physically capable of using my hands to work on a keyboard.  Every job I’ve ever had involved typing either on a typewriter or a stenograph machine or both.  With my elbows also problematic and my hands in bad shape, how many jobs fit my capability?

So between the chronic pain and the descent of a loved one into the proverbial bottom of the barrel, life has been extremely intense and stressful.  My response at some point was to simply jump off of the cliff I was clinging to and into the arms of God.

I’ll tell you right now that it’s safe to leap into faith feet first.  Jesus caught me.  In fact, He was with me through the entire ordeal and never left me.  What was missing was my complete trust that I can rest in the Lord as comfortably as I rest my tucas in my favorite reading chair.

My hands have improved tremendously, and I have two new employers who, together, are prepared to keep me working as a writer full time for good pay.  Wow!  And praise the Lord, right?  My loved one is the subject of prayers every day, and I’m trusting and resting in the Lord regarding the outcome.

The Miracle God

20 May

Kids Nanna and the Bible Online Radio by Kids and the Bible | Blog Talk Radio.

Our next online Bible study is this afternoon at 5:30 CST.  Join us as we talk about Jesus, His miracles, and His desire for sincere followers.

 

Back From the Dark Side

20 May
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Jesus seems nearer as I read the new Testament through in a year. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where have I been?  Reserving my capacity for typing for my job.  My May 1st move was very tough on my health issues that affect my elbows and hands.  I could barely get any work done, and it just wasn’t right to neglect work in order to blog.  I still have to pace myself, but the intensity of the problem has vastly improved.

There’s a lot of technology available that types by speech, and I hope to use that someday, to take some of the pressure off of my hands.  Will that work, though?  Is it in my price range?  I don’t know.  So I’ve prepared a backup source of income; I’m an Avon representative.  Years ago I had success selling Avon — back when I lived in Wyoming.  It’s a great business opportunity, something I can vouch for by personal experience.  If my hands, heaven forbid, become gnarled, an Avon income will help!  Met some super-friendly ladies on my Avon “team.”  They helped me get pumped up, and I already have my website all set up:  www.yourAvon.com/stevie.

The kids and I are truly enjoying our new home, even though unpacking everything is creeping along at a snail’s pace because of my limitations.  Most of the apartment looks great, though.  Something about this new place of ours gives me the oddest sense of being back in my childhood home.  It’s pretty awesome.

There’s a lot to be thankful for.  I have an amazing new employer who needs lots to be written, and he believes in paying writers a good wage for their work.  Thank You, Lord!

My bedroom came complete with a three-way-mirror, and looking at myself full-length several times a day is serving as a great motivator to lose weight!  Not liking what I see.

The best thing that’s going on besides the joy the kids give me every day is my read-the-New-Testament-in-a-Year plan that I’m following through Bible Gateway.  It’s wonderful to start the day reading about Jesus.  I find myself meditating more on the miracles of God these days.

I’m able to blog again, which seems like another of God’s miracles.