Tag Archives: prayer

What Just Happened with the SWAT Team?

20 May

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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.

 

God Myth: God Listens to All Prayers

18 Jul

People sure do take God for granted. Millions of people have decided that when they get to a certain life milestone, they’ll finally turn to God and religion. There are no guarantees that we will ever make it to such a milestone. God loves us but He doesn’t fall for insincerity or out-and-out fakeness. He doesn’t listen to every prayer, either. Keep in mind that we are made in His image. Is there anyone in your life you wouldn’t give the time of day to because they lost your trust? Well, God doesn’t just honor every prayer uttered or answer every call. This may be a shock but it’s true.

Phone no answer

Psalm 66:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart,

The Lord will not hear.

 

Isaiah 59:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;

And your sins have hidden His face from you,

So that He will not hear.

God is light and there is no darkness in Him. He’s a glass half full kind of God. I feel compelled to defend him here, even as I reveal that prayers aren’t always getting to His ears, since He sometimes refuses to listen.

Just myth-busting, since sometimes people make assumptions based on things that aren’t actually in the Bible. My goal is to reveal what seems to be a hidden truth and to inspire others to open the Good Book.

If there is anyone you want to have an ear with, it’s God. Nobody loves you more. As we can see here, there are behaviors that shut off our prayers. This is not something any of us should be okay with, if we have an inkling what’s good for us.

 

Unfettered Asking

24 Mar

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(Photo by  Petr Kratochvil)

How great would it be to have a loving Dad who shared our life’s vision and came alongside as we journeyed to supply everything we needed so that it could be fulfilled? Well, news flash, if you are a Christian, we already have that! Christianity has become so watered down in the U.S., the church at large has been satisfied to substitute the glorious power of Almighty God for a worldly church infiltrated by churchgoers who don’t even want to get into the spiritual side of things.

What do you need? If you are walking on God’s path, all you need to do is ask. God can literally do more than we could ever dream or imagine, and He is our heavenly Father. Just as loving parents here on earth will do all they can and should for their children, God does for his own.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout the generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Nehemiah had been praying and fasting about Jerusalem, because the gates had been torn down. It’s no accident that he worked for the king. When the king asked what he could do to help, Nehemiah breathed a quick prayer and literally asked for everything needed to rebuild the wall and gates and even to travel through various provinces on the way there. The king granted his request in full! This king wasn’t even a believer in Jehovah God. (Nehemiah 1:1-8)

There are many more examples in the Bible of people of faith asking for big things and getting them.

If you’ve been boxed in with worry, I encourage you to build up your faith and believe God for all that concerns you. Go way outside the box and ask big. If all of us Christians individually would do this, the world would sit up and take notice of Jesus with a much greater level of interest. Many more souls would no doubt be saved.

 

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. 

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.

God Formed a New Ear on a Grown Woman

3 May

Maddie

Have you ever thought about the way life begins anew, with a fetus growing into a little one with hands, feet, and everything else?  It’s sort of mind-blowing, isn’t it?  Well, I discovered that God forms new creatures even outside of the womb.  The thing is, He answered prayers and sort of changed me into a new person as a result of a desperate plea for help.

If you read my last post, you know that I’ve been guilty of behaving badly when moving.  I moved this week, and my youngest daughter helped me.  She had pretty much dreaded being with me in my “moving mode.”  But instead of me getting all edgy and sharp, I was relaxed and generous and sweet and loving.  We actually enjoyed our hard work, and we worked as well together as two people possibly can.

Maddie said, on several occasions, that we were a good team and the move couldn’t have gone any more smoothly than it did.  She appreciated the Starbucks coffees I bought her and the lunch and the general willingness to bend over backwards for her because she was working like a mule for me.

But it was a miracle that I acted appropriately.  How did God do that?  I have a track record of allowing worries to affect me in high stress moves, though normally I’m a person who refuses to worry for more than a few minutes, consciously, anyway.  Faith is all about remembering that God has us in the palms of his hands.  He doesn’t cough and look away, not even for one millisecond.

I know what it is that’s bothering me during these moves.  I’ve had some really bad experiences in which movers went so far as to scare me with threatening behavior.  Don’t want to go into all that, but I ended up fearing what may happen and how I may be overcharged.

Everything in my life fits as part of God’s plan for my life.  There aren’t any particular days or events in which I need to take up the mantle of worry and stress.  Since I believe that all things are working together for my good, I can behave like a sincere follower of Jesus Christ at all times of the day and night.  And when it was that this sank in well enough to turn my behavior completely around is a mystery, like when God fashions an eyeball.