Sunday, November 27, 2016

Is God Still God?

Is God still God when “He doesn’t answer our prayers”?

The short answer – yes!

But, since when do I use short answers?

When we pray, particularly when we pray for someone else, or over a situation involving someone else, they continue to have the freedom to choose; as do we.

They can choose to rebel against God, as can we. (Assuming what we were praying over them was included in the will of God.)

When we’re praying for someone else, the best way we can pray is for God to get a hold of their heart, for Him to reveal Himself to them in an undeniable way. But, instead, we often pray for them to make a choice in a matter that’s pleasing to us.

When they don’t comply, God gets the blame and often, we stop praying for them; we “give up on them”. Ouch!

We lose sight of our part in their heart softening toward God; they’re salvation or they’re deliverance, or whatever God is doing in their lives.

They’re left hanging and we become angry and bitter with the God of our salvation, the God Who loves us eternally, more than our human hearts can imagine. We’ll miss out on so many blessings while we’re stewing in our bitterness.

When we pray, our faith doesn’t disappear when things don’t go our way; that’s when faith is really tested.

God already knows your faith is plenty strong enough to hold on. Do you? Ah, yes, that’s who you’re proving it to. Each test of faith we rise above is showing us just how strong that mustard seed of faith, planted in our heart, really is.

Turn around. Run to Jesus. Right now.

It may involve tears.

It’ll definitely involve forgiveness, both giving and receiving.

Now is not the time to give up on prayer. Now is the time to seek God’s face all the more passionately. We’ve still got a lot of living to do, a lot of mountains to climb, a lot of joy to be expressed!

You’re in my heart, you’re in my prayers.

But, more importantly, God has not turned His back on you. Run to Him. Now.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

Monday, June 6, 2016

City Lights

Last night, as I find myself quite often, I was incredibly tired. A well-spent day led to a lazy evening. After I packed my husband’s lunch, I gazed out my kitchen window. The view of the well-lit expanse that sold us on this house never disappoints. I saw the city below me, glowing. The lights of each home or business twinkled as the wind blew the tree leaves in every backyard behind me.

The sight is captivating and brings a smile to my face every time I take a few minutes to enjoy it. Sadly, many nights I go to bed without appreciating the beauty around me. Weariness stakes it’s claim on my body and my mind, and I fall into bed, hoping I don’t wrestle with the cacophony of thoughts that will dance through my brain on my way to slumber.

Long ago, when we first moved into this house, I watched the city below me, flickering with life. There were fewer businesses, and perhaps not as many homes. A thought struck my mind so profoundly, that it continues echoing to this day: “If the lights in each home where the Name of Jesus isn’t clung to turned off, how dark would my city be?”

Every member of every family that doesn’t know Jesus is literally in darkness.

Just how dark is my city?

Though you may not have a view of the city lights from your back windows, how dark is your city?

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” – John 8:12 (KJV)

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” – John 9:5 (KJV)

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” – Matthew 5:14 (KJV)

As Jesus resides in us, we are the light of the world.

Again, I ask, how dark are our cities…….?

Paul prayed for and left instructions for those he led to Christ, and I believe, for us, as well.  In the book of Philippians we read, in part: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputing: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life…..” – Philippians 2:13-16 (KJV)

Rejoice! The time is now! Light your cities!

(The city lights pictured above are not those of my view. My camera can't do justice to night photos, this one came from

Sunday, March 27, 2016


“Answered prayers are all about one thing, us drawing closer to God.” – An enlightening line from the young man’s sermon tonight at Friendship Assembly of God here in Colorado Springs, Pastor Brad.

“We keep knocking, seeking and asking to keep maturing.” – Pastor Brad.

This young man says some really good stuff! And better yet, what he says makes me think. I love that!

God is looking for our faith, not the beauty of our prayed words. Are we trusting in the wording of our cries – or the God we’re calling out to?

Sometimes a thought crosses our mind that surprises us. Well, it happens to me, anyway.

In pondering the faith that fills my prayers (or should fill them), a prickly thought crept in: Am I looking forward to a day I’ll no longer need faith? Or to the day when my faith is all-consuming, abounding everywhere, always?

I savored the thought like a sip of old wine.

This would be the difference between looking at faith from the outside-in, as through a window at something we want to obtain vs. walking in that faith.

Our prayers can’t be uttered in faith when our lives are littered with sin. I wonder, what does God see when I pray without expectancy? Do I find myself in the same boat with the disciples when Jesus declared, “Oh ye of little faith…”

When I pray, “Heavenly Father, I want your peace, Your joy, Your power, Your presence…..” – How do I respond when He asks, “What will you do with it, Helen?”

Ouch! How would it feel to be praying and hear God call you out as a hypocrite? As the young preacher pointed out tonight, God isn’t afraid to speak plainly. Jesus instructed us not to pray like the hypocrites. As He taught us to pray, He was frank about those who prayed empty prayers for show.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others…” – Matthew 6:5 (NIV)

What do our prayers look like to God?

Another tantalizing line from Pastor Brad: “We’re praying because we know we’ve won!” I suppose too many of us are praying with hopes that we “win” – but the risen Christ is all the hope we need; we’re on the winning side!

Well, then what?

When God answers “this prayer” of yours – then what? For example, in response to a prayer for healing of some sort, “If I’m pain-free I can serve You better, Lord….”

Perhaps if we serve Him better, our pain will disappear. And by better, I mean, with a more open heart; willingly, not begrudgingly – with love. Maybe we need to walk out the “then what” as we pray…

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” –Mark 11:24 (NIV)

And to drive home the prayer of expectancy, Pastor Brad used this verse:
“But, meanwhile, also prepare a guest room for me, for I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.” – Philemon 1:22 (NKJV)

Roll a few of these tasty nuggets around in your head – then in your heart; ponder them with me. What are your thoughts on the matter?


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Desert Call

Jesus didn’t just wander into the wilderness, He was led there by the Spirit of God. It wasn’t a wrong turn.

Why do we run from our wilderness experiences as if landing there was a mistake?

Why are we owned by our circumstances when we’ve given ourselves to God?

What if you’re right where you’re supposed to be?

What if all the decisions you’ve made up to now were all taken into account before you made them? Any turns in the winding path through your life have already been orchestrated, making up for the escapades the enemy meant for your destruction. You’re still putting one foot in front of the other; you’re still drawing breath.

God is calling you. He’s leading you.

There’s an old anonymous quote that says, “Bidden or not, God is here.” Whether you’re excited about walking with God, or scared half to death that you can’t make such a commitment, God is here – with you every step of the way.

Ponder this, Jesus’ ministry days began after He came out of the wilderness. It was there in the dessert, alone with His heavenly Father, that He was equipped for the tasks ahead of Him. It was there He recognized the power of faith, both the faith He has in His Father, and the faith His Father had in Him. In that faith lay the secrets to His power.

In those dry spots, those hard places, those circumstances you don’t think you’ll make it through – reach up to heaven and tear through the fabric of time and space with the cries of your heart. God hears you.

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” – Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)

“The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” – Psalm 14:2 (NIV)

You are never closer to God than when you need Him. Don’t panic and run from God, use that same energy balled up in your gut, and instead, run TO Him. He’s right there – you can feel His breath on your face. Believe it! Call out to Him! He hasn’t placed His hands over His ears so He can’t hear you. He wants you to reach out to Him! Wait a moment longer, reach a little further, stretch yourself; put your whole heart into it.

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” – Isaiah 55:6 (NIV)

“This is what the LORD says to Israel: “See me and live…” – Amos 5:4 (NIV)

Let’s encourage one another. Let’s invite one another into the presence of God! We’re not alone. The people around us are hurting, too. They’re going through trials of their own. Reach out and bring them with you.

Take my hand. Say to your friend as was written in Zechariah 8:21 – “(…and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say,) ‘Let us go at once to entreat the LORD and see the LORD Almighty. I myself am going.’…”

To quote an old hymn, “He’s as close as the mention of His Name – Jesus.”

Rejoice! You’re meeting with the King! This is where you’ll gain the strength you’ve been looking for. Here is where you’ll embrace the power He has for you.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Peek Inside

(photo from
Now, looking back, I see I may have set out to do something without asking God if it was even something He wanted me to do. It seemed like the right thing to do. It was something I would do instinctively; surely, it would be easy enough to do.

However, I don't actually remember asking for God's input on the matter. You know, you don't ask God if you should stop at the next traffic light. If it's red, you stop without giving it a second thought.

Then, I heard God weigh in on the matter.

After wrestling with my version of failure and questioning everything remotely related to the issue at hand, and redundantly asking the input of others, I opened my heart up enough to listen.

God's 'still small voice' said, "That wasn't your assignment."

No explanation necessary.

Surely, He might have frowned at the look of astonishment that overtook my face. Like a teacher who's stubborn student just 'doesn't get it' no matter what teaching approach they use, He might also have wanted to roll His eyes. A lesser god could even have given up on me.

But, no. He's long-suffering. He's patient. And, no, He didn't bite off more than He could chew when He took on loving me and drawing me to Himself.

He didn't scratch His head and whisper to the rest of the Trinity, "What do we do with this one?"

He didn't scrap His plans for my life.

He didn't rethink the purposes He created in me.

Instead, I felt His warm presence wrap me safely in the mantle of His mercy.

Shame fled.

Anger fell away.

Frustrations faded.

Loss was once again replaced with purpose. This time, I eagerly inquired of HIS purpose, pushing my puny human plans aside. Plans, mind you, that I'd thought ideal.

If you’ve ever found yourself sitting on this very same step, tell me your story…..please?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Helen, Where are You?

Am I hiding? 


God knows exactly where I am when He calls to my spirit, “Helen, where are you?”

He knew where Adam was in Genesis 3:9 where we read, “…the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you?”

He knows where you are, too, when you hear Him calling your name.

Since God already knows where we are, in every aspect of location, I believe He wants us to locate ourselves, and find ourselves in Him; tucked away under the safety of His wings, protected and empowered by the Blood covenant that ended our slavery to sin and self, living a life of abundance and blessing.

Feeling “lost” doesn’t necessarily mean we’re wallowing in a pig pen of sin and defiance. Perhaps we’ve just meandered off course and need to make our way back to Him.

Sometimes circumstances come up that catch us off guard. God knew what was coming, He knows He’s prepared us for it. Yet, sometimes we flounder, trying to fix things on our own. And sometimes that’s something only He can do.

When God calls, “Helen, where are you?” He’s asking so much more than my location. He wants to know why I’m crushing myself beneath a load I was never intended to carry on my own, and why I’ve stopped trusting Him to meet my needs and answer my prayers. Just as Paul asked the Galatians why they’d come so far in the Spirit, only to now return to the flesh (Galatians 3:3), God is asking why I’ve been behaving so foolishly.

And, not unlike Adam, I’ve tried to hide – like a child covering his eyes and hoping we can’t see him.

Where am I? I’ve been pouting and crying and throwing a temper tantrum because things aren’t going according to the script I laid out.  

I haven’t forgotten God is in control, but I’ve tied His hands. I’ve attempted to “run interference for Him” and reroute the river of life – maybe even in the name of making Him look good.

Forgive me, Lord.
Your will be done. Your will, Your way.
Here I am, repentant and yielding to You.
I am not my own, I belong to You.
You are with me, I am with You, You are in me and I am found in You.
See me here in Your shadow, Almighty God.
Yes, I trust You, completely. Have Your way in me, O Lord.

 He's waiting. He's patient, long-suffering and kind, gracious beyond measure.

Answer Him.

I Don't Care Where You've Been Sleeping - Don Francisco

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Maybe It's Just Me...

Okay, so I used the puppy to get your attention......but, since you're here...

This morning in church while singing a song that’s new to me, I heard the words to the chorus rolling off my tongue…

“I’m chasing after you, no matter what I have to do….” Great words, if they’re words that Jesus sings to me. But – I’m singing them to Him.

So maybe it sounds a little more like this when I’m singing the words: I’m chasing after You, Jesus, no matter what I have to do……unless that means waking up earlier or spending more time in prayer or in Your Word; or unless it means less time in front of the computer/phone/video games/television. Oh, and unless it means spending more time or resources on or with those who don’t yet know you – or those who can’t provide for themselves, or those who are sick or lonely…..

Can I get a sad, pathetic “amen”?

We fall into our own little ruts, living in our own little worlds where everything revolves around “me”. Don’t we? Or am I the only one that gets tunnel vision?
I can’t recommend highly enough the book "Fervent" by Priscilla Shirer - I’ve recommended it before, because she’s down to earth, practical, hands-on about how to pray and why it’s so important to pray fervently; having a plan of prayer-action. It’s a book I plan to read several times. It’ll be worn and frayed around the edges of the pages. I’ve already marked up so much of it. The book’s tag line reads: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer.
Seriously, it’s that good.

How invested in the kingdom of God are we, really?

Is it just me, or do a lot of us compartmentalize our lives?

Do we allocate a compartment for Jesus and the things that burn with passion in His heart? Do we give Him five minutes of prayer time in the morning as we bob and weave in and out of traffic on our way to work, more focused on the cars around us than we are on the things we have to say to Him? Where’s the opportunity to listen to what He has to say to us?

I’m reminded of the disciple’s example in Mark 14:32-42, when Jesus asked them to pray with Him….and they fell asleep; three times.

Jesus asked, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:37-38 NKJV)

Self comes first, even for those who walked with Him. I'm preaching to myself, here....

Maybe we tithe. Maybe. Apparently only about 2-3% of Christians tithe! That statistic blows me away. I’ve heard, “We can’t afford to tithe….” I’m telling you, you can’t afford NOT to tithe. It’s one of God’s kingdom principles.

Maybe we let it suffice to spend a few minutes in God’s Word – each Sunday morning as our pastor directs us to turn to a certain passage, from which he plans to teach. What about getting into His Word on our own time, gleaning what He has to say to us personally?

Maybe this year’s resolution or life changes should have less to do with weight-loss and more to do with spiritual gain. But, let's do it out of love, not fear, not guilt, not outside pressure.

Or maybe, you’ve already got it all together and I’m one of the lone fish swimming along in the seas of nonchalance, not noticing life passing me by, missing a good portion of what God wants to show me each day.

Either way, pray with me – or pray for me!

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous [wo]man avails much!”
– James 5:16 (NKJV)