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)