Series 24


A Sizeable Five-Word Prayer

“I can’t do it,” Steven said. This was his abrupt ending. He claimed he lacked the ability to lead our group of seven in prayer. He only managed five words: “God, come be with us.”

This was Steven’s second time at the Free Church. His looks fully met the God-looks-on-the-inside criteria. His moppy hair covered a good portion of his facial features. Yet it didn’t cover his black AC/DC t-shirt or the jewelry-metal stabbed through his lip.

At the first meeting, he was listening intently. And as we drove to church for his second visit, he said: “Dude, I’ve been praying every night; things have been happening.” He linked his prayers to fewer skate boarding accidents. Plus another benefit: “My family’s getting some food tomorrow.”

It seemed right to ask Steven to initiate our discussion group with prayer. He agreed, but bailed out in a few seconds. No, “Amen.” No, “In the name of Jesus.”  Merely, “God, come be with us.”

The Bible tells of an angel appearing to Joseph, the husband of Mary. This is the main thrust of the angel’s pronouncement: “Behold, the virgin (Mary) will be with child and will give birth to a Son and they will call Him Emmanuel—which means God with us.”

This Son was named Jesus. And Steven had unknowingly wrapped into his prayer the essence of who Jesus was on Earth. His prayer also pinpoints a desire of humans over the span of history—the vital longing to connect with God.

The Bible says: “Pray without ceasing.” Sure, Steven didn’t do that. Yet his simple words verbalized exactly what we all increasingly need in our lives. “God, come be with us.”  I said to Steven, “That’s an excellent prayer; God will answer it.”


Who's Ruining My Life?

“I don’t care if I go to Hell,” Autumn said.

The thread of our conversation began a couple of mornings earlier. Autumn had called, telling about her brother-in-law: “He died of a drug overdose.” As we talked she injected, “I don’t think he went to heaven.”

Autumn is like a daughter to me. Every aspect of her life is important to me—especially her spiritual life. Maybe God was opening a door for me to talk to her.

Instantly I discovered she was unconcerned about her eternal destination. She kept talking. And soon the basis for her hopeless attitude was verbalized. Autumn was mad at God. Her brother-in-law’s death, her husband’s health issues, their financial struggles plus other problems; were blamed on God.

She said, “Why is God doing this to me?”

“God’s not doing these things to you Autumn,” I said.

I quoted half a Bible verse-- the words of Jesus. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”  And then I explained: “The thief is the devil, he’s the one who kills and wants to mess up your life.”

Too many people attribute the devil’s evil deeds to God. This is confusion.  And doubting God’s goodness further deteriorates bad situations. Also many times the works of the devil can flourish because we have opened doors for him to devastate our lives through sin.

In the second half of the verse, Jesus says: “I have come that you may have life and that you may have it more abundantly.”

The battles between the desires of the devil and the ways of Jesus loom large every day.  So we must do what the Bible says: “Resist the devil and he will flee.” But don’t stop there. Pursue Jesus and the abundant life He offers.


A Lesson in Prayer Walking

So what do you do for a living?

“My job presently?” says 62 year-old Henry Gruver. “Prayer walker to the nations.” He continues: “The simplest definition is simply walking and talking to God. And it’s walking and talking to God about everything that gets your attention.”

How many miles have you walked?

“I can’t begin to imagine,” he says. “For many years I walked 12 to 16 hours a day.” He clips off 15-minute miles while systematically walking every street of a town or city. This includes many of the major cities of the world. Twenty-four years of walking have taken him throughout the United States and into 36 nations. 

Henry also teaches prayer walking, focusing on three Biblical principles as guidlines for entry level prayer walking.

First: “While walking, if I see sin; I say: Father in Heaven, that’s sin. Jesus forgave the sinner who was not repenting on the cross. I ask Your forgiveness, for they know not what they are doing.” He emphasizes the importance of addressing evil: “One sin sends forth a ripple effect across the community.”

Second: “You ask the Father in Heaven, God, to release His goodness, to pour out His goodness upon the sinner. It’s the goodness of God that leads them to repentance.”

Third: “You ask the Father to surround them, to send laborers to surround them and be a Christian example. And lead them to the Lord.”

Henry speaks volumes regarding the impact of prayer walking he has experienced. He says, “Are you really fully content with your town—the way it is? Or are there things you’d like to see changed? You have the power; you have the authority, and the commission to make changes. You just have to do it.”

Walk. And talk to God.


Is There Cappuccinoin Heaven?

“I hope they have cappuccino in Heaven,” Tyler said. I almost laughed, frowning at the same time. It was a funny statement, but I was wondering if it was wise for an eight-year old to be a cappuccino consumer.

Tyler was looking at me, wondering if I knew if there was cappuccino in Heaven. A response immediately popped into my head. “Tyler you’re shooting way too low with your expectations of Heaven.”

Tyler’s church attendance has been spotty most of his life, so he’s limited on his biblical knowledge of heaven. His pinnacle of heavenly beverage magnificence-- a gas-station vending machine beverage; was understandable.

Pondering my concept of Heaven, I had to ask myself: “Are my expectations too low?” How about yours?

Tyler, here are three Bible verses which reveal a small glimpse of Heaven.

Revelation 21:4, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain.”

Revelation 21:18, “The construction of its wall was of jasper and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.”

Revelation 21:23, “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminates it. The Lamb (Jesus) is its light.”

That’s just the beginning. It will take an eternity to discover all that God has prepared for those who love Him. And there may be cappuccino. Can you imagine how heavenly it will be?

All this is insignificant compared to the eternal question. Are you going?

Jesus said: “Come! And let him who hears: Come! And let him who thirsts: Come! Whoever desires let him take the water of life freely.”

That Water of Life is Jesus. And Jesus says to each one of us…Come!


The Pink-Shoed Apostle

“Don’t judge,” he said. I hadn’t said anything abrasive; I was looking at the pink high heel shoes he was wearing.

Even though he was a stranger, without prodding, he began proclaiming his godly giftings. This included prophesying and speaking in tongues. And he added: “I’m an apostle.”

I refrained from any disparaging words, while putting a check on any judgmental attitude.

This man in pink high heels brought to mind what God says about the prophet Isaiah: “Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder…” Surely he was subject to some severe judgment and ridicule. But this reveals, God can use what seems bizarre and ungodly.

So do we merely accept everything without judging, testing, or forming an opinion?

The Bible says: “These were more fair minded, of more noble character… in that they received the Word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were true.”

These more noble charactered people continually searched the Bible to discover truth. The Bible was their unmovable benchmark for judging. In actuality, the Bible was their judge.

Now can this man be an apostle if he wears pink high heel shoes?

To make a final “yes” or “no” assessment, the Bible needs to be searched. Specific scriptures addressing the question need to be found. The process may also require further observations of this person’s life.

Jesus said: “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged.”

We need to allow God and His Word to be the judge. This plan of God is astonishingly more superior to our human attempt. Because when He judges us, our lives fall under His amazing grace, mercy, and love.

I need that. How about you?