Be Careful What You Pray For

I read a book in December, a seemingly simple Christmas novel, that convicted me as much as anything ever has outside the Bible. In it, a woman experiences being ignored in her public agony, and it changes her forever.

Without going into the book’s details, let me just say that everything centers around a few words she writes, a prayer. I have it on my wall, and I’ve prayed it many times since finishing the book.

Give me eyes to see what isn’t shown,

Ears to hear what isn’t said,

Hands to do what You want,

And the courage to not walk away.

This prayer has helped me as I’ve tried to be more sensitive to those around me in the past few weeks. I’ve never been the most observant person, taking the pictures people present at face value most of the time, but I’m trying to really watch and listen, especially for that still, small voice.

And then, today, I was tested. I was in the fast food drive through and saw a man who had fallen and was trying to get up. I didn’t want to get out of line and go help him, hoped the line would hurry and I could just swing back by after getting my food to make sure he’d managed it. After all, I was a woman, and alone, and…

Hey, I’m just being transparent here. The first time I heard God whisper, “and the courage to not walk away,” I ignored Him. (Yes! I know!) I kept my eyes on the man through hearing those words yet again – as the line didn’t move an inch. And then, after watching him almost get up only to fall back down, I got out of line.

I knew going in that he was most likely drunk. I knew when he spoke that he surely was. Still, I kept hearing “and the courage to not walk away.” I called another man over and together we helped him stand. I picked up his dropped bag to hand it over and knew exactly what I was smelling on his breath.

We got him up and helped him brace himself. The other man left after getting assurances that he didn’t want us to call 911. I stayed, because I knew it wasn’t over.

I didn’t do any great thing. I let him talk. I listened. I prayed for him. I didn’t offer to buy him a meal or take him anywhere. I just… I just acknowledged his humanity and the fact that even if you’re homeless you are worthy of being treated as a human being.

I got back in my car, went to order (no line-imagine that) and headed home nearly in tears, shame-filled tears. Only weeks ago, I’d have just prayed a quick, “Send him help” prayer and then shut my ears in case I was the help God wanted to send. Even today, I almost didn’t have the courage to not walk away.

And that knowledge hurts.

I’m going to keep praying that prayer, asking God to help me become more like Him. I hope that if I pass by you and you are hurting I have the courage to stop and at least listen. If I fail, please forgive me, and pray with me that I do have the courage next time.

I am being careful what I pray for, because it’s what I want.

The novel is A Cinderella Christmas, by Amanda Tru

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

The Next Show Starts In…

You walk in the door carrying your take-out coffee and get offended when you’re told you’ll have to leave it outside. You let your cell phone ring repeatedly. You let your child wander around. When you can tell it’s getting close to the end you start gathering your stuff together, and right before the official end you walk out the door.

It’s all pretty standard behavior in a movie theater, but I’m talking about church. I’ve seen all of this through the years, and much more, and it sickens me that we’ve reached a place culturally where such behavior is acceptable (by some) even in God’s house.

People leaving during the altar call is the worst. There are souls hanging in the balance. If we really are Christians we should be praying for those around us. Unfortunately too many seem to think they’re in a theater and the altar call is like the credits: Let’s leave now to beat the rush.

Celebrating Jesus anyway!

Tammy C

What if you knew?

Copyright Barry Hatch
Copyright Barry Hatch

What if you knew that yes, there will be a Rapture of the Church?
What if you knew exactly when it would be?

(I know… “No man knows the day or the hour.” Just roll with me on this.)

How would that affect your life?

How would it change the decisions you make every day?

What if you knew it would happen next year? Next month? Next week?

If you knew it would be next year, would you slack off in certain areas, comfortable in the knowledge that you “have plenty of time”?

If you knew it would be next month, would you get more serious about your relationship with God because you’ve suddenly realized, “I have hardly any time at all to prepare for the next phase of life!”?

If you knew Hew was coming back in a few weeks, how would you spend your money today? Would you buy that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting, or would you give that money to missions in hopes of more people coming to know Jesus before it’s too late?

If you knew He was coming back next week, how would you spend your time? Would you be out watching movies, or would you be getting deeper into His Word, sharing Jesus with everyone you could, and hitting your knees in prayer?

If you knew He was coming back tomorrow…

It’s a fact: No man knows the day or the hour.
We sure can judge the seasons, though, and from the looks of things…

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

The Art of Listening

I know what it is to hear God’s voice; we’ve had that kind of relationship for decades. Even so, since I began working with a new prayer journal last December, my relationship with Him and my experience with hearing His voice have been revolutionized.

This journal has a section specifically set aside for listening to Him. Every day, when I come to that section, I literally shut up and take dictation. That first day it felt slightly awkward, but it wasn’t long before I was sitting there in awe, writing as fast as I could while trying to process what He was saying. The experience was, and still is, AMAZING.

It’s not possible to entirely “get” what He’s saying as He speaks it, of course, so I then go back and read what I’ve written and talk to Him about what He’s said. He has opened my eyes to astounding things this way, and in letting Him talk freely (instead of me interrupting Him) I find that we get on topics I’d never have dreamed of. He tells me things that blow my mind, give me instruction, encourage me…

One advantage of this method is that I have what He’s said written down and can go back to refer to it at any time I wish…or any time He tells me to. This morning was one of those times, and while reading I came across one section I wanted to share with you. He was talking about the close relationship I have with Him where, among other things, He tells me secrets just like a best friend would.

This is what life should have been all along, the relationship I desire with everyone. You are no more special than anyone else. You have merely developed the art of listening and learned to trust your ability to hear.

 

Trusting myself to hear has been a big deal – meaning a big challenge. God and I have conversations throughout the day, and sometimes when I ask Him questions His answers surprise me. At those points, I’ll pause and ask, “Was that You or was that me?” I can almost hear Him chuckle as He answers, “That was Me.” So my faith in my own ability to hear has been growing.

But still, the first key to the truly tight relationship we should all desire to have with God (or anyone else) is in the first part of that last sentence. Develop the art of listening.

I have desired this type of relationship for most of my life. Who’d have thought that it would start with something so simple as me learning how to shut up and listen?

Well… you probably figured it out a long time ago. Sometimes I can be a bit slow.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C