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“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James‬ ‭1:12‬‬

I hung up the phone and hung my head. Had I done enough? Was there something more I could have said…or said now to help? Psychologists have coined the term “Messiah Complex” to refer to individuals who have a firm belief that they are responsible for the physical, emotional or spiritual well-being of others. At this point I was in full blown “Messiah Mode!”

The phone call was from a friend who had been struggling for years with relationship issues, self-doubt and fear. On the other hand she was compassionate, understand had, on the surface anyway, a deep love for Jesus. The last few months had been tough. Her family life was hard, her job ended, and God seemed unwilling or unable to help. Her phone call was short but not sweet. She’d had it with God and with living the illusion that he existed and cared about her. She asked me to leave her alone and not bother to pray for her because prayer is worthless.

I have to admit, I don’t blame her. There have been so many times in my life when I’ve struggled or seen the struggles of others and asked the “Why?” question.

There aren’t easy answers. He’s wonderful and confusing all at once. Yet, for me anyway, one thing I’ve noticed is that God’s greatest blessings often seem to come during, or on either side of life’s greatest trials. Had I not known the depths of despair, I never would have experienced the strength of his peace.

I’ll respect my friends desire for distance, but I’ll continue to pray that she sees the God I see. I don’t understand him, but I’m nothing without him. As Peter said when many were leaving Jesus because he disappointed them, “Where else can we go?”


Sometimes God calls us to stand in the gap between heaven and hell. He calls us to intercede for people. When he calls you to do that, you may have no idea how your prayers can affect those around you without their knowledge. But God calls us to be intercessors, not interrogators.

As you walk close to Jesus, from time to time, peoples names may come to mind. Or, you may see a post on social media asking for prayer. Do not pass up the opportunity to stand in the gap. You do not need to know the needs or the reasons.

You do not need to have fancy words or eloquence. You do not even need to know the person or validity of the request! Simply lift that name to Jesus and ask for God‘s intervention in their lives. Get in the habit of standing in the gap for others. You may never know until heaven the impact your prayers make in the lives of others.


To those of us who are Christ-followers, we must realize that we speak a language few understand, and the problem is becoming increasingly evident.

Several years ago our family traveled to the SW United States. Since we were only a few miles from the Mexican Border, we decided to cross over and see this foreign land that is our neighbor. None of us spoke Spanish. None of us had ever experienced a situation in which we were obviously the minority. It was an interesting lesson to learn!

Don’t get me wrong. The people were very friendly and tried to be accommodating. There were a few smiles which I assume could have been translated as “silly Americans!”

The problem wasn’t intelligence. The problem wasn’t arrogance or racism. The problem was we didn’t speak the language. We tried. The people tried. But while there was some similarity, there was an obvious communication gap.

I see similar situations in the church today. We need to come to the point where we realize we live in a post Christian Era and a post Christian America. Regardless of who’s to blame, we simply don’t speak a language others understand.

Don’t ridicule the natives. They simply don’t understand. Our visit to Mexico and a small cafe was ‘rescued’ when a server knew English. He could translate to our server what we wanted to eat.

In the spiritual realm we also have a translator, the Holy Spirit. I’ve tried to remember to pray that the Spirit would speak to those in my circles that need Jesus. I can say my words. I can tell my story. But HE is the one who will give understanding. Don’t just pray for those you know who need Jesus. Ask His Spirit to ‘interpret’ the message for you.


“I tried praying once but nothing happened.”

“I prayed really hard that mom would be healed and she died. What’s the use?”

“I really needed that job but he wouldn’t give it to me. I doubt he really exists anyway.”

You can add yours to the list. We are a hurting people and when you are hurting, and God seems silent, well…that’s about the worst feeling a person can get.

Unanswered prayers are one of the most difficult of all topics because the pain is real. It’s hard to understand a God that seemingly builds your hopes up and then smashes them to the ground.

Oh, sometimes we can look back and see the reasons. Sometimes we come to a point of understanding. But not always.

There are tons of unanswered prayers in the Bible by some pretty Godly men. Joseph, Moses, Abraham, David…to name a few. My favorite is Job. That guy really got nailed and God never did explain it to him!

So what made them go on? What pushed them through the silence and darkness? I think it was the realization that a bad day with God was better than the best day without him. I haven’t gained all understanding on this yet, but it seems God is more concerned about our faith in him than he is our earthly comfort. That’s not to say he is against earthly comfort of course. He offers plenty. But his main focus is on trusting him and seeing the world through his eyes. The closer we get to God, the more his desires become our own and the wiser our prayers become.

Prayers that match his desires are more likely to be answered.


I remember it vividly. I’d had my eye on a certain truck at the local car dealership for some time. I couldn’t afford it, but had all sorts of good ‘ministry’ reasons to buy it. Finally I went in to talk to the dealer. He gave me a deal I chose not to resist. A deal that was right out of my budget range. You don’t get deals like that everyday! I signed the papers and drove it off the lot, completely ignoring the knot in my stomach. God never yells. God’s soft voice is often drowned out by the voice of desire.

Fast forward…i remember watching the repossession guy hooking my truck up to his truck and watching my dream truck being pulled away down the street.

Today is the first day of 2019! Many will be making resolutions to lose weight, eat better, spend more wisely and the list goes on. Goals are good. Plans are good. But the missing ingredient in many of our planning sessions is the ultimate question of ‘Where is God in my plans?

Each week we say the ‘Lords Prayer’ at our church. Each week we say “thy will be done” but in reality, our hearts are saying ‘my will be done.’ When our hearts are in tune with God’s heart our plans will naturally gravitate towards his desires and not our own.

Make 2019 the year that God shows himself mightily to you because you are close to his heart. Draw close to him and he’ll draw close to you.

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