Tag Archives: prayer
Pathos is my passion. Wherever there are humans involved in a titanic struggle to alleviate the evils of our world, that’s where I’m helping and writing. God has given me a gift for communication.
Now, I’m going to Guatemala, my old stomping ground. I raised up a school to help the poor in the Capital City. They pay only a fraction of costs. Recently, the government has cited an audit, and I need to hurry down to take care of paperwork.
Of course, while I’m there, I’ll be bringing to this blog some of the great stories of struggle and triumph, of the humans spirit almost breaking under pressure, like I’ve always done.
Why am I telling you this beforehand? I need a little bit of help. Fund my trip to Guatemala. Whatever you can pitch in is greatly appreciated. I’m “scheduling” this post ahead of time because I don’t think I’ll have internet access. So far Carmen Lezeth Suarez has very graciously donated. I want to encourage you too to pitch in. Click the link to go directly to my campaign. Thank you! http://www.gofundme.com/MikeToGuatemala
… and other words of wisdom from my 13-year-old son.
We were helping my brother pull out a stump from his garden. It was an eyesore that annoyed the neighbors in Idaho Falls. While Don is recovering from a ski accident and his wife, Barbra, gets back pains struggling with weight, their son young son Mark was day by day trying to dig it out. He worked hard, but he didn’t have any help. And he was little.
So I showed up with my 17-year-old and my 13-year-old son. We made pretty short work of it. We dug under it. We axed the roots. Then we pried it out and rolled it to the curb. Next we helped Barbra plant some flowers, shoveled in the dirt and watered.
The team did the job. Hosea, my younger son, was impressed by the amount of work involved.
“This would be easier if it were Minecraft,” he observed. This is prepubescent wisdom at its finest.
It seems strange to me that Minecraft is popular because it is a throwback, a low definition graphics game. In any case, kids either build things or strike out on adventures. I’m not sure why it’s so popular. But yeah, pulling out a trunk on Minecraft is pretty much easier than in real life.
As a matter of fact, pretty much everything on video games is easier than in real life. Take marriage for example. Making it work is no easy thing. Personally, I pray and work at it. People seem to think they shouldn’t have to work at it, that it should work all by itself.
Removing rooted sins from your life is also a bunch of work. Pulling out that tree trunk made me think about how difficult it can be get a bad habit out (like smoking, or maybe anger).
Yeah, Minecraft’s definitely easier. But life is real. And I don’t want to live in a fantasy world. I want to live and find happiness and success in the real world. So I do hard work.
I don’t subscribe to the myth that I have everything under control. There are people who actually believe that they have so much money, talent, good looks, whatever, that they always will win in life.
Sometimes things appear to spin out of control. In those moments, I need to stay calm and remember who I am trusting. Don’t panic; just pray.
You could have incredible prosperity, fame, power, and if you don’t have love, you would be unhappy.
You could be dirt-poor and humble and anonymous, but if you have love, you are the richest person on the planet?
Jesus extends His love to you continually. It only remains for you receive this live.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Cor. 13:13
Once you become a Christian, growing in maturity means growing in love — loving the unlovable. This is what Jesus did, and it’s what we must learn.
Though I have … understand all mysteries and all knowledge … and have not love, I am nothing. — 1 Cor 13:2.
I went to seminary. It was mostly very useful. I learned how to solve the majority of the “problem texts.” I learned to how to contextualize. I learned Greek and Hebrew. All important stuff to “rightly divide the word” for preaching and applying.
But the gold standard for Christian leadership is not Bible mastery. It is love. Paul says, “Knowledge puffs up.” In other words, you can sin with pride over your superior knowledge. But the daily grind of living the Christian life consists mostly in exhibiting love.
A lot of Bible knowledge doesn’t help when it come to “loving your enemies.” In fact, loving and forgiving difficult people is one of the toughest challenges for Christians. I may be good a parsing, but I have much to learn at loving.
Kudos to THIS graffiti artist. His painting is not mindless but demonstrates a philosophy of life and provokes viewers to reflect. It seems ironic to me that my friend, Steven Fernandez, found this in the Melrose District, known for pricey, trendy stores.
Steven, pictured, photoshopped it here, and I love it. You can’t have both money and whatever your pure dream is.
Here’s some more Messi hyperbole: He’s a superhero. Worldclass players just aren’t as fast as him. He sees his way out of traps faster. He sees and sends through-balls faster. He cuts surgically faster. He curls in shots faster.
Lionel Messi led FC Barcelona to its second championship this season with two goals. The first was a solo goal that befuddles four (even six) defenders. That’s half the Atletic de Bilbao team. In the end, Barca dizzied their opponents to secure the King’s Cup, after clinching the league the previous week. Now the only thing keeping them from a triple-crown with the European Champion’s League next Saturday is the mighty Juventus from Italy.
Seriously, Messi makes top professionals look like clumsy kids.
What they say about a soccer player of his caliber is that he is always “dangerous.” That is, he is creating danger for the opposition (opportunities to score goals). He does things that no one else can. (Well, he hasn’t walked on water yet.)
When you pray, you’re being dangerous to the devil.
And you don’t have to get on your knees to pray — although some people find the position of their body helps with there outlook.
You should call out on God before you get into desperation. Just saying.
You are too busy to NOT pray.
Image source: Buzzfeed
Need a breakthrough in your life? Maybe you think you need money. But not too many of us have that in abundance. This is how you get a breakthrough without a monetary investment. It’s called prayer.
Prayer only costs us time. Other than that, it’s completely free.
When I was a missionary in Guatemala, I didn’t have a lot of resources. So I spent time praying. And God did amazing things.
I realized that more work wasn’t the answer. Logically, God can get more done that I could. So if I prayed more, God would do what I couldn’t do.
Some people are so busy that they don’t pray. They don’t know what they’re missing.
Carla Cedillo got spooked as soon as she set foot in Africa.
“Africa is a different world,” she said. “I felt like we were in a movie. I felt like we were an infomercial that says, ‘For $1.00 a day, you can help save a life.’ I remember my mom saying there are poor people in Africa, but it never hit home until we we went to Africa.”
On the Lighthouse Medical Missions trip to Tanzania in 2015, Carla, who works at the Lighthouse Christian Preschool, fell in love with all the children. “I wanted to hold them all,” she said. “They were all so adorable.”
When a little child came through the clinic with her tongue attached to the bottom of her mouth, Dr. Bob Hamilton offered to cut it loose immediately. “I thought blood was going to gush everywhere,” she said.
During most of the 5-day clinic, Carla manned the pharmacy and gained a great appreciation for pharmacists. “It wasn’t easy,” she said. “Now I know why pharmacists are always in a bad mood.”
When the clinic was over and it was time to head to the airport, it hard to say “Goodbye.”
They sent assistant pastors to console the grieving. They set up a care center of prayer and worship with food and beverages while family members awaited news of the fate of their loved ones. Trained counselors were on standby by shifts around the clock in the airport and in homes.
“When I witnessed how one bereaved family encouraged and prayed for another out of their initiative, I could say that I almost saw heaven in that situation,” Pastor Philip Mantofa, who pastors the 45,000 member church, told CharismaNews. “Particularly when the bodies of the their family members were found and they had to identify them, we couldn’t leave them to face these horrific situations alone.” Read the rest of the story.
My mom had Alzheimer’s, so I don’t mean to make light of this scourge. I remember when she walked out the front door in her pajamas, and Dad drove around looking for her. He found her on a busy street.
What I mean by Holy Spirit Alzheimer’s is to forget what we must forgive, to heal the wounds in our hearts, to remember the good and forget the bad, to move on, to stay in relationship with people who have hurt us deeply. When God forgives, He forgets. Would we could do likewise.
I’m going to pray to forget hurts because remembering them converts them into hinders. They hinder me from serving Jesus fully. Holy Spirit, come and help me to forgive AND forget.
It’s no fun spiraling out of control. But it’s an understandable reaction after getting slammed in life.
At some point, you have to analyze and decide to get your life/family/career/ministry back on track.
Samuel was the greatest soul-saver we had. Better than me, and I was his pastor. Incredibly energetic, he worked tirelessly to build a church in zone 5. Then his wife left him for the keyboardist. And his life went down the drain for four years.
Now, Sam is getting back on track. He formalized by marrying the lady he was with. And we will be excited to see what God has for him ahead.
It’s inspiring me to get back on track with what God wants for my life.
This year, get your life back on track. Do what you REALLY want to do.
1. Slow. Confused for a “no,” but God is working on something first before giving the answer.
2. Go. The answer is yes. Do all your part now.
3. No. You don’t want to twist God’s arm into granting you something that you want but He knows is not truly good for you.
4. Grow. Also confused for a “no,” but God first must mature you for the blessing. You wouldn’t be able to sustain the blessing yet.
Praying is like giving birth to something in our lives. But we ought to recognize that prayer, more often than not, is NOT instantaneous. We need to develop maturity to recognize these four answers to prayer.
Going without it is unhealthy.
Original image from pinterest.
We let our sinful desires run rampant, and then we wonder why God hasn’t blessed us.
It’s like the person who blames water for shocking him when he uses electronics in the tub. Why refuse to accept the
physical laws spiritual laws that govern the world?
We accept that rules govern a happy relationship. We accept laws for civil society. We understand that geometry has its logic. But we want to tell God that He’s wrong when tells what will and will not work.
It’s not that you need to be perfect. God forgives. But when we flout the law of God, then why do we blame Him when things don’t work?
I’ve been in dangers. I’ve brushed with death. The greatest danger is hellfire. I thank God He pulled me out of lostness and into salvation. What would have happened to me, had it not been for God?
They make a great mistaken when they say we think we’re better than anyone else. No, Christians are not better. They are just better off. We are better off because:
- we recognize our sinful condition.
- we ask for and receive God’s forgiveness.
- we throw ourselves into the loving arms of the Eternal Father.
- we are blessed on Earth on our journey to Heaven.
Don’t fall prey to the enemy of your soul.
Original picture from Beautiful Pictures on Google Circles. I don’t own the rights to this image, and I’m not making any money on it.
Don’t give up on dreaming. Don’t give up on praying. Don’t give up on living.
For when you have done any of those three, your life has become a mechanical nothingness.
Original image: Beautiful Pictures on Google Circles. I don’t own the rights to this picture, and I’m not making any money with it.
Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean nothing is happening.
Jesus described the Spirit like a wind, which, in his day, no one knew where it came from or where it was going. So too, we can never know the answers to prayer that are occurring in ways we never imagined, in places we never imagined, to people we never imagined.
If we just keep praying.
Original picture: Beautiful Pictures on Google Circles.
Why? Because forming
soccer players disciples of Christ makes my heart hum. Because challenges make you grow. Because you have to lose in order to learn how to win.
The Lighthouse Church School players hemorrhaged goals because they were out of position over and over again. With a gaggle of beginners, with little guys, what else can you expect? I told them where to be and what to do, but did they get it?
They got it yesterday — by losing.
So now, we are expecting better results.
Hopefully more kids will be “in the zone” too. Some of the kids appeared to spend parts of the game thinking about the snack at the end. Other kids looked like roots were growing out of the soles of their feet and into the ground. They were stationary.
And if we can find at least one player who can handle our goal kicks (and not pass it directly to the opponents at 15 yards from goal), that would be most helpful.
As for the Brentwood School’s B team, they positioned themselves well enough and passed the ball proficiently. Thankfully, the “B” team’s finishing was “B” in quality. Otherwise the score might have been 14-0.
I love it.
The world and worries will drag you down. Make a concerted effort to focus on anything positive, no matter how small. A spark of light shines brightly if all is darkness. Thinking positive is also a part of faith.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Phil. 4:8
Photo: From Pinterest. I don’t own the rights to the original, and I’m not making any money on it.
Banish from your mind the frowning severe face of God that you imagine is angry at your for your sin. His anger was already spent on Jesus, who took your punishment. So He is happy with you and thinks good about you.
You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. — Psm 40:5 ESV.
They were awakened abruptly by the sound of two explosions as a masked gunman burst into Daniel and Colleen Jaquith’s missionary complex in the Philippines and demanded money.
The gunman shot a Filipino pastor in the foot, pointed a handgun at his head, and demanded to be taken to the Americans, according to a report by Christian News Northwest.
The Jaquiths shared about the March 4, 2014 incident on a home visit to Newberg, Oregon recently.
Awakened by the explosions, the Jaquiths were then startled to see the gunman appear in their doorway with the pastor as hostage. “Give me the money, or I will kill you!” he shouted.
In response, the Jaquiths dropped to their knees and began to pray. “Colleen and I were desperate and defenseless there on our bed,” Dan said. “In our desperation we both began to unitedly cry out to the Lord with very loud and intense prayers. I prayerfully went to my knees.” Read the rest of the story.
The missionaries website: http://btti.org
The maiden flight was a failure. My dad was discouraged but kept tinkering. Eventually, he graduated from Berkeley and worked at Lockheed’s super secret skunkworks in Rye Canyon. He worked on the now-outmoded stealth fighter, which crashed in test flight and very nearly killed the pilot.
Eventually, the engineers got it right, and the strike plane was used against Iraq, its radar-evading technology confounded enemies. Tinkering won the day.
Tinkering reminds me of prayer, which people view as a waste of time. True, we Americans are very busy. But time spent with God is never wasted.
Prayer is like research and development, cutting edge change, because you are consulting the all powerful God.
No matter how much Oedipus and his parents try to foil the oracle, what Apollos has determined for him cannot be avoided: he is destined to kill his father and marry his mother. And then for such a heinous crime, he is to be punished, as determined by the “gods” — even though he is an unwilling victim of gods’ predetermined will.
By contrast, the Christian God grants ample room for human decision. You can realize a great destiny of blessing, happiness and even ministry if you decide to serve God. If you choose fleshliness over and over, however, you will lose blessings of God in your life both now and in the afterlife.
There are no pawns of fate in Christianity but each man falls prey of his own bad decisions.
If you pray, you change the future.
Art from Zach Smithson on Deviant Art. I don’t own the rights to this picture, and I’m not making any money on it.
While there is value to the contemplative life of prayer, true Christian service is rendered unto needy humans. Jesus congratulates some for feeding the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, for giving clothes to the poor. They are incredulous. They don’t remember doing this to Jesus: Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?
Jesus responds: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. — Matt. 25:37-40 NIV.
Jesus inseparably identifies himself not with the pope, not with the saint, not with the pastor, but with the poor and abject.
There are all kinds of needs. There are suicidal kids, dying marriages, gospel-ignorant peoples. The picture is of remote modern hermits in Ethiopia who follow the the hermit model. I don’t criticize anyone’s efforts to serve Christ. I’m sure they’re making an impact in the world through prayer. But I wish to say here: Serving PEOPLE of any need is serving Jesus.
Maybe you’ve been down and out for years and years. Maybe it was not all your fault, or maybe mostly it was. No matter. God has a brighter future for you. Seek Him and wait patiently.
Failure and disappointments are NOT a final destination. They are the waystation towards success. Don’t stay there. Keep moving. Bonanza lies ahead.
Worship contains a paradox: When you lift up God, He lifts you up. If you’re down in the dumps, rise to praise, and God will raise you up.
Four guys from LA, young guys, rebels who have turned to God, went to Guatemala believing they could possibly be used. What happened at the Door Church in Guatemala was extraordinary: people were healed, faith was restored, forgiveness came back between brethren.
And I’m happy. That was the church God used me to raise up. I was troubled by some negative trends happening there now in my absence. God used Arti Cedillo, a former Satanist, to preach. Pastor Steven Fernandez, a former street thug, was their guide and body guard. Junior Cervantez, a former graffiti artist, and Johnny Huerta, a former partier, went along for the fun of it and wound up making a great spiritual impact also.
Junior was skate-boarding the the marijuana-smokers who frequent the church’s street in front. Johnny bought McDonald’s for all the kids one night, a treat so rare because of poverty it’s usually reserved for only for a kid’s birthday.
Arti said when he got back: We felt your prayers literally pushing us forward. And that’s how I was reminded of the power of prayer.
All day long every day. Are you reachable?
As soon as you ping God, you’ll get a quick and strong response. He’s waiting for you to cry out to him. You think nobody sees, no one knows. He has been stretching His arms out to you all day long. You have not known. Ask Him if He’s real, if He’s there. He’ll wrap you up in His arms.
We were missionaries in Guatemala where they don’t really celebrate Halloween. One year our annual Bible conference coincided with Halloween, so Rebekah, then 10, got to go door-to-door trick-or-treating for the first time. It happened to be immediately upon arrival. She was young enough to not remember the previous years.
The next day, she asked, “Can we go door-to-door again and get more candy?”
Rebekah thought that everyday in the United States, kids go door-to-door and gather candy. It’s just a normal part of everyday American life. Because she couldn’t remember the previous year’s experiences, she didn’t realize we didn’t do that the year before.
We ought to come to church expecting candy every time. God has a treat for us if we want it. If you come to church miserable, you’ll probably go home empty-handed. God wants to delight you every time.
No sooner was the cupbearer freed from jail than he forgot his promise to help Joseph, who had interpreted his dream. Joseph had been imprisoned under false accusation. God was with nevertheless, even though the cupbearer forgot his debt for Joseph’s interpretation of the dream that Pharaoh would free him.
TWO YEARS LATER, Pharaoh has a dream that none of his sorcerers can interpret. Only then does the cupbearer remember his faults and tells Pharaoh about Joseph, who is promptly freed, washed, shaved and ushered into Pharaoh’s presence. He interprets Pharaoh’s dream, and his fortunes are changed.
Sadly, most of us fall in with the cupbearer. God has given us so many good things, and we don’t want to remember or acknowledge our debt of gratitude to Him.
Expecting to get some money, the crippled temple beggar directed his attention to Peter and John. Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk, Peter said in Acts 3:6 NIV.
He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God — Acts 3:8 NIV.
He got MUCH more from God than he expected.
Why do we downsize our prayers? Why down scale down our faith?
God is NOT:
- offended if we ask big.
- unable to give.
- displeased by too much faith.
- upset by our audacity.
- budgeting his company.
- on a diet Himself.
- scrimping to make ends meet.
- requiring coupons.
To the contrary, we are ordered to move mountains, not molehills.
Larry Page, the leader of Google, tells his employees that every product they make must be 10X better than the competition. Next on the list of things for Google: self-driving cars, wearable computers, mapping the human race’s DNA code. He’s eternally dissatisfied, and that drives him to pursue greater heights. Mediocrity and modest gains be damned. Shoot for the moon.
As Christians, we should have vision and dream big. What is keeping us from bigger things? Many times our own scaled-down vision. Read more about Larry Page. It inspired me.
Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. — Mark 11:23 NIV.
Your soul is gold. Joy is gold. Treasure comes from troubles. Don’t bewail the travails your currently passing. You can’t get gold unless you get into the dirt.
Peter and disciples had just been arrested for preaching Jesus. The Sanhedrin whipped them and warned them to stop. Threats and beatings are what made them rejoice.
Are you suffering for Christ? Take heart. That is what the disciples did. They didn’t get discouraged. They didn’t ask, “Why, God?” They praised God for the difficulties and dug in. They prayed for strength to continue.
Don’t give up, if you are fighting the good fight. Rejoice for the opposition, for the reverses, for the trials. Things appear to be spiraling out of control. In reality, God has everything under control and will work it all out in ways you can’t imagine.
I have been waiting for years for you to talk to Me.
Give him a ball in front of the net, and Luis Suarez makes the goal.
Actually, two of them. The Uruguayan ace headed one goal and slammed home a second to oust England, the vaunted authors of modern soccer, out of the World Cup this past week. The highest goal-scorer in the English Premier League this season, seemingly doesn’t fail.
Not every forward is a sharp-shooter of this caliber. Most are about 50%. Suarez does it all. He’s fast. He possesses a potent kick. He’s physical. He utilizes creative play. He maintains possession. He’s got my vote for best striker worldwide. Get a ball to him anywhere near the area, and it’s an assured goal.
If you like winning, you’ll want to have
Suarez Jesus on your team. In fact, many Christians are losing the game. Why? Because they have possession of the ball.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THE BALL? PASS IT TO JESUS.
Passing the ball to Jesus is called prayer.
At the California Science Center in Los Angeles, you can pick up a pickup truck. A small child can pull on a rope many yards out pulling a lever down. At the other end of the fulcrum, hanging on a shorter side of the lever, is the truck. It’s a thrill for kids to feel like Superman.
Prayer works like leveraging.
In finances, if you can manage to invest loaned money to make more money than you own on the interest, you can be fabulously wealthy. You don’t have any $. You take others’ $, invest it with brains, and then you get loads of $$$.
Prayer works like that. It multiplies your meager efforts and magnifies your impact. Prayer accomplishes what is humanly impossible.
When I was a pastor/missionary in Guatemala, we went from the ghetto to the Historic Center, four blocks away from the National Palace. We went from preaching on the bus to housing a thriving school and church. God did it. I prayed.
At the Lighthouse, even such hardened rivals as UCLA-USC love each other and live in harmony.
We are heading to Guatemala and expect to see miracles in the healing crusade. So please put your mustard seed faith into a prayer for the Door Church in Guatemala and your servant.
Much love, Mike
Dr. Bob Hamilton has done medical missions in Africa for years, and finally I’m going. If the mustardseedbudget.wordpress.com has ever blessed you, then please pray God raises up $3,000 for air fare, hotel, food, visas, immunizations, etc. The trip is March 27 to April 6.
I have written in the capacity as a journalist about these medical missions before (a 3-part series that starts here), and now I want to report firsthand in support of this awesome ministry. Thanks for your prayers!
Oh yeah, you can read about the Lighthouse medical missions on its website here.