Stand in the Gap

Stand in the Gap

Squeal with delight

“Is your mom ok?” My friend across the table alerted me to my mom’s condition. Sitting beside her, I looked and immediately caught her as she began to fall. Holding her up, my friend on the other side and I talked to her frantically to keep her conscious as we waited for an ambulance to arrive.

A woman from across the restaurant saw our distress and walked quietly over. “May I pray for her?” We welcomed her whispered interruption. She prayed and we prayed along.

Her exact words escape me, however, I won’t forget her calming presence. My mom slowly became more alert. Thank God. She doesn’t remember much from the experience, just the awareness of the EMT and us talking to her toward the end.

We didn’t know it at the time, but my mom’s blood pressure had dropped dangerously low due to an issue with her medicine. I thank the Lord for His protection and for sending a believer who demonstrated compassion and a willingness to stand in the gap while we waited.

Courage to step out

Today’s world often demonstrates the opposite of this compassion and sensitivity. Many would look on but not take the step to help. This visitor stepped out with courage — away from her own dining experience and priorities that day— to pray over a stranger.

Our encounter reminds me of the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

The Samaritan came upon a traveler left half dead on the road to Jericho. He lifted his battered and bruised body, bandaged his wounds, carried him to an inn and took care of his needs. Other people’s opinions mattered not. He answered the call to lend a hand and do what needed to be done.

Our fellow diner could not help us physically, but she gave what she could. She lifted my mom to the Father, her words comforting our souls.

I don’t know her — I’m sure I thanked her — but I hope she knows how much we appreciate her demonstration of love and care.

Is God calling you to stand in the gap for someone? Do you know somebody who needs comfort? A bandage? An encouraging word? Or a financial gift to help them get by?

Answer the call. Who knows what God will do through you?

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36 NIV).


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The Powerful Presence of the Lord

The Powerful Presence of the Lord

Squeal with delight

It was about 57 A.D.

Paul stood before a group of Christians in Troas in the land of Troy. He must have had a lot to say to the followers of Jesus. Quite literally. We don’t know when he began his speech, but he talked, and people listened, until dawn.

I find this story funny and convicting. Did Luke record it with a chuckle as he remembered that night?

 “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!’ Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted,” (Acts 20: 7-12 NIV).

Raised from the dead

Imagine this. A young man falls asleep in a window and then falls from the third story to his death. Paul, apparently without losing momentum, walks downstairs and throws himself on the boy, bringing him back to life.

The crowd must have gone from shock to horror to awe and reverence, followed by joy and adoration.

I’m unsure if Paul portrayed God’s presence through his words and tone. However, I feel certain the people listening experienced the powerful presence of the Lord when Paul raised Eutychus from the dead.

God was among them, working and moving within this new family of believers. Paul’s actions taught them more than his words ever could. He did not panic. He did not cry in horror or apologize for the length of his speech. Paul simply demonstrated confidence in the Lord and faith through his actions.

Determined to finish

Nothing could deter Paul from communicating what he wanted the people to hear. He did not seem at all surprised by this event. He didn’t change one thing – except a few minutes away from his speech and food. I think Paul must have demonstrated multitasking before the term came along.  He ate, preached, got distracted and rescued the boy who died on his watch, then went back upstairs and continued preaching and eating.

This early church came for one experience — a meal and Paul’s preaching. They left knowing the presence of God was real. I’m sure that night was forever etched in the memories of those in attendance.

Power in His presence

What are our expectations when we go to church? Do we expect a sermon and a snack? Or do we come expecting to experience the presence of God?

I admit, I have zoned out from time to time. But I want that experience, don’t you?

Jesus has much to say about it. He even had his servants write it down for us on the pages of His Word.

I pray that today we will know God’s powerful presence in our lives. I pray that we will read, absorb His Word, draw closer to Him, and live expecting the miraculous and powerful presence of God.


Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

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Prep Work

Prep Work

Squeal with delight

I know firsthand how much goes into repairing and expanding a concrete driveway because I just had that work done. It takes hours of preparation before a truck even arrives to pour the concrete.

Locations of underground water, gas or any other utilities must be flagged. Digging up dirt, framing the area with boards, breaking up and hauling away any unneeded concrete, and laying down mesh wire for strength and durability must occur first. You get the idea.

Once poured, the wet concrete must be leveled, set and hardened enough to drive on it, which takes about 5 days (at least here in the South).

We may not like the wait, but the prep work guarantees the driveway can bear weight.

Lives well lived

My mother-in-law and father-in-law passed away within seven weeks of each other. As it often does, going through a time of loss reveals what matters most. It highlights the importance of cherishing our loved ones, treasuring the memories and spending quality time with them.

I think my in-laws’ lived in a way that would prepare future generations to live fulfilling and God-centered lives.

  • They demonstrated a daily love for and commitment to each other, staying together for 64 years.
  • They laughed easily and often, bringing joy into our lives.
  • Their love for the Lord and the things of God showed.

God’s preparation for us

Although we grieve, God gives us hope after loss. Through long hospital stays or sudden passing, God comforts the downcast. He gives us the stamina to lift one foot in front of the other and strengthens bonds shared with family and friends. He encourages us through a friend’s visit or a much-needed phone call.

Jesus promises we will see our loved ones again if we have a personal relationship with Him. He promises to prepare a place for us so that someday we will be with Him for eternity. He also prepares us for that place. He’s doing prep work in us now.

  • God left His word so we can know what He’s like.
  • He refines us, many times through trials and challenges.
  • He draws us to Him.
  • The Living God gives us the Holy Spirit, His guarantee that we will one day be with Him.

One day His work will be complete, and He’ll be ready for us to move in. In the meantime, Jesus promises to be with us and to one day return so that we may be where He is.

I can’t even comprehend our joy on the day we get to move into our heavenly rooms, however, that moment cannot compare to our joy when we see Jesus face to face.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am,” (John 14:2-3 NIV).



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Finding God

Finding God

My Christmas gift to you

“Mommy, look! There’s Jesus!” my 5-year-old at the time said as he pointed to the sky. Taken aback, I quickly looked out the front window.

Early that morning, I had asked God to reveal Himself to me during the day. Boy did He ever. It was a hot and humid summer afternoon, and my heart skipped a beat at my son’s outburst. He then proceeded to name animals and characters he saw in the clouds as well.

Even so, that was a lesson for me. It had been a crazy, fretful, exhausting week and I desperately wanted to see Jesus in my day. In fact, I often prayed for that. This one got my attention immediately.

The message for me? God was right in front of me all along. It reminded me that I just had to look.

So how do we find God?

A.W. Tozer once said, “Brain power is not the means by which we find God! It is in our dependence on God that we see Him. He graciously and in love revealed Himself to us.” (A.W. Tozer was an American evangelical pastor, speaker, writer and editor.)

Maybe it’s in our desperation that we sense the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Saul found God

Consider the Apostle Paul. Before he was an apostle, destroying Christians consumed him. He went to great lengths to drag them out of their houses and commit them to prison. On his way to do just that in Damascus, Paul, then Saul — the accuser and one with power and control — lost all control and found himself to be the helpless one. (See Acts 9.)

Blinded and lacking vision, Saul was desperate. In that moment, he found Jesus. One of the men he traveled with led him by hand to Damascus. For three days, he waited without sight, food or drink.

Totally dependent on God, he was rescued by one of the very people he came to persecute. God ordained his disciple, Ananias, to restore Saul’s vision.

According to Scripture, after a discussion with the Lord, Ananias obeyed and laid hands on Saul.

Two things happened. Saul regained his sight. He was filled with the Holy Spirit.

In that unforgettable event, Saul found God.

Jesus didn’t fear Saul’s sin. Instead, he took his darkness, miraculously changed him and welcomed him into the kingdom. Saul still had power but this time he went out with the power of the Holy Spirit to bring light to the world.

God is near

Where do you go to experience the power of the Holy Spirit? Do you feel your life (or part of it) is out of control? 

One day we will see Jesus face-to-face. In the meantime, we can live in the power of the Holy Spirit today.

We can find Him

In our waiting.

In our healing.

When our world comes crashing down.

When we’re walking through a fire.

Or fighting a battle.

Wherever we go, He is beside us. Every moment of the day, He is near.

He is at work in every detail, even in the smallest details of our lives.

“But Jesus replied, “’My Father is always working, and so am I,’” (John 5:17 NLT).

My busyness has often blinded me from recognizing Jesus in my day. The truth is He can show up whenever and wherever, even in a young boy’s imagination.





Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

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Questions for God

Questions for God

My Christmas gift to you

“Why did God send the ants?” Parker asked his brother at the dinner table.

With five-year-old wisdom, Garrett quickly returned, “You know that God can hear you. He can even hear you in Disney World.”

In his deep, raspy voice, Parker shouts, “God! Why did you send the ants?!”

Oh, to be as bold as a three-year-old.


Have a question?

What question do you want to ask God today? Do you need to cry out in agony? Do you want to shout, demanding an answer?

As I write this, I am surrounded by a community that is reeling after an unimaginable tragedy, claiming the life of a beloved teenager and causing unspeakable anguish in the others involved.

Another family embarks on a cancer journey, soon to begin chemo and surgery. Still another deals with the unexpected loss of a job. A husband and wife struggle to hold their marriage together, while others are making the hard decisions to care for elderly parents.


Need answers?

There is a new song that launched today. Honestly, We Just Need Jesus by Terrian. The title of the song says it all. We just need Jesus. To get us through the heartbreak, the uncertainty, the pain and the loss, Jesus is our answer.

While searching for something else, I ran across the ant story today. I had jotted it down shortly after the little-boy dinner conversation. I share it not to downplay the severity of loss and pain, but to remind us that God hears what comes from not only our lips, but from our hearts as well.

Seek the Lord. He hears. He’s with us in the middle of chaos and pain. He gets trauma and grief. He understands hopelessness and anxiety.

Jesus takes our hand and walks beside us. He is trustworthy and he will never fail us.

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18 (NIV)


Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.