How I Handle Unsolicited Phone Calls…”Hello, You’ve Reached the Prayer Line.”

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“Hello, I’m calling with information about your order.” The woman’s voice on the other end of the phone was barely audible. I turned up the volume to better hear her and pressed my ear into the earpiece.

We talked for a few moments and then as I was getting ready to hang up, I hesitated. What if she were one of my children? I asked myself. How would I want this call to end?

“May I pray for you?” I offered. Then having her consent, my prayer went something like this:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I’m praying for this young woman like I would pray for my own daughter. She needs a better job. Would you please direct her to her dream job, and even if the application requirements are beyond what she currently possess, would you give her favor? Would you place her in a job where she can be trained and where she will be valued? Will you please provide her with a healthy environment where she works with people who are kind and ethical? Father I know that You’ve heard this prayer. I know that you love this young woman. So, I thank you in advance. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.”

The young woman’s voice was soft and tearful now. I could hear emotion in her words. She thanked me and she thanked me again when we finally hung up.

I admit, I haven’t always been as intentional during phone calls with sales people and with crooks. (About phone calls with crooks…I’ll tell you all about it in a day or two.)

Sometimes, I tire of phone calls from solicitors and scammers. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating that they call my phone. I get one or three of those types of calls most days.

That conversation with the sales lady inspired me. Her openness to what I had to say and her appreciation for the words that I prayed…all of that changed the way that I view calls from sales people today.

Why bother? You might ask. Because the person on the other end of the phone is someone’s son or someone’s daughter. I think about that when I see homeless people and when I read articles in the newspaper about another young person in prison. And I think about that when I get phone calls from strangers, asking for money, or trying to give me something that’s supposedly free.

Not too long ago, I picked up the ringing phone and held the receiver to my ear. “Hello, you have been selected for a free trip of your choice to one of our world class resorts.” These were her opening lines, and for the next three minutes the woman on the other end spoke so fast that my mind could barely keep up with her.

When finally she took a breath, I interrupted her memorized pitch. “Honey,” I said. “Can I ask you a question?”

She was obviously not used to questions in this setting. Momentarily, she hesitated and said, “Oh, okay.”

“Do you need prayer?”

“What?”

“You called my house and this is the number for prayer. Can I pray for you about anything…”

This is how I roll.

Pamela

Are we Supposed to be Embarrassed to be Christians?

Pamela

Writing is a joy, knowing I’ve touched a readers heart is a greater joy.

Christian shaming came into the limelight when Joy Behar, the co-host on ABC’s The View, mocked Vice President Mike Pence’s faith in Jesus. I just want to ask a straight out, blunt question…Are we supposed to be embarrassed to be Christians? Because I’m not.

I’m thankful. That’s what I am. And I’m optimistic about the future because of the continuing positive impact that Christians are having in my nation and around the world.

Let’s assume that Vice President Pence said that God speaks to him. Should he be ashamed of this? No! Absolutely not.

His own belief that the Lord hears his prayers and that the Lord sometimes replies is normal. Let’s look at it this way: we don’t think it’s bizarre for children to hear their father speak to them. It’s expected. We’re the children of God. What good Father doesn’t speak to his kids?

In reference to Vice President Pence’s faith, Ms. Behar said, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus, it’s another thing when Jesus talks to you.” She plowed ahead: “that’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

Vice President Pence isn’t crazy. He’s normal. And believing that God speaks to someone who is God’s child isn’t anything to be ashamed about.

One of the amazing things about Christianity that sets it apart from religions is this confidence that we are guided by God’s Spirit, that we hear Him in our hearts, and that He reveals His wisdom personally to us.

Christians throughout history believed that God spoke to them. And, throughout history, there have been people like Ms. Behar who accused Christians of being mentally ill because their claims sounded far too wild to be reality.

Anyone who reads the Bible will see that the claims of hearing God’s voice, made by modern day Christians, aren’t strange at all. The modern day believer’s testimony of their experiences with Jesus are actually quite bland and sedate in contrast with what some of our forefathers of the faith experienced and wrote about. By the way, those forefathers (Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter, John and Paul to name a few) weren’t ashamed, either.

I will not be ashamed. I’m thankful.

 

I Don’t Care for Religion, but I Love God

DSCN1970I really don’t care for religion, but I love God and Jesus my Savior.

Does this sound like a contradiction?

By reading the Gospels one can easily see that Jesus wasn’t too thrilled with the way in which the teachers and enforcers of God’s Word performed their duties—They had become very religious.

Those religious leaders were the caregivers over Jesus’ Fathers’ house. They were in His house as sons, but they didn’t know the homeowner. They could recite large amounts of Scripture, but they didn’t know the writer of the Book. Because of this disconnect with God, they misrepresented Him and used His Word as an iron fist over the people.

Jesus said, woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone, Luke 11:42.

Like the Pharisees, religious people tend to follow the Word without showing justice or the love of God, and they tend to over emphasize the avoidance of sin versus walking with God in mutual relationship.

Another reason I dislike religion is because worldly principles of acceptance exist in its cryptic background. You give to get. You work to earn. Promotion is based upon performance. Those who do not perform well are rejected. The really messed up people are ostracized. The beautiful people are those with money and great achievements.

It would seem like we should work really hard to be good so that God will accept us. But His economy doesn’t function the way we often think it should. He invites us to Himself through the sacrificial gift of His Son. We are forgiven based on what His Son did and our acceptance of that gift. The same grace that’s available to someone devout, such as Mother Teresa, He also offers to those who break every one of His commandments. He didn’t come to condemn, but to save.

Our behavior matters and keeping His commandments is important, in fact it’s one of the demonstrations of our faith, but He loves us because that is Who He is.

On occasion, people have replied to something that I’ve said by telling me that they aren’t very religious. I’ve given a hearty hallelujah to their confession before explaining that God doesn’t invite them to a religion, but into a relationship with Himself through Jesus who is the bridge between us and God.

The way has been made for anyone to know God. The gift is being offered–accepting His gift is up to each of us.

I’ll close with my opening statements. I really don’t like religion, but I love God and my Savior Jesus.

Growing in relationship with them is the foundation of my life.