Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day - you can make things right!

One of the really cool things about plants is their ability to grow back or start over after devastation. If you take a portion of a plant or even a seed from a tree and replant it - there is a high probability that the plant will grow again. If it is cared for. You too can begin again even if you feel like life has left you in pieces. It only takes one seed to make a mighty tree! 

Recently, a man who escaped a North Carolina prison in 1972 called his local authorities to turn himself in. After 40 years of hiding, he decided to surrender. When he was asked about his surrender, he responded, "I need to make this right and get through this."

But there’s also this, it’s not too late— GOD ’s personal Message!— “Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins!” Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to GOD, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. Who knows? Maybe he’ll do it now, maybe he’ll turn around and show pity. Maybe, when all’s said and done, there’ll be blessings full and robust for your GOD! (Joel 2:12-14 MSG)

The message is this - you can make things right - it's not too late.

Instead of worrying about what others think - do what needs to be done. Sometimes the only thing left between your forgiveness, your freedom, and your future is your ability to finally do what's right. 

We can all do our part to save the planet. Everyone won't have the clean earth agenda but that shouldn't stop you from making right choices for the world.

The man from the article was in hiding over 15,000 days but it only took one day for him to feel right about his life. (update) The man has been suffering from a medical condition and knew that he would receive healthcare in prison. I still think that at the end of it all - getting right has to take place - and the catalyst for change isn't always gentle.

We have mistreated the earth, ourselves, and others for too long let's take today to make things right.

Surrender to right living and reap the rewards of healthy living, His full grace, and His total blessings! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Help in an abandoned place

Shock filled my being as I read the article. It was a hateful story from the City of Brotherly Love. A woman is accused of abandoning her son and fleeing to a state potentially named after the Mother of Jesus. (ironic)

On a brisk Sunday evening, Nyia Parler, a 41-year old mother wheeled her quadriplegic son 150 yards into a wooded Philadelphia park. Once there, She hoisted him from his wheel chair and laid him on a pile of leaves. She covered him with a blanket, placed a bible at his side, then turned her back and disappeared into the night. Nyia was allegedly heading to Maryland to spend a week with her boyfriend. 
For five nights, her son laid in the cold air unable to move or call for help. Beyond being a quadriplegic, the 21-year old man had cerebral palsy and could not speak. I shutter to think about his experiences alone in the woods, hungry, and helpless. 
The fifth night of the horrific ordeal, an individual walking by happened to notice the wheel chair and called for help. 
The Philadelphia police spokesman, Lt. John Walker said,"It's only by the grace of God that he survived this."
It was only 21 years ago that young 20 year old Nyia cradled her new born child and now she decides  to leave him. What changed? 

Psalm 27:10New Living Translation (NLT)
"Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close."

People make unorthodox decisions on a regular basis. Many are one thought away from a tragic decision. And, although they feel that a decision to leave will only affect them, there is often several others that are also affected. The loneliness felt from abandonment is immense. It is often debilitating to such a degree that the person experiencing it feels utterly helpless. For that 21 year old to already be literally helpless and then get abandoned in the woods with a blanket and a book is without words. 

But that wasn't any ordinary book - behind the cover and inked into every page were promises of God's faithfulness and ability to save the abandoned. When we feel left God knows what's right!

Deuteronomy 31:6 Before the death of Moses, he tells Joshua that he is the one that will lead them and affirms him by saying, "Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Even in your lonely place you are not alone. You have a comforter that holds you in the cold and guides you in the darkness. 

That 21 year old boy could have died. I honestly believe that it was God's grace that saved him and shows us that in our weakest points He is The Father that holds us and won't let go!

I challenge you to read about God's love for the lost and seek to share His word with individuals that you know are battling loneliness or abandonment.

I cannot judge the mom but I am praying for her and her children. I don't know every detail that made her leave but I know who will stay with her and her boys as they heal from this.


Monday, April 13, 2015

My Father hung with criminals

I have heard people say, "God could never be in a place this bad." I've even witnessed individuals admit that because of the hell they have lived there is no way that could see Heaven.

Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. (John 19:18 KJV)

The final day of Jesus' earthly existence, he was hoisted on a cross between two convicted criminals. I like how the King James Version states it. The verse says Jesus was "in the midst". Even in this dark and painful place our savior was not above it or disconnected from it but rather directly in the midst of it. It is hard to imagine that God could reside in the midst of our most painful places - yet we serve and represent a God that identifies with our pain and has the healing salve we so desperately need.

One criminal mocked Jesus and the other made a simple request, "Remember me."

Here is a glimmer of hope for your dark place - you are always on His mind and He has the exit plan for your pain.

I recently read that the home of former heavyweight champion mike tyson was practically given away. Yep! Given away!

At the height of his career Iron Mike purchased the 25,000 sq foot home for $300,000. Over the years, the house transferred hands many times and gained an asking price that reached $3.5 million. Many of the buyers fell into financial trouble for illegal activity and one of the buyers actually planned to produce a 24 hour internet show with women in the house. It seemed like the house carried a negative stigma. Ultimately a congregation that was holding services in a school, purchased the home for $750.000.

If this dilapidated and misused edifice could be transformed into a dwelling place for worship despite its sordid past - how much more can God use your pain stained past for His glory.

On the third day, the stone that was set to confine was removed and Jesus reigns! Run to God let him remove the stone that is suffocating your success. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Fancy donkey carpet

The Polo Purple Label Donkey Carpet


Matthew 21:8 (NLT)


8 Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.


I walked into the children’s Sunday school classroom and sat towards the side. It was Palm Sunday and I was intrigued to see what the children were saying. The teacher asked a simple question. “Why do you think the people spread their garments on the road?” The response dropped my jaw and made me laugh a bit. A little kid raised his hand and before being called on blurted, “Because they didn’t have anywhere to hang them!”


It was the last week of Jesus’ physical life on earth. Knowing that his time to die was near, Jesus directed his disciples to enter the town of Bethphage to secure a colt for Him to ride. In the Gospel of Matthew 21:2 Jesus said, “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me”. I find it interesting that Jesus asks for both the donkey and the colt yet only planned to ride the colt. The Gospel of Mark explains that the colt was unbroken. The mother of the colt is only mentioned in The Gospel of Matthew. Wait for it…

Could it be that the mother was brought along to keep the colt tame? Parents need to walk with their children as they carry the awesome responsibility of being a reflection of God. 


The thought of Jesus on something so simple makes me even more excited about our Savior. With the ability to ride into the city of Jerusalem on any noble steed or even an army of majestic angels – He chose to ride the back of an untamed colt, a child per se - with his mother in tow. Yes, the colt was to fulfill the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” But when we expect adult revelation Christ speaks as a child. Here is my first point. I believe that we need to get back to the simplicity of who Christ is to us. Instead of the theatrics that we expect from His entrance into our lives and our circumstances, look for the little things. As a matter of fact look for that thing that makes sense in a place that seems senseless. The colt carried the king and not the mother donkey yet Jesus required them both. When we apply our grown up understanding to God’s grasp on our lives we miss the miracle. However we can catch the blessing if we stay connected to the unconventional and TRUST that God always has a plan. 


The story continues… 


The disciples removed their garments and placed them on the animals then placed Jesus on the colt. As they made the Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem most of the people removed their garments and laid them along with palm branches for the colt that carried Jesus to walk on. The people cried hosanna because they were looking for salvation or better put, deliverance from Rome. They needed a savior for their soul but only desired a release from the circumstances. 


The point…


I can imagine the regalia that the people donned to witness Jesus, the Messiah, entering their city. Then, to see them remove their fancy clothes to make a carpet for an animal to trample is awesome. The reason many people have not been able to truly welcome the savior into their lives is because they are making gestures and not giving their all. I believe they placed down their good clothes for the Triumphal Entry but was their heart in it? Even so when we give, what is our intent. Remove what is necessary, stop hanging your identity on what you think is substantial, and lay your all at the feet of the one who can make change and provide sense.


It’s that simple. 


Are you looking for Him? What will you (completely) remove to welcome Him home?