April 2009


The other day I was picking up some pizza’s for a youth event our church was sponsoring and I saw something that really caught my eye and made me think:   a plate with a piece of pizza crust, a few crumbs and a wadded up napkin.

     I believe that many of you are thinking to yourself, “How weird!” and you are probably right.  Know that you are not the first to think I am a bit strange.

     God spoke to me very strongly about the meaning of this plate and debris; and the message He had for me to share with you from this simple everyday occurrence.

     The plate with crumbs, leftovers and a used paper towel gives us a picture of something that was once full of potential, hot and ready to go.  Then, someone came by and devoured most of it and left just what they did not want or think was valuable.  They took the best and left the garbage.

          This is a very powerful picture of the real life experience of many of us.  We feel like someone came by and used us, took the best we had to offer and then left us like so much trash on the roadside of life.

     I know this feeling very well from my work as a minister to our community and from my own personal and painful experiences.

     I have felt like I have been chewed up, spit out and somehow deemed as unworthy.  I understand what it is to be condemned without cause or simply be overlooked.  It hurts.

      I still do not completely understand how some people can be so cold hearted, self centered and disrespectful; but they are.

     Perhaps you can identify with this experience.  Know that you are not alone.  Know that there is hope.

    There is Someone who has already promised to never leave you.  He has made a guarantee that He will always be there for you and always love you.

     Romans 8:35-39 “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.  Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  NLT

     Humans will let you down.  They will make mistakes, gossip, lie and seemingly try to destroy relationships.  God never will.

     Jesus very clearly told us this in John Chapter 10 Verse 10: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”  NLT

     Jesus wants you to have the full vibrant life you are looking for!  Jesus will never discard you, condemn you or treat you like rubbish.  Jesus loves you!

     Are you looking for a relationship that will last forever?  One that will bring hope and meaning to your life?  Reach out to Jesus, He is reaching out to you.

     John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.”  

     Remember that God loves you…and so do I.

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The other day I was visiting a church in McAllen and came across a scene that was really quite interesting to me.

     I was drawn to a very peculiar sight in this large structure; a lizard was working its way down the wall, very near the floor.

     This lizard looked so small and out of place in this very big and well decorated place.  Once it saw me it became obviously frightened and tried to scamper away.

     I am sure this poor lizard was intimidated by its surroundings.  Everything was much bigger than it was and I am sure it felt out of place inside the church structure instead of being outside in its natural habitat.

     I began to think that I must have looked like a giant version of King Kong as I hovered over this tiny lizard and followed it down the hall. 

     Have you ever felt like that?  Like you don’t belong and everything around you is frightening?  Never fear, God is near.

     2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” NLT

     When God is on your side you have nothing to fear.  No matter how big and dangerous the world around you seem, God is even bigger and more powerful.

     Isaiah describes the Greatness of God in the best words he could muster in Isaiah chapter 40 verses 10 through 16. 

     Let’s listen in, “Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in all his glorious power. He will rule with awesome strength. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed out the mountains and the hills? Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? Who knows enough to be his teacher or counselor?  Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good or what is best? No, for all the nations of the world are nothing in comparison with him. They are but a drop in the bucket, dust on the scales. He picks up the islands as though they had no weight at all.” NLT

     God not only has the strength, power and authority to care for His children, He has the love and compassion to want to care for you.

     It is a big world out there, we need a big God!  Thankfully, He is there for us!

     Maybe you think God is too big or too busy to take time out for you and your problems.  No, quite the opposite is true.

     Psalm 40:1-2 “I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” NLT

     Read that scripture again.  Did you catch that?  When we cry out to God, He turns toward us, bends down and gives us His full and undivided attention.  We are the most important thing in His universe.  God is waiting for you to call out to Him and have faith in His love for you.  When you cry out to God He can do what no other person, no other thing or no amount of money can do, He can save you!

     These scripture talks of our Mighty God setting us free from the dark and dirty clutches of the problems of this world and setting us back on solid ground. 

     Perhaps a better way to see this is when we are drowning in debt, addiction, pride or other troubles and are going under for the third time, God rescues us.  We are saved.  Our safety and security is restored.  Our life is given back to us better and more fulfilling than it ever was before.

     I like the image of God steadying me as I walk along.  I remember when my children were young and just learning to walk, we had to hold their hands to help them take those first steps.  In a similar way, God helps His children as they learn to walk and then steadies them as they travel life’s pathways.

     God never leaves you alone, unprotected or unsteady.  God is near.

     When you feel like a very small lizard in a great big world, never fear, God is near.

     Remember that God loves you!….and so do I.

Monday I had a dentist appointment to repair a bad tooth. The dentist drilled and scrapped and pulled and filled. The dentist chair is a place where you must submit yourself completely to the dentist; he is in charge of you for that period of time. If the dentist says “open wider” you do. They work on your tooth, wash up the mess and suck out all the bad stuff. You just sit there and do as you are told and they fix the problem. Your biggest problem is paying the bill afterward!

What is really sad is the reality that if I had taken better care of my teeth (brushed more, flossed more and eaten less junk food) I would not need to be going through the pain I was experiencing at that time. I would love to be able to go to a Ice Cream Parlour to fix my teeth, but I must go to the dentist.

Maybe we can learn a few things about our spiritual life from the dentist.

1. If we take better care of our spiritual life now we will have less pain later. Pray more, read God’s Word more, live a more faithFULL life and spend more time with God’s children.
2. If we find our self hurting the best thing to do is go to God and yield ourselves to Him.
3. Once we are sitting at God’s Throne we just need to sit there and be obedient. If God says “Do this” our job is to do it.
4. Once we submit to God’s authority He will fix our problems for us. We just sit there and do as we are told. He will repair us, clean us and bring us restoration.
5. Here is the hard part – the Bill. Paying for a single tooth repair is hard enough, especially in today’s economy. How could we ever hope to pay for a “whole body, mind and soul” restoration project. We cannot. There is not enough treasure on this plant to make that payment. The good news is that God loves you and knows fully your inability to settle this bill with Him. Because He loves you He pays your bill for you. He gave His Son as full payment for your mistakes, errors and failures. God restores you, God pays the price for Him restoring you and God is pleased to bring you the new life and hope you need. Your part? Believe God loves you and you can be completely repaired by Him and set free by the payment of His Son Jesus Christ.
6. Many people would tell you that you can be repaired and restored by reading a book, eating certain foods, or doing certain things at certain times. But the reality is, if we want restoration we must go to God. He is our designer, builder and the One who sustains us. No one else can do what God can do. Only God can give us faith, hope and love.

I may have to go to the dentist again one day, and the dentist will receive me and make any new repairs my teeth require or at least give my teeth a check up and cleaning. In the same way, I will have to go to God on a daily basis for a check up and “cleaning.” The good news is that once I am God’s patient, I will always be His patient.