Daddy Pick Me Up

So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 64:4 ESV

While the Bible tells us to lift up our hands, we rarely stop to think of why. Of course, we all would agree that we lift up our hands in praise, but here are a few others to consider. The first, is what we do what our teachers do while taking attendance. They call our name and like Isaiah when he saw the Lord, we cry out, “Lord here I am!”

Another is what we used to witness regularly when we lived in the inner city. This lifting of the hands happened when blue and red lights accompanied by sirens told us that someone was getting arrested on our block. After a shout of “Show me your hands!” another arrest gave assurance that someone had surrendered. Of course, Jesus doesn’t put a gun to our heads. Instead, our surrender is a result of His love breaking through hard hearts. We are glad to be taken into custody because we know that God has way better things in mind for us than we could imagine.

But one reason you might not have considered, is the one I discovered years ago when our children were small. After working a day that began before anyone in the house was even awake, I would wearily climb the stairs to our apartment, put the keys in the lock. Then, I would hear the pounding of little feet as our little two boys came running. As soon as the door opened, they would stretch up their hands shouting, “Daddy pick me up! Daddy pick me up!” How we need to remember this lifting of our hands to God. If we are worn out from carrying a heavy load, remember that Jesus is at our door right now. Or if we have failed miserably and are feeling ashamed, remember we are still in His house and we can always run to Him. He is with us to strengthen, forgive, comfort and light our way. So let’s lift up our hands to Him and cry, “Dady pick me up! Daddy pick me up!”

A Mother’s Faith – Part 2

But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” Matthew 15:23-25 ESV

I confess that I left you hanging yesterday in the middle of the story of Joey and his mom. I meant for it to be a single post, but to give even the most minimum of details ended up a bit long for one day. Yesterday we left off with Joey lying in a coma, due to a drug overdose. Today let’s follow how Evelyn’s faith was tested. Just like the woman in today’s Bible verses, Evelyn, wouldn’t quit. Even when it seemed that God seemed silent, and others couldn’t understand she desperately asked for a miracle. When no one else had hope to give, these mothers just kept believing.

Then one afternoon I came in the room and Joey’s eyes were open. He couldn’t speak, but he was looking around the room. That day as we prayed for Joey, it felt as if God was on the move! When I returned the following week, Joe was sitting up, and both Eveyln and his dad were there, getting Joey ready to go home. As I walked in with a big smile. Evelyn greeted me enthusiastically, Joey’s dad shook my hand, but Joey looked perplexed. “Oh, this is Pastor Pete,” his mom said. He’s been coming and praying for you every week. Joey smiled and shook my hand.

“Mom’s been telling me about you. Glad to meet you!” Joey told me.

“You really don’t remember me at all?” I asked in surprise.

“No, sorry. I just heard about your visits from my parents.”

As I write today’s story, I am reminded that what matters most to God is faith. You see these two stories are really not just about two young people who experienced a miracle. These stories are about the miracles of the faith of two mothers who were tested in the fire and found their prayers answered by a God who never gives up. From them we find out that no matter what things look like and no matter what anyone says, God is listening, He is near, He cares, and He still answers prayer!

What is Pro Life?

 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

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Often lost in the whole pro-life/ pro-choice debate is the heart of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the defender of life but we must not be so focused on life beginning at conception; that we forget it doesn’t end at birth. In God’s eyes; life is not only about its opening chapter, but also about its closing lines. The same Savior, who writes down the name of every child in His book also offers to carry each of us in His arms to the very end. Where we stand on the issue of life is not only about what we say, but more importantly is about what we do. How we chose to invest our time and hearts in the lives of others will reap returns for all eternity. What better pro-life statement can we make than to serve the real people in our own small corner of this world from conception to their final breath?

Dona Quina and William

Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4

Would You Go For One? Challenge Day 2

India and Nepal 101

My Pastor,Dr. Joliam Sampaio often spends extended time on the mission field in various third world countries. He has traveled to Ethiopia, Nepal, Peru and India, as well as several nations in Africa. While on a two week missions trip with him I learned one of the secrets that helps keep him going. When people were late, when the road was filled with holes, when nothing worked according to plan, instead of getting stressed he often just laughed and said “In all things have fun!” Whether we were in the slums of Katmandu or some obscure village in India he knew that one secret of effective servant-hood is just enjoying the people around him. One day during a visit to a little village in India he (as a former dentist) gave a dental hygiene demonstration with a huge toothbrush on a funny looking oversized set of plastic teeth. Afterward he passed out toothbrushes to the 25-30 children who came for the meeting in a building with a dirt floor covered by carpet. One tiny girl so treasured her toothbrush that as we were singing she decided that the safest way for her toothbrush was  hidden under the rug!

I had traveled thousands of miles yet in that one moment the value of why I was there was reflected in the face of one single child. Whatever the challenge God lays before you this week, remember the value in a single soul. Only one question for this day’s challenge:

Would you do it for one? 

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” Luke 9:48