Thursday, October 31, 2013

ACE #44: Scandal Time - Who's Rooting for the Next Baby Fitz?

Dear Scandalites,

Go ahead and admit it!  You want Baby Kerry Washington to be written into the storyline as Baby Fitz, don't you? That really is a little too close to the Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings Controversy. 

Remember when Felicia Rashad got pregnant and they were going to write it into the Cosby Show storyline for the Huxtable Family, but decided against it?  Why?  Because Dr. Cosby felt that the birth of Ms. Rashad's first child was both personal and sacred.

It would make for some good storytelling for sure.  Ms. Washington got married secretly and would have certainly kept her baby a secret...if it's really true that she is pregnant.  Whether it is or not, who is the Judas in her camp that has spilled her secret?  She has stated, very publicly, that she wants to keep her personal life private.  And I respect that.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 states, "...and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you...".  She is Mrs. Kerry Washington in real life not Ms. Olivia Pope.  The paparazzi and fans should let the lady have some peace...and some privacy for her firstborn.

Respectfully submitted,

One of Scandal's Biggest Fans!


 
@kerrywashington
 
 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ACE #43: When the Devil Shows Up Fully Dressed

Oh, he's brave enough to knock on our doors - figuratively and literally.  What? You thought he wouldn't dare? He's bold enough to show up in any form that we just might not even expect.  He even shows up in our sin...the ones we had to think so hard to commit in the first place.  Oh, he's wrapped up in pretty, sparkly, shiny packages that appeal to our senses and our temptations - maybe even a blue dress.  What?  You never saw that one movie?  He is also called by many names - Lucifer, Satan, the enemy, and the "tempter"...

He slithered up on Eve in the Garden of Eden. You know that image of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other.  Maybe it isn't quite like that for some of us.  He showed up face to face, nose to nose with Jesus on the mountain and had the nerve to offer Jesus the world.  If God created the world, then how can Satan offer God's son anything He inherited in the first place?  Here's the thing, Satan cannot possibly offer any of us anything that God has already promised us! 

The word of God says to resist the devil and he will flee...no matter in what form he shows up.  So, put on your armor and shine it up real good - so that devil can see YOU coming!  And when you command him to get behind you in the name of Jesus - he has to.  That's the word of the Lord.

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+4%3A1-11&version=NKJV



Photo from the impawards. com

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ACE #42: Beautiful Feet

Isaiah 52:7 reads, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’"

Gospel means “good news” with an expanded definition of “the teaching or revelation of Christ”. How awesome is it to be able to spread the “good news” of Christ?  Even beyond those in formal ministry, Christians are called to deliver the message of Jesus Christ and the peace for which He stood.  We are also called to proclaim the victory of the cross through salvation “because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, and then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).

Never be ashamed to have “beautiful feet”!
 
Study link:
 
 
 
wallpaper4god
 

Monday, October 28, 2013

ACE #41: Revisiting the Ten Commandments

Yesterday, I was tasked with doing the weekly Children's Moment during the church service.  I chose the lesson about Moses and The Ten Commandments.  While the children seemed interested, it was the adults who seemed a little intrigued.

I've often heard people discount these ten laws because they do not think they apply in today's society or say, "It's from The Old Testament". I've heard the argument from the viewpoints of Bible scholars, atheists, agnostics, theologians, and others.  Well...I'm none of those things.  I, personally, think these commandments apply even more today. What I learned as a child takes on a much greater - personal - meaning as an adult.  I recognized that I needed to revisit what these laws really meant and still mean to me.

At the center of all commandments is loving God and loving others. Even Jesus said so.  It's a simple lesson really...even when written in a language crafted for children. 

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
 
Study link:


 
keeptencommandments.info

Sunday, October 27, 2013

ACE #40: Thankful


Tonight, I find myself watching a marathon of the reality TV series, Duck Dynasty. Each episode has been filled with down home living and craziness from the members the Robertson family. Uncle Psy seems to be the craziest of them all. Of course, Phil and Kay are hilarious in their own right as well. To put it best, the show has had me laughing quite a bit. But through the laughter, I have learned one important characteristic about this entire family. The Robertsons are thankful to God. At the end of each show, they show it. Each episode has ended with a family prayer that gives God the glory for the day, for the food, and for the joy and laughter.

I admire this. Being thankful for the blessings of God, daily, should be a requirement for us all. Each day God allows us to make it through a hard day of work, a long day in school, a minor or major sickness, a long drive, an intense sporting event, a great time with the family or even a Sunday worship experience; we should be thankful to God for the experience. In Him, the apostle Paul said we should count all things we go through joy.

I encourage all of us to take the time and just be thankful to God for the experiences of the day. It may not be at the dinner table as the Robertsons, but just take some time to thank Him. He deserves the glory and the praise. In all things  just give thanks. 

“Lord, I am thankful for this day and all that it was. Thank You.” RJL
 
 Photo by:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithwalkers/2013/08/duck-dynasty-top-ten-reasons-the-ae-show-is-popular/
 
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+5%3A18&version=ESV

Saturday, October 26, 2013

ACE #39: Re-Image


At the job, we have a re-imaging process for computers. Through this process, we offer customers the opportunity to clean up a computer that has been infected with spyware, viruses, and other software/malware that has damaged or could potentially damage their computer. The process basically takes a now ineffective machine and wipes it clean from all the unwanted mess and clutter. Afterwards, the computer is restored to the original image. When the computer is returned to the user, it is now functioning to it's full capability.

Now, if I could just think about this spiritually for a minute. What would a re-image look like in Christ Jesus?

David asked the Lord to create in him a clean heart. He said "renew in me the right spirit."
It was in this moment that David realized he was broken and could not function properly unless the joy of the Lord was restored. So David sought the Lord to be re-imaged/restored to the joy he once knew. The joy before the lust. The joy before the adultery. The joy before the set-up. You get my point.

To those of us who have allowed the sins of this world to infect the image of Christ that is supposed to be in us, it's time to re-image. The heart is broken and it needs to be restored to the image of God. The scripture says we are created in His image. The Lord has to wipe out the mess in our lives so we can get back to Eden and live on top of the world (Donald Lawrence.) So, seek the Lord for a re-image (repentance) and function in true righteousness and holiness. Furthermore, in Christ, we are under warranty. He paid it all on the cross.


RJL


Screen shot provided by http://maximumpcguides.com/windows-7/restore-windows-7-to-a-previously-backed-up-system-image-using-a-system-repair-disc/

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+51&version=NIV


Friday, October 25, 2013

ACE #38: Why the TLC Biopic Hit Close to Home

Right before I graduated from college, I'd made up my mind that I would go to graduate school, but I would also pursue a career in the entertainment industry.  It was the words of my cousin, Crystal, that stuck with me, in my head, playing like a broken record over and over again.  She worked in student services at Clark Atlanta University.  She said, "I have a lot of students who are trying to get into the industry.  They have auditioned at LaFace many times.  Several of them have interned there.  If you want to come down here, I will help you. But be clear...from what I've heard it's a form of prostitution in so many ways."  I didn't have sense enough to really know what that meant...then.

I went to graduate school and signed with CAM Talent Agency.  I auditioned in various parts of Columbus, OH.  Sometimes it would be during my scheduled classes at Ohio State.  Eventually, it came down to me choosing between my dream and my reality.  The reality was that I knew I could get a graduate degree, but I wasn't really certain that I would make it in the industry.  I'd prepared...I could play the piano, I'd taken jazz dance, I could hold a tune sort of, and I was rocking that Halle Berry cut.  And let's be clear, I even had the ego - I had a crown and a sash to help with that.  (More on that another time). I also had my upbringing and my morals.  I wouldn't compromise any of those things for any level of stardom.  I would ask myself constantly, "What if my pastor or my daddy was watching?"

When I watched the TLC movie, I was sad. I was angry. I was stunned.  These girls were beautiful, talented, and naïve.  I won't judge Pebbles because she was only doing what she was programmed to do in this industry.  (Okay, maybe I will a little).  It was her life's work...or so she thought.  Was she wrong? Absolutely.  Looking back, I'm sure she knows she was wrong.  I watched an interview between her and CeCe Winans where they discussed the dangers and sacrifices of this business.  Sister Perri Reid, aka Pebbles, is now an ordained minister. She made a decision to walk on a different path. I commend her for that actually.  Sometimes it takes hitting "rock bottom" to realize who THE ROCK really is.

I don't really cast blame on the members of TLC or Pebbles, but I couldn't help noticing that those girls' parents were not present in any of those business transactions.  People have asked us many times about putting our daughter into modeling.  We've held off for many reasons, but the main reason is because she's not ready - and neither are we.  Decisions like this have to be God-focused, God-centered and GOD-BLESSED!  Those girls were young when they went into this industry.  I do not care if they were in their 20s...parents should never feed their children to the wolves or the lions.  If my child ever goes into a lion's den, surely believe that me and her father will be sitting right in there with her!  The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy...no matter how dressed up, swagged out, or shiny the package looks.  Parents, support your children's dreams, but protect their futures.

There have been days that I have had plenty of "what if" questions.  In the end, I must admit...I kind of love my life - just the way it is!


Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.



 
RIP Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes

Thursday, October 24, 2013

ACE #37: Scandal Time - Poor Mellie Is Leah...Not Saint Olivia Pope

What we know for sure is that Jacob never wanted Leah in the first place.  His eyes, his heart, and his devotion were all for Rachel's affection and her hand in marriage...not Leah's.  Leah got caught up in the crossfire simply because for her father, Laban, it was a business transaction really - a quite cruel one.  He reasoned that it was "not the custom" to give away the oldest daughter before the youngest one. (I'm not buying it). So Jacob married them both!  At this point, it was really his only option if he wanted Rachel.

It was God, not Jacob, who really showed grace and mercy to Leah by opening her womb, while Rachel was barren.  Rachel became so envious of Leah that she gave her maid, Bilhah, to Jacob.  It hurt Rachel so much that she said she would, "surely die". But Leah just kept those babies coming, one after another.  When she stopped bearing children, she gave Jacob her maid, Zilpah.  What a crazy competition!  Here's the kicker, Leah wasn't all that innocent or nice in the story.  She quietly taunted Rachel. When Reuben, Leah's son, found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother, Rachel asked for some of the mandrakes.  They were coveted, rare, and valuable. So, the two ladies bargained for Jacob's affection for the evening - the mandrakes in exchange for Jacob.  Why were these mandrakes so important?  They were considered to be a fertility herb of the ancient Middle East.  Now, we're getting somewhere.  After that evening, Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son...and then a daughter.  Guess what? Then Rachel bore Jacob a son, Joseph, finally after years of barrenness.  And he really loved Rachel now!

Nope, Olivia has no children with Fitz; Mellie has bore him three - one as a political trophy for the masses.

I must admit though, Mellie's drunken monologue last week in reference to Fitz's beloved Olivia was epic:

She's your flaw...your Achilles' heel.  She's my weapon....I'd lose my little war.
I am spectacular, but I can't compete with religious fervor...

Mellie could have four more children by Fitz, but he still won't love her like he loves Olivia...who isn't even his wife.  Sad, but true, folks.  Mellie is no match for Olivia when it comes to Fitz's heart or his devotion.  In Mellie's own words, "I live to fight another day...," but, unfortunately, she will still lose.

No matter what Leah did, she never really gained true love from Jacob as his wife; she did, however, gain his respect as a mother of his children.  She, after all, was the one buried with the ancestors (at the cave of Machpelah) - not Rachel. While Mellie might never gain Fitz's love or his respect, Ms. Young should most certainly gain an Oscar nod for her portrayal of a scorned wife.

Study Link 1:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+29%3A15-30&version=NIV

Study Link 2:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2030:1-24&version=NIV



 
Bellamy Young, Scandal's Mellie

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

ACE #36: Why Loving Your Enemies Really Hurts...A Lot

Who are YOUR enemies? Maybe they are closer to you than you think in one of these forms:
  • Your best friend
  • Your co-worker
  • Your sibling
  • Your parent
  • Your boss
  • Your fellow church member
  • Your classmate
  • A perfect stranger
  • Yourself
Sometimes you cannot even confirm that someone is your enemy, you just speculate.  Sometimes the person you think is your worst enemy could care less one way or the other about you. You're just paranoid...or something like that.  There are times when you have enemies that you don't even know about or that you didn't even make in the first place...or so you think.

I've asked myself the question many times, "Why didn't Jesus just go off on Judas?"  I mean, didn't Judas deserve it?  Part of it was because He already knew that Judas would betray Him.  I think the other side of it was because He could not teach His disciples how to forgive if He had not shown them what forgiveness looked like...even in the hurtfulness and reality of such a costly betrayal.  Jesus showed both mercy and love to Judas.

When you love your enemies, you become a CHAIN BREAKER!  You break a destructive, bitter cycle that spins and spins until sometimes it's out of control and you've involved more people than necessary "to jump on your bandwagon". When you forgive them, there's no more resentment, no more bondage - only freedom.

God has promised us that no weapon that forms against us will prosper - that includes your enemies.  Pastor Ray said it best, "Love your enemies just in case your friends turn out to be your enemy."  And if you are someone else's enemy, there is always an opportunity to make it right...

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+54%3A17&version=NKJV

Fred Hammond - No Weapon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzAkMvK1Ljw


 
Photo credit raynoah.com


Monday, October 21, 2013

ACE #35: God Does All Things Well

In Mark 7:31-37 the story is told, "Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man."  In it we read that the people begged Jesus to place his hand on "a man who was deaf and could hardly talk" (verse 32).   I find this particular story so interesting.

Prior to Mark 7, Jesus has already healed many people - mostly by either touching them, speaking directly over their situations (or their demons), or perhaps only being in their presence.  In this particular narrative, "Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spat and touched the man's tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, 'Ephphatha!' (which means 'Be opened!')". When I think about spit, honestly, I cringe. Okay, maybe it's only me then.  Moving right along, this was a more specific outward/physical action than Jesus had done before in His healing ministry.  This particular man was still healed and received his relief - just in a different, more prescribed, way. 

The man was both deaf and mute, so maybe Jesus wanted to communicate in a manner that the man himself could understand, but not necessarily in the manner that the people/spectators could understand.  It also says that Jesus took the man aside - away from the crowd.  And here's my light bulb moment - every broken place in your life that needs to be healed/restored is NOT for the crowd, sometimes it's just for YOU!  It's for your faith, your belief, your testimony, your healing, and your gratitude.

This particular story taught me that even though it seems like it takes God a long time to show me a breakthrough, some relief, or a sign, that He has crafted my deliverance, or my relief, specifically for my situation. He communicates with me in a manner where I can make no mistake about who brought me through whatever the situation is. It is up to me to trust that HE DOES ALL THINGS WELL on my behalf.

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%207:31-37&version=NIV

Walter Hawkins - He Does All Things Well
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGV5QqxJVwU


 




ACE #34: New Season


ACE #34: A New Season

Over the weekend, I witnessed the dawning of a new season. The University of Kentucky held its annual opening practice before a sold out arena. You could feel the excitement in the air and the anticipation for the new team. This was because last season was a nightmare for the Big Blue Nation. Things quickly went south after the injury to Nerlens Noel. From that, the team never really established a purpose. But, last Friday, changed everything for the fans and the team. It’s a new season and the Cats are ready to put the past behind and look to the future.
Wow! Only if we could look to our seasons in the Lord like this. There is no let down.  
The scriptures tell us that “for everything, there is a season.” You see, someone might be in a bad season right now. But God is getting bring a new season. It is time for someone to have a breakout season and see what the Lord has in store. Last season is gone. Someone is getting ready to show the love of Christ in a new season. He makes everything right for its time. Establish this identity. Get ready! Get excited! Anticipate what God is getting ready to do for those who are in Christ Jesus. We don’t need a sold out arena, we just have to be sold out that He will do what He says. Rejoice. The new season, in Christ, is here!
 
RJL

Sunday, October 20, 2013

ACE #33: #theafterchurchexperience


ACE #33 #the'afterchurch'experience

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Let the church say Amen."

Church, in the building, is over. Did you get the message? Was it for you? Did you claim it was for somebody else?

Now what?

The word of God has been delivered. The selections were rendered by the choir. Prayers were lifted up. God's presence was in the house.

Now what?

Here it is.

Well, there is another week ahead of us in which the enemy is ready to use anything he can to break that which God has given us to do. So, we can't let our worship and praise for the Lord Jesus stop at this. I heard from a brother a long time ago that we are sparring daily with the enemy.  Each day we don't allow God to clothe us with His armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) we will get beat down while training.

We get beat down training...

in the church...
in the home...
in the stores...
on the job...
on the road...
in the mind...
Anywhere God wants to use us.

Folks, the enemy is prepared to do whatever necessary to move our attention from God. We must be ready daily to stand and allow the Lord to work through us so He can get the Glory. Read. Pray. Study. Meditate. Fast. Just don't let worship stop at the end of Sunday service.

#theafterchurchexperience

RJL

http://mobile.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jude+1%3A24-25&version=KJV


                                                       Photo taken by Robert J. Lewis



Saturday, October 19, 2013

ACE #32: Strength In Your 'Stillness'

There are many times in my life that I had to learn things the hard way - like every time my actions and my complaining have only made my situations worse.  I was once called an Israelite. The more I've grown in Christ, the less I desire to be like the Israelites in the book of Exodus. 

Part of the reason the Israelites did so much complaining and were often rebuked by God was because they didn't fully trust Moses as their leader and God as their ultimate deliverer. Moses was specifically sent by God.  God had shown them over and over again (through the various plagues) that He was who He said He was and could do what He said He could do.

There will be times in our lives that all we are required to do is to trust God, be still and do absolutely NOTHING. We don't have to argue.  We don't have to fight. We don't even have to state our case!  Exodus 14:14 says, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Learn to be still and to appreciate God's magnificent power...in your stillness!

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+14&version=NIV


 
Image by latoro.com
 










Friday, October 18, 2013

ACE #31: Jesus' Car Wash


When I dropped off our daughter at daycare yesterday it was pouring down raining.  When I picked her up at the end of the day, it was still pouring down raining.  She said, “Mom, it sure is raining a lot.  That’s okay though.  It’s just Jesus’ car wash!”

I thought about all of the times in my life I’ve heard “when it rains it pours”.  This statement signifies that when one bad thing happens, a constant flow of other bad things follow.  However, rain often symbolizes (biblically) blessings and increase.  As I’ve grown spiritually, I’ve learned to appreciate the seasons of “rain” in my life.  I’ve used those times to recognize that my faith in God is being refreshed, replenished, and restored so that I can grow/flourish spiritually.
 
When it rained during the Great Flood, it destroyed the things that were old to make room for something new.  We should welcome the seasons of rain in our lives so that we can allow God to reign over our lives and to shower us with His blessings.
 
Study Link:

"Open the Floodgates of Heaven...Let It Rain"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7pJnTgnorg


 
Photo credit www.autoshowup.com



Thursday, October 17, 2013

ACE #30: Scandal Time - Why Eli Pope is Like Laban

"We're family...we're never done!" Yep, that's what Eli Pope said to his daughter, Olivia.  It was more sinister than loving, don't you think?

It was Olivia this time who reminded me of Jacob.  She was willing to make whatever deal she needed to with her father in order to protect the people she loves.

When Jacob meets Rachel, it is pretty much love at first sight.  He makes a deal with Rachel's father, Laban, who is also his mother's brother.  In Jacob's first encounter with Laban, he says to Jacob, "You are my own flesh and blood" (Genesis 29:14) and you want to actually believe Laban would love Jacob just like a son. After all, Jacob was his nephew, so that's almost like a son.  In the very next verse after Jacob has been there one month, Laban basically tells Jacob (in the most crafty way), just because you are my relative doesn't mean that you get to kick it here for free - eat my food, live under my tent, and marry my daughter. (You will have to read it yourself to see if you interpret it that way). Jacob agrees to work for Laban for seven years for Rachel's hand in marriage.

Here's the catch, Laban promises Jacob his daughter, Rachel, who Jacob truly loves.  Laban "pulls the wool" over Jacob's eyes and switches out Rachel for Leah.  The trickster got tricked!  Jacob agrees to work for Laban another seven years for Rachel's hand in marriage by tending Laban's flocks.  After all, Laban is a businessman.  As the story goes, Jacob wants to be free from Laban completely so he agrees to work for him a few more years with Laban changing the condition of Jacob's employment several times.  In all - it's 20 years of service!  That's the deal Jacob is willing to make to protect the people he loves (spiritually) and for his and his family's freedom.

Isn't Eli Pope/Command a businessman, too?  A shady businessman, no doubt, much like Laban.  Ole Eli gave Huck and Jake their freedom (actually their lives), but for a huge price for Olivia.  Nonetheless, Sunday dinners are back on the table! 

I ask myself the question, why would anyone, including Laban, want to fight a man who wrestled with an angel and "won"? Yeah, Jacob's hip was knocked out of joint, but Jacob got his blessing...and, eventually, his freedom! 

Poor Olivia.  She has to break bread every Sunday with someone she despises.  I guess that's what happens when you "make a deal with the devil".  No - Olivia is not an angel, but she does wear white...

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+29&version=NIV


 
The Vision After the Sermon by Paul Gauguin (1888)
 
 
Photo credit scandal.wikia.com
 
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ACE #29: When We Want What Someone Else Has

There have been times in my life when I have wished or desired to have riches beyond measure or what we know as "celebrity money" - like Oprah, Tyler, Will, Tom, Angelina, Diddy, Beyoncé, etc.   Then I had to ask myself how those individuals came about making the money they had.  What were their stories?  What were their struggles?  What were their compromises?  What were their sacrifices?

No matter what, there are some things that I do not wish to change in my childhood, or in my life in general, to get to that level of financial stability.  I have never lived in poverty, I have never had broken relationships with my parents/family, and I have never suffered from any form of abuse.  I have been fortunate...actually blessed beyond measure.  And I take none of it for granted.

When we look behind or beyond the money - what's the true backstory of someone's life?  I tell people all the time that I would rather have happiness, good health, and peaceful days than all of the money in the world.  Yes, God can bless us with a lot of money, but after we buy so much "stuff", what is left to get?

It's the intangible stuff that I really cherish.  We must learn to be content with the things God has given us in life, be good stewards of those things, and seek Him so that He can prosper us according to His plan and with His riches.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’

 

 
Photo credit divavillage.com

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ACE #28: Be Careful What You Pray For...

"Dear Lord today, provide for my parents, fight for my friends, care for my children, humiliate my enemies & bless ME!" This is what Pastor Jamal Bryant prayed on Saturday, October 12, 2013 via his Facebook status. Gasp!

The responses included:
  • Should we be asking God to humiliate our enemies?
  • Please humbly bless His enemies.
  • Humiliate my enemies? Um not certain about that one...I'd rather pray they have God's peace.
  • You bless your enemies more than humiliate them, they need God more than us, we have Him already.
  • Amen! (a bunch of those)
The word "humiliate" is defined as: make (someone) feel ashamed and foolish by injuring their dignity and self-respect, esp. publicly. Synonyms include: embarrass, mortify, humble, shame, disgrace, chagrin, discomfit, deflate, demean, squash, cause to feel small, put down, cut down to size, put someone in their place, etc.

This, by far, is not a criticism of Pastor Bryant.  He has a right to pray whatever he wants to pray - both publically and privately.  Either people agreed with this prayer or they didn't.  If they didn't, then they simply did not need to pray it. 

My concern is that as Christians, we need to be intentional about the things we pray for and ask God for in our lives. We need to be specific in our word choice.  Personally, I don't need my enemies humiliated...I need them humbled - not to me, but to the ways of God.  I cannot pray for my enemies and their humility if I am not walking in that same humility myself.  At the end of the day, whatever our enemies do to us, we are to bless them...even as difficult as it may be. That's the word of God.

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+12%3A9-21&version=NIV


Monday, October 14, 2013

ACE #27: Seeing God on the Side of the Road

Last week, my car broke down.  It had to be towed off to the dealership and everything.  It's still there - and I'm okay with it. 

You see, that particular day was two days after me, my husband, and our daughter had spent the entire weekend in the hills, mountains, and valleys of West Virginia.  We drove on winding roads and through a storm to get home. We arrived safely to all of our destinations.

On that particular day, I stayed late at work.  By 6:00 p.m. the rush hour traffic had even died down when that dreaded BOOM happened.  It startled me, but I was able to get to the side of the road quickly and safely.  Two officers stopped to check on me.  My parents came to pick me up, while my husband made sure the insurance information was available.

That day, I saw God on the side of the road.  No, not in person, but in provision.  He provided safety for my family while traveling, an easy coast to the side of the road, two officers of the law, pleasant customer service representatives, a tow truck, two loving parents, and a devoted husband.

After all, He's always there...even though we can't see Him with our physical eyes.  Yep, I saw God on the side of the road while I sat in a car watching the sunset. 

Philippians 4:19

19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.


 
 
Photo courtesy of ourglassheart.com
 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

ACE #26: I Just Want to Praise You!


Praise the Lord! Psalm 150

The psalmist starts with this charge and ends with it. Therefore, it must be important. When we look back over our lives and we begin to think about where we have been and we think about where we are now; and then where we are going, The soul should cry out "Hallelujah". We should feel charged to just praise the Lord. I don't know about you, but my story let's me know it was His mighty works and it was His unmatched greatness. Therefore, with every chance I have and with any skill I have I am going to use it to Praise Him. We are charged with every breath we have to praise. Praise the Lord! If you need more help, click the second link.

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+150&version=NIV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sizxR098JRQ


 
Photo provided by Churchleaders.com

Saturday, October 12, 2013

ACE #25: How Are You 'Faithing' Today?

Before I got satellite radio in the car, the majority of my listening time in the car was an FM broadcast station call letters WJMM 99.1 in Versailles, Ky. Every morning I would drive to work and listen to this Christian programming. Well, at 8:00 a.m., there was a show in particular that always blessed me. The name of that particular show was "Morning Sunshine." First off, the show started with a catchy opening. That got my attention. But it was the opening question that always moved me to think.  As the show opened, Reverend John Withers, would always begin with the question "How are you faithing today?" I know. I get it. "Faithing" is not a word recognized in the dictionary. But what I learned is that it takes some spiritual intuition to answer this question. I realized I could not answer this from a worldly perspective. The world says it is not a word and will spend more time finding the correct word and not appreciate the WORD in "faithing." My point is this. Faith is action. To be faithful we can't just say it. We must show it.

The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God. In this day and time, if we don't continually practice faith in The Lord Jesus, we are not pleasing God. If we say we believe God for everything, then our actions have to show it. If we believe Him for healing, then why are we not positioning ourselves to be healed. In the name of Jesus, rebuke the time doctors have given you to live. Let's position ourselves to show the almighty we have faith in Him and Him alone.

No matter what the boss says...
No matter what the haters say...
No matter what the account looks like...
No matter how bad the government seems...
No matter how long we've been given to live...
No matter what the struggle is right now...

The scripture says "now faith." The question was "how are you faithing today?" When we see it spiritually we can answer the question. Faith without works is dead, but through actions of faith, we have hope.

RJL
Study Links:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+2%3A14-26&version=ESV

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+11%3A1&version=KJV

http://www.wjmm.com

 
Photo courtesy of www.ok.gov

ACE #24: Noah's Ark and the Dinosaurs

After reading one of my Facebook friend's posts about what animals really looked like on Noah's Ark, I wondered briefly and then gave it absolutely no thought.  Then we went on a mini-vacation to Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia and that thought took life; it became a real curious moment after we explored the Good Zoo Dinosaur Exhibit. 

We kept hearing these growling and roaring sounds as we walked along the pathways from exhibit to exhibit.  Come to find out, these dinosaurs had sound effects and were "robotic" - at least that's what our four-year-old told us. "You know robotic means they're not real. They are running on electricity or batteries or something," she explained. I obviously knew very little about robotics and dinosaurs. I know just a smidge more about Noah's Ark.

The animals on Noah's Ark came "two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive" (Genesis 6:19-20). Perhaps they really were various types of dinosaurs.  Before this visit, I'd only imagined chickens, goats, birds, cows, pigs, rabbits, camels, donkeys, and sheep - maybe a giraffe...or at least two.  You know - like those colorful children's books depict. Lions, tigers, and bears would be both scary and dangerous...

As the story goes, God became angry with and grieved by his creation of humankind because they had become evil (both violent and corrupt) in his eyesight.  As a result, he destroyed everyone and everything by a great flood except Noah. The Bible says, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" and "according to all that God commanded him, so he did".  Noah was both faithful and obedient to God.  How awesome is it that God went through such lengths to give specific instructions to preserve the life of one righteous man and his family?

God entered a covenant agreement with Noah and sent a rainbow as a sign of that covenant.  While I am not sure if Noah and his family kept company with dinosaurs, I am sure that I always want to have grace in the eyes of the Lord and be in a covenant relationship with Him...just like Noah.

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+6%3A9-22&version=NIV



 
Photo courtesy of Robert J. Lewis taken at the Good Zoo

Thursday, October 10, 2013

ACE #23: Scandal Time - Refuse to Be a Self-Righteous Sally

"I am the Lord's witness!" Yep, you heard it.  Either you cringed or you grinned.  I feel so ashamed because I did both!  The Bible very clearly states, "...do not think more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you" (Romans 12:4). Ms. Sally Langston is certainly high and mighty. Whew!

Doesn't Sally give real Christians a bad name and a tarnished image?  Doesn't her abrasive demeanor scare non-Christians? Let's keep in mind that she is a fictional Christian, right? Or is she? She is terribly judgmental, extremely arrogant, overly fault-finding, exceptionally insensitive, horribly mean-spirited and, well, just hypocritical.  She condemns everyone else's behavior, but lacks the skill to be self-reflective of her own actions.

Surely, I hope non-Christians and Christians alike do NOT look to Self-Righteous Sally as a true example of Christianity...or follow her example.  As a Christian, I learned a long time ago that one of the true indicators of Christianity is LOVE (for the Lord and our neighbors) - that is what Jesus stood for all of those years ago and still today.  While actress Kate Burton is so right in her execution of this role, Sally Langston is so wrong in the message she sends about Christianity.  So, let's always be mindful to send the right message and to refuse to be a part of "Generation Self-Righteous Sally".

Study Links:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+12%3A1-8&version=NIV

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+22%3A36-40&version=NIV



 
Actress Kate Burton
Photo courtesy of scandal.wikia.com

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

ACE #22: The Best Free Gift...Ever

Jesus paid it all - He really did - at a price that no one else has ever been willing to pay or could even possibly afford.  He died on a cross painfully, which He didn't deserve. His death cost us nothing. There is nothing that we could ever do to repay him. He only asks that we receive Him in our hearts, believe he died for our sins, be convinced that he arose from the dead, confess it with our mouths, be baptized as He was, and invite others to do the same. All we are asked to do is to surrender our lives to him. Salvation is the best thing we could ever receive as a gift…and it is free!

Grateful, thankful, appreciative – all seem so inadequate to express any level of gratitude for the blood of the sacrificial lamb. In the words of Wess Morgan, “You gave up your glory, so I could have my story”.
 
Wess Morgan, “You Paid It All”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud1PRdQYBFo

Study Verses:

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Peter 2:24
24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

John 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.



 
Cross of Sacrifice

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

ACE #21: When Tiny Shoes Are Left Behind

I always know when our daughter has been playing in our closet.  Shoes are often scattered, but that isn't always her fault...sometimes that's just me being too lazy to straighten them up. There's a visible sign though...she leaves her tiny shoes behind.  Most of the time, they are worn and a little dirty because she plays so hard at the park at school.  No matter what the task, even playing or trying on shoes, she gives it all she's got.  She has the best time in our closet because, after all, she is "walking in her mother's shoes". 

I realized early on that our daughter watched me intently, listened to me closely, and mimicked me often.  It has made me more intentional about what spiritual example I set for her - not just in her relationship with God, but also as a wife, a mother and a woman.  Proverbs 31:25-26 reads, "Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness".  I want her to be strong, honorable, wise, kind, and full of joy - all the things I strive to embody from day to day...even if I fall short every now and again. She's my "mini me". She walks in my shoes. I will always cherish the tiny shoes she leaves behind.

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+31%3A10-31&version=NIV


 
Someone might aspire to walk in your shoes;
make sure they are walking on God's pathway.


Monday, October 7, 2013

ACE #20: It's Deeper Than That

Deeper...Through the Gospel of Luke, I learned that the shallow waters in life can only get me so far. You see there is only so much I can get in Christ by standing in shallow waters. Christ has a desire for me to fish deeper. What He has for me is not near the shore. The shallow portion is consumed by the ones who have no desire to grow in the knowledge and faith through Jesus the Christ. It is out deeper in the water where I can experience the Lord in all of His glory. It is in the persistent prayer and meditation of the word and not the occasional prayer and glance of the word, when it lines up with my schedule. It is in the constant communication with Him and not just for the moment. Shall I go on? I have to throw my spiritual and natural resources where it can work for His glory. If I don't, I am limiting the ability of the resource. I encourage someone today to declare "It is deeper than that." Afterwards, make the adjustments and watch Him work. 


Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+5%3A1-11&version=NIV





ACE #19: I Can Show You Better Than I Can Tell You


I Can Show You Better Than I Can Tell You

Remember this highly used phrase? I used to hear it all the time from my mother and grandmother as a youngster. I would hear it especially when I was in trouble with my mother. She would always show my brother and me that it wasn’t just lip service when she said “No.” My grandmother, on the other hand, just said it because I believe she thought it was cute to say; as she cleaned her ear with a hair pin. Anyway, I was thinking about this phrase and how it should be important to us as men and women of faith in Jesus the Christ. In the book of James, chapter 3, he warns us about faith that doesn’t have works. You see, it is not enough for us to just say we believe in Jesus the Christ. We have to show that faith through our works. Our lives have to be filled with the hope that no matter what comes our way, we know God, through our faith in Jesus, to be exactly who He says He is. Personally, He has proven Himself more and more and that His Grace is enough. The lives that we live, because of our faith in Jesus, must be a reflection of this phrase. Stop telling people we will pray for them. Show them by praying with them. Stop telling folks that you love them. Show them with a holy hug and kiss. Stop telling people about the church and pick them up and take them with us to service. Stop always talking about the goodness of Jesus and show somebody what He can do. Give somebody a ‘CROSS’ reference. The word says “faith without works is dead.” If we say we believe in the one true and living God, Jesus, we should not have any problems showing it. I know this because “I can show you better than I can tell you.”
Study Link:

Saturday, October 5, 2013

ACE #18: BINGO


BINGO

B-75 

I-12

N-18

Free Space

G-28

0-38

Last weekend, I went to visit my great aunt. She is in assistive living for seniors. What a visit! Until that Saturday, I had not been able to visit her for a long time because of work and family things. Well, we had a great time together as we always do. I thank the Lord for her wisdom and just what she has meant to this family for over 80 years. 

After about an hour and a half, the Activities Coordinator came by and asked the ladies if they were ready to play BINGO. Of course, every one of those ladies were excited and responded with a big “yes.” I thought that was my cue to leave until my aunt said “Nephew, you want to stay and play BINGO with us.” Now, anybody that knows me, knows I am not the type to play BINGO. I have just never been interested. However, at the request of my dear great aunt, I agreed to play. I should add that is was not for money, but all for senior citizefun. So, the game started and the lady started calling letters and numbers like crazy. For at least 30 minutes, I listened to that and did not win one game. I knew I was only there to please my aunt. So after the game the group prayed and I left.

Several days ago, I was driving to work and I thought about that day. I thought about the BINGO game in particular. I thought about the object of the game and how you win. Bingo is a game of chance. Then I remembered the excitement of the ladies who won when the last number was called. So I laid out my BINGO card of life and called the letter and numbers.

B-75: 38 years ago today, God saw fit to give my parents a little huffy wearing son, Robert J.

I-12:  I began to excel in youth sports and started chasing a dream of one day becoming a professional athlete. Pure and innocent I was.

N-17: I graduated from high school and was ready to explore the sinful world through sports, partying, fornication, drinking, smoking, lying, cheating, stealing and anything else I could do on my own with no vision.

Free Space: In 1997 I accepted Christ as my Savior and still today, I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sin. So, N-17 doesn’t count anymore. I get a free space. 

G-28: What God has joined together let no man put asunder. God ordained the marriage of Charliese and me. God sent her to help me see the King in me. This way, I wouldn’t let the kid in me kill it.    
                               
O-38: I will bless the Lord at all times and His praises shall continually be in my mouth…Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness… No weapon formed against me shall prosper…Create in me a clean heart…I am not perfect but...

BINGO! BINGO!  I got it. It’s about Him. Thank you, Lord for my life. It’s only by Your grace and mercy that I am here. 

Anybody up for a game of BINGO?

Study Links:




Friday, October 4, 2013

ACE #17: Thank God for Your Haters

You know who your haters are - those people who never want to see you succeed.  They might even purposely put stumbling blocks in your way.  They might even attempt to tarnish your reputation just so that you don't move forward...or even just for fun.  Or maybe they might be people in your own family who have told you over and over again that "you'll never be anything" in life or you'll be just like your mother or father.  Whoever they are, they spew venom in your direction in every effort to "kill" who you are or what you could become.  Here's the thing, they never had the power to prosper you in the first place. God declared in the book of Jeremiah that He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Did you catch that?  Your enemies don't have the power to do anything concerning you!

I thank God for my haters.  Their "hating" makes me work harder to reach my personal goals, but it makes me seek a much more personal relationship with God.  I pray more. I study the word of God more. I love more. I give more. And I prosper more!

So, the way the old cliché goes, "Let your haters be your elevators!" And you won't be able to look down on them because you'll be too busy looking up at God. What an awesome sight!

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2029:1-23&version=NIV

Photo courtesy of www.angelelevator.com





Thursday, October 3, 2013

ACE #16: Scandal Time - Isn't Fitz a Little Like Jacob?

Come on, get your "spiritual imagination" going.  Surely, we can all see the similarities.

Both Jacob and Fitz married women that they didn't really love, couldn't really love, and actually never tried to love.  These women worshipped the ground they walked on and gave them children, but still...no reciprocity.  These men both longed to be with the one woman they each truly loved and were willing to do anything to get her little by little.

You see, Jacob wasn't always honorable, but he was restored in God's eyes.  By the end of the tale, we see Jacob's redemption story result in bountiful blessings.  His name even changed from Jacob (the trickster, the supplanter) to Israel, which means "prince with God".

We're still waiting on Fitz's redeeming qualities to show up.  Oh, but Jacob's story is real.  Fitz's is make believe...but somehow we are still fascinated. In the words of Joel Osteen, "He's not just the God of perfect people; he's also the God of imperfect people". And for that, we should all be grateful - well, I am. 

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+32%3A22-32&version=NIV

MegaMoment with Pastor Joel Osteen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N2ooVjidGs



 
Photo credit: scandal.wikia.com








Wednesday, October 2, 2013

ACE #15: Take It Off

I know what you're thinking, but shift gears a minute.

Imagine you're on the side of a mountain. A figure appears before you standing in a bush that is on fire, but the bush is not burning to a crisp.  It is still perfectly in tact as is the figure. Then you hear a booming voice call your name specifically. You see nothing other than that burning bush, but you respond, "Here I am".  That same voice says, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground". 

In Exodus 3, Moses is given a specific charge while standing on the mountain of God called Horeb. Horeb, another name for Mt. Sinai, means "desolate place".  This desolate place, because of God's presence, is then made holy

There will be times in our lives when we feel like we are in a desolate place - deserted, bleak, dismal, bare or empty.  Other times we may feel overwhelmed and consumed.  Here's the thing, God has already promised and proven that the things that "appear" to overwhelm us or consume us, cannot really harm us.  (Remember, even the three Hebrew boys trusted God in the fiery furnace).

Moses took off his sandals physically to get into a holy place. What are we willing to take off (or remove from our lives) to get to the same spiritual place, to get into the presence of God, to hear God's voice, and to walk on holy ground?


Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+3%3A1-10&version=NIV



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

ACE #14: The Infamous Grocery Bag


Satan tried to steal, kill and destroy my testimony with a grocery bag!  Let me explain.  I was at the store picking up a few, quick items.  Yeah, I know - that never really works out. I had several canned goods that I needed to put in the bag. I was very meticulous in how I'd stacked them.  As soon as I lifted the bag...it happened! Clunk, splat, crash, boom! That silly bag split in two and all of my canned goods went rolling in various directions.  Just as that four letter word was about to exit my mouth and hit the open space, I turned my head slightly to the left...and there she stood - the associate pastor of a church where I had just spoken the previous Sunday.  There was a loud, "Thank you, Jesus" in my spirit.  She said, "Hey there! I really enjoyed you last week at the church. Girl, let me help you get those crazy cans". Whew!

As representatives for Christ and advocates for the cause of Christ, we cannot be caught slipping.  The slightest things can compromise our testimonies in the presence of others. Had I shouted out that curse word - that's the only thing she would have remembered about me from that day forward.  Always be mindful of who you represent - even in the presence of a grocery bag.  I learned to double bag and to watch my mouth all at the same time.

Study Link:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+34%3A8-14&version=NIV