Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ACE #318: No Resolutions, No Empty Promises for the New Year

Every other year, we host a Christmas gathering called, "Christmas for a Cause with The Lewises."  We invite our close friends and family to enjoy an evening of food, fun and fellowship.  But that's not all.  We also ask them to bring certain items for a worthy cause so that we can give to someone or an organization in need.  We have included gift cards for families, gift cards for residents of assisted living, and toys for the Shriner's Children Hospital.  This year we chose to collect hats, gloves, and blankets for a donation to the The Salvation Army since local news reports have indicated  there has been a shortage of these items for the last two years.  Our guests have always given graciously, generously and with joy. 

This year, I am determined not to make resolutions or empty promises.  Sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but no resolution is needed - just a healthier diet and some exercise.  I will not make empty promises like not getting mad at people when they do things that irritate me because I will surely fail the test - once or twice...

This year, we are just determined to do more...good.  That's all. Nothing complicated. Nothing out of reach.  No resolutions. No empty promises.  Just do more good - for those in need and out of our abundance. 

We have learned that when people do good - good will be returned.  Nice. Simple. Achievable. 

Wishing you all the best for 2015.  Happy New Year!

Be blessed,

The 'After Church' Experience

Proverbs 11:25

25 A generous person will prosper;
    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ACE #317: You Better Speak Up

Mark 3 
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
As we know, Herod wanted to kill Jesus at birth because he knew that the birth of the Messiah, the King of the Jews, would somehow dethrone him. Jesus, now an adult, was still being dogged by the Herodians. The issue here is not whether healing on the Sabbath really mattered as much as the message in the silence of the crowd, which spoke volumes. Nobody spoke up!
Jesus asked them a direct question, but because of their stubborn hearts they couldn't receive or accept the miracle that was being performed right in front of their faces regardless of the Sabbath Day designation.
Perhaps the reason why our situations, our circumstances, our finances, and our relationships aren't shifting or changing is because we refuse to answer Jesus when He speaks to us directly…or maybe the miracle, or the solution, is right in front of our faces and we are too stubborn to receive it.

A stubborn heart will always keep the miracle from being manifested.  Stand in the presence of God, stretch out your hand, and be restored.

Monday, December 29, 2014

ACE #316: The Art of Avoiding Spirit Killers

Have you ever encountered someone who is just a “spirit killer”? 

How many times have you had someone intentionally set out to ruin your day with their negativity? Spirit killer. 

How many times have you complemented someone and they can’t even say “thank you”? Spirit killer. 

Have you ever done something nice for someone and that someone was ungrateful? Spirit killer.

How many times have you accomplished something grand only to be met by a jealous person who cannot even congratulate you? Spirit killer.

How many times have you encountered someone who never has anything good to say about anything or anybody?  Spirit killer.

How many times have you sat in a church service and the spirit is moving, then someone does something so foolish or distracting that it threatened to ruin your worship experience?  Spirit killer.

Lately, it seems, I have encountered more and more spirit killers in my day to day functions.  It's as if they hover like dark clouds.  I have had to really look at the signs for recognizing spirit killers. 

When I think about Queen Jezebel I am reminded that her role was literally to kill the prophet, not just Elijah, but all of those who were deemed as prophets.  She was a mean busybody and terribly self-absorbed and controlling. 

Then there is King Herod.  He wanted to know exactly when the Christ-child would be born because he had set out to kill him.  After the warning from the angel, Joseph had to take Mary and the child from Egypt to the land of Israel.  They eventually ended up in Nazareth ultimately to escape death.  That’s why Jesus was referred to as a Nazarene.

Part of the art of avoiding spirit killers is to learn to align yourself with people who will encourage and uplift you and avoid those who are determined to keep or put you in a place of discontentment.

Sometimes in order to escape spiritual, emotional, and mental death at the hands of a spirit killer, you have to heed the warning signs and get out of dodge…

#Nazarene #packupandmove

Matthew 2

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ACE #315: It's Okay to Have a Proud Parent Moment

Yesterday, we attended our daughter's Holiday Showcase at her school.  One of her teachers had written us a note saying that she was going to sing a solo.  We both left work early so that we could be in attendance.  Her daddy had his video camera in hand.

We sat there for a full hour and then we heard the song, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".  We thought, that is usually the last song.  Then the music teacher stood up to say his "thank you" speech.  At this point, I thought to get a little indignant because, after all, we were told she would be singing a solo.  Just as I was getting ready to walk down the bleachers to protest, one of her teachers ran over to the music teachers to remind him that he had forgotten about the song that the kindergartners were supposed to sing. Our daughter had stood up in protest as well. After all, she had been practicing and was very excited. She's just a little like her mother, I suppose.

She got into position, right there in the middle of the gym floor with microphone in hand.  And that's when it happened...the misty eyes.  She stood in front of a packed gymnasium singing the lead on, "The Angel Band" song.

One glorious Christmas morning
Ten angels did appear
And each one held an instrument
Carefully made by hand
First they counted off to ten
Playing one by one
Then they played together
In a joyful Angel Band.

There was one, there were two,
There were three little angels
There were four, there were five,
There were six little angels
There were seven, there were eight,
There were nine little angels
Ten little angels in the band.

Oh, wasn't that a band, Christmas morning
Christmas morning, Christmas morning,
Wasn't that a band, Christmas morning
Ten little angels in the band.

Parents, it's okay to have those proud parent moments.  Your children are only little once, but they will always be your children.  We are grateful for the opportunity to call ourselves - parents!

Isaiah 54:13

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ACE #314: When Jesus Gets You Together

Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

Mark 2
23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

When I worked on a college campus, my students used to say all the time that I would "get them together" - meaning I would tell them the truth about themselves, whether they wanted to hear it or not, encourage them to do the right thing, or just set them straight.

This narrative is another example of rules overpowering the needs of the people.  God designed the Sabbath so that we could come into fellowship with Him and to be mindful to keep a day, set apart, for holiness.  God gave us the Sabbath because he offered us grace, love and rest.  God didn't need the Sabbath.  However, the Sabbath was a way to identify God's people who were in covenant relationship with Him.

We are so often caught up with what "the rules" say that we forget why the rules existed in the first place.  But it was Jesus' words that should remind us that "the Son of Man is Lord even on the Sabbath" and all other days of the week.  Yep, Jesus "got them together." He saw a need and set the rules aside to meet the need just as David had done previously.

God is certainly honored by us observing the Sabbath, but He is even more honored when we actually do something with it.  We should always be willing to function in the spirit of service for those who are in need.  Don't miss that by getting caught up in the rules.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

ACE #313: Release Jesus

As I look at some of the events that lead to the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, I can’t help but to notice the encounter with Pontius Pilate. When Jesus was first taken to Pilate, it seems as if Pilate knew that there was something to the bogus claims against Jesus. Yet, he never stood up for what he knew was true. So, instead of being different, he went along with the crowd. He allowed his position in the world to influence his stand against the Savior of the world. He allowed the influence of the crowd and the non-believers to cause him to hold Jesus captive and support the crucifixion.

Today, how much more different are we from Pilate? You see, when we allow the influence of our occupations and the influence of what society says Jesus is or isn’t to enable us from releasing Jesus, we are crucifying Jesus in our flesh. The fact that we know who He is, what He can do, furthermore accepted His salvation and yet we don’t stand in agreement with Him, when it comes to being influenced by the evilness of the world, we become very similar to Pilate.

We can’t stand by and listen to the crowd calling for someone or something else, when we know that Jesus is the only way. We can’t keep questioning who He is when we know Him as the Great I Am. There was no crime in saving me from me. I know in God’s will things have to occur for His plan to be revealed. I also know that because of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection I (we) can be different than the rest of the crowd. Don’t hold Jesus captive. Release Him and let a dying world know there is hope. Pilate only thought he had power to release Jesus, but we do. He has given us authority to reach, teach and preach. Not a spirit of fear but of power, love and of a sound mind. Don’t hold Him captive. Release Jesus! Speak about His goodness. Shout about His glory. Walk in His love. Trust in His word. Live in His will. Wait on His Return.

John 19:1-16

Image from:


Friday, December 5, 2014

ACE #312: You Can't Do What Everybody Else Does

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

Mark 2
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

Part of this discussion about fasting is really not necessarily about fasting.  In this particular part of Jesus and the disciples' ministry, fasting had become part of the ceremonial law.  Jesus had done several things that were out of the customary or the "norm" according to the law.  He had healed on the Sabbath, eaten with sinners and publicans, and forfeited the washing of hands calling it "traditions of men". Now, he was outwardly discouraging his disciples to fast as John's disciples and the rest of the people who acknowledged the laws of the Pharisees.  The 12 Disciples were not yet burdened with "religion".  Rather Jesus was trying to teach them about the necessity and significance of spirituality and relationship.

As the narrative continues, Jesus begins to speak in a parable, citing the distinctions between the things that are old and the things that are new.  As Jesus explained, there was no need to fast when the bridegroom was with the disciples - walking with them, teaching them, and praying with them and for them.  It reminds us that fellowshiping with God and being in his presence are not about submitting to rituals and laws as much as it is about seeking to be in a new frame of mind, walking in a new manner, and doing away with old ways of worshiping.  We fast to get spiritual clarity, to draw closer to God, to strengthen our prayer life, to express repentance, to submit to the Master, and to seek something new...something fresh.  

But don't miss that in this example Jesus sets HIS disciples apart from the rest.  They did not have to do what others did because they had something...someone...that the others did not have - HIM.  When we are set apart, when we are walking with the Savior - we can't...we shouldn' what everybody else does. And we don't need to...

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, 
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

ACE #311: Have You Sinned Lately?

Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners
Mark 2
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In this narrative, Jesus has gained a new follower (Levi), who by the world's standards, was not worthy enough to follow Jesus in the first place.  Tax collectors, also known as publicans, were not viewed in a favorable manner.  They got wealthy from taxing and cheating other people.  They were considered to be, in many cases, just evil. 
Then here comes the teachers of the law, the same teachers that keep showing up to stir the pot, asking the question, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"  They were sneering up their noses at people who they thought were "less than" or "unworthy" of the company of the Savior because they were sinners. But Jesus sets them straight as healthy people do not need a doctor, while sick people do. He then said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Jesus was not there to help those who already thought they were good enough - or the best of the best - but rather the people who knew they needed Him, but also those who wanted more of Him.  He wasn't interested in maintaining a "clean" image like the Pharisees.  Jesus looked beyond the cultural beliefs and into the hearts of the people...beyond the labels, beyond the stereotypes, and certainly beyond "business as usual."
Do you really want the truth? it goes.  We have all sinned! And dare we sit in the presence of God in the church pews, in the judgment seat, or elsewhere? We sin in thought, word, or deed...probably every day if we want to be really honest about it.
Do you remember the time that young girl came in church with that short skirt and you thought, she should know better? Thought...
Do you remember when the waiter got your order wrong and you responded with a sarcastic, rude or straight up ugly remark? Word...
Do you remember when you refused to contribute to your supervisor's Christmas because you didn't think s/he deserved anything, especially from you? Deed...
We are encouraged to be holy...period.  We are expected to keep God's commandments. More importantly, we can receive the grace, through faith, that God gives us to be greater in Him than our sins could ever be. 
Just make sure to do a self-check before you go looking down on other people...your kindness can make the difference in someone else coming to Christ...or not.

1 Peter 1:16
for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

1 John 5:3
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome...

Romans 3:23-24

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 
24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ACE #310: Are You In a Holding Pattern?

hold·ing pat·tern

noun: holding pattern; plural noun: holding patterns
  1. a state or period of no progress or change.
  2. a traffic pattern for aircraft at a specified location (holding point) where they are ordered to remain until permitted to land or proceed.

Are you in a spiritual holding pattern?  Both of the above definitions make sense spiritually...really....when you think about it.
How do you think Noah felt on that boat for all of those days and nights...waiting until God gave him a sign (permission, if you will) that everything was all clear...and it was safe to come out of the ark? He had no idea what he would find when the flood was over.
How do you think Jacob felt when he had to wait...another seven years...for Rachel's hand in marriage?  He never wanted Leah in the first place.
How do you think Daniel felt in the lion's den...not knowing what to expect from that hungry lions? Lions are predators, carnivores actually.
None of them felt any different than of any of us...I suppose.  We are unsure.  We are impatient. We feel like the "wait" is going to devour us.
Being in a spiritual holding pattern is a tough place to be get permission for get remain in that same uncomfortable position...until change comes. 
But a change has to come.  It is guaranteed, if God promised it.  His promises have never returned void for His people:
But God remembered Noah (Genesis 8:1)...and He told Jacob many times, "I will be with you" (Genesis 28:15)...and He sent an angel on Daniel's behalf to shut the mouths of the lions (Daniel 6:22).
So just wait...right where you the holding pattern...because a change has to come.
 Daniel in the Lion's Den

 Jacob with Laban, Rachel, and Leah

 Noah and the Ark

Will you trust God in the "holding pattern" of your life?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ACE #309: Is Your Life Too Crowded?

Mark 2 

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man

2:1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

I find it intriguing that people were so eager to hear what this man, Jesus, had to say - his preached word - "that there was no room left, not even outside the door."  The Scripture says that a paralyzed man, carried by four other men, was lowered on his mat down through the roof into the presence of Jesus.  It says that "Jesus saw their faith".  It is an awesome thing when the people who surround you, your inner circle, have so much faith that Jesus sees it.  There's something to be said about surrounding yourself with the right kind of people.  

When Jesus speaks directly to the paralyzed man by saying, "Son, your sins are forgiven" he did two things:  he called this man into a relationship, a familial position, and he forgave him.  The other teachers outwardly doubted Jesus, which in turn, Jesus asserted His spiritual authority to forgive sins on earth, but also to command sickness to leave the place. He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." He performed a miracle right on their faces, in the midst of a crowd, in full view of everyone assembled.  

As I reread this story, I have to wonder if maybe we have allowed our crowded lifestyles to get in the way of us getting closer to Jesus.  Or perhaps because we have not asked for forgiveness...our miracles have not yet occurred.  

I encourage anyone today who has too many things going on to "uncrowd" your life, get rid of the busyness, and check your inner circle so that you can get closer to Jesus. Go to God earnestly in prayer and ask for forgiveness for whatever the sin and be released from the spiritual paralysis in your life so that you can be among those that can witness, "We have never seen anything like this!" 

It is time to pick up your mat...

Monday, December 1, 2014

ACE #308: A Very Strange Place

Sometimes we are just in a very strange place.  That place, where we know that God can bless us, but doubt and fear keep us from walking in faith, keep us from believing that our prayers have been heard, keep us from trusting God at His word, and keep us from thinking there is a door with our name on it. 

We are struggling. 
We are weary. 
We are weak. 

The door is unlocked, yet we don't have enough strength or even enough faith to turn the knob.  We are standing on the front porch...peeping into the windows where our blessings, our breakthrough, and our reward awaits us...right the middle of the room.  Maybe we assume the door is locked because we don't think we deserve the blessing or we believe it is just too good to be true that the wait...the agony...could possibly be over...instantly.

The beauty of it all...God knows our deeds and He's prepared a door for us.  He just wants us to continue to keep His word and to proclaim His difficult times and in good times...through the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical fatigue.  Keep pressing...and in expectation...turn the knob!

Revelations 3:8
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Isaiah 22:22
I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

ACE #307: I Wonder What Maya Angelou Would Say Today...

As I reflect on the events of Ferguson, MO I can't help but to wonder what Dr. Maya Angelou would say today in her own words had she lived...

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.

When the human race neglects its weaker members, when the family neglects its weakest one - it's the first blow in a suicidal movement. I see the neglect in cities around the country, in poor white children in West Virginia and Virginia and Kentucky - in the big cities, too, for that matter.

We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.
I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens. Not just to the person or persons for whom I'm praying, but also something wonderful happens to me. I'm grateful that I'm heard.

You can't forgive without loving. And I don't mean sentimentality. I don't mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, 'I forgive. I'm finished with it.’ 
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.
I have a son, who is my heart. A wonderful young man, daring and loving and strong and kind.
About Trayvon Martin's death:
That one man, armed with a gun can actually profile a young man because he is black and end up shooting him dead…it is so painful. What is really injured, bruised, if you will, is the psyche of our national population.  We are all harmed. We are all belittled, and we give to the rest of the world more ammunition to sneer at us. 
...yeah, probably something similar to all she said before Ferguson, MO.  
Unfortunately and sadly, if we don't want our kids to become victims of the system, we must teach them to stay out of the system.  Protect them. Love them. Instruct them. Pray for them. still hurts. #RIPMikeBrown

Psalm 127:3 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.    

Friday, November 21, 2014

ACE #306: Scandal Time - He Told You the First Time

Last night's Winter Finale of Scandal was all of that and a bag of chips.  The action moved so quickly I had a hard time keeping up!  Some of the best one liners of the night:

He has a PhD in his crazy!
You are just like him...

You are not normal.
Cry me a river, Liv, whatever.

Daddy Pope told you the first time, Liv, "I am the hell and high water." Maybe you didn't hear him, girl.  Or maybe you didn't believe him, chile. Joe Morton totally, absolutely nailed it once more and again last night.  He drew a gun on his own daughter.  That was definitely not normal.  She was actually going to shoot him though. A "kill" shot, not a "stop" shot.  Did anybody ever ask the question how Command got their faces on those cards?  #Staples #OfficeDepot #Something

And Jake wants to go back to the sun.  Liv had to tell him that the sun had gone down.  Honey, it has set, eclipsed and gone straight into hiding!  I waited the entire night for Jake to be kidnapped, shot, and/or killed...whichever came first.  I was worn out.

Quinn and Charlie wore me out and "Endless Love" was so inappropriately appropriate.  Poor Huck has no idea that Charlie is going to kill his wife and kid...

And Cyrus had some of the best lines last night.  "Thank you for your service, Cy. It's been an honor."  I believe Fitz wanted to cry.  Liv got Cyrus back in order though.  However, he is still not a winner.  He just chose the lesser of two evils...I guess.  It's all crooked.  But at least he knows what he's paying for...

But Wicked Mellie is back and in full force.  And no one is a match for her wickedness.  You've been warned, honey!

Mama Pope gave me a real good laugh when she told Liv that she and her father were just alike with, "See you tomorrow."  She knows that Liv will be back to visit.  She's certain of it.

And David Rosen...still. can't. win!  Poor thing.  Stop asking so many questions next time.  Maybe your feelings won't keep getting hurt.  I like Leo, though.

And Andrew has completely thrown me a curve ball.  I did NOT see any of that coming.  He is probably working with Daddy Pope, though.  So pay real close attention.  There's no "Who kidnapped Olivia Pope?"  It is more like, "Who is going to save Olivia Pope?"  It is her show.  She's safe!

Now, waiting until January 29, 2015 is going to be a bit painful. 

But let me add...Joe Morton won the trophy last night. Hands down. Undisputed. It was straight #HowtogetawaywithScandal!

Proverbs 10:9         
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. 

ACE #305: God's Favor Ain't Fair

There will just be times when your enemies will try you.  They will do everything they can to distract you from whatever blessings God is trying to bring you into.  They will even hate on your favor.  No – you did not just imagine it; it really did happen.  But the thing is, your enemy can only triumph over you…if YOU allow it.  “God Favored Me,” by Pastor Hezekiah Walker, speaks to the attacks of the enemy:

They whispered, conspired, they told their lies - God favors me. 
My character, my integrity, my faith in God - He favors me.
Will not fall, will not bend, won’t compromise - God favors me.
I speak life and prosperity and I speak health - God favors me.

The lyrics also speak of our ability to stand steadfast and uncompromised under the attack of our enemies.  The attacks can be blatant or subtle.  Mary is a witness to God's favor.

The reason Mary was able to escape divorce, disgrace, and possibly death (according to the law) is because God sent an angel on her behalf!  Imagine what could have been! If God can send an angel on Mary’s behalf because of “favor”, then ask yourself, “What can God do on my behalf because of favor?”

There’s also favor in our obedience.  But if we got what people thought we should get, it would be bad. If we got what we truly deserved, it would be even worse.  Yep, be glad God’s favor ain’t fair! 
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e]did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.