Friday, January 31, 2014

ACE #123: That Crazy Mouth of Yours

One of the things I always try to do is to make sure that when I am dealing with others, especially in the workplace and the church setting, that the things that come out of my mouth are acceptable to God.  Honestly, sometimes I fail miserably, but I'm getting better. 
It takes a certain level of spiritual maturity to be able to walk away from a "verbal boxing match".  My mother calls it, "playing the dozens".  The "You jab me, I am going to undercut you" kind of thing.  When you were younger, they were the one liners that started out with "Your mama..." and ended with somebody stomping off mad or somebody throwing a punch.  Sometimes it's the challenge of it all and you just have to win.
Always be mindful that whatever you say remains pleasing in God's sight...and to His ears. You never want to ruin your testimony by not thinking before you speak. People have a way of remembering exactly what you say and how you said it.  You don't have to win "the match" every time. Sometimes your silence will speak much louder than your rebuttal.

Psalm 19:14
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing (or acceptable) in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Proverbs 21:23                     
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
Ephesians 4:29    
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Proverbs 15:1                
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 12:18                    
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

ACE #122: The Kevin Durant 'Drop The Mic' Moment

Last night, the Thunder met the Heat.  And Miami felt the rumble of the "thunder" storm.  NBA star Kevin Durant showed up and showed out.  His performance was stellar, spectacular, and the bomb dot com.  For the past 12 games or so, Durant has shown the world what he was made of, why he's highly endorsed, and how the game is played.

My husband hollered for me to come to the bedroom and see something.  I had just gotten real comfortable in our loft.  I was situated in a corner of our sectional wrapped up in my favorite blanket.  I told him, "This better be about something or I'm gonna be real mad that I had to get up and out of my comfortable spot!"  He said, "Oh, you'll love this!"

It was Durant's postgame interview with a female news reporter. It went something like this:

Her:  What do you have to attribute to your success tonight and this 12-game streak?
Him: God...
Her:  (Silence)...oh, it had nothing to do with you?
Him:  No.  It was all Jesus Christ. (Insert: 'Drops The Mic' moment). 
It seemed like she just couldn't recover from that response.  How do you respond to something like that?

In a world where people put Jesus on the backburner, take credit for everything themselves, and bow to popular culture - Durant claimed that he was Team Jesus on national television.

I can't say I am an OKC fan, but Kevin Durant, sir, we are on the same team! #unashamed

Kevin Durant scored 33 points in Oklahoma City’s defeat of Miami.
(Marc Serota/Getty Images Sport)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ACE #121: Stuck in Traffic

It is no secret that this winter has been one of the worst in U.S. history, particularly because the southern states were hit with snow and ice and because of the frigid, negative temperatures.  I read several Facebook posts about people in the Atlanta area being stuck in traffic ranging from three to 12 hours.  Some students even had to stay overnight at their schools because traffic was so bad.  I read where one man walked miles to get to his pregnant wife. 

The post that really stood out was the one that said there were six cars stuck on a street with a hill and no one would get out to help the other person. The poster said that if everyone would have gotten out to help the first car, at the top of the hill, then none of the cars would have been stuck for that long period of time.  Each driver could have helped the next driver.  This makes me ponder the question, "As a people, have we become that selfish?"

Then I read another post that stated that the driver slid off of the road five times and people got out of their cars to help each time.  It took her five hours to finally make it home, but she was safe and warm.  Mostly, she was just grateful.

At the end of the day, who will you choose to be on sunny days and even the coldest of cold days?

Matthew 25:40-45

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

(AP Photo/The Marietta Daily Journal, Kelly J. Huff)


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ACE #120: The Haunting of the Grammys: The Path You Choose

I just read an article about how Christian singer, Natalie Grant, left the Grammys early because she just couldn’t take it anymore.  On her Twitter page she wrote, “I’ve never been more honored to sing about Jesus and for Jesus.  And I’ve never been more sure of the path I’ve chosen.”

Not one television in my house was tuned in – and they didn’t have to be.  Social media was going crazy with commentary.  The amount of satanic messages and sexually explicit performances reached an all-time high in my book.  It was actually a little scary, and very disappointing, when I saw clips of the performances and photos the next day.  (After all, I couldn’t turn it on my television for my five-year-old to view). 
But this Scripture came to mind:

Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Yes, several people won awards, but nobody really stole the show.  If anything, viewers were stunned or dazed.  As Christians, we have to make up our minds about the who, the what, the when, the why and the how for the path we will follow.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. And similar to Natalie, I feel the same way.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

ACE #119: A Mirror

When we look in the mirror, do we see ourself or do we see someone else? I see someone else. No matter which way I turn, the person in the mirror is not me. It can't be me. I am way different than what I see. 

It's amazing how much we want to avoid looking in the mirror at our true self. We look all around to find the perfect spot that represents us. Meanwhile, we miss the opportunity to address our imperfections because we truly believe it is not there.

By now, we should all know that I am not talking about glass, but I am talking about the bible. 
The mirror that causes us to look at it and quickly call out the faults of others and overlook our own. It suddenly looks like someone else instead of us holding ourselves accountable for what we are doing. 

Friends, the word of The Lord is the mirror we should want to see ourselves in. In it, we can see ourselves how Christ would like to see us; in Him. He sees us as a reflection of Him. He sees us a lenders and not borrowers. He sees us as the head and not the tail. He sees us a royalty. He sees us as chosen. He sees us as brothers and sisters worth dying for, even if we have sinned. Look up and repent. Then, live free and be blessed. 


ACE #118: Subject to Change

We usually see this phrase on a ticket for an event or maybe on a commercial advertisement for an event. The phrase is usually used to let us know that the presentation is conditional. A certain event's itinerary or fluidity of it is not carved in stone. It is tentative, unconfirmed or only proposed. So we attend, watch, listen and believe it with the idea that something could possibly change.

Well, as I listened to the preacher last weekend, I heard the Lord through His word. The word of the Lord says that our conditions are subject to change, in Him. Some of us might be struggling right now. We may be physically and/or mentally struggling and it feels like it is getting worse as each day goes by. But I declare through the word of Lord, through the Apostle Paul, that it is temporary. We must keep our faith in the Lord and His promise. Trouble may be in the way…we may have to cry sometimes. We may have to lay awake at night. But it is alright. We know Jesus will fix it, after a while.
So, no matter how bad the doctor says it is; no matter how low the account; no matter how hard the struggle; no matter how bad the job is; no matter how many times they you fail; no matter how many people dislike us and purposely mistreat us; no matter what condition it is - in Christ, it is subject to change, through faith.
When we see things eternally, it will change the outlook of the condition.



Friday, January 24, 2014

ACE #117: A Box of Baking Soda and a Bottle of Ketchup

When I was in graduate school, I went to visit my cousin, Crystal, in Atlanta.  She loved to barbecue chicken wings and to cook her signature baked beans.  On one of those days, she said we were going to visit her friend, Phylicia, to take her a plate of food. I noticed that she also had a small bag of random groceries.  I gave it very little thought.

As we walked up to the doorway, Crystal pointed out Phylicia’s shiny, black BMW.  We knocked on the door and Phylicia answered it promptly.  When we stepped into the living room, the house was dark.  I thought it was rather odd.  We sat there talking while Phylicia ate the plate of barbecue.  She asked me to put the rest of the groceries in the refrigerator.  I opened it up and I was a bit stunned.  There was a box of baking soda and a bottle of tomato ketchup.  It suddenly clicked.  This woman didn’t have any food in her house.  I walked back into the living room and observed that we were actually sitting on beautiful black leather furniture and resting our feet on a fancy zebra print rug.  Her dining area contained a white dining room set with a crystal chandelier and lovely artwork on the walls. 

I learned very valuable lessons from this visit at the tender age of 23:

1.    Keeping up with the Joneses is so overrated.

2.    Spending outside of your budget is wreckless.

3.    Sitting in the dark to preserve energy is uncomfortable.

4.    Eating a car is pretty impossible.

It changed by perspective on "bling" in so many ways.  I felt sorry for her.  This woman exhausted her financial resources because she wanted to keep up appearances with a fancy, luxury vehicle and expensive furnishings, but had no food to eat…literally.  I remarked to my cousin, "Why is this girl sitting in the dark starving? That is crazy.  She would rather drive that car and look good than to buy herself some groceries.  I just don't get it!"  My cousin's response was, "Well, a few groceries is the least I can do, but I've stopped trying to talk to her about her priorities.  It doesn't seem to sink in."
If you can do it, then do it. I'm not hating. If you can’t, then don’t.  People care about the material things you possess, God doesn’t. 

Matthew 6:19-21

Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

ACE #116: Getting God's Attention

There's something specific I've been praying for God to answer for many years.  I used to think that God just wasn't paying attention until one day it happened...God got my attention.

Just when I had given up, God showed me a sign through an odd, random Facebook post that I would have ordinarily scrolled right on pass.  Then it happened again.  I opened a book that has been on my nightstand for three years. I've never come across this particular section in the book and the answer was right there in bold print.  While the prayer has not been answered yet, God has let me know that I have His attention.  He's heard my prayer.  It is up to me to wait.  That's one of the hardest lessons to learn in your faith walk.

Some things are a testing of our faith.  Other things are just a testing of our patience.  Trust that God has heard you.  He never withholds His love from you!

Psalm 66:19-20

19 but God has surely listened
    and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
    who has not rejected my prayer
    or withheld his love from me!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ACE #115: When Your Plans Fall Through

I had it all planned out.  I would be married by 23-years-old.  My first child would be born at the age of 26.  The second one would arrive before my 30th birthday.  It just didn't happen that way...none of it.

As I grow older and more mature spiritually, I become wiser.  I've realized that my life-changing plans never, ever go as planned - they always fall through.  Sometimes it's just the timing.  Other times I was probably more disillusioned than realistic. 

God's timing and His plans are always better...they always succeed. I just have to step aside and get out of the way.

Proverbs 19:20-21
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.  There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the Lord's counsel - that will stand.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ACE #114: Grandmother and Me

While on my way to work this morning, when my mobile phone rang, I knew exactly who it was.  A bucket load of snow had fallen and was still falling.  I answered the phone, "Hey, Grandmama". Since I was a child, she has always been known as, "Grandma Chris" by her grandchildren, but I would get proper sometimes and call her, "Grandmother" or more affectionately, "Chrissy Girl".

My siblings and I grew up with all four of our grandparents.  Anymore, that is so rare.  Back then, in the "olden" days, it was quite common.  Most of my friends grew up the same way.  We were fortunate, blessed really, enough to have our paternal set of grandparents who lived at the top of our street in our neighborhood.  We stood on their front porch when it rained and we had to catch the school bus.  Our maternal set lived about a mile away down the street from our church.  We could walk or ride our bikes to get to them, if we were bold enough.  All of my best memories were made during the summer time.  Sometimes is was just eating a popsicle on the porch.  Other times it was riding to the country to go fishing.

Our daughter has all four of her grandparents and three great-grandparents to make and share memories with at the age of five.  I can see the resemblances of the relationship that I had with my grandmother growing up and her and my mom right now.  It's amazing the things we take for granted in our youth that we can only wish for as we grow older.

My grandmother doesn't have as much spunk as she used to back in the day, but her sharp tongue hasn't slowed a bit.  I don't complain much about my grandmother fussing that my posture isn't perfect or that I chew gum during church service.  I recognize that she's grown both older...and more gray each year.  Just today she bossed me real good, "If that weather is going to get worse, you better turn that car right around and get your hind parts on back up that highway!"

If your grandmother is still alive, just enjoy watering flowers, taking a walk, sitting on the porch with her, or just holding her hand.

Proverbs 17:6
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.

Proverbs 16:31
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.



Monday, January 20, 2014

ACE #113: Dream BIG or Go Home: Why We Still Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Revisited

I wrote this article two years ago because the students at Berea College asked me to "contribute" to the discussion.  And, honestly, I wouldn't change a word.  I can only add, "Even since the recent death of the iconic Nelson Mandela, many still just don't get it - justice, peace and freedom are for all people...just like God."

As I look back at the photographs and news footage of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I rarely find one that is in color.  Ironically enough, his life is often portrayed in black and white, as was the struggle of his time.  Yet his life was, and still is, so full of historic, life-changing, and colorful moments in history.  We gather every year, from coast to coast, to celebrate the birthday and legacy of this iconic, modern day King David who often stood as a giant among many United States history makers.

Dr. King’s legacy was far beyond just striving to create balance among racial divides. It was about advocating, as opposed to fighting, for peace and justice for the “underdog” so that black people could get an education, get fair wages, or just get a front seat on the bus. What is remarkable about it is that he did it through strategic and thoughtful means of preparation and organization.  More importantly, he did it with peace and God’s love always in mind – even in a nation where some only saw the color of his skin not his intellect, not his god-fearing message, not his humanity, not his leadership, not his power of speech, and certainly not his greatness.  His non-violent approach was not always received as such; he and his followers were often greeted by water hoses, angry dogs, brutal beatings at the hands of police officers, and handcuffs that resulted in jail time.
The United States of America is known as, “the land of the free and the home of the brave” yet we have been plagued and marked with numerous cowardly acts of violence and hatred in our historic timeline:  the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombings in Birmingham, Alabama, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, and even the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  We, as a nation, have demonstrated that we can rise to the occasion in a unified voice and put aside differences in the face of adversity and certainly in the face of tragedy and grief.  In King’s own words, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” All of these events show, without a doubt, that regardless of race, when we hurt the tears still flow abundantly and clearly; regardless of color, the blood still flows red; regardless of religious beliefs and faith walks, we all desire to love and be loved; and regardless of socioeconomic status and gender, we must all seek and embrace forgiveness to find true peace.

Dr. King was only 39-years-old when he died.  Had he lived, he would have been celebrating his 83rd birthday this year.  Since his death, we have seen part of his dream come to pass in the election of the first African-American president, Barack Obama. Yet, there’s still work to do.  This is why we still march in honor of his dream in the frigid, winter air on the third Monday of January of every year. This is why his legacy still matters to those who are still standing on the battlefields for the sake of injustice, inequality and, yes, racism.

Dr. King is, and perhaps will always be, the greatest leader in Civil Rights Movements.  While his voice was silenced in 1968, his words, his spirit, and his legacy continue to speak loudly to the masses.  As we continue to reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, celebrate Black History Month, and work toward reconciliation and healing at Berea College, we must all strive to be ambassadors for social change and to do it with honor.

Charliese Brown Lewis
Written January 14, 2012
The Pinnacle, Vol. 157, Issue 8

Unfortunately, our historic timeline also includes that, as a nation, we've suffered and survived through the Aurora Movie Theater shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School the same year I wrote the original article. 
Amos 5:24

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

How our five-year-old sees Dr. King...

Dr. King challenged us all to dream BIG...
Photo credit:





Sunday, January 19, 2014

ACE #112: Cross Reference 1

Years ago, as a freshmen in college, I was introduced to Discover Card. I saw an opportunity to get some money without physically having it in my pocket. So, I signed up and established my first line of credit. As time went by, I continued to charge more than I could afford to pay back. I had some wants and this was an opportunity to address it. The minimum payment seemed to be good enough to meet. As the Discover Card was close to being maxed out, I thought of other credit lines I could establish in the same way.

Well, of course, this continued after my college years. But after a while, I finally realized that I had financial debt that could  literally take 20 years to pay off. So, I sought after some financial help and made the decision to work aggressively to pay off my debt. But, the debt was not going anywhere for a while. It was going to take a some time to be debt free. 

Now, I used my credit card debt to illustrate my own efforts. However, there is a lot of other experiences that I could have use to bring my point home. I could have use my lust, my drinking, my fornicating, my doubt, my other forms of greed or any other sin and disobedience I committed that is contrary to God. 

You see, sometimes we allow our own selfish desires to push us into situations that we will ultimately struggle to get out of by ourselves. But, when we accept and believe in Jesus' death on the cross, His burial in the tomb and His resurrection from the grave, it erases all the sin debt we have caused ourselves. Everything we have done is erased and forgotten. He paid it all for all sin. Just confess it...Believe it...Live like we llanos He lives and wait for His return. See it in the spirit.

Cross Reference


Saturday, January 18, 2014

ACE #111: Let's Do Our Part

There is a song by the Christian group Casting Crowns. The song is entitled, “If We Are the Body?” The chorus of the song seems to be challenging the body of Christ. The body of Christ is seen by many as this prideful puffed up being that is too good to humble ourselves with the attitude of Christ. We have gotten too big in our positions and it is beneath us to humble ourselves. As a result people don’t want to come in and be a part of God’s body and experience true worship. But this song lets me know that we have gotten away from being cordial and loving to one another and moved into selfish and vain living. To the point that we think we can decide who can be a part of the body. But the song says…

“If we are the body, why aren't His arms reaching?”

Why aren’t we reaching out to the lost and letting them know that Jesus loves you and so do I?

“Why aren't His hands healing?”

Why aren’t we believing in and using the power given to us, by the name of Jesus, to heal the sick and afflicted?

“Why aren't His words teaching?”

Why aren’t we telling a dying world about the words of Jesus when He answers the tempter, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

“And, if we are the body, why aren't His feet going?”

Why aren’t we going into the hospitals, the jails, the nursing home, the homeless shelters, the crack houses or the clubs? Jesus came to save the lost.

“Why is His love not showing them there is a way?”

Why aren’t we showing love to the non-believer, the fornicator, the thief, the drug addict, the sexually confused, the hypocrite, the gossiper, the atheist or even our haters?

“There is a way!”

His name is Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life. We can’t get to God, the Father, without Him. He paid it all on the cross, not us. Let's do our part.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

ACE #110: I Just Don't Want to Do Anything Today

When I woke up this morning, a brand new blanket of snow had covered the ground overnight.  I didn’t want to go to work.  I definitely didn’t want to take the time to blog.  I really didn’t want to do anything.  Nevertheless, this was not going to be the day that I sat and did “nothing”.  But there will be days that I will…days that I can…days that I should!

But today, I will press Jesus' name. Amen!

Philippians 3:14
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ACE #109: Look at God

When God does something unexpected or surprising, we often use the term, "Look at God!"  The emphasis is on the word, "God" because He, after all, has done this act.  But let's change where the emphasis goes and say, "Look at God!"  It requires us to move to action and to actually focus our attention on God.

In the story where Peter and John encounter a beggar who is lame, the beggar's attention was focused on his immediate need for money (and not necessarily his need to walk).  When Peter told the beggar to "Look at us!" he refocused the beggar's attention, and the beggar shifted his "vision" into a place of expectancy

I believe part of the reason many of us don't get what we think we want is because we are not "looking" or are not focusing our attention in the right places.  The other reason is because we do not really expect a lifelong miracle, we just expect an immediate breakthrough. 

This story taught me that while I know God is always looking at me, that every now and then maybe He wants to make sure I am actually looking at Him.

Acts 3:1-10
Peter Heals a Lame Beggar
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ACE #108: Relationship Status: Mean and Ugly

I was watching “Waiting to Exhale” the other day and I waited for one of my favorite lines delivered by the late Whitney Houston, “If you’re ugly inside, then you’re ugly outside!”  While it seems harsh, it also rings true in so many ways. 

I met this boy when I was in middle school.  I developed a crush on him instantly because he was cute and athletic.  When he, my cousin, and some of my cousin’s friends all sat down at the picnic table, he told me my nose was big.  My response was, “You don’t even know me and that’s what you say to me.  Well, I’ll grow into my nose, but you’re just mean.  I’m not sure how you’re going to get over that.”  I never looked at him again.  As he got older, he got more attractive to some women - I never saw him as attractive.

I’ve thought about the guys I encountered when I was in college and how some were very popular with the ladies.  They were the ones who had charisma, maybe they were athletes, perhaps they were in fraternities, and sometimes they fit the “tall, dark and handsome” category.  But here’s the thing – no matter how attractive a man was on the outside, if he was a “mean” person, he would never, ever catch my attention for very long.  Meanness is such an unattractive quality – yet many mean people are proud to be mean.

It takes me to the story of Jezebel.  She has been depicted as the worst bad girl in the Bible.  Her role was, literally, to kill the prophet. She was just plain mean…to everybody.  Ahab had no business marrying Jezebel in the first place – and God told him so.  People who are mean don’t know how to function in peace and are rarely, and unfortunately, comfortable with happiness.

While I recognize that past hurts and “baggage” can make people mean, they don’t have to stay that way.  It becomes a choice.  If you desire a spouse who is loving, kind, and gentle, then don’t get into a relationship with a “mean” person who never has a kind word to say to anyone…including YOU!  Mean people will make you miserable.  You can’t change them.  They will have to make up their minds to change – not to please others, but to please God.  And if you are a mean person, then desire for God to change your heart, so that you can change your behavior toward others.

Romans 8:7

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.

Elizabeth Taylor as Queen Jezebel

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ACE #107: Relationship Status: God's Best

One of my friends was in a relationship with a woman for about two years.  He wanted to get married, but she never gave any indication that was what she wanted.  (As a matter of fact, she was still harboring hurt and resentment from a previous relationship).  She had a habit of texting him a lot - even when he had expressed that texting was not really a preferred method of communication.  I told him the thing that I learned about people is that no matter what, when they value you and the relationship they have with you, they will make an effort to sustain the relationship and will not find it robbery to communicate with you and talk to you in a real conversation.  I suggested that he not respond to her text one day just to see what happens.  When he received a text from her, he didn’t respond.  She sent another text the same day and he still didn’t respond.  A day passed.  A week passed.  Then two months passed.  When I talked to him, he said that in his heart he knew what was going to happen when he didn’t respond to her text, but he just had to make sure that he was prepared for the hurt and the anger that would follow when she wouldn’t make the effort to pick up the telephone and actually call or stop by the house to see why he didn’t respond to the text.

While I am not an expert on relationships, I didn’t have to be one to know how this situation was going to turn out based on experience.  My friend tells me all the time, “You forced me to do it.”  And I laugh every time he says it.  My response is always, “No, I didn’t force you to do it.  I suggested you do it, so that you could see that you’re better than that.  You’re better than a half-hearted effort.  You needed to move on so that whoever God wanted you to be with could get to you.”

Every now and then, you’ll have to let go of some things to get God’s best. It starts with knowing you’re God’s best.
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
"He Cares for You" - Thompson Community Singers
God knows what's best for Him!

Friday, January 10, 2014

ACE #105: That Painful 'Thorn Place'

Paul talks about a thorn (splinter, stake, or something pointed) in his flesh that tormented him.  The thorn could be interpreted as perhaps a physical ailment, some type of temptation/sin, or challenges/opposition that is in the way.  As it seems, God allowed Satan to afflict Paul just like with Job.  Paul's "thorn" was given to him to keep him from being "puffed up" or prideful. 

As I've studied these verses, I've recognized my own "thorns".  There are two that linger with me - and have for some time.  That "thorn place" (that's what I call it) is that place where you've prayed about something often, you've asked the "why" and "how" questions, and there seems to be no movement, or perhaps silence from God.  It's a tough and frustrating place that robs you of rest - emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
But what I've learned is that through my "thorns", God is really trying to get me to trust Him, to lean on Him, and to seek Him.  Honestly, it's been a painful and grueling process over the years.  However, there's a promise in these verses that even when I am weak (in my "thorn place"), God's strength is made perfect and His grace is always sufficient.  And because of my faith, that's enough...

Trust God when you are in your "thorn place"!

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Angela Spivey - "These Thorns"

Thursday, January 9, 2014

ACE #104: Just Do the Right Thing

During the holidays, my husband and I were trying to come to a unanimous decision about something. (For the life of me, I can't even remember what the subject was).  Eventually, the discussion turned into a debate.  Out of nowhere, our daughter says, "Why don't you just do the right thing?" The conversation came to a screeching halt.  And, suddenly, our decision was not that difficult.  It just called for us to literally "do the right thing"!

It reminded me that what's popular might not always be what's right.  What's comfortable might not be what's right.  What's easy just might not be what's right.  What's quicker usually is not what's right.  But what is the right thing to do?

1 John 3:22                     
And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I guess doing "the right thing" probably shouldn't be as hard as we make it - it's what's pleasing to God. 

Out of the mouths of babes!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ACE #103: Why I Don't Really Complain About the Cold Much...

I have a pillow.

I have a couch.

I have a car.

I have food to eat.

I have a home.

I have a bed.

I have shoes and clothes.

My child is safe and warm.

None of these is my story or my daily reality.
Whether it's in color or in black and white...poverty and homelessness are real. #grateful
Leviticus 25:35-36                    
If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

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