Friday, February 28, 2014

ACE #146: The Day Racism Stole the Show

It was our junior year of high school and we were very excited!  It was time for the annual Junior Miss Pageant at our high school.  We’d waited those three long years so that we could be a part of it.  It was 20 young ladies who wanted the chance to compete and to represent our high school at the statewide pageant.  We were going to be judged by an interview, our academics, a fitness component, a talent component and, of course, someone would be given the Miss Congeniality Award. 

Anticipation and nervousness had sunk in at an all-time high.  It was time for the awards and the crowning of the new queen.  One award after the other was given out – about 25 in all. The ladies were filled with glee as their names were called one by one for a specific award.  The problem was that of those 25 awards, six girls received absolutely nothing.  You guessed it, I was one of them.  The other five girls were my African-American classmates.  It was devastating, on a different level, for each of us.  We had just been labeled as untalented, unintelligent, and unfit.  Some of us cried; others seethed with anger.  I did both.  It made me feel small and defeated.  It wasn’t my first encounter with what I would view as racism in my life, but it stung.
A week later, we and our parents sat at a press conference at a local school building stating our frustrations and seeking some level of justice and fairness.  We made the news – but not because we were winners.  Our parents were there to tell our county and our school board that they would not accept their kids being treated like we didn’t matter.  What became of this matter?  The school board had worked out an agreement to give “us” six black girls $500 scholarships to Midway College.  We still lost…none of us had any intention of attending Midway College in the first place and nothing could tell me that the school board didn’t already know that. 

Racism is a giant, a bully really, just like Goliath. It despises when people refuse to back down from it and fight.  It is wrapped up in a big body with a very little heart.  It tries its best to trample on people who it views as small and undeserving.

I am grateful that I had parents and a church family who validated and supported me.  I’ve gone on to wear a few crowns in my life, but had I let that moment define me I would always feel small and would always accept defeat.  That was the moment I realized that the devil really was a liar.  I would always be more than a conqueror – no matter what it looked like.  It was a tough lesson, but a much needed one.  It’s been more than 20 years, but none of us will ever forget the day that racism stole the show.

1 Samuel 17

41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”







Thursday, February 27, 2014

ACE #145: When People Hate You For No Reason

As Christians, we can no longer pretend to be surprised by people hating us for no apparent reason.  We are not on the level of Jesus at all (naturally or supernaturally), yet people hated Him even after they saw the miracles He performed, even after they heard Him preach and teach a message of love, and even after He died on a cross...for them.  We've been warned...

The World Hates the Disciples
John 15

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’[c


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ACE #144: Are You a Friend of God?

Abraham was called a friend of God because of his faithfulness and his righteousness - so much so that Lot, His nephew, was spared in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  God was mindful of Abraham's request.  And as a result of his faith, Abraham was made the father of many nations - great nations.

Even Jesus gives an example of what it means to be a friend of God. He likens it to Him being the true vine and the disciples being the branches. He says that if they remain in Him, they will bear good fruit.  But God, the Father, is the master gardener. 

Being a friend of God means walking in His ways, obeying His Word, and "growing" in His garden in faith and in obedience just as Abraham did.  It also means that we are chosen and appointed to bear the fruit of the true vine and to follow one of his greatest commands - to love each other. 

If we are not functioning in God's love (even on bad days), then we have to reexamine the question, "Am I really a friend of God?"

John 15:15
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Who am I that you are mindful of me
That you hear me, when I call
Is it true that you are thinking of me
How you love me, it's amazing (Who am I Lord)

I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
He calls me friend

God Almighty
Lord of Glory
You have called me friend

Israel Houghton and New Breed: "I Am a Friend of God"

Monday, February 24, 2014

ACE #143: God Is Not Dead

The lyrics to the song "If God Is Dead" remind me so much about the presence of God.  We are entering into the season of crucifixion and resurrection. The older I get, the more I believe the Easter story and the more I receive that the cross was for me!  If I can only help one person to come to Christ, I've at least done something and know that my living has not been in vain.

Reflecting on the crucifixion, it stuns me how deliberately people hated Jesus enough to kill Him...even after they met Him face to face.  It is one of my greatest struggles. It's just as stunning to me that people hate God and Christianity.  While I've never traveled on the road to Damascus, I've had a "Damascus Moment"...okay, maybe more than one at different stages of my life.  I would argue, though, that once you really meet Jesus - you can't hate your worst enemy...really, you can't hate anyone.  To those who lump all Christians together - whether we support your various causes or not - shame on you.  For Christians who use religion to discriminate against people and Scripture (taken out of context) to mistreat them, well...shame on us, too.  (After all, I am one too...right?)  But playing the "blame game" is so contrary to what Christianity is supposed to be...and, quite frankly, it's exhausting.

At the heart of Christianity it really is about receiving Jesus Christ as the Savior, having a heart of love for all people as Jesus did, and making Jesus did.  As a Christian, I want everyone to be saved and to receive Jesus Christ. I am so humbled by His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness and His blessings.  If someone is reading this and has not come to Christ, I encourage and urge you to do so.  I cannot imagine my life without believing in God and just knowing that He has his hands on me. Nobody said life is perfect or easy.  What I do know is that when I felt like my world was falling apart (on several occasions), God restored my situation greater than I even imagined.

If God is dead...What makes the flowers bloom? If God is dead...What makes summer come in June? If God Is dead? Who is listening and who answers prayers? I'm so glad I know God Lives. If God is Dead...Who can mend a broken heart? If God is Dead? What makes night and day apart? Who can tell me where his body lies. I'm so glad I know God Lives. I can feel him moving thru the trees and the wind and the breeze. I can see him shining thru the night and the stars that shine so bright. He lives!

(The major questions posed by this movie are both profound and complex.)

God Is Not Dead - Kelly Price

 God's Not Dead Trailer:

John 3:16

New International Version (NIV)
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.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

ACE #142: You Don't Know My Story

A couple of years ago, my wife and I were on a vacation with another couple. One night, as we were all joking around and making fun of each other, one of our friends took something seriously that was said. He was aggravated over some comments and he stated “you’ll don’t know my story.” For a while, we could not stop joking about him getting mad over this. We thought it was so silly for him to be that way. It did not seem right.

But, when you think about it, don’t we all have a story. Haven’t we all had a walk through this life that has caused us to end up exactly where we are? Your story may not be my story. My story might not be your story. But, we all have a story. Good or bad, we have a story.

You see, we didn’t know the story. We just knew it was not ours. That’s not Christ.

In Christ, we are commanded not to be about our own interest. We are to be about the interest of our fellow brothers and sisters. This is the mind of Christ Jesus that is to be in us. It is what He did by taking our sins to the cross. One thing though…He knew the story and still took the punishment.

We may not know each other’s story, but, if we are living for Christ, we should have compassion and affection for our brothers and sisters. We should be showing the love of Christ by being a living sacrifice for Him. He took our story seriously.  Just because we don’t know the story, doesn’t mean we can’t show Christ in the story. -RJL 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

ACE #141: This Is The Day

Sometimes, in our lives, we have to look back and see what The Lord has done. He has brought from many wrong paths that we have created for ourselves. He has brought us through the traps set up by our enemies. He has given us hope when we have felt hopeless. He has taken us from sadness to gladness. He has hidden us in times of major trouble. He shown us favor on the job. He has...He has been just that good. We just need to look back and thank Him. When we realize how we have gotten to this point, it is easier to declare that, this is the day. It easier to live in the fact that The Lord has has already done it, for this day. There is no need to be concerned about today and what it will bring. He has already made provisions for whatever comes our way. We can just rejoice and be glad in the day. Live in this day, in the name of Jesus. This is the day that The Lord hath made. -RJL

Thursday, February 20, 2014

ACE #140: The Day 'Jesus Loves Me' Went Wrong

My cousin, Nita, and I were always into some kind of mischief.  But when we weren't conjuring up something, we would fight like cats and dogs.  I mean somebody always came out injured.  We were about six months apart, but in terms of our size she was much taller and about 15 pounds heavier.  To me, it always felt like a life or death situation.

Every summer, all of my girl cousins, sister, and I would stay with my grandmother for a week - it was her vacation week.  My grandfather would leave early in the morning and return late in the evening because he couldn't take all of those women in one house at the same time.  One evening, my grandmother had enough of the bickering between me and my cousin.  So she made us stand there...hugging...tightly...while singing "Jesus Loves Me."  She would even make us sing all four verses.  Any time after that, if my cousin would even act like she wanted to go a round, I would avoid her at all cost.  I did NOT want to hug her or sing that song one more time.  (As I was typing this, I just realized why I really don't like to hug much. LOL!) I thought, How in the world could a church song go so completely wrong?

Over the years, in my capacity as the church musician, "Jesus Loves Me" is one of the first songs kids learn in the Children's Choir.  It usually serves as the morning hymn on our annual Children's Day celebration.  I just haven't appreciated what the song meant until adulthood. 

It reassures me that YES Jesus loves me...not maybe.  That's affirmation.  It tells me that if I want to find out about His love for me, I can go to the Bible.  That's direction. It also reaffirms me that in my weakness, Jesus is strong!  That's trust and protection.  This song is the profound, honest truth of God's love for me.  What timeless, traditional, classic lyrics.

Jesus loves me!
This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

--Anna B. Warner, 1820 -1915

Whitney Houston version:

Children's version:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ACE #139: You Worry Too Much

This morning I woke up worrying about something that will happen six months from now.  Yeah...I said it...SIX MONTHS FROM NOW! Then I stopped and checked myself.

Honestly, I can't control what is going to happen tomorrow, so why even worry about what will happen in the next six months.  As a matter of fact, any number of things could happen in any given week that could completely change my life.

Worrying will absolutely weigh anyone down.  It causes anxiety, health problems, emotional turmoil, spiritual discontentment, and unnecessary conflict in the lives of many.  But, when left to fester, it also causes us to make decisions that are outside of the will of God because we are trying to solve all of our problems ourselves without consulting and depending on God. 

The Word tells us that when we are in a state of worry that we should make our requests known to God  and the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds.  When we worry, it shows a lack of our trust in God and His ability to meet our needs. 

If you find yourself in a constant state of worry - pray, meditate, exercise, talk it out with someone you trust, and seek professional help, if necessary.

Do Not Worry
Matthew 6
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Photo from Paula White Ministries

Sunday, February 16, 2014

ACE #138: Every Praise

Hezekiah Walker has a song entitled, 'Every Praise.' The song has very little lyrics. But what little lyrics the song does have, is so perfect for praising our Lord. 

"Every praise is to our God.
Every word of worship with one accord
Every praise every praise is to our God.
Sing hallelujah to our God
Glory hallelujah is due our God
Every praise every praise is to our God.

God my Savior
God my Healer
God my Deliverer
Yes He is, yes He is

Every praise is to our God"

This is what it is all about. It is lifting up the name of The Lord so He can get the glory. Everything we do should praise God. Everything we say should bring glory to God. Every praise should be to God...Every Praise. It is due Him. Take a look back at your life. 

Praise The Lord-RJL

Photo from-

Saturday, February 15, 2014

ACE #137: A Humble Heart

Now's your chance. Do it. Say it. Take it. The setting is perfect. Don't wait. This might be your only chance. 

This is what I can hear from David's men as they were encouraging him to take Saul out in the cave. It's like they knew everything that Saul had attempted to do and was still plotting towards David. So, I am sure they just wanted him to get that revenge on Saul. But David, an anointed vessel of God, would not do it. His humility would not let Him. Although he was the chosen King to replace Saul, he still could not bring himself to harm this man who tried everything in his power to ruin his reign before it even got started. But, David showed humility and humbled himself in honor of God's first King. Wow!

What would you do? What would I do? 

No doubt. The adversary is coming for us. Why? Because we have confessed our hope in Jesus the Christ. The enemy doesn't like it that Christ lives in us. He knows that the power that Christ gives us is far better than any authority man can give us. Therefore, he is prepared to do and willing to do anything necessary to take the joy out of God's plan for us. But, that can only happen if we allow it. 

In this powerful display of humility, David shows us how to treat those who adamantly seek to steal, kill and destroy that which God has for us. It is with humility. The fact that you have those who despitefully use you, in a position to conquer them...does not mean you have to. After all, what God is doing to them is far worse than what we can ever do. Humility says, pardon the attempts of the adversary and keep working in our seasons. Do it in the attitude of Christ, who was humble even on the cross. 



Friday, February 14, 2014

ACE #136: Searching for a Real Love

I remember my freshman year in college like it was yesterday.  The fondest memories come from dorm life where we could hear music up and down the hallways all hours of the day and night.  One of my favorite artists at the time was this newcomer named, Mary J. Blige.  She sang a song called, "Real Love".  It had a bass groove and drum beat that is still unforgettable.  If the first bar was played, people would know instantly what the song was and could easily fall in step with it.  Some of the words were:

I've been searching for someone
To satisfy my every need
Won't you be my inspiration
Be the real love that I need

Real love
I'm searching for the real love
Someone to set my heart free
Real love
I'm searching for a real love

Oh when I met you I just knew
That you would take my heart and run
Until you told me how you felt for me
You said I'm not the one
So I slowly came to see
All of the things that you were made of
And now I hope my dreams and inspiration
Lead me towards a real love

Sadly, by the end of the song Mary is still searching for real love.  As I've gotten older, I've realized that music has its genre and timeframe, but love - unconditional love - doesn't.  It lasts through the ages.  On this Valentine's Day, if you're looking for real love, the kind of love that endures forever, the kind of love that doesn't reject you, I encourage you to look to God first and yourself next.  God's love has no limits and no boundaries.  Time or space can't control it or change it. And God is always faithful.

We love because he first loved us. 
Romans 5:8                
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  
John 3:16                
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Isaiah 41:13                    
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
1 John 4:10            
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

ACE #135: Cream of the Crop

Cream of the Crop (Urban Dictionary)

The best of the best. Being the cream of the crop is being the best of something, it ranges from sports to school, to just being awesome. If someone says you're cream of the crop, you're better, smarter, more athletic, and just cooler than everyone else.
I remember when I was having a difficult time on my job and I wanted to move into a different department at the same workplace.  I asked one of the directors if he could transfer me over to his department so that I could get out of the current position I was in.  He proceeded to tell me that he had helped other people before and it hadn't served him well.  He used an analogy about how you have a cup of latte or cappuccino and the gunk is at the bottom.  Sometimes when you stir from the bottom, the stuff at the bottom is so concentrated and sometimes not as pleasurable; yet the cream always rises to the top.  If someone is the "cream of the crop" they will rise to the top.
At the end of the encounter, I was so furious I was on the verge of tears and all I could see was red.  Yes, my feelings were hurt because he didn't want to help me, but I was mostly angry because I felt like he was alluding to the fact that I WASN'T the cream of the crop.  He had me all messed up...and was all wrong.  He had NO idea who I was for real.  But today, I am grateful for that encounter.  It taught me several things.
1. Some people forget where they came from...when they had to start at the bottom.
2.  Everyone doesn't see the potential or the promise in you.
3.  Some people just don't have it in them to help others because they think they got wherever they are on their own...not by the grace of others and of God.
4.  Learn how to identify an advocate or a mentor who is actually for you.
5.  Don't let others dictate your destiny, kill your dream, poison your spirit, or dim your light.
6.  Don't stay in a job where you're invisible no matter how hard you work.
Honestly, after that encounter I couldn't stand him and had lost all respect for him as a professional.  I didn't realize until today, when I saw him in the post office, that I probably just forgave him today.  He asked me how things were going.  I told him they were great, I couldn't even complain.  His response, "I could."  My response, "For what?  It probably wouldn't do you any good." He said, "You're right.  Nobody wants to hear it."
What I took away from that encounter was that even though he makes three times the amount of money that I do, I was the one that had the JOY
Maybe to that one man, I'll still never be the "cream of the crop".  But to God, I've always been!  In the words of my dear friend, Rochelle O., "See you at the top!"

Nehemiah 8:10

King James Version
10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Beams and light and joy exude from within me.
“Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.” Psalm 97:11
When you realize your self-worth, beauty and joy in Christ, you have the fearlessness to step into your destiny and Reign…
I am a victor.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ACE #134: When We Ask For Increase

Gospel artist, Vicki Yohe, sings a song called, "Increase Me" that is derived from 1 Chronicles 4:10.  The words are:

This is my prayer that you would bless me
This is my prayer that your hand be with me
This is my prayer from evil you'd keep me Lord (oh yeah)
This is my prayer that it would not grieve me
Enlarge my territory

Chorus: No Limits, no boundaries
I see increase all around me
Stretch forth, break forth
Release me, enlarge my territory
No limits
Can you see it
No limits
Can you feel it
No Limits
Can you see it
No Limits
Go and Get it
Can you see it, No limits

I read the book, "Prayer of Jabez" by Bruce Wilkinson more than 10 years ago.  And I prayed the prayer every week for an entire summer.  I was in no way prepared for what would follow.  God imparted a vision in me for a Women's Ministry, which was in addition to the work I was already doing with the music ministry at my church.  The vision was crystal clear.  Everything I needed was supplied.  Everybody I needed was prepared.  When I'd asked for increase, I thought it would be a financial blessing or something tangible.  But it was so far beyond that.  It took me some time to realize what it really meant then, and what it still means now.

What the request really meant was not just that God would increase me, personally, but that the God in me would increase (or be magnified) so that I could be a more effective witness and instrument of praise and worship for Him. 

To this very day, what strikes a chord with me is that verse 9 is often left out of the prayer; most people skip straight to verse 10.  Sometimes I wonder if we want the prayer request answered, but we don't want to be what Jabez was, which is HONORABLE.  We also don't want to go through what his mother went through to birth him, which is PAIN.  Some of my "best work" has been birthed out of painful life experiences.  It's in those moments that I've sought after God the most...and He responded in the loudest way so that I could know that it was definitely Him that did it.

Pray the prayer if you desire, but be sure to position yourself to receive it...the blessings and the ministry work that will follow.  Increase births more increase.


1 Chronicles 4:9-10
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.

ACE #133: Check Your Crew

Recently, I was reminded of how important it is to look at the people who I hang around.  I'm not talking about just my associations as much as I am talking about the people who are in my inner circle - my crew - the people I am out with in public, the people others associate me with when they see me, the people who know my business, and the people who might share my business.

Some time ago, I chose not to hang out with one of my friends because the life that this person was leading was not what I wanted to influence or impact my life.  This person's choices could result in serious ramifications with possible safety issues if the situation went too far.  And, honestly, I had to seriously evaluate if my close association with this person would please God.  I thought about how Jesus would sit with all kinds of people - saints and sinners.  Then I thought about how even His inner circle, His disciples, had to be "trained" in the ways of God; yet they still fell short, but Jesus loved them anyway.  Then I had to think about the Scripture my Aunt Shirley would always quote to me, "Do not think of yourself 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."

When you are on a different spiritual path, sometimes getting closer to God means one of three things:

1) You might have to leave some people behind or just walk away.
2) You might have to function in your role from a distance.
2) You might have to help the person with their spiritual walk. 
Honestly, some people do not want to know God intimately.  And, it's okay.  People have to desire that type of relationship - you can't make them want it or have it.

This person and I are still friends.  We just can't hang out in the same places and do the same things anymore...well, because I've changed.  My life 20 years ago wasn't bad (as a matter of fact, I was kicking it hard), but it wasn't right either.  And...I knew better then, I just wasn't doing better.  My charge is different now. 

To this day, if my friend was in need, I'd "show up" and sow a seed.  That's just how I'm built.  On your spiritual journey, you will have to determine the company you will keep with sober judgment.  Either way, make sure you are doing what God desires of you before you kick someone else to the curb.

1 Corinthians 15:33                    
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. 
Proverbs 14:7                    
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.



Monday, February 10, 2014

ACE #132: Busy Beaver

Today, I have just been a busy beaver.  I missed my normal blogging time last night and this morning.  Last night, we watched "Olympus Has Fallen" and the amount of violence wore me out completely. Even my mind was busy when my body wasn't.  In those two hours, several inches of snow had fallen...just like Olympus.  And we missed it...because we were too busy to even look out of the window. 

All of this busyness reminds me of the story of sisters, Martha and Mary.  Like me, Martha was a busy beaver.  She missed the lessons that Jesus was teaching because she was too busy going about her day with "business as usual".  She had the opportunity to sit at the foot of the Messiah and to learn from the "best teacher", but she missed it. (And she had the nerve to get mad at her sister's choice).

I encourage you to make the conscious decision to choose to spend some alone time with God - to rest at His feet in prayer and in His word.  Don't miss the spiritual life lessons, the "good stuff", because you're just too busy.

 At the Home of Martha and Mary


Luke 10:38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”


Sunday, February 9, 2014

ACE #131: Today's 'After Church' Experience

Every now and again, we have to go back to the basics. 

How was church today? Was it powerful? Was it an awesome experience? Was it just what you needed for the week? Was it just what you needed to get over last week? How was it? 

Why am I asking? Because those questions were about what we got out of it. But the real question should be, "How did you make the worship an experience?"

Worship is not about us. It is about God. He deserves all we have, but we can't do that when we have our own agendas. The Bible says seek Him and His kingdom first and the other things will come. Worshiping The Lord is giving ourselves away to edify Him. Understanding this will certainly give Him the glory and put us in position to experience the real abundance in Him. So, again, how was church today? Was is about you or about Him? 


Study Link:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

ACE #130: White As Snow

Lately, it has been snowing a lot here in Kentucky. In fact, it has covered the ground in certain areas for weeks. I'll admit, it has been pretty tough to deal with. Navigating in and out of this stuff has been a bit of a challenge. 

But, the other day I started thinking and reflecting. This snow is not bad at all. As a matter of fact, it is quite beautiful. It looks so pure. Then, I was reminded. Jesus's death, burial and resurrection washed away my sins and you guessed it...white as snow. 

The snow is a representation of my sin forgiven. It is really not that bad to deal with when I see it like that. Thank You Lord for the snow you send. It simply reminds me of Your covering. 


Friday, February 7, 2014

ACE #129: When Our Hearts Grieve

I got an early morning call today that has left me terribly uncomfortable and my spirit grieved.  I received the same type of call early Monday morning.  In the last 60 days, our small community has experienced many deaths. Many of us have been left stunned and speechless.  Death does not have an age, a race, or a gender preference. It just comes...uninvited mostly. 

It can leave people empty, broken-hearted, sad and even angry.  For those who are experiencing this season of mourning, I encourage you to trust God and to lean on Him for strength.  God is still and will always be faithful...even in sorrow.

Though the clouds may hang over there will be a brighter day.  In that land they call heaven God shall wipe the tears away.

No more sorrow, no more weeping.  Peace and joy everyday.  For beside life’s crystal river, God shall wipe all tears away.

Oh the joy of meeting Jesus, mortal tongues cannot portray. For we know when we behold him, God shall wipe all tears away.

We shall behold the lamb of God sitting on the throne.  There will be no more crying, no more weeping, trouble will be gone. Hallelujah, there will be joy forever more - when we reach that other shore.

Revelation 21
 4 He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good - tears gone, crying gone, pain gone - all the first order of things gone." 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

ACE #128: Slipping On Ice

Last night, a few co-workers and I flew in from Orlando, Florida.  We didn't think we were going to make our connecting flight from Atlanta to Lexington.  We took off running in the airport so that we wouldn't get left behind.  It made me think about how urgent would it be if we were afraid that when the rapture comes that we would get left behind.  But that is another discussion to be had at a later date.  It was the landing that hit home with me.

As we were attempting to land, I looked out of the window and saw the snow and the covered roads.  It's the ice we couldn't see.  Ice is very deceiving, you know? I thought that the landing was going to be a little tricky.  The pilot landed farther back on the runway than normally anticipated because he knew that the brakes and the tires were going to have to work harder than usual to land safely.  Yep, you guessed it...we slipped all down that icy runway.  Was it scary?  Absolutely!  But did I doubt that we would land safely?  Not really. My faith said so. 

I say all of this just to remind someone that when you feel like you are "slipping on ice" or losing your footing spiritually, pray for God to cover you and to catch you.  But don't miss just might have to work harder than usual.  When I've "slipped" in my life, God has always landed me safely back in His care and back in an upright position, but I had to put some work in too just like those brakes and those tires. Do your part to gain your spiritual footing...

Proverbs 24:16
for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ACE #127: Your Song

No matter how many years pass, there are just certain songs that when I hear them, I will immediately be moved to tears by the overpowering presence and joy of God.  Here's a few:

Standing In The Need- John P. Kee
Safe In His Arms - Thompson Community Choir
No Weapon - Fred Hammond
Jesus is the Center of My Joy - Richard Smallwood
How Great is Our God - Chris Tomlin
Awesome God - Brian Courtney Wilson
Here I Am to Worship - Israel Houghton
Let It Rise - Stephen Hurd
Worship Medley - Marvin Sapp
Ordinary Just Won't Do - Commissioned

These are my "go to" songs - you know that place when you feel like the pressures of the world are beating you down.  Don't let other people mute your song.  Always keep a song in your heart that you can hum or sing when your day is not going so great.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ACE #126: Switching Sides

I've come across many people who are not Christians.  I am cautious not to call them non-believers because they might believe in something or someone, just not my God.  I don't debate them, argue with them, ridicule them, dismiss them, or even speak ill of them.  What I've learned is that it's my testimony, my witness, and my life that will speak volumes to them.

Paul was known initially as a persecutor of Christians.  After his experience with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he "switched sides".  Paul was caught between two different worlds - what some would call "straddling the fence". Those who he had persecuted still feared him and certainly did not trust him.  His followers, no doubt, felt betrayed, bitter, and angry toward him when he stepped on the other side of the line.  He even changed his name from Saul to Paul.  He really became brand new as a follower of Jesus Christ.  I love the idea of the "Damascus Experience". 

One thing I know for myself is that when you encounter the power of Jesus Christ so greatly in your life, it is so life-changing. I see God in the small things.  I see His hand in mighty acts.  I see His power in miraculous works.  I see His love...even in the faces of my enemies.

For those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, I invite you to "switch sides".  And if you don't, it's okay.  I still invite you to the table in love, in honor, and in Christ.

Saul's Conversion:

Monday, February 3, 2014

ACE #125: When Enough is Enough

I can honestly say that where I am in life - in my career, in my ministry, and in my marriage - has much to do with when I've made up my mind that "Enough is enough!"

I remember watching the movie "Enough" starring Jennifer Lopez. She was in a physically and emotionally abusive marriage.  In order to escape her husband, she fled the life she knew and even changed her identity.  Every time I watch this movie I have to ask myself the question, "To what extreme am I willing to go when I've had enough?"

When I was in a job where I had enough of being mistreated while my potential was wasting away - I tightened up my resume and interviewed for new jobs.  I recognized that I deserved better.

When I was in a relationship that made me work way too hard to keep someone who didn't want to be kept - I made up my mind that I wanted better with someone who was willing to work just as hard.

When I wanted to finish my degrees - I put my head in the books and set a timeline for finishing.  I'm working on the third one.

When I wanted a strong, Christian man as a husband - I decided that I wouldn't settle for less than what I knew I could give and be in a marriage.  (He did the same).

When I decided that there was more kingdom work to be done - I answered my call into the ministry.

Part of making up your mind that "enough is enough" is about being able to make a decision...and sticking to it.  A lot of circumstances in our lives could easily be changed if we prayed, trusted God, and then walked in faith.

You'll know when "enough is enough".  Then you'll do something about it.  I firmly believe that the power of a made up mind is the first step on the road to success.

Proverbs 16:3                    
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
James 1:8 - A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can't make up his mind about anything.

Jentezen Franklin - The Power of a Made Up Mind

Saturday, February 1, 2014

ACE #124: The Syllabus

I remember my school days. The teachers would always plan the class out with a syllabus. That syllabus would help us navigate and plan accordingly for the term or year, if applicable. I can recall knowing when papers were do. I would also know when I would be tested and so forth, for the course. Unfortunately, I didn't always follow the syllabus and as you probably guessed, I did not do well in the courses. 

Well, school is over and now I am in the course of life. Do I have a syllabus for this? Yes. In fact, I have always had a syllabus. The Bible is that syllabus. Just like the handout issued by the teachers years ago, God issued His word many years ago to help us through this rough course of life. My brothers and sisters, God knew what we would need long before we started the course as well. He knew we would be tempted. He knew we would be tested. He knew what we could and could not handle. He knew the course would not be easy. He knew we couldn't do it alone. He knew to come in the flesh and offer us the perfect mentor in Christ Jesus. 

Church, the course of life is so hard for us when we try to do it without referring to the syllabus. Like food, we need it to survive. Food will not cut it alone. The word of God and the faith in it is what we need to pass this course of life.