Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ACE #261: Plan B

The other day, I was in a rush to get to work.  When I plugged up my curling iron, the power light would not come on.  I tried to reset the power outlet, and still no action.  I hurried into the other room to plug it into another outlet to see if I could diagnose the problem.  Still...nothing.  I realized that my curling iron was broken...done...finished.  I started to panic, then realized that I had another curling iron underneath the sink.  While I didn't necessarily like this curling iron as my first choice, I always thought that I would use it as a back-up if I ever needed it. I was always hesitant to use it because it didn't curl my hair in the manner I really liked.  In this case though, it was right on time!  However, there have been many times when I would have never had to use Plan B if I had just listened to the voice of God.

It made me think about how Moses had planned to kill the Egyptian and to hide him in the sand, thinking no one had seen, or would ever know, his actions. All along, God had another plan for Moses and his people.  Moses had decided to take matters into his own hands, which caused him to sin.  He had not truly consulted God in his plan. 

As Christians, when we go with Plan A, our own plan, out of disobedience and foolish pride we often find ourselves in a world of hurt...trying to undo what we should not have done in the first place.  Then we resort to Plan B...the Back-up Plan.  Plan B is what we use when the first plan just doesn't work out.  There's nothing wrong with using a back-up plan except that had we been obedient and followed God's direction from the beginning...we wouldn't even need it.

The best part - God gives us brand new mercies every day...even when Plan A, our own plan, falters.  Just like with Moses, God adjusts the plan on our behalf.  I guess Plan B wasn't so bad for Moses after all.  He got a wife, a few kids, some pretty awesome in-laws, and he led a few people out of bondage...but none of it would have been possible without God's help. 

Stick to God's plan.

Exodus 2:11-15

Moses Flees to Midian

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”
14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.

Monday, July 28, 2014

ACE # 260: #23

When I was coming up and even still to this day, the number "23" meant Jordan. When we saw the number, it was usually associated with the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan; although, that is still debatable to me. Anyway, for years now, this number has been tagged to the Jordan brand of Nike. Who knows, it might not even be Nike anymore. Anytime we see the number 23, in the world today, it most likely is referring to Jordan. 

Well, church, my views of "23" changed when I got older and I accepted a man named Jesus. You see, when I was in those years, I had a desire to put on 23. The shoes, the sweat suits, the t-shirts and the socks all were something I wanted to put on to look good. But then, 23 came in a Psalm and I no longer wanted to just put 23 on; I had and still have a desire to live 23, Psalm 23. 

Why? He is my Shepard. I shall not want. My soul is restored daily. I do walk in dark valleys, but I can't fear evil. He does comfort me. I have enemies in my presence. My joy overflows with His anointing. Goodness and Mercy follow me everyday. I will be in Him and with Him forever. 

I look good in Jordan's 23, but I am covered in David's 23. 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

ACE #259: Somebody's Watching Me...Always

The song, "Somebody's Watching Me" was definitely a one-hit wonder by R&B singer, Rockwell back in the 1980s.  Michael Jackson sang background vocals on the chorus, which made the song even more popular.  (I just realized that Rockwell is Berry Gordy's son.  I don't know how that got passed me.) I believe 1984 was a real good year in the world of music!

I stood in the line at Burlington's one day and it was moving exceptionally slow. In front of me was a young lady who looked familiar. She was giving the salesperson the business. I mean it was loud, rude, and mean-spirited. The salesperson was very patient in her approach to rectify the situation, which was related to a scanning error of some sort. As the lady in the line turned to say something to her child, I knew I recognized her. She was one of the ministers at a church I had attended the month before.

It reminded me of what I'd read in Our Daily Bread, Titus 3:2 that says, "Speak evil of no one...be peaceful, gentle, showing all humility to all men".  Because of how harshly the minister spoke to the salesperson, in front of an audience and her child, it ruined her testimony in my eyes.

It also reminded me of the time that all of my groceries burst through the bottom of the bag at Walmart and my canned goods went rolling all over the floor; I almost yelled out a 4-letter word, but decided to refrain. One of the assistant pastors from a church I had just spoken at weeks before was standing right behind me. (See this: http://theafterchurchexperience.blogspot.com/2013/10/ace-14-infamous-grocery-bag.html)

Yep, somebody's always watching...and listening. Always remember, "A Christian is a living sermon whether or not he/she preaches a word".

So, if you always feel like somebody is watching you...then they probably are.  They're looking at the example you set.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ACE #258: I'm Only Human

There was this really popular song in the 1980s called, "Human" by the Human League.  It is now a timeless classic.  The lyrics to the chorus are:

I'm only human of flesh and blood I'm made. Human, born to make mistakes. 

(Okay, I have to admit...those are NOT the words I've been singing all of these years. Hilarious!)

When Christians don't take the high road - people notice. We are expected to bow out of the argument that takes a really bad turn for the worse. When people mistreat us, we are expected to turn the other cheek. Well, here's the deal...I'm only human. 

If you curse me out, I won't curse you back, BUT I will "get you together" the best way I know how. The old folks used to call it, "Take your medicine where you get sick!"  (Sometimes people who have gotten away with being mean-spirited just need to be told the truth about themselves or simply put in their places).  Jesus didn't say I had to be bullied. I have almost...sort of...in a way...mastered loving folk and standing up for myself at the same time. If you think that makes Christians, unChristianlike, then that's just a skewed perception and not the reality. Nobody gets a free pass to be rude or to show disrespect, which has become a cultural norm, unfortunately. But Christians don't get a free pass to act a fool and then pray about it later...(I can't be the only one that thinks like that...surely!)

That's why it pays to stay prayed up and wearing the full armor of God. It will keep your mind and your tongue right. People will recognize you love Jesus by the love you show others (John 13:34-35). Love is the identifying mark...even in the most challenging circumstances. 

John 13:34-35

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Monday, July 21, 2014

ACE #257: It's Time to Tap Out

My husband and I love to watch WWE wrestling.  While the story lines are off the wall and predictable, we pretend like we do not know what is going to happen next.  Many times, the opponents get ganged up on and are simply overtaken.  Eventually, some "tap out" because they do not have enough strength or help to overcome their opponent.  

Sometimes it's just time to "tap out"... 

Tap out of bad relationships. 
Tap out of one-way friendships. 
Tap out of broken finances. 
Tap out of over-commitments. 
Tap out of fruitless endeavors. 
Tap out of alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, nicotine fixes, overeating, jealousy, bitterness, idol worship, unforgiveness, gossip...everything else that is causing you GRIEF and not prosperity...those very things that move you and distracts you from the things of God. 
Tap out of anything that makes you burdened down, broken down, beat down, weighed down, and just plain down! 

Tapping out is not really about giving up as much as it is about being overwhelmed...and recognizing it.

Declare the things you need to "tap out" of and tag GOD. He always wins!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

ACE #256: Undignified

Have you ever just wanted to let loose and just praise the Lord for His goodness? His message is penetrating your spirit so much that you want to just stand up and run. You want to just lose yourself in your worship experience with the almighty God; but you don’t. Why? Because, you are concerned about what people will say around you. It is not ‘normal worship’.

My brothers and sisters, tradition is dangerous. Sometimes we just have to let it go. Give Jesus the praise He deserves. People don’t know what you have been through. They don’t know about your commitment to suicide last night. They don’t know about your battle. They don’t know about your struggle, but God…
In the book of II Samuel, chapter 6, David and his army were celebrating the return of the ark of the Lord. David knew what the Lord had done in the battles of his life. So, he praised Him. He formed a full choir with musicians and instruments just so they all could praise the Lord for His goodness, in their own way.  In fact, the Bible says he danced. He danced hard. He danced out of his clothes. That’s praise.

But what I like about this is that, it didn’t not bother him who was watching, not even the fact that his wife was watching. David had a made up mind that his praise for the most high was going to be undignified. The Lord chose him. The Lord chose him to lead the people through the rigorous battles and struggles of the times.
Church, an undignified praise is not tradition. It says, my praise is for you and only You, Lord. You brought me through my dark days. You brought me through my struggles. You forgave me for my lust, my greed, my betrayal and my unbelief. You give me strength when I am weak. You love me when I didn’t love myself or anyone else. I never would have made it and never will make it without you. So, I praise and worship you in the only way I know. Even if it’s not traditional. Even if it does seem undignified.

Image by gatewaynews

Friday, July 18, 2014

ACE #255: Just Smile

Have you ever been around someone that just never, ever smiles?  I often think, surely, you have something to be happy about.

Some days, there's nothing special going on in my life.  I just smile...because I'm happy on the outside because of the joy I have on the inside.  That kind of joy, peace, and love that I know, intimately, because of my faith.  

I have a roof over my head.  I have clothes on my back.  I have food in my refrigerator.  Our daughter is healthy.  My marriage is happy.  And...even if...all of that wasn't true...if only most of it was true - I would still smile.  Well, because I know it could always be worse.  As a matter of fact, somebody's life is worse...right in this very moment. 

So smile...it just might brighten someone's day...or maybe they will believe in the God you serve because you still have a smile on your face even as you sit in the midst of the storm and the rain.  Be grateful for your circumstances - even your struggles - because the sun shines when the Son (of God) shines.  Do you have the Son in your life?  If so, you really do have a reason to smile...

Image from fanpop.com

1 John 4:15

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
"I Smile" by Kirk Franklin

Thursday, July 17, 2014

ACE #254: Do You Believe God?

James 2:18-24New King James Version (NKJV)

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works.19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God.24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
I have heard all of my life that faith without works is dead.  As a child, you think you know what that means.  You imagine that it means that you can have faith, but unless you are working for the kingdom, your faith is only half of the story.  But as you grow older, you have learned to study the Word of God for yourself.  You have learned to study the Scriptures intently, with a spiritually mature mindset.  And then you realize that within the context of this Scripture, there is so much more.  Something profound...a light bulb moment...a nugget.
Abraham was, and still is, referred to as the Father of Our Faith, or the father of all those who believe (see Romans 4).  In all of this, do not miss "the nugget" - that small, precious, valuable fact:  “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  Right there!  In the midst of the discussion on faith and works, its says that Abraham BELIEVED God and was considered righteous in the eyes of God.  He was so dear to God that God called him friend.  It was not about Abraham proving to others His faith and His works as much as it was about him being accountable to God for both of those things.  Abraham had so much favor that the favor he had was cast upon generations beyond him. But Abraham BELIEVED God!  Ask yourself the question, "Do I believe God?" And then, "Does God consider me righteous because of my faith?"
I encourage you today to have so much faith, that it produces good works over and over again - so much that the favor you have with God will spread to the next generation - your children and your children's children and so on and so forth.  Believe God!
From Luke 8:25 - "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ACE #253: So You Really Want to Know the Key to Success?

Have you been trying to figure out, no matter what, why you have not been successful?  Why are you continuing to struggle financially?  Why can’t you seem to get the job you desire?  Why is the home you dream of only a dream and not your reality?  Why does the marriage you long for seem distant or completely out of view?

As I was pondering these questions, I went back to the story of Uzziah King of Judah in 2 Chronicles 26.  Uzziah became king at the age of 16.  During this time, he was considered young, but because he had favor with God, he was victorious in many things.  The Word specifically says:

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear[b] of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.

Uzziah won many battles, even against the giants among the Philistines, and even rebuilt towns.  The Bible mentions, “The Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread as far as the border of Egypt, because he had become very powerful.” He was a celebrity figure it seems.

And then it happened – he got the big head!  The Word says that “his pride led to his downfall.”  Uzziah thought more highly of himself than he should have and had begun to burn incense on the altar.  During this time, only priests who had been consecrated to burn incense were allowed to do so.  He had been warned.  Priest Azariah put Uzziah out of the temple.  In the moment Uzziah was raging at the priest, God struck Uzziah with leprosy, a horrible skin disease, right on his forehead - the most noticeable area of his body.  He had no choice but to leave and separate from the people.

What’s so interesting about this story is that after Uzziah’s death, the only thing people remembered him for was, “He had leprosy.”  Wow…after all of the battles he’d won…after all of the cities he’d rebuilt...all folk could recall was his affliction...and his obvious disobedience to God!

Key points:
1.    We should never discount or disregard our spiritual training.
2.    In the kingdom of God, there’s no room for foolish pride.
3.    The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.
4.    When we do what is right in the eyes of God, he unleashes an abundance of his favor.
5.    We should know our place…and stay in it.
6.    To be successful in all that we do, we have to seek God.

So if you desire any of the things that are posed in the questions above, go back to those key points and evaluate where you are in your relationship with God.  Are you seeking God?  Are you functioning in humility and obedience?  Or are you a “Uzziah”?

Bible resource:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

ACE # 252: Keep Doing Good Anyway

I know. I  know!  You're tired...worn out...exhausted.  Nobody seems to appreciate all you do, all you sacrifice, or how thoughtful you are to them.  But, you know what?  In the greater scheme of things - you aren't really doing it for praise anyway.  You aren't doing it for money.  You aren't even doing it for the person always.  Mostly, you're doing all of it because that's what God commands you to do.  So, in the midst of the weariness, just keep doing good anyway because in due season you will reap the reward that God has intended for you...and then you'll question why you ever thought to quit in the first place. 


People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

~Mother Teresa

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Monday, July 14, 2014

ACE #251: Get Somewhere and Find Some Peace

I remember going through a really bad break up about 15 years ago.  Everywhere I turned, there were constant reminders of this dude.  I could not get any peace in order to heal properly from the poison that brewed and stewed from this break up.  Then I got a fellowship assignment many states away; and I was able to find some peace even in the midst of a busy and noisy environment.  It took a lot of prayer and meditation - a spiritual cleansing really.  I tell people all the time, that a big city was actually my quiet place - the place where I found some peace.

I have watched many of my friends struggle through situations where there is just so much emotional, physical, and mental unrest.  They have gotten to the point where they have migraines, high blood pressure, ulcers, panic attacks, and chest pains as a result of stress.  Some lose sleep at night, are easily agitated and aggravated, and are just difficult to get along with most days.  At the end of the day, its because they just cannot find some peace.

One of my favorite songs to sing is called, "He's a Keepa'" by Rodney Bryant.  It has very few words to it.  The words are derived from Isaiah 26:3, "He'll keep you in perfect peace if you keep your mind stayed on Him."  So simple, yet so profound.

If you find yourself - your inner spirit - in a constant state of turmoil and unrest - then you're doing way too much.  In the words of the kids, "Have a seat...several seats!" (That just made me laugh out loud!)

But seriously, I encourage you to keep your mind stayed on God; God's peace will exceed anything that you or anybody else will be able to understand.  This is your official invitation to peace.

"He's a Keepa'"

Isaiah 26:3
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 

2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

ACE #250: Consume Me

Transparency time!

This week has been rough, spiritually. I have not been studying the Word like I should be. I have not spent time in prayer like I know I need to be. I have not given me to The Lord like I know He commands me. I have let so many things distract my opportunities for worship. From TV, to being out late, Facebook, basketball, work, sleeping in, to water cooler talk and even Lebron James; these are the things that I have allowed to distract me from my worship opportunities with my Lord. 

Simply put, my zeal for The Lord was unacceptable for me as a blood purchased believer in Jesus. My zealousness for doing the will of God was weakened by my desires to follow my flesh. Unacceptable! He commands better so we can live better.

Laziness, when it comes to serving The Lord, will not work. I have to be excited about kingdom building no matter what distractions are laid before me. None of these distractions compare to the life God has given me through His Son Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. 
The Lord commands us to not be slothful is business, but to be fervent (zealous) in spirit, serving The Lord. He has been too good to put Him off until tomorrow or just when I feel like it.

Friends, our zeal (passion) for Christ is what will keep us wanting more of Him and less of ourselves. It is that very same zeal that will cause us to move when the spirit says so. Our zealousness will move us into expectancy and out of complacency.    

Zeal, consume me. 


Friday, July 11, 2014

ACE #249: Just One Ounce of Poison

The other day, I was sitting outside on the bench getting some fresh air.  When I came back in my office, I caught a glimpse of something very small and seemingly insignificant.  Upon closer inspection, it was a little black spider.  I jumped up so quickly and smacked that thing to floor, I know I knocked it dizzy!  All I could think about was how much damage even a tiny bit of poison could do to me.  (Spider-Man, while entertaining, is a myth!)

In the past, both my husband and I have been bitten by spiders.  That small ounce of poison wreaked havoc on our bodies.  My husband's immune system was strong enough to fight it off in 48 hours, but not without the fever and chills; I wasn't so lucky.  The infection spread rapidly from a tiny spot into a huge red spot on my chest, I got an instant headache with dizziness, and spiked a high temperature.  I had to go to the emergency room for a shot and some antibiotics.

This situation reminded me of how poisonous gossip, malice, rumors, slander, lies, evil speech and revenge can be to organizations, relationships, churches and even families - just one ounce of poison can cause so much dissension and can spread quickly.  It is such an unnecessary tangled web that can be so easily avoided by choosing not to do any of those things and by being intentional about the people who make up what is known as your "inner circle".   Even one person in your circle with these qualities can cause strife and confusion.  Unfortunately, you will spend much more time trying to untangle the mess than it took to cause the mess. 

Resist the drama...it will save you a lot of time and energy.

Leviticus 19:16
"'Do not go about spreading slander among your people. "'Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the LORD.
James 4:11
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ACE #248: How Education Changed My Life

As a high school student, I realized early on that I wanted to go into the news. I was all for being in front of a camera.  I made up in my own mind that I was a natural at it! I thought I wanted to be just like Oprah Winfrey.  Then something life-changing happened.  Two children of someone I knew died in a house fire.  It was at that point I realized that reporting bad news was not for me.  I would be the biggest cry baby in the land. 

By the time I went to college, I decided to major in two of the things that I was most natural at doing:  writing and teaching.  I got my degree in English/Secondary Education.  I had the best time in undergraduate because I was able to learn, but I also loved the sense of community, fellowship, and networking that were at my disposal while attending a historically black university.  Upon graduation, that's when the news bug hit me again.  I ended up at The Ohio State University studying Journalism on a full fellowship.  I learned all of the fancy techniques and soon realized that I knew very little about the field.  I wasn't a natural at it!  I had to really bear down and study.  Ugh!  While I learned a lot about journalism as a craft - it was the lessons outside of the classroom that changed me.

I met people from all over the world - from different religions, various ethnicities and races, many cultural backgrounds, and even different caste systems.  I gained true respect for diversity in its truest sense, but I also learned survival and life skills while being a few hours away from home.  It was so much more than what I had bargained for since my high school days. 

Since then, I've held jobs for the United States Department of Agriculture, Kentucky State University, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture 4-H Program, Berea College, the Kentucky Department of Education, Georgetown College and my current gig, the Council of Postsecondary Education just to name a few.  Doors have been opened that no one can close because of my education. I have enjoyed the journey.

Now, my love for education has expanded my level of ministry and outreach opportunities.  I am always mindful of the familiar Scripture, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..." and I embrace it.

I invite you to attend the St. Paul Academic and Cultural Enrichment (SPACE) Project 1st annual College and Career Festival:

2014 College and Career Festival
Saturday, July 26, 2014
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Big Spring Park
Park Street, Versailles, Ky.
Free event for middle and high school students
It’s never too early to prepare!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ACE #247: The 'Get Back' Game

Have you ever wanted to get someone back for doing something wrong to you?  Maybe they said something awful about you behind your back.  Perhaps they tried to damage your character in order to block you from your next blessing. (In other words, throw salt in your game). The reality is...you can't give anyone or anything that much power to make you want to do evil.  The word is clear in Romans 12:19, "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." 

One of my former pastors used to talk about how people often play the 'get back' game.  They think of ways to get someone back for doing something wrong to them.  And today is one of those days when I have had to focus on practicing what I preach...a lot.  Oh, the challenge not to even get in the game.  It is like standing on the sidelines watching a group of people playing Double Dutch and just wanting to jump in...at least a little...bobbing and weaving while the ropes are turning.  You want in!

At the end of the day, people have to remain in faith and stay mindful that whatever measure they give is the measure that will be returned to them - both good and evil.  Do not be tempted to repay evil for evil.  As a matter of fact, do not even bother to play the game.

1 Peter 3
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Image credit:  fineartamerica.com

Monday, July 7, 2014

ACE #246: The Four Letter Word

Vastly, it is becoming one of the worst four letter words in the history of the English language. People are using it daily to share feeling good, bad and ugly. It is being used to rip friends and families apart as well as a nation. It is becoming a household word that needs to be controlled. If not, it has the potential to damage and ruin a body. 

But here's what scares me. For as bad as it is, it is also has the power to build up a nation. If we would just learn to use it in a way that encourages, strengthens, witnesses and testifies; in The Lord, it will certainly bring a nation together. When we use it to speak to lives and not about, we might help one another press through. 

People of God, let's be careful what we "POST". 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

ACE #245: Custom Fit Armor

Every time I get a new suit I have to get it altered to make sure it fits me in a way that my body conforms to it when wearing. Sometimes it may need alterations to the jacket. Sometimes it is alterations to the pants. The idea is to make sure I can function in the clothes and make wearing it a pleasurable experience. If the pants are too long, there might be some difficulty walking. If the jacket is too tight, there might be some difficulty moving my arms (that might also mean a size up). My suits have to be customized to fit me, not anyone else. I am the one wearing the suit or clothes so it needs to fit me.

Well, as we look at the armor of God that Paul commands us to put on daily - shouldn’t it be custom fit? Do we not ask God to tailor our armor so that it equips us to withstand the evil that we will wrestle against? I can’t wear Mom’s armor. I can’t wear Dad’s, grandmother's, auntie's or the preacher’s armor. The articles have a very specific purpose for each of us and need to been worn for it. 

When David went to fight Goliath, the king offered David his battle gear. However, the gear was uncomfortable for David. He would not have been able to move around in the gear. So, David took what he knew would work and used it to finish Goliath. 

Friends, the whole armor of God needs to be put on each day. He commands us to put it on so we can fight against evil. As we put it on each day, we must ask God to custom fit it. It has to fit correctly so that when in battle, with ourselves and other evil, we are not exposed for easy attack. It has to fit custom so that we are not worried about pieces being out of place in the heat of the battle.
In this day, our armor has to fit right. It has to fit with a custom design so we can press toward the higher calling, which is in Christ Jesus. The enemy wants to catch us exposed. But, with a custom fit armor, we are better equipped to stand for a risen Savior who has already finished the battle. 

www.biblegateway.com - Ephesians 6:10-18 - The Full Armor of God


Friday, July 4, 2014

ACE #244: Celebrating the Fourth of July

Wikipedia states:

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States of America commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (now officially known as the United Kingdom). Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

Are you free to worship?

I heard someone say, "True freedom comes from the inside out!" We take many of our freedoms for granted. As we celebrate the 4th of July, or Independence Day, let us all be mindful that some people are still not free to worship God or claim a specific religion.  Many have been persecuted and put to death for doing so. 

Be grateful for your religious freedom. 

John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

ACE #243: Are You Sowing Seeds on Fertile Ground?

The other day I had to go get my car repaired…again.  This time, I knew what was wrong with it up front and had already prepaid, but I would have to wait two hours for the service.

A few gentlemen came in that I knew from the dealership and I talked to them briefly.  One of them is a local pastor who I’ve known since middle school.  We started talking about the ministry work of local churches.  We talked about how each of our immediate families, children, and spouses were doing.  I began to tell him about how my husband and I are trying new ways to reach youth and young adult audiences through our various types of ministries.  He asked me if I was going to order something to eat.  I told him that I had planned on it.  He told me to order whatever I wanted and it would be on him.  He told the cashier to get me whatever I wanted.  I said to him, “Thank you for buying me breakfast.  You just sowed a seed.”  His response was, “Yes…on fertile ground.”  About thirty minutes later, I wanted to purchase some water.  I asked the cashier how much it was – with money in hand.  She said, “Just go ahead and get it.  He told me to take care of you.”  While the purchases were not large ones - the purchase was done with good intent.

My question today is, “Are you sowing seeds on fertile ground?”  The key to your blessings, or your harvest, is in the type of seed you sow and where you choose to sow it.  If you sow in rocky places or among thorns your harvest is empty.  But if you sow among good soil, which produces a crop, your harvest will be multiplied – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown!  Did you catch that?  The size of the seed is not the issue...the soil in which you choose to plant your seed makes the difference!
That’s the Word of the Lord.  I invite you to read it below.

The Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13: That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”