Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ACE #271: Sound the Smoke Alarm

The other night, around 1:00 a.m., we heard a screeching chirp.  It woke us out of our sleep.  It was one of our smoke alarms.  My husband looked at it and didn’t find anything strange.  He walked around a little to see if he noticed or smelled smoke anywhere.  He got back in bed.  We both rolled back over, thinking that it was just a warning that the battery was low.  About 10 minutes later, it made a longer sound, even louder it seemed.  He got out of the bed and said, “I have to take care of this now or it will wake her [our daughter] up. I do not want her to be tired for school tomorrow.”  He went downstairs, searched for a battery, returned upstairs, and replaced the old one with a new one…all while I was still under the covers resting comfortably.

It made me think about how much accountability “the man of the house” really has, or should have, in overseeing and protecting his family at all times.  If the man is doing it right, then he will manage his household and accept the challenges and the successes that come along with it.  Even though my husband was sleepy/tired, he wanted to ensure our safety and our rest – and he didn’t even complain about it.

A good husband is not about how much money he makes or what he buys you; it’s about his willingness to give, provide, and protect selflessly…even in the small things.

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?

Monday, August 25, 2014

ACE #270: Black Out

The other night, there was a bad storm.  As a matter of fact, there were two - about two hours apart.  The second storm must have been the worse of the two because all of the electricity went out.  Luckily, I had lit some candles when the first storm hit.  About 10 minutes after I had blown out all of those candles, I just felt another storm coming on.  So, I lit the candle in our bedroom...just in case.  We were all watching a movie anyway.  As my husband was going downstairs, the lights went out.  We weren't alarmed at all.  We had prepared.  After about 10 minutes, my husband was sound asleep on the floor.  I am not sure that was the plan, but that's what happened.  He didn't seem worried at all that we had no lights, no electricity, and no active house a black out!  He slept like a baby...even on a hard floor.

There will be times in your life when something will unexpectedly occur, but you will be prepared nevertheless.  You will be so sure that God is watching over you, that you won't even worry.  You will feel safe, secure, and protected just because of your relationship with God.  You will feel confident...sure...and prepared because of what the Word of God says. 

There's just comfort in knowing that God has your back, even in a black out!  No worries.

Luke 12
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ACE #269: That Place

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I traveled to Disney World. What a trip! It was truly a magical place, a sight to behold. But, before getting to Disney, we had to travel. On this particular trip, we elected to travel by air. In fact, it was our daughter's first airplane ride. She alluded to us on several occasions that she was nervous. As parents, we did our best to calm her fears by helping her understand airplane traveling. And of course, as we expected, there was some turbulence and rough conditions experienced. The flight was not a great flight, but it wasn't a total disaster either. 

Anyway, what does all this mean? Well, my point is this. I mentioned Disney being a great place. What an experience. We had a awesome vacation. However, the variables that led up to that were considered trying, at times; the planning to get there, flight fears along with the turbulence and our daughter's clogged ears. All of this was just a necessary course to get to a place that we knew would be full of possibilities and memories. 

Much like the Disney vacation, I (we) must understand that even though life takes us through challenges and hardships - what we experience when He brings us to that place, is nothing like before. Life may get bumpy with the turbulence of sickness, financial difficulties, job loss, and loss of family and friends. It may not go the way we planned it. There will be hang ups and misfortunes. We may travel in unfamiliar situations, but when we land in the spot that God has for us, through our faith in His son Jesus, what a time! 

Joseph and David, both had journeys that were not ideal for their circumstances. Joseph's dreams were spot on. David was king as soon as Samuel anointed him. And Abraham had a place where the Lord would provide even when faced with a difficult decision.  As my best friend, Charliese, said earlier this week, "But God." 

Getting to our place in Him may take some obstacles and some patience. I believe that when we do arrive to that place God wants us to be, it will be an experience like no other. Therefore, the preparation and the hardships are designed to help us appreciate and share of His goodness so that others will know Him. 

Hang in there. Trials will come on every hand, but trust, thank and know that God is preparing a place for you to land and it will be exactly like He planned it for us. Be encouraged! He knows the struggle. He planned it so we can glorify Him. Soon we will land smoothly. 

Genesis 22:14
So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."


Thursday, August 21, 2014

ACE #268: But God...

Have you ever had a situation in your life where you knew there was nothing you could do in your own power to fix something? Then, out of the blue, it got fixed.  That’s a “but God”.

Have you ever done something in your life that you knew should have taken you out of this world. Then, out of nowhere, you were shielded from hurt, harm and danger?  
That’s a “but God”.

Those two simple words have such a big meaning.

In the words of gospel singer Isaac Carree:
You were about to lose everything, but God (I know I'm not the only one who's been there).
When the doctor said any day, but God (He made the doctor).
And the devil tried to test your faith but God (He thought he really had you this time).
But God, yeah but God. Nobody but GOD. But GOD!

In my own words:
That time I had that car wreck and I came out unscathed – but God
That time those gun shots rang out all around me and I was unharmed – but God
That time when I was delirious with grief and a breath away from losing my mind – but God
That time my health didn’t look so favorable to the doctors – but God...
Oh, the "but God" moments in my life are numerous.

Noah had a “but God” that saved him and his family in a flood.
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Joseph had a "but God" declaring that the enemy's plan failed.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

There’s a “but God” for you too! It signals a change, a shift, or a clarifying moment.   Get ready for your "but God" moment - it means that something good is coming next and God is getting ready to show up and show out and do something that ONLY GOD can do in your life.

Isaac Carree, "But God"

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ACE #267: Nobody...Everybody...Somebody...Anybody...

I was driving from a long day of work the other day and a song came on the radio. The chorus went:

I am just a nobody 
Trying to tell everybody
About somebody
Who can save anybody. 

As I experienced this, I couldn't help but realize my role on this earth in God's kingdom. The reality of it is that, we may have big titles. We may have large bank accounts. We may have status. We may even be struggling or down. But, one thing is for sure in the kingdom of God - we shouldn't think highly of ourselves. 

You see, we all have testimonies. But the testimony is not for me (us) to get the glory. It is for Him to get the Glory. Him being the one, all wise, true and living God. The one who, through His only begotten Son, saved us from ourselves. 

When we realize that there is nothing we have done, or can do, to earn the gift God has given us, we can accept our role in the kingdom of God. We are His. We are His because of the acceptance of salvation in Jesus, the resurrected Christ. 

In Him, blessings will come. Promotions will come. Wealth will come. And, hard times will come. Struggles will come. But, put it into context. 

We are still just nobodies
Trying to tell everybody
About somebody
Who can save anybody!

Won't He do it? Testify!



Friday, August 15, 2014

ACE #266: You Are Never Alone

This morning, when I dropped off our daughter at school, I was still amazed at the busyness of the area.  I asked someone if it would be like this the entire year and she said it would be.  When we got to the front of the school building, our daughter wanted to walk to class by herself.  I told her that I would walk in her classroom with her because I wanted to see her routine.  When we got there, her teacher walked her around the room - through the process.  I noticed a little boy who was just standing at his cubby holding his backpack in his hand.  That wasn't what caught my was his sad face. He looked one blink away from a full cry.  Immediately, my mother hen instinct was heightened.  As I was getting ready to reach out and help him, I thought against it.  I know that part of the process is the little ones learning how to be independent and to focus on following directions.  So, I asked him if he needed help.  He just stared at me with those big brown eyes.  I called one of his teacher's names and told her he needed help.  She came over and asked him if he needed help.  He still didn't respond really.  She gave him his directions.  He put his backpack in his cubby.  She walked away.  He still stood in that same spot.  He didn't yet realize that he really wasn't all alone.

This situation reminded me of how people can absolutely feel alone in a room full of people, as part of a loving family, and even in relationships.  This child was clearly in a room with people who cared about his well-being, but seemingly - he felt alone.  

There will be times in your life that you will feel lonely...perhaps so lonely that it will cause you to make unwise decisions.  You will attach yourself to people and to an environment that is not really conducive for your well-being just because you don't want to be by yourself.  Rest assured, that as you commit more to your prayer life and to the study of God's Word, it will become more clear that God's Word never returns void.  When you are in Christ Jesus, you are never alone.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you.”
Mary Stevenson

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Thursday, August 14, 2014

ACE #265: A Stuffed Dog and Some Doritos

Every night before our daughter goes to bed she asks for a "good night snack."  As usual, she asked for her favorite, some Doritos.  Then she asked for a little extra for her little stuffed puppy.  I thought it was funny because I knew she would be eating the extra.  As I was walking out of the room, I heard her offer her dog a Dorito.  When I looked back, she had the chip to the dog's lips.  She told it, "You look a little hungry." It was both hilarious and adorable at the same time. (The dog's name is Sarah, by the way).

It made me wonder about how we, as a society, have gotten away from being generous and kind, particularly to "the least of these".  We see children with dirty clothing and worn out shoes...and we think - that's not our problem or that's not our kid.  We see homeless people...and we walk right by them.  In our minds, we see a scam - and not a need.  Or maybe, we are just too consumed with our own lives to even notice at all.  Our daughter wanted to feed her stuffed puppy.  Imagine if she saw a real puppy that looked hungry.  The lessons we can learn from our children...

Today's challenge:  Look beyond your own circumstance and help a stranger, a person who is down on his/her luck, or even another child in your child's school.  Do something for "the least of these". Then you will know that you are doing something for God.

Matthew 25
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
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.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ACE #264: A Much Needed Vacay and Walking on Water

Our official family vacation ended yesterday.  Last week, we traveled to Orlando, Florida and visited a few parks in Disney Land and LEGOLAND.  We had an awesome time.  While we are glad to be home, we really needed that vacation.

One memory that stands out with me is the night our daughter went swimming in the hotel pool.  She hasn't had formal swimming lessons, but her father has worked with her often.  She is only permitted in the pool with her life vest on.  While she was treading in three feet of water, she was talking to her daddy as he sat in a chair on the side watching her closely.  Then it happened.  She suddenly started to panic. (All she really had to do was stand straight up and she would have been fine).  She yelled out, "Daddy, help me."  He kept trying to tell her just to kick her feet, but she couldn't get her thoughts aligned with her body.  Then she said, "I need help!"  Realizing that her panic and fear were real, he jumped in fully clothed - shoes, shirt, and trunks - to get her.  When he picked her up out of the water, I could tell she was relieved because she had a smile on her face.  I heard her say, "Daddy, I was getting scared." The entire time, I stood watching from the second floor balcony.

This whole episode reminded me of how often we have heard the sermon about Jesus walking on water and Peter doing the same...until His faith waivered.  The reality is, that we are all like Peter every now and then.  Our faith does waiver and the waves of life do threaten to overtake us.  The key is always knowing that Jesus is there to intercede on our behalf as our "life vest" when the current gets fierce.  After all, He is our Savior. Jesus sensed Peter's distress when he cried out, "Lord, save me!" because its says that "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him."

My husband sensed our daughter's distress and immediately jumped in the water after her even though he knew his own capacity to get her out of the water would take very little effort. 

As Christians, we have to have enough faith to trust God's capacity to protect us...even in the "deep waters" of life that we encounter daily. 

Today's question: Are you willing to walk on water?

Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

ACE #263: Are You Willing to Give Yourself Away?

I am convinced that God is truly looking for a generation, a right now generation, of believers who are unashamed to proclaim that they love Him and are willing to submit and surrender their lives to Him completely.  He wants an army of believers to rise up against the evils and the sin that are pressing on this world from every direction, but disguising themselves as "popular culture". 

God is calling forth those who want to give everything over to Him...their worries, their anxieties, their hardships, their broken spirits, their worship, their praise, their hearts, their souls, their minds, their past, their present, their future...and their lives.

People who are willing to say, "Yes."  Yes - to His will.  Yes - to His way.  Yes - to His Holy Word.  And, YES to His SON!

Are you willing to give yourself away?

Be Unashamed!

James 4:8          

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

William McDowell "I Give Myself Away"

Friday, August 1, 2014

ACE #262: Time Sure Does Fly

Today is our daughter’s last day of daycare.  She graduated preschool a few months ago. Time sure does fly.  As she is beginning her next chapter, I can’t help but to think about the challenges that are ahead.  She is both excited and anxious about her big school, the unfamiliar classmates, and the new teacher.

But with new challenges also come new successes and abundant blessings.  We are so very proud of her accomplishments. In her next chapter, she will learn harder...and live life to the fullest. Kindergarten – here we come!

Ecclesiastes 3:11                
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.