Friday, October 31, 2014

ACE #298: Scandal Time - Liv and The Weapon of Mass Destruction

Last night’s episode of Scandal was very intriguing.  The pace didn't move fast, but it wasn't really slow either.  You had to keep up with the verbal banter.

The death of the former President, by stroke, was a jab at ole Ronald and Nancy Reagan, of course.  That little old lady, Bitsy, was hilarious to say the least.  She gave Mellie a lesson on how to be the woman scorned, but to do so gracefully.  She also reminded Mellie that she is destined for greater.  Welcome back, Millicent.

It was both sad and nice to see Huck playing video games with his son, unbeknownst to the boy’s mother.  It showed a softer more playful side of the complex Huck.  

But Liv got played by the assassin.  She’s off her game.  Refocus, honey!  Even David Rosen saw himself victorious over Liv, with his “eat it sucka” comment. Either folk want to "be" Olivia Pope or they want to "beat" Olivia Pope.

But I have been left confused about Jake’s fate.  I have no doubt that Shonda refused to kill him off because he’s a fan fave, but not seeing him on the screen on a regular basis will make a lot of people less interested…okay, maybe just me.  But there's an open door for a return.  I was so glad that Jake was sent to prison and not sent to rot in a B613 pit.  Fitz stated that he spared him because of the “woman we love”.

I think Abby was the first runner up in stealing the show.  Fitz tried his best to bully Abby/Gabby/Red.  She basically backed Fitz into a corner and put her Gladiator hat back on briefly to check Cyrus.  She told him to check his back door.  Cyrus is really off of his game.  But rest assured, he will be right back into position with a vengeance. 

And one of Olivia’s classic lines for the episode was her declaring that “there’s hope” for her and Fitz.  I gave up hope for them long ago, especially since I have been #TeamJake for a very long time now.  But Command has already warned, “Don’t let love cloud your judgment.” I’m sure no one missed that he called Jake a dog.  I guess it takes one to know one or something like that.  Eli Pope is such a control freak like Laban.  He manipulates everything and everybody to get what he wants. See:

But the final line took the cake. (Olivia really is, in many ways, like Bathsheba - both beautiful and desirable, but she's nobody's wife). Liv very calmly let her father know, without a doubt, “You may be Command, but I've got weapons at my disposal, weapons you can’t possibly possess.” And that folks, is how you shut it down.  Well, I guess the truth really is like the sun.  

David and Bathsheba

11 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. 

Photo: Courtesy of ABC/Vivian Zink

Thursday, October 30, 2014

ACE #297: Are You Too Proud to Beg?

In Mark 1 verse 40, Jesus encounters a man with leprosy.  Leprosy is a skin disease that signified outwardly that the person was unclean - both physically and spiritually.  Individuals who had it, were shunned and often lived in isolation.

The Word says that the man came to Jesus and "begged him on his knees."  This signifies that the man was desperate to be healed.  As the story proceeds, it says that the man told Jesus that if He was willing, He could make the man clean.  It says that Jesus got indignant.  In other words, Jesus was offended by the man questioning whether he, himself, was willing to heal him.  Jesus proclaimed to the man with His mouth and through His actions that He was willing by reaching out, touching him and stating, "I am willing. Be clean!" (There's a shout in the "I am" part too).  Can you imagine how the man must have felt when Jesus touched him?  Had the man ever experienced anyone's touch in His life?  Certainly, this touch was unlike any other.

The lesson: Jesus is ALWAYS willing to meet our needs, to provide our healing, and to bless us. But are we too proud to beg, or even just ask, for the things that we need? 

We must endeavor to approach the Savior with humility and with a submissive spirit, but also without doubt of Christ's willingness and ability to work on our behalf.

Are you too proud to beg?



Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy

40 A man with leprosy[h] came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
41 Jesus was indignant.[i] He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ACE #295: Are You Waiting on God?

In Mark 1 verse 29, Jesus and the disciples go to visit Simon's mother-in-law who is sick.  They told Jesus about the woman's condition.  Jesus went to her, took her hand, and helped her up out of the bed.  As soon as her fever left her and she was healed, the Word says that she began to wait on them.  The woman went straight from sickness, perhaps on her death bed, to waiting on the Master Physician. She began serving Him at the instance of her healing and the moment of her breakthrough.  Even a waiter at a restaurant serves...

Perhaps our breakthrough and healing would happen more quickly if we just served The Lord before, after, and even through the crises.  Jesus did not hesitate to heal the woman; the woman did not hesitate to serve Jesus.  

We should never be hesitant to wait on God.

ACE#296: A Solitary Place to Refocus

In Mark 1 verse 35, it reads: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

The story continues with the disciples looking for him and meeting him with what I would call "noisy excitement." They said that everyone was looking for Jesus. It doesn't say Jesus met them with excitement, anger, or even exhaustion. He stepped right back into his role and reminded everyone that it was time to go somewhere else where he could do what he was there to do - preach!

Two quick things: 1) Every now and then you should make time to go off in a solitary place, in the wee hours of the morning, perhaps in darkness to pray without distraction and interruption and 2) Don't let someone else's agenda and emotions get you off course.

If you're like me, your days and nights are just busy.  Finding alone time is not that simple.  I get up early on Saturdays and Sundays just to have that alone time to reflect and pray.

In these few verses, Jesus sought peace and quiet intentionally so that he could pray, perhaps for clarity to resume his mission. There will be times when you need to seek alone time to get refocused.  Make it a priority to seek a solitary place, so that you can petition the Father uninterrupted and without ceasing.

ACE#294: Speaking to Your Situation With Authority

In Mark 1 at verse 7, Jesus and the disciples were in Capernaum. On the Sabbath, Jesus began to teach in the synagogue. The Word says that he taught with authority unlike the teachers of the law. Just like an entertainer, Jesus had a heckler in the crowd.  Unlike an entertainer, Jesus came to teach - not to entertain. A man in the crowd with an evil spirit asked, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy one of God!" Jesus told the demon to be quiet and to come out of him. And the spirit came out and shook the man violently. The people were so amazed that they asked, "What is this? A new teaching - and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him."

Perhaps the reason why your enemies are defeating you, your job is burdening you, or your family is out of sorts is because you are not speaking with authority in the name of Jesus! It is time to show the hindrances in your life a "new" kind of faith and to do so with authority.

If you want to run the enemy away - believe in the power of the God you serve. And speak with authority.

Monday, October 20, 2014

ACE #293: Does Your Faith Hear Something?

Romans 10:17
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Over the years, I have become more and more protective of my faith. It is not that I don’t want to share it with everyone as much as it is about how I want to ensure that what I am sharing is biblically sound – aligned with the Word of God.  I want to make sure that people are also seeing the example manifested in my daily life that I am speaking about.  I want to ensure that I am not contradicting my own faith.

The Scripture above indicates that the Word of God precedes what we hear and our development of faith.  Before we can believe, we really must have something – or someone – to believe in.  And then it works in reverse, the Word of God strengthens the faith.  I think faith and God work interchangeably in this verse as it should in our lives.  And, then...we must obey His Word!


Friday, October 17, 2014

ACE #292: Scandal Time – How Did They Get Away With That?

The Scandal fans and reviewers have been complaining for the entire fourth season about the story lines being boring or the pace moving along too slowly.  Well, folks, last night you got exactly what you have been waiting for in the “Like Father, Like Daughter” episode.

And, yes, the First Daughter is being played by a different actress, but the new girl nailed her performance. Sadly.  This girl attended something called a "Swaggerpalooza" all the while ditching her Secret Service detail.  She had a wall full of possible young men to choose from, but could barely remember who she had the sexual encounter with.  She balked at the idea of rape.  She did it…voluntarily…with not one, but two random guys. This should be a lesson for parents that you just never know what your kids will do, and who with, when not in your presence.  It should have sent a message – for all parents to their children - about the dangers of not guarding your reputation, the dangers of internet pornography, the dangers of having unprotected sex, the dangers of alcohol consumption…the DANGERS!

The monologues were priceless last night.  After learning about their daughter’s sex tape, Fitz and Mellie had a real good talk.  He said, “I have put up with Drunk Mellie, Bad Hygiene Mellie…no wait, I got it…Smelly Mellie…” and added that she has been no one’s mother since the death of her son.  Yeah…I disagree.  She’s been the mother of a dead son and still grieving – yet her daughter has suffered because of it.  Mellie’s response to Fitz's rant - “Like father, like daughter.”  And where is the little baby with the slicked back hair?  No sight of him this season.

But it was Olivia who gave the surprise performance when she went into that classic Olivia Pope fixer, super gladiator mode.  She was going to blackmail the blackmailers and spin their story because THAT’S WHAT SHE DOES for a living. But be very clear, she wasn't alone on that island...ever.

While Cyrus may be off of his game, he was not at a loss for words when he told Abby, aka Red, “You are not Olivia Pope.  You will never be Olivia Pope.”  And he reminded her that when it comes to Olivia Pope there will be things that she will never…ever…know about this President and this White House.  And he also added that he wasn’t undermining Red’s role in the White House, but it was her own jealousy that undermined her role.  Classic.  Priceless. Cyrus. Bean.

But it was Jake Ballard, again, who – although meant to distract Liv from Fitz originally – stole the show.  Once more and again.  He had the opening scene, which started out with a bang, and the closing scene, which ended with his arrest.  He was framed.  And we did not see that coming.  But that one liner to Secret Service/B613 Tom, “If you do try to kill me, maybe not today…it’s gorgeous out.” Nice!  But did he have to choke David like that?  Poor David.

Papa Pope is a loony beast.  Too darn clever and sinister for my taste, but executed so well by Joe Morton that you just can’t help but to scoot closer to the television every time he is in the frame.  Command has gotten away with a whole lot of foolishness. And it works.

The whole scheme involving Jake, Tom and Command Pope reminded me of the situation between Mordecai and Haman. Even Haman’s wife, Zeresh, tried to warn him.  She stated, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him – you will surely come to ruin!” Haman tried to plot against Mordecai, it failed...every time.  The same pole Haman had ordered to be put in place for Mordecai is the same one that was used to put him to death…and it was even set up by his own house. 

The lesson – don’t plot someone else’s downfall…you will surely come to ruin. Oh, Jake!

Esther 2
19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.
21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana[b] and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angryand conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.

Tomb of Esther and Mordecai

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ACE #291: Yes Lord!

Last weekend, my wife, our daughter and I were in Joe’s Crab Shack having dinner, in unfamiliar territory. As we were eating, my wife and I were engaged in a deep conversation. However, our daughter was off in her own little world. As we were talking, our daughter asked,

“Daddy, did you call my name?”

We looked at her and quickly replied, “No.”

Thinking nothing of it we returned to our conversation. Again, we were interrupted by our daughter as she said, “What?”

My wife looked at her and said, “No one called you.”

“I think I heard someone calling my name,” she said.

We paused for a second and looked at her. We looked around and no one was there. In fact, we were in another state. Who knew us? Then I remembered the story in the book of 1 Samuel 3 about how God first used the young boy, Samuel, to be His prophet. God used Samuel as he delivered a clear message to Eli concerning the disobedience and blasphemy of his family members. Samuel was a young boy who was under Eli's mentorship and God spoke to him because He needed something done for the kingdom. Read the experience when you have time. This experience reminded me that God will use whomever He pleases, when He pleases. So, in response, I told our daughter, “The next time you hear your name, answer with a simple…Yes Lord.” I will leave it at that.

Oftentimes we think we know who God wants to use. In our minds, God has a certain type of person or age of a person that He will use for His work. That is far from the truth. As parents, we could have, in that moment, dismissed the fact that our five-year-old daughter believed her name was being called. We could have made her believe it was just her imagination. However, we didn't. 

No matter who you are, sometimes the only way to know God is calling is just by humbly answering. I am not sure if God is trying to use you or someone in your family. He may be trying to use the kid(s). I am just encouraging someone today, that when you hear your name being called that it just might be the Lord.  Respond with a Yes Lord! Your servant is here.


Friday, October 10, 2014

ACE #290: Scandal Time - Didn't See That Coming

Last night's episode, "Inside the Bubble" was full of surprises.  The characters were blindsided - one after the other - like nobody's business.  Even Olivia's father reminded her, "The world kept spinning without you."

Did Abby, aka Red, call Olivia a "rigger of elections"?  That had to feel hateful and hurtful.  Liv got served.  But make sure to call her Abby and not Gabby. took that long to learn her name, Fitz?  Rude.  And Cyrus reminded her, "You are not in the bubble, Red."  Rude, again.

Jake told Olivia, "You are not my no," and declined her dinner invitation with her father.  Then he slammed the door in her face and sort of pretended like he had another woman in his apartment.  That was a double "read".  But, because he is foolishly in love with her, he went to dinner anyway with Liv and her father, Command.  But, of course, he had an ulterior motive.  As usual Joe Morton delivered! That pot roast must have been on point though. How exactly is Jake paying for his apartment since he doesn't have a job?  And we knew all along that Jake was going to figure out what happened to Harrison.  But how much do we care at this point? Just asking...

And the subplot with Olivia's and Abby's old law school colleague was interesting, but not shocking. But why would she videotape that?  Well...why would she do what she did in the first place? 

And Quinn...she took Charlie down quickly.  He did not see that coming.  The crazier she talks to these crazy men, the more they want her.

But I felt sorry for Mellie.  (Did anybody notice her hair was full of weave?)  Anyway, she had just gotten her law school mojo back.  She was all prepared, then ill-prepared.  Poor thing.  She was trying really hard though.  While she was thoroughly embarrassed, she was right!  The woman did not push her husband off of the cliff.

Something tells me that David Rosen only enjoyed playing dirty for a little while.

Certainly, Cyrus cannot be so lonely that he is losing his killer instinct.  Or is he?

I can't figure out where we are going with this season...

This show felt a whole lot like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness to me...a great and terrible wilderness.  Nevertheless, we will keep watching...

Image from

Numbers 32:13
The LORD's anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ACE #289: What If...

Our daughter purchased this Beanie Boo giraffe named "Twigs". 
We cannot figure out why she loves this thing so much out of all the toys she possesses.  
She goes to bed at night with that thing.  
When she wakes up in the morning, it is the first thing she looks for.  
If she can't find it, she worries us to death until we find it for her.  
But it makes me wonder, what if we go to bed with God in mind?
What if we wake up with Him in mind the very first thing in the morning?
What if we sought God with that type of passion, energy and consistency?
What if?

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
Isaiah 55:6

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ACE #288: When Jesus Passes By In the Crowd

Luke 18:35-43

A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.
42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
Sure, I could focus on the blind man who was sitting by the roadside begging.  After all, he had enough courage and enough faith to cry out to Jesus even when others "told him to be quiet."  And the man had the nerve to shout even louder.  He was desperate enough to go against the crowd and do whatever he had to for his healing.  And Jesus asked him a question, that he certainly already knew the answer to.  Jesus told him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you."  Blind Bartimaeus received his sight, even though the crowd was in his way. The people tried to control the blind man's circumstance...his outcome, but he cried out for mercy despite the crowd.  The story is clearly about the blind man...and his level of faith.
Then there is that "nugget". Let's shift our focus to the crowd. 
After the people saw that the man was healed, "they also praised God." There it is!  Even when it's not our own personal miracle, we should praise God for somebody else's miracle, somebody else's breakthrough, somebody else's promotion, somebody else's healing...somebody else's answered prayer!  
You never know, your immediate blessing just might be attached to your ability to praise God for somebody else's blessings.

Monday, October 6, 2014

ACE #287: Scandal Time - It's Time to Move On

The "State of the Union" episode seemed to be dragging along at the slowest pace ever.  But as I continued to watch - a little distracted, a little bored - I realized something...the pace actually matched Mellie's grieving process.  It seems that the time it is taking her to grieve over the death of her son is what some would call long, but only because it seems that the others are just moving on.  Even the Olivia Pope associates are moving on, just not happily doing so.  Even Cyrus is moving on - the best he knows how - from James' tragic death - even though Mellie tells him over and over again, "We're not the same." (I had to add that Olivia's boots and purse were smoking hot in this episode).

This unfolding of events reminded me so much of David and Bathsheba, who was often referred to as Uriah's wife.  David did grieve, but he moved on after seven days.  It seems his wife struggled a bit more to do the same.

18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”
22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”
24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The Lord loved him; 25 and because the Lord loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.

Even as David was comforting his wife, she was still grieving no doubt.  The death of a child is certainly devastating.

See! We just thought that Mellie had lost her mind or was, perhaps, being a little stubborn.  After all, she was sitting on the grass eating chips at the grave site.  But then, after smiling all night for the crowd and cameras...she crumbled to the floor.  And this truly showed the extent of her grief.  Even when people think it's time to move just isn't.

Read the full passage here:

Image credit

ACE #286: The Surprise Supply

1 Kings 17 
Elijah Is Fed by Ravens
17 Elijah was from Tishbe in the land of Gilead. He said to Ahab, “I serve the Lord. He is the God of Israel. You can be sure that he lives. And you can be just as sure that there won’t be any dew or rain on the whole land. There won’t be any during the next few years. It won’t come until I say so.”
Then a message from the Lord came to Elijah. It said, “Leave this place. Go east and hide in the Kerith Valley. It is east of the Jordan River. You will drink water from the brook. I have ordered some ravens to feed you there.”
So Elijah did what the Lord had told him to do. He went to the Kerith Valley. It was east of the Jordan River. He stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning. They also brought him bread and meat in the evening. He drank water from the brook.
There’s something to be said about God meeting our needs in the most unexpected and profound ways. 
God could have sent an angel.  After all, He’d done that before.
He could have sent a person, even a complete stranger, to help Elijah.  He’d done that before too.
But, no.  He sent a bird to feed His prophet - a bird to carry both bread and meat for a grown man.  I am sure Elijah was grateful that he obeyed God's instructions specifically because he "did what the Lord had told him to do."  His hunger and his thirst were met in the morning and in the evening.
The power of God to do big things in simple and extraordinary ways is just, well…amazing.
Who or what is God sending your way to supply your needs?