Thursday, February 26, 2015

ACE #347: Standing in a Shadow

Recently, I watched a presentation by Bishop T.D. Jakes on "Walking in the Shadow of Greatness."  He talks about his dear friend, Holloway Gray, who has stood behind him, almost silently, for years while Bishop Jakes has walked in his destiny.  Bishop Jakes likens the relationship to that of Elijah and Elisha.  He discusses that many people want the glory, but not the responsibility that comes with standing in the shadow of greatness.  He makes an important point that there's grace in being someone else's armor bearer!

It reminded me that there are always people who stand, walk, and work behind individuals to assist them in reaching their dreams.  But there's only so long that someone can stand in someone else's shadow...until it's time to step up. It's easy to get comfortable there.  But you can't stay there.  It's time to emerge and do the "thing" you were called to do at the next level. It's okay to step out and into your own destiny.

"You have to be great to stand in the shadow of greatness." ~ T.D. Jakes

"Walking in the Shadow of Greatness"

2 Kings 2 
Elijah Ascends to Heaven
And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Bethel.”
But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they went down to Bethel.
Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?”
And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”
Then Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to Jericho.”
But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So they came to Jericho.
Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord will take away your master from over you today?”
So he answered, “Yes, I know; keep silent!”
Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, please, for the Lord has sent me on to the Jordan.”
But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!” So the two of them went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?”
Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”
10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

ACE #346: Scandal Time - On My Own

The episode "No More Blood" left me thinking, undoubtedly, that Shonda Rhimes always pulls a rabbit out of the hat.  The line that sticks out is, "Once a Gladiator, always a Gladiator."  This episode proved it.  It also proved that for all the training B613 agents have been through, there are still limitations to what they could do...sorta.  Now, what they are willing to do - that's a whole different story.
Jake actually went to see Daddy Pope.  He was desperate because they absolutely hate each other.  Now we know, Daddy Pope no longer has a daughter.  He seemed unconcerned, but trust and believe he knew what was going on all along.  He just refused to intervene.  He's teaching Liv a lesson.
The exchange between Mellie and Andrew was great, of course.  Ole Millicent always lands on top.  She warned Andrew not to mess with her bid to become the new POTUS.  She basically told him that if he flew too close to the sun he would get burned.  He didn't believe her I guess.  She told him he would always be a loser.  And he lost big time!
Cyrus and that anger filled rant was great...except it was all in his head.  He has been wanting to tell Fitz off so much, but just can't bring himself to do it.  But this scene really made me realize that Cyrus really doesn't like Fitz as a all.  Cyrus was willing to kill Olivia to save the Republic - not unlike how Jake killed James to do the same...
That look that Huck gave Elizabeth when she touched his arm scared the fire out of me.  That alone won him an award in my book.  He promised Quinn there would be "no more blood" because he won't kill anymore. What he didn't promise was that he wouldn't inject someone with poison and leave them in a vegetative state.  Yep, Andrew should have taken Mellie's advice. 
But the kidnappers were hilarious.  The first quote was, "They will dance like a monkey at the county fair."  The second was, "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!"  That 80s throwback though.
At the end of the second bidding war, we would have never thought that Abby, aka Red, had a trick up her sleeve in the person of first season's Stephen, who had ties to the Russian mob.  Liv tried to dangle an apple in front of his face and offer for him to return to Washington, DC to pick up "gladiating" where he left off.  Nevertheless, he will gladiate from afar.  Did anybody know Liv knew Farsi?  But how do you get rescued from a kidnapping in a sharp to death coat, boots, and flawless hair.  Yeah, because you're Olivia Pope.
It was her return home that was odd though.  Huck put about 1,012 locks on her door to keep her safe.  Quinn tried to clean up the red wine...unsuccessfully.  But Jake...I'm not sure what to say about him. 
But did we really expect Liv to go off on Fitz like that? No, we didn't.  But she did!  I was, personally, kind of thrown back.  She seemed a bit ungrateful, but she had a point.  He had gone to war for her...and she felt like he should have chosen better.  After all, she's just one person.  But men who are really in love or even trying to impress a lady, they are foolish.  (You remember the story about the behedding of John the Baptist?)
Liv's final conclusion was that she was "on her own".  I disagree. She was never on her own.  Her entire team, present and past, worked diligently to save her...and they did.  Maybe Fitz didn't save her...but it wasn't for a lack of trying.  Even Mellie, of all people, did her part.  Fitz just didn't do it the way Liv thought he should have.  Then again, Liv is his advisor...she wasn't there to tell him what to do.  Poor shell of a man.

Matthew 14 

John the Baptist Beheaded
14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.
On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

ACE #345: Remix It For Me

The word "remix", according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary means:

A variant of an original recording (as of a song) made by rearranging or adding to the original

Of course, when I hear the term "remix", I am immediately taken to music. You know, the remix is most of the time the best version of the song. You can change the beat. You can add some other vocals or talent. The producers take the original in hopes of making it into a different, hopefully better, version.

I can recall my life before I chose to walk with Christ. I thought it was good. But the Producer, in Heaven, knew that a remix would be better. So, He began to change my beat and add new vocals so I could talk with Him. He put some other vocals in my life - people who see me as God sees me.

When King David wrote Psalm 51, he was broken and needed to be remade. When God first established the earth, He had to re-make it because of sin. The apostle Paul was remade from Saul, who  originally was a persecutor of Christ. Sometimes, God just might have to remix us to get something different out of us.

Every time I hear the remixed song "Clean This House", by Isaac Carree, I get excited about the next variant of me. Sometimes we just need God to do a remix in our lives so we can get different results.

“Remix it for me!”

Take a listen:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

ACE #344: The Chief Corner Stone

A couple of days ago I traveled with some colleagues to Indiana. Our assignment was to learn about some technology that we are hoping to implement in one of our facilities. It just so happened that the technology was installed in a church, Cornerstone Church in New Albany.
Upon arrival, we learned that the church appeared to be out in the middle of nowhere. The hills and curves reminded me of Gatlinburg, TN. Anyway, as we began to do our business, I could not help but to notice the facility. It was very inviting and informative. I turned to a colleague and I commented on how nice the church building was. I proceeded to see if we could get a tour of it at the completion of our assignment.
As we completed the business part, out came two gentlemen to give us a tour. One was the pastor and the other was the worship leader. As we began the tour, it was clear, through the witness of the two leaders that this church is about building others up to where God wants them to be. All the plans and all the amenities were designed with the idea of reaching others and leading them to Christ Jesus. These two men of God took us on a journey, a witness if you will, of what it means to trust in the Lord. I gathered that after years of patience, operating with integrity, being good stewards of what was provided and believing in the word of God, their vision of a church building that would serve as a worship experience in Christ has come to fruition for everything done, at Cornerstone.
As we left, I recall mentioning to my colleagues how that is ministry. Nothing was created to glorify man. Everything was and is being established to edify the body of Christ. I was first just overwhelmed with the building and the things in it, but it has become evident to me:
Ephesians 2:19-22
 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

I am encouraged.

Friday, February 13, 2015

ACE #343: Scandal Time - The Queen of America and Her Pit bull

I think "Gladiators Don't Run" left me more confused than when I started the episode.  I was really wanting more of the chemistry I saw developing between Olivia and Ian, but then Gus shot Ian point blank.  I was not expecting all!  Olivia had it all figured out with Ian, but Gus will not be persuaded.  He has been the one ready to fight her from the beginning.  Thus far, she has kicked him and knocked him over the head. Oh, and she killed his best friend.  Yeah, he hates her.  He called her the "Queen of America." 

Abby is lost, as usual.  No one has thought to tell her the truth.  David summed it up with the fact that she is not in the "need to know" category.  Wasn't it kind of sad that she said Olivia is her "only friend."  But Huck told her, "You are not a Gladiator anymore."  That had to hurt.  But Huck was dead serious when he said, "We can't trust the White House.  Abby is the White House."  That makes me concerned for Abby.

All this time I have been trying to figure out how Jake paid his bills.  Well, obviously he's a millionaire too.  But that Huck is a billionaire. He has all of B613's money.  "I have money. I have money.  I have money!"  Two billion dollars really is money.

That Andrew is something else.  He is blackmailing everyone, including Mellie.  Poor Elizabeth was ready to skip town, but Cyrus pulled the rug from under her.  I know she wishes she would have never gotten with him.  But in the words of Chris Brown, "These folks ain't loyal."

But when Quinn windmilled Huck, that was hilarious.  Huck has completely flipped his lid. I mean, dude killed everybody in the vicinity.  Everybody around him knows he is cuckoo.  But what is Jake's plan to get Huck back on track?  All he said to him was, "Go clean up."  But crazy recognizes crazy because Mama Pope already called Huck Olivia's Pit bull. Did Mama Pope ask for cable?

Once more, Mellie pulls out all the punches for a knock out delivery.  She wants to run the United States of America.  And knowing her, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  It is interesting that Fitz supports this with a simple, "Okay."  That was easy! It was sad that he just wants Jerry alive, but can't get it.  His next request, he wants Olivia back.  And Mellie supports him.

And why, again, are we auctioning off a black lady during Black History Month?  Hopefully, her daddy bought her. 

But if you go missing, rest assured "Sallie Mae will find you."  Too bad Olivia didn't take out a school loan I guess.

Proverbs 11:13

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, 
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

ACE #342: I Have Never Seen Black People

This afternoon when I picked up our daughter from her aftercare program, as we were walking out of the door, a little white boy ran up to me and said, "I have never seen a black people before."  I was slightly caught off guard, but not really stunned necessarily. 

I immediately told his teacher to get him because he was out of order.  I told her exactly what he said.  She responded with a thank you and that she would immediately tell his mother.  She added, "I do not know why he would say that because there are black people around here everyday including me, his teacher."

When I got home, I asked my daughter if she had heard the little boy.  She said she did not really understand what he was saying.  I explained to her that his comment was inappropriate and rude.  She added, "...and just mean."  After a minute or so, she asked, "Mom, why do white people do that?  Why do they just bother us when we are minding our own business and not doing nothing to them?"

At this time, I had to explain to her the history of our country, the United States of America, and the impact of the institution of slavery.  After I explained to her the horror of this history, she responded, "I don't like that," and immediately began to cry. Sigh.

In my heart I thought, "Didn't we just have this conversation?"  - See this:

Again, here we go...another teachable moment for which I had not prepared a lesson. 

If you are a parent of a child of color, please instill in your child to have pride in their brown skin, yellow skin, black skin, red skin, or whatever skin.  Whatever color...instruct them of their value both historically and presently.  It certainly will not be an easy task when you might have to combat the negative images and stereotypes in the media.  Remember Trayvon Martin? Oh, and Mike Brown?

For parents of white children, teach your children to value their privilege.  Honestly, their skin might not ever be an issue.  Perhaps being honest about that privilege is the first place to start the conversation.

Parents of all children, just teach your children to respect and honor themselves and other people...period!

It is important for us to teach our child that all white people will not treat her like "a black people."  Whatever that means...

1 Corinthians 13:13
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ACE #341: Be the Mustard Seed

The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Mark 4
30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

It seems this parable is about more than that one tiny seed that is referenced.  Jesus likens the mustard seed to the kingdom of God in that the smallest of seeds planted grows into the largest of the garden plants.  That small seed can serve a big purpose.  The disciples, at this point, are not well known.  They are in the early stages of their learning and probably feel insignificant in their roles.  But Jesus is showing them that no matter how small they feel or seem, their work is for greater.  Their work is laying part of the foundation for others to do their work for the kingdom of God.

As I examine this text more closely, I see something else.  It states, "But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything."  There's something to be said about being alone with Jesus so that He can explain everything...without private.  Every now and then there is value in going off alone with Jesus so that He can teach you about yourself and about Himself.
Small seed, do not miss your opportunity to help grow the kingdom of God, but also do not miss going off alone with Him to learn what your role is in kingdom building.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

ACE #340: Not Lucky But Blessed

Yesterday, I took my vehicle to the dealership to get an oil change.  I had mentioned to the technician that I received a letter in the mail about a recall of some sort.  I didn't really know what it was...the muffler...maybe.  The man asked, "Was it about the fuel tank?"  I kind of shrugged my shoulders and said I wasn't really sure, but it had something to do with rust.  Okay, cool.  "Check it out for me," I said.

He came back about 45 minutes later and said, "Mrs. Lewis, we are going to have to put you in a rental car.  There is a leak in your fuel tank."

Now, I had been smelling some strange fumes every now and then in my garage, but just thought that, perhaps, I had spilled a little gas on the car while I was pumping it.  No, my morning had not gone as planned, but I was grateful nonetheless.  It was a necessary safety measure.

When I explained the situation to the agent at the rental counter, she said that I had been really lucky.  I said, "No, not lucky. I'm blessed."  

A few months ago, we were in a four-car pile up with our car being hit from the rear.  Our car could have caught fire, if hit a certain way, because of the impact.  Yesterday, on the news there was a three-car crash - two cars caught fire.  One person died.  My heart goes out to the family.

So, today, I will tell anyone...I do not believe in luck.  I believe in blessings. #grateful

James 1:17

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Monday, February 9, 2015

ACE #339: Is Your Seed Growing?

Mark 4
The Parable of the Growing Seed
26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
I found this particular parable to be interesting because it suggests that the soil (or the kingdom) does not need to be tended to, rather it just needs seeds to be scattered.  Further it indicates that the kingdom of God grows gradually, although perhaps unnoticed by the planter.  But when the seed is fully grown, then will others take notice.
This parable made me realize that even when we are in our small level positions, particularly at our workplaces, that while we might go unnoticed, eventually the harvest will come.  Eventually our small tasks will be recognized.  Eventually our work product and performance will be rewarded.  Eventually whatever skills we have acquired will matter at the right time.
So, whatever you're doing well, keep doing it.  A harvest is on the horizon. Just don't neglect to plant the seed, in good soil, so that it can grow.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

ACE #338: How to Get Away With Murder Recap

As I hear the arrogance in the voices of those who really believed they were justified, knowing there was an innocent life at stake, I just can't understand how they could not see the criminal in themselves. All the pleadings, interrogations and deliberation, yet no truth. All the false witnesses, trumped-up charges and self proclaimed power, but there was still no proof. 

But, on the cross, Jesus still said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

That's right. He even died for those who thought they were taking His life.  

Thank You Jesus! 

What did you think I was talking about?

Friday, February 6, 2015

ACE #337: Scandal Time - Helen, Bets and Bread Crumbs

"Where's the Black Lady?" was nail biting.   Scandal is in rare form.  I continue to be impressed with Ms. Washington's range of emotion.  Olivia called the kidnapper out...again.  She realized that he wasn't in power either.  Oh, she's put the pieces together.  

It was an absolutely delightful scene between Quinn and Marla Gibbs' character.

"Are you the black lady?"


"Then you can't help me.  I'll be back tomorrow."

All of the Gladiators, or at least what's left of them, are in a panic.  Huckleberry Quinn is a hoot.  Is Jake officially a Gladiator now?  I can't quite tell.  How is he paying his bills anyway?

How Andrew got the POTUS's entire staff to betray him is beyond me, but maybe not so unrealistic.  But Fitz had to have "proof of life."  He got it...and even on a jump drive as a little "extra something something".  

I loved how Cyrus deciphered the madness. "He's not listening to me...why is he listening to the Vice President?"  He was still a bit slow on things...and that's because he's married to someone he doesn't love...or all.  And Abby is just as slow. What is her role anyway? And how many glasses is Cyrus going to shatter?

But it's Tom who was still speaking in code and hanging on to his faded out position.  He called Little Jerry "a sacrifice for greatness", though.  That had to hurt.  But he is all about "the face that launched a thousand ships."  The Black Helen of Troy really must have pulled a number on Tom...captivated and intrigued him.  It's been months since he's seen and spoken with Olivia.  But he still can't get her out of his mind either. Tom reminded Fitz that Olivia's, or Helen's, place is outside the boundaries of the Secret Service.  And there, he finds Olivia's "other" boyfriend - Jake.  He is just sitting there...trying to figure this whole thing out. One of my Facebook friends said, "Vermont joins forces with the sun!" Yeah, that "Sunmont" thing is pretty cool!  I don't know which of these men is Samson, but Olivia is certainly both of their Delilah.

We got a glimpse of the old Huck.  He figured out "the ring" thing because Olivia never takes it off.  I guess it is her promise ring from Fitz.  Anyway, Huck completely wore Elizabeth out.  She should have believed him the first time.  No one should ever wonder how far Huck will go to save his savior, Olivia.  All of these men love this lady.  Last week, none of them were coming to save her.  This week, all of them, except Daddy Pope, are poised and positioned to kill anybody to get her back. Now, they are throwing Mama Pope back into the mix.  (By the way, both Joe Morton and Khandi Alexander won an NAACP Image Award for their portrayals of the dysfunctional Pope parents. Kudos!)

Once more and again - it was Mellie who stole the show.  Fitz was willing to let Olivia die, but it was Mellie who said that if he loved her, then he should save her because surely all of the foolishness they had been through over the years was not for a side chick.  Then Mellie played the big joker (no pun intended) and got those cell phones from ole Andrew.  After all, Mellie and Fitz are partners in this marriage.  Their two balcony exchanges were priceless.

I'm sure everyone that was watching this episode thought, "If Olivia had just stayed there, she would have been rescued!"  But thinking back, who would blame her if she is facing three years of captivity?  She asked to be fed her last meal and shot, but strangely the meal didn't consist of popcorn and wine.  She also left her pajamas behind so Jake would know she had been there.  Well, I think the stakes have gotten a little higher for Olivia.  She's trying to stop a war now! That one dollar bet has turned into billions for the lovely Olivia Pope to be sold on the Black Market.  (I didn't miss that all of this reminded me of the institution of slavery and the raping of black women.  Surely, that's not the best we are getting for Black History Month).  The question is no longer pending, "Do you want to be a baby sitter or do you want to be a boss?!  

Shonda Rhimes has worn me out. She is, no doubt, the boss of Thursday nights! In the words of Huck, "She's giving us bread crumbs."  And this thing is far from over. Rowan Pope has yet to show himself...

Judah 14:3
His father and mother replied, "Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me. She's the right one for me."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

ACE #336: Scandal Time - A Really Bad Hair Day

Last we saw Olivia, she was in a cell with a very small window.  She had on those same black pajamas.  Her usually well-sculpted, elaborately coiffed hair was extremely disheveled and dirty.  I wasn't ready for that, but should not have been surprised.  As a black woman, I am quite familiar with a bad hair day.  But way more than that.  The "Run" episode had me on the edge of the seat.  Changing from Jake's to Olivia's point of view was pretty darn genius of Shonda Rhimes.  And by the way, Olivia will definitely need a new couch because that wine stain will be a monster to clean.

I immediately thought that this was her father's doing - as a punishment for Olivia's obvious disobedience and defiance - and because he always shows up in her apartment both uninvited and unexpectedly.  But then it became very clear, this was not his work. Surprise!  Andrew, the VP, is certainly behind this one.  He has to be...right? Then again, it's Scandal...and nobody can be trusted!

But it was when she realized it, like in "Four Brothers" when Andre Benjamin's character said, "He ain't coming" - none of Olivia's men in her life were coming to rescue her.  Does anybody know exactly how long she had been missing?  Well, I guess it was long enough not to even contemplate that she was sitting on that dirty toilet.  Ewwwww! After so long, she just didn't care...I guess.  And why is everybody so surprised she killed those two men?  She was going to shoot her own father at point blank range a few episodes ago.  Ms. Pope is not comfortable being bullied or feeling terrified. I did love her confidence though in her exchange with the kidnappers.  She basically let them know that she does not deal with "underlings" - only the person in charge. 

Can I just be honest?  I didn't know that a bra underwire could be so versatile in its use.  That is all.  

Hats off to the darling Ms. Washington.  Her range of emotion in this episode was the best I have seen since her role in Django Unchained. The depth in her performance was awesomely convincing!

And where did the black lady across the hall come from?  I have never, ever seen her.  I don't think I even knew Olivia had neighbors.  I guess we will find out tonight in the episode, "Where's the Black Lady?"

Photo credit:

Psalm 118:8
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ACE #335: Let It Shine

A Lamp on a Stand

Mark 4
21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

This passage speaks of members of the body of Christ keeping their gifts to themselves - not realizing that whatever gifts God has given each of us should be shared.  We are in positions to let our lights shine everywhere we go - our homes, our jobs, our church houses, and in the community.  

This passage also indicates that knowledge, as a type of light, is to be communicated to all of those who can hear...and are willing to receive the message.  

Finally, whatever measure an individual gives is the same measure at which things will be returned.

God desires for us to be generous in giving whatever gifts He has given.  What gift will you give today?

The Parable of the Sower is found right before this passage. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

ACE #334: Are You In the Background?

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I were watching the Screen Actors Guild Awards. This was certainly an experience. My daughter had many questions, as usual. I enjoyed it though. She was impressed with the d├ęcor and the different clothing lines.

As we were watching, the category arrived for ‘OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE’. I think this award is so cool. Why? Because it shows that you don’t have to be the star to be recognized. In this role, you are charged with making sure the lead is out in front and you are graciously offering every ounce of effort you have to make the production a success. The film is not about you. The role is in place to support the lead. In other words, it is the background.

Friends, is this not our role in the kingdom? Are we not supposed to support lead in Christ, Jesus? Isn’t this walk about Him and not us? Were we not created to worship Him? He is the lead. As His elect, we are called to be in outstanding supporting roles for the Kingdom of God.

The apostle Paul said I won’t brag about myself, even though I could. I don’t want people to think more of me than what they see me do or hear me say. He was more about Jesus, the Christ, and He was more than the accomplishments about himself. He was fine with playing the background. Are we?

Monday, February 2, 2015

ACE #333: The Super Bowl Wasn't So Super For Some

Last night, social media went straight crazy over the very last play of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX: New England Patriots - 28, Seattle Seahawks - 24.  It was certainly Sleepless in Seattle last night!

The Seattle Seahawks will go down in history not for the Super Bowl win in 2014, but for that unbelievable loss in 2015.  We were not ready - quite unprepared actually - for the final play of the game.  I was rooting for the returning champs because I just like Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson really.  Patriots' Malcolm Butler said he had a "vision" he would make a big play.  And he did!  He intercepted the ball on a play that should have never been called. 

The coach is blaming the players.  The players are blaming the coach.  Everybody agrees on this though - Seattle should have run the ball.  After all, they have Mr. Skittles himself, Mr. "I'm Just Here So I Won't Get Fined" Marshawn Lynch, who by the way, got an offer for a contract extension.  Who didn't see that coming?

This entire situation reminds me of the "blame game" that happened back in the Garden of Eden. Check it out from Genesis 3:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
We can debate who was at fault with Adam and Eve, but does it really matter?  They both got cursed and put out of the Garden of Eden.  These two are forever infamous...and from the very beginning.
And, guess what?  It doesn't matter whose fault the loss was in this Super Bowl.  You have to go down in history for something...I guess.