Thursday, April 30, 2015

ACE #374: Sometimes It Ain't Worth It

The other morning, I was in line at McDonald's and this middle-aged man jumped in front of me and proceeded to place his order. The cashier stared at me with this look of "What do you want me to do?"  I just shook my head with a "Just go ahead. Nevermind." Did I have a right to say something? Yes. Did I have a right to be served first? Yes.  Should I have said something? Not necessarily.

One of the most quoted lines in The Color Purple was when Sophia, played by Oprah Winfrey, told Celie, played by Whoopi Goldberg, "Don't trade places with what I've been through."

All Sophia was saying was that sometimes, some things, and some people just ain't worth it.  The amount of energy it would take and the trouble that might follow after tangling with the situation or the person is just not worth your time.  I have told my students over the years, "Every battle is not yours to fight."  You get to choose how you begin your day most of the time.  Starting off my morning by arguing in McDonald's was just not going to happen...that day. I made a choice.  I chose to let the Jesus in me overrule my flesh and my desire to "set him straight".

So, today, just walk away from some situations.  Refuse to engage in the battle. You do have a choice.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ACE #373: Spiritual Warfare: The 'Baltimores' of the World Need Us

April 28, 2015

The entire world watched last night as the city of Baltimore broke out in mass riots.  It was the citizens waging war against the police force after Freddie Gray, an African-American man, was laid to rest after dying from a fatal spinal cord injury while in the custody of police.  The damage last night will take more to repair than we can imagine.  It is sheer wreckage - physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  Am I in disbelief that this happened? No.  We just saw this in Ferguson...for much of the same reason.  Violence is never the answer, but people feel helpless and hopeless in their pursuit of justice. 

And, there is still a Word from God concerning such matters.  It is the same Word that has existed for generations.

We are at war.  This is not a time for the people of God to give up and throw in the towel.  It is time for us to "suit up" in our war clothes as the Scriptures have instructed us to do.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Yes, we must pray. No, prayer is not enough.  But unified prayer is where we start.

2 Chronicles 7:14
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 

And, even in the midst of this, I still believe God.  Some people stand in judgment, but this could happen right in your community.  The "Baltimores" of the world need for the people of God to be who we say we are...but we should also humble ourselves and seek God for answers.  
Let's continue to lift our voices in prayer for healing and reconciliation, then move forward with a vision and a plan to change things for the better for all people.


ACE #106: Spiritual Hide and Seek

Originally posted 1/12/14

Jonah was one of the 12 minor prophets of the Bible; he was considered to be a disobedient prophet.  Jonah’s story reminds me of how often we can be disobedient to God’s call for our lives.  He calls us into discipleship…and holiness.  Just like Jonah, we try to “sleep” through it instead of coming into obedience.  Jonah went to the bottom of the ship to attempt to “hide” from God.  He was in a “spiritual hiding place”!

Here’s the reality – we can’t hide from God.  Wherever we are physically and spiritually, God can find us…but we can also find Him – if we seek Him. Jonah had no intention of following God’s directions – he even told the sailors he was running away from the Lord.  It wasn’t until he decided to be obedient to God’s call on His life (to deliver a message to the city of Nineveh) that he was rescued from the belly of the big fish, protected from the scorching heat, and delivered from his own anger.
Jonah’s story shows us that even when we are “running” and “hiding” from God – He still protects us from “the big fish” of the world that threaten to devour us.  When we are obedient to God and come out of our spiritual hiding places, God always protects us and provides for us.
Study Link:

Monday, April 27, 2015

ACE #372: So What Are You Mad About Today?

Have you ever encountered someone that is always mad about something no matter how big or small?  

I spoke to one of my friends some time ago about how she had a conversation with one of her long-time friends.  We had all attended high school together.  As the conversation went on, somehow we got on the subject of how her friend is still mad about something I said to him 20 years ago.  I told her that I didn't even remember the encounter I had with him.  Then I burst out laughing.  I said, "If he needs an apology for something that I said to him 20 years ago that I don't even remember...I will give it to him just so that he can move on."  Her response was, "He's always mad about something.  It wouldn't do any good anyway.  But for the record, what you said to him was the truth then and still the truth now."

In Ephesians 4:36, the Word of God instructs us "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold."  

When we allow our anger to fester, we are doing good for no one, including ourselves. When we hold on to our anger and hold grudges, all we are really doing is functioning is the space of unforgiveness, which is not honorable to God. Some of us would prefer to allow things to eat us up on the inside just so we can be mad about something

I encourage someone to get free today by either telling someone the truth about how he/she made you feel or just moving on. Either let it flow or let it go!  Life is short...shorter and shorter as each day goes by.  

Wouldn't you rather just enjoy the sunset?

Friday, April 24, 2015

ACE #371: Just Chill

For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. But you would have none of it" (Isaiah 30:15). 

I have been so mad in the past that I have been ready to unleash a stream of ungodly language, but have had to collect myself as not to let the flesh win the battle! But, honestly, the flesh wins sometimes.

GOD requires that even in the midst of angry thoughts and actions that we must remain quiet and trust in HIM to handle situations that are contrary to His will and His way. We have to be willing to sit back and chill with our lips closed and let God work on our behalf. Believe me, it is taking everything in me not to address certain situations in my life, but the word of God promises that all crooked ways will be made straight...that also includes crooked situations and crooked people. 

We must be willing to be obedient to the Spirit.  So just sit back and chill and let God be God.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ACE #370: Keep It In Perspective...

2 Corinthians 6:14 says, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"

That doesn't just mean the person you marry. It also means the people who you surround yourself with - your "inner circle". Keep in mind that some people only hang around you just to get some of your favor...hoping it will rub off on them. Be able to discern who is really for you and who just wants to be you or have what you have! Those people will be your Judas! 

The people that have been there for you in your happiest AND your saddest times are the ones that should be sailing with you in your boat. I know people that always show up when it's sunny, but I can't find them in the midst of the clouds and the storm. I think I just said something. Thank you Lord for that one!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ACE #369: God Will Supply

Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." 

Trust God to be the great provider, Jehovah Jireh. But first, we must make sure that we are being good stewards of our finances and other resources. There are some things that are guilty pleasures that we don't need, we just want them or they make us feel good! 

If you find yourself coming up short sometimes, reevaluate your financial priorities. (And, yes, I stay out of the jewelry store and the purse store these days). We can't take it for granted that God will always turn our finances around immediately - sometimes he has to discipline us and make us learn the lesson. But he'll never really leave us hanging! And, be grateful for what you do have.  There's always somebody worse off than you...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ACE #368: Step High

Romans 8:31, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Stop worrying about who is hating on you. The reality is that most people who hate on you either feel inadequate about themselves or they want to be in your shoes.

Your blessed assurance rests in 1 John 4:4, "(You) have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world." You're better than trading insults with folk who do not do a thing for you other than get under your skin. Let the word of God speak for you! You are an overcomer and more than a conqueror - so walk in it with confidence! When you do that, every day you will step a little higher. 

Eventually, you will be jumping over foolish people like a track star jumps over a hurdle...swiftly and gracefully. Get to the finish line without hesitation or distractions.  After all, you are on the winning side.

Monday, April 20, 2015

ACE #367: 9-1-One

Last week, I came home to a powerful witness. 

After a long drive of fighting traffic and a rather long week on the job, I was tired and just wanted to relax. But, that was not the case. My wife had been to the doctor for her back and was prescribed new medication. So, she decided to wait until I was home before she would take it. 

Here's where things get interesting. As I was sitting at the dinner table, she took the medicine. About a minute later, she proceeds to make a statement about the quick influence of the medicine. Great! A few seconds later there was another statement. This time it was elevated and the tone was serious. 

"I thought this is what the medicine is supposed to do." I said. 

"There is something wrong. My heart is beating too fast. Call 911! I feel...I need to throw up. Something is not right. Oh my God! Lord, don't take me out of here. Lord, this is not the agreement we had. Call 911...Jesus Lord," she said. 

This was one of many statements made during this emergency. 

So, I called 911. Prayed over the situation. But,when I got finished, I realized that she had already called the ONE. 911 was only a follow up procedure from the Healer and the Deliverer who had already spoke in the situation. 

What am I saying? Friends, I am not saying not to call 911 or treat emergencies any less than it is. I am saying that when the medic arrives, we know that Jesus, our Savior, has already covered the situation because of your faith in Him and His sovereign grace and his tender mercies. We called 911, but she called on the One. The One who can heal the sick. The One who can raise the dead. The One who can help the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame leap. She called on Jesus. Her faith was elevated over her fear. 

We thank God for the paramedics and their diligence, but we certainly and will always declare the love and power of Jesus, our Savior. 

Thank you to Fire Station #10, Lexington, Ky., for their quick and caring response.


Friday, April 17, 2015

ACE #366: God Lives!

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

As a Christian, I want everyone to be saved and to receive Jesus Christ. I am so humbled by his grace, his mercy, his forgiveness and his blessings.  If someone is reading this and has not come to Christ, I encourage and urge you to do so.  I cannot imagine my life without believing in God and just knowing that He has his hands on me. Nobody said life is perfect or easy.  What I do know is that when I felt like my world was falling apart, God restored my situation greater than I even imagined. 

In case there's any doubt, wasn't the tomb empty? Aren't people still looking for Christ's body?  Well...that's because He's a risen Savior and He lives!

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

"If God Is Dead"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ACE #365: Are You a 'Jack of All Trades'?

If you hate your job...then your season is probably up there! Nobody can tie you to an occupation, a single career or profession all of your life except you! 

David was a shepherd (one of Jesse's boys), a skilled harp player/musician (in the court of King Saul), a warrior (he slay Goliath), and a King (the king of Israel). 

A "jack of all trades" means that a person is competent in many things, but is not necessarily outstanding at any one. This person is considered to be a generalist and not an expert. I disagree.  I believe a person can be outstanding in many things.  David was a great example of this. The Bible says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens why are you settling?

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path" means your career path too! 

Go get it!

Review David's career path:

The musician - Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

The shepherd - David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.

The warrior - As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

The King - So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ACE #364: You Reap What You Sow...For Sure

Galatians 6:7 says, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." 

Not too long ago, I did a good deed.  It cost me monetarily, but I knew that it was something that the Lord had instructed me to do.  A few days later, I turned in my travel form from work; I expected to receive a very small amount.  As God would have it, I received the amount I had sown in this good deed plus one dollar.  That's one kind of seed.

Last month, one of my co-workers gave our daughter a gift because she said that I was always so thoughtful of her.  That's another kind of seed.

An older lady was having difficulty getting into her car and although I was in a rush, I stopped and helped her turn off her car alarm and placed her groceries in her trunk for her.  A few moments later, an elderly gentleman gave me his shopping cart.  Yet, that's a different kind of seed as well.

Then there was that one day when a co-worker went ballistic on me...and I said nothing back except, "Please get out of my office" in the most calm voice.  And I certainly surprised myself with that response.  Shortly after, someone did the same exact thing to her, but with a much different ending to that episode.

Some people liken "seeds" to echoes, boomerangs, or plain ole karma that always comes back on you - both in good ways and bad ways.

As Christians we are not given the privilege of being Christians "sometimes" or when it's convenient. We have to govern ourselves accordingly in all that we say and do. Remember, if you so sow seeds of ugliness, then ugliness will return to you. If you sow seeds of loving kindness, then someone will show you love and kindness when you need it most or when you least expect it. Instead of plotting to "get back" or "get even" just let God have his way. I learned that I have absolutely no power compared to whatever God can do. But there's also honor in sowing a seed, yet expecting nothing in return...just because you know God has already been so good to you.

So, choose to plant a beautiful garden or cultivate a field full of thickets and thorns. It's your choice! What kind of seed will you sow today?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

ACE #363: Yes, It's Free

I have cousins that are coupon clipping crazy!  They will go bargain shopping with a purse full of coupons.  I guarantee that at least 50 percent of the wages they earn, goes to shopping.  But when something is free - oh boy!  They are the first in line.
Romans 6:23 says: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
To continue to sin knowingly is spiritual suicide. Just because we serve a forgiving God does not give us an excuse to participate in sinful activities. Just like our parents, He disciplines us when we get out of order. We eventually pay the price for sin. And don't kill your testimony by acting like you are not saved if you say you are. Jesus died so that we might be saved and have the right to eternal life and have it more abundantly. And everlasting life is free anyway. Jesus already paid the cost.
Don't trade in an abundance of blessings for a bushel of sin. The pleasure of sin is temporary. Eternal life is a gift that lasts forever.
I encourage those who have not joined the fellowship of Christian believers to get in line. For those who are out of the fellowship for some reason, get back in line. For those in line, hold your place.
Eternal life is priceless. What an awesome gift!


Monday, April 13, 2015

ACE #362: Better Get Ready!

As I reflect over the past few weeks, I am truly feeling the overpowering and overwhelming presence of God and the realization of Psalm 46. He is truly speaking through his mighty acts of nature. We have had an extensively long winter season of never-ending snow and ice, but there has been more flood damage in the last week than I can recall in many years.  Nations are at war and violence has increased against younger generations.
I must continue to express my concern about those who have not given their lives to Christ and even those who have, but are currently out of the fold. I firmly believe there's always been a call of urgency for people to come to Christ, but at this point I would reclassify it as a KINGDOM EMERGENCY!  Just as I believe Jesus arose from the dead, I certainly believe that He is coming back for those who profess their belief in Him. Time is winding down, folks. 
It is time for the body of Christ to truly step up our level of discipleship. We need to stop feeling like that if we "preach" or "teach" the word of God that we will lose friends or make enemies.  So what!  Jesus had plenty of enemies and lost a friend from his inner circle.  Yet he still fulfilled his calling and went to the cross for us. I so love John 21:25, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."  Hopefully, that will be the biography of my life. Praise God!
This is my charge: Let's get more aggressive about the word of God and Christian living. Let's step our ministries up a notch. We do have more to give. Isn't God worth it?
Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

ACE #361: What Are They Running For?

 What They Running For?

As we celebrate Easter, expressing our belief in the the Risen Savior, Jesus, I hope we understand what we are running to the church to see. You see, when Peter and John arrived at the tomb, they hadn't fully believed the scripture that He would raise from the dead. Therefore, after witnessing a bodiless tomb, I am sure there was some confusion. The Bible says they went home. 

My friends, as charged disciples of Jesus, we should understand that Jesus, through faith in His death, His burial and His resurrection, promises to return for those who believe and act according to it. In that, we are joyful when we know that He coming again. Therefore, on Easter Sunday, when folk come running in the church doors, we should be praising a Savior, who lives. 

People are coming to church because they are not sure if Christ is dead or alive. They have all kinds of hell going on in their lives and just want to look in and see if there is life in Christ. Is He living? Is He risen? In other words, are we representing a risen Savior or are we sad because He's not here?

Are we letting people know that the body of Christ is alive in us? He breathed His spirit on us and now we can live knowing that He will return for us. Are we showing brothers and sisters that there is nothing like worshiping with a body of believers? Are we testifying to the fact that no matter what we are facing, He rose so I can face tomorrow? Are we showing what we are running to church on Easter to see? 

He lives!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

ACE #360: It Ain't Always the Devil

How often have you heard someone say, "The devil made me do it," or "The devil is always busy!"  I'm here to tell you, it ain't always the devil.

The other day I was riding down the interstate and I was flipping channels on Sirius XM Radio.  My husband had driven the car the night before and had it on Kirk Franklin's Praise 64 station.  I was trying to find my original setting, which was on the Joel Osteen station. Since I have been on a fast for the last two weeks, I only listen to those two stations in the car.  I tried to flip it on Channel 120, but for some reason, it would skip from 119 to 121.  I was furious because I thought the satellite provider had gotten rid of the station based upon my purchased package, which is really the rental car company's purchased package.  My car has been in the auto repair shop for two months now.

I called my cousin and told her, "Girl, the devil is always busy.  I'm just minding my own business, trying to get this encouraging word and the channel has been removed."  After I hung up with her, I called my husband and gave him the same rant.  He replied, "The Joel Osteen station is 128 not 120."  I immediately burst out laughing.  I had been fired up for no reason at all; it was just an operator error.  And then I had to think about something else - the devil really tempted Jesus out in the wilderness, but the devil didn't make me eat all of those jelly beans and that full bowl of ice cream either; I just wanted them.  

So, today, I encourage someone to take a deep breath and exhale.  Yes, the enemy does come to steal, kill and destroy.  Make no mistake about it! But it ain't always the devil's fault when things are in a state of confusion or when we fail to resist temptation...sometimes it's our own thinking and doing.  We give that sucker way too much credit! But get behind me Satan anyhow!

Matthew 4:1-11
Satan Tempts Jesus
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”[a]
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’[b]
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”[c]
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,[d] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”[e]
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.