Thursday, December 31, 2015

ACE #414: How Will You Look Back on 2015?

Genesis narrative from Wikipedia:
The narrative of Lot's wife begins in Genesis 19, after two angels arrived in Sodom, at eventide, and were invited to spend the night at Lot's home. As dawn was breaking, Lot's visiting angels urged him to get his family and flee, so as to avoid being caught in the impending disaster for the iniquity of the city. Lot delayed, so the angels took hold of his hand, his wife's hand and his daughters and brought them out of the city. The command was given, "Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, nor stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, lest you be swept away."[1] Lot objected to the idea of fleeing to the hills and requested safe haven at a little town nearby. The request was granted and the town became known as Zoar. Traveling behind her husband, Lot's wife looked back, and became a pillar of salt.

As I have been reflecting on 2015, I realized that it has been a difficult year in many ways.  Yes, great things have happened, but I have been stretched, uncomfortably I might add, and challenged in my personal life, my profession and my ministry.  And ironically enough, I have been required to do a lot of self-reflecting, but a whole lot more of that forgiving thing.  Both areas are quite difficult for me to master even though I have had enough practice. 

But if I am honest, I believe I have been more obedient to God's calling on my life this year than any other year.  And you know what?  There have been more hellish moments than enough.  It let's me know that the enemy sees a glimpse of what God has planned for my life.   That glimpse has the enemy working overtime!  But when the time comes to truly reap the harvest, in the words of my grandfather, "Whatchu say!"

It is my prayer that whatever difficult situations you have encountered in this past year, that you have learned the lesson(s) and moved on.  You can't change a thing! Besides, God knows the past, present and future concerning each of us. We just have to remain in Him and trust His plan - no matter what it looks like ahead.

How will you look back on 2015?  It is my prayer that you won't turn into a pillar of salt...looking back on some things God wants you to leave behind.  Enter into 2016 with a plan, a divine purpose, and prayer.

Happy New Year!

Be blessed,


Monday, December 21, 2015

ACE #413: Expectancy

This week I was driving and I believe the Lord dropped in my spirit the witness of expectancy. Recently, my wife and I have been is a season of holding. Things do not appear to be moving the way we would hope, so we have been a little discouraged. But, during this drive, I heard the word "expectancy". 

You see, when the three Hebrew boys refused to worship the statue constructed by King Nebuchadnezzar, there was an expectation that the God of Israel would be all they needed. It didn't matter that the government demanded they act like everyone else. It didn't matter that there were severe repercussions for not following the decree. What mattered more than anything was that the government and everyone else knew that they served and worshiped the true and living God. In fact, when the king demanded that they worship like everyone else, they replied - and I paraphrase - do what you must, but God is able to save us, either way. 

When I hear this, I can't help but believe that these believers, through their faith, were expecting the Great I Am to show up and show out. In other words, there was an expectation that God would provide, whether in the furnace or out of the furnace. It made no difference. They were expecting to worship their God no matter what happened. 

In today's hell, someone else may be discouraged and just ready for God to move. Well, I hope we can learn a lesson from the these three believers about waiting with expectancy. You see, when we declare that there is none like Him in all the earth, we are expecting Him. When we declare, greater hath no love than this, than a man who would lay down His life for His friends, we are expecting Him. When we declare that now faith is the substance of things hope for the evidence of things not seen, we are expecting Him. We are waiting with expectancy, knowing that He will do just what He said, even if it is walking through the fire with us. When we wait on the Lord with expectancy, something happens that can't be explained. What are you expecting? 

Will you wait with expectancy? 

Friday, December 4, 2015

ACE #412: It Could Have Been Me...

Yesterday, I was sitting in my car at a traffic light.  There was a woman standing by the entrance of the shopping center with a sign.  I wasn't close enough to read her sign, but I was certain it said something like, "Need money for food."  After all, this is a daily occurrence in most communities, right?  Normally, someone will stick their hand out of the window and hand over a few dollars.  My husband does this all the time.  I am much more cautious, especially when our daughter is in the car with me.  I feel kind of guilty sometimes when I don't stop because, after all, it could have been me out there in the cold or on the streets.  I was broker than a joke in graduate school.  Still...somehow, God showed me provision through other people and often through a sheer miracle. (Truth be told...most of us are one paycheck away from being...well, without).

As the traffic light turned, I saw something that I had never seen before. Instead of reaching out and giving the woman with the sign some money, the driver handed over a pair of gloves.  The woman with the sign immediately sat down and put the gloves on her hands with great relief.  Some might ask, why didn't the driver just give the woman money?  Well, as I see it, the driver gave what s/he had and was responding to a need.  There was a widow in the Bible that did the same.

It is my prayer, that during this holiday season that people will see the needs of others and endeavor to give what they have.  I am always mindful, it could have been me...

Mark 12:41-44

The Widow’s Offering

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

ACE #411: Have You Ever Been Overlooked?

1 Samuel 16:1-13 (NIV)

Samuel Anoints David

16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?
Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 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. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Last week, I told my husband that the Lord was leading me to study about when Samuel anointed David.  As we began to study, a few things occurred to me.  David was never man's choice, but he was always God's choice.

God confronted Samuel and basically told him to get himself together because he had work to do.  But Samuel was so consumed by his broken relationship with Saul that he had forgotten that he was always on a mission from God.  After all, he was specifically consecrated at birth for this.  God told Samuel that he would show him what to do and who to anoint.

When Samuel follows God's instructions and travels to Bethlehem, he is looking for the one God has chosen to be the king.  He arrives at Jesse's house.  Each of Jesse's sons came before Samuel and the response was the same, "The Lord has not chosen this one either."  Seven came before Samuel, but then there was another - the youngest one who was tending the sheep.  While everyone else was standing around only wishing to be "the one", the real "one" was laboring.  There is something to be said about continuing to labor in the field while others are just standing around.

Even Jesse, David's father, did not think that David was worthy enough to be presented. He didn't even have the baby boy in sight.  That is beyond being overlooked.  But Samuel declared that he was not moving from that place until David was presented.  David was described as "ruddy" in the King James Version.  In the Message translation Jesse called him a "runt".  But it was clear that David was healthy and handsome...even though he was dirty and hot from tending sheep.  Imagine that...your value shining through your filth. And then God said, "This is the one."  When Samuel anointed David with the oil, the Word says that the Spirit of the Lord entered David like a rushing wind with God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.

Don't worry, Beloved.  God is preparing to anoint you in the presence of everyone in view - the doubters, the haters, and the blockers - even in the face of rejection.  He's preparing you for the rest of your life.  Like David, just keep working.  If a shepherd can become a king, then what can you become?