Monday, November 7, 2016

ACE #437: Still Under Construction

When I was in high school, I remember some construction the state was doing to improve travel on Interstate 75 (I-75). I can’t really remember when it started. I just remember when I started giving attention to it. I was riding to the state basketball tournament with some friends from Lexington to Richmond. Anyway, after that, any time I drove I-75 south I noticed construction on the road. It seemed to last forever. Years later, the construction seemed to be complete…at least I thought.
Some years after that, changes were being made again. Then, years later, some more changes. To this day changes are still being made to one of the main highways running through the state of Kentucky. The road seems to always be under construction.

Well, let me translate this spiritually. Like the highway, in Christ, our heart should always be under construction as well. As we go through this life, we will need ‘The Engineer’ of life, the almighty God, to change our heart again and again to prepare it for every situation possible.

The heart is a CHRISTian's main component for dealing with the things of this world. If it is not engineered in Christ, it will not be able to withstand the evilness, the foolishness, and the disappointments of this world. Understanding that we are always under construction, as believers in Christ, will certainly give us hope for dealing with things to come. A heart that is always under construction is positioned for God to make changes to serve His purpose for the time. He continually engineers a heart to glorify Him and to one day soon bring completion to the work.

Philippians 1:6

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

ACE #436 ASK

Many of us have a habit of petitioning God, but not faithfully moving so He can bless. Our faith is weakened by our ASK. We are asking God, but not believing God to do it. Better yet, we ask, but we don’t finish the process for God to do it. You see, to ask God for something means you have to be willing to follow through on your request and expect God to move, but not you. We all know faith is action. When functioning in true faith, seeing is not believing. Believing is knowing the actions and the word of God. Jesus said, “…for everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Friends, God, through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus, has supplied every need we will ever have when it is about Him. All we have to do ask. But, in asking, we have to make sure we are doing our part. Asking is followed with action…just asking is not enough.

If you are asking the Lord for better, you have to believe that you will receive better. Not only do ask for better, you have to seek better for yourself. I am convinced that some of us are not getting better because we don’t know where better is coming from. Better is coming in Jesus. Seek out the things that move you from yourself to realizing that greater is He who is in you than you who in this miserable world. Then, knock on doors that encourage your request. Stop trying to open doors in your own strength. Let Christ and it will be opened unto you. All you have to do is, Ask! Seek! Knock!

Matthew 7:7-11
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Friday, October 28, 2016

ACE #435: Life Really Is Short...

This entire month is one that I will never forget, but wish would just be over.  I can't get to October 31st fast enough.

Two of my cousins died unexpectedly, our daughter's high school track idol died at 15-years-old, and a college classmate died at 37-years-old.  Families are grieving over these sudden losses.  Even though God knew this was coming, there are those of us who are left to try to understand and find peace in the losses.  I have peace in knowing that they were all saved and confessed belief in Jesus Christ.

It only reminds me that life really is short.  Take the time to live life to the fullest, enjoy every moment...and forgive.  We never know when it is our last time to get it right. And love people hard while they are still here.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

ACE #434: Beware of That Darned Delilah

Delilah Extracts His Secret 
Judges 16

15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times and have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 When she pressured him day after day with her words and pleaded with him, he was annoyed to death. 17 Then [finally] he told her everything that was in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never been used on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I will become weak and be like any [other] man.”
18 Then Delilah realized that he had told her everything in his heart, so she sent and called for the Philistine lords, saying, “Come up this once, because he has told me everything in his heart.” Then the Philistine lords came up to her and brought the money [they had promised] in their hands. 19 She made Samson sleep on her knees, and she called a man and had him shave off the seven braids of his head. Then she began to abuse Samson, and his strength left him. 20 She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as I have time after time and shake myself free.” For Samson did not know that the Lord had departed from him. 21 Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with [two] bronze chains; and he was forced to be a grinder [of grain into flour at the mill] in the prison.22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved off.

Anyone who befriends you, learns your personal story/history/dreams, then uses your personal information for gain/advancement for themselves carries a Delilah Spirit. S/he will have no problem sharing your weaknesses and handing you over to your enemies. When you encounter someone like that, your anointing is being jeopardized and/or challenged. And your testimony is certainly being tested.  Delilah deliberately waited until Samson was in a submissive, relaxed state to get what she needed.  She also knew that his weakness was women...and she was one.  Be careful of casual conversation - over coffee, lunch, breaks, exercise, etc. for it is not always as casual as you might perceive.   Sometimes it is intentional or calculated.  Yep, that's Delilah lurking around.  You do not have to be suspicious of everyone, but you do need to me mindful of others' intentions.  Some people are determined to weaken your warrior spirit or to attack your anointing to get you off of track.
Be careful who you align yourself with in your next season. Watch and pray.  But learn to keep some things to yourself too.  Sometimes silence is golden...

Monday, August 15, 2016

ACE #433: What Do Your Ears Hear?

I remember being younger and hearing my friends say mean things to each other, especially in high school and later in college.  When the comments were directed toward me, I would often ignore it or just laugh it off because it became so uncomfortable.  One of my friends would constantly have something to say about my hair.  Another would go out of the way to tease me for being smart. Then every now and then someone would say something sarcastic because I had a car at 16-years-old, all the while in the next breath, they would ask for a ride somewhere.  As I got older, some people around me would take verbal jabs about my possessions...material things I had.  I would think, I work everyday; so whatever I have...I earned it.  But, truthfully, their words began to kill my spirit because they were actually hurtful. It often made me ashamed or embarrassed to have nice things or to share my accomplishments.  It also made me think about how the power of life and death really is in the tongue.

But as I matured, I began to realize a few things about the character of people and the power of my inner circle; some people really are your enemies and you don't even know it.  I came across an old Facebook post that read:
Pay attention. People always reveal themselves. We always focus on what our eyes can see, but give less value to what our ears hear.
What comes out of the mouth is usually a reflection of a person's heart...their jealousy, their bitterness, their competitive spirit, their insecurities, their brokenness, their covetousness, even their true dislike of you. The wool wasn't pulled over your eyes, it was over your ears.
Listen closer next time...and then you'll see more clearly.

So, now, I pay attention...and make the the things that come out of my own mouth and to the things I allow to enter my ears.  If necessary, make some adjustments or at least listen will keep the enemy out of your camp.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

ACE #432: True Evangelism Has No Limits, No Boundaries


noun: evangelism 

the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness; zealous advocacy of a cause.

Like most, our local community has spent the last week preparing for "Back to School".  This past weekend, we participated in the Praise in the Park.  It included several local churches coming together to give out school supplies to students, but also to worship through song and to minister about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Several young people stepped on the stage and told their life stories.  They ranged from drug addiction, drug sales, promiscuity, idolatry, alcoholism, depression, suicide, and other forms of demonic attack.  While I cannot say I was listening intently to all of the testimonies, I was observing my surroundings. 

As I looked from one tent to the other, I watched a young girl walk across the field.  As I watched her, I noticed that she was walking toward our tent.  She began to talk to someone standing near me.  All of a sudden, tears started to flow.  There was an immediate call for intercessory prayer.  I watched ministry leaders surround her in a circle, touching and agreeing for a change for her.  It was then that I realized what true evangelism looks like in action.  There was an official program or agenda, but it didn't matter.  Everyone stopped what they were doing to minister to this young lady!  She gave her life to Christ right there on the spot.  The pastor in charge left the event and took the girl to his church immediately to be baptized - no fanfare, no formal program, no pomp and circumstance, no limits and no boundaries - just a young lady accepting Jesus...on the spot.  That is true evangelism!

Brothers and sisters, we are to be the salt and light.  We are instructed to go and make disciples.  We are encouraged to go outside of the four walls of the church.  And we are to be unashamed in doing and being all of it.  But we have to do the work...and do it differently to reach the unsaved and the unchurched.  Let's get back to the basics...just like Jesus said.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...

Israel Houghton & New Breed - No Limits

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ACE #431: Are You Determined to Do Good Anyhow?

The other week, a lady stopped by our church and asked for gas money to get to her son. None of us had any way of knowing if she was telling the truth or not. Some said we should have driven her to the gas station and pumped the gas for her. Others felt we should have questioned her more.

But this is how we responded:
1. We asked her what her need was.
2. We granted her request exactly.
3. We prayed with her.
4. We ministered to her.
5. We gave her some Christian literature and a gospel CD.
6. We blessed her coming and going.

Here's the thing, if YOU do something out of the goodness of YOUR heart, then THEIR motives don't matter. Basically, we gave the lady whatever we had.  

Every gesture does not have to be GRAND to be goodGod blesses the cheerful's part of your seed!

 So, today, just DO GOOD unto others...anyhow!

Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)

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, July 20, 2016

ACE #430: Another Spiritual Boot Camp Experience

This past weekend, our Women's Ministry hosted the Women's Spiritual Boot Camp 2 celebrating the theme, "Refreshed, Renewed and Refined for the Journey".  It was the second installment of a series that God led me to organize for spiritual growth - not just for our church, but also for the community.

The last two weeks have been tough for many communities across the United States and for the nation as a whole.  We have been a nation divided against itself where #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, and #AllLivesMatter.  I find myself weary of the divisiveness, but equally weary of the level of hatred, racism and vengeance that has permeated the atmosphere for even those of us that call ourselves Christian.  In times such as these, I am always mindful to search the Scriptures for answers.

The Word of God says:

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

I still believe that prayer makes the difference. I still believe the latter rain is available to God's people.  No matter the level of the destruction, the pain, the disobedience, and the divisiveness - I still believe God.  

But the people of God must fall prostrate in His presence in humility and in submission to His perfect will and His way...and begin to pray for the healing of the land.  

In the words of Dorothy Norwood:

When the church begins to pray
God will have His way
Chains will be broken
Doors will swing open
Oh oh, something is bound to happen
When the church begins to pray

The "church" is the body of Christ, not the building.  WE ARE THE CHURCH...all of us.  

So, let us pray, Church!

Latter Rain:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

ACE #429: So You Don't Like Being in the Second Place Position

For the past few months, we have watched our daughter compete in Track & Field.  She has done exceptionally well in her first year of competitive sports.  For some strange reason, she always comes in second or third place in her events.  Nevertheless, she has received medals and ribbons.  We have expressed to her that there is nothing wrong with not coming in first in everything. Just do your best.  But it also made me mindful that second place has its place.

Joseph was appointed as  second in command even after he had a felony conviction.  God made it so that people had to bow down to Joseph whenever they were in his presence.  But it was Joseph's second place position that gave him the authority to make life and death decisions on behalf of Pharaoh and all of Egypt.

David was a shepherd first, then an armor bearer, then a warrior, and THEN a king.  David was anointed while in the low position - a shepherd - which was often a job for servants.  Did you catch that?  If you have a problem being in the second place position, then you are not fit to be in the high seat.  Until you are content with being a are not truly deservant.

Even Jesus said, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).  And if it was good enough for Him...

Genesis 41:37-44 New Living Translation (NLT)
Joseph Made Ruler of Egypt
37 Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. 40 You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.”
41 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. 43 Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. 44 And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

ACE #428: You Can't Win In Hand to Hand Combat

Last week, my husband and I went to the movies to see Captain America: Civil War.  I have been a Marvel fan for many years, but my husband is new to this world.  Captain America has always been my favorite even though he was running a close race with Thor.

In one of the last fight scenes, Captain America (aka Steve Rogers) and Iron Man (aka Tony Stark) were engaged in heavy combat.  Iron Man's computer told him that he could not beat Captain America in a hand to hand battle.  "Cap" would always be stronger and quicker because of the weight of Iron Man's suit; yet Tony was still hard as he could.  

It reminded me that there will be times when our enemies will test us.  They will be functioning from a dark place while we are walking in the light.  We are always supposed to be mindful that we, Christians, don't fight dirty or try to match them; we are to fight in the Spirit through prayer, fasting, and studying the Word of God.

In the end of the movie, it was the use of Captain America's shield that won him the battle. Iron Man had everything he needed in his suit...but he didn't have a shield. Cap's shield protected him from the powerful blows and the fiery beams of Iron Man and every other enemy in the movie. As long as he had his shield, he stayed much more confident while in the fight. It was his shield that ultimately handicapped his enemy and ended the battle.  

We can't win against the enemy in hand to hand combat if we are not properly equipped.  We have to fight from our vantage point - in the Spirit and dressed in the full Armor of God.  So, put your shield up and keep fighting fearlessly!


The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ACE #427: Put Your Stone Down

John 8 (NIV)
but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

This morning as I was contemplating what to write, a song came on the radio, "Pray For Me."  I listened closely to the song and went to John 8 to read the story about the woman caught in adultery.  The people were so willing to put others in front of a group to call out their sins.  And I immediately thought, How did they catch her in adultery unless they were meddling...tipping around her front door...

But it was amazing to me how quiet the Savior was.  Two times it said he bent down to write on the ground.  What did He write?  I have no idea by this particular text.  But it would seem to me that just maybe He could have been writing down her sins, just so that He could have blotted them out easily with His hand or His foot...because that is why He died for our sins, right?  Or maybe He was writing down all of the sins of the people who were standing before Him accusing someone else...tending to someone else's shortcomings...and not their own.  It was amazing to me that not one person in the crowd acted in forgiveness, grace or even love. Nobody even tried to intercede on her behalf to save her life.   Well...the ONE did.  Because He represented the new law of love.  

If you see your brother or sister struggling with sin, put your stone down. Don't be like these people and call them up in front of a group and shame them.  Jesus addressed the woman alone.  And even when He did that, He didn't condemn her...He blessed her!

I am grateful today for the love of Jesus Christ.  I am not perfect, but I take seriously the very last sentence that says, "Go now and leave your life of sin."  I encourage you to take your petition to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to give you the strength to overcome your sin.  If you do not have the strength, ask someone to intercede for you and pray on your behalf until your strength comes.  

We all have sinned and fall short...some of us still live in a life of sin purposely...some of us struggle more than others, but are trying to come out of sin...some of us are working daily to live to be more Christ-like.  That is the goal after be more like Him.

Pray For Me - Dawkins & Dawkins

How many times have you been the one
Sittin' in the judgment seat
Or sweepin' 'round somebody else's door
When you live 3 blocks down the street
Don't be so quick to tear your brother down
'Cause it might have just been one of them days
It doesn't take that long to tear somebody down
But it takes less time to pray
If you see me doin' wrong
Why don't you pray for me, pray for me?
There's no need to cast a stone
Why don't you pray for me, pray for me?
If you just happen to see me fall just
Pray for me, pray for me?
Why not be the one that I can call
To pray for me?
Don't make a habit of lookin' for faults
If the motive ain't love
The only reason you're where you are
Is somebody decided to help you up
It'd be a shame for you to close your eyes
Turn your back and just walk away
Just take the time to care enough
To go down on your knees and pray
If you see me doin' wrong
Why don't you pray for me, pray for me?
There's no need to cast a stone
Why don't you pray for me, pray for me?
If you just happen to see me fall just
Pray for me, pray for me

Why not be the one that I can call

To pray for me?
Don't forget where you came from
Remember, you were that someone
Take the time to think about
The hand that pulled you out
And on your way up to the top
Stop and forget me not
If you see me doin' wrong
Why don't you pray for me, pray for me?
There's no need to cast a stone
Why don't you pray for me, pray for me?
If you just happen to see me fall just
Pray for me, pray for me
Why not be the one that I can call
To pray for me?
You're my brother, you're my sister
Won't you pray for me?
In the name of my Father
Won't you pray for me?
In the name of my Father
Won't you pray for me?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ACE #426: The Spiritual Boot Camp Experience

This past weekend, I was honored to plan and experience a Women's Spiritual Boot Camp at my church.

A boot camp is defined in a few ways, but the definition that best fit for our occasion is "a program or situation that helps people become much better at doing something in a short period of time". 

The theme was "Reset, Refocus, Recommit".  The main scripture was Colossians 3:12-17, but it is verse 16 that I emphasized, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish (advise, recommend, exhort, counsel) one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in our hearts.”

There is something about the disciples of Christ coming together to learn from one another and to learn with a Spirit of gratitude in our hearts.  The workshops focused on four key areas: forgiveness, worship, breaking free from strongholds and intercessory prayer. We all desired to become BETTER in all of those things for the glory of God.  We were intentional about preparing for spiritual warfare.

The following are snippets of what the presenters taught:

"Forgiveness and trust aren't the same. You have to earn trust. We can't always earn forgiveness. God gives us common sense. You don...'t have to trust people who keep hurting you, but you do have to forgive them." Exhorter Doris Coffey, St. Paul AME Church, Lexington, Ky.

"Praise is thanking God for what He's done. Worship is thanking Him for who He IS. The Is-ness of God...His sovereignty, His greatness...worship is getting in His presence, even if it means falling flat out on your face!" Rev. Dr. Angela B. Smith-Peeples, Canaan Christian Church, Louisville, Ky.

"Anything you do for longer than six weeks and it is outside of the will of God and keeping you bound is a stronghold. The first step to being free from a stronghold is admitting you have one." Rev. Stephanie M. Raglin, Embry Chapel AME Church, Elizabethtown, Ky.

"Some situations can only change if you pray...pray...and pray some more. But there are some things we can pray for...but it might not be God's will for our lives." Evangelist Gayle Lang, St. Paul AME Church, Versailles, Ky.

After this event, God showed me the importance and necessity of women of God investing in our spiritual education.  We rarely fail to invest in things that enhance our outer appearance, but often fail to invest in our inner appearance, in other words, the conditions of our hearts and our souls.  

I would encourage someone to be intentional about growing who you are in the wisdom of the Word of God so that you can withstand the attacks of the enemy.  All I can say about this past boot camp experience is, "It was good!"

Colossians 3:12-17 (NIV) 

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ACE #425: Just Finish Strong

The other day, my husband and I were watching our daughter practice track.  The kids would run the length of the football field and turn around and come back.  Our daughter would start out with the pack, but would come in last often on the trip back.  We asked her why she kept coming in last.  She responded, "The coach said it wasn't a race.  Besides...I was tired. I was just trying to finish."

So, today, I just wanted to tell someone that life is not a competitive race.  There will certainly be days when you will get tired.  Life will come up against you like a strong wind. Sometimes you will cry when you're running because it hurts. But just keep pushing through to the end.  All you are required to do is to stay in the race...keep running to see what the end will be. Your victory might not look like someone else's but, nevertheless, a victory in Jesus Christ is better than an ordinary win any day.  Finish strong!

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NIV)
11 I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
    or wealth to the brilliant
    or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
The Incomparable and Beloved Daryl Coley sings the remake of "For the Good of Them"

For the record, I had to stop writing this blog when I really started to listen to this song and just simply take a moment to give God His praise for today.  Just for being God...just because His word is real and true in my life.  Even if you have to walk alone, God will never leave you or forsake you.  Things always work out for the good of them who love the Lord!  It WILL work out.  Be encouraged.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ACE #424: Provision Does Not Mean Permission

During the Lenten Season, God very specifically told me to stop spending money frivolously...for 40 days.  I was not just taken aback, I was a little annoyed.  Honestly, I knew exactly what He was referring to.  It meant I had to stop eating out for lunch everyday, stop ordering clothing online, and stop buying stuff just because it was on sale.  I pride myself on using coupons, ya know. This entire sacrifice took so much restraint.  I unsubscribed to all of my shopping sites as not to even be tempted a little.  One of those sites in particular resubscribes you within hours after you unsubscribe. For the nerve!  This was a huge undertaking.  I had to ask the Lord why He would require such a thing.  He told me clearly that He was going to teach me how to do more with less, but it required me changing my habits.  He was giving me a tough lesson in stewardship.

The other day, I went into Kohl's to purchase a belt.  I saw some sunglasses nearby.  I went over to try a few pairs on and realized they cost $9.99.  I thought, what the heck it is just $9.99.  When I went to pay for them, they rang up $16.99.  Now, I was not going to pay that much for those sunglasses.  One of the clerks went back to confirm the price.  They were indeed $16.99, but hanging in the wrong spot.  I declined the purchase.  A few days later, I went into New York & Company.  Sunglasses were $5.99.  One lady had about four pairs on the counter ready to purchase all of them.  I saw the pair I wanted, but it was in her stack.  I turned around and saw a table full of glasses.  Nevertheless, none was the pair I wanted.  So, I declined the purchase again.  I told my daughter, "You know what?  I don't need them.  Your daddy bought me a pair last year that I've never even worn."  When I got home, there they were...a brand new pair of sunglasses sitting in the same spot they have been sitting all winter...waiting to be worn.  Then, I felt a bit ashamed, but mindful that I was also trying to set an example to my daughter that just because you go into a store does not mean you always have to buy something.  And just because I had the money to spend, did not mean I should spend it.  I would not completely understand the lesson until I studied the Book of Jonah.

As I studied Jonah, I realized something so slight, yet so powerful.  When Jonah fled to Tarshish, he boarded a ship.  He paid his fare with no problem. He did it legally; he didn't stow away.  He actually had the money.  No doubt, God had provided Jonah the resources to pay the fare very easily.  That's when the Spirit whispered, "Provision does not mean permission."  I realized that just because Jonah had the money to board the ship didn't mean that it was the right thing to do.  Even though he boarded the ship with ease, didn't mean he would sail away with ease.  Jonah was disobedient, and then the storm came.

So, today, I want to tell someone that just because God has given provision doesn't mean that He gives us permission, particularly if we are not being obedient to His will and His way.  Bend your ear to the Spirit to listen for His permission so that you can be a better steward of what God has provided.

Jonah Flees From the Lord

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ACE #423: That Bike

Last week, we were traveling from a mini vacation. There was some construction on I-75 North that I wanted to avoid on the way back to Kentucky. So, we took the alternate route. It was 20 minutes or so longer, but moving traffic.

Well, while were driving we passed a lot of yard sales and flea markets on the side of the road. It seemed liked we passed one every two or three miles. It was indeed a scenic route. It was stuff everywhere. But, as we passed one spot, there was a little boy and a woman walking back to a car. The little boy and the woman were wheeling a bike. It seemed as if they had just received or purchased it from one of the yard sales. In the midst of all that stuff, it appeared that this boy had found a bike for himself to enjoy. And, as we kept driving passed them, you could see the happiness on his face. His face showed excitement over that bike. 

Should that be us in Jesus? Yes. 

No matter how caught up in ‘stuff’ we are, we should still be able to get excited about Jesus. Just like the bike brought joy to the young boy’s heart, Jesus should bring joy to our hearts as we understand that there is nothing that can separate us from His love. His sacrifice for our sins is enough to help us see through and get us through life’s stuff knowing that the joy of the Lord is our strength.

The truth is, I am not sure if the bike was even for this boy. I don’t know much about the situation at all. But, I do know in that moment, on that walk, he seemed excited about that bike. No, I am not comparing Jesus to a bike from a yard sale, but I am saying that we should be excited about Him and know that He is there for us, even in the midst of all this stuff. Today, it might seem like there is nothing to be excited about. You might be losing hope in the government, friends, and family members, even in yourself. But, know that what Christ has given us through His precious blood is something to get excited about. There is hope in Jesus. He will give you joy and excitement amidst this stuff.

James 1:12 ESV 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him


Thursday, March 10, 2016

ACE #422: He Does Have the Whole World In His Hands

Growing up as a young child, we always sang the song, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."  As an adult, I find myself always choosing this song for our annual Children's Day to sing.  The lyrics are easy; as a matter of fact you can change the song to reflect your own life.  

The song is so reassuring to those of us who are adults and see the chaos in the world, but also have lived long enough to see God's mighty works for ourselves.  Some of us have situations in our lives that we know that only God could have fixed for us.  We know it was His hands that were orchestrating the outcome on our behalf.

He's got the whole world in His hands.  He's got the whole world in His hands.
He's got the whole world in His hands.  He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got the sun and the moon in His hands...

He's got the wind and the rain in His hands...
He's got the little bitty baby in His hands...

He's got you and me brother in His hands...

He's got everybody here in His hands...

He's got (insert your name here) in His hands...

But it was the other night when I really saw the true meaning of the song...

God is just amazing!
Photo by Charliese Brown Lewis (that's me)

Isaiah 45:12

12 It is I who made the earth
    and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
    I marshaled their starry hosts.