Thursday, January 28, 2016

ACE #417: With My Last Breath...

Last week, my family and I visited a local church.  It was a familiar church; many of our friends and family attend there.  We always feel welcome there.

Whenever I am in church, I always look around the room to observe my surroundings.  It is a habit that I developed early as a church musician because I have always had my back to the congregation.  I would miss who was in service.  Then I had the nerve to major in journalism, which developed my observation skills that much greater.  

After we got settled in our seats, I looked around to see what activity was going on in the sanctuary.  Something in the spiritual realm drew me to two people in the room.  One was a young man who I felt the Lord telling me that He had a great work for him.  The other was a young man confined to a wheelchair, a quadriplegic. 

The choir began to sing a song. The lyrics of the song were about looking back over your life and realizing how far God has brought you. The Holy Spirit was high in the place.  I heard a noise behind me.  When I turned around and looked at the young man, he was praising God with so much strength that the usher was fanning him and his family member was holding him so that he would not fall out of the wheel chair.  Imagine, a young man with very little activity in his limbs giving God that much praise!  I know God was glorified, magnified and pleased by the young man's praise.  I know it made me smile.

At the end of the service, I stopped one of my family members and told her, "If that young man can praise God like that...whew, chile.  I was ready to run over to him and tell him to pick up his mat and walk!"  Then we concluded our conversation agreeing that many well able bodied people can't even open their mouths to give God some praise. I often wonder why people attend church if all they ever aspire to do is to sit in the pew and just warm it with a frown on their least smile in the house of the Lord.

All I am really saying today is that I am certain that even with my last breath...I will give God praise no matter the condition of my body, spirit, or mind.  I don't want any rocks to cry out for me! 

Be mindful that "Praise is expression," Prophet Brian Carn

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out" (Luke 19:40)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

ACE #416: Just When I Needed a Sign...

I was sitting at the drive thru window at Starbucks and thinking to myself that God is just not showing up in the manner I need Him to...that if I have to endure a 2016 like I did 2015, I will either surely crumble under the weight or become bitter like Naomi. I was in a place where I needed a sign that He was not just letting me flounder and wonder and question His plan.  

When I reached in my purse to pay for my order, the cashier said, "the gentleman before you paid for your order". The first thing out of my mouth was "Praise God!"  Then, immediately, tears started to flow down my cheeks.  I felt ashamed somewhat for doubting God, like old Thomas did with Jesus, but I felt relief that He is aware of my prayers and pleas for a breakthrough.

Later the same day, I got a phone call from someone that there was a check waiting for me.  This was extremely unexpected...simply a pleasant surprise. But the manifestation showed up, again, just when I needed a sign. I had just had a conversation with my cousin earlier about the fact that I have sown and sown and sown into people over the years, but when was someone going to do the same for me.  And that quickly, God gave me a sign. 

All of this was a reminder for me that God will show up...maybe not in the way or the timing I expect, but nevertheless He will.

Be encouraged, my brothers and sisters, that God is aware of our requests.  He is just waiting on us to act like we know it.

Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.

Isaiah 7:11

This is the Lord's sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised.

Isaiah 37:30

In 2016, "What Are You Praying For?"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

ACE #415: What Are You Praying For?

About 10 months ago, I delivered a message, "What Are You Praying For?" As I think about this new year, I have realized that not one of my prayers has been answered. 

We have been conditioned to believe that whatever it is that we ask for, we will get it. After all, the Word says that the Father knows what we want before we even ask for it and that He will give us the desires of our hearts if we delight ourselves in him. These are familiar Scriptures that have been ingrained in us since we were young. But as an adult, it just looks different. The trials of this world can make you feel like you’ve been backed into a corner or you are on the ropes fighting for your life. Then you hear someone say, “Just pray.” The interesting part is that we’ve been taught all of these things, but we haven’t been taught necessarily to pray for the right stuff. So what are you praying for?

If the question was posed to you, “If God could answer any one of your prayers, what would it be?” Now, add the stipulation, but it has to benefit someone else. Consider how your prayer would change. But let’s be clear, God is neither Santa Claus or a genie in a bottle. We don’t get to give Him our wish list. We should actually be glad He isn’t because after our three wishes are up, he would just move on to someone else. So what are you praying for?

As you take your requests to the Lord in 2016, consider these things:

Are my prayers shortsighted, misdirected, or just plain selfish?
Are my prayers just for personal benefit or just simply for show? 

Are my prayers for the intangible or the tangible things?

What does the formula for prayer include?

1. Part of the formula for prayer includes our obedience - for obedience is better than sacrifice.  We should have no expectation that if we are not abiding in His will and His way, that our prayers are His priority.  His ways are not our ways.  His timing is perfect and certainly not like ours.  But it is our choice to obey Him.

2. We have to focus and set our priorities to pray for the right stuff. The right stuff is about praying effectually and fervently, with rigor, dedication, consistency, through sacrifice and in the Spirit. Halfway, inconsistent prayer is not going to work.

3. The word of God says that whatever you’re praying for you should go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. That certainly takes social media out of the picture for most of us.  Our prayers are not to be put on display.

4.  We have to know the power and magnificence of the God we are praying to. God can do anything He wants to do when He wants to do it and for whom He wants to do it.  It really is that simple.

5.  We might have to fast to see a breakthrough.  In other words, there might be some thing(s) we have to give up and sacrifice for a period of time.  For some things only come by fasting and praying.

On our list of prayer priorities should be peace, love, joy, kindness, patience, strength, holiness, forgiveness, goodness, faithfulness, healing, direction, guidance, and just a clean heart – all the things that money can’t buy. 

For 2016, stand in your "yet will I trust Him" position.  Activate your faith and increase your prayer life. And watch God deliver on His promises.  


 I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens, not just to the person or persons for whom I'm praying, but also something wonderful happens to me.  I'm grateful that I'm heard.

Dr. Maya Angelou 

Matthew 18:19

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 21:22

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

Mark 11:24

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 14:13

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.