An EmpowerMoments Thanksgiving: Thankful at Thanksgiving

 Enjoy this EmpowerMoment originally posted on November 23, 2012 and have a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!!!

“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.” (Psalms 50:14 NIV)

I have lived 500 miles or more away from my family for nearly 10 years, yet I have always been able to make it home for the holidays.  Despite my obligations, I have been fortunate enough to always be able to travel home to Chicago to be with my loved ones.  Whether it was school breaks or vacation time from work, I have been present for the carving of the turkey, eating of the feast and the round robin “I am thankful for…”  Of course this year was a different story.

A couple of months ago God blessed me with a new job in my field which meant that I would be in the office the day after Thanksgiving.  Upon first knowledge of my Turkey Day 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee I wanted to totally deny it.  Facing the fact that I would be eating a take-out meal and watching a RedBox movie on the ultimate family day was unbelievable and quite depressing.  Sure I could have flown into town just for the day, but I had to be realistic and know that I am financially blessed and not financially insane!   So as the days of November raced by me I was forced to swallow my pill of disbelief and simply asked God, “What am I supposed to do for Thanksgiving?”

Days after I popped the question to God I continued on with life as if the thought never crossed my mind.  I praised Him for our relationship, thanked Him for the love He gives me, and worshipped Him for who He is.  Honestly, ladies, after I questioned God I was prepared to be reprimanded, but things were different.  He didn’t discipline me in our quiet time together, nor did He hit me with His Word. Instead the days after my inquiry, He sent His angels directly to me.  I received Thanksgiving dinner invites from my boss, co-worker and classmate back to back.  Once again I was concerned about my plans and God had already made the preparations on my behalf.  The best thing that I could have done was continue to be happy no matter what the end result of the situation looked like.  My gloomy holiday outlook was attempting to deceive me when all I had to do was give thanks to my God and everything else fell into place.

Dear Daddy,

I may not be in the situation that I prefer right now, but I praise Your name for Your provisions.  You are always working on my behalf and that is more than enough.  Continue to show me how to be thankful even in the most challenging circumstances.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be thankful for it all.  You have been blessed to make it to this holiday season and the Lord is still making moves in the spirit so that you can begin living in the overflow in the natural!  Get ready for your blessing!  Be Blessed!

___________________________________________________________________

Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there.  Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” Isaiah 54:17

Throwback Thursday: A New Day – A New You!

Enjoy this throwback that was originally posted on September 21, 2012.

I was recently given one of the most thoughtful gifts that I have ever received.  Someone made a calendar for me.  It included pictures of me as well as famous quotes on each month.  It had all the special days of my year such as my birthday and holidays. I was so excited that I had received this gift.  I looked at it daily because there were pictures of me.  As I flipped the pages of the calendar I realized that every month was a new ME: a new picture of me, a new quote for me, a new life for me. That is how God works in our lives.  Things from our previous months and previous years don’t matter; He simply flips the page to our new beginnings.

 “And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, theLord, have spoken, and I will do what I said!” (Ezekiel 17:24 NLT)

The Lord is always turning the page in our lives.  There have been many situations in our lives that we wish that we could simply remove from the calendar.  However, we do not have to remove that day because it is now a part of our past.  God has already forgiven us for whatever lies in our past.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7-8 NLT)

Many times we would like to simply forget things from our past and act as though things never happened.  The problem with that is we forget where God has brought us from.  We do not have to be ashamed of our past or attempt to erase it because it has already been forgiven.  Those experiences that we wish we could turn the page on assist us in becoming the Christians we are.  It is a testimony that attests to where we used to be weeks, months, years ago.  Walk toward your vision, fulfill your purpose, and reach your destiny.  Today is a new day!

 Dear Daddy,

 I come before You today thanking You for turning the page on my past indiscretions.  I pray for strength in order to ask for Your forgiveness from the things I am still holding on to.  I need guidance in whatever new endeavors that I am moving towards.  Teach me to be an example, based on my previous sins, to show others how far You can bring them.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you today to forgive yourself of your past so that you can actively participate in your future. Do not let the things that have happened on previous days creep into today and steal your joy.  God has already forgiven us of the things that we continue to carry around.  Learn to flip through toward a new YOU!

How have you learned to move past the mistakes of your past to get to the new you that God has ordained? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Keep At It

Please click here to vote for EmpowerMoments in the 2012 BlackWeBlog Awards!

___________________________________________________________________

Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Throwback Thursday: Fixing the Root of the Problem

Please enjoy this throwback originally posted on July 15, 2014.

Oh my goodness! The pain that I felt in my lower back and leg was excruciating. I had already self diagnosed the issue and decided that the person I needed to see was the chiropractor. Surely, if I could go in and get an adjustment, all would be well. I determined that my condition could be healed immediately if I just made it to the doctor’s office.

Have you ever heard your car making an unusual noise and decided that if you could just get an oil change it would make things better? Later you discover that while it temporarily helped it did not fix the issue. I am sure you can think of many short-term solutions that don’t really address the heart of the matter. Likewise, my attempt to “fix” my back pain was met with chastisement from the doctor as he lectured me on reducing my weight. This lecture was met with resentment because I needed relief today. He went on an on about this adjustment only causing mild and provisional relief because the cause of my issue was still present. I scoffed but the message rang loud and clear.

Fixing problems with temporary solutions isn’t a fix at all. It’s merely a Band-Aid to disguise what’s happening at the core. It provides temporary relief. Quite often, we approach our relationship with God the same way. When we are a spiritual and emotional wreck we run to the Doctor (Jesus) for quick relief. We may even “look” the part by attending church, quoting scriptures, anytime we find an opening in a conversation, and toting our Bible for all to see; however, if our relationship and heart aren’t right with the father, those things are just window dressing to a soul that is in a state of disrepair. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:8 KJV)

Purifying your hearts means developing a real relationship with our heavenly father which requires constant communication with Him through prayer, fasting, studying the word, and obeying His commandments. God can fix the root of the problem by taking our brokenness and putting us back together whole. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (Jeremiah 18:3-4 KJV)

Just like my back pain won’t be cured until I take care of the root of the issue neither will our spiritual brokenness be fixed by doing things that just “look the part.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for another chance to get it right! Forgive me for the façade that I have created to disguise my broken spirit – a soul that is in need of repair. Heavenly Father, I ask that You come into my life and give me the will to make changes that will fix the root cause of my problems. Lord, I need You. Loose me from the chains that have me bound and instill in me a spirit of discipline so that I will fast more, I will pray more, I will study and apply Your word more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to examine the root of your issues. Have you become so accustomed to the façade that you forgot Jesus’ knows your heart? Remember that He knows your every issue and what you need before you ask. There is no need to ask Him for a Band-Aid solution to your problems when a relationship with Him is the cure. Fix your problems at the root and everything else will follow.

Have you ever tried to apply a temporary fix to a problem? How did that work out for you?

__________________________________________________________________

Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

What’s Up Wednesday

Greetings,

You may have noticed that no new EmpowerMoments have been released since September.  You might be asking, “What’s up with EmpowerMoments?”  Well, there’s a good reason behind the absence of your daily EmpowerMoments.

From October to December, EmpowerMoments will be on hiatus and under construction.  Our EmpowerMoments team will be taking the time to restructure as well as EMPOWER ourselves.  We need empowering too!  While we are on hiatus, we are still gearing up for a new and much more impacting year.

While we are on break, we will still post an EmpowerMoment from the past every Thursday and keep you posted on any EmpowerMoments updates and news.  You can also keep up with us via social media: Facebook and Twitter.  At the start of the new year, we will be up and running, and our blog will have a new look!  So stay tuned and continue to take a moment daily to EMPOWER yourselves!

God Bless,

 

EmpowerMomentsEmpowermoments Logo

Throwback Thursday: She Is Me Series–Esther

Enjoy this throwback that was originally posted on March 6, 2012.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special week-long series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER you. Cheers to being a WOMAN!

For Such a Time as This!

When God chooses us for a GREAT work, He always places us in a position for it to be fulfilled. Sometimes the position may seem uncomfortable or painful; however it has purpose behind it. The story may start off like a nightmare, but our God transitions us to the “happily ever after” part. Like Esther, that’s how my story began…

This man had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter. (Esther 2:7 NLT)

Like She, when I was ten years old, I was born into the world of foster care. My parents were not naturally dead, but spiritually dead and not in position to raise children. So my siblings and I were placed in the care of someone that could care for us. We were placed in a permanent home that loved us the way they knew how, but more importantly raised us in church.

Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem. (Esther 2:8 NLT)

Like She, I was assigned to a group to prepare me to be used by the King. God knew that this preparation could not prevail if I had not been relocated. He placed me somewhere to be loved on and to be taught that knowing Him is the path to success. During the preparation, I was taught not only to go to church regularly, but also to give my time and talents to the King. Because of my training, no matter where I went or what I did, it was not an option to depart from knowing the King. In the process, I had many ‘why me’ questions? Why did I go to foster care? Why have I been through so much at an early age? Why me??? Then it all came together…

When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage. He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes…Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the decree issued in Susa that called for the death of all Jews. He asked Hathach to show it to Esther and explain the situation to her. He also asked Hathach to direct her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people…If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 3:5-6, 4:8, 14 NLT)

There you have it! God reconnected with me with my first foster parent, which is now my pastor. Then He showed me the plan of the enemy in the lives of many of His chosen people and told me the role I play in His perfect plan! He showed me in a vision the bondage His people would be in and how my own family would be destroyed if I didn’t say yes to His will!

Like She, I put on my “big girl panties” and said yes! If it takes me emptying myself of my privileges and not being conformed to this world (Philippians 2:6-8, Romans 12:1-2) to bring deliverance to the people of God, I’ll do it! Like She, at first I was hesitant because I thought, “Why would the King listen to me?” Then I got past myself because like She, my family was on the line. Then I thought, of all people, God CHOSE little me for a huge job. He strategically placed me in the position to be able to handle it and produce effective results!

Like She, because of my obedience to the King, I have favor! Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”  (Esther 5:3 NLT) And now I hear God say,What is your request Rodnisha?”

Dear Daddy,

Just like Esther, I truly desire to be used by You! I desire Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven! I desire true deliverance from sin, bondage, deep hurts, infirmities, rejection, and the powers of darkness! Father, I ask that You use me even if it places me in positions that are uncomfortable. I will obey because You brought me to Your kingdom for such a time as this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to seek Him to know why you were brought to His kingdom and WALK in it! Are you an intercessor, teacher, encourager, giver, helper, mid-wife, or just a living epistle? Whatever He has called you to be is important and you are connected to others. Kingdom building is for the benefit of others! I EMPOWER you to build the kingdom!

___________________________________________________________________

Ms. Rodnisha L. Anderson resides in Chicago, IL and serves as an elder at Life Redeeming Ministries. She works diligently with the Singles and Intercessory ministries. She is married to the Lord and becomes whatever she needs to become to reach the people for the building of God’s kingdom. Rodnisha truly desires to witness successful single women thriving in the kingdom of God.  Her favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Flashback Friday: The Place Before The New Season

Ladies enjoy this flash from the past which was originally posted on September 17, 2013.

changing seasonsI feel like I am in the place right before a new season begins.  I know I have talked about seasons before, but it is now registering that the place in between seasons is just as important as the new season.  I could go on and on about why I feel like I’m in between seasons, about the job-related woes I’ve been facing lately, about the growing pains and about even the blessings and lessons that have been bestowed upon me by our Amazing God, but I think I just want to encourage you to not rush that new season and to not be rattled by the distractions and the pressures of the season you are already in as well as don’t be afraid of the responsibilities, challenges or what seems impossible that comes with the new season.

You see the Israelites were in that place before a new season began too.  They had been enslaved and oppressed by the Egyptians for a long time and they cried out in misery. The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.  And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.  So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7-10 NIV) God preserved a Hebrew baby’s life and this baby’s destiny led him to Pharaoh’s house, to a burning bush, and then to the elders of Israel.  “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt.  And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’  (Exodus 3:16-17 NIV)  Moses and the Israelites were in the place before a new season began.

There was uncertainty, fear, and opposition from an arrogant, rebellious king; Pharaoh even increased the Israelites’ workloads and their work seemed impossible to accomplish.   Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’  Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”  The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.”  When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”  (Exodus 5:17-21 NIV)

Leading the Israelites out of Egypt was an overwhelming task in Moses’ eyes; he was trying to pass it off (Exodus 4:10-13), and when Pharaoh increased the workload and Israelite overseers complained to Moses and his brother Aaron, he got discouraged and complained to God.  Even though the place before the new season can have some discouraging and overwhelming moments, it is also a time of preparation (Moses was being prepared to lead the Israelites), promise, a chance to grow closer to God and for Him to show His glory as well as a chance to unite as a body of Christ.  Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.  (Exodus 4:29-31 NIV) God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, [a] but by my name the Lord[b] I did not make myself fully known to them.  I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners.  Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.  (Exodus 6: 2-5 NIV)

We all know after several plagues and the death of all of the Egyptians firstborns, including Pharaoh’s firstborn, God’s mighty hand rescued His people and Pharaoh sent the Israelites away.  The Israelites left with not only the clothes on their backs but with what we call reparations today.  Praise goes right here!  That new season looked like it would never come but God is a covenant keeper, keeps His promises and reminds us that there is a time and a season for everything so that means whatever you going through, that too shall pass.  I am reminded of another Israel account of them being in between seasons.  It was when Joshua, Caleb and other men from the tribes of Israel were sent out to investigate the land of Canaan, the Promised Land.  When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country.  See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many.  What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified?  How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)  (Numbers 13:17-20 NIV)

But what happened?  The men, except Caleb and Joshua, came back with a bad, discouraging report causing the people to rebel and complain once again.  Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”  But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”  And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.  We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”  (Numbers 14: 30-33 NIV) The people complained and cried “if only we had died in Egypt or in the wilderness.”  They even suggested selecting a leader and returning to Egypt.  That complaining, fear, and rebellion cost many of them (except Caleb and Joshua) their place in the Promised Land.  If you don’t keep your focus on God and remember His promises and how mighty He is, you would look at your new season with a distorted view.  You will let fear keep you from moving forward and you will make the process that much more uncomfortable.  That place before the new season begins will be a place of fear and turmoil instead of blessing and lesson.

Dear Daddy,

Help me to not forsake the place before the new season begins.  It is uncomfortable, but it is a process that is needed to prepare me for my destiny.  It is where You can cleanse me and strip me of those things I am unable to carry into a new season.  It is the place where I am to learn patience and grow close to You, trusting in You all the way.  It is a chance for You to show how mighty and how holy You are.  Thank You for Your concern, compassion and strength.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to learn how to abandon self, depend on God, and check your way of thinking while dwelling in the place that precedes the new season.  For the rest of your life, moving forward requires these three things.  Appreciate what this place can teach you, because God does not want you to stay here and when it is time to move, you don’t want to miss the change of seasons.

What transitions are you making in life?

Read related EmpowerMoments:  Seasons and Seasons Change

___________________________________________________________________

Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program, helping high school students prepare for college. As a compassionate person and encourager, she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. This April, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. For more details, visit stcfpoetrybook.com.  On July 10th of this year, she  also launched her new Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8.  For more details about Fruitful & Fabulous, visit fruitfulandfabulous.com.  Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Throwback Thursday: I Am Pink!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please enjoy this EmpowerMoment originally published on October 09, 2013.

downloadThe color pink represents compassion, unconditional love, and nurturing. Pink is the sign of HOPE. It is a positive color, inspiring warmth and comforting feelings. Pink gives the sense that everything will be okay. Pink calms and reassures our emotions.

When I was only 14 years old my mom had to have a biopsy on one of her breast.  I was a bit confused at what a biopsy was used to determine. Thus, my mom sat me down and explained it all to me.  What I remember most when she talked was the courage in her voice, the strength in her words and the comfort in her touch.  It was like I was the one headed for the biopsy because she was so fearless.  Fortunately, after the procedure, the results indicated that no cancer was present.  However, I asked my mom was she ever afraid. She responded that she was fearless only because she trusts God.  My mom is Pink!

 Janae is Pink!

The woman who just received disheartening test results is Pink!

The woman headed to chemo tomorrow is Pink!

The survivor of breast cancer is Pink!

The survivor of any cancer is Pink!

The woman left motherless, sisterless or daughterless due to breast cancer is Pink!

The Person reading this and feeling discouraged — YOU ARE PINK!

No matter our struggles God said in Philippians 4:13, that we are powerful through Him: I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (KJV)

 Dear Daddy,

I praise Your name for Your grace and mercy that You give me daily.  Help me to trust You and lean more on You. I know Pink is just a color but what it represents gives me hope.  No matter my life struggles, I pray that I never give up.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

As we continue EMPOWERING women through knowledge during Breast Cancer Awareness Month,  I EMPOWER you to thrive, love, and survive! I EMPOWER you to boldly face your life challenges because we are all Pink!

Please support our team member, Kristi Cofield, as she runs for a cure in the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run. Her team, Pink-a-Boobs, appreciates your support! Electronic donations can be processed here.

____________________________________________________________

Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.” She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry. Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service. She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden. Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation. Her favorite scripture is Hebrews 11:6: “And without Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to Him must BELIEVE that He exists and that He REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him.”