Faith Friday: Faith Like That of the Centurion

Faith Fridays are all about providing a visual to strengthen your faith. Some times we just need to witness the awesome moves of God in someone else’s life to remind us that He is real and can still perform miracles in our own lives! If we just believe, anything is possible with God!

He was a Roman soldier and an unlikely ally with the Jews. Yet, he amazed Jesus with his faith. When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. (Mat 8:10 ESV) 

The story of The Centurion’s Faith can be summed up as this man sought after Jesus to heal his gravely ill servant and with his remarkable faith and the Lord’s command, the servant was healed. When I come back to this story, I try to see what was was it about his faith and how can I exude the same faith. A few things I do know is that this man addressed the Lord with respect and humility, acknowledged his authority and believed that even if Jesus just spoke the word, his servant would be healed. The centurion believed he was unworthy of the Lord stepping foot into his house. The centurion was a Gentile and he reminds us that God desires all to be saved! Jesus looked at this man’s heart and saw a humble faith that had not Jesus pointed it out, we would have missed it by looking just at who and what he was.

Do you have faith like the centurion? Do you acknowledge God’s authority; do you even walk in it yourself? Do you remember what state you were in before the Lord came and saved you? Will you believe without a shadow of a doubt that all God has to do is just speak His Word and it’s done? Will you trust Him to save your loved ones? Will you seek God for help or remain helpless? Will you put your faith to action like the centurion or will you worry about what people think?

Watch this video about the centurion’s faith, then ask the Lord to arrest every doubt/disbelief within your faith and everything that hinders your walk with God.

If you have trouble viewing the video, please click on the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y56Zza5W8Ng

Throwback Thursday: Wise Women Build!

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on March 22, 2012. Enjoy this blast from the past!

“…The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down…” (Proverbs 14:1 NIV)

This scripture has been on my mind for the last week or so.  I sought the Lord on why He keeps bringing this scripture to the forefront of my mind.  I did not believe it had any application to my life.  I was certainly not tearing down my house!  As I meditated more deeply, God revealed to me tearing down my house was not the issue; I was not building UP my house.

The word ‘build’ means to establish, increase, or strengthen.  A wise woman is always in BUILDING MODE.  This goes for the smallest things like the old shower curtain that needs to be replaced and other small updates that would make the home more inviting.  This also goes for bigger, more long term building such as a savings account with funds for at least 6 months worth of expenses just in case something should happen.

I had to admit, I was not being a wise woman because I was NOT in building mode.  I was more in maintenance mode, just keeping the status quo, nothing more, nothing less.  I tried to justify my behavior by saying, “Well, it’s just me!  If I was married or had kids, I would do more!”  However, the scripture does not say, “A wise WIFE…” or “A wise MOTHER…” it says, “A wise WOMAN!”  This means married or single, with or without children, EVERY woman who desires to be wise is REQUIRED to build up her house.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for continuing to show me who I am so that I may continue to evaluate and make changes in order to become the woman that You have called me to be.  I thank You for calling me to greater wisdom in You.  I decree and declare that I will be a wise woman in EVERY area of my life.  I ask that You help me to consistently work to build up my house:  physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally. Show me what I need to do, lead me to other wise women that will put a demand on me and challenge me to grow even wiser in You.  I praise You for the awesome destiny that You have for me and I also praise again You for calling me to greater wisdom.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be a WISE woman and build up your house.  If you don’t know where to start, here are several things you can do:

1.        Get around WISE women.  “[S]he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm…” (Proverbs 13:20 NIV)  For example, you can’t become a wiser woman in your marriage if you only spend time with foolish women who slash tires, bust windows, and curse out their men in public.  You can’t become a wiser woman in your finances if you only spend time with women who spend their whole paycheck on their hair, nails, and Saturday night outfits.

2.       Read and HEED the word of God – “Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it…” (Proverbs 8:33 NIV)  Take inventory of what you’re doing, does it line up with the Word of God?  If not, it is time to make some changes.

3.       Most important, SEEK THE LORD – “If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him…” (James 1:5 NIV)  God will reveal to you what you need to do specifically in order to build up your house if you ask Him.

What are doing to ensure that you are constantly in build mode? Share your tactics with other women below.

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Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Don’t Let The Task Overwhelm You

God has plans! And He created us all with a purpose and vision, spiritual gifts, and talents. He gives us responsibilities or tasks that are all small parts of the bigger picture we may not see or get, but He gives us grace, favor, and wisdom to complete these tasks.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:11 NIV)

He also graciously gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us along the way towards accomplishing our purpose. Lately, I have noticed that doors have opened for me to minister to others through exhortation, listening, the sharing of my testimony, and prayer, and more so prayer. Not that I haven’t had opportunities to minister to others or that I haven’t ministered to others before, but these opportunities feel different and like a new level, and I feel like I am doing them now with more of an awareness of my purpose.

You may have also realized that prayer and the emphasis on prayer altars unto God have increased. God has raised up a remnant and He is calling all of His children to erect prayer altars and devote themselves to prayer, His Word and surrendered, godly lives. I have seen this evidence in my life, the call to further and deepen my prayer life, and opportunities regarding prayer are surfacing for me. If you knew me, you know I love to pray and intercede for others; however, I sometimes get nervous and reluctant to pray in a corporate setting. Yet, to be obedient I am praying more and more that the Holy Spirit helps me to surrender my will to God and move according to how He wants me to move.

Along with these new tasks, responsibilities have arose since last year in my family, career, church and the ministries I am apart of as well as my new business venture, and I find myself sometimes feeling like how am I going to do these things. I realize I don’t have all the resources, and my strength is insufficient. However, I am reminded that I don’t have to do anything in my own strength and God’s strength is sufficient! I am also reminded that in everything I do, it must benefit the kingdom of God and it is opportunity to give God glory. My life is not my own and I am here for a purpose orchestrated by God.

As more of the big picture unveils itself little by little, I am so glad God doesn’t show us all of it because I know I would back away slowly. Plus God wants us to walk by faith and not by sight. As opportunities to minister (every believe is called to minister to someone through whatever spiritual gift God placed inside of you) and chances to link up with other believers to pray arise, the tasks that God gives each of us can look overwhelming. I know for me it can. But recently, I heard more than once to “not let the task before you overwhelm you”.

I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit is here to help you and He will do the work through the vessel that is yielded to Him and trusting in Him. He will give you grace and supply you with wisdom, step-by-step instruction and favor. Even on my job, God is giving me favor and He is showing more and more each day is filled with opportunities to witness about His loving-kindness and plans to a bigger picture.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your encouraging words, “to not let the task before you overwhelm you.” I appreciate the fact that You never expected me to fulfill my destiny alone. Thank You that You sent the Holy Spirit to help me, no, do the work through me and I pray I yield myself totally to Him. Thank You also that You will never put more on me than I can bear. Help me to trust You and not give into fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to trust Jesus and to not let the tasks before you overwhelm you. I EMPOWER you to allow the Holy Spirit to direct your paths, word your mouths, orchestrate your footsteps and plant you wherever He wants you. You can do it because God already gave you every eternal, godly tool you need to accomplish it!

What God-assigned task in your life you think looks overwhelming?

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears!  For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click here http://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8.

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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.”

Jesus, Take the Wheel

steering wheelHave you ever had a series of events happen in your life that you didn’t have control over? Well, that was my life last week. The week started off well and then went downhill from there. On last Wednesday I began to feel a lot of lower back pain and pain on my bottom. The pain came out of nowhere; it made it very difficult for me to walk, sit and lie down.

On last Thursday, I received a notice from my leasing office mentioning that I’ll be transferred to a new apartment building because they plan on renovating the one I stayed in. The notice said that I would have to move out my apartment within six days. I automatically thought about the places I would have to contact about my new address and how much of an inconvenience the moving situation was. In the midst of preparing to move, one of my co-workers was nice enough to drop me off at Urgent Care that Friday. After seeing a doctor and him identifying the cause of my pain and prescribing antibiotics and medicine for the pain, my monthly friend showed up the weekend also making things even worse with the pain I was already enduring.

Life often gives you inconveniences and we feel like we are losing control over its wheel. But I am reminded that God is supposed to have the wheel anyway because He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent! We are not qualified to run the universe and God does not expect us to manage our lives on our own; in fact, if we trust God and the Holy Spirit to lead us by faith, we will come to understand that every inconvenience, setback, and pitfall, God has the ability and desire to keep us on the road and bring us to the end of our destination.

Psalm 46:10 NIV states, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” I don’t know the purpose behind all the events that has occurred but I have to put everything into God’s hands. I have to be still and let God do the rest. I have to sit in the passenger seat and let God drive!

Dear Daddy, 

Sometimes, I don’t understand why some things happen. Give me the strength to deal with everything that comes my way. Help me to put my situation(s) in your hand. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to give whatever you’re dealing with to God. Let him drive & allow yourself to remain still.

When was the last time you allowed Jesus to take the wheel?

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears! For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click herehttp://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8

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Venus Gilmore currently resides in Auburn, AL. She is an alumna of Auburn University. Venus has B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Organization and Inequality with a minor in Social Work. She plans on pursuing a career in Social Services. She currently serves as the Mamie Reese Scholarship Director, and College Transition Program Director of her sorority Theta Phi Sigma Christian Sorority, Inc. Venus is also a blogger for Radical7even. She is an active Client Advocate volunteer for the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic. She successfully balances all of these responsibilities with her favorite scripture as motivation: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Random Act of Kindness

A few weeks ago, my husband and I ate dinner at a restaurant. After we finished eating, we asked the waiter for our ticket and he said that it had already been covered. We of course thought the poor guy had gotten amnesia or something because we knew we hadn’t yet paid our bill. We asked him again and he said that he could not say who, but that another guest in the restaurant had already paid for our food.  Needless to say we were shocked. We sat there looking at each other in disbelief. Neither of us had ever experienced this before. After some of the shock subsided, we marveled at the kindness of the people and how God uses people to bless others. To us, that act from total strangers was the epitome of what it means to be Christ-like!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

This experience gave me so much joy and excitement! These are the types of things I want to do for people all the time! You never know what blessing God has in store for you and you never know who He may use. Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!  Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. (Proverbs 3:3 NLT)

When you genuinely do things for people, you don’t need accolades or recognition.  When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. (Matthew 6:2 NLT)

God’s love is shown through how you treat and interact with others. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

This experience reminded me that there are still “good” people in the world. What a great example of love in action. It’s not enough to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. I must admit we really wanted to know who had extended such kindness and generosity to us so that we could tell them thanks but that wasn’t an option. Instead we offered a prayer of thanks to God on their behalf that God may bless immensely.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your angels here on earth who truly exhibits Your love to others. Thanks for the lessons taught from experiences like these. We also seek to be more like You and living testaments to Your love, kindness and generosity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to give unto others as you would have given unto you! I EMPOWER you to give with a cheerful spirit expecting nothing in return. I EMPOWER you to pray to be led on ways to show love to others through actions! I also EMPOWER you to receive openly and graciously the blessings God allows others to bestow on you!

Has someone ever showered you with a random act of kindness? Or have you ever done a random act of kindness? What did the experience teach or show you?

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Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church in Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.

Flashback Friday: Back to School–What Excites You

Ladies enjoy this flash from the past which was originally posted on September 14, 2012.

School has begun for most students across the world so EmpowerMoments is featuring a series entitled “Back to School”.  Read this week as our writers will share stories and learned lessons from their school-related experiences.  So, come and get on our EmpowerMoments school bus!

I can’t sleep.  I’m so anxious, excited.  Clothes laid out, sleeping on my hands so my fresh new hairdo won’t mess up.  New clean white kicks.  I’m ready to impress everyone so they can see how “sharp” I am. Oooh, I hope “Johnny” notices me since I’ve matured a lot over the summer.  I’m ready!  I’m on Cloud 9! I wake up before normal time.  I get dressed.  I don’t have an appetite for breakfast because my nerves are going crazy.  It’s officially the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.  Seeing my friends is priceless.  The different teenage groups gather, and the hating nature begins. It’s day one of an unpredictable school year.

It’s funny how at the tender age of 15 I was anxious and trying to impress those around me.  I was so excited for the first day of school, not even being aware how the preparation for the first day was going to affect me and the rest of my life.  My excitement stemmed more from trying to impress my peers. However, I wasn’t putting my energy into trying to impress the right person.

The first mistake we commonly make in life is being anxious. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.” (NLT)

 Secondly, we focus on ourselves way too much.  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility considers others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others.  Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3-5 NLT)  What if Jesus was selfish and told God, “Daddy I’m sorry, but I’m not shedding anything for people that don’t like me.”  I’m so glad Jesus is not like man.

Last but not least, we are here for a purpose of pleasing God.  There’s nothing wrong with us being excited or having joy.  God wants that for us.  But God also wants our hearts to be connected to Him, our spiritual desires to be with Him, and our fulfillment of life to surround Him.  As women we should seek God.  May we find complete fulfillment in the relationship with Him.  Psalms 63:1-5 says it best, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and wary land where there is no water.  I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.  Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of food; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” (NLT)

Dear Daddy ,

You are my joy and I thank You for all You are to me.  Thank  You, Lord, for speaking to my heart so that I may hear You.  Help me to seek Your approval and not that of man. I love you Lord.  You are my everything and all I need to excite me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to survey your life and see what or who excites you? Who are you seeking to please? If God is not first on your list, I EMPOWER you to re-prioritize. It’s okay to be excited about the first day of school, work, marriage, etc. but it’s important not to forget who blessed you with those first days!

In what areas have you sought man’s approval over God’s? How did you overcome that?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Ultimate People Pleaser

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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.”

When Will I Pass the Test?

pass the testEverybody who knows me know that I love my job and I am devoted to children. I entered my 11th year as an educator a week ago and I thought I was more prepared and organized than I had ever been. I thought that I had covered all bases and was ready to go. Not only had I covered all my classroom bases, I also was ready to go with all my other duties, so I thought. I prayed and asked God to let this be my best year to date.

The year started; I met my students, whom I love. I made sure my middle school team was intact and it started. I then began to feel like everything was unraveling right before my eyes. Every time I completed a task it seemed like my boss would have to come clean up my mess. Every time I gave other teachers directives, it seemed like they wasn’t executing it to fidelity. In two weeks I have been overwhelmed and overworked, and I feel stressed. Remember, I just stated that I have never been more prepared in my entire career.

I realized that every time I get a promotion, something great happens to me in my career or every time I am just happy where I am, an event occurs that overwhelms me. I am not passing the test. I know that God has ordained me for greater and I know that leadership is in my future but I pondered about what I am missing. I evaluated myself and just kept hearing, “You are not passing the test.”

“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. (James 1:12 ESV)

There are a few tests that I have not passed-

  1. I wear my feelings on my sleeves- I act like I don’t care or that things don’t affect me. I know that I am putting on a front because I am sensitive and I internalize my issues instead of dealing with them.
  2.  I am a complainer- I don’t want any problems or drama, I just like to vent. How can I be a leader, but always need to vent to someone every time someone speaks to me in an unpleasant tone or something happens that I don’t agree with. I realized I need to walk, talk, and act like a boss.
  3. I am not organized- I live in organized chaos, meaning I know it’s not organized but I know where everything is located.

So I guess you are wondering how I know my issues. Well I prayed and asked God to reveal me to me. What I found out was not what I wanted to hear but it was what I needed to hear. Today I woke up with a better attitude and an overall feeling of I am going to pass my test. I thank God for revealing me to me and allowing me practice runs and crash courses instead of letting me fail completely. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 ESV) I made a vow to God that I wanted to be pleasing in His eye sight and because of that I will pass the test!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing me opportunities to learn from my shortcomings and mistakes. God, thank You for being there to always guide me when I make wrong turns. God, please lead and guide me so that I will not keep making the same mistakes and that I will pass the tests that are keeping me from my next steps. God, assist me in dealing with my feelings, complaining and organizational habits so that I am operating in excellence. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to ask God to reveal you to you. Stop letting your shortcomings or your own insecurities stand in the way of you and your destiny. Stop spinning your wheels on your job, in your marriage, with your relationships, with your health, with your finances, or anything else that is keeping you from passing the test.

Let’s have a moment of silence for the 9/11 victim and let’s remember to keep the victims’ families and those who helped, served and blessed those who were affected by such tragedy that happened to our country  13 years ago.

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Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” and Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.