Keep Pressing Towards the Goal

keep pressingRecently, I took the road test for the first time. And got my driver’s license! I was really nervous to take the test. I deal with anxiety and fear when it comes to driving; so, getting my driver’s license was a big leap of faith for me! I’m glad that God gave me the strength to take the road test. I’m thankful for everyone who has encouraged me and helped me over the years with practicing my driving.

Yet, getting to the point where I could get my driver’s license has been a LONG process! I’ve been practicing my driving since high school. I received my driver’s permit while I was in high school taking driver’s education. There have been people here and there to help me along the way. It seems like as soon as one person helped me, something happened where they couldn’t help me anymore. Subsequently, I had to find a new person to assist me w/ my driving skills on a regular basis.

Over the years, numerous people would ask me “if I was driving yet” or “why I didn’t have my driver’s license.” I don’t think people asked me that question out of malicious intent but in a way their questions taunted me. I kind of felt as they were Peninah and I was Hannah. Hannah was picked on by her’s husband other wife because she was barren. Hannah prayed feverishly for God to bless her with a child and He blessed her with Samuel. In my case, I wasn’t barren from childbearing, but I was barren from not having a driver’s license. It’s been difficult for me to find dependable people to rely on to give me a ride to where I need to go. I don’t have a car so I get by by walking and using the public transit. However, I didn’t want to be reminded that I didn’t have a driver’s license. I got tired of people asking me the same questions over and over again.

A few weeks prior to the last week of December, I was going to take my road test but was unable to do so because of unreliable transportation. Eventually, I found a person who was available to take me and I am so grateful for God’s provision. Getting my driver’s license has been one of my goals for a few years now so I’m glad that this goal is accomplished!

I want to encourage others that are trying to get their driver’s license or trying to accomplish another goal to keep working on their goals and don’t give up. Take a leap of faith and trust God to help you accomplish whatever it is that you’re trying to do. You will face a lot of obstacles (I’ve experienced MANY and I am still experiencing them) trying to pursue a goal but keep pushing through it all. Yes, you will get discouraged at times, and sometimes you won’t even feel like trying, but keep working at it. Remember the reason(s) why you’re pressing towards your goal. Ask God to help you in the areas that you are weak in and He will help you. Remember that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you accomplish your goal as long as you complete it. I’m 27 years old and I now have my driver’s license. God bless!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being with me every step of the way. Thank You for giving me the strength and courage to face challenging goals. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER to never give up on accomplishing your goals even if it’s a long journey to accomplish them. Whenever you feel discouraged, remember the reason why you’re working on your goal. Phil. 4:13 (KJV) states, “I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.” The story of Hannah can be found in 1st Samuel 1 & 2. For additional encouragement: Read 2nd Corinthians 12:9-10, Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 43:2, & Psalm 136:23.

Also enter in our February Contest:

 What’s Up Wednesday:  Valentine Day Contest

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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)

Right Place, Right Time

Do you know how the clouds are balanced, Those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge? (Job 37:16 NKJV)

Recently I saw a new patient in our office that was referred to us for treatment of Iron deficiency anemia. This is a condition that I’ve diagnosed and treated many times, rarely with any complications. The patient’s visit had gone normally; history and physical exam were complete. I’d already decided on the treatment plan and had the nurse take her to the treatment room to prepare to start her intravenous iron infusion. She was my last patient of the morning so I went to eat a quick lunch before going into afternoon clinic.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. (Psalm 147: 5 ESV)

No sooner than I sat down did a staff member come and get me saying that my patient had started having chills and shortness of breath seemingly out of nowhere. It was baffling as I had literally just examined her and gone over her history, none of which included any reason she should be having chills and struggling to breathe. When I reached her, the nurses had placed oxygen on her. This situation was so bizarre. My patient who was just fine was now in distress!

In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. (Psalm 86:7 ESV)

Various orders were given and carried out and it turned out that the patient had an E. coli bacteremia (bacterial infection of the blood) from a urinary tract infection caused by E. coli bacteria. This is usually a situation that requires hospitalization. The patient could have died or suffered significant complications had she not been in the right place at the right time.

A little over a week later the patient returned to see us. She was so thankful for our care and God’s divine intervention. All I could think was how amazing God is. He truly is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent!

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health (Psalm 30:2 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your ever present help in the time of trouble. Thank You for allowing us to be in the right place at the right time to receive Your blessings. Thank You for Your provisions and Your protection. Thank You for allowing us to be vessels to positively impact the lives of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ladies, be EMPOWERED and know that God’s got your back no matter what! I EMPOWER you to walk in the certainty that God is not only taking care of you, but allowing and providing opportunities for you to help someone else!

Enter in our February Contest:

 What’s Up Wednesday:  Valentine Day Contest

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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.

Faith Friday: Marian Wright Edelman

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!

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 NKJV)

Such a befitting scripture for someone like Marian Wright Edelman.  She exudes faith in action, and her very mission in life is constantly being fulfilled every time she advocates for children and families.  According to Wikipedia, Marion Wright Edelman is a Black American activist that was not only involved in the Civil Rights Movement, but the founder of the Children Defense Fund for poor children, children of color, and children with disabilities.  She studied law too and subsequently earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1963.  Edelman became the first Black woman to be admitted to the Mississippi State Bar.

“Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.” –Marian Wright Edelman

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10 NIV)

And that is what Edelman does, she lends her self to serving others with the gifts God has placed in her, and she puts her faith in action.  I know this Faith Friday post does not detail a miracle per say but Edelman has presented miracles of hope and justice to those she has served and advocated for for many years.

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to serve!  Allow God to use you to present a miracle of hope and justice to someone else.  Allow God to give you the grace to meet someone’s needs and to put your faith into action.  

Please watch this video of Edelman speaking on child poverty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx760Wv2oS4

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

Also enter in our February Contest:

 What’s Up Wednesday:  Valentine Day Contest

Will You Watch Them Die?

bystander_cartoon“I didn’t want his blood to be on my hands,” my sister-in-Christ recently shared with me as her reason for pushing past her anxieties to share her faith with someone on her job.  Despite her fears and the subsequent rejection she faced, she had to ask him if he had made Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

In a movie (Dead Man Walking) that I was only able to catch the ending of, a nun shares her time and her faith with a man who is on death row for ruthlessly killing a young couple.  She looks on in compassion as she, along with the families of the victims, watch his execution. I don’t know how I would respond if offered the chance to watch the execution of someone who cruelly harmed a loved one of mine, and I am not here to entertain the removal or continuance of the death penalty.  However, this scene merely is a symbol for me of how many times we watch people who are facing spiritual death sentences, and we stand by either feeling helpless, or afraid to minister when the Holy Spirit prompts us to, or we bat a blind eye.

My sister’s-in-Christ statement and the execution scene prompted a question that I submit to myself and other believers too.  Will you watch them die?

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)

We once had a destination towards hell and eternal separation from God, but Jesus Christ, God’s Son and our Redeemer took our place on the cross, paid the price for our sins, and reconciled us back to the Father.  His death and resurrection made way for us all to have eternal life if we believe, confess and receive.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NIV)

So, since we were in the same sinful state and estranged from our Creator, the One who loved us first, let us remember to go into the world with His love to share with them that there is life and that much more abundantly after an ugly sinful nature, after the foul things we have done, after the disasters and shipwreck we have made of our lives, and after the hurt and pain we experience.

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. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Don’t be afraid to share your faith with others, whether a stranger or relative, and allow God to help you to see the lost as He does.  He values each and every one of us, and desires that we receive Him and His unfailing love.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

Someone needs your testimony of encouragement, hope and faith; someone needs the Word of God which is alive and active, can heal and deliver, impart wisdom and rebuke; someone needs your smile, your hug, and your prayer; someone needs your listening ear, your time, and your assurance that God loves them; someone needs the Truth and someone needs a change in their life’s course; someone’s life may be in the balance and he/she need to make peace with God.  You can be that vessel God uses to impact someone for the better and the vessel to help him/her come into the Kingdom of God.

You don’t want God to ask you “why didn’t you walk in the authority I gave you? Why didn’t you trust me to give you the courage and words to minister to that person?”  You don’t want that person to ask you, “why didn’t you share the Word of God with me?”  Be obedient and go forth; God will use someone else to do it if you won’t, but He is giving you this chance and He is choosing you.

Dear Daddy,  

Help me to trust You to walk in authority and to minister to others about Your mercy and grace, Your love and salvation, and Your Holiness.  Help me to lead people to salvation, not for my glory or try even in my own strength, but for Your glory and with Your grace and direction.  Help me to love others as I love myself and to see them the way You see them.  And Daddy, thank You for saving me!  I didn’t deserve it, nor could I earn it, but You gave it freely as You helped me to realize what spiritual condition I was in and to believe, through Your Word, that Your Son died for me. You resurrected Him and now He is alive, sitting on the throne interceding for me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to share your faith!  Do not watch the lost die.  And if you fear rejection, submit that fear to God and don’t take the rejection personally. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).  God gave mankind free will and not everyone will choose His gift of life, but still go out into the world declaring His love and His Truth for someone is divinely waiting for you to approach them.  Let the Holy Spirit take your hand; He will show you who and He will tell you what to say and do.

Enter in our February Contest:

 What’s Up Wednesday:  Valentine Day Contest

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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. She loves to build people up through God’s Word, encouragement, mentoring, support, and her writing. In April of 2014, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. In 2014, she  also launched her Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8. 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.”

 

But Do You Know Him?

I was excited about my plan. After all, I’d never read the Bible from cover to cover. I knew that there were stories that I was missing and context that I just didn’t get so at the beginning of 2014 I decided to read the Bible chronologically. My imagination was running wild as I read stories of triumph, tragedy, history, allegory, love and hate. Understanding the timing between events and lineage put some things in perspective. At first things were going well as I was soaking in all of this word bread; but, then I began to get caught up in the routine. Day by day, I would pull out my phone and read the passage but by the end of the day I couldn’t remember a single scripture or how any applied to my life.
My commitment to daily reading became such a routine that I wasn’t studying God’s word. Instead, I was  reading it to complete the task. One day as i reading, I heard a voice that said something similar to “is it more important to read God’s word or to study God’s word.” What good is it to read and not know?  I got caught up in checking a box and staying on my timeline losing the purpose- to study, to know, to live His instruction for our life.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Would you trust a doctor that only read through some medical books or would you rather have someone that studied the human body so much that they know more than the basics? They can not only tell you that you have a heart but can relate how each part of the body works together and can diagnose when one part is malfunctioning because they have read it, remembered it and looked deeper than the surface of the issue. They have asked why and studied the history of the condition and can relate how it will impact you. They have been tested on the subject matter and challenged with it in real life. Likewise, it’s disingenuous to call yourself a disciple of Christ when you don’t have thorough knowledge of Him or the word. When people are in pain and going through they need more than surface level understanding of the Word.
 Truly knowing God’s word isn’t only to help others but can come in handy when we need to remind ourselves of what He has done and what he has called us to do.
 
  • Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11 KJV
  • When David was at war in Ziklag and his soldiers found that their wives and daughters were taken captive, they wanted to stone David and it distressed him …but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. I Samuel 30:6 KJV 
  • In Matthew 4, Jesus continuously ignores Satan’s attempts to taunt Him by recalling God’s word – “It is written” 
To know who you are in Christ, to know what He has declared for you, read, study and apply. There is a difference between knowing of Him, knowing about Him and truly knowing Him.
Dear Daddy, 
Open my eyes so that I know You more. As I read, give me the discipline not to rush through but to study and apply Your word. Show me areas where I need improvement and give me the courage to change. Thank You for revealing Your truth and my flaws to me. Let Your word provide direction and encouragement when I need it most. Allow me to rightfully use it when I need to be that light to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 
 
Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be honest with yourselves. Are you reading or are you studying the Word? Reflect on your habits and take the time to correct them. Read, question what you read, figure out how and where it applies in your life. Write it down and remember it. If you are a disciple of Christ, know your craft. 

Enter in our February Contest:

 What’s Up Wednesday:  Valentine Day Contest

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is a small business owner 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  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.

Not Consumed!

Fire

Many times we go through situations that appear unbearable and impossible to get out of. I can recall a time or two where I felt as though God was not going to save me from detriment, but the mere fact that I am able to sit here and write about it provides evidence that I survived! Dave Ramsey stated something once that hit home for me. He said, climbing the ladder (to success) I heard about God, but on my way down is when I really got to know Him [paraphrased].

I’ve found that it is when I am at my lowest I am able to hear God more. I am reminded by Moses and the burning bush. Exodus 3:2-3 states, “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up. The King James Version of the Bible uses the word “consumed”. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. Having looked deeper into this message, I noticed three things: 1) the angel of the Lord appeared in the bush while it was on fire. 2) The bush was on fire. 3) The bush was not consumed. I immediately began thinking about God’s faithfulness. I have been in many fires and heated situations, and in most cases I had to deal with them. However, just like that bush, my life was on fire. Here is the interesting part; God was there in the fire with me and I was not consumed, Hallelujah!!

The Three Hebrew Boys were placed into a fiery furnace. The furnace was so hot that it “consumed” the guards at the door. Here’s the interesting part, Jesus appeared to them while in the furnace and they were not consumed!

The message is this, many times we will face fiery situations. But because of the presence of God in our lives, we will not be consumed! God may not always remove the difficult issue or situation. He may just join you, while you are there.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for guiding and protecting me through my difficult situations. Sometimes, I feel as though I am in a fiery furnace. I even feel like I am not worthy to be helped because I am the one to get myself into these situations. But then, I am reminded that if I ask or seek, You will answer me and I will find what I am looking for. Lord, help me to understand that while I may not be delivered from all fiery situations, You will be right in it with me keeping me from being consumed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to remain still when in the fire. God has shown us in His Word that not only is He in the fire with us, but we will not be consumed!

Enter in our February Contest:

 What’s Up Wednesday:  Valentine Day Contest

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator.  She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion for servant-hood is implemented through serving her community with Girl Scouts and her sorority, mentoring young women, and marriage empowerment. She resides in Daphne, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. Currently, they are seeking a  church home in their new city.

Flashback Friday: Random Act of Kindness

Please enjoy this flashback originally posted on September 15, 2014.

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?

Enter in our February Contest:

 What’s Up Wednesday:  Valentine Day Contest

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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.