We Are Our Sisters’ Keepers!

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  (Philippians 2:4 NLT)

In April of 2011, the small town where I attended college was ravaged by a horrific tornado.  Many of my university peers decided to settle in the town after graduation, so naturally they were affected by that monumental storm.  I remember hearing about the devastation of the tornado the day after it happened and frantically calling around to my friends to see if they were okay.  Once I had confirmed that everyone was safe, I wondered why I had no idea that there was an impending storm.  Eventually I realized that I couldn’t fathom a storm of that magnitude ripping through the southern region because while that region had tornadic conditions, it was clear and sunny in my state.  Feelings of guilt began to seep in as I reflected on my negligence.  If I was watching the news or reading the online reports, I would have been aware of what was happening to my friends. While I may not have been able to stop the storm, my prayers could possibly have been instrumental in lessening the severity of the storm.  I had to take a moment to thank God that everyone was spared, but also ask for forgiveness that I had been so self-consumed that I had no clue what my brothers and sisters were enduring.  Those series of events gave me a fresh perspective on tending to the needs of others.

It’s no challenging feat to skip along in life, enjoying the roses when the storm is not over our home.  As long as marriages are intact, children are healthy, finances are abundant and families are cohesive, we assume everything is good because we are good.  Our state is wonderful!  But what about those times when everything is peachy for us, but our neighbor’s world is turned upside down?  We have to be careful to not be so self–absorbed that we miss the opportunity to minister or pray for our sisters during their rough patches in life.  In fact, the sunshine in our life can serve as a testament to those around us that better days lie ahead.  Remember when the storm was in your home?  Remember when you couldn’t see a way out?  Remember when you felt like the storm was designed to kill you?  Well that’s exactly how she feels right now.  Stop being afraid of getting wet and show her that you care by standing in her storm with her!

Job had lost his livestock, children and great health in a matter of days.  It’s safe to say that he was in the midst of one of the greatest storms ever!  While I don’t know exactly what was going on in the lives of his friends, I am certain it was nothing like what Job was enduring.  Compared to his trials, they were in paradise.  Yet, their state didn’t hinder them from meeting Job in his storm.  Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.  For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. (Job 2:11 NKJV)

Of course, we don’t always know what a person is going through so it can be somewhat difficult to support them.  To that, I say seek God.  I regularly pray for God to burden me with the things that are disturbing His people.  If there is something that it not apparent to the naked eye or something that they are ashamed or reluctant to share, I ask that He would move my heart to simply pray for them.   When He randomly places a person in your thoughts, say a prayer for them.  You never know what storm is raging in their life and how your prayers can help provide some much needed solace.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I have been so self-absorbed that I neglected to consider those around me who were suffering.  I thank You for the calm moments in my life, and I ask that You help me to use my sunshine to minister to those connected to me when they are in stormy seasons.  May everything that I go through and come out of be used for Your glory! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to think past yourself and consider the needs of others around you.  It is time for us to move past our own pleasures and assist others in their time of pain.  Remember that the storm was once over your home too.  I EMPOWER you to use that knowledge to encourage those presently being rocked by a storm. 

Are you your sisters’ keeper?  Make a phone call today or stop by!

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur and a dedicated servant-leader. She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments. She is the owner of Pizzazzed Plus, a custom sweets boutique. As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Faith Friday: I Don’t Want To Worry

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!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-8 NKJV)

“I don’t want to worry.”  We have all said these words but somehow they are only a facade covering a mind full of worry and a heart of uncertainties.  In this video from the 700 Club, a High School French teacher gives an account of her dealing with a constant daily pain not only affecting her ability to talk and eat, but her faith.

She admits that she didn’t want to worry but a part of her still worried.  How many can testify to that?  We know God can heal us, we want God to heal us, yet there is still some worry there.  Worrying says we don’t trust God and we are lacking confidence in Him.  Worrying says there is some lingering doubt but thank God for His mercy and His understanding that we are weak and need Him.  Thank God for His compassion and His Word that can heal and speak life into our very own frail bodies.

So when worry pulls up beside your situation and threatens to choke your faith, remember this woman’s testimony and that there is healing in God’s Word.  His Word cannot return to Him void so trust it and watch it fulfill whatever you are seeking God for.

Watch this video and allow God to tackle any worries you may have.

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ6fohWkNOw

Off Balance

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV)

Recently, I got into a really bad argument with one of my close friends. I became so angry that my anger rolled over into the next day. I’m a very easy going person and don’t get mad often so if someone makes me upset, it’s a really big deal.  A few days after the argument, I didn’t feel like myself. I felt a mix of emotions and I felt emotionally drained.

I had to tell my friend that I needed a break to think. My friend contacted me the day after we had the argument and proceeded to contact me the next couple days after that. That made things worse because I wasn’t in the mood to talk. I felt so weighed down.

One person can give us a better account about how failing to control your emotions and sinning in your anger affects you.

Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell face down, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” (Numbers 20: 2-12 NIV)

Perhaps Moses was tired of all the people’s grumbling. After all leading others is not an easy task especially when sometimes you feel like you’re not quite the one for the job. Perhaps Moses had stored all of his frustrations within until he just exploded. In any event, Moses sinned in his anger. He disobeyed God, striking the rock instead of speaking to it like God instructed him to.  He acted in pride, taking credit for something that God did. “Listen, you rebels, must WE bring you water out of this rock?” Moses said. Third, the rock that was to give forth water was a representation of Christ, and when Moses struck it, it was an unholy, disrespectful thing to do for Jesus cannot be crucified again. Moses sinning in anger, disobeying God, misrepresenting Christ’s sacrifice and acting in pride cost him a place in the Promised Land. God told Moses he would not enter in.

God clearly tells us not to let our anger consume or lead us to sinning.  It is clear that we are to surrender even our emotions to Him and allow Him to show us how to manage them and not be bound by our emotions.  Letting our emotions control and consume us can literally make us sick.

I felt so off balance that I forgot to do my volunteer work not too long after my argument with my friend. That’s how I know that my brain wasn’t in the right place because that was not the norm for me. On July 9th I decided to stop letting the situation with my friend stress me. I prayed to God and asked Him to remove the weights that I felt. Eventually my friend and I was able to talk face to face and express our feelings. The argument that I had with my friend was one of the worse ones he and I have had, but I’m glad that I now feel more like myself and I have peace.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being slow to anger and abounding in love. I’m glad that I can come to You with my burdens. Thank You for always having a listening ear. Help me to not be consumed or controlled by my emotions. Help me to also let go of thoughts that are negative. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to give your burdens to God. You can’t carry your burdens alone. Allow God to release you of everything that is weighing you down and to help you manage your emotions. You will feel lighter and better.

What situations have you been in that caused you to be off balance or sin in your anger?

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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)

 

 

 

Something From Nothing

The earth was without form, and void… And God said, “Let there be…and there was… Genesis 1:2-3 NKJV

For the last ten years there has been an undying yearning inside of me to become a serial entrepreneur, as I like to call her.  The spirit of entrepreneurship has been a weighty burden that I have carried for a while now.  I want nothing more than to experience financial freedom, flexibility and create generational wealth and legacies for my great-grandchildren’s children.   I didn’t just fathom this vision of being a successful business mogul on my own either.  I am confident that God implanted every idea that ferociously dances through my head.  He continues to give me glimpses of the point where my physical being meets my destiny.  I can see myself in day to day operations of several of my businesses.   I envision the lives that will be impacted and changed through business encounters.  I rejoice when I think about the souls that will be saved because of a cordial conversation or exceptional customer service.  God has shown me that my business ventures will reach far beyond revenue and profits; they will literally alter people’s thinking and move them to new dimensions in Christ.   Now that sounds awesome to me! But here I am nearly eleven years later and I can see little accomplishments for all of those lavish dreams.

Based on what I just described, you would think that I have made significant progress towards opening the first business on my checklist.  However, that is not the case.  I haven’t secured the finances to begin; I haven’t connected with the right people; I haven’t serviced my potential customers.  The only evidence that I have outside of visions in my mind is my business plan.  While that is a great start, it doesn’t really amount to much when you are as ready as I am to get the ball rolling.  In my opinion, I have nothing to show for a whole heap of something that I want to see.   I’ve been discouraged looking at my empty glass, thinking about how full God promised that it would be, but I vowed to not wallow in that valley of hopelessness for too long.  Each time I begin to doubt my dreams and the promises that He has made, I remember that I am the child of One who can literally take my nothing and make a superb something out of it. I recall that this beautiful thing that I get to walk on and experience everyday was once a bunch of nothing too! Oh, but God took this formless, voided nothing and made something magnificent out of it! This something is now full of gorgeous bodies of water, breathtaking flowers and greenery, amazing wildlife and mind-boggling celestial bodies, but it once nothing! And God changed that–with just a few words—in a matter of days! Imagine that! All He has to do to form our nothing into to something is say the words, “Let there be”, and it shall be instantly!

Whatever you are waiting for God to do in your life, remain encouraged.  Even if you cannot place your hands on anything tangible that indicates that it’s going to get better, believe God anyway! Your restored relationships, your healing, your financial increase, your moment of rest, or whatever your something is, is going to come to fruition! He is going to form a beautiful, unique something exclusively for you!

Dear Daddy,

I am excited about my future! Right now I have nothing that remotely exemplifies where I am going, but I trust that You are going to miraculously transform that nothing into an amazing something!  When I begin to feel discouraged, remind me of Your promises to me.  Because I know that You never fail to deliver on a promise, I will trust You until something is conceived from my nothing.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to remain faithful to your dreams even in your seasons of nothingness.  Believe that God is going to make good on His promises and turn your nothing into the something that you have always dreamed of and more! I EMPOWER you to believe that God is going to blow your mind with just a few words: “Let there be!”

What is your nothing situation that God is about to birth something from?

____________________________________________________________

Submitted anonymously

Others Above Me

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  Philippians 2:3-4 NIV

I used to be an extremely selfish individual.  If there was no benefit for me, then I probably wasn’t interested.  The sun rose and set on me, or at least I thought so! Honestly, I didn’t change my mind set until I was married because I was forced to be more giving of everything.  I had to share my love, my time, my thoughts, my space, and even my food! Adding children to the mix further forced me to relinquish the reins on my selfishness.  Not only did I find myself having to give more, but I realized that I had an even greater responsibility.

As a mother I have to instill a sense of giving back to others in my children.  I found the scripture above to be inspiration as I seek to teach my girls about selflessness.  What does it really mean to value others above yourself? For me, it means that every day I should look for ways to help and empower someone else.   Each morning I remind my children to look for opportunities to love on people.  We often decide that a need is too great and we cannot meet it or conversely, that a need is not great enough for us to make a significant impact.  However, I implore you to consider that any need that you meet with a pure heart is a great one! I’m often reminded of Sally Koch’s words of wisdom, “Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.  ”

There are so many ways for us to consider others over ourselves daily.  Some are very apparent, while others may require us to seek them out.   If you are uncomfortable or unsure how to search for someone to help, ask the Lord to send you an unmet need.  When He sends the need, rest assured it will be something that you have the power and resources to meet! Whatever the need, small or large, let’s strive to be the light in the world and prove that people with servant hearts like Jesus’ still exist.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for being so selfish and putting my needs before those of Your other children.  I know the world has taught me to put myself first, so please help to deprogram my mind and think more like You.  Send unmet needs my way daily so I can assist my brothers and sisters.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to do something good for someone else today.  Look for an opportunity to assist another one of God’s children each day.  I EMPOWER you to instill the power and importance of giving in the youth around you by modeling a selfless attitude.  If you don’t know how you can help someone today, check the list of helpful ideas below to get you started. 

  • Check on an elderly person and assist him/her as needed
  • Discreetly pay for the customer’s bill behind you
  • Offer a word of encouragement to a downcast friend
  • Pass out snack bags to a homeless person
  • Volunteer at your favorite non-profit organization
  • Assist a school-aged child with his/her homework
  • Prepare a meal for a sick family member
  • Mail a handwritten letter to a loved one that you haven’t spoken to in a while

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur and a dedicated servant-leader. She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments. She is the owner of Pizzazzed Plus, a custom sweets boutique. As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Limit Him, Limit Yourself

For some time now I’ve been expressing a great interest in wanting to live closer to work and our church. I think about it as I’m driving in to work in the mornings but especially when I’m struggling to get home in the evenings. I think about it as we are trying to make it to Sunday morning service. I voice my frustrations over and over to myself and occasionally to a friend or family member.

As I was desperate to get home the other day after a very long day, a day made even longer by the 1 and ½ hours it took me to finally reach home, I had a revelation. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “You always fuss about wanting to move closer but you haven’t asked Me to do anything about it.”

Yet ye have not because ye ask not (James 4:2b KJV)

I was taken aback!  I immediately begin to run my prayers and conversations with God through my mind and it occurred to me that He was right. While I desperately want to be closer to work, I haven’t really placed that petition before God. I was baffled with myself because as much as I talk to God and as much as I think about wanting to be closer to work and church I haven’t really made it a priority on my prayer list.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. (Psalm 147:5 NIV)

I realize what I’ve been doing is putting limits on God. In my mind I have been saying “we can’t move before we are done paying for this” or “we can’t move before we know we’ll be able to have certain things in place” or “I know we won’t be ready for another couple years.”   I now realize that all the ducks may not be exactly in the row I envision them.  God can do whatever He wants in our lives! Now I’m not saying we are going to go out and make drastic and hasty decisions but I am saying that God is a limitless God. He is all powerful. What’s a house closer to work for God? Nothing! Sometimes we just have to put things in perspective, not ours but His.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing Yourself limitless in our lives. Thank You for all that You have done and are going to do in our lives. Help us to know that all things are possible through You know matter how big or small they may seem. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to not place limits on God! I EMPOWER you to recognize that placing limits on Him causes you to limit yourself! I EMPOWER you to seek God for the unlimited in your life!

 In what area of your life have you been limiting God?

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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: Grey Clouds on a Sunny Day

Ladies, enjoy this flash from the past which was originally posted on July 3, 2013.

Life….*deep sigh* the thought that things would go as I intend…why didn’t anyone warn me?!? I mean, who doesn’t want to graduate college, find an amazing job in their field, meet the man of their dreams (who happens to play for the Chicago Bears), move out of their parent’s house and just live…(you know the saying), “happily ever after.” Welp, my bubble of that was popped two weeks before I graduated college when the company I interned with reneged on their offer to hire me. So, let’s fast-forward until June 25th, 2013 because that’s where this story really resumes…

Summer is hopefully near (it hasn’t quite come in Chicago), meaning the fat I stored up must go!  After finishing an extensive work-out at my local gym, I grabbed my things and headed to the door. Once shuffling to the door, I lifted my head to see that it was POURING raining outside. I waited by the door for a moment when a man approached me.

“Are you waiting for a ride,” he asked.

“Nope, just waiting on God to stop the rain,” I replied jokingly but serious.

“You may be waiting for awhile on that one,” he shot back.

“But I thought I was His favorite,” I said.

In final remarks he replied, “You better pop that hood up and get to walking!”

I looked around at the down pour and took the man’s advice. The SECOND I settled in my car the rain stopped! I looked up and said, “You must hate me.”

The following day, same thing! I was driving around with not a droplet of rain but when I was about to get out it started raining again! At this point, I just knew for sure 100% that not only was I not God’s favorite, but He must hate me…and my hair.

As I walked into Starbucks to work on some stuff, I ran into a woman. We chatted about the terrible weather lately, which turned into a three hour empowering conversation. I complained that I had been more than patient in waiting for God as I’ve been waiting on His promise for more than a year. She laughed saying, “Do you truly understand how long Abraham and Moses waited on promises? Good for you but keep being patient and trusting God.”

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. (Leviticus 26:4 NIV)

Once I got in my car and down the street it started raining, again. I smiled and thanked God for the down pour of blessings coming. While looking up at the rain falling down, I saw the sun peaking through the grey clouds. I smiled and realized my perception on life and situations must change in order for me to ever win at life and mind. Even though a part of me wants a supernatural blessing, I told God I wouldn’t mind staying in this season a little longer just to prove to Him that rather sun or rain there’ll always be a praise on my lips because He does enough!

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

I smile and I thank You! I love You so much because even when I’m being a brat and diva… and complaining about EVERY minute detail You have a way of breaking through the darkness and showing me the light. God, Your way is perfect and I’m not sure why I consistently forget that but Lord on today I give You fear and anxiety and I submit to Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to change your sight…has it been raining in your life for awhile? Has someone told you to move when you know that God will clear your storm? Be confident! Stay there! Be patient! God has us all! Remember, God promised never to flood the earth again so you will never drown in your season. This rain will let up and you will see a rainbow!

When it’s raining do you see an inconvenience or do you see opportunity?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Stay In Your Season

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Ms. Dené B. is a student of life who enjoys human studies and social media. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago where the motto is “Preparing People to Lead Extraordinary Lives,” She took her education and school spirit to heart and now is a young adult striving to live an extraordinary life while helping others achieve the same. With a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations and minors in Sociology and Visual Communication, Dené worked at a top PR firm but her greatest accomplishments resides in volunteer work with Autism Speaks and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Currently, she finds herself pursuing a vision God placed in her of starting her own business. One of her go to scriptures is, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).