Stop and Smell the Roses

training_sense_of_smellI have had a resident teacher in my classroom the entire year. She is a perfectionist which has its positives and negatives. She just finished something called lead teach where she was in charge for almost two weeks. Within those two weeks, she had a hiring observation where an administrator observed her teaching and had to determine if she was hirable. Getting prepared for the lesson of course was stressful and overwhelming for her. I am a true believer of what you do in the practice you will do in the game. I believed she would be fine.

The big day came where my boss’ boss observed her. I was sitting outside the classroom praying and believing that she would do well. The students were great and so was my resident. She did an excellent job. The observer came out of the room and said she was outstanding. I was so excited, I ran in the room screaming and yelling because I was proud of her. At the end of the day instead of celebrating with me, she reflected on all the bad things that had happened throughout the lead teach. She even had a melt down and started to cry. It took me a minute to figure out what was happening but I had to tell her to stop, look around and soak it all in. I had to tell her to stop and smell the roses.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6: 31-34, ESV)

In life, it is okay to think about what is next. It is okay to think about innovative ways to become better. It is even okay to reflect on becoming better at whatever your craft or passion is. The part that we often forget is to stop and smell the roses. We forget to celebrate ourselves for our accomplishments. I too am guilty of not stopping and smelling the roses.

I have had an interesting and fulfilling year as an educator. This year has been most rewarding, first because 100% of my students are enrolled in high school for the fall. Next, my students are making growth at an extraordinary rate. Also, I have been rewarded and recognized for the work that I do constantly. Guess what? I was the archetype of my resident. Instead of stopping and soaking it all in, I became stressed because I have been an educator for 10 years and I am not an administrator yet. I began looking passed my accomplishments and I began looking at my shortcomings, and I too had to stop and smell the roses.

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1Timothy 6:6-8, ESV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for blessing me in all areas of my life. God, teach me to be content in whatever state that I am in. God, teach me to celebrate life and the things You have allowed me to accomplish. Teach me to stop and praise You for not only what You are going to do but what You are doing right now. God, please continue to teach me to stop and smell the roses. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to stop and smell the roses! I know that we live in a world that is fast paced. I know that it is not always easy to stop and see your accomplishments, yet I EMPOWER you to stop and soak it all in. I know that we are mothers, wives, employees, employers and entrepreneurs but if you do not enjoy it now there is no guarantee, you will enjoy it later. When you are done reading this EmpowerMoment, I want you to stop, take a deep breath and enjoy where you are and what you have accomplished.

Have you stopped to smell the roses today?

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Mrs. 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.

Dealing With the Unexpected

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”- Proverbs 20:21 NIV.

You’ve probably heard of the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Even though a person has a plan to do something, there may be unanticipated circumstances that occur during the implementation of that plan. Even with the best planning, I’ve had a few unexpected situations to happen in my life. I expected to have an automatic job in my field (Social Services) after I graduated from college. I didn’t expect to struggle to find employment and end up working a minimum wage job. When I was in college, I expected to pass my internship for Social Work and to have my B.S.W. (Bachelor’s of Social Work). I didn’t expect to fail my internship, change my major again, and remain in college another semester.

So, how do you act when things do not go as planned? Do you give up and throw in the towel? Do you stop having faith and lose hope? Here are a few things that I’ve learned from unexpected situations: 1.) God is in control of the situation. His ways aren’t our ways (Isaiah 55:8 KJV); 2.) God will give you the strength to endure situations even when it feels like its unbearable (Isaiah 40:29 KJV); 3.) Unexpected situations can be resolved. There might be multiple solutions to solve the situation; and 4.) Stay focused (Philippians 3:13-15 KJV).  Don’t allow the situation to consume you.  I’m not always the best at handling situations that don’t go the way I want them to; but I’m learning how to deal with them better each time they come my way.

Dear Daddy,

Give me the strength to deal with my unexpected situation.  I might not understand the reason why the situation is happening but I believe You can turn everything around for my good. I know that You are in control. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to hang on when things happen unexpectedly. You can make it!  Remember that God is with you every step of the way!

**I dedicate this post to my roommate “AJ”. God will bring you through your tough situation.**

Have your plans ever been interrupted with unexpected issues? Please share how you dealt with the situation.

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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)

I Need Just A Little More Jesus

You went to a fancy, costly restaurant you have never ventured to before only to be disappointed by the measly meal portions and still hungry when you arrived home. If you are like me, your sentiments would be, “pile a little bit more of those vegetables, bread or meat on my plate.”

Recently, I made minor changes to my diet. I added MORE to my diet. I desired to feed myself healthy as well as full consistent meals. I don’t want to walk around weak, sluggish and faint for eating the wrong things as well as not eating enough.

It is my spiritual diet that needed to be revamped. I decided to kick up my devotion time with God a notch. I want to live a healthy, impactful life, and my spirit needs to be fed and very well taken care of.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6 KJV)

The day is growing increasingly wicked and the Lord is coming back for His Bride dressed in her white dress without spots or wrinkles and ready for her Groom. The Body of Christ is experiencing much pressure and resistance of Godliness is increasing all the more, so God is expecting His Bride to be fully equipped and devoted to Him during these times.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8 NIV)

Each day is new and I can’t expect to make it through the day off of yesterday’s meals and water. Nor can I grow spiritually from a diet of a once a week reading of the Word, a sporadic attendance of fellowshipping with the saints, and a lacking prayer life and intimacy with God.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NKJV)

It is like an infant. An infant cannot grow without a diet of milk. As a baby grows, his/her little intestinal tract begins to maintain a little more than just breast milk/baby formula. Around four months, mothers are encouraged to begin adding rice cereal to their babies’ diets. As babies grow they are able and ready to digest more food and as they become toddlers, they are able to eat small rationed meals. Although I believe I am past the cereal stage, I too found myself unguarded in certain areas, slipping back into spiritual slumber and still in some of my comfort zones.

With this in mind, I thought of the song by Erica Campbell (Mary Mary) titled “A Little More Jesus”. That is what I needed—more of the Word, more intimacy with Him, more time with Him, more trust in Him, more dependency on Him. So outside of my customary Sunday service, corporate prayer attendance and daily reading of the Word, I added to my devotion time more praying in the Spirit, more checking my thoughts (toughest of all), learning to be still and listen to God, and I started watching and listening to sermons. I have been also attending a Sunday evening class on prayer altars and hosting a bible study every other Fridays. Has it been challenging to stay committed? Yes! Have I missed a day or two? Yes! However, I am going to keep pressing in.

In this time and age, a more intimate walk with God and sharing God with the world is so crucial. I need just a little more Jesus today, the next day and so on. Yet God revealed to me that He needs just a little more of me also.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for welcoming me into Your loving arms and desiring a more intimate relationship with me. Thank You for all Your glory, knowledge, revelations, love, peace, joy and so much more that is waiting for me as I seek you with all that I am and all that I have. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to seek the Lord and build a more intimate relationship with Him. Now is the time! Praise Him now while you can, seek Him now while He may be found, listen to Him while He is speaking and talk to Him while He is listening. It is our responsibility to be in a prepared and surrendered position so when He comes back, we will not miss our wedding day.

Please click on the link below to watch the video of Erica Campbell’s “A Little More Jesus”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCqI8Emiarg

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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. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager so 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. 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.”

 

Consult the Manual!

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)

Have you ever read the manual that came with your cell phone? What about the instructions for your toaster? Surely you’ve consulted the booklet that accompanied your refrigerator? Usually, the answers to these questions are ‘no’; unless, of course, something went awry and one of those devices malfunctioned.  Then you probably resorted to finding out more about the product simply to do some troubleshooting.  I am no different than you! The only time I even consider reading the operating manual to my vehicle is when some unexplained indicator light is flashing on my dashboard! As soon as my ride feels a little shaky or I hear a strange noise that I know shouldn’t be coming from under the hood, I reach in the glove compartment to find out what’s really going on.   Unfortunately, by the time I decide to consult the manual, the problem is much bigger than it would’ve been if I just took the time to read the instructions beforehand.

By human nature we tend to think that we are smart enough to know how to do everything, and that includes running our lives.  That would explain why it’s not intuitive to consult the manual for instructions on how to live life.   God has given us His word, His instructions for life, in the Holy Bible.  However, many of us are only consulting it when things start turning for the worse.  Moments of despair or depression usually have us running to find a scripture about hope and joy.  In our times of weakness and fragility, we seek comfort in the scriptures of strength.  Now I am in no way suggesting that we should not be finding encouragement for our distress in the word of God, but what about when things are going great? Consulting the manual for our lives on a daily basis allows us to have a proactive nature versus a reactive spirit.  Ecclesiastes tells us that there is nothing new under sun.  (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Confident that this is true, we can trust that nothing that we have or will encounter is new to God.  He has already given us an answer for every question, situation or trial that we will face.  Thus, if we are gleaning wisdom from the manual on a daily basis, we can be prepared when the battle begins.  Figuratively speaking, we will be prepared when war strikes, while others are scurrying to find the appropriate armor.  After all, the word of God is our sword! (Ephesians 6:17) So be prepared for the battle by sharpening your sword daily!

According to the header scripture, the Word of God is beneficial to us because it teaches, corrects, and trains us to live life properly.  That is exactly what a manual is designed to do.  When the new flat screen television comes home from the electronics store, the manual teaches and trains us how to properly operate the device.   Even if we think we know how to use it, the manufacturer has created the manual so that we can get the most of out of the TV and extend the life of the product.   Getting the most out of this life is only possible when we consult the manufacturer and His manual for our life! Similarly, when there’s an inexplicable buzzing noise coming from the television, the manual can offer the correction for the issue.  I cannot count the number of times that I have opened my Bible after a disagreement with my husband to have God correct me directly from scripture! He shows me the error of my ways and offers an alternative to my negative actions.

When consulted daily, the manual for our life is essential and useful for ensuring that we are operating that way our Creator intended!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for not consulting the manual that You have given me for my life on a daily basis.  You created me and gave me this life so You know exactly what I should and shouldn’t do to make life work properly.  When I have neglected to study the manual, please nudge me so that I can spend some time reading my instructions.  Thank You for caring enough about me to leave me a guide! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to only operate your life the way the Creator intended! To do so, you must consult the manual! The manufacturer of your life has given you the manual because He already knows what problems and setbacks you will encounter. He doesn’t want you to be surprised or unprepared to handle those mishaps. For proper use of your time on this earth, you MUST consult the manual daily!

How do you ensure that you are spending time reading the manual to your life on a consistent basis?

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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. 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: After The Miscarriage

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!

There are challenges that will militate against our faith. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV) We are to believe without a shadow of doubt; we are to trust God to do in the natural realm what is already done in the spiritual realm. We are to believe when we pray that whatever we asked for, according to His Will, is provided or already done. 

Maybe your dream seems to be dying before it could ever be born; maybe your marriage looks like it is dying and can’t be resuscitated, or maybe you are increasingly tired and overwhelmed and your joy is dying. You are getting weary and can’t see what God sees. Maybe you have lost a child in your womb or perhaps after you have birth him/her. I know you have heard it before, too many times, but this too shall pass. Something is dying in order for something to be birth. It reminds me of  salvation; Jesus died for you and me to not only to be resurrected and live and reign again with the Father, but so that we will believe and be born again. So that dream that looks like it is about to perish, do not panic. Watch God keep His promise. Just believe. You may have experienced the tragedy of losing a child (my deepest condolences to you), but remember God has a plan and He understands! Hold on, fight the good fight of faith, cry and scream, and then allow God to pick you back up and hold you.

Watch this video of how a woman gets healed from facing multiple miscarriages and the loss of her children. Please click on the video link below:

http://www.cbn.com/tv/3444261341001

Free From the Lies

Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, the devil has been trying his hardest to trick mankind into believing his lies. Every chance he gets, he whispers his falsities into our ears. And, it’s no wonder he keeps it up, we fall for his tales more often than not.

We continue to live in fear. We envy the lives of those we admire. We believe the lie that we are not worthy. We worry and stress ourselves out feeding into the story that things will not work out for us. We keep our dreams locked away thinking there is no way we will ever attain them.

All because of the lies of the devil. Lies we choose to believe over the Word of God.

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31, 32 NLT)

As believers of Christ, we have been blessed to know the truth about ourselves. We have learned that we stand righteous before God (Romans 5: 15, 16), that we are the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13), that we can do anything with Christ’s strength (Philippians 4:13), and that we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). This doesn’t even begin to tap into the benefits that we have in Jesus!

So why do we keep giving in to the lies of the enemy?

Jesus said, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18, 19)

Don’t stay in a poor state of mind. Don’t allow yourself to remain brokenhearted. You have no reason to be blind or in bondage. You have received the gift of freedom from Jesus Christ. Embrace all that He has for you! Allow the truth of the gospel of Jesus to free you from the lies of the devil.

Dear Daddy,

I thank You that I have been made free through your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to remember the truth in the face of the lies of the enemy. Let me always choose to believe the truth of Your word in the face of anything that opposes what You have spoken. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies today I EMPOWER you to live in the freedom of the truth of Jesus Christ. I EMPOWER you to resist giving in to the lies of the devil. You are everything that God said you are! You can do everything that He said you can do!

How will you walk in the freedom of truth and overcome the enemy’s lies?

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Tiara Wilkinson hosts the devotional blog “My Morning Ti” which encourages believers in their Christian walk. She also serves as the Youth Leader and on the Pastoral Care Team at Christ Worship Center in Riverdale, Illinois. Tiara will be publishing her first book “Days of Destiny and Purpose” in the spring of 2014. Her favorite passage of the Bible is Psalm 27 which reminds us that the Lord is our strength, so we have no reason to fear anything.

 

When the Heat is Turned Up!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “As It Is Written.”. Just when I was about to press “send” to send it to the editors the Holy Spirit said quietly, “Now that you have praised God in the open like this, the enemy is going to attempt to deter you. Just be cautious.” I took this message seriously because; as I wrote before in “This is for U” I am learning more day by day about my opponent, the devil, and his schematic ways.

Well somehow between the time I heard the Holy Spirit’s warning and the public release of my post, I forgot to suit up in the armor of God. The same day my post was released, almost at the same exact time of day, all hell broke loose in many areas of my life, and this is not a dramatization. Work was more stressful than it had ever been, even causing a few people to be removed, thus placing more focus and stress on me. My dissertation was not going like I planned and I had to take a few steps back. On top of all of this, an organization I work with in ministry flipped upside down with me pinned under it. For a moment I was baffled. I could not believe the attacks that were on me. I’ve come to realize that my job is more than my title. It is an opportunity for ministry. Completing my doctorate and the testimony that will come out of that will bless someone else. The organization I work with in an effort to spread the Gospel has extreme potential…and the devil doesn’t like any of that, so he pounced on it.

When I came to, I realized something. The devil is trying to distract me. He slandered my name, crushed my spirit, and trampled over my integrity, but FOR ONLY A MOMENT! See, that post I wrote two weeks ago was for me! It was a reminder of how good God is and how the devil doesn’t bother anything that isn’t a threat to him. To emphasize His love and compassion for me, that following Sunday I went to church and my Pastor spoke these words, words that will forever change my view on tribulations:

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. I Corinthians 3:13 KJV

GussmetallschmelzeGod placed me in the fire to see if the ministry he placed in me was authentic. Am I the real deal? I talk all of this spiritual talk, but can I walk the walk? When that realization hit me, I became empowered and fueled. I felt like that one scripture placed my heel on the enemy’s head and crushed it. God said to me a few days later, “Now that the heat is turned up, what are you going to do? Are you going to melt like plastic, something manmade, or are you going to refine like metal, a natural substance I made?” I said, “METAL!!!! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I am not going to fall into the schemes of the enemy any longer concerning this!”

I learned a few lessons from my week from hell and the one that sticks out the most is the lesson in authenticity. Here are a few nuggets about it: 1) I learned that an authentic and true Woman of God is prepared for the enemy, she can see Him coming because he is so predictable. I missed that one. 2) Women of God do not wrestle with frivolous matters. Frivolous matters are those small irritants that are actually insignificant, but disguised as something worth my attention, like being gossiped about, bullied, or having events not to go as planned. An authentic Woman of God knows that these are minor distractions that can be ignored. They have no affiliation with the kingdom. 3) She waits. She waits patiently for God to “fix it.” 4) An authentic Woman of God learns to truly love God, and when she does, she is then able to love those who despitefully use her, and love them for real. Because she understands that it is not “them” it is the enemy, once again, trying to kill, steal, and destroy.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your shield of protection that covers me from the wiles of the enemy. Thank You for Your moments of clarity that help me focus and keep my mind on things above. Lord help me not to shy away from giving You honor when its due for fear of the enemy’s response, but give me the strength and wisdom to stay suited up in Your Word, Your power, and in Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Ladies, we are all a work in progress, but I EMPOWER you to stay ready! The Lord’s Word states that there will come a time when your work will be tested by fire to see what sort it is. Are you the real deal? Talk is cheap. We have to walk the walk. But the best part about that is that God’s Word is here to guide us every step of the way.

Ladies, do you have a “tried in the fire” experience? Share with us.

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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 is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL