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She is Me: Jael

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

Covert Silent Assassin

Unlike Renee`, (see She is Me: Deborah), I desired to have a leadership role like Deborah in ministry.  Desired is probably an understatement; craved is more accurate.  I was a leader in my professional life and even in my family and personal life, so it just made sense that I would be a leader in ministry as well right? WRONG!  God not only did not elevate me, but He sent me to a church where NOBODY knew me.

After much personal struggle and attitudinal pleas to God, I finally repented and submitted to God’s will for me in the area of ministry.  This is where my life began to parallel Jael’s.  First, Jael was a tent dweller.  One major characteristic of tents are they are highly portable (easy to move from place to place). We can conclude from this that Jael lived a life in which she had to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.  Once I submitted to God, He began to teach me that I had to always be ready to act when He needed me to.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

The Bible tells us that Sisera’s army was defeated.  Deborah, Barak, and the Israelite army had done their duty: “…all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left…Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael…” (Judges 4:16b-17a NIV) There are many things in our lives that in large part we have been delivered from; however, residue of those things still exists in our life. God desires for our enemies to be TOTALLY defeated and in order to do that, He raises covert assassins.  Jael was one such assassin.  God has taught me that I’m not a Deborah in ministry but a Jael. 

Sisera felt comfortable going into Jael’s tent because he was familiar with her family.  “Sisera, however, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite because there were friendly relations between Jabin King of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite…” (Judges 4:17 NIV)  God has sent people into my life several times who were struggling with spirits I was “familiar” with in the past.  Those spirits were comfortable being around me because I was supposedly not a threat to them.

Jael invited Sisera into her tent and treated him VERY good.  Sisera was thirsty and asked for some water.  Instead of water, Jael gave him milk, giving him more than he requested. (See Judges 5:25) Jael gracefully lulled him into a false sense of security. By treating him so well, he assumed that she was on his side and that he was safe. Having a full stomach also makes a person more tired, especially after a hard day. All of this combined caused Sisera to fall asleep without too much worry about being attacked. Little did he expect an attack from the woman who was treating him so kindly.

God has allowed me to have relationships with many who come from various backgrounds, different religions, and who struggle with a range of strongholds.  God has directed me to show hospitality to them and allow them to “relax” in my presence.  “…But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted.  She drove the peg through his temple in to the ground, and he died.” (Judges 421 NIV)   However, just like Sisera, they let down their guards and become comfortable around me.  I quietly begin to PRAY and come against EVERY stronghold, cancel every assignment of the enemy and war in the spirit realm to KILL everything that is keeping them from being who God has called them to be.

My journey has taught me that everyone God has called to ministry is not supposed to be in the pulpit or even on the microphone.  God has raised some covert operatives.  My assignment is to pray.  I have learned to accept my assignment and carry it out with diligence. Jael’s obedience to God quite arguably changed the course of history for the Israelites and she is only mentioned in a few verses of the Bible. However, had she not accepted it because it wasn’t an upfront position, who knows what could’ve happened.  Sisera may have gotten away, raised another army, and went fought the Israelites again. Thank God for silent assassins!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the assignment You have given me in ministry.  I understand that there are no “small parts” in ministry.  I understand that everything done in ministry is supposed to bring glory to You.  I also understand that my obedience is connected to so many other destinies.  I ask that You continue to make me sensitive to your spirit.  Help me to carry out the assignments that You give me diligently and effectively.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to pray and seek the Lord for what He wants you to do in ministry. Accept your assignment and start carrying it out.  There are so many that God has for us to minister to, pray for, feed, cloth, preach to, etc.  We HAVE to get on our jobs!

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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.”

She is Me: Queen Vashti

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

A Red Flag is a Red Flag!

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:26 ESV

I wanted to better myself by going to college, but he laughed and thought it was crazy to venture from home to go to school. He would often say, “All you do is go to school; you can’t learn common sense in school.” He didn’t support me. RED FLAG!

I decided I wanted to live for Christ. I increased my activities at church, strengthened my prayer life and decided to go to church on more weekends than to travel home to be with him. He joked about me going to church and mocked God. He said I was wasting my time. He didn’t respect my virtue. RED FLAG!

All of our time together caused me to come home closer to the next day, opposed to the end of the previous one. I disrespected my mother, my morals, and all that I knew because of him. He did not care that I was torn because I was going against what I knew was right. I felt like a concubine. He disregarded my family’s wishes. RED FLAG!

We went to his friend’s house one weekend and he wanted to display that his girlfriend could roll blunts and smoke them. I was embarrassed, devastated, degraded, and annoyed. He did not see my value. RED FLAG!

I sit back now and see all of the red flags that I ignored. So this is what he thought of me? That I could roll a blunt for his friends and smoke it with the best of them? He didn’t even care enough to respect my mother, my morals and what I stood for. But he had fat pockets, a nice car, a job, awesome rims, and a place that he owned. Would I be willing to give all of that up just to save my dignity? Just to save face? What if I never find a man to love me? What will happen if I stand up to him and actually leave him? What about all that I was in line for– his money, a ride in his fancy car, and a secure life?

I wonder if this is what Queen Vashti was thinking when she denied King Xerxes. See, Queen Vashti had it all. She had beauty, she was sociable, and quite frankly she and King Xerxes were a power couple. But one night, she had enough. Here’s the story: At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.  For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes. On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Esther 1:2-5, 9-12 NIV

There is much speculation as to why Queen Vashti refused to come. But read the scripture; the King was drunk and he wanted to display her beauty in front of him and his friends. She must have felt degraded. She is not mentioned much more throughout this book, but her action showed great strength. She chose her dignity over the law and chose to preserve her self-worth over her husband’s ego. The King disposed her as Queen and chose to find a replacement.

What I find interesting is the King never realized that she was being degraded and instead of trying to preserve what he felt was beautiful, he swapped her for a replacement. And guess what, when I stood for what was right I was replaced too. I don’t know much about my replacement, but I do know that I left with grace, my pride, and my self worth.

Dear Daddy,

Sometimes we think we have it all and are scared to remove ourselves from what we think is abundance and choose to suffer our self-worth instead. Help us to always remember our worth, to see the red flags and to deal with them in the way we should. Help us to stand as Godly women, never giving up our dignity. Help us to walk as women of God instead of for a man that can’t see the jewel that we are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to understand your self worth. A red flag is a red flag! The banquet was probably not Vashti’s first sign of a red flag. I encourage you not to wait until he’s your husband to start recognizing the red flags. My view is not to promote divorce, as I was actually not in a marriage. I was in a soul-tied relationship that did not promote the God in me, and because of that I had to go!

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

She is Me: Lydia

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

In Need of a COMPLETE Makeover

For much of my childhood, I attended church either with my mother or my grandmother. At the age of 13, I was baptized and it seemed like I had arrived to my spiritual destination. I loved going to church for the ‘feeling’ and chills that the experience gave me and that was pretty much the depth of my spirituality. Over the course of my teenage years, I learned to pray and carried that practice away to college with me. I learned what it meant to worship God and made sure that was a part of my life as well. So, I was praying to God, worshipping Him, going to church and doing extremely well in school. Surely, God was well pleased with my life, right?! Well maybe He would have been if all of those wonderful things weren’t diluted with drunkenness, promiscuity, fornication, drugs, lies, hatred, bitterness, spitefulness, revenge—this list could go on for several miles. I had a form of godliness, but it was not pleasing to God. Here is where Lydia’s world meets mine.

And on the Sabbath day we went outside the [city's] gate to the bank of the river where we supposed there was an [accustomed] place of prayer, and we sat down and addressed the women who had assembled there.

One of those who listened to us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a dealer in fabrics dyed in purple. She was [already] a worshiper of God, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (Acts 16:13-15 AMP)

From this short passage of scripture, we can tell that Lydia knew and worshipped God just like me. She was at a prayer meeting, so prayer was definitely a part of her lifestyle similar to mine. She also made an acceptable living by selling fine textiles; likewise, I’ve always excelled in school and held great jobs. With such an awesome resume`, what was she missing? Why were we so much alike?  Well, the fact that God had to open her heart to receive Paul’s message indicates that she obviously hadn’t accepted Jesus and allowed His Spirit to reside there…and neither had I. How do I know? Long before Jesus made His earthly appearance, God made a promise to mankind: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36-25-27 NIV) If His Spirit were residing INSIDE of me, change would have been evident. Both Lydia and I had a form of godliness but had been denying the power of Jesus (See 2 Timothy 3:5).

It doesn’t tell us exactly what Paul shared with Lydia on the riverbank, but I can imagine that it was similar to what he had preached before: “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:32-33, 38)

Praise God that our stories did not end before we really knew Jesus! Shortly before graduating college, God truly opened my heart to receive the changing power of His Spirit. I confessed, again, that Jesus would be Lord over my life and that time I truly meant it! My family was changed as a result of my change and so it was with Lydia. “And when she was baptized along with her household, she earnestly entreated us, saying, If in your opinion I am one really convinced [that Jesus is the Messiah and the Author of salvation] and that I will be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay. And she induced us [to do it]… So [Paul and Silas] left the prison and went to Lydia’s house; and when they had seen the brethren, they warned and urged and consoled and encouraged them and departed.” (Acts 16:15,40 AMP) Not only were Lydia and her family saved, but she opened her home so that Paul and Silas could proclaim the Gospel there. It’s amazing to understand just how much of an impact Lydia’s acceptance to the Gospel had on multitudes of other people. Your obedience and willingness to accept Jesus’ transformative power in your life is connected to so many other people’s destinies!

Ladies, consider this a warning alarm! It’s time to get serious and stop playing church. Yes, your outward appearance may resemble Jesus, but are you sure that you are truly a joint heir to God’s treasures? If you cannot answer yes to that question, it’s not too late for you! He has given you another day to make it right. Jesus is waiting with open arms to greet you. He welcomed Lydia and I with our distorted, self-righteous views and I know that He will welcome you too!

To welcome Jesus into your heart, read the following prayer aloud:

Dear Daddy,

I recognize that I am a mess and that I have messed up. I ask that You forgive me for the things that I have done that were not pleasing to You. Forgive me for the things that I realize were sins and even those that I did not realize were sins. I believe that Jesus died specifically for me, but on the third day He rose again. By that belief alone, I am saved. I ask that You soften my heart to Your Spirit that now dwells inside of me. I want to be made into a new creature. I want to be more and more like you each day. Thank You for this gift of salvation! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

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Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to let Jesus give you a complete makeover! It’s not enough just to ‘look’ like Him; ask for the complete package that includes making you act, think, speak and walk like Him!

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  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 two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

She is Me: Deborah

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

Standing Firm on Purpose

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time…She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’”

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. (Judges 4:4, 6-9 NIV)

Oh, the power of being a woman centered in her relationship and purpose in Christ! I have a confession to make: I am not there, just yet. I grew up with a traditional-minded father and a very untraditional-minded mother. What seemed like an odd mix to the world (and probably to my parents) produced a pretty even-tempered child. My dad said that there were certain jobs that a man should do and my mom challenged most of those views. For as long as I can remember, my mom has worked two jobs and she will spend her very last if she thinks it will be of benefit to her family. She’s strong, goal oriented and a bit stubborn. And in many ways I am just like her. With this dual dynamic at home, I grew up wondering how to balance being strong yet submissive.

I shied away from things that seemed more like what my “man” would handle, which has been to my determent. I am a firm believer that you can’t always wait on a man to be there or do something for you. You need to make sure that if and when the time comes that you need to, you can take care of yourself. That’s being a responsible steward. But because I didn’t want to come across as too “bossy” I tried to stay away from things that might make me seem like the stereotypical, ‘I don’t need a man’ Black woman. What does that even look like anyway? I’m still unsure, but that fear has now led me to being hesitant about what I know God is trying to do in my life. There are certain things like purchasing a car or home that I thought I would leave up to my husband to make the final decision. I mean, I am a woman and don’t guys know about all those technical things? I’ve used the ‘I am a woman’ phrase to get out of anything that seemed bigger than me or anything that didn’t seem to fit with the “traditional” views. Yet, my Father kept placing me in leadership roles. At first I shied away from these roles. I mean being the head of a household leading a small child (a boy nonetheless) was a daunting enough task. Now, God was placing me in leadership roles at work, among my peers, and in my graduate classes! The more I resisted, the more God kept pressing into me until I could do nothing else but submit.

See, like Deborah there are people in my life that will not go on without me. They need me to stand up with them. They need that encouragement, that prayer, that one person who believes in the impossible for them. For many people in my life, that person is me. I am unsure of how I get the positions that God has graced me with; I don’t strive for them. In fact, many times the very idea of the task shakes me to my core. That is when God gently reminds me that I glorify Him when I step out on His Word. I glorify Him when I don’t let my fears, my gender biased ideas or doubts stop me from standing on purpose.

You have to be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.
– Katherine Center

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for blessing me with the gift and purpose of being a woman. I was created at such a time as this, there is purpose hidden deep inside. Bring me closer to You so that I may become closer to finding myself. Gift me with the spirit of love and peace and help me to be unafraid of the path laid out before me. Give me Your strength to stand confidently in my purpose. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to seek and embrace your purpose. Do not let fear, stereotypes, or doubt hold you back from your true destiny in Christ.

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Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

She Is Me: The Shunamite Woman

GREAT NEWS: We are extending our She is Me Series and contest for another week!

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

A Dose of Southern Hospitality

 It was Tuesday and yet I was already thinking about a meal that I would prepare for Thursday. We weren’t having company; however, I wanted to do what I love and cook a really nice family meal. I took out meat and seasoned it and cut up vegetables to roast with it, all in preparation for Thursday’s dinner. This isn’t anything out of the ordinary. I love to cook. That is my gift to others and how I show love. Nary a person enters through my door that I don’t try to fix a meal for and I am even known to visit others and take over their kitchen. Not only is cooking my therapy but it is an area where God has anointed me to bless and show love to others (if I do say so myself).

A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. Proverbs 18:16 KJV

The Shunamite woman was no different than I. She was anointed with the gift of hospitality and discernment. “And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.” (II Kings 4:8-10 KJV)

We never learn her name but as the story goes, the Shunamite woman (who had no children and an old husband) was prophesied a son by Elisha for her hospitality towards him. Years later her son died and Elisha prayed and then laid on top of him. The child’s life was restored.  Later in II Kings 8:1-6 when a famine came unto the land, Elisha looked out for her and told her to move her family for seven years. After the famine, she wanted her land and house back and went to the King to plead for it. Ironically, Elisha’s servant was testifying of his master’s work before the King, specifically of him restoring the woman’s son’s life just as she came to plead her case. In verse six, ‘The King appointed a certain officer to Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.’

Like the Shunamite woman, God gives each of us gifts; however, when we operate outside of our anointing we can miss the opportunities that He has for us. The Shunamite woman recognized that Elisha was a man of God and showed love through her gifts. Her ministry was hospitality, but yours may be writing, entertaining, speaking, teaching or discovering. What is your ministry to others? Work in your gift and watch it make room for you.

Below are some key takeaways from the Shunamite woman:

  1. Use your gift to bless others. II Kings 4:8
  2. Although you have the gift sometimes you have to submit to the authority in your life. II Kings 4:9
  3. Do what you love without expectation.  II Kings 4:13
  4. When you are desperate sometimes you have to skip process and appropriateness. II Kings 4:22-23
  5. Obedience really is better than sacrifice. II Kings 8:2
  6. Using your gifts will cause you to reap favor when you need it most II Kings 8:6

Dear Daddy, 

Thank You for anointing me with my gifts. Lord, Your word says that my gifts will make room for me and bring me in the presence of great men. So, God I ask that you help me operate excellently in my gifts so that they will do just that. Help me to use my gifts for Your glory so that I don’t cast my pearls to swine. If something I am “good at” is not my gift, please show me so that my ministry to others is what You want it to be. Thank You for blessing me with gifts that will enlarge my territory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to discover your gifts and use them like the Shunamite woman. Learn from her and do what you love in a way that blesses others. I assure you that God will reward you for it.

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures 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.”

She is Me: Gomer

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

Unfaithful to the Faithful One

“…Go take yourself an adulterous wife…” (Hosea 1:2 NIV)

Hosea knew from the beginning that Gomer was trouble; he knew that she was not going to be faithful to him and not only loved her anyway, but entered into covenant relationship with her when they married.  God knew I was a mess, yet loved me anyway and entered into covenant relationship with me when He saved me and forgave my sins.  But covenant relationship wasn’t enough for Gomer or me…

“…I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink…” (Hosea 2:5)

Gomer left her husband to go after other men for the necessities she felt they could provide for her.  My “necessities” were not food and linen; mine were affirming words (sweet talk), quality time, affection, and intimacy.  Like Gomer, I ran after “lovers” trying to get these things.

However, like Gomer, I was never able to get what I wanted and sought after so desperately.  “…therefore I will block her path with thorn bushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.  She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them…” (Hosea 2:6-7a)

That was the story of my life!  God blocked me at every turn.  God did not allow any of those “relationships” to be successful.  When confronted with this reality I behaved like Gomer again.  Instead of truly accepting God’s love for me and realizing that everything I needed I could find in Him, I only would go back to God in between pursuits.

“…Then she will say, I will go back to my husband, as at first, for then I was better off  than now, she has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold…” (Hosea 2:7b-8)

Just like Gomer, I was broken down! (See Hosea 2:9-13) I was taken to a place of isolation, where I felt undesirable.  All the attention I used to get from men disappeared and the males that were in my life showed their true colors in such a way that I could not ignore how they really felt about me.  I suffered through the feeling that God had “divorced” me.  I cried out and there was no answer; I longed for His comfort but could not feel Him.

BUT GOD!  He caused Hosea to show mercy on Gomer.  “…Go show your love to your wife again…” (Hosea 3:1a)  By this point, Gomer had become a slave as I had. I was struggling with depression, hopelessness, and feelings of condemnation.  Hosea brought Gomer back just as God delivered and restored me.

“…You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you…” (Hosea 3:3)  Hosea recommitted to his covenant relationship with Gomer but not without specific guidelines.  This mirrored my renewed covenant with God to live as a single, saved, CELIBATE woman serving God only.  Do I desire to be married and have children?  Yes, it’s one my heart’s desires. However, like Gomer, I had to learn to be faithful to my “FIRST HUSBAND”, the lover of my soul.

My story is that I continuously left God for men, but it may not be men for you.  It may be your ambition, your job, drugs, anger etc.  Be encouraged and know that God can and will forgive and restore you.  This journey has been a difficult one and I admit I have fallen several times, but I thank God that not only did He not leave me, His love kept coming after me.  Everything I’ve searched after in men, I have found in God.  “…I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her, there I will give her back her vineyards and will make the Valley of Achor, a door of hope, there she will sing as in the days of her youth…” (Hosea 2:14-15)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unconditional, everlasting love.  Thank You for never letting me go but instead correcting and continuing to make me into the woman You have called me to be.  Lord, help me to remain faithful to You.  Help me not to get so anxious at the prospect of earthly romance that I give my heart prematurely without consulting You.  Help me to acknowledge You in all my ways and allow You to direct my life.  Never let me forget that You are the lover of my soul and my faithfulness will always belong to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to stop cheating on God!! Reconcile and reunite with the Lover of your soul, for He loves you so much that He died for you and continues to come after you. He wants to bless you beyond anything you can imagine.  However, He can’t do what He wants to do in you and through you if you continue to be unfaithful to Him.

Enter our special Women’s Month Contest here.

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.”

She is Me: Sarah

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

Busy Being God Jr.

Nearing graduation from college, I thought I had it all figured out. I was NOT moving back to Chicago, but instead I was going to make my home in the south, get a great job and start my life with my self-chosen future husband. It sounded like a wonderful plan to me, but God said, “No, if you listen to me and do it my way, I promise that I have a MUCH better plan for you.” Not really convinced that His plan was going to please me the way that mine was, I began working hard to put my plan into motion. I applied to several jobs in the southern region and began making preparations for life that my future and I would lead together. I was hell-bent on helping God out! How many of you can be honest and admit that He has promised to do some things in your life, but you couldn’t understand how what He told you was better than what you had envisioned? Or better yet, you didn’t see the evidence of the promise coming to fruition fast enough so you decided to be God Jr.? If you are afraid to admit it, I’ll show you someone who is just like me…

God promised Abraham (Abram) that his wife, Sarah (Sarai), would have a son and that from that child his descendants would be too great to number. Abraham believed God’s word; however, Sarah couldn’t imagine that at her old age she would really be able to bear a child. That was heartbreaking to her because she knew her husband really desired a son so that his offspring could inherit his kingdom. So, just like me, she set out to assist God in making things happen.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (Genesis 16:1-3 NLT)

Sarah’s plan seemed like the perfect fix to her solution…and so did mine! She would now have a child through a surrogate mother and her husband would be satisfied. Likewise, I refused to believe that God truly wanted me back in Chicago. I wouldn’t settle for missing out on my one true love in life, so I went on several interviews with very reputable companies. Everyone was pleased with my resume` and my overall package. I was promised jobs from at least three employers. I even started searching for a permanent place to stay. I’m sure I was thinking that God should’ve been thanking me because I was helping Him out tremendously!

Oh, but my plans, just like Sarah’s, went awry! Abram had intercourse with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she found out that she was pregnant, she became proud and despised Sarai. (Genesis 16:4 GNT) Sarah’s plan fell apart right before her eyes! Instead of carrying a child for her mistress, Hagar began to hate Sarah and wanted to keep the baby. My plans quickly unraveled too. Of the three job leads that I had been promised, each one fell through in a matter of days. I even attempted to reach my interviewer at one of the companies and I was told that no one by that name had ever worked there! I was baffled. Why was this happening to me? I knew that my plan was suitable for my life! Instead of admitting that I was trying to operate in direct opposition of God’s will, I immediately starting pointing the blame finger. As you can imagine, the recruiters from those companies were at the top of my list. Again, Sarah and I were running neck and neck! Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. (Genesis 16:5 NIV)

In all of our blatant disobedience and disrespect to God, He was still so gracious to the both of us. He STILL kept His promise that was made to us, even though neither of us had an ounce of faith in the words that He spoke over our lives. In efforts to sabotage a job in Chicago, I never showed up to the interview and never gave a reason why. However, God STILL kept that position for me. Even in my adamant state to hold on to a man that I just knew was my future, God STILL brought the man that He designed specifically for me into my life to become my husband. Even though Sarah chose not to cling to God in her season of barrenness and instead took matters into her own hands, He STILL blessed her with a child. “Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.” (Genesis 21:1-3 NLT) Oh what a gracious and merciful God we serve! And I think I can speak for both Sarah and me when I say that God was right—His plan was much better!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for this multi-part lesson on faith, obedience and patience. Lord, I ask that You help my unbelief. If there are areas where my faith wavers, please strengthen those places. Help me to believe You and stand on Your word, regardless of what I feel like should happen. Lord, I pray that You would turn my heart so that I yield to every command that You give me. Help me to take my hands off of situations so that You are in control. Finally, I ask that You teach me patience. I understand that the only way to learn patience is by waiting, so I ask that You give me the strength to hold out for Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to believe God the first time! I EMPOWER you to understand that He doesn’t need your help determining His will for your life, nor has He ordained you as God Jr.! Instead of trying to manipulate things to your suiting, I EMPOWER your faith to increase, your obedience to be automatic and your patience to strengthen.

Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  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 two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

She is Me: Esther

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

For Such a Time as This!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

She is Me: Abigail

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

The Fool And I

Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. (I Samuel 25: 18-19 NIV)

The Bible tells us that Abigail was married to Nabal, whose name literally means “fool”. How often have you had to deal with a fool? Someone who refused to listen to reason and instead marched head long into a situation you knew would lead to ruin? When this happens, how do you handle your emotions and words? Are you like Abigail, who waited until an opportune time (prompted by the Holy Spirit) before she spoke to her foolish husband?

I am currently dealing with someone who knows how to push every single button I have. I have never been closer to “losing my religion” than when dealing with this person. This individual has hurt me in ways that I can’t even explain. But due to their position in my life, I am unable to completely sever ties (like I usually do). One particular day last week, I had a speech all ready for this person. I  was going to tell them off good, but the opportunity never presented itself.  The Lord spoke to me and told me two things: 1) the conversation would not have been wise and 2) I need to work on extending grace.

The Bible admonishes us in Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding(KJV) The Holy Spirit had me look up definitions for understanding and this is what I found:

Understanding: 1) Sympathetic, tolerant or wise towards people 2) Possessing judgment and intelligence 3)Having the ability to perceive or understand; keen discernment

When dealing with others (especially those that get under my skin), I must learn to be understanding (tolerant) of them. If I am honest with myself, I have not always been like Abigail. I am sure there are more times than I would like to admit that I have been more like Nabal, a fool. Had I gotten my way and had that conversation with that individual I would have said things that were not of God, emotions would have taken over and who knows where things would have gone. I thank God that He gave me time so I could let the Holy Spirit remove those thoughts from me. I sit here today free of any burden. Instead of “telling” that person off, I spoke to my Heavenly Father. In the end, Nabal was so overcome by the news that Abigail shared that he had a heart attack and died. Now, I am not wishing ill on anyone, but I will say that God will remove things from you. Either literally as in the death of Abigail’s husband or figuratively as in removing the anger you feel towards that person.

Whatever method God chooses to use, trust Him and do not try and take control of the situation.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for loving me enough to give me examples of how a woman should behave. Allow the Holy Spirit to remove any embittered and battling spirit that may dwell within me. Help me to use words of wisdom and understanding when I speak to difficult people. When I am nearing frustration help me to remember how patient You are with me. Help me to learn to extend the same grace and mercy You have given to me. I understand I should not live like women of the world and allow my emotions to take over. I invite the Holy Spirit to dwell within me, so my words, thoughts and actions will line up with You. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to trust God to handle the difficult people in your life start by extending them grace just as He has for you. 

Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

She is Me: Lot’s Wife

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

Don’t Look Back!

Wavering is a part of human nature, and I am no stranger to it. When facing the need to make decisions that will be life changing it is crucial to take the time to consider all options, weigh the pros and cons, and of course pray for guidance.  Once I pray and hear from God though, it is imperative that I take heed to His words and proceed accordingly.  I have been chronically guilty of not doing the latter in the past when making decisions.  Specifically, when it came to letting go of relationships that I knew were unhealthy.  I would pray and hear from God clearly that I didn’t have to cease to love them, yet it was time for me to let go, or walk away.  Then, I did the unthinkable.

I looked back.

I looked back at all of the good times we shared over the years. I looked back at all of the love, the pain, the tears, joy, laughter and comfort that was born of these relationships.  I would count the years invested and think of how many albums full of pictures of good memories I had. Then I would think to myself, “God can’t possibly want me to walk away from all of this time! What would life be like for me without this person or that person? For us? If we didn’t have each other?”

But, that was exactly what God wanted for me!

Lot’s wife looked back too, and she paid with her life.

In Genesis chapter 19, we learn that Lot was instructed by two angels to take his family and leave the city of Sodom, and that Lot was hesitant. He didn’t want to leave the home he and his family had come to know “…Hurry! Take your wife and two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished. When he hesistated, the men grasped the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city for the Lord was merciful to them.” (Genesis 19:15-16 NIV)  As important as it was for the angels to get Lot and his family out of the city, what they said to them once outside the city was most important of all! “Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!” (Genesis 19:17 NIV)

Lot, his two daughters and wife reached Zoar safely, as God had promised they would. “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26 NIV

Don’t look back!

The word from God sent through the angels could not have been anymore clear.  Similarly, the word of God was quite blatant to me when I decided to stay in the relationships. I would look back over our relationship and in my weakness I would pray for God to make me stronger instead of leaving like I was instructed to do. I looked back and remembered times when they behaved selfishly over and over again, and instead of leaving I prayed that God would make them more compassionate. Though I was spared and not turned to a pillar of salt, when I stayed in those relationships I suffered with hurt feelings, neglect and years and years of wasted time!

“We live by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

Don’t look back!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your mercy, grace and protection during the times I went against Your will and leaned not on faith in Your word, but my own understanding.  I thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and I have no need to fear as long as I am walking according to Your will in my life.  Please continue to order my footsteps in all that I do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to “set your hearts on things above where Christ is….” (Colossians 3:1 NIV).  Trust the word of God when you hear it, whether you believe it is what’s best or not, knowing that His will and plan for your life is ALWAYS best. Remember, sorry looks back, worry looks around and FAITH LOOKS FORWARD!

Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”