Direction/Guidance, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Motivation, Obedience, Submission/Surrendering

Consider Your Ways!

Some days I feel like a hamster on a wheel. I am spinning and spinning but going nowhere.  I am doing all of the things that I think are important to get results and the results compared to the effort are meager at best. I put one dollar in the bank and I have to withdraw two. Like Paula Abdul sang, “I take two steps forward, I take two steps back.”  What’s really going on? Although this may not be my self-proclaimed “season,” it has caused me to take an assessment of myself and ask God to show me what, if anything, I am doing to cause a delay in my harvest.

In that spirit, I have recommitted myself to my morning devotionals. Admittedly for the past year or more, I have hit the “dismiss” button on the alarm every morning at 5:00AM. I’m not perfect but I am working on it. During a recent devotion, I was lead to a story in Haggai (don’t know if I have ever truly studied that book) that spoke volumes into my life and I hope it will speak to you as well.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house.” Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” (Haggai 1:2-3 NIV)

To give you some background, the temple of Lord was destroyed and was in ruins and He told the people to rebuild it. The people started on the temple but failed to complete it. Instead they focused on their own homes and personal satisfaction. It is now some years later.

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says:
“Give careful thought to your ways.
You have planted much, but harvested little.
You eat, but never have enough.
You drink, but never have your fill.
You put on clothes, but are not warm.
You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”            

(Haggai 1:5-6 NIV) 

Whoa! I re-read this time and time again. It was as if the words on the pages were jumping out at me. Surely Ecclesiastes tells us that there is “nothing new under the sun.”  These verses from BC described exactly how I was feeling in 2011 AD.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops.  I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” (Haggai 1: 7-11 NIV)

Surely, God was holding back the blessings on these people because they were too busy handling their own affairs to handle His. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away.”

As I studied this passage, I came across a few questions that I am truthfully still dealing with. 1. Has God told me to do anything for Him that I am procrastinating on? 2. Has God told me to stop doing something that I haven’t? 3. Am I really just in a “waiting” period?

Continually, I am asking for revelation and guidance because I don’t want to be like the people in Haggai who are earning wages only to put it in a purse with holes. I don’t want Him to withhold the dew or the crops out of my life. I am serious about reaping the harvest that God promised me and I dare not be a stumbling block to my own blessings. I am considering my ways and I encourage you to do the same.

Dear Daddy,

It’s easy to repeat “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL these things shall be added unto you” but help me to live it. Remove me from getting in the way of my own blessings. Lord reveal to me where I am falling short and not being obedient to Your instruction. Lord, don’t withhold the dew! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to consider your ways! God may have you in a holding pattern because He is waiting on you to do as He has instructed before He patches the holes in your purse or ends the drought on your land. 

Today is your last chance to enter our contest! Click here for more details.

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.

Obedience, Soul Ties, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

Let It Go!

As I was attempting to write my EmpowerMoment, I was sitting on my couch and my daughter started crying. When my child is upset and I am trying to figure out what is wrong I tend to become upset as well because I am the lioness and she is my cub. After she finally calmed down she told me, “I don’t want to leave my daycare behind. I don’t want to leave her Mommy.” So I said, “You are a big girl and it is time to go to school.” She replied, “No, Mom. She said she will never see me again and that I won’t like my new school.” 

My baby has been at a home daycare for about three years and of course she has become attached to her provider. She will be turning five in two months and it’s time to let her explore the world. I am sure that her daycare provider is attached to her as well but there comes a time when even young children have to say good-bye. I was about to become agitated about her having that conversation with my daughter because I felt that she should have been encouraging her about starting a new school. However, instead of getting mad I thought about Philippians 3: 12-14. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

I told my baby that her new school is a new opportunity where she will expand her knowledge base. I also explained that in her new school she will learn a new language, have dance class and go on many educational field trips. I told her that sometimes we have to let go of the old things in order to get what God has for us.

That little scenario sparked a fire in me because I thought about how often I sit and think about what I used to be and how far I have come. It made me think about how a couple of years ago I was the life of the party and had “friends” to sell. At first it was pretty hard to accept that “my crew” didn’t come with me.  And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9: 61-62 NIV) I realized that I had to let people and things go because I cannot get what God has for me looking back. If the people I lost were in God’s will for my life He would have saw to it that they come with me.

There are so many people and things that God is removing from my life. I know that God is removing them because it is painless. I am learning that if God removes it, then I need to let it go. Sometimes it’s very hard for us to let go of the past but we have to ask ourselves this question: “How can I get what God has for me if I don’t let the past go?”

Honestly, sometimes I feel empty with the many things and people that God has removed from my life but He has filled the empty voids with the fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22-23 NIV) There are many, many things in my past but I have learned to “Let It Go!”

Dear Daddy,

I thank You today for being a forgiving and merciful God. I thank You for protecting me in my past, even when I didn’t know I needed protection. I pray that I release the past so it will not follow me into my future. When I start to reminiscence on the past, I pray that You will direct me toward Your word and my future. Teach me, dear God, to operate in Your will so that You can show me the divine purpose for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to leave the past in the past. If you have past hurts, relationships, people, jobs, places and/ or materialistic things that God has removed from your life, you need to let it go. Do not hold up what God has for you another second, minute, hour or day. Let the past be the past and focus on your future! I want you to know today that God has great things in store for those who diligently seek Him. Stop focusing on things that can’t add to your life and LET THEM GO!

Rep your city and enter our monthly contest by clicking here!

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.

Contests

Empower Yourself to Win!

Each month EmpowerMoments features a contest with some really cool prizes. Everyone loves to win FREE stuff so be sure to participate! Come and join the winner’s circle!

August Contest:

REP YOUR CITY!

We want to know where are readers are from! To enter this month’s contest, simply leave a comment on THIS post letting us know where you are checking in from. It’s that easy!

One person will receive this beautiful 2012 planner. Why? Because we love you AND the year is coming to a close and we want you to be prepared and organized in 2012! Be sure to enter soon. This contest ends on Wednesday. Happy Winnings!

**The fine print: You must be an active subscriber at the end of the contest period to be eligible for the prizes. Limit one entry per person. Contest ends August 31, 2011 @ 11:59pm CST.  All winners will be chosen by a random number generator and announced on September 2, 2011. If you have any questions, please email us at empowermoments@gmail.com. EmpowerMoments team members are not eligible to win prizes.**

Attitude, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Motivation, Strength, Submission/Surrendering

Pain BEFORE Pleasure

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5 NLT)

Every time I take a flight I end up in excruciating pain. The cabin pressure coupled with the 30,000 feet elevation always causes my ears to stop up. Of course this is a common side effect of flying but my case is a bit more severe than many others. Most people’s ears will pop sometime during the flight or at the very latest, during the descension. However, mine won’t pop and relieve the tension until a much later time—often days later. This only results in a terrible pain that usually pushes me to the point of tears. Each time that I experience that pain, I vow to myself that I will never fly again. As a matter of fact, on my last flight to celebrate a close friend’s birthday, I promised myself that that was the absolute last time that I would subject my body to that type of torture.

My flying woes remind me of the painful situations that we endure in life. While we are in the midst of our various situations, we are experiencing so much hurt and despair. After the loss of a loved one, the pain is so intense that we can’t understand how we will be able to endure without them. When we lose employment, the agony and worry of making ends meet is so nerve wrecking that we can’t see how we are going to make it until we get another job. As physical pain is ravishing through our bodies due to chronic illnesses or disease, it’s almost impossible to imagine when our temples will be whole again. I’ve found that the key to enduring the pain of these situations is reflection. As I endure my flight pain, I have to remind myself of two things: (1) I have to remember how the pain subsided after the last flight. I have to remind myself that it won’t last always. After all, it NEVER does. The cliché goes, “Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not the ok, it’s not the end.” (2) I reminisce on the great times I experienced when I made it to my final destination. The memories made in Bermuda, Paris, Spain and all of the other wonderful places I have visited are indescribable. Yes, after the pain subsides there is a wonderful life to be enjoyed. It is imperative that you don’t get so caught up in the pain of your situation that you forget how God brought you through the last time. Look forward to what’s to come. Just as the scripture above states, joy comes in the morning. Redirect your attention from the weeping and pain to the joy and pleasure that is on the way!

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. (Romans 8:18 NLT)

If I choose to no longer fly, there are many places that I will never have the opportunity to explore and experience. So the temporary ear pain is necessary to see those places. Likewise, many of the blessings that God has in store for you are directly connected to your point of pain. If you don’t experience that pain, you will not experience the coming pleasure.

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for the painful times in my life. I pray that you give me the strength to endure those periods when it really hurts. Please give me the power to stand when I really just want to throw in the towel. Remind me of the previous victories that I have experienced. Remind me of the future promises that You will perform. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to simply endure the pain. Pain sets you up for His promises of pleasure. Pain also helps you to truly appreciate those moments of pleasure.

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 more than anything. 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.

Attitude, Faith, God's Protection, Gratefulness, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

The Best Thing I Never Had

I am sorry Ms. Shelton, but we went with another candidate.  We do not wish to offer you the position at this time.”  Excuse me?! I was baffled.  I just knew that this was the job that God had placed in my life and that it would be mine.  However, God had a different plan and I felt that He did not give me the memo.  Many times that’s our problem–thinking that God has to notify us of His plans.

For those of you who do not know me, I am the type of person that at any given time may have at least 2 -3 jobs at once. This job I was anticipating on getting would have been another full-time job on top of the full-time and part-time ones I already have.  Now I know you are thinking that would have been impossible to pull off.  However, in my mind I had convinced myself that I could do all three because of the flexibility of my other jobs.

In retrospect, I feel that God essentially saved me from myself.  He saved me from stressing myself out, being overwhelmed and not having time to take out for me.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5 NIV)  The Lord knew what was best for me.  In my mind I could handle the job, but God knew differently.

Often times it is easy for us to thank God for all the many blessings that He has bestowed upon us.  We praise Him for the new car, promotion, new job or perfect mate. The problem, however, is that we often react in a childlike manner when God tells us NO.  Be just as thankful for the best things you never had.  Thank God for that job that you did not get that would have taken you away from the time you get to spend with your family.  Praise the Lord for the relationship you thought was destined for marriage, but He knew differently.  We have to learn to be just as content with the NO answers that God gives us as the YES ones.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing certain things and people not to manifest in our lives.  We have to learn to lean on You and trust Your will for our lives instead of what we want.  Please allow us to see that anything You do in our lives is for a reason even if we do not know what that may be.  Thank You for proving to us time and time again that some things we thought we wanted or needed so bad were some of the best things that never happened in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, take a look back at all the things in your life that God said NO to. EMPOWER yourselves to trust in the Lord and not lean on your own understanding.  Continue to learn from all the things that did not occur in your life and be thankful for the many amazing things that did.

Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women as well as offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Blessings, Congratulations, Employment, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Obedience, Trusting God

Blessings Out of Unusual Circumstances

A few days ago marked the seventh anniversary of the day I was arrested.  Back then I knew a girl who was a professional “booster” and despite my mother’s warning about her character, I decided to associate with her.  By the end of that summer, I had gained a friend along with a rap sheet. 

It sounded like a good idea when she offered to steal me a few outfits in exchange for a ride to the mall.  It seemed harmless yet beneficial to be a chauffeur for the day if I would be able to return to my Black college campus in style for my sophomore year.  With over $2,000 worth of “HOT” merchandise we proceeded to exit the doors of Carson Pirie Scott only to be abruptly stopped by security.  To make a long story short, God blessed me with a public defender that was able to get my charge reduced from a FELONY to a misdemeanor.  He hopefully instructed me that I would be able to get the charge expunged or sealed by the time I graduated in three years.  However, seven years have passed and I’m still waiting…

Last week my cousin informed me of a job fair for ex-offenders.  Instantly, I felt as if there was nothing they could offer me because I refused to work a factory job having obtained a Bachelor’s degree and pursuing a Master’s.  In my mind, ex-offenders are only left with the bottom of the barrel positions because no one hires us anyway…so why bother?  Despite my lack of enthusiasm, my cousin continued to throw the idea around until I gave in. 

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NIV)

As I drove in silence, I chose to take that moment and talk to God.  I was sure to express that I was not exactly sure why I was even going but I learned as a little girl that obedience to God is better than any sacrificial offering.  I went even further to verbalize that no matter what the outcome, this would be at least an opportunity to promote EmpowerMoments in order to give Him the glory.  I promised that I would give a card to every woman in the room–job or not.

After visiting a few tables I realized there was a live radio broadcast going on by a local station.  I made my way over in hopes of talking to someone about a job that would utilize my Telecommunications degree.  However, I was asked to sit down for an impromptu interview.  I eagerly grab the headphones and adjusted the mic for my debut.  Just being myself, I intrigued the station manager enough for a one on one once the q&a wrapped up.  She was impressed by my natural ability to roll with the punches but she was truly WOWED by my excitement for EmpowerMoments!  I passed her a card and gave her a quick overview of what we stand for.  By the end of my synopsis she offered me a trial spot on Sundays entitled EMPOWERMOMENTS!   

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

God is so awesome that He literally turned an upset into a setup for a blessing.  Not only did He give me faith that someone will hire me despite my past but He showed me that as long as I am seeking to glorify Him there are NO LIMITS! 

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for turning a gloomy situation into a splendid opportunity.  Please forgive me for the times that I have placed restrictions and boundaries on You.  You have turned my circumstances around on many occasions only to add credibility to my testimony. Thank you!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I encourage each of you to EMPOWER yourself to remove the limits from God.  Let Him take control for a moment and doors that have been closed before will be opened and your blessing will be there with your name on it! Be Blessed! 🙂

Allow Israel & New Breed’s “Take the Limits Off” to minister to you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5gMiYGG5AE

Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn” Isaiah 54:17

Blessings, Honesty/Truth, Mentoring, Obedience

Set the Stage…

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33 KJV

I was talking to one of my mentees a few moments ago and she asked me about a situation with her and her boyfriend. She was upset and distraught because now that he was angry over something simple, she felt as though she couldn’t move into his apartment with him, which happens to be a few states away. I tried my best not to be so blunt, but I think that’s why she asked me for advice in the first place.

This was my actual instant message:

“To be honest, it doesn’t seem as though you are setting up things in your favor anyway. You have to set the stage for God to bless you; He won’t do that if you are staying with a man you aren’t married to. (Sorry, you know I’m straightforward.) God blesses obedience. This seems like such a simple issue for him to get mad over (a shirt), but sometimes God has to wake us up in order for us to see the big picture. You are worth too much to degrade yourself like that. #straightnochaser.”

Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are asking God to bless our mess. As I grow, I look back on my life and some of my old prayer journals and I either try to hide from God in embarrassment or laugh at the thought of me actually thinking God was going to bless my mess.

I remember dating a guy in college that I thought was a god. I am not kidding! I fell into the depths of compromise and even found myself compromising my beliefs, my spirituality, and even my comfort zone. It was just nothing good about it. I stumbled upon an old prayer journal, which had to be burned immediately, that spoke about asking God to bless our “union” and for us to have a prosperous life together. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t even set the stage right. We weren’t seeking God to guide our friendship. As a matter of fact, I think we ignored God.  We didn’t act in love (to be patient and kind), and instead acted in lust. His good looks drove me and not his heart. “Do not lust in your heart after her (his) beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.” (Proverbs 6:25NIV) I flat out disobeyed this nugget of guidance.  I liked the way he talked and not the content of his conversation. I did not approach him with my standards, my love for God, and my seriousness about living a life pleasing to God. I did not use this scripture to strengthen me: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV) I didn’t set the stage right for God to bless that relationship. God’s word says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4 KJV)

I was not acting in obedience. “If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” (Job 36:11 NIV) How was He going to bless my mess?

As with all of my mentees, I uncovered myself and shared my mirrored past with her. I wasn’t trying to play the “you shacking so you are going to hell” card because that was not the point. The point was, you can’t expect God to pour out prosperity if you aren’t in position to serve and receive.

Dear Daddy,

Words cannot express the number of times Your mercy has spared me. Where I am today is only a testament to how You’ve carried me, forgiven me and loved me. My future rests in Your hands and as I strive to continue to be a woman after Your heart, please keep my mind and heart sensitive to Your direction.  I know that it’s only with You that I can make it to be what You’ve called me to be. Thank You for Your big eraser that has erased my past and given me a clean slate. (Isaiah 1:18 NIV) In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to set the stage right! Check your situation. Make sure that the life you are asking God to lead has His stamp of approval and if you aren’t sure, then line it up with His word and see if it matches. If you still aren’t sure, then wait. The Lord will not steer you wrong. Sometimes waiting is the best option. “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)

To my mentee,

Thank you for trusting me to give you advice in this matter, you could have picked anyone. Throughout our talk, I was confident that you knew the answer anyway and I am blessed to know that you felt empowered to continue to be “God’s Girl” after our chat. Thank you for letting me share our story. God’s got ya back. I know for a fact that you will be alright! God’s blessings to you on your first year in college!

Love,
Mrs. Lady K

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.

Evangelism, Salvation

Preaching To The Choir

I am quite sure the vast majority of us have heard the phrase, “Preaching to the Choir.” Just in case you are in the minority let me give you the definition according to urbandictionary.com :). Preaching to the choiryou are trying to make believers out of people who already believe, or convince people who are already convinced.

And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5: 31-32 KJV)

As much as I love writing for EmpowerMoments, sometimes it can be an overwhelming task. Although I don’t always get it right, I want my messages to speak to people at all levels. Sometimes I notice that many of the blogs are written for people who have some foundation and experience with Christ. Although you may receive confirmation and encouragement through the process, my goal is to reach people who either have shaky foundations or none at all. I am trying to reach and teach my fellow “breakers of the ten commandments.” My goal isn’t to judge through my writing but to let you know that I relate to your human experience. Just like many of you, sometimes I wonder if God hears me or knows the trials I am going through. Some of you may wonder if God even cares about you. At times, I have the audacity to question Him too. Many times I get so caught up in finding a scripture to fit “my” story, that I almost miss the opportunity to convey the story in a way that it is relevant to your life.

Just as it is with EmpowerMoments, it is with life. Many of us find ourselves entertaining friends, family and even strangers in our daily encounters. It is our opportunity to bring someone to Christ but sometimes we can be judgmental, “holier than thou art” and turn people away. Jesus’ style of witnessing was refreshing. He showed mercy and compassion through His actions and won souls by telling illustrative stories (parables) that people could relate to. Unlike the supercritical Pharisees, He didn’t spend His time sharing the good news with people who already knew it, instead He dined with sinners.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:1-7 NIV)

Many of us need to be more like Jesus. Step out of our comfort zones and look for lost sheep. The majority of us don’t have to look far and some of us don’t have to leave the house. What we have to keep in mind is that God loves sinners (not sin) just as much as He loves everyone else; therefore, our approach should be out of love. We are called for His purpose and that is to make believers out of nonbelievers. Will you continue to preach to the choir or search for lost sheep?

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing my life to be a testimony for You. Help me to teach in a way that shows more of You through the lessons You have taught me. Forgive me and show me when I am placing judgment and self-righteousness in the way of relating to people and winning souls for You. Lord, if there be anyone that is reading this who does not know You, God I ask that you open up their heart to receive You and that they beg Your forgiveness for their sins. Send someone in their life that can minister to their spirit. Allow them to be a witness for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to look beyond the choir! Go to lunch or have a sit down with someone that is a lost or wayward sheep. I EMPOWER you to remember from whence you came and let your light shine while you bring others to the fold.

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.

Faith, Finances, God's Provisons, Inspirational, Stress, Trusting God

Who or What Do You Put Your Trust In?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3: 5-6 NKJV)

Recently the job I had been working for the last few years ended and I went back to what I love to do—teaching in the classroom. I contemplated looking for a job in administration but I wasn’t really interested in doing that. However, not finding another job similar to the one that ended meant a pay decrease. As bad as the economy is, I was wondering if that was really a smart thing to do. My thoughts were: “How am I going to continue living my life and spending money the way that I like to?  How would we pay for bills, daycare, ballet, restaurants and SHOPPING whenever I wanted?” I  started talking to people,  instead  of talking to God (I know, I know), and they were sharing lots of great leads to better paying jobs and reminding me that if I needed anything they had my back.  

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6 NASB).

I was talking to a friend and I started to complain about how things were going to be tight and how I was going to have to learn to budget, save and cut back. I told her about the many bills I have and how I would definitely miss the extra money. I was instantly convicted and started thinking about Matthew 6: 25-27. “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (NASB) I didn’t realize that I depended more on money than trusting God. Don’t be confused, I know that a man that doesn’t work, doesn’t eat but I didn’t know that my relationship with money was so extreme. I started to think about all the times I was so exhausted to the point of making myself sick because I wanted money so badly to do whatever I wanted to do.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” (Psalm 118:8 NKJV)

I really had to sit back and think about all the things and people I have trusted and I realized that my main resource is God. I reflected on all the times that I trusted people and they failed me and all the times I trusted in money and I lost it or had to use it for something I wasn’t planning to use it for. I had to ask God for forgiveness because I know that God is going to take care of me like He has done so many times before. I was worried about something that God had already worked out for me. We can trust in many things. None, however, offer the protection plan, the long-term security, or the benefit that trusting in God offers. All of the other things can fail but God never fails. Who Or What Do You Put Your Trust In?

Trust God in EVERY Area!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for protecting me even when I put my trust in something or someone else. Thank You, God, for never leaving or forsaking me even when I didn’t look to You and I looked to others. God, I am asking for forgiveness for not coming to You for every part of my life. Thank You for being my strength when I was weak. Thank You for being my relief when I was pressured by life. Thank You, God, for being my refuge when I needed security. I thank You, God, for teaching me to trust You through the good and the bad times. Lord, I will never put my trust in anything other than You again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to put your full and complete trust in God. Trust God with your whole heart. I EMPOWER you to trust God through good times and bad times. You should never let your trust waiver or lose faith when you can’t see your way. I EMPOWER you totrust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6NKJV).” Believe and trust that God can do anything but fail and despite what you need; He will take care of you.

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.

Mentor/Mentee, Mentoring, Mother/Daughter

Don’t Leave Them, LEAD Them!

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18 NIV)

At the beginning of the summer, my younger cousin and I decided that we would go for a brisk run a few times a week.  In the days leading up to our first run together, she talked a lot of trash about how far she could run. She told me that if I wasn’t able to keep up with her then I was truly out of shape. She went on and on talking about what she could do, much like many other young people I know. The evening of our inaugural run proved to be a much different story than what she had proclaimed for several days prior. After jogging for about a minute and a half she had to stop and take a break. I thought, “Surely, this can’t the same girl who told me that I was out of shape?!” There was at least a two block stretch between the two of us for the duration of our 45 minute run. Under normal circumstances, I would have used that entire situation as an opportunity to rub it in her face and remind her of all the trash that she talked beforehand. However, God used the situation to show me what my responsibility as an older, wiser woman is.

As we grow older, we tend forget that we were once the same hard headed, know-it-all, think our men and friends are God, can’t tell me anything, young girls that we despise so much. It’s so easy to get frustrated and give up on the younger women. However, we have been given specific instructions about how we are to train and mentor the ones coming behind us:

Then they [older women] can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5 NIV)

As I mentioned before, I was a great distance ahead of my cousin but I would periodically turn around to make sure that I could still see her. I had to ensure that she was still making progress. As long as she was still pressing forward, I was leading her along the path and not leaving her.  It is imperative that the older generations don’t get so caught up in running our race that we aren’t checking on those coming behind us. Yes, it may take them a little longer to understand or even want to understand, but we have to make sure that they are still pushing forward. If I couldn’t see her when I turned around, I would pause for a moment to give her a chance to get in my eyesight. Maybe it’s time that we pressed pause on our lives to check on the progress of the young women around us.

Occasionally along our running path I would notice a large stick or stone. Since I knew she was coming behind me, I would take a moment to kick it out of the way. I was concerned that she would not see the hazards and stumble and fall. It seems that we have gotten to a point where we want the younger generations to overcome all of the obstacles that we had to and struggle the way that we did. I definitely think we must be cautious in our approach so that we aren’t nurturing a bunch of spoiled brats; however, it is equally important that we make life a little easier for those coming up in the rear. Share what you have learned so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes. Because you are more mature and wiser, you can recognize hazards in relationships or friendships long before they see them. Help them to recognize and remove those things and/or people that would be detrimental to their future.

My cousin made it home about ten minutes after I did. Again, I could have taunted her and reminded her that I was the one out of shape. Instead, I chose to congratulate her on a job well done. After all, the race is not given to the swift… More important than me winning was me celebrating how far she had come. Ironically enough, I didn’t have to say anything. Her first words were, “Whew! I’m really out of shape!” I know it’s definitely tempting to get in her face and say, “I told you so!” after she makes a mistake. But if she has already realized what went wrong along her path, then celebrate her progress! Revelation is cause for celebration!

One last important point to remember is that we too can learn something from the youngsters. This entire EmpowerMoment was a lesson learned from a 22-year-old. Please don’t ever get to so “learned” that you aren’t teachable—even by those younger than you.

I know that these teenage girls and young 20 somethings can be a handful, but we cannot give up on them. We have been given a biblical charge to train, mentor and love on them until they get it right. Remember 10, 20, maybe even 30 years ago when you were the same person you now want to write off…

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I acted as if I was better than the young ladies that You have surrounded me with. Help me to live a life that is fitting to be imitated. Give me the words to speak that would encourage, uplift and inspire the younger generations. I thank You for entrusting young women in my care; help me to live up to Your expectations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to take an active mentor role in that young woman’s life. If you aren’t sure who that young woman is, ask yourself whose decisions and actions really baffle and anger you. You are the one that God wants to use to EMPOWER her! Choose to make an investment in the lives of your daughters, nieces, cousins, students, co-workers, etc.

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 more than anything. 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.