Accountability, God's Provisons, Obedience, Sin

But It Looks So Good!

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3: 2-6 NIV)

I imagine that it wouldn’t have been so easy to tempt Eve if the fruit on that tree was dull, bruised and rotten.  Notice, I didn’t say apple.  The Bible doesn’t specify what type of fruit it was, but I digress.  If the fruit wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, she probably would’ve given the serpent the “yuck face” and went on about her merry way.  But that’s not how the enemy tempted her.  The scripture tells us that this fruit was “pleasing to the eye.”  With our sight the enemy tempts us to disobey God.  He tempts us with that “thing” that we know we don’t need, but it looks so good to us.  As a matter of fact, many times that “thing” appears when you are vulnerable.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t have the same value.  It wouldn’t look soooo good.

Recently, I had the opportunity to make some extra money doing something that is almost second nature to me.  Although I knew what I would be doing was unethical, the large sum of money that I could make appealed to me.  All I could think of was using the money to get some items I wanted for my house and my closet.  I had already gone window shopping in my mind.  I would also be helping someone and in turn they would be “helping” me.  Since I knew I probably couldn’t do the task alone, I solicited one of my close friends to help.  I figured she could use the extra money too.  That’s when that still small voice spoke to me and said with great clarity, “But, why? Why are you doing this? Do you not trust me? Have I not supplied all of your needs? If you take this, you will miss out on the greater that I have in store for you.”  I wrestled with this all day.  Was it really God?  Wasn’t this an opportunity?  I knew better.  I knew that God would never support dishonesty and disobedience to His will.  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:13-14 KJV)

What was this “greater” that God was speaking of?  Was I willing to risk what God had in store for me for something that in comparison would be so miniscule?  I decided it wasn’t worth the risk, but I didn’t fully release it.

She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. …The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:6,12 NIV)  Less than a week later, the opportunity was withdrawn and I felt such a heavy weight lifted.  I decided not to partake; however I was still involving my friend in something that we both knew was wrong.  I rationalized in my own head that if God didn’t want her to do it, surely He would talk to her.  I ended up telling her how God spoke to me and she compared my action of passing the assignment to her to a child who gets admonished for doing something or being told no, so they tell their sibling to do it instead.  She was right.  When God told me to let it go, I was supposed to completely let it go.  However, I am glad that I serve a merciful God because in the short time since this happened I can see how God is blessing me with that “greater.”

Money isn’t always the subject of temptation.  Many of you may face temptation in a variety of ways. You made a commitment to take care of your temple (body); yet, everywhere you turn there are the most delectable desserts and scrumptious entrees.  You’ve been single for quite some time or maybe your husband isn’t showing you the right attention, but now that conversation with that smooth talking brother makes you tempted to engage in behavior that you know is unpleasing to God.  That food has never looked and smelled sooo good.  That brother that you met was your “ideal” man.  He smelled good, talked a good game, made you laugh, comforted you, and was quite handsome too.  Remember, if it didn’t look good, it wouldn’t be tempting.  Don’t miss out on what God has in store for you because you choose to temporarily satisfy your flesh or “help” God supply your needs.

Dear Daddy,

Forgive me for inserting my nose where it did not belong.  You have told me that You would supply my needs and give me the desires of my heart.  In James 4:7, You told me to resist the devil and he will flee… Help me to resist temptation as I put all of my trust in You.  Lord, I trust You completely.  Daddy, I know that even Your Son, Jesus, was tempted of the devil and He said, “Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.”  If we are Your children and are following Your commandments, we have the power to speak that to the enemy too.  Thank You for being such a gracious and merciful God, willing to forgive us even when we falter.  Daddy, I love You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to resist temptation.  If you are engaged in anything that you know is not pleasing to God or is in direct conflict with the instruction that He left for your life, let it go.  Do not miss out on the abundance God has for you because you have decided that “it looks so good,” and just this one time won’t hurt.

Have you found yourself struggling with temptation? How do you deal with it?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Sensory Trickery

Please click here to vote for EmpowerMoments in the 2012 Black Weblog Awards!

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.”

Accountability, Honesty/Truth

The Real Thing

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. (James 1: 26-27 MSG)

Everyone knows that I love a “name brand” purse. I know sometimes my priorities are messed up when it comes to buying purses but I love the real thing. I search the web for the latest fashions and styles making sure they are not knock offs.  When I’m in the store and see a hot bag I vow to save enough money to get it.

My addiction had gotten so bad that I was giving the same energy to saving and shopping for purses that I was giving God. I have been upset and fed up with different situations in my life and was instantly convicted because I was praying for God to do one thing and I started taking matters in my own hands and contemplating revenge. I haven’t been slow to speak and I have been quick to react. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said you have the “Real Thing” on your side so why are you distraught? Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. (James 1: 19-21 MSG)

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (James 1: 22-24) Not only do I know I have the “Real Thing” on my side I want to make sure I am the “Real thing.” The same way I don’t want a fake Coach bag is the same way I don’t want to be viewed as an imposter. I want to continue to be a hearer and doer of the Word because if I am a fake eventually my real tag will begin to show. I want people to see the real God in me everywhere that I go. I don’t want to have a reputation of being a great preacher, an anointed singer and a devoted servant on Sunday, and that’s the only time I am being the “Real Thing.”

But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. (James 1: 25 MSG) I want to be able to hear the voice of God continuously. I want to be free in every area of my life. I want to be the “Real Thing” so that when adversity comes my way I know that God is able, despite what it may look like. I want to diligently seek Him so that nothing will deter me from my “Real Thing.” I am working on always operating in the excellence of God. The same way I don’t want knock off hand bags is the same way that I don’t want to be a knock off for God.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being the “Real thing.” God, continue to reveal who You are to me and for me so that I can rid myself of imposters. God, help me to know when I am being a knock off in Your eye sight. I want to live solely for You and I want to be able to represent You in excellence. I know that no one is perfect but Your precious son, Jesus, but God I want You to continue to give me the determination to walk upright with perfection so that people can see the real You in me. God, I want to be a doer of Your Word, not just a hearer so that I can be the “Real Thing.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stop being knock offs and bootlegs for God and be the real thing. I want you to be the real thing everywhere you go and in every area of your life. Let the world know that God is the “Real Thing” and because you belong to Him you too are the real thing. Walk upright and with integrity when you are operating in the presence of God. Show people in all walks of your life who the “Real Thing” is.

Can you identify an area of your life where you haven’t been 100% genuine? Share your plight below.

Please click here to vote for EmpowerMoments in the 2012 BlackWeblog Awards!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Generic is Not an Option!

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Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor 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.”

Accountability, Change, Character, Growth/Maturity, Word of God

My Favorite Smart App

I, like many other people these days, own a smartphone. For a very long time my husband and I chose to not get one. We were happy with our basic flips until our carrier gave us a great deal on some smart phones. Once we purchased them, we discovered that with smartphones you can utilize many applications or “smart apps.”

One of my favorite applications is my battery and data usage app. It tracks my usage, manages functions on my phone, and informs me when my phone is about to die. Having this app allows me to receive feed back from my phone that assists me to make changes, such as if I have a low battery and I’m away from my charger, with a swipe of my finger, I can go to my settings and turn my screens back light off. This gives me extra usage until I am able to charge my phone.

One of the exciting things about smartphones and their apps is having access to data about things that matter to me. Getting feedback from apps has made it possible for me to change my behavior based on the information received. I went from subconscious use to paying more attention to what I am doing. This is a simple example of an approach that made a difference for me.

The Word of God has become a spiritual application for me. It’s my spiritual location app. It let’s me know when I’m doubtful, complaining, prideful, fearful, anxious, bitter, jealous, lonely, faithless, prayer-less, unbelieving and so much more.

I’m currently studying the book of Joshua. I’m learning that Joshua and I have a lot more in common than I thought. One of the things I adore about him is he made mistakes, but He consistently obeyed the word of the Lord. God spoke to Joshua a lot and he obeyed. The other comforting thing I adore is God understood Joshua was human, had fears, and anxieties. Geesh, he had to try and fulfill Moses’ shoes.

What the Father wanted Joshua to know through it all is, He had a loving concern for him. He wanted to meet Joshua’s needs. The Lord gave Joshua these profound instructions and at the same time made it a promise: Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8 NIV) 

After using my “spiritual app” or Bible yesterday I have to admit I have not lived a life like this, but I’m going to! One of the things about using the  of God and using it regularly is we can access the wisdom of God and thank God that His Word is just not a smart app, but it’s everything and He fulfills His every word.

Dear Daddy,

Father, gives us the grace to believe in Your Word and obey it. If You told us to not fear let us not fear, if you tell us to trust help us to trust. I thank You, Holy Spirit, for being the “greater” within us and giving us results in the area of our belief. Your Word shows us your love and gives us hope and a future! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to access open your spiritual application aka the Word of God. Allow the app to download information to you so that you can make the appropriate changes in your life. I EMPOWER you to, where ever you are, stop, and give your Father some praise! I truly believe if you commit to obeying the words of the Lord, your obedience will bring blessing now and in eternity. This is a new day for you! No longer will you just have the Word of God, but you will regularly read it, meditate on it, speak it, and obey it. You will receive the strength you need to carry out the will of God over your life.

Would you share with us a time that the Word showed you exactly where you were and what you needed to do to change?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: How Are You Framing Your World?

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Mrs. Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall is happily married to the wonderful and inspiring Antoine L. Marshall. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls. Her voice is one of the leading and authentic voices for breast-feeding, especially for the African-American community and Generation Y. She currently works inside of her home and plans to become a professional licensed lactation consultant in 2014. She and her family are members at Spirit of Liberty Church located in Markham, IL. Embracing the love that God has for her, Lisa labors to live an acceptable and pure life through the leading and keeping of the Holy Spirit so that her attitude, words, and actions attract the glory of God. In her free time she loves receiving manis and pedis. Her favorite promises that she find comfort and reassurance in are: Psalm34:19: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” and Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Accountability, Career, Commitment, Courage, Faith, Trusting God

Stand Up for What You Believe In!

A few weeks ago Chicago Teacher’s Union made headline news. We went on strike to prove to the city and the world that we were worth far more than the District was offering us. Now I am going to be honest when the vote first came up a little less than a year ago I was all for it because I didn’t really believe we would go on strike. When reality set in and we couldn’t report to our place of employment I became discontented because I had to evaluate what we were fighting for. I had a choice to make; I could cross the picket line or I could stand in the fire. The main reason I was indecisive is because I was thinking about not getting paid. God had to remind me of how many times He has come to my rescue and bailed me out. I was reminded that I need to keep my life free from love of money, and be content with what I have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:12 ESV)

The same way I had a choice to make with the Union, I also have choices to make with my beliefs in God. Regardless of going without and losing money, I didn’t go to work because I believed some kind of change would come. In Mark the 5th chapter, a leader named Jairus believed that God could raise his daughter from the dead. When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. (Mark 5: 21-24 NIV) As Jesus was going to Jairus’ house, some people ran from his house and told him to leave Jesus alone because the girl is dead.  Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5: 36 NIV) How many times have we believed God would do something and people would tell us we were crazy or we should spend our time standing up for something else? I have been desperate for Jesus to come into my house and people have told me it’s too late, leave Jesus alone, and find something else to stand up for.

When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. (Mark 5: 38-42 NIV)

Imagine if Jairus had not stood up for what he believed in despite what people said. He would have missed His blessing. His daughter would not have lived again. How many things have we let lay dormant because we are scared to stand up for what we believe in? I want all of you to have the same belief in God that Jairus had, that God can do the impossible. Stand up for what you believe in!

Dear Daddy,

Continue to give me the courage to stand up for You and Your son Jesus. God, I am asking that You guide my footsteps and my words so that I won’t stray away from my belief in You. I am asking that You give me the same faith that Jairus had in the Bible, believing that You can make the impossible possible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stand up for what you believe in. I dare you to put all of your faith and belief in God and watch how He resurrects a situation that has laid dormant in your life. Remember ladies, if you don’t stand for something with your spouse, your children, your employment, school, people, thoughts, etc. you will fall for anything!

Although others may doubt, what are you standing up for because you believe in it?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Blinded By What I See

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Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor 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.”

Accountability, Direction/Guidance

Take It With a Grain of Salt!

Now Amnon had an adviser named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man.  He asked Amnon, “Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?”  Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”   “Go to bed and pretend to be ill,” Jonadab said. “When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.’”  (2 Samuel 13:3-5 NIV)

In case you don’t know how the story ends,  Ammon, with literally sickening lust for his sister and at the advice of his friend, raped and disgraced his sister.  It went downhill from there.  There were other accounts told in the Bible of how even kings accepted and followed the wrong advice and kept the wrong company.  We have to be careful of the counsel we keep.

Friday, an associate gave me a ride home.  As she talked about her problems, I listened mostly, but tried to direct the conversation toward God.  I had previously given her scriptures to read upon her request and this was now my chance to ask if she had read them, but she gave me the eyes-to-the-side glance as to ashamedly say “girl no.”  As we continued to talk, I think I was trying to relate something from my life to what she was going through and we somehow got on the subject of me moving forward from my ex-boyfriend.  As she responded, doubt began to creep up in my heart as to whether avoiding total communication with my ex was the right thing to do.  Her whole gist was you have to give people a second chance sometimes and maybe there was another reason why I really was avoiding him.

However, I explained to her that I believed that I had an epiphany or better yet a word from God that every time I respond to his emails, it is not just him holding on still, but me as well.  I also explained that I was trusting in God for someone better and that when God removes someone or allows someone to be removed out of your life, He doesn’t make any mistakes.  I am remembering how I had once prayed the first time my ex was trying to come back in my life.  I admitted and prayed earnestly to God to give me strength to let him go because I was weak and couldn’t let go on my own.  Ladies, He answered that prayer!  So why go back now?

I have been drawing closer to God and learning to surrender all areas of my life to God.  Going back to my ex could mean losing spiritual ground I’ve already gained and dealing with the same issues I had to deal with while being with him.  I also believe that I would only receive him back because I am afraid there is no one else out there for me.  So, I am moving on, but talking with her and the angst of getting back out into the dating world made me start to doubt.  Thank God though for friends I can turn to, as well as the Word of God.  I talked with two friends and their advice was frank, non judgmental and on point with what I was hearing from God.  “Move on! You are in a different place in your life and he is not on that same plane or same spiritual level as you.”  What also stood out to me is what one also said, “YOU CAN’T ACCEPT ADVICE FROM EVERYONE!” Some things that you hear must be taken with a grain of salt!

The godly gives good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. (Proverbs 12:26 NLT)

I believe God would also add that His advice is even better and His wisdom supreme, so get His perspective on the situation.

Dear Daddy, 

Thank You for friends that stick closer than a brother (or sister).  Thank You that they can be honest with me even when the truth is hard to hear.  Thank You for Your sound judgment and uncorrupted wisdom!  Thank You that You see and know everything so You will best direct me in any situation.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to STOP before you go seeking or accepting someone’s advice.   Pray first, ask God to open your heart to the truth and remove the blinders off your eyes.  Then ask God who to seek advice from or what advice to accept.  Better yet, get God’s perspective on the matter by going to His Word.  His counsel is pure, unbiased, and sound, not based on human and natural insight and will never get us in trouble!

 Read a related EmpowerMoment: Speed Dial or Backup?

Have you voted for EmpowerMoments yet? If not, please click here to vote for us in the 2012 Black Weblog Awards!

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write!  Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program.  She help assists Chicago public high school students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college.  She, like many of her students, is the first of her family to graduate from college.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English-Professional & Technical Writing.  God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a Compassion Person and Encourager and so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better thru her support, actions and writing.  Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Accountability, Back To School Series, Growth/Maturity, Leadership

Back To School: Pausing Peer Pressure

School has begun for most students across the world so EmpowerMoments is featuring a series entitled “Back to School”.   Read each day as our writers share stories and learned lessons from their school-related experiences.  Come and get on our EmpowerMoments school bus!

“I don’t like her.”

“Why not?”

“Just because.”

“Did she do something to you?”

“Nope, but my friend doesn’t like her, so neither do I.”

Ladies, how many of you are guilty of such a conversation at some point in your life? I’m pretty certain that a good number of us have been on the giving or receiving end of this exchange at one time or another. I know I have! In elementary school I was the victim of such idiocy. One girl disliked me so an entire group chose not like me as well. By the time I made it to high school, I was hating people simply because my friends were hating them. Fast forward to college and I was the one dictating who we should and shouldn’t treat nicely. Although I played very different roles in each of these scenarios, one thing remained consistent—each included a horrible case of peer pressure.

Many of you reading this are probably thinking that peer pressure is just a problem that we deal with in school, but I beg to differ. Many of us adults are guilty of engaging in activities at the suggestion of someone else, situations which we otherwise would have chosen to forego.  We may (or may not) have grown past choosing our friends and enemies based on what others feel but we still fall victim to the pressure of our peers from time to time. Do you recall when your neighbor wanted to help you get a job at her company and she encouraged you to add some fluff to your resume` — peer pressure.  Remember when he convinced you to have sex after you declared a life of celibacy until marriage—peer pressure. What about when you sat around listening to your friends gossip about the girl down the street?   Sure, you didn’t add anything to the conversation but you didn’t stand up for right either—peer pressure.

In Exodus 23, verses 2 and 3 clearly admonish us against such behavior: “Do not join a crowd that intends to do evil. When you are on the witness stand, do not be swayed in your testimony by the opinion of the majority.” (NLT) We are to be witnesses daily for the Gospel. It is imperative that our testimonies and lifestyles are not dictated by the majority’s worldly standards. We have a duty to choose right, even when it is not popular. We cannot be afraid to go against the grain to maintain God’s standards for living!

I am most inspired by a very recent and familiar story of one man’s courage to stand up for what he believed in and not give in to the pressure from his peers. Dan Cathy, President and CEO of Chick-Fil-A, chose to stand on his belief that God reserved marriage for man and woman, and not those of the same sex.  I am well aware of many who challenged his stance and I am sure Mr. Cathy recognized the threat that such controversy could pose to his restaurant’s bottom line. However, that didn’t sway his testimony! He chose to stand for what was Biblically right over what was popular. Even after knowing the consequences of choosing right, will you stand for God or give into the pressure of your peers? I’ve learned that God will bless you when your life blesses Him. (Look at the lines wrapped around Chik-Fil-A!)

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I chose to follow people when I should’ve been following You. Give me the strength and will to make decisions that would glorify You and not taint my witness for the Kingdom. Please grant me the courage to go against whatever goes against Your word, even if it means going against those closest to me. Today I choose to stand up for right! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to challenge peer pressure. If the temptation to do wrong is too strong for you to resist when you are in the company of certain individuals, you may need to reconsider their position in your life. EMPOWER your stance for the kingdom by choosing to do right!

How do you ensure that you are not tainted by negative influences? Share your tactics with us below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Flee!

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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 three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Accountability, Character, Righteousness, Sin

Better Check Yourself

I have been reading Leviticus and I must admit that it is not one of my favorite books of the Bible. I found myself once or twice nodding off while reading the book. I even raised an eyebrow and thought how meticulous the Israelites, under the Old Covenant, had to be when presenting an offering or sacrifice and their selves ceremonially clean to God. As I neared the end of Leviticus, I asked God, “Why am I reading this?”

It was then while reading Leviticus 21:16-18, the light bulb came on or shall I say the Holy Spirit answered my question. “Don’t come before God any kind of way.”

You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart form the nations to be my own. (Leviticus 20:26 NIV)

I should constantly examine myself and my walk with the Lord. Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind. (Psalms 26:2 NIV) I should also check how I approach God in my prayer, praise and time with Him.Every time I read the Word or pray, my phone rings. Although I am actually better at this and I rarely answer it now, I would interrupt my time with God and answer it. Excuse me God; I know this is Your time and You come first, but something has come up is what I’m saying to God. As always, I should have sent the caller to voicemail. After talking to the person, I would go back and try to talk with God and it wouldn’t be the same. There are times when I have come before the Lord not only with my prayer requests, but with daydreams, thoughts of what I have to do, and a Santa Claus list.

Can you identify with this? Do you, like me, read the Word while lying down, ignoring God telling you to get up. God knows and you know too that you will fall asleep if you don’t get up. Have you rushed prayer or shortened your praise? Your breakthrough or answer could have been that very next minute. How many times have we come before God with unforgiveness, bitterness or an unwillingness to obey?

God wants His people to realize that although we are under the New Covenant, He still wants us to be holy. It was not an option then and it is not an option now. God wants His people to be holy, undefiled and without a blemish as He is. Does that mean we, as believers of Christ, will never sin? No. But we should hate sin as God does and not be mastered by it. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14 NIV) We are not perfect but we should be cultivating a perfect heart, one that is full of God’s love as well as undivided towards God. We should be maturing spiritually, seeking God’s presence and obeying His every command. Our love and desire for Him should outweigh our love and desire for the world. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4b NIV)

Let’s be attentive to how we present ourselves to God:

  • Come correct. Confess your sins and repent sincerely. Have a pure heart, an uncluttered mind and make your petitions before God with the right motives. Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22 NIV)
    When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3 NIV)
  • Have the Fear of the Lord. God doesn’t want you to be intimidated or shaking in your boots. Come boldly before the throne of grace with respect, reverence and honor of our God!
  • Acknowledge who He is; glorify Him and praise His Holy Name!
  • Come with His Word. Get to know God through His Word. Saturate in it and obey it. Speak His promises back to Him.
  • Have a forgiving heart.
  • Bring humility and your undivided heart. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (Proverbs 3:34 NIV)
  • Be consistent and come expecting!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your Son Jesus being our scapegoat and for sacrificing Himself that I may have salvation, mercy and an eternal inheritance. Thank You for reminding me that I am to respect You, honor You, love You wholeheartedly, obey You and be mindful of Your Presence and Power. You are an all consuming fire! You are the Only Wise God, Pure and Holy. You are a Jealous God! Thank You for the New Covenant and help me to keep my part of the covenant. You are Worthy and a Covenant Keeper! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to check yourself. Your relationship with God requires you to look good on the inside FIRST! Let God purify you and consecrate you so that your reflection resembles His Son. Be ye holy as He is holy!  Ask God to show you how He sees you as you are reminded to check yourselves.

How have you been presenting yourselves to God? What changes do you believe you need to make?

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She help assists Chicago public high school students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. She, like many of her students, is the first of her family to graduate from college. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English-Professional & Technical Writing. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a Compassion Person and Encourager and so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better thru her support, actions and writing. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.