Change, Growth/Maturity, Trials, Trusting God

Changes And Challenges

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 and pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Changes and challenges will come as quick and unexpectedly

as a Chicago winter,

Embracing you like a warm touch

or piercing you like a splinter

 

Fear lurks

when patience and faith are absent,

And embracing life outside your comfort zone

can be taxing

 

Think for a second about the plans you made

some plans we create will be interrupted or halted

only to be changed or necessarily rearranged in proper fit

because change is always approaching and sometimes coming quick

 

You can’t control what happens to your life,

You will learn thru time

that you have most control over what you do,

and how you react to

than some of the challenges that come for you

 

So to whom it may concern,

Hold onto your grace,

Life isn’t always comfortable

and things don’t always go your way,

Sometimes we settle for the ordinary

because the unknown can be scary

Sometimes we let fear take control

because it is comfortable and that’s all we know

Yet embracing change allows us to grow

 

And trusting in God through the challenges and the process

Reminds us that God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow, and He knows best

He has the strength and authority to get you through any discomfort and any mess.

Change allows us to stretch, elevate and spread our wings,

to venture toward new territories and experience new things

to leave comfort zones, same actions, same results and same old ways behind

Growth comes from challenges, but transformation must start with the renewing of your mind

from Setting The Captive Free by Tannika Moore

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears!  For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click here http://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8.

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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, helping high school students prepare for college. As a compassionate person and encourager, she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. This April, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. For more details, visit stcfpoetrybook.com.  On July 10th of this year, she  also launched her new Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8.  For more details about Fruitful & Fabulous, visit fruitfulandfabulous.com.  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.”

 

 

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Change, New Seasons, Trusting God

Spring Cleaning

spring-cleaning-jpgCreate in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

The winter is over and spring has sprung! With spring comes life and newness. God has promised to do a new thing within me this season. I can’t stay in the same place, do the same things, have the same mentality and expect God to do something fresh within me. I have been praying and asking God to help me get to the place I need to be so that He can do the work He wants to do. In order for that to happen, I need to allow Him to do some Spring Cleaning.

During our Winter season in life, things die that are no longer of any use to us along with those things that were not supposed to be there in the first place. God allows these things to wither and die so they can be removed in time. Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV) says: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

Spring Cleaning isn’t something new to many people. At the end of the Winter season and the beginning of Spring we take time to go through everything we own and clean it all up. We get rid of things that we will no longer use and either trash or donate it all. We do this in order to make room for new things. We reorganize our closets and trade in our Winter gear for our spring time fashions. We clean our yards and begin to plant seeds and plants, etc. You know your routine for Spring cleaning.

God comes into our lives and cleans like crazy. He removes every dead, useless, unnecessary and poisonous, out of season thing. The only problem with this is that we are not always willing to let go of everything. Many times we hold on to the very thing that is blocking our blessing. In Ephesians 4:31 (NIV), we are instructed to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” When God begins to clean, He reveals things that we never thought could be within us or at least never wanted to admit to. In order for the cleaning process to be complete He had to remove these things.

I am guilty of holding on to dead things including the things listed in Ephesians 4:31. During my lifetime (which has been relatively short compared to some people I know), I have gone through the tests, trials and tribulations that winter brings only to hold on to the remnants of the past. Not realizing that these things I treasured were not only dead but were weighing me down and keeping me from all the promises God made me. I needed to let go and let God do His work.

It’s like hiring a landscaper and not letting him get rid of weeds, dead trees, trash or anything else that is causing the property to look bad as well as aiding in the destruction thereof. As long as all of that is there, nothing will be able to grow because it will kill it before it has a chance. Not only is time wasted but so are money and the opportunity for potential prosperity. We have to let go of the things that are destroying and killing us.

I know that it is hard at times and while we don’t see things as God does, we have to trust Him no matter what. That’s where Psalm 51:10 comes in, we have to ask God to renew our minds so we can understand and mediate on His plan. We also have to ask for a steadfast spirit so we can actually put His plan into action.

I will admit that I am still in the process of learning to fully trust God in everything. I know He knows what is best for me and that as long as I allow Him to have His way; things will always work out for the best. God knows what is necessary in order for our Spring to be fruitful. He knows what we have to get rid of and what we have to keep.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive us for being disobedient and holding on to things we were instructed to let go of. We did not understand that we were causing our blessings and growth in You to be hindered and possibly destroyed. Please allow us to see You as our landscaper and Spring Cleaner. We know that You are so much more than that, but at this time that is what we need for You to be. Allow us to remember Ecclesiastes 3:1. Please help us let go of everything that is not meant for this season and grab hold of what is so that we can be blessed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER us all to let go of EVERYTHING God has instructed us to let go of and allow Him to clean and do His work. I know that none of us will regret it.

What things will you obediently get rid of this season?

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Bettina Allen is currently working in security, with prior experience in customer service. She loves to read, write and dance. She loves God and is on a mission to be as close to Him as she possibly can. Bettina is constantly learning and growing from life’s experiences. God has given Bettina a word and she would love to share that word, along with all of the lessons He has taught her, with others. Bettina resides in Georgia and attends Life Church of Atlanta. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

 

Change, God's Grace, God's Love, Self Forgiveness, Testimony Series

My Testimony: It Is Okay To Fall Apart

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

Last year, 2013, was an emotional one.  My heart, my mind and my soul felt like they were being bounced up and down on a seesaw continually because of my ups and downs.

My year was filled with many blessings; my family took my second youngest sister to college.  She is now my mom’s second child to attend college.  Last year became my third year being a homeowner.  Last year my mom and I had a fabulous mommy and daughter weekend retreat for her birthday.  Last year I finally got my driver’s license.  I made the decision to permanently close the door to my ex-boyfriend who wanted to try again at a relationship.  After much prayer, I started planning my future business.  My household gained a new member, my four-year old nephew, and I am having a ball with his smart, energetic self.

However, last year was filled with uncertainties, drama, challenges and pain too.  My family had to rush to another state because of a horrific accident that led to my precious youngest nephew having a head injury.  I was riddled with worry about my nephews and siblings.  My family struggled financially.  I had issues at work that left me feeling like I wanted to quit for the first time.  I also started back having anxiety attacks and more frequently.  I was an emotional wreck and as they say “was feeling some kind of way.”

Yet with all that God gave me one message that humbled me and made me afraid all at the same time.  He said “fall apart and let me put you back together again my way.”  Yes, FALL APART.  “You mean to tell me You want me to fall apart?” was my response.  It finally sunk in that all this time my anxiety and my fear is a failure to surrender myself FULLY to the Lord.  If you read my past EmpowerMoments, you would think that I would have gotten it by now.  However, I didn’t and my testimony is simply that I now understand that I can fall apart because God intended for me to rely and depend upon Him.  “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)  I can surrender, I can let go and God will put me back together again.  He will take care of me.  He will protect me.  He will provide for me.  He will never leave me, nor forsake me.  I learned that although things change around me and things look uncertain, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and He is full of stability, consistency and faithfulness.  I also learned that in order to thrive and survive, I must remember that my life is not my own.  I belong to God, Jesus died for me, and the Holy Spirit abides in me.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You Father for seeing me through a year I thought I would not make it through sane, happy and sometimes alive.  I thank You for being patient with me.  You could have just flunked me after not getting what You have been trying to teach me for so long.  Thank You for showing me that You know what is best for me, have what is best for me and want the best for me.  I thank You for Your mercy and Your love that has never failed me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to allow the test that lead to testimonies.  Allow the process that leads to a finished product and remember that God always finishes what He starts.  I also EMPOWER you to FULLY surrender.  If you feel like you are falling apart, trust God to put you back together with His Word, His Power, His Love and His Grace.  Ladies, both of my nephews are doing well.  My siblings have some testimonies of their own but they are doing just fine.  Honestly, I have had a few anxieties to date, but I am learning to control my emotions and trust God more.  My family may still have some struggles financially, but we have shelter, food, clothes and God who is a provider.  Hallelujah!   

I found this song that complements this message (if having trouble viewing, please click on the link):

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager  so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

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.”

Back To School Series, Change, Trusting God

Back To School: Embrace It!

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

My boys go to a charter school in the city and are amongst the first kids to go back to school early.  Needless to say they are hardly excited about how their cousins and friends get to stay up a little later for about a week or so longer than they do.

This year was a little different though; they were really excited about the first day of school.  They couldn’t wait to see some of their friends that they hadn’t seen over the summer or the newly renovated building.  I was excited for them and looking forward to hearing about how awesome their first day had been.  When they came home, they had plenty to tell me and my older son was more excited than my younger son.  When I questioned why he was a little down, he told me it was because most of his good friends were all in the same class together but he was in a class full of students he didn’t know.  He really wanted to be in class with his friends.

As I sat there looking at my baby boy with his bottom lip poked out (just as cute as he could be), I started to think.  It is funny how we always want to get ‘something new,’ but have such difficulty when what we get isn’t what we had in mind.  So quickly we lose sight of the new blessings and beginnings God gives us because they don’t look like the ones we were expecting.  This could mean going to get a Cadillac and being approved for a Chevy.  It could be feeling like a guy was the one who got away and nobody would ever replace him, but KNOW that God had a reason for giving you the new beginning that He did.  We have to stand on His Word—And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)  I told my baby that he has the best of both worlds!  He has all of his friends from last year that he can hang out with at lunch and recess and the opportunity to meet a lot of new friends!

I think as we reflect on the new school year for ourselves and/or our children, the beginning of the last quarter of the year 2012, and the upcoming changes in season, we need to continue to be open-minded and thankful for all things that are new, regardless of whether we asked for them or not.  We need to be patient, pray for discernment and wait on God to reveal His plan for our purpose in this and every season of our lives.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for constantly showing me that when You are doing a new thing it is always what’s best for me.  Thank You for being patient with me and continuing to order my steps even when I am reluctant to do as You would have me do.  Please continue to manifest Your Will for my life upon me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to accept and embrace ALL new things and opportunities that are bestowed upon you!  REFUSE to allow the enemy to convince you that anything ordained by your Heavenly Father is anything other than a blessing and His Will for your life!

What new things and opportunities has God bestowed upon you that maybe you didn’t embrace at first?

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  Expect Greatness

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 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.”