Black Music Month Series, Contentment, Praise/Worship

Have A Praise PartY

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! He can be found virtually anywhere if we earnestly look for Him and listen intently! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

Have A Praise PartY!

I shall rise above the ashes.

I shall rise above the bitterness in my heart.

I shall rise above the comments about me snickered behind my back.

I shall rise above my poverty.

I shall rise above depression.

I shall rise above the inadequacies that so distinctively bound me to deep seated insecurities.

I shall ignore the voice that makes me doubt.

I shall move the mountain of darkness that clouds my hope for freedom.

I shall look to the hills, where my help comes from, my help comes from the Lord. Psalm 121:1-2 (paraphrased)

I shall set my mind on things above, not on earthly things, Colossians 3:22 NIV

These are the phrases that go through my mind when I sing this song. For many people this song is nothing but an irritating repeat on their local radio station, but this song literally brings tears to my eyes. Why? Because it causes people to break out from and ignore their circumstances and to dare to be HAPPY! Because of God’s freedom, I am at liberty, I feel like a room without a roof! When I decided to have a relationship with Christ, I was no longer bound by the chains of my past shame or by the thoughts of man. This song rings freedom. The freedom to not be perfect, to not look like everyone else, to not dance as good as everyone else, to not look as good or dress as nice, but to be Happy regardless of your current situation or circumstance!

I become teary eyed because I serve a God who has the audacity to bless me in spite of my wrongs, short comings, lies, disobedience, and ways that aren’t so good. He humbles me. The Bible tells me, because I love and accept Jesus and recognize my responsibilities as a Christian, my past has been erased, my sins where like scarlet, but he made me white as snow (Isaiah 1:18 KJV). Therefore, I am able to lean on Jesus who will keep me from falling, having the ability to present me faultless to the Father (Jude 1:24 KJV).

That makes me Happy.

I am Happy because “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV.

Doesn’t the thought of that just make you want to shout?

Dear Daddy,

When I think of Your goodness, my soul cries out HOLY HOLY, how great You are! Lord, help us to be able to look over our circumstances. Help us to force our attitudes into happiness until You see fit to move us. Father, help us to remember that in due time, You shall make every crooked path straight and every insecurity certain. Help us to smile, dance, love, and laugh so that we may be a light to others. May we be the vessel in which Your glory can shine!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be HAPPY! H.ave A. P.raise P.artY. Get up out of your chair, listen to these lyrics and dance like no one is watching. God already said that all things will work to your good, so instead of pouting, get up and dance!!

Are you committed to being HAPPY in spite of your circumstances?

Listen to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy and dance as if no one is watching

Please click here if you cannot see the video.

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL.

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Contentment, Gentleness, God's Protection, Kindness

Content in Uncomfortable Places

“Excuse me? I have to meet you where?” That was my initial reaction when I was asked to meet my client at a relative’s home in a trailer park.  The client was currently displaced and I had to meet her where she was temporarily staying.  How many times has God had to meet us somewhere we had no place being.  I must admit I was a bit unnerved.   This was a “sketchy” part of town.  I have traveled to many homes, projects, public housing and even hotels.  However this trailer park made me feel quite uncomfortable. It was someplace I had never been.

As my client poured out her heart about really needing to see me, and this being the only place she could meet me I thought of God again.  Sometimes we are in desperate need of God seeking Him, needing Him, but not able to get to Him.  Thank God He comes to us.

 “Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:5-8 NKJV)

How many times have we been in a situation that we were unsure how we got there in the first place?  For example, we were involved with an individual we were not supposed to be with or stuck at a job that we were too good to be working? This does not have to be a physical place because it can be mental as well.  Have your thoughts and your mind ever been someplace they had no business being? God comes and meets us and delivers us from all these places.

As I arrived at the place, it was just as I expected.  I was uncomfortable.  There was a smell that greeted me at the same time my client did.  The only place to sit was a soiled mattress so I decided to stand.  As I looked around at the various species of crawling critters that covered the wall and ceiling I began to think, “Just make it through this visit and it will be over.”  This is a temporary situation.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:10-11 NKJV)

I realized that if I could make it through this uncomfortable place I was in temporarily that I would be able to move from there and go on with my life.  That is what I have decided to apply to other areas of my life.  Uncomfortable situations are temporary so be content!

Dear Daddy,

I want to come before You thanking You for coming to rescue me from some of the “sketchy” places I have allowed myself to frequent.  I come before You asking that You will continue to put me in uncomfortable situations so that I can recognize and appreciate when I am in my place of comfort. Continue to bless me even in the messes that I continue to get in! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to be content in what seems like a “stuck” situation knowing that God will remove you from it. Also, learn to meet people where they are just as God has done for you.  People do not always need you in the midst of a clean place in their life. Sometimes you have to be able to walk into the dirt in order to clean them up.  Encourage yourself and others to be content even when it is uncomfortable because it is always temporary.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Making The Best Out of A Bad Situation

Has God placed you in a temporary situation but you are struggling with contentment? Share your story with us in the comment section.

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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 and 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, Career, Contentment, Employment, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Goals & Dreams, God's Grace, Miscellaneous, Patience, Patience, Persistance, Preparation, Restoration, Spiritual Therapy, Strength, Transitions Series, Trials, Trusting God

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

The past few years of my life have been ones of transition, endless waiting and sometimes disappointment. I’ve alluded to and written about it many times. Long story short, I left my job in Texas to start my own business and moved to Atlanta for a three-month transition. In my mind that is all it would take before the business was up and running and I could move to my real destination, Washington, DC (because this is where the business was based). That three months has turned into over two years and I reached a point where I was tired of telling people that I was moving anywhere because I just didn’t know when/if it would happen. As a matter of fact, I actually told people I was moving to Washington, DC nearly two years before I left Texas so in total this has now been a four year wait. If you have had any experience with God you know that many times your best made plans aren’t a part of His plan.

But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Micah 4:12 KJV From my brief study, I found that sheaves are stalks of grain and they were gathered on the threshing floor during harvest time for a two-step process. First the actual grain was separated from the chaff. To do this, oxen would pull a metal spiked sledge that would break the heads of the grain from the stalk or they would just trample them. Next the broken stalks were tossed into the air and the wind would blow the lighter chaff away while the heavier grain would fall back on the floor where it could then be gathered for use.

My time of transition has been like the sheaves on the threshing floor. I went from making a very lucrative salary to making zero, zilch, nada. Months would go by and I had nothing but what I could borrow or get from someone else. My mini-vacations that I would frequently take turned into staycations in my room. I found myself in an “asking” position when I was usually the giver. Shopping excursions were non-existent as my belly became wider, clothes became tattered and shoes wobbled to the side. When I could no longer afford my health insurance, the aches and pains started. I went from being a mover and shaker, featured in Ebony Magazine to feeling insignificant. Finally my car called it quits. Although I grew up poor, THIS was a very unfamiliar position. Throughout this process I have felt a gamut of emotions: happiness, depression, bitterness, envy, contentment and disappointment. I had good days and many bad ones. During the process, I felt beat down and trampled but it was only to extract the good grain. Without the threshing floor, the harvest would be incomplete.

I had to learn more about myself and have many things extracted and tossed so that in the finishing process only the good grain was left in me. Sometimes God humbles you by removing the frills and unnecessary things to get you to the place He has ordained for you. A place where you are truly dependent on Him and can recognize that it is His goodness, and not your own doing, that gets you your blessings.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV Admittedly during this process, my faith wavered; yet, God remained faithful. Did I get everything that I wanted when I wanted? No! However, He absolutely never failed to supply my needs. This month (July) represents a turning point in my life. After a little over two years in business, I received my first paycheck from my business one that will come consistently versus “some” money at any random month. From my time in the threshing process, I know how to use my money wiser so that when God grants me the increase that I need and desire, I will make sound investments versus temporary gratification. My “giving” strategy will be a lot different because when I couldn’t give I realized that people would always find a way without me. It made me realize that I was a resource and not their “source.” I learned that lesson for myself as well. As I sit in a hotel room now after a second trip of apartment hunting in Washington, DC, I have ultimately learned that if we can only learn to trust God and His timing He will prepare us for our harvest.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my time in the threshing process as You prepared me for the harvest. I ask that You continue to let those traits, people and other characteristics that are not useful blow off of me into the wind. Help me to be anxious for nothing because You have told me that in due season I will reap a harvest. You have been faithful to Your Word even in the midst of my doubt. God, I ask that You continue to build my faith as I move into the next phase that You have prepared for me. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust Him in the process. Although it’s hard because what you see what’s happening in other people’s lives (marriages, babies, career advancements, notoriety, goal accomplishments, financial prosperity) may seem foreign for your own. Know that He is preparing you for your harvest by extracting those things that aren’t useful for that next phase in your life. Trust that He is faithful to you because it is who He is and who He has always been.

Are you waiting on God and feel as if it is not going to happen? If you examine yourself, is it that God has you on the threshing floor? Share your story with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Atlanta, Georgia 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: every where 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 strengtheneth me.

Anxiety, Black Music Month Series, Contentment, Focus, God's Protection, God's Provisons, Trusting God

Lovely Day!

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

I recently watched the movie I Don’t Know How She Does It because my sister implied that I had a lot in common with the main character Kate Reddy. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the movie, she was a married, career woman with two young children trying to figure how out to balance work, family and love. (Yep, I could definitely see the resemblance!) Each night after her husband was sound asleep, Kate would lie in bed and make her mental to-do list for the next day. It was as if she had to get a jump start on her day or at least that’s what she thought. However, she was really over exerting her brain and mentally stressing herself out. That’s where Kate and I were just alike. I realized that I was doing that exact thing. My mind was overworked and exhausted because when I should’ve been resting for the next day, I was thinking about what needed to be accomplished. Then when I’d wake up in the morning I wasn’t rested at all. Instead, I woke up with too much on my mind. All the cares of the world would be dancing in my brain as I sought to check everything off my never-ending to-do list. I was focused on the ‘what’ around me, rather than the Who inside of me. However, after watching that movie I decided that something had to change.

I am excited to report that I woke up this morning and regardless of everything that was going on, I knew it was going to be a lovely day. Yes, I still had my laundry list of things to do and everything in my world was not perfect, but one key thing has changed…

Then I look at You and the world’s alright with me.

Just one look at You and I know it’s gonna be a lovely day!

It’s time to calm your mind. When you awake in the morning, choose to look at God instead of everything that is going on around you. Focusing on Him may not change your circumstances, but it truly changes you. Its easy to allow your busy schedules, lack of finances, family drama, work issues, car troubles, health ailments, and so on to consume your every waking (and sleeping) thought, but it’s more beneficial to allow the One who can actually rectify all of those situations to occupy your mental space.

In the header scripture, Paul writes to the church at Philippi and encourages them in their daily thoughts. He advises to fix thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Concentrate on that which is excellent and worthy of praise – that sounds like the Father to me! It seems that even Paul recognized the recipe for a lovely day!

Today’s empowering moment is quite simple — change your perspective and your day will change. A year full of changed days will eventually equal a lifetime of lovely days!

Dear Daddy,

Anytime I look at You, my day is destined to be lovely! Help me to remember that fact when I am faced with much turmoil in my life. Remind me to shift my focus to You when it seems that my days are not so lovely. I thank You in advance for restoring the loveliness in my life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to have not just one, but many LOVELY days! Look at Him and watch Him make your days lovelier than you could have ever imagined! Remember if your day isn’t looking good, you probably need to change your focus!

Be inspired by Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day”:

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant. She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments. As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Black Music Month Series, Contentment, Encouragement, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Pain, Trials

Contentment

June is Black Music Month!  To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month.  This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers.  Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love!  Happy Black Music Month!  Dance as if no one is watching!

“But Godliness with contentment is a great gain.  For we brought nothing in the world, and we can take nothing out.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” (1Timothy 6:6 ESV)

Recently, I have experienced attacks from the enemy from every angle!  In May I got into a car collision as a result of another driver not waiting for the traffic to clear before proceeding through the stop sign.  The next day I went to the ER and found out that I have a back spasm and now must go to physical therapy twice a week for the next month.  Yesterday I got a call from my mother stating that my great uncle passed away after battling cancer for years.  Then to top it off, today I find out that my finances are getting ready to take a drastic turn for the worst as I prepare to lose some thousand dollars of my supplemental income beginning in July.  Are you serious?!  The crazy part about it is that I am STILL content in who God is in my life!

“The Lord is the refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  Those who know Your name trust in You because you have not abandoned those that seek You, Yahweh.” (Psalms 9: 9-10 ESV)

The past few weeks The Anointed Pace Sisters have randomly shuffled on my Pandora station and I have had no choice but to agree with the words.  Despite my vocal challenges, I’ve found myself singing along each time.  The truth is no matter what we have or don’t, we must learn to be happy with Jesus alone.  Ladies, God is more than enough once we get to the point that we are truly content with the relationship we have with Him.  All of those situations that I mentioned represent what I am facing in the natural but I know that He is making preparations for my prosperity in the spirit realm.  I will be honest and say that many days I have had meltdowns, but I always make it my business to follow up tears with praise so intense that I know it shakes heaven up!  The short version of this story is that I have found CONTENTMENT in the Holy Spirit and it makes all of satan’s schemes non-factors in my life.

Dear Daddy,

Whenever I begin to doubt, question, or worry about what has happened or what is to come help me to exert that energy into praising You.  Help me to remember that even the righteous may endure but in spite of it all You are still there for me.  Thank You for bringing me to the place where I have contentment in You alone.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to look past what is going on in front of you and find contentment in who God is.  Everything that you are going through is only part of your story. I don’t know about you but I have been taking detailed notes for my memoir to be released in the future!  Be Blessed! 🙂

Enjoy The Anointed Pace Sisters’ rendition of “Contentment”:

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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. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there.  Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. 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