Conviction, Direction/Guidance, Miscellaneous, Prayer

Communicating with God

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell what is yet to come. (John 16:13-15 NIV)

Communicating with God is the best experience I could ever have.  I can talk to Him all day long, early in the morning before getting out of bed, at work, or just before closing my eyes at night.  The beauty of this communication is that He listens.  He listens and knows my heart, and He answers accordingly.  It’s better than a conversation with your best girl friend over lunch; it’s a conversation with the Lord Almighty.  Wow, it is mind blowing that I can have a conversation with the Lord Almighty!

Jesus Christ declared, “Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment…” (John 7:9 NIV)  God communicates with you and me through the Holy Spirit and other believers.  Recently, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit to abstain from premarital sex.  I obeyed; however, I wondered if I had made the right decision and I spoke to God daily about sexual abstinence.  The next Sunday in church thereafter, the topic was The Gift of Purity and Unholy Sexual Relationships.  I felt it was the confirmation from God that I had made the right decision.

God also brought conviction to me about getting my finances in order.  So, I wrote out a budget and spoke with God about ways to be a better stewardess of my money.  Then days later a complete stranger came to me and expressed that I needed to start saving my money.  Lastly, I also had a recent prayer conference speaking on the Armor of God and the following day I received a daily devotional from a completely different source on the same subject, the Armor of God.  I can go on and on because I hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me daily and it is my way of knowing God is with me.

Now, I am encouraged to constantly ask God to give me the strength, the words, and the actions to use to get through everyday trials.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the Holy Spirit.   It is because of the Holy Spirit I have a rapport with You and if I ever wander off the narrow path, there will be a voice to guide me back on the right path.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to spend quality time with God and develop an intimate relationship with Him through daily reading of his Word, prayer, and talking to Him.  Open the lines of communication so you can hear Him clearly and receive the fullness of God’s plan for you.

Has it been awhile since your last conversation with God and an answered prayer/confirmation?

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  Two Way Street

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Saneatra Polk resides on the south side of Chicago and works as a quality technician for a food manufacturer.  She attends The Moody Church and her favorite Bible verse is: “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 NIV)

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Back To School Series, Conviction, Forgiveness, Patience, Teacher/Student

Back To School: The Wildcat Ways

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 started working at my new school in early August and I absolutely love my job.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I love this school so much and it hit me—“The Wildcat Ways”.  Our mascot is the wildcat and we operate under four principles: respect, responsibility, readiness, and safety.  These four principles are called “The Wildcat Ways”.  During the first few weeks of school, I spent an extensive amount of time modeling and practicing these principles with my students.

I love the principles because they invite structure and they hold students accountable for their actions.  I thought students had mastered “The Wildcat Ways” until they had a bad day.  I found myself reprimanding them and helping them realize the wrong they had done.  I was so hard on them for not following the “Ways”.  I screamed, yelled and fussed for about 30 minutes until I had an ‘Aha moment‘.  I thought about how many times I had strayed away from the principles that God had instilled in me.  I thought about the many times I have to be reminded of scriptures and the Word of God.

How could I be so hard on them for being kids and messing up when God has not been hard on me for messing up over and over?  God has let His expectations be known and sometimes I still don’t do what’s right.  You know what God does?  He puts me back on the right path.

When I am not respectful to His will…God reminds me that, “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13 NLT)

When I am not being responsible and accountable for knowing the Word and how I am supposed to live…I am reminded that I am to study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2: 15 KJV)

When I am not ready for my assignment or for the next season in my life…God reminds me, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

When I am out of the Will of God, not practicing safety, or not guarding my heart…He reminds me that He is my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence. “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies. (2 Samuel 22: 3-4 NASB)

The next time I am ready to throw a tantrum because my students are not actively engaging in “The Wildcat Ways,” I am going to remember that I don’t always do everything I am supposed to do and my Daddy always forgives me and lets me start anew.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being an understanding God. Thank You for protecting me when I wasn’t being respectful, responsible, ready or safe in Your will for my life.  Continue to mold me into the woman of God that You will have me to be.  Daddy, I need You to continue to guide my thoughts, words and actions when other people don’t do Your will.  Teach me to love with an agape love, the same as You love me!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to remember to be respectful to God in everything that you do.  I EMPOWER you to be responsible and accountable for living in the Will of God.  Always be ready for what God has for you and be ready for attacks from the enemy. Learn to be patient when people are not operating in excellence and remember that God forgives you, so you need to forgive them.

What are four principles you are maintaining today? When was the last time God had to remind you about being patient when people are not operating in excellence?

Read A Related EmpowerMoment: You Know Better!

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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.”

Conviction, Decision Making, Direction/Guidance, Stress, Trusting God

My Scene In The Quicksand

For so long, I’ve felt like the women I see in movies that get stuck in quicksand running from someone or something.  They are treading, splashing, and trying to keep their heads above the sand so they don’t sink; inevitably, one of two things happens: they get rescued or they sink.

My scene in the quicksand lasted much longer than it should have.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been jumping into situations that look good from a distance and after getting caught up, I would try to run but quickly start to sink.  I would find myself over and over again wearily treading the ‘quicksand’ and barely able to keep from sinking.  I have always felt His favor was upon me and in hindsight I recognize that for a long time I took for granted that He would rescue me from the quicksand that I kept finding myself in.

I prayed and prayed for God to change the man I was in love with or give me the strength to leave him, but at night I’d cling to him with all my strength as if to prevent God from removing him.

I prayed for better jobs and for more money to do what ‘made me happy’ and then I would swipe my credit card until it could be swiped no more.  I would get upset, run, and sink again.

Time and time again, I’d pray for God to help me control my impulsive emotional eating, for me to just be content with Him, and not look for satisfaction through food.  Then the moment I finished my prayer, I would go eat my ‘last’ bowl of ice cream or two, wake up too big for all of my clothes, and run yet again.  And yes, I sank again.

My desires and actions did not align with my prayers or what I claimed were my values.  I was holding onto everything that I was praying so hard to be able to let go of!

But God!

One day he dropped a scripture that I knew backwards and forward into my spirit and it took on a new meaning: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

And just like that I felt like I could stop running.

I recognized that while I thought I was running to God, crying, praying, and begging for His help, I was running from Him!  I realized that I needed to run to Him with my burdens, issues, concerns, and prayers and give them to Him.  I realized I had to give myself to Him, if I wanted to stop running and sinking.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

I had to let go of everything.  I had to surrender.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being willing to carry burdens that You know I cannot bear on my own.  Thank You for Your constant reminder that You will never leave me or forsake me and that I can always bring everything to You.  I pray that I will continue to surrender more and more of myself to You each day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to refuse to sink!  When you feel that you are drowning, allow God to be your life jacket and put all your weight on Him.  He will pull you through! 

What are you holding on to that is weighing you down, causing you to sink lower, and pushing you farther away from God?

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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.”

Conviction, Growth/Maturity, Sin, Speech

If You Want Something to Grow, Keep Feeding It!

I was looking at my daughter and wondering “How did she grow so fast?”  I couldn’t believe the clothes she wore last month are now too small.  I said to myself, “Self, the reason she is growing so fast is because she eats all the time.”  It felt like I had a revelation.  If I keep feeding her at this rate, her clothes will be too small again.

I know you are wondering where I am going with this.  Well, I thought about the sins in my life.  You know sin—an act, thought, or way of behaving that goes against God’s law or teachings, especially when the person who commits it knowingly.  I thought about gossiping.  No, I do not tell other people’s business, but I used to love to listen to a good story.  At first I thought listening was innocent until someone started gossiping about my business.  I quickly became convicted and started telling people I didn’t want to hear it but they couldn’t understand why not. Take lies and what is false far from me. Do not let me be poor or rich. Feed me with the food that I need. (Proverbs 30: 8 NLT)

I started to pray and ask God to take gossiping away from me and remove it from my ears. I asked God why people wouldn’t stop calling me with gossip and He asked me “How many times have people called and you made yourself accessible to listen to the gossip?”  “You kept eating and so they kept feeding you.”  Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind. (James 3: 5-7 KJV)

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (Proverbs 18: 21, MSG) I choose to feed life!

Take lies and what is false far from me. Do not let me be poor or rich. Feed me with the food that I need. (Proverbs 30: 8 NLT)

After God’s response to my question, I quickly began to focus and think about positive things in my life.  I thought about my ministry and how I needed to keep feeding it so it can grow.  I thought of my employment and how I needed to keep feeding it so it could grow.  I thought of my marriage and how I need to keep feeding it so that it can grow.  I thought of so many parts of my life and what I could do to make them grow.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29: 11 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for forgiving me when I sin and fall short.  Thank You for teaching me what to feed and what not to feed.  Continue to guide my words and thoughts so that they can grow and be prosperous.  God continue to give me the discernment to know when I am straying away and feeding things that are not of You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to feed what you want to grow!  Stop wasting your time and energy on things that are not of God and things that will not prosper you.  Feed positive things and people and watch them grow in your life!

Share with us some positive things you too are going to feed!

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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.”

Conviction, Growth/Maturity, Righteousness, Sin

Confrontations

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.  Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ (2 Samuel 12:7-10 NIV)

You cannot run from God.  You cannot convince Him that your sin is justifiable or escape punishment for the sin you have committed, especially if you have any sin in your life you have not confessed.  The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart.  However, David was blinded by the sin in his life and had to be confronted on it.  We can live with a sin so long that it does not even become recognizable as sin.

For some reason, over the past few months my fire for God began to dwindle.  My church attendance fell off, my reading diminished, and I would fall asleep during prayers.  I am ashamed to admit all of this, but I would be more ashamed if I was dishonest with where I was and what God had to do to get my attention.  You see, God loves you and me so much that He will not allow us to wallow in sin and our poor choices without first sending us warning signs.  My first sign came from an email I received from a member of the EmpowerMoments team.  This sweet lady said she had a Word from God, but was hesitant to tell me exactly what He had told her.  I already knew I was in trouble because this lady and I had never met or talked before.  She gave me a call and began to tell me that God was not pleased with how I was living and how my relationship with Him was suffering.  I had “lost” Jesus. Now this absolutely scared me; I didn’t realize how far from Him I had gotten.  But I thank Him for people who are not afraid to confront (in love) those who are perishing or spiritually slumbering.

“Son of man, say to the house of Israel,” This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down and we are wasting away because of them.  How then can we live?” (Ezekiel 33:10 NIV)

I was at a weak point because I had not immersed myself in God’s Word and just like Eve, when the serpent tempted her in the Garden of Eden, I began to question the fairness of the laws God had set in place.  Whenever we find ourselves far from the Shepherd, we leave ourselves open for Satan’s attacks.  It starts with a simple question: “Are you sure it is that bad?”  Then it might turn into you comparing your sin to someone else’s sin.  Do not be fooled!   ALL sin is equal in God’s eyes and ALL sin will cause separation.  Once we begin to entertain the questions of the enemy our sure footing on the Rock begins to slip.  It is my hope today that this EmpowerMoment is another woman’s wakeup call before it is too late.  I would like to leave you with a quote from my friend that confronted me out of love.  “Nothing can separate you from the love of God, but that same nothing can steal your anointing.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your loving patience and grace.  Without it, who could stand?  Help me to rid myself of any besetting or unrecognizable sin.  Reveal to me any grudge I may have against another so there can be no hindrances between You and me.  Send Your Holy Spirit to lead and guide me and place a hedge of protection around me so I can withstand the temptations of the enemy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Lovely Ladies, I EMPOWER you to break strongholds in your life.  If there is anything you are dealing with that is not of God, please let it go!

Has God sent you a warning before? Did you take heed? Share your story with us below.

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

Attitude, Conviction, Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Patience, She is Me Series, Speech

She is Me: Abigail

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

The Fool And I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

Conviction, Sin

Embrace Your Conviction!

I can NEVER get away with ANYTHING!! As soon as I do something wrong, I feel horrible!  I can hardly function after the fact; I just want to crawl into a hole and stay there.  God has blessed me with a strong spirit of conviction.

Stop! I know what you’re thinking, “How can something that makes you feel that way be a blessing?!”  I understand your confusion because I used to feel the same way. 

What is the spirit of conviction?  Simply, it is the realization of one’s guilt.

“…When [the holy spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment…” (John 16:8 NIV)

God sent us a counselor in the Holy Spirit.  The ultimate duty of the Holy Spirit is to, “…guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13b NIV)  God wants us to realize our full potential in Him and the Holy Spirit was sent to us to help us do just that.  In order to realize the destiny God has set for us, we must do the things that God has commanded us to do.  God does not ask us to follow these principles to stop us from having fun and enjoying life.  God has given us these limits for our protection and our well being. 

“…Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction…but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life…” (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)

As we all know, sometimes we get off the narrow path and do our own thing…that’s where the spirit of conviction comes in.  There are many reasons we should embrace our conviction: 

  1. Its’ goal is to get us back to where God wants us to be, so that we can fulfill our destiny in Him.  EMBRACE YOUR CONVICTION!
  2. Having a strong spirit of conviction further proves to us, as if we needed more proof, that God loves us. “…because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son…” (Hebrews 12:6 NIV) EMBRACE YOUR CONVICTION!
  3. When we lose our spirit of conviction, God is allowing us to do whatever our flesh and the devil leads us to do.  “…Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done…” (Romans 1:28 NIV)  If that happens, we will never reach our God given destiny.  EMBRACE YOUR CONVICTION!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the blessing of conviction.  Forgive me for the times that I shunned correction and did my own thing.  Increase the spirit of conviction in me like never before.  I desire to be everything You called me to be.  Order my steps so that I will not be lead into anything that would keep me from my destiny in You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to EMBRACE YOUR CONVICTION and take steps NOT to ever again do what caused you to be convicted in the first place!

Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”