God's Protection, Joy, Praise/Worship, Prayer

Thank You For Protection

Thou art my hiding place; thou wilt preserve me from trouble; Thou wilt compass me about with songs of deliverance. (Psalms 32:7 ASV)

Yesterday my family and I were on our way back from out of town. We were driving down a dark highway when suddenly a humongous deer jumped across the road. My dad hit the deer, but the deer kept going. I was in the car with my brother; he saw the deer and when he said, “I hope daddy didn’t hit the deer,” my dad pulled over. We jumped out of the car and immediately went to check if my parents were okay. Thank You God, they were okay.

Approximately 10 minutes before this accident happened, I told my brother that we needed to pray for my parents and their safe return home. We always pray before we get on the road but the Holy Spirit led me to say an extra prayer for their protection.

When we saw the car, I begin to rejoice and God removed whatever was further down the highway. He stepped in and intercepted what could have turned into a fatality. Everyone was trying to figure out why the deer jumped in the road, but I simply thanked God because my family’s lives were saved. Again God stopped the devil.

Blessed be to God, Who hath not turned away my prayer, Nor his lovingkindness from me. (Psalms 66:20, ASV)

I thank You God for protecting my family on the dangerous highways. I thank You God that no hurt, harm or danger was afflicted upon them. God I thank You for hearing and answering prayers.

Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11: 24 ASV)

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being a prayer answering God. I thank You for protecting my family. God, continue to protect my family. Please continue to fill my Spirit with uneasiness when it is time to pray for my loved ones. Allow me to feel when they are in danger or going through situations that prayer can turn around. God, continue to teach me to be an intercessor for my immediate family, extended family and friends. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to give God some praise. I know that God has done something miraculous for you and I need you to give Him praise. Ladies, listen to your instinct and if God tells you to drop everything and pray, I dare you to drop everything and pray and watch Him work. I EMPOWER you to become an intercessor for your loved ones and watch God show you He is a prayer answering God!

Take a moment and tell us when you have given God some praise…

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Praise is What I Do!

___________________________________________________________________

Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” and Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Encouragement, Expectations, Joy, Patience

The Sign of Rain

“Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:18 NIV)

Rain.  What does rain signify for you?  For me, rain brings life and saturates living things so that they may be more productive.  Rain is calming and reassuring.  It reminds me that I am not in control and because of the rain, I often have to submissively reschedule, alter, or rearrange my daily tasks.  In addition to this, the rain relieves pressure from within my sinuses, making it easier for me to breathe and relax.

The other day I sat looking outside of my back door and noticed how dark the sky was.  I became excited because I knew this was a sign that the rain was coming.  In this very moment the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “This is how life is.  Just before the abundance of rain (a shower of blessings or breakthroughs), it becomes cloudy.”  Often we sulk in our cloudy days of life.  Ask yourself, “How often have I been in a dark period to the point where I felt defeated?”  Honestly, if I chose to think about my current circumstances and the cloudiness, I could begin to doubt and become depressed.  However, I choose to anticipate the RAIN!

“…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5b NIV)

I’m reminded of a few stories in the Bible where the situations of God’s people looked cloudy just before the rain.  I’m reminded of Sarah being in a cloud of doubt due to her barren womb, yet the rain came.  Ruth was in a cloud of uncertainty, and then she met Boaz.  The woman with the issue of blood dwelt in a state of cloudiness for over a decade, but when she saw Jesus the rain came!  The woman at the well, who was shunned by her community, lived with a cloud over her head, but one day the rain came.

Dear Daddy,

How magnificent is Your name in all the Earth.  We seek You in our times of trouble asking for Your rain O’ God.  Lord, we ask that You send the rain, a shower of blessings that can flood out uncertainty, drench depressions, and cleanse our mental and physical sicknesses.  Father God, as we wait in the midst of the clouds, please grant us a spirit of patience and righteous expectancy, believing that You will shower down Your blessing upon us, our homes, our communities, and our country.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to anticipate the rain while in the midst of clouds. “Remember that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28 NIV)  Don’t sulk in your clouds; instead, praise Him in advance for the rain.

How do you press through your cloudy times?  Share with us in a comment below, send us a tweet, or post to our Facebook wall.

___________________________________________________________________

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She and her husband serve as Co-Service leaders and Co-Group leaders of SustainedLove, which supports marriage get-a-ways from Family Life. Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They attend Vaughn Forest Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Faith, Joy, Stress, Trials, Trusting God

If You Hold On, Joy Will Come

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalms 30: 50 NIV)

I was talking to a friend and she was talking about how every bill is due, how her mate is not acting right and how she is stressed in every area of her life. I first thought about encouraging her with faith, but I discuss faith so much I’m sure she could have recited the scriptures for me. I prayed and decided to ask her a question. I asked, “Have you ever been without anything to eat?” She responded, “No.” I asked her, “Have you ever not had a place to live?” She again responded, “No.” I asked her, “Even if you were unemployed, who made a way for you?” She responded, “God.” So I asked her, “What is the difference now?”  She didn’t have an answer. My answer for her: “If you hold on, joy will come!”

After this conversation I started doing a little reflecting on where I had been in my life and I realized I am blessed. Of course, I didn’t just realize that, but I was thinking about previous things I had been through.  I don’t want you to think that it is ok to dwell on the past but sometimes when you are going through something it is easy to become discouraged. Reflecting on how God has made a way so many times before is essential while you are going through a trying time.

You may have a loved one that is battling an addiction (drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, etc). I don’t want you to give up on them. If God has kept them this long, He can and will heal them. When God heals your loved one they will be free indeed. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NIV) Don’t give up because all seems hopeless. If you hold on, joy will come.

You may be depressed about your life because it has not turned out like you thought it should. They may have thoughts of suicide or harming others. I want you to remember that God has not put more on you than you can bear. No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG) Whatever is going on in your mind that is not like God remember if you hold on, joy will come.

You may be battling with marriage or relationship issues. Don’t give up because you are invested and God is working it out. Don’t end your marriage because times are hard or finances are scarce. Remind yourself of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV) No one promised that love, relationships and marriage would be easy, but if God ordained the union it will work out for you. If you just hold on, joy will come.

Dear Daddy,

I want to thank You for protecting and comforting me when I felt like giving up. Thank You for being my joy after the turmoil in my life. God continue to mold me and encourage me when I’m discouraged. Lord, continue to bring back to my remembrance that trouble doesn’t last always and if I hold on joy will come! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to remember that trouble doesn’t last always. When issues come into your life, I want you to remember that the same way God saved your life so many times before, He’s working on your behalf right now. I EMPOWER you to smile through your tears because they are only temporary. If you just hold on, joy will come!

If you have been through a weeping phase, how did you handle your phase until your joy came? Share your story below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness

________________________________________________________________

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.”

Encouragement, Family, Happiness, Inspirational, Joy, Relationships

Co-Create Your Happiness

Are you happy with your life? Are you happy with your family, job, or business? I know that this list could go on, but let’s have a “heart to heart”. Do you think that God wants you to be happy or cares if you are happy? Is happiness for only those who are in the world? In my past when I asked a “super Christian” this, their rebuttal is, “God wants you to have joy not happiness.” Well, I have figured out that I want both! For this is what the LORD says–he, who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited–he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other!” (Isaiah 45:18 NIV) See there you go! Our Father created ALL things and happiness is one of them.

Recently, I was chatting with one of my girlfriends. I called her for the second time this month (about the same issue) to vent and then to get prayer after my venting. Some of the people in my life that are close to me were making me unhappy. They were enjoying their days, at the expense of my happiness. They are just toxic people. The kind of people who walk around with their noses up while they speak negatively to you, tear you down, discourage you, degrade you, and have no faith in you.

Now the first time I called my girlfriend, she gave me a nice verbal “rub on the back,” but not the second time. This time she gave me a verbal arm pull (sometimes you need those) and pinch (those too). What she said was similar to this: “Lisa it sounds to me that you are unhappy and you are the one to blame for this.” I had to be honest with myself. Am I the blame for my unhappiness? Did this hold any truth to it? We prayed and I went about my day. Right before I got in the bed that night, the Holy Spirit wanted to talk to me about what my friend revealed to me. This is what He said: “Lisa you have the power and ability to be happy. Not only do you have this, but you don’t have the right to feel dismayed or like a victim.”

According to Dictionary.com, The word ‘happy’ is an adjective and means: (1) Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. (2) Having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation). Lastly, the synonyms for happy are: glad, fortunate, luck, merry, cheerful, and JOYFUL! Now, let us go to our Father’s Word and see what He says. “But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” (Psalms 68:3 NIV) I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12 NIV) Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 5:19 NIV) There are many more where those came from; search for yourself. Seeing something in the Word does something to me; it confirms the heart of God! Yes it’s ok for me to be happy, but how to do I reach the happy destination? The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Begin NOW to create anew in EVERYTHING that’s making you unhappy. You are capable of doing this. Your Father is the Creator so that makes you a co-creator and know that if you need help in believing this or doing this, just ask! It’s a promise to you!” YES, take that devil! I can be happy and whoever is reading this, YOU can be happy too!

I was allowing people to make me unhappy, but not anymore. Glory to God! I came across this saying by an anonymous author which sums everything up. “No one, but our Heavenly Father, knows your dreams like YOU know your dreams; so don’t let anyone get behind the wheel of the vehicle that will get you to them.” Stick them in the back seat, or better yet, on the bumper! My dream is to be happy and I’m living that dream now. So, let me ask you again. Are you happy? If not let’s start co-creating happy lives, happy marriages, happy homes, happy kids, happy jobs, and etc. with the guidance and help of our Father through His Holy Spirit.

Dear Daddy,

Forgive us for giving into the lie of the enemy that happiness is just for the world because You said in Your word that it’s for the righteous and by faith in Jesus we are called Your righteousness. We now repent and turn our hearts to seek first Your Kingdom so that happiness will be added unto us in our personal lives, marriages, children, families, churches, jobs, and world! We bind every lie, force, and person that would block our results in the name of Jesus. We loose grace as we embark upon this task and You get the glory through it all. We thank You that, “greater is He that is within us!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen! 

I EMPOWER you to ask yourself these this question: What and/or who is making me unhappy (relationship, job, weight, being an employee instead of an employer, etc.)? Get a pen, write it down, and then pray to the Father and ask for His help co-create “happy” results in your life. I mean it! You are promised happiness, especially when you allow God’s divine guidance to show and help you co-create it!

What are some strategies that you use to remain happy? Share those with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Pursuit of Happiness

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.”