Gratefulness, Love, Marriage

Gotta Be…

Today is my Baby’s, also known as my husband, birthday.  He is 26 years young today. I’m so proud and honored to say that I have a God-fearing, praying, and strong black man!  However, today’s culture brings many challenges to the possibility of being married, especially when the divorce rate is high for non-Christians as well as Christians. I personally believe that marriage is impossible without God and a fulfilling marriage can only come by following His principles for marriage.  I must admit that I have been blessed beyond my mind when it comes to whom God chose for my mate.  Martin Luther said,“There is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, that a good marriage.”

I can witness to the promise and have assurance in His word, the blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and He adds no trouble to it. (Proverbs 10:22 NIV)  God is fulfilling this very thing for me through my husband.  I remember in the beginning of our dating many people thought that I didn’t deserve him, tried to separate the thought of us even dating, or didn’t take it serious.  You see he was raised in the church most of his life and me, well, I was the complete opposite and I was with a child.  The Lord knew what He had in His blueprint and He knew that our marriage was apart of it.  When the Lord has a plan nothing can stop it, so if you’re believing the enemy’s lie on today that what the Lord spoke to you is not coming to past declare this, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”(Isaiah 55:11 NIV)

I can recall my husband, before our courtship, telling me that the Lord told him I was his wife.  I laughed and thought he was crazy because I wasn’t looking for a husband at that time in my life.  I was a single mother for three years prior to getting involved with my husband so marriage was something I thought about, but it wasn’t a desire at the moment.  Fast forward two years after my husband spoke those words to me; we were on our first date.  Before he dropped me off, we were listening to a song called “Gotta Be” by Jagged Edge.  He sang the song to me and every word he sang, he has been, done, and lived.

The first verse of the song goes like this: Don’t wanna make a scene/I really don’t care if people stare at us/ Sometimes I think I’m dreamin’/ I pinch myself just to see if I’m awake or not

This is a real-life illustration of what my husband and I have.  He is compassionate, self-less, patient, loving, and mine!  I’m so grateful for him.  Our marriage isn’t perfect and we both have learned through trial and error our God-given roles and responsibilities (thanks also to our Pastor Arthur Guice).  Nevertheless, we look towards the Spirit to help us in every area and we keep God first.

I’m a living testimony that if you wait on God, He’ll marry you.  While married, if you’ll give Him all of your heart and do things His way, He will give your marriage growth, love, restoration, and any thing it needs.  A fulfilling marriage is not just a dream, but possible with God!

Now to my husband, I know that we have had some obstacles in the road, but I LOVE YOU more than anything and less than God.  I pray that you will have many more healthy years, but that your encounter with the Lord will be stronger than last year. Know that you don’t have to “Gotta Be” any longer because you are.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You first for life.  Thank You that I am living and am saved.  Father, if it wasn’t for Your grace, I wouldn’t have been able to write this EM about my husband.  Lord, I ask that You would send Your word to restore any marriage that is in need of restoration. Lord, send Your word to grow every God-ordained marriage.  Lord, give grace also to my sisters who are single or engaged.  Lord, let their souls be satisfied only in You.  Let other young people rise up and live according to your principles regarding marriage.  I also ask that You would bless my Baby on today.  Be to him what he needs on today, keep our desires for one another, and help us to enjoy each other while we have each other.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you on today to bless your husbands if you are married and even if he may not be worthy of it.  Pray for him and ask the Lord to show you the treasure that’s inside of him.   For all my single ladies, get an appetite for the Lord like never before while you are still single.  Marriage would never satisfy you like a growing relationship with our Father can.  Lastly, Baby I EMPOWER you to hold on because change is going to come!

How do you keep your marriage to God and/or your marriage to your husband strong?

Thanks for all your votes and support!  We have won Best Faith-Based Blog!!!

Here’s “Gotta Be” by Jagged Edge:


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: Psalm 34:19: “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.”

Assignment, Generosity, Growth/Maturity, Kindness, Love, Obedience, Servitude

Maybe I’ll Say Yes…

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others…”(Philippians 2:4 NIV)

I’m pretty sure that many would agree that 2012 is passing by at a quick speed.  Not only is time passing by so quickly, but life is full.  It’s very easy to be too busy with life, family, work, church, and other responsibilities.  Almost every person I know—young, old, male, female, married, or single—complains about how busy he/she is.  When one is busy, which seems to be always lately, there is not enough time to fit in every responsibility and others too.

How does one find time for anything anymore?  The safe thing to do is say ‘no’ to anything extra, especially those unplanned and spontaneous opportunities that pop up.  We couldn’t possibly say yes right?  We have to go to work, clean the house, pay some bills, or we are just plain ol’ tired.  Well here is a wise and friendly reminder courtesy of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes those things that spontaneously show up are opportunities for the Kingdom of God to advance!

The things you will be rewarded for in heaven are not the houses, cars, clothes, bank accounts, or careers that you attain here.  The things that will matter most are the things you have done for others because of Him.  Calling that elderly person who has no family and talking to them for a while, inviting your child to lay in the bed with you while you watch a movie and share laughs, giving a single mom who needs a break a twenty-five dollar pedicure, or writing an EmpowerMoment for a friend who didn’t have enough time to write one are those things that matter most.  Taking every chance to walk in love and express love to others is one thing that can surely move my Father’s heart!  Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)

This EmpowerMoment was given by the Holy Spirit at an unplanned and spontaneous time.  I was on my way to sleep when I received an email from one of my team members.  She was so honest and genuine in her request for help and although I was tired, the Lord said otherwise.  I must agree that a time like this is when you get the best testimony and juiciest experience.  I’m glad that when my sister called and asked for my help, I paused before I spoke the word ‘no’ and replaced it with a ‘yes’ so that this reminder could get to you.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unfailing love!  I thank You for giving me the wisdom to know when I need to proceed and say yes.  I thank You for giving me the heart to love and express love towards others.  I pray I continue to trust You and follow Your lead each day as You bless me with more opportunities to give You glory and express Your love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, the next time something pops up unplanned and not on your agenda, I EMPOWER you to do the following: Pause and Pray.  Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment and instruction of what the Father desires for you to do. He may give you the go ahead of saying ‘no’ or maybe He will make you replace it with a ‘yes’.  Try it and see what happens!

Are you finding time to have these kinds of experiences?


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.”

Comfort, Death, Encouragement, Forgiveness, God, God's Love, Love, Miscellaneous, Restoration

The Dress

This past week I pulled a dress out of my closet that had been hanging there for over three years. The reason it’s been in the closet so long is two-fold:

1. I had gained weight and not been able to fit the dress since I last wore it.

2. It was the dress I wore to the funeral of my first love, the father of my children.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I was going to make my health a priority. As I made lifestyle changes, I started shedding the excess weight I’d been carrying around. Although I didn’t know where I would wear the dress next, I knew I would be able to wear it in a matter of time. When I took it out of the closet last week, I had no problem putting it on and it actually looked better than it had the first time I wore it! But it was bittersweet.

I was now going to wear the dress to the funeral of my nephew, my sister’s son.

One day last week, I was on my way to the mall to purchase the last outfit I would ever buy my nephew, the one he would go to his grave in. It was then that God began to speak to me about the dress. He told me that while I considered this dress as my ‘funeral dress’, it was a representative of so much more. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV)

The black dress actually represents God’s love for me! He loves me so much that He has built me up and given me the strength to face the challenges of the black dress each and every time I have been confronted with them. When I had to bury the father of my children, God made sure that I stood strong, was able to love and comfort my children and recognize that even though I was hurting about how he was taken, I got better instead of bitter because of the love of God! When I had given up on myself and my desire to live a healthy lifestyle, was overpowered by the fear of gaining all the weight back again, there that black dress hung as a symbol of strength once again, reminding me that God loves me and will give me the strength to overcome the battle I have with my weight. On those mornings when I didn’t want to get up and do my workout, I could see that black dress; it stood out amongst all the clutter in the closet and I continued to push through.

As I was trying to mentally prepare myself to go back to the funeral home to make the final preparations for the homegoing service of my nephew—whom I will always remember as the snotty nosed little brother I never had, who I have lost so much sleep over this past week because of the way he was taken—I recognized once again that when it came time to step into that black dress and head to the funeral, the love of God would be all around me, holding me up and giving me the strength I needed to take each and every step that day!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being the strength that I need when I feel I have nothing more to give, say or do. Thank You for loving me through all of the good and bad times and assuring me that You will always be right by my side. I pray that when doubt begins to creep in, I will first look up and call on Your name because I know that I can do all things through You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Mighty ladies of God, today I EMPOWER you to embrace the strength that you have as an heir to the kingdom of your heavenly Father! Refuse to allow the doubt of people and situations to have any effect on that which you know to be true and continue to stand on His word!


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.”

Love, Love, Love Series, Self Love, Self-Esteem

Learning to Love Me

This is hard to admit…I struggle to love myself.  As far back as I can remember, this has been an ongoing struggle.  As a child, I struggled to accept myself physically.  I thought that I wasn’t as pretty as the other girls, my nose was too big, I was too skinny etc.  As I grew up I began to believe myself to be physically beautiful, however, this was only because other people (namely members of the opposite sex) started to notice me.

Boys and men noticing me opened a whole new level of struggle.  My love for myself was dependent on what they said, did, and felt about me.  As my teenage and college years rolled on, I ALWAYS had a man.  It was as if my sanity depended on it.  When one didn’t work out, it wasn’t long before I had another one.  I’ve settled for Quasi-relationships where I was never given a commitment but behaved as if I was married.  I’ve been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused.  When abuse wasn’t on the menu, I got periodic calls filled with empty expressions of “care” when they wanted money, sex, or whatever else.  I went running every time, even to the point of leaving my bed and home in the middle of the night to go attend to them.

Sadly, I have never received what I’ve chased after so desperately.  I don’t know what it feels like to be loved by a man in that special romantic way.  In my adult life, I am FINALLY learning to really love ME, by seeing myself the way God sees me:

1)       There is nothing wrong with how God created me.  “…He has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

2)      “… I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful…” (Psalms 139:14 NIV)

3)      I am special to God.  “…before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  Before you were born, I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)

4)      I am a princess, and deserve to be treated as such! “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)

Not until we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us will we ever really love ourselves.  We must love who God created us to be in order to achieve the destiny He has called us to.  For me, relationships with men were my indicator that I did not love myself, but maybe that’s not you.  You might overeat, or not eat enough.  You may be engaged in dangerous behavior or be sinking in depression.  You may be just floating through life not taking authority and letting the devil do whatever he wants.  All of these are indicators of not loving who God created you to be.  It’s time to see you the way that God sees you.  “…For God so loved [insert your name here] that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…” (John 3:16 NIV)  How could you not love yourself when you understand just how valuable you are! 🙂

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for loving me!  Teach me how to love myself that way that You love me. Forgive me for searching for love everywhere but in You.  Forgive me for the times that I have made You feel as if Your love wasn’t good enough.  I love You and I am so grateful that You love me in spite of my imperfections, faults, and issues.  I am also grateful that not only do You love me just the way I am, but You love me enough to continue to push me toward where You have destined me to be.  Give me wisdom and strength to keep moving in that direction.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to love yourself the way God loves you.  You are a princess and you deserve royal treatment.  Carry yourself like royalty.  Do not expect others to treat you a certain way when you have not set the standard.

1)      Take Care of Yourself Physically

Even Esther went through a year of beauty treatments before going in to see the king.  Strive to be physically fit, eat well, exercise, take care of your skin, etc. (See Esther 2: 12-13a)

2)       Enjoy your own company

–          Aside from your devotional time with God, learn to enjoy hanging out by yourself. (i.e. go to a movie, out to eat or on a solo vacation) Learn about yourself, what you enjoy, your interests etc.

3)      Don’t settle for FAKE love

–          End the quasi-relationships, friends with benefits, no strings attached arrangements.  God has so much more for you!  The true definition of love is given to us in 1Corinthians 13: 4-8, we are not to settle for less than that!

4)      Don’t Struggle Alone

–          For those times when you struggle to love yourself or when loneliness is pressuring you to seek FAKE love, pray and ask God to connect you with another WOMAN that will esteem you, pray for you and hold you accountable to the call God has on your life!

  ‘Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.’ – Whitney Houston


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.”

Love, Love, Love Series, Marriage, Relationships, Sex

The Reality of Relationships

“Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” Mark 10:9 MSG

Relationships bring out the root of our character. Whether it’s spiritual, marital, familial, or friendship, our character is often what determines the depth to these relationships. This past weekend my husband and I went to a marriage conference entitled, “Weekend to Remember.” We witnessed so many couples, even ourselves, having breakthroughs and becoming free because they understood what a true relationship with their spouse or future spouse should entail. Unfortunately, society, secular culture, media, and our imaginations have tainted the true meaning of the love shared between a husband and wife. When I was dating, I had so many misconceptions and unrealistic expectations about marriage. It caused a lot of frustration during my dating years and rifts when I married. Today I want to EMPOWER you to step outside of what you “think” is healthy for the marriage you have or the one you are preparing for, and look to God as the source of abundance and joy in your relationship.

Common Myths that Skew Singles and Murder Marriages:

  1. Difficulties mean we have a bad marriage: It’s not the difficulty that rates your marriage, but the way you respond to difficulties. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” (1 Corinthians 7:28 NIV) Work as a team to face ALL troubles.
  2. I have to make my point: When you respond to your mate, do you use honey or vinegar? The Bible tells us to speak in a way that encourages: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) I’ve learned over the years that my husband does not respond to nagging (the equivalent of being nibbled to death by a duck). But he responds to TIMELY conversations that encourage him.
  3. Children first, then our marriage: God designed the marriage relationship as the priority relationship of the family. Our marriages should mirror God’s image of love. The speaker at our conference gave some astounding advice. He said children don’t necessarily “need” quality or quantity time the most. They need mom and dad to have it together! This is so true because it breeds security in the home. Children are sensitive and can pick up on tension in the home.
  4. Love has to be earned: The anchor to your love for your spouse or future spouse should not be based on how well he cooks, acts, works, dresses, or interacts with other people. That’s what makes you “like” him. Love is based on the principle of agape love. It’s patience (not forcing him to change or slapping resume` builders in his face), kindness (saying “good morning” or sending a text message that says “I love you”), void of envy (you are not his competitor), non-boasting (refrain from “I cook, clean, AND work! What do you do?”), honor (opposed to punking him in public or acting like his mom), selflessness (opposed to manipulating the finances in secret), self-control (opposed to being quick to get angry), and it’s based on forgiveness (instead of keeping a record, tally, score sheet, note-book, or spreadsheet of his wrongdoings in your brain and heart or reminding him of them.)
  5. Marriage should be blissful: Did you know that some things are not solvable? You cannot change your spouse and he cannot change you. Some disagreements have to end in compromise.
  6. I can fix him: Your husband is not your project! Pick another hobby! Your man has attributes that are indicative of him. God can make the situation work, but when you make it your business to “fix it” on your own, that becomes day one of destruction. Trying to change him means that I do not accept the masterpiece God designed for me.
  7. Sex is not necessary: Did you know that both of you should be “satisfied” during sex in your marriage? I just learned of a story of a woman of 12 children that never experienced an orgasm. She began to pray over her marriage bed and soon, her husband prayed with her. He took on the responsibility of trying to make sex enjoyable for her as well. God filled them with ways of intimacy to encourage oneness in their marriage. Healthy sex encourages oneness.
  8. I don’t need a man to complete me: You should definitely be complete in your decision for Christ before you marry. However, a marriage is a companionship. When there is not a “need” for a companion, your husband cannot see where he fits in. Men have a “need” to complete and fix. If he can’t complete your desire for companionship, he doesn’t see where he’s needed.
  9. Conferences, counseling, and marriage books are only for broken marriages: My husband said something astounding the other day. He said we study for our degrees so we can “know” our fields, but we don’t “study” our marriage. I was blown away because he was right. I know his personality, but I don’t know what it means to be “married” unless I look at two other people that are NOT he and I. Whether it’s your Bible, talks with your mate about your marriage, retreats, books, etc, your marriage needs to be an “intended” focus, not just another feather in your hat.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for bringing some things to the fore front. Father, please help us not to taint our minds and imaginations with selfish ideas and worldly expectations of marriage. Lord, I pray that every wife reading this message is able to demonstrate oneness. Lord, I pray that she sees to it that she prays for her husband on a consistent basis, whether he is a believer or not. Lord, I ask that the Holy Spirit guide our prayers so that they are not selfish. Lord, I pray for every Lady in Waiting and every Wife, that You encourage her to realize that the focus before and during marriage should be You because You give her provisions, joy, happiness, and fulfillment, regardless of circumstance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to love your man with Godly love. Relationships are wonderful, but we can’t encourage worldly expectations if we want a Godly relationship. I listed the myths above to help free you to lavish in the abundance of love. Your husband is neither your enemy nor your competitor. There is nothing worse for a man to fail outside the home and then come home to someone that reaffirms it. God designed us as helpers. The term helper means to assist someone that is not adequate to handle it by themselves; it does not mean slave! Love on him in God’s way and He will move like never before.

Comment on our Facebook Wall or Tweet us and tell us ways you encourage your healthy relationship.

  We continue our celebration of Whitney with her hit, “All The Man That I Need”:

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is 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 teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and 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 energetic three-year old daughter. They attend Vaughn Forest Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here

God, God's Love, Love, Love Series, Relationships

Generic Is Not An Option!

I am a huge fan of Jimmy Dean’s pancake and sausage on a stick. When those are in the freezer, I look forward to rising early so I can get my hands on my microwavable gourmet breakfast. It’s a delight to walk down the aisle of the grocery store knowing my destination is the freezer with the red and blue box that packages my morning glory.  One day I was at my sister’s house and she removed something that resembled a corn dog. I asked what it was and she replied, “Pancake and sausage on a stick and they are oh so good!” Of course, my heart began to race because I get excited about what the morning brings! The next day I woke up excited! I microwaved two. It was time for morning glory! I smiled, took a bite, and immediately got angry with my sister! I instantly had questions traveling through my mind while trying not to be disappointed. What was she thinking? Why would she encourage someone to eat this? Why is the pancake so doughy? Why does the sausage taste wild? UGHHH….Then I looked in the freezer to see the brand of the unsatisfying product. It was Great Value, not Jimmy Dean! At first I was angry, but then it hit me, “How can I be angry with her? Yes, she would think the generic brand is good if she’s never had the REAL thing!”

Is that some of us? Because we have not experienced REAL love, we settle for generic! REAL love is AGAPE love, which is unconditional. Generic love is based on feelings, brings up your past, is disgusted with your faults, leaves when it can’t have its way, takes advantage of you, doesn’t forgive, is never satisfied, brags all the time, is driven by flesh, never gives, and always takes. However, AGAPE (real) love has no limits and it is the love of God. Unconditional love can be described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. (AMP)

This is the love we ALL need to fill the void in our lives. If we don’t experience this, we will continue to search and look for it in all the wrong places. We look for this void to be filled with generic options like money, power, sex, men, women, careers, alcohol, drugs, and the list continues. It’s AGAPE love that completes us and propels us into purpose. Unfortunately, due to life’s circumstances, many of us have not experienced REAL love. Love from family, relationships, and spouses can impact our perspective of what love truly is. If we experience generic love first, it’s possible not to recognize the love of God when He showers us with it. We must desire His AGAPE love and receive it!

Just like the pancake and sausage on a stick, when it comes to love, the brand Great Value may appear to be of “great value” however it’s nothing like the REAL thing!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for Your unconditional love! I thank You for Your Son that looked past my faults and said I was worth dying for (THAT’S LOVE!) I thank You that I am able to recognize the difference between real and generic love and I don’t settle for the generic brand. Father, I appreciate You for setting the standard that I can measure the love that I give and receive. Father, because Your Spirit is on the inside of me, I thank you that I am able to love like You so others can be drawn to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to experience REAL love from the Creator; then you will be able to recognize generic love when it’s offered from the creation! Make an effort to fall in love with God by spending time (reading the word and prayer) and getting to know Him so you will be able to receive His AGAPE love. When you know Him, you can trust and love Him. Remember, God’s love is unconditional!

Enjoy Whitney Houston’s rendition of “Jesus Loves Me”:

Ms. Rodnisha L. Anderson resides in Chicago, IL and serves as an elder at Life Redeeming Ministries. She works diligently with the Singles and Intercessory ministries. She is married to the Lord and becomes whatever she needs to become to reach the people for the building of God’s kingdom. Rodnisha truly desires to witness successful single women thriving in the kingdom of God.  Her favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 

Blessings, Family, Love, Love Series

For the LOVE of Family…

Some days I think of going to the courthouse and getting a divorce. There really are no tangible assets to split, as a matter of fact they could have everything if I could just walk away. After these thoughts, I realize that there is no piece of paper that could separate me from them because even in death we are eternally linked. Other days, I find myself defending them ferociously, going out of my way to help them, or leaning on them for my own support. Through ups and downs, in and outs I do indeed love the ones that I share this inextricable bloodline with. Through it all I love my family.

Despite the hardship, betrayal, hurt, deception and lies we are forever connected to those we call family. Ultimately, we learn that loving them doesn’t mean we are always up close and personal but we are able to reunite when necessary. No matter the hurt, we are often able to look beyond the faults of our family especially when they are in need. Below are two vivid examples of betrayal and familial love conquering all.

In Genesis 27, Jacob tricks his father into giving him the blessing intended for Esau. Esau finds out and plots to kill his brother. Jacob fled and was away many years- long enough to give birth to the twelve tribes of Israel; however, there came a time when God told him to go back home. As furious as Esau was in the beginning, his heart was softened: 1And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men… 4And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.10And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. (Genesis 33: 1,4, 10 KJV)

There can be no discussion of betrayal and forgiveness with out bringing up Joseph and his band of brothers. Genesis 37 and Genesis 39-41 detail the plot to kill Joseph, the brothers throwing him into the pit, selling him into slavery, the lie by Potiphar’s wife, his prison life, his dream interpretations and his ascension to leadership. However we later see that Joseph forgives his brothers and recognizes that God preserved him for such a time as that.

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 3And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 4And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45: 1,3-5, 8 KJV)

Joseph’s story shows us that no matter whom your family tries to make you, God has the final say for your life. Your steps are already ordered through Him. I had family that told me that I would never be anything. People who were jealous of me because I excelled but their words and attempts to make me fall were no match for God’s plans for my life.

While my family does absolutely wreck my nerves sometimes, I am reminded that I also have extremely supportive family members who are fiercely protective of me and love me without condition. I think about my grandmother and aunt who stepped in to take care of my brothers and me when our daddies weren’t present and our mother wasn’t capable. My grandmother’s love knows no bounds. Even when I decided to be the prodigal daughter (another EmpowerMoment), she forgave me and let me work through my rebellion. Then there are my brothers who nagged but protected me. There are also my cousins who at a moment’s notice will drop everything just to listen to whatever I have to say. These same people will incite a riot if anyone outside of our bloodline utters a bad word about me. If you have ever been around us, we are loud and absolutely everything is a debate, but I’ve determined that this is the way my family shows love. This is who we are.

I love my family even when they make it hard. God destined me to be a part of this group. He has shown me ones that I have to love but not be personal with, as well as those that I am assigned to their life for the long haul. I used to wonder WHY I was birthed to this family, but who am I to question God’s plans when I trust that He knows what’s best for me. My family is not blessed to have “me” as a part of their family as much as I am blessed to have them in my life.  During this week of love, I celebrate the Lundy family.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the gift of family. As many of us deal with the pain associated with family, allow us to also relish in the love. Help us to accept our position in our families and to do what is pleasing to You. Order our steps. Lord, deal with us and help us to forgive the pain of the past because Your word tells us that ALL things work together for the good of them that love the Lord. Help us to love and as we start our own families, guide us in establishing family cultures that our designed by You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to LOVE. Reach out to an unsuspecting family member and express how important it is to have them in your life. Tell them WHY they are important. Give that family member their flowers while they are still present. Show them the same love and appreciation that you desire in your own life and thank God for them. Receive Love, Give Love, Be Love.

Honor the life of Whitney Houston today as you celebrate your family:

My Love is Your Love

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

God's Love, Love, Love Series

Love Is…

If I could search every part of my being in an attempt to draw from my own experiences or if I could look up the word in every dictionary or Google it from here to yonder, I would never find a more meaningful definition for ‘love’ than that which is found in the Holy Bible.  As EmpowerMoments kicks off its series in celebration of love, I thought it best that we start with a definition that encompasses the wonder and beauty of love.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.

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.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NIV)

Dear Daddy,

I come to You today thanking You for giving us the definition of love. Lord, from Your Word I know that Your son Jesus exemplified love in its purest form and thus, I pray Lord, that You guide me that I may be more like Jesus.  Guide my actions and guide my words, guide my feelings toward myself and guide my feelings towards others. Father, I submit to Your love and ask that You create a beauty within me that will radiate outwardly for the whole world to see.  I love You Father, and most of all, I thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to strive to love more and to love harder.  Love like you have never loved before and be beautiful while you are doing it.  When you love, it is easier to forgive and easier to give.  I EMPOWER you to show an act of love to someone today and EMPOWER that person to pass it forward.

Beverly Gordon is a graduate of Gonzaga School of Law (Spokane, WA) and currently works as an Executive Assistant and Director of Compliance.  She is a devoted mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend who believes in the importance of teaching children the power of prayer.  In her journey of loving and leaning on the Lord she meditates on Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” She resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her beautiful daughter and is an active member of the Springfield United Methodist Church.

God's Love, Love

I Heart You <3

Many of you may focus on the title and wonder why I didn’t use the word love. In today’s society the word “love” has almost become obsolete.  Even on Facebook and Twitter people say I “heart” you.  Instantly you know what they mean, but the way it’s written just looks different.  I believe we say “heart” because it doesn’t sound all mushy, but why not be mushy for God?

Jesus wants us to have an attitude of love. 1 John 4:16 says GOD IS LOVE. (NLT) It doesn’t say GOD IS HEART, it says love.  It’s 100% natural for us to have love for our family, children and friends, but what about our enemies and neighbors?  The scriptures instructs us to, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”  (Matthew 5:44-45 KJV)

My son once asked me, “Mommy do you love me and everybody or just me?”  I told him, “Of course I love you and mommy loves everybody too.”  I’ve always been a person who loves to love, a romantic at heart. But then I began to really wonder how God wants us to love our enemies. How can I love my neighbor who never speaks or the chick that is always gossiping about me behind my back? Then God says to me, How can you NOT love them? If you love those who love you, what rewards will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?”  (Matthew 5:46-47 NIV)

The chapter continues on by saying, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 NIV) Can we be “perfect” here on earth?  Obviously, the answer is no.  The word perfect in Hebrew means “maturity,” “completeness,” and “wholeness.”  So we must grow toward maturity and wholeness.  Just as we expect different behaviors from a baby, a child, a teenager, and an adult, so God expects growth and different behavior from us.

So how can we gain an attitude of love?  Someone once said, “To return evil for evil is man-like. To return evil for good is animal-like, but to return good for evil is God-like. “We have to continually assess our actions based upon the perfect example of Jesus so that we can move from “man-like” to “GOD-like” while avoiding becoming “animal-like.” 

Dear Daddy,

I love You with all my heart.  I will always be in love with You because You loved me so much that You gave Your only begotten son to die for my sins.  Lord, help me to grow stronger daily in my attitude of love toward others.  Help me to sincerely love those who persecute me. In Jesus’  Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to adopt an attitude of love toward all people, including your enemies.  Don’t be afraid to let someone know that you hea—eh, LOVE them!  Remember: Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is LOVE! (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)

How will you endeavor to love those that don’t act so lovable? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Be a Change Agent

Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.”  She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry.  Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service.  She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden.  Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation.  Her favorite scripture is Hebrews 11:6: “And without Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to Him must BELIEVE that He exists and that He REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him.”

God, God's Love, Love, Submission/Surrendering

I Give Myself Away

Who gives this woman to be married?  If you’ve ever been to an American wedding, I’m certain that you’ve heard these words.  Traditionally, every wedding consists of the bride being given to her soon-to-be husband.  Customarily, the bride was given to her husband because women were considered property and therefore had to be given by the owner (father).  As part of the transfer, the father was paid for the bride and the groom assumed care and responsibility for the woman.

This tradition is very similar to the spiritual relationship that the Church has with Christ.  The primary difference is that, in order to be one with Christ, you must give yourself away.  As members of the Body of Christ, we represent the bride of Jesus.  That’s right; you are Jesus’ boo, His lady, the love for which He gave His life.  When He died upon the cross, you were bought and paid for—not because you were anyone’s property, but because He loves you. (1 Corinthians 6:20 NIVImagine that.  The King of Kings is in love with you!  He wants to marry you!  All you have to do is give yourself away. 

In Romans 12:1, the Apostle Paul explains that giving ourselves to the King is the proper thing to do.  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (NIV)  Jesus sacrificed so much in order to make you His bride.  As your groom, He is prepared to take care of you.  He is ready to love on you.  Will you give yourself to Him?

Giving yourself to Christ requires that “you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.” (Romans 10:9 NKJV) This is critical step that many of us have accomplished; however, God desires even more.  He is asking us to give ourselves fully.  He wants us not just to love Him with our lips but with our entire being.  As such, we are charged to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30 NKJV) When we love God with all that we have and keep His commands, we have truly given ourselves to Him. 

As we enter into this New Year, I pray that we all take these steps to give ourselves away.  The King is waiting!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for patiently waiting at the altar for our arrival.  We confess that we have been like runaway brides, straying from the altar, not giving ourselves to You fully.  Forgive us for our sins.  Help us to see more clearly the desires that You have for us.  Help us to operate in obedience.  Help us to give ourselves away.  Again, we thank You.  You are holy, majestic, and there is none like You.  We bless You for continuing to be our King.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you give yourselves to the Almighty King.  God is waiting for your arrival.  Offer yourselves to Him fully and completely. 


Read a related EmpowerMoment: You Must Click Submit Before the Deadline

Ms. Latasha McCrary is an active member of St. Luke Christian Church in Huntsville, AL where she serves as a Young Adult Facilitator and is training as a Life Skills Coach. She is passionate about the practice of law and views her profession as an extension of her calling to serve. Latasha firmly believes that “Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy” and is grateful for God’s continuing favor evidenced in her life. “By this I know that you favor me, because you have not let my enemies triumph over me.” (Psalms 41:11)