God's Promises, Patience

When Is “It” Going To Happen?

“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)

“No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” (Psalm 25:3 NIV)

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14 NIV)

Have you ever felt as if the things you’ve prayed for were taking too long to happen? Have you grown tired of waiting? I know the frustration of waiting because I am feeling that way right now. Sometimes people think that because you’re a Christian you never get frustrated or you never have any issues. I have been single for almost two years now and I’m wondering when I’ll be in a relationship again. I’ve been out of college for three years and haven’t gotten a job in my field (Social Services) yet. I also wonder when I’ll be able to get my foot in the door so I can start my career.

I would like to share the stories of two women mentioned in the Bible who too probably wondered when God would change their situation. They are Hannah and Sarah. Hannah was married to Elkanah. Elkanah also had another wife named Peninnah. Peninnah had children and Hannah didn’t. Penninah would tease Hannah about her being barren (1 Sam. 1:6). I could imagine how hurt Hannah was by that (1 Sam 1:7-8).  Who would want to get teased about not being able to conceive a child? Hannah prayed for God to bless her with a son and promised him that she would dedicate him back to God.  Hannah was praying deeply to the point that the priest Eli thought she was drunk while she was praying (1 Sam. 12-14). Hannah’s lips were moving but there was no sound coming from them.  God blessed Hannah with a son named Samuel. Hannah kept her promise to God and God also blessed Hannah with more children (1 Sam. 1:24-28; 1 Sam. 2:21).

Sarah was married to Abraham. Sarah and Abraham both were of old age. God told her husband that they would have a child (Gen. 3:3-4). Sarah didn’t believe that she would have a child at her old age (Gen. 18:11-12). God gave Sarah and Abraham a son (Isaac) just like he promised (Gen. 22:1-2). Before Sarah got pregnant with Isaac, she told her husband to sleep with her slave Hagar because she couldn’t have any children (Gen. 16:1). Hagar had a son named Ishmael. Sarah began to dislike Hagar because she was able to have a child and she wasn’t (Gen. 16:4-5).

I know that God will bless me with the things that I desire if it’s according to His will just like He did Sarah and Hannah. I have to continue to have faith and trust Him. Everything will happen according to His timing. God always keep His promises.

I believe that there are things that we can do to motivate us towards where we want to be in our lives (i.e. vision boards, positive affirmations, setting goals). I also believe that we have to put to action things that we would like to change. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26 KJV)  However, before we set goals or put to action anything, we should pray and ask God for His direction.

Dear Daddy,

I know that You have great things in store for Your people. Help me to wait on Your timing. I’m not in control, but You are. Give me patience and endurance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to wait on God. Don’t move ahead of him and get an Ishmael because you’re not willing to wait. Ask God to give you strength and hold on to His promises. Ask God to help you to exercise your faith.

What are you waiting on God for? What has he promised you?

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Venus Gilmore currently resides in Auburn, AL. She is an alumna of Auburn University. Venus has B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Organization and Inequality with a minor in Social Work. She plans on pursuing a career in Social Services. She currently serves as treasurer of the Kings Alpha E-line Chapter, the Mamie Reese Scholarship Director, and College Transition Program Director of her sorority Theta Phi Sigma Christian Sorority, Inc. Venus is also a blogger for Radical7even. She is an active Client Advocate volunteer for the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic. She successfully balances all of these responsibilities with her favorite scripture as motivation: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Love Series, Patience

Love Is…Patient

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

Today I must stand up and make a confession in front of all of you – I am a yeller. I don’t confess this with a proud demeanor or proclaim it like I want recognition. In fact, I am quite ashamed of my behavior. Because I am embarrassed of how ugly I can sometimes act, I work hard to mask it from the world outside my home. However, if my children are overly rambunctious and my husband is pushing all of the wrong buttons, my patience wears thin and I can instantly become unglued. Next thing you know I am screaming, hoping that my increased tone will convey to my family that I’m fed up and I mean business. Unfortunately, my actions only result in deflated egos for my girls and the commencement of a very heated discussion between my husband and me. Once the situation has simmered down a bit, I start reflecting on what transpired and then I start to feel like the most horrible mother (and wife) on earth!

One day, as 2013 drew to close, I was crying out to God for His assistance with this matter. Since it wasn’t the first time that we’d had the conversation, I asked Him for forgiveness and patience. A snippet of my prayer probably went a little something like this: “Lord, please forgive me that I keep stumbling in this area. Thank You for your continued patience as I work, with Your help, to remove this from my life.” Before I could go on any further in my plea for help, He halted my prayer. God said, “You want Me to be patient with you, my child? Well how come you aren’t extending that same level of patience to your children? In the same way that it is taking you several attempts to get it right, so it is with your daughters. However, just as I am a patient, loving parent that gently corrects you, so must you be with your children. As a matter of fact, those are not even YOUR children; they really belong to Me. I have just placed them in your custodial care while they are walking the earth.” Can we say “OUCH”?! At that moment, God gave me a sobering glimpse of how my unacceptable behavior was affecting not only my family, but me. I was potentially hindering God’s patience with me because I was refusing to be patient with my baby girls.  It was in that small sliver of time that I made up my mind to forever cease the yelling in my home.

The scripture for this series begins with, “Love is patient”, but a couple verses back is where everything is put into perspective. 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. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV) Yep, I can speak in tongues until I am blue in the face. And sometimes God gives me glimpses of things that are to come. And I even have some crazy faith to believe God for some extraordinary, unimaginable things! And I will give even when I don’t have to give. BUT what does all of that amount to if I have no love? And what is love, you ask? Love is patient!

A sneak peek at my 2014 vision board
A sneak peek at my 2014 vision board

A few days into this year, I solidified my intent to stop yelling by placing a constant reminder on my vision board. Today I am writing each of you in hopes that if you too struggle with yelling at your children (or spouse, or parents, or employees, or anyone) that you would join me on a quest to make our lives yell free zones. Remember that our words carry weight and we essentially can birth or abort when we open our mouths. (Proverbs 18:21) So many times we equate this scripture to mean that we have to watch what we say. But today I challenge to consider that it also means that we should be mindful of how we talk to those connected to us. So again, I invite my fellow, soon-to-be ex-yellers to join me in lowering our tones and raising our love! After all, love IS patient!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for any time that I have allowed my emotions and circumstances to get to the best of me and cause me to start yelling. Regardless of what is going on around me, I know that with Your help, I can calmly and respectfully address anything. I pray that You teach me to extend the same patience to others when they test me that You extend my way when I push the envelope with You. I declare that 2014 is the beginning of a yell-free lifetime. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to increase your patience while decreasing your tone. Remember that no person, not even your child, is yours to treat as you wish. Thus, I EMPOWER you to gently and patiently convey your feelings and voice your concerns without screaming at the top of your lungs. Never forget that “Love is Patient”!

For additional help in this area, please visit Orange Rhino, a site devoted to helping women love more and yell less.

If you are an ex-yeller, please share with us below how you stopped.

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

Patience

The Waiting Room

The season I am in is best described as the “the waiting room.”  Have you ever had to wait a lengthy time to see a doctor?  Thirty minutes in the waiting room may turn into an hour and a complete visit may have taken half of your day.  Sitting in the waiting room is not an ideal activity for anyone.  You may get bored, restless, frustrated, impatient and/or anxious.  You might even have that anticipation of what you will learn from the doctor that visit or of getting awareness of how to become much healthier.  Either way you are on the edge of your seat in a room that requires you to WAIT.  Behind the door that leads to where the doctor will see you, the doctors are busy seeing other patients and the nurses prepping for one patient after the next.  You know and might hear feet busily moving back and forth behind the closed-door; you just have to wait.

I’m in the waiting room in my life.  I am anxious, restless, excited, hopeful, afraid, a little bored all at the same time.  I know God is working behind the scenes; I can feel it and see it.  I know it.  He provides evidence within me and in front of me every day.  However, sometimes the devil will send false alarms to scare me and distract me as I wait, but God is perfecting in me patience, His own character and His strength each and every day.  I have been waiting for God to move or shall I say I am anxious to see the outcome of what God is doing.  Excuse me for a sec.  I was just reminded that I shouldn’t worry about the outcome if I trust God and have faith in His sovereignty and love.  Thank You, Holy Spirit.

In him we were also chosen,[a] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, (Ephesians 1:11 NIV)

Lately, I have been experiencing some challenges and changes physically and financially, from my family to my job, and I am awaiting God’s move, advocacy, decision and confirmation of the things I have already heard with each change and every challenge.  As I become a better financial steward, I await freedom of my debts by trying to pay back all that I owe but I need His supernatural help indeed.  I am waiting for that car I have already picked out and submitted to God in prayer.  I am continually seeking God concerning the care of my nephews.  I have been seeking God and planning my future business.  I have been waiting also for God to move in my relationships with my family and friends and His strength to learn when to let go.

As I sit in the waiting room, God is teaching me several things:

  1. Prayer and Patience go together.
  2. While you wait, still stay productive.  Waiting doesn’t mean sleep or give up; it just means be patient and stay calm because it is not time yet.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12 NIV)
  3. As you wait, God is prepping you for what’s to come, whether challenge or mission.
  4. There is a season for everything.  Don’t go ahead of God and fall far behind Him either. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Eccl 3:1 NIV)
  5. Surrender it all to God. You’re not qualified to run the universe, only God is.
  6. Make sure what you are expecting from God is of God and what He expects also.
  7. God knows and wants best for you.
  8. He is not a God of comfort zones.
  9. God ‘cleans house’ while He has you waiting.  Why would He walk you into a new season with old tools and old stuff that doesn’t benefit the new season?
  10. The waiting period is actually interesting.  God reveals all kinds of things about you to you.  He reminds you of His awesome power and qualities also as you wait.

Dear Daddy,

Help me to be patient while I wait.  Help me to not give up or go into a state of slumber.  Help me to trust You and to keep my eyes fixed on You.  I love You and know You are always with me.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remember to appreciate the waiting period.  You are waiting in line for something good so don’t move and don’t give up ground God has helped you gain.  You miss out on blessings when you get impatient and walk away from the waiting room. 

What is God revealing to you in your waiting room?

Read a related EM:  Confessions From an Impatient Christian

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

Patience, Single in the City Series, Singleness

Single in the City 11: Is It My Time Yet?

Last month I celebrated my birthday and there was nothing anyone could do to steal my joy.  I was ecstatic to be able to say that I made it 27 years and despite the many detrimental attacks from the enemy I was still standing!  I was so excited to be an overcomer that I made it my business to party all 30 days of September.  I went on a couple of “mini-vacays”, hung out with girls, and showed the city what it means to be “Single in the City.” In short, I really enjoyed myself until I realized that my overly positive attitude was nothing more than a mere ACT!!!

Examining the events that transpired last month a little closer, I made the following discoveries — Labor Day weekend my bestie was eager to cut our road trip short to get back to her new beau.  On my birthday it seemed as if all my friends had someone of the opposite sex to text or call except for me.  That Saturday we went out and everyone was turning down advances from men all night, but as “fly” as I looked it was as if I was invisible.  That next weekend I attended a wedding and we all know how that turned out judging from part 3 of this series.  And finally, during the conclusion of the month’s festivities, my roommate’s GREAT new guy friend came to visit.  Again, as I reflected on the things that took place I was able to clearly see that all of my girls have crossed over and I have been left asking, “Is it my time yet?”

Now ladies before you call me out on my many sermons about being in relationship with God and Him being “my man,” just know that I do get lonely in life. Let’s keep it real; God is omnipresent, but I miss a man’s presence. My relationship with God is unwavering and so is His love, but heaven I need a hug! However, it may just NOT be my time.  So I ask, what is a girl to do when times get rough?

“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart…” (Ezekiel 11:19 ESV)

Judging from the above Bible verse I was equipped, anointed, and strategically hand-picked for this position.  No matter how things may look my Daddy has once again shown me how I am right where He needs me to be.  On that note, the answer to my question is simple: Yes, it is my time to continue allowing the Father to remove things that are holding me back and replacing them with what I need to make it in “Love Land.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for thinking so highly of me that You are taking Your time to mold me into the woman You need me to be.  Allow me to remain focused on the future and by-pass the right now.  It may not be my time for a mate just yet, but I trust the plan You have for my life.  No matter who he is and whenever we meet I know that You will make sure that I am ready without a doubt.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Single girls around the world, I EMPOWER you to continue to wait for your time.  The game of LIFE is different for everyone and at this time we are simply waiting for the next move from God.  He will only move when He knows we are totally prepared so allow Him to do what needs to be done.  Have a blessed weekend ladies! 🙂

How are you staying content in your waiting period of singleness?

Please click here to vote for EmpowerMoments in the 2012 BlackWeBlog Awards!

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Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there.  Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” Isaiah 54:17

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.”

Patience, Singleness

Get Out Where?

I have been single for some time now.  It’s been four whole years since my boys’ father died and it’s still just me and my two boys.  I have went on a few ‘dates’ here and there, had I guess what you’d call a ‘summertime fling’, and also a few phone number exchanges but my interest is often gone before I get the random text message or phone call.  I am just…well, single.

My friends and family are wondering what is taking so long.  Everyone asks in his or her own little way, “Are you dating?”  “Do you have a special someone?”  “Are you still not over him?”  “When are you going to bring somebody around?”  “Do you have a secret boyfriend?”

Inevitably, the conversations always end with ‘You gotta GET OUT THERE!’

OUT WHERE?!

It’s not like I’m a hermit.  I work, belong to a gym, go to church, take the boys to their million and one activities, and I am a very sociable person (I think).

So where exactly is ‘Out There?’

I want to be in a relationship with someone as much as (if not more than) everyone else wants me to be.  However, I have learned over the past few years that I can be single and happy!  I recognize that God does not want me to live my life in misery because I am not married, engaged, or seriously dating someone.  It is His intention that we are content through every season of our lives while faithful and patient that what He has in the works will be even better!

I would like you to be free from concern.  An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs —how he can please the Lord.  But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided.  An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.  But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.  (1 Corinthians 7:32-35 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for blessing with the time that I have as a single lady.  Please continue to prepare me for the man that will be my husband if or when You see fit.   Thank You for blessing me with the patience to allow Your Will to be done in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Single Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to embrace your ‘ringless’ finger, knowing that all things happen according to God’s timing and plan!  Take the time that God has given you to become as intimate with Him as possible, so that when your husband is presented to you, you can be ready, complete and the wife that God wants you to be!

Are you too embracing the season of being single?  Please share your testimony.

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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.”

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.

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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.

Forgiveness, Fruit of the Spirit, Gentleness, Growth/Maturity, Humility, Kindness, Patience, Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: If You Live In A Glass House…

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on July 12, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

I know we have all heard the saying “If you live in a glass house don’t throw stones.” Three months after God called me to be a minister, I messed up. After being celibate for a while I had sex and got pregnant. I thought I was going to die. All I could think was ”What will people say? What will I do now? How will I face the church?” And guess what– my thoughts and questions were accurate. Even though I was remorseful and realized the terrible mistake I made, “church folks” started to treat me like I had the plague. People were whispering and all my duties at church were stripped from me. I was terrified and petrified because I thought the way I was being treated was my punishment from God. But I was so wrong! Thoughts went through my head of getting an abortion or simply leaving the church! Genesis 50: 20 says what you meant for evil, God meant it for good. (ASV) See what the devil and people thought would destroy me, helped transform me into the woman I am today.  God led me to John 8 where the teachers of law and the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus that committed adultery and they said she should be stoned because that was the law. Jesus responded by stooping down and writing on the ground.When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8: 7-10 NIV)

I went to the Lord and He reminded me that everyone sins and falls short. God revealed to me that He forgave me and I needed to forgive myself. He also revealed to me that it’s easier for people to throw stones at you and judge your situation than to deal with their own mess. Everyone has some mess, but they will throw stones at you in order to not deal with the stones that are in their houses and lives. The very situation that I thought ruined me made my relationship stronger with God because I had to lean and depend on Him. Psalm 121:1 says, ”I lift up my eyes until the hills for whence cometh my help. All of my help come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (KJV) I learned man will fail you but God will be with you until the end. I kept trusting God and that very thing people threw stones at is “now my wonderful husband and my daughter. My ministry and my worship are for real. Those very people that counted me out and threw stones at my situation have come back to me for an encouraging word or a prayer because God showed them that nothing could separate me from His love . If you live in a glass house, please don’t throw stones.

Dear Daddy,
Thank You for being a forgiving God! I thank You for never giving up on me or counting me out. I pray for those that throw stones, that You reveal their mess to them and help them clean it up. I thank You for teaching me that if You are for me, no one can be against me. I thank You for the courage to stand when people said that I shouldn’t. Thank You for being a God of second chances! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to not give up on God because He will never give up on you. God will forgive whatever sin you have committed and give you another chance. Do not let people determine your destiny; God already has a plan for your life!

What is your first reaction when you find out that your Christian brother or sister has made a mistake? Have you been on the receiving end of those stones?

Read A Related EmpowerMoment: Don’t Let It Get To You!

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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.”

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

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Accountability, God's Grace, Growth/Maturity, Patience

Who Do You Think You Are?

This 40 Days to a Turn Around has been an amazing journey, but God had to check me in the midst of it.  I was beginning to become too confident.  Personally, I was doing well and was on track.  However, I listened to others that had faltered or slipped up.  I was viewing their slip-ups as weakness, but how many times have I slipped up in life?

God had to reveal to me that I will still mess up in some capacity. “How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?” (Job 25:3-5 NIV) I was born into sin, and it will always be something that we all struggle with.  Who am I to think I’m better than anyone just because I have been strong and focused on this one thing?  There are so many other things that I am still doing wrong.  Perfection does not exist among mere mortals!

I looked at times I had become upset with others for slipping.  I realized that I do not have the right to judge.  I am in no position to look down on or admonish someone else for their shortcomings. 

The spirit challenged me also to take a deeper look at why I was upset with them. I was shocked to find that the root of my judgment was jealously.  I was jealous because I wasn’t the one at the party, I wasn’t drunk and I wasn’t having sex! Those were things that I wanted to be doing.  No sex, but still lusting.  I was not focusing on uplifting and picking those up who had fallen. I was too focused on what they had done wrong.  What if God only looked at the things we did wrong?

It is often times easier to forgive the people in the world that have messed up.  Why are we so quick to forgive sinners, but not saints? We are all the same.  We sometimes make it so difficult to forgive saved people of certain infractions.  However, at the end of the day we are all God’s children and all guilty of sin. So really, who do you think you are?

Dear Daddy,

I come before You asking for forgiveness for ever thinking I was without sin.  I pray that You will continue to work on me and all my faults.  Help me to focus on the things that I need to change.  Reveal to me the sins that I commit that I do not always see.  Lord, open my eyes and reveal to me the things that I need to work on. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to help your friends, children, loved ones that have faltered.  Uplift others instead of condemning them. Be a positive influence in others’ lives.  Encourage others to know that we fall down, but we do get up!

What is your tactic for correcting in love and not slipping into judgment?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Remember Where You Came From…

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Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”