Finances, Generosity, Gratefulness

The Blessing In Giving

giving heart

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35 New International Version).

I need a blessing, a financial one preferably.  In this day and age, who doesn’t need one?  Sometimes I fantasize about meeting a long-lost, super rich relative who would want nothing more than to shower me with money and gifts.  I have high hopes of winning the lottery one day.  However, I have not bought a lottery ticket.  My fantasies clash with reality and God’s plans for me, and frustration and prideful thoughts come in.  For example, why do I have to get up at 4:30 in the morning for work when no one else in the house is working or why am I wrecking my brain trying to figure out a grocery budget for a family of six when I don’t have a husband or children.  I ask why me, but perhaps the question should be why not me.  After all, two of my relatives (uncle and sister) are physically and or mentally disabled with a third (my brother) showing signs of a mental disability also.  My mom has to be the care taker of my uncle and sister and leaving them alone is not a good option.

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family; he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1Timothy 5:8 NIV).

While I am waiting for a blessing to fall out of the sky, I am missing my blessing and the opportunity to give God honor and praise.  At one point, I wasn’t working and I was depressed and ashamed because I wasn’t helping out around the house.  Now that I have a job why should I complain?  Recently, I decided to stop complaining about being the only one in the house that everyone depends on.  Instead, I believe God has blessed me with a job to help the household.  So, I pray he gives me the knowledge and wisdom to be a good steward over what he has entrusted me with.  Being grateful and accepting of God’s plan has helped me give more in a humble and joyful matter.

Dear Daddy, 

All praises, glory, and honor are unto You.  I pray that You help me to give in a way that strengthens, not weakens my family, and in a way that glorifies You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies I EMPOWER you to give.  I am able to provide because I have a job; however, the gift doesn’t have to be money. It could be time, knowledge, wisdom, your testimony, your joy or to sum it all up—love, the same love God has showed his children when he sacrificed his only Son.   Each time the opportunity arises to help someone it is a blessing from God.

If you haven’t done so already, please VOTE for us in the Black Weblog Awards, Best Faith-based Blog category!

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

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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:

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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.”

Black Music Month Series, Blessings, Gratefulness, Inspirational

Remember The Time

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

Do you remember when you first met Jesus, better yet when you fell in love with Him? You would be eager to read His word and fall on your knees because you loved Him and wanted to spend quality time and not because it was a part of the daily routine. Think about it for a moment. Not the “I’m a little girl and I love Jesus” but when you were very mature and realized what dying for your sins really meant. You messed up so badly that you thought He couldn’t possibly love you anymore but then you remembered Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (KJV)

There are times when we are focused on our relationship with God; however, there are also trials that we face that can seem so brutal. It is in these times that we must remember. Life can get so bad that it is hard to see any “goodness” in the situation. My former pastor, Frederick D. Haynes III, would often say, “I don’t care how BIG your Bible is every now and then we all go through something.” Trials are no respecter of person. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, what kind of car you drive or the size of your house, every now and then we all experience heartbreak and pain. We experience some trials that almost take us out for the count. During these times, the thing that should allow us to continue to trust God and press forward is that we can “Remember the Time.”  We can remember when He restored us or when He gave us a blessing that we did not deserve. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. (Psalms 111:4 NIV)

One of the best Biblical illustrations of remembrance is of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land. After Moses brought them out of Egypt and led them across the Red Sea they did not go directly to the Promised Land but wandered in the desert for forty years because of sin.  When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight. ” (Joshua 4:1-3 NIV)  And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.  He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’  tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.  He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God. ” (Joshua 4: 20-24 NIV)

Aren’t you excited that God has given you so many opportunities to “Remember the Time?” I can scroll through the various EmpowerMoments we have written over the past year and recount the trials but also the triumphs. I can personally be thankful for each breath that I take because I can remember The Night We Almost Died… Memories like these are ones that cause me to remain thankful and faithful to His word.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the peaks as well as the valleys in my life. Help me to always remember the times that You have brought me through each obstacle. Thank You in advance for total restoration in every area where I am lacking. Not only do I want You to restore me, but restore our relationship because I can “Remember the Time” when we first met and I completely trusted in You. Lord, allow me to use those memories to keep it moving forward. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to “Remember the Time.” Review a scrapbook, pictures, journal or whatever visual memorial you may have and recount what you were going through at the time. Recall how God moved in your situation. Recall how He in many instances saved you from yourself. I EMPOWER you to remember when you first met Him and fall in love all over again.

When you think of Jesus and your relationship with Him as well as your trials, recall Michael Jackson and “Remember The Time”:

Like the stones used by the children of Israel, do you keep any type of visual memorial to remind you of how far God brought you?  Share your story below.

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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.”

Black Music Month Series, Contentment, Gratefulness, Praise/Worship, Thanksgiving

My God is Awesome!

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

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8 KJV).

As I prayed and pondered about how I would start Black Music Month off, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said give God some praise.

As I am entering the sixth month of 2012 I can’t help but reflect on my life. Of course the first thing I thought of was the struggles. I thought about all of the things that have not been according to my plan. While I was thinking negatively, “Awesome” by Charles Jenkins and Fellowship came on. It moved me to tears because despite what I felt or despite what I’ve been through my God is awesome!

I thought a little further and yes, my husband and I have had some struggles and issues but God has sustained us and by His grace and mercy we are still together. My God is great!

Awesome is defined as inspiring awe, showing or characterized by awe. The slang definition is very impressive. What a great way to describe my awesome God! He just keeps on awing me!

Yes, my finances have not been what I’m used to having but God saw fit for me to have exactly what I need and many of my luxuries. My God is a provider! “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

Yes, my so called friends and family have turned their backs on me, but God is able. I have not been lonely because God has been right there. My God is a friend! “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18: 24 NASB)

Yes, my job has not been everything that I have wanted it to be, but I am employed and I am grateful. I have stood in the storm and God has blessed me with increase. “The master said, well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25: 23 NLT)

This year I went to the doctor and found out I weighed more than when I was pregnant. Wow, right?! Being overweight is a sickness, but my God is a healer! As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one (Luke 4: 40 NLT)

Yes, someone broke in my house and violated me and my family and the part that really surprised me was that our insurance claim was DENIED. But, my God is a protector! “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalms 18:2 NASB)

My God is Awesome/He can move mountains/Keep me in the valley/Hide me from the rain/My God is Awesome/Heals me when I’m broken/Strength where I’ve been weakened/ Forever He will reign…

The next time I feel like nagging and complaining about what should of, could of, would of happened, I am going to remember that my God is awesome!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being an Awesome God! I thank You God for being everything I need You to be, even when I don’t deserve it. Please God continue to be my provider, my healer, my deliverer and my friend. I’m destined to be great with an Awesome Daddy like You!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Awesome Women of God, I EMPOWER you to know that you are awesome and amazing because your Daddy is awesome. Instead of complaining, give God some praise. The highest praise is Hallelujah. Tell God hallelujah for saving you, for healing you, for protecting you and for providing for you. The next time you feel as if life is getting the best of you remember our God is awesome!

As Black Music Month begins, remind yourself how awesome God is with Charles Jenkins and Fellowship:

Share your story with us below about how awesome God is in your life.

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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.”

Contentment, God's Promises, God's Protection, God's Provisons, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

This Ain’t What You Want!

“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

Are you trying to force that man to marry you, whom you really aren’t that into anyway–but you are scared to be alone? Are you trying to sabotage your husband into having more kids when you two aren’t on one accord? Furthermore, is your relationship in shambles, yet you are thinking, “If I can just get pregnant it will all be okay.” Are you trying to get a promotion, yet you are going against every moral and value within you to get it? Are you thinking, “If I can just borrow from the check cashing place one more time to furnish my new place, then my friends will always want to come over”? What about, “Maybe if I have sex with him, THEN he’ll be my man and want to marry me. Then we can just not have sex during the engagement?” If God doesn’t want you to have it, then you do not want it. If God wants you to have it, then He will give it to you!

Security is a human need. That means as humans we have a need to feel secure, whether physical or emotional. So guess what, your desire for security, whether in a relationship or on a job is a need. But you can’t determine how to fulfill this need on your own. Paul reassures us here when he says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV)  Not only will He fill this need, but He will even give you your heart’s desire.  Psalms tells us, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4 NIV) Delight yourself in God means to trust that He knows what’s best, to have faith that He is in control of your life, and to find joy in the fact that what God has planned for you is what’s best for you.

I don’t know how many times I’ve tried and pushed for something, only to find out that what God had for me was better than my idea of bliss. When you take things into your hands, you’ve moved God from the driver seat to the passenger’s seat. (See I KNOW How to Drive!)

So you’re in a break up, whether a break up from a guy or you just lost your job. Deep down you have this weird desire to go back and beg and plead for the job of “company associate”  or to become “his woman” again for just one more try! Have you ever heard the quote, you have to get fired to get hired! I think I want to add my own spin on this one: You have to be fired to be HIGHERed! You have to go through the heat sometimes to be elevated. God reminds us that, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) I know it’s hard to believe, but think back on a time when you handled it yourself and it probably crumbled, but when you allowed God to handle it, it all worked out perfectly.

Being unhappy where you are and being depressed for the lack of things you desire is telling God you don’t trust that He has it all planned out or that He has your best interest in mind. We like to say, “Well it isn’t fair, and don’t tell me that God is keeping me from happiness.” Who’s to say what God has for you is better than the limit you placed on your happiness? Jesus wants to give you an abundance, an over flow, so many blessings that you can’t receive them all. Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33 KJV) But this can’t happen if you keep trying to force things to be the way you want. Just wait and let God drive. “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)

Dear Daddy,

I want to be in Your will. Father, I pray that You remove my personal intentions that do not align with what You have for me. Teach me to be content with what You want me to have. Tune my ears and eyes so that when You reveal an opportunity that I need to seize, I take it. Please guide my feet to go in the direction of Your will. Lord, teach me to expect Your greatness, to be thankful for Your grace, and to be honored to be Your daughter. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to trust that God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20 KJV) My Pastor said, “If your prayers are attainable to you, they are an insult to God.” While you rest as Ladies in Waiting, I EMPOWER you to work diligently with what you have, plan through faith for what you will have, and cheerfully praise God for supplying every need, want, and desire.

He’s Able…

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.

Finances, Gratefulness, Health/Sickness, Inspirational, Praise/Worship, Stress, Trials

Get Up and Dance!

Let’s face it. The holiday season is supposed to be jolly, hopeful, fun, and filled with moments of joy with friends and family. But the reality is that along with this intention, the truths of this year’s events often settle here. You all of a sudden realize you are cuddling up by your fireplace without a companion or you miss your loved one dearly who passed away earlier this year or even 7 years ago. As January approaches, you realize the goals you set forth are nowhere near being completed, or started in some cases. Quite frankly, you just feel overwhelmed with the financial pressures of trying to decide to purchase gifts or tithe, or to skip your car payment to try and visit your family members.

I’m reminded through various instances in the Bible where situations seemed quite grim, but these biblical role models chose to make the best out of their situations. Let’s first look at Ruth. The interesting thing about this story is it begins when Ruth is mourning the death of her husband. But throughout her misery she made a life changing decision. She told her mother in law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16 NIV) They settled into a new country, just at the beginning of the harvest season. Now what’s interesting here is that just when Ruth was faced with the death of her husband and painfully close to being sent away by the only woman that cared for her, she pressed through, dusted herself off and entered into a new land…just when the harvest was beginning, and she didn’t even know it. The story goes on to mention how she was blessed from the remnants of the harvest and met a husband. What if she decided to call it quits in the midst of her pity party? She wouldn’t have experienced the harvest.

Let’s look at the woman with the issue of blood. “A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:24-29 NIV) Now I don’t know about you, but twelve years of bleeding could definitely weigh on my faith and my strength to be the least bit optimistic about being healed. But she made a decision. She thought if she could just touch the hem of His cloak, she would be healed. She got up, traveled, fought the crowds and made it to Jesus. “He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34 NIV) Now, what if she decided to call it quits in the midst of her pity party? She wouldn’t have experienced her healing.

So what do you do now? What do you do when you have decided to keep going for Jesus, even in the midst of sorrow and pain? You praise!! I am reminded of David and the Ark of God. I am so blessed by this story because David praised so hard that his wife started hating on him. “As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.” (2 Samuel 6:16 NIV)  But David knew that God was in control of his life, his blessings, and his future. He praised, not when the Ark got there, but when the ark was on its way. David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD.  I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (2 Samuel 6:21-22 NIV)

I want to encourage you to praise on your way to your harvest and on your way to your healing. You may get hated on, but I dare you to be bold and do like David, Get up and DANCE!!

Dear Daddy,

For every woman reading this EmpowerMoment, I pray that You empower them through this holiday season and remind us that this is the season to celebrate the goodness of life You have blessed us with. Help us to find joy in giving and strength in enjoying the smiles and love of those around us. Help us not to focus on the things we don’t have, but the abundance You have already given us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to get up and dance! Dance out of your misery, your pain, your anguish, your loneliness, and insecurities. John 8:36 NIV reminds us, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” You are free from these things that bind you. Dance and let the liberation of God carry you through!

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 St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Blessings, Contentment, God's Promises, Gratefulness, Jealously, Patience, Trust, Trusting God

Dear God, What Are You Up To?

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong. Psalm 37:1 NIV

Let’s have a real conversation; have you ever witnessed people who you knew were not living right being blessed? I am not talking about in the judgmental you are living like I think you should way, but people who confess out of their mouths that they either don’t believe in God or feel that they can live their life anyway they deem fit. They literally tell you, “I do whatever I want” and their lifestyle reflects that.

Now how do you feel when you hear all the absolutely wonderful things that are going on in their lives? Are you just a tad bit envious? Do you want to just have a private sit down with God and go over your resume`? “God remember back three months ago, when I didn’t have a lot of money and I still tithed? Remember when that woman at work talked bad about me and stole a promotion from me, how I prayed that she would be prosperous? Remember that?”

I am currently in a very envious state. I don’t want to admit it but I am. I have been purposely seeking God more, reading the Bible more, attending church, praying…all the things that people say should equal the magical formula of a blessing. You know the Christian math:

Prayer+ Faith =Blessing

Instead my math is looking a bit more like this:

Prayer+ Faith =…wait for it…wait for it…?????

I am still waiting on God for several things in my life. I pray for a good man. I pray for a better car. I pray for healing for a good friend.  Yet, I am still single. My car (although I am grateful for having transportation) is getting costly to repair when it breaks down because they are having trouble finding parts for an older model car. My friend is still dealing with several health challenges.

Truthfully, if I wanted to I could recount every single thing that is going wrong, or things that I am (not) so patiently waiting for God to change, but why would I? When we get into moments where we start to compare our blessings to other people’s blessings we are walking on very treacherous ground.

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

 Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” Job 38:1-5

Ladies, we may never know why God chooses to heal or not heal, to give financial windfalls or withhold, to give you a season or lifetime of singleness. As a woman of God, your task is not to try and figure out why or what God is doing in your life. Your task is to remain faithful, to be steadfast in His Word and cling to Your Father’s Hand. We have a testimony to the unbelievers when we continue to walk in righteous even when it seems like there is no earthly “benefit”. This world is not your home and your wisdom can never compete with your Father’s. When this life ends, who knows what God will reveal to you about your valley times. Maybe someone is watching you in your valley. That person might be hoping to see you succeed so they can believe that God will do the same for them. You rob that person of being encouraged by your efforts when you doubt, complain or even worse when you take certain earthly shortcuts to get what you think you need. The most important thing to remember is that God does everything for our good.

Dear Daddy,

Please keep me from comparing my life with those around me. Keep my hand in Your hands as I continue on this journey.  When I am confused, scared or upset guide me to Your Word that will help strengthen me. Thank You for never leaving me especially at my most vulnerable moments. In Jesus’ Name, Amen! 

Lovely Ladies of God, I EMPOWER you to remain faithful. You did not marry Christ for benefits, you married Him for love and just like in any marriage, there will be hardships. Remember, unlike an earthly marriage, your Husband is perfect; He has perfect wisdom and even more comforting, a perfect Love. 

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