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.

_________________________________________________________________________

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.

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. 

EmpowerMoments is currently recruiting for new writers. If you are interested, please click here to find out more.

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.”

Contentment, Gratefulness, Sermon Sundays

Sermon Sundays: LEARNING Gratitude

Couldn’t make it to church? No worries, we are bringing church to you! Sermon Sundays feature a snippet of a wonderful sermon from various men and women of God. Please don’t keep the Word to yourself; share it with all of your loved ones!

Gratitude is a virtue that must be LEARNED! We are not grateful by nature, but through God’s Word and the workings of the Holy Spirit, we can learn how to truly be thankful for what God has given us. It’s time to change our perspectives!

Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv. Meeting in multiple locations around the United States, and globally at Church Online, LifeChurch.tv is known for the innovative use of technology to spread the Gospel.

With a passion for serving the Church and partnering to reach people for Christ, LifeChurch.tv develops and shares resources and applications with churches worldwide.

Blessings, Contentment, Gratefulness

Thank You!

 I cracked my eyes open. Thank You Lord…

 I head to the bathroom, and hopped in the shower.  As the hot water ran across my skin. Thank You Lord once again.

 Time for breakfast. Thank You Lord for this food I’m about to receive.

 As I gather my things and get ready for work.  Thank You Lord for this job, even when it hurts.

 Grab my things and head out the door.  Keys in hand, I thank You Lord for the car in front of which I stand.

Driving down the street I avoid a swerving driver.  Thank You Lord for always having the wheel. Without your grace and Mercy I do not know how I would deal.

Arrive at my first client’s home; they’ve had a rough week.  Thank You Lord for peace of mind that allows me to sleep.

Get back in the car headed to my next destination.  I dodge a huge semi, and say thank you Lord with no hesitation.

It is mid day, and I’m thanking God I made it half way.

Step foot in a house with no lights on, or any running water.  Thank You Lord for always providing for me, your daughter.

It’s time to leave one job and head to the next. Thank You God for giving me the ability to push on when there is no time to rest.

Pick up my clients, one that can barely walk.  Ask what they want for dinner, but the other can barely talk.  Thank You Lord for being able to pick up my feet even if sometimes I drag them. And thank You Lord for the gift of speech even if I don’t always use my words to teach.

Get to their house, and begin to prepare a meal.  Thank you Lord for providing me with parents that instilled in me life skills.

Time for showers and medication I call out.  Thanking God that taking 10 pills a day is not what my life’s about.

Bed time snack and I have a diet with no restrictions. Thank You Lord for this body that is in proper working conditions.

Time to head home after a long day. Thank You Lord for a home to head to now I’m on my way.

Get in the house, and yell I’m home.  Thank You God for family helping me not to feel so alone.

I close my eyes, ooh Lord I’m tired; Time for Bed Once again.  Thank You Lord because you died for all of our sins AMEN!

His steadfast love endures forever!

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures forever!

Out of my distress I called on the LORD;
   the LORD answered me and set me free.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
   What can man do to me?
The LORD is on my side as my helper;
   I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD            
    than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
 than to trust in princes.

Psalm 118:1, 5-9 (ESV)

I know that it is that time of year to be thankful, but I actually wrote this poem a month ago when I could not sleep.  As I tossed and turned I felt myself becoming upset. “Lord, please let me fall asleep.  I have so many things to do tomorrow and I have no time to be tired, I cried out.  At that moment I realized that I needed to thank God for the many nights I have been able to sleep and for the times He woke me up.  It is so many things that we do throughout one day that we may not realize that God’s divine order is what keeps us.

Dear Daddy,

It is so busy to get caught up in the monotony of day to day life.  Please give us the ability to be able to recognize all the many blessings that You have bestowed upon us.  Help us to take the time to help others that may be less fortunate than us physically, financially, or spiritually.  Allow us to lead by example in showing others how to be thankful for all the things that we generally take for granted. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, let’s EMPOWER ourselves, EMPOWER one another and EMPOWER our sisters and brothers in the world.  So many times we find it easy to focus on the negative and all the many things that have gone wrong. I EMPOWER you to be that positive ray of sunshine in someone’s life that allows them to see the brighter side of things.

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.”

Contentment, Gratefulness, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Trials

An Attitude of Gratitude – This and Every Season

I absolutely love the Holiday season. People just seem to be a lot nicer towards each other and there is usually a smile on everyone’s face. People end their statements with “Have a Happy” or “Have a Merry.” Let’s not mention the EXCELLENT food. The Holidays, that is Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, represent time with family and friends and doing things that make other people’s lives better.  Volunteerism is at an all time high. We take special time to thank God for letting us see another Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year recognizing that there are many who aren’t here with us this year.  Before we begin the New Year, it’s an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments and reflect on things that we want to change. We can debate the origins of the holidays but we can agree that there is a certain festive spirit that is intrinsic to this time period.

Wouldn’t our days be so much better if this spirit prevailed throughout the year:  if we chose to call people who are important to us more often; if we chose to volunteer and give to those in need; if we chose to make time for our family; if we smiled and told people to have a “Happy Day”; if we gave gifts without it being attached to a holiday; if we were thankful JUST BECAUSE?

I am reminded that we are to be thankful always. This isn’t a seasonal activity. We are to maintain an attitude of gratitude.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

We are human so it would be hypocritical for me not to acknowledge that trials will come and we will have some hardships but the verse above commands us to pray without ceasing and to give thanks despite what may be happening to us and around us. As I further think about this verse I realize that because we are to pray continuously, that means we should have faith for answered prayers which leads to thanking Him in advance for what we know He is going to do in our lives. Doesn’t that make you happy (Rejoice)? When we are truly thankful, it reflects in our attitude towards ourselves and others.  This is God’s will for you!

Phillipians 4:11-12 encourages us: “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.” (NIV) If we can learn to live in the present moment and be content we will be thankful, always. We will be thankful for God’s abundance when we have a refrigerator full of food and when we don’t. We will be thankful for God’s healing power when our bodies are afflicted and when we are in perfect health. We will be thankful because we recognize that whatever hardship we are in, it is only for a season.  365 days a year we should convey an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your awesome words of wisdom. Forgive us for disobeying Your word and limiting You to a season. Father, help us to show our thankfulness each and every day of the year. Help us to be the best mothers, daughters, wives, friends and co-workers despite the turmoil that may be happening in our lives. Remind us to pray without ceasing so that we can remain thankful for the future You have for us. Let us remember Lamentations 3:22-23 that  says Your mercies and compassions are new every morning; knowing this, let us remain thankful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you in this season and every season to be thankful. Let that thankfulness exude into everything that you do. I EMPOWER you to walk boldly, stand tall and have an attitude of gratitude January through December. 

Click here to enter this month’s contest!

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.”

Attitude, Blessings, Contentment, Finances, Gratefulness, Inspirational

Prioritize

I have been struggling with what to write all week. I just started a new job and have been learning the ropes on that. Then I found out the pay is done a bit differently than I originally thought. So although I work from November 1- November 30, I will only receive payment for the first two weeks. Which is fine, but I didn’t understand that concept before I did my budget for this month. Oops! I went into straight panic mode. Many thoughts started rushing through my head: Cell phone bill is due in a week. Baby needs more diapers. Wait– that means that first check is going straight to rent…

Then I came across Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV) And I remembered that not getting the money I budgeted for at the end of the month is not the end of the world. My child is going to be taking care of and so will I. But why was my first reaction to question God?

I realized that I do not have my priorities right. I am focused on the wrong things. My job (no matter if I was making millions of dollars) is not my source. God is. He provided the job, the knowledge and skills I needed to get the job. So why had I panicked? Because, this situation wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t how I imagined it. I imagined a seamless transition from my last job to this one. I thought I had done what the scriptures said and counted the cost.  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (Luke 14:28 NIV) Alas, you cannot plan for exactly everything. And that’s life. But one thing I do know is my son is healthy and so am I. Every day I have a home to go to that is in a peaceful neighborhood. When I have a bad day, I can call and get advice from both my mother and father, because they are both still alive. I am surrounded by people that would never allow me to go hungry, or my son to go without diapers. So if I really had the need, guess what, I have a support system. There are so many people without a support system, without a home, or without a healthy child. And they still have hope, peace and joy. So why do the hiccups of life steal that from me? Because I honestly still think I have control over my life. Your life can change in an instant at no fault of your own. Ask someone who lost their house because a neighbor fell asleep smoking, or a family who has buried their child because a drunk driver hit them on the way to church. Due to no fault of your own, your life can change. The only thing you can control is your reaction.

Another great thing to do is help those whose lives have been affected by things out of their control. This year for my birthday I will be hosting a registration/drive for two agencies near to my heart. I will be hosting a registration for bone marrow donors and raising money for Invisible Children. Helping others is the best way to show your appreciation to God. I would love for each of you to find a cause that you are passionate about; it will help you prioritize your life. I first got the idea for bone morrow from a two year old girl named Starla who is battling Leukemia. To join her prayer team, click the links below.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for all the wonderful blessings in my life. Help me to not become discouraged when my life doesn’t turn out how I planned. Help me to refocus in an area that will bring You Glory. Continue to bless those who are struggling with various obstacles in their lives. We pray for Your peace, wisdom and strength as they go through their storms. Let us not be so caught up in our own issues that we miss the real reason You called us, to be witnesses of Your Love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Blessed Ladies of God, I EMPOWER you to examine your life. Look at the stressors you have and see if any of them are worth the energy you are investing. Find a passion/cause that touches your heart and get active in helping someone else who really needs your support. Prior to writing this EmpowerMoment, I penned a poem of the same name: Prioritize the Poem

To join the Starla Prayer Group click here:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=174438839301375

For more information on bone marrow donation visit: http://www.marrow.org/

For more information on Invisible Children:  http://www.invisiblechildren.com/

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.”

Attitude, Blessings, Contentment, Goals & Dreams, Growth/Maturity, Patience

Confessions From an Impatient Christian

I have a confession!  It’s not a confession of hope in Christ or the kind that Christians get excited and teary eyed about.  In fact, it involves a characteristic that is often overlooked, swept under the rug, or dismissed as being human or natural.  My confession is…I LACK PATIENCE!!!

Lacking patience can appear to be no big deal but what I have discovered (and accepted not very easily) is that God desires for His daughters to exercise patience.  Ugh!  Yes, it’s sad but true.  God wants us to be patient.  Throughout scripture, we are consistently charged to “Be patient” (James 5:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:14) and to “Wait on the Lord” (Psalm 37; Psalm 27:14; Proverbs 20:22).  Now, while waiting on God sounds pious and ideal, the reality is that waiting sometimes makes you want to scream.  It’s like waiting in traffic or standing in line behind the person that’s moving like a snail.  Everything in you wants to yell out MOVE NOW!

I admit that there have been times where I waited upon God with ease.  However, there are many more times where I felt like God just wasn’t moving fast enough.  I recall how impatient I was after graduating and passing the bar.  Here I was this bright, accomplished, 25 year old lawyer with much ambition but no job.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I had made it through law school, passed the bar, but still was not employed.  To top things off, this was not a temporary matter.  It lasted 1 ½ years!  I remember feeling like I was at my breaking point—very frustrated with God because in my mind I had done all of those “Christian” things which entitled me to His blessings—when the Holy Spirit led me to Galatians 6:9: “And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (KJV)

Confession #2:  Although it came from God, I was not happy!  “What do you mean due season?  When is due?”  I can laugh at myself looking back, but at the time I was serious.  I was in no mood to wait.  When I realized that God would have it no other way, I began to study a devotional entitled “Waiting on God.”  The more that I studied, the more clearly I could see that not only was patience what God desired of me but it was also a privilege to wait upon the King of Kings.  After all, He was consistently waiting upon me.

Fast-forwarding– while waiting for a job, I landed an unpaid internship with an agency that I desperately wanted to work for.  I thought it was the perfect job.  I prayed about it, but as you probably guessed, it didn’t work out.  God moved me from the internship into private practice where he soon blessed me with my own firm.  It was such a great experience and after 2 years I thought the story had ended until a few days ago.  I was sitting in my office when I received a random call.  It was the supervisor from my internship (I had forgotten all about him and assumed he had forgotten about me).  He was calling to encourage me to apply for a job opening at the agency.  He stated that he had never forgotten about me and he went out of his way to make sure that I was notified. Wow!  I was speechless.

The following morning as I prepared for work, the Holy Spirit spoke again: “Things in life do come full circle if you are patient.”  Speechless again!  In that moment, God revealed to me just how faithful He is.  In spite of my lack of patience God demonstrated that He indeed works everything out in conformity with the purpose of His will. (Ephesians 1:11 KJV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing me to confess my shortcomings.  Your word tells us that “If we confess our sins, [You are] faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 KJV).  Thank You for Your cleansing.  I admit that I lack patience, but I am grateful that in my lacking Your continual strength has allowed me to endure.  Father, help me daily to exercise patience.  Help me to remember that You desire me to have patience and that waiting upon You is not a burden but a privilege. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to walk with patience.   “Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4 KJV).  Continue to wait upon God and know that His will for your life is perfect.

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)

Contentment, Encouragement, Growth/Maturity, Obedience, Patience, Stress, Trials

Throw Me In!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty,  that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel  3: 16-18 NIV

We as Christians often think that God is a superhero and will come and rescue us right on time. While it is true He is an on time God; He doesn’t always “rescue” us like we imagine or hope. So you were praying that God would save your marriage, but you went home last night to find that all his bags are packed and he has changed his phone number. You were praying for God to heal that loved one and although they seemed to be recovering you just got the phone call that they passed while you were asleep. You have been unemployed for months; you finally get an interview only to find out they hire someone who is the boss’s cousin.

What do you do when you prayed and it did not seem to work out how you thought it would? God is the God of abundance, right? Where is your abundance? Where is your breakthrough?

Many of us know the story of Daniel and the lion’s den and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace, but what we sometimes forget is that Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. The Hebrew boys had to be thrown into the furnace. God did not deliver them from the trial, but God brought them through it. We want God to save us from trials and tribulations, but honestly that’s not Biblical. He never said that we would not have the trials; He just promised to be there with us.

The devil wants us to fear the trial, to think we cannot possibly make it through this situation. Truth of the matter is in our own strength we can’t. We must answer like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego:        “ the God we serve is able to deliver us from it”.

As I write this EmpowerMoment I am going through it. Things in my personal and professional life have just completely unraveled. A few weeks ago my best friends and I decided we wanted to purposely seek God’s will for our lives. We decided to look at seven areas of our lives we wanted Him to radically change and decided to purposely step out of our comfort zones. The first week was great! Then suddenly things in my life started breaking down. I never get sick, but I ended up with a sickness that had me in bed for two days. People in my life that I had purposely stopped communicating with started contacting me out of the blue. My son turned 15 months and hit an “I’m going to scream to the top of my lungs” crying stage, testing my patience. Money that I was expecting to receive with no issue is now tied up and I cannot get to it. What is going on? I am being thrown into the furnace.

All this happened after I challenged God that I wanted a more personal relationship with Him. It happened after I said that I was going to submit myself unto Him completely. It’s like the minute those words were spoken every area of my life that could be touched was being completely turned upside down.  I just decided this morning that I am ready to tell God, “Throw me in. I am ready to be sacrificed so You get the glory from my story.”

“Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again.”  Alex Tan

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for using every situation to bring YOU glory. Help me to remember that You can use anything for my good.  Remind me that victory has already been won by You. Trials come to remind me that earth is not my home and that You are the source of my strength. Help me to press into You when the devil tries to pull me away. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Lovely Ladies, I EMPOWER you to not be discouraged by the trials you are facing, but be encouraged by WHO is with you on this journey.  Hopefully in the end, like Job, you will be able to say: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15 KJV). Keep your eyes on the final prize. Keep pushing.

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.”

Attitude, Contentment, Encouragement, Gratefulness, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Patience, Self-Control

Making the Best Out of a Bad Situation

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9 NIV)

Paul wrote these verses to the church of Corinth to remind them that although they were trying to live right and do the will of God they would always have someone trying to destroy them.  Paul encouraged them that despite the lying, long suffering, confusion, persecution and trouble, they would not be destroyed. Even though Paul told the church that all of these negative things would happen, he assured them that if they made the best out of these bad situations then they would be victorious.

As women striving to be more like Christ and striving to do the will of God, we need to listen to Paul. Trouble, perplexity, persecution and casting down are still happening today in our lives. Just because it seems hopeless and it seems like a bad situation, God is working on our behalf at that very moment. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NIV)

People that make the best out of bad situations are those who believe everything God promised them. They are the people that know that the promise or blessing is closer than they think despite what it looks like.  “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 NIV)

Sometimes the enemy makes situations look so bad that you think it can’t get any worse.

  • You think your financial situation can’t get any worse.
  • You think your marriage is the worst.
  • You think your kids are the worst.
  • You think your job is the worst.

You just feel like everything in your life is going wrong. I’m serving notice today that even though your situation is bad you still can make the best out of your right now because your future is going to be brighter.

I know sometimes it seems as if nothing is working in your favor and it cannot get any worse. I have a secret to share with you… “It could be a lot worse!” When you make the best out of a bad situation you have to have faith to believe that your current situation is not the end for you.

The devil wants you to think it’s hopeless and won’t get any better because he is a liar, deceiver, and schemer. He will do whatever he can to keep you in bondage—that’s his job! Ensuring that his plans don’t work is yours!

I want you all to know today that you may be hard pressed, but not suffocated; puzzled, but not utterly baffled; pursued, but not caught or outran; struck down but not out of the fight.  Keep praying and believing that even though the journey looks dim there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I want to encourage you to make the best out of a bad situation because your current situation doesn’t determine your future!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving me the strength to endure my current situation. I thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. I thank You God for not letting me give up when my situation seemed as if I was on a sinking ship. I thank You for not letting me lose when I was knocked down. God continue giving me hope when my situation seems hopeless! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to make the best out of your current situation. I dare you to stop complaining about your house, spouse, kids, job, friends, church, family and/or any other situation that’s not going how you want it to go. Start finding the good in the people and things that you think are the worst and focus on that. Start praying and asking God to grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, courage to change the things you can and wisdom to know the difference.

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