Accountability, Honesty/Truth

The Real Thing

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. (James 1: 26-27 MSG)

Everyone knows that I love a “name brand” purse. I know sometimes my priorities are messed up when it comes to buying purses but I love the real thing. I search the web for the latest fashions and styles making sure they are not knock offs.  When I’m in the store and see a hot bag I vow to save enough money to get it.

My addiction had gotten so bad that I was giving the same energy to saving and shopping for purses that I was giving God. I have been upset and fed up with different situations in my life and was instantly convicted because I was praying for God to do one thing and I started taking matters in my own hands and contemplating revenge. I haven’t been slow to speak and I have been quick to react. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said you have the “Real Thing” on your side so why are you distraught? Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. (James 1: 19-21 MSG)

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (James 1: 22-24) Not only do I know I have the “Real Thing” on my side I want to make sure I am the “Real thing.” The same way I don’t want a fake Coach bag is the same way I don’t want to be viewed as an imposter. I want to continue to be a hearer and doer of the Word because if I am a fake eventually my real tag will begin to show. I want people to see the real God in me everywhere that I go. I don’t want to have a reputation of being a great preacher, an anointed singer and a devoted servant on Sunday, and that’s the only time I am being the “Real Thing.”

But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. (James 1: 25 MSG) I want to be able to hear the voice of God continuously. I want to be free in every area of my life. I want to be the “Real Thing” so that when adversity comes my way I know that God is able, despite what it may look like. I want to diligently seek Him so that nothing will deter me from my “Real Thing.” I am working on always operating in the excellence of God. The same way I don’t want knock off hand bags is the same way that I don’t want to be a knock off for God.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being the “Real thing.” God, continue to reveal who You are to me and for me so that I can rid myself of imposters. God, help me to know when I am being a knock off in Your eye sight. I want to live solely for You and I want to be able to represent You in excellence. I know that no one is perfect but Your precious son, Jesus, but God I want You to continue to give me the determination to walk upright with perfection so that people can see the real You in me. God, I want to be a doer of Your Word, not just a hearer so that I can be the “Real Thing.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stop being knock offs and bootlegs for God and be the real thing. I want you to be the real thing everywhere you go and in every area of your life. Let the world know that God is the “Real Thing” and because you belong to Him you too are the real thing. Walk upright and with integrity when you are operating in the presence of God. Show people in all walks of your life who the “Real Thing” is.

Can you identify an area of your life where you haven’t been 100% genuine? Share your plight below.

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

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Generic is Not an Option!

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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.”

Back To School Series, Honesty/Truth, Kindness

Back to School: Let Your ‘Soul’ Glow

School has begun for most students across the world so EmpowerMoments is featuring a series entitled “Back to School”. Read this week as our writers share stories and learned lessons from their school-related experiences. Come and get on our EmpowerMoments school bus!

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. (Acts 5:1-5 KJV)

Later in this story we find out that Ananias’ wife Sapphira told this same lie and died instantly too. Sometimes we really don’t understand the consequences of a “little” lie. What seems harmless at first can have unintended consequences. When I was ten years old I was fascinated with the idea of getting a Jheri Curl. Don’t laugh. I really wanted one, so much so, that I lied to get it. See there was one small catch to converting to a Jheri Curl. To get a Jheri Curl, you had to wait at least three months from your last relaxer. When the beautician asked me the date of my last relaxer, I made up some date that I thought would meet her approval knowing full well that I had just gotten a relaxer a few weeks prior. Everything was going fine as I felt the “curls” and juice hit my neck. Then came the announcement: “I’m going to cut your hair because the curl didn’t take. It looks like you must have recently gotten a relaxer.” Snip – “sniffle sniffle,” Snip-Snip – “sniffle sniffle.” I was crying as I saw my hair hit the floor below. Why did I lie when I had the chance to tell the truth? How was I going to go to school with no hair? I didn’t want to face anyone. If only I had been truthful.

Just as I imagined, school was harsh the next day. The more people teased me about the “teeny tiny, not quite curled Jheri Curl” the more I cried. The guys were particularly harsh and the girls followed suit. I was sent to the guidance counselor and she let me sit in her office all day. She tried to make it better but nothing could convince me that it would get better. I couldn’t understand why people were mistreating me. I was still the same person on the inside. The smart, funny, tough little girl — yes, that was still me. I just had a new hair-do. Sure my outward appearance was awkward but that didn’t change who I was internally. As time passed, my hair grew and the jokes subsided but I learned valuable lessons from the experience: all lies have consequences and to judge people based on who they are on the inside and not on their outer appearance.

Throughout my matriculation in school I found myself in different places in these situations: the person being lied to, as well as the person mocking someone else. Can you find yourself in either of these situations? The lie you willingly tell to get what you want. You manipulate a situation because you aren’t patient enough to wait until the time is right. You maneuver things in your favor and they don’t quite turn out like you want. Maybe you are like the kids at school. Have you ever mistreated someone because they didn’t fit your appearance standards? Their clothes weren’t up to date, their hair wasn’t what you would approve, you judged them based on what sins you believed they were guilty of or maybe you made fun of them just because of others. In school, these traits are all too common but these aren’t traits of the King’s kids. Lying, manipulating, vanity nor judging are pleasing to God. Remember everything that glitters isn’t gold.… for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7 KJV)

Dear Daddy,

Forgive me for the times when I have been dishonest or manipulative to get my way. Thank You for loving me enough to provide opportunity for correction and opening my eyes to learn the lessons. When I place myself in a seat to judge others based on their outward appearance, remind me of the times that others mistreated me based on my outward appearance. Give me the courage to speak truth even when the outcome may not favor what I want. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to reflect over your life and recall the times you manipulated a situation to make the outcome favor you. Repent and ask God to remove that spirit from you. I also EMPOWER you to treat others based on who they are on the inside even when their outward appearance doesn’t meet your standards. Strive to be more Christ-like looking at character instead and let your ‘soul’ glow!

Can you relate to this EmpowerMoment? Did a lie that you told come back to haunt you or maybe you were on the receiving end of other’s harsh judgment? Share your story with us.

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC 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: everywhere 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.”

Encouragement, God's Love, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth, Self-Control, Sin, Spirit of Religion

Emotions Make You…

Is it okay to feel overwhelmed?  To feel overworked, but still poor?  To feel so tired your feet and back are sore?  Do you wish you had someone to walk through it with you and hold your hand?

Can a Christian be mad?  Regardless of it all, am I supposed to always be glad?  Is it alright for people to do me wrong and sometimes I want to respond with a fight, or am I supposed to turn the other cheek and move on with my life?

Can a single Christian be lonely in the city? God is a constant sense of company, but is it wrong to want someone else to adore me?  What if I lose the fight with these sexual desires called lust?  If I act on these cravings, am I no longer worthy of God’s trust?  If I give into sin is that the end?

Everything that I mentioned in the above passage has to do with emotions or physical actions.   Does being a Christian make you no longer human?  The answer is ‘no’.   It is okay as to feel, even as a Christian.  We attempt to mask our feelings behind a facade of Bible verses and silent curses.  We want people to think that we are always trusting in the Lord and never have a fear; however, that is not my reality.

“Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me and angrily hunt me down. My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.”  (Psalm 55:1-5 NLT)

Even in the Bible there are many instances of feelings of hurt, sadness, anger, pain, lust, fear, and many others.  However, God loved them all regardless of these things.  It is okay to know that God will love you too regardless of your momentary downfalls.

Dear Daddy,

I come before You asking You to give me control over my feelings and emotions.  Please allow me to remember that it is okay to feel, but how I react on these emotions is the key.  Give me the strength to be able to walk away from certain situations and help me to keep You at the forefront of my life.  I pray for the ability to let go and know that when I feel overwhelmed You have my back!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to EMPOWER yourself!  There will be days when you feel like you want to quit, but GOD will be your constant source of encouragement.  I EMPOWER you to come to terms with your emotions and not try to hide them.  Embrace your feelings, have a moment, then move on and put it behind you.

Have you too been overwhelmed by life and your emotions?  What are some things and emotions you have to release into God’s hands today?

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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.”

Character, Courage, Honesty/Truth, Integrity, Leadership

Lacking Integrity

…As long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit.  I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity. (Job 27: 3-5 NIV)

Recently, a friend called me for my advice on a matter.  My friend, a current graduate student, explained to me that she had been assigned a partner by her teacher to do a PowerPoint project on leadership and integrity.  Well, my friend took the initiative to start the project, contact her partner, and do the research.  She also emailed the PowerPoint to her partner in the middle of completing the assignment with some things that were left  that the partner could complete, but the partner failed to do that and my friend had to complete them herself.  My friend had completed the project with very little communication and no help from her partner until the night before it had to be submitted.  This time the partner told her that she was finally looking over the project.  It was then the partner put her name on the project, added one quote and a paragraph, and submitted it to the teacher.  The partner didn’t know that my friend had already submitted the project over to the teacher with a note saying in a nutshell that her partner did not fully communicate or help with the project.  So my friend wanted to know if she had done the right thing by telling her teacher.

Later that day I received another call from my friend saying that she wished she hadn’t said anything because the partner still got credit for her work and earned an easy B.  As my friend shared all of this with me, I thought and told her, “How ironic that the lesson was on integrity.”

However, this is not what solely sparked my EmpowerMoment.  Whether the partner was right or wrong is not why I am writing this EM.  This situation led me to remember the time God had to teach me about integrity.

Now, I am a person who is virtuous and trustworthy.  I have also been told by others that I am trustworthy, loyal, honest and a person who people can trust with their lives.  However, I too had to be reminded by God that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23 NIV)

Some years ago my church was studying and learning about revival and during this time I had to pray and ask God to search my heart for any sin I was committing knowingly or unknowingly.  One of the things that God brought to me was lying on my timesheet, recording I arrived at this time or worked X amount of hours knowing it was untrue.

Yet, I felt justified because my job and my then part-time position was flexible and if I had to be in class or go downtown to drop off paperwork I could leave work with no questions asked.  I felt justified because I have always struggled with tardiness, not that I can’t or haven’t been on time.  I felt justified because some days I would even stay later to make up hours.  I felt justified because I thought I couldn’t be the only one doing this.  No matter how much I felt justified, I was still wrong.  If I said I could work from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., then that means I need to be there at 10 a.m. consistently, not at 12 noon whether someone is watching or NOT.  I have to do the right thing whether it’s popular or NOT.  I have to hold fast to my morals whether I am patted on the back or NOT.  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)

My heart was heavy about this and I sincerely repented of lying and deceiving.  I took for granted my job, that no one was standing over my shoulders, and that people trusted me.  After God exposed my sin to me and forgave me, He wasn’t done with me.  I had to confess to my boss.  I did and ladies it humbled me and scared me!  I was scared of the result of my confession.  My boss listened, didn’t make me feel worse than I felt, was glad that I confessed and really appreciated my honesty.  Later on my boss made sure the employees had more accountability with our timesheets and consistency and I think that was because of what I had done.  I am relieved to say that I did not get terminated and I was more punctual than ever, but if I did run late I would make a phone call and not lie on my timesheet.  I learned a lesson on integrity and I have been on my job now for about 11 years.

Dear Daddy, 

Thank You for Your righteousness, holiness and justness.  Thank You for Your mercy and unfailing love too.  Thank You for exposing some things in my life so that I can have better character and unadulterated faith.  Thank You for Your forgiveness and giving me humility to confess my sins.  Help me to exude Christ-like character each day no matter the cost.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to live a life worthy of your calling you have received (Ephesians 4:1).  Watch for creeping sin because sin not only displeases God but also blinds your perception of things.  Exude Godly character whether someone is looking or not.  Hold fast to your faith and your morals.  Do not compromise your integrity for anyone including yourself!

Take the time to read about Job (Job 1, 2 and 27:1-5) and Joseph (Genesis 39), two people who maintained their integrity even in difficult times or situations.

Ladies, has God ever had to check your integrity? How did you recover? Share your story with us.

Read a Related EmpowerMoment: Can God Trust You?

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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.  She, like many of her students, is the first of her family to graduate from college.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English-Professional & Technical Writing.  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 thru 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

Forgiveness, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth, Relationships, Spiritual Therapy, Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: The “Non-Factors” In Our Lives

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on August 20, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

…And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

Recently, I’ve heard more and more people use the expression, “He/She is a non-factor!” or “That/This is a non-factor!”  Being the curious person I am, I asked my godsister where the expression came from.  She told me it came out of the reality show, “Basketball Wives.”  Again being curious, I decided to watch an episode of the show on OnDemand.  Long story short, I said out loud, “CLEARLY, they are lying to themselves about these things being non-factors!”  The people and things said to be “non-factors” are very real factors given that they were constantly discussed or there was always some kind of emotional response every time it/they were brought up.  I continued to sit watching the show shaking my head at what I saw as foolishness when God checked me!  “How dare you judge someone when you do the same thing with the so-called “non-factors” in your life!”  Instantly I was convicted!

There were so many things and people I said I was done with, situations that were “non-factors” in my life; however, I was still talking about them!  Every time I saw them, every time they were brought up in conversation I had an emotional response whether it was:  sadness, anger, longing, self-pity or just plain ol’ attitude complete with rolled eyes and lips smacking!  I realized that I had some real issues in this area.  The Bible says, “…Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous fall!” (Psalms 55:22 NIV)  I realized I “said” I was done with certain things and situations but had not truly given them to God because I had no peace concerning them.  I also realized that I had not moved on from certain people I “claimed” to be over and free from.  God charges us to “…bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive just as the Lord forgave you, and over all these virtues put on love…” (Colossians 3:13-14 NIV)

I was holding on to them through my unforgiveness and I DEFINITELY was NOT showing them Godly love (see 1 Corinthians 13).  I immediately asked God for forgiveness and asked God to help me really give ALL my cares to Him and also help me to genuinely forgive those I was holding on to.  While I am still in this process [and believe me it is definitely a PROCESS], I believe God will be true to His word, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)  Now I can speak to co-workers that I had not spoken to since we fell out last school year, without it being a struggle.  I recently saw an ex-boyfriend that I thought I would never get over and there was nothing there. I even congratulated him on his marriage and truly meant it.  That was a real victory for me; I truly believed that I would never get over him. HALLELUJAH!!!  I can now admit that celibacy has been and continues to be a real struggle for me. I put on the façade that it was so easy for me and said something similar to a desire for sex being a non-factor in my life. This could not have been FARTHER from the truth!

God has shown and continues to show me that if I continue to surrender everything and everyone to Him, He can and will free me from things and people that do not go along with the destiny He has for me.  I will then be able to say, “That/This/He/She is a NON-FACTOR in my life,” and it be the honest to goodness truth!!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your conviction and Your correction.  Thank You for never letting us be so comfortable that we stop striving to grow in You.  Thank You for always being a loving father that not only convicts and corrects but also leads us in the right direction and remains with us as we go on our journey.  We ask that You continue to show us the areas in which we need to grow.  We ask that You remove anything or anyone that would hinder the perfect plan that You have for our lives.  We also ask You for wisdom that we let go of the things that You want to remove and accept those things that You want us to have.  We pray that You replace the people that we have had to let go with DIVINE connections who You will use to help us get to the destiny You have called us to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sisters I EMPOWER you today to be Honest with yourself, expose the so called “non-factors” that are FACTORS in your life and begin to take the following steps to become free from it or them:

  1.  PRAY – Be completely honest with God about it/them 
  2. Don’t seek it/them out – stop bringing it/them up in conversation, stop going on their Facebook page, unfollow them on Twitter if you have to.  Remove any triggers (music, movies, pictures, etc.) that will take your thoughts to it/them.
  3. Check yourself – Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Speak even if they don’t.  If they are talking about you, don’t respond with gossip of your own.
  4.  In ALL THINGS acknowledge GOD, be consistent in your prayer life, continue to study God’s word, never stop thanking and praise God for all the things he has done/doing/will do, and never stop acknowledging who He is/has been/continues to be in your life.

Have you falsely convinced yourself that someone or something is a non-factor in your life? How has this post Empowered you to deal with it?  Share your story with us in the comments.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Pierced

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Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, IL.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 — For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Attitude, Black Music Month Series, God's Provisons, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth, Motives

I Ain’t Saying She’s a Gold Digger…

In honor of our last Black Music Month post, here’s a throwback! (This EmpowerMoment was originally shared on April, 19, 2011.) Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

Yesterday I was listening to one of my favorite artists, Kanye West. As the lyrics of Gold Digger blared through my headphones, I pondered on the meaning of “gold digger.” I even went as far to look up the definition on the semi-credible urbandictionary.com. According to one of the contributors there, a gold digger is “any man or woman who is in a relationship with another person because of their economic status.” Another stated that a gold digger is “a girl who is only with you for what you can do or buy for them.” After reading those definitions, I was proud to say that I am not and have never been classified as a gold digger. However, just as quickly as I could proudly stick my chest out and make my proclamation, God reminded me that there were some definitely some gold digging tendencies in my past. In a flash, he started reminding of how I used to dig for gold…

Remember when I wanted to talk to you so you could get to know me intimately and all you wanted to talk about was what you wanted or what I could do for you? Remember when I gave you joy, peace and unconditional love, yet all you wanted to ask me for were material things? Remember when you would go to church and if I hadn’t blessed you with a few extra dollars in your pocket, you would sit with your arms folded, not wanting to give me any praise? But if I increased your bank account, enlarged your territory or gave you a new ride, you were tearing the church up with your praise.  It seems you only walked with me for what I could do for you, not because you were genuinely interested in knowing who I was. So yes dear child of mine, you were a GOLD DIGGER too!

POW! He quickly busted my little bubble but boy was He so right!

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1NIV)

“For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalms 50:10 NIV)

Wow! I really used to be a gold digger! I was using the One who owns and has access to EVERYTHING. His economic status surpasses everyone else’s and I was taking full advantage of that. I was abusing our relationship simply because He told me that I could have whatever I asked in His name. (John 14:14) I immediately asked Him to forgive me for my old gold diggin’ ways.

The interesting thing about this whole scenario is that if I would have been seeking His face, His hand would have come automatically. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT)

Please take time to evaluate your relationship with God. Is it a gold digger and sugar daddy scenario or are you the obedient, loving daughter who genuinely cares for her Father? I encourage you to assess your situation and ask yourself when was the last time you put your hands up in worship instead of putting your hands out for a blessing. When was the last time you spoke to Him just to say I need You and not that I need this or that? If you can’t recall…I ain’t saying you a gold digger, but…

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that I acted as a gold digger in our relationship. I want You for more than what You can do for me. I want to praise you for who You are and not just for what You can do. I want to know You intimately. Teach me to seek Your face and not Your hand. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to leave your gold digging tendencies behind. EMPOWER your relationship with God by taking time to really get to know Him for who He is.

As you listen to Kanye’s version of a “Gold Digger”, check your motives:

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant. 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 two lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Commitment, Faithfulness, Honesty/Truth, Praise/Worship

What Are You Really In This For?

I attended a Christian poetry set recently.  One of the poems recited basically asked the question, “What if you got to heaven and you found everything you ever wanted and saw everyone you wanted to see there…except God?  Would you still want to be there?”

It took me back and made me really ponder the question, “Katrina, what are you REALLY in this for?”  There’s a popular song that says, “If the Lord never does anything else for me, he’s done enough!”  When we really think about that statement, do our hearts really feel that way? 

I had to admit that at times, I have had the wrong idea of what my life is all about.  Many times I have emphasized being saved so I can go to heaven, when my real purpose is to glorify God.  We were created for worship…PERIOD.

I had to repent for my selfish way of thinking.  “…and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me, whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10: 38-39 NIV) I was so focused on getting to heaven and getting what I want God to bless me with, that I was missing the mark.  If I continued like this, I would never gain what I desire because at its root, my heart was self-serving.  My primary goal, instead, should have been and IS now, working to give glory to God and build His kingdom.  “…Seek ye first [wholeheartedly] the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you…” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

I love You so much!  I thank You for who You are in my life and how much You love me!  I cannot thank You enough for how You take care of me.  I deeply appreciate how You hold me and never let me go in spite of all my issues.  Lord, forgive me for the times I took on a selfish spirit in which my relationship with You became more about what You were doing for me.  Lord, I ask that You give me a Job anointing. No matter what, I never want to stop loving and serving You.  I want to continue to draw closer to You. Lord, help me to increase my love more and more every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you reflect on the following questions: “What if you knew that regardless of how much you praised, worshipped, and served God in your life, you were still going to receive your due payment for the sins you have committed? (meaning you would still go to hell)  Would you still follow Christ?”

Feel free to answer the questions in our comment section below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: When “Church” Wears Off

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 Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Encouragement, Honesty/Truth, Restoration, Righteousness, Sin

Ms. Counterfeit

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Perfection, and I am perfect. I speak perfectly and I am careful not to speak ill will or negativity to anyone. My Facebook page is full of Bible verses and I go to church twice a week. I don’t gossip and I pay my tithes and even more with every pay check.  I don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or hang with those that do. I don’t go to the club and I make sure that those that do, know they are living in sin. I make sure I call it out! I’m faultless!

A grieved voice: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Cover, and I cover up the bad with the good. I speak the Word of God over every situation and I ensure to show my friends that I give thanks. My Twitter account is linked to all the well-known Pastors and all of my networking statuses are filled with Godly words and quotes. I have a secret: I sleep around because I’m addicted to sex and men, and frankly, if God wanted me to not be so promiscuous, He would relieve me of this right? Well, I make sure I cover this up too, because the girls I mentor are learning to live a holy life and I have to cover up to make sure they live right.

A grieved voice: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Luke 8:17 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Pointer and I point out the issues. When I see a friend sinning, I make sure they know! I point out all the issues to every rapper, singer, friend, politician or foe. This entire world is going to hell I tell you! After all, this is what God said do: He wants us to make it plain and tell it like it is! My friendship circle is almost non-existent because people just sin so much and I get tired of having to tell people how wrong they are. I make sure as soon as they say or do something unrighteous, I slap them with the Word! I don’t need friends, all I need is God!

A grieved voice: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 NIV

Hi, I’m Ms. Sinner. I’m a wretch undone. My filthiness equates to a dirty rag. Sometimes I tell my mind to do one thing, but I find myself doing another. Sometimes I portray to be perfect, cover up my blemishes with a little MAC, or lash out to others about their wrongdoings because mine are so painful. I want God to come and rescue me. I don’t deserve the car I drive. After all, I’ve used it as a hotel and it hasn’t honored Him. The house I own has been trashed with gatherings, sets, and parties that do not honor Him. I don’t deserve this outer beauty He has bestowed upon me because I don’t honor it. I smoke, drink, and fornicate at will. But I want a connection with something everlasting; I want a life that is filled with water overflowing. I want God to forgive me of my sins so that He can teach me how to leave the realms of self-perceived perfection, the lie of covering it all up, and being a hypocrite when I am really insecure.

Ladies, can’t we all identify a little bit with the Ms. Perfect, Ms. Cover, and Ms. Pointer? I know I can. But how can God work through our lives to get the glory if we walk around in a façade? How can He make us perfect in His own divine glory if we create our own perfections and neglect the humbleness of forgiveness, mercy, growth, and repentance? I am reminded of the woman with the alabaster box. She was a known sinner. But when she came to Jesus she humbled herself, wiped His feet with her hair, and anointed Him with her most valuable possession, the perfumes from her alabaster box. What’s interesting about alabaster boxes in that time, is that once they are broken, they can’t be sealed again. So everything that is on the inside must come out. When she poured out her inner truths of her heart, she was forgiven.

Dear Daddy,

I want to be honest with You today. I want to lay before You my inner sins of self-righteousness, conceit, and judgment. I want to be the type of worshipper that worships You in truth, honesty, and transparency. Lord, please help me become real before You so that I may be healed. I want to truthfully be able to witness to others, that mercy through Christ is true perfection, Your blood is the true cover, and pointing my heart to You is what makes me whole. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to pour out your heart to God, empty your alabaster box in worship. Be transparent to Him about your issues. Many of us carry around fake faces and perform empty gestures when truthfully we need to humble ourselves before God and worship Him in truth. It is then that our witness will be strengthened and the blood of Jesus will cover our past so that we can minister and help other sisters in Christ.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: She is Me: Lydia

Be sure to enter our monthly contest by clicking here.

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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 energetic four-year old daughter. They attend Vaughn Forest Church.  Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Friendships, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth

The Truth Hurts

Let me be honest. In the past few weeks I have had many personal revelations about myself.  Here’s my story…

One of my close friends had a very deep conversation with me.  It pertained to some of my life decisions.  For those of you who don’t know me, I can be pretty closed off with what I choose to share with others.  I do it because people can be pretty judgmental.  I remember sharing something very hurtful that happened to me with a friend to have them not talk to me for a few days.  At that point I felt I did something wrong.  So, I began to just keep things to myself.  I know it isn’t always good to do that, but I’m learning it’s okay to talk to those who sincerely love you.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (KJV)

Sometimes we have to speak truth into our friends’ lives — truth that is neither easy nor pleasant, truth that might just cause a wound.  Sometimes, like me, we are recipients of a friend’s painful words.  Words shared because they love us so much they don’t want us to continue down the wrong path.  Those times are never easy whether we are the giver or receiver.

The Bible says, “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy Truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Psalms 86:11 KJV)

Sometimes we have to hear painful things about ourselves for our own good.  I’ve realized that God often uses friends in my life to bring about the change He wants for me.  I want to be honest with my friends and I want my friends to be honest with me.  The TRUTH HURTS sometimes, but in the end it’s for the best.

I had to truly take time to elevate myself and listen to God.  As I did this, it took me by surprise as I read John 8:31-32:

Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;   a ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (KJV)

Ephesians 4:15 reads, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (KJV)

What my friend shared with me was spoken with nothing but love, and I’m thankful for her.  I know that as God continues to build me up into a virtuous woman I must understand sometimes that the truth does indeed hurt…OUCH!

Dear Daddy,

Let me not be deceived by words of the enemy.  Allow nothing but the truth to surround me.  Give me a heart of discernment that will encourage me to accept Your word when it is presented to me.  God, You love me so much that You gave Your Son to die so I may live.  Thank You Lord for everything.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to accept the truth although it will sometimes hurt.  Whether it’s truth within friendships, relationships, about your finances, or even about your job, you must be willing to listen to it.  Happy Friday Ladies!!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Ugly Truth

Do you have a problem giving or receiving the truth? How do you stand on truth even when you know it will hurt? Share your story in the comment section.

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

Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth, Word of God

I Like Him Black

On the rare occasion that I have a morning cup of Joe, I tend to use about six creams and seven sugars to disguise the taste. The truth is, I’m really no coffee drinker and I often joke that I take my coffee with my cream and sugar. The great thing about this is that I get to flavor the coffee to my liking. The bad thing is I get a distorted view of what coffee actually tastes like at it’s full strength when it’s just black. It makes me feel good but it’s not authentic.

Similar to coffee, I found that this was my approach to God. I was making God this friend who I was comfortable with and diluting Him. Living with full knowledge of the sin I was entwined in, but continuing because I knew that God was merciful and gracious and would forgive me. He was a part of my conversation as if we had an up close and personal relationship but I really wasn’t acknowledging His true character.  Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14 NIV

I haven’t been alone in diluting God to make others comfortable. With T-shirts that read, “Jesus is my homeboy,” the world is constantly trying to illustrate that we can fit God into our small box while continuing to do what we want to do; however, the scripture is very clear: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24 KJV) We cannot continue to be disobedient to God and pretend that there aren’t consequences. Yes, God is a healer, a provider, a forgiver, a lover of our souls, but He has told us in His word the consequences of putting others before Him. Romans 6:23 reveals that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV) Do you really know Him or are you serving a watered down version of God?  You know the one that is ALL love and no wrath. That’s not authentic and that belief will not stand.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. (II Thessalonians 1:7-9 KJV)

This message isn’t about doom and gloom as much as it is about being truthful about God. He tells us that God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24 KJV) We can try to wrap God up and put a bow on Him and water down His word so that others will feel comfortable, but at the end of the day, unlike coffee, diluting Him will not change Him or His word. I don’t know about you but I like my God, “black”, authentic and undiluted.

Dear Daddy,

Forgive me of my sins. Help me to be obedient to Your word and serve You authentically. Lord, I pray that this world will know Your truth. Remind us that unlike coffee, we cannot flavor You to our liking.They will recognize that You are willing to forgive ALL of their sin, but You also are a God of wrath and want us to obey Your commandments. Let us be truthful in our teaching and willing to provide correction so that others aren’t mislead. Let us lead lives that are an example of Your love and bring others to Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to know who you are serving. Study God’s character through His word. Do not be lead astray by the world who desires to sell you a watered down version of Him. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 KJV

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.”