Growth/Maturity, Preparation, Restoration, Stress, Submission/Surrendering, Trials

Sandpaper

“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

One of my hobbies includes furniture restoration. I was speaking to my mother the other day about restoring a dining room set she gave me. I expressed to her my insecurities of staining or painting it because of a failed attempt to restore an old desk I found some years ago. When I found the desk, it was thrown on the curb, but I saw potential. I could see where it would go in my living room and how it would serve as a functional piece in my home. I dragged it home, had my husband patch up a hole in the back and we prepped it with primer. After the primer dried we painted it a rich ebony color and I was ecstatic about it. A few months later the paint began to wear off. The area of the desk we use and rely on the most is worn and the old part of the desk is showing. Explaining this to her I said, “Mom you know what? I forgot to sand it!” Her reply was, “The condition of what’s underneath will determine the longevity of your finish.”

I was slapped with an EMPOWERMOMENT! God found me on the side of the road and saw potential! He saw where I fit into His kingdom, and how I would serve a functional place in His home. But He has to sand me first…OUCH!

The purpose of sanding, especially reclaimed or unfinished wood (insert shout here), is to prepare the foundation to withstand and absorb the permanent stain. Sanding removes the entire old finish, and sometimes there are layers and layers of old stuff. Sand paper has various grades. Some grades are not as rough and they are used to sand areas that do not require much smoothing. Other grades are heavy duty and are very abrasive, but their purpose is to smooth out the tough patches. They are used when the wood is rough or “resistant” to softer grades.

My friend, if you resist God’s pruning, instruction, chastisement, denials (yes, there are some), and delays, He can’t sand you for the proper finish. A finish that will be long-term. Are you wondering why He denied your opportunity for that car or home purchase, why He removed that man, why He did not allow you to be employed at a certain place, or why He has even placed you in a “desert” period in your life? God is sanding you! Peter reminds us in his first letter, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:10 NIV. He knows that you are struggling and you can ask for comfort during your sanding process, but that will NOT eliminate the sanding.

For some of us it requires the heavy duty sand paper to ensure our foundation is smooth. I often wonder why God would keep dealing with me in certain areas such as my mouth. Well this area requires much “sanding” because it is a high traffic area, the area that He will use to His glory the most! So if it is not sanded properly, I will not have a sustained “finish.” I will continue to revert to murdering souls with my words opposed to speaking life.

I’ve found that simple furniture only requires a quick sanding. In my case that would be something like helping the needy. I have a giving heart so being obedient in this area is easier for me. But furniture with intricate detail, which will serve multiple purposes, and will ultimately bring life into my home, may require days and long hours of sanding. This would be self-control of my mouth!

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 NIV. In the end, the stain, the permanent finish, and the final product have a lifelong glow but it must be sanded first…OUCH!

Dear Daddy,

I come to You with honesty, sharing with You that sanding hurts. It’s abrasive and it makes me cry at night, feel lonely, and sometimes I can’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there is more truth, I know that this pain is temporary and that You are growing and preparing me for the finish! You are preparing me to handle those blessings that You have for me. God I ask that while I’m in the process, help me to hear, accept, and act on the things that You will have for me to learn. Thank You God for being faithful, being a comforter, and a sustainer of peace. For I know that all things will work out for my good (Romans 8:28). In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Girlfriend, I EMPOWER you not to resist your sanding, but rest in the truth of knowing that God knows your desires. Delight yourself in Him by being content in the place He has you, by praising Him in the pit, and worshipping Him because of who He is, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Has God taken you through a sanding? Encourage one another by sharing one of your sanding experiences below.

Meditate on James Chapter 1

Read a related Empowermoment: The Olive Press Series

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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.

Direction/Guidance, God's Provisons, Growth/Maturity, Humility, Submission/Surrendering

The Illusion of a Self-Made Woman

LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. (Isaiah 26:14 NIV)

I am educated, have a career, decently paid, live in a safe neighborhood and drive a nice car. You could say that I am living the “American Dream”. Everything that everyone sees currently is all a blessing from the Lord. If people were to really understand the struggles, the sleepless nights and late night prayers crying out to my Heavenly Father, they would understand that this dream came with a mighty high price tag. Even with all the struggles that I endured, they now seem like a distant memory and I at times get caught up in the material blessings that God has given me. In fact, at times I can begin to believe that this wonderful life I have been given is due to all of my hard work. I fall under an illusion that I am a self-made woman.

Being a self-made woman means that I have not submitted myself, my thoughts and desires unto God. This life I am living is about me, my needs and wants. The illusion that I have built this life for myself can lead me to make decisions and then ask God for His input after I have already made my decision.

I must admit that for the past few weeks I have not been in prayer or studying the Word like I once had. Although, I believe that I love God and have a heart for Him, I was so busy making my own decisions that I wasn’t respecting His authority in my life.

Then like Paul I was given a thorn in my flesh. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. (II Corinthians 12:7 NIV)

Last week was one of the most challenging weeks I have had in quite some time. In fact my well put together world crumbled rapidly in a 24 hour period. I had no idea what decision to make and I was at a loss. Things that seemed so important just the day before paled in comparison to what I was facing. Could I actually deal with the situation? The answer was no, in my own power and strength I couldn’t. It was due to this “thorn” that for the first time in weeks I reached out to my Father in deep and sincere prayer. I knew that there was nothing humanly possible that could be done and I humbled my haughty heart to the Lord. I was in prayer like never before and made plans to begin fasting.

I thank God, for His perfect timing and orchestrated “thorns” in my life. Those are instances of Him calling me back to His loving arms. Do not allow thorns to harden your heart, allow them to draw you closer to Him. He might not remove the challenge but He can give you the strength and peace to endure it.  Allow the “thorns” to remind you that EVERYTHING that you have is from God and not from your own strength.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for blessing me with material items, but help me to remember that things are not my source. Help nothing, not even my own desires, separate me from the path and plan that You have destined for my life. Help me to remember that I am made to worship You.  Help me to allow You to humble me when needed.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to let God be ruler over every decision that you make. Do not allow things to become idols in your life.

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

Career, Goals & Dreams, Growth/Maturity, Submission/Surrendering

Let Go of the Life Calendar

When I began graduate school in August 2010, I knew for a fact that I would be graduating before the close of 2012.  As I progressed through each class, earning one “A” after the next, I was even more certain that I was going to finish in December 2012 with honors.  As I listened to all the favorable comments about my future from my professors, I was sure that I would be in my cap and gown before Christmas 2012. 

“However, no one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” (Matthew 24:36 NLT)

A few weeks ago I decided to stop by my academic advisor’s office to make sure everything was on track for my commencement at the end of the year.  She began by praising me for my 4.0 GPA, but when I switched the conversation to graduation her excitement abruptly left the building.  She nearly broke my heart when she told me that I would not complete my program until March of 2013!

As the day progressed, I continued talking to God about my feelings of defeat and anger.  My mind was at war with the thought that I had done all of this work only to miss what I considered to be my deadline.  I continued to gripe and complain until God decided to put me in my place.  He clearly stated that the reason my expected graduation was delayed was due to a lack of readiness.  “Be dressed for service and well prepared…” (Luke 12:35 NLT) I would need those extra months to get totally prepared for my future career.  God told me to stop focusing on the date, but rather focus on making sure that I am prepared for where He is getting ready to take me.  A shift in the natural realm will only be possible if I am willing to trust what He is doing in the spiritual!  “…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1Corinthians 2:9 NLT)  

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for putting me in my place!  So often I get caught up in SELF that I forget that everything I go through is so You can get the glory.  Help me to remember that my time has NOTHING to do with Yours.  I must always remember that You know what’s best for me regardless of the circumstances.  I will no longer place emphasis on deadlines, but I will instead give You TOTAL control to change my calendar of events as You see fit.  Have Your way Daddy!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stop allowing that calendar of life to weigh you down!  Remember that if God promised it, He will deliver when you are spiritually, physically, and emotionally ready to handle it.  While you are busy counting days, God is already aware of the moment that He will allow you to receive the very thing you have asked Him for…so WAIT for it! Be Blessed! 🙂

What event have you decided to erase from YOUR life calendar? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

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

Assignment, Gifts/Talents, Purpose, She is Me Series, Submission/Surrendering

She is Me: Jael

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER youCheers to being a WOMAN!

Covert Silent Assassin

Unlike Renee`, (see She is Me: Deborah), I desired to have a leadership role like Deborah in ministry.  Desired is probably an understatement; craved is more accurate.  I was a leader in my professional life and even in my family and personal life, so it just made sense that I would be a leader in ministry as well right? WRONG!  God not only did not elevate me, but He sent me to a church where NOBODY knew me.

After much personal struggle and attitudinal pleas to God, I finally repented and submitted to God’s will for me in the area of ministry.  This is where my life began to parallel Jael’s.  First, Jael was a tent dweller.  One major characteristic of tents are they are highly portable (easy to move from place to place). We can conclude from this that Jael lived a life in which she had to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.  Once I submitted to God, He began to teach me that I had to always be ready to act when He needed me to.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

The Bible tells us that Sisera’s army was defeated.  Deborah, Barak, and the Israelite army had done their duty: “…all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left…Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael…” (Judges 4:16b-17a NIV) There are many things in our lives that in large part we have been delivered from; however, residue of those things still exists in our life. God desires for our enemies to be TOTALLY defeated and in order to do that, He raises covert assassins.  Jael was one such assassin.  God has taught me that I’m not a Deborah in ministry but a Jael. 

Sisera felt comfortable going into Jael’s tent because he was familiar with her family.  “Sisera, however, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite because there were friendly relations between Jabin King of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite…” (Judges 4:17 NIV)  God has sent people into my life several times who were struggling with spirits I was “familiar” with in the past.  Those spirits were comfortable being around me because I was supposedly not a threat to them.

Jael invited Sisera into her tent and treated him VERY good.  Sisera was thirsty and asked for some water.  Instead of water, Jael gave him milk, giving him more than he requested. (See Judges 5:25) Jael gracefully lulled him into a false sense of security. By treating him so well, he assumed that she was on his side and that he was safe. Having a full stomach also makes a person more tired, especially after a hard day. All of this combined caused Sisera to fall asleep without too much worry about being attacked. Little did he expect an attack from the woman who was treating him so kindly.

God has allowed me to have relationships with many who come from various backgrounds, different religions, and who struggle with a range of strongholds.  God has directed me to show hospitality to them and allow them to “relax” in my presence.  “…But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted.  She drove the peg through his temple in to the ground, and he died.” (Judges 421 NIV)   However, just like Sisera, they let down their guards and become comfortable around me.  I quietly begin to PRAY and come against EVERY stronghold, cancel every assignment of the enemy and war in the spirit realm to KILL everything that is keeping them from being who God has called them to be.

My journey has taught me that everyone God has called to ministry is not supposed to be in the pulpit or even on the microphone.  God has raised some covert operatives.  My assignment is to pray.  I have learned to accept my assignment and carry it out with diligence. Jael’s obedience to God quite arguably changed the course of history for the Israelites and she is only mentioned in a few verses of the Bible. However, had she not accepted it because it wasn’t an upfront position, who knows what could’ve happened.  Sisera may have gotten away, raised another army, and went fought the Israelites again. Thank God for silent assassins!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the assignment You have given me in ministry.  I understand that there are no “small parts” in ministry.  I understand that everything done in ministry is supposed to bring glory to You.  I also understand that my obedience is connected to so many other destinies.  I ask that You continue to make me sensitive to your spirit.  Help me to carry out the assignments that You give me diligently and effectively.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to pray and seek the Lord for what He wants you to do in ministry. Accept your assignment and start carrying it out.  There are so many that God has for us to minister to, pray for, feed, cloth, preach to, etc.  We HAVE to get on our jobs!

Today is the LAST day! Enter here for your chance to win our women’s prize pack!

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.”

Faith, God's Promises, Obedience, Patience, She is Me Series, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

She is Me: Sarah

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special week-long series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER youCheers to being a WOMAN!

Busy Being God Jr.

Nearing graduation from college, I thought I had it all figured out. I was NOT moving back to Chicago, but instead I was going to make my home in the south, get a great job and start my life with my self-chosen future husband. It sounded like a wonderful plan to me, but God said, “No, if you listen to me and do it my way, I promise that I have a MUCH better plan for you.” Not really convinced that His plan was going to please me the way that mine was, I began working hard to put my plan into motion. I applied to several jobs in the southern region and began making preparations for life that my future and I would lead together. I was hell-bent on helping God out! How many of you can be honest and admit that He has promised to do some things in your life, but you couldn’t understand how what He told you was better than what you had envisioned? Or better yet, you didn’t see the evidence of the promise coming to fruition fast enough so you decided to be God Jr.? If you are afraid to admit it, I’ll show you someone who is just like me…

God promised Abraham (Abram) that his wife, Sarah (Sarai), would have a son and that from that child his descendants would be too great to number. Abraham believed God’s word; however, Sarah couldn’t imagine that at her old age she would really be able to bear a child. That was heartbreaking to her because she knew her husband really desired a son so that his offspring could inherit his kingdom. So, just like me, she set out to assist God in making things happen.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (Genesis 16:1-3 NLT)

Sarah’s plan seemed like the perfect fix to her solution…and so did mine! She would now have a child through a surrogate mother and her husband would be satisfied. Likewise, I refused to believe that God truly wanted me back in Chicago. I wouldn’t settle for missing out on my one true love in life, so I went on several interviews with very reputable companies. Everyone was pleased with my resume` and my overall package. I was promised jobs from at least three employers. I even started searching for a permanent place to stay. I’m sure I was thinking that God should’ve been thanking me because I was helping Him out tremendously!

Oh, but my plans, just like Sarah’s, went awry! Abram had intercourse with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she found out that she was pregnant, she became proud and despised Sarai. (Genesis 16:4 GNT) Sarah’s plan fell apart right before her eyes! Instead of carrying a child for her mistress, Hagar began to hate Sarah and wanted to keep the baby. My plans quickly unraveled too. Of the three job leads that I had been promised, each one fell through in a matter of days. I even attempted to reach my interviewer at one of the companies and I was told that no one by that name had ever worked there! I was baffled. Why was this happening to me? I knew that my plan was suitable for my life! Instead of admitting that I was trying to operate in direct opposition of God’s will, I immediately starting pointing the blame finger. As you can imagine, the recruiters from those companies were at the top of my list. Again, Sarah and I were running neck and neck! Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. (Genesis 16:5 NIV)

In all of our blatant disobedience and disrespect to God, He was still so gracious to the both of us. He STILL kept His promise that was made to us, even though neither of us had an ounce of faith in the words that He spoke over our lives. In efforts to sabotage a job in Chicago, I never showed up to the interview and never gave a reason why. However, God STILL kept that position for me. Even in my adamant state to hold on to a man that I just knew was my future, God STILL brought the man that He designed specifically for me into my life to become my husband. Even though Sarah chose not to cling to God in her season of barrenness and instead took matters into her own hands, He STILL blessed her with a child. “Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.” (Genesis 21:1-3 NLT) Oh what a gracious and merciful God we serve! And I think I can speak for both Sarah and me when I say that God was right—His plan was much better!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for this multi-part lesson on faith, obedience and patience. Lord, I ask that You help my unbelief. If there are areas where my faith wavers, please strengthen those places. Help me to believe You and stand on Your word, regardless of what I feel like should happen. Lord, I pray that You would turn my heart so that I yield to every command that You give me. Help me to take my hands off of situations so that You are in control. Finally, I ask that You teach me patience. I understand that the only way to learn patience is by waiting, so I ask that You give me the strength to hold out for Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to believe God the first time! I EMPOWER you to understand that He doesn’t need your help determining His will for your life, nor has He ordained you as God Jr.! Instead of trying to manipulate things to your suiting, I EMPOWER your faith to increase, your obedience to be automatic and your patience to strengthen.

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.

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.

God's Love, God's Protection, God's Provisons, Patience, Stress, Submission/Surrendering, Trials

He’s Concerned – Beyond the Cellular Level

Before the New Year came in, I was in a funk. I shut myself in for a few days in hopes that I could pull my self together before the clock struck 12:00 AM on January 1st. I was sulking over the past year and what had not been. Unmet goals in the areas of relationships, health, family, finances, and career all seemed to weigh heavily on me. I wondered if God was listening.  Even more, I was frustrated because I felt as though He knew the desires of my heart and the spoken words from my mouth yet I had not seen these things come to pass. I shut down and tried to just sleep this feeling away but it wouldn’t budge. I kept wondering “God do you hear me?” “God do you care?”

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12: 6-7 NIV)

Although it is an unlikely place, I found the answer to my nagging question in a friends cough. As she coughed and released phlegm (mucus), I relished in God awesomeness. He designed our bodies to fight. Mucus carries pathogens and foreign particles out of our body. In many cold cases, white blood cells travel to the respiratory system trying to rid the body of infection. White blood cells are created to fight meaning we have little warriors in our body that attack whenever something is seeking to destroy us internally.  As Psalms 139:14 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God cares about His creations so much that He equipped us with everything we need to fight. He was concerned beyond the cellular level. He was so concerned that He has engineered our bodies to work in synchrony and precision. Surely if He is a God that can design a body that operates so proficiently, He can take care of my small desires.

Furthermore, I was reminded that these trials only come to prove my strength and faith in Him. Instead of sulking I should have been rejoicing because I have faith that He is indeed capable of turning any situation around.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 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 1:2-4, 12 NIV)

As I continued to reflect, I realized that there were some things that I simply did not work for and as we know Hebrews 2:17 tells us “faith without works is dead.” There were petitions that I had to check my motives about Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (James 4:3 KJV) and still there were others that were simply not apart of His will for my life. His will is indeed most important for my life because He tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9,For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (KJV)

Time and time again God has shown that He cares for me; yet, I allow myself to doubt Him. Do you find yourself in this position? Remember that God has intricately designed every cell in your body to work according to His instruction. Surely if He cares for you at the cellular level, He cares about the whole YOU!

Dear Daddy,

Forgive me for doubting You. Help me to recognize that sometimes You are protecting me from myself. When it’s right and when it’s ready, You will grant me the desires of my heart. I will continue to trust that the God who knows me inside and out also knows what is best for my life. You are not restricted to a Roman calendar. In Your timing it shall come to pass, but until then I will continue to keep the faith, I will continue to do Your will and I will continue to work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to put your will for your life aside for God’s will. Turn it over to Him and trust that He knows what is best for you. Check your motives. Check your work ethic and have faith that God knows what He is doing. As cliché as it may sound, it is absolutely correct “He may not come when you want Him to, but He is always on time.”

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.”