Compassion, God's Love

He Cares For Me

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Hebrews 4:15 NKJV

Like any other human beings, I just want to know that someone cares.  When I am having a rough time in life, I need to know that there is another person that sympathizes with me, even if they are not capable of fixing the problem.   I often turn to my girlfriends in hopes that they can understand my pain enough to feel what I am going through.   As bad as I desire that connection, I am usually left disappointed because they just don’t get it.  Not because they don’t want to understand, but simply because they just haven’t experienced what I am going through at the time.   Because it is sometimes hard to find someone with genuine empathy, we often find it hard to believe that we serve a God that understands and feels what we go through, but He truly does.  Maybe it’s hard to fathom the Sovereign King of the universe feeling the sorrow or pain or frustration of little bitty us, but His word confirms it as truth.

On several occasions Jesus exemplified His compassion to His people.  One specific instance is revealed when Jesus is interacting with two sisters, Mary and Martha, who are mourning the death of their brother.   In what is often referred to as the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35 tells us that after hearing the news about his friend Lazarus’ death, Jesus cried.  Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.  And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.  (John 11:33-35 NKJV) Seeing His daughter Mary weep deeply troubled and moved Him.  He was so moved by her tears that it prompted Him to weep as well.  How amazing it is to know that Jesus is that concerned with what’s going on in our lives that He feels what we feel! He provides the ultimate example for offering genuine sympathy.

When considering the term ‘sympathy’, the word ‘compassion’ usually follows closely behind.   According to Merriam-Webster, compassion is a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.  Based on this definition, Jesus was sharing the ultimate compassion with everyone He encountered.  Remember the widow whose son had died? She was preparing to lay her son to rest when she met Jesus.  As the boy was being carried to the city gate, the Lord simply saw her and had compassion on her.

And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow.  And a large crowd from the city was with her.   When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” (Luke 7:12-13)

He only had to look at her to know that she was going through a difficult time in her life.  And once He saw the need He wanted to help her, which is what compassion is all about.

word-of-god-hug2The next time you are going through and you search your family tree and friend circles for someone to stand beside you and just understand what you are going through, look instead to your Master.   Just as the header scripture suggests, Jesus was a deity wrapped in human form to walk the earth and get a physical taste of all that we have to endure.   Not only does He show up to shower you with His compassion, He also rectifies the issues.   On both occasions, Jesus commanded the dead to get up and walk again.   Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still.  And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak.  And He presented him to his mother. (Luke 7:14-15 NKJV) This is revelation for you as you weather your storm: He cares about you and He is about to resurrect some seemingly dead things in your life!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for caring for me! When it seems like I don’t have a friend or a shoulder to lean on, You remind me that You truly care for me and are closer than any brother could ever be.  I ask that You strengthen me to share the same compassion with others that You share with me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to remember that God truly cares about you! Not just in a casual way, but in such a way that He feels your pain and desires to assist you in your troubles.  His compassion towards you is what motivates Him to remove the sting of death from your situation and bring it back to life.  I EMPOWER you to embrace your resurrection situation!

In what area of your life has God extended His warm compassion to you?

_________________________________________________________________

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

Advertisements
God's Love, Self-Esteem, Self-Worth

Imperfectly Perfect

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

At one point or another I have wished for longer hair, a flatter stomach, a smaller waistline, a bigger butt, thicker eyebrows, stronger nails, and the list goes on and on.  There was always something that I longed to change about my body.  Being surrounded with images of women with seemingly perfect bodies on the big and small screens only added to my frustrations and insecurities about my own body.

When God created each of us, He crafted a unique being.  He knitted together a masterpiece.  He made us fearfully and wonderfully! Do you truly grasp what it means to be fearfully made? In the scripture, fearfully does not refer to being afraid. Rather, it signifies how much reverence and respect God placed inside of you for the masterpiece that He created.  We are to show respect to God for the body that He has blessed us with.

This means that regardless of not having the flawless skin you desire, that perfect hour glass physique like the supermodels or the ever-bouncy, just left the salon hair, you still bless God for everything about you.  Why? Because even with your acne, love handles and limp hair, He still loves every fiber of your being just the way that you are!

By no stretch is this meant to be an excuse for us to maintain unkempt demeanors or slack in taking care of our bodies.  However, this empowering moment is designed to remind you of how special you are to God so that you too value what He’s created.   You are literally a custom design.   With over 7 billion people walking the earth today, there is not one other version of you! Basically you are a 1 of 1! That’s why you don’t look like the girls on the TV or in the magazine.  So embrace the body that God has given you! It’s tailored specifically for you! you-are-perfect

Will I ever have longer hair, a flatter stomach, a smaller waistline, a bigger butt, thicker eyebrows, stronger nails, or any other physical attribute that I have ever longed for? Maybe.  But maybe not.  Either way, I’ve truly discovered the beauty of everything that God has placed within me.  Now I’m focused on becoming the best me on the inside so my beauty exudes to the outside! I pray that you grow to do the same!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for not reverencing Your creation.  Although there is always something that I feel could be better about my physical appearance, help me to divert that attention to all of the wonderful things in my life.  When I begin to feel down about how I look on the outside, remind me that You are concerned with what is on the inside of me.  Thank You for fearfully and wonderfully creating me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to embrace the wonderful creation that God made when He designed you.  Refuse to get caught up in the so-called “perfect” images of women that society bombards you with.   Instead focus on the beauty of everything that God has placed inside of you.  Those are the beautiful attributes that spill over to the outside and make you absolutely gorgeous!

When the enemy attempts to attack you by planting seeds of inadequacy or low self-esteem, counterattack with the following scriptures:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (James 1:17 NIV)

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  (Genesis 1:27 NIV)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  (Proverbs 31:30 NIV)
What are some things God has revealed to you that makes you unique, beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made iinside and out?

_________________________________________________________________

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

Change, God's Grace, God's Love, Self Forgiveness, Testimony Series

My Testimony: It Is Okay To Fall Apart

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

Last year, 2013, was an emotional one.  My heart, my mind and my soul felt like they were being bounced up and down on a seesaw continually because of my ups and downs.

My year was filled with many blessings; my family took my second youngest sister to college.  She is now my mom’s second child to attend college.  Last year became my third year being a homeowner.  Last year my mom and I had a fabulous mommy and daughter weekend retreat for her birthday.  Last year I finally got my driver’s license.  I made the decision to permanently close the door to my ex-boyfriend who wanted to try again at a relationship.  After much prayer, I started planning my future business.  My household gained a new member, my four-year old nephew, and I am having a ball with his smart, energetic self.

However, last year was filled with uncertainties, drama, challenges and pain too.  My family had to rush to another state because of a horrific accident that led to my precious youngest nephew having a head injury.  I was riddled with worry about my nephews and siblings.  My family struggled financially.  I had issues at work that left me feeling like I wanted to quit for the first time.  I also started back having anxiety attacks and more frequently.  I was an emotional wreck and as they say “was feeling some kind of way.”

Yet with all that God gave me one message that humbled me and made me afraid all at the same time.  He said “fall apart and let me put you back together again my way.”  Yes, FALL APART.  “You mean to tell me You want me to fall apart?” was my response.  It finally sunk in that all this time my anxiety and my fear is a failure to surrender myself FULLY to the Lord.  If you read my past EmpowerMoments, you would think that I would have gotten it by now.  However, I didn’t and my testimony is simply that I now understand that I can fall apart because God intended for me to rely and depend upon Him.  “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)  I can surrender, I can let go and God will put me back together again.  He will take care of me.  He will protect me.  He will provide for me.  He will never leave me, nor forsake me.  I learned that although things change around me and things look uncertain, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and He is full of stability, consistency and faithfulness.  I also learned that in order to thrive and survive, I must remember that my life is not my own.  I belong to God, Jesus died for me, and the Holy Spirit abides in me.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You Father for seeing me through a year I thought I would not make it through sane, happy and sometimes alive.  I thank You for being patient with me.  You could have just flunked me after not getting what You have been trying to teach me for so long.  Thank You for showing me that You know what is best for me, have what is best for me and want the best for me.  I thank You for Your mercy and Your love that has never failed me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to allow the test that lead to testimonies.  Allow the process that leads to a finished product and remember that God always finishes what He starts.  I also EMPOWER you to FULLY surrender.  If you feel like you are falling apart, trust God to put you back together with His Word, His Power, His Love and His Grace.  Ladies, both of my nephews are doing well.  My siblings have some testimonies of their own but they are doing just fine.  Honestly, I have had a few anxieties to date, but I am learning to control my emotions and trust God more.  My family may still have some struggles financially, but we have shelter, food, clothes and God who is a provider.  Hallelujah!   

I found this song that complements this message (if having trouble viewing, please click on the link):

____________________________________________________________

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 helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager  so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God, God's Love

Selfish Love

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

Being in a relationship with a selfish or self-centered person is never a good thing.  Someone who only thinks of him/herself all of the time, shows no concern for your feelings, thoughts, ideas or needs and never listens to anything you say can leave you feeling insecure, unwanted, and maybe even depressed.

Shame on me!

Recently, I’ve been very selfish in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I’ve been putting my needs and wants in front of what I know is important to strengthening the relationship I want with Him.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT)  I’ve been disregarding His Word, His perspective and that which matters to Him.

But I love Him!

I’ve been on the receiving end of such selfish behaviors in a past relationship.  It was very hard for me to believe that I was loved when I was being neglected and treated badly.  I wanted to run away from this relationship and be alone because I hated the way I was being treated!

God isn’t running from me though!

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ESV)  He loves me so much that He still wants to be in this relationship and He’s willing to forgive me!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unconditional love.  Thank You for Your constant willingness to forgive me when I fall short.  Please continue to work on me so that I will become the person You have destined me to be.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to run back to God!  Recognize that He wants nothing more than to be in love with you!

Can you tell us a moment where you knew you were being selfish with God and putting others and things before Him?

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  It’s NOT All About ME!

___________________________________________________________________

 Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

God's Love, Inspirational, Praise/Worship, Thanksgiving

Reminiscing

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)

The other day I came across an old CD I hadn’t listened to in years.  It was a sunny day and I was driving along to the gym.  I couldn’t wait to roll the windows down, pop in the CD, and do my best karaoke rendition of SWV!

Not only was I looking forward to singing along, but I was looking forward to singing from the heart.  You know the kind of singing you do when the words of the song sound like you wrote them yourself?  The kind of singing where you can insert your name and the name of the one you love (or used to love) into the words of the song and remember when….yep, that’s just what I was expecting.

That’s just what happened at first.  I sang my heart out during the first two tracks.  I was gearing up to belt out track three, the infamous “Weak,” and The Holy Spirit showed up.  All of a sudden the words of the song took on a whole new meaning:

I get so weak in the knees I can hardly speak.
I lose all control and something takes over me.
In a daze and it’s so amazing, it’s not a phase.
I want you to stay with me, by my side.
I swallow my pride; your love is so sweet.
It knocks me right off of my feet.
I can’t explain why your loving makes me weak.

My God!

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with God’s grace and goodness that I get weak!  Sometimes I feel like I am in a daze when I am surrounded by His presence and yearn to have Him with me always!  Sometimes I have to swallow my pride and do what it is that He has called me to do because He loves me so much!  The chorus to the song sums it up; sometimes I can’t explain why the love of God makes me weak!

When I arrived at the gym, I sat in my car just thanking God for loving me and for allowing me to experience His love on a level that is so amazing.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unconditional and unfailing love.  Thank You for Your constant reminders of Your love for me and that Your love surrounds me everyday.  I pray that I will be able to live a life that is worthy of the way You love me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to get weak from the power of God’s love.  Let the Holy Spirit overcome you till you are falling on your knees and thanking Him for the love He showers upon you!

Describe a time when the Holy Spirit overcame you and led you into sweet, divine worship.

Please watch SWV’s “Weak”: 

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  A Divine Encounter

___________________________________________________________________

 Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Forgiveness, God's Grace, God's Love, God's Mercy, Self Forgiveness

A New Day – A New You!

I was recently given one of the most thoughtful gifts that I have ever received.  Someone made a calendar for me.  It included pictures of me as well as famous quotes on each month.  It had all the special days of my year such as my birthday and holidays. I was so excited that I had received this gift.  I looked at it daily because there were pictures of me.  As I flipped the pages of the calendar I realized that every month was a new ME: a new picture of me, a new quote for me, a new life for me. That is how God works in our lives.  Things from our previous months and previous years don’t matter; He simply flips the page to our new beginnings.

 “And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I said!” (Ezekiel 17:24 NLT)

The Lord is always turning the page in our lives. There have been many situations in our lives that we wish that we could simply remove from the calendar.  However, we do not have to remove that day because it is now a part of our past.  God has already forgiven us for whatever lies in our past.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7-8 NLT)

Many times we would like to simply forget things from our past and act as though things never happened.  The problem with that is we forget where God has brought us from.  We do not have to be ashamed of our past or attempt to erase it because it has already been forgiven.  Those experiences that we wish we could turn the page on assist us in becoming the Christians we are.  It is a testimony that attests to where we used to be weeks, months, years ago.  Walk toward your vision, fulfill your purpose, and reach your destiny. Today is a new day!

 Dear Daddy,

 I come before You today thanking You for turning the page on my past indiscretions.  I pray for strength in order to ask for Your forgiveness from the things I am still holding on to. I need guidance in whatever new endeavors that I am moving towards.  Teach me to be an example, based on my previous sins, to show others how far You can bring them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you today to forgive yourself of your past so that you can actively participate in your future. Do not let the things that have happened on previous days creep into today and steal your joy.  God has already forgiven us of the things that we continue to carry around. Learn to flip through toward a new YOU!

How have you learned to move past the mistakes of your past to get to the new you that God has ordained? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Keep At It

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

___________________________________________________________________

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.”

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?

___________________________________________________________________

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.”