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!

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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.”

Faith, Faithfulness, Favor, Freedom, God's Mercy, God's Protection, Restoration, Throwback Thursdays, Trusting God

Throwback Thursday: The Face of Faith

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on April 29, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take my students on a field trip. We were given a guided tour of one of the most meaningful museums I have ever been to, The National Holocaust Remembrance Museum. If you’re familiar with the story then you know how the Jews suffered a horrible tragedy at the hands of a mad-man. More than six million people were slaughtered in some manner in what was known as the “Final Solution”. As we walked through the museum I couldn’t help but to feel the pain and suffering of their people. Many of my students were overcome with emotion because of the pictures and stories told by our tour guide. To conclude, we were given the honor of meeting an actual survivor named Regina. Before me stood this small, frail, 84 year-old woman who saw things one could only imagine. Overcome with emotion one of my students began to cry saying “I touched her.” I wanted to ask her a million questions as she was on her way out the door. The only question I could muster up to the strength to ask was, “How did you do it?” She replied in a very quiet, yet firm tone, “I had faith.”

When the other disciples told him [Thomas] that they had seen the Lord, he declared, “… I will not believe it.” A week later… Jesus… said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:25-28 NIV)

Have you ever gotten to the point where you doubted God and started wondering whether or not He would bring you out of your situation? We all get caught in these type situations, whether they are self-inflicted or brought on by something or someone else. We find ourselves in a personal “Death Camp” in which we feel all is hope is lost. The light at the end of the tunnel gets dimmer and dimmer and we question, “Why me Lord?” We only see darkness and never take into account that the daylight will come soon. As Regina held up her arm to show me the number that the Nazis branded her with, I realized that even though she had been marked for death she refused to die. Her faith allowed her to survive what the enemy had on her life.

Dear Daddy,

I ask that You continue to increase my faith. Allow me to see that after every night is a morning. Allow me to trust in You no matter what. In my times of weakness allow me to continue to trust and believe that You will bring me out of my situation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today EMPOWER your FAITH. Never forget Regina and how her FAITH sustained her even when it looked like death was knocking at her door. KNOW that no matter what you’re going through GOD will bring you out.

Shawna Dix is a mother, educator, and all around child of God. She is passionate about God, her son Jalen, family, friends, and her students. She loves teaching because it allows her to shower our youth with love and guidance. She resides in Pentagon City, Virginia and works hard educating inner city youth in Washington DC. She prides herself in being a realist. She exclaims that she is in no way, shape, form, or fashion perfect but she has accepted that she serves a perfect God who is able to do ALL things!

God's Mercy, Restoration, Trials

More than a Car: It’s a Transformation

Two months ago I was involved in a car collision that changed my SPIRITUAL life forever.  The days following the impact I was having the hardest time.  I couldn’t get past the fact that the other driver failed to wait for the traffic to clear at the stop sign before proceeding and the damage to my vehicle was making the situation even worse.  Praise God that all parties involved were alive but unfortunately my car was caught in the crossfire and I was left confused and uncertain as to what was next.

Shortly after the repairs began, I went to gather my belongings out of my beloved “Bentley-Lo” only to find the entire front had been removed.  There was no sign that this was the same car that I was proud to say that I owned; rather it looked identical to the other junk cars that sat on the lot of the auto body shop.  My car appeared to be used, abused, and left for dead with hopes of being transformed back to its original state.

Two days ago I picked my car up from the repair facility and it looked good as new.  The evident damaged was non-existent, the somber scene from the breakdown had passed, and I was now staring at proof that change can be seen on the outside.

“But then I will win her back once again.  I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.  I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into the gateway of hope.  She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young…” (Hosea 2:14-15a NLT)

As I witnessed my car’s transformation, I was reminded of the stages that our relationship with Christ goes through.  We endure trials that leave us damaged and we take forever to accept that not everything is about us.  We go through tough times for God to get the glory and to encourage others who may experience similar situations… It is NOT about us!  Then when we reach a certain point in our relationship with God, He will disassemble our hard exterior in order to expose our most sensitive layer.  However, when it is all said and done, He restores us to a condition that was better than before.  He renews us in every aspect so that people can only see Him and not the collisions that we were involved in previously.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping me to recognize that my trials are deeper than what I can see but that they are for Your glory and the deliverance of others.  Please remind me that the process does require the extraction of things that are not of You in order for our relationship to continue to prosper.  Lord, I thank You in advance for the overflow, deliverance, increase and restoration which will be released unto me at Your appointed time.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to trust and believe that the transformation process will change your life forever.  Each stage is intricate in the development of your relationship with Christ so be open to receive the blessing in it.  Rest assured that you will look brand new when He finishes with you.  Have a blessed week ☺     

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Broken But Repairable

Have you undergone a Godly transformation? Do people tell you that you are not the same? Share your story with us in the comment section.

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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

Abortion, Comfort, Death, Encouragement, God's Love, God's Mercy, God's Protection, I Am Free Series, Inspirational, Pain, Self Forgiveness, Spiritual Therapy, Throwback Thursdays, Trials

I Am Free: The Love Letter

It’s Throwback Thursday! Enjoy this blast from the past. To commemorate our nation’s independence this week, we are featuring a series entitled “I Am Free”.  Read this week as our writers share how God has delivered them and set them free!

I am FREE from my past!

Dear God,

I have been hearing how people are so “blessed and highly favored” or “too blessed to be stressed” but Lord, I need to be real for a moment. I have been holding onto something and it is eating away at me. I am still mad that You birthed me to a crack head mother and a dead beat dad. I was probably a mistake and not even supposed to be here; I definitely could tell that I wasn’t wanted. I am still upset that You allowed my uncle to rape and molest me without coming to my rescue. How could You do this to me? All of this hurt and anger I have built up has made me to live a life full of mistakes, pain, and hurt. I made a mistake when I aborted those babies and I regret it every day. Are you punishing me, still? God, I am so sorry, but I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know who the father was. I am so upset with myself for disappointing You. On top of all of this, the one woman I did love and whom I considered my mother, you took her away from me too. So how can I walk around as if I am blessed and highly favored? I’m hurting; I’m sad, mad, and angry. I feel left out Lord…I thought You loved me. I cry myself to sleep at night because I’m lonely and sad. I’m depressed at the thought of not being loved by anyone. I stick out; I don’t fit in, why am I like this?

Love, Your Wounded Baby Girl

Dear Daughter,

I chose your mother as a vessel to be used by me. Before you were created in her womb I knew the plan for your life, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  I took my time to knit you together (Psalms 139:13). I was there, although grieved, when you were sacrificed and your virtue stripped from you. But I am also a God of restoration. I heal the brokenhearted and I tend to your wounds. (Psalm 147:3) I made a promise to you that I am with you always even to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:20) You say that you aren’t attractive, I say I made you in my image.(Genesis 1:27) I made you fearful and wonderful. (Psalms 139:14) I made your hair like lamb’s skin, your eyes like the sun, you lips full like ripened fruit, and your stature like the rolling hills. I made you on purpose, I made you like me…you are beautiful. My spirit was grieved when you aborted those babies and of course I also know of  your other wrong doings.  But remember that son I sacrificed? He shielded you with His blood and mercy and presented you to me faultless (Colossians 1:22) Walk in freedom my dear! Your earthly mother was my angel, she taught you how to fly, take care of yourself, and she showed you me. It was time for her to return so that you could do what I have for you to do. There are younger daughters that walk around in guilt and shame every day. Who can touch them but you? Who can show them that I can heal the wounded heart but you? Who can show them that a daughter of a crack head can be a Queen of Success, but you? My Son can plead on your behalf because He took on all sin. You can plead on someone else’s behalf because you have walked where they have walked. Don’t hold your victory, share your story to edify me that someone else, some hopeless little girl like you once were, can be saved. You were restored a long time ago, now walk in it. I love you.

Love, God

This letter was written from parts of my life and the various lives of women that I have encountered on my journey. As Christians we sometimes seem insane to believe and love a God that has allowed misfortune to happen to us. But what the devil meant for your bad, God will turn around for your good. Sister, know that God loves you and the triumphs we overcame are stalks of wisdom that can be used to heal and comfort someone else. And know this, all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). It takes time to heal, but in time you shall be healed.

Dear Daddy,

I know sometimes I get angry or ashamed of my past. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears. (Psalms 39:12)”. Teach me how to let go so that I can use what You have implanted in me for Your Glory and to help someone else. I know that you are a rewarder of those that diligently seek You. Heal my wounds, and if they are already healed, strengthen me to walk in your boldness with liberty. Help me to bless someone that needs me; keep my eyes and ears sensitive to her call. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, EMPOWER yourself by sharing with God all of your angers, fears, and disappointments and TRUST that His word will not return void.  Psalms 6:9 reminds us “The Lord heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Start seeking to encourage and EMPOWER others that may be going through what you have OVERCOME. God has given you confirmation in His word that you are already restored and healed, for His word says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

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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.

Black Music Month Series, Encouragement, God's Grace, God's Love, God's Mercy, Inspirational, Self Forgiveness, Self-Esteem

He Sees The Best!

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

Sometimes we can get so caught up in what others think of us or are saying about us that we lose sight of whose opinion is really important.  I no longer allow others’ perceptions of me bother me as much as I have in the past.  However, there was a time when I would internalize all of the negative things people said to or about me.  Allowing someone’s judgments to weigh you down is a tactic the enemy uses to steal your joy!  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)

The enemy wants us to believe that God looks down on us with disgust or hatred like folks in the world do.  I wrote this Empower Moment today to remind you that God sees THE BEST in you!  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24 NIV)

God sees THE BEST in you, when everyone else around you sees the worst!

When people say that you aren’t smart enough, or you aren’t good enough to walk into your destiny and pursue the calling that God has on your life, remember that God sees THE BEST in you!  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

When you are haunted by the thoughts or even threats of family members and so-called friends that you will be ‘just like your mother’ know that God sees THE BEST in you! Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 NIV)

When the man you love decides to leave or be unfaithful and blames you for gaining weight, not cooking the right foods, or not giving him enough attention, recognize that those things are irrelevant to the one above who sees THE BEST in you!

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died —more than that, who was raised to life —is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:33-34 NIV)

God sees THE BEST in you!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for your unconditional love, mercy and grace.  Thank You for always seeing me as the woman that You created me to be and for reminding me through Your Word that what You see is all that matters.  Please give me the strength to remember, to know and recognize that You always see THE BEST in me, no matter what everyone else may see.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to rejoice no matter what because your Heavenly Father sees THE BEST in you!  Let nothing or no one cast a shadow of a doubt on who you are in Christ and what He has for you as His daughter!

Enjoy Marvin Sapp’s video and song “The Best In Me”

 

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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.”

Black Music Month Series, God's Love, God's Mercy, Growth/Maturity, Obedience

He is Worthy of My Obedience

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

God has been impressing on my heart to really seek Him more, to make our relationship priority. I have to be honest; I have let some other things take precedent in my life. I’ve been feeling disconnected lately from His presence. This happens when I overload my schedule and feel guilty when things begin to fall apart.

The Lord says in Isaiah 1:19-20, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel you will be devoured by the sword.” (NIV)

In order for us to have the “best” of the land, i.e. blessings, we must be obedient. You cannot expect God to bless what He has specifically told you to let go. Today is the right time to get right with Your Father.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who call us by his own glory and goodness. (II Peter 1:3 NIV)

God will give you the power to overcome each and every obstacle that would hinder a meaningful relationship between you and Him if you allow Him to have complete and unrestricted access to your life.

Please allow the song below to bless your spirit. Let each word that speaks of His mercy and love into your heart. Once you understand the love of the Father, you will desire to not break His heart.

Dear Daddy,

I am so thankful for Your mercy and for Your endless pursuit of my affection and attention. Forgive me for not making our relationship priority. Help me to not ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Keep a hedge of protection around me so I may have the strength to withstand temptations and trials. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to allow God’s love and mercy to transform your life. Do not allow anything to place a barrier between His Love and blessings for your life.

Enjoy Karen Clark Sheard’s “His Mercy Endureth Forever”:

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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.”

God's Love, God's Mercy, God's Protection, Inspirational, Restoration

Broken but Repairable

Hey girl,

I have been waiting on the right words to apologize about missing my EmpowerMoment. I felt and feel horrible, but I prayed and asked God to show me my downfalls and my issues and why would I neglect His business. This is what He revealed to me: The week you called me, you know the week it was due, I was spiritually broken. I know that sounds weird, but it wasn’t by default that you called me but I didn’t know what was wrong, so I couldn’t tell you anything. I felt a spirtutal disconnect and it was something I haven’t felt since preaching or being saved. I felt like I couldn’t catch my groove to pray and talk to God or I couldn’t focus on the Word. Real talk, it scared me. That week my past resurfaced and I felt like I wasn’t ready for the past to come back to haunt me. I had an outer body experience, meaning I felt out of my spiritual body. I went to church that Sunday and didn’t perform any of my duties because I couldn’t bring myself to speak over God’s people messed up and distorted. I couldn’t submit an EmpowerMoment and give someone that negative energy. I felt so alone that week! Girl, I never want to be without God’s presence! I had to really go into worship and assure myself, not God, that I know I was chosen, that I know I am peculiar and that I know that being apart of Christian families such as EmpowerMoments is my birthright. I will never ever let a feeling or anything separate me from the love of God! Sorry, this is so long but know that you were made for this. I don’t know if you knew why you were checking on me, but God sent you to protect the women that you have invested your time, patience and energy in! Thank you and know that you are my sister friend. I heart u!

This is a letter I wrote a few weeks ago because something weird was going on with me. I really was questioning every part of my life- spiritual and natural. I felt as if I was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do. I realized that I was broken and feeling a disconnection from God. I’m talking about being lonely; when it feels like God is not listening, it’s a horrible feeling. My bills were paid and my health was good but I was lonely, sad and I didn’t think anyone understood what I was going through. I realized I was broken.

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. (Jeremiah 18: 1-6 NIV)

Just when I thought God was giving up on me, He showed me He is the potter and I am the clay. That He molds me just as the potter molds clay. God is working to create a masterpiece-ME! He is molding me to become the person He needs me to be. Even when I felt my lonliest, He had never left my side. He promised me, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrew 13:5a KJV)

I see myself as a priceless piece created by God and sometimes a piece of me is chipped or cracked, but God being the potter always has the equipment to easily fix my broken pieces. As women of God, who do we think we are that we can stay broken and give up and quit? I now realize that I was broken, but repairable. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of my funk, but God already had a plan for my life. Even when you can’t see God and you think you can’t feel Him, remember He is right there putting your broken pieces back together again. Remember you are broken but repairable!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being my Potter! Thank You for always being there to put my pieces back together again. Thank You, God, for never giving up on me. God, as you enlarge my territory, teach me to depend on You for everything and to always remember that You are always there for me. Teach me to not want to give up when things become tough, but to depend on You and to always remember I may be broken, but I am repairable! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to allow God to be the potter and mold you into the masterpiece that He wants you to be. Even when things get tough, remember that God is there all the time. Remember that the devil wants you to believe that you are worthless and you are disconnected from God (LIES!!) Even though you may be broken today, remember you are repairable!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Potter’s House

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

Adultery, Forgiveness, God's Love, God's Mercy, Growth/Maturity, Self Forgiveness

Get Back Up Again

I have attempted to write this EmpowerMoment before but could not.  However, while reading a daily devotional by Joel Osteen, I became inspired to try again.

My grandmother brought me up in the church. So, at an early age I learned to both fear and rely on God.  However, it wasn’t until after college that I learned about Jesus.  Of course, I had heard of Him.  I had often heard my elders thank Him but I never knew Him personally.  After being baptized at 13, my relationship with Jesus began to flourish…and so did my journey into self-righteousness. The more I learned about Jesus, the more I was determined to do right and to be righteous.  For me, there was no gray area, only black or white.  In my learning, I knew that you shouldn’t judge, yet I was very judgmental. I was unaware of my profound state of self-righteousness until it was brought to my attention by my best friend. You see, it had taken him two years to reveal to me that he was gay, and he said that it was because of my views. The truth is I really didn’t mean any harm to anyone. It was simply about how I thought God felt about things. But it was true, I was very self-righteous.  However, that is who I was before my Big Mistake–I fell in love with a married man.

It was never my intention.  I, like every woman, wanted and desired a man of my own but I did not guard my heart. “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) All I could think was that I was a woman of God. How could this have happened to me?  To say that this was one of the biggest mistakes of my life is an understatement.  At the time I was going through that profound tribulation, I was asking God for mercy constantly, and I was remembering all of the times I had looked down on other women who had allowed themselves to fall in love with married men.  I was going through a very humbling experience, a look at you now, oh, woe is me experience.  But it happened and I survived. After deliverance and repentance, I got back up again.

There were several lessons that I learned during this tumultuous time in my life:

Lesson #1: I learned what God truly meant when He said what He has put together let no man set asunder. (Mark 10:9)  Ladies, if a man is already married there is NO way, that he can or will ever be your husband. If you are lying and cheating to be together, then it is not of God. For the scripture says, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord.” (James 1:17 NIV)

Lesson #2: I learned that my actions not only affected me but also an entire group of people. The pain runs deep not only for you but for his family, and his wife’s family.  There are so many ties and bonds involved in the make up of a family and when you come in as an intruder and abruptly sever those bonds and ties, the ripple is felt by everyone who loves them.

Lesson #3: I learned how truly forgiving God is. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) When I asked to be set free of the relationship, God released me and when I asked Him to forgive me, He did just that. In a dream I was told to read Psalm 32. The very first line states, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” Further down in the passage it reads,

“I asked for forgiveness- I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” (Psalm 32:5) Despite how huge my mistake was, God had completely forgiven me.

After asking God to forgive me, I also asked the person whom I had hurt the most for forgiveness–his wife. Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16 NKJV)

I have no defense for my actions. I only have a confession and a testimony that God will never leave you nor forsake you and He has divine power to deliver you from evil. I know this to be true.

Dear Daddy,

I come to You today thanking You for Your love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Your love is so wonderful that it uplifts rather than condemns even when we make life altering mistakes. Father, there is another young lady out there experiencing the same mistake of falling in love with a married man.  Lord, I am asking You to help her right now. Help her to understand that You are a perfect God and that you do not make mistakes. Lord, help her to be patient because You will give her the desires of her heart in Your time. Lift her up, and fill her with confidence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to learn from my lessons.  You may have made a huge mistake in your past but it does not have to end for you there. Remove yourself from the negative situation and ask God to forgive you…and then forgive yourself! Move forward knowing that God is with you and when it seems as if we have made the worst mistake of our lives, with God we can get back up again!

Encourage someone with  your story of coming back from what seemed like the most unpardonable sin. Share it on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Mostaccioli Massacre

Beverly Gordon is a graduate of Gonzaga School of Law (Spokane, WA) and currently works as an Executive Assistant and Director of Compliance.  She is a devoted mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend who believes in the importance of teaching children the power of prayer.  In her journey of loving and leaning on the Lord she meditates on Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” She resides in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her beautiful daughter and is an active member of the Springfield United Methodist Church.

God's Mercy, Growth/Maturity, Self-Control, Sin, Time Management

Tick…Tock

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

I remember having a conversation with friends while in college about premarital sex. I distinctively remember a friend saying, “God will have to come down off the clouds himself in order for me to stop having sex.” We laughed in agreement because after all, it wasn’t holiness that kept some of us from fornicating, it was “worse” things like becoming a parent or catching a disease. Surely God didn’t mind a little “testing of the waters” here or there, right? One of the ladies in the group stood her ground and said in a soft voice, “but God is a just God and He may not wait on you for too long.” Many of us in the group ignored her, but her comment struck a nerve in me. “What did she mean He many not wait long?”  Peter reminds, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV. What he is explaining is that although you don’t see what God promised to you now because of your disobedience, don’t mistake Him for being slow in judgment. Instead, He is a God who loves you and wants to see you to repentance. God is love, and love is patient.

There are so many of us out there playing the “clock” game of getting it right. We think we have more time. But Peter goes on to remind us that no man knows the day nor the hour when God’s judgment will come. Now this is not to scare you, but to urge you to take a look at your life. Are there things that God has told you to “stop or start” doing but you are allowing procrastination to set in? Has he told you to refrain from fornication, alcohol, gossiping, homosexuality, grudge-holding, but yet you think you have time? Time running out doesn’t necessarily mean the wrath of God is coming, but what about missed opportunity? He may be telling you to refrain from fornication because the next encounter will give you a “package” that you can’t get rid of. What if He is telling you to watch your mouth and your gossiping habit because your next “Ooh girl, let me tell you convo” could cost you your job or hurt someone you love? Has He told you to deal with your sin of gluttony and lack of self-control for food? I urge you to listen to His voice, the number one killer of women is heart disease, often linked to bad diets.

Peter shared about the ending of world, but I have been enlightened to share with you about the right now. God is being patient with us because He wants us to repent and move forward into a life of abundance through Him, in which we lack nothing. But we can’t move forward if the sins that we “know” are present are not dealt with.

Dear Daddy,

Where would I be without Your Son Jesus? I am overwhelmed at your sacrifice and am indebted to You for shedding His blood to cover my sins. Lord, I know that there are some things that I need to deal with. I have some attitudes and actions that do not reflect You at all. Lord, please forgive me for taking Your covering, patience, and love for granted and not acting on the things that I should. Lord, please forgive me for not heeding to Your spirit in a timely fashion. Lord, I humbly ask that You give me a clean heart, renew in me a right spirit, and teach me Your ways so that I may live in the abundance You have promised me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today not to wait until January 1st to set your resolution of self-betterment, but to start today. I do not know when God will decide to bring forth judgment, but what I do know is until then, I can be a better person, sister, wife, mother, girlfriend, confidant, and most of all a better Christian. I know what I need to do and stop doing. It’s time to stop playing the “waiting game” of waiting to get caught.

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Encouragement, God's Grace, God's Mercy, Motivation, Self Forgiveness, Sin

Keep At It!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

One day my daughter and I were at the playground and she wanted to try the monkey bars. She’s a very cautious little soul and a far cry from a “dare devil”. Assessing the situation she says, “Mommy, why when you try new things you fall.” I replied, “Because with new things, you don’t quite know how to do them yet so you have to learn. Sometimes you get help and sometimes you just practice practice practice.” And her proud reply was, “Practice makes perfect!!”

As she dodged the monkey bars and went to the swings I pondered on her question, “Why when we try new things do we often fall?” I thought about some of you, myself, and the women that inbox me about my walk with Christ. Often times when you are either a new believer, or trying to learn a new godly behavior, sometimes you fall. Not fall as in fall from grace, but fall as in stumble, or trip. You don’t quite get it yet.

How many times have you said to God, “Lord I’m going to live right! I am not going to have sex anymore until I’m married.” Only to find yourself lying there in the dark looking at the ceiling, defeated and embarrassed as the guy lies next to you peacefully sleeping. How many times have you said, “Lord, I am not going to deal with gossiping anymore; I am done with tainting my spirit and being an accessory to this foolishness.” Only to find yourself deep into a juicy phone conversation about the relationship you “heard” was about to end in a divorce. Or even, you promised God that you would read your Bible daily, only to remember 8 days later that you forgot about the promise and can’t find your Bible anywhere.

Along this Christian journey there are highs and lows, ups and downs. We try so hard to get it just right and sometimes we even fall. I’ve been there, you are not alone. Even “seasoned” Christians go through these falling periods. If we all were perfect, we wouldn’t need grace and mercy now would we? Don’t be mistaken, you do get to a point where you are able to judge your own actions and determine if it is pleasing to God, but you may miss the mark in your quest for obedience.  Paul even figuratively shares that he was inflicted with a thorn in his side to keep him humble. Your thorn may be a scar, an STD, or some other type of blemish. But God reassures Paul when he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

I told my daughter that sometimes you need help with new things. I believe that everyone should have a mentor. I have a spiritual mentor, wife mentor, mom mentor, professional mentor and the list goes on and on. They are people that are not necessarily in “higher” areas of Christianity, but they are more experienced and serve as tangible vessels that God sent me. When I feel like I’m falling, want to fall, or have fallen, my mentors are there to give me godly advice and encouragement. The next thing I told my daughter was “practice makes perfect.” The more you work at, the better you get. I’ve often told my mentees, the more you practice, the louder your Holy Spirit gets. If you are not trying to live a life of spiritual godliness, your conscience is flesh-led. But when you decide to have “help” from the Lord, your conscience submits to the Holy Spirit and it speaks from within. (Read about the Holy Spirit as your helper in John 14.)

Some of you reading this are pretty frustrated with your walk. God told me to write this to you a few days ago, but I couldn’t seem to pull it together until now. I want to encourage you with this scripture, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV) The Holy Spirit is a helper and a sustainer. You may stumble sometimes in this walk, but you’ll realize that these “stumbles” actually propel you forward to a closer walk with God.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for all of my sins. Those I have committed knowingly and unknowingly. On this quest of living a life more pleasing to You, please plant people in my life that will hold me accountable to Your ways. Help me to recognize Your Spirit and heed to its instructions. When I stumble, help me to realize that You are able to keep me from falling so that I can dust myself off and keep going. These setbacks are just a set up for my blessing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sistah Girl, I EMPOWER you today to keep going. Don’t get discouraged or feel that your walk with Jesus is in vain. This walk is a process, “So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”  (James 1:4 NLT)  When you hand over your problems, your walk, your faith, and your desires to Jesus, you can say, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24 KJV) KEEP AT IT!! Allow Psalms 121 to minister to you.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Living Saved is an Inside Job

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.