God's Grace, God's Protection, Spiritual Warfare

Faith Friday: The Power of The Blood of Jesus

Faith Fridays are all about providing a visual to strengthen your faith. Some times we just need to witness the awesome moves of God in someone else’s life to remind us that He is real and can still perform miracles in our own lives! If we just believe, anything is possible with God!

“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 KJV)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Rev. 12:11 NIV)

Remember how Jesus equipped the disciples to go out to evangelize, disciple, heal and deliver others (Luke 10). When the 72 returned from their mission, they were full of joy and told the Lord that even the demons submit to them in His name. Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18-20 NIV)

These scriptures all remind us that walking by faith isn’t just about stepping out into the unknown with complete trust in God, but it is also about walking in the authority of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Blood of Jesus. It is about putting on the full armor of God, not being afraid to stand in the gap for others, and surrendering to God even if it cost us our lives. It is NOT about shrinking back or letting the enemy intimidate you because The Lord graciously shares His authority and inheritance with everyone who believes in Him and calls on His name.

Please watch the video below of a woman of God operating in the authority of Jesus Christ and pleading His blood over a mother and her week-old baby:

God's Protection, Inspirational

Our Emmanuel

One of the choir members steps forward to lead the next song. Before she proceeds to sing, she exhorts the congregation and reminds us that the praise dance last week and even the testimonies this Sunday morning are all reminding us that God is with us.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23 KJV)

“God is with us” spoke to my spirit and led me to think of all the times God showed me He was with me and my family. One particular event in my life left an imprint as well as demonstrated God’s love, presence and joy in the midst of it all.

I was about 11 or 12 years old and it was just me, my mom and sister, who was 1 or 2 years old. We lived in a building on the southeast side of Chicago. We stayed on the 9th floor. My mom and sister were asleep and I was awoke, writing or typing a story (my love for writing began around this time). I suddenly smelled smoke and so I got up to see where it was coming from. As I entered the hallway of our apartment, I saw a blur of smoke. I went to the kitchen and checked the stove (this is where my constant nightly checking of the stove began). It wasn’t the stove. I woke my mom up and told her I smelled smoke. She then opened the door of our apartment and we saw the smoke out in the hallway.

To make a long story short, my mom grabbed her kids and her purse, and she led us to her bedroom window. She wasn’t sure where the fire was coming from and her immediate response was to lead us to the window. Outside, there were one or two fire trucks out in the streets and people standing down below watching. On the right side of our apartment, our neighbor was hanging out his window.

I recall my mom urging the firemen to come and get her girls and telling him she would just jump. Our neighbor too was urging the firemen to rescue him. I recall my mom dropping her purse down the nine stories, but I was too distracted by the events to hear its thump against the ground. My mom, sister and I were at the window; I was holding my sister on my hip, and then suddenly it happened. The ceiling came down on our heads. My sister screamed, I was crying (snotty nose crying) and my mom in panic. We thought the building was collapsing. In the midst of this all, we hadn’t realized how quickly our apartment turned pitch black and full of smoke.

To fast forward, my sister was rescued by one of the fireman. I believe the ladder couldn’t fully reach to the 9th floor so I believe my mom passed my sister to the fireman and he had to do some stretching. However, he grabbed her but as he proceeded to bring her down, he slipped and accidentally scraped her side. They almost fell but they eventually made it down the ladder safely. The neighbor was rescued and simultaneously my mom and I were rescued. The firemen burst through the door of our apartment and escorted us out. I guess that is why I love firemen to this day (LOL)!

After being rescued there was relief, thank-you-Jesus’, and some funny moments also. One of those funny moments was when the firemen got us to safety, the stairway. While in the stairway, a few of the firemen put down an elderly women they were carrying; they were fussing over who would carry my mom down instead. They ended up carrying the elderly lady after all, but that part tickles me to this day. To fast forward again, one year or two after this event another fire broke out in the same complex. Two girls were telling their story (on the Montel Williams Show) of how they too were on one of the higher level floors. Their mother DID jump. She died and all I could think about how that could have been my family. I couldn’t imagine what life would have been if my mom jumped or if we hadn’t made it out of that building. I think of my experience and realize that God was with us and He is still with us.

I think about all the tragedies and struggles my family has faced and know that God was there to comfort and guide us through it all. I think about how all the young men in my family are still living and have not fallen victim to gun violence. I think of how hard it has been for my mom being a single mom, yet God is with her.

I am elated to know that God is omnipresent, yet still personal and with each of us individually all at the same time. How awesome and mindboggling is that? Jesus was with us literally in flesh when God sent His only begotten son here on earth. Now God has sent His Holy Spirit to indwell all of His believers and He reminds us that He is with us always.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8 NIV)

It is important that God is with us because He can enlighten us by giving His perspective on the issue we are dealing with. If God is with us, His grace and mercy will be too. If God is with us, we are covered and protected too. God is with us; however, we are not always with Him. Sin and other things like idols, excessive hobbies or distractions can come in between our relationship with God and dull our hearing of His voice and our yearning to fellowship with Him. They can also hinder us from being/living in His presence. So let’s remember that although God is always with us, we may not always be experiencing the power and manifestation of walking/living in His presence, and we need to live in His presence.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being with us! If it had not been for You, where would we all be? Thank You for Your mercy and grace, Your protection and Your unfailing love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remember our Emmanuel. I EMPOWER you to remember, when you are going through and when you are having good times too, that God is with you! Trust Him, abide in Him and remember that He will never leave you or forsake you.

Share an experience where God demonstrated that He is with you.

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She 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's Protection, Joy, Praise/Worship, Prayer

Thank You For Protection

Thou art my hiding place; thou wilt preserve me from trouble; Thou wilt compass me about with songs of deliverance. (Psalms 32:7 ASV)

Yesterday my family and I were on our way back from out of town. We were driving down a dark highway when suddenly a humongous deer jumped across the road. My dad hit the deer, but the deer kept going. I was in the car with my brother; he saw the deer and when he said, “I hope daddy didn’t hit the deer,” my dad pulled over. We jumped out of the car and immediately went to check if my parents were okay. Thank You God, they were okay.

Approximately 10 minutes before this accident happened, I told my brother that we needed to pray for my parents and their safe return home. We always pray before we get on the road but the Holy Spirit led me to say an extra prayer for their protection.

When we saw the car, I begin to rejoice and God removed whatever was further down the highway. He stepped in and intercepted what could have turned into a fatality. Everyone was trying to figure out why the deer jumped in the road, but I simply thanked God because my family’s lives were saved. Again God stopped the devil.

Blessed be to God, Who hath not turned away my prayer, Nor his lovingkindness from me. (Psalms 66:20, ASV)

I thank You God for protecting my family on the dangerous highways. I thank You God that no hurt, harm or danger was afflicted upon them. God I thank You for hearing and answering prayers.

Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11: 24 ASV)

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being a prayer answering God. I thank You for protecting my family. God, continue to protect my family. Please continue to fill my Spirit with uneasiness when it is time to pray for my loved ones. Allow me to feel when they are in danger or going through situations that prayer can turn around. God, continue to teach me to be an intercessor for my immediate family, extended family and friends. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to give God some praise. I know that God has done something miraculous for you and I need you to give Him praise. Ladies, listen to your instinct and if God tells you to drop everything and pray, I dare you to drop everything and pray and watch Him work. I EMPOWER you to become an intercessor for your loved ones and watch God show you He is a prayer answering God!

Take a moment and tell us when you have given God some praise…

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Praise is What I Do!

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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.

Anxiety, Father/Daughter, God's Protection, Pain, Stress, Trials, Worry

Daddy!

Daddy!!! A bone chilling scream reverberated throughout my room.  My sister who was visiting me on vacation awoke from her sleep and screamed out for our father.  My sister went on to explain that she was having a bad dream where an insect attacked her son, and she screamed for her daddy to save him.  My father was right there, but could not save her son. Last night I found myself involved in a similar situation where in my dreams I was screaming out for my daddy. I was being attacked by a group of men that were attempting to rape me. I could see my father but he could not save me.

This sequence of dreams made me think about how many times we have screamed out for our Daddy in the heavens to save us, but He could not.  Not that He is unable, because our God is capable of all things, but because it may be something that we are are going through that is necessary.  How do we react to our outcry for help when it goes unanswered?  “They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the LORD, but he refused to answer.” (2 Samuel 22:42 NIV)

I evaluated the many times in my life that I have called on the Lord to rescue me from a particular situation only to realize that if He would have saved me there was a lesson that I may not have learned.  I have currently been going through a difficult time in my life with confronting frustrations, stress, uncertainty, and feeling overwhelmed. I went to church, fasted, read my Bible (a little bit), and was an avid tither. So where was the help I needed for peace of mind “As for me, I look to the LORD for help? I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear.” (Micah 7:7 NIV)

I was confident my Daddy heard my cry, so why oh Lord have I not felt any different? Frustrations continued to rise, stress gradually mounted and it seemed the only thing certain was my uncertainty.  I had to realize that just because God did not save me the way I think I should have been saved does not mean that He is not a present force in my life.  I cried out for my biological father to save me from being attacked because I could see him.  However, I have to call on my spiritual father to save me from these unseen attacks by the enemy!

Dear Daddy,

Please continue to save me from all the attacks from the enemy that I can see, and those that I cannot.  Give me an understanding heart to allow me to realize when I do not need to be saved through certain situations but learn how to go through them.  Thank You Daddy for blessing me even when I am close to giving up. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to press on despite the way things look.  Your current pain will NOT compare to the magnitude of blessings that are around the corner.  Continue to call on Him and trust that He hears every word but the trial is a must!   

How do you remain encouraged even when it seems that God is not answering?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Delayed Not Denied!

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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.”

God's Protection, Trusting God, Worry

Throwback Thursday: But It’s Okay Right Now

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on May 12, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

During the evening of the worse tornado event in the history of Alabama, my daughter and I were in our living room on the lookout for the storm. The mood in the room was pretty tense with the news channel in the background, windows cleared for view of what was to come, sirens blaring, the bathroom cleared out for us to take shelter when prompted, and friends over that were taking precautions as well.

My daughter has an extreme affinity for bubbles. So she asked, “Mommy can I go outside and blow my bubbles.” Being the Mom and alert of what was about to take place in the atmosphere, I kindly replied, “No Dear, the weather is getting bad. A tornado is coming.” In her most innocent and serious voice, she replied, “But it’s okay right now, Mom.” Those of you that know my daughter are not shocked by this quick, rationalized response from a three-year old, but I saw past her statement. “But it’s okay RIGHT now.” Immediately God shared with me that we spend so much time preparing for the worst and worrying about tomorrow that we forget to recognize, “It’s okay right now.”  Thinking of my personal and spiritual life, I wondered how many times and how much energy have I wasted worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. God tells us a few things in His word about missing out on today due to worrying about tomorrow:

  • Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.” (AKJV) Don’t spend your time being restless and anxious about your future…think about the moment. “It’s okay right now.”
  • Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV) I am known for welcoming Thursday’s stress on the Monday prior instead of allowing God to handle my storms.
  • Matthew 6: 25a “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…” (NIV) Jesus shares not to worry about the most important thing such as your life to the least important, your clothes. He’s got it covered. You just focus on today.“It’s okay right now.”
  • Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” (NLT) When we keep our minds on God, we strengthen our faith in trusting He will handle the things to come.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being a shield of protection when I can’t see what’s in front of me. Thank You for taking care of the beginning and the end of all of my concerns. Lord, help me to stop and see Your blessings in this day and not to waste my time on things I cannot handle, predict, or fix ahead of time. Teach me to stop and smell the roses. Time is a gift that can’t be relived, so thank You Lord for granting me with a new opportunity each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sister, today I EMPOWER you to stop worrying about things you don’t think will go right or your issues about tomorrow. Stop for a moment to smell the roses and realize “It’s okay right now.”  I may not have money for my bill on Friday, but “I’m okay right now.” I may not have the spouse I want, but “I’m okay right now.” I don’t have the “things” that I think I want, but Lord in this moment I recognize my blessings and “I’m okay right now.” Don’t get caught up in worrying about the next step and forget about this moment’s blessings. God reminds us that “All things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) With this in mind, focus on the moment…“It’s okay right now.”

Dedicated to my daughter who always reminds me to stop and smell the roses. “From lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” (Psalms 8:2 NIV)

What are you spending time worrying about? Vow today to stop!

Read a Related EmpowerMoment: It’s Too Heavy

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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 two daughters. They attend Vaughn Forest Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

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!

Direction/Guidance, God's Protection, Prayer, Pregnancy

Lord, Teach Me What To Pray

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV)

The Lord’s Prayer is one of those things many of us learned at an early age. It ranks right up there with the 23rd Psalm and John 3:16. While it’s great to know, it’s even greater to understand why we know the Lord’s Prayer. As Jesus taught from a mountain side, He shared a model prayer with His disciples. Why did He share this model prayer? Because He knew just what we would need to survive in this world. He understood the recipe of a successful prayer life: Praise Prayers + Thanksgiving Prayers + Supplication Prayers + Repentance Prayers = Effective Prayers. Jesus gave us insight to how our Father in heaven would have us to pray. So if we are equipped with this information, why does it seem like so many of our prayers are ineffective and going unnoticed? After all, James 5:16 reminds us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (NIV) Maybe, just maybe, we are not seeking God on what we should be praying. We may need to be petitioning the throne with the following request: ‘Lord, teach me what to pray’. I just recently learned this extremely valuable lesson…

As I spent family time with my mother, aunt and daughter last Tuesday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised when I felt my body release a small gush of liquid. Being that I was 9 months pregnant I knew what that small gush of fluid meant—labor and delivery were on the horizon. I was beyond elated because I had been in serious prayer about that particular moment. I can’t even tell you how many times I had asked God to let my water break so that my body would go into labor on its own. I even had other people standing in agreement with me because I really needed it to happen that way. I was convinced that I needed it so badly because I hadn’t experienced my water breaking in my previous pregnancies and was ‘cheated’ in my birthing experience. However, it would later be revealed that I was consistently praying that as a result of another answered prayer that said, ‘Lord, teach me what to pray.’

After making it to the hospital and being admitted into the labor and delivery unit, the waiting game began as my body started the dilation process. By 4:00 am the next morning, my cervix had only dilated to 5 cm. The doctor wasn’t concerned at that point and neither was I. She exited the room, hopeful that when she checked the next time I would be nearly complete and ready to push my blessing into the world. Much to my dismay at 6:00 am all of our wonderful plans went awry. My nurse rushed in the room to adjust the monitoring system to get a more accurate heart rate for the baby. She was concerned because the baby’s heart rate had a huge deceleration. Unfortunately, after trying for nearly two minutes, the monitor showed no changes, indicating that the reading was in fact correct. At that precise moment, she pushed an emergency button and my room flooded with about 20 other health care professionals including my doctor. She proceeded to tell me that my baby’s heart rate had significantly dropped, signaling that the baby was in serious distress. The best option for both baby and myself would be an emergency cesarean section. I will spare you all of the emotional details, but understand that I was horrified beyond explanation. Everything was happening so fast. I couldn’t even gather my thoughts quick enough to process what was going on. Before I knew it, the anesthesiologist had put me to sleep. It wasn’t until I was awake and headed to recovery that I understood just how important my prayer of, ‘Lord, teach me what to pray’ really was.

The doctor explained that after opening me up it was discovered that my placenta had completely detached from my uterus. This rare complication, known as placental abruption, is extremely dangerous to the unborn baby because the placenta is the baby’s lifeline. When it detaches from the uterus, the baby’s oxygen supply is cut off. My baby girl’s life was in jeopardy and it was only by the grace of God and His answer to my prayer to teach me what to pray that she is here with us today.

As stated before, I prayed and prayed for my water to break so that I wouldn’t have to go past my due date and be artificially induced. However, God had me praying that prayer for a completely different reason. He knew that on morning of Wednesday, August 1, 2012 my placenta would separate from my uterus. He knew that if my water didn’t break, I would be at home in the bed at 6:00 am instead of in the hospital. He knew that I would have no way of knowing that my baby was in distress because I didn’t have the medical equipment necessary to monitor such changes. He knew just what I needed to ensure that little Miss Kai Harris could make her world debut. He knew what He had to do, but He also knew what I needed to do. Thank God that He answered my prayer and taught me what to pray!

Dear Daddy,

My prayer today is quite simple. Please teach me what (and how) to pray. I know that if You tell me what to pray, it will align with Your will for my life and come to pass. Then all of my prayers will be effective just as You intended. When I don’t know what to pray, please keep Your word and allow the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf. (Romans 8:26) Thank You for the avenue of prayer and for two-way communication. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to ask Him to teach you what to pray. He already knows what lies ahead on your path so why not allow Him to jumpstart your prayers of protection, repentance, supplication, etc. That prayer just may be the difference between life and death! After all, He can see if the oxygen supply is going to be compromised on something that you are trying to birth.

Do you have an example of God teaching you what to pray? Share your story with us in the comments.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Two Way Street

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

Contentment, Gentleness, God's Protection, Kindness

Content in Uncomfortable Places

“Excuse me? I have to meet you where?” That was my initial reaction when I was asked to meet my client at a relative’s home in a trailer park.  The client was currently displaced and I had to meet her where she was temporarily staying.  How many times has God had to meet us somewhere we had no place being.  I must admit I was a bit unnerved.   This was a “sketchy” part of town.  I have traveled to many homes, projects, public housing and even hotels.  However this trailer park made me feel quite uncomfortable. It was someplace I had never been.

As my client poured out her heart about really needing to see me, and this being the only place she could meet me I thought of God again.  Sometimes we are in desperate need of God seeking Him, needing Him, but not able to get to Him.  Thank God He comes to us.

 “Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:5-8 NKJV)

How many times have we been in a situation that we were unsure how we got there in the first place?  For example, we were involved with an individual we were not supposed to be with or stuck at a job that we were too good to be working? This does not have to be a physical place because it can be mental as well.  Have your thoughts and your mind ever been someplace they had no business being? God comes and meets us and delivers us from all these places.

As I arrived at the place, it was just as I expected.  I was uncomfortable.  There was a smell that greeted me at the same time my client did.  The only place to sit was a soiled mattress so I decided to stand.  As I looked around at the various species of crawling critters that covered the wall and ceiling I began to think, “Just make it through this visit and it will be over.”  This is a temporary situation.

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:10-11 NKJV)

I realized that if I could make it through this uncomfortable place I was in temporarily that I would be able to move from there and go on with my life.  That is what I have decided to apply to other areas of my life.  Uncomfortable situations are temporary so be content!

Dear Daddy,

I want to come before You thanking You for coming to rescue me from some of the “sketchy” places I have allowed myself to frequent.  I come before You asking that You will continue to put me in uncomfortable situations so that I can recognize and appreciate when I am in my place of comfort. Continue to bless me even in the messes that I continue to get in! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to be content in what seems like a “stuck” situation knowing that God will remove you from it. Also, learn to meet people where they are just as God has done for you.  People do not always need you in the midst of a clean place in their life. Sometimes you have to be able to walk into the dirt in order to clean them up.  Encourage yourself and others to be content even when it is uncomfortable because it is always temporary.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Making The Best Out of A Bad Situation

Has God placed you in a temporary situation but you are struggling with contentment? Share your story with us in the comment section.

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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.”

Encouragement, Freedom, God's Protection, Inspirational, Trials, Trusting God

I Am Released!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NIV)

 Exactly a month ago my life changed drastically. I had been stressed and praying for God to let His will be done in my life. I had been reading and talking to people that could give me a word of encouragement but nothing was helping. I started praying and blessing my house, I put oil on the doors, clothes, shoes, everything that I could reach. I was getting the devil out of my house. I called all of my prayer warriors and God moved. God released me from my situation so that He could bless me with what He has for me. What happened was I was too busy praying for what I wanted and not for what God wanted for my life. In 2012 my home life has changed, my employment has changed, my weight has changed, my motivation has changed, my prayer life has changed and most important, my worship has changed.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT)

There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, he called her over. “Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God. (Luke 13:11-13 MSG) God released this woman from her sickness. The same way she had been bent over for eighteen years and was released in an instant, is the same way God can release you from something that you have been in your entire life.

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment (Matthew 9:20-22 NIV)  God released this lady because she had faith and believed if she could just touch the hem of His garment she could be made whole. You have to have faith that even though your situation is bad, God can release you from it.

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him.  With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water (Mark 5:6-13 NLT) You need to look those demons and evil spirits in the eye and release them. Don’t be afraid to talk and tell them they can’t live within you, your house or your life any longer.

 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the Iron Gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. (Acts 12:6-10 NIV) Now you may have never been in jail literally but symbolically God can send an angel to break the chains off of you and release you from things that have you in bondage.

It is not a coincidence that you are reading this EmpowerMoment today. God is speaking to you to tell you that it is not your battle anymore. God is saying you are released from whatever has you in bondage. God wants you to be okay with releasing things that are not helping you go to the next level in Him. I learned that if you let God determine your path and you follow it, stress, hurt and pain will release themselves from your life.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for releasing me from situations that were not Your will for my life. Thank You for protecting my mind and releasing me from the enemy. God, continue to mold me into the woman that You want me to be. Continue to give me the spirit of discernment to recognize when I am moving out of Your will and back into situations that I have been released from.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to speak to your situation and tell it that God has released you from it. Remember that you are special regardless of what you have been through or how people have made you feel. You are released from lying, drugs, alcohol, disease, sickness, lying, fornication, adultery, gambling or whatever has you in bondage. God is releasing you now!

Check out “Released” by Donald Lawrence:

Take a moment and share with us what God has released you from.

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

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.