God's Promises, Patience

When Is “It” Going To Happen?

“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)

“No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” (Psalm 25:3 NIV)

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14 NIV)

Have you ever felt as if the things you’ve prayed for were taking too long to happen? Have you grown tired of waiting? I know the frustration of waiting because I am feeling that way right now. Sometimes people think that because you’re a Christian you never get frustrated or you never have any issues. I have been single for almost two years now and I’m wondering when I’ll be in a relationship again. I’ve been out of college for three years and haven’t gotten a job in my field (Social Services) yet. I also wonder when I’ll be able to get my foot in the door so I can start my career.

I would like to share the stories of two women mentioned in the Bible who too probably wondered when God would change their situation. They are Hannah and Sarah. Hannah was married to Elkanah. Elkanah also had another wife named Peninnah. Peninnah had children and Hannah didn’t. Penninah would tease Hannah about her being barren (1 Sam. 1:6). I could imagine how hurt Hannah was by that (1 Sam 1:7-8).  Who would want to get teased about not being able to conceive a child? Hannah prayed for God to bless her with a son and promised him that she would dedicate him back to God.  Hannah was praying deeply to the point that the priest Eli thought she was drunk while she was praying (1 Sam. 12-14). Hannah’s lips were moving but there was no sound coming from them.  God blessed Hannah with a son named Samuel. Hannah kept her promise to God and God also blessed Hannah with more children (1 Sam. 1:24-28; 1 Sam. 2:21).

Sarah was married to Abraham. Sarah and Abraham both were of old age. God told her husband that they would have a child (Gen. 3:3-4). Sarah didn’t believe that she would have a child at her old age (Gen. 18:11-12). God gave Sarah and Abraham a son (Isaac) just like he promised (Gen. 22:1-2). Before Sarah got pregnant with Isaac, she told her husband to sleep with her slave Hagar because she couldn’t have any children (Gen. 16:1). Hagar had a son named Ishmael. Sarah began to dislike Hagar because she was able to have a child and she wasn’t (Gen. 16:4-5).

I know that God will bless me with the things that I desire if it’s according to His will just like He did Sarah and Hannah. I have to continue to have faith and trust Him. Everything will happen according to His timing. God always keep His promises.

I believe that there are things that we can do to motivate us towards where we want to be in our lives (i.e. vision boards, positive affirmations, setting goals). I also believe that we have to put to action things that we would like to change. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26 KJV)  However, before we set goals or put to action anything, we should pray and ask God for His direction.

Dear Daddy,

I know that You have great things in store for Your people. Help me to wait on Your timing. I’m not in control, but You are. Give me patience and endurance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to wait on God. Don’t move ahead of him and get an Ishmael because you’re not willing to wait. Ask God to give you strength and hold on to His promises. Ask God to help you to exercise your faith.

What are you waiting on God for? What has he promised you?

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Venus Gilmore currently resides in Auburn, AL. She is an alumna of Auburn University. Venus has B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Organization and Inequality with a minor in Social Work. She plans on pursuing a career in Social Services. She currently serves as treasurer of the Kings Alpha E-line Chapter, the Mamie Reese Scholarship Director, and College Transition Program Director of her sorority Theta Phi Sigma Christian Sorority, Inc. Venus is also a blogger for Radical7even. She is an active Client Advocate volunteer for the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic. She successfully balances all of these responsibilities with her favorite scripture as motivation: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Comfort, Grief

Grief Support

Your friend loses a parent to cancer. Your classmate loses a sister in a drowning accident. Your church member has a miscarriage. Your cousin loses her husband to a heart attack. Your coworker loses her son in a car accident. Many of you have likely had an experience exactly or similar to one of these examples. What do you do? Likely, you want to immediately offer some comfort to the person impacted whether by offering words of solace or doing a nice deed. But have you ever considered just letting the person grieve?woman-friends-grieving-consoling-mdn

Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days.  All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him. (Genesis 37:34-35 NIV)

The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over. (Deuteronomy 34:8 NIV)

These scriptures indicate that it takes time to grieve and that grief has a season. It is human nature to want to come to the rescue of those we love and care about even if the situation is something we can’t control or fix such as the death of a loved one. This EmpowerMoment is to encourage you to think before you act and to imagine yourself in the person’s shoes who you are attempting to help. Ask yourself, “would what I’m doing help me if I were in their situation?”

As Christians, we can quickly go into “bible mode” to “comfort” those in the throes of grief. We say things like “I know you loved her, but God loved her best” or “He’s no longer suffering, he’s with Jesus.” The list goes on and on. You may have heard it or you may have said it. The truth is depending on where the person is in the grief process those words are futile.

Having had significant experiences with tragedy and grief, here are a few helpful points:

1. It is ok to let a person grieve and it is ok for you to not try to “fix” it because you can’t. A lot of times silent presence is the best support you can give. You don’t have to fill the time with chatter and “comforting” words. Grieving a loved one is not something you can put a Band-Aid on and though the words coming out of your mouth make you feel better, it likely (at that time) has no impact on the person you are “comforting”.

2. Use the art of distraction. If you are searching for a way to help a grieving person, try taking them out to dinner or inviting them on an outing.

3. Provide them with resources for support such as books, support group information and bible verses without being pushy or overbearing. This allows them to look at the information at their own pace.

4. Let the griever lead the way. Let them set the pace for discussion. Let them cry if they want to cry, scream if they want to scream and so on while you be supportive and not try to quell the emotions.

5. Intercede on the griever’s behalf. This is probably the best and biggest way you can support the person and they don’t even have to know you are doing it. A lot of times the griever may have trouble praying through the despair or may be angry with God about what has happened. It is during these times that you keep them lifted and when they “come back around,” they are thankful.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing me to comfort someone in need as they are grieving a loved one. Guide me to do what is most helpful for him or her. Allow me to be a vessel of strength, faith and prayer for them during this most difficult time. Help me to understand that even though I can’t bring back their loved one, You are sovereign and know the plans for all of us. Keep him or her in Your arms of protection and salvation as they go through this difficult time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I EMPOWER you to reassess how you comfort those who grieving. I EMPOWER you to be patient with those who are grieving. I EMPOWER you to be the best support person you can be. Most of all, I EMPOWER you to keep the griever before the throne of Christ.

How can I be a better grief support person?

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Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church, Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.

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 Love, Self-Esteem, Self-Worth

Imperfectly Perfect

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings, Generosity

Better TO GIVE Than TO RECEIVE

Besides the lessons on surrendering to Him, God has been also teaching me about giving and receiving.  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 ESV) 

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I got the first part down (or so I thought) but I didn’t pay attention to the latter part, “than to receive.”  If He said it is better to give than receive, then obviously we also have to do some receiving.  Hmmm.  Well, I genuinely love to give without wanting anything in return and I rather give than receive.  It even frustrates me when I am unable to give.  Often times, I would refuse what others were blessing me with and sometimes I would force someone to take what I was giving them.  Then God showed me that even though giving is one of my spiritual gifts there were times when I gave without His direction, I gave under compulsion and I gave to make myself feel good.  So therefore, my motives were all wrong behind my giving and I was not giving cheerfully.  Oh, I had my bubble busted and felt disappointed in myself.

Now as far as the receiving goes, sometimes, my pride would not let me receive.  Sometimes I felt like I would be a burden or would be subject to that person (some people have given to me only to want something in return or to manipulate me so this built fear in me). So I would refuse what someone was giving me.  Now lately I have learned from others and people who have blessed me that giving is also out of obedience to God, God is blessing them so they want to bless me, they are sowing into me, and I am supposed to receive too.

Someone told me years ago when she blessed me with a bus pass, “I don’t know why I am doing this, but I just want to bless you.”  Others have blessed me with clothes, money, their time, their shoulders when I needed to have a good cry and I have blessed others with the same.  This week, a family friend blessed my family with a surprise dinner twice.  With work, a lot on your plate, and no car, dinner cooked and already prepared for you blesses you tremendously.  You ladies know how tired you are sometimes when you get home from work and then you have to cook and sometimes have to contemplate on what to cook.

I thought about how people sacrifice and bless others and began to evaluate my giving and receiving.  I want to renew my way of giving and receiving.  I want to be a cheerful giver at all times.  I want to sow into others, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I want to give with the direction of the Holy Spirit.  I want to also receive what God is pouring back into me without fear or pride.  I want to believe that if I am concerned about God’s kingdom, He will be concerned about my needs and my concerns.  I want to expect that if I tithe and help others in need that He will in turn bless me.  Last but not least, I want to cheerfully give all of me to God, who loves me so much and first loved me.  For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)  That is why we cannot beat His giving, ever.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the lesson on giving and receiving.  Thank You for showing me how to truly give and that it is better to give than receive.  Thank You for also showing that I am to also receive because You want to pour into my life too.  Thank You for giving me an abundant life.  I thank You that You are the source of all I need and that You will provide for me.  Help me to trust You daily and help me to give cheerfully with the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Help me to receive the things You have for me—even when they do not look exactly like I thought they would—but to also reject the things the devil offers me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to assess your giving and receiving.  Are you trying to be only the giver?  Are your motives behind your giving right?  Is your failure to receive out of fear and pride?  Remember, every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV) Lastly, remember that we are to give to our faithful Father, who is abounding in love.  Give Him ALL you got, it belongs to Him anyway.

As you assess your giving and receiving, reflect on what you bestow upon God every day.

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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.”

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

My Testimony: It Is Okay To Fall Apart

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

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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.

God's Provisons, Spirit of Fear, Trusting God

When The Journey Is Too Much

Elijah was a great prophet and very well taken care of by the Lord our God. One pivotal moment in his life came when he went before Israel and their wicked king Ahab to tell them basically they can only serve one God, not two. Elijah then challenged the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 17-18)

Well if you read you know who won that battle hands down. God, the Only Wise God! So this was a triumph for Elijah, but once wicked Ahab told his wicked wife Jezebel, she was after Elijah’s life. Elijah must have forgotten how mighty God is and the success He caused him already because Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. Elijah felt defeated, but even in his weakness and time of trouble God refreshed him.

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. (1 Kings 19:3-8 NIV)

I too have forgotten how mighty God is; I would forget how He helped me, saved me and blessed me before. I would take my mind off of Him and focus on the situations or people that threaten my peace, my family, my finances, my stability, or my life. I have felt so defeated and so depressed that I too have wanted my life to end. I have cried so much and so hard that all I could do was fall asleep because I had no energy left.

This account of Elijah’s life encourages me because it is a demonstration that God cares, remembers that we have frailties and recognizes that sometimes the journey is too much for us.

Last time I talked to you about how I had some GOLIATHS in my life that I was currently slaying with faith and God’s Word. It was like one Goliath after the next coupled with a busy schedule, a lot of events and life changes to the point where I felt physically and emotionally drained and overwhelmed. My spirit was up and down. However, I am encouraged that when the journey or battle gets too much, God will come and refresh me. He will not only revive me spiritually, but naturally as well. I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. (Jeremiah 31:25 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for abounding in love and having compassion for my soul. Sometimes I just want to give up or lie down, but You give me the strength to keep pressing. Thank You for reviving me when I am weak and defenseless. Thank You for your might, mercies and provision; You provide me with natural and spiritual fuel to get me through the journey. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remember that sometimes you’re going to have to stay and fight. He knows what you are up against and He is El-Shaddai, God Almighty, so He will defend you and take care of you. I EMPOWER you to remember all the victories you and God have already won and to trust God along the journey. When it gets too much for you to take, God will refresh you and strengthen you!

What journeys have God helped you through?

Read a related EM: Soaring Makes Me Sore

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She help assists Chicago public high school students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a Compassion Person and Encourager and so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better 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.

Focus, God, God's Grace

My Secret Ingredient…

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (James 4:8 NLT)

This time of year many women are celebrating Christmas with their families, enjoying vacation time, and sharing cookie recipes!  Even though those things are okay, this is also a good time for reflection.  I, myself, usually take a journey through my journals and agenda books that I have been keeping through the year.  I try to see what has made it to “primary” position in my life and what I need to work on for the next year.

This being humbly said, finally my need for God is recognized and 2012 has proved it.  Yes, after evaluating this year, I can honestly say that I have been more productive in the things of God and my natural life.  I have been praying more, spending time in my word more, giving more, and following Christ more.  How is this?  I was honestly struggling in 2011 in my relationship with the Lord.  I was not reading my word daily, praying daily, or practicing what I believed and that was okay with me.  This year (2012) was totally different; I had a craving to get into my word, a desire to do for others more than myself, and a belief in the Lord for impossible things this year.

What is my secret to my success in 2012?  The secret is having a daily relationship with the Lord and drawing closer to Him that has caused me to have humility and greater faith in His abilities.  The same God who directs the earth in its orbit and who rises and sets the sun has become my top priority and in return He supplies me with daily strength and grace to follow Him.

Being a complete individual, gracious wife, loving mom and a dependable friend is what I am. The only thing that has helped me become these things is my relationship with God.  It’s closer than the past years and I believe that it will only grow closer by grace.

Our personal relationships with the Father have more impact on our daily lives than we give credit to.  Paying attention to it is something that can have a significant, positive impact on our work and personal relationships.  I’m working daily to have a Jesus-centered personal life that will spill in abundance into my other relationships and obligations. 

My question now is do you believe that God upholds the universe?  Changes the seasons?  Gives life?  If you have the faith for these things, then rest assure that He will never prove that He is unable to fulfill His own promises towards you.  Your relationship with Him matters and once He becomes FIRST on your agenda, and schedule, then every other area in your life will be affected for the advancement of His kingdom.  That’s it—the secret to my life—I have learned to draw closer to God daily.

Dear Daddy,

We look to You as we end this year and begin another one.  We render our hearts to You now, asking that You would humble us so that we may receive Your grace.  We desire to walk with You Lord and we believe that You would come along and take our hands. Thank You for Your everlasting love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to turn it around in 2013!  If you know you haven’t drawn closer to the Lord as you would like to or done so in the past, you can begin right away to change that.  Just do one small thing that you said you would do, each day.  Start off by spending the first 5 minutes of your morning with Him or joining a small group to go through your bible.  Just act on His word and come close to God, and God will come close to you. 

Share with us your progress or this coming year’s actions you will take to have a Jesus-centered life.

Read a related EM:  Are You There God, It’s Me Chancee?

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Mrs. Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall is happily married to the wonderful and inspiring Antoine L. Marshall. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls. Her voice is one of the leading and authentic voices for breast-feeding, especially for the African-American community and Generation Y. She currently works inside of her home and plans to become a professional licensed lactation consultant in 2014. She and her family are members at Spirit of Liberty Church located in Markham, IL. Embracing the love that God has for her, Lisa labors to live an acceptable and pure life through the leading and keeping of the Holy Spirit so that her attitude, words, and actions attract the glory of God. In her free time she loves receiving manis and pedis. Her favorite promises that she find comfort and reassurance in are: Psalm34:19: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” and Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Children, God's Promises, Strength

Just Stand!

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:13-15 NIV)

I like to fix things!  I actually, oftentimes, have a YEARNING for fixing things.  No, I am not talking about fixing broken things around the house; I am talking about fixing a problem or situation.  For the most part, I am pretty good at fixing situations (if you ask me) and I feel good after I have fixed one.

Recently, I ran into a situation that I have not been able to fix. My 8 year old son has become the ‘bad boy’ at school.  I have received phone calls from ALL of his teachers, the principal and vice principal about his behavior, behavior that is so out of character for him that I have asked on more than one occasion if the right parent has been called!  “Is there another Dion in the third grade?”  “Did you actually see him do that or did another student tell you he did that?”  I tried all the normal ‘fixes’ that I use when he misbehaves (which is hardly ever the case especially in school): no TV, no video games, no extracurricular activities, talking to him until I am blue in the face, and praying. Still, the phone calls and write ups continued.  Things came to a head about a week or so ago when I got a call saying that he was being suspended and I needed to pick him up from school NOW. I hung up the phone, sat at my desk, and cried. Literally.  Who was this child, and what had he done with my Dion over the past month and a half?  Why is he going to school embarrassing his self and me?  What can I do that I haven’t already done?  “…..take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:16-18 NIV)

Now this EmpowerMoment is obviously the abbreviated version of the story, and while I mentioned that I prayed, if you paid any attention to the list of things that I did, prayer was at the end.  Don’t get me wrong; I pray for my children every single day, all day, but I had allowed this situation to beat me down so badly that I was exhausted.  On many days I felt that the situation could not be fixed, but when I hung up the phone, God reminded me that there are certain situations that only HE CAN FIX!  He reminded me that when I have done all that I can do, I need to JUST STAND!  Finally, be strong inthe Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for entrusting me to be the mother of two of the most awesome boys in the world!  Thank You for Your word and for being there to fix what I can’t!  Lord, please continue to guide me and my children on the paths that You would have us take, and when we are unsure, please remind us to stand on Your faith and Your word.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to JUST STAND when you have done all that you can do!  Stand on your faith, the word of God, and know that His armor is all that you need to get through the broken situation or all you need to repair that problem that is too big for you!

If you are in your JUST STAND period, what promises of God are you standing on?

Read a related EM:  Who Can I Run To?

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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.”