Love Series

Love is…Not Easily Angered

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

Love is not easily angered. I know it is sometimes easier said than. However, as a Christian striving to be more Christ-like, it is important to know what love is and is not. Interestingly enough I had been pondering and asking the Lord what to share on this topic regarding the Love Is series, and my answer shed more light on what love is and is not.Angry Female Expression

Have you ever been dealing with a tense or sad situation and the person you’re talking about it with responds with an insensitive comment? This happened to me just the other day and immediately I was angered by the seemingly insensitive and inappropriate comment and I responded as such. Then after I responded, I started to think about it from her perspective and how surely she must not have meant her statement that way. Anyway, I wished I had not said anything about it but it was too late. I had been easily angered and acted on it. She apologized, and I told her it was okay and that I understood how things can be misconstrued  sometimes. I should have thought and processed for a moment before I responded and things would have gone differently.

What would Jesus have done in such a situation? A situation a million times worse than the one I described? John 18 gives us some insight as Jesus goes before the high priest in His trial before He is crucified.

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. (John 18: 19-24 NIV)

A man slapped Jesus! I’m sure a lot goes through our mind thinking about if it had been us in that situation, but Jesus did not immediately blow up at the provocation. He did not take it lying down either. In a calm manner, He confronted His tormentor with the injustice of his action but He did not want to give the devil a foothold by allowing anger to control Him, although it would have been understandable of Him to respond with anger. Jesus is love, the very definition, and love (Jesus) is not easily angered. (See 1 John 4:8) Now knowing this, we, who are trying to be like Jesus, should also not be easily angered. 

Dear Daddy,

Help us to remember Your example when we are faced with issues that make us angry. Thank You for Your examples of how to handle anger and for admonishing us not to be easily angered. Calm our tempers, bridle our tongues, and help us to not sin in our anger. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to not lose sight of who you are and whose you are when faced with anger-provoking situations. I EMPOWER you to follow the examples Jesus gives us in being slow to anger and sinning not. I EMPOWER you to remember what love is and is not. Jesus is love and love (Jesus) is not easily angered. 

What lesson have you learned from a situation in which you have been easily angered?

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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.

Love Series, Pride

Love Is…Not Boastful

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

Love does not boast. If that’s the directive then I am definitely guilty. See, I’ve read this scripture on numerous occasions but for some reason I think that I’ve glossed over this part. Many of us may not be honest about our boasting instead we like to say we are just “testifying,” “sharing our good news” and “giving God the glory.” I can recall being in conversation with someone and beginning to boast about things that I had done because I wanted them to know that they were not “better” than me. I wanted the edge. Protecting my ego and seeming important became greater than the conversation itself. In fact, many times it is our own feeling of inferiority that makes us boast. We begin to compensate for what we truly lack. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 KJV

Are you guilty? Boasting is flaunting. It’s flaunting our accomplishments, our stuff, and our positions to those who do not have them and thinking of ourselves as more important because of it. We live in a status driven society that is exacerbated by social media and celebrity culture.  Achievement is not the issue nor is having stuff but we become boastful when we decide that these things make us superior. We develop a spirit of arrogance.  Contrary to the scripture, our mouth becomes full of our own praise. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. (Proverbs 27:2 KJV)

As I reflect on this more, I can come up with a list of real world examples of boasting. Often I hear people tout their credentials (college, degree, certifications); their material possessions such as houses, cars and fashion labels; their finances; and even their marriage and children. There is nothing wrong with discussing these things but when they are used to make you seem important and others inferior then it becomes boasting. Many Christians boast of their Christianity to make themselves appear more enlightened or closer to God than others; however, Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

When we are following Jesus’ example of love, we focus on others more than ourselves. Our love reflects outward. We listen more and talk less. We give more and receive less. It’s difficult to show others love when we allow our egos to give us a sense of superiority. Does this mean that one should walk around downtrodden? Absolutely not; but humility goes a long way. We are told to Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 KJV) If we are about the work of the Father, people will notice and recognize that it is only through Him that we have achieved these things. He will get the glory, as He should.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for boasting.  Forgive the times when I have let my ego guide my tongue rather than Your spirit. Help me to remember that it is not me but You that have given me everything that I have. Instill in me a spirit of true love so that my focus will be on doing Your will, Your way. If there be any feeling of superiority in me remove it and increase my humility. When I don’t realize I’m boasting, Lord quickly convict me. Help me to love as Christ loved. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to check your spirit. Are you innocently sharing or are you boasting? Some people say “if you got, it flaunt it” but that spirit is not in alignment with the way we are called to love. Evaluate what triggers your “need” to boast. Is it your own feeling of inferiority? Remember that we learn in the book of  James, … the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. (3:5 NIV) Even when it’s difficult and your ego wants to jump in and begin to boast, choose love instead.  

How has boasting impacted you? After reading this, do you need to make changes?

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.

Love Series

Love Is…Not Envious

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 2Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

This scripture is common to many believers when it comes to defining love. I even used it as the key verse at my wedding. We committed to memory and pledged to carry out this meaning. But there was one problem. We didn’t quite understand the “It does not envy” part. It was not until much later that I understood this portion of the verse.

So let’s look at the term envy. Envy is defined as a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage! (Merriam-Webster) That means, in a relationship of any kind, to love a person means to not have a resentful desire towards something they possess, whether it be a characteristic, a house or car, or any type of achievement.

Lately I’ve had to remind myself that often times others that act ugly toward me are not acting LoveThyNeighborAsThyself 2.5.14 (1)of themselves, but of the enemy. Just like the enemy can taint people with other emotions and desires, envy is not off of his list. Envy likes to lurk around the accomplishments of friends, weddings, new babies, new houses, flourishing businesses, and Facebook! Why does the enemy attach himself to such wonderful things? Because he understands that these are the things that get our attention.

Remember his job is to steal, kill, and destroy [John 10:10]. If he can reel you in with envy, he can destroy you.

I believe that true love in a friendship is experiencing that person’s highs, lows, accomplishments and disappointments, with a humble and honest sense of support. For example, I have very successful friends. They are doctors and practitioners, lawyers, engineers, business owners, pastors and stay at home moms. I don’t fit into any of those categories. At one point it seemed as though all of them were budding at the same time. I could have easily been angry and began to act “stank” because I had not reached the point in my career where I wanted to be. But when you truly are proud of your friends and confident in the God you serve, you realize two things 1) If God is blessing those close to me, then I know He is near, and 2) their blessing would be disastrous for me if I tried to wear it and the same for them. What God has for me, is for me only. He tailors His blessings, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV. And Ministers, we are not excluded! Being envious of someone else’s anointing or their gift is a sure way to miss your own!

The Bible warns us “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 NIV.

This means you can’t live in peace if you are envious of those you proclaim you love. Your soul will begin to diminish and your attitude will be sour and begin to decay.

jealousy-children 2.5.14 (1)

I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “It’s something about her that I don’t like. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like her.” As I grew in Christ I learned a few things from this statement. I either was envious of something she had or recognized a flaw in her that I also had. I tried to mask it with “discernment” but discernment does not reveal empty revelations. When you discern something, God is either prompting you to be aware of something specific, or prompting you to pray and encourage that person. Not, “I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like her.”

Love for your man, your friend, your sister or family member does not envy. It is not love to have anger in your heart against someone who has something that isn’t made for you anyway.

Dear Daddy,

In order for You to create in me a clean heart, sometimes You have to do surgery and that hurts. It’s painful to be open and honest about heart matters, especially when our desires birth anger due to envy. Lord, I ask that you search my heart and remove anything that does not reflect love, because that means it does not reflect You. Teach me how to forgive, how to be genuine, and how to be patient for my “time to shine.” Lord thank You for being so faithful, so loving, and so true to me, even when I don’t deserve it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to search your heart. We are called to love thy neighbor. That means, whether they are friends or not, we are called to love them. Therefore, suit up in the armor of God so that you may be wise against the devils schemes [Ephesians 6:10-18] . When he tries to lure you into an envious battle, remind yourself that envy rots the bones and that what God has for you, is better than what you think you really want. I love you!

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18 NIV

Have you ever found yourself in an envious position? How did you handle it?

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL

Kindness, Love Series

Love is…Kind

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

3-be_kind_heart1

Recently upon exiting the grocery store, I noticed a lanky young man standing near the entrance/exit.  He was wearing a thin jacket or  and jeans, and I think he had on a hat but no gloves.  He looked as if he was either waiting on a ride or possibly waiting in the store until the bus came.  Outside, it was snowing and very, very cold.  I could see he was cold and I felt empathetic towards the young man.  I thought if I am cold with what I am wearing, surely he is cold with what he isn’t wearing.  He was not dressed warm at all; he had on no layers of clothing.  I immediately wanted to help him in some kind of way.  I pulled out my black gloves, one of the few pair I keep on me, and gave them to him.  He gratefully took them with no problem and I was relieved that at least I could help keep his hands warm.  Nonetheless, I prayed that God would keep him completely warm as I finally exited the sliding doors.

Whether someone blesses you with a night off from preparing dinner for your family (see Better TO GIVE Than TO RECEIVE), blesses you with the money to meet a financial need, blesses you with money for a new coat like I was blessed with or blesses you with encouragement to make it through a lonely or hard time, love is showing itself by its kindness.  Whether you bless a shelter with barely used clothes, bless someone with a smile and a warm hello, bless someone by babysitting her child so they can get some rest or bless someone who doesn’t have transportation with a ride to church, you too are showing that love is kind.

If love and mercy had a child, it would be kind.  Being kind is showing sympathy or understanding, being considerate, agreeable, generous, beneficial and charitable.  However, kindness is more than just doing nice things for people; it is BEING kind no matter what.  We are to be kind even to the people who talk about us, look at us sideways, and get on our nerves.  I’m not saying be naïve or gullible, or even let people abuse you, but remember that kind is a characteristic of God and kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit.  “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. (Luke 6:27-29 NIV)  So as daughters of the Only Wise God and King of kings, we are to exude His character and become more like His Son every day.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your loving kindness.  Thank You for being mindful of me and genuinely concerned and compassionate towards me.  Show me how to continually and genuinely exude Your love, mercy and kindness to others.  Give me the grace to be kind no matter what the situation or how a person is before me.  Daddy, please also give me the discernment to know when and how to show your kindness to others.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to be K.I.N.D (Keenly aware of others needs, Integritous, Nice and Devoted to God).  Show God’s unfailing love every day.  Someone needs your smile, your hug, your attention, your prayer, your help, your extra pair of gloves, or that spare coat you haven’t worn in a while.  Most important, they need to know that the Lord loves them and He died on the cross to save them and have eternal fellowship with them.  

Find ways to demonstrate God’s love to others every day.  Please visit http://www.volunteermatch.org  if you are interested in finding opportunities to volunteer with nonprofits.

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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.”

Love Series, Patience

Love Is…Patient

For the first two weeks of February, EmpowerMoments will be doing a series entitled Love Is.  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV) We pray that you are EMPOWERED, enlightened, and blessed as our writers share what Love Is based on God’s Word!

Today I must stand up and make a confession in front of all of you – I am a yeller. I don’t confess this with a proud demeanor or proclaim it like I want recognition. In fact, I am quite ashamed of my behavior. Because I am embarrassed of how ugly I can sometimes act, I work hard to mask it from the world outside my home. However, if my children are overly rambunctious and my husband is pushing all of the wrong buttons, my patience wears thin and I can instantly become unglued. Next thing you know I am screaming, hoping that my increased tone will convey to my family that I’m fed up and I mean business. Unfortunately, my actions only result in deflated egos for my girls and the commencement of a very heated discussion between my husband and me. Once the situation has simmered down a bit, I start reflecting on what transpired and then I start to feel like the most horrible mother (and wife) on earth!

One day, as 2013 drew to close, I was crying out to God for His assistance with this matter. Since it wasn’t the first time that we’d had the conversation, I asked Him for forgiveness and patience. A snippet of my prayer probably went a little something like this: “Lord, please forgive me that I keep stumbling in this area. Thank You for your continued patience as I work, with Your help, to remove this from my life.” Before I could go on any further in my plea for help, He halted my prayer. God said, “You want Me to be patient with you, my child? Well how come you aren’t extending that same level of patience to your children? In the same way that it is taking you several attempts to get it right, so it is with your daughters. However, just as I am a patient, loving parent that gently corrects you, so must you be with your children. As a matter of fact, those are not even YOUR children; they really belong to Me. I have just placed them in your custodial care while they are walking the earth.” Can we say “OUCH”?! At that moment, God gave me a sobering glimpse of how my unacceptable behavior was affecting not only my family, but me. I was potentially hindering God’s patience with me because I was refusing to be patient with my baby girls.  It was in that small sliver of time that I made up my mind to forever cease the yelling in my home.

The scripture for this series begins with, “Love is patient”, but a couple verses back is where everything is put into perspective. If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV) Yep, I can speak in tongues until I am blue in the face. And sometimes God gives me glimpses of things that are to come. And I even have some crazy faith to believe God for some extraordinary, unimaginable things! And I will give even when I don’t have to give. BUT what does all of that amount to if I have no love? And what is love, you ask? Love is patient!

A sneak peek at my 2014 vision board
A sneak peek at my 2014 vision board

A few days into this year, I solidified my intent to stop yelling by placing a constant reminder on my vision board. Today I am writing each of you in hopes that if you too struggle with yelling at your children (or spouse, or parents, or employees, or anyone) that you would join me on a quest to make our lives yell free zones. Remember that our words carry weight and we essentially can birth or abort when we open our mouths. (Proverbs 18:21) So many times we equate this scripture to mean that we have to watch what we say. But today I challenge to consider that it also means that we should be mindful of how we talk to those connected to us. So again, I invite my fellow, soon-to-be ex-yellers to join me in lowering our tones and raising our love! After all, love IS patient!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for any time that I have allowed my emotions and circumstances to get to the best of me and cause me to start yelling. Regardless of what is going on around me, I know that with Your help, I can calmly and respectfully address anything. I pray that You teach me to extend the same patience to others when they test me that You extend my way when I push the envelope with You. I declare that 2014 is the beginning of a yell-free lifetime. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to increase your patience while decreasing your tone. Remember that no person, not even your child, is yours to treat as you wish. Thus, I EMPOWER you to gently and patiently convey your feelings and voice your concerns without screaming at the top of your lungs. Never forget that “Love is Patient”!

For additional help in this area, please visit Orange Rhino, a site devoted to helping women love more and yell less.

If you are an ex-yeller, please share with us below how you stopped.

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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.

Love, Love, Love Series, Self Love, Self-Esteem

Learning to Love Me

This is hard to admit…I struggle to love myself.  As far back as I can remember, this has been an ongoing struggle.  As a child, I struggled to accept myself physically.  I thought that I wasn’t as pretty as the other girls, my nose was too big, I was too skinny etc.  As I grew up I began to believe myself to be physically beautiful, however, this was only because other people (namely members of the opposite sex) started to notice me.

Boys and men noticing me opened a whole new level of struggle.  My love for myself was dependent on what they said, did, and felt about me.  As my teenage and college years rolled on, I ALWAYS had a man.  It was as if my sanity depended on it.  When one didn’t work out, it wasn’t long before I had another one.  I’ve settled for Quasi-relationships where I was never given a commitment but behaved as if I was married.  I’ve been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused.  When abuse wasn’t on the menu, I got periodic calls filled with empty expressions of “care” when they wanted money, sex, or whatever else.  I went running every time, even to the point of leaving my bed and home in the middle of the night to go attend to them.

Sadly, I have never received what I’ve chased after so desperately.  I don’t know what it feels like to be loved by a man in that special romantic way.  In my adult life, I am FINALLY learning to really love ME, by seeing myself the way God sees me:

1)       There is nothing wrong with how God created me.  “…He has made everything beautiful in its time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

2)      “… I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful…” (Psalms 139:14 NIV)

3)      I am special to God.  “…before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  Before you were born, I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)

4)      I am a princess, and deserve to be treated as such! “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)

Not until we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us will we ever really love ourselves.  We must love who God created us to be in order to achieve the destiny He has called us to.  For me, relationships with men were my indicator that I did not love myself, but maybe that’s not you.  You might overeat, or not eat enough.  You may be engaged in dangerous behavior or be sinking in depression.  You may be just floating through life not taking authority and letting the devil do whatever he wants.  All of these are indicators of not loving who God created you to be.  It’s time to see you the way that God sees you.  “…For God so loved [insert your name here] that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…” (John 3:16 NIV)  How could you not love yourself when you understand just how valuable you are! 🙂

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for loving me!  Teach me how to love myself that way that You love me. Forgive me for searching for love everywhere but in You.  Forgive me for the times that I have made You feel as if Your love wasn’t good enough.  I love You and I am so grateful that You love me in spite of my imperfections, faults, and issues.  I am also grateful that not only do You love me just the way I am, but You love me enough to continue to push me toward where You have destined me to be.  Give me wisdom and strength to keep moving in that direction.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to love yourself the way God loves you.  You are a princess and you deserve royal treatment.  Carry yourself like royalty.  Do not expect others to treat you a certain way when you have not set the standard.

1)      Take Care of Yourself Physically

Even Esther went through a year of beauty treatments before going in to see the king.  Strive to be physically fit, eat well, exercise, take care of your skin, etc. (See Esther 2: 12-13a)

2)       Enjoy your own company

–          Aside from your devotional time with God, learn to enjoy hanging out by yourself. (i.e. go to a movie, out to eat or on a solo vacation) Learn about yourself, what you enjoy, your interests etc.

3)      Don’t settle for FAKE love

–          End the quasi-relationships, friends with benefits, no strings attached arrangements.  God has so much more for you!  The true definition of love is given to us in 1Corinthians 13: 4-8, we are not to settle for less than that!

4)      Don’t Struggle Alone

–          For those times when you struggle to love yourself or when loneliness is pressuring you to seek FAKE love, pray and ask God to connect you with another WOMAN that will esteem you, pray for you and hold you accountable to the call God has on your life!

  ‘Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.’ – Whitney Houston

 

Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Love, Love, Love Series, Marriage, Relationships, Sex

The Reality of Relationships

“Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” Mark 10:9 MSG

Relationships bring out the root of our character. Whether it’s spiritual, marital, familial, or friendship, our character is often what determines the depth to these relationships. This past weekend my husband and I went to a marriage conference entitled, “Weekend to Remember.” We witnessed so many couples, even ourselves, having breakthroughs and becoming free because they understood what a true relationship with their spouse or future spouse should entail. Unfortunately, society, secular culture, media, and our imaginations have tainted the true meaning of the love shared between a husband and wife. When I was dating, I had so many misconceptions and unrealistic expectations about marriage. It caused a lot of frustration during my dating years and rifts when I married. Today I want to EMPOWER you to step outside of what you “think” is healthy for the marriage you have or the one you are preparing for, and look to God as the source of abundance and joy in your relationship.

Common Myths that Skew Singles and Murder Marriages:

  1. Difficulties mean we have a bad marriage: It’s not the difficulty that rates your marriage, but the way you respond to difficulties. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” (1 Corinthians 7:28 NIV) Work as a team to face ALL troubles.
  2. I have to make my point: When you respond to your mate, do you use honey or vinegar? The Bible tells us to speak in a way that encourages: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) I’ve learned over the years that my husband does not respond to nagging (the equivalent of being nibbled to death by a duck). But he responds to TIMELY conversations that encourage him.
  3. Children first, then our marriage: God designed the marriage relationship as the priority relationship of the family. Our marriages should mirror God’s image of love. The speaker at our conference gave some astounding advice. He said children don’t necessarily “need” quality or quantity time the most. They need mom and dad to have it together! This is so true because it breeds security in the home. Children are sensitive and can pick up on tension in the home.
  4. Love has to be earned: The anchor to your love for your spouse or future spouse should not be based on how well he cooks, acts, works, dresses, or interacts with other people. That’s what makes you “like” him. Love is based on the principle of agape love. It’s patience (not forcing him to change or slapping resume` builders in his face), kindness (saying “good morning” or sending a text message that says “I love you”), void of envy (you are not his competitor), non-boasting (refrain from “I cook, clean, AND work! What do you do?”), honor (opposed to punking him in public or acting like his mom), selflessness (opposed to manipulating the finances in secret), self-control (opposed to being quick to get angry), and it’s based on forgiveness (instead of keeping a record, tally, score sheet, note-book, or spreadsheet of his wrongdoings in your brain and heart or reminding him of them.)
  5. Marriage should be blissful: Did you know that some things are not solvable? You cannot change your spouse and he cannot change you. Some disagreements have to end in compromise.
  6. I can fix him: Your husband is not your project! Pick another hobby! Your man has attributes that are indicative of him. God can make the situation work, but when you make it your business to “fix it” on your own, that becomes day one of destruction. Trying to change him means that I do not accept the masterpiece God designed for me.
  7. Sex is not necessary: Did you know that both of you should be “satisfied” during sex in your marriage? I just learned of a story of a woman of 12 children that never experienced an orgasm. She began to pray over her marriage bed and soon, her husband prayed with her. He took on the responsibility of trying to make sex enjoyable for her as well. God filled them with ways of intimacy to encourage oneness in their marriage. Healthy sex encourages oneness.
  8. I don’t need a man to complete me: You should definitely be complete in your decision for Christ before you marry. However, a marriage is a companionship. When there is not a “need” for a companion, your husband cannot see where he fits in. Men have a “need” to complete and fix. If he can’t complete your desire for companionship, he doesn’t see where he’s needed.
  9. Conferences, counseling, and marriage books are only for broken marriages: My husband said something astounding the other day. He said we study for our degrees so we can “know” our fields, but we don’t “study” our marriage. I was blown away because he was right. I know his personality, but I don’t know what it means to be “married” unless I look at two other people that are NOT he and I. Whether it’s your Bible, talks with your mate about your marriage, retreats, books, etc, your marriage needs to be an “intended” focus, not just another feather in your hat.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for bringing some things to the fore front. Father, please help us not to taint our minds and imaginations with selfish ideas and worldly expectations of marriage. Lord, I pray that every wife reading this message is able to demonstrate oneness. Lord, I pray that she sees to it that she prays for her husband on a consistent basis, whether he is a believer or not. Lord, I ask that the Holy Spirit guide our prayers so that they are not selfish. Lord, I pray for every Lady in Waiting and every Wife, that You encourage her to realize that the focus before and during marriage should be You because You give her provisions, joy, happiness, and fulfillment, regardless of circumstance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to love your man with Godly love. Relationships are wonderful, but we can’t encourage worldly expectations if we want a Godly relationship. I listed the myths above to help free you to lavish in the abundance of love. Your husband is neither your enemy nor your competitor. There is nothing worse for a man to fail outside the home and then come home to someone that reaffirms it. God designed us as helpers. The term helper means to assist someone that is not adequate to handle it by themselves; it does not mean slave! Love on him in God’s way and He will move like never before.

Comment on our Facebook Wall or Tweet us and tell us ways you encourage your healthy relationship.

  We continue our celebration of Whitney with her hit, “All The Man That I Need”:

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

God, God's Love, Love, Love Series, Relationships

Generic Is Not An Option!

I am a huge fan of Jimmy Dean’s pancake and sausage on a stick. When those are in the freezer, I look forward to rising early so I can get my hands on my microwavable gourmet breakfast. It’s a delight to walk down the aisle of the grocery store knowing my destination is the freezer with the red and blue box that packages my morning glory.  One day I was at my sister’s house and she removed something that resembled a corn dog. I asked what it was and she replied, “Pancake and sausage on a stick and they are oh so good!” Of course, my heart began to race because I get excited about what the morning brings! The next day I woke up excited! I microwaved two. It was time for morning glory! I smiled, took a bite, and immediately got angry with my sister! I instantly had questions traveling through my mind while trying not to be disappointed. What was she thinking? Why would she encourage someone to eat this? Why is the pancake so doughy? Why does the sausage taste wild? UGHHH….Then I looked in the freezer to see the brand of the unsatisfying product. It was Great Value, not Jimmy Dean! At first I was angry, but then it hit me, “How can I be angry with her? Yes, she would think the generic brand is good if she’s never had the REAL thing!”

Is that some of us? Because we have not experienced REAL love, we settle for generic! REAL love is AGAPE love, which is unconditional. Generic love is based on feelings, brings up your past, is disgusted with your faults, leaves when it can’t have its way, takes advantage of you, doesn’t forgive, is never satisfied, brags all the time, is driven by flesh, never gives, and always takes. However, AGAPE (real) love has no limits and it is the love of God. Unconditional love can be described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. (AMP)

This is the love we ALL need to fill the void in our lives. If we don’t experience this, we will continue to search and look for it in all the wrong places. We look for this void to be filled with generic options like money, power, sex, men, women, careers, alcohol, drugs, and the list continues. It’s AGAPE love that completes us and propels us into purpose. Unfortunately, due to life’s circumstances, many of us have not experienced REAL love. Love from family, relationships, and spouses can impact our perspective of what love truly is. If we experience generic love first, it’s possible not to recognize the love of God when He showers us with it. We must desire His AGAPE love and receive it!

Just like the pancake and sausage on a stick, when it comes to love, the brand Great Value may appear to be of “great value” however it’s nothing like the REAL thing!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for Your unconditional love! I thank You for Your Son that looked past my faults and said I was worth dying for (THAT’S LOVE!) I thank You that I am able to recognize the difference between real and generic love and I don’t settle for the generic brand. Father, I appreciate You for setting the standard that I can measure the love that I give and receive. Father, because Your Spirit is on the inside of me, I thank you that I am able to love like You so others can be drawn to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to experience REAL love from the Creator; then you will be able to recognize generic love when it’s offered from the creation! Make an effort to fall in love with God by spending time (reading the word and prayer) and getting to know Him so you will be able to receive His AGAPE love. When you know Him, you can trust and love Him. Remember, God’s love is unconditional!

Enjoy Whitney Houston’s rendition of “Jesus Loves Me”:

Ms. Rodnisha L. Anderson resides in Chicago, IL and serves as an elder at Life Redeeming Ministries. She works diligently with the Singles and Intercessory ministries. She is married to the Lord and becomes whatever she needs to become to reach the people for the building of God’s kingdom. Rodnisha truly desires to witness successful single women thriving in the kingdom of God.  Her favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 

Friendships, Jealously, Love, Love Series

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3 NIV)

Women can birth a child, successfully run a home and a business, and so much more. But can women have healthy and happy friendships with other women? Many have answered “no” to this question. I can’t tell you how many times I hear another woman say, “I don’t have many female friends because (insert negative stereotype here)”. I have uttered these words myself.

One only needs to flip through the television channels to see women portrayed as manipulative, money-hungry, scandalous beings. There are groups of women who live and die by shows such as Bad Girls Club and the Real Housewives series, but why? Each one of these shows, I believe, tap into the source of where the actions of gossiping, backstabbing and manipulation is birthed.  The source is insecurity and jealousy. You might disagree, but please keep reading. In the opening verse we read that people are really battling with their desires and will go as far as to kill to get what they want. The real source of your discontentment comes from your desire to have more than what you currently have. There’s a difference between having a dream for your life and being envious of someone who has what you think you want.

As women of God we should not envy someone else because she is married and we are single or because she has a nice house and we are in an apartment or because she has a well paying job and we are unemployed. Our God is not limited by our circumstances; He is limited by your faith and your motives. If you continue to envy your sister you are blocking your own blessings. Instead of comparing your life to hers, begin to pray for her (because you don’ t know the cost of her blessing) and that God will remove that spirit of envy from you.

If you do not have positive women in your life you might need to be creative in your pursuit of Godly friendships. My sophomore year of college I felt God leading me to really seek Him, but I didn’t want to do this journey by myself so I started a women’s Bible study called Heavenly Inspired Sisters (HIS). HIS has now grown into a lifelong friendship between eight wonderful women of God who have shown me there is nothing like having a sister in the faith.  Had I not stepped out on faith and started my own ministry I would not reap the benefits of having these wonderful women in my life. I would like to challenge you to get outside of your comfort zone and let go of any excuses of why you cannot be friends with a woman. If you are reading EmpowerMoments, I encourage you to link up with this ministry. We have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and you can send prayers to us right here on the site. You have an avenue to reach out to your fellow sisters in Christ, if you so choose.

Some of My Sisters in Christ

In this season of ‘love’ let us not forget to love our sisters  for we are our sisters’ keeper and it is up to each one of us to make an effort. Remember even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was able to have a confidant in her cousin Elizabeth, Naomi had Ruth, Mary had Martha and so on. The Bible is filled with powerful women of God who had a sister in Christ to support them. 

 

Dear Daddy,                                             

Thank You so much for giving us love in a variety of forms from family relationships to friendships. We pray right now that our hearts will be open to Your Will for our lives. We ask that those who are seeking Godly friendships will learn how to cultivate those relationships so You will be glorified. We ask that You give each woman a spirit of discernment so we know when the enemy tries to play on our emotions and insecurities. We pray for wholeness and completeness in You, for in that we have no need to compare. We thank You in advance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to love your sister as yourself. It is time to let go of the negative stereotypes we hold of other women and begin to love as Christ would have us to love one another.

Ladies, how has having a sister in Christ shaped your walk? Tell us on FB or Twitter

Celebrate sisterhood with our sister Whitney Houston’s “Count on Me”

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

Blessings, Family, Love, Love Series

For the LOVE of Family…

Some days I think of going to the courthouse and getting a divorce. There really are no tangible assets to split, as a matter of fact they could have everything if I could just walk away. After these thoughts, I realize that there is no piece of paper that could separate me from them because even in death we are eternally linked. Other days, I find myself defending them ferociously, going out of my way to help them, or leaning on them for my own support. Through ups and downs, in and outs I do indeed love the ones that I share this inextricable bloodline with. Through it all I love my family.

Despite the hardship, betrayal, hurt, deception and lies we are forever connected to those we call family. Ultimately, we learn that loving them doesn’t mean we are always up close and personal but we are able to reunite when necessary. No matter the hurt, we are often able to look beyond the faults of our family especially when they are in need. Below are two vivid examples of betrayal and familial love conquering all.

In Genesis 27, Jacob tricks his father into giving him the blessing intended for Esau. Esau finds out and plots to kill his brother. Jacob fled and was away many years- long enough to give birth to the twelve tribes of Israel; however, there came a time when God told him to go back home. As furious as Esau was in the beginning, his heart was softened: 1And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men… 4And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.10And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. (Genesis 33: 1,4, 10 KJV)

There can be no discussion of betrayal and forgiveness with out bringing up Joseph and his band of brothers. Genesis 37 and Genesis 39-41 detail the plot to kill Joseph, the brothers throwing him into the pit, selling him into slavery, the lie by Potiphar’s wife, his prison life, his dream interpretations and his ascension to leadership. However we later see that Joseph forgives his brothers and recognizes that God preserved him for such a time as that.

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. 3And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 4And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45: 1,3-5, 8 KJV)

Joseph’s story shows us that no matter whom your family tries to make you, God has the final say for your life. Your steps are already ordered through Him. I had family that told me that I would never be anything. People who were jealous of me because I excelled but their words and attempts to make me fall were no match for God’s plans for my life.

While my family does absolutely wreck my nerves sometimes, I am reminded that I also have extremely supportive family members who are fiercely protective of me and love me without condition. I think about my grandmother and aunt who stepped in to take care of my brothers and me when our daddies weren’t present and our mother wasn’t capable. My grandmother’s love knows no bounds. Even when I decided to be the prodigal daughter (another EmpowerMoment), she forgave me and let me work through my rebellion. Then there are my brothers who nagged but protected me. There are also my cousins who at a moment’s notice will drop everything just to listen to whatever I have to say. These same people will incite a riot if anyone outside of our bloodline utters a bad word about me. If you have ever been around us, we are loud and absolutely everything is a debate, but I’ve determined that this is the way my family shows love. This is who we are.

I love my family even when they make it hard. God destined me to be a part of this group. He has shown me ones that I have to love but not be personal with, as well as those that I am assigned to their life for the long haul. I used to wonder WHY I was birthed to this family, but who am I to question God’s plans when I trust that He knows what’s best for me. My family is not blessed to have “me” as a part of their family as much as I am blessed to have them in my life.  During this week of love, I celebrate the Lundy family.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the gift of family. As many of us deal with the pain associated with family, allow us to also relish in the love. Help us to accept our position in our families and to do what is pleasing to You. Order our steps. Lord, deal with us and help us to forgive the pain of the past because Your word tells us that ALL things work together for the good of them that love the Lord. Help us to love and as we start our own families, guide us in establishing family cultures that our designed by You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to LOVE. Reach out to an unsuspecting family member and express how important it is to have them in your life. Tell them WHY they are important. Give that family member their flowers while they are still present. Show them the same love and appreciation that you desire in your own life and thank God for them. Receive Love, Give Love, Be Love.

Honor the life of Whitney Houston today as you celebrate your family:

My Love is Your Love

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”