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.”

God's Love, Love, Love Series

Love Is…

If I could search every part of my being in an attempt to draw from my own experiences or if I could look up the word in every dictionary or Google it from here to yonder, I would never find a more meaningful definition for ‘love’ than that which is found in the Holy Bible.  As EmpowerMoments kicks off its series in celebration of love, I thought it best that we start with a definition that encompasses the wonder and beauty of love.

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.

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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NIV)

Dear Daddy,

I come to You today thanking You for giving us the definition of love. Lord, from Your Word I know that Your son Jesus exemplified love in its purest form and thus, I pray Lord, that You guide me that I may be more like Jesus.  Guide my actions and guide my words, guide my feelings toward myself and guide my feelings towards others. Father, I submit to Your love and ask that You create a beauty within me that will radiate outwardly for the whole world to see.  I love You Father, and most of all, I thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to strive to love more and to love harder.  Love like you have never loved before and be beautiful while you are doing it.  When you love, it is easier to forgive and easier to give.  I EMPOWER you to show an act of love to someone today and EMPOWER that person to pass it forward.

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