Forgiveness, Kindness, Love, Patience, Speech

Coming Home…Again!

Clifford Harris Jr. first came into my life in 2003. One of my friends talked about him constantly, so when we heard he would be performing in Tallahassee we made our way to see him. This was my introduction to T.I.P. better known as T.I. and I have been a fan every since. In him I have always seen a person who is good at heart but who often falters in his decision-making. He is no angel nor would he be considered a saint but neither am I.

T.I.’s troubles with the law and multiple incarcerations have become fodder for the media. Recently I have heard several discussions regarding his release from prison and it seems as though his fate has been pre-determined –“He’s just going right back to jail;” “I hope he doesn’t make a song about forgiveness AGAIN.” At first I shrugged it off but then I became appalled at the number of people who chose to publicly and privately speak “death” upon him instead of life. It was as if people forgot about their own transgressions just long enough to cast stones at him.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. (James 3:9-10 NIV)

I am not a T.I. fanatic but I found myself defending him as if he were my own brother. Wait! He is my brother! No matter how many times my biological brother found himself behind those iron clad bars he was always welcomed home. We didn’t place bets on how long he would stay out or stress his spirit with our disbelief in him. We prayed that God would deliver him and that he would “straighten up.” We saw the good in him along with those areas he really needed to change. We didn’t condemn him because we knew that if we looked hard enough each one of us had something that we repeatedly had done; yet we asked and expected our Father to welcome us back to Him every time.

Often we find ourselves discussing the business of family, friends and co-workers and readily speak “death” upon them with our doubts and nay sayings. Instead of welcoming them home, we anxiously await their next mess up. With so many doubters, detractors and fake supporters, I understand why it’s so easy to fall prey to bad vices.

This Empowermoment isn’t about T.I. as much as it is about allowing people to redeem themselves and embracing them when they seek to do the right thing, even if it’s their seventh time. This doesn’t mean that we should purposely sin; but we all do things some times that aren’t pleasing to God. No matter how many times we fall, the important thing is that we can get back up and come home to Jesus…Again.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for embracing me with open arms EVERY time I fall. Thank You for encouraging and not discouraging when I fall prey to temptation. Help me to be the same way with my fellow brethren. Bridle my tongue when I have it in my mind to speak “death” upon someone’s life. Help me to forgive and move forward just as You do time and time again with me. In Jesus Name, Amen! 

Today I EMPOWER you to speak Life. Speak LIFE into your family, your friends, your finances, your marriage, your household, your job and your spirit. If in some way you fail, repent and know that you can always Come Home, Again!

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.

Children, God's Love, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth, Inspirational, Love, Marriage, Obedience, Submission/Surrendering

I Chastise You Because I Love You

I remember as a child after my father would spank me he would always come back and tell me, “I whooped you because I love you.” I used to think, “Love doesn’t hurt and it sure doesn’t sting.” I remember him telling me that he needed to teach me right from wrong and if I did wrong, there had to be consequences. Naturally, I have a better understanding now that I have a daughter of my own. Once again as I was attempting to write my EmpowerMoment, I heard my daughter in the bathroom. I yelled, “Ken, what’s that smell?” She replied, “I don’t know Mommy.” Of course she knew but I went in the bathroom and gave her the opportunity to be honest. She still decided not to tell the truth. The floor was wet and all I smelled was Awesome All Purpose Cleaner in the air. Now the “experts” say that it’s normal and developmentally appropriate that kids lie but I’m here to tell you that I’m not raising a dishonest person. After I disciplined her, I spoke to her and said “You are in trouble because I love you and I don’t want you to lie; even if it makes me mad, always be honest with me.” I know that some people may think that I am being a little hard on her but I expect greatness because not only is she our child, but she is a child of the King.

My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3: 11-12 NKJV)

The same way I have to correct my child, God has to correct me. I was going through a situation where I wasn’t being perfectly honest with myself. My marriage was going down like the Titanic and I blamed it all on my husband. The way he talked, the way he walked and even the way he breathed was all aggravating to me and everything was his fault. I often told him everything he was doing wrong and never what he was doing right. God had to speak to me: “Sheka you are not perfect and you are not innocent. You need to get your house in order starting with you.” As I evaluated my situation He spoke to me further and asked me, “Do you treat him like a man is supposed to be treated? Does he feel like the king of his castle?” The answer to both of those questions was no.

The sad part was that I still didn’t change my ways and we split up. God had to chastise me by showing me that the grass was not greener on the other side. What I thought would be better was not good at all, but God let me experience it. God had to let me experience something that was not like Him in order to appreciate Him and my marriage. I know it may not seem like God was chastising me but He did by the sleepless nights, the many tears, heartaches and disappointments. God also chastised when He reminded me of His Word: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19: 6 NIV) Who did I think I was trying to go against God’s word and look to my own understanding?  

Ladies, the truth sure does hurt but John 8: 32 says “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV) The truth was that I was a part of the problem and I am glad that God loves me enough to correct me when I am wrong.  I received God’s discipline as a sign of love. When we are experiencing hard times it is tempting to believe the devil’s lie that “If God really loved you, He would never let you suffer like this.” But we know it’s precisely because God does love us that He allows us to experience problems that will develop our character and draw us closer to Him. For both children and adults, the only way to become morally pure is to learn the difference between right and wrong by suffering the consequences for our wrongdoings. The Father is faithful to provide the loving discipline His children require.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for protecting and wrapping Your loving arms around me when I don’t always make the right decisions. Thank You for loving me enough to chastise me and correct me when I’m wrong. In the future, help me to continue hearing Your voice when you are correcting my wrongs. God, help me to be receptive to Your corrections. Lord, I pray for wisdom and understanding as You correct me so I don’t keep making the same mistakes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to receive God’s chastising and correcting as a sign of love.  Be receptive to God’s corrections because He will lead and guide you along the right path. I EMPOWER you to learn from your mistakes and bad decisions and choose what’s right. Just remember that God chastises you because He loves you!

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.

Black Music Month Series, Family, Father/Daughter, Love, Relationships

How Do You Measure Life?

One of the greatest things we can do in life is love someone else. The lyrics I chose this week exhibit that feeling and the outlook that we should have. They begin:

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Moments so dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure – Measure A Year?
In Daylights – In Sunsets, In Midnights – In Cups Of Coffee
In Inches – In Miles In Laughter – In Strife

In – Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure A Year In The Life?

How About Love?

Measure In Love

Seasons of Love Measure In Love

Seasons of Love

“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.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)

When you love others you are exercising the basic principle that God has taught us. For the bible says, “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18 NIV) I know that we often find it hard to forgive people when they have wronged us: that father who walked out, that mother who wasn’t there, the family member who hurt us, the friend that betrayed us, or the lover that left a hole in our heart. When things like this happen we must bring ourselves to a point of forgiveness. Think about it like this:  We all have done something that is not pleasing to God and can you imagine Him taking His love away from us?

Joanne:
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Journeys To Plan
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure The Life Of A Woman Or A Man

Collins:
In Truth That She Learned Or In Times That He Cried
In Bridges He Burned Or The Way That She Died

All:
It’s Time Now – To Sing Out Though The Story Never Ends
Let’s Celebrate Remember A Year In The Life Of Friends

Remember the Love

Measure In Love

Joanne:
Oh you got to you got to remember the love,
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love.

With Father’s Day approaching this weekend I write this post in reference to three men in my life that I had to apply these lyrics to: my father, my brother, and my son’s father.

 

To my dad: I forgive you for everything that happened with you and my mom. I love you more than anything and I am grateful for being able to say I’m a “Daddy’s Girl”. In spite of your faults, you are one of my heroes!

To my brother Joey: I know that there is distance between us. Regardless of the distance, you have a large place in my heart. When I was little I wanted to be just like you. You were one of my heroes and you still are. The life you live has been an example for me. I love you forever and ever more!

To my son’s dad: We both went through a period of good, grief, and growth in our lives. I would not change anything. It made us both better people. You are truly a gift from God. I thank Him for choosing you to be Jalen’s dad. You are a wonderful man and I know that the life lessons you are teaching our son are God’s instructions through you. I will forever love you for simply being you!

Dear Daddy thank You for the ability to LOVE. I ask that You continue to share Your love with me so that I can spread love to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to simply LOVE!

Celebrate Black Music Month with “Seasons of Love” (from the Rent musical) featuring Jesse Martin as Collins & Tracie Thomas as Joanne:

Win some Black Music this month! Check out our June contest here

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

Love, Marriage, Relationships

Must We Do EVERYTHING Together?

As a newly married woman almost six years ago, I was a bit taken aback at how much time my husband wanted to spend with me. I just couldn’t understand why he wanted to spend nearly every waking moment with me. I tried to carve out a few moments here and there for personal friendships and hobbies, but aside from that it seemed like we were always doing everything together. One day I just had to ask God: “Must we do everything together?” If you know like I know, you are better off not to ask God a question that you really don’t want the answer to! As a young married woman, I have often asked God to surround me with tangible examples of successful marriages to serve as mentors for my husband and me.  As I patiently waited for Him to send one that He decided was a good fit for us, He sent me a biblical example of a couple who I now seek to emulate in my personal ministry of marriage.  Aquila and Priscilla were a husband and wife team that are only mentioned a handful of times in the New Testament but the impact that they made TOGETHER is truly worth scrutinizing.  Let’s take a look at their lives to see how we are measuring up…

There he (Paul) met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.  Acts 18:2-3

Aquila and Priscilla worked TOGETHER for their livelihood. They used their skill for tent-making to sustain themselves financially. As a matter of fact, when Paul needed to make money while on his missionary trip in Corinth, Aquila and Priscilla allowed Paul to join in their work.  What streams of revenue are you establishing TOGETHER with your spouse? Maybe it’s time to sit down and come up with a side hustle that you both can contribute to.

Aquila and Priscilla saw needs and met them TOGETHER. They opened their home to Paul when they saw that he needed a place to stay while he was in Corinth.  TOGETHER, whose needs are you meeting besides your own? Look right outside your door, there are many people with unmet needs everywhere (and they are not all financially based).

Aquila and Priscilla also evangelized and taught TOGETHER. When Apollos was preaching in the synagogues in Ephesus and he only knew of the baptism through John, the couple invited him into their home to gently correct him. (Acts 18:24-27) This couple, TOGETHER, devised a loving way to get Apollos on track so that he could rightly divide the Word of God. Who are you ministering to as a couple? Find an unsaved couple who is less experienced than you and choose to share the Word of Truth with them.

Aquila and Priscilla established churches in their home TOGETHER. (1 Corinthians 16:19) The church, by definition, is the body of Christ.  (1 Corinthians 12:27) How amazing to know that this couple housed the body of Christ in their home! What is being housed in the home where you live TOGETHER? Of course many of us will never physically house a church in our residences; however, there are some things that you can do to advance the kingdom of God right in your living room. Instead of gossiping with your girlfriend the next time she is over for a cup of coffee, find an encouraging word to minister to her. Open your home to the wayward children down the block. While they are visiting, allow your children’s actions to minister to them. In your very own home, the church can grow.

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for the spouse that You so graciously blessed me with. I thank You for Your Word that teaches me by example for every area of my life. I ask that You teach us how to support each other for causes that are much greater than either one of us. Bless our union that we may continue to be TOGETHER and work TOGETHER for the rest of our days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today decide to EMPOWER your marriage by choosing to build TOGETHER. Build your home TOGETHER, impact your community TOGETHER and definitely advance the kingdom of God TOGETHER!

Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant.  She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments.  As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible more than anything. 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 two lovely daughters.