Completion, Encouragement, Persistance

Run On In the Rain!

Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7 NIV)

“Brown sugar melts in the rain!” This has been my retort for anyone who has requested that I participate in anything while it’s raining out for as long as I can remember. I don’t want to go anywhere, see anyone or do anything if it is raining outside. I am just not keen on exploring the world on rainy days; I’d rather stay inside, safe from all of the elements! So imagine my disgust one evening as I was out for a jog around my neighborhood and the sky opened to water the earth.

About 30 minutes into my run, I noticed the clouds beginning to gather and the sky turning dark. Thus, I picked up my pace because I was determined to make it home before it began to rain. Moments later I felt the first small drop on my cheek. I needed to get home before the real downpour came so I sped up a bit more.  But I didn’t make it. Torrential like rain pounded on the pavement as I struggled to see my way home. In that moment, I contemplated making four different choices: (1) just stopping under a tree for shelter and letting the rain pass. (2) slowing down to a nice brisk walk instead of jogging (3) calling my husband to come and pick me up (4) pressing through the rain and completing my run. I must be honest and say that choice number 1 was the most reasonable and pleasing one to me, and I was looking for a nice, friendly tree to hide under. However, as I searched for shelter, I couldn’t find one good tree. That’s when God spoke to me. He said, You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? A little rain? Are you going to let a little rain hinder your plans? Is an unexpected downpour going to throw you off course from going where you intended to go and doing what you dreamed of accomplishing?” As tough as that was to swallow and as much as I was not feeling it, I maintained my speed and kept jogging. Did it feel good? Absolutely not! I could barely see as the water clouded my vision and my soggy hair began to fall into my face. My wet clothes were adding extra weight to my run. I was truly exhausted! But I didn’t stop; I kept running. I even cried a bit because the burn in my legs seemed to intensify. But I didn’t stop; I kept running.

What seemed like an eternity later (but was really only about a minute later), I reached a completely dry spot. I looked up expecting to see a gathering of trees holding back the rain but there was only an unobstructed view to the sky. It was not raining there and from the looks of the ground, it had never been raining in that spot. However, I turned around and it was still raining behind me! That’s when I got the revelation…I made a choice to push through my storm and once I did, God brought me to a sunny, dry place! I didn’t wait for the storm to pass; I pushed past my storm! 7-Tips-For-Running-in-the-Rain

Sisters, there are going to be many rainy seasons in your life. But you must run on. You cannot allow any circumstances to cut in on you and stop your progress. Often times, God just wants to see if you are willing to continue running the race in the midst of the storm to reveal if you are really as faithful as you claim you are. It’s like He is asking, “Do you really want what you asked for? If so, why are you stopping? Do you really trust Me like you say that you do? If so, then why don’t you believe that I am right here running in the rain with you?” When you change your mind and decide to push through regardless of the circumstances, you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you will be out of the storm. Just like me, you may find it very difficult to see as you run in the rain. But run anyway! If you are willing to press on, He will lead you when you cannot see your way out of the storm!

Knowing how much I absolutely detest being in the rain, yet the fact I completed my run in the rain gave me a new sense of accomplishment. It gave me the confidence to believe that I can truly overcome challenges. Your rainy patch is for your development. Do not stunt your growth because you would rather hide under a tree while the storm passes. Or even worse, phone a friend who you think can save you from the storm. Run on in the rain! After all, the rainy days are what makes beautiful things grow!

Dear Daddy,

I know that sometimes I do not willingly submit to pushing through the rainy days of my life. Please help me when I try to resist my growth process. I am committed to growing in You, and if that means that I have to experience some storms, then please help me endure. I know that I can rest confident in knowing that even in every downpour, You are my shelter! Thank You for my rainy days because they are helping me to blossom into a beautiful flower! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to simply run in the rain! You may be experiencing a storm in the areas of relationships, finances, losing a loved one or anything else, but know that the One who allows rain to come knows how much you will grow from this storm! I EMPOWER you to not just wait for the storm to pass, but to outrun your storm! Leave the rain behind you!

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

Assignment, Back To School Series, Commitment, Completion, Graduation, Motivation, Persistance

Back to School: To the Graduation Line

School has begun for most students across the world so EmpowerMoments is featuring a series entitled “Back to School”.  Read this week as our writers will share stories and learned lessons from their school-related experiences.  So, come and get on our EmpowerMoments school bus!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

I didn’t know what to really expect about my first day/year of college.  I remember being so nervous about starting college and being a freshman all over again.  I became so nervous that I felt physically sick.  I was entering a new season and change looked scary.  However, I made it through my first day of college and my first year too.  I eventually became comfortable and familiar with being a college student attending a university in a city close to home.  College was actually not a bad experience, but my grades proved otherwise—I went from a straight ‘A’ senior in high school to a ‘D’ and ‘F’ student in college. It was during my sophomore year of college that I began to experience a setback.

Some time before this setback, I changed majors.  I changed my major from Art & Design: Graphic Design to English: Professional & Technical Writing.  I only picked graphic design because people kept saying that a career in computers would be lucrative.  So, I thought this program of study was best because I could make money and still be creative.  Yet, I shifted majors after failing one or two of my graphic design classes, much prayer and a conversation with a stranger that ended with this question: “Why are you working with computers if you love to write?”

After I switched majors, I began to excel, yet my GPA was so low it was hard to recover and so I was dropped.  I had been dropped (yes, dismissed) from the university and I also lost my financial aid.  I had been dropped because my GPA was continually low, and less than 2.0 and I had been placed on academic probation again although I was working hard and rarely missing class.  I was shocked and in dismay.  I could have let this setback overcome me; however, within a day of finding out this news I inquired from my school’s officials on how to get back in school.  I was told that I had to petition to get reinstated and get my financial aid back.  Staying out of school wasn’t an option so I immediately tried to resolve it.  I filled out some petitioning forms basically describing the cause for my poor academic standing and why I wanted to get back in, etc.  Then I had to visit my dean for the first time.  I remember sitting outside her office with the door open, waiting for her to be done conversing with another student.  The student, who was a young man, resembled a child sitting in the principal’s office waiting for the principal’s judgment.  When done, he walked out and as he passed me, the dean looked at me and said in her motherly tone, “Now what’s your problem?”  Her greeting made me so nervous.  I went into her office thinking that I didn’t ever want to see her again, especially under those circumstances.  I had to explain to her that I had been dropped and the reasons I believed my GPA was low and not improving.  I remember telling her it could be that I had been working too many hours and studying less.  I had been working two part-time jobs for a while and I remember with one I worked 70 hours in 10 days.  I also was trying to still bring up my GPA but I had failed the same math class at least twice.

So she helped me to come up with a plan of action.  I needed to study more and work fewer hours. The dean had mercy upon me and reinstated me.  Praise God for His mercy!  I didn’t just get reinstated, but my school released my financial aid.  I had to take student support classes where I was taught how to write research papers, take tests and manage my time.  I also sought math tutoring.  I was determined to succeed and I excelled in my major.  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12 NIV)

There were other trials and tribulations that I had to overcome during college.  I had to overcome my fear of public speaking when I took a speech class. My grandmother, whom I shared a special bond with, passed away. I had family issues and past wounds that surfaced that led me to seek counseling.  I had a financial aid issue once or twice again.  I had sarcastic relatives ask me how long it was going to take me to finish.

When I finally reached the end in 2007, it was a relief and I was at the season of completion.  I was doing well, passing all of my classes, and enjoying all things writing related.  I had been praying well before graduation.  I prayed to the Lord to let NOTHING hinder me from graduating.  The day I graduated, I was happy, nervous, and proud of myself.  The ceremony was beautiful because I was getting my Bachelor’s degree, and my class was the first class to graduate out of the newly built convocation center.  I was also the first person of my family to graduate from college.  When I walked across the stage, guess whose hand I had to shake?  Yes, it was the dean I had to face in bad circumstances.  But now I faced her with a smile and with the evidence that I had successfully made it to the end amidst trials and tribulations.

Going to college was not just an academic experience, but a life-learning one.  I learned so much in 7 ½ years of college.  I learned to be patient.  I learned there is a time and a season for everything.  I learned that God’s grace can carry you through.  I learned to persevere and that all things are possible with God.  I learned that tests and trials define your character and strengthen your faith.  We need not just arrive at salvation, but let’s strive for that Crown of Life through maintaining our faith, patience and dependency upon God.  Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  (James 1:12 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your mercy and grace.  Thank You for always finishing what You start and being a God of excellence.  Thank You for teaching me patience and perseverance.  Thank You for strengthening me and loving me beyond my failures, weaknesses and disappointments.  I thank You for every test and trial which strengthens my faith.  I thank You, Daddy, for giving me a destiny and I pray You continue me on that path to live and fulfill Your purpose for my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to maintain patience and perseverance to the end.  Maintain your faith through the tests and trials, waiting periods, and the process.  Never give up what God has ordained for you.  Hold fast to your faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Trust Him through every test, trial and storm.  Ask the Lord to perfect His patience in you and give you an understanding of the lesson behind each test and trial.  Know all things are possible with God if you believe. 

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

Completion, Courage, Encouragement, Goals & Dreams, God's Promises, Motivation, Persistance, Spirit of Fear, Spirit of Rejection

How Bad Do You Want It?

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV)

Recently I was watching BET’s Sunday’s Best. As I sat watching the aspiring gospel singers, I was amazed at some of their personal journeys. As the season 5 auditions commenced and I listened to each of the contestant’s stories, I was truly in awe at some of their tenacity. Of the top 20 finalists chosen to compete on the show, several of them had been rejected by the judges on previous seasons at least once, twice or even three times. Yet, they didn’t let that deter them from what they felt that God was calling them to do. Listening to their stories made me ponder my own journey. There I was at a point in my life where I knew I wanted to accomplish so much more. After all, business dreams have been dancing around in my mind for nearly 8 years that I have yet to see come to fruition. However, I had to be honest with myself and ask, “Have you really been relentless in your pursuit of your dreams?”

I shared with you a while ago in “No=Go” how I had to move past a place of fear and rejection and pick up the pieces of a dream that I have been fathoming for quite some time. At that time, I was victorious in finally mustering up the courage to reenter a business plan competition where I had once been rejected. I felt confident in reapplying, not because I knew that I would win, but because I knew that God was pleased with my courage to move past my point of fear. Unfortunately, I was rejected again and instantly returned back to the place of feeling like maybe my dreams were not truly meant to happen. How many times has God moved you from a place of hopelessness to a place of promise, and yet one little incident sets you back right where you started (or even further back)? We have to remember what God has promised to us. We have to hold on to our dreams regardless of how things are looking around us.

God promised Joseph that he would be the leader of his people. However, if you know anything about Joseph’s story, you know that he experienced much rejection before he ever saw that promise fulfilled. His brothers rejected his dream and threw him in a pit. (Genesis 37:18-24) They sold him into slavery because they knew they didn’t have the power to kill his dream, but needed to deter him from pursuing it. (Genesis 37:27-28) Next he was moved to Potiphar’s palace where he was placed in charge of all of Potiphar’s land and possessions. (Genesis 39:1-6) It seemed that just maybe that was going to be the position where his dreams would begin to flourish, but that’s not how it played out. Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of trying to sleep with her and Potiphar threw Joseph into prison. (Genesis 39:11-20) Ever feel like you are about to experience your dreams become reality only to have someone/something snatch it right from under you? Yes, I know exactly what that feels like, but we must maintain an attitude similar to Joseph’s. Even in prison, he kept his promise near his heart and still operated in his gift. He interpreted the dreams of his fellow prisoners with the hopes of being elevated once again and back on the path to pursing his dream. (Genesis 40:9-15) But again, it didn’t happen like that. Instead he was forgotten and left in prison. Can you relate? Has someone promised you assistance in reaching your dreams only to forget you and move on? Fret not! I know that God will make good on His promises! Alas, Pharaoh had a dream that needed interpreting. Based on Joseph’s faithfulness to his calling and gift, someone brought his name up as a recommendation to interpret it. Joseph’s wisdom pleased Pharaoh so much that he made Joseph ruler over all of Egypt. (Genesis 41:37-42)

Joseph was 17 years old when God first gave him that dream. Finally at the age of 30, Joseph saw his dream come to fruition. For 13 years Joseph held onto his promise and continued to remain faithful to his calling. How long are you willing to work and wait for yours to come to pass?

Today I ask you the same question that I had to ask myself: How bad do you want it? Are you willing to see your dreams rejected, trampled on, abandoned, locked up and dismissed by others and STILL believe that God is going to bring those things to pass? If you answered yes, then you have to ACT like it. Be relentless in the pursuit of your destiny. Do not allow other people, or even yourself, to abort what God is trying to birth in you. Just like the Sunday Best competitors, you may find yourself with one, two, or ten ‘no’s’, but turning back and giving up now is not an option! Keep pressing toward the goal; your diligence and perseverance are about to pay off!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the times that my faith faltered and I thought it was better just to give up than to push on. Please help me to be tenacious and deliberate in the pursuit of the dreams that You have placed in my heart. When I get weary, please encourage me and replenish my being so that I may continue on. I thank and praise You in advance for bringing my dreams to fruition. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to keep pushing forward. The effort that you put in should reveal to the world how bad you really want it! Remain faithful to the gift that God has given you while putting in consistent work to see your dream fulfilled.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: But I Promised You More!

Did God give you a dream that has not yet come to pass? How do you remain encouraged when everything around you makes you want to doubt?

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

Assignment, Completion, Gifts/Talents, Goals & Dreams, Motivation, Purpose

The Veronica Effect!

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Romans 13:7 NIV)

Rarely do we get a chance on EmpowerMoments to just pay tribute; but today I shall take that privilege because today is indeed her day. My friend and business partner, Veronica Davis has been committed to improving transportation since she saw how the effects that poor transportation planning and lack of investment disproportionately affects minority communities, particularly African Americans. Today, she is being honored as a White House Champion of Change Transportation Innovator for her volunteer efforts. To her, I say congratulations! It is a well-deserved honor. A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. (Proverbs 18:16 KJV)

When you think of transportation you may only be thinking of your automobile; however, there are millions of people that rely on other methods such as buses, rail systems, bike lanes and walkways on their daily commute. Access to a variety of transportation modes can affect where a person works, provide access to healthy amenities for the community, and minimize environmental pollution.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10 NIV)

As a dedicated transportation planner, Veronica combines her professional life with her passion to ultimately benefit the community. What started as a twitter hash tag (#BlackWomenBike) grew into a movement within the District of Columbia. After noticing the absence of black women on two wheels she and two other women founded Black Women Bike in May 2011. The organization started with the 3 founders and grew to over 550 African American women in Washington, DC ranging in age from late 20’s to late 60’s. The women bike for recreation as well as to work, simultaneously receiving the benefits of exercise. So many women in her immediate community have started biking that it is being dubbed “The Veronica Effect.”

Let’s pause right there. She has so many other accomplishments but I want to focus on “The Veronica Effect.” I believe that God wants each of us to serve others in such a way that there is a noticeable change after we have been present. We should be using our talents to enhance the lives of others, to speak up for the less fortunate and to teach others. We should do our work so well and strive to impact others such that people will know it was “The _____________ Effect.” Like Veronica, we should focus on filling the voids. Imagine if we all stepped up to the plate and filled the many voids that God has placed right before our eyes. Ultimately, we want people to see that it is not us but it is the God who lives within us that gifts us with our ability to impact. It really is “The God Effect.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for gifting me with certain abilities and passions. You have shown me the voids and I ask that You give me the willingness to just do it. Don’t let me vacillate any longer on the things that You have called me to do. I want “The God Effect” to be evident in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to review those things that God has called you to do. Has He shown you the void, but you are waiting on someone else to fill it? God is calling you for a special purpose? Step out on faith and start a movement. Allow the God Effect to be real in your life.

Has God given you a vision but you are hesitating to follow through? What’s keeping you? Share your story in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: The Pursuit of Excellence

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Atlanta, Georgia 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: every where 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 strengtheneth me.”

Black Music Month Series, Blessings, Completion, Encouragement, Focus, Goals & Dreams, Inspirational, Motivation, Persistance, Preparation, Procrastination

Go Get It!

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

Lord, what is this feeling that I’m feeling? I’m content, but I am uncomfortable.  Settled in life, but unsettled in my spirit.  Have you ever felt like this? Sometimes God has to shake some things up in order for us to see that we are not reaching our potential.

The very first time that I heard Mary Mary’s new song “Go Get It” I felt that God was talking directly to me.  I had continued to struggle with a move that God has continued to reveal to me that I am supposed to be making. However that is often times easier said than done.

So Lord let me get this straight. You want me to quit my job, move someplace I have never been nor do I know anyone? You want me to move from the comfort of my home to the discomfort of the unknown? Daddy I love you, but that is asking a bit much.  God then reveals His answer to me:

For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;

Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.

Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. (Deuteronomy 11:22-25 NKJV)

The Lord sometimes wants us to do things that may not seem ideal for us, but that will in the end place us where He wants us to be. How many things has God told you to go get that you still have not claimed? Nobody else can receive what God has designed for you to have.

My biggest problem was that I was scared.  Scared to do something that put me in a position where I did not feel in control. I realized that I claim to trust God in every aspect of my life, but it was really only the areas that made me comfortable.  How will I ever get something I never had if I never do anything that I have never done?

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:9-11 NKJV)
I am still seeking God because I am still nervous, but I know that God directs my path and He has not placed in me the spirit of fear. I am ready to go out and get what God has set out for me to have.  As the song says “It’s like you’re looking through a telescope; you see where you going to be”.  I can see where God is taking me.  Now I must get on board and go get what God has for me!

Dear Daddy,

I come before You asking for guidance and the faith to receive whatever it is that You have for my life.  I need You to continue to push me into a place where I will strive to have things that You have designed specifically for me.  I ask that You will continue to strengthen me in the areas that I am weak.  I need You to lift me up and give me the push that I need in order to receive what You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be strong enough to step out on faith and stretch your limits.  Don’t always stay where you are comfortable in life, but know that blessings and breakthroughs come in some of the most uncomfortable places.  Know that whenever you are weak the Lord is strong.  Follow His lead, and you will not be steered wrong. 

Envision where He wants to be and how you will go get it as you enjoy Mary Mary’s “Go Get It”:

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Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Completion, Focus, Growth/Maturity, Motivation, Organization, Preparation

Wise Women Build!

 “…The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down…” (Proverbs 14:1 NIV)

This scripture has been on my mind for the last week or so.  I sought the Lord on why He keeps bringing this scripture to the forefront of my mind.  I did not believe it had any application to my life.  I was certainly not tearing down my house!  As I meditated more deeply, God revealed to me tearing down my house was not the issue; I was not building UP my house.

The word ‘build’ means to establish, increase, or strengthen.  A wise woman is always in BUILDING MODE.  This goes for the smallest things like the old shower curtain that needs to be replaced and other small updates that would make the home more inviting.  This also goes for bigger, more long term building such as a savings account with funds for at least 6 months worth of expenses just in case something should happen.

I had to admit, I was not being a wise woman because I was NOT in building mode.  I was more in maintenance mode, just keeping the status quo, nothing more, nothing less.  I tried to justify my behavior by saying, “Well, it’s just me!  If I was married or had kids, I would do more!”  However, the scripture does not say, “A wise WIFE…” or “A wise MOTHER…” it says, “A wise WOMAN!”  This means married or single, with or without children, EVERY woman who desires to be wise is REQUIRED to build up her house.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for continuing to show me who I am so that I may continue to evaluate and make changes in order to become the woman that You have called me to be.  I thank You for calling me to greater wisdom in You.  I decree and declare that I will be a wise woman in EVERY area of my life.  I ask that You help me to consistently work to build up my house:  physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally. Show me what I need to do, lead me to other wise women that will put a demand on me and challenge me to grow even wiser in You.  I praise You for the awesome destiny that You have for me and I also praise again You for calling me to greater wisdom.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be a WISE woman and build up your house.  If you don’t know where to start, here are several things you can do:

1.        Get around WISE women.  “[S]he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm…” (Proverbs 13:20 NIV)  For example, you can’t become a wiser woman in your marriage if you only spend time with foolish women who slash tires, bust windows, and curse out their men in public.  You can’t become a wiser woman in your finances if you only spend time with women who spend their whole paycheck on their hair, nails, and Saturday night outfits.

2.       Read and HEED the word of God – “Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it…” (Proverbs 8:33 NIV)  Take inventory of what you’re doing, does it line up with the Word of God?  If not, it is time to make some changes.

3.       Most important, SEEK THE LORD – “If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him…” (James 1:5 NIV)  God will reveal to you what you need to do specifically in order to build up your house if you ask Him.

What are doing to ensure that you are constantly in build mode? Share your tactics with other women below.

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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.”

Completion, Focus, Inspirational, Motivation, Persistance, Word of God

To The Graduate:

This is my command to be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT

This past weekend my cousin was given a surprise graduation dinner.  She’s a high school graduate heading out to experience what “life” is all about. Prior to the engagement my aunt asked me to say a few words of encouragement.  So, I thought about what I could say, wrote a speech and then realized that wasn’t what I really wanted to say.  So I became a little more creative.  Two other family members and I presented to her the “Diplomas of Reality.” I begin by saying:

“When you graduate from high school you are telling the world that you can read, write, and do math.  However, out in the “real world” you don’t get graded or receive diplomas for being responsible, being determined and so forth…”

That’s just a snippet, however the presentation turned out great.  Afterwards, I realized that we are graded by God every single day.  In the spiritual world we also attend school.  God’s lesson plans are written out.  He provides us with the textbook, The Holy Bible.  He gives us quizzes to see if we’re really listening.  We take tests to see if we’ve retained God’s lessons.  We sometimes pass and we sometimes make a BIG FAT “F”! In those instances, He is gracious enough to allow us to re-take the test.

It’s funny that as graduates we feel we have the next step of life all figured out.  Proverbs 19:21 says, “You can make plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” (NLT) As adults we do the same thing; we have it all figured out.  Although many of us have graduated high school, college, received masters or doctorates, God still wants us to know that we can’t make it without Him.  No matter how much education we have, we must continue to follow Him.

And now just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.  Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  (Colossians 2:6-7 NLT)

To all of us who attend the University of Eternal Life, double majoring in the FATHER and the SON and expecting to graduate with honors (the HOLY SPIRIT) remember this,

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3: 13-14 NLT)

We are on a constant educational journey in the spirit and we only get one commencement exercise–our graduation into Heaven.

Dear Daddy,

We did it!  We graduated in the natural! Now we ask that You help us to stay the course that we may graduate in the Spirit.  Thank You, Lord, for continually keeping us during our tests, quizzes and life lessons.  We’ve achieved great things because of You. We’ve grown because of You, and we will continue to strive with You by our side.  We love you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to continue reading your textbook of life, the Holy Bible. Just as we work hard for the world, we must work even harder for God. 

What lessons have you alreay learned in the University of Eternal Life? Share some with us below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: My Plan vs. God’s Plan

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Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.”  She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry.  Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service.  She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden.  Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation.  Her favorite scripture 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.”

Commitment, Completion, Faithfulness, Focus, Growth/Maturity, Motivation, Persistance

Commitment Issues

My cousin and I had a conversation last week about the many reasons I may still be single.  However, the one that stuck out to me the most was my failure to commit. It is not as though I have never been able to commit because for many years I was in committed relationships.  Somewhere along the way I developed an anxiety about the thought of committing myself completely to anything.

Ironically, this week my church has challenged us to a 40 day turn around, and the first area that we must focus on is greater commitment.  I have realized in doing this that my failure to commit extends past physical relationships and has transcended into spiritual ones as well.  I have been cheating on God! I say that I am committed to our relationship, but I am constantly looking outside our relationship for affirmation and confirmation that only He can give me. “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth.” (Psalm 31:5 KJV)

I struggled with whether or not I should use that scripture because it was given to us to use as a part of our fast.  However, God placed that scripture in my heart during my prayer time before I even knew it was on the paper.  That was amazing to me that God was revealing things to me in a variety of ways. God wants my greater commitment to be with Him!  We all have some areas of our life that can use more work in the area of commitment.

In my situation I realized that I can not commit myself to a relationship in the flesh until I commit to Him in my spirit.  I say I am vested in the relationship I have with my Daddy, but I’m questioning His whereabouts all the time. And yet, He is the one who has proven Himself time and time again in my life.  “O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many baskets ye took up?” (Matthew 16:8-10 KJV)

God has proven to me that He is a faithful God.  I am the one who is cheating, but I put the blame on Him.  If I am going to be in a committed relationship with the Lord I must trust Him completely.  I can’t look at the things that other people have done to make me afraid of commitment. Jesus committed himself to me when He died on the cross.  It is my turn to show my commitment to Him.  Am I willing to close my eyes, and go to sleep because I trust Him that much?  Am I willing to communicate with Him first before going to others outside our relationship? Am I willing to spend more time with Him so that our relationship can continue to grow?

Dear Daddy,

I come before You today asking for Your forgiveness for all the acts of cheating I have been involved in throughout our relationship.  I pray for forgiveness, as well as continued strength in regards to our relationship.  I need to understand that You are always here with me even if I cannot see You.  I need to realize that being committed to You is the first step and all things will work out how You see fit.  Thank You, Daddy, for sticking by me and staying committed, even when I was unfaithful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to show the Lord that you are trustworthy.  If God cannot trust us in a relationship with Him, then how can He trust us in the next dimension? I challenge you to commit yourself to whatever it is God has called you to do, whether it’s to become a better mother, daughter, employee, servant, or lover of the Lord.  Whatever area you need to commit to, like Nike JUST DO IT!

What are you willing to do in order to show God your commitment? Tell us about it in the comment box.

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Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Completion, Direction/Guidance, Faith, Inspirational, Motivation, Persistance, Strength, Trusting God, Worry

Don’t Give Up Now

Almost exactly a year ago, (wow, just realized this) I wrote a blog post entitled “Waterproof”. It was about being uprooted from my norm and comfort zone and following my husband along the  journey he always hoped for. I supported him from day one, but was reluctant to move until God revealed to me the confirmation to go. What I have remembered throughout this year is the confirmation that God gave me on the first Sunday at our new church. The sermon came from the exact scripture written in my blog post, “God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. I’ll make you a great nation and bless you. I’ll make you famous; you’ll be a blessing. I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse. All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you.”(Genesis 12:1-3). The part I hold dear, is that God said He would “bless” me. That means, our needs would be met and all stumbling blocks will become stepping stones to God’s blessings, even if it doesn’t look like it.

About a month ago I started doubting. I awoke in despair thinking, “Lord, our funds are starting to get low, we have a baby on the way, and nothing in our near future is certain.” I went straight to my Word, knowing that God would speak to me, and that He did! I went to  Deuteronomy Chapter 1 and there God showed me two things: 1) Not to give up and 2) what will happen if I do.

In this story, God told Moses to lead the Israelites to a land that He was giving them to possess (Kadesh Bernea). The interesting thing about this country was that it was not easy to get to, it was on the top of a hill (don’t miss that). God commanded them through Moses to go “up” and take possession of the land. God even reminded them,Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 1:21 NIV)

Have you ever had God tell you to take on a task and then the enemy enters in whether it’s through an innocent friend, a financial situation, or a health distraction? You then start to take matters into your own hands.

That’s just what the Israelites did.  Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.” They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkol and explored it. Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us.” (Deuteronomy 1:22-25 NIV)

This is why it is so important to walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV) Once the Israelites decided to do this, God revealed to Moses that they doubted God’s promises. They sent out spies to “check it out” to make sure that the land was as good as God said it was because previously the people were doubting and shouting that God “tricked” them.

But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, “The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.” (Deuteronomy 2:26-27 NIV) This is how the devil gets into your mind. He causes you to think the simplest distractions are denials.

God showed me that if I lose my faith, the following will happen:

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”  In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.  When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors… (Deuteronomy 2:29-35 NIV)

I do not want to doubt when I know God said He will carry me through! I don’t want to miss what He has for me.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving me Your promise and when I began to doubt, thank You for speaking to me through Your Word, reminding me that You PROMISED in the beginning that this was Your will; therefore I will not lack for what I need and You will get the glory. I am thankful beyond words because You specifically gave me this word to encourage me to continue on the path You have given my family. I love You Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Girlfriend, I EMPOWER you to listen to God’s voice. If God told you “xyz” and it begins to look differently than what you imagined remember this: “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)  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34 NIV)

Are you waiting on a breakthrough from God but feel like you are at your wit’s end? What tips do you use to remain encouraged? Share with us in the comment section below.

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

Completion, Focus, Gifts/Talents, Goals & Dreams, Motivation, Purpose

Purpose. What’s the 4-1-1?

I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. (Psalms 118:17 KJV)

She says I didn’t move in the nine months she carried me in her womb. Her fear was that I would be a stillborn baby, but I have great news. God’s purpose for my life was to be fulfilled outside of the womb and as of this morning at 6:55am CST, our Father has allowed me to make 32 revolutions around the sun for 1,664 weeks and to experience earth’s rotation for 11,648 days. I am grateful for the 279,552 hours, the 16,773,120 minutes and the 1,006,387,200 seconds that I have had to praise Him, to experience His grace and mercy and to fulfill the calling that He has on my life. Yes, it is my Born Day!

In this age where we can access information at our fingertips in a matter of seconds, there are some things that have not changed. Babies are still being born and people are still dying. Each of us has specific purposes to fulfill before we take our last breath. Some of us are afraid of our purpose because we know that the road to fulfilling our purposes isn’t always easy. As we reflected this past Sunday on Jesus’ death and resurrection, we know that He too did not have it easy on His journey to purpose fulfillment. He was born of a virgin, tempted of the devil, lied on, abandoned and rejected in His most distressed time, persecuted and crucified all so that He could fulfill the purpose of redeeming each of us of our sins. He is the quintessential example of purpose fulfilled from birth to death and eternity.

Like Jesus, my journey to discover and executing my purpose was not smooth sailing and if you are honest with yourself, yours probably wasn’t either. Unlike Jesus, I actually succumbed to many temptations of the world. Those things that were “out of my control” (my parents, my upbringing) and my choices to lead a life filled with sin were all a part of getting to my purpose and my testimony. I’m not saying that the road couldn’t have been different but I do acknowledge that the awful rebellious stage I went through in high school and later being arrested for a crime I DID commit were a part of what Paul was speaking of in Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (KJV) Those things are not only a part of my testimony but they are a part of my purpose.

The anniversary of my entrance into this world (or yours) isn’t about the number of years, the telephone calls, text messages or number of Facebook posts I receive as much as it is about being obedient and fulfilling my purpose during the dash that He gives me. God has planted seeds in my spirit that I have yet to water because of my own apprehension. I know that I have to fulfill these things that God has planted in my belly because my fulfillment of these things or rather my obedience to God is tied to others’ destiny.  Are you living your life on purpose and with purpose? In His word, God gave us information about our purpose. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:6 KJV

So what’s the 4-1-1 on your purpose?

  1. God loves you and created you to praise Him Isaiah 43:21
  2. God wants to forgive you Psalms 86:5 and for you to be saved Mark 16:16
  3. He wants you to bring others to Him Matthew 28:16-20
  4. He wants you to care for the least of these Luke 4:18; Matthew 25:31-46
  5. He wants you to use your talents for His good Matthew 25:14-30

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for birthing me with promise and with purpose. Lord, please do not let me die without fulfilling the many purposes that You have given me in this lifetime. Help me to obedient to Your word and Your will for my life. Everyday help me to remember it as another chance to worship You and fulfill Your calling on my life. Through trials and tribulations, let me remember that these things must come so that Your purpose can come to pass. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to seek God for your purpose. Talk to Him daily and make sure you are following His will. Surrender your will to His will. Fill that dash between the anniversary of your birth and your death with the purposes that God has called you to fulfill.

Do you feel like you are fulfilling God’s purposes for your life? How? If not, why? Share with us below.

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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.”