Commitment, Focus, Motivation

Ignite My Fire

“…This is what the Lord God says: I am about to ignite a fire in you, and it will devour every green tree and every dry tree in you.  The blazing flame will not be extinguished, and every face from the south to the north will be scorched by it.” (Ezekiel 20:47b)

As I started the fire for our “Ladies Only Barbeque”, I watched the blazing charcoals ignite, giving me the indication that it was almost time to start the party.  I placed the chicken on the grill and listened to our barbecue sizzle, crackle and pop as the smoke hit it.  I continued this routine for the next two hours, turning every piece with extreme caution to avoid scorching the skin.  Twenty plus wings later, I realized that the meat was BARELY even cooking.

Although I witnessed sound effects in the beginning, the fire was non-existent and I really was clueless about what to do at this point.  I was tired beyond belief, in desperate need of a shower, and just plain over the ENTIRE thing when my neighbor came outside with a bag of Match Light charcoal.  He restarted my fire with one strike of a torch and the flame burned for the rest of the evening, well beyond my last few pieces of chicken.

After enjoying the fruits of my labor, I had an epiphany of how similar this grill master experience was to my relationship with the Father.  I was raised in the church and HOT for Jesus at a very young age, but the older my “coals” got, the less intense the fire became.  I sizzled and crackled for the Lord in the youth choir, on the praise dance team, and of course on Sundays.  However, the more I witnessed the “fun” things that my peers were partaking in, the heat of my flame became lukewarm.  Before I knew it, I had allowed my fleshly desires to extinguish my passion for God and yet again, I was completely clueless as of where to go from there.  Tired from running in circles, in dire need of a spiritual cleansing, and simply in a dangerous state of mind is when my forgiving Father threw a MATCH at me that was guaranteed to shed LIGHT on my murky situation.  Soon after, I let the light shine through my flame and ignite me to burn during the dark nights and bright mornings!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for sparking my flame in You despite the decisions that I have made in my past.  Please help to keep my passion for You despite the things that may be going on around me because those things are nothing but distractions sent from the enemy to stop me from reaching my full potential.  Help me to remain focused on the fact that You are the fire of my entire existence.  Breathe a fresh wind into my life!  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to get/stay fired up for the Lord.  This is not the time to become halfhearted in your faith, but rather the time to press through and set the Kingdom on FIRE!  Have a blessed week.  

How do you keep your fire for God lit?

Please read a related EmpowerMoment:  When “Church” Wears Off

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Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there.  Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” Isaiah 54:17

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.

Back To School Series, Procrastination, Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: The Longer You Wait – The Longer It Takes

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on December 16, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past. Also, school has begun for most students across the world so EmpowerMoments is featuring a series entitled “Back to School.”   Read each day as our writers share stories and learned lessons from their school-related experiences.  Come and get on our EmpowerMoments school bus!

Tis the Season…for “Ms. Richard, what can I do to pass your class??”  Yes!  It’s the season of “Can I have some make up work and/or extra credit?”  In past years I have killed tons of trees and feverishly created and copied packets for students to complete over Christmas break…NOT THIS YEAR!! Instead, I used a workbook for my Constitution unit.  Back in October, I had the students purchase the workbook and have been assigning pages out of it since then.  Of course, some students did not purchase the workbook or bought it and never opened it to do any of the assignments.  Now that these students are failing or are close to failing, they want to know, “What can I do to pass?”  My response was, “Complete your workbook from cover to cover!”

I have never seen so many attitudes at one time!  “What you mean Ms. Richard?  This gonna take me all break to do this!”   I simply said, “the longer you wait, the longer it takes. If you had been doing the work all along, you wouldn’t have as much to do!”

Later on I was reflecting on all I have to get done.  I have to deep clean my house, finish shopping for the Christmas dinner I’m hosting, and go shopping for gifts.  This is in addition to life outside of  the  Christmas season; I need to grade and record several assignments, sit down and pay some bills, and the list goes on, and on, AND ON!!

Just then my words came back to me, “…the longer you wait, the longer it takes…”  Yes my students have an issue with procrastination but so do I!  Procrastination is “the act of willfully delaying the doing of something that should be done,” and in some people it is a habitual way of handling any task. There was so much I could have been getting done all along.  Instead of letting my students’ papers pile up, I could have graded an assignment or two everyday.  Christmas comes at the same time EVERY year so I could have been purchasing things throughout the year and had them ready.   Oh and my house–I wouldn’t have to do such a deep clean if I had been more diligent in weekly spot cleaning.

Now my attitude was rising, “WHY???? Why did I let this stuff pile up like this?”  Because I kept telling myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow, no rush, I’ll get to it!”

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1 NIV)

So here I am coming up with a plan TODAY so I can get everything done.  One cure for procrastination is more diligence, regardless of the task. We should be supremely motivated to be diligent in our work, since we are ultimately serving the Lord. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23 ESV). If we put our hearts into our work, as this verse says to do, we will probably find it difficult to procrastinate too much.  Yes, my weekend is pretty much shot but I will take this as a lesson to NOT procrastinate because, “the longer you wait, the longer it takes…”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving us the ability and the strength to do all the things that we need to do.  Help us to be more diligent at getting tasks completed.  Give us wisdom to prioritize and manage our time efficiently and effectively so that we can complete every task You have laid before us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to STOP PROCRASTINATING!!  There is so much we have to do in order to build the kingdom of God and reach the individual destinies we have for our lives.  We have no time to waste! 

  1. Pray and ask God for wisdom and guidance
  2.  Make a list of all the things you have to do
  3.  Write down a deadline date next to each task
  4. Prioritize how you will get each task done in an organized and timely fashion
  5.  Get to work!! 

Ladies, do you have a problem with procrastination? Share your story or words of wisdom with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Rebuke the 7 Dwarfs

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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.”

Encouragement, Expectations, Joy, Patience

The Sign of Rain

“Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:18 NIV)

Rain.  What does rain signify for you?  For me, rain brings life and saturates living things so that they may be more productive.  Rain is calming and reassuring.  It reminds me that I am not in control and because of the rain, I often have to submissively reschedule, alter, or rearrange my daily tasks.  In addition to this, the rain relieves pressure from within my sinuses, making it easier for me to breathe and relax.

The other day I sat looking outside of my back door and noticed how dark the sky was.  I became excited because I knew this was a sign that the rain was coming.  In this very moment the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “This is how life is.  Just before the abundance of rain (a shower of blessings or breakthroughs), it becomes cloudy.”  Often we sulk in our cloudy days of life.  Ask yourself, “How often have I been in a dark period to the point where I felt defeated?”  Honestly, if I chose to think about my current circumstances and the cloudiness, I could begin to doubt and become depressed.  However, I choose to anticipate the RAIN!

“…weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5b NIV)

I’m reminded of a few stories in the Bible where the situations of God’s people looked cloudy just before the rain.  I’m reminded of Sarah being in a cloud of doubt due to her barren womb, yet the rain came.  Ruth was in a cloud of uncertainty, and then she met Boaz.  The woman with the issue of blood dwelt in a state of cloudiness for over a decade, but when she saw Jesus the rain came!  The woman at the well, who was shunned by her community, lived with a cloud over her head, but one day the rain came.

Dear Daddy,

How magnificent is Your name in all the Earth.  We seek You in our times of trouble asking for Your rain O’ God.  Lord, we ask that You send the rain, a shower of blessings that can flood out uncertainty, drench depressions, and cleanse our mental and physical sicknesses.  Father God, as we wait in the midst of the clouds, please grant us a spirit of patience and righteous expectancy, believing that You will shower down Your blessing upon us, our homes, our communities, and our country.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to anticipate the rain while in the midst of clouds. “Remember that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28 NIV)  Don’t sulk in your clouds; instead, praise Him in advance for the rain.

How do you press through your cloudy times?  Share with us in a comment below, send us a tweet, or post to our Facebook wall.

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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 two daughters. They attend Vaughn Forest Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Conviction, Decision Making, Direction/Guidance, Stress, Trusting God

My Scene In The Quicksand

For so long, I’ve felt like the women I see in movies that get stuck in quicksand running from someone or something.  They are treading, splashing, and trying to keep their heads above the sand so they don’t sink; inevitably, one of two things happens: they get rescued or they sink.

My scene in the quicksand lasted much longer than it should have.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been jumping into situations that look good from a distance and after getting caught up, I would try to run but quickly start to sink.  I would find myself over and over again wearily treading the ‘quicksand’ and barely able to keep from sinking.  I have always felt His favor was upon me and in hindsight I recognize that for a long time I took for granted that He would rescue me from the quicksand that I kept finding myself in.

I prayed and prayed for God to change the man I was in love with or give me the strength to leave him, but at night I’d cling to him with all my strength as if to prevent God from removing him.

I prayed for better jobs and for more money to do what ‘made me happy’ and then I would swipe my credit card until it could be swiped no more.  I would get upset, run, and sink again.

Time and time again, I’d pray for God to help me control my impulsive emotional eating, for me to just be content with Him, and not look for satisfaction through food.  Then the moment I finished my prayer, I would go eat my ‘last’ bowl of ice cream or two, wake up too big for all of my clothes, and run yet again.  And yes, I sank again.

My desires and actions did not align with my prayers or what I claimed were my values.  I was holding onto everything that I was praying so hard to be able to let go of!

But God!

One day he dropped a scripture that I knew backwards and forward into my spirit and it took on a new meaning: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

And just like that I felt like I could stop running.

I recognized that while I thought I was running to God, crying, praying, and begging for His help, I was running from Him!  I realized that I needed to run to Him with my burdens, issues, concerns, and prayers and give them to Him.  I realized I had to give myself to Him, if I wanted to stop running and sinking.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

I had to let go of everything.  I had to surrender.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being willing to carry burdens that You know I cannot bear on my own.  Thank You for Your constant reminder that You will never leave me or forsake me and that I can always bring everything to You.  I pray that I will continue to surrender more and more of myself to You each day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to refuse to sink!  When you feel that you are drowning, allow God to be your life jacket and put all your weight on Him.  He will pull you through! 

What are you holding on to that is weighing you down, causing you to sink lower, and pushing you farther away from God?

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Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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.”

Accountability, Anxiety, God, Motivation

Comfort Zones

A friend once told me how another person we knew had the chance to elevate in her company.  This person rejected the opportunity because she wanted to keep her housing subsidy.  It perplexed us because this was a chance to elevate and make more money.  My friend concluded that this person was too comfortable where she was.  Comfort and comfort zones are two different things and I believe God is not fond of the latter.

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. (Exodus 4:10-14 NIV)

Have you ever feared success or trying something new?  Have you ever made excuses, like Moses, about why you felt you couldn’t do something?  Do you feel like your life is at a stand still but feel unmotivated to take the next step?  Are you comfortable with things just the way they are?  Do you hate change?  Are you like some Christians who just go to church, sit in the pew and then go back home only to repeat this every Sunday?  No action outside the pews, no reaching out to others, no pursuing God deeper and no higher expectations, and is this just fine with you?  Moses was leading the Israelites out of years and years of bondage and along the way there were challenges that caused them to fear and consider their comfort zone.

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” (Exodus 13:17 NIV) 

They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”  (Exodus 14:11-12 NIV)

My recent family trip was supposed to include all of my family and friends, not just my immediate family.  However, a lot of family and friends backed out for various reasons:  graduations, no money, other events occurring at the same time, etc.  I was disappointed that none of my friends and immediate family was attending the trip.  I always take vacations with my immediate family and friends. I always feel safe traveling with them.  I always know what to expect.  Not this time.  I was flying and attending the trip with my other family who I don’t often see.  I went back and forth with reasons why I shouldn’t go. I was in my comfort zone!  Flying with my immediate family doesn’t ensure my safety.  God does.  I didn’t know what to expect but God did.  Going on this trip allowed me to bond with my other family members and I enjoyed myself.  It also motivates me to travel more with other loved ones, friends and even alone.

Stepping out of your comfort zone means you are stepping out on your faith.  Stepping out of your comfort zone means you trust God all the way and with the outcome.  Stepping out of your comfort zone means you are leaving your fears behind.  Stepping out of your comfort zone means you can allow yourself to spiritually grow.  Had I stayed in my comfort zone, I would continue to make excuses and let fear hinder me from taking the next step in my life.  I would never embrace my fear of speaking in front of others and read my poetry aloud.  I would have never made it to that interview and got my job.  I would never get back out there and started dating.  My future husband is not going to magically appear on my couch.  I would never want to try anything new (I have got to try zip lining one day)!

Dear Daddy,

You are the God of all comfort but I know You don’t want me to settle for less than what You have purposed for me.  You are the perfecter and the finisher of our faith.  I thank You for seeing the bigger picture concerning all of Your creation.  Write Your vision upon my heart and help me to see what You see.  Help me to step out of my comfort zone and live the life You have purposed me to live.  Help me get rid of the fears, excuses and doubts; and help me to take the next step I need to take to walk according to Your will and live a fulfilled life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to check your faith and your trust in God.  Ask Him to reveal to you what your comfort zones are and to give you His grace and strength to come out believing that His word cannot return to Him void.  Come out of your comfort zones and check your fears at the door for He did not give you a spirit of fear, but that of power, love and a sound mind!

Are you currently stuck in or have you recently moved out of your comfort zone? Share your story with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: It’s Time To Move!

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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. 

Blessings, Career, Contentment, Employment, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Goals & Dreams, God's Grace, Miscellaneous, Patience, Patience, Persistance, Preparation, Restoration, Spiritual Therapy, Strength, Transitions Series, Trials, Trusting God

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

The past few years of my life have been ones of transition, endless waiting and sometimes disappointment. I’ve alluded to and written about it many times. Long story short, I left my job in Texas to start my own business and moved to Atlanta for a three-month transition. In my mind that is all it would take before the business was up and running and I could move to my real destination, Washington, DC (because this is where the business was based). That three months has turned into over two years and I reached a point where I was tired of telling people that I was moving anywhere because I just didn’t know when/if it would happen. As a matter of fact, I actually told people I was moving to Washington, DC nearly two years before I left Texas so in total this has now been a four year wait. If you have had any experience with God you know that many times your best made plans aren’t a part of His plan.

But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Micah 4:12 KJV From my brief study, I found that sheaves are stalks of grain and they were gathered on the threshing floor during harvest time for a two-step process. First the actual grain was separated from the chaff. To do this, oxen would pull a metal spiked sledge that would break the heads of the grain from the stalk or they would just trample them. Next the broken stalks were tossed into the air and the wind would blow the lighter chaff away while the heavier grain would fall back on the floor where it could then be gathered for use.

My time of transition has been like the sheaves on the threshing floor. I went from making a very lucrative salary to making zero, zilch, nada. Months would go by and I had nothing but what I could borrow or get from someone else. My mini-vacations that I would frequently take turned into staycations in my room. I found myself in an “asking” position when I was usually the giver. Shopping excursions were non-existent as my belly became wider, clothes became tattered and shoes wobbled to the side. When I could no longer afford my health insurance, the aches and pains started. I went from being a mover and shaker, featured in Ebony Magazine to feeling insignificant. Finally my car called it quits. Although I grew up poor, THIS was a very unfamiliar position. Throughout this process I have felt a gamut of emotions: happiness, depression, bitterness, envy, contentment and disappointment. I had good days and many bad ones. During the process, I felt beat down and trampled but it was only to extract the good grain. Without the threshing floor, the harvest would be incomplete.

I had to learn more about myself and have many things extracted and tossed so that in the finishing process only the good grain was left in me. Sometimes God humbles you by removing the frills and unnecessary things to get you to the place He has ordained for you. A place where you are truly dependent on Him and can recognize that it is His goodness, and not your own doing, that gets you your blessings.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV Admittedly during this process, my faith wavered; yet, God remained faithful. Did I get everything that I wanted when I wanted? No! However, He absolutely never failed to supply my needs. This month (July) represents a turning point in my life. After a little over two years in business, I received my first paycheck from my business one that will come consistently versus “some” money at any random month. From my time in the threshing process, I know how to use my money wiser so that when God grants me the increase that I need and desire, I will make sound investments versus temporary gratification. My “giving” strategy will be a lot different because when I couldn’t give I realized that people would always find a way without me. It made me realize that I was a resource and not their “source.” I learned that lesson for myself as well. As I sit in a hotel room now after a second trip of apartment hunting in Washington, DC, I have ultimately learned that if we can only learn to trust God and His timing He will prepare us for our harvest.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my time in the threshing process as You prepared me for the harvest. I ask that You continue to let those traits, people and other characteristics that are not useful blow off of me into the wind. Help me to be anxious for nothing because You have told me that in due season I will reap a harvest. You have been faithful to Your Word even in the midst of my doubt. God, I ask that You continue to build my faith as I move into the next phase that You have prepared for me. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust Him in the process. Although it’s hard because what you see what’s happening in other people’s lives (marriages, babies, career advancements, notoriety, goal accomplishments, financial prosperity) may seem foreign for your own. Know that He is preparing you for your harvest by extracting those things that aren’t useful for that next phase in your life. Trust that He is faithful to you because it is who He is and who He has always been.

Are you waiting on God and feel as if it is not going to happen? If you examine yourself, is it that God has you on the threshing floor? Share your story with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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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.

Encouragement, God's Grace, Motivation, Purpose, Self Love, Self-Esteem, Self-Worth, Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: An Unlikely Candidate

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on March 30, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Recently a friend asked me to do something and she told me that God told her to use me. If she were standing in front of me, surely she would have been given the side eye, neckroll, folded arms, lip smack with a loud foot stomp. I tried to laugh it off because I knew that surely God wasn’t using me to do anything. Either she was wrong or God surely hadn’t been paying attention. I think I have been to church two times this year (more if you count my attendance via streamingfaith.com) and I know that my sporadic opening and closing of the Bible couldn’t count for true study of the Word. I do the occasional fast and have talked “about Him” a lot but I only talk “to Him” on occasion. While I yearn for a closer relationship with God, our current casual encounters would not make me the likely candidate…or so I thought.

In the midst of belittling myself and coming up with all of the excuses of why He couldn’t have picked this mediocre Christian, the Spirit reminded me:  God often uses UNLIKELY people to carry out His will and draw them closer to Him!

Joshua 2:1 reveals: “Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there. Of all of the people that God could have chosen to use as a vessel for this huge undertaking, God chose a WHORE. Imagine that! I am sure there were other people in Jericho who would have allowed the men to secretly lodge with them as they planned to overtake the city, but God chose Rahab. In return for her cooperation and faith, her and her family’s lives were spared in the destruction of the city.

Saul of Tarsus hated Christians.  “Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” (Acts 8:3) As a matter of fact, he hated Christians so much that he learned about their Christian friends in Damascus by somehow getting the letters they were writing to them in prison. Being the over zealous persecutor that he was, Saul journeyed to Damascus to round up more Christians for prison; however, on this trip God had a different purpose. Acts 9 reveals Saul’s total transformation. Jesus met Saul on his journey and confronted him directly “Saul, Saul why do you prosecute me?” After meeting Jesus on his journey, Saul began to sing a different tune. The Lord blinded him and sent him into the city leaving instructions with Ananias. Responding to Ananias’ doubts of Saul’s transformation, God spoke to him in Acts 9:15. “But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”Saul later changed his name to Paul and went from Christian persecutor to Christian missionary.  Paul went on to write 13 books of the New Testament (Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy, Titus and Philemon) I am sure that Paul, when reflecting on his life, found it remarkable that God would choose him with his shady past to spread the gospel and save souls.

There are many “unlikely” candidate stories in the Bible, but as I reflected on these two I realized that this task could be my opportunity to do God’s will and in the process become more than just an associate with Him. It had less to do with the task and more about developing our own personal relationship. It would require that I study the Word, pray, manage my time and have the ability to relay the knowledge He gives me to others. For many this is an easy task; however, my haphazard approach to my spiritual life would have to be restructured. To do this task we would have to spend time together. My task was to write you an EmpowerMoment.

Although I was initially discouraged, I thought about my life and my accomplishments. I have always been the “unlikely candidate.” A mother with mental illness, brothers incarcerated and on drugs, welfare recipient, and the list can go on, but through it all God sustained me while chaos went on all around me. According to the world’s statistics I should have been a teenage mom or at least a high school dropout but God’s plan for my life was different. I was the “unlikely candidate” that graduated from high school, college, got a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, ran a multi-million dollar organization, got a great job (QUIT!) and am now co-CEO of a company. My “unlikely candidate” testimony probably makes me one of the BEST candidates. Who am I to doubt God?

Throughout our lives God often taps us on the shoulder for “special” assignments but we allow our personal insecurities to hinder us from carrying out His will. “Lord why me?” is the question we often ask. The larger question you should ask is, “Lord why not me?” God is our biggest cheerleader; He wouldn’t give us an assignment without the ability to complete it.  Romans 8:30 proclaims,And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”  You may be on the flip side of this message. Maybe God has sent an “unlikely candidate” to you with a message but you didn’t receive it because she was dressed like Rahab or their Christian resume` wasn’t strong enough. Whatever side of the table you are sitting on, know that God picks and chooses His own instruments. Don’t allow your personal insecurities or doubts about the messenger cause you to miss out on what God has preordained for YOU.

Dear Daddy,

Help me to recognize the divine assignments You have given me in my life. Cast out any spirits of confusion or doubt that would make me believe that I am not equipped to carry out Your will. Encourage my soul and give me a spirit of discernment so that I can recognize the messages that You have for me even when they don’t come in the package I’m expecting. Lord, continue to increase my faith and order my steps according to Your word. Allow me to draw closer to You and use me as a vessel to bless others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today EMPOWER yourself by making a conscious decision to do something that God has been tapping you on the shoulder to do. Whether it’s to speak to someone you haven’t spoke to in years or to take your life in a totally different direction, JUST DO IT! He’s ready, He’s waiting on YOU!

Are you having feelings of inadequacy about a task that God has given you? Share your experience below; we want to encourage you!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: He Sees the Best!

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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.”