Attitude, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Motivation, Strength, Submission/Surrendering

Pain BEFORE Pleasure

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5 NLT)

Every time I take a flight I end up in excruciating pain. The cabin pressure coupled with the 30,000 feet elevation always causes my ears to stop up. Of course this is a common side effect of flying but my case is a bit more severe than many others. Most people’s ears will pop sometime during the flight or at the very latest, during the descension. However, mine won’t pop and relieve the tension until a much later time—often days later. This only results in a terrible pain that usually pushes me to the point of tears. Each time that I experience that pain, I vow to myself that I will never fly again. As a matter of fact, on my last flight to celebrate a close friend’s birthday, I promised myself that that was the absolute last time that I would subject my body to that type of torture.

My flying woes remind me of the painful situations that we endure in life. While we are in the midst of our various situations, we are experiencing so much hurt and despair. After the loss of a loved one, the pain is so intense that we can’t understand how we will be able to endure without them. When we lose employment, the agony and worry of making ends meet is so nerve wrecking that we can’t see how we are going to make it until we get another job. As physical pain is ravishing through our bodies due to chronic illnesses or disease, it’s almost impossible to imagine when our temples will be whole again. I’ve found that the key to enduring the pain of these situations is reflection. As I endure my flight pain, I have to remind myself of two things: (1) I have to remember how the pain subsided after the last flight. I have to remind myself that it won’t last always. After all, it NEVER does. The cliché goes, “Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not the ok, it’s not the end.” (2) I reminisce on the great times I experienced when I made it to my final destination. The memories made in Bermuda, Paris, Spain and all of the other wonderful places I have visited are indescribable. Yes, after the pain subsides there is a wonderful life to be enjoyed. It is imperative that you don’t get so caught up in the pain of your situation that you forget how God brought you through the last time. Look forward to what’s to come. Just as the scripture above states, joy comes in the morning. Redirect your attention from the weeping and pain to the joy and pleasure that is on the way!

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. (Romans 8:18 NLT)

If I choose to no longer fly, there are many places that I will never have the opportunity to explore and experience. So the temporary ear pain is necessary to see those places. Likewise, many of the blessings that God has in store for you are directly connected to your point of pain. If you don’t experience that pain, you will not experience the coming pleasure.

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for the painful times in my life. I pray that you give me the strength to endure those periods when it really hurts. Please give me the power to stand when I really just want to throw in the towel. Remind me of the previous victories that I have experienced. Remind me of the future promises that You will perform. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to simply endure the pain. Pain sets you up for His promises of pleasure. Pain also helps you to truly appreciate those moments of pleasure.

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

God's Love, Inspirational, Miscellaneous, Motivation, Relationships, Single in the City Series, Singleness, Strength

Single in the City 5: Weak in My Knees

I get so weak in the knees I can hardly speak.
I lose all control and something takes over me.
In a daze, your love’s so amazing, it’s not a phase.
I want you to stay with me, by my side.
I swallow my pride, your love is so sweet.
It knocks me right off of my feet.
I can’t explain why your loving makes me weak.

(Lyrics from SWV’s “Weak”)

Since last month’s entry I have been speaking to several single Christian women, both family and friends.  I realized that although situations were different there was one common factor…problems with MEN!  From there I was intrigued to dig a little deeper and find out the real source of this epidemic.  It became apparent that each of us has had one or more members of the opposite sex that we had fallen weak for.

When speaking of weaknesses the mind will usually wander to that addiction to the morning cup of coffee or late night chocolate cravings but contrary to popular belief, weaknesses can come in human form!  With that said, when I refer to weakness I’m talking about that one guy that you LOVED unconditionally, no matter what.  Some of us have been with a person that was physically, verbally, and/or emotionally abusive and could not figure out exactly what the attraction was. 

Well ladies, my research has concluded that we have lost sight as to where our strength really comes from. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) Many of us are guilty of holding on to toxic relationships without the courage to leave.  The reason is that we have put that individual before God.  If we all just took a moment to look over that relationship’s timeline, I am certain that there is a second in history that we put him over HIM.  So not only did we choose to love him more than HIM, but more than ourselves as well.  However, the Bible reassures us that the grace Jesus gives us is more than enough to overcome any situation that arises!  We must realize that whatever empty voids that we are trying to fill by staying in such harmful circumstances, God is ready to give us the strength to endure and triumph.  Therefore, weakness is not an option for a child of God like you!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for highlighting my weaknesses especially when they cause me to lose sight of the love You have for me.  I pray that You continue to help me fill the empty holes with Your grace so that I may find the inner strength that You birthed inside me.  Lord, remind me daily that weakness is not an option for a kingdom builder!  I have great work to do for You and I must not let anyone cause me to lose focus of that.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I ask that you EMPOWER yourself to let that weakness go!  Anyone or anything that is causing you to put God second is not worth LOVING!! Love on God more!  Be Blessed! 🙂    

 To read the whole Single in the City Series, click here. 

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.  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

Growth/Maturity, Motivation, Obedience, Relationships, Soul Ties, Strength, Trusting God

Keep It Moving…Forward

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.” (Genesis 19:17 KVJ)

“But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26 KJV)

The story of Lot’s wife is very popular in some areas of the world. It is a story of how God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorah due to sexual immorality, disobedience, and others acts of abominations unto Him. When God told Lot that He was going to destroy the cities, His angels told Lot to escape, to flee, and to never look back. The angels warned them, if they looked back, they would surely be destroyed. Upon their escape, Lot’s wife looked behind him to the remains of the city and immediately turned into a pillar of salt. Usually I find that the story ends here until God shared with me one day the significance of her turning into a pillar of salt.

Throughout the bible salt is used in various ways. It is used in the sense of flavor (Job 6:6), standing out (Mark 9:50), and in the world, as a preservative. In this case, God enlightened me that salt was being used figuratively as a preservative. When Lot’s wife looked back, she turned into a pillar of salt because she was trying to preserve what “once” existed. She was reacting out of disobedience. God told her to escape, move forward, and NOT to look back!

How many times have we gone back to a distraught past that God warned us not to return to: that old charming boyfriend, your hometown that bears no pleasant memories of your past life, your former group of gossiping girl friends, or an old job because you know the boss? What makes us do that when God clearly says, ESCAPE FOR YOUR LIFE!

God tells us in Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (NIV) God says, forget the past, stop dwelling in it. He is birthing a NEW THING in you!!

Being and living in your present and striving toward your future can be scary. But God reminds us, in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (KJV) When you have taken off your old self and start to live a life for Christ, you are a new creature all things become new. Don’t taint it with the old corrupted stuff.

Finally, Job 17:9 says “The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.” (NLT) Because of Jesus’ blood and your committed faith to Him as your Saviour, you have been made righteous! Therefore, keep moving forward, keep pressing!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being a God of second chances. So many times I have looked behind me when You told me to keep going. Although my past may be comfortable, or bad enough that I feel that I can’t grow out of it, Your word reminds me that through Your love and forgiveness I can move forward and not have to look back. I thank You for that. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

Sistah Girl, I EMPOWER you today to leave the things of the past in the past: the ex-boyfriend, the old life style, the negative group of friends, and your old self. ESCAPE for YOUR LIFE! God loves you and wants you to keep moving forward!

Read the entire story of Sodom and Gomorrah here.

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.  She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter where they attend St. Luke Christian Church.

Faith, God's Protection, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Motivation, Obedience, Strength, Trusting God

I Was Made For This!

A few years ago I was promoted on my job. I thought I had arrived because I had become a leader in the field that I love. Receiving a pay increase wasn’t a bad incentive either. You know my head was in the clouds, but I wasn’t cocky; I just felt like that was the beginning of the rest of my life. I was sadly mistaken.

The first day I walked into my office and looked sadly at my desk in the corner. I quickly got over it because I figured I wouldn’t be spending much time sitting there anyway. Although I heard about bad spirits and demons prior to this new job, I never experienced them. My partner did not accept me, she would not receive me and at first that hurt my feelings. People who really know me realize that I am hard-core on the outside but I am soft and sensitive on the inside. I prayed about the negativity but nothing changed. I prayed a little harder but nothing changed. Therefore, I decided to take matters into my own hands. If you can’t beat them, join them. I became nasty and negative.

Many mornings I would walk into my job jubilant and excited about life. As soon as I would enter the office, I would become nasty and attitudinal. I love to talk and have fun but I mastered being “stank.” I decided to give the job up but my boss would not remove me from that position. I asked God again, “Why can’t I leave this situation?” I still did not receive an answer, so I thought. Ladies, nothing changed! I became stressed out and I didn’t realize what stress does. I gained 50lbs., developed acne and I was simply going down like the Titanic. God led me to 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.(NIV) You know I failed my test. While I was ready to fight, God was trying to humble me and show me that everybody wasn’t going to treat me that way that I treated them. He was showing me that I couldn’t expect everybody to like me but I had to learn to stand up against adversity. He led me to another scripture: We are persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:9 NIV)

Despite what I was going through, God was trying to get me to realize that I could be successful because I was made for that situation and that job. I felt like I was in a sinking ship and I couldn’t keep my head above water. I felt like the disciples: That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4: 34-38 NIV) All the time I thought I could calm the storm but God was all over it. God was showing me that despite what it looked like I was made for this. He was molding me and teaching me that I had to go through that situation, at that particular moment, so that I could learn that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. (Isaiah 54:17 KJV )

 There were many people giving me advice and suggestions so I assumed that the devil was trying to confuse me and make me think I was the weakest link. I wanted to be vengeful but God reminded me of His word: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19 NIV)

What I thought was the worst experience of my life actually was one of my greatest learning experiences. God was taking me out of my comfort zone and He was testing me to see if I would crack under pressure. When I cracked, He didn’t give up on me; so just like any test I studied and I prayed and I started passing the tests. By the end of the school year my partner and I were cordial and I even prayed for her new position at another school. I learned that if God blessed you with it, you don’t need to change who you are to get what you want. If you stay true to God and don’t change (unless you are changing for Him) the sky is the limit. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 KJV) I was made for this!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me, God, for times that I tried to calm the storm. Thank You for allowing me the opportunity to go through test and being patient enough to allow me to pass the test. Thank You for teaching me that regardless of what I go through that You have ordered my steps. I am grateful that You know exactly what I need and when I need it, in order to walk into my destiny. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to treat people as you want to be treated and not how they treat you. I want you to not give up in whatever situations you are facing. I want you to know that you were made for that situation. God is trying to move you out of your comfort zone in order to move you into your destiny. Tell yourself “I was made for this!”

Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations and Proverbs 29:18 –  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Black Music Month Series, Strength, Trusting God

Everybody’s Looking 4 the Ladder

I am a huge Prince fan. I actually consider myself a “stan”.  He is a true artist/musician/humanitarian. What many people don’t realize about Prince is that he is a devout Jehovah Witness. He was raised in a family that practiced faithfully. As most of us have done, he had a few hiccups along the way but he held on to his faith and he has carried that faith with him over the years. Many of his songs tend to have religious undertones and themes. One such song is “The Ladder”. This song is off his 1985 album Around the World in a Day. He co-wrote the song with his father. He was huge influence on his music and especially this song. He takes us into the mind of a king who is lost:

Once upon a time in the land of Sinaplenty
There lived a king who didn’t deserve 2 be
He knew not where he came from
Nor where he was going
He never once said thank U, never please

I recall the times when I lived in “Sinaplenty”. I was totally out of the will of God. I was so turned around that I didn’t know which way I was going. I did not deserve all that God was doing for me and I knew that. But something in me began to change…

Now this king he had a subject named Electra
Who loved him with a passion, uncontested
4 him each day she had a smile
But it didn’t matter
The king was looking 4 the ladder

“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12 KJV)

“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.” (Genesis 28:16 KJV)

God is right in front of us. We just have to recognize Him. I began to realize that my life was going in the wrong direction. I began to get things in order. Over the years I grew and I started to become the woman who God called me to be. Then years later it happened…I met a guy. It’s funny how people show up at times in your life when you are trying your best to do better in your walk. He was a learning experience for me. I almost took my eyes away from the path that God was leading me down.

Everybody’s looking 4 the ladder
Everybody wants salvation of the soul
The steps U take are no easy road
But the reward is great
4 those who want 2 go

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7: 13-14 NIV)

This is indeed another song that speaks volumes to me. It is so easy to do the wrong thing. That path is easy to go down. It takes strength to be able to walk the walk of a saved person. Each day is a struggle but I thank God for the strength that He is supplying me with.

Dear Daddy,

I want to take this time to simple say thank You for giving me strength. I face many temptations in my walk and I know that You are with me at all times. You are my rock. I know that I am only able to stand because of You. Please continue to hold me up. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to seek the LADDER. It is there. All you have to do is look up and acknowledge it. God is waiting with open arms. He loves you and He cares for you. It’s never too late.

Check out Prince’s The Ladder as we continue our Black Music Month celebration:

The Ladder

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

Black Music Month Series, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Motivation, Strength, Trusting God

You Gotta Be STRONG

This song is one of my favs by Des’ree. Every time I hear it I feel EMPOWERED. Check out the lyrics and verses that I was able to pair with it:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 9:1 NIV)

Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try to keep your head up to the sky
Lovers they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don’t be shamed to cry

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10 NIV)

You gotta be
You gotta be bad
You gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard
You gotta be tough
You gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool
You gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know all I know is love will save the day

“And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” (Luke 2:40 NIV)

Time asks no questions
It goes on without you
Leaving you behind if you can’t stand the pace
The world keeps on spinning
Can’t stop it if you try to
The best part is danger staring you in the face

Sometimes we go through so much and we just feel like we are about to BREAK-DOWN. What we need to remember is that God is giving us strength daily. He is able to sustain us and we must trust and believe that whatever we are facing we will come through. I know that the battles may seem endless but it is our duty to press forward and walk into the destiny that God has for us. We cannot be afraid of what is on the other side. We must trust and believe that God’s plan is much better than the one we have.

Dear Daddy,

I ask that You keep building me up where I am weak. Strengthen me daily. I know that Your power is greater than all so please walk with me and when I feel like giving up help me to see that the race is not given to the swift but to those who endure!

Today I EMPOWER you to stay STRONG. No matter what you are facing I send PERSERVERANCE your way. May God give you the strength to continue your walk.

Celebrate Black Music Month with You Gotta Be by Des’ree:

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

Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Patience, Strength

Soaring Makes Me Sore

Since I have been given the task of writing to you, I seek God daily, almost minute by minute about what He wants me to share. You should see my notepad on my cell phone!

Today I was driving along, leaving a Weight Watcher’s meeting and felt a little deflated because I wanted to have lost over a pound this week, but it was only 0.4. So I had a slight pity party in my head. The Holy Spirit reminded me that this is a process and that I have to WAIT, and be patient and one day I will see the fruits of my labor.

I really have an issue with this “wait” word, because I’m a “microwave,” “techno-power user” kinda girl, I like things fast. But the Holy Spirit reminded me, “They that wait on the Lord, shall RENEW, their strength. They shall MOUNT up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not get weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) As I tried to remember to decelerate my car, I began thanking God for His words and I began to meditate on why He chose the eagle as a metaphor. Well here are a few facts about eagles:

  1. Eagles travel alone: Sometimes God has to remove clutter and drama from our lives if we are ever to be the Women of God He has called us to be. Some of our friends have to be distanced from us. Don’t feel lonely; it’s all part of the plan.
  2. Eagles do not fly, they soar: Flying causes a lot of energy because you have to flap constantly. This is almost like us trying to get through the day without God. We are constantly flapping around in pandemonium, just trying to stay afloat. But an eagle soars. This means to glide without effort using the force from “opposing” winds below. These opposing winds are the opposing forces that we try to deal with on our own. But we have to fly above that and allow God to deal with the wind beneath our wings. All we have to do is soar!
  3. Eagle nests are usually out of sight of humans. They are set very high usually on mountains. Where is your nest? Our nests “(our hearts) should be set on the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1b-2)

If this wasn’t enough to encourage me to wait and trust in God, He also showed me the word “mount” means to be grounded in support towards ascension. Now I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to ascend to higher heights with Christ.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being a sustainer. You have kept me in so many instances. Teach me how to trust You. Remind me that if I wait, You will give me renewed strength to not get tired so that I can soar as the eagle and live in Your perfect peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

My Sister, I EMPOWER you today to wait on the Lord. The outcome is so much better if we give it to Him instead of trying to flap around trying to handle it ourselves. Take a moment to think about what area of your life you are trying to rush God in. Instead of flapping, I want you to soar. Sit back, relax, and watch God handle it.

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.  She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three year old daughter where they attend St. Luke Christian Church.