Anxiety, Father/Daughter, God's Protection, Pain, Stress, Trials, Worry


Daddy!!! A bone chilling scream reverberated throughout my room.  My sister who was visiting me on vacation awoke from her sleep and screamed out for our father.  My sister went on to explain that she was having a bad dream where an insect attacked her son, and she screamed for her daddy to save him.  My father was right there, but could not save her son. Last night I found myself involved in a similar situation where in my dreams I was screaming out for my daddy. I was being attacked by a group of men that were attempting to rape me. I could see my father but he could not save me.

This sequence of dreams made me think about how many times we have screamed out for our Daddy in the heavens to save us, but He could not.  Not that He is unable, because our God is capable of all things, but because it may be something that we are are going through that is necessary.  How do we react to our outcry for help when it goes unanswered?  “They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the LORD, but he refused to answer.” (2 Samuel 22:42 NIV)

I evaluated the many times in my life that I have called on the Lord to rescue me from a particular situation only to realize that if He would have saved me there was a lesson that I may not have learned.  I have currently been going through a difficult time in my life with confronting frustrations, stress, uncertainty, and feeling overwhelmed. I went to church, fasted, read my Bible (a little bit), and was an avid tither. So where was the help I needed for peace of mind “As for me, I look to the LORD for help? I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear.” (Micah 7:7 NIV)

I was confident my Daddy heard my cry, so why oh Lord have I not felt any different? Frustrations continued to rise, stress gradually mounted and it seemed the only thing certain was my uncertainty.  I had to realize that just because God did not save me the way I think I should have been saved does not mean that He is not a present force in my life.  I cried out for my biological father to save me from being attacked because I could see him.  However, I have to call on my spiritual father to save me from these unseen attacks by the enemy!

Dear Daddy,

Please continue to save me from all the attacks from the enemy that I can see, and those that I cannot.  Give me an understanding heart to allow me to realize when I do not need to be saved through certain situations but learn how to go through them.  Thank You Daddy for blessing me even when I am close to giving up. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to press on despite the way things look.  Your current pain will NOT compare to the magnitude of blessings that are around the corner.  Continue to call on Him and trust that He hears every word but the trial is a must!   

How do you remain encouraged even when it seems that God is not answering?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Delayed Not Denied!


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.”

Anxiety, Comfort, Pain, Prayer, Spirit of Fear, Stress, Trials, Worry

Speed Dial or Backup?

I had it all planned out, my EmpowerMoment about the Olympics, but alas it will have to wait for another day. As I drafted thoughts and intermittently checked Facebook, I noticed that I had a message. Nothing unusual, right? The person was asking me if I was indeed related to the person she was asking about. Since no details were in the message, I confirmed that the person was my brother but wondered why she was asking. It was as if my heart sunk before I got the answer. I was feeling like Diana Ross in The Wiz, “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News.” She said, “You need to call the hospital…” First I was angry because I had to find this out on Facebook and was upset that no one in my family called me, but as I spoke to them I realized that this incident just happened and they hadn’t yet made it to the hospital. I called several people but no one answered. I called the hospital, but they didn’t know anything. I immediately went into panic mode. Here I am hundreds of miles away and couldn’t do a single thing. I felt absolutely powerless.

Talking about it would make me feel better so I dialed and dialed but no one picked up. Why wasn’t anyone answering my phone calls? Exasperated, I decided well maybe I should talk to God.  The problem with this was instead of God being my first point of contact, I was making Him my alternative. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6 NIV) Unlike me or any of the people that I was calling, God is omnipresent and omniscient. He had the ability to listen to my prayers and be with me while also taking care of my brother many miles away. What I didn’t know He already knew.  I took a moment to cry out to God about it and ask Him for healing, peace, comfort and intervention. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah (Psalms 3:4 KJV)

Here I was with immediate access to Jesus. I didn’t have to go through a priest. I didn’t have to depend on anyone else because I know how to pray; yet, instead of using the main line, I was seeking comfort in others. My brother was ferociously attacked, but he is alive and for that I’m thankful.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

In our human nature it is easy to reach out to others instead of reaching up to God. He is never too busy to respond. As a matter of fact, He wants to hear from us. He yearns to be our source of comfort and relief if we would only turn to Him. You may find yourself in a similar situation. Things are going awry and you are busy dialing everyone’s number but your Heavenly Father’s. While He knows already, He still wants to hear from you. Your heart is anxious and you are worrying about a situation where you have no control. My situation involved a family member but yours may be career, kids, finances, relationships or addictions. Whatever the situation is, know that you don’t have to handle it alone. As the old song use to say, “Jesus on the main line, tell Him what you want. Call Him up and tell Him what you want.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for direct access. Lord, help me to remember that You are not my backup but to keep You on speed dial. I am grateful that You are an answerer of prayers and that when I call You hear me. Relieve my anxiety and provide strength in my weakness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to simply make your requests known to God. Make calling Him your first priority. Put all of your trust and hope in Him and He will hear your prayers.

Has God had to remind you to seek Him first in times of trouble? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Come And Talk To Me


Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC 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: everywhere 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.”

Abortion, Comfort, Death, Encouragement, God's Love, God's Mercy, God's Protection, I Am Free Series, Inspirational, Pain, Self Forgiveness, Spiritual Therapy, Throwback Thursdays, Trials

I Am Free: The Love Letter

It’s Throwback Thursday! Enjoy this blast from the past. To commemorate our nation’s independence this week, we are featuring a series entitled “I Am Free”.  Read this week as our writers share how God has delivered them and set them free!

I am FREE from my past!

Dear God,

I have been hearing how people are so “blessed and highly favored” or “too blessed to be stressed” but Lord, I need to be real for a moment. I have been holding onto something and it is eating away at me. I am still mad that You birthed me to a crack head mother and a dead beat dad. I was probably a mistake and not even supposed to be here; I definitely could tell that I wasn’t wanted. I am still upset that You allowed my uncle to rape and molest me without coming to my rescue. How could You do this to me? All of this hurt and anger I have built up has made me to live a life full of mistakes, pain, and hurt. I made a mistake when I aborted those babies and I regret it every day. Are you punishing me, still? God, I am so sorry, but I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know who the father was. I am so upset with myself for disappointing You. On top of all of this, the one woman I did love and whom I considered my mother, you took her away from me too. So how can I walk around as if I am blessed and highly favored? I’m hurting; I’m sad, mad, and angry. I feel left out Lord…I thought You loved me. I cry myself to sleep at night because I’m lonely and sad. I’m depressed at the thought of not being loved by anyone. I stick out; I don’t fit in, why am I like this?

Love, Your Wounded Baby Girl

Dear Daughter,

I chose your mother as a vessel to be used by me. Before you were created in her womb I knew the plan for your life, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  I took my time to knit you together (Psalms 139:13). I was there, although grieved, when you were sacrificed and your virtue stripped from you. But I am also a God of restoration. I heal the brokenhearted and I tend to your wounds. (Psalm 147:3) I made a promise to you that I am with you always even to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:20) You say that you aren’t attractive, I say I made you in my image.(Genesis 1:27) I made you fearful and wonderful. (Psalms 139:14) I made your hair like lamb’s skin, your eyes like the sun, you lips full like ripened fruit, and your stature like the rolling hills. I made you on purpose, I made you like me…you are beautiful. My spirit was grieved when you aborted those babies and of course I also know of  your other wrong doings.  But remember that son I sacrificed? He shielded you with His blood and mercy and presented you to me faultless (Colossians 1:22) Walk in freedom my dear! Your earthly mother was my angel, she taught you how to fly, take care of yourself, and she showed you me. It was time for her to return so that you could do what I have for you to do. There are younger daughters that walk around in guilt and shame every day. Who can touch them but you? Who can show them that I can heal the wounded heart but you? Who can show them that a daughter of a crack head can be a Queen of Success, but you? My Son can plead on your behalf because He took on all sin. You can plead on someone else’s behalf because you have walked where they have walked. Don’t hold your victory, share your story to edify me that someone else, some hopeless little girl like you once were, can be saved. You were restored a long time ago, now walk in it. I love you.

Love, God

This letter was written from parts of my life and the various lives of women that I have encountered on my journey. As Christians we sometimes seem insane to believe and love a God that has allowed misfortune to happen to us. But what the devil meant for your bad, God will turn around for your good. Sister, know that God loves you and the triumphs we overcame are stalks of wisdom that can be used to heal and comfort someone else. And know this, all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). It takes time to heal, but in time you shall be healed.

Dear Daddy,

I know sometimes I get angry or ashamed of my past. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears. (Psalms 39:12)”. Teach me how to let go so that I can use what You have implanted in me for Your Glory and to help someone else. I know that you are a rewarder of those that diligently seek You. Heal my wounds, and if they are already healed, strengthen me to walk in your boldness with liberty. Help me to bless someone that needs me; keep my eyes and ears sensitive to her call. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, EMPOWER yourself by sharing with God all of your angers, fears, and disappointments and TRUST that His word will not return void.  Psalms 6:9 reminds us “The Lord heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Start seeking to encourage and EMPOWER others that may be going through what you have OVERCOME. God has given you confirmation in His word that you are already restored and healed, for His word says, “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 wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)


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.

Black Music Month Series, Contentment, Encouragement, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Pain, Trials


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!

“But Godliness with contentment is a great gain.  For we brought nothing in the world, and we can take nothing out.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.” (1Timothy 6:6 ESV)

Recently, I have experienced attacks from the enemy from every angle!  In May I got into a car collision as a result of another driver not waiting for the traffic to clear before proceeding through the stop sign.  The next day I went to the ER and found out that I have a back spasm and now must go to physical therapy twice a week for the next month.  Yesterday I got a call from my mother stating that my great uncle passed away after battling cancer for years.  Then to top it off, today I find out that my finances are getting ready to take a drastic turn for the worst as I prepare to lose some thousand dollars of my supplemental income beginning in July.  Are you serious?!  The crazy part about it is that I am STILL content in who God is in my life!

“The Lord is the refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  Those who know Your name trust in You because you have not abandoned those that seek You, Yahweh.” (Psalms 9: 9-10 ESV)

The past few weeks The Anointed Pace Sisters have randomly shuffled on my Pandora station and I have had no choice but to agree with the words.  Despite my vocal challenges, I’ve found myself singing along each time.  The truth is no matter what we have or don’t, we must learn to be happy with Jesus alone.  Ladies, God is more than enough once we get to the point that we are truly content with the relationship we have with Him.  All of those situations that I mentioned represent what I am facing in the natural but I know that He is making preparations for my prosperity in the spirit realm.  I will be honest and say that many days I have had meltdowns, but I always make it my business to follow up tears with praise so intense that I know it shakes heaven up!  The short version of this story is that I have found CONTENTMENT in the Holy Spirit and it makes all of satan’s schemes non-factors in my life.

Dear Daddy,

Whenever I begin to doubt, question, or worry about what has happened or what is to come help me to exert that energy into praising You.  Help me to remember that even the righteous may endure but in spite of it all You are still there for me.  Thank You for bringing me to the place where I have contentment in You alone.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to look past what is going on in front of you and find contentment in who God is.  Everything that you are going through is only part of your story. I don’t know about you but I have been taking detailed notes for my memoir to be released in the future!  Be Blessed! 🙂

Enjoy The Anointed Pace Sisters’ rendition of “Contentment”:


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

Anxiety, Black Music Month Series, Encouragement, Growth/Maturity, Pain, Praise/Worship, Trials

The Valley Experience

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

For the last couple of weeks, I have been in a strange place emotionally and spiritually.  Things that never bothered me before like finances, family drama, everyday issues etc. are now really getting under my skin.  I have been tossing and turning every night and when I finally awaken the next morning, I feel physically drained.  I go to church every Sunday but struggle to “feel” God’s presence as I worship and sing praises.  Whenever I get home, either from work or church (which is all I seem to really do these days), all I want to do is go to bed.

However, even during this time, I REFUSE to stop giving God glory.  In fact, it seems my worship has gone to another level. “I will bless the Lord at all times, and his praises shall continually be in my mouth…” (Psalms 34:1 KJV) I know that God has delivered me before and He WILL deliver me again.  “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.  Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence…” (Psalms 91:2-3 NIV)

I also know that God has me in this place for a reason. Whatever the purpose, I know this experience is getting me one step closer to my destiny.  “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose…” (Romans 8:28 NIV)  Because of this knowledge, I have peace, “…You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance…” (Psalms 32:7 NIV)

I want to encourage you today and let you know that for every valley that you experience, there will eventually be a mountain top experience. Of course in the valley the mountain looks insurmountable, but He is able to take elevate you back to the top. Maintain your faith as you wait for Him to move you from the valley.

Dear Daddy,

You are my God, the Lord over my life.  I am nothing without You.  You are holy and righteous.  You are sovereign and I know You have everything under control.  I submit to Your will for my life.  I submit to my valley experience.  I understand that it is necessary in order for me to be everything You called me to be.  I ask that You equip me with what I need to continue on, whether that is faith, love, wisdom, or something else.  Forgive me for the times I was not submissive, forgive me for the detours I’ve taken that has lengthened my process.  I acknowledge the times I have been my own enemy in the choices I’ve made.  I ask that You help me to persevere and not be so easily distracted.  Please deliver me from all unrighteousness.  I love You and I praise You for everything You’ve done, are doing, and for whom You are in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to be encouraged during your time in the valley. I EMPOWER you to know that a mountain top experience is in your future if you simply hold on. If you are currently going through, remember two very important things:

1)      Keep praising and worshipping God no matter how you feel: “Sing to the Lord you saints of his; praise His holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning…” (Psalms 30: 4-5 NIV)

2)      Understand there is purpose in your trial(s):  “For he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold…” (Job 23:10 NIV)

While in the valley, reflect on previous mountain top experiences with Kurt Carr’s “For Every Mountain”:



 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.”

Pain, Sin, Trials

Scar Tissue

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Scar tissue is extra tough tissue that grows in place of wounded tissue as a result of an injury, after it has healed. The purpose of scar tissue is to reinforce the injury site in hopes of preventing a wound to that tissue area again. Your body develops scar tissue as a natural reaction to a wound. I was facilitating a Physiology and Anatomy course and chatted with the students about the importance of scar tissue. I realized how God gives us physical reminders, such as scar tissue, to remind us that not only did we survive the injury, but He has set reinforcement in place to prevent re-injury. In our carnal minds, the problem with scar tissue is that it’s ugly or it may even cause a discomfort, but it always seems to remind us of the initial injury.

Sometimes scar tissue is a bad credit rating from an irresponsible financial decision, an STD from a promiscuous sexual encounter, a felony on your criminal record from a bad decision, a house note that you rushed into and can’t get out of, or a bad relationship that broke your heart and left you to pick up the pieces. As a result, you now wear the scar of hurt, bitterness, and anger. These life experiences are often things that take us back to the initial offense. They are injuries to our ego, our physical body, or our outlook. But I’m here to inform you that God has reinforced us with a helper so that we do not make these same mistakes again. His Word comforts and reminds us, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:13-17 KJV)

So although we have these scars that serve as reminders of rough injuries in our past, they are there because you are healed! Scar tissue only forms after the wound has healed. So don’t look at it as an everlasting blemish that will hinder, but as proof that you are healed! Your faith was toughened, your heart was strengthened, and wisdom lies there waiting for you to embrace her from this situation.

What makes God so awesome to me is that unlike the blemishes we see from the scars that are constant reminders of mistakes or failures, God does not hold them over our head, nor does He allow them block our future blessings. God reminds us of this in Isaiah when He says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 KJV) Furthermore, even with all of the scars I have, because of Jesus, God will see me as faultless!

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 1: 24-25 KJV)

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for the sins I have committed, those that I know of and those that I am unaware of. In the midst of this, I thank You for the scars! Thank You for teaching me the error of my ways, and although I have scars to prove it, they are reminders that You are faithful and spared me. Lord, teach me how to repent, how to grow from my mistakes, and how to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me when I’m faced with these situations again. Thank You for being my spot corrector, my healer, my counselor, my reinforcer, and my Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sistah Girl, I EMPOWER you to use your scars as a mechanism to spring you forward. Realize there is a lesson in your scar, but don’t stop there. Move forward to be a testimony to someone else.

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 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 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 Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Death, Grief, Growth/Maturity, Pain, Praise/Worship, Spiritual Therapy

When It Hurts

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Psalm 34:1 NKJV

If you have been around Christians for any length of time, I’m certain that you’ve heard this statement at least once if not many times.  It’s a powerful statement, for it declares that regardless of what may be occurring in life, you will continue to praise God.  It’s an easy declaration to make when things are going great, kind of sort of good, or okay, but what about when it hurts?  When you are disappointed, broken, distraught, delayed, empty, and seemingly defeated, can you still bless the Lord?

Saturday our congregation found itself in mourning as we lost the life of a wonderful teenager, Miles Blackwell.  When I arose on Sunday, the first thing that came to mind was, “What will worship be like?”  For the past several months, worship has been indescribable.  The presence of God has been so overwhelming that members hate missing service and Sunday worship has become a hot topic for Facebook (also referred to as Spacebook by our pastor).  How would people worship after suffering such a loss?      

As I pondered the possible shift in worship, God reminded me that worship is in order even when it hurts.  Worship is not something that we do only when “we feel like it.”  Instead, “Praise is what I do, EVEN WHEN I’M GOING THE THROUGH, I’ve learned to worship You.  I vow to praise You, through the good and the bad.  I’ll praise You, whether happy or sad.  I’ll praise You, in all that I go through, because praise is what I do.

Praising God in spite of hurt can be seen through two great characters of the bible.  In the first chapter of Job, we find that Job loses ten children and all his earthly possessions, yet he bows down to worship God (Job 1:20).  In Genesis 22, Abraham similarly worships God after being instructed to sacrifice his only son whom he loves (Genesis 22:1-5).  Here we have two men, broken, mourning, hurt, but still worshiping.

Through these men, we come to understand what Jesus means when He speaks of true worshipers.  “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:23 NKJV.  True worshipers bless the Lord even when it hurts!  It’s not enough simply to praise God when things are well.  True worship requires that we sacrifice our feelings, emotion, pride, and yes, our very lives to bless God (Romans 12:1 NLT).

Unfortunately, in this life we shall encounter mountaintops and valleys.  There will be days when blessing God will come with ease.  But, there will also be days when praising God may seem hard.  I pray that when the latter days come you remember Abraham and Job and continue to worship even when it hurts.  We certainly did!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving us the strength to worship during hard times.  When it hurts, help us to remember the One whom we worship, rather than the things that we endure.  Teach us how to bless You at all times, understanding that You are worthy of praise even when it hurts.  Father, we bless You for the wonderful God that You are.  May Your name be exalted throughout the earth.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to worship God when it hurts.  Practice blessing God not only during good times but also during times of difficulty.  God is seeking true worshipers.  I urge you to let your worship be real.

In Loving Memory of Miles Blackwell

 Read a related EmpowerMoment: Praise the Lord Anyhow!

Ms. Latasha McCrary is an active member of St. Luke Christian Church in Huntsville, AL where she serves as a Young Adult Facilitator and is training as a Life Skills Coach. She is passionate about the practice of law and views her profession as an extension of her calling to serve. Latasha firmly believes that “Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy” and is grateful for God’s continuing favor evidenced in her life. “By this I know that you favor me, because you have not let my enemies triumph over me.” (Psalms 41:11)

Encouragement, Inspirational, Pain, Trials, Trusting God, Worry

He is Still God, Even in the Plains

Now the servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Their gods are gods of the mountains, therefore they were stronger than we; but rather let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we will be stronger than they.” (1 Kings 20:23 NASB)

I had been praying and seeking God for answers but it seemed as if He didn’t hear me. I was looking through my Bible searching scriptures that would assure me that trouble doesn’t last always. I was listening to music to motivate me and to remind me that He will be with me always. I even read my EmpowerMoments trying to get motivated. Guess what, none of these things were working. It seemed as if nothing was working in my favor. The devil had really been doing his job. My family had been acting crazy. My finances were low. I have never had so many pink and red notices at the same time. I was really starting to hate my job. My baby had become more mischievous then she had ever been. Like I said, NOTHING was working in my favor.

In 1 Kings 20: 22-29, it discusses how a prophet came to the King of Israel and told him that King Aram and the Syrians were going to attack again in the plains. King Aram’s advisor told him that God was a God of the mountains because Israel won the battle on the mountains. The advisor told King Aram that they could attack Israel in the plains because their god was not a god of the plains. King Aram figured if he could get Israel to the plains then they could definitely defeat them. They were in for a surprise. The same God that allowed Israel to defeat King Aram and his army on the mountain is the same God that would allow them to win in the plains. “Just then a holy man approached the king of Israel saying, this is God’s word: Because Aram said, ‘God is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys, I’ll hand over this huge army to you. Then you’ll know that I am God.’ ” (1 Kings 20:28 MSG)

After reading that, I thought back to the times when everything was going great in my life and I could easily talk about the goodness of God. I often heard myself saying I’m connected; I definitely can get a prayer through. I was on the mountain and being on the mountain is an awesome feeling! All of my bills were paid. My family was a gift from God. My job was a blessing from God. I thought from that point I would never let my bills get behind. I would love and cherish everyone that was connected to me. I was like the children of Israel that had defeated the army on the mountain.  Then I took a trip to the valley…

I didn’t realize that the devil was trying to find another way to slip in and attack me. I knew how to get the devil off of me when I was on the mountain but when he unexpectedly tried to destroy me at my lowest point, I didn’t know what to do. Instead of my faith increasing, it decreased. I kept thinkg, “What is going to happen next?” Every time I asked that question something else happened. I quickly forgot about all the previous times that I was in the valley and God made sure I was victorious. When all those pink shut off notices were in the mail, I was trying to figure it out. When my job became a dismal and glum place to work, I tried to figured it out. God reminded me to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31: 6 NIV) God had to remind me that He is the same God when everything is going bad, that He is when I don’t have a care or worry in the world. He is the same God, even in the valley!

I felt like the Syrians, I didn’t realize I doubted God when I was in the Valley. I am guilty of thinking that God is a God of the mountains because when things were going good it was easy to praise God. The devil wanted me to believe that he could devour me at my lowest point. Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. (1 Peter 5: 8- 11 MSG)

As I reflected on my relationship with God and realized that every time I’ve been in the valley my God has brought me out. I reflected on the times that I had marriage problems, health problems, financial problems and even relationship problems and God fixed it. I realized that God is the same God, even in the plains!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for forgiving and protecting me even when I took You for granted. I thank You God for letting me know that You are the same God when things are going bad that You are when things are going great. Continue teaching me how to trust You even when it seems as if nothing is working in my favor. Lord thank You for being the same God in the valley, that You are in the mountains. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to trust God through the good and the bad. I EMPOWER you to know that if you have faith in God and believe that He can do anything but fail, you can start walking in your victory despite your circumstances. I EMPOWER you to remember that God is bigger than your valley! Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8: 37 NKJV). I EMPOWER  you to remember that God is the same God, even in the valley!

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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.”

Attitude, Encouragement, Growth/Maturity, Pain, Patience, Stress, Trusting God

The Butterfly’s Pupa

“You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 Amplified Version

Life Cycle of the Butterfly

When a caterpillar’s life cycle approaches its end a pupa (pew-pa) is formed from the belly of the caterpillar. Starting at the belly, a silk anchor is attached to a leaf or tree to affix the next structure, a pupa. In a butterfly, the pupa is called a chrysalis.  The purpose of this stage of life is to transition the caterpillar (the child like phase) to the adult phase. The chrysalis appears to be lifeless and dormant from the outside but on the inside there is a transformation taking place. The old organism is dying while new features of a more mature organism are developing. This pupae stage may last for weeks up to years, before the butterfly emerges. There is only one way the pupa can be opened and that’s by the fore limbs of a mature butterfly. Once the pupa is slit, the butterfly must squeeze out. This is a very tough process for the butterfly because the pupa is very tight; it was formed to the shape of the caterpillar. This is a very important stage; squeezing out of the pupa allows the butterfly’s blood, called haemolymph, to flow through its wings in order for it to fly. It can’t fly without being pressed.

Have you ever wondered why your life seems to be dormant, lifeless, or at a standstill? Ever wondered why it seems as though your friends are progressing and you are remaining stagnant?  You, my friend, may be in a metamorphosis. Do you feel as though God has planted something in your “belly” but yet you are not moving forward with it? Feeling stuck at the belly like a caterpillar in its pupa? I want to encourage you to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV) It is very important in this stage to wait and be patient. Emerging too early will cause the butterfly to get stuck in the silk wrapping causing it to die.

The caterpillar stage is the immature phase of the butterfly’s life cycle, but in order to become as regal as the butterfly, the caterpillar must go through the dormant phase of the pupa. On the outside, the pupa seems as though it is encasing “nothing;” however, what’s going on in the inside is growth and maturation. God is developing your character and cleaning your heart. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (Romans 5:3-4 ESV)

Or maybe you are in the process of your breakthrough. God has been working behind the scenes and now the press is really beginning to hurt, it’s squeezing you, just like the emergence out of the pupa. This stage is necessary because without the “squeezing action” your wings will not be equipped to fly. 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)

At the end of this complicated life cycle, a beautiful butterfly emerges. The butterfly is an organism made by God that many of us marvel over its beauty and grace but we often forget about the stages that occurred prior to the display of this beautiful creature. Blessed is the man (woman) who remains steadfast under trial, for when he (she) has stood the test he (she) will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

I come to You sincerely and humbly praying to You during my “pupa” phase. Only You know which stage I am in, but God help me to delight in it. Help me to wait cheerfully. As I continue through this phase help me to remember that this dormant phase is not dormant at all, but You are developing me. At the edge of my breakthrough, help me to remember that although it may hurt, the “squeeze” is necessary. Above all things, help me to remember that You will never leave me, nor forsake me. In Jesus’  Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to rest in the power and assurance that God is developing you. Be confident in knowing that the trials you face are necessary for your butterfly period. My prayer is just as the butterfly shows no sign of struggle or pain that you emerge in the same way.

Another note: By nature, butterflies typically emerge in the morning, just after the night.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Pain Before Pleasure

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 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 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 Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian ChurchCheck out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.