Black Music Month Series, Contentment, Gratefulness, Praise/Worship, Thanksgiving

My God is Awesome!

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!

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8 KJV).

As I prayed and pondered about how I would start Black Music Month off, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said give God some praise.

As I am entering the sixth month of 2012 I can’t help but reflect on my life. Of course the first thing I thought of was the struggles. I thought about all of the things that have not been according to my plan. While I was thinking negatively, “Awesome” by Charles Jenkins and Fellowship came on. It moved me to tears because despite what I felt or despite what I’ve been through my God is awesome!

I thought a little further and yes, my husband and I have had some struggles and issues but God has sustained us and by His grace and mercy we are still together. My God is great!

Awesome is defined as inspiring awe, showing or characterized by awe. The slang definition is very impressive. What a great way to describe my awesome God! He just keeps on awing me!

Yes, my finances have not been what I’m used to having but God saw fit for me to have exactly what I need and many of my luxuries. My God is a provider! “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

Yes, my so called friends and family have turned their backs on me, but God is able. I have not been lonely because God has been right there. My God is a friend! “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18: 24 NASB)

Yes, my job has not been everything that I have wanted it to be, but I am employed and I am grateful. I have stood in the storm and God has blessed me with increase. “The master said, well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25: 23 NLT)

This year I went to the doctor and found out I weighed more than when I was pregnant. Wow, right?! Being overweight is a sickness, but my God is a healer! As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one (Luke 4: 40 NLT)

Yes, someone broke in my house and violated me and my family and the part that really surprised me was that our insurance claim was DENIED. But, my God is a protector! “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalms 18:2 NASB)

My God is Awesome/He can move mountains/Keep me in the valley/Hide me from the rain/My God is Awesome/Heals me when I’m broken/Strength where I’ve been weakened/ Forever He will reign…

The next time I feel like nagging and complaining about what should of, could of, would of happened, I am going to remember that my God is awesome!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for being an Awesome God! I thank You God for being everything I need You to be, even when I don’t deserve it. Please God continue to be my provider, my healer, my deliverer and my friend. I’m destined to be great with an Awesome Daddy like You!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Awesome Women of God, I EMPOWER you to know that you are awesome and amazing because your Daddy is awesome. Instead of complaining, give God some praise. The highest praise is Hallelujah. Tell God hallelujah for saving you, for healing you, for protecting you and for providing for you. The next time you feel as if life is getting the best of you remember our God is awesome!

As Black Music Month begins, remind yourself how awesome God is with Charles Jenkins and Fellowship:

Share your story with us below about how awesome God is in your life.

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Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor 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.”

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God's Protection, Praise/Worship, Trials

Praise Before You Pout

At the age of 12, my mother and I were in the grocery store parking lot at night. A man came up behind us pointing a pistol saying, “You know what I want, give it up.” While he pretended to help us load our groceries, my mother scrambled through her purse to come up with a small amount of money, maybe $30. He took the money and left. As soon as we got into the car my mother burst into a crazy praise. I don’t think I have ever heard her scream and shout so loudly. I was in tears and all she kept saying was “Thank You God, thank You God, You are awesome and worthy…” and so on. As an adult, I look back on that situation to find out how powerful that moment was. Her first reaction was to praise, not to pout! Later once the offender was caught, we found out that not only was he high on crack cocaine but the gun was loaded and cocked! She could have praised later, but she praised in advance!

Let’s appraise ourselves. When we are faced with a traumatic event, of any intensity, do we praise immediately, or do we wait until the event has passed and we see a favorable outcome?

There is one thing that separates us from being able to praise immediately opposed to waiting for the outcome. FAITH! You really have to believe what God’s Word says in order to praise before you pout. I remember harsh break ups with guys that I just knew were “the one”, finding that at the end of the day my money was not going to stretch to the next day, or receiving a pink slip from a job that I felt was the pinnacle of my career. I grew in the Lord and in His Word and realized that I should have praised at the onset of each of those situations. I would have been much happier and less stressed and depressed.

This is what allows me to praise at the onset of disaster and rejoice in the Lord in every situation:

  1. I BELIEVE with ALL of my heart and soul that: “All things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
  2. I BELIEVE with every limb of my body that: “In him we were also chosen,having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12 NIV
  3. I BELIEVE with all that I have in His Word. “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV

Praise cannot be your first reaction if you do not seriously believe God’s Word. Instead you will find yourself scared, fearful, and worried about situations in your life. Don’t mistake me, I’m not a carefree person and I am no stranger to doubt or deep concern; but I have to pull myself together quickly! I desire to rid myself of stress and anxiety. I practice being a good steward over the things God has given me — my marriage, my job, my finances, my children, and my opportunities — and that takes work. Ultimately, I believe that if I walk by faith, God will take care of every want and need. He will sustain me when I feel that I am falling. He will restore me when I feel that I am empty. Therefore, because of faith, I can praise at the brink of tragedy. I don’t have to wait until the outcome occurs. I know that God loves me and He wants the absolute best for me.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for moving some things out of my way, even when I perceived them as failures. When tragedy hits, I have to admit, my first reaction is not to praise, but that is because I forget that Your Word is true. You told me that ALL things work out for my GOOD. So God, please help me to remember this when he walks out on me, when I lose my job, or when I can’t seem to keep my head above water. Please help me to remember that You will work out EVERYTHING. I just need to stay faithful to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sistah Girl, I EMPOWER you to trust God with the issues you face and praise Him before you pout. I dare you to praise God for your situation. If you really need God, really want Him close, praise Him in advance! Not only will He show up, but He will give you the desires of your heart.

What encourages you to praise before you pout? Share it with us by commenting below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Praise the Lord Anyhow

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

Commitment, Faithfulness, Honesty/Truth, Praise/Worship

What Are You Really In This For?

I attended a Christian poetry set recently.  One of the poems recited basically asked the question, “What if you got to heaven and you found everything you ever wanted and saw everyone you wanted to see there…except God?  Would you still want to be there?”

It took me back and made me really ponder the question, “Katrina, what are you REALLY in this for?”  There’s a popular song that says, “If the Lord never does anything else for me, he’s done enough!”  When we really think about that statement, do our hearts really feel that way? 

I had to admit that at times, I have had the wrong idea of what my life is all about.  Many times I have emphasized being saved so I can go to heaven, when my real purpose is to glorify God.  We were created for worship…PERIOD.

I had to repent for my selfish way of thinking.  “…and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me, whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10: 38-39 NIV) I was so focused on getting to heaven and getting what I want God to bless me with, that I was missing the mark.  If I continued like this, I would never gain what I desire because at its root, my heart was self-serving.  My primary goal, instead, should have been and IS now, working to give glory to God and build His kingdom.  “…Seek ye first [wholeheartedly] the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you…” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

I love You so much!  I thank You for who You are in my life and how much You love me!  I cannot thank You enough for how You take care of me.  I deeply appreciate how You hold me and never let me go in spite of all my issues.  Lord, forgive me for the times I took on a selfish spirit in which my relationship with You became more about what You were doing for me.  Lord, I ask that You give me a Job anointing. No matter what, I never want to stop loving and serving You.  I want to continue to draw closer to You. Lord, help me to increase my love more and more every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you reflect on the following questions: “What if you knew that regardless of how much you praised, worshipped, and served God in your life, you were still going to receive your due payment for the sins you have committed? (meaning you would still go to hell)  Would you still follow Christ?”

Feel free to answer the questions in our comment section below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: When “Church” Wears Off

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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.”

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)

Finances, Gratefulness, Health/Sickness, Inspirational, Praise/Worship, Stress, Trials

Get Up and Dance!

Let’s face it. The holiday season is supposed to be jolly, hopeful, fun, and filled with moments of joy with friends and family. But the reality is that along with this intention, the truths of this year’s events often settle here. You all of a sudden realize you are cuddling up by your fireplace without a companion or you miss your loved one dearly who passed away earlier this year or even 7 years ago. As January approaches, you realize the goals you set forth are nowhere near being completed, or started in some cases. Quite frankly, you just feel overwhelmed with the financial pressures of trying to decide to purchase gifts or tithe, or to skip your car payment to try and visit your family members.

I’m reminded through various instances in the Bible where situations seemed quite grim, but these biblical role models chose to make the best out of their situations. Let’s first look at Ruth. The interesting thing about this story is it begins when Ruth is mourning the death of her husband. But throughout her misery she made a life changing decision. She told her mother in law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16 NIV) They settled into a new country, just at the beginning of the harvest season. Now what’s interesting here is that just when Ruth was faced with the death of her husband and painfully close to being sent away by the only woman that cared for her, she pressed through, dusted herself off and entered into a new land…just when the harvest was beginning, and she didn’t even know it. The story goes on to mention how she was blessed from the remnants of the harvest and met a husband. What if she decided to call it quits in the midst of her pity party? She wouldn’t have experienced the harvest.

Let’s look at the woman with the issue of blood. “A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:24-29 NIV) Now I don’t know about you, but twelve years of bleeding could definitely weigh on my faith and my strength to be the least bit optimistic about being healed. But she made a decision. She thought if she could just touch the hem of His cloak, she would be healed. She got up, traveled, fought the crowds and made it to Jesus. “He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34 NIV) Now, what if she decided to call it quits in the midst of her pity party? She wouldn’t have experienced her healing.

So what do you do now? What do you do when you have decided to keep going for Jesus, even in the midst of sorrow and pain? You praise!! I am reminded of David and the Ark of God. I am so blessed by this story because David praised so hard that his wife started hating on him. “As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.” (2 Samuel 6:16 NIV)  But David knew that God was in control of his life, his blessings, and his future. He praised, not when the Ark got there, but when the ark was on its way. David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD.  I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (2 Samuel 6:21-22 NIV)

I want to encourage you to praise on your way to your harvest and on your way to your healing. You may get hated on, but I dare you to be bold and do like David, Get up and DANCE!!

Dear Daddy,

For every woman reading this EmpowerMoment, I pray that You empower them through this holiday season and remind us that this is the season to celebrate the goodness of life You have blessed us with. Help us to find joy in giving and strength in enjoying the smiles and love of those around us. Help us not to focus on the things we don’t have, but the abundance You have already given us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to get up and dance! Dance out of your misery, your pain, your anguish, your loneliness, and insecurities. John 8:36 NIV reminds us, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” You are free from these things that bind you. Dance and let the liberation of God carry you through!

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.

Gratefulness, Praise/Worship

I Can’t Help Myself

For the past month, our congregation has been studying Exploring Worship by Bob Sorge.  Since beginning our study, God has continuously poured revelations into me addressing one central question—Why worship?   Of all the gods and things that I could potentially praise and worship, why worship this God?  Aside from being commanded to do so, the conclusion that I have reached is that I just can’t help myself.

Ladies, I’m sure you’ve experienced the sensation of not being able to help yourself.  You know the feeling of going through the grocery aisle and not being able to resist those cookies that you swore to cut out of your diet.  Or maybe you went to the mall and, even though you didn’t plan to, you came out with an extra dress or pair of shoes that you just couldn’t pass up.  Well, the feeling of praise and worship can be very much like that.  At times, I have found that, whether in my car, office, or among non-believers, I just can’t help myself.  As one songstress wrote: “When I think of the goodness of Jesus and all that He’s done for me, my soul cries out hallelujah!” 

When I reflect, even momentarily, on the good things that God has done, I can’t help but praise Him.  When I consider His goodness, an automatic response arises within me.  Sometimes tears begin to flow; sometimes words of adoration are expressed; sometimes hands are lifted in honor or testimony is shared in exaltation.  Either way, I can’t help but respond.  It is an overwhelming, yet intellectual, feeling that manifests itself in expression.  When my soul cries out, something within me responds to the great God that I serve. 

When I think of how He keeps providing my needs even though the finances don’t add up—I just can’t help myself!

When I think of how He delivered me from that sin that was so hard to let go—I just can’t help myself!

When I think of how He heals so much illness despite bad reports—I just can’t help myself!

When I think of how He gives me peace in the middle of life’s storm—I just can’t help myself!

When I think of how He says yes when men consistently say no—I just can’t help myself!

When I consider how He shed His blood on Calvary to cleanse me from my sin—I just can’t help myself!

So, when I’m asked “Why do I praise this God,” I must admit I JUST CAN’T HELP MYSELF!!

Dear Daddy,

“I will bless Your name at all times and Your praise will continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1 KJV).  Just the mere thought of how great You are ignites my soul in praise.  When I consider the mighty works of Your hands, I can’t help but magnify Your name.  You are such an awesome God!  Help me always to respond with an awesome praise.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to release yourself in praise.  Consider the great things that God has done in your life and witness the automatic nature of praise and worship.  Whether in your office, car, or in the comfort of your home, I EMPOWER you to fearlessly respond to God in a manner that reflects His awesome works.

An INCREDIBLE God deserves INCREDIBLE praise!

It affects men too! Continuing with our Breast Cancer Awareness Month celebration, today we would like to educate you on some men’s reality. By the end of this year, an estimated 2,140 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Of that number, about 450 will die from the disease.  Because it is generally a condition that is associated with women, men are less likely to notice abnormalties in the breast tissue and if they do notice, are often embarrassed by the findings. Similar to women, early detection is key. Encourage the men in your life to see their health care professional if they notice any lumps or changes in their breasts. Find more information about how this disease is affecting men at the American Cancer Society.  Ladies, let’s help take care of the fellas in our lives!

If you haven’t done so already, click here to enter our Breast Cancer Awareness contest for this month!

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, God, Inspirational, Praise/Worship, Prayer, Relationships, Self-Control

When “Church” Wears Off…

Sunday 12:00 p.m.: “Oh My God!!” *wiping tears and blowing nose* “That was such an awesome message!  God really spoke through Pastor today.  I have truly had an encounter with God. I am FREE!! I’ve been DELIVERED!! My life will NEVER be the same!!”

Wednesday 3:00 p.m.:  “What did I just do? Why do I keep doing this?  What is wrong with me?  I know better; why do I keep making the same mistakes??”

More times than I can remember, this has been my experience.  I got to the point where I asked myself, “What happened?  Didn’t I have an awesome church service Sunday?  What about my encounter with God?”  I even asked myself, “Was it real?  Was I really laid out on the altar? I cried my eyes out! I felt so free when I got out of church!  WHAT HAPPENED? How did I get caught up in this foolishness AGAIN?”

I prayed and asked God what was happening; I KNEW I loved God and I really wanted to live a life that was pleasing to Him.  I desired to live in His perfect will.  I went to church every Sunday and got a word that spoke directly to me!  EVERY Sunday, I really meant it when I said I am going to stop doing this or that and I am going to start doing something God wanted me to do.  The rest of Sunday I was good.  Monday and Tuesday I was alright, but around Wednesday I started tripping!  Thursday, I went to bible study so that carried me Friday but Saturday, I was tripping again.  WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?? Why couldn’t I get this right??

God led me to Matthew 13, The Parable of the Sower.  As I read I came to the scripture that fit my plight, “…some [seed] fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.  It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and they withered because they had no ROOT…” Matthew 13:5-6 NIV

Honestly, after reading this scripture I was slightly offended!  “What do you mean I have no root??”  I am saved, sanctified, I speak in tongues etc. etc.  When I got done with all of my grandstanding I had to take a VERY honest look at my walk with God.  After looking at myself I saw a not so pretty picture.  The only time I really spent with God was at church.  I did not really pray for more than a minute or so in the morning if that and I said grace with every meal and that summed up my prayer life.  Studying the Bible on a daily basis was a non-existent practice in my life unless I was trying to find something specific.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, “No wonder you keep falling, you have NO STRENGTH!!”  “…man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God…”Matthew 4:4 NIV

My spirit was only being fed once a week so of course my soil was very shallow because it lacked nutrition.  As a human, if you only eat once a week you will be VERY weak physically and you will fall prey to all kinds of ailments; the same is so for your spiritual self.  With this revelation, I sought God to help me to grow spiritually in Him which meant not only spending more time with Him in prayer and personal worship but also learning how to feed myself daily through studying the Word of God.  I am not where God wants me to be but I’m steadily moving toward being a Matthew 13:23 Christian, “…one who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.” MSG

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for consistently answering Your little girls when we call to You.  Thank You being honest and direct with us while also continuing to love us unconditionally.  We love You and thank You for Your continued faithfulness and true dedication to making us everything You desire for us to be.  We ask that You continue to renew us everyday and not let us be carried away by the emotionalism of church that we lose sight of what church is really for– not to tickle our emotions but to draw us closer and closer to You and make us more and more like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to keep the fire burning in your souls.  Don’t let it fizzle out only to be reignited next Sunday.  I encourage you to do the following three things to keep the fire burning:

1)      PRAY – Prayer is a conversation with God.  I recently read an article called “Five Minutes That Could Save Your Marriage” which discussed how just having a casual face-to-face conversation with your spouse for 5 minutes each day could work wonders for your marriage.  How much more is the SAVIOUR of our SOULS entitled to? And how it will deeply grow your relationship with God!

2)      STUDY THE WORD – We must feed ourselves DAILY in order to be spiritually strong and fight the things the devil throws at us (see Ephesians 6:10-18)

3)      BE VIGILANTE – We all know the areas in which we struggle. Yes, we are to be bold in the Lord but don’t go playing in the enemy’s camp.  A well-known quote says, “If you keep knocking on the devil’s door, somebody is gonna answer you!”  If you know that you struggle with fornication with a certain person, why are you answering his phone call/text message?  If you know you struggle with drinking, why are you at the club?  REMEMBER, the devil doesn’t play fair!

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.”