Assignment, Evangelism, Salvation

1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners– of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV)

I read this verse and immediately knew what it meant. My story and the issues I have on a daily basis in my own personal life, I can use to share with others. I know the twists and turns we all experience in life, and I understand that we all are born sinners who must accept Jesus Christ and build a relationship with Him for ourselves. I have encountered people from all different walks of life and instead of judging them or avoiding them, I have decided to take the time to get to know them and listen to their life stories.

After allowing God to direct me and explain things to me, I’ve decided to complete my pursuit of a psychology degree. For what has turned into years, I have debated whether to major in education or psychology. I love children and would love to be a teacher but even more, I love getting to know people on a personal level and offering them support in the right direction. Thank God I now know the direction in which He is leading me.

I’m not afraid to admit my faults and share my story in hopes of helping someone. When I shared my life (read No Truth Without Hurt) with everyone a couple of months ago, I knew in my heart someone would be blessed. About two weeks ago, at the doctor’s office, a lady who also heard my story shared with me how she was blessed and encouraged to allow God to have His way even more in her life. That alone was a blessing to me and in return encouraged me to do the same. In order for God to speak to me and lead me in the right direction, He had to humble me. I’m so glad He did. Because he humbled me, I was able to be obedient and in return was blessed.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for YOU. Thank You for allowing Your son Jesus to come to earth and sacrifice himself for our sins. Thank You for Your reminders of who we once were and who we are now. Thank You for humility. Thank you for the courage to share our testimonies with others and possibly helping someone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to keep 1 Timothy 1:15 in mind daily.

Have you turned your tests into testimonies to share with others?

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 Bettina Allen is currently working in security, with prior experience in customer service. She loves to read, write and dance. She loves God and is on a mission to be as close to Him as she possibly can. Bettina is constantly learning and growing from life’s experiences. God has given Bettina a word and she would love to share that word, along with all of the lessons He has taught her, with others. Bettina resides in Georgia and attends Life Church of Atlanta. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Evangelism, Salvation

Lost

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?  (Luke 15:4 NLT)

This Saturday I watched Abducted: The Carlina White Story on the Lifetime Channel.  It was a movie based on the actual events of an African-American baby girl being abducted from a New York hospital in 1987.  Carlina White was kept and raised by her abductor, and never knew who she was until she was becoming a mother herself.  She was reunited with her biological parents 23 years later and the story didn’t end there.  Hey, but you have to watch it to learn the rest of this true story.

Watching this movie made me sad, angry, and bewildered as to how someone could actually abduct someone else’s child, causing so much pain for the child’s loved ones.  I also reflected on the fact that there are countless men, women, and children that are missing today and their families have not yet received the words, “we have found your loved one.”  Some families will never hear those words.  It saddens my heart.

Watching Find Our Missing on the TV One channel and other shows dedicated to solving missing person cases have really caught my attention.  Not knowing if your loved one is being trafficked, walking around with no sense of who they are, or has been murdered has got to be one of the most difficult things to experience.  So, my heart goes out to the missing persons’ families.  A while ago, they had an article on African-American missing persons and I kept the article.

Why?

I pull that article, with the photos and names of the listed missing, out every now and then and I pray for each person and their families.  I don’t know whether they are alive or dead, but I want their families to have justice and closure.  I couldn’t imagine going through what those families go through and not knowing.  Their loved ones are lost.

Thinking of the missing persons helps me to remember that there are people who are also ‘lost in the world’.  There are countless people who never made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior.  There are people, who if they died today, will have no closure as to whether they are going to heaven or hell and there is a way you can know for sure.

So if that is you or someone you know, know that if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)   If you sincerely believed what you read, know that you were lost and in a place where only God’s Son could free you from the reign of sin and eternal death, and you confessed this with your mouth, praise God!  We have found our loved one!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being mindful of us all.  I know You see the pain that many face regarding their missing loved ones and unsaved loved ones.  Thank You that You are omniscient and know the whereabouts of each person and the hearts of all mankind.  I thank You Lord for Your unfailing love and that You are a God of justice and hope.  I pray that You bring Your peace and justice to these families and give them Your grace to make it another day and another day and another day and not give up on receiving closure.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to pray with me for these missing persons and their families as well as our unsaved family, friends and coworkers.  If you also know someone who has a missing loved one, be there for them in how God instructs you to. 

To learn more about missing persons and how you can help please visit: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children http://missingkids.com and The FBI Missing Persons site www.fbi.gov/wanted/kidnap

Read a related EmpowerMoment: She is Me: Lydia

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write!  Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program.  She help assists Chicago public high school students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college.  She, like many of her students, is the first of her family to graduate from college.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English-Professional & Technical Writing.  God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a Compassion Person and Encourager and so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better thru her support, actions and writing.  Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Anxiety, Evangelism, Grief, Relationships, Salvation, Self Forgiveness, Word of God, Worry

Kicked Even When You’re Down

When I saw my ex-boyfriend’s number pop up on the caller ID, I was prepared to tell him that I would call him back after I completed my homework. However, I was not given that opportunity. After saying hello, I realized that it was his sister calling to tell me that he had passed away a couple of hours ago. At that very moment everything around me seemed surreal including the phone call. I just knew that it was a cruel joke and in a second someone would jump out and scream “GOTCHA!” Instead, my heart instantly grew heavy because I was uncertain as to how to handle a loss of this magnitude.

I told the story last year of dealing with the losses of both my grandmothers five months apart, but for some reason dealing with the death of someone that I grew to love was totally different. The pain seemed to be a thousand times stronger and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Was it because at points in our relationship I loved him more than God and myself? Or maybe because I told him on many occasions I would pray for him and didn’t? Perhaps, I felt guilty that I didn’t discuss God enough with him? Or better yet, I was uncertain of where he would spend eternity…

All of these questions, concerns, and emotions came to surface over the next couple of days after hearing of his death. I would go from being so happy to feeling so defeated in my Christianity because I lost someone I loved and was so confused about what lied ahead of him. The devil began attacking my thoughts every chance possible by forcing me to question who I was in the body of Christ to allow something like this to transpire. I mean how can I, an intricate part of the intake of new members at my church, fail to offer salvation to someone that I have known for years. From that Sunday until that following Saturday at the service, I went back and forth with the enemy giving in to those outlandish thoughts on many occasions because it was hard to immediately cast those thoughts down. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

It was at the home-going, that I received confirmation from my ex-boyfriend’s aunt that I would indeed see him again in eternity. During her words of encouragement, she stated that she prayed with him before he passed and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I was extremely overjoyed and found myself screaming “HALLELUJAH” and weeping hysterically. The very thing that the enemy was using to place me in a state of mild depression over the past few days was canceled immediately as she declared those words in the atmosphere. Not only did I feel better knowing that he was present with the Lord, but I was instantly released from the bondage that the enemy was attempting to attach to me. My praise session ended up having a dual meaning that gave God all the glory that He was due! For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. (Lamentations 3:31-32 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing up right when I am at my breaking point. Things that take place in the natural can cause me to give into the enemy’s ploy, but that is when You show me that You are always in control. Help me to stay aware of the attempts from the devil when I am in my most vulnerable state. Keep my ears, eyes, and heart alert at all times, but most important, keep me guarded with Your Word, love, and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to be aware of the devil’s efforts to take us out every chance that he gets or better yet every chance we give. “The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) Times of trouble, distress, mourning, etc. are the game winning moments for the enemy, but it is up to us to declare a victory for Team JESUS! Have a BLESSED week! ☺

Share with us your God-led victories over the devil’s tricks, traps and plans to derail you in any way.

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

Attitude, Children, Growth/Maturity, Relationships, Salvation, Sin

Time Waits For No One

In 11 days my son will be starting kindergarten. I’m trying to figure out where time went. I remember him doing karate kicks in my belly. Now in just a few days we will be holding hands as I walk him into his kindergarten class. He’s super excited and I’m excited that he’s growing up and experiencing life as a big “little” boy. At this point he is blind as to what the real world is about. We shield our children from this because we want them to focus on being happy and feeling loved. Even at the young age of 5, it’s important for my son to understand who God is. He should understand that he can trust God, and that the blood of Jesus has set us free.

As I teach my son what my mother taught me, it makes me realize how the corruption of this world made me lose track of how to trust God and believe that He will do just what He said He would do. Instead, I wasted precious time leaning on my own understanding, worrying, breaking God’s heart with my sins and not believing in His word. I’ve heard my pastor say, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.”  This is so true. That’s why it’s important for us to keep our hearts and mind on Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

I see how quickly my son is growing up before my eyes and I want to do nothing but experience and cherish every moment with him. I can’t help but to think that is what God sees in us. He sees us growing with Him or growing away from Him. God’s grace is succifficent, but God will not wait forever for us to get it together. Time waits for no one. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert. (Mark 14:33 NLT)

Watching my son grow I understand how important it is for our relationships to continue to be strong. For my father in Heaven, my relationship should be unconditional. God is so good to me, to my family and all of my friends. I love God so much. Although I’ve made some mistakes, He loves me like no one else. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

I love You and I’m grateful for Your grace and mercy. You’ve been with me through the good and the bad. I know You’re not through with me yet, because You are shaping me to be more than I can imagine. Thank You for Your guidance and Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to believe that today is the best day of your life, cherish it and do not waste time. God is waiting on you because He loves you just that much.

Are you certain that if your number was called today, you would be ready to go home and live with God?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: You Must Click Submit Before the Deadline

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Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.” She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry. Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service. She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden. Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation. Her favorite scripture is Hebrews 11:6: “And without Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to Him must BELIEVE that He exists and that He REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him.”

Evangelism, Gentleness, Growth/Maturity, Mentoring, Miscellaneous, Salvation

Put That Bible Down!

Now that I have your attention, the title of this blog was a lesson I learned when I found myself trying to minister to unbelievers. I remember becoming upset and frustrated, and feeling mocked and disrespected because I was “pushing” the Bible on someone that 1) had no clue of my scripture references and 2) became upset because I was judging them by statutes in, to them, a foreign language.

I grew up learning the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV) When I became serious about my Christian walk, I took this charge to heart. But I went about things in the wrong way.

When faced with friends and family members that didn’t believe the Word of God, enjoyed challenging the Word of God, or desired to mock the Word of God, I would find myself in a series of heated discussions that resulted in nothing. The outcomes were not prosperous. When I would see a friend delving into wayward ways such as drug addictions, gossiping, lying and the like, I would try to “encourage” them by sharing God’s scriptures and how He saved me. But yet again, my approach made them feel little. What I’ve come to learn is sharing scriptures with someone who does not know what they mean is like teaching grammar in German to a class of English speaking children. It’s fruitless and both parties become irritated.

By all means, I do not mean put your Bible away, because in order to reach those that are lost, you MUST know God’s Word and hide it in your heart so that you know how to react under all circumstances. But we have to be mindful of our approach. Hell is irrelevant to someone that has no spiritual knowledge of it. So telling someone they are going to hell for sinning does not reach the heart. In the book of Colossians we learn: Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NIV) When faced with unbelievers and in a quest to encourage our brothers and sisters in the way of Christ, we have to be wise, living examples. Again, this means we have to KNOW the Word so that we can LIVE the Word and in turn encourage others to be imitators of Christ, by our actions.

Learning to take the “Faith Walk” approach, opposed to the “Slap them with the Bible” approach, I’ve had people ask me, “Well how do you forgive people the way you do?” “How do you love so and so the way you do?” What this tells me is that if I can imitate Christ, when unbelievers inquire then I can introduce them to Christ and gracefully and compassionately guide them to establishing their own relationship with Him. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “actions speak louder than words”? People will look at your actions before they listen to what you say. If they see you survive trials, not judge them in their mess, love them in kindness and patience, and speak power and encouragement in all things, I guarantee they will question that “something” you have. This is when the opportunity to introduce Christ presents itself.

My title may seem a tad harsh, but my point is this: We can reach those that are lost by our lifestyle and our actions. Condemning unbelievers with scripture rarely leaves either party encouraged. But if you can hide God’s Word in your heart, live it out loudly, and love them as God teaches us to, the opportunity will present itself for them to inquire about the love of God and you can then witness to them through wisdom and compassion.

Remember this: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9 NIV) Therefore, do not argue with unbelievers, you may miss an opportunity to witness to them and those around them. It is not about you; to God be the glory.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for revealing to me that You are love (1 John 4:8) and that love is an action (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) I must live out. Teach me how to love those that appear to be lost just as Jesus did and speak to them kindly, with respect, and out of compassion. When the time presents itself, help me to be ready to introduce them to a relationship with You for Your Word promises me, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32 KJV) In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be an imitator of Christ. Do not allow your family members, friends, or strangers to cause you to misrepresent Christ due to becoming frustrating by their lack of belief. Instead, stand firm on your belief, “show” them Christ in your graceful and humble walk, and they will soon see for themselves that Jesus is the answer.

Do you have a hard time evangelizing to others because you turn them off with Bible bashing? Have you been able to meet people where they are to introduce them to Christ? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Remember Where You Came From

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

Jesus, Righteousness, Salvation, She is Me Series, Sin

She is Me: Lydia

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER youCheers to being a WOMAN!

In Need of a COMPLETE Makeover

For much of my childhood, I attended church either with my mother or my grandmother. At the age of 13, I was baptized and it seemed like I had arrived to my spiritual destination. I loved going to church for the ‘feeling’ and chills that the experience gave me and that was pretty much the depth of my spirituality. Over the course of my teenage years, I learned to pray and carried that practice away to college with me. I learned what it meant to worship God and made sure that was a part of my life as well. So, I was praying to God, worshipping Him, going to church and doing extremely well in school. Surely, God was well pleased with my life, right?! Well maybe He would have been if all of those wonderful things weren’t diluted with drunkenness, promiscuity, fornication, drugs, lies, hatred, bitterness, spitefulness, revenge—this list could go on for several miles. I had a form of godliness, but it was not pleasing to God. Here is where Lydia’s world meets mine.

And on the Sabbath day we went outside the [city’s] gate to the bank of the river where we supposed there was an [accustomed] place of prayer, and we sat down and addressed the women who had assembled there.

One of those who listened to us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a dealer in fabrics dyed in purple. She was [already] a worshiper of God, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (Acts 16:13-15 AMP)

From this short passage of scripture, we can tell that Lydia knew and worshipped God just like me. She was at a prayer meeting, so prayer was definitely a part of her lifestyle similar to mine. She also made an acceptable living by selling fine textiles; likewise, I’ve always excelled in school and held great jobs. With such an awesome resume`, what was she missing? Why were we so much alike?  Well, the fact that God had to open her heart to receive Paul’s message indicates that she obviously hadn’t accepted Jesus and allowed His Spirit to reside there…and neither had I. How do I know? Long before Jesus made His earthly appearance, God made a promise to mankind: I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36-25-27 NIV) If His Spirit were residing INSIDE of me, change would have been evident. Both Lydia and I had a form of godliness but had been denying the power of Jesus (See 2 Timothy 3:5).

It doesn’t tell us exactly what Paul shared with Lydia on the riverbank, but I can imagine that it was similar to what he had preached before: “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus…Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:32-33, 38)

Praise God that our stories did not end before we really knew Jesus! Shortly before graduating college, God truly opened my heart to receive the changing power of His Spirit. I confessed, again, that Jesus would be Lord over my life and that time I truly meant it! My family was changed as a result of my change and so it was with Lydia. “And when she was baptized along with her household, she earnestly entreated us, saying, If in your opinion I am one really convinced [that Jesus is the Messiah and the Author of salvation] and that I will be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay. And she induced us [to do it]… So [Paul and Silas] left the prison and went to Lydia’s house; and when they had seen the brethren, they warned and urged and consoled and encouraged them and departed.” (Acts 16:15,40 AMP) Not only were Lydia and her family saved, but she opened her home so that Paul and Silas could proclaim the Gospel there. It’s amazing to understand just how much of an impact Lydia’s acceptance to the Gospel had on multitudes of other people. Your obedience and willingness to accept Jesus’ transformative power in your life is connected to so many other people’s destinies!

Ladies, consider this a warning alarm! It’s time to get serious and stop playing church. Yes, your outward appearance may resemble Jesus, but are you sure that you are truly a joint heir to God’s treasures? If you cannot answer yes to that question, it’s not too late for you! He has given you another day to make it right. Jesus is waiting with open arms to greet you. He welcomed Lydia and I with our distorted, self-righteous views and I know that He will welcome you too!

To welcome Jesus into your heart, read the following prayer aloud:

Dear Daddy,

I recognize that I am a mess and that I have messed up. I ask that You forgive me for the things that I have done that were not pleasing to You. Forgive me for the things that I realize were sins and even those that I did not realize were sins. I believe that Jesus died specifically for me, but on the third day He rose again. By that belief alone, I am saved. I ask that You soften my heart to Your Spirit that now dwells inside of me. I want to be made into a new creature. I want to be more and more like you each day. Thank You for this gift of salvation! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

If you said this prayer, we are excited and would love to hear from you! Click here to contact us.

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to let Jesus give you a complete makeover! It’s not enough just to ‘look’ like Him; ask for the complete package that includes making you act, think, speak and walk like Him!

Get your FREEBIES! Click here to enter!

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

Evangelism, Mentor/Mentee, Salvation, Teacher/Student

My Divine Opportunity

I recently started a unit on power with my freshmen World Studies class.  In order to introduce the concept and help them to define it, I used the following short poem:

I took my power in my hand

And went AGAINST the world

‘Twas not so much as David had

But I was twice as bold

I aimed my pebble, but myself

Was ALL the one that fell

Was it Goliath was too large

Or was myself too small?

–Emily Dickinson

As soon as the student finished reading the poem, I heard, “Who is David? Who is Goliath?”  I was actually surprised!  I knew that many of my students were “un-churched,” but I thought the story of David and Goliath was just known by everyone whether they went to church or not.

DIVINE OPPORTUNITY!!  I took it and ran with it.  I told the students the story of David and Goliath and then had them tell me why the author alluded to that particular story in the poem.  Not only did they completely understand the poem after my explanation of the story but they were also able to come up with a working definition of individual power.

The icing on the cake was how the students applied the lesson to their lives that DAY! The poem compares Goliath to the world.  I asked the students, “Who or what is your Goliath?”  Their answers ran the gamut from Math Class to marijuana to anger.  After class throughout the next couple of days, students would see me in the hallway and say, “Ms. Richard, I’m going to fight my Goliath; I’m ‘bout to pass this Math test!” or “Ms. Richard, I fought my Goliath today, I was about to cuss somebody out but I walked away!”

I am so excited about the new directions my students are taking and pray that God continues to draw them toward Him.  I had prepared an entirely different lesson that day but God took what I prepared in a different direction.  “…To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue…” (Proverbs 16:1 NIV)

Above everything else, God has mandated us to, “…Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation…” (Mark 15:16 NIV)  Many times we take this as we must become a missionary and go to Africa or stand on the street corner and pass out tracts. While that is the ministry of some it is NOT mine!  We must seek out and be open to the opportunities that God gives us to minister wherever we find ourselves.  Whether that is school, work, or even in the grocery store.  “…The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise…” (Proverbs 11:30 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the opportunity You have given us to share Your love with others.  Guide us daily as we go about our lives.  Give us opportunities to minister in our everyday lives.  We ask that You also give us the strength, the willingness, and the wisdom to minister when the opportunity is presented.  Help us to not only be a good witness to You in what we say, but if we never say a word let our lifestyle draw others to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to pray and ask God to give you divine opportunities to minister in your everyday life.  I EMPOWER you to ACT when those opportunities present themselves.  “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)

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Preaching to the Choir

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.”

Assignment, Encouragement, Family, Motivation, Salvation, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

Here We Go AGAIN!

“You are going to be who God uses to save the rest of your family! You are not doing enough to lead your family to Jesus!  Whatever is holding you back, whether its bitterness or something else, is keeping some of your family members from salvation. If some of your family members go to hell, that blood will be on your hands!”  As my God Sister spoke this word to me, I just rolled my eyes!  Here we go again!!

REALLY GOD?! Are You seriously putting that kind of responsibility on me?  I’m good where I am!  I like my life; I have everything I need and most of the things I want.  I finally can say “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…” (Philippians 4:11 NIV) and You put THIS on me?  You just couldn’t let me be content, huh?  You ALWAYS have to stretch me, push me out of my comfort zone, and give me SOMETHING ELSE to do!!

You told me to leave the church I had grown up in where everyone knew me, where I was celebrated, and my pastor knew me by name and sent me to a church of over 5,000 members. This church was almost the exact opposite of all that I knew but as soon as I got my bearings HERE WE GO AGAIN…

My money started getting funny and You said, “Tithe out of your need. Pay your tithes, even if that makes you short on your bills.” Really God?! BUT I did it and as SOON as I got kind of comfortable, HERE WE GO AGAIN…

The smack down really hit when You started messing with my relationships.  I’ve ALWAYS had a boyfriend, a boo or something but You said “…avoid sexual immorality…” so I began to live a celibate lifestyle and God You KNOW how hard this has been for me. But God that wasn’t enough; You then said, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…” (II Corinthians 6:14 NIV) So now, not only am I not having sex, but I’m not even dating because unfortunately it’s slim pickings among men who are REALLY saved and striving to live for God. However, I did it because I trust that Your will is what’s best and I KNOW my destiny and destination is way beyond what I can ask or think. But God with all due respect, I do NOT like this route!

After much fighting and even now as I continue to struggle, I have finally reached a level of contentment and submission to God’s will, really believing that God is pleased with my life and HERE WE GO AGAIN!!  What do You want me to do with my unsaved family members?  When I go around them I feel like they are giving me the stank eye and saying, “Well who does she think she is? Isn’t that Charlotte’s daughter?  Isn’t she the one that was always trying to hang and follow us around?”  Even Jesus said, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor…” (Matthew 13:57 NIV) I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this one God.  Where would I even begin?  We only see each other at holidays, if that!

God’s Response

So you’re going to give up your destiny NOW because you feel like this is impossible?  Yes, you’re right; by yourself you can’t do this!  But have I ever left you?  Was I not there when you left the church you grew up in and went to New Life?  Did I not see you through your struggles?  You are stronger spiritually now than you have EVER been!  Everything in your spiritual walk has gone to the next level:  your worship, your prayer life and your understanding of my word!  You’re going to stop now?!

Was I not there with you as you struggled financially?  Did I not make a way for all your bills to get paid?  Did I keep your car from being repossessed?  Did you ever have a night that you didn’t have a roof over your head and a safe and warm place to sleep?  Did I not send people to bless you throughout your time of lack?  You are more financially stable now than you have EVER been!  You are saving, you can purchase extras and your refrigerator and pantry is full!  Are you really going to give up now?!

Was I not there during your bouts with loneliness and depression?  Did I not replace the severed relationships with divine connections that speak life into you, push you toward your destiny in me, and give you just as much if not more than you give to them?  Am I not specifically preparing you to one day be a wife and mother? Did I not cover you while you were out there?  Have you ever been pregnant?  Do you have any diseases?  Did I not restore you, heal your broken hearts?  Did I not break EVERY soul tie?  Are you serious?! Are you really going to give up now?!

Are you really starting to doubt me now?  “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh, is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NIV)

*Disclaimer: This was not the EmpowerMoment that I intended to write; God literally started speaking to me in the midst of my writing.  After all of that, all I can say is CHECKED!!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me!  I ask that You also forgive any woman reading this who is or has gotten irritated with You for doing exactly what You strive to do:  make us more and more like You.  Help us to understand that we are not to compare ourselves to other Christians but to You and humble us to know that we have NOT “arrived.” There is and will ALWAYS be another task we must complete for the building of Your kingdom and another area we must grow in so our victory and growth can bring glory to You.  We thank You for loving us SO much that You spend the time and effort to keep stretching us and pulling us out of our comfort zone.  We ask that you never let us go.  In Jesus’ Name Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to submit to what God is calling you to do, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you.  I am truly a witness that He will not only sustain you throughout the process but there is truly a blessing in obedience.  There is a song that the praise team at my church sings that simply says:  “I surrender, I open up my heart to whatever You desire.”  Let this be what you say to God today!

Read more on submitting to God’s plan and evangelism in He’s Calling You and Preaching to the Choir

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.”

Growth/Maturity, Salvation, Sin, Spirit of Religion

Living Saved Is An Inside Job

Before I was saved I went to church every Sunday feeling and sometimes looking like Saturday night. I wore the saved look quite well on the outside but I knew my inside was all messed up. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, she does not belong to Him (Romans 8:9 NASB).  I did not belong to God; I was an imposter. What a horrifying discovery!

When I first confessed my sins to God, asked for forgiveness and believed in my heart that Jesus died for me I was saved. I didn’t really understand the real concept of being saved but I knew I did what the pastor told me to do. So, I was saved. Growing up in church I saw my share of “Saved Folk.” “Saved folk” made being saved as simple as 1-2-3. Nobody told me after I finished crying, repenting and praising God for changing my life I would have to go back and live in this world. Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38 MSG).

I thought living saved was going to church almost every night, fasting every time someone said I should, placing a Bible on my dashboard so everyone could see, never changing my television from The Word Network, listening to Inspiration 1390 and thinking my ears would fall off if I listened to anything else, quoting Bible scriptures (not living by them), wearing clothes that were too big and greeting people saying “I’m blessed and highly favored.” I forgot that I still had to go to work, deal with unsaved people and live in this world. I became so superficial because I thought that was what being saved was all about. I had not yet learned that living saved was an inside job.

I thought I was doing everything right. God has a funny way of opening your eyes. Someone close to me crossed me, meaning they did something to me that triggered that temper I thought was gone because I was doing everything right. I was ready to put down everything for just five minutes to show them that I still had the “Old Sheka” stored away. After I revealed the “Old Sheka” I was convicted. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything- and I do mean everything- connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life- a God- fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you (Ephesians 4: 22-24 MSG.)

After my conviction I went into prayer and asked God, “How could I convert back to my old self because someone made me angry or crossed me? I told God,“I know my life has been changed but I don’t know how I was at the place I worked so hard to leave.” God spoke to me and told me, “When you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit you are supposed to consult Me for everything. You are never to make rash decisions because of your emotions. You are never supposed to hold on to your old behaviors. You have to release everything old as well as the way you once dealt with controversy. You have to love and pray for my enemies.”  Okay, that was a lot to take in, but He kept speaking.“ You had the look and everyone was so proud of you and where you had come from but I’m not interested in what man thinks of you and neither should you be. I’m interested in your heart and mind.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16: 7 NKJV). Living saved is an inside job!

I learned that living saved is having a personal relationship and connection with God through praying (talking to God) and studying the Bible. While studying, I learned that I needed to internalize the Word and apply it to every part of my life. I learned that it really doesn’t matter what people think of me, what matters is what God thinks of me. I learned that living saved is an inside job!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for teaching me that living saved is not based on what people think of me but what You think of me. I thank You, God,  for teaching me how to live saved. I thank You for sending Your son. I thank You, God, for letting Jesus die on the cross for me so that He could go to heaven and send down the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. I thank You for teaching me that living saved is a lifestyle and a walk that must be maintained daily. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to spend time with God daily. I EMPOWER you to get a spiritual makeover on your inside. I EMPOWER you to read and internalize the Word. I EMPOWER you to pray and develop a personal connection with God. Don’t spend another second worried about what people think of you and focus all your attention on what God thinks of you! Remember living saved is an inside job that you have to work on every second, minute, hour, day, month and year. Living saved is an inside job!

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.”

Evangelism, Salvation

Preaching To The Choir

I am quite sure the vast majority of us have heard the phrase, “Preaching to the Choir.” Just in case you are in the minority let me give you the definition according to urbandictionary.com :). Preaching to the choiryou are trying to make believers out of people who already believe, or convince people who are already convinced.

And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5: 31-32 KJV)

As much as I love writing for EmpowerMoments, sometimes it can be an overwhelming task. Although I don’t always get it right, I want my messages to speak to people at all levels. Sometimes I notice that many of the blogs are written for people who have some foundation and experience with Christ. Although you may receive confirmation and encouragement through the process, my goal is to reach people who either have shaky foundations or none at all. I am trying to reach and teach my fellow “breakers of the ten commandments.” My goal isn’t to judge through my writing but to let you know that I relate to your human experience. Just like many of you, sometimes I wonder if God hears me or knows the trials I am going through. Some of you may wonder if God even cares about you. At times, I have the audacity to question Him too. Many times I get so caught up in finding a scripture to fit “my” story, that I almost miss the opportunity to convey the story in a way that it is relevant to your life.

Just as it is with EmpowerMoments, it is with life. Many of us find ourselves entertaining friends, family and even strangers in our daily encounters. It is our opportunity to bring someone to Christ but sometimes we can be judgmental, “holier than thou art” and turn people away. Jesus’ style of witnessing was refreshing. He showed mercy and compassion through His actions and won souls by telling illustrative stories (parables) that people could relate to. Unlike the supercritical Pharisees, He didn’t spend His time sharing the good news with people who already knew it, instead He dined with sinners.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:1-7 NIV)

Many of us need to be more like Jesus. Step out of our comfort zones and look for lost sheep. The majority of us don’t have to look far and some of us don’t have to leave the house. What we have to keep in mind is that God loves sinners (not sin) just as much as He loves everyone else; therefore, our approach should be out of love. We are called for His purpose and that is to make believers out of nonbelievers. Will you continue to preach to the choir or search for lost sheep?

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing my life to be a testimony for You. Help me to teach in a way that shows more of You through the lessons You have taught me. Forgive me and show me when I am placing judgment and self-righteousness in the way of relating to people and winning souls for You. Lord, if there be anyone that is reading this who does not know You, God I ask that you open up their heart to receive You and that they beg Your forgiveness for their sins. Send someone in their life that can minister to their spirit. Allow them to be a witness for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to look beyond the choir! Go to lunch or have a sit down with someone that is a lost or wayward sheep. I EMPOWER you to remember from whence you came and let your light shine while you bring others to the fold.

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.