Conviction, Growth/Maturity, Righteousness, Sin

Confrontations

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.  Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ (2 Samuel 12:7-10 NIV)

You cannot run from God.  You cannot convince Him that your sin is justifiable or escape punishment for the sin you have committed, especially if you have any sin in your life you have not confessed.  The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart.  However, David was blinded by the sin in his life and had to be confronted on it.  We can live with a sin so long that it does not even become recognizable as sin.

For some reason, over the past few months my fire for God began to dwindle.  My church attendance fell off, my reading diminished, and I would fall asleep during prayers.  I am ashamed to admit all of this, but I would be more ashamed if I was dishonest with where I was and what God had to do to get my attention.  You see, God loves you and me so much that He will not allow us to wallow in sin and our poor choices without first sending us warning signs.  My first sign came from an email I received from a member of the EmpowerMoments team.  This sweet lady said she had a Word from God, but was hesitant to tell me exactly what He had told her.  I already knew I was in trouble because this lady and I had never met or talked before.  She gave me a call and began to tell me that God was not pleased with how I was living and how my relationship with Him was suffering.  I had “lost” Jesus. Now this absolutely scared me; I didn’t realize how far from Him I had gotten.  But I thank Him for people who are not afraid to confront (in love) those who are perishing or spiritually slumbering.

“Son of man, say to the house of Israel,” This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down and we are wasting away because of them.  How then can we live?” (Ezekiel 33:10 NIV)

I was at a weak point because I had not immersed myself in God’s Word and just like Eve, when the serpent tempted her in the Garden of Eden, I began to question the fairness of the laws God had set in place.  Whenever we find ourselves far from the Shepherd, we leave ourselves open for Satan’s attacks.  It starts with a simple question: “Are you sure it is that bad?”  Then it might turn into you comparing your sin to someone else’s sin.  Do not be fooled!   ALL sin is equal in God’s eyes and ALL sin will cause separation.  Once we begin to entertain the questions of the enemy our sure footing on the Rock begins to slip.  It is my hope today that this EmpowerMoment is another woman’s wakeup call before it is too late.  I would like to leave you with a quote from my friend that confronted me out of love.  “Nothing can separate you from the love of God, but that same nothing can steal your anointing.”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your loving patience and grace.  Without it, who could stand?  Help me to rid myself of any besetting or unrecognizable sin.  Reveal to me any grudge I may have against another so there can be no hindrances between You and me.  Send Your Holy Spirit to lead and guide me and place a hedge of protection around me so I can withstand the temptations of the enemy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Lovely Ladies, I EMPOWER you to break strongholds in your life.  If there is anything you are dealing with that is not of God, please let it go!

Has God sent you a warning before? Did you take heed? Share your story with us below.

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Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate.  She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe.  Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration.  While on her pursuit of higher education, she is also on a seven-year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years.  Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6. “Humble yourselves therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”

Fornication, Marriage, Sex, Sin, Singleness, Soul Ties

No Forno

Does God ever tell you to do something and you just keep putting it off because you really don’t want to do it? Well, today’s EmpowerMoment is just that. He told me a couple of months ago to write this and I didn’t feel like everything that was going to come along with it: transparency, in-depth studying, and intense spiritual warfare. But today I surrender…

A while ago I was having a conversation with a very close friend, who happens to be single. We were talking of her struggles of remaining celibate and how those around her weren’t struggling at all because they had taken on an “I can do what I want to” attitude. Deep into our conversation we made a thought-provoking discovery – We had often been told not to engage in pre-marital sex, but no one ever really explained to us WHY we shouldn’t. Yes, the WHY was simply because God said so, but for so many of us who have the “I can do what I want to” attitude, that WHY just doesn’t cut it.  Oftentimes, we like to think that God put a rule in place to withhold something good from us. However, the truth of the matter is that God’s ordinances are in place to withhold the bad ‘somethings’ from us. Let’s take a look at exactly what I mean…

WHY He said NO FORNO:

  • Every time we engage with a new partner, our souls become tied with the soul of that person. Imagine tying your shoe string. You may put a double knot in it to keep it from coming undone easily. If you tie it into a third knot, it just became harder to undo. When there’s a fourth knot, you may just have a permanent mess on your hands that will have to be cut and/or damaged to take apart. The same is true of our souls. Some of us have created quite a mess of knots . The only way to undo soul ties is to BREAK them and at the site of the break, a mending and re-growth must occur. Yes, they can be undone, but the process is often a painful one. God knew how painful it could be, and He didn’t want you to experience that. That’s WHY He said no sex before marriage. He intended ONE knot to be made between a husband, wife and Him. “…for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT)

         (For more on soul ties, see Ain’t No Feeling Like… )

  • When we have sex with someone who is not our husband, we strike a deal with the devil that we cannot make good on.Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV) Every time we engage in any type of sinful behavior, we strike a deal with satan. We let him know that at this precise moment, I feel like playing on your turf. The sad thing, however, is there is  a huge price to play on the enemy’s side.  The devil knows that your soul could never be his so he comes after your body. The problem is when you give into temptation, you’ve just made a wager with a possession that doesn’t even belong to you. You cannot make good on your exchange because you have nothing to give. Your body is not yours! And what happens when somebody owes you something and they don’t make good on their end? You torment them until they give in. The enemy torments you with feelings of guilt, shame, condemnation, low self-esteem, etc with hopes that you cave in. Yes, we have power over the enemy and we can cancel his attacks in Jesus’ name, but the consequences of our behavior can be very painful.  God knew how painful it could be and He didn’t want you to experience that. That’s WHY He said no sex before marriage!
  • Our present actions affect our future blessings.Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things.” (Jeremiah 5:25) Yes, your sinful lifestyle can hinder some blessings from coming your way, but it goes much deeper than that. Most of the single women reading this desire to be married. As a married woman, who used to fornicate, let me be 100% honest with you. That lifestyle affects your marriage. You bring demons (i.e. the people you slept with) into your marriage and until you have the courage and ability to renounce and slay every wicked thing that is seeking to destroy you, you will not enjoy the fullness of marriage as God intended. Those demons affect your sex life with your husband, they torment you with guilt and shame, and even make you second guess  your worthiness to be married. They literally rob you of the blessing of marriage that God gave you. And let’s not forget the demons that your husband may bring. Your warfare as a married couple is intensified due to your previous actions. Again, your story does not have to end here, as you have been given power to tread on the enemy’s head. However, the process to restoration can be a painful one for both you and your spouse. God knew just how painful it could be and He didn’t want you to experience that. That’s WHY He said no sex before marriage.

You see, God isn’t trying to keep us from having a good time; He has boundaries in place to ensure that we are protected at all times. After all, “every good and perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17 NIV) And I am sure we all can agree that sex qualifies as GOOD! 😉

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for sinning against Your Word and engaging in sex outside the confines of marriage. I admit that it is not easy for me to stop, but with You and through Your power, I can do this! Please give me the desire to want to stop fornicating, and then give me the courage and power to put that desire into action. Help me to break any soul ties that my careless behavior has formed. Please heal my heart and soul from any damage caused by sinful acts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to embrace a NO FORNO lifestyle. Is it easy? Absolutely not! Can you do it? Absolutely! God is waiting for you to surrender it over to Him.

Are you on a celibacy journey? Share your triumphs below so that other women may be encouraged.

Join the No Forno movement by clicking here.

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

Encouragement, Honesty/Truth, Restoration, Righteousness, Sin

Ms. Counterfeit

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Perfection, and I am perfect. I speak perfectly and I am careful not to speak ill will or negativity to anyone. My Facebook page is full of Bible verses and I go to church twice a week. I don’t gossip and I pay my tithes and even more with every pay check.  I don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or hang with those that do. I don’t go to the club and I make sure that those that do, know they are living in sin. I make sure I call it out! I’m faultless!

A grieved voice: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Cover, and I cover up the bad with the good. I speak the Word of God over every situation and I ensure to show my friends that I give thanks. My Twitter account is linked to all the well-known Pastors and all of my networking statuses are filled with Godly words and quotes. I have a secret: I sleep around because I’m addicted to sex and men, and frankly, if God wanted me to not be so promiscuous, He would relieve me of this right? Well, I make sure I cover this up too, because the girls I mentor are learning to live a holy life and I have to cover up to make sure they live right.

A grieved voice: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Luke 8:17 NIV

Hello, my name is Ms. Pointer and I point out the issues. When I see a friend sinning, I make sure they know! I point out all the issues to every rapper, singer, friend, politician or foe. This entire world is going to hell I tell you! After all, this is what God said do: He wants us to make it plain and tell it like it is! My friendship circle is almost non-existent because people just sin so much and I get tired of having to tell people how wrong they are. I make sure as soon as they say or do something unrighteous, I slap them with the Word! I don’t need friends, all I need is God!

A grieved voice: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 NIV

Hi, I’m Ms. Sinner. I’m a wretch undone. My filthiness equates to a dirty rag. Sometimes I tell my mind to do one thing, but I find myself doing another. Sometimes I portray to be perfect, cover up my blemishes with a little MAC, or lash out to others about their wrongdoings because mine are so painful. I want God to come and rescue me. I don’t deserve the car I drive. After all, I’ve used it as a hotel and it hasn’t honored Him. The house I own has been trashed with gatherings, sets, and parties that do not honor Him. I don’t deserve this outer beauty He has bestowed upon me because I don’t honor it. I smoke, drink, and fornicate at will. But I want a connection with something everlasting; I want a life that is filled with water overflowing. I want God to forgive me of my sins so that He can teach me how to leave the realms of self-perceived perfection, the lie of covering it all up, and being a hypocrite when I am really insecure.

Ladies, can’t we all identify a little bit with the Ms. Perfect, Ms. Cover, and Ms. Pointer? I know I can. But how can God work through our lives to get the glory if we walk around in a façade? How can He make us perfect in His own divine glory if we create our own perfections and neglect the humbleness of forgiveness, mercy, growth, and repentance? I am reminded of the woman with the alabaster box. She was a known sinner. But when she came to Jesus she humbled herself, wiped His feet with her hair, and anointed Him with her most valuable possession, the perfumes from her alabaster box. What’s interesting about alabaster boxes in that time, is that once they are broken, they can’t be sealed again. So everything that is on the inside must come out. When she poured out her inner truths of her heart, she was forgiven.

Dear Daddy,

I want to be honest with You today. I want to lay before You my inner sins of self-righteousness, conceit, and judgment. I want to be the type of worshipper that worships You in truth, honesty, and transparency. Lord, please help me become real before You so that I may be healed. I want to truthfully be able to witness to others, that mercy through Christ is true perfection, Your blood is the true cover, and pointing my heart to You is what makes me whole. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to pour out your heart to God, empty your alabaster box in worship. Be transparent to Him about your issues. Many of us carry around fake faces and perform empty gestures when truthfully we need to humble ourselves before God and worship Him in truth. It is then that our witness will be strengthened and the blood of Jesus will cover our past so that we can minister and help other sisters in Christ.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: She is Me: Lydia

Be sure to enter our monthly contest by clicking here.

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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.

Fruit of the Spirit, Growth/Maturity, Righteousness, Sin

Born This Way

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3-6 KJV)

Spicy, feisty a little bit nicety. Stubborn, talkative, loud, impatient, grudge holder and hardheaded. These are some of the traits that some would use to describe me, but don’t mind me I was “born this way.” Some of these are natural and some traits were learned in my environment. Either way it’s me and once upon a time I had a take it or leave it attitude and unfortunately sometimes I still do. Don’t get me wrong, I have some very positive qualities that I thought balanced the others out; however, seeking balance isn’t the same as removing those things that are not reflective of who Christ called me to be.

Ladies, we all have characteristics that those closest to us would say, “She’s been that way all of her life.” Your mother may even say, “She was born that way…it’s just her personality.” Guess what ladies? I have good news! Just because you were “born that way” doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. It doesn’t mean that you will be perfect but you can certainly transform. As a matter of fact, as women who are striving to capture God’s heart the Word tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17 KJV)

Really, are ALL things supposed to become new? Even my attitude? I hear You Lord, but You don’t know my co-workers; better yet, You don’t my family and especially that husband You gave me. He really knows how to bring out the worst in me. Jesus, I can’t help it that I am envious of her; she has everything that I prayed for. Well Jesus, You know I’m “Single In The City” and this temptation is unbearable. Fortunately, this attitude is a part of that old creature. When people see you they should recognize your rebirth in Christ; however, many times we hold on to these negative attributes. Most important (because you can front for people), He should recognize that you have been born again. Although I can be as sweet as pie, I can hold a nasty, “I wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire” kind of grudge and my patience can be dangerously thin. I can be unbearably bossy. I can curse like a sailor and when I’m really angry it rolls off my lips like water off a duck’s back. Let me not skip the fornication. I am not proud of these things and have definitely experienced growth, but like many of you I am not a “new” Christian. So why do I still maintain these old habits?

The truth of the matter is that as long as I went to church, read the Bible and talked about God, I convinced myself (although I knew better) that I was fine. I was not focused on my spiritual development, nor my maturity in Christ. But in the opening verse of this EmpowerMoment, Jesus tells us, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” If we are born of the spirit, shouldn’t we be exhibiting the fruit of the spirit? But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV)

As you grow in relationship with Christ, when people say she was “born this way” they should be talking about qualities that reflect the fruit of the spirit. If you say you are filled with the spirit, they should recognize that fruit in you immediately.  Ye shall know them by their fruits… Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:16-20 KJV)

When people see you, do they see good or bad fruit?  Since your rebirth in the Kingdom, I hope that everyday you are looking more and more like your Daddy.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your revelation through the Word. Lord, convict me when I am not exhibiting characteristics that are reflective of You. Moreover, as I strive for perfection, open my understanding and increase my wisdom so that I can reflect the spiritual maturity of a seasoned disciple. Help me to grow so that when people are around me the fruit that I bear is pleasing to all. I can beam with pride and not be ashamed when people say she was “born this way.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I am EMPOWERING us to grow together. Please complete this worksheet. Study the scriptures and answer the questions that follow. You want the fruit that you bear to reflect that you were Born THIS Way. You want people to recognize that you are your Father’s child. 

How are you ensuring that your fruit is appetizing to others AND God? Share your testimony below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Self Improvement

Win! Win! Win! Enter April’s contest by clicking here.

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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.”

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.

Accountability, God's Protection, Righteousness, Sin

Falling Forward

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be temptedbeyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. I Corinthians 10:12-14

I am not a smoker, drunkard, or a gossip, but there are certain areas in which I struggle. When I was a younger Christian I was so focused on not doing outward sins that I neglected sins of the heart (which can be the most dangerous because we may not even recognize it as a sin).  I would focus on looking like I was doing the right thing, but I could strategically place myself in situations that I would easily fall. Using the Scripture, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again” (Proverbs 24:16), I would justify my fall by saying, I can rise again. In all honesty, I shouldn’t have placed myself in situations to “fall” in the first place.

As Christians we sometimes give the devil too much credit for the chaos and falls in our lives. We call going back to sin “back sliding”, but for many of us we know that we actually fall forward.  Meaning we go into a situation that has a high probability of us falling. We play this game of deceit with ourselves to diminish the feeling of sin being an actual sin; instead it becomes a mistake or an accident.  For example, how many of us have said: “I am celibate am I am not going to have sex with him”? Yet you put on your most enticing under garments, best smelling perfume and spend late nights alone with him. But if something did happen, you didn’t plan it right? Girlfriend, you fell forward; you knowingly put yourself in a high temptation situation.

The best part about knowing your weaknesses is having the power to plan better and hopefully make better decisions. If you know you are a glutton, going to an all-you-can-eat buffet might not be the best decision. If you have trouble holding your tongue, maybe you shouldn’t listen to music that will cause you to get into a negative mindset before you go into the world. Each one of us knows our struggles, and it is up to us to ensure that we do our absolute best not to put ourselves in situations that would lead us to fall. Putting on the armor of God does us absolutely no good if we neglect the helmet of salvation.  You do not want to disqualify yourself from eternal life with our Heavenly Father. He will not wink at our “accidental falls”, but we will be held accountable.

Sisters, guard your heart and mind, because we can deceive ourselves into thinking that the sin in our lives is acceptable.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me of the iniquity that dwells within my heart. Help me to recognize when situations are high temptation areas so that I do not fall forward or backslide. Keep me on the path of righteousness, and allow the Holy Spirit to give me the strength to walk away when my flesh is weak. I praise You for loving me enough to always give me a way of escape. If I see another sister struggling, help me to pray for Your divine protection and grace for her as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to take an inventory of your weaknesses and recent falls. Do not use this information to condemn yourself, but rather as a plan of action. Do not keep putting yourself in situations where you are not likely to succeed. I EMPOWER you to stop falling forward and simply move forward to your destiny in Him.

Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

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!

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

Conviction, Sin

Embrace Your Conviction!

I can NEVER get away with ANYTHING!! As soon as I do something wrong, I feel horrible!  I can hardly function after the fact; I just want to crawl into a hole and stay there.  God has blessed me with a strong spirit of conviction.

Stop! I know what you’re thinking, “How can something that makes you feel that way be a blessing?!”  I understand your confusion because I used to feel the same way. 

What is the spirit of conviction?  Simply, it is the realization of one’s guilt.

“…When [the holy spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment…” (John 16:8 NIV)

God sent us a counselor in the Holy Spirit.  The ultimate duty of the Holy Spirit is to, “…guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13b NIV)  God wants us to realize our full potential in Him and the Holy Spirit was sent to us to help us do just that.  In order to realize the destiny God has set for us, we must do the things that God has commanded us to do.  God does not ask us to follow these principles to stop us from having fun and enjoying life.  God has given us these limits for our protection and our well being. 

“…Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction…but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life…” (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)

As we all know, sometimes we get off the narrow path and do our own thing…that’s where the spirit of conviction comes in.  There are many reasons we should embrace our conviction: 

  1. Its’ goal is to get us back to where God wants us to be, so that we can fulfill our destiny in Him.  EMBRACE YOUR CONVICTION!
  2. Having a strong spirit of conviction further proves to us, as if we needed more proof, that God loves us. “…because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son…” (Hebrews 12:6 NIV) EMBRACE YOUR CONVICTION!
  3. When we lose our spirit of conviction, God is allowing us to do whatever our flesh and the devil leads us to do.  “…Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done…” (Romans 1:28 NIV)  If that happens, we will never reach our God given destiny.  EMBRACE YOUR CONVICTION!!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the blessing of conviction.  Forgive me for the times that I shunned correction and did my own thing.  Increase the spirit of conviction in me like never before.  I desire to be everything You called me to be.  Order my steps so that I will not be lead into anything that would keep me from my destiny in You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to EMBRACE YOUR CONVICTION and take steps NOT to ever again do what caused you to be convicted in the first place!

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, Self-Control, Sin

The Pharaoh Syndrome

Our prayers when we are in trouble:

“God, if you bless me with this job, I promise to become a regular tither.”

“Lord, please let this test come back negative and I swear I will stop having sex.”

“If you get me out of this legal situation, I promise to serve You.”

“If You open a door for me to start this business, I promise I will help someone else start theirs.”

Our prayers a few months, days, or even hours after God grants us grace:

“God, thank You for my first check.  I know I promised to give You 10%, but I have to take care of these bills first.”

“Please forgive me Lord, but a sister has needs. Every good and perfect gift is from You…and sex is good!”

“Thank You Lord for saving me from going to jail, but I have to get back in these streets.”

“Lord, I praise You for my business but I don’t have time to help anyone else. My company needs all of my attention.”

How many times have you found yourself being a repeat offender? I’ll give you a second to think about it and be really honest with yourself. I will be the first to admit that I have made God some promises that I didn’t keep. When we are facing challenges and adversity, it is so easy to strike a deal with God. “If You do this, then I will do this.” The problem with our twisted version of “Let’s Make a Deal” is that we seldom hold up our end of the bargain. We find ourselves in trouble and run to the trouble fixer. In desperation, we negotiate with God to get out of our bind but we never make good on our promises. It’s official; we have been diagnosed with the Pharaoh Syndrome…

In the book of Exodus, God commanded Moses to go before Pharaoh and demand that he let the Israelites leave Egypt. Knowing that Pharaoh would not heed the request, God sent a series of plagues to display His power to Pharaoh. After the first six plagues (Blood, Frogs, Gnats, Flies, Livestock, Coils) Pharaoh still refused to let all of the children of Israel leave. It wasn’t until the Lord brought on the Plague of Hail that Pharaoh finally repented and promised to allow God’s people to exit Egypt.

Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the LORD, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”  (Exodus 9:27-28 NIV)

Shortly after his promise before God, the Lord made the thunder and hail stop but Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened and he refused to release the Israelites.

Next the Plague of Locusts overtook Egypt and once again Pharaoh made a promise that he had no intention of keeping:

Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the LORD your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”  (Exodus 10:16-17 NIV)

Of course he still didn’t honor his word and refused to let the people go. So God brought two more plagues on the Egyptians. The last straw for Pharaoh was the Plague of the Firstborn. Every firstborn in Egypt was killed including Pharaoh’s firstborn all the way to the firstborn of any livestock. It was only after that drastic measure that Pharaoh finally said “Go!” and meant it!

During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.” (Exodus 12:21-32 NIV)

Pharaoh repeated a vicious cycle of making and breaking promises to God. He, just like many of us, found himself in a bind, admitted his fault, asked God for mercy, promised to change but as soon as he got what he wanted went back to doing the same thing. The Pharaoh Syndrome has to stop here!

Read the entire story: Exodus 8-12

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your grace and mercy that are brand new everyday! Please forgive me for the times that I made a vow to stop or start doing something and I never followed through on my word. Show me where I have fallen short and need improvement. Help me to become a true woman of my word. God, please heal me from the Pharaoh Syndrome. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to kill the Pharaoh Syndrome in your life! Whatever “thing” that you keep bringing before God, I EMPOWER you to kill that as well. Don’t force God to make it to the last plague before you change your ways. After you have slain that “thing”, I EMPOWER you to make good on the promises that you’ve made unto God.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Tick Tock

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.

God's Mercy, Growth/Maturity, Self-Control, Sin, Time Management

Tick…Tock

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

I remember having a conversation with friends while in college about premarital sex. I distinctively remember a friend saying, “God will have to come down off the clouds himself in order for me to stop having sex.” We laughed in agreement because after all, it wasn’t holiness that kept some of us from fornicating, it was “worse” things like becoming a parent or catching a disease. Surely God didn’t mind a little “testing of the waters” here or there, right? One of the ladies in the group stood her ground and said in a soft voice, “but God is a just God and He may not wait on you for too long.” Many of us in the group ignored her, but her comment struck a nerve in me. “What did she mean He many not wait long?”  Peter reminds, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 NIV. What he is explaining is that although you don’t see what God promised to you now because of your disobedience, don’t mistake Him for being slow in judgment. Instead, He is a God who loves you and wants to see you to repentance. God is love, and love is patient.

There are so many of us out there playing the “clock” game of getting it right. We think we have more time. But Peter goes on to remind us that no man knows the day nor the hour when God’s judgment will come. Now this is not to scare you, but to urge you to take a look at your life. Are there things that God has told you to “stop or start” doing but you are allowing procrastination to set in? Has he told you to refrain from fornication, alcohol, gossiping, homosexuality, grudge-holding, but yet you think you have time? Time running out doesn’t necessarily mean the wrath of God is coming, but what about missed opportunity? He may be telling you to refrain from fornication because the next encounter will give you a “package” that you can’t get rid of. What if He is telling you to watch your mouth and your gossiping habit because your next “Ooh girl, let me tell you convo” could cost you your job or hurt someone you love? Has He told you to deal with your sin of gluttony and lack of self-control for food? I urge you to listen to His voice, the number one killer of women is heart disease, often linked to bad diets.

Peter shared about the ending of world, but I have been enlightened to share with you about the right now. God is being patient with us because He wants us to repent and move forward into a life of abundance through Him, in which we lack nothing. But we can’t move forward if the sins that we “know” are present are not dealt with.

Dear Daddy,

Where would I be without Your Son Jesus? I am overwhelmed at your sacrifice and am indebted to You for shedding His blood to cover my sins. Lord, I know that there are some things that I need to deal with. I have some attitudes and actions that do not reflect You at all. Lord, please forgive me for taking Your covering, patience, and love for granted and not acting on the things that I should. Lord, please forgive me for not heeding to Your spirit in a timely fashion. Lord, I humbly ask that You give me a clean heart, renew in me a right spirit, and teach me Your ways so that I may live in the abundance You have promised me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you today not to wait until January 1st to set your resolution of self-betterment, but to start today. I do not know when God will decide to bring forth judgment, but what I do know is until then, I can be a better person, sister, wife, mother, girlfriend, confidant, and most of all a better Christian. I know what I need to do and stop doing. It’s time to stop playing the “waiting game” of waiting to get caught.

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.