Change, Growth/Maturity, Trials, Trusting God

Changes And Challenges

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good and pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Changes and challenges will come as quick and unexpectedly

as a Chicago winter,

Embracing you like a warm touch

or piercing you like a splinter

 

Fear lurks

when patience and faith are absent,

And embracing life outside your comfort zone

can be taxing

 

Think for a second about the plans you made

some plans we create will be interrupted or halted

only to be changed or necessarily rearranged in proper fit

because change is always approaching and sometimes coming quick

 

You can’t control what happens to your life,

You will learn thru time

that you have most control over what you do,

and how you react to

than some of the challenges that come for you

 

So to whom it may concern,

Hold onto your grace,

Life isn’t always comfortable

and things don’t always go your way,

Sometimes we settle for the ordinary

because the unknown can be scary

Sometimes we let fear take control

because it is comfortable and that’s all we know

Yet embracing change allows us to grow

 

And trusting in God through the challenges and the process

Reminds us that God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow, and He knows best

He has the strength and authority to get you through any discomfort and any mess.

Change allows us to stretch, elevate and spread our wings,

to venture toward new territories and experience new things

to leave comfort zones, same actions, same results and same old ways behind

Growth comes from challenges, but transformation must start with the renewing of your mind

from Setting The Captive Free by Tannika Moore

Please help us bless and EMPOWER homeless women and their children as the beginning of a new school year nears!  For more information on how you can donate and help make a difference, please click here http://www.gofundme.com/cfeux8.

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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, helping high school students prepare for college. As a compassionate person and encourager, she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. This April, Tannika published her first book, a book of her poetry, titled Setting The Captive Free. For more details, visit stcfpoetrybook.com.  On July 10th of this year, she  also launched her new Christian clothing and apparel brand called Fruitful & Fabulous inspired by John 15:8.  For more details about Fruitful & Fabulous, visit fruitfulandfabulous.com.  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.”

 

 

Miscellaneous, Trials

Memory Lane

When God was declaring His mercy over the sons of Jacob he said, “For I am the Lord, I change not”. (Malachi 3:6 KJV) That means God does not change, EVER.

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes when I’m going “through” I don’t rely on or remember the times He brought me out in the past. It seems as though each time I go “through” it is harder than the previous time; therefore, I have no comparison. Do you know what consoles me? Remembering not my past history, but God’s.

At times my back is up against a wall and I have nowhere to turn; I have bills fighting me on one side and my job fighting on the other. In front of me I have trouble in my family, and behind me is a past that remains present. What do I do? I fall on my knees and remember the God who parted the Red Sea!  The Children of Israel were surrounded with trouble. They were in the wilderness, yet trapped by an army behind them and a large sea in front of them. BUT GOD! He parted it, and they walked on dry land. There’s a prophetic message in the term “dry land.”  When God parts the path for you to be delivered from the hand of your trouble, you shall not shed a tear or weep an eye for God will lead you out triumphantly on dry ground! (Read Exodus 14)

Sometimes it’s not all about having my back against the wall. Sometimes I’m fearful and afraid of the moves God has led me to pursue. I become afraid to branch out because I fear being lonely or failing. But I travel back to Genesis, when He spoke to Abraham (Abram) and said, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3 KJV Your venturing out could be a set up for your step up.

What about when you find yourself in a hot place? You’ve somehow managed to make a few bad decisions along the way; you hung around the wrong people and they turned on you. These people betrayed you to the point that they began to mock your character and righteous life. When I’m feeling like I’m in a hell hole or consumed by fire, I’m reminded of the three Hebrew boys. They were sentenced to the fiery furnace for praising God. King Nebuchadnezzar despised them so much that he turned up the heat seven times its normal temperature. The heat was so high that it consumed those at the entrance. What helps me in my time of trouble, when the heat has been turned up, my stress level is on 90 and I have no allies in reach, is remembering the actions of the Hebrew boys. They continued to praise and affirm that God could save them. King Nebuchadnezzar tied them up and threw them in to the furnace. Not only did God save them, but He jumped into the heat with them. The Bible says King Nebuchadnezzar replied, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” Daniel 3:24 “I see four men LOOSE, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25) Your enemies can try to bind you up and throw you in the furnace, but it won’t work! Sometimes, God will get in your mess with you to deliver you.

Do you feel like you’ve lost it all? Did you know you serve a God who is a redeemer? I can’t define your definition of “going through” but you know where you’ve been, what you’ve lost and what has been taken from you. God is also a restorer!  Not only does God restore, but He restores bountifully. Job lost it all. But AFTER it all, “The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.” (Job 42:11a KJV)

God can heal, raise the dead, provide food for those who are hungry, make those who are lame walk, and open up a barren womb to birth a nation. Sometimes we can’t remember the intensity we felt when God showed up at our show down, but we can trace all throughout His Word how He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 KJV

Sister, pray with me…

Dear Daddy,

Your Word, from the beginning of time, has timeless reminders of how You take care of Your children. It is my prayer that I am encouraged to read my Bible more, so when I need to recall the testimonies in Your word to release power over my life I may remember the times you saved, rescued, delivered, and provided. Help my unbelief and the strength of my flesh that they come under Your submission. I want to live freely and boldly in your glorious will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to remember whose you are. You are God’s. If He did what He did before, He can do it again. For His word assures us, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19 KJV)  “And we know that in all things God works out for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV)

When you are going “through” what memory, Bible story or scripture do you choose to lean on?

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “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) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL.

Children, Faith, Health/Sickness, Miracles, Testimony Series, Trials, Trusting God

My Testimony: Life in Seemingly Dead Situations

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.  I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. (Ezekiel 37:1-10 NIV)

February 7, 2013 is a date that will forever be sketched on the canvas of my mind. The events that took place about 6:00 p.m. that evening left such an indelible mark on my memory board that I couldn’t forget them even if I tried.

I was home alone with my three daughters, who were ages 7, 5 and 6 months at the time. If you have followed EmpowerMoments in the past, then you may be familiar with my youngest daughter’s story. (See Not By My Own Might & The Definition of Miracle) After her heart surgery, she was released from the hospital with a feeding tube to aid in her eating while she recovered and gained enough strength to do so on her own. Before she was discharged from the hospital, my husband and I had to learn how to insert the tube via her nose. Once home, we found ourselves constantly having to re-insert the tube because she would quickly snatch it out. That evening I was dropping the tube as I had done at least 2 dozen times before.  However, that day something went terribly awry.

Per the usual, she was screaming and throwing a fit as she tried to resist the tube insertion. I restrained her and continued with the insertion and she immediately stopped crying. Shocked that she was no longer screaming, I paused to check her out. That’s when I saw that her face was blue and she was no longer breathing. I am sure my heart stopped for at least 3 seconds as I held my lifeless baby in my arms. After I recovered from my initial shock, I sprung into action. I remember praying two short prayers: “God, don’t let this baby die on me” and “Please bring to my remembrance how to do CPR.”  As my older daughters frantically searched for the phone to dial for help, I laid my sweet baby on the floor and attempted to breathe life back into her body. After what seemed like a million years, she finally let out a feeble cry. She was breathing, but her skin was still purple so I knew she was not completely fine. Moments later the paramedics arrived and whisked us away to the local hospital.

Upon arrival every resource in the emergency room was at my daughter’s bedside trying to save her life. I sat outside the room alone crying and attempting to pray, as no one had time to explain to me what was happening. If I tell you that I was scared at that moment, I would be lying. Scared can’t even begin to capture what I was feeling. That was the most terrifying experience of my entire life.

Today, I am beyond blessed to report that my little sunshine is still here and is the busiest toddler in history! The doctors could not pinpoint exactly what caused her breathing to stop and each time they made rounds to her room, it was expressed how great she looked to have been through such an ordeal. She was discharged from the hospital 2 days later and she has been moving and shaking ever since!

This little ball of LIFE was once a SEEMINGLY dead situation!
This little ball of LIFE was once a SEEMINGLY dead situation!

There are so many other facets to this story that I would have to spend more than a mere moment to empower you. But there are some lessons that I learned from that situation that I want you to remember on your journey this year.

  1. The most important thing that I want you to understand is that seemingly deadly situations are nothing for God because He can breathe life back into anything that He so desires. My daughter appeared lifeless, but He breathed life back into her nostrils. So as you deal with circumstances that will come your way this year, remember that nothing is too hard for God. Your health, your marriage, your children, your finances, your brokenness, your depression, whatever your dead situation – nothing is too hard for Him to revive.
  2. Even if you see just a glimpse of hope, hold on to that! When I heard her faint cry, I knew we were not out of the woods just yet, but it was enough to let me know God was listening and answering! This year rejoice in the small battle victories while you wait to win the war!
  3. As I sat outside that hospital room alone, I had no other choice but to wait for the outcome. Sister, you are going to face some trials this year and some you may have to face alone. Things will be beyond the scope of your power and you are just going to have to sit back and wait while God does His work. Pray if you can; cry if you must. But whatever you face, be still and let Him do what He does best!
  4. Never succumb to the notion that you have to look beat up, even when you’ve been in a fight! My sweet baby was up bouncing around, laughing and speaking her baby gibberish the very next day. If you weren’t privy to her story, then you had no idea what she had just gone through. This year, I want you to not allow your circumstances to steal your joy, your smile or your swag! Even when the walls are closing in all around you, look your best so that you can feel your best!

Dear Daddy,

As I stand at the beginning of this new year not knowing the things that I will face, I ask that You help me prepare to fearlessly face anything that will come my way.  I know that You are the same God that brought life to my seemingly dead situations in 2013. Help me to hold on to those thoughts when my faith needs rejuvenation for challenges that I will endure in 2014. I know that You have the final say so! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remember that your valley of dry bones may seem like a cemetery to you, but it’s the newborn nursery to God—it’s full of life! I EMPOWER you to remain encouraged this year as you go through trials and tribulations, wait on God to move on your behalf, and choose to never look like what you’ve been through!

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant-leader. 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 three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

Children, Faith, Health/Sickness, Strength, Trials, Trusting God, Victory

Not By My Own Might…

Do your best, prepare for the worst—then trust God to bring the victory. (Proverbs 21:31 MSG)

Recently I have been in one of the most serious faith tests of my life thus far. I have been challenged to believe God for some truly supernatural things and to take the limits off of Him like never before. And while I have always had crazy faith, my current issues are testing to make sure that what I say I possess I truly do. A tremendous part of having faith in God for your life is trusting that He is truly going to do what is best for you. As the retire president of Control Freak Anonymous, I know how easy it is to want to intervene when God is busy working on your behalf. Sometimes our little handiwork makes us think that we have really assisted God and accomplished something. Then God gets jealous because He wants to get the glory from our situation, so He permits circumstances that we have NO power to transform. Even if we tried with all our human might, called in family and friends to help, and exhausted every resource we had, we still wouldn’t be able to rectify the situation. That is where I am today…

My newborn daughter is facing some serious health complications. Initially, we only knew that she wasn’t gaining weight as a baby her age should. We later found out that her failure to grow properly was linked to an extra large hole in her heart. Her tiny little heart is working so hard to meet the demands of her body that she is burning more calories than she is consuming. The doctors are not optimistic that the hole will close on its own because it is such a large one. They have suggested that the only way for her to be healed is open heart surgery. Of course upon hearing this news I was devastated, as any mother would be. I sulked in my sadness for a day or two, but then I got it together. (Ladies, it is ok to pause and get in your feelings for a moment, BUT you HAVE to get back up quickly. If you don’t, the enemy is going to wear you out. After all, the devil can’t hit a MOVING target!)

After I got up and got back on my post of praise, prayer and worship, I had a nice talk with Jesus. I felt helpless because I couldn’t fix my baby. This was more than a past due electric bill issue or relationship problem—I could handle those with my own power. I am believing God for a supernatural, miraculous healing of her heart and that would require His help. In prayer, the Spirit whispered these simple, yet powerful words to me: You do your best and let me handle the rest. What exactly does that mean? It means that my job is show up for the fight; it’s His job to get in the ring and battle on my daughter’s behalf. My best is wholeheartedly trusting in God’s word. When it says that He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds, I trust that. (Psalm 147:3) Knowing that He sent forth His word to heal my daughter, I get peace of mind. (Psalm 107:20) When I read that He is watching over His word to perform it, I relax because I don’t have to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12) When I recall that this will only be successful with heaven’s help, I don’t have to rely on my own might and power. (John 3:27)

I know the hole is the same size it was when it was first discovered.  I know that the surgery has been scheduled. I know that with a surgery such as this comes many risks.  Those are the facts. However, my faith dictates what I believe. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God’s word is true. I believe God is STILL a healer. I believe God can close the hole so tightly that one would never know that it existed. Should He not choose to close the hole, I believe God to keep her through the surgery. I believe that however the plot of this story goes, God is going to get the glory! Simply put, I just believe God!

Dear Daddy,

As I face situations that are beyond my control, I rest easy knowing that I have You on my side. You control everything; the wind and seas halt at Your command, so I know that You are able to calm my storms as well.  Lord, when my faith begins to falter, please remind me of Your word. Please remind me how You saved me before and didn’t need anyone’s help. I thank You for being what I need to be successful and victorious. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to rely on the strength of God, not your own might. If you are in a very challenging situation right now that is truly testing your faith, pause to thank Him right now! He is perfecting your faith and ensuring that He gets the glory out of your life. When this storm passes (and it will pass), you will be able to say without a shadow of a doubt, “Nobody did this, but GOD!!!

A host of prayer warriors have joined me in praying for a miraculous healing of my daughter’s heart. This EmpowerMoment is dedicated to each of them. May God blow each of your minds with His mighty power!

After realizing that you can’t do it yourself, what have you released to God?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: She is Me: Sarah

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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 three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.

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

Daddy!

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Delayed Not Denied!

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Ms. Sherita Shelton currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Professional Counseling and is currently pursuing her counseling license.  Sherita works as a therapist and case manager for children as well as adults.  She facilitates groups for single women and offers mentoring and individual counseling for her clients.  Sherita’s favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lot not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

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

Speed Dial or Backup?

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Come And Talk To Me

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

God's Mercy, Restoration, Trials

More than a Car: It’s a Transformation

Two months ago I was involved in a car collision that changed my SPIRITUAL life forever.  The days following the impact I was having the hardest time.  I couldn’t get past the fact that the other driver failed to wait for the traffic to clear at the stop sign before proceeding and the damage to my vehicle was making the situation even worse.  Praise God that all parties involved were alive but unfortunately my car was caught in the crossfire and I was left confused and uncertain as to what was next.

Shortly after the repairs began, I went to gather my belongings out of my beloved “Bentley-Lo” only to find the entire front had been removed.  There was no sign that this was the same car that I was proud to say that I owned; rather it looked identical to the other junk cars that sat on the lot of the auto body shop.  My car appeared to be used, abused, and left for dead with hopes of being transformed back to its original state.

Two days ago I picked my car up from the repair facility and it looked good as new.  The evident damaged was non-existent, the somber scene from the breakdown had passed, and I was now staring at proof that change can be seen on the outside.

“But then I will win her back once again.  I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.  I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into the gateway of hope.  She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young…” (Hosea 2:14-15a NLT)

As I witnessed my car’s transformation, I was reminded of the stages that our relationship with Christ goes through.  We endure trials that leave us damaged and we take forever to accept that not everything is about us.  We go through tough times for God to get the glory and to encourage others who may experience similar situations… It is NOT about us!  Then when we reach a certain point in our relationship with God, He will disassemble our hard exterior in order to expose our most sensitive layer.  However, when it is all said and done, He restores us to a condition that was better than before.  He renews us in every aspect so that people can only see Him and not the collisions that we were involved in previously.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping me to recognize that my trials are deeper than what I can see but that they are for Your glory and the deliverance of others.  Please remind me that the process does require the extraction of things that are not of You in order for our relationship to continue to prosper.  Lord, I thank You in advance for the overflow, deliverance, increase and restoration which will be released unto me at Your appointed time.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to trust and believe that the transformation process will change your life forever.  Each stage is intricate in the development of your relationship with Christ so be open to receive the blessing in it.  Rest assured that you will look brand new when He finishes with you.  Have a blessed week ☺     

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Broken But Repairable

Have you undergone a Godly transformation? Do people tell you that you are not the same? Share your story with us in the comment section.

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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

Blessings, Career, Contentment, Employment, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Goals & Dreams, God's Grace, Miscellaneous, Patience, Patience, Persistance, Preparation, Restoration, Spiritual Therapy, Strength, Transitions Series, Trials, Trusting God

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

The past few years of my life have been ones of transition, endless waiting and sometimes disappointment. I’ve alluded to and written about it many times. Long story short, I left my job in Texas to start my own business and moved to Atlanta for a three-month transition. In my mind that is all it would take before the business was up and running and I could move to my real destination, Washington, DC (because this is where the business was based). That three months has turned into over two years and I reached a point where I was tired of telling people that I was moving anywhere because I just didn’t know when/if it would happen. As a matter of fact, I actually told people I was moving to Washington, DC nearly two years before I left Texas so in total this has now been a four year wait. If you have had any experience with God you know that many times your best made plans aren’t a part of His plan.

But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Micah 4:12 KJV From my brief study, I found that sheaves are stalks of grain and they were gathered on the threshing floor during harvest time for a two-step process. First the actual grain was separated from the chaff. To do this, oxen would pull a metal spiked sledge that would break the heads of the grain from the stalk or they would just trample them. Next the broken stalks were tossed into the air and the wind would blow the lighter chaff away while the heavier grain would fall back on the floor where it could then be gathered for use.

My time of transition has been like the sheaves on the threshing floor. I went from making a very lucrative salary to making zero, zilch, nada. Months would go by and I had nothing but what I could borrow or get from someone else. My mini-vacations that I would frequently take turned into staycations in my room. I found myself in an “asking” position when I was usually the giver. Shopping excursions were non-existent as my belly became wider, clothes became tattered and shoes wobbled to the side. When I could no longer afford my health insurance, the aches and pains started. I went from being a mover and shaker, featured in Ebony Magazine to feeling insignificant. Finally my car called it quits. Although I grew up poor, THIS was a very unfamiliar position. Throughout this process I have felt a gamut of emotions: happiness, depression, bitterness, envy, contentment and disappointment. I had good days and many bad ones. During the process, I felt beat down and trampled but it was only to extract the good grain. Without the threshing floor, the harvest would be incomplete.

I had to learn more about myself and have many things extracted and tossed so that in the finishing process only the good grain was left in me. Sometimes God humbles you by removing the frills and unnecessary things to get you to the place He has ordained for you. A place where you are truly dependent on Him and can recognize that it is His goodness, and not your own doing, that gets you your blessings.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV Admittedly during this process, my faith wavered; yet, God remained faithful. Did I get everything that I wanted when I wanted? No! However, He absolutely never failed to supply my needs. This month (July) represents a turning point in my life. After a little over two years in business, I received my first paycheck from my business one that will come consistently versus “some” money at any random month. From my time in the threshing process, I know how to use my money wiser so that when God grants me the increase that I need and desire, I will make sound investments versus temporary gratification. My “giving” strategy will be a lot different because when I couldn’t give I realized that people would always find a way without me. It made me realize that I was a resource and not their “source.” I learned that lesson for myself as well. As I sit in a hotel room now after a second trip of apartment hunting in Washington, DC, I have ultimately learned that if we can only learn to trust God and His timing He will prepare us for our harvest.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my time in the threshing process as You prepared me for the harvest. I ask that You continue to let those traits, people and other characteristics that are not useful blow off of me into the wind. Help me to be anxious for nothing because You have told me that in due season I will reap a harvest. You have been faithful to Your Word even in the midst of my doubt. God, I ask that You continue to build my faith as I move into the next phase that You have prepared for me. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust Him in the process. Although it’s hard because what you see what’s happening in other people’s lives (marriages, babies, career advancements, notoriety, goal accomplishments, financial prosperity) may seem foreign for your own. Know that He is preparing you for your harvest by extracting those things that aren’t useful for that next phase in your life. Trust that He is faithful to you because it is who He is and who He has always been.

Are you waiting on God and feel as if it is not going to happen? If you examine yourself, is it that God has you on the threshing floor? Share your story with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Encouragement, Freedom, God's Protection, Inspirational, Trials, Trusting God

I Am Released!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NIV)

 Exactly a month ago my life changed drastically. I had been stressed and praying for God to let His will be done in my life. I had been reading and talking to people that could give me a word of encouragement but nothing was helping. I started praying and blessing my house, I put oil on the doors, clothes, shoes, everything that I could reach. I was getting the devil out of my house. I called all of my prayer warriors and God moved. God released me from my situation so that He could bless me with what He has for me. What happened was I was too busy praying for what I wanted and not for what God wanted for my life. In 2012 my home life has changed, my employment has changed, my weight has changed, my motivation has changed, my prayer life has changed and most important, my worship has changed.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT)

There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, he called her over. “Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God. (Luke 13:11-13 MSG) God released this woman from her sickness. The same way she had been bent over for eighteen years and was released in an instant, is the same way God can release you from something that you have been in your entire life.

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment (Matthew 9:20-22 NIV)  God released this lady because she had faith and believed if she could just touch the hem of His garment she could be made whole. You have to have faith that even though your situation is bad, God can release you from it.

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him.  With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water (Mark 5:6-13 NLT) You need to look those demons and evil spirits in the eye and release them. Don’t be afraid to talk and tell them they can’t live within you, your house or your life any longer.

 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the Iron Gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. (Acts 12:6-10 NIV) Now you may have never been in jail literally but symbolically God can send an angel to break the chains off of you and release you from things that have you in bondage.

It is not a coincidence that you are reading this EmpowerMoment today. God is speaking to you to tell you that it is not your battle anymore. God is saying you are released from whatever has you in bondage. God wants you to be okay with releasing things that are not helping you go to the next level in Him. I learned that if you let God determine your path and you follow it, stress, hurt and pain will release themselves from your life.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for releasing me from situations that were not Your will for my life. Thank You for protecting my mind and releasing me from the enemy. God, continue to mold me into the woman that You want me to be. Continue to give me the spirit of discernment to recognize when I am moving out of Your will and back into situations that I have been released from.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to speak to your situation and tell it that God has released you from it. Remember that you are special regardless of what you have been through or how people have made you feel. You are released from lying, drugs, alcohol, disease, sickness, lying, fornication, adultery, gambling or whatever has you in bondage. God is releasing you now!

Check out “Released” by Donald Lawrence:

Take a moment and share with us what God has released you from.

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

Children, Faith, Trials, Trusting God

The Faith of a Daisy

In April I decided to embark on one of the most rewarding and fulfilling community service projects ever. I decided to become a Girl Scouts Troop Leader!!  In efforts to teach my girls more about God, I decided to open and close each meeting with a prayer.  The first couple of meetings I led the prayer because the girls were still getting warmed up to the entire idea, but when I asked for a volunteer there was one Daisy that eagerly raised her hand.  She thanked God for allowing us to meet and have such an awesome time, asked Him to protect us until we met again, and right before the amen she declared that “we ALL were healed!”

“Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18: 4 NLT)

That day I thought it was the funniest thing that I had heard in a long time, but in reality the faith of that six-year-old little girl was ten steps ahead of many of us.  She decided to take our moment with Jesus and trust Him to cover our bodies from any afflictions.  After we dismissed and I stopped laughing, I took a moment to thank God that she truly believed that He would do what she asked of Him.

“Let the children come to me.  Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14-15 NLT)

As she spoke the words so passionately it was as if she was certain that the atmosphere was getting ready to shift.  Interestingly enough, that is where we tend to make a mistake. We lack passion in our faith!  We know that God is able to answer our prayers, but we must learn to believe the way that young girl does.  Since passion is defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, there is nothing wrong with having passionate faith in the Master.  Most of the time the things we encounter in life increases or decreases our faith level, but we have to remember how high the stakes were when we were mere children.  Now is not the time to lose it, but rather gain the faith of a Daisy!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing my faith to be strengthened and renewed daily and allow me to see the learning opportunities in everything that I do.  Help me to get the passion back into my faith that I may trust You like never before.  Keep me believing that my faith shifts the atmosphere and causes my prayers to come to fruition.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you to trust Him like you use to and bring the passion back into your faith.  God has not changed; however, our faith level is constantly wavering when it should be our solid foundation.  Have blessed week! 🙂

Read a related EmpowerMoment: My Faith Building Summer

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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