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

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

I Am Free: The Love Letter

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

I am FREE from my past!

Dear God,

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

Love, Your Wounded Baby Girl

Dear Daughter,

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

Love, God

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

Dear Daddy,

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

Today, EMPOWER yourself by sharing with God all of your angers, fears, and disappointments and TRUST that His word will not return void.  Psalms 6:9 reminds us “The Lord heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Start seeking to encourage and EMPOWER others that may be going through what you have OVERCOME. God has given you confirmation in His word that you are already restored and healed, for His word says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

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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.

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

Contentment

June is Black Music Month!  To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month.  This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers.  Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love!  Happy Black Music Month!  Dance as if no one is watching!

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

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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

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

The Valley Experience

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

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

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

 

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 Ms. Katrina Richard is an up and coming professional residing in Chicago, Illinois.  She strives to incorporate knowledge and life-skills to teenagers in her profession as a high school history teacher.  Katrina is very active in her church community where she serves in the prayer ministry as well as in the nursery.  She has a passion for serving in the lesser known areas of ministry because she believes every facet of ministry is important to kingdom building and spiritual development of the believers. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God's Protection, Praise/Worship, Trials

Praise Before You Pout

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Daddy,

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

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

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

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Praise the Lord Anyhow

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