Faith, Trusting God

Stepping Out on Faith

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”-Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Faith is one of the areas that I struggle with. I tend to take a realistic approach to things. If things look a certain way to me in the “natural eye” then it is that way. Faith isn’t what we see but looking beyond what we see. It’s believing that the things we hope for will come to past. I have asked God to help me increase my faith. I took a big leap of faith on Friday, May 16th. I went to the Department of Public Safety to take my road test for the first time. Before I went to the place, I felt very nervous and a little bit of anxiety came over me.

After waiting two hours to be seen, I was irritated. When my ticket was called and I met with the worker it seemed like everything was going well. I gave the worker my information and my friend’s car and insurance information. Then, I found out that I had to take my permit test because the permit that I had was expired. I thought that I could take my road test with the permit I had since it hasn’t been three years that it’s been expired. I was informed that was the old policy. and I would I have to take the written test. Any faith that I had was beginning to disappear.

I took the written test and failed it because I missed eight questions. I was so close! In order to get my permit that day, I could only miss a maximum of six questions. I was mad that I failed the test. I was depressed, angry, and had a bad mood that day due to what I went through. I felt like I wasted my time and my friend’s time. I’ve been waiting for the moment to take my road test for years and the day that I finally got the opportunity, things didn’t happen the way I expected it to.

Although things did not work out in my favor the first time, I retook my written test on Wednesday, May 21st and passed! Praise God! Now I can start practicing on the road. Lately, I’ve been practicing in the parking lot of my apartment. As stated in my previous Empowermoments, my goal is to get my driver’s license before the summer is over or at least by the end of 2014. The road to my driver’s license has been a long journey. I’ve been working on this goal since high school. I just want to accomplish this goal so I no longer have to worry about it. People have been helping me with my driving skills over the years but no one has been really consistent. I often get asked why I don’t have my driver’s license at my age (I’m 26 years old) and a car. That question sometimes irritates me although I know people don’t mean any harm. Right now, I don’t have the income to afford it; however, just as God brought me to this point, I know he will make provision for the rest.

Getting my Driver’s License represents freedom to me. I believe that when I get my driver’s license, it will open up opportunities for me to get a job in the Social Services field, which requires travel (see Tired of Trying) I’m working on trusting God more and walking out on faith even though I’m sometimes apprehensive. One of the hardest things for me to do is take a risk without knowing what the outcome is but that is what faith is all about.

Dear Daddy,

You know the things that I’m believing You for. Help me to step out on faith and trust You. Even when situations look bleak to the natural eye, increase my faith and remind me of the power of believing in You. I want faith that can move mountains. I know that faith without works is dead so give me the stamina to work while you continue to increase my faith. In Jesus’ Name Amen.

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to get out of the boat like Peter. Step out on faith even though it might be scary. Keep your eyes focused on God and he will assist you. The story of Peter walking on water can be found in Matthew 14:22-33.

Tell us a time when you stepped out on faith.  We’d love to hear your story.

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Venus Gilmore currently resides in Auburn, AL. She is an alumna of Auburn University. Venus has B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Social Organization and Inequality with a minor in Social Work. She plans on pursuing a career in Social Services. She currently serves as the Mamie Reese Scholarship Director, and College Transition Program Director of her sorority Theta Phi Sigma Christian Sorority, Inc. Venus is also a blogger for Radical7even. She is an active Client Advocate volunteer for the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic. She successfully balances all of these responsibilities with her favorite scripture as motivation: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

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combating the attacks of the enemy, Faith, Freedom, Healing, Praise/Worship, Prayer

3 P’s

These past couple of weeks have been trying but typical displays of the enemy’s tactics.  On Mother’s Day, I caught a bug and throughout the weeks I was sick off and on.  Then I started experiencing anxiety symptoms and they lasted for days.  I have never experienced the anxiety lasting for days like this and the symptoms were a resounding gong vibrating through my body.  My chest hurt, my body ached, and my throat had a scratchy, lumpy feeling.  My stomach had a pit feeling that wouldn’t leave also.  I had some stress and some worries but sometimes the symptoms would appear when I thought my mind was clear.  I was back at this point again when I had already claimed my healing before.

I couldn’t figure out why I was ailing physically and mentally, when on the flip side I had also been informed that I am to receive an award from my job.  I had been getting the word out about my newly published book and feeling good about accomplishing one of my goals.  I was starting to physically plan and prepare for my business too, and I was nervous, but excited.

However, being sick and anxious were beginning to make moving forward or just the simplest tasks difficult these past two weeks.  I felt sluggish and began to focus on my issues more than God and all my blessings. The Sunday before this past Sunday, I remember feeling heavy, my legs feeling heavy and the pit feeling in my stomach.  It was hard to even stand during praise and worship.  My pastor basically said to the congregation when Praise & Worship was ending that we were going to praise God and stay right there in that moment until something breaks because he felt the heaviness or something holding us back.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Heb. 13:15 KJV)

I felt like at that moment God was speaking to me personally and when we praised God, I felt so much better.  I felt that thing lift off of me.  But then the sickness and anxiety continued the next week.  I admit I felt hopeless. This past Sunday, between Praise & Worship and the sermon, the themes I kept hearing were freedom, freedom from fear/anxiety and bringing forth praise.  No matter the circumstance or how you feel, praise God through it all.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1 KJV)

This Memorial’s Day, as I read some of Kenneth E. Hagin’s workbook about Faith, I began to understand what I, like many of us, had not been doing or fail to do in some areas of our lives.  I had not been exercising my faith.  I had not been receiving or continually walking in my healing.  I was instead doing more hoping than believing; I was focusing more on my circumstances than God.  I had not realized that faith is not “I will” or “I hope.”  Faith is “It is now.”  I have to exercise my faith and trust in God’s promises: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 KJV); For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV).

In order to exercise my faith and continue to trust in God’s promises, I have to follow the three P’s:

    • PRAY! Pray for relationship and intimacy with God and not just His Promises and Provisions. Believe when you pray that you have received too.  Pray without ceasing also.
    • PRESS!  Faith without works is dead so put some action with your faith.  Fight the good fight of faith.  Persevere and trust God.  Someone told me that if God sends you, to go even when you are afraid.
    • PRAISE!  Praise is a weapon.  Praise allows you to focus on God and not your circumstances.  Moreover, as you renew your mind with the Word of God, you can’t help but to respond to God with praise.  Praise and the Word also changes your perspective and focus.

Dear Daddy,

Help me to believe when I pray and not hope that I am healed, but believe and receive it, even when there is no evidence of my healing.  Help me to press and praise my way through, trusting in You and relying upon Your grace to do so.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to PRAY, PRESS and PRAISE your way through.  If it God’s will, whatever you desire, believe you received it.  Faith is knowing you have already received God’s promise.

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 Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager so 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. In April, Ms. Tannika’s poetry book, Setting The Captive Free, was published. It is her first book. For more details and how to purchase your copy, visit stcfpoetrybook.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.”

Anxiety, Faith, Trusting God

Buckle Up, Turbulence Ahead!

Bump, Bump, BUMP! “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride, there’s turbulence ahead.” As soon as I heard the pilot speak these words, I began to feel the anxiety. My heart was beating fast and my breathing became shallow. I’ve literally flown around the world but in recent years the slightest bump on an aircraft incites angst.

As the plane began to shake, I gripped the armrest tighter knowing there was nothing that I could physically do. I was stuck in a situation where I literally could not move. I had to endure the turbulence because there was no way out. My only option was to pray and trust the pilot.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (I Peter 5:10 NIV)

Just like that airplane, I am sure we have all experienced turbulent times in life. There are times when we have to cling to our faith and get a grip because of the bumps on this road of life. Some experiences may be milder than others; however, there are times when we go through things that make us utterly dependent on God, our pilot, to deliver us. I’m quite sure, if you think hard enough, you can recall a situation that you thought would take you out. Yet,God said, “not yet.” I don’t care how big your Bible is, how many times a week you go to church or if you fall out, slobber and hit the floor, every now and then life will JOLT you. The real power lies in how you respond to the turbulence.

After coming to terms with the fact that I was not in control, I realized trusting the pilot wasn’t a bad idea. With each shake, God revealed why I should trust Him to get me through the turbulence:

  1. The pilot knew the terrain because navigating the air was His territory. The earth is the Lord‘s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalms 24:1 KJV)
  2. The pilot had the benefit of knowing what lie ahead. All of the information at his disposal informed Him of when the turbulence would begin and when it would end. He could see what I couldn’t. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure … yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:10-11 KJV)
  3. The pilot was experienced with bringing people through turbulent experiences to safe landings. He after all was a pilot. “Be still, and know that I am God:” (Psalms 46:10 KJV)

The beauty is that turbulence, even if it lasts an entire flight, does not last forever. After the plane lands, it’s over. Of course, when I was in the midst of it, it was difficult to see past the current moment. The anxiety didn’t change a thing so releasing it was the best thing. I leaned on what I knew and I encourage you to do the same. Trust the pilot and pray.

Dear Daddy, 

Lord, I acknowledge that there will be some tough times as I travel on this road of life. There will be times when nothing of my own will work to change a situation. God I am leaning and trusting You because You are the pilot on my flight. You know the end of a thing before the beginning. I know that just as You have carried others, You will carry me. I release all anxiety, all fear and unnecessary stress. God I ask that You help mine unbelief in the midst of stormy weather. Lord, I trust You to get me through. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today, I EMPOWER you to let it go! Release all anxiety, all fear, whatever has you bound. Trust that God will carry you in the midst of the turbulence that’s rocking you. Don’t let what’s happening in this moment discourage you about your future. Know that these trials are only for an appointed time. Let go of the armrest, take a deep breath, pray and trust God for a safe landing. 

How do you remain faithful in the midst of turbulent times?

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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 strengthened me.

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.

Faith, Praise/Worship, Prayer, Word of God

Just Do It!

 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22 NIV

But how…

The above scripture used to seem so complex to me. Sure, I knew that I was sinning, wrong, wayward, and lost. But “HOW” was I supposed to get back on track. I would see all of these charismatic people, on fire for the Word, rarely doubting God and I would wonder “HOW” did they do it. People would tell me,  “pray about it,” “it will get better” or, “be patient.” I would often wonder, but “HOW?” How am I supposed to be close to God? How do I start a relationship with Him? How do I pray without sounding weird? How do I begin to remove the sin (that I relished in) out of my life? How?

Many years later, being on the other side of this question, I’ve learned that Nike actually declares one of the most profound statements of my time; JUST DO IT! I remember speaking to one of my mentees and she said, “How do I begin to read my Bible?” Now, depending on who you talk to, some will say start at Genesis, start at Psalms, start at Proverbs, start at Matthew, and so on. But what I have come to learn is to “Just do it.”  There is no perfect way to read God’s Word. Sure, there are ways to scholarly advance throughout the Bible, or ways to dissect it better, but in layman’s terms, JUST DO IT.  Pray before you open it, ask God to enter your heart and mind, and trust that what you read will become embedded in your heart.

How do we pray? In Bible School we are taught to pray as Jesus did, but for me, at one time I couldn’t even understand that. I knew the Lord’s Prayer but I didn’t feel like I was being sincere. One day I literally lay on the floor, face down, and sat quiet. I began to think about all the great things that have happened in my life, the awesome “coincidences” that I knew only God could do, and I just started reciting them in thanks. I had to Just Do It!

In addition to becoming connected to a supportive body of believers, here are some tips that gave me a boost along my walk with God:

  1. How do I study God’s Word? Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NIV) I wanted to correctly handle God’s Word, but how? I found a Sunday School book and started following its lessons and it grew from there. It may seem weird, but it helped me to focus on “learning” God’s Word. Stop by a church and ask them for one, I’m sure they’ll give you one.
  2. How do I pray in power? I wanted to be able to pray boldly not wavering in doubt. Opening your mouth to God in prayer is power in itself. But what I wanted was to feel connected, comfortable (not complacent) enough to focus on God, and strong enough to pray for others. But how? I kept doing it, over and over and over.  I started by making a prayer list. I would write down the things I wanted to say including who and what I wanted to pray for. Next, I would read my “list” to God. This was how I started learning how to converse with Him. The more I prayed, the more in tune I became. Praying without ceasing and believing that God heard me revealed His power.
  3. How do I exhibit faith? Having faith is understanding its definition. Faith is to have complete trust or belief in something. I was very skeptical of having faith that God actually cared about every little thing in my life. But I had to JUST DO IT. I had to talk daily to Him, and make a decision that I was NOT going to try and solve all of life’s problems. I had to literally shove worry out of my mind and trust that God was going to work it out. I actually believed that God would not let me down and that His Word was true. I have professional training in the science field, so naturally I like to solve things. There is always a cause and effect, whether immediate or delayed. But I can’t take that approach with faith. I have to leave it there, believing that God will lead me to the solution or He will just fix it!

Dear Daddy,

I want to really be able to say that I can call You Daddy. I want to know that when I pray You hear me. I want to be able to read Your Word and actually understand what it means. I want to grow in faith and believe that You really do care about something as small as me being upset about my appearance to something as grand as the health of my children. Lord, please send tangible examples and wise people my way so that I can continue to cultivate my relationship with You. Starting today, I am going to JUST DO IT! I am going to “try it out” and pray that I grow and feel Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, many of us are learning how to grow in Christ. Today I EMPOWER you to JUST DO IT! It may be reading more, praying more, worshipping deeper or praising louder, but JUST DO IT! Do it in faith, believing that God knows your heart and will receive your truth with open arms.

What are some tips you have for those of us “starting out” in Christ? Share with us some ways that you strengthen your walk with God.

Read A Related EmpowerMoment: Two Way Street

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

Accountability, Career, Commitment, Courage, Faith, Trusting God

Stand Up for What You Believe In!

A few weeks ago Chicago Teacher’s Union made headline news. We went on strike to prove to the city and the world that we were worth far more than the District was offering us. Now I am going to be honest when the vote first came up a little less than a year ago I was all for it because I didn’t really believe we would go on strike. When reality set in and we couldn’t report to our place of employment I became discontented because I had to evaluate what we were fighting for. I had a choice to make; I could cross the picket line or I could stand in the fire. The main reason I was indecisive is because I was thinking about not getting paid. God had to remind me of how many times He has come to my rescue and bailed me out. I was reminded that I need to keep my life free from love of money, and be content with what I have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:12 ESV)

The same way I had a choice to make with the Union, I also have choices to make with my beliefs in God. Regardless of going without and losing money, I didn’t go to work because I believed some kind of change would come. In Mark the 5th chapter, a leader named Jairus believed that God could raise his daughter from the dead. When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. (Mark 5: 21-24 NIV) As Jesus was going to Jairus’ house, some people ran from his house and told him to leave Jesus alone because the girl is dead.  Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5: 36 NIV) How many times have we believed God would do something and people would tell us we were crazy or we should spend our time standing up for something else? I have been desperate for Jesus to come into my house and people have told me it’s too late, leave Jesus alone, and find something else to stand up for.

When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. (Mark 5: 38-42 NIV)

Imagine if Jairus had not stood up for what he believed in despite what people said. He would have missed His blessing. His daughter would not have lived again. How many things have we let lay dormant because we are scared to stand up for what we believe in? I want all of you to have the same belief in God that Jairus had, that God can do the impossible. Stand up for what you believe in!

Dear Daddy,

Continue to give me the courage to stand up for You and Your son Jesus. God, I am asking that You guide my footsteps and my words so that I won’t stray away from my belief in You. I am asking that You give me the same faith that Jairus had in the Bible, believing that You can make the impossible possible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stand up for what you believe in. I dare you to put all of your faith and belief in God and watch how He resurrects a situation that has laid dormant in your life. Remember ladies, if you don’t stand for something with your spouse, your children, your employment, school, people, thoughts, etc. you will fall for anything!

Although others may doubt, what are you standing up for because you believe in it?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Blinded By What I See

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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.”