God's Provisons, Spirit of Fear, Trusting God

When The Journey Is Too Much

Elijah was a great prophet and very well taken care of by the Lord our God. One pivotal moment in his life came when he went before Israel and their wicked king Ahab to tell them basically they can only serve one God, not two. Elijah then challenged the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 17-18)

Well if you read you know who won that battle hands down. God, the Only Wise God! So this was a triumph for Elijah, but once wicked Ahab told his wicked wife Jezebel, she was after Elijah’s life. Elijah must have forgotten how mighty God is and the success He caused him already because Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. Elijah felt defeated, but even in his weakness and time of trouble God refreshed him.

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. (1 Kings 19:3-8 NIV)

I too have forgotten how mighty God is; I would forget how He helped me, saved me and blessed me before. I would take my mind off of Him and focus on the situations or people that threaten my peace, my family, my finances, my stability, or my life. I have felt so defeated and so depressed that I too have wanted my life to end. I have cried so much and so hard that all I could do was fall asleep because I had no energy left.

This account of Elijah’s life encourages me because it is a demonstration that God cares, remembers that we have frailties and recognizes that sometimes the journey is too much for us.

Last time I talked to you about how I had some GOLIATHS in my life that I was currently slaying with faith and God’s Word. It was like one Goliath after the next coupled with a busy schedule, a lot of events and life changes to the point where I felt physically and emotionally drained and overwhelmed. My spirit was up and down. However, I am encouraged that when the journey or battle gets too much, God will come and refresh me. He will not only revive me spiritually, but naturally as well. I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. (Jeremiah 31:25 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for abounding in love and having compassion for my soul. Sometimes I just want to give up or lie down, but You give me the strength to keep pressing. Thank You for reviving me when I am weak and defenseless. Thank You for your might, mercies and provision; You provide me with natural and spiritual fuel to get me through the journey. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remember that sometimes you’re going to have to stay and fight. He knows what you are up against and He is El-Shaddai, God Almighty, so He will defend you and take care of you. I EMPOWER you to remember all the victories you and God have already won and to trust God along the journey. When it gets too much for you to take, God will refresh you and strengthen you!

What journeys have God helped you through?

Read a related EM: Soaring Makes Me Sore

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

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

Please vote for EmpowerMoments in the finals for the Black Weblog Awards: Best Series: Single in the City; Best Writing in A Blog; and Best Faith Based Blog. Click here to vote.

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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.

God's Protection, Trusting God, Worry

Throwback Thursday: But It’s Okay Right Now

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on May 12, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

During the evening of the worse tornado event in the history of Alabama, my daughter and I were in our living room on the lookout for the storm. The mood in the room was pretty tense with the news channel in the background, windows cleared for view of what was to come, sirens blaring, the bathroom cleared out for us to take shelter when prompted, and friends over that were taking precautions as well.

My daughter has an extreme affinity for bubbles. So she asked, “Mommy can I go outside and blow my bubbles.” Being the Mom and alert of what was about to take place in the atmosphere, I kindly replied, “No Dear, the weather is getting bad. A tornado is coming.” In her most innocent and serious voice, she replied, “But it’s okay right now, Mom.” Those of you that know my daughter are not shocked by this quick, rationalized response from a three-year old, but I saw past her statement. “But it’s okay RIGHT now.” Immediately God shared with me that we spend so much time preparing for the worst and worrying about tomorrow that we forget to recognize, “It’s okay right now.”  Thinking of my personal and spiritual life, I wondered how many times and how much energy have I wasted worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. God tells us a few things in His word about missing out on today due to worrying about tomorrow:

  • Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.” (AKJV) Don’t spend your time being restless and anxious about your future…think about the moment. “It’s okay right now.”
  • Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV) I am known for welcoming Thursday’s stress on the Monday prior instead of allowing God to handle my storms.
  • Matthew 6: 25a “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…” (NIV) Jesus shares not to worry about the most important thing such as your life to the least important, your clothes. He’s got it covered. You just focus on today.“It’s okay right now.”
  • Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.” (NLT) When we keep our minds on God, we strengthen our faith in trusting He will handle the things to come.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being a shield of protection when I can’t see what’s in front of me. Thank You for taking care of the beginning and the end of all of my concerns. Lord, help me to stop and see Your blessings in this day and not to waste my time on things I cannot handle, predict, or fix ahead of time. Teach me to stop and smell the roses. Time is a gift that can’t be relived, so thank You Lord for granting me with a new opportunity each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sister, today I EMPOWER you to stop worrying about things you don’t think will go right or your issues about tomorrow. Stop for a moment to smell the roses and realize “It’s okay right now.”  I may not have money for my bill on Friday, but “I’m okay right now.” I may not have the spouse I want, but “I’m okay right now.” I don’t have the “things” that I think I want, but Lord in this moment I recognize my blessings and “I’m okay right now.” Don’t get caught up in worrying about the next step and forget about this moment’s blessings. God reminds us that “All things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) With this in mind, focus on the moment…“It’s okay right now.”

Dedicated to my daughter who always reminds me to stop and smell the roses. “From lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” (Psalms 8:2 NIV)

What are you spending time worrying about? Vow today to stop!

Read a Related EmpowerMoment: It’s Too Heavy

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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.”

Back To School Series, Change, Trusting God

Back To School: Embrace It!

School has begun for most students across the world so EmpowerMoments is featuring a series entitled “Back to School”.   Read this week as our writers share stories and learned lessons from their school-related experiences.  Come and get on our EmpowerMoments school bus!

My boys go to a charter school in the city and are amongst the first kids to go back to school early.  Needless to say they are hardly excited about how their cousins and friends get to stay up a little later for about a week or so longer than they do.

This year was a little different though; they were really excited about the first day of school.  They couldn’t wait to see some of their friends that they hadn’t seen over the summer or the newly renovated building.  I was excited for them and looking forward to hearing about how awesome their first day had been.  When they came home, they had plenty to tell me and my older son was more excited than my younger son.  When I questioned why he was a little down, he told me it was because most of his good friends were all in the same class together but he was in a class full of students he didn’t know.  He really wanted to be in class with his friends.

As I sat there looking at my baby boy with his bottom lip poked out (just as cute as he could be), I started to think.  It is funny how we always want to get ‘something new,’ but have such difficulty when what we get isn’t what we had in mind.  So quickly we lose sight of the new blessings and beginnings God gives us because they don’t look like the ones we were expecting.  This could mean going to get a Cadillac and being approved for a Chevy.  It could be feeling like a guy was the one who got away and nobody would ever replace him, but KNOW that God had a reason for giving you the new beginning that He did.  We have to stand on His Word—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)  I told my baby that he has the best of both worlds!  He has all of his friends from last year that he can hang out with at lunch and recess and the opportunity to meet a lot of new friends!

I think as we reflect on the new school year for ourselves and/or our children, the beginning of the last quarter of the year 2012, and the upcoming changes in season, we need to continue to be open-minded and thankful for all things that are new, regardless of whether we asked for them or not.  We need to be patient, pray for discernment and wait on God to reveal His plan for our purpose in this and every season of our lives.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for constantly showing me that when You are doing a new thing it is always what’s best for me.  Thank You for being patient with me and continuing to order my steps even when I am reluctant to do as You would have me do.  Please continue to manifest Your Will for my life upon me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to accept and embrace ALL new things and opportunities that are bestowed upon you!  REFUSE to allow the enemy to convince you that anything ordained by your Heavenly Father is anything other than a blessing and His Will for your life!

What new things and opportunities has God bestowed upon you that maybe you didn’t embrace at first?

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  Expect Greatness

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 Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “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, pleasing and perfect will.”

Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

Holding On Too Tight!

A while back, I was thinking about the lessons and messages that I have been receiving about surrendering. At that very moment a movie scene popped up in my mind.  It was a scene from a comedy/drama/romance movie called Ghost (1990).  In this particular scene, con-artist Oda Mae (played by Whoopi Goldberg) is instructed by Sam (Patrick Swayze) to give a FOUR MILLION DOLLAR check to nuns because Sam wants to make sure the money is used for good and out of the hands of his friend/colleague Carl.

With clinched teeth, a forced smile, and a tight grip, Oda Mae has a hard time giving up that check.  I like to give, but I probably would have a hard time releasing that check too.  Four million dollars!  Watching this scene is hilarious, but the Holy Spirit helped me to realize that Oda Mae responds like many of us, and particularly me, with our lives.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.  (Luke 17:33 NLT) Maybe we grip our lives because we want to continue holding onto the control of our lives and do things our way.  Maybe it is because we want to obey and surrender only when it is convenient. Perhaps we think that if we surrender, we are going to lose our lives physically.  It is possible that we believe that God doesn’t want us to have joy and fulfillment or just maybe we think life is satisfactory the way it is.  Even more, we are probably focused on pursuing worldly things or we lack patience and trust in God to do what He says and has proven He can do.  In any event, we are afraid to let go and give control to God.

I must remember that when God created me, He didn’t intend for me to live independent of Him. Therefore, in order to move forward in my Christian walk, I must fully SURRENDER!

I have been gripping my life like Oda Mae gripped that check.  I have been gripping everything that God wanted control over or wanted me to release.  I have been gripping my many plans, my fears, my money, my concerns of what others think about me, my dating/love life (or lack thereof) and my need to do everything and be everything for everyone.  I have even given Him areas of my life and subsequently I have taken them back.  I’d say I believe and then the next minute I don’t believe.  Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.  But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”   Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21-24 NIV)

Since I have been alerted to my lack of surrender to God, the Holy Spirit has helped me loosen my grip on my life and those areas that I gave God little to no access.  I have also surrendered plans that were of good intentions because it wasn’t what God wanted me to do at the time.  I have finally severed the last means of communication between me and my ex-boyfriend/first love; I am going to trust in God to bring a God-fearing, handsome man along just right for me.  I have learned that I have to seek God’s counsel in everything I do.  I have also learned that I can’t be everything for everyone.  It is okay to take the ‘S’ (Superwoman) off my chest unless that ‘S’ stands for SURRENDER (everything to God).

Through the testimonies of Hannah and Ruth, I am reminded that when you trust God and let go, you gain so much more!  Hannah, who yearned and prayed fervently for a child, gave her son back to the Lord. She promised God that if He gave her a son she would do this so she took him to the priest and allowed the priest to raise and ready him for his destiny. (1 Samuel 1:1 – 2:10)  She made him a coat and visited him every year but she had to let go.  Ruth left her family to go with Naomi, her deceased husband’s mother.  She surrendered to God and a new course for her life.  Consequently, she married again, gave birth to her first child, and was able to also bless Naomi—her mother-in-law.

Surrendering my life doesn’t necessarily mean I lose it physically.  Instead I will gain my life, the life God designed for me all along with peace, fulfillment, and deeper intimacy with God.  Surrendering my life doesn’t just benefit me, it benefits others too.  Oda Mae didn’t get that money but she was able to help bless the nuns and their charity as well as help Sam unite with the love of his life, Molly, and save her from danger.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for pruning me, defining my character, and setting me apart.  It is not easy to go through this process, nor is it easy to render control of my life to You.  But please help me let go!  Help me to trust You and remember that my life is no longer my own.  I am here to glorify You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust the Lord with your lives.  After all, He knew you before you were in your mothers’ wombs.  He created you and knows your purposes.  He has your best interest at heart and will never fail you.  So, don’t worry about your children.  Put them in God’s hands.  Release that person with forgiveness and God’s Love.  Let go of that relationship He doesn’t approve of.  Seek Him before you make plans.  Let go of always needing control.  God is qualified to manage your life more than you.  When you let go, you’ll experience God’s liberty and peace!

Ladies, what areas of your life do you need to surrender to God? Share your story with us.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Surrender It

Please watch the $4 Million scene from Ghost!

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

Faith, Faithfulness, Favor, Freedom, God's Mercy, God's Protection, Restoration, Throwback Thursdays, Trusting God

Throwback Thursday: The Face of Faith

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on April 29, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take my students on a field trip. We were given a guided tour of one of the most meaningful museums I have ever been to, The National Holocaust Remembrance Museum. If you’re familiar with the story then you know how the Jews suffered a horrible tragedy at the hands of a mad-man. More than six million people were slaughtered in some manner in what was known as the “Final Solution”. As we walked through the museum I couldn’t help but to feel the pain and suffering of their people. Many of my students were overcome with emotion because of the pictures and stories told by our tour guide. To conclude, we were given the honor of meeting an actual survivor named Regina. Before me stood this small, frail, 84 year-old woman who saw things one could only imagine. Overcome with emotion one of my students began to cry saying “I touched her.” I wanted to ask her a million questions as she was on her way out the door. The only question I could muster up to the strength to ask was, “How did you do it?” She replied in a very quiet, yet firm tone, “I had faith.”

When the other disciples told him [Thomas] that they had seen the Lord, he declared, “… I will not believe it.” A week later… Jesus… said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:25-28 NIV)

Have you ever gotten to the point where you doubted God and started wondering whether or not He would bring you out of your situation? We all get caught in these type situations, whether they are self-inflicted or brought on by something or someone else. We find ourselves in a personal “Death Camp” in which we feel all is hope is lost. The light at the end of the tunnel gets dimmer and dimmer and we question, “Why me Lord?” We only see darkness and never take into account that the daylight will come soon. As Regina held up her arm to show me the number that the Nazis branded her with, I realized that even though she had been marked for death she refused to die. Her faith allowed her to survive what the enemy had on her life.

Dear Daddy,

I ask that You continue to increase my faith. Allow me to see that after every night is a morning. Allow me to trust in You no matter what. In my times of weakness allow me to continue to trust and believe that You will bring me out of my situation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today EMPOWER your FAITH. Never forget Regina and how her FAITH sustained her even when it looked like death was knocking at her door. KNOW that no matter what you’re going through GOD will bring you out.

Shawna Dix is a mother, educator, and all around child of God. She is passionate about God, her son Jalen, family, friends, and her students. She loves teaching because it allows her to shower our youth with love and guidance. She resides in Pentagon City, Virginia and works hard educating inner city youth in Washington DC. She prides herself in being a realist. She exclaims that she is in no way, shape, form, or fashion perfect but she has accepted that she serves a perfect God who is able to do ALL things!

Conviction, Decision Making, Direction/Guidance, Stress, Trusting God

My Scene In The Quicksand

For so long, I’ve felt like the women I see in movies that get stuck in quicksand running from someone or something.  They are treading, splashing, and trying to keep their heads above the sand so they don’t sink; inevitably, one of two things happens: they get rescued or they sink.

My scene in the quicksand lasted much longer than it should have.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been jumping into situations that look good from a distance and after getting caught up, I would try to run but quickly start to sink.  I would find myself over and over again wearily treading the ‘quicksand’ and barely able to keep from sinking.  I have always felt His favor was upon me and in hindsight I recognize that for a long time I took for granted that He would rescue me from the quicksand that I kept finding myself in.

I prayed and prayed for God to change the man I was in love with or give me the strength to leave him, but at night I’d cling to him with all my strength as if to prevent God from removing him.

I prayed for better jobs and for more money to do what ‘made me happy’ and then I would swipe my credit card until it could be swiped no more.  I would get upset, run, and sink again.

Time and time again, I’d pray for God to help me control my impulsive emotional eating, for me to just be content with Him, and not look for satisfaction through food.  Then the moment I finished my prayer, I would go eat my ‘last’ bowl of ice cream or two, wake up too big for all of my clothes, and run yet again.  And yes, I sank again.

My desires and actions did not align with my prayers or what I claimed were my values.  I was holding onto everything that I was praying so hard to be able to let go of!

But God!

One day he dropped a scripture that I knew backwards and forward into my spirit and it took on a new meaning: “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

And just like that I felt like I could stop running.

I recognized that while I thought I was running to God, crying, praying, and begging for His help, I was running from Him!  I realized that I needed to run to Him with my burdens, issues, concerns, and prayers and give them to Him.  I realized I had to give myself to Him, if I wanted to stop running and sinking.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

I had to let go of everything.  I had to surrender.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being willing to carry burdens that You know I cannot bear on my own.  Thank You for Your constant reminder that You will never leave me or forsake me and that I can always bring everything to You.  I pray that I will continue to surrender more and more of myself to You each day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to refuse to sink!  When you feel that you are drowning, allow God to be your life jacket and put all your weight on Him.  He will pull you through! 

What are you holding on to that is weighing you down, causing you to sink lower, and pushing you farther away from God?

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Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “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, pleasing and perfect will.”

Attitude, Complaining, Goals & Dreams, God's Promises, God's Provisons, Growth/Maturity, Marriage, Obedience, Patience, Purpose, Restoration, Singleness, Stress, Trusting God

Living in the Microwave Age

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

I heard an author last week speak about how this is the ‘Microwave Age’ because everybody wants everything to happen quickly. I thought about life and how God has worked on my anxiety. I was a right now person; if I saw something I wanted in a store, I bought it; if I wanted to say something, I said it; if I was feeling a certain way, I reacted; if I wanted to lose weight, I took plenty of weight loss medicine. I know that was a reckless way to live life. Even my prayer life had turned microwavable. Every time I would really need God to do something I would pray, get up and wonder why He didn’t answer my prayer.

I started to question when was I going to get my blessing? When was I going to get a promotion? When was my marriage going to be the marriage I pray for? When was I going to lose weight and have the physique that I want? When? When? When? When?

How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted. (Habakkuk 1:1-4 NLT)

The prophet Habakkuk sounds just like me! I found myself saying, “Why is God not answering me? Is He not listening to me? Why don’t I have the promotion? Why am I still overweight? Why is my marriage still not thriving? Talk to me God!”

The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands.” (Habakkuk 1:5-6 NLT)

The Lord spoke to me and told me He is working my situation out for my good. He is building up relationships and even things I thought were not repairable, He is repairing them. He has placed me in a new job that requires that I step up and become a leader very quickly- promotion. He is teaching me discipline when it comes to food and that in order to live a healthy life in Him and on earth I need to exercise. As of today I have lost 30 pounds with many more to go. As for my marriage that God joined together, we are under construction and He is molding us into the people of God that He wants us to be. God told Keviyona I am about to blow your mind!

I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. (Habakkuk 2:1-3 KJV)

I decided that the microwave way of doing things wasn’t what God wanted for my life. I decided to wait and even though it seems like an eternity to me, it is not a long time in God’s eyes. I did not give up waiting for the Lord. And He turned to me and heard my cry.  (Psalms 40:1 NLV)

Dear Daddy,

I want to thank You for teaching me that fast and quick is not always what is best for my life. Thank You for teaching meBut 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) God I am being patient and waiting on You to lead and direct my path because I am nothing without You. God I want You to continue to teach me that patience is a virtue. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to pray and ask God for the desires of your heart and wait. If you wait and lean not to your own understanding, God will show up and show out. I dare you to be patient on your job, in your home, with your marriage, with your family and friends, with your prayer request and watch God do the work. I EMPOWER you to unplug the microwave in your mind, relax and let God work it out. I know we live in a fast paced society but God works in His time and His time is always the best!

Take a moment to share how waiting on God has blessed you.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Confessions From An Impatient Christian

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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.”