Sin, Word of God

7! Seven! Sevyn!

*SINGS* Do you know what today is? It’s my anniversary!! It’s so ironic that I’m able to write on the day I got saved! On March 26, 2007 (Also, my sister’s birthday, Happy Birthday, Angel!) I looked at my dad and said, “I’m going to go up there.”

I’m excited about this seventh year, seven has always been my favorite number and for some reason on my seventh anniversary of being saved I thought of the seven deadly sins. I’m a bit older, a bit wiser and battled with each of the seven sins and I wanted us to do this fun exercise together! Below are my personal notes. So let’s go!

IDENTIFY: Identify what triggers the sin
VISIT: Find a semi- easy Scripture that you can always carry with you in your heart and mind when the sin arises
REMEMBER: Find something you can always recall to your memory to get you in order.

WRATH

IDENTIFY: There are five untouchable people in my life – my parents, my nieces and my sister. The quickest way to see my wrath is to talk about them.
VISIT: Daniel 2:12, “This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon.”
REMEMBER: It’s cliché but happiness is a choice and you can’t have things outside of your control have you killing what’s wise in the world. Take a step back and think about the little things in life that make you happy. Look at the person as a person. They are human and make mistakes. Listen to a favorite song or look at a baby’s picture. Those two do the trick for me.

GREED

IDENTIFY: I’m usually greedy when I feel I won’t have enough.
VISIT: Mark 12:41-44,Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
REMEMBER: Sometimes in this economy it’s hard to give up extra money or food or clothes to people in need because you may feel you are a person in need. Often times, I reflect on what I do have or what I don’t need. This winter every time I walked into my house I was so thankful for heat and there were many days I walked in my house, stopped and prayed for people who were homeless in this weather.

SLOTH

IDENTIFY: I’ve been called a perfectionist. I’ve been called a Type A personality but somewhere in the Book of Dene’ people seem to skim over the word “lazy.” I later redefined for professional reasons as, “effectively able to restructure processes for a more efficient time management system.” I find if I overbook myself I end up feeling really drained.
VISIT: Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
REMEMBER: You are the light of this world don’t burn yourself out nor hide yourself under blankets.

PRIDE

IDENTIFY: I take pride in what I do, who I am, how the world sees me and in my lineage. You may perceive me as someone trying to be perfect because that is the standard I try to live by. The issue is when the perception of self is out of touch with reality such as when I start comparing my status, which is only by the grace of God, to other people’s status.
VISIT: Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
REMEMBER: Humble yourself before the Lord humbles you. Just as God uses you He can use someone else. Don’t be like Saul.

LUST

IDENTIFY: I never thought I struggled too badly with lust until someone told me lust is conceived in the mind and it wasn’t just for sex but for objects. That really blew my mind! I started realizing I had to watch what I watch. I noticed some movies, television shows or music made me lust for sex or objects so I just stopped watching them or I watch in moderation.
VISIT: James 1:14-15, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
REMEMBER: Watch what you watch. One small taste of something can bring forth destruction. One hit and you’ll get addicted. That’s with food, sex, clothes – anything.

ENVY

IDENTIFY: I usually find myself envious when I lack understanding. Why is she there and I’m still here? What did he do to deserve that, when I always see him out doing everything under the sun, and I’m committed to you? Yet, I’m still lacking.
VISIT: Ecclesiastes 5:19,Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil–this is a gift of God.
REMEMBER: Wealth can be a fluid definition. If you are envious of someone’s wealth of knowledge, wealth of relationships, or wealth of health remember we are all human and just as you are looking at someone for what they have, they are looking at something you have. Be thankful for your gifts and your cross.

GLUTTONY

IDENTIFY: I’ve struggled with gluttony for a long time – in food and beverage. I’m a very social person so I’ve tried to change social events include activities instead of sitting around a table or at a bar. Let’s go shopping, walking, to the gym, to get coffee anywhere but where I would over indulge in food and drinking!
VISIT: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”
REMEMBER: There’s more to life than indulgence. The more you consume the less you have to offer back to the world as a resource. 

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for never leaving me when I deserved to be left. I thank You for our relationship and Your commitment to me. Thank You for love. Thank You for family. Thank You for this beautiful life journey you entrusted me with. I give You all of the glory, honor and praise. Hallelujah to more time together, more time to explore, more time to conquer the greatness You’ve instilled in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, if you have not done so, I EMPOWER you to accept God as your Lord and savior. Invite Him into your heart, your mind, your life and your being. Find someone in your life who has (or reach out to the Empowermoments team) and talk to them. Ladies, if you are saved don’t get complacent in your relationship. Keep exploring and stay in peace. He paid for you to live there!

Which sin on this list was/is the toughest one for you to overcome? How do you remember?

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Ms. Dené B. is a student of life who enjoys human studies and social media. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago where the motto is “Preparing People to Lead Extraordinary Lives,” She took her education and school spirit to heart and now is a young adult striving to live an extraordinary life while helping others achieve the same. One of her go to scriptures is, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

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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.

Accountability, Change, Character, Growth/Maturity, Word of God

My Favorite Smart App

I, like many other people these days, own a smartphone. For a very long time my husband and I chose to not get one. We were happy with our basic flips until our carrier gave us a great deal on some smart phones. Once we purchased them, we discovered that with smartphones you can utilize many applications or “smart apps.”

One of my favorite applications is my battery and data usage app. It tracks my usage, manages functions on my phone, and informs me when my phone is about to die. Having this app allows me to receive feed back from my phone that assists me to make changes, such as if I have a low battery and I’m away from my charger, with a swipe of my finger, I can go to my settings and turn my screens back light off. This gives me extra usage until I am able to charge my phone.

One of the exciting things about smartphones and their apps is having access to data about things that matter to me. Getting feedback from apps has made it possible for me to change my behavior based on the information received. I went from subconscious use to paying more attention to what I am doing. This is a simple example of an approach that made a difference for me.

The Word of God has become a spiritual application for me. It’s my spiritual location app. It let’s me know when I’m doubtful, complaining, prideful, fearful, anxious, bitter, jealous, lonely, faithless, prayer-less, unbelieving and so much more.

I’m currently studying the book of Joshua. I’m learning that Joshua and I have a lot more in common than I thought. One of the things I adore about him is he made mistakes, but He consistently obeyed the word of the Lord. God spoke to Joshua a lot and he obeyed. The other comforting thing I adore is God understood Joshua was human, had fears, and anxieties. Geesh, he had to try and fulfill Moses’ shoes.

What the Father wanted Joshua to know through it all is, He had a loving concern for him. He wanted to meet Joshua’s needs. The Lord gave Joshua these profound instructions and at the same time made it a promise: Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8 NIV) 

After using my “spiritual app” or Bible yesterday I have to admit I have not lived a life like this, but I’m going to! One of the things about using the  of God and using it regularly is we can access the wisdom of God and thank God that His Word is just not a smart app, but it’s everything and He fulfills His every word.

Dear Daddy,

Father, gives us the grace to believe in Your Word and obey it. If You told us to not fear let us not fear, if you tell us to trust help us to trust. I thank You, Holy Spirit, for being the “greater” within us and giving us results in the area of our belief. Your Word shows us your love and gives us hope and a future! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to access open your spiritual application aka the Word of God. Allow the app to download information to you so that you can make the appropriate changes in your life. I EMPOWER you to, where ever you are, stop, and give your Father some praise! I truly believe if you commit to obeying the words of the Lord, your obedience will bring blessing now and in eternity. This is a new day for you! No longer will you just have the Word of God, but you will regularly read it, meditate on it, speak it, and obey it. You will receive the strength you need to carry out the will of God over your life.

Would you share with us a time that the Word showed you exactly where you were and what you needed to do to change?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: How Are You Framing Your World?

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Mrs. Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall is happily married to the wonderful and inspiring Antoine L. Marshall. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls. Her voice is one of the leading and authentic voices for breast-feeding, especially for the African-American community and Generation Y. She currently works inside of her home and plans to become a professional licensed lactation consultant in 2014. She and her family are members at Spirit of Liberty Church located in Markham, IL. Embracing the love that God has for her, Lisa labors to live an acceptable and pure life through the leading and keeping of the Holy Spirit so that her attitude, words, and actions attract the glory of God. In her free time she loves receiving manis and pedis. Her favorite promises that she find comfort and reassurance in are: Psalm34:19: “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” and Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

God's Promises, Word of God

Check Your Messages!

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12 NLT

Several weeks ago, preparation for back to school included the normal stuff: registration, clothes and supplies shopping and of course the required medical examinations. This year, between two of my daughters, we had to get physicals, dental exams, and vision exams. With our hectic life and the birth of a new baby, the vision appointment was squeezed in just two days before the start of school.  On a referral from our pediatrician, we visited a pediatric ophthalmologist for the first time…and the LAST time. Our appointment was at 9:30 am and we did not leave the practice until well after 1:00pm! Both my daughter and I were well beyond ready to go. We were tired of sitting in the waiting room, extremely hungry and running out of options to soothe a restless infant. Nearly two hours into our wait, I approached the receptionist to inquire about our approximate remaining wait time. She seemed to give me a look that said, “Were you not expecting to be here this long?”  She begrudgingly answered, “Well, the wait is usually 3 hours or more.” I was livid! However, with school starting in two days, I really had no choice but to stick it out. Besides, we were already halfway there, right? We stayed and got what we needed, but just as I said before, we will never be returning there again! I was not prepared to wait over 3 hours to see a doctor!

Yesterday evening I decided to clean out my voicemail box on my home phone. There were 39 new messages in the box. (I am notorious for not checking voicemail messages!) As I listened to messages from as long ago as July, I came across a message from the ophthalmologist office. It was an automated call to confirm the appointment the next day. After stating the wheres of whens of the appointment, the message went on to say, “Please note, first time patients can expect to spend at least 3 hours at the eye clinic.” All I could do was chuckle to myself. There I was irate beyond explanation because I was not expecting to spend my entire day at the eye doctor, when in fact the message had already warned me and told me what to expect. The problem was that I had not accessed the message. If I was checking my voicemails on a daily basis, I would have been prepared for what was to come.

Does this sound familiar? Sure it does! We go through various situations and are not prepared to deal with them because we haven’t accessed the message. God left us His message to prepare us for what was to come in our lives. Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us, What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (NIV)

How do we come to know God? Just like we come to know the people in our lives, we study them. Studying God through His Word reveals to us EVERYTHING that we need to live our lives. 2 Peter 1:3 affirms this. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”(NLT)

So if there is no new circumstance under the sun and God has  already given us everything we need for living in His Word, then why are feeling defeated as we go through our trials? Because we aren’t checking THE MESSAGE daily!

Did you lose your job? Did you check your message from Job? He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21 NLT)

Are you mourning the loss of a dear loved one? Did you check your message from Solomon? “And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1 NAS)

Is your joy, peace or prosperity gone? Did you check your message from John? “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)

Are you going through all of these things and some? Well be sure to check your message from James! Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 NIV)

Checking my voicemail message would not have changed the fact that I had to wait such a long time at the doctor’s office, but it would’ve prepared me for the challenge. I would have packed some snacks, had entertainment for the little ones, and had a better attitude. Likewise, checking THE MESSAGE is not going to exempt you from going through things, but it will prepare you to deal with them like the conqueror that you are!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me if I have not been checking Your message daily. Remind me to get in Your Word on a daily basis so that I may know more about You and be prepared for what is coming my way. I thank You for equipping me with a manual on how to do life!  Please give me the wisdom and discernment to decipher Your truths for my life as I read it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to check THE MESSAGE daily! Don’t miss out on important information simply because you are too busy or too lazy. I EMPOWER you to be prepared for what’s to come in your life and how to handle it by studying the Word of God. 

How do ensure that you are checking God’s message daily?

Read a Related EmpowerMoment: Extreme Appetite

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

Anxiety, Evangelism, Grief, Relationships, Salvation, Self Forgiveness, Word of God, Worry

Kicked Even When You’re Down

When I saw my ex-boyfriend’s number pop up on the caller ID, I was prepared to tell him that I would call him back after I completed my homework. However, I was not given that opportunity. After saying hello, I realized that it was his sister calling to tell me that he had passed away a couple of hours ago. At that very moment everything around me seemed surreal including the phone call. I just knew that it was a cruel joke and in a second someone would jump out and scream “GOTCHA!” Instead, my heart instantly grew heavy because I was uncertain as to how to handle a loss of this magnitude.

I told the story last year of dealing with the losses of both my grandmothers five months apart, but for some reason dealing with the death of someone that I grew to love was totally different. The pain seemed to be a thousand times stronger and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Was it because at points in our relationship I loved him more than God and myself? Or maybe because I told him on many occasions I would pray for him and didn’t? Perhaps, I felt guilty that I didn’t discuss God enough with him? Or better yet, I was uncertain of where he would spend eternity…

All of these questions, concerns, and emotions came to surface over the next couple of days after hearing of his death. I would go from being so happy to feeling so defeated in my Christianity because I lost someone I loved and was so confused about what lied ahead of him. The devil began attacking my thoughts every chance possible by forcing me to question who I was in the body of Christ to allow something like this to transpire. I mean how can I, an intricate part of the intake of new members at my church, fail to offer salvation to someone that I have known for years. From that Sunday until that following Saturday at the service, I went back and forth with the enemy giving in to those outlandish thoughts on many occasions because it was hard to immediately cast those thoughts down. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

It was at the home-going, that I received confirmation from my ex-boyfriend’s aunt that I would indeed see him again in eternity. During her words of encouragement, she stated that she prayed with him before he passed and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I was extremely overjoyed and found myself screaming “HALLELUJAH” and weeping hysterically. The very thing that the enemy was using to place me in a state of mild depression over the past few days was canceled immediately as she declared those words in the atmosphere. Not only did I feel better knowing that he was present with the Lord, but I was instantly released from the bondage that the enemy was attempting to attach to me. My praise session ended up having a dual meaning that gave God all the glory that He was due! For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. (Lamentations 3:31-32 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing up right when I am at my breaking point. Things that take place in the natural can cause me to give into the enemy’s ploy, but that is when You show me that You are always in control. Help me to stay aware of the attempts from the devil when I am in my most vulnerable state. Keep my ears, eyes, and heart alert at all times, but most important, keep me guarded with Your Word, love, and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to be aware of the devil’s efforts to take us out every chance that he gets or better yet every chance we give. “The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) Times of trouble, distress, mourning, etc. are the game winning moments for the enemy, but it is up to us to declare a victory for Team JESUS! Have a BLESSED week! ☺

Share with us your God-led victories over the devil’s tricks, traps and plans to derail you in any way.

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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

Completion, Focus, Inspirational, Motivation, Persistance, Word of God

To The Graduate:

This is my command to be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT

This past weekend my cousin was given a surprise graduation dinner.  She’s a high school graduate heading out to experience what “life” is all about. Prior to the engagement my aunt asked me to say a few words of encouragement.  So, I thought about what I could say, wrote a speech and then realized that wasn’t what I really wanted to say.  So I became a little more creative.  Two other family members and I presented to her the “Diplomas of Reality.” I begin by saying:

“When you graduate from high school you are telling the world that you can read, write, and do math.  However, out in the “real world” you don’t get graded or receive diplomas for being responsible, being determined and so forth…”

That’s just a snippet, however the presentation turned out great.  Afterwards, I realized that we are graded by God every single day.  In the spiritual world we also attend school.  God’s lesson plans are written out.  He provides us with the textbook, The Holy Bible.  He gives us quizzes to see if we’re really listening.  We take tests to see if we’ve retained God’s lessons.  We sometimes pass and we sometimes make a BIG FAT “F”! In those instances, He is gracious enough to allow us to re-take the test.

It’s funny that as graduates we feel we have the next step of life all figured out.  Proverbs 19:21 says, “You can make plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” (NLT) As adults we do the same thing; we have it all figured out.  Although many of us have graduated high school, college, received masters or doctorates, God still wants us to know that we can’t make it without Him.  No matter how much education we have, we must continue to follow Him.

And now just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.  Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  (Colossians 2:6-7 NLT)

To all of us who attend the University of Eternal Life, double majoring in the FATHER and the SON and expecting to graduate with honors (the HOLY SPIRIT) remember this,

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3: 13-14 NLT)

We are on a constant educational journey in the spirit and we only get one commencement exercise–our graduation into Heaven.

Dear Daddy,

We did it!  We graduated in the natural! Now we ask that You help us to stay the course that we may graduate in the Spirit.  Thank You, Lord, for continually keeping us during our tests, quizzes and life lessons.  We’ve achieved great things because of You. We’ve grown because of You, and we will continue to strive with You by our side.  We love you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to continue reading your textbook of life, the Holy Bible. Just as we work hard for the world, we must work even harder for God. 

What lessons have you alreay learned in the University of Eternal Life? Share some with us below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: My Plan vs. God’s Plan

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Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.”  She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry.  Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service.  She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden.  Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation.  Her favorite scripture is Hebrews 11:6: “And without Faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to Him must BELIEVE that He exists and that He REWARDS those who earnestly seek Him.”

Growth/Maturity, Word of God

Extreme Appetite

Lately I’ve had an EXTREME appetite.  I eat breakfast before going in to work, a snack after getting to work, lunch, a snack when I get home, then dinner.  I used to eat once maybe twice a day, not because I was trying not to eat, but because I just did not have an appetite.  I saw the results of not eating regularly in my energy level, physical appearance, not to mention my weight.  Several months ago, I made a decision to improve my overall health and part of that improvement plan was eating consistently.

In the beginning it was a real struggle.  I would literally force myself to eat. While the effort was tedious, I knew it was necessary in order to improve my overall health and well-being.  Day by day my appetite increased until now it is EXTREME.  As a matter of fact, I’m munching on grapes as I type this EmpowerMoment.

As I reflect on the growth of my physical appetite, I cannot help but think about the growth of my spiritual appetite as well.  I used to only “eat” on Sunday.  I wasn’t choosing not to, I just did not have an “appetite”.  If I read my Bible it was to find something specific and then I was done.  The result of this was:

1)      Low energy level – I couldn’t handle ANYTHING. I would give in to depression at the slightest disappointment, fall into sin at the simplest temptation, and drop my destiny at the least point of opposition. 

2)      Lackluster Appearance – I was living a somewhat frayed lifestyle, and it SHOWED!! Yes I was still cute on the outside but, “…the Lord does not look at the things man looks at, man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart…” (1 Samuel 16:7b NIV) and my heart was jacked up!  I had an attitude, a temper and it was all about what I wanted to do.

As God began to deal with me I began to realize that my issues would get worse if I didn’t start EATING.  “Blessed is the [wo]man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But [her] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law [s]he meditates day and night.  [She] is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever [she] does prospers…” (Psalms 1:1-3 NIV)  

I made the decision to begin eating spiritual food (reading my Bible) everyday from that point on.  This was not easy; there were some days when I had to again force myself to eat.  It seemed like right when I started reading my Bible I would get so sleepy, or there was ALWAYS something else I needed to be doing instead.  However, as I continued my commitment to improve my overall spiritual well-being, my appetite for the Word of God steadily increased.  My appetite for the Word is not at the level of my appetite for food yet, but I’m working on it!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for increasing my desire to learn more about You.  Sharpen my understanding of Your word and take me to another level.  I ask that You reveal Yourself to me like never before.  I decree and declare that I will receive a fresh word, EVERY time I study and spend time with You.  I thank You and praise You for all these things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to EAT!  God wants you to partake of spiritual food EVERYDAY, not just on Sunday.  I promise not only will it be a nourishing meal, it will give you the strength to handle EVERYTHING that you must deal with through the week AND your appearance (your heart) will be much healthier.

 Have you noticed your spiritual appetite changing? Share your story with us below.

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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.”