Completion, Direction/Guidance, Faith, Inspirational, Motivation, Persistance, Strength, Trusting God, Worry

Don’t Give Up Now

Almost exactly a year ago, (wow, just realized this) I wrote a blog post entitled “Waterproof”. It was about being uprooted from my norm and comfort zone and following my husband along the  journey he always hoped for. I supported him from day one, but was reluctant to move until God revealed to me the confirmation to go. What I have remembered throughout this year is the confirmation that God gave me on the first Sunday at our new church. The sermon came from the exact scripture written in my blog post, “God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. I’ll make you a great nation and bless you. I’ll make you famous; you’ll be a blessing. I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse. All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you.”(Genesis 12:1-3). The part I hold dear, is that God said He would “bless” me. That means, our needs would be met and all stumbling blocks will become stepping stones to God’s blessings, even if it doesn’t look like it.

About a month ago I started doubting. I awoke in despair thinking, “Lord, our funds are starting to get low, we have a baby on the way, and nothing in our near future is certain.” I went straight to my Word, knowing that God would speak to me, and that He did! I went to  Deuteronomy Chapter 1 and there God showed me two things: 1) Not to give up and 2) what will happen if I do.

In this story, God told Moses to lead the Israelites to a land that He was giving them to possess (Kadesh Bernea). The interesting thing about this country was that it was not easy to get to, it was on the top of a hill (don’t miss that). God commanded them through Moses to go “up” and take possession of the land. God even reminded them,Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 1:21 NIV)

Have you ever had God tell you to take on a task and then the enemy enters in whether it’s through an innocent friend, a financial situation, or a health distraction? You then start to take matters into your own hands.

That’s just what the Israelites did.  Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.” They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkol and explored it. Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us.” (Deuteronomy 1:22-25 NIV)

This is why it is so important to walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV) Once the Israelites decided to do this, God revealed to Moses that they doubted God’s promises. They sent out spies to “check it out” to make sure that the land was as good as God said it was because previously the people were doubting and shouting that God “tricked” them.

But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, “The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.” (Deuteronomy 2:26-27 NIV) This is how the devil gets into your mind. He causes you to think the simplest distractions are denials.

God showed me that if I lose my faith, the following will happen:

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”  In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.  When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors… (Deuteronomy 2:29-35 NIV)

I do not want to doubt when I know God said He will carry me through! I don’t want to miss what He has for me.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving me Your promise and when I began to doubt, thank You for speaking to me through Your Word, reminding me that You PROMISED in the beginning that this was Your will; therefore I will not lack for what I need and You will get the glory. I am thankful beyond words because You specifically gave me this word to encourage me to continue on the path You have given my family. I love You Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Girlfriend, I EMPOWER you to listen to God’s voice. If God told you “xyz” and it begins to look differently than what you imagined remember this: “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)  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34 NIV)

Are you waiting on a breakthrough from God but feel like you are at your wit’s end? What tips do you use to remain encouraged? Share with us in the comment section below.

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

Faith, God's Promises, Obedience, Patience, She is Me Series, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

She is Me: Sarah

In honor of National Women’s History Month, EmpowerMoments is featuring a special week-long series called ‘She is Me’.  Each writer will parallel her own life with that of a Biblical woman to enlighten and EMPOWER youCheers to being a WOMAN!

Busy Being God Jr.

Nearing graduation from college, I thought I had it all figured out. I was NOT moving back to Chicago, but instead I was going to make my home in the south, get a great job and start my life with my self-chosen future husband. It sounded like a wonderful plan to me, but God said, “No, if you listen to me and do it my way, I promise that I have a MUCH better plan for you.” Not really convinced that His plan was going to please me the way that mine was, I began working hard to put my plan into motion. I applied to several jobs in the southern region and began making preparations for life that my future and I would lead together. I was hell-bent on helping God out! How many of you can be honest and admit that He has promised to do some things in your life, but you couldn’t understand how what He told you was better than what you had envisioned? Or better yet, you didn’t see the evidence of the promise coming to fruition fast enough so you decided to be God Jr.? If you are afraid to admit it, I’ll show you someone who is just like me…

God promised Abraham (Abram) that his wife, Sarah (Sarai), would have a son and that from that child his descendants would be too great to number. Abraham believed God’s word; however, Sarah couldn’t imagine that at her old age she would really be able to bear a child. That was heartbreaking to her because she knew her husband really desired a son so that his offspring could inherit his kingdom. So, just like me, she set out to assist God in making things happen.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (Genesis 16:1-3 NLT)

Sarah’s plan seemed like the perfect fix to her solution…and so did mine! She would now have a child through a surrogate mother and her husband would be satisfied. Likewise, I refused to believe that God truly wanted me back in Chicago. I wouldn’t settle for missing out on my one true love in life, so I went on several interviews with very reputable companies. Everyone was pleased with my resume` and my overall package. I was promised jobs from at least three employers. I even started searching for a permanent place to stay. I’m sure I was thinking that God should’ve been thanking me because I was helping Him out tremendously!

Oh, but my plans, just like Sarah’s, went awry! Abram had intercourse with Hagar, and she became pregnant. When she found out that she was pregnant, she became proud and despised Sarai. (Genesis 16:4 GNT) Sarah’s plan fell apart right before her eyes! Instead of carrying a child for her mistress, Hagar began to hate Sarah and wanted to keep the baby. My plans quickly unraveled too. Of the three job leads that I had been promised, each one fell through in a matter of days. I even attempted to reach my interviewer at one of the companies and I was told that no one by that name had ever worked there! I was baffled. Why was this happening to me? I knew that my plan was suitable for my life! Instead of admitting that I was trying to operate in direct opposition of God’s will, I immediately starting pointing the blame finger. As you can imagine, the recruiters from those companies were at the top of my list. Again, Sarah and I were running neck and neck! Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. (Genesis 16:5 NIV)

In all of our blatant disobedience and disrespect to God, He was still so gracious to the both of us. He STILL kept His promise that was made to us, even though neither of us had an ounce of faith in the words that He spoke over our lives. In efforts to sabotage a job in Chicago, I never showed up to the interview and never gave a reason why. However, God STILL kept that position for me. Even in my adamant state to hold on to a man that I just knew was my future, God STILL brought the man that He designed specifically for me into my life to become my husband. Even though Sarah chose not to cling to God in her season of barrenness and instead took matters into her own hands, He STILL blessed her with a child. “Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.” (Genesis 21:1-3 NLT) Oh what a gracious and merciful God we serve! And I think I can speak for both Sarah and me when I say that God was right—His plan was much better!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for this multi-part lesson on faith, obedience and patience. Lord, I ask that You help my unbelief. If there are areas where my faith wavers, please strengthen those places. Help me to believe You and stand on Your word, regardless of what I feel like should happen. Lord, I pray that You would turn my heart so that I yield to every command that You give me. Help me to take my hands off of situations so that You are in control. Finally, I ask that You teach me patience. I understand that the only way to learn patience is by waiting, so I ask that You give me the strength to hold out for Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to believe God the first time! I EMPOWER you to understand that He doesn’t need your help determining His will for your life, nor has He ordained you as God Jr.! Instead of trying to manipulate things to your suiting, I EMPOWER your faith to increase, your obedience to be automatic and your patience to strengthen.

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

Assignment, Evangelism, Growth/Maturity, Motivation, Prayer, Purpose

Are You the One?

Abraham:  What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?  Will you sweep it away…?

God:  If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place.

Abraham:  What if the number is less than fifty?  Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?

God:  If I find forty-five there, I will not destroy it!

Abraham:  What if only forty are found there?

God:  For the sake of forty, I will not do it.

Abraham:   May the Lord not be angry but let me speak, what if only thirty can be found there?

God:  I will not do it if I find thirty there.

Genesis 18: 23-33 NIV

Long story short, by the time Abraham turned to go home, he had humbly pleaded with God to spare the city if ten righteous people could be found.  WOW!  That’s some kind of relationship to be able to talk God down from FIFTY to TEN!! Abraham and God were so close that God revealed to Abraham his plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  “…then the Lord said, shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?  Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, all nations on earth will be blessed through him.  For I have chosen him…”  (Genesis 18:17-19a NIV)

Abraham humbly stood before the Lord pleading for the people of Sodom, namely his nephew Lot and Lot’s family.  Abraham was the only one standing in the gap between God and total destruction of the city.  It is very interesting that Abraham would do this when he really did not have to.  Abraham was chosen by God.  He was blessed beyond belief, yet he did not just sit back, chill, and bask in the favor of God; Abraham decided to intercede for the people of Sodom.

LESSON 1:  We NEVER get too good or too blessed to intercede for other people.  Even when you reach your destiny, you are to intercede and stand in the gap for others.

Because of Abraham’s pleading, God sent angels to deliver the righteous of the city (Lot and his family).  We find out in the next chapter Gen. 19, the very ones Abraham was pleading for did not appreciate and in some cases not even accept the deliverance Abraham prayed for.

LESSON 2:  Your assignment is to pray, regardless of what the individual decides to do, you must still pray!

Some of you are in Abraham’s position.  Your fasting, praying, and spiritual warfare is all that’s standing between someone and total destruction.  Stay on assignment, you ARE the one!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the awesome responsibility You have given me to intercede for Your children.  I thank You for loving and cherishing me enough to listen to me when I talk to You.  Lord, help me never to  forget that You hear me and even when I don’t see the results that I expect to see in someone You have led me to intercede for, remind me that Your will is perfect and that You are sovereign.  Lord, make me sensitive to the needs of Your people so that I may be effective and efficient in my assignment.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to accept your role as “The ONE”! Our ultimate assignment is to be like Christ.  One of Christ’s attributes is His permanent position next to the father INTERCEDING on our behalf.  “…Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us…” (Romans 8:34 NIV)  Do we always do what we’re supposed to do? NO, yet Jesus continues to intercede for our crazy selves.  If Christ can do it for you, surely you can do it for someone else!!   Let’s go sister; it’s time to get busy on your assignments because you ARE the one!

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.”