Enemies, Gentleness, Love, Prayer, Self-Control, Testimony Series

My Testimony: A Testy Testimony

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

Have you ever wished you weren’t a Christian just so you could claim ignorance when you intentionally did something wrong? Or have you ever wished you weren’t a Christian so you would not feel convicted to be an example of Christ for someone who is unsaved or for someone who you really don’t like. Until the latter part of last year, I had not had that experience. I was in a position where I had to “deal” with this person who I thought was rather unpleasant and had a habit of rubbing people the wrong way. The situation was very challenging. I was often in positions where I had to spend unwanted time with her. I would think to myself, “Lord, please help me to remain gracious and suppress my flesh.” I mean I just really didn’t like her, so much so I dreaded the thought of her. Moreover, I felt like my feelings were warranted because of her ugly ways and actions.  I really just wanted to “go off” on her one good time. But I was convicted by the fact that I am a Christian who is supposed to help bring others to Christ. What kind of witness would I be if I acted irrationally and out of character just to satisfy my fleshly desires? So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17 ESV)

I greatly battled with this. I even wished that she was a Christian so that at least it would be less pressure to “do the right thing” because Christians understand that Christians don’t always act “Christian” right? (How ridiculous is that thought? Guess I was really desperate.) But noooo, it would be too easy for her to be Christian and that would diminish the lesson God was teaching me. She is a deist of sorts. Deism, according to the freedictionary.com, is the belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation. My experience with her was so challenging that I would think, “really, God, I ask You to increase my walk with You and this is what You do?”

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6: 27-31 ESV)

I was soooo frustrated. I don’t recall there ever being a time in my life where I felt so ill toward someone. I realized it was negatively impacting my life!  If I were to ever conquer this situation, God was going to have to help me! And help me He did…

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (Romans 12:14 NLT) This was so much harder than I thought and I thought I had been doing this my whole life. Certain situations really put certain scripture in perspective for you.

I started to PRAY more, not just for me, but FOR HER. I prayed on how to deal with her. I prayed on how to deal with myself regarding my feelings and thoughts toward her. I prayed to have her removed from my immediate surroundings. Then, believe it or not, over time I found myself praying for her “for real”, her heart, her salvation, her life and her situations. Over time, I didn’t dread the thought or sight of her as much. I wanted my life and light to reflect Christ toward her. I intentionally tried to set a good example even when she tested my resolve. It has now become easier to have a conversation with her and I could care less if she’s in “my space” or not. I guess the saying is true: “Prayer may not change the person, but it’ll change you.” Later, as God would have it, she was relocated to another area and we didn’t have to share the same space anymore. Funny how God works huh?

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for teaching lessons we unknowingly need to learn. Thanks for seeing past our emotions and for forgiving us when we don’t act like You would have us too. Thanks for strengthening our relationship with You through new experiences. Help us to pray for those who do us wrong and trust that You will handle it all in Your time. You said You would make our enemies our footstool, and we know that all things work together for our good. Thank You for the revelation and the unlikely testimony. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Tired, tried and tested sisters, I EMPOWER you to push past your feelings and give the situation to Jesus. I EMPOWER you to know that the test comes before the testimony! I EMPOWER you to hold on to the Word and abide by it no matter how trying or tempting the situation is. I EMPOWER you to pray for your enemies genuinely and sincerely! I EMPOWER you to go from test to testimony!

Ladies, who is God laying on your heart to pray for during your tests?

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Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a registered nurse and recent Family Nurse Practitioner graduate. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, 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 a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church in Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.

Faith Fridays, Healing, Health/Sickness, Miracles, Miscellaneous, Videos

Faith Friday: If I Can Just Get to Jesus!

Faith Fridays are all about providing a visual to strengthen your faith. Some times we just need to witness the awesome moves of God in someone else’s life to remind us that He is real and can still perform miracles in our own lives! If we just believe, anything is possible with God!

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. (Matthew 9:20-22 NIV)

Watch as a young baby who had been in a coma for quite sometime is healed. Her mother’s FAITH was key! She believed if she could just get her baby to Jesus, then she would be made whole!

If you cannot see the video, please click here.

Family, Fasting, Health/Sickness, Mental Illness, Mother/Daughter, Prayer, Testimony Series

My Testimony: Standing in the Gap

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

As I was listening to the conversation on the other end of the phone, I could barely take in what the social worker was telling me. She wasn’t walking. She wasn’t talking and needed assistance using the restroom. Many times, she would not make it. A few days later, the news came that she was in the hospital undergoing a battery of tests but the doctors were coming up with nothing. What happened to cause such a rapid decline in my mother’s health? The doctors chalked it up to severe depression. Nearly a thousand miles away, I felt hopeless and helpless. I prayed about it but it seemed as if things weren’t changing.

Although I wanted to get home, I didn’t have the finances for an emergency trip. I wanted someone I could trust to tell me that my mom was going to be okay. Thank God for the angels He placed in my life in the form of friends. One of my friends went to visit my mom in the hospital and gave me a good report. Before I knew it a few of my close friends pooled together the resources to make the trip home possible. My mom was released from the hospital because they couldn’t find a diagnosis but she reverted to being mute and didn’t have activity in any of her limbs. The thought of seeing my mom like that was heartbreaking. I wanted to do something.

Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.  So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17: 15-16, 21 KJV) I knew exactly what I needed to do. My mother needed someone to stand in the gap for her.

I studied Esther. When Haman sought to destroy the Jews, Esther’s uncle Mordecai told her that she had to do something to save her people or that she might perish along with them. Her answer was for her and all of the Jews to fast and pray. She too had to stand in the gap. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.  (Esther 4:14-16 KJV)

Like Esther, I needed God to change the situation around. I fasted for three days and nights without eating or drinking. I continued my daily routine of going to work but came home and prayed feverishly for God to heal my mother of whatever was ailing her. I found myself laying in the middle of the floor crying out to God on her behalf. I flew home later that week not knowing what to expect.

At first, my mom would only say one or two words and was confined to a wheel chair. By the second day, not only was she walking but she also got out of the wheelchair using only a walker as her guide. By the time the week was over, mom was back to her normal self. She had pushed the walker to the side and was walking completely on her own, taking herself to the restroom and functioning, as she should. I know that it was God who answered my prayers. Since that episode last spring, she has not depended on a wheelchair or a walker. Without God’s grace, this story could have ended completely different. I am thankful that He gave me the willpower to stand in the gap for her.

Dear Daddy,

Your word is true and fails us not. Thank You for healing my mother and providing me with the will to intercede on her behalf. Lord, I am grateful for the friends that You have blessed me with that don’t mind praying and giving out of the abundance of their hearts. Lord, I ask for a special blessing over their lives. With You nothing is impossible. I am forever grateful for Your love and the miracles that You perform. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to stand in the gap for someone else. Are you believing in God for someone’s deliverance or healing? To get something different, you may have to do something different.  Remember, there are some things that come only by prayer AND fasting.  Consult the Lord and do His will. Remember, you don’t have to do anything in your own strength, for His grace is sufficient and powerful enough to help you stand in the gap. 

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Washington, DC and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.

Courage, Death, Gifts/Talents, Health/Sickness, Obedience, Purpose

My Testimony: She Shifted

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

When I found out about our Testimony Series, I started thinking to myself, I don’t really have one. God has me in the season of planting and rebuilding, so breakthroughs and the fruits of this season have yet to sprout. But God kept dealing with me to write about the one thing I don’t want to write about — my Aunt’s death and how it became a testimony in my life. I don’t want to talk about it because it is still too fresh, I am still in denial, and I feel guilty for grieving so hard when I know my cousins are grieving harder. But “to obey is better than sacrifice”. (I Samuel 15:22 NKJV) I am a witness that God can use your gift to bless you.

Around the fourth of December I received a call from my Dad that my Aunt had a stroke, was unconscious, and on a ventilator at the hospital. I was so distraught, yet strangely peaceful at the same time. I was almost mad at myself for having that type of peace. My Auntie was a firecracker. She loved hard, fought hard, talked hard, worked hard, everything she did was 1000%, from her love to her anger. She was so authentic. She understood my “not so saint-like” moments. I told her secrets that I was embarrassed to tell others and she would talk me through them telling me what I was going to do!

About two or three years ago I noticed my Auntie started acting different. She started talking about the Lord more. I noticed a Shift. She shifted into a woman who became verbally expressive of God’s goodness. As the year progressed her Shift became more evident.

As God would have it, I had to travel to Atlanta for work the week she was in the hospital. As soon as my plane hit the ground I rushed to the hospital to see her. I wanted to keep ignoring the voices in my head that she wasn’t going to make it. But I knew what God sounded like; I was in denial. On the drive there I was in a fog. God kept talking to me about my Auntie’s life and how she Shifted. She became the woman He wanted her to be and her time to celebrate with Him had come. At first I was angry because I felt He took her before she could enjoy more of the prosperity that comes with submitting to God’s will here on Earth. I wanted her to experience more of that, but God continued to confirm to me that she had Shifted, and now it was her time.

He also said to me in the car that it was time that I Shift. It was time for me to Shift into the boldness of the call of ministry He placed on my life. I didn’t want it. My words to Him were, “God I don’t read my Bible enough. I don’t pray enough. I’m not obedient enough. I’m not good enough. I don’t know enough.” Seeming as though He totally ignored me, He began to give me orders about how He was going to confirm the power He had placed in me, through her. He said these exact words, “When you touch her, she is going to Shift, and then you will know.” I’m thinking to myself, yeah right God.

See, for the past few years I have doubted my gift. I was never sure if I was acting out of emotion or if it truly was God. He said, “Today is the day I will confirm it for you.”

I arrived at the hospital and saw my Aunt on life support. My first thought was, “Lord, I’m definitely NOT going to touch her, I might break something or hurt her. You are going to have to literally move my hand; I don’t even know where to place it!” My Dad was in there with me and he started rubbing her arm as he and I were casually talking. I heard God say, “Your turn.” I responded, “You gotta do it; I might break something. You will have to take over; I just can’t.” We waited and chatted some more and lo’ and behold I found myself caressing her arm, relishing in her warm soft skin that I always remembered. I began to think that I was hallucinating because her machines started acting weird. My Dad screamed, “What happened, did you see that?” I froze and stood there and watched her vital signs rise and her eyes flutter and open. I almost fell on the floor but my legs were stuck. God spoke and said, “See, just as she Shifted in her life, it is now time for you to Shift and operate in the gift; I put it in you.”

My Aunt died that next morning and I would be lying if I said that I was ok with that. I really wish that her movements weren’t reflexes and that she was in recovery right now, but God already confirmed that the “strange thing” that was going to happen wasn’t to bring her back to us. Rather, it was to use her to confirm His power, that I really do know His voice and should now walk in boldness operating in my gift.

Dear Daddy,

Over and over again You show Your power, Your majesty, Your glory, and Your omniscience. I am grateful that my Aunt received Your gift of salvation before she died and that I was able to experience her Shift into the Woman of God You were molding all along. God, it is my prayer that just as You held my hand and guided me to the brink of my Shift, that You do the same for my Sister in Christ reading this EmpowerMoment. Lord, it is my desire that You confirm in her Spirit the direction You will have for her to go and the confidence she needs to get there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to Shift. It is time to put old things away and Shift into a life of obedience with God. Is it time for you to Shift into a new dimension or to Shift some things around? I’ve Shifted to walking boldly in my gift from God. I’m a tad scared at times, but I’m dedicated to learning, refining, growing, and understanding more and more about this gift He has trusted me with. I EMPOWER you to seek your heart and your ways and Shift where God says so.

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “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) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL.

Change, God's Grace, God's Love, Self Forgiveness, Testimony Series

My Testimony: It Is Okay To Fall Apart

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

Last year, 2013, was an emotional one.  My heart, my mind and my soul felt like they were being bounced up and down on a seesaw continually because of my ups and downs.

My year was filled with many blessings; my family took my second youngest sister to college.  She is now my mom’s second child to attend college.  Last year became my third year being a homeowner.  Last year my mom and I had a fabulous mommy and daughter weekend retreat for her birthday.  Last year I finally got my driver’s license.  I made the decision to permanently close the door to my ex-boyfriend who wanted to try again at a relationship.  After much prayer, I started planning my future business.  My household gained a new member, my four-year old nephew, and I am having a ball with his smart, energetic self.

However, last year was filled with uncertainties, drama, challenges and pain too.  My family had to rush to another state because of a horrific accident that led to my precious youngest nephew having a head injury.  I was riddled with worry about my nephews and siblings.  My family struggled financially.  I had issues at work that left me feeling like I wanted to quit for the first time.  I also started back having anxiety attacks and more frequently.  I was an emotional wreck and as they say “was feeling some kind of way.”

Yet with all that God gave me one message that humbled me and made me afraid all at the same time.  He said “fall apart and let me put you back together again my way.”  Yes, FALL APART.  “You mean to tell me You want me to fall apart?” was my response.  It finally sunk in that all this time my anxiety and my fear is a failure to surrender myself FULLY to the Lord.  If you read my past EmpowerMoments, you would think that I would have gotten it by now.  However, I didn’t and my testimony is simply that I now understand that I can fall apart because God intended for me to rely and depend upon Him.  “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)  I can surrender, I can let go and God will put me back together again.  He will take care of me.  He will protect me.  He will provide for me.  He will never leave me, nor forsake me.  I learned that although things change around me and things look uncertain, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and He is full of stability, consistency and faithfulness.  I also learned that in order to thrive and survive, I must remember that my life is not my own.  I belong to God, Jesus died for me, and the Holy Spirit abides in me.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You Father for seeing me through a year I thought I would not make it through sane, happy and sometimes alive.  I thank You for being patient with me.  You could have just flunked me after not getting what You have been trying to teach me for so long.  Thank You for showing me that You know what is best for me, have what is best for me and want the best for me.  I thank You for Your mercy and Your love that has never failed me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to allow the test that lead to testimonies.  Allow the process that leads to a finished product and remember that God always finishes what He starts.  I also EMPOWER you to FULLY surrender.  If you feel like you are falling apart, trust God to put you back together with His Word, His Power, His Love and His Grace.  Ladies, both of my nephews are doing well.  My siblings have some testimonies of their own but they are doing just fine.  Honestly, I have had a few anxieties to date, but I am learning to control my emotions and trust God more.  My family may still have some struggles financially, but we have shelter, food, clothes and God who is a provider.  Hallelujah!   

I found this song that complements this message (if having trouble viewing, please click on the link):

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write! Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program. She helps assist Chicago Public School students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college. God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a compassionate person and encourager  so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better through her support, actions and writing. 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, Miracles, Testimony Series, Trials, Trusting God

My Testimony: Life in Seemingly Dead Situations

Happy New Year EmpowerMoments family! We have surely missed you! As we kick off the new year, we are beginning with a series entitled “Testimonies & Lessons”. We believe Revelation 12:11 when it says that we overcome by the word of our testimonies. We pray that our testimony and lessons from last year will EMPOWER you to triumph this year! May God bless you and make 2014 the greatest year of your life thus far!

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.  I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. (Ezekiel 37:1-10 NIV)

February 7, 2013 is a date that will forever be sketched on the canvas of my mind. The events that took place about 6:00 p.m. that evening left such an indelible mark on my memory board that I couldn’t forget them even if I tried.

I was home alone with my three daughters, who were ages 7, 5 and 6 months at the time. If you have followed EmpowerMoments in the past, then you may be familiar with my youngest daughter’s story. (See Not By My Own Might & The Definition of Miracle) After her heart surgery, she was released from the hospital with a feeding tube to aid in her eating while she recovered and gained enough strength to do so on her own. Before she was discharged from the hospital, my husband and I had to learn how to insert the tube via her nose. Once home, we found ourselves constantly having to re-insert the tube because she would quickly snatch it out. That evening I was dropping the tube as I had done at least 2 dozen times before.  However, that day something went terribly awry.

Per the usual, she was screaming and throwing a fit as she tried to resist the tube insertion. I restrained her and continued with the insertion and she immediately stopped crying. Shocked that she was no longer screaming, I paused to check her out. That’s when I saw that her face was blue and she was no longer breathing. I am sure my heart stopped for at least 3 seconds as I held my lifeless baby in my arms. After I recovered from my initial shock, I sprung into action. I remember praying two short prayers: “God, don’t let this baby die on me” and “Please bring to my remembrance how to do CPR.”  As my older daughters frantically searched for the phone to dial for help, I laid my sweet baby on the floor and attempted to breathe life back into her body. After what seemed like a million years, she finally let out a feeble cry. She was breathing, but her skin was still purple so I knew she was not completely fine. Moments later the paramedics arrived and whisked us away to the local hospital.

Upon arrival every resource in the emergency room was at my daughter’s bedside trying to save her life. I sat outside the room alone crying and attempting to pray, as no one had time to explain to me what was happening. If I tell you that I was scared at that moment, I would be lying. Scared can’t even begin to capture what I was feeling. That was the most terrifying experience of my entire life.

Today, I am beyond blessed to report that my little sunshine is still here and is the busiest toddler in history! The doctors could not pinpoint exactly what caused her breathing to stop and each time they made rounds to her room, it was expressed how great she looked to have been through such an ordeal. She was discharged from the hospital 2 days later and she has been moving and shaking ever since!

This little ball of LIFE was once a SEEMINGLY dead situation!
This little ball of LIFE was once a SEEMINGLY dead situation!

There are so many other facets to this story that I would have to spend more than a mere moment to empower you. But there are some lessons that I learned from that situation that I want you to remember on your journey this year.

  1. The most important thing that I want you to understand is that seemingly deadly situations are nothing for God because He can breathe life back into anything that He so desires. My daughter appeared lifeless, but He breathed life back into her nostrils. So as you deal with circumstances that will come your way this year, remember that nothing is too hard for God. Your health, your marriage, your children, your finances, your brokenness, your depression, whatever your dead situation – nothing is too hard for Him to revive.
  2. Even if you see just a glimpse of hope, hold on to that! When I heard her faint cry, I knew we were not out of the woods just yet, but it was enough to let me know God was listening and answering! This year rejoice in the small battle victories while you wait to win the war!
  3. As I sat outside that hospital room alone, I had no other choice but to wait for the outcome. Sister, you are going to face some trials this year and some you may have to face alone. Things will be beyond the scope of your power and you are just going to have to sit back and wait while God does His work. Pray if you can; cry if you must. But whatever you face, be still and let Him do what He does best!
  4. Never succumb to the notion that you have to look beat up, even when you’ve been in a fight! My sweet baby was up bouncing around, laughing and speaking her baby gibberish the very next day. If you weren’t privy to her story, then you had no idea what she had just gone through. This year, I want you to not allow your circumstances to steal your joy, your smile or your swag! Even when the walls are closing in all around you, look your best so that you can feel your best!

Dear Daddy,

As I stand at the beginning of this new year not knowing the things that I will face, I ask that You help me prepare to fearlessly face anything that will come my way.  I know that You are the same God that brought life to my seemingly dead situations in 2013. Help me to hold on to those thoughts when my faith needs rejuvenation for challenges that I will endure in 2014. I know that You have the final say so! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to remember that your valley of dry bones may seem like a cemetery to you, but it’s the newborn nursery to God—it’s full of life! I EMPOWER you to remain encouraged this year as you go through trials and tribulations, wait on God to move on your behalf, and choose to never look like what you’ve been through!

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

Faithfulness

From People Pleaser to God Pleaser!

People Pleaser: n. a person who spends a lot of energy pleasing others.

“I’m hungry could you get me something to eat?” YES… “I’m tired will go to the store for me?” YES… “It’s late but I really want to see you, will you come over?” YES… “Will you go shopping for me?” YES… “I have a bill due could you pay it for me?” YES

Hello my name is ______________ and I’m a people pleaser.  For me, this is beyond familiar. If I tell someone NO, it is like disowning him or her.  It seems that far-fetched to me.  I say YES before I stop and evaluate my own needs or schedule.  I may not feel passionate about the request, but I comply, mostly because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make someone mad.

To be truthful, I seek validations of self-worth or value from others.  But WHY?  I say I am a Christian and I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, but why do I/we choose people over our Father in Heaven? For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 ESV)

So much time and energy is put into meeting the needs of others that I find myself losing touch with my own life, and my relationship with God suffers.  We give man (men and women) too much credit, and we fear them instead of God.  Proverbs 29.25 states that the fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord is safe.  Isaiah 51:7 speaks truth when it says, “Listen to me, you who know righteousness the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their reveilings.” (ESV)

I discovered myself having a people pleasing personality a very long time ago.  I pray to God for understanding on why I feel this way and through my prayers God is giving me daily knowledge and understanding that not everyone deserves my YES.  Hold on and understand that whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

I have let You down.  I have looked for man’s validation over my life, but only Yours matters.  Forgive me, God, for not pleasing You and going after Your heart.  Thank You for the understanding to know that saying YES to man is not wrong, but pleasing man and putting man above You is wrong.  I love You, Lord, for loving me as much as You do.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to choose wisely who gets a YES from you. “Will you mediate on my word more?” YES…”Will you forgive your brothers and sisters who have forsaken you?” YES…”Will you go out into the world and tell people all about me?” YES…”Do you love me?” YESSSSSS!  Hello my name is ________________ and I’m a God Pleaser!

Have you overcome “people pleasing?” Tell us what it took for you to make that transformation.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: I Am Free: The Ultimate People Pleaser

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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.”

Forgiveness, Marriage, Why Did I Get Married Series

Why Did I Get Married: Get Out of the Way

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9

This scripture is a very popular scripture involving marriages. I would even argue that it is high on the list as one of the most important rules to marriage. Early in our marriage my husband and I faced one of the hardest trials of our life. We didn’t know what to do, whom to turn to or where to run. Looking back, it forced us to develop a foundation that involved God.

As the situation began to dissipate, I held resentment and anger that it even occurred.  And what rang true was this scripture, stitched on a wedding blanket that I received as a wedding gift. “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” At that moment, I realized that sometimes that someone could be ME. It didn’t have to be an outside person, but what about the people on the inside of the relationship? Sometimes we can get in the way of our marriage flourishing.

I’ve heard countless stories about couples upset and arguing about things in the past and only one person is continuing to hold the issue over the other person’s head. The unforgiving heart is causing a wedge between the marriage that creates room for the enemy to squeeze in (some wedges are so big that he can just walk in) to kill, steal, and destroy the institution that God has placed as an image of His love.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your Word. Sometimes we like to blame other people for ruining our marriage when in actuality we are mishandling the “goods”.  Please create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me towards my spouse, that reflects You.  Help me to get out of the way and allow You to mold two hearts into being one. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Ladies, if you are in a marriage, or about to be in a marriage, I EMPOWER you to be overprotective of your marriage. Do not allow ANYONE to separate what you have going on with the man God has put in your life as your husband, even if it is you. Sometimes we have to step back and allow God to direct our speech, actions and our heart.

Ladies, how do you protect your message, even if it is from yourself?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Wise Women Build

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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.

Attitude, Growth/Maturity, Self-Control, Speech

Be Quiet!

I like working alone and working with people, but it is not always easy working with others.  You have to experience a lot when working or collaborating with others.  I have learned in all my years of working that sometimes there are a lot of miscommunication, egos, pride, selfishness, control issues, backstabbing, intimidation, stress, etc. to contend with.  I can go on and on but then it would turn into complaining.

Yesterday, I attended several meetings at work back to back (by the way I hate meetings most of the time).  In one meeting, I observed, listened and for the umpteenth time I could sense tension, ego and pride in the air.  I admit a little of this came from me also.  I sat listening and then was invited to speak up about a concern I had.  As one of the meeting attendees addressed the concern, I listened and then responded to what sounded like me and my staff’s work being demeaned again.  You might ask, “Well was it constructive criticism?”  In this case it wasn’t constructive.  I have dealt with people’s arrogance, pride and control issues on my job for some time now and because of this I am sometimes in defense mode.  As I responded, I felt a little nervous voicing my concern. After all, I’m not very confrontational.  However, I became offended, grew defensive and could feel my voice rise an octave.  Yet God intervened.  As the person kept talking and I became more offended, God shushed me.  A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)

In my head, I was thinking a lot of thoughts.  I wanted to shout aloud, “My staff have degrees too and are qualified to do the work; trust us.  We double check our work.  We work very hard; we are passionate about what we do.  We have been here longer than you. Why can’t you see that we are here to help you?  Why are you making me feel inferior?  Why are you lying?  Why do I have to sit in these repetitive meetings?  We are getting nowhere.”  Instead of verbally releasing these thoughts, God helped me to shut up my thoughts and keep my mouth closed.

God reminded me that He was my defender and that He will defend me.  He reminded me that I am above and not beneath, the head and not the tail.  He reminded me that I am not inferior and I should not also make others feel inferior.  He also let me know that I was being proud even in my thoughts.   Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12 NIV)

So, I shut up and I listened because I knew I would be acting proudly by boasting and taking offense to what the other person was saying and maybe didn’t mean it to the full extent.  I sat there thinking that I don’t have to throw up my resume` or accolades like they do.  By the Holy Spirit helping me to take those thoughts captive and make it obedient to Christ and by Christ revealing to me that I was treading proud grounds, I let go trying to defend myself.  How would it look if I, a Christian, acted in a proud, offensive and defensive manner?

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your mercy and Your gently rebukes.  Thank You for reminding me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am above and not beneath, the head and not the tail.  Thank You for also being my defender and having great thoughts towards me.  Help me to remember this when someone offends or hurts me.  Help me to not be easily offended but to walk in love and maintain patience with others and in every situation.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to be quiet!  Stop trying to defend yourself and let God come to your defense.  Clothe yourself in humility and don’t be easily offended.  Don’t easily offend others also.  Walk in love because love conquers all. 

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Lord, Help Me Watch My Mouth

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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 compassionate 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.

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.