God, God's Love

Selfish Love

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NIV)

Being in a relationship with a selfish or self-centered person is never a good thing.  Someone who only thinks of him/herself all of the time, shows no concern for your feelings, thoughts, ideas or needs and never listens to anything you say can leave you feeling insecure, unwanted, and maybe even depressed.

Shame on me!

Recently, I’ve been very selfish in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I’ve been putting my needs and wants in front of what I know is important to strengthening the relationship I want with Him.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT)  I’ve been disregarding His Word, His perspective and that which matters to Him.

But I love Him!

I’ve been on the receiving end of such selfish behaviors in a past relationship.  It was very hard for me to believe that I was loved when I was being neglected and treated badly.  I wanted to run away from this relationship and be alone because I hated the way I was being treated!

God isn’t running from me though!

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ESV)  He loves me so much that He still wants to be in this relationship and He’s willing to forgive me!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unconditional love.  Thank You for Your constant willingness to forgive me when I fall short.  Please continue to work on me so that I will become the person You have destined me to be.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to run back to God!  Recognize that He wants nothing more than to be in love with you!

Can you tell us a moment where you knew you were being selfish with God and putting others and things before Him?

Read a related EmpowerMoment:  It’s NOT All About ME!

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 Ms. Tiffany Huff is the devoted mother of two boys, a blogger, lover of food and travel, and aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for helping others live out their purposes. She is looking forward to growing in her walk and honoring God through sharing her EmpowerMoments. One of her meditation scriptures is Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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Gratefulness, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Trials

What! You’re Grateful For THAT???

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I was telling my family what I’m thankful for.  I am thankful for the opportunities I did not get, relationships that did not work, and for the times I’ve been hurt, disappointed and misused.  I received so many awkward stares and side glances as if to say, “You’re thankful for THAT???”

My answer to all of them is YES!! I’m thankful.  We are instructed to “…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1st Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)  Our thankfulness is NOT to be limited to what we consider good.  We are to thank Him in EVERY situation and for everything, including what we consider bad.

A wonderful example of this principle in practice is in Acts 16.  Paul and Silas had been wrongfully accused and arrested, stripped naked,  savagely beaten, and thrown in jail, YET, “…But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them…” (Acts 16:25 NIV)  Later in that same chapter Paul and Silas experienced the power of God when the jail shook and their chains were loosed.  The same God that delivered in the midst of praise back then is still willing and able to deliver today, however, you have GOT to praise God even in the middle of your storm.

Lately, I have been facing some difficult situations, illness of close family members, working with limited financial resources, dealing with disappointment and personal failures; however, I choose to praise God because I know EVERYTHING He allows in my life is just moving me closer to the destiny I have in Him.

Dear Daddy,

THANK YOU!!! Thank You for EVERYTHING!  I thank You for all the good in my life and all the struggles.  I thank You for every goal You’ve allowed me to reach and the ones I’m still striving to attain.  I thank You for the opportunities I’ve been given and for all the doors that were slammed in my face.  I thank You for all of my family and friends.  I thank You for breaking relationships and causing people to remove themselves from my life.  Thank You for EVERY time You have told me NO or caused others to tell me no.  Help me Lord to continue to submit myself to You and I decree and declare that Your WILL BE DONE, whatever it is! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to PRAISE AND WORSHIP God right in the middle of your circumstance. Praise Him for EVERYTHING going on in your life and walk in confidence knowing that “He who began a good work in you, will see it through to completion!”  Thank God that all the good, and especially all the bad, is just moving you closer and closer to your destiny.

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.

Contentment, Gratefulness, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Trials

An Attitude of Gratitude – This and Every Season

I absolutely love the Holiday season. People just seem to be a lot nicer towards each other and there is usually a smile on everyone’s face. People end their statements with “Have a Happy” or “Have a Merry.” Let’s not mention the EXCELLENT food. The Holidays, that is Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, represent time with family and friends and doing things that make other people’s lives better.  Volunteerism is at an all time high. We take special time to thank God for letting us see another Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year recognizing that there are many who aren’t here with us this year.  Before we begin the New Year, it’s an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments and reflect on things that we want to change. We can debate the origins of the holidays but we can agree that there is a certain festive spirit that is intrinsic to this time period.

Wouldn’t our days be so much better if this spirit prevailed throughout the year:  if we chose to call people who are important to us more often; if we chose to volunteer and give to those in need; if we chose to make time for our family; if we smiled and told people to have a “Happy Day”; if we gave gifts without it being attached to a holiday; if we were thankful JUST BECAUSE?

I am reminded that we are to be thankful always. This isn’t a seasonal activity. We are to maintain an attitude of gratitude.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

We are human so it would be hypocritical for me not to acknowledge that trials will come and we will have some hardships but the verse above commands us to pray without ceasing and to give thanks despite what may be happening to us and around us. As I further think about this verse I realize that because we are to pray continuously, that means we should have faith for answered prayers which leads to thanking Him in advance for what we know He is going to do in our lives. Doesn’t that make you happy (Rejoice)? When we are truly thankful, it reflects in our attitude towards ourselves and others.  This is God’s will for you!

Phillipians 4:11-12 encourages us: “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: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (NIV) If we can learn to live in the present moment and be content we will be thankful, always. We will be thankful for God’s abundance when we have a refrigerator full of food and when we don’t. We will be thankful for God’s healing power when our bodies are afflicted and when we are in perfect health. We will be thankful because we recognize that whatever hardship we are in, it is only for a season.  365 days a year we should convey an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your awesome words of wisdom. Forgive us for disobeying Your word and limiting You to a season. Father, help us to show our thankfulness each and every day of the year. Help us to be the best mothers, daughters, wives, friends and co-workers despite the turmoil that may be happening in our lives. Remind us to pray without ceasing so that we can remain thankful for the future You have for us. Let us remember Lamentations 3:22-23 that  says Your mercies and compassions are new every morning; knowing this, let us remain thankful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you in this season and every season to be thankful. Let that thankfulness exude into everything that you do. I EMPOWER you to walk boldly, stand tall and have an attitude of gratitude January through December. 

Click here to enter this month’s contest!

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures 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.”

Attitude, Blessings, Contentment, Finances, Gratefulness, Inspirational

Prioritize

I have been struggling with what to write all week. I just started a new job and have been learning the ropes on that. Then I found out the pay is done a bit differently than I originally thought. So although I work from November 1- November 30, I will only receive payment for the first two weeks. Which is fine, but I didn’t understand that concept before I did my budget for this month. Oops! I went into straight panic mode. Many thoughts started rushing through my head: Cell phone bill is due in a week. Baby needs more diapers. Wait– that means that first check is going straight to rent…

Then I came across Isaiah 41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV) And I remembered that not getting the money I budgeted for at the end of the month is not the end of the world. My child is going to be taking care of and so will I. But why was my first reaction to question God?

I realized that I do not have my priorities right. I am focused on the wrong things. My job (no matter if I was making millions of dollars) is not my source. God is. He provided the job, the knowledge and skills I needed to get the job. So why had I panicked? Because, this situation wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t how I imagined it. I imagined a seamless transition from my last job to this one. I thought I had done what the scriptures said and counted the cost.  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (Luke 14:28 NIV) Alas, you cannot plan for exactly everything. And that’s life. But one thing I do know is my son is healthy and so am I. Every day I have a home to go to that is in a peaceful neighborhood. When I have a bad day, I can call and get advice from both my mother and father, because they are both still alive. I am surrounded by people that would never allow me to go hungry, or my son to go without diapers. So if I really had the need, guess what, I have a support system. There are so many people without a support system, without a home, or without a healthy child. And they still have hope, peace and joy. So why do the hiccups of life steal that from me? Because I honestly still think I have control over my life. Your life can change in an instant at no fault of your own. Ask someone who lost their house because a neighbor fell asleep smoking, or a family who has buried their child because a drunk driver hit them on the way to church. Due to no fault of your own, your life can change. The only thing you can control is your reaction.

Another great thing to do is help those whose lives have been affected by things out of their control. This year for my birthday I will be hosting a registration/drive for two agencies near to my heart. I will be hosting a registration for bone marrow donors and raising money for Invisible Children. Helping others is the best way to show your appreciation to God. I would love for each of you to find a cause that you are passionate about; it will help you prioritize your life. I first got the idea for bone morrow from a two year old girl named Starla who is battling Leukemia. To join her prayer team, click the links below.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for all the wonderful blessings in my life. Help me to not become discouraged when my life doesn’t turn out how I planned. Help me to refocus in an area that will bring You Glory. Continue to bless those who are struggling with various obstacles in their lives. We pray for Your peace, wisdom and strength as they go through their storms. Let us not be so caught up in our own issues that we miss the real reason You called us, to be witnesses of Your Love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Blessed Ladies of God, I EMPOWER you to examine your life. Look at the stressors you have and see if any of them are worth the energy you are investing. Find a passion/cause that touches your heart and get active in helping someone else who really needs your support. Prior to writing this EmpowerMoment, I penned a poem of the same name: Prioritize the Poem

To join the Starla Prayer Group click here:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=174438839301375

For more information on bone marrow donation visit: http://www.marrow.org/

For more information on Invisible Children:  http://www.invisiblechildren.com/

Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Black Music Month Series, Gratefulness, Inspirational, Miscellaneous, Patience

Thank You

This song is one of my absolute gospel favorites. Each time that I tried to write about something else, I was brought back to this song so apparently some of us haven’t learned that lesson on Gratefulness. Thank You Lord For All You’ve Done For Me was released in 1990 but the lyrics are so very relevant today. With so many things going on, God is reminding us to:

Pray without ceasing. In EVERY thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (I Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

Tragedies are common place,
all kinds of diseases,
people are slipping away.
The economies down,
people can’t get enough pay,
but as for me, all I can say is,
Thank You Lord, for all You’ve done for me.

I love numbers so I thought that I would put our need to be THANKFUL into perspective by detailing the numbers from events that I consider tragic. These aren’t just numbers, these are people…someone’s mother, father, spouse, other relative or best friend.

  • 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami death toll =230,210 people
  • 2010 Haiti Earthquake death toll = 222, 570 people
  • 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami death toll > 18,000 people
  • 2009 Global AIDS statistics: 33.3 million people living with HIV/ AID, 1.8 million deaths from AIDS
  • 2010 American Cancer deaths= 569, 490 people
  • 2011 (May unemployment) 9.1% or > 12 million people

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)

There’s folks without homes,
living out in the streets,
and the drug habits some say,
just won’t cease.
Muggers and robbers,
no place seems to be safe,
but You’ve been my protection
every step of the way;
and I want to say,
Thank You Lord, for all You’ve done for me.

With all of the turmoil that I often feel is going on in my life, the Spirit always checks me and reminds me that: EVERY night I sleep with shelter; EVERY day I have a hot meal to eat; EVERY day I have the use of ALL of my limbs; EVERY day I am to be THANKFUL no matter the circumstance.

(It could have been me) thank You,
(outdoors) thank You,
(with no food) thank You,
(and no clothes) thank You,
(or all alone) thank You,
(without a friend) thank You,
(or just another number) thank You,
(with a tragic end) thank You, oh.
(But You didn’t see fit) thank You,
(to let none of those things be) thank You,
(’cause everyday by Your power) thank You,
(You keep on keeping me) thank You;
Thank You Lord for all You’ve done for me

Dear Daddy,

Sometimes our issues and inconveniences seem so big but Lord I am reminded that You are the conductor of our lives. Help me to be Thankful when things are going well and when the situation looks bleak. So many people are suffering around the world and in our own neighborhood. Lord, use me as a vessel to have impact on those in need. God, I ask for Your covering over my life as You expand my territory. Lord, help me to be truly THANKFUL. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

EMPOWER yourselves to be THANKFUL! When you have money for the rent and when you don’t, give THANKS! When you’re eating tuna instead of steak, give THANKS! EMPOWER yourselves with the knowledge that sometimes we have to give THANKS in advance to receive the requests that we have laid before the Lord.

Celebrate Black Music Month as you enjoy Walter Hawkins and the Love Center Choir singing “Thank You (Lord for All You’ve Done)”

Enter this month’s contest by clicking here.

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA 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, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. This week she is leaning on Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.

Black Music Month Series, Gratefulness, Inspirational

Gratefulness

Last week I walked around campus and then headed back to my office. I could not get over how hot it was outside. Mind you, I live in Alabama. Upon entering my building another co-worker, Mrs. Shivers, came from the other direction and said, “Isn’t it lovely out here today?” Immediately I wanted to say, “Umm, lovely? I am HOT and this suit isn’t helping!” But I just smiled and said, yes it is. I sat in my office and was convicted immediately. God showed me that she was grateful for His wondrous creations and that a few years ago, she struggled for her life as a cancer patient and lived to be able to bask in God’s glory of beautiful weather. He went on to quicken my spirit to realize that I haven’t faced death in this way and that I should be praising Him all the more. At that moment, I began to think about all of the things I’m grateful for. “I will give thanks to you, Lord with all my heart; I will tell all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2 NIV. I’m grateful to be able to walk around without assistance and to even afford a suit to be hot in. I have the ability to talk and respond to her.

Oftentimes, I find myself complaining about things such as: I wish my house was bigger; I wish my car was faster; I wish I had more shoes and more suits; I want to be able to go on more vacations. However, I am moving into an attitude of gratefulness, grateful that I have a house because I could be homeless. I am grateful that I have a car and a brand new one at that. I remember walking! I am grateful for being able to stand in my closet and actually choose what I want to wear opposed to having to wear the same outfit every day. God’s word tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

Those words spoken by Mrs. Shivers changed my attitude. We often think that if we don’t say it we aren’t complaining, but God knows our hearts (Psalm 139:1-4 NIV). We get so consumed with the drama of our everyday lives that we forget to be grateful for the things God has already done.

Dear Daddy,

I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve a God like You. I am grateful to have a second chance to get it right. Lord, when I waiver in complaint, help me to be grateful for the victories You have already casted my way and teach me to be humble as I wait for future ones. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

What are you grateful for? I EMPOWER you today to think about the things that God has already done in your life and to be grateful for them. Take a moment to ignore your present day requests and worship through gratefulness.

In honor of Black Music Month, allow “Grateful” by Hezekiah Walker to usher you into a worship of thanks.

Especially for Ms. Amber McGowan:

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is 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 without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.  She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter where they attend St. Luke Christian Church.