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.

____________________________________________________

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

God's Promises, Miscellaneous, Motivation, Procrastination, Spirit of Fear, Trusting God

Are You Sure?

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”  “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”  (Judges 6: 13-15 NIV)

Have you ever felt like Gideon? If God is really “with” you then why have you come under such attack? The Lord gave you a word years ago and you have yet to see it manifested.  Was that really God speaking to you?  That vision that God has specifically tasked you with doesn’t seem to make much sense in the natural. Think about it; that dream to be a business owner in a time of recession seems absolutely counterintuitive to everything that is going on in the world.  Or what about believing God for a child when you have never been able to carry a child full term?  Or even believing God that you are supposed to be going back to school when you are already in debt.  Where is God in all of this?

God told Gideon that He chose him for that battle, for that time, for that specific season. What is the battle that God has given to you? Reconcile a broken relationship? Forgive yourself for mistakes made? Go back to school? Start a family? What is He calling you for specifically? Seek Him for His specific purpose for your situation.  Take time and read Judges 6 and Judges 7 and look at the transformation of Gideon. Gideon represents each one of us who fear the God-ordained task given to us. Fear will cast out faith, just as faith will cast out fear. The two cannot coexist. Every time we waver, that is a minute further away from where God is trying to take us.

The journey may feel uncomfortable; in fact, I will be honest, there might be times when you are terrified to move forward. But trust that God knows your ending. If Jesus is to be our example, let us look at Him how He prepared for His battle. “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39 NIV) Jesus went directly to the source. He didn’t question God as Gideon had done; instead He had an open honest conversation with His Father. Jesus expressed His fears and reservations, and He even went back a second time and prayed: “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42 NIV)

In the end, Jesus knew the overwhelming and excruciating pain that awaited Him at the cross, but He submitted unto God and endured it all for us. We must be willing to submit to God’s plan regardless of the cost. Look at the beautiful blessings we are receiving because of Jesus’ obedience to the Word of God. Jesus was not obedient to His feelings, or His position or even the opinions and thoughts of man, but He was obedient to God. Let God equip you for the battle ahead. Seek Him in prayer and fasting. The ladies from EmpowerMoment started fasting last week and I would encourage you to join us. For more information please visit: http://www.mtzionnashville.org/wh/targets.htm

Dear Daddy,

Thank You so much for being a God who never makes a mistake. Thank You for never telling a lie. Keep me near You when the enemy throws distractions my way that are specifically designed to keep me from seeking You. Forgive me for the times that I have allowed the distractions to hinder our relationship. I pray for each lady that reads and writes EmpowerMoments, because we know that when we purposely seek You the enemy will make war against us. Keep a hedge around all the sisters of faith. Help each one of us to encourage another woman to seek Your perfect plan for her life. Where there is fear and doubt we ask that you send You send a clear Word for that situation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to call out the greatness God has placed in you and trust Him when He tells you His plan for your life and situation. 

Has God called you on a scary journey? How did you combat your fear? Encourage other women by sharing your story below.

______________________________________________________________________

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.”

Death, Grief, Growth/Maturity, Pain, Praise/Worship, Spiritual Therapy

When It Hurts

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Psalm 34:1 NKJV

If you have been around Christians for any length of time, I’m certain that you’ve heard this statement at least once if not many times.  It’s a powerful statement, for it declares that regardless of what may be occurring in life, you will continue to praise God.  It’s an easy declaration to make when things are going great, kind of sort of good, or okay, but what about when it hurts?  When you are disappointed, broken, distraught, delayed, empty, and seemingly defeated, can you still bless the Lord?

Saturday our congregation found itself in mourning as we lost the life of a wonderful teenager, Miles Blackwell.  When I arose on Sunday, the first thing that came to mind was, “What will worship be like?”  For the past several months, worship has been indescribable.  The presence of God has been so overwhelming that members hate missing service and Sunday worship has become a hot topic for Facebook (also referred to as Spacebook by our pastor).  How would people worship after suffering such a loss?      

As I pondered the possible shift in worship, God reminded me that worship is in order even when it hurts.  Worship is not something that we do only when “we feel like it.”  Instead, “Praise is what I do, EVEN WHEN I’M GOING THE THROUGH, I’ve learned to worship You.  I vow to praise You, through the good and the bad.  I’ll praise You, whether happy or sad.  I’ll praise You, in all that I go through, because praise is what I do.

Praising God in spite of hurt can be seen through two great characters of the bible.  In the first chapter of Job, we find that Job loses ten children and all his earthly possessions, yet he bows down to worship God (Job 1:20).  In Genesis 22, Abraham similarly worships God after being instructed to sacrifice his only son whom he loves (Genesis 22:1-5).  Here we have two men, broken, mourning, hurt, but still worshiping.

Through these men, we come to understand what Jesus means when He speaks of true worshipers.  “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:23 NKJV.  True worshipers bless the Lord even when it hurts!  It’s not enough simply to praise God when things are well.  True worship requires that we sacrifice our feelings, emotion, pride, and yes, our very lives to bless God (Romans 12:1 NLT).

Unfortunately, in this life we shall encounter mountaintops and valleys.  There will be days when blessing God will come with ease.  But, there will also be days when praising God may seem hard.  I pray that when the latter days come you remember Abraham and Job and continue to worship even when it hurts.  We certainly did!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for giving us the strength to worship during hard times.  When it hurts, help us to remember the One whom we worship, rather than the things that we endure.  Teach us how to bless You at all times, understanding that You are worthy of praise even when it hurts.  Father, we bless You for the wonderful God that You are.  May Your name be exalted throughout the earth.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to worship God when it hurts.  Practice blessing God not only during good times but also during times of difficulty.  God is seeking true worshipers.  I urge you to let your worship be real.

In Loving Memory of Miles Blackwell

 Read a related EmpowerMoment: Praise the Lord Anyhow!

Ms. Latasha McCrary is an active member of St. Luke Christian Church in Huntsville, AL where she serves as a Young Adult Facilitator and is training as a Life Skills Coach. She is passionate about the practice of law and views her profession as an extension of her calling to serve. Latasha firmly believes that “Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy” and is grateful for God’s continuing favor evidenced in her life. “By this I know that you favor me, because you have not let my enemies triumph over me.” (Psalms 41:11)

Grief, Growth/Maturity, Obedience, Relationships, Trusting God

Life After Death

Last month a very close aunt lost her short battle with ovarian cancer. As expected, it was an extremely difficult time for the family. Her son and daughter, 13-year-old twins, were left motherless. During her sickness, she asked one of her sisters to care for them in her absence. The day after the funeral, I remember having some “heated fellowship” with the newly elected caregiver regarding the daughter. She explained that she was going to need some help raising the 13-year-old because she had a bad attitude. In the heated moment, all I could think about was how this little girl must be hurting on the inside having just lost her mother and here was someone fussing about how bad her attitude was. At some point, I remember explaining to her that I truly believed the situation was less about her niece’s bad attitude and more about her developing her own patience and tongue control. Many times things (or people) have to die for other things to spring to life…

God created everything with a seed so that it would have the ability to self perpetuate. In other words, everything can produce itself over again.  One of the greatest self-pollinators is the wheat seed. When describing His death, Jesus used this seed as an example.  “Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.” John 12:24 MSG There are some areas in our lives that MUST be buried.  Only then will new and better opportunities be produced for us over and over again and it goes much deeper than that. Our sacrifices are divinely connected to so many other people’s destinies.  When we allow our selfish desires to die and the true purpose of our lives begins to flourish, so many others will be set free to begin to walk into their purpose.  What if my aunt told her sister, “No, I have enough kids; I can’t handle yours as well?” What if Jesus decided that He didn’t want to endure that horrendous death? What if He used the power that we know He had to remove himself from that cross? We would not be able to live out the rights of John 10:10 and have LIFE and that more abundantly. His death brought us freedom!  Likewise, I’m so convinced that although my aunt’s death deeply hurt us, it can bring life and freedom to many family issues. As I stated before, my aunt can use an ounce (or two) of patience and learn to make her words a bit sweeter—and that’s bringing her dead situation to LIFE! Similarly, my young cousin can definitely use an attitude adjustment –and that’s resurrecting her dead situation as well!

1 Corinthians 15:35 says “What you sow does not come to life until it dies.” (NIV) The harvest which is to come is far greater than the tiny wheat seed that will be sown.  Choose today to take survey of the things and people in your life which require eulogies and burials.  Go ahead and cry if you must, but fret not—it’s about to get better! After many funerals, tradition calls for the families to feast on a spread of food at the repast.  Get ready—after you bury what MUST die, a bountiful harvest will be spread before you!

Dear Daddy,

I ask that You show me the areas in my life that You are trying to forever bury. Give me the wisdom to know that these situations are dead and the will to lay them to rest. I don’t want to stifle the reproduction opportunities in my life. I thank You for giving me self-perpetuating abilities and I never want to take them for granted. I praise you in advance for the harvest that I am yet to experience! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Today, EMPOWER yourself to be honest and identify dead situations that you are trying to hold onto. EMPOWER your future harvest by finally laying those dead situations to rest!

Written in memory of Rachel A. Nelson, one of my loudest cheerleaders!

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 more than anything. 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.

Grief, Inspirational, Spiritual Therapy

Dear Mama

My post today is a little different. As Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, I would just like to send a letter to mine:

Gennell,

It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since you lost your battle with cancer. I was sitting here the other day thinking about us. I recalled something special that you told me and I smiled. I then began to think of all the great times we shared together. The lessons you taught me have stuck with me. Everyone tells me I’m just like you. I take it as a compliment and tell them that I can only wish to be half the woman that you were.

So many things happen in my life day in and day out that cause me to want to just pick up the phone and call you but I know I can’t. I remember being angry with God for a while. I was so upset that He allowed you to die. We had been through so much together for over 20 years. I needed you and I didn’t understand why He would take you away from me. I guess I was just being selfish. After holding all my anger and grief inside I finally let it go.

 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”            Matthew 5:4 NIV

I’m sorry for waiting 9 years to visit your grave. I just couldn’t do it. My heart was hurting so bad. I could not face the fact once again that you are really gone. Standing over that grave again made it all too real for me. With God’s help though, I am making it through! My heart will forever yearn for you. I will never let you go. The bond between a mother and her daughter is something that not even death can break.

I think perhaps the best thing you gave me is a foundation to build my life on, which is Christ Jesus. As I close this letter I am allowing the tears to fall, not in sadness but in joy knowing that one day I will see you again. You will forever be my hero. I vow to continue to live by the principles that you taught me and to live and love life.

I love you forever Mommy.

Your only daughter,

Shawna Rena’

Dear Daddy,

I ask that You continue to work on me. Continue to heal my heart. Please remove the veil of sorrow and sadness that seems to creep up on me. Cover me with Your love and provide comfort for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to find the strength to ask GOD to HEAL your heart from the sadness of a loss. May He provide COMFORT to you and bring PEACE to your life.

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