Assignment, Generosity, Growth/Maturity, Kindness, Love, Obedience, Servitude

Maybe I’ll Say Yes…

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others…”(Philippians 2:4 NIV)

I’m pretty sure that many would agree that 2012 is passing by at a quick speed.  Not only is time passing by so quickly, but life is full.  It’s very easy to be too busy with life, family, work, church, and other responsibilities.  Almost every person I know—young, old, male, female, married, or single—complains about how busy he/she is.  When one is busy, which seems to be always lately, there is not enough time to fit in every responsibility and others too.

How does one find time for anything anymore?  The safe thing to do is say ‘no’ to anything extra, especially those unplanned and spontaneous opportunities that pop up.  We couldn’t possibly say yes right?  We have to go to work, clean the house, pay some bills, or we are just plain ol’ tired.  Well here is a wise and friendly reminder courtesy of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes those things that spontaneously show up are opportunities for the Kingdom of God to advance!

The things you will be rewarded for in heaven are not the houses, cars, clothes, bank accounts, or careers that you attain here.  The things that will matter most are the things you have done for others because of Him.  Calling that elderly person who has no family and talking to them for a while, inviting your child to lay in the bed with you while you watch a movie and share laughs, giving a single mom who needs a break a twenty-five dollar pedicure, or writing an EmpowerMoment for a friend who didn’t have enough time to write one are those things that matter most.  Taking every chance to walk in love and express love to others is one thing that can surely move my Father’s heart!  Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)

This EmpowerMoment was given by the Holy Spirit at an unplanned and spontaneous time.  I was on my way to sleep when I received an email from one of my team members.  She was so honest and genuine in her request for help and although I was tired, the Lord said otherwise.  I must agree that a time like this is when you get the best testimony and juiciest experience.  I’m glad that when my sister called and asked for my help, I paused before I spoke the word ‘no’ and replaced it with a ‘yes’ so that this reminder could get to you.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your unfailing love!  I thank You for giving me the wisdom to know when I need to proceed and say yes.  I thank You for giving me the heart to love and express love towards others.  I pray I continue to trust You and follow Your lead each day as You bless me with more opportunities to give You glory and express Your love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, the next time something pops up unplanned and not on your agenda, I EMPOWER you to do the following: Pause and Pray.  Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment and instruction of what the Father desires for you to do. He may give you the go ahead of saying ‘no’ or maybe He will make you replace it with a ‘yes’.  Try it and see what happens!

Are you finding time to have these kinds of experiences?

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

Attitude, Fruit of the Spirit, Growth/Maturity, Kindness, Patience

My Reputation Precedes Itself

Before you read this post I have to give you a disclaimer: The job I work is a God given talent and I love every minute of it! I have worked in public education almost eight years and I was out of the classroom for two of those years. I have always been known for the authority that I have in the classroom and my “don’t take any mess” attitude. This summer I was assigned back to the classroom. All I could think about was how I was going to show those students that “my reputation precedes itself.” Keep in mind that this group of students had also had a reputation of being some of the most disrespectful and disruptive students in the building.

Ladies, I went in ready for battle the first day of summer school. I went into the class frowning and if a student breathed too hard I had to let them know who was the boss. All I could think was, “I’m not going to let these little kids run over me.” Instead of getting to know them personally, I did something that I had never done as a teacher. I took what I had heard about them and formed an opinion. Someone once taught me that you can catch more bees with honey but I refused to be nice to the kids because I was going to show them I wasn’t playing! I didn’t even care about winning them over; all I was concerned with was teaching them and ensuring that they listened. Every day I went home drained because I was trying to show them who was the boss. I was too busy trying to keep my reputation in tact that I didn’t even get to know who they were.

God started to convict me and I didn’t understand why. I was led to Acts 9 where Saul, a person that was a murderer of Christians, was converted to Apostle Paul. Even though the Lord chose him, at first his reputation preceded him. Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” (Acts 9: 10-14 NKJV). This made me question myself. Who did I think I was to treat people how I wanted to treat them based on what I had heard about them? If the Lord could give Paul a chance after he was a murderer, why couldn’t I give these children a chance despite what I had heard. Furthermore, who did I think I was to think that my reputation was more important than doing what was right and pleasing to God?

Luke 6: 31 says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (NIV) As God spoke to me, He told me that I should have gone into that room and treated those students how I wanted to be treated. He also reminded me of my past. What if He had really let my reputation precede me? What if He had not started fresh and forgiven me for my sins? Where would I have ended up? Ladies, it scared me to even think about how it would have been if the Lord treated me how I treated those students based on my reputation. All I could say was, “Thank You Lord for Your saving and forgiving grace!”

I had to apologize for my actions to those students and start fresh on the first day of the new school year. Instead of treating them based on their reputation, I thought about Paul and how God created him new and he became one of the most profound writers in the Bible of all times. The first day of school was a new beginning for me and the students and it was wonderful! 1 Corinthians 4:1 says “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.” (NIV) I realized I don’t want any reputation unless it’s as a servant of God. I don’t want to be known as anything but a woman after God’s own heart. “Lord, let THAT reputation precede itself!”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You God for keeping me and protecting me when I have strayed away from Your will for my own reputation. I thank You for forgiving me when I thought I had to portray a certain image and it wasn’t mirroring You. I thank You that I am learning that if the reputation that I have is one that is not in Your will or pleasing to You, then I don’t need it. Thank You for teaching me to treat people how I want to be treated and not based on their reputation. Thank You Daddy for not letting my reputation determine Your will for my life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to not worry about what your reputation used to be. Today and everyday take a look at your life and see if you are living up to what God wants you to be. I EMPOWER you to not treat others badly or in ways that are not pleasing to God because of who they used to be. Since we all are works in progress,  I EMPOWER you to read your Bible, pray and ask God to give you a reputation that is pleasing to Him!

Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor in training of The Christ For All People International Church. She is passionate about sharing the word of God with everyone she encounters. As a professional, Keviyona is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She loves her ministry of teaching and changing children’s lives. She is a devoted wife and mother of a wonderful daughter. Two of her favorite scriptures are Jeremiah 1: 5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations and Proverbs 29:18 –  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.