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?


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.”

God's Protection, Obedience, Patience, Self-Control

The Hustler Gets Hustled!

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

I had just enough time to get from the nail shop in Walmart to my new job at the church.  Pleased with my hot orange polish, I left out smiling only to be approached by a guy as soon as I crossed the threshold.  “I got a laptop for sale Ms. Lady.”  I proceeded to my car and yelled, “I’m good!”  He pulled his car directly behind mine so that I had no choice but to hear him out.  He went on to say that the computers were going for the low rate of $250.00 but since he liked me I could make him an offer that he couldn’t refuse. “You tell me how much you want to pay!!”  Those words were music to my ears and I decided to take a closer look.

The computer was nicely packaged in plastic and bubble wrap with a sales information sheet on top listing all the great features of this SONY computer.  I was sold! “I only have $100.00, take it or leave it!” My hard core “hustling” skills were coming to surface and he took the bait.  Next thing I knew I was praising God in my head because only He could have made that happen, right?!  God knew I needed a laptop for school and the prices in the store were outrageous, so to find one this cheap had to be a blessing.

“Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:9 NIV

As I placed my money in his car, I decided to ignore the “voice” telling me to take my money back.  Instead I decided to take down his number just in case my computer didn’t work.   After completing the transaction I got in my car and headed to work with only 8 minutes to spare.  As I drove God starting screaming at me, demanding that I immediately pull my car over and check my merchandise.  Lo and behold, after making my way through the endless layers of packaging, I finally cracked the box open only to find 4 packs of notebook paper!!! I used to be the #1 hustler and I had just been HUSTLED!!!

I instantly went into panic mode asking God why this happened to me.  I called my sister and she told me to calm down and ask God what was my lesson in the situation.  I took her advice and at that very moment God dealt with me stating, “I give you FAVOR everywhere you go so what makes you think that I would have you buy a laptop out of someone’s car?  You were supposed to wait for Me to make provisions for you when the time was right!”  Just when I felt convicted enough to leave well enough alone, He went on to say, “I tried to stop the deal by telling you to take your money back but you chose to ignore Me!” At that point I was left to figure out how to maintain on my upcoming weekend trip minus that $100.

“… after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10 NIV

Ladies, that weekend God took care of everything for me while I was out of town.  However, if I had not allowed my old “hustling” mentality to surface days prior, I would have returned from Atlanta with more than I lost! This one encounter with the enemy cost me $100 but the lessons learned were priceless:  #1-The enemy comes in ALL forms!  #2-The devil will tempt you with things that you want and need.  BEWARE!  #3- Listen for GOD to give you the okay before moving too suddenly! He speaks to us all the time but are we really listening? #4- Thank God for the test no matter how big or small, even if you fail the first time!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the tests! I understand that they are opportunities for You to teach me to rely on You more.  The world we live in encourages me to figure things out on my own but I must understand it is not about me.  Help me to hear Your voice louder than the enemy’s that I might make the right decision even in the most uncertain conditions.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Sistahs, I EMPOWER you to LISTEN and LISTEN good to what God has to say!! Believe me, it will save you time, energy, and MONEY! Put your old ways behind you and adopt God’s way of doing things! Be Blessed!! 🙂

Read more about heeding God’s warnings in The Night We Almost Died

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.  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

Are you interested in joining the EmpowerMoments team? Click here to find out more about us!

Blessings, Inspirational, Motivation, Obedience, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

When They Don’t Listen to the King…

Several days ago I received a phone call offering me a wonderful writing opportunity. The opportunity was available because the person who previously occupied the position refused to make some changes that those in charge had requested. Knowing all of the parties involved, I was a bit reluctant to accept the offer.  I didn’t want my predecessor to be mad with me. I didn’t want her to think that I had plotted and schemed to take her place. Never in a million years did I want to offend her in any way. Because I am such a sensitive person, I am always working to ensure that my words and actions are not those that will pierce anyone’s emotions. After struggling with the decision for a few days, God reminded me of the story of Esther. Remember Esther? She was the woman who was “chosen for such a time as this.” She went from being a no-name Jew to saving her entire people from complete annihilation. Let’s briefly revisit her story…

After a week-long celebration complete with fine linens, food and spirits, King Xerxes summoned his wife to come before him. Queen Vashti was so gorgeous that he wanted to display her beauty to all of the banquet guests. However, the Queen refused to obey his wishes: “But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.” (Esther 1:12)  When I first read this, I was a bit baffled. If it was customary for the queen to adhere to the king’s request, why was she disobeying? Was she starting a women’s revolution in the B.C. era? Was she just interested in making a fool out of her husband? Did she refuse as a means of scolding him because he was too drunk?  While all of these seem like great theories, I am convinced that God had purposed her disobedience to push His plan into play. Similarly, when God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and made him refuse to release the Israelites from Egypt, it was all so that His divine will could be accomplished: For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” (Romans 9:17 NLT)

After Queen Vashti refused the request, the king met with his boys and they suggested that Vashti be immediately relieved of her title. “So if it please the king, we suggest that you issue a written decree, a law of the Persians and Medes that cannot be revoked. It should order that Queen Vashti be forever banished from the presence of King Xerxes, and that the king should choose another queen more worthy than she.” (Esther 1:20 NLT)

The rest is history…Esther was chosen as the new queen which put her in a position to petition the king for mercy on her people. But, Esther was only chosen as queen AFTER someone else refused to obey…

So why did we just have that brief Bible study lesson? It’s simply to remind you (and me) that there are going to be times when opportunities arise simply because someone else chooses not to submit to the process. Does that mean that we are bad people if we choose to walk through the opened door? Absolutely not! When they don’t listen to the king, they put you in a position to do just the opposite. Just like Queen Esther’s story, God will use that situation to catapult and elevate you to a position where you have the favor, power and authority to change people’s lives and situations. Walk into your destiny because a lot of people are depending you.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You being King over my life.  Give me the will and desire to obey Your decrees at all times. I thank You for people who say no so that You can give me yes! Help me to walk boldly into places that You prepare for me. If it’s from You, I want it! If it’s not from You, help me to discern that as well so that I may reject it. I am excited about my future and where You are taking me! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Queens, I EMPOWER you to willingly accept the new position that God is giving you. If the opportunity is the result of another’s disobedience, allow your obedience to take you to another level in Him! Remember that your obedience is connected to so many other people’s destinies!

 Sending a very special “Happy Birthday” to MY king:

Mr. James Harris!

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.

Attitude, Growth/Maturity, Patience, Spiritual Warfare, Submission/Surrendering, Time Management, Trusting God

The Process of the Promise

This time every year all the members of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee get overly excited.  We anticipate the last weekend in August because we know that it is filled with powerful preaching and bountiful blessings.  To jump start the festivities, Bishop Walker declared the Friday evening service as “A Night of Miracles and Manifestation.”  The title of the event was enough for me to commit to attending weeks in advance. 

It seemed as if the enemy was attacking my time management skills more than usual on that Friday.  Each task that I set out to complete took longer than expected, thus causing a domino effect on my schedule.  Before I knew it, my designated departure time had come and gone and I hadn’t even made it home with my groceries yet.  Finally, thirty minutes before the service began, we headed out the door to begin the twenty minute drive to the church.

We were smooth sailing down the expressway until we approached the exit and were stuck in standstill traffic for an additional forty minutes.  As we inched our way along, a spirit inched into the vehicle with us.  All three of us were becoming aggravated at the idea of going through all of this for church!  Once we were able to turn off the ramp, the reality of going to a mega church hit us again…We had to run for a shuttle bus to get from the overflow parking lot to the building. Are you serious God? I don’t run unless I’m being chased!!  By then I was livid at the whole experience and I had not even made it to the doors of the church. 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

Five minutes into the service my mood was instantly changed. My hands were in the air and my voice shrieked with praises for God.  The entire time I couldn’t stay in my seat.  Everything that was said spoke life into every situation I had been battling.  By the end of the sermon, I had a firm understanding that things I pray for may not happen overnight but I must thank God that I am able to maintain.

Ladies, the devil wanted my patience to grow thin during the commute because there was a word that I needed to hear and I almost got cheated out of it.  The enemy’s schemes kept trying to convince me that I was wasting my time going because I was already late and the traffic seemed unbearable.   However, God knew the blessing that was in store for me and the process of getting there made it even more worth the while.  Just like life, I had to endure trials in order to reach my destiny!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for keeping me focused through the devil’s trickery.  Forgive me for complaining about the process because I understand that it is directly connected to the blessing.  Help me to clearly discern the enemy’s voice from Yours that I might always be walking in Your will.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I strongly recommend that we EMPOWER each other to embrace the process to reach the promise.  The blessing is right around the corner but are you willing to sit in traffic for it?  I did!  Have a safe and blessed holiday weekend!  🙂

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.  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

Blessings, Congratulations, Employment, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Obedience, Trusting God

Blessings Out of Unusual Circumstances

A few days ago marked the seventh anniversary of the day I was arrested.  Back then I knew a girl who was a professional “booster” and despite my mother’s warning about her character, I decided to associate with her.  By the end of that summer, I had gained a friend along with a rap sheet. 

It sounded like a good idea when she offered to steal me a few outfits in exchange for a ride to the mall.  It seemed harmless yet beneficial to be a chauffeur for the day if I would be able to return to my Black college campus in style for my sophomore year.  With over $2,000 worth of “HOT” merchandise we proceeded to exit the doors of Carson Pirie Scott only to be abruptly stopped by security.  To make a long story short, God blessed me with a public defender that was able to get my charge reduced from a FELONY to a misdemeanor.  He hopefully instructed me that I would be able to get the charge expunged or sealed by the time I graduated in three years.  However, seven years have passed and I’m still waiting…

Last week my cousin informed me of a job fair for ex-offenders.  Instantly, I felt as if there was nothing they could offer me because I refused to work a factory job having obtained a Bachelor’s degree and pursuing a Master’s.  In my mind, ex-offenders are only left with the bottom of the barrel positions because no one hires us anyway…so why bother?  Despite my lack of enthusiasm, my cousin continued to throw the idea around until I gave in. 

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NIV)

As I drove in silence, I chose to take that moment and talk to God.  I was sure to express that I was not exactly sure why I was even going but I learned as a little girl that obedience to God is better than any sacrificial offering.  I went even further to verbalize that no matter what the outcome, this would be at least an opportunity to promote EmpowerMoments in order to give Him the glory.  I promised that I would give a card to every woman in the room–job or not.

After visiting a few tables I realized there was a live radio broadcast going on by a local station.  I made my way over in hopes of talking to someone about a job that would utilize my Telecommunications degree.  However, I was asked to sit down for an impromptu interview.  I eagerly grab the headphones and adjusted the mic for my debut.  Just being myself, I intrigued the station manager enough for a one on one once the q&a wrapped up.  She was impressed by my natural ability to roll with the punches but she was truly WOWED by my excitement for EmpowerMoments!  I passed her a card and gave her a quick overview of what we stand for.  By the end of my synopsis she offered me a trial spot on Sundays entitled EMPOWERMOMENTS!   

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

God is so awesome that He literally turned an upset into a setup for a blessing.  Not only did He give me faith that someone will hire me despite my past but He showed me that as long as I am seeking to glorify Him there are NO LIMITS! 

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for turning a gloomy situation into a splendid opportunity.  Please forgive me for the times that I have placed restrictions and boundaries on You.  You have turned my circumstances around on many occasions only to add credibility to my testimony. Thank you!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I encourage each of you to EMPOWER yourself to remove the limits from God.  Let Him take control for a moment and doors that have been closed before will be opened and your blessing will be there with your name on it! Be Blessed! 🙂

Allow Israel & New Breed’s “Take the Limits Off” to minister to you:

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.  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

Faith, God's Protection, Obedience, Spiritual Warfare, Trusting God

The Night We Almost Died…

“…Obedience is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22 NLT)

It was a balmy night in August of 2010. We were on the second leg of our European Excursion. We had waited so long to experience one of the infamous “foam parties” in Ibiza, Spain. So imagine how excited we were to find out that one was taking place at Club Amnesia on the first night of our visit. That was a double treat because way back in the day Jay-Z had piqued our interest in Club Amnesia when he mentioned it in one of his songs. Surely, this was going to be one of the best nights of our lives—WRONG, that would be the night that we almost died…

On our way into club, the majority of our group decided that 60 Euros was too steep of a price to pay to get in. Oh, but not the “Final Four.” We had traveled too far and already spent a nice amount of money to get there not to indulge in the foam party. So the group left us and we paid for our ticket into party paradise. Little did we know, we were buying a ticket into hell on earth and that would be the night that we almost died…

Once inside the massive warehouse type structure, we were amazed at the number of people inside. There had to be at least 5,000 partygoers. In the midst of this sea of people, it seemed that the “Final Four” just didn’t belong. I instantly heard a still, small voice whisper, “You should leave now.” My thoughts were, “Surely, I’m not about to leave now, especially after I just paid about $80 in US currency to get in! Let’s get this party started!” I suppressed that inner voice because it was speaking against what I felt I should do. What I didn’t understand was that that voice was trying to save my life because that would be the night that I almost died…

As we waited patiently for the foam party to commence, we witnessed things that I cannot even begin to explain here. Things that would be illegal to do in public here; things that you would be ashamed to tell your mother you saw; things that would make you cover your eyes but then peek just to be sure it was really happening; most important, things that would vex your spirit man. Yes, I know you are sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what could have really been that bad. Well, on stage entertainment included men having live and real relations with one another. Yes, it was just that bad. As we stood there and realized that we were planted right in the middle of a present day Sodom & Gomorrah, each of us heard that still, small voice say, “It’s time for you to leave.” Individually, God was speaking to each of us but we weren’t aware of that.  So we all ignored that command because we didn’t want to spoil the fun for the other three.  What we didn’t realize is that we wouldn’t have been spoiling the fun for each other, we would have been saving each others’ lives because that would be the night we almost died…

As the night passed, I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the environment yet annoyed with this voice that kept trying to ruin my experience. I was convinced that if we could just hold out until 2am for the foam party, all of my feelings of uneasiness would subside. I ventured off and found out that we were in the wrong room for the foam party. As I walked back to retrieve the group and let them know that it was just about time for the foam to be released, that voice rose again. Only that time it wasn’t still and small at all. It was more like a loud, thunderous voice that said, “LEAVE NOW!”We can’t leave now. It’s finally time for the foam party and we have been waiting for this!” I proceeded to grab the girls so that we could have the time of our life. I should’ve been grabbing them and heading for the nearest exit as we were about to literally experience a taste of death on the night we almost died…

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27 NIV)

We ran excitedly to the foam party room and tried to press our way to the front. However, there were so many other people in there that we couldn’t get as close as we desired. Settling for our post in the middle of the room, we braced ourselves for the release of the foam! I thought, “Yes! Finally, the moment we’ve been waiting for!” And the countdown began: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5-4-3-2-1…

What happened after 1 is still kind of sketchy. What I can tell you is that the foam was released and my breath was instantly taken away. It literally felt like a hand was choking the life out of my body. I couldn’t open my eyes; it felt as if someone has glued my eye lids shut.  I saw my life flash before my eyes. I couldn’t speak so my spirit cried out to God. “PLEASE don’t let me die in this place! I have a husband and two girls that I have to return home to. Save me Jesus!” It was at that moment that the grip was released from my neck and I was able to catch my breath and open my eyes. I searched frantically for my friends and saw that they were in distress too. Ironically enough, we were the ONLY ones under this attack; everyone else was still dancing and enjoying the party. Why? Because that was the night that Satan desired to kill us…

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32 NIV)

This small passage of scripture embodies our entire lesson for today. Satan had already asked God for permission to attack each of us that night.  However, Jesus was interceding on our behalf. He was praying that our faith in Him would allow us to obey that voice inside of us urging us to leave. Our faith is about more than just believing in God. It is about hearing and heeding His commands and knowing that if He is telling us to do something, it HAS to be for our good.

In the latter part of verse 32, Jesus tells Peter (Simon) to strengthen his brothers after he has turned back. Here is where we failed terribly. When we heard the Holy Spirit speaking, we should have turned our back on our desires and strengthened each other to do the same.

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for all of the times when I blatantly disobeyed You. Lord, I know that You have my best interest in mind. Teach me to know Your voice for Your Word says Your sheep listen to You. Thank You for covering me when I know You told me to go and I stayed or when You told me no and I chose yes or when You said be quiet and I still spoke.  Lord, give me the will to obey You and Your Word at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I didn’t share that long story with you to entertain you. However, I shared it with you to EMPOWER you to obey God ALWAYS! Obey when it makes sense and even when it doesn’t. Your life depends on your obedience!

Today’s EmpowerMoment is dedicated to three of the “Final Four”: LaTosha Brown, Kristi Cofield & Chancee` Lundy. May each of you hear and heed His voice daily!

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.

Faith, God's Love, God's Protection, Inspirational, Obedience, Trusting God

It Ain’t Over!

I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but He hath not given me over unto death (Psalms 118:17-18 KJV).

A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from my employer stating that the program that I worked for would be ending because the grant was ending. I already knew this and I even have another job lined up but it’s still shocking to see it in writing. I started to wonder “what if” I didn’t have a job what would I do. God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a Son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23: 19 NIV). Why would I even have to wonder when God said it ain’t over? I thought about so many other difficult times that I have endured in my life and God rescued me. When there was nowhere to go and no one to turn to, He provided comfort. I thought of a time when I thought my marriage was over and I didn’t want to listen to anyone but God told me, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:16 NIV) See even when I thought I had the answers and I could solve the problem on my own God told me, “It ain’t over!” Times when I wanted to walk away from situations on my own God would have to stop me because I didn’t have the authority to decide when it was over. I was led to this scripture: (…God promised me that he would never leave me, nor forsake me (Hebrew 13:15 KJV). God had to speak to me and ask why would I doubt and even have to think about “what ifs” when He knows my beginning and my end.

During these trying times, I like to read Ezekiel 37: 1- 14.  In this story, Ezekiel had a vision that he was in a field of dry bones and God spoke to him and told him to prophesy to the bones and speak life into them and he obeyed. God told Ezekiel that this was the same thing he needed to do to the people of Israel. Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’(NIV) Despite what Israel had done God still wanted to show them that He had the final say so. It doesn’t matter what you have been through or what you are going through remember “It ain’t over!”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for keeping me and protecting me in situations where I thought I had lost the battle. Thank You Lord for forgiving me and still blessing me when I doubted who You were to me. I thank You for being with me to the end. I thank You Lord for letting Your will be done in my life despite what I felt or thought. I thank You for having the final say so in my life and teaching me that it ain’t over until You say it’s over! In Jesus Name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to know that it ain’t over, until God says it’s over! It doesn’t matter if you have been laid off or fired, if your spouse is not acting right or your kids are acting crazy. I want to EMPOWER you to look to the hills from whence cometh your help! Let God take control of your life and let Him lead and guide you. God will give you peace in the midst of your storm. It ain’t over!

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.

God, Growth/Maturity, Obedience, Sin

When the Green Card Comes Down…

No, this isn’t a post about immigration reform or citizenship regulations. But much like that green card, the green card that I speak of definitely identifies you as a member of a larger body of people. As a member of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, we have green parking passes that hang on our rearview mirror. As we transition to our brand new edifice, we are renting event and parking space from a large Chicagoland venue. So the green placards were designed mostly to distinguish New Life members to the attendants in the shared parking lots. However, they have grown to mean so much more to us. They now serve to identify and unify us amongst one another. Whenever I am driving in Chicago, it is guaranteed that I will see another green card passing by. Of course, I usually don’t know the person but we honk and smile simply because we are related. Where ever I am—the gas station, beauty salon, visiting a friend’s house, etc.—someone will see the green card and excitedly run over to me saying, “Hey New Life!”  No matter where I am or who I am with, I am marked as a member of New Life.

Several weeks back I found myself taking my green card down as I traveled to my destination. As quickly as I snatched the card down, I was convicted. I had to ask myself, “Why are you taking this down? If you don’t want the people who may be where you are going to know who you are associated with, surely this can’t be a good move.” Now I think it’s important to add that where I was going and what I was planning to do was not technically a sin. However, my presence at that place could have easily been misinterpreted or misconstrued. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to abstain from all appearance of evil. (KJV) Anything that even looks sinful should not be pursued.

You may not have a green card that marks you as member of your church, but once you said yes to Jesus, you were marked as a member of the body of Christ. When you accepted Him into your heart, you were given a spiritual red card (covered in the blood) that identifies you as member of the Kingdom. Thus, it is important that your actions say that you have indeed been kissed by the Son! Examining the checklist below will ensure that you are not in situations where you are tempted to hide your card:

  • Does this involve me sinning against God’s Word? Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14 NLT)  Above anything else, if you will be involved in sinful activity, you should not be doing it! If you are engaging in any sinful act, flee!  
  • Why am I doing this? This is an important question to ask yourself because it can be easy to proceed simply because you are not committing a sin. 1 Corinthians 6: 12 warns us of this: “Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.” (MSG) Another version reads, “Everything is permissible… but not everything is beneficial.” (NIV) If your actions are detrimental to your spirit, you should not be participating.
  • Are my actions pleasing to God? Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8 NIV) If gratification of your flesh is the outcome of your actions, you will not be pleasing God!
  • WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? Yes, it’s a trite and cliché phrase, but it’s a tried and true litmus test. As we strive to become more like Jesus, we should be imitating Him in every area of our life. As a matter of fact, since nothing is new under the sun, we can ask ourselves what DID Jesus do?  Using His life as an example ensures that we are making the best decisions.

Making those decisions that are in the best interest of your spirit, life and destiny can sometimes be hard. However, if you ask yourself the four questions listed above, I guarantee that you will not be doing anything contrary to the Word and will of God. You won’t have to be like me and pull your card down on the way to your destination. You will be living a life that lines up with being a proud, card carrying member of the body of Christ!

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for my sins. Please forgive me for all of the times that I acted contrary to Your Word. Please forgive me for the times that I hid my red card because I wanted to gratify my fleshy desires or simply because I was ashamed of who I am in You. God, help me to live a life that is pleasing in Your sight. Help me to show the world who You are through my daily actions and speech. I thank You for Your transformative power! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today, I EMPOWER you to leave your card in the window of your life! Don’t take it down just because you want to do something that is displeasing to God. Rather, leave it up as a reminder that the blood is cleansing you from all unrighteousness.  Even when you mess up, your red card will remind that you STILL belong to the body of Christ!

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.

Direction/Guidance, Goals & Dreams, God's Protection, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Obedience, Patience

Divine GPS

 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Psalm 23:1 NLT)

I was on my way to a dinner when I decided that I would take a different route to my destination.  I figured that I would get there faster taking a detour, even though I wasn’t exactly sure where the new route would take me.  Before leaving, I made up my mind that I knew the roads well enough not to use my GPS.  After getting lost, I was still reluctant to use the GPS because my pride convinced me that I could find my own way.  Well, after wandering aimlessly for far too long, I swallowed my pride, pulled out the GPS, keyed in my destination and arrived 30 minutes late.

At that moment, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit.  God showed me how MY STUBBORNNESS HAD PREVENTED ME FROM GETTING TO MY DESTINATION.  Of course, my own direction had gotten me most of the way—the GPS rerouted me with only 2 turns—but, most of the way wasn’t the goal!  Yet, rather than use the aid designed specifically to help me reach my destination, I chose to rely on my limited knowledge, which resulted in a late arrival.

Similar to my failed attempt to detour, many of us find ourselves lost or late fulfilling our destiny because we are reluctant to follow God’s direction.  We are convinced that we can manage on our own; that we have it figured out; or that there’s a better, swifter way.  Even though He is readily accessible (just like my GPS), our stubbornness can prevent us from grasping that God is indeed all that we need and that RELIANCE ON HIS GUIDANCE ACTUALLY WORKS IN OUR FAVOR.

Christ wants us to take up our crosses daily and follow Him daily (Luke 9:21 NLT).  At times this may seem difficult, lonely, and His way often feels like it takes way too long.  Yet, He does not want us to follow Him for His sake.  GOD’S PLANS ARE INTENDED TO PROVIDE A SHIELD OF PROTECTION TO ENSURE THAT WE REACH OUR DESTINY.  We can’t always see why He guides us as He does but His direction is the safest and most secure.  It is up to us to recognize and trust that His ways are wise and best.  When we begin to fully trust God, we will understand more clearly what David meant when he declared, “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” (Psalm 23:1 NLT)  David only needed the Lord because he understood that a good shepherd protects his sheep and leads them safely along the right path—“He lets me rest in green meadows, he leads me beside peaceful streams…He guides me along right paths…Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23:2-4 NLT). 

Dear Daddy,

Help me to remember that You are the ultimate GPS and that Your direction is purposely designed for my protection.  When I’m anxious and feel that my plan is quicker and better, help me to remember your Word which instructs me to “be anxious for nothing.”  Father, help me when I’m feeling tired, alone, and even forgotten.   Remind me that “the steps of a righteous woman are ordered by the Lord” and that Your divine plan and wisdom are intended to “prosper me and not harm.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to trust God!  Have faith that God’s direction is designed specifically to help you reach your destiny and know that His way is filled with divine protection.  I EMPOWER you to run your course with patience, perseverance, and, most important, with our Lord. Always use your GPS (God’s Protective Shield)!

P.S. Study Exodus 13:21 and notice how God does not direct Israel through the main or shortest route, because He knew that they may get discouraged and abandon the promise.  He takes them through a lonely, dry area but, with His direction, they reach the place that God destined for them.

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

Attitude, Fruit of the Spirit, Growth/Maturity, Honesty/Truth, Obedience

An Aha! Moment

Have you ever had an “Aha!” second in Jesus?  You know the kind when the light bulb goes off? I believe it is safe to assume that it is equivalent to Ben Franklin’s “eureka” moment upon discovering electricity…or maybe it can be compared to the joy George Washington Carver felt when he stumbled upon the many uses of a peanut…or maybe it is similar to the warm feeling we all had the instant we knew Barack Obama had been elected the first black President of the United States. Whatever you equate it to, we’ve all had that moment when happiness and excitement overwhelm our bodies! Just last week I experienced my personal “Aha!” courtesy of Jesus and it was almost mind boggling.

Last Friday I went to rent a car for a quick weekend get-a-way with my girls.  As I thanked the representative for his work, I proceeded to place my items in the vehicle when I noticed that there was something on the passenger seat.  Without ANY hesitation I yelled for the rep to come back and retrieve his belongings.  It was then that I realized I was holding the CORPORATE credit card!!  I had willingly offered up a GOLD MINE!!  As I pulled away in my rental, my mind wandered to ALL the wonderful things that I would have bought if this had happened to me a few years back. 

See, just a few years ago I wasn’t so advanced in my Christian walk.  Only GOD knows what I would have done in my not-so-saved days!! “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of your sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (Galatians 5:16-17 NIV) My sinful nature wanted me to throw my purse over the unknown item, drive off, and reap ALL the benefits later…BUT because the Holy Spirit is manifesting from within, I did the right thing before I knew it.  At first I was conflicted about my decision, but that is when the Lord stepped in and expressed how proud He was of me.  At that very moment I was overwhelmed with the happiness and excitement I discussed earlier because there is nothing like passing a pop quiz!  Just as quick as the devil tried to set me up, the Lord moved in faster to show me that I had already overcome and victory was mine! Aha! There it is: my effortless decision to return the card was first-hand proof of just how far in Christ I have come!

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for my “Aha!” moments, for they allow me to snap out of the natural and tap into the spiritual.  Lord, there is so much sin around me that I must pray that I am able to stay consistent in You to ensure I make the right decisions.  I pray that the Spirit inside continues to over cast the sinful nature to the point that it is non-evident. Have Your way, Daddy.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to take time out of your busy day to recognize the “Aha!” moments.  Our Christian journey can be very tedious but taking a pause to recognize just how far we have comes gives us encouragement for the balance of the trip.  Like they always say, “I’m not what I ought to be but I thank GOD I’m not what I used to be!”  Be Blessed Ladies! 🙂

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Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management.  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