Attitude, Complaining, Goals & Dreams, God's Promises, God's Provisons, Growth/Maturity, Marriage, Obedience, Patience, Purpose, Restoration, Singleness, Stress, Trusting God

Living in the Microwave Age

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

I heard an author last week speak about how this is the ‘Microwave Age’ because everybody wants everything to happen quickly. I thought about life and how God has worked on my anxiety. I was a right now person; if I saw something I wanted in a store, I bought it; if I wanted to say something, I said it; if I was feeling a certain way, I reacted; if I wanted to lose weight, I took plenty of weight loss medicine. I know that was a reckless way to live life. Even my prayer life had turned microwavable. Every time I would really need God to do something I would pray, get up and wonder why He didn’t answer my prayer.

I started to question when was I going to get my blessing? When was I going to get a promotion? When was my marriage going to be the marriage I pray for? When was I going to lose weight and have the physique that I want? When? When? When? When?

How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted. (Habakkuk 1:1-4 NLT)

The prophet Habakkuk sounds just like me! I found myself saying, “Why is God not answering me? Is He not listening to me? Why don’t I have the promotion? Why am I still overweight? Why is my marriage still not thriving? Talk to me God!”

The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands.” (Habakkuk 1:5-6 NLT)

The Lord spoke to me and told me He is working my situation out for my good. He is building up relationships and even things I thought were not repairable, He is repairing them. He has placed me in a new job that requires that I step up and become a leader very quickly- promotion. He is teaching me discipline when it comes to food and that in order to live a healthy life in Him and on earth I need to exercise. As of today I have lost 30 pounds with many more to go. As for my marriage that God joined together, we are under construction and He is molding us into the people of God that He wants us to be. God told Keviyona I am about to blow your mind!

I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. (Habakkuk 2:1-3 KJV)

I decided that the microwave way of doing things wasn’t what God wanted for my life. I decided to wait and even though it seems like an eternity to me, it is not a long time in God’s eyes. I did not give up waiting for the Lord. And He turned to me and heard my cry.  (Psalms 40:1 NLV)

Dear Daddy,

I want to thank You for teaching me that fast and quick is not always what is best for my life. Thank You for teaching meBut they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) God I am being patient and waiting on You to lead and direct my path because I am nothing without You. God I want You to continue to teach me that patience is a virtue. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to pray and ask God for the desires of your heart and wait. If you wait and lean not to your own understanding, God will show up and show out. I dare you to be patient on your job, in your home, with your marriage, with your family and friends, with your prayer request and watch God do the work. I EMPOWER you to unplug the microwave in your mind, relax and let God work it out. I know we live in a fast paced society but God works in His time and His time is always the best!

Take a moment to share how waiting on God has blessed you.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Confessions From An Impatient Christian

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Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor 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.”

Faith, Patience, Throwback Thursdays, Trusting God

Throwback Thursday: Soaring Makes Me Sore

It’s Throwback Thursday! This EmpowerMoment was originally published on April 7, 2011. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Since I have been given the task of writing to you, I seek God daily, almost minute by minute about what He wants me to share. You should see my notepad on my cell phone!

Today I was driving along, leaving a Weight Watcher’s meeting and felt a little deflated because I wanted to have lost over a pound this week, but it was only 0.4. So I had a slight pity party in my head. The Holy Spirit reminded me that this is a process and that I have to WAIT, and be patient and one day I will see the fruits of my labor.

I really have an issue with this “wait” word, because I’m a “microwave,” “techno-power user” kinda girl, I like things fast. But the Holy Spirit reminded me, “They that wait on the Lord, shall RENEW, their strength. They shall MOUNT up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not get weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) As I tried to remember to decelerate my car, I began thanking God for His words and I began to meditate on why He chose the eagle as a metaphor. Well here are a few facts about eagles:

  1. Eagles travel alone: Sometimes God has to remove clutter and drama from our lives if we are ever to be the Women of God He has called us to be. Some of our friends have to be distanced from us. Don’t feel lonely; it’s all part of the plan.
  2. Eagles do not fly, they soar: Flying causes a lot of energy because you have to flap constantly. This is almost like us trying to get through the day without God. We are constantly flapping around in pandemonium, just trying to stay afloat. But an eagle soars. This means to glide without effort using the force from “opposing” winds below. These opposing winds are the opposing forces that we try to deal with on our own. But we have to fly above that and allow God to deal with the wind beneath our wings. All we have to do is soar!
  3. Eagle nests are usually out of sight of humans. They are set very high usually on mountains. Where is your nest? Our nests “(our hearts) should be set on the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1b-2)

If this wasn’t enough to encourage me to wait and trust in God, He also showed me the word “mount” means to be grounded in support towards ascension. Now I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to ascend to higher heights with Christ.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being a sustainer. You have kept me in so many instances. Teach me how to trust You. Remind me that if I wait, You will give me renewed strength to not get tired so that I can soar as the eagle and live in Your perfect peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

My Sister, I EMPOWER you today to wait on the Lord. The outcome is so much better if we give it to Him instead of trying to flap around trying to handle it ourselves. Take a moment to think about what area of your life you are trying to rush God in. Instead of flapping, I want you to soar. Sit back, relax, and watch God handle it.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Are We There Yet?

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As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She and her husband serve as Co-Service leaders and Co-Group leaders of SustainedLove, which supports marriage get-a-ways from Family Life. Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They attend Vaughn Forest Church.  Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Blessings, Career, Contentment, Employment, Encouragement, Faith, Faithfulness, Goals & Dreams, God's Grace, Miscellaneous, Patience, Patience, Persistance, Preparation, Restoration, Spiritual Therapy, Strength, Transitions Series, Trials, Trusting God

Transitions: Trampled on the Floor

The past few years of my life have been ones of transition, endless waiting and sometimes disappointment. I’ve alluded to and written about it many times. Long story short, I left my job in Texas to start my own business and moved to Atlanta for a three-month transition. In my mind that is all it would take before the business was up and running and I could move to my real destination, Washington, DC (because this is where the business was based). That three months has turned into over two years and I reached a point where I was tired of telling people that I was moving anywhere because I just didn’t know when/if it would happen. As a matter of fact, I actually told people I was moving to Washington, DC nearly two years before I left Texas so in total this has now been a four year wait. If you have had any experience with God you know that many times your best made plans aren’t a part of His plan.

But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Micah 4:12 KJV From my brief study, I found that sheaves are stalks of grain and they were gathered on the threshing floor during harvest time for a two-step process. First the actual grain was separated from the chaff. To do this, oxen would pull a metal spiked sledge that would break the heads of the grain from the stalk or they would just trample them. Next the broken stalks were tossed into the air and the wind would blow the lighter chaff away while the heavier grain would fall back on the floor where it could then be gathered for use.

My time of transition has been like the sheaves on the threshing floor. I went from making a very lucrative salary to making zero, zilch, nada. Months would go by and I had nothing but what I could borrow or get from someone else. My mini-vacations that I would frequently take turned into staycations in my room. I found myself in an “asking” position when I was usually the giver. Shopping excursions were non-existent as my belly became wider, clothes became tattered and shoes wobbled to the side. When I could no longer afford my health insurance, the aches and pains started. I went from being a mover and shaker, featured in Ebony Magazine to feeling insignificant. Finally my car called it quits. Although I grew up poor, THIS was a very unfamiliar position. Throughout this process I have felt a gamut of emotions: happiness, depression, bitterness, envy, contentment and disappointment. I had good days and many bad ones. During the process, I felt beat down and trampled but it was only to extract the good grain. Without the threshing floor, the harvest would be incomplete.

I had to learn more about myself and have many things extracted and tossed so that in the finishing process only the good grain was left in me. Sometimes God humbles you by removing the frills and unnecessary things to get you to the place He has ordained for you. A place where you are truly dependent on Him and can recognize that it is His goodness, and not your own doing, that gets you your blessings.

If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV Admittedly during this process, my faith wavered; yet, God remained faithful. Did I get everything that I wanted when I wanted? No! However, He absolutely never failed to supply my needs. This month (July) represents a turning point in my life. After a little over two years in business, I received my first paycheck from my business one that will come consistently versus “some” money at any random month. From my time in the threshing process, I know how to use my money wiser so that when God grants me the increase that I need and desire, I will make sound investments versus temporary gratification. My “giving” strategy will be a lot different because when I couldn’t give I realized that people would always find a way without me. It made me realize that I was a resource and not their “source.” I learned that lesson for myself as well. As I sit in a hotel room now after a second trip of apartment hunting in Washington, DC, I have ultimately learned that if we can only learn to trust God and His timing He will prepare us for our harvest.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for my time in the threshing process as You prepared me for the harvest. I ask that You continue to let those traits, people and other characteristics that are not useful blow off of me into the wind. Help me to be anxious for nothing because You have told me that in due season I will reap a harvest. You have been faithful to Your Word even in the midst of my doubt. God, I ask that You continue to build my faith as I move into the next phase that You have prepared for me. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to trust Him in the process. Although it’s hard because what you see what’s happening in other people’s lives (marriages, babies, career advancements, notoriety, goal accomplishments, financial prosperity) may seem foreign for your own. Know that He is preparing you for your harvest by extracting those things that aren’t useful for that next phase in your life. Trust that He is faithful to you because it is who He is and who He has always been.

Are you waiting on God and feel as if it is not going to happen? If you examine yourself, is it that God has you on the threshing floor? Share your story with us in the comment section.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Seasons Change

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

Faith, Joy, Stress, Trials, Trusting God

If You Hold On, Joy Will Come

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalms 30: 50 NIV)

I was talking to a friend and she was talking about how every bill is due, how her mate is not acting right and how she is stressed in every area of her life. I first thought about encouraging her with faith, but I discuss faith so much I’m sure she could have recited the scriptures for me. I prayed and decided to ask her a question. I asked, “Have you ever been without anything to eat?” She responded, “No.” I asked her, “Have you ever not had a place to live?” She again responded, “No.” I asked her, “Even if you were unemployed, who made a way for you?” She responded, “God.” So I asked her, “What is the difference now?”  She didn’t have an answer. My answer for her: “If you hold on, joy will come!”

After this conversation I started doing a little reflecting on where I had been in my life and I realized I am blessed. Of course, I didn’t just realize that, but I was thinking about previous things I had been through.  I don’t want you to think that it is ok to dwell on the past but sometimes when you are going through something it is easy to become discouraged. Reflecting on how God has made a way so many times before is essential while you are going through a trying time.

You may have a loved one that is battling an addiction (drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, etc). I don’t want you to give up on them. If God has kept them this long, He can and will heal them. When God heals your loved one they will be free indeed. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NIV) Don’t give up because all seems hopeless. If you hold on, joy will come.

You may be depressed about your life because it has not turned out like you thought it should. They may have thoughts of suicide or harming others. I want you to remember that God has not put more on you than you can bear. No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG) Whatever is going on in your mind that is not like God remember if you hold on, joy will come.

You may be battling with marriage or relationship issues. Don’t give up because you are invested and God is working it out. Don’t end your marriage because times are hard or finances are scarce. Remind yourself of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV) No one promised that love, relationships and marriage would be easy, but if God ordained the union it will work out for you. If you just hold on, joy will come.

Dear Daddy,

I want to thank You for protecting and comforting me when I felt like giving up. Thank You for being my joy after the turmoil in my life. God continue to mold me and encourage me when I’m discouraged. Lord, continue to bring back to my remembrance that trouble doesn’t last always and if I hold on joy will come! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to remember that trouble doesn’t last always. When issues come into your life, I want you to remember that the same way God saved your life so many times before, He’s working on your behalf right now. I EMPOWER you to smile through your tears because they are only temporary. If you just hold on, joy will come!

If you have been through a weeping phase, how did you handle your phase until your joy came? Share your story below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness

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Mrs. Keviyona Ray is an ordained minister and co-pastor 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.”

Patience, Self-Control, Trials

Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? This is a question I’m certain parents cannot stand to hear while on a road trip, on the way to a family member’s gathering, or even a trip to McDonald’s. The anticipation of the arrival to partake in festivities can cause slight impatience for children. Because children’s minds are so focused on the activities after the arrival, the journey can seem long and frustrating. I found myself doing the same thing to my spiritual Father while journeying through the wilderness to reach my purpose!

Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2 NLT)

God allowed His chosen people to go through the wilderness but it was to humble, test, and develop them. This had to happen before reaching the Promised Land. I am in the same position. The wilderness is not an easy place to dwell; however, it’s a process that I can’t escape while being developed into kingdom purpose.  The wilderness is a dry place, but yet a place of provision and preparation.

For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. (Deuteronomy 8:4 NLT)

God is so merciful that while He prepares us for His purpose, He makes provision even in a place that seems unproductive or unfruitful. In this place of preparation, God has provided my EVERY need. Even though I feel that nothing is changing or happening, God has a perfect plan for my life. So while I’m being humbled and tested by limited finances and not having the things I desire, my continual obedience to God’s commands shows that I can be trusted with my promised land.

Just like children, my mind shifts to the promised land and sometimes causes me to become annoyed with the wilderness. It seems as if it is taking forever to reach purpose! It took God’s chosen people forty years to reach the Promised Land! I’m sure, like me, they were asking, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. (1 Peter 3:8 NLT)

While waiting on God’s plan to come in fruition, we must trust that He knows what He’s doing! We can’t rush perfection; His timing and plan is perfect. So we must wait with expectation and exercise the fruit of the Spirit, patience. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. (Hebrews 6:12 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for developing me. I thank You for Your enduring power that keeps me standing on Your word and trusting Your plan. Father, help me to have purpose vision like You! I thank You that I will come out of my development phase better than the way I began.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to walk through the wilderness to make sure you’re prepared for the promised land! I EMPOWER you not to leave training before your time! While traveling down the path of purpose, remember not to murmur and complain. Continue to allow God to grow you up while testing you. NEVER stop obeying His commands and watch your predestined future manifest right before your eyes! I EMPOWER you not to make an eleven day journey turn into forty years (Deuteronomy 1:2) and thank God for the promised land. Don’t you dare ask, “Are you there yet?”

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Confessions from an Impatient Christian

Ms. Rodnisha L. Anderson resides in Chicago, IL and serves as an elder at Life Redeeming Ministries. She works diligently with the Singles and Intercessory ministries. She is married to the Lord and becomes whatever she needs to become to reach the people for the building of God’s kingdom. Rodnisha truly desires to witness successful single women thriving in the kingdom of God.  Her favorite scripture is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Attitude, Blessings, Contentment, Goals & Dreams, Growth/Maturity, Patience

Confessions From an Impatient Christian

I have a confession!  It’s not a confession of hope in Christ or the kind that Christians get excited and teary eyed about.  In fact, it involves a characteristic that is often overlooked, swept under the rug, or dismissed as being human or natural.  My confession is…I LACK PATIENCE!!!

Lacking patience can appear to be no big deal but what I have discovered (and accepted not very easily) is that God desires for His daughters to exercise patience.  Ugh!  Yes, it’s sad but true.  God wants us to be patient.  Throughout scripture, we are consistently charged to “Be patient” (James 5:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:14) and to “Wait on the Lord” (Psalm 37; Psalm 27:14; Proverbs 20:22).  Now, while waiting on God sounds pious and ideal, the reality is that waiting sometimes makes you want to scream.  It’s like waiting in traffic or standing in line behind the person that’s moving like a snail.  Everything in you wants to yell out MOVE NOW!

I admit that there have been times where I waited upon God with ease.  However, there are many more times where I felt like God just wasn’t moving fast enough.  I recall how impatient I was after graduating and passing the bar.  Here I was this bright, accomplished, 25 year old lawyer with much ambition but no job.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I had made it through law school, passed the bar, but still was not employed.  To top things off, this was not a temporary matter.  It lasted 1 ½ years!  I remember feeling like I was at my breaking point—very frustrated with God because in my mind I had done all of those “Christian” things which entitled me to His blessings—when the Holy Spirit led me to Galatians 6:9: “And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (KJV)

Confession #2:  Although it came from God, I was not happy!  “What do you mean due season?  When is due?”  I can laugh at myself looking back, but at the time I was serious.  I was in no mood to wait.  When I realized that God would have it no other way, I began to study a devotional entitled “Waiting on God.”  The more that I studied, the more clearly I could see that not only was patience what God desired of me but it was also a privilege to wait upon the King of Kings.  After all, He was consistently waiting upon me.

Fast-forwarding– while waiting for a job, I landed an unpaid internship with an agency that I desperately wanted to work for.  I thought it was the perfect job.  I prayed about it, but as you probably guessed, it didn’t work out.  God moved me from the internship into private practice where he soon blessed me with my own firm.  It was such a great experience and after 2 years I thought the story had ended until a few days ago.  I was sitting in my office when I received a random call.  It was the supervisor from my internship (I had forgotten all about him and assumed he had forgotten about me).  He was calling to encourage me to apply for a job opening at the agency.  He stated that he had never forgotten about me and he went out of his way to make sure that I was notified. Wow!  I was speechless.

The following morning as I prepared for work, the Holy Spirit spoke again: “Things in life do come full circle if you are patient.”  Speechless again!  In that moment, God revealed to me just how faithful He is.  In spite of my lack of patience God demonstrated that He indeed works everything out in conformity with the purpose of His will. (Ephesians 1:11 KJV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for allowing me to confess my shortcomings.  Your word tells us that “If we confess our sins, [You are] faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 KJV).  Thank You for Your cleansing.  I admit that I lack patience, but I am grateful that in my lacking Your continual strength has allowed me to endure.  Father, help me daily to exercise patience.  Help me to remember that You desire me to have patience and that waiting upon You is not a burden but a privilege. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to walk with patience.   “Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4 KJV).  Continue to wait upon God and know that His will for your life is perfect.

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, Growth/Maturity, Patience, Prayer, Speech, Spiritual Warfare

Are You Strapped?

I know what you are probably thinking…Well much to your surprise I’m talking about being Holy Ghost strapped!  There is no need to bring guns or knives to a spiritual battle because the trick to winning is having God on your side.  Consequently, every day we are blessed to wake up we are forced to go to war with the world.  As quick as God can give you breath in your lungs, the devil is plotting ways to make it your last.  That is why it is imperative that every time we make a move in the natural, we are spiritually STRAPPED! 

Recently I officially made a promise to God that I would start my days by communing with Him first.  I was going strong, praying each morning without hesitation, until one day I woke up and began my daily routine minus that key component. 

After running several errands, I decided to stop over a friend’s house that I hadn’t seen in a while.  As soon as I entered the door I sensed a bit of hostility from her family member, but I chose to ignore it.  The atmosphere grew more tense the longer I stayed and conversed with her.  Before I knew it, I was engaged in a heated debate with her relative that was quickly turning sour.  Next, I was calling this man everything BUT a child of God!  Once I realized that I had allowed this person to take me out of my character I immediately left.  At that point it was too late because the damage was done!

By the time I made it home I was no longer angry at him but instead I was extremely disappointed in myself.  I felt ashamed at the fact that I behaved that way–the way I USED to!  I wondered how God felt about the ugly things that I screamed during my tirade. I was saying things that I USED to say without thinking twice!  I was even more confused that I was able to regress to that state of mind so easily considering all the spiritual progress that I had made thus far.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take a stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV)

Amidst all of my uncertainty, a thought ran across my mind that I was unable to disregard.  “I didn’t take a moment to STRAP up today!”  The enemy knew that my spirit was weak because I was too busy to guard myself that morning.  Ladies, if you didn’t know, now you do–spiritual warfare is real! Each day that God gives us is one more day satan is trying to steal from us.  Therefore, we have to take a moment out of our hectic schedules to suit up in the full armor of God!  He is ready to cover us from head to toe, but the question is will we make time to protect ourselves?

Dear Daddy,

Please forgive me for not making time for You to dress me in Your armor.  Help me to make OUR time a priority at the start of my day so that I am protected throughout the day.  I know that You have plans for me that the enemy is trying to destroy, but as long as I am under Your covering those mischievous attempts are null and void.  Have Your way Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER each of you to STRAP up every morning.  We may think that it’s just an ordinary day, but the enemy believes otherwise.  Spending a few moments with Jesus in the AM can help you avoid crazy situations because your ammunition will be locked and loaded! Be Blessed! 🙂

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

Faith, Goals & Dreams, Inspirational, Motivation, Patience, Trusting God

Delayed Not Denied!

“My spouse doesn’t seem to be interested in church.”

“I rocked that interview…but I didn’t get the job.”

“The job promotion I “deserved” was given to someone else.”

“God told me that He would open other doors for me, but He hasn’t.”

“Times are getting hard, I’m waiting on that “financial blessing” You promised me.”

“I’ve done everything in my power to change ___________situation but it isn’t working.”

“I have dated many men but none have ever popped the question.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever have another child after suffering that horrible miscarriage.”

“I’m sick and I can’t seem to get well.”

Many of us can find ourselves in at least one of the statements above. We have done something, experienced a life situation or prayed about something and feel as though we are being denied. It’s often hard to embrace but God does  things according to His will in His own time and His time is actually always on time.

Consider the story of Lazarus: Now a man named Lazarus was sick.  When He heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”  So then He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.  A few verses later, Jesus goes to Judaea and is taken to Lazarus’ tomb.  “Take away the stone,” He said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone.   When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11: 1, 4, 14-15, 39-41, 43-44 KJV)

In Mary and Martha’s eyes Jesus was late. They called Jesus when their brother was sick but He didn’t show up until four days after he died. Jesus tells the disciples He was glad that He wasn’t there when Lazarus died so that they too would now believe. Isn’t that interesting? Sometimes God will show up in our lives when we think a situation is dead and breathe life into it so that we can see His glory and further increase our faith in Him.

Recently, I was attending the graduation of a friend receiving her PhD in Electrical Engineering (yeah she’s a smart cookie) and I was reminded that God’s delay (to you) doesn’t mean God’s denial. This was no ordinary graduation. My friend chose not to walk the stage for her Bachelor’s degree or for her Master’s degree and her road to the Doctorate was filled with MANY obstacles. It took her MUCH longer to complete than average and I am quite certain that the majority of people who endured the trials that she did would have bowed out gracefully.  People questioned her commitment, talked about the length of time that she was in school and suggested that she should throw in the towel. It always amazes me that other people will allow their lack of faith to dictate how they believe you should live your life. She blocked out the naysayers and trusted in God alone. She believed that one day she would finish and her mother would see her walk across the stage. She was determined and had a tremendous amount of faith. I cannot explain the overwhelming pride, joy and goose bumps that I experienced when I saw her reach this milestone in her life. Through it all God was forever present. He never left her! He NEVER DENIED her!

Sometimes our faith is challenged when our timeline and God’s timeline don’t mesh. We can become absolutely downtrodden because our season has not arrived and the things that we believe God for have not come to fruition. What we forget is that God holds the roadmap for our life. He knows “when” to release our blessings so that He can be glorified and we will recognize the true source of our help. Delay does not equal denial.

Dear Daddy,

Forgive us for mistaking what is a delay to us as a denial by You. You have said in Your word that You will grant us the desires of our heart and that You will supply our needs according to Your riches in glory. Help our unbelief! Remind us that Your will will be done and that You always show up at the appointed place at the appointed time. Grant us the faith and determination to persevere through what seems like never ending, challenging situations. Help us to endure because Your timeline is all that matters. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to consider Lazarus! Even in his death, the prayers of Mary and Martha were not denied. I EMPOWER you to throw your timeline away because God has a pre-appointed release on His divine calendar.  Stay strong, continue to work and keep the faith. It may appear delayed but you are not denied!

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, 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.

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