God's Grace, Miscellaneous

Before and After

Our lives are full of transformations, the BEFORE and AFTER.  I’m currently working on losing weight and I’m ecstatically waiting for my AFTER.  Thoughts of awaiting physical transformation makes me think of spiritual transformation.  So for a moment I want to put myself in the shoes of the old me, the BEFORE-I-met-Christ Lisa and became a real follower Lisa.  Undoubtedly, I did the best I could with what I had or what I knew at the time.  I admit I made mistakes, not realizing the impact of those actions.  For instance, I was raised by parents who were battling personal addictions and problems so they didn’t care about what I did, nor did they set rules or boundaries for me to live by.

Basically, I could do whatever and not get in any trouble.  This type of upbringing led me into drug use, drug dealing, depression, anger, bitterness, feelings of betrayal, the lost of my virginity at the age of 15 and becoming pregnant with my first child eight months after doing so.  I was so angry about my life and I thought it was okay to cuss, smoke, and relieve my loneliness by having the wrong relationships with the opposite sex amongst many other things.  I also went through a period where I thought I could fight everybody; you did something or said something, and I was ready to go. 

We all do things that in hindsight we wish we had done differently.  It is part of being human without knowing Jesus by the Holy Spirit.  Today I read this scripture: And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly, abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (1Tim.1:12-14 NKJV)

This was me!  Before I believed in Jesus, I too was like Paul; I was unaware of the abundance of grace available to me for transformation, but today I have an AFTER in Christ.  I somewhat like Paul had been one of cruel hatred towards others, anger, lustfulness, and bitterness.  God turned me into a woman after His very own heart, more loving, more giving, and much kinder. 

Probably one of the most surprising things is He connected me with EmpowerMoments.  I never imagined having the honor of sharing Him with you all.  My BEFORE and AFTER wouldn’t have been without His grace and mercy. 

Dear Daddy,

I thank You for Your abundance of grace and that it’s rich and You give it in abundance.  I ask that by faith in Your grace and mercy that You would purge and purify our hearts.  Father we can’t do anything without You and we are aware of that.  Heal us emotionally, spiritually and by Your grace open up doors and give opportunities for us to grow and prosper.  Father, by Your grace, make us into people after Your heart.  Transform us wherever we may be and we thank You in advance.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you on today to get into the word of God and witness for yourself the transformation of grace. Read about how grace made normal people into supernatural ministers of the Gospel and remember the same grace that changed them is waiting on you in abundance today!

What has the grace of God done for you?

Read a related EM: More than a Car: It’s a Transformation

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Mrs. Lisa M. Purnell-Marshall is happily married to the wonderful and inspiring Antoine L. Marshall. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous girls. Her voice is one of the leading and authentic voices for breast-feeding, especially for the African-American community and Generation Y. She currently works inside of her home and plans to become a professional licensed lactation consultant in 2014. She and her family are members at Spirit of Liberty Church located in Markham, IL. Embracing the love that God has for her, Lisa labors to live an acceptable and pure life through the leading and keeping of the Holy Spirit so that her attitude, words, and actions attract the glory of God. In her free time she loves receiving manis and pedis. Her favorite promises that she find comfort and reassurance in are: Psalm 34:19: “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.”

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Evangelism, Salvation

Lost

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?  (Luke 15:4 NLT)

This Saturday I watched Abducted: The Carlina White Story on the Lifetime Channel.  It was a movie based on the actual events of an African-American baby girl being abducted from a New York hospital in 1987.  Carlina White was kept and raised by her abductor, and never knew who she was until she was becoming a mother herself.  She was reunited with her biological parents 23 years later and the story didn’t end there.  Hey, but you have to watch it to learn the rest of this true story.

Watching this movie made me sad, angry, and bewildered as to how someone could actually abduct someone else’s child, causing so much pain for the child’s loved ones.  I also reflected on the fact that there are countless men, women, and children that are missing today and their families have not yet received the words, “we have found your loved one.”  Some families will never hear those words.  It saddens my heart.

Watching Find Our Missing on the TV One channel and other shows dedicated to solving missing person cases have really caught my attention.  Not knowing if your loved one is being trafficked, walking around with no sense of who they are, or has been murdered has got to be one of the most difficult things to experience.  So, my heart goes out to the missing persons’ families.  A while ago, they had an article on African-American missing persons and I kept the article.

Why?

I pull that article, with the photos and names of the listed missing, out every now and then and I pray for each person and their families.  I don’t know whether they are alive or dead, but I want their families to have justice and closure.  I couldn’t imagine going through what those families go through and not knowing.  Their loved ones are lost.

Thinking of the missing persons helps me to remember that there are people who are also ‘lost in the world’.  There are countless people who never made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior.  There are people, who if they died today, will have no closure as to whether they are going to heaven or hell and there is a way you can know for sure.

So if that is you or someone you know, know that if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)   If you sincerely believed what you read, know that you were lost and in a place where only God’s Son could free you from the reign of sin and eternal death, and you confessed this with your mouth, praise God!  We have found our loved one!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being mindful of us all.  I know You see the pain that many face regarding their missing loved ones and unsaved loved ones.  Thank You that You are omniscient and know the whereabouts of each person and the hearts of all mankind.  I thank You Lord for Your unfailing love and that You are a God of justice and hope.  I pray that You bring Your peace and justice to these families and give them Your grace to make it another day and another day and another day and not give up on receiving closure.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to pray with me for these missing persons and their families as well as our unsaved family, friends and coworkers.  If you also know someone who has a missing loved one, be there for them in how God instructs you to. 

To learn more about missing persons and how you can help please visit: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children http://missingkids.com and The FBI Missing Persons site www.fbi.gov/wanted/kidnap

Read a related EmpowerMoment: She is Me: Lydia

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Ms. Tannika Moore loves the Lord and loves to write!  Besides writing poetry or editing written work for family and friends, she currently works for NEIU Educational Talent Search program.  She help assists Chicago public high school students with their reading, writing, etc. as well as helps them consider and prepare for college.  She, like many of her students, is the first of her family to graduate from college.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English-Professional & Technical Writing.  God, the Creator and Great Father has also created her to be a Compassion Person and Encourager and so she loves to encourage people according to God’s Word and help them to see, think and become better thru her support, actions and writing.  Her favorite scripture comes from Philippians 1:6, For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Anxiety, Evangelism, Grief, Relationships, Salvation, Self Forgiveness, Word of God, Worry

Kicked Even When You’re Down

When I saw my ex-boyfriend’s number pop up on the caller ID, I was prepared to tell him that I would call him back after I completed my homework. However, I was not given that opportunity. After saying hello, I realized that it was his sister calling to tell me that he had passed away a couple of hours ago. At that very moment everything around me seemed surreal including the phone call. I just knew that it was a cruel joke and in a second someone would jump out and scream “GOTCHA!” Instead, my heart instantly grew heavy because I was uncertain as to how to handle a loss of this magnitude.

I told the story last year of dealing with the losses of both my grandmothers five months apart, but for some reason dealing with the death of someone that I grew to love was totally different. The pain seemed to be a thousand times stronger and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Was it because at points in our relationship I loved him more than God and myself? Or maybe because I told him on many occasions I would pray for him and didn’t? Perhaps, I felt guilty that I didn’t discuss God enough with him? Or better yet, I was uncertain of where he would spend eternity…

All of these questions, concerns, and emotions came to surface over the next couple of days after hearing of his death. I would go from being so happy to feeling so defeated in my Christianity because I lost someone I loved and was so confused about what lied ahead of him. The devil began attacking my thoughts every chance possible by forcing me to question who I was in the body of Christ to allow something like this to transpire. I mean how can I, an intricate part of the intake of new members at my church, fail to offer salvation to someone that I have known for years. From that Sunday until that following Saturday at the service, I went back and forth with the enemy giving in to those outlandish thoughts on many occasions because it was hard to immediately cast those thoughts down. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

It was at the home-going, that I received confirmation from my ex-boyfriend’s aunt that I would indeed see him again in eternity. During her words of encouragement, she stated that she prayed with him before he passed and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I was extremely overjoyed and found myself screaming “HALLELUJAH” and weeping hysterically. The very thing that the enemy was using to place me in a state of mild depression over the past few days was canceled immediately as she declared those words in the atmosphere. Not only did I feel better knowing that he was present with the Lord, but I was instantly released from the bondage that the enemy was attempting to attach to me. My praise session ended up having a dual meaning that gave God all the glory that He was due! For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. (Lamentations 3:31-32 ESV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for showing up right when I am at my breaking point. Things that take place in the natural can cause me to give into the enemy’s ploy, but that is when You show me that You are always in control. Help me to stay aware of the attempts from the devil when I am in my most vulnerable state. Keep my ears, eyes, and heart alert at all times, but most important, keep me guarded with Your Word, love, and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to be aware of the devil’s efforts to take us out every chance that he gets or better yet every chance we give. “The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) Times of trouble, distress, mourning, etc. are the game winning moments for the enemy, but it is up to us to declare a victory for Team JESUS! Have a BLESSED week! ☺

Share with us your God-led victories over the devil’s tricks, traps and plans to derail you in any way.

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Ms. Latasha Sampson is an accomplished writer who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management. She resides in Nashville, Tennessee where she is a faithful member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. She serves tirelessly with the Evangelism Team there. Latasha also works at Mt. Zion as a member of the Administrative Support Staff. Her favorite scripture is “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” Isaiah 54:17

Attitude, Children, Growth/Maturity, Relationships, Salvation, Sin

Time Waits For No One

In 11 days my son will be starting kindergarten. I’m trying to figure out where time went. I remember him doing karate kicks in my belly. Now in just a few days we will be holding hands as I walk him into his kindergarten class. He’s super excited and I’m excited that he’s growing up and experiencing life as a big “little” boy. At this point he is blind as to what the real world is about. We shield our children from this because we want them to focus on being happy and feeling loved. Even at the young age of 5, it’s important for my son to understand who God is. He should understand that he can trust God, and that the blood of Jesus has set us free.

As I teach my son what my mother taught me, it makes me realize how the corruption of this world made me lose track of how to trust God and believe that He will do just what He said He would do. Instead, I wasted precious time leaning on my own understanding, worrying, breaking God’s heart with my sins and not believing in His word. I’ve heard my pastor say, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.”  This is so true. That’s why it’s important for us to keep our hearts and mind on Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

I see how quickly my son is growing up before my eyes and I want to do nothing but experience and cherish every moment with him. I can’t help but to think that is what God sees in us. He sees us growing with Him or growing away from Him. God’s grace is succifficent, but God will not wait forever for us to get it together. Time waits for no one. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert. (Mark 14:33 NLT)

Watching my son grow I understand how important it is for our relationships to continue to be strong. For my father in Heaven, my relationship should be unconditional. God is so good to me, to my family and all of my friends. I love God so much. Although I’ve made some mistakes, He loves me like no one else. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

I love You and I’m grateful for Your grace and mercy. You’ve been with me through the good and the bad. I know You’re not through with me yet, because You are shaping me to be more than I can imagine. Thank You for Your guidance and Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to believe that today is the best day of your life, cherish it and do not waste time. God is waiting on you because He loves you just that much.

Are you certain that if your number was called today, you would be ready to go home and live with God?

Read a related EmpowerMoment: You Must Click Submit Before the Deadline

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Ms. Hassanah White is a dedicated member of Faith Walkers Church in Birmingham, Alabama where their motto is to “Walk it out by Faith.” She also serves as a member of the Praise Dance Ministry. Hassanah is a true professional in the realm of marketing and customer service. She’s a proud mother of a very energetic little boy named Jaden. Hassanah believes laughter and prayer are the best medicines for any situation. Her favorite scripture 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.”

Jesus, Sermon Sundays

Sermon Sundays: Allow Us to Reintroduce Christ!

Couldn’t make it to church? No worries, we are bringing church to you! Sermon Sundays feature a snippet of a wonderful sermon from various men and women of God. Please don’t keep the Word to yourself; share it with all of your loved ones!

Many don’t really know who the REAL Jesus is so we’ve decided to reintroduce Him to you! At the start of a new year, this is a great time to ensure you are serving the right Jesus and not the imposters the world has created. If you’ve never met Jesus before, this is definitely for you…

 

Ready to meet the REAL Jesus for yourself? Click here, He’s waiting for you!

Black Music Month Series, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Salvation

Just Like Water

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” (John 4:13-15 NLT) 

My Wonderful Messiah,

First off, please forgive me for not knowing who you were when we first spoke. Of course I’d heard so many great things about you prior to our meeting, but to actually meet you at the well was quite an experience! To think that we were at the well at the same moment and I was only there to cool off the fire of my longing but you had predestined our meeting! Thanks for breaking down the walls of my inhibition and evaporating all of my fears; I was really reluctant to even have a conversation with you because of who I was and where I’d come from. As you coursed through my senses, you told me all about the raggedy life I had been living. But it’s quite interesting that although you knew so much about me, You still chose to eternally quench my thirst. My Samaritan culture, five failed marriages, live-in boyfriend, scarred emotions and everything else that I was dealing with wasn’t enough to keep You from saving me! As a matter of fact, you filled up the cup of my emotions with Your love. I was overflowing with joy, peace and love and those now spill over into all that I do! I apologize for just running off in the middle of our conversation but I had to tell everyone about You…and I’m STILL telling everyone I encounter about your awesomeness!

As I stood there with you, I couldn’t help but bathe in the fountain of your essence. I was truly humbled on that mountain by your presence.  I was willing to give up everything just to have a piece of you. I just wanted to please you! I know that I am not perfect but I strive to be more and more like you each day, so please wash my intentions with Your name! The best part of our encounter is when you said to me: “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”  At that moment, I had no idea that the water you were referring to wasn’t like the water that I was drawing from the well. But now that I know better—PLEASE moisturize me to satisfaction! Lord, please gut me and carve out everything that is not like You! Draw my nature out with Your hands! Now that I know who You are, I want more and more of you! I am so thirsty for Your power! As I write this letter of appreciation, the tears are flowing because the work that you’ve done in my life since that day has been amazing! I am so grateful for the time You’ve taken with me. You’re purging me, cleaning me and moving me around!  Sorry if I seem a bit excited—but I am! I haven’t felt this way in years!

Love Always,

The Samaritan Woman at the Well

P.S. It’s quite an honor to know that my story made the BIG BOOK! How amazing to know that despite all of my baggage, You still had room in Your Word for little ole’ me. Thanks for hanging out with the outcasts!

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for choosing me even when I didn’t know who You were. Just like the woman at the well, I am longing for Your water that quenches my thirst forever! Please continue to clean me up that I may be used for Your glory! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER to you let Him in to WASH you, CLEAN you and MOVE you around! Your current situation is not enough to keep you from Him. His love covers a multitude of sins! EMPOWER another sister’s future by sharing how your encounter at the well has changed your life!

Read the Samaritan Woman’s whole story here.

In honor of Black Music Month, enjoy “Just Like Water” by Lauryn Hill!

 

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.