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

___________________________________________________________________

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.”

Advertisements
Encouragement, Faith, Inspirational, Stress, Trials, Trusting God

Such Is Life

The night before leaving Seattle, I made plans to leave for the airport two hours early to make a timely arrival for my departure.  I was faithfully executing my plan but soon discovered that my plan was not the plan.  Nothing happened as I intended.  Upon check out, the hotel computer crashed.  My train arrived late and took 45 minutes to travel to the airport instead of 35.  At the airport, security held up the line just as I was having my license checked.  I was delayed further by security when they manually checked my luggage and ran it through the scanner twice.  After running like Flo-Jo trying to make it to my gate, I took the last available seat on the flight just one minute prior to take off.  I was highly frustrated, but that was not the end. 

As we approached the runway, the pilot announced that we were returning to the gate due to a medical emergency.  It was an hour later before we actually departed.  As we impatiently waited, several passengers mumbled because it was very likely that many of us would miss our connecting flights.  It was in that moment that God revealed to me this lesson—Such is life.

As I mulled over all the “unnecessary” delays and numerous frustrations, an older man beside me responded “Such is life!”  Here was a guy who was sure to miss his flight, yet he seemed so calm.  He told me that he had accepted that he would not make his flight and that he would just get a hotel and fly out tomorrow.  He did not mumble nor complain.  He simply remarked, “Such is life.”  After observing him, I began to ponder the statement and its truth.  Regardless of how much we plan in advance or how faithful we may be, there are times when things just don’t go as we intend. 

Such is life that despite our relationship with Christ, we are not exempt from calamity and trouble.  Throughout the Bible we discover that even the most devout Christians encountered difficulty.  Job, a blameless and upright man who feared God and shunned evil, lost all of his wealth, children, and servants in a matter of days.  Joseph, a man committed to pleasing God, was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery by his brothers, and sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.  Paul, one of the greatest and most faithful apostles, found himself facing death for preaching the gospel.  Just as these men did not live problem-free lives, neither shall we.  Therefore, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12 NIV)

Since life shall undoubtedly bring us trouble, the question is not whether we shall encounter problems, but how we handle the problems that we encounter.  When we face trouble, roadblocks, and detours in life, God does not want us to complain.  Instead, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2 NIV)  Life is not always going to be easy—Such is life!  Like the old man on my plane, there will be many times when we have to roll with the punches.  We can’t allow every distraction to steer us off course.  Instead, we are called to endure as a good soldier (2 Timothy 2:3 NIV) so that we may glorify our Father.

As you reflect on the trouble that you may be encountering at this moment, consider the words of the Apostle Paul: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed…Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:8; 17-18 NIV)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping us to understand that some things in life just are.  Teach us not to complain and not to be easily distracted but to remember that Your Word equips us to overcome every problem that we encounter.  Remind us of Your Word daily and help us to glorify You by the way we choose to respond to life’s trials.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to approach life’s problems with a positive attitude.  Stop getting frustrated by the problem and focus on the One who can provide resolution.  I EMPOWER you to walk in faith remembering that, although we are destined to encounter trouble, trouble does not last always.

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)

Finances, God's Protection, Inspirational, Marriage, Money, Self-Control, Speech, Stress, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

It Takes a Storm to Prove How Strong Your House Is

One night it was raining so hard that I woke up and started to pray. “God, please cover my house and my family in Jesus’ name.” The rain was beating against the windows and the lightening was flashing. I commanded the storm to pass my house and not let any harm or danger come upon it. The storm passed and the only thing that happened was that our lights went out.

Well even though the physical storm had passed and the house, my husband and daughter were physically safe, there was all hell breaking loose on the inside. Those of you who are married know that a financial strain can put a marriage in a bind. Well the past few months have been challenging  for my family because our finances took a dive. Bills were past due and in jeopardy of being cut off and we didn’t know where we would get the money to pay them. When money is funny every other part of the marriage is too. I started saying some harsh things to my husband and vice versa. We started arguing more and we stopped healthy communication all together. Yes, I know the scripture: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:8, NKJV).” But I wasn’t abiding by it because I was angry and all I kept thinking was I don’t want to be the one to have to cover all of the bills. Instead of realizing that my husband and I are one, I became angry and start hitting him below the belt by throwing out hints about the bills. Honey, I opened the door and let the devil all the way in!

I was also lacking attention from husband. His father is terminally ill but I still wanted him to be with me all the time. Yeah I know, what was wrong with me? Why was I being so selfish? Why was I discouraging my husband instead of easing his pain? I started speaking death into my marriage and my household. Guess what? I almost murdered my marriage by not being the virtuous woman God called me to be. Whatever my husband would say I would go off not realizing that he also was longing for attention. Every chance I got I would tell him to get out or we could end our marriage immediately. I thank God for do overs!

Through all of this not once did I say, “God please cover my family through this storm.” I never even thought or cared about what my husband was feeling until one night I decided to take my frustrations to God because no one else was giving me the information I needed. I found out that we were in a terrible storm and my house would be blown down if I didn’t get my foundation in order.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7: 24-27 NIV)

I am guilty and very aware that I was not obeying the word of God. I should have been calming the storm but I was adding fuel to the fire. “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Timothy 2:23-24 NIV)

One day I was watching the Weather Channel and storm stories was on. When various earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes and other storms hit the earth most houses were destroyed. The only houses that were still standing were the houses built on extremely strong foundations. I related this to my life and I had to take a step back and look into my situation and see how strong my foundation was. I needed to find out would my foundation crack at the first signs of rain or wind. “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:7 NLT) I needed to calm the storm in my life by reading the Word and praying to God.

One of my favorite songs is “I Told the Storm” by Greg O’Quin:

I told the storm to pass
Storm you can’t last
Go away – I command you to move today
Storm – when God speaks;
Storm – you’ve got to cease
That’s what I told storm!

When I started commanding the storm to pass God started working my situation out. Remember, it takes a storm to prove how strong your house is!

Dear Daddy,

Even though storms may arise in my home sometimes I am glad that You left Your word to help me build a strong foundation so my house would not crumble. I thank You for calming my storms when I could not calm them. I thank You for giving me a strong foundation to weather the storms of life. I pray that You cover my family and my house from physical, mental and spiritual storms and if I do encounter them I pray that You lead and guide me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to build a strong foundation in God by praying, fasting, reading your bible, finding a word-based church and surrounding yourself with Christian, God–fearing people that can lead and guide you. I EMPOWER you to build a strong foundation so that when the storms of life start raging your house will not be broken or destroyed.

Greg O’Quin’s “I Told the Storm”:

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.

Black Music Month Series, Growth/Maturity, Inspirational, Self-Esteem, Stress

No More Drama

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

Last week I blogged It’s the God in Me that spoke about how God’s mercy and strength allowed me to start working on me. One of our readers “Dee” touched me in her comment and God encouraged me to write about how I’m able to “strut my stuff” in God!

There are things called “baggage” that seem to weigh us down in this journey called life. Baggage from our past, fears, failure, inadequacies; the list goes on. Someone stated “baggage is the stuff that follows you when you open one door before closing the one you just left.” Need I say more? Men can cause a lot of baggage and it’s because we don’t’ close the doors of yesterday before entering the promises of today. My message today is to EMPOWER you to get rid of the drama in your life! Some things in life stress us and they really aren’t worth it. Stop worrying about what people have to say about you. Dr. Seuss says it best, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” This is not to be done in an attitude of arrogance, but in an attitude of assuredness and love of how God made you.

Just recently I incorporated this concept of no more drama in my life. As outspoken as I am, I had this embedded need of other people’s approval. One night my husband had to sit me down and say “Look, you are running around trying to please all of these people or going and back tracking what you say because people get offended by your assertiveness. Be you. Being you is enough; it is more than enough.” It took a while to set in, but I had to truly believe what he said. God made me fearful and wonderful (Psalm 139:14). He did not make a mistake on me! I had to start releasing all drama from my life. That meant certain relationships gained boundaries. Healthy ones were relished, while unhealthy ones were deleted or minimized. My personal health took a front seat. I became priority. Now this doesn’t always mean first because sometimes family, friends, my child, or my honey may come first. But at the end of the day, I am a priority.

I had to set aside everything that held me down. Whether it was sin, anger, friends, disappointments, money or weight, I had to let that drama go. So today, one thing I do know is that I am a better woman for it. My confidence is not a front for this insecure person on the inside, but has become my true character. I have confidence in knowing that “with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26b NIV). I am able to exert the God in Me because I have “laid aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset me, and I am running with patience the race that is set before me.” (Hebrews 12:1 KJV).

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for always being there for me, even when I couldn’t see my way through. Thank You for being there when I carried You with me through those voluntarily dramatic times of sin in my life. Father, as I move forward, teach me how to lay aside the drama that is causing me to back pedal or that’s keeping me down. Help me to move forward through Your healing of my heart, my soul, my mind, and my relationships. I love You Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

I EMPOWER you today to identify those things in your life that are drama filled and either remove or de-dramatize them. This is not something you do out of your own emotion, but through God’s purposeful plan for you, which can only be found through prayer and worship in Him. But Sistah Girl, some things are a given…if He has already told you to remove the drama, remove it NOW!

In honor of Black Music month I selected “No More Drama” by one of my favorite artists, Mary J. Blige. This song is very special to me because by the time you read this I will have lived out a dream of learning to tap dance (get your chuckle in.) I’ve always wanted to do it, and this is the song my tap instructor choreographed my performance to.

As a twofer, I would like to highlight her dance company NEEMA Performing Arts: http://www.neemaperformingarts.com. Elizabeth Bowden, Founder and instructor, is a true woman of God that blesses our community through teaching us the gift and art of dance.

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is 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 without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.  She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment.  Khalilah resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter where they attend St. Luke Christian Church.