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.

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Encouragement, Freedom, God's Protection, Inspirational, Trials, Trusting God

I Am Released!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36 NIV)

 Exactly a month ago my life changed drastically. I had been stressed and praying for God to let His will be done in my life. I had been reading and talking to people that could give me a word of encouragement but nothing was helping. I started praying and blessing my house, I put oil on the doors, clothes, shoes, everything that I could reach. I was getting the devil out of my house. I called all of my prayer warriors and God moved. God released me from my situation so that He could bless me with what He has for me. What happened was I was too busy praying for what I wanted and not for what God wanted for my life. In 2012 my home life has changed, my employment has changed, my weight has changed, my motivation has changed, my prayer life has changed and most important, my worship has changed.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT)

There was a woman present, so twisted and bent over with arthritis that she couldn’t even look up. She had been afflicted with this for eighteen years. When Jesus saw her, he called her over. “Woman, you’re free!” He laid hands on her and suddenly she was standing straight and tall, giving glory to God. (Luke 13:11-13 MSG) God released this woman from her sickness. The same way she had been bent over for eighteen years and was released in an instant, is the same way God can release you from something that you have been in your entire life.

Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment (Matthew 9:20-22 NIV)  God released this lady because she had faith and believed if she could just touch the hem of His garment she could be made whole. You have to have faith that even though your situation is bad, God can release you from it.

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him.  With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water (Mark 5:6-13 NLT) You need to look those demons and evil spirits in the eye and release them. Don’t be afraid to talk and tell them they can’t live within you, your house or your life any longer.

 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the Iron Gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. (Acts 12:6-10 NIV) Now you may have never been in jail literally but symbolically God can send an angel to break the chains off of you and release you from things that have you in bondage.

It is not a coincidence that you are reading this EmpowerMoment today. God is speaking to you to tell you that it is not your battle anymore. God is saying you are released from whatever has you in bondage. God wants you to be okay with releasing things that are not helping you go to the next level in Him. I learned that if you let God determine your path and you follow it, stress, hurt and pain will release themselves from your life.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for releasing me from situations that were not Your will for my life. Thank You for protecting my mind and releasing me from the enemy. God, continue to mold me into the woman that You want me to be. Continue to give me the spirit of discernment to recognize when I am moving out of Your will and back into situations that I have been released from.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Women of God, I EMPOWER you to speak to your situation and tell it that God has released you from it. Remember that you are special regardless of what you have been through or how people have made you feel. You are released from lying, drugs, alcohol, disease, sickness, lying, fornication, adultery, gambling or whatever has you in bondage. God is releasing you now!

Check out “Released” by Donald Lawrence:

Take a moment and share with us what God has released you from.

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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.”

Anxiety, Black Music Month Series, Contentment, Focus, God's Protection, God's Provisons, Trusting God

Lovely Day!

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

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 recently watched the movie I Don’t Know How She Does It because my sister implied that I had a lot in common with the main character Kate Reddy. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the movie, she was a married, career woman with two young children trying to figure how out to balance work, family and love. (Yep, I could definitely see the resemblance!) Each night after her husband was sound asleep, Kate would lie in bed and make her mental to-do list for the next day. It was as if she had to get a jump start on her day or at least that’s what she thought. However, she was really over exerting her brain and mentally stressing herself out. That’s where Kate and I were just alike. I realized that I was doing that exact thing. My mind was overworked and exhausted because when I should’ve been resting for the next day, I was thinking about what needed to be accomplished. Then when I’d wake up in the morning I wasn’t rested at all. Instead, I woke up with too much on my mind. All the cares of the world would be dancing in my brain as I sought to check everything off my never-ending to-do list. I was focused on the ‘what’ around me, rather than the Who inside of me. However, after watching that movie I decided that something had to change.

I am excited to report that I woke up this morning and regardless of everything that was going on, I knew it was going to be a lovely day. Yes, I still had my laundry list of things to do and everything in my world was not perfect, but one key thing has changed…

Then I look at You and the world’s alright with me.

Just one look at You and I know it’s gonna be a lovely day!

It’s time to calm your mind. When you awake in the morning, choose to look at God instead of everything that is going on around you. Focusing on Him may not change your circumstances, but it truly changes you. Its easy to allow your busy schedules, lack of finances, family drama, work issues, car troubles, health ailments, and so on to consume your every waking (and sleeping) thought, but it’s more beneficial to allow the One who can actually rectify all of those situations to occupy your mental space.

In the header scripture, Paul writes to the church at Philippi and encourages them in their daily thoughts. He advises to fix thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Concentrate on that which is excellent and worthy of praise – that sounds like the Father to me! It seems that even Paul recognized the recipe for a lovely day!

Today’s empowering moment is quite simple — change your perspective and your day will change. A year full of changed days will eventually equal a lifetime of lovely days!

Dear Daddy,

Anytime I look at You, my day is destined to be lovely! Help me to remember that fact when I am faced with much turmoil in my life. Remind me to shift my focus to You when it seems that my days are not so lovely. I thank You in advance for restoring the loveliness in my life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to have not just one, but many LOVELY days! Look at Him and watch Him make your days lovelier than you could have ever imagined! Remember if your day isn’t looking good, you probably need to change your focus!

Be inspired by Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day”:

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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 and other non-fiction pieces. 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.

Encouragement, Faith, God's Promises, God's Provisons, Inspirational, Prayer

He Hears You

This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.  (I John 5:14-15 NIV)

How many times have you heard or read the verse above? God is telling you that if you ask, He hears you. How powerful is that?!  The God of the universe will hear you when you come to Him.

The question now is: do you trust Him enough to really ask for what your heart desires, or are you praying “safe” prayers?  Is there something bubbling in your heart, but you are unsure how everything will work out?  What if I told you that God cannot fail, that He has a perfect record and that 10 times out of 10 He is able to come through for you. Would you believe me?  The problem with many Christians (me included) is we allow doubt to come into our prayer lives.  Essentially what we are saying, whether we want to admit it or not, is “can God really do this”? 

Last September, my best friends and I started a journey to seek God more diligently and most importantly stretch our faith.  We called the journey Radical 7even; we are purposely pushing ourselves to take God at His Word.  We are almost a year in, and in this time I have started a new job, relationship, and bought a new car.  I had to step out on faith in each area of my life, which can seem like a daunting task.  Anytime we try something new, it feels odd to us.  There were many times doubt did try and overtake me, but in those moments I would stand on God’s Word.  When you are in a season of allowing God to have His way in all areas of your life, the devil will attack your thoughts. The most important thing to do is have His Word near.  You might need to write scriptures down on note cards and carry them around with you.  Put declarations around your home and say them aloud each morning when you arise and before you sleep. Saturate your life with His Word and watch how it will manifest!

Radical 7even made me challenge my faith level and it gave me an outlet to document the wonders God has done in my life.  I would like to encourage everyone not only to write the vision down that God has given you, but also document the journey.  Many times we overlook how far we have come because it doesn’t seem as monumental in hindsight.  Do not fall into that trap!  Every step towards God and away from where you were is monumental.  Celebrate the journey as much as the destination.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for hearing and answering my prayers.  Help me to seek You in radical ways; I do not want to have a mediocre life.  I want the life Your Son died to give me. Whenever I feel afraid, bring Your Word to encourage me.  Keep me near You and help me not to falter.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to become radical about your faith!  Faith has no power until we act on God’s Word.

Share a time when you displayed radical faith with us below.

Please allow this song to bless you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK3BW7iH-88

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Ms. Renee` N. Chaffin is a single mother who has a heart for helping those less fortunate. She has been active in the non-profit sector, whether through volunteerism or professionally, for the past six years.  She is passionate about sharing the love of God, her testimony and empowering people to discover their true potential that was bestowed on them by King of the Universe. Renee` is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. While on her pursuit of higher education, she is on a seven year journey to challenge God to do ‘exceedingly and abundantly above all she can imagine’ in seven areas over the next seven years. Check out her journey at http://radical7even.wordpress.com. Her favorite scripture is I Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

 

Encouragement, Inspirational, Trials

Who Can I Run To?

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. (Mark 5:25-27 KJV)

She was all out of options.  She told everyone she knew and went to doctor after doctor, but still there was no medicine that could make her well.  Sadly, she spent all of her money in search of a cure, but none was to be found.  I’m quite sure that everyone knew of her condition and she was utterly embarrassed; however, she held out hope that maybe just maybe He could make this issue right.  She had absolutely no one else to run to.

So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (I Samuel 30:3-6 KJV)

He was in total anguish.  Not only were his wives taken, but the wives and children of his supporters as well as all of their stuff were taken by their enemies.  The people wanted to kill him because they had lost it all.  How could this have happened when he was abiding by the Word of God?  He was the leader and he had no one to run to and tell about his situation so he spoke life into himself.

Can you find yourself in either of these situations?  You have an issue and no matter how many friends and family members you call you can’t get any resolve.  You just don’t know what to do and what direction to take.  You’ve tried on your own and put faith into things and people but still come up empty or maybe you have lost it all.  In these hard economic times, some of you have lost homes that you have been paying mortgages on for many years.  All of the car payments that you’ve made for the past few years seem to be in vain as the dealership calls with threats of repossession.  The cost of gas, groceries and other basic necessities are rising and you don’t know how you are going to make ends meet.

Perhaps your situation is even more personal.  I know that I am pretty tired of expressing to my friends that I desire companionship and want to be married with children.  I feel as though I sound like a broken record.  My current financial battles seem embarrassing knowing where I started.  Trying to figure out the best treatment or solution for my mother’s care is even more stressful because I feel as though I am all out of options and everything I want to do is just not possible.  My car is not working and I am ready to move.  I got issues!  Have I talked to God?  Certainly!

What’s your issue?  Is it love, money, health, career, family drama?  Although our current situations can seem too much to bear, we have to be relentless in our prayer and fasting.  Like the woman with the issue of blood, we must press our way through to Jesus and be determined that no matter how long it takes we are going to reach Him.  He is going to deliver but we need patience knowing that His timing is the best timing.  David was able to encourage himself because He knew the Word and Promises of God.  David wrote, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalms 119:11)  We have to saturate ourselves in the Word of God so that in times when we can’t get to the Bible we are still able to recall what God has promised us!

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will 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. (II Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT)

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for being a God who never fails. You tell us in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that your promises are yea and Amen.  Forgive me for not running to You and Your Word and instead seeking answers from those who simply cannot provide resolution.  Father, when You choose to use others to provide me with wisdom let me be able to sort out those who have Godly wisdom opposed to those who are just flapping their gums.  Daddy, help me with my endurance knowing that if I am patient that this too shall pass.  Thank You for allowing me to run to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to run to the arms of the one who loves you!  He knows what is best for you and knows the ending of a thing before you know the beginning.  The trials and tribulations that you face exist to draw you closer to Him and to build up your faith.  Know that He is always open and never too busy to hear from You.

 Are you currently facing a situation and it seems as if you don’t see a way out?  How do you remain encouraged?  Share your story with us below.

 Read a related EmpowerMoment:  A Letter From the Editor

 This EmpowerMoment was inspired as I listened to Xscape’s “Who Can I Run To?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2gzEjt3BBA

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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.”

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.”

Faith, Growth/Maturity, Restoration, Trusting God

A Divine Encounter

Then Job replied to the LORD “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 42:1-6 NLT)

Read that scripture again slowly, not only that you may be EMPOWERED, but that you may have a personal encounter with the Great Divine. I really hope you can feel Him. Personally, this is where God has me and to be quite honest I have been here for a while. I have been saved and attending church for the past seven and half years. Until six months ago I was like Job; I, Lisa, knew NOTHING about God as I thought, but now I have seen Him with my OWN eyes! I’m still a student learning daily, but up until then I was just ‘moving’ along in my Christian walk.  I had lost sight of the divine majesty of God that I first experienced at conversion and I was not experiencing close encounters with Him like I desired or had in my past. I noticed that I was behaving with unrecognized shallowness, irreverence, and had a lack of respect for our Creator.

I was being religious with no relationship. You know going to church on Sundays, Bible study on Wednesdays, prayer on Fridays, reading my word, and trying to memorize as many scriptures as I possibly could. Even though I was doing all of those things and doing them for quite a while, I became spiritually dehydrated. I was serving God in my own strength. It was burning me out! On top of that I was beginning to become overwhelmed by the tasks of everyday life: My husband and I operate our household on one salary; he is working full-time and still looking for a job; we are house touring to purchase our first home (while staying in a realistic budget); I have to care for our two girls (eight and ten months old); keep up with house chores; AND be a wife. With all of this on me, one day I had a break down. I didn’t want to go to church, I wasn’t reading my Bible daily, and I was stuck in that rut for a month. Yes, it got that serious!

In retrospect, I understand that it was just the providence of God. Sometimes He allows us to go through some things so that we, like Job, will know exactly who the great I AM is. I realized that I was treating God like an option and not a priority. That’s when I told Him that I needed to experience an encounter with Him like never before. That day, September 23, 2011, the sweet Holy Spirit led me to this scripture in Job and whispered in my heart this: “He holds the world together and created the worlds with just His words, and yet sometimes you doubt His concern and power in the day to day situations you are facing. Lisa, He is more than simply a support system so that you can get through life with ease. He is the Great I Am, the Mighty One, the Counselor, and the Creator.” I immediately reacted by rebuking the devil because after all I knew who God was! I read most of my Bible, had all of the popular scriptures memorized, got a couple of answered prayers, and knew most of the clichés known for church going, word speaking, and Bible reading believers. Then, it hit me this WAS of God. I started praying from my heart. “Father, forgive me that I have not learned to trust Your bigness. I have used other things and people as a crutch in case You didn’t come through, rather than fully relying on You.” After saying this prayer with all of my heart, He filled the room with His presence and from that day forward I have truly placed Him first. It took me almost eight years to learn that God is not a backup plan to my plans. He alone is where my trust should be placed.

Even though this is where I am, I can tell you that getting here was not automatic for me.  I had to go through some things and it’s too much for me to list, but just like Paul I had to have an encounter with Jesus.  If you and I would really take a moment and meditate on how BIG God is and truly allow His Spirit to let us experience firsthand the revealed majesty of God, we will be transformed. Paul, Peter, and many others had the same experience once they’d experienced the revealed majesty of God’s splendor.

Dear Daddy,

We come and confess our awareness of our insignificance. You alone are the Faithful One who loves to redeem every situation and show Yourself to be strong. Forgive us for our lack of reverence. We thank You for our forgiveness that Jesus has made available for us. Now Father, as we read and say this prayer, I ask that You would restore a hundred fold our trust and confidence in You. Increase our faith. We thank You for Your presence because in it we are made whole. Now, exchange our hearts and fill us with Your Spirit so that we may live for You and give You glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to trust the bigness of God. Meditate on how big He is. When we do so, we are choosing to run to Him as our fortress. Choose to have full confidence in the ability of God to come through in your situation. He alone is the Faithful One who loves to redeem every situation and show Himself strong. Ask and expect to have a firsthand, divine encounter with Jesus as Paul did. I EMPOWER you to revel in His presence and watch how He reveals Himself to you!

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Broken but Repairable

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