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Urgent Fundraiser

Hundreds of families have been homeless, finally settling in and rebuilding their lives through strategic outlets such as shelters and viable work programs. Sonrise Shelter opened in 1979 and has assisted thousands in moving forward with their lives in the face of defeat and loss.

Sonrise Shelter is more than an overhead. It’s a place where hope is rekindled, children beat the odds against them, and parents are strengthened and equipped with the tools they need.

Today, an important issue threatens to hinder the great work Sonrise Shelter continues: the current septic system is unable to sustain the (150) families currently supported. The system must be connected to city sewage and water to comply with regulations. Sonrise Shelter has established a fund-raising campaign to resolve this issue.

You can be part of dynamic change in the lives of 150 families, this very moment, by simply joining the Sonrise staff and volunteers in raising the $300,000 needed to comply with city regulations.

Here’s how you can help Sonrise Shelter keep its doors open and live out the vision to empower those in need:

1. Go to the shelter website: http://www.graceandmercylive.com. Look at the site to see what we are doing and what the goals are.

2. Go to the Donate Now button and donate one dollar. Checks can be made payable to Sonrise Community. Please mail all checks to:

P.O. Box 111581
Houston,Texas 77293

3. Make a list of twenty-five friends (more if you like, as I have). Have them as a friend agree to do steps 1 thru 3.

I would like to say thank you for helping this shelter and these families.

“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10 The Message Bible http://www.biblegateway.com

God: The Master Weaver

(C)Image Keerati/FDP

(C)Image Keerati/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Can you look at your life and call it a beautiful work of art? I believe many call their lives that–or at least see it that way–when everything seems to be working properly and life doesn’t look frail or full of unexpected turns. When we walk into a room or home we expect to see cleanliness and order. When we look at our lives we too expect order, but when at least one thing is out of place to us… all we see is a full blown mess. Filled with dread and annoyance, we try to fix the not-so-beautiful threads of our lives. When after tugging and pulling, that one thread doesn’t yield to us, we start pleading with God: “Father, please fix this. I’ve tried and nothing has changed. I need this ugly-doesn’t-fit-into-my-life thread removed right away.”

A Place for Ugly Threads
Odds are God didn’t remove that thread, no matter how much you prayed and pleaded. I’ve had some of my own ugly threads and God didn’t remove them all. I believe He kept most of those seemingly inconvenient-to-me threads. Why? I have been able to look back over my life at different times and was shown where those ugly threads played a role in God weaving my life into a beautiful work of art–His masterpiece. Though they didn’t look beautiful or seem to fit into my life, those ugly threads became building blocks; I gained understanding about God, myself, and my purpose.

The Master Weaver
God is all-knowing, He doesn’t make mistakes or miscalculate, and He formed each of us. Before He formed us in our mothers’ wombs, He knew us (Jeremiah 1:5). Nothing about us or our lives is a surprise to Him, only us. God told Jeremiah that before He formed him He ordained him as a prophet. God created Jeremiah based on the purpose He had already decided for him. Like Jeremiah, God created us based on the purpose He had already decided for each us to fulfill. Sometimes we get so tangled in our own desires or perspectives we fail to understand God’s desires for us and His perspective about everything.

The Master Pattern
Our personality, gifts, skills–everything about us–was strategically designed. Even our past sins, strongholds, and poor decisions were allowed by God. They all brought us pain, discomfort, or consequences. However, as He turns all things around for good to us, those ugly threads we fought to rip out of our lives become beautiful and take on new meaning for us. Those ugly threads become important lining in the tapestry of our lives that God is weaving. If we were allowed to pull all the ugly-it-has-to-go threads, I’m confident we’d have very little progress in our divine purpose, spiritual growth, and relationship with God. I also believe we appreciate God much more because of the thorns that come with the presence of those ugly threads. God is the Master Weaver and He has a custom pattern designed for your life. Everything about us, including our tests and trials are tied to our purpose and preparation for it. They are in the Master’s pattern.

Your Life’s Tapestry
What do you see when you look at your life’s tapestry? Do you see beautiful art or a brimming mess? If we look at every ugly thread with resentment, it’s likely what we are to gain from the experience won’t take root in us. Whatever doesn’t take root in us will never bear the fruit God has hedged us in and nurtured us to produce (Matthew 13:20-21, Isaiah 5:2). Let today be the start of a new outlook on the ugly threads of life. Don’t think of how you want those threads removed. Instead begin to envision all the beauty, love, and grace of God that will be reflected through your life to other people. Go ahead, let God weave the tapestry of life!

Prayer: Father, thank You for never leaving or forsaking me. I repent of my disbelief in Your perfect plans for my life. Order my steps in Your word and give me Your counsel as You weave all the threads of my life into a beautiful tapestry of Your love and grace. Amen.

Sources:
BibleGateway.com, KJV

(C) 2013 Shawntel Jefferson. All rights reserved.

You’re Winning!

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)

God is always victorious. He always accomplishes what He has purposed. Do you taste the sweetness of victory today? Or do you taste the bitterness of a proposed loss?

God’s Track Record
From the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation, God’s track record of victory is flawless. He succeeds and surpasses all limitations. Those who love Him and put their trust in Him, never have to fear losing. They are guaranteed to win! You’re perspective on your life or circumstances may not compel you to smile or rejoice. You may be looking at your life with disdain, thinking you might as well give up.

Christ Overcame the World
The Bible says, “God’s ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).” God loves you and is excited about everything concerning you. He has you in the palm of His hand and keeps the adversary and troubles from overtaking you. I’m sure to onlookers, Jesus appeared to be losing. He was forsaken by His disciples, beaten, mocked, and crucified. His accusers were so delighted at the site of His degradation and harm. These people are like the circumstances which attempt to arise and flood our faith in Christ again and again, as if to say, “You have not won. You have not conquered me.”

Power Over the Enemy
In the end, Jesus’ accusers were left astounded and ashamed as the veil rent in two, the truth of who Jesus Christ is displayed before their very eyes. Their success was short-lived, overridden and buried by the victory wrought through Jesus’ submission to death on the cross and His resurrection soon after. This victory was for me and you. The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is in you and is stronger than all the power the enemy can muster. (Thank You Lord!)

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)

Sweet, Sweet Victory
Today is not your day of defeat but rather your day of victory (Philippians 4:13, Romans 8:37). Choose to take your circumstances captivity and spoil them out rightly. How? By walking by faith in Jesus Christ! Believe His word! You are with the Lord and the Lord is with you. You are winning today and your victory is guaranteed!

Here’s a video for comfort and inspiration:Fred Hammond – All Things are Working

Upcoming Book Release: Prayers that Ignite Change for Women

“This is the place where our strength comes from. The place where we connect with our Redeemer. When we get in His presence it’s like fresh air we’ve never breathed before. It is then we are able to rise up and continue onward into our destinies.”

Vol. 3

Vol. 3

In January 2013, I released volume 2 of the Prayers that Ignite Change Series–Prayers that Ignite Change for Kids. I’m pleased to reveal today the cover for volume three. I’m really excited about it because it’s the first book I’ve written solely for women. :)

Volume three is for the woman that’s after God’s own heart and is thirsty to cast her net into deeper waters. The deepest waters of faith are found in her own prayer closet, where she is completely alone with God. There alone with God, every deep hurt is healed, hopelessness is overturned, and challenges are overcome. She is fearless, loving, anointed, and determined to walk into the fullness of her God appointed destiny.

It is my sincere prayer that the contents of this upcoming book will usher God’s daughters into new levels of transformation in every area of their lives. The quote above wass taken from “Prayers that Ignite Change for Women”.

New Addition to Empowered Living Blog

Earlier this year I became a contributor on the Y!CN. I’m really enjoying it and have connected with some really kind people. I strive not to duplicate my content any more than necessary so only one had been posted to my blog. I wanted to make the other writings readily available to those who follow and visit Empowered Living. Starting today everyone can view my Y!CN articles and other devotionals in the sidebar of the blog via a RSS feed. I sincerely pray something in the collection of articles will be a blessing to you.

Below is my quote for today. Thank you for following Empowered Living.

Resolve to do everything in love, with holy purpose and excellence, knowing all that we do will bear fruit in the life of another.

The Winds are Coming

The Winds are Coming.

image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The phrase “Give the best of you,” is somewhat of a commonly regarded oe today. A quote similar to this by Harvey S. Firestone on Thinkexist.com reads, You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself. Its aspirational message pushes all the right buttons and motivates many people to help change the world today for a better tomorrow. What about you and your own world? Are you giving yourself the best of you?

The Backseat of Life

As a parent I aim to give my kids the best of me; I go over school work with them, answer questions they have, and support them in pursuing their dreams. As an author and individual I aim to give the world the best of me. I give to others and intercede for them. I also write to inspire, encourage, and comfort others. Doing these things, and seeing something positive evolve from them, bring me joy. However, I have found I sometimes lapse in giving myself the best of me. I don’t always eat when I should or get adequate rest when I can. I have often refused to take a break when I’ve worked on a project, though I was prompted to. I also would place something on hold that was for me but not delay to get a gift or do a favor for someone else. Without realizing it, I’d taken a backseat to my own life while attempting to steer everyone else to a better life, realized dreams, and purpose.

 The Front of the Line

Giving the best of you to others is wonderful but when you forget to give yourself the best of you, you’ve unknowingly downgraded yourself and your quality of life. Your dreams and unique qualities as an individual may remain untapped if you forget you also need to receive. Purposeful living and people-building are worthwhile aspirations, but not at the expense of leaving yourself underdeveloped.

 A+ Yourself

While in pursuit to help others and change the world for the better, it would do well to remember to upgrade ourselves along the way. You don’t have to wait for someone else to come along and do it. That A+ status is waiting for you to assign it to your life and acquire it by investing in yourself. Give yourself the best of you! When was the last time, you can say for sure, you gave yourself the best of you? Investing in you is an investment well spent and is the beginning of giving anyone else the best of you.

Sources:
Thinkexist.com

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