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Define Your Empire

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Shulanda J. Hastings

Ambassador Shulanda

Ambassador Shulanda

Shulanda J. Hastings is an inspirational writer, Christian counselor and an ambassador to the faith-based community; helping them break mental health barriers. She is the author of the Beauty of My Thorns novel series and of the memoirs, Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind.

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You already know the latest American musical show that has everyone talking, waiting in high expectation and altering Wednesday night schedules. You guessed it; Empire!  I must confess that I too have been among the loyal audience that had been counting down to Hump Day and nearly watching the clock strike 8 o’clock.  It is not often that shows are able to gain so much control over its audience. There have been quite a few recent sitcoms that have also gained such notoriety: Scandal, The Haves and Have Nots and How To Get Away With Murder to name a few.

There is ‘NOTHING’ WRONG with a show controlling its audience…..

We all pretty much like to be entertained and this is a good thing.  Entertainment allows us to experience a good laugh, appreciate gifts and talents, engage in socializing and enjoy life.  We do have to be mindful of the things that we allow to entertain us and definitely that try to control and manipulate us.

A ‘good’ television show DOESN’T CONTROL or MANIPULATE me…..

Are you sure?  First, let me ask you a relevant question:  Are you a Christian believer?  If you answered no, then you probably want to stop reading.  If you have confessed Christ and desire to be disciples then I encourage you to continue.  Not because I seek to condemn you, but rather to build you up and edify the Body of Christ.

I HAVE ANOTHER CONFESSION TO MAKE….

I have a very intelligent and perceptive two year old girl.  A couple of Empire episodes ago, God started to use her to get my attention.  Now we know how cranky and rebellious toddlers can be and mine is no exception to the rule.  During one episode I was fixated on watching it and about 15 minutes into the show, my daughter became very ill.  This was no pretending because she had the visible symptoms that gave us a scare.  After the show ended, she felt better.   You might be thinking that this was just a coincidence and that is what I thought too.  The following two episodes she would intensely try to distract me and would use continued phrases, “Momma, want to read your Bible?” and “Momma, wanna pray?”  Now as a Christian mother, these are the phrases or rather interrogatory sentences that we just long to hear and will send us into a shout!  Now I wasn’t necessarily shocked that she asked the questions, but it was the manner in which she did it and the timing.  I started to reflect on how radical her behavior changes when this show comes on.  It is certainly not because she totally comprehend the details of the show, but that just as our recent Sunday School lessons have reminded us, it is because of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promised us a Comforter, who would teach and guide us. The Holy Spirit convicted me because I allowed something to control me. I enjoyed the entertainment so much that chose to ignore the negative connotation and how it was not of God.

THE TEMPTATION…

In Matthew 4, satan attempted to tempt Jesus.  He tried to get him to rebel against God and offer him worldly, material things.  A similar encounter occurred on last night’s episode of Empire. Actually, it has been occurring since the very first episode and building up to an explosion. This is how the enemy works.  He is clever and cunning.  He lures us in by giving us a little taste of good when he is scheming and plotting his agenda the entire time.  Lee Daniels has done an excellent job at this.  There were many scenes that were warning signs, but one that really struck a nerve was when one of my admired gifts, Jennifer Hudson made her debut on the show.  I was excited about her role because if you know me at all, you know that I am an active mental health advocate.  I am also a Christian counselor.  Many people remain silent and do not get help for things they deal with mentally due to shame and stigma associated with mental illnesses.  Even church people suffer silently do to fear of criticism or judgment.  The insinuation that Jennifer’s character as a professional was going to seduce Andre before asking him to pray, was very unethical and a big disappointment.  Then an even greater blow was when Andre was starting to acknowledge the void in his life was God and to have that hope snatched away.

DEFINE YOUR EMPIRE

The Dictionary defines an empire as “an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority or controlled by one person”.  There are many things that try to distract us in this world.  There is one spirit that seeks to destroy the Kingdom of God by tearing down the Body of Christ, the anti-Christ.  You might be thinking this is not that serious.  I’m just being entertained by a show.  As I was reminded by a broadcast segment yesterday, we have to be mindful of the things we let into our spirit.  What we watch and what we hear play a vital role in how we think and what we do.  Honestly, answer these questions;  Have I allowed something to control me more than God?  Have I glorified something over God?  Have I altered my worship schedule for something other than God?  Does what I watch or listen to edify me or lure me into the things that are not of God?

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all)”.  Romans 8:9, NLT

There is only ONE GOD and he will not give his glory to another.  We are to be controlled by the Spirit of God. Have you defined your empire?  Have you Defined the Leader of Your Empire?


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