Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Who Are You Following?

What’s trending and who’s trending consumes social media platforms around the clock. Gaining thousands of followers and subscribers is the main goal of many while others achieve this goal
naturally. The contributing factors are based on personality, information, gossip, styles, music, and other hot topics. Whether good or bad, social media platforms are flooded with people following people.

Social media platforms have also made it easy to keep up with the latest news when you opt for notifications. You can choose to watch videos later, or join a live session of a news broadcast, a YouTube commentator, or a Facebook friend. Whoever has gained your subscriber, friend, or follower status, your attention is likely to be held for a substantial period of time.

All of us have our preferences in terms of who we follow based on our interests. For example, I enjoy following people who provide business coaching and inspirational advice. My reason for doing so is based on my desire to become a better person. These individuals have offered transparent information about their mistakes and successful strategies. Some people enjoy following people who engage in entertaining behavior of different types whether beneficial or not. Many people are also influenced to do extreme things while others are encouraged to achieve positive goals.

Follow Me

These two words were spoken by Jesus when he recruited his disciples.  The men he recruited for his kingdom work were John Zebedee, Simon called Peter, Andrew, James Zebedee,  Philip, Judas Iscariot, Thomas Didymus, Judas/Thaddeus, Simon the Canaanite, Bartholomew/Nathanael, Simon the Zealot, and Matthew Levi.

These men were busy with their businesses when Jesus came along and commissioned them to follow him. Without hesitation regarding what they were leaving behind, they accepted his invitation to trust him with their future.

During one of Jesus’ journeys, a young man approached him and inquired about the requirements to inherit eternal life. Jesus gave a brief summary of some of the commandments we all should follow and the young man agreed that he had followed those commandments since he was young. Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give to the poor, take up the cross, and follow him. After thinking about all of his material wealth, he changed his mind about following Jesus and went away grieved.  Jesus went on to conclude that it’s hard for those who have riches to enter into the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23). He also said that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it would be for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:25).

Baffled at the analogy spoken by Jesus, the disciples asked, who then can be saved? (Mark 10:26). They wondered if you had to be poor to get into heaven. Jesus understood their bewilderment and stated that “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. In other words, Jesus understood the distractions that most people deal with concerning their wealth, how the growth potential can consume a person's thoughts, or how selfish you might become if you don’t have a balanced understanding of how of God wants you to use your wealth.

Peter told Jesus that they had left all and followed him. Jesus went on to explain what benefits would be gained as a result of sacrificing one’s current comfortable life. Unfortunately, the young man did not stick around long enough to hear about this compensation plan. In Mark 10:29-31 Jesus said that any one who leaves all that they have (i.e, houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, and land for his sake and the gospel would receive hundredfold now in this time, and in the world to come eternal life).

Who’s Challenging You?

Jesus challenged those who followed him. He spoke to his followers in parables that had thought-provoking clues about how to inherit the kingdom of God. Many who followed him including critics were often confused by his parables while others were amazed at the level of wisdom he possessed.

Are the people you’re following encouraging you to become a better person or providing information that can lead you toward a brighter future? If not, maybe it’s time to rethink your network path. On the other hand, if you have a significant following, are you challenging them to do the right thing, change unhealthy habits, or sharing information with them that can help them become successful? If not, then maybe it’s time you reassess your recruiting purpose and strategy.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Have You Made an Appointment with God?

Managing your life can be challenging especially with various types of appointments. There's routine physical checkups, follow up appointments, and periodic emergency visits. Whether the majority of the appointments are yours or your relatives, one thing’s for sure, you most likely make it a priority to attend these appointments if you want to sustain your health.

Appointment demands are not just limited to health but can also require our attention in the areas of law, finances, career, and education. The need to meet these time goals reveal the importance of what we’re trying to obtain or accomplish. It is during these appointments we receive instructions regarding how to improve our lives.

While visiting a doctor, you may receive directions regarding healthcare, medication intake, the potential side effects, and the length of time the medication should be taken. After the appointment is concluded, you will also schedule your next visit.

When meeting counselors, legal advisors, and other experts who can guide us, we make sure that we meet them on time especially when an hourly rate is required.

While these type of appointments are necessary for our life’s physical success, the tendency to neglect or schedule a spiritual appointment with God may occur frequently.

This perceived lack of importance is due to our subconscious assumption that we can handle every aspect of our lives on our own. We assume because we have physical strength or mental acumen, we don’t have to consult with God prior to making a decision.

This innate assumption can lead us to error. Unfortunately, the realization of this presumptuous tendency doesn’t emerge until challenges arise and the need to consult with God becomes a priority.

Reasons to Make Your Appointment with God First

I know you might be reasoning within yourself that you don’t have time especially in the morning to pray lengthy prayers or read an entire chapter. However, the importance of this type of appointment is critical to the spiritual success of your day.

David said in Psalm 63:1 … “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;”

This verse says a lot about how quickly dehydrated our souls can become when we neglect the spiritual diet God has designed for us. Matthew 4:4 says … “But He answered and said, It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

In the natural realm, we have a tendency to follow the instructions of doctors and other counselors because we trust their word as well as their reputation. So we take the medicine as prescribed, invest in assets suggested by financial experts, follow business opportunities or career paths because of the projected success we assume we will attain because “if they can do it, we can do it too.”

If you’ve been struggling with decisions or situations that have left you thirsty for the right answer or starving for fulfillment, why not consult God to hear what he has to say? Instead of running to a friend, or someone you think has the right answer, let God give you his daily instructions about how to improve your life.

Book Your Appointment Today

If you only have five to ten minutes to spare, make a commitment to meet with Him. If you don’t know where to start, begin by ordering a copy of Our Daily Bread. These booklets have short stories and scripture references that can help you grow spiritually. You can order a print copy, or read the content online via email or mobile device. The audio option also makes it convenient for you to listen to the Word if you're really pressed for time.

You’ll increase your knowledge and begin to understand the Bible better because you will be digesting small portions of scripture at a time. Just like prescription pills are given in small doses and designed to be taken one or three times a day, you can approach the Bible and prayer the same way.

Don’t compare yourself with others who may be Bible scholars because that can be intimidating and leave you feeling inadequate. Give yourself time and be patient. After a year, you’ll know more than you did when you began.

As long as you say something to God like quoting His Word back to Him if you’re uncomfortable with praying your own words. At least you will be acknowledging His presence and showing Him gratitude for sustaining your life.

Think of it this way. When you seek Him first daily, you may be able to reduce the amount of physical appointments you typically incur as a result of negligence or making the wrong choices. He’ll lead and guide you about what to do, what not to do, who to be in relationship with, and which path to take.

So what are you waiting for? Give Him a call today, He’s expecting to hear from you!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Are You Taking Enough Selfies?

We live in a society in which most people are obsessed with taking selfie photos. When posted online, some photos have gone viral depending on the type of photo it is and the popularity status of the person. I have been fascinated with how many photos my son has taken of himself.  At times he’s stored more than 100 photos of himself.  Ironically, he’s been considerate enough to take a few photos of other family members and a friend to add to his photo collection.

Social media platforms have been inundated with account owners’ selfies. The volume of selfies that one possesses appears to indicate how much love a person has for his or herself.  However, I’ve found that it’s not necessarily true for those who seek to gain attention for negative reasons, or those who have taken their lives because of personal problems that no one could see in a selfie.

While the concept of selfies has its advantages such as showing the world how well you’re doing in terms of body image, clothing style, makeup, and other trending behavior, it has its disadvantages in terms of allowing people to hide pain, fear, low self-esteem, and other issues that some people choose not to disclose to the world. This evasiveness leaves opportunity to explore an area of discussion that most may not be ready to confront in order to present a self image that may be flawed but shows true happiness.

What I’m talking about is taking selfies as it relates to restructuring your life around meeting your needs.

The Cons of Selfishness and Selflessness

I know Western society is basically driven by individualism, but what I want to address is becoming selfish in a good way so that you can present yourself to the world in a balanced way.  Typically the message of success is for you to acquire a lot of material things in order to appear important, but materialism does not necessarily equal value in terms of morals and behavior.  If you’ve acquired the majority of what you’ve desired in life but have become rude, condescending, selfish, narcissistic, prideful, or arrogant, you may want to think about your reason for becoming materially successful. After you’ve accomplished your goals and find that you are still lonely or lack quality relationships, it’s time to take an inner selfie.

I also want to discuss how becoming extremely selfless can lead to self destruction.  I have discovered that when some people crash mentally or emotionally it’s because they were giving themselves to the wrong agendas or people.  Giving is a good act when it’s able to help others who need it whether it’s pertaining to money, housing, food, shelter, time, and other areas that may require your expertise or physical labor.

Whether you generate compensation or not, it’s always good to lend assistance without any strings attached.  Some people may be in situations where they will not be able to pay you back, but eventually you will reap the rewards later in life.  On the other hand, you may find yourself helping those who may not care about your sacrifices.

When it gets to this point, you must decide to serve others with this mindset: “And whatsover ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; (Colossians 3:23).  This verse informs us to serve people, but do your work as if you were serving the Lord . This will help you avoid being extremely hurt when people have forgotten about your good deeds.

Create a Balance of Servitude

It’s easy to become bitter when others have forgotten about what you’ve done, or they’re quick to bring to light the things they’ve done for you.  It’s also easy to loose yourself in giving to others so much to the point that you neglect yourself.  If you're not sure if you've given too much of yourself away, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if you've become depleted mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally more than you have become satisfied.

• How many committees have you served on to support others' agenda, and you failed to meet the deadlines of your personal goals?

• How many errands have you ran for friends or family members only to be forgotten about when you didn’t have transportation?

• How much money have you given to various programs only to be neglected when your finances were low?

• How often have you listened to other people's woes, given them a shoulder to cry on, and when you needed their shoulder, they turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to your dilemma?

These questions and other inquires regarding why we give selflessly to others who don’t feel as fervent as we do when we’re being recruit for something that they love is the reason why many people give up on life.  When our focus becomes about pleasing those whom we think will grant us the validation we deeply desire and away from the One who said “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5), we tend to go beyond the call of duty for things He never called us to do.

We go the extra mile, work longer hours, give more money, cook until everything’s devoured leaving us with scrapes, shop til we drop, and other things that leave us so exhausted that we have nothing left to give or feed ourselves.

This heightened level of servitude can leave you angry and questioning yourself when you see those you’ve sacrificed a significant part of your life for enjoying life to the fullest when you’re left wondering if you’ll be able to recover from the lack of sleep, the financial investment, the deprivation of self care, lack of appreciation, and other things you've sacrificed to make their lives more comfortable.

Since Jesus was the One who sacrificed His life so that you can have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10), you can begin to make better choices regarding what’s worth investing your time, energy, and resources, and what’s not.  Although deemed as selfish from an outsider’s point of view, you can disregard their analysis and begin to shift your focus to live purposefully.  As a result you won’t be wasting time neither will you be lamenting over lost traction when you've supported someone’s goals that has held you back for many years.

Make today a day in which you will make an effort to take more selfies. You can do this when you choose to:

• Spend time alone to refresh your mind and spirit.

• Eat healthy foods to replenish your body.

• Sleep at least eight hours each night to heal your body.

• Stop when you’re tired.

• Show kindness and generosity when opportunities are available.

• Focus more on personal development than outer appearance.

• Take care of your outer image so that you can present your inner self in a brilliant way.

Selfies are not entirely bad.  Selfies provides us with an opportunity to have fun, try different poses, and share with the world our God-given beauty.

When you take your next selfie remember that your worth is more than your outward appearance.  You’re worth the same level of love you give to others. Validate yourself and make others wonder why you’re not stressed about getting their approval.

Stay Blessed and Love Yourself!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Don't Press the Playback Button: Keep Moving Forward

If you’re like me sometimes you may struggle with reoccurring thoughts about the past, what somebody said, what someone did, and what you could have done differently. This repetitive cycle of negative mental regurgitation can rob you of your peace, joy, and productivity.

We all can become hostage to the past, thinking that it will get us somewhere by thinking about situations, or people who are not necessarily thinking about us in a good or bad way.

This constant battle is like a giant who can present itself whether invited or not in the morning, accompanying us throughout our day, and during the night if we don’t seek to conquer it.

The ability to conquer the giant cannot be accomplished on your own. You have to make a concerted effort to combat those mental attacks by applying practical measures. Ephesians 6:12 says “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

So you might ask, well, since these forces are fighting against us, what can I do to ward off the attack?  Ephesians 6:13 gives instructions on how to do this; “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, stand.  Verses 14-19 continues to provide guidance on how we can protect ourselves spiritually and mentally.

Additional Daily Application:

• Pray for mental healing - Psalm 107:20 says “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

• Read scriptures that focus on renewing your mind. Romans 12:2 says “And be not conformed to this world: but ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

• Try not to speak about past negative situations every day. This is not to suggest that you should not address issues that need to be confronted in order for you to protect yourself from abuse or for you to make positive changes in your life. You can also repeat Psalm 141:3 which says “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” to help you become more conscious about speaking right and exercising control over your speech.

• Change your environment and relationships in order to sustain your mental or emotional healing. This means guarding yourself from others who want to press the playback button when you don’t. Sometimes when others see that you are at peace, happy, and are making progress in your life, they will try to bring up your past so that you won’t feel good about yourself.

Stay Focused

The more you seek out remedies based on the Word of God, the stronger and more equipped you will be in fulfilling the call God has on your life. Try your best not to allow negative thoughts and the negative words of others to distract you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hold On, The Tide Will Subside

Life can present some situations that make it hard to go on especially when you don’t have the support you need to encourage you. I recently read about a situation that involved the suicide of two young people. The young lady was 18 years old and pregnant. Her boyfriend was 20 years old. These two young people loved one another very much. However, they had problems that each other could not solve. The young man left details in a letter posted on Facebook describing the emotional pain that each one suffered.

Although the young lady had family problems, she didn't recognize the love that God had for her. The details about her suicide is not disclosed but a storm of blame found its way toward the young man that he could not bear. Although he tried to make his girlfriend happy by giving her the best materialistic things he could afford, there was a void he could not fill. Unfortunately, he could not bear to live life without her and decided to kill himself.

These young people made a beautiful couple, and I’m sure their unborn child would have been beautiful as well. Unfortunately, their cries for help were not loud enough to receive intervention. Although those around them didn’t express their love on the same level as the couple did to each other, I’m sure their families will deeply miss their presence.

Today, I want to encourage you to hold on. I know things may look bleak right now, but the tide of life will subside. Sometimes the noise and busyness of life can tune out muffled cries for help. We all have a tendency to brush off someone’s sad look and melancholy voice tone because we’re so consumed with our plans. On the other hand, we can all relate to not being heard during the most desperate times of our lives.

I frequently call a local business for service and notice how one of the employees sounds very dry each time I call. I often wondered why does he work there if he doesn’t like his job? He always sounds as if he literally had to drag himself in. I brought this situation up during a conversation with my son and mother. Something I had been missing was revealed. My son said maybe he’s depressed and has a mental illness. Then he suggested that I pray for him.

I agreed that it would be a good idea to ask the next time I call if there is anything I could pray for on his behalf. I felt bad that I had been focusing on how he sounded instead of focusing on his silent cry for help. I want to be more cognizant of those around me regarding their life challenges. No matter how strong you may be while helping others, everyone needs someone who will listen and care about their problems. The situation with Steve Stephens, a case worker who recently killed himself after killing an elderly man on Facebook Live mentioned that he was there for others who had problems, but no one was there for him.

If all I can do for you is offer you words of life and direct you to a Savior who can comfort you like no one else, I will do it. Please know that your life is worth living.  You may have had a challenging life that’s left lingering effects of pain, bitterness, and hopelessness. God sees your pain and wants you to know that brighter days are ahead if you will just hold on. Please do not take the route these young people did. Ask for help.  Today, I offer you an extended word of prayer to assist you with whatever is going on in your life. The verses listed in the prayer are not typed verbatim, but I have tailored them to personalize the prayer for you.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for directing your child to this site. I ask that you will send your word and heal them and deliver them from their destruction (Psalm 107:20)

Walk back into their past seven generations and heal them where they need to be healed, deliver them where they need deliverance, and restore them where they need restoration.

Cover your child with your presence right now in the name of Jesus. Keep them as the apple of your eye and hide them under the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:8)

Give your angels charge over them, to keep them in all their ways. Let them bear them up in their hands, lest they dash their foot against a stone (Psalm 91:11).

Bless them; and keep them. Make your face shine upon them and be gracious unto them, Lift up your countenance upon them and give them peace (see Numbers 6:24-26).

Deliver them from the power of darkness and translate them into the kingdom of your dear Son (see Colossians 1:3).

Deliver them from every evil work and preserve them unto your heavenly kingdom (see II Timothy4:18).

Grant them your life and favour, and let your visitation preserve their spirit (see Job 10:12).

Preserve them from all evil: preserve their souls, preserve their going out and coming in from this time forth and even forever more ( see Psalm 121:8).

Let no evil befall them, neither let any plague come nigh their dwelling (see Psalm 91:10).

Shower your child with your love and bind the forces of darkness that seek to encroach upon their souls and minds. Protect their minds from suicidal thoughts and bestow grace upon your child all the days of their life.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Be blessed. Remember that God loves you and so do I!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beware of Blessing Chasers

I was thinking about an incident that happened a few years ago in my former neighborhood. My next door neighbor’s home experienced a fire. As a result, my home also experienced the effects of the fire. The side of my home was burnt. I thank God that my son and I were able to get out in time after calling the fire department to request help. After the firefighters arrived and put out the fire, an investigation was conducted. After the firefighters left the scene, I noticed something very odd. There was a man sitting in his vehicle across the street. While me and my neighbors were discussing the event, he approached us and began to ask questions. He inquired about the homeowners, and if we knew when they would be home.

The days that followed were also disturbing to me because I noticed that the same man was parked across the street waiting for the homeowner's arrival. One day he came to my door and inquired about the homeowner again. He explained that he had a fire restoration company and offered his services to repair the side of my home. I accepted his marketing material and informed him that I would let him know whether or not I would accept his offer.

Not too long after he talked to me, another man knocked on my door. This man was from another construction company. He also asked me about my neighbor and offered his services to repair my home. I even received a call from a preacher from my church the night the fire occurred offering me his painting services. Now during this time, I was thinking to myself, who told these men that approached my home that a fire occurred? How did the first man know to come to the home that was on fire immediately after the fire department arrived?

After talking to a friend of mine, I learned that these men were fire chasers. I’m really not sure how they get the communication that a fire has occurred, maybe that have a radar signal, I don’t know, but it’s quite distributing. The reason why I say that is because instead of playing it off by showing homeowners their genuine concern, they show how greedy they are to collect the homeowner’s insurance money.

How it works is after a homeowner contacts the insurance company, the company will send an insurance adjuster out to the home to assess the damage and give the homeowner an estimate of how much the company will pay for the damage. The homeowner has options to either choose a construction or fire restoration company recommended by the insurance company, or the homeowner can choose to find one.

Since I was not familiar with this process, I decided to go with the second man who approached my home about repairing the damage especially since he had been pressing me to allow him to repair the damage. During the reconstruction period, I watched how eagerly the men were to get the job done so they could get paid. The first man who arrived in the neighborhood continued to come and sit in his vehicle parked across the street until the homeowners finally arrived.

These fire restoration men were like greedy dogs waiting to eat the same steak. Their only concern was about making money. They didn’t show any concern about whether or not the homeowners next door or myself had other obligations, it was all about the money.

This type of greed can be seen in various other aspects of life. Some people do not care about the struggle, pain, or suffering some people endured to earn their blessing particularly if their predatory victims have suffered a loss. This type of behavior is common among ambulance chasers (personal injury lawyers who are guilty of soliciting prospects when accident victims have been transported to the hospital or mail letters to injured victims’ homes).

Judges 6 tells the situation that occurred with the Israelites every year during harvest. Although they were found guilty of being disobedient to the Lord, they had an opportunity to get right with the Lord. Judges 6: 3 says … “And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them, vs. 4: And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. vs. 5: For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. vs. 6 And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord. vs. 11: And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak tree which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abizerite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. vs. 12: And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou might man of valour.

The rest of the chapter six and chapter seven goes on to tell how the Lord delivered the Israelites and gave them the victory over their enemies by giving Gideon courage to lead an army to protect their harvest.

We all experience vulnerable times in our lives when we’re not thinking to the best of our ability. This could be during a time of grief over the loss of a loved one, an accident that causes a disability, a long term illness, a troublesome relationship, or any situation that promises an inheritance. If you don’t have a spiritual watchman to look out for you spiritually, financially, or physically, it’s easy for someone to take advantage of you.

While we all want to think that everyone who approaches us has our best interests in mind particularly those who call themselves our friends, you still have to be on spiritual alert in the same manner that the armed forces are continuously working to protect our country‘s borders. Now I’m not suggesting that you have to be suspicious of everyone, but just be more cognizant of their behavior and comments. Here are a few questions to keep in mind during times of distress:

• Is a friend or an acquaintance showing special interest in “helping you?” If so, is it only during times when you have something or will be getting something soon then afterwards you don’t hear from them until you’re getting ready to obtain the thing?

• During times of need, is the same friend or acquaintance aware of your situation, but remain at a distance?

• After you have obtained the blessing, did you realize that you only received part of it, or you lost it shortly after receiving it?

• Did you have doubts about accepting the person’s help shortly after you agreed to their offer?

• Did you have stronger doubts after receiving the blessing and the person still remains at a distance?

These questions are just a few examples of how to discern whether or not someone’s “help” is sincere. If in doubt, always ask God because the blessings he wants to give to you are for you and not for others who only want to swindle you out of your blessing.

If a person only shows up when everything is going good and they’re nowhere to be found when you’re struggling, he or she is not a real friend. Another thing to keep in mind is when a person knows about your circumstance and calls you to gloat about how bad your situation is in order to make his or herself feel better about their situation.

When opportunities of blessings come in your life, use that time to take care of your financial matters discretely so that you will not suffer financially during the following years. You may still have your regular income, but these special periods of blessings may be the catalyst that gives you the boost needed to pay off major bills, save for the future, and make purchases for important things. If you’re not on guard and someone comes along to snatch away your blessing, you may be set back for years to come.

Psalm 112:5 says … “A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.”

I Peter 5: 8 also says … “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Blessing Chasers will come and go, but be determined to be a Blessing Keeper.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

How to Get Your House in Order

I’ve been working on sorting through documents that needed an overhaul for quite some time. Dreading the whole task caused me to put the project off for several years. During that time, more papers found their way to the unsorted piles and made the situation worst.

A while ago I separated the documents according to categories. Although I had accomplished that phase of the discarding process successfully, I didn't continue the process by eliminating excessive copies of the same documents until recently.

During the past two weeks, I forced myself to finish the project and was surprised at the progress I made. It wasn’t as bad as I thought based on my perception of the piles I had to sort through. Currently, I’m down to one box, however, I’m proud to say that I can locate exactly what I need within a few seconds.

If I find another document, I am able to file it away quickly in chronological order which is the best benefit gained when you take time to get your house in order. Another benefit is knowing what matters I need to take care of specifically instead of having a vague idea about how many bills I have, medical care information, and other matters that need to be addressed. When this task is accomplished, confrontation is inevitable.

Facing the Facts

It’s easy to act like things aren’t there because they're mixed in pilea and camouflaged by junk mail or books. The same analysis can be applied to other areas of our lives such as relationships whether personal or business-related.

When you sort through papers, you can quickly identify what needs to be saved and what’s need to be thrown away. If you apply the same method to analyzing what relationships need to be saved and those which do not benefit you, you can save your energy and time while reducing unnecessary emotional pain.

However, the latter is not easy to do especially if you’re in relationships with those who have manipulative or controlling personalities. The process however, can be accomplished if you force yourself to address issues so that you can move forward in your life.

Getting your house in order whether financially, spiritually, mentally, or emotionally requires a lot of effort. It also requires commitment to achieve the goal. You may have to admit that some personal behavioral changes are needed or that toxic relationships need to be severed.

James 1:23-25 states ..."For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

Everyone generally wants the best of everything, however, in order to be the best, a continual improvement process must be implemented to stay organized and free of physical, emotionally, and spiritual mess.

I’ve been intrigued lately with watching various home and office organization videos on YouTube. Although not claiming to be organizational experts, these YouTubers definitely offer some good advice and show excellent examples of how to organize your home.

Although I have made significant progress in sorting through documents and placing them in order, the organization videos show me how much more work I need to do.  My comparative analysis doesn’t make me feel bad but inspires me to increase my standard of living for the sake of my own sanity.

II Corinthians 3:18 states … “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

This verse can be a spiritual guide to reassure us that positive changes are being made.

If you need help in making changes in your spiritual life begin by reading a passage of scripture pertaining to spiritual growth such as:

• Ephesians 5:22-23

• Psalm 101

• Colossians 1

If you need additional tips on decluttering your physical space, I offer some recommendations on my Streamlined Life Solutions blog here.

As with anything else in life that takes time to conquer, getting yourself in order requires diligence and patience. If you fail at making a new behavioral change or physical organization change, keep trying until you perfect the process.

Proverbs 24:16 states … “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Be encouraged and know that God is taking notes of your effort to make changes in your life and He is proud of you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Kingdom Workers Wanted

A new year has emerged, and we were blessed to make it through 2016. If you have made a new year’s resolution, I’m sure you have things in your mind that you want to accomplish, or things about your life you want to change. When I mention things you may want to accomplish or change, you probably thought about the things that would make you successful according to society’s traditions, standards, and ideologies.

These things could be money, status, degrees, an expensive house, or car. While these things may be essential to your livelihood, the process of acquiring these things should not compromise your character.

Our society has developed to the point where everyone has equal opportunities to achieve academic, career, and lifestyle success. The ability to access education, medical care, and employment in various areas is definitely a blessing.

Misleading Job Postings

The news has been inundated with stories about how corporate corruption has affected consumers. Recent and previous corporate corruption stories have also revealed how self-oriented many business leaders have been in acquiring wealth while keeping their high profile positions.

We’ve also heard about the long term effects that contaminated water has had on many citizens. The shocking revelation of how financial institution operational deception blindsided so many consumers is also hard to process mentally. However, the most appalling aspect of these situations has been the evasiveness and apathy that the culprits have displayed as citizens contend with the devastating results of their careless actions. Victims have to deal with health and financial problems they never thought they would encounter.

Instead of justice being served, the abused must eat the bread of treachery while the guilty go on with their lives counting the millions of dollars that they have swindled from those struggling to put food on their tables. They struggle to have their voices heard because some of the representatives who are supposed to defend their rights are the ones who lead them down the path of financial destruction.

Instead of doing as Proverbs 31:9 says … “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor,” they continue on as if no wrong was committed. As long as their livelihood has not been affected, they do not care as stated in Proverbs 29:7 … “The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regarded not to know it.”

Psalm 82: 3-5 states … “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.”

It’s sad that some people have lost focus of what their calling or position required of them when they first obtained their job. Besides performing a particular function or providing a service, we are all called to treat one another justly. Some people have used others to climb the corporate ladder, cheated others out of proceeds, and defamed others to make themselves look better.

The Kingdom of God is Hiring

The manifestation of corruption that exist in high places and in relationships among all societal classes is an indication that values have shifted. The message of go to school and get a good job has been driven in people’s minds so much that many have diverted from character development. As a result, you see people capitalizing off of the disadvantaged and taking no thought about how their victims will survive.

This decline in positive character traits is manifested not only in the increase of crime rates, but the coldness of hearts. Many people have grown cold about the relationships that have with their siblings, parents, spouses, children, and others by resorting to committing malicious deeds regardless of the traumatizing effects. Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 … “And because of iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

There are many job posting sites that announce who’s hiring, the positions, and requirements. Many of these positions offer full or part-time schedules, paid training, good benefits, and competitive pay. While these perks offer opportunities for people to upgrade their lifestyle, few offer training and development in the area of character building.

A Call for Ethical Commitment

During the hiring process, recruiters often assume that the candidates they hire will not only fulfill the requirements of a job with excellence, but they also assume that new hires will be great team members and customer representatives. However, the opposite is manifested when some employees become comfortable with exhibiting rude, condescending, and deceptive behaviors while expecting a paycheck.

Our country has a new president which has caused a lot of controversy. Despite varying opinions about who should be in office, the president’s role requires a significant amount of commitment that can’t be given up abruptly unless some action calls for his dismissal before the designated time. As I watched the new vice-president and president being sworn in, I listened carefully to the words they swore to protect the constitution and other duties related to their positions.

I also begin to think about how presidents are held to a higher standard and can’t live carelessly because of the amount of scrutiny imposed by those who may not be living up to many standards themselves. Presidents are expected to be polite, thoughtful, courteous, wise, considerate, patient, tolerant, understanding, remorseful, dutiful, resilient, merciful, accepting, and more regardless of how they’re treated.

Physicians are also held accountable to fulfill and meet a high ethical standard especially after taking the Hippocratic Oath which requires them to "Do No Harm." If this oath is violated, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed against a physician or healthcare system.

I begin to wonder how much better this world would be if each of us swore to be better people. Not so much in the sense of obeying government laws because most of us are committed to doing that anyway. But rather in the sense of committing ourselves to treat others better.

There seems to be a reduced standard for citizens in terms of how we are permitted to express ourselves regardless of how it affects other people. If people feels it’s okay to express road rage, they do it without caring about how their anger may negatively impact someone's life. If people feel like protesting, they feel it’s okay to destroy business properties, without taking into account the damage expenses or the length of time it will take a business owner to repair their infrastructure.

If people feel like they want what someone else has, they take it without considering how long a person had to work to acquire the item, or how long it will take to recover financially from the theft. If someone wants to tell someone off, the offender feels relieved and assumes the victim of their verbal abuse is okay because emotional scars can't be seen.

These days people are also not held accountable for rude, inconsiderate, selfish, obscene, and other degrading behavior. It’s interesting how offenders have a high sense of entitlement for respect, but their sense of regard is very low. Examples of this disregard is revealed in news reports which disclose how many crimes have occurred.

Change Starts with You

So often we tend to point the finger at someone else and find failure in their lives. However, we must reflect on how we can make difference. If we want society to change in terms of how we are treated, we must first assess our actions and reactions. The first change should be in the following areas:

• Business - how we meet obligations and compensate our business partners, clients, or customers (we should be fair in our dealings). (Leviticus 19:13, Proverbs 22:29, 26:19).

• Loyalty - if you want others to be loyal to you, ask yourself how loyal are you to others? (Proverbs 11:13, 18:24).

• Self-control - think before you act or speak. (Psalm 101:2)

• Speech - how we speak and answer one another. (Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 15:1).

• Trust - be transparent and keep your word (Proverbs 25:19).

These recommendations are just a few areas where we can begin to change our lives. It may not be easy to commit to all of the areas, but embracing at least one behavior modification method every day is a step in the right direction.

The following Kingdom of God positions are available. Read the scripture reference for the job description:

 • Defenders (Isaiah 58:6, Proverbs 24:11-12, 31:8, Psalm 82:3)

 • Faith Builders (Jude 1:20)

 • Givers (Luke 6:38, I John 3:17)

 • Healers (Matthew 10:8, Luke 10:9, Mark 16:18, James 5:14)

 • Intercessors (James 5:16)

 • Lovers (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

 • Peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)

 • Prayer Warriors (I Thessalonians 5:17)

 • Servers (Isaiah 58:7-11)

 • Waiters (Psalm 37:7)

 • Witnesses (Mark 16:15, Acts 20:21)

 • Stewards (I Corinthians 4:2).

The Bible says ... "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32). I Peter 3:9 also challenges us when it states ... "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

What position will you take in 2017?


Beth Musgrave (2009). Fen-phen attorneys sentenced to decades in prison. Lexington Herald Leader.

CNN Wired (2016). Arrest made in suspected road-rage shooting death of 3-year-old boy in Arkansas. KTLA.

Detroit Free Press (2017). Flint Water Crisis.

PBS. The Untouchables, January 22, 2013.

Rizzo, Kevin (2015). Crime in America 2016: Top 10 most dangerous cities over 200,000. Law Street Media

Rouselle, Christine (2017). Video: Anti-Trump protestors destroy Starbucks, Bank of America, Bus Stop. Townhall.

Wikipedia. Hippocratic Oath.

Streamlined Life Solutions

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