|Posted by [email protected] on July 30, 2018 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
Contributed by Anthony Hall
Answer: When a Christian woman is looking for a husband, she should seek a man “after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). The most important relationship that any of us have is our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. That relationship comes before all others. If our vertical relationship with the Lord is as it should be, then our horizontal relationships will reflect that reality. Therefore, a potential husband should be a man who has his focus upon walking in obedience to God's Word and who seeks to live so that his life brings glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
What are some other qualities to look for? The apostle Paul gives us the qualities we should look for in a husband in 1 Timothy chapter 3. In this passage are the qualifications for a leader in the church body. However, these qualities should grace the lives of any man who walks “after God's heart.” The qualities can be paraphrased as follows: a man should be patient and controlled in his demeanor, not filled with pride but of sober mental attitude, able to master his emotions, given to graciousness to others, able to patiently teach, not given to drunkenness or uncontrolled use of any of God's gifts, not prone to violence, not overly focused upon the details of life but focused upon God, not apt to be a hot-head or be thin-skinned so that he takes offense easily, and grateful for what God has given, rather than envious of what gifts others have received.
The above qualities describe a man who is actively engaged in the process of becoming a mature believer. That is the type of man a woman should look for as a potential husband. Yes, physical attraction, similar interests, complementary strengths and weaknesses, and the desire for children are things to consider. These things, though, must be secondary to the spiritual qualities a woman should look for in a man. A man you can trust, respect, and follow in the path of godliness is of far greater value than a man of good looks, fame, power, or money.
Finally, when “looking” for a husband, we must be surrendered to God's will in our lives. Every woman wants to find her “prince charming,” but the reality is that she will probably marry a man with as many flaws as she has. Then, by God's grace, they will spend the rest of their lives together learning how to be a partner to, and servant of, each other. We must enter into the second-most-important relationship of our lives (marriage), not under an emotional cloud, but with eyes wide open. Our most important relationship, with our Lord and Savior, has to be the focus of our lives.
|Posted by [email protected] on June 20, 2018 at 9:15 PM||comments (1)|
I can’t believe that we are in the middle of June since it seems like only yesterday we were busy celebrating the New Year. June is a busy month, and so far, June 2018 has lived up to these expectations. June seems to be the month for weddings, graduations, family reunions, and vacations. Vacations and all these celebrations are timely breaks since we have all been running at a neck-breaking pace over these five months. So, as the temperatures are rising, it seems to make sense that we stop this June to celebrate our brides, graduates, family, take time to slow down and take a break from our daily grind.
As I have gotten older, I have learned that I no longer have the resilience or the ability to do an all-nighter and bounce back like I did when I was in my teens. Life sure has a way of slowing us down. Of course, slowing our pace is important for healthy living, making good decisions, and good quality of life. Surprisingly in these United States, our culture does not support setting aside time each day to slow down. In countries such as Spain, these periods of rest are built into businesses and the fiber of a society. I wonder what would happen if Americans took an hour off each day for a nap. I would predict that we would have a healthier population with better quality of life. But while we wait for the nation to catch up to the idea of slowing down, I would like to suggest that this is something we can start in our own families. So, join me in taking off even a day per month to do nothing but relax, take a nap in the middle of the day (definitely on Sundays if you can), or just take a nature break. Any or all of these will refocus us, clear our heads, and increase our effectiveness and efficiency.
In 2018, we have no one in our family graduating from college or high school, but for the first time, my little family is planning a wedding. As the days tick closer, fear turns into trepidation, then excitement, then surprise, and cycles back to fear. I find myself constantly asking if this real? Is my child ready for this next step? Have I prepared her for a long-lasting relationship, despite my many flaws? As the anxiety heightens, I have learned to stop to take any “dispeace” to God, and as I do, my fear slips away. Fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) is a liar, and the Lord continues to remind me that he loves my daughter more than me. In addition, he has plans to prosper her and not to harm her. So, despite my anxieties, fears, apprehension, etc., I am learning to surrender everything to God. Once this happens, real peace and joy returns that no one, not even a worrier, can understand.
As I get ready for the big day, I wondered what advice I will offer. What will I say? So, I thought that I would consider doing this blog to get my creative juices going. Say a prayer that I will be ready to contribute with a few pearls of wisdom in the next four weeks. Here are some great tips on marriage that I have picked up along the way; I truly believe that these will be helpful for my daughter, all the brides, and bridegrooms that will take their vows in 2018.
Here are my pearls of wisdom on marriage that I will share. Tell me what you think!
• A good marriage has three parties: a bride, a bridegroom, and GOD.
• A good marriage is a prize. You don’t get it for nothing!
• Trust, respect, and honor your spouse. You chose them, and now you are united as one. Add value. Do not detract from them.
• If you have to criticize, do it lovingly. Be steel wrapped in velvet.
• At least, once each day, try to say one kind, complimentary thing to your partner.
• God has your back since he instituted marriage. Lean heavily on him. He knows everything, so why worry when you can pray. So, pray about everything TOGETHER.
• Marriage is harder than it looks. When two imperfect people come together, smoke will rise first before peace comes.
• Never bring up mistakes of the past. Forgive and forget.
• Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.
• Never go to bed angry at each other or with an unsettled argument. Talk about your differences, kiss and makeup. But don’t give the devil the opportunity to cause any division in your home.
• If one of you has to win an argument, let it be the other one.
• Neglect the whole world rather than one another. For who can bear loneliness in a marriage.
• Find a couple in a wonderful, long-lasting marriage, ask them to mentor and provide support to you on this new journey.
• There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
• God created the first marriage, ensure you are in his perfect will before saying I do; he wants you to be happy.
• Don’t expect your partner to make you happy. If you are not happy alone, you will just make your spouse unhappy.
• When you have done something wrong, be ready to admit it and ask for forgiveness.
• Finally (my absolute favorite from Dr. Myles Munroe) you must remain single, unique, and whole in your marriage, so that your marriage can thrive.
I believe that as we slow down this summer to celebrate marriages, couples should consider following these tips for a happier ever after.
By the way, do you have tips that you share with the newly married? If yes, please share these on our Blog this month.
Congratulations to all of our brides and grooms.
|Posted by [email protected] on May 6, 2018 at 5:45 PM||comments (0)|
Celebraing and Praying for Our Mothers
May is a busy month for all of us as we move into the summer. During this month, we will celebrate many health observances, including, national mental health month, high blood pressure education month, women’s health month, healthy vision month, lupus awareness month, national women’s checkup day, etc., and of course Mother’s Day. May is also the month when as a nation, we celebrated the National Day of Prayer (every first Thursday of May) where all Americans were encouraged to stop to pray. We have much to pray for a nation and we should be praying without ceasing since these are troubling times.
A prayer request that should be constantly on our lips is a prayer for all of our mothers. In fact, have you ever met anyone who never had a mother? I am sure the answer is no since all of us have or have had a mother. Whether they are still alive, dead, or estranged from us, we all are here because we have mothers. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that as a nation we witness 3,945,875 births. All these 3,945,875 new moms joined the other existing moms of our nation, to care for, love on, and protect millions of Americans.
As I reflected on May and the various health observances, I could not help but wonder how the mothers of our nation are managing their health, regardless of where they find themselves. In fact, I think this is a timely conversation, given our upcoming Mother’s Day. Honestly, I think, given their huge role, I think it is about time that we spend some time praying for and celebrating our mothers, whether they have no existing chronic conditions, lupus, mental health conditions, high blood pressure, vision impairment, etc. As mothers, we are guilty of always caring for others, and unfortunately we often wear ourselves thin putting our families before ourselves. As moms, we invest heavily in our children, spouses, and families, but we don’t take time to take care of ourselves. Anyone else found guilty of this except me? I doubt it and as mothers, I think that we can all relate.
So, given this truth, I wanted to stop to salute all our mothers and to issue a call to action for all of us collectively, to take better care of ourselves. Dr. Meg, you ask how I do that with all that is on my plate. I am glad you asked. Here are a few suggestions for the consideration of our readers who are mothers. Try these tactics and let me know how they work for you.
1. First, start your day with prayers and a time of meditation, to center yourself and to set your day off on the right footing.
2. Eat a healthy breakfast with low- fat proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
3. Drink lots of water and limit sugar-sweetened beverages in your diet.
4. Quit if you smoke or chew tobacco, and if you don’t smoke, please don’t start
5. Work to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
6. Keep physically active by finding some physical activity that you love and engaging in this for at least 150 minutes each week.
7. Find a friend that you respect and trust and someone with which you can share the ups and downs of your life with. Meet often to check in, talk, connect over a cup of coffee or tea, or just cry together.
8. Ensure that you receive all your preventative health care services, such as mammograms, pap smears, vision screenings, check-ups, etc., to take care of you.
9. Find time to de-stress when things get hectic, and work to find joy in whatever you do.
10. Set boundaries in all your relationships, and learn how to say no. You will be unable to please everyone, so stop trying to do so.
11. Take time for yourself. Run a bath, paint your nails, take a nap in the middle of the day, read a book, or sit and do nothing. I know that this is a novel idea, but life is not always about doing. It’s time to just be!
12. End your days with prayers and meditation. Journal as you pray and before you know it, you will be a healthier you.
Take some time to try these tips and let me know how they work for you. I am working through the list myself, and believe that this will make me a better mom and grandmother. Also, if you have other tips that work for you as a mother, please feel free to share these with us as well.
Enjoy your Mother’s Day and remember to find time to take care of you.
Here’s to good health for all our mothers.
|Posted by [email protected] on April 8, 2018 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
Minority Health Month and Life in Black America. Some Progress, but Still A Lot of Work to Do
April is the month dedicated to minority health in the United States. This year’s theme is “Partnering for health equity” and serves as a call to action for Americans to work to reduce disparities in health and health care. This April 4, 2018, also marked the 50th year since the assassination of Martin Luke King, Jr. in Memphis, TN. This week in my world, I also lost an African American, 35 year –old colleague to drowning. As expected, I and our entire community were overcome with shock, grief, and pain. While this recent death and the pain that surfaced cannot compare to the pain that Americans; particularly African Americans, felt at the death of Martin Luther King, it gave me pause and forced me to stop to do some reflecting. Since both men died in their 30s, almost 50 years apart, I stopped to compare the America they both knew, and to take a second look at where we are today in Black America.
Here are some interesting facts from the Pew Research Center (2018 and the Brooking Institution (2018 that paints a picture of life in Black America in this the 21st century.
• African Americans make up 13% of the U.S population or a total of 40 million people.
• 4.2 million of the 40 million African Americans living in the US are foreign –born Blacks. This number has risen by 71% since 2000. About half of all foreign-born Blacks in the US are from the Caribbean.
• African Americans have high rates of obesity. As a matter of fact black women have the highest rates of obesity in America. 79.5 percent of Black women are overweight or obese.
• African Americans are not only more susceptible to disease and illness, they are also more likely to die from them. Even when the incident rate is lower for a particular disease such as Leukemia, the Black death rates are higher due to lack of access to appropriate health care.
• Unemployment for African Americans was at 7.7% in January 2018; this is higher than Whites.
• The labor force participation rate for Blacks is lower than in Whites.
• The median household income for African Americans is $20,000 less than for White families.
• African Americans only have ten cents in wealth compared to every dollar own by Whites.
• Only 29% of African Americans were married, compared to 48% of all Americans. Half or 50% of African Americans have never been married compared to 33% of all Americans.
• The percentage of Black homeowners decreased between 2005 and 2012 from 46% to 42.5%. Much of these losses can be attributed to the housing crisis where so many Americans lost their houses to foreclosure. This also means more than half of all African Americans rent.
According to the Black Demographics (n.d), progress is also being made in other areas. For example, the following is true in April 2018.
• Forty percent of African Americans now consider themselves members of the middle class.
• Eighty- seven percent of African Americans age 25 or older have at least a high school diploma,
• Twenty- four percent of African Americans have finished a four- year college degree.
• Black account for 33% of the U.S prison population. This is declining, but still too high.
In 2018, as a people, we still struggle with racism, discrimination, health disparities, health inequalities, poverty, etc., that keep many of our people in chronic stress. Unfortunately, white privileged is still alive and well in this the 21st century, and Martin Luke King, Jr., would be proud yet perplexed if he walked back into our world. African Americans have made progress over these past 50 years, but yet we have miles to go to equality in America. So this begs the question, what will it take to get us to equity? I am glad you asked, and I will be the first to confess that I don’t have all the answers, but would like to share a few ideas that I believe might help us move closer to that ever moving vision for equity.
First, as African Americans, we must put aside our pain and grief over what has been lost, stolen, pluck from us, etc. and forgive all those who have hurt us. Start first by forgiving God for making you Black or anything else you might be angry about, forgive your parents, your family, your friends, and even your enemies. Since all of this is spiritual, doing this simple act will allow God to step in and work on our behalf. We can’t get to equity without HIM.
Second, we must put aside our personal grudges and in-fighting with our brothers and sisters who are Black. While much has been written about post-traumatic slave syndrome, we must make a conscious effort to embrace each other, whether our place of origin is as far away as South Africa or as close as Cuba. What does it matter where we are from when we are all viewed as Blacks? The bible is true that a house divided cannot stand. So, let’s unite as a people, embrace and celebrate our differences, join forces in this struggle, and our progress together will be faster than each sub-group fighting alone.
Third, we must mentor, serve as big brothers, big sisters, or a friend for members of our African American community that are without fathers, mothers, spouses, friends. If we are going to make it as a people, we cannot achieve the American dream and forget those who still struggle, or just leave them behind. Let us all promise God and each other that if see a sister or brother in need that we will offer them our hands. After all, if not your hands, whose? Who else is coming to help? No one, and so, then the ball is in your court. You are it! Yes, you are your brothers/sisters keeper. Look around and change your side of America. Reach out a hand to help. What talents do you have? How can they be used to make differences? Use them; Black America is counting on you.
Fourth, we must encourage our African American brothers and sisters to find what they love and to work at it with all the dignity and pride they can muster. After all, God word is clear that if we don’t work, we should not eat, so let’s encourage one another to good works. Whatever your hands find to do, do with all excellence unto God. This means that wherever you work, God is the ultimate, and is in control, even when we don’t feel like it. Ask for his help when things get rough, he is strong when you are weak. Also, work to avoid get-rich schemes; if they worked then everyone would be rich. Take pride in your work! Don’t look down on those in “menial jobs”. After all, an honest job is better than stealing or dealing drugs. As you know, too many of our people have been overtaken by the “New Jim Crowe” (prison), so, keep on the right side of the law and you never have to look over your shoulders. Remember, you might not be rich, but you might be happier, less stressed than those that are. Work hard at what you love, and your gifts will take you before kings.
Lastly, let us make a concerted effort to consume less, save more, invest more, and work to leave a legacy of health, wealth, and forgiveness for the next generation. Up to now, generational wealth has been a misnomer in Black America. Isn’t it time to change this fact and work collectively to leave a legacy of health, wellness, forgiveness, and wealth for the next generation? I am hopeful that given the statistics shared earlier, that now is the time to make this shift, so that in the next 50 years, it can be said that African Americans have made significant inroads as a people. I believe that both Martin Luther King, Jr. and my colleague, who died this week, would then be proud of the steps we have taken as a people.
|Posted by [email protected] on March 10, 2018 at 9:30 PM||comments (0)|
Forgiveness at Work in 2018
Contributor: Anthony Hall, Clarkston, GA
If you work anywhere in this country you will at some point have to practice some form of forgiveness. Perhaps a coworker betrayed your confidence. Your boss treated you unkindly. Maybe you are the one in need of the grace of a forgiving spirit. Opportunities to capture our workplaces for Christ through forgiveness are many. However, these occasions too often slip through our fingers.
Unfortunately, participants in the work world today routinely respond to errors, mistakes, and bungled relationships in an angry, unhealthy, and unchristian manner. Many Christians believe an angry and unforgiving spirit is acceptable in "the real world" of work. How many times have we heard someone say, "You had better let them know who is boss? It is good to show your temper. Anyway, Christ showed his anger when he threw people out of the temple. If he yelled at people, why shouldn't we?" Can we even compare an error or mistake made at work, whether careless or intentional, to the desecration of God's temple?
In your week of work, how did you respond to the hurt and disappointment of the failings of others? The time has come for believers to absorb the pain of our own and others' failures and, with the help of Christ, offer forgiveness to the unforgivable. Put off anger and disassociation, and follow the teachings of our forgiving God. I believe the Scriptures offer inspired teaching on how we can forgive even the most difficult people.
Step 1: See Others from God's Perspective
The first step to forgiveness is seeing your coworkers from God's perspective. Take your eyes off the offender and look to the Savior. Jesus sees each of us as eternally significant beings with brilliant potential. God's vantage point teaches that we have all sinned and that we are all helpless without the blood of Christ.
This admonition to look through godly lenses is tough when a fellow laborer steps on us to get ahead. Looking around our workplace with godly eyes is difficult if we have been displaced for no good reason.
Yet over and over we see how Christ responded to the scorn of others with compassion and forgiveness. "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matt. 9:36).
You may work with people whose lives are defined in that verse—helpless and harassed, sheep without a shepherd, aimlessly meandering from one day to the next. It is little wonder that many of your coworkers suffer from unbearable anger, an unforgiving spirit, and a me-first attitude. Our human perspective on the person at the next desk or in the next office or on the next line is not good enough. We must seek the perfect perspective, the forgiving perspective of the Creator of us all.
Step 2: Leave the Offense at the Cross
Have you been the victim of a coworker's mistake? Have you said to yourself, "Every dog has his day? My day is coming." That is the easy response. The Bible describes a different response: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Eph. 4:32). What is your pain compared to the pain Christ endured on your behalf?
When Christ died on that cross, He created a lasting reminder of His loving forgiveness. Remember he said on the cross father forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:24) Sometimes we have to charge things to a person’s head and not to their heart.
Step 3: Operate Out of Your Will and Reason
The third step to responding with godly forgiveness is to operate out of your will and reason, not out of your emotions. After you have gained God's perspective and left the burden of your error at the Cross, then, with a reasonable heart, meet to discuss the error and the future.
The prophet Isaiah communicated to the people of Judah and Jerusalem God's dissatisfaction with their behavior. He related the wages of their sin and then announced a marvelous offer from God: "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord" (Isa. 1:1 God asked the failing people of Judah and Jerusalem to come and talk about the situation rationally and with cool heads.
God had given humans a special ability to reason that distinguishes us from other creatures. But in the jungle of commerce, we sometimes act like animals. Like the territorial lion, we quickly dispose of coworkers whose actions annoy us. With lightning speed, we unleash our anger on the very one in need of forgiveness.
In your job, you may have experienced the quick hand of a boss responding angrily, not reasonably. Maybe a coworker told a lie about you. These people need your forgiveness. Follow the instruction found in Isaiah and slow down. Calm down. Do not rush to judgment. Pray. Meet and discuss the conflict. Listen and reason. Forgive.
Step 4: Rebuild and Restore
Restoration and rebuilding are what Christ is all about. Imagine the hurt you would feel if one of your closest friends betrayed you. Would you try to restore and rebuild your relationship with you betrayer? During the biggest crisis of Jesus' earthly life, Simon Peter denied knowing the Savior. Did Jesus brood and hold a grudge? Did He exact vengeance on His fallen friend? No. Christ rose from the grave and embraced Peter. Jesus forgave His friend, and a hurting Simon Peter was rebuilt and restored.
Transforming your company into Christ can be a difficult task. It is possible only if you will humble yourself and seek and offer forgiveness. We must slow down and reason with godly wisdom. Seeing others from God's perspective, we should take our pain and the pain of others and leave it behind us on the Cross. Then we should look to the future as eternal builders and restore our broken relationships.
Take a minute to reflect on the situation this week when you should have used forgiveness. Were you the victim, the offender, or the innocent bystander? Did you represent your Lord in a manner that would be pleasing to Him? What actions can you take in the next twenty-four hours to open the pathway to forgiveness? Tomorrow we look at the physical effects of un-forgiveness…until then expect to be blessed in 2018….
|Posted by [email protected] on February 13, 2018 at 10:25 PM||comments (0)|
Resetting in February to Find our True Love
It's February 2018 and as you know this is heart health month and, of course, it is also Black History Month. The 2018 Black History month’s theme is “African Americans in Times of War”. Of course, the 2018 Black History theme marks the commemoration of the centennial of the end of the First World War in 1918. This theme also explores the complex meanings and implications of this international struggle and its aftermath. As I scan the American landscape, I believe that the 2018 Black History them aptly describes not only the role of African Americans in the First World War, but speaks to the physical, emotional, and spiritual war that African Americans and many other Americans find themselves in today. We are busy fighting each other and our nation is more divided than ever before. Somehow, we have forgotten that “we still bleed the same” and that “they will know us by our love”. We are no longer united in brotherhood and are often far from loving to each other.
Yet, it is February, the month of love, an unusual year when we celebrate Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday on the same day. So, Pastors all across America are preaching on love and relationships, flowers are being sent by the tons, and we are all running in a million directions. We are busy, but many of us are failing to thrive. Why, because we have lost our first loves~ our love of God and self. Instead, many things; football, money, car, sex, and material possessions have taken over. Yet, many of us are running on empty. We have acquired what we thought would make us happy, but we feel empty. We have fallen for the schemes of the enemy and yet we are still discontent. In fact, in speaking to many, some are not certain how to feel whole again, since shame, regrets and guilt have pushed us far away from the source of all true love~ God
Given this situation, I think it is time for us to stop for a reset. A reset you might ask, what is that, and why. Well, let's see, we are several weeks into our New Year’s resolutions, and for many, we have already forgotten what we prayed for and vowed to achieve this year. For others, we gave up on resolutions years ago. Some might have turned their backs on God and even dammed those who follow his name. So, yes, a reset might be needed after all. Do you agree, its time to push that reset button? If yes, let's do that together right now!
Now that you have pressed reset, let's start over on the right foot by taking a fresh look at February. To do so, I posit that we must do the following:
• Start and end with GOD, he is the ultimate lover of our souls.“ Our hearts are restless until they rest in YOU” ( St. Augustine). Stop and ask the man/woman in the mirror, where is God in my life? Once you receive an answer, push past your fear, and start moving back to the source of all peace.
• Remember to keep the main thing, the main thing. “God first, people second and career third” (Mary Kay Ash). Many of us have these in reverse order and we are empty for it. Stop to prioritize and get back on track, so you can thrive.
• Love yourself or if you don’t, figure out why, and do the hard work to fix it. Living without self-love is like living in a glass tomb- you can see everything, but the world is passing you by.
• Give more, and yes, this does not always have to be monetary. Give of your time, de-clutter and give away to those in need, use your talents to help where your community needs you. If nothing else, give a smile and a compliment to those you meet each day.
• Forgive often, even if it is the same person, give them another chance. By the way, unforgiveness and love cannot coexist in any heart. Where love exists, unforgiveness is not welcome. After all, who wants to live with a millstone around their neck?
• Work daily to improve your relationships. It is all about relationships, whether at work, school, church or at home, everything is built around relationships. In fact, I will go as far as saying that deep down in all of us, is the need to be loved and appreciated. This, I believe might be one of the biggest voids in our relationships.
• Seek peace and remove any source of dis-peace in your life. Life is too short to be a walking dead. If war is within and without us, before long something will break. Nothing, not work, career, money, or anything else is worth your peace.
• Find a need and fill it, if you are lonely this Valentine’s day, take a walk to encourage those who will visit cemeteries, visit a nursing home, etc. Give what you need and very soon, you will find that you are the better for it.
As you celebrate Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday this February lets get back to our first loves by following these simple tips, keeping the right perspective, and loving until it hurts.
Please send me your thoughts on how to reset our hearts, so that we can thrive.
|Posted by [email protected] on December 31, 2017 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
Starting 2018 with Godly Success in Mind
The bustle and hustle of Christmas has ended, and like people all over the world, we are counting down to 2018. Excitement is in the air! Will your New Year’s celebration consist of watching the Peach drop or a trip to New York for the ball drop? Will it be a night to stay at home or the night to attend watch night service for the first time? Regardless of what you do, I have found from experience that the way one starts the New Year often dictates how that year will unfold. For many Pentecostals, starting the New Year in God’s house is the way to go. So, for my family and me, we will start 2018 in God’s house. During this time, we will celebrate the New Year, pray for God’s will and direction in the New Year, and encourage one another to trust God and to grow in our faith and relationship with Christ.
But you might say, Dr. Meg, my faith and relationship with God has never paid my bills, provided for my family, or saved me from the pain of broken relationships and issues that I will face in the New Year. So, how can one be sure that putting God first in 2018 will be good for my family? I am glad you asked. Maybe, 2018 could be the year for you to make the leap and try to trust God to do this and more for your family. You have to learn to lean on him! I have a few tactics to share that has worked for our family:
1. Pray constantly to God- for his direction, his will, his purpose, his church, and his people. and for him to perplex and amaze you in 2018. Remember also to pray for your family, friends, and your spouse. Together, you are stronger and can do greater things than you alone. Start and end your day with prayers.
2. Spend time daily in God’s word- this is the only thing that can change us. Reading God’s word transforms, renews, and provides us with the direction and guidance we need to live lives that are blessed with Godly success.
3. Give at every opportunity- whether of your money, time, talent, or other resources, giving to God’s work and advancing his kingdom are a must to receive his blessings. The bible clearly reminds us that as you give it will be given back to you. God is not a debtor, and he always returns what you give multiplied.
4. Commit to using your talents to advance God’s work here on earth. Your talents were specifically endowed to you to make you unique, and for you to leave your indelible contributions to HIS work. No other individual alive or death is like you in your gifting, and your contributions are needed to fulfill God’s plans for this world. As stewards of God’s talents, he will call us to an accounting of how we have used these gifts. Don’t live with regrets; use those talents to make a difference in our world.
5. Live daily by demonstrating the love of God with everyone you meet. “They will know us by our love”. Of course, this is hard, but loving the unlovable and loving those who have hurt us is only possible with God’s help. None of this is humanly possible, only God’s grace, love, and glory can help us to love those who hate us.
6. Forgive those who have transgressed against you. Yes, I know that this is easier said than done. So, keep loving the loveless and offering forgiveness of those who have caused you pain. This is only possible with God’s help. Most importantly, remember that forgiveness does not mean that you have to resume a relationship with those that have hurt you. But, this is freeing and healing for you more than others.
7. Be quick to confess your sins or when you have missed the mark. God knows anyway, so be quick to say that you are sorry to man and God. Refusing to do so will hinder your prayers- you cannot afford that since most of us want our prayers to be answered.
8. Keep a stance of thanksgiving. Give thanks for everything. Your praise is often the only thing that stands between your prayers and its answers. Even with little, you have much to be thankful for. Don’t let stones offer your praise. Count your blessings and praise God for them in the good and bad times.
9. Be purposeful in all you do. Don’t be a “jack of all trades and a master of none”. Ask God to show you his purpose for your life, so that you don’t spend your entire life trying to find it. Once he reveals this to you, use this as a filter for all you do. This way your roots will go deep and your influence even further.
10. Confess your worth to Christ and never quit. You are valuable to the kingdom. Your contributions are necessary to move HIS work forward. So, speak God’s words about, to, and in your circumstances, and never quit or lose heart. God is with you in the fire, flood, and any other situation that you might face. He will never leave or quit on you. Can he count on you to do the same? Step in 2018 boldly, keep close to God, and watch how he will amaze you.
Finally, do you have tactics or practices that have worked for you and your family? If yes, feel free to share these with our readers.
Have a happy and healthy New Year!
|Posted by [email protected] on August 10, 2017 at 2:30 PM||comments (0)|
To recap our previous blog, many singles that have turned to online dating could be setting themselves up for disaster by not adequately getting to know their dates. Last month’s blog stated nine questions from the article “15 Mental Health Questions You Should Ask Your Date” on Blackdoctors.com. Below, we will include the next six questions. I hope that these suggestions will help you better assess your date’s personality and preferences. With these questions, we hope to help you determine whether asking for a second date or politely rejecting this person would be the best course of action.
Here are tips #10 - #15:
“10. Do you/have you ever smoke / drink / do drugs?
Why: You likely have a preference one way or the other.
11. Do you collect anything?
Why: Do they spend a lot of money or time collecting something?
12. How do you feel about…. [insert what you are most passionate about]?
Why: Whatever you’re really passionate about, do they respect it? For example, gaming.
13. Have you been to any good restaurants recently?
Why: Tells you something about whether they seek out new experiences.
14. What are your thoughts about the upcoming election (any upcoming election)?
Why: The main point here is not to jump to assumptions about your date’s politics. If you jump to an assumption that they have the same politics as you, they might feel too awkward to say that their politics are different.
15. When was the last time you really had fun?
Why: This gives you a glimpse into what the person really loves to do. Not just in their spare time, but really makes them happy. If it’s something strange, then you may want to back off (Causey, 2016).”
If these questions prove to be helpful to you, we would love to hear your stories!
|Posted by [email protected] on July 21, 2017 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
Are you single, divorced, or widowed? If yes, then like many singles across our nation, you know the struggles associated with finding a friend or even a date that worth keeping around.
With the modernization of online dating, it can be a scary time as single men and women try to balance life while trying to reenter the dating scene. So, it has occurred to me that this might be an area of interest during this time of weddings, family vacations, holidays, college trips, etc., when many singles are feeling the most vulnerable.
Some particularly good advice to assist you during this season comes from an article on BlackDoctors.org called “15 Mental Health Questions You Should Ask Your Date.” The article suggests the following advice about dating and offers a few mental health questions to ask your date. Here’s an excerpt from their page:
“Dating is hard enough as it is. Now, pile on mental health issues stemming from his or her past and it’s a recipe for disaster. So instead of finding out later that the person you're dating may have some mental health problems that you didn't sign up for, here are a few questions you should ask and they should answer (and you should answer too).
1. Do you like your job?
Why: Is the person about to make any major life changes e.g., leave their $200K/year job to go back to school? What's their attitude to their work? Do they see it as a job, a vocation, or are they primarily motivated by climbing the career ladder?
2. What sort of vacations do you like to take?
Why: Different vacation preferences or amounts of vacation time can be a major source of ongoing incompatibility. For example, if one person likes to take very long trips and the other person has a more standard two weeks’ vacation time.
3. How was your day?
Why: This question helps establish if your date has a positive or negative attitude? If asking this question leads to five solid minutes of them complaining you'll know the person sees the glass as half empty. Also, if anything out of the ordinary has happened that might be affecting your date's mood, it's good to factor this in.
4. Tell me about your friends?
Why: When you enter a relationship with someone you're also entering a relationship with their friends. Also, it's nice to give your date an opportunity to answer a question that isn't directly about them.
5. Are you a dog person, a cat person, or neither?
Why: If one of you doesn't like pets and the other has three dogs?
6. Would you like a bite of my food?
Why: This question shows you’re open to sharing. On a first date go for a friendly tone rather than an intimate tone when asking this question. If the person is against it, he or she may be against sharing in life or have some sort of issue with sharing from his/her past.
7. Is it too noisy in here for you?
Why: This shows you’re considerate of other people’s comfort. Don’t be afraid to change plans if you arrive at a restaurant and find it’s too noisy for a good conversation.
8. Are you close to your family? Or, tell me who’s in your family?
Why: Are they very involved with their family of origin? Is this something that appeals to you or not? Are their family intrusive?
9. Is there anything you don’t eat?
Why: Helps you plan future dates but also gives you an opportunity to choose not to pursue dating someone who has very incompatible food preferences from you.”
Can you use these tips now as you navigate the dating landscape? Also, do you have any stories or tips to share as singles work to assess the mental health of their dates. If yes, please send me your story!
Dating is hard work, but it is a time for gathering information in order to weed out those with whom you might be incompatible. Next month, I will follow up with other tips in our Mental Health and Dating Part II blog. So, let me hear from you about how if any these might have helped.
|Posted by [email protected] on February 10, 2017 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
Time for a Heart to Heart Conversation
It’s February 2017, and Americans are celebrating American Heart Health, Black History, Mental health month, plus a host of other health observances. February is also the month of love when we will celebrate Valentine day and share special gifts with those we love. Love and a focus on the heart are everywhere. For instance, my credit union has a monthly competition and all you have to do to enter to win in February is to draw a heart on a check you are depositing. All stores, supermarkets, and even online sites are sending out the “love” as they try to entice us to spend money to purchase gifts, flowers and other trinkets to show our love.
But why should anyone care about these topics? First, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Heart disease kills on average more than 610,000 Americans each year and accounts for one in every four deaths in our country. An interesting fact reported by the CDC is that more than 50% of these deaths occur in men. So, Heart disease and mental health both have one thing in common, they affect millions of Americans.
As we celebrate Black History Month, it is, even more, starting to realize that African Americans have higher incidences of heart disease and the highest reported use of inpatient mental health services than other races. So, for me, it is becoming more obvious as I reflect on what to do in February, it seems a perfect time for all Americans, but especially African Americans, to stop to have a “heart to heart” conversation. This heart to heart, I believe must first start with themselves, then their families, friends and colleagues, and then, of course, a heart to heart is needed in our communities.
So, you might ask what this should heart to heart include. Can I suggest that we could start by discussing what might be behind these very high rates of heart disease in the African American population? Are there genetic or environmental factors that contribute to these conditions? What is the role of stress, discrimination, and racism on the heart health of our people? What might be the role of diet and physical inactivity? What are the impact of smoking and high blood pressure on these data? What is the impact of unforgiveness on our cardiovascular health? These and a number of other questions should be taken out of hiding and discussed in an open and public dialogue. Not only should these questions be brought out in the open and discussed with no blame, but as a people, African Americans must collectively develop a plan of action to change these data. Since we know that “Black Lives Matters”, this Black History Month, let’s start a conversation about how to reduce heart disease and its related complications in our community. Only then will we be able to live long and healthy lives. After all, it is the time for us to live to see our grand and great grandchildren!
As an African American, please share your story about how you changed your lifestyle to reduce your risk for heart disease or develop healthy behaviors after a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure or another scare.