Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Change, Confidence, Determination, Free Will, freedom, History, judgment, Life, Opinions, Perseverance, Progress, Self, slave, Truth, Willpower

Life was meant to be led

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So God gave us all one life and that was for the purpose of us growing and developing into a state where we would function in our right minds, and make decisions for our well being.

There are so many things in this world to get us off this task. This world is all about influence and control. We fight each day to keep our righteous minds.

Look at your life and the forces around you. Your home life, your job, your friends, the products you buy, the services that you use, everywhere you turn someone is trying to get you to do something. Buy this thing, support that cause, help him out — there is no end.

From the time you wake up and even in your sleep, life is getting away from you. The status quo says eat, drink, buy, spend, take, push, struggle, force, aggression, die trying and too late. These words belong to the world and they are used far too often.

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So you my friend must take control. We don’t often consider it but for many the word sale means you need to buy. Did you need the item? It doesn’t matter because it’s on sale.

For some, hearing the words happy hour means it’s time to drink. Why, are you thirsty? No, it’s happy hour.

Look at the control these simple words have on us. Our words have the same effect as controlled substances — and we are hooked.

So how is this fixed? We must take control of our own lives. Life was meant to be led. You have to get out in front of yours and lead it. Guide it. Control it. Treat it as precious as it is. Critical thinking is paramount to your success.

In the words of the late great rapper Heavy D, “In this life I strive for improvement. Be your own guide, follow your own movement.”

Make no mistake: this isn’t about surviving, it’s all about flourishing.

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Beauty, Children, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, Generosity, Giving, God, Happiness, Health, Jesus Christ, Love, Parenthood, Perseverance, Racism, Relationships, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Truth, Willpower, Work

I’m thankful for…

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving.

This has always been a sore spot for me ever since my second year of high school. That’s the time that I learned about the betrayal and almost destruction of an entire race of people at the hands of the Pilgrims.

Since that time, I’ve learn to find good in a day marked to celebrate their evil. Thanksgiving is somewhat like the Trojan horse. Both involved a festive occasion marred by betrayal and a massacre.

But there is hope.

Instead of thinking about the historic events that make this holiday ugly, I choose to be thankful.

I am thankful that I knew to make the most of my opportunities.

I’m thankful that I didn’t have circumstances like abuse, grief, drugs or poverty to hinder me from seeing the potential in myself.

I’m thankful for all the people who are close to me. I’m thankful for their love and understanding. I’m thankful for their friendship and kindness. And mostly I’m thankful that these people formed a hedge around me to ensure that I  knew I was loved and shielded from hurt.

I’m thankful for my parents. I am what I am because of the parents I have. And even though they were not perfect, they turned me into the best me I could be.

I’m thankful for my race. Despite the tragedy and racism that still takes place, I am proud of the contributions of my race, the rich tradition of the African culture and our resilience. I still pray that more African Americans will come to know this truth. #cutitoutFerguson

I am thankful to everyone who has ever disciplined me. I needed it and I realize how evil it is for others to go around not disciplining those in their scope of influence. Every child needs discipline and one of the problems in our school systems is that they lack discipline.

I’m thankful to every man that has been or who is currently in my life. You have taught me about a very diverse brotherhood that I am thankful for. The closeness, intimacy and trust we share has made me the strong heterosexual man I am today. I am blessed to be able to draw from brothers who are White, Indian, Cuban, German and Black.

I’m especially thankful for every woman who has ever built a relationship with me. You taught me love and respect the right way and made me less of a dog. I learned how to be intimate without having sex and I learned to appreciate beauty.

I am very thankful for the three children I have. They are all little models of me. I’m learning so much from them. They make me a better man.

I’ve saved the best for last. I am most thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. All of who I am and who I hope to be rests in Him. Christ, you represent all for me and I love you with every inch of who I am.

Please take time to share your thanks with the people who have earned it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Beauty, Life, Mind Power, Pain, Progress, Relationships, Success, Taking Responsibility, Time, Truth, Willpower

Are you wasting the sun?

On or around June 21, what we call the summer solstice takes place. This is when the rays of the sun will be perpendicular to the Tropic of Cancer at 23°30′ North latitude ( don’t worry, I had to look that up too). This is when we typically get the longest day of the year.

While enjoying the sun on this day, I often think about the time I have left on this earth. Now, of course, I have no idea when my time is up, but in my mid-40s I think that I might have passed the half-way point. What I’m getting at is this is a good time to take a look at your life and decide if you like what you see. Everyone makes mistakes and some we are able to live with and some we are not. Some of our decisions have caused us to have other ongoing problems and sometimes we escape with just a warning of some kind. Nevertheless, we take inventory to see what people, places and things need not be in our lives anymore.

The items I’m talking about are those things that would have us waste our time, energy and resources — we’re wasting the sun. Some of us are struggling in bad relationships, going to bad places and continue to give in to our vices. Sadly, there are even some of us who have been wasting the sun for so long that it appears normal.

With 50 percent of 2012 gone it would be well worth it to salvage the rest of this year by dumping these things that drain us. We have to evaluate whether or not it is worth the time. The best way to do this is to imagine your life without the vice. Even go as far as creating a list of things or events that would take place if these vices were gone. I guess it is possible that you could create a list that ends up looking about the same with or without the vices. If this is the case, then you are the problem — and that’s the good news! Change from within is actually easier than dealing with change that involves outside vices simply because there is too many variables on the outside.

Whatever your list reveals to you, be glad because it really is the start of something beautiful — you! Your life IS worth it so don’t waste the sun!

Posted in Achievement, Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, Fear, Free Will, freedom, God, Happiness, Love, Opinions, Progress, Relationships, Religious Freedom, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Willpower

Maturity in Christ

I often hear Christians and non-Christians painting a picture of Christianity in a very primitive state based on their understanding. What I mean is that they are still looking at scriptures and saying what they see instead of what they understand. The problem: When you take what you see in scripture and never look beyond it, all you get is a form of godliness. When you study and gain an understanding you get the form and function.

So for instance John 13:23-24, “34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  This is a very “easy” verse to understand, but what you walk away with will depend on your level of maturity. Some people see the fact that there is a “commandment” in the first verse. This same person that sees the commandment will tell you that Christ commands us to do things. They will then begin to process their relationship with God based on a slave/master relationship.

Maturity doesn’t even see the word commandment. Maturity emphasizes the function of this verse and only sees the love. The mature person does not feel “forced” to love. They don’t think that there is a negative consequence waiting on them if they don’t love. The mature person, based on their understanding, has a heart so soft toward God that the willingness to “do” comes from an inner desire to please God and not a fearful expectation of being punished by God.

Spiritual maturity compels us to forgive, not because someone asked us to, but because God has forgiven us. We love, not because the object of our love makes it easy, it’s because God first loved us. We help one another, comfort one another and pray for one another, not because of a command, but because of what we understand.

Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

There is a serious need for Christians to move on to maturity and stop debating the gospel and start sharing it; to stop scaring people to be obedient and start encouraging people to be.

Posted in Achievement, Change, Determination, Faith, Happiness, Life, Mind Power, Progress, Success, Willpower

Spring Forward

One way to look at this weekend is to say that we have lost an hour or we had to repay the hour we stole in the fall.

Benjamin Franklin came up with this idea of manipulating time in order to have more daylight. The point was it would give us another hour of light for productivity.

We’re using the light, but the productivity part is questionable.

I would like to borrow Ben’s concept of “springing forward” to make a point. Many are suffer with and from a troubled past. If we are not constantly reminding ourselves about what we’ve done wrong, there’s always someone else ready to take this job over for us.

We are unable to move forward because we are stuck in the past. It’s hard to move ahead when you’re constantly looking back. We all need to consider the idea of “springing forward” to a better place than where we are today. To not be complacent or content with mediocrity, but be the best we can be.

The Apostle Paul instructs us this way: “… forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13,14).

This is our springing forward! This is our time to let go of bad things from the past and press toward the mark today.

Don’t allow the circumstances of the past to dictate what your future looks like.

Spring forward my friend!

Posted in Change, Health, Life, Parenthood, Relationships, Sharing, The Family, Time, Willpower

Make a habit of it!

You know, I was recently thinking about the habits I have. Like everyone I have some good habits and bad habits and it made me wonder why we never think to capitalize on this concept?

Habits are behaviors that are regularly repeated and can even occur subconsciously. Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when doing a routine task. Habituation is one of the simplest forms of learning, in which an organism, after a period of exposure to a stimulus, stops responding to that stimulus in varied manners – technically speaking.

Habits are sometimes compulsory. The process by which new behaviors become automatic is habit formation. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form because the behavioral patterns we repeat are imprinted in our neural pathways, but it can be done.

The general population only seems to be interested in the bad habits. If someone had a habit of helping seniors with their groceries or helping them with chores, no one would care. If a guy had a habit of womanizing, we could draw a crowd pretty quick.

What if we were able to effectively trick our bodies into forming habits that were good for us? I mean instead of just falling into a bad habit, what if we were calculated with forming a good habit? Our bodies seem to respond well to repetition and at least in theory it would work. What if we formed a habit of eating five servings of vegetables and fruits per day? What if we made it a habit of giving our kids a daily dose of encouragement? What if we made it a point to make someone’s life a little easier every day? Whether it’s at home or at work, there are people in our lives who would be affected in a positive way if we thought to give them some unsolicited help.

It is the little things in life that make it worth living. It’s the things that money can’t buy. I need to make a habit of exercising daily. I need to make a habit of building the reputation of a helper. I need to make a habit of visiting my parents weekly. I need to make a habit of eating more salad.

What about you?

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Posted in Change, Determination, Health, Life, Perseverance, Progress, Relationships, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Truth, Willpower, Work

Resolutions should be a way of life

Of the 50 percent of Americans who make resolutions, 90 percent of them break their resolution by the middle of January.

It seems that the end of a year gives us a temporary conscience. It bothers us enough to acknowledge that there are things in our lives that need fixing, but nothing about the New Year makes us want to do anything more than admit it and move on.

We know that there are people who don’t need to be in our lives and there are things we need to just flat out stop doing. Whether that is ending a destructive relationship or maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, we need to be far more serious about this.

Here is a practical way to keep your resolutions. Don’t do a resolution for a year; do them by the day, hour or even minute.

A resolution is a way of admitting we’re wrong and need to be better regarding something in our life. Why not make the idea of resolving ourselves a way of life? What would be wrong with keeping the imperfection ever before us – even to the point of letting others know that you recognize the need to change in this area. Then legitimately work on it. Really commit to the change and raising the bar of expectation in your life.

By doing this daily, I think you will find that those around you will begin to acknowledge a different you. After all, that’s what we all want anyway, right?