Love Defined

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)



How to Spring Clean Your Spirit

woman-meditating-healthy.pngWhile you’re cleaning out closets and sweeping under the furniture, think about this: Spring cleaning, while worth the effort, will only last for a season, but spiritual cleansing could have an eternal influence. So don’t just dust behind those book shelves, dust off that favorite Bible and get ready for a spiritual spring cleaning.

The Bible encourages us to draw close to God and allow our hearts and bodies to be cleansed. This is the first step in our spring cleaning project. We can’t clean ourselves. Instead we must draw near to God and ask Him to do the cleansing.

Today’s Challenge is to cleanse your heart and get spiritually healthy.

Proverbs 3:5-6

trust“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

You may be facing a dead end right now — financial, emotional, or relational — but if you will trust God and keep on moving in faith, even when you don’t see a way, he will make a way.

It will become more understandable as you head down the path he sets before you, but understanding is not a requirement for you to start down the path. Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (NIV). One day you will stand in the full light of eternity and view the big picture. You’ll see God’s purpose behind the path he specifically chose for you.

In the meantime, do what Proverbs 3 says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Be patient. God knows what he’s doing. God knows what is best for you. He can see the end result.

You can’t. All those problems, heartaches, difficulties and delays — all the things that make you ask “why” — will one day be clear in the light of God’s love.

But for now, we’re learning to trust God.

Comrades, Confidants & Constituents

This clip speaks for itself. It is from one of the greatest teachers in the clergy. Bishop Jakes presents a series on ‘constituents, comrades, and confidants.’ Throughout our lives, we meet three types of people. We never really know where they fall in these categories until we are under attack. You can have people in your lives for years, believing that they are there for you no matter what you are going through, but something happens not of your own doing to show you exactly who these people really are. And you are all the better for it. It does not mean they have no meaning in your life. Sometimes people are in your life for their own purpose (constituents), and when they find someone who helps them get where they are going, they leave you and follow the cause that gets them there faster.

Sometimes you have comrades. Those are the people that you call upon when you go to battle. They, like the constituents, are present for the temporary service that you provide. If you are not in combat or not in abundance, you shift back and forth from these two sectors of people. Then there is the confidant. All great leaders have one. Bishop Jakes states that you are blessed to have one, but abundantly blessed if you have three in the course of your life. You need all types of people in your life to learn about life. You simply need to know who is where and what position they play. We have all kinds of friends.

Most important, confidants are the people you can lay your trust in. They are there for the long-haul. They love you unconditionally. They are the people you tend to take for granted, unfortunately. If they leave you, they have not left you because they stop loving you. They leave because they are searching for the thing they provide for you but cannot find within you. It likely was not a relationship of perceived equality. The scales were drastically unbalanced. As a result, they lost favor in you and departed. If they return to your life, make their importance in your life known to them. Say it out loud. Time is precious. And we take things that mean most to us and abuse it, believing it will not go away, but be there always. This is so far from the truth since we know we lose loved ones to death always. Sometimes it leaves. And it is then, we realize that some things and people are irreplaceable. We are aware this, but we gamble on it anyway. We wake up knowing and believing that the sun rises to meet us, and they will too.

True soulmates are believed to be each other’s confidant. They are there for each other without question.

Some years ago an associate of mine insisted that I look very carefully at the people in my life. I was blessed to hear this advice and blessed for following it. That day changed my life forever. To God, Be the Glory!

Manifest the Life That You Desire

woman_silhouette_caro_original_54135-480x300BY KARA I. STEVENS

A lot of us are walking around with an air of heaviness and hopelessness because we are not living the lives we really want or deserve.

But getting to where you want in life may not be as difficult as it seems when you are ready to do what it takes to get there. If you are willing to change but need some place to start, try these five tips. They will get you in gear to live more in tune with your truth.

1) Become clear about what you want…not what somebody else wants.

One of the reasons that you’re walking around without a sense of direction is because you are not sure about what you want. You are too busy consuming and ingesting the values, beliefs, and perspectives of others. Your spirit gets overburdened, and your mind gets really cluttered when you’re carrying unnecessary baggage.

A cost-effective solution for clarity is to find a quiet place, be still, and wait for answers to come. When your answers come, write them down and refer to them on a daily basis. This strategy is one that Mama Oprah uses, and we know what kind of results she’s produced with all of that stillness and clarity.

2) Consider your mortality. 

Sometimes I look at my 76-year-old mother and say to myself, “Omg! I don’t have as much time with this incredible woman as I used to.” Not to sound morbid, but that’s the reality. Luckily, if she were to leave me today, I would have no regrets about the time we spent together, the fights we had, and the memories we created.

When it comes to your dreams, goals, and aspirations, can you say the same? If you were to be gone tomorrow, would your song still be buried deep, deep inside of you?

3) Say “yes” now. Figure out the details later.

For a while, I knew I wanted to write for a living, but I had no connections, no clips, and really no experience with media. But I didn’t let my ignorance and inexperience stop me. Instead, I took a chance. I wrote my first article and then pitched it to a local newspaper for publication.

They loved it and I even got paid $50 for the piece. That one step led to a personal finance column that was seen by 30,000 people on a weekly basis. That one step was the start of a flourishing freelancing career. If I decided to stay stuck, my love for personal finance and Black folk wouldn’t have a place to take root, nor would I be able to inspire or motivate thousands of Black women as The Frugal Feminista to take control of their finances. It would be a lose-lose situation all around.

4) Get out of debt.

Many of us are living at a fraction of our potential because of debt. The secret sauce to getting out of debt is evident: take the extra money and apply it to your outstanding balance. Consider brainstorming 50 ways that you could save money and then another 50 ways that you could generate more income. You don’t have to use all of the ideas, only the best ideas.

5) Get support.

One of the reasons that you may not be living the life that you want is because everyone around you is miserable. But it is really up to you to take control of your happiness. If you can’t find a happy wingman in your immediate circle, find one virtually.

When I was in search of a community that would support me moving from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset, I looked online. One of my favorite online communities is Rosetta Thurman’s Happy Black Woman tribe.  She provides some free and paid resources to help you start thinking differently about yourself and your life.

Design Your Prayer Calendar

If you’re having trouble with your prayer life, you might simply need a little more structure. A prayer calendar will help you plan out when to pray, where to pray and for whom or what. A prayer calendar should be unique to every person, but the concept is always the same–taking time out of your day and devoting it to prayer to God. Praying every day is beneficial, so make each day of the week specific to a certain need or request.

Difficulty: Moderate Instructions

Things You’ll Need

  • Calendar
  • Pen

Suggest Editsprayer-calendar-for-kids-1

Decide what time of the day you want to pray. If you’re a morning person, perhaps you’ll want to wake up 15 minutes earlier for your prayer time. In any case, make sure that you’re intentional about the time in which you pray. Once you’ve decided on time, you have to determine what you will pray for.

Devote each day of the week to a different prayer topic. Some helpful examples are church, family, friends, personal needs, global events, local events and God’s glorification. You could pray for all of these things every day, but it’s good to start one day at a time. The stronger you become in your prayer life, the more capable you will be when praying for more things.

Download the calendar in the reference link below, and print it out. Add your prayer requests to the days. This will help you remember what you have decided to pray for each day. If you want to pray for a particular family member, write his or her name on the day you have set aside to pray for the family. Or you may only want to write “family” as a general reminder to pray for everyone you’re related to.

Tips & Warnings

  • Following your prayer calendar may be supplemented by a personal Bible study. This will provide much spiritual nourishment for a Christian. You may then be able to reflect on scripture during prayer or pray that God would teach you through his Word.
  • While it’s important to make prayer a regular part of the Christian life, it’s vital to remember that prayer should never be habitual. Prayer is a time in which Christians approach God spiritually, and should always be revered as a holy moment in the day, never to be taken for granted.