Keeping it real!

Sometimes we feel tired, swamped and simply worked-out. We all have those days, those weeks, those moments.

Achieving, winning and growing can be exciting and we can easily get lost in the “air of success”.

Achieving requires exerting our energy, sacrificing our personal time and hobbies. And yet, it is important to remember to keep it real. Keeping it real speaks of acknowledging that it is still necessary to take care of this beautiful gift, our body, keeping it real speaks of taking timeout to connect with your family and to read and meditate on content that would broaden your perspective.

Keeping it real allows you to remember your simple past, moral foundation and values that has brought you success. Keeping it real reminds you that you are existing in a wonderful body, an amazing world of resources and yet understand that man is not in control of everything. God is the one in control and He can easily overrule our plans.

Keeping it real allows you to see what’s happening around you, it keeps you connected with current affairs, it allows you to be sensitive to the needs of others and it allows you to constantly evaluate where you are at.

Prayer: Dear God please help me to remember that my success is all because I have found a way to keep it real, I have found a way to constantly reflect on my current status and the fact that it is much more beneficial to allow you to guide my every move. I am grateful for my experiences with you, it has certainly kept me grounded, watchful and hopeful. I understand that I must always lift you up above all else and you would take care of my daily needs. Understanding your plan for my life and pursuing it daily amidst endless distractions is certainly a walk of discipline and endurance…but I really love keeping it real.

Are you living a life of pretense, trying to be who you are not, compromising on values and standards that have brought you success? Keeping it real, helps you to realise the things that really matters in this life; Family, positively impacting the lives of your colleagues at work and making a difference in your home, school, church and community, growing and becoming a better you and gaining a clearer understanding of who God is and why He considered your existence. You and I are just men, totally dependent on God’s grace. We better keep it real!!

I love to associate with “real people” who love keeping it real! ūüôā

Should you be praying or Acting in Faith?

Time passes by very quickly, the birthdays, the graduations; oh how time flies. We all have the same amount of time at our disposal. However, some of us waste it terribly and regrettably so. Time wasted cannot be regained. I believe you have heard this saying before.

I wish to remind us to “Act”. Sometimes we have no reason to wait, to sit and to do nothing. All that is necessary now, is to take action. Remember we are given gifts and resources and it is not for us to be selfish with it but to impact the world positively. For the believer, it is for building the Church of God, the Kingdom of God.

It is wearying to see us labour in prayer, doubting God, looking for a sign from heaven, when all we need to do is take that first step, second step or that next step in faith, understanding that you are alive now and can only act while you are alive. Someone’s life is going to be better because of your willingness and discipline to ACT.

Work against your doubts, act against your fear, move against the ungodly tide, take responsibility for that gift you have been given and ACT.

Go speak to Dad and let him know you have forgiven him, go speak to your boss and share your interest in the new position, stop procrastinating on sharing Christ with that co-worker, stop putting off your quiet time with God and His Word, start that book, start working on that business idea, start working on that ministry……just ACT. Act now, before there is no more time left.

PURSUE PURPOSE!

Scanning the Psalms – Part III

As I read Psalm chapter three, focusing on verse six, I began to empathize with the Psalmist, David. Friends, the children of God have been going through “hell” from the very beginning. David’s daughter was raped by her brother, his own blood (Absalom) came up against him to try to take over the kingdom and his enemies were real men and women with swords. I wish to add that David committed some sins against God that often makes me wonder, how a man of God’s own heart can stoop so low. However, that’s another topic! Today, I am just considering that David went through a lot. Just as you and I do, we all experience rough times.

I mentioned earlier that I read the entire chapter, but my focus was verse six. It says – “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.”
This was my take-away from this verse. In my mind, if David, who had men with swords seeking for his life could say this, I can. If David, who had to flee his own Kingdom for his safety, because his own men were turning against him, I can. If David, as a youth, was attacked by a trusted adult who wanted to kill him as a result of jealousy, I can. If David, could grieve God’s heart so deeply and still rise up to enjoy his protection, I can.

David demonstrated a faith in God that was unshakable, unmovable and worthwhile.

He said “I laid me down and slept”. This speaks of peace of mind and confidence that everything will be ok, even as he sleeps. Then he says ” I awaked; for the Lord sustained me”. As a result of his confidence and trust in God, he awoke as he expected, feeling satisfied having slept in God’s promises. He immediately acknowledges that it was God who kept him through the night.
I love this commentary by Albert Barnes, it says;
“For the Lord sustained me – He kept me from danger; he preserved me from death. And it is as true now as it was then, that God is the supporter of life when men sleep. He guards us; he causes the action of the heart to be continued as it propels the blood through our frame; he secures the gentle heaving of the lungs, both when we slumber and when we wake.”

For each of us our circumstances are different or challenges vary. But, we can all identify with the need to comfortably sleep at nights knowing that God will keep us safe. I acknowledge that some of you reading this article have not enjoyed such rest because you may be living in fear, guilt, bitterness and regrets or maybe your experiences have lead you to hate God. Once you learn to let these emotions go, your faith in God and His ability to give you true and complete rest would grow.

Featured picture: Grenada Craft Centre – Located just out of Kirani James Boulevard into Port Highway, St. George’s, Grenada.

Scanning the Psalms – Part II

Psalm one is really a simple comparison between the man seeking to walk uprightly and the man who wants nothing to do with God.

Let’s look at the differences:

The Upright

Finds pleasure in reading and studying God’s word.

Bears good, wholesome and healthy fruit.

Anything good he does is likely to be successful.

He is firmly planted and his roots run deep.

When being judged, God will be pleased with him.

The Ungodly

Has no interest in the Word of God; does not respect it.

He may seem to prosper but does not enjoy good success. He “prospers” at the expense of others.

His life of disrespect towards God is marred with pain and regret.

He is like a chaff easily blown away by the wind.

If he does not repent, when being judged God will sadly condemn him.

Now, even in preparing this comparison when I got to number five, I felt a bit uncomfortable.   No one likes to speak of judgement and condemnation.   But then what do you do if the Word of God speaks of it?  Compromise?    It is better to say it as it is, well at least if you want to be called put God first.   It does not mean that you are “speaking the hate language”, it is simply that you hold God’s word above anything else. 

The Word of God contains lots of positives, many passages speaks of his protection, his love, his forgiveness and his grace and it is much easier to accept.   But we must understand that the God of Love is also holy and cannot tolerate sin.  His grace extends to all, but we must expect that if we continuously reject his Grace, there will be consequences.  You see his Grace is that space he gives us to repent and submit to his ways.  Remember though, that it’s our choice to submit to his authority or not to submit, but choosing the latter comes with serious negative consequences.

MY PRAYER:   I pray that anyone who is living a life against God’s principles and guidance would realize that they are travelling a dangerous road and sense his overwhelming love drawing them to his side. I pray they would desire to taste of His everlasting water and abundant life.  I pray that they would truly drink from the well that never runs dry.  IN JESUS NAME, AMEN!

Wish I can speak about God’s love and grace only, but I can’t!  Psalm Chapter one is the Reason!

Featured Picture taken by InspireMe – The Lagoon – Kirani Boulevard, St. George’s. Great place to chill!

Am I scornful? Do I take the things of God lightly? Part I

Please enjoy this journey with me as I scan through the Psalms and share snippets of the well written poetic pieces inspired by God himself. Because I love photography so much, I would crown each post with a lovely picture of my homeland, Grenada.

The goal here is to remind us that the Word of God is beautiful, exciting and still true, still relevant and necessary for good success. We all have great dreams but what are great dreams without the purest of knowledge and wisdom?

So let’s begin chroming the Psalms. Today, when I woke up I felt a spark of excitement as I reached for my big black bible. Yes, It was another heavenly idea strolling my way: “I am going to scan through the book of Psalms and look for truths that would remind me of how precious this Book is!”
I reached for my B.I.B.L.E and started at the start, the very beginning! Psalm Chapter 1. It has been a while since I read Psalm Chapter one; such a great Psalm. Thinking about it, it is quite poetic!

Psalm Chapter 1:
God’s word says I am blessed just because I decide to discipline myself by rejecting ungodly advice; advice that is questionable, advice that is contrary to God’s instructions, advice that would lead me outside of God’s plan for my life. I am blessed just trying to be wise! Here is verse 1:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”

I researched the word “scornful” before, but my memory needed to be refreshed so I checked it out again. Then I realised, I didn’t want to stop researching the word, but I needed to get ready for work.

Nevertheless the scornful represents someone who rejects God’s authority, scoffs at godly truths, practices and principles. The Scorner makes light of the things of God and the people of God. If we associate too much with the scornful or the scorner, we can be negatively influenced and begin to take God and his principles lightly as well. Imagine you claim to love God and you are sitting with your “friends” sharing demeaning jokes about his servants, about his church and about his work? Scary, right? But it can be easily done.
Sometimes we think we are so liberated and educated that we become puffed up and begin to look down on the faithful, the upright and the man or woman who is still willing to talk about Jesus!
So here is the question? Are you walking or listening to wise counsel, drawing your boundary lines so that you are not influenced by the Scornful?

Featured picture: True Blue Bay Resort – overlooking the St. George’s University, True Blue, St. George.

Worship Expressions

Psalm 145 verses 1 & 2:

“I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.”

I think of you every day, I think of you when I awake, as I am engaged in my daily duties, in those moments when I feel overwhelmed and in those moments when I am soberly in control of my thoughts.

Daily, my hand reaches out to you, desiring your attention, your blessings, your wisdom.

My desire, like the Psalmist David, is to bless you everyday. I want to know, without a doubt, that my heart is pursuing you as a Deer pursue’s water in a dry land.

Sometimes, I think life is so unfair, corrupt and complicated, but then I remember you and there is that safe place, there is that safe place when I lay down my burdens and I look up to your face.

“Everyday” speaks of discipline, loyalty, commitment and true adoration. That’s what you deserve, all the Glory, all the Honour, all the WORSHIP, DAILY!

Let’s work on our Writing Skills!

Let me start by admitting that I do not read enough.   However, I often read articles posted by other bloggers.  From time to time, I also read poems written by other writers, and pieces that may be shared with me personally, or posted on other blogs not owned by the writer.

To a lesser extent, from time to time I would read books.  Let me say that I am better at reading shorter articles, maybe 2 to 5 pages.   It is more of a challenge for me to read an entire book from front cover to back cover.

The point is, I read and lately, in the last year, or so, the content I am reading are from local writers.   One of my observations as I read, is that there are too many grammatical errors, too many displaced words and too many pieces that does not seem to have a central theme.   Mind you, I critique my work often.

So here are some practical tips for all of us, some have been shared with us before, by Presenters at our October 13th Event:

  1. Read often!¬† If you want to improve your quality of writing, it is not enough just to have something to say. or to be passionate about saying, it even if you believe it came directly from God.¬† It needs to be written properly and one way you can improve your writing quality is to read.¬† ¬†Read properly written articles.¬† Articles written by universities or well known producers like “Time Magazine”, “Forbes” and “Business Week”.¬† ¬†Read books produced by well established Christian Writers or organisations eg: Focus on the Family, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Myer and many more.¬† ¬†Read! Read! Read!¬† Read poems, read commentaries, read varied types of pieces.
  2. When you write, remember not to focus on getting your grammar write on the first draft, just write freely, capturing your thoughts as they flow.  After you have done that, leave it for a few minutes then go back and edit.  This process can be repeated as often as necessary but you may want to edit at least three times.  The larger your content, the more you should edit.  As a back up, to ensuring your editing is thorough, ask someone to edit your work as well.  In other words, invite feedback from others.
  3. Always keep your reading audience in mind and be sure to write to communicate.  Readers should not be confused after reading your article;  I see this many times in poetry.  Notwithstanding that some poems are designed to make you think and develop your vocabulary, it is important for you as the Writer to remember that you are not writing to yourself but to someone else who is not carrying your brain.   Your language needs to make sense.
  4. Do not use words if you are unsure of their meanings.  Study and understand the meanings first and once you are convinced that it is the right word to use within the context you are writing, go right ahead.
  5. When you are writing, seek to have a central theme.¬† For example if you are writing about “The Wind”,¬† ¬†focus on the wind, don’t stray and begin to speak about “The Snow”, unless each stanza is speaking about a different aspect of the Weather.¬† If you are writing a book about “Forgiveness”, try not to create confusion about your¬†focus.¬† ¬†All your examples, illustrations and sub topics should connect to “Forgiveness”.
  6. Read articles that would help you to develop your writing.   Take advantage of the teachers in your family or in your circle or those who have a very good command on the English Language and ask  them questions.
  7. Finally,¬† spend lots of time with the one who gave you the gift, the ability and the desire.¬† ¬†Spend time with God, discover and rediscover who He is and who he wants you to be.¬† ¬†If you don’t, you would find your writing is shallow and ordinary and lacks spiritual foundation.¬† ¬†Even if you are writing a fictional piece, somewhere, somehow, your beliefs would seep through.¬† For a believer, every aspect of our lives should be governed and directed by God himself.

That’s all for now.¬† ¬†All we need is a few practical reminders to keep us focused.

Do you have a tip to share with us?   Please do in the comment box below.

Have a wonderful writing journey!!

Obedience to God is never in vain. Talking about our Writers!

On October 13th, 2018,¬† I was blessed to be able to successfully host, the first ever Christian Writers’ meet-up.¬† ¬†It was a vision given by the Holy Spirit Himself.¬† Sorry, I really have no apologies, but I can’t take the credit.¬† ¬†If you don’t believe the Holy Spirit can speak to people, then the rest of the article may not interest you.

I confirmed that it was the Holy Spirit when I saw the outcome of the Event and when I received feedback from those in attendance.¬† I met a number of persons for the first time at that Event and I immediately connected with them, wanting to get to know them better.¬† ¬†Following feedback received, through the evaluation forms circulated at the Event, I saw the need to organise a simple follow-up activity and that’s what I did.¬† ¬†On December 8th, we held a follow-up Social.¬†

Now, if you were one of the persons who sponsored the Event held on October 13th, you would be happy to know that it was not in vain.   As a result of your blessings, as a result of the support of each Writer who attended and as a result of the faithfulness of God, I can truly say, it was not in vain.

One writer told me that he has been writing for years, has written 13 books  and now he is seriously considering embracing online technology as he prepares to launch his 14th book.   Maybe, just maybe, he would start his first website.   

At our Social persons in attendance shared what God has used the Event to do and what he is currently doing in their lives.¬† ¬†One lady said, “before I would receive inspiration, have a lovely thought and never write it down, then I would loose it…..not anymore, I have been noting¬† those inspirational thoughts that come to mind”.¬† ¬† One young lady spoke about her fear to share her poems with others as she thought they were not good enough and told us how she finally found the courage to share them and received unexpected highly positive responses.¬†¬†

What really stood out to me was the testimony of¬† another young lady;¬†she indicated that she has been taking notes at church during the sermons.¬† Her Pastor recently presented a series of messages and as a result of faithful note-taking, she was able to summarise these messages and present it to the church as a “Spoken Word” or Poem.¬† ¬†This was certainly a new idea to us.¬† We loved the fact that she took the initiative to approach her pastor, requesting his permission to present it during the church service.¬† Because he said “yes”, persons were blessed and got¬†the opportunity to see poetry in action at church and it was well received.¬†

As persons continued to share, I felt a warm sensation in my stomach and a comforting reassuring peace that this step of obedience, this drive and perseverance to walk this vision towards life, was not a coincidence but a well thought-out plan orchestrated by God himself.   

Too many times we live as if we are powerless, hopeless, totally ridden of resources and we can’t make things happen.¬† ¬†I think it is because our eyes are often on ourselves and not on God and others.¬† ¬†Life is supposed to be about pleasing God and others.

So, to my dear fellow writers, if you are enjoying some success as a writer, don’t let pride sneak into your heart.¬† ¬†Remember you are gifted with a purpose; please stay on course and honour God with your gift.¬† ¬†For you who are still struggling, trying to write something that others would read, keep practicing and for others who are prompted to start and are waiting for a golden pen to fall from heaven, stop waiting.¬† ¬†Take up the pencil and the pad available to you and start jotting down your daily thoughts.¬† Yes, you can start right there.

I am thankful to God for breathing hope and life into others through this recent movement to motivate Christian Writers to write, so that someone in their world can be reached.

I will be posting a related article later today, presenting useful tips for developing your writing.  Be on the look out!

 

 

I am going to miss my GDB family but I am taking valuable lessons with me. (Featured pic done by Jinaele Douglas)

One of the beautiful things about life is that it offers you continuous opportunities to learn, once you are breathing, you can learn something new and exciting.  Whether simple or great, lessons cannot be overrated, for they enrich us for better living, empower us for making informed and wise decisions, and prepare us for our journeys ahead.

During my years at GDB, every conflict, every discussion, every crisis and every turbulence, worked as tools rubbing against my character; with every friction came pain, discomfort, fear of the unknown, doubt and at the same time, faith, hope and determination.

I am now one day old as a non-employee of the GDB (feel a little sadness here)  and honestly, I have no regrets.   Instead I have cherished memories and lessons that I would always hold dear to my heart.

I can say a lot, but I need to focus on just enough, allowing you to digest quickly as you read.   May you be encouraged to keep pushing against the tide, when all odds seem to be against you.  Remember your success requires perseverance!

Real pic of me. I believe this is the pic used by Jinaele. She did a wonderful job!!

Lessons learnt;

  1. As a youth, in the early years of your career, seek to associate yourself with experienced and accomplished persons who are willing teach you unconditionally.¬† In life we need sincere mentors who would not seek to exploit us or help us expecting something in return.¬† I pray that you will be able to know the difference.¬† I was blessed to meet some great professionals as a “just-starting” professional.¬† These relationships helped to steer me in the direction of advancement and eventually success.
  2. Don’t ever let others’ incorrect perception of you mar you or define you.¬† There have been times when I doubted the core of who I am.¬† After some wavering, I found my balance and started to believe again in who I was.¬† My solid upbringing as a child and my godly foundation was in tact after all.¬† ¬†I had to know me and believe in me, even in the times when no-one else did.
  3. Think the best of others first (always).¬†¬† Be very careful when your colleagues at work come to you with complaints about others.¬† ¬†Remember, as much as we try to be good, as human beings we have sinful tendencies.¬† It takes practice and discipline to report a matter correctly and objectively when you are offended, experiencing jealousy, fearful, angry or even in a state of un-forgiveness or bitterness.¬† It seriously blurs your vision and hinders your ability to think clearly.¬† So when your work-mates approach you in such a manner, seek to listen carefully and remember many times there’s¬†more to the story or even less.
  4. Despite how many times you feel put down, rise up to the challenge ahead; you need to ensure your energy is being well spent.  I was foolish enough sometimes to give-in to the occasions when I felt put down; I was wrong to give in.   I eventually learned how to direct my energies to positive thoughts, despite the temptation to slump in self-pity, and focus on the work I had to do on my desk, my annual goals and my personal achievements.
  5. When you are able to receive criticisms gracefully, whether the motive is to build you up or break you down, you have achieved greatness, especially when you are able to see value in the criticism and value in the person criticizing you.   We can choose to complaint about what others are saying or how they are saying it,  or we can choose to accept that there are some things we cannot change and instead look for gold and silver among the junk.   Look deeper! Look pass the faces and the sound of the voice.
  6. If you have started the process towards achieving a particular goal, don’t dwell on the process, focus on the prize.¬† I love focusing on the goal, the result, it always looks good and inspires me to keep moving.¬† We can choose to whine about the spills, the sleepless nights, the seemingly difficult people, the exams, the need to practice, the need to study,¬† our supervisor or our boss, or we can keep our eyes on what looks really good, the prize, the goal.¬† I know it is easier said than done but it really keeps us focused and moving.
  7. Listen to others even when they do not listen to you, do it sincerely.  If you are patient, change will eventually come.   I expect that this lesson would not make sense to some of you and you may have good reason to think that way.  I have practiced it however and it has worked.  Life is about building relationships, it is about denying ourselves the first word, the last word or any word at all.  In building relationships we must learn how to control our emotions and just be still.  I think there are three main reasons why someone may not listen to you but just want to be heard;  1)  They feel that they have not been heard; your body language suggests that you are not interested or have not been giving them undivided attention.  2) They do not think what you have to say is of any value to them and 3) They have come to you in protection mode (their defense is up), they are seeking to protect themselves from something about themselves that they prefer not to have explored or exposed.  Patience and understanding is required here.
  8. Finally,  when the stressful moment comes and the seemingly impossible situation comes your way, remember that this too shall pass.    Breathe and think about the time when it will be all over.   Seek help when you need it, but never give up as if it is the end, because it is not.   It is up to you to dig deep and find ways to survive the tossing waves.  You can still learn to swim.

I do hope these eight lessons would inspire you to face life more positively, especially at work.¬† ¬†Don’t let the negative forces influence you, see every moment as an opportunity to grow, to shine and to build a legacy of pure loyalty and commitment.

I write this article with special thoughts of Jinaele Douglas,  my former assistant, who has had to whether many personal storms.  May this article give you strength.

Featured picture is a drawing of me, done by Jinaele Douglas.  What talent!!