Rest!

Taken by me.

According to some religions, Saturday is considered to be the Sabbath Day, the day of rest. Most Christians believe that Sunday is the reserved day. Regardless of what day it is, I believe we should set aside one day during the week to rest and recharge.

I would normally write a detailed blog explaining why we need to understand or consider doing something. In this case, however, I believe you already know the reason. You, in particular your body, are the only one that determine whether you need to rest or not. So, the only advice I will give you is for you to listen to your body. If you don’t have any urgent matters to attend to, and you feel drained or unmotivated, recharge by taking a day for yourself to rest and lay around in your bed, like I do from time to time. 🙂

Does Toxic Positivity Exist?

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I’ve been told on two occasions that it was toxic for me to encourage people to be positive. One person even unfollowed me on Twitter for this. My question is, what is so toxic about having a positive outlook on life?

With this being said, I’m not suggesting we should be positive all of the time in our lives. We simply can’t be positive in some situations. It’s hard to be positive when a loved one has JUST died, or for some reason, we are SUDDENLY homeless and have nowhere to live. I capitalize these words because I’m talking about things that could happen in an exact moment. I don’t suggest being positive if we SUDDENLY suffer a physical assault on the street. It wouldn’t be toxic positivity; it would simply be inappropriate given the circumstances.

However, if we want to live the best life we could live, then we should try our best to be positive. I believe positivity is all about outlook (the future), even when a possibly upcoming bad situation seems insurmountable. If it’s insurmountable, why be positive you might ask? Because what good would it do if we’re negative and pessimistic about everything. We never know what the future might hold.

Our circumstances may suddenly turn around for the better. That’s why we should never give up. Never! I believe in fate; I believe in miracles. The only way we are going to see them is if we have a positive outlook on life. There is nothing toxic about being positive. It makes live worth living, and we become better people because of it.

Execution

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It does not matter how my affirmations and biblical scriptures you quote, if we do not physically work on facing your challenges, it will be highly unlikely that we will be successful in facing it. I use the word “unlikely” because there is always that rare chance that we will be successful without preparing ourselves, even though the percentages of that happening is very low. We do not want to rely on that — instead, we want to have the satisfaction of knowing that we did everything possible to guarantee us victory over our obstacles.

Wise men like Moses, Joshua, and Paul understood this even though they were anointed by God. Moses mostly used the guidance of the Lord in leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the promise land, but he was wise enough to have excellent advisers like Aaron and Joshua around him. They made sure him, and his followers were thoroughly prepared for their journey through the wilderness.

When Moses died, Joshua had the responsibility of conquering the promise land for the Israelites. He had to lead his followers by figuring out and executing military strategy. He did not do this by blinding going into battle — he did this by coming up with a detailed plan and making sure that his people was in the right place at the right time. Look at it this way — God was the omnipotent general telling him what he wanted, and Joshua was the colonel making preparations to ensure his people victory over their enemies.

In order for us to complete our goals, we have to execute them. We will never have the perfect plan. At some point, we have to take what we came up with and run with it. Don’t let a fear of failure hinder you — take action, and know that God is on your side!

The Revelation Begins

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David Christian was confused by the events that were now unfolding around him. He looked up at the sky and noticed that the moon was a sphere of blood. The stars were gone, even though the sky was clear.

David stood behind a crowd of over one hundred people. They were there to listen to Paul Solomon’s campaign speech — the man who was currently the mayor of Clydesville, Maryland. David had to warn him about an assassination attempt on his life.

He took a deep breath before walking along the chain-linked fence to the left of the crowd. He didn’t understand why the mayor would schedule his speech outside in Hyde Park at night with so many in attendance. They weren’t wearing face masks, and they weren’t following social distancing guidelines in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Paul Solomon continued to give his speech to the crowd as his two bodyguards stood behind him. It appeared that the mayor and the crowd were oblivious to the sight of the starless night sky, or the strange atmosphere of this dark event.

David was now fifty feet away from the stage. As he moved forward, he felt intensifying winds pushing against him. He saw a tall black man standing beside the stage steps to the left of him. The man was wearing a long tan trench coat and a baseball cap on his head.

David believed this man was the assassin. He pushed himself through the crowd, upsetting the people around him. Someone in the crowd pushed him back, causing him to fall back on two other people.

“Stop!” David yelled as he tried to regain his composure. “I’ve got to save him!”

“What are you talking about?” a man barked at David before throwing a punch at him.

The man missed him with his wild swing. David counterpunched, knocking the man to the ground. Two more people grabbed David by his arms.

“Let me go! You don’t understand!”

Paul noticed the chaos forming in the crowd. “Everyone calm down,” he said. “There is no need for that.”

The two bodyguards ran off of the stage to stop the commotion. They grabbed and pulled David away from the people who had him in their clutches.

“Get Paul off the stage!” David yelled. “He’s going to kill him!”

“What are you talking about?” one of the bodyguards said. “Who’s trying to kill him?”

The man in the trench coat stepped onto the stage. David, trapped in the clutches of the bodyguards, was aware that Paul had no idea the man was on the stage.

“David? Why are you doing this? What’s wrong?”

“Paul, watch out!”

A few people in the crowd were pointing and yelling at Paul, while others were running away from the stage. Paul turned his head away from the crowd — that’s when he saw the bearded man in the trench coat pointing a handgun at his head.

The bodyguards released David once they saw the scene unfolding. They ran back to the stage to stop what looked like an assassination attempt.

Paul reached for the handgun, but the man in the trench coat pulled the trigger. A flash of light exploded in front of Paul’s face, which caused him to collapse on the stage. The flow of his blood formed a red pool of blood around him.

“Noooo!” David yelled as he sprinted toward the stage.

The people in the crowd were running in all directions, trying their best to get away from the gunman. David was blind-sided by someone running at full speed as he was going to the stage. His head hit the ground hard, causing him to go unconscious…

To find out what happens next, get your copy of the “Days of Revelation” book. It’s available now on Amazon.com and Kindle Unlimited.

Days of Revelation

Image created by Emily’s World of Designs.

David Christian is a man who has been having reoccurring nightmares in which the mayor of Clydesville, Maryland, Paul Solomon, is assassinated. The events in his dreams bother him because they are becoming increasingly intense. He tries to dismiss them, until one day he meets the assassin on the street, a dangerous man who suffers from his own demons. His belief is also reinforced when he meets a woman with the ability to interpret his dreams.

What happens next takes David on a wild ride to save one man’s life. How will he stop the would-be assassin without looking like a madman? How will he overcome obstacles like the police and the drama in his own personal life? Most importantly, what is the far-reaching consequences if he fails? The answer might determine the fate of the world as he knows it!

The supernatural thriller “Days of Revelation” will be available February 26, 2021 on #Amazon and #Kindle. Pre-order your copy of this spellbinding #book today!

https://t.co/biYpr9qHZ8

Optimistic

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It’s the end of January 2021, and even though I thought we had a bad start to the year, I’m still optimistic about the rest of it. I believe the Covid-19 distribution is going to get better, and I believe by the summer we will be able to do the things we did before the pandemic. There will be less hate, more employment opportunities, higher wages, and better qualities of living.

I say this because I believe the majority of us have learned our lessons from the mistakes of 2020. That even goes for the ones mostly at fault for the bad things we experienced. There are some people out there right now that are reaping what they’ve sowed. People cannot do things with evil intent and believe there will be no backlash from it. The hate and content they spew will eventually consume and destroy them. We will be a witness to it, and we will be better people because of it.

I advise everyone to keep their spirits high, even if it looks like this is 2020 part 2. Our ancestors have dealt with things that were just as bad as or worse than this, and they’ve still found ways to carry on and persevere. So be of good cheer — we still have a lot of 2021 to look forward to. 🙂

New Beginnings

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On December 31 at ten o’clock at night, numerous churches in the United States have a Watch Night service. It doesn’t end until after twelve o’clock when the new year arrives. The Watch Night service is associated with the freeing of slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation. Other church, however, simply call it the New Year’s Eve service without any reference to slavery.
Regardless of what you call it, the service mostly consists of singing and praying. The church members reflect on events of the past year and focus on their goals for the New Year. The services give people the opportunity to pray for spiritual blessings with their fellow church members.

What do Christians around the world pray for when they begin the New Year? I imagine that some people pray for more money. Some of them probably pray for God to bless their loved one. Some people pray for God to improve their health, to take away whatever ails them. Some people might simply pray for a better income tax return.

When the New Year begins, I have a tendency to pray for more money, more opportunities, to be healthier, and continued blessings for me and my family. I also pray that in the New Year I have more opportunities to get more involved in the church. My job sometimes make it hard for me to attend every church service.

I believe that the start of the New Year is a time to start fresh. I believe it’s a time to get past the mistakes or problems of the previous year, to learn from them so that we won’t repeat them in the next one. In my opinion, the New Year represents a new beginning, a time to be born again. As Christians, we should understand this concept very well.

When a person decides to become a Christian, they’re basically deciding to be born again. As the scripture 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

So, what does this mean? It means that you no longer hate the people around you. It means that you made the decision to stop having multiple sex partners. It means that you gave up your life as an alcoholic. It means that you no longer lie, cheat, and steal from your neighbors. It means that you made the decision to walk in the spirit. It means you made the decision to stop sinning.

You have the ability to make this decision because Jesus sacrificed his life for your sins. For example, in the time of Moses, if you were caught messing around with another person’s spouse, they would drag you out of your tent (or house) and stone you the death, because that was the law. After Jesus died for your sins, you were no longer under the law and in essence, gave you the opportunity to change your ways.
1 John 1:9 explains what we have to do. It says that “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. In other words, by confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness, he cleanses, or wipes away, our pass sins. The Amplified verses says “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promise) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”

When you decide to come to Christ, you do it freely — you do it willingly. Some people will come to Christ only when they’re experiencing a hardship or if they believe they only have a certain amount of time to live. Whey they do this, the question they have to ask themselves is will Christ accept them? We can quote scriptures all day about this, but will forgiveness be too late for them? I do not want to take that chance so I do it freely because one, I’ve made mistakes and sincerely asked for forgiveness, and two, I don’t want to find out at the end of my life if it’s too late to be forgiven.

That’s why if you want to give your life to God, you have to do it now. You have to pray now for forgiveness and blessings. God will constantly give you chances to turn your life around, to start anew. We have to be like the Apostle Paul — we have to learn from our mistakes and listen to the word of God.

Good Works

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In Colossians 3:23-24, it says that “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” We can be fooled into believing that once we get a job, we have to work hard for our boss – our earthly masters – in order to impress them. We should do our jobs in the best way possible, but remember that we ultimately do it for the Lord – our heavenly master – because he gives us the ability to work.

You cannot support your family and buy the things you want unless you have the ability to work. Even if you were born into money, you still have to figure out ways to keep it and letting your money work for you.

In order for you to receive the Lord’s inheritance, you have to work for it. We have to thank God for any job opportunity we get, any kind of bonuses we receive, and any financial raises we see in our paychecks.

The reason why we must thank God for the ability to work is because you can easily be in a situation where you can’t work. I know someone who is disabled that wishes they had the ability to work a full-time job. A lot of us have the tendency to complain about our jobs even though we were likely happy when we first got it. We talk about our bosses, our coworkers, and the work itself. Only when we lose that job and that income we wish we had our job back, or one like it. Like Philippians 2:14-15 says, you should do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

I’m not saying that we should work a job that we don’t like, but we do have to make sure our job is bad as we claim it is before leaving it. Sometimes it’s not that the job is so terrible; a lot of times it’s because of our attitude and our mindset. If we come to work thinking I’m going to be miserable, we going to be miserable. If we go to work believing that our coworkers are jerk, everything they do is going to make us mad. I believe if we go to our jobs with a positive outlook, we will have a lot more good days than bad days.

That’s why we should take the advice of Galatians 6:9, which says “…let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” We have to believe that we will benefit from our hard work if we do not spend our money foolishly. Don’t talk about it; be about it. Like it says in Proverbs 14:23, “in all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” Proverbs 13:4 says, “the soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

Once our hard work provides us with financial security, we have to keep in mind that our work is not done. It’s not enough to work hard to get what you want; once you get it you have to know how to keep what you’ve obtained.

My Weight Loss Journey

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I remember vividly the day I decided to get back in peak, physical shape.  I was walking into a store one day and I remember on two separate occasions when a woman looked at me in disgust.  This was a shock to me, because all my life I’ve gotten compliments for the way I looked.  I’m not saying this to be arrogant, because I never let it affect my ego, at least until that day.

I’ve been disliked by some women for other reasons.  I’ve been accused of being conceited, mean, and having no tact.  Women have disliked me for a lack of finances and sometimes for the clothes I wore.  I’ve been disliked for how I allegedly treated women, regardless of whether the allegations were true or not.  But I have never been disliked by women for my physical appearance until I noticed it in the store that day.  People that knew me probably noticed it before then, but it was the first time I noticed it.

That afternoon, I went home and took a long look in the mirror.  Despite being only 5’10 and weighing at the time two hundred and seventy-five pounds, I still thought I was in decent shape physically.  I lifted weights and I did not look fat, at least that’s what I thought before I looked in the mirror.

I looked at a picture of myself that at the time was taken recently and noticed how fat my face looked.  I couldn’t believe it!  I looked like I gained twenty pounds from the previous year.

However, this shouldn’t have surprised me.  I ate like a pig!  There were times when I ate two double quarter pounders from McDonalds in one sitting.  I ate whole large pizzas from Pizza Hut some nights for dinner.  One of my favorite fattening combinations was a foot-long meatball sub from Wawa’s and a forty-ounce beer.

I was about thirty-two years old at the time, and the only reason I believed my body held together so long was because I lifted weights and my genetic makeup.  I took blood pressure and cholesterol medicine.  Since high blood pressure ran in my mother’s side of the family, I assumed I had it because of genetics, not because of my diet.  I was stupid, and my health got worse.

I noticed at the time, when I walked, my knees would hurt me for no reason.  I didn’t run, except for the annual military fitness test, and I never had knee surgery.  I eventually realized that they hurt because of all the upper body weight I was carrying around.

The worst thing, the thing that finally made me realize that I had to lose weight, was when I stopped breathing in my sleep.  My wife at the time would tell me about it when I woke up.  Sometimes, she said she had to tap me a few times before I started breathing again.  Thank God she was there!  Who knows what would have happened to me if I was living by myself.

When I found that out, I would not go to sleep right away because I was afraid of what would happen to me if I did.  I made the decision shortly after to get back in shape.  I was weighing about two hundred and seventy-five pounds, and my goal was to get my weight down to two hundred and twenty-five pounds.  But would I be able to do it?

Anyone that have tried to lose a lot of weight before knows how hard it is to stick to a weight-loss regimen.  Before I created one, the very first thing I did was prayed to God for the strength and determination to accomplish my goal.  Since it was so long ago, I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I know that it was similar to the prayer I have here:

Dear God,

Give me the strength and the ability to get myself back in shape.  Give me the discipline to eat healthy and exercise so I can lose this weight.  Dear God, please don’t let me lose my life because I failed to live a healthy lifestyle.  Lord, please give me a second chance.  Please give me the will and determination to change my gluttonous ways, for me and my family.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen!

After that prayer, I did not eat anything unhealthy other than once a month.  I stopped going to the fast food restaurants.  All I ate for dinner until I reached the weight of two hundred and twenty-five pounds was chicken breast and oatmeal.  I stopped eating whole pizzas, footlong meatball subs, double quarter pounders, or anything with a lot of fat in it.  I also stopped drinking sodas after a meal. 

I learned that the fattening foods I ate in the past slowed my ability to burn fat, so I started eating foods and drinking liquids that would speed up my metabolism.  I would put cinnamon, a metabolism booster, in my oatmeal and cereal.  Instead of drinking sodas, I started drinking coffee and green tea, which are known metabolism boosters and appetite suppressants.

I also changed my workout routine.  Instead of only lifting weights, I implemented a cardio routine into my workout.  I started running for two miles and working out on an elliptical for thirty minutes.  The elliptical wasn’t that hard for me and I worked up a sweat.  The running, however, was brutal when I first started.  I would get so tired; I would have to stop running every thirty yards in order for me to catch my breath.

Oddly, it did not discourage me from running because even though I thought my running was pathetic, I immediately felt my body getting back in shape.  So, I continued the routine of eating healthy, metabolism burning foods, and doing a workout routine of weightlifting and cardio. 

Over time, I saw the weight coming off.  I felt a lot better and I started looking better too.  My knees stopped hurting and my breathing didn’t stop in my sleep anymore.  And a year and a half after saying that prayer, I finally reached my goal of two hundred and twenty-five pounds.  I continued my routine since then (with the exception of chicken breast and oatmeal, I got sick of it), and as of this writing, I weigh a healthy two hundred and ten pounds.

Ignite Your Passion

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We should be passionate about anything we desire to accomplish in our lives. If we are not passionate about what we are doing, like a job that we hate, we should give it up and pursue something more worthwhile — something that will ignite our passion. In order to activate this wonderful emotion, we first need to find out exactly what it means.

Passion is defined as “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling.1” Another definition for the word is “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.” A lot of people equate the word “passion” with the word “love,” but I believe they miss the importance of the word when they do that.

A word that is similar to the word passion is the word “spirit.”  The Online Cambridge Dictionary defines spirit in this sense as “enthusiasm and energy.2” Notice that the word “enthusiasm” shows up in the second definition of passion and the definition of spirit.  You can say that someone that is in “high spirits” is displaying “high passion” or “high enthusiasm.”

However, passion is so much more than just enthusiasm. Passion is something that you have deep within you.  There are examples of heroes and role models that have a lot of passion, especially those that are physically active like athletes. Muhammad Ali was an athlete that was deeply passionate inside and outside the boxing ring.  The football player Ray Lewis also displayed a lot of passion when he performed on the football field.

We all have displayed some passion in our lifetime, especially when it involved something or someone that we genuinely love. It could be a boyfriend defending his girlfriend from insult and ridicule, a teenage athlete pushing himself in order to please his parents in the crowd, or a protester publicly speaking about an injustice that have been done.

Some people are naturally passionate, and it does not matter what is going on in their lives.  I’m not a highly emotional person, however, I tend to be passionate about any type of injustice being done to me or my loved ones. I have a friend that is particularly passionate about the treatment of children, whether it’s children in her neighborhood or halfway across the world.

When we ignite our passion, we indicate to others that we are loving, sincere, and are willing to do what it takes to do good in this world. We shouldn’t be ashamed of showing it. Instead, we should use the passion within us to provide an example for others to follow.

Sources

  1. Passion. Dictionary.com. 23 Jan. 2018. Copyright 2017 Dictionary.com, LLC. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/passion
  2. Spirit. Cambridge Dictionary. 23 Jan 2018. Copyright Cambridge University Press 2018. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/spirit