Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Struggle Is Worth It

By Keesah Pelzer 


Struggling is a part of everyday life,  no matter if you're rich, poor, black, white, or in between. Some people struggle with saying no, while others may struggle to stay consistent. Whatever the case may be, there's always a lesson to be learned given the circumstances. 

When we are faced with challenges, many of us tend to let the discomfort of what we're dealing with (at the moment) get in the way of us seeing the bigger picture. We forget that though we may feel like this now, things are not always going to be as bleak further down the line. When we can't comprehend the things of God, we think its unnecessary to have to go through the things that we go through. We can't understand why on earth would God allow all of these things to happen to us. Why would He allow us to get hurt the way we did? Or why He allows us to lack certain things for an extensive amount of time? Though these are valid questions, we may never fully understand until we make it out of our situations. Sometimes things just aren't made clear to us until years later, and what we experience may not even be for us, but for someone else to have that example before them. To know that whatever it's is  they are facing, they can overcome it with the help and direction of The Moat High, no matter how big or small the situation is. 

I was always taught that through anguish comes the birthing of greatness. So in other words all of the pressing, shaking and fiery trials come to build us up, especially in the areas that we lack, which is all apart of Gods plan. When you look back on life and can distinctively see where you were then, and where you are now , especially when you've been through it all, that's when you know the struggle was worth it. No it doesn't seem fair or easy when we're living in the moment, but to able to make it out alive with an awesome testimony about how God did it for you, is immeasurable. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Unity

By Angela Cox


Unity represents the state of harmony among people, the state of being one, whole, and unification.  In simpler terms, unity is a representation of respect for each others differences, class, race, age, opinions as long as it's within the bounds of morality, and allows the other parties views not to be violated.  To be able to come together with others and appreciate our differences and respect them.

When speaking of unity, I've noticed that the lack there of exist the most among the African american race, especially our women.  The lack of unity among women is usually stemmed from an inner hatred or dislike of oneself (a.k.a. low self esteem).  When a woman does not like herself, she lives with a mirror of comparison to other women, and this self hatred is expressed in words through a constant view of negativity for other females.  Likewise when a women loves herself, she can appreciate the differences of other women around her and that is also expressed through compliments and a more positive outlook.  Women from other races may not unite with women of another ethnic group because of her upbringing or usually a stereotype. 

I grew up in the mid-west in 1972.  Only 10 years prior to that time, Martin Luther King Jr. was still alive, which meant there was still a lot of racial tension that reared it's ugly head.   Some African american people still had the mindset that the Caucasian people were first class citizens and in some ways, they were still to take the backseat in a progressive society. This was stemmed from the expression of hatred inflicted and demonstrated by many heinous acts. Even though some of them did not have their spirits broken, many African american's did, and it's sad to say, some could not recognized that we were equal to them. As a result of enduring a broken spirit, some began to inflict pain upon their own kind. They expressed their negative outlook, by their own words and behavior, and by how they'd treat each other.  

As a young girl, I witnessed older black women gossiping, ridiculing backstabbing, and mistreating women of their own race.They had lost a sense of "unity, and set a negative example for the younger generation. Their behavior spoke volume of how they saw themselves, and in turn,  many of the younger generation grew up with the same mindset. Back then, I felt like I was caught in the crossfire of my own race and the Caucasians. I also experienced the tension that existed between my light skinned and dark skinned peers, which was foolishness, an atrocity, and a huge waist of time. Because we were the same race, and we already had enough obstacles to conquer. This is an example of the unfortunate events that took place then, but it still exist now.  Which raises the question, "what's our excuse now that this divide still exist? We don't live in that era anymore, so what is our reason?  I believe it exist because  we took our eyes off of The Most High and what he desired, and we didn't allow him to heal us from within and live according to how he desired.  We continued to make mistakes of our own, with no other races to blame, and we took on the mindset that we couldn't do better, or have better and with that mindset, we don't even try.  If we don't try for ourselves there's no way we'll go outside ourselves to be unified with anyone else.  We need God to bring us to a place of healthy self worth and then we can dwell in unity with our own and others.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Limited Capabilities

 
By Angela Cox
 


I've never known anyone that had the full capacity to fix the life of another, because I'm a realist. I tend to look at things from a realistic perspective.  To me, even though people have the capability to help others by using tools of wisdom and experience, this is too strong a title for one human being to manage.  I believe it takes more than human capability alone to do so, it has to be coupled with the Power of God and principles to live by in order to fix the life of another. This takes not just words and short sessions to talk,  but the time and effort, of those in need to exercise the tools they've been given, accompanied by support, and determination. Many people are wearing shoes that they cant fill. Anybody can wear a title, or go to college and get a Masters degree in Psychology, but it's not until you've been through something yourself that you can truly help someone else and identify with them.  People usually draw to and give an attentive ear to someone that's "been there and done that." People give ear and respond more quickly to those with common ground. You set a better example before people if  you've walked a life in their shoes and became a conqueror, and mastered challenges. I've also learned that compassion goes a long way, and you get more bee's with honey.  People are more willing to share with you if give off the energy of love and understanding.

Friday, September 23, 2016

It's Time To Use Wisdom


By Patricia McKinney 


The world as we know it is not the same as it was ten to fifteen years ago.  The genuineness that once existed in the hearts of mankind has dissipated, and many have been tainted by the influence of immorality and evil behavior. Many cover up their true intentions with deception, while others have become hardened and without natural affection because of inner turmoil accumulated over time without ever healing.

We're living in a time now when deception and evil is at an all time high because people have done away with morals that promote brotherly love, natural affection, consideration for others, integrity, or just common courtesy, and because of that it requires caution and wisdom on our part. We as women can be especially vulnerable and need to use discernment and caution in our dealings because of our emotions.

In my profession, I've heard many horror stories by women and even men that said they never saw warning signs within their relationship, or of the people that came to wreck havoc in their lives. But later on, they'll recall something different and say, "Hey wait a minute, I recall when this or that happened", which says they saw the signs but ignored them.  Unfortunately, some signs can be a little more subtle, where people have been know to pull a " Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and surprise you. But not just in relationship, it can be among family, and (so-called) friends.

Many times we ignore warning because we minimize the effects that their behavior could have on us in the long-run.   But the times we live in now requires more "vigilance" and attentiveness on our part, because we're dealing with "Pros" who could win an Grammy Award in a leading role or best supporting actor or actress, but not in a movie, in the game of life.

It's time to take on a realistic view of the days we live in, and use wisdom (learned knowledge applied). But most of all we need The Most High to give us the extra help sometime called discernment, because it's not always easy to read past an innocent face, whether young or old, or hear through the smooth sounding words of an enemy.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Peace Within Our Borders


By Patricia McKinney 


Many people don't realize that you have to put in work and be proven in order to secure yourself and your family in different aspects of  life.  For example you secure a good reputation by what you do to people or for them. By doing good deeds, you secure the integrity of a good reputation, that will benefit you in the long-run. For example, if you are a parent with an adult child, even if you're a thousand miles away from your child, and they are in need, because you've sown good seeds, your child may reap the benefits. What we do has an effect on our children.  Have you ever met someone that knew your parent/s and because they were a good friend to them, they automatically treated you favorably?  Even if they didn't know you personally, because of your parents reputation or proven ability, you reaped the benefits from the ground that you  didn't even sow on!

It's the same with maintaining peace within your home.  Usually people that have a peaceful home environment, keep the peace with others and stay to themselves, or they use caution in their dealings with people. The people that are in their immediate circle of friends have been proven over time and are safe enough to allow within their living quarters.

So remember the law of reciprocity.  If you find that your always in a rut and there's always chaos within your borders, ask yourself the question, "what have I done to open myself up to this?"  Not to say that in life we don't have problems, because we do.  But sometime we don't have the safety, assurance and protection because of things that we have allowed within our own borders or we've sown bad seeds among others, ruining our own reputations, and defying our own name.  In conclusion, I measured all of the human efforts to maintain security, and discovered that we as human beings have limitations, meaning we can only do but so much in our own efforts, which means "The Most High is our Security".  He is the only one that can protect us from seen and unseen dangers, and He keeps peace within our borders.  It is by His hand that we are provided for, and it is through Him and by Him that we live, move and have our being. He places good things in the hearts of mankind to that they can love, respect, and give to one another. Our security lies in Him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Eternal Wealth & Blessings

By Patricia McKinney 


Blessings come in many forms, but who really pays attention to the things that money can't buy? Though material wealth can make life easier, and can be given from the hand of God as a reward to enjoy on earth, he also gives us things that are not seen with the naked eye. 

Like a peace of mind in times of trouble and on life's rocky road, and laughter for the soul.  He gives us the ability to move about and use our limbs without limitations, and the wealth of good health.  He provides protection from harm, and escape from danger.  He'll bless us with love from family or those dear to us, and favor from strangers right when we need it.  He can use something as simple as nature to remind us of his creation or a new born child. He can even cause us to triumph over our enemies and rise above those that have hurt us, or brought trouble in our path, causing us to love and forgive. He doesn't show partiality, and those that seek him with a genuine heart will experience His love and internal blessings, those things that we need to keep us going.

These are just a few things that money can't buy, that cause us to be rich within, and there's nothing like wealth from the Most High for the  heart, soul, and mind.  

Remember, God is the only one that gives the gifts that money cannot buy, and with Him there's no limitation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sowing & Reaping; Consider Your Ways



By Patricia McKinney

What is the law of reciprocity?  It is the universal law of sowing and reaping. Meaning, whatever you've done during the course of your lifetime, you will experience the same things that you've committed toward others. It's also called Karma - what goes around comes back around.  You can also reap from the choices that you've made, this is also known as cause and effect. For example, if a person is cruel and cold hearted toward others, or if they've stolen and take others for granted, during their own time of need, they will reap the error of their own way.  From experience, I've learned that when it's time to reap, this process is usually more intense than when it's dished out to others, both good and bad. Even though, there are times when it may seem that people have escaped reaping for years on end, no one escapes, and there is no race, nor age, Karma does not discriminate.  I also find that when people are doing the sowing, they never stop to considered that one day, they will reap what they've sown.  That's why it's important to consider your ways and remember what goes around comes back around, it's called KARMA and no one escapes it.  Consider this, would you rather reap a life of blessings or a life torment?
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  (Galatians 6:7)

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Dry Well








By Keesah Pelzer


Every morning we open our eyes and immediately think of the things we have to do. We have to get the kids ready for school, get ready for work, cook dinner for the day, run out and pay some bills, or maybe even tidy up a little. While we're so busy meeting the days quota, we seem to sometimes forget the fact that we woke up in our right state of mind, or that we can see the buds appearing on the trees just in time for spring.Often we're given privileges from God that we take for granted on a daily basis, even if its minor things. 

Recently, the pipes in my kitchen froze due to the below freezing climate that we've been experiencing at night. We had no hot water for about twenty four hours, and though it was only a short period of time, I didn't realize how much not having hot water in the kitchen can be a big deal until it was taken away. I had to go back to what I remembered, and boil water to wash the dishes, clean off the counters, stove and table. I was so used to just turning on the hot water and doing what I had to do, so when it wasn't there anymore, I understood how much I needed it. Needless to say, that's exactly what we do, we go on about our day, thinking that things are always going to remain to same as today, and that everything will just linger around for us to carelessly dispose of.

We take for granted the fact that the Most High looks down on us with His mercy and allows us to know who He is. The only reason why we know anything about Him is because He loves us, and chooses to reveal it to us, yet we still assume that those privileges will always be there, or that we're entitled to them. 

Have we given any thought about what would happen if God removes His hand from our lives, and left us in the dark about everything? We shouldn't wait for God to disappear, or for Him to start zapping things out of our lives before we come to the realization of how fortunate we are, because by the time that happens, we'll be staring down a dry well wondering what happened to all the water that we were once blessed with.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happiness Defined

Karen Ricketts 

Happiness is defined individually in today's society where it seems like every and any type of behavior is tolerated or accepted. In other words, to each his own as long as it makes you happy. 

Most of society see's happiness as being tangible, something you can hold, touch or attain, including people. Some chase material possessions and the finer things in life. Happiness to them comes in owning the newest, sleekest, hippest and shinny-est version of anything put out on the market. They are in hot pursuit of anyone and anything that can contribute to their thirst. It's like a happiness pill they hunt, scratch and scrape for, but once swallowed wears off with a quickness that leaves them wanting more. 

It is so easy to get tangled up in things that seem to satisfy your craving for happiness and fulfillment. Some fixate on having and finding a partner, because not having a man or woman attached to them leads to sadness. Others seek happiness in a certain car, job, house, or anything conceived in their mind as happiness. 

The pursuit of happiness in this manner is like a dog chasing after it's own tail, going around and around in circles, getting tired and dizzy but still somehow believing. Once in a blue moon he might catch it, but only momentarily as he loses his grip and has to start all over again, tired and unfulfilled. That's because real happiness is intangible, related to your mental and psychological state and is not acquired and measured by your possessions, status, or who you know. 

You can start by changing your definition and view of happiness from the tangible to the intangible. The roadway or path to real happiness starts when we begin to address the internal hurt, pain, rejection, and failures we endured in life. I've been one of those women chasing practically all of the above mentioned, only to end up winded with added hurt and pain along the way. 

Getting older slowed me down, but age didn't change the intangible or physical things I held up as my idea of happiness. The Light that came to show me the error of my ways and thinking was God. The attainment of things will only bring you temporary gladness. The Most High can lead you to that roadway to heal all your wounds. The healing process does take time, but in the mist of it you can experience real joy, contentment and satisfaction as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Know Yourself

By Patricia McKinney 


Many people get in relationships and marriages, before they get to know and love themselves first.  We go in half baked or not baked at all, with low self esteem and character flaws left unchecked, looking for the validation of others, or just lacking healthy boundaries. But because of emptiness on the inside and loneliness we try to fill our void with someone else, before we get to know ourselves first.  To know yourself is to recognize your own flaws and then to work to change them. This can only truly happen with the help of the Most High and people that can help you recognize those flaws and love you.  This is a blessing in and of itself before getting involved in any relationship that can only spiral into more damage, learn to look at yourself first, work to be the best you can, with God's help, and learn to accept what's within first before going into a relationship or marriage. There's nothing like coming together in incomplete matrimony ending in disaster.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Value Of Life

By Angela Cox

There's nothing that compares to the value of a human life, and nothing can ever replace it. A word that comforts when we need it the most and the natural affection that comes from a hug or kiss, carries it's weight in gold, far beyond monetary value. A healthy body, and the use of ones limbs were created far beyond human ability but are a Gift from God Almighty. I once read a line written by a King named David that recognized God's handiwork and he expressed it by saying that "he was fearfully and wonderfully made". Nonetheless, the things that don't require financial exchange go ignored, and great emphasis has been placed on everything of monetary value alone.




Although money is a defense and a necessary tool for daily living and enjoyment, it was never meant to take the place of relationships, or cause people to kill and sell their soul to get it. Some will marry someone with plenty of "loot" for the sole purpose of convenience & security, but love has nothing to do with it. I've found that some of the wealthiest people are the most miserable and lonely, because they only have tangible things without the riches on the inside like joy, peace and love, or people around them that have a genuine heartfelt connection to them. So they experience one side of life without the other.

When I was growing up, I didn't have a father around and I lived with my mother only until the age of five, but was still able to have periodic visits with her until she passed away. Back then, I'd give anything to have them both and all the love and security that came with it. Even though life didn't turn out that way, I learned in the process, that money can't take the place of genuine relationships. It wasn't until I became an adult that I developed a relationship with my father and no money or gift could take the place of spending time with him or having an opened invitation to be a part of his life. The value of spending time laughing, learning, and being esteemed by him was priceless. As a result of spending time, forgiveness and understanding took place.

Sometimes when a parent is absent or not physically present, we as the child or adult will become filled with animosity and the wrong motive and intentions in our heart, especially if we had adults in our life that planted negative seeds in us about them. We'll expect material things from them and could care less about a relationship. But in that, you rob yourself of treasure's made without hands, like inner healing, and restoring of the heart that only God can give, freed from hatred and bitterness.

This scenario is the same when it comes to having a relationship with God. There's things that only He can give that money just can't buy. Like love in your heart, a peace of mind, strength at times when we are weak and feel helpless, relief when we feel distressed, and His protective hand when we're surrounded by danger. He holds the key to the treasures made without hands, and no price tag can be placed on that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Curveball

By Keesah Pelzer


When dealing with the curveballs that life tends to throw at us, we often lose our main focal point (God) and begin to gravitate towards things that will relieve us momentarily of whatever it is that we may be going through. 

Taking the road of least resistance seems to be the way of logic when your back is up against the wall, especially when you've been taken all out of your element and places of complacency. We, (being the humans that we are) don't necessarily like anything that will cause discomfort.  We're creatures of habit, so when situations come along that cause any type of disturbance, be it on our jobs or even internally, we often crack when put under that type of pressure. To be honest, it's the waves that we ride and the curveballs that are pitched our way that will build us up, and make us sharper. 

Im starting to realize that there are keys to life that we can only obtain through trail and error. As long as we walk here on earth we will always be faced with dilemmas and problems, but that does not mean that we have to drown in them, or let them overtake us. I truly believe that God doesn't give us battles so that we can be defeated, but more so to challenge us to blossom and bring forth strength & maturity. 

Curveballs were meant to do one of two things, and that's make us or break us, so being able to thrive when the odds are against you is a blessing , because though we may feel like we're down for the moment, we have to always keep in mind that we are not out. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Taking Drastic Measures

By Patricia McKinney 


On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's catastrophic force turned New Orleans upside down.  Many lives were lost, and homes destroyed, while the flood waters rose flooding the land.  Men, women, and children moved about to find dry land, while some sat by, waiting for food, water and medical attention.  There was no comfort in New Orleans and some of it's surrounding areas, and for the first few days, people experienced suffering like never before.  I recall watching the news while a young father held a new born child in his arms saying that , " the baby had gone without formula for several days".  This crisis was not taken seriously by the inhabitants of New Orleans before the storm because they were used to hurricanes. They didn't expect the levees to brake or even imagine that they'd be placed at a crossroads where they'd have to take drastic measures to ensure their survival.  

The aftermath left many with nowhere to turn, while families from other states across the coast opened their homes to survivors. There was no way for victims to foresee such catastrophe, and that they'd have to start their lives all over again. 

The current crisis taking place in America is like another storm, wreaking havoc in the lives of people.  The unemployment rate, sickness, disease, changes to laws and medical benefits or the lack thereof,  cutbacks, and inflation, is causing people to find themselves in predicaments where they have no choice but to take drastic measures to survive. 

Unfortunately, like several victims of Hurricane Katrina that chose to stay in a bad situation instead of opting to leave, people stay in the same situation making their struggles even more difficult. In America, some business owners would rather scrape and use every penny that they don't have to keep a business afloat that's destined to drown in debt.  Others may struggle to keep a home instead of downsizing to an apartment where it's more feasible. 

Sometime when difficult situations arise or a crisis comes, we are placed in positions where we can choose to stay in it, or take drastic measures ( also known as) following the path of the unknown to ensure our survival. I find that usually people that have experienced hardship in life have innate survival techniques built within, which means, they can adapt to their surroundings because of the survival skills developed through hardship or lack, but fear is their setback to moving forward.  Sometime in life, a bad situation is God's way to tell us that some changes need to be made. Even if that means to let go of a home, business, familiar surroundings,or unhealthy relationships, it's all for the better, because he may replenish and rebuild what you've lost. Your return may not be in the same form as before, but it can come in the form of wisdom and knowledge to make better decisions or to help someone else, leading you to a much more fulfilling life in the long run.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Playing The Victim

By Patricia McKinney

We've all been in situations where we've felt victimized or treated unfairly in one way or another, whether it was from a stranger, a co-worker, superior, friend or family member. Though some experiences are harder to "let go of" than others, I know it can be done. I chose to be a "Conqueror", and not let my past experiences, flaws, or failures get the best of me, and prevent me from moving forward.

Unfortunately, many people go through life, stumbling, repeating the past, and blame shifting so they don't have to change. They use this as a ticket to point the finger elsewhere, while excusing themselves from taking personal responsibility for their own actions.  It's much easier to "play the victim," that way you don't have to apply yourself by making efforts, it excuses you from looking in the mirror to see your own flaws, faults, and failures. It prevents you from ever analyzing what is fact or fiction, true or false. 

Meaning, sometimes when we have multiple inner issues, and festering wounds, it's much easier to throw every incident, and every person into "one pot" and identify them all the same. When we throw everything into one pot, we live in "imbalance" by convicting those that are innocent, and acquitting those that are guilty, but never getting to the root of what's ailing us as a person. In turn, we ruin or prevent new relationships from ever budding, and miss out on the beauty that lye's in the details of life because we're blinded by unforgiveness or roots of bitterness, that's coddled and held closely to our hearts.

As a result, we destroy our own selves and continue to live in pain, while we watch the world pass us by. Those that play the victim, also look for others to victimize, so they too can share in their misery. They choose to live life handicapped and maimed, instead of growing to personal maturity, while living a vicious cycle that can only be stopped by themselves and God alone. 

There's so many people that live in guilt because they try to please people that will never be satisfied. They try to appease those that refuse to change, and suffer at the hands of those that "play the victim," while they live beneath life's simple pleasures and the fulfillment that God intended.

But I say to you today, that once you recognize those in your life that play the victim leaving you feeling guilty, no matter how hard you try, leave them in the hands of God. Only he can pierce the hearts of mankind, and bring clarity to any situation, while making every crooked path straight.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Real Love

By Patricia McKinney 

 
Marriage is the bond and union of two people brought together to become one, in matrimony designed by God.  It is loyalty and faithfulness, accepting and loving one another with flaws. It is sacrifice and compromise, agreeing to disagree.  It's sticking together in hard times, working through issues and difficulties, and mistakes, respect and consideration for one another, forgiveness through mistakes. It is caring for one another through sickness and in health and still being in love through aging and body changes, and it is a friendship. It is leaving ones family and clinging together to become one family.
 
God's traditional marriage and family still stands and though there are so few true marriages in our modern times, it's a beautiful thing to see them and to see the example of what a true marriage is.  The bond of love is always beautiful.  My hat goes off to you, and I celebrate you with a toast of love, to all marriages still standing strong, and I encourage you to stay together. A strong marriage builds a strong family, and a strong family, a strong community.
 
Genesis 2:24) That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.