Starting this journey

Happy to to be here! I have always wanted to begin a blog in order to reach beyond the realms of my own introverted world. This is the plan every Wednesday at 8pm I will upload a post on motivation for the week, current events, or any other relevant topics. For the most part I will try to keep the blogs short and light-hearted. I am working toward a consistent schedule but for now taking small steps.

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Title: No Confusion



Scripture: 1 Peter 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Background:

“And he that believeth on him shall not be confounded”. Confound as defined by the Collin’s English dictionary is a verb meaning to make you feel surprised or confused, often by showing you that your opinions or expectations of something or someone was wrong. Confusion as I see it is a weapon, used often by the adversary to cause turmoil and allow doubt to slip in. Satan vehemently hates for those that believe God to move forward or to be elevated. Confusion is used to get your focus off the prize of salvation and shifted into a space of procrastination.

Key Points

Confusion is used as a weapon. We like to make example of the disciples in the middle of a ravaging storm with Jesus in the midst.(Mark 4:35-41) The storm was a trigger of confusion for the disciples, they knew not what to do during a storm this fierce. So naturally they began to doubt, they believe that they would not make it the the other side of the sea because of the storm in their way. The Bible goes on to say they woke Jesus up and asked him “Master, carest not that we perish”? And we know what happened after that. I say this to say we should pray for all doubt to be taken away from us. As believers doubt has no place in our lives concerning to God. Song writer says “you may not know how, you may not know when but he will do it again”. It isn’t for us to ponder on the logistics of God’s plan, we don’t need the details. We don’t need to know how or when but instead know that he will do it again.

The devil doesn’t like the children of God to grow or move forward. The Bible tells us in the book of Joshua Chapter 6 God told him that he and the Israelites should walk around the gates of Jericho once for the next six days and on the seventh to walk around the wall seven times, then have seven priests blow seven ram horns, and let the people let out a shout. When Joshua told this to the people they did not understand, but they went on and did what they were instructed to. And again we know what happened. This is an example of what God can do if only we trust him to make a way. God told Joshua that the city of Jericho he would commit into his hands and that what God promised that same he did. Satan had an entire wall built long and high to prevent Josh and the Israelites from getting what God promised but in the end it did not stop them. So the question is will the obstacles, doubts, or environment you see around you stop your blessing?

Confusion goes hand-in-hand with words like fear and even procrastination. When you are confused you know not whether you are coming or going, that is why an affliction of the mind is such a serious situation. So therein the adversary know if only he can get into your thoughts and shift your attention to something that will ensare you then he might have a chance. If he shifts your attention maybe he can get you to not to pray, to miss a service or two, and why bother reading a scripture since you read yesterday. And this is Satan’s favorite trick when it’s time for you to do something involving God the phone rings, or you remember you forgot to do something, or an enticing notification from social media pops up and you get tempted. But my Bible tells me of you resist the Devil he must flee. Any contrary spirit will come in one way but flee seven different ways.

Conclusion
Im finish, in conclusion don’t let confusion anywhere near you. In 1 Peter 2:9  it says “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”. And there is no… ABSOLUTELY NO! confusion about that.

Gifts

Background: My exhortation is taken from 1 Corinthians 14 but to understand that chapter I will summarize the previous one chapter 13. In chapter 13 Apostle Paul wrote strongly about charity and the importance of it. Going as far as to say without charity we are nothing [1 Corinthians 13:2]. And in the very next verse said we can sacrifice of ourselves but without charity it will profit us nothing. And to end the chapter Apostle Paul speaks of the virtues of faith, hope, and charity but the greatest of the three being charity [1 Corinthians 13:13]. So what is charity and Why is it important? This then leads us to the next chapter speaking of gifts. The gifts of speaking in tongues and Prophecy are great edifying tools given unto the church to change the trajectory of a person’s life. But which does Apostle Paul say is more important?

Title: Charity and Prophecy

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Main Points
• You might think I will go to the dictionary to define charity so you can understand what it is but I am not going to do that this time. Charity just like your salvation is a personal thing and can only truly be defined by you. Charity is your and my ministry charged to us by God with the words “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” [Mark 16:15]. Which was God’s way of arming and deploying us similar to soliders of the army. Charity to me is synonymous with the word love and can also with substituted with purity of heart. We are (I believe) carriers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and should follow his example of servitude. With all things we do it should be in purity of heart. So charity is going out into the world armed with the tools whether that be the word of God, food to feed the hungry, clothes to give to those that have not, or even just the song that God put into heart. Which ever tool it is use it to win a soul for the kingdom, because we by inheritance being a child of God take on his mission.


• And why is charity so important? Without purity of heart it will be hard to please God. You can not go through life just doing things without rhyme or reason. You must be intentional with every action and every word. With a heart of charity you will give of yourself without any expectation of return. One day I heard some advice saying a man(or woman) is judged not on doing things for people who can reciprocate but instead for those that don’t have anyway of paying you back. If more people gave without looking forward to receiving we would not face world hunger, war threats from neighboring kingdoms, pandemics going as far as it has, and oppression of your fellow man. Can charity really do all that? It sure can, it is written charity never faileth. [1 Corinthians 13:8]


• Moving on to chapter 14, Apostle Paul continues with practical advice about the use of tongues and Prophecy. Saying that when tongues are spoken it is to God but when prophecy is spoke it is to the edification in of man. [1 Corinthians 14:2-3]. The point he is making isn’t that tongues are not needed (since it is a gift from God) but rather that to impact the life of the people prophecy is needed to speak in plain language. We as christians should develop the gifts given to us from God in order to edify the souls we encounter. If a distressed person in spirit came to a Sunday service and the whole time the church spake in tongues, that person will leave in the same fashion in which they came. No change, no revelation, no deliverance, and no breakthrough that they desperately need. The key verse in the chapter is verses 21 and 22 saying that by prophecy the secrets of the heart are revealed resulting in the conclusion that God alone had manifested the truth in which you speak. And if that person was in need of affirmation and loves truth they will worship God for the revelation they have received. Apostle Paul for the purpose of winning souls rather speak five words in a common tongue than a thousand in an unknown language. [1 Corinthians 14:19].


Conclusion: Charity and Prophecy goes a long way in our mission. Charity to help those that are down on their luck or can not help themselves which shows forth the love of God. Prophecy is a gift to the believers to edify the people that come to God in order for them to get on the right path. It is written those that God loves he chasten. [Hebrews 12:6] So if we say that God loves us why would we not feel some constructive words from time to time. Before we make a fuss about harsh words, instead we should praise the God who reveals all things for the betterment of your heart, mind, body, and soul.

There Is A Process Before Perfection

Scripture:
[1 Peter 5:10] But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Background: In this chapter of 1 Peter, Apostle Peter writes an encouraging message to the church body. He speaks of “the call” that God has placed on us, and that through suffering we will be perfected, stablished, strengthened and settled. First we are called, next we have to go through the process to make us into the right people, and finally we recieve perfection.

Details:
• The call is something only God can give you and no one can take away. Affirmation is okay, but you do not need a pastor or minister to tell you of your call. The call is an ordaining of your purpose in the body of Christ. Just like all our brethen in the Bible, Moses, Samuel, Elijah, David and many others God has a purpose over our lives. Which is not to be taken lightly, but is a purpose we have been prepared for. Think of all the things you have overcome, all to make it to now. It could of been accidents, illnesses, disappointment, loss of something important to you. All those obstacles and burdens were preparation for your call to Christ.
• The process is what we call these tests. Little by little we take a step toward the expected end God has for us. Some through the water, some through the flood, some through the fire but all through the blood. Your testimony won’t and can not be your neighbor’s testimony, but believe you, me there is a testimony. That is the “all through the blood” referenced to in the song. The process unites all the people that are called. But fear not like Apostle Peter stated “God of all grace…after that ye have  suffered a while, make you perfect”. The process is only for a while. Your “while” may seem longer than your neighbor’s “while” but either way it won’t be too long until it is over.
• After the call is received and the process is over, then comes the perfecting of spirit, the establishment of ministry, the strengthening of faith, and settling of worries. The after math of the process leaves the remnants of victory. You won’t see the trials you went through anymore but what is left is the evidence that you have made it through. A test can be passed if you are ready for it, and God will prepare you for any test to come so be encouraged.

Conclusion: Keep working through your process, it may feel like there is no end but it is only for a while. The breakthrough that is to come will be greater than any process you have to sustain. When perfection is achieved the journey to it will only serve as a memory to use as a testimony.

Budget like a Boss

Debt, something we all accumulate just like the endless leaves piling up in the front lawn during the fall season. But what can we do about it? People can not just stop living; we eat, live, and consume until the day we don’t. If we cannot stop debt then let us do the next best thing, slow it down. Take control of your finances by doing this brand new concept. I won’t leave you in suspense long, it is called budgeting. [Head explodes] Mind blown. Joking aside budgeting can bring a monumental change for the good.  Highlighted tips for budgeting include listing every item purchased in a given time and the “pay yourself first” technique.

According to a Consumer Expenditure Survey done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2016, the average annual American household income is $74,664 before taxes. Of that amount, 90 percent is spent on goods and services, the remaining 10 percent loss on interest accrued on loans and credit card. This illustrates that without proper budgeting we as people will spend until we see zero on our ATM balance. To combat this inclination why not get into the habit of listing your daily purchases. Doing this can have a two-fold result: first, it will start you in the habit of tracking where each dollar is going. The second reason is a bit more psychological. With you making a conscious effort of logging your outgoing money, it will cause an unconscious debate of actual need. The thought is that people will begin to resist the temptation to buy when they know it means writing it down for later retrospect.

The “Pay Yourself First” technique is an idea I enjoy speaking about because it involves people becoming more financially fit. Cliche question but have you ever received your paycheck and then by the time you realized it was all spent? We all have so to remedy this just take out a portion of your paycheck, say 10 percent and put it aside for yourself. What an idea! Actually creating profit or wealth after a full term of work. I am not quite sure who came up with this common sense approach to money management but nonetheless thank you for it.

Most books I have read and videos I have watched suggest that there should be a 50/30/20 allocation of your budget. The first 50 will be going to all bills and debt payment. This part should be enough to cover household expenses, car notes, health care, rent, and other bills. If by chance it is not you maybe need to consider downsizing with a few luxuries. The second 30 is supposed to be used on wants which still allows a person to splurge until the spending limit is reached. The remaining 20 percent goes to saving whether that is a high yield savings account, retirement, investing or real estate. The method is simple so not much calculation or overthinking is required, just ration the amount and go.

Breaking the ground on your financial journey tend to be the hardest part but equipping yourself with sound knowledge is one less burden. When it comes to getting your finances in order no one can do it but you. There is nothing to it but to do it.  And no doubt about it you can do it, I believe in you.

Investing for the Common

Recently, but not so recently I have been thinking about life and more specifically my financial growth. In result of me thinking, I  have decided to explore the topic of growing wealth along with social skills (by which I feel I lack) to see how much I can learn. In reflection, I picked up a well-known book entitled “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing” written by the late and great industry shaker John Bogle. It was like the book was written especially for me because I am as common as they come. So I will dole out some of the precious gems Mr. Bogle has passed down to me. The three biggest of which are paying off debt, never trying to speculate, and indexing.

Do not drown in debt! To the best of your ability, pay down all significant debt. That means all those credit cards from college, overdue bills causing you penalties, and even that financed cell phone in your pocket. I will admit I am guilty of this one; not being concerned with the price of any one item as long as I could cover it with credit. A credit card should only be used if you can (at this moment) go to an atm and take out that same amount, credit should not be the first option. I hear you saying “well life is hard and I do not always have the money at that particular time” in that case think hard to see if it is a luxury or necessity. And if indeed it is a necessity then a relative or friend would no doubt help you out.

Gambling…I mean speculation should be one of the deadliest sins. Speculation is (as per the Merriam-Webster dictionary) the act of assuming a business risk in hope of gain but you are virtually watching the markets’ ebbs and flows to figure when it is right to jump in or out. Timing is the phrase used to describe such a strategy. To add when you time the market buying individual stock your portfolio is undiversified. Throwing money into the market undiversified equates to jumping into shark-infested waters and hoping you won’t be severely hurt, you might not be but do you want to take that risk? Unless you are a thrill-seeker most catastrophe fearing people would say no. So then the question becomes what is the way to invest my money? I am glad you asked.

Simply putting your money in an index is the way all people should invest. For those that lack the skill or time needed to take an in-depth look at an equities’ financial history and forward projection, indexing is the best strategy by saving time and stress. With the diversification of many equities in a given sector, the risk of losing is drastically decreased. Along with low-cost expense fees which means less money in the pocket of brokers and more assets in your portfolio, it is an investor’s dream. Indexes available to buy into include the Standard and Poor’s 500 top stock (S&P 500) or a total market index offered by Vanguard.

In conclusion, clean up your finances by cutting out debt, never ever speculate, and when you are ready to invest you will be wise to do to through an index fund. Even after finishing the book I already made a declaration to read it in a year to have another look for any wisdom, I might have missed. Just in case anyone wants to take a look at the golden rulebook of investing I will leave a link below.

The Great Inner Struggle

 

The hip-hop artist JCole has a track on his album “2014 Forest Hill Drive” entitled “Love Yourz” where he promotes self-love and subliminally conveys how we all are self-conscious.  The great inner struggle represents how we all aim to do what is right and virtuous, but through life’s hardships fall short of this goal.

Earlier today I had a conversation with a friend that was speaking about the second mutual friend. The conversation hinged on the bad choices this second friend has been making as of late. While listening my mind wondered about why and how people make such uncharacteristically bad decisions. After contemplating I can only conclude the reason behind it is a lack of self-love. J Cole said poetically ” Love yourself or nobody will”. Undoubtedly this is the case in the real world, people will both misuse and abuse you if there is no self-love on your part.

We being human all need to feel affection and desire attention but putting one’s self in harm’s way to achieve it can go horribly wrong which goes without saying. I never really understood people’s fascination with going clubbing or partying in excess. Every story that I have heard when drugs, alcohol, and sex mix ended in tragedy and/or heartache.

I say this to emphasize again just love yourself and everything will work out for you. No rushing into someone’s arms that only sees you as their temporary pleasure toy. No compromising your morals, life goals, or sensibility for a few minutes of erotic activity. It is not worth it, Love yourself.

Patois Dilemma: Bring People Together Not Tear Apart

steve-harvey-540x304Ask Steve: Get the hell back!

Alright, I recently caught the above clip of the “Ask Steve” segment of the show in where Steve spoke with a young lady with the issue of a language barrier between her family and her husband. I (if previously did not mention) am a product of a Jamaican household and can relate to the struggles of communicating between English speaking and patois speaking people. With that said I would like to interject my unsolicited opinion, here I go.

If I were Steve I would have countered with the question of her husband’s ethnicity. Why? It is important to note in one way or another we all migrated to this country from a place that does not speak the American adaptation of the King’s English. Yes maybe closer to the beginning days of the settlers the language was more in sync to “proper” English since then we as a nation and in regional groups have moved farther away from that sort of speaking. America is known to be a melting pot of cultures and it can contribute to the barrier in this case. Jamaicans are a proud set of people and celebrate both customs and cultures so let the man talk.

Language like many things evolves from one stage to the next whether for better or worst, it is this way for English. After America gained independence from England we also gain freedom from their language trends and adaptations. Slowly moving across the landscape out toward the west part of the USA, language begins to branch but stays consistent with core English principles. Fast forward to present day people refer to the different branchings as an accent.

The migrating of Jamaican lineage to America for the reasoning of a better life and more opportunities give rise to language differences even though there is a shared language of English. This might be heightened if the language of the young lady’s husband not being English. In most of the world, English is thought to be one of the harder languages to grasp due to some notable inconsistencies such as the grammar rules, “I” before “E” except after “C”, and some odd sayings like parkway, driveway, and football.

Jamaican culture also participates in some rather odd sayings in the culture that I’m sure confused the young lady’s husband. Many of which my grandmother often addressed my with like ” sit down boy, do you have macca in your skin”. This odd saying was to convey to me I was being too hyper or was playing entirely too much and should settle down. Another saying would be ” since mi eye da mi knee” which was used to convey how long a certain event has been occurring. These are a few sayings that I often heard growing up that if you were not aware of might confuse you a bit. Needless to say, navigating the meaning behind sayings of the culture can be a bit tricky.

The young lady asked her father to previously speak slower and I guess enunciate words to ease the language barrier. I would say this is a difficult thing to ask when for so many years the father spoke one way to now be asked to speak another way especially within your own home or among family. People with gravitate to speaking in the language, accent, and dialect most comfortable to them. He may be able to adjust for awhile but once he returns to his comfort zone it will be back to patois.

Okay, so the advice I would suggest is not changing the way the family speaks around the husband but rather immersing him into the culture. With being immersed the husband can pick up the nuances and share in experiences.