Exploring The Bible

Techniques Of Studying The Bible

It is easy to put bible studying as one of our to-do lists as Christians. A lot of us hope to study more of the word of God, but find it difficult to finish. One hundred people may decide to start reading the bible as a New Year resolution, but only ten or five may complete the whole scriptures before the end of the year. The problem is not reading, or creating a timetable for the word of God, what some of us lack is the technique of studying the word of God, and this is the reason for this article. So, what are the techniques for studying the word of God?

Focus

It is easy to get carried away with the whole book; from Genesis to Matthew, from Malachi to Revelation- a lot of powerful messages lie there waiting for us to discover these truths. Sometimes it is overwhelming just thinking about it. The Bible is divided into two testaments; the old and the new testaments. No one is less important than the other; they both compliment each other. However, if you are a novice, starting with the New Testament will be easy to comprehend.

The Book Of John

The book of John is the easiest Gospel to study; it shows the identity of our Savior; read three chapters every day to get a good grasp of the author, topic, context, and characters. The book of John opens your understanding, prepares you for the next three chapters- Mark, Matthew, and Luke. In essence, from John, go to the book of Mark, back to Matthew, and finally the book of Luke. After reading the four books, you can move to the other chapters in the books in the Bible, except for Revelation. Revelation is filled with prophecies; you need to familiarize yourself with the Major Prophets in the Old Testament, before reading the last book of the New Testament.

Select The Topics To Study

This is another useful technique for studying the word of God; it is quite different from covering the Bible chapter by chapter. The subject index of most Bibles has specific areas of study. Once you have located an interesting topic, do a rough read through of the verses; it will give you a general preview of what the verses are all about. For instance, Obedience, Salvation and sin etc. you do not have to move on to the next chapter; take your time to understand the chapter before moving to the next, even if it means repeating the chapter.

Have A Notepad

It is not enough to read the bible; you have to keep account of your daily study. Ask yourself questions such as “who was there?” “What was happening?” “where is the story happening?” and “how did it end?”, And write them down in your notepad. Answering the questions will enhance your understanding. It can also tell if you understand what you have read.

Get highlighting pen for marking important stuff, or your “eureka moments” this is the reason you have to get your personal Bible; it is wrong to highlight someone else’s books or the bible.

Take Advantage Of The Cross References And Footnotes

Most bibles come with cross-references and footnotes; they are numbers and symbols that tell you to look other verse or chapter for more information. It also shows you if the verse was previously discussed. Cross-references and footnotes explain better and enhance your understanding of the chapters and the verses. In addition, follow the references in the study Bible back to the first time the word was used.

Avoid Distractions

It is easy to get distracted when doing something important, including study the bible. One way to focus on studies is to have a strict study time. Make sure nothing take your attention all through the time. Turn off the television or radio, find a quiet place where you can read without anyone distracting you. If you are reading in your room, put a sign on the door, to alert family members and friends that you need your time alone for a specified time. Switch off your mobile phones, laptops or anything that will tempt you to go online.

You can slate your study time for thirty minutes or one hour for a start, and then you can gradually increase the time as your body begin to tune in to the time naturally. Remember, it is not how long you spend studying the Bible; it is what you gain from the time you spend that matters. There is no point spending 2 hours in the study room and leave without achieving anything. If you feel after one hour of studying, you start feeling sleepy or lose concentration in what you are doing, then ensure your study time do not exceed one hour.

Encourage Yourself: As you study the Bible, I pray God opens your eyes to see and understand the mysteries in the Word of God. Have a productive New Year!

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Dealing With Anger

How To Deal With Anger And Frustration

Before, you scroll down and pretend to read every word written here, know this: uncontrolled anger is one of the primary reasons for most people who have health issues and horrible relationship experience. If you value your relationship with loved ones and also want to stay in good shape, you need to this article.

Sometimes we all experience some circumstances that make us fume, pout, which may cause our blood pressure rocket. The truth is, so long you are living with other human beings, and even pets, we are bound to experience some not so exciting days. However, handling the situation is what makes the difference between you and the next person. It is the reason you think other people do not experience this same “terrible” day as you.

First of all, before you dive into reading, I need to congratulate you on this bold step you have taken. Not everyone knows anger is a problem that needs to be dealt with before it sucks the energy out you and your relationship. The following steps will guide you to a life of peace, love, and self-control, but they are not magical. You need to make a conscious decision to change, to be the wonderful person that you have always wanted to be.

Pause Before You Speak

Nobody talks in his or her right senses when angry, and the sad path is, whatever you utter cannot be retrieved. The best is to say “I am sorry”, which may or may not appease the hurt. Try as much as you can to hold on, think it through before you say anything. If you cannot handle it, leave the scene; take a break from the “what or who” is causing the anger. Come back when you are entirely in control of your emotions, and address it.

Furthermore, you can practice relaxation skills while you try to cool off; deep breathing exercises help us to keep calm, avoid uttering words that you may regret later. You can also choose to write in a journal, listen to music or do whatever can encourage relaxation.

Don’t Be Scared To Express Your Anger

Hold on, before you judge me wrong, I need to explain this here- most causes of anger is as a result of bottle up emotions you have hidden in the past. Pretending to be okay with some things, does not mean you have successfully gotten rid of the anger issue, it simply means you have postponed the fight to another day. Some peoples’ definition of staying calm is bottling their anger and frustration. This is not the best, because one day it will explode, and may ruin years of relationships.

However, you are not qualified to express your anger when you have not completed the first task on the list- Pause before you speak. Do whatever it takes to cool off; you can exercise, simply listen to music, watch a movie, or sleep. Do anything at all that will not cause harm to your health. Please note that it is not safe to drive while in rage, steer clear the highway until you are okay to drive.

Do Not Spend Time On The Cause Of The Problem Get Possible Solutions

A lot of us tend to spend more time regretting our actions that we fail to move on. The more we spend time on the cause of the problem, the more frustrated we become. Whatever makes you mad do not deserve your attention. In essence, it is better to find a probable solution(s) that will resolve the issue at hand, than pointing fingers on whoever is the cause of the problem. For instance, if your spouse loves working in a roughened environment, instead of yelling, arranging the room every time your spouse messes up the place, create a separate room for your space to work. Anger cannot fix anything; it may aggravate the situation even more.

Stop The Blame Game

Humans are fond of blaming everyone except themselves, when you find yourself in a not too funny heated conservation with someone, use the “I” statements. For instance,  say “I am upset because I hardly spend time with you” do not say “You are always busy with one thing or the other”.

Count Your Blessings And Not The Problems

The more we consciously or unconsciously dwell on the negative aspect of people, the more the negative trait begins to materialize. Instead of dwelling on what they are not doing right, think of the good times, you have had together. Count the good times, learn from the mistakes, and think of ways to solve the problems.

Also, avoid holding grudges against the “offender”. Holding grudges will put you in one spot instead of growing to become a better you. The Bible knows this secret that is why it is written in Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”

Be angry fine, but do not stay mad for too long.

Encourage Yourself: Get Help

For you to get help, it means you have to admit the bitter truth that you have anger issues; a lot of people find it difficult to admit, but knowing you have a challenge, is a pathway to finding solutions.

Seek help especially when your anger makes you do things that will hurt the people around you. Ask for the help of The Holy Spirit; He will surely come to the rescue.  Read information on anger management, just as you have done now.  

However, change is not magical; it is a gradual process that requires patience and determination to get the desired result. You may not see the changes now, but as you continue to take conscious steps, you will turn into a better person.

PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Keeping a healthy lifestyle does not only mean ensuring you are physically fit, but it also includes your mental health. From bipolar disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder and every other disorder you can think off are play a vital role in our lives. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder especially is a mental health challenge that is common with soldiers and people who have been through a shocking event(s) in their lives.

What You Need To Know About PTSD

There are some facts about PTSD that will surprise you, apart from other basic ideas about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD Symptoms May Be Visible After Years

The nature of PTSD symptoms vary from individual to individual; sometimes, the signs are not apparent immediately after a traumatic episode in one’s life, with diagnosis and confirmation of PTSD, it may take the symptoms more than one month to surface. Moreover, some patients may have the occurrence of flashbacks of the unfortunate events immediately after the episode, but post-traumatic symptoms may be visible after months.

Furthermore, some individuals only experience flashbacks of the traumatic events, and others experience anxiety and depression although some people have difficulty in sleeping, emotional numbness, inability to concentrate, and so on.

Females are more susceptible to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is common among careful and sensitive people, and women are more in this category than men; they are more sensitive than men. However, studies prove that women are more prone to post-traumatic disorder even though men are more likely to have trauma. In addition, sexual trauma spikes PTSD than war trauma or any other trauma.

Children Also Suffer From PTSD

PTSD is not only prevalent in adults, but it also affects children; children also develop this condition because of some horrific events such as sexual abuse, accidents, sudden death of a loved one, neglect and solitude. Teenagers are prone to post-traumatic stress disorder, and they have symptoms such as distress, and depression. Also, most teenagers show aggressiveness and anger in their behavior.

It Is Not Easy To Discard PTSD

Unlike some disorders, PTSD is challenging to get rid of; it is difficult to wipe off traumatic events from one’s mind. Such people are advised by professionals to forget everything and move- this process alone is another uphill task.

Those having PTSD symptoms like anxiety or depression cannot easily wave PTSD aside and move on; they need good therapy and counseling to heal. A professional therapist has to help the patient in this area and make the difference. Before consulting a therapist, it is essential to find out first if the therapist specializes in PTSD.

Symptoms Of PTSD Are Not Always Obvious

One of the dangers of this disorder is the ability to conceal itself; most symptoms of PTSD may not be visible while some are obvious. Post-traumatic stress disorder becomes problematic when it appears after many years of the trauma. Some individuals tend to experience depression that may result in the wrong diagnosis. While others may show denial, in essence, the person may deny the traumatic event ever happening. This denial may lead to the wrong diagnosis that the problem is solved.

Medication Is May Not Be The Way Out

We are in an era where almost everybody wants to solve his or her problems by taking medication. Even though medication may help the patient cure the disorder, it is not always necessary for PTSD symptoms. A good therapist can solve the problem in most cases. It is important to note that some patients need to take medication before recovery.

Patients Experience Flashbacks Differently

One of the significant symptoms of PTSD is a flashback, and it may vary from patient to patient. While some individuals may never experience flashbacks, but other symptoms such as anxiety and depression others may experience strong and vibrant flashbacks. In such patients with strong flashbacks, a mere sound pr sight may bring back the traumatic memories giving a clear visual about a time and place where the tragic event happened.

Furthermore, the threshold also differs in everyone; just as the events, effects, and experiences are different in patients, so is the limit of trauma varies from patient to patient. Some may forget the experience and move on, while others may find it difficult to ignore and let go of the tragic event.  

PTSD Is Fast Growing In The Society

A lot of things including stress, unhappy environment, and tension trigger PTSD in anyone. Unfortunately, the number of people who have post-traumatic stress disorder are increasing every year. Besides, studies show that the situation is getting worse and they show that those with the disorder are more than 5% in every category. Also, the senior citizens are ignored in society, and they are very prone to PTSD.

Furthermore, our society becomes more selfish and more in love with money than their neighbors. Hence, no one saves time to show care and affections towards others; it is part of the reasons why there is increase intension and which can lead to several mental conditions including PTSD. If we want to fight and win this war, we need to do something to reduce mental stress and tension

Work Out Is One Of The Best Medicines

Generally, workouts are for anyone who loves to live a healthy lifestyle, but those with this disorder need to exercise daily to get rid of depression, stress and tension

Relationship With God

How To Have A Meaningful Relationship With God

A relationship is an essential part of human’s existence; whether you are working, schooling, teaching, parenting, or simply shopping, you need a relationship before you can successfully understand or interact with people. God desires to have a relationship with us-

Isaiah 1:18 “18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Not just one-sided, but a meaningful relationship.

Before we dived in on how to have or nurture a meaningful relationship with God, we need to know the importance of having one in the first place.

Importance of a meaningful relationship with God

The importance of a meaningful relationship with God is innumerable; however, we have outlined just a few importances that will open your mind to a world of exploits.

Better Knowledge of your Creator

Often, Christians rely on pastors, ministers of the Gospel, clerics, etc. to hear from God, but it is wrong. Do not get it wrong I am not saying it is wrong for us to go to church, to listen to the word of God, because it is essential to fellowship with like minds. The scripture says, “Do not forsake the gathering of brethren” “Iron sharpens iron” also, evil communication corrupts good manners, in the same way, goodly communication enhances good manners.

However, in the Old Testament, a mediator was needed to communicate with the people of God what the Lord has to say. The good news is, Jesus Christ is our Mediator, when He died, the veil was to the temple was torn- which means, every believer can have access to God.

The more you create time to study the word of God, with the Holy Spirit as your guide you will begin to have more understanding who your Maker is.

Sin becomes easy to overcome

When you know who your Father is, fleeing from temptations and sins become easy! As you study the word of God, your heart becomes filled with the word, and as you ponder on these words, you become glorified

2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

 Have you ever wondered why husbands and wives start to look alike especially after years of marriage? The same thing with God when you spend time in His presence, His glory starts rubbing off on you. Our God is righteous when you spend time with Him, His righteousness begins to cover you that sin has nowhere to dwell in you. Many Christians are battling with sinful addictions today because they do not spend time in God’s presence.

You begin to do exploit

The scripture says in Isaiah that those who know their God shall be strong and do exploits! Daniel 11:32b. “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits”

You cannot do exploits if you do not know much about your Maker, because the more time you spend with Him, The more He reveals the deep things to you. The truth is you cannot afford to be on the fence about God and His existence, you need Him more than ever.

You are covered

When you dwell in the secret place of God, in essence, when you spend time in His presence, He protects you Psalm 91:1 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

How to have a meaningful relationship with God

Now that we have had a glimpse of some of the importance of fellowshipping with God, how do we create this relationship Him?  

Jeremiah 29:12-14- “12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

14 And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”

James 4:8- “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Start your day with God

It is sad that a lot us get caught up with so many things but God; we are so busy running errands, exercising, pitching for the next project deals, school runs, grocery shopping, babysitting, etc. that we forget to say “Good morning” and “Thank you” to our God. Your first action in the morning can determine how the rest of the day will go. If the first thing you do is to complain about the kids, work, or bills, that is what you are going to do the rest of your day. However, if you commit your ways to God in the morning, He will ensure your day goes smoothly.

Psalms 37:5-7- “5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass”

How do you start your day with God?

First of all, thank Him for making you see the day, thank Him for the good things of yesterday because He is the doer James 1:17-“ Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

APPRECIATION IS THE APPLICATION FOR MORE when you are thankful, your tank will be full.

Secondly, ask in faith- it is not enough to ask, you need to ask in Faith! Pleasing God without faith is impossible. When you pray, believe that our heavenly Father, who freely gives us things, will come to your aid.

Romans 8:32- “32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

Lastly, end your prayer with thanksgiving- thank Him for what you have asked in Faith. When you thank Him for what He is yet to do for you, you commit Him to show up in your case.

Study the Word of God

2 Timothy 3:16- “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”

The Bible is written for a reason, it is not mere literature, the more you study the word of God, and let the Holy Spirit lead you through each chapter and verse, the more you know about God and His ways. No one is perfect, that is why the word of God is there to instruct, correct, and inspire you.

Hebrews 4:12-16, the word of God is quick and powerful… you need the sword (the Word) to shatter every lie of the devil. The reason Christians fall prey to false doctrines is that we do not find the time to study the word of God on our own; we depend solely on the preacher to tell us what God is saying concerning some situations. Romans 15:4

Meditating on the word of God

Joshua 1:8- “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

It is not enough to study the Word of God; you need to meditate on what you have read, this is where the Rhema comes in. When you meditate on the Word, you start to speak the word without even knowing, when you brood on the word of God, the Light will spring forth to shatter every darkness around your life. John 1:1-5.

Worship and Praise God

Praise and worship should not be limited to the church only; no rule says you can only worship God in church service. God enjoys your heartfelt praise and worship. He is never tired of your worship and praise. Praise is the only thing God cannot give Himself. To show you how much God enjoys praise, He said will raise stones if we do not praise Him- God forbid! When you are praiseful, you are Godful, and when you are Godful, no devil is permitted to come near your household! God inhabits the praise of His people

Psalms 22:3- “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”

A praiseful Christian is an ever-winning Christian 2 Chronicles 20:21- “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever”

We are created to praise Him Isaiah 43:21- “This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.”

Jesus Christ Is Waiting For You

Keeping relationship is good, and having one with the Almighty God is the best. However, you cannot have a relationship with Him when you are not His son or daughter. John 1:12 you need to accept Him as your Lord and Savior, and believe that He came to die for us, that we may have life abundantly.

John 3:16-“ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 10:10- “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Encourage Yourself: If you have missed it, it is not too late to come back to Him; there is no perfect way pray for forgiveness, just pour it out; He understands you, He sees the heart, and He will accept you back.

Overcoming Your Past

Vital Steps On How To Get Over Your Past

It is quite tricky to encourage someone from “moving on”, “don’t look back”, or “get over it” because we do not really know how it hurts when we are not involved. However, as you read on, I pray God gives you the strength to move past every negative past and to enable you to create a new beginning.

Furthermore, every person has experienced some emotional pain, and we have dealt with it differently. I want to share a story with you, and hopefully, you will get one or more lessons from it.

As a young lady, I love getting close to older people to draw from their wisdom. I will quickly add here, not everyone advice you get from older friends is good for you. You need to learn how to filter information before implementing them in your life. Moving on, I have this friend, Karen, she is super nice, and lives with her husband and three lovely kids just a little farther from the noisy city.

Karen’s Story…

One day I met Karen in the kitchen whistling one of CeCe Winans’ song she looked happy cutting the vegetables. I ask her to tell me the secret behind her happy home. I even went as far as telling her she always has things figured out.

Karen stopped whistling, and looked at me quizzically and then smiled. Oh dear, you have no idea. I smirked my lips, drag a dining chair, sat beside her, and wait for her to continue.

“Would you be a darling and get me a glass of water?” she asked politely. I shrugged and went to the refrigerator to get water for her. I waited patiently, to as she slowly drank the water. My patience was running out

“Joy, you really do want to know how my family and I are so darn happy…”

Yes! I replied impatiently

Well, thank you for the compliment, I really do appreciate it. She smiled and dropped the glass of water on the table, poured the vegetables into the bowl, she checked the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. All this time, I sat there watching her every move.

She finally took an opposite seat and sighed

You see Joy, it has not always been like this when Derrick and I were courting, I made him see hell… she chuckled as she saw the surprised look on my face.

I was always skeptical about Derrick, every good gesture towards me was suspicious, I always felt the “the real Derrick is yet to be unveiled” he got tired at some point, but unlike the rest past boyfriends, Derrick didn’t quit.

I nodded, I didn’t want to interrupt her even though I have questions for her.

I had emotional baggage, and it was affecting my relationship. I had trust issues and low self-esteem, even though friends around me didn’t see it. I knew deep down I was not okay.

What happened? Why? I managed to ask

She looked at me, not sure if I can handle the next phase of the story.

You see, as a young girl, my parents were unfaithful to each other. Although my Mom said it was anger that made her did what she did, but it was too late. Where I come from, it is a taboo for a wife to cheat on her husband. It is believed that men are polygamous by nature, and we women should learn to be accommodating.

It didn’t sit well with my mom; she felt betrayed by her husband, my father. She started making new friends- women who are no longer with their husbands or unmarried. Their lifestyle got into her, and she started behaving like them. She didn’t care if my dad was seeing other women or not. However, they both loved us. We didn’t lack anything, and the love they showered on us was more than enough to notice the rift between them.

Joy… she reduced her voice; then I knew she was about to say something serious.

 My Mom got sick, and the house was not as happy as it was. My dad tried all he could to be there for her, but death struck, she left this world. Dad was distraught; he wasn’t himself, we sometimes hear him talk to himself, sometimes cry… it was not easy for him, and certainly not easy for us too. Barely a year later, my dad died of stroke. And my siblings and I learned to fend for ourselves.

I got angry with my mom for years; I blamed her for what happened to my dad. I blamed her for not being a “typical” African woman- a woman who bears the pain and the emotional hurts of her husband. I also blamed her for getting sick. My dad too didn’t go scot-free, I blamed him for starting the whole tragedy in the first place, why would he cheat on my mom, all because she wasn’t able to give him a son. I also blamed him for joining my mom too soon and leaving kids to learn to live without parents.

All these events took a toll on my relationships… trusting a guy was difficult, and to be sincere, the ones before my husband Derrick gave me more reason not to trust men. However, I was determined to have a beautiful home void of insincerities, lies, deceit, etc. virtually every my parents showed to each other. But I cannot do this if I married the wrong person- so I became extremely watchful. Once I notice a red flag, I quit… though breaking up was painful, but giving my kids the best environment to grow was more important to me.

When Derrick came into my life, I didn’t make it easy for him. We often quarrel over trivial issues, and somehow, he didn’t give up on me. I pushed him, with my negativity but he was patient with me, he still is- Karen laughed

So how did the low self-esteem crop up? I asked her

You know Joy, Africa is especially, the country I come from, frown on women who cheat on their husband or who are divorcees. Most families will not want their sons to get married to a girl whose mother has that history.

Oh, I see…

Yes, Joy, that is our unwritten rule, although a lot of things are changing now, even their beliefs. I got worried that no man would want to marry me because of my “mother’s sins”. I kept it a secret from my friends. I didn’t want them to see me in that light… it was difficult for me.

So how did you get over your fears?

She smiled and continued – Joy, I am going to give you a few tips, these tips will help you look above your mistakes, your pasts and live the life you’ve always wanted.

How to get over the past

First of all, you need God. We cannot do anything without Him even though we try to avoid Him.

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Despite my salvation, I was still burdened by my past; I didn’t want His help in this area of my life. The Holy Spirit is a gentle Man; He won’t interfere in your situation just because He is the Almighty, He needs your permission to do it. Until you ask for His help, He will not do anything. He can only wish you could see the benefit of His presence in your life.

When I saw how patient Derrick is towards me, I had to ask God for help because I didn’t want to ruin the relationship, he deserved better, and I want to be the “better”. And guess what?

What? I cleared my throat. The aroma from the oven made me realized I missed lunch.

He did! The Holy Spirit came to the rescue Joy.

I smiled, and asked her “So, you are saying the Holy Spirit is here to do EVERYTHING for us? That is cool.”

She shook her head gently and said no.

But you just said we should ask Him for help…I queried

I know what I said Joy, but you need to hear this… every Christian needs to listen to this. “If God had wanted to do everything for us, He would have excluded the brain when creating” Our Heavenly Father wants us to take responsibilities, instead of shoving every little thing at Him to solve.

I nodded my head

Back to the topic, the Holy Spirit gave me the strength to journey through the healing process.

So what exactly did you do to get over the past?

You are getting impatient I see…

No, I am curious… I said shyly, deep down she was right, I wanted to hear the secrets.

Here are the things I did, and I hope it will be useful to you when you or the people around you

Stop The Blame Game

I realized blaming my parents for their actions, and the reason for our situation will lead me nowhere. They both had a choice to make a difference, but they did not.

Blaming other people but yourself will hurt us more than we think. We anticipate the “moment of apology” when someone did something,  or they have wronged you in some way that mattered to us. If we don’t get that moment, we plunge into self-pity and anger. I blamed my parents for leaving us, for not taking the right decisions, and it made lose focus on other essential things…

Important things like? I asked

Well… for starters, I have my siblings. God kept us, even through the hard times, and some of the people He brought to my way to help us per time.

Listen, Joy, the more we focus on our past, the more we detest our present, and lose a glorious future.

So are we not supposed to feel bad for what we have gone through?

Of course Joy, we are humans… we get hurt by friends, loved ones, colleagues, employers, strangers… we are allowed to cry, feel the pain, be angry, but we are not allowed to dwell on the issue for too long. Just because something terrible happened in one chapter does not mean you stop reading the book.

Make A Conscious Decision To Let Go

You may find it difficult to drop everything, and let go. One of the tricks I used is to tell myself “I know it happened, I cannot do anything about, so I am letting go” it was weird talking to myself, but it worked. Now the mistake people make when they are trying to forget their past is conditioning the mind to forget the past. It is not healthy, even if you succeed, something someday may spark, and the memories will flood your mind. Letting go is not deleting what has happened in your mind, it is acknowledging the fact that it has happened, but that is not “the you” anymore.

It Is Okay To Express Your Pain

We live in a world where people do not want to see “the making of the movie” they just want to watch the movie. A lot of people really don’t care about how you arrived at your position today, all they want to see is the glam. It has made several people conceal their hurts; they feel it makes them weak to cry or express their pains.

When my dad died, at first, I didn’t cry. I just went to meet my sister who was crying profusely, I told her to keep cool, that it is okay. I tried to shield the pain brewing inside of me. I hated the world for what happened to us, I disregarded God and anyone who would preach to me. But thank God for His infinite mercy, He was there with me, I just didn’t know it.

One day, I couldn’t hold it anymore, I cried like never before, I wept because our lives will never remain the same again. I cried for my younger ones because they are about to enter a phase none of us had seen coming. After everything, I was relieved, how to quickly pass that stage became my goal. Those who express their pain may seem weak to the world, but watch it, as soon as they get over it, they become the strongest people anyone can imagine.

Everyone Deserves A Chance

My parents’ infidelity, as well as my ex-boyfriend,  affected my dealings with Derrick. Anything he could not be trusted, I believed his kind and romantic gestures would only last for a while. Anytime we quarrel, I would ask him “are you tired? It is okay to leave if you want to, I won’t hold you back.”

It was awful, but I didn’t care, at least I pretended not to care. He would leave, and wait till I cool off before he calls back. One day, when we were arguing about something… really can’t remember what spiked the argument, he said “Karen, everyone deserves a chance. Stop I am not your ex, I am me” I keep quiet for a while, he left without saying another word. Derrick was right; I will not be able to move past the past if I keep seeing him as my ex. It was a difficult pill to swallow, but I know that if I must fulfil the plan and purpose God has for me, I need to get over my past.

For young people out there, just because you had a soured relationship does not mean every other relationship will be soured. You have to give your partner the chance to love you.

Forgive Yourself

One of the many tricks of the devil is to subject us under the law. Listen, God loves you, He knew you even before your conception. He knows your flaws that is why He sent His Son, Jesus to die for you and me. If our Heavenly Father can forgive us, who are we not to forgive ourselves? Unfortunately, God cannot help us to forgive ourselves, it is something we all need to do. Your mistakes and other people’s mistake are there to guide us when making decisions. The mistakes have been made, learn from it, and be better than you were.

Beep! The timer gave a quiet beep as if it was trying not to disturb our conversation, and at the same time reminding Karen about the turkey in the oven.

The lessons I got from Karen that day has helped me, and I hope it will help you too.

Let me quickly add here, the Holy Spirit is our friend, comforter, teacher, to name a few, but He will not help until you ask Him to; He is a Gentleman according to Karen. If you are tired of doing things by yourself, seek His counsel, and He will help you.

Encourage Yourself: Lastly, you deserve to be happy. Do not let your past detects your future, but you can use the lessons to improve your future. My sincere prayer is for you to see how God sees you, and not how the world sees you.

Fulfill Your Resolution

How To Fulfill New Year’s Resolution

It’s a few days to the New Year’s celebration; another time of the year where a lot of us make a to-do list for the New Year. Unfortunately, the majority of people do not follow through with the resolution, and only a few make it to March or midyear.

One of the primary reasons for the inability to accomplish goals is PROCRASTINATION if you can deal with this problem called procrastination, you will be able to follow through your New Year’s resolution.

How to deal with procrastination

To deal with procrastination, you need to understand what procrastination is all about- then you will be able to destroy the siege of procrastination in your life. Procrastination affects not only our work but our lives as a whole. The not so funny thing about procrastination is you know what you ought to do, but you do not have the willpower to do it- something or someone always distract you from reaching the set goals. The good news is we are going to deal with it to prevent the next year from slipping by without achieving what we propose to accomplish before the end of the year.

Before we jump right in on how to deal with procrastination, you need to know what it is all about and how it affects your entire life.

Contrary to what you believe, procrastination is not a tailored-problem, designed just for you. It is, in fact, a life-long challenge that millions of people face around the world. Procrastination is putting off or delaying what you set to do at a particular time intentionally or habitually. The effect sometimes may be crucial to our success in life- there are some things that you need to do at a given time that will skyrocket you to live your desired future.

Procrastination comes in different forms; sometimes placing pleasure over discipline, avoiding something negative by postponing action. For instance, someone who is afraid to fail may end up delaying the date of the examination (if it is in their power to do so) or getting choked up by overwhelming expectations. So, you see procrastination is not just prioritizing ones pleasure over discipline.

Why do we procrastinate?

We aware of the benefits of doing things at the speculated time, yet we choose not to do the right thing at the right time; so, what are the challenges, the probable reasons behind our delayed actions?

The task is perceived not urgent

A lot of people are guilty of this, we tend to push things aside when we know they are not immediate. “there is still time, oh I will do it later” we focus on the things that are right in front of us, even if they inconsequential.

The truth is it is more challenging to prioritize things that are not urgent- from redecorating the bedroom to saving for retirement; everyone has things they never get to do. It makes both big and small tasks neglected for months or years even.

Solution: Visualize the big picture

To overcome this reason of procrastination is to see the big picture, i.e. visualizing what you stand to achieve when you do the things you plan to do. When you start to imagine what you stand to gain if you start saving on time, or the “new you” after shedding the weight will trigger the zeal to act on your plans and not just leave it on the drawing board after the second day of New Year.

Furthermore, taking on the broader perspective rather than seeing the little itsy effect the action does to your life- for example, instead of focusing on the one or two pounds you will shed on a daily basis, focus on your new look that will emerge at the end of the year exercising. Taking on a new perspective can kick-start the process of taking action.

Finding the right time to start and what comes next after you start

While some people are forcing themselves to start the proposed tasks, others do not know how to begin; they do not know how to start. You see, the difference between the first group and this second group is knowledge and zeal. The first one may have the zeal to begin the journey, but they lack the energy to commence, while the second group may have the enthusiasm to start, but do not have the knowledge or resources of what they need to start the task. However, some people can be in group one and at the same time group two. In essence, someone may not have the zeal or courage and also the knowledge to begin the task.

Furthermore, people procrastinate because they do not know or are not sure what to do first; they are confused, disorganized and overwhelmed with the whole thing. This when you redirect your focus on watching a movie, checking the latest movies on Netflix or some other things that will make us forget about the task temporarily.

Solution: it is normal to feel what you are feeling now

You are not alone; this situation isn’t peculiar to you alone until you realized it is okay to feel overwhelmed or even stupid you will not be able to move on to accomplish the goals you set to achieve this New Year.

Here is the fun part, add all the “crazy moments” such as screaming in the bathroom or pillow,  hanging out with friends, etc. to your to-do list. The list helps you to cool off before you start all over again.

It is important to note that the beginning of the task may include several do-overs and lots of mistakes. It will overwhelm you if you feel it is not normal for you to experience all these while on the journey to fulfilling your dreams.

The fear of failure

The third reason some of us procrastinate is that we are scared of failing- we set high standards for ourselves that we quickly hide in our shells once we sense we will not be meeting the target. This thought has made a lot of us “under-achiever”- we prefer to stay in our comfort zone and shine, rather than attempting new heights. So, we when set new tasks, and we sense this is not our usual tasks, we tend to procrastinate.

Solution: failure is learning from the journey and not the destination

You need to understand that your self-worth has nothing to do with your accomplishment- just because you could not meet up the standard, you or the society placed on you does not make you a failure. Success is not measured by what you have accomplished over the years; it is becoming a better you every day. You do not measure success by comparing yourself with your neighbor; you compare yourself with the person you were last time. This will help you a lot than you think- it will free you from the pressure you unconsciously or consciously placed yourself.  

Some people work under pressure

I am sometimes guilty of this fourth reason- many of us work better and faster when the due date is around the corner than when there is enough time for it. Take, for example, a student who does not study for an exam until it is a few days away, and he will still come out one of the tops in his class. Some people prefer to wait until the due date before starting any given task.

Solution: know what works best for you

The solution to this one totally depends on you; you need to understand what works best for you. If you feel you are among the people who love to work under pressure, intense focus, and the adrenaline rush when accomplishing a project or task then procrastinate all you want. However, you need to know when to draw the line- some jobs require time, for it to be accomplished successfully- for instance, if you plan on losing weight this New Year, you do not have to wait until it gets closer to the end of the year before attempting to lose weight. It requires consistency, and patience among other things.

Laziness

All right, this may sound harsh, but the truth is we sometimes do not feel like working at all. You rather do anything else than to fulfill the task you have set yourself to do.

Sometimes, getting off the couch, calling customer service, or taxes may seem like an uphill task, you are not alone.

Solution: measure and compensate yourself

Some people procrastinate because there is no reward after fulfilling such a task- the answer to this is to divide the work (optional) and reward yourself after accomplishing each part of the project.

For instance, if your job is to clean the house- you can pause for a refreshment after vacuuming the floor, and then start again. Most employers use this tactic to indulge their workers- for instance, the employee of the week is one of the ways to encourage their works to put in their best. We tend to do a lot more when there is a reward after the day’s job.

Encourage Yourself

If you are a believer who tends to procrastinate all the time, I would like to share this secret with you. The Holy Spirit is our motivator, but sadly, most Christians do not know this- the Holy Spirit is there to give us the strength we need to achieve goals. All we have to do is to ask in Faith, then start while He handles the rest. You do not pray and then lay back; you pray and then begin in Faith. Faith without work is dead- James 2:14 “What does it profit, my brethren if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?”

When you push yourself to start after asking the Holy Spirit for help, it shows you believe in Him- and because our God is too faithful to fail, He will show up.

Over Come Depression

How I Overcame Depression

With Joy in my heart, I am excited that I was able to get rid of depression and share my experience with a lot of people who may have been going through the same challenge as me.

How it started

Telling you the exact date of when I started battling with depression is difficult for me because I cannot tell exactly when it all began. However, I remember when I was little, people I know and do not know would walk up to me and ask why am I crying. I will simply tell them that I am not, and to the best of my knowledge then, that was the truth. My facial expression is mostly sad, especially when I am alone; I didn’t know the problem then, frankly, I never thought it was a problem.

Sweeping Dirt Under The Carpet

Growing up, I learned to put on a smiling face every time to avoid being asked the “silly” question. At first, it was difficult, but I learned to be cautious of myself, and it worked. The truth is, the solution I carved out was like sweeping dirt under the carpet. The problem was still there; then I switch to ensuring the people around me is happy; I make them laugh or comfortable as much as I can to draw attention away from me.- Confusing, isn’t it? Yes, I know… but it was the best I could come up with.

Then anger sets in, I had an anger issue, although as usual, I tried to suppress everything by ensuring everyone else is happy, but deep down, I was a wreck! I cry for about anything. I get angry with any slightest thing, and I was good at disguising these negative traits about me. People around see me as this happy young woman, and I made it easy for anyone to share their problems with me. However, the battle was getting tougher; negative thoughts were the order of the day. If I want to do anything, I will imagine the worse. It also affected my relationship; my negative feelings gave rise to trust issues, and it was difficult for my partner to up with me.

I Found The Light

I never knew what the problem was called until I was asked to write on depression and the dangers. As I make research, I started seeing similarities between people suffering from depression and me. Also, stories of young people committing suicides due to depression started popping up on social media. Then I knew something needs to be done; trying to sweep it under the carpet will not cut it for me. Trying to hide depression is like secretly keeping a timely bomb in your home just because you do not want people to tag you as a terrorist.

The breakthrough happened one evening, I was sitting on a couch chatting with some friends online, and I noticed darkness befalling me, my heart suddenly became heavy, and I was sad even though I was joking with friends online. Deep down I was in pains emotionally, and I needed to talk to someone at that moment.

The miracle happened; I was suddenly led in the spirit to start praising God. Friends, it was silly, there was no joy enough to sing and dance to my God. Nonetheless, I went offline, open the music app, and played one of the praises I have in my phone. I forced myself to dance, to praise God for who He is, and what He has done for me. A few minutes into the praise sessions, the Holy Spirit started flooding my head with the miracles God has been doing in my life, the growth I have experienced in my business, family, etc. Joy began springing up, and I continued to dance, but this time, I wasn’t forcing myself to sing along with the music or dance.

I was sweating profusely, but I never stopped dancing. Suddenly, I felt darkness leaving my body, and my heart became light. Oh, what a feeling! I am free!

My Realization

After the miracle, it dawned on me that depression is a spirit- a dark spirit that is cast on anyone by the devil. I know science has reasons for depression, and some people will even tag me as crazy for thinking this way.

However, it is the truth. Depression is a spirit, showing you why you are not good enough or deserve to be happy. It makes you see reasons to leave this world. Here is the fact about suicide; it does not stop the pain, you are only passing it on to your loved ones and people who cherish your existence.

The devil is out to get the youths, and he is using the spirit of depression to cut short their lives, to imprison them from fulfilling God’s plan in their lives. Nevertheless, the good news is, you have the weapon to disarm the devil and all his agents from deciding your fate.

Praise is a weapon, it is not what you do casually in church, and you can use it to fight your battles. Praise worked for me, and it is still working for me today. Administer the ministry of praise today, and you will receive your miracle. More will be discussed on praise soon, and I know God will show up in your case.

No matter how hard it gets, you suicide is not an option- it is the lie of the devil to steer you away from your glorious destiny.

Also, it is important to be observant too. Depression is not written on the sufferers’ forehead. In fact, some of the most jovial people suffer depression, the laughter, smiles, and jokes are just to cover up the battle they are fighting inside. Help people, when they sum the courage to share with you what they are going through; it is not the time to make fun of them or to wave it off casually.

Lastly, there is power in praise-you may not feel like praying over the situation, but you can praise. When you praise God, the joy from within will energize you to pray. Have a glorious year!!!

Encourage Yourself:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

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