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The role of children

Contributor: K. Wyatt

There is an old saying that states it takes a village to raise a child. Well, once that child is raised, it is up to them to become a part of the village that will raise the next generation of children. Adults and parents are responsible for instilling positive values and beliefs in children. But those children, even as adults, have the responsibility of using what was taught to them to become functioning members of society. 

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) states, “start children off the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” It is a child’s job to learn, play, grow, and make mistakes. The mistakes that children make are what turns them into the individuals who will lead in the future. Of course, a parent or another responsible adult is the one teaching them right from wrong. A child will not know stealing is bad until someone tells them it is. But once they know better, it is up to them to do better. 

First Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) states, “when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” Even children who do not have a good upbringing or have positive role models have the same responsibility. Psalm 27:10 (ESV) states that “for my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.” All children must find their way to God and spread love and His Word to the next generation. Then those children will spread it to the next generation (Joel 1:3), whether this is through biological reproduction or spiritual mentorship. 

Today’s children play a large role in what the children of the next generation will be like.

There is an old saying that states it takes a village to raise a child. Well, once that child is raised, it is up to them to become a part of the village that will raise the next generation of children. Adults and parents are responsible for instilling positive values and beliefs in children. But those children, even as adults, have the responsibility of using what was taught to them to become functioning members of society. 

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) states, “start children off the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” It is a child’s job to learn, play, grow, and make mistakes. The mistakes that children make are what turns them into the individuals who will lead in the future. Of course, a parent or another responsible adult is the one teaching them right from wrong. A child will not know stealing is bad until someone tells them it is. But once they know better, it is up to them to do better. 

First Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) states, “when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” Even children who do not have a good upbringing or have positive role models have the same responsibility. Psalm 27:10 (ESV) states that “for my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.” All children must find their way to God and spread love and His Word to the next generation. Then those children will spread it to the next generation (Joel 1:3), whether this is through biological reproduction or spiritual mentorship. 

Today’s children play a large role in what the children of the next generation will be like.

#Children, #family, #friends, #generational

What defines a father?

Contributor: T. Dozier-Grady

A father has many roles, like mothers, in society. It goes beyond the idea of being a breadwinner. They help develop a positive role in a child’s life, provide a sense of security, build self-esteem, lend a helping hand to those in need, be a caregiver, give affection, be nurturing, and plenty of other things. In the Bible, the role of the father is described as the leader and protector of the family. He is an example of showing love towards his wife and children (the way Christ shows His love). 

First Timothy 3:2-5 (NIV) says “Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?).” 

A father is strong in his faith. He gives a sense of direction and disciple to his children in the ways of the Lord and helps the child(ren) embrace God as their Heavenly Father. I know there were plenty of times where I did not like to be corrected on my behavior, and I had to apologize for my actions. The Bible says, “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (Hebrew 12:6 NIV). Our earthly father is mirroring the Heavenly Father because he wants to help shape the child’s long-term character. He points his children to Jesus as the model because He is our Everlasting Father.

God is the reason why we were created. Bishop explains that regardless of how we arrived on this Earth, it was no mistake. We are made in His image, and we have His genetic makeup inside of us. He wants us to show people how He gave us conditional love and always stuck by our side through good and bad, and thick and thin. He wants us to help those in need feel the love that God gave us. 

God is the source of everything, the Jehovah Jireh. He will provide for you when you do not know if you can make it to next week. He will give you the affection you need because He is a father to the fatherless (Psalms 68:5). God wants us to know that we can trust Him with anything and everything. Trusting Him can lead your soul to find rest, salvation, and security (Psalms 62:1-2). 

The role of the father is to empower and transform his children to live like Jesus, to have open arms to those who are different, and to spread the love of Jesus. 

#father, #love

The community as a whole – the village

Contributor: E. Taylor

It truly does take a village to flourish and thrive through today’s societal changes, the current pandemic, and a climate of social injustice.  It takes a village is an old African Proverb that has been shared for many years that means that people work together as a community to raise and nurture children and others in their community.  This philosophy is highlighted by the power of people uniting for a common cause – to support one another.  

The village is a safe and healthy place for children to live, grow, learn, and experience the world as they mature into self-sufficient individuals.  The village represents everything that a child and family need.  We are who we have become because of the village that raised us.  Our own foundation was laid in “our” village. Then those other important bricks and blocks were laid on it while building additional layers through our interactions with the other members of the village – our parents, neighbors, cousins, extended family members, teachers, community members, and others.  

All of us have a different experience because of the village we have/had surrounding us.  We are products of our environments; we are who we hang out with, live with, socialize with, spend time with.  Whatever we feel and think has been shaped by the things we learned and experienced through those around us and their impact upon us.  

A person who has a positive village experience growing up lays a foundation for an adult life that can differ in how they experience and respond to their community and adversity.  A person who has an upbringing that has less support of their village members or is more traumatic and problematic has a different foundation and may experience things differently.  Therefore, they may have different responses for similar situations and incidents.   

The driving force of the village is the love for its children and families.  The villagers need a genuine love for one another and others, and the village flourishes because of this love.  Love in action is a powerful force.  Luther Vandross sang of this belief in the song, “Power of Love,” reminding us all that we’ve got love and all of the power and that it’s the greatest power of them all.  Love is indeed a power all by itself – fantastic and indescribable, awe-inspiring, and can be difficult and tough simultaneously.  

God is love and the embodiment of love in action.  His love is inspiring and flourishes when we invest it in others as God invests it in us.  Let us continue to love each other, support each other, and be a part of someone’s village, being their community of love.  Love is shown through our actions and is almost invisible when it’s inactive.  Being part of a village is a critical role for all of us, and the power of love helps make it possible for us to build others up and encourage them.  

#village #family #community #love #children

Motherhood and the next generation

Contributor: A. Dorcent

Where are we heading? In today’s social climate, I question how my role as a mother contributes to future generations. If I think long enough, I end with second guesses. I could have spent more time or taught them better. Knowing this makes me grateful for my relationship with God. 

My children are 26, 23, and 12 years old. When asked to write about how my role as a mother shapes the next generation, I was like, huh? From the time my children were born, I was captured by the “Do Spirit.” Get things done! I needed to ensure my children were fed, clothed, and physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally healthy. 

I know you’re probably thinking, you’ve been a mom for 26 years and you’ve got to think about this? I believe women are very analytical; however, when it comes to our children, we’re doers. We’ve been blessed with a human being. My instinct says, nurture, and protect. This nurturing and protection occur in stages. Here’s what I mean:

Feeding our young – (Exodus 2:7 NIV) “Then his (Moses’) sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?””

A mother’s first instinct is to make sure her children are fed. She pours love and attention into their well-being – mind, soul, and body. Moms are protective against behaviors that distort growth toward healthy adulthood. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to say, “No, sorry, you can’t do that.” Or “Let’s do this instead.”

Fostering good citizens – (Exodus 2:12) “And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.”

We want our children to be good citizens. This role of mothering is two-fold. I’ve got to be a good role model. I want my children to recognize injustice. Second, I’ve got to address the consequences when poor choices are made. We must be respectful of authority. My role is to ensure my children know there are consequences. Although I will always forgive, I will not always tolerate their actions.

Forming a support system – (Titus 2:3-4) “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.”

Once our children become adults, it does not mean they no longer need us. We have lessons to teach while our children walk in their calling. Life’s waters can become murky, but wisdom provides a clear perspective. We will never have all the answers, which leads me to the greatest thing we can share with the next generations – our faith. We can partner with our children in prayer, seeking His wisdom. 

Connected to the vine, I am confident He will always be present, and our next generation will grow in God’s direction. 

#family #motherhood #children

A salute to the people who protect and serve

Contributor: E. Taylor

Many thanks to military service members, police officers, and firefighters all over the world for great deeds in our communities everywhere.  We value the sacrifice and dedication that is demonstrated on and off duty in neighborhoods, backyards, streets, buildings, homes, precincts, and unnamed places everywhere.  Their devotion goes above and beyond the call of duty in and out of the uniform.  

Our uniformed officers often have to put others before themselves and their families, losing out on important moments and memories in their own lives and the lives of their families and loved ones.  It is difficult to understand the sacrifice that they make in the line of duty, and true understanding can sometimes be skewed by the media’s projections of negative events.  

Being fair and open-minded helps us see the best in everyone, including our public servants.  Seeing the best in everyone helps us reserve negative judgment, support our uniformed officers, and spread the news about their good deeds in our own communities.  Let us show appreciation for these officers – those that we know and love and others across the globe as they continue to uphold their oaths as public servants in our communities.  

The current climate of social change encourages us all to stop and examine our interactions with each other for the positives and to seek ways to be better individuals that can help bring out the best in others.  Along with protecting and serving, police officers perform rescues from unsafe and burning buildings, save animals and people stranded in trees and high buildings, have pulled up people and pets from wells and manholes, rescued miners from shafts, removed babies from wells, used the jaws of life to remove people from crushed vehicles, calm traffic and manage traffic at the scene of an accident.  These brave officers monitor traffic stops to maintain public safety and identify unsafe individuals.  

Firefighters risk their lives for us battling raging fires that blaze uncontrollably for days, weeks, and months without an unforeseeable end in sight.  These firefighters risk their lives all over the world in dark and dismal places, some never returning home to their families, others never returning home the same as they were before they left.  

All branches of military service members serve in various places protecting our borders and the world in so many ways – many known and unknown to us. As we think of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and National Guard, we salute them for the great things they do for us and for always protecting us from dangers that are both seen and unseen.  Our military is strategically placed to keep us safe from unexpected dangers.  

We never know what to expect from day to day, but we know that we can count on all of these public servants to have our backs and to carry out their sworn duties every day.

#love, #lovethepolice, #protectandserve

5 Biblical Ways to Improve Finances

Contributor: K. Wyatt

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress in many areas of our lives. One of those major areas is finances. Some individuals have been put out of work either temporarily or permanently. A few of us were lucky enough to be blessed with a $1200 stimulus check. And although we should be grateful for everything that we receive, it is hard to appreciate a $1200 check when you have been out of work for weeks to months amid a pandemic. Work and a steady income have stopped, but bills and other financial obligations continue to pile up. It may be hard to trust God during all of this, and some of us may wonder where God is right now. But God is here. He has always been here, and He is never leaving (Psalm 139:7-12). The same way we turn to God for support and guidance for our problems, we can turn to Him regarding our financial status. Here are five ways to improve your finances through God’s Word: 

  1. Trust God. And I mean really trust God. We may say that we trust God and the plans He has for our lives, but our actions may say otherwise. Trust and believe that God will truly bless you financially. Pray often and give all your worries to Him, and everything else will fall into place. The saying goes, “if you pray, then don’t worry, and if you’re going to worry, then why pray?” God knows what He is doing. Let him handle it (Philippians 4:19).
  • Educate yourself. Some of us weren’t taught financial literacy growing up. Now would be a great time to learn some concepts such as budgeting, credit, assets, and liabilities, etc. What you learn may help you to become more financially responsible when you begin working again. Or it may help you handle your finances better if you are still working. No one knows everything. You may find that you have made some mistakes with your finances, and that is okay. God wants us to be well informed, and He is willing to provide us with knowledge if we are willing to seek it (James 1:5).
  • Hold yourself accountable. Learn how to look at yourself in the mirror and realize that there may have been times where you could have made better financial decisions. If we want God to bless us with bigger and better things, then we must be prepared to receive those things (Luke 16:10). You may be hoping and praying for a bigger salary, but are you really prepared to manage and budget with a bigger salary. To whom much given, much is required (Luke 12:48).
  • Be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5). Being content with what you have does not mean settling. It means that you trust God enough to utilize your spiritual gifts no matter where you are in life. So maybe amongst all the craziness right now, you decide to open a business or learn a new skill. Whatever it is, you do it full-heartedly, knowing that you are blessed, and that God loves you. And who knows what may happen after that? You may find yourself realizing your passion in life, which could lead to a new source of income.
  • Save, save, save! Save what you can, whether it is a little or a lot. Save it. You never know when you are going to need it or have the opportunity to invest it. Of course, saving is easier said than done. But try to save anyway, even if you have to use the savings eventually. Getting into the habit of saving now will make it easier to save in the future when you have more to spare. A small change now could really make a big difference later in life (Proverbs 13:11).

#money #finances #corona #covid19

5 Biblical Tips to Deal with Anger

5 Biblical Tips to Deal with Anger

Contributor: T. Dozier-Grady

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 (NIV)

While I was attending college, back in September 2019, a person made me upset. We were a part of the undergraduate psychology executive board. He told the executive board that he lied to some people to get money from them to help raise money for another club to which he was a part. How could he do that? I was so angry at the words he spoke. If I did not have the Holy Spirit help control my tongue, who knows how the situation would have turned out. We have experienced anger at one point in time. “Anger on its own is not a sin but releasing hastily or at the wrong time can be a destructive force.” (Bishop Rosie O’neal) I could have hurt his feelings, broke into an argument or worse, a fight. I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit guided my emotions and led me to express how I felt without being hostile towards what he said.

Bishop O’neal has defined anger as an emotion characterized by antagonism, which is the expression of opposition or hostility. It is when you have this emotion that is causing you to express hostility towards someone or something you believe has done you wrong. During the sermon on Victory Over Anger Part 1, Bishop asked us to think about these questions before we respond:

  1. How are you feeling?
  2. What do you really believe (what triggered it)?
  3. What do you perceive is happening (assumptions)?
  4. What are you focusing on?

There are going to be situations and people that will get you angry. We do not want to miss out on the blessings because we could not keep our temper down and our mouths shut. Moses lost his temper when he saw the Egyptian beating the Hebrew slave, and he killed the Egyptian. Moses was punished for forty years over his anger. We do not want our anger to put ourselves and the people around us back a generation. So, what can we do to handle our anger properly?

Jesus handled his anger by:

  1. withdrawing Himself,
  2. practicing relaxation exercises,
  3. confronting the situation,
  4. sometimes, asking a question to see what people were thinking, and
  5. forgiving and praying for people.

Based on Jesus’ example, we should:

  1. consider where our anger is coming from and why we are angry.
  2. learn how to calm down. Judge something more important than the moment. Become reflective.
  3. get a calculated response. 
  4. communicate clearly. Praying can help diffuse the anger. 
  5. concede to the consequences. 

Remember, anger, when not controlled, is dangerous, and it can set off a chain reaction. God will give you His spirit to calm down and heal you if you ask Him for help. 

I would recommend listening to the series, Victory Over Anger, and one of the latest sermons, Handling Anger Properly.

#dealwithanger #calm #slowtoanger

Salute to our Healthcare Professionals

Contributor: A. Dorcent

Healthcare Professionals, We Salute You!

Have you ever thanked someone for doing the extraordinary and received the humbled reply, “I was just doing my job.”? 

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing healthcare professionals perform above and beyond the call of duty. Their service surpasses the norm as they face insurmountable odds – experiencing overwhelmed medical facilities, working extremely long hours, and in some cases, have limited staff and supplies. They have risen to the occasion not to get to the other side of their paycheck. In this time of crisis, their service reflects the authentic spirit of compassion.

In this authentic spirit, we’ve found healthcare professionals, EMTs, nurses, and doctors become family. Our Pastor, Bishop Rosie. S. O’neal teaches we are not meant to do life alone. When our families cannot sit by our bedside, healthcare professionals have. We have watched news stories of nurses holding the hands of patients while they transition into eternity.

In the worst of times, the spirit of compassion is bursting at the seams. It gives us hope. Mankind is good. I’m reminded of the creation of mankind in Genesis. After God created male and female, He said we were very good. He was right. Compassion is displayed when we are at our lowest. It manifests goodness. It brings peace. It lifts us. It says, although you can’t take care of your personal needs now, I will. Why? Because your life matters. 

I will never forget being at one of my lowest, yet highest moments. I had just delivered a baby girl and was at my weakest. My assigned healthcare professional became my hands. She cared for my well-being. As she cared for me, I was overcome with gratitude. She went above and beyond with a kind spirit. Over the years, I thought of her. I never thought her service thrived on a paycheck. I know her excellent service didn’t come from being watched. It was just us in the room. Compassion comes from a deeper place.

There’s a familiar Bible story (Luke 10:25-37) of the Good Samaritan that cared for a traveler (a Jew) stripped and beaten in the streets. Jews and Samaritans customarily did not interact. None of that mattered to the spirit of compassion. Not only did the Good Samaritan cared for the traveler’s physical well-being, but he also took on financial responsibilities as well. This was compassion in its truest form. It requires us to come together and take on the struggles of others. Our healthcare professionals are daily delivering compassion amid COVID-19.

Healthcare Professionals, we are grateful. At times, you may feel invisible as if the only thing that matters is the work you do and not the person doing it. There is no truth in that. You matter. We are praying for you! We see and experience your compassion, and we honor you.

Thank you for not allowing us to do life alone. 

#Compassion #Healthcare Professionals #COVID-19

Sharing faith during a difficult time

Contributor: K. Wyatt

How do you share your faith during a difficult time? How do you tell others about the goodness of God when you are struggling to see the goodness of God yourself? I think that is something a lot of us are dealing with right now. We could have never predicted that a virus would come and shut down everything that is familiar to us. Usually, in times of difficulty, we can turn to a friend or family member who has gone through something similar and can share words of encouragement and how their faith brought them through. But no one has gone through what we all are going through right now. We’ve never had to shelter in place, shut down schools, practice social distancing, close businesses, and all the other things that have gone into effect due to the virus. We’ve never had our faith tested in this way. 

So how do we keep our faith strong and encourage others to do so during a time like this? Bishop Rosie said it best during one of our prayer calls during the fast: “Don’t let a new enemy make you abandon a past established pattern of victory.” God has delivered us from everything that we have been through so far. What makes you think that he won’t get you through this too? 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). This is the same God that delivered Daniel from the lion’s den (Daniel 6). This is the same God that saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from a blazing furnace (Daniel 3). And this is also the same God that put Joseph in charge of Egypt after being in prison for several years (Genesis 39-41). The God who performed those miracles is going to perform miracles again.

When we remember the good that God has done, especially during times where no solutions seem possible, it helps to restore our faith. It gives us hope and a sense of peace. And it makes us want to go and tell everyone that we know. Therefore, we can share our faith during a difficult time by remembering a difficult time and how our God brought us through. “Faith draws us into a place of discipleship” (Bishop Rosie O’neal). Build on the faith that you have and minister to others during this time of difficulty.

Is social distancing weakening your relationships?

Contributor: A. Dorcent

Is social distancing weakening your relationships? The definition of the word relationship describes how two or more people connect. During this COVID-19 season, modern-day technology has allowed us to stay connected. However, sheltering-in-place and social distancing implore us to ask, how are we connecting? In order words, are our technology connections allowing us to build strong relationships with each other? 

Social media platforms allow us to frequently take a casual scroll on our devices and check up on one another. In an instant, we can send a happy birthday, happy anniversary, congratulations, or share an encouraging word. These casual scrolls can be time-consuming without investing intimately in any one person. 

This season has presented us with our finest hour for building strong relationships. Now more than ever is the time to ensure we are investing in our relationships. Literally, time is of the essence! Instead of the casual text message, we can invest time in longer conversations. Yet, the length of the discussion does not ensure the conversation was meaningful. We must be open and vulnerable with those we trust. I usually have a reflective response when asked by someone how I’m doing. Most times, my reply is, “I’m good;” when in fact, some days are more challenging for me than others. This is where trust comes in. I trust those in my circle that will listen and not judge. In turn, I become a safe place for them to share their true feelings as well. It’s okay to be human even when we’re a Christian. 

Ultimately, being a strong Christian allows us to manage our challenging days. We must intimately invest time with God. During this season, it is imperative we’re not giving God our usual time and attention. These are unusual days. The great thing about God, He is so good when it comes to building strong relationships with us. He longs for, waits, and looks forward to spending time with us. I’m reminded about His walk with Adam in the book of Genesis. I’m sure Adam found not only companionship in God the Father but also comfort. No matter what we are feeling, we can be vulnerable and honest with God. He certainly can handle any weight we throw upon Him. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting your care upon Him because He careth for you.” I’m sure when God says let me have it, He means it.

There is a beautiful return to investing in our relationships with each other and God. Connecting with God and one another strengthens us, provides companionship, and comfort. 

As we practice social distancing, let us not allow this finest hour to slip away. We can intimately invest in our relationships and gain strength for today and the days ahead. Strong relationships make us stronger.

In this season, do you find your relationship with God and others growing stronger?  We love to hear from you!

Until We Meet Again…

#Relationships #Isolation #Connection #Social Distancing

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