Spring Cleaning: Tips for the Household and Spirit

During Spring cleaning we take time out to do a deep cleaning. We remove the clutter from our homes, clean stains from the driveway, even put another coat of paint on the garage. Is it safe to say that while we tackle these arduous chores, we meditate on cleansing our spirits as well?
The Bible says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 It takes work to renew our minds and with all the hustle and bustle of life, we many times need to slow down and make sure that we are focused on the things that really matter; kingdom living, holiness and sharing the good news of Christ with others. There are many scriptures that tell us how to keep our spirits focused on Christ. Meditate on the word day and night, think of things that are holy, pure and righteous, pray without ceasing, worship and fellowship amongst other believers and fast, reminding our bodies that we can not live by bread alone. We have much work to do.

Here’s a simple check list:

1. Have you had your Spring Cleaning Devotion today?

2. Have you spoke well of God today?

3. Have you made it a point to help others?

As we are scrubbing away the dirt of the previous months, let us invite God to scrub away old habits.  Click here to download some Spring Cleaning tips from Martha Stewart.

Therapy

Testimony of a contributing writer…

When bad things happen in my life, I never cry.  I usually tend to laugh.  Even when I’m sad, I laugh.  There are certain days tears will flow from my eyes and I do not know why.  I have awoken to sadness that pierces my heart and been completely clueless as to the reason that I am feeling this way.  I know what’s right, but somehow I end up making decisions that tend to hurt me, rather than help me.  I’ve sat in my room before and asked God why is there a hole in my heart that seems like it can’t be filled.  There has always been a piece of me that felt like something was missing, and whatever that missing link is has caused me to make horrible decisions that will temporarily fill the void.  I’ve been in crowds of people and felt completely alone.  I’ve tried to talk to friends, but was unable to articulate the sadness, anxiety and hurt I felt in random moments in my life.

The Bible says, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.  There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”  Proverbs 19:20-21.  There are many scriptures that tell us to listen to Godly counsel, learn from the elders and surround ourselves with wise friends.  The heart is complex and many times there are so many layers to the way that we feel and the way that we react to certain situations that we are unable to clearly identify the root.  Therapy is such a taboo topic to so many people.  It has been perceived as weakness and associated with mental illness, but the truth is that God recommends Christian counsel.  Counselors are trained to listen and help identify the pains in your life.  They do not cut out the Holy Spirit’s counsel, but they allow you to know what to pray for.

The tribulations of life can be overwhelming, and no man is an island.  God has given us people that have the gift of discernment and encouragement for a reason.  They help us to get through those difficult moments that we are unable to handle alone.  Sometimes you just need someone to talk to; someone to listen to you; someone to hear the things you’re not saying.  Christian counselors are that gift.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”  II Corinthians 1:3-4

If you are seeking a Christian counselor, we invite you to contact the Counseling Center here West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

Spring Bloom

“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the Earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.  The fig tree putteth forth her green figs and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Song of Songs 2:11-13

It’s spring time!  Many people’s favorite time of the year, as we transition out of the cold, gloomy winter months into sun, flowers and birds chirping.  However, it is a season of preparation; preparation for the beauty of summer.  The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing the snow from winter to melt away.  It is the season of rain, which prepares the flowers for their grand entrance and nourishes the ground for the hot months ahead.  Spring is considered a time of renewal, rebirth and re-growth.  It is considered the start for better times.

Sometimes we are in periods of preparation within our lives.  We’re not necessarily in a storm but we are not where we want to be.  We have not reached the blessing we’ve been praying for and God is telling us to wait.  He is preparing us for what’s to come.  We know that the Bible tells us, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord” and “He will withhold no good thing from those that love the Lord” but that good thing has not arrived yet.

Be patient in your time of spring, allow God to prepare you for His blessings.  Springtime is a time of rebirth and renewal after the rough winter.  Let those things melt away that caused you suffering during your winter months.  You’ll never be able to move forward if you still hold on to the disappointments of your past.  Be reminded that something greater is due to bloom.  Spring is mixed with bouts of sunshine and rain.  Rejoice in both.  The sunshine is a reminder that God hears you and will answer your prayer.  Allow the rains of life to nourish you so that your character can bloom.  Don’t be discouraged.  Summer is around the bend.  In the meantime, don’t be too anxious for summer that you miss the beauty of spring; God’s careful attention to grooming you, cutting away the weeds, fertilizing your soil, watering your spirit, re-potting you and moving you to a place of more sunshine so that you can grow as full as he ordained.  Rejoice in the tedious process for summer is coming!

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Bishop Charles E. Blake Prays Justice for Trayvon Martin

Following the tragedy of the killing of 17-year old, Trayvon Martin, Sunday, March 25th has been declared as Hoodie Sunday in hopes that his aggressor will be arrested and Trayvon’s murder will be brought to justice. On February 26, Trayvon Martin was going to visit his father in a gated community in Florida. He was returning from a local convenience store and was carrying a bag of skittles and a bottle of iced tea when George Zimmerman shot and killed him. American citizens everywhere have come together and voiced their concerns for the slaying of this young Black high school student, who was falsely identified as a criminal by Zimmerman due to racial profiling. No arrests have been made, as Zimmerman, pleads self-defense as his alibi. However, people all over America are standing up for Trayvon, who was completely unarmed at the time of his shooting.

In both West Angeles’ 8AM and 11AM services, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake has released a statement: “We stand in sympathy and concern and continue to send our prayers up for the family of Trayvon Martin. All loss of life is a tragedy and we will continue to pray for all killings that continue to go on in the nation and in the world. We will continue to pray for a full investigation and that a just outcome will prevail. May God continue to bless our nation to be a place of freedom and safety for all of its’ citizens. Remember, we are one.” We all sympathize with Martin’s family and friends, realizing that this senseless murder could have been our own son. Obama spoke out about this tragedy saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

American citizens have loudly voiced their demands for justice as people post pictures of themselves in hoodies on social networks and speak out about this injustice. Throughout this past week, the major states around America; Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Florida, Kansas City, Los Angeles the cities have organized hoodie days. Many churches are joining in the demonstration; pastors, deacons, clergymen and congregants are wearing hoodies as a demonstration to put an end to racial profiling. Some of the services and demonstrations hand out skittles. Songs and raps have been composed in Trayvon’s memory. On March 21, New York City had a march called the “Million Hoodie March.” Martin’s parents joined this march and spoke out saying that they will not stop fighting for their son’s justice and they thanked the millions of people that came out to fight for their son. There was a march at Leimert and this Sunday on Crenshaw and Exposition there was a vigil for Trayvon Martin.

We must all stand together and know that we can make a difference. In the New York “Million Hoodie March” Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, “My heart is in pain, but to see the support of all of you really makes a difference.” We must continue to pray that this tragedy will find justice and Trayvon Martin will be the final incident of racial profiling. One injustice is one too many.

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Inspiring Quotes from Great Women in History Part II

M1_756X439_GREAT_WOMEN

 

“To me success means effectiveness in the world, that I am able to carry my ideas and values into the world–that I am able to change it in positive ways.”

— Maxine Hong Kingston, author of “Woman Warrior”

 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

— Maya Angelou, African-American poet

 

“I rejected the notion that my race or sex would bar my success in life.”

— Constance Baker Motley, first African-American woman to serve as a federal judge

 

“For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women.”

–  Elizabeth Blackwell, first female physician in the United States

 

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again.”

— Sojourner Truth, African-American abolitionist

 

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”

— Beverly Sills, former American opera soprano

 

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.”

— Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women”

 

“It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.”

— Jackie Joyner-Kersee, first woman to win back-to-back gold medals in the Summer Olympics

 

“Make a difference about something other than yourselves.”

— Toni Morrison, author of “Beloved” and first African-American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature

 

“I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet.”

— Susan B. Anthony, American suffragette and advocate of women’s rights

 

 

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The Testimony of Wilma Rudolph

When Wilma Rudolph was four years old she was diagnosed with polio, which causes people to be crippled and unable to walk.  To make matters worse, her family was poor and could not afford good medical care.  She was from a large family. She was the 20th child of 22 children. Her father was a railroad porter and her mother was a maid.

Her mother decided she would do everything she could to help Wilma to walk again. The doctors told her that Wilma would never be able to walk.  That did not stop Wilma’s mother.  Every week she and Wilma took a long bus trip to a hospital to receive therapy. It didn’t help, but the doctors told Wilma’s mother that massaging her legs daily might help.  She taught the brothers and sisters how to do it, and they also rubbed Wilma’s legs four times a day.  By the time she was 8, Wilma could walk with a leg brace. After that, she used a high-topped shoe to support her foot. She played basketball with her brothers every day.

Three years later, her mother came home to find her playing basketball by herself bare-footed. She didn’t even have to use the special shoe.

A track coach encouraged Wilma to start running. She ran so well that during her senior year in high school, she qualified for the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.  She won a bronze medal in the women’s 400-meter relay.

In 1959, she qualified for the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome by setting a world’s record in the 200-meter race. At the Olympics that year she won two gold medals; one for the 100-meter race and one for the 200-meter race. 

Then she sprained her ankle, but she ignored the pain and helped her team to win another gold medal for the 400-meter relay!

Wilma retired from running when she was 22 years old, but she went on to coach women’s track teams and encourage young people.

She thought God had a greater purpose for her than to win three gold medals so she started the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to help children learn about discipline and hard work.  She died in 1994 of brain cancer but her tenacious spirit lives on forever.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds, you have been healed.” I Peter 2:24

Thank you Ms. Rudolph for being the living testimony that God’s report is much louder than the doctors.

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Inspiring Quotes from Great Women in History Part I

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, 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, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”  Titus 2: 3-5

During this month of Women’s history, I would like us to learn from women that have accomplished much; Women that have surpassed obstacles and came out untarnished on the other side; Women that have paved a way for the younger generation to allow their dreams to come true.  May you be inspired and encouraged to live your life to the fullest from the female ancestors that have proved your capability and influence as a woman of God.

 

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

— Rosa Parks, African-American civil rights activist

 

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

— Marie Curie, chemist and physicist

 

“A woman is the full circle.  Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform.”

— Diane Mariechild, author of “Mother of Wit”

 

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

— Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple”

 

“You have to imagine it possible before you can see something. You can have the evidence right in front of you, but if you can’t imagine something that has never existed before, it’s impossible.”

— Rita Dove, first African-American poet laureate of the U.S.

 

“Woman must not accept; she must challenge.

She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her;

she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.”

— Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood

 

“The best protection any woman can have…is courage.”

— Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American abolitionist

 

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

— Oprah Winfrey, first successful African-American woman in media

 

 

Make Next Year Better!


Written by Isis Roberts, contributing writer

Here we are…we made it through 2015!

Despite all Satan tried to throw at us, we survived it and here we are. For a lot of people, the start of the New Year causes them to reflect on the good and bad things that happened over the past year. Do you find yourself saying, “If I could just start over, I would do things differently?” Fortunately for all of us, Jesus Christ made this possible when he died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected. That is his Christmas present to all who believe. The reason he was born was so we could start over.

Every day we wake up, we are blessed with a second chance, a chance for our sins to be forgiven and for us to improve as children of God. Don’t let another year go by not living to your full potential.

Below are four things that I think are essential in making next year better:

1) Love more: Jesus also came to give us another command: ‘Love one another as I loved you.’– John 13:34. Show God some more love, too! Thank Him, praise Him, worship, honor and give Him all the glory every day. Watch how things change! “But as it is written in the Scriptures: “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” — 1 Corinthians 2:9.

2) Pray! Ask God what you want: A lot of times, God can’t bless us with the things we want because we never asked. You have not because you ask not. In John 14, 15, 16, the holy spirits tells us to ASK, literally, SEVEN times. It must be important! As you ask God what you want, make sure you claim it by faith and believe it with every ounce of your heart that it is done. Don’t ever doubt it, no matter how it looks. Walk by faith, not by sight and don’t limit God. **John 14:14, John 15:7, John 15:16, John 16:23, John 16:24 and John 16:26. Also read Philippians 4:6-10.

3) Watch what you say: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” –Proverbs 18:21. We’ve all heard this verse, but we don’t take it as serious as we should. The world of the spirit operates on what you say. By saying, “I don’t know how I’m going to get through 2016. I already know I’m going to be stressed,” you are already speaking that lack of faith into existence before the year even starts. Change your mindset. Think positively. Instead of saying, “I’m sick.” Say, “By Jesus’ stripes, I am healed.” Say, “I’m going to get a promotion.” “I’m going to be successful.” Determine to consistently speak the words of God. It’s a matter between life and death! There’s power in your words! **James 3:5-6, Psalms 141:3, Isaiah 54:17

4) Grow spiritually and be obedient to God’s word: “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written; “Be Holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-17. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” –Proverbs 3:5-6