Christian Blog: Irrevocably Beloved

For Jesus And For The Culture. . .Being Black, Christian and a Millennial In America

HABITS IN THE BIBLE

woman hands raised towards heaven

Dear Reader, 

The Bible is a compilation of 66 books written by 40 different authors over a span of about 1600 years. I know, right?!

The Bible is not just a book, it’s an entire library. It’s full of stories, histories, and instructions for living. The Bible has been translated into more than 1075 languages and dialects and has sold over 5 billion copies. Amazing!

It can be difficult to read the bible from start to finish because it was never intended to be read that way. Stop doing that! You need to study the bible in order to get the most out of it; this means reading it in context with other parts of the bible and in chronological order as much as possible.

The Bible is a book with many words that can teach us many lessons. One of the lessons it teaches us is the importance of habits. Even though the bible does not directly mention habits, it does contain lessons about them: both good and bad. The following are stories in the bible that can tell us about how good habits can lead to great results in life.

DAVID AND GOLIATH

This lesson is taught through the story of David and Goliath. David is a shepherd boy who has never fought in battle before, but he has a strong faith in God and he takes on Goliath with nothing but his sling and five stones. He defeats Goliath because he has practiced his slingshot skills so often that it becomes second nature to him to hit his target every time.

The Bible teaches us that if we want to be successful then we must have good habits, as David did with his slingshot skills so that they become second nature and easy for us to do them without any effort at all.

ESTHER

Esther was a stranger in a strange land. She was taken from her home and had to keep her heritage a secret. In spite of it all, she kept up with her Jewish faith and practices. She still prayed to the God of Abraham. When she heard that her people would be slaughtered, she took that fight up with her God and relied on God’s word. She then took it up with her earthly master, the king. He was so taken by her honor and her beauty that he let the lapse in procedure go and gave her what she wanted. Her habit of prayer and keeping God first never wavered. She even became the queen of Persia, how’s that for God’s faithfulness!

DANIEL

The story in God’s word goes that Daniel prayed every single day with his windows open toward Jerusalem. People knew that and so they tried to set him up. His faith in God was tested when there was a law passed to stop everyone from praying to anyone, not the king. Daniel did it anyways. Daniel could’ve at least shut his window; he did not. He had the habit of praying to face Jerusalem and openly. He did not change it, not even for the law.

JESUS CHRIST

Jesus had a habit of going away and praying. He would isolate himself and talk to His Father. He would go to caves, to mountains, to hide under the boat, etc. This was a practice that would’ve frustrated me as a disciple. Can’t you see all these people need help? Why do you need to go away right now? Stay with us!

Jesus knew what he was doing. This habit was because he knew he could not continue to pour from an empty cup. He was working on himself so that he could have more to give to others. This awareness drew him nearer to the Father and improved his life and the lives of others around him. Let us also get that habit of going away to talk alone with God.

HABITS IN THE BIBLE

Habits are not mentioned in the Bible per se. However, there are mentions of things we should not do that can be characterized as bad habits. It says not to be overly drunk with wine. It admonishes us about continual grumbling and complaining. These are habits that God wants us to strive to rid ourselves of. Therefore, habits both good and bad habits make an appearance in the bible.

Good Habits to Cultivate

  1. Daily Prayer and Bible Reading. This is the bread and water of those who walk with God and read God’s words.
  2. Daily Silence. This is where we pause and reflect on what God wants from us today.
  3. Good Nutrition. This habit helps us to continue to engage with God and his people on this earth.
  4. Movement of the body God has entrusted us. This habit will keep us on this earth as His Example.
  5. Sunlight. This might be hard in the winter, but God created us to thrive in natural light. He wants us to have abundant health.
  6. Journaling. Reflection, especially on God’s word will make you grow strong in God.

 CONCLUSION
These habits are not exhaustive, but they are a good place to start in trying to grow in the Lord and spiritual disciplines. It is good to follow God’s word and have good habits. Keep the faith and get to work. Faith without works is dead. What other habits would you add to this list? What habits would you like to share with others that would help them too?

Domestic Violence and the Holidays

Dear Reader:

The holidays are often a time of joy and community, but for people in abusive relationships, they can be stressful and dangerous. Abusive partners may use the holidays as an opportunity to control and isolate their victims. They may also become more violent during this time of year, due to increased stress and alcohol consumption. If you have a family member in an abusive relationship, how you react is important. 

Please note that none of the information contained in this discussion is legal advice. 

Here are some tips to help you stay safe during the holiday season.

Communication

One of the most important things you can do to support a survivor of domestic violence is to stay in communication with them. This can be difficult, as their abuser may try to isolate them from friends and family. However, maintaining regular contact can let the survivor know they are not alone and help them to stay connected to the outside world. You can discuss safe times and ways to communicate and consider setting up a code word or phrase that will let the survivor know they can reach out for help if they need it. By staying in communication, you can provide essential support for the survivor during a difficult time.

Planning for visits

When survivors of domestic abuse are planning visits with family or friends, they often have to take extra precautions to ensure their safety. They may carpool with someone else to make sure they have a way to leave if necessary, or they may plan an escape route in case of an emergency. It’s also important for them to have a support system in place that they can rely on if needed. By taking these precautions, survivors can help make sure that they are safe and protected in case of an emergency. 

If your family is the problem, then may I make a radical suggestion : DON’T GO.  is customary to spend holidays with family but not at the price of your health and safety. Maybe this is the year you decline that toxic invitation. 

Plan for Alone time

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but it can also be overwhelming. There are parties to attend, gifts to buy, and family members to please. Amid all the chaos, it’s important to schedule some time for yourself. This may mean taking a break from social media, saying no to parties or commitments you don’t want to attend, or taking some time each day to do something you enjoy. It’s also important to practice self-care during this time and make sure you’re staying healthy and rested. Remember that you deserve to enjoy the holidays too! By taking some time for yourself, you can avoid holiday burnout and make the most of this special time of year.

Conclusion

The holidays can be a stressful and dangerous time for people in abusive relationships, but by staying in communication with survivors, planning for visits and alone time, and practicing self-care, you can support the survivor in your life and help them stay safe during this difficult time. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please seek help from a qualified professional. With support and resources, it is possible to overcome abuse and find healing and happiness.

If you need a permission slip to not go to a holiday gathering that will break your spirit, you have mine. Stay Safe. 

Tips for Staying Financially Fit this Holiday Season

Dear Reader: 

The holiday season is upon us once again! ‘Tis the season of giving, and that often means spending. Lots of spending. But just because everyone else is racking up credit card debt doesn’t mean you have to. This is the perfect opportunity to get creative and save some money. So before you start your holiday shopping, check out these tips for staying financially fit this holiday season.

Set a budget—and stick to it!

The first step to staying financially fit during the holidays is to set a budget—and then stick to it. Determine how much you can afford to spend on gifts, travel, food, etc., and then make a list of all the people you need to buy for. Once you know how much money you have to work with, you can start getting creative with your gift-giving.

Get creative and save money

1. Set a budget and stick to it

2. Get creative with your gift-giving

3. Shop sales and use coupons

4. Make your gifts

5. Draw names in your family or group of friends

6. Exchange services instead of gifts

7. Have a potluck party instead of catering

8. Celebrate at home instead of going out

9. Delay some of your holiday spendings until after the holidays

10. Use a credit card that offers cash back or rewards

Get crafty!

One of the best ways to save money during the holidays is to DIY as many gifts as possible. This year, why not crochet a scarf for your Aunt Martha or bake some homemade cookies for your neighbor? Not only will your loved ones appreciate the thoughtfulness of a handmade gift, but they’ll also be impressed by your mad crafting skills!

Make a holiday savings plan

If you know you’re going to need extra cash for holiday expenses like travel and gifts, start saving now! Open up a dedicated savings account and set aside a little bit of money each week leading up to the holidays. This way, when December rolls around, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Shop smart

When it comes time to do your holiday shopping, take advantage of deals and discounts whenever possible. Join retailers’ email lists so you can be among the first to know about sales, and search for coupons before heading to the store or checkout page. You can also download cash-back apps like Ibotta or Rakuten to earn money back on your holiday purchases. Just be sure not marry any purchase just because it’s discounted—only buy what you need (and will use)!

Use rewards points

If you’ve been racking up rewards points all year long, now’s the time to cash them in! Many retailers offer bonus points or special rewards during the holidays, so be sure to take advantage of those if possible. You can also use points from credit cards or loyalty programs like Airlines Rewards to help offset travel costs or score some freebies for your friends and family.

The holidays don’t have to break the bank! By following these simple tips, you can stay financially fit this holiday season without sacrificing quality or quantity when it comes to gift giving—or anything else. So put down that credit card and get creative! Your wallet (and your loved ones) will thank you for it later.

Gratitude is a Practice: The Benefits of a Thankful Heart

Dear Reader: 

From the time we’re young, we’re taught the importance of saying “please” and “thank you.” But as we get older and our lives get busier, it’s easy to forget the power of gratitude. Practicing gratitude is more than just good manners; it’s good for your mental and physical health!

When you show gratitude, you feel happier and more positive. You’re also more likely to help others and receive help when needed. Gratitude can even boost your career by helping you network and build relationships. Not convinced? Keep reading to learn about all the benefits of practicing gratitude!

The Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude has been shown to have several benefits for mental and physical health. People who practice gratitude are happier, more optimistic, and less likely to be depressed. They’re also more resilient in the face of stress and more likely to care for their health.

Gratitude also strengthens relationships. When you show appreciation for others, they feel closer to you and are more likely to help you in the future. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your personal and professional relationships, start by expressing your gratitude!

How to Show Gratitude Every Day

The best way to reap the benefits of gratitude is to practice it daily. There are many ways to do this, so find what works best for you and make it part of your daily routine! Here are a few ideas:

Start a gratitude journal or diary.

Every day, write down a few things you’re grateful for. You could also include things that went well during your day or something you’re looking forward to in the future.

Make a point to thank someone every day.

Whether it’s a friend, family member, coworker, or stranger, take a moment out of your day to express your appreciation for them. A simple “thank you” goes a long way!

Keep a gratitude jar or box.

Whenever something good happens, or you notice something you’re grateful for, write it down on paper and put it in your jar or box. At the end of each month or year, read through everything you’ve collected and reflected on how far you’ve come!

Reflect daily on gratitude affirmations

Read positive statements about gratitude out loud to yourself, and let them sink in. Some examples are “I am grateful for what I have,” “I am grateful for my health,” or “I am grateful for my family and friends.”

Saying grace before meals

Take a moment to say grace before you eat. If not, simply taking a few seconds to pause and reflect on what you’re about to consume can help you appreciate your food more.

Volunteer your time or resources.

One of the best ways to show gratitude is to give back to your community. Donate your time or resources to a cause you care about, and help make the world a better place!

Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Find what works for you and make it part of your daily routine. The benefits of a grateful heart are well worth the effort!

The Benefits of Being Grateful for the People in Your Life

Dear Reader: 

There are so many benefits to being grateful for the people in your life. Not only does it make you feel good, but it can also improve your relationships and make you a more positive person overall. Here are just a few of the benefits of expressing gratitude to the people in your life:

Gratitude Makes You Feel Good

We all know that happiness and positivity we get when we take the time to appreciate the people in our lives. Something about gratitude just makes us feel good! But did you know that gratitude also has a lot of benefits for your mental and emotional health? Studies have shown that people who practice gratitude regularly are more likely to experience less stress, anxiety, and depression. They report higher satisfaction levels with their lives and relationships and even tend to sleep better! And it’s not just mental health benefits that gratitude can offer. Practicing gratitude has been linked with improved physical health, too! There are plenty of reasons to make gratitude a part of your daily routine – so why not start today?

Gratitude Can Improve Your Relationships

There are a few ways in which gratitude can improve our relationships. First, they feel appreciated and valued when we express gratitude to someone. This can make them more likely to help us in the future and strengthen our bond. Second, grateful people are more likely to have fulfilling Relationships. A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that more grateful individuals had closer friendships, more satisfying marriages, and better relationships than those who were less grateful. And third, expressing gratitude is a great way to start a conversation about emotions. If you have trouble communicating emotions, expressing gratitude is a great start.

So next time you feel grateful, don’t forget to express it! You may find that it improves your relationships more than you think.

Gratitude Makes You More Positive Overall

One of the best things about gratitude is that it can make you more positive overall. It’s easy to get bogged down in the negative and forget all the good in our lives. But if we take the time to focus on what we’re grateful for, we’ll start to see more of the good. Gratitude is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets. The more you focus on what’s good in your life, the easier it becomes to see the good in everything. And as your grateful muscles get stronger, you’ll become happier and more optimistic overall. So if you’re looking for a way to increase your overall satisfaction with life, try adding gratitude to your daily routine. You might just find that it makes all the difference.

Gratitude is a great place to start if you’re looking for ways to improve your mental and emotional health. Not only does it make you feel good, but it can also improve your relationships and make you more positive overall. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – Just take a few moments each day to think about who or what you’re grateful for. So next time you feel grateful, don’t forget to express it! You may be surprised at how much it can improve your life. Before long, you’ll start reaping all of the wonderful benefits that come with a grateful heart!