The Power of Confession

Last night, I had a heart-to-heart conversation with God and it’s been a long time since I’ve fully confessed ALL of my sins and transgressions before Him. You may be wondering what lead me to be so vulnerable in confessing. Prior to prayer, I was watching a sermon by Pastor Mark Ashton of Christ Community Church. It seemed a little strange to watch because I was just reviewing and going over my notes from Pastor John Weasel’s message at my local church. The Holy Spirit doesn’t make mistakes and will use whatever device and tool He can to minister to you.

I was laying in bed listening to Pastor Ashton’s message on the power of confession and how confessing meant agreeing with God. I thought to myself, “am I fully in agreement with God in every area of my life?” I wasn’t and I started confessing so many things to God; my fears, disappointments, hurts, and lack of intimacy with Him. The inner me was really my enemy and once and for all, I was ready to lay everything out in the open before God. I began telling Him about my inadequacies of being a man of God and temptations to lust. I even talked to God about my anger issues and being afraid to open up to the believers within the body of Christ.

Here’s what last night taught me… God understands and He wants to hear everything that is troubling you in your mind. More importantly, He wants to speak to you about those things and show you a way of escape. God desires freedom, peace, and a bright future for all of His children. Fear, shame, guilt, and a misunderstanding of your purpose on Earth was never and will be in God’s will or plan for your life. After confessing everything to God on my personal altar in bed, I felt whole and so clean inside. I hadn’t felt this way in so long. It was easy to pray and worship again. It was easy to write and blog again. It was easy to spread the love of Jesus again.

How did I get to this place last night? Why did it take me so long to open my mouth and verbally confess everything to God? All I can tell you is I had to reach a breaking point where inside of my soul I really had enough. Scriptures I had forgotten years ago were brought back to me and the desire to study and really understand their meanings rekindled in me. It goes beyond a feeling to a desire and longing to do right and be clean before God. I would be lying if I told you it was an easy process confessing everything, even in private, before the Lord. I can tell you it was the best decision I had ever made.

God is an all-knowing God. He’s omniscient and it’s one thing to know God knows your sins versus verbally confessing them. John 5:6-8 talks about a crippled man who attempted to go into the pool of Bethesda each year, but someone always came in front of him. This went on for 38 years. Yes, 38 years! Jesus comes across this man and asks him the question, “do you want to be made well?” Already seeing his condition and the bystanders dismissing him, it seemed odd for Jesus to ask him this question. So, why ask?
The only way for us to be well, just like this man, is we have to acknowledge we are in need of Him and allow Jesus to come in and lead us towards our healing. Today, arise, take up your bed, and walk in the freedom and healing God has for you! Confess any shortcoming or besetting sin you may have to your Heavenly Father. 1 John 1:9 encourages and proclaims that He is faithful is just enough to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. There’s power in full confession to God, the body of believers, and others!

Falling and Staying in Love

Falling and Staying in LoveLove is a common word we hear every day. Love is equated to so many things. As you may have heard the famous cliché, we sometimes look for love in all the wrong places. What is love? What should I love? Is too much love a dangerous thing? Merriam-Webster defines love as a strong assurance of affection. I can say I love you, but if you’re not strongly affected in any way, love cannot be perceived from such words. Hugs, kisses, random talk, and spending time with someone all falls under the meaning of love.

In today’s society, it’s very easy to fall in love, but staying in love is where the game begins. Some fall in love at first sight while others fall in love as time progresses and they learn new things about the person or thing they admire. Love comes in categories. The four categories of love are Storge, Philia, Eros, and Agape. In order to reach an area in your life where you remain in love, you have to reach the agape level. Think about your favorite food or dessert for a moment. When I was young, I enjoyed candy apples. I would help my mother bake them and glaze them in the wee parts of the afternoon. Putting on the peanuts was my favorite part. It took a while for me to love candy apples. Once I gained an agape love for them, I began doing anything I could to obtain one or a few. I hope this blog post achieves the very same thing you are seeking for.

To begin, one must understand that “love” and “hurt” cannot mix just like light and darkness cannot. They are separate entities. Many times, people can accept hurt as a form of love. In my childhood years, they called it tough love; the child that got kicked out of his parent’s house and forced to live on his/her own. True love is not tough and it shouldn’t hurt. True love requires sacrifice, not hurt. If someone tells you about your actions and how you are hurting them, you’ll change or make progress to change if you love them. If not, you’ll continue hurting them. Love is sacrifice and will be discussed when I talk about agape love.

Secondly, you must love yourself. You cannot love anything or any person until you love yourself. Love what God created you to be from the inside out. Many times, we focus on the physical appearance and if we don’t look the part or fit in with the crowd, we feel we’re rejected and not loved. Loving you starts on the inside. Take a moment to sit down and write down all the things you like about yourself; your gifts, your smile, your skills, and so forth. There’s always something you can love about yourself if you try really hard to think about it; even if it’s small.

Falling and Staying in LoveThirdly, find a reason to love. When you find the reason to love, find out if it’s healthy or detrimental to your emotional health. Your joy and self-esteem interprets your view and mindset on the things around you. Ask yourself – why do I love this? How does loving this benefit me? Love is give and take. The giving is the sacrifice and the taking is the benefit you receive from loving. It’s a two-way street and if both parties aren’t making “love” work, it won’t be successful.

In closing, make the sacrifice to achieve love! Sometimes, you’ll be placed into circumstances where you have to agree to disagree and give up the right for the wrong. A mother’s birth is the best example. Though she didn’t agree with the pain and procedure to bring you into the world, she loved you so much that she was willing to sacrifice. What are you willing to give up today to show your love? Would you give up money and time? Would you give up some selfish ways and become selfless to others? Once you make the sacrifice to love, love yourself, and find a reason for loving, you can fall and remain in love with anybody and anything. It’s a process, but it’s worthwhile in the end!

Choosing Your Career (Career Choices)

Choosing Your Career (Career Choices)

Choosing a career, for the first time, can be scary and difficult! You’re walking into the unknown; not knowing if you would sink or swim. Many things come across your mind, such as “how much money would I make”, “is that type of business booming today”, and “how do I know if this is really the career for me”? In excitement and eagerness, you outline your SMART goals and begin looking for ways to accomplish those goals. Today, I want to encourage you about career placement and advancement.

Society teaches the average individual to seek booming careers, such as law, medicine, and IT. In these careers, you’ll always find a job because they’re expanding and becoming necessities to the world. The statement is true, but I caution you to choose wisely. A lot of people start out in one career and transition to another; not because they aren’t intelligent or capable of handling their responsibilities, but because they’ve learned that it doesn’t guarantee happiness and self-satisfaction.

When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a school teacher because I loved the character of the teachers I had. Educating others seemed self-satisfying to me, so I started pursuing a career in Education. I wanted to help others as well as help myself. Teaching benefits the student and the teacher. As I got through the first two semesters, I began noticing how this career did not meet my expectations. Expectations tend to change as we get older and as we experience new things. I couldn’t cope with my studies, so I dropped out of the academy and started seeking all over again.

There are so many people today that have wasted months, even years, trying to find the career that fits them. They go from one career to another and one job to another. The truth is they haven’t taken the time to stop and think about what makes them happy. Happiness increases productivity. If you engage in a career that makes you happy, you’ll do great at it and always look for ways to improve. Computers, coding, and technical stuff makes me happy, so I don’t mind learning as much as I can about the IT field. Major and go into a career that makes you happy. Some of you may be saying, “what if I don’t know what makes me happy?”

Choosing Your Career (Career Choices)Sometimes, people take Undecided majors because they really don’t know what makes them happy and self-satisfied. One thing I’ve learned to do is watch and analyze those already in the career field. There’s no harm in reaching out to professionals in your desired career field and asking them questions about their experiences. Perform an informational interview with them and after reviewing their experiences, make sure it’s something you would be willing to handle. The second thing I’ve learned to do is job tours. Certain companies will allow you to tour the facility and speak to professionals in the company about their day-to-day duties. Google is a good example. They put videos on YouTube of their employees; showing you how they enjoy working for the company. If this doesn’t suffice, you can schedule a tour to meet Google employees; giving you the opportunity to ask as many questions as you like. Some people need visuals and if that’s you, seek job tours. Besides job tours and informational interviews, you can test out the career for 90 days. Your career today doesn’t have to be your permanent career. Get a feel of things and take in variety from different companies.

All in all, invest in and pick a career that brings you happiness and self-satisfaction. If you do, you’ll find yourself active in the career for a long time rather than becoming burned out after five to ten years. Once you’re placed in your career, be respectful, obedient, and mannerly towards leadership. Take the “baby” approach and learn as much as you can about the business’ overall objectives as well as your annual to-dos from management. Over-accomplish and don’t worry about rewards and compensation at first. It’ll find their way to your lap after a while. Be the sparkle, example, and role-model your team and its members need.

Overcome Shallow Writing

Overcome Shallow Writing Ever tried writing about something and caught a headache when expanding your thoughts and ideas? Ever been called a superficial writer? Have you ever battled strongly with writer’s block? If so, you’ve probably had a share of shallow writing. To my understanding, shallow writing is writing about something without giving out the purpose and exact meaning of the writing. When writing a novel, preface, or introduction, writers tend to give you a snippet and synopsis because they don’t want you (as the reader) to lose interest too quickly. Think about the first time you went swimming. You took the first three steps into the pool and though you saw others swimming in the deep portion of the pool, you stayed in shallow waters. You didn’t want to take the risk of drowning. Writers often feel the same way.

I strongly believe shallow writing comes with the fear of being drowned in criticism and losing a good reputation as an author. The deeper one goes into writing, the more emotion they display. They’re more vulnerable and bound to revealing personal aspects in their lives that they did not intend on revealing to the audience. Shallow writing is a give and take and it all depends on the author’s purpose. Sometimes, shallow writing is a benefit because the intent for writing is to summarize and give a brief description. Other times, shallow writing is inappropriate. Examples would be writing poetry, outlining a plot, and writing an autobiography. Readers expect to visualize pictures and events occurring in their minds. Reading is dull to them when there’s no suspense or nothing worth looking forward to read.

So, how do I overcome shallow writing and how do I get over the fear of my reputation probably being destroyed? The simple answer is you have to take risks. Some readers you will win and some you will lose. Breathe, take chances, and expect positive outcomes! The more you give of your inner self, the greater the impact and influence will be upon you and the piece of writing. Do you like to watch the news? If so, you’ll notice how the news talks more about criminal activity rather than positive things in the community. Many people love hearing drama and dirt and are more prone to accepting you as an authentic writer by ridding out shallow writing. Be authentic, be real, be you, and enjoy writing in a way that satisfies your inner and outer self.

Find a quiet place, find a pen or pencil (your choice), grab some tissues, have a cup of coffee, and allow yourself to open up! Get rid of shallow writing and give your reader(s) the extraordinary!

Status Quo for Indie Authors

Status Quo for Indie Authors What’s an Indie author? The word “indie” comes from the root word individual. An Indie author is an individual author who has self-published a book without help from other entities. A lot of people may find this to be uncommon, but it’s not at all. Hundreds of years ago, every author had to go through a press in order to get noticed and published. Times change, people change. Today, media and technology is advertising a lot of Indie authors and supporting them through countless interviews and book blurbs. So, what’s the status quo, Carl? It’s been predicted by many researchers that Indie authors will become more prevalent and presses will become nonexistent by 2020. Yeah, 2020! Perfect vision, perfect writing! Why? The root reason is Indie authors are taking the time to learn all of the loops in getting a book published. Recently, I wrote a blog post about Book Publishing 101. Myself, as well as others, have had these experiences and going through a press for an agent and/or editor becomes unnecessary. Many presses of today do not publish certain books because of their content, theme, and the notion of them not making an abundant of purchases. It’s vital for Indie authors to understand how to manuever through the hidden fees they encounter. To conclude, Indie authors must build up a network of readers and writers, as well as doing freebies to draw a bigger audience. The bigger your network, the more successful you become in advertising your book!

Book Publishing 101

Book Publishing 1011. Grammar & Editing – As you are constructing your book, make sure you do a Spell Check on the final manuscript. Check the sentence fragments and word tense. Make sure your document has 1-inch margins (Top, Bottom, Left, and Right). Set your manuscript size to the book size you desire (i.e. 5×7, 6×10, 8×10).

2. ISBN – In order to effectively market your book without being rejected from bookstores and online agents, you will need to purchase an ISBN. Bowker ISBN Agency handles the regulation of ISBNs. If you decide to purchase one through them, it will cost $125. Book publishers may offer you a discounted rate. If so, take the advantage.

3. Copyrights – No author is prone or vulnerable to theft. Protect your works by registering your claim/title with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. You can purchase your copyright for $35 online through ECO or by printing out the forms under their local repository. Inside your book, do include a copyright page informing readers of copyright protection and infringement if they decide to steal your works.

4. Book Binding – The type of binding you choice for your book is very important. If you decide to choose paperback plastic cover, the cost will be cheaper. However, there is an advantage to hardcover. The binding doesn’t rip the pages and the book doesn’t become damaged by water, sunlight, or dust. Some authors choose to add the dust jacket inside and this also protects the pages inside of the book. One has to keep in mind that books are shipped and you never know what the machines could do to your books if they are plastic covers.

5. Cover Images – The front and back cover of your book is worth a thousand! Just one look could give the reader the wrong look. Personally, I choose to pick images that deal with the morale and main idea of the book. Get creative with your cover images and not have them plain. Make your book so appealing that when a person scrolls down the aisle, they stop to look at your book.

6. Wording on Back Cover – Many interested readers want a synopsis of your book and it’s important that you persuade them with the things written on the back. Place some testimonials of your book on the back cover and main quotes that are enticing.

7. Number of Pages – When I first started writing books, I did not take this into consideration. The amount of pages draws readers as well as repels them. If your book is too huge, a person may disregard it because of their busy schedule. Adversely, a person may enjoy a book of small amount of pages because they can read it in one setting. If you write poetry, consider the format of your book. Should it be done in volumes and collections? If you write fiction and creative stories, should they be split into characters or segregated by topical categories? Should there be a plot with suspense or a dry-cut informative message from the story?

8. Marketing – You are never in the business just to publish a book! You’re in the business to market your book! It’s an accomplishment to publish your book and receive the self-satisfaction of doing so. Yet, you want to sell your book and make royalties. You want money for your hard work and labor! It’s an expectation for authors and readers are also aware. Get into the habit of marketing your book and requesting your readers to rate and review it. Ratings and reviews carry the author a long way and establishes a fine connection between buying a book of worth and a plain old book.

Mother’s Day Poem: “Motherly Love”

Motherly Love

Happy Mother's Day - May 11, 2014
Happy Mother’s Day – May 11, 2014

She cries and travails
For the child in her womb
The mother and the father
Wants the child born soon

She pushes and breathes every minute and hour
Thinking back on the moments of the baby shower
9 months of labor, tears, and pain
Suggesting and coming up with the child’s name

A newborn baby, a new life to see
A mother’s birth amounts to something
She nurtures and watches her child grow
Respect and dignity she faithfully sows

A mother’s reflection can be seen through their child
When everyone’s given up, she’ll go the extra mile
God blessed her and made her fruitful with her spouse
They also play an important role in the house

Mother’s Day is not one day, but everyday of the year
Her words and her love remains sincere
For mothers living, for mothers dead
They’ve all made sacrifices to see their children fed

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!
The tears shed, the prayers, and for all you do!
May each and every child one day discover
The overall purpose and love of a mother!

©Carl McKever