Friday, July 6, 2012

Return to Your First Love

I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.  Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. ~ Revelation 2:2-5

In recent days, I have been blessed to enjoy the gift God has given to my husband and me, a new baby boy. The Lord has been good to our family. Actually, the Lord has been good to this world. After all, He did give His only Son to die for our sins.
As I sat around with family and friends recently, we discussed the numerous singers who started out in the church, but have since abandoned their Gospel roots to pursue music in the secular arena. One of my friends said, “It seems that it would be the other way around. That you would leave the world for God, not God for the world. It’s backwards.” It does seem backwards, but I guess sometimes we forget, just as the Israelites had, what the Lord has done for us. Short-term memory… at least until the next tragedy occurs.
For Christians, God is the center of all that we do whether it is in the workplace, at home, or at the beach on vacation—not just on Sunday morning. And I understand now more than ever why Jesus said to return to your first love. God is so amazing because no matter what we’ve done, we can always ask for forgiveness and restore right standing with Him. Without Him we are nothing, with Him all things are possible. And if we hadn’t realized it before, the way the world is today we need God now more than ever.  Just as a pastor said this past Sunday in his morning sermon (and I paraphrase), “As we grow in Christ we are to become teachers. Not necessarily as a senior pastor would teach, but simply to share what we’ve learned so that others can grow as well.” 
I agree for the Bible states that we are ought to be teachers (reference Hebrews 5:12).
In this issue, Renarda Williams shares an article of a Christian who teaches others to use Biblical principles to succeed in their everyday lives. When we see ourselves as God sees us, we are bound to be successful. Life isn’t about driving the most expensive car or living in the fanciest house, it is about fulfilling the purpose of why God placed you here. And no one can tell you what that is other than the Holy Spirit. Seek Him for answers; He’ll direct your steps because He loves you.
Finding Out Where You Go From Here
By Renarda Williams
The first time I came in contact with Valorie Burton was in 2002 in Monroe, La. I interviewed her about her first book, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards (Villard Books, 2001), which appeared in the Fifth Anniversary Issue of my online newsletter, The Empowerment Initiative Online Newsletter (TEION).
I've always admired and respected Valorie's ability to inspire, motivate, and uplift people. And again, she has delivered. She has dug deep into the minds, bodies, and souls of Americans struggling to overcome this country's economic crisis with her latest book Where Do You Go From Here: Moving Forward When Life Doesn't Go as Planned (WaterBrook Press, 2011).
Valorie goes to the core of what Americans are experiencing professional setbacks, layoffs, financial challenges and provides perhaps the greatest solutions to overcome strife. She shows people how to reach within themselves to find the goal-accomplishing tools God has provided them with over the years. She also shows readers how to utilize a new way of thinking to overcome their setbacks.

Burton suggests making the following five commitments:
*I will not feel sorry for myself.
*I will not stare at the closed door.
*I will dig deep to unearth all the courage I need.
*I will direct my thoughts; my thoughts will not direct me.
*I will choose to believe that all things work together.
In general, the book stands out as a remarkable blueprint for perseverance through the toughest of times. Recently, I interviewed Burton about her book and the importance of it in helping people overcome challenges.
Burton said it is central, and essential, for people to become resilient in time of crisis. Of the five commitments, the fourth "I will direct my thoughts; my thoughts will not direct me" is the one most essential in overcoming setbacks, she said. "What you tell yourself will make you readjust your thoughts and make [you] take control of your life."
And what of those people who might be inclined to dismiss Where Do You Go From Here as just another so-called self-help book? Some people are naturally pessimistic and are afraid to step out and make up excuses and not try to excel, Burton said. "It is easy to scan the book and make a judgment. This book is not what Valorie says works.... It is based on factual studies that talk about the power of resilience and psychology [that] can help people overcome crisis. This book is also based on real stories of people who overcome financial, health, and personal crisis."
Burton said her book addresses different areas of life, and will assure readers that someone understands their plight. "It will help people realize they can [strive] to thrive .... People need harmony to flow and work to take care of themselves."
Valorie Burton is a certified personal and executive coach who has served hundreds of clients in many states and countries. She is the founder of The CAPP Institute, and the author of several books, including What's Really Holding You Back? Burton has written for numerous publications, such as: Essence, Woman's Day, O, the Oprah Magazine. Visit her at

In Closing,
Life is good with God.  I didn’t always think this way... but now I know better. The Lord has taught me and I do believe that He places resources in our path to help us along the way. Remember that God provides resources, but He is THE SOURCE.
I seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance for me to share what I’ve learned and pray that others will do the same: learn, teach, love. We acquire the ability to do things under the power of the Almighty God—not any other entity.
To submit a testimony or an article for contribution, please email me at