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“Too Legit to Quit!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Yes, this life’s journey is tough. It gets hard sometimes and it makes many of us want to just walk away, give up. But the devil is a liar! We have come too far to give up now! I decided that come hell or high water, I will not give up! I will not throw in the towel!  The struggle has been too hard and certainly too long, but like Paul, I am pressing towards the mark of a higher calling. I’m reminded of the woman in the Scriptures that had an issue of blood for 12 years. Twelve years of suffering in her life. But one day, Jesus came to town; she pressed her way through the crowd and touched the hem of His garment. She was healed instantly. So to Hell with the Devil and his tactics! I’m going to keep on keeping on and I want to encourage you to do the same. Keep pressing and don’t let anybody, anything, situation or circumstance, stop you from pressing towards your blessing. I understand things will stand in your way. I understand that people will mistreat you, and they will lie on you. I understand that things didn’t turn out the way you wanted them to or the way you thought they should have. I understand that you are tied, but keep pressing because God is getting ready to bless you. Be steadfast, don’t give up. Be steadfast, don’t grow weary. Be steadfast, and don’t faint at life’s obstacles.

Scripture tells us that Job faced the crisis of his life. He had lost his entire family, all his possessions, everything. And his body was covered with boils from head to toe. He had come to a place where he could not take any more suffering. And he cried out (Job 6:4, 8-9) and said, “I have only one request – to die! I’ve had it, God. Cut me off!” Scripture testifies that Job had no known sin in his life. He stood as perfect as any man could be before God. And yet God allowed him to go through such despair that his life became unbearable (Job 7:3-4). Job was in anguish because his problems were unsolvable! He couldn’t reason his way out of them. He was completely at wit’s end.  Tied and ready to give up, but knew quitting was not an option!

I believe I am speaking to a number of Godly people who love Jesus with all their heart – and who are at a point of deep despair! Perhaps like Paul, you are being pressed beyond measure – tested beyond your endurance. Your strength is nearly gone, and you are on the brink of giving up. You see no way out. You want to run, but there is no place to go. So- how do you get out of it? What is the way to victory? All I can tell you is how God continues to bring me out. Five important truths He has given me: One, don’t think you are experiencing some strange, unique battle. On the contrary- you are in good company! Recall Job, Jeremiah, Elijah, David, and Paul – even me, God says. What you are going through is common to believers throughout the centuries (1 Peter 4:12-13). Why it seems that when you give your life to the Lord, all you get is suffering in return. No one, within the church or without, has ever understood how a loving God could allow those who have given their all for Him to go through such times of trouble and despair, but what we do know, is that everything works for the good of those who loves Him. Two, when you think you can’t go on another hour – when everything looks absolutely hopeless – cry out to God with all that is in you, “Lord, help!” {Psalm 55:16-18) (18:1-6) (30:2-3) (72:12.) Three, dive into God’s Word, lay hold of your special promise, take it into your secret prayer closet and hold God to it. (Matt 7:9-11) (Ephesians 3:20)…Take this promise to God every day, saying, “Father, You said, you’ll do above everything I ask. Today I’m asking You to answer my prayer.” Four, trust the Holy Spirit, who abides in you. The Father has sent His Spirit to reside in your heart. But you have to acknowledge the Holy Spirit within you! You’ve got to believe that when you cry out, the Holy Spirit abiding in you will answer. That is the secret, plain and simple: As you face your present hour of sufferings and confusion, turn everything over to the Holy Spirit. Say to Him, “Holy Spirit, You know the way out of this mess. I don’t, it’s completely beyond me. So, I’m resigning, right now. And I give up direction of my life to You. And lastly, five, always know that no matter what, God got you!

Listen; Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David and many more struggled, they fought, but they made it. They won. They kept the faith. They laid aside every weight and sin; and endured until the end. They completed the race. They didn’t just start the marathon, they finished the marathon. We too must finish what God has started in us. We can’t quit now. As Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.” We can’t give up now. Decide to “Live Radical” for God. Trust Him. It is only that you do not understand that heaven has commenced an action in your favor and God is at work in your life. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. His Word in Ps 30:5 says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” There is hope. Keep trusting God. Keep travailing, keep giving, keep rejoicing, and keep fighting until the victory is won…  Hold on! God will bring His promises to pass. I tell you, there are incentives, promises and rewards to those who do not grow weary in doing good. I tell you, Quitting is not an option!

Start declaring and decreeing that it’s your time! You see, the Bible has much to say about the important role our words play in our lives, and all the more when we are speaking the Word of God over our situation. Speaking out your possession of the Word of God will bring about the desired change! Remembering, God’s Word does not return void and He watches over His Word to perform it (Isaiah 55:11 Jeremiah 1:12).  In other words, it is His job to bring it to pass and your job to release the Word into your life by declaring, decreeing and proclaiming. All we have to do is speak in agreement and He performs it. Reflect back over creation and remember how many times God said, “Let there be!” Obviously speaking has great relevance and power. God has given us an abundance of building blocks in the Word and we can choose to use them or not, to speak life or not. Regardless of which we choose to do, speak life or speak death, the Word is clear. We will eat the fruit produce by our labors, our words. Declare decree and proclaim it’s your time to receive. To God be the Glory!

Why Using the N-Word Will Bring Fox’s Empire to Ruin

Yasmeen Muqtasid

Yasmeen Muqtasid

By Yasmeen Muqtasid

Fox’s new hit series, Empire, broke records and rules during its 10-week introduction to the new world.  Empire revealed a new viewership that shatters all myths that people won’t tune in to see a majority Black cast with its winning ratings and non-stop social media chatter. The Empire has already conquered a viewership of more than 14 million weekly.  However, if Empire producers follow the suggestion of its leading male star—Terrence Howard—a powerful empire of the show’s fans and non-fans alike might strike back and quickly kick-drop what has become a weekly ritual for many African Americans and viewers of all backgrounds.

Recently in March, Terrence Howard in an Access Hollywood interview said that using the N-word in Empire would be more authentic and be in step with keeping true to everyday black life.  In a bizarre series of rationalizations, Howard says “that as long as you remember to take out the “er” then anyone can say it,”—he also said that his white friends use it with him.  This suggestion comes on the heels of Howard’s  nasty divorce in 2011, which he reported in court documents that his estranged ex-wife allegedly “hated black people” and would often call him names such as “monkey” and “n**ger.”  Lucious Lyon—we are thoroughly confused.  Which one is it?  Is it ok or is it not ok?  Obviously, Howard understands the sting of the word from his marital woes, but does he really understand the historical stench that permeates from a word birthed from such a hateful place.

To introduce the N-word to Empire would be to devalue the very power that the cast has established both onscreen and off-screen.  Using the word on Empire would be akin to African slaves tasting their freedom having established new free settlements in the North, only to decide that they miss their Masters and are willing to give up their freedom and to be enslaved again.  And that’s what the N-word does every time we allow others to say it—unchecked, whether one is black or white—it’s a step backward not forward for black people.  Using the N-word is an indication that one is still not free—mentally.  If you were free, you would not desire to use the word, because you would understand that the word takes us as a people back.  The word weakens the empire our ancestors built so that we might exist today.  I wonder if the same people who advocate for using the N-word would dare to say it in the presence of a Dr. King, Malcom X, Rosa Parks, Emmet Till.

Let’s give Howard the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he has not thought about the lasting consequences that such a change in the tone would have if Taraji Henson a.k.a. “Cookie” called him out of his name on the regular with an N-word here and there.  We must ask ourselves what would be the worldwide ramifications of having the N-word on such a popular show that touches the minds of millions of people.  This is a question for all artists on television, film and music—what’s the impact of this word when it’s memorialized in such powerful mediums.  Is that what we want our Black empire to be remembered for—the N-word—and a continual resurrection of the word in pop culture?  We must let this word die.

It’s ludicrous that Howard would even suggest in conversation to Lee Daniels, creator of Empire, that the N-word be incorporated.  I wonder if Jewish actors have ever insisted that Steven Spielberg use the  K-word in his latest production.  Yes, there is a derogatory word for Jews, but guess what–they don’t use it amongst one another, and their community will ensure your demise (as it should) if you try to drop it casually and say, “it’s a term of endearment.”

In the midst of such supreme success with Empire, one has to question Terrence Howard’s mindset to have even thought to share the suggestion that the N-word be used.   What should anger Howard and all of us, is the fact that so many black people past and present were killed and still are being killed by someone (white, black, etc.) who dares to think that we are “N**gers” and feels justified in treating us as sub-human.

The progress of our first black president, our first black attorney general, and our first black female attorney general in waiting way, are all contrasted against the real drama of the daily murdering and terrorizing of unarmed black men and women by police and vigilante American citizens.  Considering all of the recent killings and beatings of unarmed black men and boys from the University of Virginia—where honor student Martese Johnson was brutally beaten to the murder of Anthony Hill, an unarmed, naked U.S. Air Force veteran to 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s execution, why on earth would Terrence Howard think it a good idea to incorporate the most vile word known to black humanity into the Empire storyline.  The N-word is the last word that far too many black souls audibly or symbolically heard on this side of heaven.   Whether they heard it while being sold from their parents, while being lynched, while being beaten, or while being raped—one thing is clear, that the aggressors in each of these very real life horrors thought of black people as sub-human N**gers.

Words have power—and if we think there’s no power in what we call ourselves and allow others to call us—well—therein lies the reason why the only formidable “Black Empire” that will ever be realized is in the fictional world of Lucious and Cookie.


 

Yasmeen Muqtasid is the founder of Black Women Matter, Inc.  Black Women Matter was founded in 2010 to address matters that are important to Black women.  BWM uplifts, encourages and empowers black women–because WE matter. Yasmeen is a California native and UCLA graduate who loves good conversation, good people and good food.  Find her on Twitter @bwmatter or email her at info@blackwomenmatter.com

Health Advocate, Maria Gordon, Reverses Diabetes, Loses over 100 lbs, leads others to doing the same

Maria Gordon, before and after

Maria Gordon, before and after

In the United States, alone, 37.9 % of non-Hispanic black and African American men over the age of 20 are obese, and 57.6 % of women who are non-Hispanic black and African American over the age of 20 years are obese (CDC, 2009-2012). However, with the rise in more health awareness campaigns and advocates, more people are seeking the desire to live healthier and longer lives.

Out of those health advocates is Maria Gordon. Gordon struggled with obesity and was later diagnosed with Diabetes in 2010 as a result of her weight battles.

“I know personally the struggles that are faced every day,” Gordon states. “From the challenges of eating properly, the motivation needed to continue and the thoughts that are often not expressed for fear of ridicule”.

In September of 2013 something amazing happened, Gordon decided to get serious with getting her health back on track which included eating clean, increasing her water intake and transitioning into a vegetarian.  As a result she has lost over 100 lbs and has successfully reversed Type 2 Diabetes. Now she is on the quest of assisting others to do the same by providing encouragement and being that positive force of reinforcement to ensure that they succeed in their weight loss journey.

“I’m not a fitness person who doesn’t really understand the challenges. I’m a real person with real results and striving for more results in others as well as myself. This is about being able to connect with people on a personal level, building trust and actually living by example,” Gordon said.

Upon changing her own life, Gordon felt inspired to help others by also teaching them that they do not have to give up and accept the diagnosis, we can FIGHT BACK! She is currently a health and wellness coach working towards certification.

Gordon’s overall goal is not only to raise awareness for Type 2 Diabetes, but to also inspire others to make a lifestyle change and commitment. Success is not only on T.V, its real life…. it’s her life and it can be yours as well. If you would love to speak to Maria Gordon in a more in depth conversation, you may reach out to her at MsMariaG1@gmail.com or visit her website www.ProsperouslyYours.com.