Inspiration

The Transformative Power of Reading

Transformative Power of Reading

(Photo Credit: Black Christian News Network)

One of the most powerful ways to awaken, develop, strengthen, and renew your inner intellectual is through reading substantive pieces each day. When you read substantive works, your knowledge grows, your imagination becomes broader, and your capacity to dream elevates. Reading permits you to not only discover many or most of the answers you seek, but also it enables you to formulate the right questions, questions that will lead you to a better, more interesting, and more successful life. This intentional focus on your inner intellectual will pay true dividends in enhancing your self-concept and naturally and ultimately your self-esteem.

When you read quality material, material that relates to your interests, aspirations, and search for answers, your purposeful reading will serve as a strong defense against negative factors affecting and influencing your self-concept and self-esteem.

Reading substantive literature, such as slave narratives, allows for you to place the challenges, barriers, and problems you face in their proper context. When you read slave narratives, you will learn about individuals who persevered and triumphed in impossible conditions—conditions much more difficult than you will ever be able to imagine. These stories about how American heroes and heroines endured these impossible conditions will inspire you to continue to strive for success—even when success falsely appears unlikely and barriers seem like they will never be conquered. Look for the strategies, values, principles, and thinking that led to those individuals’ success. Find ways to incorporate what contributed to their success into your own life.

Use your school library, public library, and the internet to find books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals. One of the greatest investments you can make in yourself each day is to read something that is going to support your interests and place you further on the path to achieving your goals. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new. Don’t waste a moment in self-doubt. Expand your knowledge, expand your horizons, expand your imagination through a commitment to reading meaningful books and articles that pertain to your interests and goals.

A commitment to purposeful reading every day is one of the most powerful ways of strengthening your self-concept and self-esteem. With this commitment, your mind becomes occupied with self-advancement, pursuing your interests, and meeting your goals.

Let books and articles occupy your mind, limiting the amount of time for condemnation, peer pressure, and self-doubt to discourage you and halt your progress.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nature Speaks, Nature Remembers: My Strong, Protective Flower Tree

Flower Tree

(Photo Credit: Ginnie Ann Daniels)

I had some trees cut around the house that seemed likely to fall. After the trees were cut, some of the remaining stumps left such distinctive prints. One, in particular, evoked the memory of when Billy and I, as a young couple 30 years ago, purchased our home. What follows is the dominant impression this idiosyncratic tree, uniquely mine, engendered.

The tree reminded me of you 30 years ago when we first moved in, so strong with muscle limbs, protecting our little family from storms and harsh sunrays. Yet, with time, the strong become weak but still try to withhold winds and persevere. Each year, more dead leaves fell, and we could tell—with unspoken words—this once robust tree was dying.

Flower Tree

(Photo Credit: Ginnie Ann Daniels)

Your strong roots embedded lasting memories for your seedlings, family and friends. We have to let go and start anew. With exultation, however, we never forget that the strong leave roots in the dirt with everlasting memory of the last leaf that fell.

I can now look out of my window to see and remember my strong, protective flower tree.

In loving memory of Billy Daniels, spouse of Ginnie Ann Daniels, married nearly 44 years (23 days short of 44 years).

Ginnie Ann Daniels, El Dorado, Arkansas, Author

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Editor

Pop-Up Sermon: Unload Unnecessary Baggage

Although we keep important items in our metaphorical luggage, too much unnecessary stuff remains. Continuing to carry all of this junk weighs you down, presses you small. “Bag Lady,” one of Erykah Badu’s most powerful and popular songs, reveals the toxic nature of maintaining excess baggage, and people disregard at their own peril the valuable lessons this song offers. You must realize that immense stress will kill you. It’s essential, therefore, to remove stressful phenomena and people from your life. Don’t get buried in the baggage you elect to transport.

Today is the right time to release the excess, dispose of the trash, and organize the clutter. Consuming and hanging around mess will turn you into mess. If you really don’t like mess, then get rid of it. Don’t go another day dealing with unhealthy stress levels, guilt, shame, condemnation, worry, and fear; tap into a hope on the inside of you far greater than them all.

When you cannot find any joy and benefit in a thing or person, then it’s time to disconnect from it or him or her.

You possess the power to improve your life today: dump the junk now.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Show People Themselves

Couple Arguing

(Photo Credit: Urbanette)

One of the most effective ways to show people how they behave is to respond to them the same way they respond to you. This, of course, goes against what is traditionally taught in most faiths. From time to time, however, you need to expose people for who they are by demonstrating to them how they act. Jesus often employed parables (elementary teachings) to make profound and enduring statements. You might contemplate approaching people in the aforementioned way as a means of adopting a similar pedagogical practice used by Jesus.

By temporarily choosing the ways of others, you can cause them to abandon their unfavorable conduct, considering they will not like when these ways are used against them. This strategy presents a meaningful opportunity for you to teach them valuable lessons and change their lives potentially forever.

At some point, you simply have to let folks know their behavior is unacceptable, and you must engage in efforts to discontinue their troubling conduct. You possess the power to ameliorate those around you.  Although they may not know yet, you’re the change they need to see in their lives.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Be Valued and No Fool

Be No Fool

(Photo Credit: No Way Girl)

With this piece, Revolutionary Paideia launches a new weekly feature, “Pop-Up Sermon.” What is “Pop-Up Sermon”? From one sentence to a full-length piece, this feature, “Pop-Up Sermon,” will offer you a sermon that you might not receive from your church’s pulpit. Uncomfortable truths will often be submitted to you. As spineless, milquetoast, equivocating, and self-serving preachers are becoming more prevalent, I commit to being that preacher for you who will deliver what you might not want to hear but need to hear. The central goal is to speak some relevant, useful words into your life at least once a week. Be sure to check out Revolutionary Paideia each day, considering a “Pop-Up Sermon” could emerge at any time.

Today’s Pop-Up Sermon:

Learn to appreciate people. When people fail to appreciate you, then you have a responsibility to teach them how to appreciate you. This may, unfortunately for them, mean ignoring them. Know your worth; then govern yourself accordingly. Don’t let folks use you, and don’t be their fool.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Fridays with Dr. Glass: Overcoming Obstacles as an Entrepreneur

Santresa L. Glass

(Photo Courtesy of Santresa L. Glass)

What are some obstacles you have faced as an entrepreneur?

Money. Working in the food industry, specifically specializing in cheesecakes, and having a non-profit based on food, is not inexpensive. It takes money. One of the things I started doing was to attend wedding/bridal shows, inquiring with local events planners about being added to their preferred vendors’ list, going to small businesses (including gas stations) with samples of my baked confections to discuss potential wholesale contracts.

Support from the people I know. Believe it or not, some of those closest to me in kinship and former friendships were not the biggest supporters, and it hurt tremendously having the support of complete strangers as opposed to those I’ve know forever.

Revamping my business. Deciding to revamp my business structure in 2008 was extremely scary, but it is one of the best things I could have done for my brand. Magnolia’s Sweet Haven, LLC will turn 11 years old next month (February), and it has become a go-to premier      delivery-only bakery that specializes in cheesecakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, boozy berries, wine-infused and traditional flavored cupcakes, dessert tables as well as candy buffets. All of the aforementioned would not have been possible if I had not discontinued offering everything under the sun available for baked goods. I found my niche and I’ve benefited greatly from it.

Time. Time management is important to entrepreneurs because we often wear many hats (owner, human resources, public relations, and accountant). It is alright to schedule most things and create a healthy balance socially and professionally.

How did you overcome the barriers you have faced as an entrepreneur?

Different things work for different people, but without a doubt prayer and faith serve as the foundation of resolving any of the barriers I have overcome. Another way in which I have bulldozed barriers is learning how to take breaks . . . just to breathe. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we are so driven with a dogged determination we forget to just, well . . . be. I say this because I am extremely tough on myself; more than the normal “I’m my toughest critic” cliché.

What advice can you offer to current and future entrepreneurs about confronting challenges as an entrepreneur?

One of the first things I would like to say is NO success is EVER an individualistic act. No matter how “Type A” my dominant personality is and how creatively affluent I’ve become, I cannot and will not continue building an entrepreneurial empire by myself. In the areas where I can improve my strengths, I seek the advice of experts and professionals in said industries. In the areas where I excel, I have learned to delegate some of the responsibility to interns who are willing to learn and be students of their passions.

Another piece of advice I would give to entrepreneurs is learning to discern between genuine support and convenient support. All of us should have that small Cheerio circle of personal and professional people we can call on to seek advice or just rant. DO NOT TRY TO DO IT ALL! You will fail. We all need help and must be receptive to not only asking for it, but also progress through all of the nos—they will come.

Finally, work your asparagus off! Create opportunities for yourself, be a student of your passion, and fall in constant love every day with exactly what you love to do.

Many entrepreneurs’ dreams and aspirations are often doubted by numerous people. What advice can you offer to current and future entrepreneurs about dealing with naysayers?

*laughing boisterously* Would you like a response from Dr. Glass or San? Listen carefully, an entrepreneur cannot allow unsupportive individuals, whether it be family, friends, or associates, to deter him or her from doing EPIC things. It all starts with you, the individual. Tenacity, a tough skin, reception to constructive criticism, and hard work should stem from the motivation of what naysayers have to say about another’s dreams and aspirations.

Stay Connected to Dr. Glass . . .

Facebook: Magnolia’s Sweet Haven

Instagram: @magnoliassweethaven

Twitter: @magsweethaven

Facebook: Cheesecake For The Cure, Inc.

Instagram: @cheesecakeforthecure

Twitter: @cheesecake4cure

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

There’s Healing Power Already in You

Prayer

(Photo Credit: Samaritan’s Purse)

When you ask the Lord to forgive you for all your sins, and to come into your life and be your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10; John 3:16), Jesus gives you power to conquer anything Satan brings against you. Luke 10:19 states, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”  When Satan sends all forms of sickness and diseases your way, use the power that Christ has given you to defeat sickness and diseases. To activate the healing power within you, you will need to pray and ask Jesus to remove sickness and disease from your body, and after you have prayed, believe that you’re already healed. Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”  Use your mouth to ask Jesus for what you desire and believe that you have already received what you’ve asked Him. Now, thank Him for answering your prayer.

As Believers, we never have to accept a negative report given by a doctor. When a doctor gives us a negative report, we have to understand that Jesus has given us the Grace, His power, love and peace working on the inside of us, to destroy all chaos. Sickness and disease are chaotic phenomena—they are forces that attempt to stop you from beholding and trusting the Promises of God. Whenever one totally turns his or her mind away from the Promises of God, chaos takes over his or her life. As a Believer, Jesus has declared you the Righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:22), and, as the Righteousness of God, you need to declare that you’re already healed because God has already told you that you’re healed (Isaiah 53:5)—you must believe it to receive the physical manifestation of your healing (Mark 11:24).

At the core of why most people do not receive healing is a failure to sincerely ask Christ to heal them. When a request is made to Christ to grant healing, the person making the petition must already believe that he or she has been healed. Therefore, an earnest asking of Christ to do anything for you must be coupled with true belief that He has already performed what you’ve requested because of the genuine faith that accompanies your request. Also, if the person has any unrepented sin, then he or she must ask God to forgive this sin before the healing can take place.  The bible says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). As a Believer, you’re righteous because Jesus declared you to be righteous—not as a result of any righteousness or righteous works of your own. The aforementioned verse informs Believers that they have to ask for forgiveness from one another and pray for one another before God will heal them. You cannot, therefore, expect God to heal you when you’ve not forgiven someone for something he or she did to you.

The only work you need to do to receive your healing is trust that the Finished Work of Jesus Christ (accomplished at the Cross) has already healed you. Many teachers and preachers will have you to focus on doing works in your own strength, which evinces their ignorance of the Word of God (Galatians 5:16). We are, however, to cast all of our cares on Jesus Christ (I Peter 5:7), and this will allow Christ’s Grace to become activated in our lives to heal us. When we’re working, we cancel out the ability of Jesus to work for us because we’re communicating to Him that we can take care of the problems on our own; your handling of your problems without following the leadership of the Holy Spirit quenches Him (I Thessalonians 5:19).

Trust Jesus to heal your body right now.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison