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Valentine's Day... 

Date Night Ideas With Jon and Naima! by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of the Refreshing Life

 

This is the first time since we've been married that Jon and I are not together on Valentine's Day! But our move, the stability his job provides and February being my busiest month of the year dictates that we be in two different states this year.  I'm sad, but we've got an amazing get a way weekend planned for the first weekend in March.  

This video was shoot last year when we still lived in Nashville.  It gives you a look into our nutty, silly adventures as a couple determined to live for God and be best friends as well. Jon and I don't always make the grade, but we strive to live a life in the center of God's will on the journey to joy with Jesus.

So if you are looking for some marital inspiration, if you are single and want to be encouraged about what the Lord has in store for you, or if you just want  a good laugh, check out the video below, subscribe to our Youtube Channel to keep up with all the nuttiness and leave us a comment!  

And if you need prayer for your marriage, feel free to shoot us a note, we'd be more then glad to bring your request before the Lord! Email us at: naima@ministryofnaima.com  

 Click The Image To Watch The Video!

 

#marriageministry #christianmarriage #datenightideas #valentinesdayideas #relationshipgoals

 

Looking for a great tool to help you build a strong marriage?

Check out my book, Lessons From The Back Seat or How I Learned To Be A Wife!

Click Here To Order: Refreshing Life Store

 

Jesus Loves Iris! 

Jesus Loves Iris by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of The Refreshing Life with Naima

I stood in the line at Wal-mart, nervous, hesitant and tongue tied.  She checked my items, scanning the incidentals that meant nothing to her but would feed my dogs, clean my bathroom and wash my clothes.  A young girl with ponytails and a bright smile, she chatted about how she couldn’t wait to get off her feet, how tired she was.  I laughed back and informed her, she was much to young to be tired. 

But no matter how I tried to focus on the conversation, the rising costs flashing across the register, and my own nervous knots, I could not block out the little voice that was whispering in my spirit. 

It was my own fault. I’d been praying those dangerous prayers again. You know the ones you pray with power and simplicity, truly meaning them when you lay them bare before the altar. Then boggled and challenged when those very prayers start to be answered in ways that throw your entire life into a whirlwind. 

For example, I’d been praying, Lord, break my heart with the things that break your heart… now I’m busting out crying when I hear something that I know tears the heart of the Lord to pieces.  But the prayer that brought me in front of the young cashier at Wal-mart was, “Lord help me to be bold!” Yeah, ok…. 

It wasn’t even anything major that the Lord was asking me to do. He wasn’t whispering, lay hands on the woman right here, or ask her what her prayer needs are and rebuke the devil on the spot… nope, He wanted me to do one small thing. Simply tell her, that He loved her. 

So why was this so difficult? Why couldn’t I get my mouth to work? I can get on a stage and preach a sermon, teach a lesson based out of the word of God, sing before hundreds of people and I could not tell this young lady this one little thing? 

She scanned the last item, I paid and she handed me a receipt and a little card that said if I had a good experience today, I should let Wal-mart know and that her name was Iris.  I took the paper glanced down at the paper and looked her in the face and said, “You have a great day Iris… and remember, Jesus loves you.” She smiled brightly and I took my bags and walked out. 

In the blink of an eye, I realized that I was afraid of many things, what she might say, what she might think, what others around me might say, if I did this one small thing would the Lord require more of me the next time around? Yep, that’s the big one, because if you prove to the Lord He can trust you, He will… and next time it may be something more then just a simple I love you, it may be the difference between life and death. And of all the things I was afraid of there was one thing I was even more afraid of… not hearing, Well done, good and faithful servant.   

 

 

Thank you for hanging out with us over here on the Refreshing Life Blog! If it blesses you please consider, writing for us, sharing the post or commenting below! And don't forget to grab your Refreshing Life Prayer Journal! They are on sale now! Click here to purchase your six Month Prayer Journal.

 

 

#witnessing #evangelism #overcomingfear #sharinggodslove #naimajohnstonbush

Marriage Matters 

It's a New Year and the Refreshing Life Marriage Matters Today Ministers, Elders LJ and Novica Olinger has a fresh word for you! 

In this video Larry and Novica ask the question - Are You Coupled Up? Each couple needs to surround themselves with other Christian couples who are willing to be a support and offer wisdom and guidance in the hard times. Check the video out to hear wisdom from this dynamic ministry team!

For more information about Marriage Matters Today with LJ and Novica visit: Marriage Matters Today

 

How To Choose You In 2019 

How to Choose You in 2019 - Guest Post by Cheryl Lacey Donovan

 

Love your neighbor as “YOURSELF” Matthew 22:39 

Imagine sitting at you desk at the age of 35. All of a sudden you have difficulty breathing, your chest is racing, your arm is hurting, and you begin to sweat. Every thought imaginable crosses your mind. 

Eventually you find the strength to summon someone into your office and they tell you that you don’t look so good. A call to 911 and a subsequent hospital say let you that it could’ve been worse. This time it was only anxiety. Next time you might not be so blessed. 

That was me several years ago. It was in that moment that I realized the importance of taking care of me. 

Choosing yourself is a crucial part of your success and happiness in life. While some may see this as selfish the truth is selfish people always choose themselves, but those who choose themselves aren’t always being selfish. 

Choosing you simply means that you put yourself first when it’s necessary; you take your own health and feelings into consideration and, when necessary, you put those feelings and needs over the wants of others. People who are merely selfish always put their needs and wants over the needs of others. 

So how can you start to choose yourself? 

1) Stop and Think Before You Just Say Yes Out of Politeness 

This was probably one of the biggest lessons I learned. While it’s good to be open to new things, taking on too much work or too many obligations can overwhelm you and harm your overall mental health. 

Instead of immediately saying yes, why not pause and reflect on your own needs. Then get back to the person later with your answer.  

Can you take on more work or another event? 

Can you handle a party, or do you need to go home and recharge your batteries? 

It’s okay to politely decline an invitation or to help someone when it’s necessary. 

2) Treat Yourself with Kindness 

Part of choosing yourself is treating yourself well. If you don’t treat yourself kindly and with respect, how can you expect others to do it? Stop being so hard on yourself; we all make mistakes, choose poorly, and miss the mark sometimes. 

Give yourself a break and forgive yourself for your errors; as long as you learn from them, it’s all a part of life. A good way to practice this is by giving yourself pep talks throughout your day. 

You don’t have to do this out loud, but the act of deliberately thinking positive and inspiring thoughts about yourself will help you to overcome this obstacle and improve your self-esteem and confidence. 

3) Speak Up for Yourself 

Another big part of choosing yourself is standing up for yourself and your beliefs. You matter just as much as anyone else and so does your opinion. Practice stating your opinions, views, wants, etc. and standing up for yourself when necessary. You’re important and you deserve to be heard. 

4) Take Care of Yourself 

Part of getting into the habit of choosing yourself is choosing to take care of yourself. You’re only given one body and one life; you need to take care of it. 

Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, maintain proper sleep habits, go to the doctor when necessary, and do what you need to minimize stress and improve your mental health. It’s hard to choose yourself in social situations if you aren’t healthy enough to be in social situations. 

5) Let Go of Toxic People 

Everyone that is in your circle is not in your circle. What I mean is, everyone isn’t for you. Even if they come to every meeting, attend every event, and communicate with you on a regular basis. Look at is this way there were throngs of people who followed Jesus and therefore could be considered disciples. Of those, Jesus only chose twelve to really get to know Him. Of those twelve, only three were in His intimate inner circle. And let’s not forget that one of the twelve betrayed Him. 

Letting go of toxic people isn’t only a step towards choosing yourself, but also a crucial step in maintaining good mental health. Toxic people bring no good into our lives; they tear us down and keep us there. 

The only way to survive this type of situation is to get out of it. Choose yourself and let go of the people that only mean you harm. 

6) Remind yourself you’re Worth It 

If you don’t love you, who will? Know who you are and whose you are and remind yourself of it daily. Remember to see yourself the way God sees you and only speak the things about yourself that God says. “You’re fearfully and wonderfully made.” “You can do all things through Christ.” “You’re more than a conqueror.” 

As we said before, people often have a pre-conceived (and mistaken) notion that being your own cheerleader is an act of selfishness. However, this effort is more in the name of self-care. Sometimes you just have to encourage yourself. 

You’re choosing yourself in situations where it is necessary: when you can’t take on a larger workload, when you can’t handle more obligations, when you need to remove a toxic person from your life, etc. You’re doing this because you’re worth it. 

You are your own best champion, always remember that and choose you in 2019. 

Cheryl Lacey Donovan is an award winning author, speaker, moderator, educator, and media personality. Learn more by visiting her website http://www.cherylspeaks.org.

#starting2019right #cheryllaceydonovan #journeytojoy #christianselfcare

The Greatest Gift  

The Greatest Gift by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, The Refreshing Life with Naima

When I went to middle school at the East Harlem School of the Performing Arts, we sang a song based on James 1 verse 17 that went like this, “All good gifts around us, are sent from heaven above, so thank the Lord, thank the Lord for all His love, I really want to thank the Lord.”  

The mere fact that we sang a song filled with praise and power in a public school is amazing, but the greatest truth is contained in its simple poetry, God gives us good gifts, and He gives us these gifts because He loves us.  At Christmas, on birthdays, or “just because”, we scour the stores seeking and searching for that perfect gift to brighten the lives of those we love.  Sometimes it is about quantity or expense, the bigger the gift or the more expensive, the better we showcase our love.  Sometimes it is small and meaningful, the delicate, thoughtful or handcrafted object that illustrates the tenderness of the heart. 

But how often have we received a gift and despised it?   Spent more time thinking about how the gift was impractical, not needed, to extravagant or in our own insecurities we were unclear of the motive or rational of the giver?  How often have we been unsatisfied with the gift that we did receive, hiding in our hearts the secret thoughts of, “what should have been mine” or “what I could do if I would have been given that something else!” 

In our often selfish and blinded states, we sometimes treat the gifts of God that way, failing to see the beauty or power in the special gift He has given just to us.  We go about our lives, doing what we want to do and never stop to ask the Lord what gift He has placed in us that must be used to edify the body of Christ and encourage the lost to seek the love of Christ.  

I was like that, God gave me a gift for music and I poured it into a dream of secular stardom so that I could be bigger then Whitney and better then J-Lo.  My goal, my greatest dream, was to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, a Grammy and various Soul Train, NAACP, American Music and MTV awards, while selling millions of records and cruising around the world first class in my private jet.  That was before the world beat me up and before I accepted the greatest gift of God – Salvation.  

We think that our gifts are inadequate, we don’t pursue them, we allow the world to influence our holy dreams and then one day we look back with regret.  The greatest tragedy is when we believe the lie of the devil, that we have no gifts at all and can make no difference in these last days.  I was like that, God gave me the gift of music and I hid my light under a bushel believing that I could not sing like Whitney and didn’t look like J-Lo so I better let that music dream go, get an education and make as much money as I could in the academic world.  That was before I understood that Paul’s words to Timothy applied to me today! 

Paul states in 1 Timothy 4 verse 14, 

Neglect not the gift that is in thee which was given thee by prophecy… 

Or how about when Paul states in 2 Timothy 1 verse 6, 

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by putting on of my hands. 

Have you failed to stir up the gift, let it lay dormant, hidden it or not figured out what it was because you are afraid, or you think that it is not a worthy gift, or you want to do what you want to do and never stopped to ask the Lord what He would have you to do? 

For many years I neglected the gift of song in me, so when the Lord called me to leave my safe, well paying job as the Associate Director of Student Life at Wright State University in 2001 to sing for His glory, all I thought about was my failures, my shortcomings, my inadequate voice… I never even thought about the power of the anointing.  I didn’t understand that if God had given me the gift, and if I used the gift for His glory, then it was not a question of me failing or being less gifted then someone else.  I did not need to compare myself to anyone else, because the gift that God gave me, He gave only to me and only I could do the job He called me to do with His gift to me.  He called me Naima, gift from God, what is He calling you?  Confused?  Well here is the revelation in another way. 

When we neglect the gift inside of us, we deny the world an opportunity to see the power and glory of the Lord through His working in our frail abilities.  When we believe the lies of man or the devil, that we are too dumb, old, late, slow, poor, or we have to much to lose… we glorify the kingdom of the enemy by withholding from individuals the song that they need to be encouraged, the prayer that might save their lives, the class that needs to be taught so that a child can be influenced and make the choice for the Lord and so on and so on!  When we neglect the gift we fail to edify the body or lead the lost and become partners with the enemy in his attempt to destroy the kingdom of God.

How do you plan to use your gifts in 2019? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below or shoot me a message at: naima@ministryofnaima.com

This blog is an excerpt from Naima's Book: Confessions of a Big Girl. Purchase your copy of Confessions by Clicking Here!

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