What role did you play in the mess? Placing Blame
Min. Cathy Upshire – Chicago, IL God asked Adam in the Garden of Eden if he had eaten of the tree he had commanded him not to eat of. His response? ―The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.…‖ Sounds familiar? Well maybe not what he said but certainly what he did. Place blame. How many times have we found ourselves in a set of circumstances, whether it was a failed marriage, the loss of a friend, a riff between a family member, being fired from a job, or whatever the case, and the only thing we could see was the mess he, she or they caused in our lives. We were merely the victim of their bad behavior. Well not so fast. Though we’d like to think so, rarely are we victims of circumstance. A true sign of spiritual maturity is when we can look at the messes in our lives (all of them) and ask ourselves one important question: ―What role did I play in the mess?‖ ―What could I have done differently?‖ ―Did I really have to respond the way I did?‖ Placing blame is not a character flaw. It’s our nature. I mean…who wants to be blamed for something they didn’t start or do. However, we may not have started it but it is safe to say,
more often than not, we contributed to it. I know that’s a hard pill to swallow but spiritually mature Christians will look at themselves first to see what they may have done to make the situation worse. If we can learn to accept our role in the messes we find ourselves in, we’re less likely to find ourselves in the same mess again. When we’re not accountable for our own actions and behaviors we tend to repeat them. If someone else was responsible for 95% of the mess, be accountable for your five. I say, ―Let a fool be a fool.‖ As my elders use to say, ―It takes two to tango.‖ Being accountable for the roles we play in the messes in our lives doesn’t mean we’re blaming ourselves for them. It only means we’re taking inventory of the situation, determining what we could’ve done differently, accepting responsibility for not doing what we should’ve done from the start and vowing to do better the next time the situation arises. I’ve never felt more powerful than when I took responsibility for my own life and its outcomes. I admonish you to do the same. Try it! You’ll like it! Min. Cathy Upshire Editor-in-Chief/CEO www.firstladysheart.com
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Contributors Min. Cathy Upshire Editor-in-Chief and CEO
Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, MD Health and Wellness Columnist
Pastor Venus Hall-Rouse Managing Editor
Dr. Joyce Tucker Ask Mother “T”
COVER DESIGN Tarsha L. Campbell Dominionhouse Publishing & Design www.mydominionhouse.com
Inside this issues Articles Developing the God Kind of Faith Cynthia Brazelton – Suitland, MD I’m a Piece of Work Cynthia L. Hale – Decatur, GA Can Your Marriage Survive Ministry? Elder Lisa Wilkerson – Austin, TX Life Is Precious Don’t Waste Your Time Joyce Meyer – Fenton, MO The Season of Standing Elder Andria Hudson – Chicago, IL
Special Interest What’s Really Going on with Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, MD Lanham, MD Ask Mother “T” Dr. Joyce Tucker – Milwaukee, WI
imagine, the disciples saying to one another later that night when Jesus was away, ―I wonder how He
can just say that no man will ever eat from that tree again?‖ The next day on their way they passed the fig tree. Sure enough they saw that the tree had dried up! That was Peter’s opportunity to ask Jesus, how he did it. “And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:21-22).
Developing the God Kind of Faith Pastor Cynthia Brazelton-Suitland, MD The Bible declares in Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith:…” It is time for the people of God to open up our mouths and declare His promises. Then will we see the things that we say, just like His son Jesus did during His time of ministry on the earth. We must speak the Word of God without doubting in our hearts that WHATSOEVER we say will come to pass according to Mark 11:24. This is the God kind of Faith. In Mark 11, Jesus demonstrates a wonderful illustration of how our faith, as believers, should operate in our lives. His example is the foundation that you and I can build our faith upon and get results just as He did. This lesson of faith came as the result of Jesus cursing a fig tree while He and the disciples were on their way to Bethany. “And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever. And his disciples heard it.” (Mark 11:14). Can you
Seeing things as God sees them is a vital part of growing from one level of faith to the next as we develop a God kind of faith. One of the first steps in developing a God kind of faith is determining where you are currently in your faith walk; then determine where it is you desire to go next. Remember, God has already declared your end from your beginning. When God created us He placed everything we needed on the inside. Now is the time for you to increase, as a believer, by developing the God kind of faith in the Word of God. The moment you speak your desires in prayer, based upon the Word of God, you have received them according to Mark 11: 23-24. “For verily I say unto you, That whosever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
back. You need to discern and dismiss the distractions that are keeping you from reaching your destiny. There comes a time in our lives when we come to ourselves and say, ―Enough is enough!‖ There comes a time when we realize that others cannot define us. Who we are is much more than they can ever imagine. There comes a time when we start knowing who we are because we begin to see ourselves through the eyes of Whose we are. No one knows us better than God. No one has the right to define us but God. After all, He designed us. God shaped us for significance and destined us for greatness! Yes, we are pieces of work—created in the image of the most high God.
I’m a Piece of Work Pastor Cynthia L. Hale – Decatur, GA I have a confession to make that I am not very proud of. Ready? I spent the first forty-plus years of my life trying to discover who I am. If only I had known who the real me was sooner, I could have accomplished so much more by now. I would have started living a freer, more emotionally fulfilling life long before now. I would’ve been truly devastated if it weren’t for the fact that I firmly believe that God redeemed and restored the wasted times of me life. I now know that self-discovery is a lifelong process and that we all are a work in progress. But I don’t believe the process has to take as long for you as it took for me. Whether you will admit it or not, like me, some of you are taking too much time discovering who you are. Like me, you need to be free from all the baggage that weighs you down and holds you
Far too many of us have allowed fears and insecurities to rob us of the desires of our own hearts and to rob the world of our Godgiven gifts and abilities. It’s time for us to take back everything we have given away while we were being less than who God made us to be. It’s time we allow God to shape us into the pieces of work we are created to be. It is my prayer that you become the ―Daughter of Destiny‖ God created you to be, that you will no longer settle for anything less than God’s best for your life and that you will learn to speak words of hope that will shape the lives of other women whom God places in your path. Adapted from I’m a Piece of Work! Sisters Shaped by God by Cynthia L. Hale, copyright © 2010 by Judson Press. Used by permission of Judson Press, 800-4-JUDSON, www.judsonpress.com.
people got married in the first place, love will keep them together. I have seen some horrible tragedies and situations come up in different marriages over the years. But the relationships that were built on love as oppose to lust withstood the test of time.
Can Your Marriage Survive Ministry? Elder Lisa Wilkerson – Austin, TX
There are so many obstacles in our society today that are causing Christian marriages to take the route of the world. Many have forgotten that marriage, much like ministry, requires work. The days of one person providing for the house; the other not contributing at all are gone. In the bible Proverbs 31:10-31 shows us how if we as women are doing our part, the whole family will be blessed right down to the servants of the house. Over the years I have found that when a marriage is not doing well, it’s because there is someone in the relationship who doesn’t know what their role is. They don’t understand what they’re suppose to be contributing. If love was truly the motivating factor behind the reason two
We must develop a passion for our husbands. If he has a passion for something, we should be willing to support him in his passion. My husband was called to the ministry but I wasn’t. However, I was called to be a help meet to him in his ministry. That means I am to help meet whatever need he has. If I do that, God will give me the desires of my heart; a home, children and healthy relationships between us. My husband and I came from single parent households. We decided before we got married we were going to do whatever it took to break the generational curse that had plagued both our families. If need be, we were going to take whatever courses and counseling available to us to make this marriage work. I can say we have had some good times but we have had some hard times too. But through it all and 22years later, we are still together, our children are happy (maybe a little too happy) and we can see fruit in a season where fruitful marriages are rare. Without work there can be no ministry. Without ministering there can be no marriage.
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Life Is Precious Don’t Waste Your Time Joyce Meyer – Fenton, MO I have learned that any day I spend angry and offended is a wasted day. Life is too short and too precious to waste any of it. The older a person gets, the more likely they are to realize that. But I am sad to say some people never learn it. The society we live in today is filled with angry, easily offended people who are stressed-out and tired most of the time. Jesus tells us we are not ―of‖ this world (see John 8:23). We do live in the world but we are not to be of the world in terms of behaving the way society does and reacting to situations the same way it does. Jesus teaches us a better way to live. I always like to say that Christianity begins with accepting Jesus as our Savior and then it is continued in a lifestyle based on His teachings. Jesus told the disciples that although the law said, "an eye for an eye," which meant whatever someone does to you, do it back to them, now He was saying to forgive your enemies; to love and pray for those who
used and abused you. The people who heard Him were amazed. They had never heard of such a thing. He taught them many other things that would be an entirely new way of living, but it was one that would produce a quality of life they previously had not known. We can choose to live according to God’s Word rather than to live the world’s way or to give in to fleshly thoughts or emotions. The Bible tells us to walk in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25) and in order to do that we must manage our emotions rather than allowing them to control us. We must take responsibility for our responses to daily events, especially the little offenses that tempt us to be angry. Making the decision to not be offended does not always change how we feel about the way we were treated. One of our biggest problems is that we usually allow our feelings to direct our choices and thereby never get around to making the decisions we need to make. We must realize our feelings will eventually catch up with our decisions. So we need to be responsible for making the right decisions and let the feelings follow. Becoming established in the thought I am difficult to offend can prepare you ahead of time for any offense you may face. It will set you up to forgive and release the offender, which will keep you out of the snare of unforgiveness. A wise person refuses to live with hurt feelings or offense in his heart! Life is too short to waste one day being angry, bitter, and resentful. This is an excerpt from “POWER THOUGHTS: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2010 by Joyce Meyer. Reprinted by permission of FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Please note: The views and opinions expressed throughout this publication and/or website are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Joyce Meyer Ministries.
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What’s Really Going on with Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, MD Lanham, MD The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are for 2009: 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer 40,170 deaths from breast cancer Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is a little less 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35. The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are for 2009: 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer 40,170 deaths from breast cancer Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now there are more than 2½ million breast cancer survivors in the United States. (www.cancer.org). Given these facts, many of physicians (surgeons, radiologists, oncologists and other specialties), other health professionals, and breast cancer research and advocacy groups are outraged by what is believed
to be a move that may save money but cost lives. I cannot stress enough the need for you to have a discussion with your personal physician, understand your risks factors and to commit to taking care of your body. There have been updates from the USPSTF since their original recommendations, and you can learn more by visiting: www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf/uspsbrca.htm. To give the best possible advice I interviewed Dr. Regina Hampton, MD; an expert on breast health and a highly regarded practitioner in the surgical management of benign and malignant breast disease in women of all ages. Dr. Sharon: What are your professional recommendations for breast cancer prevention? Dr. Regina Hampton: We still do not have the absolute solution for preventing breast cancer but here are some recommendations: Maintain healthy weight and exercise Eat a low fat diet Do not smoke Monitor consumption of alcohol Do not take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for greater than 5 years. Things women can do for early detection and screening: Perform monthly breast self-exams (BSE) 7-10 days after the 1st day of the menstrual cycle Get a baseline mammogram at age 35, then yearly mammograms at age 40
Get a clinical breast exam from a health care provider yearly If there is a family history of breast cancer before the age of 45, then the women in that family should start screening 10-15 years earlier.
Dr. Regina Hampton: I am a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the American Society of Breast Disease who oppose the new recommendations. I highly respect the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation who also oppose the new recommendations.
Dr. Sharon: In a nutshell, can you interpret the new recommendations in contrast to the previous Dr. Sharon: Do you have special recommendations recommendations? for women of different ethnic groups (i.e. Caucasian, African American, Hispanics, etc...)? Dr. Regina Hampton: The new recommendations are suggested by the USPSTF (are not in line with Dr. Regina Hampton: My philosophy and teaching the current guidelines issued by the American to my patients is that any woman with breasts is at Cancer Society (ACS). Both are for women with risk for breast cancer. If there is a family history, then average risk for breast cancer. screening should start at least 10 years prior to the youngest family member diagnosed. African USPSTF: 1. Mammograms should be performed in American women under the age of 50 have a women between ages 50-74, every 2 years biologically different and more aggressive cancer than 2. Breast self exams should not be taught or Caucasian women. It is important that African encouraged American women get the appropriate screening and 3. There is no benefit to screening women over the notify a health provider when a mass is felt. They age of 74 must be persistent and advocate for their own health. ACS: 1. Mammograms should be performed yearly for women over the age of 40 2. Clinical breast exam by health care provider every year 3. Breast self exam monthly Dr. Sharon: What do you recommend for your patients and have the recent recommendations by USPTSF changed these recommendations? Dr. Regina Hampton: I am continuing to follow the ACS recommendations. I believe USPSTF recommendations are not based on current data for young breast cancer patients. Women under the age of 50 are at risk for breast cancer. We know that African American women develop breast cancer at earlier ages than Caucasian women, so it is of utmost importance that we continue to screen them aggressively. Some studies even recommend dropping the screening age for African American women to 32. Dr. Sharon: What position have organizations that you respect and/or are a member of taken at this point?
Dr. Sharon: Any parting words for our readers on breast health? Dr. Regina Hampton: Be an advocate for your own health. Do not only get your mammogram, but make sure you follow up on the results (if you have not received a notice within 10 days, then call your physician). If you are a young woman, who feels something abnormal in your breast, seek out a breast specialist who will get the appropriate breast imaging in order to make a diagnosis. 80% of the biopsies we perform will be non-cancerous. Perform BSE and get your mammograms. If you doubt they are effective, then I’d be happy to introduce you to many of my personal patients who can tell you why they are survivors! For more information on Regina Hampton, MD visit her at her website at: www.signaturebreastcare.com. If you’re in the MD, DC or VA area and facing any challenges with your breast health, give her a call for consultation at 301.552.7805.
(the old nature that’s been crucified with Christ). Sometimes the Standing season can be a lonely, tiresome and frustrating season. You may feel that God has forgotten about you and that time is no longer on your side. You may even feel you're not where you wanted to be in life but you're certainly not where you use to be!
The Season of Standing Elder Andria S. Hudson – Chicago, IL Have you ever found yourself saying these powerful words, “I am standing on the promises of Jesus…”? But what does it really mean to ―Stand‖? As Christian believers we will find ourselves living and operating in certain seasons of our lives. There is the ―Kneeling‖ season, the ―Standing‖ season and the ―Moving‖ season. The Kneeling season is an intimate season; a season of preparation and process. It’s the season where we get to know the Father's voice through prayer and close communication with Him. The season of Moving is just that; a season of movement and forward motion; you're moving forward and attaining everything God has designed for you. You're fulfilling his purpose for your life. Philippians 3:14 says, "I'm off and running and I'm not turning back." (The Message Translation) Now the season of Standing can be a very difficult season. It’s the season between your future (God's promises for your life) and your past
You’ve heard the saying, ―If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.‖ How very true! Standing is a position and a posture we take. It’s a mentality that says, ―I will stay true to what I believe no matter what occurs in my life. I will trust God even when I can’t trace him.‖ It’s easy to stand on God’s Word when everything is going good (our children are well and healthy, our material needs are met and our ministries are progressing). However, can you stand when things in your life are going awry? Can you still stand when you are faced with trials that are contrary to the promises? The pitfalls of fear, worry and disbelief can and will threaten your Stand. But I encourage you not to lose your stand. Rest assured that God will fulfill his Word. (Numbers 23:19) God has given us some wonderful promises; promises of wealth and prosperity, household salvation and deliverance, healing and restoration. He is not slack concerning his promises. (2 Peter 3:9) Nevertheless, we must exercise our faith. We must believe God and never doubt. We may feel alone sometimes but we’re not standing alone. Our heavenly Father is standing beside us. He's holding and perfecting us for the next season…the season when it’ll be time to Move!
he freed us from the bondage and the
guilt sin held over our heads. When we allow guilt to dominate, we make all the suffering Christ endured to no affect in our lives.
Dr. Joyce Tucker – Milwaukee, WI
Dear Mother T, When I was seventeen years old I had an abortion. I was too ashamed and afraid to tell my parents. Since then I’ve been depressed and overwhelmed with guilt. Although I attend church faithfully, I don’t participate in any church activities. I am often suicidal and, at times, I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown. Please help! Signed, Despondent Dear Despondent,
If you are still feeling suicidal, you should seek help immediately! You should also work to build your faith in the Word of God. When Christ rose from the dead he
John 3:16 says, ―For God so loved the world He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.‖ Forgiveness is a major component of eternal life. If God has forgiven us, we should be able to forgive ourselves. When we’re not able to forgive ourselves, we give place to guilt, shame and depression. We must accept the work of Christ so we can be free of guilt and the curses of the law that we often fall victim to. Guilty is what we were. Forgiven is what we are. Praise God! Despondent, I encourage you to immerse yourself in scriptures about forgiveness and get some counseling from a good Christian counselor. I pray that you will allow yourself to experience the abundant life that Christ so richly made available to all that would receive it. Got a question? Ask Mother ―T‖. Send your questions to: email@example.com www.firstladysheart.com
Pastor Cynthia Brazelton serves as Pastor along with her husband Tony Brazelton of Victory Christian Ministries International in the Washington, DC area. Equipped with a unique anointing to teach the Word of God and to produce understanding in the hearts of God's people; she ministers to women all over the world helping them to realize their significance in the body of Christ and the role they have in accomplishing God’s plan for this generation. For more information visit: www.tonyandcynthiabrazelton.org. First Lady Elder Lisa Wilkerson is known to many affectionately as "Elder Lisa". She is devoted to the vision of the ministry and is a tremendous help-meet her husband, Bishop L. A. Wilkerson, assisting in a variety of duties in the ministry. One of Elder Lisa's most important duties in ministry is leading and teaching the Women of Agapé, where one-on-one spiritual living is emphasized. This Women's Fellowship of over 40 women meets monthly, where she personally teaches women – young and old – on how to walk daily as virtuous women. For more information visit: www.agape-cm.org. Elder Andria Hudson, an anointed motivational speaker with a message of deliverance, is the wife of Bishop William Hudson, III; Pastor of the Prayer and Faith Outreach Ministries. Elder Andria Hudson has a powerful testimony of God’s keeping power. She serves as Director of Vessels of Honor Women’s Ministry; a ministry designed to teach and train women of all ages how to be spiritually and naturally whole through in-reach, up-reach, and outreach opportunities. For more information visit Elder Hudson at: www.prayerandfaith.org. Dr. Sharon Allison Ottey is a medical doctor, lecturer, novelist and activist. She serves as Director of Health and Community Initiatives at the COSHAR Foundation and the Health Director for the Yolanda Adams Health and Wellness Tour, touring nationwide. She is the author of two books, ―All I Ever Did Was Love a Man‖ and ―Is That Fried Chicken Worth It?‖ For more information, visit Dr. Sharon at www.drsharononline.com.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times bestselling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored more than 80 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Power Thoughts (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information visit: www.joycemeyer.org.
Pastor Cynthia L. Hale, MDiv, DMin, is founder and senior pastor of the 5,000-member Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia. As a woman of vision, Dr. Hale is honored locally, nationally, and internationally for her leadership, integrity, and compassion. She serves on various boards in her denomination and in the Atlanta area, as well as being co-chair of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. Inducted into the Martin Luther King's Board of Preachers of Morehouse College, Dr. Hale was also selected to give the opening invocation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. For more information visit: www.rayofhope.org. Min. Cathy Upshire is the Editor and CEO of First Lady’s Heart. She holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology. She’s a writer, poet, motivational speaker and an aspiring author. Cathy has nearly completed her first manuscript; a literary narrative memoir entitled, "Let Go of the Branch". (excerpt). She is also the author of a soon to be published book of poetry entitled, "Evolution of a Woman". To read some of Cathy’s poetry visit her at www.cathyupshire.com.
Dr. Joyce Tucker (Mother T), former first lady of the Word of Life Church in Milwaukee, WI where her late husband, Thomas Tucker, was pastor, served 16 years in ministry under Bishop Darrell Hines and is currently attending the Word of Faith Christian Center. She is a teacher, public school administrator and an honorary doctorate recipient from the Midwest Theological Institute. Dr. Joyce Tucker is also the proud mother of six children.
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