When your face is not beat and your body isn’t perfect, what do you have left?

What are you saying?

Who is listening?

 Image result for black girl looking in mirror

I remember when I was 12 and I got a make up item for my birthday. I was the happiest child alive at that point. I think it was an eye shadow palette, but I just remember being ecstatic. I had a big party for my 12th birthday and the day after I was going through my presents. I was just about to open the make up and my mum flips the script and tells me I’m not having it. I thought she was speaking another language. In fact, she actually got the palette and threw it in the bin. It wasn’t the bin in the house, but the bin outside the house. At that moment I actually thought she was on power trip. I laugh now at the response of a Nigerian mother who didn’t want her baby to grow up too fast. Fast forward, I’m 26 and I can wear make up when I want but my concern is somewhere else now.

Everyday as women, we see beautiful faces, and perfect bodies – welcome to the selfie generation. We are in a time where the channels to be seen are numerous.

Image result for instagram generation black girl

We have access to facilities, resources and services to basically look how we like, but you have something more precious that you can’t afford to lose today, especially as a woman of faith. It’s worth more than a make up a palette.

My mentor said something and it never left me. He simply said “Your life is message. Your life is an example or a lesson.” Whether we like it or not our lives are messages and they speak to someone. I’ve heard celebrities say things like ,“I’m not a role model”, but to be honest I believe none of us have a choice in whether we are role models or not. Scopes and platforms of influence vary but someone is looking at you and me.

We all have a responsibility.

We are all giving someone an excuse or a reason.

I believe the thing that will separate you in this time and keep you relevant is this: your voice. Your voice is worth more than your appearance. By voice I don’t just mean audible sound. Your voice is how you impact. Your voice is what you’re known for. Your voice is what your life is saying as message. We have to ask ourselves as women what do we want to be known for and then does our life currently fit that?

Matthew 5:16 says “….let your life shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Your voice is also how Jesus is glorified through your life. I believe that there are at least 3 things you need to think about in regards to your voice:

1. Your voice is the problem you strive to solve

People remember those who helped them solve a problem. People remember those who make things easier and better for them. There are people who do nothing, people who complain about others doing nothing and then those who decide to do something – the problem solvers. Wherever Jesus went he solved a problem and attended to a need. He wasn’t the type to just ‘fill pews’ as some people are described as today. Even when he stopped to rest he didn’t let an opportunity pass him by. We can ask the Samaritan woman at the well (please refer to John 4:1-42). Where do you fit in? You may not have the answer to world starvation right now but look closer to home.

What problem are you solving?

What solutions do you bring problems within your family, your workplace/career, your business, your local community?

2. Your voice is what you give 

Acts 9:36-43 speaks of woman who contributed. Her name was Dorcas and she looked after the women that some would have forgotten about, the widows. When she became ill and died, those widows appealed to Peter the Apostle because Dorcas was a woman who gave and who was needed. Who are you giving to? We can give when an opportunity arises, but it is another thing when intentionally you look for areas to be a blessing. Giving is not just about finances, but it can be about giving your time, expertise, your space, your resources and anything else of value. Out of what you have what are you giving intentionally? Think about a person, an organisation or cause in need of help. Could you make a commitment to contribute?

Proverbs 11:24-25 says “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

3. Your voice is who you empower

When I hear the word empower, weirdly I picture a warrior who is old and who has fought many battles. I see him giving his well used weapons and tools to someone else for their first battles. Who are you giving your tools to? I totally believe that one of the reasons why you have rough times in life is because you can make it is easier for someone who is behind you. Who are you giving your knowledge to? Who are you showing the way? Write down 2 people you could be pouring into. My mentor says “the greatest investment to make in a life is in a life.”

The Bible reads “The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot” (Proverbs 10:7 NKJ). Those who empower will never be forgotten.

I hope you don’t think I’m a joy-kill or I don’t care about my appearance. I certainly do care! (I love faux fur jackets actually lool.) Should we look good? Yes. Do I feel myself sometimes? Yes. However, don’t trade that in for your voice. The cost is too high.

 

Thanks so much for reading – be sure to leave a comment and share  with other sisters.

 

Slowly but surely, we are approaching 2019! I don’t know about you all, but the first half of the year for me was filled with some amazing days of fruitfulness, getting loads done, and other days of erm, not being so fruitful…

Being on maternity leave at the moment I’ve found that I have a lot more time, but it feels like I’m constantly busy. Now if you’ve been following Cocoon Blogs for a while now, you will know that busyness does not necessarily equate to fruitfulness. I realised this, and have spent the past few months evaluating my headspace and activities to ensure that I remain fruitful, and not just busy. So how did I do that?

Below are some of the questions I’ve asked myself that are helping me live a life of fruitfulness.

Am I spending Quality Time with God?

Quite often when we go through a busy stint most of us are tempted to skip quiet time (or maybe shorten it just a little) and get straight into our to do lists and tasks for the day. I’ve been guilty of this! Toying with the idea that if I hit my to do list as soon as the day begins I will be more fruitful. The idea that if I can start ticking tasks off before I’ve left bed makes me super woman…it’s a lie! The best way you can start your day is simply by meeting with God first. John 15:5 tells us clearly that fruitfulness starts by being intimately connected to Christ. Scripture regularly speaks of Jesus going away to pray before dawn [before everyone else was awake, before people began to make demands on his time, before he began his tasks for the day].

 

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Being a new Mum has meant that I’ve had to tweak my morning quiet time routine significantly because my princess usually wakes up before I get a chance to have quiet time. So during those first few moments of her waking up [around 4am, 5am, or 6am plus the other night wakings lol!] I play some worship music, meditate on the verse of the day, pray out loud (with Moriah) and commit the day to God. Later on in the morning once she’s gone back to sleep I will go back and spend some more time in prayer and studying. In the days where I’ve skipped quiet time or not connected with God nothing fruitful ever really comes from it, apart from me ending up flustered with a void in my heart that only God can fill. Filling yourself up on time in God’s presence is absolutely key when it comes to living in a way that is pleasing to God. Sounds slightly contradictory right? But I can confidently say that if you are full of some thing good, you generally won’t have room for anything that isn’t good. Staying connected to God is essential to fruitful living, whether you’re a student, employee, an entrepreneur, a mum, whatever you are; stay connected to the true vine and in him you will be fruitful.

 

Is this disturbing my peace? 

I’m sure we’ve all experienced a time in our lives where we have been worried, anxious or frustrated about a particular situation.

When this has occurred in my own life I’ve often allowed myself to get so fixated on the issue that I neglect other more important things. When my peace is disturbed my productivity becomes limited, and my fruitfulness is hindered. In this season if there is anything that disturbs my peace I speak to my Heavenly Father, hand it over to him and then look for practical things that are within my power to appropriately respond to these sometimes discouraging situations. If it is beyond me, I leave it in my prayer closet and trust that as I cast my cares onto God he cares enough about me to work it out for my good. Are there things disturbing your peace that you need to deal with? Do so ASAP and get your peace back! Peace is the presence of God in our hearts in any situation. When we acknowledge and depend on His presence fruitfulness is a natural by product.

Does this push me towards my goals and ultimately my purpose?

The definition of success based on scriptural principles is fulfilling the assignment that the Lord sent us to earth to carryout [purpose].

Image result for purpose

During my maternity leave I have had a number of opportunities – courses, people to meet, projects to engage in etc many of which I’ve turned down. Some of these opportunities have been sooo good, but when I look at where I am going they don’t fit in. They would be fun for the season and look good on paper, but they were not in line with destiny, so the time commitment and effort it would require of me would not be justified. Instead I’ve used this season to connect with people going in the same direction as me, I have skilled myself in areas that will assist me in my journey. This is not always enjoyable, but it has been very necessary in developing discipline, and consistency in me as well as other practical skills.

In order to be fruitful it is important for us to be so in tune with God that we know what things he would have us focus on in the season that we are in. When we know where we are going in life and what we have been called to, we will begin to edit our day to day activities to prioritise walking in purpose. Fruitfulness is found, not just by going with the flow, or doing whatever pops up, but in intentional daily living.

 

Be encouraged you are already more fruitful that you probably would have imagined. Make a daily commitment to connect with God more deeply than ever before and watch how you blossom.

 

I suppose the title is a bit controversial in that killing your faith is not something you want to learn how to do. However, I think it is important to know these things in order to ensure they are not killing your faith ….. 

Rely on your intellect.. 

Yep! Your intellect. I bet you didn’t think this one would make the list.  I’ve learnt that being a Christian means being dependent on Christ. Not just dependant on him for some things but for everything! So this means for instruction, wisdom, understanding etc. Sometimes what God is telling us or where He is leading us doesn’t make sense to us and if you are like me you will try to to work it out your self and give God all the real and legitimate reasons this can’t be so. BUT we must remember God is all-knowing, he can see what we can’t see.  This is why the Bible says we should not lean on our own understanding. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 3-5

It’s like when you tell a child not to do something but because of their lack of experience/knowledge/understanding they do not know that what they want to do is dangerous. That’s how much we don’t know the things that God knows. I find comfort in the fact that his thoughts for us are good and not evil. 

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I am still working on this because I am such a realist and like to use my brain to rationalise everything but that is not how God works and that is certainly not how miracles work. e.g. You’ve prayed for a job and somehow you got an interview for a role you are under qualified for. So you decided that because you don’t match the requirements you will turn down the interview. But God intended to promote you despite your qualifications. If you had faith and put that interview in God hands you could have seen that but sometimes our intellect restricts God from doing the supernatural. 

So can I encourage you to rely less on your brain and more on God?

Turn your ears ‘off’ ..

The bible says that faith comes by hearing. 

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 

Sometimes we allow ourselves to hear all manner of things, through conversations, tv programmes, music, thoughts in our head… but we need to be hearing things that inspire and encourage faith in order to produce and build faith.

We need to be intentional about ensuring we are hearing the word of God. There are many ways to do this;

  • Your personal Quiet/Study Time with God 
  • Church 
  • Listening to christian sermons, podcasts, YouTube videos 
  • Godly conversations with like-minded people 
  • Meditation 
  • Prayer 

These things should happen very regularly in our lives and I find that when they do not, faith becomes a little more difficult. If we aren’t hearing the word of God, we are likely to be hearing what the world has to teach us and that will naturally begin to take over and this kill our faith. 

Do not exercise..

No, not like in the gym! But like our bodies, faith needs to be exercised and we should not be afraid to do so. The more you see God do amazing things the more your faith will grow.

We learn from Romans 12:3 that God has given us all a measure of faith so we all have something to start with. Matthew 17:20 tells us that even faith as small as a mustard seed can make nothing impossible for us. 

We lose nothing by having faith in God. For example, if I am believing God for a job, me having faith in God doesn’t take away from that, in fact it gives me hope. But if I chose not to have faith, I would be worried and anxious and this does not yield good fruit. So.. you might as well have faith!

It can be a struggle when things are really tough but remind yourself of every testimony, every blessing you have experienced and how good God has been to you, your faith will surely be encouraged.  l like to write these things down because as humans its so easy to forget.

You do not have to wait for tough times to exercise your faith. When you pray about something exercise it immediately by taking action! So how can we do this. An example would be, following the job example, if I have prayed for a job and I have faith that God has heard me, how I talk will change. So instead of complaining, my speech about job hunting will be more positive e.g. “I know God will come through”, “God is preparing the perfect role for me.” You can even start preparing and practicing interview techniques! This is evidence of your faith in God. 

Beware Faith can be a scary thing to pray for because how can God increase your faith without a situation that requires you to have faith. So be prepared!

I would love to hear in the comments your views on this post or if you have any other killers to add or how you overcome them. 

My next post will focus on BUILDING your faith. Although doing the opposite of the above 3 headings will do just that but I’d love to go into more depth. 

Thanks so much for reading, please share!

If there is one thing I hate, it is getting out of bed in the morning!  While I am grateful to be awake every morning, I’m just not that bubbly morning person. This means I spend a lot of time hitting the good old snooze button which of course makes me late!

Not a good look! So I have explored various ways to help me save time in the mornings and these 3 have worked the best for me so far and I wanted to share them with you…

The most vital tip and the basis of the first 2 points is to … START THE NIGHT BEFORE!

Yep, you need to start your day from the day before to put you in the best position to have a day filled with productivity. “So what kind go things should I do the night before”, I hear you ask..

Get your outfit in check 

Yes, that’s right, get your clothes ready the night before. I try to do this particularly for work, this way I avoid faffing about in the mornings looking for something to wear. It takes more time than you think, trust me. And no don’t try to take a shortcut and just plan the outfit in your head, actually take it out of your wardrobe and hang it on your wardrobe handle.  Seriously, if you plan it in your head, I bet you won’t find that turtle neck you planned to wear in the morning or the skirt you really wanted to pair it with is still in your laundry basket. Planning it avoids those annoying surprises which take up our precious minutes in the morning. 

I would also include packing your bag the night before. I tend to use the same bag during the week, so I will check through it to ensure everything I need is in there and reorganise the contents.

Bonus: Try planning your outfit for the whole week!

Image Credit: Shirley B. Eniang

Do not just think about what you need to get done , WRITE IT DOWN!

Write out your to-do list the night before and where possible put the most important tasks first in your schedule. 

This way you can review the day you have just had and accurately plan for the next day. 

I find that doing this the night before makes me more objective as I could wake up the next day and not feel like doing anything, but because I have written it down I am more inclined to. It is a great way to keep yourself accountable.

Putting the most important or most difficult tasks at the start of your day ensures that you have already accomplished them before you have even got going. That way any distractions or procrastination doesn’t have such a blow on your productivity.  I know that if I start the day without having my quiet time with God and going to the gym, the likelihood of it happening later in the day is really quite low.

The Fruitful Life Planner 

Time your shower-time! 

If you are anything like me, you may take AGES in the shower and loose track of time! It happens to me all the time no matter how much I tell myself I am going to be quick. So, I found a solution! I bought a small waterproof clock which is stuck on my shower wall and honestly, it has helped me loads. Being able to see the time helps to me to be more realistic. I used to get in the shower and think I have been in there fore 5 minutes but it has really been 20! Not the best discovery when you are running late! So now I give my self a time limit and it is so much easier to stick to when you can actually see the time.

Do you have any other tips that could help us save time in the mornings? Share them in the comments below! Don’t forget to come back and let us know how you get on incorporating these tips into your routines..

Thanks for visiting!

A few days ago (15 Jan 2018) was ‘Blue Monday’. Never heard of it? Well, this is the name typically given to the third Monday in January and it is said to be the most depressing day of the year! Why? Because most people would have failed or even given up on their new year resolutions. We are about igniting Fruitfulness in the lives of all our readers, so we want you to smash all your new year resolutions. I hate setting the same resolutions year after year so I am really passionate about putting strategies in place so that I can put a big fat satisfying tick next to all my goals by the end of the year.

Hopefully, you are now settled into 2018 and back into the swing of things. (Took me a good few days!) So how are you doing so far?

Why not read on and check against our 4 indicators that you are on track for a fruitful year…

1. You reflected on 2017 

And I don’t mean you just uploaded a bunch on pics/vids from 2017 onto Snapchat (Am I the only one who thinks that’s incredibly annoying lol?) What I mean by ‘reflect’ is critically analyse! Ask all the questions and be honest with yourself..What went well? What didn’t go well? What did you achieve? How did you achieve it? What didn’t you achieve?  Why didn’t you achieve it? What did you wish you did more of? Did you do things that mattered? Did you spend time with people you love? How did your circle help you this year? How did you help them? Do you need a new circle? Is this goal really God’s plan for me? I could go on… but you get the picture? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself. And you should write them down so they sink in and so that you can go back and read your answers. If you don’t know what was good and bad in your year how can you make adjustments in the new year?

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

If you didn’t do this, it is not too late. Get out a notebook or your notes app and get to writing!

 

2. You have a plan for 2018 (AND YOU HAVE ACTUALLY WRITTEN IT DOWN)

Most people have goals and aspirations. But most people do not write them down. We always write down important things, so why on earth do most of us not write out our goals?! Did you know people who write out their goals earn up to 10 times more than those who do not according to a Forbes report based on a study done by Harvard. Now, I am not basing the meaning of success or fruitfulness on how much you earn. BUT to earn up to 10 times more than your peers suggests you must be doing something right!

Once you have it written down, you need to go back review it every once in a while. I would say at least once a month. I have got to the end of a year once and as I was reflecting I was like, “omd, I didn’t even remember I had that goal.” Needless to say, that was not one of my achieved goals at that time. I could have avoided this by revisiting my goals regularly.

A great way I find to do this is to create a Vision Board for the year! A pictorial representation of your goals. Hang it somewhere you can see it! The more focused you are on your goals the more likely you are to recognise opportunities to achieve them and take action.

Remember that your goal is not a plan! The goal is the destination… what you need to do to get there is the plan. What actions will you take to reach that destination? Be specific. For example; if your goal is to save £5000 you need to write exactly how much you are going to save weekly/monthly, where the money is going to come from, whether you are using a bank account or a piggy bank and what your deadline is.

My honest advice for those with goals that seem beyond their reach is to start with what you have and do what you can; the rest will follow! Take it one step at a time. If your goal scares you then you are on the right track sis!

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

3. You have a planner (or equivalent) to help you execute that plan!

As a self-confessed stationery addict, I love paper and the feel of physically writing things down. It is therapeutic and clears my head.. I think a lot of you would agree? Not only that, it also forces you to be intentional. I use our Fruitful Life Planner because it literally has everything I need on one page and it gives me a fresh page each day!

This planner helps to break down those goals and actions into day to day tasks when used properly.

Now if you are not into paper and stationery like that then… YOU REALLY NEED TO GET INTO IT! Lool no but seriously, you can make use of apps you already have on your phone;

– Notes
– Reminders
– Calendar

The alerts that you can set on the Reminders and Calendar Apps are super useful, in fact, I actually use them in conjunction with my planner.

Also, if you like using planners but hate carrying them about, you can take a picture f the page you need and then go about your day!

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing.”

4. You will have arranged accountability.

Sometimes we need help with motivation! And a lot of the time we need someone to check in with to ensure we are still moving towards the goals. It is so easy to just sit on a goal but not when you have accountability. This can be anyone who cares about you and will challenge you.. you mum, a friend, mentor, pastor, uncle, aunty – just ask!

Since our Vision Board Party in December, we had a lot of people ask about some sort of accountability programme. So I am starting a FREE online group where we can share tips, ideas, encouragement, progress and create a cute accountability network. I would also be providing free monthly reflection printables exclusively to members of the group.  If you would be interested please email us ay hello@shopcocoon.co.uk or DM me just to register your interest and I can add you once it is all set up!

“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results.”

 

Were you able to say ‘DONE’ to all the above ? If so, celebrate in the comments! If not, tell us below what it is you need to do!

Wishing you all a Fruitful 2018! xx

The No.1 way to make Scripture work for you.

We design and sell products that are Scripture based, so I am sure you know we love the word of God around here! We are also big on fruitfulness which basically means that for all the activity we do there must be productivity. So ultimately we want to see Scripture produce fruit in your life. And that’s why we love our Scripture Canvases because they help to create an edifying environment in your home and remind you of Gods promises. 

The Bible has been referred to as ‘God’s love letter’ to us or even an ‘instruction manual’ to this thing called life. I pull two things from this;

  1. That it was written specifically for me and for you; and 
  2. That we are supposed to live it out 

Remember that the word of God is true and is living and therefore should not be redundant in your life (Hebrews 4:12). It’s very easy to read and forget or see the Word as this far-away / unattainable thing. 

One of the best ways I have found to make Scripture work for me is to personalise it. 

Here is a quick exercise I was once asked to try and it changed my perspective on Scripture for life! 

Where ever it says ‘love’ in the following passage, replace it with your name. Read it aloud!

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, love is not puffed up; love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’ 1 Corinthians 13 : 4-7 

How did that make you feel? Are those statements true?

With the greatest commandment being to love, we should see ourselves all over that passage. Personalising scripture challenges us and helps us to see where we fall short. We should be constantly checking ourselves and using the Scripture as our standard to ensure we level up. This is not to condemn us but to push us to strive to be better. 

Personalising scripture also makes the promises more real to us and its good practice to declare these things over our lives.

Try this one:

‘For God so loved [YOUR NAME], He gave His one and only Son so that [YOUR NAME] would not perish but have everlasting life’.  John 3:16

Can I challenge you to take the word of God more personally ? 

Personalise and tell me what is your fave scripture in the comments below …

“Dear Diary God… ”

Yup, there’s times when I dedicate a set time aside to be in God’s presence and I get nothing, absolutely nothing loool. It’s as if your speaking to a stranger and you must ask them questions to get to know them such as “who are you” or “where are you from?”. At times, we can feel disconnected and it can be a struggle to speak to God directly from our mouth. Don’t get me wrong, other times we can spend hours and hours alone just voicing out our emotions to God and being soaked in his presence, however I realised that those times for me, were not to frequent at all.

Speaking to God is personal, it’s not about who can do the longest prayer, or who prays the loudest or who prays with the most vim (If you go to African churches then you could probably relate to this!) it’s just about a personal message that you would want to deliver to God either through words or even just through a thought in your head.

As I like to read poetry, or listen to spoken word I realised that these thoughts of these poems all had to be written down at some point, right? So, I pondered to myself if I struggle to voice out my deepest fears and thoughts to God why don’t I put it on paper. It started with prayer topics for me. When I prayed, I made a list in my head of all the things I need to tell God about, sometimes it would be such a long list that I would end up forgetting some and not praying about them at all, so I then went to my phone (the notes app) and jotted all my topics there as a list so I could go through each one of them individually with God. Now that wasn’t a bad idea however I started to refrain from using my phone whilst praying as I wanted to dedicate my absolute self to God without any distractions- which was the phone itself.

So, I thought why don’t I just write my prayers down on paper. That way it will be straight from the mind and I could just write out my feelings without saying it aloud which I felt uncomfortable with doing at the time. Think of it as a diary; in a diary you write down everything that happened in the day and you take the time out to reflect to yourself. Bible / Prayer journaling is the same thing, only that you are reflecting to God about your day or any issues that may appear in your life. At first, I started to doubt myself about how this would work. I thought to myself; is this a legit way of praying? Am I avoiding physically talking to God? Is this journaling even a form of prayer? But I realised that God listens to us in many ways and it doesn’t always have to be verbally, it can be through your thoughts or words on paper. Remember God is all knowing, he knows your heart, your needs and your desires already. Whatever the struggle you may be going through, God always understands. However, never completely neglect the verbal aspect because the bible tells us that the tongue is powerful and there truly is something powerful and uplifting about speaking aloud your prayers.

I guess the best part about prayer journaling is that you can look back at all the answered prayers you have received. It’s like a record of God’s unfailing love. When you have received an answered prayer, look back to the week or day you wrote that request down for it and use that as a testimony and reassurance that the God who did it before can do it again. It will stimulate your faith in many ways.

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Thanks so much for stopping by. Why not have a look at our collection of notebooks / journals..

 

 

Galatians 3:3

NKJV – “Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh”

NLT – “Having begun your new life spiritually with the Holy Spirit, are you now reaching perfection by dependence on the flesh?”

Context

Related imageBefore salvation, we as humans were dependant upon our flesh. We were dependant on what we thought and felt was right, however, the Bible says that there is a way that seems right to a man but the end of it is death (Proverbs 14:12). So, God made a covenant with us via the law (Ten Commandments) to communicate to us what it right and what is wrong. Even then, if you live by the law, you are actually still dependent upon your flesh. The law has not got the power to put us at right standing with God as Romans 8:3 tells us.

“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His Son in the likeness of the sinful flesh to be a sin offering.”

Jesus came to save us from what the law could not; he came to establish the new covenant which strips us of our independence so that we no longer rely on ourselves but on Him.

When we became saved we became a new creature with a new dependence.

The word Abba from the phrase ‘Abba Father’ means. Abba means source. A source of a thing is what sustains that thing. For example, a new born baby’s physical source is from its parents and so that is who babies are dependent on for physical sustenance.

As believers, our source is now God. Saying yes to God is to say no to ourselves. We cannot serve 2 masters. God is who we must depend on in order to sustain the life of the new creature we have become. We can in no way sustain ourselves and trying to is belittling what Jesus done on the cross.

Back to Galatians 3:3…

We began this journey of salvation by the Spirit. When we get saved our Soul and Body need to catch up with the Spirit, this is the process that the Bible refers to as being made perfect. Our flesh died and we became alive in Spirit. Romans 8:9 says

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.” So we all definitely started in the Spirit, or never started at all.

So where did this shift to the flesh come from? For most people, this is not a conscious decision. There are many reasons, most common being complacency. We get into the routine of our new life and just stick to it. It quickly turns from a spiritual walk and relationship to a religion. The key difference is we begin to depend on the flesh while Christ requires us to depend on Him. To depend on Him means we need to have a relationship with Him. Going back to my earlier example, similar to how a baby also has a relationship with its parents.

The absence of a continual fellowship with God is what it means to ‘reach perfection by dependence on the flesh.’ Dependence on the flesh is to just follow the laws with no relationship, as seen in the Old Testament.

Galatians 3:10 says “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written; Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

We cannot do it by the law and so no matter how hard we try, that curse would be upon our heads. God knows this and this is why He sent His Son. A relationship with Him helps us to stay on track.
I wanted to use this explanation of Gal 3:3 to encourage anyone who has become complacent and shifted into the flesh. This is such a basic yet fundamental teaching.

Here are some tips to avoid falling out of a relationship with God:

  • Find a mentor; someone who is strong in the faith who you look up to and can lean on for advice;
  • Never let your mouth cease from prayer & praise: this is the no.1 method of communication;
  • Study the bible as though it was for an exam. If you just read it, it is unlikely to have real impact in your life. The aim is to understand the heart of God and replicate this in our actions;
  • Go to Christian events and gatherings, get involved in whatever your church / fellowship are doing: this ensures you remain active in serving and learning and constant in fellowship with other Christians. Remember iron sharpens iron;
  • Listen to Christian music and sermons: this is another method of learning and feeding your spirit.

James 4:8 Come near to God and He will come near to you.

  1. Who is your target market? I would define your target market as the reason why you created your brand. View your brand as the solution to a person’s need or problem. What makes your business or brand different from other businesses out there? Knowing and accurately identifying your target market gives your brand a focus that aids in keeping your business on track. Before launching that business or brand think of WHO you’re launching it for and what problem it solves.

 

  1. Starting your business takes sacrifice. Yes, freebies are greatly appreciated when building that business for the first time. Free photoshoots and investments are always great but YOU need to invest into YOUR business. At the beginning of something it usually takes more sacrifice than reward. It takes money to make money. Prepare yourself for investing more money into your business than you expected. I would suggest making sure you have a capital and this is where your money to invest into your business comes from.

“It takes money to make money!”

Email: hello@shopcocoon.co.uk for more info 

 

  1. Law of Attraction! Who do you want your business to attract? As a start-up or relatively new business, collaborating with other start-up businesses may not be the best thing to do. Get your business or brand around those that inspire you. Those that can propel your business or brand to its next stage. Collaborate and partner with brands or other businesses that have a good following, reputation and ethos so it can benefit your business as well. And in turn attract your target market.

  1. Know your worth! If your building a business that means that your desire is for it to bring you a level of income, right? That means that the freebies need to stop. The compromising of your prices to suit a potential client that doesn’t even fit into your target market need to end. Don’t get me wrong, providing freebies isn’t always a bad thing but why not provide a freebie to another business or brand that matters! A business or brand that can help you. YouTube, for example is bursting with people that can advertise your product or service and spread the word to their own following. If you have a price stick to it! It is all about finding the balance.

 

  1. Launch your business when you know it is ready! It’s easy for us to be caught up in the excitement of our new and creative business ideas but when we launch them for the world, can we remain consistent? In most cases, we do not. The posts stop, the excitement dims down and the business gradually becomes something that we regret starting because we haven’t provided what we said we would. Plan, research and plan! This is why your target market is so important. Who are you aiming your social media content to? Can you see a future for your business or brand? Will it still be needed five years from now? Carefully build the foundation of your business away from the worlds eyes and bring a light to it when you know it can thrive! Patience is key!

 

“We are called to be fruitful, NOT BUSY.”

When I first heard this, it gripped me! If I had a pound for every time I used the word ‘busy’ I’d probably be a millionaire by now.. But I’m not. And that’s because my busy did not produce fruit. There was a lot of activity but not a lot of productivity. I decided to make a change and ensure there was real tangible results from all the hustle bustle of life.

So, I created THE FRUITFUL LIFE PLANNER.

Here are 3 ways the Fruitful Life Planner has changed my life: 

1 – IT KEEPS ME MOTIVATED

Have you ever been to an event / seminar or even church and left feeling so on top of the world, so full of life, so inspired and motivated …. ?

Yeah, me too! 

A few days later though?

Let’s be real.. it often dies down. 

Imagine if you could feel that same zeal that you feel right after a inspirational event everyday! Imagine how much you could get done.

Motivation / Inspiration is like our fuel to get things done! Imagine a car only getting petrol once every few months. That must mean the car isn’t really going many places, right? This year more than anything I have learnt that us humans need motivation DAILY. 

And I try to get this a few ways, prayer & bible study (pls don’t skip this one, if there is no God in what you are doing, there is no fruit regardless!) and listening to motivational messages on YouTube and Periscope. But the quickest and easiest thing I do is  reading and meditating on the motivational quotes that are on every single page of my Fruitful Life Planner! These gems can make a big difference in my mood and intentions for the day. 

Another way my planner keeps me motivated is the fact that my goals are right at the front. Have you ever got to the end of the year and thought “wow i had that as a goal? I did nothing or very minimal towards it!” But this planner gives you the opportunity to look at your goals as much as you want, its right in your face and so keeps it at the fore-front of your mind.

This will keep you motivated to ensure your days are fruitful!

2 – IT KEEPS ME INTENTIONAL 

A lot of us spend a lot of money on planners and other tools that will help us be better. As a result, I make it my mission to not let my planner collect dust on my bedside table. 

So I have to write in it and to do this I actually have to think! Now appointments and meetings are easy, you just slot them into their allocated time. Where it gets difficult is planning my time for personal development and planning my tasks for my businesses. It causes me to think and be intentional and so I end up accomplishing things I never would have had I not taken time out to plan! 

You know what they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail and I understand that now more than ever. 

This is also why I use DATED planners. Last year we released an undated edition of our Fruitful Life Planner but I don’t think we will be doing that again because having dates cause you to be accountable. Each page gives you a fresh day to work with. You will feel guilty if you have missed a whole week of your planner or keep transferring your to-do lists from day to day but if its undated you don’t really care, its like you aren’t moving forward. 

3 – IT KEEPS ME GRATEFUL  

One of my favourite sections of my Fruitful Life Planner is the Daily Gratitude section. When I first started doing this, to my surprise, I found it difficult and that should not be so! 

Being content in life is so key to your emotional health and I strongly believe that to stay content you have to stay grateful. Thinking of one thing each day that you are grateful for shifts your mindset. Trust me, a heart of gratefulness leaves no room for complaining. And you really do not want to be complainer. (Click here to read our previous post of how complaining is form of meditation.)

TIP: Make sure you aren’t writing down the same thing in your daily gratitudes. Push yourself to think! Trust me you will be surprised at how much you are actually grateful for. 

All these things keep me Fruitful. Since creating and using this planner I have been more at peace with my busy-ness because it now produces fruit! 

Thanks so much for reading! Can I challenge you to get fruitful? We still have a few May-December ’17 Fruitful Life Planners.. Invest in one today! 

And if you have a planner already tell me in the comments what you love about your planner or how you keep yourself fruitful?