Personal Values Archives

Daniel Was Branded by God

Daniel fascinates me.

I have been studying the book of Daniel in preparation for the Branded by God Telestudy taking place this evening. Simultaneously, I have been reading Branding Pays by Karen Kang and have been amazed at how God has helped me make danielconnections between the two—Daniel and personal branding.

It has been said that personal branding is nothing but showcasing who you are and what you specialize in and my Heavenly Father does that oh, so well. I know that might sound strange but God is the Master Marketer—the omnipotent one who by the very nature of who He is draws men, women, boys, and girls to Him. He specializes in healing broken hearts, setting captives free, “so loving the world”, and granting eternal life.

Even way back in the Old Testament, you can see how He orchestrates what I call Divine Personal Branding through those He chose and Daniel is no different. In fact, Daniel epitomizes Divine Personal Brandingdiscovering who you are in God’s eyes, knowing what He has called you to do, and then using your gifts and talents to serve those He has called you to serve.

The Incredible Account

Right out of the gate, in chapter one, it is clear that Daniel attracts King Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official Ashpenaz because he meets the king’s criteria. He is—

  • A young man without any physical defect
  • Handsome
  • Showing aptitude for every kind of learning
  • Well-informed
  • Quick to Understand
  • Qualified to serve in the king’s palace

Then, we find out that Daniel makes a decision. He decides that he will not defile his body with the food and wine from the king’s table. He graciously makes his decision known to Ashpenaz, the very same chief official who selected him to be of service to the king in the next three years.

The beautiful thing is that God caused Ashpenaz to show favor and sympathy to Daniel and as the story is told, it becomes obvious that the two of them have an amicable relationship. Ashpenaz shares his concern for his life in regards to allowing Daniel to deny the king’s dietary plan and Daniel demonstrates his genuine concern for Ashpenaz’s well-being by “submitting” what I will call a proposal.

He suggests that Ashpenaz allow him and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) to do a trial run for ten days. They would eat only veggies and water during that time and then see if they still looked as debonair as the other young men who were also “in training.”  Ashpenaz accepts the proposal, so only veggies and water are served to them.

The Bible says—

“At the end of the ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So, the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.” (Daniel 1: 15-16 NIV)

But it gets even better.

The Bible also says—

“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, so they entered the king’s service.

In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.” (Daniel 1: 17-21 NIV)

Divine Personal Branding Personified

Interestingly, there are some very evident principles of personal branding in this very first chapter of Daniel that I believe will help you as you walk in your Divine Personal Brand:

  1. Personal branding begins with having a goal and a strategy to achieve it. That strategy involves positioning yourself as one who solves a problem or enables an opportunity. 

  2. A strong personal brand is the key to influence, opportunities and advancement. 

  3. Personal branding is not merely cosmetic. It must be fueled by substance. Concepts from Branding Pays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand by Karen Kang

Daniel knew exactly what he stood for. He knew the exact impression he wanted to make. Because of his commitment to serve God, faithfully, he made a decision to be who God had called him to be even while he was being held captive by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.

In Leviticus 11, God had already made it clear what He viewed as clean and unclean in terms of His people’s diet and unlike the other young men who had also been selected to serve the king; Daniel was determined to honor God even in the midst of this situation.

In doing so, he set himself apart. Not only did he distinguish himself from all of the other handsome, fit, intelligent, qualified young men, but he provided evidence that he was who he said he was when he (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah) ended up looking healthier and better nourished than those who ate the king’s food.

The reward…..

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah outshone even the king’s magicians and enchanters and the king found them 10x better.

Your Take-Away

Assess your personal brand and determine whether it is divine. In other words, ask yourself if you are doing what God has called you to do, using  your gifts and talents in such a way that those who are drawn to you recognize that the hand of God must be on  your life. Remember, that when you are in the zone, what you do appears effortless to those who observe you. This is the sure sign of walking in your divine personal brand.

Make a decision to never waver. Do what He has called you to do in the way He has called you to do it. In other words, differentiate yourself from the pack of folks who do what you do by sharing your knowledge but also by being known for something of value. Resist the desire to blend in with the world’s norms or ways of doing things. Hold fast to your faith and be the one to stand out.

Evaluate your brand image. Your image includes your brand associations, your visual branding and your relationship branding. Daniel appealed to Ashpenaz and King Nebuchadnezzar because he was attractive, smart, and well-informed. He also associated with others who held his same convictions. And, from what we see, he knew how to build relationships with not only his peers, but with those in authority. Likewise, you must determine whether your brand associations, external image, and relationship image align in such a way that you attract those you have been called to serve.

Finally, become an influencer as a result of being seen as the BEST person to deliver the solution.

It’s 2013 and time for the real believers to un-apologetically walk in our Divine Personal Brands.

Let’s go!

 

It’s  4:37 a.m. and I am wide awake.

Don’t worry. I took a very long nap yesterday evening….slept from 5-8:30 p.m.

So, after my daughter went to bed, I decided that I should get my all new vision board done….finally. (After all, the first quarter of the year is almost up.)

It had been leaning against the French doors in my great room, as they call it nowadays, since January–almost blank, with images just on the left side. The images reflected my future physique and the verbiage I’d so carefully cut out of my Oxygen magazines reinforced my goals.

The incompleteness of the board would not be so obvious if it were the normal poster size. But, I had to be all I could be and get the absolute largest size that Office Depot had to offer. You may not believe this but the foam board is the size of a mini billboard….honestly.

Don’t ask me why.

Word Wall

Word Wall

Okay, so here’s why….:)

Well, the day that I was in Office Depot and I spotted the huge foam board, I got this bright idea. If I were to take that huge board home with me, it would be large enough for me to include the vision for all areas of my life—family, health, business/finances, and spirituality/relationships. That would alleviate the pain of having to be so selective when I chose pics and phrases and would also keep me from having to create several boards.

Thankfully, I was driving my mother’s Dodge Caravan that day because I would have never been able to fit it into the backseat or trunk of my G35.

And so it is that just a few hours ago, around midnight, I pulled out two of my favorite movies that I’d purchased but never had a chance to watch at home—The Devil Wears Prada and The Lake House—rounded up 20 or more magazines and my favorite pair of scissors and got to work.

While I was working, it suddenly dawned on me that I was finding more words, more phrases than actual images that depicted my vision. And, then a great idea came to mind.

Creating a Word Wall

When I taught elementary school, one wall of my classroom was dedicated to the Word Wall. It was a wall that had each letter of the alphabet from A to Z spread across the top in a straight line. Each week, I would choose five words as the focus of our spelling and word activities. We would play all kinds of word games with the words, discuss their definitions, create sentences, etc. etc. On Friday, I would give a quick assessment of the words and then post the words to the Word Wall under the letter that each word started with. By the end of the year, the wall looked like a living, breathing dictionary on the wall and I just loved seeing how many words my students had mastered in just one year.

The grand idea that came to mind was what if I created a Word Wall of sorts? What if I focused first on just finding words that express who I am becoming, what I want, where I want to be, how I want to impact the world, and so forth and so on? What if I then, designated a notebook for declaring my future via my Word Wall?

I could choose one word or phrase every morning or every night and write a sentence in my Word Wall Journal about my future. For example: Blast calories and burn fat! is a phrase on my foam board right now. I could write a sentence that reads: Each day, I will blast calories and burn fat by doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and weight training five days per week.

This idea got my juices flowing.

I became so excited that I had to stop myself because finding these descriptive, inspiring, life-shaping words was getting too good and taking me to where I am now—into the wee hours of the morning.

So, here I am asking you to consider trying this spin on your vision board with me. It will suddenly make the board interactive, meaningful, and vocal; and in a strange way, it will hold you accountable to what you have promised yourself, making sure you don’t push the board in a corner where it will collect dust.

Each day, your Word Wall will be at the top of your mind either when you wake up or when you go to bed at night. What a great way to program your mind!

Pics of my Word Wall

Here are pictures of the makings of my Word Wall. I am not quite finished. I am going to devote 30 minutes a day to it until it is done. I really want to find more words and then find some compelling images to associate with them. I think I am also going to have to do an “And all these things….” Word Wall. It will be devoted to those brand names, the fashion, the dream home, the vacations, the philanthropic efforts, etc. etc. that will come as the vision becomes my visual reality. :)

 The Left Side

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                                          The Center

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                                                                                                                  The Magazines

It’s Your Turn :)

Join me in shaping your life with words every single day—words that will inspire you to never lose focus of your vision.

 

The Sweet Savor of Obedience

Growing up as a member of the Owens clan (my mother’s maiden name), I knew this one thing–my grandmother and grandfather better not have to tell me to do something more than once.

It was understood who the king and queen of 1202 Scout Drive were and once their requests and expectations were made known, they were to be fulfilled.

Point blank…period. obedience

My grandparents did not play.

Of course, because my grandparents raised their children that way all of my aunts and uncles did the same. You listened for the instructions, you responded “yes ma’am and yes sir” and you followed through.

Now, if you were not reared in this form or fashion, it may sound harsh to you, but, it is for this kind of child-rearing that I am grateful.

Ironically, although I was raised to be obedient to my elders that I could see with my natural eye, I sometimes struggle with being obedient to my Heavenly Father.

At this point in my life, I have come to realize that obedience is very important to God.

22 But Samuel replied:“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. I Samuel 15:22

Actually, the Greek term for obey (hupakou) means to listen attentively, to hearken with the heart, to heed or conform to a command or authority. It does not mean to assess, analyze, evaluate, weigh your options and then decide what you are going to do.

You know how it is.

You hear from God in a still small voice, a whisper in the wind, or through a bullhorn, loud and clearly…but for some reason, you try to ignore it, you disregard it, or you choose to do nothing he says or even worse,  the complete opposite of what he says.

(Okay…maybe I am the only one. :) )

Well, then when things get all mixed-up or you find yourself in hot water,  you run to the very same God that you disobeyed. (Thank God for his grace, right?)

Well, I am happy to announce that I am finally growing in this area. (Applause.) Just this past month, I made a decision to be obedient to God and was amazed at the outcome.

I hope you have a minute because I want to tell you the story. :)

The Story of My Obedience

In the month of February, while I was up at 3:00 a.m. writing and working on some projects, I heard the Lord tell me to start this Bible study in a teleseminar format.

Hmmm….I thought.

Well, this idea just would not go away, so I grabbed a sheet of blank, white copy paper so that I could brainstorm. Immediately, the details began to work themselves out on the paper and I was like, “Are you sure you want me to do this, God?” I then followed that with a few, but’s, what if’s, and maybe laters.

In my initial thinking, I would  promote the Bible study and then would interact with whoever registered for the call, but I would soon find out that is not what God had in mind.

Night after night, the telestudy (which is what I decided to call it) kept running through my mind and within a couple of nights later, it  had developed into something totally different. It would no longer be me against the world :) , but, I was going to embark on this “project” with some other key people.

Five names immediately came to mind.

Five names of five women who might work with me on this assignment were given to me as if someone were whispering them in my ear. It was craaaaazzzyyyy. So, I wrote them down.

Once again, I tried to come up with excuses because I kept hearing February 24th….February 24th at 8:30 p.m. and it was already February 10th.

February 24th, Lord? Like, this month? I asked. But, they may have something else to do. You know this is kind of short notice? Let’s shoot for March. :)

No, February 24th is the date and 8:30 p.m. is the time. (I am telling you. That is exactly what I heard.)

Deciding to Obey

Deep in my spirit, I knew that I had to be obedient. So, I created a format for the Bible study that would allow us to provide some strong application to the process. It was based on a very effective learning through discussion format that I use with my college students in the courses that I teach.

Next, I found a service where the call could take place that would allow me to create registration forms and send reminders to those who registered  in advance.

Still feeling a little apprehensive, I created the page.

Then, I typed up a letter to request that these ladies be members of the panel for the Bible Study. (You would not believe how everything just flowed. It was as if God was telling me exactly what to say as I typed the letter. I am serious.)

So, I sent the letter via email to all five women, held my breath, and waited.

(Technically, I invited one of the women over the phone, and she’d agreed to do it, so I was waiting for four responses.)

Guess what?

Four of them said yes--yes to the date; yes to the time; and super triple quadruple yes to the project. (By the way, the one person who had to decline said to keep her posted on the next one.)

I then talked to each of them one-on-one and it was incredible how God just put His hand all on it. Each one of the ladies felt led to be a part of it and I was elated.

BBGTS Showtime, Lights, Camera, Action!

On February 24th at 8:30 p.m., you would not believe how the Lord showed up in our discussion.

It was an incredible 60 minutes of fellowship, insight, revelation, encouragement, agreement–and I could go on and on. If you’d been there,  you would have thought that we were a group of BFF’s (best friends forever) talking over a cup of hot cocoa at Starbucks because everything flowed so organically. From the opening prayer to the closing remarks, it was just a fascinating experience.

I marveled at the wisdom, power, and majesty of God. It just left me speechless!

After the session ended, I was up until 4 a.m. listening to it….over and over and over again. Every single time I listened, it blessed me in a different way and I knew that nobody did it but God.

My co-teachers and I had a conference call on Saturday morning and they all felt the same way.

Now, we are on fire!!!

God has given us a vision to change people’s lives with not only the Branded by God Telestudy (in that format) but with some other projects as well.

And, all of this came about simply because I finally decided to trust God and obey.

And The Moral of The Story Is….

I know this post was long but I had to share it with you because I know that God has spoken to you about something you need to do in regards to your divine assignment and you are tarrying, contemplating, and probably making excuses. I want to be the one to give you that push, no, a shove to move forward with what HE has placed in your heart to do because I promise you….he will do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21) and you will experience the sweet savor of obedience!

 

Ladies of the BBGTS

Alaina by the Tree

 
 
Alaina Odessa
www.alainaodessa.com
Author of Slow Running Honey: First Born Poems of Salvation
 Dallas, Texas
 
 
keyshabass
 
 
 
Keysha Bass
www.keyshabass.com
Host of Attract Your Dream Life Show on Blog Talk Radio
 Seattle, Washington
 
 
Katrina Spigner in Purple
 
 
Katrina Spigner
www.katrinanow.com
Author of  This is For You! 31 Days of Life Changing Discoveries &
GIFT (Growing In Faith Today)
Columbia, South Carolina

Experiencing Love In The Most Excellent Way

Have you ever felt something, received something, or experienced something for the very first time and asked yourself—how in the world have I gone without this my whole life?

Or perhaps you have longed for something and you finally get it and it is delightfully MORE outstanding than you ever thought it would be?

That is how I am feeling right now.

Today is Valentine’s Day—my second most favorite holiday in the world.
love yourself

Whether you want to get into the history of it and how it came to be or not; today, Valentine’s Day is the day normally reserved for lovebirds.  It’s the day that flowers are sent, chocolates are exchanged, romantic rendezvous are executed, and intimacy is king.

For me, Valentine’s  Day 2013 is like none I have ever experienced before because it is the very first time that I truly realized how loving others begins first with loving myself. The only way I can truly love who I am from a pure place is to view myself through God’s eyes.

My eyes want to see my faults.

My eyes want to see my shortcomings.

My eyes want to focus on the mistakes of my past.

You see, my eyes are controlled by my mind or perhaps it is vice versa and neither is inherently capable of being “right.” Therefore, my vision in and of itself coupled with my mind, in and of itself, can never see me as God does.

So, for the first time, this Valentine’s Day, I have received the most romantic, most intimate, most unconditional, most customized gift of all.

It is that thing that has made me say—how in the world have I gone without this my whole life?

And, it is oh, so….unspeakable.

It is a glance into how much God really loves me and not only that the way by which he does it.

Having just a little peak of that has sparked a determination to love myself based upon God’s definition of love (1 Corinthians 13) and it has ushered in a desire to love others in the same way.

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted from giving and receiving love the world’s way.

I am ready for change.

At the end of the day, anything that I do and the reasons that I do it have to be rooted and grounded in God’s love.

My motives, my longings, my goals, and even my relationships have to be rooted in God’s love. If not, I gain nothing.

So, this Valentine’s Day,  I simply adore the lover of my soul for He is showing  me not only why but HOW he first loved me and that is the excellent blueprint for me to love myself.

And now, I will show you the most excellent way…..

1 Corinthians 13:1a

 

Register Now

Branded by God Telestudy

Register now to find out what you can learn about your divine assignment from the life of the Prophet Jeremiah, February 24th at 8:30 p.m. Click here to reserve your spot!

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