Be Persistent (The Brother’s Keeper #65)


Even Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men
Letter Thirteen: Be Persistent

Dear Y.B.M.,

You might be talented. You might be educated. You might be well-trained. But, all of that means nothing if you aren’t persistent. Persistence is what sets apart people who accomplish things and who are consistently successful from people who don’t accomplish things and who are not successful on a consistent basis. If you want to make an impact in life, you must be persistent.

The following verses from Scripture compel us to be persistent in all manner of things:

We ought to be persistent in doing good so that we might reap the rewards. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

We ought to be persistent in prayer. Luke 18:1 says, “Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

We ought to be persistent in the pursuit of righteous living. Proverbs 24:16 says, “A just man falleth seven times, but he riseth up again.”

We ought to be persistent in pursuing the things that we need and the good things that we desire. Luke 11:9-10 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Persistence is very important if you want to live a life of fulfillment and blessing. Here are three keys to developing persistence in your life.

First, develop strong habits. If something in your life is working well for you, keep doing that thing over and over again. A car engine works the same way every time you turn the ignition. The car doesn’t decide that it wants to try out a new way to drive every day. Likewise, you must have strong habits if you are going to be persistent in life. Successful people don’t feel like doing everything that they do. But, they discipline themselves and do some things like getting up at 5 AM, spending an hour with God every day, and eating healthily instead of buying fast food, through force of habit.

Second, develop the ability to adjust. Just because someone is persistent, that does not mean everything goes their way all of the time. Persistent people get just as many roadblocks in their way as non-persistent people. The difference is, a persistent person will adjust, adapt, and roll with the punches. While you must have strong habits to succeed in life, you must not be so rigid that you freeze up when the unexpected comes your way. And, rest assured, the unexpected will come your way.

Third, develop a learning mentality. Persistent people are always pushing into new territory, and they must take the time to learn about the environments they find themselves in. A persistent person is humble, knowing that, at times, he must stop to learn about what lies ahead. Persistent people are not arrogant; they are willing to learn from others, particularly those who have walked a similar path. The knowledge you gain today may very well benefit you tomorrow.

In much of life, your success is up to you and your willingness to work hard, adjust well, and learn more.

Be persistent,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Maya Angelou said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Robert Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

Advertisements

Be Generous (The Brother’s Keeper #64)


Letter Twelve: Be Generous

Dear Y.B.M.,

I hope that you are a generous person. If not, what are you waiting for? The dictionary says a generous person is one who shows a readiness to give more of something, such as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected. There are many benefits to generosity. Scientists have found that generous people are happier at work, have lower stress levels, have better marriages, and may even live longer. Our generosity on earth builds up treasure in Heaven for us. Moreover, the Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver.”

Here are three reasons why you ought to be generous.

1. Being generous is your duty as a Christian. In Matthew 5:42, Jesus Christ said, “Give to him that asketh thee, and him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” God expects His children to be the most generous people on earth. Jesus told His disciples, “Freely ye have received; freely give.” Jesus set the ultimate example of giving when He gave His life for us on the cross. Through His sacrifice, He gave us salvation from sin and Hell and eternal life with God. We can never give as much as He gave, but we ought to give to others as much as we can.

2. Being generous is the best way to say thank you. Whether you realize it or not, you are incredibly blessed. If you are alive, if you are able to move and have your being, you have a lot to thank God for. On top of that, other people have given to you in many ways. Your parents gave you life and, if they were good parents, they cared for you, provided for you, and trained you. Your teachers aided your education, helping you gain knowledge where you had none. You can probably name others who have given you advice or help down through the years. It is great to go back and say “thank you” to those people, but it is even better to show your gratitude in a tangible form.

3. Being generous is a way of making a difference in the world. Because of how God and others have made a difference in your life, you ought to want to make a difference in the lives of others. So, pay it forward. Let your gratitude bleed out into your dealings with other people. Do for them as others have done for you. Give to others and give sacrificially. Use your time and resources to help others move along on the road of life. You may not think that you have much to contribute. You may not think that you can really make a difference in the world. But God is not just looking for more wealthy, well-to-do, and well-known people to make the world a better place. He wants everyone to do their part. Jesus told his disciples that a poor widow who gave two pennies to the Lord’s work had given more than the wealthy religious people who had given out of their abundance.

It matters not the amount of money or possessions you have. All that matters is that you have a heart of generosity, one that is willing to give, to give back, and to give without looking for something in return.

Be generous,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

David Livingstone said, “I place no value on anything I have or may possess, except in relation to the kingdom of God. If anything will advance the interests of the kingdom, it shall be given away or kept, only as by giving or keeping it I shall most promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes in time or eternity.”

John Holmes said, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

John Bunyan said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

Be Authentic (The Brother’s Keeper #63)


Dear Y.B.M.,

The people of your generation have come up with a term that embodies what this letter is all about — “keeping it 100,” which is synonymous with what we used to call “keeping it real.” A “real” person, a person who is “keeping it 100” is someone who is authentic. The words means: “not false or copied; genuine; real; representing one’s true nature or beliefs.” Authenticity has a lot to do with honesty, which we talked about in a previous letter. But, while honesty has to do with being truthful with your tongue, authenticity has to do with being truthful with your life.

The world is full of people who are trying to be like someone else. They curb and contort their lives, their personalities, and their passions in order to fit a mold that they have determined to fit. This lack of authenticity runs through big decisions like career choices and educational pursuits, to seemingly little things like the way we dress or the cars we drive. This lack of authenticity also causes us to hide our flaws and shortcomings, and other parts of our lives that we think others may not approve of or accept. But this kind of living is living a lie.

Authenticity is all about living truthfully — whether those truths be bad or good. If it is a bad truth about your life (a sin), then you must confess and repent of it, and strive to do right. But don’t lie about it. When we are inauthentic, we are walking in darkness, and that is not pleasing to God. First John 1:6-7 tells us, “If we walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Jesus commands us to be authentic in our behavior when he said in Matthew 5:37, “Let your communication [your lifestyle, the way you live] be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” An authentic person is one who is not performing for the sake of others, but is living fully in the life that God has given him. Being authentic lifts a tremendous burden off your heart and mind. If you have confessed your sins and are striving to do right, you can live freely, knowing that the only Person you have to please is God. He gave you the personality, the looks, and the abilities that you have, and you ought never to feel like you have to be like someone else.

Be authentic,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

C.S. Lewis said, “There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Christ will indeed give you a real personality. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.”

Brené Brown said, “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

Charles Swindoll said, “I know of nothing more valuable, when it comes to the all-important virtue of authenticity, than simply being who you are.”

Albert Camus said, “Above all, in order to be, never try to seem.”

Be Passionate (The Brother’s Keeper #62)


Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

Dear Y.B.M.,

One of the saddest things that I see in the world today is people who have no passion in life. They meander through their existence being acted upon by others. They have no vigor and no vision of their own. If you ask them where they would like to be ten years from now, they would have no idea.

Don’t be this kind of person.

The most successful people in life are passionate about what they do. Passion is defined as: “strong and barely controllable emotion; an intense desire or enthusiasm for something.” Is there something that excites you? Something that gets you out of bed in the morning? If it is not your work, is there something that you look forward to at the end of the day or the end of the week? What do you live for?

Interestingly, the trial, torture, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is referred to as His “Passion.” Standing before Pilate, Jesus said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.” Yes, Jesus’ Passion involved His own suffering, but that did not deter Him from His purpose.

Have you figured out why you are in the world? Do you know the purpose for which you were born? Until you find this passion for living, you will be like the proverbial fish lying on the grass. No matter how much you try to adjust and adapt to the grass, you will grow weaker and weaker. You will eventually die, a life wasted. Only when the fish is in the water does he thrive.

When trying to find your passion, don’t follow money, don’t follow success, don’t follow others. First, ask God to show you what He wants you to do with your life. You will find that He has uniquely gifted you with the ability to do His will for you. God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Then, listen to your heart. Most of us never do this. We sacrifice our true desires in order to fit in with others, to be accepted, or to follow a path set for us by our parents, by our desire for money, or by our desire for ease and worldly success. But, such a life always ends in dissatisfaction. Only when you follow your passion and God’s passion for you will you live a life of fulfillment and peace of mind and heart. Nothing is more satisfying than that.

Be passionate,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

Elon Musk said, “People should pursue what they’re passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.”

John Wesley said, “When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

Be Confident (The Brother’s Keeper #61)


Dear Y.B.M.,

In this world, it is easy to feel as though you are inferior. It is easy to go through life with a lack of confidence weighing you down. It is easy to think that other people are better and that they have it all together.

However, God wants you to be confident. When I talk about confidence, I am not talking about being cocky. I am not talking about being proud. I am not even talking about self-esteem, which our society loves to talk about instilling in young people today. Rather, I am talking about knowing who you are in God.

And who are you?

You are a child of God, made in His image. That alone should give you confidence. But, beyond that, if you have received Jesus Christ into your heart as your Savior, you have also been forgiven of all of your sins and you no longer stand before God in a state of condemnation, but in a state of righteousness. Thus, your flaws and your failures no longer have to hold you down.

The Biblical terms for confidence carry the meaning of putting one’s trust or faith in something or someone else. Some people put their trust in money, human knowledge, physical strength, or other people. But, a truly confident person puts his trust in God. Notice how Jeremiah describes this individual: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.“

When your confidence is rooted in trust in God, you do not have to fear people, circumstances, or the devil. Second Timothy 1:7 states, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Your confidence or lack thereof is a matter of what is going on in your mind. If you have the sound mind that comes from a relationship with God, when things get out of hand around you, you can remain even-keeled. In every situation, you can say with the writer of Hebrews: “We boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

If your trust and faith is in God, you have no reason to be afraid in this life. You have no reason to think less of yourself. You have no reason to feel as though you cannot do great things with your life. You can.

Be confident,

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Jon Walker said, “Our confidence is not in our ability but in God’s ability.”

Stephen Curry said, “I’ve always believed that success for anyone is all about drive, dedication, and desire; but for me, it’s also been about confidence and faith.”

Jack Canfield said, “People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence. Don’t be shy or feel intimidated by the experience. You may face some unexpected criticism, but be prepared for it with confidence.”

Martin Luther said, “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.”

Marcus Garvey said, “With confidence, you have won before you have started.”

Be Honest (The Brother’s Keeper #60)


Dear Y.B.M.,

One of the first marks of a young man who has good character is honesty. Because there are so many people who will be dishonest to keep a job, to get money, or to get out of a bad situation, the world wants, and desperately needs, honest men who will stand up for truth in every situation.

It is evident that God hates the sin of dishonesty by the number of times He warns against it in His Holy Word. Here are a few verses from the Bible that refer to the sin of lying:

Exodus 20:16 says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness…”

Proverbs 19:9 says, “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.”

Romans 13:13 says, “Let us walk honestly.”

2 Corinthians 8:21 says, “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

There is no instance in which lying will help you better than telling the truth. I have learned by experience that people will respect you more and get along with you better if you tell them the truth — even if you think it will make you look bad in their sight. Some people who are worried about others’ opinions of them build a house of lies around themselves — they lie about their past, they lie about who they are, they lie about what they have done. The problem is that once someone finds out that you lied to them about one thing, you give them reason to question whether you have lied to them about other things. In every situation, it is best to be upfront and honest.

No matter what you do, or what anybody else does, do not lie. Do not be afraid to tell the truth on yourself or on anybody else. Live a life of transparency and authenticity. Don’t try to appear as someone that you are not.

In the end, the truth always wins.

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Thomas Jefferson said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Zig Ziglar said, “The foundation stones for balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.”

William Shakespeare said, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”

Virginia Woolf said, “If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

Albert Einstein said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”

Be a Leader of Yourself First (The Brother’s Keeper #59)


Dear Y.B.M.,

In my first series of letters, I strongly encouraged you to “think for yourself.” Today, as we begin this second section in Even Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men, “On Character & Leadership,” I want to strongly encourage you to be a leader but be a leader of yourself first.

That terminology might sound odd at first, but bear with me. I believe that more young black men should be leaders. You may not have any followers right now, but, under God and with God’s blessings, you ought to be a person who thinks for himself and follows his own mind based upon God’s will and God’s Word regarding the direction of your life.

This world has too many followers and too many people looking for someone to take them by the hand and show them the way — all of the way. I stopped following people long ago when I realized that Jesus is the only Leader I need. Most importantly, He is the only Leader who will never let you down. And, because I follow Christ alone, He has blessed me with the privilege of being a leader to others.

The Apostle Paul rebuked some folk for creating factions in the church because they were obsessed with which human leader they were following (including him). Some were saying, “I follow Paul.” Others said, “I follow Apollos.” And others said, “I follow Cephas.” But Paul said, ‘I thank God I have not baptized any of you. I’m not following anybody but Jesus.’ And because he was following Jesus alone, he was bold enough to tell people, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”

I want you to be able to say the same thing. Get your life in order under the direction and headship of God through Jesus Christ and you will be ready to be a leader in your own right for the glory of God and for the benefit of many others. Now, this does not mean that you can’t listen to advice from others who are older and wiser. I have a small circle of pastors and leaders who are twenty to thirty years older than me from whom I learn and seek advice. And, thanks to God, these guys have been with for some twenty to thirty years. I listen to their counsel, but I make my own decisions, I take responsibility for those decisions, and I accept the consequences of those decisions be they good or bad. I encourage you to do the same.

There are many different types of leaders. Some are loud and bombastic; others are quiet and contemplative. Don’t be concerned about style. People recognize great, positive leadership when they see it. If you start taking the lead in your own life now, and start leading yourself first, you will be prepared to be a leader, a mentor, a guide, and a role model in your family, in your community, in your church, and in the world.. One day, you may look up and find that people are actually following you as you follow Christ.

Love well. Lead well.

Daniel Whyte III

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Tony Evans said, “A kingdom man may be defined as a man who positions himself and operates according to the comprehensive rule of God over every area of his life. And every area of life should feel the impact of a kingdom man’s presence.”

John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Tony Dungy said, “The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a railroad maintenance gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”