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OPTIMAL LIVING MAGAZINE - 2018 SPRING ISSUE

Our Spring Edition is all about love, life long commitments, forgiveness and how to take the best care of our temples. Dr. Sandy Mitchell talks candidly about why she chooses to forgive herself and those who wronged her in the past. Through God's grace, her love for Jesus Christ and the power of forgiveness; she reveals how she overcame rape, domestic abuse, living with sickle cell disease, thoughts of suicide and much more! Special Offer: Purchase our Annual Issue and send your daughter to Dr. Mitchell's E.S.T.E.E.M Summer Butterfly Camp @ $5/week Discounted Rate. June 4 - August 3, 2018 -- Orlando, FL

“Whosoever findeth a

“Whosoever findeth a wife, findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22). h i s p a s s a g e o f T scripture defines and sculpts my frame of thinking when I reflect on how God has blessed and favored me by entrusting m e w i t h o n e o f h i s angels…my fiancé. Prayer and preparation ushered her to me. I have found my “good thing,” and I have experienced favor like never before since I met her. People often ask me, “How did you know that she was the one?” As a single, saved man, I've learned through life experiences, and by just honing in on the message that is brought forth on Sunday mornings at church, that prayer and preparation are the two practices that need to be utilized when seeking a mate. Prayer produces communication and revelation with God. To personalize my point of view, I'll say this…I prayed that God would send me a friend I could call my best friend…not a girlfriend, or a wife. I promised God that I'd take the time to focus on myself and my goals, and that I would make sure they all things concerning me line up with His plans for my life. Once I made this promise, God strategically placed my, now, fiancé in my path. We must learn to realize that there are seasons when it comes to relationships, and the most significant season, in my opinion, is the season w h e n y o u “ p u r s u e yourself!” TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A SAVED BLACK MAN: WE MET IN THE VINEYARD! By Christoph Jenkins 10

OPTIMAL LIVING SPRING ISSUE How many of us can actually say that, at least once in our adult life, we strategically set aside a time period where we ignored the urge(s) to pursue the opposite sex? We must allow God to "prune and prick” us for our next season in life. We need God to prick our bad habits, our lustful thoughts, our prideful ways, our excess baggage! Then, as scripture says, God will prune (cut back) those who are bearing fruit, so that they'll bear more fruit. John 15:1–4 says, 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the 2 gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that [a] does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be 3 even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” Pursuing yourself also means to pursue God, because, as you have read in verse 4 of John 15, God states, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” As it relates to relationships, we, men, can't go out there and “find” a wife, nor can women “be found” by a man, without spending time in the vineyard. In sum, your future husband, or future wife, can ONLY be found being pricked and pruned in the vineyard, so that neither of you will have to carry the excess baggage. You'll both be able to enjoy the fruit that has been produced as a result of your submitting yourselves to the pruning process. Thank you, Lord, for the many different processes that we MUST endure in life, but more specifically, the pricking and pruning process we MUST endure to be in the right place (the vineyard) at the right time (your season) to meet the mate you have set aside for us! We step into your vineyard, and we will remain in you as you remain in us, because we know that is the only way we can bear the necessary fruit to be ready to receive the person that you have for us! In submission to your process, we say thank you! AMEN Christoph Jenkins (www.thePoetLife.com) is a writer, mentor, and entrepreneur. Christoph has been married to the love of his life, Shannon Jenkins since 2012. They now have three daughters and reside in Maryland. Follow Chris on twitter @ItsChristophJ. 11

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