Money Talk: A Few Good Reasons to Save Your Money

boy-savingIt is often said that saving money is important, yet many don’t save because they have various valid reasons.

  • “I don’t have enough left over after my bills are paid.”
  • “I don’t see the point of it, after all there is little return on saving or investing these days.”
  • “It takes a long time to see any substantial growth and beside I end up digging it my saving anyways.”
  • “Between saving and investing I don’t think I am the wiser. Savings offer little or no return and with investing I could lose it all quicker than it took me to save it.”
  • “I don’t want to focus on these earthly things too much and be a hoarder. I need to seek God’s kingdom first!” – (Luke 12: 13-21)
  • “Why the point of saving, for saving sake? Besides I don’t have inclination or motivation to do this consistently.”

Sadly statistics show we are not savers. According to stats compiled by the OECD, the savings rate (as a percentage of household income) is way below ten percent in most countries.

Though these may be valid or legitimate reasons, even God expects you to save. God himself has savings too (He calls them storehouses). You may ask how could God who is the Creator of the Universe, the all resourceful One and full of the abundance of all things need to have storehouses or savings. God has storehouses for the abundance He has created and releases what is needed when it’s needed. He has storehouses for:

  • The Wind – Psalms 13:5-7 Jeremiah 10:12-13 & 51:15-16
  • Snow and hail – Job 38:22
  • The Waters (the deep) – Psalms 33: 5-9
  • The Rain (in the heavens) – Deuteronomy 28:12

Not only does the Lord have his places to store up but he also expects us to also. Why? In this fallen world, God knows that there would be seasons of lack or unexpected events that require extra as well as times when opportunities arise that require funding. God’s word gives a few examples of those who saved and saw the benefits of doing so.

  • Joseph saved for seven years to have enough to feed Egypt and many others when the 7 years of famine came. – Genesis 41:48-49, 55-57
  • David saved from his days of war and used it to supply for the house of the Lord and the Israeli leaders also gave toward the work of building the house of the Lord. – 1 Chronicles 29
  • The Apostle Paul instructed the church to set aside weekly to give towards the needs of those in Jerusalem. – 1 Corinthians 16:1-4

Personally, I have seen the benefits of setting aside or saving money. Recently, I had to make some major house related purchases and I was grateful that I could go to my storehouse and collect what I needed. For me that meant no credit, no worry or no stress because I had the funds saved and available. Now my work will be to rebuild that storehouse with what was taken out and to put in more.

The important thing is, if you have it, you can use it when you need it. But if you don’t have you’re either forced to borrow or beg or do without.

But there are a few more good reasons to save:

  1. To give yourself your own paycheck – When you save you pay yourself. Don’t pay out all your money to others (bills) and not have something for you and your family
  2. To help you kick the habit of spending and borrowing – If your divert or direct your money in the right place (your financial storehouse) then you will not desire to spend and you certainly borrow less
  3. For you and your family’s future – As a godly person, take care of your family but setting aside for present and future needs
  4. For the unexpected – In this world there will be trouble, be prepared to handle some of it by having funds set aside
  5. For a good reason or to be ready for new opportunities – Not only should you prepare for unexpected troubles but unexpected good opportunities (e.g. a new house, a business venture, a charitable deed). You cannot invest if you don’t have what it often takes (i.e. money).

Apart from all those good reasons for saving, there is one that should give any Christian the motivation to save – God said that He will order a blessing upon what you save! Check it out in Deuteronomy 28:8.

My question to you then is: Where are you savings at? Are you saving or are you consuming more than you need to? Do you have financial storehouses for immediate living expenses, for adhoc or unexpected expenses or for your golden years?

Today, start afresh. Whether you are saving or not, access where you are and make a commitment to save something no matter how small or big. Commit what you do to the Lord and He will make it success. As little as $5 a week can go a long way.

Share your ideas on how you save or express your challenges about saving. I am here to help.

Remember, during this month, Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to God Will (Kindle version) is on special. Click here to get a copy or to gift one. Read, implement and experience God’s best in your finances.

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Money Talk: Serve God & Rule Money

Does money has a hold on you - Mk10 24-25“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Luke 16:13 (NIV)

Lately I have been wondering to myself and quietly asking the Lord, why is teaching about money so important? Other areas such as winning souls, knowing what your purpose is and living it out, growing in faith, having a stronger relationship with Christ, and so on – would be considered more important areas of the Christian life. Don’t you think?

Money discussions in church aren’t the most sought after areas of teaching. In most homes, money is a taboo topic and often isn’t spoken of positively. Hey, in general, regardless of your beliefs, most people aren’t comfortable talking about money. Why? It’s too personal and whether you have lots of it or not; it can say a lot about you.

Ask yourself this: What does money say about me? Or what does my management of it more so than how much of it I have say about me?

The thing you treasure the most is what you emphasize and you see it in how a person views their money and possessions. If money is your main priority then you’ll find that you hoard what you have. However when you don’t think you have enough, you will experience feelings of insecurity or worry constantly. If you like nice things your bank account will show it by where you spend and how much you spend. If you are a socialite, your money practices will show how often you go to the restaurant and other places of entertainment. If you love God and seek to build his kingdom through giving, your bank and cash records will show that too. Your money and your treatment of it says how you view money.

This money management business is not just a practical thing but a heart thing. It reflects where you heart is. It reflects what your desire is.

Money is at the heart of your Christian life. You have to deal with it daily. How you do that affects and reflects your faith in God.

Getting back to the question I was asking God – the reality is that we all need help with money. We all need guidance about how best to manage it. But before we get there we need help mastering it spiritually. We need to understand our attitude towards money and learn how God want us to treat money.

God wants you to love Him and master money (Luke 16:13). This takes time through teaching, practice and pray to master something that wants to rule over you every day. How can money rule over you? This spirit behind money (called the spirit of mammon) can either rule your heart with worry, depression, overworking, and causing us to hate of despise God. But on the reverse, you rule over it and use it a tool to take care of our needs and be a blessing in the kingdom of God. You can do this by making God, his kingdom and living in right standing with him your first priority.

Which do you prefer? I think I’d rather rule money than money rule me. I think I’d rather love God than money. Money (especially if you are in more debt than you can handle) is a hard task master. It just doesn’t push you to work hard and long for the money that you can even seem to keep some of but it causes much physical, emotional and spiritual drain.
Therefore I can’t ask the question as to why I need to talk about money or try to shy away from it. As the church we need to get our act together and be rulers and leaders in every aspect of life including money management. From God perspective, that means people, like me, need to teach at every given opportunity the principles of biblical financial empowerment even when it’s not convenient or welcomed.

Here on this blog I sometimes talk money but not often. My aim only is the share what will help us live effective Christian lives that honor God. Part of that includes sharing about money.

Over the next little while I will do a series on money matters as the Lord leads. However, if there are areas you would like me to share on feel free to leave your comments below.
In addition, during this month, Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to God Will (Kindle version) is on special. Click here to get a copy or to gift one. Read, implement and experience God’s best in your finances.

Until my next post…
To your Financial Empowerment
Pamela Carmichael

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What’s In An Idea?

27584846 - beautiful woman with questioning expression and question marks above her head“The thoughts and purposes of the [consistently] righteous are just (honest, reliable), But the counsels and schemes of the wicked are deceitful.” – Proverbs 12:5 (AMP)

Have you ever had a “light bulb’ experience where a great idea comes to mind and you’re all excited about it but sooner rather than later the idea fades away? Sometimes I am almost flooded with new ideas and renewed visions of things I want to do. At times I am so overwhelmed by the ideas that I quickly drop them. Does that sound familiar? On occasion I learn to settle myself and make the idea become a reality. I have noticed that when I ask God to direct my paths and show me how to and when to act on an idea that I am able to bring it to reality. One such experience I can attest to is completing the writing and publishing of my book – Financial Empowerment.

I have realized that ideas are not just accidental thoughts. They are given to you for a reason. As a writer, I have ideas about articles or blog posts that I can write or about books and courses that I can create to help others. My ideas are often centred on my purpose, personality, preferences or interests. They are often related to God’s word, personal finance, and personal development (which I call, Christian Living Success) and how I can best serve God’s people.

Ideas also have a time or a season to become reality while others may not be meant for you at all but to be shared with others who can make use of them. I have several ideas but I don’t act on them all. I believe some of them are meant for me and over a period of time they will be acted on and become a reality in my life. However, I recognized that some ideas come that can be best acted on by someone else who has the passion, expertise, gift and experience needed to carry it out and make it successful.

So what is in an idea? Are you meant to have a flood of great ideas and just that or do you need to act on some of what you’ve been thinking about? An idea tends to come almost suddenly – like a series of thoughts that just have to be shared or written down because they are so good.

What about you? What’s your idea? What are you doing about them? These questions have some similarity to the question that Elijah asked the widow: “What do you have in your house?” Like the widow you may think that your idea is insignificant. But with God, what you have can be an income stream that is more than enough to take care of you and your family. Your idea may save you and others much time and effort. Your idea may save a life. Your idea may bring hope and help to others in some way. Your idea, once implemented, could be a world changer. Your idea is a good difference maker. Your idea is meant to be shared. Whatever your idea, it can solve a problem and make your life and the lives of others better.

Imagination
An idea comes from your imagination and your interests. It is part of your thought process. Ultimately, any good idea comes from God. When you get your ideas write down as much as you can about them. Keep an idea note book or document to record them. Ask the Lord Jesus to show you what to do about them.

Development
In order for an idea to become reality, it has to become a specific goal and then developed into a viable plan. You have to move your idea from generality to specifics. You have to make it concrete. You will need to attach numbers, dates, times, or some kind of expected outcome to it.

Empowerment
An idea can bring empowerment to you and others. Actually, as you work on your idea you will grow and learn through the process of working on the idea. You will move from struggle to success and to significance. Why? Your idea will not only cause you to achieve for your benefit alone but others will be impacted by what you do. As a Christian, your ideas are meant to be life changers; an influencer to challenge people to better themselves and improve their lives in some way.

Achievement
Acting on your ideal will eventually lead to achievement of the goal. Your idea will also lead to fulfilment and even to income generation. It’s like the Bible says, when you have seen the fulfilment of your desire “life is full and sweet” (Prov. 13:11 VOICE)

An idea is just an idea. It just a big dream if no action is taken. I’ve had and have many ideas but they are of no use to me or others unless I do something about. So recently my prayer is for God’s grace to take direct, decisive, focused action on the ideas or creative thoughts he plants into my mind and heart. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how many ideas I have. Now I ask the Lord to guide me and let me know what to take action on and in what order of priority.

Lately, I been working on my ideas – setting goals and making plans. But I have also been acting on them and have had the pleasure of seeing some ideas become realities such as speaking on Financial Empowerment and other Christian Living Success topics and I been doing some business writing (mainly resumes) – something I have always liked doing and just seemingly stumbled on the idea to offer a professional writing service .

“Entrust your efforts to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3 (GW)

The whole idea of bringing an idea (pun intended) to reality is exciting and fulfilling and once you see it you want to do more. What idea(s) do you have that you need to start working on? Feel free to share.

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Why and How To Create an Effective Prayer Strategy

Prayer

The previous weeks’ posts have been focused on goal setting and/or creating your life plans. But there is one important aspect of setting goals that I want to highlight today, that is, the importance of having a prayer strategy. In the Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner I discuss the importance of connecting the word of God to your goals by speaking what God says about you.

Over the years, I have titled this method in different ways such as … “My daily confessions of faith” or “Pray the Word” or “What God says about me” or “My prayer strategy”. Prayer Strategy? What’s that? Simply defined prayer is conversation with God. And a strategy is also defined as “a plan, method, or series of manoeuvres or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result”. Therefore a prayer strategy is basically a set of guidelines you use when in prayer in order to see God’s will and purpose established in your life.

You may be wondering, “Do I have to plan how to prayer too?” Actually, yes. This isn’t something that the Lord Jesus wouldn’t approve of. After all, He gave us a model of how we should prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13). For years now I have used the Model Prayer along with creating my own prayer strategies. I have experienced the benefits of doing this:

More focused time – I am less distracted when I have my notes (prayer strategy). Whether on my phone or in a mini note book it serves as a point of reference to revert back to if I get side-tracked. And you and I know that sometimes when you set out to prayer distractions tend to come either because our minds drift off to something else or some other interruption occurs.

Purpose-driven prayer – I create prayer strategies based on the promises, commands, warnings and life examples found in the word of God. This way, my prayers are not based on what I want but on what God’s will is for me. They are focused on His plans for me.

Stronger faith emerges – As I pray according to His word, sometimes it wasn’t always faith-filled. But the more I spoke the word of God (Romans 10:17), the more I believed Him. The more I became certain that what I was hoping for would become a reality in my life (Hebrews 11:1, 6).

Develop persistence – When you know what you are praying about or for and you have the help of your prayer strategy and the Holy Spirit, you zero in more on those life issues that need to be addressed with tenacity and passion until the answer to your prayer is received (Luke 18:1-8).

Answers to prayer are received – This I can attest to that as I have prayed for God to work on in specific areas or circumstances in my life He has been faithful to do so. Even though my prayers are Biblical based they are also include my goals or life areas I need to develop or improve. I can do nothing without God so I rely on Him for all things.

Become more thankful – Certainly as I have seen God at work in my life, I have become more thankful and appreciative of His goodness and His love toward me and others. Answered prayers not only cause you to develop a grateful heart but also a faith-filled one.

Establish God’s will in you and others – The beauty of developing a prayer strategy based on God’s word is that you are saying to God, “Come kingdom of God, be done will of God in my life and in the lives of others.” Furthermore, you are less likely to go to God complaining but rather you desire to see God and His righteousness in your specific situations. Also, you are less likely to pray amiss because your heart condition become one in which you seek the will of God rather than your own.

You know what to prayer – Whether you’ve been a Christian for many years or just give your life to the Lord Jesus sometimes you find yourself lost for words to say to the Lord. You can become frustrated with yourself if this happens regularly and may find yourself drifting away from spending that essential time with the Lord. Please don’t give up. Use your prayer strategy to help you express your heart to the Lord and also ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray effectively.

But you may be wondering how to create a prayer strategy. Here a few simple steps to help you get started.

  • Review your goals for this year or a few years ahead
  • Examine your life and write down what you don’t like or rather what doesn’t line with God’s will and is causing frustration, sickness, stress, or anything negative in your life
  • For each of the above you’ve listed (some will overlap), search the Scriptures. What does God’s word say about each of these areas? Write out the Word of God that resonates with you for each area. Two or three verses for each issue would be a good start.
  • You can personalize the Word by creating confessions of faith or faith declarations or simply use the verses you found to remind you of God’s will when you are praying on specific matters
  • Make time daily to prayer using the prayer strategies to assist you. Some days you may cover every aspect of the prayer strategy and other days only a few areas as the Holy Spirit guides you.
  • Listen for God’s direction. This is not just an exercise in you doing all the talking. Let God speak. Ask questions and listen. Speak and pause for His response. God has much He wants to share with you to help you prosper through life. As you do this, please obey His direction.
  • Try to involve others in the process. Pray with a trusted friend or two. Jesus promised that as you agree with others in prayer, our Father God will do as you ask (Matthew 18:19-20). You can do this by either in person, by telephone or even online meeting. Get innovative about prayer. There is greater power in numbers.
  • Post your list where you can frequently see it so that you are ever mindful of what needs to be sent up to the throne room of heaven. You can put the prayer strategy in your dresser mirror, closet, home office, fridge door, computer screen or wherever you frequently go to pray. During my study I normally write and then type and print out my prayer strategy. I keep my prayer strategy in a folder close to my bible and notebook. I have even posted it in my Evernote account or my phone’s note app so I can reference it when I am on the road and have some moments for prayer. Of course, there are apps that you can use to assist you but keep it simple. Do what works best for you.

One more thing, set reminders for yourself to pray. You can become so bogged down with life that at times when you should be praying you are trying to solve the problem or fight the battles of life on your own. Set reminders for a few times a day – it could be to rest, to pray, to read the Word, to listen to some gospel music. A 15-minute break or two during the day dedicated to things gospel would make a significant difference in your life. It will help you to lead a life of praying without ceasing.

A prayer strategy will help you to focus on what matters. Your prayers will be aligned with the will of God for your life and for those persons and circumstances that you bring before the Lord. In my journey with the Lord, the more I consistently prayed about the matters that concerned me, the more I saw the hand of the Lord in my life. The more I saw the Lord working through every situation to bring it into His will and plan for me, the more grateful I am. Also the more I prayed, the more my faith grew and I developed a resoluteness that what God promised in His Word, He would perform.

As you prayer the word of God you will see the will of God expressed in your life. Therefore, make your time with the Lord your must-do and not just another to-do. Through your essential time of prayer; the Lord will strengthen, encourage, empower and guide you. You will enjoy His love and His peace.

So, what do you do to ensure that you spend time in prayer?

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Questions To Move Your Goal Setting In The Right Direction

Question marks_ID-10062766If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.James 1:5 (NIV)

Sometimes it can be a bit challenging when setting goals to define clearly what you want to achieve. In the Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner, you’re asked the question, “Where Am I Today?” which you use to rate and evaluate seven life areas. This can be challenging but it is necessary if you want to move forward. This exercise helps you to determine which areas of your life you need to focus on more.

Following that exercise, you will start setting your goals or creating your life plan. Again, even though you may have identified areas that you want to improve, putting a plan together can be quite the challenge. In the post I have created questions that you can use to help you plan in each of these life area.

I know for the most part taking time to question yourself may seem hard and time consuming. However, there is a benefit because for every question, even the hard ones, an answer can be found. As you start questioning yourself about your life, also ask God for already He knows the answer. He will search your heart and give you the wisdom needed to move your life in the right direction.

LIFE VISION
What would make you smile with satisfaction when you look back at my life?
How can you get closer to your 10-year goal in this year?
What can you do to make the world a better place?
How would you like to be remembered?

FAMILY
Who do you need to have a better relationship with in your family (spouse, children, siblings, in-laws)?
What family values and/or traditions (e.g. celebrations, fun events, special occasions, family devotions or prayer) do you need to develop or reinforce in order to leave a lasting legacy?
What family goals (e.g. buy a house, family reunion or vacation, stronger relationships) do you have for this year?

FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES
What relationships do you need to improve?
Is there anyone who you need to disconnect from because they are a negative influence?
Is there someone who pulls you down rather than lift you up and encourage you?
Are there people you interact with that drain your energy in one way or another?
Who do you most admire in your sphere of influence? How can you connect with them?

FINANCIAL
What are your immediate financial needs?
Do you have a workable spending plan? Does it need to be revised?
Do you have a financial plan aligned to your values?
Do you need to a financial increase? How much? What will you do to achieve this?
Are you satisfied with your current income level? If not, why and how can you improve it?
How much do you plan to give, save and invest this year?
Is there a plan to reduce debt or to get out of debt completely?

HEALTH – PHYSICAL
What can you do this year to improve your overall health?
Do you need to create and follow a healthier eating plan?
What plan do you have to keep physically fit (have a personal physical assessment and exercise plan, start walking, participate in fun sporting activities, purchase and use workout videos, partner with a few exercise enthusiasts)?
Have you booked your annual health checkup and regular doctors visits? Would you prefer to work with a nutritionist or with an alternative health practitioner?

INTELLECTUAL / PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Should you enroll in an academic or professional course or other course of interest to you?
How many books do you plan to read this year? What topics would you like to cover?
Who can you connect with as a mentor, coach or mastermind group to provide support and accountability?

CAREER / BUSINESS
Are you in the career of your dreams? If not, what do you need to do to get there?
Do you need to study in a particular field? Or do you need to get on-the-job training?
Do you need to make a complete change in your career and embark on a new adventure?
In what ways can you improve service and product offerings in order the generate business income and be profitable?
How can you better serve your customers (internal and external)?

SPIRITUAL
What can you do to have a closer relationship with God this year and beyond?
How can you better serve the Lord not only in church-related activities but in all areas of my life?
Do you spend enough time in prayer, bible study, reading books on Christian living to help you grow in your walk with the Lord?
How often do you set aside time during the day to spiritually rejuvenate (such as having moments of quiet reflection, listening to uplifting music, watch short but inspiring videos or having a talk with God)?
How can you be a more effective witness for Christ?

This does seem like a lot of questions but they are just designed to get you started in your planning. You don’t need to answer all these questions or set major goals for each of these life areas. In some cases, you may need to set small goals – simple life habits – that can and will greatly improve your life. In other cases, based on where you are today, you may need to do a makeover on one or two areas of your life.

So take a step. Look at where are today and ask yourself a few of these questions to help you set purposeful goals. Ultimately, whatever goals you set, make sure that they align with your values and with the will of the God.

If you need help with goal setting, it’s not too late. Check out the Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner.

Here’s to your best year ever!

PamelaC

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How to Make FAITH Goals Rather Than SMART Ones

wirting goals_16732976_sFaith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. –Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

Goals and God, do they mesh? The short answer is, Oh, yes, they do! The worldview for goal setting is the use the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time sensitive) method. The aim of this is to make sure that a person set goals that are realistic and that they can achieve. Unfortunately, SMART goals leave no need for God because these goals are set based on a person’s natural ability to achieve it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking this method of goal setting. It helps you to think through what you really want to achieve in a methodical or logical manner. To me, that’s good.

S.M.A.R.T. goals have their place especially if you are new to goal setting but even for those who’ve been setting goals for a long time. You can find this method beneficial too if you feel intimidated by the idea of writing out and seeing your dreams laid out before you because it breaks the process into small steps. But as a Christian, when you set goals being S.M.A.R.T. about them can be a hindrance to God’s best for you.

How’s that?

S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific and maybe too specific in that you may not make room in your mind for anything greater than the amounts, times, places, people that you’ve identified in your goals. In other words, you can make these S.M.A.R.T. method mistakes (1) setting your goals too low or (2) wanting to accomplish them too quickly. You likely would overestimate what you can do in a year and underestimate what you can do in ten.

I like the idea of being specific, and that’s naturally me. But I’ve learned that when you do this you can become so bogged down with the specifics that you don’t see anything more or less than the goal you’ve created. But what if God wants more for you that you’ve determined?

Consider this: Instead set big goals with God for your life and spend the rest of your life going after them.

S.M.A.R.T goals are said to be achievable and realistic. Achievable by whom – You? Realistic to whom – the world standards? When you set goals that fall into this two categories, therein lies a problem. The goal is all dependent on you and not the Lord. First off, that places a lot of the burden on you to perform. Secondly, there is no reliance on God to help you. Thirdly, you miss the opportunity to ask God to show you His plans for you and help you craft then according to His will.

So enough said about S.M.A.R.T. goals. I like using the method but keep in mind the limitations for you and me as Christians.

Now, what I want to propose to you or challenge you to do is to set F.A.I.T.H. (Focused, Audacious, Inspiring, Transforming, and Hopeful) goals. Goals that will be require faith not in your ability to achieve them but in God’s ability to achieve them for you. I want you to set goals that will stretch your faith not in yourself but in God, in His word and in His ability.

So here is what I think F.A.I.T.H. goals should look like…

FOCUSED

A focused goal directs your attention or efforts to a specific task that is measurable and time-bound. A goal is a dream with a deadline.

These are S.M.A.R.T. goal setting aspects that are still needed. Why? When God works in you, through you, with you and for you to help you achieve your goals, you need to know what they look like so that when you receive the blessing you can clearly identify God’s handiwork and give Him all the glory for what He has done.

AUDACIOUS

This is where F.A.I.T.H. goals become interesting. An audacious goal will take you outside your comfort zone and inside the realm of God possibilities. Goals like these require you to be bold, daring, fearless, and highly inventive. This requires outside the box thinking that doesn’t conform to the norm for conforming sake. When your goals are audacious you take bold steps but with faith in God that He will reward your efforts.

Therefore be audacious! Stop thinking inside the box and stop the negative arguments against yourself and your goals. Let the size of your God determine the size of your goal. Don’t limit God by small thinking!

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us. –Ephesians 3:20

INSPIRING

More specifically, faith goals are God’s inspired goals. These goals produce feelings or thoughts towards that which is kingdom oriented. They build confidence in you – not in your ability but in God ability to help you do what you need to do and in His awesome power to perform a great work in your life that you’re not capable of alone. When you have F.A.I.T.H. goals you are inspired by the belief in a better future.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

TRANSFORMING

No matter where you are in your Christian walk, you would have realized by now that God is at work in you to change you and others into better His image and likeness. So whenever you set F.A.I.T.H. goals aim to impact others in your sphere of influence. The beauty of goal setting is that it doesn’t end after you have put it in writing. There is more involved. The journey to achieve your goals is a journey in which you and others will see transformation in your perspective, your character and other areas of your life. You will with God’s help know Him more and make Him known to others. You will become more like Christ. In the midst of the goal setting and goal getting, you should be kingdom-focused and kingdom driven. Therefore, be the light and the salt of the earth while accomplishing your goals.

HOPEFUL

F.A.I.T.H. goals give you a hope and a future that are good and exciting to look forward to. They will give you the impetus to get up and go in the morning. They will spur you on when the going gets tough. They will keep your eyes on the prize (particularly I you review them regularly). They will inspire you to do good works.

When you create F.A.I.T.H. goals, you are expressing hope. You are expressing your belief that you will succeed at what you are about to do. In reality, goals are statements of faith or statements of hope. When you set an F.A.I.T.H. goal you believe that God will help you to accomplish it.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. –Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

I hope that this post in inspire and challenge you to set your goals full of FAITH in the Almighty God. As you go through the goal setting process and as you work on this through the year, as yourself, “Will this require me to have faith in God?” Matthew 9:29, Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be to you.” Your faith determines what you receive or achieve in this life. God works with your faith. God acts on your behalf based on your faith. And it pleases Him when you have faith in Him. So remember, how much He does in your life have a lot to do with how much you believe He can do in your life. Your F.A.I.T.H. goals make that statement, “Lord, I have faith in you to accomplish…”

My friend, as you take this journey to dream great dreams. The question isn’t who you think you are but who do you think God is. Create F.A.I.T.H. goals to speak to the greatness of your God. God bless you!

It’s not too late to start setting F.A.I.T.H. goals and living out God’s success in you. I created the 2016 Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner out of a desire to have a goal setting process with a Christian perspective. I hope you’ll get a copy and start the road to living successfully in Christ.

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7 Reasons Why Christians Should Make Life Plans

22867681_s_where is my life goingGoal setting is making life plans and it’s a God-thing. What do I mean by that? God sets life plan or goals. One such life plan was the plan of salvation so that all would come to Him and have eternal life through Christ. Think about it. It was a goal – to save mankind from his sin. It took planning, timing, implementing in order to make this gift of eternal life available to all. That is an awesome plan that many people had and continue to reap the blessings from.

Throughout the word of God there is evidence of God setting goals or life plans for His children and for the effective working out of each of those plans in their lives. Today, it’s no different, God has life plans for you and I and wants to work with us to accomplish them.

Even though, goal setting is a God-thing. There are several reasons why you and I should set goals and work to make them happen.

1. Goal setting is spiritual
How is that? Your life plans should reflect the will of God for your life. For sure the plans He has for you are good and are worth looking forward to.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

However, when it comes to you there are plans specific to you and no one else. This is where life planning or goal setting gets spiritual. You will need to spend time in reflection, prayer, thanksgiving in order to learn His plans for you.

The good this is that you may already have a good start at knowing His specific will and plan for you. Usually the very desire of your heart is the very thing God desires for you. The things in life that you’re passionate about form part of the big plans God have for you. The important key is the ensure that these inner desires a good and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1-2).

2. Life Planning Set the Course of Your Life
If you choose not to plan, then you live by default and everyone else’s suggestions and plans become your own. You react rather than respond to life because you have no life plan to keep you from wandering through life aimlessly
diverting away from your main goals.
However, to plan and do it with God is to be purpose-driven. Jesus and the Apostle Paul as excellent examples of meaning specifics. They had an aim and worked towards those goals, their life’s purpose regards of the obstacles.
Have goals or a life plan means that you know where you are going. You are not side-tracked or easily distracted when you have a plan.

3. Goal setting is faith-based
Goal setting and faith go together. When you set goals you are making statements of faith. You are saying that you have faith in God to accomplish a specific thing by a specific time frame or period.

Are you confident in God that the goals (the hope you have) will happen?

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” -Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

FAITH goals please God. Those mentioned in the Hall of Faith had an aim, a life goal that they believed God would be able to do. Set your goals with faith in God. Believe that God will help you make them happen.

4. Goal setting is faith-stretching
Your faith in God is stretched or challenged only when you set goals that not is within your reach and therefore require God’s intervention in order to be achieved.
The bigger the goal, the risker the goal, the more your faith will be stretched. A faith-stretching goal compels you to run towards God and to believe that He will reward you as you seek Him.

Try setting goals based on what the word of God says in Ephesians 3:20 MSG “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

5. Goals focus your energy
When you have goals, they keep you from wasting time, money or energy. When you have focus you have an effective life. Like Paul you are driven by “this one thing I do”. The more you focus your life the more powerful and effective it will be.

Don’t think that you have to do everything. God doesn’t expect you to. You are human and knows that very well. Set the goal and then focus your energy to achieve the goal. The key is to do what do what matters most. Do what has eternal value.

“You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. So run to win! All those who compete in the games use self-control so they can win a crown. That crown is an earthly thing that lasts only a short time, but our crown will never be destroyed. So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

6. Goals keep you active and persistent
Having goals fills you up with hope and give you something to look forward to. They make you persistent even when the going gets tough. You are able to see past the pain and aim at the prize. This is just what Jesus did – “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, NKJV)

Goals give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and to be enthusiastic about life. They give you something to look forward to. However, without goals you feel hopeless; you don’t see a good future ahead of you (Job 6:11, NLT)

Have something to look forward to. Have something to live for. If you do you won’t loose hope and give up.

7. Goals build your character
The greatest benefit of setting and working on your goals in not the achievement of the goals but what happens to you in the process. Success is said to be a journey – a journey that starts with you and produces a better you as you work with God and allow God to work in you.

Through the process of goal-setting and goal-getting, God is more interested in your character than your accomplishments. He is more interested in who you are and who you become. While you are working on the goal, God is working on you.

As you create your life plans, aim to be more like Christ – to know him and to make him known to others. You cannot become the man or woman God wants you to be unless you’re intentional about it.

8. BONUS POINT: Good goals will be rewarded
The beauty of goal setting for Christians is that you have the advantage of doing it with God and of being guided by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. This is an uncommon advantage but one that is often taken for granted or not recognized.

As you set your goals and work toward them, you will be rewarded on earth by people and by God in heaven. The key to success in the depend solely on God, the CEO of your life to guide you and help you every step of the journey.

“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” -Proverbs 16:3 (NLT)

So as you start this New Year, commit all your plans to the Lord and one day and one step at a time let Him work in you, through you and with you to bring into reality your heart’s desire. I wish you a year of Living Success!

The 2016 Living Success Goals Workbook and Planner is now available. As an added bonus this year, a full year planner is included for your convenience. Enjoy!

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Jesus, The Reason for Christmas

Jesus is the reason for this Christmas Season

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! —Isaiah 9:6-7 (AMP)

Christmas…the most wonderful time of the year!

This is what we often hear from both those who are Christians and those who are not. Many like the festivity of this season. There is even a sense of peace or calm about this time of the year (depending on where you are in the world).

Furthermore, it is a time of rejoicing, celebrating, and much giving and receiving. It’s a time when people go out of their way to serve and to help others. It is undeniably the one of the best season in every year. It’s a time when many spend time where it matters most – with family, in the house of the Lord and in reflection of God’s love towards us. No matter what, Jesus our Lord and Savior has shaped and continues to shape world history. He is the Reason for this Christmas Season.

May you experience the love of God is greater measure this Christmas and beyond.

Blessings to you and yours.

PamelaC

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Make the Most of Your Time with Goal Setting

Goal setting is a word that some don’t even want to hear. It’s a time that many dread and as a result do not even pursue. You may have tried setting goals and because you didn’t reach the goal you don’t think goals are worth pursuing. On the other hand, you think it’s time wasted and that you should just let life happen. But really, if God has plans for you you should make it your business to know what they are, pursue them and trust Him to help you see them become a reality in your life.

12073677_s_dream, plan, wrok

Goal setting time

“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 (AMP)

Goal setting does not have to be a difficult process. It can be a rewarding and yet fun time in your life. As the word of God says, there is a time for everything under the sun and yes, that includes setting goals. Consider this as a time for planting – your vision, your dream, your destiny, your purpose – where you lay out what you want to be and to do. And remember that this time of planting will become a time of reaping or harvesting once you (with the Lord) have worked towards to goal to attain the prize!

Life planning and goal setting in a time to look forward to and a time to access if you have and to make sure that you make the most of the time God has given you on this side of heaven. Goal setting is a time of:

REFLECTION
This is a time to look at the past and the present to prepare for the future. This is not a time to be negative but use this to learn from your mistakes and from the setbacks you experienced. Also make note of the what your did achieve and started to do as well as the positive things that happened in your life.

Ask yourself a few important questions:
– Where am I today?
– How and what did I do to get here?
– What made this year great or not so great?
Make sure to reflect on each of these life areas: Spiritual, Family, Financial, Health (Physical), Intellectual / Personal Development, Social, Career development, Business development. This will help you to understand why you are where you are and help you continue the work to become who you want to be and do what you desire to do.

THANKSGIVING
Oftentimes you can live with regret, frustration or disappointment because you didn’t achieve what you wanted to. However, this is not the place for you to remain. Even if you “cry over the spilled milk” don’t keep crying. Get up, clean up the mess and move on.

Learn to be thankful for what you have and what you do not yet have. Be thankful in all things at all times (1 Thess. 5:18, AMP). Thank God want did work and for what small steps you made towards your goals. Have a heart of gratitude because no matter how bad things look there is some goodness in your life and that goodness came from your Father God.

Write a love letter to God – a note of appreciation. Don’t know how to start? Start with, “Dear God thank you for…” and make a list of all His goodness in your life. Or maybe you can start by worshiping Him just because He is God and then thanking Him for all the goodness has brought into your life. Think of yourself, your family, your friends. Thank Him for life, love, good health, safety and protection, provision and whatever else you recognize as God’s handiwork in your life. But for sure, His done you good, so be thankful.

CREATIVITY
Goal setting is a time to dream. In my goal setting workbook, I have a space for dreaming, there are at least three options you can use to start your dreaming process:
1. My Dream List – is a blank sheet or a mind map type sheet – you choose the either list in short form what your life looks like in the next year or two or beyond or you use the mind map page with cloud thoughts to express your heart and God’s heart for you.
2. My Vision Board – for those who are more visually inclined, you can collect images (from the web or from books or magazines) and create a collage of your dreams.
3. My Life Story – you can write in present tense what you life looks like several years from now. You choose the time and place you want to start seeing your dream become a reality and just write that vision.

This is a time to be imaginative, to let go of your doubts or fears and not limit yourself. It’s a not the time to think that God is limited in anyway. It’s a time to remove all the stops and road blocks from your mind. It’s a time to let your spirit soar, your heart smile as you gaze into your future of infinite possibilities God has planned for you (Jer. 29:11, AMP).

Goal setting is creative planning. As a Christian you plan your life according to God’s plan for you. This will require spending time in prayer to understand God’s heart for you.

PRAYER
Goal setting is a time of asking, seeking and knocking. However, depending on the size of your goal; you may need to fast, weep, vow or wrestle in prayer. In some case yours prayer regarding a specific goal may be turned to praise even though you haven’t seen the actual goal as yet. Nevertheless, goal setting requires time in prayer.

You may need to ask God, “Lord what do you want me to do in this coming year or the next 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 30 or 40 years?” or “Lord, what is your Word to me for this year?”
Seeking the Lord is a time or season of drawing closer to Him and He coming closer to you also. It’s a time to connect with Him to know His heart and His plans for you which are totally good.

This time will also require you to knock on the doors of heaven and on the heart of your Heavenly Father. Why? To accomplish whatever goals God has placed on your heart you will need open doors. In other words, you will need God to supernaturally give your favor with others, create opportunities for you in whatever area you need it most, mend relationships and establish new much needed ones. You will need God to miraculously make things happen that normally would be difficult for you to accomplish on your own. Knocking prayer is needed when your goal is FAITH-filled goals that requires much of God’s intervention at every step as you press towards your prize.

As you can see, for the Christian goal setting can bring you closer to the Father. One thing I must also mention is that when you set you goals you must apply the Word of God to them and create a prayer strategy for each of them. (I will write about this in more detail in another post.)

As you set your goals for the coming year and years ahead, remember that you are working with God to carry out His purpose in your life and to see His kingdom come here in the earth (within your sphere of influence and beyond).

Now is your time! Go ahead, set those goals and see what God is able to do through you and for you.

Make the most of your time with the 2016 Living Success Goals Workbook and Planner. As an added bonus this year, a full year planner is included for your convenience. Wishing you experience the best year ahead!

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