About Pamela

PAMELA CARMICHAEL is a financial services professional with over 10 years experience. Award-winning author of Financial Empowerment: Realign Your Finances to God's Will - a book which examines why we struggle financially but provides solutions from God’s word to empower us financially. Visit Pamela’s blog: Live Out Loud: Success by God’s Word for encouragement and resources to help you become financially empowered and be successful in every area of your Christian life. Connect with Pamela on: Twitter, FB, Google+.

8 Reasons Why You Need a Word from the Lord

Praying and asking God for a specific word for your life isn’t just something you do once a year. As you live and function daily in this world, you need God’s powerful and active word for you to be ever present so that you can be a living success.

“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective].” – (Hebrews 4:12(a) AMP

Considering the power of the word that comes from God Himself, we ought to live by it every day. To live by the word of God is to know, understand, trust and obey every word of God. You should rely on it to help you make the right decisions and take right actions so that you will lead a prosperous and successful life (Joshua 1:7-8 AMP)

“What is God’s Word to You in this Coming Year?” is one of the topics covered in the Make Your Year a Living Success Goals Workbook (pdf format also available). In this section, I discuss briefly the importance of receiving a word from the Lord for the year. However, regardless of whether it is the New Year or any other time of the year or season in your life, you need the word of the Lord to sustain you through your life journey. Here are a few reasons why having a Word from the Lord is so important.

  1. When you are experiencing a difficult time in your life and you don’t feel you have the strength to carry on the word of the Lord will strengthen you in spirit, soul and body. This is what the Apostle Paul spoke of when he was experiencing a challenge that he longed for God to remove from his life. Instead the word of the Lord came to him:

“But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.”

I too can attest to such. There was a season in my life when the challenge I was facing seemed greater than the emotional, physical and mental and even spiritual capacity in me to either work through it or overcome it. I recall clearly at that time going to a weekend retreat and during a time of prayer this scripture 2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP came to me with a strong inner confidence that I will be okay. Not soon after that prayer session, I was handed a note from one of the Pastors with the scripture verse on it and a word of encouragement that I would make it through. Even today, that verse means much to me and is a constant reminder of God’s available grace to help me through even my weakest moments.

  1. The word of the Lord comes to confirm your vision whether at a personal level, for ministry, your business or other area of life. Sometimes you may wonder if what you’re doing or want to do is from the Lord or is what God really wants you to do. The word of the Lord can come during times like these affirm what is in your heart.

My desire is to make a strong and positive impact on the body of Christ with my message of financial empowerment and living success through writing, teaching, speaking and coaching. At times I have wondered if I should keep going but yet I can’t seem to stop even when there are setbacks either of my own doing or someone else’s. Throughout the years, I have been sustained by this word, Isaiah 55:5 – “Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, Because of the Lord your God, and the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you.” Recently through a minister, the Lord confirmed the vision I have. I am confident that I will reach those whom God has assigned to my life to be a blessing to them.

  1. The word of the Lord comes to release His promise to you or to encourage you and assure you of His deep love for you.

One constant prayer and desire of my heart has always been that in all I do God will receive the glory and praise. This wasn’t anything that I spoke verbally to anyone but at one season in my life I prayed for this more than ever. During this time, I received a word of encouragement from a minister. He shared with me just what was on my heart and gave the word of the Lord. These are two of the verses he shared with me which I constantly remind myself of:

Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 21:2 – “You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.

  1. The word of the Lord will give you direction: Have you ever been at a cross-roads in your life when you needed some sound, solid, good direction? I think we have all been in such a place when you either had choices but was uncertain about which direction to take or you just didn’t know what to do. This reminds me of Jehoshaphat when the three armies came to fight against him and Israel. He said something we may have said at some point in our lives, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (Read 2 Chronicles 20)

Yes, there are times when you and I need to take our cue from people like Jehoshaphat or David – pray, fast and wait for God to respond with the answer. A word from the Lord will not only instruct you on what to do but when you obey that word, you will be victorious.

  1. The word of the Lord can come as a word of discipline or rebuke. Yes, the word of the Lord doesn’t always sound good. You know what I mean – sometimes we need to be corrected or rebuked or put in our place. This is what happened to David when he arranged to have Uriah killed and take his wife as his own. The word of the Lord that came through the prophet Nathan was with stern rebuke and judgement (2 Samuel 12).

This is not the kind of word that any of us desire to have but sometimes it is necessary. In love, the Lord will discipline those who are His when He sees the need to (Hebrews 12:5-11). That is one blessing of being a child of God. God your Father will out of love discipline you through His word to keep you from harm, to protect you from your own mess and from the trap of the enemy. What a good, good Father God is!

  1. When you think you lack faith or need more if it, the word of the Lord is able to help build your faith. Romans 10:17 states: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It is necessary to take time on a daily basis to read the word of God. But there is a time when you need to be in it more that usually, when you are in a wilderness season, when you feel like -you’re far from God or that He’s far from you. You need your faith in God to come alive when a difficult or extremely challenging situation seems “impossible” to resolve or overcome. When you are in a season like this you may not have a specific word from God but spending time reading, listening, watching, studying the Bible with specific focus on a subject will help your faith to grow or be re-ignited to trust God regardless of what is going on in your life.
  1. The word of the Lord gives you the ability to succeed. Do you recall Joshua? A young man who was handed the great responsibility to lead Israel not into the Promise Land but rather to take possession of it as the Lord has promised. The Lord’s word to Joshua came as a command that he should be strong, courageous and not afraid to do what he was expected of him. However the Lord also told Joshua: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8). In order words, live by the word of the Lord and you will be successful in life. Through the book named after this man Joshua, we see that he succeeded in fulfilling the mandate God gave him to lead Israel to possess the Promise.

Joshua 1: 8-9 is the word of the Lord that we all should live by. These verses show us how important the word of the Lord is to our success in life. The word of the Lord when rightly applied or acted upon makes us to act wisely in all areas of our lives so we reap the life successes we so desire to experience.

  1. The word of the Lord will keep you focused on your goal, your aim but most specifically on your God. When you receive a word from the Lord that you know is especially for you, that is speaking loud and clear to your heart don’t let it go. Rather, do what I advise in the goal setting workbook, put it up like a signpost wherever you can see it regularly. Why? The constant reminder will cause you to pray when you need to (which is constantly) and it will also propel you to act when and where you need to. However, if the word of the Lord is not present always you will find that you lapse, you give in to life challenges or give up on your life goals instead of moving forward.

My focus word for this season is FLOURISH. It’s a time for me to bloom, to spread, to fly, to grow in specific areas of my life and in the Lord. The scripture the Lord gave me to focus on is: Psalm 92:12 – AMP – “The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. I am eager to see what the Lord will do in my life throughout this season.”

What about you? Do you have a word from the Lord to you that you are holding onto? Is this word written on your heart, on your fridge, on your doorpost, on your computer or on cell phone as a constant reminder? Share with us, what is the word of the Lord to you for this season. Your word could very well be a help to someone else. Share the word.

10 Benefits of Journaling through Your Success Journey

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. – Proverbs 4:23 (The Passion Translation)

This is a very exciting time of the year for me! I love the newness that the season of Christmas and the celebration of the Old Year into the New Year brings.

It is also a time of reflection, thanksgiving and planning. Actually, since October, I have started seriously thinking and praying about what I would like to accomplish and experience in 2018 and beyond. With the new season approaching, I also began reviewing my goal setting workbook and decided finally to publish it and post Amazon to share with you.

For years, I have been setting goals and accomplishing most of them (once I set the goals and work at them J). Of course, there have been setbacks and setups or highs and lows to working towards the goals but for the most part the journey has been good. I have seen some of my goals accomplished but I have even removed some of them from my list too. Then there are some aspirations that no matter how long they seem to be taking, I can’t shake them off and someday I will see them become living successes in my life!

However, I have noticed that along the way, with my goals process in hand (in various ways since I didn’t always have it so neatly put together), there has been a constant to working through my goals that I haven’t mention before. I love to journal. I have several books in all shapes, sizes, styles and colors that hold my thoughts, dreams (night visions), feelings, prayers, etc. throughout the years of my life. Occasionally I would take a page or two from one of my journals and read them. I am often amazed at way God spoke to me through those pages that I wrote or as I look back I see how much God has done in my life. Reflecting through my journals leaves me with a heart of gratitude and praise to my God for His faithfulness.

One thing I did this year in the Make Your Year a Living Success Goals Workbook was to add a section on journaling. I thought it necessary to include this as important element to the goal-setting and goal-getting process because of the benefits that you can gain from journaling. Whether you set goals or not, journaling has a way of adding great value to your life. Journaling ….

  1. Helps you to express your inner thoughts through writing.
  2. Frees you to share who you are with yourself and with God. Thus you get to know yourself better.
  3. Gives clarity to your life’s journey. You gain a better perspective of your circumstances and are able to solve problems easier.
  4. Reflects on the past and present and prepares you to look ahead to the future with enthusiasm and hope.
  5. Clears your mind of the clutter – mental, emotional and spiritual clutter – and positions you to a place of gratitude.
  6. Teaches you that your life isn’t so bad after all and that you are doing some things right.
  7. Refreshes and renews your inner you – giving you the opportunity to turn over a new leaf in life.
  8. Is considered to be beneficial to your overall health but strengthening certain immune cells and reducing stress.
  9. Boost your intelligence and creativity. Personally, I find that journaling helps me to focus more on God, new ideas come easily and my writing improves.
  10. Helps you set the course of your life. It allows you to guard your heart – your thoughts, your will, your discernment, and your affections. As you journal, you see firsthand where you need to improve but also what is working for you. Journaling helps you to keep and/or bring your life into divine order – into alignment to God’s will.

I would encourage you to consider journaling especially when you’re feeling a bit weighted down with life’s happenings. Yes, I know that this could be one more thing added to your to-do list but don’t look at it as another burden. Rather view it from the perspective of being life building and life strengthening. Consider it as part of your “Me time” to refresh you so that you can be all you need to be and grow to be a better you as your life progresses.

How to journal? Hmmm… freely! Write from the heart. Get a book that you designate as your journal and keep in private! Knowing that it’s yours and not available for other eyes to see makes it easier to write the deep thoughts concerning your life.

Journal on a regular basis – daily or weekly – or as you see the need to. I don’t journal every day so when I do I write a lot! A set time and place where you can write without interruption is very preferable, so give careful thought to this. Early in the morning or last thing at night are usually the best times for journal. Anyways, you choose what is best for you based on your lifestyle.

In all this, commit your journaling to the Lord and enjoy the time alone with you!

Do you journal? What takeaway have you received from this post? I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts. Write a comment below.

Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. – Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV)

Make Your Year A Living Success Year Goals Workbook is available in the following formats:

How to End Your Love Affair with Money

And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. – Luke 16:12-14 (NLT)

Money, mammon, wealth, or riches – whatever word you use or however you look at you, you have to deal with money every day. The challenge with money – whether you have great sums of it, not enough money or even none at all is that you have to manage money. Daily you are faced with having to earn money, save money, give money, spend money or borrow money. All this interaction with money leads you to form a relationship with money. Some money behaviorists and money coaches call this connect a “money relationship” but I described it as a “love affair with money”.

What?! A Love Affair with Money? Yes, I know that does sound ludicrous, too personal and too intimate. The reality or the truth is that you deal with money so much that you form an emotional connection with it that is often not beneficial to you or to those around you.

I know of those who have been so caught up with making money or trying to reach some proverbial money goal that in the push to get it, they lose – not only money but family, friendships and other relationships that far outweigh what money can do. The greed and the love of money have led people to lie, cheat, steal and even kill to get it! There’s also the other side, where some have been so fearful about having “too much money” because they think money will change them for the worse. Others adopt a selfish attitude that they only want enough for themselves and their love ones. Sadly, they do not recognize or care to acknowledge that there are needs beyond themselves.

Okay, let’s look at it in another way. Imagine that you just received an unexpected gift of $20,000. How do you feel? What’s your thoughts as you think about this new money you now have? Did you start thinking about how would use (spend) that money? Did you feel a sense of relief because you have that extra that could help you in so many ways? Now turn your imagination in the other direction. What if you lost $200,000 or incurred an expected major expense of that amount? How do you feel now? Total opposite reaction right?

So you see, money effects more than just your bank account. It effects you – body, soul and spirit. You may have several reactions when it comes to money – either you love it, hate it, fear it or have some level of indifference to it. But the truth is that any of those approaches can lead to poor mismanagement and financial troubles.

What you and I need to accomplish in life where money is concern is a balance approach. Rather than allowing money to control our lives, we need to control it. If you get to the heart of money matters and its impact, you will stand in a better position as the master of your money rather than money being your master.

But you may be asking, “How do I become a master of money? I am in debt and can’t pay my bills on time. I don’t have a lot and I am constantly worried.” Or you may be asking the same question but your story may be somewhat difference, “I earn a good income but I don’t know where it is going. I can’t seem to keep money in my bank account.” These two very real situations show how controlling money can be if you don’t take over and be in control of it. But there is hope and help here. Some of the ways you can control your money and take back your life really is to:

Let God Master You And Your Resources
First and foremost, love God, be loyal to Him and serve Him only. Jesus says it, both God and money are masters. Which one do you want to rule you? When you make a comparison, God always comes out on top as being not only a loving master but a loving Father. The choice is yours.

Secondly, be generous. Make every effort to tithe to God and give to others. Whether you see it that way or not right now, money is not meant to be hoarded; it is currency, it flows from you to someone else, from someone to you. The promise regarding giving is that the more you give the more you actually receive. Proverbs 11:24, NIV – “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.”

Educate Yourself in Personal Finance
Educate yourself – biblically and practically – on money management. The more you know and understand the better equipped you are to make sound financial and life decisions.

Read and study money books, audios, videos, newspapers, online magazines, blog posts (like this one) to guide you in your financial empowerment journey. You can even hire a money coach or seek some form of counseling if you so desire or believe you need more direct assistance.

View Money Objectively
Take the emotion out of money by managing objectively. How? Constantly remind yourself that it isn’t yours in the first place even though you are fully responsible for it now.
When you manage money like it’s a business or like you have to give your employer a detailed report about what you’ve done with his money it makes it easier. Why? You manage from a position of respect. You manage logically. You assess the risk of whatever you do. You’re more cautious. You also seek to be profitable but again weighing the risk of any investment you make. You diversify to spread your risk.

How to take the emotion out of money? Remember you’re a temporary owner and have to give God a good report of your life including how you manage your personal finances.

FINALLY … Make a Personal Commitment
Yes, every starts with a thought and a thought decision. Today decide. Are you going to let money rule or overtake your life or are you going to rule and manage it and let it serve you instead. Make a commitment today to change your relationship with and management of money.

Let’s together turn a new page in your lives to become better money managers. If you think you’re bad at this money thing, ask God to make you good at it. If you’re a good money manager ask him to make you a better one.

Today, will you make a personal commitment to yourself and to God? Recognize that you owe it to yourself to live a financially empowering life and to start doing so right now. Share your commitment and comment below.

Idea to Reality: 8 Steps to Make It Happen

So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” – 2 Kings 4:2 (NKJV)

Some time ago I wrote a post called “What’s In An Idea?” I discussed what an idea involves – Imagination, Development, Empowerment, Achievement. The purpose of that article was to get your thoughts rolling about the ideas you have had and maybe dismissed them and didn’t pursue for one reason or another. I wanted you to see how important the thoughts you have were and what pursuing them could do for you and others. You can take time to read that post here.

Today I want to develop that original post a little further. To have an idea is great but to do something with that idea is even better. It takes discipline to move what ideas you have – whether it is to increase you income, change you career, have better relationships with your family members, grow deeper in your walk with God – from thought-state into reality. For the last few months, I’ve been occupied with many ideas and I’ve been learning in the process. Some of what I’ve learned is what I want to share with you.

As God’s creation, you are full of ideas. For me, it doesn’t take much for ideas to start coming to me. As I interacting with people in ordinary conversation; thoughts of what that person can do or what I can do will start to swiftly come to mind. I get lots of ideas when I am listening to the word of God whether at church or at home on my computer or from the television. Reading books can also trigger new ideas. Most importantly in my alone time with God; I often receive God-breathe thoughts or ideas.

But there are some realities about ideas that I’ve also experienced:
• Ideas don’t die. You may recognize that one or two of your ideas seem like repetitive ones but with a slight twist to the previous. Those ideas are hard to ‘shake’ off and almost seem to be screaming at you to bring them to reality.
• Good ideas are God-breathed and are given to you to implement. Even if you don’t carry out the ideas you’ve been given, God in His providence will pass that idea unto someone either within your family or without to bring that idea into reality
• Ideas benefit you as well as others within your immediate sphere of influence and beyond
• Ideas – whether many or few, big or small – can be overwhelming. In this case, you and I must get God’s direction on what to do. This requires constant connection with Him
• Ideas are unique because you are unique. Even though someone else may have a similar idea to yours it’s not the same as yours. You bring your own personality, experience and perspective to every idea you have.

But the purpose of the post is to talk to more about what you can do with your ideas especially those that don’t seem to leave your thoughts. What do you do with the ideas that you want to see become reality? There are two initial and necessary responses to such ideas: First, write down the idea as clearly as you can and second, seek God’s purpose for your idea and ask for success.

In 2 Kings 4, the account of the indebted woman seeking advice from the prophet provides a backdrop of how an idea can go from thought to reality. Although we often look at this as the “getting out of debt” process, it bears close resemblance to the steps we need to take to get our ideas into reality.

1. Get direction
Seek advice for sound people – business people, pastors, people with specific expertise like lawyers, accountants, medical professionals, etc., – to help you get started on the right path.

2. Start working on your idea now
Don’t hesitate. After writing out your plan and seeking help from God and others, it’s time to buckle down and get a move on that idea. The quicker you start the more likely you are to finish it.

3. Avoid distractions
Avoid too much chit chat. Avoid social media and socializing too much when you know you have something great to accomplish.

4. Have an inner circle
Get your family and friends involve in your goal; specifically those who can be trusted and who will work with you and not pull you and/or your idea down.

5. Delegate some tasks
You can’t do everything. (I am still working on this one!) If you are building a business you can’t do all the associated business related task. You will become overwhelmed and worn out. Know your strengths and work those. But where you are weak or where the task is time consuming and un-enjoyable for you, delegate it. Maybe you can even rendered one of your services or products in exchange for something that you need for your business.

6. Don’t give up!
Keep moving forward until your idea becomes a reality, until you reach your goal or until you are experience the level of success in a particular area that you’ve always desired. Even when you attained a certain level of your dream reality, you have to keep moving forward to maintain it and to accomplish even greater. Why? The more you grow the more ideas will come to you of other things you can accomplish.

7. Always seek advice
Yes, at the beginning of your idea you would have received some direction but you still need more. At different stages where you may hit a roadblock and you’re not sure what next to do – go back to God, go back to your trusted advisors, do some research, read books and study other information to help you get over that hurdle. When you get the answer – move on, act on it.

8. Make History
Really, make history? Yes, you can! You may be the first in your family to do something different but that okay. Be the ‘you’ that God created you to be. Don’t be a stereotype or a copy of others. Your idea may be something that no one in your generation has done before. So what! Go for it!

I hope that this article gives you some encouragement to move your idea into reality. One last note…I journaled these two thoughts earlier in the year after attending a conference and captioned it as “From the Lord”:
“Don’t allow the greatness you see inside of you to scare you but rather let it propel you to move forward until it becomes a reality.”
“With every great dream and thought you have, invite God to partner with you to make your dreams become real.”
(Signed and Dated: PC. 08-Jul-2017 @ 12:24am)

This is my encouragement to you. As you seek God and aim to carry out His specific purposes in your life – ideas, great big ones, will come. Don’t hesitate to act on them. God’s got your back while you’re in the trenches working out His plan in your life. He will be with you all the way. If you don’t give you, you will receive your rewards. Let this encourage you and be the empowerment you need to take action in any area of your life you desire success.

God bless. PamC

Don’t Give Up On Your Vision

Then the Lord answered me and said, “Write the vision and engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets so that the one who reads it will run. “For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time it hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, because it will certainly come; it will not delay. “Look at the proud one, his soul is not right within him, but the righteous will live by his faith [in the true God]. – Habakkuk 2:2-4 (AMP)

How has your last year been? Did you accomplish any of your goals? Regardless of how small or big, congrats! You have made progress! Therefore, be thankful and press forward ahead a bit more.

What about this year? At the start of a new year, many are filled with great ideas and create some exciting goals. For others, the idea of goal setting is overwhelming. But personally, setting goals is not just something to do at the New Year but on an ongoing basis. Why? I have seen the benefits. Goal setting keeps me focused. It helps me keep the main thing the main thing. It also helps me determine when to put off some of my plans another time. It resets me when I get off track. It helps me access my progress. It even helps me to rely and depend on the Lord Jesus more because I want my goals to be aligned to His plans or purpose for my life.

Setting goals gives you something to measure by. It gives you something to look forward to beyond the daily grind. Some goals are short term like my plan to develop a workshop within a 3-month period. Some are mid-term – 9 months to a year – while some go far beyond a year to bring to completion.

At the end of this year, my family and I experienced the unfolding of one of our long-term goals – a new house. With tired bodies but grateful hearts we spend the last part of the year preparing to and moving into our house. As I pause to ponder over this, I realized that in reality it was a long term goal which took 14 years to accomplish. Yes, we had owned house before but today, I believe we are now settled in our lifetime home. So some goals can seem to take “forever” but eventually we prayer, effort and tenacity they can become a reality.

Today, please, no matter where you are in life – don’t give up on whatever goals or dreams you would like to accomplish. In Habakkuk, God instructs that you should write down the vision. What vision? The one that He reveals to you. That means that your vision has to come from God. That means you have to seek God concerning your life plans.

Why do you have to write out the vision? God says, “And make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” In other words, in order to act on it, the vision needs to be clearly writing out. To run is an active verb. When you clearly see what you’ve got to do, you will work on it. Therefore, it is important to write your goals but more importantly to keep it in clear view. Don’t hide your goals. Post them where you can see them every day and create habits that align with those goals so that every day you are getting closer and closer to achieving them.

Then God says; “Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, because it will certainly come; it will not delay.” As I mentioned earlier, some of your goals may seem to take “forever” but wait. This requires patience. This requires faith. As the word of God says, “the righteous will live by his faith [in the true God].” No vision just drops into your lap or become reality within minutes of it being formed in your heart. It takes the process of time – “though it delays”. In the process there is work, there may be setbacks, frustrating moments, giving up thoughts, Aha moments or seasons of revelation, times of thanksgiving, and more. During the progression toward the goal, faith is paramount. It first takes faith to set the goal and believe that it will happen. As a children of God, you and I ought to live by faith in God that what He breathed into our hearts to achieve, He will do through us.

As you enter into this new season and you ask God want He would like you to accomplish is life, do so by faith in Him who is able to do exceedingly more that you can ask or imagine. God bless.

To help you start or to continue the goal setting process and accomplish great things, check out the Make Your Year a Living Success Goals Workbook. This will help you not only set the goals but work through them to bring them to reality.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Why and How To Create an Effective Prayer Strategy


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?

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.

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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)?

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!