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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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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How to Conquer Negative Thinking

thinking_27584846_s“I Am The Sum Total Of My Thoughts.” This is a sign I had posted on my fridge door years ago. Beneath that quote I noted the following scripture:

“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” Phil 4:8 AMP

To this day, I still remember those words even though I no longer have that sign posted anywhere in my house. It keeps me from thinking negatively and reminds me to focus on what God thinks of me rather what I or others would.

I realize that thoughts are very real and that thoughts have power. They are just as present as our words or actions. What you think has the power to become what you experience in life. What you think can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you allow that thought to become a prevailing thought-habit that results in the life you live. Your thoughts have the power to rule your life. Therefore, be careful what you think!

The danger comes when you have negative prevailing thoughts. Your negative persistent thoughts are:

  • A reflection of low value you have about yourself, your present circumstances and your future. How often many think they are undeserving of God’s goodness like the Roman solider thought at first? “Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Luke 7:7)
  • Sinful thoughts within your heart which you will degrade, corrupt or pollute your life. Such thoughts produce fear anxiety, doubt, unbelief, worry, depression, skepticism, and all things ugly. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:11, 15-20). The truth is sin begins in the mind.
  • Deceitful in that you say one thing with your lips but think another. This speaks to the integrity or lack of integrity of the person. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.” (Proverbs 23:7)

In the Christian walk, you battle daily the thoughts you think about yourself more than in another area. The more frequently your thoughts towards yourself are negative, the lower your confidence level goes and you think that no one including God loves you. If this persistent, the possibility of achieving your goals or reaching your destiny becomes close to impossible. It’s like Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you are right.”

But negative persistent thoughts don’t have to be the constant in your life. You can overcome.

Your thoughts come from what you put into yourself – from your environment, from your immediate circle of friends and family. Hence, it is important to renew your mind with the word of God.

  1. You can feed yourself good thoughts by studying with the word of God. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) The power of God’s word is enough to change your thinking about yourself. Let the word of God become more necessary than food. Feed yourself on it; “eat” the Word. In other words, meditate on it and your faith will grow and the power of His word will change your thought and change your life. Since your thoughts have the power to drive the course of your life. Therefore change your thoughts change your life.
  2. Refocus your mind as soon as your realize that your thoughts are taking a downward spiral. Recently I had a boot of bad thinking. I wasn’t happy about the progress I was making on a particular project. As I continued I starting thinking that my efforts were futile and that I wasn’t reaching and positively impacting others as I should. Hmmm, does that sound familiar? Anyways thankfully I realize that this wasn’t the way to go and then I wrote this thought in my prayer journal; “Lord, help me to see this from your perspective?” The moment I did that I paused to hear what God would say. I realized that although my efforts seem small they were gradually adding up to have greater impact and in fact there were readers added to my blog in the past two months that in the past two years! I still have a way to go but I was making progress. If I didn’t change my thinking pattern the rest of my day would have been totally miserable. Thank God I did.
  3. Use technology or a creative way to keep your mind thinking right. You can get a smartphone app to text you inspiring quotes or scripture verses or you can listen to or read the Bible. I use the memo application to keep my goals and prayer list readily available as well as to write quotes or thoughts of inspiration that I receive during the day. You can use index cards – write Bible verses or affirming words on them and at least twice a day read them. This will build your confidence, eliminate your fears and strengthen your faith in God. This way you fill your thoughts with faith and you’ll find yourself able to make bold steps towards your goals.

As you continue towards your goals, there may be times when the negative thought attack comes. Conquer it! Turn your thoughts toward God. If you have faith thoughts, nothing shall be impossible to you. (Matthew 17:20) So have faith in God because according to your faith-filled words or prayers you will have what you say (Matthew 9:20).

One other Word I want to leave with you is this, if God be for you who can be against you. (Romans 8:31). There is nothing stopping you when God is on your side. Isaiah 41:10 is a word that I summarize it like this: “God is with me. God is strengthening me. God is helping me. God is giving me victory.” Yes, God is with you and is helping you. This is not only a verse of comfort but it will help you boost your confidence levels and help you realize that with God helping you. You are destined to win. Meditate on this Word and accept it as truth. With this Word you change your thought and God’s power release in you through this word will cause you to do great things!

It’s your turn, what do you do to conquer negative thinking?

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How to Win the Prize of Goal Setting

“Don’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only one runner gets the prize? Run like them, so that you can win.”  – 1 Corinthians 9:24 (GW)

I have been writing about goals recently and I have also been setting goals for myself. I realize that act of goal setting is the easy part and it brings with it hope and exciting. Once you have set a few goals, the next step is the process is to achieve them. This can prove to be a challenge but you can make them happen. Here are a few tips to help you achieve your goals:

1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
Life is hectic and you can easily loose sight of what you want to accomplish. It is important to keep focused on the what, why and how of your goals. One way to do this is by reading your goal list daily. Keep them close on your bedside table and pray about them. Plan your week and your days by asking yourself, “What can I do today (tomorrow or this week) to bring my goal closer to reality?” You may even consider adding them to your smart phone for quick reference and as a reminder especially during challenges. I would also suggest a weekly, monthly and quarterly review. However, one fun way to get that daily reminder is by creating a dream board and posting that collage of your dreams in a place where you can keep your eyes on the prize.

2. Don’t Stress Out If You Fall Behind
We are not perfect nor do we live in a perfect world. The challenges of life will often get in the way of what you really want to achieve. It’s understandable if you have a late start or fall behind. The key is to get back on the journey and keep moving. Have a determination to succeed and when you fall down, don’t stay there get back up and get moving towards your dreams.

3. Discipline Yourself
Just like an athlete who trains to run a race, you have to train yourself. If you want to achieve your goals, when you set out your first steps, you will realize that you need to do some things differently. For example, if you want eat healthier foods; then your plan may include creating a meal plan, updating your grocery list, buying and preparing healthier meals, reducing your intake of soda, and so on. That goal requires some discipline on your part. Since discipline may sound like too much effort, consider this: Discipline is when purposely setup yourself to succeed.

4. Factor In Some Time Out For Relaxation
There is no point in working so hard to the point of exhaustion. You should try to enjoy the journey you are on. Two ways you can include relaxation and eliminate stress is (1) take 15 minute do-nothing-at-all breaks during the day (2) take a personal retreat or two during the year. Oh, don’t forget to take a family vacation as well. You will find that relaxation brings not only the benefit of refreshing the body but it will renew your soul and spirit as well. When you are refreshing you are more energized and creative which helps you to achieve your goals. Personal or spiritual retreats will also give you a new zeal for life. These times of refreshing will ignite you to keep moving forward.

5. Create A Sense Of Urgency
Have you ever noticed how productive you are just before going on a vacation or just before a pending deadline? Create a similar urgency with your own life goals one task at a time. One thing I have found useful is to set a timer when I really want to focus and get work completed. Knowing I have that clock ticking keeps my focused. I don’t stop to check emails or to answer calls or to chat. If you can work on projects in half-hour intervals, you’d be amazed at how much you will accomplish. Another way to create urgency is to set a time line within the same month to complete a major part of a project or all of it (provided it is reasonably doable). Knowing that you have a timeline within a few weeks often gets you started on making it happen.

6. Delegate Or Get Help
Ask yourself this question often, “Who can help me with this task?” There may be some things that you’re not skilled at and may need to hire someone to do. You may have a friend who is knowledgeable or experienced in an area that you need help with. For example, my husband did a book trailer for Financial Empowerment and I hired a designer to create the book cover as well as do the interior design of the book. If your time is best utilized in another area and you don’t have the time or talent to learn a new skill, then consider asking for help as you pursue your goals.

7. Tell Somebody What You’re Doing
Some goals are worth sharing with a friend or family member. If you have the goal of losing several inches from your waistline, and there is someone close to you who is into fitness, share your goal with them. Ask them to hold you accountable and even give you a few pointers on how to get started. A word of caution: Not everyone is a good candidate to share your goals with. Some will encourage but unfortunately there are some who will discourage. Your friends can either kill your dream or inspire you to achieve them. Ask the Lord who you should share your goals with. Choose wisely.

8. Join A Group That Supports Your Dream
I like small groups. Although there is the dynamic of dealing with different personalities, there is great benefit to being in a group that supports your dream. Such groups are often referred to as masterminds. If you can find a group of like-minded people whose goal is to succeed and help each other in the group succeed, go ahead and join them. The synergy and energy of being in a group that listens, guides and keeps you accountable for your goals is likely your greatest asset in goal achievement.

Many start off the New Year with excitement at the possibilities ahead. Unfortunately studies have shown that within weeks many give up on their goals. One reason for this is that some do not have clearly written goals. To help you set good goals check out these previous posts on goals setting:

If you are looking for a step-by-step guided process to goal setting, I’d encourage you to download the Living Success Goals Workbook.

I hope that as you work through the goal setting process and at achieve your goals, that God will give you great success.

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9 Reasons Why Setting Goals Is Good For You

setting goals_5411685_s“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”             — Habakkuk 2:2-3

In my last post, I discussed, 7 Quick Tips to Make the Best of Goal Setting. This week I want to highlight a few benefits to setting goals. People have a tendency to look at goal setting negatively mainly because of the time and effort it takes to start and continue the process. However, I hope that looking at the positives of goal setting will encourage you move towards a Living Success year.

Goals setting will…

1. Give direction or focus to your life

The aim of goal setting is to make you think about your life. If no one dreamed, planned, set goals and pursued them this world would be full of problems and no solutions. It’s the pursuit of man providing solutions to the problems that makes life better. God created you to have dominion, to be fruitful, to be productive, and to do good works. Setting goals is a start to being such an individual. When you set goals you are creating your life’s road map that brings everything you’re doing and will do into focus.

 

2. Energize you

The very act of writing your goals and seeing them in black and white will inspire you to start working on them. The more you act on your goals and accomplish them step by step, the more motivated and energized you become to keep working at them until they are completed.

 

3. Provide a challenge

Sometimes goal setting can be intimidating. Why? Because our dreams often feel bigger than we are. Your written goals can prove to be a challenge. Tell yourself, “If I dream it, I can do it with God’s help and strength.” The key to any challenge is to go after it in faith and with the certainty that God on your side. If God has put a dream or goal on your heart, He can give you the grace to achieve it.

 

4. Turn the seemingly impossible into possible

The purpose of goal setting is not to write down a few items on a list and leave them alone, there is more. Your goals need to be specific, definable and time sensitive and then be broken into smaller more manageable tasks. The aim of goal setting is the make impossibilities become smaller possibilities.

 

5. Hold you accountable to yourself

Writing down what you want to do have a way of standing out. When you keep your eyes focused on your written goal it speaks to you. What does it say? You need to make this happen. Studies have shown that those who write down their goals are more likely to accomplish them than those who don’t. The more you study your goals, the greater commitment you have to accomplish them.

 

6. Help you to believe in yourself

When you set aside time to dream and create goals, you begin to believe in your ability and God’s grace to complete them. What you really want and what your purpose is become clearer to you. As you write the desires of your heart, you become more certain that you can achieve them because they are aligned to God’s will and who you are in Him. As you review your goals regularly, the more you believe they are doable.

 

7. Bring you to live life to be fullest

What if you don’t set goals? Those I have known that set goals and pursue them, they are some of the happiest, thankful and confident people to have in your circle. For those who haven’t set and pursued their dreams, these often live in regret and talk much about what they could have done. Setting and pursuing your goals will cause you to experience a life that you once dreamed of. Go out and live your life as God intended for you.

 

8. Measure your success

Good goal setting provides a benchmark to compare to – Your goals vs your current successes. Every week, month or quarter you should take time to access where you are against the goals that you’ve created. When you do this you learn where you need to improve, what is working for you and where you need to adjust. Measuring your success is a good time to give thanks and celebrate what you have achieved with God’s help.

 

9. Help you overcome procrastinating

Identifying the next 3 action steps for each of your goals is an important part of the goals setting process. As you do this and assign timelines to these small tasks, you will be driven to do them immediately. The fact that they are manageable steps or easy tasks eliminates the intimidation factor present in large goals that often cause us not to pursue them.

 

10. BONUS Benefit: Make You Think Outside the Box

When you set goals, one of the questions you will find yourself asking over and over again is, “How am I going to do this?” With prayer, research and creative thinking, you will find the answers. Even when you are not looking for the answer, ideas or solutions will come to mind that you normally would not have thought of if you didn’t have goals to pursue. You’ll be surprised at the kind of “out-of-the-box” thinking you will do and the bold steps you will take to achieve your goals.

Goal setting really is worth the effort. When you habitual set goals and pursue them, you will happily look back over the years and be thankful that you did. One thing I have noticed is that goal setting has helped me to accomplish more than I thought I could and through this process I learned to trust God to fulfill the desires that He has placed on my heart.

Now you know why goal setting is good for you, will you take the time to create the life you’ve been dreaming of?

If you’re haven’t set any goals yet, it’s not too late to begin. If you need a step-by-step guided process to goal setting, I’d encourage you to download the Living Success Goals Workbook.

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Never Stop Trying

This is such an inspiration and I thought I’d share it with you.
It’s easier to give up that to keep trying. But to keep trying and achieve your desire is well worth the effort.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
Never Stop Trying

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
“What matters most is not how many times you fail, but that you never stop trying.” – Abraham Lincoln
“If you want to succeed, you have to learn to make adjustments to the way you do things and try again. Adversity helps to develop that ability.” John C. Maxwell form Failing Forward: How to Make the Most of Your Mistakes
It takes many trials and failures to reach your dreams. But embrace and enjoy the journey of success.
Don’t give up. Keep failing forward!
Think about this: What mistakes have you made in the past that were stepping stones to the successes you are experiencing to today?
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7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part II

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-2

4. Be willing to wrestle with God all night.       —Gen. 32:22-32

Jacob wrestled with God all night to receive his breakthrough. For him it wasn’t about money; he was wealthy. He needed a transformation in his life. His breakthrough was about getting a blessing that would change him from the inside out.  Jacob held unto God all night until He blessed him. And God blessed Him and changed him from being known as a trickster or swindler (someone who couldn’t be trusted) to being a prince with God.

What life transformation do you need? Are there areas in your life that remain stagnant or become worse? Do you have character issues or a reputation that stains you wherever you go? Are you willing to stay up all night seeking the Lord to receive your breakthrough? To wrestle with God is to passionately pursue Him and have an encounter with Him that changes your life and perspective. Maybe seeking God in the night season when there are no distractions and you can fully focus on Him is the answer to your breakthrough. Don’t let go until God blesses you.

5. Your heart must hold onto the promise. Speak God’s word over your life not matter how bad it looks.         —Joshua 1:8

Abraham believed God for his breakthrough – to have a son and become the father of many nations. In Gen. 12:1-3, the Lord gave Abraham (then Abram) promise that he would be the father of many nations. Years passed and in Gen. 15:1-6, Abraham confronts God about the promise because the only heir in his house was his servant’s child and Sarah wasn’t pregnant yet. God assured him of the promise, made a covenant with him and changed his name from Abram to Abraham (father of many nations). God also gave him a visual – the stars – to help him understand the vastness of the promise. Then Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. When Abraham is about to sacrifice his only son (Gen. 22), God reiterates His promise with two visuals – the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. All those years, can you imagine, Abraham had to hold that promise but God gave him the tools to do it: his new name along with the visual of the stars and sand. In everyday conversation he was being reminded of the promise every time someone called his name. He was being reminded of the promise when he felt the sand under his feet and gazed at the stars at night.

To get the breakthrough you have to hold unto the promise (the word God gave to you). You have to hold to the Word – meditate on it day and night and live it out in your life (Joshua 1:8). You have to keep speaking in faith what God promised you (Heb. 4:14) – be it healing, deliverance, or another promise He has for you. Jesus’ ministry to you is to bring to past the word you speak concerning yourself that is according to the will of God. Therefore be careful what you say – not only in the prayer closet but in your daily conversation. You must hold fast (keep speaking) that confession until your breakthrough happens.

6. Examine your heart (rather ask the Holy Spirit to examine you) and ask for forgiveness where you have fallen.       —Psalm 51

Nothing severs our relationship with God like sin. Sin not only brings a barrier between you and God but it stops the blessing (Deut. 28:15-68). David is an excellent example for us. He wasn’t a perfect man, yet God calls him a man after His own heart. I believe one of the reasons he says this of David is because he was quick to repent whenever he faltered (2 Sam. 12:1-15).

Today, though we are under a better covenant than David was we too sin at times. However, God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you (give you the ability to overcome the temptation) from all unrighteousness (1 <st1:bcv_smarttag>John 1:9). Don’t let sin come between you and the wonderful relationship you have with God. Be quick to forgive and be quick to ask for forgiveness. It is needed to continue in right relationship with God and to experience your breakthrough.

7. Don’t just call on Jesus but believe that you will see the glory of God.          —John 11:1-44

Mary & Martha called on Jesus for their breakthrough; they wanted their brother to be well again. However, as scripture points out Jesus delayed his visit for a few days and by the time he reached there Lazarus was dead. But His intention was still to restore Lazarus though dead. He encourages Martha – at her objection to have the stone removed from the tomb opening – to believe and she will see the glory of God (vs.40).

Often times we accept our sickness or problems quickly and are ready to give up. But your sickness or problem is not meant to end you but to honour God and promote His glory. (vs.4). How? When God gives you your breakthrough you will by all means praise Him and tell others what He has done for you. Ask God to show His glory in your life. Why His glory? Because the God of the breakthrough can make the impossible become possible and real to you. He can destroy the works of the enemy and bring you the breakthrough you need.

8. Step outside the norm or the status quo. Ignore what others may say.          —Mark 10:46-52

Bartimaeus needed a breakthrough – he wanted what he never had before – the ability to see. He was known for who he was – a blind man begging on the road side. Vision is something we take for granted but for him not being able to see meant living below standard and having to beg at the wayside in order to live. No vision was darkness over him – no work, begging all the time, being out in the scorching sun, being snubbed and ridiculed. Bartimaeus wanted more and saw the opportunity when he heard that Jesus was passing by. He was not willing to let this moment pass him by. He yelled out to Jesus until he got his attention. He ignored the naysayers and kept shouting until Jesus took notice of him. Then Jesus asked Bartimaeus … “What do you want me to do for you?”

Is there something in your life that you’ve never had before? Have you thought about how your life and those around you would be better if you could have your breakthrough? Maybe you need a clearer vision your purpose and help to get you started on that road but it’s hard to see or conceptualize and you need God’s direction. Hmm… What do you want Jesus to do for you? What breakthrough do you need from Jesus today? What is it that will get you on the path that God has ordained for you?

What are you willing to do for your breakthrough?

Will you pray and weep until your voice isn’t even heard or wrestle all night with God (pleading in desperation) to get your blessing. Maybe you need to mix your prayer with regular fasting, or make a vow to the Lord in advance of the breakthrough. For you, it may be as simple as asking God for direction or strategy or it may require boldness and faith doing to do what you’ve never done before.

Whatever the need, we all need a breakthrough – our countries, our churches, our families, and ourselves. Let’s pray to get the breakthrough coming….

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

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7 Ways to Receive Your BreakThrough Part I

This is the short version of a message I shared at church. Be blessed!

BreakThrough

BreakThrough

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”

So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.  And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.

Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.                          2 Samuel 5:17-25

What is a breakthrough?

David described his victory over the Philistines like the powerful force experienced when water breaks over the banks of a river or like a tsunami that washes away everything in its way. In honour of the Lord he renames what was once called the house of the giant (Valley of Rephaim) to the Lord Who breaks through (Baal Perazim). Where the enemy (the Philistines) thought they were strongest because they had their baals (gods) with them, God proved even stronger!

Today you don’t fight the physical war against people but a spiritual one against the enemy of our souls. We fight against the attacks of the enemy – sin, sickness, failure, lack or poverty, defeat or oppression of any kind. These problems are like the enemy’s floods that are meant to carry you away or to destroy you (Is 59:19). However, when God is the Lord of your breakthrough for you, He advances over and above the enemy’s flood. The Lord pushes back the enemy’s flood of trouble, sickness, lack, and all negativity with the flood of His blessing, goodness, love, favour and every good thing you need in life.

** God wants to give you a breakthrough in those areas of your life that the enemy appears to be the strongest.

Do you need a breakthrough?

  • Is there a need that is long overdue?
  • Have you been waiting on the Lord for a long time and nothing seems to be happening? Do you need God’s hand on your life?
  • Are you pregnant with a vision, dream or desire that seems to mock you?
  • What is your need? To be healed, to have a house of your own, to be relieved of the burden of financial debt, to have a positive income stream to help provide for your family, to see family members come to the Lord…?

Whatever the need, the Lord your God, is the Lord of Your breakthrough. The Word shows us what others have done to receive their breakthrough from God. Let’s see what you can do to receive for your breakthrough?

1. Ask the Lord what to do. Be prepared to seek the Lord.         —2 Sam. 5:17-20

David needed to fight and win the battle against the Philistines who had come after him. So David (as he often did) asked God what to do before going out to battle. He realised that he was in a better position whenever he consulted God. He not only asked what to do but he did as God directed. God gave him strategy on how best to defeat his enemies.

For you to receive your breakthrough you need to ask God and then step out in faith and in obedience to do as God said. God is the Master Strategist and has the upper-hand over the enemy, follow His leading and you will be victorious and rejoice.

2. Make a vow or commitment to do something for the Lord. —1 Sam. 1:1-20

Hannah desperately wanted a child. Being taunted by her rival about her barrenness didn’t make it easy to bear. Hannah poured her heart out to God. She wept her prayer and made a vow to the Lord to give back when she received her breakthrough. She offered to God the thing she wanted the most – a child. What a commitment!

What about you? Don’t be reserved. If you have to cry, then cry but let God know your burden and express your desire to Him (vs.10). If you are as determined as Hannah was about receiving her breakthrough, maybe you too need to make a commitment to the Lord. Is there an area in which you’ve been meaning to serve but haven’t yet? Is there something you will sacrificially vow to give to the Lord? I’ve seen friends vow their first pay check to the Lord when they needed an income stream and God blessed them. What can you vow? Make a vow to the Lord and when you receive your breakthrough be sure to follow through.

3. If you want to get something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done before and fast your prayer.         —Esther 4:13-17

Esther fasted and prayed to save her life and those of the Jews. She did something she never did before – she risked her life for the sake of her people by going before the king uninvited. However, before she took that risk, she and her people prepared themselves – they fasted and prayed to God for three days. Why? She knew only God could touch the heart of the king and give her favour with him.

Do you need to take some risk? Do you need to mix your prayers with fasting? As Jesus said there are some situations that would need prayer and fasting to bring deliverance, to be resolved or for breakthrough to come. Examine your life and the circumstances you are experiencing? Have you tried different ways to deal with your problems but they still prevail? Consider spending time in prayer and fasting. Even a commitment to skip a meal for a season would help bring light to your situation.

Next week, I will share the second part of this message.

Don’t forget to share with others to encourage them in the Lord.

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10 Ways to Grow in God’s Word

Grow in God’s Word

Reading the Bible

But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. Deuteronomy 30:14

The Bible is a wonderful gift from God to us, yet we hardly make use of it. Although we claim to be Disciples of Christ, we can find ourselves more inclined to read everything else except the Word of God or be involved other activities that occupy our time leaving us with little or no time for the word of God. But this Word is really special.

The Word of God is …

  • Alive, full of power, effective, energizing and knows the condition (thoughts and purposes) of man’s heart. Heb. 4:12
  • Everlasting. There is no time limit on it. Matt. 24:35 & Isaiah 40:8
  • Sure. God holds His Word in high regard. He stakes His integrity on it. Isaiah 55:11
  • Full of truth and life. We can live abundantly by the Word of God. John 6:63 & John 6:63 (GW)
  • To be desired more than riches and is sweeter than the sweetest thing every tasted! Furthermore, the Word rewards the one who obeys it. Psalm 19:10-11 (AMP)

The word of God is so very relevant to our present and future but yet we take light of its importance. If you need direction or guidance on anything in your life – spiritual, financial, relationships, career, health or wellness, emotional, professional – you can look in God’s word for help. There are so many ways to feed ourselves with the word that we have no excuses for not knowing what God says in about specific aspects of our lives or for not living it out daily.

  1. Read the Word daily. Read it like a book – from cover to cover – and gain insight into life through the accounts of God relating to man. I try to read it through at least once a year. If I don’t succeed the challenge of finishing it by the end of January, I try to continue until I’ve reached the end.
  2. Pray the Word. Remind God what His word (His promise) is concerning you. However, you can only do this if you know what the word says about that area of your life.
  3. Speak the Word. I am not talking about praying here but about making God’s word a part of your everyday conversation with friends, family, work colleagues, and whoever you interact with in your day.
  4. Study the Word. If you want to know how to manage your money, how to raise your child, how to related to your family and friends and about anything pertaining to your life and your relationship with God; the answers are in the word of God. You can research specific passages, people, topics, etc. You can also adopt certain methods of study like in the inductive or manuscript method and others that would help you gain a better understanding of God’s word.
  5. Teach the Word. God commands us to teach our children His word. Through family devotions and classes at church we can teach them. But of importance is to teach them through our lives – what we say and do have great impact on how they view God. Therefore we must aim to live God-honoring lives and as we do God promises that training our child in His ways will help them to remain in Him.
  6. Memorize the Word. I never really took much effort in memorizing though it is highly recommended. I realize that the more you study the Word, you will remember it and the Holy Spirit will remind you of specific scriptures when you need encouragement and guidance.
  7. Meditate on the Word. In the Hebrew language “meditate” means to speak or to mutter repeatedly. When I read and I find a scripture that stands out, I would personalize that verse or passage and speak it out. I would put it on a cue card to visualize it throughout the day or I would do further study on it and write it out in a personalize way. I recently shared Psalm 91 with you.
  8. Believe the Word. If you claim that the Bible is written by men who were inspired by God to pen this message to us, then believe it. If you choose to become a disciple of Christ, take God at His word.
  9. Share the Word. God’s word is good news that isn’t for one but for all. Share with those who believe to encourage, exhort or even reprove. Share with those who don’t believe that they might come to believe and accept Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
  10. Apply the Word to you. The Word is not just for the purpose of gaining knowledge but it’s meant to change man to become like Christ. The Word is like a mirror but searches deeper the surface. It shows you who you in your heart are and gives you the insight on how you can change. Let the word enter your heart and bring the life transformation your need.

Once during Bible reading month challenge this verse above (Deuteronomy 30:14) really stood out for me. As I thought about it I realized that when this was said to Israel the Word (then the Law) was read to them on occasionally. Yet God said the Word is in their mouths, and their hearts and they should live it out.

What about us today? We have access to the wonderful gift 24/7 in hard-copy form in various translations, on our cell phones, on e-readers, in CD or audio format, in DVD format, on television and there are even programs that would help you by sending reminders to read the Word. Check out: Bible Gateway, You Version, Faith Comes by Hearing, and The Word of Promise. We can read, we can listen, we can watch the Word anytime.

God promises that His word will bring you all-round and ongoing success when rightly applied (or lived out) – Joshua 1:8-9. I encourage you to intentionally spend time in the Word of God and apply the methods above to make it a part of your daily living.

How near is the Word of God to you? This week, make a plan to study specific areas of the Bible outside of your daily devotional time. It will bless your life.

 

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