Jesus, The Reason for Christmas

Jesus is the reason for this Christmas Season

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

Christmas…the most wonderful time of the year!

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

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

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

Blessings to you and yours.


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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:

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.

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.

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.

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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Defeat Debt: 3 Areas You Can Conquer

Debt is a burden many face but not one that you should have to constantly carry. My heart’s desire is to live free from debt and to be financial empowerment. This is my prayer for you as well as for me.

If I were to ask you what your financial concern is, you would like say DEBT. There isn’t a person who doesn’t want to be free from its clutches.

So I thought I should at least write more about debt. However, the more I thought about it I realized that debt can affect us not just financially (or physically), but emotionally and spiritually.

If you recall the men that followed after David, they were in the deep Ds – in debt, in distress and discontented (1 Sam 22:2). Does this sound familiar? Do you sometimes wish the principal plus interest payments would go away? Or at times do you feel constrained by the debt load you have? Maybe you think at times that God is far away and not interested in your financial problems. Sometimes you may even get angry or frustrated about your debt situation.

I understand how debt can be so hard on you. But there is hope for financial freedom. With this in mind, I have spent some time away from writing and created a video series called Defeat Debt: 3 Areas You Can Conquer which I am excited to share with you. To view it, please click here.

The aim of this free Defeat Debt video series is to address the three areas of debt (physical/financial, emotional and spiritual) by not only explaining the impact of debt on your life but highlighting different steps you can take to reduce and/or to get out of debt.

Please head over the this FREE video series – Defeat Debt: 3 Areas You Can Conquer – and start working towards defeating you debt and moving towards financial empowerment.

Once you’ve watch it, take action – do something, no matter how small it may seem to move towards debt free living. Also remember those who may be in a similar position to you and share the video link with family and friends.

My hope you will benefit greatly from the video series by implementing steps to rid yourself of debt and start the journey to financial empowerment God’s way!

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5 Reasons Difficulties Are Good for You

difficult brings opportunity_7299354_sBut the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. —Exodus 1:12 (NKJV)

There is no one who would say that they like adversity or any kind of difficulty in life. Why? Because we often feel and see the immediate unpleasantness of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re facing sickness, financial lack, strained relationships with a spouse, family member or friend, a difficult supervisor at work, the loss of a job or major savings, the purposeful attack of the enemy through a particular person and situation, you often wish you didn’t have to go through it.

I understand clearly that none of us like such unpleasantness. But I also learned that it is in these times if you embrace and manage it well and learn to view what’s happening from God’s perspective that you grow in manifold ways.

With this in mind, I seek to encourage you (as I did myself when studying the Word of God) to find the good in all life challenges and adversities. Be blessed as you read on.
In Exodus, the account of the Israelites, the oppression they faced and the glorious working of the Lord in their lives presents for us many lessons about adversity. Take the time the review these scriptures with new eyes, let God enlighten your understanding and I hope that you will walk through life stronger on account of this word today.
First of all recognize that adversity presents itself not by happenstance, the enemy is often using different strategies against Christians. We must learn to recognize them.

The enemy’s strategies involve:
• Keeping you bond (Ex. 1:10)
• Limiting your freedom (Ex. 1:10)
• Stunting your growth and that of the kingdom of God (Ex. 1:10)
• Enslaving you and forcing you work for him instead of serving God (Ex. 1:13-14)
• Confining you and keeping you under his control (Ex. 1:13-14)
• Stealing your joy by constantly oppressing you (Ex. 1:15-16)
• Destroying you and your family and by extension your future (Ex. 1:16)

What we experience in life is not easy and in this Christian walk it often seems more challenging but like Paul says in Romans 8: 31-39 (CJB) we are “super conquerors”. If this be so, that means we are gaining more than losing during difficulties. Look at what adversity can do for you (through the experience of the Israelites in Egypt)…

1. You will learn new skills (Ex. 1:11)
The Israelites went to Egypt as shepherds; an occupation that the Egyptians considered to be an abomination. As such they separated the Israelites by giving them the land of Goshen to live in. Under the oppression of this new Pharaoh who didn’t know Joseph, the Israelites were forced to learn skills – drafting, architecture, carpentry and other associated skills while building the treasure cities of Pitham and Ra’ames.

During adversity you will be forced to adapt and to learn new things. If you are in financial straits you may find the need to start a new career or a new business. You may have to acquire some business acumen to turn your hobbies into a viable business. If you find yourself constantly sick or with an illness for too long, you may be forced into praying and seeking God more for healing or you may need to restructure your health by changing your eating habits and exercising more. Adversity may even lead you to learn contentment and do without what you initially thought you could never live without. At times like these, your creative ability will come to the forefront and you’ll do things you never thought you could do.

2. You keep expanding and growing (Ex. 1:12)
Isn’t it interesting that the more afflictions the Israelites bore, the more they multiplied and grew? The aim of the Pharaoh was to stop the Israelites from growing as a nation. Most likely he thought that by oppressing them they would be too exhausted to even consider having time with their wives and building families.

Think of it, when you are facing challenges outside the home, it is often hard when you come home to the loving husband or wife or parent that you’d like to be. On many occasions if you don’t beware, your family life could suffer. When there is a breakdown in the family structure you could find yourself struggling. But thank God that in the midst of adversity, as Christians we recognize the importance of family life and as we bind closer together we grow, we become stronger – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. At times like this, God will draw family closer together and prayer will become the bedrock for your home and you and your family will grow stronger.

3. Your enemy fears you (Ex. 1:12)
I am sure that Pharaoh and his people couldn’t understand it. How could these people (Israelites) keep growing and even multiplying after all the hard labor they forced on them. The Egyptians not only couldn’t figure that out but they become afraid of these Hebrew people.

Isn’t that an oxymoron? The oppressor fears the oppressed rather than the oppressed/afflicted fearing the oppressor. This applies to you too. God will cause your enemies to fear you! The more afflicted you are, the more anointed you become the more the enemy fears you because under the fire of affliction you pray and fast even more than usual. The more you pray, the stronger you are. It may not seem that way in adversity and the attacks may even increase but that’s because the enemy sees you as a great and terrible threat to his agenda.

4. You will have the support of others (Ex. 1:17)
The midwives feared God and as a result disobeyed the direct orders of the Egyptian king to kill the Hebrew baby boys at birth. Their reverence or respect for God was far greater than the possible threat on their lives for not honoring Pharaoh’s instructions. Plus by doing this brave act, they showed their support and strengthen the Hebrews by indirectly protecting their children. As a result God noted their works and give them their own households.

It’s good to have others around who fear God and will honor Him by taking a stand for righteousness. When it gets tough those who remain faithful to God are by extension supporting you. Their actions may save you or someone else and boost your soul and spirit to keep moving forward regardless of your circumstances. God may even bring a “Johnathan” into your life that prays with you and supports you in various ways and at times when you really need it.

5. You could become someone’s deliverer (Ex. 2 & 3)
In the account of Israel’s hardship in Egypt, God raised up a leader to bring Israel out of slavery. During hardship it is hard to see a bright future and to believe that God is working behind the scenes. Indeed, it is true that hindsight is 20/20 vision. As you read through this word (Ex. 2-3), you learn that God is at work even while you are facing challenges planning how to get up into the “promised land” or the place of your dreams. In Israel’s case, God was making a leader in the midst of the very plot the Egyptians were using to destroy them! God used the love of a mother, the wit of a child, the desire of a woman to have children to save one boy who became Israel’s deliverer several years later.

Out of your difficulties, God may groom and lead someone to deliver you out of your troubles. However, God may even raise you up during your personal challenges to help others who are facing similar challenges. God may be calling you to be a “Joseph” or “Moses” for your community or even your nation. You would be amazed at how God will work through you to be a blessing to others.

I think these few nuggets show how you and I are more than conquerors through Christ. You will face difficulties, hardships, challenges in this life but through it all you will triumph. In the midst of living out your purpose, don’t let the adversities stop you from moving forward.

Now it’s your turn, please share one way some difficulty has been good for you. What didn’t you know about yourself before hardship showed up? Share and encourage others.

Pamela C

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7 Rays of Hope for the Unsatisfied Spender

Does excessive spending benefit your economy“Why do you spend money on what cannot nourish you and your wages on what does not satisfy you?” Isaiah 55:2 (GW)

The words written in Isaiah 55 are some of my treasured scriptures. As I was preparing for this blog post on emotional or excessive spending, Is. 55:2 first came to mind. Then while reading the Globe & Mail I came across an article that highlighted the devastating effects of spending excessively.

In Isaiah 55, God Himself addressed the exiles and it’s interesting that He should ask a money related question: “Why do you spend money on what cannot nourish you and your wages on what does not satisfy you?” Why did He ask? He wanted them to stop practicing the ways of Babylon and follow Him.

Hmmm, that’s food for thought. The same is true for Christians today. God does not want you and me to behave like and/or embrace the practices of the world even though we live in it. He wants you to live by His word and make Him your first priority. He doesn’t want you to worry about what you have or don’t have because He promises that what you need He will make sure you have (Matt. 6: 24-34).

But really, why do so many spend and yet remain unhappy? Why do some many think that they need “retail therapy” (as some like to call it)? Emotional and excessive spenders want to:

  • Fill an emotional void such as when a person experiences a breakdown in a relationship
  • Get away from the reality of life as some think that shopping is a great stress reliever. But wait until they receive the credit card statement.
  • Impress or try to impress others with what you have or supposedly can “afford” only to worry later about how and when they can payoff that debt

The problem with this way of spending is that there are always negative results. You can end up with:

  • Excessive debt and have difficulty making the repayments
  • Too much stuff and not enough time or energy to make use of it all and the heavy weight of trying to manage it
  • Strained or severed relationships with loved ones because your focus is on money and not enjoying the gift of family and friends
  • Little or no savings or investments because most of your money is going toward debt repayment and basis living expenses

This all sounds quite depressing and so it is. But I want to focus on that fact that there is hope and there is help for those who desire to change.

  1. First of all, seek the Lord. Yes, come to Jesus. Spend time in the word of God (Isaiah 55: 3) to gain insight on how to manage your money. You can even read books to help. You can check out Financial Empowerment which gives both biblical and practical solution.
  2. Please whatever you do, seriously and earnestly pray about your spending habits. Ask God to remove your desire to go off on spending sprees. Ask Him for help, strength and grace for the journey ahead to make sound financial decisions and to follow through on each of them.
  3. Ask for forgiveness from God and from others you may have hurt on account of your actions. Forgiveness is the healing balm you need to move forward with your life in a positive way. Forgiveness will bring newness to your life – a fresh start for you and your loved ones (Luke 15:17-24).
  4. Make a strong decision to reduce or eliminate the purchase of certain items for an extended period. For example, maybe for 6 month or a year you can choose not to buy clothes, electronics, home accessories, dine out, and so on. Basically, don’t buy anything you don’t need and have enough of.
  5. In the midst of asking for forgiveness, ask a few people to support you. Make yourself accountable to a few trusted friends. And to the ones you often go shopping with, give them notice that your shopping spree days are over and you’ve started a new chapter in your life.
  6. You may consider getting professional help – if you can afford to and you believe that the return or value would far outweigh the investment. You can hire a money coach or debt counselor. This is totally up to you.
  7. Set a goal. Determine when and how you will pay off your debt. Have a plan that you see and work towards daily. With your new no-excess-spending policy, you can funnel more money into debt repayment and savings.

This may seem like a lot to do but my friend, take one step at a time. It took time to form bad money habits. Therefore time will also be needed to break them – particularly the chain of consumerism that has many bonded up. So consider this, with God being your Help you have all you need including time to change your money habits and change your life.

I wish you success on the journey to a satisfying life.

Now, it’s your turn…

If you have conquered excessive spending and debt, share your victory with us. I would love to hear your story. Help give hope to someone today.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Debt

debt stress_8085183_sDebt – sounds like a bad word doesn’t it. For many adults, it is definitely a bad word and a bad experience. Debt has its positives but there are often more negatives than positives.

The Bible with over 2,500 scriptures on money does speak about debt. The Mosaic Law encouraged the practice of lending (Deut. 15:7; Ps. 37:26; Matt. 5:42); but it forbade the charging of interest except from foreigners. Usury (the sum paid for the use of money, hence interest; not, as in the modern sense, exorbitant interest.) was strongly condemned (Prov. 28:8; Ezek. 18:8, 13, 17; 22:12; Ps. 15:5). On the Sabbatical year all pecuniary obligations were cancelled (Deut. 15:1-11). These regulations prevented the accumulation of debt. – Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary

That’s interesting. God actually made a plan for His people to be debt-free! He wants you and me to avoid debt in two ways: (1) not to lend with interest and (2) not to accumulate debt.

In our world today, it seems like having some form of debt is the norm. I would agree that at times there is a need to borrow, but the key is to not remain in debt. Debt does not have to be forever!

There are ways in which debt can prove to be good or to be a necessary means to an end:

  • For investment purposes. You may need funding in order to grow or the start a new business and the way to get it may be through debt. (1 Kings 4: 3-4).
  • For emergency backup. Sometimes your only option may be to use immediate credit i.e. your credit card. However, do your best to avoid this and you can if you have a savings fund in place to handle unexpected expenses.
  • To make an online payment with a merchant who does not accept debit cards. In a case like this, make sure to pay the card balance off on or before the due date. Alternatively, you can use a Credit card company sponsored card (like the Visa Debit Card which linked to your bank account) or a preloaded “credit” card that uses funds you have added to the card.

Those a just a few ways debt can be used for your benefit and to accomplish something that would otherwise be more difficult or not possible.

How do you know when your debt has become bad and ugly?

Debt is BAD when:

  • You have more debt than you have the financial ability to easily repay. For example, in the parable of the unforgiving servant, he was not able to repay his debt (Matt. 18: 23-25).
  • The creditor is ready and willing to repossess property. In Biblical times, the person who defaulted on repayment and their family were enslaved by the creditor (2 Kings 4: 1-2; Matt. 18: 23-25).
  • You quickly resort to credit cards because there is no available cash or savings. Easy access to credit for those who are big spenders speaks disaster.
  • You are unable to payoff your credit card balances in full each time you use them or within a few months.
  • You are using credit for your day-to-day needs like food, gasoline, clothing, etc.

But debt gets ugly when it has an impact on the other areas of your life. Debt is UGLY when:

  • You experience increased emotional stress or worry because you don’t know how you will be able to repay.
  • You start exhibiting dishonest behavior such as trying to avoid calls from your creditors. For example, telling your children or someone in the household to lie that you’re not at home when the creditors call.
  • You feel oppressed, distress or boxed-in because of the limiting effects of too much debt.
  • You are discontented and frustrated and you take it out by being harsh with your loved ones. This often results in difficult conversations with your spouse and other family members followed by strained and sometimes broken relationships.

This post is a result of a friend’s request to learn more about good vs. bad debt. I think that each one has to access their financial position and the debt that they have to determine if it is good or bad. What is bad for one may not be for another based on earning power and financial position. There are questions that you have to ask yourself either before or after you have acquired debt. Consider these questions:

  1. Will I be able to repay this credit card balance within a month or two if I make this purchase?
  2. Should I take a house mortgage for this amount? Would this level of credit result in difficulty repaying it? Can I afford the payment amount plus property taxes and house maintenance costs along with the typical expenses that I already have?

When considering credit, borrow according to how much you can comfortably repay rather than according to how much the lender says you are qualified to borrow. It is so easy to access credit. Therefore be cautious about getting into debt since it’s often easier to get in that get out! The credit card companies and other financial institutions can be sometimes relentless in their pursuit to get your business i.e. your hard earned money. Ask God for wisdom in managing your financial and other resources. Seek to honor Him and to live a stress free life by limiting the amount of debt you incur.

Want to learn about getting out of debt? Download this free gift – 7 Biblical Debt Solutions.

What do you consider to be bad debt?

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7 Ways You Can Overcome Discouragement

David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God. —1 Samuel 30:6 (AMP)

13378330_s_woman discouragedLife can be really challenging – from keeping up with your daily responsibilities to facing unexpected and unpleasant situations – discouragement can set in. Even in the process of pursuing your purpose and living for Christ, you may sometimes experience “the blues”. There are moments like these when no one is around to help you or encourage you. But sometimes in the best of circumstances, you can find yourself feeling alone and discouraged also. Regardless of how many friends and family members you have supporting you, there are moments when you feel the heavy weight of discouragement. It is in times like this that you have to encourage yourself in the Lord.

  1. Talk to yourself

Stand in the mirror, look at yourself and give yourself a positive pep talk:

“I can make it with Christ being my help.” (Phil. 4:13 AMP).

“This situation is only temporary; I will overcome in the name of the Lord.”

“Smile, God is on my side and I will win this battle because he will fight it for me.” (2 Chron. 20:15-17)

You can easily depended on someone else to give you that pick-me-up talk but it is not always possible. You must learn to talk yourself out of discouragement and believe that the future ahead of you is good.

20832754_s_happy woman

  1. Sing & Dance

Sometimes when I am feeling low, I turn the music up loud and have a praise party. It is so refreshing. Many times I have felt the presence of the Lord while doing this. Occasionally, I would get my husband or daughter to dance with me. They usually think I am a bit too loud but I just rather feel great and sing praises to God (Ps. 47:6-7) than be low in body, soul and spirit. When I’ve done doing my song and dance, I feel energized to keep going and I do!

  1. Read a book

Read a Christian inspirational book or better yet read The Book. Yes, read the Bible. I love to read, there is no topic that has not been written about. If I think reading will help me through discouraging times, I would either search my bookshelves (physical and virtual) or buy a book. I would pick something relevant to what’s happening in my life or what’s concerning to me at present that has me feeling low. I would search the Word of God for answers to my questions. As I read, God faithfully reveals His will, He encourages me and I gain insight or get new ideas to help me move forward. I often say that if someone has taken the time to research and share their or someone else’s experiences – you should take full advantage of it and learn from them instead of going through a long and hard process of “reinventing of the wheel”. Reading brings encouragement.

  1. Pray, of course

David inquired of the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6 AMP), that is, he asked God what to do. Sometimes you may go through the pity party scenario way too long instead of seeking God for direction and uplifting. God not only speaks to instruct but also comforts to assure you that He will be with you and will help you to prosper in life. Spend more time with the Father when you are discouraged. It will be well worth it.

  1. Remind yourself of God’s goodness

Go down memory lane. Think back to the days, weeks, months, years that you have been through some very tough times. What happened? How did God see you through? What did God do for you? You’re still here. Yes, maybe facing another challenge but you survived and overcame the other times. Give thanks to God for His goodness on your life (1 Thess. 5:17-18). Since God is a never-changing God that means He will express His goodness toward you again. So look up, you won’t lack a thing! You will triumph over this challenge!

  1. Rest in God

Relax. Take it easy. God is always at work (Ps. 46:9-11). Let Him act on your behalf. He is able. Take a break from the norm and refresh yourself physically as well as mentally. Often when you step away from stressful situations or from trying to solve problems, you come back to face the challenge with new energy and new ideas. Sometimes even in your busiest day taking a few minutes to refresh and regain your composure will make a lot of difference to the progress you make in the remainder of your day – you will accomplish a whole lot more.

  1. Express your heart

Tell God your Father – your frustrations, your weaknesses, your insecurities (1 Peter 5:6-7). But don’t end there. Seek Him through the Word and remind yourself of His promises. When you release your frustrations to Him and ask Him for the grace to move forward or when you cast that net of discouragement on God don’t go back and pick it up. He is able to replace your weakness with His strength. God promises that He will hold you up and give you the victory (Is. 41:10). Remind yourself that Jesus cares and He is diligently watching over you and protecting you. He is able to take care of your cares better than you.

  1. Share your burden

Please, don’t wallow in self-pity and don’t allow yourself to remain discouraged for long periods. The longer you remain discouraged the harder it is to get out of that state of mind. If you know you can’t go it alone, find a trusted friend – one who supports and encourages – and share where you’re at with that person. God has a way of working through your good friend to pray with you, give you a word and to help you soar again.

At some point in life, you will face discouragement but I want you to keep moving forward. When all else fails, don’t give up. Pick yourself from where you are and keep moving forward in spite of how you feel. You will soon realize that those feelings of discouragement are gone and you are able to progress.

Always, find strength in the Lord Jesus.

What do you do to overcome discouragement?

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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 Fulfill Your Purpose-Driven Goals

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Every one is born with a purpose. Whether you are a stay-at-home who is called to bring up godly children who impact the world for Christ or the CEO of a large conglomerate; you have a purpose. You are called by God for a special assignment. And there is no other person on the earth like you to fulfill it. Your uniqueness (personality, gifts, education, life experiences, and sphere of influence) makes you the perfect candidate for what God purposed for you. Just where you are God can cause you to have a positive impact on your family, your community, your nation, and the world.

So your life is valuable and has purpose. There is a destiny attached to your life. However the goals you set towards your destiny may often seem impossible to attain. But not so; the Lord will make it possible. He will give you the strength to do all to fulfill destiny (Phil 4:13)

Having a vision for your life and creating purpose-driven goals that are aligned to God’s will is a great start. As you work towards what you believe God has called you to do, you will find some challenges along your journey. But there are some lessons you can learn from the word of God about how to achieve your purpose-driven goals and ultimately fulfill your destiny

1. Keep The Vision
Joseph is a classic example of a dreamer and one who fulfilled destiny. His dreams from God angered his siblings and left his father wondering what they meant. But Joseph kept the dream even when siblings opposed him so much to sell him into slavery. One thing you can do (if you haven’t already) is to write the vision God has given you (Hab. 2:2-3) and review it often. Don’t worry if it isn’t all clear, God works with you where you’re at. As time goes on, you will understand more about it.

2. Don’t Complain
When things don’t go as you planned, curb the temptation to complain about it within yourself, to others and to God. It interesting that much was said about Joseph and his hardships and his successes but no where is it said that he complained to God or others. He took the opportunity once when he interpreted the dreams of others to mention his situation but even when forgotten Joseph didn’t complain. Instead of seeing the bad and ugly, see the good, the goodness of God in your life and be thankful to Him.

3. Serve Where You Are
Joseph though sold into slavery was considered a successful man. The Lord was with him and he flourished at whatever he did (Ps. 1:3). This was a recognizable trait in Joseph both in Potiphar’s house and in prison. His service or his work ethic was commendable and God honored him for this by causing others to see it and to promote him to positions of leadership. Make every effort to work to be best of your ability – at work, in your business, in your home, in your community, in your church. View your work as service to God.

4. Fear God
This is two-fold. Have a personal relationship with Christ and honor God in all you do. Don’t yield to temptation. Don’t compromising your godly values in order to get ahead. Keep the word of God in your heart; this will keep you from sin (Ps. 119:11). Recognize that God is with you at all times and ask for the grace to overcome and walk away from any temptation. Joseph was able to do this even though he seemed to be the one at the loosing end. But in the end God lifted him even higher. Having the fear of God will not only keep your from sin but will prevent you from delaying or hindering the progress of your purpose-driven goals.

5. Obey God
Wherever God leads, follow and whatever He says to do, obey. This isn’t always easy but you can rely for God’s grace and strength. God knows your heart is willing and He will help you. Moses did not complete his mission because of disobedience (Num. 20:7-12). He was able to deliver Israel from Egypt but he did not lead them into the promise land. Why? Probably because he was angry and frustrated with the Israelites complaining and instead of doing as God instructed, he struck the rock. Please, beware of your weaknesses and rule over them. Don’t let them cause you to miss the blessings of God.

6. Be Driven
Be determined regardless of the ups and downs along the way. No one told you it would be easy. Your purpose-driven dreams are worth the effort, the risk and the challenges regardless of how long they take to come to fruition. During this time you will learn more about yourself, find your value in Christ and trust God more than ever. Like the apostle Paul did, keep pressing, keep pursuing (Phil. 3: 13-14). The prize is worth the price.

7. Believe God
I don’t know how many times I have said or will say this. But this is one reminder you need when the going get tough: Have the faith of God. Be certain of this also: Your set time will come. Remember that God is working out everything for you – He will take the good and the bad and make it all good for you (Rom. 8:28). That’s His promise to you therefore don’t forget it. Joseph was able to see this; he saw his life from God perspective and knew in his heart that God had a plan for him. It was just a matter of time. Yes, time. And your set time will come when God makes all the hard work, prayer, fasting, etc. falls into place and your purpose-driven goals will become reality. Believe God.

This year focus on God regardless of the challenges and how much there is to do. There is more than enough of God’s grace to fulfill the purposes of God in you.

What do you do to help fulfill your purpose-driven goals?

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