7 Quick Tips to Make the Best of Goal Setting

wirting goals_16732976_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

I like December, not only because it’s Christmas – the time we celebrate Jesus – but because it marks the end of a season. December to me is like to ending of an old chapter and the start of a new one.

I usually take the time during this month not only to celebrate with family but to plan the year ahead. As I start to think ahead, I spend time praying and seeking God’s direction for the New Year.

In my excitement to get going this year, I started search for what I could find to help me do a better job at goal setting. I found information in abundance but it would take time to compile a process that would work for me. I found paid products but they didn’t have a Christian worldview. I believe that if you are a Christian, any goal setting you do should always lead you to seek the Lord’s will for your life.

Here are some tips you can use to make the best of goal setting and experience a great year:

1. Seek God’s Will through Prayer
Start your goal setting process with prayer. Ask the Lord what His will is for you in the coming year. Listen to hear His plans. You may already know where God is leading you. Your dreams or desires, the things you love to do, the things that you are eager to change are all pointers to your purpose.

2. Take Time Out to Plan
It’s okay to think about planning but you need to actually do it. Make an appointment with yourself and God. Set aside a few hours, half a day or two days, whatever you think you need to get your goals down on paper.

3. Reflect On The Past
Don’t hold onto the past but embrace it. Review the year with the aim of learning form it. What did you accomplish? What didn’t work well for you? What can you do differently in the New Year? What do you have to be thankful to God for? At the end of this exercise make sure to let go of the past and get ready to embrace the future.

4. Dream, Dream, Dream
Yes, it’s time to dream, not a little but a lot. Making your goals does not need be so rigid that you kill your dreams. I often write a dream list first before actually setting my goals. Get a blank sheet and write down what your heart’s desire is. Do this before making any of your goals concrete.

5. Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals
I don’t think most people like to hear about S.M.A.R.T. goals but the truth of the matter is that this process makes your dreams become goals that would bring them into reality. You don’t have to set big goals and a lot of goals; but you need to write what works for you. That could be 12 goals or 3 goals but write them down anyways.

6. Find Your Why
Why do you want to accomplish the goals you’ve outlined? Why are they so important to you? It’s important to know your “Why” because when the going get tough, the reason behind what you are doing will keep you moving forward.

7. Be Accountable
Ever noticed how much you get done when you have deadlines and someone else to report to. Why? Accountability results in performance. Get the support of a friend or two or join a group of likeminded people who hold each other accountable for their goals. You will reap great success from such support.

8. Simplicity Is Necessary
Yes, this is tip No. 8 but this is important. Goal setting takes effort and many are often deterred from starting or completing the process. Another reason for not setting goals is that you may not know how to set goals and make them happen. The key is to keep goal setting simple and I have created a workbook just to help you do that.

As I mention earlier in this post, I was on a search for a simple goal setting process with a Christian world view but found none. As I thought about it I realized that I already had a process I was practicing for more that 10 years, but I had never compiled into one simple format. So I decided to do just that.

Now available in ebook format (pdf) is my goal setting workbook – the Living Success Goals Workbook & Planner.

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.

Your Dream is Not Denied

live your dreams_12077915_s

 Does it seem like the promises of God are so far away or never reaching?

Recently I was feeling a bit low and began to talk to God about some projects I have been working at for a while that seem not to be bearing the kind of results of wanted. I was also reflecting on the past and wondering if there were areas I could have worked on more diligently to achieve my goals faster. The bottom line is I was wonder why some of my dreams were taking longer to become real than I wanted them to. I was trying to figure out how I could move things along faster. I wanted results and was being quietly impatient before God.

As I reflected on the matter during my prayer time, the Lord reminded me, 

  Although the promises of God seem far away, I was being gently and repeatedly reminded that because something takes long to happen doesn’t mean that God has denied it. In other words, it’s just a matter of time. Or in the process of time, what I am seeking will become a reality.

We don’t like waiting no matter how strong we are in the Lord. Waiting can be hard. At times we are patient in the process but at other times we wonder in our hearts, “Lord, when?” or “Lord, how much longer must I wait?”

Today, be encouraged that waiting does mean that God won’t come through for you. However, He will do just what you desire (Ps. 21:2) and more at the right time. During the waiting season we just need to keep ourselves occupied and get ourselves ready for the promise. Every dream that become real to us, every miracle that we experience involves preparation and opportunity.

I took time to study the word and be comforted by the lives of those who waited for the dream. When we think about their lives, they didn’t have hindsight or knew their future; they just had a dream and the faith that it would be fulfilled.

Abraham – believed God for his dream

He was given a wonderful promise – to be the father of many nations. God promised him that because of him all the family of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). Wow! But he didn’t even have a son at the time. Abraham’s dream was to have his own son. Yet he waited for the promise and God considered him a righteous man for his faith (Gen. 15:1-6). How long do you have to wait? I don’t know. But take strength from Abraham’s life, believe God.

Joseph – Stayed the course to the fulfillment of his dream

Oh, the dreamer or so his family called him. His dreams were a glimpse of a great future and deep within he must have known that one day his dream would become real to all. Even those who mocked him and tried to stop his dream became witnesses to its unfolding (Gen. 45).

People may laugh at your dream. Your dreams may even mock you – that’s when your start second guessing yourself about whether it will happen or not. Your dreams may even cause you to end up where you least expect and cause your hope to fade. But be steadfast like Joseph. When your dream becomes real for all to see, they will glorify God with you.

Jabez – Prayed about his dream

We often look at Jabez’s prayer and think of it a just that – a prayer. I don’t think that one day Jabez just decided to ask God to bless him. He had a dream. He did not want to be known for his name (to be called Pain) but he wanted to be seen as whom he was – an honorable man. He had a dream to be blessed of God and to be blessing.

Do like Jabez and talk to God about your dream and God will grant your request too.

Be encouraged. Don’t give up hope on your dreams and the promises of God. They will come. Let the word of the Lord comfort you.

Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.    —Joshua 21:45

“Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.          —Joshua 23:14

“Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.                     —1 Kings 8:56

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

I’d love to hear from you. Please share and encourage others. What are you doing to keep your dream alive? Do you already live your dream?

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.

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.

What Does Your Future Look Like?

The future

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 (MSG)

Last year, I decided to do something I had thought of doing for years – to learn how to become a life coach. So I took the plunge and now I am a Certified Professional Coach. Praise God!

The effectiveness of coaching is in the ability of the coach to bring out the best in you. As a coachee, you’ll be asked some questions that if answered openly will bring to light a lot about yourself.

As I reflect on the coaching sessions I had, one interesting aspect of the program is the development of a client vision statement. This vision statement is created based on the discovery sessions with your client where questions are asked to understand not only the client’s present situation but his/her future dreams and desires. It is amazing that in a few short sessions, an attentive coach can write a vision statement that speaks truthfully to the client’s life and desires.

The vision statements are written in present continuous tense using the word imagery your client expressed during conversations with them. When a coach listens and then writes in unbiased non-judgmental manner using the client’s voice it’s amazement how clearly you can capture your client’s heart on paper. Each client is encouraged to read and / or listen to their vision statement on a daily until it became a part of them and they began to act towards their vision. You see, it’s how you condition your mind and think, is who you become – as a man thinks, so is he.

Some years back I have done a similar exercise for myself in creating a vision statement. However, there was one element missing that kept me from accomplishing any part of that vision statement – I did not make it a part of me – I did not read or listen to it daily. If I did those words would have made an imprint on my mind that would lead to actions that would make my dreams become reality.

You may not use a vision statement with active and vivid language to describe what your life looks like in the future but you may employ other methods. What I have done for many years is to write a list of 12 goals for each year. I then broke these down into smaller manageable goals. During the year, I would pray about these 12 goals regularly. I kept a list in my Bible and even on my smart phone as a constant reminder. This practice taught in our church and proved fruitful to many with great testimonies heard throughout the year. We were encouraged to look ahead and trust God both for the practical things we could do and our seemingly impossible dreams. I did not always accomplish all I had on my list – some were longer term goals and for these I would continue to include them on my list until fully seen and in other cases some were revised as I got a clear picture of what I wanted.

As we enter into a new season – do you know what your future looks like? Do you know what you want to do, have, experience in the New Year and beyond? Have you took time to imagine what your year would look like, how you would feel, what you want see or hear? Do you have a mental picture of what you want to accomplish a year from now, or in five years or ten years? In what area of your life do you want to see change?

  • Do you want a closer relationship with God?
  • Do you want to be more Christ-like?
  • Is there a desire to study the word of God more?
  • A better relationship with your spouse or other loved one?
  • Do you want to start your own business?
  • Is there a career promotion that you are hoping for?
  • What about seeing your children excel in the things of God and in life? Do you know what you can do help them excel?
  • What do you need to do the move into your God-ordained destiny?

The questions are many but the answers are in you and as a Christian, God’s Spirit will guide you. You just need to take the time to express them outwardly. Today, spend some quality time with yourself and examine these key life areas – Career, Social, Financial, Family, Physical, Intellectual, and Spiritual. Get a few blank sheets, a quite place and write down your dream list for this year and the years ahead. You’ll be surprise at what you write. Take time to digest the dream and make sure to read and pray on those things regularly. Act on what you have written by starting with small steps toward those main goals.

There is always room for improve and I certainly desire better. I desire to live out God’s purpose in my life – part of which is being an author, a good wife and mother and much more. I desire to help others serve the purpose of God in their lifetime too. I think we all want to leave this world fulfilled and complete – knowing what we’ve done pleased God.

What about you? What do you dream of? What do you want to do? What is holding you back from being a blessing to others? As we enter this New Year, don’t remain where you are but decide to be the better you – an empowered you, a successful you, a person who both you and God will be pleased with.

In this year, as you delight in the Lord, may He grant your heart’s desires. May you experience the blessings and favor of the Almighty God.

I look forward to a blessed, favorable and abundant year. Let this be our best year ever!

To Your Good Success

Pamela C

Living Success Goals Workbook

A Few Ways to Deal with Setbacks

A few days before a much-anticipated vacation, I hurt my back. I didn’t realize how much this mishap could affect me and my last day of work – because I ignored what was happening – I was in excruciating pain with every step I took. So my vacation was not vacation. The plans I had to finish set my goals for the year, to learn about and improve my blog and to decide my strategy for my personal finance book were put on hold. Since sitting for an extended period proved to be painful, it was frustrating not be able to do most of what I had planned.

However, thank God, I soon came to realize that I needed to deal with this setback by working on getting better so I could more forward sooner rather than later.  As the days passed, I adopted a few ways handle this setback. I hope as I share with you, you will pick one or two to help you through your personal challenges.

Connect with God more.

Pray more; read more and listen more. I take this advice from a friend who broke her ankle and had to stay indoors for weeks. As she shared with me her experience I felt her joy because she took to opportunity to grow closer to God during this time.

You may not pray with the same energy or vigor that you normally do but pray anyway. Let God know how you feel, ask for His blessing on your situation whatever it be and trust Him to come through for you. Read more of the Bible and of other books that would encourage you and help you deal with your setback. Read that stash of books that you have promised to get to you a while. Be sure to read what builds your faith. Watch more or listen more to the word of God or to Christ centered programs whether via TV, the internet, DVDs, CDs. Just take every opportunity to get the word of God in you.

Laugh at life and yourself too.

One of my friends who had cancer had an amazing attitude towards life. She enjoyed and appreciated the little things. Some days she was felt stronger than others. On those good days she would tell you that she could move a mountain. What was her mountain? She would go outside, pick up a stone and tell you that that’s her mountain and smile about it. Although her situation was very serious she found something to laugh and be thankful for.

Although the situation may be serious you still need to smile. We have a saying that if you don’t laugh you will cry and it’s true. Sometimes you need to remove heavy weights with some laughter. Laughter makes the setbacks and frustrations we face more bearable (Proverbs 17:22).

Appreciate everything.

Keep a prayer and praise journal. This practice will help you stay thankful. Consider taking ten minutes every day to write down at least three things you are most thankful for. Send a thank you note to someone with a small gift or call and let them know how much you appreciate them.

The day-to-day activities of life plus the challenge of dealing with an unexpected setback could cause you to become a complainer. Take time during the difficult season to appreciate what God has done and is doing. Even though you may not see the changes you want now, praising God in advance of receiving them will bring you peace of mind.

Don’t worry.

It is so much easier said that done. But try not to worry about how much your current situation has made your life more difficult or challenging. Don’t worry about how much you have to do or how much you haven’t done. Worry does nothing but elevate your problem and causes you further emotional damage.

God remedy for worry is prayer and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7). Ask God to help you through the rough spots and to help you make far more progress when you are again in a position to move forward on your goals and the vision He has given to you. Thankful prayer will release His peace into your heart and protect your mind so you can deal with where you are effectively.

Keep dreaming.

A setback has a way of making you think negatively about your life and the goals you have set. But please keep dreaming and don’t allow any situation to mar your vision.

On a sick-bed, in financial difficult, at the lost of a loved one, when there’s no income, when children are being rebellious, when plans go array – God is still in control. When you are asleep, He is at work. When you are ill and unable to do much, He is at work. He is able to act when you can’t. So dream on and give your dreams to God. When you commit your ways to Him, He will establish your thoughts (Proverbs 16:3). That is, He will give you direction. He will help you, strengthen you and give you success.

Remember, although the enemy meant it for evil, God has the power to change every situation around for your good. God can turn every set back, frustration, every device of the enemy around to good for you and for others.

As the saying goes behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining. Therefore, look at every setback, negative circumstance with excitement and anticipation. Begin to wonder in your heart what good the Lord allow to come out of it as a blessing to you and others.

What do you do when face with an unexpected and unpleasant situation?

Think Prosperously

God's plan to prosper you

What kind of thoughts normally enter into your mind? Are they good or bad? When someone compliments you, do you counter it with words like, “Really, I don’t think so,” or “That’s nice to say but I am not really like that.”? When you are pursuing your goals do you often think that you are going to fail?

Prevailing negative, demeaning, limiting, unhealthy and sinful thoughts have a way of entering into our minds quite easily:

The world system: We are bombarded daily with negativity via television, radio, newspapers, internet, organizations and people.

Our sinful nature: We have an uncanny yet natural tendency to think and act negatively too. Even when we have accepted Christ our negative thoughts and ways can continue to prevail unless we constantly renew our minds.

Our immediate environment: Have you realized that when you were younger, you believed you could do anything and actually did most of the time? But as you grew into adulthood, your mindset shifted. Our family, friends, work colleagues and other people have shaped our belief system. The sad thing is we have learned from most of them to simply let life happen and don’t seek to change. Or someone told us not dream too big or try too hard at anything because they don’t want us to get disappointed if we fail.

The reality is this; we kill our dreams within before we even get started. We believe more in lie that in truth. We think we will fail more than succeed. We expect to struggle and not to prosper. But the truth is God wants the best for us. Recently, the Lord really impressed on my heart to diligently counter every negative thought of frustration, setback, failure, and lack with His Word. His Word is filled with promises of positive outcomes, success, prosperity, abundance, good health, strong families, great relationships and more. Regardless of the negativity around us, God actively works to bring everything in alignment to His will and for our benefit (Gen. 50:20). As a child of God, your focus should be on succeeding or prospering in whatever you are doing.

A few weeks ago, I was sharing with a friend about my book and the effort I need to put into marketing and promoting this work. As I was outlining the industry suggested time lines to begin seeing a certain level of success with the book, she stopped me in my tracks. She reminded me that although it is good to learn the market and how it works, I must view this all from God’s perspective. I should do the work and trust God to prosper what I am doing. I should always put God in the midst of everything I am doing to have good success.

Psalm 1:1-3 says that if we don’t do evil but find or have pleasure in God and His word, He will make us prosperous in what we do. He will bring our work to maturity or cause it to be successful. Other scriptures like Joshua 1:8, Jeremiah 29:11, 3 John 1:2 remind us to connect with God, know His word intimately (eat, drink and sleep His word), live out loud His word and He will cause our lives to prosper.

God’s Word says you can succeed in life but do you believe this truth? You can say all the right words. You can do all the right things. But what you believe determines what you will achieve and receive. Remember, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Furthermore, God blesses you based on and above what you ask or think.

Therefore approach everything you do believing that God will help you to succeed. Rearrange your thoughts to accept that whatever you do shall prosper. Think prosperously.

How do you counter thoughts of failure? What helps you to keep thinking in line with God’s good will for you?

How to Keep Your Dreams Alive

Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:15-18, NKJV)

We all have dreams. We have the desire to either accomplish different goals for ourselves or we carry within us promises that God has given to us. Sometimes we are able to keep carrying those dreams until their fruition. At other times, these dreams or promises we have may seem so long in coming that we give up before they become reality. On the journey we tend to lose sight of our vision, get weary, and stop moving forward.

Our Heavenly Father, knowing our human nature so well, understood the importance of giving us visions. He knew that to keep our faith alive and keep us forging ahead towards His promises and the God-assignments we have, He would need to create pictures for us. God used picturing (visualization) to help His children believe in His word and receive His promises.

God promised Abraham, when he was childless and too old to father a child, that he would be the father of many nations. God used pictures like the dust of the earth, the sand of the seashore and the stars in the heavens show to him how many descendants he would have. God also had Abraham confess His word. How? Every time he said, “My name is Abraham”, he was speaking God’s truth about himself – that he is a father of many nations. Along with his confession, the people in Abraham’s life participated in keeping this vision alive when they called Abraham by his new God-given name. They were not just calling his name but they were agreeing with God: “Abraham you are the father of many nations.”

Picture this. You are walking in the seashore in the early morning and you feel the grains of the sand under your feet. You pick up a handful and attempt to count each of them only to lose many through the cracks of your hands. You quickly realize that it’s impossible to count them. Imagine a promise from God like that to Abraham. You can’t help be in awe of God. To keep this promise alive, I believe Abraham took time out to feel that sand under his feet and in his hands. What promises of God do you need to keep visually before you so that your faith would stay alive?

Consider this too. At night you go out to your patio or you look through you window at the stars. It’s such a clear night so you decide to go for a walk. As you gaze into the sky you pause to see how many stars you can count but it’s just not possible to count them all. You remember God’s promise and in awe you worship and praise Him for the wonderful works of His hands and the blessings He has given. Abraham had a visual of his promise both day and night. Do you have a picture of your vision before you?

Apart from Abraham there are many others who received the promises of God and God used imagining to help them keep the dream alive (Hebrews 11). Joseph had dreams of being great one day; those dreams were so real he had to share them with others. Through the years of hardship, I believe that those dreams kept Joseph from giving up on the promise of God.

We too have been given a visual. We have a word picture of what heaven and hell would be like. As Christians, we made a choice for heaven and we know that’s where we belong and we are going to when we pass from this earth. We just know it. That visual of heaven propels us each day towards God and His will.

Here are some benefits to visualization:

  1. The more you see your vision the more you believe it will happen. You believe the more you see.
  2. You become more focused or driven to reach your goal and to see God work on your behalf.
  3. Your expectation grows and your excitement increases. This makes the journey more pleasant one.
  4. When you imagine what your dream looks like, you make it real. A picture is worth a thousand words.
  5. Having a visual will cause you to have a more defined and clearer path (baby steps) towards your goal.
  6. Helps you to make better choices and act in harmony with your vision.

Keep a visual of your dream ever-present before you. Here are some suggestions for keeping the vision alive:

  1. Post pictures, scriptures or inspirational quotes around your home or wherever you frequent the most (e.g. fridge door, dresser or bathroom mirror, doors, poster board in your home office space).
  2. Add wallpaper to your computer or mobile screen. This year my laptop wallpaper constantly reminds me that this is my Year of New Beginnings.
  3. Create a photo gallery of what your vision looks like and review regularly.
  4. Keep pictures in your journal or Bible, and believe God’s promises to you.
  5. Take time to dream – take a 15-minute to rest and reflect.
  6. Review your goals daily and take at least one step toward a goal.
  7. Write the vision out – in present tense – like it’s actually happening now. Make a short story of what your future life is like.
  8. Use goal setting software that includes a visualization feature to help you keep the vision alive.
  9. Frequently and persistently seek God about your dreams and His promises.
  10. Always give thanks to God for His promises even before you actually receive them.

Every goal starts with a vision – a picture we have in our mind of what we want to accomplish. Often when we go off track or don’t reach our aim it’s because we have lost sight of the dream we originally had. As such like Abraham we need to get a picture and a word and daily see it until it becomes real in our lives.

With God’s help we can make it happen. Keep the faith.

Share with us: What do you do to keep your dreams and God’s promises alive in you until they become reality?

7 Ways to Live on Purpose

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about living on purpose and the importance of pursuing your dreams. But what does it really means to live on purpose? I’ve defined this as intentionally living out your vision – dreams, goals or pursuits. It’s living out God’s will for your life. To live on purpose is to live your life by design.

That sounds great but how do you do this? I’ve noticed that it can be challenging to keep the fire burning and remain purpose-driven. In my life recently I’ve been telling myself that “there too many moving parts” towards my pursuits. I’ve been wondering how to keep up with all of life and still live out my dreams in an effective manner.

The question is: How do I daily keep focus on my purpose? What do I do to continually move forward and achieve my goals?

This post includes some of the habits I use to maintain intentional living.

Know what your purpose is. This may go without saying but still we need to be reminded. What is your dream or the major goals you want to accomplish in your lifetime?

  • Ask God for direction if you’re not sure of the specifics. God’s will for you is wrapped up in you waiting to come out.
  • Assess yourself. Learn about you. What are your likes, dislikes, gifts, talents, education, personal experiences (problems you have overcome), passions, and interests? A good question to ask is: What do I love doing and would be willing to do without being paid for it?

Have a vision and write it out. Sit down in a quiet place with no distractions of any kind and dream a little, no, a lot. This can be a scary thing but you need to take time to think about your life and what you want it to look like. The challenge is linking it to God’s will for you but if you approach this time with prayer (and fasting, if possible) the Lord will guide you. Remember He is your Shepherd.

  • Whatever your dreams are – write them down. Get it out of your head and on paper. It will clear your mind and relieve the mental load you may have been carrying.

Set small goals. I would suggest that you do this the same day as your dreaming day but don’t delay too long.  Choose another quiet time and begin to put your big dreams into smaller goals.

  • Span those big goals into your lifeline from current tasks and projects, to one- to two-year goals, three- to five- year goals all the way up. For your one year plan break it down in quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily tasks.

Create signposts. We are encouraged to know the Word and keep it close wherever we can see it. I believe that you can do the same with your goals. You’ve written them out but to keep focused on them and act on them you’ll need to develop signposts.

  • Post these goals along with God’s promises to your computer or mobile phone as the wallpaper or in a file that you constantly refer to
  • Post them where you frequent the most: your dresser mirror, refrigerator door, home office desk
  • You can even create picture collage that represent all the different aspects of your dream and post it where you can see it often.

For example, maybe you have goal to lose five inches off your waist (my wish) and strengthen your abs – post a photo of a fitness advertisement and write on it, “How am I doing today?” Make sure it is strategically placed where you can see it to motivate you to exercise and eat right.

Depend on God’s direction. Again, I refer to what God says about His word – talk about the Word when you get up, lay down, with your children, at all times really. You need to do the same for your goals.

  • Talk to God throughout the process. God is the CEO of your life. He is the Master Strategist. He will give you direction to help you live on purpose and fulfill your destiny. Trust God through the process and enjoy the journey which is all part of living on purpose.

Talk about your dream. When you talk about something a lot it becomes more and more real to you. Talking positively about your dreams is a great self-motivator.

  • Speak the word concerning your dream. Visualize and confess the word as it relates to you dream. Speak those things as though they already exist even though they are yet to become real. Your tongue is a creative force. Use it well to build your life and fulfill destiny.
  • Talk to trusted friends. Choose carefully those who you share your most important goals with. There are some who will support you and there are others who will question your dreams. Find and hold to those who will rally around you and support you in prayer and in practice.

Work on your purpose daily. Work your dreams. This requires daily effort but you can do it.

  • Review your goals daily and every night write at least seven things you want to accomplish the next day.
  • Keep that list where you can clearly see it and make sure to act on what you have written down. Set you mind daily to do at least two or three tasks related to your goals.

No amount of planning is useful with acting on the plans.

I hope my list above will benefit you. It is by no means an exhaustive discussion on the topic but hopefully it’s enough to either help you move in the right direction or encourage you to continue living intentionally.

Tell me and encourage others too: What do you do to keep living on purpose?