7 Reasons Why Christians Should Make Life Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Thrive Through Financial Difficulties

When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow.                                                                                                                                                                                      Genesis 26:12-13 (NLT)

thriving

Are you in a financial famine? Or do you say like many do, “I need more money.”? The above scripture often touches our hearts during financial difficulties and rightly so. It reminds us that God is still in control even when the world around us is falling apart. It also reminds us that we are not forgotten by God and that He can and is able to bring us out of any financial trouble we may be facing.

This account of Isaac’s encounter with God occurs during an economic hardship that affected many. There are a few principles we can take from this part of God’s word that would help during challenging financial times as well as when we experience financial increases.

 

Be open to hear from God. Be open to hear the most unusual and seemingly illogical instructions.

Gen. 26:2 -3, “Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.”

God wants to be an integral part of your life. Even in times of financial difficulties God wants to relate to you and to help you through the rough roads.  He wants to encourage and direct you so that you would prosper through life.

As God speaks to Isaac He gave a command with the promise of His presence and of His blessing, “I will be with you and bless you” (Gen.26:3).

Just as He did with Isaac, He is willing to do with you. He wants to direct your life and be with you all the way as you carry out His will and in the process of life bring blessings to you.

 

Obey. Do what God tells you to do; even when it doesn’t make sense to you.

The blessings God gives goes beyond the person and the material. They extend beyond your generation. Imagine that – because of your relationship with God your family is blessed for generations. As God’s oath to Abraham was transferred to his son Isaac and to Isaac’s descendants, so does His blessings to you reach forward to your family for generations to come.

 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Isaac learned that well and obeyed God and stayed where he instructed him to (Gen. 26:5-6).

Think about this. Does it make sense?  Imagine you have the opportunity to go where the economic climate is better. Or you have a job offer or business opportunity opened to you in another country and the prospects indeed look promising. As you ponder and pray about it, God tells you – “Don’t go; stay here with your family.”  What would be your first response? Human as we are, we would think much about it and even question God. Although we know God wants what is best for us when a good thing comes along we might think that God is holding us back. In some cases, we may even think that it is the enemy trying to dissuade us from receiving the blessings of God. This is a tough one. But obedience to God is always best. Obedience to God is key to life and financial success.

 

Speak the truth at all times.

I like the Bible. It shows how much God is willing to relate to us even in our sinful state. The relationship of imperfect man with a perfect and loving God rings throughout.  Sometimes when we are in difficulty (like Isaac being in a strange land) we tend to put up defence mechanisms to protect ourselves. From a financial perspective, during difficult we may lie to the creditors or avoid taking their phone calls. But there is no need to do this when God is with you.

When Isaac’s lie was discovered, it actually resulted in his safely being guaranteed by the very people he feared would kill him. Telling your creditor about your loss of income and your inability to repay as required can actually open the door for some relief. I have heard of cases where the debt has been cancelled! The creditor may be able to give you a longer grace period or offer an alternative that would help until you get back on your feet financially.

Don’t be afraid to be honest. God will honour that.

 

Take action to create wealth.

Gen.26:12-14 really encourages me to move forward with my goals regardless to what the economic forecasters as saying.

 You don’t have to wait for the external conditions to improve or change in order to make an internal shift and take decisive action. If you wait you will likely never achieve your goals.

Isaac’s action to plant during the scarcity was a step of faith which God honoured. Not only did he reap 100% of his crop but his cattle and his household increased so much that his neighbours noticed it. When you move forward in faith – whether to change your career, work towards a promotion that doesn’t seem likely or start a new business or even find an extra income stream – God will prosper you and those around you will see it too!

 

Avoid relationship conflicts.

When you begin to prosper (while others are still facing financial challenges) not everyone will be happy about your successes. Some will want to learn from you while others will envy you and try to sabotage you in some way. This is what happened to Isaac. Each time he succeeded in digging a well and finding water – a much-needed commodity then – his “friendly” neighbours came to stake their claim on it.

The blessing on your life may cause others to envy (Gen.26:14), to fear you (Gen.26:16), to quarrel with you, to steal from you and to try to frustrate you (Gen.26:19-22). You may experience conflict in one way or another with friends or family members. People may think that your good fortune is undeserving. You may have ‘sudden’ friction between you and others that didn’t exist before. You may find that people just attach themselves to you to get what they can from you and not because they genuinely care about you. It’s unfortunate but this is how some respond.

The important step you must take in times like these is to let go and let God and not to react rashly to what others are doing. Isaac gave up what he and his servants had worked hard for but in the end they prevailed. So don’t despair. Don’t fight your enemies. God will make room for you and make you fruitful where you are (Gen. 26:22).

 

Finally, be patience, peace (shalom) will come.

The time will come as you continue to prosper and you handle relationship issues well that God will cause even your enemies to be at peace with you.  Why? Your godly response to them (even when they do you wrong), will cause them to acknowledge that the Lord is with you (Gen. 26:28-29). They will want to make amends with you. Being at peace with your enemies will make the financial successes you receive even more pleasant.

Isaac’s situation takes us through the stages from financial struggle to success giving us some insight in how we should respond in times like these. The essence of this is that we should have a relationship with Christ, follow His leading, take action and live out the Christ life as He want us to.

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.

God Already Done It… Your Success Assured

Done!

Done!

Have you ever realized that God speaks in the past tense especially when He is talking to us about a present situation we are dealing with? Yes, God speaks to our present like it’s in the past. Or rather as though He has already seen and already taken care of the problem. He has an interesting way of assuring us that everything is alright; that He is aware of our problems and that He has already taken care of them.

Although it does not make sense to our limited human logic, the Lord tells us what He has already done. It’s like He saying, “Oh I’ve already taken care of that! You don’t need to worry about how it looks now. I’ve got everything under control.”

As we read through the Word, it is sometimes hard to imagine the challenges people were facing and yet God was saying, “Oh, I have already solved that problem for you!” Even now in our lives, when in the midst of a difficult – sickness, lack of money, a troubled relationship, a wayward child and many others  – it is sometimes hard to hold on to the promises of God.

God is always ready. Nothing surprises Him. He has prepared well in advance to solve our problems, fight our battles, provide our needs, heal our bodies and give us success in all areas of our lives.

Already Provided

In Genesis, the account of creation, God shows us that He is an All-ready God who has taken care of all our needs.

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Genesis 1:29

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. Genesis 9:1-3

Already Own

When God made a covenant with Abram, He gave him a promise that went beyond him (to descendants that he would not see) and He spoke it as already done. God promised to give them land and He spoke this to Abram:

“On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates …” Genesis 15:17-19

Throughout Israel’s journey to Canaan, God reminded them that He had already given them the land to own. Numbers 33: 53 “you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess.”

Already Succeeded

Joshua was facing battle with a formidable force, yet God says to him, “And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.” Joshua 6:2

Even again Ai, God spoke to Joshua in a similar manner, “Now the Lord said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.” Joshua 8:1

Really, now. Joshua had not even started to fight yet but God said he’d won the battle. Hmm, when God speaks we ought to take Him at His word. From that word and Joshua’s obedience to do as God instructed, Jericho was sorely defeated and so was Ai.

What promise do you have what instruction has you been given? Step out in faith and you will win!

Already Answered

There is no limit to what God has already put in place for us. Even when it comes to our many and varying prayer requests, God answers like they have happened. Look what He says to King Solomon who asked for wisdom to lead Israel, “Behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:12-14

Isn’t God amazing? He does more that we think of asking (Eph. 3:20)!

Already Healed

Before the coming of our Lord Jesus to the earth to fulfill God promise of salvation, God tells us through Isaiah that we were healed.

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. Isaiah 53:4-5

Today, those in Christ can hold to this promise of healing as being already done since Jesus did it on the cross where he bore of sicknesses and diseases through the stripes he suffered.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:21-24

Believe God’s Already…

We tend to speak based on what we have experienced. We speak of “have done” based on the past – what God has done for us that we have seen, heard, tasted, smelt, touched. The kind of experience that David mentioned in Psalm 21:2  “You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.” David praised God for the wonderful things He had done in his life. Yet, you can hold to this word. It is a wonderful promise.

But God speaks of “have done” even before we experience it! He is telling us, “I have already done it for you.” It is almost strange to talk this way but like God – we should speak what is even though it is yet to happen (Romans 6:17). That is faith talk.

God already said, “It is done”. He has already solved our problems. Therefore we must speak like He does; like we already have it. So when we are faced with a problem we should speak to ourselves and say, “Yup, God has already done it.” Believe in Him and His promises. He has the power to perform the “Already”.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Rom. 6:20-21, NIV)

Are you fully confident that God has already done for you what you long for?

Success Is a Series of I Cans

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. —Philippians 4:13 (AMP)

success comes in cans

I can do all things through Christ my strength

When we see the outcome of someone’s efforts that cause them to be wealthy, well-known in their field or outstanding in some other way, we focus solely on that result. Most people tend to look at success as a one-time event but it really is a series of events that culminate into something outstanding. Success is a series of “I cans”.  Whether we are working towards a closer relationship with God or being better moms, wives, dads, husbands, siblings, children, business owners, employees, or students and so on – it takes a series of efforts to make it happen. Although we may have specific defined goals, success is ongoing positive progress in whatever area of life we are aiming to grow.

A successful life is a constant work in progress and through it we have many responsibilities. In the midst of the daily activities, many have a desire in their hearts to do something beyond the norm, to do the extraordinary for God or to fulfill their God-sized dream. Yet, many conclude that they can’t. `I can’t` become such a normal part of our conversation that we don’t realize it:

  • “My life is too busy. I have so much to do that I can’t possible fit in another thing. ”
  • “What’s the point; I couldn’t possibly get that done even if I tried.”
  • “It’s just too hard. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
  • “My uncle didn’t think it was a wise career choice, so this is what I ended up doing.”

Yet the question remains, since God put it on your heart to do something, if God gave you a dream, why do you think you can’t do it. It’s not that it would happen overnight, but it certainly can if you begin by saying, “I can. Yes, I can.” But you have to stop saying “I can’t.” When you say you can’t do anything, what are you doing?

  • Belittling God who imputed His grace and strength in us
  • Believing more in the circumstances around us than in the promises of God
  • Making our challenge or problem bigger than what it really is
  • Thinking lowly of ourselves and therefore making ourselves powerless to do anything good
  • Resigning ourselves to failure and a limiting, fruitless life

Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.

Henry Ford

Success is a series of “I cans”. This does not mean that we won’t fail at times but the wonderful part is that you’re still alive and well and God hasn’t finished with you and me yet. Every morning we arise from our bed we have another opportunity to do something great. We can honor God in whatever we do. We can minister to someone about Christ. We can help feed a hungry person or pray for healing of someone who is sick. We can work towards our life’s mission or destiny – that passion or desire that God has placed on your heart to complete.

When we say “I can”, we are:

  • Glorifying God in our lives and giving others to opportunity to praise God for the good they see us doing (Matthew 5:16)
  • Failing Forward and progressing toward our destiny. We are seeing the prize before it arrives and pressing towards it. We are focused on the goal (Philippians 3:14)
  • Relying on the strength and wisdom of God to do what seemed insurmountable at first (Philippians 4:13)
  • Walking in the abundance life Christ paid the price for (John 10:10)

You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.

Michael Phelps

Sometimes we think that when we move forward to achieve a dream that we have to give up – time, pleasure, relationships, money, certain foods or overeating, etc.  However, we are actually gaining in life rather the losing. The reward of daily success is far sweeter – what you give up cannot compare to what you will gain. From the experience of giving up you grow in character, in knowledge, in wisdom, in favor with others and if you embrace the success journey you will gain much more that the goal or prize you want to receive.

Success is doing what you have to do to achieve what you have dreamed.

Success is the ability to think soundly, speak confidently and act wisely while trusting and honoring God all the way (Joshua 1:7-8).

Success is a series of I CANs. You have a choice. You have the power to choose – success or failure. You have the power to say “I can”.

I hope today you will choose to say, “I can and I will” and therefore begin TO DO. Remember, you can through Christ being your strength. Recommit yourself today to the Lord and to the desire He has placed on your heart to do. He will give you strength to do it. Yes, YOU CAN!

Share a word – What have you put on hold that you need to say, “Yes, I can” to?

Pray: The Way to Change Our World

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.                          —Matthew 18:19 (AMP)

Day after day we are constantly hearing and seeing terrible news accounts of wars, bombings, disasters, killings, etc.  around the world. Before we are able to deal with the effects of one devastation event another one comes up. There is a feeling of hopelessness that invades the world and more intensely the lives of these who suffer the loss of loved ones on account of someone’s heartless and evil act. There is feeling of futility to all the fighting and killing, and sickness and disease we see permeating throughout our world. At times it causes us to wonder if there is any point to doing the good works that we do. And often wonder if prayer does make a difference.

One thing I have also noticed is that as Christians and most people generally tend to react to the problems as they occur. We call for prayer and for all work together in any way possible to help the hurting souls struck by these misfortunes. That is very good on our part. Yes, Jesus has called us extend His love to others (Matthew 25:31-39). We should by all means not fail to do good works and show the love of God to others.

However, there is another aspect to this that is often missed. When we help others during their difficult times we are being reactive. But as Christians we must be proactive. Why? The word of God tells us that the devil is going about seeking to find people to devour (1 Peter 5:8)! He is busily about the work of stealing, killing and destroying lives. Somehow, we don’t get that. It is only when we face trouble that we remember that we need to pray and to work to counter his works. But we should be many steps ahead of the enemy to destroy his works before he destroys us, our loved ones and those who haven’t yet come to know Christ as their Savior and Lord. When we are proactive prayer warriors, we stop evil in its tracks.

How can you be proactive in this fight against the enemy? Pray, pray and more pray. Paul instructs us to always be rejoicing and praying (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We must be unrelenting in prayer because the enemy will go to any means to steal from us, kill us or destroy us. We need a 24/7 connection to our Father God. Wherever and whenever, we can talk to God about what’s happening in our world. We can pray that His will be done on the earth. As we do this more and more, we will begin to see more of God’s hand in our lives for our good.

At times we fail to recognize the power of the words we speak in prayer and in our daily conversation. If we always speak contrary to what the word of God says we will for sure reap bad results (Proverbs 18:21). If we agree with the word of God about every detail of our lives, we will experience an abundant life.

Very closely intertwined with what we say is our belief system. We don’t believe that prayer can positively impact our world. We don’t believe that God can forewarn us of trouble and that through work of prayer we can prevent it. Often we silently tell ourselves that we are not seeing any change as quickly as we want to, so we give up and give into accepting everything that is not good. We faint or lose heart when Jesus wants us to keep praying. I have experienced for myself and heard of testimonies where prayer saved lives and restored broken families. I have seen people’s lives transformed because others were willing to pray until change came.  I have known of those to whom God brought revelation which led them to pray and thus save others from accident and death.

Jesus’ outburst in the temple when He found people conducting business there bears an important truth for us. He certainly was not pleased by what He saw. One thing He expects is that we would be temples of prayer.That we would gather into His house to pray and be in constant communication with Him. We often think we gather with the main focus of worship – of course, we must worship this great God. Yet we have another important responsiblity when we meet – to pray. We must pray for our needs, for our country, for our government, for those who are sick, for peace throughout the world. We must pray for anything and everything because we want to set up God will and purpose on the earth. When we pray we must take authority over the wicked principalities and powers and establishing God’s rule in our lives and in this world. For certain, as we prayer in agreement, God says that He will honor our requests (Matthew 18:19).

I want to urge you, pray more. Pray without ceasing. Pray for the needs you see all around you whether near or far. Pray for protection and safety of yourself and others. Pray and believe that the Father will respond to your requests and send help. Pray proactively, don’t wait for trouble to come (Matthew 6:10). Pray and rejoice even before you receive the answers. Pray and change your world.

Need A Blessing? Then Ask

Now it was so, when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you wish?” 19 She answered, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.           —Joshua 15:18-19

This account of Caleb’s daughter requesting a blessing is recorded twice in the Word. (Joshua 15:18-19, Judges 1:14-15). At first glance this appears to be a seemingly simple request of a daughter to her father but when you consider this more closely, we can learn a few things from Achsah.

1. Identify Your Need

Achsah had already received land in the South from her father. Now she wanted more. She wanted springs of water. My first thoughts, “Lord, she already has, what more could she want?” But really she was asking for what would sustain and complement the previous one – springs of water would help water the land.

What blessing do you need? What extra in life do you need to help you live a healthier, happier, longer life? What do you need to help you succeed?

2. Go To the Source

Ask of the one who is able to give it. Achsah knew her dad had what she needed. She knew her dad was able to give it. And she knew if she wanted it, she would have to ask him for it. So she went boldly asking and expecting to receive it and she did.

Who do you need to ask for your blessing? Is your need something that no one else but God would be able to fill? God your Father is able to give and He is willing to give but you need to ask. Just as Caleb was willing to give to his daughter, God is will to give to you.

3. Expect the Blessing

As children we often asked our parents for many things never thinking that we would not receive them. I don’t believe that Achsah went to her father thinking that she wouldn’t receive the springs of water. She went expecting to receive the blessing. Faith says that you believe that God is and that He will bless you when you ask Him.

When you pray do you believe that God will give you what you need? Or do you ask but deep within you don’t think that God will honour your request? Ask and believe in the ability, availability and willingness of your heavenly Father God to bless you.

The word of God has examples of many who asked God for a blessing and they received it. To name just two:

Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32) – You would think that Jacob was satisfied. Going to Laban he had nothing but leaving him he had for more than imaginable – a family and great wealth. Yet he wrestled with God to bless him. Why? There was a deeper need – no more to be considered by others as a schemer. He wanted a change in identity and only God could do that. As big as that request was, God blessed him and changed his life forever.

Jabez (1 Chron. 4:9-10) – A more honorable man than his brothers, yet Jabez asked God to bless him. He too desired change; he did not want to be known by his name. He did not want to live in pain or to cause pain to others. Jabez asked and God granted his request.

Now back to us. Jesus tells us to ask because He wants us to be joyful (John 16:24), ask even though God already knows your need (Matthew 6:8), ask for our daily needs (Matthew 6:11), ask for wisdom (James 1:5), ask until you receive (Luke 18:1-8). The point is you need to ask. The need you have – good health, financial success, stronger or restore relationships, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, favor with people, additional income streams, career change – is the blessing you need to ask for.

What do you need in your life that would improve or make a significant difference to the way you live now? Today, ask for your blessing and expect to receive it.

Acknowledge God

Trust in the Lord

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Last year my great-aunt went home to the Lord at the age of 103. I considered her the bedrock of our family and a strong woman. I admired her love and faith in the Lord. She always had a word of encouragement to give and for sure she would always direct you the word of God. Proverbs 3: 5-6 was one scripture embedded in our minds because Aunt Manie would always quote it to you.

Looking back I realized that her words and her life have influenced me in my Christian walk a great deal. I have held to these words and even more so when life is extra challenging.

God wants us to acknowledge Him in all our ways. Yes, God wants us to seek His will in all we do. In every move we make, in every step we take, in every decision, in every thought, in every word, in every act – the Lord wants us to recognize His sovereignty over us and seek Him to direct us. He desires us to involve Him in every aspect of our lives – in all we do, our daily activities, and our plans. No aspect of our lives must be left to us alone.

As much as this scripture is so well-known and for us in this family we have probably heard it more than others, it is often taken lightly. We need to make sure that God is the central point of our focus. I may have said this before but if we expect to see daily success in our lives we need to know how to acknowledge God in all we do.

Daily connection through prayer: We need to rise up early and seek Him. Tell God your plans for the day, the week, the month, the year and beyond. He can handle it. Ask Him to show you the best way to go about living a life that pleases Him. Ask for His anointing to do the insurmountable things that he has called you do. Also seek His anointing to carry out your day-to-day responsibilities in your roles as parent, employer, employee, business owner, sibling, child or any task you do.

Let the Word be your guide: The Bible is your life’s compass. God designed His word to answer the simple as well as difficult questions of life. It is your navigator whether the seas of life are calm or there are storms raging. It will tell you what to do. Follow its instruction and you will succeed in whatever you do (Joshua 1: 7-8).

Seek Godly counsel: Our aunt was a woman of wisdom and at times she would have a word of encouragement or express the unexpected but timely advise you really needed to hear. Scripture tells us that there is safety in counsel of many. Through Godly relationships and the teachings we receive in our various congregations we can receive the wisdom we need to triumph through life’s challenges. When we see believe God’s word spoken through others, God will give us success (2 Chronicles 20:20).

Trust God completely: Consider your wisdom as nothing (Proverbs 3:7). Do whatever God says whether you like it or not (Ananias was not keen about meeting Saul). Do whatever God says whether it makes sense or not (Joshua walked around the Jericho’s wall in silence at God’s direction). My Aunt Manie still trusted God even after her legs were amputated. She still prayed, went to church when she could, didn’t complain, became more of an encourager to the family and others and still worshiped God every day and had the most positive outlook on life.

Seeking God’s will in all you do isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do but do it anyway. We can reap every day success if we rely on our Creator God to show us how.

Do you seek Him in everything you do?

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?