The world does not need to make new resolutions. We need real solutions. Now, I’m not saying to scratch your goals. Of course, we should all have aspirations in our daily lives, but how do we reach our objectives without a concrete plan? Instead of goal setting, we should possibly be focused on intricate planning, drafting and charting our course of direction.
Within any plan, there is a process of preparation. Preparation is best achieved through small, attainable steps that are realistic to ensure finishing or completing a task or project.
We become so overwhelmed with our schedules and plans that by the end of the year, we are exhausted, frustrated or disappointed because we didn’t accomplish what we set out to do. Sometimes it doesn’t even take until the end of the year, our goals begin to fizzle in the first quarter of the year.
In order to prepare, you should consider:
- De-cluttering your landscape: Clearing out your spiritual, physical, mental and emotional space. It includes eliminating toxic substances, relationships, negative thinking and speaking which are strongholds that keep you in bondage.
- Getting things in order: Taking time to organize, restructure, rearrange or rework whatever plan you have in mind. Remember, don’t look at the overall picture, but keeping your eyes on Jesus while we continue to take small, mindful steps forward.
- Researching, studying and learning new concepts: Whatever you desire to achieve, learn as much as you can so you are well prepared to handle unexpected challenges that come your way. You should also allow extra time for unforeseen obstacles and difficulties. We all make mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up, but make sure you learn from each experience which is a building block to success. You’re allowed to start over. Each day is a new beginning. You must have consistency and continue to strive for excellence. Nothing can be accomplished without focus, endurance, and resilience. “Study yourself to be approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15
- Praying for direction and guidance: You should incorporate a lifestyle of prayer, meditation, and fasting. Make sure you include the Lord in every area of your plans. Let this be top priority. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” Matt 6:33 The Lord directs and orders your steps. “The word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
- Seeking wisdom from wise counsel and building a support system: Choose a friend, partner or family member who is positive and shares the same interests or goals that you desire to attain.
- Shifting perspectives: Analyze the full picture, keep an open mind and generate new ideas.
It’s much harder to achieve goals on your own merit. Scripture states, “When a man falls, the other man picks him up.” and “If one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
Having a community of like-minded people, helps you focus and work towards a plan, goal or solution. When you face opposition, just remember that God is the Creator and ultimate master builder. He holds the blueprints and the master plan of your life.
When things don’t go exactly as planned, seek Him for clarity, peace, wisdom and strength. “He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.” Philippians 4:19
The Lord promises that you will finish well and finish strong. In the end, you will be able to proclaim, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. “Jer 29:11
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Dan 2:44
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Psalm 100:1-2
As we step into 2015, we hold great expectation and goals for the New Year. We anticipate change whether good or bad, but either way we go forward with hope or anxiety entering into the unknown.
As we confess our resolutions, plans and goals, we may feel overwhelmed, yet hopeful of what is to come. However, we often put a time limit on success. When we don’t meet those expectations, we experience disappoint and we feel like a failure.
We live in a time-based society. We are consumed by hectic schedules and unrealistic demands. The Lord is not limited to time. He orchestrates our lives according to His intricate plan for our lives. He plants the right connections, family, friends, enemies, challenges, obstacles, struggles and experiences in our lives for a purpose. Some people are just for a season while others are rooted in our lives for longevity. “Each experience is not a result of luck or coincidence. It is the result of His divine plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11.
The ups, as well as the downs, are part of our development and growth process. It doesn’t take much to praise God in the easy times. However, when we are locked into bondage, it is hard to trust, praise, read the Bible and rest in the Lord.
We all have different prisons: A failed marriage, a friend or family member who has committed suicide or has died in a tragic accident, depression, drugs or alcohol addictions, poverty, job loss, a natural disaster aftermath or terminal illness. We struggle with our identities: Low confidence, self-esteem issues, jealousy, competitiveness, egos and status. We may even be in a good place in life, but still feel like we can’t breathe; stuck in routine and trapped in mediocrity.
All of our life issues sends us on an emotional rollercoaster ride that is rooted in fear, anxieties, abuse, torment, confusion, isolation, procrastination, temptation, sadness and discouragement.
When we have negative feelings and experiences, it sucks our energy dry. We are stagnate and idle. We are unable to focus or can’t seem to move forward.
The best thing to do when you have moments of despair is to praise the Lord no matter how hard it may be. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true.
However, if you are dealing with serious issues such as a chemical substance or physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse, you will need to seek rehab and/or counseling immediately.
All throughout the Bible, music is emphasized. The whole chapter of Psalms exhorts the Lord. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. It is the best way to get God’s attention. This is a form of worship and communication with God that builds relationship not only in the good times but in the worst of times.
Satan’s desire is to shut our mouth in prayer and worship. His whole goal is to steal our joy, hope, faith and truth. He wars with us to establish lies into our minds and hearts. However, where God is present the devil can’t reside. Where there is light, darkness is obliterated.
Do you ever notice when you listen to music you start to feel better when you’re down? Music speaks to our soul. It is powerful force. It stirs up emotions. When we listen to worship music it lifts our spirit. It encourages and inspires us. It gives us hope to go on. When you sing to the Lord, you open your heart to Him. You rejoice in his love, grace and mercy. Even through pain, you begin the healing process.
It’s not about how we feel inside when we are singing or listening to music, but it’s because of who God is that makes worship so special and powerful. When you magnify Him, your problems become smaller and you enlarge His territory to work in your life. Your focus in now on the solution and not the problem.
Whatever trouble or prison you may be in, open your mouth and shout unto the Lord for He is worthy to be praised. “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.” Psalm 95:2
We are transformed by His power. He has kept us under the safety of His wings. We are released from whatever is holding us back once we renew our minds and align our thoughts with God’s thoughts. This is a season of action and redemption. Accept no limitations as we move forward in faith with high expectation in this New Year.
In 2015, receive God’s promises and blessings for you and your family.
Singing praises to the King, we are set free, in Jesus Name.
“And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundation of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.” Acts 16:25-26.
“Thou has turned my mourning into dancing thou has put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.” Psalm 30:11
During this season, we are busy preparing for the biggest day of the year: Baking cookies, stringing lights on the tree, attending Christmas parties, going shopping and wrapping presents.
Christmas can also be a very depressing and lonely time of the year for many. While family and friends gather together, many are left alone. Others are left without gifts, food or shelter. Others may have lost a loved one and Christmas is just not the same anymore. It can crush someone’s spirit when they don’t feel joy and cannot celebrate as other’s do.
Jesus cares. It’s through Him that we share His same spirit to help and assist one another in life. A kind word, a hug, a listening ear, a warm touch or simply a smile can heal unspoken wounds or silent tears.
Jesus is with you in the most desperate of times. His name, “Emmanuel” means God with us. Yes, we may ignore his presence when everything is going great in our lives, but He never leaves us regardless if we acknowledge him or not. He patiently waits for us to come to Him. He is patient and kind and loves us more than we will ever know.
Through all the exciting festivities, I challenge you to take time out during the holiday season to focus on the reason for the season which is the birth of Christ. The Lord sent His Son for our salvation which is the greatest gift in the world. His presence is forever with us. We are part of His heavenly family once we acknowledge Him and accept Him into our hearts as our Lord and Savior.
I-pads, tablets, iphones, the latest video games or flat screen TV’s will never compare. Jesus is the greatest Christmas presence ever known.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immaneul.” Isaiah 7:14
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
I Corth 2:9
In this day of economic turmoil, one would question how can I escape the effects of job loss, furloughs and other financial woes? In the natural, it’s a time of lack, stress, heartache and fear. If you haven’t experienced the sense of loss during these five years, you have been spared. But mostly, I speak to those who have suffered loss in some form or another to provide encouragement, hope and inspiration.
Through tribulation, your eyes must be fixed steadily on the Lord. You can’t look to the left or to the right, but your focus should be on the power of the Lord. God is much greater than our problems. The Kingdom does not lack resources. “The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy, but I (Jesus) have come to give you life more abundantly.” John 10:10
The devil comes to fill us with fear, doubt and lies which steal our faith in times of weakness, temptation and trouble, but you must hold fast to God’s promises over your life. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” I Corth 14:33 Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phil 4:8
Pick up Your Sword
When you’re in spiritual warfare, you must speak loudly to the storms of life to overcome the wind and the rocky waves. The word of God must be embedded in your spirit. Once the word is rooted in your heart, it will flow easily out of your mouth. “For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edge sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Heb 4:12 “We have the power and authority to walk over serpents and scorpions and not be harmed.” Luke 10:19
Growing in Faith is a Process
“But your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” I Corth 2:5
During the storm, God is developing your character and shaping you on who you will become so you will be able to handle the blessing before it arrives. The Lord must know that He can trust you to be faithful in the gifts that He provides. If the blessings come too soon. You may not be mature enough to handle the blessing. The Lord reigns on the just and the unjust so the Lord’s blessings are not limited to His children only. He is an unlimited God. He works through those who believe and acknowledge him, but He also chases the lost sheep.
Preparation is Essential
It’s a season that should not be rushed. It’s also a call to preparation. “Through patience and obedience, you will inherit the promises of God.” Heb 6:12 Just because you may not see evidence of God working in your life does not mean that He is asleep. “Do not cast away your confidence which has great recompense of reward.” Heb 10:35
It’s also a time to be still. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him, do not fret because of him who prospers in his way because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. “ Psalm 37:7 Developing and nurturing an intimate relationship with the Lord so you can hear his voice, is critical in spiritual warfare. You must be willing to accept His will and follow through in obedience.
Acknowledge God’s Grace of Protection
Some storms in life comes in the form of protection. You may not understand why you may be going through a whirlwind, but the protection of God is holding you under His wing. “He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty.” Psalm 91
There is Purpose in Pain
God also allows us to go through the valley so we can relate to others pain and experiences to help them in time of despair. “Who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted by God.” II Corth 1:4. He is shaping us to be more like Him. The Lord may have you in a place which is hard and uncomfortable, but you are placed in a dark place to shine His light. In the wilderness, God will provide manna and protect you from danger. There is a higher purpose for everything that happens to you whether good or bad. This too shall pass. Trouble doesn’t last always. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Lay Your Burdens Down
In the natural realm, we normally would gravitate to the physical needs which are a prerequisite in our lives. It is real and evident. The problem stares us in the face and is a thorn in our side, however we must be steadfast and cast our cares on the Lord. “Be not afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude for the battle is not yours, but belongs to the Lord.” II Chron 20:15-16.
Faith Leads the Way
The Lord’s direction is like walking through a labyrinth. There are many turns and twist and even dead ends but eventually you will reach your purpose and fulfill God’s will. He will shut certain doors and open doors of opportunities, divine connections and fresh experiences.
Pray for Wisdom, Understanding and Discernment
When I speak of blessings I’m not referring only to physical and material things. There is a greater prosperity in the Kingdom of God. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Col 3:2 He has hidden blessings that you cannot understand or comprehend. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 It’s a time of alignment. It’s important to raise your thoughts and ways to agree with the Lord which will prepare you to receive His blessings. “Call until me and I will answer thee, I will show you great and might things that you do not know of.” Jeremiah 33:3
Praise is Your Weapon
Greater power is coming to His children which will supersede fame and fortune. There are hidden blessings that will be released at an appointed time in our lives. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of his own will. Ephesians 1: 11. We must remain faithful and seek Him for instruction at all times. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean unto your own understanding but in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path. Prov 3:5-6
“Surely blessing I will bless thee and multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Heb 14-15
Additional References: Ephesians 6:10-23
I created this blog on the foundation of hope. Hope is a powerful word and even more powerful when put to action. When you have hope you have the courage to keep believing, keep going and keep striving. If you are still breathing, you still have hope. Things still have an opportunity to change for the better. It’s a matter of eliminating the negative thoughts and walking by faith despite your circumstances. You have to feed your mind with positive thoughts and surround yourself with people who will uplift your spirits. Sometimes it’s better to be by yourself than to be with someone who will tear you down or speak words of doubt or negativity.
Hope gives you imagination and allows you to work towards your goals. Hope is purpose and inspiration.
“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)
Hope keeps you moving in the right direction….
As we enter the Fall, lets shake off the negativity of life and prepare for a new season of promises. It starts with your thoughts. Just like the colored leaves and acorns fall off of trees, get rid of the old and prepare for the new things that life has to offer. You may not see the change happen immediately, but with time you will eventually see a transformation.
Live with hope and high expectation.