How To Pray When You Are Setting Goals


Praying woman hands


I found this article about goal setting. Although the article is a few years old, I thought it was quite good and wanted to share it with you. The link to the original article is at the bottom of the post.
 

With a brand new year stretched out on the horizon, it’s tempting to think we can generate an impressive list of all we hope to accomplish in 2014. But goals that aren’t infused with and a result of prayer can lead to unnecessary frustration and disappointment.

When I’m establishing goals, I like to keep this little formula in mind: My goals must = God’s goals. For me, unless that’s true, I might as well stay home and watch House Hunters and check Facebook all day.

While I can’t guarantee that you’ll never set another useless goal, I can share how I pray. And I believe that if you pray this way, too, God can inspire and direct your goals, as well.

Therefore, do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17)

1. Allow time for prayerful reflection.

This might seem obvious, but when was the last time you sat down to think and really listen to God? Rushed decisions usually turn out to be wrong decisions. Give the Lord time to give you direction. Jot down what you think you’re hearing, and allow time to process and pray about it; don’t rush into anything. Remember, “To be overhasty is to sin and miss the mark.” – Proverbs 19:2b.

2. Ask for clarity and direction.

I always chuckle when I catch myself praying, “God, speak clearly to me!” I don’t think God mumbles. I do think I occasionally need my spiritual ears cleaned out. The good news is, He enables us to Hear His voice. “My sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice.” – John 10:27a 

3. Ask Him to shape your thoughts.

This is so cool, and I regularly pray this particular scripture by personalizing it. “Roll your works upon the Lord–commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and so shall your plans be established and succeed.” I always pray: “God, cause my thoughts to become agreeable to Your will, then my plans will be established and succeed.”

4. Ask for pure motives.

Popularity, fame, power and money are dangerous motives. The only two motives that I can think of that matter to God are love and obedience. I’m sure there are other valid motives, but the point is we don’t want tainted goals. Jesus said, “I receive not glory from men–I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame.” – John 5:41 

5. Ask God to show you the gifts He wants you to use.

Everyone has a talent that they can use to help others in some way. When we know what those gifts are, we’re more likely to use them. When we’re fruitful, God is honored. “That you may walk, live and conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work…” – Colossians 1:10

6. Ask God to help you prioritize.

Goals need to mesh with our lives, not bring confusion, frustration or consistently take top priority to the detriment of everyone around us. It takes wisdom to properly prioritize our goals, and God always provides when we ask. “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God Who gives to everyone liberally and un-grudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5

7. Give yourself a break.

Some goals just don’t pan out. Sometimes we sincerely try something and discover it wasn’t the right thing, or maybe the timing was off. That’s okay. Setting goals isn’t about accomplishing 100% of what we do with 100% perfect results. It’s about taking control of and responsibility for our lives, and giving it our all. Our ultimate goal should always be to do our best, and leave the results to God.

Blessings on your day.

Image: Google Images

Article Source: http://www.juliegillies.com/2011/01/how-to-pray-when-youre-setting-goals.html

CHRISTMAS ROAD TRIP


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Our Christmas Holiday started with a road trip to the Grandparents house. The thing about road trips is they are usually an adventure. Despite all the best planning, you never know how the trip is going to turn out. Our 18-hour drive turned into 21 hours for a variety of reasons, including a detour for a Christmas parade.

But the spirit of Christmas was everywhere we went. Perfect strangers held the door for me. Store clerks said, “Merry Christmas” and I think they meant is. Everyone had a smile on their face. Well, that’s the way it was on the trip TO Grandma’s house.

The trip home was not like Christmas at all. Strangers were just strangers. We were lucky to be greeted by store clerks. Wait staff seemed to only utter the required greeting. The traffic and aggressive drivers made the trip home difficult. Two days after Christmas and the spirit of the season was already gone.

If only Christmas were all the time.

But it could be.

The real meaning of Christmas should be living in our hearts every day of the year. It’s in the way we talk to people, lend a hand and offer a smile. It’s a simple greeting during an otherwise busy morning. It’s being Christ for everyone you meet.

Is that possible? Can we remember to display the Christmas love we have in our hearts on April 16, July 9, October 21 and every other non-holiday? What would it take to make Christmas a year-round mindset?

Why is sharing the love of Christ is something so difficult for us Christians to do (generally speaking)? Why do we get so caught up in the culture in which we live? Why must we be so “politically correct.” No one seems to care when we are offended.

I’m going to challenge myself to keep the Christmas Spirit alive all year. That would be a taste of heaven.

Would you consider joining me?

Luke 2:10

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people (emphasis mine).

May Christmas live in our hearts all year.

A BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY


technology

 

I’ve been absent from blogging for over a week due to traveling for the holidays. I will probably spend the next week getting caught up on everyone’s posts. I have missed my normal routines, and missed blogging, but it was so good to see family and enjoy the real meaning of Christmas.

Now that I have access to a computer and the internet again, it occurs to me how nearly every facet of our lives is touched by technology in some way. We had to work hard to avoid technology during Christmas.

That doesn’t mean I think technology is bad. I love technology. I don’t think I would have the patience to write if it weren’t for word processing. Phones, computers and other advances in technology have improved our lives in remarkable ways. I would not want to lose those advances.

But a break from technology can be such a blessing. There was a certain peacefulness to not checking email, and it was fun to spend time reminiscing and playing old-fashioned games (the kind without batteries). Simply enjoying the sunset and beauty of God’s creation with my parents was a wonderful experience.

Every now and then turning technology off can bring you peace and stillness. We all need that in this busy world.

Psalm 46:10a “Be Still and know that I am God.”

 

May you enjoy a peaceful day.

Christmas Light


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Why are Christmas lights so magical? We have beautiful lights on display at other times of the year. Perhaps it’s because there are more lights at Christmas time, or maybe it’s because Christmas lights represent a promise fulfilled one quiet night some 2,000 years ago.

Christmas light is revealed twice in the story of the birth of Christ. The narrative is found Luke 2:1-40. We’ve read the story many times, but take another look. Christmas light is promised to everyone, it says so in the announcement. Beginning in verse 8, we learn the shepherds are visited by an angel of the Lord. The news is very special.

8 ‘And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”’

The glory of the Lord was shining! That light brought the first revelation of Christmas light, found in verse 10. The angel brought news of great joy for ALL the people. But there is more light in the story, continuing with verse 22:

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 ‘When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  …

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.  He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismissyour servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There it is in verse 31 and 32. We see that Christ is a light for revelation to the Gentiles. Again, ALL the people were included in the promise.

But there is more light in the story of Christmas. We find it in Matthew 2.1-12. Matthew’s gospel tells us the story of the Magi following the Christmas star to find the baby Jesus, and worship Him. Verses 9-11 tell us about the star: 

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

Imagine the light of this beautiful star! The Christmas star directed the Magi, just as the light of Christ will direct us, if we are open to Him.

Christmas light is our precious Lord and Savior.

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

May you and yours receive the full blessings of this Christmas Season.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

God’s Gift of Silence


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God’s gifts don’t usually come wrapped in pretty paper and sparkling bows. Sometimes we have to grow to see the gifts God has given to us.

Consider when it seems God is silent in your life. This is frustrating to us. It may seem like God has gone on an extended vacation and we’re not sure when He will be back. As my husband continues to look for work, it seems that God has been silent, and has not been responsive to our prayers. Deep down, I know that’s not the case.

Looking back, I can see the faithfulness of God throughout my life. The lasts few months are such a brief period of time in comparison. Maybe I’m looking at God’s silence the wrong way. Maybe God’s silence is a gift.

In God’s silence, we need to trust Him even more. Consider John chapter 11, when Lazarus died. Jesus purposely delays going to see Lazarus. When Jesus arrives in Bethany, Lazarus has already been dead for four days. He comforts the sisters, and performs a miracle, raising Lazarus from the dead. There was a period of time Martha probably felt abandoned (verse 21).

When God seems silent, are we going to trust Him? Consider Mary’s response in verse 22, “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Martha continued to trust in God, even though her world was shattered by the death of her bother.

When we trust in the Lord, we see His faithfulness. That’s an incredible gift. 

Silence is not the absence of God. Silence is an opportunity for spiritual growth, and to see God’s mighty works. 

Lamentations 3:25

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him 

James 5:11

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 

Psalm 37

Read from your own Bible

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.Biblegateway.com

Image: google images

The Meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas Song


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We have all heard the Christmas Carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” There is a story floating about the internet and other venues that the song has its roots in 18th-century England, as a memory-and-forfeit game sung by British children. In the game, players had to remember all of the previous verses and add a new verse at the end. Those unable to remember a verse paid a forfeit, in the form of a kiss or a piece of candy to the others.

One theory, however, connects the carol to the era when Catholicism was outlawed in England, from 1558 and 1829. The carol is said to be a catechism song for Catholics to learn “the tenets of their faith,” as they could not openly practice in Anglican society.

Today, each gift in the song represents a hidden meaning relevant to the Christian faith. Every time I hear the song I try to remember the meaning of each gift. They are:

A partridge in a pear tree – Jesus Christ

2 Turtle Doves – The Old and New Testaments 

3 French Hens – Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues 

4 Calling Birds – the Four Gospels

5 Golden Rings – The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch” 

6 Geese A-laying – the six days of creation

7 Swans A-swimming – the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments

8 Maids A-milking – the eight beatitudes 

9 Ladies Dancing – the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit 

10 Lords A-leaping – the ten commandments 

11 Pipers Piping – the eleven faithful apostles 

12 Drummers Drumming – the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

But…if you check Snopes.com this story is probably not true. The origins of “The Twelve Days of Christmas Song” is unknown.

Why not let it become true today? Someone took the time to assign a particular point of the Christian faith to each gift mentioned in the song, and the story has been circulating for years. It must be meaningful to a lot of people. The new meaning of the lyrics may not be steeped in history, but we can change something and made it good. The lyrics are twisted around for other purposes,  such as advertising, why not change the meaning of the verses and use it for good?

Music has a way of stirring up memories and emotions. As for me, I will continue to enjoy the myth, sing and remember all that my great God has given to us, not just for 12 days, but for every day.

James 1:17 (CEB)

Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all.

http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/music/12days.asp

A Gift for Jesus


 Christmas-present

Several years ago my family started a new Christmas tradition. Each of us writes a letter to Jesus, telling Him what we will do for Him in the coming year. It is our gift to Christ. We put those letters in a beautiful box and place the box under the tree after Christmas Eve Services.

After the presents are opened on Christmas morning, that box remains under the tree.  Sometimes we have guests over, and they remark on the unopened box. This is an opportunity to share our faith.

Those letters stay in that box until we begin decorating for Christmas the next year. We can then look at our letters and see if we met our goals in how we were going to serve Christ during the year.

This exercise has been a great way to help my children understand the great gift of Jesus, and the real meaning of Christmas. It also helps me to focus my service for Christ.

Matthew 2:11

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Have a blessed Christmas Season.

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images