Pressing Towards the Goal

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:14

Do you ever feel like you are constantly going in circles? Using a lot of energy but not getting anywhere?

As we enter into a New Year, we set out to make new plans and set new goals.  We often want to make so many changes that we become overwhelmed in the first few weeks of the year that we eventually return to our old ways of thinking and doing. Our enthusiasm quickly fizzles and by the end of the year we are feeling depressed for what we haven’t accomplished.

Motivation and hope is the most important thing to hold onto during the year. I truly believe that’s why the majority of people get stuck, get off track or simply quit.

Most people try to make preparations and major decisions in their own power but they do not realize that they need guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. It takes prayer, stillness, worship and relationship with the Lord to supply spiritual power to make the changes that you anticipate.

Unfortunately, we have a fast food mentality and expect things to work instantly. Text messaging, Wi-Fi connections, social media communications have spoiled us. Patience is no longer an option, but with God it is the ONLY option. He requires us to have patience. Through time we are molded into His character. “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.” Psalm 130:6

I recently read a book that contained brief chapters. I finished the book on December 31st to be exact. I believe that I was motivated to complete the book at record speed because of the short chapters that it provided.

Instead of setting such high goals at the beginning of the year, we should try setting attainable, short term goals that should be reviewed on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Don’t worry if you mess up or fall off your schedule. Just start over. “It is the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed because His compassion fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lam 3:22-23

Our biggest resolution should be striving to be better than the day before. Don’t carry the burdens of last year. Even though there are things that have not changed as of yet, try to have a new, fresh perspective. Things will eventually shift because nothing in life remains the same. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corth 5:17

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Old things have passed away, behold I am doing a new thing.”

 Use each day to work towards your goals, but take time to rest. Resting is essential to productivity. You cannot think clearly if you are constantly running on empty which also requires a healthy diet. When you align your mental, physical and spiritual self, you will regain fulfillment and peace. A balanced life is essential for victorious results.

If you have consistency, determination and resiliency, you will see the fruits of your labor. Preparation, organization and delegation also plays a big part in managing your goals and plans. By the end of the year, you will experience transformation in ways that you could never imagine. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6

“For I know the plans that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jer 29:11

Finishing the Race

woman-girl-silhouette joggerIn dedication to all those who were affected by the Boston Marathon Bombings

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:14

When you start a race, the ultimate goal is to be the first one to cross the finish line. Winning feels great. It is an indication that you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. It demonstrates strength, pride, determination and commitment. Integrity also illustrates the true character of a winner as long as honesty and playing fairly is part of the performance.

In high school, I was a sprinter on the track team. I also remember that I would exhaust all of my energy from the beginning to the end of the race because I was running the 50 to 100 mile dash. However, runners who compete in a long distance race must conserve their energy and concentrate on keeping a steady pace throughout the race. By the end, runners get a burst of adrenaline, momentum and speed.

The navigation through life is very similar to the challenges and obstacles we face in a marathon. Everyone has a dream or goal that they want to accomplish. They set out to fulfill their ambitions. Their main objective is to gain status, fame, money, material objects, a wife or husband, children, dog, house and car.  Well, you get the idea, anything related to the world’s idea of success and prosperity. Often, moving through life anxiously without enjoying the moment in time.

To achieve our goals, some lose their morals and values. They will lie or cheat. They will even ignore certain situations. Once they gain the success they’ve worked so hard for, they often grasp a tight hold on it as well as developing greed or envy. In fear of losing what they’ve gained, they forget the most simple and precious moments or to acknowledge others along the way.

We often see children rushing to grow up too fast or a couple rushing to get married. We do not take the time to enjoy each stage of life. Before we even graduate from school, we wish we were in college. By the time, we’re in college we wish we were married. By the time, we’re married, we wish we had children. Even in the most general or daily activities, it causes us to rush through life. We rush to our jobs every morning. We rush to the grocery store to complete errands. We rush to get the latest fashion or model car. Everything is a constant rush and we nearly want to hurt somebody if they get in our way.

Often times when we finally get to our destination, we have many regrets, failures, heartaches and sorrow because all to many times we’ve rushed through the natural process of life and missed out on valuable time. Often times, we could of avoided mistakes or bad decisions if we just took the time to focus on priorities and appreciate the time in that moment. “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Eccles 7:8

Satan can often trick us into thinking that we are running out of time. However, procrastination and fear is definitely part of the enemy’s tactic to keep us from moving forward. Sometimes, even paralyzing us.

However, through God’s grace, mercy and timing, He will work all things out for our good in His own perfect timing. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted: A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away; A time to rent; and a time to sow; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Eccles 3:1-8

Unlike the sprinter, the long distance runner realizes that each step is closer than the one before. While keeping abreast of their pace, they understand and appreciate the moment they’re given while keeping their eye of the prize. They can even accept if their competitor passes them by and know that not all is lost. They keep moving ahead with determination. Even though they are tired and out of breath, they pick up momentum. As they approach the finish line, they strive forward to victory. “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run; and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4

A Change in Season

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Photo Credit: Yolanda Berry

As we come upon New Year’s Eve, we often reflect back on our lives and flood our thoughts with many memories of the past year. We often re-evaluate our dreams, goals, aspirations and vision. We either become greatly motivated or unseemingly depressed as we remember the past year’s victories and defeats. But, we must look ahead with great expectation with hope.

It seems as if time is moving faster. I feel like I just posted my New Year’s message and another year is upon us once again. Did you do everything that you planned or wished for?

When we begin to realize that life will deal unexpected experiences and circumstances, we will begin to realize how precious life really is. Unfortunately, alot of people did not even see the end of this year. This should give us a fresh perspective and we should seriously begin to appreciate and value every season in life that we experience for we are not promised tomorrow. As each year passes, I begin to realize this more and more.

On another note, we should make every effort to live our lives to the fullest potential. What’s holding you back? Don’t keep putting off what you want to do in life. It’s time to make a change. Take the time to look to the future with great expectation with hope. Don’t let circumstances or people dictate or control your divine destiny. God is bigger than your circumstances. There will always be someone who will not agree or believe in what you want to do. Keep moving forward until you see results. Take each day one day at a time and don’t look at your overall goals which always seem to be overwhelming. Just take time to carve out a plan and work that plan until you harvest fruit.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
— 1 Corinthians 2:9

May you be blessed with abundant health, peace, provision and protection for the upcoming year.

Happy New Year’s 2013!

Renewing Your Mind

As we anxiously wait for the first day of summer, let us not forget this is the perfect time to reflect on the goals we set during the beginning of the year. We are halfway through 2010. Let us not to forget to evaluate our lives and what we plan to achieve by the end of the year. We are always reminded during Spring to clean out the clutter, so we may receive new things.

Let us not forget to clean out our minds which include bad memories and habits, defeated thoughts and attitudes or anything else that may be holding us back from receiving what God has promised us as His children. “Behold, I am doing a new thing. Old things have passed away. Behold, I make all things new.” II Corth 5:17

Refocus on Priorities

It’s important to take time to reflect on your life in a positive way. Don’t beat yourself up for goals that you haven’t attained just yet. But, just learn to refocus on priorities and set small goals to work towards what you desire to achieve.

Build a Support System

Also, you must pay close attention to your social environment. You should build a strong support system of family, friends, neighbors, classmates and church associates.

What type of people do you surround yourself? Make sure you are surrounding yourself with positive people who will inspire, encourage and motivate you. Pay attention to the details of the heart of people that you interact with on a daily basis. What are their motives or intentions? Are their actions and words positive or negative? Take note of their behavior and decide whether you choose to be around them. You are valuable and so is your time.

You should spend time expanding your mind. If you don’t enjoy reading, make it a point to watch a movie or documentary that will give you a different perspective on life. You need to refresh your mind. Water your mind with knowledge and watch it grow. In scripture it states, “My people will perish for the lack of knowledge.” So, don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people who think differently than you do. Expose yourself to new cultures, races, creeds, religions or non-religious people. Be open to new ideas, opinions and thoughts. You can have a healthy conversation without having a debate or argument. That’s what makes life interesting. You do not have to agree with the person, but please make sure you respect them.

Guard Your Heart and Thoughts

It’s important to guard your thoughts. It’s so easy to dwell on negative emotions or words that will eventually influence your mind and behavior. Be mindful of what you allow to enter into your mind. There are many negative influences that surround us in the world and it doesn’t take long for a negative seed to be planted in your mind which eventually takes root. It’s much like weeds growing among beautiful, green grass. Weeds tend to multiply quickly and destroy the view. If you feed your mind junk, that’s exactly what you will eventually believe or think.

We are constantly influenced by images, words and stereotypes that influence the way we think. We have been so programmed that we often do not really learn to think for ourselves anymore. Don’t rely on gossip or rumors, but confront the source to get the correct information. Let’s be conscious of what we choose to listen to since this has a strong impact on how we see ourselves and others and can eventually influence our overall behavior.

Fill your mind with God’s word. It’s the most important thing you can do to withstand the attacks from the enemy. The only way to win the battles that come against you is to put on the armor of the Lord. To overcome the storms of life, you must read and study God’s word. It’s filled with power, truth, protection, guidance and His promises. Through daily mediation on God’s word, you will start to build faith, strength and courage to overcome the challenges and obstacles that you face. Through prayer, you will build a relationship with the Lord and will be shielded through your trials and tribulations. Even though bad things will still happen, hold onto your faith. You will have to endure many tests in life. Keeping your heart and mind grounded in the word of God, will eventually lead you to the harvest He has prepared for you.