Book of Rememberance

Malachi 3:16

A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish!

It’s that time of year again. People are thinking about New Years and resolutions. I have never been very big on the idea of New Years Resolutions. I figure if there is something I know needs to be done, I either need to do it no matter the day or time of year or I know it needs to be done and I’ll procrastinate and make excuses until I am finally resolved and committed to accomplish that goal – no matter the day or season.

It’s a very sad thing to know that God has been talking with me about a specific area in my life and I KNOW I have to do something about it and I just haven’t gotten around to figuring out how to accomplish this goal He wants for me. Its even more mortifying to admit it has been nearly 2 years since God first put it in my heart to work on this area. Pathetic. Sinful.

Well, as I come into the end of 2011 I have been writing this blog for a year now. I see many changes! I also see those areas God was speaking to me about even last year that I am still working on…or havent been working on at all.

So I decided to do a bit of research. Study in this area of goal setting and what does it take to accomplish our goals.  I read an excellent blog (www.bigisthenewsmall.com) about leadership and in that blog he often talks about setting and achieving goals. I have learned a lot from him even though for the most part things he talks about does not directly pertain to me and my type of work, but it can often be applied in some way, shape or form to my personal/private life.

You know that common saying failing to plan is planning to fail? Well this appears to be true. It is researched that planning for your goals makes it anywhere between 50% and 68% more likely you will succeed. That’s say… between you and a friend making a resolution, if you plan for it you are more likely than them to accomplish it! 🙂

There are a few guidelines that business plan executives and creators pinpoint for the highest chances of success to accomplish your goals.

1) Brainstorm. List the goals you’d like to accomplish

2) Put the goals in writing. Make sure that they are specific, measurable! For example, “excercise twice a week” is a more measurable goal than “get fit.” Plan out a time line for achieving each goal also, both long and short-term is a good idea.

3) Create a Plan and Deadline.  What do you need to do to achieve your goal? How will you go about it? Is there people you need to connect with, or things you need to study? When do you want to have this goal reached by? long term…short term? steps you can take now and leading up to the ultimate goal. Setting time gives you an urgency and motivation to work towards it stronger than “sometimes before I die”. Chances are, with this attitude you will likely die first!

4) Accountability Partner. Find someone to confide in. That person you can trust to check in on you and see how you’re doing, reminding you and encouraging you to keep at it. Maybe working towards goals together, be it the same or similar goal or just partnering to build each other up and support one another in your dreams and lives.

5) Realistic. VERY Important! Your goals must be realistic or they will not succeed and you will lose momentum or encouragement to keep going. If you are currently living pay check to pay check with little left over each month, it is unrealistic to plan to save $1000 in just a month or two!

6) Measure Your Progress. This is so important! If you can’t see how far your coming along then you wont know how close you are to accomplishing the goal… or how far you are! You don’t want to get a month or two away from your deadline and realize that there is no way you can succeed. This will not foster good feelings about setting goals or encourage you to pursue other/future dreams. On the other hand if you can’t see how close you are, then during hard and try times your fight may grow weary and you have nothing to look at and build that strength to keep fighting.

Just as importantly 7) STOP WISHING! Wishing never gets anyone anywhere, we just sit around day dreaming about how we wish it would be. Take that wish, put it to work into a plan and set some goals to make those wishes become reality. Joyce Meyer always says “You don’t need Wishbone you need Backbone!”

How about fear? That’s one of the biggest obstacles we will face actually. I always tell my friend  – have a plan to get out of that situation after you do the scary thing. Sometimes we need to do something scary or nerve-racking to accomplish our goals or get stuff done that is required of us.

The best way to do this is have a plan of action. What do you need to do? What’s scary? Worst case scenario? Plan for it! Then execute the plan and Praise the Lord! God Himself says Fear not. This is not to say don’t feel fear but this is to say through your fear do what needs to be done. A Hero isn’t without fear, a hero is someone who does what needs to be done though the situation is terrifying and dangerous. Fear takes a back seat and action takes the lead.

Finally I repeat, Praise the Lord! He is ever with you, cheering you on and willing you to succeed! He is so proud and excited for you! Praise always brings the victory. So Just as God told the Israelites “Send Judah First!!” (Judah means Praise) Send your Praise First  before the battle (achieving your goals is a battle!) and He will make your paths straight, go before you and lead you into the Promised Land, the reality of that goal. Amen!

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Follow THE Leader

Following Jesus means we leave the world behind, I can’t follow Him by looking back on what I am leaving or giving up for His Sake.

Luke 9:57-62

57And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.58And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.59And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.60Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.61And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. 62And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

I highlight this passage because it speaks to each of us, no matter where we are in life or what is going on, Jesus is there speaking the very same message to us today.

In verse 57 we see a man, desiring to seek Jesus. I believe he really was sincere. BUT when Jesus told him the conditions (verse 58) in which he would be living/choosing in following God the man wasnt quite so keen.

What things, comforts, luxuries are we not willing to give up in order to follow the Lord? I have thought about this many times myself and still see so much lacking in my life as far as being ready and willing to surrender ALL for the Glory of God.

Verse 59 we see a different man in and different Situation. Jesus Himself calls the man to follow. What a privilege! Honour! Jesus, God and creator of the Universe has called you to go with Him! BUT we see the response in the very same verse (note the man was not referring to his father who had just died and needed burying, No this is referring to the man wanting to wait until his father had died before following Jesus) In other words…Not Yet Lord.

Have I said that to Him recently? Not yet Lord? Have I put Him on hold? I couldn’t imagine saying to my own boss “not right now, after” now imagine saying that to the Master of your Life! Yikes. that’s terrifying to consider.

Jesus response to that in verse 60 sheds light on the situation further. His father is not open to the Gospel. His father is not open to hearing the Word of God. and in fact he is dead already spiritually. But this man has a call (literally!) on his life to preach the Kingdom of God! Do you think he took the call?

61 we see a similar example of those wanting to do other things first. Once again in verse 61 we see a not right now, later God attitude. but Jesus makes it perfectly clear to us in verse 62. No one who is looking back , looking at that old life, at those old plans is fit for the Kingdom of God.

Its true though. How can you fully serve the Lord in His will if we are still thinking and looking back on our old ideas and plans. How we thought it was going to be, you know before God came and “messed everything up!” 🙂

Which of these men do I represent? What do I want to do first before choosing to follow Jesus?

Of course in my mind I can say “nothing” I serve the Living God! What could possibly be greater than that?” However, my prayers and life say something completely differently. As I pray and hope for a husband, and continue to enjoy the comfort of my life here in Japan it begs the question…. Am I following Jesus? Is THIS His plan and purpose for me?

It occurs to me often and it is something I have to not just fight daily but hourly even. Seeking His plan for my life, asking what He had designed for me, not what I hoped for, imagined or dreamed of.

I pray Father conform my will to Yours. My heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He Will*. Continue to turn my heart to Your Will. I once again commit my life and surrender my desires to You. I trust You Holy Father, and I cast out the spirit of fear In Your Mighty Name Jesus of Nazareth! Thank You Lord! A million times over Thank You!!

*Proverbs 21:1

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Labouring For The Kingdom

Luke 10: 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

This verse is crying out loudly to us in our church this year. (Though I suggest it is not our church only who God is crying out to) God is making a statement about the harvest fields in Japan. There are times and seasons when Gods Word and Spirit is flowing in a particular way. It is up to us to be sensitive to the Spirit and be ready to give reasons for the Hope that is in us.

What really shocked me in this verse was something I tend to take for granted a lot of the time.  Jesus tells his people to “pray to the Lord”. Now wait a minute…isn’t Jesus Lord? isn’t he capable of doing anything and everything? Doesn’t he see the need know what course of action to take?

It amazed me cause that is just like the God we serve! He is always interested in bringing his own children into the midst of His work. He could do whatever He wanted whenever, but then where does that leave us? How can one doing everything, fellowship with ones who are doing nothing? What is there to talk about? What is there to work on together?

But God, Creator of all wants us to be a part of His kingdom, and His work. He invited us to join with Him, to partake in the life He is desiring for us.

So in this verse (and many others also) Jesus told them to Pray to God for a change, to make things happen. Even though He was with them, He wanted them to pray. To be a part and not be idle.

What are we hoping God will do for us?  In us? Through us? Are we just waiting around knowing He already knows so were just waiting on Him to do whatever He’s going to do? This is not a relationship! He wants conversation, interaction and friendship.

Next time you feel unable to do anything for anyone, or be apart of what God is doing in this world take a moment to pray! Partner with God and allow Him to include you into what He is doing.

Lord, In the name of Your Holy Son Jesus I pray, that each of us will remember that call, the invitation you extended to us in your loving mercy and desire for fellowship with your children. Let us not take lightly the privilege to be a part of your Kingdom. On earth as it is in Heaven. We have the ability to bring that Kingdom down to earth and I pray Jesus, that we will begin to answer the call, respond to the invitation and follow your lead in labouring in this Harvest. Let us look up and behold the fields are white! Prepare us for the work to be done!

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Stronger than an elephant, longer than a rope

Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul.

This is my meditation right now. Allowing God the freedom to do this in my life. Many people want the restoration, but I don’t know how many of us thought about what it would take to complete it.  I think simply about restoring a building (after all we are the very Temple of God) and what goes in to that? Tearing down, ripping apart, sanding, hammering, pounding… the list could go on.

  Now when this is happening on the inside of you, how pleasant can that really feel? But in the end I have made some decisions, no matter what, I will please God, and pleasing God is more important than pleasing men…or man – in this case ME.

I pray without ceasing these days “Lord conform my will to Your Will” It was a bit of an experiment if im being honest. I know all the Christianese things to say, the scriptures ect.. but in the end its the will that usually wins out. The tough part is making sure its HIS Will and not my own! I started to pray this a few days ago. Wow! What a change. It seriously works!

Denying my will was pretty similar to ripping flesh from flesh this week. Honestly. But in the end I am shocked and amazed to say that His Will did win out and I somehow managed to deny my own.

Came to learn that partial obedience was still disobedience and “not quite sin” is too close to sin that it probably fits in this “partial obedience” category.

Bible warns us that Spirit and flesh are continually at war against each other. (Galatians 5:17*, Mathew 26:41**) But getting strong in the Word really does prepare us for the fight and conform our desires to be aligned with Gods Desires.

I have come to learn that what defeated me before has now lost its power over me. As I become stronger those things can no longer do to me what they did previously in my weaker state.

We can’t give up trying to get victory over things that have previously held us back, because we never know when we became strong enough to defeat it!

I pray Lord please restore my soul, heal my heart, make me whole and conform my will to Yours Loving Father. In Jesus name.

* Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

**Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

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Steak or ground beef?

I was in the grocery store about a week ago … I really wanted steak. I like to go at night before the store closes cause then everything is marked down. As I was biking to the supermarket, I just casually wished to God that I hope to find some cheap steak.

I got there and sadly no cheap steak. They had tons of steak for about ¥1600 (roughly 16$ cause I don’t worry about exchange rates haha)

Anyhow, I was disappointed –  but  downgraded to ground beef to get my red-meat fix. The ground beef is about 8 steps from the steak but as I walked over I was annoyed about the  steak. So I gave a real heartfelt prayer in Jesus name that God would provide some cheap steak.

I turned around and took my  4-5 steps back to the steak and God Provided! Not only was there steak for cheap , it was FAR cheaper than I hoped for and it was the best steak I like to eat. I have not idea what it is in English or the meaning of it in Japanese (really don’t care) but its call “karubi” in Japanese. I got 14 pieces for only….¥290!!! That’s amazing even at 8pm at night!

Isn’t that a picture of our Christian life though? Without Jesus our life is ground beef , but with Him and His Mighty Name our life can be the best cut of Steak – provided by Him at hardly any cost to us….aside from time, love and devotion:) He already paid the full price! 

So the lesson is Pray –don’t just wish but Pray!!! And praying  with faith in Jesus name does impact our lives here on earth.

With praise and thanksgiving to the Only True God, Amen

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