Success by God's Word

Archive for June, 2012

5 Life Areas to Review with Your Finances

As the old saying goes, “Time flies”. Six months of the year 2012 is almost gone! My last post focused on the importance of living on purpose and what are some of the things you can do to live intentionally to achieve your goals. One way we can keep on track is by doing quarterly reviews. Occasionally we have to access where you are compared to where you want to be and determine or revise your plan of action to get there.

Every quarter I like to take a look at my finances to see how I am progressing. I realize that as a child of God I am accountable to Him for all the resources He has placed in my care, including money. God requires us to be good managers of everything He has blessed us with.

Usually we tend to look at our finances in a bubble without taking into account the other areas of our lives. Sometimes we approach reviewing our finances and life goals with apprehension because we feel we haven’t measured up with our expectations. However, an honest assessment of our progress will not only reveal areas for improvement but will clarify our accomplishments and victories. We need to approach this time with openness and gratitude.

Over the next week, as your take time to review your life goals consider the financial side to each of them. Sometimes we tend to make plans without making the link to our finances and may later realize that we don’t have the financial backing needed to help us accomplish our goals.

So, consider these questions when you review your life goals:

Spiritual Growth

  • Are you faithful in tithing and giving?
  • Is there a retreat or conference you want to attend this year?

More important for Christians is to plan giving. You may be the one God wants to use to help another – include a little extra into your budget for giving. Be open to the leading of the Spirit of God in this area. Also consider how you can grow spiritually and account for this in your plan.

Career & Business

  • Are you satisfied with your current career or the growth of your business?
  • Do you need to study more in your field or start a new career?
  • Are you making enough income or do you need to increase revenue?

Career and business development requires a cash outflow.  However, how much will depend on the type of career or business that you are pursuing. It is important to weight all your benefits and options before moving ahead. The key is making sure this aspect is accounted for in your finances.

Physical / Health

  • Do you exercise regularly three or more times a week?
  • When was your last physical done?
  • Do you give yourself enough personal time and care?

Keeping fit means either cost of recurring gym fees or exercise equipment if you workout at home. On the other hand, the cost may be minimal because you have a few exercise videos to help you out.

I have a friend who often says that the grocery bill cheaper than a hospital bill. How true! The price you pay for being healthy is a lot less than the price of being sick. Keep healthy has financial benefits.

Family & Relationships

  • How would you rate your relationship with your family?
  • Do you spend time developing your connection to them?
  • What are some of the best ways to connect with my family?

Spending time with your family does not have to be costly. A family night with games and snacks is great for bonding. A regular time prayer will not cost anything but afford you many spiritual blessings. Society tries to convince us that we need expensive electronics and extensive vacations to have family time. I aim for simple yet effective ways to keep my family strong. Ask the Lord what’s best for your family.

Personal Development

  • Do you read as your personal growth plan?
  • Are you taking courses to increase your knowledge outside your career aspirations?

I am a reader of mainly non-fiction material usually on finances, success, and leadership and of course, Christian living. I factor books into my budget. E-books have proved to be more cost-effective but I occasionally I like to have to feel of a printed book in my hand. Apart from that, I also consider seminars or courses which will cost more than books.

I have not exhausted all the core life areas but hope you find this a helpful start. If you can see some level of success or growth – applaud yourself and keep moving forward. If you find that there are some areas where you are not progressing as you would like – don’t beat yourself up. Find out what’s lacking and why, ask God for direction and then make a plan and start with small steps to success.

For your benefit, I challenge you take some time to review your goals including your finances and align them. You may be surprised by what you have accomplished so far.

Share with us what you have accomplished to date since the start of 2012.

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7 Ways to Live on Purpose

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about living on purpose and the importance of pursuing your dreams. But what does it really means to live on purpose? I’ve defined this as intentionally living out your vision – dreams, goals or pursuits. It’s living out God’s will for your life. To live on purpose is to live your life by design.

That sounds great but how do you do this? I’ve noticed that it can be challenging to keep the fire burning and remain purpose-driven. In my life recently I’ve been telling myself that “there too many moving parts” towards my pursuits. I’ve been wondering how to keep up with all of life and still live out my dreams in an effective manner.

The question is: How do I daily keep focus on my purpose? What do I do to continually move forward and achieve my goals?

This post includes some of the habits I use to maintain intentional living.

Know what your purpose is. This may go without saying but still we need to be reminded. What is your dream or the major goals you want to accomplish in your lifetime?

  • Ask God for direction if you’re not sure of the specifics. God’s will for you is wrapped up in you waiting to come out.
  • Assess yourself. Learn about you. What are your likes, dislikes, gifts, talents, education, personal experiences (problems you have overcome), passions, and interests? A good question to ask is: What do I love doing and would be willing to do without being paid for it?

Have a vision and write it out. Sit down in a quiet place with no distractions of any kind and dream a little, no, a lot. This can be a scary thing but you need to take time to think about your life and what you want it to look like. The challenge is linking it to God’s will for you but if you approach this time with prayer (and fasting, if possible) the Lord will guide you. Remember He is your Shepherd.

  • Whatever your dreams are – write them down. Get it out of your head and on paper. It will clear your mind and relieve the mental load you may have been carrying.

Set small goals. I would suggest that you do this the same day as your dreaming day but don’t delay too long.  Choose another quiet time and begin to put your big dreams into smaller goals.

  • Span those big goals into your lifeline from current tasks and projects, to one- to two-year goals, three- to five- year goals all the way up. For your one year plan break it down in quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily tasks.

Create signposts. We are encouraged to know the Word and keep it close wherever we can see it. I believe that you can do the same with your goals. You’ve written them out but to keep focused on them and act on them you’ll need to develop signposts.

  • Post these goals along with God’s promises to your computer or mobile phone as the wallpaper or in a file that you constantly refer to
  • Post them where you frequent the most: your dresser mirror, refrigerator door, home office desk
  • You can even create picture collage that represent all the different aspects of your dream and post it where you can see it often.

For example, maybe you have goal to lose five inches off your waist (my wish) and strengthen your abs – post a photo of a fitness advertisement and write on it, “How am I doing today?” Make sure it is strategically placed where you can see it to motivate you to exercise and eat right.

Depend on God’s direction. Again, I refer to what God says about His word – talk about the Word when you get up, lay down, with your children, at all times really. You need to do the same for your goals.

  • Talk to God throughout the process. God is the CEO of your life. He is the Master Strategist. He will give you direction to help you live on purpose and fulfill your destiny. Trust God through the process and enjoy the journey which is all part of living on purpose.

Talk about your dream. When you talk about something a lot it becomes more and more real to you. Talking positively about your dreams is a great self-motivator.

  • Speak the word concerning your dream. Visualize and confess the word as it relates to you dream. Speak those things as though they already exist even though they are yet to become real. Your tongue is a creative force. Use it well to build your life and fulfill destiny.
  • Talk to trusted friends. Choose carefully those who you share your most important goals with. There are some who will support you and there are others who will question your dreams. Find and hold to those who will rally around you and support you in prayer and in practice.

Work on your purpose daily. Work your dreams. This requires daily effort but you can do it.

  • Review your goals daily and every night write at least seven things you want to accomplish the next day.
  • Keep that list where you can clearly see it and make sure to act on what you have written down. Set you mind daily to do at least two or three tasks related to your goals.

No amount of planning is useful with acting on the plans.

I hope my list above will benefit you. It is by no means an exhaustive discussion on the topic but hopefully it’s enough to either help you move in the right direction or encourage you to continue living intentionally.

Tell me and encourage others too: What do you do to keep living on purpose?

The Father’s Love

As Father’s Day approaches you may be excitedly looking forward to honoring your father and celebrating with him while others may not. You may have a great relationship with you dad and enjoy being with him. Yet there are some who may not have that kind of relationship or even know their dad. Or you may know what it is like to have your father’s love while others long for it.The Father's Love

For some Father’s Day can prove to be a not so great day. However, regardless of our relationship with our earthly father, as Christians we can celebrate our heavenly Father. You have a Heavenly Father who:

Loves You BIG

The fact that God loved you even before you loved Him is enough to be thankful for (John 3:16). He showed His love by sacrificing Christ, His Son to suffer and die in our place. Therefore, appreciate God’s unconditional love. Receive His forgiveness and His love and love Him back. Your Heavenly Father loves you BIG.

Blesses You

God your Father is willing to give you whatever you need or desire. Since He willingly gave Jesus for you, what is there that He won’t do for you (Rom. 8:32)? He provides for all our needs and He has a good future planned for you.

Always Listens to You

Your Father God has time for you. You have 24/7 access to talk with your Big Dad God and to pour your heart out to Him. He does not only listen but He is able to give you sound advice and direction for your life. You can always rely on Him for guidance.

Protects You

Your heavenly Father is strong and absolutely mighty. He can protect you from any harm (seen or unseen). He has angels assigned to you not only to protect you from the enemy but from you hurting yourself (Psalm 91:11-12). You can always look up to Big Dad God and He will pick you up and hold you close.

Our Heavenly Father is the greatest dad ever. Although He expects us to honor and celebrate Him, He also wants us to do the same for our fathers. We glorify God when we:

Honor our fathers. God promises that when we honour them, He will ensure that we are successful and have long life (Eph. 6:1-3).

Pray for our fathers. There isn’t anyone who does not need prayer. No dad is perfect. Our prayers can go a long way in helping him to become the man God wants him to be.

Give thanks for our fathers. Yes, give thanks for him. After all, we are their seed.

Bless our fathers. Fathers’ Day gives you the opportunity to do something special for our dads and to say, “I love you.” Whatever little we do will be appreciated.

What special things are you doing to honor your dad?

7 Strategies to Overcome Your Problems

Recently a friend encouraged me to read and pray based on the story of King Jehoshaphat. As I did, the Lord pointed out clearly how we can overcome our problems if we use this example to guide us through the battles of life.

1. Run to God in Prayer

Oftentimes when confronted with a problem our human response is to feel overwhelmed and fearful. This is what the enemy wants to do – strike fear in the hearts of the unbeliever. But we should take Jehoshaphat’s example to heart – although he was afraid he quickly sought God in prayer.

2. Fast in the midst of Prayer

Fasting tells God that He is more necessary than the necessary food you eat. Fasting isn’t a show to the world but a cry for help to God. Fasting gets God’s attention more readily – He sees your sincerity and that your need is urgent.

3. Gather Support

Don’t fight alone. Involve others in the battle you are fighting. You may call your family to fast with you or have family prayer until you see the victory. You can join with a close friend to pray over the situation. Remember, one can chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight (Deuteronomy 32:30; Joshua 23:10). There is power in united prayer and fasting.

4. Receive the Word of God

God will speak to you and to your problem; you need to have listening ears and a receptive heart. His word can come at any time – through a sermon, a song, a friend or personal Bible study. When you get that Word from God, you just accept it.

5. Worship God

One beautiful aspect of this story is the people’s immediate response to God’s word in worship even though the battle wasn’t yet won. Please hold on to God’s promise of victory and do not question it at all. Just worship and praise God in the midst of the challenge and when you’ve triumphant over the enemy.

6. Obey God

There is a part for all of us to play in any problem or challenge we face. God will give us the breakthrough and He will use our obedience to His word to do it. Just as these people followed the instructions God gave them – though not the typical warring instructions – they did it and won a fight they didn’t fight! So you to, “Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you.”

7. Expect to Win

Be like the people of Judah and go out to battle singing praises to God. They knew they would win because God was fighting for them. When God fights for you, you are destined to win and you will receive abundant blessings.

Conclusion

Even if fear comes, we can overcome it and win the battle if we follow this and other numerous examples given to us in God’s word.

Don’t be afraid when trouble comes. Ask God to fight on your behalf. With Him you will win!

Encourage yourself and others: What has been your response when faced with a problem? How did God work for you?

Special Note: I know that I haven’t exhausted this topic. Take the time to read 2 Chronicles 20:1-29 and pay close attention to Jehoshaphat’s pray, the word the Lord gave to him and how he encouraged the people to trust God. Then take time to pray according to this Word.

3 Ways to Keep God’s Word Close

We are very fortunate in this century to have the Word of God so near to us. The Word is near us in terms of accessibility. The Word can be in hard copy; in audio or video formats; on television; on the internet; on your cell phone, e-reader, or computer. There are also different translations available to study from. Compared to the biblical times when the Word of God was read at specified times when the people of God gathered, we have it available at all times. The nearness of the Word of God leaves us with no reason for not knowing it.

Unfortunately, sometimes we become distracted with life and don’t keep God’s word as close to us as we should. However, Deuteronomy 30:14 offers us some insight on how to keep the Word near to us.

1. READ THE WORD

At home, early in the morning, in the afternoon, late a night, anytime or anywhere we can read the word. I usually read in the early morning and prayer before breakfast. While driving to work, I may listen to a sermon or I pray the scriptures I read earlier that morning. Depending on the activity of the day, I may be able to slip in a short message or read. At night l enjoy having a cup of tea J and reading either a book or the Bible just before sleeping. Other times, while doing other tasks I would listen to the Bible on my Blackberry using You Version – it’s a great tool.

2. SPEAK THE WORD

If you know the Word you will speak it.  I would purposely make an effort to repeat certain scriptures I read as go through the day. During prayer, I would confess in faith specific scriptures I have written out. I have seen the Lord faithfully honor these promises that I have held to. If we take God’s instruction, the word of God should constantly be in our mouth. We should be talking about the Word morning, noon and night; when we lay down to rest and when you get up (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19). As we do this we are not only edifying ourselves but we are teaching our children.

3. THINK THE WORD

If you are constantly speaking the word – whether in prayer, in daily conversation with friends of family, occasionally meditating on it throughout your day – then it becomes embedded in your mind and heart. You would be thinking on good, lovely, profitable, wonderful thoughts because the Word is of God and God is good. This for sure will help to erase negatively from your thinking. You will grow from grace to grace and see life from God’s perspective and not the world’s.

LIVE OUT LOUD THE WORD

Once you’ve got the Word in you – mouth, mind and heart – you will know God’s desire and you will act in a way that pleases Him. When you walk in obedience to His Word, then you will see God’s many blessings in your life (Deuteronomy 28: 1-14). When you keep His Word, your soul will prosper and so will all other areas of your life (3 John 1:2).

Therefore, keep the Word of God near to you always and treasure them more than your necessary food (Job 23:12).

What do you do to keep the Word of God close to you? Share and encourage someone.