2012…How Did It Turn Out?

December 31, 2012

Can you believe it’s the last day of 2012? It seems like just yesterday I was writing about my goals for the year 2012…as in the upcoming year. Now, at the blink of an eye, I am writing a reflection of 2012 as the year gone by.

Besides using this blog space to provide helpful information, I also like to use it as a space for my personal reflection… So how did the year turn out? I’ll share about that in a moment. First, I’ve copied and pasted what I wrote at the beginning of the year…

…It’s that time of the year again. We reflect on what was, and determine what is to be. Here’s that take from this author’s perspective…

As I look back on 2011, I say it was good. Nothing great, nothing horrible. The negative is that several of the goals set at the beginning of the year still remain unaccomplished. The positive is that I learned a lot. As in more than I have in a long time. Now it’s time to apply that knowledge to enable all of 2012’s goals to be realized.

So here we go. My intentions for 2012. I call them intentions because I don’t like the word resolution. To me, a resolution is something to try and that we hope to accomplish. It works for a month, and then we are often back to the old habits. An intention is something that is going to get done. Period. I believe we need to approach our goals with that attitude. Here now, the 2012 intentions:

  • Seek God first. It’s the obvious choice for number one. However, it’s something I often lost sight of in 2011. In order to succeed, I need to see things from His point of view, not mine. The more I am consciously aware of His presence and stick to His agenda, the more successful I will be.
  • Double my income. Yes you heard me. No I am not naming it and claiming it. I am constantly told to have faith and pray big. I often recommend it myself. Well here goes. I pray that God forgives me for my financial mis-management and poor stewardship. I pray that He shows me the way to make this happen. I feel that, if we’re not going to pray big, what’s the sense in doing so?
  • I intend to have faith and banish all doubt. I’ve taken no for an answer long enough. Now it’s time to believe that my time has come, visualize success, do my part, then know God will make it happen.
  • I intend to be content and enjoy the moment. Time moves quickly, and I sometimes allow it to go by without savoring the positive experiences of life. Also, sometimes I am too caught up in future events and goals that I don’t focus on and appreciate present day successes. Life is so much better when we enjoy present moments and victories, regardless of how big or small they are.
  • I intend to serve others. There are several great examples in my life of people who make a habit of selflessly serving others. It is a fact that, as we determine what people want and help them get it, we experience major blessings in our own lives. Besides this, I believe it is simply what God wants me to do, and I willingly obey.

As I now look back on 2012 I will call it a good year. My family and I are all healthy and we enjoyed some fun, special moments together. God definitely blessed us. However, as I look at the goals I set, I fell short in many ways. In fact, I didn’t hit any of them consistently. There was positive growth in each area, but not enough to bring my life to the high level I am seeking.

So what happened? Why were these goals not accomplished? I believe it is simply a lack of focus on them. I realize that I have to do more than just write them down and hope they happen. Those are resolutions. As I noted last year, these need to be intentions instead of resolutions. I have set most of these goals again for 2013 (more about that in the next post). In order for them to be realized I need to focus on them on a daily basis. It’s as simple as that.

In every year we learn some valuable lessons. I have learned that the goals I’ve set can easily be accomplished. However, they’re not just going to happen on their own. Constant focus and constant action is what’s needed to get it done.

I certainly hope your 2012 was a positive year. Great blessings to you : )

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Sharing The Light

December 28, 2012

Christmas has come and gone, and as usual it was a special time. One of our Christmas Eve traditions is attending a candle light service at our church. It is beautiful how the whole church is lit up simply by each person holding a small candle.

This year the pastor mentioned something I had never thought of before. He said that this beautiful light we were seeing from many small candles all started from one big candle. That big candle lit one small candle, which lit another, and another, etc. The entire church is lit with candles because people share the light with each other, a light that came from one main source.

I thought about this scenario and realized how true it is in life. God’s light is our main source. This light and the power of it can be a part of us as long as we “light our candle” with it. We can then shine this light, and more importantly, share it with others to help light their worlds. As we do this the light spreads. Our world and those of others becomes very bright with this positive light.

Imagine how much brighter this world would be if everyone obtained their light from the main Godly source and shared it with others. After all, we are told in Matthew 5 that we are the light of the world. Jesus adds that a city on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do we take a bright lamp and hide it under a bowl. Instead, we put the lamp on a stand and let it’s light shine brightly, and it gives light to all who are in the house. He further commands us to let your light shine among men so they may see your good works and God will be glorified (v. 14-16).

It is my challenge to make sure I am constantly in touch with this light and sharing it with as many people as possible. Let this be your challenge as well. Enjoy the blessings : )


Following The Yield Sign

December 19, 2012

When I was very young, I quickly became familiar with some of the signs of the road. I wasn’t driving of course, but I was proud to know that the green light meant go, and red meant stop. I learned that the octagon shaped, red sign also meant stop. The yellow signs meant I needed to be cautious of pedestrians, animals, or slippery conditions. However, one sign always confused me. It was that read triangle one that said yield. What does yield mean?, I thought to myself. It was weird. I couldn’t figure it out because sometimes people stopped, sometimes they slowed down, or sometimes they just kept going without changing their speed.

Today I am fully aware of what the yield signs. I learned that it ultimately means giving the right of way. Sometimes I need to stop completely. Somtimes I just need to slow down, and other times I can keep going at pretty much the same speed. However, recently I have learned the importance of yielding  in life. Not so much to other cars, but more to other forces.

What am I talking about? Specifically, I am talking about yielding to God’s power in my life. His power and wisdom is readily available to me. It’s a part of me. It’s part of you. The key is to give it the right of way. We often don’t do that. Life gets so busy and we get so caught up in its fast pace that we go right through the sign. We try to do everything in our own power. However, that often makes things more difficult.

My challenge now is to yield to the true power that is in us. Get out of the way and let God’s power take over. It knows the answers and actions to take. It can accomplish far more than we ever could. It is the power blessings and miracles are made of. Once again, it’s all part of us, waiting to manifest. It’s just a matter of us stepping out of the way and letting it do its work.

I don’t know about you, but I’m done getting in the way of the great power that is in me and wanting to work in my life. It’s time to yield to God’s great power and depend on it instead of relying on my own ego and limited power. I challenge you to do the same. Sometimes you can go ahead, sometimes you need to move slowly, and sometimes you may need to stop completely. The key is to obey the yield sign and yield to the power of God that is part of you. Let it do its great work and watch the miracles take place. You will be blessed in a major way : )


The Power Of Intention Statements

December 15, 2012

Do you have a to-do list? I have learned that it is very helpful to have my plans written down, along with the goals to be accomplished each day. I try as much as I can to do this on a daily basis.

I have become more aware of ways to enhance the quality of life. One that I consistently read about is the concept of intention statements. An intention statement is exactly that..an intention. You say to yourself consistently that you intend to…and fill in the blank with a goal you are seeking to accomplish.

Do these work? I believe they work the same as the to-do list I mentioned earlier. For example, my to-do list for today might say something about grading papers for all of my classes, and picking up a list of items at Walmart. Those are the goals. The list is something that keeps me focused on accomplishing those goals. If I use this as an intention, I can simply say that I intend to grade papers for all of my classes today and I intend to get A, B, and C at Walmart. I’m focused, I do what I need to do, and it gets done.

I am finding more each day that these intentions can be used for far more. They can be used to enhance the quality of your life in all areas. You can say things like..”I intend to spend at least 30 minutes of quality time with my family each day”; “I intend to add positivity and joy to the lives of at least 10 people today”; I intend to earn X dollars this year; I intend to bring my weight to X pounds within two months. These are just a few examples. Some can be general, but the best ones are the ones that are specific and measurable.

Why are intentions so effective? Mainly because intentions help you to keep your focus on the goal instead of the things that pull you away from it. It also makes the goal more believable. The more you repeat your intention, your subconscious mind believes it more and more. With enough repetition, you are convincing yourself that the desired result will take place. Once your subconscious believes something, it’s only a matter of time until you are lead towards manifestation of the goal.

Ultimately what you are doing when you use intention statements is using a glorified to-do list. You are writing down and saying what needs to get done, then you decide what you need to do and do it. It’s as simple as that. So why not put some lofty and ambitious goals on your intention list. Pray for God’s guidance, start moving and acting right away, and experience the joy of your goals being reached. Enjoy the blessings : )


A Great Reason To Be Thankful

December 11, 2012

Thanksgiving here in the U.S. was almost 3 weeks ago, yet the hangover still lingers. I really believe God is trying to tell me something because everywhere I look, the subject of gratitude shows up.

I have many reasons to be grateful in my life, and I must say that I take time to thank God for the blessings I receive. However, as I study further, I find that I am not doing it enough. It’s amazing how many things we have to be thankful for in our lives. Yet how often do we get caught up in the fast pace of life that we accept our victories without acknowledging where our strength and power came from.

In the weeks since Thanksgiving, I have taken deliberate time throughout the day to thank God for even the smallest blessings. Examples are things as small as finding a close parking spot at a busy mall; making all the green lights instead getting stuck at the red ones; How it rained for my whole drive to work, then stopped when it was time for me to get out of the car. Then I thought of other things I take for granted. Things like running, hot water; not only food on my table, but a choice of what that food is; the fact that I have two cars that work well, along with excellent health.

The list can go on and on. Hopefully the same is true for you. I challenge you to look for things, even the smallest ones, that you can give sincere thanks for. When you do, you will maintain a positive attitude, and you will set yourself up for greater blessings.

The clincher for this philosophy came when I was reading a book by Christian Larson called “The Ideal Made Real”. There is a chapter on gratitude, and the author makes the following statement: “the soul that is always grateful lives nearer the true, the good, the beautiful, and the perfect than anyone else in existence, and the more closely we live to the good and the beautiful the more we shall receive of those things” (p. 65).

I don’t know about you, but I want as much as the good and the beautiful as I can get. And if the way to experience those things constantly is to be thankful for my blessings on a regular basis, then count me in. The same is true for you. Be grateful for even the smallest blessings, and you will experience great victories and miracles. That is definitely something to be thankful for. Enjoy the blessings : )

 


Affirm Belief

December 9, 2012

All things are possible to him who believes – Mark 9:23

The above quote is easily one of my favorites in the Bible. It also comes from one of my favorite stories in the New Testament. A man asks Jesus to heal his son “if he can”. Jesus questions him..”if I can”? like..are you kidding me? Don’t you know I can do anything?

As much as I enjoy the above story, there are many times where it hits me right between the eyes. There are many times where I pray “if you can” prayers. There are other times where I lack the faith needed to make all things possible.

A question I’ve often asked and you may be asking right now is..how do I change this? How do I develop the belief necessary to make all things possible? I have found that there are two main ways..

  1. Ask – Simply ask God for it. This has always been a bit ironic for me. I’m supposed to ask God for things with the faith that He’ll do it. So how can I actually ask Him for faith? Sounds weird, but He is ready and willing to help us increase our faith. In the story above, after Jesus rebukes the man’s “if you can” statement and says all things are possible, the man asks Him for this very faith to make all things possible. In the next verse he specifically asks, “please help me overcome my unbelief!”
  2. Positive affirmations – Besides divine help, I am convinced God has given us the will and ability to help ourselves. I also believe he expects us to use it. One way I’ve learned to do this is by positive affirmations. I often discuss the benefits of positive affirmations on this blog. If you don’t already know, they are simple positive statements you say to yourself over and over until you begin to believe it. These statements can be extremely simple. For example, in his book “The Power of Positive Thinking”, Norman Vincent Peale says the best way to stop worrying and have faith is to simply say to yourself, “I believe” over and over and over again. If you think it doesn’t work, then try it. I have used this technique many times in stressful situations, and in some cases it’s as if the stress magically disappears. Other simple phrases work just as well, especially other Bible verses like the one I began this article with.

The bottom line is that the more your brain hears these statements, you feel the corresponding emotion, and take inspired action, you believe it. These thoughts then become part of you and your being. These thoughts replace the thoughts of worry and unbelief. What happens next is that it affects the action you take. In fact, if you let unbelief linger you often take no action because you are afraid of failure. When your mind is full of faithful thoughts, you instead are convinced of success and will take the action quickly to make it happen.

If you want the results you are seeking in life, affirm belief and faith. Say it and see it in your mind. Then watch it unfold on the big screen of your life. The coolest thing is that, once you see these positive results, it only increases your level of belief, and more great things happen. Believe me, I can totally affirm that this is true. Enjoy the blessings : )


The Power Of A Fresh Start

December 3, 2012

One of the things I am most thankful for, is the fact that we are given the chance for a new start every 24 hours. No matter what the days before have been like, this day is new. It’s a chance for something special. It’s the chance to accomplish something you’ve never done before. It’s a beautiful, fresh start.

I was reminded of this fact by some information I received from Joel Osteen. He presents some ideas for a fresh start. I will share those here with you:

F – forgive those who have hurt you. It is unbelievable how liberating this can be. I will also add…be sure to forgive yourself too!

R – refuse to look back. Look forward instead

E – expect God’s best. Starting today!

S – stay in faith, regardless of the current circumstances.

H – hope for tomorrow. In Joel’s words, when you hope, obstacles become opportunities and setbacks become comebacks.

This all sounds like simple, greate advice to me. Use it to your benefit and take advantage of the daily fresh start God gives you. Enjoy the blessings : )