10 to the End Day 9: Call it What it Will Be

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In our battle with relinquishing control to God, there is good news for us! Although we have chosen to give God the ultimate power over our lives, God has chosen to give us access to the same power God has, simply because we have committed to a life of faith.As you’re preparing your plans for 2018 don’t forget the power you have that is given to us by God to manifest the vision we’ve been given in our lives, by the faith we have already claimed to have in God.

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak…

2 Corinthians 4:12-13

In the bible, from the creation story, to the story of Jesus calming the storm, we are shown God’s ability to create, bring forth life, command an outcome by speaking. And because we believe, we must also recognize our access to the power to do the same. With this in mind, in the new year, we have to make it a habit to speak to ourselves and to our plans in a way that affirms this power. Whatever your plans are, as you are confident you have God’s blessing to pursue them, make sure that your speech, your prayers over them are positive affirmations. No more, “I hope,” “I wish,” “ifs,” and “I want.” Modify those to definitive statements based in your confidence in God and the power you have as a result of that.

Don’t speak things as though you hope for them to become, speak to your plans, your attitudes, your intentions, your daily struggles with the authority to call them what they will be, before you’ve ever seen any evidence of change.

Task:

  1. Write down the things you would like to accomplish in the most important areas of your life i.e. your professional life, your family life, your faith, your social life etc.
  2. look at what you’ve written down. Are there words of uncertainty? Have you included “I hope” “I wish”?
  3. Make each accomplishment into a powerful affirmation. (ex: Instead of “I hope to improve my financial stability,” say, “I will improve my financial stability.”)
  4. Post your affirmations in a place that you will have to see them each day. Read them aloud and believe them as you work toward the steps to bring them to fruition.

 

 

 

 

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10 to the End Day 8: Redefining Success

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One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with as a type A personality who is also trying to yield my obsession with control to God, is my idea of success. I’ve been given a vision or an idea and I’ll begin planning it, then I’ll get completely stuck when it’s time to put the plan into action because I’m too busy trying to visualize it all the way to the end and I can’t quite see what kind of success it will have. The idea of one of my ventures not being successful can sometimes cripple my entire progress toward its completion. Many of us even work in career fields that encourage this and we let it bleed over into our personal lives as well.

After evaluating my year, I got really frustrated with this. I began beating myself up a bit for being too afraid to move on things I’ve had on my heart for literal years, simply because I was afraid of the outcome not being successful. Then, I paused and asked myself, well what exactly do I consider successful or unsuccessful? Then I answered myself and it all had to do with how other people may perceive my vision. I was so worried that people might not like it, or it might not be as impactful as something similar I had seen, or it wouldn’t get as much attention as I thought was acceptable. All things that you can’t always plan for. As a PR and Marketing professional, it’s very normal for me to think a project all the way through to its impact. But it’s also common for people in my profession to over AND underestimate the impact or reach of a project, leaving you surprised by its success or unsuccessfulness. That was still scary to me so I began thinking more about my idea of success and wanting to revamp this entire idea going into 2018.

There’s a place in the bible where Jesus is speaking to a crowd and woman basically says that Mary’s womb is blessed for having him and Jesus says

“Blessed, rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Luke 11:28

Now, though this was in response to a specific statement by a woman in a crowd, it still spoke to me in my dilemma with successfulness. Mary obviously is a blessed woman for her role in bringing us Jesus but Jesus was basically saying, she’s not simply blessed because of what she was able to produce, she’s blessed because when God told her what she was about to do, she was obedient to the instructions. Her obedience alone is her success. That realization has changed my entire outlook on my own success. Though I do want to make sure that the vision God gave me is carried out in a way that has a positive impact on others, my entire success is in my ability to carry out the vision God gave me at all.

In all of my plans for this coming year, my goal is simply to start and finish with the simple purpose of being obedient to God. In that, I truly believe God has full control of the outcome. Whether its impact is “large” or “small” by people’s definition is less important than whether or not I have done what God asked me to do. Last year, I can honestly say I was not obedient to God in all that was placed on my heart and it was simply because I was afraid of failing in people’s eyes. Now, I know, my obedience is my greatest success and it’s far more important for me to be successful in God’s eyes than in anyone else’s. I’m sure, that as a type A person, I will continuously have to struggle with this idea, but my prayer for myself and for everyone else like me, is that we can take more pride in being obedient than being “successful.”

10 to the End Day 7: Let God Guide Your Plans.

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As a type A personality, you may have already planned past this step. You may have already written your plans for the coming year and set them into motion. However, one thing we should never lose sight of, is our purpose. It’s easy to make plans simply because they seem to make sense to us. To move forward with a job, or a relationship, or any other personal venture may be the most logical thing to us to pursue. But as followers of Christ, whether new to or mature in the lifestyle, we should remind ourselves that our purpose should be something that is in line with being an example for others of God’s love.

The bible reminds us in Matthew why it’s important to remember our purpose in making our plans.

Seek first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

If our main focus is to live a life that pleases God, all the things that we need and desire will be added to our lives. Now, this doesn’t always mean that everything you’ve planned with work out. It often means that the closer we get to God, we realize that our plans are not necessarily the same plans that God has for us, so our wants and needs will shift the more we desire a life that is based on a relationship with God.

We all have an individual purpose here on Earth as well, and we may not have all realized what that is for ourselves just yet. That’s ok. We all discover our purpose in our own time. In the meantime, I believe our purpose is always to love one another in a way that shows people how God loves us. That looks differently for everyone, but always includes doing for others.

So ask yourself,

  1. Do any of your plans benefit someone else other than yourself? Are you being charitable, uplifting someone else, assisting someone else in a goal or dream? This one may be something small or it may be something you pray about and let God reveal to you. Either way, we should always be planning to be a blessing to someone else while we are planning our own progression.
  2. Which of your goals or plans helps you to become more educated in your faith?
  3. Which of your goals or plans helps you to strengthen your relationship with God?
  4. Have I prayed about any of my plans?
  5. Have I paused to actually listen to God or look for signs of what God is guiding me to do?
  6. Am I possibly avoiding something that I don’t want to do, but am feeling lead to do?

It is very easy to be excited about planning for our future. It’s very common to be a little nervous about planning for the future. Hopefully, answering these questions help encourage you to seek God in all your plans, and not to just make plans and include God as you go.

 

10 to the End Day 6: Comfort & Assistance

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We’ve spent the last 5 devotionals reflecting on 2017 and bringing it to a close. As we continue on our 10 to the end posts, we transition into bringing forth what’s to come in the future.

We are just days away from walking into a new year. We get a brand new start, 365 days of a clean slate. By now, we should all have at least 1 plan for the next year. There is something we need to start, continue, or finish in the next year that is going to take some time and some careful consideration. We’re going into a new year with new things on our hearts and a determination to see them through. Some of us may have some plans that really don’t make any sense to us right now. Maybe God has given you a vision that you don’t currently have the resources to bring to fruition. Maybe God is sending you somewhere you’ve never been and you’re nervous about how you’ll be received. Maybe you’re trying something again that you’ve failed at in the past and you’re beginning to wonder if it’s even worth it anymore.

Today’s devotional is a simple reminder that, sprinkled throughout the bible, there are promises God made to us through those who wrote down their stories. God made us promises that have lasted thousands of years and if you believe God is honest, they are helpful when encouraging yourself as you walk into 2018.

My favorite Promise God made is found in Isaiah

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Isaiah 41:13

It seems so simple, but it really gives me a feeling of tenderness from God. Too often we are encouraged to think of God as high in the sky and eager to judge. This verse reminds me, that God is personal enough to hold my hand and to tell me not to be afraid because God is going to actually help me.

Whatever it is that God has placed on your heart for the coming year, even if you’re not quite sure yet what God is doing in your life in 2018, we can all rest assured that we won’t be forced to do it alone. The very same God who has power over everything, understands that what you’re tasked with in the coming year can be overwhelming and has already promised you comfort and assistance.

Bible Study Tools has complied a list of 50 of God’s promises found in the bible. Go through it and pick out the ones that resonate with you most going into 2018 and display them somewhere that will help encourage you in the coming year. Approach your 2018 plans with purpose, bravery, and peace knowing you’re not doing this alone.

 

 

10 to the End Day 5: Love Was the Motive

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On this day each year, we observe the coming of Christ as the ultimate display of God’s love for us. From the beginning of time, God knew we wouldn’t be able to fully achieve the relationship God desired with us. We are imperfect and incapable of being clean enough to stand in God’s presence. God knew that and could have just shrugged it off, after all, it’s our own fault. But instead, God loved us all, past, present, and future, and wanted to give us the opportunity to have a full live and whole relationship with God. So, he sent a piece of himself in the flesh to liberate us from all the things that could have kept us out of his presence and now we have the privilege to talk to God and spend time with God in full freedom.

As we prepare for the coming year, remember that our entire story as Christians begins with love; not condemnation, not judgement, not shame. It was God’s deepest desire to have us as close as possible in the now and the forever. Remember that when you make mistakes. Remember that when you’re overwhelmed and feel like you have no one to talk to. Remember that when you feel like you’ve failed God beyond repair. God already knew we’d feel this way and made provisions for us in the form of a baby that would eventually grow to be a living, breathing, and eventually a dying example of the lengths God would go to give us the best parts of him. Love was the motive the entire time.

God bless you all on this holiday. I pray that you are surrounded by love, peace and comfort. And if you are able to surround yourself with it, I pray that God is able to bring it forth from inside you.

Merry Christmas!

10 to the End Day 4: Who was God?

Gratitude

As we’re having our moments of introspection to close out our 2017, it’s important that as we’re looking at ourselves, we also look to God. We have all, at some point, asked God to be head of our lives but surrendering to God is not a 1 time activity. We need to challenge ourselves to continuously surrender our fear of not having control to God.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Revelation 3:20

We have already expressed we’d like a relationship with God and to know God is to know that you will never be totally left to your own devices. However, Christ does not force His way into our lives. God is always who God is, but we have still have to invite God to be who God is personally to us.

So, very simply, who has God been to you this year? Was God your go to consultant when you needed to make heavy decisions? or was God your back up plan when what you planned to do did not work? Did you trust God to be your provider this year? Or were you constantly stressing about how the things you need would materialize? Who were you to God? Were you a close friend or a distant relative?

Before we truly move forward into a new year with God being examples of Christ’s love, we have to be honest with ourselves and with God about where we are in our relationship with one another. Some of us may be able to celebrate immense growth in our spiritual lives, while others of us may notice the points in our lives where we used God instead of loved God. Some of us may be able to celebrate and challenge ourselves to do better at the same time.

Ultimately, as we move forward, it’s important we recognize who we are moving forward with.

Who is God activity:

  1. Make a list of who you allowed God to be for you this year? What areas of your life did you willingly invite God into?
  2. Next, make a list of who you needed God to be for you this year? Where didn’t you allow God to take full control that you need to reevaluate for the coming year?
  3. Look at both of these lists and take time to envision how you will merge the two in the coming year.