OVERCOME by Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12:2

I need victory over my thoughts every day…I wake up and know immediately I am empty. Sometimes I get a great start and then boom! I am bombarded with bad news or stressors. I fight the battle of allowing circumstances or people to drain my energy and take away my power. I don’t want to let fears or worries entangle me. Most of the time, it isn’t even about me—it is about precious people I love—their pain and struggles. Or it is broken people behaving immaturely or spewing their emotional trash.

Do you have problems controlling your thoughts? Perhaps you struggle with negative, ungodly thoughts. It is vital not to carry the burdens, nor to give in to the suffering in this world. What you think determines where you end up in life, so it’s vital that you learn to master your mind. But how do you overcome the hurts in this life?

Time after time, I have to learn to be content by allowing God to “transform my focus.” I know I need “to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 If I give in to my troubles then I am even weaker. If I choose to focus on God’s mercy and power then I gain strength. If I ask for wisdom He is more than willing to give it to me generously.

So I pray with my gut-wrenching cries…Lord help me—God have mercy on us! Especially when we feel abandoned and the difficulties seem to multiply. Father I know you are present…let my dear friend experience your love, your compassion and your love. Give us wisdom to make the best choices.

Oh Lord grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can and your wisdom to know the difference.

Hear our prayers and more importantly open our minds that we may hear your answers.

How many times have I patiently listened, counseled or coached someone who needed to vent but who really needed to receive God’s gracious favor. What can you say or do when someone is unable to experience God? All I know to do is to intercede and pray for them. All I know is to remember WHO God is and what He has done for all of us.

There is great power in listening to God through His WORD. When the hidden scripts of the past or the insidious lies creep in it is time to stop and transform your focus. First you have to come to an awareness of what you are proclaiming. Is it truth? Or is it an accusation, condemnation or a lie? Do you know the truth? Can you change the circumstances? Possibly or maybe not; but you can change your thought patterns. If it is a conviction from God’s Spirit then pay attention. Admit your weakness, confess your bad attitude or your transgression. Do you need to forgive or be forgiven? Do you need to release you anger and guard your reactions? Do you need to let go of your self-pity and loathing? Stop blaming and take personal responsibility in God’s strength.

If you’ve done something wrong, the key is to turn away from the temptation and by God’s grace do whatever it takes to make it right. Let us turn to the Bible which clearly reveals the vital importance of allowing God to control our thoughts and to transform our focus.

This is a spiritual exercise that I have used to renew my mind:

1.  “Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-10

2. Be aware of your “Mistaken Thinking”: deceptions, lies, hidden messages, life scripts

“You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.” Matthew 22:29

3. Search God’s Word for TRUTH: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” John 8

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17

4. Identify the Stronghold: What is keeping you from trusting God, confess the lie, repent and turn away from whatever it is…

5. The TRUTH: what does God’s Word say regarding this…what is the truth?
“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Example: Why should I fear days of adversity or times of trouble?

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? Psalm 27:1-3

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. Psalm 145:18-20

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:9-11

Your turn: What “stinkin thinkin” is holding you captive?
Let God renew your mind with His truth…

As the Holy Spirit empowers us… we can set our minds on the things above, not on the things of this earth. Colossians 3:1-3 To have the mind of Christ means that we share His values and begin to think like Him 2 Corinthians 2:16 We can be renewed in the likeness of God as we hold our mind captive to His Word and surrender our will over to God.

We must prepare by being alert

“Sow a thought, reap an action;

 Sow an action, reap a habit;

Sow a habit, reap a destiny.”

1 Peter 1:13

Seasons of Overcoming: Purification of Grief?

Jesus_117It’s February, a time of transition rich with ancient symbolism, refining elements of nature and seasonal celebrations. There are many good reasons to celebrate love, new life, historical traditions and international tributes. Currently some are happy about the Super Bowl outcome while others cheer on the Winter Olympic winners! The word February comes from Latin origins meaning to “purify” or “expiate”. The ancient Romans recognized it as a season of purification—where festivities were held to reestablish a renewed focus on righteous living. Winter rains, snow and ice provide a cleansing with anticipation for renewal as we wait with hope for spring.

This is my February story about how the purifying fire of grief changed my family and my life.

It was not an ordinary February day—no not in any way. After a restless night of fitful sleep combined with prayers and tears I was drained. Thankfully I had previously arranged to redeem a massage (an unusual but very special Valentine’s gift from my husband). On my way home, I stopped and purchased some pretty primroses and planted them in spite of the frigid weather. I’ve always found gardening to ease my soul. I warmed up in front of the television, when a special news alert came on announcing that two bodies were found nearby with no further details available. Anxiously I searched the internet for further information and then waited for the evening news.

Alone in the darkness I heard a loud knock at my front door. Who could it be? I wasn’t expecting anyone and already knew my husband planned to work late. When I opened the door and they asked if I was Carol Smith my heart broke with anxious thoughts of why they were at my home. “Did I know Stephen Smith?” the detective asked. “Yes, I am his Mother” and then I immediately asked “Is he okay?” Immediately I broke down in tears because my worst fears were about to unravel as they asked to come in and talk with me. “No! No!” I cried, “Please tell me it isn’t true.” I knew it was true as I was silenced in shock. They were compassionate and patient. I gasped for God. This was absolutely the worst tragedy…

February 21st, the day life stopped. My beloved son Stephen was found dead a short distance from our home. The last time I saw him, he made me breakfast and his last words were: “I love you Mom.” He seemed upbeat as he left that morning but he did not come home. The next time I saw him he was cold and absent from his body. His cause of death: heroin overdose. Stephen suffered from a broken soul: anxious, deeply depressed from so many injuries and personal losses. He became addicted to anything that would ease his pain. I’ll never forget picking him up in a small but heavy box…placing his ashes in the back seat for the drive home from the mortuary.

So many threats and unknown attempts finally culminated in his death—ruled accidental but was it his final suicidal fulfillment of his desire to escape this troubled world? Shame, guilt, fear and worry can overcome the best of us. Judge not for you know not the full story—especially if you have never experienced mental illness, brain injury, serious diagnosis and addiction in your own family. We tried everything to get him help: unceasing prayer, faith and hope that he would be healed. We were diligent with interventions, trips to the emergency rooms, psychiatry, prescriptions, temporary detoxifications, rehabilitation all ineffective fixes. We felt helpless as all our son’s attempts to get help failed. We observed his desperate cries of self-condemnation; we witnessed his tormented anger at God. We endured many relentless days and nights of fear. We leaned onto our faith in a loving merciful God. We sought help for ourselves through our church, Al-Anon and professional counseling. We tried detachment with love. Nothing we could do would fill the emptiness of his soul. He knew we loved him but it was not enough. Only God could save him.

Addiction is a chronic and deadly disease that affects everyone in the family. It’s been a generational curse in my heritage. Everyone in its path is l victimized by the crisis and consequences of it’s destruction.  We felt helpless but we refused to give up hope. Stephen felt he was permanently damaged unable to climb out of the depression. He expressed over and over how he hated being an addict. He could not control the unceasing drive to ease his chronic pain brought on by brain damage, multiple injuries and worse yet the withdrawals. Stephen warned us he was giving up just two more days before he was scheduled for another rehab.

Stephen will always be a part of us. He is constantly in my thoughts. I get flashes of him as I see young skateboarders or bicyclists along the road. Relief comes just as quickly as grief grips. Memories can be painfully haunting or sweet and sober. I cry and immediately pray “help me Jesus” over and over. God gives comfort and renewed strength. Thankfully my husband and I have drawn even closer through our faith and love. We share a mutual compassionate understanding as we mourn the excruciating loss of our “one flesh.”

What anguish to lose anyone you love; we are not designed for death or separation. No matter how it happens, you can never prepare for grief—especially when devastating losses keep coming. What could be worse than sudden death of my husband’s baby sister Christina or the mysterious disappearance of my youngest sister Michele—never to be found?

Over the years, many of our closest relatives passed away in winter. But in February—the designated month of purification I lost my Mother and many years later my Father and now my youngest son. We are weary from the seemingly endless adversities but I vow not to give in. Nothing can separate us from God and His love.

What do you do to get through grief? Grief penetrates very deeply. My husband and I grieve very differently. Ron became more active in his volunteering; I withdrew and needed time to process with God alone. I needed to pray, read, research and write. As a couple we listened intently, cried and comforted one another with patience. We received loving support. We found solace in solitude. There were moments when I wanted to end the suffering, go to sleep and join my loved one in peace. But for us it was important to give in any way we could for in serving we experienced healing relief.

Each day, I am challenged to choose between gratitude or grievance? Will I focus on my pain and suffering or will I trust and seek God for overcoming in Christ?

Letting go of suffering is a continual surrender especially when there is a very painful ending. Grief is awfully deep as it fiercely strips every layer of your sanity and sensibility. Too many “if only;” “could of;” or “should have’s”—or even worse the regrets of Why’s with no answers!

One year later, I survive but not without struggle but I will keep holding on. Grief is not necessarily something you overcome…there is no closure until Jesus comes and brings an end to all death. Revelation 21-22

There is healing as we trust in God’s promises especially Romans 8:31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“And they overcame…because of the blood of the Lamb

and because of the word of their testimony,

and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” 

Revelation 12:11 NASB

Word of God Speak

3 Keys Bible cjs Agape Feast Testimony – 1-11-14

I like to ask a lot of questions especially to God. How and why’s my most common favorites…it is easier to get answers to WHO, what or where questions. Honestly, I seldom get answers to my why questions!?! So for me I find it is best to focus on the practical life-applications for figuring out how to live above my circumstances.

How do we live in this world?  How do we get through the tough times?

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33

Due to a seriously painful broken ankle, I had a lot of time to read, pray and meditate during my extended recovery. On Friday, October 18th (the day before my son Joshua’s birthday), I was teaching my water exercise class at Willamalane Swim Center. Mandisa’s song “You’re an Overcomer” had just played as we transitioned into the full aerobic session. Suddenly out of nowhere while demonstrating the cross country ski move—my left foot hit a wet spot. Boom-bam! My ankle slammed against the hard concrete surface several times with a powerful force. I couldn’t get up so I signaled the lifeguard who at first hesitated but realized I could not get up. Another lifeguard came and helped me get onto a chair then I proceeded to finish the class. It hurt but I thought it was just a sprain. My call of duty took over and I knew my students needed their complete workout. A few members of my class recognized the seriousness and began to further assist me as they could see how contorted and twisted my ankle and foot was from their view below in the water.
I was totally unprepared for this emergency—even further unaware of the seriousness of my injury or the prolonged recovery ahead. The first weeks after surgery were really tough. Intense pain, medication side effects and helplessness plagued me as I was unable to walk or even get a drink of water. It can be very unsettling to be disabled. How will I get through another setback? Being inactive gave me plenty of time alone in my thoughts. Remember this is temporary. No why’s this time—just prayers for healing.
When you don’t feel good it is almost impossible to do anything that you enjoy. I love to read my Bible for inspiration and guidance. I love to write in my journal to express my desires, feelings and prayer requests. I kept coming across this one Scripture which really became a turning point for me through my recovery process:

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Really? Rejoice in pain and be thankful in all circumstances? Seriously! I was already heartbroken before this accident and now I had injury on top of grief. I wanted to trust and obey God but I needed to cry and vent. Ok God it hurts and I am discouraged but I will to try. I would write in my journal what I was thankful for…only after I cried and prayed first. Eventually I found I could list more and more things—so it became very uplifting to remember and recognize God’s blessings. I could be thankful for a friend who came over with a meal, or flowers, or a card in the mail. I was thankful for the birds singing outside my window. I found great encouragement from my Facebook friends. I knew people genuinely cared and prayed for me. Eventually I could even be thankful when the TV quit working—just as long as I had the internet. But after we got the TV working a month later the Internet quit working!

Being thankful was one of the best remedies for healing. I finally wrote a Christmas letter first time in years especially after the great losses; it became a compilation from some of my gratitude lists and a thank you card to precious people.

With my questioning heart, I did further study to try to understand God’s will related to being thankful for clarification and understanding….

Paul’s injunction to “rejoice always” is based upon God’s activity and deeds. When we live in the power of God’s Spirit the result is “a consistent stable and deep-rooted joy” the opposite of a put on human emotion of “feeling good.” In difficult circumstances of suffering we can trust God in faith that circumstances neither create nor prevent His comfort, peace and joy. Ok I get it I will rejoice in my Lord JESUS always!

To pray continually means that every activity must be carried on with a sense of God’s loving presence. In urging the Thessalonians to “pray” and to “give thanks” Paul is giving advice he himself modeled over 27 times in the New Testament writings. Clearly Paul suffered many difficult situations—yet he learned to be content and to be thankful. Remember God’s commands are not met in our own strength.

“Be blessed in your faith at all times. Never stop praying. Be thankful, whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed to you in Jesus Christ.” JB Phillips NT

This Scriptural command is deeply rooted in Paul’s understanding of God. Paul stated we could be assured in knowing God works all things for our good. Romans 8:28 Thus he could urge the people to “give thanks in the midst of circumstances” for there is always hope in Christ. Romans 8:39 We can recognize that both rejoicing and giving thanks become forms of worship or praise of God.

Life in the Spirit consists of positive joy, communion, and thanksgiving made possible as we are in God’s presence.

P.S. I even got an answer to my why and how’s? Being thankful is a testimony of my faith in a loving God who gives me peace, comfort and hope even in the midst of suffering. I will be faithful and share the comfort I receive to others.

And they overcame…because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Revelation 12:11 NASB

Next post: Overcoming The Lies When the Doors Close

Biblical Keys to OVERCOMING – 2014 Theme

5keys MasterStudyBible“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:3-5

Every day I search the Scriptures for inspiration, guidance and strength. Over the years I have selected key Bible verses as life themes…as I pray for God to speak to me personally. In the past some of God’s Rhemas (spoken words) have included promises about: trust, redemption, calling, purpose, surrender, transformation, hope, courage, generosity, harvest, grace, peace, abundance, peace and for this season:
OVERCOMING
by grace for strength and hope!

  • To prevail over, surmount the obstacles
    To conquer, gain the victory;
    To overpower, as with emotion; affect deeply
    To get the better of in a struggle; to defeat the enemy

Why overcoming? Because of the continual opposition of the enemy with pain, grief and suffering. It was very difficult for me to blog in 2013—too much acute pain both at the beginning and end of the year. Even though I write almost every day—in my prayer journal, e-mails, Facebook, and most importantly for my writing project (which include books, seminars and testimonials)—I could not blog! It is easier for me to share through speaking—“talking” just comes naturally. Transparency in writing for publication is a tough assignment when you hurt. Truly, since my early twenties I have a compelling conviction to write…so here goes!

This year my journey is going to be about overcoming in faith. The key to overcoming for me is remembering God is my source.

Here are five keys I found to help me overcome:

1. Turn to God, draw near His heart and trust Him to take care of you.
2. Cry, pray and express your anguish transparently to God and share with trustworthy confidents and friends.
3. Accept, receive and continue to ask for prayer, help and support.
4. Remember His promises and keep your faith in God.
5. Trust and obey…for this the way to overcome in Jesus!

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  Helen Keller

“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming
the consequences of any misfortune.”  William James

“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved
is that of overcoming self.”  Francis of Assisi

“And they overcame…because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”
Revelation 12:11 NASB

Focus: Trust

     My Reckless Abandonment – Part I

“What she trusts in is fragile, what she relies on is a spider’s web.
She leans on his web, but it gives away, she clings to it, but it does not hold.”

This verse aptly describes my formative years as the continuous strands of abuse, betrayal and abandonment formed my web of destruction. A spiral of sticky naïve ignorance kept me from making good choices and blinded me of my true worth. The venom caused painful symptoms in my mind and body; but fortunately it was not so dangerous to take my life. Although my past web has been abandoned the cobweb scars linger…so I learned to trust and found healing in a loving God.

My first twelve years I did what I was told; the next twelve years I did life my way! I was rebellious against every person who broke my trust especially my abusive addictive parents. My father was a raging alcoholic and my mother’s drug of choice were “Black Beauties” (the Rx for weight loss). I hated the agony and abuse they inflicted upon themselves and their six children. Since they abandoned me, I chose to leave the chaos and foolishly continued the destructive ways enlarging my own web of destruction.
I began a pattern of relocating and seeking love in all the wrong places. I preferred older men of influence: someone who would provide a way of escape. I settled for the “bad boys” choosing drug dealers who numbed my pain; then I switched to incredibly wealthy selfish men in Palm Beach. Next I sought the educated and dated successful business men, my community college professor, my Real Estate Instructor and Amway leaders. I eventually turned away my doctor, Willie Nelson’s drummer and even Jimmy Buffet. The reality was none of them proved to be trustworthy of my love.
My choices minimized my value and filled me with shame, guilt and sorrow. I added more addictive traits to my web portfolio. I knew it was time for another escape and relocation. I became a seeker replacing my self-destructive choices for a new spiritual journey. First I experimented with new age, meditation, yoga, Hinduism and Scientology. I was open to invitations so I attended Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist churches.
God seemed so distant, so far away and mysterious. I could not comprehend a loving Father nor could I understand His ways. To begin life, unwanted and abandoned is incomprehensible. To experience repeated abuse, abandonment and rejection over and over again creates deep wounds. I did not want to live my life as a victim. At 23, I was exhausted, wounded and ready to give up. I didn’t trust anyone especially myself and definitely not God. It was difficult to be unable to trust, so isolating without someone to love and so awful not to be loved.

I finally found hope in Jesus Christ. I fell deeply in love with God and found my first really satisfying relationship. I began a new journey of intentional abandonment to a loving Sovereign Lord. I learned how to experience absolute trust even in suffering, in spite of circumstances, even in the face of death, beyond my fears for genuine unfailing love.

A prayer of abandonment and trust in God:

“Dear Father-God, Open my heart that I may receive your love. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may abandon my selfish and destructive ways. Forgive me and help me to graciously forgive. Lord, create in me a new heart, renew my mind and restore my soul. Guide me in your everlasting truth, grant me wisdom, and set me free in your grace. I believe and trust in You. I love You with all my heart, mind and soul. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

My next post will be how I learned to trust again and how to practice complete abandonment  to God and His divine providence.

A few of my favorite TRUST Scriptures:

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:4

“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture” Psalm 37:3

[1] Job 8:14-15 The first quote was actually a false accusation from one of Job’s friends Bildad, whose name means ‘son of contention.”

FOCUS: Gratitude

FOCUS:  Gratitude

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content.” Helen Keller

I woke up this morning thankful for many Sabbath blessings: beauty, worship; special time with precious children at church: singing Acts 16:31 and sharing Bible stories. Then we shared a healthy meal with family, a beautiful walk in a garden setting and a soothing warm soak in a natural hot spring…yes I had plenty to be thankful for!

But there is always something to draw us near to God, to our knees for prayer and today was no different. My Mother-in-law, sweet Ila was admitted to the hospital this afternoon with pancreatitis; she is in good hands with the great Physician, stabilized with medical treatment, and very much loved and supported by her family and friends.

This powerful promise reminds that us that God understands: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  (Philippians 4:6)

I just came home from the hospital, so I’m write a new addition to this message from what I wrote earlier.  I was preparing to facilitate a group meeting this coming week. I chose the topic gratitude because I know it to be a true remedy to life’s woes. I read many different things about “gratitude.” I found it interesting that many of the stories about gratitude kept referring to problems but in the context of being grateful. Here are a few paraphrases from some of the quotes:

Even the darkest of moments can be faced with a grateful heart; not for the problems but for the growth it can evoke with the help of Jesus.

When things seem their bleakest, I can choose to seek the courage and strength and hope accessible in my Lord and Savior for the light of understanding and gratitude.

For “when it gets dark enough you can see the stars.”

Just for today, I will practice gratitude. I will choose to accept the gift of gratitude, receiving the things that come my way. Knowing I can trust my Heavenly Father, I will be content and let the peace of Christ keep me. I will cultivate thankfulness. I will be thankful for an attitude of gratitude.

2012 Transforming Focus

Every year I ask God for a special “Rhema” which is an inspirational WORD to guide my choices and direction for the coming days. This year I couldn’t identify one verse so I was impressed to choose 12 Scriptures for 2012…some are special verses from past seasons, all relevant to my life journey and so very applicable to my present-future. Take time to pray, search God’s Word and let Him speak His special Rhema to you this season…share it and see how He continues to develop, enfold and shape your life.

I don’t like resolutions when they don’t come to completion…good intentions are not enough.  Whatever your next steps… my prayer is “we stay on God’s course.” BE focused and follow through for action and transformation!

If you already made some resolutions—good we hope they are going well. There may be some that have already gone by the wayside. Don’t give up, never give up, keep moving forward. Stay the course, remember your direction determines your destination!

It is not about perfection, rather process and progression. If you miss your target get right back to it and results will happen. Remember if don’t try at all you will never reach your goal. The way, the truth and life is found in abiding in His presence.

So where is God leading you? Are you willing to go the distance with Him? What or who motivates you? Do you have enough support or help to achieve the goals that are most meaningful to you? What will be your reward when you achieve these goals? Can you see yourself at the “finish line” having achieved some of these goals? Are you smiling, exclaiming, proclaiming & PRAISING?

 2012 Transforming Focus

Stay on course, keeping your focus on God and His life-map for abundant living.

1. Focus: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:22 NLT

2.  Focus: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:4-6 NKJV

3.  Focus: “My grace is sufficient; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:6-8

4.  Focus: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:5-7; 13

5.  Focus: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-8

6.  Focus: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12

7.  Focus: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:1 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

8.  Focus: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV

9.  Focus: “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set…” Psalm 119:1-3 The Message

10. Focus: “So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” Philippians 3:14-16 The Message

11.  Focus: “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. Now he who supplies seed to the sower …will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”  2 Corinthians 9:11-15

12. Focus: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned…Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

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