Read and Review

Habakkuk 2: 2

Write down the vision and inscribe it clearly on tablets, so that one who reads it may run.

It is now a month since January 1st. Hopefully you wrote down some goals and have been pursuing them. It is time to go back and look at what you wrote down.

In this verse, God tells the listener to write down the vision. There is a second part, though. It is recorded so that it can be read. We have to go back and review the words God has given us and we need to do it frequently. Some of our goals develop into plans of action and then come forward into our daily activities. Perhaps you write them on your calendar in the daily to do items or track them on a monthly calendar. Regardless, we must have a way to track the pursuit of the goal. Are we taking the necessary steps, daily, which will lead to the attainment of our goals? Of course, if one of your goals was to read your Bible daily, then, obviously that is a daily activity and easily tracked. Other goals may not lend themselves to daily accounting as easily and this is where we must apply the second part of today’s verse. We need to make sure we are reviewing our goals daily so that we are in pursuit of our desired end result.

I wrote one down on January 5th that I fully intended to do. However, I was still in the process of setting and refining my goals and never got it transferred to a daily action item. Fourteen days later, I reviewed my written goals and realized I had let this one slip right through the cracks. Setting goals usually means we are initiating new patterns, things outside our normal habits. It is so easy to follow habitual patterns and not even see where a goal is being missed, even when we are sincere about that goal.

Big goals must be broken down into actionable items. The ones that happen daily are a bit easier to track than the ones that are only a weekly item. Here is what I am doing to help myself. I am writing my to do’s down on a monthly calendar and then I highlight that day when I have accomplished them. I also am journaling which gives me a place to write out my thoughts about why I might not have done all items for a day. The printed monthly calendar creates a picture. You can use multiple colors to indicate different items and also different indicators for completion or days you didn’t get it done. At the end of the week, you can see where you succeeded and which areas might need more attention. It is a very easy way to see, at a glance, if things are proceeding as planned.

I am sure you have some other good ideas of how to keep your goals and to do’s in front of you. Click the link below and share them with the group.

Good Year

Habakkuk 2:2

Then the Lord answered me and said, “Write down the vision and inscribe it clearly on tablets, so that one who reads it may run.”

I cannot resist writing just one more New Year’s message. This passage always resonates with me at this time of the year. Now, I know something about you guys. Quite a few of you have already made your goals and plans for this new year. A few of you have written them down. Those who have written down their goals are the most likely to achieve them. Why is that? God told us above, write it down so you can run with it. You can’t run towards a goal you cannot see.

There are many of us who don’t have goals yet for the year. We often have the best intentions, but don’t get them written. Let’s make that the first thing we do this year, our first accomplishment, if you will. Let’s set out some goals and write them down. Okay, so here is the deal, just write it down. The goal you are thinking of right now might seem too big. Write it down anyway. Another goal you inscribe may change over the year. Actually, writing it down helps you to revise your goals. When we don’t have a written record of our desires, everything gets muddled. Write down what you are thinking now and if in a week, if it needs revision, so be it. Revise it.

The passage says to write it clearly or plainly. Besides legibility I think this means to give the goal specificity. Let’s take this example. Let’s say my goal is to read more this year. Okay, what does “more” mean? Is that more than last year? Well, how many books did I read last year. Maybe my goal would be better stated as, “Read 5 books this year.” Good. Now, let’s say it’s May and I have already read five books. No worries, I get out my little journal and revise it to 8. It is also okay to revise a goal down. Maybe some opportunity arises that makes reading 5 books hard. Review your goal and make a reasoned decision about what adds the most value to your life. Is the opportunity stealing from you or adding value? Is the book reading goal more important to you than what the opportunity brings? If it’s really a great opportunity, then revise your reading goal down. That’s okay, but also record in your journal what you are hoping to gain from the opportunity.

Second, what am I going to have to do in order to reach my goal. If I work until 5:00 each day; cook dinner, eat and clean-up until 6:30 and plan to go to bed at 10:00 that leaves me 3 ½ hours to get some reading in. So, what needs to happen so that I can read for 30 minutes? Well, perhaps I decide to go to bed at 9:30 and read before I go to sleep. Or, maybe after the kitchen is clean, I need to take my 30 minutes right then before they get lost in a whirlwind of other activities. You get the point. Goals are not achieved without intentionality and a plan. Writing down a clear concise recitation of the goal is key but then develop a plan around that and write it down.

When I say that I want you to have a fabulous 2022, I mean it. I do not write these things lightly. All of the words I send to you come from within me. So, saying, Happy New Year means something. As wonderful as the sentiment is, I also feel a responsibility to help you have that good year. That’s why we do a Word of the Day. When I read today’s verse, I know that Yahweh is teaching us something important. Every word which proceeds from His lips has life in it. Therefore, I hope you will take this seriously and begin, today, to write down what you would like to achieve or see come to fruition in this year. Attach some dates too.

Write it down and review it regularly, at least weekly if not daily. If daily is too much, sit down Sunday night and remind yourself what you are believing for. Then start your week with determined purpose. You will find God leading you in amazing ways if you do this.

I pray you have a great year, full of new beginnings, accomplishments, and blessings!

Happy New Year

Revelation 21:5

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Happy New Year! And why shouldn’t we celebrate the beginning of a new year? Surely the last two years have been unique with their challenge, but each year holds the promise of new beginnings. I am reminded of a newly minted penny. Though it is the smallest of all denominations, worth the least monetarily, it outshines all other minted coins in its radiance as it heralds its entrance into the world. No other coin, regardless of its engravings or monetary value captures the attention and imagination like a new penny. And that is how I think of the New Year; shiny and glistening in its newness.

I like the beginning of a new year because of the hope and promise it brings. Equally important is its lack of history. The new year has only two days of history. It only has the history we ascribe to it. Largely, then, the joy of the New Year is a matter of perspective and attitude. As adults, of course, we bring some history forward with the new year. We probably have the same job we did in December 2021, and some pending to do’s as well as a host of other responsibilities. However, the beginning of the new year is a time when we can give ourselves license to adopt new opportunities and perhaps decide others no longer fit our needs. It is a time to stop and reflect on our course. The promise of the new year is that we can begin again. I believe that those who will stop their forward momentum, just for a moment, and reflect on their path will gain a clean perspective and, perhaps, a new vision. Sometimes, we are in such a hurry, rushing down the path, that we fail to notice that we were in need of a course correction several miles back. Pause long enough to take a deep breath and recover your equilibrium. Actually take the time to consider your course. Listen. God wants to do great things with you this year. I believe that from the bottom of my heart. You get to choose, today, if you will run with God or if you will stumble through another year. Lift your head and look at the stars. There is a universe of potential out there for you. Stop, breathe, listen, consider. What do you see with the eyes of your heart? What do you want?

I wish for you a year full of adventure. I pray the challenges you find are the kind which bring joy and growth. My hope is that you will stop and consider what you want from this new year. What star would you grab if you believed it within your reach? What is it that you are afraid to hope for but really want? May the blessing of a new year warm you with the hope of its possibilities.

Favor and Light

Psalm 44:3

For by their own sword they did not possess the land, and their own arm did not save them, but Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, for You favored them.

Here is a good example of partnership with God and I hope you find it encouraging because the favor of God was sufficient weaponry to possess the land.

What land are you trying to take? Is it a new job, financial security, a big project? How about raising kids? Whatever your big goals, you don’t have to do it in the power of your might. We kind of know that but we often know it intellectually rather than experientially. I find that I can have very strong theology when we sit and chat but that in the moment of everyday happenings, my inner self does not always act out those intellectual beliefs. I may even hold to those beliefs very strongly and would argue adamantly about them but still not instinctively employ them in day to day life. This partnership with God theology is one of the largest ideals I write about. However, the practical application can be somewhat enigmatic. How do we actually allow God to be our strong right hand? How do we come to own Canaan if not by our own sword? Is our Puritan work ethic a hindrance to walking by faith or is it what makes for quality individuals? Better still, do we misuse our work ethic?

I believe in setting goals, determining what is required in order to reach them and then setting realistic activity goals. If one wants X, what will be required in order to attain X? Secondarily, am I willing to do what is required? However much I admire this approach I must recognize that it is still a worldly process. That is not to say that I recommend rejecting it, it just means that it is only the beginning of the method. The more important step is taking all of this to God, talking with Him about it and then, more importantly, listening to Him. If we seek the goals He has for us then we will start off on the right track. Second, once we have God’s vision for our future, then we should enquire of the course. What would He have us do? He will tell us our part if we listen. Then we don’t run off half-cocked making a mess of big dreams.

I want God to win the goal for me. That sounds infinitely better than toiling. God will hand Canaan into our hands if we will follow Him. Most interesting of all, today’s verse reveals that His presence was the key to obtaining the goal. We have only to walk in the shadow of His glory, follow along in the footsteps He leaves as He leads and the next thing we know will be the Promised Land.

What do you want? What do you really, really want? Is there a goal out there that is almost too big to even dream? Maybe your dream is even too big to talk about but the light of His presence can bring it to pass. This takes some meditation. Today’s verse is really poignant, and I hope you will ponder it. When we learn to walk with God such that His hand delivers the victory then all things shall be possible. Remember, the Israelites defeated a city by walking around it. God’s way is not usually our way but we can learn to hear Him and follow His direction instead of launching out in the power of our might and when we do, even those biggest of dreams will be yours!

Prayer

Job 22: 28

You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; And light will shine on your ways.”

I want to change the way you and I think about prayer. As we charge into year 2020, I believe this is a great time to do so. I hope you have big plans for 2020. We are beginning a new decade and one that has been dreamed about for years. Science Fiction books and movies looked forward to this coming year and now it is upon us. Let’s have a great year and a great decade. If you are 85 years old this year, 95 or 15 set a new goal, a big goal and strap on your rocket boosters. 2019 was for sitting. Now is the time for setting an ambitious goal and going for it with gusto.

To make 2020 different from its predecessors we are going to have to look at things differently and do things differently. We might as well begin with one of our most sacred strongholds: prayer. If we keep praying like we prayed last year, we will get what we got last year. If you got what you wanted, that is great. If you didn’t then we should look at growing our understanding of working with God so that 2020 becomes a year of fabulous results and tremendous memories. I want for you the best of everything so let’s begin today preparing for a super year and decade.

For many of us, prayer amounts to asking God for what we want. We ask Him to do something for us. That is not an incorrect perspective, just an incomplete one. There is a lot more to manifesting our partnership with Yahweh than just asking Him to fulfill our wish list. The Christian experience has sometimes reduced prayer to little more than begging God to do something in our lives. We are active partners with God, so we need to learn our role in His way of doing things and then be fully prepared to step into that role in 2020. Today’s verse is the clue we need to send us on our way.

God did not create us so powerless that all we can do is beg Him to be active in our lives. He has spent eons pouring out His power and teachings so that we can be His partners. That means that He has empowered us to say something and have those decrees established. So, what does that begin to look like? You can pray for God to heal you. Good but let’s not pray a begging prayer, “Oh God, please heal me. Please, please God, touch my body with your healing.” That sounds good but, actually, it is unbiblical. God said he already has healed us (1 Peter 2: 24). So, we need to move to the next step – declaring. That is where today’s verse speaks to us. Decree a thing and God will establish it. We already know God’s will, it is for us to be healed, now declare God’s will, “I am healed. By his stripes, I am healed. Healing, manifest in my body.”

Whatever you need or want works by this same principle. The power to create whatever solution you need is resident in you right now (Romans 8: 11). We’ve got to start saying something. Once we do, the angels and the Holy Spirit can bring it to pass. We already know that all of God’s answers to our prayers are, “Yes” (2 Corinthians 1: 20) so what is stopping us from having all He agrees to? it is our not taking the next step, decreeing. We say, “Father, heal me.” He responds, “Okay, speak it and it shall be done according to your word.” That is the part we are missing.

Let’s get ready for a big year in 2020 by preparing ourselves now. Begin speaking the desire of your heart. The power is already in you. The answer to your question is already there. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring it up out of your spirit to your mind. Go inside yourself and understand that the power which created the universe is resident within you right now. It’s only a matter of letting that out now. God has already given you the answer to your prayer, it is the Holy Spirit. Start working with the spirit to get what is inside you right now, to the outside.

Arise and Live

Proverb 6: 6 – 11

Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest” – and your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man.

When it is time to rest, rest but when it is time to work, do your work heartily as to the Lord. I am preaching to myself today. I, like many of you, must manage my own time. As you know, having discretion can create a challenge. It is easy to decide I am tired and roll over instead of rolling out. I usually regret such a choice. If I had only read Proverbs, right? Well, of course, I have read all of the proverbs, many times but that does not mean that these lessons are not new each day.

One of the many lessons I have learned is that God did not make us to be lazy. We are not fully satisfied or even happy when we adopt the sluggard’s life. If we no longer feel the guilt of our bad choices, it only means we have conditioned ourselves so as to anesthetize those feelings. If we persist in the unfavored behaviors, we will eventually become immune to the Holy Spirit’s voice within us. At that point, we even convince ourselves that we are not doing anything wrong. I have heard people justify adultery as easily as I justify sleeping in. Simply and honestly stated, we are both just wrong. Father wants better for us than those behaviors and the lies we tell ourselves.

I believe it is important for us to realize that God has made us to be heat-seeking missiles. By that I mean that we are designed as goal oriented, success seeking organisms. Our souls are engineered to pursue excellence. Our design is not as sleepy, lazy, lay abouts. No matter how much we may try to convince ourselves, the truth is that we are not fulfilled and are not happy when we are not in pursuit of some goal or hobby. In today’s proverb, God warns us away from apathetic, passive lives. He wants us to live with the throttle open. With him, there is success and in that success not merely accomplishment but joy and service to others. There is so much to do in the earth, so much which needs doing. We really don’t have time to sleep in. We’ve things to do, things to see, words to speak.

It only takes a little folding of our hands for our lives to begin to leak out. Life is for living. At the end of our days on earth, what do you wish your resume to look like? Do you want to say, I watched television or I took my grandkids to the park. Do you want sleep to fill the largest time block or is there something else you would rather be known for? Arise O sluggard. Seek new heights, new goals and pursue new ambitions. Read another book, paint a painting. Make your life worth the living every single day and while you’re at it, call me and make sure I am awake. I want to run with you!