Belief Beyond Boundaries
If you watch football, you'll know that touchdowns don't come easy. It is a series of strategies, plays, and regular practice that all come together to successfully get the ball into the end zone to score a touchdown. The process isn't all that much different than in your own life, but knowing the process of winning in your goals will help you create an ongoing system of success. Let's break this down:
Have a Clear Objective
In order to have the best outcome, it is important to know what it is you're working toward. If your goal is to lose weight, what does this look like to you? Is it a specific weight? Is it how you feel? Be specific so you'll know when you've actually completed your goal. If your goal is to be more spiritual, break this down into clear actions such as reading the Bible, becoming an evangelist, attending a set number of volunteer sessions each week. This is where lists come in handy.
Create a List of Plays
Once you've gotten clear on what a winning game looks like regarding a goal, really committing to that vision in your mind. It's time to decide what strategies you can use to get to that outcome. Before embarking on any goal, always make a list of what strategies you'll employ. Don't worry if your list isn't completely full. You can add more strategies later. Let's say your goal is to find a new job, your starting list could look like this:
The key to successfully winning any game is practice. In goal work, the answer works the same. Regular, ongoing great habits and activity is key to winning! In the above example (finding a job), some great habits could be:
Strategize Your Plays
Games are best played with thoughtful strategies and so is goal work. Once you've created some lists and established what habits you can use, its time to determine the best place to start. In the above example (finding a job), you wouldn't necessarily start with sending out your resumes. You'd want to make sure your resume is up to date and that you know the latest trends in job hunting. You would then narrow down exactly where you'll send your resumes or what activities you will do on an ongoing basis so you can effectively deploy your strategy.
Methodically work toward the end zone
It takes focus, concentration, and careful consideration of the activities you employ on a regular basis in order to win the game. Through regular practice, diligence, and keeping an eye on your plays, you'll have all the tools you need to win the game. For more information on goal setting, check out my post, "The Core of Success - Goal Setting."
Meditation is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. Many times, it is referring to Eastern meditation, however, Christian meditation can prove to be quite helpful, even more so than Eastern meditation, but like any kind of spiritual activity, it does take some discipline in some regard in order to get the most out of it. Let's go through the steps.
Step 1: Relax and Fill Your Mind
In order to relax, either sitting comfortably or lying down, close your eyes and take some time to simply breathe in and out, focusing on the exhale. With eyes closed and slow relaxed breathing, relax each part of your body individually such as your arms, hands, legs, feet, head, face, and chest. Shake out any feelings of tension. After a couple of minutes, slowly integrate worshipful praises to God, either in your mind or audibly, focusing on his glory, his wonder, his love, and majesty. He is the creator of all. Picture this love in your mind, whether it be light, a hug or embrace, or however it presents itself to you.
Step 2: Bring Something to Reflect on
Whether it be a psalm, a prayer, a biblical law you'd like greater clarity on, or a challenge you'd like wisdom about, meditate on this as you continue to feel the gratitude and wonder of God. If your mind becomes distracted, simply acknowledge the distraction and bring yourself back to a state of gratitude and love of God. If you find yourself falling asleep, you can try sitting in a different position or take joy in the fact that you may have needed some well-earned shut-eye.
Step 3: Receive
Be ready to receive an answer or a response. Picture in your mind what that response looks like. When I pray for healing, I like to picture a Godly healing energy surrounding myself or another person in my mind. I also picture myself touching the hem of Jesus' robe.
Why is a state of gratitude and love so important?
The Lord works on only the highest wave lengths of energy. When we mediate in a place of gratitude and love, this propels us into this higher, more elevated, energy state that makes it easier for us to hear his voice.
What does the Bible say about meditation?
Jesus said, "This, then, is how you should pray":
"Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." - Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:9-13
I want to take a moment today to discuss The Lord's Prayer given to us in the Gospel of Matthew. One day while reading this Bible verse I saw the word "how" when Jesus said, "This, then, is how you should pray." I got to thinking, "How do I pray?" and "Do I pray like this?" I felt like there could be a powerful message in the "how" rather than simply reciting this prayer. I was excited to uncover some "treasure" as Jesus would say, letting my meditation uncover what the Truth was behind this prayer. Let's take a look at each line and attempt to understand what is behind it and how this could impact your own prayers.
Our Father who Art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name
Prayer is an intimate moment with our Father, whom is holy and sacred. Even his very name has power and deserves reverence! Each prayer we pray should start in reverence and worship to the Lord God.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
When we pray, we should reflect on the kingdom, but what does this mean? It means in our prayers, we should focus on the laws and covenants God has given us to help discern what we are asking for and if it lines up with his will. It is priming us to look at each request from a state of love, gratitude, and obedience to Him. Perhaps we can uncover truth about our own hearts and what our own motives are as well. Does ego need to be set aside? Are we harboring feelings of unforgiveness, envy, or malice? This will only serve to help us clarify what we are truly asking for. For example, if I am upset at someone and pray that God reveals to them how they have wronged me, I instantly must ask, "Is it me who is in the wrong and lacks forgiveness?" If so, I have revealed that I too must have some things to work out with God.
Along with an abundance of love and gratitude, one must also reflect on how they can be of service to the kingdom itself. How can you personally carry out the will of your Father in heaven? If you do not know, think about your skills and talents. Could these be of use to the Lord?
Give us this day our daily bread
Once we have expressed admiration and reverence to God and meditated on His will, we should then feel free to bring our requests to him from a heart of joy, faith, and expectance. Jesus uses the example of "bread," but why? In the Bible, bread symbolizes to us abundance from God. It was bread from Heaven (manna) that sustained the Israelites for 40 years as they wandered through the wilderness. Jesus is telling us that God will also sustain us and if we are in need, he will meet that desire in the way that serves us best. It is a reminder to us to have faith that our needs will be met with no problem and that we serve a faithful God.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
If God will faithfully meet your needs, should you also withhold your sins from him? What is on your heart? Take a moment and acknowledge what you are struggling with. God forgives! You know this, but first, can you also extend the love the Lord gives you by extending that same love to others who may have wronged you?
Lead us not into temptation
Wait. Did Jesus just ask God to not lead him into temptation? Indeed, he did. Why would a loving father willingly send his own son into temptation? Well, it is so we understand the consequences of our sin, but the purpose of this phrase is to understand that, because of our faith, God will hear our prayer and allow us to forego the temptation altogether. Psychologically this makes sense, because when there is a sin we suffer from and ask God not to send us into it, we are admitting that what we are struggling with the fact that something is not good for us. This thinking reflects the first degree of spiritual transformation: Self Reflection. You can read it here. We cannot make change until we are first willing to draw the darkness into the light and accept that something in ourselves needs to change. Our prayers should allow us to not only ask for forgiveness, but also request that God helps you navigate around that which allows you to sin.
But deliver us from evil (the evil one)
This is an extension of asking God to not lead us into temptation. When we forego temptation in the first place, it allows us to not have to encounter the consequences that sin often brings. This is the beautiful mercy the Lord offers you. This is also an invitation to pray for protection from any schemes that Satan may send your way with the intention of thwarting your spiritual progress.
Using Jesus' prayer model, a personal prayer could look like this:
God, my heavenly Father, whose name is Blessed and Holy; I look forward to your kingdom and feel grateful to do your will here on earth. Lord, sustain me and grant me favor as I make my requests known to you. Forgive me from sin and keep temptation away. Protect me from the evil one. I also agree to forgive those who have caused me pain as well, gratefully extending love and kindness to them as you've shown to me.
In Your holy name, Amen
To sum up, an alternative prayer outline that you can use to formulate your own prayer could look like this:
If you don't currently keep a prayer journal. I highly recommend it. Each day, you can record the topics you'd like to pray about and follow that outline as you pray. In time, you can review your journal to see how God has been working in your life.
Friends, there is no ignoring that things have been getting strange around the world. There is a change happening and we cannot deny that. The threat of war for many people around the world is a true reality, destructive, satanic, culture is taking deep root in high places, where our previous blessings are being eroded away by corruption, and climate change can no longer be dismissed. I am here to dispel the spirit of fear and remind you that there is hope in the darkness.
If there was ever a time, now is the time to realize that you are chosen by God to do great things. I ask you now: What is a warrior if he never sees a battle? What is a sword if never touched by the flame? Do not be afraid.
During times like this, a regular routine of purposeful activity is absolutely essential to keep our eyes looking forward. Establish daily bible reading time, meditation, and a few active goals to keep. The kingdom needs you to stay focused on the King's mission. Devote your life to it and keep moving forward with absolutely precise focus. Like a child who grows into an adult and does away with childish things, we too must put away all that does not serve the King's true purpose.
As the warriors of Christ, when the enemy comes near, we do not slink away in fear, but rather draw up our sword and hold fast to our shield, which is the word of God. Let him be our fortress and strength.
"Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word."
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."
1 Peter: 8-9
Sometimes in life, the hardest thing is giving up something that is not good for us. In a post about Degree #1: Reflect on Self, the first of 8 Degrees of Spiritual Transformation, I discussed looking within to discover all the things that are holding you prisoner. Degree #2, Separating Yourself, implores you to take action and begin the process of overcoming habits that prevent you from growing spiritually. I want to remind you that all of us struggle with this. It is, unfortunately, part of the human experience, but we must ask, how sweet is the light when we have escaped from the darkness? There is something truly remarkable, even beautiful, when a soul recognizes it is in darkness and seeks the Lord in full humility. How much more can that soul appreciate the mercy of God when, truly, its wings have been burned by the raging fire.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others." 1 Corinthians 10:23-24
I could probably go on and on about all the things that can hold people hostage, but the truth is, you know what these things are; things like addiction, bad habits, unhealthy choices, or sin, but nobody is here to make you feel shame. The important part is that you are taking steps to acknowledge, repent for mistakes made, and take action, but do you ever have sins in your life that trip you up at every turn? I'm talking about sins that seem like no matter what you do, you will never be able to overcome them?
First know you are not alone in that, truly. So what is a person to do if they feel the shame and guilt, but don't feel the desire to take action, because they know that something isn't good for them and even separates themselves from God and their spiritual growth? Sometimes its just too hard! Am I right? Friends, I'm so glad you asked.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13
So what is this way out? Friends, there is only one way to break chains and that is by leaning in close to the Lord and establishing a strong relationship with Him. This comes from regular Bible reading, meditation, prayer, and growing your faith with the one who knows you best. There is a reason why lives are transformed when they begin to acknowledge God's powerful potential and presence in their lives. So how does that actually work?
The Lord is transformative! The more you lean in to God, the more your heart, mind, and spirit aligns with His will. When you align with His will, your mind starts to contradict the old "self." Your old "self" suddenly wants new things...new ideas, new experiences, new growth and a new image. The "ego" that your old self possessed diminishes and you begin to think more clearly. Suddenly the things that felt right to the old "self" no longer feel right and you become convicted, not out of guilt and shame, but out of pure and true love of the One who created you. You now desire to do His will.
"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galations 5:16-25
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
I don't know about you, but chapter 9 of Isaiah gives me chills! Though this was written many many years before Christ was born, it illustrates two things. That a child would be born (Jesus) and that he would reign on the throne of David, bringing his kingdom to earth. Only half of this prophecy has come to pass since Jesus came to us, but friends, we are living in that second time.
As followers of Christ, it is time for us to pick up our spiritual shields and get ready for the Master's return! I can hear the footsteps of our King coming now. For all those walking in darkness, there are days coming when they will see the light. Jesus, himself, tells us that it is never too late to come to the Father. Signs are happening now. The Euphrates River is drying up as prophecy foretold in Isaiah 11. Fresh water is now running into the Dead Sea, causing fish to live in it again as foretold in Ezekiel, chapter 47.
I hope you are ready for the biggest spiritual awakening in history, because it is already happening. We are His spiritual warriors.
Followers of Christ will soon be desiring to come together to usher in a new era! Our eyes are opening and He is calling on his true followers, speaking to them in dreams, visions, and prophecy about what is coming, myself included. He is telling us to prepare the table for the wedding banquet.
How do we prepare you ask? We must begin to seek righteousness and unity with other Christians, coming under one banner (Isaiah 11). Christians must love each other with the love of Christ, no longer separate from each other, divided by denomination. We must put down all the the destructive forces that we already know will work against us and embrace all that he taught us, bringing his Kingdom to this world, here and now. I cannot know how long all this will take to happen, but I sense the closeness of it. Christians are being called on a mission. For those of you who feel that calling, I invite you to come along with me as well.
Through living a lifestyle of obedience to God, staying organized, and paying attention to his voice, which calls us, we can fulfill his purpose for us. Stay with me as we meditate on his will while also applying it to our lives in a practical, goal-driven way.
As you read through my blog posts, you may get the feeling like it can be truly hard to create a routine that supports all of the suggestions I've given so far. First, I want you to understand that this does not happen over night. For me, this has come with years of practice making slight changes to the way I use my time, little by little, step by step, with small adjustments being made on a regular basis. If all you start with is a time block of 15 minutes per day, that is a great start! You can adjust this as you slowly rearrange and change your level of effort over time.
With that said, you might be wondering how I organize and achieve all the things I've suggested. I use tools that help me stay focused throughout the week so I can make the most of the available free time I have. First, let's look at some of the digital tools I use to help keep me organized and focused and then a little bit about what my routine looks like each week.
The "Done" App
The most important tool I use is the Done App (not a paid promotion). Basically, I can program in any task or habit along with what my goal number for the week is. It then provides a colored bar that tells me what my progress is. I can then click on a habit in my list whenever I accomplish a task. Over the course of the week, I keep my eye on the progress of every goal or habit I have. You can accomplish the same thing with other apps or using your own online spreadsheets, but I personally like how this App feels and the level of intuitiveness it offers.
Timers and Alarms
I keep track of how much time I have been working on a task simply using the timer and alarm I have on my phone. This helps me with time blocking so I can either keep track of how much time I have been spending on a task while also limiting my time on other tasks. You can read more about time blocking in a previous post I wrote titled "The Power of Time Blocking" here.
Journals and Logs
Using journals and logs, I keep ongoing attention to various things like gratitude, bible reading, prayer, and wisdom. I use the Done App to ensure I've accomplished my entries each week or day. See my post titled "Journaling Your Way to Success here.
Weekly Preparation (First Day of the Week)
Goal Session - I look at my habits and goals and determine what needs to be improved, what I've accomplished, and what I need to adjust to become more effective with each goal if an adjustment needs to be made.
I review all the habits I have established, look at the ones I did not succeed in the previous week and make a mental commitment for the following week if necessary. I also have a point system that gives me points for each activity to give myself a measurable performance indicator I can use to gauge my performance over time. For more information on Habit Tracking, you can read this post titled "How to Track Habits" here.
Once I have looked at what I would like to accomplish for the week, I add all the items to my Task List (aka To-Do List). I use the "Tasks" program in Google. It allows me to store details and check off each item I accomplish throughout the week. Paired with Google's Email, you can move emails write into the Tasks program if needed as well.
On the first day of the week, I allocate any money I have saved from the previous week to various goals I am currently saving for. I do this by listing out all the items I want to save for in one column. In another column I record how much I've saved so far. Finally in the last column, I record how much I still need to save. Some examples of things you could save for include an emergency fund, home or car maintenance, travel, or big purchases.
I plan out my meals on the first day of the week to get it out of the way. For this, I simply think about what meals I want to have in the coming days, write them in an email I send to myself, place links to the recipes, and record the main ingredients I will need. The great part is, once this is done, it can also double as a shopping list.
On all the other days of the week, I simply keep checking off activities and habits from my To-Do List and Done App whenever I have time. These 2 tools work like my command center for things I want to achieve. I go in understanding that I will never achieve everything I am hoping to do, but the important part is having everything laid out in front of you in an easy-to-access location such as a phone or on your laptop in order to keep your motivation easy and strong.
I hope this is helpful to you! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below and I'd be glad to answer them. Have a great day!
You hear me discuss the meaning of "purpose" a lot in my posts. I talk about getting things done, achieving, and being successful in your goals. There is something even more important than this though. That is taking time out of your daily routine to connect with others.
Starting today, it's time for some of you to start having longer, more meaningful, conversations with people. You will no longer feel "interrupted" in your work. Relish the opportunity to help someone, even keeping an eye out for those who you can help at an active level. Take a moment to compliment someone, smile, give someone an opportunity, or be a caring voice to someone who is having a rough time. Start reaching out and being present to all those around you.
What are the gifts of wisdom if kept only to yourself? It's time to be...better.
Journaling is a great way to keep your mind on success. I employ journal writing on a daily basis for ongoing improvement. The good news is you don't need to be a great writer and sometimes it as simple as logging results or outcomes to give yourself a gauge on your ongoing progress. Let's look at some common goals and some logging or journaling ideas you can employ on your journey to success.
Habit journals are used to once per week to establish several things. I personally use this journal to write down habits I did not accomplish in full that previous week, meaning, I did not meet the minimum requirement of times accomplished (like weighing myself, reading a certain amount of chapters in a book, writing in a specific journal a number of times, etc.). I then look at my outstanding goals, think about what tasks I can work on, and determine what my focus will be for the week, adding or removing habits if necessary.
Bible Reading Journal
When I fill out my Bible Journal, I simply write a short note or two for each chapter I read. This helps me take each chapter's message to heart. The first time I read the Bible, I mainly focused on the names of the characters, who they are related to, and their lineage.
Losing Weight, Calorie, or exercise Journals
These journals can be used to reflect on your activity and foods eaten to establish a direction when it comes to how much food you consume, how much you exercise, and current weight. This helps compare your patterns over time to help better establish great health goals.
Taking time to write down what you are thankful for each day along with the "Why" as to why you are grateful is very helpful in providing a positive mindset. Over time, you will begin having more thoughts of gratitude throughout the day, raising your great vibes.
Prayer journals can be effective for seeing the results of your prayers over time while also allowing you to have a plan or strategy for your prayer. I divide each day's entries into categories that include:
For each category, you can make a few notes about what you'd like to pray that day. After that, you can divide your entries into multiple prayers or one long prayer. It's all up to you!
Wisdom Journal (aka Dream Journal)
The reason I call this a wisdom journal and not simply a dream journal is because I like to journal about every spiritual experience I have. Many times, these experiences work in and out of dream states, crossing over into real life. Sometimes receiving prophetic visions, signs, or experiences in real life act much like dreams and so I find these experiences even more important than a dream to take note of. I have had instances where I received wisdom pertaining to a dream years after I dreamed the dream so I find it very very important to be organized with this information.
These are just some examples of journals you can create, but almost anything you desire to take time out on a regular basis to mediate on, this is a great tool to have in your toolbox. Some journals I use daily, while some I only write in once or twice per week. The great thing about journals is they keep your mind focused in days like this where there are so many distractions. It forces you to put down the phone, turn off the television, and just take a time to focus. I hope this helps! Have a good day, friends!
Friends, Jesus is calling you into the new Kingdom today. If you are a Christian, you are already saying "Aren't I already a part of the Kingdom?" I cannot say, because the truth is not all Christians have realized the Kingdom, because the Kingdom is a state of being. That means you must wake up and realize your true calling as a member of Heaven here on Earth. Jesus says, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20 ...“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21 Jesus is inviting you into Christ consciousness.
In the future, a time will come when members of the Kingdom will need to come together more than ever before. The people of Christ will need to rely on each other for more than just fellowship. They will need to feed each other the food of the Spirit, protect one another, mentor each other and care for one another like one cares for their own child. A Noah moment is coming and we must not be taken off guard when that moment comes so we may be a unified front against a culture that will no longer be serving, but rather, consuming us.
We can no longer be lone warriors when, together, we are so much stronger. God has granted us the power to change the direction of this country and even this world. The power has been granted to bring this entire nation back under the authority of God and not man, for it is in God our trust must reside.
I am asking you now, will you make a commitment today? Will you commit to living the life Jesus taught us about? Will you join me in reaffirming your position in my Father's Kingdom?
In this Kingdom, we will serve each other our labor, our time, and our skill. We will establish, in Christ, His values as our true government and he will be our King. We will no longer settle for corruption and greed as our method of operation. We will no longer compromise the will of the Lord for counterfeit institutions. We will teach each other, support each other, and love one another just as our master taught us. We will show the world what can happen when we come together to pray sincere, faithful prayers. Even as the world may deteriorate around us, we will stand strong, united, and a force for good. No matter what church you belong to, if you are awake, you are part of my Father's Kingdom, because the true Church is not made of wood and stone! It is within you who have been stirred to pick up the cross and follow Him now.
Today God is calling you to a position of apostolic servant leadership. Wherever you are in your life, its time to use whatever authority you have to bring the Word of God to those around you. Do not fear! You cannot fail when the Holy Spirit is within you, because you have a divine calling. "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:17
If you have the means, may you be called to start community centers, Christian businesses, Bible studies, mentorship programs, join town boards, city councils, Christ-led events, take on leadership roles and become more involved in your churches and communities. Today is the day to enter the light and step into the anointed calling God has placed on you. "As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him." John 2:27