Setting clear goals is important in order to guide your focus, to learn new things, and to help you use your time and resources wisely. Goals can be set for the day, week, month, year, or be longer term goals. No matter what our age, setting goals is important to continue to do and pursue. Author C.S. Lewis stated, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” We can keep Psalm 139:14 in mind as we seek to follow God in our lives and pursue goals and passions that align with His will for our life. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. God has made each one of us on purpose and for a purpose that He has in mind.
Setting goals can help you stay motivated. College Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz describes it this way. “If you’re bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things, you don’t have enough goals.” Having a clear idea, purpose, and desire for what you want to do can keep you motivated to work towards goals. Also, you may be more likely to avoid doing things that hinder or prevent you from reaching your goal.
In setting goals, it is important that they are aligned with God’s Word and His will for your life. Philippians 4:8 is an excellent verse to keep in mind. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. We can seek to have our faith in God direct our time and focus. The more we learn about God and His great love in our lives the more our desires will align with God’s plan and purpose for us. Psalm 37:4 can be seen in this light. When we seek God, we will desire to know Him better and to share His love with others. Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
In doing this we can remember that with God nothing is impossible. With God’s strength and power at work in our life, God can accomplish much through us. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. If you feel that the Holy Spirit is guiding you to pursue a goal, you can work towards this and seek advice from other Christians on the best course of action.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
God’s goodness does not depend on our circumstances. When we talk about God’s
goodness, it does not just have to be in the good times. God’s goodness is seen as He provides
comfort and support to those in mourning or need. God’s goodness is seen as He offers strength
and encouragement when we feel weak. In the midst of difficulties in life, God is always with us.
He doesn’t leave! He never quits! He will never let go of us and holds us up in His strong loving
God is preparing you for that which He has prepared you for. God is at work in your life even if you may not realize it. He is using your experiences, thoughts, and feelings to work for good. We can trust that God has prepared us to leave it better in the lives of others. This is based on the simple fact that it is not a great faith that we need, but faith in a great God. And that is what we have!
There is nothing that is impossible with God. Is anything too hard for the Lord. Genesis 18:14. We can be fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He promises. We can trust God’s power at work in our lives. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. What wonderful promises!
God has prepared you to make a difference because He is at work through you. We should not put limits on ourselves for how we might impact others because it is God’s power at work. If we set limits, it can have an effect on our thoughts and what we might do. A study done on the height of redwood trees illustrates this.
One group of people were asked the following two questions: (1) Is the height of the highest redwood more or less than 1,200 feet? (2) What is your best guess about the height of the tallest redwood? A second group of people were asked the following two questions with just one change in the first question. (1) Is the height of the highest redwood more or less than 180 feet? (2) What is your best guess about the height of the tallest redwood?
You might guess the impact that the difference in the first question had. The numbers of 1,200 feet and 180 feet served as anchors. Those who were given the height of 1,200 feet guessed an average height of 844 feet. Those who were given the lower height of 180 feet in the first question guessed an average of 282 feet. Once we set limits, it can become the baseline for our decision making.
Let the following words sink in. God is preparing you for that which He has prepared you for. And God has no limits. Anything is possible with God! With this we can seek to follow God’s will and know that no act done or word spoken to share God’s love is wasted. If you are trying to help someone, pray about it. Do what you can to help and know that God is working on it. A quote from Dr. Seuss is fitting. “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” God can use each of us to make a difference in the lives of others and we might not realize just how important our words or actions are to another person.
There is a great need for God’s love in the world and for truth to be grounded in God’s Word. With God in our lives, we are prepared to leave it better with people and places. We can seek to stay grounded in His Word and to know His love better and the impact that this can have on our life.
God, with You all things are possible. There is no limit to Your power and might. Thank you that all Your promises are true. I bring my specific requests to You, trusting in Your wisdom, knowing You will answer according to Your will. I trust that You are in control. Cast away any doubt from me. You are faithful always. I pray for those in my life, that You would grant them peace from knowing Your love. Way maker. Promise keeper. Light in the darkness. My God, that is who You are. Amen.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?
God has the power to give us a new life in the grips of His grace. As our faith in God grows, we will begin to see the different ways that God is working in our life and in the lives of others. God can change us, from the inside out to dispel any fears and alleviate any of our doubts. God can change us from the outside in, till we no longer desire to commit sin. We can seek to know and trust the power of God at work in our lives. No matter what life will bring, God’s powerful love can be our sure hope and inner joy.
Write Your blessed Name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so indelibly engraved,
that no prosperity, no adversity shall ever move me from your love. Be to me a strong tower of
defense, a comforter in tribulation, a deliverer in distress, a very present help in trouble, and a
guide to heaven through the many temptations and dangers of this life. Amen.
-Prayer of Thomas á Kempis-
The following is a poem that I wrote about being a great leader. If we focus too much on ourselves, we will miss the mark. To be a great leader means to spend less time thinking about ourselves and more time seeking to know how God can use us to help others. It is not about what you can accomplish, but about the impact that God can make on other people through you. Equipped by God and His loving leadership, God can use you to improve the lives of others. Never forget that God cares for you! You can trust God! God wants to help you! God is the world’s greatest leader!
I went on a search to be a leader great,
Searching high and low with a determined gait
I spoke with authority that I remember,
But none would follow, not one member
“Why should we trust you?” they did ask,
“What have you done to achieve the task?”
Focusing on myself is what I did wrong,
Then I rolled up my sleeves and worked right along
Shoulder to shoulder we got things done,
We worked side by side, all were one
A mate of mine stumbled, I stooped to assist,
My hand he did grab, a smile did persist
One was lost, didn’t know what to do,
I showed her how to achieve something new
I praised them one and all for their consistence,
All were unique and I encouraged persistence
When the task was done, they did shout
“You’re a great leader!” they all did tout
“Without you there to support our plight,
Lost would we be with no end in sight.”
“No thanks to me is due,” I responded
“A true leader I discovered and that is why we bonded.
Care, trust, and help He offers to all
With Him in your life you will stand tall
God is my leader true
All that He taught me came through
God deserves all the praise
Never forget this wonderful phrase.
God’s love and wisdom He offers free
Following His example is the key
To lead by God’s wisdom is the true treasure,
The secret of servant leadership, in one simple measure.
The most important thing that you can learn is who you are as a child of God. All Christians are adopted by God as His beloved children. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1a. As children of God there are many blessings and promises that God provides us that we can read in the Bible. We can strive to learn more about God’s great love for us and how our Father God cares for us. The more we take to heart and remember God’s promises for us, the more the inner joy that comes from being a redeemed child of God can permeate our life. The following was written by an unknown author and describes some of the great promises that God has for us.
A MESSAGE FROM GOD TO YOU
You may not know this…I know everything about you (Psalm 139:1). I know when you sit down and when you rise up (Psalm 139:2). I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:3). Even the very hairs on your head are numbered (Matthew 10:29-31). For you were made in My image (Genesis 1:27). In Me you live and move and have your being (Acts 17:28). I knew you before you were born (Jeremiah 1:4-5). I chose you when I planned creation (Ephesians 1:11-12). You were not a mistake, for all of your days are written in my book (Psalm 139:15-16).
I determined the exact time of your birth and when you would live (Acts 17:26). You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). You were created for my praise and glory (Isaiah 43:6-7).
I am not distant and angry. On the contrary, I am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16; 1 John 3:16). And it is my desire to lavish My love on you! (1 John 3:1). Simply because you are My child and I am your Father (1 John 3:1). I offer you more than your earthly father ever could (Matthew 7:11). For I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48). Every good and perfect gift you receive comes from My hand (James 1:17).
For I am Your provider and meet all your needs (Matthew 6:31-33). My plan for your future has always been filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Because I love you with an everlasting love! (Jeremiah 31:3).
My thoughts toward you are as countless as the sands on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18). And I rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). I will never stop doing good to you (Jeremiah 32:40). For you are My treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). I want to show you great and marvelous things (Jeremiah 33:3). If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me (Deuteronomy 4:29). Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). I am able to do more than you could possibly imagine (Ephesians 3:20). For I am your greatest encourager (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17). I am your Father, who comforts you in all of your troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you! (Psalm 34:18).
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to My heart (Isaiah 40:11). One day I will wipe every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:3-4). And I will take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth (Revelation 21:3 -4). I love you! (John 3:16). I am your Father and I love you, even as I love My Son, Jesus (John 17:23). For in Jesus, My love for you is revealed (John 17:26). He is the exact representation of My being (Hebrews 1:3). He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you (Romans 8:31). And to tell you that I am not counting your sins against you (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Jesus died on a cross so that you and I could be reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). His death is the ultimate expression of My love for you (1 John 4:10).
I gave up My one and only Son that I might save you (John 3:16). You and I are reconciled through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross (Colossians 1:19-20). Jesus died and rose again on the third day to rescue you from eternal death (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 6:23; Matthew 25:46). If you receive the gift of My Son, Jesus, you receive Me (1 John 2:23). And nothing will ever separate you from My love again! (Romans 8:38-39). I have always been your Father and will always be your Father (Ephesians 3:14-15).
Your Father, Almighty God.
What lie is holding you hostage? What wrong thought robs you of living a life of joy? Pastor and author, Craig Groeschel, provides a list of reflective questions to think about in order to focus on how we can improve our thoughts to align them with the way God would want us to think about ourselves.
Are my thoughts tearing me down? Does my self-talk cause me to shrink back in fear? Do my thoughts cause me to keep people at a distance? Are my unhealthy thoughts keeping me from the life that God wants for me? Does my inner voice tell me I’m helpless or that life is hopeless?
The goal is to shift from these questions to affirmative answers to the following questions. Are my thoughts building me up? Do I think peaceful thoughts? Does my self-talk inspire me to take faith risks? Do my thoughts help me get closer to others? Do my thoughts reflect my faith? Do my thoughts reflect my hope and joy in Christ? Do they equip me to become more like Jesus? Do my thoughts connect to the vision God has for my life? You cannot defeat when you cannot define. It is important to identify any lie about yourself that is holding you back and replace it with truths and promises from God.
One way to do this is through prayer. Prayer can change you. As we pray to God, we can thank God for the blessings that He provides us. We can praise His great name. We can bring our requests and struggles to Him, confident that He hears us and is working to help us. When we spend time in prayer, God will have a way of working answers into our lives through thoughts or through others.
Prayer can even change your brain. Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of research at Thomas Jefferson Hospital and Medical College in Pennsylvania, studies the brain by using neuroimaging techniques. He has written a book called, How God changes your brain. He describes that prayer is like a physical workout for the brain and changes its chemistry. Another doctor in the same field, Dr. Caroline Leaf, further describes the impact of prayer on the brain. “It has been found that twelve minutes of daily focused prayer over an eight-week period can change the brain to such an extent that it can be measured on a brain scan. This type of prayer increases activity in brain areas associated with social interaction, compassion, and sensitivity to others.” Prayer also increases frontal lobe activity, which involves problem solving, memory, judgement, and impulse control.
Prayer is powerful because it is God’s power at work in our lives. Prayer can change your brain and move your life and thoughts in a positive direction. This is important as your life is always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts. We can seek to pray and saturate ourselves in God’s Word to keep from being influenced by the devil or the world. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2.
Prayer can renew our mind, leading us to God’s peace, joy, and understanding. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7. We can actively seek to know Bible verses that will correct any harmful thoughts that we might have. We can ground our thoughts in God’s Word and hold on to His promise and truths.
Every day we can seek to learn more about Jesus and the joy that can be found in His great love for us. This then can impact how we approach all aspects of our lives. Every day we can experience joy in greeting, encouraging, and learning more about others in our lives. Every day we can be joyful to learn more about ourselves. We can seek to learn new things in order to be better equipped to help others and share God’s love with them.
It is important to note that there is a difference between the joy of the Lord and happiness. Happiness is often temporary and the result of outward circumstances or interactions. The joy of the Lord is based on something exceptionally good. It is God’s great love and presence in our lives. This joy is unending and can lead to inward peace and contentment. The joy of the Lord transcends what happens to us as it is based on who God is. God does not change. The joy of the Lord is constant even in difficult times as God’s love and grace in our lives does not change. The joy of the Lord is a great blessing! It is the joy of grace! It is the joy of comfort! It is the joy of mercy! It is the joy of forgiveness! It is the joy of love! This joy is rooted deep within us and provides Christians great strength!
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.