Start the Year Off With a Positive Plan

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The end of December brings with it the opportunity to make some changes from the past and design a fresh start for the coming year. It is wise to take some time to ponder, pray and consider what you want to accomplish in 2020. Here are a few ideas to help you develop a purposeful plan.

Write Down at Least Three Things you Want to Accomplish. As you prayerfully consider the year ahead of you, think specifically about what you want to achieve. Perhaps you want to start volunteering at a local outreach or maybe you want to learn a new skill or there may be a project you want to complete. Guard against being too vague as you write down your desired accomplishments. The more specific you are, the easier it is to measure if you achieved your goals.

Create Doable Action Steps. Under each item you want to accomplish, design at least three actions steps that will help you get there. Ask yourself the simple question, “What will it take for me to reach this goal?” If you have a specific sales goal for the year, then consider how many people you need to call or meet with each month and/or week in order to reach your target. If you are targeting a certain weight, then ask yourself what changes in diet and activity do you need to make in order to achieve your goal.

Formulate a Daily Routine. Great accomplishments begin with positive daily habits. Initiate several new daily routines that will help lead you toward success. For instance, if one of your goals is to de-clutter one room of the house per month, then you may want to set a time each weekday that you will devote 30 minutes to an hour to work on re-organizing and throwing out old stuff. If you goal is to read 12 books a year, then you will want to etch some time into your daily routine for reading.

Chart your Progress. If you have set specific and measurable goals, then you should be able to chart your progress. We all need the motivation of knowing that we are headed closer to our goals and making progress along the way. You may want to keep a notebook or have a board or chart on which you can make notes of the steps you are achieving toward your goal. You may even want to share it with a friend or family member for the encouragement and accountability.

Review Monthly.  Studies show that most people fizzle out on their New Year’s resolutions by mid-January, so make an appointment with yourself every first day of the month to review and renew your commitment to your stated goals. I encourage you to write out your personal mission statement and yearly goals each month as a form of review. This is also gives you an opportunity to regularly chart your progress and consider where you may need to readjust your daily routine.

If you are like me, you want to make the most of your days and live a life of purpose. Prayerfully putting a plan into action gives you a framework and allows you to use your strengths to make a positive difference in this world. Ask the Lord to lead you and guide you as you employ the gifts He has given you for His glory and to bless others. I hope that 2020 is a year of greater vision and purpose for each of us.

 

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25 Days of Praise

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During this most wonderful time of the year, let us turn our hearts upward as we focus on the glorious majesty of our God. This month I want to provide you with a daily attribute of the Lord on which to meditate throughout your day. May this give your heart a reason to rejoice and your mind an opportunity to praise His glorious name throughout the holiday season.

  1. He is our Creator. In the beginning God create the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
  2. He is God Most High. I cry out to God Most High to God, who vindicates me.       Psalm 57:2
  3. He is our Shield. Do not be afraid…. I am your shield, your very great reward. Genesis 15:1
  4. He sees You are the God who sees me…I have now seen the One who sees me. Genesis 16:13
  5. He is the Great I Am. God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:14
  6. He is our Redeemer. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm. Exodus 6:6
  7. He is our Strong Defender. The LORD is my strength and my defense. Exodus 15:2
  8. He makes bitter waters sweet. Moses threw the piece of wood into the water and the water turned sweet. Exodus 15:25
  9. He sanctifies I am the Lord who sanctifies you. Exodus 31:13
  10. He is Holy. Be holy because I, the LORD your God am holy. Leviticus 19:2
  11. He is Faithful and True. He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9
  12. He is a Defender of the downtrodden. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow. Deuteronomy 10:18
  13. He has a Mighty Hand and a Powerful Arm. The LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Deuteronomy 26:8
  14. He is our Rock. He is the Rock, His works are perfect. Deuteronomy 32:4
  15. He is a Generous. Take possession of the land the LORD our God is giving you for your own. Joshua 1:11
  16. He does Amazing Acts. Tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you. Joshua 3:5
  17. He is our  Peace. Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The Lord is Peace. Judges 6:24
  18. He Restores.  I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. Joel 2:25
  19. He is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. I Samuel 17:45
  1. He is Omnipotent. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. Nehemiah 9:6
  2. He is our Shepherd.  The LORD is my shepherd, I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1
  3. He is our Guide. He guides me down the right path bringing honor to His name. Psalm 23:3
  4. He is our Salvation. The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1
  5. He loves us with an Unfailing Love. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. Psalm 89:2
  6. He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

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.
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. Isaiah 9:6-7

I hope you have a wonderful Holy-Day season. May these verses lift your spirits and turn your heart toward Almighty God. Starting on Dec 26, I will begin posting specific attributes we see in Jesus, as we worship Emanuel, God with us.

 

 

Follow me on Instagram as I provide a colorful reminder of these daily attributes – @karolladd

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

 

Getting Along During the Holidays

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The holidays are a time of cheer and joy as we gather around the table and enjoy festive food and delightful fellowship – right? At least that’s the way it looks on Instagram, but the reality is that sometimes the holidays can be hard. There may be strained relationships and different ways of viewing life, politics and God. So how do you make it through both Thanksgiving and Christmas with more love and less tension?

Recently, I read the following passage from the apostle Peter. Although written many years ago, these words seem to be a wonderful antidote to some of the rough spots in relationships. Think about how you can apply these words.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Just think if we followed these few positive principles penned by Peter. Simply put:

  • Love deeply
  • Offer hospitality without grumbling
  • Use your gifts to serve others

I love how Peter calls us “faithful stewards of God’s grace.” That’s what we should be! We ought to be conduits of His love and grace with every person we encounter, whether it is the person next to us in line or the person sitting next to us at the dinner table. Since we have received God’s grace, then by the power of His Spirit within us, we can freely reflect His grace toward others.

God is glorified when we practice these things. Ultimately isn’t that what the holidays are about anyway?  It’s not about us, rather it’s about celebrating the goodness of God and glorifying Him. Our fervent love for one another shines the light on Him and the powerful, grace-filled work He has done in our lives. May this season be filled with forgiveness, grace and love as we honor Him in what we say and do!

 

Want to share a holiday gift that focuses on God and His glorious attributes? Check out this month’s $5 special, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places. Limit 10 per household.  Click Here for more info.

 

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No Complaining. Really?

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If I challenged you to cut out complaining and arguing from your life for an entire week, could you do it? What about for a month?  Now we are getting a little difficult. What if I challenged you to stop complaining and arguing for the rest of your life? Wait! Don’t stop reading this blog! I’m serious. Let’s just take a look at the possibilities here. The apostle Paul actually wrote to the Philippians that they should do “everything without complaining, grumbling or arguing.”

Now perhaps you are thinking, Aren’t there times when we need to stand up for ourselves? Surely God doesn’t intend for us to never talk about our difficulties. Yes, there is a time and a place for wisely and respectfully sharing our concerns, but the bigger issue we need to consider is how do we handle life when it doesn’t go our way. Here’s what Paul wrote:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life. Philippians 2:14- 15.

Paul is encouraging us to shed some bad habits, so that we may shine Christ’s light more brightly in this dark world. Often complaining and grumbling are  born out of pride, anger or a lack of faith. We think we know what is best and when things don’t go as planned, we tend to get our feathers ruffled. Sometimes issues of unforgiveness or bitterness are lingering in our heart, causing us to complain and argue.

Is it really possible to live without grumbling? To be honest, we all have a tendency to grumble and complain – it is our basic human nature. But God can do a mighty work in our lives through the power of His spirit within us. He can transform our grumbly heart into a grateful one. Here are three ideas to put into practice the next time you feel a need to complain.

  1. Turn your eyes upward and thank the Lord for the good things He is doing. One of the greatest antidotes to complaining and whining is to take our focus off of the frustration and look instead at our blessings. As we sincerely thank Him for the ways He has worked in our lives, then we also begin to realize God can take care of our present situation. We don’t need to be spouting off about every problem that comes our way.
  2. Pray for guidance. Anytime we are about to grumble, we must ask ourselves a simple question, “Have I prayed about this?” As we seek God’s wisdom on how to handle the situation, we can ask Him to help us grow through it as well. Prayer allows our worries to dwindle. When we bring our challenges to God first, then we do not give worry an opportunity to set in. Like logs to a fire, worry and anxiety fuel complaining and whining. Faith says, “I will trust God’s unfailing love through this challenge.”
  3. Take positive action. There are times when we do need to present our point of view or our concern, but we can do it without grumbling or whining. Instead we can wisely, patiently and kindly present our thoughts or perspective to the right person. Let’s be willing to be a part of the solution, and look for what we can do rather than focusing on what we can’t do.

Every opportunity to complain is actually an opportunity to grow in our faith and trust in the Lord. Ultimately, when we truly believe God loves us and has a good purpose for our lives, then grumbling, whining and bickering tend to dissipate. May we be bright shining lights as we show an unbelieving world that we trust a big God.

This is an excerpt from my book, A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God. Click the link below for more information about the book and DVD based on Philippians.  https://positivewomanconnection.com/books/#biblestudy

 

 

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30 Reasons to Give Thanks

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With Christmas decorations crowding the aisles of most stores, it’s sometimes hard to focus on the beauty of the Thanksgiving season. I believe a heart filled with thankfulness is one of the best ways to prepare us for the Christmas season. It’s not about how we decorate on the outside that matters, it’s what is happening on the inside that really makes the holiday season beautiful.

Personally, I have found that an attitude of thankfulness changes the way I handle difficulties and walk through challenges. Every morning I take a moment to write down at least five blessings that happened over the last 24 hours. Sometimes it’s easy, but to be honest, there are days that I have to think hard about those things for which I can be grateful. The practice is a great discipline that helps me start my day with a positive perspective. I highly recommend it!

What are the benefits of being thankful? Here’s 30 reasons to ponder – one for each day this month!

  1. It takes your eyes off of yourself and your problems
  2. It strengthens your faith
  3. It blesses others
  4. It changes your perspective
  5. It makes you more delightful to be around
  6. It helps you see where God is working
  7. It makes a bad day better
  8. It is contagious
  9. It’s an act of worship
  10. It helps you stay focused on what is good and lovely
  11. It reminds you that God is in control
  12. It chases away a grumpy attitude
  13. It lifts the fog of thinking that nothing good ever happens
  14. It stretches you
  15. It encourages you to take one step forward out of grief or pain
  16. It helps you see the good in others
  17. It makes you less critical
  18. It helps you be more disciplined
  19. It challenges you to think outside the box
  20. It increases your observation skills
  21. It invites you to smile
  22. It encourages you to help others to look for the good
  23. It allows you to dig for something positive in the midst of a difficulty
  24. It strengthens relationships because you are focused on the good in others
  25. It helps you press on toward your goals by looking for inklings of hope
  26. It starts your day in a bright direction
  27. It can dispel the blues
  28. It increases your creativity
  29. It helps you to look at a situation from different angles
  30. It reminds you that God is worthy of our thanks every day because of His goodness and grace toward us

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever”  Psalm 118:29

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash