5 Foolproof New Year’s Resolutions

Every year people make bold New Year’s resolutions that they never can live up to. Happy New YearThe goal is to better ourselves but it doesn’t seem to work out. Work out more often, eat better, be nicer to others, go to church more, etc… These goals sound great and all but they are often out of reach because we don’t know how to meet them.

I have never been one to make my own list but I decided to create a fail-proof list this year and share it with you. This list is all about you. It’s not about being selfish but all about making a better you. So, here it goes:

1. Learn to say ‘No’ I grew up as a people pleaser. That means if someone asked me to do something I always said yes. This actually got me in trouble a few times as I got in with the wrong people. However, I have learned the power of saying no over the past few years. It helped me greatly while I was running my own business. I learned to turn down what seemed to be lucrative jobs but what would have stressed me greatly. With that, I began turning a greater profit and was happier. I finally applied this principle to my ministry last year and it too has helped me. People may get mad at you for a short time but they will get over it.

I have seen people in church except everything asked of them and I have seen those same people put church work before God and their own family. Being busy by saying yes to every request doesn’t bring you closer to God. It only burns you out and makes you resentful. This year, learn your limits. When you are at your limit say no to people. This doesn’t mean you are a bad person or are selfish. You just know your limits.

2. Value yourself/Be yourself We all hold value in the eyes of God. Sometimes we forget about that because the world doesn’t value us, or at least we don’t think it does. We allow people to run us over at work and home because we don’t think we hold value. But, you do have value. Whatever your job is you are worth it. Sometimes you deserve more than what you are being paid. Be confident in your value.

You must also value your relationships. You, man or woman, never deserve to be hit by your partner. There is never an excuse for that. You deserve to be fully loved by someone. You don’t deserve to be cheated on or mistreated. You deserve to get the best from your partner. Be confident in your value.

Knowing your value will allow you to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not. I have tried this in the past to fit in. When I became a Christian I thought I needed to stay away from all my old friends. I tried to fit in with the people who had been Christians their whole life but I just didn’t know how to fit in. I learned that I don’t have to live in the “Christian culture” to be an effective Christian. In fact, I have more of an impact on people’s lives by being myself. Be yourself around everyone you meet. You don’t have to pretend to be someone who you are not. Let people accept you for who you are. If they don’t want to, then it’s their loss.

3. Embrace your weaknesses 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 has been a great help for me. In this passage Paul talks about boasting in his weaknesses. It sounds kind of odd because we want to hide our weaknesses so nobody will exploit us. Paul says the opposite. Why? Because when we are weak then we are strong. God gives us His strength. When we are weak we have no choice but to rely on God. That’s why God doesn’t make us perfect. He doesn’t want us to always rely on ourselves. He wants us to rely on Him so He can show off his great power. Let me give you an example.

I have never liked being the center of attention. It takes me a while to be comfortable around people and open up to them. Go figure that I would be preaching in front of large groups of people. I thought I was doing good. I wrote out my sermons word for word so I won’t mess up. I relied on this so I won’t think about everyone staring at me. I focused on saying what I needed to say as quickly as possible. I thought I was doing a good job until I took a preaching class. My sermons were good but the delivery was not. I learned that the only way to deliver a good sermon was to completely rely on God. I took another preaching class but in this class we had to preach without notes. I was completely terrified. I cannot do that on my own. I had to rely on God. But now I love it. I will never use another manuscript again. I embraced my weakness and God showed out completely.

What is your weakness? Try giving up and giving it over completely to God this year just to see what happens. I bet you God will take over and you will be better than you could ever be on your own.

4. See the world through God’s eyes If you haven’t noticed already these resolutions are related so far. They are all about making a better you through knowing your value and who you are in God’s sight. Now, you also need to see other people in the same light. Value other people and don’t use them for your own gain. Always remember the golden rule: Treat other people the way you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).

5. Read your Bible This last one is a little different but it’s still about making a better you. Read you Bible but please don’t sign up for one of those “read your Bible in a year programs.” Why not? They may work for people who are extremely disciplined but won’t work for the casual reader. They seem like a good idea but can make reading your Bible a difficult task. Reading the Bible should not be difficult nor a task. Here’s what happens: you start out the plan excited and determined. You get sick one day or something happens that distracts you and you forget to read the plan for the day. You are now behind so you try to read extra. But you go out-of-town for the weekend and fall further behind. Now you are several days back and don’t have the time to catch up. Might as well give up now because you are not going to get it done this year.

The best way to read the Bible is to just read as much as you can each day. If you only have 5 minutes then that’s all you have. Some days you may have more time so you can read more. The thing is, don’t put a time or content restraint on yourself. Doing so makes reading the Bible a checklist and not a pleasure. So, try to read the Bible every day. If you miss a day, don’t worry just pick up where you left off. I did one Bible reading plan that took me 5 years to complete. (Yes I said 5 years). I read one chapter per day in the Old Testament. When I got to the New Testament I read the same chapter 3 days in a row. Yes, I missed some days. I even missed reading my Bible for a week or more at a time. But I eventually finished. Don’t give up reading you Bible no matter how long it takes and no matter how many times you have read it before; you always learn something new.

So, there it is. My first New Years resolution list. If you have not come up with one feel free to use this one. It’s yours for the taking. May 2015 be better than 2014 and may you grow closer to God. God bless you.


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Combat Ready Devotional #10

As for you, the one who lives in the shelter of the sovereign One, 

and resides in the protective shadow of the mighty king

Psalm 91:1

Shadow of The Lord

This Psalm goes on to say that those who stay in God’s protective shadow will be rescued by God and God will protect them. Part of this Psalm is even quoted in the New Testament. But it’s not all about God. It’s about what we must do.

Isn’t it nice to sit in a shadow during a hot day? You can’t sit in the same spot the whole time though. You must move with the shadow. This is what the Psalmist is saying. We must rest in the Lord’s shadow and be aware when it moves. God’s shadow won’t be in the same place all the time. Go where God is. Seek Him out. That means we can’t focus on what we want, we must focus on where God is.

This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

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My Turn! The World Book Blog Tour

Heart Of Fiction: Bloggin' A Book

The World Book Blog Tour

The World Book Blog Tour is an invitation to share not only an author’s work but also the work of other authors/writers. Then the idea is to pass it on in hopes of authors reaching authors and readers across the globe! Thanks to all of you who jumped on board to participate in the fun!

Thanks to David Wolstenholm for adding me to the tour! David is a Christian pastor currently on sabbatical working at a property management company. He’s the author of Combat Ready, a thrilling memoir that reflects the Christian and military life. You can read my book review of Combat Readyhere. He’s working on a daily devotional to complement Combat Ready and is already available for a sneak peek on his blog. He leads a contemplative and prayerful Christian life, which can be seen through his writing. Be sure…

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Combat Ready Devotional # 9

Do not fret when wicked men seem to succeed!  Do not envy evildoers!For they will quickly dry up like grass, and wither away like plants.

Trust in the Lord and do what is right!

Settle in the land and maintain your integrity!

Psalm 37:1-3

Trust in The Lord

We see it every day; people who don’t love God succeed in every thing they do. They are very successful on the outside but we never see the turmoil in their hearts. Just because we fail at something doesn’t mean God isn’t with us. Just because someone else succeeds doesn’t mean God is with them.

Trust in the Lord and do what is right. Don’t worry about the riches of this world because there are far better riches in heaven. Don’t worry about how the wicked men and women prosper. Only worry about doing the right thing and living inside God’s will.

This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

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Combat Ready Devotional # 8

It is not because you were more numerous than all the other peoples that the Lord favored and chose you – for in fact you were the least numerous of all peoples. Rather it is because of his love for you and his faithfulness to the promise he solemnly vowed to your ancestors that the Lord brought you out with great power, redeeming you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So realize that the Lord your God is the true God, the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, but who pays back those who hate him as they deserve and destroys them. He will not ignore those who hate him but will repay them as they deserve. So keep the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that I today am commanding you to do.

Deuteronomy 7:7-11

The One True God

The ancestors referred to here are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As Christians, we are also descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), so this promise is for us too. Of course God didn’t bring us out of Egypt and, no, we aren’t heirs to the land of Israel. But we are heirs to God’s faithfulness.

God loved us first (John 3:16) and has been faithful with His plan of salvation. He loved us while we were sinners (Romans 5:8). Only the One True God can do this. He is faithful to us. All He asks us in return is to keep His commandments. Ask yourself right now, ‘Am I living according to God’s purpose?’ ‘Am I keeping God’s commandments?’

This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

Categories: Being a Christian, Deuteronomy, Devotional, Galatians, John, Romans | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Church Formation in the New Testament

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Combat Ready Devotional #7

When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Get up, make us gods that will go before us. As for this fellow Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him!”

Exodus 32:1

Wait on The Lord

And Aaron complied with the people. He made a golden calf. The people worshipped the calf and made it their god. The real God got angry, Moses interceded, and Aaron made an excuse (I put the gold in the fire and out came this calf).

Oh, how easy it is to do it our way when we get tired of waiting on God. We think God has abandoned us so we take it upon ourselves to proceed without Him. If God doesn’t give us what we want—He must not exist then and we will go about on our own. That’s how many people think.

The Bible doesn’t teach us to do things on our own and disregard what God wants. The Bible is filled with stories of patience, probably one of the hardest things to do. Be patient and wait for The Lord. I promise you His plans are better than yours.

This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

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Bible Quotes on Leadership

What are your favorite leadership quotes (whether from the Bible or not)? This is a short list I compiled from the Bible. Enjoy:

Wait! Also check out the 3 leadership qualities Part 1, 2, & 3.

Elders who provide effective leadership must be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard in speaking and teaching. For the scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and“The worker deserves hispay.” 

1 Timothy 5:17, 18

And God has placed in the church first apostlessecond prophetsthird teachersthen miraclesgifts of healinghelps,gifts of leadershipdifferent kinds of tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:28

This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a goodwork.” The overseer then must be above reproachthe husband of one wife, temperateself-controlledrespectablehospitablean able teacher, not a drunkardnot violentbutgentlenot contentiousfree from the love of money. He must manage his own householdwell and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. But if someone does notknow how to manage his own householdhow will he care for the church of God? He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devilwill exact. And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may notfall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap.

1 Timothy 3:1-7

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not two-faced, not given to excessive drinking, not greedy for gain, holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 3:10 Andthese also must be tested first and then let them serve as deacons if they are found blamelessLikewise also their wives must be dignifiednot slanderoustemperatefaithful in every respect. Deacons must be husbands of one wife and good managers of their children andtheir own households. For those who have served well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 3:8-13

Obey your leaders and submit to themfor they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaintsfor this would be no advantage for you.

Hebrews 13:17

When there is no guidance a nation fallsbut there is success in the abundance of counselors.

Proverbs 11:14

Doing wickedness is an abomination to kingsbecause a throne is established in righteousness.

Proverbs 16:12

A dispute also started among them over which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. So Jesus said to them“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over themand those in authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  Not so with you; instead the one who is greatest among you must become like the youngestand the leader like the one who serves. For who is greaterthe one who is seated at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Luke 22:24-27

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they dofor they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavyloads, hard to carryand put them on men’s shouldersbut they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by peoplefor they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long. They love the place of honor atbanquets and the best seats in the synagogues and elaborate greetings in the marketplacesand to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’  for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And call no one your ‘father’ on earthfor you have one Fatherwho is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. And whoeverexalts himself will be humbledand whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:1-12

In the same wayyou who are younger, be subject to the eldersAnd all of you, clotheyourselves with humility toward one anotherbecause God opposes the proud but givesgrace to the humble. And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:5-7

At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying“Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a childhad him stand among themand said“I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven! Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-4

For I consider myself not at all inferior to those “super-apostles.” And even if I am unskilled in speakingyet I am certainly not so in knowledgeIndeedwe have made this plain to you in everything in every wayOr did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that youcould be exaltedbecause I proclaimed the gospel of God to you free of chargeI robbedother churches by receiving support from them so that I could serve you! When I was with you and was in needI was not a burden to anyonefor the brothers who came from Macedonia fully supplied my needs. I kept myself from being a burden to you in any way,and will continue to do soAs the truth of Christ is in methis boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia. Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! And what I am doing I will continue to doso that I may eliminate any opportunity for those who want a chance to be regarded as our equals in the things they boast about. For such people are false apostlesdeceitful workersdisguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonderfor even Satan disguises himself as an angel of lightTherefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousnesswhose end will correspond to their actions.

2 Corinthians 11:5-15

Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person.

1 Corinthians 10:24

Leave them! They are blind guides. If someone who is blind leads another who is blind, both will fall into a pit.”

Matthew 15:14

The Lord is my shepherdI lack nothingHe takes me to lush pastureshe leads me to refreshing waterHe restores my strengthHe leads me down the right paths for the sake of his reputationEven when I must walk through the darkest valleyI fear no dangerfor you are with meyour rod and your staff reassure meYou prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemiesYou refresh my head with oilmy cup is completely fullSurely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life.

Psalm 23

All Bible quotes are taken from the NET Bible which can be found online at net.bible.org. Please share your favorite leadership quote that you have from the Bible. Let’s see how many we can find…

Wait! Also check out the 3 leadership qualities Part 12, & 3.

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Combat Ready Devotional #6

“I will send my terror before you, and I will destroy all the people whom you encounter; I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. I will send hornets before you that will drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite before you.”

Exodus 23:27, 28

This is one of the major promises God gave to Israel after they left Egypt and before they came in to the Promised Land. Like the rest of His promises, this one was conditional. The Israelites had to obey God’s commands and not worship the gods of the inhabitants of the land (verses 22-24). Unfortunately, Israel didn’t uphold their end. Although, God did help them push out the inhabitants on a couple of occasions, it didn’t go as planned.

This may seem like genocide and completely against who God is. Our God is a God of love. But with love comes justice. The people of the land had fully rejected their Creator and now was the time for them to be judged. The same thing will happen at the end of time for the rest of the world.

God doesn’t promise us today to wipe out entire populations. When He sees fit, He will push back our enemies from harming us. He will make things easy for us, sometimes. Sometimes we must go through our own desert experience to discipline us and eliminate our bad habits and sins. You may be in the desert now but God has a promised land waiting just for you. Just be patient and allow Him to lead.

This is an excerpt from the upcoming companion devotional to Combat Ready. These devotionals are not in the same order as they will appear in the printed book and may not be in the final form. To read more devotionals click here. To purchase the original book, Combat Ready, click here or go anywhere else books are sold.

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Matthew 7:13-14

God Is Love

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

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