Dream a Dream and Keep Pushing the Red Button.

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Most dreams require consistent, persistent action, but we often get impatient when we believe that the results aren’t coming fast enough. Then we are tempted to stop doing the actions altogether because we figure it isn’t working anyway.  I want to encourage you to keep taking action towards your goals. It takes consistent, persistent action over time to achieve anything.

I once heard a story about a monkey at a zoo who would get a banana from a machine every time he pushed a red button. The banana would fall into his bucket when he pressed the red button. He would grab it and run off merrily with his favorite food in hand.

One day, the machine got stuck and though there were bananas in there, nothing happened when the monkey pressed the red button. This went on for days. No one realized that the machine was broken.  The poor monkey tried, day after day, pressing the button as he had grown accustomed to pressing, but unfortunately, no bananas fell out.

After a while, the monkey stopped pushing the red button.

Not long after, the monkey’s caregiver noticed the rotting fruit in the machine and upon inspection realized that the machine was broken.  He worked on it that day until he got it working again and he replaced the old fruit with fresh bananas.

Guess what though? The monkey wasn’t pushing the red button anymore and the fruit spoiled again. This time, the fruit spoiled not because the machine was broken, or because the bananas were inaccessible, but simply because the monkey had given up.

Hey, friends, don’t be a monkey. Keep pushing the red button.

A few years ago, I decided to work with a trainer at the gym to get in shape for my 35th birthday.  Immediately the weight started coming off, and I could see results. It was easy to go to the gym and stick to the routine because I could tell it was working.  Then, suddenly, it wasn’t.  I was still going to the gym, still working out but the weight wasn’t coming off.  I was very tempted to stop, but my trainer explained to me that I had hit a plateau, also known as a flat spot.  She encouraged me to maintain my schedule and encouraged me to even consider adding another workout to my routine. She promised I would burst through my plateau with continued, focused, serious action.  I couldn’t see it. I felt like I was wasting my time but I decided to trust her.  Guess what? My trainer was right.  Soon the weight was falling off again and I was able to achieve my goal to rock my 35th birthday dinner.

Keep doing what you know works, even if you’re not getting the results you want or it looks like nothing’s happening.  Every one goes through flat spots. The key is not to give up on doing the actions that got you the results in the first place.

Keep being consistent. Keep showing up. Keep taking steps towards your goal and you will achieve it.

Dream a Dream and Take Action

Do you have a dream that you’re expecting to come to pass?

Do you dream of a new house? A new job? Financial freedom? It’s important to hold fast to your dream; to never give up on your dream. I wrote about that in my last blog post below.  You know, it’s also just as important to take specific steps that will lead you to success.

Too often we fall into the trap of waiting for our dreams to come to past without actually doing anything to help our dreams come to pass.

A friend once said having a dream and a vision is a great first step, but if you want to see the manifestation of those dreams and visions, you’re going to have to work for it. It isn’t going to happen by osmosis. I chuckled when she said it, but it struck home as truth!

What do you have in your hand?

God expects us to do what we can, and allow Him to do the impossible.

Many times we give our dreams  to God in prayer, and then we do nothing else. We don’t do what we can to ensure that we’re working towards those dreams.  Yes, we’re supposed to believe God for our dreams to come through and not grow weary in waiting for the manifestation of our dreams.  But we have to make sure that while we’re waiting on God, we’re waiting well.

My friend Miranda had an idea of the dream job she wanted. She knew that her current job wasn’t it. She could see herself in a completely different field, working in a completely different industry. Yet, Miranda hadn’t put her resume together. She hadn’t taken the time to attend a few networking events where she just might meet someone currently at the company she had her eye on. In fact, Miranda wasn’t even checking the company’s website regularly for openings that she might be qualified for.

Yes, God can open a door for us, but we have to be in position to walk through it.

I told Miranda what I’m telling you here now.  God can do the impossible of getting her a position in that company, but she had to do her part as well. A door was going to open for her, but she had to be ready to walk through it.   I encouraged Miranda to put her resume together. I encouraged her to work with a mutual friend of ours who had experience in HR to make sure that her resume highlighted her skills, and what she was uniquely capable of.

I encouraged Miranda to keep an eye out and an ear open for social nights or networking events around town that she could attend. We went shopping and picked out two new outfits that she designated solely as her networking outfits. These were always in her closet and ready to go should the opportunity arise.

Finally, Miranda and I compared her skill set to her dream job description, and we came up with a personal development plan that would lead to her being experienced in all areas of the position.  When the opportunity presented itself, and we were positive that it would, she would be able to walk into the interview knowing that she was more than suitably qualified for the position.

Taking Action is key

Our God is a good God. We can believe God to do the impossible things that we cannot do, like causing the right job opening to occur just as we’re ready to make a career move. But certainly, we have to do our part and take some action.

I’ve heard it stated like this: desire without action leads you no where.

It’s great to have desires, dreams and visions, but we must also have the discipline to put an action plan together and work that plan!

Make a commitment to yourself to put an action plan together around the dreams and visions that you have for your life.  It’s a decision you’ll never regret.

 

 

 

Dream a dream and hold tight to it.

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Most everyone longs to live an extraordinary life. We have a vision of what that life looks like. We have dreams and goals that we want to accomplish that will lead us to that extraordinary life.

Most of us get up every day and take a step towards those dreams and goals, only to find it’s further out of reach than we anticipated. Often it seems like the life we want is being held captive from us behind a glass wall.

Let me encourage you today: don’t lose sight of those dreams and goals that you have. Stay focused no matter how long it takes. Keep believing that they  will come to pass. There is a God who is longing to be good to you. His promises for us are yes and amen (so let it be).  God is more than capable of opening the right doors for us, bringing new opportunities across our path and even causing us to dream again, placing desires in our hearts and making a way for those desires to come to pass when there seems to be no way.

Choose not to give up. Hold tightly to the promises of God instead. Memorize God’s promises. Keep them at the fore-front of your mind. Know that God is not a man who lies and if He said it, it’s already done.

God’s Promises

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your Heart ~ Psalm 37:4

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  ~ Isaiah 41:13

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

A Prayer after God’s Heart

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The other night at church, our pastor spoke about a prayer that we can say anywhere, anytime! He said this prayer was the antidote for everything we were suffering from: feelings of inferiority, lack and poverty, discouragement, anxiety, guilt, shame, resentment, bitterness and even fear. He said he had been praying it every morning before his feet hit the ground for the past 20 years and he could attest that it worked.

Well, as you can imagine I wanted that prayer! I determined to commit it to memory and say it every day. I knew then and there I was going to pray circles around some things with this prayer. I sat with pen and paper, ready to write as he began the prayer:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen

Wow! I couldn’t believe it!! I already knew that prayer. I’d learned it as a child. Jesus had told us to pray like this in Matthew 6:9-13. And as the pastor explained, when we pray this prayer:

  1. We establish our identity – we are God’s children and that makes us pretty powerful;
  2. We accept God’s purpose for our lives and ask His will to be done;
  3. We ask for what we need and believe him to provide;
  4. We ask for forgiveness of sins and forgive those who have sinned against us;
  5. We let the enemy know we’re not falling for his schemes and;
  6. We invite God to protect us from all manner of evil including diseases, and lack.

What a powerful prayer!

I accepted my pastor’s challenge that night to pray The Our Father Prayer daily. Now, I want to invite you to make a pact with yourself. Commit to praying The Our Father Prayer before your feet hit the ground every morning and see the difference it makes in your life.

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Fear Factor

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Years ago, there was a popular reality game show called Fear Factor where participants would compete against each other by doing downright scary, gross and sometimes dangerous stunts for a grand prize. Contestants often had to face their fear of everything from heights to snakes to complete the stunts and win the big money.

Luckily many of us aren’t having to literally crawl through a pit full of snakes in order to successfully do what God’s calling us to do, but our fears are just as real, and just as intimidating. If left unchecked, those fears can stop us in our tracks.

What’s your Fear Factor?

Cindy hung up the phone and squealed in delight, unable to contain her excitement. Her boss had just offered her the opportunity of her career: leading their department’s annual major project. As project lead she would have final say on everything from the design and conception to roll-out. She would have to work directly with the company’s leadership, and various teams from different departments in the company, and she would also be the company representative for the external clients served by the project. It would bring her exposure on a company and public level. Her performance would be seen by many, judged by many. Her excitement quickly faded replaced by a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Could she really do this? Did she have what it took to manage all the moving parts of the project and lead all those different people effectively? What would they say or think about her performance . . . and about her, personally? What if the project failed? Would she get the blame? Could see handle the magnitude of the project with the other work and personal responsibilities already on her plate? And what if she succeeded? Would she end up alienating the friends she worked with? She was trading her security for the unknown. Suddenly, Cindy wished that she hadn’t been so quick to say yes, and had asked for time to consider instead.

Face Your Fear with Faith!

A common acronym for Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear always presents itself logically, and sometimes, so subtly, that we don’t recognize the road blocks in our mind keeping us from acting on our opportunities is really just Fear.  But God says that He did not give us a spirit of timidity or fear, but a spirit of power, love, sound judgement, and personal discipline and abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

We have a choice. We can focus on all the fear factors that arise when we think about stepping out, or we can focus on our faith instead, believing what God says and trusting that He will be with us every step of the way.

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Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ~ Psalm 23:4

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9

The next time you’re tempted to shrink back from a good opportunity, procrastinate on getting it done, or talk yourself out of doing it based on your ability, believe instead that God has gone before you and cleared the obstacles out of your path. Believe that He is taking hold of your hand and saying to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13

Face your fear head on, feed your faith instead and say Yes!

Which of Cindy’s fear stops you from saying yes to your opportunities? Is it:

  • Fear of what others will say or think? Faith it instead:
    Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

 

  • Fear of failure? Faith it instead:
    “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.” ~ Isaiah 54:4

 

  • Fear of being overextended? Faith it instead:
    “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

  • Fear of success alienating family and friends? Faith it instead:
    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27

 

  • Fear of trading security for the unknown? Faith it instead:
    “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

Do it on Faith instead!

 

Trending Now: National Day of Prayer

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It’s Thursday. The first Thursday in May!

So? What’s so special about this day, you may ask?

Today is the National Day of Prayer!

See, every year on the first Thursday of May, the President of the United States makes a proclamation based on Public Law:

“the first Thursday in May shall be a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”

With this proclamation, citizens, residents of the United States and believers of God answer the call – and embrace their spiritual responsibility –  to stand in the gap for our great country.

For those who believe in and understand the power of prayer, this is a big deal! Think about it: on what other day does the President of the United States ask us to prayer? And, on what other day do citizens, residents and believers actually heed this civic – and spiritual – call of duty?

Almost never, right?! Exactly!

Now you’re getting the picture.

In just about every city across the country today, people are engaged in National Day of Prayer activities that range from prayer breakfasts, public prayer ceremonies at city halls to evening prayer at churches.  And, more importantly, people are praying in one accord on one theme designated by the National Day of Prayer task force:

For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us…Forgive Us…Heal Us!

This year’s theme is based on a prayer uttered by one of my favorite bible heroes, Daniel:

“O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name”. ~ Daniel 9:19

What a powerful theme! What a powerful prayer!

So, what can we do to join the countless voices offering prayer today? It depends on what your schedule’s like. Got time? Check local city websites for a list of activities going on in your area today. Don’t have the time to physically attend an event, but still want to make a difference? Say a prayer. I think Daniel 9:19 is a great choice.

God promises us that He answers the fervent prayer of the righteous.  If anyone can heal our divided country, it’s God.  More than ever we need His intervention today.

What are you doing to participate in National Day of Prayer?

Keep Pushing Forward.

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Are you pursuing  a goal or dream that seems to be taking forever to reach fruition?

It’s tempting to get discouraged, want to give up, or believe that your dream will never come to pass.

Choose to stand on God’s promise instead. Psalms 1:3 says “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”

Believe that you are that tree planted along God’s riverbank. Because you stand rooted in His promises everything you set your hand to will prosper. It’s just a matter of time. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing. Don’t slow your progress. Keep pushing forward. In due time, you will reap everything you’ve sown.

A Prayer

Heavenly Father, I give you thanks and praise for every gift and talent you have blessed me with. God, bless the work of my hands. Thank you that whatever I set my hands to prosper in the name of Jesus. Thank you for the victory that is mine because I rely on you in Jesus’s name. Amen.

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