To Find Peace, Look

Goals, Not Resolutions

I really don’t like resolutions. Well, it’s not that I don’t LIKE them. I just don’t think they work. They remind me of my college days. As soon as I told myself that I needed to pull an all-nighter, I became incredibly tired & needed to go to bed. I found those words worked wonders those few times I couldn’t sleep! Anyway, there’s something about resolutions that make them almost impossible to keep. Perhaps it has to do with they open timeframe. A resolution implies an ongoing process with absolutely NO END! It just stretches on forever & ever! Sigh!

Rather than making a resolution, I like to set goals. Goals usually have a specific destination built in. So, rather than creating a resolution to eat healthier, I would rather set a goal to give up soda for a week. Or set a goal to include more fruits & vegetables in my diet, naming a specific number for each day. Goals seem more user friendly.

Throughout January, I plan to take about setting goal for the new year. However, this week, I want to talk to you about making a few resolutions. I know, I just went on & on about my dislike resolutions & now I want you to make a few. Hmmm. Ok, let me explain.

Sometime there are goals we set that are ongoing & somewhat vague. The 3 resolutions I am suggesting this week are not necessarily vague but they are questions you need to consider over time. These questions are:

  1. Am I called by God;
  2. How can I serve God;
  3. Am I called to by God to lead.

Let’s set these resolutions & then we c

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Scripture for your Heart

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I love you, LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:1-2

Encouragement for your Day

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I May be Tempted but I Refuse to Give Up!

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I won’t lie to you. It’s been a tough year. Mr. D was laid off from his job of 25+ years just over a year ago. Every month for a year, I have wondered if THIS would be the month when we wouldn’t be able to pay the rent or bills. Every month, God provided. Then, 2 weeks or so ago, just before the first anniversary of Mr. D leaving his job, he was hired to work as a night stocker at Walmart. I shared this news in another post so I won’t tell the whole story again. While this job is great good news, it doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. God is providing enough to help but not enough to allow us, specifically ME to stop pushing forward. Sigh!

Then today, once again, God brought a story from the Bible to mind. Jesus & the Temptation in the Wilderness. I have heard pastors preach this passage. One was quick to point out that he believe Jesus could not be tempted. He felt the purpose of this passage was to provide us with a lesson, guidance when we are tempted or being spiritually attacked. Jesus fought back with the Word of God & we should do the same. I agree but I feel there is more to it than that.

Jesus is a unique being. He is 100% God & 100% human. I believe the Father needed to be certain the human part of Jesus was strong enough to stand up against the temptations that would cross His path during His ministry. I feel this is another lesson we can learn from this passage. The Father needs to know we have what it takes to answer His call. In addition, that time in the wilderness was not fun for Jesus. It was rough. Jesus went through a very, very difficult time right before He entered His ministry. He pushed through the test of thirst, hunger, weariness & spiritual attack to come through victorious. THEN, He was given everything He needed to fulfill His call, His ministry.

It occurred to me today that this is exactly what God is doing to me. God has a big job He wants me to do. While He is ready to provide everything I need to do the job, He knows the work is not going to be easy. He needs to make certain I have what it takes to push through those tough times & continue the work. He has put me in the wilderness, left me thirsting for hope, hungry for comfort & peace, weary from lack of sleep & worry & constantly attacked by doubt. It would be very easy at this point to quit, take a simple, low paying job that provides just enough for us to get by. And I think about it from time to time. And I cry a bit. And then I tell myself to grow up & push on!

I once heard an analogy about success. the speaker told us to imagine a race with 100 runners. this is a long race with many obstacles along the way. As the race goes on, 90 of those runners drop out, willing to satisfy themselves with the success they have at that point. The other 10 push on until one last large obstacle appears. On this side is success with which most people would be perfectly satisfied. So they stop there. Only 1-2 of the original 100 push on & on & on until they overcome that terrible last obstacle. And on the other side, they find success such as they never imagined. Not necessarily monetary success but a tremendous satisfaction at accomplishing their goal.

It would be easy for me to stop right now in this race & get satisfaction from the small ministry I currently have. But I have an advantage in this race. For whatever reason, God has shown me what lies on the other side of this last obstacle, the women we can help through our ministry. So I endure the wilderness for awhile longer & push on!

Remember: the tougher the going, the closer you are to your goal! Push on!

Worried! Of Course, I’m Worried! I mean, Thank you, Lord!

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One year ago this month, my wonderful husband, the Infamous Mr. D. was let go from the job he had held for over 25 years. Not only did he lose his job that day, he also lost his church. The church our daughter grew up in. The church where we both put in long hours hoping to make a difference, even just a bit, in the lives of the people attending events on the church campus.

Now, allow me to let you in on a little secret. Churches & other non-profits are not required to provide unemployment insurance for their workers. So when Mr. D. left his job of 25+ years, he was given a check for his pay, vacation & sick time owed him. We had known a month before his final day that this was coming. In fact, we expected it for many months before his final day. So we prepared. Still, it hasn’t been easy.

Yes, it hasn’t been easy but it hasn’t been impossible. For each month, like manna from heaven, like the loaves & the fishes, the Lord has provided for us, enabling us to pay rent, our bills, buy groceries & even repair our car so Mr. D was able to begin his new job.

For 12 months, God has provided. AND for 12 months, I fuss & worry & lose sleep, thinking this may be the month we just can’t do it. In spite of all the evidence from the past year, I still doubt the power of God & His desire, overwhelming desire to see to my needs.

This month is no different. Mr. D has returned to work but it will be a few weeks before he begins getting paid. And the rent is due in 2 days. I know for experience that God sometimes waits until the last minute to see to our needs, making us see that it is His work, not ours, that took care of things. BUT COME ON! This gets a bit old after awhile. I’ve told Him how tough it is for me to focus on the work He wants me to do when I am so anxious. And WHAT does He say? “Seek first the Kingdom of God!” In other words, you have it backwards, Jean Ann! You need to focus on the work I want you to do & while you do that, I will provide for all your needs. Yea, ok. I get it.

However, I seem to remember a parable about an annoying woman that kept pestering a judge about HER needs. The judge finally got tired of listening to her & took care of her problem.

So. I promise to do my best not to worry. However, I am going to keep asking for the resources we need to do the job HE has called us to do! After all, Jesus may have fed the multitude but that BOY provided the fish & bread to get things going!

Be Strong & of Good Courage

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Daily Verse

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A Verse for your Day

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:4-6 NIV)