An A-Z Challenge – Looking back over 2018

 

 

I have to admit that when it comes to the idea of developing an attitude of gratitude, I’m a keen advocate. Particularly since God’s Word warns us that an unthankful attitude can cause us to have futile and foolish thoughts and worse, darken our hearts (see Romans 1:21).

No way do I want this to be my story!

I came across the idea of a Thankfulness challenge from Dainty M. See her post on this at: https://daintym.com/2018/12/30/think-thank-challenge-2018/

Dear friends and followers, there are some who expected to celebrate the New Year but did not even make it to the end of 2018. Remember – if it were not for the grace of God, this could so easily have been me, or you!

It’s easy to beat up on ourselves if we haven’t accomplished the goals we set out to achieve, or to entertain a bad attitude because life didn’t deliver the goodies we’d envisaged. As we prepare to close the door upon 2018 and move forward into a brand new year, let’s do so with a positive spirit. Let’s do so with a heart FULL of thanksgiving to our Father God, for his gracious goodness toward us.

And now for my personal take on this challenge, as I look back upon the year(s) gone by.

First and foremost, I am thankful that recent years have seen me develop and maintain an attitude of gratitude. It’s easy to go through life with a “poor me” mentality. Self-pity only blinds our eyes to the good aspects of our current circumstances.

I am grateful for unlimited access to books.  I love reading and in the past I have devoured books in the hundreds. This year I’ve read 13 non-fiction books and 7 novels. I’m supremely thankful for the various versions of the Bible available, and in keeping with my goal to read the entire Bible once per year, I have so far read 44 of the 66 books in the Amplified version (Yes, I am somewhat behind!). This makes a grand total of 64 books read this year, which have educated, entertained or empowered me. Yay!

I am thankful for Christmas. Not necessarily the baubles, gifts and glitter of the season but for the real reason we celebrate this event – the birth of Jesus Christ! If God had not sent him into this world, I shudder to think about where you and I would be, as spiritual outcasts doomed to damnation.

I am grateful to God for deliverance. Not just for the instant deliverance from the power of sin, received when I entrusted my life to Christ and chose to become his disciple, but also for daily deliverance from the power of the Enemy unleashed within and against my life and the lives of my loved ones.

I cannot thank God enough for his generosity of heart in granting us the opportunity of eternal life. I’m referring here not just to the assurance of life after death, a glorious future in heaven where neither tears nor trials will exist, but also to the God-quality type of life we can enjoy now, right here upon this earth, as an heir of salvation.

I am hoping for many things in 2019 and beyond, should God spare my life! I am therefore thankful for faith (the substance of things hoped for). I am grateful to God that even if my faith is as small as a mustard seed, it is enough to secure my miracle, or a significant breakthrough. It is sufficient for me to be able to withstand the wiles of the devil and emerge as a victorious overcomer!

During the latter part of this year, I have enjoyed the wonderful ministry of two individuals: (Joel Osteen and Rabbi Schneider).  I am so, so thankful for godly ministers such as these two men and the positive spiritual input they have contributed to my life.

I am thankful for the presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit. What a priceless and precious resource to have in one’s life! When I don’t know how or what to pray, when I have no idea what I should do in a particular situation, when I need the back-up of a spiritual heavy weight, guess whom I turn to. That’s right – my confidante and helper – the eminent Holy Spirit!

I am thankful God did not make us robots but blessed us with imagination. Now in the past, I have used this to my detriment, imagining mostly negative scenarios. But what a blessing to be able to use this ability in pursuit of our gifts and calling! What a blessing to be able to use this gift as a visualisation tool for success… to be able to use this in our creative endeavours. Recently, I wrote a poem, Autumn’s Soliloquy (click here to read), which I could not have done without the use of my creative imagination.

And how can I not be grateful for Jesus? He is my Lord and Saviour. He is the author and finisher of my faith. And it is only through him and because of him that I am able to reign over troublesome circumstances.

I am thankful for the gift of kindness. This year, I’ve been on the receiving end of beautiful acts of kindness from two of my sisters, who decided to celebrate me and whom God used to both tell and show me that I am “special” in his sight; as well as through prophetic words of encouragement received from a blogger (meet Holly), someone I have never met! Isn’t God amazing?

I am thankful for love. That is, God’s love! Agapē love. A brand of love that is extravagant and extraordinary. An unconditional love. A love that has been extended to me without reservation. Many people have gone out of their way to show me their disdain. But the one who has every right to shun me, has lovingly embraced me, welcomes me into his presence and wants to associate with me. I can only reiterate with heartfelt gratitude the lyrics of Graham Kendrick’s song, in which he so aptly observes: Such love!

I am thankful for precious memories. Having suffered the loss of my mother two years ago, I am grateful for those memories of when she was here on earth with us. Cherished memories of wonderful times at Christmas and birthdays which she created, are now stored within my memory bank alongside memories of her faithful prayer life, which challenges me to do better in my own spiritual journey.

I am thankful for new opportunities. Every day is a fresh chance to draw closer to God, to become a better version of myself as a disciple of Christ, to improve my relationships, to conquer adverse circumstances.

I am thankful for the various occasions that grant me an opportunity to dress up, meet with family members and friends, or host dinner parties at my home. Concerning the latter, I guess I’m more like Mary in the Bible, who became hot and bothered by all the preparation, rather than sitting and enjoying the company of her visitor. I also love those special celebrations, which enable me to participate in an atmosphere of praise and worship to our Father God. And I’m deeply thankful that I live in a country where I can enjoy such occasions without fear of persecution.

Without the shadow of a doubt, I know I could not survive, or thrive, without Prayer. I am thankful indeed for the opportunity to communicate with my Father God, at any time, without the need to make an appointment, or go through a third party. I am thankful for the privilege of having direct access to the ear and heart of the most powerful being in the universe.  

I am grateful for the ability to quench my thirst – whether literally (I live in a country where I can pour myself a clean glass of water to drink whenever I wish), or metaphorically (I can consult an expert or avail myself of the vast knowledge on the Internet) at the click of my mouse.

I am thankful for Rick Warren’s manifesto on the meaning of life, as revealed in his book, The Purpose-driven Life. This year’s re-reading of Warren’s 40-day spiritual guide has been a huge blessing to me, as I’m reminded of God’s five-fold purpose for my life.

I am thankful to God for a sound mind. There are so many people suffering from depression, or dementia, or some form of mental illness. There are also those of us who ordinarily believe that we are of a sound mind, yet we are being driven by different debilitating fears. I thank God for the lessons he is teaching me regarding maintaining a sound mind.

Today and every day, I am thankful for the Truth of God’s Word. The word of family and friends, line managers, national leaders and world rulers (even our own words), can prove fickle, untrustworthy. God’s Word is stable, fixed and unchanging. He will not break his covenant, or alter the word that has gone out from his lips (Psalm 89:34).

I appreciate and am grateful for the UCB Devotional, Word For Today (you can check out the audio and written versions of this resource at:  https://www.ucb.co.uk/word-for-today). As anyone familiar with my two blogs: A Purpose-driven achiever and Women of Warfare! can confirm, I highly recommend this spiritual resource written by Bob and Debby Gass and often quote from these within my posts.

I’m grateful for the support of various bloggers, such as Shell Vera, who regularly leave a comment in response to my posts. As a blogger, comments are like gold dust. They are the only means by which I can receive valuable feedback to my posts. Equal thanks goes to those who regularly drop by and “like” my posts. You are a treasure!

I never thought I’d find myself uttering these words but I am thankful for my work. It is a job, rather than a career, but I am thankful that through this position, I’ve been able to help pay bills, maintain the roof over our head, enjoy great holidays and give towards the work of God’s kingdom.

I thank God for the X-chromosome that produced me. As Psalm 139 accurately and definitively declares: I am fearfully and wonderfully made! It’s reassuring to know that God purposed I should be born, even before my conception. It is so awe-inspiring to know that God planned every single detail of my conception from the parents who would raise me, to my geographical location. What an amazing God!

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m thankful to God for YouTube! Through this channel I’ve discovered motivational speakers such as: Brendon Burchard, Jim Rohn and Les Brown.

Finally, I am grateful for the zealous individuals who come across my pathway whether in the Body of Christ or in secular situations. I am thankful for the inspirational messages of people such as the Apostle Paul, TD Jakes and Maya Angelou.

Thank you dear Father God, for ALL that you have done within, for and through me, in 2018.

 

CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Encouragement for your journey (7)

Success is a journey – not a destination!

 

 

Hello friends and followers,

Today’s post will be my final one in this series.

I do hope you have been blessed, challenged and motivated to pursue God’s best, to improve yourself daily, to emerge at the end of 2018 as a victorious over-comer and God-glorifying achiever.

Like Paul, I do not claim to have arrived. When I write my posts, I speak firstly to myself. I write to encourage myself and anyone else whom God draws to my blogs. If He chooses to use my words to minister to an individual, or if visitors enjoy reading my posts along the way then I am grateful for the opportunity to speak into their lives and perhaps influence their thoughts.

As we move towards the close of this month, may I encourage you to keep looking towards Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith? May I remind you that God’s thoughts towards you are good thoughts and his plans for your life are good plans? May I therefore counsel you to cast down ALL contrary negative thoughts and meditate daily upon God’s life-enhancing thoughts? Finally, may I suggest that you embrace the attitudes and emulate the behaviour of the blessed, successful individual depicted in Psalm 1:1-3?

Success will look different to everyone. What it looks like to me will not be the same for you. However, I truly believe that the one definition we can all embrace regardless of our different dreams or goals is that success is becoming the best version of ourselves, whether as a Child of God, spouse, parent, student, colleague, employee or entrepreneur.

And so dear reader, let me take this opportunity to further encourage you on your journey with the following video. I trust you will take on board Washington’s advice.

 

 

I pray you will thrive, flourish and prosper. And I pray your journey through life this year will be one of personal growth, godly success and spiritual triumph.

Women of Warfare friends and followers – have a blessed week!

 

 

Encouragement for your journey (3)

Success is a journey – not a destination!

 

Hello my journey-friends,

21 days ago, we welcomed in a brand New Year.

21 days ago, we entered into this New Year with a sense of anticipation.

21 days ago, we looked back at the previous year and assessed whether or not we’d experienced a year of achievement, success and victory, or fatigue, failure and frustration.

21 days ago, you and I had a choice—do we enter into the New Year with baggage from the old one, or do we let go of our debilitating fears and weaknesses and face the challenges and opportunities ahead with faith and determination?

How are you doing so far?

Here’s a short motivational video that I trust will encourage you to keep going, despite any doubts, disappointments or discouragement.

Fellow journey-ers, may 2018 be a year of significant breakthrough for you. May 2018 be your year!

  

 

 

Women of Warfare friends and followers, have a blessed week!

With love and best wishes,

 Carol

 

CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

7 Keys for a Successful Year in 2018

Unlock Your Success!

 

1)   Look back

Do you journal? Have some record of what’s been going on in your life other than your memory? I hope you do. I keep several journals (writing, devotional and, more recently, personal development).

Looking back enables you to see patterns. From reading entries of previous years, I can see not only my successes but issues I’ve struggled with again and again. They show me which areas of my life, I have yet to achieve self-mastery.

Without the ability to look back, to see the evidence of my short-comings, these habitual failings could easily be overlooked, or remain unchallenged. Noticing meant I had a choice—do something about it, or make excuses and remain in a place of stagnancy.

 

 

2)   Look forward

Where do you want to go in terms of your spiritual life, your relationship with God and others, your health, or career? When you decide to look ahead, you are creating a focus for your life. By deciding what results you would like to achieve this year and setting realistic goals, you are effectively creating a positive vision for your life.

So ask yourself some searching questions – what would you like to see? Who would you like to be? What do you want to do? Where are you falling short when it comes to God’s Word?

When I looked back through my journals and realised that I was spending year after year lamenting the fact that I wanted to be a writer yet not actively doing anything to make this a reality, I decided to use my constant failure in this area, to set out a vision that I could look forward to and use as a form of motivation.

In a nutshell, one of my visions is to become a skilful writer, to write with such beauty of thought and intensity of passion that my words will be like apples of gold, in settings of silver. I created a vision in my heart to become a writer of  intrinsic quality and dynamic influence, so that my readers will be highly encouraged and perhaps even motivated afresh to take hold of God’s Word and allow themselves to become supernaturally transformed.

 

3)   Plan

Now that you have your vision, decide what steps you need to take in order to move towards that vision. Decide how you are going to get there.

Having realised my dream of becoming a prolific and published writer was not going to happen by mere wishful thinking, I came up with a strategy for making this goal a reality.

I created two blogs, which forced me to write regularly. This enabled me to see myself as an authentic writer (since a writer writes!), plus fulfil a long-held desire for God to use my writing to teach and encourage others. Result!

 

4)   Pray

Creflo Dollar  says that every failure is a prayer failure! I’m inclined to agree with him.

I know from experience that if I’ve gone into an endeavour without seeking God’s wisdom, guidance and enabling power, either my efforts will fail, or else the full potential of what I’m trying to accomplish will not be realised.

When we look to God for supernatural assistance, we will obtain supernatural results.

 

Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him,

And He shall bring it to pass.

Psalm 37:5 (NKJV)

 

5)   Take Action

So you have your goal(s). You’ve devised a plan and you’ve committed your dream or desire into God’s hands. Now what?

Well, dear reader, don’t kid yourself that God’s going to go Kerpow! and suddenly you will have lost that weight, landed that new job, or levitated yourself from a position of obscurity to “overnight success”. Whatever you wish to achieve, you are going to have to work, work, work at it. You are going to have to apply yourself diligently.

When I decided I’d had enough of being a victim of the Enemy and of the people whom he used to undermine my self-esteem, I took action by renewing my mind through biblical meditation, studying God’s Word, writing out several affirmations and speaking these to and over myself regularly. I read relevant books, watched motivational videos and sought to apply whatever truths I learned, which aligned with my Christian principles.

Work out what you need to do in order to accomplish your dream and then, as the Nike advert demands, just do it!

 

6)   Embrace Discipline

What is discipline?

It is training yourself to behave in a diligent and controlled way, in order to achieve a particular result.

Now, if you are like most people (myself included), discipline is where you fall down. The New Year arrives with its promise of new opportunities. You get excited. You set goals. You plan. You even start to take action. But then for some reason, you lose your enthusiasm and you lose momentum, or else, something happens to knock you off track.

There’s a saying that wisely observes: “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”. So let me forewarn you today—something or someone, somewhere down the road will cause you to lose hope, lose focus and perhaps ultimately lose your dream. Is there something you can do in advance to prepare yourself against this eventuality?

How about making a pre-commitment to not let weeks and weeks go by before you decide to get back on track with your goals or personal development plan? How about making a solid decision that come what may, you are not letting go of that dream?

How about making spiritual preparation in advance, by way of specific and persistent prayer and/or fasting, so that you have the inner strength and resolve required to soldier on regardless?

 

7)   Seek help from the Holy Spirit

How successful could you be in life if you had your own personal-achievement coach, spiritual cheerleader and perpetual mentor?

If you are a born-again Christian, if you have declared Jesus as Lord of your life, then my dear reader, you have! The Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as our Helper. So don’t ignore this valuable and highly effective resource – ask for his help!

Ask him to help you set your goals in line with God’s will for your life. Ask him to remind you of your vows and commitments. Ask him to help you maintain discipline in your life. Ask him to empower you and show you how to achieve your heart’s desire.

Dear reader, dear aspiring woman of God, make 2018 a year in which you achieve, succeed and excel in the plans and purpose of God for your life.

May 2018 be a year where your spiritual growth and development enables you to experience the miraculous power of God at work in your life, to the extent that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask, think, desire and dream.

With best wishes,

Carol

 

 CREDIT: the above CC0 images are from Pixabay.com

Give God Your All

Image from: Pixabay..com
Image from: Pixabay..com

 

Has your life been a failure so far? God can change that! Have you enjoyed a measure of success? God can take you to a higher level of achievement! Want to maximise your potential? Make yourself available to God! He is able to do infinitely beyond your highest desires and dreams.

To read more please visit: https://apurposedrivenachiever.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/give-god-your-all/

 

PS: if you are so inclined, please leave your comments and/or likes in relation to this post  at my Purpose-driven achiever site. Thank you.