Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 10 New Years Resolution Ideas

1 BE POSITIVE ABOUT OTHERS...Richard Steele said, "Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of a Gossip. It’s so important to be positive at all times, about all people and encourage others to do the same by speaking up against Gossip, you'll have a much more positive year if you do!

2 FORGIVE QUICKLY...Develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. So forgive people quickly even if they haven't asked you 2

3 WATCH THE WAY YOU SPEAK...It's been said that harsh words don't break bones but they often break hearts. So be nice! Strong words stir up strife but a kind word turns away anger.

4 LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY... Mother Teresa Said. Intense love does not measure it just gives...Love people without expectation, It’s the power of sowing and reaping. Only what you give out can come back to you!

5 LEARN TO TRUST...Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great. Ralph Waldo Emerson. One of the great failures of modern society is our unwillingness to trust believing that trust must be earned, this is contrary to God’s value who first loved us. Trust is an investment not a dividend.

6 DEVELOP WISDOM...A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. Nelson Mandela People often value their own opinion over an ability to grow and learn from others. We’ll take encouragement but recoil from taking advice. This is never wise and will rob us of developing wisdom. To have a good heart you actually need a good head.

7 REACH PEOPLE "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." -John Wesley God’s intention is that his heart for people is delivered by your hands. Reach People with a benevolent heart and the message of life we have been given in Christ.

8 BELIEVE FOR FAVOUR...Jabez cried - bless me, and enlarge my territory, let your hand be with me, keep me from evil' And God granted that request." Favor is asked for. God tells us we have not because we ask not. Jabez was not satisfied with his position in life and asked for more. Ask God for his favor to rest on you.

9 DEVELOP UN-NEGOTIABLE FAITH..."If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." Isaiah 7:9 When it comes to life and the great needs our world faces everyday, people need us to believe with a faith that will not quit. Good intentions don't help anyone out of their need but faith does. Without faith its impossible to please God. Why His intentions for humanity are great and are only unlocked by great faith.

10 STAY FAITHFUL...Edwin Louis Cole said Your faithfulness makes you trustworthy to God. Faithfulness is the final standard by which we will be judged. You’ve been faithful with what you have, now I will make you lord over much. It's those who endure till the end that will be saved.

God Bless, have a great 2012

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The size of greatness

When it comes to achieving greater things in our lives ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL! Many people stirred on by the motivational industry or some warped spirituality look for quick pathways to complex destinies. The universe will cause my destiny to just come to me if I think positive thoughts, that’s “the secret” they say.
The scripture says, Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with the little things; Now I will put you in charge of many things.
The size of greatness is firstly size Small.
We all can sing that song "From little things big things grow".
The final reward is produced by attention to detail the process of meticulously applying ourselves to the little things.
Saving regularly - consistently thinking of others rather than ourselves.
Ruth in a desperate situation, simply followed after the reapers in a field, picking up the food they dropped…this attention to detail caught the attention of the field owner who arranged for them to leave more behind for her to pick up… he ultimately married her and she was given ownership of these same fields.
A university degree is achieved, one assignment at a time.
A share portfolio grows one investment at a time.
A loving relationship is built one act of giving, one statement of love at a time.
To write a book you have to arrange the letters to form a particular word, the words are then placed together logically to form sentences. The sentences are arranged to ensure that a thought is expressed and the paragraphs contain about one or two ideas. When the paragraphs are then read together they will form the sum total of the subject you desire to communicate.
To translate ideas into understanding you have to engage in a tedious and often painfully slow process without excluding even the simplest attention to detail.
The big accomplishments therefore are the fruit of diligence and a laborious process of faith, hope and a commitment to a final product.
It’s this daily belief that keeps us progressing toward a greater goal but it’s the regularity of the doing that maintains the pathway to that higher goal.
They say you must say 7 positive things to counteract just one negative, so before anything encouraging even finds its way to the starting line, you must make sure you have lived a life in the positive so that it outweighs this life in the negative we all seem to be a little addicted to.
A sportsperson is a perfect example of how little things add up to reflect major accomplishments.
Kenya and Ethiopia produce the most of world class, middle and long distance runners.
They attribute this success to the fact that most of them come out of poverty and had to run the long distances as children to get to school.
Wilma Rudolph the First American woman Runner to win three gold medals at a single Olympics said “My mother taught me very early to believe I could achieve any accomplishment I wanted to". The problem was first she had to conquer the painful challenge of learning to walk, a step at at a time without using braces. You see Wilma was born prematurely at 4.5 lbs, the 20th of 21 other brothers and sisters, she caught infantile paralysis (caused by the polio virus) so her left leg and foot had become deformed as a result. She would travel long distances with her family to seek painful medical intervention to straighten her twisted leg.
Never underestimate the power of the diligence we dedicate to the little things. What small things can you be doing consistently - that will bring greater blessing into your world.
What "well dones" can God attribute to your world, that will cause greatness to grow as a result?
The second size of greatness is Large.
Abraham had to have the big picture before he could ever navigate this subjective challenge asked of him. Abraham was only able to offer Isaac on the altar because he knew the big picture. That this boy was part of the greater plan of God. This stabilised his heart as he navigated what seemed so inconceivable to him.
Only by having a clear understanding of “the big picture” can we run with the daily challenges asked of us. Hab 2 instructs us to make the vision clear so we will be able to run with it.
Over the years our resolve is slowly diminished by the relentless challenge of the little things - that’s why you need the big things in your life in clear focus to keep you accountable to the little things.
For the Joy set before him, Jesus was able to endure the shame and agony of the cross.
Jesus suffered in a garden - this way is far too hard, is there another way - yet quickly focused on the bigger call, saying nevertheless not my will but yours be done.

What are the big ticket items for you? What is God seriously asking of you? ”
Earl Nightingale said “The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfilment.”
You’ll never navigate the challenging road to greatness without a vision of something greater that you actually believe you’re meant to achieve.
That’s why so many never actually achieve anything with their lives they start out ready to take on the world and end up readily taking on the worries of their world.

Greatness is not only measured by size small or size large,there’s also a third size Medium.
The things in the middle that define you.
Prov says, "Search me oh God see if there’s any variation inside of me".
You must define the values at the core of your life in the middle before they actually define you.
You see in between the small things that we must do consistently and the big things we are pressing toward, there are these things in the middle.
On the way to family or domestic success or personal fulfillment in life, there’s a thing called the middle life.
For example the commander of an Army battalion can walk across a base and have hundreds of men snap to attention, while his marriage is falling apart at home, while his children may have no respect for him. This is because he has paid less attention to certain values his life should have been based on.
Yet at the same time the perfect nuclear family, may command the admiration of everyone in the family but be missing a true cause to live by.
Opportunity, the big things, longevity, the little things are sometimes defined by these middle things, a set of values you live by.
What are these middle values, can you describe these things you will not negotiate?
For me it's to build God’s house and a general desire to build my life relationally.
The bible says, "and Samson took hold of the 2 middle pillars on which the entire house was borne up and he took out the entire house, he took hold of one with his right hand, and the other with his left. So the damage he brought on his enemy that day was more than he has inflicted in his entire life".
The middle pillars can be things like, our health, it stands in the middle of all I do and I won't achieve everything I want to, if I don’t stand in the middle of my life and manage this well.
A friend in ministry made a DVD series on Family Values. The series was costly to produce and really needed to be sold to help pay for its production. Soon after making it he was asked by a church he knew, in a community experiencing serious family and youth problems, if he had any resource on the subject. The community had asked this church to assist and this represented a significant opportunity to affect this city positively. When this friend understood what it was being used for, he offered to make it available free of charge and for it to be used in any way they saw fit, even to rebrand it or change it in any way. He did this because it was one of these middle values, something at the centre of his life that was a driving motivation.
In the building of anything great you will discover these 3 aspects.
1/ the small things 2/ the big things, but holding these 2 together will always be the middle pillars, these things we hold dear.

I recently read this on Wikipedia something I believe reflects this so well….I feel like I’m living the first line of my obituary. I don’t think there will be anything else that I do in my life as important as what I do now for Wikipedia. We’re not just building an encyclopaedia; we’re working to make people free. When we have access to free knowledge, we are better people. We understand the world is bigger than us, and we become infected with tolerance and understanding. Wikipedia is the 5th most visited website in the world. I work at the small non-profit that keeps it on the web. We don’t run ads because doing so would sacrifice our independence. The site is not and should never be a propaganda tool. I work at the Wikimedia Foundation because everything in my soul tells me it’s the right thing to do. I’ve worked at huge tech companies, doing some job to build some useless thing that’s designed to steal money from a kid who doesn’t know any better. I would come home from work crushed.
You might not know this, but the Wikimedia Foundation operates with a very small staff. Most other top-ten sites have tens of thousands of people and massive budgets. But they produce a fraction of what we pull off with sticks and wire.
When you give to Wikipedia, you’re supporting free knowledge around the world. You’re not only leaving a legacy for your children and for their children, you’re elevating people around the world who have access to this treasure. You’re assuring that one day everyone else will too. Thank you, Brandon Harris
Programmer, Wikimedia Foundation.

America has actually written out these values in the declaration of independence…. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

What is your declaration of independence? What are the values that motivate the little moments and drive your big vision? Try these 3 on for size and you’ll find your future will fit well.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The 10-second rule

Growing up my mother would always say, never put off till tomorrow what you can do today - I think it had something to do with schoolwork I was falling behind on or something like that.

I believe we are addicted to procrastination in a lot of areas of our lives. This also affects our Christian lives and the claims of Christ and the wonderful privilege we have of the leading of His spirit. I believe this procrastination leads to ineffectiveness. When we disobey God's will and intention for our lives it can produce real consequences in the big decisions we make. It can also create just as many undesirable results when it comes to the little things that could be happening in our every day lives. I read this Blog post and loved it. It's called the 10-second rule and it challenged me and I hope it challenges you as well.

(It’s a simple rule for a revolutionary life!)
What does it actually mean to follow Jesus? Simply put, it means to believe Jesus’ message and obey it. So, why is it we don’t obey more often than we do?

Years ago I noticed that during the course of my day I’d have an impression from the Holy Spirit to do something I was reasonably certain Jesus wanted me to do. It would be an impression to either do something good for someone or refrain from doing something wrong. It might be to stop for a car broken down on the highway, speak to a co-worker about Jesus, or simply turn off my computer before I ended up at a site where no Christian should go.

Almost simultaneously I would sense another voice whispering to discourage me. “You don’t have time to do that – helping that person could get messy – you can’t afford to help them right now – stand up for your rights – you deserve it – it’s okay, once more won’t kill you.” If I listened to this other voice and thought about it long enough, the moment for obedience would pass, often to my relief. It finally dawned on me that by procrastinating on being obedient to Jesus, I was unintentionally teaching myself the habit of disobedience. Why is that?

Why did I hesitate? Because I knew that most decisions to obey would cost me something – time, money, embarrassment, inconvenience, or a momentary pleasure denied. By choosing not to obey Jesus, I avoided all of that! So the reason I wasn’t more obedient to God? Without hardly thinking about it, I automatically counted the cost and the price seemed too high for me.

Then a decade ago a lay pastor from China taught me a simple rule that could break that cycle:

The 10 Second Rule:
“Just do the next thing you’re reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do.”
(and do it immediately before you change your mind!)

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
-John 14:15

So, I intentionally committed myself to become more sensitive to the leading of God, and to practising simple, spontaneous obedience. As I did, I began developing the habit of obedience. I actually began looking for ways to follow Jesus daily, even hourly. As a result, obedience became an adventure rather than a duty.

Christian experience over the centuries has proven that godly character is most powerfully shaped by the cumulative effect of thousands of small obedient decisions. And these small decisions prepare us to be even more faithful when major, crisis-of-faith challenges come our way.

Here is the true power behind The 10 Second Rule: Even though every Christian knows we can never obey Jesus perfectly all of the time, that’s no longer an excuse. We do know this: we can do the next thing we’re reasonably certain Jesus wants us to do.

This is obedience you can do – obedience you’ll want to do!

The point of doing The Rule is to help you develop the habit of simple obedience so you are prepared to be more faithful to Jesus than you ever imagined you could!

My prayer is that try living by The Rule for the next 30 days. See for yourself how deeply satisfying it is to be led by Jesus, moment by moment and day by day.
(or even in the next 10 seconds!)

Clare De Graaf
Author of, The 10 Second Rule™