Skip the Resolutions & Set Some Goals

More than half of Americans (60%) refuse to make New Year’s resolutions…which isn’t a bad thing since 80% of those who do make resolutions won’t keep them.  In fact, Jesus said, ‘simply let yes be yes and no be no.’

ct studd only one lifeOn the other hand, setting a goal is a slightly different venture.  Life is the gift God gives to us; what we do with our life is the gift we return to Him.  Instead of setting a resolution, consider goals as the gift you prepare for the King of Kings.

Check out these verses if you need some convincing that plans and purposes are  supported by Scripture.

As the New Year zooms in, perhaps this little acrostic can help you outline some plans to ‘be your best for God’s glory’ in the coming days!  The goals we set must be S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & with tangible value.  As you consider your goals, keep in mind we are triune beings:  body, soul (mind), and spirit.  Why not prayerfully seek a SMART goal for each area?



Goals must be Spirit-led and specific.  Nice ideas are difficult to press toward.   Specific plans happen–vague, ‘let’s get together’ plans do not.  It is the same for goals.

“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”  Romans 13:11


Specific goals lend themselves to measurements.  Celebrating incremental progress helps you stay the course to the destination.

“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”  Proverbs 14:23busy yoke


Success inspires success.  Goals that are beyond reach bring discouragement quickly.  Evaluate your plans and don’t press to the limits of possibilities.  

“When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.  Deuteronomy 24:19


Goals need to be more than wishes;  you must truly want to invest time and effort–as well as make sacrifices–to achieve goals.  

  “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?”   Luke 14:28  


Goals that do not add to your life will not hold your commitment.  Consider how the goal you have set adds value to your life…how it contributes to the priorities God has placed in your heart.  

Let’s spur one another on to good works.  What will you aim for in the coming year?

Just to Know Him…

The calendar is fresh and new.  I’m not a resolution person, but I do love to take time at the start of a year to re-evaluate my discipleship.  God gives us responsibility for how we live:  I want to live to please Him; all of us who have seen Him desire that.  We all have ways we can please Him more!

The first three Gospels record Jesus saying those who follow Him must deny self and carry our cross.  A discipleship plan helps me see Him–and me more clearly.  Be sure to understand, though:  There is nothing we do to earn the love of God or make a way to heaven.  But this life is our opportunity to show our reverence and thankfulness for all the Father, Son and Spirit do for us!

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  Romans 13:14

Christ in us is our hope of glory.  Christ on us reveals Him to others and builds the Kingdom.  Designing a discipleship plan is very personal.  We must know our weaknesses and be willing to sacrifice our personal desires in exchange for the will of God.  It is what Jesus did and what He calls us to do.  He will guide and direct when we ask how we can know Him more.

Over a decade ago a speaker offered a plan that has blessed me, and I wanted to share it with you today.  It is simple, yet profound.

Set aside some time to prayerfully consider your future.   Jot down some notes of likely happenings in the next year…the next five years…the next ten years…and 20 years.  As you look at that list, consider what you will need of the Lord to walk through such changes victoriously.   Now, take the list and broadly categorize the needs into three-five areas.

At the time I took this challenge, it was clear our children would be going through school, our parents would be declining in health and probably passing on.  The decade-plus has proved all that true–and much more besides.  Specifics are unnecessary; broad generalities suffice to give a glimpse of our heart needs in the coming years.

I heard God calling me to deepen my understanding in five specific areas:

  • What agape love looked like: His for me…for each of us.
  • His trustworthiness.
  • His promises of guidance.
  • How to speak life-giving words.
  • What fruitful living looked like.

Taking a five-subject notebook, I set out to gather Biblical instruction in those areas.  That notebook is a treasure!  And the fruit of it beyond my true understanding.

That is just an idea for you to consider.  You are uniquely designed by God, and He alone knows the way He has designed for you to grow in grace and knowledge.  Seek Him and He will show you.

Perhaps you would share below and inspire another to ask God if there path might look like that?

Jesus Christ is all we need.  We already have all that is needed to walk in victory.  Find the framework that fits you, and press in to know Him more.

Click here for a free tool to assess your spiritual fruit.

Fresh Start

I actually love the week in-between the Christmas and New Year celebrations.   The emphasis on true love–agape, sacrificial love–is the perfect backdrop for the New Year.  And the New Year doesn’t feel like starting over…it feels like a fresh start.  And it is!  The truth is every day is fresh and new.

We don’t need the calendar to move us forward…but it sure does help focus eyes on the future, doesn’t it?

Today–the last day of the year–is the perfect time to put everything at the foot of the Cross.  2482236610_4c2d16c398_z (283x267)

Box it all up! The good and the bad and put it at the foot of the cross.Box it all up! The good and the bad and put it at the foot of the cross.


Ephesians 1:7 is a great verse to go to for that reminder!  IN HIM, we have forgiveness of sins and redemption through His blood according to the riches of God’s Grace.  

Think about what that means.  In Christ, we are secure and significant.  We are citizens of heaven.  We have a spirit of power and love.  We have all the grace and mercy we need–just for the asking!  God chose us!  He is at work completing what He began in us!  doesn’t that make you excited for the new year…and for each new day in it?

May you shine for Him in incredible new ways in the coming year!  He has equipped you…use what He has given and rejoice in Him!

Come back tomorrow for one of my favorite tips on growing in faith!

Enjoying All God Has Given!

Did you know that billions of dollars sit in ‘unclaimed funds’ accounts across the United States? Deposits have been made to the legal, rightful owners of monies (i.e. inheritances, refunds, settlements), but they never actually ‘get’ those monies because they don’t know it’s there!   In the spiritual sense, ‘unclaimed funds’ accounts litter the ‘Church’ and impoverish the world!  As Christians, we all have more than we are using:  let’s resolve to get more of our spiritual inheritance in the coming year.

God loves to give!  In fact, II Peter 1:3 tells us we have everything we need already!  But receiving is passive; getting requires awareness and action!

Think about it:  salvation is the start of life itself.  That Gift requires belief to activate it.  Every other spiritual gift requires active faith as well.

As the gift of a New Year languishes on our doorstep, ponder this:

“What has God given to me that I am not actively enjoying?”

Obviously, having everything we need doesn’t mean life will be perfect.  Unfairness, rejection, and evil littered the life of our Lord; it will ours as well.  Like Christ, though, we can enjoy abundant life with eternal purposes!  None of the wrong, ugly things of life can separate us from the love and power of God, though.  Emotional woundings, destructive addictions and ungodly lusts are no match for the resources we possess—when we know we have—and use it!

Knowing is the key concept.  We received all things at salvation but we ‘get’ them as we gain more knowledge about God Himself.  Answering our call to glory…to eternal significance, virtue and holy right-ness demands that we know the Truth about those things…and then do our best to live them out.  We must ‘get’ it so we can pass it on to all we encounter in our journeys of life!

The very power of God delivered us from sin—and delivered all things to us for His grand purposes! This life of faith comes with the power we need to walk out His godliness in the day-to-day—blessing others as we go.   We are saved for a purpose!  Let’s not leave unclaimed resources in our spiritual banks this coming year.  We need all we have…and so does this world.