Goal Setting for 2018

You are a special person of great worth, created in the very image of God for His special plan and purpose. I love what Zig Ziglar says about you, “You were born to win, engineered for success and are endowed with seeds of greatness.” God’s Word, the Bible, puts it this way, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” What an amazing truth, your body is the place where the God of the universe dwells through His Holy Spirit. That means you have a huge opportunity and responsibility to take care of your temple, physically, mentally, emotionally socially and spiritually. Reaching your potential in 2018 will in large part, depend on how well you take care of what God has entrusted to you…your body. Read God’s warning for those who don’t do this, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is Holy and that temple you are.” Sounds serious doesn’t it? It is, so here is a comprehensive plan for successfully taking care of your temple in 2018. 

Physical—developing and maintaining a healthy body

This requires a healthy diet in addition to physical exercise three or four times a week for thirty minutes each time. While the physical benefits are good, the greatest benefits are emotional, which results in the reduction of stress and an enhanced self-esteem. A good physical workout should include:

• Endurance—aerobic exercises, getting your heart rate up and keeping it up for twenty minutes, three to four times per week through biking, swimming, walking or jogging.

• Flexibility—stretching before and after aerobic exercise.

• Strength—toning through calisthenics or weights.

Before dieting and beginning an exercise regimen, see your doctor for a physical to make sure there are no health issues that would make the above suggestions dangerous for you. Also, ask your doctor to help you determine a healthy weight that is right for you. We live in a society that glorifies idealistic (too thin) body images. Setting an unrealistic weight goal will result in frustration, failure and possibly an eating disorder.  

Mental/Emotional—developing a personal growth plan

If you want to change your behavior in any way, you must start by changing the way you think. The Bible says, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The problem is most people stop learning and growing after their formal education ends. There are two primary reasons for this; laziness and television. In most homes, the television is on forty to forty-five hours each week. It imperceptibly shapes your values and is addictive. If you don’t think so, just try to do without it for thirty days. Ask yourself this question: How do I use this powerful medium to serve my values, accomplish my purpose and help me grow to mymaximum potential? After you deal with the television issue, develop and implement a personal growth plan. This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make! Just think, except for the books you read, the places you go, experiences you have, the close friendships you develop, you will be the same person in thirty years that you are today.

The following are suggestions to consider in developing a personal growth plan:

• Read great books. If you choose not to read you are no better off than one who can’t read. It’s like choosing a self-imposed illiteracy. If you have not been reading, begin with a goal of a book a month. An occasional novel is fine, but read great biographies and self-help books as well. 

• Listen to great talks, audiobooks, and pod casts while in the car and during your workouts. 

• Attend great conferences.

• Make the most of your education.

• Engage in problem solving and planning.

• Laugh every day. Look for the humor in life.

Social—developing a positive environment

People you spend a lot of time with have a huge impact on your life. Give me fifteen minutes with your closest friends and I will be able to tell much about where your heart really is. Those with whom we spend the bulk of our time have more to do with the way we think, feel, act and react than almost any other factor. Ask yourself often: Does my environment serve my purpose and values? Do the people I spend time with and the places I go help or hinder me in being what I dream to be?

Spiritual—developing the leadership of your life

It is not enough to have a relationship with Christ; you must spend time developing that relationship. Paul said it this way, “We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” Paul identified the goal of our growth in this vital relationship as, “The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” As you develop your relationship with Christ you will be developing your character, core values, and making critical decisions concerning your purpose and worldview. Here are a few suggestions to consider:

• Start every day alone with God in prayer and in His Word, the Bible.

• Personalize God’s Word by: Reading it every day, taking good notes when you hear it taught, studying it every week, memorizing a verse a week, and meditating on it always.

• Develop a powerful prayer life.

• Surround yourself with a great supporting cast of friends who will help you accomplish your dreams.

• Ask God for daily opportunities to share your faith in Christ with others.

• Develop a personal mission statement—decide what you want to accomplish in life.

• Develop goals from your mission statement and strategies to reach them.

Dear God, I praise You that You alone are God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. Thank you for making me one of a kind. Help me to have a soft heart for you and to be sensitive to Your leadership so I can accomplish Your plan and purpose for today.

Special Christmas Message


It was just a small, white envelope on the family Christmas tree. It all began because my husband, Mike, hated the commercial aspects of Christmas. I decided to search for something special just for him. 

Our son was on the wrestling team at his school. Shortly before Christmas, there was a match against an inner-city church team. These youngsters, dressed in thread bare shoes and uniforms, presented a sharp contrast to our boys’ in their spiffy new uniforms. We took every weight class. Mike shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. 

That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, note inside, telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. 

Each Christmas, I followed the tradition. The envelope became the highlight of Christmas. As the children grew the envelope never lost its allure. We lost Mike last year to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, grief stricken, I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree only to find it was joined by three more, one from each of our three children.

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10

Lord—help the way I love and give to others to become contagious!

Dealing With the Pain of a Prodigal

Jacob’s friends are sitting in the car, honking the horn, and yelling obnoxiously, “come on Jacob, let’s go! You don’t need that garbage anymore.” 

Jacob stands literally on the threshold of the home where he has grown up, his bags under one arm, his other arm around his crying mother. Dad is in the foyer, his hands on his hips, with a look that shares anger and hurt. You KNOW this is wrong, Jacob. You’re going to get yourself killed with those crazy people. “They’re not crazy, they’re my friends.”

Jacob pulls away from his mother, gives his father one last desperate glance, and races—as unsure of himself as he’s ever been, but unable to stop—toward his carload of buddies. “The rules at home choke me,” he thinks as he throws his stuff in the trunk.  “I’ve got to make my own way, I can’t be what they want me to be.”

Jacob jumps in the back seat. “All right! Good move,” Jacob’s new friend, Brian says as he pulls a beer out of the bag. “This one is on me.” And they drive away.

I’ve heard thousands of stories like these over three decades of working with parents around the world. Routinely parents ask questions like this one: “We have listened to you and others teach parenting from God’s Word…while we haven’t been perfect parents, we certainly have been genuine in modeling our faith and applying Biblical principles for parenting. Yet, we have a child who is rebelling in major ways and has walked away from his or her faith in Christ?”  They usually continue with this final question: “What about God’s promise in Proverbs 22:6?” One of the most misunderstood references in God’s Word is Proverbs 22:6. It reads, “Train up a child in the way he ought to go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

This verse has been misunderstood for two reasons:

1. Proverbs is a book of wisdom expressed in the form of probabilities. When we do A and B…C is the natural result. Proverbs 22:6 is a probability, not an ironclad promise. It means that when parents train up their children in the way they ought to go, that overwhelmingly, 95 times out of a hundred, when their children are old they will not depart from their heritage. Were Proverbs 22:6 a promise, then our children would have no choice in responding to the claims of Christ and choosing to win in life. Their future would be entirely determined by the great choices of an amazing set of parents.  

2. Proverbs 22:6 says, “…when they are old…” Most teenagers and young adults go through a period of questioning and even rebellion. In many cases, this period of questioning results in their childhood beliefs becoming their own faith. God can use poor decisions to teach lessons at any stage of life. Many young adults emerge from rebellion knowing their belief in God is no longer based on their parents, but on genuine faith.   

If you have a prodigal and feel like you have failed as a parent, please remember the rest of the story is yet to be written. Just think---Dr. Billy Graham experienced the pain of a prodigal son. His son, Franklin Graham, rebelled for a time, yet he emerged on the other side as a champion for Christ. He now is President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse. Jim Cymbala, best-selling author and pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, also experienced the heartache of a prodigal. However, his daughter became a strong Christ-follower and pastor’s wife. If you are experiencing the agony of a prodigal, remember you are not alone and your child’s story is far from finished.

Nine Words Women Use

  1. FINE:
    This is a word woman use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.
    If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
    This is the calm before the storm. This means something and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in Fine.
  4. GO AHEAD:
    This is a dare, not permission. Don’t do it!
    This is actually not a word, but a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you’re an idiot and wonders why she is standing here arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing).
    This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man! That’s Okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
  7. THANKS:
    A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you’re welcome. (I want to add in a clause here…This is true unless she says “Thanks a lot”—that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say, “you’re welcome”.
    That will bring on a ‘WHATEVER’.
    This a woman’s way of saying forget it, I don’t have any more time to waste on you.
    Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something a woman has asked a man to do and is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking ‘What’s wrong?’ For the woman’s response refer to #3-NOTHING.

The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Secrets (Decisions) of Success

Decision 1- The Responsible Decision: The Buck Stops Here
I will accept responsibility for my past and stop blaming other people for my current situation. I am where I am today because of decisions I have made, the way that I think and the emotions I dwell on. I will strive each day to make my life a statement, not an apology. The buck stops here.

Decision 2- The Guided Decision: I Will Seek Wisdom
My past can never be changed but I can change my future by actively searching out wisdom. I will seek out wise counsel and keep only the company of friends whose lives I admire. I will develop a servant’s heart, for he who serves others will grow in wisdom. 

Decision 3- The Active Decision: I Am a Person of Action
I will change my destiny by becoming a person of action. Never again will I dwell in a pit of indecisiveness, regret and despair. Laziness is a sin and success hides from the sluggard. I will be courageous. I will lead. I choose now. 

Decision 4- The Certain Decision: I Have a Decided Heart
I will no longer wait to take steps towards my destiny. I have made a decision and I am passionate about my vision for the future. Doubt and self-pity are nothing to me therefore my thoughts will not entertain them. I do not procrastinate. 

Decision 5- The Joyful Decision: Today, I Will Choose to be Happy
From this moment on I am a happy person because I finally understand that happiness is a choice. I will greet each day with laughter and gratitude for I am the master of my emotions. Depression cannot take root in a grateful heart. 

Decision 6- The Compassionate Decision: I Will Greet This Day With a Forgiving Spirit
Forgiveness only has value when it is given away. I will grant forgiveness to others, and in doing so I will release the demons of the past. Never again will I live according to the opinions of others. I will forgive myself for past mistakes. My life has just begun. 

Decision 7- The Persistent Decision: I Will Persist Without Exception
I will compare myself only to my potential and view exhaustion as a precursor to victory. I will not quit or lose focus on my goals. I have faith in the certainty of my future.

Living Plan B: A Lesson from Exodus

By Ray Pritchard

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.

-Exodus 13:17-18

Some time ago I heard the following statement on the radio and thought it was worth passing along: "The key to success in life is how well you adapt to Plan B." There is a world of truth in that simple sentence. So many of us go through life frustrated because we're still working on Plan A. That's the one where everything works out, where your marriage lasts forever, where your children grow up without any problems, where you climb to the top of the career ladder, where everyone loves you, where all your dreams come true and you live happily ever after. Plan A is life the way we all thought it would be. It's life with a happy ending.

Unfortunately, Plan A rarely pans out. Life isn't that simple, or that easy. Check out Exodus 13:17-21. When the children of Israel left Egypt, God did not lead them by the shorter coastal route to the Promised Land. Instead, he led them south into the wilderness. No doubt there was some grumbling and murmuring. Why go the long way? Why not take the road that goes along the seashore? Answer: The Philistines lived along the coast and God wanted to spare the Jews from having to fight them and be tempted to return to Egypt. What seemed like a detour turned out to be for their benefit. In this case, Plan B was better.

What's Plan B? It's the reality that your divorce is final and your marriage is over. It's the reality that your first career choice was a mistake and now it's time to start over. It's the reality that you don't have the money to buy the bigger house you want. It's the truth that you have cancer and your future is uncertain. It's the understanding that some people who seemed to be close friends aren't going to be there for you when you really need them. It's the reality that your dreams aren't going to come true, at least not in the way you expected.

Born in poverty and educated at home, he failed in his first business venture, ran for office the next year and was defeated, failed in yet another business, had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in five more elections. But he never gave up, and in 1860 he was elected president.

Plan A not working out for you? Don't despair. Plan A rarely works out. Your success in life is largely determined by how well you adapt to Plan B. Just ask Abraham Lincoln, the greatest Plan B president in American history.


Editor's note: This content came from the original article: Plan B Living. Content provided by Keep Believing Ministries.