Don’t just make plans, make plans with God.

As this year winds down, I am sure that we all have began the process of setting goals and making plans for the new year. The process of goal setting for some can be boring, one bordering on a yearly ritual that has to be carried out. For others, it is a joyful process, one that paints a picture of a world of possibilities. The thought of learning that new language, travelling to the Bahamas or losing 50 pounds, are pictures that are too wonderful to resist, on paper. The real challenge occurs when you have to evaluate how many of your lofty goals you were actually able to accomplish at the end of the year.

I can say from my experience that I did not like the last week of the year in times past because of the above statement. Don’t get me wrong, I believed in setting goals but I would get discouraged and down right frustrated because most of the goals I set did not materialize. I had a habit of making “New Year resolutions” that weren’t really “new resolutions” because I simply carried over to the New Year, goals from the previous year I could not accomplish.

It wasn’t until very recently that I discovered what my problem was. I had a two pronged issue as far as plans and goal setting were concerned. The first problem was that I simply did not know how to set goals and secondly, I made my plans without really getting God involved from the very beginning.

The first problem was brought to light when I learnt during a leadership class organized in my church that goals needed to be “SMART,” meaning they needed to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. In times past, I just wrote down goals of what I felt I should accomplish without any prayers or thoughtful consideration of a plan of action. I made my plans and asked God to “bless” my goals. The result of this was disappointment year after year with the occasional “success” of one goal being accomplished. So during that leadership class, I learnt how to make my goals “SMART.” Here is an example, “I will read the entire bible in a year,” how can this goal be “SMART”? Well, we can say, I will read my Ipad bible or NIV chronologically etc (Specificity), reading four chapters every day (Measurability), from January to December (Time-bound). Evaluate whether this goal is attainable as well as relevant and there you have it, a “SMART” goal.
Although setting SMART goals is all nice and dandy, what I have noticed is that your ability to read your bible everyday cannot even be accomplished in your own strength. It requires God’s grace. This is where God’s involvement in the process is of utmost importance. Before a plan of action is set out to achieve a goal, you must ensure that the desired goal is God-given.

Exodus 25:9 says “Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.” The tabernacle represented the presence of God with the Israelites; His presence with them was something that both God and the Israelites desired. However, the Israelites still had to build it according to God’s precise blue print to ensure that Gods presence went with them.

Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So God has plans for us, He has a plan for your life in 2012 and unless you involve Him early and often, you may find yourself setting goals based on where you think you should be headed which neccesarily may not be an area God needs you to focus on.

Let us look at the above scripture closely, the first portions says that God “knows” the “plans.” So the plans of God for our lives are known by God. God has the inside scoop on your life and He knows the best way for you to live a full life. God knows the plans for your life, marriage, ministry, business etc in 2012. God not only knows this plan but He has the plan. The goals and steps to accomplish Gods plan for your life in 2012 can only be found in God. The God ordained plan, if followed is what God is obligated to help you fulfill. God is not obiligated to help you accomplish goals He did not ask you to accomplish.The God originated plan also gives us hope and what does hope do? Hope helps us to set goals. Hope sets the goal while our faith gets the goal.

In meditating on this scripture, I noticed that we have gotten the process backwards like I alluded to earlier; we set our goals and then go to God to give us a plan of action or to bless the goals we set on our own. The correct way should be for us to submitt ourselves to God’s plan for our lives and then the goals will be set based on the “Plan” of God for our lives that year. The result of this is that God will give us a future, in other words, the future accomplishment or fruition of that God given goal is gauranteed because that goal originated from Gods ultimate plans.

I remember some years ago when my wife and I wanted to get married, we set the goal to be married in a certain year. Based on our plans, we were to be married in September of the following year and from our calculations, the minimum cost of the wedding was going to be $20,000 at that time. I could barely afford stamps let alone a wedding of $20,000.

So when the New Year began, my wife and I went around the Chicago area looking for possible venues trying to get a feel of how things would be. It was a struggle, until we surrendered the entire goal and process to God. We changed our prayer from “God, please provide the money for this wedding, to God show us your plan for our wedding.” Lord what specifically are you planning to do and how can we align ourselves to your plans?” it was that simple. The Lord revealed His plans to us and gave us new goals. Our wedding was no longer held in Chicago, we ended up getting married in June instead of September and by the way God provided the finances for our wedding.

I guess what I am trying to bring out from this write up is that we need to involve God in the process of our goals setting because we will never be able to accomplish what He has called us to do in our own strength. In looking at my goals from last year, I realized that the goals I was able to accomplish where the ones that I received from Him and ones that I yeilded myself to His grace to help me accomplish.

Psalm 127:1 says “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builder’s labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”

No matter how many goals we set, if our goals don’t emanate from God’s original plans for us, then it is going to be a struggle. So ask God today for His plan for your marriage in 2012, ask Him for His plan for that weight loss goal in 2012, ask Him for His plan for your finances in 2012. Don’t just make plans or set goals just because, get God involved early and often. When you do, His grace would be released on you to accomplish them. Happy God-given goal setting and HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS

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WHATEVER YOU FOLLOW WILL DETERMINE YOUR DESTINATION

A foundational truth of followership is that whatever you follow will determine your destination. This means whatever, or whoever, you follow spiritually, mentally and physically will determine where you end up in these three areas. Evil communication corrupts good manners. Our state of mind is determined by what we expose our mental faculties to.

Whatever you follow actively with your mind, will influence your decisions and ultimately determine who you become. There are many stories of people who committed suicide or other violent acts because they focused their minds on books, music, internet resources etc that promoted these acts. Also, when people “follow” pornographic material, it warps their view of sex, increasing their tolerance and acceptance of ungodly sexual expression.

These people usually end up engaging in pornographic acts. Scripture tells us:

 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. [3]

 This means, just as there are consequences for filling your mind with negative material, there are consequences for surrounding yourself with the wrong people.  The crowd you surround yourself with will often determine where you end up in life. 

Now thats true talk…

~~~ Except from the book “Discovering Followership.”

Grace Made Me

After a meeting yesterday, my pastor made a comment that made me realize how much I am loved of God.He said “The Omokhai I am seeing now is very different from the person I met several years ago.” He made this statement as he observed me trying to get my daughters ready to leave where we were (I was actually carrying two of them). When my Pastor met me seven years ago, I was unmarried without a family, without direction and purpose. I was a “prayer request” not a “praise report.” He later joked about a time he spoke to my mother who was deeply concerned about the fact that I was still unmarried and without children. “All I want for my son, is for him to have his own family,” my troubled mother related to him.

However, things have changed since then; God has blessed me with a good wife and three beautiful daughters. After spending some time with them today, I am even more convinced that I could not have attained all this without the grace of God. I honestly don’t deserve all the gifts and blessings God has given to me, in fact, I believe that if it were not for the mercies of God, I would not be alive today.

In 1 Cor 15:9-10, Apostle Paul says the following, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

What a profound scripture, Grace made me who I am. I give the credit to God’s grace; I am who I am by the grace of God. God’s grace is Gods mighty power and empowerment that causes Gods blessings, increase, favor and gifts to come into your life without requesting any payment for it. It is God’s unmerited favor on us. Looking back now, I know His grace is responsible for everything I have and His grace will take me to where God wants me to be. God’s grace has the ability to make you the success that you desire, God’s grace and abundance can take you to the top of the corporate ladder without struggling to get there. Friends, God’s grace is available to all who humble themselves to receive it for God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud.  Are you in a tough spot in life? Are you concerned about your future? Given up on that ministry? Single and looking for a mate? Married and seeking for a child? Let God’s graces make you, all you have to do is come confidently to Gods Seat of love-gifts. Come to Him, don’t run away from God because He is the dispenser of Grace. Remember, you are not too young or too old, God has not given up on you, so don’t give up on yourself. Seasons Greetings.

Whats Your Pleasure?

Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
According to the dictionary, the word “delight” means to have a very high degree of pleasure or enjoyment. It involves engaging in something that produces a great deal of pleasure. For example, movies, sports or music are a delight to many of us. Something happens to us, when we have that morning cup of coffee (for those who delight in a morning cup of coffee) or when we have a bite of our favorite chocolate (for those who love chocolate). The bottom line is that there are many things that can make us experience that very high degree of pleasure or enjoyment.  
However, the scripture is asking us to take delight in Lord. We are to find pleasure in Him because of who He is and what He has done.  God is the only one that can satisfy us trully, He is the only one that can give us ultimate pleasure and assurance. That is why we are to delight in Him. The interesting thing is that God delights in you. Yes, you. He loves you so much and wants you to know that you put a smile on His face everytime He sees you. Psalm 149:4 says “For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.”  You give God pleasure and that is why He did not spare His only son for our salvation.

So how do we take delight in God? Well first we need to accept Him for who He is. You can’t delight in something that you have not accepted or embraced. Another thing is to receive His word for what it says and rejoice in the completion of God word in your life. See God as the author and source of victory for every battle you have fought, you will fight and you are fighting. When you study the word, get excited about what God’s word is saying, take sides with Gods word above what you are experiencing. Let His word permeate your mind, don’t rush your meditation, allow God’s loving embrace to flood your life.

When you delight in something, you get to savor it; you almost don’t want to leave its presence. The same is applicable when we delight ourselves in God; we get so excited about God that we don’t want to leave His presence at all. There is a sense of joy at the mere mention of His name. Everything seems to take a back seat when we begin to delight in God. Now, I understand that it can be a little frustrating to delight in God when things are not going great, when you lose your job, a loved one or when bills have not been paid. It can be very tough on the flesh to delight in God when we have lost any desire for God.

Friends rejoice because God Himself is able to help us develop that excitement by His grace. David said in Psalm 51:12 “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation and grant me a willing spirit.”  God will restore your desire for Him when you come to Him today. That’s all you need to do today, come to Him and watch Him restore that taste for His presence again.  Our delight or excitement in God is an affirmation that all those things we worry about have been taken care off by God. Psalm 37:3 says “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;” Regardless of what you are going through, God will give you direction and grant you wisdom to handle the issues you are facing.  So in this season of celebration, let us not forget to make God our delight in the mist of the seasons light. Seasons Greeting!!!!