From Our Hearts to Yours
From Jim’s Heart—
It has been my privilege to teach countless seminars and classes on setting lifetime goals—and achieving them. Everyone has certain people or things who are driving their life. So I ask you, What is motivating you these days? What is getting you up early every morning and keeping you up late at night? What is consuming the hours and days of your life? Is it …
The goal of financial independence?
A dream of future happiness or retirement?
These desires in and of themselves may not be wrong or evil. But what happens when you reach any of these physical or financial goals, these “earthly” prizes? Will you be satisfied? Maybe. But also maybe not.
Here’s the hard question: Are you willing to take a chance and expend your life and energies on these kinds of pursuits that, in the end, might not fulfill your deepest longings?
Friend, discipline is a good and profitable thing. You will never influence others on any level without discipline. But make sure your discipline has the right focus, the right direction. Make sure your goal is, first and foremost, seeking and following Jesus Christ: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Then, as Jesus concluded, all else will fall into place: “… and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Experience true fulfillment as you take steps toward following the Apostle Paul’s example and making a difference. In Jim’s book, The Man Who Makes a Difference, you will learn how to:
- Let God’s power work in and through you.
- Acquire discernment for making right decisions and choices.
- Pursue holiness that allows God to work through you unhindered.
- Stay faithful to God’s calling to the end.
It’s so much fun to pursue your dreams! It’s an opportunity to discover what you love to do—and what you are good at. And the Proverbs 31 woman (see Proverbs 31:24) gives you these two points to keep in mind as you pursue your own dreams:
- Don’t neglect your responsibilities. Be sure you take care of your relationships and duties at home, your schoolwork, and any other commitments you have. Your responsibilities come first—then dive in and work on your projects.
- Give it time. Start small. Watch for pockets of time you can fill with your projects. You can laze around and watch another TV show, or you can slip into your room and do your thing. Or you can work on your project on a table near the TV. That way, you are still with the family and joining in on their activity, but you are making progress on your goals and developing your skills. Also, make a habit of carrying items that you need for working on your projects in your backpack or a tote bag for those moments you spend waiting.
Now you’re ready to start spreading your wings in your new adventure! Talk your dreams and desires over with your parents. You will need them to back you up and support you and cheer you on. Then take the initiative.
It takes initiative to:
- Make the phone call to enroll in a class or join a group that will help you develop your skills.
- Go to a specialty store and purchase a magazine that targets your area of creativity.
- Bring your dreams down to earth and finally set up a work station, the sewing machine, or the easel.
- Find out where to send your samples of greeting cards, your manuscript, your book ideas, or your magazine article.
- Enter your painting or sculpture in an art show.
As Proverbs16:3 advises, “Commit your works unto the Lord.” Then determine what your first step will be!
Surround yourself with inspiring Bible verses and Elizabeth’s encouraging guidance to discover purpose and confidence you’ve only dreamed of having in her book, Beautiful in God’s Eyes for Young Women.
In the country of Taiwan, Jim and I were blessed to experience the Bible come alive. For years I had been reading Proverbs each day…which means for years I had been reading Proverbs 8:34: “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Several days after arriving our sponsor arranged for us and our two preteen daughters to go to a local university to sit and converse with students who were learning English.
There was just one catch. These English lessons were open to anyone and everyone. Those who came did not have to be enrolled as students in the university.
At 5:30 a.m. we went into shock as we neared the gated walls of the university. Thousands of people were crammed around the school’s gates that would open at 6:00 a.m. for free English lessons. It was actually a little scary as we were escorted through the crowd and led to a special door by guards so we could set up for the lessons by six o’clock.
Truly, I was seeing a Bible verse come alive. This scene and experience was a living illustration for me. It showed what it means to value and crave wisdom. To watch daily at Wisdom’s gates and to wait at her doorposts and to listen attentively. These dear people desired to learn English so badly they put it as the first thing of the day. So they rose in the dark and journeyed to a location. They hoped to be among the limited number before the cutoff was reached. To be there before the gates closed.
This is how we should approach each day—rising early, making any and every sacrifice to read God’s Word. To listen to His wisdom, to watch and wait eagerly for every word that proceeds out of His mouth.
Start or end your day with powerful reminders of God’s work in the lives of women in the Bible and find encouragement for your own faith journey in Elizabeth George’s book, One Minute With The Women Of The Bible.
In just three verses God gives us all we know about Anna. She was a prophetess and a godly woman who loved God into her sunset years. Of her, Luke wrote: [She] did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day (2:37).
- Anna was a widow. Having lost her husband after only seven years of marriage, this woman knew sorrow. But she apparently allowed her suffering to strengthen her faith. Anna spent her long life in faithful service to the Lord night and day.
- Anna was a senior citizen. At age 84, Anna still looked for “redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38), for the Messiah, for the Savior—for Jesus! How blessed she was when God rewarded her years of faith by allowing her to see the Hope of Israel!
The life of Anna shows us the fruit of long-term faith. Faith that “is the substance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1).
Nurture an ever-burning faith as you look to God for the hope of Jesus’ Second Coming.
In One Minute With The Women Of The Bible, Elizabeth George shares how God comforted, helped, and provided for the women in the Bible. This book will help you grow more and more aware of His amazing love for you.