Motivation to Achieve Goals

It really is possible to achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it and are willing to pour all your energy into achieving your goal. This is how morbidly obese people lose 200 pounds, mailroom employees become corporate executives, and total nerds found companies like Apple and Google. It’s also how people memorize entire books of the Bible, create awesome youth ministries, and write Christian and motivational books.

But there are two ways to achieve a goal. The first way is by relying on your own strength. You will pull yourself up by the bootstraps, kick down all the doors, and suplex anyone who gets in your way. When you accomplish the goal, you get the glory. That is not God’s way of achieving goals. Unfortunately I’ve taken this path far too often.

The second way to achieve your goals is in humble dependence upon God. In Proverbs 16:3 it says:”Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

Godly goal crushing begins by committing the goal to the Lord. It begins by saying, “Lord, I want to do this for your glory. I realize that I can’t accomplish anything truly good without your divine empowerment. Help me.” Godly goal crushing begins by humbly praying over our goals. It begins by lifting our goals to the Lord and saying, “Lord, I hold this goal loosely. If you want me to achieve this, help me. Otherwise, thwart me.”

“Lord, help me lose weight for your glory, so that I can be healthy and more effectively serve my family. I want to do this in a manner that pleases you.”

“Lord help me get good grades for your honor, not mine. You have given me a mind, help me use it to bring you honor.”

“Lord help me attain this position at work in a way that pleases you. Guard me from selfish ambition. Guard me from the temptation to advance my agenda above your agenda.”

It’s quite possible to achieve good, moral goals without pleasing the Lord one bit. I’ve done this too many times to count. But, if we commit our goals to God, and work at them in humble dependence upon God, he will be honored. If we work in our own strength, we get the glory when we achieve the goal. If we work in God’s strength, he gets the glory. Today, tackle your goals with God’s strength.


The Plan of God

Sometimes we Christians need to observe moments of meditation and peace in our hectic lives. The Christian faith suffers, apparently, great defeats. There are scandals and divisions, and the world looks on and loves it, like the crowds at the foot of the cross. When the Pope visited the United Kingdom in September 2010, he spent almost all his time talking about Jesus while the commentators in the media spent almost all their time talking about sex. Pope Francis caused a stir when he washed the feet of two women. And where the church, through its own fault, has caused scandal, a time of silence may be appropriate.

But God will do what God will do, in God’s own time. The world can plot and plan, but all of that will count for nothing when the victory already won on the cross turns into the new sort of victory on the third day. In many parts of the western world today, the church is almost apologetic, afraid of being sneered at. It looks as though the chief priests of our culture, the Pharisees in today’s media, and even the political leaders, have won. Give them their day to imagine that. It’s happened before and it will happen again. The Romans tried to stamp out the Christian faith once and for all at the end of the third century, but within a few years more than half the empire had converted and the new emperor gave in. Many people in England were sceptical about Christian faith after the religious turmoil of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but great revivals of various different sorts took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth. Who knows what will happen next, after the sneering and scheming of the sceptics of our day? Our part is to keep faith and hope, trusting in the promises of God that new life will come in his way and his time.

And there is usually something to be done in the present, even when times are sad and hard. It took considerable courage for Joseph of Arimathea to go to Pontius Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body. Peter and the others had run away to hide because they were afraid of being thought accomplices of Jesus. Joseph had no such qualms, even after Jesus’ death. Some of Jesus’ followers might well have thought that, if the Romans had crucified Him, He can’t have been the Messiah, so He must have been a charlatan. They might willingly have let the Romans bury Him in a common grave, as they usually did after a crucifixion (always supposing there was anything left to bury once dogs, birds and vermin had done their work). But Joseph didn’t see it that way. A clean linen cloth; the tomb he had prepared for himself; and the security of a great stone.

It all had to be done in haste, with the sabbath approaching (that’s why the two Marys were watching, so they could go back on the first day of the new week to complete what should be done to the body). But what was done was done decently. Sometimes, as we work for and with Jesus, it may feel a bit like that. We aren’t sure why we’ve got to this place, why things aren’t going as we wanted or planned, and the life seems to have drained out of it all. Do what has to be done, and wait for God to act in his own way and his own time.

The Origins of Easter

Easter is one of the single most important days for the Christian faith, for it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Belief in the resurrection is central to the Christian faith, and Easter is our way to remember the events of the last few days in Jesus’ life.

According to scripture, Jesus was crucified, died and was buried after He went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on what we now call Easter. It is a blessed time for the faithful to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of the Savior… and a very special time for children to learn the story of the resurrection!

But where does the term Easter come from? The exact origins of Easter’s name are unknown. While some assert the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, others have connected it with a Latin term hebdomada alba, which means “white week.”

However, Easter is really much longer than just one day. Some Christian denominations begin observing the Easter season with Lent, a 40-day period allowing for reflection and repentance leading up to Easter Sunday. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which he survived various temptations by the Devil.

The last week of Lent, which is the week leading up to Easter Sunday is called Holy Week. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples. Next comes Good Friday when we honor the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Finally, we celebrate Easter Sunday and honor Jesus’ ascension into heaven. This year, Easter will fall on April 8th. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do.

On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Churches are always packed on this holiday and it is typically one of the highest attended Sunday services of the year. This Sunday celebration is a memorial to the death and resurrection of Jesus, marked by singing joyous hymns, wearing bright colors and inviting friends and family to a feast in Jesus’ honor.

Easter is also a remembrance day of why Jesus died on the cross, for us. It is a day to take joy in his resurrection and be thankful for all that God has given us. Much as the day is about the resurrection of Jesus look also to yourself. How am I resurrected? What am I to do with my rebirth and the approaching season. Though it is the end of Lent think of this time as the start of your resurrection. Find new ways to explore life and dedicated to yourself, family, work, and God.

Happy Easter everyone!