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I just saw at another website "Simple Truths" that we miss 100% of the goals that we never aim at. I think that long term goals help us to make the short term decisions/goals of our lives. Ultimate goals daily-Heaven or hell, Service to others or "what's in this for me?" Money, fame, fortune or God and His plan for His family on earth? Heart issues that can't be looked at too much. "For the heart is deceitful above all things" Who do I want on the throne of my heart forever? and Who is on the throne of my heart today? Long-term goals work with short term goals. It is good to pray, think plan, prepare for the marriage, family life, career that you would like to have BEFORE these things "just Happen" or you may find your self "missing it" right in the middle of it. God gave us His Spirit- He also gave us minds. I would like to encourage young people to "think right" like I heard several times during the inauguration and on MLK day. From what I gathered, it simply means to think of service and love toward each other- "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, your mind and your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself". I think that Jesus gave us great long and short-term goals. God bless you, Mike.

This past summer, I read the book "Good to Great in God's Eyes" by Chip Ingram. He has some biblical, practical suggestions for becoming more like Christ. One that I adopted is writing down longer term, clear cut objectives for your life on 3x5 index cards. Then review them each day as a reminder of how you want to live, and where you want to go. I have found this to be helpful as a reminder to stay on the right path.

Some examples from the book are:

- I want to be a man of God and walk before God in integrity all the days of my life.

- I would like to help each of my children discover their spiritual gifts and God's will for their lives.

- I would like to pray for extended times and learn to become habitually thankful for all things.

and for those involved in reading through the Bible in a year

- I want to read through the Bible each year I remain on this earth.

God may show you that some of these objectives no longer apply (e.g one related to a spouse who dies), or may show you a better way for your life (to remove or add one). If you prayerfully consider what God would have you do, then these written objectives can provide signposts to remind you to fulfill your calling.

Many times in the last year I have been reviewing my written objectives and will realize that God is using them to pull me back from sin or to realign my interests with the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I know other people who have written a Personal Mission Statement or a Family Mission Statement and have found them to be helpful in clarifying what they should be doing now. If the Holy Spirit wants to give you new objectives or mission statement, he is not mute to get your attention for such changes -- if you remain in His truth.

I just posted about this at my blog ( bergcourtney.blogspot.com) and I think it is a great way to stay on track-- that being setting goals! I think it equally as important to share them with others to help you remember and stay accountable in pursuing them

Goals? I tend to stick with priorities. Perhaps just semantics, but I like it better.

I don't know where I read this, but research has proven that those who review (see on paper) their goals on a daily basis are significantly more likely to achieve them.

I think back to years when I kept my goals on a whiteboard in my room - practical not pretty ... but it helped me focus to see them as the first and last thing everyday.

Perhaps it is time to step up to the plate again.

Matthew 15 and 16

A few notes:

1)Interestingly, God eneded the Galilean ministry feeding 5,000, ended the Gentile ministry feeding 4,000, and the Judean ministry feeding the disciples in the upper room.

2) Laid at Jesus' feet - KJV cast them down. Greek connotation is they were hastily and not with the greatest care put before Christ. Maybe because this throng was worried he would not get to everybody???

3) The marvel was exceedingly great and the praise was given to the "God of Israel". This was a Gentile crowd as MArk explicitly states in his gospel.

4) The disciples had not forgotten the 5,000. Their reply to food was matter of fact. At 5,000 they said but just a few or only a few.... They knew Christ could feed if he chose.

5) The overflow baskets were seven. It could represent "completeness" in that God is sufficient to feed all the world in an overflowing manner. Jews (twelve baskets) and Gentiles (seven baskets). Also interestingly many centuries later and until recently it was taught that there were seven continents. (Now Eurasia or Americas reduce it to six depending on the source). So before it was known the seven baskets could have represented the world in that way.

Matt 16

12Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

"teaching" here is the word for doctrine. Jesus quoted Isaiah before saying their doctrine is the rules of men. The Greek connotation is "WHAT they taught". It was not all bad when they taught God's commands, but when they went into their own rules that is when pride and self entered in (leaven) the mix.

Gen 48

A few notes:

Israel is the name used most in this chapter and I think it is a period where Jacob is closest to God and gets it.

1) Jacob relays God's promises to the trio, gives Joseph a double portion (blessing) by making his grandson's his own, and blessed the younger over the elder.

Why? There is no reason. Exactly. Everyone is blessed, and if God chooses (Holy Spirit led Jacob's hand) Ephraim over Manasseh for extra blessing then it is His choice. It is a reflection of God's grace, and by nothing the young man did to earn the extra blessing.

IT too many centuries to come true, but eventually the tribe of Ephraim became greater than Manasseh's tribe.
22 And to you, as one who is over your brothers, I give the ridge of land I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow."

Hebrew scholars say this is in the prophetic perfect. It is the future described as already accomplished.

Jacob has stated God's promises to him, but Israel is blessing and prophesying in a total belief that it is a done deal. That is believing faith.

Gen 49

A few notes:

1) assemble and listen sons of Jacob (deceiver) - liste to Israel (God prevails).

2) Prophetic interpretaions vary, but the overall gist is:
- God has a long range plan and you are part of it - and it will be done.
- Actions have consequences. Reuben is not given double portion; Joseph is through his two sons. Simeon and Levi are scattered within Israel.
- Character of sons affected their destinies and their descendants.

3) Why was Judah blessed and made the one line from whom Christ descended? Why was not his blessing reduced like Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. While all repented regarding Joseph's sale into slavery - Judah when talking to Joseph seemed to fully repent.

But in addition - it is God's grace. If it was on merit Christ would have descended through Joseph.

So God's grace and sovereign decision and Judah's full repentance seem to be the answer to this question.

3)18 "I look for your deliverance, O LORD.

This is the first of 78 occurences of the Hebrew word "salvation" (deliverance) in the OT.

Perhaps Jacob thought of prophecy of the woman and serpant in Genesis 3:15 or his own grabbing of Esau's heel at birth.

The interjection may have been that Israel has been waiting and that deliverance/salvation will not come by Dan, Gad, or even Joseph - it will come from the Lord.

Hebrew for deliverance/salvation is yeshua - Jesus - God is salvation and it comes through no other.

Israel said: 'I look for your Jesus, O Lord.

Kinda' gives me goose bumps.

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