“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.” – Philippians 3:13 (CSB)

If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve always been. This is a very simple statement, but true nonetheless.

Paul, in essence, was saying in our text, “If I can’t grasp anything else in life, I have understood the principle of forgetting what is behind and reaching for what is ahead.” In other words, if we are to experience growth and success, we cannot be tied to our past. We must be willing to pursue God’s plan for our future.

Make a decision today to no longer waste your valuable time focusing on the past. As long as you are looking behind you, you will never be able to embrace what’s before you. Let’s look ahead with a positive expectation that we will see God’s best in 2019.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Christmas means different things to different people. Unfortunately, far too many people have become jaded by the commercialism and consumerism of the season, instead of focusing on its true meaning.

The real message of Christmas is not even about the gifts we give to each other. Rather, it is a reminder of the gift that God has given to us—His Son Jesus Christ.

The birth of Christ was a demonstration of the Father’s love for us and it marked the beginning of our freedom. This gift was unique in the fact that God wrapped Himself in human likeness and dwelt among us.

A gift, however, is not yours until it has been received. Jesus is the ultimate gift that must be received and unwrapped. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to accept the greatest gift of all this Christmas—a gift that will not break, rust, or fade away. Jesus is the only gift that truly keeps on giving.

“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”John 3:27

When we are going through a difficult season, it’s easy to think that other people are having it better than us, and that God loves them more. However, that is not the case because the Word says that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11).

I’ve come to a point in my life where I have embraced this truth: “My God shall supply ALL of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” In other words, God is my infinite source and abundant supply. Therefore, I can always trust Him to supply every one of my needs.

Our blessings come from God, and they are totally independent of how people feel about us. In God’s storehouse, there is enough for Him to bless everyone else and still have enough to bless me too.

If our faith and trust is in God, then we should never give in to envy or jealousy. This is a sure sign that we do not trust God as our source. There’s plenty of God’s goodness to go around without the fear of heaven ever reaching a deficit. When you trust God as your source, you’ll never have to want for anything.

“For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”Psalm 107:9

Are you satisfied with the state of your life and the direction you are headed? Are you frustrated with your life because you know there is more to the abundant life than you are experiencing? Perhaps, you’ve thought to yourself, “There has to be more to life than this!”

If you feel like your life is being wasted away, it’s time to evaluate why. Although feelings of emptiness are a real thing, it is a sure sign something is wrong.

Maybe your focus needs to change or you’re just going through a temporary phase. Or maybe it’s something deeper that only God can reveal. And that’s exactly why you need a relationship with Him.

God knows how to fill every longing of your soul and give you what your heart truly longs for. The truth is, we don’t always know what we need, but God knows what’s best for us.

As we look to Him as our source, He will supply us with everything we need to live a life of peace, purpose, and wholeness.

“The righteous falls seven times and rises again.”Proverbs 24:16

Regardless of where you are in the scope of life; remember, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

Your past is called the past for a reason. It’s behind you! It’s water under the bridge. You can’t change the past by worrying about it or wallowing in it. So the best thing to do is to let it go and focus on the future.

Today, God is giving you a finishing grace! This grace will give you strength and encouragement to keep moving forward towards your dreams. If you have encountered some setbacks this year, don’t let it hold you back. God is about to thrust you into something greater—something you least expected.

A major door, a divine connection, a great opportunity is still in the making for you. Don’t let rejection hinder your expectation. Everything God promised you will come to pass. It may not happen in your timing, but God’s timing is always perfect.

“Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.” Romans 14:12 (NLT)

What if each of us received a monthly or annual productivity report about our lives? How would it look? Would the lines on the graph go up or down? Would it show growth or decline? Would it contain positive or negative results?

Did you know that we will all give a personal account to God about our lives? We should not have to wait until we die to do so. That’s why it’s important to do a periodic evaluation to make sure our lives are in line with God’s will. Since we were created with purpose, we should focus on making the most of our time here on earth.

So as we come to the close of another year, what will your personal productivity report look like? Have you grown spiritually in your walk with God? Were you focused on your priorities? Did you build stronger relationships? Were you faithful to complete your assignments? Are you a better person today than you were before?

An honest evaluation with these questions in mind will help you determine your results. It will also show you where there’s room for improvement and how you can live a more fruitful and productive life!

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15 (NLT)

We have so much to be thankful for today! I know that as we look at the condition of our world, there doesn’t seem to be much to be grateful for. And then there’s a great deal about ourselves that we wish we could change, right?

Oftentimes, in an attempt to make ourselves better and our world better, we forget to be grateful for the good things happening around us. We focus so much on the negative that the positive loses its place in our hearts.

To make gratitude and praise a daily part of our lives requires focusing on our blessings and learning to express our gratitude to God for them. Despite all the negative things happening in our world, God’s goodness and favor is all around us. The more we acknowledge it, the more we will experience it. Let’s determine to always be thankful!

“I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.” – Philippians 4:12 (NET Bible)

Are you aware that the search for happiness and fulfillment can consume our lives? It seems that we are always looking for something or someone to make us happy or bring us satisfaction.

Everyday we’re searching, working, and even shopping for happiness. The problem is that most people are looking for happiness in all the wrong people, the wrong places, and the wrong things.

There is power in contentment! Simply put, contentment is learning to rest in Christ. It’s embracing who you are, where you are, and what you have without buying into the lies of society that say you are not enough and you do not have enough.

Contentment does not depict having everything you want, but being grateful for the things you do have and trusting God for the things you need. This is a powerful attitude that results in true peace, joy, and fulfillment!

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

In a culture filled with cynicism and criticism, we are called to be encouragers.

Research shows that encouraging others works better than criticizing them. To encourage means to instill courage. It’s using your words to build, instruct, empower, and console. It’s choosing to magnify the good and not the bad.

Your words of encouragement to a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger can mean a great deal. A positive, uplifting word about doing better, making it through a difficult situation, or overcoming an obstacle can make all the difference in someone’s life.

Look at it this way. We all have an emotional tank that works like the gas tank of a car. In order for the car to drive, you have to fill the tank with the proper fuel. Encouragement works the same way. It is the fuel that motivates and propels you forward.

I want to challenge you to seize more opportunities to encourage others rather than criticize them. Never shy away from expressing hope and inspiration to those around you. Determine to be a tank filler and not a tank drainer.

“A person’s steps are directed by the LORD, and the LORD delights in his way.” – Psalm 37:23 (GWT)

It’s very easy to just sit back, get comfortable with where we are in life, and stop pursuing our dreams. However, God’s plan for us is progressive and He wants to take us further than we’ve ever been.

To move forward in life requires us to keep stepping, even in the midst of our challenges. Please understand that challenges will arise every day, but with every challenge comes the opportunity to grow and maximize our full potential.

Despite the enemy’s resistance, keep stepping forward. Every step—whether small or great—will bring you closer to your dreams. The steps we take will determine the impact we make. Keep stepping into your destiny!