7 Success Traits To Finish 2015 Strong

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There’s an old saying “what a difference a day makes.”

In fact, it was made into a great song by Dinah Washington. . .but it’s so much more than a song.

Every day we have the opportunity to make a difference.   How can we make a difference in our days?

William Arthur Ward, well-known for his inspirational quotes, offered some pretty good advice when he said:

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”

There are 169 days left in this year . . .each one a unique opportunity for us to make 2015 the greatest year of our lives.

Here are seven success habits to make a difference in the 169 days that lie ahead.

First, walk in the perfect will of God.

Have you ever heard someone refer to another person as someone with a strong will?  If so, that could be a spiritual problem unless the person is pursuing the will of God. 

We’re not put on this earth to fulfill our will or that of a domineering parent or a controlling spouse or anyone else

Here are eight things. . .we need to know about the will of God.

# 1       We’re on planet earth for one reason. . .and that’s to do the will of our Heavenly Father.

John 6:38 in the New Living Translation says:

“For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.”

# 2       Your personal growth. . .spiritually, emotionally and in every other area is fed by and gains strength from doing His will.

John 4:34 in the New Living Translation says:

“Then Jesus explained: ‘My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.’”

# 3       As you spend time in His Word and His presence. . .you will soon determine whether a particular choice or direction for your life is His will. . .or yours.

John 7:17 in the New Living Translation says:

“Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.”

# 4       When you’re fulfilling His will. . .you will have an inner joy beyond description and an enthusiasm for life. . .that you can’t wait to share with others.

Romans 15:32 in the New Living Translation says:

“Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.”

# 5       When you begin doing His will. . .you will find that your perspective changes. . .your view of what’s really important. . .undergoes a rapid transformation.  Your greatest desire will now be His desire.

1 Peter 4:2 in the New Living Translation says:

“You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.”

# 6       To be an effective. . . you never do things half-heartedly.

Ephesians 6:5-7 in the New Living Translation says:

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.  Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

# 7       Knowing the perfect will of God for your life can only be received by allowing God to transform the way you think.

Romans 12:2 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”

# 8       Doing the will of God will give you a rich and satisfying life.

1 John 2:17 in the Amplified Bible says:

“And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.”

I strong suggest you study the eight keys to knowing, performing and manifesting the will of God in your life.

Second, passion creates the power to make something out of nothing.

Passion creates the power to sustain you. . .when everything else fails.

John 2:17 in the New Living Translation says:

“Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

Do you have a passion for the things of God. . .for His instructions. . .His house?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own.”

God not only wants you to have the passion for Him. . .but He wants His power manifested in your life.  Four scriptures say it all.

First, Joshua 1:8:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Second, Ephesians 3:20 in the New Living Translation:

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Third, 2 Thessalonians 1:11 in the New Living Translation:

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”

Fourth and finally, Mark 9:23 in the God’s Word Translation:

“Jesus said to him, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.”

If you want to make your days count . .the passion and power of God must be self-evident in your life.

Third, you must spend time with your mentor.

Would you be excited if Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or Donald Trump were to agree to become your personal mentor?

If you had unlimited access to their combined wisdom. . .how would you get to know what they know?

Spending time with them!  The correct answer is easy.

Would you do whatever it took to spend that time with them?  Of course, you would if you wanted to learn everything they know.

If they wanted to talk with you. . .would you be willing to turn off “Survivor” or “America’s Got Talent” so you could listen and learn?  Of course, you would.

Would you do whatever was necessary. . .to maximize your time with them?  Of course, you would.

Now here’s the question . . .and you may have already guessed it. . .who is the greatest mentor of all?

Without question, the Holy Spirit is your primary mentor.  The best way for you to get to know your mentor is for you to spend time in His presence.

The great evangelist and pastor, Charles Spurgeon, said he never prayed more than five minutes but He never went more than five minutes without praying.

A believer full of the Word knows where to turn when he/she needs help or direction.

Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Message Bible says:

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.”

Make no mistake about it. . .God will show you the things you need to know.

Jeremiah 33:2-3 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).” 

There are times when everyone needs inside information on what to do.

Jeremiah 33:3 in the Message Bible says:

“… I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.”

You can have confidence in knowing your mentor is always willing to spend time with you and that He will ALWAYS answer your questions and requests.

Psalm 86:5-7 says:

“In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.” 

Jeremiah 29:12-14 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.   Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity. . .” 

That’s what I call a mentor is who is available 24/7.

Fourth, you must be properly trained for your assignment.

Instruction for your assignment. . .can basically come from one of four places.

First, divine direction from the Holy Spirit. . .either from His presence or through God’s Word.

Second, reading and listening material, i.e. books, magazines, online articles, CDs and DVDs.

Third, personal experience is a great trainer.

Fourth, someone who by their words and actions. . .have proven themselves to be an effective mentor.

Now here are ten strategies for finding a mentor.

 1.        What area do you need mentoring in?

 2.        Create a list of possible mentors.

 3.        Start with the big dog or top cat and work down.

 4.        Write down everything you know about that person

 5.        Research.

 6.        Who do you know who knows them?

 7.        Prepare to contact them.

 8.        Make contact.

 9.        Follow up with a thank you note.

10.       If at first you don’t succeed, try the next one.

In selecting a mentor. . .here are five things you should consider.

First, does your mentor have the proper spiritual insight to train you?

Second, has your mentor actually experienced the advice they are giving you?

Third, does your mentor have a successful track record in the area in which they’re advising . . .be it the marketplace or ministry?

Advice that has not been tested, proven and successful is just opinion. . .a theory, an experiment … not experienced success.

Someone, regardless of how good they sound . . . cannot take you where they haven’t been.

Fourth, always make sure that any advice from your mentor is legal, moral and ethical.

Finally, no matter how qualified and successful he/she may be. . .if they’re not a born-again, Holy Spirit filled believer, then you are unequally yoked and you need to move on to the next person on your list.

Thus, the advice of Buffett, Gates or Trump, no matter how appealing, can only take you so far.

Fifth, develop a daily divine “to do” list.

The best way to implement your goals is to prepare a daily “to do” list reflecting each of the six major areas of your life, i.e. spiritual, family, financial, physical, mental and social.

Your daily “to do” list should be a divine reflection of the things God has called you to accomplish with your life.

A “to do” list brings your future into your present.

You should create a realistic and functioning “to do” list that is a spiritual and practical guide to the things you need to accomplish.

Your “to do” list should include these five key things.

First, your list should only include things that are scripturally acceptable for you to accomplish.

Second, your “to do” list should reflect daily tasks in accomplishing your goals in the six major areas of your life.

Third, your “to do” list should ALWAYS include tasks for your personal spiritual growth and family development.

Fourth, your divine “to do” list should be satisfying because of the things it will allow you to accomplish and eliminate from your priorities and goals.

Fifth and finally, an effective divine “to do” list should make sure you’re doing everything decently and in order.

Never go to bed at night before preparing your “to do” list for tomorrow.

It’s also important that you review your list frequently during the day and mark off tasks that have been accomplished and add new ones as they occur to you.

Proverbs 6:4 in the New Living Translation says:

Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.”

The most difficult part of any assignment or journey is the first step.  Don’t let the enemy of your success keep you from organizing your priorities and your life.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 in The Living Bible says:

“If you wait for perfect conditions you’ll never get anything done.”

Luke 9:62 in the Message Bible says:

“Jesus said, "No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day."

I strongly suggest you create an electronic “to do” list.  If you have Microsoft Word, when you create a new document. . .you have the choice of choosing a “to do” template.  You can either use an existing template or create one that fits your plans and personality.

Sixth, “continually eliminate any unnecessary do's” from your list and life.

I could summarize this trait with just one sentence.

If it ain’t necessary . . . don’t do it. . . literally don’t even give it the time of day.

1 Corinthians 10:31 in the Amplified Bible says:

“So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.”

If what you’re doing isn’t bringing glory to God, then don’t do it. 

Fulfilling your God-given goals brings Him glory.  So if there’s anything on your divine daily “to do” list or priority list that doesn’t bring glory and honor to Him. . .then it’s just not worth doing.s

If you have questions about whether or not something should be on your “to do” or priority list, then Ask God.

James 1:5 in the Amplified Bible says:

“If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.”

Since we can do nothing on our own (John 5:30) we must make sure we’re not led astray from His purpose and plan (Luke 21:8.)

2 Corinthians 11:3 in New International Version says:

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

Do not allow the angel of light. . .to blind and lead you into useless unproductive activity on a daily basis.

I fully realize that what I’m about to say will be difficult for many people.  Never say “yes” to anything that will interfere with fulfilling your priorities and goals. I’m not talking about family obligations or responsibilities here; I’m talking about time-wasters.

There are people who will waste your time. . .and do so with no regrets.  That’s why you must learn to say “no.”

I feel prompted to say one other thing. . .telling your spouse that you can’t do the grocery shopping because it’s not on your goal list. . .is martially stupid and spiritually incorrect.

First, if your spouse asks you to do something to help out.  DO IT with ‘no questions asked’ because developing a dynamic marriage partnership should be one of your strongest goals.

Seventh, never take “no” for an answer

Although you must learn to say ‘No” to time-wasters… there is another side of “No” you need to learn.

For years, I’ve taught people in seminars around the world that “No” doesn’t always mean “N O”. . .many times it actually means “k n o w.”

The person to whom you’re talking doesn’t “know” enough to say yes because if they did. . .if they fully understood what you’re asking … they would say “yes” to you.

Sir Winston Churchill said:

“Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, never submit to failure. Do not be fobbed off with mere personal success or acceptance. You will make all kinds of mistakes, but as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her.”

If you know your cause is right & just. . .if your efforts line up with the Word of God. . .then you should never take ‘No’ for an answer.

Luke 11:8-9 in the New Living Translation says:

“But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.  And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

I like the phrase “shameless persistence.”  If I know what I’m doing lines up with the Word and I feel led by God to do what I’m doing. . .there is no way I’ll ever give up.

Sometimes it seems the easiest thing to do is quit.  But I can tell you that you’ll never find real peace if you throw in the towel on something you know you are called to do.

Those who never take ‘No’ for an answer. . .who persist until the mission is completed will reap a reward. . .immediate and eternal.

Romans 2:7 in the Amplified Bible says:

“To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [ the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.”

Make a difference in the coming days. . .and your days will make a difference in your destiny.

Carpe Diem. . .Seize the day!

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