Monthly Archives: September 2020

Knowing God

This last weekend at JBC Pastor Mike preached on a very important topic, fellowship with God. The Apostle Paul declared in the book of Philippians that he “counted everything in life to be garbage compared to the value of knowing Jesus”.

The command to seek the Lord is given in the Bible over 50 times and there are over 20 blessings and rewards mentioned that God gives to those who do seek Him. To seek Him means to seek a growing relationship with Him, a growing intimacy with Him, a growing awareness of His presence in our lives. I decided that I wanted to marry Patty before she barely knew who I was, and once I decided she was the one, I began to pursue her, and seek a relationship with her. I must have done a pretty good job because she married me 51 years ago.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

1 Chronicles 16:10-11 Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.

1 Chronicles 28:9-10 the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.

2 Chronicles 12:14 He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.

Psalms 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Psalms 27:8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”

Psalms 34:10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.

Psalms 63:1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Psalms 119:2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.

Seeking God is an every day discipline. It is easy to get so entangled in everyday life that we forget about our relationship with God and how it is doing. Like any relationship if we neglect seeking Him we will drift apart.

We seek the a lord by reading His Word. We seek the a lord by spending time with Him in prayer. We seek the Lord by gathering together with others to worship Him.

A principle that drives me to seek Him diligently everyday is “the closer we are to Him here in this life the closer we will be to Him in the next life for all eternity. This life is a test to see who it is who will make Him first in their life, and He will reward them by making them first in His life for all eternity.

Self-Control III

7. I have already mentioned that the way to grow stronger in self-control is through training so it will be like learning to play the piano. We learn a basic about playing the piano, and then we practice, and then we learn a little bit more and practice some more. That routine is kept up until we are a great piano player.

When we join the gym for the purpose of becoming a very strong person we are given “routines” and we do them systematically. If you practice them haphazardly, with no system, skipping them when you are tired or to busy you will remain a wimp.

In my weight lifting routine that I do in my man room I use a system called “Strong Lifts 5 X 5”. There are five different lifts, squat, bench press, overhead press, barbell row, and deadlift. Three times each week I do three of the five lifts.I do the squats every time I lift and alternate between two of the remaining four. For each of the three lifts I will do five sets of five and add 5 pounds the next time if I successfully lift the designated weight 25 times. This is my plan along with riding a stationary bike, running on a tread mill, and hitting a heavy bag to stay fit until I am 100 years old.

So in my gym for training to get strong in self-control I have five disciplines that I systematically apply to my life incrementally. The first is Bible reading, second is prayer, third is fasting, fourth is exercise, and the fifth is scripture memory. I keep track of these five disciplines very religiously, working very hard to stay on the routine and increasing them gradually, “a little bit more, just a little bit, but always more.”

Bible reading is the most important of all of the disciplines. I read 14 chapters each day, and have arrived at that number gradually as I have added a little bit more over the years. Most people will probably stay in the 3 to 5 chapter range. I read as much as I do because my job is to teach the Bible, and I want to teach it well.

I suggest to people that they have a prayer time that is five minutes long three days a week. Those who are most successful are careful to always have a time when they pray and a place where they pray. When you faithfully keep this routine for several months add another day and keep adding a day until you are praying five minutes every day. A key tool to make prayer much more effective, interesting, and meaningful is a prayer notebook or journal where you keep a list of people and things you are praying for with answers. Once you are super faithful at five minutes each and every day you can start adding time one minute at a time.

Intermittent fasting probably has more impact on my self-control level than any other discipline. So even though I hate it with a passion I continue to do it because it not only grows my self-control level, I also lose weight. My commitment now calls for a 24 hour fast twice each week.

The fourth discipline for me is an exercise routine which lasts at least an hour every day and as I have already mentioned includes riding a stationary bike, lifting weights, running on a treadmill, and punching a heavy bag. Working hard to not make excuses and keep the routine is very powerful in my life to grow my self-control.,

The last of the “mighty five” is memorizing Bible verses. It easy to systematize this discipline by starting out small and gradually increase the time that you work on this. This discipline not only grows your self-control level very effectively, it also changes your heart, increases your memory, and probably will keep you from becoming senile when you get to be 72 years old.

The most effective way to do this plan is to do it with another person or several and encourage each other, and pray for one another.

Self-Control II

6. Self-control is not only a character trait it is a form of energy in us. As we exercise self-control resisting a second helping of Marion Berry cobbler with ice cream we are using energy that we can call “will power”. Like every other type of energy the “will power” we have in us is limited, meaning we can run out of it. Many people who relapse on an addiction will do so in the evening because they have run low on “will power.” If we are serious about winning the temptation battles in our life we will learn how to steward our “will power” supply. Some suggestions; don’t spend hours on the computer, iPad, or cell phone in the evening by yourself if you struggle with porn, computer games, or on line gambling. I have on my car a fuel rate gauge which tells me at any given time what my miles per gallon of fuel consumption is. The other day I was pulling a heavy trailer up a steep hill and it went way down to 6 miles per gallon. There are times when the amount of “will power” being consumed in order to resist a particular temptation is very high. The main issues are time of day, availability, presence of accountability or not, ease of committing the sin, and mood determined by earlier events. A recovering alcoholic would be wise not to spend his evenings in a bar, especially with others who are drinking. Another key to stewarding “will power” in us is to turn disciplines into habits as much as possible and as soon as possible, because habits take very little “will power” to maintain. Reading your Bible everyday for 30 minutes starts out as a discipline but if faithfully done everyday it will gradually become a habit. That is another reason why everyday, everyday is so important. Regularly missing even one day a week will keep your Bible reading from becoming a habit and it will continue to use up a large amount of your “will power”. Probably the most significant factor in reducing the amount of will power required to maintain self-control over a temptation is accountability. Years ago I traveled to an Eastern State to speak at a church. After I had checked in to my motel room I got a phone call from a lady who saw me enter the motel by myself, and asked if I wanted company. After I said “no thank you” I got to thinking about how easy it would have been to have answered “yes”. After that when a church or group called and asked me to speak I agreed if they would pay for two plane tickets instead of one. The most powerful influence to godly living in my life apart from God is Patty. With her by my side on trips there was zero temptation to watch the wrong stuff on television and she took any phone calls. In that environment there was very little consumption from my “will power” reservoir. A basic law of life is, “anybody will do anything if given the right set of circumstances”, so the key is to control the circumstances in your life to the highest degree possible.


I want to grow stronger in the character trait of self-control so that I am not controlled by my flesh, my sin nature, the world around me, and the devil. There are seven fundamental, foundational principles that govern our pursuit of self-control.

1. We are in a partnership with God in this pursuit. He will work in us and empower us to change and to grow, for apart from Him we can’t change anything. In Galations 5:23 self-control is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit. In 2 Peter 1:3 it says that it is His power that changes us, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness,” But Peter goes on and says in 2 Peter 1:6 that we have a part in acquiring this important character trait as well, “that you may become partakers of the divine nature. . . Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control,” The balance between our humble dependence on God, and our faithful obedience, diligence, and discipline is very important in our journey to maturity. We apply this balance by crying out for help everyday and also having personal goals and strategies that we are pursuing.

2. We train ourselves to greater levels of self- control, not by trying harder. Trying harder is the natural route, but it doesn’t work, at least not for very long. Training implies a plan or a strategy. If you decide to learn how to play the piano you would immediately launch into following a plan or strategy. Tomorrow I will tell you what my plan is. You can follow it or invent your own, but without a plan you will go in circles, and continue to struggle with self-control.

3. The key part of the strategy is adding disciplines to our life in small, achievable doses, incrementally. My motto for this is, “a little bit more, just a little bit, a little bit more, just a little bit, but always more.” It is like lifting weights to get stronger. I do 5 different kinds of lifts, each one 25 times, in groups of 5. I take a 3 minute break between each set of 5 lifts. If I do 25 lifts successfully I add 5 lbs the next time I lift. Faithfully, systematically training, adding just a little bit more, just a little bit, I end up getting stronger and stronger. When I turned 50 years old I was fat, out of shape, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, border line diabetic. I decided to do something about it so I started running. I ran one lap in our gym, 1/20 of a mile, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. The next night I ran two laps, each night adding one lap. I got to a mile, then 2, then 5, then I ran a 10k, then a half marathon, then a full marathon. “A little bit more, just a little bit, a little bit more, just a little bit, but always more”.

4. The disciplines that we do to get stronger in self-control are like the weights that we add to get stronger physically. It is important that once a discipline is added that we do them everyday, everyday, everyday. Disciplines that are done sporadically never increase our self-control, in fact decrease it because we train ourselves to justify our lack of self-control with excuses. Some disciplines will be done less than everyday, so we maintain the discipline of doing them when we committed to doing them. I lift weights 3 times a week, and only when I am gone do I miss my routine.

5. Bible reading is the first and most important discipline to add to our life in order to grow in self-control. Most Christians don’t read their Bibles everyday, but they always have a good excuse why they don’t. I get asked often, “If I am so tired that I don’t really get anything out of my Bible reading, isn’t it alright to skip it for a night?” Not if you want to grow in self-control, everyday, everyday, everyday! Start with a Bible reading plan that takes no more than 10 minutes to do, and don’t miss a day, if you do miss, make up the reading the next day. When you have been successful for 3 months straight without a single miss, add one chapter to your plan, and then again 3 months later. When you are faithfully reading 30 minutes everyday, everyday, everyday you can move on to the next discipline.

Some more tomorrow.

I Can’t!

Why can’t an overweight person who wants to lose weight in the worst way, make it happen? Why can’t they just do it, eat less, exercise more? I mean, it isn’t hard to figure out what to do; why is it so hard to do it, in fact, almost impossible. What is it that we are fighting against, and how do we win. Why can’t a person who blows up and loses their temper regularly just stop it and become patient, always? How about an alcoholic, or a person addicted to drugs, or pornography, or, or, or.

The Apostle Paul, a very godly man, had the same struggle, and he expressed it well in Romans 7:15, ”For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”

In our journey through life one of our goals is to overcome and conquer the devil, the world, and our flesh with it’s inclination to control us. That is not an easy war to win, and many don’t, in fact, most don’t. Most have given up winning, and just declare, ”that is just who I am.”

The critical character trait to grow in is self-control. Paul defines self-control in 1 Corinthians 9:27 this way, ”but I discipline my body and make it my slave.” Wow, make my body my slave, it does what I want, not me doing what it wants, that sounds like absolute freedom. How do I grow stronger and stronger in self-control? The average person, if asked that question would have no clue. Well, for sure you won’t grow in self-control if you don’t know how, don’t have a plan or strategy.

The most important word to remember is ”train”, not ”try”, we want to train ourselves better, not try harder. If you get put into a tennis game with a good player, having never played the game before yourself, you will get beat, probably annihilated, and no amount of trying harder will change the score, it will probably just make it worse, and make you feel more and more like a loser. You need to sign-up to take tennis lessons, train, and practice. If you get good training and practice hard you will become a winner. That is how life is lived successfully by overcomers and champions.

Tomorrow we will outline a plan on how to train ourselves to become more and more self-controlled.

You Lazy, Good for Nothing!

The title of this blog is one of my regular comments to myself when I don’t get everything done on my “todo” list. Or if I am really disgusted with myself I will say, “You worthless pile of horse crap!” I realize that is not what you would call positive self-talk, but it does motivate me to get out of my recliner and get busy. I have one of those electric beds like they have in hospitals where the back goes up, the feet elevate, and it even has a vibrator that makes my back feel so good. I am now propped up in it reading my Bible, praying, and writing this blog drinking a cup of coffee that Patty brought me. I came home early from my hunting trip so this is an “extra day”. I am supposed to be hunting according to my calendar, but here I lay being lazy, and I can do anything I want and still be right on schedule! But I am now making a new “todo” list for the day, calling myself an assortment of names for thinking to myself,

“it sure would be nice to stay right here until noon, drinking coffee and watching “YouTube” hunting shows, yeh, let’s do it, what the heck!” But then, my motivator kicks in,

“You lazy good for nothing, pile of brown stinky stuff, get out of bed before Jesus comes!”

I don’t even get to eat breakfast, Patty decided this would be a fast day for us, great! Oh well, might as well get up and do something that matters.

One of the characteristics of high-performance people is that they are very self-motivated. I am working at learning how to be one of those dudes. The key is in the “self-talk” that is repeated continually. The most effective self-talk for me at motivating this lazy body to action are Bible verses that I have memorized and make the commitment to meditate on or think about repeatedly so that they do their work in my mind, heart, and soul.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

The words of Jesus right before His death,

John 17:4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might;

Ephesians 5:15-16 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

John 15:8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr that is the sound of the electric motor on my bed making it go back to flat so I can get out of it!

Pigs on the Freeway

I was driving home this evening from Joseph, Oregon from hunting, and when I got to where 205 joins I-5 the traffic was all stopped, totally, all lanes. I was on the ramp about 100 yards before it joined I-5 which gave me a little elevation so I could see down on the Freeway, and what I saw was about 5 big pigs running around through the cars and a guy with a rope chasing them. Pulled off on the side of the road was a pick-up with a stock trailer and the gate in the back was open. I guess what must have happened is the gate opened while he was driving, and his load of pigs jumped out. The traffic was heavy so he must have been going slow enough so that the pigs didn’t get hurt. They looked plenty healthy as they outran the guy with the rope. People started getting out of their cars to help the guy round up his pigs. They were pretty big pigs so I don’t imagine getting them back into that trailer was going to be very easy. I was in the inside lane which started to move, the only one that was so I didn’t get to see how the pig rodeo turned out. I am hoping someone got their handy dandy cell phone out and videoed it and will put it on Facebook.

So, let’s pretend a group of us are having coffee together and someone shares the most embarrassing experience of their life and we all join in telling our stories, each of us thinking that our experience was the best, or I guess worst is a better word. If the pig farmer on the Freeway was in our group I bet nobody would top his story, and we might even think that he was making it up, but nobody could make up a story like that!

If the dude chasing the pigs was a very committed Christian, he loved Jesus with all of his heart, what is going through his mind as he runs between the cars on I-5, apologizing to each one as he runs by. He will probably be praying a simple prayer, ”please Jesus, help me!” Did you know that ”help me” or the equivalent, is the most often prayed prayer in the Bible. When we pray that simple prayer we are declaring our faith that God is there, that He sees, that He hears, that He cares, and that He could send a bunch of angels to round the pigs up and get them into the trailer. I imagine that as David was running up to take on Goliath that he was praying, ”please help me Lord, please!” I lost control of my car once driving on I-84 towards Hood River on black ice, and as my car went around and around in circles while going 60 mph down the freeway, I yelled out, ”help me, Lord!”

Matthew 14:28-31 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him,

Some people are critical of Peter because he sank instead of walking successfully on the water, but he is the only one who got out of the boat, he was the only one who took the risk, and he did take some steps, and when he started to sink he knew what to do.

Psalms 28:2 Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help, When I lift up my hands toward You.

Psalms 30:10-11 “Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

Psalms 40:12-13 For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my heart has failed me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; Make haste, O Lord, to help me.

Psalms 70:5 But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.

Praying and asking God for help is not a sign of weakness but of strength. He is my strength and the basic principle is, “the more I ask, the more I receive.” The basic message of the Bible is “God loves to help those who depend on Him, who cry out to Him, whose battle cry in life is, “apart from You, Lord, I can do nothing, but I can do anything by Your strength!”

Dee Duke’s 2021 Goals – October 27, 2020 through October 26, 2021.

1. I will read 14 chapters in my Bible every day. 2 chapters in the Old Testament, 5 chapters in Psalms, 1 chapter in Proverbs, 2 chapters in Matthew – Acts then Revelations, 4 chapters in Romans – Jude. That gets me through the Old Testament once in the year,  Psalms once every month, Proverbs once every month, the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation 5 times a year, and the Epistles once each month.

2. I will pray by myself for 30 minutes every day using my Prayer Journal and I will keep it up to date with names and pictures and prayer needs and answers.

3. I will read 80 pages every week in good books, some of that will be audio.

4. I will pray with Patty 3 times minimum each week.

5. I will write my blog every day, working at improving my writing and praying, asking God to bless and use my blog for His glory. The number of subscribers was 58 in 2018,  80 in 2019, 451 in 2020, and the goal is 600 for this year. The number of views was 57,000 in 2018, 70,000 in 2019, 80,000 in 2020, and I am praying for 100,000 this year.

6. I will ride my stationary bike, or lift weights, or punch the heavy bag, or run for a total 60 minutes every day.

7. I will restore my 1969 mustang coup with my grandson Isaac, and it will be his car when we finish it.

8. I will faithfully meet with  Brandon, Preston, Ben, and Josiah each week for at least one hour. I will write down observations, goals, and reminders after each gathering in order to improve my mentoring and training of each one for ministry.

9. I will memorize the book of Colossians.

10. I will teach through the book of Philippians during the Wednesday night service until finished, and then I will move to the book of Colossians.

11.  I will take some  grandkids fishing to Detroit Lake at least 5 times.

12. I will study, write, and prepare teaching content and a syllabus for a 2 day seminar for church leaders in January 2022 on training leaders.

13. I will start 3 new men’s accountability groups.

14. I will work  to improve, revamp, and organize our “Home Group” ministry by recruiting 2 people to help me, and having a monthly meeting with leaders.

15. I will faithfully, accurately, and in detail keep track of how I spend my time each day.

16. I will work with Brandon to plan, organize, and hold 3 “New Comers” dinners.

17. I will be a faithful part of my pastors accountability group, and schedule and plan 3 lunches with them.

18. I will learn how to fish for and catch pike minnow in the Colombia River, and earn at least $100 in bounties.

19. I will attempt to identify, and recruit from JBC a faithful, available, and teachable person, and to train them to be a volunteer staff/pastor.

20. I will pray on my kneeling bench in my office at least 3 times each week for 15 minutes minimum each time.

21. I will exercise self-control, and keep my weight under 200 lbs.

22. I will faithfully work on Scripture Typer for 30 minutes each day, maintain the rank of 200th place, and increase my total verses memorized to 1,000.

23.  I will train and run a 10 K and a half marathon.

24. I will go fishing in Soldotna, Alaska for 2 weeks in July, and will attempt to take a son, son-in-law, or grandson with me.

25. While in Alaska I will build an 18 foot fiberglass drift boat at Tim’s place and leave it there for fishing on the Kenai for Sockeye Salmon.

26. While in Alaska I will take the 18 ft drift boat out in Cook Inlet Halibut fishing launching off of the beach at Ninilchik.

27. I will, without a doubt, organize my shops, super well, and keep them that way.

28. I will expand the front of my shop, reroof it,  re-side it, and paint it.

29. I will begin the 2 year goal of putting in a fish pond on the front of our property.

30. I will diligently prepare to teach my “Men’s Leadership Class”, “Ladies Leadership Class”, “Leadership Class II”, and “Leadership Class III”, and I will work super hard to improve all aspects of all the classes.

31. I will take Patty on a date at least twice each month, and I will work hard at communicating well with her.

32. I will faithfully attempt to encourage those who have drifted away from faithful attendance at JBC to return.

33. I will go on a week long catfish fishing trip to the Snake River  June 13th to the 19th with friends.

34. I will watch the instructional DVD on taxidermy, and do a full body mount on the mountain lion I killed. If it turns out good, I will put it in the house, and if it turns out bad I will put it in my “Man Room”.

35.  I will write 50 hand written notes each month to people in JBC.

36.  I will study, prepare well and teach a weekly class on theology and doctrines from October through May.

37. I will pray through the JBC church family prayer letter each week, and transfer serious prayer requests to my prayer journal.

38. I will write in my personal journal at least twice each week.

39. I will write a devotional book using my best 365 blogs out of the approximately 1,500 I have written. I will find four people to help me read and pick the best, and two people to help me improve on the writing of them.

40. I will faithfully write a weekly and daily “todo” list, and refer to it often during the day.

41. I will end each day with a time of reflection, self-examination, and confession of all known sin.

42. I will pray at a minimum of 3 corporate prayer times at JBC each week.

43. I will go tuna fishing at least once this year.

44. I will pray at least 30 hours in each of the 4 “Five Day Prayer Events” that are held at JBC.

45. I will begin every day with a prayer of commitment presenting my life to Jesus, declaring Him Lord of my life, asking Him for guidance and strength for the day to please Him in all that I do.

46. I will attend a major “Church Growth” seminar and take at least one staff member with me.

47. I will give Patty and Sherri at least 2 hours of work on “Home Improvement” projects each week, and ask them to make a list at least one week in advance.

48. I will be in bed by at least 10:00 pm 2 nights a week, and by at least 11:00 pm 2 nights a week.

49. I will rebuild and restore my 1978 GMC pickup.

50. I will buy a good, used engine and put it in the Dodge van for a good car for Patty.

51. I will go shad fishing at least 5 times between June 1st and the 12th and take at least one grandkid each time I go.

52. I will pay off all debt except the house mortgage.

53. I will save $500 each month after debt is paid off.

54. I will pray for Patty, my kids and spouses, and grandkids every day.

55. I will pray for a list of people who have visited JBC in the previous  three months 3 times each week.

57. I will pray for a list of key people in JBC every week, which will include staff and families, Elders and families, members of all leadership classes and families, key leaders of various ministries and families.

56. I will research the visitors to JBC and get their picture and information about them in my prayer journal.

58. I will pray for a list of people who have drifted away from JBC every week.

59. I will pray for every regular attender and their families that are not part of the other prayer groups at least twice each month.

60. I will rewrite my book “The Time is Now”, with help, and republish it.

61. I will plan a wild pig and whitetail deer hunt to Texas sometime in the next two years.

62. I will go on a week long fishing and camping  trip to Wallowa Lake taking some family.

63. I will fast one day a week, and I will fast for 56 hours in each of the 4 “Five Days of Prayer” event.

64. I will climb Mt Adams the first weekend in August taking 3 days.

65.  I will locate a place and  start a “satellite Church”.

66.  I will pray corporately for a total of 300 hours.

67.  I will pray every day without fail for 80 baptisms at JBC in the year 2021,  and I will remind JBC at least weekly to do the same

68. I will listen to at least 100 sermons on “you tube” and pod cast.

69. I will plan with my son-in-law Phillip, an archery hunting trip to Alaska for caribou to take place sometime before 2023.

70. I will go on another  moose hunting trip with my son-in-law Phillip sometime before 2025.

71. I will fish with Nolan Davis at least twice for either steelhead or salmon.

72. I will go salmon fishing with Dave Maroon on the Colombia at least once.

73. I will read these goals at least once each week.

What am I going to do?

I usually start on October 1st writing my goals, but I have a little extra time so I am going to start today. So I always start by reading over last years goals, and doing an evaluation of how I did. I ask questions of myself concerning my goals, and write the answers. Here are a few of the questions that I ask as I determine the answer to the big question, “What Am I going to do next year? (1) Can I do better on this goal if I keep it for another year? (2) Was the accomplishment of this goal worth it in terms of energy, time, and money that it cost? (3) Did I enjoy the pursuit and accomplishment of this goal? (4) Did this goal result in a significant accomplishment in terms helping others? (5) How much desire and passion do I have left for this goal? (6) Is pursuing this goal the responsible thing to do? (7) Is this goal one that I would encourage everyone I know to pursue? (8) I can only do so much so should I replace this goal with one that is more noble? (9) Will Patty be excited about me pursuing this goal? (10) Am I reasonably certain that this goal is God’s will for me?

Setting personal goals, evaluating them, reading them, writing strategies to accomplish them all takes time, but it is the most important time that we can spend if we want to grow as a person in character, bear more and more fruit, and improve in our relationships with others. The most natural thing we do is to get into a holding pattern and keep doing what we have always done because it is comfortable.

Honest self-evaluation of who we are, what we have done, and where we are going is so important, and then acting on that evaluation with passion and desire. Goal setting is the key to “pressing on to maturity”.

Knowing God’s Will

God has a plan for our life and it is our responsibility to discover what it is. It isn’t that God wants to make it hard to discover, but He does want us committed to finding it and living it. There are a number of principles that I use, but a key one is found in Psalms 37:3-5

Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

I state this by saying, “get close to God and do what you want”.

God puts His will in us in the form of desires. It is obviously necessary to weed out the fleshly, worldly, and demonic desires, but if you are seeking God, drawing near to Him by being faithful to the basic disciplines of the Christian life, that will be relatively easy.

My goal year goes from October 27th to October 26th of the following year, because October 27th is my birthday, so I start writing my goals on October 1st, and my desire is to write goals that I feel confident are God’s will for my life.

As I review last years goals I recognize that I am not very motivated to repeat some of them, been there done that, no excitement. But with other goals I am very excited about more and better. Because of the COVID thing my ministry goals for last year came up very short so I am chomping at the bit to get way more accomplished in teaching goals, and other ministry areas.

The worst thing anybody can do is just go with the flow. That will result in mediocrity at best, and a very unfulfilled life. God’s will is that we bear much fruit for Him, do great things with our life. We don’t have to be capable of doing that, just willing and God makes us more than adequate to do extraordinary things with our life.

Our main enemy is our own apathy, laziness, and fear of failing that keeps us locked into our rut of doing the same o same o all over again which is usually nothing that really matters. How sad it will be to get to the end of our life, stand before Jesus and hear Him say, “you could have done so much more”. We tend to think that because of Grace He will just say, “That’s OK, at least you are here.”

The day we are going to stand before Him and give an accounting of our life is probably getting very close so live life as if it is your last before you stand before Him. Try to imagine how you will feel with your present level of accomplishments to present to Him, the Savior of your life.