Setting GoalsJanuary is a good time to take stock of where you’re heading, and an excellent tool for the task is my book, Setting Goals That Count. First published more than 30 years ago, it’s now available in an updated edition from Jordan Publishing.

Readers say their first “Ah-Ha!” moment comes when they see the difference between making plans (which all of us do every day) and setting life goals. Life goals are snapshots of the kind of person you will be this year, next year, and for the rest of your life. That calls for deep, critical thinking. Prayerful thinking.

And that’s what Setting Goals That Count leads you to do.

I’ve used the exercises in this book to assess the direction of my life again and again. They are rooted in Scripture, and help me discern how I can best honor God with life decisions I’m making. They’ll do the same for you.

Available in print or Kindle eBook versions, Setting Goals That Count is just a click away at–To order, click HERE.


Blooming snowdrops flowers covered by snow

Photo by Guzowski

An icy mix of rain, sleet, and snow was falling when I entered my dentist’s office. The hygienist greeted me with a cheery, “April showers bring May flowers!”

“Even snow showers?” I asked.

“Well, maybe global warming will do away with the snow,” she said.

I pondered how my home state of Indiana would look without snow. Seems to me that the changing seasons bring us various kinds of beauty–including snow!–that I don’t want to be deprived of, even if I have to shovel my sidewalk now and then. I accept the fact that seasons change, as do many other aspects of our world, and I’ve learned that change can be a good thing. In fact, it can be a divinely blessed thing.

When foreign invaders crushed Jerusalem and carried God’s people into slavery, the prophet Daniel prayed:

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
             wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
             he deposes kings and raises up others (Dan. 2:20-21).

God used the years of Exile to draw his people back to himself and strengthen their faith for the future. That renewal was worthy of praise!

Some say that God does not cause change, whether it’s seasonal change or regime change. I don’t know. However, I believe the most radical change cannot thwart God’s intentions and often expedites them. Change can bring us fresh perspectives and force us to try solutions we might have ignored if everything “stayed put.”

So I don’t wish that things will never change. They will anyway—and God may bless us more as a result.

Granddaughter Jillian is three years old, which means she knows her own mind and isn’t willing to let someone else impose their mind on hers.

I learned several visits ago that it’s pointless to say, “Take my hand,” when we step out of a restaurant into busy traffic. Jillian’s answer to that directive is, “No.”

A forceful grasping of that little hand brings an instant reaction: Jillian becomes a writhing, crying bundle of protest. Then, holding her hand isn’t enough.

But somewhere along the way, Papa learned to say, “Jillian, take my finger.” Jillian’s response is completely different. As we stepped out of Perkins Friday night, Jillian was leading the way with the sprightly, carefree step that of an adventurous three-year-old, so I said, “Jillian, take my finger.”

She pushed through the door and stepped onto the walkway, then reached back and took my finger. Without a single word to coax or remind her, she held fast to Papa’s finger for a couple of laps around the restaurant until her parents emerged and it was time to get into the car.

We spent an hour at a city playground yesterday, and Jillian was in her element–running, laughing, climbing, and sliding down the spiral turrets of the playground slides. At one point, she climbed up onto a masonry wall surrounding the playground, where older children were teetering with outstretched arms to practice their balancing skills. But Jillian had a plan. As soon she she stood up on the wall, she looked at me and said, “Hold your finger.”

Papa dutifully extended his finger, Jillian gripped it firmly, and walked with confidence around the ring where children twice her age were wobbling and wavering on their own.

So many times, I feel frustrated because God does not give me the firm, clear direction that I pray for. After a weekend with Jillian, I wonder if I’ve been expecting too much. Perhaps I’ve been waiting for my Father to say, “Take my hand,” when He doesn’t intend to guide me in that irresistable way. He’s not saying, “Take My hand”–much as I want Him to!–but He’s walking behind me (behind me) and gently saying, “Take My finger.”