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Make Your Dreams Come True
by Tom Brown

Paul had the Olympics in mind when he wrote 1 Corinthians 9:24, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."

We should run to win, not simply finish. Olympic hopeful, Kwan, wanted badly to win the gold. She graciously accepted the bronze for this yearís Olympics, but her heart was set for the gold, and that is the way it should be with us. Some people have the win/lose philosophy: Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, sometimes the game gets rained out! No, we should live our lives to win.

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph" (2 Corinthians 2:14 KJV).

God doesnít lead us to lose. He leads us into triumph, always!

God never made a failure! Failure is man-made. We should have a winning attitude.

An Olympic runner doesnít start at the blocks and hopes, "I hope I place fifth." Of course not. He goes for the gold! You should too!

"But not everyone wins," you may exclaim!

Yes, but in our race we compete with no one. God puts everyone one of us on our own track. This means that everyone can win, as long as we all run the race marked out for us. Many get off of their track and race in someone elseís course. Stick with your course and you can win!

Discipline

Look at the next verse and youíll find that discipline in necessary to succeed: "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training" (1 Corinthians 9:25).

To make your plans work you must be willing to discipline your life. If you think sticking to your plans will be easy, then you are deceived.

Make your plans long range, yet with many short-range increments. For example, if you desire to lose thirty pounds, then set a short-range goal of losing ten pounds in the first month; then eight pounds for the next month; seven pounds for the third, and five pounds for the final fourth month. This way you can be encouraged by your progress every month and still reach your final goal.

Make your goals tough enough so that it takes effort, but realistic enough so that you wonít be discouraged. It would be foolish to plan to lose thirty pounds in two weeks. You probably wonít make it, and as a result become discouraged. On the other hand, it would not take much effort to plan to lose thirty pounds in three and a half years. With no challenge, youíll become a blimp real soon.

An Olympic athlete is willing to work nearly every day for many hours, eat foods that are tasteless but nutritious, and give their life to their sport, because they know it takes arduous discipline to win.

Anything worthwhile does not come cheap. Anything valuable will cost you much. Realize that!

Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, was willing to sacrifice to get his business started, so he lived in his automobile in order to start his chicken restaurant because he couldnít afford a place to live and finance his business at the same time. Not only was he willing to give up comfort, but he started the fast-food restaurant after he retired. Youíre not too old to have a dream!

You must be willing to sacrifice unimportant things in order to accomplish your goals.

Direction

You must also have direction. 1 Corinthians 9:26 goes on to say, "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air." Here the apostle says that the race heís running has direction. He is not running aimlessly or beating the air, which has no value.

Many people are working on perspiration instead of inspiration. They are working hard, but they arenít going anywhere. They are like the person peddling a bike on a stand, but the bike isnít moving forward. Hard work is necessary, but hard work without direction is profitless. Some people glorify sweat instead of creativity.

I live among some of the hardest workers in America, yet most live under the poverty level. The reason: theyíre working without a strategy. They labor, toil and plod along without a course.

Your plans must have direction. Working a plan with direction will keep you on your path. Is what you are doing actually advancing you to your purpose? or is it drawing you further from your dreams? Donít run aimlessly or beat the air; find an objective for your labor, and go toward it.

Determination

Finally, you must have determination to follow your plans. 1 Corinthians 9:27: "No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Paul did not want to be embarrassed by dropping out of the race.

Paul says also in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race." There is nothing more embarrassing than to start a project only to give up. Donít allow your flesh to overrule your life. You must beat your body and make it your slave. This means you must not give in to the weakness of the flesh. The flesh can become tired and discouraged when it faces obstacles. But those obstacles provide you with opportunities to strengthen your faith.

Your faith becomes strong when you strive against those difficulties. Faith is like a muscle. You develop muscles not simply by eating nutritious foods, but by exercising. Some Christians think that they can have strong faith simply by feeding on the Word of God. But this is not true. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, but it does not develop strength by the Word alone.

James 1:3-4 says, "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Your faith is tested through hardship.

Read carefully these words: Your faith does not become strong through trials, it only becomes strong when you overcome the trials.

Many traditional Christians have erroneously been taught to embrace trials. In other words, "Accept your trials, accept the problems you are going through," they often say. "Learn to cope with your problems."

But God has called you to be a "world overcomer" not a "world coper." You are not to accept your difficulties as if they came from God; you are to resist those situations as coming from Satan. He is the tryer of your faith.

A trial can be compared to a weight barbell. Imagine yourself lying on your back and having a heavy barbell placed on your chest. Do you become strong by allowing it to stay on your chest? No! You become strong when you push it up and away from you.

Your faith works the same way as your arms. Your faith becomes stronger when you push the trial away from you, not when you allow the trial to stay on you. So in the end, trials can be beneficial, if you fight against them.

You will have many trials when you pursue your dreams. So donít be surprised. Just overcome them. Use the stumbling blocks as stepping stones to greater achievement.

Ice Cream Cone

Many years ago, a man bought a little ice cream stand at a state fair. The hot weather boosted sales until the man ran out of bowls. He approached other ice cream vendors, asking for bowls, but none were willing to part with theirs for fear of running out, too.

Dejected, he walked back to his little stand to close up for the day until he could purchase more bowls. Walking back, he spotted a man doing poorly with his waffle stand. After all, who wanted to eat messy waffles on a hot day?

He had an idea! The ice cream man asked the vendor to sell him the entire waffle stand. The man agreed.

He joined together his newly-acquired waffle stand and his ice cream stand. He immediately began to make waffles, shaping them into cones. He increased his price and started selling the worldís first ice cream cone.

What appeared to be a setback turned into a stepping stone! Sometimes periods of crisis are simply opportunities in disguise. Donít miss those opportunities.

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