Tag Archives: how to be successful

The Power To Be Successful


One of my favorite pictures we took on a trip to Haiti was where one person was pretending to cut a board with a skill saw while another person held up the power cord with a confused look on her face. We took it to make people laugh, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that’s how many people live their lives. They have the right tools to be successful, but they lack the power to utilize those tools properly.

Part of what I do for a living, and also do here on this site, is to give people the tools they need to be successful. Power tools work best when they’re plugged in. Imagine how long it would take to cut a board using a skill saw that wasn’t plugged in. Think about the effort it would require and what that cut would look like if they had to do it manually with that saw. Even though we had the right tool, without the power to use the tool to its potential, we wouldn’t be very successful.

In Deuteronomy 8:18, Moses was speaking to the Children of Israel just before they went into the Promised Land. He was giving them final instructions to remember since he would not be crossing the Jordan river with them. He said, “Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful” (NLT). He was reminding them that they have the tools to be successful, but God is the source of power behind those tools. He wanted them to remember that their success wouldn’t be of their own power.

The same is true for us. While we hold the tools and do the work, it is God who gives us the power to be successful at whatever He calls us to put our hand to. Like a professional athlete who takes a knee after a touchdown or points to Heaven after a homerun, we need to take time to honor God for each success we have. It keeps us humble and it reminds us and others that God is our source. Apart from His power, we are trying to cut a board with an unplugged skill saw.

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Being A Successful Christian


Joshua 1:8 has always been one of my favorite scriptures. From a child, I’ve heard it said that this verse is God’s secret to success. It says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (NLT). The secret to success is to know God’s laws, to study them, to meditate on them, and to obey them.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” If we will study God’s Word, and put it in our hearts, we are more likely to do what it says and less likely to abandon it. It gives us advice on how to live, what to say, and how to make Godly decisions. The more we study it, the more knowledge and wisdom we will gain. It sheds light on the traps others have fallen into so that we can avoid them.

One of the things we discussed with our guide in Israel was how God wanted all kings to be given a copy of the scriptures and He wanted them to read them daily. He wanted the leaders of Israel to be successful and for their people to prosper. He knew that they would be given all kinds of advice, and that they would need a way to determine if it was good or not. The scriptures do just that. If the advice lines up with God’s Word, follow it.

If God was so concerned about kings reading His Word, you and I should follow that example. There’s not one of us who doesn’t need help in our Christian walk. We all face temptation, but we don’t have to give in to it. When we put God’s Word in our heart, we give ourselves a fighting chance against temptation. Jesus used God’s Word against the devil when He was tempted, and we can do it too. The secret to living a successful Christian life isn’t secluding yourself from the world. It’s having a power in you that’s greater than the world’s attempts to pull you away from God.

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1,000th Devotion


It’s hard to believe, but this is my 1,000th post. I started this journey four years ago not knowing what to expect, but having grand ideas in my head. I wanted to learn how to improve my writing, and to have a better understanding of direction, and how to promote my writing so I went to the Re:Write Conference soon after I started. One of the speakers there was Mary DeMuth, who has written over 30 books and has blogged for many years. She said a couple of things that really stood out to me, and I still reflect on them to this day.

The first thing that stuck out to me was that she said she wrote in obscurity for seven years before anyone noticed her. She talked about the struggles of continuing to write when very few are reading. I remember thinking, “That’s not going to be me!” In my mind, I had a message to share and the world wanted to hear it. All I had to do was write, and people would flock to my site. Four years later, I’m still writing in obscurity. I’ve struggled with that because my results haven’t met my expectations.

That leads me to the other thing she said that stood out to me. She said, “Writing is not so we can fill a hole in our heart; it’s so we can give away what God has given us.” That phrase (along with my wife) has kept me grounded throughout these years of writing in obscurity. They both remind me that anything I do for God is not about me. It’s about God. If what I’m doing is about Him, then I need to learn to be ok with obscurity. As my wife tells me, “If what you wrote was for one person and God sent them to read it, you are successful.”

In our world, I’ve learned that God defines success differently than we do. We think of book deals, thousands of followers, and fame as being successful. But God defines it as our obedience to Him. In this journey of writing, I’ve learned that it’s not the quantity of lives that I touch that makes me successful or gives me worth: it’s the quality with which I touch lives. If I’m doing what God has called me to whether it is for one person or one thousand, then I am successful in His eyes and those are the only ones that matter.

For those of you who have been on this journey with me, I’d like to say, “Thank you.” For those of you who have let me know that a particular post has touched your life and been exactly what you needed at that moment, you will never know what that has done for me. Your words have encouraged me as I’ve struggled in obscurity and reminded me that I’m being successful in God’s eyes even when I don’t feel like I’m being successful.

I hope that with this post, you can look at your life and see where you’ve defined success differently than God has. I hope that you can see that your success doesn’t depend on how many people you reach. It simply depends on your obedience to what God has called you to do. If you’re struggling with not feeling successful in what God has called you to, take heart. If you’re being obedient, you are successful in God’s eyes, and He’s the one who ultimately matters.

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬

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The Journey Of Success


As you know, David was told by God that he could not build the temple. God had told him that his son Solomon would build it. In II Chronicles 22:5, David recognized that his son Solomon was young and inexperienced. He then decided to make preparations for building the temple. He ordered everything that Solomon would need in order to build the temple. Even though Solomon had everything he needed to be successful, it was up to him to do something with all the material if he was going to build successfully.

Success doesn’t lie in having the things God gives us, it lies in doing something with them. In Matthew 25:14-30, we read the Parable of Talents. Jesus told the story of three men who had been given bags of silver from their master according to their abilities. Two of the servants took that material and invested it while one hid it. When the master returned, it was the ones who did something with the material who were considered successful, not the one who let it sit.

I Corinthians 12:7 says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other” (NLT). God has given each of us the materials to be successful just like David did for Solomon and the master did for his servants. The question is, are you going to let the materials sit there or are you going to do something with them? You can’t let the fear of being unsuccessful to prevent you from doing anything. If you do nothing with what God has given you, you’re no better than the man ho buried his bag of silver.

If God has given you a dream, quit often it’s as big as the task given to Solomon to build the temple. You may look at yourself and think you’re too inexperienced to do what God called you to. If you read the Bible, the greatest heroes of faith were the ones who didn’t let their inexperience keep them from their calling. They trusted God to do His part, so they did theirs. It’s up to each of us to take the gifts God has given us and put them to use. The greatest successes in life start with the smallest of steps. What can you do today to get started on your journey of success?

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Reopen And Restore

  
How do you respond to road blocks and set backs? Do you believe the non-scriptural platitudes that say, “God doesn’t close a door without opening a window”? Do you give up and just sit there? Maybe you look for another route and roll with the punches. Each of us respond in different ways when we’ve done the ground work for things in our lives only to have it stopped suddenly. I believe how we respond matters.

In Genesis 26, Abraham had already died and his son Isaac was a full grown man. Isaac planted crops and God blessed them. Whatever he did, God put His hand on it and made him successful. With that success came jealousy from others who were not as blessed. The Philistines went around and filled his wells with dirt, and their king made him uproot his family and move because of their jealousy. 

When Isaac moved away to other places he had taken his flocks before, he realized what they had done. Isaac and his father had dug many wells throughout the land to give water to their family and flocks. Now, all those years of work had been undone. He could looked for other wells that didn’t belong to him, but that wasn’t right. Genesis 26:18 says, “He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them” (NLT).

When what you’ve worked for gets destroyed by someone else, don’t just walk away or give up, put the work back into it and re-dig your wells. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take determination. It’s going to take your desire to be successful and blessed to be stronger than your desire to give up. Isaac didn’t quit or look for God to open a new well. He grabbed a shovel, started digging, and restored what the enemy had closed. That’s the response we should give to set backs and roadblocks in our lives.

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The Secret To Success

I once heard someone say, “Those who fail to plan, can plan to fail.” It’s stuck with me through the years as I’ve made decisions in my life. I’m a spontaneous person at heart, but I understand the need to plan. I have friends who plan everything, but find it hard to be spontaneous. I think there can be a balance. I’ve learned to curb my spontaneity to quick events that aren’t life changing and to plan out things that have long term consequences. If you’re going to be successful in life, more often than not, it will come through planning and not through spontaneity.

Proverbs 4:26 tells us, “Plan carefully what you do, and whatever you do will turn out right.” (GNB) Solomon didn’t just tell us to plan here, he said to plan carefully. According to the Blue Letter Bible, the word he used for carefully means to weigh out. We need to look at the pros and cons of our decisions, determine what success looks like and which failures or losses will be acceptable to us. With any decisions in life, there will be gains and there will be losses. We just need to decide ahead of time if the trade-off will be worth it.

To improve your plan’s chances of success, share them with others who are wise. They will see things you don’t and provide you with different perspectives. They may also foresee road-blocks and outcomes you didn’t. Plus, they may catch the vision of your plans and work with you long term to help you accomplish them. Proverbs 15:22 tells us, “Get all the advice you can, and you will succeed; without it you will fail.” That seems pretty straightforward, but what happens when you fail?

I believe that a good portion of our growth comes from failure. At work, I tried to prove I had a better way to do a certain process. I was wrong. My boss then said, “It’s ok to fail as long as you fail forward.” He was trying to say, “You’re going to have failures in your life. You can either let them drag you back to where you started or you can let them lead you down a new path.” Your life will have failures in it, but it’s what you do after that matters. I like to tell people, “You only fail when you quit trying.”

Success in life is not hard to find – it’s hard to do. It requires planning and counseling from people who are wiser than you are or have different perspectives than you do. Remember earlier, I said you have to determine what success looks like. For each of us, that’s different. Success isn’t always name recognition or being famous. Success can be small so long as you accomplished what you set out to do with the help of God and those He placed around you. Plan carefully with them and watch God bring success to your life.

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10 Scriptures On Success

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1. Save us, Lord, save us! Give us success, O Lord! (Psalms 118:25 GNB)

2. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, (Proverbs 2:6-7 NIV)

3. Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11 AMP)

4. Get all the advice you can, and you will succeed; without it you will fail. (Proverbs 15:22 GNB)

5. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful! (Psalms 90:17 NLT)

6. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. (Proverbs 3:3-4 ESV)

7. Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out. (Proverbs 16:3 GNB)

8. These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. (Proverbs 1:1, 3-4 NLT)

9. If you obey all the laws which the Lord gave to Moses for Israel, you will be successful. Be determined and confident, and don’t let anything make you afraid. (1 Chronicles 22:13 GNT)

10. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (Joshua 1:8 NLT)

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The Recipe for Success

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I was raised on the tradition of eating cabbage and black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. My Facebook feed is filled every year with photos from all of my friends who also partake in this tradition. The black eyed peas are meant to bring you good luck and prosperity while the cabbage is supposed to bring you wealth. Everyone is looking for something to bring them a better year than the year before and more success. I can personally tell you it doesn’t come from following this tradition.

One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible actually talks about how to be prosperous and successful. The recipe is simple, but hard for us to follow for some reason. It’s found in Joshua 1:8. It says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do (NLT).” This was God speaking to Joshua as he was about to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. He was telling him all he needed to do to be prosperous and successful.

The first thing God said in this recipe was to study scripture continually. If you ever went to school, you know that studying is hard work. I remember reading the chapters over and over, looking over notes and writing things down on flash cards to help me remember things. If I wanted to be successful on the test, I had to put in the work ahead of time. If you want to be successful in life, you are going to have to put in some work on the front end. It will not just happen. It takes time and discipline. It also means you have to have an understanding of the material God provided to help you live.

The next part of this recipe is to meditate on scripture day and night. God doesn’t want us to check off a box each day by reading a chapter or two. He wants us to read it and then to think about it both day and night. He wants us to think through how we can apply His word to our lives and how we can out it into action. He wants us to know what He said so that when the time comes, we’ll obey what He says instead of what the world says. He doesn’t want us fooled by trick questions, so He encourages us to know the material inside and out.

Obedience is probably the hardest part of this recipe. It’s the secret ingredient to prosperity and success though. When you look at everything God requires of us, it all boils down to obedience. We have to choose our will or His. If we substitute our will into the recipe, it won’t come out right. Only through obedience does the recipe work. If we can learn how to be obedient to His will we will find success in all we do. The only way to be obedient is to follow the first two steps. We have to know what God says first and then understand it. Success comes from reading God’s word, meditating on it and obeying it not from eating cabbage or black eyed peas. I pray you find much success and prosperity this year.

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Wonderful Counselor

This week, I’ll be breaking down Isaiah 9:6 piece by piece. It says, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NLT)”. Today, we’ll look at Wonderful Counselor.

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I’ve tried to think back to all the times when I needed a counselor in my life. I had to have one in school when it came time to help me pick out classes to make sure I graduated. I had to have one when I got married to make sure that the proper foundation was laid for a lifelong marriage. I’ve used one in business to help me make decisions that would ensure the company was profitable. I’ve used them when someone close died to help work through the grieving process. I’ve used counselors any time I’ve had a huge decision to make and wasn’t sure what the right decision was.

I believe in Proverbs 15:22. It says, “Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed. (MSG)” In order to be successful, we need good counselors around us. We need people with different perspectives who can help us see the things that our own limited vision can’t see. The problem is that too many people see using counselors, for any reason, as a sign of weakness. They make life altering decisions without the help, guidance or input from others and this scripture tells us that that is a recipe for failure. God has no desire to see you fail. He wants you to succeed.

In order to help you succeed, He has set Himself up to be a counselor for us. He wants to be that person in our life that we go to for advice, to help us make the difficult decisions and to point us in the right direction. He wants each of us to have such a close relationship with Him that we can go to Him with anything. Who could be better at giving you advice on anything you’re facing than God Himself? He knows what your future holds and He wants you to succeed. Just like with the counselors I’ve used in the past, it only works if you listen.

God can speak to you directly if you let Him. He can speak through others to you. He can even speak to you through His Word, the Bible. There are many ways He can be your counselor, but it’s up to you to give Him the opportunity. It’s up to you to listen and then to follow that advice. Life is hard and full of difficult choices. God knows that and never intended for you to have to make them on your own. He has been and always will be available to you as the one you can turn to for guidance.

Whatever you’re facing today is no surprise to God. He knew you would be standing at this crossroad and knows what path you should take. Seek His guidance, ask for His advice and listen. When you follow His counsel, you are guaranteed success in the long run. You may have a few bumps in the road He takes you down, but they are intended for your good. You may not see immediate success, but it’s coming. Trust in what He tells you. Follow the path He points to and listen to His voice. It’s not a sign of weakness to seek the advice of the Wonderful Counselor, it’s wise.

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