Early. . .very early one Sunday morning. . .I was pondering a question that demands an answer.
Do we want to succeed enough to plan our actions and then act on the plan?
It’s one thing to think about what we want to do. . .and that’s good. . .just not good enough.
It’s another thing to talk/speak/confess what we want to do. . .that’s good. . .just not good enough.
It’s something else to plan what we’re thinking about. . .and that’s good. . .just not quite good enough.
However, what we’re thinking, speaking and planning will never become a reality until we actually act on what we’ve been thinking, speaking and planning.
Here are seven reasons success can be yours now.
Action # 1 Think about something. . .good.
Proverbs 23:7 says:
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. . .”
Have you ever had someone. . .perhaps your spouse or best friend. . .ask you what you were thinking about. . .only to say, “Nothing.”
Understand this very important point . . . victory and defeat both begin with a thought.
Our thought process determines where we are and where we will go in life.
If nothing means ‘nothing important or worth thinking about’ … so the question remains: “Why think it?”
Have you ever noticed that when you’re praying … you all of a sudden find yourself thinking about something else? Welcome to the human race! Our flesh is very practiced at taking us off course and if our flesh fails, the enemy of our soul doesn’t mind stepping in either.
We all have to learn how to rein in our thoughts to keep focused on where we want to go. It’s called discipline. Our best thoughts are going to take us somewhere spiritually positive.
Philippians 4:8 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”
If we want to be successful. . .we must fix our minds on the pure, the powerful and the positive from the Word of God.
Again, we get to choose what we want to think about. This is particularly important. . .if we’ve experienced delays or face seemingly overwhelming odds from the enemy.
What kind of report did Joshua and Caleb give to Moses about the Promised Land compared to the other spies?
Numbers 13:30 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once and possess it; we are well able to conquer it.”
Joshua and Caleb, who knew their God and believed Him had a much different perspective than the others who died in the desert … that is … all those who were poor thinkers.
Of the entire generation, only Joshua and Caleb and their families realized their dream of living in the Promised Land.
That teaches us one very important lesson. God will not abandon those who truly trust Him.
Joshua 21:45 in the New International Version says:
“Not one of all the LORD's good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”
In other words, it was at least 40 years before the children of Israel’s first generation entered the land flowing with milk and honey.
Caleb would not only enter the land, he would still be strengthened by faith in God even in his old age. But here’s the question. . .what do you think Caleb thought about every day of his life?
Joshua 14:11 says:
"Here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war.”
Caleb thought about the day when he would be able to say “Give me my mountain.”
We need to always concentrate on where we’re going and not despair if we hit roadblocks along the way.
Action # 2 Pray early, often and successfully.
Prayer may not take you to your goals in life. . .BUT the God to whom you are praying will take you to the high places and ultimate success in life. . .now and in the time to come.
The greatest success thinker to ever live on earth. . .Jesus… focused on prayer.
Should we do any less?
Fortunately, we can pray at anytime. . .however, the scripture offers some specific times when Jesus would pray.
Mark 1:35 says:
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
When did Jesus pray. . .in the morning. . .rising even before it’s day.
Now you may be the kind of person who likes to get up at the crack of noon . .however, whenever you wake up. . .get up. . .make sure you have time to pray.
Luke 5:16 says:
“And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
God wants us to separate ourselves from distractions when we pray.
Do you feel like the enemy continually bombards you during your prayer time? Even if you don’t feel the Lord … His promise to never leave or forsake you is real.
God has your back just like He had Peter’s in Luke 22:31-32 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,
But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren.”
How should you pray?
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says:
“Pray without ceasing.”
Prayer strengthens your spiritual muscles. . .and it provides you with a failsafe system to success.
Prayer strengthens you on your journey through everyday life.
Isaiah 40:31in the Amplified Bible says:
“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”
Prayer points us to success and, yes, even financial rewards.
Job 42:10 in the Amplified Bible says:
“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
Action # 3 Plan your goals.
Isaiah 25:1 in the New International Version says:
“[Praise to the LORD] O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”
God is a planner. The Bible is a book filled with God’s plans for you and me.
Proverbs 16:3 in the Amplified Bible says:
“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.”
If you don’t like where you are in life right now. . .chances are. . .there’s something you don’t know yet. So what’s your plan to move from where you are to where you want to be?
Proverbs 19:21 says:
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail.”
Here’s what I suggest…..
First, seek the Lord. . .his wisdom, understanding and favor.
Psalm 20:4 in the New Living Translation says:
“May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.”
Second, seek out those who can best help you plan the move out of your personal wilderness into the Promised Land. The Lord will drop names into your thought processes as you seek His direction.
Proverbs 15:22 says:
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.”
I feel led to ask seven questions that can change our lives.
- Do you have a God-given plan for your life? If yes, what is your plan? If no, seek God in prayer for He is anxious to reveal His plan for you.
- Have you shared this plan with your spouse, or if you are single, with your prayer partner or pastor or spiritual mentor?
- What would you like to accomplish in the next twelve months in these six major areas of your life? (Spiritual, Family, Financial, Mental, Physical and Social)
- Do you have a written plan with a specific timetable on how you can fulfill your plans in the six major areas of your life?
- What would you like to accomplish in the next five years in each of the six major areas of your life?
- What additional skills, abilities, and information will you need to achieve these plans?
- Do you have a list of the places you could go, the people you could see, and the sources you could use to help gain the new information, skills, and abilities you need to complete your plans?
Jeremiah 29:11 in the New International Version says:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Action # 4 Be Faithful To Your Creator.
Many people want success to be convenient and instantaneous. If possible, they’d like to download an app on their smartphone or be able to order it on the internet with free overnight shipping. It doesn’t work that way.
Success comes to the faithful. And we must be faithful. . .because He is faithful and He expects us to be faithful as well.
1 Corinthians 1:9 in the New Living Translation says:
“God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
If He’s faithful to do what He says. . .then our goal should be to do what we say.
Being faithful is a choice.
Psalm 119:30 in the New Living Translation say:
“I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.”
God wants us to make the right choice.
We are deemed faithful when we do what He desires.
God had put up with a line of Levites who were not faithful but in 1 Samuel 2:35 in the New Living Translation it says:
“Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I desire. I will establish his family, and they will be priests to my anointed kings forever.
2 Kings 20:3 in the New Living Translation says:
“Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.”
There are powerful thoughts of Hezekiah. This story appears again in Isaiah 38.
We are recognized as faithful when we do what we have promised.
I’m not saying that faithfulness to your word will always be easy. . .it will not be.
Nehemiah 9:8 in the New Living Translation says:
“When he had proved himself faithful, you made a covenant with him to give him and his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. And you have done what you promised, for you are always true to your word.”
2 Chronicles 31:20-21 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Hezekiah did this throughout all Judah, and he did what was good, right, and faithful before the Lord his God. And every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in keeping with the law and the commandments to seek his God [inquiring of and yearning for Him], he did with all his heart, and he prospered.”
2 John 1:8 in the Message Bible says:
“And be very careful around them so you don't lose out on what we've worked so diligently in together; I want you to get every reward you have coming to you. Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son.”
Faithfulness is a habit that leads to success.
Action # 5 Continually research, refine and re-direct your efforts.
This action is important so we don’t repeat mistakes. . .or live with them. . .because we feel we have no other options.
I believe there is always another way. . .if not in the natural. . .God will create one.
Before beginning something new. . .I’m a big believer in testing to ensure the activity will work as I want it to. I want to avoid traps of the enemy or self-induced mistakes.
Our goal in life should be to learn from our mistakes . . .we may not like admitting it . . .but we all make them.
When God gave Jericho to Joshua. . .it’s important to note that Joshua didn’t just rush in to claim what God said was his. General Joshua sent spies in the land to check things out first.
Rahab, the prostitute, was able to give the spies accurate intelligence . . . and she protected the spies from the King’s men. Part of preparing for victory is to know who to talk to and what to make of their conversation.
Joshua 6:25 in the New International Version says:
“But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho--and she lives among the Israelites to this day.”
Hebrews 11:31 in the New International Version says:
“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.”
The spies knew about Rahab because they sought her out. Because of what they learned they were able to refine their plans and re-direct their efforts toward success.
Here are life-changing turnaround facts we recognize about Rahab.
1. Rahab recognized the true God and took him for her own.
2. She was a woman of courage even in the face of fear when she faced the king’s men.
3. Rahab was loyal to Israel.
4. She was faithful to her word.
5. Rahab risked her own life. . .for the lives of her family.
6. Her faithfulness led her to become mother to Boaz and great-grandmother to King David and therefore in the direct lineage of Jesus.
7. Rahab earned mention in the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11:31).
Even if someone has messed up in life. . .widely recognized as a sinner . . .
God will allow everyone a life-changing moment to change their direction . . . that includes you if you need it.
Action # 6 Count The Costs.
It’s impossible to have an effective plan for your future without knowing the immediate and progressive costs.
As you plan for your future you may establish certain plans. However, your reality can change faster than the weather so it’s important to develop contingency plans for every possible scenario you can think of. . .no matter how unlikely they may be.
This is just part of counting the cost.
Luke 14:28-30 in the New Living Translation:
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’”
You can have a good idea. . .no, a great idea. . .a God idea…but you may need direction to complete the assignment. .
In counting the cost. . .you need to carefully examine the big picture. . .sit down with your brain trust. . .your inner circle of advisors and determine what they think. Different people have different perspectives to bring to the project.
You may not have any previous experience in this type activity or business . . . but there are those who have and who would have a willingness to lend you a helping hand.
Ask God to bring you a divine appointment and let you recognize it as that. Remember, He wants you to finish the race successfully.
Philippians 1:6 in the New Living Translation says:
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Action # 7 Never Take “No” For An Answer.
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 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 that I’ll ever give up.
Sometimes it seems the easiest thing to do is quit. But I can tell you you’ll never find real peace if you throw in the towel on something you know that 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.
Remember the words of Proverbs 12:21 in the Classic Amplified Bible:
“No [actual] evil, misfortune, or calamity shall come upon the righteous,… ”
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