Five Steps To Finishing Strong

Five Steps To Finishing Strong

Maybe like me, you’re old enough to remember the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. I’ll never forget watching a British runner named Derek Redmond run the 400 meters. Redmond had a history of injuries that kept him from being the best in the world. 

In 1992 everything seemed to be coming together for Redmond at last. Derek was running well. In the first round of qualifying, he recorded the fastest time. He won his quarterfinal heat. 

As he settled into the starting blocks for the start of his semifinal race, Derek Redmond’s thoughts turned to his father, Jim. His dad had always supported Derek. 

In this race, Derek got off to a clean start. He was running smoothly. Suddenly, about 150 meters into the race, his right hamstring muscle tore. In pain, he fell to the ground.

The stretcher-bearers are running towards him. Derek wanted to finish the race. He somehow managed to get up and began moving awkwardly forward despite the pain he felt.

His father, Jim, ran out of the grandstands.  He joined his son on the track. Dad joined with son, hand in hand, arm in arm, and with Derek sobbing from disappointment and pain, they continued.

As they neared the finish, the father let his son go, and Derek Redmond completed the course on his own. The crowd of 65,000 roared their approval and gave him a standing ovation.

Our Heavenly Father is there for us as Believers. He will pick us up and move with us hand in hand, arm in arm, and even pick us up and carry us to the finish line. All we have to do is rely on Christ, and we can finish strong. 

This article has five steps to finishing the race known as life strong.

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24 ESV

Five Steps to Finishing Strong

Step #1 – Remove All Distractions

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” – Hebrews 12:1b ESV

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Step #2 – Remember the Reason

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1 ESV

“as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV

Step #3 – Renew Myself Daily

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” – Psalm 94:19 ESV

Step #4 – Resist Discouragement

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 ESV

Two Basic Principles of Life

1. You Will Get Discouraged
2. You Will Get Over It

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

Step #5 – Rely on Christ

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 ESV

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalms 34:4 ESV

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” – Psalms 34:7 ESV

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6 ESV

Remember, Our Heavenly Father is there for us as Believers. He will pick us up and move with us hand in hand, arm in arm, and even pick us up and carry us to the finish line. All we have to do is rely on Christ, and we can finish strong. 


Image Source: Image by LillyCantabile from Pixabay

Need to Recharge Your Personal Strength and Power?

The Strength We Need

Coronavirus/Corvid-19 news fills all media. Gloom and doom permeate everywhere. The shelter at home orders is spreading the globe. Current circumstances make us weary and sap our energy. So many today are tired and worn out. What’s a person to do?

Today I want to look at the secret of our power of strength as a Christian. We’ll be looking in the Holy Bible at the book of Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen through twenty-one. The passage is a prayer for strength by the Apostle Paul.

I got the idea for this article from a Sunday morning sermon on March 8, 2020, by my pastor, Dr. Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. A part of the article is adapted from my sermon notes, a part is original

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) – A Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The Work of the Holy Spit Through Us

We will look at the work of the Holy Spirit through us. We will see how we have all of God, that is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit working in and through us if we are Believers.

Because of what Christ has done for us, we as Believers of Jesus Christ, are all wealthy (riches of His glory) and worthy.

I’d Rather Have Jesus

I think of a comforting old hymn written in 1922 by Rhea F. Miller with the music composed by George Beverly Shea, titled “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; 
I’d rather be His than have riches untold; 
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands. 
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand 

Chorus:

Than to be the king of a vast domain 
Or be held in sin’s dread sway. 
I’d rather have Jesus than anything 
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause; 
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame. 
I’d rather be true to His holy name [Chorus]

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom; 
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb; 
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs. 
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead [Chorus]

Songwriters: Rhea F. Miller. Since the song was written in 1922, it is published by Public Domain.

Christians Are A Child of God

If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, you are a child of God. As His child, you have His power and His strength. 

Here are some verses about the strength of God and His power.

 Joshua 1:9 (ESV) – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 33:25 (ESV) – “Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.”

Deuteronomy 33:27 (ESV) – “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’”

2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV) – “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”

Psalm 46:1 (ESV) – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Isaiah 30:15 (ESV) – “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ But you were unwilling,”

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) – “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Habakkuk 3:19 (ESV) – “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.”

Mark 12:30 (ESV) – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV) – “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

1 – We Are Strengthen by the Power of the Holy Spirit

A. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Convict a Person, Convince a Person, and Bring a Person to Conversion.

B. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Witness

Acts 1:8 (ESV) – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

My pastor, Dr. Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, shared the following statistics on March 9, 2020. He said that 83,000 people a day are accepting Christ as Savior. He added that there are more born again Christians in China than in any other country. Sadly, he pointed out that only 6,000 people a day in the United States of America and Western Europe came to faith in Jesus Christ each day.

C. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Help Us Live in Joyful Hope.

Acts 1:8a (ESV) – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.”

D. The Holy Spirit Give Us the Power to Overcome Our Fears and Anxieties

We need to access and use what God has already given us.

To maintain our strength, we need to access and use what God has already given us. We don’t need something new.

To recharge our strength and power daily, we need to 

    1. Pray
    2. Posture (by that, I mean yielding and surrounding to the Lord every day).

Remember, kneeling is an act of humility before the Lord.

Never forget, God’s Spirit lives in you if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ.

Don’t lose heart. Why? You have God in you!

2 – We Are Strengthened In the Inner Being

2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV) says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

You are made in the image of God and remade in the image of Christ.

Ephesians 3: 18 -19 (ESV) says, “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

He strengthens our love.

John 3:16 (ESV) says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

WORLD is symbolic of the width of God’s love.

GAVE HIS SON is a manifestation of the depth of God’s love.

NOT PERISH shows the length of God’s love.

Fall in love? No, you grow in love. The perfect love of God cast out fear.

Ephesians 3:17 (ESV) says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”

This is allowing Christ to be at home in your heart.

3 – He Strengthens Us To Be Filled With His Fulness 

Ephesians 3:19 (ESV) says, “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

We need to realize that it’s all for Jesus.

    1. You need to realize and receive that the Holy Spirit is in you since you acted Jesus as Savior and received salvation.
    2. You need to empty life of self and sin.
    3. You need all the Holy Spirit to control your life.
    4. You need to walk with Christ daily.

How I Became a Christian or How I Was Saved.

Did you know being good doesn’t get you to heaven? Being “saved” does. Here’s my story of “being saved”.

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a noteworthy day for me. That day was the watershed event in my life.

July 1977 found me on active duty as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. I was serving as Battalion Maintenance Officer, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Life was good. I had a beautiful, intelligent wife. I had a new son born in January that same year. I had just gotten a commendable rating during an annual general inspection in maintenance. It was the first commendable rating since the division had returned from Vietnam. Named an Outstanding Junior Officer of the Ninth Infantry Division because of the commendable rating, I received an offer of a regular army commission. My career was going great.

I always tried being the best I could be and doing what was right. I was a detail-oriented perfectionist, high-achieving, and a workaholic. I excelled at most things I did. However, after all of this, I still had an empty, unsatisfied, void, and alone feeling. Beginning in my college years I tried drinking adult beverages, women, materialism, partying, and hanging out with the right crowd to fill this unexplained need I had. I knew something was missing from my life.

I was also attending church. At my church, I noticed a group of men my age that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them. Here I found that God has given us an important manual for life — the Bible. He has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face in that book. 

I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I realized I had a sin problem.

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 But no one is perfect! Not even a perfectionist. We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by simply living a good life. Why?

I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

I learned God gives us a promise.

The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

I learned that God made provision for me.

The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10

I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this gift of eternal life. Amen.”

What came next?

Since then, my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I have messed up from time to time – too many times – sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 43 years.

How about you?

Have you ever been “saved”? 

You can do like I did. Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Why Not Accept Christ Now?

 If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can pray this prayer – Dear Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I am a sinner, and I am very sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood for my sins. I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I invite you to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. Amen.


Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

One Great Way to Prepare For The New Year

One Great Way to Prepare For The New Year

Two Things Are Critical

As you embark on the journey in the year 2020, two things you do are critical.

  1. The CHOICES you make.
  2. The ACTIONS you take.

One – Choices You Need To Make Everyday

1. Choose to get excited about each new day.

Psalm 118:24 English Standard Version (ESV), “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

      • Each day is a gift from God.
      • Make a daily choice to rejoice.
      • Get yourself fired up for having another day of life and be glad.

2. Choose to be thankful.

Colossians 3:15 (ESV), “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

      • Allow God’s peace both into your heart and to rule your heart.
      • It’s hard, if not impossible, to be thankful and miserable at the same time. Choose to be thankful.
      • Thank God daily for your daily bread.

3. Choose to be positive.

Philippians 4:13 (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

      • Don’t say, “Good Lord, it’s morning” but say “Good morning, Lord.”
      • Make sure you get up on the right side of the bed.
      • As the late Zig Ziglar used to say, “Get rid of your ‘stinking thinking.’”

4. Choose victory over defeat.

1 John 5:4 (ESV), “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

      • Remember the words of the old hymn, “Faith is the victory.”
      • Never forget it is the Lord who goes with you to battle the daily enemies and challenges. (see – Deuteronomy 20:4)
      • God gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. (see – 1 Corinthians 15:57)

5. Choose to live above the level of mediocrity.

Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

      • We are to work heartily.
      • Our work honors God.
      • Remember, in any endeavor of labor, our work honor’s God.

6. Choose to put the other person first.

 Philippians 2:3 (ESV), “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

      • The late Christian motivational speaker, writer, and Bible teacher Zig Ziglar (a Baptist deacon and member of my church) said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

7. Choose to have hope.

Job 13:15a (ESV), “ Though he slay me, I will hope in him (God);”

8. Choose to keep on keeping on.

      • I had an Associate Pastor named John West that frequently admonished all to “keep on keeping on.” He would say, “Keep trying; keep doing what you are doing. Keep doing your best; never give up and keep on keeping on.”
      • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967, “You don’t get to the Promised Land without going through the Wilderness. You don’t get there without crossing over hills and mountains, but if you keep on keeping on, you can’t help but reach it.”

Two – Choose to take ACTION by accepting Christ as Savior.

The only way we can really have a winning 2020 is to know Christ as Savior. Do you know Him as your personal Savior and Lord? Here is how to be sure.

Man’s Problem: Romans 3:23 (ESV), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Man’s Penalty: Romans 6:23 (ESV), “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s Provision: John 3:16 (ESV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s Promise: Romans 10:9 (ESV), “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

To accept Christ as Savior – A Prayer of Salvation: “Lord Jesus, I confess to you I am a sinner. I believe that you died for my sins and that God raised you from the dead. I ask you to forgive me for my sin right now. Thank you for saving me and for giving me eternal life. In your name, I pray. Amen.”

I originally wrote this last section in 1988 as an article titled “Our Need and God’s Provision” using the KJV as the Bible reference. It was published in “Motivators for Sunday School Leaders” by the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway Christian Resources).


Photo Source: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One Way to Discipline Yourself for Success In Writing

Success and Personal Discipline

Sometimes becoming successful happens by being lucky. Examples of “lucky” success include winning the lottery, finding a painting or first edition of a book at a garage sale or estate sale that ends up worth millions, or having distant relatives leave you a fortune in their will.

You might even write and publish a book full of typos and grammatical errors that somehow captures the public’s fancy and sells many copies. While I haven’t read it myself, I hear the E. L. James “Fifty Shades of Grey” falls into this category.

Well, you get the picture. These things could happen but the likelihood of them happening to you while not impossible is slim to none.

Success generally requires consistent hard work. This article will look at the necessity of personal disciple to be successful viewing six “musts” for God’s Word. Then I will give six additional points from the Bible that will provide a plan for self-control.

The Necessity of Personal Disciple: To be Successful…

1. I must master my moods.

Proverbs 25:28 English Standard Version (ESV),  “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

A writer needs to put their bottom in the chair and write on a regular basis. You need to go to work even when you don’t feel like it.

2. I must watch my words.

Proverbs 13:3 (ESV), “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”

Are you a nitpicker or a good finder? As a writer, you receive a book review that you disagree with. Don’t get into a disagreement with the review (in person or online).

3. I must restrain my actions.

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV), “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”

2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV), “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Do you react with passion or respond with grace? The former can hurt or even destroy your writing ministry. The later both honors God and allows your witness to be untarnished.

4. I must stick to my schedule.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV), “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”

If you don’t schedule your time someone else will. I am not suggesting  a detailed minute by minute schedule but a general one. For example, I do my quiet time early in the morning, followed by three to four hours of writing, and then end my morning with a walk. My afternoon is for reading, the business of writing activities (as opposed to writing the first draft), and answering emails.

5. I must manage my money.

Proverbs 21:20 The Living Bible (TLB), “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.”

The obvious takeaway is to avoid impulse spending/buying. You should also save part of your income from your writing. Your book may not earn out its advance or your next advance may not be as much as your last one (if you get any advance).

We’ve looked at five reasons why self-discipline is needed to be successful. Now let’s look at six-steps that will help you develop the necessary self-control.

Six Steps for Developing Self-control.

1. Admit your lack of discipline.

Romans 7:15-18 (ESV), “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Sometime you fail to execute your plans. Ask God to help you follow through.”

2. Believe that God will help you.

Philippians 2:23 (ESV), “I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me,”

Faith is important in self-control.

3. Claim a promise.

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV), “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV), “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

When I was in seminary, I recall a wise older professor saying, “Since God called you to ministry, He’ll provide you with a place of ministry.” 

The same is true with a writing ministry. God will provide the right market place.

4. Decide in advance.

Proverbs 13:16 (ESV), “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.

Ephesians 6:13 (ESV), “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Pay the price in training, regular writing, and submitting your work. When the rejection slips or emails come, don’t let them defeat you.

5. Enlist some support.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 (ESV), “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! … And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Make yourself accountable. An accountability partner, agent, or writer’s group can help.

6. Focus on the reward.

Philippians 3:14 (ESV), “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Your rewards are financial, physical, and spiritual.”

Don’t argue with your feelings, they will win every time.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Success and Motivation: A Biblical Alternative

Success and Motivation

Success and motivation have been interests of mine since my university days. Like two edges of the same sword, I’ve wondered and studied for decades what motivates people to succeed and how to motivate people to become all that the Creator intended them to become. 

My interests in this are even lead me to spend more than a year of my life researching and writing on the subject. The result of this adventure culminated over thirty-two years ago in my doctoral dissertation, “The Relationship of Two Theories of Motivation to Church Leader Motivation: An Examination of the Motivational Theories of Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor Within a Conservative Christian Perspective.”

I thought it would be fun to redress the world’s meaning of success and look at a Biblical definition of success based on the life of the Apostle Paul with application to the Christian writer.

What Success Is and Isn’t

Joshua 1:8 English Standard Version (ESV), “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

False Measures of Success

    • Looks – It’s not how I look.
    • Worth – It’s not how much money I have or how many books I’ve sold.
    • Connections – It’s not who I know but whose I am (here I mean being a Christian, that is a Believer in Jesus Christ).

How Success Is Determined

    • Success is determined by what I am.

Galatians 6:4 ESV, “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.”

Real Success Defined

    • Real success is knowing God and living your life for Him.

A Biblical Definition of Success (from the life of the Apostle Paul)

S – Sense of Direction

Romans 15:20 (ESV), “and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation,”

Philippians 3:14 (ESV), “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

As a writer do you have a direction? Are you writing in a specific genre or all over the place? Do you start many works and finish none or few? It’s impossible to get to a destination if you don’t know where you’re going. Make sure you have a clear sense of direction.

U – Understanding

Philippians 4:12 (ESV), “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (ESV), “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

Do you seek God’s guidance in your writing? Have you paid the price to learn your craft? Make sure you know the basics of the craft, understand who your target audience is, and follow the rules in your submissions, etc.

C – Commitment

Acts 20:24 (ESV), “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Do you finish what you start? Are you honoring God in your life and your writing?

C – Compassion

1 Corinthians 13:2 – 3 (ESV), “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Colossians 3:12 (ESV), “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,”

Do you really care about your audience when you write? Is your motivation correct? Do you pray the price in knowing your craft, having quality editing, etc. ?

E – Enthusiastic Faith

Romans 8:31 (ESV), “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Are you excited about and love what you’re writing or are you trying to write to market for a check?

S – Servant to Others

2 Corinthians 8:19 (ESV), “And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will.”

2 Corinthians 12:15 (ESV), “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?”

As Christian writers we serve God and we serve our readers. Do you have a servant’s heart?

S -Staying Power

2 Corinthians 4:8 – 9 (ESV), “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”

Do you finish what you start? Do you sit down on a regular basis and write? Do you submit your work?

Paul’s Secret to Success

Paul’s secret to success is summarized in 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18 (ESV), “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”


Photo Source: Image by Анастасия Гепп from Pixabay

How to Have a “Yes” Attitude

How to Have a “Yes” Attitude

The idea for this article comes from my notes from my Bible fellowship class from way back on December 1, 2001. John West, then Associate Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, was the teacher. John is retired. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina. He is also the former athletic director at both Furman University and the University of South Carolina. To John goes the credit for the idea for the article.

A “Yes” attitude is one of the most valuable assets a person can have in life. Your positive attitude will enable you to accomplish so much more with your life. Not only does the future look bright, when the attitude is right, but the present is much more enjoyable, too.

Having a “YES” attitude will make the difference.

It’s your attitude, not your aptitude that will determine your altitude.

When your attitude outdistances your abilities you find the impossible being achieved.

Basic Principles Regarding Your Attitude

  • Your attitude is your most import asset.
  • If you have a bad attitude, no one will want to follow you.
  • We are responsible for our own attitude.

Help people believe they are better than they are and they will be better. Here we are talking about helping them achieve their God-given potential.

How to Have a “YES” Attitude

1. Raise Your “Want To” Level.

Philippians 4:13 English Standard Version (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Here you remember how bad you want to achieve your goals in Christ. Then do the preparation and work to achieve them.

2. Put Some Gratitude in Your Attitude

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV), “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

3. Think On The Good Things

Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV), “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

      • You are what you think.
      • To quote the late Zig Ziglar, “Get rid of your “stinking thinking!”

4. Do The Right Thing

Philippians 2:2-4 (ESV), “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”

5. Be The Real Thing

Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV), “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Genesis 1:27 (ESV), “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

      • God created you with special gifts and talents.
      • Be more Christlike!

Photo Source: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay