Achievement & Success In God's Way

Achievements & Successes By God's Plan

Preamble

This study is part two of the mini-series on Achievement and Success.  The title of this study points to the intended destination—God wants you to achieve and succeed.  The emphasis has added clarity by stating Achievements and Successes By God's Plan—in other words, achievements and successes in what God wants for you and not what you want for yourself (Psalm 32:8, NLT & GNT  | Numbers 33:2, NLT & TLB).  What you don't know is how we will get to the destination—the conclusion that God wants you to achieve and succeed!  To unveil how we will get to the destination, here is a general overview of this study that outlines the pathway to the destination.  The landmarks along the cognitive way examine the contributions of:

  • Faith,
  • Vision,
  • Inner-peace,
  • Memory recall,
  • Humility, and
  • Love.

The F-VIM-HL list, although incomplete—meaning not exhaustive, comprise some of the core components of achievements and successes in God's plan.  Your job is twofold.  First, evaluate the core components for adequacy; second, determine whether the core components presented a clear and compelling case for Achievements and Successes By God's Plan.  The Background section offers a soft introduction to the study, which rests on this foundation—"The teaching of [God's] Word gives light, so even the simple can understand" (Psalm 119:130, NLT & NASB).

Background

People achieve and succeed without following God or His plan (Jeremiah 12:1; Jeremiah 5:28, Psalm 73:3; Psalm 10:3, Ezekiel 28:1-7, & Luke 4:6, NLT & TLB)!  For example, Esau did it his way (Genesis 25:27-34 & 36:1-7, TLB & NLT); but it does not appear sensible, "...trading away God's lifelong gift, (John 3:16; Revelation 21:3-4, TLB & GNT), in order to satisfy a short-term appetite..." (Hebrews 12:16-17, NLT & MSG).  When the temporal takes precedence above the eternal, the accumulation of wealth and power do not lead toward God but away from Him (Revelation 6:14-16, NLT & TLB | 1 Timothy 6:10, GNT & MSG | 1 Samuel 15:10-26, NLT & MSG).  Nevertheless, our Creator remains just and fair (Revelation 15:3, NKJV & TLB).  Hence, He does not withhold the basic blessings that all people need to get ahead.  For example, "...He makes His sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil" (Matthew 5:45, GNT).  Nevertheless, some "...people refuse to keep in mind the true knowledge about God..." (Romans 1:28, GNT).  Hence, when the blessings of God gives them abundance, which includes achievements and successes, they are less likely to give credit to their Creator; consequently, "...the prosperity of fools shall destroy them" (Proverbs 1:32, KJV).  Therefore, one must be careful about pursuing achievements and successes just for the sake of gain because "...what do you benefit if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul" (Mark 8:36, NLT & GNT)?  If one thinks about achievements and successes in terms of what brings God the greatest glory (1 Chronicles 16:29 & Ephesians 1:17, NKJV, MSG, & TLB), then one needs a specific set of tools to pursue what God wants (Isaiah 43:7, NLT & TLB | Isaiah 60:1-2, NRSV & TLB | Exodus 24:16-17, MSG & TLB).  The upcoming discussion presents the achievements and successes toolkit—the F-VIM-HL.

We Need Faith to Trust God for Achievements & Successes

"...Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the ruler of all mankind.  Your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength.  O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name" (1 Chronicles 29:11-13, TLB & MSG).  "My victory and honor come from God alone..." (Psalm 62:7; Jeremiah 16:19; & Psalm 46:1, NLT & TLB).  "For Jehovah God is our Light, [Exodus 13:21-22 & Psalm 119:105, GNT & TLB], and our Protector [Psalm 103:20; Psalm 91:11-12; Genesis 19:1-2 & 15; & Matthew 4:11, NLT & TLB].  He gives us grace and glory.  No good thing will He withhold from those who walk along His paths" (Psalm 84:11, TLB).   When the Lord has set you apart for Himself, (Psalm 4:3, NLT & TLB), when God is on your side (Romans 8:31, TLB), when He is with you (Psalm 23:4, TLB), and when you receive His wisdom, (Proverbs 1:23; 3:13-17, & 4:5-7, NLT & AMP), achievements and successes come to the obeying and believing recipient (Jeremiah 7:23, NLT & TLB).  Such people are willing to live by the rule—"God is my strong fortress..." (2 Samuel 22:33, TLB), and "The Lord is a strong fortress..." (Proverbs 18:10, TLB).  Thirteen, (13), examples support the idea about achievements and successes in God's plan—

"...Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.  I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.  Then I will do for Abraham ALL that I have promised" (Genesis 18:18-19, NLT | Genesis 17:1-4, 15-19, NLT).  Father Abraham tried his best to direct his sons in the way of the Lord, but their sinful tendencies got in the way, afffecting some sons more severely than others (Genesis 37:18-22, 25-29; 49:9-9, 1-7, GNT & TLB).  Sin is a real barrier to fulfillment of God's promise to bless His children with achievements and successes (2 Kings 17:16-19, GNT & TLB | Jeremiah 42:15-22, NLT & TLB).  But God will always have a people whom He can bless and fulfill His promises through them (Exodus 31:1-6; 1 Kings 12:20; Revelation 5:5, GNT & TLB).

"A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham's time.  So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived.  The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, 'Do NOT GO DOWN TO EGYPT, BUT DO AS I TELL YOU.  Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you, [as I was with Abraham (Genesis 20:1-18, TLB, GNT, & NASB)], and bless you.  I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your Father'"(Genesis 26:1-3, NLT).

"'...Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth!  They will spread out in all directions....  And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.  What's more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go.  One day I will bring you back to this land.  I will NOT leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.'  Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it'"(Genesis 28:13-16, NLT).

"Moses said to God, 'Look, you tell me, lead this people, but you don't let me know whom you're going to send with me.  You tell me, I know you well and you are special to me.  If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans—Moses wanted God to divulge His plans (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT & TLB).  That way, I will continue being special to you.  Don't forget, this is your people, your responsibility.'  God said, 'My presence will go with you.  I'll see the journey to the end'" (Exodus 33:13-14, MSG & TLB).  He who "...said, 'I will NEVER, NEVER fail you nor FORSAKE you'" (Hebrews 13:5, TLB & GNT), has also said, "You can NEVER please God without faith, without depending on Him..." (Hebrews 11:6, TLB & GNT).  Walk on, Moses, "You'll Never Walk Alone"!  Go as I lead the way (Exodus 13:21-22; Nehemiah 9:12, GNT & NLT)!  God leads His people by His Word and the Holy Spirit (Psalm 119:105; Numbers 11:29; Ezekiel 36:27; Isaiah 42:1; John 16:13 & 14:26; Isaiah 30:21; NLT & NASB)!  "If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely.  Don't ever trust yourself!  In everything you do, put God first, and He will DIRECT you and CROWN your efforts with success" (Proverbs 3:5-6, TLB & NLT).  "If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all His commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world.  ...The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do, and will fill your storehouses with grain.  The Lord your God will bless you in the land He is giving you" (Deuteronomy 28:1, 7-8, NLT & TLB).  "......I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands" (Exodus 20:6, NLT & GNT).  "...I keep my promise for thousands of generations..." (Exodus 34:5-7, GNT, TLB, & NLT).

"The Lord said to Moses, 'I have chosen Bezalel, ...from the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with my power—the Spirit of God.  I have given him understanding, skill, and ability, [USA], for every kind of artistic work....  I have also selected Oholiab... to be his assistant....  I have also given great ability to all the other skilled workers, so that they can make everything I have commanded to be made'" (Exodus 31:1-6; 35:30-31; & 36:1-2, GNT, TLB, & NLT).  "...The capacity—USA—we have comes from God!  ...Our qualification comes from God!  ...Our adequacy is from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5, GNT, NLT, NASB).

"Jacob's sons became jealous of their brother Joseph and sold him to be a slave in Egypt.  But God was with him and brought him safely through all his troubles.  When Joseph appeared before the king of Egypt, God gave him a pleasing manner and wisdom, and the king made Joseph governor over the country and the royal household" (Acts 7:9-10, TLB & GNT).  "Wait patiently for the Lord.  Be strong and let your heart take courage..." (Psalm 27:14, NLT, NASB, & RSV) amidst the injustices you suffer (Genesis 40:15, GNT).  God will "...exalt you in due time" (Genesis 37:17-36; 39:1-23; 40:1-23; 41:1-46; 1 Peter 5:6).  "God... is faithful to do what He says....  He will NOT allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm.  At the time you are put to the test, He will give you the strength to endure it..." (1 Corinthians 1:9 & 10:13, GNT & NLT).

"The Lord said to [Gideon, son of Joash], 'I will be with you.  And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man'" (Judges 6:16, NLT & GNT).  In this reassurance to Gideon, God is implementing the disproportionate warfare strategy outlined in Leviticus 26:8 & Joshua 23:10, GNT & TLB when His people have the odds of achievment and success stacked against them.  When it seems like victory is beyond your grasp, leave your faith and hope in Almighty God.  "...The Lord's arm is NOT too weak to save you..." (Numbers 11:23 & Isaiah 59:1, NLT & TLB).

Gideon spoke these words to the people of Ephraim, "'God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army.  What have I accomplished compared to that?'  When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon's answer, their anger subsided" (Judges 8:3, NLT & GNT).

"Uzziah issues to them shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and sling shots.  And he produced engines of war manufactured in Jerusalem, invented by brilliant men to shoot arrows and huge stones from the towers and battlements.  So he became very famous, for the Lord helped him wonderfully until he was very powerful" (2 Chronicles 26:14-15, TLB & NLT).

Israel's fighting men of war, "When you go out to fight against your enemies and you see chariots and horses and an army that outnumbers yours, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEM.  The Lord your God, who rescued you from Egypt, will be with you.  Before you start fighting, a priest is to come forward and say to the army, 'Men of Israel, listen!  Today you are going into battle.  Do not be afraid of your enemies or lose courage or panic.  The Lord your God is going with you, and He will give you the victory'" (Deuteronomy 20:1-4, GNT & MSG).

God's "...children, you come from God and belong to God and have ALREADY WON your fight with those who are against Christ, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world" (1 John 4:4, TLB, NLT, & MSG).  "...All glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault" (Jude 24).  "He will NEVER let you stumble, slip, or fall.  For He is always watching, never sleeping.  Jehovah Himself is caring for you!  He is your defender" (Psalm 121:3-5, TLB, NLT, & MSG).  "God has always been your defense!  His eternal arms are your support..." (Deuteronomy 33:27, GNT & NLT).  He "...searches for faithful people to be [His] companions..." (Psalm 101:6, NLT & TLB).  As long as you are faithful to God, "...in quietness and confidence is your strength..." (Isaiah 30:15, TLB, NLT, & MSG), because "the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him..." (2 Chronicles 16:9, GNT & NLT).  "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will NOT fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea" (Psalm 46:1-2, NKJV & GNT).  "In view of all this, what can we say?  If God is for us, who can be against us" (Romans 8:31, GNT & NKJV)?  There is NO power on earth to reduce what God has in store for you, both now and in the earth made new!

One verse of the song, which "David sang... to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul" (2 Samuel 22:1, NLT & NKJV), had these lyrics—"You gave me victory over my accusers.  You preserved me as the ruler over nations; people I don't even know now serve me" (2 Samuel 22:44, NLT & NKJV).

"...Bathsheba... gave birth to a son and named him Solomon, and the Lord loved the baby" (2 Samuel 12:24, TLB & GNT).  "Solomon succeeded his father David as king, and his royal power was firmly established" (1 Kings 2:12, TLB & GNT).  "...All the people were awed as they realized the great wisdom God had given [to Solomon]" (1 Kings 3:7-28, TLB & GNT).  This wisdom, which Solomon possessed was fulfillment of a divine decree—"The royal line of David is like a tree that has been cut down; but just as new branches sprout from a stump, so a new king will arise from among David's descendants.  The Spirit of the Lord will give him wisdom and the knowledge and skill to rule his people.  He will know the Lord's will and honor Him" (Isaiah 11:1-2, GNT).  In the context of Isaiah's prophetic revelation, we may conclude that Solomon's behaviors followed the endowment principle—"The Sovereign Lord has given me His words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary.  Morning by morning He wakens me and opens my understanding to His will" (Isaiah 50:4, NLT).  To carry out God's revealed will, Solomon's behaviors followed the empowerment principle—"For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey Him, and then helping you do what He wants" (Philippians 2:13, TLB, NLT, & GNT).

Paul, "...'My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.'  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT & GNT).

The achievements and successes of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, Gideon, David, Solomon, Paul, Uzziah, Israel's men of war, God's children, and Bezalel's team of craftsmen come from God.  God, the Creator, is the one who "...placed the sand as the boundary of the sea, a permanent boundary that it cannot cross..." (Jeremiah 5:22, GNT, TLB, & NLT).  Our Creator, "...God went ahead of [the Children of Israel] in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light...  The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night NEVER left the people" (Exodus 13:21-22, MSG & NLT).  Today, just as anciently, God is with you night and day (Hebrews 13:5, GNT)!  God intends that His omnipresence will be perpetually with His children; hence, "as [Jacob] slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven.  And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway" (Genesis 28:12, TLB & NLT).  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  NEVER rely on what you think you know.  Remember the Lord in everything you do, and He will show you the right way" (Proverbs 3:5-6, GNT, TLB, NLT)—the way of achievement and success that brings Him glory and honor.  "...O my soul, don't be discouraged.  Don't be upset.  Expect God to act!  For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise Him for all that He will do.  He is my help!  He is my God" (Psalm 42:11, TLB).  Just as Jacob, a.k.a., Israel, blessed his son, Judah, and their descendants, (Genesis 49:1-10 & Revelation 5:5, TLB), God has blessed you (Mark 10:28-31 & Luke 18:28-30, NLT & MSG).  How does God's help or blessing system works?

"Come and listen to my counsel.  I'll share my heart with you and make you wise" (Proverbs 1:23, NLT & GNT).  "I have taught you all the laws....  ...Obey them faithfully, and this will show the people of other nations how wise you are..." (Deuteronomy 4:5-6, GNT & TLB).  Do not get caught in the trap of knowing God but refusing to acknowledge, to reverence, and to obey Him (Romans 1:21; Jeremiah 6:19; 2 Kings 17:15; 1 Samuel 8:7; & 1 Samuel 10:19, NLT, MSG, TLB, & GNT).  "...None of us have control over our own life" (Jeremiah 10:23, GNT), but God—the Creator and the Redeemer, (Genesis 1:26; John 3:16; & 10:10, NLT, TLB, GNT)—invites us to share in His plan for us.  "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11, TLB, NLT).  In Isaiah 25:6-10, GNT, NLT, TLB, the prophet Isaiah summarized one of God's plans this way:

Here on Mount Zion the Lord Almighty will prepare a banquet for all the nations of the world—a banquet of the richest food and the finest wine.  Here He will suddenly remove the cloud of sorrow that has been hanging over all the nations.  The Sovereign Lord will destroy death forever!  He will wipe away the tears from everyone's eyes and take away the disgrace His people have suffered throughout the world.  The Lord Himself has spoken.  When it happens, everyone will say, 'He is our God!  We have put our trust in Him, and He has rescued us.  He is the Lord!  We have put our trust in Him, and now we are happy and joyful because He has saved us.

God has already printed the invitation to the heavenly banquet (John 14:2; Matthew 22:1-2; Revelation 19:7-9, & Revelation 21:2, GNT)!  "There will be great joy for those who are ready and waiting for His return.  He Himself will seat them and put on a waiter's uniform and serve them as they sit and eat" (Luke 12:37, TLB & NLT).  He wants you to achieve heavenly status to successfully sit at the dinner table in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2-4, TLB & NLT).  In view of these things, "...your faith should NOT stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:5, KJV, TLB, & NLT).

Some of the guests invited to the heavenly banquet that recognizes righteousness by faith are among the clueless, (1 Samuel 16:1, NLT, MSG, TLB, & GNT).  What I mean is, sometines ordinary people don't always recognize that they are destined for greatness (Genesis 12:3 & 28:14, MSG, TLB, & GNT).  At other times seemingly intelligent people may be unaware of this—"...Happy [or] blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9, GNT & TLB).  Hence, it comes as no surprise when some guests to the heavenly banquet do NOT accept the divine invitation with the dignity that it deserves (Matthew 22:5-6, 8-10, TLB).  If the guests, invited to the achievements dinner, lose sight of the joys ahead that awaits everyone who enters the heavenly banquet hall, (Nehemiah 8:10 & Hebrews 12:2, KJV & GNT), when anticipatory joy has departed, then the future experience appears dull and unattractive; hence, there is no motivation, no urgency, no desire to attend the planned function, (Matthew 22:3-6, TLB & NLT), which celebrates the guests most profound achievement—righteousness by faith.  What is the antidote for the senseless behavior that will cause some to miss out on the heavenly banquet?  "...Keep on loving others, [Galatians 5:22-23, TLB], as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.  Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent.  Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and endurance" (Hebrews 6:11-12, NLT & TLB).  It is imperative for all invited guests to the heavenly banquet to imitate Paul's example—"...Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, ...press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us" (Philippians 3:13-14, NLT, TLB, & GNT).  There is "...the crown of life..." (James 1:12 & Revelation 2:10, NLT & TLB), "...the crown of righteousness..." (2 Timothy 4:8, NLT & TLB), "...a crown of never-ending glory and honor" (1 Peter 5:4, NLT & TLB) "...reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4, KJV), who achieve and succeed in attainment of "...the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ..." (Romans 3:22).  There is NO substitute for righteousness by faith (Matthew 7:22-23 & Ephesians 2:8-9, GNT & TLB)!

God's generous offers to His people aim to enrich them, to make them achieve and succeed (Isaiah 60:22; Judges 6:11-16; 1 Chronicles 17:21; Matthew 23:37, GNT, TLB, NLT).  However, God's invitation to partner with His children and to enrich their lives has NOT always been accepted (1 Samuel 8:7 & 10:19; 2 Kings 17:15-20; Jeremiah 9:11-15; Hosea 4:6; Jeremiah 11:14; Mark 7:9; & Luke 7:30, GNT & NLT).  God's outreach to His people seeks "...to teach them to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair" (Proverbs 1:3; Micah 6:8, NLT, TLB, GNT).  Instead, some of God's people "...hated knowledge and chose NOT to fear the Lord [Hebrews 12:28].  They rejected [His] advice and paid no attention when [He] corrected them" (Proverbs 1:29-30, NLT, TLB, GNT); even with the assurance of prosperity if they repent and turn from their evil ways (Exodus 33:1-5; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Hosea 4:16, TLB, GNT, NLT).  "What sorrow awaits My rebellious children....  You make plans that are contrary to mine [because you do not "seek the Lord and His strength..." (1 Chronicles 16:11; 1 Chronicles 22:19, KJV, GNT, NLT)].  You make alliances NOT directed by My Spirit, thus piling up your sins.  For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help.  You have put your trust in Pharaoh's protection.  You have tried to hide in his shade [instead of being "...sheltered by the God who is above all gods" (Psalm 91:1, TLB, NLT)].  

"...Egypt becomes a place of... false refuge as the... Hebrews place their trust in a dying nation rather than in the living God" (Egypt, Retrieved May 23, 2017).

But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated....  Egypt's promises are worthless..." (Isaiah 30:1-7, NLT)!  "What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt, [a symbol of all false refuge and hope], for help... instead of looking to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 31:1, NLT).  "...They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31 & 41:1, KJV).  Let us take a closer look at God's strength training program!

"The People of Israel cried out to God and God raised up a savior who rescued them—Caleb's nephew, Othniel,....  The Spirit of God came on him and he rallied Israel.  He went out to war and God gave him the victory over Cushan-Rishathaim, King of Mesopotamia" (Judges 3:5-10, GNT & MSG).

God's Holy Spirit—the Spirit of the Lord—is your power, who makes you achieve and succeed in a way that brings glory and honor to God.

We Need Vision to Follow God's Way for Greatness

"Where there is no vision[—seeing someone or something in a dream or trance (Numbers 12:6, GNT, NLT)], the people perish..." (Proverbs 29:18, NLT, TLB, KJV, GNT).  Deuteronomy 1:20-33, TLB, NLT, GNT underscores this point.

Then we left Mount Horeb and traveled through the great and terrible desert [Deuteronomy 1:2, 6-8, 19, NLT, GNT, CJB], finally arriving among the Amorite hills to which the Lord our God had directed us.  We were then at Kadesh-barnea on the border of the Promised Land and I said to the people, 'The Lord God has given us this land.  Go and possess it as He told us to.  Don't be afraid!  Don't even doubt!'But they replied, 'First let's send out spies to discover the best route of entry, and to decide which cities we should capture first.'  [This suggestion, apparently veiled with rationality, was patently destructive!  When did the roving peole of Israel receive the commission to direct their own course?  Was not God directing their journey and encampments along the way from Egypt to Canaan?  Nevertheless, Moses reasoned], 'This seemed like a good idea [to conduct a feasibility study'], so [he] chose 12 spies, one from each tribe.  They crossed into the hills and came to the valley of Eschol, and returned with samples of the local fruit.  One look was enough to convince us that it was indeed a good land the Lord our God had given us.  But the people refused to go in and rebelled against the Lord's command.  [Israel is now in a self-imposed holding pattern!  They are too far away from Egypt to go back and they refuse to go forward].  They murmured and complained in their tents and said, 'The Lord must hate us, bringing us here from Egypt to be slaughtered by these Amorites.  What are we getting into?  Our brothers who spied out the land have frightened us with their report.  They say the people of the land are tall and powerful, and that the walls of their cities rise high into the sky!  They have seen even giants there—the descendants of the Anakim!'  [This speech is a classic example of how fear overwhelms faith in God's promises (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:20; & Hebrews 11:1, MSG & TLB), banishes vision, and immobilizes voluntary movement.  For these reasons, God tells His people, 'Fear not; Don't be afraid...' (Genesis 15:1; Deuteronomy 7:17-18; Deuteronomy 20:1; Isaiah 41:10, & Revelation 2:10, NLT & TLB), because '...God has NOT given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-disciipline' (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT & TLB)].  But I said to them, 'Don't be afraid!  The Lord God is your leader, and He will fight for you with His mighty miracles, just as you saw Him do in Egypt.  And you know how He has cared for you again and again here in the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child!'  But nothing I said did any good.  They refused to believe the Lord our God who had led them all the way, and had selected the best places for them to camp, and had guided them by a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud during the day.

Israel's release from Egyptian captivity was celebrated with the Passover service.  Passover—the blood of the sacrificial animal—became inextricably linked to liberation and the celebration of it in the Promise Land, (Exodus 12:25-27, GNT, CJB), would remind Israel of God's faithfullness to honor His promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:12-14, GNT, CJB).  Nevertheless, all of the victory memories God created for His people to advance them in the pathway of His plan were all dissolved in the solution of unbelief.  Unbelief is to vision what water is to a class A fire.  As water extinguishes a class A fire, unbelief wipes out vision (Exodus 16:3; Joshua 5:6, NLT, TLB).  When the vision departs, energies and activities of the frontal lobe such as problem-solving, planning, decision-making and movement become frozen.  We cannot permit God's vision, which has been imprinted on our minds, to depart from our consciousness—awareness, memory, and recall system—by being afraid and faithless!  When God makes revelation clear to us, "...write the vision, and make it plain... that he may run that [reads] it" (Habakkuk 2:2, NLT, TLB, KJV, GNT).

Perhaps we should discuss an example of how God works to ensure our achievements and successes.  An example holds promise to offer either greater clarity or opportunity for personal application.  God has pledged Himself to us as a constant protector and companion.  He said, "...I will never, never fail you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5; John 14:16, TLB, NLT).  If we keep this vision alive in our awareness, memory, and recall system; then, when life's challenges assail, we will sustain hope and drive when the odds of success look bleak, and the pressures seem overwhelming.  "...Blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God...  ...I'll give you the best of care" (Deuteronomy 28:1 & Psalm 91:14, MSG & TLB).  Our enemies "...may have a great army, but they are merely men.  We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us..." (2 Chronicles 32:8, NLT)!  "Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is NO help for you there" (Psalm 146:3, TLB, GNT, NLT).  In view of these promises, "Shall I look to the mountain gods for help?  No!  My help is from Jehovah who made the mountains and the heavens too" (Psalm 121:1-2, TLB).  "Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless" (Psalm 60:11, NLT).  "God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble" (Psalm 46:1, TLB).  Let nothing break your spirit and get you down!  "For God has NOT given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT).

Who is this God that we serve that will help us achieve and succeed?  He is the omniscient, and omnipotent, and omnipresent heavenly Father, (Hebrews 4:13, TLB, NLT), who not only knows what is best for us, but is also directing our steps and watching our progress (Psalm 32:8, NLT, TLB), "...so why try to understand everything along the way" (Proverbs 20:24, TLB, NLT), which is what Israel did when then heard about the Anakims.  "My thoughts," says the Lord, "are NOT like yours, and my ways are different from yours" (Isaiah 55:8, GNT, NLT).  So just trust God, for all things are working together for your good (Romans 8:28)!  "...Do NOT look at what we can see right now—the troubles all around us, but... look forward to the joys in heaven, which we have NOT yet seen.  The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever" (2 Corinthians 4:18, TLB, GNT).  "Let [God] have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you" (1 Peter 5:7, TLB, GNT).  You don't have to feel that God is present, all you have to do is to have faith and believe and know that He is with you all the time just as He was with Moses—"...I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everythiing will be fine for you" (Exodus 33:12-14, NLT, GNT).  Egypt's former exiles celebrated the Passover; however, all the doubters later died at Kadesh Barnea, so they never entered the land of Caanan, because unbelief obliterated God's vision from their view.  Deuteronomy 1:34-39, GNT, CJB renders that account this way:

The Lord heard your complaints and became angry, and He solemnly declared, 'Not one of you from this evil generation will enter the fertile land that I promised to give your ancestors.  Only Caleb, son of Jephunneh, will enter it.  He has remained faithful to me, and I will give him and his descendants the land that he has explored.'  Because of you the Lord also became angry with me and said, 'Not even you, Moses, will enter the land.  But strengthen the determination of your helper, Joshua son of Nun.  He will lead Israel to occupy the land.'  Then the Lord said to all of us, 'Your children, who are still too young to know right from wrong, will enter the land—the children you said would be seized by your enemies.  I will give the land to them, and they will occupy it.

May God's vision to us regarding the New Jerusalem never be obliterated by unbelief.  May God's promise to accompany us along life's journey, guiding and directing us into the best paths for our lives never be oblitered by doubt, fears, and faithless questionings.

We Need Inner Peace to Offset Anxiety that Impedes Achievements & Successes

Paul, in Ephesians 1:4-10, NLT explains why we may rest comfortably and confidently during the unfolding of God's plan in our lives.

Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own through what Christ would do for us.  He decided then to make us holy in His eyes, without a single fault, we who stand before Him covered with His love.  His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us.  And He did this because He wanted to!  Now all praise to God for His wonderful kindness to us and His favor that He has poured out upon us because we belong to His dearly loved Son.  So overflowing is His kindness toward us that He took away all our sins through the blood of His Son, by whom we are saved; and He has showered down upon us the richness of His grace—for how well He understands us and knows what is best for us at all times.  God has told us His secret reason for sending Christ, a plan He decided on in mercy long ago.  And this was His purpose, that when the time is ripe He will gather us all together from wherever we are—in heaven or on earth—to be with Him in Christ forever.

The Revelator captured the inauguration of this prophetic plan when he said, "I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, 'Look, God's home is now among His people!  He will live with them, and they will be His people.  God Himself will be with them'" (Revelation 21:3, NLT, GNT).  Given this revelation, you should be elated to read: "For I know the plans I have for you....  They are plans for good and NOT for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11, TLB).  "...All that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into His plans" (Romans 8:28, TLB & GNT).  Based on the testimony of Daniel, (9:4, NLT, TLB), we can trust God.

O Lord, ...You are a great and awesome God; you always fulfill your promises of mercy to those who love you and keep your laws.

God, who is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9, TLB, NLT), made this promise to Abram, "...I have given this land to your descendants..., from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River" (Genesis 15:18, NLT).  "I will... fulfill My covenant, (Genesis 15:1- 7), with you" (Leviticus 26:9, TLB), which He later reassured Isaac and Jacob He would do (Genesis 26:20-24 | 35:9-12 | 46:1-3, NLT, TLB).  The elapse of time, overwhelming distractions such as the crucible of trials through which God makes a people great—Genesis 46:3, NLT, TLB, and memory erosion can diminish human capacity to recall God's promises of Leviticus 26:1-12 and Hebrews 4:1-11, NLT, TLB.  Hence, it was necessary for Joshua to remind the children of Israel about God's covenant promises.

We Need Memory Recall to Stay Focused for Achievements & Successes
Joshua, (24:11-14, NLT), recounted God's dealing with the children of Israel.

When you crossed the Jordan River and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  But I gave you victory over them.  I sent terror ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites.  It was not your swords or bows that brought you victory.  I gave you land you had not worked on, and I gave you towns you did not build....  I gave you vineyards and olive groves for food, though you did not plant them.  [Indeed, "...Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty—you will succeed because of My Spirit, though you are few and weak" (Zechariah 4:6, TLB)].  So fear the Lord and serve Him wholeheartedly....

"...Praise [Him] with music, telling of [His] faithfulness to all [His] promises, O Holy One of Israel" (Psalm 71:22, TLB).


"You know very well that God's promises to you have all come true" (Joshua 23:14; Deuteronomy 28, TLB, NLT).  "...God... keeps His kind promises—'...covenant of unfailing love...' (Nehemiah 9:32, NLT—to all those who obey [Him] and who are anxious to do [His] will" (2 Chronicles 6:14, TLB).  "It was because [God] loved your ancestors, [Genesis 15:1-18, TLB], and chose to bless their descendants that He personally brought you out from Egypt with a great display of power" (Deuteronomy 4:37, TLB).  Paul extended the discussion of God's love and favor when he said to the Jews, "God has given you so much, but still you will NOT listen to Him..." (Romans 9:4, TLB).  Isaiah, (48:1-2, NLT, TLB), lamented Israel's unwillingness to honor God despite their lipservice:

Listen to me, O family of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and born into the family of Judah.  Listen, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and call on the God of Israel.  You don't keep your promises, even though you call yourself the holy city and talk about depending on the God of Israel, whose name is the Lord of Heaven's Armies.

Both pre-and-post intertestimental People of God backslid and inherited punishment for their apostasy (Leviticus 26:1-40, TLB).  Even so, God did not permit them to face extinction!

We Need Humility to Receive the Divine Inheritance for Achievements & Successes
"When at last their evil hearts are humbled and they accept the punishment I send them for their sins, then I will remember again my promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob....  ...I will remember my promises to their ancestors to be their God..." (Leviticus 26:41-42, & 45, TLB).  Fast forward to the birth of Jesus Christ and what eagerly awaits Him is implementation of Isaiah's prophecy—"He is despised and rejected of men..." (Isaiah 53:3, TLB).  Mark's gospel will make clear the magnitude of Christ's rejection.  "...The high priest's..., the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law..." had Jesus arrested, tried, and sentenced to death (Mark 14:43 to 15:15, NLT).  If you were to conclude that the religious elites of Jesus' day were complicit in His arraignment, trial, and crucifixion, you would be right (Matthew 16:12, 21; 26:3-4, 59; John 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15; John 16:2, GNT, NLT, TLB).  But be careful about drawing unsupported conclusions from the data about the effects of God's work with the Jews.

"...Has God failed to fulfill His promises, [Genesis 12:1-2, TLB], to the Jews?  No!  

['...Not all the Jews have turned away from God.  There are a few being saved as a result of God's kindness in choosing them' (Romans 11:5, TLB, NLT).  The King James renders Romans 11:5 this way—"...There is a remnant according to the election of grace;"—and Ephesians 2:12 affirms that they are NOT "...strangers from the covenants of promise...."

'...All of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding Yes...' (2 Corinthians 1:20, NLT).]

...These promises are only to those who are truly Jews.  

'...That you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham; ...and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you' (Galatians 3:29, NLT).

...Not everyone born into a Jewish family is truly a Jew.  Just the fact that they come from Abraham doesn't make them truly Abraham's children.  [We find a parallel in the New Testament, which reads this way, "They will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power..." (2 Timothy 3:5, GNT)].  For the Scriptures say that the promises APPLY ONLY TO ABRAHAM'S SON, ISAAC AND ISAAC'S DESCENDANTS, [Genesis 17:19, TLB | Genesis 21:10-12, NLT, TLB], though Abraham had other children..." (Genesis 25:1-6; Romans 9:6-7, TLB, NLT).  Because [Genesis 17:19, TLB] says,

...Sarah shall bear you a son; and you are to name him Isaac—Laughter—and I will sign my covenant with him forever, and with his descendants.

That covenant promise of Genesis 17:19 prepared the way for Paul to build on the link between Issac and Christ described in Matthew 1:1-17, NLT).  "God gave the promises to Abraham and His child.  And notice that the Scripture doesn't say, 'to his children,' as if it meant many descendants.  Rather, it says 'to his child' and that, of course, means Christ" (Galatians 3:16, TLB, NLT).  Beginning with faithful Abraham and continuing down through the ages unto our time, all who are in and of the faith of the Redeemer, Shiloh—unto whom the gathering of the people shall be (Genesis 49:10)—"...are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God's promises to him belong to us" (Galatians 3:29, TLB, NLT).  One of God's promises to Abraham reads this way—"...Don't be fearful, Abram, for I will defend you.  And I will give you great blessings" (Genesis 15:1, KJV, TLB).  What are the great blessings we may expect to receive from God as Abraham's descendants?  Peter's epistle, (2 Peter 1:3-5, NLT, TLB), answers that question!

By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.  And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises.  These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.  In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises....

For that we ought to be grateful, and "In God we boast all the day long, and praise [His] name forever" (Psalm 44:8); "...Our boast is in the Lord our God" (Psalm 20:7, TLB), because the "...Word that goes out from [God's] mouth... will NOT return to [Him] unfulfilled; but it will accomplish what [God] intend, and cause to succeed what [He] sent it to do" (Isaiah 55:11, CJB, NLT).

We Need the Love of God to Be Ambassadors of Christ, the Highest Achievement & Success
"...Keep right on loving others as long as life lasts [because '...God... has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love' (Romans 5:1-5, emphasis on 5, NLT, GNT)]....  Then, knowing what lies ahead for you, you won't become bored with being a Christian nor become spiritually dull and indifferent, but you will be anxious to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience" (Hebrews 6:11-12; 11:17, TLB).  "What God Has For Me, It Is For Me,"  But don't sit idly and expect it to fall into your experience.  Peter's inquiry, (2 Peter 1:2-8, TLB), emphasizes our responsibilities as heirs of the covenant promises.

Do you want more and more of God's kindness and peace?  Then learn to know Him better and better.  For as you know Him better, He will give you, through His great power, everything you need for living a truly good life.  He even shares His own glory and His own goodness with us!  And by that same mighty power He has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings He promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rotteness all around us, and to give us His own character.

But to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith.  You must also work hard to be good, and even that is NOT enough.  For then you must learn to know God better and discover what He wants you to do.  Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have His way with you.  This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply [as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT, GNT].  The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ.

"But anyone who does NOT love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:8, NLT, GNT).  One may have a lot of religious fervor, zeal, and rhetoric; perhaps even "...speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, [it] would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13:1, NLT).  "...May [you] be filled with courage and may [you] be drawn together in love, and so have the full wealth of assurance, which true understanding brings.  In this way, [you] will know God's secret, which is Christ Himself.  He is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of God's wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:1-3, GNT, NLT).  "Listen, my dear friends!  God chose the poor people of this world to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom, which He promised to those who love Him" (James 2:25, GNT, NLT).  Therefore, "don't let anyone spoil your faith and joy with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.  For in Christ lives all the fullness of God..." (Colossians 2:8-9, NLT, TLB); and "...Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27, TLB).  So if you covet achievement and wealth in accordance with God's plan, desire His gift, which is "...the Holy Spirit[—Christ's replacement, (John 14:16, 26) who] produces this kind of fruit, [a.k.a., true wealth], in our lives—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control..." (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT).  "For if you have these qualities in abundance, they keep you from being barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah" (2 Peter 1:8).