We all want success, right? It’s not just how we are “wired”, it’s how we are “created.” We’ve been created in the image of God, and His image IS the perfection of success. He is a Holy perfectionist when it comes to success. But for us to to experience His success in all areas of our life – school, career, marriage, relationships, businesses, personal goals and aspirations, parenting – there is only one way to achieve it, and it’s when we are willing to do 3 things in this order: (yes, God is an orderly God, and these three steps are found in our Bible.)
1. Discover – find God’s plans for our life
2. Decide – make that personal “life ownership” decision to follow in His plans
3. Devote – exercise discipline and determination to carry out His plans to the finish
Once we discover God’s plans for our life, and once we decide to be “all in”, devoted with much discipline and determination, then success is inevitable. Not success as defined by the world’s standards, but defined by His standards:
trust + faith + obedience = success … in living HIS plans for our life every. single. time.
But where do we start in the “discovery” process? Well, first we need to look at some verses that will show us just HOW important it is that we FIRST “desire” or simply “want to” hear from the Lord. Think about it….if we want God’s plans for success in our life, is there any other way to achieve it without first DESIRING to hear from Him? If my husband wants to know my plans for the day, he asks me, “Baby, what all are you planning to do today?” And I tell him. You see, Rip first had a desire to know. He “wanted to” know my plans. That’s why he asked. Same is true with us in discovering God’s plans for our life – we first need to have a desire to ask. A desire to hear from Him. A “want to” know.
If we want to discover the Lord’s plan for our life, the journey starts with a word from the Lord.
It’s hard for many of us to wrap our mind around the fact that He actually has an orderly plan for our life because of how we tend to live ourselves. Most of the time. Our days are lived at random, letting events fall as they may, without goals, visions or aspirations being what fuels our “To-Do lists. If we tend to live without a vision, we tend to perish in experiencing real success in our life. Without a vision, the people perish. If our tendency is to just wake up each morning and get through the day tackling things that come at us, it will be much more difficult for us to grasp this reality, “But God has a daily agenda for my life that is heavenly planned with order, organization, and divine opportunities that He wants me to discover with Him.” We find this in Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Yes, He has a plan, He has an agenda and He has a list of works He longs to accomplish through you and through me. That’s exciting!! And we get in on those plans at only one starting place —
That’s right…it starts by opening our Bibles each day and asking God for a word from His heart to ours. We can’t live God’s way any other way. Success God’s way starts and proceeds and ends with the word of God.
What makes the Lord’s “word” so powerful? His word is powerful because it is spoken by the All Powerful God. When He speaks, things happen. When He speaks, things change. Things are impacted. Things are never again what they were. His words accomplish what they are sent out to accomplish. Which should motivate us daily to WANT a word from the Lord. To seek His speech in prayer over our own.
So, let’s go ahead and start into this Bible study, ok? Because more than anything y’all, I long for us to be successful in God’s plans for each of our lives, and it is paramount that we start off on solid ground, on holy ground. When Moses was commissioned by God, (when a word from the Lord came to him), he was standing before a burning bush. As GOD spoke to Moses, He gave him His word concerning His plans intended for Moses to obey. *click on the blue words to read Exodus 3 – Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush.
Moses discovered God’s plans while he removed his sandals in awe of being in the presence of God. Removing his sandals was commanded to him by the Lord in showing respect for His presence. God told him to take off his sandals because He was there and, “this ground where you are standing is holy.” Moses obeyed because He stood in awe of God (humble) and he desired to receive God’s Word to him. When we go to the Lord and open our Bibles, we would do good to do whatever necessary to position ourselves in awe of Who’s presence we are in. I tend to sit reverently, I tend to be dressed reverently, and I tend to even wash my hands and face before just plopping down before the Lord in spending time alone with Him. The main thing is this — showing respect and reverence to God as we have private and personal time with Him and fully acknowledging we are in the presence of our Holy and Perfect Father.
Well, after Moses discovered God’s plans, Moses then decided to obey God’s plans, by living the rest of his life in devotion to God’s plans. He set his face to being determined and disciplined in carrying God’s mission for his life.
This is why I gave you the 3 steps to living successful God’s way. Remember what they are: 1) __________ and 2) ___________ and 3) _____________. When we discover God’s word for our life, (His plans), we are wise to decide to obey, and then to devote ourselves in carrying out those plans … no matter how much discipline or determination is required.
Open your Bible to Genesis 1:3- read the verse and underline what it starts off saying God did. My Bible starts off that verse saying, “Then God said….” He spoke words. And what words did He speak?
Fill in these blanks: “_______ ________ ____ __________,” – He said, “Let there be light“, and there was light. In other words, when He speaks, things happen. When He speaks, things change. Things get accomplished. Things get done. This is also why I pray for “a word from the Lord” that He wants me to pray concerning family and friends lives. He is faithful to answer that prayer.
Let’s keep going …read Genesis 1:4-31. Underline in your Bible every time it reads, “Then God said…”. The climax of the first chapter of the first book of the Bible is found in verse 26 — “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image.” Huge! What a huge and loving thing to say! He chose YOU. He chose to make you and me in His image. WOW! I pray we never get over that!
Now, we are going to really get to flipping in our Bibles…you ready? I want us to see something that I will wrap up for us at the end of this study.
Turn to Genesis 15:1 and underline, “the word of the Lord came to” and read the rest of that verse. I just want you to begin to notice that the word of the Lord came to many ordinary people throughout Scripture. But when the word of the Lord came to them, they became EXTRAordinary people. People who had a mission in their mouth!! And the thing is…..when it came, it was perfectly timed by the Lord.
Turn to 1 Chronicles 11:3 – and at the end of that verse, the people anointed David king, but it was in keeping with the Lord’s word through someone. Through who? ___________ The Lord’s word may have been spoken to Samuel years earlier, that he would anoint the new king of Israel, but as we have already mentioned, the Lord’s word will always accomplish what it was sent out to do. His word ALWAYS gets done. So, although the word of the Lord was given to Samuel years prior, those mighty words worked out the plan of God for David’s life right on time!! This makes me think about all the prayers my mother has prayed for me, for years and years, praying the word of the Lord for my life. But now, now that I am 47 years old, some of those prayers are just now being carried out in my life as God’s plans continue to unfold in mine and Rip’s life. (Thanks mom for being my biggest prayer warrior!)
We find this again in 1 Chronicles 17:3….the word of the Lord was for David, but it was given to Nathan. Have you ever known for certain that the Lord wanted you to go to a person and say “a word” of warning, a word of correction, a word of hope, or maybe a word of love? Think back on what happened….how did it go? Was it well received? If not, are you still thankful you did what the word of the Lord asked you to do? Look at Isaiah 38:4 – the word of the came to whom for whom? To ______, so he would go and tell _______ what the Lord God says. This happened again in Isaiah 39:5.
God has a plan for every obedient servant of His and we find that plan in Isaiah 50:4 – In this one verse we find that God will put His Word for other people, other weary folks who need some sustaining power in their life, on our tongue. He will “instruct us to know how to sustain the weary with a ____________.” And the rest of this verse tells us HOW He puts that word on our tongue….it’s when we get up each morning, and with ears opened and ready to listen and be instructed. How intimate is that? THAT is why I started this bible study saying that we need to get up each day and ask God for a word. It may be for us, and it may be for someone else. But He is a speaking God and Isaiah 50:4 really lets us know how critical it is that we listen to Him as one being instructed IF we desire to live successfully in His plan for our life.
Turn to 1 Chronicles 22:6-10 – underline in your bible when you come to the words, “but the word of the Lord came to me”. As you have read, David “was” headed in one direction. He admitted to his own son, Solomon, “it was in my heart to build a house for the name of Yahweh my God.” David longed to build a house for God. He desired it, craved it, and the entire plans for God’s house burned in his heart with so much passion and zeal! It was something HE wanted to do for God big time! But something changed all that for David. What was it? We find the answer in verse 8. “But the word of the Lord came to me.” Are you beginning to see the POWER of WHY we simply must live our lives receiving the word of the Lord? The word of the Lord came to David and everything changed. Like David, there have been so many times, countless times in my life when I just yearned to do something “for God.” It just burned in me like nobody’s business! There were plans, big plans, of things I just thought, “Surely God, You want me to carry out this plans because after all, it’s for You. It’s to honor You.” There have been so many, what I would call, great ideas, just marvelous and outstanding ideas in my mind and heart that I just felt certain “This has to be God’s plan for my life,” and like David…..a word from the Lord came to me. And when that word came, it changed everything, and an abrupt “Stop sign” landed in my path.
This is when it’s tough, y’all. This is when we may even tend to try to reason with God. But when a word comes like that – a word of “No”, we need to recognize it for what it is – God’s word. He speaks out His plan for our life, and those plans often times include that 2 letter word – No.
Look at Psalm 12:6 – The words of the Lord are what kind of words? They are ______.
Look at Psalm 33:4 – The words of the Lord are what kind of words? They are ______.
Look at Psalm 105:19 – The words of the Lord are what kind of words? They are ______ words.
According to the above verses, His words are pure, they are right, and they are words that will test us. They are testing words to help us see where we are to place our devotion. Remember when God sent forth His word to test Abraham? He told Abraham to take his son Issac and offer him as a sacrifice. And it wasn’t until Abraham had the knife in his hand and his only son bound on an altar that the Lord then said more words, “Do not lay a hand on the boy….”. If we believe that His words are pure and right, then when the testing words come into our life, we must still be devoted to Him to obey. Passing the test of those testing words is so important in our living successfully.
I remember years ago, the very thought of moving from Mississippi, my home for 38 years, scared me to no end. I was in my mid thirties at the time and our family was facing an unknown future due to career setbacks. It was one morning in my prayer time, that the word of the Lord came to me, “Lisa, are you willing to move to Kansas?” You see, Kansas was a very real possibility to where my family would be relocated. And the very thought of moving away, and moving so far away scared this homebody girl like you wouldn’t believe. It actually terrified me! But it was when that word from the Lord came to me, “….are you willing…”, that I HAD to answer. In fear and tears, I said to my Lord, “Yes. Yes, if you send us to Kansas, I will go willingly.” And I underlined this verse at that time in my Bible, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:12
You talk about peace! A flood of peace came over me and it felt like I had released a thousand pounds of weights off my shoulders. Did we move to Kansas? No. No we didn’t, but just between the Lord and I, I passed the test. I passed the test of where was I going to place my devotion. In “my plans for my own sense of security”, or in “His plans for my own life success.” It’s always comes down to a mental decision – obedience always starts in the mind.
I just want us to end this Bible study noticing a few more things in Scripture that we find in the minor prophets. Now, we don’t know much at all about these minor prophets, but what we do know is this – they received a word from the Lord and that word was to be given to the people. It was a very specific word of prophecy.
1. Hosea 1:1, 4:1
2. Joel 1:1, 2:11
3. Amos 8:12
4. Jonah 1:1, 3:3
5. Micah 1:1
6. Zephaniah 1:1
7. Haggai 1:1, 2:1, 10, 20
8. Zechariah 1:1, 7; 4:8; 6:9; 7:1,4,8; 8:1,18
Here’s what we need to discover in all this….God speaks! He spoke then, and He still speaks today and when “the word of the Lord” comes into your life, get ready! Get ready to respond in full dependence on Him. Let’s end this bible study going back to the verse where it all started …to the verse I mentioned in my last video –
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.
I want to highly encourage us all to memorize these verses. Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, means “place all your dependency on Him.” With unshakable certainty, trust that He will give you a word, His word for your life. Trust that as you wake up each day, and go to your Bible, that if you go with the motive to hear and obey what He says, then you will experience success….His way!
Luke 1:38 says, “I am the Lord’s slave, said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your WORD.” If we will make Mary’s response to the WORD of the Lord, (that was delivered to her through the an angel), our same response, we will live successfully in God’s eyes. When the Lord gives you a word for your life, will you receive it by saying with your whole heart and confessing with your mouth, “May it be done to me according to your WORD.” John even declared that His words are words of eternal life! (John 6:68). We find in Acts 11:16 and 20:35 that “remembering” and “keeping in mind the words of the Lord” is critical to our living successful lives in God’s plans. Look up those verses in Acts when you have time.
If you do not know how to recognize God speaking His word to you, please visit my previous blog titled, “How to Recognize God’s Voice.”
I sure hope this has helped you in seeing that taking ownership of your life means: to discover THE plan for your life that has originated in the heart of God STARTS here … “A Word from the Lord Came”.
When you discover that you are living smack dab in the center of God’s plans for your life, you WILL be able to look back and “remember” a specific time, a specific year, month, week, day, hour, and moment when the word of the Lord came to you and you made a decision to trust Him. Living successful God’s way always begins with trust – I’m praying for you!