Success Guaranteed: The Secret Every Leader Should Know

Do you want success? Then maybe this story applies to you. The Israelites had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, and stood poised on the outskirts of the Promised Land. The most dynamic leader any of them had ever known was gone. People wondered if their chance for success had gone with him. At this critical moment Joshua son of Nun stood before them and gave them this exhortation:

The Crossroads Exhortation

“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe 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.” (Joshua 1:7-8, NKJV)


Moses, the greatest leader in Israel’s history (and arguably one of the greatest leaders in all of history) was gone. Joshua was given the task of leading the stubborn and unpredictable Hebrew people into the Promised Land. Success would not come easily, but Joshua had already proven his mettle back in the wilderness of Paran, where he and Caleb brought back a good report from Canaan and advised Moses to go take the land even against great odds.

Now the children of Israel were poised to end their wanderings and complete their quest. There would be danger and difficulty. People would need to be motivated and shepherded into a hostile environment. The Lord told Joshua to look two places for help. First, God told him to look within himself, to “be strong and very courageous.” The Lord knew that there were untapped reserves within Joshua that even Joshua wasn’t aware of. Not only did this apply to Joshua, but it is undoubtedly true for all of us! It’s true for me, and it’s true for you.

Where Do Faith and Courage Come From?

I think it’s important to note that even in a life of faith, where God wants us to depend on Him, He still tells us to dig a little deeper in order to achieve success. So the next time you are frazzled, the next time you doubt, the next time you feel unsure about expressing your faith, “be strong and courageous.” God’s Spirit is given to us to offer us sufficiency and encouragement. Meditate on His Book. Claim His power in prayer. Dig deeper.

The second place God told Joshua to look was in the new secret weapon He had given Moses. The Lord promised Joshua that if he spent time in the Book of the Law, if he meditated upon God’s wisdom “day and night”, and if he followed it rigorously, he would be prosperous and have good success. The secrets to happiness and success are in God’s word. Dig deeper.

The Book of Success

Moses was gone. Israel waited. So Joshua, son of Nun
Stood up before the people and exhorted everyone:
“Be strong and be courageous! Trust the Lord, and do things right;
Meditate in the holy Book of the Law both day and night.
Keep it in your heart and follow everything it says,
And God will give you wisdom, and His guidance all your days.
Observe the law; receive the blessing, do not ask for less,
And then your way will be prosperous, and you will have success.”

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here:
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here:
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here:
For the Kindle Edition, go here:

You Succeeded. Give Credit to The Foundation of Your Success

Whenever people work together, there is always a question that comes up: Who Should Get the Credit? (And we’ve all worked on that school team project where somebody does nothing but still gets the grade you worked for!)

The human ego is an amazing thing, fueled by the survival instinct, self-interests and a hierarchy of needs and hidden agendas that would make Maslow’s head spin! I’ve often thought it should be called “Igo” instead of ego. As Chris Farley’s motivational speaker Matt Foley may have said, “There is no “I” in team, but there IS an “M” and an “E”!”

Gimme An I

Igo certainly makes itself known in the business world, and it even pops up in the humble circles of Christian ministry. Maybe that’s why Jesus told his disciples, “And herein is that saying true, One man  soweth, and another reaps. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.” (John 4:37-38 KJV) He knew that the work he started would be a shared project.

There’s an old saying that it’s amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit. Jesus was reminding the disciples not to get too proud about what they were able to do. Their accomplishments were based upon the labor of many who went before them. Men like the Patriarchs, the prophets and even John the Baptist and his disciples had labored before them.

Credit Due

This is so true in life. Much of what we do, we accomplish because someone has gone before. Think about it: Can YOU take credit for learning to walk, or to tie your shoes? Someone else taught us to read, to solve problems, to be independent… you are who you are at least partly through the labor of others.


Before you roll your eyes at your elderly Mom’s lack of knowledge about technology, just remember that she’s the one who potty trained you and taught you how to use a SPOON. My own mother passed away over thirty years ago, but I know I owe her many debts. I also owe my Dad and Stepmom, my wonderful grandparents, and numerous other teachers, coaches, and friends along the way! I can’t even begin to estimate the contributions they made to my growth along the way.

So, to all of those of you who have taught me, who labored before me so that I could grow, I give a heartfelt THANKS! You deserve the credit for any growth I have or progress I have made. Each of us attains more because of what has been accomplished by those who have gone before. Isaac Newton said it this way: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Intellectual and Spiritual

In our spiritual world, the same thing applies. Without the labor of others we are surely at risk. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age.” Someone else has studied or lived the Gospel in such a way that it motivated or inspired us. Don’t forget to give them credit. We have all entered into a greater enterprise that requires higher stakes. It offers richer rewards than any business endeavor or athletic competition.

To every one of you who has taught me spiritually, or who has encouraged me, or challenged me to be about God’s business, again I say thanks. Believe me, I don’t have any illusions about who I am spiritually: I am a selfish sinner saved by grace. I have failed many times, and I’m still very much a work in progress.

But, there is a legacy of love upon which I walk, and through which I rejoice! I am blessed, not because of my own merit, but because someone loved me and taught me to continue past those first, halting steps. If you are laboring, I hope you will encourage someone today and have faith in the Lord of the harvest. And if you are reaping, I hope you’ll take a moment to remember those who prepared the way for you to be fruitful!

Credit Line

We all take credit for what we do– but when you’re keeping score,
Remember the legacy of love from those who’ve gone before.
They found some diamonds in the rough among your rocky ore…
Remember there were hands that picked you up from off the floor,
Who taught you how to use a spoon, to read, to do a chore!
They worked in you, you worked in me– and if we work some more,
Our legacy may bear some fruit, upon some distant shore…

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here:
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here:

To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here:
For the Kindle Edition, go here: