Archive for December 2012

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS!

December 31, 2012

Every year we make a list of resolutions that we intend to keep to improve the way we live from one year to the next. In the past, my list has looked something like this:

Resolutions1

(photo by depositphotos.com)

This year my list comes entirely from Ephesians 4:25-32, NCV. I hope you will share it with me.

“So you must stop telling lies. Tell each other the truth, because we all belong to each other in the same body.”

“When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day.”

“Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.”

“Those who are stealing must stop stealing and start working. They should earn an honest living for themselves. Then they will have something to share with those who are poor.”

“When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need – words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.”

“And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes.”

“Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others.”

“Never do anything evil.”

“Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.”

Happy New Year, everyone! I pray that God will richly bless each of you as you continue to live your life in a way that will glorify Him!

Have a blessed 2013, “Working for Christ”!

religion2

“Working for Christ”

 

IN THE RIGHT PLACE, AT THE RIGHT TIME!

December 28, 2012

“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed Him.” (Luke 5:27-28, NIV)

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Once again, we find Jesus in the workplace, associating with questionable people – tax collectors. When Levi (Matthew) made the decision to follow Jesus, he “held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others ate with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to His disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” (Luke 5:29-32, NIV)

Tax collectors, also called publicans, are mentioned many times throughout the Bible (mainly in the New Testament). They are generally described as being greedy, taking more money than they are entitled to. Tax collectors were hated by many of their fellow Jews, who saw them as traitors for working for the Roman Empire. In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 19:1-9, Jesus sympathizes with another tax collector, Zacchaeus, causing outrage from the crowds that Jesus would rather be the guest of a sinner than of a more respectable or “righteous” person.

We don’t have “tax collectors” in business today as they were in Jesus’ day, but our places of employment are overflowing with greedy people and those that simply don’t care about anyone other than themselves. Many of our co-workers will do whatever it takes to get ahead – even at the expense of others. I’m convinced that if Jesus were alive today, He’d place Himself right in the middle of all the commotion and minister to those in need of His gentle and loving Spirit. He didn’t force Himself on anyone; He was always in the right place, at the right time, and willing to share His love.

As Christians, He has directed us to the right place, also – to work with those “who need a doctor”. Wherever we are, we need to be ready to share the love of Christ with those around us.

right place

Spend your time wisely this Friday, “Working for Christ”!

LET DOWN YOUR NET!

December 27, 2012

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around Him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat.” (Luke 5:1-3, NIV)

Luke 5

Jesus was in the workplace. He ministered to those around Him using things that were available to Him at that time. In this case, He used a boat as His pulpit.

“When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” (Luke 5:4-7, NIV)

Jesus asked Simon to “let down the nets”. Simon was disgruntled because they had fished all day and hadn’t caught anything. But, to obey the Lord, Simon dropped the nets. His obedience to the Lord brought an abundance of food. He was embarrassed that he hadn’t trusted the Lord.

“…he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him.” (Luke 5:8-11, NIV)

No matter where you work, there are people in need of a Savior. You don’t have to get into a boat and “preach” to them; you just need to be there. Trust in the Lord to guide you along the way. All you really need to do is to “let down your net” and follow Christ Jesus. He’ll do the rest!

Fishers of Men

Enjoy your Thursday, “Working for Christ”!

PRAY FOR PATIENCE!

December 26, 2012

“And He sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for Him; but the people there did not welcome Him, because He was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’ But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then He and His disciples went to another village.” (Luke 9:52-56, NIV)

Difficult People

(photo by thelivingbreaddigest.blogspot.com)

Have you ever worked with a difficult person? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just make that person disappear? Even Jesus has felt the wrath of difficult people. Jesus and His disciples had just entered a Samaritan village. The people didn’t welcome them – they gave Jesus and His disciples a hard time. In response, the disciples asked if they should “call fire down from heaven to destroy them.”

Can you understand their frustration? Surely you’ve wanted to “call down fire from heaven” on someone who has made your life difficult. Thankfully, Jesus wasn’t as easily offended because He corrected His disciples. He knew the Samaritans were acting out of ignorance and needed His patience. In the same way, we need to have patience with others. More than judgment, those who irritate us need our patience.

“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11, NIV)

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So the next time you’re tempted to “call down fire from heaven”, take a moment – and a deep breath – to pray for patience. You may just be the first one to show that person mercy.

Enjoy your Wednesday, “Working for Christ”!

THE SHEPHERDS WERE AT WORK!

December 21, 2012

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12, NIV)

shepherds

(Adoration of the Shepherds – joyfulheart.com)

The shepherds were at work that night just as they had been the night before. They had no idea that their lives were about to change – forever. Their workplace was outside, in the cold. They only had the light of the stars to work by as they protected their livelihood.

We don’t know why the birth of Christ was announced to a group of shepherds, but we do know that being a shepherd in that time was considered a lowly profession with no status or perks.

Why were these shepherds chosen to receive the “good news”? God could have chosen to make his birth announcement to any number of rulers, kings, or religious leaders. Instead He chose to meet the working class right where they were – in their workplace.

These were obviously men of great faith. They believed the angel who appeared to them, and they left their work to go to Bethlehem to see what God had done. After they had seen the baby Jesus, just as the angel said, they told everyone what had happened. These shepherds – working men (women) like you and me – were the first evangelists for Jesus.

How easy it is to lose ourselves in our work. Our jobs can be all-consuming. We may be tempted not to work as hard as we should because it is not challenging enough. But if we do that, we are likely to miss out when God shows up.

If you have ever wondered if God cares about what you do and where you work, your answer can be found in the shepherds who were at work on that very first Christmas eve!

Nativity(Photo Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas)

Enjoy your Holiday, “Working for Christ”!

BORN TO A VIRGIN!

December 20, 2012

“’I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.” (Luke 1:38, NIV)

annunciation

(photo by liveholiness.com)

Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, appeared to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of Jesus. At first Mary was taken back, but almost immediately she accepted her new role and began preparations for a life as the mother of the King of the Universe!

Can you imagine! What trust; what faith! Mary’s only question was “how” since she was a virgin. Even that question was answered without debate – Mary had accepted her place in the Christmas story!

Two thousand years later, we have a place in this story, too. Our lives reflect the lives of all those who have gone before us. All too often we question why God has placed us where we are. We’re not satisfied with our jobs, our friends, our families, and many other aspects of our lives. We don’t accept the fact that God is in control of all things – we desperately try to take control ourselves and consult God only when it’s convenient for us or when we fall flat on our faces.

Gabriel may not be staring you in the face this Thursday, but the Holy Spirit is visible to each of us if we open our hearts. The same Holy Spirit that “came upon” (Luke 1:35, NIV) Mary and brought her our Savior is waiting to fill our lives in ways that only God can fulfill. Trust Him with your entire being. Apply Gabriel’s words to your life this Christmas, “Greetings, to you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28, NIV)

Accept Jesus into your life just as Mary accepted Him! Keep Him alive forever!

prayer(photo by prayer.pfcblogs.com)

Have a wonderful day, “Working for Christ”!

THE BIRTH OF A BABY!

December 19, 2012

“I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do.” (John 17:4, NIV)

manger

(photo by themasterstable.wordpress.com)

Christmas is all about the birth of our Savior and the reason Jesus came to live among us. But once that birth takes place, little is known about Him until He’s about thirty years old – when He was finally baptized. There is an absence of historical biblical data during the time Jesus was growing into a young man. There is a reason for that. Clearly, that wasn’t the focus of the gospel writers. In addition, the early gospel writers assumed that their original audience knew what the life of a Jewish boy would be like. It was common practice for a Jewish father to pass on his trade to his son.

In other words, Jesus had a job – like you and me, He worked to earn a living – not in professional ministry, but in the marketplace. Jesus spent more time in the workplace than He did teaching and preaching.

What lesson can we draw from this? Obviously, the three short years that Jesus actually spent preaching, teaching, healing, training and equipping, were enough for Him to finish everything God had for Him to do (John 17:4). The time He did spend was exactly what God had planned for Him. The same is true for you and me. Some of us are called to spend all our time in “traditional ministry”. The majority of us are called to spend our time in “non-traditional ministry”. That doesn’t mean we are any less significant or any less eternity impacting than those who are called to spend their time in “traditional ministry”. The key is to be faithful 100% of the time no matter what God has asked you to do – to be ready for those moments when God may have something unusual for which he has prepared you. That day could be today.

Whether you are in “traditional ministry” or “non-traditional ministry”, you have been equipped to bring others to our Savior. Christmas day is about the birth of a Baby. The way in which we live our lives is supposed to bring that Baby to life  – in a way that brings eternal life to those around us!

workplace

Enjoy your Wednesday, “Working for Christ”!


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