Archive for January 2013

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?

January 30, 2013

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV)

paycheck

(photo credit – hasslefreeclipart.com)

The things that matter most in a Christian’s work life are not the same things that matter to the rest of the world. It’s not the dollar amount of their paychecks, the impressiveness of their business cards, the prestige they have earned within their trade, or the position they hold within their company. It’s not even about their productivity or the quality of their work – although hard work is certainly an honorable pursuit. Instead, when it comes to their jobs, what matters most is the extent to which they model themselves after Christ from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.

When we attend church on the weekend, we are taught to become more like Christ in the way we live. The problem we encounter is that our intentions are good, but our minds become altered somewhere between Sunday and Monday. The realities of work often keep us from becoming Christ-like at our jobs. Some of these realities are work related, some are simply human nature, but all of them force God out of the forefront and onto the back burner. By Tuesday or Wednesday, our thoughts of God and living for Christ may have completely faded away.

From my experience, that’s a source of frustration for many Christians. We struggle with it. We feel guilty about it. We may even recommit to do things differently, but somehow we manage to backslide and  leave Christ out of our lives – just when we need Him the most!

Perhaps you too have had personal experience with this. Maybe you’ve made some effort to apply your faith in the workplace, only to be discouraged by the results. Perhaps you’ve even reached the point of concluding that real, enduring change is hopeless. It’s not. It’s just a matter of seeing things more clearly – maybe for the first time in your life. And then it’s simply a matter of cooperating with God to defeat the things standing between you and our Savior.

What’s keeping you from being more Christ-like in your job and in your career? What are the barriers that stand in your way? Ask God to give you the strength you need to become more like Christ in your workplace! Your job is an important mission field. Keep Christ “alive” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!

christ is alive

Enjoy your Wednesday, “Working for Christ”!

A LAMB AMONG WOLVES!

January 29, 2013

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:2-3, NIV)

lamb among wolves

(photo credit – istockphoto.com)

Just exactly where is Jesus’ “harvest field”? To answer that question, stop right where you are and take a look around. You’re right in the middle of it – exactly where Christ wants you, right now!

Our places of employment belong to Jesus. Many of our co-workers, clients, bosses, and other associates seem to be like wolves – waiting to devour us and bring us down. Sometimes they tempt us to stop by the bar after work and join them for happy hour. Other times they demand that we work late, keeping us from our families and our loved ones. They like to share coarse jokes and profanity. Infidelity and sex often dominate their conversations. There is little regard for someone to share the love of the Lord! But Christ has placed you right in the middle of all that!

There was a time when I would join them for happy hour, or work late, laugh at off-color jokes, and spread profanity like a sailor. That was the easy thing to do. I became accepted and was part of the clique. My marriage began to fall apart and my life was in shambles. Then, I began to develop a relationship with the Lord. I realized that I was responsible for bringing others down. I was one of the “wolves” that Jesus was referring to in Luke 10:3.

I needed to make some changes. I had the ability to choose my destiny – I could choose to be a wolf or I could choose to be one of Christ’s lambs. Although I try my hardest to be a faithful worker, the wolf in me shows his ugly head on occasion. However, as my relationship with Christ grows, I see less of the wolf and more of the lamb in me.

Each of us has a responsibility to those around us. We are living in Christ’s “harvest field”. We are to be His lambs – our jobs are to tame the wolves that live and work right beside us. We do that when the Holy Spirit is living within us! Ask God to fill you with His Spirit this Tuesday. Begin to tame just one wolf at a time. You will be amazed with the results!

taming the wolf

(photo credit – tracystoneart.com)

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”

GOD LOVES THE RICH!

January 28, 2013

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17, NIV)

Wealthy

The Church often implies, perhaps unintentionally, that God despises rich people and that success is something Christians don’t handle very well. As part of the Church, we should correct this type of teaching.

There are dangers that result from the improper handling of wealth. Jesus did not approve of the rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and refused to share with Lazarus (see Luke 16:19-31). Paul admonished wealthy Christians not to put their hope in riches but to be generous and ready to share (see 1 Timothy 6:17-19). James rebuked greedy rich people who sat on their wealth while their workers’ wages went unpaid (see James 5:1-6). But these cases do not condemn rich people – they simply point out that their wealth has been mishandled.

So how does God feel about the rich?

The Bible unequivocally declares, God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV) The two words “world” and “whoever” are inclusive. God loves everybody and does not discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, or social status.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the social divide between the rich and the poor, the Church often exhibits a negative bias toward the rich. This is clearly seen in missionary priorities. The church that sends missionaries to a tiny group in the Dominican Republic will rarely consider sending missionaries to the thousands of “lost souls” living in Monaco, Sweden, or even Beverly Hills. This has resulted in a faulty set of priorities, because people in wealthy nations are just as lost as those living in the Third World.

As “missionaries” in the workplace, we need to be more like Jesus. We need to be a friend to everyone, wealthy and destitute alike. It’s important that we keep an open mind – we shouldn’t discriminate! We need to be ready to share Christ’s love with anyone who needs us!

John 3_16

(photo credit – istockphoto.com)

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

GOD IS THE SOURCE!

January 25, 2013

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25, NIV)

worry

(photo credit – dev.socialmediaambassador.com)

We still live in questionable economic times. The country is on the verge of going over the “economic cliff”. Many people are still being laid off. The housing market is showing signs of recovery, but far too many people are losing the battle to foreclosure and bankruptcy. Much of the work in the United States has been outsourced to places like China and South America. Our middle class is shrinking and the lower class is expanding.

We all know somebody who has been laid off recently or is having trouble finding work. It’s difficult to hear about our young people spending four, six, even eight years in college only to find out there is no work in their field of expertise when they graduate. It’s disheartening, not only for the younger generation, but for the older folks, too.

If we spend all our time focusing on the negative, it’s scary stuff. Our world can be a frightening place if we allow Satan to get into our heads. It’s only natural to be concerned when people are cleaning out their desks because they lost their jobs, or they’re selling their homes because they can’t afford that huge mortgage payment anymore. But don’t worry.

Worry never changed a thing. Our jobs, homes, cars, boats, money, and all our worldly things come and go as we live here on earth. They are not the source of our success or peace of mind. God is our source.

No matter what is going on around you; no matter how many people are packing up their offices; no matter what state the economy is in; no matter how many pink slips are circulating; no matter what – God is the source!

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NIV)

So don’t worry. God is still on the throne, and heaven’s economy is just fine!

God is on the Throne

(photo credit – pub48.bravenet.com)

Enjoy your weekend, “Working for Christ”!

TAKE GOD TO WORK WITH YOU!

January 24, 2013

“… whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14, NIV)

john 14_14

(photo credit – newtonassembly.com)

As Christians, we are expected to do great works. We shouldn’t confine ourselves to a place where we only watch ministry happen.

We have been ordained, not in the church, but in the marketplace, to “expose” Christ Jesus to the world.

Satan focuses much of his time at our places of employment. He likes to tell us that our jobs are meaningless or that our purpose for working is solely to make a living. He will repeatedly tell you that because your focus is on the marketplace, you have no right to be in ministry.

The day you discover that your job is an important mission field, God’s kingdom will begin to replace Satan’s in the workplace. Being in business for the glory of God adds the most inspiring purpose to your occupation.

“We should never let our occupations block our destiny; instead, our destiny should shape our business by turning it into our ministry.” (Ed Silvoso, “Anointed for Business“)

God’s purpose for our lives is undeniable. We have the full power of heaven at our disposal (see John 14:14). The key is to get started. That first step is the most difficult. Your current occupation does not matter. Jesus began as a carpenter, David as a shepherd, and Peter as a fisherman. Each of them fulfilled their destiny and affected millions of lives.

If you are a Christian in the workplace, unsure of your role, listen to the Holy Spirit. Let Him touch your soul and bring to light those areas darkened by shame and confusion. Never let negative circumstances determine your destiny. Instead, change your destiny by embracing your divine purpose. There is a purpose and a destiny right where you are – right now!

Take that first step today. The God of ministry is also the God of the workplace!

first step

(photo credit – billionairebelief.com)

Enjoy your Thursday, “Working for Christ”!

ALONE AT WORK?

January 23, 2013

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10, NIV)

carpenter 3

(photo credit – 123rf.com)

A couple hundred years ago, a furniture maker was crafting a cabinet. He was taking great pains to finish the wood under the drawers just as he finished the visible, outer surfaces. A young co-worker asked the man why he was putting so much effort into something no one would ever see. The man replied, “Because I will know it’s there.”


The furniture maker thought his work was important enough to complete it with his very best effort. He saw an intrinsic value in it, perhaps based on his respect for good wood and woodworking skills, as well as on his customers’ appreciation for his finished products. What mattered most was the total package. As a carpenter Himself, Jesus surely understood where this man was coming from.

In a way, the cabinetmaker was “alone” at work because he’d done extra work that only he knew about. The time, materials, and skill put into the unseen corners of this project would stay private. Today’s workers making similar efforts sometimes wonder if their extra effort is largely wasted. Oftentimes, work seems to be simply “going through the motions.”

In Luke 16, Jesus taught us “if we can be trusted with the little things, we can also be trusted with bigger things.

luke 16_10(photo credit – zazzle.com) 

We can’t know what the bigger things are, unless Jesus shows us – and He only shows us what we can cope with at the time, so the full picture may take years to emerge. Be encouraged that your conscientious work efforts fit into the Lord’s design for your life. We live in a sinful world, surrounded by various poor examples, affected by systems and organizations. It often feels like our efforts aren’t fully appreciated, but we have been taught about the unseen truth of doing a little extra. We are not alone at work. We are working side by side with the Master Craftsman!

Enjoy your Wednesday, “Working for Christ”!

A PILLOW OR A ROCK?

January 22, 2013

“Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream…. Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it.”  (Genesis 28:11-16 NIV)

Jacob's Ladder

(photo credit – en.wikipedia.org)

This part of Jacob’s story is interesting. When we think about Jacob, we generally think about Jacob’s ladder and angels ascending and descending into heaven. And while that’s impressive, the circumstances surrounding Jacob’s dream deserve our attention as well. Jacob was on a journey. He wasn’t traveling by coach or even by camel. He was walking – a long way – and he wasn’t wearing high-tech walking shoes.

When it was time to unlace his sandals and take a nap, he laid his head on a rock. Not a nice soft patch of sand or a pillow of palm branches, but a rock. He rested his head on a rock! That sound ridiculous, but that’s exactly what he did! There are other naps chronicled in the Bible, but the writer of this story made a point to tell us specifically, “He put a rock under his head and went to sleep!”

Jacob was on a journey that would ultimately change his life, traveling without a Platinum American Express card or even a nice, soft pillow and, when he became tired, he lay down and placed his head on a rock.

Take a look at what happens. Lying on that rock, he dreams a dream that will forever be remembered in paintings and children’s Sunday School songs. We are climbing Jacob’s ladder!” Thanks to that dream, Jacob encounters the Lord and declares, “Surely, the Lord is in this place and I didn’t even know it!”


We often find ourselves in uncomfortable places – with our heads resting on rocks. Sometimes we put ourselves there, as Jacob did, and other times our circumstances force us into that spot. Either way, Jacob’s story reminds us to look for God everywhere and in every situation, for He is always with us even if we fail to notice Him.

We, too, are on a journey that will ultimately change our lives. Take time to look around you this week. Know that God is with you every step of the way!

The Lord is With You

(photo credit – pinterest.com)

Enjoy your Tuesday, “Working for Christ”!


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