Archive for August 2013

THANKS FOR THE SUNSHINE!

August 30, 2013

sunshine-award

 

It is a special honor to receive this award from Drawing from the Well and from Walking the Talk. It is because of special friends like these that I began writing “Working for Christ.” The sole purpose for this blog is to bring glory to our Father. By doing so, His light shines a little brighter in the workplace. Witnessing the results is both humbling and exhilarating. Thank you so much for this honor.
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The Sunshine Award recognizes bloggers whose writings “light up the dark corners of our minds” The rules are simple and provided below:

(1) Thank the person who gave you the award in your blog post.

(2) Do the Q&A below.

(3) Pass on the award to 10 – 12 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.
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The Questions:

Favorite color? Blue

Favorite animal? Dogs – we’ve got three of them

Favorite number? 3 – I don’t know why

Favorite nonalcoholic drink? Diet Coke

Favorite alcoholic drink? Don’t drink alcohol – I take way too many heart medicines

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook, but losing interest

My Passions? God, Family

Giving or Receiving Gifts? Giving – I really don’t need anything
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My Nominations:

Garden2Day

Unshakable Hope

Hope and Peace in an Uncertain World

I’m Confident

This Day With God

A Journey of Faith

Morning Story and Dilbert

billiescauldron

Moment by Moment

Prayers and Promises

Gleaning the Nuggets

Eyes Wide Open

A Changing Grace

In The Potter’s Hands

SOMEDAY IS TODAY!

August 30, 2013

“When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, “I’m seeking Him!”   (Psalm 27:8  MSG)

I had a great story I wanted to write about today, but unfortunately I can’t find it. It’s buried in a pile of stuff somewhere on my desk.

Pile of Papers

Photo Courtesy of ThinkStock

I have a real problem with piles of stuff. It seems to multiply around me. At work, at home, in the car. It’s everywhere. Half the time I can’t find the thing I’m looking for because it’s buried in a pile somewhere. And, in this wonderful age of technology, I shouldn’t have anything in a pile – anywhere! Everything should be scanned and filed away in my computer.

Recently I was out in the garage digging through one of my piles of “boxed stuff.” I came across a beautiful card from an old friend. Inside was a check for $100. “Excellent,” I thought. I could use a hundred dollars. Then I noticed the card and check where congratulating my wife and I on our marriage – thirty years ago. Needless to say, I didn’t rush over to the bank to cash it. And, as I recall, I was very busy thirty years ago and decided to cash the check later. You guessed it – I put it on my desk.  And, well … the rest is history!

Finding that check got me thinking. How many other good things am I missing in life because I set them aside until I have more time? A family vacation? A call to the kids? An email to a loved one? A visit to an old friend? Time alone with God?

Perhaps this has happened to you, too. Perhaps it’s happened in your work life, your home life or even your spiritual life? Maybe you’ve felt God tugging at your heart. You’ve wanted to answer Him, but you’re just too busy now. So you decide to set those thoughts aside – just for the moment. You’ll come back to God later – when you have more time. Days pass, then months, then years.  It may be ages before you realize what you’ve lost.  And in some cases, you may never know.

Shakespeare once wrote, “Defer no time. Delays have dangerous ends.” This is true in many areas of life. But it is especially true in our relationship with God.

Perhaps we could all use a little advice. Let’s not get so busy that the really important things in life get pushed off into a pile, waiting to be addressed later. Let’s try not to put off the things that really matter most in life. Let’s seek God today. Let’s listen to His voice today. And, let’s spend time with Him today.

Whatever you do, don’t let God get lost in a pile of good intentions.  His love is meant to be shared today!

Someday is Today

Enjoy today, “Working for Christ”!

ARE YOU LISTENING?

August 29, 2013

“Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.”  (John 18:37 MSG)

Hearing

Photo courtesy of ThinkStock

“Doctor Brady, you’re needed in Surgery.”

“Susan Benton, please pick up extension 3491.

“Jonathon Horn, please come to the information desk.”

Sometimes the voice is looking for someone. Sometimes it gives information. Sometimes instruction. If you’ve ever worked in a hospital or large corporation with a public address system, you’d probably learned to tune that voice out.

It makes me wonder if I’ve done the same with God’s voice. Have I ever neglected to listen to Him or deliberately tuned Him out?

According to scripture, God’s guiding voice is a given. Our choice to listen to it is not. The prophet Isaiah knew God’s voice and explained it this way, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21 NIV)

Jesus described His followers by saying, “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:37 NASB)

Have you heard the voice of God in your life lately? Jesus’ words contain no conditions. If you are ‘of the truth’ you will hear His voice. If you seek the truth, love the truth, and live the truth, God’s guiding voice is a given. It’s a promise and it’s just as real as any public address system voice.

In John, Chapter 10, Jesus sought to explain the significant relationship between Himself and His followers through an illustration. Seizing on a familiar image to the people of Palestine He called himself the good shepherd and His followers His sheep. “My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28 CEV)

God’s voice could be as audible to you as it was to Moses at the burning bush. It could be as insistent as God calling Samuel by name. It may even be as stunning as it was to Saul on the road to Damascus. God has the ability to startle us if He wishes. But most likely His voice will be as subtle as Isaiah suggests – like a whisper in your ear, a thought in your mind, or an impression on your heart.

Some people don’t believe God speaks so we can hear. They believe that His voice is silent. But I wonder if the silence is the fault of the speaker or the listener. Am I too busy to listen, too comfortable to hear, or possibly too religious to notice?

He won’t speak where He’s  not welcome. The offer has been presented. The promise is plain. God’s voice is our choice. Are you really listening for Him?

“Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.” (John 18:37 MSG)

listen

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

HAVE YOU BEEN ON A GUILT TRIP LATELY?

August 28, 2013

“Guilt is banished through love and truth.” (Proverbs 16:6, MSG)

Guilt Trip

What is a guilt trip?  It’s simply making someone feel guilty to get them to do what you want. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  It’s really quite easy once you get the hang of it.  Here’s how it works.

Let’s say a friend tells you about a wonderful day at the beach they enjoyed over the weekend.  You can usually start them on a little guilt trip by saying something like, “That sounds fun.  I wish I had a friend who invited me to go to the beach with them.”  In theory, this will make your friend feel bad for failing to ask you to join them.  That’s all there is to it!  They’re on a guilt trip.

Though it’s sometimes fun to joke about guilt trips, the fact is, for many of us the subject of guilt is no laughing matter.  Guilt can be a heavy burden to bear – a weight on the heart that’s hard to lift off.

Have you ever experienced true guilt? Real remorse? Perhaps it happened as a result of harsh words, broken promises, dishonest dealings, a lost temper, or neglected duties?  If you’ve ever done anything you wish you could undo or said something you wish you hadn’t said, then guilt has more than likely paid you a visit.  When confronted with guilt, many people push it deep down inside or just ignore it altogether. Why? It’s uncomfortable and often painful.

King David understood the pain of guilt.  After committing adultery with the wife of one of his most loyal soldiers, David gave the order to have the man killed hoping to cover his own crime.  But David’s deeds were discovered and guilt hung heavy on his heart.  But unlike so many who experience guilt from their mistakes, David didn’t push the feelings away or ignore them.  Instead, he poured his heart out to God. His prayer is found in Psalm 51.  Here’s a part of David’s confession to God:

“Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

(Psalm 51:1-2, 10, NIV)

David was willing to come honestly before God and confess his wrongdoing.  As a result, God offered him forgiveness and lifted his burden of guilt. The record of David’s story reveals that God not only forgave David, but even called David a man after his own heart.

If you are experiencing guilt right now, don’t beat yourself up. Why cling to the guilt that weighs your heart down when God’s grace can lift the weight off?  There is no offense you’ve committed too great for God to forgive.  The truth is, nothing from your past can keep God from your future if you embrace Him in the present.

Remove the Guilt

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

COME TO THE WELL!

August 27, 2013

“Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.” (John 4:4-6, NIV)

Samaritan Woman

Everyone in town knew her. She had grown up right before their eyes. Five husbands had come and gone. Now she was alone, minding her own business. But one day, as she was drawing water from the well, she met another man. He was different from the rest. He looked worn – as if from a long journey. But he seemed friendly. There was no official introduction. He simply asked her for a drink.

“Why are you asking me for a drink?” she said, surprised he would even bother to talk to her. After all, he was a Jew and she was a Samaritan. But he replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am. You would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

This wasn’t the answer she expected. What was He up to? If she had known who He was, her response might have been entirely different. This was no ordinary man. He was the One whose coming had been prophesied for centuries. The One whom angels proclaimed. The One whose hands healed the sick.  The One whose voice raised the dead. The One whose life brought hope to the hopeless.

This was the Messiah. Yet she did not recognize Him. And she asked, “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket, and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water?”

Jesus replied, “People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away their thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t ever have to come back here again.”

The woman’s excitement was understandable. She thought the stranger before her offered some sort of magical water to prevent her from ever thirsting again. In fact, what He offered was something far greater. He was offering the gift of eternal life – a gift she could receive by drinking living water.

What is living water? It’s not actually a beverage, but a being. Living water is a symbol for the Messiah. To drink of the living water is to enter into a refreshing relationship with God that can heal hurts, mend hearts, and satisfy souls. In answer to the woman’s deepest needs the Messiah offered Himself.  And the woman accepted. She accepted the gift no other man had given her before – a real relationship founded on unending love. No more broken promises or abandoned commitments. Here, at last, was the love for which she longed.

Turning from the well, she ran straight into town and started shouting to everyone in earshot, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”

So people came. They talked to Him. They listened to Him. They believed in Him. And they, too, accepted the Living Water.

Everywhere you look today there are disenchanted people looking for something more than this world offers. They’ve tried it all. They’ve tried drinking from the well of wealth, the spring of success, the pond of power, the fountain of fame, the pool of possessions, and the ocean of pleasure. But none of these offer lasting satisfaction. They offer only temporary relief to a permanent problem.

The Messiah is the solution. He is the Living Water. Only He can satisfy the soul. His forgiveness is cleansing. His grace is refreshing. His presence is purifying. And His love is invigorating.

What about you?  Have you tried the waters of this world and found them disappointing? Has your soul been longing for a sip of something more satisfying? If you try to quench the thirsting of your soul at the wells of this world, you will be thirsty again. But if you seek satisfaction in the living water of Christ and His love, then you will find fulfillment.

To each and every heart the Messiah makes the same offer. “If you will but ask, I will give you living water.” And when you have living water, you have life.  So today, if you are thirsty for something more, why not accept the offer of the stranger by the well?

Come to Christ. Drink deeply. And be satisfied.

Living Water

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

WHAT, ME WORRY?

August 26, 2013

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)

What Me Worry

“I’ve worked so hard lately, I hope I get a raise pretty soon.”

“We were just assigned a new administrative staff and they seem to be on the warpath, firing some people and just making every else’s lives miserable. I’m really beginning to hate my job.”

“Revenues are down 35%. My company is losing money. There are rumors going around that cuts in staff need to be made pretty soon if we are going to stay afloat.”

Our lives are filled with worries – worries about our jobs, our health, our families, and our finances. It’s human nature to worry. It’s what we do. We convince ourselves that we worry to stay motivated. We believe we worry to stay focused on the important things in life. We worry because everyone else worries. We worry because we don’t know how to stop worrying. Very simply, we are worriers.

Martha worried that there was much to be done around the house when their special guest (Jesus) arrived. She wanted Mary’s help so she appealed to Jesus. His answer to her was, “Stop worrying, Martha. There is nothing more important than trying to get to know the Lord.”

There really isn’t anything more important than spending time with Jesus. The more we get to know Him, the easier it becomes to cast our worries aside. He is the One who brings us peace. We can’t do it without Him. In order to get rid of the worry in our lives, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and souls so that when a worry appears, we can immediately turn it over to the Lord. The more we turn to Jesus the less we will worry!

I realize this is a lot easier said than done, but like a bad habit – smoking, drinking, a drug addiction, etc. – worry, too, can be conquered. The cure is Jesus! You may need a hundred doses a day, but getting to know Him will be worth the effort!

Jesus is the Cure (2)

“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)

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

TV DINNER OR POT PIE?

August 23, 2013

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” (Psalm 96:1-3, NIV)

TV Dinner

When was the last time you ate a frozen TV dinner? If you’re old enough, you may remember those early meals that were sold in an aluminum tray and marketed by the Swanson® company in the mid-1950’s. If you’ve had one lately, you’re probably well aware that this idea has evolved for use in the microwave. In either case, separate compartments house different components of the entrée, and after a few minutes these “nuked” delicacies are ready to savor – from corn to chicken to a hot apple pie for dessert. Delicious! Or so some people say.

The frozen dinner is an appropriate image for many of us – and not just because it keeps us from having to cook. We often try to compartmentalize our lives – much like a frozen dinner. As most of us are wired to think, this kind of separation usually works nicely: The job goes in one compartment of the tray. Put the family in another. Friends and extended family in another. And sometimes God is relegated to the dessert compartment (the smallest one in the tray that gets attention only for an hour or so on Sunday).

But another idea surfaced around the same time as the TV dinner, one that we could look at as a new representation for our lives – the pot pie. The “pot pie” is a more realistic image for life. Inside the flaky crust is a combination of food groups – it’s nearly impossible to separate the different parts of the pie from each other.

What’s the point of this conversation, you may ask?

Life doesn’t fit into neat compartments. The psalmist illustrates this in his writing when he asks God’s creation to praise God. The earth, sea, land, stars, trees, forests, fields – everything! All of creation rejoices because of God’s deeds, his splendor and majesty, his strength and glory.

Now, let’s flip that around. Consider your life – every aspect of it. Does it all belong to God? Does it all praise God?

Chances are you’re going to say “no”. That’s okay, because today is a new day! Maybe you struggle to believe that God cares about your finances, the challenges you face at work or your struggles with sin. But He does! Life works best when you stop making God an add-on to your days – something to consider once a week before moving on. He longs to be brought into the discussion, to be involved in every aspect of your life. Like sauce in a pot pie, once you allow Him to cover every aspect of your life you’ll discover a richer and more satisfying experience.

psalm 96_2

Enjoy your day (and your weekend), “Working for Christ”!


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