Archive for October 2013

CALLING IN SICK!

October 24, 2013

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (James 1:23-24, NIV)

Reflection

A few years ago, The Wall Street Journal published a survey conducted by the Princeton Religion Research Center which measured a range of moral and ethical behaviors in the workplace. The questions addressed subjects such as calling in sick when not sick, cheating on taxes, and taking office supplies home for personal use. The results were disappointing.

What researchers found most startling was that there was no significant difference between those who attend church and those who don’t when it comes to their ethics and values on the job. In other words, despite the fact that more and more people attend churches, churches seem to be having less of an impact on the moral fiber of their people, at least in the workplace.

Most of the professionals I know, and especially most men, hold a mild skepticism toward their faith. They feel that something as abstract as faith could never stand up to the harshness on the streets. They attend church on the weekend, but religion is a sort of “hobby”, like golf or fishing. When Monday arrives it’s time to get back to the “real world.”

My point is this – just because you attend church, it doesn’t mean you live according to Christian values! Christians, by definition, are those who follow Christ. To follow Him, we first must study His life and become familiar with His teachings. Ultimately, our goal should be to become more like Him in everything we do – that includes our work! Jesus would not call in sick unless He was sick. He would not cheat on His taxes. And, Jesus would not steal office supplies for His personal use.

Today is a great day to change our attitudes – to make a new commitment. Let’s all take a second to close our eyes, bow our heads, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with His power so that our Christian values pour out into our daily lives, and especially into our workplace.

beingspiritfilled_GMS

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

FLIP THE SWITCH!

October 22, 2013

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV)

COLOSSIANS 3_23

Many of us believe that work isn’t a spiritual activity. Somewhere along the way we were taught – or we simply believed – that there is no connection between God and our work (unless of course we become pastors). Nothing could be further from the truth. When we dismiss work as something non-spiritual, we forget that God is the Lord over everything, including work – no matter what we do to make a living.

Some of us, too, are under the impression that we are on our own – we have to do everything by ourselves. We operate with a self-sufficient, got-to-do-it-myself attitude. Again, God promises that we are never alone. We know that He will never abandon us, no matter how high or how low we feel, no matter how difficult things may become, and no matter how self-sufficient we think we are. He is always here for us, with us, and ready to work through us. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV)

Finally, there are some of us who feel that our work is just a waste. We sometimes believe that the tasks of our daily work may be meaningless in the eyes of the Lord. We think that our jobs are too small or too pointless or otherwise too empty to be meaningful. The truth of the matter is this: God delights in everything we do. He designed us uniquely, and He enjoys our work like a father delights in a child. If a human father feels delight in his children, imagine how much more God delights in His. While we may often feel that our work is unimportant, He fully supports our efforts as a reflection of His glory in His creation. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31, NIV)

Don’t lose sight of these simple, basic truths. It’s so easy to get off track without even realizing it. Instead of turning God’s light off when you go to work, flip the switch. Allow God’s light to shine in whatever you do – especially throughout your workplace.

Flip the Switch

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

THINGS ARE JUST “THINGS!”

October 21, 2013

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 NIV)

mercedes

So, if I take pleasure in the Lord, He will give me whatever I want, right? Wow! That really sounds easy. Whatever my heart desires, right? So why do I drive a 2003 “tin can on wheels” and not a brand new 2014 Mercedes E Class sports car? Isn’t that what I really want? Maybe I’d rather have a 5,000 square foot home on a crystal clear lake facing west so I could enjoy the beautiful sunset every single night.

Just imagine all the “things” your heart desires. Is that what David (the Psalmist) wants us to think about? Not at all. Take a few minutes to read the entire Psalm (Psalm 37). It speaks nothing about getting the things we want. It is all about instruction. It teaches us not to worry about other people who may have acquired things through evil intentions. It teaches us not to be envious for the things others may have. It teaches us to trust the Lord, to commit ourselves to Him, to patiently wait for Him, and to turn from evil so that we may do good.

We are instructed not only to depend on God, but to also find comfort in Him. We should be pleased that there is a God, that He has revealed Himself to us, and that He alone is our salvation. We are taught to be pleased in His beauty, bounty, and compassion; our souls must return to Him and find rest in Him. We are instructed to be totally satisfied with His loving-kindness and to make that our exceeding joy.

In other words, when we take delight in the Lord, the desire of our heart is no longer in “things”, but it has transformed into a desire to be filled with the Spirit of God – to be filled with the love of our Savior. The things in our lives simply become “things”. They no longer control the way we live.

Filled with the Spirit

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CONNECTION?

October 17, 2013

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Internet Down

I woke up one day last week and discovered that my internet connection was down. I immediately contacted my service provider. They sent a guy out about two hours later. He conducted some tests and concluded that my modem needed to be replaced. “Sounds great,” I said, “go ahead, replace it.” But he didn’t have a replacement with him. The earliest he could bring one was the next day. I “freaked out” when I thought about being without my internet for the next twenty-four hours! “How in the world am I going to survive for that amount of time?”

Then I asked myself this question, “Would I be as upset if my connection with God was lost for a day?” What a humbling thought! I am ashamed to admit it, but there have been way too many times that I’ve been so busy I have completely forgotten to include God in my day. Believe me, those days haven’t been intentional, they just happen.

The author of Psalm 119 recognized the importance of a connection to God. He asked God to teach him His statutes and give him understanding of His law. Then he prayed that he would obey it with his whole heart, walk in the path of God’s commandments, and turn his eyes away from worthless things (Psalm 119:33-37, NIV). By meditating on God’s Word and then applying it, the psalmist stayed “connected” to God. And, so can we!

When my internet was down for the day, I did the unthinkable – I opened a book and began to read. Just like I did before the internet was available in every home throughout America, I opened my Bible and studied the “old-fashioned way.” And, guess what? It was wonderful!

God's Word

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

OUR SUCCESS DOES NOT BELONG TO US!

October 15, 2013

“God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6, NIV)

Roman Parade

In early Rome, when a general returned home from a victorious battle, the town would throw a parade to celebrate his victory. The parade would include the general’s troops, as well as “trophy” captives who had been brought along as evidence of their success. As the parade made its way through the city, the crowds would cheer their hero’s success. To prevent the general’s ego from becoming unduly swollen, a slave would ride along with him in his chariot. Why? So that as the crowds praised the general, the slave could continually whisper in his ear, “Remember, you too are mortal.”

Often, when we are successful, we too lose sight of our own mortality and allow our hearts to be filled with pride. James points us away from the danger of pride by pointing us toward humility and toward the Lord. He wrote, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6, RSV). The key to that statement is grace. Nothing is more wonderful! Nothing is more powerful!

Many of us are surprised when we realize that our achievements, success, or greatness do not come from our own hard work or from within ourselves. The truth is, they are the product of God’s grace. He alone deserves the thanks and praise for all our successes and achievements. And He deserves the thanks and praise for the grace He has showered upon us.

God’s grace is His infinite love expressing itself through His infinite goodness.

Grace2

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED!

October 11, 2013

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10, NIV)

Too Blessed to be Stressed

If you’re like most people you can’t help but notice the many different kinds of bumper stickers on the cars around you when you’re stuck in traffic. Many of them are rude, others clever, and still others are downright distasteful. This morning I saw one, however, that challenged my heart about the way I often engage life. The bumper sticker simply said, “Too blessed to be stressed.”

I must confess that I felt convicted as I thought about those words. Generally I find myself regretting the moments in life that don’t go my way, rather than focusing on the wonderful gifts my heavenly Father has given me. Reading that simple message this morning brought me a renewed commitment to be more actively and intentionally grateful because God has been so good to me in more ways than I could ever count. With Him by my side, I really don’t have anything to be stressed about!

Psalm 107 is a song that puts us on the track to thankless thinking. The psalmist (who many think was King David) makes a plea to those whose hearts have grown cold with ingratitude, repeating four times, “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind!” (Psalm 107:8,15,21,31). Even in the worst of times, we have much to be thankful for. Take just a moment to thank God for all of the many blessings He has showered upon you.

And, remember, we don’t need more to be thankful for, we just need to be more thankful!

Thank You

Have a blessed weekend, “Working for Christ!”

SING TO THE LORD!

October 7, 2013

“Music is an outburst of the Soul”!

Music is an outburst of the soul

While this expression came from 19th-century English composer Frederick Delius, it could easily describe King David’s attitude toward worship.

The people around David probably grew accustomed to his musical outbursts. After all, it was King David – much to the chagrin of Saul’s daughter – who “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14). In addition, David wrote many of the psalms. Can’t you just imagine David in his bedroom at night strumming his harp and composing another song to the Lord?

However, David wasn’t the only person in the bible to sing praises. The whole Bible is filled with the songs of people so enthralled by God’s work that their day-to-day lives gave way to outbursts of music – outbursts of their souls. Moses and Miriam harmonized praise after God had led His people out of Egypt (Exodus 15:1–21). Solomon sang his way through Song of Songs, celebrating the marriage relationship between a husband and wife. Isaiah offered a prophetic song from the coming choir of the new Jerusalem (Isaiah 26). Mary, when told that she would give birth to the Son of God, lifted a song to the child’s Father in heaven (Luke 1:46–55). Paul and Silas shouted their praise, and God opened the walls of their cell block (Acts 16:25–26).

We too sing, just as those biblical characters before us sang, because God is worthy of song. He is worthy of our praise. When David opened his song  in 2 Samuel 22, the attributes of God came streaming out of his mouth so quickly that he barely formed sentences – my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge.

Like David, may we be so overcome by the knowledge of God that our natural response is to burst forth in song. May we sing from deep within our souls – longing after him with our greatest affections and deepest desires.

Don’t be afraid to share your love for Christ by singing songs of praise!

Songs of Praise

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


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