Archive for January 2015

ANOTHER SETBACK! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

January 26, 2015

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4, NIV)

frustration

Really? I’m supposed to be happy when trials come my way? What about if I lose my job, my career, my financial stability, or my marriage? How are any of these things supposed to bring me joy?

Each of those things has happened to me. Every time, my first instinct was to blame God. During the process of blaming Him, I found myself opening His Word and searching for answers. I began to realize that these “burdens” were actually bringing me closer to Him. My burdens were helping to create a new “me”. I realized that they were not random incidents at all, but were all parts and pieces to a puzzle that was designed to make me more mature, more focused, more rugged, and more fruitful. I began to realize what Jesus was teaching when He said: He (God) cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:2, NIV)

I’ll be the first to admit that I have not fully enjoyed the struggle, the hardship, and the pain of my past, but I am beginning to “like” the person that I’ve become as a result. I definitely prefer my post-burden self to the person I was before.

It’s still difficult when trials come my way, but I have a new understanding of what they mean to me. I have learned to welcome them into my life as a way to get closer to my Lord and Savior! There is no more blame – only love for the One who has saved me.

If you are going through a tough time right now, recognize the pain. Talk about it with those you trust. Don’t try to escape it. Let it do its work. And, trust that it will not last forever. Trust that, after a while, it will go away and you will emerge with a better vision of yourself. Turn your trials and hardships over to the Lord. He has orchestrated these things to bring you closer to Him! Really!

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

Work for Christ

COME DOWN FROM YOUR PEDESTAL!

January 18, 2015

 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus … he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant … he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8, NIV)

Philippoians 2_5

Humility is a trait that most of us don’t possess. People “at the top” are reminded daily about their success by the materialistic things around them and by the praises they receive from their peers, co-workers, family, and friends. This constant exaltation leads to an inflated self-esteem, arrogance, and narcissism. Unfortunately, the world has a tendency to elevate people based on their talents, prestige, and wealth. Contrary to its allure, this type of success is often short-lived and produces vanity and self-deceit.

Society tells us that we are special until someone more special comes along! When this occurs, we return to being a “nobody” and often choose stress as a way to maintain our upward mobility. That is not the way God intended us to live!

In the scripture, Paul is writing to the people of Philippi, encouraging them and giving them words of wisdom. He tells them to remain humble – just as Jesus was. He instructed them to be like Jesus. And, yes, Jesus was the Son of God and had all the rights and privileges to the Kingdom of Heaven. He could have arrived in a golden chariot, lived in a mansion, and put to death all those who opposed Him. He could have refused to be put to death on a cross. He could have separated Himself from the poor and sick, and He could have adorned Himself with the finest robes and jewels. But He didn’t. He chose to remain humble and to live a simple life of servant-hood. He chose to live like a man and work in a troubled world. He chose a life like ours.

How many of us, because we are the son or daughter of someone important, think we should have the best of everything? How many of us, because we own our own business or are the manager of a certain company, think we are “all that?” How many of us are motivated by owning the flashiest car, the largest house, or the most expensive jewelry? Do these things really make us important? Do they make us better than anyone else?

There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but most often the motives behind why we purchase these things are wrong. When we adorn ourselves with materialistic things to look important, to impress others, or to flaunt our success, we are not living in the spirit Christ intended. Showing off is “selfish ambition and vain conceit.”

Jesus chose to be humble. He subjected Himself to death on the cross. Consequently, God elevated Him to the highest position in the kingdom.

As business owners and leaders, we can lead and still remain humble. When we maintain a spirit of meekness, and care for the needs of our employees, co-workers, consumers, and community, God will lift us up, too! God does not put us on a pedestal like the world does. When God lifts us up, it may last a lifetime, not just a moment. When He blesses us, He will take care of us!

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

SPEND A DAY IN HIS COURT!

January 5, 2015

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” – (Psalm 84:10, NIV)

Psalm 84

What have you done lately that requires faith?

Many of us have never experienced a “lack” of anything. Compared to others around the world, we live in luxury and comfort. We have jobs, money, beautiful homes, cars, and plenty of food on the table every single day. Because of this abundance, we often take life for granted. We take Christ for granted. For this reason, we often choose our own lifestyle over a lifestyle that places Christ above everything else.

Jesus understands that we need to be disciplined in the way we think and behave. In order to choose Him above our worldly comfort we need to strip away predictability and self-sufficiency and intentionally move into situations that we can’t handle by ourselves. Jesus sent His disciples into such situations: “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:3, NIV) He instructed them to travel light and resist anything that could provide comfort, predictability, self-sufficiency – money, extra clothing, other people: “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” (Luke 10:4, NIV) They had to rely on Him for everything. Because they put their faith in Him, “… they returned with joy.” (Luke 10:17, NIV) Because they were willing to move in faith, into risk and discomfort, they were able to spend precious days with our God. Jesus told them: “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:23-24, NIV)

These guys did not “see” beautiful luxury homes on the beach, or drive exotic sports cars, or eat at the finest restaurants in the world. No! They simply spent a little time with our maker. They allowed Him to fill their senses and treat them to the most satisfying lifestyle that is humanly possible. They were able to see beyond their own way of life into a way that leads to an eternity with God Almighty.

We have that very same opportunity to spend our time with the Lord. We need to abandon the idea that our lives revolve around our jobs and around the luxuries that our money can buy. We need to look for opportunities to serve others instead of ourselves. We need to reach out to someone who needs help. Perhaps we should spend a little time with someone who just needs to talk. It’s important for each of us to make a commitment to a service project in our communities. Most importantly we need to talk to a friend or co-worker who doesn’t know our Savior and offer them the very same comfort and love that the Lord has shown us.

It’s time for us to step out of our comfort zones and place our faith in the One who can bring life to our souls!

Enjoy today, “Working for Christ!”


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