Archive for the ‘Hebrews’ category

I’VE BEEN TRYING TOO HARD!

November 9, 2015

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

Faith

Growing up, I was taught that I had to please God to earn my way into heaven. I was taught that I needed to spend more time in church, that I needed to go on mission trips, that I needed to place more money in the collection plate, that I needed to quit sinning, that I needed to become perfect! I always felt I had to do more. For six decades, I have tried to become a better person to please our Father, and for six decades I have fallen flat on my face. I am still the same sinner that I was thirty years ago. So if I believe what I was taught as a child, I’m never going to make it into heaven. I’m never going to meet the One who sent His Son to die for me. How in the world am I ever going to be good enough, to please God enough to spend eternity with Him?

I have finally come to realize that I will never be good enough. I am a sinner, and no matter how hard I try, I will always be a sinner! So does that mean I should just give up? Should I just live for myself and forget about pleasing God?

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6, NIV)

Maybe it’s time to look at my faith instead my behavior. Perhaps God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. Maybe He made me imperfect for a reason. Maybe He made me the way I am so I would have to trust Him, to allow Him to be present in my life, to give Him the authority to direct my path. Perhaps He doesn’t need me to please Him. Maybe He needs me to trust Him, to have faith in him. Even by trusting Him, I will still be a sinner, but because I belong to Him I will start to love others the way Jesus loves me. No, I will never be good enough, but that really doesn’t matter. God will never love me more than He loves me right this minute – no matter what I do or how hard I try to please Him. My salvation and His love for me have absolutely nothing to do with trying harder! It’s all about FAITH! I simply need to surrender my life to Him and trust that His way is the right way to live my life.

Perhaps you, too, should take a closer look at your faith today!

Have a blessed day, “Working for Christ!”

ARE YOU DRAWN TO EXTREMES?

June 26, 2015

“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” (Job 3:25-26, NIV)

extreme

Many of us are drawn to extremes. In some instances, pushing our limits can be a positive, uplifting thing. In most situations, however, especially in today’s society it can be a dangerous practice. We live in a world that tells us to “work longer hours”, “sleep less”, “quit wasting time”, “spend more money”, “obtain a better lifestyle”. Our tendency is to follow those directions because everyone else is doing it and we feel like they are all getting farther ahead in life than us. We don’t want to be left behind, do we?

Hold on a minute. Where does the bible tell us to live toward those extremes? Those messages we hear from the world aren’t from God. He didn’t design us to live with extreme calendars, extreme finances, or extreme work ethic. He designed us to be in relationships with one another (John 13:34-35, NIV). He designed us to work as if we were working for the Lord, not for other people or ourselves (Colossians 3:23, NIV). He designed us for rest – rest from work and rest in Him (Hebrews 4:10, NIV).

We can try to convince ourselves that our extreme lifestyles are designed to please God, but be very careful in the way you are thinking. It’s not a sin to have a great job, or lots of money, or the desire to take care of your family. Just make sure you get your priorities straight. God is first! Everything else will fall into place when you live your life for Him! He is calling us to a life of “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV) It seems to me that a life filled with these things would be much more attractive than one which is fast-paced, filled with greed, and totally out of control. 

If you’re driven toward extremes, turn to Christ! Live extremely for Him!

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

Work for Christ

GET TOGETHER!

October 27, 2014

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20, NIV)

together

We often find it hard to get together with other Christians – or anyone else for that matter. We’re just way too busy. Our calendars are always full: “I just don’t have time for anything else.” Our pride takes control: “I’m good. I’m doing just fine on my own.” Our aversion to vulnerability is strong: Oh, man. I’m just no good at opening up.” As followers of Jesus Christ, though, we must gather – not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV).

But … why? Why is it so important for us to get together with other Christians? There are a couple of really good reasons. Ecclesiastes 4:9 tells us that “two are better than one”. We are stronger, less vulnerable, together. If one strays, the other is there to help get him back on course.

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10, NIV).

More importantly, Jesus tells us that He is present when we gather in His name (Matthew 18:20, NIV). You see, the Holy Spirit dwells within each follower of Jesus (John 14:17, NIV). When we gather in His name, the power of the Holy Spirit fills the room. Confessions are made, sins are repented, love and compassion are expressed, hearts are healed, encouragement is given, lives are transformed. We are lifted up – up out of sin and rebellion – into a new life, a new identity, and a new calling. The work of the Lord is done that just cannot be done in isolation.

Don’t ever allow yourself to believe that you are too busy to get together with other Christians. There are probably others in your workplace or in your customer base that would enjoy an opportunity to share the Lord and their faith with someone else. Take the time, and the initiative, to seek them out. Don’t let your calendar, pride, or fear get in the way of your relationship with our Savior!

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! … For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalm 133:1-3 NIV)

 Work for Christ

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!”

COVERED WITH GRACE!

May 10, 2013

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

Grace Covers Me

Last night, my wife stole the blanket!  Or at least, that’s the way I saw it.

I woke up at 2 a.m. with cold legs and feet.  Finding them uncovered and thinking my wife had robbed me during the night, I gave the blanket a little tug – reclaiming the half granted to me in our marriage contract. Feeling warm and snug once again I settled in for the rest of the night.  That is, until I felt a tug back in the other direction.

My knees and toes were again suddenly exposed to the cool night air. I reached over and once again yanked the blanket back to my side of the bed. She retaliated. Before I knew it, the war was on.

“Why do you keep pulling the blanket away from me when you have so much of it?” my wife asked.

In the most patient half-asleep tone I could muster, I informed her that I had only one small corner of the blanket – barely enough to cover my toes. (Which, incidentally, were not covered.) “You’re cold because the rest of the blanket is up by your head,” she informed me. In the dim light of our bedroom I looked up toward my pillow and there was a large unused pile of blanket. She was right! “Oh, sorry,” I mumbled.  Feeling a bit silly I reached for the blanket realizing this little argument was my fault all along.

I have a knack for opening my mouth and saying whatever is on my mind. Most of the time, I don’t consider the consequences. I can recall way too many embarrassing lapses of judgment, selfish words I wish I never would have spoken, angry outbursts I’ve regretted, and obvious envy I should have avoided.

These and many other actions uncover the deep imperfections I try so hard to hide. When these carefully concealed faults are exposed, the result can be every bit as chilling as the absence of a blanket on a cool spring night.

While an exposed body may be easily remedied, an exposed soul is more difficult to cover. Covering an exposed soul is best accomplished through God’s wonderful gift of grace. Grace is simply God’s offering of forgiveness to those who don’t deserve it – like me. After all, I’m typically the source of my own embarrassing exposure.

In Romans 5:20 the Apostle Paul says, “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.”

His grace covers all faults. His acceptance warms the soul. His love brings new life. Nothing can be done to deserve it. But to all who ask, God graciously offers the warmth of His forgiveness and the covering of His grace. So why shiver in the cold confines of an exposed soul? God’s covering – His comforting grace is near!

Grace

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

Inspired by ToddChobotar.com, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Florida Hospital, Orlando, FL

YOU CAN’T HIDE!

April 9, 2013

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” (Hebrews 4:12-13, NLT)

travel for work

Early in my career, I traveled every week, Monday through Friday. I didn’t see my wife or kids until the weekend. By then, I was exhausted – I didn’t really have time for them. I just wanted to rest.

During the week, I was responsible for entertaining contractors from Chicago to Denver, from St. Louis to Minneapolis. Whatever they wanted, it was up to me to keep them “happy”. I spent a lot of time in restaurants, bars, and adult entertainment establishments. My customers knew that when I was in town, we were going to “party”. And, that’s exactly what we did. Whatever happened, never really happened (if you get my drift)!

My wife knew what was going on, but she put up with it for the sake of our kids. I never cheated on her, but I often found myself in extremely compromising situations. I was also responsible for causing several of my clients to stumble – one ended up in a divorce.

As I look back, I am ashamed of the person I had become. I realize now that the things I thought we had done in private were fully exposed to our Father. I also realize the hurt and pain I had caused my family. My actions were totally inexcusable, yet my wife forgave me, my kids have forgiven me, and our Savior has made it clear that He, too, has forgiven me for all of my transgressions.

I have no idea what you do to earn a living, but understand that God knows everything that goes on in your life. Nothing is hidden from Him. Live your life as if your future depends on it! It does!

Ask our Savior to forgive you for anything in your past that my be “hiding” inside. It really isn’t hidden from our Father! He sacrificed His life so that you could be forgiven!

hidden

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

ARE YOU PLUGGED-IN?

November 29, 2012

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. (Acts 1:8, NIV)

I’ve done it before, and I bet you have too. I tried everything I could think of to get a certain piece of equipment to work, but had absolutely no luck. I tried several times and was about to take it back to the store when my wife asked, “Did you plug it in?”

Did I plug it in? Oops! I forgot to plug it in!

(photo credit – myezpages.com)

We can do all the troubleshooting in the world to find the problems with our jobs, our bosses, and our co-workers, but if we’re not plugged in to God – specifically, to the Holy Spirit – there is no way to keep the “lights” on. He is our source of strength. Without that connection, we are powerless, destined to work in the dark. The Holy Spirit is the true and abundant source of power needed for running everything in our life, for making changes to our character, and for keeping the lights on in our work life.

Forgetting to plug-in the toaster or any appliance can be a bit embarrassing. Forgetting to plug-in to God can be disastrous.

Make sure that you are “plugged in” this Thursday. Begin your day with prayer. Open your heart to God and ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you and empower you as you pursue your spirituality at work.

God promises that you are never alone and that He will work through you. We know that God will not abandon us, no matter how high or how low we feel, no matter how difficult things become, and no matter how self-sufficient we think we are. He is always there for us, with us, and ready to work through us. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV)

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!


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