Posted tagged ‘devotions’

HELP WANTED!

May 8, 2017

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38, NIV)

As each year passes I look back and am disappointed that I have thrown away so much of my life searching for things that only gratify me, things that are meaningless to everyone but me. Yet, I’ve been extremely blessed. I have always had a roof over my head, food on the table, and family and friends that have loved and supported me along the way. I’ve had a great education and wonderful spiritual leaders. I’ve had success in business and with love. Looking from the outside, my life appears to be perfect.

So why am I so disappointed?

After years of searching for success in business and finally attaining certain financial goals, I have come to realize life is not about me! Real success doesn’t come from working 60 hour work weeks or walking over other people to move up the corporate ladder. A good job and six figure income don’t truly define success. Too often money causes more problems than it solves. And working hour after hour as if nothing else matters is a sure way to tear a family apart. When we sacrifice our lives for our jobs, what have we really gained?

How do we meet success in life?

It sounds simple, but real success comes from following Jesus! Real success starts each morning and ends every evening with a prayer of gratitude. True and honest success includes Jesus in our conversations throughout the day. Success is looking for ways to love one another (John 13:34-35, NIV). Success is living our lives with joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV).

Success is not about our status at work or the amount of money we bring home at the end of the week! Success is all about living our lives for Jesus! And, more importantly, it’s about living our lives with Jesus!

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

A SAVIOR HAS BEEN BORN TO YOU!

December 21, 2016

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord”. (Luke 2:11, NIV)

manger-scene

He was just a little baby. He thought like a baby. He cried like a baby. He giggled like a baby. He learned to crawl before he could walk. He made baby sounds before he could talk. He cried when his teeth started to come in and he cried when he was hungry.

Yes, he was a baby – just like we were once babies. But he grew into the man who would become our Savior. He spent his time on earth teaching those he met how to love and to live in this crazy, mixed up world. The times were different, but the problems were unmistakably similar to the problems we experience today – the world was full of hatred, jealousy, war, terrorism, cheating, stealing, adultery, murder, and so on! This young man, named Jesus, was not afraid to make a stand for his Father to show the world a better way. He refused to give in to the political pressures of the time. He did not allow anything to stand in the way of his purpose. He was willing to die for his beliefs!

Am I willing to give my life for my beliefs? Most of the time I’m not even sure what my beliefs really are. I struggle every day, wondering “what is my purpose here on earth?” I live and work in a different world than Jesus. My job takes up 50% of my day; sleep takes up another 30%. That only leaves 20% of my day to eat, relax, and enjoy my family. There’s not much time left to give to the Lord! What am I supposed to do?

Believe it or not, many of us go through life with that kind of thinking. I did it for years. I did it until I began to realize that my beginnings were very much like Jesus’ beginnings. We were both helpless little babies, waiting to be led by the hand into a huge world of unknowns. It took me a long time to realize that the very same Spirit that lived in Jesus lives in me – right now! The same spirit that allowed Jesus to arise from the grave, gives me the power to lead others to Christ during my working hours and throughout the rest of the day. My job is a blessing, a gift from God. It’s a place for me to share God’s love with those who may have doubts. My entire life is a blessing. My wife, kids, and grandchildren are all beautiful gifts from our Savior – gifts from that little baby that was born 2,000 years ago in a manger in Bethlehem.

What is my purpose here on earth? My purpose is to share the love of Jesus with anyone who has ears to listen! Today, a Savior has been born to YOU!!

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

luke-2_11

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!”

YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO SAY YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN!

March 31, 2014

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you.” (1 Peter4:1-4, NIV)

Busy

We spend all week in the “world” – playing, working, and just trying to survive. Many of us are so busy we rarely take the time to stop and “smell the roses” – to acknowledge the fact that the Lord is in complete control of all things, both heavenly and worldly. Other than on Sunday we rarely take the time to close our eyes and thank the Lord for the many, many blessings that He has so generously showered upon us. We spend six days and twenty-three hours each week living for ourselves, doing the things that make us happy, yet we rarely take the time to include the Lord in our daily activities. We justify that by saying that we are Christians. We go to church for an hour on Sunday. We follow Christ. Really?

It’s easy to say you are a Christian. You simply open your mouth, engage your brain, and say the words. It’s something completely different for someone to notice that you are a Christian. When you follow Christ, you treat people with respect, you don’t judge them, you control your tongue, you show patience and love to those around you, and you take the time each and every day to acknowledge the presence of the Lord in your life. Your “light” (Christ’s light) shines wherever you go. The most important part of your day is when you wake up and say “good morning” to your Heavenly Father! Then, you invite Him to spend the day with you and you enjoy His company no matter where you go, what you do, or what you say. He is with you always – throughout the entire day, week, month, and year. The two of you become One!

You should never have to say you are a Christian. It should be evident by the way you live your life!

Work for Christ

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!”

YOUR NAME IS MORE THAN JUST A NAME!

September 10, 2013

“To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”  (Revelation 2:17, NLT)

A New Name

In my Bible, those words are printed in red ink.  That means they are the words of Jesus.  They were spoken in a vision to the Apostle John about the rewards that are waiting for God’s people in heaven.  For those who are victorious over sin, Jesus promises to give Manna – the bread of life.  To those who overcome the struggles of this life, Jesus promises to give a white stone with a new name.  A different name.  A unique name.  A secret name.  Maybe we will keep our earth-born names in heaven, maybe we won’t.  One thing for sure is that we will be given new names known only to our Savior and to us.

I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases this same verse:

“I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror;  I’ll also give a clear, smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name.”

A secret new name.  Will it be a name of power?  A name of mystery?  A name of victory?  A name of affection?  We don’t know for sure.  What we do know is that God will someday rename each of us.  We’re not sure how that will happen, but it will be something special.

Perhaps it will happen after you’ve been in heaven for just a few days – after you’ve walked the golden streets, splashed in the river of life and had conversations with Esther, Adam, and Moses.  Perhaps God will approach you and ask if you have a few minutes to spare.  “I have all eternity,” you reply.  So you and your Maker go off together to a quiet, peaceful place.  There you sit and talk about the trials and triumphs of life on earth.  You blush when God calls you victorious – a conqueror.  But then your eyes nearly pop out of your head as He pulls a beautiful white stone from His robe and places it in your hand.  There in letters shining with the colors of a rainbow is a name.  A secret name.  A private name that only you and He will know.  At that time, you and your Father will have a special bond that will never be broken.

Why would God go through the extravagant gesture of giving you a new name?  Because you are unique.  Because you are special.  Because you are His.

“… The Lord who created you says: ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name;  you are mine.’”  (Isaiah 43:1, NLT)

Isaiah 43_1

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

IT ALL BEGINS TODAY!

September 9, 2013

“But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:8-10, NIV)

148509674

I’m a collector. I collect words that inspire, instruct, or encourage me. I like quotes that make me think new thoughts, motivate me to take action, or sometimes just make me laugh. As I was writing today’s devotional, I came across this one:

Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. — Brian Dyson

I need this reminder constantly.  I find it far too easy to waste time – to spend minutes, hours or even days doing things that don’t really matter. Sometimes this happens when I’m tired, bored, or frustrated. I easily forget … time is not infinite.  We only have so much of it while we’re on this planet.  Yet there are so many goals and dreams I want to accomplish. I don’t want to miss any of life’s opportunities because I’ve used my time carelessly.

Words, of course, are the same. Careless words can cause pain. Careless words may ruin an opportunity to uplift others. As a parent, as a business leader, as a spouse and as a friend, I must remember that once words have been spoken they can’t be retrieved. I want to use my words to raise others up, not drag them down.

I pray that you, too, will think about these things as you go through your day. Use your time wisely – plan what you are going to say before you open your mouth. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to make it through an entire day without hearing – or saying – a negative word, an insulting remark, or a judgmental comment? One day can lead to two; two days can lead to an entire week, a week to a month, and so on! It all begins today!

it begins here

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ.”


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