Posted tagged ‘religion’

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!”

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?

May 27, 2014

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24, NIV)

 It's About Jesus

How do you make a living? Or perhaps it would be better to ask, “What do you do to earn a paycheck?” What do you do with the money you earn? What goals have you set for yourself? What plans do you have for your future? Where do you see yourself five years from now? Ten? Twenty? Fifty years from now?

No matter what you do to earn a living, or how you spend your money, or what goals you’ve set for yourself, you have limited time on this earth. If you’re lucky (some may say “unlucky”) you just might live to be eighty or ninety or possible even one hundred years old. However long you may live really isn’t important. The important thing is this: sometime between now and the time you leave this world I pray that we can all find a way to “finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given us (me) – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

That “task” does not require you to become a doctor , a lawyer, a missionary, or a preacher! It doesn’t require you to make a lot of money or to give everything you own to the church or to some  charity.  It only requires an obedient heart – one that loves the Lord and is willing to live in a way that honors Christ Jesus. That heart could be yours whether you mop up dirty floors at the corner McDonald’s or you are the president of Chase Bank.

We are all the same! Where Christ is concerned, no one is less that anyone else. No one is greater than anyone else either. We were all placed on this earth strategically by our Father in Heaven, to do His will, not ours. He placed some of us in lowly positions, not because we are lowly, but because He knew we could do the most good in those places. And, He has elevated others so they can use their position to elevate even more people and to bring them closer to Christ. Unfortunately, where human nature is involved, some people fall back on their own free will and use their positions to better themselves instead of our Savior.

We live in a broken world. It’s not so broken that it can’t be fixed, however. It takes just one person at a time. Like Paul suggests, our lives aren’t worth anything unless we use them in a way that brings glory to our Savior! Where do you see yourself five years from now? I pray that you can honestly answer, “I see myself a little closer to our Lord!”

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR THROUGH YOUR WORK!

January 14, 2014

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17, NIV)

Image of Christ

The fact that Jesus was a carpenter tells us that He did not think His occupation was below Him or that He was wasting His many gifts by spending time in the workplace. Think about it for a moment. The One who was the master craftsman of the universe spent a great deal of time during His thirty-three years on earth crafting things with His hands. It’s easy for us to overlook the fact that Jesus knew what it meant to get up and go to work every day. Jesus experienced both the exhilaration and the exhaustion of putting in a hard day’s work. He didn’t see His work as mundane or meaningless – it was the work His Father called Him to do.

I have a pretty good hunch that Jesus was a top-notch carpenter producing work of the highest quality. In fact, even before Jesus entered His rabbinical ministry, Matthew reminds his readers of God’s pleasure in His Son. Following Jesus baptism, the Spirit of God descended as a dove, and a voice from heaven declared, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17, NIV) I am sure there were many things that pleased the Father, but one important aspect of Jesus’ life that we must not overlook was His work as a carpenter. Much like us, He spent time in the workplace dealing with the same types of things we deal with every day. He was able to overcome the trials and temptations that affected His life and He was able to receive that vote of confidence from His Father – “with him I am well pleased.” Jesus’ Father is also our Father. How great would it be to hear those very same words about us from our Father in heaven!

We worship God in and through our work, but one of the primary ways we love our neighbor is in and through our vocation. Jesus calls us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, NIV) The transforming truth is that God is very much at work in our work. He is transforming us in our work and transforming the world through our work.

Keep an open mind and an open heart as you enter your workplace today. Love those around you. Help transform the world – one day at a time. Remember, you are “Working for Christ!”

Work for Christ

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

June 5, 2013

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)

romans 8-28

In all things? You’re kidding me, right? I just lost my job. My boss just demoted me. I haven’t had a raise in five years and I won’t be getting one again this year. How can that be good? That sounds pretty bad to me!

But wait a minute. You need to read a little further and put the whole verse in context. Do you love the Lord? Have you been called according to His purpose?

Maybe your relationship with Him is simply one of convenience. You say you love Him – as long as everything is going your way. You’re happy with your job, and acknowledge that it’s according to His purposes – as long as you keep getting raises and promotions.

But what about when things aren’t going the way you want? How do you feel about Him then? If you have any doubts, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with Him. We need to be able to understand that no matter how tough things get, the things that happen to us – no matter how good or bad – have been designed by Him to work for our best and for His glory.

Don’t worry when things aren’t going your way. They’re definitely going His way!

God Is For Us

No matter what happens today, enjoy “Working for Christ”!

IS AMBITION SINFUL?

June 4, 2013

“… You are not your own. You were bought with a price. …” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV)

bought with a price

Christians often see salvation as a business transaction with God. They accept His Son as their Savior, then He’s supposed to do things for them – bring promotions, raises, and success.

Salvation isn’t a “transaction” at all. It’s a gift. Once we receive it, there is nothing we can do to make us more or less worthy of it. Our opportunity to be in fellowship with God is solely based on the righteousness of Christ. God owes us nothing. He simply offers us a place throughout eternity with Him – not just after we die, but starting the day we accept Him as our Savior.

As I said, God owes us nothing, but that’s not true for us. We owe Him everything, and it’s a debt we start paying the moment we accept Christ as our Savior. When we are saved, we surrender to the Kingdom of God. We surrender our jobs, careers, wants, and desires. We are no longer able to pursue selfish goals or possessions; now we must pursue the things that bring glory to God and accomplish His will.

How will a promotion help me serve others or glorify God? How will changing jobs affect my relationship with Him? How will I use the extra money I receive if I get that raise?

Being ambitious for the Kingdom teaches us how God has gifted us and how He wants to use us. God isn’t satisfied with a half-hearted, laid back effort. Avoiding selfish ambition doesn’t mean we are to be lazy. It doesn’t mean doing things without energy. It doesn’t mean not doing our very best. Paul stresses that whatever we are doing, we should be doing it “as if we are doing it for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23-24). That is our righteous ambition.

We are to glorify God and enjoy Him. We feel His pleasure most when we strive for excellence – but for His pleasure and glory, not ours. For His service and the service of others, not for our own gratification.

Is ambition sinful? According to the way the world defines it, yes. But when we apply enthusiasm to our efforts and offer them to Him as a testimony of our love and devotion to Him, then ambition becomes eminently praiseworthy!

colossians 323

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!

OBEDIENCE!

June 3, 2013

The Lord said to Moses, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail” – so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand.  (Exodus 4: 2-4, NIV)

MOSES

This story is an example of how the Lord will use anything to turn our attention toward Him. God wanted Moses to get completely in line with His plans for the people of Israel. That required Moses to understand once and for all that God calls the shots. God needed Moses to put his life into God’s hands for God to use as He wanted. And, God wanted Moses to use his “gifting” with confidence because it belonged to God.

Moses’ staff was standard equipment for a shepherd – his work before God gave him his new assignment. The action of throwing it on the ground was obedience. Running from the unexpected and unwelcome snake was simply common sense. But picking up the snake? That was obedience and courage, followed by relief as it became his staff again.

Over time, and with experiences like this one, God trained Moses to become a tremendous leader. As Moses learned through practice and obedience, he became the man God wanted him to become. The staff-serpent would be used several times to work miracles as God broke the power of Egyptian rule over Israel.

How does this relate to us? In our work situations, the staff can symbolize the roles and gifts God has given us. Throwing the staff down symbolizes our surrender to Christ as part of our daily walk with Him. Picking up the serpent, then changing it back to the staff, symbolize the reality that once we give our life to Christ, it becomes His. Although the staff may look the same afterward, it really isn’t. We may carry it, but Christ owns it!

Give your heart and staff to Christ this week as you go about your business. Surrender your life to Him and allow Him to call the shots. He knows what is best for you in every situation!

surrender

Have a blessed day, “Working for Christ”!

A LIFE FULL OF LOVE!

April 15, 2013

“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NLT)

crash

(photo credit – usatoday.com)

When our economy crashed a few years ago, a lot of people crashed right along with it. I know of at least four developers and general contractors in Florida alone who committed suicide. Prior to the “crash”, these guys were making money hand over fist, buying up properties and selling them for huge profits. They believed they were invincible and because of their wealth, they thought they had nothing to worry about. They placed all of their trust in their money.

Our economic future is still in question. Guess what? Our economic future will always be in question. The banking and monetary system could collapse any day. Our future will be in question until we decide not to put our trust in money – our trust needs to be in God. If we are fortunate enough to have an excess of disposable cash, we should use it to help widows, orphans, and all those in need. Our love for each other should be the source of our wealth – not the size of our bank account.

How long do you plan to live in this world? How much money can you actually accumulate in that amount of time? How much of it can you take with you when you die? I’m not saying that money is necessarily a bad thing. I’m simply saying that money will never “buy” your way into heaven. Christ paid the price for each of us. I don’t believe He had a pocket full of money. I do know, however, that He had a life full of love!

We really don’t need huge amounts of money to get along in this world; we just need a little more love!

more love

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ”!


%d bloggers like this: