‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’
There was a poster a long time ago for The Economist. It read ‘It’s lonely at the top but at least there’s something to read’ Meaning The Economist of course. I don’t read that magazine but I got what the poster was saying. In the war of the corporate world they were with you in that battle.
We have something to read. The Bible. I carry mine with me to work along with a daily reading called The Upper Room that I follow, and it helps me enormously. It’s been no coincidence that passages from the bible have appeared on the days when I need advice, strength or guidance on certain matters. Not just at work or home. Some days the passage has been relevant to something that my wife and I have talked about and I text her the passage. It’s also been a reality check during days when I felt it was all about me and my success. And on the days when I’ve felt just plain lonely, God has been my companion. I do have days when I don’t pick it up just through pure laziness. disobedience and a sense of ‘How can this possibly help me’? But I have to be disciplined and know that it’s probably the moment when I most need it! So, have a go at taking a Bible with you. Even if it stays in your bag for a few days it’s a step in the right direction. The direction toward a closer relationship with God.
‘Heavenly Father, it can be lonely in the workplace. Help us to get closer to you through reading your word. Guide us along the path that glorifies you in all situations we face’
Stick to God’s lighted path!
‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”
As I was on my way to JFK airport this morning I was crossing Whitestone Bridge. On my right Manhattan twinkled in darkness. On my left, there was a golden sky as the sun was rising. It was a wonderful sight. God is undoubtedly speaking to me through ‘light’ at the moment. Everywhere I go, I see it and hear it. It’s difficult not to this time of year but I’m especially sensitive to it.
But what am I hearing? I think it’s quite obvious. God wants me to be a light to the world wherever I go and to show his glory. That’s incredibly difficult for me! I’m not naturally openly full of happiness. Contented yes but not always glowing with joy. But not many people are. And that’s the job I suppose. Spreading joy and happiness to those that aren’t. Even from a tight middle seat on a plane!
‘Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends’ – Revelation 3:20
Heavenly Father, Today, fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit so we can be a beacon of hope and joy to those around us. Help us to remember that the wonderful glow of the sunrise can also exist in a darkened conference room, train carriage or wherever sadness and hardened hearts may exist. – Amen!
‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me’
This is something I posted a year ago. As the ‘Feed My Starving Children’ event has come around again I thought it worth re-posting. (At the risk of coming over as lazy)!
I must admit that I sometimes moan that they’re aren’t enough good places to buy lunch in midtown Manhattan. It’s a ridiculous thing to say and just thinking about it now I feel awful when I consider all those people around the world that are starving.
This weekend is an exciting time for the town of Darien. Together with an organization called ‘Feed my Starving Children’, the church community is coming together to pack food for those who need it most. The event is in its fifth year and is not only a wonderful way to bring a community together to help those in need but it’s also a wonderful outreach event to those that may not know God. We don’t know where the food is going but that’s in God’s safe hands.
By the end of the weekend, everyone involved in the event is normally exhausted but hugely joyful and grateful for the opportunity to serve and glorify God. And probably even more grateful to live in a place where food is readily available.
Heavenly Father, we lift up the event this weekend to you. Surround it in your love and may the town of Darien grow stronger in their faith toward you. Bless the food that is packed and prepare a place where it is most needed’ – Amen!
‘And then I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up it’s dead, and the death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire’.
There’s one thing that I’d very much like to do, and that’s make a movie. I’ve spent years making 30 second TV commercials but I’d like to have a go at the real thing. Movie’s about the books of the bible aren’t small productions. They’re epic with casts of thousands. The Ten Commandments and The Passion of Christ are examples. But how about the book of Revelation? Anyone want to have a crack at that one? Anyone want to try a design a character that has seven heads and ten horns with crowns. But wait, it also has look of a leopard, the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion!
It can’t and shouldn’t be done. Why? It’s unimaginable for a human being and it will just end up looking silly. Revelation is mostly about the future. Not just some idealistic view of the future. Not guess-work like the movie ‘ The Time Machine’. No, Revelation is the truth. It is actually going to happen. But there’s a deadline. Unlike our work deadlines we don’t know the actual date and that’s the problem. Us human’s need facts that we can see and believe. “Give me a time and a date”!
Forget the deadline. God has briefed us over and over again! Through multiple sermons and scripture. All we can do is work on the brief everyday, forever. Because we love God we must work as hard as we can to glorify Him. We’ll have our ups and downs and we will sometimes forget there’s a deadline but when the time finally comes it says in Revelation 21:3-4 – ‘I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever’. This sounds like it’s worth working very hard for but I still can’t imagine a movie about it!
‘Heavenly Father, Help us not to think of work as something we have to do. As something that we just earn money for doing. You have a deadline that we are to work to. Give us the skills and tools to be able to craft something that glorifies you and will show your beauty and majesty’ – Amen!
‘God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars’
That passage sounds so throw away! Almost like…’Oh and by the way He made the stars’.
This morning’s light was incredible. If you missed it, don’t worry. There’s plenty more to come over the next few weeks. It’s not just the light but the way it ignites the color on the trees. So, if you are zooming around on school runs, point it out to your children or if you’re walking or driving to the station just take a moment to look. It’s a sign that God is with us! Speaking to us!
‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them to do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets’
In advertising we often talk about how easy or hard the client’s brief is. The word ‘generic’ often comes up. Something that one brand has that a thousand other brands have but they still want to sell it. Once the grumbling is out-of-the-way we get on and do what we’re employed to do and that is be creative in positioning something that’s generic in an interesting way.
Try writing ‘forgive’ on a stone and carry it with you in your pocket.
The above scripture sounds like an easy brief, but is it? How can I love a person who purposely made me look bad at work (At least that’s what I thought). How can I not be jealous of someone who beat me to the promotion or simply did a better job than me? There are answers though out The Bible. One example is Romans 8:28 – ‘And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God, and are called according to His purpose for them’. I love those two words ‘We know’. I know because I believe and have faith. So, it’s pointless me saying “It’s not fair that I didn’t get that promotion or job”. I can imagine God shaking his head and thinking “He just doesn’t get it.” And of course I don’t always understand and I know I will forever go through life not fulling understanding why certain things work for and against me but I believe that when it’s ‘for’ it’s because God wants it that way and when it’s ‘against’ God knows it’s not going to be good for me and it’s simply not part of His plan as disappointing as it maybe sometimes. And the times when I’ve ignored Him and tried to do things my way or gone ‘off brief’ it’s become a huge mess. But that’s for another time!
Heavenly Father, Living life according to your law is a tough brief and we’re thankful that you forgive us when we answer it wrongly. Teach us not to invent our own answers that satisfy our own selfish needs but we pray we’ll turn to the knowledge of your word in scripture instead – Amen!
‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ’.
The phrase ‘Rise and Shine’ was brought up by my wife the other day. She was about to say it to our children and then she remembered how much she loathed it when she was a child. I agreed, it is an annoying phrase. It’s the last thing we want to hear but I had to put it as a heading today. There has been a common theme in these posts about Christ shining through us. When I pray what to write about, so often it comes up. But being repetitive isn’t a bad thing. The Bible is full of it.
Being able to shine to others through Christ is the single most important thing in the work place. Every word, every facial expression and body language reflects Him. It’s how we overcome anger, jealousy and stress. Praying for peace and strength allows us to shine.
One of my favorite hymns is ‘Shine Jesus Shine’. The words are so powerful:
Shine Jesus Shine, Fill this land with the Father’s glory. Blaze spirit blaze, set our hearts on fire. Flow, river flow, Flood the nations with grace and mercy. Send forth your word Lord and let there be light.
It’s a shame you can’t hear the tune but hopefully one day I’ll be able to embed songs into the blog. If you have time, look it up!
Heavenly Father, As your humble servants we ask for you to shine through us to the world and as the lyrics of the song go ‘Set out hearts on fire’ – Amen!
“Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years of our lives are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.”
It’s written in stone!
I know this sounds like a depressing verse and I agree it is, if looked at from a human point of view. But it’s actually quite liberating. Especially if you’re 47 years old like me. It means I have 23 years left to focus on the things that God wants me to do. ( I may live until I’m 90 but play along with me). How do I know what God wants me to do? I don’t really. But I know some things. God made me and blessed me with some skills. In my case, my skills evolve around creativity. I have used the last 27 years of those skills dedicated to working for Advertising agencies and providing for my family. Nothing wrong with that. But I haven’t necessarily used them to give back to God. To serve him. So, now I recognize that, all I can do is pray and listen to what God has for me to do. I know that if I’ve offered myself up to him, something will come up. Most likely something that I never thought I would do. Like write a blog!
Heavenly Father, you have blessed us with so many gifts, Our families, our homes and our jobs. Help us to realize that they’re only temporary gifts from you and that you want us to use them to glorify you. We offer ourselves up to you Lord. Amen!
‘Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ’.
This is a very bold statement from Paul. But I like it. I’m not very much in to worrying about what other people think about my work and how I do in the work place. After all, I’m in the creative industry. Some days I’m brilliant at what I do, other days awful. Really bad. And the saying is “You’re only as good as your last ad”. I have learnt to accept that over the years.
If I do a bad job I think it must be for a reason. It’s not as if I’m trying to come up with a bad idea. And today I have a faith. As much as sometimes I’m tempted to worry about criticism, I know that God is truly the only judge and he knows my heart and my intentions. I do have a tendency not to listen to what other people think which isn’t good, and for that I pray for forgiveness, and for the opportunity to listen the next time someone offers up an opinion.
But the ‘Good is not good enough’ phrase is cynical, demoralizing and poisonous. It doesn’t just exist in the workplace. It poisons the hallways and classrooms of schools, colleges and sports fields. I’ve heard it said on more than one occasion at games I’ve attended.
It’s our job as Christians to take Paul’s words and actively be it in our lives. As servants of God we must be able to encourage people and encourage others to be behave in the same way. Our goal is to please God. He’s pleased if we do the best we can, regardless of what others think, and He’s pleased if we help others to be better at their work with constructive, inspiring and sensible words.
So remember the phrase of the day is ‘God is good enough’!
Heavenly Father, You’re more than good enough. You know our hearts and our minds. You know what we’re going to say even before we say it. Help us to please you by being inspiring and encouraging in our place of work so that others may see you shine through us. Amen!
I’m on the train going into the city and I’ve just read this:
‘Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead’.
The words shook me.
So often we just turn up but we don’t participate. The passage could have something to do with helping others. Who is God prompting us to help? A work colleague, a friend or a neighbor? Or our own family? Give it some thought.