I saw this and thought it quite profound. It took me a little time to work it out! But the idea that God stays exactly where He is and it’s us that moves further away is compelling.
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We give thanks to you O God; we give thanks for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds
Perfection is difficult to find but the evenings our here in Connecticut these past few days have come close. Not far from where we live there is a beach and park area. It has cycle paths and walking paths. It has trees, rocky out crops by the beach and wide open areas where people can throw or kick a ball around. It has also has wonderful views looking across the Long Island sound to other beaches in our town. The temperatures have been in their mid 70’s at sunset, comfortable enough to walk around with the breeze coming in from the ocean. Why am I telling you all this? Work can be all-consuming especially if we commute. Even if we leave the office at 5.30pm, some of us won’t be home until 7pm. And once we’re home and we’ve eaten, we may feel too exhausted to get out and do anything. But how about we leave the office earlier?! I understand that we can’t always do that. If we’re busy, we’re busy. Or can it wait until the morning? But if we find ourselves sitting there at 4.30 or 5pm realizing that we can actually leave the office then why not just get up and go? God gifts us days for us to make the most of. Missing beautiful evenings in the summer and missing time with family isn’t something we can get back. That day has gone. The good news is there will be another one and another one. But one day, on this earth, our days will run out. It will be dreadful to think that we didn’t make the most of the days and time that God gave us. We can’t always make the most of them. We do have work to do but it’s finding the balance. As I write, it’s 8am in the morning. I was going to post this tomorrow but the weather doesn’t look so good for then. I’m going to post this now because it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day today, with a beautiful evening….check your workload at 4pm and see if you can’t just leave the office and go and meet God’s creation.
Heavenly Father, clear my workload so I can get out of the office today! – Amen!
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed
When we give to God we’re putting our money in His hands. In truth, it was His to begin with. A gift to us, of which we’re giving just a little back to help build His kingdom. If we ever wonder if it’s being put to good use then we just have to spend time in the company of missionaries. These are people who have given up a lot to help spread the word of God around the world. To people who have never heard the word of God and to some places where it’s against the law to read The Bible. But still they persevere. Their perseverance comes through a very strong faith in God. Faith that means they are willing to risk their lives to build the kingdom. Not everyone can be a missionary and not everyone should be. We all have our purpose on this earth which God has assigned to us. And giving is maybe one of them! If you’re in business now and you sometimes wonder how you can contribute to the word of God being spread then giving is a huge part of it. Without it, these missionaries can’t do the work they do. So, God is looking for cheerful givers…..spread the word.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gifts You give us. Help us to be wise in how we use these gifts and how we use them to build Your Kingdom – Amen!
‘The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels’
God has a book on us. It’s ‘The book of Life’. And all of our names are in it. It has everyone’s name from the beginning of time (Adam and Eve) until the end of history, whenever that may be. The reason all the names are in there is because Jesus died on the cross and paid for all the sins of all the members of the human race. It’s written that we will be judged by our ‘good works’ not by our sins as Jesus has already paid the price for those. “Great news”, I hear us all say. “We’re doing good things all the time”. Steady on. Our ‘good works’ have to be through faith in Jesus Christ by following his path and leading our lives by what it says in scripture. So, if we don’t accept the work of Jesus Christ on the cross by faith then we are depending on our own works. And when those works are evaluated and judged at The Great White Throne then people will realize that it simply wasn’t enough and our names will be blotted out of The Book of Life. They were merely pencilled in all that time. Why am I sounding so drastic? My mother died a good person. I believe she did a lot of good things for many people but she didn’t die a believer in Jesus Christ. Everyday I think about that and everyday I wonder where she is. Lake of fire or heaven? I have no choice but to live the rest of my life thinking about it. All I had to do was ask her to say “I believe In Jesus Christ as my savior”. But I wasn’t around to do it. Neither was I that concerned. That was my fault. But I can do something for those that are living. That’s why I write this blog. Most weeks, I write about things that are light-hearted like seeing God in rainbows or hearing God through a child’s voice but today I don’t feel in the mood for that. Today, for some reason, my heart is aching for those that don’t believe in Jesus Christ and are too wrapped in their lives to consider Him as their savior, no matter how good their works are. He created us and put us on this earth solely to do good works for Him through faith in Him. We should take some time to think about what’s influencing our decisions day-to-day and why we do the work we do. Is it work that depends on our own instincts? Or is it through conversation with God, through prayer? What is that’s getting in the way of our relationship with God? What is time and time again letting us down? We can only search our ourselves. We cannot judge others. But the writing is clear in Revelation. The Book of Life is not fiction. It is fact.
Heavenly Father, help us to get closer to you in faith and do our work in your name and to glorify you. Help us also to bring to you those that don’t believe in you. Give us the softness of heart to approach them and tell them all about you – Amen!
‘See you do not look down on these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven’
I was on the subway a few days ago. It was hot. Very hot. The hottest I’ve ever known it in New York City. When I got on the train the car was full of children on a summer camp. I can tell they had been to The Statue of Liberty and Chinatown. They were all wearing orange T-Shirts, smiling and happily talking among themselves. Sitting among them was a guy in his mid 50’s. I can tell he worked on a construction site by the hard hat he was holding in his hand and by the dirt on his clothes. He looked very tired but he managed to start up a conversation with all the children. He asked them where they had been, what souvenirs they had bought and if they’d had a good day. He was genuinely interested in them. Within 30 seconds he had them all fighting for his attention. They all wanted to show him what they had bought and tell him where they had been. He was just one of those friendly, chirpy New Yorker’s. It was fun to watch him. And they had fun talking to him. When they got to 42nd St they all got off. The last thing he said to them was “I’m just glad you kids had a great day.” I’m not sure he had. The temperature was in its hundreds outside and he was truly exhausted. I could tell. But he found the time to talk to those children. That’s love. God’s love. It was like Jesus Himself asking those children how their day was. There’s no real point to this. It’s just another one of those things that I occasionally come across and I see God. You might want to look out for Him too. He’s everywhere!
Heavenly Father, help us to see you in everything so we can know you are with us. We give thanks and praise for the times when we do see you – Amen!
The Lord is near to all them that call on Him, to all that call on Him in truth
Whenever I’m asked that question I usually say “I’m fine”. It’s one of those questions asked out of politeness. More a greeting then a genuine enquiry about my well-being. But how are we really? Could we reel off a long list of things that aren’t so good? Most probably. In the same way, if we thought about it more, we could list a lot of things that are good. Imagine God asking you the “How are you” question. It’s one way of starting a relationship with him. It’s a question we can quite easily reply to. We can tell Him about the things we’re struggling with at work. The stress, the politics. Perhaps there’s someone at work we would like to get on better with. Maybe we don’t like our job and we want a change. All of these things we can speak to God about. We can also thank Him for the fact that we have work. If we have good health, then we should him thank Him for that. For our houses, families, cars and the earth we live on. These are all gifts from God. Temporarily given for us to enjoy. God wants to know how we are. He loves us. Cares about us and wants us to tell Him all about it. So, how are you?
He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
In the business I’m in everyone talks about simplicity and how to communicate a message in the simplest way no matter how complicated or basic the message is. The skill is to get straight to the point and not let the complicated stuff get in the way.
This past Sunday I listened to a girl sing a hymn. Sophie was her name. I think she’s no more than 8 or 9 years old. It was beautiful. She’s blessed with a wonderful voice and the words were all about ‘Jesus’. Uncomplicated words. In the quietness, the words she sang seemed so simple. Suddenly all the clutter and the stuff that complicates life and gets in the way of my relationship with Jesus blew away in the morning breeze. An image came into my head as the girl was singing. It was of two paths. One all overgrown and thorny and the other clear. Jesus was at the end of both. It was like I had a choice. I could take the tough path to Jesus or the clear one. Children were running down the clear path with Jesus smiling at the other end. The clear one seemed more appealing. It was the simple, less complicated path. Together with the words from the song it all seemed so clear. God can speak to us in any situation. I don’t think I was expecting it to come through an 8 years old girl’s voice! It was like a whisper. We have to be listening carefully and paying attention to when God is speaking to us. Of course, I have to look at all the stuff that gets in the way of my relationship with God but it was a peaceful, satisfying image. I thank God for Sophie, her voice and the moment of clarity. I just wish I could turn back time and film her singing it. Perhaps another time!
Heavenly Father, we give thanks for the children. Fo their pure and peaceful lives among our complicated ones. Help us to simplify our relationship with you so we can come to you like little children – Amen!
‘What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life’
I found this video by a preacher at Mars Hill Church. I found the words quite compelling. In that, we can’t just run rampant and abuse God’s grace and forgiveness and expect to belong to Him.
‘Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand’
It’s good occasionally to take a breather and just think. We’re all caught up in routines and habits. Our lives carrying us along at 100 mph. What you’re doing now may well be your purpose in life but then again, maybe not?
Here’s a video that might get us thinking at least. There’s no answers in there except turning to God for guidance. One big answer! Amen!
‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.’
Most of us get on the same train everyday. It’s a routine that we’re in to. I’m sure we stand on the same part of the track waiting for the train. It’s a necessity really. We know what train and what car to get on to get us to the office in the most efficient way. Efficiency is an important part of our work. Getting the best job done with the just the right amount of effort. But I’m not sure if I ever have enough energy to get everything done. I think it’s because I don’t stop to refuel. The Holy Spirit is a source of energy for us all. It heals. It speaks to us. It gives us strength. But to refuel we need to stop. Not just go slower but come to a complete stop. Praying for The Holy Spirit to help us along can feel like a pointless exercise and sitting down and actually talking through our needs is a discipline and feels like hard work. “I’ll give it a go but it probably won’t work.” or ‘He’s probably not listening anyway.” are thoughts that sometimes cross my mind. But God knows what we need. I know I say that a lot but He does. If you feel exhausted then there’s a very good chance He agrees! If you feel like you just need to cut your workload or have a deadline extended then it’s well worth praying for. God has moved my calendar around on many occasions. Better than I ever could imagine. This isn’t a fantasy faith we have. A nice thing to believe around Easter and Christmas. No, God is 24/7 committed to us even in the times when we’re not committed to Him. So, if you’re on a train now, stop and break the routine. Close your eyes and have a chit-chat with God. Let all your thoughts no matter how random head in His direction. He can take it all. Unlike you, He doesn’t need a break.
Heavenly Father, help us to stop and look to You for energy and encouragement. May we find time to break our routines and spend time with You. Thank You for always listening and knowing what our needs are – Amen!
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