FOCUS.

Colossians 3:2

‘Set your minds on things that are above and not on things that are on earth’.

 

As Lent begins many of us are frantically trying to find things to give up. The usual things – chocolate, online shopping, Netflix. Instead, perhaps it’s possible for us to give something up at work and focus on God. What would we give up to make us humble? What we give up to show more respect for a work colleague or have forgiveness for someone who offended us? What would we give up to show compassion for someone who is having a difficult time. Perhaps this would stay with us beyond the 40 days if we remain focused on Him.

In Colossians 3:2, God tells us to focus on things that are above, meaning Him and His teaching. Let go. Give up the things at work that you know stop you from behaving in a Godly way.

 

Gods creation is something else to focus on during Lent. He shows us some spectacular things!

silhouetted-treesCove Island Park. Stamford, Connecticut.
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The Light.

 

John 8:12

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying “I’m the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’

noroton-station-3

Since the beginning of this year I have rediscovered my passion for photography. ‘Light’ is one of the things that I can’t get enough of. As winter rolls on, the sunrise and sunset times are slowly changing and I’m very aware of when. The best thing about it is a connection I make with God and a heightened awareness of His creation. It’s amazing how the most mundane things can look beautiful under His light. The picture above was shot at around 6:30am at Noroton Heights train station. Not incredible, but certainly it’s Gods work peeking over the trees on the horizon. Our passions can find that connection with God. Think about it today and see if you can find a connection through your passions. 

 

Pray with me.

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for Your Light in this world. May that light shine even brighter when we make that connection with You – Amen!

Certainly.

Job 19:25

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth

The snow has prevented any early morning running. So, instead I walk to work, which is about a 50 minute walk to Downtown Boston. On my way into work there are some days when the beauty is breathtaking. Fresh snow, blue skies and bright, vivid light. It’s a treat to be able to do that walk. When I was walking yesterday morning a young man was clearing snow on the sidewalk. He moved to the side to let me pass. I said ‘Thank you’ and he replied, with a smile, ‘Certainly’. Yes, I thought to myself, certainly. With all the beauty, the kindness of the people around me and my good health that allowed me do the walk, certainly there must be someone behind all of this. Certainly, there must be God. The world is full of terrible things that make us question His existence and His kindness. But surely, no one else can design a shrub that can survive a brutal winter and still produce beautiful flower come Spring. Or design a sky so blue that it contrasts perfectly with the whiteness of the snow that can be rolled into balls and sculpted into a snowman, all for the joy and pleasure of young children. Not forgetting the sound design of laughter that comes with that. Look around you today. Take in what has been designed around you. Really look closely. And be certain of God – Amen!

Let's hope there's no fires!

Let’s hope there’s no fires!

The view from my basement window. Is there anybody out there!

The view from my basement window. Is there anybody out there!

My walk to work. Where is everyone?

My walk to work. Where is everyone?

Can't take a seat and rest!

Can’t take a seat and rest!

Christmas every day.

2 Corinthians  9:15

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift

This time of year does give us time to appreciate the true gift of Christmas. Our savior, Jesus Christ. Sadly, it’s too often a gift we throw away in favor of more material gifts. But God shows us grace and continues to present His gift to us every day. There was a Christmas song when I grew up – ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ which is  all about Christmas trees, snow, gifts and food. That would get boring very quickly but with Jesus it is Christmas every day. The precious gift that is waiting, freshly wrapped every morning when we wake up. Happy Christmas!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, You are our indescribable gift. Forgive us when we discard You for our own selfish gifts. We thank You that You are here for us every day – Amen!

Here’s the song. Enjoy!

Is business…pleasure?

John 1:3

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

I was on a business trip this week to Wisconsin. I drove though Wisconsin several years ago. I found very little of interest. Long straight roads with boredom stretching out for miles either side.

But this time I was taken into the heart of what was either side of that road. I had a glimpse behind the curtain and God revealed to me true beauty. Some soft and gentle. Other beauty, dramatic and exciting. It taught me a lesson. How could I dare think that God had created something boring?  But still He invited me in. God’s beauty is everywhere. Beyond roads. Inside people or just round the corner of the road we are sometimes fearful of going down. And an 8 hour journey from Boston. It was a trek, but God wasn’t going to make it easy. But to answer my question above. Yes, it was a true pleasure.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, as we gaze out of the windows of cars, buses, trains and offices, we give thanks for all that you have created. We ask that you speak to us through the beauty you have made – Amen!

Here’s just a glimpse of what I saw.

dogIMG_6402beessepia housetruck

Is a ‘Mum’ God’s masterpiece?

Proverbs 31:2

‘Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her’

 

Most creators of things have a masterpiece. Da Vinci had the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh his sunflowers. Architects have them so do composers and musicians. But does God have one. I suspect not. There’s too many to mention but, if there was, the ‘Mum’ gets my vote.

Think about what they do. I won’t get into details but I’m sure if you sit down for 5 minutes and give it some thought you will have some kind of realization. And then think about your own Mother whether she’s alive or not. Think about where you are today and then think carefully back to a time when your Mother helped you get to where you are now. Words of encouragement, support and love. Or maybe a financial sacrifice or just a sacrifice of her time. The last one is the big one. Time, that’s what Mum’s give to us most. At the expense of something they may want to do. And they don’t think twice about doing it. Thank God for Mums. His masterpiece.

Usually around Mother’s day a song pops into my head and an early memory of my Mum humming away to it in our kitchen as she listened to the transistor radio. The song and a vague image of her stays with me for a few days and then disappears. But it’s a happy memory and I thank God for it. The song is posted below.

Happy Mother’s day for Sunday.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for our Mothers and all that they sacrifice for us – Amen!

 

It’s a simple story.

Luke 2:11

Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

I’m working Prague this week. I’m filming a commercial with a complicated story but my job is to make it simple.

In Prague town square there’s a great atmosphere as people get into the Christmas spirit. Everyone is gathered, looking at the tree where there is a large nativity scene. They all look happy. And it makes me happy to see other people happy. But it’s easy to complicate the Christmas story. Or throw sub-plots into it to try and make it more interesting or more like the way we want Christmas to be. In the case of the Jesus story those sub-plots are elaborate Christmas trees, elaborate gifts, Santa Claus and many more things. I don’t dislike those things but what if they didn’t exist? Could we still be joyful and happy? Yes! Our joy comes with the birth of Jesus. “Glad tidings of great joy I bring to you and all mankind”. From the carol ‘While Shepherds watched their flocks by night’.

Only time has turned that joy into a different kind of joy that distracts us from the gift of Jesus. A stark reminder of the story lies about a mile away from Prague town square, on the bridge leading to the castle. It’s in the picture below. Jesus nailed to the cross. The two images – the nativity and the cross are the beginning and the end of Jesus’s life on earth. Nothing complicated in-between really. Amazing but not complicated. Jesus came to earth in a humble way. Born in a not particularly flash place. He humbly walked our earth for 33 or so years. Talking about what believing and having faith means. He performed miracles and educated others on how to live in His way. And recruiting followers that will ultimately recruit others. In the end, as was the plan, He died for us. For our sins. He is our Lord and savior. That’s what we’re joyfully celebrating this season. Anything else is a complication to the story.

Charles bridge, Prague

Charles bridge, Prague

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Your son to die for us. May the joy of believing in You and having faith in You be enough for us this Christmas – Amen!

What are we thankful for?

Ephesians 5:20

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

As we approach Thanksgiving it’s worth pausing to think about thankfulness. What are we thankful for? I am occasionally guilty of being thankful for something that is beyond what I usually have. An example is being thankful for a pay increase but not being thankful that we even had a job in the first place! And how far can we go back? Where do we stop being thankful? We don’t. Because we can be thankful for the fact that we actually exist. And that we have been gifted with the skills we need to do our work. And that God created the earth for us to live in – ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ Or that he created people who paved the way for us to live our lives in relative peace. Or people who made breakthroughs in our business that allow us to work and think in different ways. In truth, the list of things to be thankful for is mind-boggling. Perhaps with humility we should just close our eyes, bow our heads and simply tell God we’re thankful for Him and for everything He does for us. I think He likes being thanked!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we’re thankful for You and all You do for us – Amen!

Today is what we’re aiming for.

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,  for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has trouble of its own.

In business we tend to think ahead. Business goals and career goals take up a lot of our time and thinking especially if we’re very ambitious. I’ve begun to stop thinking too far ahead and not worrying too much about the future. But the future does sometimes bring one thing – It’s very common for people to turn to God at an older age. At an age when they start wondering what life was about in the first place and maybe wondering what’s beyond this life. Most of us don’t pay much attention to it while we’re busy, healthy and trying to direct our lives the way we want them to go because we don’t think of our lives as ever really coming to an end. But enough of the old age and life ending stuff. Because life does not end when we are followers of Christ. We get eternal life that will make our life time on this earth feel like less than one second. That is great news! And if we believe that life does not end then we don’t need to worry about the future. We don’t need to spend all our time trying to achieve everything we’re aiming for and cramming it all in thinking that if we don’t we haven’t lived a full and successful life. We can simply enjoy and be at peace with life and be thankful for every day. We will leave this earth the way we entered it. With nothing. Our real reward (eternal life) comes with being believers in Christ. When we tried our best to do His work by spreading His message and bringing others to Him. That’s why this blog exists. If we know and have a relationship with Christ He will make us successful in our lifetime on earth but it will be His idea of success as seen through His eyes, not ours or anybody else’s.

I realize that this can be a very confusing subject. (As demonstrated by what I have written!) If we have questions then I would recommend this book by Nicky Gumbel. He has some answers for us. If you’re curious add it to your christmas list. A good time of year to get some answers!

http://www.amazon.com/Questions-Life-Nicky-Gumbel/dp/1934564664/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1382976214&sr=8-2&keywords=nicky+gumbel

Nicky Gumbel