Strange thing, mystifying.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all you heart, and do not lean on your own understanding

I love the words ‘Strange’ and ‘Mystifying’. I find the unexplained and the unknown fascinating. Strange thing, mystifying is the title of a song from Jesus Christ Superstar. The disciples can’t understand why Jesus decides to hang out with tax collectors and prostitutes, even though Jesus has told them over and over again what it means to be a follower of Him. Sometimes what happens in our work lives makes no sense. We work hard for a company for 20 to 30 years and then we find ourselves surplus to a company’s requirements. Strange thing, mystifying. Or we get demoted and not promoted. Strange thing, mystifying. The perfect presentation falls flat or you’re the perfect candidate for a job but you don’t get the job. Strange things, mystifying. We may spend all of our careers wondering why things that should happen, don’t. Or why we don’t have what others have. But following God means taking the road least expected. The good news is He’s on that road with us and He has a plan for us. Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord,” plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Have faith. Pray and keep praying. Think of the unknown as a fascinating and exciting thing. Don’t try to work it out by yourself. Instead, accept that It’s unknown to us but not to Him. Strange thing, mystifying!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we give our lives and careers to you. Bless us Lord and show us grace as we navigate the path with you – Amen!

 

 

 

 

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The strength of silence

Proverbs 17:28

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

 

In the work place, lots of talking and strong opinions can be the sign of someone who knows what he or she is doing and one to be listened to. Or at least, that’s the perception. But I’m more in agreement with the Proverbs verse. In whatever situation silence is strong. Whether there is an aggressive voice in the room or a voice that just keeps talking to try to make a point, there will come a point when silence will prevail or be rewarded. Staying calm in a heated discussion or hearing people out and then peacefully and thoughtfully stating an opinion nearly always works. And listening carefully allows us to really hear what people say. Many times, I am asked “And what’s your opinion Andy” and that’s usually the last opinion in the meeting. Whether it’s agreed on or not isn’t the point, it’s simply an effortless and less stressful way to go about the day. And that is the point. When we read God’s word and abide by it, things become much easier. Those words have been written as a guide for our lives. Not for us to read, agree with and then go off and do the opposite. Enough said!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, hold our tongues today as we enter the work place. We want to be wise with our words and show strength by being at peace – Amen!

 

quieter

We can’t all be CEO’S

James 4:6

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

There’s role for all of us at work that God has planned out. When you feel like your itching to move on or your longing for more money and a grander title take stock of your current position and assess everything. And when you do that, look around you and look at the people who you work with, the ones you work for and the ones that work to you. Do they need you? Do you feel like you may have been put in the position for them? Even the ones that you work for? Has God got you right where he wants you to be? It’s possible he has. And as much as it’s tempting to go bigger you may be doing God’s work right where you are. It could be it’s where your meant to be. No higher. No Lower. It’s not often the way we look at our careers but The Bible tells us to be humble and to put others before ourselves. And anyway, even if you do end up in a higher position you’ll still be working for someone. God.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, humble us today. We give thanks for the work we’re doing. Help us to put You first when we’re considering career changes – Amen!

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

Respect not expect.

1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God

‘Expect’ or ‘Expected’ are the words that are used a lot in the office. “You are expected to be in the meeting”. “We expect you to work the weekend”. “You are expected to attend the conference”. “We expect you to work late”. If you read the dictionary, the word is actually used out of the context of what it really means. Or it’s been twisted. Regardless of that, it’s hardly ever used in the context of pleasant things. I don’t ever hear “You are expected to take a vacation”. Or “You are expected to see your family”. “We expect you to take a lunch break”.

We have many expectations asked of us and most of the time it’s important that we live up to them. After all, we are getting paid for it. But when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations of them be careful not to judge. Outside of the work place our colleagues are living lives. In some cases, lives full of illness, suffering and pain. They have families to look after. And with that comes many problems and genuine worry, to the point where they simply can’t do their job as well as they would like because they are distracted. It’s perhaps not up to us to investigate someone’s problems. But showing we care by having patience, showing kindness as well as understanding regardless of the situation, is sharing God’s love through us.

So, share that love today. If the moments right, tell someone you expect them to do something pleasant. Something they would least expect you to say! I think that is God’s expectation of us.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray that we can humble ourselves before others. May we be gracious, loving, kind and understanding. Give us the wisdom and the skill to navigate through all our work situations – Amen!

 

We are precious.

Isaiah 43:4

The Lord says, “You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.”

Precious is normally referred to something that’s fragile, rare or worth a lot of money. It’s not usually referred to in the context of a human being. But precious we are in God’s eyes. And so we should be to each other. In fact all of those words in Isaiah apply. That’s difficult to remember when we’re in the pressured work environment. When the deadline is close and someone hasn’t delivered the goods or simply hasn’t turned up, it’s easy to turn against them and moan about them. But before we do, let ‘s remember that people have lives outside of work. Lives full of challenges and all kinds of stress and anxieties. Mortgages to pay, bad health, children to look after and other family issues. The list goes on. Of course, I know from experience that sometimes we can get let down for no reason whatsoever. Just incompetency. But it’s good to keep an eye on our fellow workers. To ask after them if they haven’t been themselves or to offer help. It’s just us living out God’s love for us to others. That’s very precious.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us to pause and make time for others. To care for them as You care for us – Amen!

Well played!

Philippians 3:14

‘I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus’

In England, when a player comes off the field to be substituted we generally say “Well played”. In truth, we could have played horribly but that’s not the point. The idea is to encourage. So, you may come off the corporate playing field today thinking you have played horribly. Just one of those days when nothing goes right. You may feel that you’re useless at your job. You may feel bad that you said and did things you shouldn’t have or made a wrong decision. But think about the positives. You had the energy to go in and have a go in the first place. Well played! You are perhaps tirelessly providing for a family. Well played! You have had many other days when you made a positive impact on your workplace. Well played! God likes us to move on and not dwell on our mistakes and misgivings.  But we have to look to Him. Through prayer and by reading scripture. As it says in Matthew 4:4 – ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’. Otherwise, we’ll continue to make the same mistakes with no one to guide us. No words of encouragement or advice. With Him as our guide we can become more skillful in life as we press on to receive the prize that is waiting for us in heaven. And then who knows? Maybe He will give us a pat on the back and say “Well played”!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us to not dwell on our mistakes but to turn to you for forgiveness and guidance so we can move forward with you at our side – Amen!

God wants you on his team!

Colossians 3:23

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than the people

I recently met someone about some potential work who said to me “You’ve been around a bit. Done ‘some’ good work”. I feel like I’ve dedicated all of my energy over the last 26 years to the business I’m in. I’ve pushed any creative skills I’ve been blessed with as far as I can. And occasionally further than I could ever imagined. I was at first put out by what the guy said. “Done ‘some’ good work” but I wondered later if they were words from God. On my path with God “Been around a bit. Done ‘some’ good work” is probably a fair review. I haven’t excelled but I don’t think God isn’t looking at me and thinking ‘You’re best years are behind you’. I believe I have my best work for God ahead of me because I don’t feel I’ve reached my potential with Him. And I find that an exciting prospect. God loves us and knows we have tremendous potential. In his eyes we’re fledglings about to embark on a career or journey with Him as our leader. This is not about us all giving up our day jobs or trying less hard at them. But as my very first post on this blog said ‘It is God who we work for’. It is He who judges our performance and how successful we really are, not anyone else.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us realize that our best work is done through you and for you – Amen!

“What a save!”

Psalm 119:105

‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’

“What a save!” is a common phrase in a soccer commentator’s vocabulary. The video below is the probably the best save in the history of soccer. Be sure to watch the replay for the slow motion as you won’t catch it the first time. One miraculous save. By an Englishman…of course.

When we come to Christ we talk about being saved. We accept Jesus as our Lord and savior and then we move on with our lives. But God continues with great saves everyday. Lots of small miraculous saves. He saves us from saying something that may offend. Or being tempted by something we crave, that isn’t good for our souls like money, success and fame. How does he save us? Through scripture. We can turn to God’s word when we’re tempted away from the precious thing that saved us in the first place. Our faith and understanding that God’s way is the only way. Thousands of verses of encouragement, warnings and day-to-day advice. Thousands of saves! So, not for the first time I’d urge us all to carry scripture with us. We don’t have to carry books any more. There are thousands of bible apps and daily devotionals. Perhaps use that smart phone to look at scripture for a minute or two, rather than emails? The ‘Bible Verses Companion’ app automatically sends us scripture three times a day if we download the app. That’s three saves a day!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for Your word. Help us to look to Your word so we can be guided skillfully through our lives – Amen!

Here we go!

Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

For many people, today is the first day back to work after the summer vacation and the first day back to school for the children. The trains will be fuller and the highways thicker with traffic. Even though the summer hasn’t ended it does feel like it’s coming to an end. And there can be anxieties that come with walking back into a building again. Unfinished projects, new environments or problems that we managed to brush under the carpet for a couple of weeks. To some of us, these are daunting things. But the scripture above tells us that we need not worry. God is not only with us but He has gone before us! The command is clear and quite abrupt. ‘DO NOT be afraid’. ‘DO NOT be discouraged’. Not ‘It’s okay, it will be alright’ but ‘DO NOT’. Why so commanding? Because God requires us to have faith and belief in Him. Our all-powerful Heavenly Father. But a simple prayer asking for our burdens to be taken on by God is all it takes. Then we can be at peace. As it says in Psalm 46:10 – ‘Be still and know that I am God’. Now we know that God is with us and we have faith then we can approach our work with vigor, energy and joy. That might be a lot to ask of us on a Monday morning but not too much to ask God for!

Pray with me

‘Heavenly Father, we pray for all of those that are going back to work today. We ask for you to go before us and with us. To give us strength, peace and love for others in the workplace and may we also give thanks for all You do for us today on our journey home tonight’ – Amen!