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 Next Day

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven – Matthew 5:16

Yesterday was a day of service at our church. Over 400 people went out into the community to serve in many ways. Yard work, delivering food, singing at a homes for the elderly, clearing trash and lots of other things.

At the end of the day we had a service of celebration and some testimonies from the day. One person encouraged us to take the feeling of joy we had that day and to carry it on the next day and continue to show the light to others. It was a great insight I thought. Is that always possible in the work place? It’s difficult. When doing things with fellow christians it’s not too difficult to behave in the way God would want us to. We encourage and support each other. The scripture above was the theme for our service day. But it’s the theme for every day as it is straight out of The Bible.

There’s a short video of the day below. A lot of joy. A lot of happiness. But just one day. How about a video for every day. What would that look like for us? It’s an interesting question. Throughout the video you will see words like Thanking, Caring and Loving. Words that are appropriate for every day.

So, April 3rd was our official day of service. Let’s try and make April 5th one as well

Do the right thing.

romans7-15

There are some verses in The Bible that feel like they were written today. The verse  above from Roman’s is one of them. And it’s one of those verses that makes me smile. If you read it again, read it as someone who’s frustrated and waving their arms around in the air. Almost like they’ve done something over and over again but can’t stop themselves doing it.

Business is a tough place. We’re all jostling for position and trying all we can do to make an impression. Sometimes, we find ourselves doing something just because we’re fighting to keep our jobs. It could be something we say in a meeting or a decision we make that we know is doing ‘the very thing we hate’. Awareness of doing the wrong thing is good. But doing the right thing is a big step. It may put us to the bottom of the list in a promotion or jeopardise our position in the company.

Pray to God for wisdom as you go to work today. Pray that he will guide your heart and head. Allow him to enter into a situation at work and give you the right words and actions. Ruled by God’s plan for you and not your own ambitions. Romans goes on to say in verse 8 – ‘If God is with us who can be against us’ and in Matthew 34 – ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own’. It doesn’t get more right than that.

Pray with me.

Heavenly Father, Guide my thoughts, words and actions today at work. Be with me in every situation so I can glorify You – Amen!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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!

“Be Kind”

Matthew 7:12

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets

My wife will sometimes move closer to me, look me in the eye and says ‘be kind’.

It’s not that I’m necessarily being unkind but I might not be behaving as lovingly or as graciously as I should be. But those words always jolt my conscience and I get myself into a better place. But then I wonder how many other people in my day would want to say those words to me? The ticket collector on the train. The person I brush past because they’re walking too slowly. The work colleague who’s trying their best but I’m somehow making them out to be useless. It can happen to us all occasionally.

If we can’t think about our own actions then maybe we can think about someone’s response to them? If it’s the words ‘be kind’ then maybe we need to check ourselves. In a way, it’s being kind to ourselves.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, shine kindness through us today – Amen!

Wait.

Isaiah 40:31

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint

Yesterday it was about doing nothing. Today it’s about waiting. It must be one of the hardest things for us to do. Waiting. In life, we don’t like it. Waiting in line. Waiting for a plane. We just want to keep moving forwards and not stopping. But a big part of doing nothing is the waiting. That involves a huge amount of discipline and patience. God has a plan for us all but it only plays itself out if we take the time to wait and then listen. It’s a little like walking through a forest and stopping to hear the bird sing. How dreadful is it to think His plan for us never materialized because we never stopped to listen. But it’s not too late. We still have time to wait.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray that we can stop and listen to your plan for us. Through faith, may we have the patience to wait – Amen!

Let God do the hard work

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you

It’s perhaps not in our nature to make things easier for ourselves. As we work our way up the ladder work gets more intense and pressured. Expectations are high and so are salaries. We feel we should be working hard to earn that money. And to be seen to be working hard. Early mornings and late nights. First in. Last out. The twists and turns inside our bodies can make our work harder. The worry, the anxiety, the stress, the frustration, the anger, the ego and the pride. We use up all our energies on them and it drains us. We look exhausted because of these things. There was a time when even though I believed in God, I couldn’t believe that He could help with the problems I faced at work. But through my own experiences and what I read in The Bible I came to believe and trust that God had control over all situations. Nowadays, when I remember to, I give it all over to God. And when I do that it all becomes much easier. I am aware that all the issues are still there. I can’t completely forget them but knowing He’s in control can give me tremendous peace. Of course, I don’t stop doing my job. I’m not sitting back and watching. I’m just letting God work through me and work out the situation. Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way I expected or wanted to, but that’s the way it works with God. If we give it all up to Him then we have to be open to a different result to the one we planned. So today, as you head towards your place of work, give any concerns you have up to God. Let Him do the hard work. I suspect it’s quite easy for Him.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we ask that You take on all our burdens so we can be at peace at work today – Amen!

 

 

 

 

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!