You can’t always get what you want…

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you

but if you pray sometimes, you’ll get what you need. That’s a little twist on the Jagger/Richards song (see the video below). ‘You can’t always get what you want’. The word ‘try’ replaced by ‘pray’. It’s a song that’s been in my head a lot and I’m realizing those words ring true with me. I have tried not praying for specifics but instead praying for guidance, wisdom and to glorify God. It seems to work better than wanting things. I think we are all guilty of that occasionally, especially when we get drawn into the career wants. And when we don’t get what we want then we feel let down and our confidence or self-esteem is dented. When we pray for what’s right in His name then I think we get what we need. It’s like we give ourselves up to Him. So, as the lyrics go…You ought to try some time. You just might find. You’ll get what you need!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will guide us along the path to what we need and not what we want – Amen!

 

    

He feels your pain

Matthew 27:46

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”?

Have you ever had one of those conversations with someone and at the end of it they say “I feel your pain”. It’s usually in reply to something we’re moaning or complaining about. I suppose it’s just a sympathetic response.

But we all have times when we are genuinely feeling pain. Not physical pain but a mental and inner pain that really aches. It can be with for us for a long time. Who can we turn to apart from the sympathetic colleague? God knows all about the pain. If we think we have it tough then we should take a look at what He went through in the form of his son, Jesus. Is this an obvious thing to say? Maybe, but The Bible does tell us to be joyful in all circumstances and not complain. And when I think about what happened to Jesus versus me having to go backwards and forwards to Boston each week then I feel ever so slightly humbled. And when that happens, something else happens. I start to look at all the positives. All of the blessings that I have in my life that I should be thankful for but hardly ever am. I think that is one way to view joy. Joyful that He died for us and anything life throws at us He can deal with for us. Not so painful after all.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, You took it all on for us. Thank you for helping us overcome our pain through the joy of knowing that You are with us. Always. Amen!


BostonView from the train heading to New York from Boston. Thursday March 20th, 6.20pm.

 

Advice from someone who knows.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work

We usually seek advice from people who have been in a similar situation or have knowledge of something that we don’t. But how often so we seek it from God? He’s written an entire book on how to live our lives. The Bible. It’s quite incredible that not many people seek it out given that in some shape or form it can give us direction and advice on everything we face in this life. It may not be the advice or guidance we want to hear but it’s in there. Work, relationships and money. These are the topics in our lives that we spend the most time thinking and worrying about.

  • Money – Ecclesiastes 5:10 ‘Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless’
  • Work – Colossians 3:23 ‘Whatever you do. work heartily. as for the Lord and not for men’
  • Relationships – Proverbs 13:20 ‘He who walks with wise men will be wise. But the company of fools will suffer harm’

There are hundreds of verses on all topics of life. Some find it hard to believe there’s a God because we don’t see evidence that He exists. How do we have a relationship with someone we can’t see? But he does exist through His word. Actually picking up the book and reading it is the biggest hurdle to leap regardless of our faith. The more we read, the closer the relationship we have with Him. And then the decisions on all aspects of our lives become somewhat easier. It’s a self-help book of sorts, but unlike other self-help books we can have an on going conversation with the author through prayer and scripture.

The link below is something I sometimes use when I need help. It’s a bible search engine. Just tap in the subject and various scripture pops up.

http://www.openbible.info/topics/

Of course, we need faith to do this. It comes with time but I pray that we will all turn to His word. Silly not to turn to someone who knows everything!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, Your word is a light to our path. Teach us to look to scripture through anyway possible. A book, the internet or even apps! We give thanks that the gift of technology allows us to seek you out in many more ways! – 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!

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

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!

He’s here. He’s there. He’s everywhere.

Psalm 51:11

Do not cast me away from Your presence. and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

At the risk of sounding like a child I sometimes wish that I could see God. Sit down, over a coffee and have a chit-chat. Ask questions like “So, what do you have in store for me this week” or “Do you think I should take that job”? Or maybe just have a good old grumble! God exists in three persons. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three persons! And we still can’t see him? Yes, we can see him. He is in everything and everywhere. Does the sun on your face make you feel good? God’s gift. Someone gives you a reassuring smile or gesture?  From God perhaps. Getting good advice from a close friend? God speaking. Of course, prayer comes into it. Praying for God to speak to you is important. He then speaks through different channels. At that point, we need awareness. If we’ve prayed for guidance in a work situation it could come from anywhere. Scripture, something someone says in a meeting or during a phone call. An article online. God speaks to us everywhere. A keen eye, ear and a heightened awareness will help us. By doing that, we get to have a closer relationship with God. Let’s not think of Him as someone who’s ticking ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on stone tablets somewhere in the universe. He’s our Father. He loves us and wants to chit-chat with us here on earth. Be on the look out!

God with us on vacation in Cape Cod. Every day was a gift!

God with us on vacation in Cape Cod. Every day was a gift!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, teach us to look out for you when You speak to us. We pray for guidance and answers from You. And may we seek guidance in a way that glorifies You, and not ourselves – 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!