“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!

Think small.

Luke 12:15

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for ones life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

I watched a documentary a few days back called ‘Tiny’. It was full of a lot of great messages. It’s not a christian film and it doesn’t have christian values as such but it does have in it many things that The Bible teaches us. A tiny house in CT is one of those 3 bedroom capes. In this movie those capes are mansions in comparison. It’s an inspiring film and will for sure get you thinking and maybe wanting. You can find it on i-tunes. Here’s the trailer:

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for film makers that get us thinking. And for those films that inspire and move us. May you speak to us through these films – Amen!

Listen.

Proverbs 18:13

If one gives answers before he hears, it is folly and shame

 

The business world is full of talking. People talking over each other. Some of us go into a meeting desperately needing to make a point. Many are so wound up about something that we go into it already frustrated and just need to blurt something out. (especially on Monday mornings). That’s normally when we regret something we say.

Everybody wants to be heard. And, of course, someone has to talk. But listening is a skill. As the song goes ‘Silence is Golden’. Listening for a length of time without talking can work wonders. We’ll be tempted to jump in but we have to stop ourselves. And actually not saying anything can solve it! I have seen so many people talk themselves into a solution or simply run out of steam. Or they get to the point where they have to say “What do you think”? That’s the best place to be then a few and considered and wise words is all that’s needed.

This isn’t a lesson in management, but we all need reminders. Scripture has many verses on the subject of speaking and talking. None of them, as far as I know, tell us to talk and talk without listening. Hear what I’m saying?

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, give us peace today in the work place. May we surrender our instincts to talk so we can let You guide our hearts and ears to listen to our colleagues – Amen!

Is this the happiest day of your life?

John 8:47

‘Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God’

We were recently moving house. One of the men that worked for the moving company seemed particularly happy. After a while he came up to me and said “Today is the happiest day of my life”. Moving us made it the happiest day of his life? No. It turns out the man was going to see his Mother next month. He is from Brasil and his Mother had been granted a visa to visit the USA. He had not seen her in 10 years.

I almost felt like crying. He really did have a reason the be happy. And then it made me think. I am not always at home. I am away from my family a lot. But I can see them as often as I like and I’m not that far away from them. Even my family in the UK are not that far away. And, unlike the moving man, who couldn’t pay his way back to Brasil, we can occasionally afford to go back to the UK and visit. I felt fortunate compared to him. He was probably in his late teens when he left his Mother. God blesses us and shows us grace in abundance but sometimes we need to hear someone else’s story to appreciate how blessed we are.

The man was very happy. He was not sad. Not that day. But I am sure he had many sad days up until then. Praise God for sending his Mother to him and praise God for sending me His message through that man.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we ask that we can be attentive to Your word both through scripture and other other vessels You choose to communicate with. We pray that we will pause and listen carefully to the message You send us – 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!

 

Not a failure. A Success!

Proverbs 3:5

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

 

It’s good to know that God loves us all equally.  And that, in His eyes, we are all loved for what we are regardless of our shortfalls. There’s nothing we can do to make Him love us more. No amount of success in the work place is going to make God proud of us either. Or make Him say to himself “Now that’s what I call a successful creation”!

So, when something happens at work that is a disappointment to us like someone else getting a promotion or a position we thought we should have, God probably has us just where He wants us. What we think is a failure is a most likely a success in the eyes of God, as much as we may find that difficult to understand. The Proverbs verse implies we will never understand it. It’s actually a good feeling to know that we’re not meant to. It makes it easier because we can just let it go. Not even someone who is a million times smarter than us can understand it! All we need to do is use out heart and have faith. (notice the Proverbs verse doesn’t say ‘Trust in the Lord with all your brain’!) No, God has better plans for us. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11 – ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope’. 

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, forgive us for planning our own lives and then thinking that any disappointments are failures. Help us to know that you love us and will always want what’s best for us. Allow us to accept that success maybe just be where we are now, not where we think we should be – Amen!

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.

 

One step at a time.

Psalm 18:28

“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

If you’re anything like me, you might sometimes sit on the train (or where ever you may be) wondering what the future looks like. But, of course, we don’t know. And because we don’t know, we plan. We plan something that is our idea of what it might look like. Planning is good but only if we are looking to God for guidance. Even then, we can get carried away with our own dreams. “Dear God, I pray that you can guide me to Florida where I can retire.” That’s probably not the right prayer but we all do it. Or something similar. The Psalmist of the verse above is happy to have a lamp to guide him. Lamp’s won’t light up the entire path, just a few yards. Enough to stop us from going the wrong way. The future is now. That sounds like a cliché but it’s pointless planning so far ahead because we may be missing out on so much today! So, plan the next few steps with God and let’s pray a prayer for a future (today and the for the rest of our lives) that can in some way glorify Him. Sound like a plan?

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, We thank You for always being with us even when we don’t know it. Lord, we offer our lives up to You. Our future is in Your hands. Lead us to where You want us to be. Give us the faith to follow You, one step at a time – Amen!