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!
‘…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’
Throughout our lives things are continuously coming and going. There’s never any real permanence. Even when it feels like there is, there really isn’t. We may live in the same house all our lives but life within that house changes. Children come. Children go. Our loved ones pass away. Jobs change. Cars change. Brown hair to grey hair! We’re happy with the wallpaper but 2 years later we change it. We plant a tree but 20 years later we cut it down because it’s blocking out light.
As believers in Christ, it’s possible that God comes and goes in our lives. We may think about Him some days more than others. Or even go through periods of weeks and months when we forget He even exists. Amazing that someone who we know in our hearts is incredibly important to us, can disappear from our minds. Our God is a gracious and a forgiving God. And even though we forget Him, He never forgets or stops loving us. He’s waiting for us to connect with Him. There’s many ways we can do that. Opening our Bibles and reading just one verse can re-boot that relationship. Praying a simple prayer for God to guide us. Downloading an app that delivers a verse to your Smartphone. I have Proverbs and Psalms apps that pop up on my phone 3 times a day. It’s amazing how timely they can be. Making that effort means we are inviting God into our lives and asking Him to speak to us. For any of us in business I highly recommend a few Proverbs verses a day.
So, wherever you are now perhaps stop reading those emails and go to the apps store and download one. There are thousands of them and most of them are free. You won’t always read them but not to worry, there will be one the next day and the next and the next…
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, thank you for always being with us, even when we’re not with you. We pray we can be with you through prayer and scripture. And with faith! – Amen!
‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’
Rejection. It’s tough. Feeling worthless and incapable of doing something we thought we could do but then being told we’re not ‘up to the job’ is one of the hardest things in the business world.
I have been rejected for very senior jobs in ad agencies that I was fairly confident I could do and it was odd to me that I wasn’t getting them. But after a while, I just said “Okay God, what is that you want me to do”. Just because I hadn’t been given the opportunity I wanted it didn’t mean that God didn’t have something else equally challenging for me. For example, I was filming in Prague this past week, merrily going about my job as a Commercial’s Director. When filming, most of the crew stand behind the Director’s chair and the actors stand in front, obviously. For most of the shoot, I had been comfortably doing the job but I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t give direction because my brain froze. In that moment, the actors were staring at me. (Actors that didn’t speak much English) and when I glanced behind me all the film crew were looking at me as well. And there was this weird ‘are you up to the job’ silence. They were all looking to me for direction. And I had to act quickly. Something came to me and I shouted out some words and I was back on track. I sensed that God had put me in that place and thankfully given me the words to do my job. I also realized that I was in a very senior position on the set but not the position I had once expected, during those times of rejection. I don’t crave or seek out senior positions any more but God had put me in one. One, that in many ways was more challenging than that of being in an ad agency but I believe it to be a better use of my skills. I also believe that it’s all God’s work. So, ‘are you up to the job’? Maybe not the one you think you want but God will have something else for you that’s most likely even more challenging or unexpected. Are you up for praying about that?
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we ask that you guide us in our work. We want to follow your path so we do what you have planned for us not what we plan for ourselves. Give us the confidence and strength to believe in you and take that leap of faith when an opportunity arises that we weren’t expecting – Amen!
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!
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!
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
With all the that’s been going on in Washington this past week I feel like shutting down myself. I’m not commenting on the rights and wrongs of it here but It does make me realize how fortunate we are to have someone we can trust. God. Perhaps we can shut off from the craziness? In the midst of the madness when we’re getting frustrated, angry and our head is full of confusion we can simply turn to God and ask “Please intervene and sort this out”! It’s worth trying. As Christians it’s our duty to stay peaceful, calm and have wisdom. We need to pray for some of that wisdom in Washington.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we pray for wisdom for our leaders and for ourselves. We pray for a peaceful resolution in Washington. We pray this will happen quickly for the good of the people who’s lives are being affected by the situation – Amen!
He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
In the business I’m in everyone talks about simplicity and how to communicate a message in the simplest way no matter how complicated or basic the message is. The skill is to get straight to the point and not let the complicated stuff get in the way.
This past Sunday I listened to a girl sing a hymn. Sophie was her name. I think she’s no more than 8 or 9 years old. It was beautiful. She’s blessed with a wonderful voice and the words were all about ‘Jesus’. Uncomplicated words. In the quietness, the words she sang seemed so simple. Suddenly all the clutter and the stuff that complicates life and gets in the way of my relationship with Jesus blew away in the morning breeze. An image came into my head as the girl was singing. It was of two paths. One all overgrown and thorny and the other clear. Jesus was at the end of both. It was like I had a choice. I could take the tough path to Jesus or the clear one. Children were running down the clear path with Jesus smiling at the other end. The clear one seemed more appealing. It was the simple, less complicated path. Together with the words from the song it all seemed so clear. God can speak to us in any situation. I don’t think I was expecting it to come through an 8 years old girl’s voice! It was like a whisper. We have to be listening carefully and paying attention to when God is speaking to us. Of course, I have to look at all the stuff that gets in the way of my relationship with God but it was a peaceful, satisfying image. I thank God for Sophie, her voice and the moment of clarity. I just wish I could turn back time and film her singing it. Perhaps another time!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we give thanks for the children. Fo their pure and peaceful lives among our complicated ones. Help us to simplify our relationship with you so we can come to you like little children – Amen!
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure
I’ve started walking into big advertising agencies again. To meet people and for work. I haven’t really been inside one for a few months and I’d forgotten what intimidating places they can be. How big is the company you work for? It seems the bigger the company, the more distant it becomes. It doesn’t feel very intimate or friendly. Or, dare I say, loving? Loving isn’t a word we associate with the workplace. Not some of the ones I’ve worked in. But among all that intimidation and tension is someone that’s bigger than it all. God. Ridiculously bigger. We can’t compare. But even better, He’s incredibly close. Really close. He’s right next to us, walking with us. Big, close and loving. So, when that big place we work for becomes even more intimidating because of stress, worry and fear we can turn to God for a close, peaceful and loving relationship. He will be your strength, your rock. You just need to have big faith!
‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’
Following God isn’t easy. Sometimes I wake up and think ‘Today’s the day’. The day I don’t put myself before others. The day I don’t ignore what God wants me to do. The day I don’t selfishly chase after the things that have no value to me like money, success, material things, and the day I simply pick up my Bible and read it. Just read and read more. And then meditate on the word and pray. Doing that is actually a lot easier than chasing after all that other stuff. But it’s just a discipline. We have a huge amount of discipline in our work lives. Making deadlines. making money for our companies, making meetings on time, getting home from work for social functions and so on. All we need to do is channel some of that discipline toward God and take a ‘time-out’. Thankfully, through his grace, God gives us a fresh start every day. Is today that day?
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, forgive us for not looking to you for guidance in our lives. May we look to your word always. Light our path, Lord. The path that glorifies you, Amen!
“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”
It’s that time of year again! It’s like watching a movie that you’ve seen a million times but still hoping that a certain scene won’t be the same and that things change. To this day, I still wish that Steve McQueen escapes in The Great Escape but he never does. Just like I hope that Peter could prove Jesus wrong and not deny him or perhaps only deny him two times! “There, you see, only twice Jesus!”But it was already planned. God’s will played out. What’s the difference in our lives? Absolutely nothing. A work colleague says “I hear you’re a religious type, you don’t believe in all that Jesus stuff, do you?”…”Nah, not me.”(Nervous laughter). I have said this in the past. Not in recent years but when I was first finding out about the story of Jesus it was difficult to then be open about my beliefs. But, I suppose I must have told someone otherwise I wouldn’t have been asked the question. So, we must try to be faithful to God outside of a 1 hour service on Sunday. In the comfort of our church buildings. And If God is with us, who can be against us? We must not under-estimate how people may see us if we’re Christians. They may notice something different about us, a certain peace or strength that we may not realize we’re showing. By saying “Yes, I believe in God.”we’ll probably just be explaining that difference. If our hearts are open to saying it, God won’t deny us the opportunity.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, forgive us if we ever deny you. Give us the courage and opportunity to tell others about you today and forever – Amen!