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

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Certainly.

Job 19:25

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth

The snow has prevented any early morning running. So, instead I walk to work, which is about a 50 minute walk to Downtown Boston. On my way into work there are some days when the beauty is breathtaking. Fresh snow, blue skies and bright, vivid light. It’s a treat to be able to do that walk. When I was walking yesterday morning a young man was clearing snow on the sidewalk. He moved to the side to let me pass. I said ‘Thank you’ and he replied, with a smile, ‘Certainly’. Yes, I thought to myself, certainly. With all the beauty, the kindness of the people around me and my good health that allowed me do the walk, certainly there must be someone behind all of this. Certainly, there must be God. The world is full of terrible things that make us question His existence and His kindness. But surely, no one else can design a shrub that can survive a brutal winter and still produce beautiful flower come Spring. Or design a sky so blue that it contrasts perfectly with the whiteness of the snow that can be rolled into balls and sculpted into a snowman, all for the joy and pleasure of young children. Not forgetting the sound design of laughter that comes with that. Look around you today. Take in what has been designed around you. Really look closely. And be certain of God – Amen!

Let's hope there's no fires!

Let’s hope there’s no fires!

The view from my basement window. Is there anybody out there!

The view from my basement window. Is there anybody out there!

My walk to work. Where is everyone?

My walk to work. Where is everyone?

Can't take a seat and rest!

Can’t take a seat and rest!

Christmas every day.

2 Corinthians  9:15

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift

This time of year does give us time to appreciate the true gift of Christmas. Our savior, Jesus Christ. Sadly, it’s too often a gift we throw away in favor of more material gifts. But God shows us grace and continues to present His gift to us every day. There was a Christmas song when I grew up – ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ which is  all about Christmas trees, snow, gifts and food. That would get boring very quickly but with Jesus it is Christmas every day. The precious gift that is waiting, freshly wrapped every morning when we wake up. Happy Christmas!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, You are our indescribable gift. Forgive us when we discard You for our own selfish gifts. We thank You that You are here for us every day – Amen!

Here’s the song. Enjoy!

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!

 

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.

 

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!

“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!

 

How rich are you?

Luke 6:38

‘Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put onto your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you’

No matter how wealthy or not wealthy we are, we can still be rich in God’s eyes. It says in Luke 6:38 that we will always get a measure back of the gift we give. Whether that’s our money or our time. ‘Give and it will be given to you’. I’ve read that verse a thousand times but still I worry about giving too much. I’m not sure why I worry because I always seem to benefit from it in some way. I don’t think the verse means that if I give $10, I’ll get $10 or even $20 back. There are different kinds of reward. There’s the reward we store in heaven. The peace that comes with giving to those that are less fortunate. The joy that comes with knowing you’ve helped better someone’s life. I find it very hard not to give to causes involving children. I get sad when I hear that children  aren’t happy. So, it makes me happy when I can help. Jesus loves us all but he holds a special place in his heart for the children. There’s many Bible verses on it. But regardless, giving sets us free from controlling our own lives and letting God lead us. Big faith comes with just letting go and giving our money to others instead of spending it on ourselves. We may say “But we’ve worked hard for our money, why should we give it away?”. God worked hard to create this earth and everything we have comes from God. Our lives, the skills, the gifts and the work that comes with that. All from Him. When we give, we’re just gift swapping. As God lavishes gifts on us everyday for all of our lives it seems only polite for us to occasionally give some back!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, thank You for all the gifts You lavish on us. Help us to search and soften hearts to give some of it back to You, to help build Your kingdom – Amen!