‘In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success’
That’s an amazing promise. But how easy is it to put God first?…in everything we do? One of the things I’ve struggled with while being wrapped up in this massive project is continuously having God on my mind. Praying and reading daily scriptures is one thing but always thinking about Him and talking to Him is another. An ongoing conversation that involves Him in our daily challenges, plans and ambitions. This is a continuous theme in these posts, similar to the ‘knocking on our door’ image from last week. What does it mean to put God first? One answer is to not play by the rules of this earth but instead follow the word laid out in The Bible. Easy? Not really. Proverbs 3:9 ‘Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce.’ Even now, I still sometimes struggle to tithe each month, to write that check or click on ‘donate’ especially now that I don’t know where the next check is coming from. God has never stopped providing for us, in good and bad but still I hesitate to put Him first. Proverbs 15:1 ‘A gentle response turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.’And I still occasionally say things I shouldn’t to people I work with when things get pressured and stressed. This isn’t about self-criticism because it’s easy to drag ourselves down with our failures. It’s about being aware of our behavior and actions. It’s actually a good thing! It means we’re closer to God if we have ‘awareness’. And the closer we get the more like Him we become. There’s a million examples of how we don’t put God first but I like to think that He blesses us and shows us His grace anyway, if He knows what’s truly in our hearts. And minds!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we know you long to have a relationship with us. We pray that we can have you on our minds in all that we do so we can live a life with you in us through the power of your Holy Spirit – Amen!
‘But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’
I saw this today in London and was saddened. How can people hate so much? These are people who have lived with this hate for over 30 years. It’s been 20 years since she resigned as Prime minister. All we can do is pray for them and pray for those in the world and in business that put themselves in a place to lead but, for some reason, are hated for it.
Heavenly Father, We pray for those that are full of hate. We ask that their hearts soften through somehow getting to know you. Fill them and us with your love Lord – Amen!
‘I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.’
Getting to know God means having a relationship with him and not just believing in Him. I’m sure God has everything in common with us but, as human beings. it’s probably good to find something that allows you to see God or something that sparks up a conversation with Him. Perhaps your work is that? I think it is definitely mine. I’m blessed to have my work evolve around creation, light, form and beauty. All of which has come from God. When I see something I like, I try to credit and think of God. And thank him. When I have an idea (good or bad) I know it’s from God. But it’s really just a conversation starter for me. A reminder that He exists and is everywhere. And like any relationship, it grows stronger as you find more things to talk about and more in common. You may become more open to Him. So, God wants to connect with you! He has similar interests!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we know you long to have a relationship with us, we pray we can seek you and realize that you want us to talk to you about everything we do, like children do. Help us find those conversation starters – Amen!
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us
Last week was another week of Andrew fighting his continuous battle to achieve perfection. I sometimes wonder if the image in my head gifted to me from God can actually be achieved on this earth. In fact, I don’t wonder, I know it can’t because I’ve tried to imagine it too many times in too many ways and it’s never realized. There’s too many variables. Too many opinions and personal tastes that can stifle the process and the outcome. It’s not anyone’s fault. God created us as individuals. It’s just the way it is. It’s the same in any job, not just mine. So, as I sit staring at a snowy, slushy, wet and slightly imperfect London I know that I need to strive on with all the patience, kindness, strength, creativity and peace that God can give me. Then at least it will be in His name and of His will regardless of the not so perfect outcome. I’ll perhaps wait to see perfection in heaven.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, give us patience with those we work with. We pray that we’ll show them respect, kindness and love. For we know that if we love them, we love you – Amen!
God called the dry ground “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” God saw that it was good.
I was given a book this week by one of our Pastor’s and it’s been very helpful in giving me some inspiration to write. Very timely! It’s by Timothy Keller and the title is ‘Every Good Endeavor’ – connecting your work to God’s work. I’d never really thought about God creating the world as Him working. I have an image of God just sitting there effortlessly creating the world. Of course, I haven’t a clue how He created it but, for sure, He was working. And He was enjoying working. So much that at the end of each day, He said that ‘It was good’. Do we do that? I don’t think I do. I think I’m just relieved to get on the train and leave it all behind….in tatters. But our work should be a continuation of God’s work. How do we know that? Because He allowed us to do things that He could easily have done. He let us name all the animals. He named the stars and could have easily names the animals as well. He gave us the raw materials to make textiles and building materials. He could have done everything we have achieved but He let us do the work. So, why aren’t we as joyful in doing work as He was? I think it’s because we see it as a chore. We don’t connect God’s work to ours. But whatever we do for a living, we are continuing God’s work. Let’s think about what we do and try to connect it back to God. How is our work beneficial or useful to others beyond what it does for us? (Money, self-esteem etc). Once we answer the question we start to see how it is a continuation of God’s work. It doesn’t have to change what we do but it may change how we go about doing it or what we believe the result of our work is, remembering that God can finish things that we start. We may even start to realize that it’s not at all pointless and that indeed, some of it ‘is good’!
This post, courtesy of Mr Keller!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, help us to understand what our work is all about and make some sense of its role in our lives. Help us to fulfill and carry on your good work in a way that is joyful, unselfish and of benefit to others – Amen!
Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven
I know what the workplace can be like. I’ve found myself drawn into conversations I shouldn’t have and struggled to get out of them or actually played along. It seems that everyone likes to hear a story about someone else. Most of the time the stories or not so nice. It’s normally about someone in a position of power, someone high up in management who’s trying their best to do a good job but isn’t according to the gossip or rumor.
How do we deal with gossip? We can ignore it and walk away or we can use the words in Luke as a weapon. Words of protection and good against evil. The words clearly say ‘Do not judge others’ and ‘Love our enemies’ (Luke 6:27). We can say those words to our work colleagues. You may think or worry that they’ll look at you like you’re crazy but that’s a human concern and worry. If we’re spreading The Gospel and not gossip then surely God will look after us and open the hearts of those listening to us? It’s worth trying so we can sow the seed of Jesus in someone’s heart, isn’t it?
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we pray for peace in our workplaces and for those of us who are being attacked by careless talk. May you guide us all in how to behave so we may work for the glory of you – Amen!
‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’
I only ever realize how human I am when I compare what I have to create to what God created. I occasionally get overwhelmed when I think too much about what I need to get done by the end of April. It’s a lot. I’m in the middle of the biggest thing I’ve ever taken on in my entire career. But, the good news is I have God on my side. The one who created the universe and everything else in 6 days. The one that designed all those intricate colors on the wings of a butterfly. It’s impossible to try to describe what He did. It doesn’t sound like He was too panicked by it either. Not if the Bible is anything to go by – ‘God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars’.By the way, he also made the stars!
Compared to me, ‘And on Friday Andrew stared out of the window all day not being able to think of anything and if he did, it was rubbish’.So, we need God. It’s why we’re human. We can’t do what He can do alone. We need Him in us. Can I get 12 TV commercials and a 100 other things done by the end of April? No, but He can. What can He help you get done?
Pray with me
‘Heavenly Father, You’re the greatest designer and creator. You have blessed this earth with many talented and gifted people but they all fall short compared to you. Compared to what you have done and will always do. Help us to be thankful for you, always’ – Amen!