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!

We are His.

Psalm 100:3

Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of his pasture

The business world is often a difficult place to navigate. It’s accepted that people are in different positions of authority. Often based on talent and the level of experience. Depending on where we are at we are either a manager or being managed. In truth, regardless of what position we hold there is always someone managing us. But we are not owned by anyone in the work place. No one has the right to claim ownership of us. We work with people and respect each others authority and talents, we listen to wisdom and take advice from more experienced people but we are not slaves to someone’s authority. Neither should we be judged by them.

But we do belong to God. He owns us. He created us. He knows us better than anyone can know us. We answer only to Him. He is the judge of us especially if we judge others! Matthew 7:1 ‘Do not judge or you too will be judged’. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our work environment and start to believe that someone else’s opinion of us is right when the opinion isn’t favorable. In fact, it can really drag us down and we lose all confidence in our abilities. But know this. God has gifted talent to us all. We are all capable of doing our work very well. Amazingly well  if it’s through Him. So, we should not listen to what others say if it’s demoralizing or an abuse of power and position. Pray and listen to God instead. He says in Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’. Or Joshua 1:9 ‘…Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go’ The words of a true leader!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, You are our leader and we put our hope and faith in you. May we look to you for wisdom, advice and encouragement by reading your word then let us be at peace – Amen!

What are we thankful for?

Ephesians 5:20

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

As we approach Thanksgiving it’s worth pausing to think about thankfulness. What are we thankful for? I am occasionally guilty of being thankful for something that is beyond what I usually have. An example is being thankful for a pay increase but not being thankful that we even had a job in the first place! And how far can we go back? Where do we stop being thankful? We don’t. Because we can be thankful for the fact that we actually exist. And that we have been gifted with the skills we need to do our work. And that God created the earth for us to live in – ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ Or that he created people who paved the way for us to live our lives in relative peace. Or people who made breakthroughs in our business that allow us to work and think in different ways. In truth, the list of things to be thankful for is mind-boggling. Perhaps with humility we should just close our eyes, bow our heads and simply tell God we’re thankful for Him and for everything He does for us. I think He likes being thanked!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we’re thankful for You and all You do for us – Amen!

We are precious.

Isaiah 43:4

The Lord says, “You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.”

Precious is normally referred to something that’s fragile, rare or worth a lot of money. It’s not usually referred to in the context of a human being. But precious we are in God’s eyes. And so we should be to each other. In fact all of those words in Isaiah apply. That’s difficult to remember when we’re in the pressured work environment. When the deadline is close and someone hasn’t delivered the goods or simply hasn’t turned up, it’s easy to turn against them and moan about them. But before we do, let ‘s remember that people have lives outside of work. Lives full of challenges and all kinds of stress and anxieties. Mortgages to pay, bad health, children to look after and other family issues. The list goes on. Of course, I know from experience that sometimes we can get let down for no reason whatsoever. Just incompetency. But it’s good to keep an eye on our fellow workers. To ask after them if they haven’t been themselves or to offer help. It’s just us living out God’s love for us to others. That’s very precious.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us to pause and make time for others. To care for them as You care for us – Amen!

Things can get messy.

Numbers 14:11

And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have done among them?”

When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt it was no smooth journey. Moses, sent by God to do His work, was constantly moaned at and despised by the people he went to save. Even God got miffed and punished those that went against Him. Messy stuff. Good intentions, that for a while, went wrong. When we put all of our faith in God, things may feel like they’re going wrong or getting worst. And because it feels that way we start to distrust God and do things our way. That’s when it gets messy. In truth, things may seem to get worst because it’s not going to our plan or how we may imagine life to be. That was also true of the Israelites. Because they hadn’t reached the promised land within 30 minutes of leaving Egypt (an exaggeration) they decided that it was a mistake and they actually wanted to go back to Egypt. Back to being ruled over and mistreated by the Pharaoh. God delights in us and will not let us come to harm or forget us. But His plan, is not always our plan. In fact, it’s probably a better plan. But that plan will not come to fruition if we try to do things our way. No, we have to patiently wait on God and not let things get messy.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father,  forgive us for not trusting and putting our faith in You – 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!