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!
The view from my basement window. Is there anybody out there!
‘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!
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 ownedby 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!
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!
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!
‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.’
Most of us get on the same train everyday. It’s a routine that we’re in to. I’m sure we stand on the same part of the track waiting for the train. It’s a necessity really. We know what train and what car to get on to get us to the office in the most efficient way. Efficiency is an important part of our work. Getting the best job done with the just the right amount of effort. But I’m not sure if I ever have enough energy to get everything done. I think it’s because I don’t stop to refuel. The Holy Spirit is a source of energy for us all. It heals. It speaks to us. It gives us strength. But to refuel we need to stop. Not just go slower but come to a complete stop. Praying for The Holy Spirit to help us along can feel like a pointless exercise and sitting down and actually talking through our needs is a discipline and feels like hard work. “I’ll give it a go but it probably won’t work.”or ‘He’s probably not listening anyway.”are thoughts that sometimes cross my mind. But God knows what we need. I know I say that a lot but He does. If you feel exhausted then there’s a very good chance He agrees! If you feel like you just need to cut your workload or have a deadline extended then it’s well worth praying for. God has moved my calendar around on many occasions. Better than I ever could imagine. This isn’t a fantasy faith we have. A nice thing to believe around Easter and Christmas. No, God is 24/7 committed to us even in the times when we’re not committed to Him. So, if you’re on a train now, stop and break the routine. Close your eyes and have a chit-chat with God. Let all your thoughts no matter how random head in His direction. He can take it all. Unlike you, He doesn’t need a break.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, help us to stop and look to You for energy and encouragement. May we find time to break our routines and spend time with You. Thank You for always listening and knowing what our needs are – Amen!
‘And do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for God is pleased with such sacrifices’
It’s okay. We don’t have to become Pastors. But we can take on more responsibility as Christians. Whether it’s more of a mentoring role within a church or applying the skills in our paid work to helping others. When we reflect on our week, did it have the right balance between our time spent earning money and giving our time sacrificially? I have done very little of the latter since I’ve been on the road so it’s something I’m keen to re-balance now I’m home. When I was mentoring at The Bowery Mission in New York a couple of years ago, the last thing I needed on a Wednesday evening was to jump on the subway and head Downtown. But every time I did it I walked away energized. The Holy Spirit at work. Because it was of God. It is difficult to feel that way when we walk out of our office buildings every night. We should feel great but we’re human. We feel worn down by the same things. But a different kind of work can be a good replacement for a non-existent pay rise or promotion. The reason we crave the money and the promotion is because we need to feel better about what we do. Rewarded for the pain. It’s temporary though and the pain comes back. We can never find favor with God but finding other ways to work for Him where we don’t expect anything in return means it’s simply through love. Love for God and for others.
The Bowery Mission, Downtown, New York
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we give thanks for our careers and our jobs. We know that they are gifts from you. We pray we can find other ways to use our gifts or gifts we didn’t know we had to work for your kingdom and to glorify you – Amen!
‘Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us’
Can our personal ambitions ever be as ambitious as those that God has for us? I think we sometimes have an image of God as someone who’s ‘been there and done that’. An old guy with long white flowing hair and beard from the ‘old times’. Not someone we can relate to. But He is not separate from us. The Holy Spirit dwells in us (when asked for through prayer) so He is in us. However, if He is not then any ambition we have might be fruitless because its not of Him and maybe not that ambitious at all! Spending 5 years working toward a promotion may seem like a huge ambition, and there’s nothing wrong with working hard to get there but with God’s guidance who knows what ambitious plans he has instead? And that’s the thing. Not knowing. It’s the hardest part because God only lights the path a few steps in front of us, the rest is based on our faith. But when we take into our own hands we have the full beam on. The path clearly lit all the way to the destination where the word SUCCESS! is brightly lit with fireworks going off around it! At least that’s what we see. It may well end spelling something different if it’s not on God’s path. I’m not suggesting it will be a path to destruction. It may well be fine but perhaps an uphill struggle? Against the wind? A feeling that you’re fighting against something? We’ve all felt that. The times that I’ve switched the full beam off it’s felt easier. More freedom with the wind behind me. It can start with a prayer. A simple request to God to guide us in our work and careers, to make the right choices and have the right ambitions. To glorify Him. Then it’s all in his hands. It’s so much easier when you let someone else do the work!