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!
‘The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels’
God has a book on us. It’s ‘The book of Life’. And all of our names are in it. It has everyone’s name from the beginning of time (Adam and Eve) until the end of history, whenever that may be. The reason all the names are in there is because Jesus died on the cross and paid for all the sins of all the members of the human race. It’s written that we will be judged by our ‘good works’ not by our sins as Jesus has already paid the price for those. “Great news”, I hear us all say. “We’re doing good things all the time”. Steady on. Our ‘good works’ have to be through faith in Jesus Christ by following his path and leading our lives by what it says in scripture. So, if we don’t accept the work of Jesus Christ on the cross by faith then we are depending on our own works. And when those works are evaluated and judged at The Great White Throne then people will realize that it simply wasn’t enough and our names will be blotted out of The Book of Life. They were merely pencilled in all that time. Why am I sounding so drastic? My mother died a good person. I believe she did a lot of good things for many people but she didn’t die a believer in Jesus Christ. Everyday I think about that and everyday I wonder where she is. Lake of fire or heaven? I have no choice but to live the rest of my life thinking about it. All I had to do was ask her to say “I believe In Jesus Christ as my savior”. But I wasn’t around to do it. Neither was I that concerned. That was my fault. But I can do something for those that are living. That’s why I write this blog. Most weeks, I write about things that are light-hearted like seeing God in rainbows or hearing God through a child’s voice but today I don’t feel in the mood for that. Today, for some reason, my heart is aching for those that don’t believe in Jesus Christ and are too wrapped in their lives to consider Him as their savior, no matter how good their works are. He created us and put us on this earth solely to do good works for Him through faith in Him. We should take some time to think about what’s influencing our decisions day-to-day and why we do the work we do. Is it work that depends on our own instincts? Or is it through conversation with God, through prayer? What is that’s getting in the way of our relationship with God? What is time and time again letting us down? We can only search our ourselves. We cannot judge others. But the writing is clear in Revelation. The Book of Life is not fiction. It is fact.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, help us to get closer to you in faith and do our work in your name and to glorify you. Help us also to bring to you those that don’t believe in you. Give us the softness of heart to approach them and tell them all about you – 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!
‘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!
‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’
The title for today’s post was a slogan for teaching young children road safety when I was a child. Click here to watch it. Try not to laugh because It was very effective. I have a feeling that it could also be an effective slogan for adults in how we communicate with God. As a freelancer it’s very tempting to always be searching for work and not spending my time meditating on God’s word. The answer for getting work isn’t necessarily found by firing off a million emails randomly but it can be found in scripture. The scripture above is a good example. Does the work I’m looking for allow me to also spend time doing God’s work? Does the opportunity allow me to pay testimony to Him in some way? Or is it just about the money? Does the work let me use my skills (skills I’m blessed with) in ways that God would want me to use them? Answers to questions like these dictate what I pray for. Prayers for God’s glory and not my own. That’s something to stop, look, listen and think about!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, forgive us for not seeking your guidance when we look for opportunities. May our will reflect yours in all that we do, Amen!
‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds’
Sometimes I don’t know what to write when I’m faced with scripture like that. Because it seems so clear and simple. It was in my daily reading yesterday and I felt compelled to bring it up again today. It’s a very comforting piece of scripture. I always find it very reassuring when it comes to the business place. In the world when I can never work out why certain things happens, with all the anxieties and pressures we all face.
It is easy to get wrapped up in our problems and worries whilst still knowing about the promise that God gives us in the scripture. We forget that scripture requires action from us. It says ‘present your requests to God through prayer and petition’.And only then will the peace of God guard out hearts. So, whatever is causing you concern today lift it up to God. Blurt it out! He’s listening. Don’t keep it to yourself no matter how ridiculous it is. But remember to also give thanks!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we lift all of our anxieties, concerns and worries up to you. Go ahead of us to the office place so we can have peace in knowing that you are there with us so you can free us Lord from the shackles of this world – Amen!
‘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!
‘Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.’
Every year on Good Friday this song pops into my head. Click here. It’s from Jesus Christ Superstar. I’m not a fan of the film, mainly because I think they portray it as an imaginary event. But I do like the song. It looks like the moment where he’s being led away by the soldiers and the disciples (in this case a bunch of hippies) are realizing its for real and get scared. They don’t want to let him go or lose him. But I take it more as starting over. Forgiveness. He shed his blood for us and washed us white as snow. But pure white snow gets dirty after a while and we go back and ask to start all over again, everyday. But we also have sins from the past, perhaps a long time ago that burden us or drag us down. We’ve asked for forgiveness, yet still we hang on to them. But the promise is that with faith and a prayer of forgiveness we can truly let go of all that and march toward the prize that awaits us. Eternity with Jesus!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, You sent your one and only son to die for us so we can let go of all sin. Past and present. Not letting go of that sin shows a lack of faith in you and is a sin in itself! So, please forgive us – 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!
And we know for those that love God all things work together for good, for those that are called according to his purpose.
Looking for the good in things that on the surface don’t seem that good is all part of being a Christian. I found out at 5pm today that my 10.15 flight had been delayed until midnight. I wasn’t happy and I grumbled. But as I sit at the airport now I’m realizing that things seemed to go better because of the delay.
I was able to have more time at the church service and not worry about rushing to the airport at 7pm. I was able to spend more time catching up with people who I hadn’t seen in a while and I was able to relax and focus on the message which I may not have done if I was in a hurry. I had more time talking to my wife and I got one more hug from my daughter who I had earlier said goodbye to. Airport security was empty because it’s late and I’m now realizing that a midnight flight to London isn’t a bad thing from a time difference point of view. And, I can glorify God by writing about it.
I don’t know how God works and I will never know how he gave me that time. Can He delay planes? Or did He just allow me to see the good? How many other people benefited but don’t know it? Trying to work it out isn’t possible but I’m going to credit Him the delay anyway. Praise God!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, forgive us when we grumble about things instead of trying to find the good. We give thanks for the gifts you bless us with especially the gifts we don’t ever acknowledge or recognize – Amen!