The Lord is near to all them that call on Him, to all that call on Him in truth
Whenever I’m asked that question I usually say “I’m fine”. It’s one of those questions asked out of politeness. More a greeting then a genuine enquiry about my well-being. But how are we really? Could we reel off a long list of things that aren’t so good? Most probably. In the same way, if we thought about it more, we could list a lot of things that are good. Imagine God asking you the “How are you” question. It’s one way of starting a relationship with him. It’s a question we can quite easily reply to. We can tell Him about the things we’re struggling with at work. The stress, the politics. Perhaps there’s someone at work we would like to get on better with. Maybe we don’t like our job and we want a change. All of these things we can speak to God about. We can also thank Him for the fact that we have work. If we have good health, then we should him thank Him for that. For our houses, families, cars and the earth we live on. These are all gifts from God. Temporarily given for us to enjoy. God wants to know how we are. He loves us. Cares about us and wants us to tell Him all about it. So, how are you?
‘Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand’
It’s good occasionally to take a breather and just think. We’re all caught up in routines and habits. Our lives carrying us along at 100 mph. What you’re doing now may well be your purpose in life but then again, maybe not?
Here’s a video that might get us thinking at least. There’s no answers in there except turning to God for guidance. One big answer! 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!
‘Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes’
‘Be still’ is one of my favorite hymns. Click here to listen and read the words at the same time. And perhaps do it again after you’re read this.
My weeks were once full of work. And more work. On the train in the morning I prayed for strength to get me through the day and then raced off from there without another thought for God. And at the end of the day or week I would give thanks. But thanks for what? For barely getting me to the finishing line? For just about keeping my head above water? The workplace is a roller coaster ride. Once we’re on it we can’t slow it down or get off. But how about we plan before we get on it? Before we accept all of those meetings, client dinners and conferences. On top of that there’s the other work. The parent meetings, church meetings, mission trips, prayer meetings, the list goes on. God isn’t keeping track of all the things we do but he might be keeping track of why we do it and for what purpose. In His name or ours? Doing less, with prayer and a listening ear, may mean doing more for God. With him in our hearts always. You might also have time to take in the world around you. I’ve just realized that this is practically the same post as last week’s STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, THINK! Oh well, perhaps it just needed to be said again?
‘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!
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household to the land that I will show you”.
The title of this part of Genesis is ‘The call of Abram’. Also known as ‘Abram’s obedience’. And what obedience it was. What faith. Read it carefully….‘to the land that I will show you’. Abram didn’t know where he was going! But still he went!
I can’t deny that I have had a sense of this ‘not knowing where I am going’ feeling over the last 6 months. But each time I get that feeling God seems to direct me very clearly or things seem to fall into place. I can only talk about in association with my work as this is generally what this blog is about but, safe to say, it affects all aspects of my life and my family’s. Only last week I was thinking about where the next project will come from. Curious really, as I’ve been on this path long enough now to know God will provide. And when I think I tend to do it in a way that I’m talking to God. Wondering. Daydreaming! It’s quite a peaceful feeling. No panic or anxiety. Rather like stopping for a rest on a long country walk, breathing in the air and deciding what way to go next. No choice is a bad choice. Anyway, something did come up that’s kept me in London for a few more days that I believed to be God’s will. It’s not the path I would have chosen to take as I was looking forward to heading back to Connecticut but as the passage says…‘go to the land that I will show you’I’m in no position to say no!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, thank you for having the plan all laid out. Give us the faith and strength to live it out – Amen!
‘The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.’
I really enjoyed my 4 days back in Connecticut. I was able to spend time with my wife and all 3 of my children. It was definitely a blessed time. I enjoyed the Easter church services and, like most people, I was reminded how much of a sacrifice it was for us. I can’t deny that I feel a slight emptiness and even sadness now that I’m back at JFK watching the sunrise yet again over Terminal 4. Who can I get close to now? Where’s the warmth? Where’s the love? Where’s the joy? I’m so glad that I can turn to God in prayer to find that love and strength. I feel pain for those that don’t know him. Those that are feeling the same as me this morning. Those on planes, in cars or on trains and buses, but they don’t know who to turn to or even remember who they should turn to! Even as Christians it’s easy to let life carry us away. We’re in the moment on Sunday shouting “Christ hasrisen!“ and on Tuesday we’ve forgotten how that connection with Christ felt. The feeling has gone. Everyone and everything has gone! The church building, friends, the Pastor’s words, the singing, the smell of the flowers, the joy and the peace. But God remains with us. Steadfast, unwavering love. And he loves us more than anyone can love us and he’ll never leave us. It’s written in Psalm 121. It seems ridiculous that I’m sitting here feeling a little sorry for myself when I have that promise! Chin up Andrew! Sunny London awaits…
He walks with you!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, give us strength and peace on our early morning commute to work. Help us to feel the same joy that we felt last Sunday and allow us the opportunity to spread that joy to others – Amen!