‘Set your minds on things that are above and not on things that are on earth’.
As Lent begins many of us are frantically trying to find things to give up. The usual things – chocolate, online shopping, Netflix. Instead, perhaps it’s possible for us to give something up at work and focus on God. What would we give up to make us humble? What we give up to show more respect for a work colleague or have forgiveness for someone who offended us? What would we give up to show compassion for someone who is having a difficult time. Perhaps this would stay with us beyond the 40 days if we remain focused on Him.
In Colossians 3:2, God tells us to focus on things that are above, meaning Him and His teaching. Let go. Give up the things at work that you know stop you from behaving in a Godly way.
Gods creation is something else to focus on during Lent. He shows us some spectacular things!
‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’
Rejection. It’s tough. Feeling worthless and incapable of doing something we thought we could do but then being told we’re not ‘up to the job’ is one of the hardest things in the business world.
I have been rejected for very senior jobs in ad agencies that I was fairly confident I could do and it was odd to me that I wasn’t getting them. But after a while, I just said “Okay God, what is that you want me to do”. Just because I hadn’t been given the opportunity I wanted it didn’t mean that God didn’t have something else equally challenging for me. For example, I was filming in Prague this past week, merrily going about my job as a Commercial’s Director. When filming, most of the crew stand behind the Director’s chair and the actors stand in front, obviously. For most of the shoot, I had been comfortably doing the job but I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t give direction because my brain froze. In that moment, the actors were staring at me. (Actors that didn’t speak much English) and when I glanced behind me all the film crew were looking at me as well. And there was this weird ‘are you up to the job’ silence. They were all looking to me for direction. And I had to act quickly. Something came to me and I shouted out some words and I was back on track. I sensed that God had put me in that place and thankfully given me the words to do my job. I also realized that I was in a very senior position on the set but not the position I had once expected, during those times of rejection. I don’t crave or seek out senior positions any more but God had put me in one. One, that in many ways was more challenging than that of being in an ad agency but I believe it to be a better use of my skills. I also believe that it’s all God’s work. So, ‘are you up to the job’? Maybe not the one you think you want but God will have something else for you that’s most likely even more challenging or unexpected. Are you up for praying about that?
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we ask that you guide us in our work. We want to follow your path so we do what you have planned for us not what we plan for ourselves. Give us the confidence and strength to believe in you and take that leap of faith when an opportunity arises that we weren’t expecting – Amen!
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!
View from the train heading to New York from Boston. Thursday March 20th, 6.20pm.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness
If we take a train, we have some time to prepare ourselves for the day ahead. I like the words in Ephesians – belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness. It seems only right to arm ourselves with these things. But, without us knowing, they may fall off as we wander from meeting to meeting or from thought to thought. We need to keep them firmly attached to us through prayer. So, lets ask for this while we’re prepare for the day ahead of us. And then allow it to sustain us as we go about our day.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we give thanks for your presence in our lives. Sustain us with your gift of the truth and righteousness. Help us not to wander away from these things or get drawn into bad ways. Keep our armor intact – Amen!
‘Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put onto your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you’
No matter how wealthy or not wealthy we are, we can still be rich in God’s eyes. It says in Luke 6:38 that we will always get a measure back of the gift we give. Whether that’s our money or our time. ‘Give and it will be given to you’. I’ve read that verse a thousand times but still I worry about giving too much. I’m not sure why I worry because I always seem to benefit from it in some way. I don’t think the verse means that if I give $10, I’ll get $10 or even $20 back. There are different kinds of reward. There’s the reward we store in heaven. The peace that comes with giving to those that are less fortunate. The joy that comes with knowing you’ve helped better someone’s life. I find it very hard not to give to causes involving children. I get sad when I hear that children aren’t happy. So, it makes me happy when I can help. Jesus loves us all but he holds a special place in his heart for the children. There’s many Bible verses on it. But regardless, giving sets us free from controlling our own lives and letting God lead us. Big faith comes with just letting go and giving our money to others instead of spending it on ourselves. We may say “But we’ve worked hard for our money, why should we give it away?”. God worked hard to create this earth and everything we have comes from God. Our lives, the skills, the gifts and the work that comes with that. All from Him. When we give, we’re just gift swapping. As God lavishes gifts on us everyday for all of our lives it seems only polite for us to occasionally give some back!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, thank You for all the gifts You lavish on us. Help us to search and soften hearts to give some of it back to You, to help build Your kingdom – Amen!
‘In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my god and I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry reached his ears.’
I can’t remember the last time I cried but I remember as a child crying and then feeling better afterwards. We’re in business and we very rarely cry even though we may sometimes feel like it. We can pour out our troubles to God though. Cry out and scream if we want to. He’s listening. He knows our troubles already but that’s fine because He wants to hear them from us anyway. Why? Because that shows faith and trust in Him as well as us wanting to have a relationship with Him. And it proves that we cannot do anything alone. For a while maybe we can, or maybe even years and decades but eventually we will need to cry out to God. He will be there waiting, listening and taking on those troubles. So, pack them up and ship them to God. ‘Urgent’ shipping. And then be at peace. You will feel a lot better afterwards.
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we pray that we can simply let go and put all of our burdens on you. Thank you for always taking them on and being there to listen when we cry out to you – Amen!