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!
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
In the work place, lots of talking and strong opinions can be the sign of someone who knows what he or she is doing and one to be listened to. Or at least, that’s the perception. But I’m more in agreement with the Proverbs verse. In whatever situation silence is strong. Whether there is an aggressive voice in the room or a voice that just keeps talking to try to make a point, there will come a point when silence will prevail or be rewarded. Staying calm in a heated discussion or hearing people out and then peacefully and thoughtfully stating an opinion nearly always works. And listening carefully allows us to really hear what people say. Many times, I am asked “And what’s your opinion Andy” and that’s usually the last opinion in the meeting. Whether it’s agreed on or not isn’t the point, it’s simply an effortless and less stressful way to go about the day. And that is the point. When we read God’s word and abide by it, things become much easier. Those words have been written as a guide for our lives. Not for us to read, agree with and then go off and do the opposite. Enough said!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, hold our tongues today as we enter the work place. We want to be wise with our words and show strength by being at peace – Amen!
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters
As we get back into the swing of things at work it’s easy to go full on and not rest. We’ve had a few days over Christmas to rest so we feel like we have to work really hard to make up for it! But the verse above applies to all times of year. Notice the word ‘makes’ in the verse. He urges us to rest. For the good of our bodies and for the good of our relationship with Him. Leading us by still waters could be a stroll at lunch time. Or actually going out of the office to have lunch. Find a meeting room in the office to just sit and read. Even staring out of the window and giving thanks for all of our gifts and blessings is worth doing. Pace yourself this year, be at peace and make time for yourself and God. The work will still get done. You can trust God for that!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, help us to rest and spend more time with You this year. We pray that our work will still get done and better! – Amen!
If one gives answers before he hears, it is folly and shame
The business world is full of talking. People talking over each other. Some of us go into a meeting desperately needing to make a point. Many are so wound up about something that we go into it already frustrated and just need to blurt something out. (especially on Monday mornings). That’s normally when we regret something we say.
Everybody wants to be heard. And, of course, someone has to talk. But listening is a skill. As the song goes ‘Silence is Golden’. Listening for a length of time without talking can work wonders. We’ll be tempted to jump in but we have to stop ourselves. And actually not saying anything can solve it! I have seen so many people talk themselves into a solution or simply run out of steam. Or they get to the point where they have to say “What do you think”? That’s the best place to be then a few and considered and wise words is all that’s needed.
This isn’t a lesson in management, but we all need reminders. Scripture has many verses on the subject of speaking and talking. None of them, as far as I know, tell us to talk and talk without listening. Hear what I’m saying?
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, give us peace today in the work place. May we surrender our instincts to talk so we can let You guide our hearts and ears to listen to our colleagues – Amen!
‘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!
He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
In the business I’m in everyone talks about simplicity and how to communicate a message in the simplest way no matter how complicated or basic the message is. The skill is to get straight to the point and not let the complicated stuff get in the way.
This past Sunday I listened to a girl sing a hymn. Sophie was her name. I think she’s no more than 8 or 9 years old. It was beautiful. She’s blessed with a wonderful voice and the words were all about ‘Jesus’. Uncomplicated words. In the quietness, the words she sang seemed so simple. Suddenly all the clutter and the stuff that complicates life and gets in the way of my relationship with Jesus blew away in the morning breeze. An image came into my head as the girl was singing. It was of two paths. One all overgrown and thorny and the other clear. Jesus was at the end of both. It was like I had a choice. I could take the tough path to Jesus or the clear one. Children were running down the clear path with Jesus smiling at the other end. The clear one seemed more appealing. It was the simple, less complicated path. Together with the words from the song it all seemed so clear. God can speak to us in any situation. I don’t think I was expecting it to come through an 8 years old girl’s voice! It was like a whisper. We have to be listening carefully and paying attention to when God is speaking to us. Of course, I have to look at all the stuff that gets in the way of my relationship with God but it was a peaceful, satisfying image. I thank God for Sophie, her voice and the moment of clarity. I just wish I could turn back time and film her singing it. Perhaps another time!
Pray with me
Heavenly Father, we give thanks for the children. Fo their pure and peaceful lives among our complicated ones. Help us to simplify our relationship with you so we can come to you like little children – 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!
‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful’
‘Peace Train’ is a Cat Steven’s song if you were wondering where those words came from.
I’m occasionally influenced by my daily devotional in what I write in this blog. In today’s reading it suggested that rather than give up something for lent, we take up a habit instead. Of course, the habit has to be something related to God rather than eating more chocolate. Focused prayer was one idea. So, as I’m traveling a lot I’ve decided to pray for peace for all the people I’m traveling with. Both the people I know and the one’s I don’t – passengers on planes, aircraft crew, hotel staff etc.
If you travel on a train or ride in a car perhaps pray for all the people you’re traveling with on the train or the road? I don’t know what the result of that prayer will be. Some people will know God, others won’t. But whatever, it’s worth praying for God to enter their lives and for them to have peace because we live in troubled and difficult times. And all those troubles are hidden and suppressed by a world that demands us to be continually ‘on our game’ and to always impress and never fail. It’s heartbreaking to think that people are hurting inside without knowing that it can be healed by the peace of Christ. We owe it to those people to pray for them. We may not ever get to meet them or know them but we know someone who longs to, don’t we?
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The World and all it’s people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the sea and built it on the ocean depths.”
The Smoky Mountains
To have a relationship with God, it’s good to take time to enjoy and marvel at what he’s created. That’s not easy for us commuters to do! We generally stand on the same part of the platform every morning and sit in the same carriage, maybe even in the same seat. Rarely would we look out of the window. We think there’s nothing interesting. But spending time with God can also mean spending time with all that he created. Take a quick look at the way the sunlight hits the trees and the color of the morning sky and all the beauty surrounding you. And then be at peace. If God has the power to continuously change the color of the leaves then he has the power to help you in all that have to face at work. You just need to open your heart. Be still, and know that the Lord is with you.
– Heavenly Father, we praise you for all that you have created for us. We pray that we can spend more time marveling at its beauty and help us protect this earth for future generations. Amen
PS. I’m posting this one today because it truly is a beautiful day!