Here we go!

Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

For many people, today is the first day back to work after the summer vacation and the first day back to school for the children. The trains will be fuller and the highways thicker with traffic. Even though the summer hasn’t ended it does feel like it’s coming to an end. And there can be anxieties that come with walking back into a building again. Unfinished projects, new environments or problems that we managed to brush under the carpet for a couple of weeks. To some of us, these are daunting things. But the scripture above tells us that we need not worry. God is not only with us but He has gone before us! The command is clear and quite abrupt. ‘DO NOT be afraid’. ‘DO NOT be discouraged’. Not ‘It’s okay, it will be alright’ but ‘DO NOT’. Why so commanding? Because God requires us to have faith and belief in Him. Our all-powerful Heavenly Father. But a simple prayer asking for our burdens to be taken on by God is all it takes. Then we can be at peace. As it says in Psalm 46:10 – ‘Be still and know that I am God’. Now we know that God is with us and we have faith then we can approach our work with vigor, energy and joy. That might be a lot to ask of us on a Monday morning but not too much to ask God for!

Pray with me

‘Heavenly Father, we pray for all of those that are going back to work today. We ask for you to go before us and with us. To give us strength, peace and love for others in the workplace and may we also give thanks for all You do for us today on our journey home tonight’ – Amen!

 

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Do less.

Psalm 37:7

‘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?

STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, THINK!

Matthew 6:33

‘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!

Don’t worry.

Philippians 4:6-7

‘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!

 

 

 

What do you have in common with God?

Proverbs 8:17

‘I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.’

Getting to know God means having a relationship with him and not just believing in Him. I’m sure God has everything in common with us but, as human beings. it’s probably good to find something that allows you to see God or something that sparks up a conversation with Him. Perhaps your work is that? I think it is definitely mine. I’m blessed to have my work evolve around creation, light, form and beauty. All of which has come from God. When I see something I like, I try to credit and think of God. And thank him. When I have an idea (good or bad) I know it’s from God. But it’s really just a conversation starter for me. A reminder that He exists and is everywhere. And like any relationship, it grows stronger as you find more things to talk about and more in common. You may become more open to Him. So, God wants to connect with you! He has similar interests!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we know you long to have a relationship with us, we pray we can seek you and realize that you want us to talk to you about everything we do, like children do. Help us find those conversation starters – Amen!

Can we ever be as ambitious as God?

Ephesians 3: 20

‘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!

success chart

 

Are you riding the ‘Peace Train’?

Colossians 3:15

‘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?

Ready for battle?

Lyrics to ‘When a Knight won his spurs’

‘When a Knight won his spurs in the stories of old, He was gentle and brave he was gallant and bold. With a shield on his arm and a lance in hand, for God and for valor he rode through the land….No charger have I, and no sword by my side, yet still to adventure and battle I ride. Though back into story land giants have fled. And the Knight s are no more and the dragons are dead. Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed, it’s the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed. And let me set free from the sword of my youth. From the castle of darkness, the power of truth.

Whoa…that’s a bit heavy for a Monday morning! We sang that song at school in England. If you click on the title above you can hear it. It has a lovely tune. The song has stayed with me with all of my life. It pops into my head when I’m about to venture into an environment or situation that I’m not particularly looking forward to. The word’s in bold on the ones that I say to myself. It’s an emotional piece for me because I know that God is with me. Always. I know he is because He’s proved He is over and over. So, as I venture into my next battle, it’s a case of “Here we go again God, the same concerns and worries. Sorry, I can’t stop having them but as long as you’re with me I guess I’ll be okay.”

Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed!

Prayer

‘Heavenly Father, Forgive us for ever doubting your presence and help us remember when you’ve been with us and how you’ve helped and protected us. Encourage us to look to you always for strength’ – Amen!

RISE AND SHINE!

Corinthians 4:6

‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ’.

 

Conversation

The phrase ‘Rise and Shine’ was brought up by my wife the other day. She was about to say it to our children and then she remembered how much she loathed it when she was a child. I agreed, it is an annoying phrase. It’s the last thing we want to hear but I had to put it as a heading today. There has been a common theme in these posts about Christ shining through us. When I pray what to write about, so often it comes up. But being repetitive isn’t a bad thing. The Bible is full of it.

Being able to shine to others through Christ is the single most important thing in the work place. Every word, every facial expression and body language reflects Him. It’s how we overcome anger, jealousy and stress. Praying for peace and strength allows us to shine.

One of my favorite hymns is ‘Shine Jesus Shine’. The words are so powerful:

Shine Jesus Shine, Fill this land with the Father’s glory. Blaze spirit blaze, set our hearts on fire. Flow, river flow, Flood the nations with grace and mercy. Send forth your word Lord and let there be light.

It’s a shame you can’t hear the tune but hopefully one day I’ll be able to embed songs into the blog. If you have time, look it up!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, As your humble servants we ask for you to shine through us to the world and as the lyrics of the song go ‘Set out hearts on fire’ – Amen!

What if you could only live until you were 70?

Psalm 90:10

“Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years of our lives are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.”

It’s written in stone!

I know this sounds like a depressing verse and I agree it is, if looked at from a human point of view. But it’s actually quite liberating. Especially if you’re 47 years old like me. It means I have 23 years left to focus on the things that God wants me to do. ( I may live until I’m 90 but play along with me). How do I know what God wants me to do? I don’t really. But I know  some things. God made me and blessed me with some skills. In my case, my skills evolve around creativity. I have used the last 27 years of those skills dedicated to working for Advertising agencies and providing for my family. Nothing wrong with that. But I haven’t necessarily used them to give back to God. To serve him. So, now I recognize that, all I can do is pray and listen to what God has for me to do. I know that if I’ve offered myself up to him, something will come up. Most likely something that I never thought I would do. Like write a blog!

Prayer

Heavenly Father, you have blessed us with so many gifts, Our families, our homes and our jobs. Help us to realize that they’re only temporary gifts from you and that you want us to use them to glorify you. We offer ourselves up to you Lord. Amen!