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?

You’re not on your own.

Matthew 4:1-2

‘Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished’

The business world can be a lonely place. When we’re under pressure and stress it feels a  like we have to deal with it ourselves and all the temptations that come with it. ‘Dog eat dog’ it’s called. No matter how much stress, pain, suffering and rejection we may feel we should know that God went through the same and much worst by becoming Jesus. There’s nothing we go through that He doesn’t have compassion for. Think about His pain and suffering. Fasting for forty days! In a desert! He understands how bad it can be. I realize that all may be well in your world today and that the things I’m writing don’t match up. It was true for jesus on this earth as well. A week before he was crucified, people were on their hands and knees praising and worshiping him. He experienced the ups and downs too. So, maybe nothing is troubling us today, but if anything ever does we just need to surrender it all to God. As it says in Psalm 23 ‘And even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me. Your rod and staff they comfort me.’ That all sounds dramatic, but anyone reading this that has had the threat of redundancy over their heads, a new boss that for some reason doesn’t like them or their job riding on a big presentation will know exactly what I mean. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31. Amen!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son to suffer for us. May we look to you in our own suffering for peace, love, wisdom, skill, guidance and strength, Amen!

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!

I present to you………God!

Genesis 9:13-14

‘I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds’

rainbowI think I got a bit too excited by this rainbow I saw on Saturday. I saw it on my way back to the hotel and when I went through reception I urged the bellman and the receptionists to go and look. They meandered outside but didn’t seem too impressed. The picture here is not doing it justice. The bellman saw the picture on my phone and said it was ‘okay’!

If we don’t know where the rainbow is from or who it came from then I suppose it’s easy to pass it by. But It was God. Staring at me. I was amazed. I always have been amazed by rainbows. Why? God is present all the time through all of his creation. But rainbows? They only come along occasionally and there are specifics about it in the bible. Think about it….all those colors joined together. And it’s shape. Like a bridge between us and God. Doesn’t it feel like something not of this earth? Because it’s a rarity?  He said He would place a rainbow in the sky and here it is…proof. Real time. Not just a beautiful 200-year-old Oak tree that’s always been there but a 2013 rainbow from God. And that’s it. Of now. Like a text. look out 4 the rainbow 🙂 He’s with us now. Look at the way the artist portrayed the people below. In awe. Not like the bellman. Look out for something from God today!

rainbow

Is your door always open?

Revelation 3:20

‘Here I am! I stand at the door at knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me’

'Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, i will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends' - Revelation 3:20

‘Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, i will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends’ – Revelation 3:20

As I’ve probably said before this is one of my favorite images of Christ. Knocking on the door of a thorny, overgrown doorway. How many doors do we have into our lives? The office door. Our front door. The train door. The elevator door. The list goes on. We may let Christ into one but of them but slam another one on him. Happy to let Him into our homes perhaps but not into the meeting room? Into our bible study but not a restaurant, taxi or hotel room? It’s been a challenge for me being on the road a lot and out of my routine. So many doors that I’m going through. It’s a discipline to let God not only come through with me but to go before me and to already be there. Praying that He will be somewhere that I am going to like an edit suite, meeting room or business dinner. When I forget to pray about that I sometimes have a feeling of dread going into those places but when I do remember it’s a much more pleasant feeling. It’s a child like feeling that’s difficult to explain. A little like the security and comfort I had as a child when I jumped off the top of the stairs and my Dad would catch me. I had no doubt he would. A child like faith! That’s the best analogy I can think of!

Heavenly Father, We open all our doors to you. Guide us every step of the way and be there to catch us when we have to take a big leap! – Amen!

The world’s problems are our problems.

Galatians 5:14

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The world revolves around the bible. Or should do, if we’re Christians at least.  From how we treat others to the way our leaders run the country, there is good advice on all things worldly. If house prices and mortgage rates get so much out of control that they leave families homeless then that is a Christian concern and our responsibility. We don’t want people homeless because they are our neighbors and we love them. Just like we don’t want children hungry or others persecuted for their beliefs. Therefore it is up to us to help them, pray for them and pray for those who can have influence in this world. Our work is a good example. Is what we’re doing helping others or just ourselves. Is it serving and glorifying God? It is improving the world or just our own situation. How can our work and the way we go about our work make a positive impression on the world? Or is it our skills that can help? The same work skills but for the common good outside of the work place. Complaining and doing nothing about something we care about won’t help anyone or anything. Praying, taking action and living out the word can!

Heavenly Father, we pray we can live out the word as though it was only written yesterday.  Help us to remember that it’s relevant to our lives and not something written for another time or place – Amen!

Could we start again, Please?

Isaiah 43:18

‘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!

Is it my imagination?…

Philippians 3:14

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us

Last week was another week of Andrew fighting his continuous battle to achieve perfection. I sometimes wonder if the image in my head gifted to me from God can actually be achieved on this earth. In fact, I don’t wonder, I know it can’t because I’ve tried to imagine it too many times in too many ways and it’s never realized. There’s too many variables. Too many opinions and personal tastes that can stifle the process and the outcome. It’s not anyone’s fault. God created us as individuals. It’s just the way it is. It’s the same in any job, not just mine. So, as I sit staring at a snowy, slushy, wet and slightly imperfect London I know that I need to strive on with all the patience, kindness, strength, creativity and peace that God can give me. Then at least it will be in His name and of His will regardless of the not so perfect outcome. I’ll perhaps wait to see perfection in heaven.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, give us patience with those we work with. We pray that we’ll show them respect, kindness and love. For we know that if we love them, we love you – 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

 

Is a 2 hour delay a gift from God?

Romans 8:28

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!