Respect not expect.

1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God

‘Expect’ or ‘Expected’ are the words that are used a lot in the office. “You are expected to be in the meeting”. “We expect you to work the weekend”. “You are expected to attend the conference”. “We expect you to work late”. If you read the dictionary, the word is actually used out of the context of what it really means. Or it’s been twisted. Regardless of that, it’s hardly ever used in the context of pleasant things. I don’t ever hear “You are expected to take a vacation”. Or “You are expected to see your family”. “We expect you to take a lunch break”.

We have many expectations asked of us and most of the time it’s important that we live up to them. After all, we are getting paid for it. But when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations of them be careful not to judge. Outside of the work place our colleagues are living lives. In some cases, lives full of illness, suffering and pain. They have families to look after. And with that comes many problems and genuine worry, to the point where they simply can’t do their job as well as they would like because they are distracted. It’s perhaps not up to us to investigate someone’s problems. But showing we care by having patience, showing kindness as well as understanding regardless of the situation, is sharing God’s love through us.

So, share that love today. If the moments right, tell someone you expect them to do something pleasant. Something they would least expect you to say! I think that is God’s expectation of us.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray that we can humble ourselves before others. May we be gracious, loving, kind and understanding. Give us the wisdom and the skill to navigate through all our work situations – Amen!

 

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Is a ‘Mum’ God’s masterpiece?

Proverbs 31:2

‘Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her’

 

Most creators of things have a masterpiece. Da Vinci had the Mona Lisa, Van Gogh his sunflowers. Architects have them so do composers and musicians. But does God have one. I suspect not. There’s too many to mention but, if there was, the ‘Mum’ gets my vote.

Think about what they do. I won’t get into details but I’m sure if you sit down for 5 minutes and give it some thought you will have some kind of realization. And then think about your own Mother whether she’s alive or not. Think about where you are today and then think carefully back to a time when your Mother helped you get to where you are now. Words of encouragement, support and love. Or maybe a financial sacrifice or just a sacrifice of her time. The last one is the big one. Time, that’s what Mum’s give to us most. At the expense of something they may want to do. And they don’t think twice about doing it. Thank God for Mums. His masterpiece.

Usually around Mother’s day a song pops into my head and an early memory of my Mum humming away to it in our kitchen as she listened to the transistor radio. The song and a vague image of her stays with me for a few days and then disappears. But it’s a happy memory and I thank God for it. The song is posted below.

Happy Mother’s day for Sunday.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for our Mothers and all that they sacrifice for us – Amen!

 

Not a failure. A Success!

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding

 

It’s good to know that God loves us all equally.  And that, in His eyes, we are all loved for what we are regardless of our shortfalls. There’s nothing we can do to make Him love us more. No amount of success in the work place is going to make God proud of us either. Or make Him say to himself “Now that’s what I call a successful creation”!

So, when something happens at work that is a disappointment to us like someone else getting a promotion or a position we thought we should have, God probably has us just where He wants us. What we think is a failure is a most likely a success in the eyes of God, as much as we may find that difficult to understand. The Proverbs verse implies we will never understand it. It’s actually a good feeling to know that we’re not meant to. It makes it easier because we can just let it go. Not even someone who is a million times smarter than us can understand it! All we need to do is use out heart and have faith. (notice the Proverbs verse doesn’t say ‘Trust in the Lord with all your brain’!) No, God has better plans for us. As it says in Jeremiah 29:11 – ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope’. 

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, forgive us for planning our own lives and then thinking that any disappointments are failures. Help us to know that you love us and will always want what’s best for us. Allow us to accept that success maybe just be where we are now, not where we think we should be – Amen!

You can’t always get what you want…

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you

but if you pray sometimes, you’ll get what you need. That’s a little twist on the Jagger/Richards song (see the video below). ‘You can’t always get what you want’. The word ‘try’ replaced by ‘pray’. It’s a song that’s been in my head a lot and I’m realizing those words ring true with me. I have tried not praying for specifics but instead praying for guidance, wisdom and to glorify God. It seems to work better than wanting things. I think we are all guilty of that occasionally, especially when we get drawn into the career wants. And when we don’t get what we want then we feel let down and our confidence or self-esteem is dented. When we pray for what’s right in His name then I think we get what we need. It’s like we give ourselves up to Him. So, as the lyrics go…You ought to try some time. You just might find. You’ll get what you need!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will guide us along the path to what we need and not what we want – Amen!

 

    

One step at a time.

Psalm 18:28

“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

If you’re anything like me, you might sometimes sit on the train (or where ever you may be) wondering what the future looks like. But, of course, we don’t know. And because we don’t know, we plan. We plan something that is our idea of what it might look like. Planning is good but only if we are looking to God for guidance. Even then, we can get carried away with our own dreams. “Dear God, I pray that you can guide me to Florida where I can retire.” That’s probably not the right prayer but we all do it. Or something similar. The Psalmist of the verse above is happy to have a lamp to guide him. Lamp’s won’t light up the entire path, just a few yards. Enough to stop us from going the wrong way. The future is now. That sounds like a cliché but it’s pointless planning so far ahead because we may be missing out on so much today! So, plan the next few steps with God and let’s pray a prayer for a future (today and the for the rest of our lives) that can in some way glorify Him. Sound like a plan?

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, We thank You for always being with us even when we don’t know it. Lord, we offer our lives up to You. Our future is in Your hands. Lead us to where You want us to be. Give us the faith to follow You, one step at a time – Amen!

We are His.

Psalm 100:3

Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of his pasture

The business world is often a difficult place to navigate. It’s accepted that people are in different positions of authority. Often based on talent and the level of experience. Depending on where we are at we are either a manager or being managed. In truth, regardless of what position we hold there is always someone managing us. But we are not owned by anyone in the work place. No one has the right to claim ownership of us. We work with people and respect each others authority and talents, we listen to wisdom and take advice from more experienced people but we are not slaves to someone’s authority. Neither should we be judged by them.

But we do belong to God. He owns us. He created us. He knows us better than anyone can know us. We answer only to Him. He is the judge of us especially if we judge others! Matthew 7:1 ‘Do not judge or you too will be judged’. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our work environment and start to believe that someone else’s opinion of us is right when the opinion isn’t favorable. In fact, it can really drag us down and we lose all confidence in our abilities. But know this. God has gifted talent to us all. We are all capable of doing our work very well. Amazingly well  if it’s through Him. So, we should not listen to what others say if it’s demoralizing or an abuse of power and position. Pray and listen to God instead. He says in Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’. Or Joshua 1:9 ‘…Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go’ The words of a true leader!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, You are our leader and we put our hope and faith in you. May we look to you for wisdom, advice and encouragement by reading your word then let us be at peace – Amen!

Advice from someone who knows.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work

We usually seek advice from people who have been in a similar situation or have knowledge of something that we don’t. But how often so we seek it from God? He’s written an entire book on how to live our lives. The Bible. It’s quite incredible that not many people seek it out given that in some shape or form it can give us direction and advice on everything we face in this life. It may not be the advice or guidance we want to hear but it’s in there. Work, relationships and money. These are the topics in our lives that we spend the most time thinking and worrying about.

  • Money – Ecclesiastes 5:10 ‘Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless’
  • Work – Colossians 3:23 ‘Whatever you do. work heartily. as for the Lord and not for men’
  • Relationships – Proverbs 13:20 ‘He who walks with wise men will be wise. But the company of fools will suffer harm’

There are hundreds of verses on all topics of life. Some find it hard to believe there’s a God because we don’t see evidence that He exists. How do we have a relationship with someone we can’t see? But he does exist through His word. Actually picking up the book and reading it is the biggest hurdle to leap regardless of our faith. The more we read, the closer the relationship we have with Him. And then the decisions on all aspects of our lives become somewhat easier. It’s a self-help book of sorts, but unlike other self-help books we can have an on going conversation with the author through prayer and scripture.

The link below is something I sometimes use when I need help. It’s a bible search engine. Just tap in the subject and various scripture pops up.

http://www.openbible.info/topics/

Of course, we need faith to do this. It comes with time but I pray that we will all turn to His word. Silly not to turn to someone who knows everything!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, Your word is a light to our path. Teach us to look to scripture through anyway possible. A book, the internet or even apps! We give thanks that the gift of technology allows us to seek you out in many more ways! – Amen

Upstream in Uptown

Psalm 25:9

‘He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way’

We watched a film a few nights ago called ‘Salmon Fishing in The Yemen’. There was a scene in the film when the salmon were let loose into the river. At first they went the wrong way. They went downstream. But after a few seconds their instinct kicked in and they turned around and went upstream.

Being a christian is hard. In business it’s hard. Our tendency is to go with the flow. To go downstream. I have that image when I get on the train sometimes and occasionally in an office environment. We go the way everyone else goes. But to follow our faith means, that most of the time, we need to go upstream. To fight for ethics in the work place. To not go with a decision that might be harmful. Or to leave the party early or client dinner early because we have friends or family relying on us for something. Or even to turn down the job or promotion that may take us even further into the wrong place. The place that has the ‘Keep out’ sign. We need to seek God’s guidance as to whether we are going upstream or downstream. Only we know. But, speaking personally, I know when I’m going  downstream. I sometimes go that way for days and weeks. The good news, is that at least I’m aware of it. Being blind to it would be worse. Awareness is important. It means we’re trying. So, think about what way you’re going. But whatever you do, don’t take a train that’s going in the opposite direction!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we seek Your guidance today. We pray for the right directions in our life and career. Make clear the path we should follow and be with us on that path – Amen!

Are we in denial?

John 18:17

“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”

It’s that time of year again! It’s like watching a movie that you’ve seen a million times but still hoping that a certain scene won’t be the same and that things change. To this day, I still wish that Steve McQueen escapes in The Great Escape but he never does. Just like I hope that Peter could prove Jesus wrong and not deny him or perhaps only deny him two times! “There, you see, only twice Jesus!” But it was already planned. God’s will played out. What’s the difference in our lives? Absolutely nothing. A work colleague says “I hear you’re a religious type, you don’t believe in all that Jesus stuff, do you?”…”Nah, not me.” (Nervous laughter).  I have said this in the past. Not in recent years but when I was first finding out about the story of Jesus it was difficult to then be open about my beliefs. But, I suppose I must have told someone otherwise I wouldn’t have been asked the question. So, we must try to be faithful to God outside of a 1 hour service on Sunday. In the comfort of our church buildings. And If God is with us, who can be against us? We must not under-estimate how people may see us if we’re Christians. They may notice something different about us, a certain peace or strength that we may not realize we’re showing.  By saying “Yes, I believe in God.”  we’ll probably just be explaining that difference. If our hearts are open to saying it, God won’t deny us the opportunity.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, forgive us if we ever deny you. Give us the courage and opportunity to tell others about you today and forever – Amen! 

Has your relationship with God been delayed?

1 JOHN 3:1

‘And it is my desire to lavish my love on you’

I’ve had lots of delays on my travels over the past few weeks. More than usual. Bad weather and faulty planes. Delays are frustrating and I’m impatient. But God isn’t. He waits, patiently for us to arrive so He can be close to us. Have we arrived if we just believe in God? I’m not so sure. Arriving is about being with someone. Embracing them and showing that you’re glad to be with them. We can’t do that from a distance. If you’re on a train now, imagine God greeting you at the your destination with open arms. Joyful in your arrival. And then walk with him to work. Take Him to every meeting. Involve Him in every decision. He knows more about what you do, than you do, no matter how much experience you have. Unlike all of our other relationships you never have to say goodbye to God. No tearful farewells. He won’t leave you. But if you leave Him, He’ll be waiting for you. Patiently.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, draw us close to you. We long to  spend time with you. And seek your guidance in all we do – Amen

Train platform-1