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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Focusing on God’s Purpose Leaves Little Time for Envy

In review of Hebrews 12:1 I read, “Let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.” (TLB)

I do not struggle alone, and I am not the first to struggle with problems. Others have run the race and won, and I can use their witness to stir me to run and win as well. To do so, I must strip off excess weight that might slow me down. I need to give up whatever might endanger my relationship with God. Then run with endurance, and struggle against sin with the power of the Holy Spirit

When I start to get concerned about something God is doing in another person’s life and envy starts to build, I need to refocus on the plan God has for me. Instead of getting distracted, I need to center in on God’s will for my life.

There’s a simple phrase in the story of the vineyard workers that the owner says to those who were grumbling about not getting what they deserved: “Take your money and go!” (Matthew 20:14 GW). He’s basically saying to those who can’t get past their envy, “It’s time to move on now. Quit having a pity party. Just get over it!”

There will be times when I get stuck in the past. However I shouldn't let what someone else got keep me from God’s plan for my life.

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us” (TLB). In this verse I believe the “particular” race means my own unique race, the one that is only for me. God has a plan that he wants me to pursue that is unlike anyone else’s. He planned it for me before I was even born, and it includes better things than I could ever dream for myself.

Once I begin to discover and pursue the unique purpose that God has for my life, I won’t envy anyone anymore. I’ll be released from the tyranny of having to be best all the time. I just have to be the best I can be, the person God made me to be.

When I get focused like this on God’s particular race for myself, I’ll be so caught up in what he wants me to do that I won’t have time for envy. I’ll be living my life for an audience of one.

In summary, run with patience the particular race God has set before me. To do so, I must strip off excess weight that would slow me down and give up whatever might endanger my relationship with God. Then run with endurance. When I start to get concerned about something God is doing in someone else's life and envy starts to build, I need to refocus on the plan and will God has for me. God has a plan that he wants me to pursue that is unlike anyone else's. Once I begin to discover and pursue the unique purpose that God has for me, I won't have time to envy anyone else. I'll start living my life for an audience of one.

Besides the great reminder about envy in this study today, I’m reminded that I really just need to focus on the unique plan God has for me. I don’t need to compare myself with anyone else. 

This morning Father I pray for my focus to be placed on you and the unique plan you have for my life. You want to do something through me that only you have equipped me to do. I ask for your wisdom and guidance for my day, my tasks, my leadership, my focus on completing the POAM related activities/actions and my interaction with others. These things I pray through your Son Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

How to Be a Wise Manager

In review of Luke 16:1 it tells me,Once there was a rich man who had a manager to take care of his business. This manager was accused of cheating him.” (NCV)

My use of money is a good test to the lordship of Christ, for: 1). Money belongs to him, not me, so I need to use it wisely. 2). Money can be used for good or evil; so use what I have for good. 3). Money has a lot of power, so use it carefully and thoughtfully. I must use my material goods in a way that will foster my faith and obedience

I don’t really own anything. What I did think I owned is only on loan. I didn’t own it before I was born. I’m not going to own it after I die. It all belongs to God, and he just loans it to me for a while.

In Luke 16 Jesus told a parable about a man who let a manager take care of his property. Likewise It seems we’re all in management. Everything I have is a gift from God, and he gives it to me for a while to steward. He wants to see that I’m going to wisely manage what belongs to him. God wants to see if I’ll be a good manager of his property.

When I start looking at everything in my life as being on loan, then a lot of my worry will disappear. I’m going to lose a lot of my worry when I rely on God to give me wisdom for the things he’s entrusted to me.

Here’s the thing: If I’m in charge and I’m the master of my fate, then I’ve got to pay for it all. I’ve got to worry about where the resources are going to come from. But if I trust in God as his child and see myself as a manager, not the boss, then I’m not responsible for figuring out how to pay for it all. I’m just an employee or steward. God’s the employer. He’s ultimately in charge of the benefits package.

The first verse in this story says, ““Once there was a rich man who had a manager to take care of his business. This manager was accused of wasting God’s Money and cheating him.” (Luke 16:1 NCV). 

Anytime I waste money, I’m wasting God’s resources. Understanding that truth will change the way I buy! Seeing money as God’s will change the way I think. Seeing myself as just a manager and not the owner will change my life and allow me to make the most of what I’ve been given.

In summary use of money is a good test of my stewardship of God's resources. It all belongs to him. It can be used for good or evil, and has lots of power. I need to use what I have in a way that will foster my faith and obedience. I don't own anything, it's all on loan from him. Everything I have is a gift from God that he gives to me to steward. He wants to see that I'm going to manage wisely what belongs to him. When I waste resources, I'm wasting what belongs to him. 

Today, I will consider how I’m taking care of what he has entrusted to me. Even what I do for a living is a stewardship. I need to continue to manage well all that he has entrusted me. Today I pray for wisdom and guidance for my day, my tasks, my leadership, my resources and my interaction with others. I ask these things through you Son Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Be careful of Envy, Learn To Be Content Instead

In review of 1 Corinthians 4:7-8 it says, Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need.” (The Message)

Instead of focusing so much on what I don’t have and what didn’t happen, I can be grateful for what I do have. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come naturally to me, and not even for the apostle Paul, who said, “I have learned to be content.” Being content is a learning process.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:7-8, “Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need” (The Message).

Envy is based on the myth that I need more to be happy. Envy always looks at others and asks, “Why them? Why did they deserve it? I deserve what they have.” But gratitude says, “Why me? Why did God give me this? I’m blessed because I don’t deserve what I have.” It totally flips my perspective.

Although I struggle with envy, it’s hard to admit it because it’s such an ugly emotion. When I’m envious of others, I really want them to fail, because it makes me feel better that they don’t have more than I do. That’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? If I could only learn to be grateful for what I have, I could begin to get rid of these feelings of envy.

It’s important for me to understand that envy is not having a desire or a dream or a goal. Also envy is not looking forward to something or hoping that something can happen in your life or even wondering if I should have something. Envy is instead resenting somebody who already has what I desire or has reached a goal I have yet to obtain. Envy says I can’t be happy until I get that desire or goal. Envy is not being grateful for what I already have.

Yet the Bible reminds me that I already have more than I need and far more than I deserve. Every good thing in my life is a gift from God, and it is up to him to decide when and how he blesses me. It’s up to me to choose to be grateful and make the most of what I’ve been given.

As Ecclesiastes 6:9 says, “It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to always want something else” (GNT).

In summary, being content is a learning process. Everything I have and everything I am is a sheer gift from God. So why compare and compete? I have everything I need. Envy is based on a myth that I need more to be happy. Envy looks and asks why them, and I deserve what they have. Gratitude says, why me? I'm blessed because I don't deserve what I have. When I'm envious of others, I enjoy seeing them fail. What I'm learning is the envy is not having a desire, dream or goal. It's not looking forward to something or hoping that something can happen. Envy is resenting somebody who already has what I desire. Envy is not being grateful for what I already have. God's word reminds me that I already have more than I need and far more than I deserve. Every good thing in my life is a gift from God, and it is up to him to decide when and how he blesses me. It's up to me to choose to be grateful and make the most of what I've been given. It is much better for me to be satisfied with what I have than to always be wanting more.

Today’s devotion and verse remind me to be careful of envy. Rather it is better for me to learn to be content instead. It’s easy for me to look around at my peers and see how promotions and responsibilities are happening and my wondering why I’m not seeing the same for me. I must remember that God is teaching me through this process and will bless me in his timing, not mine. I need to continue to be grateful for what I have. Today I pray Father or you and your Spirit to remind me of this perspective. I ask for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work, my leadership and my interactions with others. Help me lead the team to accomplish our goals for the next 30-60 days. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Get to Know Others So You Won’t Envy Them

In review of Matthew 20:9-10 it says,  “Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar” (The Message).

What I’m learning is that entrance to Heaven is by God's grace alone. In this parable God is the landowner and believers are the workers. This parable speaks especially to those who feel superior because of heritage or position, to those who feel superior because they have spent so much time with Christ, and to new believers as reassurance of God's grace. This parable is not about rewards but about salvation. It is a strong teaching about grace, God's generosity. I shouldn't begrudge those who turn to God in the last moments of life, because, in reality, no one deserves eternal life. I am to never be jealous or envious of what God has given to another. Rather, I need to focus on God's gracious benefit for me, and to be thankful for what I have.

The key to overcoming envy is to stop comparing myself to others.

Comparison is the root of all envy. And it was the first mistake made in the parable of the vineyard workers: The ones who were hired last “came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more” (Matthew 20:9-10 The Message). In other words, they started making comparisons:  “Look what they’re getting. So we’re going to get more. We deserve more.”

The Bible reminds me over and over again to never compare myself to anybody else for two reasons:

First, I’m unique. God made me special. There’s nobody like me. He made the mold, and then he broke it. I am not comparable to anybody else.

Second, if I do start comparing, it’s always going to lead to one of two sins: pride or envy. When I compare myself to others, I’m either going to think “I’m doing better than them,” and I get full of pride, or “They’re doing better than me,” and I get full of envy. Pride and envy are both sins.

In addition, envy occurs when I don’t really know someone intimately. I can see a person’s strengths and successes from a distance, but it’s only when I get up close that I see their hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Everybody has hidden pain. When I’m looking at people from a distance, it’s a whole lot easier to miss their fears and faults.

There’s no better way to get to know people up close and personal than in a small group. I heard about one woman with multiple sclerosis and lupus who told her small group, “If we all put our problems in a big pile at the center of this room and looked at them, at the end of the evening we’d probably all take our problems back and go home.” When I get to know people closely, I won’t envy them. But I can learn how to pray for them.

Envy isolates me. Fellowship binds me together and helps me get to know others so I can stop comparing myself to others.

In summary, when those who were hired first say what those who were hired last received, they assumed that would get more, but they all got the same. Entrance to Heaven is by God's grace alone. This parable is not about rewards but about salvation. It is a strong teaching about grace or generosity. I shouldn't begrudge those who turn to God in the last moments. For in reality, no one deserves eternal life. So I am never to be jealous or envious of what God has given another. I am never to be jealous or envious of what God has given to another. Rather learn to focus on God's benefit for me and be thankful for what I have. The key to overcoming envy is to stop comparing myself to others. Comparison is the root of all envy. So I shouldn't compare myself because I'm unique and therefore not comparable to anyone else. If I do compare its only going to lead me to pride or envy (both of which are sins). Envy occurs when I don't really know someone intimately. It's easy to see strengths and successes from a distance, but when I get up close I can see hurts, hand-ups, and habits. Everybody has a hidden pain. Envy isolates me, fellowship binds me and helps me get to know others so I can stop comparing myself to others.

Father I pray today, that I will not become too expectant. You give me what I need at the right time and much more than I deserve. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Love and Trust Go Together, It Helps Me Build Others Up

In review of Romans 14:19 it says, “We must always aim at those things that bring peace and that help strengthen one another” (GNT).

As a Christ follower, I am called to accept others without judging varied opinions. My response should be to act in love so as to maintain peace with others.

Love is built on trust. When I really love people, I believe in them. I trust them. I build their confidence. I relieve their fears. And then my trust in them allows them to blossom.

If I can’t learn to trust people, I’ll never learn to love or be loved. A lot of people who think they have a love problem really have a trust problem, because love and trust go together.

When Jesus went to his hometown of Nazareth, the people who heard him teach did not believe him and were even offended by him. As a result, Jesus “could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:5-6 NIV).

It wasn’t Jesus’ lack of faith that prevented the miracles. He could not do good work because of the people’s lack of faith and trust in him.

If that’s true of Jesus, then it’s definitely true of me. When people don’t trust me, I’m not empowered to reach my potential. And when I don’t trust others, I limit them. If people don’t believe in me, trust me, or show confidence in me, then it holds me back. But when the people who love me show faith in me, it brings out my best. It gives me faith in myself. It helps me fulfill my purpose.

Do I want a love that lasts forever? Then show someone that they have my trust. When I do, I’ll build their confidence, and I’ll be amazed at what they will set out to do with God’s help and my faith.

We must always aim at those things that bring peace and that help strengthen one another” (Romans 14:19 GNT).

In summary, I must always aim at those things that bring peace and help strengthen others. I'm called to accept others without judging. My response is to act in love, to maintain peace for love is built on trust. When I really love and believe in them, I trust them and build their confidence, relieve their fears. My trust in them allows them to blossom. When others don't trust me, I'm not empowered to reach my potential. I end up limiting them. When people who love me show faith in me, it too helps me fulfill my purpose. I need to show someone that they have my trust. This will build their confidence and allow them and myself to prosper.

Today’s devotion and study have spoken to some initiatives my leader has given me to work with my team to accomplish completion of items to resolve “POAMS”. My leader has given me the positive encouragement to not let other things or requests from others bog me down. He has offered to stand in the gap and be the one who tells them yes or no. It has also given me some insight on how I need to encourage and help influence my team.  

Today Father I pray for your assistance and reminders on how I work with my team to help build them and accomplish our goals within a short period of time. I also pray that you grant me wisdom and guidance for my day, my tasks, my leadership and my interactions with others.This I pray in your Son Jesus name, Amen.