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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Your Business Is God's Business

In summary of Proverbs 16:11 it says, “God cares about honesty in the workplace; your business is his business.”

Bottom Line:
God doesn’t care for cheats, he cares about honesty in your work; he sets the standards for fairness.  What you do is his business.

What this means to me:
God’s standard is what really matters most; he demands honesty in my dealings especially as I represent him to others.  God greatly dislikes those who cheat and thus won’t bless those who are dishonest.  If I want God’s blessings, I need to be honest.  I will always reap what I sow.  There is no hiding or not being caught, it will eventually catch up with you.  Today I will consider this and verify that I am honest in my dealings with others.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dedicate Your Job To The Lord

In summary of Proverbs 16:3 it says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans”

Bottom line:
Commit yourself to the Lord in whatever it is you do, he will help you establish your plans and help you to succeed.

What this means to me:
I need to commit, trust and share what I do or intend to do to the Lord.  If I do so, he will help my thoughts become agreeable to His will.  This will help establish my plans and enable me to succeed.  Whatever it is I want God to bless, I must first give it to Him.  He will help me get involved with decisions and guide me in what to do.  Furthermore If I do then this can become a platform for His glory.  I become an ambassador of Him to others around me.  Today, I thank God for all he has blessed me with and I will take some time this morning to dedicate my job to the Lord.  I will ask him for the courage and diligence to work hard and to honor Him with what I do.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

God Blesses You When You Give Your Best

In summary of Colossians 3:22 it says, “Slaves/Servants, obey your earthly leaders (masters) in everything you do.  Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you.  Honor the Lord and serve your masters with your whole heart.”

Bottom Line:
Your are to obey your leaders in everything you do and don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best even when they aren’t looking.  Honor the Lord and serve with your whole heart.  Do this as a sincere expression of your devotion to Him.

What this means to me:
I am to obey my leaders here on earth.  This is for everything I do.  It should be my goal to please them all the time and not just when they are looking at me or watching what I do.  My service should be whole hearted and in reverence to the Lord.  I should do this out of a sincere expression of devotion to Him.  All leaders (good and bad) are put in place by God.  They are here to bless, punish or teach us.  I am to follow unless they are leading me to do unethical things.  God will bless me if I’m exceeding what is normally expected of me, this is why I have adopted the ethic to do more than is expected.  So today I will consider if I am truly living what I believe.  Am I exceeding the expectations of my leadership/client above me?  Am I taking pride in work well done?  I need to remember that as a christian I represent Christ and as such I want to reflect his true character that lives within me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Turn Your Work Into Worship

In summary of Colossians 3:23-24 it says, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. The Lord will provide you with an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.”

Bottom Line:
Whatever you do, put your whole heart and soul into it, do it willingly and as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your boss.  It is the Lord Christ that you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you

What this means to me:
I need to constantly remember that any work I do is ultimately for the Lord regardless of who I report to here on earth. My boss is not my boss, my real boss is Jesus.  Because of this I work with a higher standard.  The Lord sees everything, even when no one else is looking.  I always want to do my best for him.  Also what I do is a reflection of my relationship with Him and the visible part that others can see and notice a difference in.  It is much easier for me to approach my day when the focus of my work is in doing it for the Lord.  It would make even the mundane tasks better, even a form of worship.  Today I really need to shift my focus with this reminder and perhaps knock out those long overdue tasks which have been lingering and procrastinating on for a while.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Be Enthusiastic About Your Work!

In summary of the first part of Ecclesiastes 9:10 it says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”

Bottom Line:
Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability

What this means to me:
All the things I do in this life (work, serve, play), I ultimately do for God.  So I need to do them with the best of my ability knowing that even though I might be doing for someone else right now, that He is the one I ultimately serve.  Knowing who I serve should make me always want to do my best.  I need to remind myself that If I want what I do to be blessed that I must work enthusiastically.  The enthusiasm should not be based on fun or pay but rather on why I’m doing what I’m doing.  I have to admit that I often struggle with this.  I must remember first that all work I have is a test from God (Whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much... If you’ve not be trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own.)  Secondly that God is watching what I do (even when no one else is around.)  I need to work hard.  Thirdly that my attitude determines my joy (the diligent find freedom in their work; while the lazy are oppressed by their work.)  I won’t succeed in life until I change my attitude about the work I’m doing right now.  I definitely needed this reminder as I’m finding my job and long overdue tasks to be a drain.  I need to remember that I’m doing these in service to God.  Changing my attitude and enthusiasm towards them will do wonders in approaching the day and getting them accomplished (I need to think right then do... I can’t wait to feel right before doing.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

How To Maintain Peace In Life

In summary of Isaiah 26:3 it says, "“The Lord give perfect peace to all who place their trust and whose thoughts are fixed on Him.”

Bottom Line:
The Lord provides perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.

What this means to me:
I can obtain a lot more peace by fixing my thoughts and placing my trust in Him.  When I do so, he can guard my heart and mind much better.  Peace comes from knowing, its not all on me to make my way.  When I seek him and make him a priority in my thoughts He will always provide a path that will lead to peace.  I need to take his path and follow him, putting my trust in him.  Doing so will give me confidence and put my mind at ease.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

God’s Ways And Thoughts Are Much Higher Than Mine

In summary of Isaiah 55:8-9 it says, ‘“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and my thoughts higher than yours.”’

Bottom Line:
God tells us, that He doesn’t think the way we do.  The way we work isn’t the way He does.  For as the sky is high above earth, so is the way His work surpasses the way we work, and the way He thinks is beyond the way we think.

What this means to me:
God doesn’t think the way I do.  My view of things are very limited as compared to his.  His ways are far beyond anything I could even imagine and are higher than what I could ever think of.  His ways will always be better.  My tendency is to shrink God down to my level of thinking assuming that he thinks just like me.  It is important for me to be realistic and remember he knows the whole picture, he designed it and he knows what will be best.  Things may not always go the way of my selfish desires.  I just need to make sure that try to fit God into my box.  He is full of wonderful surprises. I need to learn to think more about how God thinks.  As such I will continue to strive for having a quiet time with him in which his words can speak to me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don’t Be Impressed With Your Own Wisdom

In summary of Proverbs 3:7-8 it says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.”

Bottom Line:
Don’t assume that you know it all.  Instead take God and what he says seriously.  Run from evil!  When you do so your body will glow with health, your very bones will be strengthened.

What this means to me:
I shouldn’t think that my initial thoughts are always the best, because what comes automatic may be from my own selfish desires and thoughts.  I should also not think my highly of myself or think I know it all.  Pride comes just before a fall.  It is always better for me to be humble and wait before blurting out anything.  I need to reverently fear and take God seriously constantly.  There is protection and blessings when I stay within his guidelines and danger when I don’t.  I should strive for the confidence that comes from my trust and obedience in him.  His word tells me that if I do, then I won’t be stressed and I’ll have better health.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Principle Of Replacement

In summary of Proverbs 4:23 it says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows and is shaped by it.”

Bottom line:
Be careful how you think; your life is going to be shaped by your thoughts, it will determine the course of your life.

What this means to me:
I need to be careful as to what I’m letting into my heart (guidance system.)  It can come from media influences, popular opinion and my own selfish desires.  I find that what I fill my mind with becomes my course of direction.  This verse reminds me that above all else (it’s the most important thing), I need to guard tightly and be vigilant as to what gets into my heart.  It’s somewhat impossible to not be exposed to some form of media or other opinions.  I can however set-up a filter system in which to accurately access and discard what’s not good for me.  Keeping close to Christ and being in God’s words help this filter system to be strengthened.  This is also a way to get the better things into my life, feed them with those that can change my perspective and values.  I also need to be careful about what I say or talk to myself about.  Statements I think to myself like “i’m tired” is not always accurate.  There are times I hear myself saying this to myself because I don’t necessarily want to do what’s coming up more than that I’m really tired.  But I also need to keep from using negative talk about myself and my character.  There are things that need to be worked on, however, God isn’t expecting me to be perfect.  Saying negative things about myself is like telling God he blew it when he made me.  One way I can eliminate negative self talk is to fix my thoughts on what is true, good and right.  Then also I can think about all the things I can thank God for and then be glad in it.  I need to just focus on who God wants me to be and what He wants to do with my life.  To focus on who God wants me to be, I need to continually read and get into God’s word each day.  I need to study it and apply it to my life (even memorize if.)  I also need to remind myself what God says about me.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

When I Do Right I Feel Right

In summary of James 1:25 it says, “But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”

Bottom line:
One who looks carefully into the revealed counsel of God, and not forgetting what it says but is faithful to do it, they will find delight and affirmation in the action.

What this means to me:
God has provided the guidance I need for living life.  It is the law that actually will set me free (not bind me.)  However, this guidance is not just something to hear and be better by.  I need to apply it / do something with it / make it part of my natural inclinations.  So I remind myself today through this passage that I must never stop looking at His perfect law that sets me free, because each time I look at it, it has more meaning or different things within it are revealed to me that I never saw before.  God will bless me through my obedience in following it.  Doing things on my own puts me in dangerous ground where outcomes can vary.  God provides his protection when I do things his way.  Just hearing alone doesn’t do it for me.  I must listen, obey and take the next steps in faith.  When I do right, the feelings of being right will follow especially as I see His blessings that come as a result of it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Living A Relaxed Life In God’s Grace

In summary of Psalm 103:13-14 it says, "As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust."

Bottom Line:
Just as parents are kind to their children, the Lord is kind to all who have fear, worship and honor him. For he knows and remembers what we are made of, how weak we can be and that we are only dust.

What this means to me:
God understands me completely.  He is fully aware of my humanity.  Furthermore he knows all my faults, fears, failures and frustrations.  I’m glad he is not expecting me to be a Superman.  This passage reminds me that I didn’t wait to love my daughter until she was mature, I loved her at every state of her development.  God loves me in the same manner, so I don’t need to listen to my unresolved guilt or unrealistic expectations.  Today I remind myself of what I know about God from before in that there is nothing I can do that will make God love me more or less than he does right now.  God’s love is always unconditional, it’s not based on what I do or don’t do.  Even as a child is learning to walk, they get up, stumble and fall, yet we don’t scold them from stumbling or falling.  God is the same, he knows that we will stumble and fall from time to time, however that doesn’t stop him from loving and providing the best for us.  When I live in union with Christ Jesus, God no longer sees my sin and holds it against me; he sees Jesus at work in my life.  When I gave Christ my life, Jesus wrapped me with his love.  God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect; and since I’m wrapped in Him, he doesn't see your sin. This is what I believe it means to live a relaxed life in God's grace.  Today’s quiet time is very helpful considering that I did something incredibly stupid yesterday in a interaction with a business associate over a past incident (that evidently I had not forgiven him for.)  This brought me into a direct experience with the content of last Sunday’s message “The Center of Gravity” which is also the topic for the next few weeks of the Life Group I am leading.  This issue became the focus of my thoughts as the night progressed.  I did take action in the late afternoon after this happened to speak with this person.  I was not able to clear it up one-to-one, but I did leave a message asking for forgiveness for my behavior (I will still try to link up with this individual one-on-one.)  Even though I was wrong in my behavior and I know that God forgives, especially when we seek to clear it up, the enemy tried to use this situation to bring me down with guilt and feeling of not being good enough.  I laid it at God’s feet and reminded myself of the positive, I knew that I should not dwell on the negative aspect of this as that would further direct my behavior.  So today, I will remind myself that God will not love me anymore or any less for what I do.  He knows that Christ living in me will help bring about maturity.  I know this example will live on in my mind as a reminder and has helped me realize that there is some things that I have not forgiven others for.  I need to seek these things out so that I can forgive and let them go.  I really don’t want them to affect my moving forward.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don’t Conform to the World, But Rather Be Transformed

In summary of Romans 12:2 it says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Bottom Line:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but instead let God change the way you think and to transform you into a new person.  Then you’ll learn what God’s will is for you, which is good, pleasing and perfect.

What this means to me:
I should not let the world around me squeeze me into its mould, instead I need to let God re-mould my mind from within, so that I will prove in practice that God’s plan for me is good and it will move me toward the person he wants me to be.  This will require that I fix my attention on God.  As I do he will change me from the inside out.  Once I have have his way of thinking it will be much easier for me to recognize what he wants from me so that I can quickly respond to it.  Without direct input from God, I will tend to follow the prevalent thinking and culture around me which will drag me down to its level of immaturity.  So I need to let God bring the best out of me.

Where To Fix Your Thoughts

In summary of Philippians 4:8 it says, “One last piece of advice, fix your thoughts on the things which are true, honorable, just, beautiful, good and whatever is commendable, it there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Bottom line:
Direct and keep your thoughts and thinking on the things which are true, pure, honorable, just, beautiful and commendable.

What this means to me:
A last piece of advice Paul had for the Philippians was to have them change what filled their minds as it was a key to move forward.  Like them I don’t need to be a victim of my circumstances or my initial thoughts that come to mind.  The focus of my thoughts will direct the way I conduct myself (it becomes my mental center of gravity.)  So God shows us what the right focus for our “mental center of gravity” should be.  I am to direct and keep my thoughts and thinking on the things which are true, pure, honorable, just, beautiful and commendable.  This will be the key to changing from where I am to where I’d like to be.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Something That Everyone Can Count On

In summary of 1 Timothy 1:15 it says, "This statement is completely reliable and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am worst."

Bottom Line:
Here’s a statement you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and I am proof, being one of the worst.

What this means to me:
There is wonderful news in this statement, I join in with countless many before me who have found this to be completely true and reliable.  I am living proof of this, being a sinner.  Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth and to save us all from what should be our true judgement.  He is my Messiah.  I am an example who can come from an unmerited favor that comes from my king.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Facing Faults With Courage

In summary of 1 John 1:8 it says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we are only fooling ourselves and the truth isn’t in our” hearts.

Bottom Line:
If you think you haven’t sinned, you’re not thinking clear - you’re fooling yourself and the truth he has taught is not imbedded in your heart.

What this means to me:
Thinking that I don’t have any sin in my life (refusing to admit it), will only delude and lead myself astray.  If I do so then the truth presented by his word is not something that my heart has adopted.  In reality his word can be more like a mirror which reflects where I’m missing the mark.  God is gracious and will forgive my sins if I come to him and confess/admit how I’ve been off-track and ask for his forgiveness.  What I need to be careful of is masking a habit and not seeing it for what it is - sin.  I need to be careful not to blame my circumstances on others or try to take the focus off of myself instead of admitting my own faults.  I also need to be careful to not make excuses or pretend there is nothing wrong.   As mentioned above, I need to face it head on and own it without any “but’s” at the end.  This verse this morning is great reminder that my life is filled with things that miss the mark and that I’d only be fooling myself to think they are not there.  There are some big areas I’m working on with him to change and the key for me is to not sweep it under the carpet but to bring them out and deal with them.  I do realize this life is a training ground for eternity  I’ll be a work in progress till the time he calls me to be with him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Courage To Serve With The Best I Have

In summary of Ecclesiastes 11:4 it says,
“Those who wait for the perfect weather will never plant.  So get on with it or you’ll never have a harvest.”

Bottom line:
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.

What this means to me:
If I spend my time waiting for the right conditions before I act, I’ll end up never getting anything accomplished.  If I worry about the weather or right environment/atmosphere, I won’t harvest a crop.  I need to get on with what I know needs to be done.  I believe that God expects me to do what I can with what I have and wherever I’m at when he asks it or I know that it needs to be done.  A less than perfect service will always be better than any of my best intentions.  I shouldn’t worry that I’m not good enough to do what God wants from me.  As a servant I need to do the best with what I have.  I need to remember that a servant doesn’t make excuses, procrastinate or wait for a better circumstance or time - they just do what needs to be done.  While I should strive for excellence, I need to be obedient and act when he requests.  It doesn’t have to be perfect for God to use and bless it.  I’ve had a plan in mind for a while now getting some of the older guys from my congregation together for a more routine fellowship time.  The idea is to start with just fellowship then eventually grow that get together time into things to help us build our character, leadership and faith.  I will plan for a Saturday evening get together either the 20th or the 27th.  I’ll bring it up as topic in my “Life Group” that I’ll be leading this coming Monday.  In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, I need to “Get’r Done!”