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Friday, June 29, 2018

I Not God, Stop Acting Like It, Trying to Please Everyone!

In review of Ecclesiastes 10:15 it says, “Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work” (GNT).

Today’s verse is Ecclesiastes 10:15. In it Solomon makes the statement that “Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work.”

Today I am reminded that I’m not God. I don’t have all the answers. I can’t do everything. If I’m struggling to find balance in my life, that one admission can transform everything. The Bible says, “Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work” (Ecclesiastes 10:15 GNT).

It’s just plain dumb to wear myself out with work. When I overwork, I’m playing God. I’m saying that it all depends on me, that the world will crash down around if I don’t keep the world spinning. That’s just not true! I’m not the general manager of the universe. I can resign. The universe will not fall apart. God has it under control. Often one of reasons I do this to myself is that I try to please everyone. Learn this lesson today: I can’t please everyone. Even God can’t please everyone! One person wants it to rain. Someone else wants it to be sunny. Only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do. When I live for the expectations of others, I pile on myself tons of “shoulds.” I end up telling myself, “I should work more hours,” “I should go to this seminar,” or “I should volunteer for this assignment.”

I need to realize this: No one is holding a gun to my head. Overworking is my choice. I choose to take on the extra work or to not take it on. And I choose the consequences that come with that choice. When I deny my humanity and try to do it all, I’m robbing God of his glory. The Bible reminds me in 2 Corinthians 4:7: “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (NIV).

Paul reminds me that I’m a human being. I’m feeble and fragile. Jars of clay break easily. If I drop them, they shatter. Clay pots have to be handled appropriately and with care. If not, they’ll be destroyed. But the good news is that through my feebleness, the power and glory of God shines through. My humanity isn’t something to hide. Instead let’s celebrate the power of God working through my limitations. So admit it: I’m human. Thank God for that!

Bottom Line:
Only someone too stupid to find his way home would wear himself out with work
Only a fool wears himself out with work.

What this means to me:
It’s foolish for me to take on a lot of work, trying to please everyone, to the point that I do not have any strength left.

Father thank you for the reminder that it’s foolish for me please everyone. I need to let you be in control and to guide me in what I am to do. I pray this morning Father for you wisdom in to do this and to think though tasks at hand and be able to manage and delegate them. Also give me the wisdom to respond rightly to others. In Jesus name, amen!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Key to a Balanced Life: Jesus

In review of Matthew 6:33 it says, “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well” (NCV).

Today’s passage comes from Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus gives me reasons not to worry. Jesus tells me not to worry about everyday life, whether I have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to war. Isn't life more than food and your body more than clothing? Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life. If God cares wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, your heavenly Father already knows all of your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.

There are ill effects of worry, Jesus tells me not to worry above those needs that God promises to supply. Worry may (1) damage my health, (2) disrupt my productivity, (3) negatively affect the way I treat others, and (4) reduce my ability to trust in God. There is a difference between worry and genuine concern; worry immobilizes, but concern moves me to action.

To "seek the Kingdom of God above all else" means to put God first in my life, to fill my thought with his desires, to take his character for my pattern, and to serve and obey him in everything. What is really important to me? People, objects, goals, and other desires all complete for priority. Any of these can quickly become more important to me if I don't actively choose to give God first place in every area of my life.

Also planning for tomorrow is time well spent, worrying about tomorrow is time wasted. Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference. Careful planning is thinking ahead about goals, steps, and schedules, and trusting in God's guidance. When done well, planning can help alleviate worry. Worriers, by contrast, are consumed by fear and find it difficult to trust God. They let their plans interfere with their relationship with God. Don't let worries about tomorrow affect my relationship with God today.

As such, If I want to live a truly balanced life, I can only look at one person in all of history as a model: Jesus. If I put him at the center of my life, my life will be more balanced.

Think of your life like a wheel. The center of the wheel is a hub. All of the spokes of my life (which represent your relationships, your family, your career, your goals, etc.) come from that hub. We all build our lives around some sort of hub. The question is, what will be your hub? Will it be your family? Will it be your career? Will it be money? Or will it be Jesus?

How do you know what you’re building your life around? Take a look at whatever I think about the most. That’s what is driving me.

The center of my life is critical to developing a balanced life. A solid center leads to a solid life. A weak, flimsy center leads to a weak life. When people say or believe that their lives are coming unglued, it usually means one thing: They have a faulty center. Something other than God has taken priority in their lives.

Not only does the hub create stability, but it also controls and influences everything else about my life. Whatever I put at the center of your life will also be my source of power. The power of a wheel always emanates from the center outward — never the other way around.

Make Jesus the center of my life, and he’ll provide the stability, control, and power I need for my life. The Bible says, “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well” (Matthew 6:33 NCV).

I don’t need to worry about putting Jesus first. When I put him in the center I allow him to direct my life, influence it, empower it, and give it stability. Do this, and all the other areas of life — from family, career and goals will find balance in Jesus.

Bottom Line:
Seek first God and his purposes for you. When you do this, he will meet any needs you have.

What this means to me:
I am to put God and his purpose first in every part of my life. He promises me that if I do, he will meet all of my needs. I won’t need to worry about how they will be met.

In summary, I don't need to worry, if I put Jesus first in my life and make him the center (or hub), God will take care of my needs. When I put him first, I fill my thoughts with his desires, take on his character for my pattern and serve / obey him in everything he will take care of the rest. It's good to plan ahead (think ahead about steps, schedules, and trusting in God's guidance), when done well it can help to alleviate worry. Having Jesus as the center is critical to developing a balanced life. He'll provide the stability, control, and power I need for my life.

Thank you Father for this reminder. I want to make Jesus the center of my life. This morning Father I pray for you guidance as I plan. Please help me interact well with those around me. Help me to lead my team to accomplish the goals and tasks we have. In Jesus name I pray, amen!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My Work and My Worth Are Two Different Things

In review of Ecclesiastes 4:4 it says, “I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have” (GNT).

Today’s passage comes from Ecclesiastes 4:1-6. In it Solomon reminds me to think about the reasoning and motivation of working hard to succeed. His statement is that he observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, is meaningless, like chasing the wind. Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin. And yet, its better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.

In this world, it seems some people are lazy while others are workaholics. Lazy people, seeing the futility of dashing about for success, idle away their time and hurt both themselves and those who depend on them. Workaholics are often driven by envy, greed, and a constant desire to stay ahead of everyone else. Both extremes are foolish and irresponsible. The answer is to work hard but with moderation. Take time to enjoy the other gifts God has given, and realize that it is God who gives out the assignments and the rewards, not me.

I’m certain that I can come up with many excuses for overworking. Sometimes I blame it on providing for my family. Other times I insist my work is so important that to slow down would be negligent.

But usually, it’s a values problem. I start valuing the wrong things. Specifically, when I value the acquisition of stuff above all else. The Bible says, “I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have” (Ecclesiastes 4:4 GNT).

God says I have two options: I can either spend all of my time keeping up with the Joneses, or I can forget them and reduce my stress level. But I can’t have both. That’s how this becomes a question of values. Do I want more stuff, or do I want less stress and more time with family and friends? The choice is mine.

Jesus said it like this: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36 NIV). To put it in modern language, “What good is it to become president of my company but lose my family or my wife?” The simple answer? It’s not good at all. My work and my worth are two different things. I work harder and harder, but no matter how hard I work, it’s never enough. Just about the time I start to relax, I hear a haunting voice telling me, “Keep pedaling. You’re getting behind!” I need to get rid of the voice. It’s feeding me a lie.

When my life comes to an end, I’m sure I wouldn’t say, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” I need to think about my motivations and purpose. It may be time to adjust my values? Don’t be a rat. Jump out of the race.  

Bottom Line:
People work hard to succeed because the envy things their neighbors have.

What this means to me:
What is the purpose and motivation in my working hard to succeed, is it because of some envy of what I see others have?

Father as I am again in the midst of a lot of activities and demands on my time, I ask for your wisdom to handle them to the best of my ability and in a right manner. In Jesus name I pray, amen!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Just Enough Time to Do God’s Will

In review of Ecclesiastes 3:13 it says, “All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God's gift.” (GNT).

Today’s verse comes from Ecclesiastes 3:9-14. Solomon asks, what do people really get for all their hard work? Solomon then proceeds to say, I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. So I (Solomon) concluded that there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or take from it. God's purpose is that people should take him seriously.

As such my ability to find satisfaction in my work, depends upon my attitude. I will become dissatisfied if I lose the sense of purpose God intended for my work. I can enjoy my work if I (1) remember that God has given me work to do, and (2) realize that the fruit of my labor is a gift from him. I need to learn to see work as my way to serve God.

God has "planted eternity in the human heart." This means that I can never be completely satisfied with earthly pleasures and pursuits. Because I am created in God's image, (1) I have a spiritual thirst, (2) I have eternal value, and (3) nothing but the eternal God can truly satisfy me. God has build in me a restless yearning for the kind of perfect work that can only be found in his perfect rule. He has given me a glimpse of the perfection of his creation. But it is only a glimpse; I cannot see into the future or comprehend everything. So I must trust God now and do his work on earth.

To be happy and do good while I live are worthy goals for life, but I can pursue them in the wrong way. God wants me to enjoy life. When I have a proper view of God, I discover that real pleasure is found in enjoying whatever I have as gifts from God, not in what I accumulate.

So what is the purpose of life? It is that I should fear (take seriously) the all-powerful God. To fear God means to revere and stand in awe of him because of who he is. Purpose in life starts with whom I know, not what I know or how good I am. It is impossible to fulfill your God-given purpose unless I take him seriously and give him first place in my life.

In a 21st century world where we’re overworked, overstressed, and over-scheduled, this may be one of the most significant and freeing sentences I’ll ever come across: I have just enough time to do God’s will. That means if I don’t feel I have enough time in my day, one of two things is true. Either: 1) I’m doing things God doesn’t intend for me to do. 2) I’m doing the things God intended the wrong way. God wouldn’t give me a list of things to do and not give me the time to do them. Either I’m trying to do too much or I’m wasting time. There’s really no other option. Either way, I need to learn to enjoy the moment. The Bible says, “All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God's gift.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13 GNT).

Often I fall victim to a terrible trap. It’s “when and then” thinking. I believe “when” I achieve a particular goal, I’ll be happy. But I won’t be happy then. I’ll enjoy reaching that goal for three seconds, and then I’ll start asking myself, “What’s next?” The cycle simply repeats. Am I feeling worn out, burnt out, or stressed out? God wants more for me. If I’m carrying an overwhelming load, it isn’t from Jesus. This reminds me of something a good friend of mine told me about being busy.  Busy is “burdened under satan’s yoke”. This is definitely not somewhere I want to be.

Jesus says in Matthew 11, “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest …. the load I give you to carry is light” (Matthew 11:28, 30 NCV). Every moment of my life is a gift from God. He doesn’t want me to miss a single one.  

Bottom Line:
Enjoy what you work for. It is a gift from God.

What this means to me:
I should enjoy what I get from my work. This is God’s gift to me.

In summary, there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy myself as long as I can. Enjoy what I get from the fruits of my labor, as these are gifts from God. My purpose is to take God seriously. My ability to find satisfaction depends on my attitude. I can enjoy my work when I remember that God has given it to me to do and that I realize that the fruit of my labor is a gift from him. My work is a way for me to serve God. I have just enough time to do God's will. If I don't feel I have enough time, then either I'm doing things God doesn't intend for me to do, or I'm doing things the wrong way. If I"m feeling burdened or overwhelmed, come to Jesus. Every moment of my life is a gift from God. He doesn't want me to miss a single one.

Father, thank you for the gift of life. I pray for wisdom in how to handle my time. I have been feeling overwhelmed with the pressure of several tasks that must come together very quickly. Please give me wisdom to see clearly a path for getting the tasks accomplished. Help me to communicate to others around me. Give me wisdom to respond rightly. In Jesus name, amen!

When I Ask for Something, Believe That God Will Answer

In review of Mark 11:24 it says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer , believe that you have received it , and it will be...