From My Heart

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 -NIV

Archive for March, 2012

Workin’ for a Livin’

Oh the drudgery of the work-a-day world! I have heard this comment and many similar ones. Many view working as a necessary evil for survival.
When I have found myself taking this train of thought I try to remind myself the most difficult and seemingly dead-end job can be filled with purpose and significance. How? Think about it; who are you really working for? For a thankless boss? For your own survival? Or are you working for something/Someone much greater?
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:22-24NIV

Your work should take on greater significance when you realize that you are not merely working for human beings rather you are serving Christ.

On the flip side from the drudgery of work I’ve heard comments from people that lead me to believe that they place their career at the top of their priority list. Usually it begins slowly and unintentionally. Their relationship with God takes a back seat, family takes a back seat and even attention to their own health and well being ranks much lower on the list than their work.

“I must work overtime or my boss won’t think I’m committed to the job” “I need to take on this extra project or I won’t get that raise” “I can’t take time off for a family vacation….” “I need to make a living, plan for the future, provide well for my family.”


As Christians this is not a good mindset to have. We are leaving God out of our reasoning. He should be on the top of our priority list and needs to be considered in every aspect of our lives.
Jesus said “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15 NIV
So how then should we approach work? Yes we need to be a good employee. God’s word clearly tells us that. But, be careful to not let work become your god.

Think about it this way, as you are working imagine that God is standing right beside you. Because He is!

He sees everything we do and knows our motives behind those actions. If we work with integrity as unto the Lord it brings glory to Him. God doesn’t care what status our job holds. No matter whether you consider your work “the drudgery of the work-a-day world” or you are climbing the corporate ladder. Work as unto the Lord in everything you do.
Live you life with God as your priority and all the rest will fall into place. It may not seem like it some days but trust Him. He has ways are the best.

Once again I’ll quote one of my favorite passages of scripture……………
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6-NIV

What is around the corner?

What is around the corner?

The winding road…………

The Winding Road

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6-NIV

You may or maybe not have noticed; this scripture is my “theme verse” for this blog. It is how I strive to live; leaning not on my own understanding through this journey called life. We are all on a journey. We become anxious when the journey is taking us places we are unsure of. We want to take control of the situation.  How well does that serve us?

Of recent years the focus of my journey is to become more like Jesus. The urgency of this focus has become more intense this past year. My desire is to live my life following His direction. Read last blog entry for more about that subject matter. At the end of my journey I hope to have accomplished the purpose and reached the destination that God has planned for me.

How should we move along in this journey? Do we wander hoping we are heading in the right direction? Do we trust our own instincts to tell us which turn to take? Every day, sometimes several times a day we face decisions that in the end will show who we trust. Is it our own understanding, the wisdom of the world or God’s ways?

Life is a walk much like the one my daughter, grandson and I took one day through a wetland area. We had a nice boardwalk most of the way that was winding though. But there were curves in the path that didn’t allow you to see what was ahead. There were trees and vegetation that sometimes obstructed your view. We were instructed to not get off the path.  I was tempted to wander off and explore. It looked very inviting. But we stayed on the path and it took us to where we needed to be.

Each day we make choices. Those choices determine where we will be tomorrow. That is if God has a tomorrow for us. That is never a guarantee. The one and only thing I found that I can trust in is that if I ask God for wisdom He always gives it to me in His timing. If I listen, follow His leading then I take the right path. Often He doesn’t even show us the path; just the next step. I sometimes become impatient with seeing just one step. I am tempted to wander off the path and explore much like I was that day in the wetland. Or worse yet I get in a hurry to “fix” things and don’t wait for God to show me the way. It is then that I lean on my own understanding, don’t wait or ignore God’s leading that I take wrong turns and wind up somewhere I never should have gone. But I need not despair. I fix my eyes, ears, my thoughts, and my heart back where it should be. I find my way back to the path I belong on and all is well.  
      

“Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5-NIV

What is a Christian?

We had a discussion in a small group at church a few weeks ago. I have been pondering what was said off and on ever since. The main point was – You are/are not a Christian if………………….you fill in the blank. We all fill in the blank differently. In my estimation that should not be so. I fear most people define it to suit their own desires; their comfort zone.

During the discussion I posed the question “Where did the term Christian originate?” That should give us a good clue to what it really means.
The first mention of “Christians” is in Acts chapter 11. The disciples that were visiting Antioch were called Christian because they were following Christ’s example.

During the Old Testament times God gave the Law which had to be followed precisely. There were rules about what food you could eat and how it should be prepared, what you could or could not do on the Sabbath, how strangers were to be treated, what kind of sacrifice was acceptable to take to the priest who in turn would offer it for you, how and why people were to be punished, what you needed to do to atone for your sin; the list goes on and on. How well you measured up to the Law affected your standing before God. Then God sent Jesus! Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our sins and because of Him there is a new covenant.

Back to what makes you a Christian. It all starts with accepting Jesus’ sacrifice. That is the Savior part. But we must remember why the early disciples were given the name Christian; they were following Christ’s teaching. That is where the Lord part comes in. We too often lump Savior & Lord together without giving it much thought. Making Him Lord is a serious commitment.

When we accept the free gift of salvation the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. He will guide us along in this new journey. It’s our job to be listening and be obedient. If we have the right attitude this should come naturally. It is different than being under the law. Our attitude should be one of a thankful loving heart. If you allow it the Holy Spirit changes you from the inside, not controlled from the outside. It means that your heart has been changed by the presence of God. You are a new creation.

Once you grasp the magnitude of what Christ has done for you how can you help but love Him? When you are in love with someone your desire is to please them. If you love Christ your desire will be to please Him. You will want to learn more about Him every day. You will follow his teachings not in order to be a Christian. You will do these things because you are a Christian. When you love Christ the things that used to be important to you will no longer seem so important. “Take delight in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 This is not a genie in the bottle scripture that guarantees you will get everything you want. I have found that as I trust God more the desires of my heart change. As I let the Holy Spirit take control my desires become more like those of Jesus. When this change takes place of course God can give us our desires; they line up directly with His.

The first step to becoming a Christian is accepting the free gift offered by God. Being a Christian does not mean that you must adhere to a strict list of must do/must not do rules in order to please God. You cannot please God on your own. You can only find your way to God through Jesus Christ.
The next step is to allow the Holy Spirit to begin a change in your heart.
Why did the residents of Antioch call the disciples Christians? Because they followed Christ! A Christian is someone who follows Christ. How do we practically do that? First we must desire to please Him. Take delight in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart, fellowship with Him, allow the Holy Spirit to take control. Then your greatest desire will be to bring glory God by following Christ’s teachings.

For a bit more insight on the folly of the “Christian Life” according to the rules of man I encourage you to watch the video “A Girl’s message to all Christians. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YXINEYdnkY&feature=share video It is very thought provoking and powerful.