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Today's Devotional from Grace in the Workplace
Tuesday, April 30 2013

Verse of the Day

For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” [John 5:16-17 – NKJV]

We know from Genesis and the Gospels that both God the Father and Jesus worked—God when He created the universe and everything in it (including mankind) and Jesus as a carpenter from his early years all the way to the end of His life. (And oh, by the way, Jesus had something to do with creation too! See John 1:1-3.)

In today’s passage we learn that both God and Jesus have been working continuously since the beginning of time. In order to better understand this, I think it is important to explore the concept of work before the Fall from Grace. Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden to work it. It was pleasurable and not toilsome work. Since God the Father and Jesus are both perfect beings (like Adam and Eve were before the Fall), their work is not burdensome; it is pleasurable. So too will our work be after the Second Coming, but in the meantime we have to toil, suffer, and bear down since we live in a Fallen world. As Believers, Jesus tells us that for all who are heavy laden His yoke is light. Never forget that we are to work as if working for the Lord! Jesus is our example. Follow His lead!

Posted by: John AT 01:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 29 2013

Verse of the Day

When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. [2 Chronicles 7:1 – NKJV

I didn’t choose the title by accident. After reading today’s passage it’s all I could say. We have an awesome and magnificent God!

Solomon finally built the Temple for the Name of the Lord after God’s “temporary home” (the Ark of the Covenant) spent years and years bouncing around (sometime literally) from place to place. After the dedication, God occupied His new home in a very visible way. The glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. No longer did He wander. He was “tabernacling” with His Chosen People.

Flash forward to the Day of Pentecost and contrast God occupying His Temple in Jerusalem with the equally visible and dramatic indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles (see Acts 2:1-4). A mighty wind and tongues of fire accompanied the arrival of the Spirit on that day. Today we Believers receive the Spirit without any visible sign, but receive Him we do! Today God no longer resides in a building; we are God’s Temple! He indwells in us. He is constantly with His people! For He is good; for His mercy endures forever!

Posted by: John AT 01:40 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 26 2013

Verse of the Day

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:13-14 – NIV]

Like one of my favorite passages, Hebrews 12:1-2, today’s excerpt from Philippians is about “running the race” and keeping your eye on the Prize. But unlike the author of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul stresses the need to forget the past and focus on what’s ahead. Just imagine trying to run a drag race in reverse. That’s scary! In fact “going out in reverse” in any kind of race is nonsensical.

All of us tend to dwell more on the past than we should. We have good and bad memories that we tend to share (maybe a little too often) with others and certainly mull over repeatedly in our minds. There is nothing wrong with an occasional thought about a fond memory or telling a story relating something that others might find fun or interesting, but if you are living in the past you have a real problem.

For a Believer, the past reflects our old life before we were saved; i.e., the ways of the world. Why would we want to focus and dwell on what we left behind? We have a new life in Jesus Christ. He is the goal, the Prize that we are seeking at the finish line. So focus on what lies ahead. Go ahead, go for it!

Posted by: John AT 07:58 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 25 2013

Verse of the Day

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given. [Proverbs 19:17 – NKJV]

I’m sure most of you remember Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol. He was a selfish, bitter, miserly old man. When approached by two gentlemen who asked him to give to the annual fund for the poor he replied, “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” That was his attitude until he was visited by the three ghosts of Christmas. After their visits, he was transformed into the most generous and caring man in all of London.

How about us? Do we really care about the poor around us or do we just go about our busy lives without really noticing them, without taking time to interact with them, and without taking time to care for them as God would have us do? In Deuteronomy 15:11, God tells us, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” This fact doesn’t provide us with an excuse. Notice that God’s statement that the poor will always be with us is coupled with a command, to be openhanded (generous) towards the poor among us. Caring for the poor is one of Jesus’s central themes. In Luke 6:20, Jesus says of the poor, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

So what are we doing for the poor? I don’t think it’s enough to just give to your church or to a charity (that’s not a bad thing though!). It is always better to get involved personally. There are lots of opportunities out there to help your fellow man. Check them out.

Posted by: John AT 01:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, April 24 2013

Verse of the Day

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7 – NKJV]

Most of you don’t remember the song “Heart,” but no matter. It’s from the musical Damn Yankees about a baseball player who sold his soul to the devil. Ironic, isn’t it? God is really the one who cares about your heart. Satan just wants your soul.

In today’s passage, God was rebuking Samuel, who, after looking at Eliab, David’s older brother, immediately assumed based on his appearance that he was the anointed one of God. As great a prophet as Samuel was, he was still human and prone to the same weaknesses and behavioral shortcomings that we all suffer from. Man judges based on physical appearance, while God judges based on the heart.

Our goal as Believers is to become Christ-like. To accomplish this we need to have a heart like our Lord and Savior. In Acts 13:22, God called King David “a man after My own heart.” This should be our calling too. Is it right for us to dare to be like King David, a great man of God? Well, I don’t know why not. Aspire to be the best you can be for your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Matthew 6:24 provides additional insight by telling us that, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” So we should love God completely with our whole heart. Let’s have none of this halfhearted stuff. That may very well lead to a deal with the devil.

Posted by: John AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, April 23 2013

Verse of the Day

Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. [Proverbs 19:27 – NKJV]

You know, it’s a miracle that we ever learn anything in life. Very few of us have developed “listening skills.” We are far more interested in hearing our own voice than the voices of our fellow travelers. Once again the culprit is our sinful pride, our self-centered nature. We think we’re better than others and have an innate need to elevate ourselves over them.

Here are a couple of thoughts. First, pride is sinful. We are called to be humble before the Lord our God and before our fellow man. Being humble means “less of us and more of others.” The humble person has a natural desire to listen and to show respect to those around him. Second, a wise person will listen to others.

Calling listening a “skill” is a misnomer. The reason it’s a “skill that needs to be developed” is because so few of us do it naturally. So, we all need to make listening a natural part of our approach to life. You will never learn anything if you don’t listen to others. And that applies equally to the Word of God. If you want to grow in God’s Word you not only need to read it, but also listen when those who are wiser than you, a.k.a. teachers of the Word, are talking. Pay attention; you’ll be glad you did!

Posted by: John AT 11:27 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 22 2013

Verse of the Day

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. [Matthew 6:24 – NKJV]

What’s really important to you in life? Everyone reading this has a standard of living that is light-years ahead of the rest of the world. Although Americans comprise about 6 percent of the world’s population, we have about half of the wealth. Let’s face it, every one of us has a lot of stuff. And, truth be told, we like our stuff, don’t we? We are, after all, a consumer society, and buying and accumulating stuff is the name of the game.

This is our way of life; it is the economic engine that keeps us going. Is it wrong? That’s not for me to say, but I will say this: It’s wrong when we as individuals become obsessed with our stuff. If our possessions become so important that the Lord our God becomes “less” important to us, then we have a real problem. Notice that I didn’t say unimportant. Most Believers think that as long as they love Jesus then all is okay, but is that really so? Is it enough to love God and your stuff in the same way? Is God satisfied if you love Him halfheartedly? Absolutely not! That was why God found that King David was “a man after My own heart.” David loved the Lord his God fully and completely. That is what we are called to do. We can’t serve two masters. What is stuff anyway? It’s just stuff! Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. So, what’s it gonna be?

Posted by: John AT 01:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 19 2013

Verse of the Day

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 3:23-24 – NIV]

Are you having fun at work? Many people hate their job. Others, although they really enjoy what they do, go through periods of dissatisfaction. Sometimes work can be drudgery. Don’t forget that after the Fall, God made work more difficult for us. It’s not supposed to be easy and not supposed to be fun (by fun, I mean it’s not supposed to be a picnic). But, it is supposed to be satisfying and meaningful. So, if you hate your job or are just in a rut, read on.

The way to true job satisfaction is to ask the question “why are you working?” If your answer is “to make a lot of money” or “so I can make a name for myself,” then you are on the wrong track. Almost always, pride is at the center of destructive behavior. If we could only get ourselves out of the way we’d be a lot better off. The real answer to the question is that “we are working to honor and glorify God.” Once we focus on God at work and subjugate ourselves, we are filled with a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.  So work as if you were working for the Lord today. You’ll be surprised at the fun you’ll have!

Posted by: John AT 10:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 18 2013

Verse of the Day

Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. [Judges 2:18-19 – NIV]

You know, try as they might, the Israelites never got it quite right. They never did exactly what God commanded them to do. They always fell just a little short of the mark. They were a stubborn, stiff-necked people. We can trace this tendency towards disobedience to Moses and the Ten Commandments. No sooner did Moses start climbing Mount Sinai than the people clamored for a pagan idol and Aaron made a golden calf for them. And when they finally entered the Promised Land after wandering around the desert for 40 years (more disobedience), they failed to follow God’s command and did not drive out all of the nations that occupied the land.

And so, because of their disobedience, God caused them to be punished. Turning to the passage in Judges, we can see that the people disobeyed God by following other gods and generally ignoring His ways. God’s wrath poured out on them and He punished them by turning them over to their enemies. But God had compassion for His people, and so He raised up a judge to deliver them from their enemies. Then the judge died and the people would return to their evil ways. God would then raise up another judge. This pattern repeated itself throughout the book of Judges and in fact throughout the Bible.

So are we Believers really that much different? All I can say is thank God for Jesus. We are no longer faced with the repetitious, cyclical pattern of disobedience, sinful behavior, and restoration of a right relationship with God, which goes on ad infinitum. Our Savior, Jesus Christ put an end to this once and for all. But, that doesn’t mean that we can disobey and stray from God without consequence. Why would we want to? We need to trust and obey, and if we love God as we should (and again, why wouldn’t we?), then this is the inevitable consequence.

I think the well-known hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” says it best: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”

From the "Greatest Hits" Collection.

Posted by: John AT 02:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, April 17 2013

Verse of the Day

However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God. [Deuteronomy 20:16-18 – NIV]

Just what did the Israelites not understand about this command from the Lord their God? Here’s the setting: they were about to enter the Promised Land and God wanted to make sure that they remained a holy people who were totally devoted to Him. A critical part of this process was to ensure that they removed all of the temptations associated with the other nations they were displacing, most importantly their pagan cultures and gods. But, the Israelites really had a problem with obeying God’s commands fully and completely. They always did things halfway. So when they conquered the Promised Land they did not do as God commanded. They spared many of the peoples of the other nations that lived in the land and, by doing so, sealed their fate. They intermarried, started worshiping other gods, and eventually strayed away from the Lord their God.

This pattern of disobedience continues to haunt the Israelites throughout their history. For example, in 1 Samuel 15:22 Samuel confronts Saul about his not being fully obedient to God by failing to completely destroy the Amalekites. Saul had received direct orders to kill everything and instead he ignored God’s command and brought back some of the best sheep and cattle, supposedly as a sacrifice. Samuel chastised him by saying, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

Just like the Israelites, we find it difficult to fully obey God. He wants our entire heart, but all too often we give Him far less. He is our constant Rock; our cornerstone. We are weak and He is strong. Trust and obey Him! Don’t be tempted to ignore His Word. It is so good and so true! It is transformative (a fancy word for life-changing). What can be better than that? After all, that’s what we really need, isn’t it?

Posted by: John AT 10:11 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, April 16 2013

Verse of the Day

Now the [Israelites] entered into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes… [Nehemiah 10:28-29 – NKJV]

After years of worshiping other gods and idols, the Lord finally lost patience with His Chosen People and their sinful ways and poured out His wrath on them by causing Assyria and Babylon to conquer the northern tribes and Judah, respectively. The Israelites finally returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in Babylon, first to rebuild the temple and then to repair the wall of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah and the other Israelite leaders got it. They know full well why the Lord their God had poured out His wrath on their ancestors. Let’s go back even further in time. When the Chosen People were about to enter the Promised Land, God wanted to make sure that they remained wholly devoted to Him. A critical part of this process was to ensure that they removed all of the temptations associated with the other nations that they were displacing, most importantly their pagan cultures and gods. But, when they conquered the Promised Land they did not obey as God commanded. They spared many of the peoples of the other nations that lived in the land and by doing so, sealed their fate. They intermarried, started worshiping other gods and eventually strayed away from the Lord.

So Nehemiah and the elders wanted to get it right the second time around. God had allowed them to return to Israel, but that wasn’t enough. God’s people had to restore their relationship with Him. They had to realize their previous sinful ways and take steps to ensure that this sinful behavior never happened again. The way to accomplish this was to remove the temptation by taking an oath to “not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons.”

They got off to a good start the second time around, but it didn’t last long and they were back to their same old ways. Like the Israelites, we are prone to wander. We don’t stay focused on the Lord our God for long, do we? So join me in praying that we will be consistent and constant in our Walk with Him!

Posted by: John AT 07:53 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 15 2013

Verse of the Day

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. [Isaiah 5:20 – NIV]

I am not a theologian, but it is my understanding that almost all of the signs, predictions, and prophesies about the end times were fulfilled shortly after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and that Believers ever since have lived in eager anticipation of the Second Coming. Our lifetime is no different. Several more milestones have occurred.

One of the signs that the end times are upon us is an ever-increasing tendency of the secular world to consider right as wrong and wrong as right. There has been an acceleration of this in recent years. The print and broadcast media, educators, politicians, in fact all of the elite are caught up in the remaking of society. They are abandoning God’s ways in favor of those of the evil one. Most are doing this unconsciously; they are simply being duped. Look around you. Have you ever seen a time when more things that are wrong are being portrayed as right and more things that are right being cast as wrong? Acceptable behaviors, beliefs, and lifestyles are changing right before our eyes.

As disturbing as this is, we know that we are witnesses to the fact that another sign of the end times is being fulfilled, and can take comfort in that. But we have to constantly be on guard that we don’t get brainwashed by all of the media hype. More so than ever before, Believers have to test everything they read and hear against the Word of God. Just because something is portrayed as “gospel” on the network news hour doesn’t mean that it comports with what is right in God’s eyes. Welcome to the end times!

Posted by: John AT 09:12 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 12 2013

Verse of the Day

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." [Psalm 73:25-26 – NIV]

Truer words have never been spoken. Our bodies are weak and our hearts fail. We are sinful and fall far short of the glory of God. He is all we have and all we need! It’s the old “but for” test. But for God, we would be lost, wretched sinners cast into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Give thanks to Jesus for His redeeming blood that covers our sins. Give Him praise today in all you do!

Posted by: John AT 01:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 11 2013

Verse of the Day

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:13-14 – NIV 1984]

I’m a car guy and have been for almost 60 years (in other words since I started to be aware of my surroundings). British sports cars, Italian exotics, German autobahn screamers, American muscle cars; it doesn’t matter. There is nothing like a fast car! And when you’re driving fast you want to shift through the gears as quickly a possible. Going forward rapidly is the name of the game. You sure don’t want to go out in reverse!

God wants you to do the same thing (go forward that is). As the Apostle Paul says in today’s passage, dwelling on the past serves no purpose. Sure, we have all sinned and we tend to think far too much about our past transgressions. We feel guilty. We are ashamed. But, thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we are made right with God. Our sins are forgiven, gone, up in smoke. So, take Paul’s advice and adopt a forward perspective. Pursue Jesus. Become more and more like Him. That’s the goal. Move forward towards Christ. What’s past is past. Live each day focused on eternity with Him!

Posted by: John AT 01:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, April 10 2013

Verse of the Day

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. [Matthew 6:31-34 – NIV]

This seems like a nonsensical question, doesn’t it? Everyone is worried about his or her job, right? Duh! Well, yes and no. Read on.

We humans are prone to worry about everything. There is generally no aspect of our lives that we don’t worry about. This is because we delude ourselves with the mistaken impression that we are in control of our lives. And since we are in reality powerless, we have to worry because we just don’t know the future and what it will bring. No matter how hard we try to control future events we just can’t. After all, we are human!

It is sort of ironic that we worry so much about our jobs, since it is our God-given talents and abilities that manifest themselves in the marketable skills that enable us to provide for our families and ourselves. This is the fundamental point that Jesus is making about God providing all the things that we need. This is a big part of HOW He does it.

Despite the fact that God has provided for us we still worry about our jobs day and night. Will I get a promotion? Will I be laid off after the merger? Will I get a good review? Will I get the raise I deserve? Most employees think that they are God’s gift to the workforce. They are smarter than their bosses and their peers. They deserve to be treated better. They deserve to be paid more. And on and on and on. This behavior is characteristic of our old friends pride and elevation of self, and it also plays a big role in the worry game.

How do you come to grips with all of this? Seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness and worry fades away and is replaced by peace and serenity. That’s because you are finally focused on what is really important in life—your relationship with the Father.

I could tell you that if the things that you are worried about actually happen, in all likelihood God will provide a different and new path for you. You’ll probably get a new job and it may be the same, better, or worse than your current job. You may not get a promotion. Your salary may get frozen or cut. But no matter what happens I’ll bet that five years from now, when you look back over your life, things will be just fine. Trust and obey God. Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Posted by: John AT 01:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, April 09 2013

Verse of the Day

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 6:23 – NIV]

In a recent sermon, my pastor and friend, Larry York described the comma in Romans 6:23 as the “most important comma in the Bible,” and he’s right, isn’t he? We know that God abhors sin. The Apostle Paul says it best: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Ever since Adam and Eve and the Fall from grace, God has been building a bridge, a path for His people so that they can reestablish a right relationship with Him.

God was faithful and long-suffering. He had a Plan—Noah and the Flood, the numerous covenants with His chosen people the Israelites, their constant disobedience, and finally it all culminated in a final act of love, when God sent His Son, Jesus Christ into the world to save sinners, i.e., His people. What amazing love! Jesus suffered on the cross and took on our sins so that we might have eternal life. Thank God for the redemptive blood of Jesus that covers our sin once and for all time.

Posted by: John AT 07:48 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 08 2013

Verse of the Day

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that [you] may have life, and that [you] may have it more abundantly." [John 10:10 – NKJV]

The contrast in this passage is between Satan, the devil, and Jesus, who is our Good Shepherd. Why in the world would someone follow the devil and his evil, deceitful ways that lead to eternal damnation when the way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ? There is no doubt that the lure of the secular world is strong, and to many it’s irresistible. Power, wealth, greed, and sexual perversion are the way of the world. Many seek these things as a means of self-fulfillment. In today’s society it is all about instant gratification like its never been before. Me, me, me… But that is not God’s way. He teaches real love, forgiveness, humility, and wisdom.

Never forget that God’s love is irresistible. He is constantly whispering in the ear of the lost soul. So let’s give thanks today for our Savior, Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Him.

Posted by: John AT 09:26 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 05 2013

Verse of the Day

David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. [2 Samuel 6:14-15 – NIV 1984]

I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a dancer. My wife, Sharon, loves to dance and she’s recently gone berserk over all those dance shows on TV. Maybe I should take dance lessons from King David!

All kidding aside, all of us Believers should start practicing our singing and dancing and the sooner the better. We are going to be singing praise songs to the Lord of lords forever and ever and dancing with all of our might on the streets of the New Jerusalem to honor and glorify Him. When we get to heaven, we will see God’s face and there will be no more night (He will be our light!). So we will need all the energy we can muster because we will be singing and dancing 24/7 for eternity! A word to the wise: get practicing! I don’t care if you don’t like to dance or can’t sing a note. That’s not the point. What’s in your heart, and how do you feel about God? This is more of an attitude thing than a talent thing. He doesn’t care about the performance, He cares about our hearts. Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him!

Posted by: John AT 10:23 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 04 2013

Verse of the Day

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. [Psalm 73:25 – NIV]

There are many great passages in the Bible about loving God, and King David seems to be involved in more than his fair share of them, either as the author of a Psalm or as the subject of a passage about loving God. After all, God described David as “a man after My own heart.”

The theologian Paul Tillich defined god (with a lower case “g”) as “your ultimate concern.” So what are you really bonkers about? Playing golf? Gourmet cooking? Eating gourmet cooking? Your kids? Fast cars? TV? Football? History? Skiing? Camping and enjoying the great outdoors? Your spouse?  Baseball? Traveling? Your job? Clothes and fashion? Reading? Finance? Music? Facebook and other social media? The list goes on and on, doesn’t it?

We humans have many varied interests. We can really get passionate and obsessed with lots of things—our families, our friends and our hobbies and interests. But what (rather who) should be our ultimate concern? Who should we be most passionate about? Why God, of course!

That’s the great thing about today’s passage. David describes a relationship with God in which God is absolutely everything to him. In David’s life there was nothing, absolutely nothing more important than God. Nothing else came close. So how do you feel about God? Is He your everything?

Posted by: John AT 08:11 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, April 03 2013

Verse of the Day

 

A leader of good judgment gives stability; an exploiting leader leaves a trail of waste.[Proverbs 29:4 – The Message]

The stereotypical employee thinks that his or her boss is a clueless idiot, but in reality this just ain’t so. Most people in leadership deserve to be where they are and this is especially true the higher you go up the chain of command. But, there are always exceptions. There are the occasional bad apples, the executives or business owners that are infatuated with themselves and with the power of their positions. They mistreat, abuse, and ride roughshod over their people and then wonder why their company’s financial performance and productivity numbers are so low. They are hemorrhaging cash and don’t have a clue. But God does. They should listen to God’s Word to the wise. Treat your employees with respect as you would like to be treated yourself and you’ll be amazed at the results. Doing the right thing is, after all, the right thing to do, but it also tends to produce results! As an example let’s consider one of my least favorite Christmas movies, White Christmas. This movie is not to be confused with Holiday Inn in which Bing Crosby made the song “White Christmas” famous, but enough trivia. Anyway, in the movie White Christmas Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen star as Army buddies (and entertainers) at the end of World War II. Their beloved commanding officer, Major General Thomas F. Waverly (played by Dean Jagger), is being relieved of command. His troops give him an emotional farewell and since this is a musical, it’s a song called “The Old Man.” The words are what every leader should cherish…

 

We'll follow the old man wherever he wants to go
Long as he wants to go opposite to the foe

We'll stay with the old man wherever he wants to stay
Long as he stays away from the battle's fray

Because we love him, we love him
Especially when he keeps us on the ball

And we'll tell the kiddies we answered duty's call
With the grandest son of a soldier of them all.

 

Obviously there is a bit of humor in this Irving Berlin song, but the real message comes through loud and clear: real leaders who care about their people have their love and respect. This is what God has in mind for you if you are a leader.

 

Posted by: John AT 07:38 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, April 02 2013

Verse of the Day

The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. [Proverbs 16:23 – NKJV]

The world tells us it’s our intellect that makes us wise. Based on this belief, the brain is the key to wisdom. But, is this really true? Never forget that in the Bible, a wise person is one who knows God and His Ways. So, the real key to wisdom is not the brain, it’s the heart. God always looks at the heart when evaluating a person. In Genesis 4, He found Abel’s offering acceptable while He rejected Cain’s sacrifice, based not solely on the offerings themselves, but on the hearts of the respective givers. We know from Acts 13:22 that God found King David to be “a man after My own heart.” Why? Because David always returned to being fully and completely devoted to the Lord his God.

God looks at our hearts, too, in order to see how we are doing on our walk with Him. Do we love Him and understand Him like King David or only half heartedly like His Chosen People the Israelites?

In today’s passage, King Solomon tells us that the brain still plays a role in this process. The heart instructs the brain of a wise person and as a result “adds learning to his lips.” In other words the heart trains the brain. But make no mistake, wisdom is not intellectual knowledge. It’s not a degree from Harvard, Yale or another Ivy League university. Wisdom is a right relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an ever-changing heart that is growing more and more like Him one day at a time.

Posted by: John AT 07:43 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 01 2013

Verse of the Day

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God.” [James 4:6-7 – NKJV]

All of us tend to think way too much of ourselves. We are prideful, self-centered creatures with an insatiable need to elevate our needs, wants, thoughts, desires, and objectives above others and far too often, above the Lord our God. We think we’re the top dog, but in reality we are all sinners, the lowest of the low. It’s really about how we see ourselves that counts in God’s eyes. Do we lord over others? Are we dominating? Are we prideful, arrogant, or overbearing? We know that the meek shall inherit the earth, but are we meek?

How we behave is so important. Adopting an attitude of humility is not a situational thing. Being humble at church or with your family and friends is great, but how do you behave at work? Are you aggressive and mean? Do you have a “take no prisoners” attitude in the workplace? Let’s hope and pray that is not the case. God expects us to behave consistently in accordance with His Word regardless of the situation or circumstances in which we find ourselves. Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t submit to God and to others. Be humble. Pray every day that there will be less of you and more of others.

Posted by: John AT 08:21 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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Grace in the Workplace Ministries, L.L.C.
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