Can God Fix It?

Have you ever looked at the systems or processes at your workplace and shook your head? Have you ever watched people make decisions that protect their own interests? Have you ever been frustrated with work not going the way you want it to?

If somebody was to sit down with you and ask you to list three problems with your workplace, how long would you have to think before you could answer the question? When you have these conversations you run the risk of doubting God’s word even as Adam and Eve did.

Can God resolve these problems? 

Will God fix them the way we want them fixed?

“The Disaster”

Until that point in time every aspect of work was enjoyable. Adam got up every morning and together with Eve they performed the work God called them to do.

Suddenly a workplace disaster of cosmic proportions occurred. Satan commissioned Pride, disguised as a serpent, to interrupt Adam and Eve in their work. Satan’s words were enticing … “You will be like God”. Pride’s twin sister Shame, lurking in the shadows, watched with glee as Adam and Eve put aside their work, doubted God’s word, and succumbed to temptation. Sin had entered into God’s perfect creation.

Everything changed in that moment. Yet at that moment nobody stopped breathing. At that moment the earth didn’t stop turning or orbiting the sun. But the consequences of sin, of not trusting God, started to ripple throughout the world.

Work … Ravaged by Sin

From that moment forward all work was hampered by pain, thorns and thistles. Work was marred by frustration, lack of fulfillment and fruitlessness.

Apart from God, work became a means to find identity and self-worth. Unity and love was replaced with deceit, blame, manipulation, comparison, competition, disunity and strife. Work and God’s creation became a means to satisfying personal desires, controlling one’s destiny and accumulating power.

Could anything be done to remediate this catastrophic, cataclysmic event?

This wasn’t a situation beyond redemption! God’s didn’t pull out a contingency plan of the files to try and mitigate the damage. God didn’t invoke the angelic emergency response team. God in His sovereignty remained completely in control.

God’s Grace

God in his grace gave Adam and Eve the privilege to continue to be participants in his story. God in his grace, continued to allow His creation to be fruitful and multiply, although it would be painful. God in his grace, continued to offer provision for the physical needs for existence, although thorns and thistles wouldn’t make this easy. We see God in his grace offer provision for the emotional needs for survival as He clothes Adam and Eve covering their shame and nakedness.

God in his grace offers provision for the spiritual needs for survival through the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus. God in his grace offers in his perfect timing, hope for a future workplace in a new heaven and a new earth untainted by sin. God in his grace offers a path to unity with God and unity with other people.

God in his grace allows each person to accept or reject his grace.

This isn’t the storyline that Adam and Eve expected. This isn’t the storyline that anybody anticipated. This is God’s story!

The Story Continues

This story of grace is a story of redemption that continues to be played out today. This is a story that the angels watch with baited breath (1 Peter 1:10-12; 1 Tim 3:16).

This story of grace, this story of redemption continues in our workplaces today.

Your workplace is part of God’s story. God in his righteousness and grace is weaving your workplace into His story. Since you aren’t the author of the story of your workplace, this story won’t unfold the way you expect, but it will unfold in accordance with God’s grace.

If God can take the worst cataclysmic event in history and by his grace turn it into a story of redemption, what could God do in your workplace?  

Read Genesis 3 on BibleGateway #bgbg2

No Little Places

All work reflects the image of God in us. God wired work into our DNA. We need work to grow physically, emotionally and spiritually. Work is part of the blessing and the goodness of God’s creation.

God used his mind, his knowledge and his wisdom to shape every aspect of the universe. God has blessed us with minds and his wisdom so that we can seek out the ways His world works, and the ways of God in His world.

God was strategic in the way he created the world. He didn’t create the animals first and then wonder where to put them. When we develop strategies for our work we are reflecting God’s perfect planning.

Everything God created is unique. Consider the beauty of a flower or the variety of flavors of food that we eat. God trusts us to reflect his creativity in everything we make.

As God created the universe, he named the light “day’, and the darkness “night”. God calls each star by name. God gave us the privilege to name each animal, bird and plant, and to name our children. Like God, when we name something we are giving it the dignity God intended it to have, and describing its character.

God took the earth which was formless and empty and shaped it into this world that we enjoy, with all its processes, systems, and natural laws. When we take data, and present it in a spreadsheet, or take ingredients and serve a delicious meal, or lead people to finish a project in a structured and orderly fashion we are reflecting the enjoyment God takes in His creation.

God cares for each one of us. Each hair on our head is numbered. He knows our name. God cares for every aspect of his creation. Not one sparrow falls, or flower dies without God knowing. When we care or demonstrate compassion for others, we are modeling God’s compassion and care.

On the seventh day, God rested from his work. Rest … knowing your work is good; Rest … trusting that God will take care of you and your work.

There are no little tasks in God’s Kingdom. Each task has equal value in God’s eyes. Each task is needed for somebody to flourish. Each task is necessary for people to enjoy God’s creation. Each task is necessary to obey God’s command to rule over and subdue the earth.

Read Genesis 1-2 on BibleGateway

Be Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Josh 1:8)


How do we find the strength and courage to face our daily work routines? Where do we find the courage to step out into a new career or a new position?
God is sufficient to replace our anxieties, inadequacies, fears, and doubts with courage and confidence.

It would be nice if God gave us 12 steps to courage, or seven habits for courageous living. However God gives something much more amazing. God gives us his promises, God gives us his Word and God gives us his presence.

God’s promises as a source of courage 
Our strength and courage rests in God. God is the supernatural power that has created this world, and acted throughout history and in your life. All power on heaven and earth belongs to God. God is unchanging and God’s power will continue to act today and tomorrow.

God’s promises are dependable, because God’s promises rest entirely on God’s unchanging character. There is nothing that God has promised or does that relies on what you do, or what anybody else does.

The Bible as a source of courage
God reveals himself to us in the Bible, so that we can grasp the length and breadth and height and depths of his love for us. God reveals to how we can live our lives in a right relationship with him so that he can provide the strength we need for today and tomorrow.

Daily hear what God has to say about you and to you through his word. Don’t be distracted by inferiority-complex podcasts from your youth, or fear-mongering messages from well-intentioned friends, or people comparing you to your predecessor.

  • There is always something new to discover in the Bible. Knowing what God says to us in the Bible requires consistent life-long:
  • Meditation on God’s Word to make God’s Word part of your normal, day-to-day reasoning and thinking;
  • Exploring with other believers how the truths of God’s Word apply to everyday life situations;
  • Making God’s word part of your everyday conversations;
  • Being able in your own words to explain how God’s Word influences your day-to-day actions and larger decisions.

God’s preparation as a source of courage
You didn’t just arrive on the scene as a random collection of atoms. God skillfully created you! God has prepared you for today, and what lies ahead tomorrow. God gave you the abilities and skills you need to courageously face your daily work routine, or to courageously step out into a new venture.

God has also prepared the hearts of the people you work with, the people you lead, and your managers. Instead of being scared of the people around you, or frustrated by the people around you, give thanks to God for how he has prepared them and brought you together.

God’s presence as a source of courage 
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Josh 1:5)

God has promised that he will be with you wherever you go. When God is with you, there is no need to be afraid or discouraged. God’s perfect love drives away all fears. With God present in your life you know that God has forgiven you and which in turn gives you the courage to forgive.

Obedience as a source of courage
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Josh 1:7)

You may know a lot about God’s promises, about the Bible, about yourself, and that God is with you. But true courage will not come until in faith you step out in obedience. Stepping out in obedience may mean dealing with sin in your life before God will give you the courage to move forward. For many of you obedience may mean faithfully doing exactly what you were doing yesterday. For some of you, obedience may mean a leap of faith into something new holding onto God’s hand.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

God knows your name

What is more important: the people you know; or that the Lord knows your name? What is more important: pleasing people; or that people know God is pleased with you?

Our lives have significance when we believe that God not only knows our name, but knows us intimately. Every task that we do has meaning for today and for eternity when we know that God is pleased with us and what we are doing.

You are known by God, and that is enough! God knows the essential reality of who you are, what is bringing you joy, and what is stressing you out. God created you and knows all there is to know about you. You are God’s special treasure.

For Moses knowing that God was pleased with him, and that God knew his name was sufficient. By faith Moses believed that God’s presence would go with him as he lead the Israelites to Canaan after they had made the golden calf (Ex 32-33).

Knowing that you are known by God, you can move away from the shrines of self-worth, of possessions, or accomplishments and step with faith onto the unseen path of God’s story.  By faith, you have the privilege of enjoying the presence of the One who loves you and enables you. When you walk by faith, you walk unencumbered by idols. When you walk by faith God is pleased with you.

Not only does God know your name but God who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Ex 34:6) promises to be with you.

With God present in your life, as Augustine wrote, the world sees “a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks, and a hand through which Christ helps.”

Bask in the wonder that God is pleased with you and knows your name.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isa 43:1-3a)

Come Away

For one moment, I invite you to step away from a world filled with manipulation, fear, lies and platitudes. Come away with the apostle John for a glimpse into the throne room of heaven. The first thing you see is the throne of God. This is where it all began. Watch in wonder as the Sovereign God reigns over your workplace, your family situation, your plans and your future.

 

Focus for a moment on the 24 elders seated on thrones surrounding God’s throne. People like you who have faithfully believed in God and who are now reigning with God in Heaven. People like you who have been clothed in white robes, and crowned with golden crowns. Yes! There is a day coming when you will be clothed in white, forgiven, redeemed!

 

Do you see the rainbow, gleaming like an emerald surrounding the throne? A reminder that God is faithful to all of his promises.

 

Feel the power of the flashes of lightning and the rumbling and peals of thunder originating from God’s throne. Yes! God alone has sufficient power for the rest of your days.

 

Shield your eyes from the brilliance of the seven blazing torches in front of the throne as they cast God’s light into the darkest of places in the world. As they cast their light into the darkest nooks and crannies of your life.

 

Notice the calmness of the sea in front of the throne. The water is crystal clear and totally still. Unlike the stress and busyness of your life there isn’t even a ripple on the water. Take in the reflections of the light and the reverberations of the sounds from this crystal clear, perfectly still sea.

 

Bask in the color, the movement, the wonder of this whole scene. Allow your sense to process the pageantry, the majesty and the glory of what you see. Do you see the four animals prowling around the Throne?

 

Do you see their eyes looking forward, eyes looking behind and eyes looking all around? Listen, do you hear what they are saying about what they see with regards to your situation, your workplace? They are saying …

 

“‘Holy, holy, holy 
is the Lord God Almighty,’ 
who was, and is, and is to come.” 

 

They were the saying these same words when they saw Adam and Eve eat from the tree of good and evil. They were saying these words when Joseph was thrown into prison. They were saying these words when Jesus rose from the dead.

 

They were saying these words when they observed your birth. They are saying these words today at this moment, even as you are reading this. They will be saying these same words tomorrow …

 

“‘Holy, holy, holy 
is the Lord God Almighty,’ 
who was, and is, and is to come.” 

 

Let these words sink deeply into your soul. The Lord God was Holy and Almighty yesterday when this all started. The Lord God is Holy and Almighty today in the middle of your circumstances. The Lord God will be Holy and Almighty tomorrow come what may.

 

Watch as the twenty-four elders fall on their knees before the One Seated on the Throne, the one who lives for ever and ever. Listen as they in worship proclaim …

 

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, 
    to receive glory and honor and power, 
for you created all things, 
    and by your will they were created 
    and have their being.” 

 

God is worthy of receiving glory and honor and power for creating you, and for creating all the people who are around you in your life.

 

Before you step back into the hustle and bustle of your life how will you respond? … Will you join in worship proclaiming that God is worthy to receive glory and honor and power right now and for every moment of the days, months and years of your life? Or will you walk away from this scene and find your own way to cope with life?

 

Prayer 

 

Lord, forgive me, I have allowed the stress and worries of my life to become all consuming. I have focused on the words and actions of people, instead of focusing on your holiness and trusting in your power. Lord, you made a good decision when you created me and placed me where I am today. Father you are worthy of receiving all the glory, all the honor and all the power for my life today. Amen

Workplace Acclimatization

How would a friend describe your behavior compared to a year ago? Would they say you have become more Christ like, or would they say that the negative attitudes and behaviors of your co-workers have rubbed off on you?

Being a Christian, doesn’t make us immune from becoming acclimatized to the culture of our workplace. Sometimes when we look at the behavior successful people have adopted, we tend to stifle the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit so that we can fit in. Slowly, without realizing what is happening we suppress our awareness of God and negative behaviors and attitudes insidiously sneaks into our lives. Just as each workplace is different, the sinful behavior that we pick up from our workplace is different for each of us.

God saw how some people living in the faith communities at the end of the first century had assimilated the culture of the cities where they lived and worked. In the letters John wrote to these churches in Revelation 2 and 3, God establishes that that he is fully aware, and more than sufficient to meet every need in their current situation. He longs for their relationship with him to be restored. God invites them to repent from abandoning their first love for Christ; or from being lured away by sexual impurity; or from being lulled to sleep by apathy; or from allowing luxury and riches to become substitutes for life in the Spirit.

With great love and compassion, the Good Shepherd searches our hearts and minds to see if there be any wicked way in us. He invites us to repent so that we can stand righteously in his Holy presence. He makes a salve to put on our eyes so that we can see the truth and see his love and grace. He offers us gold refined in the fire so that we can become rich spiritually. These are priceless treasures that the culture of our workplace can never compete with.

People are looking today for men and women who are totally comfortable living and relating with all members of society, while being graciously unwavering in their convictions and faith in God. To be this kind of person, we need to embrace the love and acceptance of Christ in every situation, so that we are totally comfortable in our own skin. When we are not looking for anything from our workplace, except to be God’s humble servant, we become shining beacons of God’s love.

Why do we need God’s Discipline?

The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. (Heb 11:6)

What thoughts go through your mind, when you read the phrase “The Lord disciplines the one he loves”?

God’s discipline is not an isolated character trait. God’s discipline is intricately and intimately woven into his character and love for you. God’s discipline is not meant to discourage you, or impede you from running the race God laid out for you before you were born. It’s the complete opposite!

God’s discipline is a demonstration of the depths of God’s love for you. Those times when God out of his infinite wisdom and mercy chooses to discipline you is your assurance that you are God’s precious son or daughter. God’s discipline is not the natural consequences of your choices. God’s discipline is absolutely not punishment for your sins, because Christ has already paid the price for your sins. God’s discipline is not the effects of living in a fallen world. God disciplines you because he loves you.

God’s discipline and God’s provision of our daily bread enable us to persevere, to keep our eyes focused on Christ and to experience the joy of running the race. God’s discipline comes from the same right hand that delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and the same loving hand that raised Jesus from the dead. God our Heavenly Father disciplines us so that we can enjoy the depths of intimate fellowship with him.

God’s discipline is not just for your benefit, but also for the benefit of those around you. God’s discipline is training you to live at peace with everyone, including those you really wish you didn’t have to live at peace with. By discipline, training, perseverance, and obedience in the ordinary everyday things of life, your right relationship with God brings peace and joy to those around you. Through God’s discipline you are able to make level paths for the feet for the physically, emotionally, or spiritually wounded so that they can come to Christ for healing and strength. Because of God’s discipline you are an example of a life of holiness to those around you.

God loves you so much that he will discipline you how and when he deems best. Don’t resent God’s rebuke, don’t become hardened or discouraged or anxious under God’s discipline. Instead pour out your soul to God and plead with God to show you his grace and love so that you can humbly submit to his discipline. Because Christ died for you, because God loves you, because of God’s discipline you are being transformed into his likeness and sharing in his holiness so that you will be present with Christ in glory!

Read Hebrews 12:4-17 on BibleGateway

How Does God View Work?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3:17)


Throughout our career our work experiences range from jobs we thoroughly enjoy to work we would rather not do. God sees our work differently. God sees all our work as opportunities to cooperate with his eternal purposes. When we are working God sees us as being obedient to his command. In fact work is one of the very first commands in the Bible.

Adam and Eve had the immense privilege of being the first workers. When God created the world, God allowed Adam and Eve to work to subdue and rule over the earth. We follow in their steps through our work as we continue to subdue and rule over the earth. Even before God warned Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of good and evil, God instructed Adam and Eve to work the garden and take care of it.

In other words, every job, even the simplest, most mundane or routine tasks that you do (unless it is some sort of criminal activity) has dignity and value, simply because working is being obedient to God’s command. Not only has God commanded us to work, God invites us through our work to discover every aspect of the marvelous complexity of his wonderful creation. The first task God gave Adam and Eve was naming each animal and bird that God brought before them. This creative activity of naming things still goes on today as we name new planets, name the location of new mineral deposits, or name new findings in medicine.

Being created in God’s image, when you are doing your work, whatever that might be, you are reflecting God’s love into the world and reflecting creation’s worship back to God. You can be filled with joy at work for you have the privilege of partnering with God. In fact you might be surprised, that when you start seeing your current role from God’s perspective that you will find peace and contentment. Remember that you are not working for man but for the Lord. Every responsibility of your job is the Lord’s work.

Blessings

James Bruyn


Read on Bible Gateway
Genesis 1:28

Genesis 2:15
Genesis 2:19
Colossians 3:17-24

 


Who is your neighbor?

We love because he first loved us – 1 John 4:19


Neighbors come from surprising places. Your neighbor is different from my neighbor. Neighbors could be down the street, in the office, on the team, or halfway across the world. Neighbors could be from the same race or a different race. Neighbors might even support different political parties. Whoever your neighbor may be, they are people created in the image of God, people like you and I with hopes and dreams, people who need to know that they are precious, that they are important and that they are loved. In the hope that ‘some’ people might not be your neighbor Do you catch ourselves asking the question ‘who is my neighbor?’

Are your neighbors at work just the friendly customers with smiles on their face, and the out-going coworkers who go the extra mile to make your job and the workplace a fun place to be? Do your neighbors include co-workers who are living pay-check to pay-check wondering if they are next on the lay-off list. Is the new employee who is struggling to learn the ropes and do his job or the employee who is creating more work for you also your neighbor? Is your supervisor your neighbor?

Out of love for the Lord your God, when you see that person who desperately needs a neighbor, choose to love him or her as yourself even as Christ first loved you. You have been filled with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter who will guide you in all truth and wisdom so that you can discern who your neighbor is, and how best to love them. As you rest in your Father’s love you will find the strength today, this moment, to love your co-workers. He will give you the grace to hear their hearts, hopes and dreams, if you only ask him. Truly you can love your neighbor because Christ first loved you.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your great love for us. You ask us to love others as we love our selves. We know that we cannot do this on our own strength, and so we ask you to walk beside us, and fill us with your love for our co-workers, for those who desperately need a neighbor. Amen.

Job Satisfaction

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5)


God created you as a unique, whole, infinitely complex individual. You bring a distinctive contribution to the organization where you work. Your primary attributes are the ones where you make the most meaningful contributions through your work, and where you find the most satisfaction in your job. However you have many other minor attributes that make you uniquely you, and enable you to do your role in a way that is just slightly different to the way the next person will perform that role.

If you experience twinges of dissatisfaction or unrest in your current role – Rejoice! Rejoice that God has created you with infinitely more facets than other people recognize, or that you may realize yourself, or that you are using at this time. Prayerfully consider how you might be able to use these attributes, within the political constraints of your role, to maximize your value to your employer. If you are a manager, look for attributes in your team beyond what you hired them for. Find creative ways to allow your staff to use their talents and to express their infinitely complex beauty.

Sometimes you may find yourself in a job where you believe your value is not fully appreciated. Or you may believe you are able to contribute more to the organization, or you feel that you would be more fulfilled if you were able to use your skills in a different role. When you focus your attention and energy on the apparent injustice or inequality of your situation it is easy to become negative and lose sight of God. If that is the way you feel today, I invite you to step back for a moment, to abandon the illusion that you are in control of this world, and reflect on God’s character. Does God change when you feel like you are a square peg in a round hole? Does God’s love for you, or the hope that you have, or your salvation disappear when you feel like your skills are being under-utilized? Did God make a mistake when he placed you in this position? Is this situation beyond God’s redemptive power? Can you trust that this job, for right now, is part of God’s perfect plan for your life?

Whether you feel like your current job is a great fit for who you are, or you feel like your job situation is less than ideal, continue to trust in the love and care of your Heavenly Father! God says to you “my child, trust me, I am sovereign, I am in control, I love you. I have placed these people in authority over you, I have appointed their times and boundaries, I love you.” Make it your goal to please God. Give thanks to the Lord that you have been granted the privilege to participate in what God is doing in your workplace.

What would it take in your current job to say that “I have learned to be content in this job”?

What does it look like for you to trust in God as you go about your work?

With what is happening in your workplace, can you identify with one Biblical character who experienced something similar? (i.e. Joseph) Re-read their story. How does their example inspire you?

Prayer 

Gracious Father, Thank you for your love. We praise you that you are sovereign, and that you are in control. Forgive us for when we fail to trust you. Strengthen us today, so that we may live our lives pleasing in your sight. Amen