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 

Christ’s presence in our workplace

What is mankind that you are mindful of them,human beings that you care for them? (Ps 8:4)


God delights over you! God sings over you! God rejoices over you! God loves you with a love that exceeds your expectations! You live and move and have your being in Christ. Rejoice that the transcendent, all powerful, all knowing God is personally intimate with you everywhere you go, including at your workplace and as you go about your daily routine, just as Christ is with you at church on Sunday, or in your small group.

God’s compassions are new every morning. God cannot be corrupted by what is going on around you. He is the faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Just at as the Lord faithfully provided Manna for his people when they travelled through the wilderness, God’s righteousness and justice will daily come to light in the midst of the apparent chaos of the world.

As you recognize the righteous presence of the living God in your workplace, you represent to the world around you that there is a righteousness greater than man’s. As you use the skills and talents that God has blessed you with in the daily routine of your job you are worshipping God and bringing glory to his name. As you do your work with integrity, with excellence, with diligence and with joy you demonstrate to a watching world the reality of Christ’s presence. Rely on the wisdom of God that is calling out to you in the marketplace, so that you can live a life of righteousness in your workplace.

Prayer

Father thank you that you love us, and personally intimate with us everywhere we go. May your righteousness and justice daily come to light. Help us to grasp the length and breadth and height and depth of love you have for us. Amen.

God’s Creation

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth (Acts 17:24a)


Receive what you have, and what you use today with Thanksgiving. Everything you have and everything you use exists only because God created this universe. All the natural resources that form what you and I enjoy today were created by God. The individuals who skillfully take these raw materials and shape them into what we are now enjoying were blessed with their talents by God. The laws of nature which you rely upon to design and build everything you have are principles established by the Lord of Heaven and Earth when he created the universe.

There are no little jobs, and no little people in God’s Kingdom. Every role is vitally important in God’s kingdom. Architects and engineers designing a new building use the principles of engineering that are inherent in the world God created. Construction crews use the natural resources that God created, to build a new building. Accountants brings order to the finances of a building project, just as God brought order into the universe he created. Equally important are the baristas serving coffee to the architects, engineers, accountants and the construction crew. Baristas brew coffee from coffee plants that can be traced back to the first plants God planted in the garden to feed us.

As you do your work, you are fulfilling the mandate that God gave each of us in Genesis to fill the earth and to be responsible for it. As you go about your job today acknowledge that God is the creator and Lord of all the things that you have. As you celebrate the privilege you have to use what God has created; as you discover and follow the principles of God’s world, you are constantly reminding those around you, that this is our Father’s world and not just a random collection of particles.

Prayer

Gracious Father, we thank you for creating us, and blessing us with everything that we have. Forgive for the times when we take things for granted. Help us to live our lives in such a way that all those who are watching us know that is your world. Amen

Stand Firm

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.– Eph 6:11


Continuously and consciously clothe yourself with truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith,salvation and God’s word so that you can daily stand firm against the devil’s schemes.

The truth that there is a creator grounds our work, and our lives into a reality that is larger than ourselves. The truth of sin, provides an explanation for things that we perceive that are not right in our workplace. The truth of redemption provides us with hope. We are able to stand righteous before a holy righteous God, with our sins forgiven through faith in the death and resurrection of our Lord. God’s righteousness protects our hearts from the evil that is around us. The Gospel is not only good news for tomorrow, but the anchor that provides us peace in the storms of life. When our faith rests firmly on the bedrock foundation of the completed work of Christ, every flaming dart of fear, of doubt, of temptation that we are surrounded with in the workplace is extinguished. God’s free gift of salvation protects the talents, skills,wisdom, knowledge and understanding God has blessed us with to only be used as instruments of righteousness. Finally the word of the Lord, the sword of the Spirit enables us to be strong in the Lord and his mighty power, and to resist the devil’s temptations that we face at work.

Truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith and salvation, are offensive weapons to protect you against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly realms. They are not defensive weapons to be used against your colleagues. There is only one defensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit and it is to be used to resist the devil’s temptations.

Prayer

Father, we put the belt of truth round our waist. Help us to rest in the truth of who you are, and who we are in your sight. Guard our hearts with your breastplate of righteousness. Through the power of your gospel, may we be instruments of peace in every encounter with other people. Lord, we know we can’t do this on our own strength, and so we take the shield of faith, trusting you to extinguish all the flaming arrows that Satan and people throw at us. Thank you for the gift of salvation. Amen

Blessings

James Bruyn


Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Be Strong In The Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power – Eph 6:10


As Christians, some of the challenges we face in the workplace are of our own doing—consequences of our actions and attitudes.That’s why Paul warns us to live in such a way that nobody can find fault in what we do. Some of the other challenges we face in the workplace are part of living and working in a fallen world. Storms, sickness, weeds, broken down machinery, computers that crash, death, decay, and rot are all part of God’s curse on this planet.

Yet other challenges in life and work are spiritual in nature. Sometimes it’s obvious when Satan is scheming against you like when he appeared to tempt Jesus. Other times, you may be completely unaware that a battle is raging in Heaven over your soul and prayers, like when Daniel prayed and the angel sent to Daniel was resisted for twenty-one days (Daniel 10:12–14).

Although you have to be careful not to see a demon in every shadow, you do have to be aware of the fact that even at work,the devil will try to trick you or drag you down emotionally. The armor of God is something you need to continuously and consciously clothe yourself in so that you can daily stand firm against the devil’s schemes. For you fight against the powers of this world’s darkness and against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.

Just like it takes time and practice for a soldier to learn the proper way to hold a shield, or use a sword, it also takes time and practice to wear and use your spiritual armor effectively. As you start your day, pause in prayer to put on the whole armor of God.

Prayer

Father, we thank you that you have provided us with your armor so that we can stand strong in you and in your mighty power against the devil’s schemes. Help us to look beyond our situations and focus on your love for us. Thank you for the Bible; speak to us today through your word so that we may be able to stand firm in this day of evil. Amen

 


Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.