How do you demonstrate the existence of God’s Kingdom?

I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Hab 3:18)


As you look past what is happening today in your life and obediently believe in the future that God has promised – you are demonstrating the existence of God’s Kingdom to your co-workers.

The truth of God’s kingdom cannot be denied when people see the fruit of God’s spirit in your life – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.  You prove God is real when you reverently welcome what God says.

When you accept God’s gracious, unconditional forgiveness after you catch yourself being conceited, provocative, envious, selfish, lusting, boastful, proud, hateful, impatient, lazy, unkind, or angered – you proclaim to a watching world that a gracious, loving heavenly Father exists.

Noah was a man known for conducting his affairs according to God’s will. Everybody knew that he was a good and innocent man. His behavior proved to the people of his day that God existed.

Then one day God asked Noah to build an ark. This ark would become a tangible demonstration of the reality of God’s Kingdom to an unbelieving, scoffing, sinful generation. Without questioning or doubting what God said, Noah looked past what was happening at that time in his world, and believed the future that God had told him. Noah embraced everything that flowed from God’s mouth – his commands, his promises, and his warnings. Noah’s was obedient to God for the long haul. Over 100 years Noah patiently worked on building the ark without once seeing evidence of a flood. Noah persisted, even though everybody around him thought his actions made no sense. Noah’s faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world (Heb 11:7 MSG). Noah became an heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with his faith (Heb 11:7 NIV).

You show that God’s Kingdom exists when you allow God to take the lead in your life moment by moment in every situation. Your life is a testimony to God when you lovingly obey God, staying where he tells you to stay, going where he sends you to go, doing what he tells you to do, speaking when and what he tells you to say.

When your love never gives up on someone, when you never lose faith, when you are always hopeful, when you endure through every circumstance no one can doubt that God is real.

This isn’t easy. Our finite, logical minds often can’t make sense of what God is doing. It’s challenging when we don’t understand God’s timing. It doesn’t help when people bully us, ridicule us, or mock us for believing something that cannot be seen.

What keeps us going at these times is a quiet confidence that a loving God who created this world out of what was not seen, is faithful to his promises, and will accomplish what cannot be seen. When you have doubts and fears, admit them, and ask God to help you look past them so that you can see his love and holiness. In the midst of the storms of life your songs of praise and thanksgiving show that our God reigns.

How does your attitude and behavior reveal to your co-workers that the Kingdom of God exists?

Read Genesis 6:9-22 on BibleGateway

Walking with God

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Heb 11:6)


God eagerly desires for you to walk with him. It doesn’t matter what you are wearing, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. It doesn’t matter who is around you. The joyous privilege of enjoying intimacy with God rests solely on God’s grace.

When you are walking with God, God won’t run ahead, and then jump out from behind a tree to scare you. When you are walking with God, God won’t run the orange light and disappear into traffic. Yahweh the one who delivers on his promises will stay by your side so that you can continuously look full on his wonderful face in every activity of your day.

God won’t hurt you, stomp on you, crush you, or say things against you when you are hurting. Instead the Good Shepherd will tenderly lift you up and carry you in his arms. The author of life and light won’t extinguish the spark of life and light inside you. No! He will help you fan the flame so that your light will shine brightly.

As you enjoy fellowship with God, you will learn God’s vocabulary of sin and grace. As you take the first step of faith with God, God will continue to turn your heart toward himself, and will teach you how to obediently keep his commands in all you say and do.

When you walk with God you are entering into a warm, prayerful, worshiping relationship with the Lord of the universe in a world that does not know peace or joy.

The cool thing is that when you are walking with God, you get to light up the darkest of rooms with the sweet fragrance of God’s grace. When you are in fellowship with God you bring God’s blessing of peace and joy to those around you. But even better than that, God is pleased with your faith!

What is holding you back from accepting God’s invitation to walk with him? Why are you afraid to do or say what God wants you to do or say? Is that part of your life that you want to hang onto for yourself really better than what God could offer you?

What Is A Life Well Lived?

All a person’s ways seem pure to them,but motives are weighed by the Lord. (Prov 16:2)


To the observer they both were hard working, successful, and had good jobs. Although their jobs were quite different. They both had a good life, and enjoyed the fruit of their work.

One chose in faith to believe that world in which he worked was created by God. He saw his work as a privilege, and an opportunity to tend and care for God’s creation. He chose in faith to believe that the tools and skills he used in his job were gifts from God. The other took pride in his own skills and abilities.

One wrestled with the weeds and thistles in the ground but in faith looked forward to a future unmarred by the fall. The other cursed the weeds and thorns as he sweated away at his work.

One believed in the hidden things of God that he was unable to detect with his own senses. He saw past the mist and darkness of this world and glimpsed through eyes of faith the Kingdom of Heaven. The other heard stories about God and went through the rituals of worshipping God.

One they the two of them came to the altar with offerings from their careers. The only visible difference to their offerings was the different products they made and brought. Neither of them realized that sin and death was lurking in the shadows at their place of worship.

The observer would have seen one walk away with peace and joy written all over his face, and the other angrily storming away.

What the observer could not see was that one came with faith, and one didn’t.

Although both of their ways may have seemed pure or good to them and the observer, the Lord was weighing their motives. God was searching their hearts and examining their minds.

One walked away from the altar that day knowing that he had been doing the will of God. He knew that God was pleased with the way he did his work, with his attitudes, with his love, with his faith.

The other walked away angry, filled with jealousy and wondering if the offering had all been a waste of time and good products. As he walked away he heard God gently, lovingly call him to do well, telling him that he could find God’s acceptance if he didn’t let sin rule over him. Had he paused to really listen, he would have heard God’s passion for his heart and soul.

Time passed, and the two brothers found themselves working in the same field. Sin had followed them from the altar to the workplace. There sin overcame Cain, and he decided to end things by killing his brother Abel.

Was it worth it for Abel to trust in God?

The murderer Cain continued to experience God’s grace. He received God’s promise of protection as he settled elsewhere in God’s creation. He continued to fulfill God’s creation mandate as he established a dynasty for himself. The Bible tells us that many of the good things we enjoy today came from Cain’s descendants – metal working, music, agriculture. What we don’t know is if Cain ever accepted God’s gracious gift of forgiveness and placed his faith in God.

To the observer, Abel’s death was a senseless tragedy. Abel would never have descendants. Abel would no longer have the privilege of creating new things from what God created. Somebody else would take over his job, and life would move on.

But Abel did not choose to live for an earthly Kingdom but for a Heavenly Kingdom. Remember that whatever Abel did, he worked at it with all his heart as working for the Lord.

At that moment when Abel breathed his last breath, Abel entered into the ultimate reality, a place filled with everlasting pleasures, riches and glories that far exceed the pleasures of this world. At that moment, in Heaven, Abel heard these words “well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of my rest”.

Abel received the promise of eternal life, and lives today in Heaven. Abel is perfectly holy, he is no longer tainted by sin. Abel no longer has to deal with weeds or thorns. Abel doesn’t have to worry about stumbling, falling or being hungry. Abel no longer feels like his prayers bounce of the ceiling or that God is silent. For Abel is face to face with Jesus. Abel no longer experiences doubt or fears. Abel sees clearly now what his faith and hope rested upon.

Although Abel is now enjoying life in the Kingdom of Heaven, the amazing part of Abel’s story is that his voice still speaks today.

Abel’s story tells you that the life of faith, a life of righteousness is possible, and priceless. Abel’s story assures you that God is wise, that God is good, that God is in control and that God is just. Abel’s story invites you to see everything in light of the Kingdom of God. Abel’s story challenges you to trust in the activity of the invisible Almighty God. Abel’s story shows you that all that the Lord requires of you is to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Abel’s story assures you that God’s approval is worth more than man’s approval.

The Lord searches every heart, and understands every desire and every thought. What will the Lord find when he searches your heart at work today?

Read Hebrews 11:1-4; Genesis 4:1-8; Micah 6:6-8 on BibleGateway

Is there hope?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Pet 1:3-4a)


Is there a solid anchor, something immovable and unchanging, something that is purely good that you can put your hope in today?

There is a certain hope! A hope that is beyond your wildest dreams. A hope that abides in a place external to this world. A place where rust and moth cannot destroy it, and where the thief cannot steal it away.

There is a living hope that co-exists with everything you experience in your life including the joys, the beauty and all that is good. A hope that shines brightly amongst all the evil, sickness, despair, shame, sin and death that surrounds you.

This hope is firmly anchored in the reality of the Kingdom of God.

This living hope rests solely on the goodness of God, the creator of the universe, the one who created you. A good, holy, righteous, loving, unchanging God. You can depend on this living hope with absolute confidence for God is faithful and keeps his promises. God is a God of hope. God will not deceive you or trick you.

Jesus invites you based on his finished work on the cross to faithfully hold tightly to the living hope he offers. When you take your eyes of Christ and see the sin, depravity, and darkness around you, Jesus invites you to hold without wavering to a living hope. When you are blessed beyond measure, and are enjoying life to the fullest, even as God meant life to be experienced, Jesus invites you to not let go of your living hope. And if you do let go of hope for a moment, if there are seasons when God seems far away and silent know that Hope continues unchanging.

Hope whispers quietly that God has your circumstances under control.

With hope faithfully move forward in confidence and joy. You don’t have to fret or worry just set your attention and affections on the things above, upon which your hope rests.

Next time when you find yourself saying “I hope that …” remember that God is a God of hope.

What difference does it make in your day that that God has blessed you with a certain living hope that transcends all that you hope for in this world?

    “Hope” is the thing with feathers –
    That perches in the soul –
    And sings the tune without the words –
    And never stops – at all – 

    And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
    And sore must be the storm –
    That could abash the little Bird
    That kept so many warm – 

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
    And on the strangest Sea –
    Yet – never – in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb – of me. 

        -Emily Dickinson

A New Era Has Dawned

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings (Heb 10:22a)


A new era has dawned! You no longer need to run like a gerbil endlessly on a tread-wheel, seeking to be known, accepted or loved. You don’t need to chase after the things of this world any more. You, just as you are, have received an invitation to draw near to God. You don’t have to be afraid that you will be rejected. You will be accepted simply on the basis of your faith. You won’t be condemned, you won’t be teased, and you won’t be shamed when you come to Christ. You will be welcomed. You will hear God call by your name. You will find grace.

All this is possible because the unique and unparalleled work of Christ is finished! Jesus died on the cross, rose again and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven! Jesus extends to you an open invitation to boldly and confidently enter into God’s presence – the Most Holy Place. This invitation is extended to all whose guilty consciences have been cleansed by the blood of Christ. Come to Christ and your dignity will be restored. Boldly enter into the most holy place without fear or trembling for your shame has been replaced with glory. Your sins are forgiven!

Come into God’s presence with a sincere heart. There is no need for false pretenses – for Christ alone is the author and finisher of your salvation. Come believing that Christ is sufficient. Come and share in Christ’s perfection. Come without fear. Your sins, failures and mistakes are no longer remembered. Come with your prayers, your tears and your heartaches. Come with joy, thanksgiving and a heart overflowing with praise. Come believing that Christ will supply all your needs out of his riches in glory. Come and experience intimacy with your Heavenly Father. Come and let the Holy Spirit fill you with his power. Come and experience life to the fullest in the Kingdom of God!

Read Hebrews 10:14-23 on BibleGateway

Easter

Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28)


This Easter we bow in awe and adoration before our God who in his infinite wisdom, amazing grace, and boundless love created a way for us to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and for God to enter into our life and have fellowship with us. On that first Good Friday, Jesus paid the ultimate ransom price so that our consciences could be cleansed from all our less than perfect behavior, thoughts and attitudes.

This Easter we pause to appreciate what the resurrected Jesus is doing for us today. For Easter is much more than just a historic event. Easter is a present reality. Because Jesus died the very inner core of our being has been transformed from darkness into light. Because Jesus lives God dwells in our heart, calls us his children, and welcomes us into his Holy presence. We are free from the bondage of our sins. Jesus has taken away our shame, and restored our dignity. Jesus has taken away our fears and replaced them with love. We celebrate Easter because we have been released from the things of this world to serve the living God the way we were created to.

This Easter we appreciate that only by faith in Christ are our sins forgiven. Only through the blood of Christ are we cleansed from all our mistakes, and failures and sins. There is nothing you or I need to do (or can do), there is nothing we can create, and nothing that is created which can cleanse us from our sins. Easter reminds us that Jesus doesn’t have to die again. Easter reminds us that there is nothing that anybody can do to take away our redemption.

This Easter we anticipate with hope Jesus return. The King came, lived among his people, paid the price of redemption for his people, and now has temporarily left to return to His Kingdom. But having left, he has also promised to return. And when he returns we will get to enjoy perpetually and completely all the blessings he obtained by his sacrifice.

This Easter as you enjoy time with your family, as you enjoy a shortened work week, as you enjoy camping or gardening or whatever you are doing – celebrate that the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse you from all your shame and guilt, all your mistakes, anger, frustration, bitterness and jealousy. Celebrate that because of the blood of Jesus you can enjoy fellowship with God. Rejoice that there is nothing else you have to do be viewed as holy in God’s presence – celebrate that “It is Finished”. No matter how discouraging this world may be, no matter how silent the heavens may seem celebrate that your redemption has been accomplished.

Christ is Risen!

 

Read Hebrews 9:11-28 on BibleGateway

Rejoice

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24 NASB)


Today our hearts can be filled with shouts of Hosanna, shouts of praise, for Christ is risen and he hears and answers our prayers. We know that Christ has the ultimate authority over nature, demons, sickness, sin, religious rituals, and the systems and leaders of this world. We have experienced forgiveness, peace, love and joy. We rest in an eternal hope. We have a merciful and faithful high priest who is seated at God’s right hand, interceding for us.

Today we give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for his lovingkindness is everlasting.

Some days are messy days when our nerves are frayed, when nothing seems to be going right, or with deadlines looming, or when we can’t please anybody, or when our world has been turned upside down. These messy days still deserves a chance to be a good day because the Lord has made each day. Messy days do not change the goodness of the Lord or his enduring love for us. God is more than able to meet our needs today. So we continue to give thanks to the Lord.

Every day Jesus Himself is waiting to share in our struggles and sorrows, to renew our courage, and to enter into an intimate conversation with us.

Because Jesus lives we can call upon the Lord, and he answers. We do not need to be afraid and we are never alone, for the Lord is with us, and calls us his sons and daughters. God has promised to guard and cherish us forever. No matter what life brings, our refuge is in the Lord.

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Read Psalm 118 on BibleGateway

Faith @ Work – Bridging Two Worlds

Seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33-34)


At your workplace your life is intertwined with the real stories, hurts, experiences, fears, success and failures of your co-workers. At the same time, your life is immersed in the scriptures, living and inhaling the love, hope, and grace of Christ. How do you connect these two kingdoms? Or are they two separate worlds?

Bridging these worlds occurs as you interact with people. It is in your relationships with people that you exhale the love, hope and grace of God.

I would suggest that you can connect these two worlds by seeking God and his righteousness in the midst of the all the stories that your life is intertwined with. Doing your work with excellence, constantly learning and improving your skills, will earn you the right to be heard and respected for constantly seeking God and his righteousness.

Seeking God requires an absolute trust in the solid rock of your loving Heavenly Father. There is no place for worry in your heart when you are wholeheartedly seeking God. A life of trust, a life without worry is contagious. God knows your needs. God alone is capable of providing for your needs! God knows the hearts of the people you are dealing with. Only God can transform their hearts.

Seeking God’s righteousness requires a constant careful examination of your own life so that you guard against sin. This includes the sins of judging others, and focusing on the faults of others, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to transform your life into Christ’s image. An attitude of seeking God’s righteousness, involves an attitude of forgiveness towards others even as you have been forgiven. Christ is willing to forgive you and forgive your co-workers. God is able to provide you with wisdom so that your righteousness shines brightly in your conversations and conduct so that Christ in you, the hope of glory is revealed.

In quiet confidence, with your head held high, with a holy faith, knowing that you are secure in your Father’s hand – passionately ask, seek, and knock at the throne room of heaven on behalf of the real stories of your colleagues. Ask, seek and knock until they receive with gratitude God’s precious gifts, until they are transformed by Christ, until they open the door and enter by faith into God’s Kingdom.

 

Read Matthew 6:25-34 on BibleGateway

Faith @ Work – God upholds the righteous

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isa 43:1b)


How will you respond to what the people around you are doing? The Bible assures us that God knows what is going on and controls each person’s destiny. God guarantees the blameless that their righteousness will shine like the dawn and that they will spend eternity under the Lord’s care with an inheritance that will endure forever. So why expend energy fretting about other people when you can trust God’s promises to sustain the righteous?

Yes you may stumble, or fret, we all do – but God promises to uphold you with his mighty hand so that your feet never slip. God is your stronghold in times of trouble. Take refuge in God for he will never forsake you. As God’s righteous child, God will enable you to do good, to be just and faithful right where you are working and living today. Seek the Lord and God will grant you words of wisdom and a tongue that speaks what is just in every situation.

God cares for you, his child! You don’t need to get all worked up. Be still and wait patiently for God and in his time, his peace will flood your soul. God is trustworthy so focus your energies on doing good, and dwelling where God has placed you. God has showered you with an abundance of blessings, so invest your time in getting to know him more. Roll the burdens that people around you are placing on your back to the foot of the cross so that you are free to serve God better – for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

In the morning select one of God’s many precious promises and remind yourself of that promise before each activity throughout your workday.

Hope in the Lord and keep his way!!

Read Psalm 37 on BibleGateway

Faith @ Work – Stressful Work Days

A bruised reed he will not break,and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (Isa 42:3)


Stressful days. Days when the boss drops three piles of work on your desk just as you are ready to go home and demands that it be ready for the next morning. Times when your computer dies when you have 15 minutes left to finish your presentation. Days when the best you can do is shake your head at the way your managers, customers, or co-workers are behaving. Days when it feels like you got out of the wrong side of bed, or everybody in your company got out of the wrong side of bed.

It’s hard to believe that Jesus meets us in our stress. There are times when I wish I hadn’t allowed the stress in my life to consume me. I wish I always could believe that Jesus who was wounded for my healing, loves to heal me in my stress so that I can bring healing to others. I know in my heart that this is a present reality, but in my mind I sometimes wonder if it is just a psychological possibility. Thanks be to God that Jesus rewards me for my faithfulness and not my feelings

Today Jesus in his righteousness is with you. Jesus is taken the broken places where your work, and the broken pieces of your life and raising them to new life and giving them new meaning. Because of Jesus’ infinite grace and the redemptive power of forgiveness, you are growing into a mature, compassionate and wise leader. Praise the Lord!

Jesus delights in your continued faithfulness in your workplace. Jesus mourns with your struggle to cope with yet another tough, stressful workday. Jesus continues to strengthen you so that you don’t grow weary you as you faithfully, prayerfully, possibly tearfully prepare to go back again tomorrow. Jesus knows your faithfulness. Jesus knows your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. Jesus knows that you continue to demonstrate Christ’s love in your workplace. Jesus knows that you have remained true to his Holy name, and not walked away from your faith. The one who is holy and true, knows your deeds, knows that though you are weak you continue to faithfully depend on his strength.

Continue to buy from God gold refined in the fire so that you build up treasures in heaven. Allow Christ to keep on cleansing you from all unrighteousness so that you may wear clothes washed whiter than snow. Allow Jesus to touch your eyes, so that you might see Christ. Continue to be faithful and one day Christ will crown you with the victor’s crown and grant you the right to eat from the tree of life which is in the paradise of God. The day is coming when you will reign with him in glory forever.

Read Isa 43:1-4 on BibleGateway