The People God Uses

You have a unique role in advancing God’s Kingdom. In fact each person that God has created has a role in advancing God’s Kingdom. Yes even those who today who do not acknowledge Jesus as Lord, are used by God in someway to advance God’s Kingdom and to influence and shape your life so that you become the person God created you to be. This truth is vividly portrayed in the Christmas story. The birth of Jesus would never have been the fulfillment of prophesy without God involving a diverse group of people with various beliefs or lack of faith.

God used people with doubts.

God worked a miracle in the lives of Zachariah an elderly priest and his Elizabeth wife who are past child bearing age so that they would become the parents of John the Baptist.Even though Zachariah is standing in the Holy of Holies – in the very presence of God – he doesn’t believe that he is receiving a message from God.

God can use you today, even with your doubts. God hears your prayers! In faith, cry out to God to help you overcome your unbelief (Mark 9:24).

God used young people with faith.

God chose Mary, an ordinary teenage virgin and Joseph her fiancé, a simple carpenter to be the parents of Jesus. In faith Mary chooses to glorify the Lord and rejoice in God. Their hands would change a baby’s diaper. Their son’s hands would have nails driven through them for our sins.

Like Mary and Joseph,don’t let anybody look down on you because you are young, but set an example for other believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Tim 4:12).

God used pagan leaders.

God could have chosen any number of people of faith to tell Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem to have their baby. But God chose Caesar Augustus, a ruler who does not know or acknowledge God to issue a decree that caused Joseph and Mary to have their baby in Bethlehem.

The decisions that your company makes which have affected your life are constrained and directed by our all-knowing, all-wise Heavenly Father. Praise God for them,for God has used their decisions to bring you to where you are today, and this is exactly where you need to be today if you are being obedient to God.

God proclaimed the good news to people at work.

God chose to proclaim the birth of Jesus, good news of great joy, to shepherds going about their day to day work, doing the same jobs that their families had been doing for generations.

You can experience peace and joy today in your workplace because our Redeemer lives.There is no temptation that you experience in your work today that Jesus hasn’t experienced.

God used wise men who needed directions.

There were men, who God had gifted with wisdom, who followed a sign in the stars to Jerusalem seeking to know where the “king of the Jews” was born. Even with their wisdom they still needed to ask for directions to get to Bethlehem.

There is nothing shameful in seeking the wisdom and knowledge of those around you. Just test what you hear to ensure that it is in alignment with Scripture.

God used pious religious leaders who lacked faith.

God used the pious religious leaders who knew off the top of their head the prophecy as to where Jesus would be born to give directions to the wise men. Yet these priests lacked the faith to believe for themselves that this miracle would happen in their life time, and didn’t even bother to check it out.

Listen to the co-workers, managers, books, and other people God has blessed you with so that you can develop the skills to do all that God meant for you to be. Don’t pre-judge what they have to say based on whether or not they are people of faith.

God used a jealous, scared leader who reigned with fear.

God used King Herod, a jealous King, who was afraid that a baby would take over his throne to drive Mary and Joseph to Egypt so that the prophecy would be fulfilled that “out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hosea 11:1).

In your life, there will be leaders who do not acknowledge God or fear God, and their actions will shape your destiny. Remember that they have no more authority than what God has granted to them. Allow God’s perfect love for you to drive away all fear that you may have. (1 John 4:18)

God used a man of faith who patiently held on to God’s promises.

Like Abraham, Simeon, an elderly ordinary righteous, devout man had received a promise from God and patiently waited for it to be fulfilled. As a result he had the privilege of bestowing a prophetic blessing on Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

With hope walk boldly towards your future! God holds your future securely in his hands. God will use you to be a blessing to other people.

God used a woman who knew the difficulties of life.

Anna had only been married for seven years before her husband died. After that she faced the struggles of living as a widower in Jerusalem. Because she remained faithful, fasting and praying, God granted her the immense privilege of being in the temple at the right moment, to hold Jesus in her hands.

Today Jesus lives in your heart. Your peace rests in Jesus. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! Jesus has overcome the world. (John 16:33).

Give thanks for each person God has brought into your life.

Father we thank you and praise you for each person you have brought into our lives. We thank you for the way they have shaped us into the men and women that we are today. Give us ears to hear what you are saying to us through each person, and each circumstance in our lives. Speak through us your words of truth into the lives of those around us. Amen.

Joy

Do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of great joy! (Luke 2:10)

Your heart can be filled with great joy today as you contemplate with unshakeable faith what God has done, who God is, and what God will do in the future.

Joy can only be found in God. Joy is a divine spark that entered your life at the cross, when you acknowledged your need for Christ and cried out for forgiveness. Joy will continue to be your constant companion as you are obedient to God.

Joy is not a cheerful disposition, happiness, or positive mental outlook on life. Joy is rooted in the heart and soul of those who are God’s children.

The direst of circumstances or the worst kind of events can’t extinguish or dampen your joy. Look beyond your circumstances and confidently wait in hope and love for Christ.

Don’t let Satan steal your joy! You forfeit your joy when you pursue selfish desires, choose to think about all the things that you don’t have, or are envious of others. Sinful pleasures, evil passions and selfish cravings destroy joy. The god of personal opinions cannot offer you joy.

When you let your curiosity or pride try to undertake the fruitless task of trying to understand the mysterious ways of the all wise, all knowing God, you are allowing Satan to rob you of your joy. Instead with simple, childlike faith trust our sovereign God and joy will pour into your heart.

With joy you can go about your work in peace. You can face long work days, stressful jobs and office politics with joy only when your eyes are fixed on Jesus.

Although you may struggle with insecurities, depression, anxiety, a need for approval, or a drive for significance, you can rejoice today because you are God’s child. God is your glory and strength! You will be overjoyed when God’s glory is revealed.

Give thanks today with joy because the Lord your God is with you, and takes great delight in you!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phil 4:4).

Hope

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Ps 46:1)


You can face today with a living hope! With hope you can walk boldly towards your future because God holds your future securely in his hands. God will faithfully fulfill all his promises. With hope you can soar on wings like eagles; you can run and not grow weary; you can walk and not faint.

Your hope is the active source of your strength to overcome temptation. Your hope gives you the courage to face the hostile forces of guilt, shame and death. Your hope rests in the reality of God’s victory over evil through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.

Because you have hope, you can show and love and compassion to other people without expecting anything in return, for you know that you have everything that you need in Christ.

Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble (1 Peter 3:8)

There are people around you who live without hope; people who are filled with feelings of guilt, loneliness, shame and unworthiness. Before they will grasp the wonder of the hope of Christmas, they need a safe place where they can share and process their story. Everybody has a story to share. One of the best gifts you can give your co-workers or customers this Christmas season is the gift of your presence quietly listening to their story.

Imagine the conversation you would have had if you had come alongside a single, visibly pregnant young lady as she traveled from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea. Imagine her telling you her name was Mary and the amazing story of her pregnancy.

I wonder if anybody took the time to listen to the story of a homeless young couple with a newborn baby when they arrived in Egypt? If they had, they would have heard an amazing story of the birth of their child; a story about wise men, angels and shepherds. They would have heard a story of a terrible tragedy as the family escaped from Bethlehem.

Let your face sparkle with love as you listen to someone’s story with compassion. Listen with your eyes, giving your undivided attention (in a culturally appropriate manner). Listen with your ears, hearing carefully the words that aren’t spoken. Listen with your heart showing that you care.

Having a confident hope that God continues to act on behalf of his people, offer to pray. Pray with expectation, believing that just as God answered your prayers, God will intervene in their lives.

Your hope will sink deeper into the streams of living water flowing from God’s presence as you listen to someone else’s story.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (1 Cor 1:3-4).

Look to the Bible

When you are looking for an explanation as to the purpose of your life, look no further than the Bible. There you will learn about your Creator, and discover his great love for you. There you will find a solid rock upon which to build your life; a foundation that does not shift or change with time, government, employment, or other people’s whims.

When you look at the world and wonder how the universe came into existence turn to the Bible. There you will meet the Creator, and discover his character. There you will find an open invitation to go and discover all that you can about the world. As you study the character of the Creator, you will find hope for your future and assurance that mysteries which are not yet ours to know will all be answered one day in the future.

When you wonder about the purpose of your work, turn to the Bible. As you read the Bible you will discover that work is a fundamental part of how the world was created. You will also learn how the pain, sweat and toil of your labors came into this world.

When you are looking for wisdom, look to the Bible first. The words you will find in the Bible come from the originator of all wisdom. In the Bible you will find an external perspective with timeless precepts, statutes, commands and decrees upon which the entire universe is founded. These insights are freely offered for you to build your life upon.

When you find yourself drained physically, emotionally or spiritually turn to God’s word to find refreshment for your soul. When the cares, thorns, aches and troubles of this world threaten to overwhelm you, turn to God’s word to find joy for your heart. In the Bible you will find a fresh perspective on thwarted career plans, loneliness, broken relationships and illness.

When you find yourself surrounded by temptations, take a moment to read your Bible. There you will find warnings to keep your feet from every evil path, and free gifts of forgiveness and grace.

Spending time in God’s word will allow you to arrive at work with your soul refreshed. After a long day at work, God’s word will refresh your soul before you go to bed, allowing you to sleep in peace.

When you read the Bible you will find that it is sweeter than honey. Take and mediate on it day and night, letting it nourish your body and soul. Internalize what you read and make it part of your life.

The Bible is more precious than anything else you will ever obtain.

Read Psalm 19- on BibleGateway

Silence

Silence … the hushed anticipation, the breath that is held as the hockey puck slides towards the net.

Silence … When the music suddenly stops, when the podcaster is silent mid-sentence … what is your first thought?

When God is silent, when the heavens are like brass and your prayers seem unanswered, what goes through your mind? Does your blood pressure rise and heart race? Does stress ooze through all the pores of your body?

When God is silent, do you perceive the silence as a vacuum that you need to rush to fill with idols of gold, silver bronze, stone and wood that cannot see or hear or walk (Rev 9:20)? Do you frantically search Google for a solution or turn to Facebook, people or chemicals to fill the vacuum?

God’s silence does not create a vacuum that you need to rush to fill. God is fully present in every empty and hollow space.

When God is silent, do you fill the silence with self-justification proclaiming “I am pure, I have done no wrong; I am clean and free from sin’ (Job 33:9)? Your sins do not affect God, and in your righteousness you have nothing to offer God from your hand (Job 35:7).

Even when God is silent, ‘it is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice’ (Job 34:12).

When God is silent are you filled with fear? Do you like the disciples cry out to Jesus when the storm was raging over their boat? Fear is a human emotion that entered God’s perfect creation in the Garden of Eden. Fear is something we all experience. But know this God’s perfect love drives away all fear (1 John 4:18).
Allow God’s loving presence to silently drive away all your fears.

When God is silent, do you long for the days when you saw God’s lamp shine on your head, and by his light you walked through darkness (Job 29:3)? God’s light still shines in the darkest of places.

You can boldly take the next faithful step through the silence of the desert when you allow God’s word to be a lamp unto your feet.

While heaven is silent, your prayers combine with incense burning on the golden altar in front of God’s throne and rise before our holy God. God hears each of your prayers! Trust in quiet confidence in God’s unchanging character!

When heaven is silent Listen! Listen in quiet hushed anticipation!

Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice,
to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven
and sends it to the ends of the earth.
After that comes the sound of his roar;
he thunders with his majestic voice.
When his voice resounds,
he holds nothing back.
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.(Job 37:2-5)

Read Revelation 8:1-5 on BibleGateway

Salvation Belongs To Our God!

Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Rev 7:10)

Everywhere we turn we see evil and power hungry people bent on conquest, leaving in their wake a trail of fighting, famine, disease and death. As Christians we may find ourselves persecuted or ridiculed for our testimony. From office politics, to interpersonal conflict, to the evening news, it seems like the forces of evil are winning.

How then should we live?

I would like to offer nine suggestions today as to how we, who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through faith, should consider.

1. Lead with love. Christ has placed each one of us in a position of influence or authority over other people. Each day choose to lead with Christ’s love, with a heart that desires to see the men and women you influence become all that God created them to be. Choose to lead with love, not expecting anything in return, for that is the way God loves us.

2. Let your light shine. God’s light shines in the darkest places. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:14). Shine your light wisely, with grace, humility, love and hope.

3. Listen without an agenda. When God brings someone into your life who has been wounded by evil stop and listen. You don’t need to have any answers. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring healing and hope as you hear the story of their pain and quietly walk beside them.

4. Live with kindness and compassion. It is very tempting when dealing with power hungry people, to want to see their destruction or demise. Power hungry people present a real challenge to us as we strive to follow Paul’s admonition in Eph 4:29-32 to not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

5. Learn to forgive. Learn to forgive those who have brought evil into your life, knowing that the blood of Christ has cleansed you from all unrighteousness. You are able to stand in God’s presence because your robes have been washed white in the blood of the lamb. Confess the sins of the evil that you see around you, and ask God to forgive those who have been ensnared in evil (Dan 9).

6. Lift you’re your requests to God in Prayer. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). It is very tempting to want to be the savior of the people who are damaged by a power hungry person or evil. However if we truly believe that Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Rev 7:10) then we can pray fervently for them. Our prayers rise as an aromatic incense to heaven, where God sitting on his throne, hears and answers every prayer. How do you expect God to act, if you do not ask God in prayer?

7. Live a life of praise. Take your eyes off the evil that you see around you and focus on the radiance of God. Offer praise and glory to God for Christ’s free gift of salvation. Praise God for the wisdom of his plan of redemption, and ask for God’s divine wisdom. Praise God that He is faithful to his promises and worthy of your trust even when surrounded by sin and darkness. Praise God for his power which is able to act! Praise God for his strength which has redeemed you and is able to redeem any situation.

8. Live filled with the Holy Spirit. Know that you are not alone. Jesus who stood beside the Sea of Galilee, and walked the streets of Nazareth, is the same Lord who walks with as you live by faith. Jesus is the same Lord you will meet at the end of your journey. The Father has sent the Advocate, the Holy Spirt, in Jesus’ name to you. The Holy Spirit will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that you learn as you study God’s word. (John 14:26).

9. Look forward with hope. Look forward with hope to the day when Jesus will return to claim you as his own. Holiness and love will prevail. At the end of your journey, when you stand before the throne of God, you will be joined by a countless multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language who also have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb!
    There before the throne of God
         together in community with all the saints
         we will serve him day and night in his temple;
    And he who sits on the throne
         will shelter us with his presence
         never again will we know hunger
         never again will we be thirsty;
    The sun will not beat down on us
       nor any scorching heat.
    For the Lamb at the center of the throne
         will be our shepherd;
    He will lead us to springs of living water.
         And God will wipe away ever tear from our eyes (see Rev 7:15-17)

Prayer 
Father we thank you for the costly grace of Jesus who defeated Satan by his sacrificial death on the cross. Father, fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we can live grace filled lives. Father, we look forward with hope to the day when we will stand before your throne in glory. Amen

Lift Up Your Prayers

Lift up in prayer to God’s throne in heaven all that you see happening in your workplace, the good, the bad and the ugly. Allow your prayers to rise like incense before God’s throne.

Your prayers rise to a special place, a place where the Creator of the universe sits on his golden throne hearing each of your prayers. Here God reigns supreme over all of history. Here God holds your future and the future of each person in his right hand. Here you can know with certainty that all God’s promises are valid and true.

Don’t fret! God’s son, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Lamb that was slain stands before God’s throne and also hears your prayers. The Lion has triumphed over all that you are praying about. The Lion has complete power and strength to be able to answer your prayers. The Lamb who was slaughtered, who ransomed you with his blood, now stands victorious over death and sin before the throne of God! The Lamb is interceding on your behalf. The Lamb of God was slain to offer redemption for what you are seeing in your workplace.

Your prayers are lovingly placed in golden bowls that are held by the twenty-four elders seated around God’s throne. A glorious sweet smelling incense wafts out of these golden bowls so that all those in heaven can savor the aroma of your prayers.

Don’t take back into your own hands what has been placed in prayer in the golden bowls before the throne of God. Instead allow your prayers to continue to be a glorious sweet smelling fragrance in heaven.

Trust in  God’s promises! Trust in God’s sovereign rule!

Join in adoring praise, proclaiming that the one who sits on the throne, and the Lamb are worthy to receive praise, glory, honor, and power not just for hearing and answering your prayers, but forever and ever!

Read Revelation 5 on BibleGateway

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

Persevere

 

Persevere with hope for the Lord is your help and shield. Trust in his holy name, and allow your heart to be filled with joy. (Ps 33:20-21)!

Christ is the source of inner strength that enables you to persevere in any environment as you are transformed into Christ’s image. God’s promises are sufficient for a life of confident faith on every mountain top, in every shadowed valley, and through every parched wilderness.

Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed over sin and death on the cross and won the victory.

Sadly we still see evil triumph at times in this world. But those triumphs are fleeting from an eternal perspective. For Jesus remains victorious. Nobody can reverse Jesus’ victory. Satan and his demonic powers cannot overcome Jesus’ victory, for Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The interpersonal conflicts, office politics, sin and temptation that we all struggle with on a daily basis are not the final story.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Through faith in God’s promises we know that the blood of Christ has accomplished the victory over all our defects, failings, sin and shame. We look forward with hope to the day when God will remove all the disgrace of our identity marred by sin, and establish us in his Kingdom with the true identity that he created us with.

In the meantime don’t harden your heart! Listen to God’s voice, and enjoy the heavenly manna which provides the vitamins, minerals and proteins necessary to sustain your life and nourish your hope.

You demonstrate to the watching world the transcendent reality of God’s victory when you express your faith through how you do your work, through your love, and through your obedience to God. Jesus promises those whose faithful lives demonstrate Christ’s victory that they will be with him in paradise forever, enjoying the wisdom and fruit from the tree of life.

Keep pressing on with faith rooted in the past victory of Christ’s death and resurrection! Press on with faith grounded in the present reality that God has overcome the world! Press on with faith confident of a future eternal life in God’s kingdom where there is no sin!

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.