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Archive for the ‘workplace’ Category

One morning, you hear the voice of the Lord calling you to take a few days off from work to go do something ministry-related.

Your heart and soul are convinced that this is the right thing to do because of the anticipated benefit for the Kingdom.

It might be a short-term missions trip to help dig a well in a parched village. It might be for four or five days to repair plumbing and electrical stuff at a low-income elderly relative’s house.

Perhaps it is simply the spending of time with a profoundly grieving sibling whose spouse just died.

In any of the above cases, it’s a matter of serving God by serving others.

But how do you get the time off unless you ask for it?

And how do you get the time off unless you’re in good standing with your boss?

Listen, we never know in advance when we’re going to be needed somewhere other than our job and we’ll have to ask for time off.

That’s why it is SO important to build a good reputation with our employer so that he or she is more willing to accommodate our request.

If we’re known as an employee with a rotten attitude or lazy tendencies, our request might not be honored.

But if we’re always loyal to our employer and work hard when on the clock in order to promote the employer’s best interests, our request will have a much better chance of success.

I encourage you to read of how this principle served the Kingdom of God more than 400 years before Christ.

This was the case with Nehemiah and you can read about it here.

Clearly, Nehemiah was respected and appreciated by his employer who not only granted the time off but also provided lots of material and security support for a very challenging mission.

It was Nehemiah’s years of faithful, godly service to a pagan king that paved the way for the granting of this ministry request.

Please be the best employee you can, always looking to serve your employer’s best interests.

For you never know when you’ll need to ask the employer a favor that will allow you to carry the favor of the Lord to someone else who needs it. As always, I love you Martin

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In case you missed yesterday’s Morning Devotion about a radio program boost for the “Help Haiti Stand” effort, click on this link — Help Haiti Stand — and you’ll have an opportunity to learn more about the effort and about how you can help.

Anybody can preach for God.

Not necessarily with his or her lips, but instead with his or her life.

It’s true that how we live as Christians says much more to people about our faith than do the words we speak.

We’ve all encountered people who talked “church-y” but who lived worldly.

Not good.

Fortunately, we’ve also encountered people who didn’t pound Bibles and jump pews but who lived as if their names belonged in the Hebrews 11 roster of godly role models.

They were preaching, all right.

Just not in the way that most people think of preachin’.

In no way am I diminishing the role of the preacher. Such ministry of exalting God and exhorting believers via the spoken ministry is essential to the Kingdom of God. After all, “How will they hear without a preacher?” Paul asked.

I know that I am called to preach and await God’s provision of a ministry door through which I might pass in order to verbally pass on the great truths of God’s love and leading toward better lives.

I also know, however, that the Kingdom of God will expand its reach substantially more than it has as more believers preach through their lives rather than just with their lips.

The average unsaved person finds it easy to tune out a preacher whom they sometimes presume is just going to lecture them about being sinners who skip church because of a bad attitude toward God.

That same average person will rarely tune out the words from a humble, kind, encouraging co-worker or neighbor who cites God’s gracious love as the reason for goodness shown to others.

I share this today because of what I read in the One-Year Bible yesterday.

Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

It’s quite a statement to say that living out the entire body of scripture is based on sincerely loving God and loving people.

Not just with talk but with action.

Yet that’s clearly what it says.

Dear friend, preach to everyone you meet today.

With your life, not just with your lips.

Let people see your love for God in how you honor His ordained pattern for holy living.

Let people see your love for others in how you show enduring humility and kindness so uncommon in today’s world.

As a veteran preacher, I assure you that the above choices will have far more influence in the lives of those in your circle than will the Sunday words of a preacher they might never hear.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There are many lessons to be drawn from the Old Testament story of Joseph, the son of Jacob.

Integrity. Diligence. Forgiveness. Morality. These traits and more are demonstrated by Joseph during his time in the biblical spotlight of Genesis 37-45.

There is another lesson that you might have missed in past readings of this story, however.

It is a lesson that is SO important .

The excellence of our efforts for an employer or somebody else in authority over us can produce not just a needed paycheck but also an outpouring of blessing at some point for our loved ones.

Joseph was an outstanding worker for Pharaoh who knew the kingdom was blessed financially because of Joseph’s diligence and insights.

Because Joseph accomplished so much good for Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler desired to do good for Joseph’s family.

The choicest grazing lands were given to Joseph’s family in the northern segment of the Nile River basin.

An entire caravan of riches were given to Joseph’s father by Pharaoh.

All because Joseph was so good and loyal with what he did.

That refocused blessing was crucial for allowing Jacob’s family to become established in Egypt in the months following the patriarch’s relocation to the Nile delta.

Yes, it’s true that your time on the job helps your family via a paycheck.

That’s good.

But when your time on the job transcends adequacy and becomes characterized by excellence, additional blessing sometimes comes your family’s way.

Your employer might provide a bonus that allows for an unexpected blessing for one or more family members.

Your employer might provide the blessing of some additional, paid time off so that you can take part in a multi-day school trip with your kids.

Your employer might provide a job to your relative, even though the job market is extremely tight.

Your employer might provide large discounts on product or service prices quoted to your relatives.

Your employer might protect your job even when sales drops force elimination of other jobs.

These blessings don’t accrue to your family because you simply kept your nose out of trouble and did the minimum required in your role.

Instead, your family was blessed in these or other ways because you kept your shoulder pushing hard against the wheel and consistently looked for how you could provide more blessing to your employer.

It is intriguing that Pharaoh wasn’t a believer, yet his heart was stirred to pour out blessings upon believers.

We know who was behind that, don’t we?

Thanks, Holy Spirit.

When you and I are as diligent and service-focused as possible, it creates the soil within our employer’s heart within which the Holy Spirit can work. Not only will our testimony strengthen the credibility of Christianity, but it can also strengthen the Holy Spirit’s hand at prompting the employer toward that which will bless our families.

The Golden Rule applies here, doesn’t it? Go the extra mile for your employer as you would want your employer to go the extra mile for you.

As always, I love you
Martin

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You’ve seen the tragic pictures so many times.

An earthquake in a third-world country leaves building after building toppled and countless lives are lost.

What you don’t see amidst the frantic searchers and rubble are protruding, twisted steel bars.

That’s when you realize that the degree of catastrophe was far worse than it needed to be, simply because the builders long ago had not built the strongest buildings that they could.

It would have taken more time and money to build with steel reinforcement bars embedded into the concrete and brick structure and that was a price the builders weren’t willing to pay.

So when the earthquake came, a far higher price was paid.

Not only were the buildings destroyed, but also the lives of those who sadly believed they were safe.

This reality, repeated over and over around the world, serves as a powerful illustration for one of my long-memorized verses found in today’s One-Year Bible.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” Psalm 127:1

We’ve all seen marriages or careers or friendships — and even congregations — constructed according to human wisdom and arrangement to appear magnificent and enviable.

The people looked good, they spoke well, they were socially polished, had the right jobs and demographic mix and even were featured in the local media.

Everything in one of the above looked as if it had been crafted by team of gifted designers knowledgeable in what it takes to succeed.

There was a problem, though. A big problem.

It was done according to human understanding alone.

The Word of God was not the core framework for how to impress the world.

And so it was just a matter of time until the “big one” came and the cost of ignoring Proverbs 3:5-6 came home to roost.

A powerful financial or relational earthquake rattled the marriage or career or friendship or congregation to the very core. And the house built with human wisdom alone collapsed.

Even the person with a million-dollar smile and a billion-dollar golf swing cannot prevent such a collapse.

If only the married couple or the career-seeker or the friends or the congregation leaders had practiced Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”

I hate to see intense suffering of believers that could have been avoided if only biblical principles would have been established as the skeleton of Truth for the marriage or career or friendship or congregation.

I’m sure that you hate it, too.

Please do all you can to learn the Word in order to retrofit your life with the enduring truths of scripture that worldly earthquakes cannot break or bend.

That way, when your marriage or career or friendship or congregation faces a severe jolt, you’re left dealing with cleaning up the mess of minor damage rather than the tragedy of complete devastation and having to start over in the midst of terror and tears.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I have long appreciated the song They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love and have tried to live according to its message.

Perhaps you have, too.

As important as it is for other people to know we are Christians, it is even more important that Jesus knows that we are Christians.

And the only way that will happen is for us to live as Jesus did.

If we are His, we’ll live His way.

It’s that simple.

Are you?

At work?

At home?

At school?

At the gym?

With your friends?

At the computer when nobody is around?

Today’s reading in the One-Year Bible includes I John 1:5-6, a compelling passage that says, “This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

I thank God that the Bible contains many passages that are extremely easy to understand. And this is one of them.

The wandering churchgoer who excuses misbehavior because “The Bible can’t be understood” is simply in rebellion, it is clear.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that right living is “Light” living — living as Jesus did.

There are countless examples in the Gospels of Jesus showing how we should live.

That’s why we can clearly discern if we are living for Christ.

We simply have to walk as He did, walking where He did.

Jesus sometimes walked toward the diseased and socially misfit. Do you?

Jesus sometimes walked with the hurting and lonely. Do you?

Jesus always walked away from every temptation to serve Himself ahead of others. Do you?

Jesus knew that His path of faith sometimes involved suffering for the sake of a greater purpose and He willingly walked it. Do you?

Jesus also knew that His steps on the Via De La Rosa would pave the way for your steps on the streets of gold in heaven — if you choose to walk in this life as He did.

Will you?

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s nice when those who love us most actually see the things that we do for them.

And when they express appreciation, we are wonderfully blessed.

When a non-domestic husband does housework simply to please his tired wife, it’s nice for him if he gets a big hug.

When a work-stressed woman prepares a meal and delivers it to her adult sibling sick with the flu, it’s nice to hear the “Thank you SO much!”

Of course, our actions to help others should not be conditioned on if they like them, or even if they recognize them.

Instead, we are to help others because it is the right thing to do.

Period.

This is when we live according to good character, not according to a contract mentality.

Even though we are to serve others for no other reason than because it is the right thing to do, the Christians among us have a tremendous blessing that is ours as a result of our efforts to help.

“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure” (Hebrews 6:10-11).

When you serve others, you are showing your love for God.

God takes notes, my friend.

He sees when you love Him by helping others.

And you’ll reap the benefits of that love in eternity if you keep loving Him and serving Him until the end of your physical life.

Don’t make the mistake of some who embrace Christ and serve Him for a season but then grow cold in love for God because of no perceived earthly payoff, manifested in the lack of a desire to help others.

Please, love God.

Show it by helping other believers who are hurting financially or emotionally or spiritually.

Show it today.

God will love it.

And you’ll enjoy the fruits of His love forever.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Eager to do good deeds

Be eager to do good deeds -- Titus 2:14

One word jumped off the page of my One-Year Bible this morning — “eager.”

Titus 2:14 says that Christ gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are his very own, “eager to do what is good.”

I’m sure that you’re eager to save money on gas purchases or to use a buy one meal/get one free coupon at your favorite restaurant. But are you eager to do good things as part of your church involvement?

Are you eager to help people at your work to become more successful?

Are you eager to forgive others who offend or harm you in some other way? Clearly, forgiving others is a good thing.

Are you eager to start and end each day with sincere, focused prayer time? After all, nothing is more good than praying sincerely to God. (more…)

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