What if God Were My Boss?

my desk

I have been convicted lately about my work ethic – at work. I can sometimes lose focus, or spend time working on non-work related things while at work. I know that this is not right. If I was doing a job, that I knew was directly related to God’s kingdom and I had to report to him every day on what I had done, how I had spent my time, and how I had treated others, would anything be different? Moste likely the answer is yes!

Phil 2v14 and 15

A few of my favourite verses that speak to this.

Colossians 3:17 – 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Nathan at roof rack
Philippians 2:14-15 – 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…
Faith with Rake

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Staying Connected

Using Technology
Despite our resolve to reduce our expenses (see Frugal Club entries), the one thing we chose NOT to reduce, was our family cell phone bill. With 3 teens (well, one pre-teen), at 2 different schools and both of us working full-time jobs downtown in the city, for us it is a priority. All 5 of us have devices. All our devices can text, email, call as well as be tracked via GPS. For my ultra-safety-minded husband, this – being able to track the whereabouts of our children, was a must.

However, what Richard does do, is call our cell phone provider on a regular basis and re-negotiate a better contract. We have been with the company for almost 20 years!! So he will ask for their loyalty and retention department and work them down until he has the best deal. He has the patience and perseverance to be on the phone for 2 hours sometimes hashing out a deal!

Richard and I text each other throughout the day (I am not a phone person). And I text the kids sometimes during the day as well. My oldest daughter had a history test 2nd period, so I just sent a quick text on my lunch hour to see how it went. Yesterday, I retweeted a funny comment and tagged her in the tweet. Within minutes, she had favourited the tweet, and I knew she had gotten it and smiled. We embrace and use the technology for all the good reasons!

Sharing the Household Chores

Right from when our children were babies, we were both working full-time, but both of us wanted to be deeply attached to our children. So we share the responsibilities of maintaining the house almost equally so we both have time left over for our kids. He goes into work at 6am every day, so that he is home when they get home from school. And he cooks dinner every night! He feels I am better suited to help them with their homework in the evening, so he will do laundray or other tasks as needed.

Minimum Weeknight Activities and Sports

As a family, we are all home-bodies and relish our time relaxing at home together, watching or movie or playing games. I realize some kids want to participate in every activity and sport, and we are lucky our kids aren’t that way. It saves us money and allows us to spend more time together as a family. If they do any sports, it’s through school so it doesn’t cost money and usually takes place during school hours. My one daughter with music lessons, takes them at school. And they all do Bible quizzing, and go to Youth at church. For our family, this is a balanced approach that helps us stay connected.

Proverbs 1:2-7
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Put on the Armour of Light

Romans 13:12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

I’ve been studying in 1 John 1 this week and learning about walking in the light and came across this verse in Romans about putting on the armour of light. I like the picture of that in the context of keeping away from the darkness and keeping the dark things of the world at bay.

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Friend (Five Minute Friday)

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Random thoughts passing through my head on ‘Friend’ today.

Being able to brain dump on someone – it’s been a crazy busy week and I wrote myself an email with a bunch of reminders and cc’d a friend. I knew she’d catch my brain dump and it felt like a load of my shoulders.

An invitation to coffee out of the blue – received an email from someone asking to go out for coffee- things that brighten your week.

Making silly comic strips – when your friends posts silly comics of the two of you.

A road trip with my daughter next week – yes she’s my daughter and yes it’s a mother-daughter trip but I know we will also have fun together because I love spending time with her.

A romantic off-hand comment from my husband – I know it’s corny to say he’s my best friend but it really is true.

Online strangers who take the time to comment and read your blog 🙂

Being there to pray for someone – when a friend shoots you a short email that you catch between meetings saying – I’m feeling anxious, please pray for me. And you are happy and honoured to do so.

When your friends have already arranged your drive to and from a practice knowing you are a one car family, before you even ask.

Having good friends and the privilege of being a good friend are some of the greatest blessings in life.

1 Samuel 18:1 By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend.

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When Interpreting His Word isn’t a Simple Matter

1 cor 13v9

I LOVE God’s word dearly, I want to know it better, I want to have more of it memorized, I want to know what God is trying to say to us.

But – confession – I don’t know it nearly as well as someone who has been a Christian as long as I have should know it. I wasted my 20s not bothering much. I have the Sunday school stories down pat, but it’s taken the last decade or so to get a an adult handle on some pretty basic concepts.

I have a business/computer degree, no theological training whatsoever. I just have this love for His word. I want to dig deeper, I want to search and google and find out what other more biblical scholars have to say about a particular passage or on a certain subject.

This is a glorious age for us to discover and be taught by great orators and pastors of mega churches through podcasts and YouTube etc.

But we also must be diligent to choose wisely who we ‘follow’ as my own pastor likes to warn us.

But in the end, only God’s Word is living and active. My own interpretation may be something I feel God has laid on my heart but what if it doesn’t line up with a ‘more spiritual person’s’ interpretation, someone who I trusted and followed?

I just read a portion of 1 Cor 13 over on Chris Martin’s blog in the Message translation and found it appropriate here:

1 Corinthians 13:8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

This verse helped me see that each of us humans can only ever know a portion of the truth. So while I believe that God’s Word is the absolute truth, I neither can trust that what I believe to be what God is saying is the whole truth, nor is what another person is saying.

HOWEVER, We need to treat our fellow christians with grace.

Memorizing Scripture – My Best Tips

This is the third in a series about Memorizing Scripture.
The 1st in the series was Why is it Important?
The 2nd was You are in Good Company

Slide10

Jesus Himself said:
“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

Pick a favourite chapter and commit to memorizing the whole thing. It can be a Psalm, Philipians 4, Romans 8, Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) and see how God uses you.

The Brain is a MUSCLE!
At first it will feel difficult and awkward, but the brain is a muscle that will develop with regular training. It used to take me 2-3 times the amount of time to learn verses as my quizzing children, but now, it amazes me how quickly I can learn several verses at once! I find this has helped me in other areas of my life – even non-spiritual such as learning French.

Fun Tools to Help you Memorize

32 Ways to Memorize Scripture by Mark Driscoll

How to Memorize Scripture by CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry)

www.scripturetyper.com or Scripture Typer App
http://www.memverse.com or using dictation on the iPad

Slide11
from one of my favourite Casting Crowns songs – The Word is Alive

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Being a Light Wherever you are – 1 John 1

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Have you ever met someone who positively radiates Christ?

I’m currently writing a reference for a young lady just about to graduate from teacher’s college. This young women truly radiated Christ in her interactions with others. She was always a joy to be around.

Writing up the reference letter has really made me stop and think about my interactions with people in my workplace. Do I radiate Christ? Do I shine among my coworkers? Do people see me as different?

I think people see me as ‘nice’ and some may notice that my language is clean or that I don’t go out for drinks with them. But that isn’t the same as someone seeing me in action and wanting what I have – joy, peace, outpouring love for others, etc.

How can I be a light? How do we shine? Paul says in Philippians

Philippians 2:14-15 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

We can start by not grumbling or arguing!

I started the #HelloMornings challenge today (1 day late!) and we are studying Abiding Love in John’s letters, today we were in 1 John, and I really loved this whole passage, especially broken out in the Amplified Bible.

John says in 1 John 1 (from the Amplified Bible)

Walking in the Light

5 And this is the message [the message of [promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way].

6 [So] if we say we are partakers together and enjoy fellowship with Him when we live and move and are walking about in darkness, we are [both] speaking falsely and do not live and practice the Truth [which the Gospel presents].

7 But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

8 If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].

9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

10 If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].
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So John is saying that we need to walk in the light, and since Jesus is the light, and there is no darkness in Him, if we want to have fellowship with him, we need to:

1. Confess our sins, so we can be cleansed from our unrighteousness
2. PRAY – Fellowship with Him
3. Stay away from darkness, Walk in the Light so we can have true, unbroken fellowship with one another
4. Live and practice The Truth, The Gospel, keep His word in us and in our hearts.

I pray Father, that today I will reflect Jesus in me. That my face will radiate the joy and peace that comes from you. That my heart will not grumble or complain. Help me to know where I am sinning against you so I can confess and you will remove my sin and guilt. Keep me in close fellowship with you throughout my day, steer my path away from darkness so I can stay in your Light. Help me to live and practice you truth day in and day out and to always love your Word.

Memorizing Scripture – You are in Good Company

This is the 2nd Post in a series about Memorizing Scripture. The first is here.

Many greats of the past and present were/are strong proponents of memorizing scripture including Martin Luther, Fanny Crosby, Bill Gothard and Chuck Swindoll.

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Martin Luther

A book called Martin Luther’s Love for the Bible talks about Luther’s early life in Augustinian monastery. One of the reasons Martin Luther came to his great discovery in the Bible of justification by faith alone was that in his early years in the he was influenced to love Scripture by Johann Staupitz. Luther devoured the Bible in a day when people earned doctorates in theology without even reading the Bible. (Richard Bucher,Martin Luther’s Love for the Bible“).

Luther knew so much of the Bible from memory that when the Lord opened his eyes to see the truth of justification in Romans 1:17, he said, “Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory,” in order to confirm what he had found.

Romans 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[c] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

One man’s love for the Bible was the key to freedom and an incredible turning point in history for the church.
From Desiring God article Why Memorize Scripture?

Slide7

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby was born in 1820 about 60 miles north of New York City.  She was blinded by a careless doctor treating her eyes when she was just an infant.  But as a result of her blindness, Fanny developed a phenomenal memory.  She memorized vast segments of the Scripture—whole books of the Bible, including all four Gospels. 

She later said that whenever she wanted to read a portion of the Scripture, she turned a little button in her mind and the appropriate passage would flow through her brain like a recorded tape.

That vast reservoir of memorized Scripture became the nurturing fountain for her hymns. 

It says in this book, E.L. Blumhofer, Her Heart Can See: The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby (Eardmans, 2005). She would compose hymn after hymn in her brain and retain them with perfect memory, then go to her publishers and dictate them one after another. 

During her 94 years of life, she wrote about 9,000 hymns, more than anyone else in known church history. Whenever she wrote a hymn, she prayed that God would use it to bring men and women to Christ.  She had a goal of winning a million men to Christ through the agency of her hymns, and she kept careful track of every story she heard of people being saved through her hymns.  To this day, someone somewhere on earth is singing, playing, or listening to her hymns practically every moment day and night—hymns such as “Blessed Assurance,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “To God be the Glory,” and “Near the Cross.”

Slide8

Bill Gothard

If any of you have ever attended a Bill Gothard seminar, you will know that he is a strong proponent of memorizing scripture.

It started at the age of 15, when Bill was challenged by an older friend to begin memorizing large sections of Scripture. Until high school, he was a poor student, flunking first grade and passing the next eight grades on probation. However, as he memorized and meditated on Scripture, Bill’s grades improved significantly—so much so that he graduated from high school a member of the National Honor Society. This direct correlation between his grades and consistency in memorizing and meditating on Scripture continued through college and graduate school.

The Development of Daily Disciplines

Greater achievement in school was only one of many benefits that Bill experienced as a result of applying Scripture. When working with young people, he explained these benefits and urged them to practice Scriptural disciplines such as tithing, rising early, and memorizing Scripture.

Gothard said that meditation is the practice of memorizing, visualizing, and personalizing Scripture

As we faithfully memorize and meditate on Scripture, the Holy Spirit will gradually remold our minds until we see things and evaluate life increasingly from God’s point of view—and that’s the very essence of wisdom.

Slide9

Chuck Swindoll

In the book Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61).Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends!

Your prayer life will be strengthened. Jesus says – If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7).

Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Peter tells us – …Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1Peter 3:15 When you have memorized a whole passage, you know it completely and in context and speak confidently about what you know.

Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Paul tells us in Colossians – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  Col 3:16

Your faith will be solidified” Paul tells us in Romans – Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17)

All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16)

In Summary – More Reasons to Memorize

– so the Lord can open our eyes to the Truth in His Word
– to express in various art forms – music, poetry, worship
– to be able to bring people to Christ, effective witnessing
– to establish daily habits of discipline, including studying for school
– to remold our minds so that our view becomes God’s view, to change our attitudes, to gain wisdom,
– strengthen prayer life
– increase our faith
– to teach, correct and train

Can Christians stop being hypocrites?

Romans 14v19Why is the word ‘hypocrisy’ almost perceived to be synonymous with Christianity?

Why does it seem like Christians are some of the most judgmental people on the planet?

And what can we do to change this?

How can Christians hold each other accountable in a way that is mutually up-building rather than judging?

Paul says in Romans –
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Romans 14:19

We must pursue what makes peace.
We must pursue things that are mutually up building.

It can be really difficult within the Christian culture, within our small groups, and Christian circle of friends to really refrain from being critical and judgmental to each other.

I have been struggling with this for some time, and I really needed to ask God to search my own heart. And be warned when you ask this of God!

Although well aware of my own imperfection, He showed me an or area of our life which has the potential to be a stumbling block for others.

Romans 14:13
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Paul is saying this like – let US stop judging people FROM NOW ON.

It’s like he’s saying we all do it, but can we JUST DECIDE TO PUT AN END TO IT?!

Does it matter if someone believes it’s ok to have a beer in the weekend, and another doesn’t, or another friend practices yoga, and another allows their teen to wear short skirts to church, or picks up groceries on Sunday or downloads music or tells a little white lie here and there?

I think this verse sums it up nicely.

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. Romans 14: 22

These are the kinds of things to keep between yourself and God, and your friends’ faith is between them and God.