Profitable labor

According to many working people, today and every Friday is TGIF (thank goodness it’s Friday!). Wednesday is “hump” day – the middle of the work week and moving closer to the weekend. Any holiday is exalted beyond measure; who cares if it’s just “Celebrate the possum day”, as long as it relieves a person from going to work! Too many people are lazy, slothful and wasteful with their time whether it’s working at their job or working at home.

Why do we work and what should be our attitude towards work? You know that it all began after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. God put Adam to weeding and tending the garden by the “sweat of his brow.” (Genesis 3:19) This gives the idea that there’s some exertion of energy in work. I think some people put more energy into coming up with ways not to work than in the labor they are supposed to be doing! Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labor there is profit; but the talk of lips tendeth only to penury.” In others words, every bit of work is profitable, whether you’re working at home mopping, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning closets or cleaning up the yard. If you go to a job there’s profit in the work you do there. It’s a part of our testimony as a believer to work hard and increase the effectiveness of the business.

The second part of the proverbs says that if we just sit around and talk about work it will lead us to poverty! Do you have work to do today? Can I encourage you to get after it and not just sit and talk about how much you dread it, how much you detest your job, or how anxious you are for the end of the day or the weekend? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the time you have off, but when you’re supposed to be working, ask God to help you enjoy your job and then give it 100%!

Perhaps we should change the saying from TGIF to TGFMJ (thank God for my job!). The Lord gave us the work to do and if it came from His hand then it’s a good thing!

TGFMJ!!!

Don’t Lose Sight

Have you ever watched a sunset at the ocean? At first the sun is high in the sky and is easily seen, and then it begins to slide downward until its rays cast long fingers across the water. As one watches it, the sun gets lower and lower until at last it seems to slip into the oceans depths and disappears.

Last night in prayer meeting one of the ladies in my prayer group prayed this: “Lord, help us not to lose sight of the message of Christmas.” Isn’t it easy when things get so busy in December to miss what we’re supposed to see? Just like the sun that moves so slowly downward until it eventually disappears, we can gradually let Christ disappear from our view when at one time He was in a very prominent place. When the sun sets it’s still there, we just can’t see it. When we get so busy with our plans and activities that we don’t focus on God’s gift to us in the person of His Son, He is still there, we just don’t see Him any longer.

Don’t lose sight of the most important part of the Christmas season – the Lord Jesus.

  1. Create family times that remind your children of why Jesus came. You could make little gingerbread boy cookies that represent Jesus and place him in a manger bed, made of some other treat like ramen noodles covered in butterscotch chips. Let them play with an inexpensive nativity set or buy some flannel graph that tells the Christmas story.
  2. To keep yourself thinking on the Savior you could do a study on the Scriptures that tell of Christ’s birth. A couple years ago I did Beth Moore’s study Jesus the One and Only and was so blessed by it as it detailed Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection. I would highly recommend it to you.
  3. Perhaps you (and your family) could find a way to minister to a need this Christmas. Visit a nursing home and encourage those folks. Provide a meal or Christmas cookies for a family that wouldn’t have any otherwise.

Whatever you do, don’t lose sight of the Son. Keep Him high and lifted up in your Christmas activities this year.

His Forever

This Christmas Eve will mark twenty-eight years since my then boyfriend asked me to marry him. I’ll never forget being in my parents home in Georgetown, KY. We were sitting in front of the fireplace (where else?) when he reached into his pocket and pulled out my engagement ring and place it on my finger and asked my to marry him. It was so romantic, so perfect, and I was so happy with the thought that in six months I would become his wife and belong to him. I loved introducing Dale as “my fiancé”. He was mine! Woo hoo!

There’s something special about belonging to someone and knowing they are also yours. It’s wonderful with a mate, but the thought of belonging to the God of the universe and also knowing that He is mine is even more precious. Psalm 67:6 says, “Then shall the earth yield her increase, and God, even our own God, shall bless us.” When I read that this morning I thought how wonderful to be able to say, “My own God.” He’s not removed from me and distant; He is my own God! That means that what I experience today He is there. What concerns me concerns Him. The power I need to live the Christian life is here because He is mine. That comforts my heart and gives me strength to move on today.

The following hymn is a favorite of mine. Read the words and let them encourage you today. If you are a child of God, you are His and He is yours!

I Am His and He is Mine
Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know;
Gracious Spirit from above, Thou hast taught me it is so!
O this full and perfect peace! O this transport all divine!
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.

His forever, only His; Who the Lord and me shall part?
Ah, with what a rest of bliss Christ can fill the loving heart!
Heav’n and earth may fade and flee, firstborn light in gloom decline;
But while God and I shall be, I am His, and He is mine.
But while God and I shall be, I am His, and He is mine.
Words: George W. Ro­bin­son, 1876.
Music: Ev­er­last­ing Love, James Mount­ain, 1876

Tell it all

I love talking to children, especially three to five-year olds. They talk with such liberty. You don’t have to wonder long how they are or what they’re thinking. If you just wait about three seconds they’ll tell you! Recently we were at the store and a four year-old from one of our church families saw my husband walking away from them. Later when we ended up in the same place in the store the little guy said, “Pastor I saw you walking in the store and I knew it was you. You have a hole in the back of your head!” The “hole” he was referring to is a spot where there’s not a lot of hair on my dear hubby’s head! We didn’t have to wonder what this four year-old was thinking – out it came with no provocation!

I was reminded of that incident this morning when I read Psalm 66:16. David says, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” When wev’e seen God at work (and we should see Him working in our lives every day!) we should be ready to tell anyone that will listen about what has happened. No one should have to sit and wonder if the Lord is working in my life; I should be quick to tell them. It should be a ready testimony on my lips. What keeps us from sharing the testimony of God’s goodness to others?


1. We’re afraid.
Fearful of what they’ll think
Fearful of how to verbalize it
Fearful of being bold
2. We forget!
When God does something for you write it in a praise journal so you’ll remember.
3. We are oblivious to His working in our lives.
We can’t share what we haven’t seen. Sometimes God is at work but we’re so consumed with other things that we don’t even recognize His activity in our lives.

When you run into someone today don’t make them wonder for long what’s going on in your life. Be like our young friend and let them hear what God has done for your soul!

Determined, not distracted

Are you like me? I flipped the calendar over this morning and gasped when I saw the word “December” staring at me. December means that there’s lots to do…baking, .shopping, wrapping, decorating, card sending, party attending – and we do it all many times over! It’s enough to get stressed over even on this first day of the month.

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the busyness of Christmas and miss the opportunities that lie before us at this special time of year. When we’re out doing the running that our tasks require we need to be looking for souls – not just people. People can get in our way, slow us down and frustrate us. However, when we look for souls that need the message of Christ’s sacrifice we are patient and understanding and see this “interruption” as an opportunity to share the Gospel.

Keep your purse full of good Christmas tracts. Hand one to the person that steps in front of you in line at the store. Give one to the Red Cross bell-ringer, the clerk that waits on you, the waitress, someone sitting next to you at the doctor’s office, and the people that receive your Christmas cards. This is a wonderful time of year to witness, and we have so much to witness about! Christmas is an open opportunity to share the Gospel. Determine to share the Gospel as often as the Lord opens the door. Don’t let the busyness distract you!

Thanks for Everything

While you’re giving thanks for your blessings on this Thanksgiving Day, why not also include thanks for the trials the Lord has brought into your life. We’re are exhorted to “Give thanks always for all things” in I Thessalonians 5:18. While we don’t enjoy the difficulties, it is the hard things that push us to God. They make us realize our own inabilities and His all-sufficiency. It’s hard to say “thank you” for the migraines that I suffer with frequently, but they do remind me that One sweet day when we’re in heaven there will be no more illness, no suffering, no pain and that means NO MIGRAINES! For that I give thanks!

As you thank God for your blessings today, also thank Him for the hard things. He loves you and has sent them into your life to make you more dependent on Him.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Expectations

When I was about ten years of age the Sunday school department of my church had a contest to see which boy or girl could bring in the most visitors during a set time period. The prize for the winner would be a new bicycle! I was determined to work and bring in my unchurched friends, and I did! At the end of the contest period it was determined that I did indeed have the highest total. I was then awarded my prize…a brand new watch! I’m sure it was a fine watch, but you can only imagine my disappointment! I don’t remember now why they changed the prize, but I do remember the way my heart dropped to my feet. My expectations had been disappointed; I had been let down!

That was a good lesson for me and I’m sure my parents gave me good counsel. I could be thankful for my friends that came to church and heard the Gospel, and I knew the Lord was pleased with that. The greatest lesson, however, comes from the fact that people will disappoint us when we put our expectations on them, but the Lord never will! Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. When God says He’s going to do something we can bank on the fact that He will do it! We will never be let down when we let Him be our expectation. Husbands, bosses, pastors, family, friends, and Sunday school teachers will all disappoint, because they’re human, but I can look to my God and be sure that I can trust in Him for all that His Word says! That means He will:

  • Save all that call on Him – Romans 10:13
  • Keep us secure in Christ – Ephesians 2
  • Never leave us or forsake us – Hebrews 13:5b,6
  • Hear us when we pray – Psalm 34:17
  • Reward us for the works we’ve done – I Corinthians 3:13, 14
  • Prepare a place for us in heaven – John 14:2,3
  • Come and take us home! – I Thessalonians 4:16

The list could go on and on! The truth is that we can trust our God to do what He says. What are you putting your expectations on today? Men will reward a “watch instead of a bicycle,” but God will always deliver!