Many of us have a warped perception of God. We see God as a domineering father figure who is ready to strike us down when we do something wrong. To the contrary, God is the opposite. He is loving, benevolent, generous, and caring. God does not pay us lip service when He says that only He is good. He has given us ample evidence to demonstrate that. He shows us his goodness through nature, the way that he cares for us, and through His Son Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, the evidences for God’s goodness permeate our everyday living. The natural blessings that we take for granted on a daily basis. For example, we take for granted waking up every morning, having good health, and experiencing the seasons of life. God is good enough to give us food when we need to eat, clothes when we-re naked, comfort when we feel afraid, and music to soothe our very soul. God delivers us from everyday troubles. He delivers us through the ups and downs that we go through when we experience life’s trials and challenges.
When we understand the goodness of God and we take it to heart, the Spirit of God will move us to repentance because we often doubt that God is good and that He has a good future for us. Once we have God’s goodness in the right perspective, the mind will be renewed, will have the confidence to pursue a different direction; and as a result, we will begin to see the Holy Spirit change our lives. In addition, when we understand the goodness of God, we will not be surprise when adversity comes. As a matter of fact, we will be excited to take big risks and step out on faith. Deep down we know that God will never ask us to do anything that will hurt us. Everything He asked us to do is to transform us to the likeness of His Son.
Psalm 84:11 is a good example of God’s goodness. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does he withhold from those who walk up rightly.” “The Lord is the sun” – your source of power energy and resources. He’s a shield – your protector. “The Lord gives grace and glory” – your comprehensive source of resources and blessings. “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk up rightly” – if you live your life God’s way, he will make sure that you lack no good thing.
Here is a prayer by Chip Ingram taken from God: As He Longs for You to See Him that will be a blessing to you if you decide to meditate on it.
Oh Lord, full of goodness and mercy, as I look into the
face of Jesus and ponder the goodness of the cross, grant
that I might
repent of my unbelief and ingratitude,
rest in your goodness even in the midst of trials, and
risk trusting you in every area of my life like never before.
I praise you that I live under a friendly sky, that you are for
me, and that I need never be afraid of the future because
Work is what you make it. Our attitude determines whether or it work is going to be a place of many blessings or a place of many curses. Understand that what we focus on expand, what we invest in grow, and what we plant, we harvest. Therefore, we must intend to focus on, invest in, and plant the specific benefits we want to enjoy
2. Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23
When we understand that we are working not to please people but the Lord, we develop a different perspective toward our place of employment. Any job that we do can become a form of worship, giving thanks for being able to contribute to society by serving others.
3. Develop a new way of thinking about work.
When we develop a new way of thinking about work, we will realize that work is one of the most important places in our lives where we can focus on building our character. It is a place where we can take on tasks and projects to help us test out what we really enjoy doing. Adding on a new skill and learning more about ourselves can be strategic tools for career advancement or change.
4. “Whatever you do, do it with kindness and love”.I Corinthians 16:14
Everything we do is about people. We cannot escape not working with them one way or another. We are here to serve each other, which is at the core of our existence here on earth. So, loving the people we work with is a tremendous opportunity to share our love and to treat them with kindness. In return, we will enjoy a more pleasant work environment.
5. “If anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him.” Matthew 5:41
When we value and enjoy our work, we make it a point to do more than what is expected of us. We don’t have to be asked. Success does not only come with caring for people. It also comes through proving how valuable we are to the company. So, it should be our intention to exceed expectation as often as possible.
6. If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. Ecclesiastes 10:10
“If you want to get ahead, you must fill your head.” Decide to make continual learning part of your every life. Working on improving skills that can potentially help to gain a promotion or an increase in pay can be worthwhile. In this way, we will not have to apply much strength to bring success to our lives.
7. “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
It is good to know that we’re never on our own. Our work may be difficult or it may be easy. It does not matter what issues we may be facing at work, knowing who we are working for makes a very big difference. Putting everything in God’s hand is a sure way to grow and achieve success.
Work is a place the majority of us spend most of our waking hours either loving every minute of it or killing ourselves slowly. It is a place that provides many opportunities to build character, to learn new skills, and to discover the phenomenon of working with others. Above all, that seems to be the hardest part of working.
I don’t know about you but I would rather love every minute of my work than to allow it to ever placidly suck the life out of me. You can begin to incorporate a few simple steps in your daily habits to help you make the most out of work. Here are seven simple keys that can help transform your working life from a boring and insignificant one to an enjoyable and important one.
1. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Colossians 3:23
Being in the present is a great thing, that includes being enthusiastic about the work you are doing right now. So, WHATEVER you do –making a presentation, taking out the garbage, answering phones, writing the needed reports –put your entire heart (100% +) into it.
Every job is a preparation for the next job. It is an opportunity to develop you in ways you may not be aware of. Luke 16:10-12 states, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own.”
It is helpful to keep in mind that is a test of not only your skills but your attitude as well. Your attitude towards life and your work in particular determines your level of enjoyment. A negative attitude that encourages continuous griping and complaining does not facilitate the creation of joyful moments.
Proverbs 12:24 provides that the “diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” One of the ways to facilitate enjoyment in our work is to determine to add value to the organization, its people, and its daily mission. When you feel that you are making a difference, it does something inside you–it makes you feel needed and significant.
You are needed. You are important. You are significant. That is why your work cannot be haphazardly put together. That is why your work cannot remain undone.
What a wonderful blessing it is to have friends who truly listen when we speak; they stay in the present with us and value what we have to say. It is also quite invigorating to have friends who accepts us unconditionally; they know what they can get from us and what they would be crazy to ask for. In this way, we do not have to stress each other out by demanding things that are not in our skill set to give. That brings me to the fifth tip for attracting and developing lasting friendships.
5. Be a Significance Disseminator
Every single person in this world is seeking to be significant to someone, to a cause, or to a community. That is how we deride our meaning, zest, and passion for life. So, make it a point to impart significance. Help make people feel that they matter and they have something special to contribute to this world in this very time that we are living that may transcend their time here on earth. In Romans 12:10, Paul declares that we “Honor one another above yourselves.” People are looking for others to lift them up. The research is clear here as well. We only need ONE person to believe in us to help us accomplish great things. So make it your business to notice and to give a word of encouragement. Be a significance disseminator.
6. Be a Peacemaker
We all love to have peace in our homes, schools, work, churches, and communities. How do we get peace? Does it happen all by itself? No, to have peace we must actively make it happen—we must get involve and actively look to resolve conflicts that are around us. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” That is according to Matthew 5:9. We are aware of certain people in our lives that thrive on turning people against each other, and who uses harsh, hurtful, and damaging words. They thrive on conflict and they will do anything to see a fight. Stay away from them and seek those who have healing and peaceful words. Let’s be mindful of the words we use because they have the power of life and death.
Be a Lover of People
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8). What an amazing verse. When we practice love, our buckets are never empty; it is a well that keeps on giving. When we love, we care deeply. When we love, we forgive often and quickly. When we love, we share with each. When we love, we practice patience and kindness on a daily basis. When we love, we stand up for others and protect them the best way we know how. When we love, there is no such thing as giving up knowing that there is nothing that is too big, too tall, too strong, or too weak that love cannot conquer.
We all want at least one good friend who will accept us no matter what, who will not judge us when we fall, and who will stick around not just for the good times but for the trying times as well. However, so many of us find ourselves alone wondering, “Does anyone out there care?” Indeed, there are people out there who would have showed up for us, but quite often we neglect to do the prep work that is essential to attracting and keeping good friends. Like every good thing, good friendships does not come out of nowhere. We have to be intentional about creating and developing them.
Here are seven keys to building lasting friendships.
That goes without saying. To create and to develop lasting friendships, you have to be friendly and be genuinely interested in other people. Proverbs 18:1 states, “Unfriendly people care only about themselves.” If we are only about ourselves and the only person we can talk about is “me,” then it will be difficult to show people that we care about them. Some of us carry a “mean and don’t approach” demeanor around. We refuse to smile and say “hello” to people. How will the door be open if you intend to carry daily your “NO, DON’T APPROACH” face?
Be Not a Complainer
We all have fallen short of that once or twice. We complain about things, people, work, and environment we don’t like and expect people to be willing to listen to our toxicity all the time. People get tired of that—they want to be lifted as often as possible not dragged down by all of the baggage we are loading on them physically and mentally. Phillipians 2:14-15 commands us to “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Complaining does not attract good friends, it repels it.
Be a Good Listener
There is a very good reason why we have two ears and one mouth. We were met to use our ears much more than our mouths. But it is totally the opposite for some of us. We like to talk and others will listen whether they want to or not. To begin to change that, we need to practice James 1:19: “Be quick to listen and slow to speak.” We will find it very hard to get to know people if we are always running our mouths. We may keep the avalanche coming because we don’t know what to say. In that case, we need to learn the skill of asking revealing questions. “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out” Proverbs 20:5). Asking good questions will help us to understand others better and put them first during conversations.
Many of have this deep desperation to change people to our liking. The only problem with that is that –that is not our responsibility and frankly we do not have that power. We must learn to accept people just the way they are. The apostle Paul in Romans 15:7 admonishes us to “Accept one another…just as Christ accepted you.” We are all broken and in much need of love. Let’s not ask people for things that they cannot give us. Let’s not sacrifice ourselves to mold them in way that they do not want to be molded. We will find ourselves exhausted beyond measure and disappointed in the results.
Since the friends we choose reflect the person we really are, we have to look into ourselves carefully to make sure that we are first a good friend before we can expect that from other people. Proverbs 27:19 states, “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is like is shown by the kind of friend he chooses.” Therefore, our choice is as much about who we are and where we stand at specific points in our lives. Proverbs 12:26 admonishes us to choose our friends carefully. Here are three friends who will stand by us in good and not so good times.
The challenger is a friend who challenges us in different areas of our lives. We may need a friend to challenge us spiritually. Proverbs 13:20 states, “He who walks with the wise grows wise.” We may need a friend to support us physically, emotionally, academically, and in many other areas of our lives. The challenger is always positively pushing us to greater heights and is there to help us understand that all things are possible.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). A sign of a supporter shows that he or she has been there for not just the summer, but the winter as well. The supporter stays when everybody says “This is too much, let me get out of here.” This is a friend who is there to help us “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). The supporter is there for the job promotion as well as the unexpected cancer diagnosis, and will stand by our side no matter what.
Everyone is looking for a friend to strengthen them spiritual, professionally, and in many other areas of life. First Thessalonians 5:11 commands us to “encourage one another and build each other up.” Hebrews 10:24 urges us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Imagine having a friend who can see potential in us that we cannot see in ourselves—a friend that believes in us even when we doubt ourselves.
Friends like these are hard to find. That is why it is imperative to be that kind of friend first.
I love to read verses like this one. No need for special tools to extrapolate the benefits of waiting. I don’t know about you, but when I read this verse I feel like I can become a super human just by deciding to wait on the Lord and not take matters into my own hands – especially when directed not to.
There are so many things we can learn in this verse that can be very beneficial to us. When we wait on the Lord…
We gain new strength
This is a promise we can hold on to. We may have come to him feeling weak and exhausted from the everyday trials of this life, but he promises that while we wait, he will replace our weakness with strength. Therefore, we will be prepared to respond to whatever he allows for us to experience.
We see the big picture
The verse says that we “will mount up with wings like eagles.” Sometimes it is hard to see and understand what is going on when faced with different circumstances. We may be too close to see clearly. So, God promises we will soar like the eagles when we wait on him, allowing us to gain a fresh perspective on what we currently face.
We get loaded up with energy
How would you like to run and never get tired? Well, when you wait on the Lord, you get loaded up with energy to combat any negative forces that may be in our future. At times, positive experiences may be overwhelming too. Believe that he has given you the strength and energy to handle them properly.
We stay the course
It says “we will run and not become weary.” The Lord reassures our every step letting us know that he is always with us and will give us all necessary ingredients to stay the course and renew our determination to persevere and not to give up.
All this happens while we wait. So waiting is not a waste. It can be a very productive period in our lives. It is a time used by God to give us new strength, a clear perspective, more energy, and the determination to stay the course and not to give up. Let us wait on the Lord, so he can fulfill these promises in our lives.
The term surrender seems to have a negative connotation. We tend to equate it to giving up, giving in, loser, and tapping out. Surrender in our minds is equivalent to defeat and raising up the white flag. There seems to be nothing positive about the word. Surrender wreaks weakness – another term we could care less for and often revolve our lives around changing it rather than embracing it.
We can’t understand how God uses our weaknesses to give us purpose and to change the world. As Joyce Myer states, God takes our mess and turn it into our message, and that is incomprehensible to us. The same way we cannot grasp the idea of surrendering our lives and “offering our bodies as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).
To change the negative connotation of surrender to a positive one, we must understand it in a different light knowing that God is offering us a life that is beyond our imagination. We must realize that we are trading this life with all its cares and placing it in the Father’s hand to do as he wish. Releasing the control over to God seems to be the hard part.
That is why surrendering is not for wimps; it is for people who are courageous enough to know that they need a Savior. These courageous people are willing to make some difficult decisions. They have decided to …
Be totally committed
Have an attitude of gratitude
Trust God for everything
Give up all of their rights
He alone can prepare us to receive the abundance he has in store for us; he can only do that when we surrender.
Who needs to memorize Scripture when you can pull it up on your smart phone in seconds? I say that is more of a reason to memorize them. We have become so dependent on electronic devices that we have forgotten how to use our brains.
I tend to be old-fashioned when it comes to memorizing Scripture and learning other things. Dedicate yourself to memorizing Scripture on a daily or weekly basis whichever is best for you. I believe that whatever is in your mind and heart belongs to you and you can retrieve it at any time. God forbids we are unable to get access to our electronic devices. Where will we be?
Memorizing Scripture will allow you to have the Word of God at your disposal and you can quickly select a verse that can speak to your current situation. Instead of reverting back to our bad habits to remedy a situation, we can speak the Word of God and find the comfort and the solution we need.