Monday, July 26, 2010

Taking Responsibility

Life has been busy with the new job, but I am greatly enjoying it. God has been very gracious to me. I am really starting to get into the swing of things at work and am getting to do some things that I really like a lot. God has been teaching me much about taking joy in the "not so fun" tasks at work... truly, those things can be enjoyed. There was probably 30 mins today where I was able to pray during work... and get a whole lot done at the same time. Those "mindless" tasks can be an incredible blessing.

My pastor mentioned Nehemiah 1 the other day and so I read it this evening and was blessed by Nehemiah's example of taking responsibility. Take a look at Nehemiah 1:5-9.
I said, "I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father's house have sinned. "We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.'
This is a great example of how to pray... he comes humbly before God recognizing God's greatness and his position as God's servant... and he comes before God to take responsibility for not only his sin, but the sins of the people around him. He is praying God's Word back to Him with both the good promises of blessing and the consequences of living unfaithfully to God. God desires to be glorified in bringing His people to the place of His dwelling. To be honest, I can't remember the last time that I have come before God, taking responsibility for the sin of someone else. Yet, I truly believe that God is looking for men like Nehemiah to stand up and be men... take responsibility and action according to His will. I need Him so much to teach me to be a man of responsibility... that loves Him and desires others to do the same so much that I am willing to humbly come before the Lord confessing not only my sin, but the sin of others... pleading that God would strip it away and draw all men to Himself.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Blessed Controller and Owner of All Things

God has been blessing abundantly these last few weeks. Work has been challenging in some regards, but God has been more than faithful. I am learning much about what it means to serve others unselfishly. Many of the tasks I'm assigned to do are not things that I enjoy doing necessarily. I am working hard at automating test processing and such so that I am more free to work in more enjoyable ways, but I have learned to take joy in the tedious tasks, realizing that I am working for the Lord and not for men. I could use prayer that God would continue to strengthen me and give me a heart to "do all things without complaining." He must be glorified in me every moment of every day.

I was reading in Mark 8 this evening and two things really caught my attention... verses 16-21 and 31-33. Take a look at 16-21.
They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? "Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." "When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven." And He was saying to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that God is the creator and owner of all things and He lacks no power to provide for our needs, yet we so often are tempted to look elsewhere when things aren't as we expect them to be.

Also, take a look at verses 31-33.
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
These things may seem a bit unrelated (and they are), but I think there are also many similarities. In this case, Peter expected Jesus to take up an earthly throne and was ready to fight to the death (as we saw at Jesus' crucifixion) in order for that to happen. Like Peter, we often have preconceived ideas as far as how things are going to happen, but God's ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). We must humbly come before Him knowing that He is the sovereign God... the One who owns and controls everything. We must have our minds and hearts fixed on Christ and His perfect plan regardless of what He calls us to do and trust that He will do what is best. We so much need Him to strip away our hearts that are prone to wanting things done in our way in our timing. We cry out to God because He isn't giving us what we want... yet, what would have happened if Jesus would have set up His earthly kingdom right then and there? We all (including Peter) would have died in our sins! God, give me a heart that not only is submissive to Your perfect plan, but one that desires it above all else. Help me by Your grace to trust You fully even when I don't see or understand what You are trying to do.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The First Week

The first week of work at my new job is now over. God certainly blessed the week... I learned a lot about different things I am/will be doing already, got a fair amount of things done, learned much about my coworkers, etc. It looks like it will be a position that will challenge me to continually learn new things... and where there are people, there are ministry opportunities, so I look forward to those as well. I was reading this last week: "A man's fingers should be accustomed to working in the soil of the human heart--the hearts of those he serves and loves--that he might accomplish some of the most valuable and important work of this life." Great things to be thinking about as I enter this new work environment. I was also reminded of Ephesians 6 earlier this week and it has been a great passage to meditate on during this first week of work (especially with my boss being on vacation). Verse 5-8 stood out to me.
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
God, you have given me this job to honor You through my words and actions. I commit my time at work fully to You and ask that You would continually fill my heart with big Biblical thoughts about who You are and my practical day-to-day applications of that knowledge at work. Would You rob my heart of the desire to please men and fill me with the desire to please You above all else. Strip away the desires to be "cool" and make me into a humble but godly leader in this new work environment. Grant me wisdom and guidance. Help me be productive for the sake of those I am serving. Take away any hint of the "love of money" from my heart and help me to depend fully on You during these blessed times just as much as in the times where I had no choice but to trust You. Mold me into who You want me to be and glorify Yourself in my heart so as to make me a reflection of Your Son to those around me. Amen.