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Pingates

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bless Those Who Use You

(This is a re-post from 12/29/2004)

Read Matthew 5:43-48

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.”
Proverbs 24:17-18

I have worked with many people and have been mistreated many times by those over me. It seems that it is real easy to hope that the person gets demoted, fired or the business goes bad because I am not there. Or even go out of business. But the Lord tells us to “pray for our enemies and bless those that abuse you.” (Paraphrase Matt. 5:44) I wonder how many companies that have treated their employees bad and still do well because the people of God secretly prayed to see them “ get theirs” and fall. Therefore, God turned His wrath from them.
Next time you see a person fall that had treated you wrong, let the Lord guide you in ways to bless him. Who knows maybe the Lord will defeat an enemy by making him a friend.

Prayer: Father, Forgive those who treat us wrong and bring them to repentance for your sake.
AMEN

Thought for the Day
“The noblest vengeance is forgiveness” (The Officer - 1919, Notable Quotables, Salvation Army Publishing)
Wayne Brooks (Dothan, Alabama)

Prayer Focus: FOR THOSE THAT HAVE DONE YOU WRONG

Friday, February 20, 2015

That Faith Thing

Quite a few years ago, I attended a lecture by the Publisher and Editor-n-Chief of “Skeptic” magazine, Michael Shermer. He is also the author of the book, “The Believing Brain”. It was held at the College my daughter was attending at the time, Troy State University in Dothan, Alabama. I decided to go because I had read Skeptic magazine and I wanted to hear what evidence he was going to present.
Well, without speaking negatively of Mr. Shermer, I soon knew that no evidence was going to be presented. I only heard jokes, put-downs and ideas that where not backed up with science. I looked at the program and saw that he had two degrees in Philosophy and one degree in something called “Science Methods” (I could stand corrected on this; I have long lost the program by putting it in a book in my library). So he was not a scientist; he studied philosophy. This made the remarks even more insulting. I took notes in my mind for the Q&A at the end of the lecture, but behold I froze up and was intimidated by the man’s cleverness, and I did not want to look foolish. Then after the Q&A, he said it—I could not believe he did. He said, “I believe science has all the answers and if it doesn't it will eventually.” I was floored; this man was talking about his faith. I tucked this memory away in the back of my mind. I filed it under Amazing Faith.
But what is faith? We have all heard the definitions. I believe I knew where Mr. Shermer was coming from, he believes he has seen enough questions answered by science to have confidence that science will continue to do so. And if science fails, there will be a logical answer. What I cannot understand is why these people do not allow us to have the same faith in what we see as our creator answering all of our questions, and if He doesn't, we’ll wait patiently until He does. I have not read of any scientific result that has proven beyond doubt the theory of evolution. the results only show me a wonder working God. But back to faith, does Mr. Shermer have faith because he has seen answers in his view, as being answered? Doesn't that remove ‘believing’ from the equation?
Philosophically speaking, the same can be said to us Christians, if we have seen Christ work and believe because of those workings, does it cease to be faith. Are we missing the deepest kind of faith, choosing to believe God when we don’t see the evidence that He is able or willing? That is the faith I believe the Lord is looking for in us all. What joy does He have in Angels that see His face daily: They are knowers, not believers? Hebrews 11:6 (King James 2000 Bible) states: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Faith is a requirement for pleasing God. Nothing else will do except putting your trust in His finished work at the Cross, no matter what any other “evidence may show”.
This may sound closed-minded and narrow, but I quote again Mr. Shermer, “I believe science (in my case God/Jesus) has all the answers and if it doesn't it (He) will eventually.” In order to turn me from the God who has so loved me (John 3:16), you must show me non-life coming to life, on its on, naturally (without the help in a lab). And in accordance with scientific method, do it twice. Show me undeniable evidence of one species becoming another, alliterating their DNA on its own naturally. Until then, I put my full trust in a loving God who seeks those who will believe and will come back in His own time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

He Waits Patiently

I rose this morning, tired from a late night, rushing to get ready for work.
He waited patiently.
I ate my breakfast quickly with a muttered prayer of blessing.
He waited patiently.
I got in my truck and prepared for the trip with music, podcast and like.
He waited patiently.
I clocked in and worked till break to hang out with the rest.
He waited patiently.
I worked till lunch the best I could with thoughts of leisure on my mind.
He waited patiently.
Lunch time came and I spent it eating earphones on my head.
He waited patiently.
From lunch till break again, I did my labors in a mind tiring flow.
He waited patiently.
Break came again and I rallied with my coworkers until the last stretch of production was done.
He waited patiently.
Quitting time came and I got in my truck with music or podcast blaring.
He waited patiently.
I finally got home, showered and ate my supper to settle down for the day.
He waited patiently.
I settled in front of the TV with my family so dear to quit thinking for a while.
He waited patiently.
Time slipped into night and the time to retire was late.
He waited patiently.
I did not sleep well for the thoughts in my head, cursing all day and images of worldly programs.
He waited patiently.
 I rose this morning tired from a late night, rushing to get ready for work.
He waited patiently.
I ate my breakfast quickly with a muttered prayer of blessing.
He waited patiently.
I got in my truck and prepared for the trip with music, podcast and like.
He waited patiently.
I was called into the office, before clocking in, and told I was needed no more.
He waited patiently as I got in my truck and screamed “WHY”.
Now I rise in the morning to look for work, and patiently wait on Him.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Come off the Reservation

In the book, “Stronger than Steel: The Story of Wayne Alderson”, R.C. Sproul tells how Wayne Alderson was invited to a retreat by men in his church. Wayne decided to go after a rough time dealing with labor strike issues at the plant, of which he was just made operations manager.  He thought he would be able to relax but he heard a message that R.C. says stung his conscience. “The theme was a challenge to churchmen to put their faith and values to the test in the real world. They were told to come out from under the shelter of their steeples and into the marketplace.
The speaker likened the Church in an age of secularism to an Indian (Native American) reservation. Intrusions of God were not welcome in the public sector. Believers could be ‘safe’ only if they stayed on the ‘reservation.’ He challenged the idea that separation of Church and State meant the same thing as separation of State and God. He maintained that God’s authority applied to all of His creation, and His values were to be applied to all of life. Civil institutions should not become churches, but they were still fully accountable to God.
Wayne heard God saying to him, Come off the reservation…confess me before men.”
This may be old stuff to some, but it seems in most jobs I have had, there is not much of a witness to God’s power being done. The most that can be hoped for is people sitting around the break table cursing and telling dirty jokes one minute and mentioning going to church the next.
How dare I judge these people but it seems that they still believe that their ‘faith’ has no business in their worklife.  I was blessed to belong to a Church for many years that drove us little Indians off the reservation, which was good for me because I was never a very good little Indian. So if you are feeling a little uneasy now about your faith at work, try clocking in with your ‘faith’ in tow and use it. Come off the reservation.
I’m not implying that you need to leave the Church, just take your faith with you “as you go”, the Church or Reservation will be there when you get back.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Book Review: Stronger Than Steel by R.C. Sproul

Stronger Than Steel: The Wayne Alderson storyStronger Than Steel: The Wayne Alderson story by R.C. Sproul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great book for in the workplace. I've had this book for a long time but have never gotten around to reading it until now. Sorry I waited so long. Not only is it good for management and labor relations but it helped in seeing how Wayne Alderson dealt with being fired for doing good. Also it is nice to have an autographed copy in my library. Thanks Fred and Gloria, whoever you are, for donating it to a charity.


View all my reviews

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Life is Short, Give it to God"

For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:13-17 NKJV
At first glance you may think that James is telling us that we do not need to make plans, just trust the Lord and let things fall into place. But I do not think so. He speaks of our life being short and we cannot depend on our own plans. We do not know if we will die, loss our job, become ill or any of the many disasters that can come on man. Instead me must seek the Lords will in all manners of our lives. From the smallest detail to the biggest decisions, we must seek Him. Matthew says in Chapter 6 and verse 33 of the book of Matthew, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Therefore we should look at how our decisions will affect the Kingdom of God. We cannot look at this in the natural, but the supernatural or in the Spirit. So I say, "Life is Short, Give it to God"

Prayers of Martin Luther's for the Workplace

10. A Prayer Before Beginning One's Work.
Eternal and merciful God, I am about to resume my work and the duties of the calling into which Thou hast placed me, Thy servant. May I apply myself according to the ability Thou dost grant, so that I may serve my neighbor and make an honest living. Relying on Thy gracious promise, I there­fore heartily pray Thee to bestow upon me, for the duties about to be resumed, prudence, wisdom, under­standing, success, and blessing, together with health, so that I may not only make a good beginning, but in Thy name and by Thine aid arrive at a profitable close, thus at all times faithfully attending to my duties with a clear conscience and in Thy fear. To Thee I commend my work. Graciously let me suc­ceed in all that I undertake and let me accomplish what I undertake in Thy name, so that Thy light may cast a bright beam on my path to Thy praise and glory and to the welfare of my neighbol:.;
11. A Prayer for Blessing in One's Calling.
o Lord, Thou dost assign to each man his duties according to his abilities and dost want us to eat our bread in the sweat of our brow until we return again
'unto dust; and Thou hast promised that, if we fear Thee and walk in Thy ways, we shall eat the labor of our hands, and it shall be well with us. Behold, upon Thy word I have cast out the net of my calling. May my toil and ~abor not be lost, but grant that, working with my hands the thing which is good, I may have to give to him that needeth. May Thy blessing - on which all depends - ever attend my efforts, so that I may bring them to a successful issue without impairing the interests of others, in order that my substance be devoted to the honor of God and the members of my.family may be provided for. Cause Thy blessing, I pray Thee, to increase as time goes on; bless our ''basket and our store"; for Thy blessing maketh rich, and Thou addest no sorrow with it. 0 Lord, make my heart glad and my face joyful; give me health, life, and success. I ask all this subject to Thy will; Lord, hear my prayer. To Thee I commit my way and trust in Thee; Thou wilt bring it to pass. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salva­tion. .dmen.
14. Thanksgiving upon Completion of Work.
Almighty, eternal, and beneficent God, I give unto Thee hearty thanks and praise for Thy most holy aid and assistance shown me this day; for
without Thee I surely could have done nothing, and
therefore all praise properly belongs to Thee. And I pray Thee, deign to be pleased with my work and have it tend to the welfare, in body and soul, of my­self and my fellow-men; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, true God, who liveth and reigneth to all eter­nity with Thee and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

From the Abridged Treasury of Prayers
Concordia Publishing
copyright 1942

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Advocate: 1 John 2:1

"My little children, these things I write unto you, that you may sin not. And if any man (or woman) sin, and if any man (or woman) sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;" 1 John 2:1 KJV
First thing, we are Children in the Lord's eyes. If we expect to receive anything from the Father we must humble ourselves as children. Trust the Father that He knows best.
Second, John would not have told us not to sin if we could not do so. It is a lye that we sin hundreds of times a day without knowing. With the Lord's help only we can lead a sinless and blameless life before Him. Not with Holier-than-thou pride (for that is a sin) But being humble with the Lord's help and strength.
Third, IF we sin, We have an advocate.
Suppose we are going to court for a great offense. We are offered the service of the greatest lawyer in the world. He knows all the laws because He wrote them all. Wouldn't that be great?
Also suppose that the Lawyer turned out to be the Judge. That would really be great wouldn't it? But wait, the Lawyer/Judge says that He finds you guilty and the law demands imprisonment, retribution and then death. You jump up and say," Wait a minute! Who is the victim and can we settle out of court".
The Lawyer/Judge states that He is the victim. He is the one sinned against.
Then the Lawyer/Judge/Victim tells you that He has taken your sentence for you. (vs. 2 says that He was the propitiation for our sin. Meaning Payment) And that He is willing also to pay the legal fees.
On the local news there is a report of a woman that wants the State of Fla. to help with her legal fees. The courts are going to make her parents liquidate there home and savings to pay the legal fees. The cost of defense may be free to us but it is not cheap (read Bonhoffer's "Cost of Discipleship")
We have all been around enough to know that if something sounds to good to be true, then it usually is. Well there is one requirement the Lawyer/Judge/Victim/Payment demands. He demands that we become his adopted child and take His name and inheritance. Forsake that father (the Devil) and the mother (the World) that beats us and abandons us and receive Jesus our Father and our all.
To turn down this greatest of deals is to reject His payment and sacrifice and receive the debt that we owe, with no advocate. Just a very rejected Judge that will give justice.

Monday, November 24, 2014

You And Your Job by Bruce Larson

Bringing Your Faith To Work

How DO YOU SEE YOUR JOB? Weather you are a homemaker, a student, or a factory worker, the attitude you have about your work reveals a great deal about your faith. The Bible indicates that every Christian ought to feel a sense of vocation in his work. If you are miserable or bored in your work, or dread going to it, then God is speaking to you. He either wants to change the job you are in or-more likely-He wants to change you.
Remember the story about the blind man whom Jesus healed? When our Lord touched his eyes. He asked the man what he saw. He reported that he saw "men as trees walking." When he had received a second touch from the Master, he saw men clearly. I suspect that many of us need a "second touch" by Christ to see our jobs in their right perspective.
A friend in Illinois had joined a small group of seekers meeting for prayer and Bible study and the sharing of their faith each week. Although he had come a long way in his Christian commitment, each week he complained about the customers in his store-how unfair they were, how demanding, and how they took advantage of him. But one day this man received a "second touch" by God and began to see the people who came into his store, whether to buy a package of nails or a washing machine, as people sent by God. He anticipated each sale as an adventure in personal relationships. At Christmas time, with all the rush of increased sales, this man said to the group one night in ama7;ement (the translator messed up the last word ), ''You know, what surprises me is how the people in this town have changed. Last Christmas they were rude, pushy, and demanding, but this year I haven't had a difficult customer in my store! Everyone is understanding and trying his best to co-operate." They all laughed. They knew the change had not been in the town but in the storekeeper. But in a more profound way, perhaps the change was also in the town. As we see people through the eyes of faith, they actually do change. They respond to us almost directly in proportion to the amount of love we have for them as people.
Let me suggest five questions each of us should periodically ask ourselves about our job.
(1) Why am I here in this job? Do you feel you are in your present job because of an accident? Because you happened to answer an ad, or your brother-in-law got tired of having you sit around and found you a job? Because of ambition? These attitudes certainly undercut
any sense of Christian vocation. We should feel we are in our work because God has called us to it, in just as real a way as He has called any bishop, clergyman, or priest.
Several months ago a man asked me to call on him in his large office in New York City. He said, "A year ago I turned my life over to Jesus Christ. It happened in my church." He then described the change that had begun to happen in his home-new communication between him and his wife; deeper understanding of his teen-age daughter. There were many other evidences of his new commitment.
Then he said, "I find now, a year later, that I am still behind the same desk doing the same job in the same way, and I suspect something is wrong. If Christ has come in as Lord of my life, things ought to be very different in what I do eight or ten hours a day." He was right, of course. Now he is exploring, along with some other men, the opportunities and strategy for Christian ministry in daily work.
We must dispense with the myth that commitment to Christ means becoming a clergyman or that work done inside a church building or in a church organization is more holy, somehow, than work done in the market place. Christ came to give us a sense of calling in everyday work. This is where the world is changed, and where the Kingdom is built. Jesus Himself was a working man, and He called twelve working men to be His initial disciples. He could
have been born into a priestly family, but He was not. We must understand the really radical thing God has done in Jesus Christ, in wanting to build a new world and a new Kingdom primarily through committed working men.
(2) For whom am I working? Are you working for God, or for men? You cannot really serve both. When we are addicted to people's praise and thanks and rewards, we are in a real way under the tyranny of men and are working for them.
Often I feel terribly sorry for the wives and mothers in the world who work such long hours and never seem to be finished with their chores. If they are working for the appreciation and thanks of their families, they seldom or never get it. But when we work for God, we are free to serve others no matter how unreasonable or thankless they may be. Our reward is God Himself saying to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Daily chores take on new meaning when we work for God rather than men. One woman has this inscription Over her kitchen sink: "Divine services held here three times daily." What a marvelous freedom in washing greasy pots and pans, not for those who eat from them, but for a Lord who puts a woman into a home to serve a family for Him. We need continually to ask ourselves whether we are willing to risk our lobs and our financial security in obedience to Jesus Christ. When we really work for God, and know that it is He to whom we are responsible, and from whom we get our reward, we are then free to be His people in any given situation.
(3) What am I working for? Wages? Prestige? Or am I working to do the will of God? This has much to
say about our motives. .
Christ's own life gives us a key. When He found people abusing others in the temple, He came in and violently upset the status quo. But when people wished to destroy Him, He let them drive nails into His hands. Perhaps this is the kind of freedom Christian men and women need in their jobs; not to protect their own interests, but to look to the interests of others; to protest }When innocent people are being hurt, but not to protest for self-preservation. This freedom comes only when we can answer the question, "What am I working for?" with "To do the will of God."
Where is your security? Is it in the person who pays your salary or do you see him only as an agent whom God at this time has chosen to supply your needs? You cannot really love your boss or paymaster until you see
him as God's agent. If you see him as your provider, then you cannot be honest with him, and fear and resentment are bound to color your relationship.
I have a wonderful Chinese friend, Moses Chow. His father was one of two sons in a family in pre-communist China. He had become a Christian and was told by his father that if he persisted in following this "new god," he would be disinherited.
There was wealth in the family, but Moses' father could choose only where he had found life, and life abundant. So, in his determination to follow Jesus Christ, he was disinherited and left China. Moses Chow told us that his father went on to make a new home in a new country in the Far hast, and has' been quite successful as a Christian businessman. He left the security of the world and trusted God, who was able to provide. Meanwhile, Moses' grandfather and others fell victim to communism and lost everything. We don't follow God because He makes us secure, but our security is in God-even in economic matters.
( 4) With whom am I working? God wants us always
to be aware of the people next to us. It's not enough
just to work honestly and industriously, for Christ calls us to be a priesthood of believers who willingly take responsibility for those who are our neighbors.
A railroad engineer came to his minister and asked to be put to work as a new Christian. The minister told the engineer that there was no position in the church open at the present time, but that there was a job, and it involved the question, '1s your fireman a Christian?"
This is the concept of the priesthood of believers, when
we see that our primary job is not to be an elder, deacon, or vestryman in the church, but to be a priest to the man next to us in our daily work. This is where we need to recapture the marvelous vision God has for the priesthood of the laity.
God calls the laity to do a job the clergy cannot do in many instances. In a parish I once served, a close friend who was a doctor became quite ill. Though I visited him almost daily, I saw no improvement and no benefit from my visits. One day I went to see this Christian doctor and found him greatly improved and free from fear. t asked him what had happened, and he told me of a visit he had had a few hours before from one of the senior surgeons in the area who had prayed with him and given him a prescription. The prescription was to read Joshua 1 :9. My friend had been visibly touched by God, and not through a clergyman but through a brother physician.
(5) What kind of place am I in? Jesus Christ, by His very call to accept Him as Lord and Saviour, has brought us inside a revolutionary movement, so that the place We are in assumes tremendous importance.
No job is too menial to be of importance to a communist/ Shouldn't this same thing be true for any Christian trying to bui1d a worldwide Kingdom? Even a chambermaid making beds in a hotel can influence guests who go out and make decisions of worldwide importance. Christians should ask God to show them the nature of the place they are in. How important is the particular store, shop, industry, or service which is theirs? What could God do through that particular organization to change His world?
Recently I was speaking with a Congregational minister in New England. He told me of meeting with a group of high school students who wanted to know how: to live their faith more effectively. He asked them to think hypothetically what they would do in their school
if they were communists. They brainstormed for a time and came up with a number of things they could do to sabotage the school: cut classes, sow discord, obstruct education in all kinds of ways, from telling lies to smoking in the basement.
Suddenly, one of the boys said, "Wait a minute, isn't this just what we are doing now?" It was a wonderful eye-opener for these young people to begin to see their high school as a place where Christ could begin to change the world through them. Later on they began to discuss just what it meant to be Christ's people, building a Kingdom in their own school.
There is a revolution going on in the world. Jesus Christ Himself is the leader, and when we accept Him as our Lord, He calls us into it with Him. He needs us. He wants us to see our jobs with the eyes of faith and understanding as something far more than a means of earning a livelihood. Our jobs are places where, as revolutionaries, we help to accomplish His revolution in the hearts and lives of men everywhere.

From the book:
DARE To Live Now!
c.1965-1971
Zondervan Publishing House
65-28347