Work Can Be Worship

“Have you seen the painting The Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet? It portrays two peasants praying in their field. A church steeple sits on the horizon, and a light falls from heaven. The rays do not fall on the church, however. They don’t fall on the bow heads of the man and woman. The rays of the sun fall on the wheelbarrow and the pitchfork at the couple’s feet. 

“God’s eyes fall on the work of our hands. Our Wednesdays matter to Him as much as our Sundays. He blurs the secular and sacred. One stay-at-home mom keeps this sign over her kitchen sink: Divine tasks performed here daily. An executive hung this plaque in her office: My desk is my altar. Both are correct. With God, our work matters as much as our worship. Indeed, work can be worship.” —Max Lucado, in You!

(To read some other quotes from You!click here, please .)

Prayer Is The Battle

When I was growing up and struggling with a problem, my Mom would always challenge me with one simple question—“Have you prayed about it?”

This is a great question because it helps us keep the main thing the main thing.

Typically we have three substitutes for prayer—

(1) Ignoring the problem. We’re like the board of directors that was facing falling sales and falling profits, but their solution was to just wait for something magical to happen.

(2) Talking about the problem. Christians often call this “a prayer request.” We take 10 minutes to give our friends all the gory, depressing details of our situation and oftentimes say “please pray for me” as we walk away. Solomon said, “Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities” (Ecclesiastes 5:7).

(3) Working to solve the problem. This isn’t in the Bible, but many times we act as if it is: God helps those who help themselves. Instead, God wants us to call on Him so He can reveal things to us (see Jeremiah 33:3).

Something that is in the Bible is this: “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” But there is a condition for this, and it’s the part of the sentence that comes before the asking that makes all the difference—

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7).

Oswald Chambers said, “We are apt to think of prayer as a common-sense exercise of our higher powers in order to prepare us for work; whereas in the teaching of Jesus, prayer is not to fit us for the ‘greater works,’ prayer is the work. Prayer is…the means whereby we assimilate more and more of His mind, and the means whereby He unveils His purposes to us.”

Prayer IS the work!

We don’t ignore the problem, and we don’t just talk about the problem. But neither do we pray and then work on the problem. Prayer is the work!

It can’t be stated enough: Prayer doesn’t prepare us to work, prayer IS the work.

Even the Apostle Paul identified this in his teaching on spiritual warfare. In language similar to what Jesus said in John 15:7, Paul says, “Be strong IN the Lord and IN His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God SO THAT you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

Paul doesn’t tell us to ignore the devil’s schemes, nor does he tell us to talk about them. But neither does he tell us to put on God’s armor to fight against the devil’s schemes. He tells us to put on the armor of God so that we can pray (see Ephesians 6:18-20).

The armor of God is NOT to fight in, but to shield us while we pray!

PRAYER IS THE BATTLE … PRAYER IS THE WORK

When you are facing a difficulty, don’t ignore it, don’t just talk about it, and don’t go to work fighting it. Listen to the Holy Spirit asking you, “Have you prayed about it,” and then drop to your knees and PRAY!

This principle is illustrated so wonderfully in the life of David. We’ll be looking at David’s prayers over the next few weeks, and I hope you will join me in learning that prayer is the battle!

Thursdays With Oswald—Prayer Is The Work

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Prayer Is The Work 

     The key to the missionary problem is in the hand of God, not of man, and according to Our Lord, the key is prayer, not work, as that word is popularly understood, because work may mean evading spiritual concentration. Our Lord says—“Pray therefore…” [Matthew 9:38]. … 

     We are apt to think of prayer as a common-sense exercise of our higher powers in order to prepare us for work; whereas in the teaching of Jesus, prayer is not to fit us for the “greater works,” prayer is the work. Prayer is the outcome of our apprehension of the nature of God, the means whereby we assimilate more and more of His mind, and the means whereby He unveils His purposes to us. …  

     God is not impressed by our earnestness, He nowhere promises to answer prayer because of our agony in intercession, but only on the ground of Redemption. We have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,” and in no other way. … 

     The armor is for the battle of prayer [see Ephesians 6:11-20]. “Take up the whole armor of God … stand therefore …” and then pray. The armor is not to fight in, but to shield us while we pray. Prayer is the battle. … 

     We have to live depending on Jesus Christ’s wisdom, not on our own. He is the Master, and the problem is His, not ours. We have to use the key He gives us, the key of prayer. Our Lord puts the key into our hands, and we have to learn to pray under His direction. That is the simplicity which He says His Father will bless.

From So Send I You

In light of these thoughts from Oswald Chambers, how does this change your view of prayer?

Dads: Godly Influencers

Godly Influencer - fathers dayIt’s hard work being a Dad!

  • We have to be tough enough to kill spiders, yet tender enough to attend a princess tea party.
  • We have to bring home the bacon, yet not eat too much bacon so our cholesterol doesn’t get out of control.
  • We have to know the strategy of football, and the scoring for competitive cheerleading.
  • We have to be strong and gentle, smart and compassionate.
  • We have to climb the ladder at work, and build a solid foundation at home.
  • We have to knock down our competitors, and build up our children.

The Bible has a lot to say to encourage Dads to do all of these things, and to become the godly influencer God wants us to be in all aspect of our lives.

Please join me this Sunday as we learn from a man in the Bible who had everything to lose at work by doing things God’s way. Yet he chose God’s way and reaped some amazing results. Hope to see all the Dads this Sunday at 10:30am.

Improve Performance At Work, Home & School

How To Get Along With OthersA huge component of poor performance is poor communication. You might think you are communicating your expectations well, but if you are only speaking in your primary communication style, you are probably only fully connecting with 1-out-of-3 people in your life.

I previously shared some thoughts for Christians to share their faith in Jesus in a communication style that will connect with all other communication styles. Here are some thoughts for improving communication effectiveness at work, home and school, which will lead to improved performance as well.

HOW TO TALK THEIR TALK AT WORK

Doer

  • Communicate in bullet points
  • Training: give them the quick-start guide
  • Strength: implementation
  • Position: service calls on products
  • Focus: bottom line

Planner

  • Communicate with detailed instructions
  • Training: give them the full training manual
  • Strength: logistics
  • Position: back office work (accounting, billing, HR records)
  • Focus: milestones with due dates

People

  • Encourage teamwork
  • Training: take them to a seminar
  • Strength: people resources
  • Position: sales / customer service
  • Focus: milestones with due dates

Vision

  • Show them the big picture
  • Training: verbally explain to the procedures
  • Strength: brainstorming
  • Position: customer service / R&D
  • Focus: boundaries

HOW TO TALK THEIR TALK AT HOME

Doer

  • Chores: assign small chunks with a deadline
  • Tell them the bottom line

Planner

  • Chores: work with an organized schedule
  • Let them come up with the plan

People

  • Chores: Work together
  • Show them what to do, don’t tell them what to do

Vision

  • Chores: start with the end in mind
  • Give them boundaries

I shared some other ways to connect with people of different communication styles in an earlier post. You can read that here.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“With such prayer [‘Praying in the Holy Sprit’ (Jude 20)] it is an absolute certainty that I must succeed with God in prayer. If my prayer were my own prayer, I might not be so sure of it, but if the prayer which I utter be God’s own prayer written on my soul, God is always one with Himself, and what He writes on the heart is only written there because it is written in His purposes.” —Charles Spurgeon

“In the passage where the New Testament says that every one must work [Acts 20:34-35], it gives as a reason ‘in order that he may have something to give to those in need.’ Charity—giving to the poor—is an essential part of Christian morality.” —C.S. Lewis

“Security comes as we put God’s precepts into practice. We’re only as strong as our obedience.” —Max Lucado

Dan Reiland shares 6 things God says to church leaders.

“Mountain lions detect vulnerabilities in their prey and attack the weakest—the young, the sick, the injured. Studies have confirmed this instinctive cruelty. It’s how the mountain lion lives, following the scent of suffering and feasting on whatever he finds. The enemy of your hope and happiness hunts with that same instinct, with a cold-hearted and ruthless hunger for the weak or hurting. satan prowls like a roaring lion.” Read how to overcome the prowlings of the devil.

For anyone struggling with pornography, here is a great source of help: MyPilgrimage.com. Watch the introductory video, and then subscribe!

Here is some good advice for students who are addicted to pornography—

Poetry Saturday—Father And Son

Edgar A. GuestBe more than his dad,
Be a chum to the lad;
Be a part of his life
Every hour of the day;
Find time to talk with him,
Take time to walk with him,
Share in his studies
And share in his play;
Take him to places,
To ball games and races,
Teach him the things
That you want him to know;
Don’t live apart from him,
Don’t keep your heart from him,
Be his best comrade,
He’s needing you so!

Never neglect him,
Though young, still respect him,
Hear his opinions
With patience and pride;
Show him his error,
But be not a terror,
Grim-visaged and fearful,
When he’s at your side.
Know what his thoughts are,
Know what his sports are,
Know all his playmates,
It’s easy to learn to;
Be such a father
That when troubles gather
You’ll be the first one
For counsel, he’ll turn to.

You can inspire him
With courage, and fire him
Hot with ambition
For deeds that are good;
He’ll not betray you
Nor ill repay you,
If you have taught him.
The things that you should.
Father and son
Must in all things be one —
Partners in trouble
And comrades in joy.
More than a dad
Was the best pal you had;
Be such a chum
As you knew, to your boy. —Edgar A. Guest

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