Tag Archives: responsibility

dull day

Essential Ingredients for Life

Do you find that you have too many lacklustre days?

Ones where nothing seems to happen; that are just filled with the mundane. Is it that you’re just getting older and life isn’t as exciting as it used to be? Is it time to change jobs, find a new partner, take up an extreme sport or splash out on a fast car?

Well you could, but I’m guessing that in a short while the mundane days will return and then it will be time to make another change.

So, what are the essential ingredients required for a fulfilled and happy life? Is it the right job, the right partner, the right pastime. Is it the chasing after your dreams, ambitions or next exciting purchase?

Whilst all of these things have the potential to bring happiness, all will ultimately disappoint. I believe that there’s something else that has the potential to transform the mundane or stressful days regardless of our position.

Ingredient 1: Understanding Your Purpose

First and foremost, it’s vital to know that you were created on purpose and designed with purpose. God decided to create you. It wasn’t simply the decision of your parents. Nor was it just the lack of use of the appropriate method of contraception. No. God decided that he wanted a ‘insert your name here’ in the world so he created you. And why did he want one of you? Because he desired to have a friend to share creation with, someone to share his love with, someone to be in his family.

It is written in Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Ingredient 2: Take Your Eyes Off You

A focusing on our own situation is a sure and certain way to find unhappiness and dissatisfaction in life. Why? Because we’ll always be constantly aware of how very inadequate we truly are. This leads to only one conclusion, that the problem cannot be me but must be the people and things around me. I can’t possibly be at fault!

If we’re going to get a true perspective in life we must take our eyes off ourselves and look first to Christ, our perfect saviour. We first must see that Christ is the answer to our inadequacy. We are only truly complete in Him.

Acts 17:28 says, “For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Colossians 2:10 says, “So you also are complete through your union with Christ.

Ingredient 3: Find Your Function

Tools work best when they are doing what there was designed to do, not something else. Have you ever tried doing a piece of DIY with the wrong tools? It’s hard work and usually ends in a botched job or a poor result. We need to the use the right tools for the right job. And that goes for people as much as it does for tools. We’re each created with a set of distinct abilities, gifts and talents. God had a purpose in mind when he created us. Why? Because he so values us he wants for us to share in his work. Therefore it’s essential that we find out what job has given us and start operating according to the maker’s instructions. Operating in any other way is going to make a botched job of both your life and others.

1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for creating me; for choose to make me as you designed. I praise you for wanting me, for loving me.

Forgive me when I’ve not acknowledge you, when I’ve focused on my own needs and desires, and have not operated according to your plan.

Help me Lord, to live my life out in your service; that I might help fulfil your great mission. Give me your spirit and increase my faith so I can accomplish all that you have set out for me. May I be a blessing to all that I meet today.

Amen

Busyness

Eyes on you

I don’t know about you but when it comes to looking after number one, I’m pretty good at it, ashamedly so. I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess to how much of my day I spend looking after my own priorities – by that I mean thinking about my own needs instead of those around me.

Some would argue that this is no such thing as a selfless act, that even when doing things for others the giver is still benefiting for the warm glow of satisfaction. I think that this is going too far. There are certainly many acts of sacrifice that people make everyday that they neither enjoy or get satisfaction from. Anyone who is a parent knows this. Disciplining our children is always difficult for a parent but it’s a very necessary and vital part of the child’s development.

Looking after number one can take a lot of time. There is a lot to sort out! By the time I’ve written my many lists of all the things  I have to do there is little time left for anyone else. Of course, many of the things on my list are necessary and are often for the direct benefit of others, so what’s the problem?

Well, it’s not the list of tasks or the actual acts that are the problem. It’s the focus. Even in the planning list of priorities, whether for myself or others, there is the potential to focus on the wrong things. I therefore start rushing about doing things that are sometimes unnecessary and occasionally completely unhelpful. This isn’t just about whether I’m being selfish, thinking of only of myself. No. It’s about first and foremost having my focus on the only one that can help give me a clear perspective on life.

By focusing my attention on God I stop looking at my own needs, stop looking at the list of everything that needs doing, even stop looking at the needs of everyone else. And as I gaze at my father I find total acceptance, complete forgiveness, wholeness and peace. He then helps me to order my thoughts, shows me things I hadn’t noticed and then I can begin to get my priorities straight.

My outlook for the coming day has fundamentally changed. Now, as I go about my tasks, I am mindful of the people I meet. I am sensitive to what is going on in their lives. I am relaxed when trouble comes my way. And at the end of the day, I find that everything that needed to be done has been achieved. Why not start today by getting your focus onto the one who can help determine the right steps for the coming day?

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
A greater source of strength

The New Starter Test

Don’t you find that life is full of patterns. As if there are a set of laws that have to be followed. For example, the moment you make a decision to change or to start something anew there comes an immediate challenging test to try and wreck our plans. It’s not even been five minutes since we decided to turn over a new leaf, or to try extra hard from now on. We’ve made what seems like a tough and real decision to do something good. Then BANG! Not so quick, now you’ve got your special powers you can fight this monster problem.

This happened to me only yesterday. I’d been thinking and praying about whether to take on a new role within a charity I am involved in. It’s a position with a lot of responsibility and I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the job. After spending time talking to various people and listening to God everything seemed to stack up. I decided that it was the right thing to do and knew that the time was right. Before I’d even informed anyone about my decision, out of the blue came a major issue that had the potential to change my mind straight away.

This is where the rubber hits the road. God’s wants to know how serious I am, and whether I and going to trust in his ability or my own. This is one of those patterns that we see all the time and are never seemingly prepared for no matter how obvious it is to others.

My first instinct is to draw up a plan of action and to start firing off emails. My mind is spinning, desperately trying to conjure up ideas that will fix the situation. I’m in serious danger of falling at the very first hurdle. I’m thinking to myself, “I’m not up for the job. I can’t do this.” I’m already not relying on God.

It’s then as I sit down for morning quiet time and begin to read his word and clear my mind of the troubles that he softly begins to speak to me. He tells me that I am to struggle and strive for his purposes but not to use my strength and energy. I’m to use his! How on earth is that possible I ask myself. Can someone strive and wrestle a problem with another person’s power. Wouldn’t that be great if it were true. I could dream up the best person to handle this situation and use all of their gifts and abilities instead of my own.

Well, apparently it is possible. Colossians 1v28 says ‘I labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” So how do I use God’s power instead of my own? Firstly I need to talk to him about my challenges and allow him in to my situation. Secondly, I need to start trusting in his ability and believe he’s going to help me. Lastly, I need to revise my plan and expect him to do all that I cannot.

So it’s time to start trusting this morning in the one who is our inexhaustible source of strength, who is for us and with us in every situation.

Busy Bees

I’ll take care of it

Just when I begin to get everything sorted out, with all things in their right place, someone messes up what I’ve spent so long putting straight. Do you ever feel like that? The days are not long enough and all the time seems to disappear. I’m a list writer and without my lists I don’t get very much done. They are a necessity that keeps me from procrastinating or being drawn off at a tangent. They help me focus on what I need to do and remind me where I was if I get pulled into something else.

The problem with lists is that they can become rather long, especially as I being to plan out all the various things I have to take care of. There’s stuff to do round the house, there’s my work, there’s church, places I need to go, people I need to see. Something is always being forgotten.

Then there are the things that I didn’t even think about; thoughts that didn’t even enter my head. How on earth did I forget to get a mother’s day card for my wife from the dog? Why didn’t I think about what we would have for dinner this evening? Why didn’t I see that big problem looming up and do something about it sooner? There is just so many things to consider; sometimes it seems as if the world is just too big.

And, of course it is. The world, even my little part of it, is far to big for me to manage all of the details and it’s kind of inevitable that I’m going to fail to look after it all. It’s a pretty good job that, first and foremost, none of my failings are held against me. God’s word says that he keeps no record of wrongs, that I’m forgiven and nothing is held against me. Secondly, he says that he will take care of everything that I forget or neglect to do. Everything!

This means that after I’ve finished doing my work for the day, I do not need to worry or even think about the things I’ve not done. All I need to do is focus on the here and now, just today. That doesn’t mean I don’t plan for tomorrow, it means that I don’t need to worry about it. If those plans get blown off course or never come to pass then that’s alright. I can only do what I can do. Just when I need it I can rest without any guilt or condemnation. I am accepted and loved for who I am and not what I achieve.

Psalm 130:3,4 NIV If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Philippians 4:19 MSG You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.

Choices

Today is Friday 24th August. Just seemingly another day, pretty much like any other. I am 42 years old and this is my first ever blog. Although to me it’s much more than that. I have been a christian now for around 31 years and I do not consider that I have really given it my all. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I have been really committed and for more than just a few days. What I mean to say is that I feel I could have done so much more. I believe life is full of opportunities to fulfil your potential, what it comes down to is commitment versus distraction.

I guess that I’m probably not alone and that many of us would say that we have not given our best. Why is that? Why is it that even when we passionately believe something that we still don’t try our hardest. Is it laziness? Or fear of failure? A lot would say those are the most obvious reasons and maybe they are right. But for me, I would say it was distractions.

It is amazing how little time there is available now. When we were young there were endless summer days to play. Long hours cycling the streets, walking in the woods, playing with friends. Now it would seem that life is just one big rush without time to even draw breath. This is not just me getting old and wondering what I’ve done with my life. No. This is life’s great distractions.

As we get older we have more responsibilities and less choices. We have families to look after, bills to pay, jobs to do. And if we don’t do them no-one else will. What this means is that we need to be very careful about the choices we make. The young think that life will go on forever and that wasting time has little consequence. At the time they are right because they have the luxury of time and there are few immediate consequences, apart from a good ear-bending for not doing your chores! As we get older we need to be thinking more carefully about what we spend our time on, what we are going to do, but perhaps more importantly what we’re not going to spend time on. You see, its these distractions that need to be removed, the things that are no longer of worth or value to us. It really is true, we can’t do everything. Certain things don’t have place in our lives.

For me it was computer games. So many hours spent. Days at a time lost. Today gaming seems to be a pastime for both young and old, especially with the arrival of the smartphone and iPad. Everyone is seemingly playing something. I knew that I did not have the time any longer to spend on gaming. This doesn’t mean that I’m against gaming just that it is no longer right for me. It was distraction to not just my responsibilities but also to my focus on my calling. Instead of preparing and training myself for my future I was wasting hours of my life attaining another million points and killing countless thousands.

I give you this challenge today – give something up. Not just anything but something that does not have a place in your life today. It might by a sport, a TV programme or a pub visit. Ask God to tell you if you’re not sure. Now do a second thing, and this is really important. Don’t waste the time you’ve just freed up by filling it with another distraction. Go for a walk, visit a friend or spend some time with your partner. Spend that time investing in your future and maybe you will be a step closer to fulfilling your potential.