All the days of the oppressed are wretched,
but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
The trick is not always finding a job you enjoy; it’s finding joy in the job.
Food for Thought
Life is too short to be miserable. I was thirty-three before I figured that one out. Spending every waking hour trying to figure out how to make another dollar, how to pay off the mortgage early, how to save for retirement, and how to send my boys to college so it wouldn’t be so hard for them, absolutely drove me crazy. What changed the mindset? A still, small voice whispering “There’s more to life than this.” The voice was right. Are those same concerns still very real? Yes. Do I still worry about them? No. All I can do is all I can do. Blessings are in God’s hands. My job is to do what’s in front of me and find joy in the doing. He’ll provide my heart’s desires as He sees fit.
- If you’re miserable in your job, try this little experiment: Be the absolute best employee you can be for 30 days. Perform every task as if you were working for God instead of working for men. Put others ahead of yourself and genuinely serve them.
- If you begin to find joy in what you do, keep doing it. Pray for God to show you how to go to the next level in your work and your relationships.
- If you still find no joy in doing these things, don’t bother looking for another job. You’ll be miserable there, too. Focus on fixing your relationship with the Father before fixing your career.
A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.
It’s not about having what you want. It’s about wanting what you’ve got.
Food for Thought
For years I didn’t want much, just what was next: the next client, the next house over, the next car in the driveway, the next accomplishment, the next office…it made me miserable. It rotted my business bones. It you want peace, look around at what God has already blessed you with and thank Him. Keep in mind that it’s temporary, not permanent, and there will come a time when you won’t have what you’ve got to enjoy anymore.
- Here’s some more of that self-help from Solomon: You want a healthier you? Seek peace. Avoid envy. Go ahead, it’s good for you!
- When you feel that churn coming on — that wanting for more — go get reconnected with your Source of life. Find a place — a park, a field, a special room in your house — that you can associate with peace. Guard this place as your own personal refuge.
- Cut back on TV, Internet, newspapers, and magazines. It’s Madison Avenue’s job to make you want more. Don’t let them win.
A good man obtains favor from the LORD,
but the LORD condemns a crafty man.
When you’re running the ship, you’re better off surrounding yourself with honest, decent people than those who manage to get things done no matter what the cost. Not only will you get the truth when you need it, some of that favor from the Lord may rub off on you.
Food for Thought
Why be good? Why not live by the axiom, “eat and drink for tomorrow we die”? Because striving to be a better person tomorrow than you are today — because seeking to be more honest, more noble, more righteous, more pure, and more compassionate than you were yesterday — is seeking the heart of God rather than the hearts of men. This journey, this running after God, is the only thing I know of that can fill the hole in my soul. It is an earnest response to an overwhelming God, a God who loves us greater than our current state, who sees us the way we can be.
- Why do we seek the favor of men rather than of God?
- If you were to decide today, “I’m going to seek God with all my heart rather than run after the things of men,” what would change in your life? Make a list of those changes. Start today with the first item on your list.
- Repeat step 2 until the list is completed. Ask God to examine your heart and reveal the next list.
A kindhearted woman gains respect,
but ruthless men gain only wealth.
You can have a wealthy company that’s not respected, and you can have a respected company that doesn’t make a dime. There’s a better way: Build a company that is respected and creates wealth. You’ll be around a lot longer that way.
Food for Thought
Brands: Everyone and every company has them. What’s your personal brand? Don’t know? Ask a child. Why a child? They’re honest. Don’t go any older than five, if possible, because by then, society is already shaping their perspective on the truth. Go ahead, I dare you. Don’t know any five-year-olds? Then volunteer at a school or a church. Learn how to win the hearts of children. It will go a long way in helping you understand how to develop a brand of worth and it’s a better barometer than any PR firm I know.
- Are you ruthless or kindhearted? Better be honest with yourself on this one because it will determine how long you hold on to any wealth you’ve created or any you plan to develop in the future.
- If you’re ruthless (I was cutthroat in an earlier life), put yourself in situations that will develop a godly sense of compassion and kindness in your life. Hint: You can do this on your own (it’s calling humbling yourself before God), or you can wait for Him to do it for you. Experience tells me it’s best to be proactive.
- Stick with the program. If a school or church will have you, work honestly with children to help them grow. Over time, you’ll see the difference in yourself and increase your chances of growing out of your ruthlessness. Believe me I know.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.
Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs.
CEOs: Dissension will absolutely, positively kill you. If you sense there is dissension on your team, weed it out and get rid of it. Work toward building a team that loves you, would die for you, and you feel the same way toward them.
Food for Thought
The older I get, the more the term “dissension” sounds like a four-letter word. It’s just nasty. It’s the opposite of harmony. Without harmony life is a grinding misery. In all your relationships, seek unity. Surround and infuse your relationships with love. It does a lot more than just cover over all wrongs. It’s the great cure for what ails us.
- Make a monthly, if not weekly, habit of reading I Corinthians 13. It’s Paul’s beautiful essay on what love is and what it isn’t.
- If there is dissension in areas of your life, seek out the dissenter and see if the situation can be fixed. Pray about this relationship. Ask God to repair the breach. If it cannot be fixed, this relationship should be abandoned.
- Remember the rule you first learned in Kindergarten: Play nice with others.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For through me your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
Men have searched for the formula for a long life for centuries — and here it was all along, right under our noses!
Food for Thought
We’re always looking for a good return on our investment. What better investment could there be then the one recorded in this proverb? Master this message and you can count on many days and years added to your life. The strategy is simple: Start by fearing the Lord. What does that mean? Well, to paraphrase Bill Cosby, “I made you and I can take you out.” He’s the creator, judge, and jury. That’s a good place to begin with a healthy sense of fear for the Lord. What’s next? “Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” That’s a lifelong pursuit. Fortunately, He left us 66 books that reveal His heart, and a world that reveals his ability. Get to know both and you’re on your way.
- What do you know about the mind of God? Do you know what’s important to Him? What’s close to His heart? Do you understand how passionate He is for you? If not, you’ve got to get into His word more often. It’s all there.
- We have the opportunity to have a love affair with the creator of the world. If you want a template for what this looks like, read David’s Psalms.
- Pray often for God to reveal His heart to you. It’s a lot better than what’s on TV.
- Work toward replacing your goals with God’s goals. They’re far more rewarding pursuits.
Dear friend, pay close attention to this, my wisdom;
listen very closely to the way I see it.
Then you’ll acquire a taste for good sense;
what I tell you will keep you out of trouble.
The lips of a seductive woman are oh so sweet,
her soft words are oh so smooth.
But it won’t be long before she’s gravel in your mouth,
a pain in your gut, a wound in your heart.
She’s dancing down the primrose path to Death;
she’s headed straight for Hell and taking you with her.
She hasn’t a clue about Real Life,
about who she is or where she’s going.
So, my friend, listen closely;
don’t treat my words casually.
Keep your distance from such a woman;
absolutely stay out of her neighborhood.
You don’t want to squander your wonderful life,
to waste your precious life among the hardhearted.
Why should you allow strangers to take advantage of you?
Why be exploited by those who care nothing for you?
You don’t want to end your life full of regrets,
nothing but sin and bones,
Saying, “Oh, why didn’t I do what they told me?
Why did I reject a disciplined life?
Why didn’t I listen to my mentors,
or take my teachers seriously?
My life is ruined!
I haven’t one blessed thing to show for my life!”
Do you know the saying, “Drink from your own rain barrel,
draw water from your own spring-fed well”?
It’s true. Otherwise, you may one day come home
and find your barrel empty and your well polluted.
Your spring water is for you and you only,
not to be passed around among strangers.
Bless your fresh-flowing fountain!
Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!
Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose—
don’t ever quit taking delight in her body.
Never take her love for granted!
Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a whore?
for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger?
Mark well that God doesn’t miss a move you make;
he’s aware of every step you take.
The shadow of your sin will overtake you;
you’ll find yourself stumbling all over yourself in the dark.
Death is the reward of an undisciplined life;
your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.
—Proverbs 5, The Message
The office is not a safe place. When dealing with the opposite sex in a work environment, never, ever, ever let your guard down.
Food for Thought
Can it happen to you? Yep. Don’t think it can’t. Enough said.
- Do you honor your spouse every day or do you take him or her for granted? Be honest.
- Make it a point — some how, some way — to show your spouse just how important they are to you on a daily basis.
- If you find yourself attracted to someone in your work place, read this proverb again. No matter how attractive, how alluring, how (fill in the blank here with whatever you’re missing that you think needs to be fulfilled), do you really think it’s going to work out well in the end? Don’t fool yourself. It’s not worth it.
The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
He mocks proud mockers
but gives grace to the humble.
The wise inherit honor,
but fools he holds up to shame.
Keep your own house in order and you’ve got a better shot at keeping your business house in order.
Food for Thought
It’s been said that charity, or love, begins at home. So does your search for wisdom. Every exchange you have with your spouse and your children is an opportunity to grow in love, in righteousness, and wisdom. If you’re the head of the house, that doesn’t mean that your job is to always impart wisdom either. Listen. Listening to a godly spouse and the thoughts of a child can be like sitting at the feet of God if you’ll allow the relationship to grow in such a manner.
- When you turn off the ignition and before you walk through the door tonight, say this simple prayer: “Lord, may this house be a place of love, righteousness, and wisdom. Instead of going in there and just living, let me look for opportunities to listen to the people I love most. May You speak to me through them. Help me to smile more than I frown and help me to listen much more than I speak.”
- Tomorrow, instead of looking for your next quick fix of spirituality, read this issue again. Repeat the prayer. Commit to growing a house that’s focused on love, righteousness, and wisdom.
- Repeat daily until you get this one right.
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
— Proverbs 3:11-12
Seek the spanking. Beg for the beating. We’re not talking masochism here, friends, we’re talking guide rails to safeguard your soul. Take God up on the offer. Pray for His daily discipline.
Food for Thought
When do I see God? When God takes every distraction away from me. A while back, that meant losing every business interest. What was left? Me, on the floor of my office, weeping, crying out to God to come save me and bail me out of the mess my life had become. His answer?
“No, I won’t bail you out, but I’ll sit here on the floor with you.”
“Don’t you care about me?”
“More than you’ll ever know.”
“What am I going to do?”
“For starters, why don’t you get to know Me a little better.”
I took Him up on His offer and I haven’t regretted a moment since. If you seek God, He’ll simplify the convoluted mess this life can become. Sometimes that means taking away all your toys for a while. That’s OK. What He gives back in return is priceless.
- At bedtime tonight, take one of your shoes and throw it underneath your bed. In the morning, when you’re down there on your knees looking for your shoe, take the time to ask God to not only be a part of your life, but to take complete control of your life.
- Take inventory: what’s taking away from your time with God? What could you set aside for a while and use that time to focus on Him?
- Examine: How much of your day is spent chasing what’s near and dear to your own heart? Ask God to reveal what’s near and dear to His heart and as He shows you what’s important to Him, ask Him to refocus your “To-Do” list to better match His priorities.