Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Success at Work

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
–Ps 37:23-24

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
–Phil 3:13-14

Brennan Manning (1934–2013), author and priest wrote, “Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors.  No evil can resist grace forever.”  It’s obvious we’ll experience these maladies as we go through life.  But such afflictions can be learning experiences so that we’re able to do better the next time.  Our determination is a key to success.  You just have to get up and try again.  An author Og Mandino (1923–19996) was reassuring when he stated, “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”

Secrets to Success

A retired four-star general in the United States army, Colin Powell (b. 1937) looked at success and concluded: “There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”  While, a former Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill (1874–1965) reasoned, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  But it was Erin Cummings (b. 1977), an actress, who summed it all up when she wrote: “At the end of the day, you are sorely responsible for your success and your failure.  And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that in your work ethic, you will start being successful.  As long as you blame others for the reason you aren’t where you want to be, you will always be a failure.”

Shaping Your Life

Skylar Grey (b. 1986), a singer-songwriter explained, “Your personal life, your professional life, and your creative life are all intertwined.  I went through a few very difficult years where I felt like a failure.  But it was actually really important for me to go through that.  Struggle, for me, is the most inspirational thing in the world at the end of the day – as long as you treat it that way.”  Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), president of the United States was however reassuring: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”  It’s for us to keep on pursuing God’s righteousness, in doing something positive, and putting our trust in his will.  Jeremiah 8:4 says that if a man falls down, he gets up again.  If he goes the wrong way, he turns around and returns to the right path.         

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Meaning of Life

And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.  He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”  So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
–Gen 3:22-23

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
–Deut 30:19-20

A Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) wrote, “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”  But Max Lucado (b. 1955), a Christian author and preacher was sure: “The meaning of life.  The wasted years of life.  The poor choices of life.  God answers the mess of life with one word: ‘grace.’”  Jesus says in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”

Our True Destiny

Thomas Merton (1915–1968), a Catholic theologian and mystic said, “Love is our true destiny.  We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”  Reid Hoffman (b. 1967), an internet entrepreneur agreed with Merton and explained his role in life: “What makes the meaning of life is people, so you try to be good to people immediately around you and in your broader community.  So a lot of my projects are about how I can affect the world in the hundreds of millions.”  To be lights to the world however, we have to heed Christ’s teaching in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Morality & Meaning

Paul Kurtz (1925–2012), a secular humanist believed, “The meaning of life is not to be discovered only after death in some hidden, mysterious realm; on the contrary, it can be found by eating the succulent fruit of the Tree of Life and by living in the here and now as fully and creatively as we can.”  Nevertheless, what makes us precious in God’s eyes?  A Canadian-born American cognitive scientist wrote, “Morality is not just any old topic in psychology but close to our conception of the meaning of life.  Moral goodness is what gives each of us the sense that we are worthy human beings.”  These beliefs might well be based on the recognition of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Monday, February 12, 2018

Helping People

Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.
–Rom 12:9-13

An Indian spiritual leader Sai Baba (1835–1918) wrote, “Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply be pouring out love.  Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.”  Saint Augustine (354–430 AD), a Christian theologian asked: “What does love look like?  It has the hands to help others.  It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.  It has eyes to see misery and want.  It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrow of men.  That is what love looks like.”  Christians do honor God when they embrace the afflicted.  Hebrews 6:10 is clear that God is just.  He doesn’t forget the work and love you show him, as you help his people.

Purpose of Life

A French-German theologian Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) believed, “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”  John Wooden (1910–2010), a basketball player agreed with Schweitzer and elaborated when he stated, “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”  Galatians 5:13 assures us as brothers and sisters we’re called to be free.  This verse warns we mustn’t use this freedom to indulge in the flesh, but rather to serve one another humbly in love.

True Humility

John 12:26 says that whoever serves Christ must follow him.  For wherever he is his servant will also be.  The Father will honor those who follow him.  Ellen G. White (1827–1915), a Christian pioneer explained, “A Christian reveals true humility by showing the gentleness of Christ, by being always ready to help others, by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts, which elevate and ennoble the most sacred message that has come to our world.”  White’s observation reminds believers of the verse in Romans 12:11 which exhort us never to lack in zeal, but to keep our spiritual fervor in serving the Lord.  We do so in serving others.   

Friday, February 2, 2018

Be Always Patient

For in this hope we were saved.  But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what they already have?  But if we hope for what we do not have, we wait for it patiently.
–Rom 8:24-25

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who have been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
–Rev 6:9-11

Joyce Meyer (b. 1943), a Christian author and speaker wrote, “I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand.  You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life.  And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient.  Patience is not just about waiting for something…it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.”  That’s why in Genesis 29:20 we read that “Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”  Such patience is a virtue mentioned throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  We could therefore say like Napoleon Hill (1883–1970), a self-help author: “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”

Art of Patience

A Brazilian lyricist and novelist, Paulo Coelho (b. 1947) stated, “I have seen many storms in my life.  Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.”  In Luke 15:11-24 we learn about the story of The Prodigal Son.  The younger and older sons faced storms in their lives.  The younger squandered his wealth in wild living, hired himself out feeding pigs, hit rock bottom, and eventually returned to his loving Father, who greeted him regally.  The older was jealous about his brother’s reception.  He never received any special treatment, and couldn’t accept his Father’s explanation concerning the joy about a lost son coming home, who was lost, and was found.  The patience of the Father to keep waiting for his son to return was exemplary of how God awaits sinners.

The Right Time

Carl Jung (1875–1961), a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst wrote, “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.  It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”  This was true for Harriet Tubman (1822–1913), an abolitionist who saved over one-thousand slaves when she stressed, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  That’s why we read in 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 that among God’s churches we boast about perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials we endure.