Stand Up Against Leftism Before it’s Too Late

If the last year-and-a-half has taught us anything, it has taught us that it matters who we elect as leaders. It seems that politics and government have taken centerstage in every sphere of society.

Free speech is under attack and Leftist policies are advancing every where we look. Many are finally waking up to the reality of what has been happening behind closed doors.

We have seen the importance of having strong leadership and we have seen the devastating effects of poor leadership. We have seen the value of leaders with good and righteous motives and the destruction caused by leaders with self-centered, corrupt and greedy motives.

Big Tech has been given far too much power and control. It has allowed cancel culture to thrive, including censorship of the President of the United States of America.

The way Donald Trump has been treated should shock everyone, including those who oppose him. It goes without saying that those against standing Trump would never accept the same tech silencing and slandering treatment of someone they supported.

We have seen rabid hypocrisy that has been put on display from politicians like California Governor, Gavin Newson, California Congresswoman, Nanci Pelosi, and Texas House Democrats.

We have seen the politicization of ‘science’ with policies and guidance that are ever-changing, even contradicting and have a massive lack of evidence-based justification. Leaders like Dr. Fauci consistently changing their guidance with no explanation for clear conflicts with former guidance.

Sadly, the rampant Leftism in our culture today is even making its way into the Christian church.

Following typical elections, most people rarely notice a change to their daily lives. But everyone can now seen the consequences of who we elect and the power they have. Or perhaps more accurately, the power they have taken.

The time is now

If we don’t stand up and stop the Leftist push against every sphere of our society, we will be left with a destroyed nation that is unrecognizable. An America where individual freedom, free speech, limited government, fiscal responsibility, critical thinking, the rule of law, religious freedom and traditional families will be a thing of the past.

These are all explicit targets of the Left. The attacks are coming in the culture, in fake news, in social justice activist organizations, and even in legislation and regulation.

What’s next?

The good news is that many are standing up. They are taking action and fighting back. They are taking a stand for what is right and true.

The true agendas like those in education are being exposed. It has become clear that schools have prioritized indoctrinating students with leftest ideology, like CRT or gender confusion, rather than simply providing an education and strengthening their ability to learn and think critically.

Government overreach is becoming more and more clear by the day. And at the forefront of the agendas coming to light is election fraud.

What about you?

But what can you do? What should you do? What must you do?

We must use our voice. We must take a stand. We must understand the times we are in. We must get involved.

Everyone should be interested in politics today. Everyone who was not paying attention suddenly should have an interest because they can now see the direct impact that political leadership has on their lives.

A difference can be made with even a little effort. Learning more about local education curriculum. Going to a local school board meeting and taking a stand. Contacting your political representatives. Helping REAL conservatives get elected. Standing up for your real beliefs. Talking to fellow church members and leadership. Asking question that challenge the thinking of others. And searching for the truth beyond the headlines.

These are just a few of the ways that we can make a difference. We need to stand up and take action. The time to act is now.

What part will you play in helping get our culture and government back on track?

7 Keys to Get You Unstuck Today

Do you feel stuck?

Like you just keep trying to get where you want to go but nothing seems to stick? You find yourself moving onto the next thing to see if that will work instead? You’re not alone. I’ve been there and I want to share how I got unstuck, so you can do the same.

There are many reasons we can get stuck, but I want to highlight just a few core ones that you can use right away to evaluate where you’re at and what you can do to get UNSTUCK.

Rest assured that the enemy wants you to remain stuck and God wants you unstuck, so you can pursue His call on your life. Today is the day.

For any of what you read next to make a difference that lasts, you must first know Jesus Christ. If you don’t have a real personal relationship with Him as your Savior and Lord, email me or schedule some time and let’s talk (Ryan@yourfaithatwork.org).

1. Get full and stay full

You can’t pour anything out of an empty cup. You need to have your cup overflowing if you want to be the best version of you and of value to anyone else. I unconsciously thought this was selfish, but finally realized that the best thing I can do is to stay full so I can be at my best.

So, what fills you up? What makes a great day for you? What makes you excited? Podcasts? Reading? Writing? Slow starts to the day? Talking with friends? Prayer? Whatever it is, do it and do it more consistently. Make it a priority to stay full.

You need to make time for it. You have to prioritize investing in yourself. There’s a reason the airlines tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first: you can’t help anyone else if you pass out. You can’t be at your best if you’re not full.

2. Manage your state

I learned I must take responsibility for how I feel, my attitude, and my mindset. How you show up is up to you. You want to always be the best version of yourself, so how do you accomplish that?

You are responsible for how you feel and the mindset you adopt. Take notice: are you generally in a good mood or a bad mood? Do you have a positive outlook or a negative outlook? How did you interpret what happened to you yesterday? How did you respond on the inside?

Do you let the attitudes of others have an undesired impact on you? Stop making excuses and don’t give them that kind of power. Learn to manage your state and rise above what’s happening around you – Jesus didn’t always respond the same to people and circumstances, but it was always measured and in control.

I have found that with just a little focused effort, we can make a massive difference. If you notice you’re in a bad mood, don’t wait until the end of the day to deal with it. Take control of your attitude, your mindset and your state. Every moment of every day.

3. Take a hard look at yourself

Evaluate important areas of your life; what’s working well and what’s not? Take steps to put things in the right order. Do you have alignment between what you value and what you spend your time on?

Get clear on what’s working and do more of it. Get clear on what’s not working and take steps to fix it or remove it. Focus on becoming a leader you would want to follow. Do this in every area God has assigned to you.

4. Make a decision, then take fast action

The first step is to make a decision. Once you have made up your mind, I mean really made up your mind, it’s time to take action. If you’re not motivated to act, you haven’t made a real decision.

Start with small steps. Make smaller commitments so you can keep them. I have found that I was often frustrated because I couldn’t even keep commitments I made to myself. Once I recognized it, I made smaller commitments that I could easily keep with no mental resistance. If it’s too big, I ended up doing nothing.

Take small steps and focus on consistency, not doing everything at once. Achievement and perfection are great attributes but not if they become roadblocks to progress.

5. Fix the energy leaks

Do you have any small things that constantly pester you? An ever-increasing to do list? The mess of papers or piles of mail? Half-done tasks? Nagging thoughts about the past? Worries about the future or decisions you’re putting off?

Whatever it is it, is stealing your energy, joy and peace. What can you do today to start fixing an energy leak? Do you need to forgive yourself or someone else? Maybe you need to finally resolve to deal with something – today is the day.

If it’s something physical like a messy desk, set a timer and work on it for just 10 minutes before you sleep tonight. You will feel the difference.

6. Stop trying to change others or please others

Making a change for yourself is already a full time job. Don’t try to add changing others. You are responsible to God for what you do and how you act. God can change others when it’s time.

Make sure the change you’re making is not only because you want it to lead to a change in others. If that’s your reason, you will eventually grow weary and give up if they don’t change. Make your reason because you want to be obedient to God and glorify Him by being the best version of you, just like you were created to become.

If you have been prioritizing pleasing others at the expense of what you really want and your own convictions, start to learn how to express what you really want. People may not always respond positively, but at least they will be getting the real version of you.

It’s a process and you will make mistakes – just keep on the path.

7. Master your thinking

Lastly, and certainly not least, pay attention to what you think about. In a way, this one overshadows all the others.

We have 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day and research shows that for most people 80% of them are negative. You can’t always choose what comes into your mind but you can choose what stays there and what you dwell on.

Continually renewing your mind brings you into agreement with the truth of God’s Word (Rom 12:2).

Take the next step

All of these must be done with the Holy Spirit’s guidance and as a means to deepen your fellowship with Jesus. You can’t do it on your own. You must be in God’s Word and in regular time of prayer and worship.

Which one of these impacted you the most? Did you get some sense of relief or freedom?

Want a jump start? I can help

If you want help, send me an email (Ryan@yourfaithatwork.org) or set up a FREE video call for us to chat about getting you UNSTUCK and on the path God laid out for you before you were even born.

Prophetic and Situational Revelation

The below post is an excerpt from the dissertation, Faith At Work: An Exploration of the Role of Work in the Life of Followers of Jesus Christ, published in May 2019 by Dr. Ryan S. Howard at Louisiana Baptist University.

It is important to live in close intimacy and relationship with God and to abide by the general principles and virtues set forth throughout this chapter. However, there is more to how God wants to work through His people. God wants to work through revelation. All throughout the Bible, one can see God revealing not only His truth to His people but also His knowledge and wisdom. He gives wisdom to His followers for how to apply knowledge in unique and difficult situations. He is not providing new revelation that should be added to His Word. To further clarify this principle, it will be helpful to establish a new term for the specific kind of revelation God wants to provide to His followers in their work. The new term that can be used is situational revelation. In order to define, understand and rightly apply this term and concept, it will be helpful to briefly review several different types of revelation.

Revelation can be defined as, “The disclosure of divine secrets, knowledge, or other information from the divine realm to humans.”[1] It can also be defined as, “the supernatural communication of truth to the mind.”[2] Before discussing situational revelation further, it will be helpful to briefly review a few of the ways that revelation occurs in the Bible. The below definitions are generally understood and are intended to provide a general overview for comparison, rather than a doctrinal exposition:

  • Scriptural revelation refers to the inspired Word of God, the Canon, which is complete, infallible, inerrant, and to which can no longer be added (2 Tim 3:16-17).
  • General revelation is generally accepted as that which God reveals of Himself through creation and through people as made in His image (Rom. 1:20).
  • Special revelation can refer to unique revelation given to individuals by God, such as the prophets, or to God’s unique revelation of the truth about Jesus, which can bring people into a relationship with Him (Acts 9:3-9).
  • Prophetic revelation is also referred to as prophecy and can refer to several matters, such as the work of a prophet in Scripture, a proclamation about the future or the unknown, or a message from God to His people. It can also refer to a divine message directed through an individual for another individual or group of people (Jer. 7:7).
  • Natural revelation refers to divination or the “interpretation of omens.”[3] This type of so-called “revelation” is not from God and is condemned throughout Scripture (Deut. 18:9-12, Lev. 19:26-31, Acts 19:19).

Situational revelation can then be referred to as knowledge and wisdom that is revealed by God to a believer and is related to a specific situation or circumstance. The term situation is used because it is unique to the time and place. The term revelation is used because the knowledge and wisdom exist in the mind of God before they are revealed to the believer. Situational revelation from God can only come to those who have a true relationship with Jesus. Prophetic revelation is most similar in concept and application to that of situational revelation.

The Bible includes many examples of this type of revelation from God to His people. God worked through situational revelation when Joseph interpreted the dream of Pharaoh. When Pharaoh asked Joseph for the interpretation, Joseph responded, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (Gen. 41:16 ESV).[4] God revealed the dream’s interpretation to Joseph. God also gave Joseph the right approach to prepare for the famine that would develop in Egypt, which provides yet another example of situational revelation. Daniel also sought God for an answer to know and interpret the dream of a king. After time in prayer with his companions, Daniel received knowledge of both the dream itself and the interpretation of the dream to share with the king (Dan. 2:16-24, 31-45). Daniel made the point clear that his knowledge came as a revelation from God, when he said, “this mystery has been revealed to me” (Dan. 2:30).[5]

Daniel also made it clear that God was giving him the answer to a difficult problem that no one else could resolve. When he answered the king, Daniel said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days […]” (Dan 2:27-28 ESV).[6] God revealed mysteries to Daniel and He desires to work the same way with His people today.

In the Bible, God also gave others like Joseph and Esther answers to tough problems that no one else could solve and that no one else was in a position to solve. They received specific directions and revelation from God in unique situations that required partnership with Him to navigate. Each of these three advised the leadership of nations; they were not leaders of churches, or synagogues or a temple. God revealed and convicted each of these people to take the action needed. The book of Esther does not even mention the name of God, but He is the clear orchestrator of events. People face difficult problems today in their work, no matter what kind of work they pursue. God still desires to help resolve those unique problems and to give revelatory wisdom to His people. While work is not solely about solving difficult problems, it is certainly something that God often uses to glorify His name.

Working with God through prophetic, special and situational revelation is clearly much more than simply applying principles. It requires a deep intimate connection to God. To be clear, this type of revelation is not in any way equated with the inspired Word of God, or an absolute controlling “must-do” for the believer. In each of the examples provided, they could have chosen not to act with the wisdom and knowledge they had. However, each of them did choose to partner with God in their unique situations, which resulted in the expanding of His Kingdom’s influence on earth and brought glory to His name. Christ-followers are called to do the same today.

God still works through unique revelation to His people. It is not revelation of new truth, but revelation of wisdom for the time at hand that is always in line with His Word. The right application of knowledge for what can often be complicated and difficult circumstances. With God’s direction, the people in biblical examples were able to take the perfect action that was needed, and with God’s direction, His people can do the same today.

 

[1] David P. Melvin, “Revelation,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), electronic ed., no pp. available.

[2] M. G. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1893), electronic ed., no pp. available.

[3] David P. Melvin, “Revelation,” electronic ed., no pp. available.

[4] Holy Bible: English Standard Version, Gen. 41:16.

[5] Holy Bible: English Standard Version, Dan. 2:30.

[6] Holy Bible: English Standard Version, Dan. 2:27-28.

7 Tips to Make 2020 A Great Year

The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead. Whether you are the type to set goals or not, these easy tips will help you ensure that 2020 is your best year yet.

Below are 7 simple tips to help you get the most out of 2020.

1. Use Process Goals

It is great to set goals for what we want to achieve, but I have found it to be much more effective to also set goals related to process. We want to have our larger goals and outcomes in mind, but we can’t forget about what it will take to get there.

For example, if I wanted to publish one article per week this year, I would make a process goal of writing for 25 minutes at least three times per week. That would give me the PROCESS that would help me to achieve the OUTCOME.

2. Use Micro-Habits

Making lasting change can be difficult. But if we put our focus on the right area, we can make true changes that will last.

Micro-habits are tiny commitments that will take very little motivation or effort to complete. They can even be so small that they are almost embarrassing to mention.

Micro-habits are a great way to make small changes that will lead to lasting results.

The idea is that there will be no mental resistance to getting started. Then once the ball is rolling, we can continue past what we planned. Plus if we only do the small commitment, we can move forward guilt free.

Here are some examples:

  • Reading one page of a book before sleeping
  • Writing for ten minutes
  • Running for 10 minutes
  • Praying for one minute
  • Drinking a single glass of water

Each of these can be used to create new habits that can be built on over time.

3. Set and Review Priorities Regularly

If we want to have the best year we can, we must set goals and priorities. Take some time to think about the last year and what you want to be the same and different for this year.

Take time to actually write out your priorities and goals for the next year. Then review them daily for at least a week and then whatever interval is helpful after the first week.

When you review them, make small commitments that can move them forward.

4. Focus on the Next Step

While it is great to keep the bigger picture in mind, when planning your progress, it is best to think about the exact next step you need to take.

Be sure to break larger projects and goals down into smaller more manageable tasks. This way you can identify the exact next step you need to take to move everything forward.

This will help you to keep from getting stuck and keep the ball rolling.

For example, when my goal was to organize the garage, my steps were the following: 1) separate all trash and cardboard, 2) cut up old boxes, 3) put up wall racks for tools, 4) organize tool boxes, 5) organize tool bench, and so on.

You can see that the larger goal of organizing the garage can seem overwhelming, but the smaller steps can be addressed individually to make progress quickly.

5. Strive for Consistency

As you review your goals each day or week, strive to make consistent progress on each of them. You don’t have to finish everything at once, but if you can consistently move things forward, you will stay motivated and will achieve great things.

Whatever you commit to, make it small commitments and focus on one thing at a time. The consistency builds motivation and can keep you going.

Don’t let yourself get bogged down with over-complication. Just keep it simple.

6. Use Sprints to Make Quick Progress

Consider using a hyper-focus on one task or goal you want to accomplish. This is a “sprint” where you focus on one thing intensely for a week or two.

For example, when wanted to finish a video course quickly, I spent all my time on it for a week until it was ready.

Another smaller examples were to create a webinar slide deck. I gave myself one week to have a product ready to go. No matter what, I had to have SOMETHING ready.

My desire to “perfect it” had to come only after the first draft was completed.

7. Talk and Write About It

Two powerful ways to get real commitment from yourself is to write things down and to share them with others. Share your plans with others and talk about your progress.

Writing and talking about what you what to accomplish will help you to gain much needed clarity on your goals and priorities. It also helps you establish what needs to be done next.

Bringing it All Together

These simple tips have helped me to accomplish a lot over the last year. I certainly didn’t always apply them perfectly, but they are always easy to come back to.

Don’t be too hard on yourself this year and don’t let your big goals overwhelm you. If you find yourself off track, just hit reset and get right back to it.

So what will you do to help ensure that you have a great year ahead? What else will help you to focus on having a great year in 2020? Be sure to let me know!

How to Live Out Your Faith in the Workplace (Interview)

The below interview with Dr. Ryan Howard was hosted by Mike Henry, Sr. from Follower Of One. The interview and below post were originally published at FollowerOfOne.org.

Follower Of One is a ministry that seeks to help people follow Jesus in their place of work. Christ-followers with full-time jobs join Follower of One to connect with like-minded believers who encourage, equip and mobilize one another.

Live Out Your Faith

Listen to Dr. Ryan Howard talk about faith in the workplace and how you can learn to live out your faith through it. He’s explored how work has a central role in the life of Christ-followers. Find out how it is a theme all throughout the Bible and how God uses it to accomplish His will.
How can His will help you go to work with a different perspective? Find out in this episode. He has called you to be a light in whatever job He’s placed you in. Choose to be His ambassador today.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30]   What does it mean to integrate faith in the workplace?
  • [6:22]   Learn the importance of partnering with God in your daily work
  • [10:30] What has God called you to do?
  • [20:11] Learn what’s up and coming at YourFaithAtWork.org
  • [24:47] How to hear from God

Find out how to partner with God in your daily work

To be an ambassador for God day-to-day means that you live out your faith in the workplace. There are so many different callings. You don’t have to be a pastor or missionary to be able to do God’s work. Ryan talks about the importance of partnering with God. It’s not a matter of trying to apply things you’ve simply memorized. It’s an interactive relationship with God where He helps you in everyday things. Listen now to hear examples from the Bible – people who not only prayed and received God’s help but had constant interaction with Him. Find out how God wants to be engaged with you in everything – including your work.

Learn how to join God in the work He’s doing around you

No matter what kind of work you’re involved in, God’s there. He has a specific plan for the relationships you will make and people you’ll influence. Your job is to represent Him and do what He has for you there so that He can be glorified. Ryan’s free downloadable eBook called “21 Days to a New Workplace You” is a jumpstart guide to faith at work. It takes the everyday things we should be doing as Christ-followers and teaches how to infuse those into our work. Listen to how it can change your perspective. You’ll find out how God is at work in every detail of your workday. You simply need to be aware of it.

In addition to the eBook, find out other resources available at YourFaithAtWork.org. Find his podcast on all apps. Ryan is also working on another book, a five-day video series, and webinars. In this episode, find out about these and more and how his ministry can help you grow in your walk with Jesus.

How do I figure out what my anointed calling is?

When you’re doing what you were created to do, it glorifies God. Even if you’re not necessarily talking about Jesus, God can use anything to draw others to Himself. Ryan points out that there’s a lot more to living for God than just talking about Him.

God used the book Anointed for Business to help bring clarity to what He wanted him to pursue. So many others from seminary were going into the pastorate, but he wasn’t drawn toward that. He always felt pulled toward business. Hear more about Ryan’s calling to help people live out their faith in their work. Listen to this episode to hear him talk about anointing for various positions – not only for those in ministry. Find out how your specific job can be used as kingdom work and how God cares about it.

Learn to recognize God and how to integrate your faith in the workplace

It’s easy to get caught up in habits and the way we do our jobs. That itself can become a barrier for us inviting God to be more part of our day. Ryan talks about our need for self-examination. As Christ-followers, evaluating ourselves is important so that we don’t get used to a certain mode of operation. Listen to how you can create new habits. Become sensitive to hearing from God and learn how to develop spiritual disciplines to help you integrate your faith at work. You’ll become more sensitive to what God is already doing.

Prioritize your relationship with Christ. Take the first step of making a small commitment – whether it’s to spend more time in prayer or read one chapter of your Bible daily. Find something you can do consistently and set your mind to stick with it. Learn to build that little habit and it will grow. Listen now to hear more about this. Then you’ll find that the more of God you have, the more you’ll want.

Connect with Dr. Ryan Howard

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Follower Of One

Join us over in our Online Community, get social with us; FacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Listen to our podcast on your way to work and subscribe using your favorite podcast app!

This post was originally published at FollowerOfOne.org.

4 Lessons from Peter Walking on Water

The Apostle Peter was a man who stumbled, but never failed to follow Jesus. His life was filled with many lessons that can encourage us today and give us hope for our own walk with Christ.

This post will consider 4 specific lessons we can learn from when he walked on water with Jesus in Matthew 14:25-31.

Lesson 1. Peter had great faith

Peter wanted to take the risk. He wanted to walk on the water – it was his idea (Matt. 14:28). He stepped out in faith when Jesus told him to, even though it didn’t make sense to his natural understanding.

What about you? Where do you need to step out in faith? No matter how hard Peter thought about it, he couldn’t have come up with a way that he could walk on water. Sometimes we need to take the step God is calling us to before we can see how it will unfold.

Where are you staying safe in the boat instead of stepping out in faith onto the water?

Lesson 2. Peter’s doubt came from his natural eyes

Peter doubted when he looked at his surroundings and took his eyes off Jesus. It can be far too easy to take our eyes off Jesus and to become consumed with our circumstances.

When we only look at what is around us, we can’t see things the way God sees them. When Peter looked at his surroundings, his faith withered and he began to sink. The same happens with us today. When we keep our eyes on God, we can walk by faith.

What about you? Is there a situation that makes it easy to take your eyes off Christ? The first step is to recognize it and give God time to give you His perspective on things.

Remember, it’s always about Him and His desire to make you more like Christ. He will use it to build His Kingdom and spread His influence.

We may not always see how, so we need to trust Christ. That is what it means to walk by faith.

Lesson 3. Peter turned to Jesus when he started to sink

When Peter sank (failed), he turned to Jesus, not back to the boat (his old way). When we encounter problems, it can be easy to just focus on the situation in front of us or on how our natural self may want to handle something.

When Peter realized what was happening, he reached out to Jesus in desperation. Jesus saved him and He desires to do the same today.

We are safe when we reach out to Jesus for help, but it doesn’t mean everything will be easy or that there will be no problems.

What about you? Where do you need to turn back to Christ for help? Don’t waste time thinking you need to fix something before you turn to Him. Reach out and grab for His hand  – He is ready and waiting for you.

Lesson 4. Jesus helped Peter immediately

Jesus didn’t leave Peter to fend for himself and figure out how to get out of the situation caused by his doubt. When Peter asked Jesus to save him, Jesus immediately reached out His hand and caught him (Matt. 14:31) and will do the same for us today.

Jesus also gave Peter an aspiration when He asked him, “why do you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31). The simplicity of this question from Jesus makes it clear just how unnecessary Peter’s doubt was.

What about you? Where do you doubt? Where can you reach your hand out to Jesus? Just turn to Him and He will help you immediately.

Summing it up

Peter is a great example for us today. He wasn’t perfect and failed more than once, but he always followed Christ. He didn’t let his own shortcomings get in the way or slow him down.

We would do well to walk in the boldness and faith that Peter had. How can you do that today?

Should You Just Let it Go?

What bothers you in your work? Should you just let it go? For many things, we do just need to move on, but there are times when they may deserve more attention. So, how do you know which approach is best?

We need to partner with God for discernment in each situation.

God told Adam in the garden to subdue the earth and have dominion over everything in it. Do you think Jesus would just sit back and let something happen that he didn’t have an appetite to tolerate?

We have been given authority over the ground on which we walk. Including our work. When the time comes where it isn’t appropriate to just let it go, its time to take action.

Of course, I’m not claiming that we should get our way all the time, but I believe we put up with a lot more than we need to and a lot more than we were meant to. This is true both spiritually and in the natural world around us.

Are there patterns around you that you want changed? Any behaviors of coworkers toward you that could be toxic? Any projects or situations you want revitalized? I want to encourage you to seek God for direction and to prepare to take action.

I had a time in my career where I could sense that several individuals had distain toward me and they were often condescending in their tone toward me and others. It had become awkward at times and others could see the lack of teamwork and cooperation.

I finally realized that I had let it go on for far too long. Even more than one interaction should have been enough for me to speak up. I eventually did speak up and things changed almost immediately.

There are many tactical approaches to take, but simply pointing an issue out and humbly asking for a change may be all that is needed. But when you do so, don’t forget Matthew 7:5, which says to “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” This verse is truth for how we live in general, and it provides advice on how to approach others in correction.

Even if we don’t act perfect all the time, it doesn’t mean we cannot ask for behavior change in others. Sometimes just recognizing an imperfection of our own is enough to take the harsh edge off our request for the other person to change.

So whats going on around you that you would like to see changed? In my experience, the longer we let something go on, the harder it is to bring it up, and the weaker we look and feel in not doing so. Sometimes we just have to suck it up and rip off the band-aid.

We should always seek God in prayer for the interaction and for protection and blessing over the other person. We don’t always know what they are dealing with, but even so, it doesn’t always give an excuse for negative behavior.

We always want to do everything in love and humility, but sometimes we need to rattle the cages.

Will you take the authority you have been given in Christ? You own the ground you walk on. God gave Adam authority and dominion over the earth. Adam gave it to Satan when he sinned. Jesus died to restore us to God and He got the authority back for us.

The authority really is ours through Christ, so lets walk like it is. What are you putting up with this week that you need to take authority over? Seek to partner with God in prayer and get your next steps from Him.

3 Reasons to Partner with God in Your Work

Should you rely on God in your work every day? We know God partners with people in the Bible, but does He operate that way today?

 In this post, we will explore three reasons for you to partner with God in your work every day.

1. Partnership with God is the Biblical Model

Work is a significant theme throughout the Bible and can often be overlooked. When you read the Bible with an eye for work, you can see that it is everywhere.

Working together with God is a common thread throughout the Bible. We see it in the work of Noah, when God gave him the plans for the Ark, and we see it with Joseph when God revealed how to prepare for a famine.

God clearly partnered with His people throughout scripture and wants to do the same today.

It goes without saying that the work we partner with God in doing must be righteous and honorable to Him. But beyond that requirement, the Bible makes no distinctions in the kind of work people should partner with God in doing. He wants to partner with us in our daily work just as much as in our volunteering and our church-related work.

The Bible also says a lot about the quality of work we should do and how we should do it.

2. Paul Explicitly Says to Partner with God

Paul writes that we are God’s fellow workers (1 Cor. 3:9). He even shows how it can work by giving God the credit for the growth while we do the planting and watering (1 Cor. 3:6-7).

There is a clear role for us to fill and a clear role for God to fill. Could you imagine if you prayed for rain so your garden could flourish but didn’t plant anything? Would you expect anything to grow?

Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s workmanship and that He prepares good works for us to walk in. God is always working on us and on those around us.

3. God Has Infinite Wisdom and Knowledge

James 4:2 says that we do not have because 1) we do not ask, or 2) we ask with wrong motives. Our motives shouldn’t be to get ahead for our own glory, but to glorify God and steward what He gave us well.

Wisdom is the right application of knowledge and God has wisdom He wants to share with us for the unique situations we encounter every day.

In the Bible, Solomon was a man who sought God for wisdom unique to his circumstances. In 1 Kings 3:16-28, God gave him wisdom on how to determine which of two women was the real mother of a baby.

The Foundation of Fellowship

In order to have a partnership, you must have a relationship. Following Christ is not about memorizing the right answers and just living morally. It is about fellowship and intimacy with Jesus Christ.

Partnering with God in our work and life is no different. Working with God is much more than just applying principles. We must prioritize having a strong relationship with God.

We spend a lot of time in our work. Why would God want to waste that opportunity?

Do you seek God for how to handle situations in your work regularly? How can you partner with God in your work this week? He is ready and waiting to get engaged and share the unique wisdom He has for you and your work.

Are You a Victim of Your Circumstances?

Are things happening to you or are they happening for you? What perspective should you hold? The mindset we adopt can have a huge impact on how we handle what comes to us and what God can accomplish.

There are many reasons why adopting a victim mentality is not the best approach. To be clear, I’m not referring to being a victim in the sense of a crime, but in the sense of our mentality within our daily situations.

A Victim Mentality Limits Opportunities

When we act as though we are victims, it closes the door to our problem solving abilities. Our minds can’t flow to solutions when we are fixated on the unfairness of our circumstances.

It can be difficult, but we must to learn to embrace where we find ourselves. That doesn’t mean we approve of everything that is happening, but it positions us to deal with it the best way possible.

On the water, wind and waves can wreak havoc on a sailboat. But if the crew continuously adjusts the sails to take advantage of the wind, they can use it to their benefit.

The wind isn’t in control of everything that happens with the boat. The crew simply responds to use the wind to get the boat where they want to go.

A Victim Mentality Limits Transformation

We know that God doesn’t waste anything for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). If we adopt a victim mentality it can short-circuit the development that God has planned for us.

There is an aspect of our circumstances that God wants to use to shape us, but they never control us. Just as the sailboat crew can use the sails to get where they want to go, God can use these opportunities to get us where He wants us to be.

A Victim Mentality Produces the Wrong Focus

Adopting an attitude of victimhood goes further than just focusing on the victim. It places the focus on the unfairness of a situation.

This focus entirely undermines what God may want to do in a situation. The Bible is filled with seemingly unfair situations and circumstances that God was able to use for His glory and even to bring about His will.

Joseph was sold into slavery, Paul was beaten, and Stephen was killed. Each of these were used by God in incredible ways.

If Paul and Silas had been focused on the unfairness of being thrown in jail, the jailer and his family may have never been saved (Acts 16:23-34). We need to keep our focus on Christ and what God wants to accomplish in every situation.

We don’t want to waste what God has plans to use.

A Better Mentality

Jesus always responded to His circumstances from a position of control. He never let the circumstances control His attitude. He was always intentional in how He responded and never took the place of a victim.

Our circumstances never take God by surprise. We are always in a place where God has a clear path forward. We may not see the full path, but we will always see enough to take a step.

The Challenge

We are to be intentionally handling situations and things that come up, not allowing ourselves to be controlled and manipulated by them.

We can often limit what God wants to do in the situation with how we see things.

Are there any circumstances that might be impacting you more than they should today? What does God want you to take charge of and get intentional with? Ask the Lord to show you and adjust your sails to use the wind today.

With the right mentality, you will be amazed at how quickly things can change.

Does a Soft Answer Turn Away Wrath?

Have you ever responded to someone in a way that felt great in the moment but eventually embarrassed you? Perhaps you wished you had handled it differently? Sometimes this seems like a never-ending cycle, but it doesn’t have to be.

There is a Better Way

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1).

I must admit that I have spent plenty of time saying just the right thing to increase the wrath from others. Fortunately, I have also come to see the benefits of not doing so.

Have you seen how a timely gentle response can completely defuse a situation? It can quickly calm down a raging person and can completely shift the atmosphere in an entire room.

There is a spirit of peace that comes with a controlled response. Much more than what our eyes alone can see.

To be clear, I am not talking about letting people walk all over us. I am talking about an assertive, firm and calm response. One that is not solely driven by uncontrolled emotions.

A Necessary Disclaimer

Understanding and using this concept biblically doesn’t mean that a harsh or dramatic response is never appropriate. But it is a reminder that most often a calm, calculated, assertive response is exactly what is needed.

Jesus often gave what seemed to be harsh responses to people, especially the religious leaders at the time. But He was always speaking to what was in their heart. He never lost His cool or had any regret over how He handled Himself.

The Every Day Reality

We may think that we don’t have a choice in how we react, but when patterns show up in our lives, we make a choice whether to let them continue or to deal with them.

I have handled some situations very well and some not so well. As I reflected on each interaction and why they had different results, I could see that how it went often had more to do with me and my own heart than it did with the other person.

God loves you. And God loves the people he puts in front of you. Think about it: you have an opportunity to be different in those moments. Of course, there is the importance of remaining professional, but there is more to it. You are representing Christ.

This doesn’t mean we give a robotic response, but it means we should always have a response that we are still proud of an hour later.

We Need A Helper

It might seem impossible to do in your own strength. If you believe that, you are right.

We need God’s Holy Spirit to live through us to respond in this way. Our will power has a limit, but the power that Jesus had on earth and that we have in us today has no limit.

If we love people, we need to seek to see them the way God sees them. We need to separate the way they act from who they are and how much they matter.

Many times we have a choice to make in how we respond. Does anything come to mind for you? How can you ask God to get engaged and rely on His strength, so you can always be ready to make the right choice?