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Volume 10, Issue 17: Work Heartily

The last two weeks I worked on a task I dreaded and tremendously disliked and it pushed me to my limit. Sometimes we forget that our work is not about us. Our work is about God. Just before this experience, I had studied a "God at work" devotional on the YouVersion Bible app provided by Dr. David Mende. He wrote that "since we spend so many hours at the workplace everyday, God is concerned about our work and He's at work even as we work. He doesn't want us to see our work as drudgery. Rather, He wants us to give our best as we work."

Am glad I don't hate my job, but I certainly feel no love for a few of the tasks I have to undertake. It is so hard to give your best at a job you don't like. But I had no choice but give my all to my dreadful assignment. I bet most people who hate their jobs don't either. Dr. Mende guessed right in the devotional that "most of the slaves at Colossae didn't like their jobs. They didn't apply for those jobs anyway." But Paul wrote these words to them: "Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men" (Col. 3:23).

I certainly understand the concept of this verse but I had never thought of it the way Dr. Mende put it. "Paul's instruction reveals that even if you don't like your job, you must do your work as unto the Lord and thus glorify Him. You may say: "But I hate my job!" Until the Lord directs you to move out of your job, keep working wherever He has placed you and give your best as you work." I am certainly at the point in my career where I can't wait to transition to pursue my passion. But I gotta keep doing my best at my current job until the Lord opens the next door for me.

It's not enough to do our best, we must also work with sincerity of heart. Dr. Mende wrote that "it's easy to fall into the trap of becoming people-pleasers at our workplace. Some people work hard in order to gain the approval of their bosses or colleagues. We all like our work to be recognized and appreciated. But our work is not about us, it's about God." That's why Paul says that we must work "not by way of eye-service as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord" (Col. 3:22).

Additionally, just because I hated the assignment didn't give me leeway to do it poorly. I had to still produce quality work and Dr. Mende's devotional drove this point home for me. "Our work must not be sloppy. Instead, we must work diligently and excel in whatever we do." The "excel" part was really hard for me in this assignment but the Bible says, "Do you see a man skillful in his work, he will stand before kings. He will not stand before obscure men" (Prov. 2:29).

Some of us may not like our jobs, but to some extent I believe the majority of us have a choice of the jobs we settle in. Whatever job we either find ourselves in or choose to make ours, it is entrusted to us by God and he expects us to be faithful at it. We do earn our living from our jobs but money should not be our main motivation for working. I agree with Dr. Mende but I must admit that this is a deep concept to grasp. We must not work for money, power, identity or glory. Rather we must work for God's glory: "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 16: Feeling Out of Sorts

I do a lot of things well, but there is a particular one-off task that isn't one of them. It's a task I considered a nightmare even before I gathered stamina to start working on. I had put it off as long as I could as my plate was quite full but time was running out and the responsibility to tackle it fell squarely on my shoulders.

So after a marathon week of other pressing matters, I finally picked up the dreadful assignment with all the enthusiasm I could summon. I was determined to slay the giant in a span of four days. But having other day-to-day work pieces to juggle with one on my colleagues on vacation and with the COVID-19 strains, I felt spread too thin day after day. I tried to stay motivated and joyful but every working day ended up long and stretched without the end in sight. I felt like my efforts weren't yielding the results I craved. It was frustrating to say the least.

As the Easter break approached, I was feeling out of sorts big time. I had been working on this task for almost two weeks and it wasn't getting finished and I couldn't explain to my colleagues why it was taking so long. And when I could finally see the end approaching, it started to get all messy and jumbled. I was frustrated that God wasn't helping me with it despite my countless requests for his help. But He was helping, because I finally managed to piece it together and ship it off to the next level just in time for Good Friday.

In moments like this, I have learnt from Kelly Parker today to take heart in knowing that God is in control and developing me with a specific end in mind. It is so humbling and frustrating to struggle with something day after day and not see it come together. We have to trust that God is using everything we experience to develop skills and character traits that we will need to thrive at the next level.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 15: He Is Serious (Part II)

This is a continuation of last week's post where we marveled at the rescue God orchestrated for King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah in the twentieth chapter of the book of second Chronicles. In that story, God confused the enemy forces and they attacked each other until they all fell dead without the army of Judah laying a hand on them.

God is serious about what He says to us in His Word. When He says "No weapon formed against you shall prosper," He means exactly that. When He says "Many are the troubles of the righteous but the Lord delivers them from them all," He means just that. When He says "Call on me in the day of trouble and I will answer you," He means business.

The story in the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the book of second Kings is about the time when Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked Samaria and wouldn't ease off even after Hezekiah king of Judah paid all the tribute he could find to him. Since the paid tribute didn't measure up to what Sennacherib demanded, he sent his top three military chiefs with a strong military force to Hezekiah in Jerusalem. In his speech, Assyria's spokesman Rabshakeh compared God with the gods of the other nations that the king of Assyria had devastated.

When Hezekiah heard the blasphemous speech of Rabshakeh, he sent a message to the prophet Isaiah to bring it before the Lord. God responded to Hezekiah to not be concerned with the outrageous blasphemies from the the king of Assyria's errand boys. God afflicted Rabshakeh with self-doubt. He heard a rumor, and frightened for his life, retreated to his own country where God saw to it that he got killed.

King Sennacherib sent another envoy with orders to deliver another blasphemous message to king Hezekiah of how he was going to destroy Judah like Assyria had done all other nations, once again putting the Almighty God in the same plane as the gods of the heathen nations Assyria had devastated.

After Hezekiah read the letter from the envoy, he went to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out before God. And Hezekiah prayed - oh, how he prayed! Hezekiah exalted God then asked him to hear and see the brazen insult to the living God in the letter from Sennacherib. He stated to God that the facts are true - the kings of Assyria had laid waste countries and kingdoms. They had made huge bonfires of their gods, their no-gods hand-made from wood and stone. Then he pleaded with God to save Judah from the raw Assyrian power so all the kingdoms on earth may know that He is God, the one and only God.

It wasn't long before the prophet Isaiah sent God's response to Hezekiah. God said that the king of Assyria won't enter the city of Judah, nor shoot so much as a single arrow there. He won't brandish a shield, won't even begin to lay siege. He will go home by the same road he came, he won't enter the city of Judah. For God would shield and save the city for His sake and for David's sake.

And it so happened that that very night an angel of God came and massacred 185,000 Assyrian troops. When the people of Jerusalem got up the next morning, there it was - a whole camp of corpses! Sennacherib king of Assyria got out of there fast, headed straight home for Nineveh and stayed put. He was later murdered by his sons while worshipping in the temple of his god.

That is what God can do to those who come against us if we trust and rely on him. The forces that come against us are often too mighty for us to handle. That's our cue to run to our Defender whose might no foe can match. It's not time to crumble in fear or surrender. It's time to turn the heat on in the enemy's camp by drawing power from God.

These fascinating stuff aren't just hidden in the pages of Scriptures, our lives are full of these chronicles too. For the God of the Old Testament folks is our God too. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I still can't make sense of why my opposition withdrew just before signing a favorable contract, or why the other one got recalled back to the head office. Indeed God's wonders are not limited to what He did long before our time, they are fresh with us in our present time.

Be sure to record the wonders God is doing in your life and in the lives of those around you. He is serious about what He says in His Word. God's Word is your weapon. Hang on to it and use it when trouble strikes. Call on Him in the day of trouble and marvel as He multiplies casualties in the enemy's camp for His glory.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 14: He is Serious (Part I)

Just when I got finished writing the "Don't Hand Over Your Stuff" piece, God ambushed me with a rescue. My main opposition removed themselves from the turf! And just before that, one other opposition had been recalled back to the head office. Talk of a second Chronicles 20 and second Kings 19 victory! When this happened, I was testifying how God is actually serious about what He says to us in His Word.

When He says "No weapon formed against you shall prosper," He means exactly that. When He says "Many are the troubles of the righteous but the Lord delivers them from them all," He means just that. When He says "Call on me in the day of trouble and I will answer you," He means business.

The story in the twentieth chapter of the book of second Chronicles is about the time when the Moabites and the Ammonites, accompanied by the Meunites, joined forces to make war on Jehoshaphat. The Bible says that Jehoshaphat received this intelligence report: "A huge force is on its way from beyond the Dead Sea to fight you." Shaken, Jehoshaphat prayed, retelling Israel's history, and how now this huge army was coming to kick them out of the land God had given them, and asking God to take care of the enemy. This is exactly how I felt about my opposition.

Then, God, as He always does when called upon in faith and from a place of reverence and obedience, came through. He told Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah not to be afraid of the vandal horde and He took the war upon Himself, saying, "You won't have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, and watch God's saving work for you take shape."

Ever seen an army going after a huge force with a choir in the front line? On the day of the battle, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God who marched ahead of the troops singing. As soon as they started praising and shouting, God set ambushes against the men of Moab, Amon and Mount Seir as they were attacking Judah, and they all ended up dead. The Ammonites and Moabites mistakenly attacked those from Mount Seir and massacred them. Then, further confused, they went at each other, and all ended up killed.

Our God knows how to fight our battles. There's nothing as spectacular as when God takes over the battle field on your behalf. Take God at His Word and watch Him do wonders for you that leave you speechless. I was left asking God, "How do I celebrate this victory that you have orchestrated for me? How do I sing anthems that raise the roof like David spoke of in the twenty seventh chapter of the book of Psalms?"

Another victory that God engineered that speaks to my recent situation and wows my heart is during the reign of King Hezekiah. The story is recorded in the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the Book of second Kings. Let's marvel at that in the next post so as not to make this post too long of a read.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 13: Fight by Not Fighting

When you are in Christ, weapons may form but they will not conquer you - Vance K Jackson. This phrase is not new to me but it left a big smile on my face today. This is so real in each of our situations yet we tend to get shaken every time a new opposition rises against us.

Isaiah 54:17 says "No weapon formed against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me, declares the Lord". I was doing a study provided by Vance K Jackson on the YouVersion Bible app and I couldn't help but share what he had to say on how to respond to attacks. Here is what he said;

No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper. In other words, there is no article, device, tactic or strategy that the enemy can use or implement against you that will prosper. There is no vessel (person) that the enemy can use against you that will succeed. There is no yoke or bondage that the enemy can hold against you that will prosper. No tactic, strategy or stronghold that the enemy tries to deploy will prosper.

You are God's child and His protection is your inheritance and your righteousness is of Him. When you are in Christ, weapons may form but they will not conquer you. Choose to trust God and let His Word fight on your behalf. When the enemy rises up against you, choose to hold your peace - let God fight your battle. Every tongue that rises up against you shall backfire.

According to Psalms 7:15-16, the pit that others dig for you they will fall in it themselves. The plot that others lay for you they will fall into it themselves. God is your protection. Don't fear the enemy's plots, ploys and strategies. God is your rearguard. He has you covered.

God is stronger than any ploy, plot or scheme that the enemy can devise. He is your source and strength, your strong foundation. God is your weapon against the enemy and every tactic the enemy tries to release. Çhoose to surrender to God and you will be at peace with your enemies. Focus on God and not on the enemies that you face.

Don't worry about your enemies. God commands us to love our enemies. Love those who scheme, plan and plot against you. Don't focus on their deceptive strategies - focus on God's Word. Psalm 110:1 says "The Lord said to my lord: sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet". Let God handle your enemies. Protect your heart - don't let your heart be hardened by the traps of the enemy. Let God deal with your enemies. Shift your focus. Let God lead your heart. Let love be your weapon.

Keep your heart with all diligence. Satan wants you to focus on your enemies- to get angry, resentful and bitter. He wants you to focus on your cares and worries and distract you from seeking God and fulfilling His purpose. You must outsmart him.

Don't allow yourself to be distracted and consumed by the happenings around you. Rather, position and posture your heart on God's Word. Although the weapon may form, it will not prosper. You may see the storm form, but it will not prosper. Hold fast to God's Word. Choose to confess the Word of God and let God lead your path.

There is no weapon that the enemy can form that will conquer you. Submit yourself to God's way of doing things and He will guide your path. Build your heart on God's Word. I am still wowed by this piece, and I hope you are too. I am so glad I stumbled into Jackson's study.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi