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Volume 10, Issue 30: Your Work Matters

I have envied bakers, librarians, florists, people in professions that seem less demanding to me compared to mine. This happens in times when I feel overwhelmed or under a lot of pressure. I watched to a video in a YouVersion Bible plan where a florist started and spent her days dejected because she felt unworthy. "I am just a florist," she kept saying. She wished she did something more important.

In the video, I saw her skill with handling flowers, arranging them attractively, enjoying how they bring a smile to people's faces. She eventually realized that she has a gift, and that her gift is important. She does her best to make flowers look beautiful for people.

I resonated with what the provider of the plan had to say on the matter. He wrote that though she never saw it, the florist's gift brightened the office, brought comfort to the grieving, enhanced a joyful occasion, and brought a smile to the lonely. Her gift also softened her hurting neighbor's heart, opening the door to a new friendship.

This florist's first mistake was comparing herself to others. Sounds familiar? The provider of the plan reiterated how God has gifted each one of us specifically for His purposes. That no gift is more important than the other. She is not "just" a florist. And you are not "just" a stay at home mom, or receptionist or mechanic. Your work matters, even if you can't see it's impact directly. God has gifted you to do it, and it pleases Him to see you flourish in it.

"Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:25-26‬ ‭MSG‬‬.

Doesn't that exhortation from the Word of God to us say it all? None of our occupations is better or worse than the other. Each of us is an original, and the work we do is important in fulfilling God's purposes for ourselves and others. All work is important. Whatever your work is, it is important and it matters.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 27: Second Half

Every new day, every new week, and every new month of the year is an opportunity for a new beginning. But there's a special allure to the beginning of the second half of the year when it comes to finishing the year strong. This is because the beginning of the second half of the year gives us a wake up call that connotes that it's now or never if we are going to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

I consider the beginning of the second half of the year just as crucial as the beginning of the year. It's an opportunity to reset the clock, to get things back on track and pick up the pace. If you are anything like me, by now you have a few things that you had a good handle on at the beginning of the year that you are not doing so well at any more. You have dropped a few balls and gotten sluggish in a few areas.

One of the things I have struggled with for a good part of the first half of this year since COVID happened is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Before I started working from home, I left the office by 5pm and didn't handle any work related stuff until when I got back to the office the next morning. But working from home has made that quite a challenge to get right on a daily basis for the workaholic that I am.

The problem with blurring the lines of work life and home life is that by working longer, we wind up with less of ourselves available to give to our home lives. Thereby dropping the ball in our personal goals categories. Something always loses when another gets more than it should, or more than is truly available for it.

As I sit at the precipe of the second half of 2020, I am enthused with the desire to finish strong. I don't want to come to the end of the year and think I could have done better, or I could have nailed that. You and I have the opportunity to reset the clock right now and finish the year strong, having done all that we set out to do, and having accomplished all that we know we can.

So, which of your goals for this year are you failing at thus far? Which balls have you dropped along the way? What have you gotten sluggish at? Do you need to reset the clock, pick up the pace, get some stray balls back in the game? Be honest with yourself. Admit your struggles and become intentional about winning your game for 2020.

Just like in a football match, it's half time. Far from the end of the match. I have watched many matches where the losing team gets their act together, turns on the heat in the second half and wins the game. It's not too late to turn the tables and come out at the top when the curtains for 2020 draw to a close. Let's not let this grand opportunity to reset the clock slip through our fingers.

Related article: Second Half with a Bang!

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 28: Fearless

I have to tried to write from the twenty seventh chapter of the book of Psalms before but I couldn't go through with it because it is quite personal to me. This is one of my favorites portions of Scripture that I declare and lift my praises from most mornings. Going back to my Bible study moments after writing "You've Got This," a portion of Psalms 27 popped up and I knew now was a good time to write from it.

David writes, “Light, space, zest— that’s GOD! So, with him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing. When vandal hordes ride down ready to eat me alive, those bullies and toughs fall flat on their faces. When besieged, I’m calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I’m collected and cool.” Psalm‬ ‭27:1-3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

The intensity of David's troubles was probably ten thousand times the intensity of the troubles I have faced. But I think some of the stories in our journeys bear resemblance to some of David's stories. What differentiates us is the attention we pay to God's workings in our troubles. When you recognize that God rescued you from fierce attacks, you are left in awe, and you face your next troubles fearless, collected and cool.

After writing of his disposition in the face of trouble, David goes on to express his intended worship. “God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down. I’m headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof! Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to GOD.” Psalm‬ ‭27:6‬ ‭MSG‬‬

There will always be people who try to pull us down. But when we have experienced God's charge and seen how he holds us head and shoulders above our opposition, giving them a run for their money, we are lost in adoration of our King and Defender, with praises that words cannot express.

We join David in saying, "Point me down your highway, GOD; direct me along a well-lighted street; show my enemies whose side you’re on. Don’t throw me to the dogs, those liars who are out to get me, filling the air with their threats. I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with GOD! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with GOD.” Psalm‬ ‭27:11-14‬ ‭MSG‬‬. Because we don't stand a chance without Him.

God reiterates the point for us in the ninety first chapter of the book of Psalm. He says, ““If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”” Psalm‬ ‭91:14-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 26: You've Got This

As I stumbled into Joshua's commissioning section of Scripture once more this morning, it occurred to me that God affirms us for the work He gives us to do. I also remembered Jesus' commissioning and noticed how related it is to Joshua's. When He was being baptized by John the Baptist, as He came out of the water, a dove rested on His head and God spoke in a loud voice saying, "This my son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased."

Jesus was just about to begin His ministry, which would culminate in sorrow and crucifixion a wooden cross. And God gave Him a prep talk in the hearing of people. I believe this affirmation was to prepare and encourage our Lord Jesus to step into His job with courage, the same way Joshua's was. And I believe that this commissioning is for us too as heirs with Joshua and Jesus.

Joshua's job was to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the promised land. He was taking over where Moses left things. God must have figured that Joshua was probably intimidated by the task ahead. I mean, he was being required to step into some really big shoes. Having walked closely beside Moses, he knew the weight of responsibility Moses carried and probably felt he wasn't as mighty.

I think if Joshua was oozing with confidence, God wouldn't have given him this particular prep talk, commanding him to be strong and courageous. As He commissioned him, God told Joshua, "It's all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I'll be with you. I won't give up on you; I won't leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul." Joshua 1:1-9 MSG.

God was in essence telling Joshua, "You've got this." And He is telling us that too for the work that our hands have found to do. Believe that your line of work is not just random, and that God is interested in you succeeding in it.

I am mesmerized by God's words to Joshua. If you know that God has told you that all your life no opposition that raises its head against you for the work He has given you will succeed, you walk on air, humbled to be loved and protected. When you know that God has promised to be with you, to never give up on you however weary you get at your work from time to time, and to never leave you, then you know you've got all you need to succeed at it.

Whatever it is that you do for work, you've got this. However big your responsibilities grow, you've got this. Joshua's responsibilities started small. He was just an assistant. But then he got promoted to team leader position. It appears that Joshua gave everything to his assistant job and God was impressed. And now as a team leader, God needed Joshua to know that He had noticed his strong work ethic when he was an assistant, and that because of it, he was good enough for the leadership job.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 29: Choose Joy

This piece is made of extracts from the work of Kay Warren from her "Choose Joy" study plan in the YouVersion Bible app, which is derived from her "Choose Joy" book. The outstanding thing about this devotional on joy is how Kay beautifully illustrates the truth of how life is more of a set of parallel train tracks, joy and sorrow running inseparably throughout our days, and how it is possible to choose a life of joy while still recognizing sorrow.

Kay defined joy as the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of our lives, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.

Life is much more like a set of parallel train tracks, with joy and sorrow running inseparably throughout our days. Everyday of your life, good things happen. Beauty, accomplishment, pleasure, fulfillment, and perhaps even excitement occur. That's the track of joy. But everyday of your life also holds disappointments, challenges, struggles, and perhaps even losses for you or those you love. That's the track of sorrow.

Most of us try to "outsmart" the sorrow track by concentrating our efforts on the joy track, as if by our positive outlook or outright denial of reality, we can make the sorrow track go away. That's impossible, because joy and sorrow will always be present together.

No matter how "positive" we think, or how hard we try to visualize only happiness, the sorrow track remains. And in the strange paradox of the universe, at the exact moment you and I are experiencing pain, we are also aware of the sweetness of loving and the beauty still to be found.

One of our toughest challenges in life is to learn how to live on both of those tracks at the same time. But there's hope! Consider what's it's like to stand between two sets of train tracks and look into the horizon. Those parallel tracks come together as we look ahead. They are no longer distinguishable as two separate tracks.

That's the way it will be for us too. During our lifetime, we "stand on the tracks" looking for signs of Jesus Christ's return. We watch for the sights and sounds that will alert us that his appearance is very close. One day, in the brightness of His coming, we will meet him face to face. And when we do, the tracks of joy and sorrow will merge. The sorrow will disappear forever, and only the joy will remain.

Jesus was a man of joy. Luke 7:34 says, "the Son of man came, enjoying life." I love that. He didn't come bent over in pain. Jesus came eating and drinking and loving life. He was a vibrant, compassionate man, a man of both sorrow and joy who could enter fully into life with all it's brokenness.

It is possible to choose a life of joy while still recognizing sorrow. Jesus, knowing full well what was ahead of him, chose to laugh, to tell jokes, to roll on the ground with children, to build rich relationships, to have meaningful work, to experience joy. Jesus' life is an illustration of the two train tracks converging into one. He shows us how to see joy, a joy that sometimes comes in darkness.

Don't miss joy. Don't miss the reason for your existence. But if you are going to experience joy in this lifetime, there's only one possible way: you are going choose it. You will have to choose it in spite of unbelievable circumstances. You will have to choose it even if your worst nightmare comes true.

This isn't what we want to hear. We want to believe that if we get our act together, we finish the huge project, our health clears up, we get a raise, or we can just get things right, then we can finally be joyful. But that's just not how it works. So ask yourself, "What unchangeable circumstances stand in the way of me choosing joy? What fears of the future keep me from choosing joy?"

Then pray something like this, "God, thank you for making joy my purpose in life. Thank you for Jesus Christ, whose life as both a man of sorrows and a man of joy gives me permission to seek a life of joy for myself. Thank you for your Holy Spirit, who graciously gave me the gift of joy as part of my spiritual inheritance, my birthright. I courageously choose joy, because happiness will never be enough. I choose joy!"

Choose Joy by Kay Warren.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi