Friday, November 30, 2018

"Finish Strong" Devotional ~ Day 4

Day 4 - Friday, November 30th, 2018

Your Work Reveals Your Character

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2)

Did you ever realize that your work tells what kind of person you are? The Bible tells us that the works of God reveal to us what kind of God he is. The beauty of his creation and the majesty and grandeur of his universe give us a clear view of his character and his personality.

That's true of us, as well. Now that's a little scary when you think about it. Just suppose someone who doesn't know you at all was asked to write a description of you based upon an audit and inspection of your work. What would that audit reveal?

Are you careful to do your work with thoroughness, or would your work reveal a careless attitude? Does your work show that you are considerate of the person at the receiving end or at the next stage of your work? Or would the inspector conclude that you're in a hurry to get through and get going, because your work is sloppy?

When your work involves dealing with other people, would it reveal an attitude of respect and concern for others? Do you think the inspector would conclude that you care about other people, and you treat everyone with respect? Or would it reveal that you are callous toward other people, that you can't be bothered to be kind and considerate?

As I look at the work of God's hands, I know so much about his loving, caring nature. I see all around me evidence that he is a merciful and bountiful God, a God who wants to bestow blessings and goodness on me. His work reveals his character to me. 

Our work reveals our character as well. At the end of each day, we need to ask ourselves what kind of impression our work has left behind us. Think about the week that is just behind you. Would you be pleased to have someone describe you based on the work you've done this last week? It's a good question we need to ask ourselves frequently.  

Today's Challenge:
To do my every-day work in such a manner that it exemplifies the character of Jesus Christ.

Today's Prayer:
Lord, help me to remember all day long that how I do my work does indeed matter to you. And how I do my work speaks volumes to those around me. May my work be pleasing in your sight today, O Lord.

Was this devotional a blessing to you? If so, please consider making a donation to The Christian Working Woman's year-end giving campaign, "35-Days to Finish Strong." Click here to give.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Finish Strong" Devotional ~ Day 3

Day 3 - Thursday, November 29th, 2018

Motivating Words

The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:21)

Are you responsible to train someone on your job? Whether you're a manager, a trainer, or an experienced co-worker, you're likely to have some training assignments, formal or informal. There are also those occasions when you must require certain performance or behavior from your employees or co-workers. How can we motivate and inspire others to do what has to be done?

Solomon advises us to use pleasant words. We still catch more flies with honey than vinegar, as they say. It's amazing how differently people react to the same message given in different words. I can say, "I have a suggestion...", or "You've got to do this right away...", each followed by my instructions. Which words to you think would be more pleasant?

The New American Standard Bible has a slightly different translation of this verse from Proverbs 16: The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.  Sweetness of speech is the art of making your words easy to swallow. It is not hypocrisy or phoniness; it is the wisdom of thinking ahead and choosing words that create a positive rather than a negative reaction.

As a Christian manager or trainer or fellow employee, remember that your choice of words can make all the difference in whether people want to follow you or not. Increase your persuasiveness and effectiveness today by choosing pleasant words that go down easy.

Today's Challenge:
To give instructions and directions in the most pleasant and motivating way possible.

Today's Prayer:
Lord, as I undertake to instruct, train, and direct others today, please give me the wisdom to choose words that will motivate and encourage. Teach me how to persuade through pleasant and easy-to-handle speech.

Was this devotional a blessing to you? If so, please consider making a donation to The Christian Working Woman's year-end giving campaign, "35-Days to Finish Strong." Click here to give.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

"Finish Strong" Devotional ~ Day 2

Day 2 - Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Appreciate the Way God Made You

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful. (Psalm 139:14)

You are wonderful because you are a work of God, and all God's works are wonderful! God fashioned you in your mother's womb, and he knew you before you were born; your days were planned for you before any of them ever were. You can be secure and content in who you are, because God's hands made and formed you, and God doesn't make mistakes.

There is wonderful freedom in accepting who we are. Freedom from having to live up to other's expectations ~ or even our own. Freedom from having to be like others or compete with others. Freedom from the need to prove to the world that we are someone special, because we already know we're someone special to God. It really takes the monkey off our backs!

When you are not happy with who you are, you inflict great suffering on yourself. It causes you to be envious of others, to resent the success of others, to fight to get ahead of others, to be dependent on the approval of others. All kinds of problems arise when you cannot accept and appreciate who you are. 

Have you come to that place yet where you can truly say, "I like the way God has created me?" Oh, I hope so. It is not being proud to appreciate God's handiwork in you. Rather it brings glory to God ~ just as when you appreciate a work of art, you bring honor to the artist.

Today's Challenge:
To appreciate the way God has created me, knowing that all his works are wonderful!

Today's Prayer:
I want to thank you for your creativity in me. You created me from the inside out, knitting me together in my mother's womb, and I praise you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Forgive me for the times I've been so dissatisfied with the way you made me. Please keep me from comparing myself to others, and help me learn that when I appreciate your works, I also appreciate myself.

Was this devotional a blessing to you? If so, please consider making a donation to The Christian Working Woman's year-end giving campaign, "35-Days to Finish Strong." Click here to give.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"Finish Strong" Devotional ~ Day 1

Day 1 - Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Work for Jesus

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. (Ephesians 6:7-8)

Have you ever been "passed over" for a promotion or raise that you knew you deserved? It can be discouraging not to get credit for our contributions at work. And yet, these things happen all the time.

We live and work in a world that is neither fair nor kind. That's because the world is full of people who have a sin problem ~ including us! And that sin problem creates injustice of all sorts.
Injustice is one of my toughest hurdles. I always want to fight when I think my rights or someone else's rights are being violated. As you can imagine, this tendency has gotten me into some hot water and created not a few problems in my work-life. I have to remind myself continually that if I serve wholeheartedly as unto the Lord, the recognition and rewards will come in due time.

As Christians, we pick up our paychecks at our place of work but our real job is pleasing the Lord and working for him. Our reward is waiting for us in heaven ~ but we can reap the benefits now, too. Just imagine how your stress level will drop as thoughts of vengeance and discontent are replaced with calm satisfaction over a job well done!

Today's Challenge:
To remember all day long that I report to Jesus, and he will reward "his good and faithful servants."

Today's Prayer:
Lord, I work for YOU today and, regardless of what happens, I want to stay focused on the rewards you have for me for doing good work. Please give me the self-control I need to handle the injustice and unfairness in my workplace without becoming bitter or angry.

Was this devotional a blessing to you? If so, please consider making a donation to The Christian Working Woman's year-end giving campaign, "35-Days to Finish Strong." Click here to give.