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Category Archives: Employee Email

Our problems always seem to have something to do with our finances, kids, husband or wife, job, or health. Trials, hard times, difficulties, problems, something that distracts us from what needs to be done, or something that totally consumes us.

How do you handle this stuff? How do you deal with the problems in your life that always seem to overwhelm you and keep you from living life in a way that brings fulfillment and meaning? In the midst of everything that seems to drag you down and keep you from being happy, how do you live your life productively?

Think about it. What is robbing your life of meaning? Why? What can you do to change it? Let me encourage you to take some time and consider how things are going and what you need to do differently to live a more meaningful life. You may need to get away for a couple of days, or learn something new. You may need to make some hard decisions and stop some form of destructive behavior in your life. You may need help. Ask for it. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends and family. If family is distant and friends are few, then pursue opportunities to put people around you who will help.

Relief may come in the form of service. Much of the time when we are struggling with our own problems, what we need most is to do something for someone else. Volunteer and make a difference someplace. Get your focus off yourself and onto others. It will help.

“The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Proverbs 13:4 NIV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

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I took my sons, Michael and Matthew, turkey hunting on a Saturday morning. We were up early and sitting in the field at daybreak waiting for the turkeys to come off their roost and eat. We called them in and after a while the first “Tom” showed up. Michael waited patiently for him to get close enough to shoot but this Tom was kind of nervous. He finally turned to leave and Michael took his shot…and missed!

We had done everything right. We had the right gear, gun, and ammunition. But Michael missed the shot. He missed his opportunity! Have you ever missed your opportunity? Have you worked at preparing well, gotten everything in its place, and then missed your shot, your opportunity?

Opportunity in our life is defined by our purpose. You need to discover your purpose. I believe you were created for a purpose. Our responsibility is to identify it.

A friend of mine recently posed these questions:

  • For what are we searching?
  • Why were we created?
  • Do we believe in our potential?

 

My friend encouraged us to answer these questions honestly and with no regard for our pride. He encouraged everyone to do what he or she could with what they had wherever they were. You may feel like you are of no value where you are and doing what you do. But you are of great value to God and have incredible potential. Take intentional steps toward reaching your potential and making a difference in the lives of the people around you. Don’t miss the opportunities before you each day!

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

My purpose in life is to love God. And I have said for years that all of life boils down to relationships, ultimately one’s relationship with Christ. Loving God and loving others means we realize it can be especially difficult to love others when others have not loved us. But if we allow the behavior and shortcomings of others to influence how we choose to live our own lives then we will never truly love others the way God wants. We will “hole up” in our home or in our heart and never see others benefit from enjoying a healthy relationship with us.

What does loving others mean to you? For me, it means giving, being a blessing, serving, sacrificing, and deferring to another so they will benefit. Sometimes this is easy. Other times it is really hard. I get selfish, hurt, or focused elsewhere on stuff and activities that do not keep me on track to make a difference in the lives of others.

Frankly, you will do a better job if you are making a difference in the lives of others. Find an opportunity to build healthy relationships. You can do it. Civic groups, clubs, churches, and other organizations can provide the platform for healthy relationships all of us need in our lives. Go make it happen!

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:30-31

What is a critical spirit?  You know the answer to that question if you are frequently on the receiving end of someone’s critical spirit.

The dictionary defines criticism as “an act of criticizing; to find fault; to blame or condemn.”

A critical spirit is an obsessive attitude of criticism and faultfinding that seeks to tear others down.  We’re not talking about what some refer to as “constructive criticism.”  The only criticism that is ever constructive is that which is expressed in love to “build up,” not to tear down.  It is always expressed face-to-face, never behind the back.

If you have a critical spirit, you dwell on the negative and seek out flaws in others.  You complain and are usually upset about something.  You generally have a problem with something and end up whining about it.  You can’t control your speech or temper and you gossip a lot.

What does God say about it?  Take a look at Romans 14:10-13:

“Why do you criticize and pass judgment on others?  Why do you look down on or despise others?  We will all stand before the judgment seat of God and give an account of ourselves.  Let’s no longer criticize, blame, and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide to never be a stumbling block, obstacle, or hindrance to anyone.  (Jon’s paraphrase)

How do you get rid of your critical spirit?  First of all you recognize that your critical spirit is a spiritual issue in your life.  Murray Mayfield defines a critical spirit as “a negative attitude that focuses on real or imagined faults with no thought toward a biblical or practical solution.”  Learn right ways to privately and gently confront others when you must.  Recognize that, more often than not, your criticism is sinful.  Get to the place where you can see others the way God sees them…lovingly, with grace and mercy.  After all, that is how He sees you!

Some of the above information is taken from a copyrighted article by Dale A. Robbins.

So many people have made a difference in my life.  So many have left their mark on me.  So many have made me better.  No one more so than my parents.  Others include pastors who fired me, teachers who inspired me, coaches who invested in me, friends who were patient with me and held me accountable, and an incredible wife who challenges me each day to be better.

A couple of years ago God challenged me to make a list of extraordinary men in my life.  These men had to have lived lives that had passed the test of time.  And, I had to have relationship with them.  They could not be men who I merely knew about.  After much thought my list ended at four.  I did not cheapen what “extraordinary” meant.  The dictionary defines extraordinary as “beyond what is ordinary or usual.”  It seems to me that it is much more than that.

The four men include my dad, Judson, who passed away a couple of years ago.  No one has left as big a mark on my life as he did.  He will forever be my hero.  Kent has been my friend and mentor for many years and is the best example in my life of a successful businessman who ministers in the workplace.  Steve is a business owner and one of my clients.  He is passionate about discipling men and running a business that places a high value on making successful employees.  Tom is character defined.  He is a man of great vision and is leaving a legacy of great godly character.

None of these men set out to make a difference in my life in particular.  Making a difference is what sets them apart.  Pleasing God in all that they do is what makes them so extraordinary.  Are you leaving a mark on the lives of people around you?  Are you making a difference or just wasting your life?

I recently listened as a man explained what it meant to truly forgive someone who has wronged you in some way.  He defined forgiveness as a decision to release a person from the obligation that results when they injure you.

Years ago one of my closest friends betrayed me in our relationship.  He shared information from our conversation with another person.  Doing so nearly cost me my job.  I had assumed we were speaking in confidence but he obviously felt it was necessary to share the conversation with another person.  It nearly destroyed our relationship.  It impacted our families in a hurtful way.  It made things very awkward with mutual friends.  It was not a positive experience in any way…until forgiveness took place.

Eventually he called and asked to see me.  We met over lunch and he humbly asked for my forgiveness.  With some degree of reservation I forgave him.  But it was still rather awkward around him and I struggled trusting him.  But that was years ago and the decision to forgive him has nurtured a renewed and precious friendship.  Not until I released him from the hurt he caused did we move forward in our relationship.  Today we enjoy time together and I count him among a group of very special and old friends.

If you are choosing to withhold forgiveness then you are holding yourself captive along with the one who wronged you.  Forgiveness brings you freedom.  It gets you out from under the heavy burden of unforgiveness.  Forgiveness is a decision you make and can result in restored relationships.  Make a decision today to forgive!

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”  Matthew 6:14

I talk to people all the time who dread the arrival of the holiday season.  Whether it is the stress brought on by additional financial burden, the sheer pace of back to back weeks filled with activity, or added pressure on personal relationships, it is a time that requires all of us to make wise and unselfish decisions.

“Family relationships can be tricky—especially at this time of year.  Minor issues like who will cook what or when to open gifts can lead to more serious conflict.  For some, deeper issues loom: Whose family will we visit?  Will the kids be with me or my ex?  How do I handle the hostility between family members?”*

These issues large or small, significant or not, can provide us the opportunity to evaluate the quality and value of relationships.  Consider your honest answers to the questions that follow:

  • Is the issue that is causing conflict something that is really worth the battle?
  • What is the conflict really about?  Perhaps it is just your desire to be in control.
  •  Can you express love and concern by choosing to help rather than needing to have your way?
  •  Is peace in your family worth the conflict that will follow a certain decision?
  •  What other options do you have?

This is a time of year when wisdom and unselfish attitudes should prevail.  Consider the long term implications when making your decision regarding your holiday activities and relationships.  How will those decisions affect your friends and family?

*Quote from www.troubledwith.com

She stood in the middle of the department store worried that she was forgetting someone on her gift list, and at the same time wondering how she would find the money to pay for the gift even if she remembered who it was!  With both credit cards at their limit, the stress from not knowing how the payments would be made next month just added to her load of anxiety.

On top of the financial challenge the holiday season brought every year, there was the always awkward thought of how she would arrange getting around to all the family and when the kids would visit their father.

Her car seemed like it was on its last leg, limping around town and not even starting on really cold mornings.  Fighting the crowd at the mall was just such a hassle when all she really wanted was to just be at home after working all day.  And her son was so difficult this time of year!  There was so much to be troubled over, and on top of that she was worried about walking out into the dark parking lot!

Sound familiar?  Maybe this situation does not perfectly describe your holiday season but you can probably relate to it in some way.  What can you do to make this special time of year a blessing instead of a curse?

Start with your attitude about what you can and cannot control.  Do not get anxious about what you cannot control.  Rather, do your best at dealing effectively with the things you can control.  Work well with others, whether they are family, friends, or associates on the job.  Plan ahead, especially in the areas of your personal finances and time management.  Enlist the help of those around you who love you and want to spend time with you.  The holiday season is a great time to build relationships.  Do not allow all the stress and anxiety to rob you of the joy of the season.

I can remember when I realized for the first time that I could count on the Bible.  I was on into my adult years, raised in the church, had a minister for a dad, and frankly, had quite a bit of Bible knowledge.  But the realization that God’s Word was true and reliable was something new to me.  It changed my life forever!

In our world today many things compete for influence in our lives.  The culture we live in promotes a “me mentality” where all of life evolves around the individual.  We learn to trust anything that tickles our ears and tells us what we want to hear.  We end up counting on only those things that benefit us at the moment.  Yet what our lives need more than anything is the reliable Word of God.

The Bible is sufficient in our lives.  In contrast to the theories of men, God’s Word is absolutely comprehensive.  The Bible does not change.  Unlike the opinions and wisdom of man, God’s Word is the same today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow.

Most importantly, the Bible is true.  It is true all of the time.  Proverbs 30:5-6 says, “Every word of God proves true.  He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.  Do not add to His words or He may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.”  

How do you start your day?  Do you struggle to get out of bed, get cleaned up and dressed?  You skip “the most important meal of the day” and somehow find your way to work after stopping at the convenience store for coffee?  All of us should take time every morning to get the best start on the day we possibly can.  God should play a significant role in starting your day!

Will Austin is a friend of mine and he recently shared a part of his daily start-up.  He reviews every morning his “Live For Him” list.  “Reading through this list is the very first thing I do each morning.  It allows me to recalibrate with what really matters,” he said.  He graciously gave me permission to share his LFH list with you.

  1. Every second of life is a gift; no matter what I endure…this is the most important thing to remember!
  2. Include God in everything I do.
  3. Everything is God’s; I am merely a steward of what He allows me to use.
  4. Read morning Scriptures with passion, purely searching for truth and wisdom.
  5. I can’t….but God can!!!
  6. Preserve my words…less talk; never answer before listening
  7. Trust in the Lord as though everything depends on Him. Work as though everything depends on me.
  8. Take action!!!  Ask three questions: Is the plan in harmony with God’s plan?  Will it work in real life circumstances?  Is my attitude pleasing to God?
  9. Make the right decisions by:  Getting facts before answering.  Be open to new ideas.  Make sure I hear all sides of the story before judging.
  10. There is great personal victory in controlling my temper!

 

Will said, “It is amazing how simple and to what perspective things seem to fall when I start my day this way.”  This Live For Him list can get you started every morning in the right way.  Maybe you and God need to come up with your own list.  The point is: Start things the right way everyday by including God in your plans!