Care for Tomorrow

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own”. Matthew 6:34. Worry can easily consume us if we let it. We can spend energy worrying about money, careers, health, family or anything that you can imagine. These are all “real world” problems that should not be ignored or diminished but they cannot be allowed to consume us either. Tomorrow is important from a planning perspective, a helping others perspective and a spiritual perspective. According to this verse, you might ask, “shouldn’t we just stay focused on what matters today and not worry about the future?”

I’m a believer that the future matters because what we do today doesn’t just have an impact on today alone but will also impact our future and the futures of those around us. Why do we speak up and teach or mentor someone who makes a mistake? I’d suggest that we say something not to show off our own knowledge but to make those around us just a little better. If you don’t care about today, what will tomorrow look like? I learned a very scary statistic today – the U.S. will have trouble filling its incoming military ranks in one generations time because the future youth won’t be able to qualify for service because of diminished physical abilities, poor cognitive test scores, previous drug use or the over use of behavioral medications. The key to the verse is worry. It says nothing about taking decisive action or helping others to achieve more. The old acronym T.E.A.M – together everyone achieves more holds true. Let’s not worry about tomorrow but let’s all work together for a better tomorrow.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” John 17:20

I once heard a story about a firefighter’s first day on the job back in the early 50’s. He was mopping the kitchen with an old fashioned “stringy” mop when one of the strands got caught under the table leg. He left behind the single strand but his Captain saw it and asked why he left it. He replied that it was only one strand and it wouldn’t matter. His Captain calmly explained that if he left that one and another was left tomorrow and so on that, soon there would be a full mop under there. Picking it up, he realized that “tomorrow” is important.

Jesus cared for tomorrow too. He is telling us that he was praying for those currently spreading the good news and for those who would grow in faith because of what they had heard. He was praying for us too! Jesus knew that future believers were just as important as the present ones. His focus remained on being our Savior despite knowing he had ahead of Him. This verse confirms that Jesus prayed for you and for me and, that the Bible is the inspired word of God (the message). Each of us will have doubt about our future and we all will, at times, have doubt about God’s love, thanks to sin and the devil’s work. We must stand strong over those doubts knowing that Jesus once prayed for us and continues to keep watch. The past holds nothing but the future is where we can find eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

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What’s the Plan?

Do you start your workweek with a plan? How about the workday? Planning is easy for some people and then there are those who struggle to get out the front door on time each day. The concept of “planning” can be used for short-term things like the best way to drive to work or for long-term projects like building a house or starting a business. Whichever you are doing, a plan always starts with the end in mind. What is it you want to do or accomplish? Some authors call that the vision but “the end” is as simple as knowing what you are planning for. The best analogy is taking a car trip. We start by knowing where we want to go and then we look for routes to get us there. Along the way we look for cities or towns where we can stop for fuel or grab something to eat. Longer trips require us to look for a place to spend the night.

Whether you are doing long or short range planning, the process is virtually the same. Write down your goal or the end and workout a route to get there. Whether you are seeking personal growth planning or directing the work of a team, route the course to get to the end. Write down your goal and the steps (course) to get there. Share it with members of your work-team or for those personal goals; share them with close friends to make it more meaningful and to get support from those who might help along the way. Consider them your “reservations” for points along the way. You will need support to achieve your goals and a good plan will make the path that you take a little more direct.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

I have written before about God’s plan for us. If we let God direct our lives, we cannot fail and bring glory to Him. Letting God direct our lives sounds like He’d be our personal Google Maps and He chooses the path for us. Like Maps, we can choose to ignore the directions but it is always easier to just let the App tell us where to go. While this might be easier, its not what God wants for us. He wants us to enjoy our lives, love our neighbors and most of all, He wants us to be faithful to Him – Commit to the Lord.

If we work with the goal of being faithful to God, doing what He commands, sharing the good news of our salvation in Jesus Christ, how can we go off course? God loves us and sent His Son to die for our sins so that we may live with Him in Glory for all of eternity. The irony of eternal life is that there is no end. Our lives here on earth will end, so we must make plans to Glorify God in whatever we do. At work, be honest, work hard, be obedient and support those around you. In your life you can bring Glory to God through regular worship, bible study, Christian fellowship and supporting your fellow man. When your walk in life is in step with God’s, your plans will succeed because your goals are the same – sharing eternity with each other.

Better late than never…

Ten days ago I spent five days on Hilton Head Island, SC with our very dear friends from Boston. We usually see them about two or three times a year and have tried to travel to different spots in the US when we do. This year they bought a “retirement home” on the island. They are about 8-10 years away from actually retiring but the market was right so they plunged. It is all part of their plan and with a little faith; they finally got what they dreamed of. I spent time talking to Scott about goals and dreams while we were there. He was so clear about his vision. We all need a vision for our lives. Most of us live year to year and we don’t think about we want 3-5 years down the road. What will your life look like then? Visioning is difficult especially when we try personal visioning. On the plane returning home, I read an article about Google managers and how they are asked to create a vision for their team or section and then communicate about it regularly. As the business changes, they communicate how those changes impact the vision. Organizations create vision statements, leaders have visions of what they want to accomplish and we should too. Have faith in your abilities to accomplish them; you can do anything you set your mind to.

“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20

Christmas is two days from now! All of our planning for the holiday will finally come together. God gave THE ultimate gift that day, His Son. This day was prophesied throughout the ages. Even John the Baptist talked about “someone who is greater than I”. God set His vision in motion and found that the only way to make it “a reality” was to send us a savior. God’s vision depends on just one thing – our faith in Jesus Christ as our savior. Matthew is encouraging us to keep our faith (even if it is small) and remain strong in our belief. If we can be strong in faith, nothing will be impossible. Whatever your vision of the future looks like, keep your faith in Jesus Christ strong. A future without Christ in it is not a future, it’s the end. Eternal life is hard to put into a vision of our future here on earth but we don’t have eternal life without faith in Jesus – they are mutually exclusive. Enjoy the birthday party today (Christmas), I hope you are spending it with your family or friends or both. Ask God for help in crafting your vision for this life and let your imagination run wild for what eternal life will be like. Merry Christmas!

Planning

Do you start your workweek with a plan? How about the workday? Planning for some people is very easy while others struggle to get out the front door on time each day. We can plan for something as short-term as the morning or for the long-term when dealing with a strategic plan or long-range workplans. Whichever you are doing, a plan always starts with the end in mind. What is it you want to do or accomplish? Some call that the vision but the end is simply knowing what you are planning for. The best analogy is taking a car trip. We start by knowing where we want to go and then we look for routes to get us there. Along the way we look for cities or towns where we can stop for fuel or grab something to eat and for longer trips, we look for somewhere to stop for the night and make reservations. Whether you are doing long or short range planning, the process is virtually the same. Write down the goal or end and workout a route to get there. Whether you are doing some personal growth planning or directing the work of a team, route the course to get to the end. Write down your goal and the steps (course) to get there. Share it with members of your work-team or for those personal goals; share them with close friends to make it more meaningful and to get support from those who might help along the way. Consider them your “reservations” for points along the way. You will need support to achieve your goals and a good plan will make the path that you take a little more direct.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

I have written before about God’s plan for us. If we let God direct our lives, we cannot fail and we will glorify Him. It sounds like we’d be using God as our Google Maps and letting Him pick the path for us. While it sounds easier that way, its not what God wants for us. He wants us to enjoy our lives, love our neighbors and most of all, He wants us to be faithful to Him – Commit to the Lord. If we work with the goal of being faithful to God in Heaven, doing what He commands, sharing the good news of a savior in Jesus Christ, how can we go off course? God loves us and has rewarded our faithfulness by sending His Son to die for our sins so that we may live with Him in Glory for all of eternity. The irony in that is there is no end. Our lives here on earth will end, so we must make plans to Glorify God in whatever we do. At work, be honest, work hard, be obedient and support those around you. In your life you can bring Glory to God through regular worship, bible study, Christian fellowship and supporting your fellow man. When your walk in life is in step with God’s, your plans will succeed because your goals are the same – sharing eternity with each other.