Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

The average person will spend approximately 150,000 hours at work in their lifetime – that is to say, about 40% of our waking lives are spent at work.

‘Is God interested in our work? Many people do not see God as a 24/7 God, but as a withdrawn actor confined to a Sunday show with a declining audience.

There is a widespread view that God and work simply don’t mix: the competitive, cut-throat demands of the working world are seen as the obvious enemy of Christian compassion and love. But the God who created and sustains the world is also the God of the workplace. If the Christian faith is not relevant in the workplace, it is not relevant at all.’

These are the words of one of my closest friends, Ken Costa, in his book God at Work (see also godatwork.org.uk). For over forty years, Ken has been living out his faith on the frontline of Christian ministry – in the ‘secular’ workplace in the City of London. And he sees that as his primary calling as a Christian.

Whatever kind of work you are called to, it will probably occupy a large proportion of your life. Work is an important part of God’s ‘economy’. It is part of what you were created to do, and will be part of what you do in heaven. Work has an intrinsic value. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject of our work.

Psalm 90:11-17

Your work has lasting value

Recently, Bill Hybels challenged our congregation with these words: ‘What are you doing now that will outlive you?’

Psalm 90 is all about the brevity of life (vv.3–4,10). However, even though your life is short and fleeting, according to this psalm it is possible for your work to outlive you. What you do can have lasting value. The psalm ends on a note of hope: ‘May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands’ (v.17).

The ultimate value of your work is a reflection of the fact that God too is a worker. The psalmist says, ‘Let Your work [the signs of Your power] be revealed to Your servants, and Your [glorious] majesty to their children’ (v.16, AMP).

In Working Without Wilting, Jago Wynne writes, ‘We tend to think that things like our work, which happen when we are on earth, are nothing more than temporary and transient.

‘The Bible paints a different picture. When Jesus returns, God is not going to obliterate this earth, but he will renew it, redeem it and liberate it from its bondage to decay… Human work will be purified and redeemed, so that it is free from sin just as we will be free from sin. But work will certainly be a part of the new creation.’ This is why it is right to ask God to ‘establish the work of our hands’ (v.17b).

Lord, may your favour rest upon me. Establish the work of my hands for me. May my work outlive me and have a lasting impact for good.

Romans 16:1-27

Give yourself fully to God’s work

Being a Christian involves being set to work, especially in the work of the gospel. Paul’s letter to the Romans ends with greetings to a list of people. In it, he places great emphasis on the value of their work.

Priscilla and Aquila are described as his ‘co-workers in Christ Jesus’ (v.3). Mary ‘worked very hard for you’ (v.6). Urbanus was ‘our co-worker in Christ’ (v.9). Tryphena and Tryphosa were women ‘who work hard in the Lord’ (v.12). Persis is ‘another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord’ (v.12). Timothy is ‘my fellow-worker’ (v.21).

Elsewhere Paul writes, ‘We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow’ (2 Thessalonians 3:7–9).

Paul was probably the most effective servant of Christ who ever lived, but he was not in ‘full-time’ ministry. He was a tentmaker earning his own keep.

Similarly, not everyone listed in Romans 16 was involved in ‘full-time Christian ministry’. Erastus had a secular job – he was ‘the city’s director of public works’ (v.23). He no doubt regarded his work as his primary calling and ministry. In that sense, all of us are involved in full-time ministry – whether we are called to work full-time in a church, or in the secular world.

It is also interesting to note how many women worked in the church. Phoebe (v.1) is described as diakonos (a servant) – the Greek word meaning deacon, or minister (‘a key representative of the church’, MSG). She is described as having been ‘a great help to many people’ including Paul himself (v.2). The Greek word for ‘a great help’ is the word used for a political sponsor, protector and patron. It suggests she possessed some social position, wealth and independence. She clearly had a very prominent role in the church.

Priscilla and Aquila (see also Acts 18) had a joint ministry. Priscilla is named first (v.3). This is probably due either to her having been converted first (and having led Aquila to Christ) or to her having played a more prominent role in the life and work of the church.

Ten of the people named in the list are women. They include Junia – one of the ‘outstanding leaders’ (v.7, MSG). Junia is almost certainly a female name. She is described as one of those who was ‘outstanding among the apostles’ (v.7). Since she was clearly not one of the twelve apostles, ‘apostles’ here has a wider sense, denoting someone sent out as a missionary. Paul includes a woman as being outstanding among these missionary leaders. It is clear from all of this that women occupied prominent places on Paul’s team.

Paul ends on a note of thanks and worship: ‘All our praise is focused through Jesus on this incomparably wise God! Yes!’ (vv.25–27, MSG).

Lord, help all of us, whatever our calling, to be those who work hard in the Lord and proclaim ‘Jesus Christ’ (v.27).

1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36

Imitate God in work and rest

Work is one of the ways in which you imitate God. As God laboured in creation, so we are to do the same. The command to work was there before the Fall (see Genesis 2:15). As Ken Costa often says, ‘Work was in the original God-breathed prospectus.’

David set to work. He ‘constructed buildings for himself’ (1 Chronicles 15:1). He called together the leaders and set them to work (v.12).

There is no divide between the sacred and the secular. Worship was at the heart of all that they were to do. David gave instructions about ‘the work of worship’ (v.2, MSG). They were appointed ‘to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel’ (16:4). King David joined in the worship ‘dancing and celebrating’ (15:29).

At set times during the day (16:7), they took what Joyce Meyer describes as a ‘praise pause’ – ‘I do not think anything blesses God more than when we stop right in the middle of what we are doing and lift our hands to worship him… Think about a businessman, for example, maybe the president of a large company. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if several times a day, he closed the door to his office, turned the lock, knelt, and said, “God, I just want to take some time to worship you.”

‘The same is true for students, stay-at-home [parents], retired people, secretaries, flight attendees, brain surgeons, clerks, and salespeople – anyone you can think of. We all would benefit greatly from taking a “praise pause.”’

David praises and thanks the Lord for what ‘he has done’ (v.8), ‘his wonderful acts’ (v.9), ‘the wonders he has done’ (v.12). He recounts the great work of the Lord and calls the people to ‘worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness’ (v.29).

God is a worker.

We see this right from the start of the Bible. He was at work in creation, ‘by the seventh day God had finished the work he had being doing; so on the seventh day he rested’ (Genesis 2:2). He not only creates the world, he sustains and redeems it. Work is one of the ways in which you imitate God.

Lord, thank you for work. Thank you that even ‘hard work’ is such a blessing. May my work in itself be an act of worship, as I present my body as a ‘living sacrifice… [my] spiritual act of worship’ (Romans 12:1–2).

Pippa Adds

1 Chronicles 15:29

‘As the ark of the covenant of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.’

I love worship, but it is easy to have likes and dislikes. Sometimes I can think ‘how can that be worship?’ But God looks at the heart. And I don’t want to become like Michal!

 

Verse of the Day

‘May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us;

        establish the work of our hands for us…’ (Psalm 90:17).

 

Your Thoughts

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References

Ken Costa, God at Work, (Alpha International, 2013).

Joyce Meyer, The Everyday Life Bible, (Faithwords, 2014), p.635

Jago Wynne, Working Without Wilting, (IVP, 2009).

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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Though the keto community can be very scientific and at times not very warm when we share our Christian faith we can share what keto does for us with each other as our own sect within the community.

This is not to disparage any part of the keto world either because I’ve been on a few podcasts and ALL have allowed me to share my journey acknowledging my faith as central to it but I’ve also been and still am a member of keto groups who are somewhat hostile towards faith but I remain a part of them because I am willing to learn from ALL of God’s creatures even the ones who don’t believe in Him as I do and i do my best to ensure that I show them the respect due to a co-creation of God EVEN WHEN they disparage me for my faith.

As long as a Christian is well grounded I feel that we should not withdraw from these Godless situations/groups because we can (and I have) be a light to those communities for Christ Jesus (just ensure that you have thick enough “Jesus” armor to do so and have someone hold you accountable so that if you start to fall they can see it and tell you).

It is also IMHO good training ground to sharpen our individual testimonies (again…ONLY if one can handle it AND do NOT be prideful as it may NOT be a mission that God has approved for YOU) as we learn to accept that there will be many who reject the message yet we learn to continue to love them, pray for them, intercede for them, as Jesus has done for us.

One thing though…please don’t step past the level of grace and study that you are at and if you “don’t know” simply say you “don’t know” because hypocrisy in the mouth of a Christian is IMHO one of the biggest hindrances of the proliferation of the message of what Jesus did when He died on the Cross for us.

Ron “Big Black” Garrett

https://youtu.be/xFr0FKnaLDk

I love this video from #Goalcast featuring Mr. Les Brown so I wanted to share it on he blog with my story along with it.

Much like Mr. Brown is saying in this video I tell my kids in my Urban Rangers inner-city class that I as a kid was labeled “dumb”, “wouldn’t amount to much”, “stupid”, and a whole other host of names and since people who I looked up to were calling that I believed it.

I then would tell them of how when I got into the Army that one of my mentors Staff Sergeant Crabtree asked me to do something and I basically like Mr. Brown here told him that I couldn’t because I was “dumb” and he told me to NEVER call myself that again.

Years later another Sergeant…Sergeant First Class Richard Wicker looked at me one day and said “why aren’t you taking college classes?”

I said “because I barely graduated high school and because only smart people go to college”.

Much like SSG Crabtree SFC Wicker wouldn’t allow me to quit and he pestered me until one day he said “if you take just one semester I will leave you alone but you are smarter than a lot of people who are going to college that you lead as an non-commissioned officer.”

So begrudgingly and full of fear I signed up and went to my first class and as I looked around the class I realized that men and women that I taught how to be good soldiers were also taking classes and I figured that I knew their work ethic which in many cases was not as good as mine so I figured that as long as I worked hard that maybe I could do this thing.

Point is that I didn’t believe in myself because people had spoken negative words over my life and if someone does that long enough the person that it’s being spoken to can and often will end up believing them like I did.

BUT…God can/will often bring along people that will speak positive things into your life as these two men (and others) did and IF you receive them you will begin to cancel out the negative that has been spoken over your life and begin to do positive things.

This video brought this back to memory so I felt like I had to share.

Be careful of what you say and how you say it to people and ensure that you never call someone “dumb” or “stupid”.

Resolve to speak positive words of affirmation to people and much like fertilizer when applied to a plant watch them grow!

Ron “Big Black” Garrett

#ronbigblackgarrett #keto4Jesus

I saw this pic from when my wife was battling cancer and it reminded me of that time and how her courage helped me be strong for her.

She is well now but it was so beautiful that I had to share it and it reminds me that I’m not always as appreciative of her that I should be.

As I look back at the photos during that time they took me back to the fear that I as a man who is used to being strong and who fears almost nothing had during that time and i can look back through the prism of time and see God’s hand on the whole situation.

During this time that the enemy tried to use to “steal, kill, and destroy” us this event only served to make us and our entire family stronger and develop an even greater trust in Jesus as His perfect peace surrounded us and assured us through the fear that we felt during those days.

I am stronger man because God blessed me with her and I love you @mstracyg more each day!

Ron “Big Black” Garrett #ronbigblackgarrett #cancersucks #Jesusheals

Discipline doesn’t always bring you to a pleasurable state. On the contrary discipline quite often means pain and lots of it.

Yet if you stay the course and remain disciplined in all that you do you will reap rewards and a harvest that will endure a lifetime.

If that discipline is in Christ Jesus the reward is eternal and even more beautiful!

Be blessed today and choose to be disciplined in all that you do!

Ron “Big Black Garrett.

#keto #ketolife #ketolifestyle #ronbigblackgarrett #ketoinspiration #ketoathlete

#ketogenic #lchf #ketodiet #ketocommunity #lowcarb #lowcarblifestyle #eatfatloseweight #fatforfuel #Keto4Jesus #weightlifting #powerlifting

Death and disease knows no “color”, shows no concern about or gives deference to a certain “race”, and both are equal opportunity killers.

It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, straight or gay, famous or infamous, good or evil when they come “a calling” you are forced to answer the door and face them.

You then have choices to make…either face them or run and hide.

You were created to face and fight these foes and the battle starts when you open your pantry and your refrigerator doors.

What one eats…how one fuels the body is paramount in fighting the ravages of the enemies that death and disease are.

So I encourage you today on this day that we recognize our fallen heroes who chose to stand, face and fight the enemies of our great nation to stand, face, and fight these two enemies of yours with the weapon that they fear the most…PROPER FOOD!

You are worth fighting for! So fight the battle as if your life depends on it with all that you’ve got for it quite often does.

Call on Jesus who is the Name above all names not only to heal you but to also give you clarity, direction, and strength as you journey to better health, fitness, and weight/fat loss.

Be blessed and peace to all of my brothers and sisters in arm who have fallen in battle fighting the “good fight”.

Ron “Big Black” Garrett

#keto #ketolife #ketolifestyle #ronbigblackgarrett #ketoinspiration #ketoathlete

#ketogenic #lchf #ketodiet #ketocommunity #lowcarb #lowcarblifestyle #eatfatloseweight #fatforfuel #Keto4Jesus #weightlifting #powerlifting

Choose wisely as how you choose is often where your focus will be for the duration.

This reminds me of another hard choice that many of us have to make daily and that is to love people who seemingly hate use or want to do us harm physically, mentally, or spiritually.

We have a choice to live by our own desires OR to live in obedience to Jesus and do what is sometimes very hard and that is love the unlovable.

I choose LOVE!!! (Although I do postulate that that there are many a day that I have to go off and pray so that I don’t slap the spirit out of someone!!! Don’t judge me!! 😂. )

I leave you with this:

Matthew 5:43-48: But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’

Ron “Big Black” Garrett

#keto #ketolife #ketolifestyle #ronbigblackgarrett #ketoinspiration #ketoathlete

#ketogenic #lchf #ketodiet #ketocommunity #lowcarb #lowcarblifestyle #eatfatloseweight #fatforfuel #Keto4Jesus #weightlifting #powerlifting