Be an Encourager

One doesn’t have to look far in today’s world to find someone who is discouraged. Loneliness, depression, and the like are of epidemic proportions today.

In his book Live Not by Lies, Rod Dreher writes “Americans attend fewer club meetings, have fewer dinner parties, eat dinner together as a family less, and are much less connected to their neighbors. They are disconnected from political parties and more skeptical of institutions. They spend much more time alone watching television or cocooning on the internet. The result is that ordinary people feel more anxious, isolated, and vulnerable.”

Add to this what the world is experiencing with Covid 19 and the economy and you have a real quagmire full of depression and discouragement.

I wrote previously “Never assume you know another person’s situation or can understand what they are going through at any given moment.”

Think about this for a moment; does the fact that someone appears happy, joyful…appears to be okay, or doing good negate our responsibility to be an encourager? As you ponder that question consider a passage of scripture written by the Apostle Paul in Romans 15:1-2 “Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weakness of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”

Here we have a biblical mandate to be an encourager to others. “Through the years I have said many times there is nothing that soothes one’s own soul like serving others.” I wonder, how might you use your strength, your possessions, your understanding of scripture to bring encouragement to someone else today?

Life Is Fleeting

Life is FleetingWhy does it, oftentimes, take a serious trial or even great tragedy for us to recognize the brevity of life? To recognize the importance of family and the relationships we share.

What if we knew specifically, the end was coming? What if we could see the tragedy before it hits? How would it affect us? How would it impact our lives? What about our families…the relationships are most important to us.

In Psalms 39:4 The Psalmist wrote: “Lord, make me to know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” Later in Psalms 90:12 he writes “Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.” 

If only we had that kind of foreknowledge, how might it impact the things we do, the things we say, how might we guard the relationships we have?

I remember the day almost 13 years ago to the month my wife and I sitting together in the doctor’s office learned she had a rare disease that had a life expectancy from the time of diagnosis of only five to ten years. The next several weeks were a blur of emotions. But when the shock wore off and the roller coaster of emotions played out, we began to re-evaluate every facet of life. We were left with a greater passion and commitment for those things that mattered the most to us in life.

Fast forward to 2018 to a dimly lit, cold hospital room. While the news was terrible, it was not a surprise. I remember distinctly the conversation my wife and I had concerning the fact that we knew this day would come. Knowing is what made us focus more on the important things in life.

More often than not our daily lives were driven by family, and our relationships rather than what Charles Swindol calls the “Tyranny of the Urgent.” That is the pressing in of life all around us.

There is great wisdom in the words of the Psalmist. 

First, make every day count. When speaking about life he used words like brevity and fleeting, his point…life is short, make every moment count. Secondly, life is precious. Biblically speaking you “measure” things of value. Items such as grain, gold, silver, and life. Life is precious we should enjoy it with the ones we love.

And lastly, how we do life matters. Look again at the words used; know is used twice, number, measure, and heart. The Psalmist wants you to contemplate how you are going to spend your time here on earth doing this thing called life.

Have a blessed day, make it count!

Embracing Change

Embrace Change

There are a few weird people in the world, however, most do not enjoy change in their life.

Here at corporate, we have been hearing a lot about change as we set our sights on the future and a continued legacy of positive growth. We can all share changes we have experienced in our own lives. It has been said that “Change is the only constant in our lives.”

The reason change is so difficult is because we have programmed our lives by our desired outcome. When those goals, achievements, and benchmarks in life are not obtained or become threatened due to change, change or the author of that change becomes the enemy.

How do we embrace change with a Christian mindset? It begins with our mindset toward accomplishment. 

James 4:13-14 states “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

When we read and understand this passage of scripture we see that we are not as in control of our destiny as we think we are. Several obvious truths pop out, God is in control, life is short and God’s will is higher than my own. 

As I wrote this devotion I repeatedly was reminded of something I have heard Todd Newby discuss many times throughout the years of my employment. When asked about the future business and growth of Newby Management, he always states that we trust God for that. We allow God to bring the business to the company. This ensures we have the right business and avoid the wrong business. This does not mean we sit back and do nothing toward gaining new clients. It means we trust God for the direction.

Listen to James 4:15, the verse following what I previously read: “Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

I think about the number of people in our corporate office alone who have lost a spouse in recent years. The change they have gone through as a result. I think of Joel Weaver and the change from the mission field of Africa to a secular job in America after 40 plus years. Embracing change means first understanding the Lord has a “will” a desire for each one of us. The closer we live in accordance to His will for our lives, the more purpose-driven we become, as His desires become our desires. 

Understanding change and the “why” is a futile search. What we should remember is the promise of Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Do not fear change; fear the inability to embrace it.

Finding The Right Motivation

Motivation

Finding The Right Motivation

Colossians 3:23-24

What motivates you in your work? Is it merely the paycheck you receive? Is it the pursuit of something more in life…material possessions? Maybe it’s nobler than that, perhaps a better future for your children.

I guess none of these in and of themselves are wrong or bad. However, when they are our sole motivation they can lead to great resentment which leads to disappointment when things don’t go the way we think they should. But when our motivation comes from the proper place, disciplined appropriately it can bring great satisfaction and success regardless of the production of our work good or bad.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church of Colossae this instruction “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as to the Lord rather than men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

This passage gives us several axioms of truth enabling the ability to find joy in your life, motivation for life, and so on.

Notice first the importance of your work: “Whatever you do…” this is a great equalizing statement.. it brings great equality and importance to all conditions. 

Notice second how you are to perform your work:  “Do your work Heartily” 

Thirdly who you are working for: “As to the Lord” Vs 24 “it is the Lord Christ you serve”

Fourth your true paycheck: “You will receive the reward of your inheritance.”

When these principles become the driving force or motivation for our work and life, whatever it is we then can discipline ourselves with daily regimens that help us achieve those more earthly and personal goals of success, accomplishment, material gain. 

Four such disciplines come to mind:

  1. Energetic
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Commitment
  4. Excellence

Supposing that we can be honest with ourselves, here’s a little test. Put these disciplines in question form and ask them of yourselves.

  • How is my energy level when it comes to my work and life?
  • How is my enthusiasm for my work and life?
  • How is my commitment level?
  • Am I producing to my highest ability?

Often times the daily grind of work, the daily issues that we deal with, the constant bombardment of people with attitudes, the list of negatives goes on and on, the daily noise of these can rob our joy and steal our focus. 

It is imperative to remember:

Your work matters to God, whatever you do!

Your work is to be done heartily!

Your work is for Christ alone!

Your work will not go unpaid!

 

What to Do In the “Waiting” Room

Good morning,

Anybody reading this today waiting on something? I’m sure for most of us the answer is yes. Waiting on the phone to ring, waiting on an answer that seems to be taking way to long, waiting on that new…._______, waiting for your stimulus, waiting on the vaccine, waiting in line at Walmart (OK maybe that one doesn’t qualify). We are all at some point in time in the “waiting room” of life. Not easy, never in our time or in our direction but many times waiting on God to respond.

So, what to do while we wait? What is God accomplishing during this “stand by.”

Here are a few thoughts that have come via a friends devotion this morning……..

“The pressures of a delayed answer are meant to purify our faith and enlarge our soul.”

“Delayed answers increase the magnitude of the “yes” when it comes.”

“To see and act on the needs of others in our hour of waiting is a great act of trust, surrender and worship.”

“Waiting on God increases the intensity of our need for Him.”

“Waiting on God produces deep surrender and patience.”

In all of this “waiting” God is at work! (Important to remember….daily)
In all of God’s “working” His goal in our lives is the finished product…..maturity.
In all of our “waiting” we want the fast answer….God wants the best answer.

So our challenge during the waiting is to be surrendered, confident and productive.
While we wait find the one thing that God wants you to do TODAY.

PS: Waiting is never easy and don’t beat yourself up if during the process you falter and grow impatient. God has promised to finish what He has started.

Praying for you today
Chap Dan

What Choice Will We Make?

Psalm 16:8 “I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

What does it mean to keep the Lord in my mind all the time? In this short Psalm we see first of all a choice. The Psalmist has made the decision to have the Lord in mind always. In this, we choose to relate everything we encounter to our trust in God. It’s important to know that what we choose to focus on becomes the dominant influence in our lives. If we choose to focus on problems then our problems will determine the direction of our lives. If we choose to focus on people, then people will determine what we think and do. If, and it’s our choice, focus on Christ, we invite Him to take the most important position in our lives. For every new experience, when people insult and mistreat us, when a crisis comes out of nowhere, when we are afraid the first response should be to choose Jesus. How amazing it is that Jesus should stand beside us to guide us and counsel us. Why should we ever be dismayed by our circumstance when we have our Lord at our right hand. The question………what will we choose? Chap Dan

Vacation or Mission?

A mom was getting her family ready to load up the car and head to the airport for a much need time away. Trying to corral a group of very excited and easily distracted children to the car she commented to her oldest son, “please hurry up we don’t want to miss our vacation.” To this the son responded “mom, I’m not going on vacation I’m going on mission.” The mom repeated this to her husband as they drove to the airport and a smile came across his face, “at least I know he was listening to the pastors sermon last Sunday. Don’t you remember, the pastor said when he spoke on our lives being salt and light to the world that our example to the world should be 24/7 even when we are on vacation.”

No matter where we are, no matter what we are doing, we are reflecting something through our example. Sometimes when we go on vacation we forget that even then we are to let our lights shine brightly where we are. (Matthew 5:16) So, as we head out on our vacations, remember that our testimony should always be “on.” Chap Dan

Welcome From Chaplain Dan

Just a quick introduction for those of you who are checking out this new blog link for the first time. My full name is Daniel L Billings but most of our team here at Newby just call me Chap Dan. This idea, while not at all new in our world of technology, is a new venture for me. As chaplain here at Newby and Pastor of Simplicity Fellowship I’ve been looking for ways to connect with our team and community residents in a way that provides more accessibility and a broader range of impact. This blog is just another tool to attempt to accomplish that goal. From time to time I will post to this blog a scripture, thought for the day or word of encouragement. I invite you to check it out for new posts and reach out to me with your thoughts and comments. Pastor/Chaplain Dan