Tag Archives: Jeremiah 29:11

Developing a Game Plan

19 Dec

Sometimes our workplace situation isn’t fair (or safe), but there isn’t a good way out. The economy, our education, and a number of other factors can end up preventing us from leaving. When this happens, the best approach is to develop a game plan for survival and, when the time is right, departure. Here are a few useful ideas for making due until the time is right:

1. Prayerfully Plan. One of the surest ways to grab hold of hope in a depressing situation is to plan a course for the future. Make a list of things that need to change in order for you to leave, take it to God in prayer, then make a plan for achieving those goals. It may take a while to get there, but each task you accomplish will be one more step towards the positive workplace situation you seek.

2. Ask for Assistance. Sometimes we can’t see the way forward on our own. When this happens, one of the best things we can do is ask others for their guidance and advice. Those impossible to fund educational goals may be at your fingertips and you just don’t know it. The right job may be available, it just isn’t listed. Make good use of your network of friends as well as any community resources which may be available. Remember the words of Proverbs 24:6, “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: And in multitude of counselors there is safety.”

3. Prayerfully Perform. C.S. Lewis once said that, “Prayer doesn’t change God; it changes me.” Through prayer, we learn to see people and situations through God’s eyes and from an eternal perspective. Make a list of everyone you work with, of each situation or issue that is causing you stress, and pray through it silently as you work. You will be surprised at how quickly many of the irritations you previously encountered will disappear.

4. Cultivate Community. Work (especially when it’s work we’d rather not be doing) becomes extra stressful when it fills the central spot in your life. So don’t let it. Take time to find people you enjoy being with and things you enjoy doing outside of your job and fit them into your schedule. It’s amazing how much better a day goes when you’re looking forward to time fellowshipping with a great friend after shift or getting some exercise at the local pool.

5. Don’t Despair. There’s an old saying that “when God closes a door, He opens a window”. His plan for our lives often looks quite different from what we want for ourselves… but there is a plan. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” While the verse was written for the benefit of the ancient Israelites, we can be sure that God feels just as passionately about those who follow Him today. He has a plan. And it is one filled with hope!

The Sovereignty of God and Why it Matters in the Workplace

11 Apr

Returning to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we find that there was a second important ingredient in their success: they recognized their Boss’s sovereignty. When the fire threatened both their careers and their lives, they responded with confidence, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 NASB)

Like Joseph (Genesis 45:4-5) they knew that what man meant for evil, God meant for good. If they did have to face the furnace, it would not be because God was unable to deliver them, but because He had a bigger plan… and that the bigger plan was also a better plan. Their bold confidence is echoed repeatedly throughout Scripture.

Jeremiah 29:11 affirms, “I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (NASB) And in Romans 8:28-32 the Apostle Paul declares, “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. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (NASB)

Understanding both God’s sovereignty and His love for them before they faced the fire was the key to the Hebrews’ boldness when they found themselves standing in the midst of the fire. And the same holds true for us, today.

So before you head off to work each morning, determine that God is your Boss – not your manager, the company president, your customers, or your coworkers.  Once you’ve made up your mind beforehand that God is the One whom you really serve, you too will have the courage to stand up and speak the truth – regardless of the consequences.

An added bonus?  When God is your Boss, most of the time it’s easier to earn the respect of your earthly boss!  But more on that, later!

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