Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Applause’

Applause and Acclaim

September 27th, 2018

Appreciation fuels achievement.

Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Applause and Acclaim.”

Few things are more satisfying than compliments for something that you have done, and done well. Hollywood, Broadway, and Nashville give numerous awards for entertainers in movies, television, videos, stage, and most genres of music. Outside of entertainment, there is the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding public service and achievement in American journalism, letters, and music. The prestigious Nobel Peace Prize is awarded for significant political and international  achievement. As children thrive in the acceptance and approval of others, people of any age respond to sincere recognition of their achievements.

Praise and appreciation fuels achievement for one and all, from children to adults. Parents accomplish that with their approving words, proud smiles, and physical hugs that recognition. Bosses do that with awards, plaques, certificates, bonuses, or raises. Any award seems to mean more when the person or group giving recognition means the most to you. A stranger’s compliment may be flattering, but fleeting. A friend’s praise is a joy forever cherished forever in your heart.

I am not sure there would be any little league teams if Mom and Dad were not in the stands cheering and claiming, “that’s my child.” Children don’t yet play for the love of the game; they play for the cheers and congratulations of their parents and coaches. Some years ago, when our children were young, my stepfather, a wise man, gave me great parenting advice. He said, “To be mentally and emotionally healthy, every child needs a generous number of ‘atta boys’ every day.” If your children don’t hear praise and encouragement from you, they will seek encouragement elsewhere and embrace others’ flattery as an acceptable substitute. Flattery is nothing more than sugar-coated deception.

Let me add a small word of caution. The need for sincere applause and public acclaim can become seductive, even addictive, feeding one’s ego and pride rather than inspiring better efforts and greater accomplishments. Your best work and deepest satisfaction comes when you find abiding joy in knowing you offered your best and God is pleased, whether noticed by others or not.

The Bible offers a warning. Jesus cautioned those who, “loved the praise (and approval) from men more than the praise (and approval) from God.” John 12:43 NIV/NAS.  However great the applause and recognition of others might be, you will find no greater satisfaction than at the moment you finally stand before God and hear the Savior’s words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful . . enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:21 NKJV. May your entrance be grand and may you be welcomed by the applause of Heaven. At that moment, every earthly tribute and trophy will pale in comparison. Always and only, live on earth with Heaven in mind.

When all else is finally said and done, the sole opinion that will ultimately matter is the Lord’s evaluation. Paul gave Godly counsel in all that you do, Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do.” Ephesians 6:7-8 NIV. Don’t accept any distinction between the sacred and the secular. All you do for the cause and name of Christ is holy in God’s eyes.

Today I pray for you to never require the crowd’s faint applause or fading acclaim.

Christian Communications 2018-9299

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Success with Satisfaction

January 22nd, 2016

“Our only power and success come from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 NLT.

Success without satisfaction is failure not success.

My thoughts and comments today are about “success with satisfaction.”

Success is a more complex subject than might first be assumed. Sir Winston Churchill captured the process as, “moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Ultimately, success requires an untiring enthusiasm and expectation. Let success be your goal, but make satisfaction your measurement of success.

Success is a common, even innate, desire of the human spirit. God wills your success. About that fact, the Bible is clear. “Beloved I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NASB. God wills you to enjoy financial sufficiency, ample health and strength, measured by a singular standard, “as your soul prospers.” “Our only power and success come from God.” Read 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 TLB. Apart from the spiritual dimension, whatever measure of success you achieve will be unsatisfactory. Success without satisfaction is failure not success.

Do not let the world around you dictate what success is for you. The apparent success of others may mislead you into assuming your success will look like theirs. The Bible warned, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV. The world measures success by tangible acquisitions, notable achievements, popular approval, others’ applause, or material gain. “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 NLT. The world’s standards are different from what God values.

You must decide to which you will give irreplaceable years of effort, energy, and expense. Establish your personal definition of success. Without Godly benchmarks for measuring, you may not know when you achieve it or recognize when you have not. Contentment and satisfaction with what you achieve is a more reliable measurement of success than the tangible rewards that result.

For me, where I find the greatest satisfaction and most prize any measure of “success” are family and ministry. I will count Gayle’s and my success by the fruit of our family’s lives, the faith and values we hold in common, enjoying and loving one another’s company, and our mutual love and service for the Lord and His Church. Our family is central to my definition of success with satisfaction.

As for ministry, I evaluate ministry on the twin bases of obedience and faithfulness to God’s call, having done what He asked and been faithful where He placed me. Honest appraisal reminds me that God’s grace and people’s graciousness have been the source of success.

Today, I pray for you to measure success by the satisfaction you find in doing God’s will.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Live Selflessly

February 21st, 2014

“Let your good works shine out for all to see.” Matthew 5:16 NLT.

Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

My thoughts and comments today are that you “live selflessly.”

How you live everyday is important; why you live the way you choose to live is even more important. Summing up the eight character qualities of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus described the uniqueness of those who exemplify the Kingdom of God as being, “the salt of the earth and light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-16. Salt and light have distinctive purposes, only of use and value when fulfilling their purposes – an appropriate metaphor for us and our use and value to the Kingdom of God on earth. A Godly life offers an enticing flavor to the blandness of life apart from Christ and brilliant illumination dispelling the darkness in which others live.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 NLT. Your life and mine are unique only when accomplishing the eternal purpose for which God intends. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT. It is important that you understand the measurement by which your life succeeds. Your purpose is always for, “all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” The first part becomes irrelevant if the latter part doesn’t occur. In an exemplary life, God is the One who is seen and praised.

If your motive is to be seen and praised by men, every effort remains inconsequential. “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12 NIV. A meaningful and satisfying life is lived, “for the praise of His glory.” Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

I remember my Dad often quoting, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” (Harry Truman, 33rd president of the US 1884-1972). That is very true. “Having your conduct honorable among [others], that . . they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God . .” 1 Peter 2:12 NKJV. Your most successful achievements might well be the most noble, while you serve merely for His pleasure. But know this, nothing done in His name and for His glory will go unnoticed or unrewarded. “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19 NKJV.

Jesus had strong words about doing even the right things for the wrong reasons – to be seen of men. Matthew 23:5 NKJV. When the Pharisees gave, they did so for the applause of others; they prayed where others would hear and admire. Read Matthew 6:1-6 NIV. For their efforts, they received no reward from God. You live selflessly when you live for the applause and approval of One. See Colossians 1:9-14 NIV. This is a practical way that we can help ourselves and one another: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 NLT. Any outbursts lately?

My prayer for you today is that all you do is done in love and sincerity.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Success and Failure

July 31st, 2013

“The Lord was with [Joseph] and gave him success in everything he did.” Genesis 39:3 NIV

Success is found in your capacity to appreciate its blessings fully and honor God humbly.

My thoughts and comments today are about “success and failure.”

There is a lot of confusion about this idea of success. Opinions are as diverse as the individuals giving them. Whatever anyone else says, what you believe about success is of first importance. It is a good feeling when others see you as successful, but ultimately there are only two opinions that really matter, yours and God’s. Only how you view your life and accomplishments and, when you stand before God, whether He can say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will matter eternally.

The crowd is rarely right. If you are relying on the majority opinion you will be misled. The difference between what is popular or important is vast. There will be big surprises in eternity as to who and what merited applause and acclaim, as well as whose recognition truly mattered. You must answer a simple but important question, “Whose applause do I seek?” Jesus described the sad plight of those who, “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43 NKJV.

As I have grown older I have learned that success is more about who I am and the quality of relationships that I have – with God, my spouse, our family, and our friends – than things I have or have done. The good opinions of acquaintances are appreciated, but the more accurate appraisal of those who have known me – in the ups and downs of life, both mine and theirs – is invaluable. If they speak well of my life, and family, and ministry, then I have had success.Here are some of my observations about success.

Success is related to clear priorities and enduring, eternal values. See Joshua 1:8 NIV. You will not give the effort needed or sacrifice required to anything you do not count as valuable and as a priority above your comfort and convenience. Success is the product of your doing well and doing so consistently for the long term. Many have made a lot of money and yet made a mess of their lives. Some have been praised for accomplishments at work, but left a destroyed marriage or family at home. Too much success, or the wrong kind of success, can destroy so much that is irreplaceable.

Success is not the product of your talent and hard work alone. Others will share knowledge and experience you do not possess, provide opportunities you have not earned, and give you help and expertise along the way and, more importantly than all, God will have been gracious toward you! “As long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.” 2 Chronicles 26:5. Success will quickly sour if God is not honored as its Source. If you fail, fail at things unimportant. Where you succeed, succeed in things of eternal significance.

Success is found in your capacity to appreciate its blessings fully, share its benefits generously, handle its responsibilities wisely, and honor God humbly. Remember, as with Joseph, it is true, “The Lord gave [Joseph] success in everything he did.” Genesis 39:3 NIV. I pray that you experience the height of success in all you are and do, as the Bible says God desires for you. “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2. Spiritual prosperity will be your crowning success. See Matthew 6:33 NKJV. Keep first things first; the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Without God, any success is just another failure.

My prayer for you this day is that you value the eternal above the temporal.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Serving Gladly

May 1st, 2012

“Serve the Lord with gladness.” Psalm 100:2 NKJV

“The only applause a true servant expects is the approval of his Master.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “serving gladly.”

Life is best lived with gladness. You, as well as others, can tell when you are doing something dutifully rather than gladly. A person’s performance, demeanor, and effort expose their heart, however busy their hands may be. Doing the right thing for God or others because you ought to or have to do it is vastly different from doing that because you are glad for the privilege of helping. Which would you say characterizes your service to God? Your service to others? There is little credit for doing the right thing with a wrong heart.

David, the shepherd and King of Israel, knew a little about worship. “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:2-3 NAS. David learned some practical things good for us to remember. When serving, your attitude is as important as your actions. The New Testament describes that principle this way, “Be . . fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11 NKJV. The idea is: serving with enthusiasm, pleasure, and satisfaction.

“Serving gladly” is not about your delight in the task; it is about your delight in God Himself – your fitting response in recognition of God and His rightful place in and over your life. Guard your motives when serving. Ample reward is promised to those who serve, but reward alone is not a proper motive. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you are working for the Lord and not for men. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what He has kept for His people. For Christ is the real Master you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24 TEV. The only applause a true servant expects is the approval of his Master.

Serving others is an act of worship to God. The proper accompaniment to your songs is the sound of your joy in God and your love for serving others. Jesus spoke of the hungry, strangers, needy, sick, and prisoners and said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these . . you did for Me . . Anyone who gives a cup of water in My name will certainly not lose His reward.” Matthew 25:40 NIV/Mark 9:41 NIV.

God doesn’t lack from your expression of kindness, your helping hand, your thankful words, or your practical generosity – your family, friends, and neighbor do! “Serving gladly” is every bit a worshipful act as is “joyful singing.” You rightly express your gratitude to Father God for His benevolent grace by your practical benevolence to His family, and the objects of His love – the world! John properly reasoned, “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, how can he love God, Whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20 NIV.

A servant has to be careful to guard their heart. My dear friend, Campbell, taught me, “If you want to see how well you are doing as a servant to others, watch how you react when someone treats you like one.” I have found his advice a reliable and necessary guideline more times that I would like to admit. When I fail to serve you, I fail myself and fail my God.

My prayer for you today is that you discover the joy of serving God by serving others.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,