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Posts Tagged ‘appreciation’

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

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Enthusiasm Is Contagious

July 26th, 2017

Work hard with appreciation and enthusiasm.

 “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working

 for the Lord.” Ephesians 6:7 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are, “Enthusiasm Is Contagious.”

A major proportion of your life will be spent in the marketplace. Approximately one-third of most days will be at work, and for the majority of us that will mean working for and with others. Practicing diligence and being enthusiastic, you will make that significant quantity of time a good experience for you, and make yourself a blessing to others.

A real issue today in business and relationships is the matter of loyalty. My Dad taught me to be loyal and to highly prize loyalty in personal and professional relationships. When I was a young minister, my Dad taught me to be loyal to those in authority and faithful to my work while there, and loyal to any and all who allowed me that opportunity. His advice was simple. If ever I could not be loyal, then I should thank them genuinely, go my way, and work where I could be loyal.

The Bible echoes my Dad’s advice, “Workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.” Proverbs 27:18 NLT. I have found that true. Besides being right and honorable, it is just practical wisdom to prioritize the interests and favor of those who directly contribute to your own best interests. And be enthusiastic while doing so. Show loyalty to others and loyalty will be reciprocated. It is true in life, whether good or bad, that you will reap what you sow, but in even greater measure. See Galatians 6:7-10 NIV. My father’s counsel was wise and it works, two very good things. I have never had to leave a relationship or responsibility in order to remain loyal, but I would before violating my integrity and God’s expectation of me. How you leave is as important as why you leave. Read Matthew 10:12-14 NKJV.

Paul’s words are clear, “Do the will of God with all your  heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do.” Ephesians 6:5-8 NLT. Work hard with appreciation for others and enthusiasm for your work. Enthusiasm is contagious. Enthusiasm brings dividends in your life and the lives of others. Share it generously!

The Bible said, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also look to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:4-5 NIV. Jesus modeled that perfectly and invites you and me to follow His lead. Consistently demonstrate qualities of character and humility in your attitude, speech, and conduct. I continue to practice the grace of putting others first.

Today, I pray for you to represent Jesus faithfully in your consideration of others.

Christian Communications 2017

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Underappreciated

February 18th, 2013

“God . . will not forget how hard you have worked for Him.” Hebrews 6:10 NLT.

Anything done for another’s good will be neither unnoticed nor unrewarded by God.

Ever felt underappreciated? Most of us have. Spouses and parents often do, but friendships and social relationships can also result in an unexpected lack of appreciation, mostly unintended I choose to believe. A good and Godly habit for you to nurture is a simple, sincere “Thank you,” appropriate to every occasion. There will be times when you are thoughtful and helpful, choosing to be benevolent but the beneficiary takes you and your kindness for granted with little or no expression of thanks. Those are times when you might feel underappreciated, or maybe unappreciated altogether.

Be sure of this; your kindness may go unnoticed by men, but anything done in the Lord’s name will be neither unnoticed nor unrewarded by God. “For God is not unfair. He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him and how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other Christians, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.” Hebrews 6:10-11 NLT. People may fail to thank you but God observes and records what you have done sincerely and charitably. God does not forget the smallest good done in His name, even if offering just “a cup of cold water.” See Matthew 10:40-42 NLT.

Is the kindness you show others for your reputation and personal gratification, or for their appreciative response, or simply reflecting God’s goodness to you with only His “well done” expected for your satisfaction? When disappointed by someone’s lack of notice or gratitude, consider if you are preferring a person’s praise rather than God’s. Reflect on Paul’s practical guidance, “. . in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:22-24 NKJV) . .  with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:5-8 NKJV. Recognition of good may not come at the time, in the manner, or from the person you expected, but God’s reward is sure. I remember my grandfather saying, “God will be no man’s debtor.” In my life, I have found those words true.

Joseph is a good example of deferred but certain reward. In prison with Joseph for displeasing Pharaoh, the chief butler had a puzzling dream. Joseph discerned the dream was from God and said, “within three days Pharaoh . . will restore you to your place.” Read Genesis 40:1-23 NKJV. Joseph only asked, “Remember me when it is well with you . . mention me to Pharaoh . . Then Pharaoh restored the chief butler . . yet [he] did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” Ever feel that has happened to you? For two years, Joseph and his kindness were forgotten! Others might forget but God does not. Joseph’s kindness was not forgotten forever, and at precisely the right time God used Joseph’s underappreciated helpfulness to promote him from prison to prominence. See Genesis 41:9-41.

There are two lessons for consideration today: (1) Perfect genuine appreciation and practice sincere expression to God and others for every grace and generosity received. Read Proverbs 3:27 NKJV. (2) God remembers the good you’ve done for others even when they may themselves forget. “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of [patient endurance], so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NKJV.

My prayer today is for you to prefer your praise and reward come from God before all others.

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Encourage Someone

October 12th, 2010

“Encourage him for he shall lead . .” Deuteronomy 1:38 NIV

“An encouraging word left unspoken is a negligent unkindness.”

My thoughts today are, “encourage someone.”

There may be a few self-motivated people, but most of us do better with a dose of encouragement. A simple expression of encouragement through a kind, appreciative word or a timely pat on the back does wonders for most of us. Everyone needs to know regularly that what they do is noticed and appreciated. A deficit of appreciation diminishes the satisfaction of even a job well done.

An unexpressed gratitude for another’s meaningful contribution is not really appreciation, is it? To be authentic, appreciation like so many other relational matters needs to be practical and observable. An encouraging word left unspoken is a negligent unkindness. I am convinced that no one realizes the potential of what they are capable of doing without the encouragement of many others along the way. That’s true in families, and marriages, and business, and education, and friendships, and church – true in every human endeavor and interaction, really. “An encouraging word cheers up a person.” Proverbs 12:25 NLT.

God directed Moses to encourage young Joshua. “Strengthen the determination of Joshua . . for he shall lead Israel to occupy the land.” Deuteronomy 1:38 Today’s English Version. God knew that Joshua would be the one to lead the families of Israel into Canaan. It would not be an easy task, and Joshua would need to do so with courage. Read Joshua 1:3-9 NIV. On several occasions Moses publicly encouraged Joshua, as God had commanded. We all know that God cheers us on; most of us need some person to join the heavenly chorus too. “Therefore, encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT. Who is waiting to be encouraged by you?

There was a man in the New Testament church who was so good at encouraging others, that his friends changed his name from Joseph to “Barnabas, son of encouragement.” See Acts 4:32-37 NIV. Many years ago, my stepfather, Pastor Warren Piersol, gave me wonderfully practical parenting advice, “Everyday, every child needs a lot of ‘atta-boys’ to grow up healthy and confident. Let them see and hear you applauding their efforts as well as their successes.” I have observed that the more one’s efforts are encouraged along the way, inevitably, the more successes there will be to celebrate. I wish that I had done that a lot more, and much better, for my family and friends.

David’s experience may be akin to yours. There was a day when King Saul was hunting down David, but Jonathan, Saul’s son and David’s friend, “went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.” 1 Samuel 23:16 NKJV. Can you imagine how much the young shepherd boy needed the encouragement of the King’s son? But there may not always be a Jonathan available when you most need to be encouraged. In that case, take heart from another time in David’s life. “David was greatly distressed . . because the soul of the people was grieved . . but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV. When no one else can or will, you can encourage yourself in God!

My prayer for you today is that you will be encouraged, and be an encourager of others.

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Praise as Lifestyle

May 7th, 2010

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6 NKJV

“God’s acts flow naturally and generously out of His benevolence.”

My thoughts today are about “praise as lifestyle.”

Ever feel you need to have a reason to praise God at a given moment, even though you have countless reasons to praise for things past and things promised? Praise is a posture of heart before it becomes an expression of life. I think praise is every bit as much an attitude as it ever is an expression. Failing to praise God simply because He is GodHe is God can leave you vulnerable to subtle feelings of “What have you done for me lately?”

When nothing comes instantly that moves you to praise and you find your voice fall silent, simply begin praising God for Who He is. That alone will be vast and limitless enough to occupy you for your remaining lifetime. Praise to God, like thankfulness to others, has origin in your appreciation and understanding more than your emotions of a moment or event. Look inside, not around.

I have heard it explained that praise is given for what God has done, as somehow differentiated from worship being about Who God is. I think any recognition and expression that exalts and magnifies God relates directly to Who God is. “He is your praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.” Deuteronomy 10:21 NIV.

How could you truly distinguish the things that God benevolently does as separate from the character and nature of Who God declares Himself to be? His acts flow naturally and generously out of His benevolence, don’t you think? David did not bother to isolate the works of God from the wonder of God’s person; He praised God for both! “Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequalled greatness.” Psalm 150:2 NLT.

Who is God to you? That is the determining factor that shapes your lifestyle of praise. What is the Almighty’s place in your everyday life? Whatever place you have allowed Him, you could be overflowing with praise that God delights to be anywhere near you, let alone to live in your heart. “I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.” Read Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT.

Make praise your lifestyle! Praise should flow as naturally to God from your heart and words as grace and goodness flow from God’s toward you. I think doing so is also evidenced in your readiness to appreciate people in and around your life and thankfulness for the many kindnesses daily shown you. “And from the Throne came a voice that said, ‘Praise our God, all His servants, from the least to the greatest, all who fear Him’. . Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Revelation 150:6 NIV/19:5 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that if you’re breathing, you’re praising!

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