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Success With Satisfaction

June 10th, 2015

Please read a personal message for EDL Readers I have included at the end of today’s Devotional . .

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“I pray that you may prosper in all things, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NKJV.

Prestige will not satisfy if  your soul is bereft of God’s benediction.

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

Success is a worthy goal; satisfaction should be the result. No one plans to fail; some fail to plan. It is important that you establish your personal definition of success. Without reliable benchmarks for measuring success, you cannot know when you achieve it, or recognize when you have failed. Everything without God is nothing, but little or nothing with God can be everything. 

Do not allow other people to determine what success looks like for you. The world’s values are vastly different than God’s. Decide to which value system you will give your heart and where you will invest valuable effort and energy. Someone has written, “As you climb the ladder of success, be sure your ladder is leaning against the right building.”

Prosperity does not result from the labor of your hands alone. True prosperity rests in the contentment of your heart. The prophet, Isaiah, asked a probing question, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” Isaiah 55:2. Prosperity is found only in what God provides.

His intention for you is clear and simple; “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2. God delights in your success – materially, physically, and spiritually. Your greatest delight is when your success is evidenced by satisfaction. Prosperity is the sweet fruit of success; and real prosperity occurs, “as your soul prospers.” Read Joshua 1:7-8 NIV.

Neither possessions nor prestige will satisfy, if your soul is bereft of God’s benediction. “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Consider how things are going for you! You have planted much but harvested little. You have food to eat, but not enough to fill you up. You have wine to drink, but not enough to satisfy your thirst. You have clothing to wear, but not enough to keep you warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!’ This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Consider how things are going for you!’” Haggai 1:5-7 NLT. In things important, are you succeeding or failing. Take time to consider.

This is Godly counsel; “Teach is to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NAS. The intangible contentment and satisfaction of your achievements are a more reliable measurement of success than all tangible rewards gained by your accomplishments. Satisfaction is a reliable measurement of success. Gayle and I have simply tried to obey God and serve Him and others to the best of our abilities and opportunities, “seeking God and working wholeheartedly.” 2 Chronicles 31:21 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to always place the highest value on that which has eternal reward.

Christian Communications, Inc 07187

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Dear EDL Readers: due to travel and ministry opportunities in California these next two weeks, the devotionals may be less frequent as time and travel allow, but resuming regularly as we enter July. Meanwhile, I encourage you to visit the EDL website and archives and draw inspiration and encouragement among the 1,200 Devotionals archived at www.allenrandolph.com. And to increase the effective reach of EveryDay Life, I am asking each of those who appreciate and have benefited from the spiritual encouragement and teaching of EDL to recommend a friend, or friends, to visit the website and subscribe. I request your prayers for effective ministry these next Sundays. Blessings . .

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The Love of Money

August 31st, 2010

“Keep your (life) free from the love of money . . content with what you have.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

“Money is important because every day you trade a part of your life for it.”

My thoughts today are about “the love of money.”

Do you ever consider how money occupies your time, thought, and efforts? Money is important; there is no doubt about that. Money is important because every day you trade a part of your life for it and for the things it can provide, both necessities and luxuries. It is just not as all-important as you can easily allow it to become.

I have heard a Bible verse badly misquoted by people who say “Money is the root of all evil.” That is not what the Bible says or teaches. Money is just a commodity, neither good nor bad, neither noble nor evil, except for how it is gained and used. You are not a better person for having more of it, nor inferior for having less; your bank balance does not define you. Jesus warned of the “deceitfulness of riches,” because money promises a lot of things it can’t deliver. There will never be enough money, because people expect money to do things it was never meant to do. You can’t fill emptiness with money; you can’t cure loneliness; you won’t find security in it; you can’t buy happiness or peace of mind.

Here is what the Bible does teach about money, “The love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil . . keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” 1 Timothy 6:6-11 NLT/ Hebrews 13:5 NIV.

Money is not the problem; the inordinate love of money is the problem, and the very real danger of elevating money beyond its place and priority. Money and the things it can supply can become a god that holds an importance and place it cannot be trusted to occupy. Reserve your love for God, other people, and yourself (Mark 12:30-31); don’t waste and misdirect your love on money.

Mistakenly, you might assume that the goal of work is to get enough money so you can afford to quit working. Productive work has a value beyond money. The Bible principle is clear, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work . . on the seventh day you shall do no work.” See Exodus 20:8-11 NIV. Work is how you serve God and others in practical, meaningful ways, as well as the means through which God meets your needs and supplies your resource for generosity.

I have heard well meaning people assume that work was the result of the curse, after Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Not so. Meaningful labor preceded their foolish disobedience. See Genesis 2:8/15 NIV. However, the curse of their sin caused the struggle and toil associated with their work. “Cursed is the ground because of you . . through painful toil you will eat of it . . it will produce thorns and thistles for you . . by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food . .” Genesis 3:17-19 NIV.

Here is the sum of this: money is not what your life is to be about. There is a responsibility that comes with wealth – the greater the wealth, the greater the responsibilities. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48 NIV.

Enjoy thankfully all that God provides for you, but do not let money be wrongly trusted as your source of happiness and security. God alone is your Source. “Every good and perfect gift is from above . . from the Father . . my God will supply all your need . .“ James 1:17 NIV/Philippians 4:19 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you learn to be content with what you have.

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Minimal Effort

July 23rd, 2010

“Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by.” Colossians 3:23 The Message

“Life does not afford you maximum reward from minimal effort.”

My thoughts today are about “minimal effort.”

In life, I have discovered that you usually get what you give. The Bible teaches that principle in many ways. Consider the principle of sowing and reaping, “sow bountifully, reap bountifully; sow sparingly, reap sparingly.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NIV/See Galatians 6:7-10 NLT. Life does not afford you maximum reward from minimal effort. That may not be the way that any of us wish it were, but that’s the way the real world works. There is a consistently proportional relationship between your efforts and your results. Today’s verse teaches the same, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Colossians 3:23 NIV. You can try life another way or you can cooperate with God’s way.

I find that true in all kinds of ways. You should have learned that at home, but loving parents may want to spare their kids from those kind of realities early on, so they require little and then are surprised when their kids don’t volunteer to do much else and start life assuming everything should be done for them and little expected of them. Not a very good beginning for life.

Then comes school. School is a student’s job; it’s work. And it is training for how life works. Often how well you do in the classroom and studies suggests your later success. To receive maximum benefit from your education, you must give maximum effort to your study. Study – which involves time and effort – produces better grades. Do only what you have to do to pass, and that’s all you will ever do, just get by. As home prepares you for success at school, school prepares you for success at work. And work prepares you for success in life.

Early in your working career you will face this same truth. You can survive financially with minimal effort, but you will have minimal wages to show for it. Satisfaction, and meaningful contribution, and personal fulfillment are better goals. They allow you to enjoy a pride of accomplishment, a knowledge that your life was invested in meaningful ways to your own and others’ benefit. Money is not the better goal of your working years. But money, the currency for which you are trading a part of your life daily, is not unimportant. Maximum financial reward can afford you options and offer you opportunities that you would not otherwise have.

Now consider the most important motivation for giving your best effort. Maximum effort honors God. “Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master – for God – confident that you will get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” Colossians 3:23-25 The Message. I would suggest that being a follower of Jesus only makes minimal effort more glaring and unacceptable. A few years ago, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart this life principle – “Excellence, a higher standard.” I highly recommend it to you. See 1 Corinthians 14:12 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you never accept good enough as good enough.

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Failure Isn’t Final

March 8th, 2010

“I was afraid.” Luke 19:21 NIV

“Life has direction – flowing toward you with blessing, or away from you from lack of that.”

My thoughts today are, “failure isn’t final.”

How would you reward a very capable financial adviser who accepted management of your retirement savings, but did nothing with them? His only explanation? He was afraid to lose your money, and simply held your original investment for safe return. Would you praise him for his caution, or replace him for his waste of valuable time and loss of expected gain?

Jesus told just such a story about the Kingdom of God, illustrating each individual’s responsibility for good stewardship of Kingdom opportunities – both ample resource and generous reward. Read Luke 19:11-26 NLT. Among several people given valuable opportunity for reward, one was overcome with his fear of failing and simply hid what was trusted into his hands for safe return it later. Fear keeps you from trying. His ultimate failure was greater than the failure he originally feared.

Here, in Jesus’ own words, is the principle He is teaching you, “To those who use well what they have been given, even more will be given. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken from them.” Luke 19:26 NLT. “To those . . from those!” Do you notice in Jesus’ words the direction that life flows? Life has direction – either flowing toward you with blessing, or flowing away from you because of your lack of that. What he thought safe cost him more than he knew, until all was taken and entrusted to another more committed to his master’s pleasure.

There’s a life lesson in that. Don’t try to fail, but don’t fear to fail either. Everyone deals a bit with a fear of failing. I don’t think anyone enjoys failing. It doesn’t feel good. It’s embarrassing and discouraging. It seems a waste of one’s time, effort, and expense – and often is. There is a difference between failing and being a failure; anyone can do the first; no one has to be the latter. And there is a distinction between failing something you try to do, or failing to be who you are meant to be.

But here’s another side to consider; some of life’s most valuable lessons can come from attempts that failed. Often future success can be built on past attempts that didn’t work. Failure sometimes is the cost of learning how to succeed. It’s not the end of the world; learn something useful from it.

Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb, had many failures in his experimentation. Rather than be discouraged by those, he is reported to have reasoned that he had eliminated hundreds of ways that would not work. He was that much closer to success, and he did succeed. He made failure serve his efforts. So can you. Failure isn’t final, unless you let it be.

Being averse to every risk is a sure way to miss any reward. You won’t do everything right the first time; no one does. Keep trying. You won’t do everything well on your first try; no one will. Keep trying. But if you are afraid to try, you will never do anything right or well, maybe not do anything at all. You are gifted and possibly needing to believe that.

“God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you (see that life-direction?) . . do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT. God has given you many gifts; gifts for His purpose and use. How you use those determines your life’s rewards.

My prayer for you today is that you freely give your best to God and others, without fear.

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Mutually Exclusive Options

December 9th, 2009

You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV

Money promises sufficiency it cannot provide, and creates a dependency that is unreliable.”

My thoughts today are about “mutually exclusive options.”

Life confronts you with choices along the way, most of those more consequential and far reaching than you might assume at the time. Sometimes, either choice available to you may be acceptable, just a matter of preference. But what about times when your options are mutually exclusive? Every day you make choices like that, often not thinking much about it, just doing what you need to do.

The Bible says that you cannot please God and man. God’s intentions and interests seldom align with man’s. Paul understood that dilemma well. Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10. Your own natural inclinations or pressure from others force you to choose between what man thinks best or obeying what God says is right.

Even if you try, you really cannot please everybody any time. It is best to simply please God all the time. Jesus modeled perfect obedience for you, “I always do those things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:29 NLT. What you choose to do will reveal who you are most trying to please.

The Bible warns that you cannot love God and the world. “If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Read 1 John 2:15-17 NKJV.  The world is often appealing, offering pleasures and attractions that can be hard to resist at the moment. Listen well to the Bible caution, “The fashion of the world passes away.” 1 Corinthians 7:31. Only God is eternal!

The Bible says plainly that you cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24 NIV. Both require an allegiance that does not permit rivals. Money suggests a sufficiency that it cannot provide, and creates a dependency that is misplaced. When not properly used, money, and the appetites it creates and abundance of stuff with which it enslaves you, can turn your heart from serving God purely with a whole heart.

You can break the attachment and power of money by using it wisely, and giving it generously. Serving God, you will always have what you need. Loving money, you will never be content with what you have. Pray for wisdom to know the right choices and a discipline to choose accordingly. I am confident that you will.

My prayer for you today is: choose God first every time; you will live without regret.

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