Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. Proverbs 9:7-9

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Have you ever known someone who overreacts when things don’t go their way?  Here in America, we are used to getting out way, but life does not always work that way.  There are times when we need to sit back, take some instruction to become a better person.

Quick story . . .

I have been creating videos for over fifteen years.  I have recorded plays, short biography sketches and lots of business videos.  Recently, I was doing some behind the scenes video for a fashion project.  I am not a ‘fashion’ kind of person and I am slightly out of my comfort zone working in that environment.

The lead photographer saw my first video and gave some pointers.  I corrected the video and she loved it.  Then, on another call she made some suggestions about the way I was shooting.  I immediately got defensive and did not want to listen. When I got off the phone call I had to remind myself “the wise listen to instruction.”

To make a long story short, I listened to what she had to say and my next fashion video was the best so far.  I set my pride aside and listened to what she had to say.  I became wiser because I was willing to listen.

God puts people in our lives to help us get to new levels.  We are either helping someone else grow, or we are growing from them.  It is a concept we see throughout the Bible: i.e. Moses and Joshua or Paul and Timothy.

As business owners, we are leaders.  That does not mean we can’t learn from anyone else.  I had a wise Christian man tell me, “You can learn something from everyone no matter how insignificant you think they are.”

Firstly, no one is insignificant. We are all Children of God.  We all stand at the same place before the cross whether rich or poor.  To put it in perspective think about this humbling thought: Everyone is better than you at something.

When we go into business with the idea that we know it all, our business flat lines and we become stagnant.  When we enter our business with the openness to learn, we have a business that thrives and grows.

Even though you are the leader of your business, don’t be afraid to listen to your employees, vendors and customers.  They all have a different perspective than you, and they may see a blind spot that you cannot see from your leadership role.

The question is simple, are you teachable?  If you are teachable, you will be wise and your business will grow.

“Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.” Proverbs 9:7-9

Amen

I hope you enjoyed this business Bible study from Christian Business Revolution.  We’ll see you next week.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

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I am sure you have heard this verse if you have been in church for any amount of time.  I want you to look at it in context and hopefully you can see how powerful it is for you and your business.

Matthew 6:33 reminds me of a chorus in a current Christian song called “First” by Lauren Daigle that says, “Before I bring my needs, I will bring my heart.”  Those words really get to the depth of this verse.

Too often we make our business and personal plans, then try to fit God into them.  That is the exact opposite of what the Bible says.  I know we have to have a vision and we want to set goals about in our business, but look at the context of this Bible verse and see how everything lines up.

This chapter starts out talking about some of the common practices a good disciple: giving, prayer, and fasting.  The next section talks about where our treasures are: in our heart or in the bank.  Then, we come to the last part where the Bible talks about worry and ends with the fact that if we seek God first, our lives will work out the way HE wants them to.

If you look at the progression, it gives us some great insight.  Let me break it down.

First, in verses 1-18 the Bible says our actions must be in line with our faith.  Our habits and practice are physical actions that we take because of our faith. When we have good spiritual habits, it is easier to hear from God and stay in His will for our lives.  How’s your spiritual habits?

Second, verses 19-24 talks about how our heart must be lined up with spiritual things.  After our outer actions reflect what God wants, then our inner actions start to come into line with God’s direction.  It talks about how we think about money and what we put into our brains. The verse talks about how the eyes let things into our brains. So think about what you are letting into your brain on a regular basis.  Does it honor God?

Lastly, verses 25-34 talk about worry.  It gets into the depths of our emotions, feelings from our past and fears about our future.  I love the last verse “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.  Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.”

Yes, we must plan, but we must not worry beyond the right now and what we can control.  We must release what we don’t have control over to God.  When we start with God and put Him first with our whole hearts, we will find the rest of life falling wonderfully into place.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Go and be blessed and be a blessing!

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

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You may realize this passage is two sentences below the passage that reads, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  This whole chapter is about love.

As a teenager, I heard this verse.  I thought to myself, “If all the Christians are dying for other people, then there wouldn’t be any Christians around to tell others about Jesus.”

That is a good point until you read the next verse, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

We must read scripture in context and see the meaning as a whole, not in just one random verse separated from its context.  In this passage, we are not talking about dying necessarily, we are talking about laying down our hearts and caring for others with our actions.

Jesus laid down his life because of His love for us.  Jesus took love to the farthest degree by laying down His life for us.  While we were yet sinners He died for us.  He asks us to love one another because of that love.

Let’s put this in the real world in our business for a moment.  When the budget gets tight in our business do we ‘lay down our life for our brothers and sisters?”  The reality is that when we truly care about those whom we lead in our business: employees, contract laborers, etc., we should be thinking about their lives as much as our own.

I know we are getting deep, but when we dive into the God’s word it digs down to the core of who we are.  If every Christian business owner had to read the verse about laying down their lives before making budget cuts, our businesses would be a lot different.

Now, back to our core verse for today.  We love not in words or speech but in actions and truth.  It is not enough to use your words only, but your actions must follow what you say.  We must act in love and in truth.

We are not always perfect, but people who know we are Christians look to us to see the way we run our lives.  For instance, if you get cut off in traffic, do you do the one finger wave or do you pray for that person?

We must realize that we live in a fallen world with a lot of hurt people.  We must rise above the hurt in our own lives to help others and love them as Jesus loves them.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. I John 3:18

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:9

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You may remember this passage from a song in church.  I have heard it quite a few times myself, but I want us to get past the song and into the meat of what really happened in this story.

To summarize, Jesus was coming through town and a tax collector named Zacchaeus wanted to see Him. Zacchaeus was short and could not see over the crowd, so he climbed up a tree to get a good view.

Jesus stopped and looked at him.  He called Zacchaeus by name and told him that He was coming to eat at his house.  Zacchaeus came down and welcomed Jesus.

Let’s break this down.  Zacchaeus was a tax collector.  Tax collectors were known to rip people off to line their own pockets.  They were shrewd businessmen who were considered sinners by profession.

Here we have a business man who was hated in his community.  He wanted to be close to Jesus, but he had some limitations.  He took action to overcome those limitations and got a great view of the Jesus.

Jesus blessed this man by asking to eat with him.  Rarely do teachers, or Rabbi’s, eat with sinners, lest they become unclean.  Everyone muttered.

We don’t know the conversation, but because of the presence of Jesus, Zacchaeus wanted to make his business right.  He wanted to be honorable and offered to pay back any money he had cheated. He paid back four times, which was a customary recompense.

Zacchaeus overcame his limitations and his reputation.  He took action to get as close to Jesus as he could and because of that encounter, he lined his up his business to be in line with Jesus’ teachings.

I don’t know if you have ever thought about Zacchaeus being a business owner.  If we look at it in that context we see a man reaching out to Jesus.  Jesus comes into his house and because of that one encounter his life and his business is changed forever.

How often do you reach out to Jesus and push past your limitations?  Have you allowed Jesus into your house and into your business so deeply that your actions are changed?  If not, call out to Jesus and let Him into your business partner and your house.  Make your business a kingdom business and hear Jesus’ words:

“Today salvation has come to this house.” Luke 19:9a

 

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52

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Today let’s look at a snapshot of Jesus when He was young.  Starting in verse 41 we see a Jesus as a 12 year old.  Let’s see what we can learn about growth from Him for our lives.

The setting of this story is a yearly festival called Passover.  Jesus went through the festival just like everyone else.  Yet after the festival young Jesus stays behind.  He is found in the temple courts listening and asking questions.

His parents come back to find Him there and they are concerned because they missed Him and were worried.  Jesus’ answer was profound, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Jesus may have only been 12 at the time, but we can learn a lot from this small passage of scripture.  Even as a child He knew His purpose was to do God’s will.

First, Jesus followed the customs of His people.  He readily joined in the celebrations and worshiped God along with His family.  But, this tradition was not enough for Jesus.  He wanted more.

He stayed behind to learn more.  He sat among the experts who knew more than He did.  He listened to how they taught.  He even asked questions of those people and expected an answer.

As Christian business owners, we are usually the top-dog in our businesses.  Everyone looks up to us.  If we want to grow, we must get out of our comfort zone and get around those from whom we can learn.  We must find the experts and those who are in line with God.  We must commit to learn always.

Jesus asked questions.  Even as an adult in the midst of His ministry here on earth we see Him always asking questions.  There is power in questions.  We seek to understand, learn and grow.  We help others see the truths around them and we are found to be open to what God is doing.

We must not get caught up in doing what we have always done.  We must open our lives up to God and what He wants for us.  Jesus went directly to God’s house.  He asked questions and listened for answers.

If you want to grow, ask questions, listen for answers and always be about your Father’s business.  Find time to really seek out what God wants for your life and your business.  Follow these steps and you will grow like Jesus did here on earth.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

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This is one of my favorite Psalms.  It really gets to the heart of who we are in our relationship with Christ.  It is a cry from David about repentance, but it is more than that, it’s a raw peak into a life calling out to God.

David starts out asking for mercy.  He reminds himself of God’s great compassion.  He then confesses his sin and recognizes that his sin is ultimately sin against God.

In verse 6, he acknowledges that God wants faithfulness even from birth.  He asks to be cleansed whiter than snow so that he can hear joy and gladness again.

In verse 11, he wants to be in God’s presence and asks for a restoration of his salvation.  He will use this restoration to teach others.  He will open his mouth and praise God.  His sacrifice will be a broken sprit which will restore his righteousness.

I suggest reading this Psalm over a few times to really capture the richness of David’s plight before God.  He had no way to restore what he did when he sinned.  He cried out to God in total rawness of who he was before the God of the universe.

In our broken world, it is easy to get discouraged or even to become depressed.  Sin can distract us from our relationship with God and all that we do in our lives will become tainted by that action.  Our goal should be to release that sin in repentance and line our lives up with God once again.

As business owners, we lead others.  God wants us to have a right spirit so that we may ‘teach transgressors’ God’s way.  He wants us to declare His praises with everything we are and all that we do.

God knows we are not perfect, but we must be perfect in coming back to our right relationship with God.  We must constantly make those mid-course adjustments to get on the path God has set out for us.

If you fall down, get up, dust yourself off and get back on God’s path. He wants to guide you and restore the joy of your salvation.  You must only turn to Him with all you are and like David, cry out for restored righteousness.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

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You have probably heard this verse before, but you may not have taken time to go through the whole Psalm.  There is a rich wealth of wisdom from this one passage that you may miss if you just stick to this one verse.  Let’s look at the rest of this chapter.

We are immediately reminded that those who do evil will not last.  You can look at the news to see how many corporations tried to get away with things and got caught.  We live by a higher level integrity.  We trust in God and have our delight in Him not in money.

In verse 5, we are told to commit our ways to the Lord.  That word in the original language means to ‘roll away.’  Think about that for a moment. We are to roll away our problems, our business and our worries to God.  Let Him take care of the things we cannot because ultimately it is His business.

In verse 7 we are reminded to be still before God and wait on Him.  We are to entrust ourselves totally to Him so that He can guide us.  We are not to worry about others who succeed.  We should not get angry about the success of others because we know that if people truly succeed it is because God allows it.

In verse 11 we are told to be meek.  The original word was more akin to being bowed down.  We are told when we bow down before God and submit to Him we will enjoy peace and prosperity.

Don’t get distracted by the word prosperity.  We are to put forth the effort that God tells us.  We must take action and be obedient to God.  When He says move, we should move.  You can read verse 14-15 to see what God does to those who rely on wicked schemes instead of solid biblical principles for their business.

In verse16 we are reminded to be happy with what we have.  We may not be ready for millions, but when we are, God will uphold us in His righteousness.  Our inheritance will endure forever.  Even when times get tough those who trust in God will enjoy plenty.

In verse 21, we are told to be generous and always pay our debts.  God will guide out steps when we stay on path with Him.  Though we stumble, we will not fall because God’s hand upholds us.

David continues the next section with His observations about how much God blessed those who trust in Him.  I verse 34 he sums it up, “Hope in the Lord and keep His way.  He will exalt you.”

All success comes from God.  He will bless us when we fully trust in Him.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. Genesis 31:49

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Today I want us to look back at an Old Testament story.  It is the story of Jacob and his Father-in-law Laban.  Jacob made a deal with Laban to marry his daughter.  Laban tricked him and gave him the wrong daughter.  He tried again and Laban kept changing the contract.

Jacob was in a foreign land doing business.  He was hired to take care of Laban’s goat herds.  After working for ten years, Laban changed the agreement.  Then, he had to work another ten years, but finally Jacob was able to have his own herd.

The story of Jacob and Laban give us a great picture about how to deal with others.  We should always be respectful and honor our agreements.  When someone changes they deal, we have to be wise in the way we act towards them.

The thing I want you to notice in this entire story, found in Genesis 29-31, is that God always blessed Jacob’s work.  Everything Jacob did was blessed by God.  Some would say that Jacob was ‘favored.’

When we line up our lives with God, we line up our lives to follow God.  Let me say that a different way.  When we commit our lives to live for God with all that we are and all that we have, we can’t help but be guided by God.

Jacob was a trickster and that is how he got his birthright and here we see him being tricked by Laban.  Yet, even in the middle of all his hardship he knew that God was in control.

Look at the end of verse 42, God literally stepped in. God rebuked Laban in a dream for what he was doing.  God warned Laban not to mess with Jacob anymore.

God has our back.  He is here for us even when times get tough in business.  It is at these times that we must rest in God and trust Him to guide us.

Jacob could have left at any time, but did not leave Laban’s land until God told him to.  He waited even for an additional ten years until God gave him the go ahead.

How long do you wait for God to give you direction?  We live in a microwave society and we want everything this minute.  God does not work on our time frame.  We must work on His time frame.

In your business, truly seek out God.  Look for His direction and don’t make a move until God gives you the go ahead.  Yes, we have brains and we can act in wisdom, but make sure our wisdom in rooted in God’s direction and not our own.

In the meantime . . . May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other. Genesis 31:49

Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28

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Hebrews is written to a Jewish audience.  The great cloud of witnesses would be all the faithful who have gone before us.  We are to “fix our eyes on Jesus” and “not grow weary or lose heart.”

Starting in verse 4, we see that God wants us to grow.  He gives us hardships to build our faith and help us become the people He created us to be.  Just as our parents guided us towards becoming an honorable person, God guides us to become righteous, peaceful and faith-filled.

He reminds us to live out that peace with everyone and to be holy.  It is how we act, not as righteous snobs, but as loving disciples, that brings people to know Him.  We must live above the standards of this world and not get caught up in its trappings.

In verse 18, we talk about mountains.  One mountain was so holy, it was not to be touched.  The other mountain is a mountain of joy.  It is for the church whose names are written in heaven. It is a place for those who have trusted in Jesus as the true Savior of mankind.

We are to trust Him with everything.  He is a consuming fire that fills us up and purifies us.  His fire reaches to every part of us and if we accept that fire, that cleansing, we are made a heavenly home.

How great is it that we have God’s word to guide us and fill us up?  His Holy Spirit dwells inside of us so that we can grow and impact all the world around us.  God has filled us with such joy, we can’t help but tell others about what He has done for us.

In your business, ask yourself how much of God’s joy is in what you do.  God sent Jesus here for us so that we may live a life on earth different from what the world thinks is right.  We are to live holy and our life is to become the light that others see when they are lost in their darkness.

Is your business bringing life or are you just doing enough to get by?  Is God the leader of your business or are you just doing what you have always done?

Look to God anew for your business.  Take a deep breath of God into your life.  Lay down your business at the foot of the mountain and let God’s consuming fire show you what is important.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28

Whatever You Do

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to the Father through Him.  Colossians 3:17

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You would probably expect a Bible study about business to start with this verse.  It is a simple verse with a profound message.

First a story about hats. . .

When I was in sixth grade I had a teacher names Mrs Haynes.  She would get started on a subject by saying, “Put your thinking caps on.”  I used to imagine what that cap would look like, but thinking about putting a thinking cap on helped me focus.  I picked up that practice in my adult like.

When I go to work, I put my ‘boss’ hat on.  I do my best to focus on my work while I am at the office.    I even have separate emails for business and personal so I don’t get distracted.  It is a great practice and I encourage any business owner to pick up the practice.

Basically, I compartmentalize my work to be done at work.

When I get home, it’s a whole different story.  I take off my ‘boss’ hat and put on my ‘husband’ hat.  It is here that I can engage in meaningful conversation with my wife.  I can ask about her day and not have to think about the lingering things at work because I left them there.

All of us compartmentalize who we are depending on who we are around.  We may act a certain way in a business meeting and another way at a ball game.  We should act differently. Could you imagine standing up in a business meeting and shouting cheers or starting the wave?  It may be fun, but probably wouldn’t get much business done.

The point is, we have different ways of handling different parts of our days, but we are the same person.  We have the same God living and working through us in all situations.  Whatever you do in word or deed you are doing because of who you are and who Christ is in you.

If you look at the context of this short sentence, it gives us a bit of insight.  Before this verse we are being called “God’s chosen people” (vs 12) and being admonished to “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.” (vs 15)  We are then given instructions on how to live, teach and be grateful.

Then, immediately following this verse, the Bible reminds us of our roles: wives, husbands, children, Fathers, and Slaves (workers).  We are told again to work with all our hearts as if working for the Lord.

See this simple verse is right in the middle of how God wants us to do business. He wants us to become His chosen people no matter what the setting.  Then, he wants us to live our lives in whatever roles we have to honor Him.

Even as an entrepreneur, when you work as though you are working for the Lord, you always have the best boss.  Set your minds on God today and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to the Father through Him.  Amen.