Who’s After You?

Image courtesy of Meme Generator.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

You’re being hunted. Were you aware?

Most people aren’t. Yet if you’re a follower of Christ, a disciple who lives to spread God’s Word, you wear a big target.

The hunter is one whom the Bible repeatedly warns about: Satan.

Him?” you might say. “The goofy red dude with the funny horns? That guy?”

No, not really. Satan wears many disguises. You probably wouldn’t recognize him at all. He’s a master of deception. He lurks in our homes, our neighborhoods and, most of all, our hearts.

He awaits the perfect moment to pounce. The devil’s in no hurry. He has plenty of time. One moment of vulnerability, no matter how brief, is all the opening he needs.

It’s why, as Peter warns, we need to be alert. God will protect us. We should follow His path, and not stray. To quote Psalm 23, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

Fighting the Battle

“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” – Luke 22:3

This is no joke. A spiritual battle is being waged daily, with dark forces pursuing God’s believers. Yet how do we recognize the enemy?

Consider the desires and behaviors the Bible condemns: lust for money. Self-promotion and aggrandizement. Sins of the flesh. These are how Satan gains a foothold in our souls. To paraphrase Ephesians 4:27, “give no opportunity to the devil.”

We can invite Satan in without even knowing. The more time one spends in sin, the more he’s attracted. Sins of the flesh, especially, draw him close.

Are you engaging in sinful activities online? Lying to loved ones about guilty desires? Considering, or dabbling in, adultery? You’re hanging out the “Welcome” sign.

Oh, there are other, less lascivious pursuits, too. Addiction to making more and more money. Craving validation from others, perhaps through endless, narcissistic
social media postings. Working too much, and ignoring one’s family, while rationalizing
that the excessive labor is necessary to provide for them.

The last example is especially easy to live out, albeit unknowingly. Grinding, and moving up the ladder, is ingrained in our work culture. Success, obtained legally and ethically, is no sin. Yet with more power, comes more temptations. Beware the saying, “New level, new devil.” It’s wiser than we know.

When he spots an opening, Satan is quick to plant seeds – literally, seeds of doubt. We begin to question our beliefs. We can weaken to short-term pleasures, often with long-term consequences. We might embrace feelings of grandeur, similar to Adam and Eve after their bites of the history-altering apple. The devil has taken hold.

Defend Yourself

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” – Ephesians 6:11

We need to recognize these traps, before they’re sprung. The best offense, to borrow a football cliché, is a good defense.

Satan is a coward. He doesn’t go after groups of believers. Rather, he targets the stragglers, the loners, the unsettled who have wandered from the flock.

We fortify our defenses against him by enjoying time within Christian communities. We strengthen our walls of love by supporting each other. We should seek to bring God’s light into others’ lives at every opportunity, and into every organization where we partake.

Meanwhile, let’s not be afraid to witness to our discipleship. When we’re hesitant to talk about Christ with others – whether in business, social or family circles – the devil is sowing his seeds.

Oh, you don’t want to “offend” anyone? You should be offended that Satan is trying to undermine your relationship with God! Don’t let him!

Satan is gaining enough of a foothold all around us. God has largely been removed from public spaces. Mentions of faith on social media generate huge blowback. Hollywood productions glorify depraved lifestyles, practically advertising for the devil’s domain.

We alone, as believers, can threaten Satan. We have the power of love with family, and friends, and communities and neighbors. He can’t overcome this … unless we allow an opening to emerge.

So don’t. Live as God commands. Don’t fall prey to temptations that create chinks in your armor. Maybe the devil will finally give up, and hunt for easier prey. Until that time … stay alert.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Too Busy For What?

Image courtesy of The Distinct Dot.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 6:10

Life is full of distractions.

The day-to-day routine of managing family and work has its challenges. Throw in something serious and unexpected – a health issue, employment problem or even a major car repair – and “overwhelmed” can quickly take hold.

For most people, though, life pretty much defines “routine.” Their schedules don’t vary much. Spare time exists.

It’s why millions spend hours each day perusing Facebook, or Instagram, or TikTok. Netflix and other home-delivered entertainment consume countless hours, as well.

Why? It’s about, to use market-speak, “consumers’ choices.” These choices reflect their priorities.

So where does God fit in? If you’re a Christian – whether proclaimed from the rooftops or held deep in your heart – are you spending time at church, reading the Bible, and telling others about God’s glory?

Or are you “too busy” with these secular distractions – ahem, “choices” – to invest time into building God’s kingdom?

The Price of Being Quiet

“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” – Matthew 10:27

God doesn’t want us to be quiet. He commands us to shout, or bang a gong, or make another heavenly noise to let others know of His presence.

Few Christians do, though. We’re a silent group. We worry about “offending” others with our beliefs.

Never mind, meanwhile, that God has been removed from nearly every public space.

When’s the last time you heard about a legal fight over religious symbolism at a school, municipal building or courthouse? You don’t anymore – because those battles have been waged. God lost.

So did we, as Christians. Good luck, too, finding public nativity scenes at Christmas. Were the forces seeking removal of these symbols concerned about “offending” us? Fat chance.

Meanwhile, every succeeding generation has lower rates of church participation. Less than half of U.S. adults belong to a church, according to Gallup polling. The number has dropped 23 percentage points in just the past two decades.

Three out of five millennials – the generation now having children – don’t go to church. If not raised in faith, will their kids suddenly discover God later? Highly unlikely.

The cycle continues. The ripples grow. Faith takes on less and less importance in society. Will a day come when religious schools are no more? Where “One Nation Under God” really, truly no longer applies?

Proclaim and Exclaim – Now, More than Ever

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:15-16

Imagine a world without God. You might not want to even do so. Yet it’s a reality we could face … unless we let God’s holy light shine through us.

Seek out opportunities to tell others about God’s wondrous works in your life. Even more importantly, be ready to listen to their questions.

Invite someone – maybe a very part-time congregant, or someone who belongs to the oft-maligned “Christmas and Easter crowd” – to church with you. Make them feel welcome. Many people are intimidated by visiting a strange church. Create a comfort zone.

Post a faith-based message on social media – yes, one of those “distractions.” Step out in God’s name. You might have to withstand some slings and arrows. Respond with kindness. Ask them to respect your beliefs … just as you respect theirs.

This has nothing to do with being “able” to share God’s light. We all are.

Rather, it’s simply about being available. Are you? Or are you caught up in distractions … and “too busy?”

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Where Are You Looking?

“The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them.” – Psalms 37:32

Most everyone has vision problems.

For some, it’s realized early. Glasses become a necessity in youth. They might use contact lenses later, or have LASIK treatment. Nevertheless, their eyesight will require aid forever.

For others, life slowly blurs. Deterioration of their eyesight is gradual. It creeps up … until the day they realize squinting no longer works. They need help. Glasses are a new reality.

Nearly everybody wears glasses at some point in life. Some feel self-conscious. The wearer is really in a jam if they’re lost or broken. It’s almost a no-win.

Yes, poor eyesight is a very human condition. God, on the other hand, helps us “see” the world through a different lens. It’s not always rose colored, either. Where we affix our vision – not how – is the key to living a life where we fully see God’s guidance and commandments for us.

Seeing the world as God directs us

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” – Philippians 3:13

Horses are notoriously skittish creatures. Sudden movements spook them. Handlers put blinders on the animals to focus their eyes straight ahead. With no peripheral vision, chances greatly diminish of their being upset by nearby activity.

Humans don’t wear literal blinders. Yes, often metaphorical ones, to be sure.

No, we look wherever our interests, and desires, take us. They might be down paths of righteousness … or somewhere else.

Where are you affixing your gaze? Which horizons are you scanning? As importantly, where are you not looking?

The world is full of false gods that are all too prominent in our sight: money. Possessions. Career. Ego. Fame. Gambling. Pornography.

Are you staring at these idols, absorbed and unable to look away? Has your vision strayed away from God’s purposes … and affixed itself on the horizon of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Prepare your vision statement

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’” – Matthew 14:29-31

We can easily find trouble if not looking in the right places. By example, Peter was fine, strolling across the waves, until he looked away from Jesus. He panicked as he sank. Jesus’s rebuke was strong and poignant.

We begin to slowly sink when we take our eyes off Christ. We might not even grasp it. Those false gods grab our attention oh-so-easily. Eventually, though, we realize our situation … and lose our cool, just like Peter.

Yet, we shouldn’t have to start sinking to realize a problem exists. Keeping our eyes on God, and the light of the cross, saves us from drowning. Things get really wet, really fast, only when we doubt. Those false gods always beckon.

How to avoid this? Make a personal vision statement. Pledge to focus on Jesus, and his promise of hope. Fully appreciate that, because of His love and sacrifice, better times lie ahead.

It’s easy to get distracted in life. A “vision statement” can keep your attention on Jesus, where it justly belongs. Even amid life’s greatest storms, His presence will make you feel like you can walk on water.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Major Business Disruptors – Are You Prepared?

Module Two: Risk Assessment Awareness – Strategic Risks
By Chuck Harris

You can’t prepare for a disaster that has already happened. The best anyone can do is be aware of what can happen, and create a strategic plan to deal with the disruptive event should it ever confront them.

First step: Awareness, so you don’t get blindsided by the disruption.

Second step: Preparedness so, if and when the worst happens, you can cleanly implement your plan, without being immobilized by the disruption.

Third step: Take action, so you can move forward confidently and not look back.

Awareness

Four major disruptors (the 4 Ds) can severely affect both the operation and valuation of your company:

  • Death
  • Disability
  • Divorce
  • Drugs or other addictions

Preparedness

You may have never considered the effects the 4 Ds could have on your future. Now is the time to think about being proactive and intentional, instead of reactive and emotional … should a worst case become your reality.

The Four Ds create disruption, regardless of whether the death, disability, divorce or drug addiction applies to you or another key person at your company.

A few words of wisdom from former President Theodore Roosevelt: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing you can do is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

When assessing the risks you face, the best approach is is be confident and act boldly.

Death or Disability

Here are several High Payoff Actions you can take to help get your company prepared for the death or disability of the owner or a key member of the leadership team:

1. Have a Business Plan in place that defines company vision, values and mission – and how the company will operate to fulfill the owner’s vision and the company’s mission.

Red Flag Question: Do you have a current business plan for your business?

  • _____Yes – Good for you!
  • _____No – Consider creating a business plan to guide the strategic vision of your company.

2. Know the value of your business. Have your business valued by consulting with a business attorney, business broker, business insurance specialist or CPA.

a. The Accelerated Cash Flow System can help you obtain a business valuation at a very modest cost compared to other options. If you don’t know the value of your business, ask your coach how to obtain one.

b. When business partners are in agreement about the value of a business before the loss of a partner occurs, the transition process can proceed without argument. Update the business valuation every couple of years. If you use the Accelerated Cash Flow System valuation model, your valuation will be updated automatically each year.

c. Should the valuation turn out to be less than anticipated, you can work on growing the value of your business to command a premium price when you decide to sell.

Red Flag Question: Do you have a current business valuation?

  • _____Yes – Congratulations!
  • _____No – Add business valuation to your list of High Payoff Activities!

3. Create a Succession Plan. Consult with a business attorney (preferably one who specializes in estate and succession planning) to create a plan for how your ownership interest will transfer upon your death, and how the value going to your estate should be distributed.

Red Flag Question: Do you have a succession plan in place?

  • _____Yes – Congratulations!
  • _____No – Add creating a succession plan to your list of High Payoff Activities!

4. Have a Buy-Sell Agreement in place, with your business partners, along with a mechanism to fund the agreement. The Buy-Sell Agreement will be part of your succession plan.

a. The funding of a Buy-Sell Agreement is typically done with insurance policies purchased on each of the partners, naming the others as beneficiaries.

b. Seek out the best succession planning/estate attorney you can find. Your family and business partners will thank you for getting this right, should you be the first one to stop breathing.

Red Flag Question: Do you have a buy-sell agreement with your partners?

  • _____Yes – Congratulations!
  • _____No – Add creating a buy-sell agreement to your list of High Payoff Activities!

5. Disability – Protect Yourself, Long and Short Term
It’s normal for entrepreneurs to believe they will live forever and that disabilities only happen to other people. The fact is we can get so wrapped up in day-to-day opportunities and challenges (the tyranny of the urgent), that we forget the risk of becoming disabled and unable to work. All it takes is a call to the insurance professional you work with, to discuss and then act to ensure your income continues in the event of a short- or long-term disability.

Red Flag Question: Do you have disability insurance?

  • _____Yes – Good for you!
  • _____No – Add contacting an insurance agent to your list of High Payoff Activities!

Divorce – Statistics from a family law firm (unverified) are as follows:

  • 42% of first marriages fail
  • 60% of second marriages fail
  • 73% of third marriages fail

These figures do not account for legal separations, or those living in relationships outside of marriage.

The dynamics of a deteriorating marriage can drain energy and focus, and create havoc, within a company when the affected person or people have key responsibilities.

We won’t address the obvious need for professional and emotional support when people’s lives are melting down due to relationship issues. Our purpose is to address the financial risks to a company when these unfortunate situations occur.

Consulting with an attorney about strategies for protecting or dividing assets, while making provisions for those affected by the divorce, can be worth considering.

Drugs and other addictions

Whether in a company environment, or in the homes of those who work at your company, drugs can create volatile and dangerous situations:

  • Potential of injury or death
  • Conflicts between people
  • Possible embezzlement to pay for a drug or gambling habit
  • Destruction of relationships affecting both business and personal life

Having a defined and well-documented policy about use of drugs in the workplace, and how related situations will be addressed, should be part of a company handbook.

Red Flag Question: Does your company have an employee handbook, with a clearly outlined policy towards drugs in the workplace?

  • _____Yes – Outstanding!
  • _____No – Add creation of an employee handbook to your High Payoff Activities list!

Vigilance and awareness will go a long way toward reducing the negative impact of drugs in the workplace.

If you answered “No” to any of this article’s Red Flag Questions, your company is at risk. Seek professional guidance as appropriate.

Remember the words of President Teddy Roosevelt:

“The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Don’t wait. Take action! You’ll thank us later.

High Payoff Activity: Review your answers to the Red Flag questions in this section, and make a list of where you need to act to protect yourself from the 4 Ds of business disruption.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

The Danger of “More”

“The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man?” – Ecclesiastes 6:11

Image courtesy of Max Pixel.

“More” is dangerous.

Huh? Surprised? It’s OK if this comes as a shock.

All our lives, we’re told that “more is better.” Somehow, doing more drives success. Some way, accumulating more leads to happiness.

Right? It’s all about “more.” Unless, of course, these truisms aren’t true. Could this be?

“More” is actually an intoxicating, seductive word. It can lead to dangerous decisions. It can point us in directions we otherwise wouldn’t pursue.

Think about how we measure success: “I need to be more.” “I need to do more.” “I need more of (fill in the blank).” Are we ever happy?

In the 1996 comedy, “Multiplicity,” actor Michael Keaton was really desperate to get more done. So, he cloned himself. It worked for a while – until, predictably, things went south.

Life got really complicated, really fast. He ended up getting less done, chasing around putting out the metaphorical fires his clones lit. He only wound up with more problems.

He was just seeking the “mores” we typically associate with success: putting in more hours. Meeting with more people. Trying to turn “less into more.” Where does it end?

When does more become less?

“The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame.” – Hosea 4:7

Some “mores” aren’t bad. Hoping, for example, to spend more time with family. Wanting more energy to engage in volunteer activity after work. Desiring more downtime to read Scripture, or turn to God in prayer.

The other “mores,” though, can be a lot of weight to carry. We risk never feeling fulfilled, or sufficient. We start thinking we’re only as good as our next performance.

Remember John the Baptist, in John 3:30, being asked about Jesus supposedly usurping him as the one to baptize believers? John deferred to Christ’s authority, saying “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John is onto something here. He’s minimizing himself to glorify God. He sees what’s really important. It’s not his own prestige or ego. Rather, he’s sacrificing his stature, to aid the one whom he knew God sent to Earth to build His kingdom.

How can our lives reflect John’s belief and approach? Would we voluntarily give up money, and fame, and recognition, to further Christ’s mission?

Seek to lift up God more

Are our pursuits all a big shell game? Do we subtly believe we can do it all alone, sans God? Do we pursue “more” to depend on God less … whether we realize it or not?

Keep in mind Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ.”

We need to become less so that God can become more. Doing so doesn’t make us lazy or unambitious. Rather, it’s about lifting up Him, not ourselves; about glorifying His kingdom, not ours.

Perhaps the “mores” we seek should be ones that bring us closer to God … rather than the next promotion, or big house, or nice car. To quote Psalms 71:14, “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”

There’s no danger in this approach to “more.” As people of faith, we trust God’s benevolent presence and safekeeping.

Let our “mores” be more passion, and more diligence, and more focus toward being true disciples of Christ. If we were, how much “more” better could the world possibly be?

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

How’s Your Spiritual Balance Sheet?

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” – 2 Timothy 1:14

Our lives are enveloped by numbers. Sometimes more, it seems, than we can count. What are all these numbers?

Most involve money (of which the Bible speaks volumes). How much we have – or don’t have – often determines where we go, what we do, and whom we do it with.

Apparently, keeping track of numbers overwhelms many. Fully one third of Americans’ checking accounts – 120 million in total – are in the negative at some point during a given calendar year. Banks charged $30 billion in overdraft fees in 2020.

Businesses have even more numbers to track. Accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash flow, profit and loss … the list goes on. All figure into a “balance sheet,” which reflects the overall financial health of an organization.

Problem is, we aren’t born with the skills to know what all these numbers mean. We’re taught them in school, or learn on our own.

The business graveyard is littered with those who couldn’t decipher their balance sheets. Countless entrepreneurs learn its importance the hard way. For many, it’s too late.

Whether a simple personal checking account, or a complex business balance sheet, one principle holds true: To stay afloat, more must be coming in than going out.

So how’s your “spiritual balance sheet?” Or, amid all the myriad numbers of life, have you not thought about this?

A wondrous account that keeps giving

“Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil – this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:19

Long, long ago, God made a spiritual deposit in us. His amazing gift protected us, and nurtured us, and helped us grow. Its number is unquantifiable – its value, priceless.

We draw on this spiritual account for energy and strength. At certain times, our withdrawals ramp up – such as facing a bad health diagnosis, or an issue with children, or a relative or close friend needing support during a crisis.

No matter how much we take out, this account never seems to go into deficit. We never get hit with overdraft penalties. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t replenish it, though.

In fact, we need to make regular deposits, both for the “health” of the account, and our own. We should give a portion of every day to God.

How do we make these “deposits?” By praying, fervently and honestly. Spending time in Scripture. Going to church. Enjoying fellowship with other Christians.

“Oh sure,” you say. “I can do that.” Except, many don’t. Good intentions only go so far. Their spiritual account runs low, or even in deficit.

No text or e-mail alerts appear. Yet, indicators of a well run dry manifest themselves: stress. Emptiness. Directionless. Anger. Bitterness.

Balance the account, balance the soul

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and the first fruits of all your produce.” – Proverbs 3:9

Know that God never leaves us. Know, also, that we owe God all the respect, honor and praise that we can give Him. Doing so keeps our spiritual account in balance … which allows us to live joyously and fulfilled. Isn’t that what we all seek?

The numbers in a checkbook, or on a business balance sheet, are right in front of us. They don’t lie. They can, unfortunately, distract and misdirect us. Maybe, even, overwhelm us.

Our spiritual account operates very differently. It’s a bubbling spring of love, and peace, and strength, and wonderment. Bring your glass, fill it full, and drink deeply. Just remember to put a little back in, and it will always be in balance.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Who’s Looking Back at You?

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” – Isaiah 35:5

Image courtesy of funplanners.com

Have you ever been to a carnival, or an arcade, and spent time laughing at funhouse mirrors?

You look in … but who’s looking back? They sure don’t look familiar. Your head might grow gigantic … or shrink to the size of an orange. Your belly can expand to Santa Claus-like girth. Or your legs stretch like rubber … while your upper half contracts like a smashed soda can.

The mirrors are wavy or curved. They create exaggerated, comical distortions. It’s all in good fun. You walk away. Everything returns to normal.

Or does it? What’s “normal” anymore? Do we really know?

It’s easy to be confused. Society bombards us with distorted realities. The mechanisms are many.

Consider social media. Everyone is happy in those photos! No one ever looks sad or upset. They must have perfect lives. It’s easy to think, “Why don’t I?” or “What’s wrong with me?”

Workplaces can be challenging. You know that others are making more money than you. Some are even being promoted. Why not you? Again, what’s wrong with you?

Look at some of your neighbors – the perfect lawns, the shiny cars, the attractive spouses and kids. Why isn’t this you? What’s wrong with you?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. You’re fine, being your authentic self and doing your best to live honestly and humbly. These others are all faux funhouse mirrors, distorting your worldview and cratering your confidence. Don’t let them!

Focus on the real, not the wrong

What’s right? What’s wrong? What’s real? What’s distortion?

Maybe the Apostle Paul can shed some light, from his second letter to the Corinthians: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (4:17-18).

In other words, the external forces of judgment are irrelevant. They’re pointless. Don’t let these false gods of foolishness measure you.

There’s only one judge to be concerned with – and He loves you for who you are.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Think about the hypocrisy of social media. Does anyone post that their husband was arrested for drunken driving? Or their 16-year-old daughter is pregnant? Or that a family member is in jail for stealing a car, or robbing a convenience store, or worse?

Of course not! Social media is a false, shiny narrative. It’s complete distortion.

Work? The person who got the promotion seemed to have it made … until they got fired. Or left for another job. Maybe the grass really isn’t greener.

Oh, and your neighbors seemed to have it all together … until the foreclosure sign appeared. Or the police showed up after a loud screaming match. Guess the spotless lawn and nice vehicles were just … distortions.

Society distorts our perceptions at every turn. Ignore them. Instead, look through God’s eyes. Understand how He sees us … and his endless gift of accepting us how we are, where we are.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

You are God’s child. Nothing can take you away from Him! His unending love is real. Everything else is just funhouse mirrors.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Let the Mud Clear Your Vision

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” – Isaiah 35:5

Many, many perspectives change as we “mature.” Chief among them concerns weather.

Oh, sure – as adults, we enjoy walking, or biking, or golfing, or doing any number of things outdoors. At the first sign of rain, though, most of us run for cover. Heaven forbid we get wet!

Contrast this to when you were a child. Rain? Yeah! Find a puddle to splash in!

Even better if there was wet, muddy ground nearby. Mud is magnetic to kids. They love to jump in it, stomp in it, and do everything imaginable to get as dirty as possible. Bring it on!

Conversely, adults abhor mud. It dirties our shoes. Stains our pants cuffs. If it splashes onto a skirt or dress – look out. Someone is going to be really unhappy.

What happens when mud accumulates on shoes? They get heavy. Our feet stick. Pretty soon, we feel tired. Our progress slows. Again, no good.

Modern adults have no use for mud. Why, even its connotations in everyday speech are negative: A person’s reputation can be “dragged through the mud.” A fallen hero’s “name is mud.” Politicians attacking each other are “mud-slinging.”

Mud as a cure, not a curse

Jesus, by contrast, didn’t mind mud. In fact, he used it to cure a man blind from birth. Consider this passage from John 9: “’While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

The notion of using mud – mixed with saliva, no less – as a medical salve would terrify any practitioner of modern medicine. Yet, Jesus made it work. He used some really unpleasant ingredients to give a man his first-ever gift of sight.

Why did Jesus choose mud as his “medicine?” Is there a metaphor for how we live our lives, often oblivious to God’s will for us?

Cleansing our muddied existences

All of us fall short of God’s expectations. We do things we shouldn’t. Miss opportunities to do things pleasing to God. Unlike Jesus’s use of mud to grant sight, are we laden with “mud” that leads to these spiritual blind spots?

Mud is unclean. Isn’t this how we feel when we engage in activities we know are wrong? Is God reminding us of this, by making us feel “muddy?”

Similarly, when we go down these wrongful paths, do we not start feeling sluggish? Like there’s “mud” caked on our souls … similar to our shoes?

Do we have stains on our relationships with others, that we know should be cleansed … yet somehow aren’t? Is “mud” marking these as a reminder?

Maybe, just maybe, this “mud” opens our eyes to God’s will. What’s weighing you down, or slowing you, or making you feel less than clean? Can you identify the mud, and ask God to cleanse you?

Don’t curse the “mud.” God often uses unpleasant sensations or experiences to teach us. Sometimes, to humble us, as in Job 30:19: “He throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes.

The mud is for your benefit. It’s there, ironically, for you to live a cleaner life. The man whose eyes saw for the first time would undoubtedly proclaim its wonderment.

Appreciate the mud. Learn from it. Even be like a kid again, and don’t be afraid to get dirty … knowing that God’s forgiveness will ultimately cleanse you.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

If You’re Drowning, Humble Yourself

“And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

Did you ever, as a child, jump into a lake or pool … and suddenly realize it was deeper than you expected?

Your feet, used to solid ground, felt nothing beneath. Serious alarm, even panic, set in. Could you stay afloat? Could you keep your head above water?

You might have kicked wildly. Thrashed your arms. Been ready to yell for help … when Mom’s or Dad’s comforting arms plucked you to safety.

You were never in real danger. Your parent knew this. But YOU didn’t.

All you knew was the emptiness beneath your feet … and fear.

As adults, we don’t worry about literally drowning. Most of us know how to swim, or rarely get near water.

Still, are you “drowning” in a metaphorical sense? Too many obligations overwhelming you? Financial challenges? Fractured family relationships? Wandering through life with no sense of purpose?

This “drowning” might not kill us. Yet it manifests itself in other ways: stress and anxiety. Accumulating material goods. Drinking or substance abuse. Lying awake at night.

Be strong, and ask for help

As young children, we are dependent on our parents for everything. We have no choice.

As adults, we pride ourselves on independence. But if we’re drowning, we need help. Asking for help isn’t a bad thing.

For many, though, it’s humbling – which again, isn’t a bad thing. Scripture proves the worth of humbling oneself. Consider these passages:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” – James 4:10

The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.” – Psalm 147:6

Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.” – Proverbs 3:34

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12

Finally, entrance into Heaven itself relies on humbling oneself like a child:

“… but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14

Enter the Kingdom, humbly

News flash (if needed): Entering the kingdom of Heaven isn’t about accomplishments or possessions. It’s not a meritocracy. Forget your resume.

Finding favor with God is about admitting our faults, our sins, our shortcomings, and asking for help. It’s humbling yourself in the most humble way possible. Fall on your knees, bare your soul and admit you can’t do it alone.

When we allow ourselves to be wholly dependent on God, His arms lift us from the pit we were drowning in. The ground beneath our feet is solid again. His warm embrace fills us with safety and security.

It only happens, though, when we humble ourselves … totally and completely.

Are you drowning? It’s easy to quickly feel “underwater.” Don’t panic. Don’t thrash. It’s OK, though, to yell to the heavens, to tell God you’re letting go, and asking Him to take charge.

The path forward might not be clear. So, like a child trusting a parent, rely on God to lead you. Walk in faith, and you’ll never feel the emptiness beneath again.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Are You Capping Your Markers?

“God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” – 1 Peter 4:10

We all know him (or her): the guy (or gal) who gets all the breaks. They enjoy success after success. Doors just seem to open. Opportunities are never in short supply.

Human nature, being what it is, would incline us toward jealousy. Why aren’t we as fortunate as them? Why does everything go right for him (or her)?

Except, we aren’t just anyone. We are God’s people. We look at situations through God’s lens … and a different perspective emerges. Often, it’s one that deepens our faith, and improves us as people.

God blesses us all with unique talents and abilities. We are his works of art, filled with brilliant master strokes and a palette like no other. His gifts to us are beyond number.

Are you a good steward of what God has entrusted to you? Are you using his blessings to create success, and glorify His name in the highest?

Is it possible – even just a little – that the person for whom you’re feeling a twinge of jealousy is doing a better job?

Use your talents

In the Parable of the Talents, recited in Matthew 25:14-30 (and a different version in Luke 19:11-26), Jesus tells of a man who, before leaving on a long trip, entrusted three servants with sums of money.

Two worked and invested, growing the money. One buried his share, fearing his master’s wrath if he lost some.

The master, upon his return, lavished praise on the first two for their industriousness.

He chastised the third, calling him “wicked and lazy,” and gave his money to one of the other two servants.

The master explained his actions:

“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” – Matthew 25:29

At first glance, this seems like a very un-Jesus-like thing to say. Wasn’t he the protector of the poor, a devotee to the downtrodden?

Western biblical scholars have interpreted this, though, as Jesus instructing us to not let our God-given abilities lie fallow. Doing so results in having less than before. If one was of menial means to start, the impact is even more devastating.

If someone is doing better in life, could it be they’re using God’s endowments more fruitfully?

Cap it off

Consider a box of markers. You open a new package. Each marker draws deep, vibrant lines. It’s a joy to use them. Once finished, you replace caps to keep the markers fresh.

Except, you drop a couple. You don’t notice, because your phone is ringing, or it’s time for dinner, or the dog is dancing at the door. The markers roll under the couch.

You find them a week later. No caps in sight. The markers are dried out. Useless. Done.

God’s gifts to us are like these markers. Left unused, they go to waste. Their once-great potential is never realized. A work of art that might have been made, and changed the world, is never created.

Are you putting caps on your markers?

Recognize the skills God has provided you. Use these talents to honor Him. Step out in faith. The time is now.

What chances can you take to fully use your unique abilities? Is God calling you to do so, and you haven’t paid attention?

It’s never too late. Even a little faith can go a long way. It renews us, heals us and energizes us. God has blessed all of us with the power to do great things.

The guy (or gal) who seems to have it all together? Maybe they’re just better at capping their markers.

You, though, might discover a whole new set. Who knows what you’ll create? Do so to the glory of God, and never worry about losing another marker again.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])