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Daily Devotionals

 

March 9, 2010

Confidence in Numbers
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, March 09 2010

"David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O Lord, I beg You, take away the guilt of Your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.'" - 2 Samuel 24:10

It just seems to be human nature. As we grow in wealth and ability, our confidence moves from complete trust in the Lord to trust in our resources. King David decided one day that he needed to know how many fighting men he had in his army. This was a grievous sin in the nation of Israel. God always made it clear to the nation that He, not their army, was their source. It was against the law of God to number the troops. David's general, Joab, knew the serious nature of such an action.

But Joab replied to the king, "May the Lord your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?" (2 Samuel 24:3)

Joab knew that David was treading in dangerous waters when he brought up the idea to him. But David had it in his mind that this is what he was going to do. And he did. The result: God judged David for this sin by smiting the nation with a plague that resulted in the loss of 70,000 lives.

Recently, I was having lunch with a former stockbroker who lost everything in the 1987 stock crash in the United States. He made an interesting comment. "You cannot know how to fully trust the Lord in the financial area until you really have to. When I lost everything, I was forced to trust Him when I knew I could not pay my next bill unless God provided. This was the time I learned to trust God. I never had to trust God before I lost my money because I had plenty. We don't willingly enter this level of trust with God."

Ask God today to keep you from trusting in your own resources. Ask Him how to balance trust and blessing from Him this day.

 

March 5, 2010

Striving Versus Abiding
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, March 05 2010

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." - Psalm 127:1a

What does it mean for the Lord to build the house? It almost seems a contradiction when we consider that we might be the builders in this passage. God wants us to allow Him to build the house. He explains further:

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat - for He grants sleep to those He loves" (Psalm 127:1-2).

God is telling us there is a way of working without striving. There is a way to conduct business without sweating and toiling for outcome. His warning to each of us is to avoid thinking that outcome is based on our sweat and toil. Outcome is based on obedience. That outcome is sometimes more than we deserve. Sometimes it is less than we hoped for. His desire for each of us is to see Him working in our daily work life. He wants us to avoid looking to our own effort to gain an outcome.

One day Jesus called out to Peter from the shore of the lake and suggested he throw his net on the other side of the boat. It was this simple act of obedience that yielded a tremendous catch that he would not have received unless he obeyed.

We are called to work; He is called to bring forth the fruit. He is the vine. We are the branches. Fruit comes forth naturally from a healthy tree.

Today, ask God to show you when you enter into striving. Ask Him to show you the difference between loving trust and obedience and striving for outcome. It can be challenging for us to balance this in our daily work experience. He wants to help us walk in this freedom and rest.

 

 

February 16, 2010

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
  but a harsh word stirs up anger.
             ( Proverbs 15:1* NIV )

        We all become angry sometimes with the words or
  actions of another.  When we do it is important that we
  do not respond to them with words of anger.  For it is
  written; He who guards his mouth and his
 tongue keeps himself from calamity, and oh
  how true that is indeed!    ( Proverbs 21:23 )

      The Apostle Paul wrote;
  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of
  your mouths, but only what is helpful for building
  others up according to their needs, that it may
  benefit those who listen. ( Ephesians 4:29 )
  Further, James the half brother of Jesus' wrote; Out of the same
  mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this
  should not be.   ( James 3:10 )

     After all; Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet
  to the soul and healing to the bones.
  ( Proverbs 16:24 ) So, keep your words
  soft, sweet and pleasing to our Heavenly Father.  After
  all He hears every word that we say!

      So just as King David did, remember these words when
  someone angers you.  Then next time before your anger
  can take control, recite this in your mind. "May the
  words of my mouth
and the meditation of my
  heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my
  Rock and my Redeemer." Amen. (PSALM 19:14)

 

 

February 15, 2010

A Joseph Calling
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, February 15 2010

"And he sent a man before them - Joseph, sold as a slave." - Psalm 105:17

God is doing a unique work around the world today. He is rising up Josephs throughout the world. Some are still in the "pit" stage of their pilgrimage, while others are heading toward fruitfulness. What does it take for a man to become a true Joseph? It takes years of preparation and testing to be a true Joseph. It takes what the psalmist says in Psalm 105:17. "He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; and he sent a man before them - Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free" (Psalm 105:16-20).

A true Joseph is one who is a provider both spiritually and materially for those in the Body of Christ. It is a person who understands that he is simply a manager of all that God has entrusted to him. It is a person who has humility and a broken and contrite heart before God. But how does God prepare modern-day Josephs?

Modern-day Josephs are prepared through their own versions of bruised feet, with shackles and necks put in irons. It is often through the adversity of failed finances, failed marriages, failed relationships, and broken dreams. These are the things that try men the most. These are the things God uses to allow the Josephs of our day to be proven by the Word of the Lord. Once proven, God brings them out of their prisons and uses them mightily for His purposes. Joseph went through his own trials - not because of any failure, but because of an incredible calling: to save and provide for an entire nation. God had to prepare this man with 13 years of broken dreams and humble circumstances in order to break every ounce of pride and self-will. God could not afford to have a 30-year-old steeped in arrogance and pride running an entire nation.

When I attended a world conference on global evangelization in South Africa, I was privileged to sit among 45 other men from different parts of the world who had a Joseph calling on their lives. These men of means had humility of heart and a spirit unlike any others I have met in my country. Each one had his own Joseph story. It was an incredible scene that changed my life and my own view of business. This allowed me to see firsthand this phenomenon that is going on throughout the world. Many believe God is rising up these servants to prepare for a worldwide economic earthquake and to fund a global harvest of souls. Even since this conference, one nation is being dramatically affected because of a Joseph who has stepped forward to fulfill his calling for that nation. It is an awesome demonstration of God's power working today.

Are you willing to allow God to do whatever it takes for you to become a true Joseph? Ask the Lord today to do whatever is necessary to fully use your gifts and talents for His eternal Kingdom.

 

January 4, 2009


Coming Out of the Stronghold
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, January 04 2010

..."Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah"... - 1 Samuel 22:5

David and his fighting men had been hiding in the cave of Adullam. He was fleeing Saul. Many of life's down-and-out had come and joined David's army. David was content to stay in the stronghold of safety. Then, God's prophet came to David and told him that he must leave the stronghold and go into the land of Judah.

When life beats down on us and we get to the place where we want to hide in a cave, God often places people around us who prod us into moving in the right direction. He does not want us to remain in the place of discouragement. He wants us to move into the land of "praise." Judah means "praise."

I recall when I went through a very difficult time. It seemed to drag on and on with no change until finally I wanted to retreat to a cave and forget pressing on. It was a great time of discouragement. A godly man came to me and said, "You must keep moving! There are too many who are depending on you in the Kingdom." I didn't totally understand what he meant at the time. Now I know he was saying that God is preparing each of us to be the vessel He wants to use in the life of another person, but we will never be that vessel if we give up and hide in our cave of discouragement. Not only must we keep moving, we must move into a new realm. Our attitude must move from discouragement to praise. It is when we move past discouragement to praise that we begin living above our problems. Make a decision today to go into the land of Judah.

 

January 3, 2009

Your Positioning
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, January 03 2010

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips. - Proverbs 27:2

Many years of owning and operating an ad agency taught me that positioning was defined as a place or position that a product, service, or person held in the mind of the audience. We knew that often perception was reality for people, regardless of the truth. For years, I spent time and money seeking to position our company in the minds of our prospective clients. Although it would seem that is a natural and logical marketing function, I later discovered there is a dangerous flaw when we attempt to position ourselves by promoting our own attributes. I discovered that positioning is a by-product of who we are and what we do, not an end in itself.

King David was my first biblical lesson in coming to understand the difference. Here was a man who had committed adultery and murder, and failed many times in his family life. Yet, God describes David as a "man after God's own heart." Isn't that interesting? Why would God describe someone who had obviously failed in many areas as one who was after God's own heart? Throughout David's life, we find frequent descriptions made by God: "So David's fame spread throughout every land..." (1 Chron. 14:17). Although David did make many mistakes, his heart was soft toward God and sought to praise Him. David wrote the majority of the Psalms. God honored what was in David's heart, not his perfection. I believe that God's strategic placement of David was so that we may learn from and be drawn to the attribute of David that God primarily wanted him known for -- a heart bent toward Him. His positioning was a by-product of who he was, not an end in itself. In our business and personal life, our positioning among those who will know us should be a by-product of our life and service, not an end itself.

What is your "position" today among your peers? I once asked my Bible study group to ask others, "What do you think of when someone mentions my name?" This exercise can bring some interesting revelations. It might motivate us to make some changes, or it might confirm that God is doing a great work in you.

 

January 2, 2009

Seeing The Big Picture
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, January 02 2010

..."Everything is against me!" - Genesis 42:36

Eventually, Benjamin along with Jacob's other sons learned that their brother Joseph was second in command in Egypt. Joseph revealed his identity, and Jacob was reunited with his son whom he had not seen for more than 13 years. He had thought Joseph to be dead.

So often we believe our dreams are dead. There seems to be nothing left in our world to live for. Everything appears to be against us. During these times, God is doing His deepest behind-the-scenes work. During these times, God is performing a deeper work in each of us -- a work that cannot be seen.

When clients began leaving my ad agency and it dried up for no apparent reason, it appeared "everything was against me." I could not see that God was orchestrating a whole new calling on my life. At the moment, it seemed like the worst thing in the world. It seemed that I had been a failure. But God said, "No." All the years before had been preparation for what God's ultimate calling would be. One of God's methods for directing His children's steps is through drying up resources: a job loss, a career change, or a disaster. In these times we are willing to listen more intently, and to seek God in ways we would not normally do. C.S. Lewis once wrote, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." [C.S.Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1962), 93.]

 

January 1, 2009

Dissolving Partnerships
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, January 01 2010

So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord. - Genesis 13:18

Abraham took a totally different approach to solving this problem. He told Lot to choose which land he wanted. Imagine, Abraham could have been dooming himself and his family if he was unable to find adequate land and water for them. He gave up his rights in the matter, and Lot took full advantage. "Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar" (Gen. 13:10). So Lot left and took up residence in the valley later to be known as Sodom and Gomorrah. Sometimes what seems good on the front end turns out to be disastrous later. Such would be the case for Lot and his family.

As for Abraham, he made a choice. He decided to take life's high road -- a choice that didn't necessarily mean his life circumstances would benefit him. He was willing to leave that outcome to God. He made the decision based on an eternal measuring stick. Interestingly, the place where Abraham moved was called Mamre. In Hebrew, the name Mamre means "strength." How can choosing the weakest position become "strength"? Jesus must have asked the same question of His Father when faced with the proposition of going to the cross. How can the cross be a place of strength? The devil thought he had won, but the cross is what freed the captives for eternity. The Bible tells us that when we are weak, then we are really strong. To willingly choose the way of the cross becomes our strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 14, 2009

Hearing God's Voice
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, December 14 2009

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. - 1 Samuel 3:7

Samuel was born to Hannah, a woman who had a deep commitment to God. She was barren, but she cried out to God for a son. The Lord gave her Samuel, whom she completely gave to the Lord for His service. After weaning him, she took him to the house of the Lord to be reared by the priests. Eli was the priest of Israel, but he was not a godly leader. He had allowed much corruption, including the sins of his sons, in God's house. God was not pleased with Eli and later judged him and his household.

Samuel grew up in the temple serving God. He also grew up seeing the hypocrisy of Eli's household, yet this did not change the young man. God was with him. We learn that even though young Samuel had a belief in God, he had not yet experienced a personal relationship with Him. God called to Samuel three times, but Samuel thought it was Eli, the priest, calling him. Finally, Eli told him to say, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Sam. 3:9b). This is what Samuel did, and God began telling Samuel important things to come.

Many of us grow up in religious environments. We go to church every week. We have a head knowledge of God, but we do not recognize God's voice in our lives. There comes a time when we must recognize God's voice for ourselves. God does not want us to have a religion; He wants us to have a two-way relationship with Him. Samuel was never the same after this encounter. He would know God's voice and would respond to Him in obedience.

Do you know God's voice? Can you recognize it when He speaks? In order to hear God's voice, you must be clean before Him and listen. Listen to God's voice today and follow His plans for you.

 

December 13, 2009

 

December 12, 2009

 

December 11, 2009

 

December 10, 2009

 

December 9, 2009

A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD  delivers him from them all;
    ( Psalms 34:19 *NIV )

    We all face troubling times in our lives. Times that we
wish that we could escape from troubles like the pain of
sorrow, grief or failure to just name a few.  Even perhaps
the small daily frustrations that constantly bother us as well.

    When you find yourself experiencing problems like that
remember that; The LORD  is close to the broken-
hearted and saves those who are crushed in
spirit. ( Psalms 34:18 )  For after all; The eyes of
the LORD
 are on the righteous and his ears
are attentive to their cry; (Psalms 34:15 )  
For when; The righteous cry out, and the LORD
hears them; He delivers them from all their
troubles.                         ( Psalms 34:17 )

    Now you may be thinking, how does that apply to me for
 I do not feel very righteous.   Well through Jesus Christ we
become righteous, for it is written; God made him who had
no sin to be sins for us, so that in him we might
become the righteousness of God.  Therefore
if we repent of our sins they are cleansed from "The Book of
Life
," and we become  righteous once again!

    So, remember the Words of our Savior Jesus
Christ
; "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust
in God
; trust also in me. and let GOD deliver
you from all of your troubles! Amen. ( John 14:1 )

 

December 8, 2009

Now these three remain: faith, hope and
love. But the greatest of these is love.
       ( 1 Corinthians 13:13 *NIV )

    Faith comes from hearing the message, and the
message is heard through the word of Christ.
( Romans 10:17 )  Therefore it is written; Be faithful,
even to the point of death, and I will give you the
crown of life.    ( Revelations 2:10 )

    Hope is something we all need, for; Hope deferred
makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a
tree of life. ( Proverbs 13:12 )  Therefore; May the
God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you
trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.  ( Romans 15:13 )

    As for Love, well; This is love: not that we loved
God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an
atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since
God so loved us, we also ought to love one
another. ( 1 John 4:10-11 )  So; Dear friends, let
us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and
knows God. Whoever does not love does not
know God, because God is love. ( 1 John 4:7 )   

    In closing, remember that a life filled with love, hope
and faith, receives the fruit of the spirit, and; the fruit of
the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control.    Amen.  ( Galatians 5:22 )
         ___________________________________

 

December 7, 2009

Equipped for the Workplace
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, December 07 2009

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20 - Proverbs 13:12

Over 70 percent of our time is spent in a working environment, yet our training and teaching focuses on areas where we spend much less time. The workplace is the greatest mission field of our day, yet we do not train workplace believers how to effectively integrate their faith into their jobs. The wall between Sunday and Monday still exists. Most believers do not understand that all of life is spiritual, not just life on Sunday.

A recent study found that 50 percent of Christians have never heard a sermon on work; 70 percent have never been taught a theology of work; and 70 percent have never heard a sermon on vocation. Why do we focus on the fringes rather than the center where most people spend most of their time - the workplace?

God is removing the wall of separation by speaking to pastors and workplace believers all over the world. A pastor recently shared how his church ordains their workplace believers for their calling to the workplace. Another pastor described their church's commitment to integrating training for their workplace believers on the theology of work. Another told how they began a workplace ministry within their church for their workplace believers, and even integrated Sunday school programs specifically geared to help workplace believers understand their calling in the workplace.

We are entering a new era in the Church when workplace believers are seen as a remnant of the Body of Christ who need to be mobilized and trained for the work of the ministry to their own mission field-the workplace. Are you one of the men and women God is raising up for this task? Pray that God will help pastors understand and affirm this calling, and that they will respond by training the people of their churches for their own ministry to the workplace. When we reclaim the 70 percent, the remainder will be reclaimed automatically.

 

December 6, 2009

Disappointments
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, December 06 2009

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. - Proverbs 13:12

Life is filled with disappointments. Many of God's greatest servants experienced deep disappointment in their journeys of faithfulness to God. Joseph, after spending years as a slave and in jail for crimes that he did not commit, revealed deep disappointment when he was forgotten another two years in prison. John the Baptist, when awaiting execution, doubted whether Jesus was, in fact, the Christ because he was sitting there awaiting his death. Elijah, losing all hope and despondent to the point of death, asked God to take his life in the desert; and Peter, who left his fishing business and invested three years of his life only to watch his Savior crucified, wondered whether the purpose of those three years could be justified.

When life doesn't add up, it leaves the heart sick. When we have done all we know to do and the formula has not worked, it leaves us questioning. These are times that try the very souls of men. There is no human sense to be made of it. We are left with a choice: to cling or not to cling. There are times when holding on to our Master's robe is all that we can do. It is all that He wants us to do.

The heights by great men reached and kept

Were not obtained by sudden flight;

But they, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night.

Standing on what too long we bore,

With shoulders bent and downcast eyes,

We may discern-unseen before-

A path to higher destinies!

~Longfellow

There is only one answer to life's disappointments. Like the psalmist, we must "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken" (Ps. 62:5-6).

 

December 5, 2009

Belief or Unbelief
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, December 05 2009

"...Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." - Romans 4:3

You can be a believer yet act as though there is no God. Whenever you fret over life circumstances, you immediately demonstrate unbelief. Whenever you move out of fear or anxiety, you believe a lie about God's nature.

Each day your actions affirm or convict you of your belief system. It reveals who the central focus of your life really is - you or God. It reveals who you place your ultimate trust in - you or God. It is one of the great paradoxes for believers. One day we can believe Him to move mountains. The next day we can question His very existence.

  • Peter believed God and walked on water.</
  • A sick woman touched the hem of His garment and was healed.
  • A Canaanite woman believed and freed her daughter from demon-possession.
In what circumstances do you act as an "unbeliever"? Ask God to increase your level of trust so that your actions match up with one who believes every day.

 

December 4, 2009

The Purpose of Elevation
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, December 04 2009

And the Lord said to Joshua, "This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. (Josh 3:7-8).

Joshua had been a faithful number two man under Moses for 80 years. Can you imagine serving one man for 80 years? Now that is faithfulness!

Even so, when the time came to pass the mantel to Joshua, God knew he needed to be elevated in the eyes of the people in order for Joshua to accomplish his purpose. That is the purpose of elevation - so that you and I can fulfill our purpose and our mission.

We are not called to elevate ourselves. If we elevate ourselves before our time we will short circuit God's plans for our lives. We will not have the same level of grace as we would have if it were in God's perfect timing. Moving into a job or responsibility before we are ready is a formula for failure. We may not be mature enough. We may not have the proper skill set.

Let God elevate you in His timing and you will be successful in the thing He created you to be and do.

 

December 3, 2009

The Spirit of Competition
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, December 03 2009

"I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me." - John 17:23

A story is told about F.B. Meyer, the great Bible teacher and pastor who lived a century ago. He was pastoring a church and began to notice that attendance was suffering. This continued until he finally asked some members of his congregation one Sunday morning why they thought attendance was down.

A member volunteered, "It is because of this new church down the road. The young preacher has everyone talking and many are going to hear him speak."

His name was Charles Spurgeon. Meyer, rather than seeking to discourage this, exhorted the entire congregation to join him and go participate in seeing this "move of God" as he described it to his congregation.

"If this be happening, then God must be at work."

Meyer, even though he was an accomplished preacher and teacher, recognized where God was at work and joined Him in it. [The author heard this on a radio show from Key Life Ministries with Steve Brown, based in Orlando, Florida.]

Can you imagine this story taking place in our competitive world today? Competition has penetrated the Church so much that many churches and Christian organizations approach ministry like a sports event. They view their mission as a business that seeks to gain market share among Christians - donors, members, influence - all under the name of God. I am sure God looks down at us and asks, "Whatever happened to John 17:23?" Sometimes we must remind our fellow servants that we are all on the same team! We should be seeking to impact the Kingdom of God, not increase our own market share.

When Jesus made this statement about unity in John 17:23, it represented the key to bringing salvation to many. He was saying that when His Body is unified, the non-Christian would be able to see who Jesus really is - the Son of God. Are you contributing to unity in the Body of Christ? Or are you contributing to a spirit of competition? Ask God where you can be an instrument of unity in His Body.

 

December 2, 2009

Special Callings
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, December 02 2009

"Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him." 1 Corinthians 7:17a - 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Each of us is called to relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are called by Him, to Him, and for Him. Once we enter that relationship with Christ, we are called into the physical expression of that relationship. This is where our vocations are manifested as a result, not as an end in themselves.

Additionally, there are examples of special callings in the Bible in which individuals have a direct communication from God to do a specific task for Him. Moses, Paul, Peter, and many others had direct communication about what God was calling them to do. Not everyone receives this "special" calling. This is not to say God is not personal with each of us. Some have had extraordinary supernatural encounters with God that led to their calling being specific to a task ordered by God. All of us have been called to follow Christ and live our lives in obedience to Him. Many of us have a sense to go in one direction or another based on our life experiences and giftedness. This, too, is God's calling.

Calling goes beyond our work and includes our relationships to others: our spouse, our children, our neighbors -- and our co-workers. We must remember this in order that our "work calling" does not become elevated at the expense of the other important aspects of our lives. This is the holistic approach to the gospel in which God made all of life equally important.

Therefore, the next time someone says, "I was called into the ministry" or "I am in full-time Christian work," stop him or her and tell him or her we are all in full-time Christian work. There is no secular and religious in the economy of God. I have a dear friend who often says, "I am a servant of the living God masquerading as a dentist." So, too, are you first a servant of the living God.

 

December 1, 2009

Living Forward, Understanding Backward
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, December 01 2009

"The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it." - 1 Thessalonians 5:24

When I was in my 20's, I participated in a wilderness-training course in a desert and mountain area. For our "final exam," we were blindfolded, placed in the back of a pickup truck, and taken to a remote area. We were dropped off and told to meet back at the camp in three days. We did not know where we were. We had to determine our location with our compasses. It was a frightening experience for four young people who had learned to navigate through the use of a compass only a few days earlier. With our food and water on our backs, we began our trek. It had just snowed that morning, so the way was difficult. We walked through valleys, canyons, snow-covered hills, and forests. In all, we walked more than 60 miles in three days. There were times when we did not think we could go another foot. Exhaustion and frostbitten feet were taking their toll. However, we finally made it to our base camp successfully, and to our surprise, we were the first ones among the other patrols to make it back.

At the conclusion of our journey, we were able to stand on top of a ridge, look behind us and see the beautiful terrain that we had just scaled. The pain of what we had just endured seemed to subside. We could not believe we had actually walked through those valleys and snowcapped hills. There was a sense of accomplishment.

Life is very much like this. It is often lived forward, but understood backward. It is not until we are down the road a bit that we can appreciate the terrain God has allowed us to scale and the spiritual deposits He has made in our life as a result. When you begin to realize some of this, you sit back and breathe a sigh of relief because you know that God was in control all along. It didn't seem like it at the time, but He was.

Are you in the midst of a difficult journey that seems almost impossible to continue? Be assured that God is providing grace even now to equip you for that journey. There will be a time when you can say, "Wow, look at what God has done because of what I gained through that valley." Trust Him with the outcome of where you find yourself today.

 

November 4, 2009

Face to Face
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, November 04 2009

"I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete." 2 John 12

It is easy to fire off a letter to someone in this age of electronic communication because of its expediency. In business we call this being efficient. However, there are times when nothing but a face-to-face meeting is the appropriate means of communication. We know that verbal skills are a very small portion of communication. Body language, voice tone, and our expressions make up the majority of our overall communication. This cannot be seen through a letter or electronic medium.

John knew that being face to face with those he ministered to was important. And for John, it meant some major trouble to get from one place to another. It wasn't as simple as getting into a car or hopping onto an airplane. John's desire and determination to visit and talk face to face reinforces the importance of one-on-one personal communication.

I once had to confront a businessman about some problems we were having in a business deal. He lived in another town. The negotiations had stalled to some degree. I could have attempted to solve the problem over the phone. But I realized the serious nature of the issues required a face-to-face meeting. I drove two hours to his office and met with him face to face. It meant all the difference. It demonstrated to my friend I was serious enough about solving the problem to take a day to come see him. It also showed I valued him and he was worth the effort. This resulted in him giving greater emphasis to the issue

Next time a situation arises that requires more focused communication, consider whether the situation requires a personal visit. You may find this will be the key to resolving issues that otherwise might end in a stalemate.

 

November 3, 2009


The Root of Bitterness
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, November 03 2009

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12:15

The enemy of our souls has a very specific strategy to destroy relationships. Whether these relationships are in business, marriage, or friendships, the strategy is the same. A conflict arises, judgments are made, and feelings are hurt. What happens next is the defining point of whether the enemy gains a foothold, or the grace of God covers the wrong.

When a root of bitterness is allowed to be planted and grown, it not only affects that person, but it also affects all others who are involved. It is like a cancer. Breaking satan's foothold requires at least one person to press into God's grace. It cannot happen when either party "feels" like it, for none of us will ever feel like forgiving. None of us feel like talking when we have been hurt. Our natural response is to withdraw or lash out at the offending party. It is only obedience that allows God's grace to cover the wrongs incurred. This grace prevents the parties from becoming victims who will seek compensation for their pain.

The next time you are hurt by someone, realize the gravity of the crossroads where you find yourself. Choose grace instead of bitterness. Then you will be free to move past the hurt, and a root of bitterness will not be given opportunity to grow.

 

November 2, 2009

An Audience of One
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, November 02 2009

"Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me.'" John 21:22

For several weeks I awoke with heaviness over me. It seemed it did not matter how much I prayed or how much I read the Scriptures. Finally, one night I was reading a book by Os Guinness that described the conversation between Jesus and Peter. God had just commissioned Peter in the famous "Peter, do you love Me" passage of Scripture. This was after Jesus' resurrection. Jesus was calling Peter to feed His sheep, and He informed Peter of the death he would encounter for following Him. But Peter had a question. He wondered what was going to happen to John. Would John have the same trials, the same responsibility, as Peter? Jesus quickly retorted to Peter, "What is that to you?"

That night I realized I was guilty of envy. I had several friends who were now "making it" in business. I began to compare where I was in life. It brought me into a state of depression. Once I realized this, I asked the Lord to forgive me. I knew in my head I was to have only one audience-the audience of One. That knowledge needed to get to my heart. I also knew I was experiencing spiritual warfare in the area of unbelief.

The next morning I awoke, and as I normally do, I checked my e-mail to see what the devotional was for that day that is sent to other workplace believers. Although I write the devotional myself, I read it because I get letters from readers regarding the devotionals. To my shock, the devotional was on this same passage of Scripture. It talked about the sin of envy. I was amused by God's sense of humor, as He convicted me with my own devotional message. But that was not the end of it.

That day I went to lunch with a friend. After lunch I got into my car. I turned on the radio and Os Guinness, the author of the same book I was reading the night before, was being interviewed. They were talking about the discourse between Jesus and Peter and the sin of envy! I was floored! "Okay, God, I get the message!" The Holy Spirit has an uncanny ability to communicate to us. The Lord wanted me to know that I am not to worry about someone else. God has called us to a unique life that may look totally different from anyone else's life. Once we begin to compare ourselves to others, we begin to live for others and ourselves.

There is only one audience we should be living for-the audience of One. Ask the Lord today if you are living solely for His pleasure.

 

November 1, 2009

Worldly Planning
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, November 01 2009

"Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, 'Yes, yes' and 'No, no'?" 2 Corinthians 1:17

The apostle Paul was discussing his plans to come to the church at Corinth. He was acknowledging the serious nature of his trip and informing the Corinthians that he did not flippantly come to this decision to visit them. It was a matter that had been given serious prayer, not one made in the spur of the moment.

Planning from God's view is a process. It isn't merely an exercise in reason and analysis. It requires entering into the mind of Christ together with our minds to determine which course to take. In the Old Testament, the priests wore breastplates with the Urim and Thummim in a pouch on their breasts. It was like a roll of dice that the priests were required to perform to know which direction they were to take on a matter. It was the ultimate release of all decisions into God's hand. God did not want the priests to rely on their own intellects for final decisions.

We have an uncanny ability to make decisions based on our own needs and wants. However, God desires that we seek Him to know His plans for us. David was a skilled warrior who never lost a battle. He consulted God on every decision. He knew the results of the battle rested in God's hand. So, if he was to gain victory, he had to know God's mind on the matter. Sometimes this requires more time given to the process in order to hear His voice. Sometimes it may even require fasting and prayer. Sometimes it may require input from other godly friends.

Are you a man or woman who makes decisions based on God's purposes for your life? Do you take every major decision and put it before the throne to determine God's mind on the matter? If so, you will avoid making decisions in a worldly manner.

 

October 30, 2009

Fear Not!
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, October 30 2009

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

God calls each of us to engage in spiritual warfare at times. Whenever satan wants to come against one of God's children, he does so by trying to intimidate through fear. Goliath's formidable size and arrogant boasting intimidated Saul and Israel's army. And because God's anointing had fallen from Saul, he was unable to respond with courage to Goliath's charge. Fear paralyzes and torments. That is why Saul could not respond.

The anointing had fallen on David, who was just a young boy, but mighty in spirit. David did not cower at the size or shouts of the giant Goliath. He saw Goliath through the eyes of God, who saw him as a mere speck. David had righteous indignation for an affront to the armies of the living God.

David did not weigh the risk of failure because his faith was resting totally in God. That is another important factor in overcoming fear-complete trust in God. When the Lord began training me to confront fear, the training grounds were a groundless lawsuit, intimidations, and calamity that confronted my very existence. Learning that these were merely tactics of the enemy, designed to instill fear, allowed me to stand firm in God's power to overcome.

Do not fear sudden calamity if you are walking uprightly before God. It may be setting the stage for a great victory that will bring praise and honor to your heavenly Father. These battles are training grounds for greater victories to come.

 

October 22, 2009

God's Double-Talk
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, October 22 2009

"The Lord said to Moses, 'When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.'" Exodus 4:21

Have you ever had a boss tell you to do something only to have him sabotage your ability to complete the task? Nothing is more frustrating than to begin to carry out a task and have your superior thwart your effort to do what he asked you to do. Moses must have felt this way after God told him to go to Pharaoh and tell him to release the people of Israel. He said, "I am going to give you the power to release the children of Israel by the miracles I will do through you." Yet at the same time, He told Moses they would not be released because He was going to put a hard heart in Pharaoh. How do we reconcile this?

In my own life, I knew God called me to certain endeavors. Yet every time I turned around, a roadblock stood in my way. It took years of plodding along before the light came on as to why there was such a distance between what God called me to do and the manifestation of that calling. When David was anointed king of Israel, it was years before he realized the manifestation of that calling. There were a number of reasons for these delays.

In the case of Moses and Israel, God wanted to demonstrate His power in such a way that generations would be able to hear the story of their deliverance from their ancestors. God wanted greater glory from the situation. God also wanted to deal with Egypt by sending specific plagues. Finally, the very process built character in Moses and tested Moses to see if he would stay the course.

There is a time for everything. If God has called you to some endeavor and you are frustrated that it has not manifested, know that times of preparation and simmering are required before the vision can be achieved. Seldom does God call and manifest something at the same time. There is preparation. There is testing. There is relationship building between you and God that must take place. Once this is complete, you will see the vision materialize.

 

October 21, 2009

David's Armor
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, October 21 2009

"David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. 'I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them.' So he took them off." 1 Samuel 17:39

David, the young shepherd boy, heard the challenge from the Philistines to send someone to fight Goliath. No one volunteered to fight except David. King Saul reluctantly agreed and offered David his armor. David put on the weighty equipment, but quickly concluded he could not fight in this heavy armor.

God equips each of us in such a way that is unique to our strengths and abilities. David was trained as a shepherd to use another weapon. For David, it was a slingshot. David showed great maturity in realizing he could not be effective with Saul's armor. What are the gifts and talents God has given to you? Have you ever tried to accomplish a task with tools you were not trained to use? God allows each of us to develop skills that are unique to our life. He will not call you to use someone else's tools.

However, this is only half of the equation. These talents must be mixed with faith. Talent alone is not enough. Faith alone is not enough. It is only when the two are combined that God's power is released and manifested in the physical realm. Mix your unique gifts with faith today; you will be surprised at the power of God that will be manifested.

 

October 20, 2009

Avoiding Detours
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, October 20 2009

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

I turned off the interstate to get gas for my car. I was returning from a speaking engagement and it was very late. As I turned onto the road, I looked for the entrance ramp to get back on the interstate. It was dark and I could not see any signs. I made a turn to the right that appeared to be the turn I needed to make. I could see the interstate was next to the road. As I continued down this road, the interstate was on my left. It soon became obvious it was not the entrance road but rather a frontage road. I assumed it would take me to the next interchange.

However, the road soon turned away from the interstate. It grew darker and darker. The road became a dirt road. I realized I was not going to get to the interstate on this road. Being a bit frustrated that I had made the wrong turn, I turned around and went back, losing valuable time.

It is easy to make assumptions about the path we are on. If God's Spirit has not enlightened our reasoning, we are inclined to make the wrong choices. Our choices seem right at the time, but later we discover these choices have led us away from God because they were based on our own reasoning.

Acknowledge God in all your ways today. Lean completely on Him to reveal His direction for your life. If you do so, He will direct you to the desired destination He has for you.

 

October 19, 2009

Are You Salty?
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, October 19 2009

"Everyone will be salted with fire." Mark 9:49

Jesus used parables to communicate principles of the Kingdom of God. He said each believer's life should have the same impact on his or her world as salt has on food. Salt gives food flavor and brings out the best, while at the same time it serves as a preservative.

What allows a Christian to become salty? Fire. God knows that each believer needs a degree of testing by fire in order for Christ's fragrance to be manifested. We cannot become salty without this deeper work of the Holy Spirit's fire in our lives. Fire purifies all that is not of Christ. It takes away all the impurities that prevent His nature from being revealed in us.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:6-7). Are you a salty Christian? If not, pray a prayer that the immature are unwilling to pray. Pray that God makes you a salty Christian. It will result in praise and glory at the throne of God.

 

October 18, 2009

The Power of Unity
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, October 18 2009

"That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me." John 17:21

What is the greatest power that allows the unsaved to make a decision for Jesus Christ? It isn't prayer, though this is important. It isn't good deeds, though deeds indicate a fruitful relationship with God. It isn't good behavior, though Christ commands us to be obedient as sons. The greatest power God's children have over darkness is unity. Jesus talked a great deal about His oneness with the Father and the importance of unity in the Body of Christ. It is the most difficult command Jesus gave to the Church, because it wars against the most evil aspect of our sin nature-independence.

In the last days we are seeing God's Spirit convict His children of the lack of unity among His Church. We are seeing God move between blacks and whites, ethnic groups, denominations, and parachurch groups. There is much work to be done. The walls of division and competition among His Body are a stench in God's nostrils. He sees the competition and the pride of ownership and weeps for the lost who cannot come to Him because they cannot see Him in His Body. When His Body is one, the unbelieving see that Jesus was sent by God. It is like a supernatural key that unlocks Heaven for the heathen soul. The key is in the hand of Christ's Church. When there is unity, there is power. Scripture tells us five will chase 100, but 100 will chase 10,000 (see Lev. 26:8). There is a dynamic multiplication factor in unity of numbers. We are a hundred times more effective when we are a unified group. Imagine what God could do with a unified Church.

Jesus prayed that we all might be one, as the Father and He are one. He wanted the same love God has for Jesus to be in each of us. When this love is in us, we are drawn to each other with a common mission. The walls fall down. The independent spirit is broken. Competition is destroyed. Satan's accusations are thwarted. Our love for each other is manifest to the world around us. Lost souls begin to seek this love that is so foreign to them.

Have you contributed to an independent spirit within His Body? Are you seeking to break down walls of competition among Christians, churches, denominations, and ethnic groups? Until we walk in the spirit of unity, we will hinder those in whom God has reserved a place in Heaven. Pray for His Church to be unified.

 

October 17, 2009

The Benefits of Obedience
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, October 17 2009

"This is what the Lord says-your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 'I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.'" Isaiah 48:17

My career has been in marketing and advertising. Early on, I learned to distinguish the difference between features and benefits. Features represent characteristics of a product or service. Benefits are those things that directly profit or benefit me by using the product or service. For instance, my new computer has incredible speed and lots of memory (feature). This allows me to do things more quickly and easily (benefit). People are more concerned about the benefits than the features.

God tells us in the above verse that there are some direct benefits to the features of His nature. He is a God who is committed to teaching His children in the way they should go. What is the real benefit of His teaching? He answers this in the next verse. "If only you had paid attention to My commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea" (Is. 48:18). The Lord tells us that the benefit of allowing God to teach us and lead us in the way is peace and righteousness. Here is a guaranteed promise from God. I often use guarantees in my advertising claims. Here is God's immutable guarantee: You will have peace like a river and righteousness like the waves of the sea! What a great promise!

Are you trusting God with the very details of your life so that He can lead you in the way you should go? Are you allowing Him to teach you? Seek the Lord today for what He wants to teach you and allow Him to lead you, and you will ensure peace and righteousness in your life.

 

October 16, 2009

When Insecurity Turns Evil
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, October 16 2009

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Saul was the King of Israel. David was in Saul's army and beginning to build a reputation as a great warrior. One day when David came back from a battle, the women danced and sang: " 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands' " (1 Sam. 18:7).

Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?" (1 Samuel 18:8)

This statement caused something to snap in King Saul. From this point on, Saul was never the leader God intended him to be. He allowed insecurity to drive his every decision. Insecurity leads to the need to control people and circumstances. The need to control leads to anger once we realize we are unable to control the circumstance. King Saul could not accept, much less rejoice, over David's success. David's life would never be the same, because Saul sought to kill David every chance he had. Saul had a choice; he could have seen David as an up-and-coming general in his army who could have become an important part of his team and made the kingdom of Israel even stronger. Instead, he looked at him as a threat. When you hear good news about fellow workers or associates, do you rejoice with them? If you find yourself comparing your life's circumstances to others and don't feel you measure up, recognize that this is one of satan's greatest ploys to destroy you.

Christ has given you all things in Him. He has a unique plan for you that cannot be compared to another. He alone is your security. Trust in the purposes He has for your life. And remember, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19 KJV).

 

October 15, 2009

The God of the Valley
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, October 15 2009

"The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, "This is what the Lord says: 'Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord'." 1 Kings 20:28

Whenever we stand on the mountain, we are able to see clearly. It is the best vantage point to see what lies ahead. Wouldn't it be great to live on the mountain all the time in order to anticipate what is ahead? God allows us to experience the mountaintop at times. Joseph's first mountaintop experience was as a young man. He had the favor of his father, Jacob. He was given a fine coat and even had a dream about his future. As a young man, Joseph had a sense of destiny about his life. God often gives us a picture of our future so that we will remember this picture when we are being tested to trust Him in the valley. This picture usually does not reveal how God intends to bring about the visions for our life.

However, none of us really derive the character qualities God desires for our lives while we are on the mountain. It is in the valley where the fruit is planted and harvested. It cannot grow on the mountain; it must grow in the valley. God is a God of the mountain, but he is even more a God of the valley. In the valley, it is more difficult to see ahead; the clouds often cover the valley and limit our sight. Joseph was thrust into a deep valley that left him wondering if the God of his father had forsaken him. Jesus hoped that He might be able to avoid the valley that caused Him to sweat blood. There is a valley that each of us must enter, usually unwillingly, in order to experience the God of the valley-and to experience His faithfulness in the valley. Once we have spent time in this valley, we come out with something we would have never gained if we had not entered it. The valley brings much fruit into our lives so that we might plant seeds into the lives of others. God does not waste valley experiences. If we are faithful in the valley, we will enter a new dimension with God that we never thought possible. There is a harvest of wisdom and virtue that can only be grown in the valley.

Has God brought you into the valley? Know that the valley is a place of fruitfulness; it is a place of testing. It is where God brings what you know in your head into your heart. The only value of knowledge is when it becomes part of your heart. Look for God in the valley today.

 

October 14, 2009

Tested for Abundance
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, October 14 2009

"We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." Psalm 66:12b

It is nice to hear that God desires to bring us into abundance. In fact, many a preacher has promoted the goodness of the Lord and His ability to prosper His children. Alas, my experience is that this gospel of material abundance has little to do with the gospel of the Kingdom as our Lord works in the realm of the sanctified soul. The passage above tells us that God does in fact bring us into places of abundance. However, upon further study of the entire passage, we learn the route to this abundance.

For you, O God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:10-12). God's economy of abundance often has little to do with material blessing. In God's economy, abundance is often measured in wisdom and knowledge of Himself. It is then that we are truly blessed. Wisdom cannot be gained through intellectual pursuits. Wisdom comes only through experience. Real wisdom comes from the kinds of experiences that come only through the deepest tests. Lessons of refinement, including prison accompanied by burdens, lead us through the fire and water. This is the territory that must be traveled to reach that place of abundance. It would seem strange that a loving God would use such means with His children. What we often fail to realize is that God's measuring stick is the character and likeness of Jesus Christ Himself in each of us. This cannot be gained through a life of ease and pleasure. Ease and pleasure fail to refine.

Is God using your workplace to refine you today? Has He placed you in a prison or laid burdens on your back? Take heart if this is the place you find yourself, and realize that if you are faithful through the tests, you will enter a place of abundance that few will ever attain. The darkest hour is just before daybreak.

 

October 13, 2009

When Plans are Thwarted
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, October 13 2009

"But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia." Daniel 10:13

I left at 5:00 a.m. to fly to another city to present some possible joint initiatives in ministry with another organization. I would have only an hour or so to meet with the board. I got into the city and taxied to the hotel. This is great, I thought. No glitches. I am even here an hour early. I asked where the meeting was. There was no record of such a meeting, even though my contact was staying at the hotel. I made several calls, to no avail. What had I missed? I continued trying to reach someone. An hour and a half later I reached my wife. She located a letter that seemed to indicate the meeting might be downtown. I took a cab and arrived at the location. "I am sorry, sir, there are no seventh-floor offices in use yet in this building."

"That cannot be. My letter says different." After I insisted, she let me go up. I arrived on the seventh floor. Nothing but concrete. Perplexed, I called my wife again. We made contact with yet another person who gave us another number to call. Finally, we located where the meeting was taking place. I got into the cab for another $30 cab ride. Forty-five minutes later the cab driver was lost. We stopped at a dry cleaners and he asked the people there, where the street was located. I was past the point of anger. I was laughing at this situation. A few minutes later, we arrived at our destination, three and a half hours after our scheduled time. Plans do not always go as we hope. Sometimes they are hindered for our purposes. Sometimes we are dealing in a spiritual realm in which we realize we are truly in a spiritual battle. And sometimes we are even hindered to protect us. After looking at this situation, I believe I was being hindered from getting to this meeting. However, perseverance and God's grace allowed me to make the meeting. Important initiatives resulted from the brief time I was there.

The next time your plans are thwarted, begin asking what is at the root of the calamities. Ask God for discernment on what is taking place. Just as He revealed to Daniel, God will show you what is behind such events.

 

October 12, 2009

An Audience of One
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, October 12 2009

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

What audience do you play to? Each day you are seen by many who will make a judgment about the way you handle yourself among different audiences. Politicians have learned to play to their audiences, customizing messages for the needs of their particular groups. Musicians have learned to play to their audiences. Pastors play to their congregations each Sunday morning. Workplace believers play to the audiences who will buy their product.

Christ has called us to play to one audience - the audience of Himself. When you seek to please any other audience in your life, you become susceptible to situational ethics and motivations based on the need for the moment. Your audience becomes a pawn in your hands because you know what they want. Is that wrong? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

Pure obedience to pleasing God in our lives will often meet the needs of those around us. It is God's will that you and I love our spouses, provide good services to our customers, and look to the interests of others before ourselves. This will result in meeting many needs of the audiences in our lives.

However, there are other times when our audiences are asking for something contrary to God's will. Politicians are often forced to appease their audiences, even though it may go against God's laws. When we are asked to go with the flow, we discover which audience is most important in our lives. Is it the audience of One, or the audience of many?

Today, be aware of which audience you are playing to. Ask yourself why you are taking a particular action. Is it to please the audience of One? Or is it to please the audience of others who might negatively impact you should you not play to their tune?

 

October 11, 2009

The Place of Obedience
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, October 11 2009

"Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing." Acts 9:8a

There is a place of obedience for all of us. For Paul, it was being struck blind on the Damascus road. God literally knocked him off his horse with a blinding light. A voice from Heaven asked Paul why he was persecuting Him (Jesus). When Paul arose, he could not see. Jesus told him to go to Damascus and meet a man named Ananias. There, Jesus restored Paul's sight through Ananias.

Each of us has a place of obedience. For some, it requires only a nudge of pressure to gently lead us toward God. For others of us, a lightning bolt is necessary to get our undivided attention. Many who are hard-hearted rebel against the living God. Yet God's love for these individuals is so great that He takes extreme measures to gain their attention-and their hearts. When you come in contact with people like this, do not fear their arrogance. Instead, see them as God sees them-as people who need the Savior and who could be a powerful force in the Kingdom if God saved them. It is a sign to begin praying for them.

We've all heard the saying, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall." In many cases this is true. God has called many hard cases into His Kingdom through miraculous circumstances in order to save their lives from the pit of hell and transform them into a sweet-smelling fragrance. Do not let the hard exterior fool you. These are needy people who are crying out for help in their own prideful way. Whenever God begins this process in the life of a sinner, He has others standing by to assist. Ananias was the person in Paul's life. He found it unbelievable that Paul really could have been saved. An angel had to convince him. Has God placed such an individual in your path? Perhaps God desires to use you to be an "Ananias" in the life of one of His wayward children. To do so requires a willingness to come alongside that one who needs your help. Who knows, that person could be the next apostle Paul.

 

October 10, 2009

Covenant Relationships
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, October 10 2009

"But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark - you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you." Genesis 6:18

The Bible is filled with covenants made between God and people. Six of those covenants were made with Old Testament figures: Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David. The seventh was made with His own Son, Jesus Christ. God is always the strongest partner in a covenant relationship.

God made a covenant with Noah in order to preserve the human race. This covenant involved Noah's participation by building an ark. He'd never built an ark before. He'd never had a boat. It was a totally new concept to Noah and the rest of the world. Why would he need a boat in a dry land?

Noah did not have to invent the ark; God gave him the plans-in specific dimensional detail. He did not have to gather the animals-God led them into the ark. God even closed the door when they all came on board. God made it rain to prove why the ark was needed.

The covenant provided all Noah needed to complete his mission in life. When God spoke to Noah to do this thing, he needed only to respond to God's call to do it. Noah could rest in knowing the covenant made with God was going to be fulfilled if he fulfilled his part.

If you have entered into a covenant relationship with God, you too can be assured that God will uphold His part of the covenant relationship. He is committed to fulfilling His covenant with you and to fulfill His purposes in and through your life. It only requires one thing on your part-obedience. He will even provide grace and faith to you to help you fulfill your part of the covenant.

Each of us has a covenant with God. But we also enter covenants with others in our personal and business lives. How are you doing in fulfilling covenants to others? God has given us the example to follow. Ask God if you have any unfulfilled covenants you need to honor. He has called you and me to be covenant keepers. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

 

October 9, 2009

Mount Horeb
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, October 09 2009

"So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God." 1 Kings 19:8

Elijah and Moses were men of great zeal. They were passionate about their causes. Moses sought to free the Hebrews from the tyranny of slavery by killing an Egyptian with his own hand. Elijah, after calling down fire on the evil prophets of Baal, found himself spent physically and emotionally to the point he asked God to take his life.

Immediately after these two events, 500 years apart from one another, both men were led to the same Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. In Hebrew, Horeb means "desolation." This barren environment mirrored the condition of Moses and Elijah. For Moses, it was 40 years of barrenness. For Elijah, it was 40 days without food. Elijah became tired of standing alone for God.

As workplace believers we often become so focused on the goal we forget to meet God at our own Mount Horeb. This was the place God met both Moses and Elijah. It was a place of renewal, a place of new beginnings, a place of personal encounter with the living God.

Perhaps Elijah's greatest virtue was his zeal. Indeed, we shall see that twice in his communication with God, Elijah speaks of having been "very zealous" for the Lord. But zeal, unattended eventually becomes its own God; it compels us toward expectations, which are unrealistic, and outside the timing and anointing of God. To remain balanced, zeal must be reined in and harnessed by strategic encounters with the living God. We otherwise become frustrated with people and discouraged with delays. We step outside our place of strength and spiritual protection. Many of us become so consumed with our battles that we are no longer aware of the presence of Jesus. We have been traveling in our own strength. [Francis Frangipane, Place of Immunity (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Arrow Publications, 1994), 5.]

Pray that Jesus will teach us that intimacy with Him is the greatest measure of success. Lord, guide us to the mountain of Your presence.

 

October 8, 2009

A Faithful Woman
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, October 08 2009

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." Proverbs 31:28

She was the Vice President of Household Affairs for her entire adult life. She had a husband, four daughters, and one son whom she managed. Her calling was not to the workplace; it was to the home. It was a calling that she fulfilled well. She often went beyond her job description to fulfill menial tasks like sewing clothes for her twin girls, playing dolls, and even playing catch with the only boy in the clan.

Things were going along well until midway in life a telephone call came that changed everything. The caller informed her that the love of her life had been killed in an airplane crash. She was in her early 40's, still beautiful, with five kids to raise on her own in spite of the fact that she hadn't worked in the business place for nearly 20 years. The death of her husband removed their steady upper middle-class income, and she was now faced with the greatest test of her life. At her lowest moment, wondering how she was going to make it, she cried out to God. God answered, "Trust Me, Lillian." Those audible words became the strength that she needed to care for her family for the next 40 years. From that moment on, she came to know her Savior personally and shared Him with her family. Her children came to know Him as well. Grandchildren became the recipient of her prayers, and they came to know Him too. She was building an inheritance in Heaven, one prayer at a time, one soul at a time. She never remarried; Christ became her Husband.

Whatever wisdom and encouragement has come to you through these devotionals, it is only as a result of one who answered the call to the greatest and most important workplace there is: the home. You can thank my mom, Lillian Hillman, for whatever grace you have gained from these messages throughout the year, because she remained faithful to the call to invest in those she was called to love and serve. "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her."

 

October 7, 2009

Redeeming the Time
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, October 07 2009

"Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea." Acts 8:40

Many times I've heard a man or woman say they cannot participate in an event, a service, or activity for God because of the time it will take away from their job. God has called each of us to be good stewards of our time and our resources. It is just as important to learn how to say yes as it is to say no, and we must be faithful to our employers if we do not have freedom to take time away. However, many times I sense that workplace believers justify a lack of obedience under the guise of stewardship.

Philip was one of the first businessmen who was given a commission to preach the gospel. He was in the city of Samaria preaching when many miracles began to take place and the crowds came to see what was happening. Then in the midst of this great move of God, the angel of God spoke to Philip and told him to leave Samaria and go to a desert road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza. Imagine how Philip must have questioned the logic of this decision when he was seeing such results in Samaria. But Philip was obedient to the angel. Along the road, he met an Ethiopian eunuch who wanted to have the Scriptures explained to him. Philip explained the Scriptures to the Ethiopian, who was the treasurer of Ethiopia under Queen Candace, and led him to the Lord, then baptized him in a nearby lake. A few moments later, Philip was supernaturally transported many miles northwest of his location to Azotus, where he preached Christ along the way toward his final destination of Caesarea.

So often we think that if we give our time outside our work life, our work will suffer. God redeemed the time for Philip by supernaturally transporting him to the next place he was to be. God always blesses those who serve Him. He can redeem lost time for those who willingly give of themselves for His purposes. Do not fall into the trap of believing that God cannot redeem the time you give for Him. If He calls you to give outside your normal work life, be assured He can make up that time. I have heard countless examples of workplace believers who experienced God's supernatural financial provision for time given for the sake of the gospel through unexpected business or unusual income that resulted after they made the commitment to take time away from their work for service to God.

God desires that we respond as Philip did in order to be used by Him in the life of another person. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit so that you can go and speak when He says go and speak. Do not fear the consequences of what that might mean if it requires leaving your work interests for a time. God will make it up. He always takes care of those who are obedient. He is more concerned about obedience than the bottom line.

 

October 6, 2009

Understanding What God Has Given
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, October 06 2009

"We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us." 1 Corinthians 2:12

God desires for us to know what He has freely given to us. One of the responsibilities of the Holy Spirit is to reveal His plans and purposes to us. They may be hidden for a time, but if we seek Him with our whole heart, we can know what He has given to us.

John the Baptist understood this principle. When asked if he was the Messiah, he replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven" (Jn. 3:27). John understood his role in the Kingdom of God. He came to pave the way for the Messiah; he was not the Messiah himself. His ministry on earth was very brief, yet Jesus described his life in this way: " 'I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he' " (Mt. 11:11).

Once we understand what God has given to us, we can walk freely in our calling. However, if we strive to walk in a role that He never gave us, it will result in frustration and failure. God wants to reveal His plan to us by His Spirit. This requires a willingness to seek and accept what He gives us. It may be different from what we thought. It may require adjustments to follow His path for our lives. As we learn from the life of John the Baptist, obedience requires death to our own wills.

Ask God to reveal what He has freely given to you. Pray that you receive and embrace only those things He has reserved for you to receive and to accomplish in your life. Then you can be assured of a life full of meaning and purpose, and you can look forward to hearing those all-important words someday, "Well done, My good and faithful servant."

 

October 5, 2009

Confrontation With God
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, October 05 2009

"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3b

"God, is this the way You treat someone who is faithful to You?" I yelled out loud on the top of the wooded hill where no one but God could hear me. "I have waited and waited and now this! I hate You, God! I have had enough!" Those were my words that day as I wrestled with news of an event that devastated me to the point where I broke down weeping.

As I sat there among the trees deciding what else I could say to God, I was speechless. I was angry. I was confused. I wondered if He even existed. If He did, I felt like He really didn't honor my faith and obedience. I sat for hours wrestling internally with my feelings.

Finally, without answers and sensing that God wasn't answering me, I turned to leave. I had been sitting on an old oak tree that was broken at the base. The tree pointed toward the base of another huge oak tree. Finally, a still quiet voice inside said, "Today, like this broken oak tree you are sitting on, you are a broken man. But this brokenness was needed in order for you to become this large oak tree you see."

Months and even years had passed with many struggles. But God was true to His word from that day. He began to replace the pain and disappointment with an inner joy that only His grace could provide.

Have you ever wrestled with the events of life, feeling that God has deserted you? Have you been honest with God? He is the kind of Father who is willing to have those difficult conversations. He won't always change things, but His purposes will be accomplished and peace will come if you trust. Trust Him this day with those things that are most difficult.

 

October 4, 2009

A Fine-tuned Instrument
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, October 04 2009

"...I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is our God.'" Zechariah 13:9

My business career has been as an owner of an advertising agency. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work on many different and prestigious accounts. One of those accounts was Steinway Pianos, the maker of the world's finest pianos. Each piano has always been made from scratch; it takes over a year to make one Steinway. The most impressive scene as I toured the manufacturing plant was the place where the soundboard is stretched to its maximum tolerance and allowed to sit for an extended period until it remains in the curved design. This was done in an off-to-the-corner part of the plant. If the wood were alive, it would be crying out for mercy.

After an extended time of stretching, the wood will never spring back to its original state. It is permanently changed. The piano is becoming a fine-tuned instrument. After this process takes place, the next step requires another point of stress. It takes 11 tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. Each step in the process moves the piano closer to a finished product that will ultimately be played by the world's finest musicians. These musicians desire a particular sound that only a piano like this can make.

God looks at each of us as a fine-tuned instrument. However, we begin as rough wood that He desires to transform into gold. Tuning us requires certain experiences that will stretch our faith, our frame, and our very life. Sainthood springs out of suffering. If we can stand the strain of this intense process, we will come forth as gold-as a sweet-smelling offering to our Maker. When we are in the midst of these times, it feels like fire. It is painful to be stretched beyond our perceived limits, but the Lord knows this is necessary for us to become an instrument that can play a beautiful song that others will seek after.

Let the master Craftsman have His way in your life today. You will be pleased with the instrument He fashions.


 

October 3, 2009

The Need to Control
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, October 03 2009

"You acted foolishly," Samuel said.... 1 Samuel 13:13

The prophet Samuel had anointed Saul the first king of Israel. Saul was now 30 years old and was leading the nation in battle against the Philistines. The Philistines had gathered at Micmash to come against Saul and his army. The Lord was directing Saul through the prophet Samuel. Samuel instructed Saul to go ahead of him to Micmash, and he would follow in seven days. He would then offer a burnt offering on behalf of the people of Israel.

The pressure began to build as the Philistines gathered around Micmash preparing for battle. The people of Israel grew fearful and began to scatter throughout the countryside. Saul was also afraid. Samuel did not show up on the morning of the seventh day. Finally, Saul, fearing the impending attack, took it upon himself to offer the burnt offering. After he had done this, Samuel showed up.

..."You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, He would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart and appointed him leader of His people, because you have not kept the Lord's command" (1 Samuel 13:13-14).

Saul believed he needed to take control of the situation. Whenever we try to take control of a situation out of God's will, we demonstrate that we are led by fear. Many a boss is so driven by fear that he attempts to manage by over controlling his people. This results in codependent relationships in which the employees are fearful of making the wrong decisions, and are driven to please the manager at all costs. This results in loss of respect for the manager. Many times the employees make poor choices just to please their manager; as a result, resentment begins to build among the employees due to the manager's over control.

Do you see any signs of over control in how you relate to others? Can you allow others the freedom to fail? Do you find yourself changing directions in midstream when you see something you don't like? Are you fearful of failure? These are all symptoms of a Saul-control spirit. Pray that God will allow you to walk in the freedom of trusting in Him and those around you.

 

October 2, 2009

The Goal of Life
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, October 02 2009

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

For many people in the world, real meaning in life is the next vacation, career success, or stepping up the income ladder. It is a life based on pleasurable experiences. Many a human being has toiled their whole life to gain a pleasurable lifestyle only to find a life that is empty and meaningless. You only have to watch television for one evening to discover that advertisers want us to believe this is the goal of life. The work-to-play theme is consistent with most advertising messages.

Solomon was a man who had nothing withheld from his appetite. He was a great builder, a great businessman, and a great lover of women. Every imaginable pleasure was his. Nevertheless, he was to discover that these things alone could not satisfy the human soul.

A recent trip to a beautiful island left me grateful that God had allowed me to understand the futile trap of the work-to-play lifestyle. It is great to experience times of refreshing and visit beautiful places as long as we don't fall into the trap of thinking that these experiences equal a meaningful life. God's beautiful creation can so easily become a prison of emptiness if Jesus is not in the center of it. The apostle Paul said there is only one way to find meaning and purpose in life:

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe..."(Ephesians 1:17-19).

Knowing Christ brings the only real meaning and purpose to the human soul. Spend time today getting to know the Lord in a more intimate way. Then you will discover real meaning and purpose in life.

 

October 1, 2009

Changing Our Paradigm of Experience
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, October 01 2009

"So Moses thought, 'I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up.'" Exodus 3:3

Have you ever heard someone say, "God doesn't work that way? He would never do that." Well, there are times when God chooses to confound the foolish in order to change our paradigm of experience. Moses had never seen a bush that burned but did not burn up. It got his attention and it drew him to God.

When Jesus appeared on the water in the middle of the night during a storm, the disciples exclaimed, "It's a ghost!" They had never seen a man walk on water. This led to a great miracle-Peter walked on the water, too. When Jesus asked Peter to catch a fish and get the coin from its mouth to pay their taxes, you can imagine what Peter must have thought about those instructions. When Moses got to the Red Sea, he ran out of options. God had an unexpected solution to the Israelites' problem-He parted the Red Sea to demonstrate His power and allow the people of Israel to cross over to flee the Egyptian army.

Each of these new paradigms was a stepping-stone of an encounter with God so that the individual would experience God in a new way. God used these times to enforce the principle that His ways are not our ways. Whenever we try to predict that God will act in a certain way, He changes the paradigm to keep us from becoming our own little gods.

Have you ever been guilty of judging someone for an experience they've had that you've never had? Did you dismiss it as extreme or something not of God? God is in the business of changing our paradigm from no personal experiences to God-experiences. However, if you operate on a level of rigid logic, you may never have the privilege of having the God-experiences. Keep your heart free to experience new paradigms with God today.

 

September 30, 2009

The Booster Rocket
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, September 30 2009

"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses My servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites." Joshua 1:1-2

A rocket launch is truly an amazing phenomenon to me. Tons of weight is stacked vertically to the sky with thousands of gallons of fuel exploding in a matter of moments. Soon the rocket drops its take-off boosters and uses additional boosters to move the rocket to the next stage of the mission. The first engines have a unique purpose...to get the rocket to the next stage.

Joshua was known for almost 40 years as "Joshua, servant of Moses." God's preparation for him required years of selfless service, training in the desert, and tests of faith. Those preparation years were booster rockets designed to move Joshua into each new stage of his development and his ultimate calling.

God allows each of us preparation times to lay a foundation that He plans to build on. Some of those foundation times appear to be laborious and meaningless, yet these varied experiences are what God is using to frame your life for the message He plans to speak through you. Without these foundational experiences, the Jordan River can never be crossed and we cannot enter the Promised Land.

Embrace these times of seeming inactivity from God. They, too, are a rocket booster to your next stage of your walk with God.

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

 

September 29, 2009

For this God is our God for ever and ever;
He will be our guide even to the end.   
             ( Psalms 48:14 *NIV )
     
        When we ask for God to lead us, He will, for He has
  promised us; I will instruct you and teach you
in the way you should go; I will counsel you and
watch over you.              ( Psalms 32:8 )

      After all it isn't easy trying to live a righteous life in this
  World, and never was.  Even the Apostle Paul complained;
  I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot
  carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want
  to do; no, the evil I do not want to do this I keep
  on doing.                   ( Romans 7:18-19 )

      So, as part of your morning prayer each day, why
  not ask God to lead you?  For He is waiting for you with
  open arms!

      This message reminds me of a poster I once saw.  I will
  share it with you right now, and hope that you enjoy it and
  perhaps have a laugh or two as I did!

                                                 Dear Lord
                     So far today, God, I've
                          done all right.
                  I haven't gossiped, haven't
                         lost my temper,
                      haven't been greedy,
                     grumpy, nasty, selfish
                        or over-indulgent.   
                   I'm really glad about that.
                  But in a few minutes, God,
                              I'm going
                  to get out of bed, and from
                               then on
                     I'm probably going to
                     need a lot more help!
                                             Anonymous

 

September 28, 2009

Be as Little Children
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, September 28 2009

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1a

"I have an important business meeting in the morning. Would you please set the alarm for 5:30 a.m.?" I said to my wife.

"Oh, that won't be necessary. Just tell the Lord what time you want to wake up. He does it for me all the time," my wife said.

I rolled my eyes in disbelief. "Well, I'd feel more comfortable if we set the alarm."

"Okay, ye of little faith. But just to prove my point I am going to ask the Lord to wake us up just before 5:30."

The next morning I awoke before the alarm went off. I looked at the clock. It read 5:15. I looked at my wife, who had just awakened at the same time with an I-told-you-so smile.

Sometimes we wrongfully view God as someone we go to for only the "big things." The idea of "bothering God" for such a trivial matter seems foolish and presumptuous. However, when you were a child and had to get up in the morning for school, didn't your mom or dad come wake you up? They were your parents, and you could come to them with the most trivial concerns or requests. Why would our heavenly Father be any less approachable? Perhaps our problem is that we simply have not developed a level of intimacy with God so that we feel the freedom to approach Him at these daily, routine levels. We often operate with an unwritten code that says our needs must have a certain degree of importance or crisis before we come to God with them. This is not God's character towards us.

Does the Lord desire this level of intimacy with you and me? The apostle Paul exhorted us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17 KJV). There is never a caution to pray only about matters of greater importance.

Today, go to God with matters that you might view as trivial and would normally avoid bringing to God. Ask God to increase your level of intimacy with Him. You may even be able to get rid of your alarm clock.

 

September 27, 2009

A Joseph Story
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, September 27 2009

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"I'd like you to help us develop our marketing program beginning in January," said the CEO of a sports product company. The consultant was delighted to have the opportunity. It was the first new business opportunity he'd had in some time. He had just come out of some very difficult business and personal circumstances in the last few years. A few months into the relationship, the CEO asked the consultant to manage the entire marketing department, placing him over the current marketing staff. It appeared that God was blessing his efforts with several successful initiatives. The consultant began to build a relationship with a few of the executives. One day, the sales manager came into his office and asked for help on a personal crisis. One thing led to another, and two months later, the consultant found himself leading the sales manager in the sinner's prayer in the sales manager's office.

God prepares His servants in many ways to accomplish His purpose. The story of Joseph is repeated every workday in the lives of His people. The circumstances may be different, but the results are the same. God trains His servant through sometimes difficult "boot camps." When that training is complete, He places them in strategic places to be a provider-both physically and spiritually.

Is God preparing you to be a provider in the workplace? Do not fret at the difficult training ground you may be required to endure. He has a plan. If you'll allow Him to carry out His plan, you'll be privileged to be used by the Master's hand. I know because I am that consultant.

 

September 26, 2009

Situational Ethics
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, September 26 2009

"Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart." Psalm 15:1-2

"I cannot believe they are not going to honor my bonus agreement," said the executive who was about to take another position in a new city. Her understanding of her present work agreement called for a bonus at the end of the year. Management saw the situation differently. "It's not right. I am entitled to that bonus," she complained.

It was time to leave. The company had given her a laptop to use. However, when she left, she decided that because the company was not going to pay her the bonus she was entitled to, she would simply keep the laptop as compensation due her. "And they would never miss it," she reasoned. She was now in the employment of the new company. As each day passed, she grew uneasier about her decision. She could not get it off her mind. Finally, she concluded that the Holy Spirit was telling her this decision was wrong and that she needed to call her former boss to confess her action. She called him and confessed what she had done and why she had done it. Her boss accepted her confession and forgave her. Strangely enough, he allowed her to keep the laptop computer.

Truth never changes. It is absolute. When we make decisions based on other actions that are taken, we move into making decisions based on the situation, not truth and righteousness. The executive may indeed have been wronged, but she had to address the wrong in the appropriate way. Trying to compensate for the wrong by doing something that violates another scriptural principle is called situational ethics. If the employer had never wronged the executive, do you think she would have felt justified in taking the computer? Probably not. When you isolate the two situations, you see that one action was taken in response to the other action. Have you had any experiences in which you have used situational ethics? The Lord desires His people to have a higher standard, even at the cost of being wronged. Ask the Lord to reveal any business practices that may indicate situational ethics. You might be surprised what will happen when you do the right thing.

 

September 25, 2009

A Shoe Salesman
By Os Hillman, September 25, 2009
 
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." - Matthew 19:26

Dwight L. Moody was a poorly educated, unordained, shoe salesman who felt God's call to preach the gospel. Early one morning he and some friends gathered in a hay field for a season of prayer, confession, and consecration. His friend Henry Varley said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him." Moody was deeply moved by these words. He later went to a meeting where Charles Spurgeon was speaking. In that meeting Moody recalled the words spoken by his friend, "The world had yet to see!...with and for and through and in!...A man!" Varley meant any man! Varley didn't say he had to be educated, or brilliant, or anything else. Just a man! Well, by the Holy Spirit in him, he'd be one of those men. Then suddenly, in that high gallery, he saw something he'd never realized before. It was not Mr. Spurgeon, after all, who was doing that work; it was God. And if God could use Mr. Spurgeon, why should He not use the rest of us, and why should we not all just lay ourselves at the Master's feet and say to Him, "Send me! Use me!"

D.L. Moody was an ordinary man who sought to be fully and wholly committed to Christ. God did extraordinary things through this ordinary man. Moody became one of the great evangelists of modern times. He founded a Bible college, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, which sends out men and women trained in service for God.

Are you an ordinary man or woman in whom God wants to do extraordinary things? God desires that for every child of His. Ask God to do extraordinary things in your life. Begin today to trust Him to accomplish great things for His Kingdom through you.

 

 

September 24, 2009

God's Messengers
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, September 24 2009

"Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets." Amos 3:7

"You are called to free workplace believers from the Esau life." Those were the words spoken to me years ago by someone God sent into my life. I had been in the midst of trying to understand some catastrophic events that shook my world. Years later, I was able to see that God gave this person supernatural insight that revealed God's calling on my life.

God still uses His prophets today to reveal His plans in the lives of His people. I have seen this Scripture proved over and over in the lives of people. It is as though God sends out His "scouts" to inform His servants what is ahead for them. Sometimes He does this because He knows the event will require such changes in that person's life and so He wants to assure them of His love. I have experienced the Lord using me in this way in the life of other individuals. God did this in the life of Moses. He came to Moses at the burning bush to reveal His purposes for the people of Israel and His call on Moses to free them.

Has God placed individuals in your life to speak His plans for you? Are your eyes and ears spiritually sensitive so that you will know who are messengers of God? Elisha had a servant who could not see or hear with spiritual eyes and ears until Elisha prayed they would be opened. Then the servant could see the great army of God protecting them (see 2 Kings 6:17). Pray that you might see and hear with the Spirit. He may desire to reveal His purposes and plans through another individual.

 

September 23, 2009

Your Irrevocable Calling
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, September 23 2009

"For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable." Romans 11:29

It is dangerous to align your calling and your vocation as dependent on each other. God calls us into relationship with Him. That is our foremost calling. It is from this relationship that our "physical" calling results. Whether that is to be a teacher, a stockbroker, a nurse, a pastor, or any number of vocations, we must realize that when He calls us, the change in vocation never changes His call on our lives. It is a mere change in the landscape of our calling. This is why it is dangerous to associate our purpose and calling too closely with our work. When we define our work life exclusively as our calling, we fall into the trap of locking up our identity into our vocation. This promotes aspiration because of a need to gain greater self-worth through what we do.

Os Guinness, author of The Call, describes the great artist Picasso, who fell into this trap.

"'When a man knows how to do something,' Pablo Picasso told a friend, 'he ceases being a man when he stops doing it.' The result was a driven man. Picasso's gift, once idolized, held him in thrall. Every empty canvass was an affront to his creativity. Like an addict, he made work his source of satisfaction only to find himself dissatisfied. 'I have only one thought: work,' Picasso said toward the end of his life, when neither his family nor his friends could help him relax." [Os Guiness, The Call (Nashville, Tennessee: Word Publishing, 1998), 242.]

What happens when you lose your job? Do you lose your calling? Do you lose your identity? Do you lose your sense of well-being? No. Calling involves different stages and experiences in life. Disruptions in your work are an important training ground for God to fulfill all aspects of His calling on your life. Trust in your God who says your calling is irrevocable and that all things come from Him.

 

September 22, 2009

Gently Leading
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, September 22 2009

"So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the droves before me and that of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir." Genesis 33:14

Work often determines that we move at a pace that can put incredible stresses upon people and relationships. Jacob was a man who learned to manipulate and control outcomes. He even stole the birthright of his brother, Esau, through trickery. The Bible speaks of Jacob as a man who strived with God. He knew how to force situations to his advantage. It took years for God to break down all the rough edges of Jacob so that he could be worthy of becoming the patriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel. God saw something in Jacob that He could use.

Robert Hicks, in his book Masculine Journey, describes five biblical stages of manhood that must be passed through before a man becomes a mature man of God. One of those early stages is known as the "warrior stage." In this stage of manhood, the man is known by what he does, what he accomplishes, and he is totally defined by his performance. It can be a tumultuous time for the man and those close to him. It is often signified by broken relationships because the goal is often more important than the way the goal is accomplished. When I meet with a man, I can easily determine what stage of life he is in by hearing him talk.

Jacob had successfully passed through these five stages based on the verse above. It takes someone mature to be able to "move along slowly at the pace of the droves before me and that of the children." Leaders who never come to understand this may be successful materially but fail at the most important aspect of leadership-leading at a pace that his followers can maintain. The roads are full of wives, children, and workers who cannot keep up with the pace of leaders and are left behind with broken dreams, broken hearts, and unfulfilled promises.

Are you a person who is more concerned with outcome than how you achieve the outcome? Can the people around you describe you as someone who leads at a pace that ensures respect and admiration? Ask the Lord for the ability to be a godly leader who understands the condition of his flock and the pace in which you can lead without alienating.

 

September 21, 2009

When a Problem Turns Into a Calling
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, September 21 2009

"As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found. And to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and all your father's family?" 1 Samuel 9:20
Saul and his servant were out seeking his father's lost donkeys. This was symbolic of the waywardness of the nation of Israel. The people of Israel had just asked the prophet Samuel to have a king rule over them. This saddened God greatly, yet God granted their request.
Saul and his servant heard of a man of God named Samuel. "Perhaps this man of God can tell us where to find our donkeys," said the servant. Isn't that just like us? We seek God to solve the issues related to material life. Saul was about to receive the greatest opportunity of his lifetime. He was about to be crowned as king of Israel. His life would never be the same. What was he concerned about? His donkeys. We don't have to be worried about the material things of life if we are about the things He's called us to do.
God called Saul to be the next king in order to free the people from the Philistines. God sent a messenger, the prophet Samuel, to inform him of his new career. The messenger also had to ease his mind about his donkeys. Donkeys often represent commerce in the Bible. They were the primary means of transporting goods; therefore, in essence, what was Samuel saying to Saul? He was saying, "You don't need to worry about your business if you respond to the call of God on your life. All the material things will take care of themselves."
Jesus said the same thing to the disciples years later. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Mt. 6:33).

When God calls us, it often involves making major adjustments in our lives. Saul went from one kind of business to another. He went from working for his father to being a king. What changes is God calling you to make today in order to join Him in His work?

 

 

September 20, 2009

The Pitfall of Being Entrepreneurial
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, September 20 2009

"When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah, and He struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark..." 1 Chronicles 13:9-10
There are good things we can do, but only God-things we should do. Those activities not born out of the Spirit will result in wood, hay, and stubble. What seems good in our eyes may be an abomination in God's eyes. For instance, if you decide to build an orphanage but God has never directed you to do so, then God will not see that work as good; it was born out of your own strength, even though it was a "good work."
The most difficult challenge a Christian workplace believer will ever have is to know what things to be involved in and what things not to be involved in. Many workplace believers have a great ability to see opportunity. What appears to be a "slam dunk" may come back to haunt us if God never ordains us to enter that arena. There are many good things we can be involved with. However, there are God-things we are supposed to be involved with. Uzzah was a good man in David's sight. It was a time of celebration, and David and the people were transporting the ark of God. However, the ark hit a bump, and Uzzah reached for the ark to hold it steady. He touched the ark, and he immediately died. David became very upset with God about this situation; he questioned whether he could serve God.
God's ways are not our ways. The most important quality God desires to develop in us is our dependence on Him and Him alone. When we begin to make decisions based on reason and analysis instead of the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, we get into trouble with God. David later learned the importance of this principle in his own life. This encounter was one of the stepping-stones in his pilgrimage. David was an extraordinary entrepreneur. He ran the nation very successfully, but he, like each of us, had to learn the difference between "good things" and "God-things."

Are you involved in anything in which God has not directed you to be involved? Do you seek God about every decision, every action before you take it? This is where God wants you and me to be. Ask Him to show you how to walk with Him in this way.

 

 

September 19, 2009

Your word is very pure; Therefore Your
servant loves it.
         (  Psalms 119:140 *NKJV )

    Now when we study God's Word it builds our faith
in Him, and gives us peace of mind.  After all, There has
not failed one word of all His good promise, which
He promised through His servant Moses.
                                               ( 1 Kings 8:56 )

    So I hope that you will enjoy the following message, in
which we condense the Bible to 50 words.  Those of you
that have read the Bible, even a little, shall enjoy this game
called "Bible Tag."  For you will have a good laugh or two,
now what better way to start your day?

                                 BIBLE TAG!!!
            ( How To Describe The Bible in 50 Words! )

                                  God made
                                  Adam bit
                                  Noah arked
                                  Abraham split
                                  Joseph ruled
                                  Jacob fooled

                                  Bush talked
                                  Moses balked
                                  Pharaoh plagued
                                  People walked
                                  Sea divided
                                  Tablets guided
                                  Promise landed
                                  Saul freaked
                                  David peeked
                                  Prophets warned
                                  Jesus born

                                  God walked
                                  Love talked                       
                                  Anger crucified
                                  Hope died
                                  Love rose
                                  Spirit flamed
                                  Word spread
                                  God remained.

Tag your hit!  Consider yourself hit by...The Love Of GOD!
And remember, When Prayers go up, Blessings
come down.   Amen.

 

 

September 18, 2009

Called to Craftsmanship
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, September 18 2009

"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.'" Exodus 31:1-5
Bezalel was called by God to perform a most important work for Him. I am sure that Bezalel believed that he was naturally gifted with his hands to make fine crafts with gold, silver, and bronze. He probably did not associate it with God's work. But the Scripture tells us that God chose him and filled him with God's Spirit to enable him.
Does God call men and women into their vocations to fulfill His purposes - to fulfill that which needs to be accomplished throughout the world? Have you ever thought about how many occupations there are in the world? How did that balance of interest among each human throughout the world happen? Did it just happen? Was it by chance that we have only so many doctors, only so many accountants, only so many geologists?
Your interest in your vocation is not born of your own making. So many workplace believers and even preachers have made the mistake of encouraging us who have a deep desire to walk with Christ in the workplace to pursue vocational ministry. To remove us from the workplace where the greatest harvest is yet to occur would be to remove us from where God called us. Do not take this bait. Serve the Lord in the workplace where He has gifted you and called you.

I almost made this same mistake when God drew me to Himself when I was 28 years old. I concluded that I must be called to be a preacher. I took steps to fulfill this by leaving my job and entering a Bible school for training. Upon completion, I took a job as an assistant preacher in a church. But God's mercy allowed me to be removed from that position only three months into it. I was "forced back into business," where God wanted me in the first place. It was a great lesson. I was never cut out to be a preacher in a church, but a "preacher" in the workplace.


 

 

September 17, 2009

The Error of Positive Thinking
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, September 17 2009

..."Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

God's people should be the most positive, joyful people on earth. This joy should be a by-product of a healthy, intimate relationship with Jesus. In today's business climate, we are barraged with every possible means of becoming more productive workplace believers. Positive thinking and self-help philosophy are promoted as tools for workplace believers to fulfill their potential and overcome the mountains in their lives. God calls each of us to be visionary leaders, but we must be careful that vision is born out of His Spirit, not the latest self-help program. These ideas lead us away from dependence on God to a self-based psychology designed to give us more power, prosperity, and significance.

The result is heresy. Our faith in God becomes faith in faith. It is born out of hard work and diligence rather than obedience to God's Spirit. The problem lies in that these philosophies sound good, and can even be supported by Bible verses. Beware of anything that puts the burden of performance on you rather than God. There are times in our lives when God doesn't want us to climb every mountain. Sometimes He wants us to go around. Knowing the difference is the key to being a man or woman led by the Spirit.

God has called us to affect the workplace through His Spirit, not by our might. Have you tapped into the real power source of the soul? Ask the Lord to reveal and empower you through His Spirit today. Then you will know what real positive thinking is.

 

September 2, 2009

Grace to you and peace from God the
Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,  who
gave Himself for our sins, that He might
deliver us from this present evil age,
according to the will of our God and
Father,
           ( Galatians 1:3-4 *NKJV )

 Dear Scott,
     As you know, no one knows what the future holds for them,
 but the Children of God may have peace of mind!   Our
 Heavenly Father has great plans for our future, not only on
 Earth, but in Heaven as well!  For; it is written: "Eye has
 not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered
 into the heart of man The things which God
 has prepared for those who love Him.
                                        ( 1 Corinthians 2:9 )

     Therefore we have no reason to fear the future, for with God
 in charge, there is no need to worry about anything!  For in
 this life when we have heartache and woe, He is always there
 to comfort and guide us, and in our next life, we will live with
 him in Paradise forever!  

     No, we cannot imagine all of the wonderful things that God
 has planned for our future, but one thing that we may count
 on is that the best is yet to come!  For I know the
 thoughts that I think toward you, says the
 LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
 to give you a future and a hope.  Therefore;
There is hope in your future, says the LORD,
    ( Jeremiah 29:11 ) & ( Jeremiah 31:17 )

     So Scott, have a Wonderful day, and may  God's
 Great Love, Hope and Faith, fill your heart and mind, and may;
 The peace of God, which surpasses all
 understanding, guard your heart and mind
 through Christ Jesus.   Amen.
                                           ( Philippians 4:7 )

 

September 1, 2009

The grass withers and the flowers
fall, but the word of our God stands
forever."
                ( Isaiah 40:8 *NIV )

Dear Scott,
    Now it is important to remember that God is in
Control in these uncertain times, just as HE has been
from the very beginning!  For; In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth,
and, He covers the sky with clouds; He
supplies the earth with rain and makes grass
grow on the hills. (Genesis 1:1)(Psalms 147:8)              

    Also; He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord
and mighty in power; His understanding has no
limit.                    ( Psalm 147:4-5 )

    Therefore Scott, no matter what problems you may
face, know that GOD is always with you.  So; Be
strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or
terrified because of them, for the LORD your
God goes with you; He will never leave you nor
forsake you." ( Deut 31:6 )  For the eyes of the
LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are
attentive to their prayers; but the face of the
Lord is against those who do evil.     
                             ( 1 Peter 3:12 )

    So no matter what may happen now or in the future,
know that your Heavenly Father is in complete control.
For the foundations of the earth are the Lord's;
upon them He has set the world. He will guard
the feet of His saints, but the wicked will be
silenced in darkness.   Amen.  ( 1 Samuel 2:8-9 )

 

August 31, 2009

And do not lead us into temptation, But
deliver us from the evil one. For Yours
is the kingdom and the power and the
glory forever. Amen
              ( Matthew 6:13 *NKJV )

    We all face temptations in this life at times so; Be
sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the
devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking
whom he may devour.   ( 1 Peter 5:8 )

    After all satan knows that; Each one is tempted
when he is drawn away by his own desires
and enticed.  ( JAMES 1:14 ) and that is one of his
favorite tricks!  

    Therefore; My son, if sinners entice you, Do not
consent. ( Proverbs 1:10 ) Instead; Watch and
pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit
indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
                                               ( Mark 14:38 )

    Also remember that; No temptation has over-
taken you except such as is common to man;
but God is faithful, who will not allow you to
be tempted beyond what you are able, but
with the temptation will also make the way of
escape, that you may be able to bear it.  
                   ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 )

    So, the next time you are tempted do not give in,
Instead; submit to God. Resist the devil and he
will flee from you.                ( James 4:7 )
Amen.

 

August 30, 2009

Defining Moments
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, August 30 2009

"As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him."Acts 9:3
For Moses, it was the burning bush.
For Peter, it was walking on water.
For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it was walking through the burning furnace untouched.
For Paul, it was being blinded and spoken to by Jesus on the Damascus road. For Daniel, it was deliverance from the lions' den.
For Joshua, it was parting the Jordan River and crossing into the Promised Land.
There have been many defining moments in the lives of human beings that changed their lives forever. These defining moments often set the course for the balance of their lives.
We could go on and on. Each of these servants had years of preparation leading up to their defining moment. These moments forced the servants to be involved in something beyond their human experiences. It took them outside their own paradigms of life. God had to move them outside their own boxes. And when He did, their lives were never the same.
You may be in one of three stages of life: You may not have had your "defining moment" yet - God may be preparing you with many important life experiences. You may have had your defining moment and you are living out your call. Or, you may be toward the end of your journey and you have already experienced what I speak of. We are all called to a relationship with God; and we are all called vocationally, which is often ushered in by a defining moment. And there can be more than one defining moment, each pointing you down a path that God foreordained from the foundation of the world. The secret of a great life is often a man's ability to discern the defining moments given to him, understanding them, and learning to walk in the path that leads him to his ultimate destination.

Once you have had a defining moment, you are never the same. Pray that you have eyes to see and ears to hear when your Master brings a defining moment into your life.


 

 

August 29, 2009

Going Against the Flow
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, August 29 2009

"But the whole assembly talked about stoning them." Numbers 14:10a
Have you ever had to stand up against the majority for a cause that wasn't popular? God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and promised He would lead them into a land of milk and honey. The process of moving out of Egypt was difficult. They could no longer do things the old way, for the old ways didn't work in the desert. God provided for them during this journey. But there came a point in which the people forgot what God had said. Their discomfort changed their belief about God.
Whenever God is slow to answer our prayers, what we believe about God is revealed. Do we change our plans and move in a different direction when pressure mounts? Or do we continue on the path God has directed for us? Four men believed what God said and were willing to stand; however, the crowd wanted to stone them.
Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them." But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites (Numbers 14:5-10).
Notice Joshua and Caleb's response to the situation. They had spied the land. They believed God. They challenged the crowd. They seemed to know that if the Lord was not pleased with them they would not enter into the Promised Land. Those who grumbled did not enter the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb and a new generation saw the fulfillment of God's promise.

Has God called you to stand for a cause bigger than yourself? You will have opposition to His call; sometimes it even comes from those in your own camp. But if God has called you, then you can be sure He will make a way. He has already opened the way before you. But you must walk in faith, joined with Him to take the land. "...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).

 

 

August 28, 2009

Motivations to Call
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, August 28 2009

..."Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." Mark 10:49
Do you recall the circumstances when God first called you into relationship with Him? Were you in need of something? Were you in a crisis situation? Every day God calls someone into relationship with Him through different circumstances. More often than not, the circumstances relate to a need in their life that only God can meet.
Bartimaeus had the need to see again. He was a poor blind beggar, who had heard about Jesus and the miracles He had done. The crowds rebuked him for seeking Jesus, yet he continued to cry out. "Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!'...Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus" (Mk. 10:48,50). That day, Bartimaeus saw for the first time. But more than that, he saw with spiritual eyes for the first time.

Each workday, we rub shoulders with someone who has not met this Jesus we know personally. God uses needs to draw us to Himself. What need has He placed in a coworker that only Christ can meet? Perhaps you are the instrument He wants to use to introduce that person to Himself. It requires availability and a willingness to look for people with needs, then point them to Christ to meet their needs. Pray for divine appointments today.

 

 

August 27, 2009

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
              ( Psalms 34:17 *NKJV )

    Sometimes our burdens seem more than we can bear,
and we wonder how we will ever get through them.

    Now in times like that always remember that our
Heavenly Father is closest to us for; The LORD is near
to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him
in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear
Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.
                            ( Psalms 145:18-19 )

    So never feel that you must face those times alone,
for God loves you, and is with you, all of the time!  After all,
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.  The LORD
is good to all, And His tender mercies are
over all His works.
                                 ( Psalms 145:8-9 )

    Therefore, when you feel the pressure of one
of life's burdens, and feel that it is more than you can bear,
ask for God's help.  For He is ready to lift you up and bear
your burdens for you!  After all it is written; The LORD
upholds all who fall, And raises up all who
are bowed down.                ( Psalms 145:14 )

    Finally, remember the words of our Savior Jesus
Christ, for He said, Come to Me, all you who labor
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Sweet Rest Indeed my friend!   Amen.
( Matthew 11:28 )

 

August 26, 2009

Our Plans and God's Plans
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, August 26 2009

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21
Have you ever heard of someone who spent years of preparation for one vocation only to end up doing something completely different? Perhaps this could be said of you. Quite often we have in our minds what we believe we want to do only to have a course correction. Often the course correction comes through a major crisis that forces us into an area that we would never have considered.
Such was the case for Samuel Morse. Born in 1791, Morse grew up desiring to be an artist, and he eventually became very talented and internationally known. However, it was difficult to make a living as an artist in America during that time. A series of crises further complicated his vocational desire when his wife died; then his mother and father also died soon after. He went to Europe to paint and reflect on his life. On his return trip aboard a ship, he was captivated by discussions at dinner about new experiments in electromagnetism. During that important occasion, Morse made the following comment, "If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted by electricity." In the face of many difficulties and disappointments, he determinedly perfected a new invention, and, in 1837, applied for a patent that became what we know today as the telegraph. He also created Morse code. It was only later, after many more setbacks and disappointments, that his projects received funding.
Samuel Morse later commented, "The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future, and I seem to hear a voice saying: 'If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?' Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence." Morse went on to create several other inventions and can be recognized today as the father of faxes, modems, e-mail, the internet and other electronic communication. ["Glimpses," Issue #99 (Worcester, Pennsylvania: Christian History Institute, 1998).]

God's plans may not always seem to follow our natural inclination. Perhaps God has you taking a path that may not lead to His ultimate destination for you. Trust in the Lord, lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all you do, and He shall direct your path (see Prov. 3:5-6).

 

 

August 25, 2009

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills
be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will
not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be
removed," says the Lord, who has compassion
on you.                 ( Isaiah 54:10 *NIV )


     There is no way to measure the tremendous love and
 compassion that God has for those who love Him; For
 this is love: not that we loved God, but that
 He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning
 sacrifice for our sins. ( 1 John 4:10 ) Therefore;
  We know and rely on the love God has for us.
 God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God,
 and God in him.           ( 1 John 4:16 )

     Also through our faith we come to know peace as we
 have never known it before, for it is written; Therefore,
 since we have been justified through faith, we
 have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
 Christ.                           ( Romans 5:1 )

     Therefore, Let the peace of Christ rule in your
 hearts, since as members of one body you were
 called to peace. And be thankful.
                                 ( Colossians 3:15 )

     So, if you haven't already, give your heart to
 God, for then; The peace of God, which transcends
 all understanding, will guard your heart and
 your mind in Christ Jesus.   Amen.        
                                   ( Philippians 4:7 )

 

August 24, 2009

God's Recruitment Strategy for Leaders
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, August 24 2009

"Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing." Acts 9:8a
When God calls one of His servants into service, there is often much travail. There are many examples where God makes His presence known through circumstances that tax the individual to his very soul.
Consider Paul, who was stricken blind on the Damascus road.
Consider Peter; when he denied Jesus after the crucifixion, he was in total despair.
Consider Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were thrown into the fiery furnace.
Consider Daniel, who was thrown into the lions' den.
Consider David, who was forced to flee his former employer for many years and lived as a fugitive.
It may seem strange to us that God uses such incredible adversity to prepare His servants for greater service, but this is God's way. God knows that the human heart is incapable of voluntarily stepping into situations that take us beyond our comfort zone. He intentionally brings us into hard places to prove us and to drive us deeper into the soil of His grace.
In arid regions of the world, trees cannot survive unless their roots grow deeper to where the water table can be found. Once they reach the water, these trees become stronger than any tree that can be found in tropical climates. Their root systems ensure that they can withstand any storm. In the same way, God brings us into extremely difficult situations in order to prove His power and drive our spiritual roots deeper.
Friend, God may take you through times when you will question His love for you. In such times, you must cling to His coattail so that you see His purposes in it. Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him'" (Hebrews 10:36-38).

 

 

August 23, 2009

The Art of Waiting
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, August 23 2009

"By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them...." Exodus 13:21
How are you at waiting on God? How do you determine if God is giving you the green light to move forward? Many workplace believers make the mistake of adding up all the pluses and then concluding that God has given them the green light. Several factors go into making a decision from the Lord.
It is important to do three things before you make a decision on a matter. First, you should gather facts. Fact gathering allows you to determine all the realities of a given situation. However, this does not ultimately drive your decision, but it can put a stop to it. For instance, if you were planning to build a shopping center and you knew the only way to lease the space was to rent to a porn shop, your decision would be made. God would not lead you to enter into unrighteous ventures.
Second, is the Holy Spirit guiding you in your decision? "If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm" (Ps. 37:23). George Mueller cites that the steps are also "by the Lord." God puts hedges around us, but many times we bull our way through the hedges under the guise of tenacity and perseverance. This too is unrighteousness. One wise workplace believer stated that the greatest success one can have in business is to know when it is time to pull the plug rather than keep forcing a situation. Not all businesses last forever.
Third, has your decision been confirmed? God has placed others around us to be used as instruments in our lives to confirm decisions and keep us from the deceit of our own heart. "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (2 Cor. 13:1b). This is God's way of keeping us within the hedge of His protection.

"Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser."

 

 

August 22, 2009

Free to Stand
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, August 21 2009

"That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies..." Joshua 7:12
It matters not how strong you are. It matters not whether you have the greatest resources and talent. It matters not if you have the best plans and procedures. It will all fail if you have a break in your armor.
This is the message God told Joshua when he attempted to go against a small army at Ai, which was the Israelites' second battle in the Promised Land. Sometimes we try to figure out why we are not successful in an endeavor. We look at all aspects of our performance to see what went wrong. For the people of Israel, it was not easily seen on the surface. Everything seemed just as it should be from Joshua's vantage point, so when his army was soundly defeated, he cried out to God, "Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did You ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us?" (Josh. 7:7a)
The people had been defeated because God could not bless them. One person had violated the covenant with God. They were not to take any possessions from the first battle, but one person failed to live up to this, and the whole army suffered.
Sin makes our armor vulnerable to attack from satan, who then gains permission from God to attack us in the area where we have failed to uphold righteousness. If we break down in moral purity, satan comes in and establishes a stronghold. If we give place to bitterness and unforgiveness, we will break fellowship with God and others. If we become money-focused, we will fall into greed and deception. It is a vicious cycle.

Examine your armor today. Make sure you are not susceptible to attack. Begin from a solid spiritual foundation and your chances of success will be great.

 

 

August 21, 2009

Drawing Near to Darkness
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, August 21, 2009

"The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was." Exodus 20:21
Like the nation of Israel, we are each called to the mountain of God, but few are willing to pass through the darkness to get there. God wanted to reveal His glory to the children of Israel, but they were afraid to enter into His presence. They only wanted to know about God, rather than know him personally like Moses did. This grieved the heart of God.
Why wouldn't the people of Israel risk entering the darkness if it meant being in the presence of God? What did the people fear?
Perhaps they had fears like each of us. The fear of the unknown. The fear of what might happen. The fear that God might not like what He sees. Or, perhaps even the greatest fear: the fear of darkness itself and what lies behind that darkness.
Many of us have been satisfied to hear about God from God's messengers. But there is a greater calling for each of you - a calling to enter into His presence. Sometimes entering into His presence means we enter through an unexpected door - a door that appears to have nothing good behind it.

We do not need to fear entering the presence of God even if it means entering through a period of darkness. Above all else we must believe that God is a God of love. If He calls us into darkness in order to enter His presence, then that darkness will become an entry to new levels of relationship with a God who longs for fellowship with you and me.

 

 

August 20, 2009

New Things
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, August 20 2009

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13b-14
Our past can be a hindrance or a help in moving toward God's purposes for each of us. For some, the past has meant pain and heartache, and grace is required so that we do not let our past dictate our responses to the future. If we allow our past to make us a victim, then we have not entered into the grace that God has for us. If we live on memories of past successes and fail to raise our vision for new things, we again are victims of our past.
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Is. 43:19). Our past should only be viewed for what we can learn from it. We must move forward and avoid viewing the negative or the positive for more than what we can learn. Many have allowed their past to dictate their future. God is always about doing new things in our lives. He gives fresh revelation of His purposes in our lives. Do not live in the past. Do not hold onto bitterness that may hinder God from doing new and exciting things in your life. He turns our wastelands into streams of water to give life, not death.
How have you viewed your past? Has it hindered you in some areas of your life? Have you relied on past successes to dictate what you will do in the future? Put aside such thoughts and allow God to do a new thing in your life. Ask Him to help you see the new things He wants to do in and through you today.

"When your memories are bigger than your dreams, you're headed for the grave" [Author unknown].

 

August 19, 2009

"Grace" and peace be yours in abundance through
the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord.
                              ( 2 Peter 1:2 *NIV )
    Did you ever wonder what is meant by God's Grace?  Well,
"Grace" means the freely given, "unmerited favor and love
of God," given to HIS Children!  Now, God Demonstrates
His own love for us in that while we were still
sinners: Christ died for us..  ( Romans 5:8 )

    Therefore; Dear friends, since God so loved us,
we ought to love one another. No one has ever
seen God; but if we love one another, God lives
in us and His love is made complete in us.
                                          ( 1 John 4:11-12 )

    So always; Love the Lord your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your
strength  ( Mark 12:30 )  After all, HE showers us with
more love than that every day.

    Finally, I pray that you, being rooted and
established in love, may have power, together
with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long
and high and deep is the love of Christ, that
you may be filled to the measure of all the
fullness of God.   Amen.   ( Ephesians 3:17-19 )

 

August 18, 2009

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
And His ears are attentive to their prayer.
                   ( 1 Peter 3:12 *NIV )

    Prayer is the most powerful thing on earth!  I have witnessed
magnificent things happen, due to the prayers of others many times indeed!

    Therefore, Devote yourselves to prayer,
being watchful and thankful.  And pray
for us, too, that God may open a door for
our message, so that we may proclaim
the mystery of Christ.  ( Colossians 4:2-3 )

    Also Scott, when you become filled with cares and
woe, or just need a friend to talk with, speak to God.  For it
only takes.....   Just A Little Prayer

                      God is ever there for those
                      Who really, really care,
                      He helps dispel your cares and woes
                      With just a little prayer.

                      Invite the Lord into your heart,
                      He has much love to spare,
                      A love He gladly would impart
                      With just a little prayer.

                      Let Him know when things go wrong,
                      No matter when or where.
                      He can fill your heart with song
                      With just a little prayer.

                      It matters not your race or creed,
                      God does not compare.
                      He can fill your wants and needs
                      With just a little prayer.

                      No power on earth can give to man
                      God's immortal blessings rare.
                      He is the only One who can
                      With just a little prayer.
                                          Poet, Joseph Ferrara

 

August 17, 2009

Mixing Faith With Commerce
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, August 17 2009

"'Your servant has nothing there at all,' she said, 'except a little oil.'" 2 Kings 4:2b
Her husband had died. There was no way to fulfill her debts. Her creditors decided to take her two sons as slaves for payment of the obligations that still remained. She pleaded for assistance with the only man of God she knew.
"Is there anything in your house?" Elisha asked.
"Nothing at all," she said, "except a little oil."
Elisha then instructed her to go and collect all the empty jars that her neighbors might possess. "Ask for as many as you can," he instructed.
When the jars were collected, he instructed her to pour what little oil she had into the jars. The oil was more than enough to fill the jars. In fact, there was more oil than jars to fill. "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left" (2 Kings 4:7b).
God often mixes faith with the tangible. The widow believed she had no resources to meet her need. God said she had more than enough resources. She did not see the one jar of oil as a resource. It did not become a resource until it was mixed with faith. Her need was met when her faith was mixed with the practical step of going into the workplace to sell what she had in order to receive her needed income. In fact, there was so much income she was able to pay her debts and live on the money derived from the sale.
Quite often we forget that God works through commerce to provide for our needs. It is wrong to place total trust in commerce without faith in God. God often requires simple obedience to an act that seems ridiculous to the logical mind. It is this faith mixed with the practical that God honors.

Do you have a problem that is perplexing to you? Do you see no way of meeting your need? God may have already given you the skills and talents to meet your need. However, He may be waiting for you to mix them with faith. Ask God to show you the steps necessary to solve your problem. Be willing to take the next step.

 

 

August 16, 2009

Rejected for Christ
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, August 16 2009

"And they took offense at Him...." Matthew 13:57
Jesus taught in the synagogue in the community He grew up in. He was raised as a local carpenter's son. No one saw any miraculous powers in this young boy's life. But something changed as He became older. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" Those in the community could not reconcile God's work in someone they thought they knew simply as the carpenter's son. God brings every person who is committed to Him out of their normal routine into a new revelation of Himself that impacts others.

Is the move of God so evident in your life that it invites scrutiny from friends or coworkers? Jesus confronted the issues of His day without fear of being rejected. A life of obedience will be an affront to the systems of this world. When God begins His deeper work in you, it will be a stumbling block to those around you. When you are rejected for Christ, consider that Christ is affirming His call on your life and you are becoming a threat to the kingdom of darkness. How many of satan's workers do you suppose have been assigned to thwart God's activity in your life? Those who sit in a pew from week to week and never speak the name of Christ in the workplace require few opponents because they represent no threat to the kingdom of darkness. How are you impacting the kingdom of darkness? God has called you and me to impact the lives around us for His Kingdom. Your words may be an affront to those around you; do not fear this. God will use your words and life to draw others to Himself. You are His ambassador in the workplace. He has placed you there for this time to extend life to those who live in darkness.

 

 

August 15, 2009

Blameless
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, August 15 2009

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless." Psalm 84:11
If you were running for political office, what approach would your opponent take against you? If he wanted to launch a smear campaign, would there be any ammunition for him to use? Think how you would feel if the director of the opposing campaign came to you afterwards and said, "Sir, we tried to find something negative to play up in our campaign against you, but we couldn't."
What does it really mean to be a person who is blameless before God? Being blameless before God does not mean we are perfect. No human being is perfect. It means that we so fully trust in God that we are willing to make things right when we fail. We are willing to humble ourselves continually before the throne of God. "...Blessed is the man who trusts in You" (Psalm 84:12). God has a specific plan for the people who fully trust in Him. He promises to be their shield, to bestow honor on them. He will not withhold any good thing from them. What a promise! What motivation to be all that we can be in God.

Imagine living a life that God views as blameless, which allows Him to withhold no good thing. Pray that God would make you and me that kind of person.

 

 

August 14, 2009

Things I Cannot Understand
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, August 14 2009

"Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know." Job 42:3b
If there was any one man on earth who had reason to question God's love, it was Job. He lost his family, his health, and his wealth - all at the same time. His friends came to his side only to question his spirituality. God had already answered the question of his integrity. Job was described in the opening verses of the book as "blameless and upright" (see Job 1:1). His calamities were not born from sin. Job acknowledged God's right to do anything in his life until one day he could take it no longer. He questioned God's motives.
God answered Job, but not in the way he wanted to hear. God answered him with a series of questions that represents the most incredible discourse of correction by God to any human being. Three chapters later, Job realized that he had questioned the motives of the Author of the universe, the Author of love. He fell flat before his Creator and realized his total depravity. "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know."

Have you ever questioned God's activity in your life? Have you questioned His love for you based on circumstances that came your way? The cross at Calvary answers the love question. He sent His own Son in replacement for your sin. If you were the only person on earth, He would have done the same. His ways cannot always be understood or reconciled in our finite minds. That must be left for a future time when all will be understood. For now, entrust your life to Him completely. Embrace Him in the hard times and the good.

 

 

August 13, 2009

The Faithfulness of God
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, August 13 2009

"The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145:13b-14
Have you ever had a relationship with someone who was faithful? You knew you could depend on that person to do what he said. You learned that his word was completely trustworthy. If he said he would call you, he would. If he said he'd be somewhere at a certain time, he'd be there. In fact, if he was late, you began to wonder if he had an accident because it was so contrary to his nature. It's great to have friends who are faithful.
God is faithful. He is faithful to fulfill every promise in His Word. Sometimes we think God isn't faithful because it appears He has not fulfilled a desire that we have. Sometimes we think He is not faithful because of a crisis event that seems to say God isn't faithful. We must remember that God is more concerned about accomplishing His ultimate purpose in the life of every believer than giving us the desires of our heart. Sometimes this results in hardship.

The Bible is full of accounts of God's faithfulness that was often accompanied by hardship. He brought Joseph out of slavery to be greatly used in a nation. He delivered the people from Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. He gave Abraham the son of promise late in his life. He delivered David from his enemies and made him a king. In story upon story, we learn of God's faithfulness. Are you a faithful man or woman? The workplace needs faithful men and women. Take an inventory of your life today and ask God if you have been faithful with what He has entrusted to you.

 

 

August 12, 2009

Business as Ministry
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, August 12 2009

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24
The Bible is very clear that the purpose for our work life is to reflect Christ in and through our lives. It is an attitude that says our work is to have an overriding "ministry" objective to it. Our work is our worship to God. These two words even originate from the same Hebrew word, avodah.
Robert Laidlaw was born in Scotland in 1885 but grew up in New Zealand. Born to Christian parents, he committed his life fully to the Lord when he was 17. Laidlaw began working in a hardware merchant company as a traveling sales representative when he was 19. Later he had the idea for a mail-order catalogue business that sold everything imaginable including underwear, groceries, cosmetics, and farm equipment, all at bargain-basement prices. His concept proved successful and his business later merged with the Farmer's Union Trading Company. He became general manager and held that position for 50 years.
But this is not the most significant thing that can be said about Robert Laidlaw. He understood that his work life was a tool to affect others for Jesus Christ. He began giving ten percent of his income early in his business life. Later, however, he entered this into his journal: "September 1919, age twenty-five. I have decided to change my earlier graduated scale, and start now giving half (fifty percent) of all my earnings." This he continued for the next 60 years. [John Woodbridge, ed., More Than Conquerors (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1992), 351.]
The result of that commitment was countless numbers affected for Jesus Christ through the resources he gave to mission groups and other worthy Christian causes. He was personally involved in ministry. He wrote a small book that gave a thoughtful answer to basic questions about life and faith. It was titled "The Reason Why." Many hundreds of thousands came to faith in Christ because of this 46-page booklet. He publicly spoke to many of his faith in Christ and became very involved in the Soldier's and Airmen's Association when World War II broke out. Robert Laidlaw understood what it meant to view business with an overriding ministry objective.

Does the Lord have complete control of your life? If so, you will be able to see your work life as an extension of His life in you. Let the Lord live in and through your work life today.

 

 

August 11, 2009

Reflecting His Glory
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, August 11 2009

"They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your might, so that all men may know of Your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom." Psalm 145:11-12
How do you measure your effectiveness in God, or should you even be thinking like this? The early Church turned the world upside down in that first century. What made them so effective? Was it their theology? Was it great preaching? Was it due to one man's influence apart from Jesus?
The Scriptures are clear as to what made the early Church effective. It is at the core of God's heart, and it is quite simple. God desires to reflect His nature and power through every individual. When this happens, the world is automatically changed because those who reflect His glory affect the world.

We serve a jealous God. He is a God who will not share His glory with anyone. God sets up situations in order to demonstrate His power through them. He has done this since the day He created man. His desire is to reflect His glory through you and me, so that all men may know of His mighty acts and the glorious splendor of His Kingdom. The apostle Paul understood this principle: "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power" (1 Cor. 2:4-5). If you do not see His glory being reflected through your life, then you need to ask why. He has promised to do so if we will walk in obedience to His commands.

 

 

August 10, 2009

Waiting on God
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, August 10 2009

"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" Isaiah 30:18
Have you ever noticed that God is not in a hurry? It took 40 years for Moses to receive his commission to lead the people out of Egypt. It took 17 years of preparation before Joseph was delivered from slavery and imprisonment. It took 20 years before Jacob was released from Laban's control. Abraham and Sarah were in their old age when they finally received the son of promise, Isaac. So why isn't God in a hurry?
God called each of these servants to accomplish a certain task in His Kingdom, yet He was in no hurry to bring their mission into fulfillment. First, He accomplished what He wanted in them. We are often more focused on outcome than the process that He is accomplishing in our lives each day. When we experience His presence daily, one day we wake up and realize that God has done something special in and through our lives. However, the accomplishment is no longer what excites us. Instead, what excites us is knowing Him. Through those times, we become more acquainted with His love, grace, and power in our lives. When this happens, we are no longer focused on the outcome because the outcome is a result of our walk with Him. It is not the goal of our walk, but the by-product. Hence, when Joseph came to power in Egypt, he probably couldn't have cared less. He had come to a place of complete surrender so that he was not anxious about tomorrow or his circumstances.

This is the lesson for us. We must wait for God's timing and embrace wherever we are in the process. When we find contentment in that place, we begin to experience God in ways we never thought possible.

 

August 9, 2009

Embracing the Mess
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, August 09 2009

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest." Proverbs 14:4
My wife and I run together through a new home subdivision. Often we see the street filled with red clay from the land as bulldozers clear it to lay a foundation. The job site is littered with lumber, all sorts of trash from workers, and is generally a mess. The house looks ugly; it has all its insides exposed as it is being pieced together, yet this process is necessary to get to the finished product. When completed, the home is beautiful. The landscaping looks like it came out of a home-design magazine. Everything is clean and perfect in order for the new homeowner to move in.
Our walk with God is much the same process. Often we must go through a messy period of our lives in which all aspects of it are in disarray. It is in these times that God builds a new structure. He might remove some structural timbers in our lives and replace them with new ones. He might even add on another room. And unless this process takes place, we will never see the end product. The goal is more Christlikeness. In order to achieve this in us, He requires a period of removing all that is not of Him. It can be a painful process.

It would be impossible to keep oxen in a barn without having to clean up the mess from time to time. It just comes with the territory, but the result of the oxen is an abundant harvest. God may be allowing a mess in order to ensure a fruitful harvest in your life. Learn from Him so that you might experience the fulfillment of His purposes for you in these times.

 

 

 

August 8, 2009

The Causes of Failure
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, August 08 2009

"You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it." Joshua 7:13b
The first battle for the people of Israel traveling from Egypt was at Jericho, once they crossed the Jordan River. God had given them a great victory at Jericho, and Joshua was now ready to move to their next battle at Ai. After they spied out the enemy camp, they determined they needed only a few thousand men to gain victory.
They went up against Ai only to fail miserably. They lost 32 men in a battle that should have been an easy victory, but instead they were forced to retreat. Joshua was devastated. "Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did You ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us?" (Josh. 7:7a) In this case, the people fell short because they failed to uphold the standard God had set for them. God had told them not to take any plunder from their first battle. However, Achan hid some forbidden treasures, and God was now judging the entire nation for one man's sin.
Whenever we act without God's complete blessing on our activity, we can expect God to thwart our plans. God's word to Joshua was that he could not stand against his enemies as long as there was disobedience among his troops.
Whenever we launch a business endeavor, we should make sure there are no unclean things in our dealings that would allow us to be vulnerable to a failed effort: unpaid vendors, disgruntled employees who were not treated fairly, lawsuits, dishonesty. Many of these things can hinder God from blessing our enterprises. These things can remove the shield of protection from our workplace, which God wants to bless, but cannot because He is committed to upholding righteousness. His name is blemished when unrighteousness is allowed to permeate our lives.

Is the Lord able to bless your enterprises today? If not, you may need to go back and clean up a few things before He can do so. Take whatever steps are needed to ensure the blessing of God today.

 

 

August 7, 2009

Being a Shelter for Those in Need
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, August 07 2009

"Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land." Isaiah 32:2
Have you ever walked in a dry, hot climate for an extended time? The sun beats down, sweat begins to pour off your brow, and your throat and mouth are parched with thirst. A little shade, a slight breeze, or a cool drink becomes the greatest thing one could value at the moment.
When you and I walk with Christ in the workplace, we become that kind of oasis for non-Christians. However, they may not recognize it at the time. Let's face it, the workplace is pretty tough, especially when Christ is not in the center of it.
When a person becomes aware of their need of Christ through you or me, we have become a shelter from the wind. We become their refuge from the storms of life.
Someone once said that you and I might be the only Bible someone ever reads, so we need to be something worth reading. Are you available to be that shelter for a non-believing friend? If so, then you may open the eyes of someone who has been blind his whole life. What an incredible blessing to know you were the instrument God used to bring a person into the Kingdom of God.

"Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen" (Isaiah 32:3).

 

 

August 6, 2009

May I Pray for You?
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, August 06 2009

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6
I walked into the office. The secretary seemed physically struggling with her breathing and her countenance was different than normal. "Are you okay?" I asked.
"Allergies," she replied. "Sometimes it gets so bad I can hardly breathe." "May I pray for you?" I asked.
"Oh, I don't want to take up His time with something as menial as me. I'd rather not waste it on me. You should pray for someone much less fortunate than me. My mother always taught us to pray at the dinner table for those less fortunate than us," she replied. The woman was touched that I would offer to pray for her. The next day I told her my prayer group was praying for her. She could not believe that I would do such a thing for her.
It is interesting what happens when you offer to pray for someone. Offering to pray for someone can be the most genuine and loving thing you can do for another person. It can be the one means of getting a conversation on a spiritual plane that cuts across religious stigmas and gets to the root of the problem - the person's real need. It immediately reveals your own values and sets the stage for future encounters. All it takes is a little holy boldness to step through the door when the opportunity seems to present itself.
Is there anything too small to pray about? Do we, in fact, bother God when we make any request that is not dealing with only the poor in Calcutta? Paul clearly tells us in this passage that prayer is talking with God. It is having such a relationship with Him that we can bring anything to His attention.
We've all heard the housewife's prayer for a parking spot or other such seemingly trivial prayer requests, but are they trivial to God? If God is our closest and most intimate friend, then it becomes very natural to talk to Him as you would a friend who might be sitting next to you in the car. Yes, God desires to have such close communion with you and me that we can pray about anything - even a parking spot.

As you enter the workplace today, ask a co-worker if you can pray for him about something. You may be surprised at what doors will open as a result.

 

 

August 5, 2009

 

Two by Two
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, August 05 2009

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work." Ecclesiastes 4:9
Have you discovered yet that you are incomplete by yourself? During my "warrior" stage of life you would have been hard-pressed to convince me that I needed you or anyone else. I know few people willing to admit their need for others, but many who live according to this principle. However, sooner or later we discover God's truth regarding our need for others.
God made us to need others. We may not discover this until we fail - fail in a business, a marriage, a close friendship, or in a client relationship. We are incomplete without the ongoing input from others into our lives. An independent spirit is one of the most detestable sins from God's viewpoint. It is the highest form of pride. "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice" (Prov. 13:10).
God has made each of us so that we have only so many gifts. He did not give any of us all the available gifts. Hence, we learn to depend on others and to humbly trust others to complete us where we are deficient.
David had Jonathan. Paul had Silas. John Wesley had George Whitefield. Martin Luther had Philip Melanchthon, who was 14 years younger. Martin Luther learned that he needed someone in his life to complete the work God called him to do. Luther had the greatest respect for this friend who helped him reform the Church of their day, and the Church as we know it at present. Luther learned a great deal from Melanchthon, who was a great scholar at a young age. He could speak several languages, and he became Professor of Greek at the new University of Wittenberg at 21 years of age. This was ten months after Luther posted his famous theses on the church door in Wittenberg. Melanchthon helped shape the Protestant movement of the sixteenth century through his research, writings, moral purpose, and religious conscience. Luther and Melanchthon became inseparable, and when they died, they were buried next to each other.

Who has God placed in your life to complete you? Perhaps it is a mate. Perhaps it is a close friend. Perhaps it is a business partner. If you lack this in your life, I encourage you to seek someone out who can speak into your life. If you have someone like this, tell him or her how much you appreciate the role he or she plays in your life.

 

 

August 4, 2009

All these blessings will come upon you and
accompany you if you obey the LORD your
God:  You will be blessed in the city and
blessed in the country.  You will be blessed
when you come in and blessed when you
go out.   
       ( Deuteronomy 28:2,3 & 6 *NIV )

    God's many blessings continue to please us, so we should
do our best to please God as well!

     We do that by obeying His Commandments and by loving
our neighbors as ourselves.  For our Savior Jesus Christ said;
"'You shall love the LORD your God with all your
heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
And the second is like it: 'You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.' On these two command-
-ments hang all the Law and the Prophets."  This
is the first and great commandment. And the
second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as
yourself.' On these two commandments hang all
the Law and the Prophets."  ( Matthew 22:39-40 )

    So, do your best each day to live by our Lord's
Commandments, and share your love with others so;
that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing
Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing
in the knowledge of God;  After all when you do, His
blessings will flow abundantly to you!  For it is even written that;
When a man's ways please the LORD, He makes even
his enemies to be at peace with him. Amen
( COLOSSIANS 1:10 ) ( PROVERBS 16:7 )  

 

August 3, 2009

Therefore humble yourselves under the
mighty hand of God, that He may exalt
you in due time, casting all your care
upon Him, for He cares for you.
            ( 1 Peter 5:6-7 *NKJV )


   It is easy to let our pride take over and cause us to be
concerned about our position and status, and we then
long for recognition and praise for what we do.  There
is danger in that for it is written; Pride goes before
destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
                                   ( Proverbs 16:18 )

   Therefore it is important for a Child of God to remember
that God's recognition is far more important than human
praise!  For it is written; God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.  After all; A man's
pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit
will retain honor. (1 Peter 5:5) (Proverbs 29:23)

   Now becoming humble before God is not self-degradation;
but is a realistic assessment and commitment to believe
that God can and will exalt us when the time is right!
So, have patience and remember that it is
written; Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord,
and He will lift you up.      ( James 4:10 )

 

August 2, 2009

The Door of Full Surrender
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, August 02 2009

"But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold." Job 23:10
I was recently sitting with the leader of a workplace organization as he described a question he poses to workplace believers. "What if there were two doors to choose from; behind one door was the complete will of God for your life and behind the other door was how life could be according to your own preference. Which door would you choose?" The struggle for most lies in the desire to follow God completely and the fear of what might be behind the door of full surrender. Most of us desire to follow God, but few of us will do it at any cost. We do not really believe that God loves us to the degree that we are willing to give Him complete permission to do as He wills in us.
If we desire to fully walk with Christ, there is a cost. We may give intellectual assent and go along with His principles and do fine; however, if we are fully given over to Him and His will for our life, it will be a life that will have adversity. The Bible is clear that humans do not achieve greatness without having their sinful will broken. This process is designed to create a nature change in each of us, not just a habit change. The Bible calls it circumcision. Circumcision is painful, bloody, and personal.
If God has plans to greatly use you in the lives of others, you can expect your trials to be even greater than those of others. Why? Because, like Joseph who went through greater trials than most patriarchs, your calling may have such responsibility that God cannot afford to entrust it to you without ensuring your complete faithfulness to the call. He has much invested in you on behalf of others. He may want to speak through your life to a greater degree than through another. The events of your life would become the frame for the message He wants to speak through you.

Do not fear the path that God may lead you on. Embrace it. For God may bring you down a path in your life to ensure the reward of your inheritance. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Cor. 4:17)

 

 

August 1, 2009

Being a Vessel to Bless Others
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, August 01 2009

"One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Proverbs 11:24-25
One of the reasons God entrusts money to us is to bless other Christians by meeting their needs. God uses the transfer of money within the Body of Christ to build unity among Christians. Sometimes we withhold money that God has designated for someone else. He wants to bless through us, but His will cannot be accomplished through us if we are disobedient.
This was the case for a business owner who tells of the time when God told him to forego a company bonus one year. God directed him to share his year-end bonus with an employee to show his appreciation for him. He wrestled with God for three full days before obeying the Lord on the matter. When he finally met with the employee to give him his check, the man said he had been praying about a financial need he had three days earlier. He had decided to borrow the money to meet his need. The amount of money he borrowed was the exact amount the business owner gave him.
God had already planned to provide for the employee through the business owner, but because he was hesitant, he almost missed the opportunity to be an instrument of God in this man's life. Even so, he could have prevented the man from having to borrow money. It was an important lesson for the business owner.

How many people do we let down because we feel the "harvest" God provides is all ours? In America, the pressure is always on to move up the ladder of material accumulation. Jesus warned us about this. If our focus is on accumulation, we will not look for opportunities to be God's vessels of financial blessing to others. Ask the Lord if you have an open hand when it comes to finances.

 

 

July 31, 2009

Waiting for the Lord
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, July 31 2009

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14
Hearing and doing God's will are two important steps that often get confused as one step. However, these are two distinct processes. When we hear God's voice, this is only 50 percent of the process. The next important step is to know when to move. It is one thing to hear; it is another to know when to act.
There was a time when the Lord showed me I was to write. This was a major change in my life from what I was doing. As I began to write, I attempted to find a publisher for my work. This became a real frustration. I encountered many false starts, and many well-intentioned people wanted to assist but their efforts resulted in further delays.
Finally, my wife asked me, "Os, have you completed the book you are working on?" "No," I replied.
"When you complete the book, God will provide a publisher if He has called you to write. You need to complete the book."
A few months later I was in discussions with a publisher about my work. They were going to be in my city and wanted to meet with me. The day we met they offered me a contract on my book. It also was the exact day that I had completed the book. I thought back to the words my wife had said.
Corrie ten Boom was a prisoner in the German Holocaust who lost her sister in the concentration camps. She tells a story about her father taking her on trains. She always wanted to get the ticket from her father ahead of time. He never gave her the ticket until she was about to get onto the train.

God is always on time. He is never late, and He is seldom early. Ask God for the wisdom to discern His will and His timing for the events in your life.

 

 

July 30, 2009

Bad Alliances
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, July 30 2009

"Woe to the obstinate children," declares the Lord, "to those who carry out plans that are not Mine, forming an alliance, but not by My Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting Me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge." Isaiah 30:1-2
Have you ever entered a business relationship with someone you knew you were not supposed to? Throughout the history of Israel, the people were called to come out of an old way of life. Egypt represented that old way; when things got tough, the Israelites reverted to what was comfortable. They always knew they could take a trip to Egypt and find what they lacked. Perhaps this was their reasoning: "If we can't get it accomplished under the new way, why not go back to the way we used to do it? At least we know we can get it there."
When God calls us into a walk of faith, we can expect to be tested in this walk. If we enter into alliances that God has not ordained, it will only bring heartache. Such was the case for Israel. "But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame, Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace" (Is. 30:3).

Beware what you perceive as an alliance that may advance your business. It may actually bring you great distress if God has not directed you to align it. Ask yourself what the motive is behind this possible alliance. Make sure that it is not based on fear or a quick fix. Get confirmation that God is leading you to make such an alliance. Then you will not end up in the way of Israel, experiencing shame and disgrace.

 

 

July 29, 2009

A life of faith often requires us to leave God's work alone. Responding to a need out of a desire to help move a vision along can be the greatest challenge for a Christian entrepreneur. There is a fine line between presumption and faith.

Uzzah learned that presumption could cost him his life. He was part of the crew that was to move the ark with the help of a team of oxen. When the way became rough, Uzzah responded in a natural way. He grabbed the ark to steady it. When he did, he was immediately struck down. God said it was forbidden to touch the ark. King David mourned the death of his servant and argued with God about this loss. Walking with God in the workplace requires sensitivity to balancing our God-given talents and operating in the power of the Holy Spirit in and through our work life. A mentor once told me, "You almost have to hold back your natural gifting to ensure that God is the one who is guiding you. If not, you will not know if it is through your skill versus His hand that you are accomplishing the work." I find this the most challenging aspect of a walk with God in the workplace.

You can only grow in your understanding of this balance by being accountable to others in the process. By having other committed Christians walking close to you, they become the safety net to keep you from presumption and the deceit of the heart. God also gives godly spouses to help many in this area.

 

July 28, 2009

When the Lord Tarries
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, July 28 2009

"For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3
God has a storehouse of blessings that He has reserved for you and me. However, our timing to receive those blessings may not be the same as our Lord's. God has a specific timetable that He requires to accomplish His purposes in the life of the believer. Sometimes that timetable seems excruciatingly cruel and painful, yet it is needful.
When we read that Joseph remained a slave in Egypt and was then placed in prison after being wrongfully accused, it would be easy to second-guess the God of the universe. Oh, how cruel and uncaring, we might think. Joseph thought he was going to be delivered from prison when he interpreted a dream for a court official, but then he was forgotten another two years. Why? An early release would have disrupted God's perfect plan.
God takes time to develop character before anything else. God could not afford to have a prideful 30-year-old managing the resources of an entire region of the world.
We can sometimes delay this timetable if we refuse His correction.
Although it is sometimes difficult to understand, the Lord is just and gracious in His dealings with His children. When He does decide to move on our behalf, we will appreciate the delay and will often understand the reason it was needed.
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" (Is. 30:18)

If you are awaiting the fulfillment of a vision in your life, ask the Lord for His grace to sustain you. It will be worth the wait.

 

 

July 27, 2009

Small Things
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, July 27 2009

"Who despises the day of small things?" Zechariah 4:10
Life is filled with a series of small things that can amount to something big. Have you ever considered why the God of the universe came to earth and spent 33 years identifying with mankind through work? Jesus grew up as a carpenter's son and, no doubt, learned the trade from His daily routine of helping His father. For 30 years He worked. When it was time for Him to begin to fulfill His purpose for mankind, He told countless stories of people and their work. He told stories of landowners, farmers, fishermen, tax collectors, and so on. He related to the everyday man because He Himself was one. This is why it was important for Him to have some personal work experience.
Life is filled with daily routines. Every now and then, God takes us to the mountaintop to experience His presence in a dramatic way. This is not the norm. It was not the norm for those in the Bible either. Moses spent 40 years in preparation. Paul spent a great deal of his life working toward the wrong purpose until a dramatic event changed his life. Jacob spent 20 years working for Laban.

God uses work to develop character qualities that He plans to use at the appropriate time. In the small things we develop trustworthiness with God. The day-in and day-out grind of working life molds us and makes us into what God desires. God may still be preparing you for something far greater. For now, however, you are learning the daily lessons of small things. Pray that you will be faithful.

 

 

July 26, 2009

Being An Overcomer
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, July 26 2009

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
"Why does it seem that those involved in Christian enterprise find the way so hard? It seems as though it is harder for those who are committed Christians in business. Have you found this to be true?" This was the comment from a business associate recently. My answer was a definite yes. In fact, if you were not a Christian and sought to do a similar business without regard to maintaining a biblical philosophy, the way would be much smoother sailing. It makes us think of the prophet who asked, "Why do the wicked prosper?" (see Jer. 12:1)
It is a spiritual principle of which we speak. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan before they entered the Promised Land, they fought only two battles. Then after they entered the Promised Land, they fought 39 battles. The way of the cross is not paved with lilies; it is paved with grace. When we seek to honor God in our business life, we will be met with opposition from the spiritual forces of this world. This is why each of us must commit ourselves to walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and to be as gentle as doves but as wise as serpents.
Do not be surprised when you find the way harder as a believer than when you were a non-believer. You now have more at stake among the spiritual forces that desire you to be defeated and ineffective.

Stand firm against the evil forces that desire to keep you from walking in freedom in the Promised Land. Jesus is your victory for every battle you will encounter. Call on His name.

 

 

July 25, 2009

Experiencing God in Your Business
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, July 25 2009

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
The CEO walked into the president's office after reviewing his new marketing plan for the next year. It was a well-prepared, thoughtful plan.
"This will not do!" exclaimed the CEO. "This plan describes how you will achieve these objectives through your own planning. I am certain you can achieve these objectives through normal business operations; however, you have allowed no room for faith in your plan. Now you must determine what God wants us to trust Him to accomplish through this business. You must go beyond what you can naturally achieve." What was this CEO saying? If you and I want to experience God in business at the practical level, we must be willing to trust Him for more than what our natural abilities can accomplish. God likes to show Himself in the midst of unlikely circumstances. This is the place that God receives the glory. God always forced Israel to trust Him for the supernatural. This is how glory was brought to the Father. It is no different in our lives.

The world is looking for real faith. Perhaps you are the instrument that He wants to use to demonstrate real faith to the unbelieving business world. It will require courage, faith, and action; also, it will require risk. You may risk finances, reputation, and being misunderstood. This was the risk of all leaders in the Bible. It was a risk worth taking. Are you willing to see God move in your business life? Ask Him what this might mean for you.

 

 

July 24, 2009

Finding Meaning in Our Labor
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, July 24 2009

"But I said, 'I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and my reward is with my God.'" Isaiah 49:4
Have you ever felt like you're spending your life using your talent for nothing? Life is often spent doing mundane activities that seem to have little eternal purpose.
The great prophet Isaiah was struggling with his own purpose. He knew he was chosen to be a voice for God, yet life became purposeless for Isaiah. We all go through periods when our purpose seems to be clouded with the mundane. We see little meaning in life. On the other hand, Isaiah didn't stay in this place. We read in this passage that he knew the truth of his existence. He could look past his present circumstance and know that his real reward and purpose would be revealed in eternity. He knew that God was just and fair, so he placed his faith on this truth.

When life appears to lack meaning and purpose, remember that if you devote your life to the purposes He has for you, the fruits of your labor will be manifested in due time. "The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it" (1 Thess. 5:24).

 

 

July 23, 2009

Second Chances
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, July 23 2009

..."I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." Jonah 4:2
Have you ever gone through a time of disobedience with God? Jonah was a prophet of God who decided he didn't want to prophesy for the Lord. God wanted him to deliver a message to Nineveh to warn them against impending destruction if they didn't turn from their ways. Jonah had developed a hardened heart toward the people of Nineveh. He didn't really care if they repented or not; so rather than travel to Nineveh and deliver the message, he hopped a boat in the opposite direction. You probably know the rest of the story. He was eaten by a fish and spent a few days thinking about his decision.
There is a place where we all will obey. What circumstances must take place for us to become obedient? For some of us, it requires a good shakeup. For Jonah, it required a big shakeup because he was God's man to save 120,000 people. He was chosen by God to be used by God, and God didn't give up on him.

God understands our disobedient heart. He sees what we really are; yet He gives second chances. God gave Jonah a second chance. He gave the people of Nineveh a second chance. It is a lesson of love from a heavenly Father who specializes in second chances. Have you blown it? Have you disappointed someone close to you? God is the God of second chances. All we have to do is acknowledge our waywardness. He will restore. He will give grace. Ask Him.

 

 

July 22, 2009

Beware of the Thief
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, July 22 2009

"But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into." Luke 12:39
What are the times when you and I are most vulnerable to being caught off guard by the enemy of our souls? One of those times is just after you've had a great victory. Consider Jesus when He was baptized and was about to begin His public ministry. He was taken away into the desert to be tempted by satan.
Leisure time is another place in which satan seeks to take us off our normal routine of personal quiet times. In the normal routine of life, our senses are tuned to the need to draw upon God's Spirit to see us through the activities of each day. However, when we get away from our routine and go on vacation, we can often drop these routines. We wrongfully think that we do not need to spend time with the Lord during leisure times. This is a grave mistake. The vacation becomes a test of character. During vacations we turn freely to what we love most. It reveals to us what is at the core of our existence.
A teacher in a large school reportedly said, "The greatest difficulty we encounter is the summer vacation. Just when we have brought a student to a certain discipline and place in their study habits, we lose him; when he comes back we have to begin all over again." It is the same in our spiritual lives. It only takes a small crack in the door of our heart to lose our spiritual focus.

This summer, be on guard when times of retreat are made available to you. Use these times for spiritual refreshment, not just physical refreshment, and you will keep the thief from entering your house.

 

 

July 21, 2009

Expectations
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, July 21 2009

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death." Philippians 1:20
Have you ever had expectations that did not get fulfilled? Perhaps a coworker let you down. Perhaps you were trusting God for something in your life that never materialized. Perhaps you became devastated by an unmet expectation that you felt you were entitled to. Expectations can be a difficult trap for each of us if we are not fully committed to God's purposes in our lives.
Paul wrote this verse from prison to the people of Philippi. He had an expectation that his life would bring glory to God, whether through his continued ministry or his death. His joy in living was not based on his expectations getting fulfilled, but on remaining true to the purpose for which God made him.
When we react to circumstances with bitterness and resentment as a result of unmet expectations, we are saying that we know better than God, and that God has made a mistake in not meeting our expectations. The process of resolving unmet expectations may require full disclosure to the individual who was the source of the unmet expectation, and of how the unmet expectation made you feel. This is not to make the person feel obligated to meet the expectation, but simply to share your feelings about it. If God was the source, then it is important to share this with the Lord. However, once we have done this we must let go of the situation and allow God to work in our hearts the grace that is needed to walk in freedom from the pain of the unmet expectation. If we do not do this, we will allow the seed of bitterness and resentment to enter in. This seed of bitterness will create leanness in our soul and eventually will spread to others.

Ask yourself today if you have any unmet expectations. How have you responded to them? Have you processed this with the Lord and others who may be involved? These are the steps to freedom from unmet expectations.

 

 

July 20, 2009

A Faithful Man
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, July 20 2009

"A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished." Proverbs 28:20
There is a distinct difference between the workplace believer who operates based on living in the Promised Land versus the one who operates in Egypt. In Egypt, the workplace believer sweats and toils to generate an outcome. The final objective is foremost in their mind. Outcome is everything.
In the Promised Land, we learn that obedience is the only thing that matters. We are called to execute, and leave outcome to God. Sometimes that outcome is very positive, yielding a return. In other cases, we may not yield a corresponding return. We may even get a negative outcome. The difference is that we know that we have been faithful to what God has called us to and we yield results to God. God often blesses obedience beyond what we deserve. If God brings wealth to your life, it should come as a by-product of obedience, not an end in itself.
God may call each of us to be obedient to situations that may not yield immediate, positive results. It is in these times that our faith must be obedience-based versus outcome-based. What if Jesus had considered the immediate ramifications of whether he would go to the cross? Based on the immediate outcome, the decision would have been an easy one. Who wants to die on a cross? However, for Him there was a higher purpose in that obedience. We are called to this same kind of obedience. This means putting our own flesh on the line daily, dying to our own self-will.

This is what it means to be a faithful man. Pray that God will make you a faithful man today.

 

 

July 19, 2009

Knowing Our Limits
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, July 19 2009

"He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty." Proverbs 28:19
Webster's defines entrepreneur: "one who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk in a business venture." [Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth ed. (Springfield, Massachusetts, 1993), "entrepreneur."] Entrepreneurs can smell an opportunity a mile away. However, what is often their greatest asset can become their greatest downfall. The road is littered with entrepreneurs who have been successful in one venture only to fail in countless others. Is this the natural way for an entrepreneur, or is there a better way?
King David was an entrepreneur. He grew up as a shepherd boy and later became Israel's greatest warrior. He responded to opportunities, like the time when no one would fight Goliath. He saw this as an opportunity. He ultimately became king of Israel and faced many opportunities placed before him. David learned an important lesson somewhere along the way that each of us as workplace believers should learn. As an entrepreneur the greatest danger is engaging ourselves in activities in which God never intended us to be involved. This is poor stewardship of what God has entrusted to us. When the Philistines attacked David, he always inquired of God as to if and when he was to counterattack. When he was attacked a second time on one occasion, David inquired of God as to whether he was to attack yet. This time God said yes, but with a condition, "Wait until you hear the sound of marching in the balsam trees" (see 2 Sam. 5:24). This story tells us that David had learned an important lesson about staying vertical in his relationship with God at all times. David had learned the important principle of staying focused on what God wanted for him, not what seemed logical. He was an opportunist, but only through the filter of the Holy Spirit in his life.

How do you approach opportunities? Do you consider the merits of the opportunity only? Or do you inquire of God as to whether He desires you to pursue? It may be a wonderful opportunity, but it may not be God's will for you to be involved. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you as you seek to use the skills He has given you.

 

 

July 18, 2009

Unlimited Potential
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, July 18 2009

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
What might God want to accomplish through you in your lifetime? As a workplace believer, you may yet have your greatest contribution to society. Such was the case of Cyrus McCormick, born in 1809. Raised on a farm by an inventor father, Cyrus McCormick sought to invent a mechanical reaper to harvest wheat. His father's attempts at inventing a successful machine had failed until Cyrus, at 22, created one that worked. McCormick had to overcome many setbacks including the loss of his patent 14 years after his first invention. This opened up competition. Then, in 1837 he went bankrupt due to the bank panic of 1837. However, these setbacks did not prevent McCormick from achieving his goals.
He expanded his market by trying to sell his machine to European farmers in 1851. A long series of honors compensated for the lack of recognition and praise from his American compatriots. By 1856, he was not only a world figure but his factory produced more than 4,000 reapers a year.
McCormick was a committed believer. He lived during the time of D.L. Moody and gave $10,000 to Moody to start the Chicago YMCA in 1869. That building burned along with his Chicago factory in 1871. By this time, McCormick was over 60 and wealthy enough to retire. Before his death in 1884, he had given $100,000 to help open Moody Bible Institute. His son, Cyrus Jr., was to become the first chairman of the school's board. Cyrus McCormick was a devoted Christian who passed his faith on to his son who later met up with J. Pierpoint Morgan to become the first president of a combined reaper firm, the famed International Harvester Corporation. [John Woodbridge, ed., More Than Conquerors (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1992), 328-331.]

What might God want to accomplish through your life? Surely you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

 

 

July 17, 2009

Making the Lord Our Banner
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Friday, July 17 2009

"Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner." Exodus 17:15
The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. God instructed Moses to stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand. Moses' staff represented something that God said He would use to bring glory to Himself. The staff represented what Moses had done for most of his life - shepherding. It was his vocation. When God first called Moses at the burning bush, He told him to pick up the staff; He would perform miracles through it.
God wants to magnify his glory through each of our vocations. At Rephidim, God defeated the Amalekites only when Moses held his staff to Heaven. It was a symbol of dependence and acknowledgment that Heaven was the source of the Israelites' power. When he dropped his hand, the power was removed and they began to lose the battle. Each day we are challenged to reach toward Heaven and allow God to be the source of victory in the workplace or be defeated. God calls us to let His banner reign over the workplace so that others may know the source of our victory. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven' " (Ex. 17:14). The Lord wants those behind us and around us to know that He is the source of our power and success. With each victory is a testimony that is to be shared with our children and our associates.

Is the Lord your banner today? Reach toward Heaven today and let His banner wave over your work so that He might receive glory from your life.

 

 

July, 16 2009

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not
all His benefits: Who crowns you with
loving kindness and tender mercies.
        ( Psalms 103:2 & 4 *NKJV )

      Indeed, we should never forget just how very
  much our Heavenly Father loves each one of us.  Also how
  many ways HE proves that to us each day as well!

      After all when we feel hopeless; The Lord will give
  strength to His people; The Lord will bless His
  people with peace. ( Psalms 29:11 )

      When we can't find the answers we want, or are in
  need of guidance, He will provide the way, for; This
 also comes from the Lord of hosts, who is
 wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.
                                        ( Isaiah 28:29 )

      Further, don't forget the best benefit of all, for; This is the
 testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and
 this life is in His Son.     ( 1 John 5:11 )

      So in return you should; Love the Lord your God
 with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your
 mind, and with all your strength.  Because HE
  loves you even more than that!   Amen        ( Mark 12:30 )

 

 

July 15, 2009

Seeing Us for What We Will Become
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Wednesday, July 15 2009

..."The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:12
God always looks at His children for what they will be, not what they are now. The Lord already had seen Gideon as a leader of others, not just a laborer who threshed wheat.
Gideon was an Israelite who lived during a time of oppression from the Midianites. God had allowed Israel to be oppressed because of its rebellion. However, the Israelites cried out to God, and He heard their cry for help. He decided to free them from the oppression of their enemies. God chose a man with little experience in such matters to lead an army against Midian.
When God came to Gideon through a visit by an angel, the angel's first words to him were, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." God always looks at His children for what they will be, not what they are now. The Lord had already seen this man as a leader of others, not just a laborer who threshed wheat.
The apostle Paul said, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13). God has reserved an inheritance for you and me. He has foreordained that we should accomplish great things in His name-not so that we will be accepted or become more valued, but to experience the reality of a living relationship with a God who wants to demonstrate His power through each of us.

What does God want to accomplish through you today? He used Gideon, with only 300 men, to deliver Israel from an army of more than 100,000. He demonstrated His power through one man who was willing to let God use what little faith he had to free a nation from oppression and bring glory to the God of Israel. The Lord delights in showing Himself strong through those who will trust Him.

 

 

July 14, 2009

The Works of the Flesh
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Tuesday, July 14 2009

"You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.'" Deuteronomy 8:17
We've all heard someone say, "He's a self-made man." What are they saying in this statement? Are they saying that this individual achieved success by his hard work and sweat? Many a person has achieved success through honest hard work. There is a danger for any of us who may have achieved significance through our work. That danger is the belief that we achieved it through our own efforts apart from God's grace and mercy. When we live in this belief, we assert that we are entitled to certain rights and privileges because of the position we have earned and feel we deserve.
The prodigal son's brother who refused to celebrate the wayward son's return was a man who felt he was entitled to certain rights. He saw himself as one who had been faithful to his responsibilities and deserving of more attention. He could not appreciate his brother's failure and the pain of falling into a sinful life because, in his mind, he had never failed. This pride kept him from experiencing God's real grace. This is how legalism develops in believers. It grows into a cold heart and an insensitive attitude toward others who may have stumbled in their lives. This same brother did not truly understand the love of his father apart from works; for he felt he gained acceptance only by doing his job.

Do you feel accepted by God, regardless of what you do? Have you wrongfully viewed your works as something you alone have achieved? These are the minefields of which each of us in business must be aware. God has gifted us to accomplish anything through His grace, not by our works.

 

 

July 13, 2009

Overlooking Offenses
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, July 13 2009

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11
I have a friend who tells a story of a lesson the Lord taught him through his wife. It seems that every time he and his wife would get in the car to travel somewhere, his wife had a strong need to direct his driving. She would tell him where to turn and when to turn, even in their own subdivision. It was such a horrible habit that it drove my friend crazy and became the source of many an argument. Finally, one day my friend concluded that the Lord was trying to teach him something through this experience. He decided he would let go of his need to be free from this correction. He began to affirm his wife and even thank her for her input. It was excruciatingly painful to do this from where he sat.
A few months passed. He let go of the entire situation and actually got to a place where it just didn't matter to him anymore. An interesting thing happened a few months later. One day his wife looked at him and said, "John, I just realized that I have been directing your driving all these years and now realize why I do that. It goes back to my childhood when I had to direct my younger brothers and sisters. I am so sorry I have been doing that." My friend nearly fell out of his seat!

Whenever we work close to another person, whether in an office or home, small offenses can become the source of great conflict. Resentment and irritability soon follow. God brings these "offenses" into our lives to develop character qualities in us. He uses individuals in our lives to accomplish his goal of making us more Christ-like. So the next time you complain or resist a habit or action from someone close to you, ask God if it has been placed there to develop some quality in you. Pride is the root source of the need to change another person. A man's wisdom gives him patience-to let go of little offenses. This is where spiritual maturity is seen in the day-to-day activity of life. Is there someone close to you who has some habit you really want to change? Give up that desire to the Lord. Who knows, He may even change it after you let go of the need to change it.

 

 

 

JULY 12, 2009

Independence That Leads to Sin
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Sunday, July 12 2009

"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20
The two young men had worked for many years in their family business. One day one of the sons decided he wanted to venture out on his own. He had been under the employment of his dad's business long enough. He felt he had learned all he needed to know. He wanted his independence. He wanted to take his stock options early, which would allow enough capital to begin on his own. The other son remained behind, working day in and day out, faithfully doing his job.
The first son went out on his own only to find it was more difficult than he had ever imagined. The immediate cash gained from the advance from his dad's business was a temptation that was too great for him. He spent all of the money, fell into sin, and failed to invest it in another business. He failed miserably. Finally, he came crawling back to his dad, seeking to be taken back as a mere laborer. The father took him back with open arms, fully restoring him to his original place. He experienced grace and love in a way he had never known before.
When we desire independence so much that we launch out without God's full blessing, we can expect to fall on our face. When pride enters our lives, it discourages us from dependence on anyone but ourselves; yet God says that we are to depend on Him alone. If we think we can go it alone, we will fail. On the other hand, in spite of the prodigal son's failure, he learned a great lesson of grace that he had not known before. This resulted in humility of the heart, which had a lasting impression for the rest of his life. Therefore, God even turns our failures into successes spiritually when we are willing to admit our failure.

Pride always goes before a fall. Check your heart today and ask God if there is any pride that is encouraging independence from total trust in God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 
DESTINATIONS