Archive for the ‘TGIF1’ Category

WE HAVE MOVED!

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

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An Eternal View of Circumstances

Friday, March 31st, 2017

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” – Philippians 1:12

Are your life circumstances advancing the gospel? Can you see the Lord’s hand in your life in such a way that all of your life experiences, joys, sorrows, hardships, and training have resulted in advancing the gospel?

An_Eternal_View_of_Circumstances

Paul was a tentmaker by trade. But he had an overall ministry objective in his business life. That objective left him imprisoned and persecuted at times. But Paul saw these events not as roadblocks to his mission. Rather, they were catalysts to advancing the cause of Christ. Paul’s revelation of this kept him from despairing about his circumstances.

One day a little-known pastor who lived in the small African nation of Benin began to pray for his Marxist president. For two years he prayed. Then the Lord told the pastor to go to meet this president and share the gospel with him. The president rejected the gospel, but after another such occasion, the president accepted the gospel and became a Christian. He was removed from power but was discipled by this pastor. Sometime later this same president was elected again. Today that president is now a Christian leader of a nation committed to spreading the gospel throughout his nation. One man – yet millions have been affected by his obedience. This modern-day story is retold in countless lives of those willing to live for a cause greater than themselves.

Are your work and life experiences serving to advance the gospel? What experiences has God allowed in your life that are part of His plan to advance the gospel? Ask Him to help you see your life the way He sees it. Seeing our life the way God sees it will help us avoid discouragement in those times when life appears to be a mystery to us.

Embracing the Lean Times

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” – Jeremiah 17:7

Have you ever considered at what point a test becomes so difficult that you decide you can no longer trust in God and you must take over to solve the problem? The prophet Jeremiah describes a situation in which the temptation to solve a financial problem can become so great that we trust in man’s way to solve it.

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This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:5-8).

Jeremiah drew a sharp comparison between the man who trusts in his own effort to solve his problem and the man who trusts in God when he cannot see the outcome. The man who trusts in God bears fruit despite the circumstances in his life. He does not shrivel when the heat comes; in fact, his roots go deeper into God’s grace. He continues to bear fruit in spite of his circumstances.

Recently, a friend from South Africa explained to me that whenever a plant lives in an arid climate, the roots drive deeper and deeper into the soil to get the water they need. This forces the plant to develop a root system that is far beyond the normal plant because it is forced to go deeper to gain the water it needs. Sometimes God forces us to go deeper into the grace of His love in order to build a greater foundation in our own lives. These lean times are designed to accomplish this in us. If you find yourself in this condition, ask the Lord who provides the water for our soul for the grace you need today to continue to bear fruit in the desert.

Understanding Our Own Calling

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

…”If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me.” – John 21:22

Jesus was talking to Peter after he had just had a very important encounter with Him-one of the last meetings the two would have. This was the third time Jesus had shown Himself to the disciples after His resurrection. It is the famous dialogue between Jesus and Peter in which Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Jesus followed by commanding, “Feed My sheep.” Jesus went on to foretell of Peter’s future death. As they were walking together, John was with Peter and Jesus. Peter asked Jesus about John and whether he would die also. Jesus reacted sharply to Peter’s comment, telling him not to worry about what John’s role or purpose was in life. All Peter had to do was worry about fulfilling his own purpose.

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As workplace believers we tend to measure our success on whether we have achieved a certain position or stature in life. Even as Christians the temptation to believe that someone is blessed if they have achieved prominence is always confronting us. In His discussion with Peter, Jesus was getting at the very heart of the matter of a person’s calling. Peter was worried about whether his friend John was going to get the same lot in life as he was. Jesus told him it should not be his concern. He was to concern himself only with one thing: his own calling before God.

Are you tempted to compare yourself with where others are in their life? Are you dissatisfied with where God has you right now? Be of good cheer-“[be] confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

Resolving the Ownership Issue

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” – Psalm 24:1-2

As Christian workplace believers, God calls us to view Him as the owner of everything. We are to be stewards of all that He entrusts to us. This is one of the hardest of all commandments to follow for the Christian workplace believer because, if we work hard at business, we receive all the benefits of that work. It appears as though all that we have achieved was through our hand. Yet God says that it is by His hand that we are able to make wealth (see Deut. 8). He is the source of that ability. As soon as we become owners and not managers, we fall into trouble with God.

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Joseph understood that he was a steward of all the resources of Egypt. God promoted him to affect an entire region of the world. Joseph had more power, prestige, and wealth than any 30-year-old who ever lived before him. The temptation for him in this newfound role in life must have been great. Many a man has not been able to handle material success. Many of God’s choicest servants began well in their calling and service to God only to fail at the end. Consider Hezekiah, the great king who achieved many great things but failed to acknowledge God’s blessing at the end of his reign. His reign was cut short due to pride. Gideon’s fate was similar. Success can lead to pride if we are not careful.

“Not every man can carry a full cup. Sudden elevation frequently leads to pride and a fall. The most exacting test of all to survive is prosperity” [Oswald Chambers].

Ask the Lord today if you are living as a steward or an owner. Put whatever skills and resources you possess on His altar. Then you can expect God to do great things through you.

Treasures in Darkness

Monday, March 27th, 2017

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” – Isaiah 45:3

“I have never been in this place before. It is new ground for me, and I find I am way out of my comfort zone. I am scared to death to trust Him at this level. I had to confess to the Lord I have not been able to accept or believe His love for me in this area.” Those were the words I expressed to a friend when I was in a difficult place in my life. That day when I confessed those words, God led me to this passage of Scripture.

Treasures_in_Darkness

What we perceive as dark periods in our lives are designed to be treasures from God. They are actually riches stored in secret places. We cannot see those times in this light because of the often-accompanying pain or fear that prevents us from accepting these times as treasures. They have a particular purpose from God’s viewpoint: “…so that you may know that I am the Lord…who summons you by name.”

You see, unless we are cast into times in which we are completely at God’s mercy for breakthroughs in our lives, we will never experience God’s faithfulness in those areas. We will never know how personal He is, or that He can be trusted to meet the deepest needs in our lives. God wants each of us to know that we are “summoned by name.” Every hair of our head is numbered. He knows every activity we are involved in. His love for you and me knows no bounds, and He will take every opportunity to demonstrate this to us.

Has God brought you into a place of darkness? Trust Him today to reveal that hidden treasure that can be found in this darkness. Let Him summon you by name.

Living a Life of Conviction

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5a

Everyone lives a life of conviction. Whatever we give our greatest time, our greatest energies, and our greatest resources to is a good indication of where our convictions lie. Some live a life of conviction about sports. Some live a life of conviction around pleasure. Still others live a life of conviction about very little that matters at all.

Living_a_Life_of_Conviction

Whenever God chooses to do a deep work in a life, a strong conviction is born of the Holy Spirit. Conversions in the early Church resulted in changed lives that held to a deep, life-transforming conviction regarding what they believed and how they lived out that belief. Paul explains that the gospel they received came not just in words, but also in power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.

In order to impact the workplace for Jesus Christ, each of us must be reflecting a faith that is demonstrated through deeply held convictions. Are you living a life of deep conviction that spurs you on to reflect the power of Christ in your life and the lives of others? Paul was willing to suffer great persecution for his faith in a living God. God calls each of us to a life that is supernatural, not simply a good, moral life. The early Church understood the role the Holy Spirit played in demonstrating this power of the gospel. It was this deep work that resulted in living the gospel with great conviction. If you are not living the gospel with great conviction, ask the Holy Spirit to so fill your life today that the power of His Spirit is truly reflected in your life so that you may impact others in your workplace.

Making Adjustments

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

…”Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” – John 21:6

A former client of mine was the marketing director of a large food brokerage company and told me a story about one of their client grocery stores located in the upper Midwest. It seems that the store could not understand why at a certain time every winter sales plummeted. They studied their product line and interviewed customers. They did everything possible to uncover the mystery. Finally, someone made a remarkable discovery that changed everything.

Making_Adjustments

It seemed that whenever it was really cold outside, the manager raised the temperature in the store. When customers came into the store it was too warm for them, so they removed their coats and placed them in their shopping carts. This meant less room for food and resulted in reduced sales overall. They lowered the temperature of the store, and as a result, the sales climbed back to the levels they were accustomed to. Their adjustment resulted in restoring sales levels.

Jesus stood on the shoreline and watched Peter and a few of the disciples fish. Jesus yelled from the shoreline asking if they had caught anything. They had not. He then suggested they cast their line on the other side of the boat. Without knowing the person who was addressing them, they took His advice. They began catching so many fish they could not bring them in.

Adjusting our lives to God is the first thing that has to happen in order to begin experiencing Him in our daily lives. For some, it is simply following the advice of those above us. For others, it may require a major change in our job situation. Still, for others it could mean making changes in relationships. Whatever the case, you can be sure that until we adjust our lives to God we will not receive His full blessing. Ask Him today where you need to adjust to Him.

Peace-A Weapon Against Satan

Friday, March 24th, 2017

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” – Psalm 23:4a KJV

In the battles of the workplace, your peace is actually a weapon. The workplace creates many opportunities to rob us of our peace. Cash flow concerns, deadlines, relationships – all create stress on us. Your confidence in the God of peace declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. You see the first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the devil, he did not confront satan with His emotions or in fear. Knowing that the devil was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any voice other than God’s. His peace overwhelmed satan; His authority then shattered the lie, which sent demons fleeing.

Peace_A_Weapon_Against_Satan

There is a place of walking with God where you simply fear no evil. David faced a lion, a bear, and a giant. In this Psalm he stood in the “shadow of death” itself, yet he “feared no evil.” David’s trust was in the Lord. He said, “…for Thou art with me.” Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory as you maintain your faith in God! David continued, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Ps. 23:5a). The battle you are in will soon become a meal for you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually. Only God’s peace will quell your fleshly reactions in battle. The source of God’s peace is God Himself. If fear has been knocking at your door, begin to face that fear with God’s peace. It is God’s secret weapon to destroy fear.

No Confidence in the Flesh

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

“If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more.” – Philippians 3:4b

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The apostle Paul surely could relate to the business executive. Paul reached the height of his profession only to have it completely stripped and torn from him. What he thought mattered in life became rubbish compared to what God did in his heart as He destroyed what seemed valuable at the time. It took a dramatic event to bring Paul into this revelation. It took a bright light, blindness, and the most fearful experience a human could have – being addressed personally by God, who was questioning why Paul was persecuting His people.

It would not be too long after his conversion that Paul would learn one of the greatest lessons every child of God must learn. That lesson is to avoid putting confidence in the flesh. In our work we are rewarded for achievement. It is a “measurable” life. We work. We see results. We get certain feelings of accomplishment from these activities.

It was not until I was placed in a situation to experience utter failure that I could identify with the words of Paul. I have met other workplace believers as well who achieved great success in their business life only to experience dramatic failure. That personal handshake with failure leads to a realization that:

“Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…” (Philippians 3:7-9).

Sometimes God lets us experience great pain to learn the lessons of greatest importance. Knowing Christ intimately is the most important lesson we will learn. Take stock in what you find your greatest pleasure in today. Avoid placing your confidence in things that are but rubbish so that you might know Him more intimately.

David’s Source of Direction

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” – Psalm 143:8

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David is the only person in the Bible whom God describes as a man after His own heart. Despite David’s many setbacks he continually sought to know and do God’s will in his life. Like many of us, his will got in the way of a sinless life.

In the morning hour, David sought to hear from God. I can imagine David sitting on the open deck of his palace looking over the hills of Jerusalem, listening to God. There, in his morning watch, he felt God’s unfailing love. He reaffirmed his trust in God. He also understood that the key to knowing God’s will lay in spending such moments alone to reflect on what God had done and was doing in his life.

“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Psalm 143:10).

Sometimes we fall prey to believing that God is not concerned, and that He does not lead us in our work life. We are tempted to think that He leads us in other areas, but not in our daily workplace. The truth is that God is in every aspect of life and desires to direct us.

Do you need direction in your life today? If so, David provides the best example of gaining direction. Set aside the morning hour to draw close to His presence. There, you will sense His unfailing love for you. His direction for your life will be a natural by-product of this time of communion with Him. Ask God to lead you by His Spirit today.

The Training Ground of God

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” – Psalm 144:1

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David was a man skilled in war. From his days as a shepherd boy to the days of serving in Saul’s army to leading his own army, David learned to be a skillful warrior. How does one become a skillful warrior?

The only way one can become a skillful warrior is to be trained and placed in the middle of the battle. It is only when we are placed in the furnace of battle that we truly learn to fight the real battles. Practice doesn’t make you battle ready. War games won’t prepare you for facing your real enemy in the battlefield. The stark reality of being in the midst of the battle makes us effective warriors.

Simply reading your Bible will not make you a warrior for the Kingdom. Knowledge without experience is mere folly. Only when you are placed in situations where there is nothing or no one who can save you but God will you learn the lessons of warrior faith. This is the training ground of God, which will make you into a soldier for Christ in the workplace. Consider it to be suicidal faith – faith that says I want to be dead to anything that keeps me from fulfilling God’s purposes for my life. It is when your efforts can do nothing to change your circumstance and you are at the mercy of God. These are the real training grounds of God. Do not shrink back from the battle that God may be leading you to today. It may be a training ground that is necessary for the calling He has on your life.

If you can trust Him in these times, you’ll know that you have gained a faith that will move mountains and will sustain you in the most difficult of circumstances. “Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”

The Anguish of Faith

Monday, March 20th, 2017

“Do not hide Your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.” – Psalm 143:7b

Of all the biblical characters, David gives us a glimpse of a man who walked with God with great emotion in victory and in defeat. David never lost a battle throughout his many years of serving as king of Israel. In many of the Psalms, David often lamented about the difficult places where God had placed him. He talked of his enemies and the need for God to deliver him. He talked of God’s everlasting love for him. How do you suppose David came to this understanding after years of being sought after by King Saul who wanted to take his life? His years of turmoil within his family gave him many reasons to lose all hope in a loving God.

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David often began his Psalms in a place of discouragement and loss of hope. But he never ended one Psalm in defeat. He always came to a place of victory in God by the end of the Psalm. David always placed his life in God’s hands, knowing He would care for him.

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:8-10).

It is okay to feel discouragement. It is part of the process of grieving and working through those times of pain. But God wants each of us to allow Him to walk with us in these places. If you find yourself in one of these places, do what David did. Ask God to show you the way and let Him bring the word of His unfailing love to you.

The Fallacy of Full-Time Christian Work

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

“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

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“I didn’t know you were in full-time Christian work,” said my close friend as we were driving. “I didn’t realize that,” she went on. I responded, “Every person who has followed the will of God in their life is in full-time Christian work.” God calls some to the mission field, others to be accountants, and others to be advertising executives, and still others to be construction workers. God never made a distinction between sacred and secular. In fact, the Hebrew word avodah is the root word having the same meaning of “work” and “worship.” God sees our work as worship.

We have incorrectly elevated the role of the Christian worker to be more holy and committed than the person who is serving in a more secular environment. Yet the call to the secular workplace is as important as any other calling. God has to have His people in every sphere of life. Otherwise, many would never come to know Him because they would be separated from society.

I learned this lesson personally when I sought to go into “full-time” service as a pastor in my late twenties, only to have God thrust me back into the business world unwillingly. This turned out to be the best thing He could have done for me, because it was never His will for me to be a pastor. He knew I was more suited for the workplace.

We are all in missions. Some are called to foreign lands. Some are called to the jungles of the workplace. Wherever you are called, serve the Lord in that place. Let Him demonstrate His power through your life so that others might experience Him through you today and see your vocation as worship to His glory.

Discerning the Work of God

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

“Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.” – Nehemiah 6:14

Nehemiah set out to rebuild the wall at Jerusalem that had been destroyed. Nehemiah held a position in the Persian Empire that would be comparable to Chief of Staff in our government. Nehemiah wept over the destruction of the city wall and repented for the sins of his generation and the generations before him that had led to the fall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah responded to the news by seeking approval from his superior to take time off to rebuild the wall. Tobiah and Sanballat met Nehemiah’s action with resistance, as did Noadiah the prophetess and other prophets. These were the religious and political leaders of his day. They became distractions to his work and opposed him.

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Whenever God does a new work, it is often met with resistance by those in the established religious community, and sometimes among those from whom we would expect support. Jesus met the same resistance when He began His public ministry. This same phenomenon happens today. When God begins a new work that cannot be easily explained based upon prior experiences, many make the mistake of assuming it not to be of God. The very people who should embrace and encourage the work become the source of skepticism and opposition. God tells us that His ways are not our ways. He does things in ways beyond our limited understanding.

Before you are tempted to criticize or oppose something that looks different from your past experience, ask God for wisdom and discernment. Examine why you might be tempted to oppose it. The Lord cannot be put in a box. He delights in doing things in ways that may not fit our former paradigms.

A Refiner’s Fire

Friday, March 17th, 2017

“For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” – Malachi 3:2b

The Lord has a specific manner of preparing His people for useful service. God desires to turn His children from rough, hard-edged stones into gems of gold and silver.

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“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years” (Malachi 3:3-4).

The refiner’s fire can only accomplish its purposes when the heat is turned up to extraordinary temperatures. It breaks down the metal in order for it to become moldable and shapeable. Only when the temperatures reach this level can the work be fully accomplished. So it is in our lives.

Until the Lord completes His refining process, the offerings we make are not made in righteousness and cannot be acceptable. Thank God that Jesus is our righteousness and that there is no righteousness apart from Him. Still, the Lord continues to purge all that is not of His righteousness out of our lives. This comes through trials that bring each of us to the end of ourselves in order that He may only reflect that which is Himself.

When God takes you through the refiner’s fire, be encouraged because it is His overriding commitment to turn you from a rough, hard-edged stone to a precious metal. He will do this through certain events in your workplace, your relationships, and other circumstances in your life. Our job is to avoid trying to blow out the fire.

Death and Birth of a Vision

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” – John 12:24

Death_and_Birth_of_a_Vision

Almost every significant thing God births He allows to die before the vision is fulfilled in His own way.

 

-Abraham had a vision of being the father of a great nation (birth). Sarah was barren and became too old to have children (death). God gave Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age. He became the father of a great nation (fulfillment).-Joseph had a vision that he would be a great leader and that many would bow down to him (birth). Joseph’s brothers sold him to some merchants and he became a slave. Later he was falsely condemned to spend his years in prison (death). God allowed Joseph to interpret the dreams of the butler and baker and later the king, whereupon, he was made a ruler in the land (fulfillment).

-Moses had a vision of leading his people out of the bondage of Egypt (birth). Pharaoh as well as his own people drove Moses out of Egypt after Moses’ first attempt to relieve their bondage (death). God gave Moses signs and wonders to convince Pharaoh to free the people and bring them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land (fulfillment).

-The disciples had a vision of establishing the Kingdom of God with Jesus (birth). The very ones He came to save killed Jesus, and the disciples saw Him buried in a tomb (death). God raised Jesus from the dead, and the disciples performed great miracles until the gospel had spread through all the world (fulfillment).

-A grain of wheat has a “vision” of reproducing itself and many more grains of wheat (birth). The grain dies in the ground (death). A harvest springs up out of the very process of “death” in the ground (fulfillment).

 

Has God given you a vision that is yet unfulfilled? If that vision is born of God, He will raise it up in His own way. Do not try to raise the vision in your own strength. Like Moses, who tried to fulfill the vision of freeing the Hebrews by killing the Egyptian, it will only fail. But wait on your heavenly Father to fulfill the vision. Then you will know that it was His vision when He fulfills it in the way only He can do.

Following Only the Father’s Commands

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

“Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.'” – John 5:19

Have you ever thought about a typical day in Jesus’ life? Perhaps He might have had questions like these, “Who am I going to heal today? Who will I visit today? Which person will I deliver from demons this day?” etc. The demands on Jesus’ time were great. Yet we see that Jesus allocated His time very deliberately. We don’t get the idea that Jesus was flustered or stressed from the activity He was involved in. He often sought times of prayer and reflection away from the disciples. His life appeared to have a balance of quiet moments and active ministry into the lives He came in contact with.

How do we determine what we will be involved in each day of our lives? What keeps us in sync with the will of our heavenly Father for the daily tasks He calls us to? Jesus tells us that He was only involved in those things the Father was involved in. Nothing more, nothing less. So often we determine our participation in an activity based on whether we have the time to do it or whether we desire to participate. The real question we should ask is, “Does the Father want me to participate in this activity?”

“Lord, should I add this Bible study to my schedule? Should I spend an extra night out on this committee this week? Should I take on new business that will take me away from home more? Should my daughter be involved in music lessons?” These are the daily challenges for the world we now live in. We are an activity-based society that often encourages more and more activity, often in the name of Christian virtue.

Our lives will become less cluttered, less stressful, and more fulfilling when we follow the model Jesus provided. It may not always please everyone. Jesus never sought to please everyone. Ask the Lord each day this week how you and He are to spend your time. Yield your schedule to Him. Let Jesus direct your every activity. You may discover that He desires you to cut back some things in order to spend more time alone with Him. He will be faithful to show you. And you will become more fulfilled because you are centered in His will for you.

The First Requirement of Ministry

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

“The priests are in mourning, those who minister before the Lord.” – Joel 1:9b

The first requirement for being used by God in the life of others is to mourn on their behalf. We must identify with their pain and suffering. Each of us must be broken for others first.

In order to be fully used by God in the workplace, we need to understand what breaks God’s heart. When we understand what breaks God’s heart, we are able to mourn on behalf of a grieving person, or a nation we are called to serve. What breaks God’s heart? When we begin to answer this question, we begin the first step to becoming instruments of change for those things that are important to God. Perhaps it is an overemphasis in our own talent and abilities, or lack of complete trust in Jesus. Perhaps it is the lack of respect for human life that leads to the killing of innocent babies. Perhaps it is the deceit and pride that often rule the workplace of commerce. Or perhaps it is the strife and divisions among His own Body that grieve Him most. When we begin to mourn over our own sins in these areas, God begins to use us as instruments of righteousness to affect these things. It was only when God let me see my own sins in the workplace and how they broke His heart that I began to be an instrument for His purposes.

Today, ask God to show you what things in your world are breaking His heart. Then see how He might want you to be the priest to affect for Him. The first step is identification with what breaks God’s heart.

Obeying the Spirit of God

Monday, March 13th, 2017

“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.'” – Acts 8:26

Philip was conducting what we might today call a revival meeting. God was blessing the meeting, and many were being healed and delivered from demonic influence. Here is the scene:

Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city (Acts 8:5-8).

And yet, in the midst of this great event, the Holy Spirit spoke to Philip and told him to remove himself and go to a completely different area to speak to one individual. Philip was so sensitive to the directive of the Holy Spirit that he left what would be deemed a successful event to go speak to another – an Ethiopian eunuch. The result of his obedience was that Philip led the eunuch to faith in Christ and baptized him. The Lord then took Philip away supernaturally to another region many miles away.

God’s ways of determining where we invest our time and energy often have little to do with results. The danger for each of us is to determine that we are in the center of God’s will simply by the success or failure of the events we are involved in. Our plumb line for determining success can be only one thing: obedience. Philip responded in obedience to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Are you listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit? Has God prompted you to speak, go, or come alongside another? Ask God today to help you hear the Holy Spirit’s voice so that you might be used mightily in your workplace.