TGIF, Today God Is First

Remaining Vertical With God

June 26th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23

Have you ever been wrongfully accused? Oh, the need to defend and justify becomes so great. “What will people think if they believe these things are true?” we reason. Imagine what Jesus thought as they hurled insults and threats upon Him. The God of the universe had visited planet earth only to be slandered and accused of blasphemy.

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Jesus could have done two things in response. He could have used His power to put the people in their place. He could have responded “horizontally.” He could have fixed the problem right then. However, He chose to respond in a different way. He chose to “entrust Himself to Him who judges justly.” It requires great faith to entrust ourselves to God in the midst of personal assault. However, if we can do this, we will discover a level of grace and wisdom that will be birthed from this experience that we never thought possible. We will discover a freedom in God we never knew before. Whenever we suffer for righteousness without seeking to protect our reputation and rights, we are placing our total faith in the one who can redeem us. This activates God’s grace in our lives and enables us to experience God’s presence like never before.

Ask God to give you the grace to stay vertical with Him. Avoid the temptation of responding horizontally each time some event comes into your life that you want to “fix.” Entrust yourself to the one who judges justly. It may be a divine appointment for your growth to another level in grace.





My God Shall Provide

June 25th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Have you ever gone through a time of complete dependence on God for your material needs? Perhaps you lost a job and could not generate income on your own. Perhaps you got sick and could not work. There are circumstances in our lives that can put us in this place.

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When God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt through the desolate desert, they had no ability to provide for themselves. God met their needs supernaturally each day by providing manna from Heaven. Each day they would awake to one day’s portion of what they needed. This was a season in their lives to learn dependence and the faithfulness of God as provider. By and by, they entered the Promised Land. When they did, God’s “supernatural provision” was no longer required. “The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan” (Josh. 5:12). In both cases God was the provider of the need.

For most of us, we derive our necessities of life through our work. Like the birds of the fields we are commanded to go out and gather what God has already provided. It is a process of participation in what God has already provided. Sometimes it appears it is all up to us; sometimes it appears it is all up to God. In either case we must realize that the Lord is our provider; the job is only an instrument of His provision. He requires our involvement in either case.

“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

Acknowledge the Lord as the provider of every need you have today. He is a faithful provider.





Living an Obedience-Based Life

June 24th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“They trusted in Him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” – Daniel 3:28b

Have you ever known someone who lived an outcome-based Christian experience? This means that their decisions are made based on the positive or negative outcome, not on absolute obedience.

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Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were three men who lived an obedience-based life. When King Nebuchadnezzar passed a law that said all were to worship his idol, these young men determined they would not worship anything other than God. You can be sure these men did not make this decision at the time of the decree. Their decision actually had been made years earlier. Their convictions were already in their hearts.

Each of us must come to a place of knowing what our boundaries are in given situations. What will you tolerate from your employer? What situation crosses the line for you? Where are the boundaries for questionable practices in your life? If these are not worked out ahead, you will live a life of situational ethics, determining what decision to make based on the merits of the situation.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die for what they believed. In this case, they were delivered from the fiery furnace. God used their faithfulness to impact a king, and they were promoted to higher positions.

Are you an obedienced-based Christian? Or are there situations that can move you based on the outcome? God wants to know that we will stand firm on the issues that are important to Him, no matter what the outcome may be. God is looking for those who are radical in their obedience. Does this describe your commitment to Christ? If not, pray for this kind of conviction. The Lord will honor you for this.





Divine Appointments

June 23rd, 2016 by Os Hillman

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” – Matthew 10:16

“Os is now taking over this division. He will be managing all of these activities from now on. You should know that he has a different management philosophy than what you may have experienced before. He has a biblical management philosophy. Os, would you like to explain what they could expect from you in this regard?”

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These were the words spoken to me by a non-Christian CEO recently when he decided to increase my responsibilities in the company. We had never spoken of spiritual issues before.

Each business day, you and I will have the opportunity to stand before presidents, marketing directors, secretaries or other coworkers to create a defining moment. When that happens, there is a good chance you will be thought of as someone to avoid. You might be considered “religious” or “fanatical.” If so, consider this a great compliment because it says you are standing apart from the crowd.

“Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On My account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matthew 10:17-20).

You may never be flogged for your faith. However, you may very well be brought before others to give account for what you believe. It may be at a water cooler, or it could be during lunch with a coworker. In whatever situation you find yourself, the Holy Spirit awaits the opportunity to speak through your life to that person who needs to hear. Ask the Lord whom He wants to speak to today through your life.





When Fear Keeps Others From Their Destiny

June 22nd, 2016 by Os Hillman

“No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. “– Acts 5:13

Every work day in thousands of offices across the globe, Christians testify of God’s grace in their lives in some way. Sometimes it comes through a subtle performance of their duties with a smile and peace that non-believers cannot understand. In other cases, there might be more visible, unexplainable examples of God’s work. This was the defining difference in believers in the early Church. They lived a life that followed with signs and wonders that could not be humanly explained.

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The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number (Acts 5:12-14).

How often we have heard non-believers acknowledge their respect for the Christian workplace believer, but they dare not join them in their persuasion. It is this fear of the unknown that keeps many a non-believer on the path to hell. Who has God placed in your path today to help detour from a path of eternal torment to a path of freedom and eternal life? The Lord desires that each should come to knowledge of the truth so that they might be saved. As you enter the workplace today, ask the Lord for a divine appointment that might be the turning point for a lost soul. There’s no prayer the Lord will delight in more than this one.





God’s Authority

June 21st, 2016 by Os Hillman

“I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on Me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me….” – John 14:30-31

There is a constant war going on between our flesh and the Spirit. As Christians, the Spirit seeks to move us under the authority of His domain in order for us to fulfill all that we were created for. Every person was designed to be under some form of authority.

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Jesus modeled this in His own life. He lived under the authority of His heavenly Father. He made no independent decisions. He, unlike us, was sinless and always remained under His Father’s authority. He acknowledged that the prince of this world has a hold on many, but did not have a hold on Jesus.

The prince of this world does have his hold on many in our world, even among our brothers and sisters. The one thing most of us want the greatest is the freedom to make our own decisions. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when the decision was made to exercise a personal right: freedom to decide, freedom of choice, freedom from hindrances, freedom from pain. However, Jesus chose to live under the authority of the Father’s desire for His life. He was the ultimate model of a man under authority.

Each day we must determine if we’ll willingly choose to be under the authority of the Father and the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is a choice each of us must make. It is a choice that actually leads to freedom, not bondage. Choosing to live under the authority of our heavenly Father frees us to gain the greatest fulfillment in life-His mission and the purposes He has for us. It is the little decisions of daily life that reveal whether we truly live under His authority.





Being Fully Persuaded

June 20th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” – Romans 4:21

Why did God consider Abraham a righteous man? It was because Abraham looked beyond his own limitations of age and strength and considered God as the one who could accomplish His own goals. Abraham came to a place in his life where he realized it had little to do with him and all to do with God. His part was initiating the faith within himself.

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Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God (Romans 4:18-20).

What are the things in your life that are mere impossibilities? What are the mountains in your life? Are these there in order to build your faith in the one who can enable you to ascend to the peak? Once you know that it is His will for you to pursue, do it with faith. Faith requires action when we know it is He who is leading. It may require risk. Faith is sometimes spelled R-I-S-K. Abraham did not limit God. It is this confidence in God that God honored and rewarded. He wants to do the same with you and me.





The Strength of Brokenness

June 19th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.” – 1 Samuel 2:4

There is an oxymoron throughout the Bible. It says that brokenness is strength. How can this be? How can brokenness be strength? In order to use men and women to their fullest extent, the Lord has to break His servants so that they might have a new kind of strength that is not human in origin. It is strength in spirit that is born only through brokenness.

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Paul was broken on the Damascus road. Peter was broken after Jesus was taken prisoner. Jacob was broken at Peniel. David was broken after his sin with Bathsheba. The list could go on of those the Lord had to break in different ways before they could be used in the Kingdom.

When we are broken, we see the frailty of human strength and come to grips with the reality that we can do nothing in our own strength. Then, new strength emerges that God uses mightily. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Do not fear brokenness, for it may be the missing ingredient to a life that emerges with a new kind of strength and experience not known before. Pray for a broken and contrite heart that God can bless.





Faithfulness in Our Calling

June 18th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“He went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.'” – 2 Chronicles 15:2

Asa was the king of Judah from 912-872 B.C. He reigned for 41 years and was known as a good king who served the Lord with great zeal. He reformed many things. He broke down idol worship to foreign gods; he put away male prostitutes and even removed his own mother from being queen because she worshiped an idol. The Scriptures say that as long as he sought the Lord, the Lord prospered his reign.

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However, Asa was not totally faithful in his calling. There came a time in his life when he made a decision to no longer trust in the God of Israel. He lost his confidence in God as his deliverer. The prophet Hanani came to Asa to inform him that God’s blessing was no longer on his life because of an ungodly alliance he had made.

Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war (2 Chronicles 16:8-9).

There are no guarantees that if we began well we will finish well. The life of Asa tells us this. It is only through God’s grace that we can be faithful to our calling. Each of us is capable of falling away from God. Pray that God will keep you faithful to the purposes He has for your life. He strengthens those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.





Learning to Stand

June 17th, 2016 by Os Hillman

…”Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today….” – Exodus 14:13

The Israelites had just left 400 years of slavery in Egypt. They had fled to the desert, but they had come to a dead end at the Red Sea. Word reached them that Pharaoh had changed his mind. He was sending his troops to recapture the Israelites. They cried out to their leader Moses, complaining that he had brought them that far only to die in the desert.

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Learning when to move and when to stand is the greatest challenge for a workplace believer. We are trained for action. We are not trained to sit idly and wait. We are trained to solve problems, not wait for them to resolve themselves. However, God says there are times to wait. We are to wait until He says go. If we go before He says go, we likely will make our situation worse. If the Israelites had attempted to cross the Red Sea before it parted, they would have drowned. If they had fled north to try to avoid the Egyptians, God would not have moved in a miraculous way. God cannot work on our behalf if we continually try to solve our problem when He has instructed us to stand still. Standing still is sometimes the greatest action we can do, although it is the most difficult thing to do in the Christian walk.

Stand still when He says stand and see the deliverance of the Lord.