TGIF, Today God Is First

Horizontal Versus Vertical

January 25th, 2015 by Os Hillman

Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. – Exodus 2:12

Moses saw the pain of his people. He saw the bondage and the injustice. His heart was enraged, and he decided he would do something. He would take matters into his own hands. The result was murder. The motive was right, but the action was wrong. He went horizontal instead of vertical with God. Moses fled to the desert, where God prepared the man who would ultimately be the deliverer of a nation. But it took 40 years of preparation before God determined Moses was ready. He was a professional businessman – a sheepherder. It was during the mundane activity of work that God called on him to be a deliverer.

Moses was like a lot of enthusiastic Christian workplace believers who seek to solve a spiritual problem with a fleshly answer. The greatest danger to the Christian workplace believer is his greatest strength – his business acumen and expertise to get things done. This self-reliance can become our greatest weakness when it comes to moving in the spiritual realm. We’re taught to be problem solvers. But, like Moses, if our enthusiasm and passion are not harnessed by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will fail miserably. Peter had to learn this lesson too. His enthusiasm got him into a lot of trouble. But God was patient, just as He is patient with each of us. Sometimes He must put us in the desert for a time in order to season us so that Christ is allowed to reign supreme in the process.

Before you act, pray and seek the mind of Christ until you know it is God behind the action. Check it out with others. You may save yourself a trip to the desert.





Seeing A Greater Purpose In Adversity

January 24th, 2015 by Os Hillman

But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” - Acts 16:28

Paul and Silas had just been thrown into prison. An earthquake erupted and the jail cell was opened. It’s Paul and Silas’ opportunity. “Deliverance! Praise God!” might be the appropriate response. But this is not what Paul and Silas did. In fact, rather than leave, they sat quietly in their cell area. The guard, in fear of his life, knew that it would be automatic death if prisoners escaped. Paul and Silas did not leave because they saw a higher purpose for which they were in prison. They were not looking at their circumstance; they were much more concerned about the unsaved guard. The story goes on to explain how Paul and Silas went home with the guard and his family. Not only did the guard get saved, but his entire household as well.

What a lesson this is for us. How often we are so busy looking for deliverance from our circumstance that we miss God completely. God is looking to do miracles in our circumstances if we will only look for them. Sometimes as workplace believers we become so obsessed with our goals we miss the process that God involves us in, which may be where the miracle lies. What if that bill collector who has been hounding you is unsaved and he is there for you to speak to? What if a problem account has arisen due to something God is doing beyond what you might see at this time? Our adverse situations can often be the door of spiritual opportunity for those who need it.

I saw this personally when God allowed me to go through a number of adversities. It took some time, but I saw some great miracles as a result of those adversities. When God said that “all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purposes” (see Rom. 8:28), He meant all things. It is up to us to find the “work together for good” part by being faithful to the process. In the next adversity you face, tune your spiritual antennae and ask God for discernment to see the real purpose for the adversity.





No More Reproach

January 23rd, 2015 by Os Hillman

…”Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you”…. – Joshua 5:9

Joshua and the people had just crossed the Jordan River. They were camped at Gilgal. But before they could proceed they were required to circumcise all the males, because a whole new generation had grown up while living in the desert. This is where Israel, like a worm in a cocoon, was transformed. Circumcision is bloody, personal, and it exposes all that you are. God was saying that before you can become His army, you must roll away the reproach of the Egyptian way of life. You are no longer a slave to the ways of Egypt. It is a time to put aside the old way of life. Many are walking around as goats in sheep’s clothes, practicing a form of religion without the true source of truth and power.

Sin in our midst testifies against us. It keeps us in Egypt and never allows us to enter the Promised Land. Our lives must be circumcised in order for us to come out of Egypt into our own Promised Land of spiritual blessing with God. This transformation marks the first time Israel begins to taste the fruit of the Promised Land. No more manna from Heaven. The manna stopped the day after they were circumcised. There was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate produce from Canaan.

God is turning our plowshares into weapons of love to usher in a new generation of workplace warriors. But we will not be effective if we have the reproach of sin in our lives. Ask God to show you what needs to be confessed this day so that no reproach exists. The cross of Jesus takes away all reproaches. Enter the Promised Land with power.





The Proper Foundation

January 22nd, 2015 by Os Hillman

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

Imagine spending years building an expensive home with the finest materials and craftsmanship. It is a work of art, and the project is almost complete. As the day arrives to move in, a building inspector arrives and hands you a notice that condemns your beautiful home because it doesn’t meet code.

Many Christian workplace believers who invest years in their businesses will one day stand before the Lord and realize they were building the house, not the Lord. God is very picky about motives behind the actions. Before we act, we must ask why? Why are we doing what we are doing? Has God called us to this task? Or is the real motive purely financial? Or control. Or prestige.

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

David learned this principle by the end of his life. Throughout his life he had learned that God always tested him to find out what was in his heart, and what his motive was in his actions. David instructed his son to “…acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (1 Chron. 28:9a).





The Skillfull Worker

January 21st, 2015 by Os Hillman

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men. – Proverbs 22:29

The Lord has called each of us to be excellent in what we do. Those whom God used in the Kingdom as workplace ministers were skilled and exemplified excellence in their field. Not only were these men skilled, they were filled with God’s Spirit.

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).

Consider Huram, the master craftsman of bronze in whom Solomon entrusted much of the temple designs. He was a true master craftsman (see 1 Kings 7:14).

Consider Joseph, whose skill as an administrator was known throughout Egypt and the world. Consider Daniel, who served his king with great skill and integrity. The list could go on – David, Nehemiah, Acquilla and Priscilla.

I recall the first issue of an international publication we began. It was common to hear the comment, “It doesn’t even look like a Christian magazine.” They were saying the quality and excellence exceeded what they equated to Christian work. What a shame. Has inferior quality become synonymous with Christian work?

May we strive for excellence in all that we do for the Master of the universe.

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).





Thirsting After God

January 20th, 2015 by Os Hillman

…”Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit”….

- 2 Kings 2:9

The first requirement to move in greater power and authority in God is to hunger for it. Yet even this hunger is born from God. Elisha hungered after God. Elisha saw many miracles as Elijah’s servant. But he wanted more. He wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. When he asked Elijah for this, the prophet responded, “You have asked a difficult thing.” It wasn’t because it couldn’t be granted. Elijah knew that with great anointing came a great weight of responsibility and difficulty.

Second, humility comes before honor. Elisha was known as the “servant of Elijah.” How would you like to be known as “the servant of John”? Your name is not even mentioned. This was the preparation of Elisha. It has been the preparation of many men of God. Consider Joseph, the servant of Pharaoh. Consider David, the servant of Saul.

Third, Elisha committed himself totally to his calling. The Scripture says when Elisha was called to join Elijah, the younger man left his farm business completely. He slaughtered his oxen and had a great feast for the community. It was all or nothing. He could not fall back on his farm trade if his new venture didn’t work. This demonstrates Elisha’s pioneer spirit in stepping out, not knowing what was ahead.

Do you want greater anointing in God? “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you” (Jer. 29:13-14a). Begin thirsting for God’s anointing in your heart today. This is the starting place.





The Purpose of Crucibles

January 19th, 2015 by Os Hillman

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart. – Proverbs 17:3

This proverb describes one of God’s strangest mysteries. It is a description of God’s formula to refine the human heart in order to bring out its finest qualities. The significant leaders who make the greatest mark for the Kingdom had to experience their own crucible and fire. Without it, the dross can never be removed from the human heart. Without it, the encumbrances weigh us down. God understands the human heart. He understands that for us to become all that He hopes for us, there are seasons of fire. Joseph went through many tests. Succeeding in the test qualified him for greater responsibility. The greater the use in the Kingdom the greater the crucible to prepare the right foundation. Some of God’s greatest crucibles are found in the workplace where we live every day: the employee who betrays our trust, the client who refuses to pay, the vendor who falls short of our expectations.

Each of these is a test from God to find out how we will respond. What tests are being brought your way today? His grace has been provided that we might pass the tests that He brings before us. Should we fail, we need not fear. His grace is sufficient for this as well. Ask God for the grace to walk with Him in whatever tests He has placed before you this day. He is able to accomplish what He wants for you.





Standing in the Gap

January 18th, 2015 by Os Hillman

I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. – Ezekiel 22:30

The people of Israel fell into sin when they worshiped the golden calf. It would not be the last time God’s people would fall into idol worship. They had forgotten the great things God had done for them. This angered God so much that He was going to destroy the whole nation. Only one thing changed God’s mind in the matter — Moses. Psalm 106:23 says, “…had not Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to keep His wrath from destroying them.” Moses was a man willing to stand in the gap, sacrificially, for those who were not deserving of such sacrifice. This sacrificial love by Moses is called for among His people today.

The prophet Ezekiel described another situation in which God’s people fell into sin. God was ready to destroy the nation when He spoke to Ezekiel, asking him if there is a man willing to stand in the gap so that God would not have to destroy His people.

Judah was a man who stood in the gap on behalf of his younger brother Benjamin. Joseph held his brother Simeon hostage as insurance that the other brothers would bring Benjamin to Egypt. Judah had a long history of a me-focused life, but in this instance he came forward to stand in the gap for his younger brother. He responded to the anguish of his father, Jacob, by personally guaranteeing the safe return of both Simeon and Benjamin. Judah’s sacrifice was rewarded (see Gen. 42-43).

Just as Christ did, we are to be those who will stand in the gap on behalf of others who are not aware of their own vulnerable condition. It is a proactive sacrificial position. Who is God calling you to stand in the gap for? Perhaps it is a mate; perhaps it is a coworker who has not come to know the Savior; perhaps it is a wayward child. Are you willing to become the sacrificial offering to God to change His plans of judgment because of your willingness to stand in their place? This is a hard teaching. This is what Jesus did for each of us. When we stand in the place of another, God moves because of our willingness to stand on their behalf. If we don’t, His plans will go forward because He is a righteous and holy God who will honor His own word, even if it means destruction. Are you willing to stand in the breach of the wall for someone today? Perhaps you are the only person who will stand on someone’s behalf.





Recognizing Our Source

January 17th, 2015 by Os Hillman

But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth. – Deuteronomy 8:18a

Pride is the greatest temptation to a successful workplace minister. When we begin accumulating wealth, managing people, and becoming known for our workplace expertise, we are most susceptible to falling to the most devious sin in God’s eyes — pride. The Bible tells us that God is the reason we are able to produce wealth. It is not of our own making. As soon as we move into the place where we begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, God says he will take action.

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”….If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 8:17,19-20).

These are strong words from God. It demonstrates His utter impatience for any people who think that what they have accomplished has anything to do with their own power. It is God who gives us the skill, the mind, the resources, the energy, the drive, and the opportunities in life to accomplish anything. When we become prideful in heart, He will begin a process of reproof in our life.

Today is a good day to examine whether we have fallen prey to pride. Are you sharing what God has entrusted to you with God’s people, or the needy? Are you being the instrument of blessing that God desires for His people to be? What areas of pride have crept into your life? Ask the Lord to show you this today. And avoid being put on the shelf. Nothing is worse than being cast aside because of our own pride.





God’s Tests

January 16th, 2015 by Os Hillman

…”What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?” – 1 Samuel 20:1

The cost of being one of God’s anointed can be great. Those whom God has anointed for service and influence in His Kingdom go through a special preparation. David was anointed to be the next king over Israel. Shortly after this, while still a young boy, he was brought into King Saul’s service to play music in Saul’s court. While there, the opportunity to stand up against Goliath elevated David for his next stage of development as future king. As his popularity grew so did Saul’s jealousy. However, even Saul’s jealousy was God’s instrument for molding and shaping David.

Saul finally decided he could no longer tolerate David’s success and popularity among the people, so he tried to kill David. The confused young shepherd boy spent many years hiding in wilderness caves before he was able to see the hand of God in all of this. No doubt David thought that when Samuel anointed him he would be conveniently raised up to be king with all the accompanying benefits of kingship. Not so. God’s preparation of David involved much persecution, disloyalty, and hardship. These were the lessons necessary to be a godly king. God brought many tests in David’s life, just as He did with Saul. David passed these tests. Saul did not.

When God anoints us, it often is accompanied by some severe tests. These tests are designed to prepare us for the calling God has on our life. Should we fail these tests God cannot elevate us to the next level. For a workplace believer, these tests often involve money, relationships, and other issues of the heart.

What if God has chosen you for a specific purpose in His Kingdom? Are you passing the tests He is bringing about in your life? These tests are designed to bring about greater obedience. In most instances, it will involve great adversity. The Bible tells us that the King of kings learned obedience through the things that He suffered (see Heb. 5:8). If this is true, why would it be any different for His children? Be aware of the tests God may be bringing before you in order to prepare you for His service.