TGIF, Today God Is First

Seeking His Face

December 19th, 2014 by Os Hillman

Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. – Deuteronomy 34:10

One of the great differences between Moses and any other character in the Bible is how God describes Moses. Moses was a friend of God, and he met God face to face. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Ex. 33:11a). So often, we view others for what they can do for us, instead of who they are. There is a difference between being a servant and being a friend. There is a difference between being an employee and being a son.

Do you seek God’s face, or do you find that you spend more time seeking His hand? God wants us to seek Him for our every need. However, there is a higher calling for every believer. That is to seek God’s face, and to see Him for His love and tenderness toward us as His children. He can provide for our physical needs, but when we see Him face to face, we are changed. We no longer see Him as one to be feared as much as one to know intimately. We no longer view Him for what He can give to us, but for what He already has given for us.

When we see Jesus face to face, we are no longer slaves, but friends. We do not fear Him as a slave fears his master. We have entered a new kind of relationship-a relationship that has mutual respect and care.

Today, Jesus is calling you to seek His face, not just His hand. When you seek His face, you will know His provision and His mercy in all aspects of life. Seek His face today and become a friend of God.





Betrayals

December 18th, 2014 by Os Hillman

If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend. – Psalm 55:12-13

“You will always be attacked in the place of your inheritance,” said the man sitting across the breakfast table. “God has called you to bring people together and to impact other people’s lives as a result of this anointing in your life. You must make sure that you seek to maintain righteousness in all of your relationships.” Those words came from someone who had the wisdom and authority to speak them to me.

I have had a number of close relationships that ended in betrayal. I am very loyal to my friends and those with whom I have covenant relationships. Yet there are times that no matter how righteous you are, when someone means to betray you, he will do it. Loving those who betray you is “graduate-level Christianity.” The religious community and one of His closest friends betrayed Jesus. Those who were closest to David betrayed him. Joseph’s own family betrayed him. Loving our enemies cannot be accomplished by mustering it up. It can only happen when we have come to a death in ourselves so that Christ can love through us. It is truly one of those acts of identifying with the cross.

If you are a leader, you can be sure God will allow you to experience betrayal. It is one of those courses in the Kingdom that may not be required until God has seen that you have successfully passed other tests. It is the most difficult and most gut wrenching of all tests. A godly response goes against all that is in us. Our natural response is to protect, retaliate, and retain unforgiveness and bitterness. Our natural response is satan’s most powerful weapon; to overcome it requires much grace from God. Ask God to build His nature in you now so that when such attacks come, you will be aware that it is a test and you will respond in righteousness.





Elevated From the Pasture

December 17th, 2014 by Os Hillman

Now then, tell my servant David, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over My people Israel.” – 2 Samuel 7:8

Have you ever heard someone say, “He is a self-made millionaire”? They are stating that this person accomplished everything through his own efforts. His achievements were a result of his hard work and street smarts.

David was nearing the end of his life. The prophet Nathan was responding to David’s idea to build a temple where the Ark of the Covenant would stay. God reminded David of his roots and where He had brought him. God took David from the fields of pasturing sheep to pastoring a nation. God reminded David that He cut off all of David’s enemies. (David never lost a battle.)

Have you ever felt tempted to look at your accomplishments with pride as if you were the reason for your success? Have you ever thought your prosperity was due to your ingenuity? Has your material success been a testimony to others that God is the ruler of all aspects of your life, even the material side?

Joseph’s greatest test was not his temptation to be bitter against his brothers. It wasn’t the sexual temptation that came inside Potiphar’s house. It wasn’t even the discouragement of years of imprisonment for being wrongfully accused. It was the temptation of prosperity and ownership. Once he was elevated, he was given choices that he never had before. It was totally up to him as to which choice he would make. Stewardship reveals what we believe about God and ourselves.

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

Do you have a proper understanding of who you are? Do you understand that it is God who has given you the ability to work and achieve? He is the source of all good things. Ask God today if your life models this belief.





The Power of Serving Others

December 16th, 2014 by Os Hillman

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:9-11).

There is a Kingdom principle I find few really understand. The principle is this: When you focus on serving others, your need is often met through God’s supernatural law of serving.

I’ve seen this happen so many times. The law of sowing and reaping comes into play in this Kingdom principle. “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love.” (Hos 10:12). “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor 9:6-9)

Whenever God calls me to serve another person with my time and resources, I notice how God measures resources back to me from unrelated sources. Sometimes it comes through an unexpected donation to our ministry or a speaking engagement or a new opportunity. It is uncanny how this happens consistently when I serve others. We are never to view people or organizations as competition. The Bible says that God has already assigned our portion. We need not have to manipulate outcomes.

“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Ps 16:5-6).

We don’t serve others to get. However, when you do serve others, there is a Kingdom principle that works on your behalf as fruit of your service. Is there someone you need to serve today?





Desert Preparation

December 15th, 2014 by Os Hillman

Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. – Galatians 1:17

The apostle Paul tells us in the first chapter of Galatians some of the facts surrounding his own conversion. He tells us that he clearly understood the call Jesus placed on his life. He did not have to consult other men about this calling. But before he was released to begin his own mission, He went to Arabia for three years. Why did Paul have to go to Arabia for three years before he ever met another disciple of Jesus Christ?

The Scripture does not tell us plainly why Paul spent three years in Arabia. However, based upon many examples of God placing special calls on people’s lives, we know it often requires a time of separation between the old life and the new life. No doubt, Paul had plenty of time to consider what had taken place in his life and time to develop an intimate knowledge and relationship with the newfound Savior. His life was about to change dramatically.

So often, when God places a call on one of His children, it requires a separation between the old life and the new life. There is a time of being away from the old in order to prepare the heart for what is coming. It can be a painful and difficult separation. Joseph was separated from his family. Jacob was sent to live with his uncle Laban. Moses was sent to the desert.

When God began a deeper work in my own life, it required a separation from all I had known before. He removed all that I had placed confidence in up to that point. It was very painful and very scary since I was in my mid-40′s. In my mind, it was not the time to start life over. I had been making plans for early retirement. God had a different idea. He removed all my comforts and security in order to accomplish a much greater work than what I could see at the time. The picture is clear now. I understand why it was necessary, but I didn’t at the time.

Perhaps God has placed you in your own desert period. Perhaps you cannot make sense of the situation in which you find yourself. If you press into God during this time, He will reveal the purposes He has for you. The key is pressing into Him. Seek Him with a whole heart and He will be found. God may have a special calling and message He is building in your life right now. Trust in His love for you that He will fully complete the work He has started in you.





Hearing God’s Voice

December 14th, 2014 by Os Hillman

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.





God’s Chosen Few

December 13th, 2014 by Os Hillman

But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction. – Job 36:15

He was born with cerebral palsy in South Africa. He barely survived his birth. He did not walk until he was four years old. One leg was longer than the other and he could not speak well. For most of his life, his hands shook and he had little control over them. Feelings of rejection and bitterness at his plight were common occurrences during his growing-up years. During his school years, he was chastised by kids and generally rejected by society.

At age 17, his father felt led to take his son to a healing service. That night, the young boy’s leg divinely grew two inches. He no longer walked with a limp. Bradley met the Savior and began to grow in his intimacy with Him. God began to speak to him and show him things. Prayer became his source of comfort and strength. God gave him insights about people and situations, bringing blessing to all who encountered him. Today, this young man travels around the world as an internationally known intercessor and founder of a school of intercessory prayer. Literally hundreds of hours of knowledge about the way God speaks to His children have been birthed in and through this young man.

One evening Bradley walked forward in a meeting of about 40 workplace believers and handed a note to the leader during a Christian business conference. The note was for someone in the room, but Bradley did not know whom it was for. It was the last day of a 40-day fast for this writer. The message gave a specific description of what I had been experiencing the two years leading up to that night. Nobody would have known such details. I knew it was for me. It was a miraculous “telegram from God” that provided confirmation and encouragement of where God was taking me. God used one broken man to speak to another broken man.

God’s ways are not our ways. His preparation of His warriors seems cruel and hurtful at times. His ways are much higher than ours. Trust the God of the universe that He can orchestrate the events of your life when they seem the darkest.





The Finger of God

December 12th, 2014 by Os Hillman

When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God. – Exodus 31:18

Throughout the Bible, the word testimony is used in many ways. Testimony comes from the Hebrew word eduwth, which means “witness.” The Ark of the Covenant contained the Ten Commandments, written and inscribed personally by God and given to Moses on Mount Sinai. These became known as the testimony. The ark was a divinely inspired structure that was to be used as a witness to the people of Israel and the whole world of God’s power and majesty. These divinely created tablets were a witness of God’s activity on earth with man.

Throughout the Bible, God looked to create testimonies with His people. At the Red Sea, He created a testimony through Moses. God created a testimony through Joshua when He parted the Jordan River and allowed the people with the Ark to cross on dry land. When Lazarus lay dead for days, Jesus came and created a testimony of His ability to raise the dead.

Jesus is still looking for those who are willing to have a testimony created through their lives. One of the major characteristics of a God-ordained testimony is for something to happen that cannot be explained in the natural. In other words, if you can make it happen through your abilities, it is not a testimony about God, but about you.

One time, I was invited to go to South Africa to a major conference, but I did not have the funds to go. I sensed that I was to attend this conference, but refused to use a credit card to fund the trip. I waited and waited. Finally, on the day of the registration closing, a man came to my office and said I was to go to this conference and he would fund the trip. He took out his checkbook and wrote a check for $2,500. That has become a testimony of God’s activity in my life.

God wants to create a testimony in every aspect of your life – your family, your work, your church, and in your community. He is waiting to put His finger on your next endeavor to reveal His power through your life. Look carefully at the events where God might want to create a testimony out of an impossible situation. He delights in using His children for this purpose because it brings Him glory.





Paul’s Personal Mission Statement

December 11th, 2014 by Os Hillman

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11 – Acts 21:11-12

Paul understood his personal mission, which should be the personal mission of every believer in Jesus Christ. It is the one summary statement that best describes the purpose of our existence on earth and the goal of our Christian experience. It can be reduced to three important characteristics.

To know Christ.

To know and experience His power.

To identify with His sufferings.

All that flows from these three objectives becomes a by-product. Salvation is a by-product. Miracles are a by-product. Christlikeness is a by-product. Paul’s focus was on relationship. He understood that the deeper the relationship, the more power he would experience. He also understood that as he grew in this relationship, there would be suffering. Whenever the Kingdom of Light confronts the kingdom of darkness, there is a battle, and this often results in casualties. Christ confronted these earthly kingdoms and suffered for it. If we are living at this level of obedience, we, too, will face similar battles; it simply comes with the territory.

Does this sound like your personal mission statement? Is your focus in life centered on knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection? If not, press into Him today in order to begin experiencing Christ more intimately.





Hungering for God

December 10th, 2014 by Os Hillman

God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Psalms 53:2 – Acts 21:11-12

“I really don’t understand why I should come to this. How can I really benefit?” was his response. At that moment, I realized that I was wasting my time with this man on whom I had invested much throughout his Christian walk. He was often like a roller coaster-up one minute, down the next.

“You simply aren’t hungry enough,” I commented to my friend.

Whenever someone must always rationalize and examine whether the things of God are beneficial to them, you know that they are not hungry enough for God. I recall one time when I was in a difficult place. I received an audiotape from a man who gave me some insights into my problem. I was hungry enough to book a flight to a city 500 miles away just to meet him and find out more. My finances were at a very low point, so it took some real faith to do this. That meeting turned out to be a divine appointment and became a turning point in my life.

God is looking for men and women who hunger to know Him. When we believe that we know all we need to know, we are in a dangerous place. God has placed men and women in the Body of Christ who have had different experiences and gifts that can be helpful in our own spiritual pilgrimages. It requires humility of heart to realize that we can learn from others. We can easily rationalize our business pressures and time commitments to discount such opportunities.