TGIF, Today God Is First

Living for a Greater Cause

July 2nd, 2015 by Os Hillman

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

What does it mean for workplace believers to live for a cause greater than themselves in our day and time? Jeremiah Lanphier was a businessman in New York City who asked God to do this in his life in 1857.

TGIF-july-2-298x544-95-WEB

In a small, darkened room, in the back of one of New York City’s lesser churches, a man prayed alone. His request of God was simple, but earth-shattering: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” [John Woodbridge, ed., More Than Conquerors (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1992), 337]

He was a man approaching midlife without a wife or family, but he had financial means. He made a decision to reject the “success syndrome” that drove the city’s businessmen and bankers. God used this businessman to turn New York City’s commercial empire on its head. He began a businessmen’s prayer meeting on September 23, 1857. The meetings began slowly, but within a few months 20 noonday meetings were convening daily throughout the city. The New York Tribune and the New York Herald issued articles of revival. It had become the city’s biggest news. Now a full-fledged revival, it moved outside New York. By spring of 1858, 2,000 met daily in Chicago’s Metropolitan Theatre, and in Philadelphia the meetings mushroomed into a four-month long tent meeting. Meetings were held in Baltimore, Washington, Cincinnati, Chicago, New Orleans, and Mobile. Thousands met to pray because one man stepped out. Annus Mirabilis, the year of national revival, had begun.

This was an extraordinary move of God through one man. It was unique because the movement was lead by businessmen, a group long considered the least prone to any form of evangelical fervor, and it had started on Wall Street, the most unlikely of all places to begin.

Could God do something extraordinary through you? Take a step. Ask God to do mighty things through you.





Proving the Word of God

July 1st, 2015 by Os Hillman

“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.” Psalm 105:18-19

God spoke to Joseph as a young boy through a dream and vision regarding his future. He could not understand its complete meaning at the time, but he knew it had great significance. Joseph knew God had a destiny for his life. However, the proving out of that word from God was filled with 13 years of waiting, rejection, pain, sorrow, and no doubt, questioning God’s faithfulness.

TGIF-july-1-298x544-95-WEB

His life was all but a life of influence and impact as a prisoner and slave. No doubt he wondered whether that dream was simply some vain imagination. David must have felt the same when he was anointed king over Israel as a young man only to spend years of fleeing from King Saul. God’s preparation for greatness in His Kingdom is often filled with difficulty. God is more concerned about developing the inner life of his servant. That inner life can only be prepared by removing all self-confidence and replacing it with God-confidence. God-confidence is only developed in the furnace of life.

Is the Lord proving His word in your life? Perhaps He is using circumstances and events to move you into a place of patient waiting as He puts you in the place He desires for you. This is the place where the foundations of your soul mature. Let Him prove your faith.





Seekers of God

June 30th, 2015 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.” Psalm 53:2

Are you a man or woman who is a seeker of God? The Lord delights in seeing those children of His who truly understand the meaning of life and why there is only one thing worth seeking God Himself.

TGIF-june-30-298x544-95-WEB

I can always tell when I have not been seeking God. The cares of this life, the urgent over the important, and the petty irritations-these are the symptoms of a life that has not been in the presence of God. Do we understand, really understand? That is the question God raises to each of us today. If we understand, then why do we spend day after day toiling and fretting over what doesn’t matter? Can we set proper boundaries in our lives that don’t allow our time with Him to be continually stolen away? It is a challenge in a world that screams “activity, activity!”

Do you have a consistent time of seeking Him in your life? Are you committed to developing that intimacy with your Lord that He so desires? If not, ask Him today to help you. This is the longing of His heart. Ask Him to make it the longing of your heart. Then you will demonstrate to Him that you understand, and you will be a seeker of God.





Settling Disputes

June 29th, 2015 by Os Hillman

“Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.” Proverbs 18:18

We prayed about it. We discussed it. My friend had one desire; I had a different one.

“Okay, let’s settle the issue the way the early Church settled matters when an agreement could not be achieved. Let’s flip a coin.”

TGIF-june-29-298x544-95-WEB

“You must be joking!” my friend lamented.

“No, the early Church cast lots often to determine a course of direction or even select the disciple who would take Judas’ place.”

“Okay,” my friend agreed.

We flipped the coin and the matter was quickly settled.

In the Old Testament there are many examples of casting lots for determining a decision. We hear little of this method today. Most of us do not want to release the decision process to this seemingly “flippant” process; yet the Lord says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33).

Flipping a coin is the equivalent to casting a lot. It removes our own opinions and leaves the final outcome to the Lord. Pray before you take such an action. It will surprise you who is willing to submit a decision to the Lord and who isn’t. It removes the element of control from both parties.

I believe the Lord would first have us make decisions through agreement and continued prayer for the decision. However, there are times when this approach can be the quickest and simplest. It removes each person’s temptation to lord it over the other. Cast the lot and settle the dispute.





Pleasing to the Lord

June 28th, 2015 by Os Hillman

“Prepare it with oil on a griddle; bring it well-mixed and present the grain offering broken in pieces as an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” Leviticus 6:21

There is a requirement to be blessed at a deeper spiritual level by God. Christ requires it of each of His servants. He required it of Paul when He struck him down on the Damascus Road. He required it of Joseph when he was left in the pit and then sold into slavery. He required it of Jacob when he left his homeland penniless and needy. He required it of most every major leader that He used significantly – brokenness.

TGIF-june-28-298x544-95-WEB

Brokenness cannot be achieved on your own. It is something God does Himself. We cannot determine that we are going to be broken, but we can refuse to become broken. When God begins this deeper work in our lives, we can kick and scream and refuse the process. We can manipulate and strive to stay on top, but this only delays His work.

Pride and mammon are ruling strongholds of the workplace. Brokenness is considered a weak position in the workplace. However, God says until we are broken we cannot be an aroma pleasing to the Lord. God wants you to be an aroma in the workplace. In order for this to happen, you and I must be a broken vessel in His hand. Pray that God would allow you to become a pleasing aroma to Him no matter the cost.





Our Counselor

June 27th, 2015 by Os Hillman

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

I was driving down the interstate feeling discouraged from an appointment I had just had. A former employee’s company was seeking to displace me, and my company, as their source for our services. It had been one of many difficult events during those months. As I was driving, some words popped into my mind, No weapon formed against you shall prosper. I could not tell you where those words came from other than I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking them to me; I knew they were in the Bible. I knew they were in the Old Testament.

TGIF-june-27-298x544-95-WEB

When I returned to my office that day, I searched for the key words in my concordance and found the verse. “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you” (Is. 54:17a).

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would remind us of the things He desires us to know. There are times in our lives when the Holy Spirit speaks into our spirit words designed to encourage us or give us what we need at the moment. That is just one of the roles of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. The more you know God’s Word, the more often you’ll recall verses the Holy Spirit will bring to mind for a given situation. Study God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to remind you of the things He desires you to know.





Remaining Vertical With God

June 26th, 2015 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.

TGIF-june-26-298x544-95-WEB

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, 2015 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.

TGIF-june-25-298x544-95-WEB

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, 2015 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.

TGIF-june-24-298x544-95-WEB

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, 2015 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?”

TGIF-june-23-298x544-95-WEB

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.