TGIF, Today God Is First

Possessions of the Kingdom

April 19th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.” – Genesis 15:14

Whenever God brings you through a time of great adversity, you can expect to come out of that experience with great possessions, if you have been faithful through the trial. This is a universal truth. Wisdom comes from obedience, not knowledge. When we have been tested and proven, the reality of our faith results in possessions from God that we would never receive if we had not gone through those trials. These are precious in His sight and should be valued greatly. Those who know you will be amazed at the wisdom that comes from your mouth. It is one of those mysteries of the gospel that only those who experience incredible testing and hardship can explain.

God kept the people of Israel enslaved 400 years, but when the time came to free them from the bondage of slavery, they came out with great possessions. These physical possessions symbolize the spiritual possessions we receive when we come out of being enslaved to those things that have hindered us all our lives. These possessions are to be shared with others so that they also can know how they might become free.

What has God freed you from that allows you to share your possessions with others? Share what God has done in your life with someone you work with today. It may be the possession they need most in their life.





Losing Your Life for His Purposes

April 18th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” – Luke 9:24

When the time came for God to fulfill Joseph’s dreams, Joseph himself had virtually no interest at all in it. Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it” (Lk. 9:24). God wants to teach us a different set of values so that the kind of thing we start out wanting becomes secondary. God has something in mind for us that is far greater than the interest we began with.

Joseph’s day of exaltation had arrived. Yet, through it all, a very real humiliation had to take place. We know about the humiliation Joseph had experienced for 13 years after being sold by his brothers into slavery, then taken to Egypt. We know how he was falsely accused and cast into prison.

Then came a different situation. Joseph had had a triumph and was given an exaltation, but the kind he really never asked for. He did not appear to be all that interested in what was about to happen. He watched as the Pharaoh took his ring off his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. Joseph never asked for that. All he wanted was to go home. He longed to go back to Canaan, to see his father, and to have his dreams fulfilled.

Therefore, here we find an extraordinary incongruity: a humiliation in the heart of vindication. A triumph that was the opposite of everything he, himself, could have envisaged. Joseph wanted to go home, but a one-way ticket to Canaan wasn’t available. Before he knew it, he had Egypt in his hip pocket. He had never prayed for that. But God wanted Egypt. What God wanted is what Joseph got.

Joseph was given something that he could be trusted with because it didn’t mean that much to him.

[R.T. Kendall, A Treasury of Wisdom Journal (Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour and Company, 1996), January 16 day reading, email books].





Wanted: Dead or Alive!

April 17th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12).

In the old west it was common to see a poster on the wall of the town jail or post office with a man’s picture below the words: Wanted: Dead or Alive! These were the most notorious criminals who posed the greatest danger to society.

Let me ask you a personal question. Is there a “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster in hell with your name on it? Are you a real danger to hell? Do you cause problems for Satan’s legion of demons? Are you pushing back Satan’s agenda on planet earth?

Are the unsaved in danger of receiving salvation through you? Will someone receive healing because you dared to pray for them? Will someone’s life be impacted because you chose to pray for them in your workplace during a difficult time? Will a city be impacted for Jesus Christ because of you?

Millions of believers sit on the sidelines everyday having no impact on the Kingdom of darkness. Their names will never appear on a Wanted poster in hell because Satan sees that they are no threat. However, God wants you to be a threat to Satan’s kingdom.

What are some things you can do that will pose a threat to Satan’s agenda? Perhaps you can begin praying for one of Satan’s most notorious talk show personalities. Or maybe you are called to visit an elderly home to bring the love of Christ into a lonely place. There are many ways you can earn a reputation in hell.

Are you willing to be a force to be reckoned with by Satan’s legions?





The Graduate-Level Test: Self-Defense

April 16th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” – Psalm 37:6

As a believer grows in trusting obedience and love, God often brings a test that seems uncharacteristically cruel. The test: being wrongfully judged by those close to you. It is not for the reactionary. It cannot be passed over by simply gutting it out. Supernatural grace is the only means of passing this one. It is one of those tests the Savior had to experience Himself when being tried by the court of public opinion, the religious community, and the government of His day. His response to the government was silence. His response to the religious establishment was silence at the final judgment. To the rest of His accusers He remained quiet and left vindication to the Father. He lived the commandment He gave to the disciples:

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35).

How do you react when you are accused or mistreated for no reason? Do you listen quietly, or do you justify each and every action? Most of us take pride in doing what is right and expect the same from others, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith. Jesus knew that if you were to be a true follower of His, you would enter this test eventually. It is part of the program. The workplace gives ample opportunity to be wronged, misunderstood, and maligned. When God brings a measured assault against one of His children, it is to find out if he truly believes in the cross. The cross is where each of us is given the opportunity to die to our pride, our reputations, and our ego. When He allows a measured assault upon us, it is to find out if the cross is sufficient. He wants to see if we will seek to rescue ourselves. Jesus said if we die with Him, we will be raised with Him. When God allows satan to bring the measured assault, ask God for the grace to cling to the cross. Let the pride and arrogance that Jesus wants to remove from our lives be crucified. Thank God for the opportunity to be crucified with Christ. Then your righteousness will shine like the noonday sun and the justice of your cause will be in His hands.





Four Attributes of a Life God Blesses

April 15th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.’” – Isaiah 28:16

Whenever God calls us into a consecrated life, it is made up of four distinct stages. Christ often compared this process to building a house. First, we must prepare to build by laying a foundation. That foundation is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. Any foundation other than Christ will not stand.

Second, as we enter a walk of faith with God, He allows each of us to experience trials, testings, miracles, and challenges in life that are designed to provide “faith experiences” that demonstrate tangible evidences of His work in our life: Moses’ burning-bush experience, Peter’s walk on the water, Joshua’s parting of the Jordan River. These experiences built the faith of these people. The depth and width of our calling is directly proportional to the faith experiences He allows in each of our lives. If God plans an international ministry with you, chances are you will experience a higher degree of faith experiences compared to another. The reason being, you will need to look on these to ensure your calling and provide testimony to His work in your life.

The third stage deals with motives. “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord” (Prov. 16:2). What is the motive behind my actions? Is it only financial accumulation? Is it to gain control? Is it to create independence? The primary motive must be God’s leading you to take such an action – it must be obedience. These other factors must be by-products of the decision.

Finally, we are prepared to take action. Here we must ask, “Do we have the skill, quality, and ability to enter into this activity?” So often we have not trained ourselves adequately to be successful in our endeavor. You would never want someone working on your teeth who had not been trained and certified as a dentist.

Before you begin your next project, ask yourself these four questions. What is the foundation this project is based on? What experiences has God demonstrated in my life that indicate His involvement? What is my motive for entering this activity? Do I have the skill, quality, and ability to accomplish the task? Answering these questions will tell you whether God will bless your activity.





Using Satan for God’s Purposes

April 14th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Hand this man over to satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians. 5:5

Paul encountered a believer who was involved in an incestuous relationship in the Corinthian church. This man was deluded by satan and was controlled by immorality. The man was unwilling to change his behavior, so Paul recommended to the church that tough actions be taken. He spiritually handed this man over to satan for the destruction of his flesh for the benefit of his soul. The idea is that the person will wallow in the pit of sin so long until it becomes detestable to him and he cries out for God’s grace. We know this man was a Christian because only a Christian can be subjected to church discipline.

Have you ever known someone who was walking in disobedience and no matter how much you prayed he seemed oblivious to his sin? God has given one weapon to counter satan’s schemes against those who fall prey to satan. That is, let satan have access to them fully so that their lives become so miserable they cry out to God for mercy. Probably few of us have ever had to pray this prayer. However, you should not be fearful of this prayer for any believer who is willingly walking in disobedience. This is love–tough love. There is a time and place for tough love. I have seen this principle work. God restores His children when His Body takes a stand against sin. It is not comfortable for those who take this action.

Do you know someone who needs tough love in his or her life right now? Ask God if it is time to pray the prayer that Paul prayed. “So that his spirit might be saved on the day of the Lord.”





Your Work

April 13th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.” – John 17:4

The Lord has revealed to us that the number one thing we are to do is love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves. His desire is for us to know Him and the power of His resurrection. These mandates deal with our relationship with Him. The fruit of this relationship must then result in our glorifying Him by completing the work He has given each of us to do. It will become a by-product of this relationship, not an end in itself.

What is the work God has called you to do? Jesus never did anything the Father had not instructed Him to do. He lived in such communion with the Father that He knew when to turn left and when to turn to the right. Is it possible to have such a relationship with our heavenly Father? I think that if it weren’t, He would not have given us such an example.

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jer. 33:3). What has He called you to do? Perhaps you are called to be the best CPA in your city or the best advertising executive or the best office worker or assembly line person in your company. Whatever work He has called you to do, He will use you as His instrument to accomplish something that He has uniquely prepared you to do.

When our life is complete, what a glorious day it will be if we can each say, “I have completed the work You gave me to do.” This will have brought great glory to Him.





Knowledge that is Productive

April 12th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:8

Productivity is a term all workplace believers can relate to. It is the by-product of what we desire from our work. Without productivity, we do not make sales, we do not deliver goods, and we do not achieve our goals. There are things in our work lives that can creep in making us unproductive. The same is true in our walk with God.

The apostle Peter tells us that we can become knowledgeable of Jesus but fail to be effective and productive in our relationship with Him. We are a society that has great knowledge, but our comparable scale of productivity from that knowledge is extremely weighted to the knowledge side. The apostle Peter tells us there is a solution to this dilemma.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8).

Is your Christian experience filled with knowledge, but little power? Is there staleness in your walk with God? Is there unrest in your soul? It may be due to a need to develop character that only the Holy Spirit can develop out of an obedient heart. Ask the Lord today to add these qualities to your faith so that you can be productive as a soldier of Jesus Christ.





The Gospel of the Kingdom

April 11th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:5b-6

When Christ came to earth, He came to bring to mankind the gospel of the Kingdom. Over the centuries, the Church has tended to emphasize only a portion of the gospel. That portion is the gospel of salvation. However, Jesus came that we might have more than just salvation. He came to give us a whole new life that was accompanied by signs, wonders, and His Spirit living in us and revealing Himself to us daily. He came so that we might walk on this earth as He did. If our lives are not reflecting the same things as Jesus’ did, we must ask why?

I have noticed three distinct types of workplace believers throughout my 24 years of walking with Christ. First, many of us come to Christ out of a need for salvation. Our hearts have been touched by His call on our lives. We reason and analyze the claims of Christ and make a decision for Him. It is the convenient time to accept Him in our lives. This first stage is often characterized by a “Bless me, Lord” attitude toward God. It is the first stage that primarily brings salvation into our lives. Some never really go past this first stage.

The second stage is the crisis stage. A crisis takes place in our lives, and we are motivated to seek Christ with a whole heart. However, this motivation is not out of pure love for Christ; rather, it is motivated by the desire to get out of the pain of living. The motivation is to solve “the what” versus “the why” in my life at the time. This stage is best characterized as “Help me, Lord.”

In the third stage we begin to experience the gospel of the Kingdom. It is the place where Jesus resided in His walk with His heavenly Father. It is the place of conviction. The number of people who live at this level are quite few, but these people are experiencing the reality of a walk with God that is foreign to all others. They are seeing daily occurrences of His involvement in their lives. They are motivated by a deep love for Him. They know Him. These people have an attitude characterized by these thoughts, “Have me, Lord; though He slay me, still will I trust Him.”

Where are you today? Have you merely accepted His salvation to simply float along? Or do you seek Him with a whole heart only when a crisis occurs? His desire is for you and me to live a life of conviction, motivated by our love for Him and His love for us. This is where we will experience the gospel of the Kingdom.





Planning for Success

April 10th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” – Jeremiah 10:23

In business I hear a lot about planning. Every January I hear workplace believers establishing their planning for the year. Corporations establish plans that cover anywhere from one to five years. Individuals establish personal life plans. There is only one problem that I see with most planning done by well-meaning believers. If God is not the originator and director of the plan, then that plan is doomed for failure. So often, Christian workplace believers set out to plan something that seems good in their own mind. The merits of what is being planned can look great, and it can even be a worthy endeavor. However, that is not the point. When Jesus said He came only to do the will of the Father, He could not consider doing anything that was not what the Father wanted, no matter how good or righteous it might appear to be.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Prov. 16:9). God must give us the vision for what He calls us to do. After we have the vision, we must ask Him if He wants us to take action on that vision and what the action steps entail. The Lord wants to direct each step of the planning process. David learned this lesson when he went to battle against his enemy, the Philistines. One day he inquired of God as to whether he was to go up against the Philistines, and the Lord said, “Yes, but only when you hear the marching in the balsam trees.” It is a mistake to reason and analyze in order to come to a decision on a matter. The Lord already knows the answer. It is our responsibility to seek Him to find out His mind on the matter. Our planning must be established in Him. Only when we remain so connected to the source can we be assured of putting God’s plan into place. Also, getting that plan confirmed through others will assure that we are not following the deceit of our own heart.

When you begin to plan next time, ask God for His wisdom for establishing the vision and action steps. You will be surprised how well He can plan.