TGIF, Today God Is First

The Booster Rocket

September 30th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses My servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites.”Joshua 1:1-2

A rocket launch is truly an amazing phenomenon to me. Tons of weight is stacked vertically to the sky with thousands of gallons of fuel exploding in a matter of moments. Soon the rocket drops its take-off boosters and uses additional boosters to move the rocket to the next stage of the mission. The first engines have a unique purpose…to get the rocket to the next stage.

Joshua was known for almost 40 years as “Joshua, servant of Moses.” God’s preparation for him required years of selfless service, training in the desert, and tests of faith. Those preparation years were booster rockets designed to move Joshua into each new stage of his development and his ultimate calling.

God allows each of us preparation times to lay a foundation that He plans to build on. Some of those foundation times appear to be laborious and meaningless, yet these varied experiences are what God is using to frame your life for the message He plans to speak through you. Without these foundational experiences, the Jordan River can never be crossed and we cannot enter the Promised Land.

Embrace these times of seeming inactivity from God. They, too, are a rocket booster to your next stage of your walk with God.

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).





Visions and Dreams

September 29th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions; your old men will dream dreams.”Acts 2:17

“I need to meet with you,” said the man from England during a break at a conference overseas. We walked outside to have a coffee break and sat down. “God wants you to know that He removed your finances in order to reserve His reward for you in Heaven. He has done you a great service.”

I was shocked. I’d never met this gentleman before. How would he have known I had lost a half million dollars in the previous few years, virtually all of my financial net worth, to some unusual calamities? We shared for the next several minutes.

That week, during our lunch and dinner times, I had been enjoying wonderful, juicy oranges from this island in the Mediterranean Sea. It came time for the gentleman and I to conclude our coffee break. We bowed in prayer. As we prayed, the man began to describe a picture he was seeing in his mind.

“I see a picture of a large orange tree. The tree is full of large, ripened oranges. They are beginning to fall to the ground. You are the tree!”

Again, I looked at the man with shock and amazement, and now tears in my eyes.

“You are the third person in three years that has had a similar vision during a prayer time like this. The first two people were also strangers to me.”

I went back into the meeting rejoicing that God could be so personal in my life. He used a servant who had gone through similar trials to supernaturally speak a word of encouragement in a way that I would know it was God who was speaking.

There are times when God supernaturally speaks into our lives. He does this to demonstrate His power, His love, and His intimacy with us. Do not be surprised if God sends one of His messengers to speak into your life when you need it most. Be open to how God might want to speak into your life today.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:3).





Be As Little Children

September 28th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1a

“I have an important business meeting in the morning. Would you please set the alarm for 5:30 a.m.?” I said to my wife.

“Oh, that won’t be necessary. Just tell the Lord what time you want to wake up. He does it for me all the time,” my wife said.

I rolled my eyes in disbelief. “Well, I’d feel more comfortable if we set the alarm.”

“Okay, ye of little faith. But just to prove my point I am going to ask the Lord to wake us up just before 5:30.”

The next morning I awoke before the alarm went off. I looked at the clock. It read 5:15. I looked at my wife, who had just awakened at the same time with an I-told-you-so smile.

Sometimes we wrongfully view God as someone we go to for only the “big things.” The idea of “bothering God” for such a trivial matter seems foolish and presumptuous. However, when you were a child and had to get up in the morning for school, didn’t your mom or dad come wake you up? They were your parents, and you could come to them with the most trivial concerns or requests. Why would our heavenly Father be any less approachable? Perhaps our problem is that we simply have not developed a level of intimacy with God so that we feel the freedom to approach Him at these daily, routine levels. We often operate with an unwritten code that says our needs must have a certain degree of importance or crisis before we come to God with them. This is not God’s character towards us.

Does the Lord desire this level of intimacy with you and me? The apostle Paul exhorted us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17 KJV). There is never a caution to pray only about matters of greater importance.

Today, go to God with matters that you might view as trivial and would normally avoid bringing to God. Ask God to increase your level of intimacy with Him. You may even be able to get rid of your alarm clock.





A Joseph Story

September 27th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16

“I’d like you to help us develop our marketing program beginning in January,” said the CEO of a sports product company. The consultant was delighted to have the opportunity. It was the first new business opportunity he’d had in some time. He had just come out of some very difficult business and personal circumstances in the last few years. A few months into the relationship, the CEO asked the consultant to manage the entire marketing department, placing him over the current marketing staff. It appeared that God was blessing his efforts with several successful initiatives. The consultant began to build a relationship with a few of the executives. One day, the sales manager came into his office and asked for help on a personal crisis. One thing led to another, and two months later, the consultant found himself leading the sales manager in the sinner’s prayer in the sales manager’s office.

God prepares His servants in many ways to accomplish His purpose. The story of Joseph is repeated every workday in the lives of His people. The circumstances may be different, but the results are the same. God trains His servant through sometimes difficult “boot camps.” When that training is complete, He places them in strategic places to be a provider-both physically and spiritually.

Is God preparing you to be a provider in the workplace? Do not fret at the difficult training ground you may be required to endure. He has a plan. If you’ll allow Him to carry out His plan, you’ll be privileged to be used by the Master’s hand. I know because I am that consultant.





Situational Ethics

September 26th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart.” Psalm 15:1-2

“I cannot believe they are not going to honor my bonus agreement,” said the executive who was about to take another position in a new city. Her understanding of her present work agreement called for a bonus at the end of the year. Management saw the situation differently. “It’s not right. I am entitled to that bonus,” she complained.

It was time to leave. The company had given her a laptop to use. However, when she left, she decided that because the company was not going to pay her the bonus she was entitled to, she would simply keep the laptop as compensation due her. “And they would never miss it,” she reasoned. She was now in the employment of the new company. As each day passed, she grew uneasier about her decision. She could not get it off her mind. Finally, she concluded that the Holy Spirit was telling her this decision was wrong and that she needed to call her former boss to confess her action. She called him and confessed what she had done and why she had done it. Her boss accepted her confession and forgave her. Strangely enough, he allowed her to keep the laptop computer.

Truth never changes. It is absolute. When we make decisions based on other actions that are taken, we move into making decisions based on the situation, not truth and righteousness. The executive may indeed have been wronged, but she had to address the wrong in the appropriate way. Trying to compensate for the wrong by doing something that violates another scriptural principle is called situational ethics. If the employer had never wronged the executive, do you think she would have felt justified in taking the computer? Probably not. When you isolate the two situations, you see that one action was taken in response to the other action. Have you had any experiences in which you have used situational ethics? The Lord desires His people to have a higher standard, even at the cost of being wronged. Ask the Lord to reveal any business practices that may indicate situational ethics. You might be surprised what will happen when you do the right thing.





A Shoe Salesman

September 25th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26

Dwight L. Moody was a poorly educated, unordained, shoe salesman who felt God’s call to preach the gospel. Early one morning he and some friends gathered in a hay field for a season of prayer, confession, and consecration. His friend Henry Varley said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” Moody was deeply moved by these words. He later went to a meeting where Charles Spurgeon was speaking. In that meeting Moody recalled the words spoken by his friend, “The world had yet to see!…with and for and through and in!…A man!” Varley meant any man! Varley didn’t say he had to be educated, or brilliant, or anything else. Just a man! Well, by the Holy Spirit in him, he’d be one of those men. Then suddenly, in that high gallery, he saw something he’d never realized before. It was not Mr. Spurgeon, after all, who was doing that work; it was God. And if God could use Mr. Spurgeon, why should He not use the rest of us, and why should we not all just lay ourselves at the Master’s feet and say to Him, “Send me! Use me!”

D.L. Moody was an ordinary man who sought to be fully and wholly committed to Christ. God did extraordinary things through this ordinary man. Moody became one of the great evangelists of modern times. He founded a Bible college, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, which sends out men and women trained in service for God. Are you an ordinary man or woman in whom God wants to do extraordinary things? God desires that for every child of His. Ask God to do extraordinary things in your life. Begin today to trust Him to accomplish great things for His Kingdom through you.





God’s Messengers

September 24th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

“You are called to free workplace believers from the Esau life.” Those were the words spoken to me years ago by someone God sent into my life. I had been in the midst of trying to understand some catastrophic events that shook my world. Years later, I was able to see that God gave this person supernatural insight that revealed God’s calling on my life.

God still uses His prophets today to reveal His plans in the lives of His people. I have seen this Scripture proved over and over in the lives of people. It is as though God sends out His “scouts” to inform His servants what is ahead for them. Sometimes He does this because He knows the event will require such changes in that person’s life and so He wants to assure them of His love. I have experienced the Lord using me in this way in the life of other individuals. God did this in the life of Moses. He came to Moses at the burning bush to reveal His purposes for the people of Israel and His call on Moses to free them.

Has God placed individuals in your life to speak His plans for you? Are your eyes and ears spiritually sensitive so that you will know who are messengers of God? Elisha had a servant who could not see or hear with spiritual eyes and ears until Elisha prayed they would be opened. Then the servant could see the great army of God protecting them (see 2 Kings 6:17). Pray that you might see and hear with the Spirit. He may desire to reveal His purposes and plans through another individual.





Your Irrevocable Calling

September 23rd, 2014 by Os Hillman

“For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29

It is dangerous to align your calling and your vocation as dependent on each other. God calls us into relationship with Him. That is our foremost calling. It is from this relationship that our “physical” calling results. Whether that is to be a teacher, a stockbroker, a nurse, a pastor, or any number of vocations, we must realize that when He calls us, the change in vocation never changes His call on our lives. It is a mere change in the landscape of our calling. This is why it is dangerous to associate our purpose and calling too closely with our work. When we define our work life exclusively as our calling, we fall into the trap of locking up our identity into our vocation. This promotes aspiration because of a need to gain greater self-worth through what we do.

Os Guinness, author of The Call, describes the great artist Picasso, who fell into this trap.

“‘When a man knows how to do something,’ Pablo Picasso told a friend, ‘he ceases being a man when he stops doing it.’ The result was a driven man. Picasso’s gift, once idolized, held him in thrall. Every empty canvass was an affront to his creativity. Like an addict, he made work his source of satisfaction only to find himself dissatisfied. ‘I have only one thought: work,’ Picasso said toward the end of his life, when neither his family nor his friends could help him relax.” [Os Guiness, The Call (Nashville, Tennessee: Word Publishing, 1998), 242.]

What happens when you lose your job? Do you lose your calling? Do you lose your identity? Do you lose your sense of well-being? No. Calling involves different stages and experiences in life. Disruptions in your work are an important training ground for God to fulfill all aspects of His calling on your life. Trust in your God who says your calling is irrevocable and that all things come from Him.





Is Perception Reality?

September 22nd, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18).

One the great acts of the prophet Elijah took place at Mount Carmel where he called down fire upon the altar of Baal and slaughtered 400 prophets of Baal. I have been to Mount Carmel in Israel and stood upon this mountain where this took place. Once the miracle took place Elijah was forced to flee because Jezebel swore to take his life for what he did.

Elijah went into depression after this event. He fled to the desert and sat under a broom tree and asked God to let him die. He was so discouraged because he felt he was the only godly prophet left in the land of Israel. This is often what happens after God does a significant work through us. Satan comes along and wants to steal what God has done and bring the servant of God down. Satan makes us believe a lie about our situation. This was the case for Elijah.

Elijah?s perception was not reality. He thought he was the last of the prophets. He could not see what God was doing. God informed Elijah that there were actually seven thousand of His representatives in the land who had not bowed down to Baal. Now give some thought to that statement. Elijah thought he was the only one left. God says there are 7,000 left! What a discrepancy in perception and reality.

This is often the case for you and I. We look at our situations and conclude based on the circumstances that reality must be this way. But God says, “No, you do not see what I see or what I know or what I am doing. The situation is very different than what you are perceiving.”

Be careful not to draw conclusions about your situation that may not be based on truth. God always has a plan for His servants that we may not know about. Ask God to give you His perception of the situation, not yours.





When a Problem Turns Into a Calling

September 21st, 2014 by Os Hillman

“As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found. And to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and all your father’s family?” 1 Samuel 9:20

Saul and his servant were out seeking his father’s lost donkeys. This was symbolic of the waywardness of the nation of Israel. The people of Israel had just asked the prophet Samuel to have a king rule over them. This saddened God greatly, yet God granted their request.

Saul and his servant heard of a man of God named Samuel. “Perhaps this man of God can tell us where to find our donkeys,” said the servant. Isn’t that just like us? We seek God to solve the issues related to material life. Saul was about to receive the greatest opportunity of his lifetime. He was about to be crowned as king of Israel. His life would never be the same. What was he concerned about? His donkeys. We don’t have to be worried about the material things of life if we are about the things He’s called us to do.

God called Saul to be the next king in order to free the people from the Philistines. God sent a messenger, the prophet Samuel, to inform him of his new career. The messenger also had to ease his mind about his donkeys. Donkeys often represent commerce in the Bible. They were the primary means of transporting goods; therefore, in essence, what was Samuel saying to Saul? He was saying, “You don’t need to worry about your business if you respond to the call of God on your life. All the material things will take care of themselves.”

Jesus said the same thing to the disciples years later. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt. 6:33).

When God calls us, it often involves making major adjustments in our lives. Saul went from one kind of business to another. He went from working for his father to being a king. What changes is God calling you to make today in order to join Him in His work?