TGIF, Today God Is First

Healing Before Ministry

April 24th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed.” – Joshua 5:8

Before the nation of Israel could go into the Promised Land they had to be circumcised. Circumcision is painful, bloody, and personal. God requires each of us to be circumcised in heart before we are allowed to enter and receive the blessings that await each believer in the Promised Land.

This circumcision can often be very painful. Circumcision requires losing our old way of life. The process of spiritual circumcision may mean a loss in areas that have been a part of our lives in order to draw us to the Savior. God understands this. Consequently, like the people of Israel, we must wait until we are healed before we begin to be effective in our calling. If we launch out too early, we will be ineffective and may risk infection and disease and will not be at our full capacity. God wants each of us to walk in His healing grace.

The people of Israel fought only two battles when they were coming out of Egypt. In the Promised Land they fought 39 battles. Each of us must be prepared to enjoy the benefits of living in the Promised Land. However, we must also be prepared to wage war against the enemy of our souls. Make sure the Lord has provided the needed healing to your circumcision experience before you enter the Promised Land.





Understanding the Roadblock

April 23rd, 2014 by Os Hillman

“And Joshua said, ‘Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did You ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!’” – Joshua 7:7

Have you ever felt like you were doing what God wanted you to do, but your plans were totally frustrated? This was how Joshua felt.

The Lord had been with the people of Israel as they entered the Promised Land. They defeated every enemy because of God’s blessing and protection. They had just taken the city of Jericho. The next battle was the city of Ai. They scouted the enemy and determined it would require only 3,000 men to defeat them. They attacked, and soon the reports came back that they were being routed. Joshua could not understand this. He cried out to God asking why this was happening.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated My covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction” (Joshua 7:10-12).

Whenever we open ourselves up to sin, we become liable. God removes His protective shield from our lives in order for the sin in our lives to be purged out. He often uses the enemy of our souls to accomplish the task. If you feel you are being thwarted in some way, examine your life to see if there is any sin that is the cause of the problem. Adversity is not always due to sin, but it can be. Ask Him. He will show you. As with Joshua, God immediately answered this prayer when Joshua asked. He desires for His children to live in a right relationship with Him.





Hearing His Voice

April 22nd, 2014 by Os Hillman

“He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” – John 8:47

Jesus said that the key to being able to hear God’s voice is first to be one of His children. One of the great mysteries of the universe to my logical mind is how God can communicate with six billion people on the earth at the same time. It is one of those mysteries I must let go of because my “hard drive” would crash if I had to explain and understand this before I believed and trusted in Him. It is as though God places a computer chip in each human being, and when we place our faith and trust in Him, it becomes activated. We begin to communicate with Him. Jesus says that if we are children of God, then we can hear God’s voice. He further explains this relationship in the following parable:

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice (John 10:1-5).”

The Shepherd is always representative of Christ. Sheep are representative of God’s children. This passage tells us that the Shepherd communicates with His children. We are called by name and we can listen to our Shepherd’s voice. There is another comforting aspect to this relationship. The Shepherd goes before the sheep to prepare the way. Jesus has already gone before us today to prepare our way.

Knowing the Shepherd and His voice allows us to have the assurance that we will not be fooled by another shepherd’s voice. The sheep know His voice. It is only when we are dull of hearing that we mistakenly hear another’s voice and follow it. Sin can create a poor frequency in our communication with the Shepherd. Make sure your frequency is free of static (sin) today so that the Shepherd can lead you and go before you.

Finally, distractions can also keep us from hearing our Shepherd’s voice. When the sheep get entangled in the fence or wander off, they get too far away to hear the Shepherd’s voice. We must stay in close proximity to the Shepherd to hear His voice. Stay close to the Shepherd today. Listen and follow. He wants to lead you.





Mustard Seed Faith in Business

April 21st, 2014 by Os Hillman

“He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” – Matthew 17:20

Does God do miracles in business? Is He concerned about the mountains we face in our work life? Does He want us to bring the everyday problems we face in the workplace to His attention? The answer to every one of these questions is yes. God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives.

Gunnar Olson, the Swedish founder of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce, tells a story about God performing a miracle in his own business a few years ago. He owns a plastics company in Sweden. They make huge plastic bags that are used to cover bales of hay in the farmlands across Europe. It was the harvest season and they were getting ready to ship thousands of pallets of these bags to their customers. More than 1,000 pallets were ready to ship when an alarming discovery was made. Every bag on the warehouse floor had sealed shut from top to bottom. Scientists declared the entire stock as worthless trash. Nothing could be done. The company would go out of business.

Gunnar, his wife, and children sought the Lord in prayer about this catastrophe. The Holy Spirit spoke through various family members. The wife said, “If God can turn water into wine, what are plastics?” The daughter said, “I don’t believe this is from the Lord. We should stand against it.” Gunnar sensed they were to trust God for a miracle in this situation. They began to pray. They took authority over this mountain of a problem based on Matthew 17, which gave them the authority to cast a mountain into the sea if faith only the size of a mustard seed could be exercised. The following Monday they went to the warehouse and laid hands on every pallet asking the Lord to restore the bags to their original condition. It took several hours. Later, the employees began to inspect the bags. As they inspected the bags, they discovered that every single bag had been restored to its original condition! An incredible miracle had taken place.

What obstacles have been placed in your life that need a miracle today? Could God be setting the stage in your life for you to trust Him at new levels you’ve never trusted before? God sets the stage to allow His power to be revealed for those willing to exercise the faith of a mustard seed. All things are possible with God.





Unprofitable Anger

April 20th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” – Ecclesiastes 7:9

Every day of our lives we are placed in situations that engage us with other people, whether it is in the office, our homes, or in public places. Do you recall the last time someone cut you off in traffic, or you were forced to wait in line because someone up front got held up? Perhaps your employer did something that was downright unfair. Anger can result from many circumstances.

A friend once told me that anger is like warning lights on the front of your car dashboard. They signal that there is something going on under the hood, and we should take a look to examine the source of the problem. Anger can be traced to a few sources. First, when we lose control of a circumstance that we have placed certain expectations on and those expectations do not result in our desired outcome, we are tempted to get angry. The source of this type of anger is both fear and protection of personal rights. You see, when we believe we have a right to something, we have not given the Lord permission to allow an outcome different from what we want. If an outcome is different from our expectations, this may stimulate fear.

For instance, if a vendor failed to deliver an important job on time due to something out of his control, you may respond out of anger. Please know that the source of your anger is the fear of what might happen to you or what this might say about your abilities to manage a project. You no longer are in control of the circumstance and this creates fear in you.

The next time you get angry ask the Lord what is the source of that anger? Did the Lord allow that failure to let you see what is “under your hood”? God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (see 2 Tim. 1:7). Give up your rights to expectations that God never gave you. You will find a new freedom in Christ you never knew you could have.





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.