TGIF, Today God Is First

Situational Ethics

September 26th, 2016 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.

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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, 2016 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.

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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, 2016 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.

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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, 2016 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.

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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, 2016 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.

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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, 2016 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.

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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?





The Pitfall of Being Entrepreneurial

September 20th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and He struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark…” 1 Chronicles 13:9-10

There are good things we can do, but only God-things we should do. Those activities not born out of the Spirit will result in wood, hay, and stubble. What seems good in our eyes may be an abomination in God’s eyes. For instance, if you decide to build an orphanage but God has never directed you to do so, then God will not see that work as good; it was born out of your own strength, even though it was a “good work.”

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The most difficult challenge a Christian workplace believer will ever have is to know what things to be involved in and what things not to be involved in. Many workplace believers have a great ability to see opportunity. What appears to be a “slam dunk” may come back to haunt us if God never ordains us to enter that arena. There are many good things we can be involved with. However, there are God-things we are supposed to be involved with. Uzzah was a good man in David’s sight. It was a time of celebration, and David and the people were transporting the ark of God. However, the ark hit a bump, and Uzzah reached for the ark to hold it steady. He touched the ark, and he immediately died. David became very upset with God about this situation; he questioned whether he could serve God.

God’s ways are not our ways. The most important quality God desires to develop in us is our dependence on Him and Him alone. When we begin to make decisions based on reason and analysis instead of the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, we get into trouble with God. David later learned the importance of this principle in his own life. This encounter was one of the stepping-stones in his pilgrimage. David was an extraordinary entrepreneur. He ran the nation very successfully, but he, like each of us, had to learn the difference between “good things” and “God-things.”

Are you involved in anything in which God has not directed you to be involved? Do you seek God about every decision, every action before you take it? This is where God wants you and me to be. Ask Him to show you how to walk with Him in this way.





Discovering the Source of Problems

September 19th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.” 2 Samuel 21:14b

During the reign of David, there was a famine in the land for three successive years. So David sought the Lord regarding this famine, “Why is there famine on this land?” The Lord answered David, “It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death” (2 Sam. 21:1b).

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Years earlier, Joshua made a peace treaty with the Gibeonites. This, too, was an act of disobedience. When God called Israel to come into the Promised Land, they were to destroy all the enemies of God. Joshua failed to see through the ruse of deception when the Gibeonites portrayed themselves as travelers. The Israelites signed a peace treaty only to discover who the Gibeonites were after the fact. Now, they had to honor the treaty. However, this led to intermarriages and much sorrow for Israel. Years later, Saul made a decision to kill the Gibeonites.

The nation was now receiving the punishment for their sin of disobedience through a famine. David knew that famines could have a spiritual source, so he inquired of God and God answered. The source was Saul’s murder of the Gibeonites. Once David knew the source of the problem, he took action. He repented on behalf of the nation and made restitution. The famine was then lifted.

Do you have a problem that seems to be a continually unresolved issue? Have you asked God to tell you the reason for the problem? It may have a spiritual root that is still unresolved with God. He may be allowing this pressure to bring attention to an issue He wants you to take care of. Ask the Lord today to give you revelation on your problem. As a loving Father, He desires to make known anything that stands in the way of fellowship between you and Him. However, His righteousness must always be upheld.





Called to Craftsmanship

September 18th, 2016 by Os Hillman

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.'” Exodus 31:1-5

Bezalel was called by God to perform a most important work for Him. I am sure that Bezalel believed that he was naturally gifted with his hands to make fine crafts with gold, silver, and bronze. He probably did not associate it with God’s work. But the Scripture tells us that God chose him and filled him with God’s Spirit to enable him.

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Does God call men and women into their vocations to fulfill His purposes – to fulfill that which needs to be accomplished throughout the world? Have you ever thought about how many occupations there are in the world? How did that balance of interest among each human throughout the world happen? Did it just happen? Was it by chance that we have only so many doctors, only so many accountants, only so many geologists?

Your interest in your vocation is not born of your own making. So many workplace believers and even pastors have made the mistake of encouraging us who have a deep desire to walk with Christ in the workplace to pursue vocational ministry. To remove us from the workplace where the greatest harvest is yet to occur would be to remove us from where God called us. Do not take this bait. Serve the Lord in the workplace where He has gifted you and called you.

I almost made this same mistake when God drew me to Himself when I was 28 years old. I concluded that I must be called to be a pastor. I took steps to fulfill this by leaving my job and entering a Bible school for training. Upon completion, I took a job as an assistant pastor in a church. But God’s mercy allowed me to be removed from that position only three months into it. I was “forced back into business,” where God wanted me in the first place. It was a great lesson. I was never cut out to be a pastor in a church, but a “pastor” in the workplace.





The Error of Positive Thinking

September 17th, 2016 by Os Hillman

…”Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

God’s people should be the most positive, joyful people on earth. This joy should be a by-product of a healthy, intimate relationship with Jesus. In today’s business climate, we are barraged with every possible means of becoming more productive workplace believers. Positive thinking and self-help philosophy are promoted as tools for workplace believers to fulfill their potential and overcome the mountains in their lives. God calls each of us to be visionary leaders, but we must be careful that vision is born out of His Spirit, not the latest self-help program. These ideas lead us away from dependence on God to a self-based psychology designed to give us more power, prosperity, and significance.

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The result is heresy. Our faith in God becomes faith in faith. It is born out of hard work and diligence rather than obedience to God’s Spirit. The problem lies in that these philosophies sound good, and can even be supported by Bible verses. Beware of anything that puts the burden of performance on you rather than God. There are times in our lives when God doesn’t want us to climb every mountain. Sometimes He wants us to go around. Knowing the difference is the key to being a man or woman led by the Spirit.

God has called us to affect the workplace through His Spirit, not by our might. Have you tapped into the real power source of the soul? Ask the Lord to reveal and empower you through His Spirit today. Then you will know what real positive thinking is.