TGIF, Today God Is First

Discovering the Source of Problems

September 19th, 2014 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).

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, 2014 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.

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, 2014 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.

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.





Why God Blesses

September 16th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“And David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel.” 1 Chronicles 14:2

King David learned an important lesson every leader must learn if he is to ensure God’s continual blessing. He knew why God blessed him. It wasn’t because he deserved it, though he was a man who sought God with his whole heart. It wasn’t because of his great skill, though he was a great military strategist. It wasn’t because he was perfect, for he committed some horrible sins during his reign as king. No, it was for none of these reasons. God blessed David for the “sake of His people Israel.” God never blesses an individual just for that person’s exclusive benefit. God calls each of us to be a blessing to others. So often we forget this last part. R.G. LeTourneau, a businessman who built heavy construction equipment, came to realize this only after God took him through many trials. Once the Lord had all of LeTourneau, he came to realize that the question wasn’t whether he gave 10 percent of what the Lord gave him. Rather, the question was, “What amount does He want me to keep?” LeTourneau was known for giving 90 percent of his income toward the end of his career and was a great supporter of world missions. But the Lord doesn’t bless workplace believers just for the ability to give financially. God has given workplace believers many more gifts beyond the financial.

What is happening with the spiritual fruit of God’s blessing on your life? Is it clogged, or is it freely flowing to others? Ask the Lord to free you to be a blessing to those in your circle of influence.





A Tool for Miracles

September 15th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared.” Judges 6:21

How does God call people into His service? There is a clear pattern in the way God calls men and women into service for Him. Almost every major leader has been called while he or she was in the midst of performing his or her everyday vocation. Peter was a fisherman; Matthew, a tax collector; Luke, a physician; Paul, a tentmaker; Moses, a shepherd; Jesus, a carpenter; and so on.

When God called Gideon to free the people of Israel from the oppression of the Amalekites, he did so while Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress. Like Moses, Gideon argued with God, saying his family was nothing special, so how could he be used of God to save Israel? Gideon acknowledged God by preparing an offering to Him. The angel did an interesting thing with Gideon’s offering; he took the tip of his staff and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. As with Moses, God chose to do a miracle with a staff, the instrument that symbolized Gideon’s work life. Why would God do this? It is because God wants us to know that the tools He has given each of us are the tools He wants to use to demonstrate His power. However, in order for that to happen, we must yield our tools to Him for miracles to be manifested through them.

Have you yielded your tools to the Lord? God wants you to have an overriding ministry objective to your work life. He doesn’t want you to leave your work; He wants to work through your work. Allow Him to do that today.





Calling by Name

September 14th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“These were the chiefs among Esau’s descendants: The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz.” Genesis 36:15

God is big on giving meaning to names. Names often are specific indicators of God’s plans and purposes for that individual. A young boy grew up as Moses’ servant. His Hebrew name, Hoshea, means “salvation.” As the lad grew, Moses could see that he had a “different spirit” from the rest of the Hebrew men. He was selected to be one of the 12 men whom Moses chose to spy out the land of Canaan. Before the expedition, Hoshea was given a new name by Moses-Joshua, which means “the Lord saves.” Joshua became the new leader of Israel who would lead them into the Promised Land. He would, in fact, save an entire nation.

In my own journey I had learned that God gave me a name that had something to do with my future call from Him. I was 44 years old and had just gone through two of the most difficult years of my life. During that time, God brought a man into my life who discipled me in areas where I had never been trained. I was discovering many new spiritual truths about myself and Christians in the workplace. I came to identify with the struggles of Esau and Joseph in their desire to understand their own birthrights. I began to write about these discoveries to help other workplace believers understand their own callings through business. One morning on a weekend getaway in the mountains, my friend looked at me and said, “Do you know the meaning of ‘Omar’?”

Omar is my first name. My real name is Omar Smallwood Hillman III. Dr. Smallwood had delivered my grandfather. No one, not even my mother, knew the origin of “Omar.” They put the “O” and the “S” together to call me “Os.” “You need to know the meaning of ‘Omar.’ It has something to do with your future,” said my friend.

Startled by his assertion, that night I looked up the name of “Omar” on a computer program. Here is what I found:

Arabic for “first son” and “disciple,” Hebrew for “gifted speaker,” and German for “famous.” Rooted in the Middle East, this name is rarely used in the West. Omar was the grandson of Esau. [http://www.babyhold.com/]

I was shocked. I had just completed 300 pages of material on the relationship of Christian businessmen to the life of Esau. My friend quickly concluded that God had called me to free Christian businessmen and women from the “Esau life.” And He had allowed me to receive a name that related to the person of Esau. It was the closest thing to a burning bush experience I’d ever had. Could the Lord be this personal with us? Yes, Matthew 10:30 tells us He knows the very hairs of our head.





The Butterfly Principle

September 13th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.” Exodus 14:8

Overprotective parents do their children a great injustice. The caterpillar that lies inside the cocoon will never become the beautiful butterfly if someone cuts open the cocoon prematurely. It is the struggle itself that allows the butterfly to emerge as a strong, new creature of nature.

God understands how necessary this process is. That is why we are allowed to experience difficult, often life-changing events. He even orchestrates them-all for our benefit. What the Israelites thought was a cruel joke when Pharaoh sent troops to pursue them after they had been freed and penned against the shore of the Red Sea became the stage for the most publicized miracle of all time-the parting of the Red Sea. Generation after generation has heard this incredible story of deliverance. God puts us against the “Red Seas” in order to show His power in and through us. If we do not know God can deliver, then we can never learn to trust Him. Circumstances that go beyond our capabilities of solving them place us at God’s complete mercy. This is how He likes it.

Do not fear the calamity that comes your way. If you are faithful to Him in the test, you will see God’s power manifested like never before. Just as the Israelites were able to sing a song of deliverance, you too will have your own testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness; and you will be able to recall it for others to build your faith and theirs.





Will You Enter?

September 12th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff.” Numbers 20:11a

Will you fulfill the destiny God has for your life? Perhaps you have never thought about it. God had a perfect plan for Moses to lead the people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. It’s been said the hardest place to score a touchdown is from the goal line. You’re almost there. But there is something about crossing over that makes those last few yards the most difficult. Moses failed at the goal line, and it prevented him from finishing well a glorious life of service for God.

The people of Israel were complaining that they did not have water to drink. It was another of many tests for Israel. Moses inquired of God and God said, “…Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water” (Num. 20:8a). Moses, in his frustration and anger with the people, began to act on his own and made a strategic mistake. Instead of speaking to the rock, he struck the rock twice with his staff. In spite of his disobedience, the rock poured forth water.

God was calling Moses to a different dimension. Moses was to use his words to speak the miracle. However, he not only lost his temper, but he also took credit and dishonored God. He used his staff, the symbol of his work life as a shepherd, to force the provision.

When we become callous, we can use our skills and abilities to force what we believe should happen. We take control. When we do this, we are in danger of failing to enter the Promised Land of blessing from God. Living in life’s spiritual dimension requires patience and obedience. Beware of solving problems in your own strength. God wants to bring you into the Promised Land of His blessing. But it will require walking in the spiritual dimension.





Unless the Lord Goes With Us

September 11th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Then Moses said to him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.’” Exodus 33:15

Moses was in the middle of his journey through the wilderness, leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. The people had just sinned by worshiping the golden calf. Moses interceded for them and God spared them their lives. Moses then talked one on one with the Lord. He knew he could not lead this stubborn people without God’s presence. He had come to realize that without God’s presence, he could not do anything. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth? (Exodus 33:16)

Moses did not want to move farther without the assurance that God was moving with him. He knew it was a life-and-death situation. He sought the Lord with his whole heart on this one matter.

The question is a good one. If we are to be effective in anything we do for the Lord, the Lord must be in the midst of it. Unless the Lord’s power is seen among us, we will be just another person who has religion. Unless we manifest His life to others, they will see only good behavior that is easily counterfeited by moral people. Moving out in presumption will end in failure and frustration. Ask the Lord today to assure you of His presence and power in your activities. Then you will be assured that you will be distinguished among all the other people on the face of the earth.





The Spiritual Realm

September 10th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 1 Corinthians 14:15

How real is the spiritual realm? My lawyer friend from Nigeria tells a personal story of how he was preparing for an important case. He knew that he must be prepared to argue five separate points. He was to appear before his country’s supreme court, so it was a very important case.

As he neared the time in which he was to go to court, he began to pray about how he was to argue the case. He spent much time in legal preparation and intercessory prayer. As he went to court, the Spirit spoke to him and said, “Do not argue point one, point two, point three, or point four. Only argue point five.” Imagine my friend’s struggle of faith. If he were reading this wrong, the shame and professional fallout would be devastating.

The time had come to present the case before the judge when my friend said, “Judge, I wish to withdraw points one through four. I wish to argue only point five.” The opposing counsel stood up and objected. “Your honor, he cannot do that!” “Objection overruled, counsel,” said the judge.

My friend went on to present his case around point five only, and then sat down. When the opposing counsel stood to present his case, he stood speechless for 12 minutes. He could not get a word out of his mouth. He finally mumbled a few words and complained to the judge that he was going to have to yield. It seems that the opposing counsel had prepared to argue only points one through four, but failed to prepare for point five. The judge ruled in favor of my friend.

The unseen Lord wants to help us in the physical realm of our work life. We must acknowledge His presence and tap into this incredible resource He has given to each of us. Seek Him today and ask Him to reveal His perfect plan for you this day.