TGIF, Today God Is First

Worldly Planning

November 1st, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no’?” 2 Corinthians 1:17

The apostle Paul was discussing his plans to come to the church at Corinth. He was acknowledging the serious nature of his trip and informing the Corinthians that he did not flippantly come to this decision to visit them. It was a matter that had been given serious prayer, not one made in the spur of the moment.

Planning from God’s view is a process. It isn’t merely an exercise in reason and analysis. It requires entering into the mind of Christ together with our minds to determine which course to take. In the Old Testament, the priests wore breastplates with the Urim and Thummim in a pouch on their breasts. It was like a roll of dice that the priests were required to perform to know which direction they were to take on a matter. It was the ultimate release of all decisions into God’s hand. God did not want the priests to rely on their own intellects for final decisions.

We have an uncanny ability to make decisions based on our own needs and wants. However, God desires that we seek Him to know His plans for us. David was a skilled warrior who never lost a battle. He consulted God on every decision. He knew the results of the battle rested in God’s hand. So, if he was to gain victory, he had to know God’s mind on the matter. Sometimes this requires more time given to the process in order to hear His voice. Sometimes it may even require fasting and prayer. Sometimes it may require input from other godly friends.

Are you a man or woman who makes decisions based on God’s purposes for your life? Do you take every major decision and put it before the throne to determine God’s mind on the matter? If so, you will avoid making decisions in a worldly manner.





Keeping Oaths

October 31st, 2014 by Os Hillman

“This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” Joshua 9:20

Joshua and the people of Israel were in the Promised Land. They were winning battles and were feeling good about their progress. One day a band of Gibeonites came by dressed as travelers in order to fool Joshua. They wanted to make Joshua believe they were merely travelers instead of enemies. The Gibeonites asked Joshua to make a peace treaty with them. Since Joshua chose to believe their story, he did just that. That was a mistake on Joshua’s part. The Bible says Joshua did not inquire of the Lord about the Gibeonites. This forced Joshua to uphold the peace treaty with the Gibeonites, even though it was made under false pretenses.

Keeping our oaths before the Lord is a serious matter. One might think that Joshua had every right to consider the agreement with the Gibeonites null and void since it was done on false pretense. However, Joshua knew how God viewed oaths. He knew that a man’s word, once it was given, should be good as done. There was no reversing it. He also knew that if he did not keep his oath, he was subject to God’s disfavor, which meant his ways would not be blessed.

Whenever we become a child of God, we represent Him. When His children follow unrighteousness, He takes this personally. Unrighteousness opens us up to satan’s attack. God’s protection shield is removed. So Joshua knew that if he did not honor his oath, he would be subject to God’s judgment.

Is there any unfulfilled oath you have made to anyone? Ask God this morning if you have not fulfilled a commitment to anyone. Then, if there is, go and fulfill. Otherwise, you will be subject to God’s judgment for your unrighteousness.





Fear Not!

October 30th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

God calls each of us to engage in spiritual warfare at times. Whenever satan wants to come against one of God’s children, he does so by trying to intimidate through fear. Goliath’s formidable size and arrogant boasting intimidated Saul and Israel’s army. And because God’s anointing had fallen from Saul, he was unable to respond with courage to Goliath’s charge. Fear paralyzes and torments. That is why Saul could not respond.

The anointing had fallen on David, who was just a young boy, but mighty in spirit. David did not cower at the size or shouts of the giant Goliath. He saw Goliath through the eyes of God, who saw him as a mere speck. David had righteous indignation for an affront to the armies of the living God.

David did not weigh the risk of failure because his faith was resting totally in God. That is another important factor in overcoming fear-complete trust in God. When the Lord began training me to confront fear, the training grounds were a groundless lawsuit, intimidations, and calamity that confronted my very existence. Learning that these were merely tactics of the enemy, designed to instill fear, allowed me to stand firm in God’s power to overcome.

Do not fear sudden calamity if you are walking uprightly before God. It may be setting the stage for a great victory that will bring praise and honor to your heavenly Father. These battles are training grounds for greater victories to come.





Moving in Presumption

October 29th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp.” Numbers 14:44

The people of Israel were brought out of Egypt to enter a new land-the Promised Land. This land was not handed over to them freely; it required the removing of God’s enemies through battle. It required a partnership between God and the people. As long as the people remained true to God, they were victorious.

The people were camped at Kadesh Barnea, near the border entrance to the long-awaited Promised Land. All the hardships of their journey from Egypt were now culminating at this important crossing. However, Joshua and Caleb were the only scouts who proclaimed faith in God to take them into the land and conquer their enemies. The other spies saw all the dangers and refused to take the risk. The people of the camp shrank in fear because of their report. They decided not to enter in.

God was angered at the people for their lack of faith. Moses had to intercede on their behalf. Once they realized what they had done, it was too late. But they thought their repentance was enough to right their wrong. They presumed this was all that was necessary.

Moses informed them they were deceived in their presumption of God’s favor. They went to battle against the Amalekites only to be soundly defeated. Those who returned did not understand why they lost the battle.

It is important for us to know whether we have God’s hand upon our endeavors. Presumption leads to failure. God’s favor leads to success. Ask God to confirm His hand on your endeavors.

…”If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15).





Seeing What Others Cannot See

October 28th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“And Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17

Several years ago, a movie was made called Field of Dreams. The story is about a man who had a vision to build a baseball field in the middle of a cornfield on his rural farm. He did not know why; he just knew he was to do it. To the chagrin of his neighbors, he built the baseball diamond in the farm community. One night some players showed up. The man realized these were no ordinary players, but were actually the great players from the past. When the skeptical neighbors came to view this phenomenon, they were unable to see what the farm owner could see. This made it even worse for him. Now he was really a lunatic in their eyes.

This fictitious story has a spiritual application for us. First, if God tells us to “build a ball field,” we should do it. It is not for us to determine the reason we are instructed to do it. Once we are obedient, God will allow us to see what others cannot see. It is the rite of passage for those who are willing to risk all for God’s purposes. God increases the spiritual senses to levels we never knew before. Those around us will observe this.

Do you want to see what others cannot see? If so, it will require a level of obedience that will go beyond human reason. It may require risk and ridicule from others. But you will see what others cannot see.





Going Without Jesus

October 27th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“…they were unaware of it.” Luke 2:43

Mary and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Jesus was 12 years old. They were evidently very distracted by the excitement and business of the Feast. In fact, Mary and Joseph began their return trip to Nazareth only to realize well into the trip that Jesus was not with them. It would be three days before they would be reunited with their 12-year-old son. It caused quite a scare in Mary and Joseph, and they reprimanded Jesus for “wandering” off.

As a parent, I find this story truly amazing. How can parents of the Son of God not know their son is not in their presence? Yet this story illustrates how each of us can become so busy that we continue to operate not realizing that Jesus is no longer with us. Obviously, there was very little fellowship taking place between Jesus and His parents during the trip.

Are you experiencing daily, even moment-by-moment, fellowship with Jesus? If not, you will wake up one day and realize Jesus is not with you in your endeavors. It may, like Mary and Joseph, create a certain fear in you that you may have lost a very important relationship. Doing business without Jesus’ presence leaves us powerless and prone to live in fear. Jesus said He would never leave or forsake His children. However, we can walk away from His fellowship by refusing to be with Him. Do not let this happen to you. He longs to have daily fellowship with you because He loves you.





The Isolation Chamber

October 26th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“Be still and know that I am God….” Psalm 46:10

There is a time and place in our walk with God in which He sets us in a place of waiting. It is a place in which all past experiences are of no value. It is a time of such stillness that it can disturb the most faithful if we do not understand that He is the one who has brought us to this place for only a season. It is as if God has placed a wall around us. No new opportunities–simply inactivity.

During these times, God is calling us aside to fashion something new in us. It is an isolation chamber designed to call us to deeper roots of prayer and faith. It is not a comfortable place, especially for a task-driven workplace believer. Our nature cries out, “You must do something,” while God is saying, “Be still and know that I am God.” You know the signs that you have been brought into this chamber when He has removed many things from your life and you can’t seem to change anything. Perhaps you are unemployed. Perhaps you are laid up with an illness.

Most religious people live a very planned and orchestrated life where they know almost everything that will happen. But for people in whom God is performing a deeper work, He brings them into a time of quietness that seems almost eerie. They cannot say what God is doing. They just know that He is doing a work that cannot be explained to themselves or to others.

Has God brought you to a place of being still? Be still and know that He really is God. When this happens, the chamber will open soon after.





How and Where God Speaks

October 25th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“The hand of the Lord was upon me there, and He said to me, ‘Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.’” Ezekiel 3:22

God speaks in many different ways to His children. He spoke through a bush to Moses. He spoke through a donkey to Balaam. He spoke through prophets to His kings. He speaks through other believers. He speaks directly to us through the invisible Holy Spirit. And He speaks even through circumstances.

When God wants to speak a very important word directly to us without interruption from the noise of our busy lives, he will take us “into the plain.” The plain is a place of no distractions and no other persons. It is a place of silence. It can be a place of great need as it often fails to have the normal provisions we are accustomed to. It can be a place we go to voluntarily to seek His face, or we can be moved there without choice by His supernatural ability. More often, it is the latter method that brings us into the plain. In modern times, it often means a separation from our normal activities such as jobs or families.

The plain can also be a place where we discover afresh that God’s hand has been on us all the time. When we are so busy with life, we sometimes forget that God’s hand is still there, gently leading our path. When our lives get so busy that we are not listening or responding to His gentle touch, He must take more aggressive measures to get our attention. Thus, the plain is one of those appointed times of one-on-one communication with our heavenly Father. No distractions, no people, no beautiful surroundings to capture our thoughts. It is a barren place designed to allow us to seek and hear clearly. When He speaks, we need to be able to listen. We hear much better in the plain.

Do you need to hear God’s voice today? Is your life such that you cannot even hear His voice? Each day God calls us to our own mini-plain in order to speak to us and for us to hear. If we neglect this time of open communication, we may be invited to His plain in order to hear without distraction. Pray that you might make time to hear.





Are You God’s Next Deliverer?

October 24th, 2014 by Os Hillman

“But when they cried out to the Lord, He raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them.” Judges 3:9

Have you ever heard of a man named Othniel? Probably not. He was Caleb’s nephew. When the people of Israel went into the Promised Land, they were victorious through the courageous efforts of Joshua and Caleb. As this generation grew older, a new generation began to emerge. Israel again fell into sin by worshiping idols. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He allowed them once more to be enslaved by their enemies. However, the people again cried out to the Lord and God heard them.

Whenever God’s people cry out to the Lord, He hears them. When they are truly repentant, He responds. He responds by rising up those whom He has prepared for such a time. Every soldier looks forward to the day he can use the training he has received. God had been preparing a nephew for such a time as this. He had the same Spirit as his uncle, Caleb.

The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died (Judges 3:10-11).

Has God been preparing you for a time when you will be called upon to deliver God’s people? Millions of men and women are enslaved to the god of mammon and idolatry in the workplace. Has He placed you there to be a deliverer? Pray that you will have the same Spirit as Joshua, Caleb, and Othniel.





A Remnant That Prays

October 23rd, 2014 by Os Hillman

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’” Luke 11:1

God is calling out a remnant of workplace believers throughout the world who understand the role of prayer in their work. These people have learned that prayer is not a five-minute exercise in the morning devotion time, but it is a vital strategic tool to discern and know God’s will and purposes in their work lives. You see they have learned that their business lives are their ministries to God and others.

These men and women have entered into covenant relationships with intercessory prayer partners who help discern the activities they should be involved in. Some even have paid staff, who intercede for the decisions and activities in which they will be involved. They are a small remnant of workplace believers who know that skill and technique are not enough to fulfill God’s purposes.

A servant of the Lord has well said: Prayer is the rail for God’s work. Indeed, prayer is to God’s will as rails are to a train. The locomotive is full of power: it is capable of running a thousand miles a day. But if there are no rails, it cannot move forward a single inch. If it dares to move without them, it will soon sink into the earth. It may be able to travel over great distances, yet it cannot go to any place where no rails have been laid. And such is the relation between prayer and God’s work. Without any doubt God is almighty and He works mightily, but He will not and cannot work if you and I do not labor together with Him in prayer, prepare the way for His will, and pray “with all prayer and supplication” (Eph. 6:18) to grant Him the maneuverability to so work. Many are the things, which God wills to do, and would like to do, but His hands are bound because His children do not sympathize with Him and have not prayed so as to prepare ways for Him. Let me say to all who have wholly given themselves to God: Do examine yourselves and see if in this respect you have limited Him day after day. [Watchman Nee, Let Us Pray (New York, New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1977), 11.]

Is prayer a vital part of your strategic business practices? Put prayer on the front lines, instead of making it an afterthought. You will begin to see renewed power in your work life.