TGIF, Today God Is First

A Man Who Has God’s Favor

February 23rd, 2017 by Os Hillman

“…Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.” – Zechariah 8:23

Few men of God have become extraordinary people of faith without the influence of mentors. A mentor is one who takes responsibility for the spiritual and, sometimes, physical care of another. It requires a commitment from the teacher and the student.

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Elijah mentored Elisha. Elisha became one of the greatest prophets in the entire Bible. One of the primary reasons for this was Elisha’s hunger. Elisha wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. It was this hunger that drove Elisha to be sold out to God’s purposes for his life.

I have been privileged to have had many mentors throughout my spiritual life. In each stage of my maturity, God brought new mentors who had unique gifts that the previous mentor did not have. God has given me the hunger to desire a double portion of those positive attributes of my mentors. This desire is sorely missing among many today. I fail to see the hunger among many who could be used greatly in the Kingdom. Instead, the cares of this world distract them. It is an attitude of a la carte versus an attitude of pressing in to the full measure of what God might have for them.

Who are the people of God He has placed in your life? Are you learning from them? Are you seeking a double portion of their anointing? What prevents you from gaining from their wisdom and experience? God may have brought them into your life to prepare you to be a man or woman of God with great anointing. However, there is a time of training and waiting to prove out your own faith. Ask God today if there is someone He would have you mentor or be mentored by.





Paneled Houses

February 22nd, 2017 by Os Hillman

“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” – Haggai 1:4

There is a crisis of grand proportions in the spiritual house of God today. The moral fiber of our world has eroded. Greed, idolatry, and pleasure are the gods of our day. And it is no different in the Body of Christ.

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The prophet Haggai wrote about a people who had lost concern for the need to build God’s house because they were so focused on their own worldly needs. It is a dangerous place to get with God. When our world begins to focus around increasing our pleasure, building bigger and better homes, and failing to make what is important to God important in our own lives, this should be a warning to us.

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” He said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers’ ” (Matthew. 21:12-13).

Jesus came into Jerusalem and found the workplace believers buying and selling in the temple. As far as they knew, this was an acceptable practice in their day. Their fathers did it, and now they were doing it. It was business as usual. Jesus got angry, turned over the tables, and said that His house was a house of prayer. He found the workplace believers of the day seeing His house as a place for profit, not prayer. They had stepped into a place of complacency that was not acceptable to the Lord. When we begin to blend in with the moral condition of an ungodly world, we begin losing God’s perspective on life.

It is easy to begin blending in with our culture and to accept what is being modeled by the ungodly. God called us to be salt in a world that needs much salt. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men” (Mt. 5:13). Each of us must ask ourselves if we have lost our salt. Are we having an impact on our world? Or is our world having an impact on us? Ask God to give you a vision for how you can be salt to your world today.





Loose Your Donkey

February 21st, 2017 by Os Hillman

…”Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them….” – Matthew 21:2-3

A donkey was an animal of commerce in Jesus’ day. It was used to carry great burdens of goods from place to place and it was known as the “beast of the burden.” The donkey in Matthew 21 was surely owned by a village workplace believer. But Jesus told His disciples to fetch the donkey for “He had need of it.” This donkey played an important part in Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was a day that was the culmination of three years of ministry. Jesus chose to use a vehicle of commerce to bring Him into His most important public display.

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We are entering a time in our own history in which God is saying to workplace believers, “Loose your donkey for My purposes. I have need of it.” God is preparing His Church to be a vessel for ushering in a great harvest of souls. He is preparing His remnant of workplace believers, who are like a tribe within the Church, to be a major force in this great harvest.

“He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk” (Gen. 49:11-12). Is your donkey tied to the living Vine, the choicest branch of Jesus Himself? When we are tied to the living Vine, designed for His use, we will be useful in God’s Kingdom. Jesus wants to free us from the bondage of work slavery; He wants us to walk in freedom so that others may see God’s grace flowing through us and our place in the work world. Is your donkey available for His use?

Today, ask Jesus to allow the Vine to flow through you in every area of your life.





Seeing Through God’s Eyes

February 20th, 2017 by Os Hillman

“They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.” – 2 Samuel 1:12

How would you respond if you heard something bad happened to someone who had been trying to cut off your head for several years? King Saul had been seeking to kill David for many years before Saul was thrust into battle against the Amalekites. In this final battle, a sword killed Saul. When the news reached David, instead of rejoicing that his enemy was no longer a problem for him, he responded in a totally different manner. He mourned. Imagine that; he mourned for the one who sought to kill him.

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This is a sign of one who can look past an individual who is the source of pain and consider how God views him. God looks on that individual and sees his needs and knows why he responds the way he does. When we begin to see people as God does, we’ll no longer look at them as enemies, but as souls in need of grace. This is how Jesus could give of His life for us. He saw our great need, not what we did to Him. When someone wrongs you, do you seek to retaliate, or do you pray to understand the need behind the offender’s actions? For several years a person was a source of constant pain and retaliation toward me. There was nothing I could do to change it. God allowed me to go beyond the person’s actions to understand what was the source of his need. When I gained that understanding, God gave me a picture of this person inside a prison cell and in bondage. This bondage made him respond to life in this way. I was able to pray for him and genuinely love him in spite of the fact that he persecuted me. This is the kind of love Jesus wants us to have when He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who spitefully use us.

I believe God does a special work of grace in those who go beyond the realm of normal response to persecution. He brings us to a level of grace we never thought possible. Describing how God worked in Joseph’s life, Francis Frangipane reveals what happens when we tap into this grace:

God made him fruitful in the very things that afflicted him. In the land of your affliction, in your battle, is the place where God will make you fruitful. Consider, even now, the area of greatest affliction in your life. In that area, God will make you fruitful in such a way that your heart will be fully satisfied, and God’s heart fully glorified. God has not promised to keep us from valleys and sufferings, but to make us fruitful in them. [Francis Frangipane, Place of Immunity (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Arrow Publications, 1996), 93]





Saved From Such Men

February 19th, 2017 by Os Hillman

“O Lord, by Your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life….” – Psalm 17:14

Whenever I travel over the ocean, I am always reminded of the seemingly insignificant time we have on this earth. I often imagine dropping a glass of water out the window of the jet into the huge body of water below. The Lord then reminds me that this is how my life is compared to eternity – a mere drop in the ocean.

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Yet, every day millions of people will go to work seeking to gain that elusive thing called success. The rewards of this life continue to provide the incentive for 60-hour weeks or the extra weekend away from the family. Sometimes we get entrenched in the message of the world. This message is an appealing, seductive call to sell out eternity for the temporal.

As a Christian businessman, I fell for this for many years until the Lord allowed me to wake up. It took some severe wake-up calls, but they did their job. I’m so grateful the Lord cares enough to give us these wake-up calls. He knows what real life is about. We think we know what it is, only to learn once again that real life is only in what is built on eternity. How does this verse line up with where you are today? Are you building around a world whose reward is in this lifetime, or an eternal one? Do those with whom you associate live in such a way that they demonstrate their reward is not concerning this life? Jesus said to seek first His Kingdom and all these things will be added. Amen.





Weapons of Warfare

February 18th, 2017 by Os Hillman

“Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.” – Joel 3:10a

In this third chapter of Joel, we hear the prophet describe a time yet to come. It will be a time of great harvest on the earth, and this verse describes the catalyst. A plowshare is an agricultural instrument used to till the soil. At this point in history, it was a tool that spoke of one’s vocation. However, the prophet was speaking of a time yet to come. The prophet described the plowshare as an instrument that will be turned into a sword. The sword is often used in the Bible to describe God’s Word. The only way a plowshare can be turned into a sword is for it to go through extreme heat, and then the blacksmith must beat that plowshare into shape. Heat and punishment of the metal turns that plowshare into an instrument of battle. God must do this in each of our lives in order for us to be useable as a worthy sword. We are all in a battle – a spiritual battle. Paul describes our battle as one against the principalities of the unseen world. I believe God is going to raise up many in the workplace to use their plowshare as a weapon of righteousness in these last days. That weapon won’t be used for destruction, but as a weapon of love. That weapon of love will yield a great harvest in our lifetime. But this is only part of the story.

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God is also going to turn our pruning hooks into spears. A pruning hook is used in two ways. First, it is used to prune a tree for greater growth and productivity. It is also used to cut the fruit from taller trees in which one cannot reach the fruit. This fruit from our vocation is going to be cast forth like a spear, but even more as seed planted to bring the harvest of which Joel speaks. Fruit from our work life is often the financial rewards generated. God wants to use our finances and everything else for His purposes. We must use our vocations and the fruit that comes from them as seed to bring the great harvest that God is planning.

How are you using your plowshare and your pruning hook for God’s glory today? Ask God to show you how He wants to use your skills, resources, and relationships to prepare for the great harvest He has planned.





Unexplainable Power

February 17th, 2017 by Os Hillman

“I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.” – John 3:11

When is the last time God did something in your work life that can only be explained as God? Was it yesterday? Was it just last week? A month ago? A year ago? The answer to this question may mean several things. If it has been some time since you saw God’s activity in such a way that you know it was His hand, you may not be trusting to a level that requires faith. You may not be risking enough for God to show Himself. The converts in the early Church changed the world they lived in because of what they saw and heard. It was the power of the gospel that changed lives, not what they learned from mere teaching. This power drew people to Christ. Things happened that could not be explained as anything other than the activity of God. Is that the kind of faith you are experiencing in your life? Many of us live a wholesome, moral life, but those we associate with do not see this activity as anything that cannot also be achieved by themselves. That is why many are not drawn to our lives. God’s power is not evident. The Lord has been challenging me to trust Him at levels I have never trusted before. This level of trust has placed me in a vulnerable position. However, the blessing of this relationship is that I see the activity of God as never before, and those close to me see it as well. It builds their faith and draws others to investigate.

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Sometimes the activity of God comes in unusual ways. God often sets up scenes that appear to be negative on the front end, but God has orchestrated these events for His glory.

      -Without Pharaoh’s pursuit of Israel at the Red Sea, there is no miraculous deliverance.

-Without Lazarus’s death, there is no rising to life.

-Without Goliath, there is no underdog story.

-Without Peter stepping out of the boat, there is no miracle on the water.

-Without Judas’ betrayal, there is no resurrection.

God wants to show Himself in ways you and I cannot imagine. Let God demonstrate His power in your workplace today. Then, you will see “all men drawn unto Me.”





Spiritual Strongholds

February 16th, 2017 by Os Hillman

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” – 2 Corinthians 10:4

One of the great discoveries I made in later years in my walk with God has to do with living in victory over generational strongholds. The Bible speaks of punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generations. (See Exodus 20:5.) The only way out of living under the curses of generational strongholds is to acknowledge them before the Father and repent of their reign in our lives. This breaks the curse’s future effects.

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A stronghold is a fortress of thoughts that controls and influences our attitudes. They color how we view certain situations, circumstances, or people. When these thoughts and activities become habitual, we allow a spiritual fortress to be built around us. We become so used to responding to the “voice” of that spirit, that its abode in us is secure. All of this happens on a subconscious level.

As a businessman, I discovered that I had been influenced by a generational stronghold of insecurity and fear that was manifested in control. This subconscious fear motivated me to become a workaholic, to seek recognition through activities, to control others’ behavior to avoid failure, and to have a relationship with God that was activity-based instead of relationally-based. One day God brought about a number of catastrophic events that forced me to look at what was behind these events. I found that the influence of these strongholds was at the core of these symptoms. The Bible speaks of this war on our souls.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete (2 Corinthians 10:3,5-6).

The steps to freedom for me came when someone shared that these were sins that I was harboring, and in order to walk free of their influence, I needed to repent of them. It was through the power of the cross that I no longer needed to be subjugated by their presence. Once I took this step, I began to walk free of their influences. Besides salvation, this became the most important discovery in my entire Christian walk. My relationship to Christ changed immediately. I began to hear God’s voice. I began to trust Christ in areas I never thought possible. I could truly experience the love of Christ for the first time.

This knowledge helped me in business as well. One day I was in the middle of a contract negotiation with another Christian businessman. A lawyer had jumped in the middle of the negotiation. My friend began to surface many old feelings that were a source of pain from his past. When I perceived that a stronghold of insecurity and fear was at the core of his response, I interrupted his argumentative discussion with me and said with a very forceful tone, “I am no longer going to listen to the spirit of insecurity that is speaking through you right now! If you don’t refrain from this, I am going to leave!” My friend was taken back. He looked at me quite startled. After a few moments, he agreed with my diagnosis. We talked through what he was feeling and completed our negotiation without further incident.

What are the true motivations of your heart? Have you ever looked deeply at these motivations? You might find that these subconscious motivations may be preventing you from experiencing the fullness of Christ in your life. Ask Him to reveal these and then repent of their influences.





A Joseph Calling

February 15th, 2017 by Os Hillman

“And he sent a man before them – Joseph, sold as a slave.” – Psalm 105:17

God is doing a unique work around the world today. He is rising up Josephs throughout the world. Some are still in the “pit” stage of their pilgrimage, while others are heading toward fruitfulness. What does it take for a man to become a true Joseph? It takes years of preparation and testing to be a true Joseph. It takes what the psalmist says in Psalm 105:17. “He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; and he sent a man before them – Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free” (Psalm 105:16-20).

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A true Joseph is one who is a provider both spiritually and materially for those in the Body of Christ. It is a person who understands that he is simply a manager of all that God has entrusted to him. It is a person who has humility and a broken and contrite heart before God. But how does God prepare modern-day Josephs?

Modern-day Josephs are prepared through their own versions of bruised feet, with shackles and necks put in irons. It is often through the adversity of failed finances, failed marriages, failed relationships, and broken dreams. These are the things that try men the most. These are the things God uses to allow the Josephs of our day to be proven by the Word of the Lord. Once proven, God brings them out of their prisons and uses them mightily for His purposes. Joseph went through his own trials – not because of any failure, but because of an incredible calling: to save and provide for an entire nation. God had to prepare this man with 13 years of broken dreams and humble circumstances in order to break every ounce of pride and self-will. God could not afford to have a 30-year-old steeped in arrogance and pride running an entire nation.

When I attended a world conference on global evangelization in South Africa, I was privileged to sit among 45 other men from different parts of the world who had a Joseph calling on their lives. These men of means had humility of heart and a spirit unlike any others I have met in my country. Each one had his own Joseph story. It was an incredible scene that changed my life and my own view of business. This allowed me to see firsthand this phenomenon that is going on throughout the world. Many believe God is rising up these servants to prepare for a worldwide economic earthquake and to fund a global harvest of souls. Even since this conference, one nation is being dramatically affected because of a Joseph who has stepped forward to fulfill his calling for that nation. It is an awesome demonstration of God’s power working today.

Are you willing to allow God to do whatever it takes for you to become a true Joseph? Ask the Lord today to do whatever is necessary to fully use your gifts and talents for His eternal Kingdom.





Having Eyes for One

February 14th, 2017 by Os Hillman

“Then they were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” – John 6:21

The disciples were traveling across the lake to Capernaum when a strong wind arose and the waters grew rough. Suddenly they saw a figure on the water, and they were terrified until Jesus called out to them and identified Himself.

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Isn’t that the first thing we do when unexpected calamities or even something that we have never experienced before comes into our life? We panic until we can see that God is behind these events in our lives. In Romans, Paul tells us that, “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen” (Rom. 11:36). God has an eternal filter in which nothing can touch us unless He permits it. Even satan must have permission to touch us. And God may even use satan for His own ends, as in the case of Job.

God shows us a second principle in this story. The Scriptures say when the disciples were willing to take Jesus into the boat, they reached the shore where they were heading.

I was faced with some very difficult circumstances in my business. I had no income for some time, and I saw no immediate remedy to the situation. The circumstances created fear in my heart. The anxiety began to grow until, one day after my evening prayer walk, the Lord said, “How long do you want to keep your eyes on the circumstances instead of Me? Do you think I have brought you this far to throw you into the water?” The truth was that I was halfway in already because my eyes were looking at the “big waves” surrounding my boat. One night, in a support group for divorced men, the leader asked each of us to keep our eyes on two men who were going to walk from the room. One man represented Jesus, the other, our circumstances. “Now, I want you to keep your eyes on both people,” he said. The men stood up and began walking across the room in opposite directions. It was impossible to keep looking at each of them at the same time. So we had to choose which we would focus on.

The lesson was clear. We could not keep our eyes on Jesus and our circumstance at the same time.