Monday, August 21, 2017

FROM PAIN TO DESTINY

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-5).
God often allows pain to ignite destiny in our lives. Without motivation, many of us would never fulfill the purposes for which God created us. Oftentimes a measured assault invades our life and creates a depth of pain that all we know to do is press into God with all our being.
At first, our motivation is to alleviate the pain. After a season of extreme emotional and sometimes physical pain, a second phase begins. This phase moves us to discover a new and deeper relationship with God. We begin to discover things about ourselves and about God that we never would have discovered without this motivation. Gradually, our heart changes our motivation from pain to loving obedience because there is a transition of the heart that takes place. No longer do we seek God for deliverance from the pain; we seek God because He is God. We seek His face and not His hand.
When we move to the second phase we often find ourselves moving into a new destiny and calling for our lives because God often separates us from the old life in this process. No doubt Joseph and Peter felt the pain of their individual crises. However, later they could realize God's purposes in their crisis. Like Joseph, we are able to say, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good."
Today, let God move you from the place of pain to the place of destiny. Let God show you the secret things He has reserved for you as a result of the crisis you may find yourself in.

Friday, August 18, 2017

REJECTED FOR CHRIST

"And they took offense at Him...." Matthew 13:57
Jesus taught in the synagogue in the community He grew up in. He was raised as a local carpenter's son. No one saw any miraculous powers in this young boy's life. But something changed as He became older. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" Those in the community could not reconcile God's work in someone they thought they knew simply as the carpenter's son. God brings every person who is committed to Him out of their normal routine into a new revelation of Himself that impacts others.
Is the move of God so evident in your life that it invites scrutiny from friends or coworkers? Jesus confronted the issues of His day without fear of being rejected. A life of obedience will be an affront to the systems of this world. When God begins His deeper work in you, it will be a stumbling block to those around you. When you are rejected for Christ, consider that Christ is affirming His call on your life and you are becoming a threat to the kingdom of darkness. How many of satan's workers do you suppose have been assigned to thwart God's activity in your life? Those who sit in a pew from week to week and never speak the name of Christ in the workplace require few opponents because they represent no threat to the kingdom of darkness. How are you impacting the kingdom of darkness? God has called you and me to impact the lives around us for His Kingdom. Your words may be an affront to those around you; do not fear this. God will use your words and life to draw others to Himself. You are His ambassador in the workplace. He has placed you there for this time to extend life to those who live in darkness.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD

"The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145:13b-14
Have you ever had a relationship with someone who was faithful? You knew you could depend on that person to do what he said. You learned that his word was completely trustworthy. If he said he would call you, he would. If he said he'd be somewhere at a certain time, he'd be there. In fact, if he was late, you began to wonder if he had an accident because it was so contrary to his nature. It's great to have friends who are faithful.
God is faithful. He is faithful to fulfill every promise in His Word. Sometimes we think God isn't faithful because it appears He has not fulfilled a desire that we have. Sometimes we think He is not faithful because of a crisis event that seems to say God isn't faithful. We must remember that God is more concerned about accomplishing His ultimate purpose in the life of every believer than giving us the desires of our heart. Sometimes this results in hardship.
The Bible is full of accounts of God's faithfulness that was often accompanied by hardship. He brought Joseph out of slavery to be greatly used in a nation. He delivered the people from Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. He gave Abraham the son of promise late in his life. He delivered David from his enemies and made him a king. In story upon story, we learn of God's faithfulness. Are you a faithful man or woman? The workplace needs faithful men and women. Take an inventory of your life today and ask God if you have been faithful with what He has entrusted to you.

Monday, August 14, 2017

CONFIRMING DECISIONS

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22).
Confirming major decisions through the counsel of others is one way God protects us from poor decisions. This process is designed to confirm direction for which we are seeking confirmation. Paul was sensitive not to get too heavy-handed in the confirmation process though. He offered advice to others but was not the enforcer of their decisions. "And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter"(2 Corinthians 8:10).
The requirement for efficient administration frequently requires single points of decision-making. Where there is willingness and trust to receive input, there is also humility, faith, and grace for God to work His pleasure in His servant. Where there is unwillingness, the opposite is true.
There have been times in my life where I have felt strongly about a certain issue only to receive feedback from those close to me which revealed that I was not accurate in my assessment of the situation. I have learned to yield in such situations, trusting that God is working through those in whom I am accountable.
The scriptures encourage us to seek advice and counsel from other Godly people who share the same values and goals that we have. "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise"(Proverbs 19:20). "Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance"(Proverbs 20:18).
Peace of mind is another important confirmation requirement for making decisions. If you do not have peace about a decision, you should wait until God gives you peace. This does not mean your decision may not have some tension due to the faith aspect of it, but deep down you should have a peace that it is the right decision. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
Do you need to make a major decision? Ask God to give you confirmation through others.

Friday, August 11, 2017

BEING A SHELTER FOR THOSE IN NEED

"Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land." Isaiah 32:2
Have you ever walked in a dry, hot climate for an extended time? The sun beats down, sweat begins to pour off your brow, and your throat and mouth are parched with thirst. A little shade, a slight breeze, or a cool drink becomes the greatest thing one could value at the moment.
When you and I walk with Christ in the workplace, we become that kind of oasis for non-Christians. However, they may not recognize it at the time. Let's face it, the workplace is pretty tough, especially when Christ is not in the center of it.
When a person becomes aware of their need of Christ through you or me, we have become a shelter from the wind. We become their refuge from the storms of life.
Someone once said that you and I might be the only Bible someone ever reads, so we need to be something worth reading. Are you available to be that shelter for a non-believing friend? If so, then you may open the eyes of someone who has been blind his whole life. What an incredible blessing to know you were the instrument God used to bring a person into the Kingdom of God.
"Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen" (Isaiah 32:3).

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

THE CAUSES OF FAILURE


"You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it." Joshua 7:13b
The first battle for the people of Israel traveling from Egypt was at Jericho, once they crossed the Jordan River. God had given them a great victory at Jericho, and Joshua was now ready to move to their next battle at Ai. After they spied out the enemy camp, they determined they needed only a few thousand men to gain victory.
They went up against Ai only to fail miserably. They lost 32 men in a battle that should have been an easy victory, but instead they were forced to retreat. Joshua was devastated. "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?" (Josh. 7:7a) In this case, the people fell short because they failed to uphold the standard God had set for them. God had told them not to take any plunder from their first battle. However, Achan hid some forbidden treasures, and God was now judging the entire nation for one man's sin.
Whenever we act without God's complete blessing on our activity, we can expect God to thwart our plans. God's word to Joshua was that he could not stand against his enemies as long as there was disobedience among his troops.
Whenever we launch a business endeavor, we should make sure there are no unclean things in our dealings that would allow us to be vulnerable to a failed effort: unpaid vendors, disgruntled employees who were not treated fairly, lawsuits, dishonesty. Many of these things can hinder God from blessing our enterprises. These things can remove the shield of protection from our workplace, which God wants to bless, but cannot because He is committed to upholding righteousness. His name is blemished when unrighteousness is allowed to permeate our lives.
Is the Lord able to bless your enterprises today? If not, you may need to go back and clean up a few things before He can do so. Take whatever steps are needed to ensure the blessing of God today.

Monday, August 7, 2017

BAD ALLIANCES

"Woe to the obstinate children," declares the Lord, "to those who carry out plans that are not Mine, forming an alliance, but not by My Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting Me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge." Isaiah 30:1-2
Have you ever entered a business relationship with someone you knew you were not supposed to? Throughout the history of Israel, the people were called to come out of an old way of life. Egypt represented that old way; when things got tough, the Israelites reverted to what was comfortable. They always knew they could take a trip to Egypt and find what they lacked. Perhaps this was their reasoning: "If we can't get it accomplished under the new way, why not go back to the way we used to do it? At least we know we can get it there."
When God calls us into a walk of faith, we can expect to be tested in this walk. If we enter into alliances that God has not ordained, it will only bring heartache. Such was the case for Israel. "But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame, Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace" (Is. 30:3).
Beware what you perceive as an alliance that may advance your business. It may actually bring you great distress if God has not directed you to align it. Ask yourself what the motive is behind this possible alliance. Make sure that it is not based on fear or a quick fix. Get confirmation that God is leading you to make such an alliance. Then you will not end up in the way of Israel, experiencing shame and disgrace.