Favour is the flavour that adds colour to a man's labour. A year of favour is greater that a life time of labour.Psalm 102:13 "Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come."
"Even one of their own prophets has said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.' This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth"(Titus 1:12-15).
In December 1983, The Princeton Religion Research Center published a landmark survey conducted for The Wall Street Journal by the Gallup Organization. The researchers measured a wide range of moral and ethical behaviors, such as calling in sick when not sick, cheating on income tax, and pilfering company supplies for personal use. The results were disappointing, to say the least.
But what the researchers found most startling was that there was no significant difference between the churched and the unchurched in their ethics and values on the job. In other words, despite the fact that more and more people were attending churches, churches seemed to be having less and less of an impact on the moral fiber of their people, at least in the workplace.
To quote the researchers: "These findings will come as a shock to the religious leaders and underscore the need for religious leaders to channel the new religious interest in America not simply into religious involvement but in deep spiritual commitment."
"Either these are not the gospels, or we're not Christians," said Thomas Linacre, Henry VIII's doctor and Renaissance thinker, after given the four gospels in Greek. Linacre recognized a great disparity between those who proclaimed Christ and how they lived their lives.
If our faith life is not validated through our behavior then one must question if we even have a genuine relationship with Christ. The apostle Paul didn't like what he saw in the believers on the island of Crete. They proclaimed Christ with their mouth, but their behavior looked no different than those who did not claim Christ.
Pray that your faith is "proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:7-8).
"Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing." Acts 9:8a
When God calls one of His servants into service, there is often much travail. There are many examples where God makes His presence known through circumstances that tax the individual to his very soul.
Consider Paul, who was stricken blind on the Damascus road.
Consider Peter; when he denied Jesus after the crucifixion, he was in total despair.
Consider Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were thrown into the fiery furnace.
Consider Daniel, who was thrown into the lions' den.
Consider David, who was forced to flee his former employer for many years and lived as a fugitive.
It may seem strange to us that God uses such incredible adversity to prepare His servants for greater service, but this is God's way. God knows that the human heart is incapable of voluntarily stepping into situations that take us beyond our comfort zone. He intentionally brings us into hard places to prove us and to drive us deeper into the soil of His grace.
In arid regions of the world, trees cannot survive unless their roots grow deeper to where the water table can be found. Once they reach the water, these trees become stronger than any tree that can be found in tropical climates. Their root systems ensure that they can withstand any storm. In the same way, God brings us into extremely difficult situations in order to prove His power and drive our spiritual roots deeper.
Friend, God may take you through times when you will question His love for you. In such times, you must cling to His coattail so that you see His purposes in it. Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him'" (Hebrews 10:36-38).
..."Because you have prayed to Me...." Isaiah 37:21
Have you ever had your back against the wall so badly that if something didn't happen to change your situation, you were sunk?King Hezekiah was one of Israel's greatest godly kings. One of the greatest challenges to his reign came when the king of Assyria threatened to attack Israel and wipe them out. The Assyrians were the local bullies of the region and had wiped out all other enemies in their region.
They mocked the idea of having a God who could save them.
Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you! Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, "The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria" (Isaiah 36:14b-15).
The workplace is full of "Assyrian kings" who mock the idea of a living God who delivers. Without God's help, Israel would not overcome. Their backs were against the wall. They would be destroyed.
King Hezekiah saved Israel because of one act. He prayed; and because he prayed, God moved on his behalf. In fact, God moved so powerfully that Hezekiah did not even have to fight the battle.
Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning, there were all the dead bodies! (Isaiah 37:36)
The king of Assyria was even murdered by his own sons. Imagine seeing your enemy totally destroyed without one hand raised in battle!
God wants to act on behalf of His children if they will call on Him. One of the motives Hezekiah had in seeking God's help was "so that all kingdoms on earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God" (Is. 37:20). This is what happened. God was glorified.
God wants to let your workplace know that God is a living God. He can deliver. Seek Him today for the crisis in your life. Keep your motive pure and God will surely answer.
"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me" (2 Cor. 12:7).
Have you ever had something in your life you wish was not there? If God gave you one wish, perhaps it would be to change that one thing. Perhaps it is the source of pain or challenge in your life. You seek God continually for relief from it, but He seems strangely silent.
Paul also experienced an ongoing burden that he called a "thorn in [his] flesh." Bible scholars have speculated as to what this thorn might have been, but no one knows for sure. We do know that it was so hurtful to Paul that he asked God on three different occasions to remove it from his life:
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
Paul had a great calling on his life. The revelations and faith experiences that God gave him would have been too much for any man's humility. So God, in order to insure His investment in Paul's life, gave this man a thorn in his flesh to help him maintain a humble, godly perspective.
Perhaps God has given you such a thorn designed to allow you to place greater trust and reliance upon Him. Ask God to reveal to you the blessing of the thorn He has placed in your life.
The bloom of a rose is beautiful, but the thorn of a rose produces only pain. Thorns hurt us yet they humble us. That is the blessing of thorns.
"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).
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; whether it be the king, as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well (1 Peter 2:13,14).
God used government authority in the lives of many people in the Bible to accomplish His purposes in their lives. Scripture tells us that even the king's heart is in the hand of God (See Proverbs 21:1). God uses these authorities to continue the work that He has started in us and will continue to manifest His character in us through governmental authorities.
Moses and Pharaoh, Joseph and Potiphar, Daniel andNebuchadnezzar, Esther and the king, Jesus and Pilate, and many others throughout the Bible became great men and women of God because they gave those in authority their rightful place.
If we find it difficult to live under the authorities in our life, we'll usually find it difficult to submit to the will of God in our lives too. Rebellion is reflected in our unwillingness to live under the authority placed over us. We may not have respect for the person who is the President of the United States, but we are still to honor and respect the position the presidency represents, and we are to recognize that God has placed him in authority over us. As long as we are not asked to violate a biblical commandment, we must recognize those in authority as God-given and that He is going to work through them on our behalf.
We must not obey the government when it calls us to compromiseGod's Word. Issues that violate the Word of God may require civil disobedience. However, each person must evaluate these situations in light of what God's Word says and be true to their own conscience.
"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ" (1 Cor 12:12-13).
Imagine with me for a moment that you have won a very expensive car. However, in order to receive your prize, you must agree to an unusual requirement. You must agree to remove one major component in that car in order to receive the gift.
Which component will you remove?
Will it be the steering wheel? Perhaps it will be the left front tire or the front seat or the two headlights. My illustration may seem ridiculous, but you get the point. Unless you have the complete car and have the ability to use all of its components, your ability to benefit from that car is going to be severely limited. The Bible says you and I are part of a larger Body - the Body of Christ. We each have our own body, but we are also made up of a larger Body that has a unique function to play. When you are not functioning as God intended, the entire Body suffers because you are not fulfilling your prescribed function.
When you function in a way that is not directly connected to the larger Body, you are only fulfilling a small portion of why the Manufacturer made you. There is a greater mission that you must fulfill. Today, the Body of Christ is fragmented and seeks to do things separated from one another. Our individual church "silos" stand alone - often as monuments to man instead of the greater mission of reaching the city.
Jesus knew the key to fulfilling His mission was getting His larger Body to work as one. "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:20-21). What is your part in the overall mission? Are you fulfilling your prescribed function as designed by the Manufacturer?