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."
Jesus used parables to communicate principles of the Kingdom of God. He said each believer's life should have the same impact on his or her world as salt has on food. Salt gives food flavor and brings out the best, while at the same time it serves as a preservative.
What allows a Christian to become salty? Fire. God knows that each believer needs a degree of testing by fire in order for Christ's fragrance to be manifested. We cannot become salty without this deeper work of the Holy Spirit's fire in our lives. Fire purifies all that is not of Christ. It takes away all the impurities that prevent His nature from being revealed in us.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:6-7). Are you a salty Christian? If not, pray a prayer that the immature are unwilling to pray. Pray that God makes you a salty Christian. It will result in praise and glory at the throne of God.
"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.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom 12:1-2).
A cab driver in the Philippines became radically saved. He was taught that he now had the power of God in his life to transform his community. Because he had not had any prior religious training to the contrary, he took a literal approach to believing what the Bible says about prayer and miracles.
He decided that the best mission field for him was the local bar in his neighborhood. So he began to visit this bar to find the most qualified sinner he could find in order to minister to him. He met the bartender and determined that he was a great prospect because he was also a gay drug addict and a pimp to 65 prostitutes. The cab driver visited the bar regularly and got to know the bartender while drinking his "usual" Coke. Eventually, the Lord used the cab driver to bring this man to Christ.
The power of God moved greatly in the bartender, and he was delivered from his homosexual lifestyle. He began to change his life and share Jesus with the prostitutes. All 65 of them became Christians, and they began meeting in the bar for Bible study.
Soon, the owner of the bar began to notice the change in these people, and he also was saved. The bar became a church, and the group started 10 cell group churches in the neighborhood. Now that is a miraculous transformation!
No matter what situation we find ourselves in, we should always remain aware that God wants to intervene. He desires a moment-by-moment relationship with us, and He wants to demonstrate His loving power to others through us. We can approach God about any situation, for there is nothing that is too small or too great for Him.*
Ask God to be a transformer in your workplace and city.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.Romans 12:15
Saul was the King of Israel. David was in Saul's army and beginning to build a reputation as a great warrior. One day when David came back from a battle, the women danced and sang: " 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands' " (1 Sam. 18:7).
Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?" (1 Samuel 18:8)
This statement caused something to snap in King Saul. From this point on, Saul was never the leader God intended him to be. He allowed insecurity to drive his every decision. Insecurity leads to the need to control people and circumstances. The need to control leads to anger once we realize we are unable to control the circumstance. King Saul could not accept, much less rejoice, over David's success. David's life would never be the same, because Saul sought to kill David every chance he had. Saul had a choice; he could have seen David as an up-and-coming general in his army who could have become an important part of his team and made the kingdom of Israel even stronger. Instead, he looked at him as a threat. When you hear good news about fellow workers or associates, do you rejoice with them? If you find yourself comparing your life's circumstances to others and don't feel you measure up, recognize that this is one of satan's greatest ploys to destroy you.
Christ has given you all things in Him. He has a unique plan for you that cannot be compared to another. He alone is your security. Trust in the purposes He has for your life. And remember, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19 KJV).
"So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, themountain of God." 1 Kings 19:8
Elijah and Moses were men of great zeal. They were passionate about their causes. Moses sought to free the Hebrews from the tyranny of slavery by killing an Egyptian with his own hand. Elijah, after calling down fire on the evil prophets of Baal, found himself spent physically and emotionally to the point he asked God to take his life.
Immediately after these two events, 500 years apart from one another, both men were led to the same Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. In Hebrew, Horeb means "desolation." This barren environment mirrored the condition of Moses and Elijah. For Moses, it was 40 years of barrenness. For Elijah, it was 40 days without food. Elijah became tired of standing alone for God.
As workplace believers we often become so focused on the goal we forget to meet God at our own Mount Horeb. This was the place God met both Moses and Elijah. It was a place of renewal, a place of new beginnings, a place of personal encounter with the living God.
Perhaps Elijah's greatest virtue was his zeal. Indeed, we shall see that twice in his communication with God, Elijah speaks of having been "very zealous" for the Lord. But zeal, unattended eventually becomes its own God; it compels us toward expectations, which are unrealistic, and outside the timing and anointing of God. To remain balanced, zeal must be reined in and harnessed by strategic encounters with the living God. We otherwise become frustrated with people and discouraged with delays. We step outside our place of strength and spiritual protection. Many of us become so consumed with our battles that we are no longer aware of the presence of Jesus. We have been traveling in our own strength. [Francis Frangipane, Place of Immunity (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Arrow Publications, 1994), 5.]
Pray that Jesus will teach us that intimacy with Him is the greatest measure of success. Lord, guide us to the mountain of Your presence.
"Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel" (Phil 1:12-13).
Have you ever heard these statements: "Money talks." Or how about this: "He who has the gold, rules." Both of these statements have truth in them.
When Jesus was crucified there was a question as to where Jesus would be buried. Those that hurried him to the cross, designed that he should make his grave with the wicked; but God designed he should make it with the rich (Isa 53:9), and so he did.
In order for Jesus to be buried with honor, a man of influence was permitted to take the body of Jesus. His name was Joseph of Arimathea. It seems this man had a personal relationship with Pilate. He was a man of influence and owned a burial cave that was reserved for the rich.
Joseph of Arimathea was called an honorable counselor, a person of character and distinction, and in an office of public trust; some think in the state, and that he was one of Pilate's privy council; his post rather seems to have been in the church, he was one of the great Sanhedrim of the Jews, or one of the high priest's council.*
The Bible says that He desires His people to be the head, not the tail. If we are to influence the culture, there must be men and women of influence in whom God uses to impact the culture. If you are successful person, consider the words of Paul when he said, "...what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel." Although Paul was referencing adversity in this statement, it can be equally said that each of us needs to ask if our prosperity has served to advance the gospel.
Are you using your influence to impact your workplace, city, or even nation for the sake of the gospel?
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
What audience do you play to? Each day you are seen by many who will make a judgment about the way you handle yourself among different audiences. Politicians have learned to play to their audiences, customizing messages for the needs of their particular groups. Musicians have learned to play to their audiences. Pastors play to their congregations each Sunday morning. Workplace believers play to the audiences who will buy their product.
Christ has called us to play to one audience - the audience of Himself. When you seek to please any other audience in your life, you become susceptible to situational ethics and motivations based on the need for the moment. Your audience becomes a pawn in your hands because you know what they want. Is that wrong? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.
Pure obedience to pleasing God in our lives will often meet the needs of those around us. It is God's will that you and I love our spouses, provide good services to our customers, and look to the interests of others before ourselves. This will result in meeting many needs of the audiences in our lives.
However, there are other times when our audiences are asking for something contrary to God's will. Politicians are often forced to appease their audiences, even though it may go against God's laws. When we are asked to go with the flow, we discover which audience is most important in our lives. Is it the audience of One, or the audience of many?
Today, be aware of which audience you are playing to. Ask yourself why you are taking a particular action. Is it to please the audience of One? Or is it to please the audience of others who might negatively impact you should you not play to their tune?
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7).
Oswald Chambers advises, "Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, he puts the saint in the shadow of His hand, as it were, and the saint's duty is to be still and listen... When God gives a vision and darkness follows, waiting on God will bring you into accordance with the vision He has given if you await His timing. Otherwise, you try to do away with the supernatural in God's undertakings. Never try to help God fulfill His word."*
In the book of Proverbs, Solomon warns us not to rely on our own fallible wisdom while trying to do God's perfect will. God wants us to wait for His deliverance. His means of bringing us to spiritual maturity requires us to wait on His deliverance through adversity so that we will be able to discern the difference between our own self-deliverance and God's authentic deliverance in our lives.
It's a paradox but it's true: God often calls us to a ministry - then He deliberately thwarts our efforts to achieve our goals! We see it in the life of Moses. In obedience to God, Moses told Pharaoh, "Let my people go!" How did Pharaoh respond? He said, "Who is the Lord that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go." Again and again, Moses returned and demanded freedom for his people. Again and again, Pharaoh refused.
God sent plague after plague upon the Egyptians. In response, Pharaoh hardened his heart and persecuted Moses and the people of Israel. So Moses complained to God, "You called me to go to Pharaoh, but You are not freeing the people!" Moses grew discouraged because God had called him to fulfill a vision - a dream of liberation for his people - and the vision seemed to die.
But God was teaching Moses and the people of Israel to persevere, to obey, and to wait upon the Lord in patient trust for God's perfect time for deliverance.
"But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:15).
Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) was born in Amsterdam and raised in theDutch Reformed Church. When the Nazis came to power in the late 1930s, Corrie and her family hid Jews in the basement of their home. In 1944, Corrie's family was arrested and sent to Ravensbrück, one of the worst concentration camps in Nazi Germany. There, Corrie's entire family died. Corrie herself was scheduled for execution - but she was released shortly before the end of World War II because of a clerical error.
Corrie concluded that God had saved her for a purpose. She committed her life to preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, speaking in churches, tent meetings, and open-air rallies. At one meeting in Germany in 1947, she taught on God's forgiveness. Afterwards, a man came up to her and introduced himself as a former Ravensbrück guard - but Corrie needed no introduction. She remembered him well. He was notorious for his cruelty.
"I've become a Christian since the war," he said. "I know God has forgiven me for the horrible things I did, but I would like to hear it from you. Could you tell me that you've forgiven me, too?" He put out his hand.
Corrie stood there for what seemed an eternity, unable to think of anything but the horrors this man had committed. Then she remembered the words of Jesus that required her to forgive ANY sin. She silently prayed, "Jesus, help me!" ...then she took the man's hand and cried out, "I forgive you, brother!" She later recalled, "I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then."
That was the defining moment in Corrie's ministry. Over the years that followed, she took the Christian gospel to more than sixty countries around the world and changed hundreds of thousands of lives through her speaking, writing, and the motion picture The Hiding Place, based on her autobiography.
If we want to be used in a great way by God, we must be willing to forgive those who may be a great source a pain in our lives.
Is there someone who needs your forgiveness today?
"Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica" (2 Tim 4:9-10).
Adversity molded the apostle Paul into the greatest warrior for Christ the world has ever known. But there were times when adversity and disappointment took its toll on this rugged warrior. We can sense Paul's hurt and discouragement near the end of his second letter to Timothy:
Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica... At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me... Do your best to get here before winter (4:9-11,14,16,21).
Do you hear the pain in those words? Twice he urges Timothy to come to him. Do you feel his anguish when he twice speaks of being deserted by his friends?
In most of his letters, Paul seems to have an invincible spirit. Yet he was a man who suffered, felt betrayed, and was at times very lonely. However, Paul chose to look at life from a heavenly perspective. That's why he could write:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that thelife of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Cor. 4:8-10).
Paul had experienced a level of opposition and suffering that you and I can scarcely imagine. People said they would do things but did not follow through. He could not depend on certain people. Yet he was not crushed, and he refused to give in to despair. He viewed his life as a continual process of dying. His goal was to live in such a way that the life of Jesus would be revealed in his response to adversity.
Beware of placing too much expectation on others. Realize that people will let you down from time to time, but do not let that impact your faith. Trust God to work even through these disappointments.
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt 6:24 NKJV)
The New Testament contains 2,084 verses dealing with money and finance. Sixteen of Jesus' thirty-eight parables deal with money. The reason Jesus spoke so much about money was because He was always trying to see where a person's loyalty resided. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt 6:21 NKJV). He said a person could not serve two masters. Instead, he will love one but hate the other.
Many people believe money is synonymous with mammon. This is incorrect. Mammon is an Aramaic demonic spirit that was worshipped as a false god by the Philistines. Mammon desires to be worshipped, have influence, and control of peoples' lives to require love and devotion through the use of money. Money is simply the instrument by which mammon seeks to have power.
Any spirit that opposes God seeks to influence people through deception. It wants to gain loyalty and love without you knowing it has done so. The primary lie behind the spirit of mammon is that money contains power. It encourages people to place disproportionate value on money because of the power it has to influence and control others.
The symptoms of being controlled by the spirit of mammon are revealed when we allow our activities to be governed by the amount of money we have instead of God alone. It makes us believe one's provision is his/her employer, spouse, investments, or other money source. So, when we allow money to rule the choices in our lives we have yielded to the spirit of mammon. This leads to other problems as Paul writes to Timothy:
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Tim 6:10)
Today, ask God if you have been influenced by the spirit of mammon. If so, renounce it and place your total trust in Christ as your source for all provision.