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."
"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" (Matt 21:2-3).
In Bible times, donkeys were a primary means for distributing goods and services. They represented commerce in the scriptures. Jesus told the disciples He had need of someone's donkey to ride into Jerusalem, the religious and spiritual center of their society. It would become known as Jesus' triumphal entry.
Os Hillman said, "My wife, Angie and I were attending a Christian business conference in Singapore. It was the night before I was to speak a second time when I was prompted to add a teaching segment on the above passage of scripture.
I am sure the disciples must have been uneasy with their master's request to untie a perfect stranger's donkey and take it. After all, He was asking them to take what was the equivalent to a man's "truck." And men love their trucks! Jesus was illustrating that He wanted to use that man's donkey, or that which represented their work, to bring glory to the Father.
The next morning Angie and I went to breakfast. While we were eating, a lady named Maggie joined us. Maggie was from Malaysia and was an intercessor for the conference. She fasted 40 days in preparation for the event. "So, Maggie, has the Lord spoken to you about this conference?" I said. "Oh yes," she said, very excitedly. On September 17 the Lord said that the Singapore business people needed to give their donkeys to the Lord." Angie and I looked at one another in amazement. God was confirming His Word to me from the night before.
That day the focus of our conference became the need for the Singapore business people to "give their donkeys" to the Lord."
Friend, have you ever dedicated your work life to the Lord? Today, why not commit your donkey to the Lord. He will use it to bring glory to Himself and fulfill your life more than you could ever imagine.
"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.
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. type
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."
"When the Philistines heard that David had been crowned king of Israel, they tried to capture him; but David was told that they were coming and went into the stronghold. The Philistines arrived and spread out across the valley of Rephaim. Then David asked the Lord, 'Shall I go out and fight against them? Will you defeat them for me?'" (2 Sam 5:17-19).
When you are about to enter your destiny, there is always opposition from Satan designed to prevent you from fulfilling your destiny.
When Jesus was born, Herod tried to kill him. When Jesus was baptized and fasted 40 days, Satan came to tempt Him in an effort to derail his destiny. When David had been anointed king over Israel, God's destiny had been revealed for all to see-even Satan. So, Satan raised up the Philistines to try and kill David's destiny.
However, in response, we see David do two things. First, he retreats to his stronghold. It is a place of protection. It is a quiet place. Second, he inquires of God. It is here that he inquires of God for the strategy to defeat his enemy. God reveals it to him and he goes on to defeat the Philistines. In fact, David NEVER lost a battle because he learned to inquire of God for the strategy to defeat his enemies.
Do you know God's intended destiny for your life? Beware of Satan's strategy to attack you in the place of your destiny. His desire is to take you off this divine path.
We must follow David's example in response to the enemy of our souls. We must retreat to our stronghold, seek the Lord, and listen for His answer. Then, we will fulfill the purpose for which God created us.
"This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 John 2:6).
I have always found the above verse very intimidating. It says that if we are truly living in Christ, we must walk as Jesus did. How did Jesus walk? He healed the sick. He perceived the needs and situations of others supernaturally. He spoke boldly into the lives of the unsaved. He met the needs of people by leading them to the Kingdom of God. Jesus says we must walk as He did. So, I can only conclude from this verse that if we are each called to live this way, He will also equip us to live this way.
How did Jesus walk? He walked on earth as a human being, not as God, yet He was God. His miracles were done as a human being who tapped into the power of His Heavenly Father. This is why he can exhort us to live like He did not as deity, but as a human being who could appropriate all the Father had for him. This is what He means when He says "live as He lived." We are to exercise obedience and faith just as He did.
I believe we live in a day that requires more than proclamation evangelism to break through in the workplace. We live and work in a skeptical society. It takes more than reasoning to see those in the workplace come to Christ. The workplace is trained to see past phonies. So, it will require the genuine love and power of Christ to be manifested to break through to a Muslim co-worker, a power-driven executive, or a foul-mouthed customer.
Jesus modeled a way of reaching the lost. He did not use reasoning to convince a person to follow him. He often operated in the supernatural revelation about a need in that person's life. Such was the case of the Samaritan woman. This encounter not only led to a woman placing her faith in the Messiah, but it led to the transformation of a city.
Next time you have an encounter with an unsaved associate, find out about a need they have and ask God how you can meet it through His power.
"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" (Prov 3:5- 6).
Os Hillman in his writing said, "I travel a lot. One of the greatest modern-day inventions I've appreciated most is the GPS system for cars. GPS stands for Global Positioning System, a navigational system tied to a satellite that can pinpoint your location and chart directions to any destination you select. I remember a time when my wife Angie and I used one of these when we were in Germany and Switzerland. We were able to program the GPS in English. We began our drive to our destination when a pleasant voice came on: "Turn left in 200 yards." We called our invisible road counselor, Microsoft Mary. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help you and I navigate through life. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (John 16:13-14).
A story is told years ago about the Chinese underground church having to rely on the Holy Spirit to tell them when and where they were to meet. It was too dangerous to announce public meetings. So, each member had to ask the Holy Spirit the time and place. They would all arrive at the same place at the same time.
Is the Holy Spirit active in your work life? Are you asking for His direction to succeed in your work? Microsoft Mary may help us navigate traffic, but Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us navigate life. Ask Him to guide you today.
"Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter?when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" (Is 58:7).
Os Hillman in one of his articles narrated this testimony. "For many years, I have read this passage without responding to it personally. I read it and moved on to the rest of my Bible reading without any actions steps. It was just another verse of scripture. Then one day the Holy Spirit asked me a question. "Os, how are you ministering to the poor in my name?" It was a very convicting question.
As I began to ponder that question, I realized I had no specific focus on the poor in my workplace ministry. Sure, I give to my local church that often gives to the poor and I may give a donation to the needy here or there. However, I was not directly involved in any specific activity that served the poor. I believed God was challenging me to change this.
I began praying about this and soon God connected me with a Christian leader in the nation of Uganda. I had never been to a third world nation. I had not seen poverty up close and personal. I decided this was God's answer to my prayer. Paying all my own expenses, I traveled to Uganda. I visited the camps where thousands of people have come to live - having abandoned their lands because of a 20-year rebel war. Children have been killed and maimed. During my stay, I experienced limited access to electricity and other basic needs we take for granted in the west. It is a stark contrast to how so many of us live.
This trip has begun a long term relationship with the nation of Uganda. The Lord does not ask us to give what we don't have. However, I do believe each of us should ask God, "What do I have in my hand that I can offer?" That is what Elisha asked of the widow. And God performed a miracle through what she had (2 Kings 4:2)."
Ask God today what you have in your hand that you can give to the poor.
"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know" (Acts 2:22).
In his book, When Heaven Invades Earth, Pastor Bill Johnson makes an insightful observation about Jesus.
"He could not heal the sick. Neither could He deliver the tormented from demons or raise the dead. To believe otherwise is to ignore what he said about Himself, and more importantly, to miss the purpose of His self-imposed restriction to live as a man."
Jesus Christ said of Himself, "The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees the Father doing" (John 5:19). In the Greek language that word nothing has a unique meaning - it means NOTHING, just like it does in English! He had NO supernatural capabilities whatsoever! While he is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that man would face once He was redeemed. He made that point over and over again. Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God - not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if he did them as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle. Recapturing this simple truth changes everything - and makes possible a full restoration of the ministry of Jesus in His Church.
What were the distinctions of His humanity?
1. He had no sin to separate Him from the Father.
2. He was completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him.
What are the distinctions of our humanity?
We are sinners cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Through his sacrifice he has successfully dealt with the power and effect of sin for all who believe. Now nothing separates us from the Father. There remains only one unsettled issue - how dependent on the Holy Spirit are we willing to live?
Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. - 1 Corinthians 12:1
In First Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, the apostle Paul is teaching us about the role of spiritual gifts in the Church. He correlates these gifts to a human body, telling us that each person's gift helps the whole Body of the Church. This is such an important principle for us to learn. I must say I learned this principle regarding my own spiritual gift the hard way.
"God will never speak as strongly to you as to someone else," said my mentor to me one day. The statement shocked me. "What in the world do you mean by that?" I argued with him.
"Your spiritual gift of administration/leading is one of the most dangerous gifts in the whole Body of Christ. The reason is that you can see the big picture better than anyone else, and you're so task-oriented that you will run people into the ground getting your project completed because you think you see it so clearly. That is why the best friend you could ever have is someone with a prophetic gift to discern whether the big picture you see is actually the picture God is directing. It is the one gift that can almost stand alone better than any other - at least that is the opinion of the one with that gift."
Oh, how I have learned this lesson the hard way! He was so right. There have been many a church staff destroyed by a person with the gift of administration. During my years as an ad agency owner, I saw how I stressed out my staff because of the tremendous load I put on them with multiple projects. It was so easy for me because the more balls I had juggling, the better I felt. I was oblivious to how my multi-task personality impacted those around me.
Today, I have some special relationships with intercessors and prophetic people whom I depend on for confirmation of direction. I have learned their spiritual gifts of discernment are of great value in determining strategic direction. I have learned that God has placed within each person a spiritual gift that is designed to make the Body of Christ function better for His purposes. When we discover the spiritual gifts God has placed in those around us, we are better able to see the Body function as a real body-totally dependent on one another. Some of us are more sensitive to God's voice because God has gifted us in that way. Others of us are less sensitive because God wants us to depend on others in the Body for their gifts. Find out whom God has placed around you today and discover a new dimension of spiritual productivity.
Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest. - Proverbs 14:4
When Jesus came into this world, He chose to be born in a most unusual place-a manger. It was no more than a livery stable with goats, oxen, and other livestock animals. There is a distinctive characteristic about a place like this. It is filled with odors and dung from the animals. God seems to work best among the unpleasantness of circumstances. In fact, "where there are no oxen, the manger is empty." What is this really saying? I believe it is saying that in order for Jesus to be present, we must invite those things that bring with them "messes to clean up." God works among the messy things in our lives. And from these messes come an abundant harvest. This is what He did with all His highly used servants in the Bible. God is filled with paradoxes. Why can't life be seamless and smooth? Because God likes to show Himself in the midst of the messes of life. This is what brings us into the harvests. So often the bigger the mess, the bigger the harvest.
When a major road-construction project takes place in a crowded city street, it appears to be absolute chaos. It is inconvenient, slow-moving and tends to get us irritated because it appears we are moving much slower than we would like. It is ugly, and so much of what we see is torn up. But when we look at that same area a few months or years later, we see why the construction was necessary. There was meaning to the mess. It actually made life so much better for those who would use the road.
It has been through the messiest of times in my business and personal life that God has revealed His power and strength in my life. It was when these "oxen" of hardship have walked into my manger that the greatest harvest was manifest. However, when I have sought to remove the "oxen" and rid myself of the odor and the mess, I have fought the ultimate work of God.
"He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light" (Job 12:22).
One of the great mysteries of the Kingdom is how God uses the darkest times in our lives to reveal greater depths of understanding of His ways. The only way we can receive these deeper things is to be driven to the depths of darkness. It is here that we discover important truths that He plans to use in our lives and the lives of others.
There is a process God uses to draw us into greater levels of intimacy. The first phase involves a depth of soul experience that causes great pain in our lives. We seek God for deliverance from the incredible emotional pain this causes. Our primary motivation for seeking God is to get out of our pain.
During this time, God meets us in the depths of darkness. We discover that He never left us but is in the midst of the darkness. We develop a new relationship with God. Gradually our motivation turns from removal of pain to love and intimacy with God. This is the place our Heavenly Father desires us to be.
During this season God will make spiritual deposits into your life. Others will be making withdrawals in the future from your life as well. You see, God reveals deep things in darkness that will be revealed in the light.
If you find yourself in great distress, know that God will bring your deep shadows into the light. The key to your deliverance is becoming satisfied in God. He becomes your all. He is your life. You will know your deliverance is near when your circumstances simply don't matter to you anymore.
Love the Lord your God with all your soul and see what things He will show you in the deep things of darkness.
"But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name'"(Acts 9:15-16).
Sometimes we can place the idea of calling too much on the thing we do versus the One we are called to serve. Paul said that he was "called to be an apostle." This has made some feel that if we each do not have a "special call" then we are second class citizens.
Paul saw his calling like any other believer's call to salvation and obedience. We cannot negate the fact that God did call Paul in a dramatic encounter with the Lord that had broad significance to the rest of the Body of Christ. And, there are assignments that are going to impact the Body of Christ more than others. However, this is not the case for every believer and we should not feel slighted should we not have the same level of call.
Every believer shares the same basic calling with Paul, "as a bondservant of Jesus Christ, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ," as he says in (Romans 1:6). Paul was saying to the Roman Christians their call was the same as his. They were not all apostles, but they were all "called of Jesus Christ."
For most of us, God will work out His calling upon our lives in many different and varied ways. Like Paul and the rest of the New Testament Christians, we are all called with the same glorious calling and thus stand as equals before God.