Monday, February 28, 2011


..."Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to move on." - Exodus 14:15

Moses had brought the whole nation of Israel, approximately 600,000, to
a dead end in the desert. The only thing between Israel and Pharaoh's
pursuing army was the Red Sea. This was after nine plagues God had
inflicted on Pharaoh to motivate him to free the Israelites. Finally,
Pharaoh had freed Moses and the people, and they left Egypt. They
thought they were home free. "Freedom at last," they said. But God did a
strange thing. He directed Moses to take a route that led to the Red
Sea, instead of the northern route around the Red Sea. God explained
that He didn't want them fighting the enemies they would have
encountered on this route. But still, there was the issue of the Red
They finally arrived at the Red Sea, and the people were wondering where
they would go from there. News hit the camp: Pharaoh had changed his
mind. He was coming after them with his army. Panic set in. The
defenseless Israelites cried out, "Was it because there were no graves
in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?...It would have been
better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" (Ex.
God sometimes brings each of us to a "Red Sea" in our life. It may be a
work problem that can't be solved. It may be a marriage that seems to be
failing. It may be a debilitating disease. Whatever your Red Sea, God
tells us one thing: "Keep moving." The Red Sea was before them, yet God
was angered at Moses and told him to "Keep moving."
"But Lord, the Red Sea is before me." "Keep moving." When we live by
sight, we act on what we see. God sets this stage in dramatic fashion.
God is into the dramatic. There is no way out without God here. That is
just the way He wants it. No one will get glory except God.
A friend once admonished me when I was in the midst of a marriage
separation, "You must not withdraw from
being proactive in your faith just because of this trial that you are
in. God's hand is on your life. There are too many who are depending on
you to fulfill the purposes God has in your life. Keep moving! Keep
investing yourself in others." I didn't feel like it. I was in too much
pain. But I did it anyway. God met me at the point of my greatest need
once I decided simply to be obedient. Getting past myself by investing
myself in others helped heal the pain. There is great healing when we
look past our own problems and seek to invest ourselves in others for
the sake of Christ. This is when our own Red Seas become parted. We
begin to walk to freedom. But we will never experience the miracle of
the Red Sea in our lives if we don't first "Keep moving."

Friday, February 25, 2011


"But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs
with it."- Exodus 4:17

What is the staff God has put into your hand? Is it being a builder? Is
it being an office worker? Is it being a doctor? Moses' staff
represented his vocation as a shepherd. God had something in mind for
his vocation - to perform miracles. And awesome miracles He did! God
turned the Nile river into blood with the touch of the staff. He turned
the staff into a snake. He parted the Red Sea with it. These are just a
few of the miracles God did with that staff.
When we yield our talents and abilities to the Lord, God can perform
miracles through them. First, Moses had to yield what He had in his
hand to God. Only after this took place could God use that staff. As long as
Moses held onto it, God could not and would not perform miracles
through it.
Until we come to this place with our heavenly Father, we will fail to
see miracles performed in our work. He delights in showing His power
through us. When we become an open vessel, we can expect to see things
Have you given your staff to the Lord? Offer it to Him and see what He
might want to do through it. Your life will never be the same.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Confrontations are unavoidable in marriage. But the most important
factor in marital harmony isn't whether you get into a confrontation,
but how you handle the confrontations. James gives us God's formula for
handling marital debates: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man
be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19).
Three Don'ts of Conflict Resolution:
Here are three things from which to steer as you find yourself in
inevitable marital conflicts.
1. Don't Practice Avoidance. Do you avoid all conflict with your spouse?
Perhaps you are frightened of your spouse's anger. Perhaps you don't
want to lose an argument or you're afraid an argument will ruin your
marriage. Could it be that you're terrified you'll have to admit
something about yourself that you'd rather keep silent. Or are you so
afraid of seeing a problem inside yourself, that you just retreat?
Avoiding conflict never solves conflict; it only postpones the
inevitable. You may stuff it and repress it, but your stomach will keep
score. Don't practice avoidance. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" (Proverbs 27:6).
2. Don't practice appeasement. Some people don't avoid conflict; they
appease. They automatically concede, in every discussion. One person
always wins; one always loses. One person always dominates; the other
simply gives in and gives ground. Godly compromise happens when both
spouses give a little. But appeasement is something else. Appeasers may
think they solve problems, but they don't.
Appeasement smolders in the heart like oily rags in a closet. They can
break out and burn the house down. What's more, appeasers are given to
self pity. They develop martyr complexes. They feel trapped because they
know they'll never win. And while marriages with appeasers may stay
together, they often suffer from emotional divorce, which is as tragic
as physical divorce.
3. Don't practice aggression. You must face your partner, but don't
attack. There are few problems husbands and wives can't solve if they
will attack the problem, rather than each other. The Bible says, you
must speak the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:15). To attack the
problem, choose your time wisely.
Psychologists say that 90 percent of family arguments begin just before
mealtime, when your blood sugar is low. Another time not to bring up
problems is on the way to a social event or to church. "A soft answer
turneth away wrath" (Proverbs 15:1). The right time. The right tone. The
right turf. All three are so important.
Three Do's of Conflict Resolution
1. Practice accommodation. We all want our partners to change. But we
need to focus on ourselves. The most effective way to change your
partner is to change you. Because when you change, your partner has to
react to someone different. To change yourself, practice accommodation.
Suppose a wife says, "My husband and I don't spend enough time together.
He doesn't give me enough time." How can she accommodate her husband?
She could learn a sport he loves - that they can play together. That way
she gets what she deeply desires: time with her husband, but she does so
by accommodating herself to him.
2. Practice acceptance. By practicing accommodation, you say, "I
change." By practicing acceptance, you say, "My spouse might never
change. I accept it. I accept my partner." There are simply certain
things we have to accept about others. We're different.
In my wife's family, the Gentry household, there were never jokes and
witticisms. In the Rogers' household, they flew back and forth all the
time. I thought if you loved somebody, you showed that by teasing him or
her. To Joyce, you say what you mean and mean what you say. Who's right?
Nobody, of course. We're just different.
3. Practice adjustment. This is the best "do" of all. In accommodation,
I change. In acceptance, I make up my mind to love my spouse despite the
fact that he or she can't change. But in adjustment, we both change
together. And when that happens, it's wonderful.
Joyce turns into a pumpkin about 9 p.m. The longer I go, the faster my
engine runs, but it's hard to get the bed off my back in the morning! On
the other hand, Joyce wakes up immediately and starts singing. Now what
do you do when you have a lark and an owl married to each other? You
practice adjustment.
Practice accommodation, practice acceptance and practice adjustment.
Those are the ways to resolve conflicts.

Monday, February 21, 2011


"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious
riches in Christ Jesus."- (Philippians 4:19)

Have you ever gone through a time of complete dependence on God
for your material needs? Perhaps you lost a job and could not
generate income on your own. Perhaps you got sick and could not
work. There are circumstances in our lives that can put us in
this place.
When God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt through the
desolate desert, they had no ability to provide for themselves.
God met their needs supernaturally each day by providing manna
from Heaven. Each day they would awake to one day's portion of
what they needed. This was a season in their lives to learn
dependence and the faithfulness of God as provider. By and by,
they entered the Promised Land. When they did, God's
"supernatural provision" was no longer required. "The manna
stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was
no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of
the produce of Canaan" (Josh. 5:12). In both cases God was the
provider of the need.
For most of us, we derive our necessities of life through our
work. Like the birds of the fields we are commanded to go out and
gather what God has already provided. It is a process of
participation in what God has already provided. Sometimes it
appears it is all up to us; sometimes it appears it is all up to
God. In either case we must realize that the Lord is our
provider; the job is only an instrument of His provision. He
requires our involvement in either case.
You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands
have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your
God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth,
and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers,
as it is today (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).
Acknowledge the Lord as the provider of every need you have
today. He is a faithful provider.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


As children, many of us played "the gossip game." After forming a line,
the child at the beginning would tell his neighbor a story. Then, the
narrative would be passed down, with each child having the opportunity
to hear and relay the message.
The point to the game was to see how the story had changed by the time
it reached the end of the line. Interestingly enough, the final tale was
rarely similar to what was said at the beginning.
Sadly, the Gospel can be distorted in the same manner. When Jesus
ascended into heaven, He commanded the disciples to spread His Word
throughout a lost and sinful world. His message of truth was untainted,
one hundred percent pure.
They followed Jesus' command, but, as the Gospel spread, the opportunity
for error arose. Wherever the apostles preached, false teachers would
quickly follow, instructing the early church to obey legalistic rules
and regulations that God Himself did not require.
Two thousand years have passed since Jesus walked the earth. With this
inevitable passage of time comes more opportunity for God's truth to be
distorted. Teachers from all faiths are prepared to tell you whatever
you want to hear. Paul warned Timothy about this when he wrote:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but
wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves
teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their
ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
False doctrine is rampant in our world. We are surrounded by beliefs and
guidelines that fail to match up with the litmus test that is the Word
of God. The Lord not only wants us to come to know Him as Savior, He
also desires that all men "come to the knowledge of the truth" (1
Timothy 2:3-4).
In the Great Commission, Jesus commands His followers to reach the world
with His Gospel. But how are we as Christians to spread His Word if we
do not understand what we believe?
The Apostle Peter tells Christians to:
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a
defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is
in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so
that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good
behavior in Christ will be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
Even as false doctrine was widespread in Peter's day, he realized that
believers would always be tempted with the lure of doctrinal error. In 2
Peter 2:1-3, he says:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also
be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive
heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift
destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and
because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their
greed they will exploit you with false words.
In order to defend our faith from false doctrine, we must first examine
our beliefs. We shouldn't read through the Bible only to pull out verses
that confirm what we already hold true. Instead, we should take all of
what we believe and examine it against the entirety of truth found in
the Bible. Are your beliefs firmly set in the Word of God?
If someone asked you, "tell me about the Bible," what would you say? If
they asked you why baptism is important, what would you tell them? If
you were asked to explain the Trinity, how would you answer?
We should be entrenched and deeply rooted in God's Word, formulating a
mental grid of beliefs in our minds. If we understand the Bible's truth,
false teaching will not infiltrate this mental grid. God will alert us
to error, allowing us to eliminate untruths from our understanding of
His Word.
Why should you want to defend your beliefs? The world may tell you that
as long as you believe something, then you will be okay. This is not
true. When we believe the truth-the Bible-we are:
Prevented from being misled by false doctrine
Protected from those who attack our faith
Prepared to answer those who are honestly seeking truth
Persuasive in our expression and presentation of what we believe
Prosperous in our personal relationship with Christ
We are surrounded by those who are eager to tell us that salvation is
based on works and legalistic rules, that Christ was a "great teacher"
but not the Son of God, that Jesus is not coming again, and that baptism
is the only requirement to being saved.
Rarely will we find someone that believes exactly as we do. However, if
their values are not rooted in the Word of God, then they are adhering
to false doctrine.
Jude tells us that false teachers are like "clouds without water,
carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead,
uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam;
wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever"
(Jude 1:12-13).
There are thousands of teachers that are attempting to sell us something
that sounds good and appeals to our "sensuality." However, when we are
grounded in the principles of the Bible, we can wisely discern the
difference between truth and error.
In a world saturated with untruth, let God guide you to all the answers
that you seek. Know what you believe!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


..."Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." - Mark 10:49

Do you recall the circumstances when God first called you into
relationship with Him? Were you in need of something? Were you in a
crisis situation? Every day God calls someone into relationship with Him
through different circumstances. More often than not, the circumstances
relate to a need in their life that only God can meet.
Bartimaeus had the need to see again. He was a poor blind beggar, who
had heard about Jesus and the miracles He had done. The crowds rebuked
him for seeking Jesus, yet he continued to cry out. "Many rebuked him
and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, 'Son of David,
have mercy on me!'...Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and
came to Jesus" (Mk. 10:48,50). That day, Bartimaeus saw for the first
time. But more than that, he saw with spiritual eyes for the first time.
Each workday, we rub shoulders with someone who has not met this Jesus
we know personally. God uses needs to draw us to Himself. What need has
He placed in a coworker that only Christ can meet? Perhaps you are the
instrument He wants to use to introduce that person to Himself. It
requires availability and a willingness to look for people with needs;
then point them to Christ to meet their needs. Pray for divine
appointments today.
There are four types of Christians in the workplace. Which one are you?
Read Os Hillman's article Four Types of Christians in the Workplace.
Send an email to for a free article.

Monday, February 14, 2011


While society has changed greatly since creation, one thing has
constant: man's desperate desire for love. As far back as Adam and Eve,
man has constantly sought after an ultimate connection.
Modern society is no different when it comes to the need to be loved,
evident in the glitz and glamour of the world around us. If you listen
to any music station on the radio, at some point you'll likely hear a
love song that includes the ageless romantic mantra, "I'll be there for
you." The recent reality show craze on television has focused on
society's inherit longing for love. Similarly, every February 14th we
load up our credit cards with material displays of affection-roses,
chocolates, and exquisite dinners.
From a relationship standpoint-whether it is marriage, friendship,
family, or dating-it's assuring to know that there is someone out there
who always has our best interests in mind. But how often do we display
that same unconditional attitude towards those we love?
Thomas Merton said, "Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one
loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of
themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward." Yet, how often do we
view love as something to be bartered for, rather than something to be
freely given?
One of the most poignant examples of unconditional love comes from Luke
15-the story of the Prodigal Son (also referred to as "The Parable of
The Forgiving Father"). In this parable, Jesus describes a young man
takes his father's inheritance, runs away, and spends it all on "loose
living" (v. 13). Penniless and driven to the point of working in a hog
pen, the boy realizes that even his father's servants have ample
food-something which he lacks.
Returning home, expecting to be cast off to live in servitude, the
man discovers that his father welcomes him with open arms. (v. 20)
Instead of lecturing his son or delegating him to servant status, the
father requests the best clothing, sacrifices a "fatted calf," and
extravagantly celebrates the boy's return. (v. 23)
In telling the story of the Prodigal Son, Christ describes the
characteristics of God's love, while also illustrating the standard by
which we should treat each other. The parable gives six characteristics
of unconditional love: acceptance, touch, quality time, giving, acts of
service, and encouragement.
The father wholeheartedly accepts his son, and even runs to meet the
young man outside. (v. 20) The father could have cast him off, refusing
his return because of the son's ungratefulness. Yet, with open arms, he
offers a warm welcome.
Upon reaching his son, he hugs and kisses the young man-demonstrating
his love through physical touch. As the boy explains his guilt and
humility, the father listens and allows him to vent his feelings of
shame and frustration. The father gives quality time.
He also gives the young man gifts-a new robe, ring and sandals. This
act of giving is an outward display of his affection. In addition, he
serves by sacrificing the fatted calf and throwing a party. He chooses to make
his son's return an event to celebrate.
Finally, the father provides encouragement, assuring him that though he
was once dead, he is now alive-a reminder of the restored relationship
we experience with God when we ask for forgiveness. (v. 24)
Now these are certainly characteristics of God's love for us, but they
are also the ideals that God wants us to follow in our relationships
with others. Consider the relationships in your life-how often do you
express your love and gratitude through these characteristics?
One of the most important things to remember is that love is not a
feeling; it is a decision, a commitment. God chooses to love us, not
based on anything we do, but based on His holiness. He chooses to love
us unconditionally in spite of our sin.
When we love others based on commitment and not our fickle emotions,
then our relationships will become much more stable and grounded.
Feelings will always change. A commitment grounded in unconditional
love will never change.
Our relationship with God is clearly evident through our relationships
with others. By striving to treat others as God treats us, we can begin
to realize what He has in store for our lives. As Henry Ward Beecher
said, "I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love."

Friday, February 11, 2011


"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his
life for Me will save it." - Luke 9:24

When the time came for God to fulfill Joseph's dreams, Joseph himself
had virtually no interest at all in it. Jesus said, "For whoever wants
to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will
save it" (Lk. 9:24). God wants to teach us a different set of values so
that the kind of thing we start out wanting becomes secondary. God has
something in mind for us that is far greater than the interest we began
Joseph's day of exaltation had arrived. Yet, through it all, a very
real humiliation had to take place. We know about the humiliation Joseph had
experienced for 13 years after being sold by his brothers into slavery,
then taken to Egypt. We know how he was falsely accused and cast into
Then came a different situation. Joseph had had a triumph and was given
an exaltation, but the kind he really never asked for. He did not
appear to be all that interested in what was about to happen. He watched as
the Pharaoh took his ring off his finger and put it on Joseph's finger.
Joseph never asked for that. All he wanted was to go home. He longed to
go back to Canaan, to see his father, and to have his dreams fulfilled.
Therefore, here we find an extraordinary incongruity: a humiliation in
the heart of vindication. A triumph that was the opposite of everything
he, himself, could have envisaged. Joseph wanted to go home, but a
one-way ticket to Canaan wasn't available. Before he knew it, he had
Egypt in his hip pocket. He had never prayed for that. But God wanted
Egypt. What God wanted is what Joseph got.
Joseph was given something that he could be trusted with because it
didn't mean that much to him.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


"Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out." - Numbers 9:21b

God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, and they had to pass through
the desert on their way to the Promised Land. God was their guide by
means of a cloud that appeared overhead. When it moved, they moved. When
it stopped, they stopped - sometimes a day, a week, even a year.
Imagine living with the uncertainty of this situation. One day you work
at getting your "house" in order, only to have to pick up the stakes and
move. Your ability to plan is totally gone. But even greater is the
temptation to move when the cloud did not move because you felt it was
time to move. For the Israelites, perhaps the grass was no longer green.
Perhaps the water was not easily accessible. Perhaps the bugs were a
problem. Whatever the case, they were strictly prohibited from moving if
the cloud did not move.
It is still the same today. We are not to move unless the Holy
Spirit instructs us to do so. We are not to make that business deal on
the basis of whether or not it makes sense, but on the leading of the
Holy Spirit's "cloud" in our life. It is a difficult process to move
only when we are directed, and to remain if we are not. The pressure is
always upon us to move, to plan, to act. But if we act, we may move into
a place where the presence of God may not be. Hence, the rub. The
Christian workplace believer must learn to move when God says move; it
is a sign of complete surrender and dependence on God's Spirit to direct
our steps.
Ask God today if you are sitting under His cloud. Or, have you moved
when He said stand still? He will show you.

Monday, February 7, 2011


"Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner." - Exodus 17:15

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. God
instructed Moses to stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in
his hand. Moses' staff represented something that God said He would use
to bring glory to Himself. The staff represented what Moses had done for
most of his life - shepherding. It was his vocation. When God first
called Moses at the burning bush, He told him to pick up the staff; He
would perform miracles through it.
God wants to perform miracles through each of our vocations. At
Rephidim, God defeated the Amalekites only when Moses held his staff to
Heaven. It was a symbol of dependence and acknowledgment that Heaven was
the source of the Israelites' power. When he dropped his hand, the power
was removed and they began to lose the battle.
Each day we are challenged to reach toward Heaven and allow God to be
the source of victory in the workplace or be defeated. God calls us to
let His banner reign over the workplace so that others may know the
source of our victory. "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Write this on a
scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it,
because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under
heaven' " (Ex. 17:14). The Lord wants those behind us and around us to
know that He is the source of our power and success. With each victory
is a testimony that is to be shared with our children and our
Is the Lord your banner today? Reach toward Heaven today and let His
banner wave over your work so that He might receive glory from your

Friday, February 4, 2011


"When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his
hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord's anger
burned against Uzzah, and He struck him down because he had put his
hand on the ark...." - 1 Chronicles 13:9-10

There are good things we can do, but only God-things we should do.
Those activities not born out of the Spirit will result in wood, hay, and
stubble. What seems good in our eyes may be an abomination in God's
eyes. For instance, if you decide to build an orphanage but God has
never directed you to do so, then God will not see that work as good;
it was born out of your own strength, even though it was a "good work."
The most difficult challenge a Christian workplace believer will ever
have is to know what things to be involved in and what things not to be
involved in. Many workplace believers have a great ability to see
opportunity. What appears to be a "slam dunk" may come back to haunt us
if God never ordains us to enter that arena.
There are many good things we can be involved with. However, there are
God-things we are supposed to be involved with. Uzzah was a good man in
David's sight. It was a time of celebration, and David and the people
were transporting the ark of God. However, the ark hit a bump, and
Uzzah reached for the ark to hold it steady. He touched the ark, and he
immediately died. David became very upset with God about this
situation;he questioned whether he could serve God.
God's ways are not our ways. The most important quality God desires to
develop in us is our dependence on Him and Him alone. When we begin to
make decisions based on reason and analysis instead of the leading and
prompting of the Holy Spirit, we get into trouble with God. David later
learned the importance of this principle in his own life. This
encounter was one of the stepping-stones in his pilgrimage. David was an
extraordinary entrepreneur. He ran the nation very successfully, but
he,like each of us, had to learn the difference between "good things" and
Are you involved in anything in which God has not directed you to be
involved? Do you seek God about every decision, every action before you
take it? This is where God wants you and me to be. Ask Him to show you
how to walk with Him in this way.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


"Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little
2 Kings 4:2b

Her husband had died. There was no way to fulfill her debts. Her
creditors decided to take her two sons as slaves for payment of the
obligations that still remained. She pleaded for assistance with the
only man of God she knew.
"Is there anything in your house?" Elisha asked.
"Nothing at all," she said, "except a little oil."
Elisha then instructed her to go and collect all the empty jars that her
neighbors might possess. "Ask for as many as you can," he instructed.
When the jars were collected, he instructed her to pour what little oil
she had into the jars. The oil was more than enough to fill the jars. In
fact, there was more oil than jars to fill. "Go, sell the oil and pay
your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left" (2 Kings 4:7b).
God often mixes faith with the tangible. The widow believed she had no
resources to meet her need. God said she had more than enough resources.
She did not see the one jar of oil as a resource. It did not become a
resource until it was mixed with faith. Her need was met when her faith
was mixed with the practical step of going into the workplace to sell
what she had in order to receive her needed income. In fact, there was
so much income she was able to pay her debts and live on the money
derived from the sale.
Quite often we forget that God works through commerce to provide for our
needs. It is wrong to place total trust in commerce without faith in
God. God often requires simple obedience to an act that seems ridiculous
to the logical mind. It is this faith mixed with the practical that God
Do you have a problem that is perplexing to you? Do you see no way of
meeting your need? God may have already given you the skills and talents
to meet your need. However, He may be waiting for you to mix them with
faith. Ask God to show you the steps necessary to solve your problem. Be
willing to take the next step.