Wednesday, March 28, 2012


"So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant" (Josh 24:13).

In the world of business we are taught to do whatever it takes to produce a desired outcome. Competitive forces can drive companies to go beyond the limits of ethics and integrity to achieve a desired outcome. Men and women can become work-a-holics as the need for competitive advantage is passed down the various management levels in order to meet sales and marketing goals. This sweat and toil mentality contradicts God's Kingdom Economy.
The Kingdom Economy is found in the above verse in Joshua. When the people of Israel were coming out of Egypt, a place of sweat and toil and slavery, God was trying to teach them a new economy of receiving. Instead of sweat and toil, He wanted them to learn obedience. Now their income would be based on their obedience, not their skill or their sweat and toil.
This new Kingdom Economy meant that there would be times when what you receive from your efforts might be less than the commensurate time invested. Yet, there would also be times when you would receive more compared to your time invested.
I used to determine whether I would meet with a person based on my perceived return on that investment. I justified that behavior as being a good steward. God says we are to determine if He wants us to meet with that person or be involved with an endeavor based on His leading alone, not based on the perceived outcome. It is His responsibility to bring fruit from the activity.
This will result in a new freedom in your work life. Stay vertical with God and let Him determine your next activity.

Monday, March 26, 2012


..."Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." - John 21:6

A former client of mine was the marketing director of a large food brokerage company and told me a story about one of their client grocery stores located in the upper Midwest. It seems that the store could not understand why at a certain time every winter sales plummeted. They studied their product line and interviewed customers. They did everything possible to uncover the mystery. Finally, someone made a remarkable discovery that changed everything.
It seemed that whenever it was really cold outside, the manager raised the temperature in the store. When customers came into the store it was too warm for them, so they removed their coats and placed them in their shopping carts. This meant less room for food and resulted in reduced sales overall. They lowered the temperature of the store, and as a result, the sales climbed back to the levels they were accustomed to. Their adjustment resulted in restoring sales levels.
Jesus stood on the shoreline and watched Peter and a few of the disciples fish. Jesus yelled from the shoreline asking if they had caught anything. They had not. He then suggested they cast their line on the other side of the boat. Without knowing the person who was addressing them, they took His advice. They began catching so many fish they could not bring them in.
Adjusting our lives to God is the first thing that has to happen in order to begin experiencing Him in our daily lives. For some, it is simply following the advice of those above us. For others, it may require a major change in our job situation. Still, for others it could mean making changes in relationships. Whatever the case, you can be sure that until we adjust our lives to God we will not receive His full blessing. Ask Him today where you need to adjust to Him.

Friday, March 23, 2012


"Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul." - Psalm 143:8

David is the only person in the Bible whom God describes as a man after His own heart. Despite David's many setbacks he continually sought to know and do God's will in his life. Like many of us, his will got in the way of a sinless life.
In the morning hour, David sought to hear from God. I can imagine David sitting on the open deck of his palace looking over the hills of Jerusalem, listening to God. There, in his morning watch, he felt God's unfailing love. He reaffirmed his trust in God. He also understood that the key to knowing God's will lay in spending such moments alone to reflect on what God had done and was doing in his life.
"Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground" (Psalm 143:10).
Sometimes we fall prey to believing that God is not concerned, and that He does not lead us in our work life. We are tempted to think that He leads us in other areas, but not in our daily workplace. The truth is that God is in every aspect of life and desires to direct us.
Do you need direction in your life today? If so, David provides the best example of gaining direction. Set aside the morning hour to draw close to His presence. There, you will sense His unfailing love for you. His direction for your life will be a natural by-product of this time of communion with Him. Ask God to lead you by His Spirit today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


"But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do" (John 6:6).

Jesus and the disciples had just crossed the Sea of Galilee and multitudes followed Him because of the miracles they saw Him do. He was about to speak to them when Jesus realized it was dinner time and the people would be hungry. There were more than 5,000 people who needed to be fed.
Jesus already knew what He was going to do in this situation. However, He was testing the disciples to see if they would think beyond themselves to find a God-solution to the problem. They failed the test. They immediately thought like most of us would think. The disciples looked in their pocketbooks and realized they did not have adequate resources to purchase enough food for the crowd. It is when we come to the end of our resources that God comes in with His resources.
Os Hillman said, "when I first published volume one of TGIF in book form, I was required to order 1,000 copies from my publisher. We had very little distribution and sales of materials at that time. So, after a few months, we still had boxes and boxes of inventory in my basement. "These books are doing me, nor anyone else, any good in my basement," I said to a friend of mine who was with me. "I think we need to go downstairs and lay hands on the books and command them to leave based on Mark 11:23 which says we can speak to the mountain and have it removed." We walked downstairs and prayed, "In the name of Jesus get out of the basement and go be a blessing to someone who can benefit from these books!" Feeling very foolish, I walked upstairs. Two hours later I received a call from a Texas-based workplace ministry. They ordered 300 books! Until then, we had never sold more than a few copies in one day!"
When a problem arises in your work life do you think only the logical thought? Perhaps God has created this problem as an opportunity to reveal His glory in the situation. Next time, go outside the box and see the glory of God manifested in your problem!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


"Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me." - Nehemiah 6:14

Nehemiah set out to rebuild the wall at Jerusalem that had been destroyed. Nehemiah held a position in the Persian Empire that would be comparable to Chief of Staff in our government. Nehemiah wept over the destruction of the city wall and repented for the sins of his generation and the generations before him that had led to the fall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah responded to the news by seeking approval from his superior to take time off to rebuild the wall. Tobiah and Sanballat met Nehemiah's action with resistance, as did Noadiah the prophetess and other prophets. These were the religious and political leaders of his day. They became distractions to his work and opposed him.
Whenever God does a new work, it is often met with resistance by those in the established religious community, and sometimes among those from whom we would expect support. Jesus met the same resistance when He began His public ministry. This same phenomenon happens today. When God begins a new work that cannot be easily explained based upon prior experiences, many make the mistake of assuming it not to be of God. The very people who should embrace and encourage the work become the source of skepticism and opposition. God tells us that His ways are not our ways. He does things in ways beyond our limited understanding.
Before you are tempted to criticize or oppose something that looks different from your past experience, ask God for wisdom and discernment. Examine why you might be tempted to oppose it. The Lord cannot be put in a box. He delights in doing things in ways that may not fit our former paradigms.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


"For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap." - Malachi 3:2b

The Lord has a specific manner of preparing His people for useful service. God desires to turn His children from rough, hard-edged stones into gems of gold and silver.
He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years" (Malachi 3:3-4).
The refiner's fire can only accomplish its purposes when the heat is turned up to extraordinary temperatures. It breaks down the metal in order for it to become moldable and shapeable. Only when the temperatures reach this level can the work be fully accomplished. So it is in our lives.
Until the Lord completes His refining process, the offerings we make are not made in righteousness and cannot be acceptable. Thank God that Jesus is our righteousness and that there is no righteousness apart from Him. Still, the Lord continues to purge all that is not of His righteousness out of our lives. This comes through trials that bring each of us to the end of ourselves in order that He may only reflect that which is Himself.
When God takes you through the refiner's fire, be encouraged because it is His overriding commitment to turn you from a rough, hard-edged stone to a precious metal. He will do this through certain events in your workplace, your relationships, and other circumstances in your life. Our job is to avoid trying to blow out the fire.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


"David asked the men standing near him, 'What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?'" (1 Sam 17:26).

Every entrepreneur must determine the risk and reward before entering a venture. This is not the only consideration. We must determine if God is leading us after we consider all factors. We also must consider if the timing is right to proceed.
David was a young shepherd when he was bringing food to his older brothers in the army. He had already killed a lion and a bear during his days as a shepherd. David understood the risk/reward principle. When he heard about Goliath and that no one was willing to fight him he was angry. However, he didn't just respond out of pure emotion. He asked a very important question. "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?" He got the answer he was hoping for: "The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father's family from taxes in Israel." (1 Sam 17:25).
Do you see the reward? He gets financial wealth, a wife, and no longer has to pay taxes! What more motivation does a young Jewish boy need? Does this take away from the spiritual significance of the story? Absolutely not.
The religious spirit always tries to make the business side of faith evil. Money and profit is not evil. It is the love of money and the pride of life that gets man into trouble. David understood the proper balance of these co-existing to accomplish God's purposes. To avoid getting into trouble simply ask this question of yourself: "What is the true motive of my heart?" If it does not have the spiritual element balanced with the business element, you may be in trouble. Ask God four questions before you proceed in any venture:
1) Is the Holy Spirit leading me?
2) Is this the time to be involved?
3) Is the risk and reward worth it?
4) Do I have what is necessary to be successful in the venture with God's help?
After you've asked these questions go about your task with all your heart.

Monday, March 12, 2012


"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me." - Matthew 5:11

Recently, a friend told a true story about one of his closest friends who experienced great suffering for the soul of his persecutor. This man worked on a cargo ship. His boss was the captain. This friend was a committed Christian who shared his faith with others and was a good worker. One day the friend led the sea captain's girlfriend to Christ. The sea captain already hated and ridiculed the Christian worker because of his faith in Christ. When his girlfriend came to Christ, she stopped sleeping with the captain. The captain blamed the Christian man for the change in his girlfriend. One day he entered the restaurant where the Christian man was having lunch. He walked over to his table and began hurling obscenities and began beating him. The Christian man simply tried to defend himself but did not fight back. The captain kept beating him until eventually the man lay on the floor bleeding.
Two men entered the restaurant and saw what was taking place. They jumped the sea captain and took him outside and began beating him. The sea captain was beaten so badly that he needed immediate medical attention. The Christian worker saw the condition of the sea captain, came to his aid, and began helping him. The sea captain was so moved that this man could do this after he had literally beaten him bloody that he began to weep, not understanding what could move a man to have such love in the face of being beaten. The sea captain accepted Jesus at that moment.
The Bible tells us that while we were yet sinners Christ came and paid our penalty so that we might live eternally. Many in the workplace have never known the love of Christ. You might be the only one they ever meet who can introduce them to this love. Ask God to show you how to love the unlovable in your workplace today.

Friday, March 9, 2012


"So she said to Abram, 'The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.' Abram agreed to what Sarai said." - Genesis 16:2

Presumption is based on our own reasoning. Abraham and Sarah fell into presumption when they got too old to have children. God had promised a son to Abraham and Sarah - a son who would fulfill His promise to birth a nation. But Abraham and Sarah were past the normal age for childbearing. So, they concluded that God needed help to work out His plan.
Many workplace believers make the same mistake every day. We make assumptions about what we believe God is doing and wants us to do. However, before we really have full assurance that God has spoken to us on the matter and revealed His perfect action plan, we move forward with our steps to get it done. How do we protect ourselves from presumption? The Proverbs tell us that there is safety in a multitude of counselors (see Prov. 11:14 KJV). Submitting our decisions to others for confirmation protects each of us from the deceit of our own heart. This process will protect us from presumption and encourage us to move in faith. The next time you believe God is directing you toward a specific action, consult with your spouse first, then some close, spiritual friends who will take the time to prayerfully consider your request. If you don't have consensus, wait until you do before you move forward. God will move through this process to His desired will for the matter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


"After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it" - (Luke 2:43).

Bob and Janice had five kids. When they go on any trip, Benjamin, the youngest, always sleeps under the seat in their mini van. In the rush of preparing for their visit to the grocery store and getting the other kids situated, they failed to pick up Benjamin, who was standing outside at the other end of the store. As they proceeded down the road, they assumed that Benjamin was quietly sleeping in his normal place under the seat in the back of the van.
Meanwhile, about an hour later, young Benjamin was wondering why his parents had not picked him up. He went back into the store and told the manager his plight. The manager called the police. The young boy was eventually picked up by a policeman.
Mary and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Jesus was 12-years old. They were evidently very distracted by the excitement and business of the Feast. In fact, Mary and Joseph began their return trip to Nazareth only to realize well into the trip that Jesus was not with them. It would be three days before they would be reunited with their 12-year-old son. It caused quite a scare for Mary and Joseph, and they reprimanded Jesus for "wandering" off.
As a parent, I find this story truly amazing. How can parents of the Son of God not know their son is not in their presence? Yet, this story illustrates how each of us can become so busy that we continue to operate not realizing Jesus is no longer with us.
We can walk away from fellowship with Jesus. Do not let this happen to you. He longs to have daily fellowship with you because He loves you. Today, ask yourself if Jesus is accompanying you in your daily activities. He desires to walk with you each and every day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." - Psalm 127:1a

What does it mean for the Lord to build the house? It almost seems a contradiction when we consider that we might be the builders in this passage. God wants us to allow Him to build the house. He explains further:
"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat - for He grants sleep to those He loves" (Psalm 127:1-2).
God is telling us there is a way of working without striving. There is a way to conduct business without sweating and toiling for outcome. His warning to each of us is to avoid thinking that outcome is based on our sweat and toil. Outcome is based on obedience. That outcome is sometimes more than we deserve. Sometimes it is less than we hoped for. His desire for each of us is to see Him working in our daily work life. He wants us to avoid looking to our own effort to gain an outcome.
One day Jesus called out to Peter from the shore of the lake and suggested he throw his net on the other side of the boat. It was this simple act of obedience that yielded a tremendous catch that he would not have received unless he obeyed.
We are called to work; He is called to bring forth the fruit. He is the vine. We are the branches. Fruit comes forth naturally from a healthy tree.
Today, ask God to show you when you enter into striving. Ask Him to show you the difference between loving trust and obedience and striving for outcome. It can be challenging for us to balance this in our daily work experience. He wants to help us walk in this freedom and rest.

Monday, March 5, 2012


"All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. 'Isn't this Joseph's son?' they asked" - (Luke 4:22).

Jesus was more qualified to be a carpenter than the Son of God in the view of religious leaders and the common people of his day. He was also becoming known as a rabbi who thought and did things "outside the box." He was an unusual mixture of the earthly common man who did daily work just like his other villagers in Nazareth. So, when the public ministry side of his life began to surface, the first observations were, "Isn't this Joseph, the carpenter's son?"
This is not unlike what happens when God calls you or I into a more public ministry. "Isn't that John, the CPA, or Bill the restaurant manager, or Susie the bank executive?" The first question among our critics is "Where did John, Bill, or Susie get religion?"
The religious spirit in the workplace reveals itself in many ways. The religious spirit can best be defined as an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and maintain the status quo by using religious devices. The religious spirit seeks to distort a genuine move of God through deception, control and manipulation. It was the primary force against Jesus designed to intimidate and turn His relationship with God into a set of rules and regulations. Satan does not want Jesus in the workplace because that is where the authority lies to change a workplace, city or nation. God desires you to bring His presence with you into the workplace every day. Do not let the enemy of your soul shame you into alienating your faith from your work.
Today, ask Jesus to go into the workplace with you. The two of you just might be the team to bring someone out of slavery and bondage.