Monday, April 30, 2012


"All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into His treasury." - Joshua 6:19

One of the earliest examples of the practice of giving God the first fruits of the increase was when Joshua and the people entered the Promised Land for the first time. When they crossed the Jordan River, their first battle was Jericho. God set a precedent with this battle by instructing them not to take any spoils from it. Unlike future battles, the fruits from this victory were to go into the treasury as a remembrance of their first victory in the Promised Land. In addition, the city of Jericho was to be a lasting monument to God's faithfulness. God instructed Joshua never to rebuild this city. If they or anyone in the future attempted to rebuild the city, the life of the firstborn would be required. Years later in the days of King Ahab, Hiel the Bethelite attempted to rebuild this city and his firstborn died as a result. God never forgets to enforce His Word.
Is your work a lasting monument to the faithfulness of God in your life? Is it bringing glory to the Father? Are you giving the first fruits from your increase to God? God has encouraged us through this story to give the first fruits of our work to Him so that He will be glorified through our work. This is a tangible way for us to acknowledge that God is the source of all blessing.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no
regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:10

What does it mean to repent? When you or I wrong another person, or we
sin against God, do we simply say we are sorry and move on?
A few years ago I was involved in a business situation that taught me a
great lesson. A client severely wronged me and ultimately took our
company for $160,000. In a court of law, I probably would have won the
dispute. However, after I had already filed suit against the man, I
realized that there was one aspect of the matter that I was wrong about,
involving a third party that could no longer be held accountable. I
could not effectively resolve the matter without taking the first step
in owning the responsibility for my part in the matter.
I made a decision to drop the lawsuit. However, after calling my
attorney, I discovered the client had already filed a countersuit. This
made the situation even scarier. I was completely exposed if I dropped
my suit.
I was unable to reach the business owner because he would not return my
calls. I got his secretary on the line. "I want you to take this message
down and give it to your boss, word for word. Please do not change the
words at all. 'I have sinned against you. I know I do not deserve your
forgiveness, but I ask your forgiveness for filing the lawsuit against
you. You are no longer obligated to pay the balance you owe me if you
feel you do not owe it.' " The secretary knew me and the gravity of what
I was saying. She began to weep. She could not believe what she was
A few hours later I received a call from this client. He said, "I
received your message. I accept your request and I forgive you." He
dropped his countersuit. A few days later, I went to see the man and had
dinner with him. He did not offer to pay any of the balance. It took
three years to pay the vendors related to this situation. It was
difficult because I knew he was not taking any responsibility for his
contribution to the problem. However, I knew I was to let go of it.  The
Lord was glorified in this situation and He provided for my needs.
Is there anyone you need to seek forgiveness from? Acknowledging our sin
is the first step. Humbling ourselves and taking actions to restore is
the next step.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


"And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed." - Joshua 5:8

Before the nation of Israel could go into the Promised Land they had to be circumcised. Circumcision is painful, bloody, and personal. God requires each of us to be circumcised in heart before we are allowed to enter and receive the blessings that await each believer in the Promised Land.
This circumcision can often be very painful. Circumcision requires losing our old way of life. The process of spiritual circumcision may mean a loss in areas that have been a part of our lives in order to draw us to the Savior. God understands this. Consequently, like the people of Israel, we must wait until we are healed before we begin to be effective in our calling. If we launch out too early, we will be ineffective and may risk infection and disease and will not be at our full capacity. God wants each of us to walk in His healing grace.
The people of Israel fought only two battles when they were coming out of Egypt. In the Promised Land they fought 39 battles. Each of us must be prepared to enjoy the benefits of living in the Promised Land. However, we must also be prepared to wage war against the enemy of our souls. Make sure the Lord has provided the needed healing to your circumcision experience before you enter the Promised Land.

Friday, April 20, 2012


"Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools." - Ecclesiastes 7:9

Every day of our lives we are placed in situations that engage us with other people, whether it is in the office, our homes, or in public places. Do you recall the last time someone cut you off in traffic, or you were forced to wait in line because someone up front got held up? Perhaps your employer did something that was downright unfair. Anger can result from many circumstances.
A friend once told me that anger is like warning lights on the front of your car dashboard. They signal that there is something going on under the hood, and we should take a look to examine the source of the problem. Anger can be traced to a few sources. First, when we lose control of a circumstance that we have placed certain expectations on and those expectations do not result in our desired outcome, we are tempted to get angry. The source of this type of anger is both fear and protection of personal rights. You see, when we believe we have a right to something, we have not given the Lord permission to allow an outcome different from what we want. If an outcome is different from our expectations, this may stimulate fear.
For instance, if a vendor failed to deliver an important job on time due to something out of his control, you may respond out of anger. Please know that the source of your anger is the fear of what might happen to you or what this might say about your abilities to manage a project. You no longer are in control of the circumstance and this creates fear in you.
The next time you get angry ask the Lord what is the source of that anger? Did the Lord allow that failure to let you see what is "under your hood"? God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (see 2 Tim. 1:7). Give up your rights to expectations that God never gave you. You will find a new freedom in Christ you never knew you could have.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


"Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage" (1 Sam. 10:22).

If you want to experience something you've never done, you must do something you've never done. In his book Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing His Will, Henry Blackaby writes, "You cannot go with God and stay where you are."
God often has to radically change us if we are going to fulfill His purposes in our lives. Saul was about to be anointed by Samuel as the first king of Israel. Samuel said to Saul, "The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person" (1 Sam. 10:6). Up to this point, Saul had never prophesied or led a group of people. He had also never had to be accountable to a prophet and to God for his every action.
Saul took a big step of faith right away and prophesied with the prophets just as Samuel said he would. How exciting that must have been. Yet, when Samuel called the entire nation of Israel together to announce him as Israel's first king in history, Saul was nowhere to be found. This part of the story is humorous. Excitement is in the air, but when they call Saul's name, he doesn't even come forward. So the people "inquired further of the Lord, 'Has the man come here yet?' And the Lord said, 'Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage'" (1 Sam. 10:22).
I recall when God began moving me from a career in advertising to a new ministry to men and women in the workplace that involved writing and public speaking. Neither of these were my particular forté. I was forced to do something I had never done.
The story of King Saul should be an encouragement to us all. God continues to pick the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Your greatest setback can be thinking that there's no way that God can use "little me." However, the reality is that He can and will, if we respond to the new places He takes us.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


"I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps." - Jeremiah 10:23
In business I hear a lot about planning. Every January I hear workplace believers establishing their planning for the year. Corporations establish plans that cover anywhere from one to five years. Individuals establish personal life plans. There is only one problem that I see with most planning done by well-meaning believers. If God is not the originator and director of the plan, then that plan is doomed for failure. So often, Christian workplace believers set out to plan something that seems good in their own mind. The merits of what is being planned can look great, and it can even be a worthy endeavor. However, that is not the point. When Jesus said He came only to do the will of the Father, He could not consider doing anything that was not what the Father wanted, no matter how good or righteous it might appear to be.
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps" (Prov. 16:9). God must give us the vision for what He calls us to do. After we have the vision, we must ask Him if He wants us to take action on that vision and what the action steps entail. The Lord wants to direct each step of the planning process. David learned this lesson when he went to battle against his enemy, the Philistines. One day he inquired of God as to whether he was to go up against the Philistines, and the Lord said, "Yes, but only when you hear the marching in the balsam trees." It is a mistake to reason and analyze in order to come to a decision on a matter. The Lord already knows the answer. It is our responsibility to seek Him to find out His mind on the matter. Our planning must be established in Him. Only when we remain so connected to the source can we be assured of putting God's plan into place. Also, getting that plan confirmed through others will assure that we are not following the deceit of our own heart.
When you begin to plan next time, ask God for His wisdom for establishing the vision and action steps. You will be surprised how well He can plan.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


"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 1:7

One of the great tragedies of the Christian life is that if we fail to enter into a relationship with God that is born of the Holy Spirit, we are left with a religion, not a relationship. Many a person today lives with an intellectual belief in God, but without a relationship that is based on two-way communication. This is the greatest tragedy of all. It's like having a brand-new car but never having the gas to run it. It can't move you anywhere. It only looks pretty, but one cannot enjoy the ride or smell the newness inside.
Peter tells us that until our faith is proved genuine, we will never be able to give praise, glory, and honor to Jesus, because until such testing He will not be revealed in our lives. Peter describes this in the verse before: "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (1 Pet. 1:6). Trials are designed to bring us to a level of trust and experience with God that we would never know otherwise. These "faith experiences" with God allow us to know firsthand the faithfulness of God, the love of God, and the personal nature of God. If you cannot recount several instances when God has met you personally, then chances are your faith has not been born of the Holy Spirit into a living relationship with God. It is easy to fall prey to a relationship to God that never experiences His real presence; rather, it is based on knowledge only. This is a tragic place to be.
If this is where you have been in your Christian experience, ask God today to make Himself real to you. Ask Him to show you His personal nature and love. He desires to do this. Those whom He has called know His voice. He will show Himself to those who are His. "He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him" (Jn. 14:21b).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" - (Matt 3:2)

God is doing a unique work on the earth today. There are seasons in which the Holy Spirit speaks things to the Church. During one decade it might be a focus on evangelism. During another, it might be a greater awareness of the Holy Spirit. During yet another, it might be a focus on social problems in cities.
Today, God is speaking very clearly to the Church about societal transformation. Fifteen years ago, the idea of a community being totally transformed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ was a foreign concept. However, according to George Otis, Jr, director of the Sentinel Group, there are over 500 communities that are in some form of quantifiable transformation process today.
The defining characteristic of a community that is being transformed is that the socio-economic traits are being positively affected. The crime rate goes down, the economy is improved, and the number of Christians in the city increases, prayer increases, and the city leaders become Christians. It is the manifestation of Deuteronomy 28:13, "The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom."
In order to go beyond the Gospel of Salvation to the Gospel of the Kingdom we must exercise a different level of faith for our communities. Jesus talked about the kingdom of God more than 70 times in the New Testament - much more often than he mentioned salvation. While salvation is part of bringing the kingdom of God on earth, it includes much more.
When the Gospel of the Kingdom comes into a life and a community, everything in its wake is transformed. How might God want you to be the catalyst to bring the entire Gospel of the Kingdom into the lives and communities you are called to influence?

Monday, April 2, 2012


"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

Elisha was counseling the nation of Israel against the impending attack of the king of Aram. The Lord supernaturally gave Elisha the plans that the king was implementing, and in turn, Elisha warned Israel of each intended attack. The king could not understand why his plans were continually foiled. It seemed there was a secret informer in his midst. He was furious when he was told it was the God of Israel who was to blame for this inside information. The king decided the only way to resolve the situation was to get rid of the problem - kill Elisha.
The king's forces arrived and surrounded Elisha and his servant. Elisha's servant became upset and fearful when Elisha was not upset. Elisha immediately prayed that his servant's eyes might be opened to see that there was no need to be afraid, because the angels were protecting them.
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. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, "Strike these people with blindness." So He struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked (2 Kings 6:17-18).
Who is the Elisha in your life? Do you have a mentor friend who can see the activity of God in your life when you cannot see it? We all need to have somebody we can trust to help us see the activity of God. It is often difficult for us to see what God is really doing because we are so consumed by the circumstances of the moment. Ask God today to help open your spiritual eyes that you might see Him in your circumstances.