Friday, August 18, 2017

REJECTED FOR CHRIST

"And they took offense at Him...." Matthew 13:57
Jesus taught in the synagogue in the community He grew up in. He was raised as a local carpenter's son. No one saw any miraculous powers in this young boy's life. But something changed as He became older. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" Those in the community could not reconcile God's work in someone they thought they knew simply as the carpenter's son. God brings every person who is committed to Him out of their normal routine into a new revelation of Himself that impacts others.
Is the move of God so evident in your life that it invites scrutiny from friends or coworkers? Jesus confronted the issues of His day without fear of being rejected. A life of obedience will be an affront to the systems of this world. When God begins His deeper work in you, it will be a stumbling block to those around you. When you are rejected for Christ, consider that Christ is affirming His call on your life and you are becoming a threat to the kingdom of darkness. How many of satan's workers do you suppose have been assigned to thwart God's activity in your life? Those who sit in a pew from week to week and never speak the name of Christ in the workplace require few opponents because they represent no threat to the kingdom of darkness. How are you impacting the kingdom of darkness? God has called you and me to impact the lives around us for His Kingdom. Your words may be an affront to those around you; do not fear this. God will use your words and life to draw others to Himself. You are His ambassador in the workplace. He has placed you there for this time to extend life to those who live in darkness.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD

"The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145:13b-14
Have you ever had a relationship with someone who was faithful? You knew you could depend on that person to do what he said. You learned that his word was completely trustworthy. If he said he would call you, he would. If he said he'd be somewhere at a certain time, he'd be there. In fact, if he was late, you began to wonder if he had an accident because it was so contrary to his nature. It's great to have friends who are faithful.
God is faithful. He is faithful to fulfill every promise in His Word. Sometimes we think God isn't faithful because it appears He has not fulfilled a desire that we have. Sometimes we think He is not faithful because of a crisis event that seems to say God isn't faithful. We must remember that God is more concerned about accomplishing His ultimate purpose in the life of every believer than giving us the desires of our heart. Sometimes this results in hardship.
The Bible is full of accounts of God's faithfulness that was often accompanied by hardship. He brought Joseph out of slavery to be greatly used in a nation. He delivered the people from Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. He gave Abraham the son of promise late in his life. He delivered David from his enemies and made him a king. In story upon story, we learn of God's faithfulness. Are you a faithful man or woman? The workplace needs faithful men and women. Take an inventory of your life today and ask God if you have been faithful with what He has entrusted to you.

Monday, August 14, 2017

CONFIRMING DECISIONS

"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed" (Proverbs 15:22).
Confirming major decisions through the counsel of others is one way God protects us from poor decisions. This process is designed to confirm direction for which we are seeking confirmation. Paul was sensitive not to get too heavy-handed in the confirmation process though. He offered advice to others but was not the enforcer of their decisions. "And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter"(2 Corinthians 8:10).
The requirement for efficient administration frequently requires single points of decision-making. Where there is willingness and trust to receive input, there is also humility, faith, and grace for God to work His pleasure in His servant. Where there is unwillingness, the opposite is true.
There have been times in my life where I have felt strongly about a certain issue only to receive feedback from those close to me which revealed that I was not accurate in my assessment of the situation. I have learned to yield in such situations, trusting that God is working through those in whom I am accountable.
The scriptures encourage us to seek advice and counsel from other Godly people who share the same values and goals that we have. "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise"(Proverbs 19:20). "Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance"(Proverbs 20:18).
Peace of mind is another important confirmation requirement for making decisions. If you do not have peace about a decision, you should wait until God gives you peace. This does not mean your decision may not have some tension due to the faith aspect of it, but deep down you should have a peace that it is the right decision. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
Do you need to make a major decision? Ask God to give you confirmation through others.

Friday, August 11, 2017

BEING A SHELTER FOR THOSE IN NEED

"Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land." Isaiah 32:2
Have you ever walked in a dry, hot climate for an extended time? The sun beats down, sweat begins to pour off your brow, and your throat and mouth are parched with thirst. A little shade, a slight breeze, or a cool drink becomes the greatest thing one could value at the moment.
When you and I walk with Christ in the workplace, we become that kind of oasis for non-Christians. However, they may not recognize it at the time. Let's face it, the workplace is pretty tough, especially when Christ is not in the center of it.
When a person becomes aware of their need of Christ through you or me, we have become a shelter from the wind. We become their refuge from the storms of life.
Someone once said that you and I might be the only Bible someone ever reads, so we need to be something worth reading. Are you available to be that shelter for a non-believing friend? If so, then you may open the eyes of someone who has been blind his whole life. What an incredible blessing to know you were the instrument God used to bring a person into the Kingdom of God.
"Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen" (Isaiah 32:3).

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

THE CAUSES OF FAILURE


"You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it." Joshua 7:13b
The first battle for the people of Israel traveling from Egypt was at Jericho, once they crossed the Jordan River. God had given them a great victory at Jericho, and Joshua was now ready to move to their next battle at Ai. After they spied out the enemy camp, they determined they needed only a few thousand men to gain victory.
They went up against Ai only to fail miserably. They lost 32 men in a battle that should have been an easy victory, but instead they were forced to retreat. Joshua was devastated. "Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did You ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us?" (Josh. 7:7a) In this case, the people fell short because they failed to uphold the standard God had set for them. God had told them not to take any plunder from their first battle. However, Achan hid some forbidden treasures, and God was now judging the entire nation for one man's sin.
Whenever we act without God's complete blessing on our activity, we can expect God to thwart our plans. God's word to Joshua was that he could not stand against his enemies as long as there was disobedience among his troops.
Whenever we launch a business endeavor, we should make sure there are no unclean things in our dealings that would allow us to be vulnerable to a failed effort: unpaid vendors, disgruntled employees who were not treated fairly, lawsuits, dishonesty. Many of these things can hinder God from blessing our enterprises. These things can remove the shield of protection from our workplace, which God wants to bless, but cannot because He is committed to upholding righteousness. His name is blemished when unrighteousness is allowed to permeate our lives.
Is the Lord able to bless your enterprises today? If not, you may need to go back and clean up a few things before He can do so. Take whatever steps are needed to ensure the blessing of God today.

Monday, August 7, 2017

BAD ALLIANCES

"Woe to the obstinate children," declares the Lord, "to those who carry out plans that are not Mine, forming an alliance, but not by My Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting Me; who look for help to Pharaoh's protection, to Egypt's shade for refuge." Isaiah 30:1-2
Have you ever entered a business relationship with someone you knew you were not supposed to? Throughout the history of Israel, the people were called to come out of an old way of life. Egypt represented that old way; when things got tough, the Israelites reverted to what was comfortable. They always knew they could take a trip to Egypt and find what they lacked. Perhaps this was their reasoning: "If we can't get it accomplished under the new way, why not go back to the way we used to do it? At least we know we can get it there."
When God calls us into a walk of faith, we can expect to be tested in this walk. If we enter into alliances that God has not ordained, it will only bring heartache. Such was the case for Israel. "But Pharaoh's protection will be to your shame, Egypt's shade will bring you disgrace" (Is. 30:3).
Beware what you perceive as an alliance that may advance your business. It may actually bring you great distress if God has not directed you to align it. Ask yourself what the motive is behind this possible alliance. Make sure that it is not based on fear or a quick fix. Get confirmation that God is leading you to make such an alliance. Then you will not end up in the way of Israel, experiencing shame and disgrace.

Friday, August 4, 2017

YOUR POSITION IS A RESULT OF YOUR ACTIONS

"Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right" (Prov 20:11).
In the marketplace companies and products are known by their position in the industry they represent. Lexus and Mercedes hold the top position among luxury automobiles. They are known for their high quality. Nike is a sports merchandise company known for its products serving those who play sports and they own the number one position in their industry. Coca-Cola is a soft drink company that currently has the number one position in the world among soft drinks. Companies spend millions trying to gain the number one position.
You also are called to achieve a certain position in what and how you do it. Your position is often a result of your actions taken over several years. Usually when your name is mentioned, your position is revealed. It is the most distinguishing attribute of your life and work and people associate you with your perceived position.
In the workplace you are known more by what you do and what you achieve. Your reputation is often built either around productivity or the lack of it. Years of productivity in an industry can allow you to own the number one position in your industry.
Do your actions line up with the position God desires for your life? Are you modeling the fruits of the Holy Spirit in all aspects of your life? Paul prayed that "you would live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God?"( Col 1:10-11). Paul desired that we all have a position of a person who bears fruit from our knowledge of God.
May each of us strive to have an excellent position for the benefit of the Kingdom.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

WAITING FOR THE LORD

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14
Hearing and doing God's will are two important steps that often get confused as one step. However, these are two distinct processes. When we hear God's voice, this is only 50 percent of the process. The next important step is to know when to move. It is one thing to hear; it is another to know when to act.
There was a time when the Lord showed me I was to write. This was a major change in my life from what I was doing. As I began to write, I attempted to find a publisher for my work. This became a real frustration. I encountered many false starts, and many well-intentioned people wanted to assist but their efforts resulted in further delays.
Finally, my wife asked me, "Os, have you completed the book you are working on?" "No," I replied.
"When you complete the book, God will provide a publisher if He has called you to write. You need to complete the book."
A few months later I was in discussions with a publisher about my work. They were going to be in my city and wanted to meet with me. The day we met they offered me a contract on my book. It also was the exact day that I had completed the book. I thought back to the words my wife had said.
Corrie ten Boom was a prisoner in the German Holocaust who lost her sister in the concentration camps. She tells a story about her father taking her on trains. She always wanted to get the ticket from her father ahead of time. He never gave her the ticket until she was about to get onto the train.
God is always on time. He is never late, and He is seldom early. Ask God for the wisdom to discern His will and His timing for the events in your life.

Monday, July 31, 2017

SECOND CHANCES

..."I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." Jonah 4:2
Have you ever gone through a time of disobedience with God? Jonah was a prophet of God who decided he didn't want to prophesy for the Lord. God wanted him to deliver a message to Nineveh to warn them against impending destruction if they didn't turn from their ways. Jonah had developed a hardened heart toward the people of Nineveh. He didn't really care if they repented or not; so rather than travel to Nineveh and deliver the message, he hopped a boat in the opposite direction. You probably know the rest of the story. He was eaten by a fish and spent a few days thinking about his decision.
There is a place where we all will obey. What circumstances must take place for us to become obedient? For some of us, it requires a good shakeup. For Jonah, it required a big shakeup because he was God's man to save 120,000 people. He was chosen by God to be used by God, and God didn't give up on him.
God understands our disobedient heart. He sees what we really are; yet He gives second chances. God gave Jonah a second chance. He gave the people of Nineveh a second chance. It is a lesson of love from a heavenly Father who specializes in second chances. Have you blown it? Have you disappointed someone close to you? God is the God of second chances. All we have to do is acknowledge our waywardness. He will restore. He will give grace. Ask Him.

Friday, July 28, 2017

EXPECTATIONS

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death." Philippians 1:20
Have you ever had expectations that did not get fulfilled? Perhaps a coworker let you down. Perhaps you were trusting God for something in your life that never materialized. Perhaps you became devastated by an unmet expectation that you felt you were entitled to. Expectations can be a difficult trap for each of us if we are not fully committed to God's purposes in our lives.
Paul wrote this verse from prison to the people of Philippi. He had an expectation that his life would bring glory to God, whether through his continued ministry or his death. His joy in living was not based on his expectations getting fulfilled, but on remaining true to the purpose for which God made him.
When we react to circumstances with bitterness and resentment as a result of unmet expectations, we are saying that we know better than God, and that God has made a mistake in not meeting our expectations. The process of resolving unmet expectations may require full disclosure to the individual who was the source of the unmet expectation, and of how the unmet expectation made you feel. This is not to make the person feel obligated to meet the expectation, but simply to share your feelings about it. If God was the source, then it is important to share this with the Lord. However, once we have done this we must let go of the situation and allow God to work in our hearts the grace that is needed to walk in freedom from the pain of the unmet expectation. If we do not do this, we will allow the seed of bitterness and resentment to enter in. This seed of bitterness will create leanness in our soul and eventually will spread to others.
Ask yourself today if you have any unmet expectations. How have you responded to them? Have you processed this with the Lord and others who may be involved? These are the steps to freedom from unmet expectations.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

EXPERIENCE GOD IN YOUR BUSINESS

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
The CEO walked into the president's office after reviewing his new marketing plan for the next year. It was a well-prepared, thoughtful plan.
"This will not do!" exclaimed the CEO. "This plan describes how you will achieve these objectives through your own planning. I am certain you can achieve these objectives through normal business operations; however, you have allowed no room for faith in your plan. Now you must determine what God wants us to trust Him to accomplish through this business. You must go beyond what you can naturally achieve." What was this CEO saying? If you and I want to experience God in business at the practical level, we must be willing to trust Him for more than what our natural abilities can accomplish. God likes to show Himself in the midst of unlikely circumstances. This is the place that God receives the glory. God always forced Israel to trust Him for the supernatural. This is how glory was brought to the Father. It is no different in our lives.
The world is looking for real faith. Perhaps you are the instrument that He wants to use to demonstrate real faith to the unbelieving business world. It will require courage, faith, and action; also, it will require risk. You may risk finances, reputation, and being misunderstood. This was the risk of all leaders in the Bible. It was a risk worth taking. Are you willing to see God move in your business life? Ask Him what this might mean for you.

Monday, July 24, 2017

YOU WERE MADE TO FLY

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised" (Job 1:21).
Can a caterpillar fly? If you said, "No," you would be partially correct. Actually, a caterpillar can fly, but it must have a transformation first.
The butterfly begins life as a caterpillar, a wormlike larva that spins a cocoon for itself. For weeks, the larva remains hidden within the cocoon as it undergoes metamorphosis. When it's time for the butterfly to emerge, it must struggle and fight its way out of the cocoon. We might be tempted to help this process by tearing open the cocoon - but that's the worst thing we could do. The struggle makes it strong and enables it to fly. Butterflies need adversity to become what God intended them to be. So do we.
The Book of Job is the story of a wealthy and successful community leader named Job. He was a successful and righteous businessman with huge holdings of livestock and real estate. One day Satan came before God and asked him, "Where have you come from?" Satan replied, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
God said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." Notice that God pointed Job out to Satan! God gave Satan permission to put Job through a trial of adversity. Job's herds were stolen, his servants were murdered, and all of Job's children were killed by a sudden tornado.
Through his trial of adversity, he grows in strength, wisdom and faith. His entire perspective on God is transformed by his suffering. He was even accused of sin by his closest friends.
We must get beyond the immature notion that God is interested only in making us healthy, wealthy and happy. More than anything, He wants us to be like Christ. And the road to becoming like Christ often leads through the wilderness of adversity.
In order for the butterfly to fly, there must be a transformation process that is often developed through adversity.

Friday, July 21, 2017

UNLIMITED POTENTIAL


"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
What might God want to accomplish through you in your lifetime? As a workplace believer, you may yet have your greatest contribution to society. Such was the case of Cyrus McCormick, born in 1809. Raised on a farm by an inventor father, Cyrus McCormick sought to invent a mechanical reaper to harvest wheat. His father's attempts at inventing a successful machine had failed until Cyrus, at 22, created one that worked. McCormick had to overcome many setbacks including the loss of his patent 14 years after his first invention. This opened up competition. Then, in 1837 he went bankrupt due to the bank panic of 1837. However, these setbacks did not prevent McCormick from achieving his goals.
He expanded his market by trying to sell his machine to European farmers in 1851. A long series of honors compensated for the lack of recognition and praise from his American compatriots. By 1856, he was not only a world figure but his factory produced more than 4,000 reapers a year.
McCormick was a committed believer. He lived during the time of D.L. Moody and gave $10,000 to Moody to start the Chicago YMCA in 1869. That building burned along with his Chicago factory in 1871. By this time, McCormick was over 60 and wealthy enough to retire. Before his death in 1884, he had given $100,000 to help open Moody Bible Institute. His son, Cyrus Jr., was to become the first chairman of the school's board. Cyrus McCormick was a devoted Christian who passed his faith on to his son who later met up with J. Pierpoint Morgan to become the first president of a combined reaper firm, the famed International Harvester Corporation. [John Woodbridge, ed., More Than Conquerors (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1992), 328-331.]
What might God want to accomplish through your life? Surely you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

OUR COUNSELOR

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
I was driving down the interstate feeling discouraged from an appointment I had just had. A former employee's company was seeking to displace me, and my company, as their source for our services. It had been one of many difficult events during those months. As I was driving, some words popped into my mind, No weapon formed against you shall prosper. I could not tell you where those words came from other than I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking them to me; I knew they were in the Bible. I knew they were in the Old Testament.
When I returned to my office that day, I searched for the key words in my concordance and found the verse. "No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you" (Is. 54:17a).
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would remind us of the things He desires us to know. There are times in our lives when the Holy Spirit speaks into our spirit words designed to encourage us or give us what we need at the moment. That is just one of the roles of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. The more you know God's Word, the more often you'll recall verses the Holy Spirit will bring to mind for a given situation. Study God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to remind you of the things He desires you to know.

Monday, July 17, 2017

LIVING FOR A GREATER CAUSE

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
What does it mean for workplace believers to live for a cause greater than themselves in our day and time? Jeremiah Lanphier was a businessman in New York City who asked God to do this in his life in 1857.
In a small, darkened room, in the back of one of New York City's lesser churches, a man prayed alone. His request of God was simple, but earth-shattering: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" [John Woodbridge, ed., More Than Conquerors (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1992), 337]
He was a man approaching midlife without a wife or family, but he had financial means. He made a decision to reject the "success syndrome" that drove the city's businessmen and bankers. God used this businessman to turn New York City's commercial empire on its head. He began a businessmen's prayer meeting on September 23, 1857. The meetings began slowly, but within a few months 20 noonday meetings were convening daily throughout the city. The New York Tribune and the New York Herald issued articles of revival. It had become the city's biggest news. Now a full-fledged revival, it moved outside New York. By spring of 1858, 2,000 met daily in Chicago's Metropolitan Theatre, and in Philadelphia the meetings mushroomed into a four-month long tent meeting. Meetings were held in Baltimore, Washington, Cincinnati, Chicago, New Orleans, and Mobile. Thousands met to pray because one man stepped out. Annus Mirabilis, the year of national revival, had begun.
This was an extraordinary move of God through one man. It was unique because the movement was lead by businessmen, a group long considered the least prone to any form of evangelical fervor, and it had started on Wall Street, the most unlikely of all places to begin.
Could God do something extraordinary through you? Take a step. Ask God to do mighty things through you.

Friday, July 14, 2017

TIME MANAGEMENT

"Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life" (Ps 39:4).
David accomplished a great deal in his lifetime. However, he also understood life had an end to it and he wanted to make the most of it. He learned to use his time wisely. And so should we.
Peter Drucker was a renown management consultant to major corporations and authored many bestselling business books. He suggested three activities that might help busy executives better manage their time.
"First, do not start with the task. Start with your time. Determine where your time is going. Then, attempt to manage that time and cut back unproductive demands on your time. Consolidate your 'discretionary' time into the largest possible continuing time units.
Drucker refers to the second step as time management. After listing the activities to which we devote our time, he suggests that we ask three questions about each of these activities to help us minimize the amount of time we waste: "What would happen if this were not done at all?" And if the answer is, 'Nothing would happen,' then obviously the conclusion is to stop doing it. Next, which of the activities on my time log could be done by somebody else just as well, if not better? What do I do that wastes my time without contributing to my effectiveness?*
Drucker closes by saying 'Know Thyself,' this old prescription for wisdom is impossibly difficult for mortal men. But everyone can follow the injunction 'Know Thy Time' if you want to, and be well on the road toward contribution and effectiveness."
Why not evaluate how you are spending your time and ask God how to better use your time.

*Adapted from Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY 1994, 1995 and The Leadership Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, p.653 study notes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTH

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit." 1 Corinthians 12:4
Have you ever tried to do anything that you were not gifted to do? I am not a handy man. If there is a household project, like a plumbing leak or anything mechanical - forget it. God has not given me any "natural" gifts for such things. And I'd prefer not buying anything that requires assembly!
I have a friend who can fix or assemble anything. It comes naturally to him, and he loves to help me. This same person looks at some of my abilities and marvels. We appreciate the gifts God has given to each of us. These differences have created a need for one another. God wants each of us to need one another. The Scriptures describe the Body of Christ in the same way. Each person is a member of His Body with gifts and talents designed to make His Body perform as a multi-talented group, all playing to the same tune. It is when one member is "out of tune" or decides he doesn't like his gifts, or decides to do something he is not designed to do that the orchestra begins to sound off key. Imagine if the parts of the human body decided they didn't want to fulfill their parts any longer. That body would no longer function effectively because one or more of its members were not performing the functions they were designed for.
What has He equipped you for? What role has he called you to play in God's Kingdom? When one link in the chain is weakened, the whole chain is susceptible to breaking. God made it that way so that we could help that weak link. He made it that way so we would be forced to depend on one another. Are you being a strong link in the chain of God's Kingdom? Ask Him if you are fulfilling your role as He designed.

Monday, July 10, 2017

ALLOWING GOD TO PROMOTE

"So David's fame spread throughout every land, and the LORD made all the nations fear him" (1 Chron 14:17).
We live in a day of self-promotion. Marketing firms are hired today to persuade others to view a person or situation in the way they want you to. There are millions of dollars spent annually by sports companies, personality agents, and marketing firms to create fame for their clients and products. They negotiate sponsorship deals and try to get the most money for the most exposure. The ultimate goal is fame and notoriety.
There is a great danger in self-promotion. Self-promotion is trying to move from the place you are to a place ahead of where God may want you. It is not wrong to become famous, popular or desired by others as long as it happens as a fruit of your calling. However, when you begin to orchestrate things in an effort to inflate who you are for the sake of gain, you have crossed the line.
David's fame was a result of his fulfilling his mission in life. When he failed, he repented. When he was successful, he acknowledged the Lord. Never do you see David exalt himself over the Lord. Yes, he made some selfish decisions that led to sin. But David could not be criticized for self-promotion.
We all must carefully balance the difference between marketing designed to inform and educate versus promote and manipulate. Describing the true attributes of a product, service or person is good marketing communications. However, persuasion designed to inflate reality is witchcraft.
Proverbs says, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips (Prov 27:2).
Following this principle will keep you from moving beyond God's method of promotion.

Friday, July 7, 2017

PLEASING TO THE LORD

"Prepare it with oil on a griddle; bring it well-mixed and present the grain offering broken in pieces as an aroma pleasing to the Lord." Leviticus 6:21
There is a requirement to be blessed at a deeper spiritual level by God. Christ requires it of each of His servants. He required it of Paul when He struck him down on the Damascus Road. He required it of Joseph when he was left in the pit and then sold into slavery. He required it of Jacob when he left his homeland penniless and needy. He required it of most every major leader that He used significantly - brokenness.
Brokenness cannot be achieved on your own. It is something God does Himself. We cannot determine that we are going to be broken, but we can refuse to become broken. When God begins this deeper work in our lives, we can kick and scream and refuse the process. We can manipulate and strive to stay on top, but this only delays His work.
Pride and mammon are ruling strongholds of the workplace. Brokenness is considered a weak position in the workplace. However, God says until we are broken we cannot be an aroma pleasing to the Lord. God wants you to be an aroma in the workplace. In order for this to happen, you and I must be a broken vessel in His hand. Pray that God would allow you to become a pleasing aroma to Him no matter the cost.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

FAITHFULLNESS IN OUR CALLING

"He went out to meet Asa and said to him, 'Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.'" - 2 Chronicles 15:2
Asa was the king of Judah from 912-872 B.C. He reigned for 41 years and was known as a good king who served the Lord with great zeal. He reformed many things. He broke down idol worship to foreign gods; he put away male prostitutes and even removed his own mother from being queen because she worshiped an idol. The Scriptures say that as long as he sought the Lord, the Lord prospered his reign.
However, Asa was not totally faithful in his calling. There came a time in his life when he made a decision to no longer trust in the God of Israel. He lost his confidence in God as his deliverer. The prophet Hanani came to Asa to inform him that God's blessing was no longer on his life because of an ungodly alliance he had made.
Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war (2 Chronicles 16:8-9).
There are no guarantees that if we began well we will finish well. The life of Asa tells us this. It is only through God's grace that we can be faithful to our calling. Each of us is capable of falling away from God. Pray that God will keep you faithful to the purposes He has for your life. He strengthens those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

SETTLING DISPUTES

"Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart." Proverbs 18:18
We prayed about it. We discussed it. My friend had one desire; I had a different one.
"Okay, let's settle the issue the way the early Church settled matters when an agreement could not be achieved. Let's flip a coin."
"You must be joking!" my friend lamented.
"No, the early Church cast lots often to determine a course of direction or even select the disciple who would take Judas' place."
"Okay," my friend agreed.
We flipped the coin and the matter was quickly settled.
In the Old Testament there are many examples of casting lots for determining a decision. We hear little of this method today. Most of us do not want to release the decision process to this seemingly "flippant" process; yet the Lord says, "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord" (Prov. 16:33).
Flipping a coin is the equivalent to casting a lot. It removes our own opinions and leaves the final outcome to the Lord. Pray before you take such an action. It will surprise you who is willing to submit a decision to the Lord and who isn't. It removes the element of control from both parties.
I believe the Lord would first have us make decisions through agreement and continued prayer for the decision. However, there are times when this approach can be the quickest and simplest. It removes each person's temptation to lord it over the other. Cast the lot and settle the dispute.

Monday, July 3, 2017

BEING FULLY PERSUADED

"Being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised." - Romans 4:21
Why did God consider Abraham a righteous man? It was because Abraham looked beyond his own limitations of age and strength and considered God as the one who could accomplish His own goals. Abraham came to a place in his life where he realized it had little to do with him and all to do with God. His part was initiating the faith within himself.
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God (Romans 4:18-20).
What are the things in your life that are mere impossibilities? What are the mountains in your life? Are these there in order to build your faith in the one who can enable you to ascend to the peak? Once you know that it is His will for you to pursue, do it with faith. Faith requires action when we know it is He who is leading. It may require risk. Faith is sometimes spelled R-I-S-K. Abraham did not limit God. It is this confidence in God that God honored and rewarded. He wants to do the same with you and me.

Friday, June 30, 2017

GOD'S AUTHORITY

"I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on Me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me...." - John 14:30-31
There is a constant war going on between our flesh and the Spirit. As Christians, the Spirit seeks to move us under the authority of His domain in order for us to fulfill all that we were created for. Every person was designed to be under some form of authority. Jesus modeled this in His own life. He lived under the authority of His heavenly Father. He made no independent decisions. He, unlike us, was sinless and always remained under His Father's authority. He acknowledged that the prince of this world has a hold on many, but did not have a hold on Jesus.
The prince of this world does have his hold on many in our world, even among our brothers and sisters. The one thing most of us want the greatest is the freedom to make our own decisions. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when the decision was made to exercise a personal right: freedom to decide, freedom of choice, freedom from hindrances, freedom from pain. However, Jesus chose to live under the authority of the Father's desire for His life. He was the ultimate model of a man under authority.
Each day we must determine if we'll willingly choose to be under the authority of the Father and the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is a choice each of us must make. It is a choice that actually leads to freedom, not bondage. Choosing to live under the authority of our heavenly Father frees us to gain the greatest fulfillment in life-His mission and the purposes He has for us. It is the little decisions of daily life that reveal whether we truly live under His authority.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

COMING OUT OF EGYPT

"But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness" (Rom. 6:17-18).
Becoming a new person in Christ is part of a life-long journey that begins at conversion. Before coming to Christ, we were living (in a metaphorical sense) in Egypt, in the land of bondage. Just as the people of Israel toiled as slaves in Egypt, we were slaves to sin and worldly ambition.
Before we came to Christ, we sweated and toiled to build our career and acquire material possessions. Work was our idol. Greed was our taskmaster. We may have had all the trappings of power in the business world - a corner office, a staff of our own, a key to the executive washroom - but we were living as a slave in the land of Egypt. We didn't run our career; our career ran us.
Jesus once said, "No servant can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money" (Luke 16:13). In the original language, the word translated "money" was an Aramaic word, Mammon. This does not refer merely to money as a medium of exchange but also to a demonic spirit designed to promote a mind-set of ambition for riches, power and worldly gain. The word is capitalized in the original text because the people of Jesus' day thought of Mammon as a false god. Jesus was saying that those who spend their lives seeking worldly gain are idolaters. No one can serve two masters. No one can worship both the true God and a false god.
We cannot experience the grace that God gives to His children because we are too busy striving for riches and enslaved to Mammon. The only way we can be free is to turn away from Mammon and allow the one true God to transform us into a different person.
Ask yourself today if your life is best represented as Egypt or the Promised Land.

Monday, June 26, 2017

WHEN FEARS KEEPS OTHERS FROM THEIR DESTINY

"No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. "- Acts 5:13
Every work day in thousands of offices across the globe, Christians testify of God's grace in their lives in some way. Sometimes it comes through a subtle performance of their duties with a smile and peace that non-believers cannot understand. In other cases, there might be more visible, unexplainable examples of God's work. This was the defining difference in believers in the early Church. They lived a life that followed with signs and wonders that could not be humanly explained.
The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number (Acts 5:12-14).
How often we have heard non-believers acknowledge their respect for the Christian workplace believer, but they dare not join them in their persuasion. It is this fear of the unknown that keeps many a non-believer on the path to hell. Who has God placed in your path today to help detour from a path of eternal torment to a path of freedom and eternal life? The Lord desires that each should come to knowledge of the truth so that they might be saved. As you enter the workplace today, ask the Lord for a divine appointment that might be the turning point for a lost soul. There's no prayer the Lord will delight in more than this one.

Friday, June 23, 2017

THE STRENGTH OF BROKENESS

"The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength." - 1 Samuel 2:4
There is an oxymoron throughout the Bible. It says that brokenness is strength. How can this be? How can brokenness be strength? In order to use men and women to their fullest extent, the Lord has to break His servants so that they might have a new kind of strength that is not human in origin. It is strength in spirit that is born only through brokenness.
Paul was broken on the Damascus road. Peter was broken after Jesus was taken prisoner. Jacob was broken at Peniel. David was broken after his sin with Bathsheba. The list could go on of those the Lord had to break in different ways before they could be used in the Kingdom.
When we are broken, we see the frailty of human strength and come to grips with the reality that we can do nothing in our own strength. Then, new strength emerges that God uses mightily. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Do not fear brokenness, for it may be the missing ingredient to a life that emerges with a new kind of strength and experience not known before. Pray for a broken and contrite heart that God can bless.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

MAKING DECISIONS BY HEARING GOD

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways" (Isaiah 55:8-9).
God speaks to his children in many varied ways. God has said that his ways are not our ways. If left to our reasoning, we will fail to fully walk in the full counsel of God, which leads to poor decisions.
Thus, our goal is to avoid being deceived and to develop a listening ear that hears the voice of God with confidence. Our goal is to have such intimacy with God that we can walk in the full blessing of our decisions and to be assured they are not based on our own reasoning alone. This does not mean that we do not use the intellectual and logical skills that He has equipped us with.
A.W. Tozer said that the man or woman who is wholly and joyously surrendered to Christ can't make a wrong choice - any choice will be the right one. J. Oswald Sanders explains his method of receiving guidance from God for decisions; "I try to gather all the information and all the facts that are involved in a decision, and then weigh them up and pray over them in the Lord's presence, and trust the Holy Spirit to sway my mind in the direction of God's will. And God generally guides by presenting reasons to my mind for acting in a certain way."
The apostle Paul said, "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:13). God has equipped us with everything we need to make good decisions. Hearing His voice is the first step toward making right choices in life.
Do you have a decision to make? Submit that decision to the Lord, ask God for clarity. Ask Him to make the desires of your heart the same desires that He has for you in this matter. Await His perfect timing on the matter. Then you can be assured of making the right decisions.

Monday, June 19, 2017

SUCH A TIME AS THIS

"On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall." - Esther 5:1a
Esther was a woman who lived for a cause greater than herself. God used this woman to save the entire Jewish people from extermination. However, before God could use her, she had to come to a place of death in herself. It was not an easy decision. Her cousin Mordecai was the instrument God used to challenge her to measure up to the task.
Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 4:13b-14)
Mordecai was telling it straight. For her to speak up meant great risks if the king did not receive her. It was automatic death if the king did not extend his scepter, which meant acceptance of her approach to the throne. It was also a time to realize that God may have brought her to this place and time for this specific purpose. However, if she did not respond in faith, God would use another instrument to deliver the people. What would she do?
Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16). On the third day of the fast she came and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. She was like Jesus who stood in the inner court of Heaven on that third, resurrection day. She gave up her life, but God raised it up on that day and delivered an entire people from destruction because of one woman's willingness to give up her life for a greater cause. God has called each of us to a purpose greater than ourselves. Know that it will require death before life can be given to this purpose. It must be His life that lives, not ours.

Friday, June 16, 2017

EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP



"And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant." - Exodus 14:31
What makes an effective Christian leader today? Is it charisma? Is it ability? Is it communication and oratory skills? God's view of an effective leader has nothing to do with these qualities. They may be a part of an effective leader. However, the core attribute of a Christian leader is his integrity with God and his obedience to follow Him. When this happens, God manifests His power in and through that leader. Moses was effective because he was willing to obey the commands God gave him. When Moses did this, God manifested His presence in him. The result was that people followed. They followed because they saw God working in and through the man. They saw that this man was worthy of following because God's anointing was on him.
When people see the Lord's power manifested in your life, they will have a healthy fear of the Lord. They will look at you and say, "This person has something I don't have that is worthy of more investigation." Your challenge is to seek the Lord with a whole heart, resulting in God's power being manifested in the daily activities of your life. When this happens, you can expect others to be drawn to what they see in you. The problem with many Christians today is that non-Christians see nothing different about the way they live to motivate the unsaved to desire their faith.
What makes you different from your neighbor? Is your experience with God noticeably different from that of the man next door? If you're not experiencing regular encounters with God, it's time to ask why not. We don't live day-to-day for the next spiritual experience, but we should see by-products of a life centered in God that is reflected in fruit from His presence in our lives.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

THE GOAL OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." - John 12:24
The goal of the Christian life is death, not success. A popular teaching says that if we follow God, we will prosper materially. God may, in fact, bless His people materially, but few can make this claim among third-world countries. Wealth must never be the goal of a person's life, only a by-product.
A missionary to a Middle-Eastern country has shared a motto among their ministry team: "God does not require success, but radical, immediate obedience." Jesus' obedience gained Him the cross. It did not gain Him popularity among the heathen, the religious or financial success, or a life of pleasure. His obedience resulted in His death on the cross. This is the same goal Christ has for each of us--death of our old nature so that He might live through us. That may not sell well among outcome-based Christian workplace believers, but it will result in an eternal reward that far exceeds any earthly reward. "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done" (Rev. 22:12).
The Christian life is a paradox--the first will be last, death in return for life, and we are encouraged to offer praise to God to overcome a spirit of heaviness. It requires faith in a God who operates from a different set of values that are sometimes difficult to measure from human standards. Let death work in you a life that only God can raise up.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

YOUR TESTIMONY

"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

Over the last several years I have seen two distinct types of Christian workplace believers. One type enthusiastically teaches their Bible knowledge to others. These people, though they may be genuine in their motive, lack one essential ingredient to being effectively used by God - a testimony. The second type of people I have encountered has a genuine testimony of what God is doing and continues to do in their lives. This was the case in the early Church. Men and women were able to give powerful testimony of events and experiences that could only be explained as a work of God.
God desires to build a testimony in each of us. Each of us is one of God's chosen vessels to reflect His power in and through us. When others see this power reflected, they are impacted because they cannot explain that power. God desires to frame your life with experiences designed to reflect the character and nature of Christ. Sometimes these events can be very devastating, but they are designed to reveal His power in and through us.
Every one of us has a testimony. What would others say your testimony is today? Can others see God's work in your life? Is your testimony one of Bible knowledge only? Are things happening in your life that can only be explained as God? These can be problematic questions for each of us. Ask God to build a testimony of His life in and through you today.

Monday, June 12, 2017

TESTING FOR OBEDIENCE

"Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind" (Ps. 26:2).
Throughout the Old Testament, we see many situations in which God tests His people in order to determine if they will follow Him or follow the systems of this world.
The nation of Israel was tested many times during the 40-year sojourn in the wilderness: "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands" (Deut. 8:2).
You might ask, "Why does God need to test us? Doesn't He know everything, including what we would do in every situation?" Yes, God knows - but we don't know ourselves! God doesn't test us in order to find out something He doesn't already know. He tests us so that we can learn about ourselves and His love, power and faithfulness.
In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham by commanding him to sacrifice his son Isaac on a mountain in the land of Moriah. Isaac was Abraham's only son by his wife Sarah - the son God had promised to Abraham. By demanding that Isaac be sacrificed, God seemed to be nullifying His covenant of making a great nation of Abraham. How could God's promise be fulfilled if Isaac was dead?
God tested Abraham to reveal whether or not Abraham truly trusted His promise. Yes, God knew what Abraham would do, but He wanted Abraham to know as well. So God put Abraham to the test, and Abraham passed. As Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his own son, God stopped him and provided a sacrificial ram instead.
Every test involves obedience in one way or another. When God tests us, He reveals the true state of our hearts. Are we obedient to His will, or are we self-willed? We might think we know the answer, but we would never truly know unless we were tested.

Friday, June 9, 2017

DISOBEDIENCE ROOTED IN FEAR

"Then Moses said to them, 'No one is to keep any of it until morning.'" - Exodus 16:19
Have you ever seen God do something really good in your life only to find that you have abused the blessing He gave you? Such was the case of the Israelites as they were traveling through the desert on their way to the Promised Land. God was providing for them in miraculous ways. Manna was provided each day as their bread. God gave Moses specific instructions as to how this manna was to be eaten. God said each one was to gather only what he needed for that day. No one was to keep it until the next morning.
"However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them" (Ex. 16:20). God was teaching the Israelites daily trust in His provision for them. He wanted them to trust Him one day at a time. If they tried to hoard, God put a self-destruct feature in the manna. Yet God also told them to gather two days' worth on the sixth day so that they would have manna to eat on the seventh day. Interestingly, this manna did not stink or have maggots.
For many years I gathered manna in business out of fear of not having enough. One day, the Lord decided that manna should be destroyed in order for me to learn total trust in His provision. When we operate out of fear, we can expect the Lord to lovingly discipline us in order to help us learn to trust Him. There is a danger when we seek to "insure ourselves" against calamity. If your actions are born from fear, you can expect God to demonstrate His loving reproof so that you might not live in fear.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

THE COST OF BROKEN COVENANTS

"During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the Lord." - 2 Samuel 21:1a
There was a famine in the land, and David equated that famine to the blessing or lack of blessing from God. He sought God to know why there was a famine. The Lord did not take long to answer: "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death" (2 Sam. 21:1b). Many years earlier, when Joshua entered the Promised Land, the Israelites were tricked by the Gibeonites into believing they were travelers when they were actually enemies of Israel. The Gibeonites tricked Israel into making a peace treaty with them. It was one of the first major mistakes Israel made after entering the Promised Land. As a result of the peace treaty, the Gibeonites were kept as slaves to Israel. This was never God's intention for Israel. He had wanted Israel to destroy all their enemies, but they made an error in judgment that required that they honor a covenant with the Gibeonites.
Saul made a decision to disregard this covenant with the Gibeonites and sought to annihilate them. David sensed there was something preventing God's blessing on Israel. As a nation they had violated a covenant made before God. Now they were reaping the consequences.
There are two things we can learn from this story. First, when we make a covenant, God expects us to fulfill it. God is a covenant maker. He made one with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He made one with each of us through Jesus Christ. The Scriptures are numerous regarding the importance of honoring our commitments.
Second, God is a very longsuffering God. He gave Israel many years of grace before He exercised judgment for their sin. However, there always comes a day when God must uphold His standard of righteousness.
Are you failing to walk in God's blessing due to some failed commitment? Calamities can befall us for many reasons; sin can be one of them. In the case of Israel, David had to make things right with the Gibeonites. When he did this, God removed the famine, and Israel again was prosperous. When you feel you lack God's blessing on your life, ask the Lord if there are any past - generation sins that you may need to repent of. He may be waiting on us before He can release His blessing on our lives