Think on these things : Embracing the Mess

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“Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.” Proverbs 14:4

I used to walk through a new home subdivision. Often I would see the street filled with red clay from the land as bulldozers clear it to lay a foundation. The job site is littered with lumber, all sorts of trash from workers, and is generally a mess. The house looks ugly; it has all its insides exposed as it is being pieced together, yet this process is necessary to get to the finished product. When completed, the home is beautiful. The landscaping looks like it came out of a home-design magazine. Everything is clean and perfect in order for the new homeowner to move in.

Our walk with God is much the same process. Often we must go through a messy period of our lives in which all aspects of it are in disarray. It is in these times that God builds a new structure. He might remove some structural timbers in our lives and replace them with new ones. He might even add on another room. And unless this process takes place, we will never see the end product. The goal is more Christlikeness. In order to achieve this in us, He requires a period of removing all that is not of Him. It can be a painful process.

It would be impossible to keep oxen in a barn without having to clean up the mess from time to time. It just comes with the territory, but the result of the oxen is an abundant harvest. God may be allowing a mess in order to ensure a fruitful harvest in your life. Learn from Him so that you might experience the fulfillment of His purposes for you in these times.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

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Think on these things : Being a Vessel to Bless Others

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“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24-25

One of the reasons God entrusts money to us is to bless other Christians by meeting their needs. God uses the transfer of money within the Body of Christ to build unity among Christians. Sometimes we withhold money that God has designated for someone else. He wants to bless through us, but His will cannot be accomplished through us if we are disobedient.

This was the case for a business owner who tells of the time when God told him to forego a company bonus one year. God directed him to share his year-end bonus with an employee to show his appreciation for him. He wrestled with God for three full days before obeying the Lord on the matter. When he finally met with the employee to give him his check, the man said he had been praying about a financial need he had three days earlier. He had decided to borrow the money to meet his need. The amount of money he borrowed was the exact amount the business owner gave him.

God had already planned to provide for the employee through the business owner, but because he was hesitant, he almost missed the opportunity to be an instrument of God in this man’s life. Even so, he could have prevented the man from having to borrow money. It was an important lesson for the business owner.

How many people do we let down because we feel the “harvest” God provides is all ours? In America, the pressure is always on to move up the ladder of material accumulation. Jesus warned us about this. If our focus is on accumulation, we will not look for opportunities to be God’s vessels of financial blessing to others. Ask the Lord if you have an open hand when it comes to finances.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Think on these Things : The Door of Full Surrender

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“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

I was recently sitting with the leader of a workplace organization as he described a question he poses to workplace believers. “What if there were two doors to choose from; behind one door was the complete will of God for your life and behind the other door was how life could be according to your own preference. Which door would you choose?” The struggle for most lies in the desire to follow God completely and the fear of what might be behind the door of full surrender. Most of us desire to follow God, but few of us will do it at any cost. We do not really believe that God loves us to the degree that we are willing to give Him complete permission to do as He wills in us.

If we desire to fully walk with Christ, there is a cost. We may give intellectual assent and go along with His principles and do fine; however, if we are fully given over to Him and His will for our life, it will be a life that will have adversity.

The Bible is clear that humans do not achieve greatness without having their sinful will broken. This process is designed to create a nature change in each of us, not just a habit change. The Bible calls it circumcision. Circumcision is painful, bloody, and personal.

If God has plans to greatly use you in the lives of others, you can expect your trials to be even greater than those of others. Why? Because, like Joseph who went through greater trials than most patriarchs, your calling may have such responsibility that God cannot afford to entrust it to you without ensuring your complete faithfulness to the call. He has much invested in you on behalf of others. He may want to speak through your life to a greater degree than through another. The events of your life would become the frame for the message He wants to speak through you.

Do not fear the path that God may lead you on. Embrace it. For God may bring you down a path in your life to ensure the reward of your inheritance. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17)

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Think on these things : Angels in the Workplace

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“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91:11-12

For years Sergis ran his small retail business from his store in a local shopping center. Every week a visitor would drop by to collect a percentage of his sales. The visitor wasn’t his landlord; the mafia had taken control of business in his small country.

Through the ministry of a workplace Christian, Sergis came to faith in Christ, and God began a deep work in his life. One day Sergis decided he could no longer give God’s money to the mafia.

A few days later his “friends” paid him a visit. They kidnapped him, blindfolded him, and placed him in a jail cell located in the middle of a mafia-controlled house. During the night Sergis sat in the jail cell discouraged. Two locked doors with guards separated Sergis from his freedom. Suddenly, in the middle of the night Sergis awoke to a voice: “Sergis, get up. Follow me.” Sergis awakened to a real, in the flesh, angel of God sent to deliver him. The angel opened the doors while the guards remained asleep. Sergis and the angel walked quietly past the guards to freedom. Sergis immediately went to his Christian brothers to share the miracle that had just taken place.

This true story is living proof that we serve a God who still does miracles on behalf of His servants. Ask God for the miracle you need today.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Think on these things : When the Lord Tarries

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“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3

God has a storehouse of blessings that He has reserved for you and me. However, our timing to receive those blessings may not be the same as our Lord’s. God has a specific timetable that He requires to accomplish His purposes in the life of the believer. Sometimes that timetable seems excruciatingly cruel and painful, yet it is needful.

When we read that Joseph remained a slave in Egypt and was then placed in prison after being wrongfully accused, it would be easy to second-guess the God of the universe. Oh, how cruel and uncaring, we might think. Joseph thought he was going to be delivered from prison when he interpreted a dream for a court official, but then he was forgotten another two years. Why? An early release would have disrupted God’s perfect plan.

God takes time to develop character before anything else. God could not afford to have a prideful 30-year-old managing the resources of an entire region of the world.

We can sometimes delay this timetable if we refuse His correction.

Although it is sometimes difficult to understand, the Lord is just and gracious in His dealings with His children. When He does decide to move on our behalf, we will appreciate the delay and will often understand the reason it was needed.

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (Is. 30:18)

If you are awaiting the fulfillment of a vision in your life, ask the Lord for His grace to sustain you. It will be worth the wait.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Think on these things: Two by Two, Who has God placed in your life to complete you?

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“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.”Ecclesiastes 4:9

Have you discovered yet that you are incomplete by yourself? During my “warrior” stage of life you would have been hard-pressed to convince me that I needed you or anyone else. I know few people willing to admit their need for others, but many who live according to this principle. However, sooner or later we discover God’s truth regarding our need for others.

God made us to need others. We may not discover this until we fail – fail in a business, a marriage, a close friendship, or in a client relationship. We are incomplete without the ongoing input from others into our lives. An independent spirit is one of the most detestable sins from God’s viewpoint. It is the highest form of pride. “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Prov. 13:10).

God has made each of us so that we have only so many gifts. He did not give any of us all the available gifts. Hence, we learn to depend on others and to humbly trust others to complete us where we are deficient.

David had Jonathan. Paul had Silas. John Wesley had George Whitefield. Martin Luther had Philip Melanchthon, who was 14 years younger. Martin Luther learned that he needed someone in his life to complete the work God called him to do. Luther had the greatest respect for this friend who helped him reform the Church of their day, and the Church as we know it at present. Luther learned a great deal from Melanchthon, who was a great scholar at a young age. He could speak several languages, and he became Professor of Greek at the new University of Wittenberg at 21 years of age. This was ten months after Luther posted his famous theses on the church door in Wittenberg. Melanchthon helped shape the Protestant movement of the sixteenth century through his research, writings, moral purpose, and religious conscience. Luther and Melanchthon became inseparable, and when they died, they were buried next to each other.

Who has God placed in your life to complete you? Perhaps it is a mate. Perhaps it is a close friend. Perhaps it is a business partner. If you lack this in your life, I encourage you to seek someone out who can speak into your life. If you have someone like this, tell him or her how much you appreciate the role he or she plays in your life.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

 

Think on these things : Blessing God’s Chosen

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“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Recently, a friend from London sent this personal account of an experience he had: “I was walking passed the Stock Exchange in the City of London when I overtook an Orthodox Jew with his black hat and long gray beard. As one does, I put my arm on his shoulder and gave him the blessing which God gave to Moses to give to Aaron with which he was to bless the Jews.

” ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.’ “The Jewish gentleman turned round with a smile. ‘God said to Abraham, “Those who bless the Jews will be themselves blessed.” You will be blessed!’

” ‘I know,’ I said. ‘Ten years ago, I blessed a Jew at Kennedy Airport and I was upgraded to Club class and this happened again on my next two transatlantic flights. Every time I blessed a Jew I was upgraded!’

“‘You’re the man, you’re the man!’ cried my friend. ‘I read that article in the Jewish Chronicle and was just going to tell you the story.’ “We ended up embracing each other on the pavement, no doubt to the astonishment of passing stockbrokers and bankers!”

Is there an opportunity to bless a Jew today? You might find yourself blessed if you do.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Think on these things: The Works of the Flesh

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The Works of the Flesh

We’ve all heard someone say, “He’s a self-made man.” What are they saying in this statement? Are they saying that this individual achieved success by his hard work and sweat? Many a person has achieved success through honest hard work. There is a danger for any of us who may have achieved significance through our work. That danger is the belief that we achieved it through our own efforts apart from God’s grace and mercy. When we live in this belief, we assert that we are entitled to certain rights and privileges because of the position we have earned and feel we deserve.

The prodigal son’s brother who refused to celebrate the wayward son’s return was a man who felt he was entitled to certain rights. He saw himself as one who had been faithful to his responsibilities and deserving of more attention. He could not appreciate his brother’s failure and the pain of falling into a sinful life because, in his mind, he had never failed. This pride kept him from experiencing God’s real grace. This is how legalism develops in believers. It grows into a cold heart and an insensitive attitude toward others who may have stumbled in their lives. This same brother did not truly understand the love of his father apart from works; for he felt he gained acceptance only by doing his job.

Do you feel accepted by God, regardless of what you do? Have you wrongfully viewed your works as something you alone have achieved? These are the minefields of which each of us in business must be aware. God has gifted us to accomplish anything through His grace, not by our works.

“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.'” Deuteronomy 8:17

 

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.