The Way of God

TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
09-09-2014

“If My people would but listen to Me…. Psalm 81:13

God has a specific training ground for leaders. There are three patterns of preparation that have been common among most of God’s leaders. First, there is a time when the leader is separated from his old life. Consider Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and Paul. In order for God to mold and shape them into His nature, it appears that He had to remove them from the life of comfort. A teacher once said, “You cannot go with God and remain where you are.”

Next, there is usually a time of solitude. God often brings leaders into a time of solitude in order to speak to them without other distractions. Hosea 2:14b says, “I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” Paul was sent to Arabia for two years for a time of solitude. Joseph spent years in the solitude of prison. Moses spent 40 years in the desert herding sheep.

The third characteristic of God’s preparation for leaders is discomfort. The setting in which the preparation takes place usually is not a place of comfort. Abraham traveled through the difficult deserts. David lived in caves fleeing Saul. Paul was frequently persecuted.

Are you ready for the classroom of leadership preparation? If God chooses to bring you into this class, you may have one of three reactions to the events. First, you may say, “I don’t need it.” Perhaps you know intellectually that you do need this, but God wants you to know it in your heart. Pride prevents us from entering this classroom. The second reaction may be, “I’m tired of it.” You decide you’ve had enough. If so, this will disqualify you from leadership. Finally, God’s desired response from us in this preparation is, “I accept it.” To accept it with joy is the place of maturity in Christ. God often keeps us in these places until we come to accept and agree that Jesus is enough. Is He all you need?

Like the people of Israel, I think we have something to do with the timetable of our education. “If My people would but listen to Me, if Israel would follow My ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes!” (Ps. 81:13-14)

Are you ready for the process required for being a godly leader? Ask for His grace to willingly embrace these times of preparation.

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

Today God is First: The Necessity of the Desert

…If I haven’t shared enough posts with you all about the desert, here’s another, also done by Os Hillman. – Joppa

Today’s Prayer,
Dear God, Please give me a vision for what You want to do through me, for the role You want me to have in the local ministry of my church, and for the ministry You want to work through me in daily life. Please help me to keep my eyes upon You, not upon other people, things, or circumstances. May Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Necessity of the Desert
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
09-06-2014

…”I have become an alien in a foreign land.” – Exodus 2:22

God’s preparation of a leader involves training, extended times of waiting, pain, rejection, and isolation. Are you ready to sign up?

Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s court. He had the very best of everything-education, clothing, food, and personal care. But there came a time when the man God would use to free an entire people from slavery was going to have to learn to be the leader God wanted. At age 40, when most of us want to be thinking about winding down instead of beginning a new career, Moses was forced to flee to the desert.

Like Joseph and Abraham, Moses had to endure some difficult years of preparation that first involved removal from his current situation. He went from notoriety to obscurity, from limitless resources to no resources, from activity and action to inactivity and solitude. And, most importantly, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. He probably thought he would die in the land of Midian.

Then one day, a full 40 years from the day he arrived, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. Everything changed. God said, “It is time.” The years had seasoned the vessel to prepare him to accomplish the work.

God is preparing many workplace believers today. The circumstances may be different. The time frames may not be quite as long. But the characteristics of the training are still the same. Do not try to shortcut the desert time of God. It only leads to cul-de-sacs, which force you to revisit the lessons you are meant to learn. Embrace them, so that He can use your life for something extraordinary.

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

Today God is First: Significance

Significance
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
09-05-2014

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

Many of us begin our careers with the goal of achieving success. If we haven’t entered our work as a result of God’s calling, we will eventually face a chasm of deep frustration and emptiness. Success flatters but does not provide a lasting sense of purpose and fulfillment. So often we enter careers with wrong motives-money, prestige, and even pressure from parents or peers. Failing to match our work with our giftedness and calling is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. If that happens over an extended period, a person crashes.

At this time, many make another mistake. Workplace believers think that beginning a new career in “full-time Christian work” will fill the emptiness they feel.

However, this only exacerbates the problem because they are again trying to put another square peg into a round hole. The problem is not whether we should be in “Christian work” or “secular work,” but rather what work is inspired by gifts and calling. If there is one phrase I wish I could remove from the English language it is “full-time Christian work.” If you are a Christian, you are in full-time Christian work, whether you are driving nails or preaching the gospel. The question must be, are you achieving the God-given calling for your life? God has called people into business to fulfill His purposes just as much as He has called people to be pastors or missionaries.

It is time for workplace believers to stop feeling like second-class citizens for being in business. It is time workplace believers stop working toward financial independence so that they can concentrate on their “true spiritual calling.” This is the great deception for those called to business.

Significance comes from fulfilling the God-given purpose for which you were made. Ask Him to confirm this in your own life.

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

Today God is First: New Things

Today’s Prayer,

Dear God, Thank you for having a purpose for my life and for telling me what Your expectations are through the Bible. I know You must be disappointed with me many times, when I fail to meet Your expectations of me. I can identify with that from a human standpoint. When I expect a family member to be responsible and to do something that they do not do, or when they make wrong choices in life, I am very disappointed. Sometimes I feel frustrated or angry and other times heartbroken. Help me to be kind-hearted and long-suffering with them, like You are with me. Guide me to handle those disappointments with integrity; to remain quiet when I should and to speak up when I should. Please give me the thoughts, words, and actions You want me to have. And God, please forgive me for disappointing You. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

New Things
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

08-20-2014

“…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13b-14

Our past can be a hindrance or a help in moving toward God’s purposes for each of us. For some, the past has meant pain and heartache, and grace is required so that we do not let our past dictate our responses to the future. If we allow our past to make us a victim, then we have not entered into the grace that God has for us. If we live on memories of past successes and fail to raise our vision for new things, we again are victims of our past.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Is. 43:19). Our past should only be viewed for what we can learn from it. We must move forward and avoid viewing the negative or the positive for more than what we can learn. Many have allowed their past to dictate their future. God is always about doing new things in our lives. He gives fresh revelation of His purposes in our lives. Do not live in the past. Do not hold onto bitterness that may hinder God from doing new and exciting things in your life. He turns our wastelands into streams of water to give life, not death.

How have you viewed your past? Has it hindered you in some areas of your life? Have you relied on past successes to dictate what you will do in the future? Put aside such thoughts and allow God to do a new thing in your life. Ask Him to help you see the new things He wants to do in and through you today.

“When your memories are bigger than your dreams, you’re headed for the grave” [Author unknown].

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

Today God is First: Standing in the Gap

Today’s Prayer,
Dear God, Thank you for being with me through another day and night. Thank you for answered prayer. And thank you for continuing to love me in spite of myself. Today I am keenly aware of people who need people. That’s right…we all need each other. No man is an island and can stand alone. You know, because you created us with a need for fellowship and companionship. I pray that every person participating in this devotional time with you, and that every person who is in desperate need of this provision today, will be blessed with at least one very special person and with a network of good, Christian brothers and sisters to meet that need of fellowship and companionship. I pray that each one of us will look at ourselves and ask, am I being a good friend to others? Am I showing caring, Christian concern for my fellow man? God, you are the ultimate one with whom we have fellowship and it is you who can meet needs far beyond what any human being can meet. Everyone will have the opportunity to experience that relationship with you. I pray that you will use me to be a light to those with whom I have contact with in my daily life. May you be pleased and blessed with the fellowship of those who love you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Standing in the Gap
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

01-18-2014

I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. – Ezekiel 22:30

The people of Israel fell into sin when they worshiped the golden calf. It would not be the last time God’s people would fall into idol worship. They had forgotten the great things God had done for them. This angered God so much that He was going to destroy the whole nation. Only one thing changed God’s mind in the matter — Moses. Psalm 106:23 says, “…had not Moses, His chosen one, stood in the breach before Him to keep His wrath from destroying them.” Moses was a man willing to stand in the gap, sacrificially, for those who were not deserving of such sacrifice. This sacrificial love by Moses is called for among His people today.

The prophet Ezekiel described another situation in which God’s people fell into sin. God was ready to destroy the nation when He spoke to Ezekiel, asking him if there is a man willing to stand in the gap so that God would not have to destroy His people.

Judah was a man who stood in the gap on behalf of his younger brother Benjamin. Joseph held his brother Simeon hostage as insurance that the other brothers would bring Benjamin to Egypt. Judah had a long history of a me-focused life, but in this instance he came forward to stand in the gap for his younger brother. He responded to the anguish of his father, Jacob, by personally guaranteeing the safe return of both Simeon and Benjamin. Judah’s sacrifice was rewarded (see Gen. 42-43).

Just as Christ did, we are to be those who will stand in the gap on behalf of others who are not aware of their own vulnerable condition. It is a proactive sacrificial position. Who is God calling you to stand in the gap for? Perhaps it is a mate; perhaps it is a coworker who has not come to know the Savior; perhaps it is a wayward child. Are you willing to become the sacrificial offering to God to change His plans of judgment because of your willingness to stand in their place? This is a hard teaching. This is what Jesus did for each of us. When we stand in the place of another, God moves because of our willingness to stand on their behalf. If we don’t, His plans will go forward because He is a righteous and holy God who will honor His own word, even if it means destruction. Are you willing to stand in the breach of the wall for someone today? Perhaps you are the only person who will stand on someone’s behalf.

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

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