A Fine-Tuned Instrument

Today’s Prayer,
Lord, Please help me overcome these old habits that jump up to haunt me. I want to be clean and pure in heart and life. I want my thoughts and actions to glorify you and to be a witness to your power and love. Thank you for hearing me and touching me with your power and grace. Through Your Holy Spirit, I will overcome. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

A Fine-tuned Instrument
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

10-04-2014

“…I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.'” Zechariah 13:9

My business career has been as an owner of an advertising agency. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work on many different and prestigious accounts. One of those accounts was Steinway Pianos, the maker of the world’s finest pianos. Each piano has always been made from scratch; it takes over a year to make one Steinway. The most impressive scene as I toured the manufacturing plant was the place where the soundboard is stretched to its maximum tolerance and allowed to sit for an extended period until it remains in the curved design. This was done in an off-to-the-corner part of the plant. If the wood were alive, it would be crying out for mercy.

After an extended time of stretching, the wood will never spring back to its original state. It is permanently changed. The piano is becoming a fine-tuned instrument. After this process takes place, the next step requires another point of stress. It takes 11 tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. Each step in the process moves the piano closer to a finished product that will ultimately be played by the world’s finest musicians. These musicians desire a particular sound that only a piano like this can make.

God looks at each of us as a fine-tuned instrument. However, we begin as rough wood that He desires to transform into gold. Tuning us requires certain experiences that will stretch our faith, our frame, and our very life. Sainthood springs out of suffering. If we can stand the strain of this intense process, we will come forth as gold-as a sweet-smelling offering to our Maker. When we are in the midst of these times, it feels like fire. It is painful to be stretched beyond our perceived limits, but the Lord knows this is necessary for us to become an instrument that can play a beautiful song that others will seek after.

Let the master Craftsman have His way in your life today. You will be pleased with the instrument He fashions.

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

Today God is First: The Goal of Life

TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1,
by Os Hillman

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11

For many people in the world, real meaning in life is the next vacation, career success, or stepping up the income ladder. It is a life based on pleasurable experiences. Many a human being has toiled their whole life to gain a pleasurable lifestyle only to find a life that is empty and meaningless. You only have to watch television for one evening to discover that advertisers want us to believe this is the goal of life. The work-to-play theme is consistent with most advertising messages.

Solomon was a man who had nothing withheld from his appetite. He was a great builder, a great businessman, and a great lover of women. Every imaginable pleasure was his. Nevertheless, he was to discover that these things alone could not satisfy the human soul.

A recent trip to a beautiful island left me grateful that God had allowed me to understand the futile trap of the work-to-play lifestyle. It is great to experience times of refreshing and visit beautiful places as long as we don’t fall into the trap of thinking that these experiences equal a meaningful life. God’s beautiful creation can so easily become a prison of emptiness if Jesus is not in the center of it. The apostle Paul said there is only one way to find meaning and purpose in life:

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe…”(Ephesians 1:17-19).

Knowing Christ brings the only real meaning and purpose to the human soul. Spend time today getting to know the Lord in a more intimate way. Then you will discover real meaning and purpose in life.

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

A Refiner’s Fire: Discerning the Work of God

Josephus-Joppa:

…I had heard a story from a man who sat and watched a man working as a refiner purify silver… he asked the refiner, “How do you know when it’s pure?” And the refiner answered, “That’s easy; it’s pure when I can see myself in it…”

Originally posted on Welcome to Joppa Road:

Prime Time With God
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
03-17-2013

A Refiner’s Fire

For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” – Malachi 3:2b

The Lord has a specific manner of preparing His people for useful service. God desires to turn His children from rough, hard-edged stones into gems of gold and silver.

“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years” (Malachi 3:3-4).

The refiner’s fire can only accomplish its purposes when the heat is turned up to extraordinary temperatures. It breaks down the metal in order for it to become…

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Today God is First: The Place of Tears

Today’s Prayer,

…”Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes” (Revelation 18:4). Oh God, what a wicked world we live in. You created it to be a beautiful place; a place where you would come and fellowship with your beautiful creation, but humans disobeyed and gave in to the deceitful voice of Satan. While I am in this world, please help me to not take place in the sins of the world; to resist temptation; to rebuke the voice of Satan and run to you for shelter. Thank you, God, for loving me. I want to please you and fellowship with you. Protect me, please. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


The Place of Tears
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” (Mt 26:38).

Often the place of our greatest pain becomes the place of our greatest triumph. Gethsemane was the place of Jesus’ greatest trial. Three times He asked the Father to let this trial pass. It was not to be. The Father sent His Son to the cross to pay a debt owed by humanity.

Jesus was faced with His own temptation to quit, to not fulfill His destiny, to run from his assignment. It was a personal battle to persevere. Sometimes we face situations that cry out “Quit! I cannot endure anymore!” We want to throw in our towel of what little faith we have left. We conclude that this faith thing simply does not work.

“Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him”(Lk 22:43). After Jesus asked the Father if this cup could pass, an angel was sent to Him to comfort Jesus. The Father’s answer to Jesus’ prayer was “No.” But, His compassion to His Son came in the form of an angel. Some temptations seem they are more than we can bare. However, God tells us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”(1 Cor 10:13).

If we persevere we often realize later the place of our greatest battle becomes the place of our greatest victory. It would be here, on the Mount of Olives, near the Garden Gethsemane where Jesus ascended and would return triumphantly, not as a sorrowful soul, but a triumphant Savior. The battle He won in Gethsemane would result in the triumphant entry to be Lord of the universe.

God will use your greatest failure or greatest sorrow to be a powerful force in your life and the lives of others. Your Valley of Baca (weeping) becomes springs for you and others. You will go from strength to strength (Ps 84:6). It is in the dying that the new springs are allowed to come forth and a new strength emerges.

If you find yourself in your Garden of Gethsemane, lay yourself at the feet of the only one who can sustain you. Entrust yourself to your Heavenly Father. Let Him determine your fate. It will ultimately become a place of victory.

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

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.

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