See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and by it, defiling many. Hebrews 12:15
Things don’t always turn out the way we expect. Tonight as I write this devotional Bob Norsworthy and John Simpson are heading for Jakarta for two weeks. The plan was to continue consulting to a major corporation, and to recruit clients and encourage consultants for our first Indonesia Venture in December. The only snag is that the client has just been told that their assets are frozen, and they are therefore unable to hire us. After deliberation, Bob and John decided to press forward, take the twist in the road, and prepare for the rēp Venture.
We have two choices: take the twists prayerfully, or get twisted. We have been given so much: a not guilty verdict, heaped blessing, life itself. Despite the fact that we should be grateful, seeds are dropped onto the sand of our lives each day, some healthy, some designed...
Each person should do as he has decided in his heart, not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
During a recent time of prayer, I gained a little more insight into a phrase that has been rattling around in my mind for some time: “The world’s business system is based on buying and selling, but the kingdom of God is based on giving and receiving.”
Why is it especially important for businesspeople to be generous? I believe that part of the answer lies in this truth: to be effective against the motivations of this world, we must secure victory over getting things for ourselves. Stated a little differently, to have spiritual authority in the marketplace, we must not be under the authority of money. Put yet another way, Mammon (which means greed deified) rules...
The Lord has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death. The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 188:18-22
The stone the builders rejected—we know this is a prophetic truth regarding Jesus himself. But does it have a more universal application?
Think back to the things that have happened in your life—your business, career, or other aspects of your ministry—where you feel that your contribution (your stone) was rejected. People did not get who you were, what you were offering, how you could serve.
Now see how God takes what could be a stumbling block and turns it into a cornerstone, particularly if we see the discipline of rejection as having come from Him. The world's cast-offs can become God's cornerstones.
Then we will sing the triumph song:
"The hand of God has turned the tide!
The hand of God is raised in victory!
The hand of God has turned the...
It was May 2005 when I participated in a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was my first visit there and the event was broken into the typical tracks such as church, youth, education, government and so on. Graham Power, Ed Silvoso and I were leading the Business Track. In a pre-conference workshop I told the other track leaders, “Thank you very much! I am the only person leading a track that has a named demonic spirit in charge… Mammon!” Peter Wagner was in our group and said, “This changes everything.” I knew something of what we were up against in the world of business… but I was wrong that our track was unique.
This is nothing new. In the letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul uses the phrase “stronghold” which might describe a hothouse of tangled weeds that can be found in the middle of an otherwise good pasture. This “stronghold” phrase is unpacked: “we refute arguments and theories and reasonings...
give careful thought to your ways
What is the difference between capital and working capital? We know that the nature and use of each of these is different. Scripture calls it “seed for sowing” (that is capital) and “seed for bread” (that is, working capital). A best practice for kingdom people is to (a) build capital, and (b) give capital towards capital projects. Yet many believers amass capital, often in foundations or investments, then mainly give it to “daily bread” needs, rather than to planting a wheat field or building a bakery. Why is this? First, there is more immediate gratification. A hungry person with a grateful face today gives a better emotional high than one hundred hungry people getting bread every day two years from now.
A second issue with this logic is that it often results in people building their own capital base, and neglecting God’s capital base. In the book of Haggai (a variant of Jeshua, by the way) he...
“I the Lord have called you in righteousness.” Isaiah 42:6
We live in a world where there is economic crisis partly because so much money is flowing around the world chasing speculative transactions that are not linked to payment for goods and services. A recent estimate claims that only 3% of the international money transfers each day are in payment for goods and services. The rest of the transactions are often connected to derivatives of something that may have a real value. (Derivatives are financial contracts, or financial instruments, whose values are derived from the value of something else (known as the underlying).)
There is no question that Jesus has a specific calling. Part of it was unique. He did some things that you and I cannot replicate: he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, made a substantial sacrifice by giving his life, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. These no one else can touch or come close to. But what about the rest of his...
Leaders impact people. While leadership is not everything. it is something. The behavior, character and competence of leaders has ripple effects in the lives of the people whom they lead. Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt, was in a tough situation. On the one hand, he had a free workforce to labor on his projects. On the other hand, he had an 80-year-old liberator telling him to let the slave laborers take a break to go and worship in the desert. Had Pharaoh been an enlightened leader he might have thought giving a week of Personal Time Off (PTO) was fair… but he didn’t, and the disingenuous cycle continued: start plague repent stop plague change mind next plague. After a while Moses said,
“You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.”
There was much back and forth, toing and froing, between Moses and Pharaoh....
and gained what was promised
Hebrews 11 lists the accomplishments of great heroes of the faith. This phrase in verse 33 challenges me: “and gained what was promised.” The principle is that what has been promised still has to be gained. I know that this is obvious, but when I read this I confessed to God that I had been passive. “If God said it, I will wait to see it happen, but there is not much that I can do to make it happen.” On the one hand, just waiting is very realistic. There is nothing I can do given the magnitude of the things God has promised. On the other hand, this verse tells me that people of faith somehow “gained what was promised.” So I reflected on the things that I am pretty sure God has spoken to me, and spent time praising God, thanking him for what he had promised.
The second aspect that was highlighted to me is the source of the promises overshadowing the content of the promises. I acknowledged and...
Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” Leviticus 19:2
God did an amazing job in completely changing the mindset of a whole nation. Here were people who had lived immersed in another culture. The Egyptian boys had the cool haircuts, they drove the fast chariots and had a nice tan. The Egyptian girls were allowed to have tattoos and body piercing. So how do you take a whole nation—men, women and children—and cause them to have different minds and different hearts from the culture they have lived in for 400 years? I believe there were some keys:
We used to have early morning meetings which were the normal mix of coffee and conversation. When we got down to business, however, I would look across at one of the men and sometimes his eyes were open, but he was gone… fast asleep. “The lights were on,” as the saying goes, “but no one was home.” That was a little freaky because he was both present and potentially absent at every meeting. According to WebMD, “You might be surprised to hear that some people sleep with their eyes open. And it's more common that you'd expect. About 20% of people do it, including babies. Doctors call this condition "nocturnal lagophthalmos."” Keith Green called it “asleep in the light.”
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can't fight
'Cause it's asleep in the light
I was reminded of this when I read a poignant account towards the end of Jesus’ life on earth. Some key things happened in quick succession, and you can...