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Trust and do good

Trust in the Lord and do good. Psalm 37:3

Trust and do. This is an interesting concept. Somehow we have the idea that trusting God and doing good are mutually exclusive. There is a notion held by some that inaction is more spiritual than action.  

Take a few minutes and read through Psalm 37. There are the juicy bits, of course, such as “…and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I like that. When I read the whole song, I find an almost even mix of things that tend towards rest and action. If I miss the AND, I miss the whole thing.

For example:

Active resting

Active doing

Trust 

Give generously

Commit your way

Lend freely

Delight yourself

Turn from evil

Be still

Practice justice

Do not fret

Be righteous

Hope in the Lord

Speak wisdom & justice

Be meek

Keep God’s law

Be content with little

Be blameless; don’t take matters into your own hands

Wait for the Lord

Be a...

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We Know Nothing

We speak of what we know
John 3:1-21 

“We know.” Smart guy, solid religious background, years of study, stimulating intellectual environment, wrong conclusion. Nicodemus comes to Jesus and starts off by saying, “Rabbi, we know…” A few mind-blowing facts from Jesus and Nicodemus’ last recorded words in this conversation are “How can this be?” This is followed by a sound rebuttal in a real us-and-them passage, Jesus points out that He and His disciples are actually the ones in the know: “We speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.” Pretty strong words from the Lamb of God. 

How about us? Do we approach God from a “we know” perspective? We know our history, we know our doctrine, we know our Bible, we know what God said five years ago. The paradox is that we do know some things, and yet that very knowledge can leave us isolated from the...

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But it was because the Lord loves you

The Lord set his affection on you and chose you because the Lord loved you. Deuteronomy 7:7-8

God gets bad press. The ‘liberal media’ has been around since the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say…? You know why he said that, right…he wants to dis-empower you!” As Israel came out of Egypt Moses tried to help untangle their preconceptions about God from their experience of Egyptian gods. He also tried to lay the groundwork for the fledgling nation to avoid future entrapment by other gods.

The 10 Commandments and related instructions were therefore very clear: keep God as the one and only, and don’t flirt with foreign gods. “Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them.” This is the M&M verse (if it helps you remember it better): no money, no mercy, no marriage, no mingling. Israel knew slavery—they had been at the receiving end of it for many years. Back in the tent as they thought about...

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Big ask—big reward

You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.  John 14:14

Who wins when I ask for big things? I have thought it was me, of course. Recently, however, I have been seeing a different dynamic at work when looking at three passages that follow each other in the book of John. When you see them together it will blow the punch line, but it is worth doing anyway:

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, … You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. John 15:7

Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16

Three times in quick succession Jesus urges us, “Ask Big!” These are pretty astounding promises. With such a blank check in our hands, why don’t we ask for outrageous things more often? We could go into the normal list of things: we have a poverty mentality, we don’t think we are worthy, we do...

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“What are you crying for?”

 

Crying was not really smiled up when I was growing up. If your brother gave you a shove and you fell and hurt yourself, the question was “What are you crying for?” If you broke your favorite toy… “What are you crying for?” If your parents said “No” when you wanted “Yes” and you cried… “What are you crying for?” followed by the inevitable, “I’ll give you something to cry about!”

Nowadays we tell people, and not just children, “It’s okay to cry.” While there were some advantages to the get-up-and-get-over-it mindsets of our parents, there were disadvantages as well. It is appropriate to cry, sometimes, and the question is, “What are you crying for?” or, more accurately, “What are you crying over?”

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you. How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a...

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Better without the bitter

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...

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Be generous enough to kill

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...

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Cornerstones

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...

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The wrong source

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...

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A capital idea

give careful thought to your ways
Haggai 1:5

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...

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