Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting. Leviticus 26:5
Even business leaders whose companies are doing well wonder whether their current business performance can be sustained. What if Scripture showed a possible way to avoid business downturns? The first thirteen verses of Leviticus 26 hold the conditions and the promises of sustained business performance. Our challenge is that we read it and think it is Old Testament mumbo jumbo and therefore miss the truth.
The conditions don’t seem that onerous: No idols of any sort, observe the Sabbath, reverence the sanctuary, follow God’s decrees, and obey his commands. What does this look like if we put that into New Testament speak—make that 21st Century language?
If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. Psalm 73:15
Asaph was a writer of popular songs, a lyricist in his day. Just because he was a popular religious artist didn’t mean that he escaped the bad day syndrome. He was in a funk, and he points out why. “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” You might have lost your job while someone you know was promoted. You might be taking steps of faith while others are looking after themselves, and they seem to be doing better financially. You may be hemmed in by limits, while others have no limits. What do you do? What do you say? Much has been said about the pivotal verse in this psalm, which is verse 17: “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” What I want us to see this time is the key principle that allowed Asaph to even see this truth. It has to do with what he allowed to come out of his mouth.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30
I read this verse in Johannesburg while surrounded by a team of South African, Malaysian and US consultants who had left things behind to be part of a rēp Venture. They temporarily left their families, their homes, their jobs “for the sake of the kingdom of God.” It took courage, time and money. Was it worth it?
On our final day with the businesses the leaders shared what God had done in their lives and businesses over the course of the two week Consultation. Lives were changed, businesses repurposed, and God did a stream of marketplace miracles.
You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance…
The words Promised Land conjure up pictures of overflowing milk and dripping honey. Reflecting on what ‘taking the Promised Land’ entailed, there seem to be a few realities to factor in:
There is a wonderful symmetry of the sovereign acts of God and the respondent obedience...
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"
It's not about us. Peter had just experienced three incredible years with Jesus, but they culminated in a colossal failure. After a marketplace miracle that demonstrated Christ's authority and awesomeness, Jesus got Peter back to basics. “Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.” In the midst of this, Peter has a pity party. “Peter was hurt...” The way Jesus counters his introspection is by resetting the context. It's as if Jesus is saying, ‘This is not about how you feel, Peter, but it is about life and death, darkness versus light, the future of the Church. Get over how you feel.’
When you get in the trenches with others doing kingdom business, there is potential for hurt. Let's relinquish our “right” to self-pity, our mandate to mope, and subjugate it to the broader agenda of God's business. “But I...
…the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith
Reading the book of Hebrews one can’t help but notice the fine line between Christian and kingdom, between law and grace, between man’s way and God’s way. The facts about relationship with God through Jesus are right, are good, and are essential, but for living life they are not enough. The law is also good: the precepts, the principles, the ways of God…these are excellent, but on their own they only emphasize our need for something more. Best practices, human logic, intelligent thought, considered opinion… these too are good, but they are not enough to please God.
There is a fine line, but there is also a vast chasm between good and best, between rational and obedient. The writer of Hebrews expresses it well as he spoke of the nation of Israel. They had information, but they lacked inspiration. They analyzed the facts, but failed...
I am delighted to hear of the careful and orderly ways you conduct your affairs, and impressed with the solid substance of your faith in Christ.
God is not a God of disorder. I, however, am often disorderly. In extreme situations I could blame it on God for making me a disorderly person, or explain it as creativity or spontaneity. No matter what my excuses may be, disorder dilutes the deposits of God. It pokes holes in the wine barrel, it makes the balance sheet leak, and it drains impact.
There are many things that eat away at order, but I will focus on just a handful:
They said to him, “A message from Hezekiah: ‘This is a black day, a terrible day - doomsday! Babies poised to be born, No strength to birth them.’”
2 Kings 9:3 The Message
Many years ago, as a young leader of a local church, this Scripture challenged me. We had started many things, but what were we finishing? Initiating something is one thing; delivering it is another. Conception is fun, birthing is hard work.
As I write this I am challenged again: Much is being initiated; how much will be brought forth into the light of day? Ministering every day, in and through business, invites opposition. This is a spiritual matter. The enemy operates at the gate, at the threshold, and we need to achieve victory over him there, in prayer. Call out people to stand at the gates with you. Call forth midwives. Many have worked hard for months. Now we need the strength to deliver this baby. May Hezekiah’s message not be true of us:
“Thus says Hezekiah: 'This...
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.
Commit your way
Turn from evil
Do not fret
Hope in the Lord
Speak wisdom & justice
Keep God’s law
Be content with little
Be blameless; don’t take matters into your own hands
Wait for the Lord
We speak of what we know
“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...