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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 askā€”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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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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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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