RECEIVING BAD NEWS

Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”

NEHEMIAH 4:11

I opened the letter from the attorney and began to read the contents. The more I read, the more I could not believe the words. I literally felt sick with fear. Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. Maybe you got news that you’ve got cancer or that someone has had an accident or that you are being sued.
 
Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. The going was tough. As if things were not tough enough, he got a letter from another corrupt government official threatening to kill anyone involved in rebuilding the wall:
 
But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat (Nehemiah 4:7-9).
 
There is only one response we should have to bad news: We should pray to our God and take the necessary steps to defend ourselves against the threat. This was Nehemiah’s response. Once you begin to take these actions, avoid projecting what might happen to you in the future. This is a surefire first step toward depression. Ask God’s grace for one day at a time:
 
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:24-26).
 
Turn your bad news over to the Lord. Allow the God of the storm to bring peace into your situation. He specializes in turning crises into opportunities.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



COMPLETING THE WORK

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.

JOHN 17:4

Have you ever had a big project to do? Did you feel great when you finished the job and it was a big success? Angie worked on a big project during the 1996 Olympics that involved placing 2,000 family members of foreign athletes into Christian homes. It was a massive project, but it was a rewarding experience to see the job completed.
 
The Lord has revealed to us that the number one thing we are to do is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and to love our neighbors as ourselves. His desire is for us to know Him and the power of His resurrection. These mandates deal with our relationship with Him. The fruit of this relationship must then result in our glorifying Him by completing the work He has given each of us to do. Work will become a by-product of this relationship, not an end in itself.
 
What is the work God has called you to do? Jesus never did anything the Father had not instructed Him to do. He lived in such communion with the Father that He knew when to turn to the left and when to turn to the right. Is it possible for us to have such a relationship with our heavenly Father? I think that if it weren’t, He would not have given us such an example.

The Lord says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). What has He called you to do? Perhaps you are called to be the best lawyer in your city, or the best advertising executive, or the best office worker or assembly line person in your company. Whatever work He has called you to, He will use you as His instrument to accomplish something that He has uniquely prepared you to do.

When our life is complete, what a glorious day it will be if we can each say, “I have completed the work you gave me to do.” This will have brought great glory to Him.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



VICTORIA’S FRIENDS

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 JOHN 1:9

Victoria grew up like many middle-income families. She loved school and was in homecoming court all four years in high school. However, after some tragic family deaths during her teen years, she began to experiment with alcohol and drugs. She was raped, underwent multiple abortions and worked for more than four years as a dancer at a local nude dancing club.
 
After suffering nosebleeds from her cocaine addition, Victoria became very involved with the New Age movement, nearly had a nervous breakdown and eventually became suicidal. By the age of 28 she was homeless, stranded and fired from her job as a strip-club dancer. At barely 100 pounds, she was no longer profitable to the industry.
 
It was then that a Christian gave her a Bible. The first book she read was Job, and something in his story gripped her heart. Soon a church family took her into their home. They surrounded her with love and pointed her to who she was in Christ.
 
Now, years later, Victoria’s compassionate heart is focused on reaching other lives on the brink of life and death. She testifies that “Jesus is the only healer of deep, deep wounds.” Because of her salvation experience, she founded a ministry called Victoria’s Friends, which goes into the heart of the darkest places of the city, in the strip clubs. Trained women ministry volunteers bring baskets to the dancers in their dressing rooms with no motive other than to show that they care. Men stay outside the clubs and pray for the women going inside.
 
It is the ultimate rescue mission. It is the love of Christ expressed in a simple but powerful way. Hundreds of young women have come out of this lifestyle because one woman decided to do what others had done for her— rescue her from the pit of darkness.
 
What type of rescue mission might God call you to lead?

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



THE MERCY GIFT

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

REVELATION 3:20

I am constantly amazed that the Creator of the universe wants to have an intimate relationship with us. While we frantically search for that certain something to make us happy, God stands there the entire time, saying, “Here I am!” The Scripture in Revelation says that He stands at our door and knocks. If only we would take the time to listen and invite Him in! My neighbor Gerry told my wife and me a story that gave us the perfect picture of this concept.
 
Gerry is single, an attorney by vocation and works from his home. He has an amazing gift of mercy, an incredible love for animals and a malfunctioning front door. His door doesn’t shut properly, and the only way to keep the door closed is to lock it, which Gerry rarely does. One day while working at home, he heard his front door open. When he investigated the noise, he discovered that Buddy, one of the neighborhood dogs, had let himself in by pushing on the front door.
 
Gerry gave him a treat and day after day, Buddy would come and visit. Each day it was the same routine. Buddy would push the door open, stand in the foyer and patiently wait for Gerry to come and give him a treat. He never forced his way in or begged for food—he always waited for Gerry to come to him. And Gerry always came. A few weeks later, Buddy started bringing his friends—other dogs in the neighborhood—and soon the dogs started hanging out for days before they would go back home.
 
Angie and I laugh as we often drive by Gerry’s house and see his front door wide open. We know that inside he is enjoying the fellowship of the neighborhood dogs.
 
We can have that same fellowship with Jesus when we open the doors of our hearts to Him. He is standing at the door, waiting for you to invite Him in.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



OPPOSING GOD’S LEADERSHIP

The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them.

NUMBERS 12:9

 
Beware of trying to depose a leader that God has raised up in your midst. God places leaders in business, government, churches—everywhere leaders are required. When God places a person in a position of authority, it is a grievous sin to go against that leadership. God Himself opposes those who come against His leaders.
 
God’s leaders are not perfect. They make mistakes. That is why following a leader can require a faith that goes beyond faith in the leader. Our faith must lie in the God who has elevated the leader to his or her position.
 
Miriam and Aaron, the older brother and sister of Moses, had a family dispute about Moses’ wife, who was an Ethiopian and Cushite. We do not know the nature of the dispute, but we can assume that it was a typical family conflict.
 
The “typical” family conflict began to impact God’s agenda for a nation. Miriam and Aaron were meddling in God’s business—they were calling Moses’ judgment into question, and God did not like that in the least. As a consequence for rebelling against His appointed leader, God brought Aaron and Miriam into the “switching house.” He judged both Miriam and Aaron for their rebellion against His ordained leader.
 
Miriam was stricken with leprosy, and had it not been for Moses’ appeal on her behalf, she would have been cast out for good. God gave her a second chance, but it required that she first be cast away from the camp for seven days. Miriam and Aaron repented for their rebellion.
 
If you struggle with a leader that God has over you, pray for that leader. If God wants to remove that leader, He can do it. But you should think twice about conspiring to remove a leader whom God has not chosen to remove.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



AFFIRMING NEW LEADERSHIP

But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD’S people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!”

NUMBERS 11:29

 
One of the attributes of a Kingdom leader is the ability to recognize when God is raising new leadership and affirming and encouraging up-and-coming leaders. Kingdom leaders also model a level of humility that God blesses, while leaders who are insecure about their leadership will put down new leadership in order to maintain their own status.
 
The Bible says that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth. That is why God used him as a leader to bring an entire nation out of bondage.
 
Joshua, Moses’ second in command, was concerned about two young men who had prophesied in the camp. He considered their actions an affront to Moses’ leadership. But Moses viewed the situation very differently. He viewed it from the perspective of a Kingdom leader and modeled humility and a Kingdom focus. Moses was secure in his own leadership and did not need to put down others who he might construe as usurping his leadership.
 
King Saul represented the opposite of this principle. The people began to see that God was raising David into leadership. However, because Saul had a stronghold of insecurity in his life, he was not able to affirm God’s new leader. This ultimately led to Saul’s removal from the kingship. God rejected Saul because of his inability to humble himself before an upcoming leader.
The Body of Christ is in great need of leaders who are secure in their leadership. If God has called you to be a leader, look for opportunities to encourage new leaders. As you do, God will ensure that you will fulfill the purpose for which He called you.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



 THE WIZARD OF OZ

I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

ISAIAH 45:3

During a workplace conference I met Ed, a small business owner of a marketing communications company. We struck up a conversation, and I immediately felt a kindred spirit between us. I appreciated his obvious talent and began an exchange by email about providing services to our organization. At a later conference Ed came up to me and shared a wonderful supernatural story of how God had led him to connect with me:

Driving to church one evening, a license plate on a car in front of me grabbed my attention. I don’t recall the numbers on the plate, but the last three letters were OZZ. I felt that God caused me to focus on this and it kept coming to mind as I continued to drive to the service. During the service, a friend who has prophetic gifts came up to me and began to speak to me concerning things the Lord was doing in my work life. She finished by saying that “God had not given me the scarecrow, the tin man or the lion, but He had given me OZ.”

Needless to say that got my attention and I continually asked the Lord what He meant. Several months later, after attending a LifeWorks conference at our church, I was writing an email to Os Hillman about some work I was doing for him. As I began to type the salutation, “Dear Os,” I felt a rush that Os Hillman was the OZ of the prophecy and the OZZ from the license plate! When I called my friend to tell her about this, she became so excited about the connection.

My connection to Os and Marketplace Leaders has proven to be an incredible blessing to me personally as well as professionally. While at the conference, the Lord continually affirmed my call in the workplace and fulfilled a significant dream I had nine years ago.

Friend, God knows you by name. There are people and circumstances that God will orchestrate to bring you into the place He has for you. Be aware of the divine appointments He may bring into your life today.

 

 

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



TURNING TRAGEDY INTO TRIUMPH

So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:12

 
On September 11, 2001, New York City firefighter Stephen Siller had just completed his shift when he heard on his truck’s scanner that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. Siller quickly turned his truck around and attempted to drive back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel but found the entrance blocked by abandoned vehicles.
 
Desperate to join his elite Squad One brothers, Siller donned 75 pounds of fire gear and ran a mile and a half through the tunnel before an emergency vehicle picked him up and dropped him off at Tower Two.
 
Siller had been orphaned at the age of 10 and was raised by his much older brothers and sisters. Siller died that day trying to save others. He left behind a wife and five children. His story proved so inspirational that it became a legend in the newsrooms and firehouses of New York City. His six siblings—who in many ways viewed Siller as a son as well as a brother— found themselves grappling with a dilemma: Should they allow the tragic circumstances of their brother’s death to paralyze and embitter them or use it as a catalyst to help others and preserve his memory?
 
The Siller family chose the latter. Once they made that decision, armed with no extraordinary wealth or political clout, the siblings combined forces to convince New York officials to close down the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel the last Sunday morning of each September to stage the “Tunnel to Towers Run” in honor of their brother’s heroic last run.
 
Each year since 9/11, tens of thousands of runners have retraced the steps of a hero. As part of the event, 343 New York City firefighters, each representing a fallen comrade and holding an American flag, stand throughout the length of the tunnel. They are joined by firefighters from across the United States, each holding a poster-size picture of a firefighter who perished on 9/11. The Siller family has raised more than $1 million and has donated the money to charities that benefit families of those affected by the 9/11 attacks.46
This is a tribute to one heartbroken family who opted to turn their tragedy into triumph.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



ROAD CONSTRUCTION

The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

ISAIAH 40:4-5, NKJV

 

I don’t know about you, but I hate road construction. I live in a growing city, and it seems like there has been ongoing road construction for years. Everything is a mess and I can never plan my trips because of delays. Sometimes I get caught off guard when traffic signs are placed in unusual places and the natural flow of traffic takes me off the main road onto bumpy surfaces.
 
Recently, one of our main local roads developed a sinkhole. The road was closed for more than a year. We had to take alternative routes that were inconvenient, and it took longer to get places.

Sometimes God takes us through our own reconstruction project. Our lives get disrupted, we can no longer depend on the things we did before and we don’t have control over our circumstances or timetable. God is doing major reconstruction.
 
However, even in the midst of the reconstruction, the glory of the Lord is revealed in that place. For some of us, it is the first time we’ve ever seen the hand of the Lord move at such a degree. Reconstruction is a process we would never choose to go through voluntarily, but it is an experience we value for the rest of our lives, because the glory of the Lord was revealed in the process.
 
Once the process is complete, things begin to flow better. Just as the new roads allow us to drive on a smooth and more spacious area, God paves a way for us to move into an expanded place with Him. Isaiah tells us, “He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows” (Isaiah 30:23)
Be patient with God’s reconstruction project. You will like the finished project.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.



HIGH POSITIONS

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.
JAMES 1:9
 
Whenever God brings a saint to a very lowly state, it is to accomplish something only that condition can do. Job’s trials allowed him to learn things about God, himself and his friends that we all need to know as well. He assumed things about God that he had to recant: “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know” (Job 42:3).
God reveals things in the dark places of our circumstances that will be used to reveal something He wants you and others to know. He has sent you ahead to learn these things so that you and others will benefit from your unique experience.
 
God views this place of humility, where you receive these truths, as a high position. The world views it as a place to be despised. Joseph was led to this high position:
 
He called down a famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; and he sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true (Psalms 105:16-19).
 
It was here, as a 30-year-old, that Joseph was prepared to be the most powerful man in the world. He learned many things about God during his captivity that he used later as a ruler over a nation.
If you find yourself in a lowly state, realize that God considers your lowly state to be a high position. He is using adversity in your life as preparation for revealing deep things that He desires you to learn from the dark places.
 
He will use these experiences to frame your life for the message He has for you to share with others.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.