Fighters Are Inside the Arena

You need to be in the arena

You can’t fight spiritual battles in your bedroom. Spiritual battles happen in the arena, which is where the principalities, powers, dark forces, and spiritual evil are. To be able to beat each of these pillars of power, you need to be in close contact with them.

If you’re not in the arena where the principalities are, you can’t fight against them. You can’t fight with powers if you aren’t in the arena where they are. If you are not in the arena where the rulers of darkness are, you can’t fight them. You can’t fight spiritual wickedness if you aren’t in the arena with it, because this is what wrestling is.

You won’t even meet them to wrestle with them until you go into those arenas. Paul says this: “You already know what happened to me. I went to Ephesus, where I had a small revival. When I went to the synagogue, they didn’t like it, so I went to the public church.

Paul tells the Ephesians, “Put on all of God’s armor so you can stand up to the devil’s plans.” Which bad guy? We’re not talking about the devil from stories. We’re talking about the real devil, who has set up shop on the pillars of power. As long as you don’t touch his pillars, the devil doesn’t care how much you speak in tongues, clap, sing, or shout. If you don’t touch his seat, he’ll be fine. The devil doesn’t really care what you do as long as you don’t touch his throne. We want the devil to care about what we are doing, you strong men and women of the Lord. If the devil doesn’t care about what we do, it means we aren’t doing anything to hurt his dark kingdom. Then, we are not really doing anything to move God’s Kingdom forward.

In the Bible

There were 39 books in the old Bible. There are four different ways to divide these 39 books. The Book of the Law is the name for the first five books of the Bible. The first five books of the law show how God’s policy began at the time of creation. This is the foundation of politics. The first five books of the Bible tell how the government of the people of faith came to be and how it was put together.

The Book of History is the next 12 books in the Bible. The 12 books of history tell us about Israel’s economy and show how their wealth grew over time. This is the foundation of economics. The next 12 books tell about the people’s economic success when they get out of slavery, move to their own land, and build the kingdom of Israel under David and Solomon. These books told the story of how they went from being slaves to being the richest country in the world.

The Books of Poetry are the next five books in the Bible. They show what culture and education look like. The book of the prophets, which is the last 17 books of the Old Testament, shows how God speaks to religion.

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. (Revelation 7:1) 

Personal Application

  1. In what quadrant is God calling you into? 
  2. Why do you think Paul succeeded in reaching out to the education sector and failed in the religious sector? 
  3. What is God telling you about the pillar of power that you are to go to? What is your mission order? 

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Four Types of Evil (Part 3)

Four Types of Evil (Part 3)

The Lecture Hall or the Schools

The next verse says, “But some of them became stubborn. They didn’t want to believe, and they talked badly about the Way in public.” Paul then left them. He took the disciples with him and talked with them every day in Tyrannus’s lecture hall. This went on for two years so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia could hear the word of the Lord. (Acts 19:9–10, added emphasis).

Paul tried for three months to get people in the synagogue to change their minds, but he ended up with a bad reputation. The people in the religious community said terrible things in public about what Paul was teaching. When Paul moved his ministry to the lecture hall of Tyrannus, which was in the education sector, everyone on the subcontinent heard about Jesus.

Tyrannus’s lecture hall was a regular school. It was a private school where the next generation learned how to be leaders in their culture. Paul did not become a teacher at the school; instead, he rented a private room there. But he was able to help students who had a lot of money. How do we know that these students came from money? If you were poor at that time, you didn’t go to school.

Access to the Political and Business Leaders in the Schools

Lecturers taught the next group of political and business leaders in the lecture hall. Affluent families sent their children to school to prepare them for essential lives. Paul was there to teach in a space that he rented. People were paying attention to Paul, and they could hear what he said. After doing this for two years, everyone in Asia listened to what the Lord Jesus had to say because people were coming through the school. They were going back to their own cultures and countries to spread the message that Paul had given them.

When he went to the synagogue for three months, he got only arguments and persuasion. When he went to school, word started to get around. Let’s look at this analysis today in light of our ministry. Does God want you to argue or get caught up in trouble? Or does God want you to make a difference in the world? Does He want you to shape the next generation of leaders?

When you hit a pillar of power and touch it, you start to affect that area. You will meet principalities and powers as this occurs. The term”meet” means you talk to someone face-to-face. I’m not talking about seeing demons or getting rid of them. I’m talking about a fight between the spirit and the flesh.

Wrestling is a fight that is done face-to-face. It is in person. It’s personal and close, and it takes place in an arena. You can’t be on this side of the hall while the enemy is on the other side, and you both shoot at each other. It isn’t wrestling. We have to get in touch with each other and get into the arena.

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four types of Evil

Four Types of Evil (Part 2)

Four Types of Evil (Part 2)

The Marketplace

Most battles in the past happened because two groups wanted a particular piece of land. The land is given to the people of the army or tribe that wins. In the same way, we are “Insiders” who have been sent into these industries to win them for the Kingdom of the Lord.

The marketplace was where business, education, politics, and religion all came together in the past. When we talk about “marketplace” ministry, we mean the work of becoming Insiders to these four pillars of power and being God’s agents.

Paul said, “We were not fighting against people when he said, “We are not wrestling against flesh and blood.” We’re not fighting against people.” You are in the wrong fight if you are fighting people. Quit. Back away from that fight. You are not supposed to fight with your boss at work. You are not fighting against the court. No one is fighting you. This is where the battle is. The fight is with principalities, which, if you look at the word’s roots, means that the spirits in your area are in charge of the politics. The business world is what the powers refer to. The rulers of darkness are in charge of education, and spiritual wickedness is about religion.

Let’s rewrite the passage as if Paul were talking to us today: “When I went to Ephesus, my message was opposed by political, business, cultural, and spiritual factors. Religion, culture, business, and politics all worked together to put an end to the light of my message.

Synagogues

When we read Acts 19:8, we get a fascinating picture of the beast of Ephesus. It says, “Paul went into the synagogue and spoke boldly about the kingdom of God for three months.

” As far as arguing and persuading go, that’s about as far as you can go regarding religion and “religious people.” If you only use God’s gifts inside a church, your ministry will be limited to arguing and trying to convince people. Paul tried for three months to help the people in the synagogue, which should have been an easy task. But the Bible says that he failed to help them.

Don’t you think that’s a waste? You want to tell someone about some good news. Jesus is still alive, and you know it.  Don’t you want people to know this? Maybe you think to yourself, “Let’s start with the religious people.” But what went wrong? Paul argued and won people over for three months. Well, if that’s what you want to do, go ahead. But what happened when all the arguing and persuading was over?

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evil

The Science of Favor 

The Power of Favor

Favor comes with a promotion. The science of favor is defined as the circumstance in which God informs others’ beliefs about you. When God influences the people around you to treat you better than you deserve or in an unexpected way, this is referred to as God’s favor upon you. When people see you differently than they see your peers, God has revealed something about you to them that they cannot see in others. God’s love and protection over those who call on His Name is the source of this supernatural grace.

God does not require you to have the approval of everyone. He will not work in this manner. God has a plan! Does he engage in unnecessary activities? Instead, God will influence critical people to see in you what others do not. These key individuals will be the key to your future.

Consider this: “Whoever does not know me does not need to know me.” God is deliberate. When you understand this principle, you can rest assured that it is acceptable for people to overlook or reject you. God is already preparing people who will be able to see you and help you advance.

Personal Application 

1. What is your life’s pattern and the spiritual principle it reveals?

2. What promise does God make if you obey your experiences’ principle?

3. Are you “pitted”? Does this pit lead to the palace?

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science

Esther’s

Esther’s Place in the Palace

Esther’s Story

Esther’s rise to power is reminiscent of the fairy tale Cinderella. She was a Jewish orphan and a child of the people who were exiled, but she ended up being elevated to the highest position that any woman could have had in the entire world at that time. She was the Empress of Japan. This was the account of her life. But we can’t just leave it at that. There was no chance involved in her story. This was the story that God told.

There is a providential power at work, and it is directing its own plans by means of the king’s affections. Esther conceals the fact that she is Jewish throughout the entire ordeal, which is a significant factor. In light of the widespread anti-Semitism that pervaded the Persian Empire at the time, Mordecai advised her to carry out the aforementioned action. When Esther finally admitted that she was a Jew, she did so at the utmost crucial and essential moment (Esther 4:6).

Despite the difficulties that Esther has faced throughout her life, she was given a position in the palace. In a later discussion, we will go into further detail regarding Esther’s account. However, Esther was able to save her people because of the position she held in the palace and the fact that she was elevated to the position of queen.

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Esther’s

Joseph’s Journey to the Palace

Each experience, good or bad, will contribute to your “palace experience” in the future. 

The first 11 chapters of Genesis already cover 2000 years. But God covered the life of Joseph in 13 chapters in the Bible. This coverage highlights how important Joseph’s life was. 

Joseph experienced a lot of struggles. It seemed like this guy could never get a break. How many of you have felt like this in your job? However, like Joseph, you need to remember that God is up to something when you are down to nothing.  

God has ordained every event in your life. Each experience, good or bad, will contribute to your “palace experience” in the future. Let us see proof of this. It was heartbreaking for Joseph to be thrown into a pit and sold as an enslaved person by his brothers. It was devastating to be accused of making a pass at the boss’ wife and thrown into prison for something you were not guilty of. However, these “setbacks” set Joseph on his path to the palace.  

Do not let the “pit” you are in right now predict your future.  

You may find yourself in some twists and turns that are just painful, confusing, and frustrating. However, if you look at God, He is not enjoying your pain, He is not scratching His head in confusion, and He is not nervous about the turn of events you are facing. God is in control. He is taking you to your “palace experience.”  

For in him, God created all things: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead so that he might have the supremacy in everything. (Colossians 1:16-18) 

The Lows are Not Permanent

Joseph was thrown into the pit by his brothers. However, the hole was not his final destination, and nor is it yours. Does the pit seem like God’s promise for your life? If the Bible says that God’s will for you is good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2), then the pit is not His will for your life. Do not let the “pit” you are in right now predict your future.  

Do not focus on the circumstance. Understand the pattern of your life to understand the principle that you must live by and the promise you are living into. Getting stuck in hardship will leave you stuck where you are.  

Do not consider the “pit” you are in as an offense from God. People often get offended by God because they are not getting where they think they should be in their workplace. God stripped Joseph of everything He had. Joseph must be wondering why those things were happening to him. However, harboring bitterness and offense can open the door for the enemy. As an Insider, this is the last thing you want to happen to you.  

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You Were Destined for Something

As an Insider of God, you need to understand that these hardships are intended to train you and equip you for the mission you have. 

There are times wherein we may go through the path of trials and tribulations to be shaped, refined, and prepared to enter into the destiny God is preparing for us. If we take a look into the pattern of the lives of Joseph, Moses, and Daniel, we see that they have undergone significant challenges. However, God was preparing them and their character for the work He was to do through them.  

God is leading us through a process of shaking and discipline. It can be painful at times. However, we know that God has a more excellent plan, even for these hardships. God sees the bigger picture. Going through the challenges is part of the process we need to undergo to experience our promotion.  

Be Patient

Often, we are too focused on the promotion that we do not want to experience the process. The thing about God’s promotion is that when He promotes you, He will be the One who will protect your position. No matter what anyone thinks, God will secure this position for you.  

God has a plan for your life. It is a specific plan. Do you want to be an Insider for God?  The choice for this quality of promotion is up to you.  Your obedience to what God is doing in and through us determines if we are encouraged or not. How do you see the struggles you have at work?  

God is saying: “I promoted you before you were born!” 

Do you see these struggles to prepare you for God’s promotion? Do you see these struggles to be limitations? As an Insider of God, you need to understand that these hardships are intended to train you and equip you for the mission you have. This particular struggle or challenge you have may be what God uses to take you where you are right now, to where He wants you to be. He knows the outcome of your life before you have even begun. The Bible said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:4-5).” What was God saying? God is saying: “I promoted you before you were born!” 

God has plans for you

Even before you were born, God had already planned out your life. He already knew where He would send you and how He would use you to advance His kingdom. Before you were even born, God knew when, how, and where He would promote you.  

If you think about the pattern in the Bible, Abraham, Joseph, David, Job, Daniel, and even Jesus underwent painful tests and trials. However, we see the principle of preparation and pruning in these tests. God has been preparing these individuals to be promoted. Their promotion came in painful processes. However, as we pass the test, we will enjoy the fruits of our promotion.  

Another reason why promotion may not be coming your way is that you have not passed these two tests yet.  If you study the Bible’s patterns, there are usually two tests before a promotion. The first one includes the test of humility. King Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor” Proverbs 15:33). The next test is the one of faithfulness. Jesus said, “It is the faithful and the wise servant who is made ruler over the house” (Matthew 24:45). And in another account, Jesus said, “If you are faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21). 

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God promotes

The promotion comes from God. 

How many of you are waiting, or maybe, tired and waiting for your promotion to come? Perhaps this promotion is not yet there because you are looking at the wrong source for it. Your earthly boss may seem like the one who will evaluate your performance. He may seem like the one you will want to promote. 

God will be the One to create the vacancy for you to occupy.  

 Ultimately, promotion comes from God. Psalm 75:6-7 says, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, west, or south. God judges: He brings one down, He exalts another.”  On the other hand, your boss can overlook you all he wants, but when God says it is time for your promotion, it will be time for your promotion. God will be the One to create the vacancy for you to occupy.  

The Bible says God is the Judge. Likewise, God is the One who decides who will be promoted and who will be overlooked. Why don’t you look to the Lord to understand when you are promoted, how you are promoted, and where you are promoted? Do you believe God is the sole source of the promotion? Looking to men for advancement will be futile.

It can be too easy to sulk about how your boss has promoted people who had less tenure than you.

Change your perspective

Meanwhile, you think to yourself, “This is such a dead-end job! What is the use of giving it my best?” As an Insider, you need to change your perspective.  

Rather than resenting your position, look at it and think about why God has not promoted you yet. As an Insider, what is your purpose in this particular position?  

Moreover, aside from looking to the wrong source for promotion, it’s possible that you haven’t been promoted yet because you haven’t completed your mission in that position entirely. What does God want you to accomplish in this position?

Promotion may come in many areas of life. It may come from the ministry. Perhaps, you experience promotion through marriage. Furthermore, it may even manifest itself in the form of favor in personal and professional relationships. At the core of the issue is that whatever happens, we must recognize how promotion comes from God alone.  

God desires for you to be promoted

Therefore, God desires for you to be promoted. In the same vein, He desires you to walk in the pathway of the promotions He has prepared for you. He has a purpose and a destiny for your lives, and He wants us to enter it. 

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Ministry is Beyond “Church Work”

MaybeSaints do the work of the ministry. What we call the “ministry” is a tool for equipping saints for the work of the ministry.  Do not limit your perspective of what “ministry” is all about. When a pastor preaches on Sunday, that is ministry. When you encourage an officemate who is suffering from depression, that is also a ministry. 

Ministry is not limited to Sunday tasks in the church.  In fact, our ministry, as Bishops, is actually for equipping and furnishing you for the ministry. The work of the ministry is what saints do. If you are a believer of Jesus, then you are a saint.   

Our role as pastors will be pointless if we don’t have a ministry. 

In the past, we thought the work of the ministry again was ecclesiastical functions. There are ecclesiastical functions, including the pastor’s job to preach, lead, and counsel. Our work may be to pastor the church. This is our ministry. This ministry is for you. However, without your ministry, I’m pointless. Our role as pastors will be meaningless if we don’t have a ministry. What is the point of equipping the Body of Christ if the Body of Christ would not move to ministry to their sphere of influence? Our role as your pastor is to prepare you to be Insiders.  

Your ministry transcends what you do in a church. It goes beyond what you do to serve God on Sundays.  Your ministry is your career.  

Now imagine this scenario, you’ve gotten into the system, and you’re making money. Maybe, you’re doing so well. However, you have forgotten why you came to the kingdom. Finally, Mordecai had to remind Queen Esther why she was in the palace in the first place. 

If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 14:14). 

When you are connected with other saints, you can be reminded through a prophetic voice that can still rebuke you even when you aren’t successful. You are so far behind enemy lines that no one can rebuke you. You have moved from a secret agent to a double agent. Esther was in too deep her uncle, who understood the prophetic purpose of her profession, kept her in check. Mordecai kept Esther close so he could warn her, counsel her, and guide her. You never lose your connection with your prophetic voice.  

Ask God to give you a sense of what God requires from you in that profession. 

You never lose your connection with a spiritual leader. Esther was paid to be the wife of a pagan king, but she was made to intercept the enemy’s plan.  

What’s your real job? What is your covenant with God?  Your real job may be to intercept, it may be to inspire, and it may be to influence. You got to understand that I’m paid to do this, but my real job is to inspire, influence, or intercept this, according to God’s purposes. Ask God to give you a sense of what God requires from you in that profession. You have to be faithful to your covenant with God regarding your calling.  

Personal Application 

  1. Have you committed yourself to God regarding your calling?  
  1. How are you honoring your covenant calling? 
  1. What do you think is the purpose God has for your position in your current job? 

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Biblical Purpose

Biblical Purpose of Work

Biblical Purpose of Work:

As servants of Christ, we are called to offer God our professional time. To truly understand how to provide your work-time to God, you need to understand the biblical purpose of your work. The intrinsic purposes for work include working to give, working to grow, and working to guide.  

We talked about significance versus success in an earlier chapter. When you see your work as sacred, the goal shifts from finding importance rather than purpose. In finding meaning, you work to give. What can you give of yourself to your workplace? How can you add value to the life of the people around you? 

Joseph was placed in the palace to give advice. His wisdom saves Egypt from the famine. The best jobs allow you to provide the best of you. The best jobs will enable you to express yourself. You experience job satisfaction. 

Wherever you are, you must seek to give value to the industry you are in. When you are giving an expression of your highest, most creative, and intelligent faculties, then you are contributing to your workplace. No matter your position in your office, if you are giving your best, you are offering something valuable—something that God will find pleasure in. Your offering is a heart issue, more than a position issue.  

Growth and Giving

Some jobs are about your growth and not only about giving.  How many of you reading this hate your job right now? It will be difficult to hate your job once you have made your shift from sacred to secular, wouldn’t it? However, how many of you hated your job before you made that shift? 

Before God sent Moses to rescue Israel from slavery, Egyptians enslaved them. For four hundred years, they were very bitter. What was the picture? The children of Israel were crying from the bitterness of their work. When Moses came to deliver God’s message, the Pharaoh made it worse. He must have said, “Now you’re going to make bricks without straw, just because someone is around you talking about freedom.  Now I’m going to show you who’s in charge. You’re going to make bricks without straw.”  

Although not literally, the picture of the Israelite suffering can be related to how we suffered in our jobs. It was mental and physical exhaustion. Most people feel like they are trapped in this secular job. It felt as if we were limited and insignificant. 

But here’s what God said to them.  “When you come out, you will come out with great riches.  I will bring you out with great riches.”  And I know what most of us think that means.  We think it means it’s because they borrowed jewels from their Egyptian neighbors, and they took the jewels into the wilderness. If that’s how we are interpreting this Scripture, then we have missed the point.  The riches they came out with were the knowledge and the skillset for building an empire of their own.    

Building Skills

You see, what the Pharaoh did not realize is that he had inadvertently taught the art of mason building because they built his treasure cities. So while the Israelites were working at a job, they hated, they were learning a skill set that they could take into a job they would love.  So when you are in a toxic working environment that you’re hating, it’s not about, “God, get me out of here!” Instead, it is about “God, what can I learn here because I’m growing in this environment.” 

When you look at this job, you cannot help but hate and think about God’s purpose. What is the Boss’ purpose? Why am I here? Think about this: “I’m not going to be here the rest of my life. I am here for the learning, not the earning, but the transferrable skills.” 

What came out of Egypt was not a set of enslaved people but a skilled workforce, a task force who had been trained indirectly in the art of mason building.  The issue is that you can take the skills sets from this job into another career venture.  Sometimes, the purpose of the work is just for growth.   

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Biblical Purpose of Work

Redemption of the Work Life

Redemption of the Work Life

Redemption of the Work Life: 

When you look at your work, you should think: “It’s not my secular work. It’s a sacred calling.” When we realize this and take this to the core of our being, we redeem our time. If, in the past, we considered our work secular and somehow we have been deceived that it is not under God, making a shift in our perspective redeems our work life. Making a shift creates an opening wherein our work life is redeemed.  

When you redeem your time, you re-label your time. 

The word “redeem” means to purchase or to buy back. “Redeem” comes from two English words. “Re” means “do again” while “Deem” means to label.” For example, if you deem something worthy, you label something according to its worth. When you consider an object, you frame it. When you see consider something, you put a name on it. You give it a new identity. Thus, when you redeem your time, you re-label your time.  

How much time are you re-labeling to be “sacred”? We are talking about a whole third of your life. How many hours have you been driving the bus? Have you been pushing paperwork for hours? Perhaps, you’re a teacher and spend a good four to six hours teaching students. As a chef, how long do you spend each day in the kitchen? Work usually averages eight hours a week, five days a week. This is about 160 hours each month that you are re-labeling.    

What would the Devil want you to do with these 160 hours? To call these 160 hours a month a drag will be to call a significant period of your life to be a drag.  When you redeem your time, you dedicate it as ministry time. You begin to see how you are a minister in the marketplace for 40 hours a week or 160 hours in a month. 

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work life

Your Covenant is Your Calling

Your Covenant is Your Calling

“Every day is important for us because it is a day ordained by God. If we are bored with life there is something wrong with our concept of God and His involvement in our daily lives. Even the most dull and tedious days of our lives are ordained by God and ought to be used by us to glorify Him.” 

Jerry Bridges

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.

Proverbs 12:11

A Covenant with God 

The faithful career covenant begins when you regard your job as sacred rather than secular. Our covenant with God is to complete our Career Mandate. A covenant is not the same as a contract. People usually establish contracts between two parties to release the other party from obligation if the other party violates the agreed-upon terms. When it comes to a covenant, however, both parties are expected to continue with their roles, regardless of whether the other person follows through or not. When it comes to a covenant with God, He is a perfect and faithful God. We are frequently the only ones who fail to do our part. Nonetheless, we can be confident because God is eternally faithful.

God designed you precisely the way you are for His purposes. 

Once you’ve bridged the sacred-secular divide, you’ll realize that a covenant is an agreement with God regarding using your time and gifts, even while you’re at work. You will also reach a deal with God regarding using your compensations, including your monetary rewards. When you make Jesus the Lord of your life, you give Him control over every aspect of your life, including how you manage your finances and set your desires, dreams, and goals.

God has a grand design for your life. It will be beyond anything you could ever hope for or imagine. God has already given you hints as to what this fantastic plan entails. Just consider your talents, interests, and desires to get a sense of where God wants you to be. God created you exactly as you are for His purposes. “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose,” Paul said (Romans 8:28).

He has placed you exactly where you are. God can use you mightily for His purposes if you are willing and available. If you commit your success to further God’s plan, you have entered into a career covenant with Him. With a covenant with God, you can fully expect to see His divine power flowing through your profession and His supernatural assistance flowing to bring you your dreams. Are you looking forward to it?

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Covenant