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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

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

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

Work is the Premise of the Sabbath

Sabbath is Sacred but Temporary

Let us balance this out. Sabbath is important. Sabbath is sacred to the Lord. However, Sabbath was not intended to be a permanent state. Some of us have been taking Sabbaths without going to work. This is not natural behavior. We were not designed this way.  

We have been so focused on the Sabbath as a religious event that we have failed to connect it with the rest of the six days. The Sabbath is a part of the week of the Lord. The week of the Lord is about the work He wants for us to do. You can have something that you are working on, in, or through for six days of your life.  

According to the ministry He has placed you in, you are supposed to be working for the Lord for six days. The ministry He has placed you in occurs in your workplace. The work you do six days a week justifies the Sabbaths in your life. 

What if God didn’t do any work on the first day through the sixth day and then said, “The seventh is a Sabbath.” However, other people try to work through the seventh. Entrepreneurs tend to work on things. Employees tend to work on things. Homemakers and people working in the domestic tend to be working through things. You get tired of just working monotonously at the same thing because you have failed to complete the Career Mandate by stopping to rest and review the work that you have done. 

Work is not what is causing you to experience fatigue. What you’re working on, what you’re working with, what you’re working through, and what you’re working in that’s frustrating you. If the environment changes, you would love creating because it is part of your innate nature.  

We need to feel productive.

Imagine this scenario. You take time off to go to the beach for a vacation. When you get there, you lay down on the first day to relax. After a while, you get a tan from the sun.

On the second day, you do the same thing again and get tanner. On the third day, you bring a book or your iPod with you thinking, “I’ve got to listen to something because I’m just lying here, and I’m browning off now.” 

Has anyone ever been in this situation before? “I’m browning off. Now, I can do something. So, I’m going to lie here, and then I’m going to get up, and I’m going to go for a dip, and then I’m going to come back. Let’s go down the road. Let’s go and see whatever else is there to do.” In this vacation, you feel the urge to do something. You cannot just lie around on the sand doing nothing.  

Work is the premise of the Sabbath, isn’t it?  Isn’t the Sabbath more meaningful because you did your work?  The Sabbath becomes a great time because you have made yourself productive all-week round. 

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Sabbath

Taking Your Sabbath is a Stand

Taking Your Sabbath is a Stand

The Purpose of Rest

Why does a God with omnipotence even need to rest? Was He tired? No. He was showing us something foundational. God revealed how our career mandate must unfold through the Creation account. This blog will talk about the purpose and value of rest in fulfilling our Career Mandate.  

What is He doing? God introduces Himself to us as a creative God who manifests His intentions in stages and phases. He reviews the stages, and then He rests. He has revealed to us how He steps back from the project.  

God is teaching us how resting is an essential part of creating. Stepping back for a season is vital. God has already shown us how we must “do” work from the very beginning. Taking a Sabbath from a week of work is a stand. It is a stand of your faith.  

Even when we dread work, most of us live in the office. How many of you have punched in countless overtimes? How many of you consider yourselves workaholics? Keeping the Sabbath shows for whom we are working. It shows where we put our faith.  

Trust God, Not Your Strength

When you fail to keep the Sabbath holy, when you use the Sabbath to work, it reveals that you are trusting in your abilities. Why would you work on a Sabbath? It is mostly because you are afraid to lose your job. You are worried that you will be unable to finish the tasks you can do. You are relying on yourself.  

When you rest on your Sabbath, it shows that you want to obey God at the end of the day. It proves that you are relying on God’s strength, not yours. Keeping your Sabbath day holy shows that you understand that your career will be blessed if you obey God. This is one of the reasons why we “do” work differently than the rest of the work. We take rest seriously. 

We all required the rest. God declared this commandment to Moses. This commandment pertains to our work behavior.  

 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11) 

 

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Sabbath

Battlefield

Your Work is Your Battlefield

Your Purpose and Your Battlefield

Your workplace is your battlefield. God said, “Sir, you’re going to find your purpose, your career calling. Then you’re going to find Eve.” In most cultures, this is normal. Unfortunately, we live in a twisted culture in the United States that accepts unemployment as a norm. No father would have ever given his daughter to a man that did not have a career calling. In most cultures, this would not happen. But it’s happening to most of us in our twisted rendition of the American culture.  

If you think about it, low self-esteem and high levels of desperation push people into unnatural and unspiritual relationships. This false mindset is what the enemy is doing in our culture. Mighty men of God, no woman is going to despise you for not being able to get a job. But she is going to hate you for still being in bed when she’s gone out.  

Paul supports this Career Mandate. Paul tells us, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). How can you provide for your household? You provide by having a job. If you don’t have a job, your full-time job is finding a job. Get up and find a job.  

Where is your battlefield? 

If there is a Career Mandate, this means that our Commander, Jesus Christ, has already revealed to you where your battlefield is. The work you have is where you conduct your wrestling match. Your workplace is your battlefield. 

God goes to work with His people every single day. If you work in a school, God goes with you there. Let’s say you work in a mall. God goes with you there. What if you work in a law firm? God goes with you there. If you work for the government, God goes with you there. Wherever you are working, God is there because you are there. 

Many of us want to go into full-time ministry with the church because our career calling is not equivalent to full-time ministry. Because of this theology of separation that we are used to, we see our work to be unrelated to ministry work for God.  

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Battlefield

Order of Creation : Calling Then Family

Calling and Family

God placed man’s career calling ahead of his wife and his family in the order of creation. Do not get me wrong. We are not trying to create a conflict between home and work life.  

If you are a single woman reading this, I am saying that God wants you to marry someone who has already discovered his destiny and purpose. I’m saying that the worst thing you could do is to marry someone who has no career calling with their life because that’s an unnatural state. Ladies, you are supposed to be with someone who already has a relationship with God and, secondly, someone who has already received his calling from the Lord. Gentlemen, before you go out seeking for your mates, seek God first and seek the calling you have in Him.  

It is unnatural to have no work. We find ourselves in this mess in society when we’re marrying people with unemployed, idle minds. We find ourselves in a mess when we settle for marrying people with no vision and purpose. Ladies, it is unnatural for men to live off you.  

God said, “It’s not going to happen. Adam, you are going to be working when Eve meets you. When Eve lays eyes on you for the first time, you will be working.” This picture was what God intended for relationships between husbands and wives. Please, do not use up the excuse that times are hard and you could not get a job. Suppose you cannot get a job or volunteer. Do not sit around and be idle, asking when God will show you your wife.  

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Family

The Career Mandate

The Career Mandate

Each one of us has a career mandate

You have a career mandate. Did you know that? Let me guide you through Scripture to show you what this mandate is about. First, let us start with the most obvious. Is there a difference between a human being and an animal? 

No matter how “human” an animal looks like, they won’t be able to write this book, not in a million years. Our intelligence, creative capacities, and dynamic nature set us apart from animals. 

No other creature has these debates because we are worlds apart from the nearest looking human being in terms of intellect and creative capacity. This is what the bible calls the image and the likeness of God. The Bible tells us that we were created in the image and likeness of God. We are God-like beings.  

Some passages will call you a God because you are His offspring. Your spirit came from Him. Your body was made from the dust. According to Scripture, although your body was made from dust, it was only through God breathing into Adam’s nostril that man became a living soul.  

Image & Likeness

It’s not our nose that makes us like God. It’s not our hair. It is our unlimited creative capacity. Our creativity makes us unlike anything else in the world 

The first chapter of the first book in the Bible opens with this, “In the beginning, God created….” How does God introduce Himself to us? At work. What clothes was God wearing when He introduced Himself to us? Working clothes. He is working on a plan to materialize His own idea in six days, representing stages. 

How do you represent yourself?

God has introduced Himself to you. Let’s focus on that. The opening chapter of Genesis is like God saying, “This is my introduction. This is how I want you to think of me.”  

When you introduce yourself, you’re telling someone how to think of you. “I’m introducing myself to you in work clothes.” He’s Almighty. He does not have to spend six days on anything. He could say, “That’s all there.”  

But He did that for us. He did that so that it could make sense to us. God was doing something foundational for us. God created the world and everything in it to show us something. It is like God saying, “No, we’re going to stage this out. We’ve got a plan. First things first. We will do what we have got to do in the first stage, then we review the first stage, and God saw everything he did and said, ‘It is good. Okay, now the first stage is good. We can move to the second stage.’” 

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The Career Mandate

Prevent-Contamination

Prevent Contamination

Prevent Contamination

Salt can lose its saltiness

Jesus gave us a warning:  “But if the salt loses its taste, how would its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.”  This is not to say that we lose our salvation. Instead, he said, we can lose our saltiness. We can lose our purpose. When salt is contaminated, it becomes corrosive and poisonous. 

When salt is contaminated, it cannot even be used as fertilizer in the field. It needs to be thrown out on the road. The question here is, are you preventing moral decay, or are you allowing it to continue in your workplace? Worse, are you producing or speeding up the moral decay in your office? 

Allowing apathy, disobedience, carelessness, and indifference to rule our lives, especially our work lifestyles, causes us to eliminate our saltiness. There is a need for us to realize our roles so that we do not lose the purpose for which we are called. Let us not miss the primary purpose by which we are placed in the position we are placed in. We are in the companies or businesses we are in so we can be the salt in that company or business. Do not miss the point. Let us not lose our saltiness. 

Does your light shine bright?

Jesus also called us the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). As the “salt,” we counteract the power of sin. On the other hand, as the “light,” we illuminate where we are. When a place is illuminated, darkness ceases to exist. Whatever exists in darkness—the rulers, authorities, and powers—cannot survive in the light. 

Our lives and this widely includes our work lives, must testify to the reality of Christ’s presence. The light we possess is not our own. It reflects the Light of the World, Jesus Christ Himself.  

As Insiders, we represent Jesus. We are his agents in the world. We cannot reflect Christ’s light if we are not in contact with Christ when it comes to our day-to-day lives. The problem most Christians have is they compartmentalize. Jesus belongs in the Sunday and Church drawer. Thus, he cannot touch the Mondays to Saturdays—Work-Fun drawers. When this happens, when Jesus is not Lord over all of our lives, we fail to reflect His light into every area of our lives.  

Theology of Separation

We are taught a theology of separation. We separate our careers from our faith. Most of us struggle with the idea that our careers are in fact, our ministries. These careers we hold directly serve the interests of heaven on earth. However, we miss this point when we separate Career and God from each other.  

Most people say, “If only they were in full-time ministry” with the church then, they can help advance its mission. They see their jobs as a measure to pay their bills or get ahead in life. We can understand that God has placed us primarily in our workplaces to be His agents, His access, and His advert in the system. 

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Prevent Contamination

The System of the World

The System of the World

It’s all about systems

The city has a system. It is a mechanism that is made up of parts and components. It has culture and subcultures. Reaching a city means that you have a presence in every aspect of the city.  It does not necessarily mean that you have to be the most significant influence, but you need to have an impact in every area of the world. 

The Great Commission is about evangelism in the world. In the same way, the Great Commission is meant to be an “inside job” that starts with courageous believers going into the world. In this respect, we have to be in it to win it. We have to be in every area of society, every industry, and every aspect if we want to fulfill the call of the Great Commission truly. 

 At the end of the day, fulfilling this call is what we are here for. If we were not here for that purpose, we should have gone to heaven the moment we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. We have a purposeful God. We are here on earth because we still have a purpose of serving.  

You cannot win a world for Christ if you are not a part of it. An outsider cannot beat the system. An outsider does not have enough influence to be able to win the system. You have to be in the system in order to establish a stronghold over it.  

Reflection

  1. Describe the rulers, authorities, and powers that exist in the darkness of your workplace. 
  1. How are you being the salt in that office or business? 
  1. How are you being the light in the industry?  

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the-world-

Enter-the-Arena

Enter the Arena

Darkness in the World 

Darkness is the absence of light. It is not a force. It is simply an absence of something. We live in a world where there is no light. The reason why your presence is needed in your workplace is that it is hidden in darkness. You can go inside your workplace to be the light. You go inside the system for it to see the light.  

A verse we will discuss extensively in this book is found in Ephesians 6:12. Paul is revealing to us that a spiritual battle exists. For some of us, we already know this. But let’s look closer and see what this passage is telling us in the context of functioning in our workplace. Paul tells us: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). 

There are rulers, authorities, and powers in this world and forces in the spiritual world that are working against believers. Paul called this world “dark.” It is different from those spiritual forces of evil that exist in the heavenly realms. Darkness is not the force that we are battling with. Instead, it is what exists in the darkness that we are wrestling with (i.e. the rulers, authorities, and powers in this dark world).  

If you enter a dark house, it is not the darkness in the room that harms you. Instead, it could be an intruder hiding in the dark that could be dangerous for you. How do you expose the threat? You open the lights. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light.  

Be the light

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Believers have the light of life because they follow Jesus. You have the light of life. The question is, are you bringing this light into your workplace? Does your workplace have life because of you? The only way by which the darkness in your workplace can be overpowered is when you bring your light there.  

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 14-16) 

The passage above may seem like it is ridiculous. Why would someone light a lamp and put it under a bowl? Wouldn’t it defeat the purpose of lighting the lamp in the first place? However, the lamp that Jesus was referring to was the light that he had lit within every believer who chooses to follow him. It was lit so that we can be his agents in the dark world.  

Is your light hidden?

The problem most Christians deal with is that they do not expose their light. They keep it hidden. They only reveal their light on Sundays when they are among fellow believers. However, what would the purpose of the lamp be when it is placed out in the brightness of the sun? The light of the lamp is supposed to shine in the midst of darkness. And if you dread going to work on Mondays, then that’s your first clue as to where you should shine your light on.  

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Enter-the-Arena