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  • 06/01/2017 11:27 AM | Clara Rose

    Life is a set of journeys and these journeys usually come in our life in unexpected times and ways.  Mary and Joseph had to take an unexpected journey at a time when a woman shouldn’t be riding on the back of a donkey!  However, this journey (and those that we embark on) somehow all fit into God’s plan and will.  It is difficult though when we cannot see ahead.  I am sure that Mary and Joseph had planned on having their baby in the comfort of their own home amongst family and friends.  But this was altered to accomplish the fulfillment of prophecy.  Think about this; could those altering journey’s that come into our lives both at home and at work be to accomplish something great for the Lord?  As humans, we do not like to go where there is an unknown.  We feel insecure and fearful.  But take heart, the Lord is constantly with you!

    Judges 18:6 says, “The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord.” He is watching and with you and knows what lies ahead.  Furthermore, we have the promise that we can go into a journey knowing that we will be safe as Psalm 121:8 says, “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”

    The next journey that you embark on whether planned or not (whether a new job, a move, a new project,) visualize what the Isrealites had in Exodus 13:21. “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.”

    God will guide you on your daily journey’s.  He is there through the difficult and the celebrated road. Give Him acknowledgment and glory in all circumstances and He will continue to establish your steps.

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:26 AM | Clara Rose

    Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! ~ Psalm 39:5

    King David recognized that his time was very limited.  He experienced many battles and saw lives being snuffed out in an instant. As we get older, we too experience deaths that seem to be taken in an instant.

    We need to understand that our God is not a god measured by time, because as humans we measure our entire lives through time. We eat, sleep, and work based on a time schedule.  But the passage in Psalms reminds us that our lives are but a mere breath (here today – gone tomorrow.)

    As I read this passage recently, it really hit me how little time we really have on this earth.  When we experience people dying in our lives, we think about what their lives contained, their legacy, and where they made their mark. So many people waste their lives on selfish motives through worldly gain.  They also avoid doing what God commands out of fear, and persecution.

    So I ask you … what are you personally doing with the time you have? Besides the time needed for life sustaining efforts, where do your other efforts lay? Are you intentionally putting God first in all that you do? Are you fulfilling the commandments He has for your life? Do you include God in your life personally and professionally? Are you reaping a harvest in the workplace? God calls us to be bold and courageous in sharing the Good News. We must be a witness to all God puts into our lives. Because today could be the last day … for them … for me …for you.  Life is limited – we are but a mere breath.

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:24 AM | Clara Rose

    It struck me this week the amount of times that the bible talked about “glory”. In all the forms of “glory” there are over 500 mentions in the bible. It feels as though I have come across most of them this week! I seem to be more aware of those who use the word, whether in writing or in speech. But what is the true definition of “glory” and what does the bible say about it?

    The basic definition of “glory” is a brilliant light, but can also mean magnificence, great beauty or high honor. I believe that all of these definitions come back to the fact that “glory” is something that brings attention or shines a light on a subject. Therefore, when we think about how “glory” describes or is given to God, we can see the following:
    1. That God’s way (light) shines more brilliantly than anything else.
    2. That when we give glory to God, we bring attention to His light.
    1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This verse literally says that whatever we do throughout the day whether personally or professionally, we should be shining a light/bringing attention to God. What do you do to bring glory to God? Do you point to Him as your provider, shepherd, consultant?
    The other neat thing that the bible says is that when we have God in our lives, we also show glory. Psalm 3:3, “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
    The glory of God shines through us! The greatest compliment I have ever received and pray that I will hear again is, “I can see Christ in you.” Ironically, when I received this compliment, in that moment, I actually had an image of a light beaming out from the center of my body. Oh, to be used by God! It is an incredible feeling and quite humbling.
    But when it comes right down to it, glory is something that has to be seen. So look for God’s glory in each day at home and at work. Then bring attention to it and proclaim it as God’s glory and you to will be glorified.

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:23 AM | Clara Rose

    Resistance Definition: the act or power of resisting, opposing, or withstanding. Do you find yourself resisting some circumstance in your life? Resistance can be seen as a negative action that produces a positive result. Usually when we are resisting something, it is because there are other factors involved such as fear, weakness, lack of knowledge, inability or inadequacy. These factors try to stop us from involving ourselves in anything that can cause opposition in our lives.
    Let me propose to you that resistance is a vehicle that can strengthen us. Think of the simple piece of exercise equipment, the Resistance Band. This band is simply a piece of rubber with two handles that is used in a variety of ways to build up strength in our bodies muscle structure. When we come against an opposing force, our human nature is to avoid that opposition. The reasoning is that it will take effort. The opposing force of the Resistance Bands strengthens the muscle. But, it takes effort. When we have to resist things in our lives that we know are bad or harmful to us, it takes effort. We have to fight against our sinful human nature. However, think about if we never faced resistance. We would never become stronger in our abilities, our emotions, our knowledge, or our faith. Resistance is a two-edged sword. It is something we don’t want, but we cannot live without. We must come against opposition to become who we were created to be.
    In the workplace, we are faced with much opposition. We are faced daily with challenges, and decisions that we must make that determine the success of our efforts. All of this resistance culminates in a stronger job performance, purpose and end result. God wants us to be the best at what He sets us out to do. He offers resistance as a way to strengthen and build us up daily.
    So, don’t resist when resistance comes your way. Greet it with a positive attitude that this negative action will result in an amazing result! Don’t resist God when He is working a change in you – maybe He is making a change in your heart!
    Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.”

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:19 AM | Clara Rose

    The conundrum is this …. God has biologically supplanted the need for perfection into all of us, and yet we seem to never be able to reach it. We strive daily to have perfection in our personal and professional lives. However, our view of perfection is far from (shall I say) perfect – and is in fact, marred by the world’s definition of perfection. To the world, perfection is success in the ways of money, career and in the quantity of items we own. This only leads to idol worship. We begin to see that these “things” are perfect and necessary for a “perfect life.”
    It is my belief that God put the need for perfection into us so that we would seek Him out daily – the only true description of perfection. We are only perfected through God. God’s goal of perfection is oneness with Him. When we don’t “feel” this oneness with God, it creates a void in our lives. We try to fill this void with many things including earthly treasures, personal success, great achievements and even negative substances and addictions.
    Let’s view the drive for perfection in our work and businesses. We try to create the perfect goals, the perfect business and marketing plans, the perfect products and services. We look for the perfect opportunities, the perfect sale, and the perfect partnership. But, if we were to seek God’s view of each decision, each step of our daily work, then the fear of imperfection would be laid aside. So, it isn’t just perfection that we seek, but to make sure that we are not imperfect in anything we do. Isn’t it ironic though that God can use us best when we are broken and imperfect? Jesus himself was made perfect through suffering. How then could we be made perfect through the world’s definition of perfect? That the more we acquire whether possessions or status would fill the “need for perfection” that God put into us? It won’t.
    So, if you are seeking perfection, each day go to God and fill up on His love, His guidance, and His wisdom. Become one with The One with whom perfected you.
    Matthew 5:48
    You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:16 AM | Clara Rose

    This term seems to be one I have been hearing a lot of lately. But, what is a person of influence, and what does it take to become one? Influence builds on the term “role model.” The definition of which is “someone who is imitated by others.” The definition of “influence” is “the power to change or affect someone or something.” There is big responsibility in being a person of influence as you may influence in the wrong way. Be warned as James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” I have had this happen in my own life. I believed I knew what I was talking about, when in reality I was missing some facts. It is very embarrassing when you are caught in a situation where you feel that you were not only misrepresenting a topic – but perhaps the Lord as well.

    The bible addresses “influence” in a variety of manners. Here are just a few.
    • As one who shows the ways of God.
    o Matthew 5:14-16, “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.”
    • As one who builds, trains, mentors others.
    o Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, as one man sharpens another.”
    • As one who shows wisdom.
    o Proverbs 13:20a, “Whoever walks with the wise, becomes wise.”
    • As one who uses the Scriptures personally and professionally.
    o 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
    • As one who is generous with their time, talents, and money.
    o Proverbs 19:6, “Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.”
    All of the biblical truths above apply to both our personal and professional lives. In your workplace there are other things that enable you to be a person of influence such as:
    • Becoming the “go-to expert” in your field.
    • Speaking on your “expert” topic out in the community.
    • Being a resource and connector between businesses.

    In John Maxwell’s book “Becoming a Person of Influence”, he lists that a person of influence has faith in, listens to, understands, enlarges, navigates, connects, empowers, nurtures, and reproduces other people. Wow! Can you imagine not only being on the receiving end of that type of teaching/mentoring, but to be the person that is the teacher/mentor?

    I personally look at people of influence as those who take responsibility and accountability for their actions, are grateful for everything in their lives and show it, take advantage of opportunities that come their way on a daily basis, present the right image and seek council.

    Remember if you want to be a person of influence you have to stand for what you believe in and believe in what you stand for and never forget you are always being watched. Seek God daily, pray for all the attributes above, but mostly that you would be Christ-like in all that you do, because ultimately he should truly be the one Person of Influence we should be looking to.

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:14 AM | Clara Rose

    James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this; to visit orphans and widows in their distress, AND to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

    Often, God brings the same topic up to me through a variety of mediums when I believe He wants me to pay attention to it.  One topic that has come up quite frequently is how a follower of Christ could function differently in the workplace than in their personal time.  My belief is that it is because we are exposed daily to the ways of the world.

    In the above passage, James speaks of what pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God is.  This passage is truly filled with so much meaning.  It talks not only of how we should treat others, but what we should do for them and most importantly with what frame of mind.

    Religion = the belief and worship of a controlling power.  If your “religion” is the one and only, true God in heaven how do you worship Him purely?  James says it is by “keeping oneself unstained by the world.”  This is a tall order as we are daily exposed to what this world does and thinks.  We are greatly influenced by “its” controlling power.  So, how can we achieve this directive in every aspect of our lives including the workplace?  Let’s look at a few ideas:

    • Keeping the word of God as the center of all we do.
      • Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 

    If we love, and worship God, we will want to not only know His words, but we will want to have them on our heart and ready on our lips when we speak throughout the day.  We will want to teach them to others so that they too can learn about, accept, love and worship God through the example that we show.

    • Be still with God.
      • Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 

    There will be many times that we react at a situation of words and/or actions of others in the workplace.  In our worldliness, we will use dirty (stained) tactics to handle the situation.  However, if we were to stop a moment and refocus our thoughts on God, and His words, we will handle ourselves more appropriately.  If we were to be still and quiet inside while still having a high degree of alertness, beyond the process of our own thoughts, we will hear God.

    • Do not be deceived.
      • 1 Corinthians 15:33 – 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 

    How easily you are deceived?  Do you say you trust in God’s provision….but don’t believe or use the truth of God?  Many times we believe that we have to provide for ourselves and that prosperity in our business will only happen on our own accord.  Therefore, we make “compromises” in order for business to happen.  But “do not be deceived!”  Those “compromises” will cost you your trust in God.  By aligning yourself with the ways (stains) of this world, you will only lose your morals directed by God and your successes will be lacking the satisfaction of glorifying God through all you do.

    • Live as though God is ever-present and active in your life.
      • Psalm 139:2-24 – You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.  You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. 

    God already knows.  I remember this phrase each time I have a decision to make, and go through any trial.  God already knows.  He knows what is going to happen and the great news is that He has already made a way to make it through whatever I do or experience.  I daily need to remind myself that if I live knowing that God is ever-present and active in my life, then I will be practicing “pure and undefiled religion.”  You see “undefiled” (true religion) is doing unto others as God would do, not what the world would do.  The world is self-serving.  A follower of Christ is God serving.  Serve God not only personally, but in your workplace you will be fulfilled and your light will shine for all to see!

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:12 AM | Clara Rose

    Unify: “To Make or become a single unit.”  The bible calls us to unify with each other.  However, as time progresses, it seems that we move farther away from unity and instead move about independently.  Today’s information technology (even though it has many uses and blessings,) has created more work and less personal contact.  How do we unify with each other, when we don’t “come together?”  The bible instructs us to be of one love, and of one mind.  My interactions with those in the Christian Chamber of Commerce show that this is becoming more and more difficult.  Personality, culture, background, experiences, and traditions tend to alter our beliefs and actions of the Word of God.  Yes, the bible is clear that we are to strive for unity.

    I believe that the first step is to follow Romans 15:6 which states, “That together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Perhaps if we at least come together in “one voice” to glorify God in all we do personally, and professionally, we will work our way to being of one love and one mind.

    In the core values that C3TB has put together, we outlay what we believe we should uphold to in doing our part to bring Unity to the Chamber and it’s Members.  In fact, we use the acronym “UNIFY” and our description is this:

    Unity – Spread biblical principles in the workplace.

    Nourish – Build relationships with Members and their businesses.

    Impact – Show our faith with respect and love.

    Facilitate – Guide members in biblical values for personal and professional growth.

    Yearn – Seek to glorify Yahweh and reflect Christ-Like values.

    By intentionally seeking ways to unify with other Christ followers, we are being obedient to what the Word of God calls us to do.  When we do what God calls us to do, he promises that there will be a reward.  I believe that by unifying the Tampa Bay area, we will become an unstoppable power to bring about change in our communities and therefore be glorifying our Lord.  As Jeremiah 33:9 says, ” Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.”  We all say, let it be Lord, Amen.

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:10 AM | Clara Rose

    It has become very evident to me over the last couple of years that God is raising up followers of Christ in the Tampa Bay area of Florida to take it back for Him.  Bible studies, Men’s groups, Women’s groups, Networking groups, professional groups and more are coming together to proclaim the gospel in a variety of different ways.  There is a passion, a spark that is being ignited amongst God’s people that are moving them to action.

    However, it has also become evident to me that although I see those of like-mindedness coming together, there is an exclusivity among them.  I pray that this uprising not only brings God people together, but becomes an evangelistic powerhouse that speaks to the lost in Tampa Bay and beyond.  Right now, Tampa Bay ranks #4 in the Nation for the least in claimed believers!  We need to be claiming Tampa Bay for God!  We live in a world of the lost and dying.  Should we not go after them until they are all found (Luke 15)?

    As a Chamber of Commerce, we are by description a community group.  Is it not true that we are citizens of the community of God- (Philippians 3:20)? That as such we should govern our behavior, character, and rules by the community?  If so, then we should be including the Great Commission (Matthew 28:17-20) into our Mission Statements!

    So I ask you this question…how can you/your business, take Tampa Bay for Christ?  How can you get involved in the Chamber, in your church, or in your community to add numbers to heaven every day?  When the end of life on this earth comes for you personally or for us all collectively, the only thing that will suddenly matter to you is where you are going and what you did to fulfill your ultimate business mission.  How many people did you share Christ with?

    Laurie Hill - Founder

  • 06/01/2017 11:08 AM | Clara Rose

    Each year it seems I personally go through some physical, mental, spiritual or financial trial, and at the end of each year, I reflect on the past year as most do.  We all do a mental tally of the good, bad, and ugly that was of the year before.  This year I realized that every year’s reflections seem to come back to three things.  So I decided to share them with you as truly they take away “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”  They are simply … the truth.

    1.  Circumstances will always change: It amazes me how we get to the end of a year or a season in our life, and think, “How did I ever get through that!”  Some trials in our life seem so insurmountable.  However, I have found that not only is God our sustainer during these times, but that he already knows what is going to happen.  If we keep in mind that these trials are for a “season”, and that God knows the outcome, this can relieve some anxiety over the trial and we an focus on what God wants us to learn.  This season will almost always prepare us for the next thing to come, teach us something, humble or strengthen us. I think of the character “Dory” in the movie “Finding Nemo.”  As oblivious as she was, her motto was “just keep swimming, just keep swimming!”  This is true not only personally, but professionally.  This is the first year that I will be dedicating a majority of my work time to C3TB.  There will be trials.  But I resolve to let God sustain me during these times, to look to His word and to “just keep swimming!”

    2. God is always speaking:  I have had many conversations with people about hearing God’s voice.  Many say they have never heard Him, they don’t know what He is supposed to sound like, or He doesn’t speak to them.  DO NOT be fooled!  God is always speaking!  Our goal is to learn how to listen to Him, to discern His voice.  God speaks through the Holy Spirit – that voice you hear in your head or your heart that is guiding you. (John 14:1617)  He reveals God’s word to you while you read or hear it, strengthens you, encourages you, convicts you, and most of all loves you. Think of it this way, the voice of God is His spirit talking to your spirit.  You know it when you “hear” it …even if many times you ignore it.  Other ways God speaks to us is through the people around us.  He tends to repeat Himself when He speaks through others so you don’t dismiss it as them speaking!  He also still speaks through dreams, witness, open and closed doors.    How do you learn how to hear God?  It is simple….you spend time with Him.  When you learn who God is, how He works, and how He want you to live, you will share a bond with him that will make it easier for you to distinguish His voice and let Him guide you.  I resolve to continue to build my relationship with God this year, so that my decisions are based on hearing His guidance personally and professionally.

    3. The words of God do not come back void:  God has made many promises in the bible (over 3700!)  Unlike mankind, God keeps His promises.  Whether I am experiencing joy or sorrow in my life, God has a promise to bring me back to His mindset.  I love what pastor and author, John Ortberg says in his book, “God is Closer than you Think,” when he says “Take the words you are hearing and apply them to God’s words.  Do they hold true for God?”  For example: In business it is very easy to feel defeated.  If I was to say, “Then God felt defeated” it doesn’t make sense.  Because God is a God of victory!  We need to cultivate a mindset where God dwells.  So, this year I resolve to have God dwell in my mind and let Him have power over my thought processes at home and at work.  I resolve to remember that God does and will fulfill His promises to me.  Isaiah 65: 21-23, Psalm 128:1-2  I endeavor and encourage you to apply many of God’s promises to what you do at home and at work to enjoy the knowledge that the promises of God will not come back void at the end of 2014.

    My wish to you is that this year, you will be strengthened by your relationship with God.  That you will be bold in your witness in the workplace and that you will be truly blessed!

    Laurie Hill – Founder

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