Through Faith or By Faith

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”. Eph 2:8-9 ESV.

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Faith is given to us by God. We don’t generate Godly faith. God disperses faith (Rm. 12:3).  It is His gift to us. We simply exercise it.

We exercise faith when we walk it out and through it. Faith is not the cause of our salvation. We are not saved by faith, but by grace. We are saved (justified) by the grace of Jesus Christ.  However, by walking through the faith given to us, we are being saved (regenerated) into the image of Jesus Christ.

Poor theology places the cause of salvation with our faith. Our response is not the cause of salvation; our response is the effect of salvation. In the words of cause and effect, our salvation is caused by Jesus Christ and our response is the effect of salvation.

If our faith is the cause of salvation, then we wouldn’t need a savior. However, since Jesus Christ is the reality of salvation, we either accept that reality or not. When we accept that reality, we begin to experience the power of salvation.

A good example is gravity. We acknowledge its existence and respect its authority. Just like your belief doesn’t cause gravity to exist; you simply acknowledge the truth and live life accordingly.

So walk your life through the faith God has given you. Be grateful for the grace He has bestowed upon you. There is nothing to boast about except what God has done.

Therefore, learn to live out your life with the faith He has given you. You will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2016 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

 

Business Is Ministry

“There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.” 1 Corinthians 12:5 NIV.

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Sometimes we cause problems for others without realizing the impact of our words or actions. Those who have a platform to impact others will give an account for their work. This includes Church pastors, Bible teachers, and ignorant believers.

I include ignorant believers with pastors and teachers under the assumption that they are believers but at times may be ignorant of the subject matter. This is so true when it comes to the Body of Christ outside of the four walls of an organized faith community.

Somewhere, someone once taught that Pastors and missionaries are the most important roles in the world today. That CEO’s, government leaders, and moms are secondary in God’s eyes. Yet when one truly understands the Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit, one may want to step back and evaluate the importance of each.

Jesus himself stated that man shall not live by bread alone but with every word that comes from the mouth of God. He didn’t elevate one over the other but considered both important for the human experience.

The church mission is important. So is the mission of business, education, government, etc. If people didn’t focus on building houses, hospitals, schools, roads, clothes, and farms, would we even consider God’s word?

Business is a ministry because business serves the needs of people. The word ministry simply means service. God instructed us to serve one another. We serve one another by providing material and spiritual food for each other. We serve one another by sharing and adding value to God’s creation.

All the gifts of the Holy Spirit also operate outside of the four walls of a church community. The gift of leadership is exercised as a witness within the public forum. Like any gift, it may be used to glorify God or for selfish pursuit. Whether behind a pulpit or a corporate boardroom, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are shared for the means of serving others and glorifying God, or solely for personal gain.

Church is in session outside of the four walls of a faith community for more hours than one hour Sunday morning. The only difference may be sermons are being preached through the attitudes and actions of Christ-following CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s, senior managers, supervisors, and technicians throughout the day. Instead of praising God through music, these people are praising God through their God-given gifts of service creating new start-ups, jobs, and products for the masses.

Contrary to many pastors who have gone through their denominational, institutional training, there are many different ways to conduct a church service. What they may be comfortable with is simply one way. Could it be possible that a business model led by Spirit-filled believers could also be a church service? A place to worship our great God? A place to learn how faith, love, and hope play out in the real world? A place where the offering is self-sacrificing service to others?

Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at how BIG our God is and realize that the world is our pastoral home. That business is only another way for believers to serve their King, His subjects, and His domain. God’s world, His church, and His people can change the culture around them; but only when the Body of Christ removes the self-imposed limits and allow God’s Kingdom to expand outside the four walls of a faith community.

 

 

Gratitude

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:26 NIV.

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A thankful heart is a repentant heart. A heart that recognizes who “GOD IS” and what He has done, is doing, and will do, is typically a mature person who recognizes reality. Yet, don’t we sometimes take God’s character and divine nature which overflows with abundance of grace for granted? How often do we take that which naturally and routinely occurs in our life as a mundane expectation? Don’t we simply expect the sun to rise each day, the rain to fall during the year, and food to be on the supermarket shelves when shopping?

When we safely walk our pets through the park, drive our cars on freeways and take trips across the country to visit our children and grandchildren, don’t we casually liken it as normal life?

When we connect with others through our Smartphone, Skype, and Email, “doesn’t everyone?”

What we do every day as normal and routine, don’t we most often take for granted?

However when something unexpectedly happens like a bomb exploding in a crowded restaurant, a natural fire that destroys our personal belongings, or an accident that takes away a love one, doesn’t our world shake? Isn’t it then we quickly realize we are not in control of “our world” even if we act as if we are?

When trials test us. When events hurt us. When expectations fail. Isn’t it comforting to have someone stronger, surer, and more supportive around us to lean on?

When trust is rewarded, when promises are kept, and hope comes real, do we give recognition to the One whose ultimate hand secured the outcome?

When our prayers are being answered, circumstances workout better than we could ever expect, and life is full of happiness and good cheer, do we thank the One who makes everything possible? Or do we pat ourselves on the back for another job well done?

How about taking a minute today and simply thank the Author of Life, Giver of Gifts, and Perfecter of Perfection?

He is working out His purpose today and has included you in the mix. He loves you more than you will ever know. He has gifted you with unique talent and abilities. He has invited you to partner with Him in the greatest adventure and love story that you will ever experience. His world of abundance is at your reach. He has more to give and more to share than you can ever imagine.

Otherwise, who do you thank when your world is more blessed than what you deserve?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2016 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Deceitful Lovers

“I called to my lovers, but they deceived me;” Lamentations 1:19 ESV.

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We typically recognize them after the facts. In the beginning, we are infatuated, memorized, and blinded. However, if fortunate enough to break off the relationship before severe harm is perpetuated, we can look back to realize the deceitfulness of the affair and hopefully grow more mature from the experience. We have all witnessed lives destroyed by the false illusion of deceitful lovers.

For some people the lover is money. For others power, drugs, sex, pleasure, or food. Some people become involved with others who claim to love them but use them for their manipulative purpose. Over time, no matter the means, real love is distorted; the heart becomes severely wounded; and the beauty of life disappears. To find someone who truly loves you as you love them becomes a child book fantasy. You may eventually ask, “Is there anyone in this world made for me?” “How many more wounds to the heart must I take before true love is discovered?”

For most of us in search of real love, we look in all the wrong places. We have Hollywood fantasy in our minds. Or erotic fiction as our guide. Or an educational system which has polluted reality by removing the Source of all-reality. When truth of the matter is distorted, we fail to capture the best solution to the problem. Instead, we major in the minors thinking this may be the best there is.

It takes time to learn what is truly important. It takes time to mature. It also takes time and experience to truly recognize a good thing from a deceitful one. One way to speed up the process is to learn from those who have gone before us. Those who have no hidden agenda, but a shared life of love, passion, and adventure.

That is one reason to read and study the Christian Bible. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the human experience. The primary difference between someone living 2,000 years ago and today is technology and fashion. Otherwise, the desires, hopes, and challenges are the same.

As one studies the Book, one is introduced to the Author of Life. One quickly discovers His desire for an intimate relationship with you. By committing oneself to Him, one discovers the Source of real love, truth, and justice. Through His Words and contagious Spirit, one also learns to live, flourish, and prosper without harming others in the process. Through this abiding relationship, one comes to easily recognize lies, phony lovers, and make believe fantasies. As you listen and grow together, He leads you to people who will truly love you as you love them.

Yes fairy tales do come true when one is walking with the Author of Life who turns visions into reality. So the real question is, “why waste time with deceitful lovers when real Love awaits you?”

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2016 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Is IT ALL About LOVE…?

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” MT. 22:36-40 ESV.

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Sometimes (maybe even most of the time) we lose our focus and pursue the latest Christian fad rather than the essence of life. Someone may write a book on the purpose of life and everyone jumps on it as “the answer.” Or a new movie comes out that makes us forget the basics of life for the more entertaining possibilities. Or another life guru appears chanting something new that the social media picks up and leads the masses toward another bubble burst.

When people now ask me what is life all about, I now give them the same simple answer that Jesus gave the lawyer. I don’t point toward heaven, salvation, or transformation.  Neither do I give them a long list of do’s and don’ts. Instead you will find me pointing toward the primary character of God Himself.

Jesus combined two statements from Scripture to capture the entire essence of what the Law is all about and the basis of what the Prophets of old stood for. Again, most of the religious leaders of His day either lost the central purpose of what God was doing or just never understood in the first place.

The purpose of life is built around the Creator of life. God is Love. Everything that we see physically around us is the end result of His Love for us. He created the universe because He loves us. He created us and shares His life with us because He loves us. He sacrificed His Son for us because He loves us. He is transforming us because He loves us. He disciplines us because He loves us. He blesses us because He loves us. Everything He does is from the position of Love. He can’t help it because His naturally essence is Love.

When Jesus stated that the reason behind the entire Law and the sending of Prophets was that we would learn to love God with our entire being and likewise love others and ourselves, wasn’t He clarifying for his chosen ones what the purpose behind God’s plan was and is?

When you break down the components of love, one quickly recognizes that everything of substantial worth and value comes from the heart of love. Jesus, salvation, transformation, eternity, marriage, family, work, enjoyment, blessings, etc. are just the end result (the byproduct, the fruit) of the life giving essence of God Himself – LOVE. Isn’t that what God wants us to learn now? How a life built around LOVE surpasses everything else.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

When Love Is Expressed…

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 Jn 4:7 ESV.

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Per the above Scripture, we don’t manufacture love. Love comes from God. We are simply the agent that distributes love to others. Without the spiritual essence of God, we fool ourselves thinking we love someone when in actuality we confuse love with self-gratification. We make love an emotional feeling rather than a selfless act. Real love comes from God who is the author and manufacturer of love.

If you need a good definition for love, try this: Love is a Godly attitude expressed through a self-sacrificial act for the benefit of another.  Rather than pontificate further on love, we will let a few Scriptures do the talking.

 

* For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

* By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn 13:35

* But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. I Corinthians 8:3

* Let all that you do be done in love.1 Corinthians 16:14

* …and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19

* And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2

* For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,…2 Timothy 3:2-4

* By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 1Jn 3:16

* Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 Jn 4:7

* Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love……. 1 Jn 4:8-12

* There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 Jn 4:18

* May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Jude 1:2

Let Love Lead.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

 

 

 

Faith, Belief, Trust

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 ESV.

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When the word faith comes up in a discussion, the most difficult aspect is clarifying the definition. Many people in the world and even within the Christian community often use the word interchangeably with belief, trust, or religious affiliation. This most often leads to miscommunication unless one totally understands the other person’s position.

Many books and papers have been written on all three topics. Some good, some bad, but all have a perspective worth understanding. So today, rather than kill my readers with technical, theological terminology, we are going to use the student’s cliff note version.

For example, when one speaks about a faith community, one is speaking about a group of people who are set apart around certain doctrinal positions that they believe and live out. This is the FAITH of organizational membership. Typically, it is the label and category people box you within. The result is your denomination (or non-denomination which is a denomination).

When the Bible writes about FAITH, one needs to clarify from the context which part of faith is being discussed. For when one hears, speaks, or reads about faith, one must look at the context to determine if the writer means a set of doctrinal positions, a mental decision of belief, a secured confidence of trust, or the enabling power of God.

For the FAITH mentioned in the Bible comes with the following three faces:

First there is the enabling power of God. This Faith is written about in Romans 12:3, 3:28, 5:1, and 4:5. Also Hebrews 12:2, and Ephesians 2:8.

Then there is the mental decision based on your perception of reality as defined by God. Also known as your worldview. This Greek word is also translated throughout the Bible as Belief.  This is found in Romans 10:17, Romans: 6-10, Romans 12:6-8, Romans 14:1-3, and Mathew 21:21.

Finally there is the secured confidence placed in someone or something. We call this Trust. This is explained in Hebrews 11: and 2 Corinthians 10:15 where we place our trust in Jesus Christ the foundation of our faith.

The question most often discussed is whether or not faith is something we develop or something we just live out. I believe when one sees the three faces of faith, then one come to realize that it is a gift from God that empowers us. From His gift, we begin to change our perception of reality based on His Word and Spirit, and then learn to walk with Him which results into seeing how He intervenes in our life and in the lives of others. This leads to the building-up of a mutual trust between the Triune God and oneself.

So in summary: the gift of empowering Faith leads to the development of beliefs which leads to a more secured relationship with the living God.  These are the three faces of FAITH.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!