Priceless Grace

Luke 4:12

And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a book “The Cost of Discipleship” where he coined the phrase “Cheap Grace”. His intention was to emphasize discipleship which he felt was being neglected. Like we all do at one time or another, we emphasize one point while distancing others. He did the same.

Grace is priceless. All the money in the world cannot purchase it. Grace is the outer expression of God’s inner character. There is nothing cheap about God. His grace has been around as long as HE has.

When most of us write or speak about cheap grace, aren’t we speaking from our humanistic perspective? As mortals normally do, we place a value on everything from our view. Therefore, my purpose today is not to critique his book and concepts but simply borrow his phrase – cheap grace.

My definition: cheap grace is our lackadaisical attitude toward God when we intentionally, deliberately and repeatedly abuse HIS goodness in our life.

God is always good. His mercy and compassion are always overflowing. He wants what is best for us. Sometimes though, we take advantage of HIS kindness and love by placing ourselves in planned difficult situations which deliberately requires HIS intervention on our behalf.  

Like the little child desiring one of mom’s freshly baked cookies hidden in the upper cabinet of the kitchen, I am no different. As a child in great need to satisfy my sweet tooth, I would drag the chair over to the other side of the kitchen, place a box on top of the chair and then climb on top so I could reach the upper shelf where the cookies were hidden. I don’t recall how many times I fell or how many times I succeeded to obtain a cookie before dinner, but I do recall once falling and being caught by my mother before hitting the floor. I think the act of being caught hurt more than the spanking I received.

I’m not sure how long I continued to seek those cookies, but this I knew through it all. Mom still loved me even after my disobedience. And the price of hurting oneself for one of her treats was worth the risk.    

I still catch myself at times behaving the same way with God. I abuse his love more times then I can count. Jesus himself faced such a temptation from Satan at the beginning of his public ministry but never gave in. He was tempted by Satan to leap off from the top of the temple (commit suicide) stating that because He was God’s Son, God will catch him. But Jesus didn’t succumb to the liar’s temptation. Instead Jesus quoted Scripture reminded everyone that we are not to put God to the test.

God is always good. And knowing HE is always good allows the carnal heart to sometimes take advantage of HIS goodness. This attitude though runs the risk of slowly destroying one’s consciousness. The more times we give in to the temptation, the easier it becomes to fail the next time. And the more we become like that child thinking we are getting away with something in the short term but not realizing the next one may be life threatening.

Cheap grace is taking advantage of God’s love. The action is not from love, but of self-indulgence.

Thankfully though, Jesus Christ knows our human condition and heart. He has already forgiven us for our ignorant stupidity. And more importantly, loves us so much that he will continually discipline us until we change. So, the quicker we stop abusing HIS love and allow HIM to live out HIS life in us and through us, the richer life becomes and the deeper the relationship grows where our desire is to truly respect and honor HIM in every way.

Every test is an opportunity to grow stronger in HIM. The outcome is victory. The reward is a greater faith in HIM. The prize is to experience life more abundantly. The result is a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our King.

Yes, we are more than grateful for the priceless grace of God.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Home

John 14:23

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

The Christ-centered life is not a religion, but a relationship with the living God. When one focuses on the rules, tasks, and activity rather than the relationship, one has then diverted from the central core of a God-with life.

As a child of the living God, with a high worshipful and respectful love for Jesus Christ and His teachings, we are assured both God the Father and Jesus himself via the Holy Spirit are actively living within us. As they are always present, whether we are aware or not, are we truly enjoying God’s presence? Or do we take Him for granted?

Throughout Scripture you and I are described as God’s temple, His building, and His abiding place. Paul writes one of the greatest mysteries is about God living in you. How well does that sink in? His holy presence lives in you.

So how are you treating your royal guest?

Do you ignore Him? Do you take Him for granted? Or do you share your life with Him as He shares His life with you?

The Triune God wants an active relationship with you and I. So much so, He literally establishes a home with us. He has promised to always remain with us. No matter how often stupidity attacks us. He remains true and committed to the relationship.  

We demonstrate our love for Jesus by following his teachings. Whenever we are unsure of a matter, we discuss the matter with Him through prayer. Whenever we find doubt or are troubled on a matter, we may seek His advice through prayer and through other disciples of His. We follow the example of our Rabbi as outlined through the pages of the Bible.

We would rather error on the side of love then fail to follow through on a matter. But more importantly, we just enjoy hanging out together. There is something about home we take for granted. For home is the place we can relax, be ourselves, and enjoy the time without outside interference, calls, or distractions. Home is where we discover our true self. And home is where we can visit with our friends and share in life triumphs and defeats.

God has multiple homes. Two of those homes are with you and I.  Today our bodies are HIS temple; so, we are home. Tomorrow our new bodies will be in HIS presence; then we will likewise be home. Our home is with our Lord and His God and Spirit. Wherever they may be is where home is for you and I.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Inclusiveness of Jesus Christ

Matthew 6:9

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…

Is it too bold to state all humanity is included in the relationship Christ has with HIS Father? Didn’t HE teach HIS disciples when they prayed to address God as “OUR Father”?

Is it safe to say God will judge all humans through Jesus Christ as those who belong to God through Him? If so then, are not all humans, in spite of themselves, loved, forgiven, and included in Jesus Christ, who is their Lord and Savior?

Isn’t it also true, God’s love will never cease or diminish even for those who, denying the reality of who they are in him, refuse his love and consign themselves to hell?

If they choose not to enjoy the fruit of his salvation, will they not experience his love as wrath?

Doesn’t God discipline those he loves so that they will return to him and live? Isn’t HE portrayed in the Book of Revelations as standing at the door and knocking, urging people to open the door to his everlasting love?

In the end, doesn’t God’s judgment in Christ mean the ultimate end of evil and the renewal of the earth and all creation?

As the prophesied Savior of humanity, did he not suffer and die for all human sin, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven?

At the time, didn’t HE take on our broken and alienated humanity and included the entire human race in his right relationship with the Father?

At the time, didn’t his regeneration of our humanity allow us to share in his son-ship, being adopted as God’s own children in the Power of the Spirit?

Today as our representative and substitute, doesn’t HE stand in for all humanity before the Father, providing the perfect human response to God on our behalf and reconciling humanity to the Father?

Will HE not come again in glory as King of kings and Lord of lords over all nations?

When I read scripture, I read how inclusive Jesus Christ’s life and message pertains to all humanity. How we respond though is what separates us from HIM, not HIM from us. He died for all, but not all have accepted HIS reality. Have you?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Working for The Lord


Colossians 3:22-24 (ESV)
 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.  Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

When God is the center of your life, everything changes. From how you view strangers to the management of your family, from how you select your values, to choosing your priorities, and from how you invest your time in what you study to the career you select, somewhere you will come to realize how much HE loves you and wants to share HIS life with you and others. You become HIS ambassador of HIS Kingdom, living out HIS way of life with others for HIS glory.

For most of us we will spend one-third of our daily life in our vocation. Whether it is a temporary job, a professional career, or a life-long calling, most of our waking hours will be associating with others in the marketplace. How we view the time and prioritize our values will directly impact how God’s Kingdom materializes around us.

When you realize God wired you with specific talents and now is morphing you into the character of Jesus Christ, for your sake and for the sake of others, your perspective of life and work changes. When you truly come to know God cares about the quality and impact your work has in the lives of others, your motivation increases a few notches.

All believers hold dual citizenship. We serve our God and HIS Kingdom as well as the country we live in. Our allegiance is first to HIM who owns everything and has given steward responsibilities for us to fulfill. Though our paycheck may come from an organization or person, the overall initiator of wealth is God. He is concern that you are fed, clothed, and have shelter. He is concern for your physical and mental health. He designed you to flourish. The world of economics is for you and I to enjoy his creation.

To believe God only cares for spiritual truth and not physical matters denies who God IS. HE created everything for us to share with HIM. This is HIS physical world. HE knows we need to eat and therefore wired certain people to excel at farming. HE knows we need shelter and therefore designed certain people with the naturally talents to build houses and buildings for the enjoyment of others. HE knows we need clothing for protection, so HE designed people who excel at making clothes for the sake of others. Every vocation which builds up others to flourish within HIS boundaries is to be held in honor and respected.

So, whatever your job, career, or calling remember you are serving our Lord who gladly wants to share everything HE has with you for your sake and for the sake of others. We are all stewards of HIS. Some may currently deliberately rebel against HIM. Others may ignorantly refute HIS leadership in their life, but others will acknowledge HIS authority in their lives and know who they are truly serving. Be wise and serve your Lord.    

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

What Does God Hate?


Proverbs 6:16-19 
There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

Yes, God is love and expresses love. Yet He also disdains acts of unloving passion. Most of the time when the Bible speaks about God hating someone it usually means He removes His favor on someone. When someone acts opposite of love, He likewise looks at the act as uncharacteristic of His love. God’s way produces fruit for relationships to flourish. When we act outside of His character, we experience the effect of sin which is an action opposite of God’s nature.

So, when God hates certain actions, He knows the outcome produces harmful results which make it difficult for people to prosper within a community. When you look at these seven abominations through the eyes of God, their negative impact within a community is more easily recognized.

Haughty eyes are elsewhere written as the pride of life. It is viewing life from a superior attitude placing oneself in a godlike position. Pride comes before a fall. Pride led the angel Lucifer to become Satan. Pride blinds the self from seeing others from God’s point of view.

A lying tongue is the enemy of Trust. Trust builds strong relationships between people and nations. When trust is broken, justice is forsaken. When trust is broken, marriages crumble. When trust is broken, people fail to unite for a common cause which builds businesses, nations, and institutions for the common good.

Hands that shed innocent blood is destroying another person’s future and impact they have within their community. Life is sacred. When someone decides to murder another human being randomly to satisfy an inner evil desire, God hates. To destroy an innocent life is slapping God across the face in an arrogant manner. You are stealing from GOD when you take the life of another.

A heart that devises wicked plans is bent on destroying the life of others. Instead of building up others or helping others to flourish, this person focuses on lying, stealing, and destroying others for their personal reward. The impact of their actions on the community is irrelevant from their perspective.

Feet that make haste to run to evil are people who just love acts of destruction. Whether it’s a bar room brawl, a gang rape, or a drunken party, you will find them there. Instead of being the solution to a problem, they like to extend the problem.

A false witness who breathes out lies causes great harm in the judicial system. When lies allow innocent people to suffer, the nation begins to suffer. Again, trust is the backbone of all relationships. When trust is broken within the judicial system, the entire nation suffers.

One who sows discord among brothers creates an atmosphere of distrust and inward protection. When people work together knowing they have each other’s back, the team accomplishes more than when there is division and rivalry within the group. Gossip and bullying prevent the community from living up to its potential. Insecure leadership will not allow others to be more successful than themselves. But when leadership builds up and serves others to become more than themselves, the entire community prospers.

In summary, these seven things God hates and removes his favor from people who act in this manner. So, when one behaves in the opposite manner, you may expect God’s favor to be highly upon you.

When you walk humbly, speak the truth, save lives, make plans for others to also flourish, jump quickly toward activities that do good for others, speak loudly for justice, and build up your brothers and sisters with words and actions, you will experience seven things God loves to see. His favor will be with you.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Spiritual Riches


Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…

Because we are included in Jesus Christ, we share with HIM a lot of blessings that we didn’t earn on merit nor receive by our obedience. God, by his amazing grace, before the foundation of the world, predestined mankind for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ.

When you read the first fourteen verses of the first chapter in the letter to the Ephesians by the apostle Paul, you obtain an overview of the gospel message. From redemption to forgiveness, from revelation of His will to His purpose of uniting everything in Christ, from learning His truth to being sealed by the Holy Spirit, you and I have personally been guaranteed an inheritance from God.  

No, you and I most likely will not gain material prosperity like the billionaires among us, nor most likely we will not gain celebrity fame, nor political power, nor the Nobel prize for academics. But we will gain today an inner peace and joy and love without the hassle of pursuing physical mountain tops.

Instead, we learn to walk and talk and dance with the God of ALL. He knows us, He disciplines us for our good, and He blesses us with His character and attributes. We learn to become more like Jesus who shares His chair at the table with us.

As God our Father gave Jesus all authority under heaven and over earth, Jesus himself gives us the opportunity to share in His work today. As He lives in us, and leads us, we listen, observe, and follow Him as He works in the lives of others around us. He gives us responsibility according to our gifts. We simply acknowledge those gifts and exercise them for His glory and kingdom.

Whether in the home, or at work, or in the community running errands, every person we meet, every task we serve, and every act we conduct, shows a small side of God to others. We know God lives in us, and we know the spiritual blessings we have received in the process, are not for our sole benefit but for the service of others. God’s riches are aimed to help everyone flourish.

So, if you are looking for something to be grateful today, thank your God for everything Jesus has done, is doing, and will yet do. Your rich blessings are solely because of Him.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Gifts from God


James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

There is an old classic hymn entitled “Count Your Blessings” that comes to mind when I read this sentence from the Book of James. The repeated refrain reminds us to count our blessings and name them one by one which reminds us with what God has done in our life.

As some of my long-time readers will know, I love to read the Book of Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament Bible on a regular basis. It helps keep me grounded whenever this world’s cultural system begins to pull me away from the Solid center of life. Lately when I read the twelve chapters, I happen to notice more than before the gifts God has bestowed upon us mere humans. Sometimes, if not most of the time, it is good to be reminded.

Chapter one is the prelude which sets the stage for life’s end result before one even begins living. But in chapter two we start to capture God’s design for mankind, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?(2:24-25)” Then again in chapter three the writer states, “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man(3:12-13,22).

In chapter 5, “Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil – this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart (5:19-20).

Through the remaining chapters the writer emphasizes actions which lead to a more joyful and favorable life. Such as diligence is better than slothfulness (10:18); money is a solution to many physical outcomes (10:19); be generous (11:1-2); work your plan even though circumstances look bleak (11:4,6); invest time to pursue your goals and to rejoice every day in what you do, but remember you are being held accountable by God (11:9); don’t worry and maintain good health (11:10); and don’t over study a matter (12:12). These are only a few of the tidbits you find are golden nuggets for living an enjoyable and full life.

The bottom-line: Life is a gift. Enjoy your work, share life with others, and walk with your God. He designed life for you to enjoy His creation within the boundaries of His love – His good and perfect gift to us.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved