Integrity

Proverbs 28:6

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

There are generally at least three types of authority in this world. Positional authority, expertise authority, and moral authority.

Positional authority is temporary. Your role as a supervisor, CEO, parent, or community leader is given for you to serve others. The authority you have is yours only because of the position you hold.

Expertise authority will last longer. Your knowledge of computers, your skill set to solve problems, repair automobiles, and build houses places you in the position of being an expert at your craft. People who take their natural abilities and develop skills upon their natural abilities, gain expertise in their field of study and become experts. They gain authority by their expertise.

Moral authority is yours for your entire life. People will follow you because of the fruit in your life. You may have position, be poor, lack knowledge in anything useful or practical, but your life enriches others simply by the way you live. Moral authority is built upon integrity. Doing what is right all the time even if it costs you. Whether or not someone is watching, people with integrity surround themselves with shields of conscience godliness. Integrity gives you moral authority.

You can build a successful career by exercising positional or expertise authority. However, without moral authority, your path will be short lived. Moral authority allows you to sustain yourself for the long term. People with integrity in the marketplace maintain relationships that helps each other grow for the long term. People without integrity slowly find themselves without associates who are willing to risk working with them because of the distrust of prior experiences.

Integrity is the backbone and foundation for a fulfilling life. Integrity demands the exercise of character. If you want a mate or friend with character, that you can trust and build a life around, analyze the fruit of their character. How do they manage in a crisis? What are they like when no one is watching? How do they relate with others, especially those who are different than them? Do they respect authority? What are the values they live by?  When you meet a person with integrity, count it a blessing and add them to your list of associates you want to spend time travelling through life. They will make you stronger and support you in the moral authority you flame.  

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Excellence

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

There are certain proven values pursued over time that produce the good life. When these nuggets of gold are placed at the top of your priority list, you will experience the tasteful fruit of your actions. Proverbs 22:29 reinforces that a skillful person in their work will stand before kings.

This is not a cultural thing; it’s not a racial construct; and it’s not an ethnic privilege. Instead, it is the outcome of a person exemplifying the attribute of the Creator.

Those in positions of authority seek out the best and most highly skill people to manage their enterprises. Whether they be kings, CEO’s, or parents wanting the best for their children, the people who have discipline themselves to focus and exert all their energy, strength, and mindfulness toward the work at hand typically produce the best outcomes.

If you had a brain tumor, wouldn’t you want the best surgeon to operate on you? Don’t you seek out the most qualified cosmetologist to bring out the best image of you? If you need help on a certain subject, don’t you shop around for the best tutor or mentor?

Yet to become that person requires developing your natural abilities into the necessary skill sets plus cultivating the attitude and desire to be the best at what you do. You don’t have to be the world’s #1 expert on the matter, as there is plenty of demand for those who do excellent work. You only need to develop the God-given abilities you were born with into marketable skills and find ways to serve the people around you. Overtime as you master your craft, you will be recognized for the work you do by your peers and God himself may even draft you into his service.

Then again, you may be serving him already and now have become better at what you do. Yes, for a good life, remember, whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Matthew 7:15-20

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit…Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

These past few months I found myself negotiating with a very successful business person on the purchase of a large real estate transaction. The deal never closed. Throughout the discussions, they would negotiate a fair deal but never live up to any of their commitments. They made promises but not once delivered on their word. After several attempts to finalize the deal, we walked away. How can you negotiate with someone who isn’t honest and doesn’t live up to their word?

Jesus discusses in Matthew how to identify false prophets. You can recognize them by their behavior. Their appearance may impress you, but what is the fruit of their life?

You can use the same analogy toward any person who comes to you looking like a saint, speaking like a saint, but whose actions don’t live up to their appearance. These are people who promise you anything and everything to follow them. Their intention is very self-centered and they have no problem using you for their personal satisfaction.

Most of the people we meet in life, we quickly (and most often wrongly) judge them by their appearance. Most of the people who we come to know through the media are presented to us from the bias of the reporter. We quickly make assumptions based on which tribe or education or social position or economic status they seem to belong too.

Yet most likely we are wrong. Until you spend time with a person, getting to know their worldview, their values, their life goals and ambitions, and how they manage themselves through a crisis, you are only guessing. Until then, you can only watch how their actions align with their words.

Politicians are in many ways today’s false prophets. They promise you freedom, but implement programs that enslave you to the state. They cast visions of utopia for you if you elect them, but at the end, they are building their utopia at your expense.

The fruit Jesus speaks about is the character attributes of the Triune God: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, humility, honesty, freedom, good work, etc.  The fruit of a dead tree follows the attributes of Satan who is the antithesis of God. John records Jesus stating that the devil’s role is to lie, steal, enslave, kill, and destroy.

So, when you look at the fruit of people’s lives, what do you see?  A life flourishing with the treasurers of God or a life drowning in the destructive path of Satan? You will know them by their fruit.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Look at the Evidence

Proverbs 18:13

Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.

We live in a world of in-your-face social and institutional media that everything we read and see and hear is quickly digested and generally believed without facts. A 10-second video clip is shown and conclusions quickly drawn. People and actions are immediately judged and condemn on hearsay, gossip, and tribal affiliation. The Bible identifies people who act this way are foolish and immature.

One of my early mentors taught me the importance of gathering all the facts before being swayed by the initial story. One time an employee presented us with an accusation of another associate. The event if true would be grounds for termination. When I initially heard the story, anger arouse, and I wanted the person immediately removed from the company. But my mentor remained calm, thank the person for the information, and proceeded to complete his work for the day. I was dumb-founded. Wasn’t he going to act on this manner?

He did. He finished the task in front of him, then scheduled meetings with several of the people involved. After meeting with each person, and interviewing several other people involved, the whole story became known. The facts showed otherwise. The accuser’s perception of the events was an error. A person’s reputation and job were saved. And when all the real evidence became known, everyone involved could breathe fresh air again.

The moral of the story – don’t jump to conclusions until you gather all the facts from as many sources as possible. And like Steve Covey always said, First understand, then be understood.

When you allow your feelings to lead, you will fall far short of your goal. Instead, gather the evidence, study the facts, and reach a rational decision which you can uphold before others.

Facts don’t lie, feelings do. Liars may distort and twist facts toward their personal agenda, therefore the importance of you knowing the facts in their pure form becomes more necessary if you truly want to know the truth.  

When 10 facts overwhelm one fact, the answer is obvious. Yet many people know one fact of the situation and ignore the nine. They are people with a hidden agenda and don’t want the truth. They have a personal crusade and don’t care of the truth. The rational person though will want to take the whole picture into account. They will look at the entire evidence before reaching a conclusion.

So, before you jump into the shadow of your feelings, be rational, gather the evidence, and then reach your conclusion on the matter. It always sounds true when the first person speaks, but after you hear from the other side, you will most often find your initial impression is not the real picture of the entire event. The more you do this, the better you will become in evaluating the situations in your life – It’s called maturing in wisdom.    

PS: If you haven’t yet included the Book of Proverbs into your devotional reading time, you may want to practice reading a chapter per day for one month on an annual basis. There is a whole lot of practical wisdom waiting to be digested between those pages that is very applicable for the 21st century.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

What Type of Government Do You Want?

1 Samuel 8:4-9

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

How often does history repeat itself because human nature fails to learn the lessons of yesterday?

Back when the nation Israel was ruled by Judges, the people were basically being self-governed. They had the Ten Commandments and the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) as their constitution and bill of rights. The people though weren’t happy with the way things were and their solution was to become like the other nations around them. They wanted a king.

They wanted someone else to handle their problems and were willing to surrender their freedom of self-government. Like most governments today, they reject God as their binding authority and think they have a better solution for governing the nation.

Samuel explained to the people what will result from their decision and yet the people were willing to exchange their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for servitude to a king. The king will take their sons and place them into armies for war; make them work for the king rather than for themselves and their families. The king will take the choice land and have the people plow it for his sake. He will take whatever is yours and use it for his own ambitions and plans. Read 1 Samuel 8:10-18 and you capture a glimpse of people relinquishing their freedom and rights to become servants and serving at the pleasure of the king.

Today people struggle with similar ideologies. Rather than accept personal responsibility for making their life more fruitful, they want their cake without making the effort to bake one. Rather than accept personal responsibility to govern oneself, they want others to tell them how to think, work, and have fun as long as they are taken care for.

There are those who want big government without realizing what they are asking for. History continues to show the larger a government grows; the less freedom people experience. Governments need to be fed. When 50% of the nation’s workforce is producing wealth so the other 50% can get paid, something eventually breaks. And like the frog sitting in the kettle of water simmering in slow rising heat, until one day the frog finds itself being cooked, people slowly are taxed until there is nothing for them to live on. Then when their eyes are open to realize they are working only to subsidize the lifestyle of others without anything left for themselves, then its too late. They have become slaves of a government plantation with no one to rescue them.

This is why government and religion are constantly battling with each other. You have to decide who you are going to serve. Do you want a large government which needs to be fed and makes life’s decisions for you? Or a small government built upon King Jesus and his eternal values which operates through the individual’s heart in service for others? Earthly governments coerce you to comply. God’s way is built upon law and order for both the individual and community to flourish and share their wealth with others without persuasion.     

When people allow the Triune God to be the center of their life, they respect and govern themselves and others knowing they are answerable to Him. They welcome open discussion without fear always searching for the truth of the matter. They are learning to govern under the tutelage of Jesus Christ understanding all humans are made in the image and likeness of their Creator. They build their foundation upon the values and attributes of God. Yet they recognize evil in themselves and others. But also accept the finish work of Jesus Christ who gracefully forgives the sins of their parents, their grandparents, their children, and their own personal caveats. They allow their individual character to reflect the glory of God which magnifies the light on their community.

In today’s world, most governments replace God’s role in people’s lives. Yet imagine a world where the Triune God is the governing agency. How large of a government would be needed? Now you can understand my longing for Jesus Christ to return and establish his government throughout the land. But today it is always a battle to choose the best of “what is available.” As a people, we need a government to keep law and order and protection from evil forces. The question always seems to be – which one?

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Racism’s Best Solution

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

When you remove Jesus Christ from the equation, you throw away the best solution for mankind’s struggle against the evils of this world. When the culture dictates and identifies people by the color of their skin rather than the quality of their character, the ugliness of human nature abounds.

Throughout world history, people have pursued political utopias with an “us against them” attitude which has led to the ruin of more people than any other ideology. Lies, destruction, and death is the usual outcome of a human heart bent on an unbridled passion for power and domination. When one ethnic group disrespects another because of a blindness to superiority or a fearfulness of differences, conflict will always remain.

We have witness people like Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and others who pursued ideologies of racism to further their personal ambitions. Before long, they manipulate people building large governmental power bases where citizens eventually loss their freedom in exchange for servitude to the state.

Jesus Christ has already implemented the solution for racism. However, when people fail to accept His accomplishment and solution to the problem, the ugliness of human nature will continue to lead toward a destructive path. 

The human heart is a mixture of good and evil. The ideal is to fully express the good and find ways to restrain the evil. The Bible reveals evil will never be fully eradicated until the return of Jesus Christ when Satan is locked up. But evil can be minimized; not through violence, harassment, and lies, but through the acceptance of following a proven leader who has already demonstrated the way by walking the talk.   

Yes, his name is Jesus Christ. When you study his life, his claim of kingship, and his approach toward working with others, you quickly find a person worthy to follow. In fact, you find a person who revolutionized the world without an army, country, or political support.

When you discover who he truly IS, his purpose of being born, living, and suffering for you and I, plus how you fit into the grand scheme of everything he has planned out, you quickly realize He is the solution for all mankind. He dealt with racism in his time and created the means to unite the entire human race under one, free government with unlimited potential for all to flourish.

We are not speaking about joining a Christian religion, but a relationship with the living Triune God. The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is a theological concept which explains the common ground we all have in Him. He connects all of us in Him and with each other.

The three blogs below may help you better understand the reality of who Jesus is and what he also accomplished for you and I through His earthly life:

Jesus Christ is the Good News!

Jesus Christ Chose You

Vicarious Life

Read responsibly.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Your Cross. Your Responsibility.

Luke 9:23

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

What is your cross?

As this Scripture indicates, to follow Jesus requires each of us to place our wants and desires secondary to Him, and accept daily our responsibility toward God and others.

But this still begs the question, what is your cross to carry?

Jesus’ daily cross was to fulfill the mission he accepted from the foundation of the world from His God. His daily exercise to cross the “T” and dot the “i” in a godly manner involved working in the carpentry shop before his public ministry and then the pronouncement and teaching of His Kingdom before others in the last three years of his earthly venture. He carried the responsibility of moving events toward his trial, execution, and resurrection. He laid the foundation for a Church to outlast history. His incarnate actions were done as a substitute for you and I. He reflected God’s intentions in all his actions and words. He learned obedience through his daily struggles. He experienced pain and suffering as a human. He knew the hatred others had for him yet lived each day resting in His Father’s Will and bore the responsibility of teaching and serving others in God’s name.

That was His cross. But what is the cross you carry?

As we mature in life, we begin to accept greater and greater responsibility. Some people seek it out which is normal in our earlier adult days. Others have responsibility thrusts upon them by others and either meet the call or succumb to its weight. Then others accept commitments toward a personal goal or relationship and hold themselves personally accountable toward fulfilling that decision.   

Your cross in the eyes of others may be a minor stone you have to carry each day. But to you the perception is the other way around. Your cross is a large boulder which requires all your strength and focus each day while your friend’s cross is a pocket stone. And they likewise see it the other way around.

Your cross may be the burden of a broken relationship; financial hardship caused by outside forces outside your control; or maybe the outcome of back to back poor decisions which has left you beaten, broken, and busted. Yet, these are the cards you have and Jesus says accept your situation and take the responsibility to fix it by following him toward your new future. You may be a single mom working three jobs and raising two children. You may be a widower in poor health caring for someone else who likewise is struggling through life. Or you may be an entrepreneur putting yourself together again after failing in your third business venture.

Your cross may be a defective health issue that has you struggling each day simply to get around. Or maybe even the threat of your life for leaving your previous religion to follow Jesus. And yet others, it may simply be to marry the person who birth your child out of wedlock and give them a father and home-life as a foundation for a successful life.

As a Christ follower, it is not about you. Each of us has a boulder to push, a mountain to climb, or an ocean to cross. To follow Jesus requires us to accept the responsibility of completing the race before us with all its obstacles. Not as a victim nor an evil rabble rouser, but as a child of the living God. As we accept personal responsibility for our actions, and trust Jesus to lead us via the Holy Spirit, we will find meaning and purpose with our life. In fact, you will find yourself growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ unto maturity as a believer and finisher of your faith.      

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved