Natural Evil

Romans 8:21

that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

The Bible places great emphasis on the consequences of moral evil. But what about natural evil?

Insurance companies call them “acts of god”. An event that directly results from the occurrence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution. These are typically your tornadoes, earthquakes, violent winds, and floods.

Generally speaking, it is agreed that moral evil is caused by direct human activity. A person doing harm toward another or refraining from doing good to another.  

However, natural evil is the open sport among philosophers and theologians. Some believe people cannot be held morally responsible for its occurrence and others believe because of man’s original fall from grace, natural evil is the result of man’s sin.

Then there are those who accuse God of manipulating nature’s forces to bring about destruction. Atheists like to use the argument that a loving God wouldn’t use force to destroy good people. Yet the Bible shows otherwise. One example, is the story of Job where Satan receives permission from God to destroy Job’s health, wealth, and family.

So, is natural evil God disciplining his children or just the systematic order of nature?

In order to answer that question, another one must first be asked. Is evil part of God’s plan?  Doesn’t God allow evil in the world? Could he eliminate evil from the planet whenever He desires? Yet He doesn’t, why?

I write this as the Corvid-19 pandemic circles the globe. Scientist have already acknowledged its presence came from a bat sold in a meat market in China. Isn’t it interesting that God in Leviticus outlines diet restrictions for his people Israel which includes not eating unclean foods? These unclean foods included garbage swallowers like catfish, pigs, and yes even bats. You think God may have knew something about certain animal species and what harmful viruses they may carry? 

I believe God allows natural disasters. He could prevent them from every happening. Yet He chooses not to. Why?

Maybe it has something to do with preparing people for eternity; building Godly character and trust in a loving Father. Maybe its to remind us we are not in absolute control of life. Pandemics occur. Tornadoes happen. Wild fires start. Doesn’t nature have a way to test us? To make us realize life is less about comfort and safety and more about dealing with crisis and challenges. Maybe major problems remind us we are not as strong and invincible as we may believe. Maybe there is Life greater than us.

I don’t have the answer. Only a whole lot of questions. But I do know God is working out something on earth that will culminate into one awesome, stunning event that will make all of history look at amazement at His finish work. But until then, we battle all evils of all kinds with an Almighty God. Then one day we will look back and the answer will be revealed. We will smile, acknowledge God’s wisdom, and move forward in greater expectation for what the future holds for us knowing He is in control and invites us to share in His work.    

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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“If Only” Trap

John 11:21 

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here…

One of the biggest traps that prevents a person from seizing the opportunity before them, is living the “if only” excuse. We play the recording so often that many of us are not aware what we are even doing.

If only I married the other person. If only I majored in accounting rather than biology. If only I said yes. Or if only I said no. We not only glance at life in the rear-view mirror, but we drive the car looking behind us rather than what is right in front of us. Try it some day and see how difficult and dangerous it is.

John writes in his gospel the story of Lazarus’ death. Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary and all three loved by Jesus. When Jesus delayed his coming by two days, Lazarus died. When Jesus finally showed up, Martha threw the “if only” card at Jesus. Jesus didn’t catch it but simply focused on the current situation and again rose someone from the dead. Jesus didn’t accept the ‘if only” card.

When we play the “if only” card, we try to justify it. The fact is, if we could have, we would have. But, maybe because of responsibility at the time, or health, or incomplete facts, we made a decision. Most likely, if you had the same information today that you had back then, you would make the same choice.

The next time you catch yourself stating the “if only” excuse, slap your face. Then was then; today is today. Learn from yesterday, plan for tomorrow, but live for today. All you have today is in front of you. Ask God for the wisdom to seize the opportunities that lie in front of you today. Learn to distinguish God’s activity at the moment, and look for ways to join Him.

As you mature in your relationship with our Lord, you will find yourself using the ‘if only” card less and playing the “what’s next Lord” track more. As a child matures into an adult, you will likewise mature in your walk with Father-Son-Spirit. You will receive constant reassurances during the day that you are important to Him and learn to trust Him more and more each day.

Again, forget the “if only” trap. Instead, learn to pray and walk with the “what’s next Lord” attitude. You will be pleasantly surprised by the transformation.    

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

Behavior Trap

Titus 3:5

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

In business, performance is the name of the game. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, you are constantly being measured and compared with others. We see this in sports. To make room for someone else who is younger, stronger, and less expensive, people are traded or just given their unconditional release. We basically grow up in a world where our behavior is constantly being monitored and evaluated.

So, when people come together to form a faith community, some if not many of these same values are carried over from the world’s playbook into the Church. The result is another worldly system operating under the disguise of a faith community.

One such value is to solely focus on behavior. When you ask someone in your faith community “what saves you?”, the response hopefully is a quick Jesus Christ. However, when the person’s reply is anything else, then maybe one needs to investigate a little further to determine the person’s perspective and relationship with our Lord.

The behavior trap is when you totally focus on the behavior of a person without knowing the heart. A Believer walking with the Lord will express their relationship with the same humility and attitude as the Holy Spirit. However, when one doesn’t know the Lord, the only emphasis a person has is the outward appearance. Without knowing a person’s heart, one can quickly condemn another saint without justifiable evidence.

This is why we need not so quickly judge one another. The behavior is easily recognized. But the intent, purpose, and motive are much deeper. For example, when one sees a person’s driving substantially faster than the posted speed limit, one can quickly state they are speeding, but to judge them for their actions without all the facts is almost impossible to do. It is very possible, the person driving the car is a doctor rushing to a life-threatening moment. Or a parent rushing home to a tragic event, or and you can add any seriousness situation where even you would be doing the same. This doesn’t change the behavior; but does place motive behind the action.   

When you truly realize our salvation is what Jesus did for us, and that he included us with Him in His relationship with Father God before we even knew Him, before we asked for forgiveness, before we were even born, puts his accomplishment into perspective. He chose us before the foundation of the world means before we raised one finger or even had one thought.

For now, behavior is all we initially recognize. It’s the starting point. But to effectively evaluate the situation you need to get to the heart of the matter. And that takes time. So remember, God is always working in the lives of those around us and the same grace God extends us is the grace we need to extend them.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

The “Only One” Trap

Ecclesiastes 11:6 (ESV)

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Some estimates state that us humans make about 35,000 decisions every day which equates to about 2,000 decisions every hour if you are one who sleeps around 7 hours a day. Many of these choices may already be habitual, but if a person doesn’t have a sound system for making decisions, the anxiety and worry could neutralize one’s response.

Early in my business career, a mentor taught me his technique of making a decision when one has many viable choices. He was a very successful real estate operator and basically would practice Ecclesiastes 11:6. He would list the top five possible options and then pursue each of them with a full gusto as if that one was the best solution. However, he wouldn’t make a final decision until the very last moment. When he came to the gate of the bridge when a decision had to be made regarding that one choice, he would again evaluate the choice with his other options. Many times, he would say no and keep pursuing the other four options with full intensity. Many times, the options would be 180 degrees opposite of each other. And we would pursue them as if each one was the best solution.

The bottom-line: Eventually the choices would narrow down to one or two strong possibilities. And then we would select one and work it with all the gusto and resources at our disposal. This practice taught me that there was more than one option to choose from and one never knew the outcome from the beginning until many years later.

Life is like that in many ways. Some people feel that there is only one person destined for them to marry. The fact is God has given us an abundance of selections. We can witness that in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve could eat from the thousands of trees except one. God gave them multiple options. But they kept coming back to the one which eventually led to the fall of mankind.

In business, we generally have many options to choose from but because of resource limitations, we select what will do the job. Many of the choices would probably work. Some may cost more than others; others may provide more convenient features. However, whichever one you choose, is the one you learn to make work and to maximize its capabilities within the working environment.

Only hindsight will dictate whether it was a good, better, or best decision at the time. But the fact is, there rarely is “only one” choice. It’s more about you making a choice and executing the plan. Socrates got it right when he quotes that hard work after you make your choice really determines the outcome of your decision. Think about that the next time you think you only have one choice on the matter.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Comparison Trap

2 Corinthians 10:12

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

Who do you compare yourself with?  Your neighbors?  Work associates? Family members? Your peers?

How does that make you feel? Superior? Proud? Or Cast down? Disappointed?

Comparing yourself one to another only leads to frustration and self-pity or if you are one of the select few, pompous and arrogant It may take time or may occur immediately, but the end result is realizing we all don’t have it. Someone will always be #1 in your industry, your peer group, and your family. But eventually #1 takes a back seat to someone else in due time.

However, when you truly realize you are included in Jesus Christ which means your identity is found solely in Christ, you can breathe a sense of fresh air knowing you are worth more than you believe, and possibly if you hold a high opinion of yourself, less than what you believe. Jesus Christ evens out the playing field.

In Christ, we all have what God designed us for. He designed us for good work and equip us with the necessary abilities for successful fulfilling His desires for us. When you realize each of us are uniquely empowered to glorify God in our work, relationships, and conduct, the praise goes to Him and not ourselves. Only God truly knows the effort we have employed to take our natural abilities and align them with Him in support of His kingdom.

For example, John the Baptist’s public ministry preceded Jesus and was very short term – approximately one year. Yet he even realized that his service was secondary to Jesus and even commented that his ministry must decline so Jesus’ may increase. He didn’t get caught up with the comparison trap but instead fulfilled his unorthodox mission and gladly stood aside for God’s glory. Jesus’ own reply-paid greater homage to John stating that no prophet was greater than him.

So, when you view the pages of your Facebook friends, or your associate gets the promotion you sincerely desired, or your neighbor drives home with a brand-new sports car that you always wanted, thank God. Thank God for your friends, associates, and neighbors, For, without them, you wouldn’t recognize how God’s Spirit of love was lacking in your heart without these events occurring. Thank God to make you aware so you can draw closer to Him until He becomes your prime joy and measurement of comparison. Then you will learn to walk humbly with your Lord, and serve Him, without expecting anything in return but to experience the love, joy, and generosity of your Creator. 

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

Church Trap

Matthew 6:24

No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and Mammon.

Are you serving the Church or the institution? Are you serving the Church, or yourself? Are you serving the Church or Christ? These three questions I have asked of myself a number of times over the years. And I didn’t like the answer most of the time.

When you truly understand Church are people and not the building, nor institution, nor any denomination, then you have a better grasp than I had back then. Over the years I have witness many heart-driven, God-loving servants slowly change their demeanor as they begin serving within their faith communities. Initially, their attitude is child-like and open to helping out wherever. But over time, as they are drawn into the various responsibilities of operating an institution, the business side begins to over shadow the people’s needs.

The A.B.C.s of operating a Church begins to become the measurement of success and the idolatry of self-importance. Attendance, Baptisms, and Cash become the units of measurement. Church slowly becomes a weekend hobby or sport to impose their brilliance in operations. People become the means of stroking their personal insecurities. Christ is no longer the center of anything but an icon to get what they want.

Transactional thinking becomes the norm. Relational giving a façade. The intense need to collect funds for large building debt and salaries becomes the principle driving force for weekend services. The gospel message doesn’t become the goal to communicate but the means for self-preservation. The switch from serving people for the Lord’s sake to serving a dream or goal for self-sake happens so quickly that most of us didn’t know it happened until 20/20 hindsight kicked us in the behind.

You cannot serve God and money without one having a greater priority than the other. Whether we act within our families, business, or the Church, the truth always is revealed through the actions of the heart moving the hands and head away from God. We can justify and put a spin at the moment of decision-time, but the truth eventually will slap us in the face.

Church is people serving people as the hands and feet of our Lord. Jesus Christ is the central-core of every meeting between two or more saints. The purpose of the Church is not the self-aggrandizement of the institution, but the love, freedom, and spiritual development of God’s children serving others as Christ serves us.

The trap is when all the activities, rituals, and traditions become the central-meaning of people gathering together rather than allowing the life-giving Spirit conduct God’s work in and through his people. When the trap door of cultural influence dictates the interpretation of Scripture rather than the proven historical facts built on the text, than in hindsight people wonder why their affairs are in a mesh. Whenever Jesus Christ is not the center of one’s motives, actions, and thoughts, the trap door initially looks very enticing but eventually leads to an empty grave.

So be involved with a faith community, but don’t get pulled away from who you are truly serving – Jesus Christ. Keep Him the as the central-core wherever you go and whatever you do and you will experience His abundance and not get trapped into the political, business side of Church. That is why I enjoy listening to the music group Newsboys sing one of my favorites “Wherever We Go.”  The words remind me what life is like when Jesus Christ is my central-core wherever I go.  I left the link below for those who enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music.

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 Does the Bible Say About the Resurrection of the Dead?

RESURRECTION 2

I Peter 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for  you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

 *****

Matt. 22:29-32
Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.  At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 

 *****

John 11:24-26
Martha answered, “I know he (Lazarus) will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 *****

I Cor 15:12-57
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.  But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own turn: Christ, the first-fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  For he “has put everything under his feet.”  Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.  When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made  subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?  If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?  And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?  I die every day – I mean that, brothers – just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.  If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained?  If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God – I say this to your shame.  But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”  How foolish!  What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.  All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.  There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies in another.  The sum has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and the star differs from star in splendor.So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.   If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  So it is written: “The first Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.  The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.  The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.  And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, not does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.””Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!   He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 *****

Rev 20:4-6
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.  And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.  They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands.  They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

 *****

Acts 17:18-19
They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

 *****

Phil 3:10-11
I (Paul) want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

 *****

Acts 4:1-2
They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

 *****

Luke 20:35-36
But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels.  They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.

 *****

Luke 14:13-14
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

*****

How does your theology explain life after death in comparison with the resurrection from the dead?

All scripture taken from the New International Version Bible unless noted.

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