Your Soul

1 Thessalonians 5:23

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)

As the apostle Paul states in today’s Scripture, the Bible describes people as having a body, soul, and spirit. In this blog we will review a few scriptures which highlight the soul.

From the Biblical summary aspect, your soul involves the mental aspects, emotional attitudes, and character willpower of your personhood. Your soul is the governing operating side of your body and defense system against the spiritual influences which surround you.

Every human being is born with a soul and every soul belongs to God. As written in Ezekiel 18:4, Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine. Every person born is precious in HIS sight. For every child’s soul has the opportunity to grow up into the image of her heavenly Dad. And every grown child’s purpose is to be prepared for eternity. For from the foundation of the world, Father God’s plan is to birth humanity for the sole purpose of rearing a heavenly family to rule and minister in HIS global kingdom in the new age (Mt 25:34, Rev 5:10).

The basic building block of rearing a healthy soul begins with the Word of God. James the brother of Jesus, wrote: Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21). And again, the writer of Hebrews emphasizes the importance of using the Word of God to help determine the best course of action for your soul (Hebrews 4:12).

And contrary to public opinion, the soul is not immortal. Jesus stated that the soul could die, And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). In other words, people can destroy your body, but only God can put an end to your inner soul. However, we have a part to play in how our soul matures.

Jesus states that instead of emotional roller coaster rides we can find rest for our soul. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus states – Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29). Yet to do so, one must first be responsible and accountable to Jesus. Life is a learning process preparing you and I for eternity. For those who accept God’s purpose, we learn to master the art of godly living now which we will live out as a witness now and into the future. Isaiah even wrote in the old testament while dealing with personal challenges, my soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9)

And again, in the old testament, God states how HE is concern for the health of our souls. In Jeremiah 31:25, For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” And again, the psalmist in 19:7 wrote, the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

In our culture today, we place heavy emphasis on maintaining the physical body and science tries to explain the psychology of a person apart of God. However, when one better understand the importance of the role the soul plays in the whole person, and understands the purpose and endgame of the soul, life’s priority shifts. God becomes more important and HIS purpose gives meaning to life.

As a parent rears a child preparing her for adulthood, God likewise prepares HIS children for an eternal role in HIS kingdom and family. He cares for your soul and works to discipline us whenever necessary so we grow up able to manage the challenges life throws our way. Not only in this life, but in the world tomorrow when we have proven to HIM, we can be and act responsibly and trustfully as good stewards of what he bestows on us. If he is going to give us authority over others in the next world, HE wants to be sure we are made ready before then.

The body is needed to carry the soul for the soul is the driving force behind the body. And more importantly, the soul is the intangible matter one will take with them from this life. The sum total of your mental consciousness, character, and emotional attitude developed and exercised in this life will be the starting point when we crossover into a new body at the resurrection. This is why Jesus emphasized the importance of the soul:   

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)

When your soul is built upon God’s righteousness and holiness, you experience life the way God intended one to fully live.

Next, we will explore the role of the body and spirit which along with your soul make up you, the person.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Evidence of Faith

Acts 1:3

He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Some people have the false idea that faith is a blind conviction. That Christianity is a Way of life built upon illusion and unproven facts. But when one becomes a Christ-follower, if they did their homework, know their decision is based on forensic and empirical evidence.

When one studies the historical evidence of the resurrection and life of Jesus Christ and those who were his immediate disciples, one walks away from following all the facts with a colossal choice to be made. Either accept Jesus was and is who he claims to be or deny Him.

The foundation of Christianity is built upon the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. If HE did not rise, there would be no Christianity. Yet over 500 eye witnesses saw him over a forty-day period after his death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6). This was recorded by the apostle Paul some 20 years after the event. If he was exaggerating, we would have written accounts from the other side stating so. But no one in this time period has come out to deny these events did occur.

If we looked at the Bible like any other historical text book, we would agree its authenticity and marvel at its content. But because of the carnal enmity against the Triune God, some have the tenancy to deny or accept such claims.

I always wonder why some accept the gospel message quicker than others. Yet as I get older, I am beginning to wonder how much one’s pride blinds themself from seeing clearly the facts and evidence before them.

If you want to do your own research on the subject, I advocate two books written by an investigative journalist, Mr. Lee Strobel. They are: The Case for Christ and The Case for the Resurrection. Both books walk you through the evidence and confronts the excuses. I recommend both for your study to equip you with the evidence of your faith.

In regards to empirical evidence, you have the combination of yours and others with answered prayers and internal changes of attitude and heart. When you start to pursue the Triune God, you find your prayers being answered in ways that will dumbfound you. As others share similar stories with you, you begin to realize these outcomes are more than just coincidences. The writing of the saints from yesterday and your experiences today all point to a God who cares and is involved in your life.

These results along with the forensic evidence strengthen your confidence and trust in the Almighty God. At times you think you are only imagining these things. But over time, these events repeat themselves so often, you develop the holy swagger of a saint. You know God loves you and cares for you and is preparing you for an eternal home.

Meanwhile as you humbly learn to walk in His presence, sharing your life with HIM as HE shares HIS life with you, your faith is strengthened and you become a living billboard for HIS Kingdom as you live out your life serving HIM and others. 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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It’s a Crazy World

1 John 5:19

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

It is an upside, down world.

The biggest problem: you and me and our carnal desires.

We may want what is best for ourselves and others, but apart from the Spirit of God, we fool ourselves into believing we know best.

The end result is chasing after wind. In the process, we lead ourselves, our families, our community, and nation into crazy directions which only end up in pain and misery for the masses.

We see it today within the political world. We witness it in the lies and propaganda displayed by the mainstream media. And closer to home, we even participate in the craziness with our personal family members.

We all want what is best; to pursue our dreams and goals, and experience life the way God intending life to be lived. Yet, what gets into the way?

When one is empty of the Spirit of God and relies on their own counsel, the end result usually may be good for yourself, but not for everyone else around you. Or maybe, everyone else around you are having a better day than you because of your lack of wisdom and decisions you have made in the past.

So rather than correct one’s worldview, we roll up our sleeves and declare war against everyone else to get what we deserve – we venture into the ways of the world.

Eventually, most of us will come to realize, the world doesn’t really care about you. In fact, the majority of us will fail and become bitter at the end because of the lies and falsehoods we accepted to build our lives upon.

The spirit of this world is on a mission to enslave you into their way of thinking and responding to their every command. Those in control of the key positions within government, business, and education want to maintain their life style and will continue to operate under the pretense of doing you a favor in exchange for the power and money they desire.

I have personally seen this in business board meetings when the decisions were based on maintaining control of those less fortunate so the company and ownership could prosper.

Human nature without God’s Spirit is dangerous. In fact, human nature with God’s Spirit is challenging. But over time leads to a life built upon the love and justice of an Eternal Being who has the wisdom to separate the good from the evil.

So rather than pontificate further, I simply copied the Biblical verses below that I read in preparation for this blog. God’s word speaks louder than I can. Read responsibly.    

Revelation 12:9

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Jude 1:19

It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

1 John 5:4

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

1 John 5:19

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

2 Peter 1:4

by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

James 1:27

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Philippians 2:15

that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Galatians 4:9

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

1 Corinthians 2:12

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

John 7:7

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.

John 15:18-19

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 17:14-15

I (Jesus) have given them your (Father God) word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

Mark 4:19

but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Isaiah 26:9

My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

In your weakness, you will discover more of who God IS and HIS power in your life.

Our human nature naturally despises weakness. We artificially put on facades to hide our shortcomings. We act tough when in reality inside we are little frighten kittens. When ask how are we, we immediately put on the smile and say everything is O.K. when we really want to hug someone and cry. We are naturally a shame of our weak condition.

Yet Paul writes here in the Book of 2nd Corinthians, plus in 1st Corinthians and Romans, as well as the writer of Hebrews, that when we are the weakest, we are privilege to witness God’s Spirit work in us and through us. In fact, he writes we should be boasting about our weakness so Christ’s power is manifested through us.

The Bible is loaded with examples. We see how Moses, who stuttered when he spoke, walked humbly with his God and led the people out of bondage. We read how even Jesus fasted for 40 days and physically was weaken from the ordeal but victoriously battled Satan in the desert, and Paul who personally writes how he asks God to remove a thorn from his flesh, but was told no so the pain would continue to remind him of his dependency on God.

Weakness is the natural cycle of life. As we all age, we decay. Our bodies slowly loose their tone, the eyes find it more difficult to see, hearing aids become the new fashion, and walkers the new vehicle of choice. Life leads us into a state of weakness.

In our youth, we are full of energy and feel invincible.  In our old age, we mellow out and realizing time is short; we learn to quick playing games and laugh at our shortcomings. We realize our time on earth is almost over and need to put our house in order. And yet we are at peace and look forward to each day as a gift from God. If only we had learned the joy of accepting our weaknesses much earlier in life.   

It took a while, but now we understand. So, the quicker we stop fighting to pretend and accept our weakest moments as the doorway for a more meaningful relationship with our Triune God, the better we will be for it. Life is a preparation for eternity; and weakness is the means to discover more of who God IS and HIS power in your life.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Christ-Centered Capitalism

Matthew 25:1-28

The Parable of the Talents

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, [ to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Capitalism is an economic system which allows the private ownership of property and the unleashing of human potential. The economic gains have alleviated poverty in more countries than any other man-made system.

The system rewards those who are successful and punishes those who fail.

The Parable of the Talents is a story Jesus gave which highlights what God expects from each of us.

In the story, Jesus emphasized the private ownership of property, personal responsibility, and economic trade. The owner was going on a trip and therefore invested a portion of his capital with three of his managers. But each manager’s share was apportioned based on their ability. One started out with 62.5% of the owner’s wealth, a second with around 25%, and the third with the remainder 12.5%.

When the owner returned, he asked for an accounting. The two who combined started with 87.5% of the owner’s investment, doubled his money. Each accepted the personal responsibility to venture out and invest the owner’s wealth to gain a good return on their efforts. The one who had the smallest amount to invest though, was fearful and didn’t do anything. In fact, he was so afraid of failing, he simply buried the start-up capital in the ground.

The owner praised the two who took risks and doubled his money. However, the one who didn’t even try, he chastised him. Even if he didn’t try himself, the owner believed he would have done better by giving the capital to bankers and received at least interest on the money. The owner called him wicked and lazy for not doing something more with the capital he received.

The shocking outcome though is the one talent was then given to him who had the most. Many of us in today’s culture would cry unfair. But the owner made the statement that those who have more will be given more, and those who have little, will even lose out on what they have.

Of course, we can solely spiritual the entire parable which emphasizes that those who have Godly riches and use them for the sake of others will experience more and more of heavenly rewards. But those who aren’t rich with heavenly treasures, and fail to share what little they have with others, will even have the little they own taken away. Yet, isn’t God also concern with both our spiritual well-being as well as the physical necessities?

Here Jesus demonstrates private ownership of property, employees, and capital investment. Yet shocks the audience with the fact that those who may have little will even have less unless they are willing to take risks with the small portion they are given.

Jesus lived under Roman domain with his fellow citizens. And throughout Scripture he emphasized principles of capitalism. It took Adam Smith to write his book some 1800 years later to reveal the benefits of a capitalistic system. As all systems reveal, the problem isn’t with the process or structure, but with the heart of humanity. It takes a strong moral compass to effectively work. And without God’s guidance and the bridling of human nature, people have a tenancy to destroy one another. Yet, under the authority of Jesus Christ, people can redeem any system and fully employ its benefits for all. The same is true with Capitalism.

The benefits and rewards have built the most developed civilization in human history. Yet humans still have the challenge of managing the power, money, and luxuries earned from their efforts. Without God’s Spirit allowed access to change a person’s heart, it is a matter of time for a person or society to self-destruct from their ungodly lifestyle. Yet Jesus once stated that what is impossible for man is possible with God.

The same is true with a Capitalistic society. But are we willing to make that happen?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Sin Trap

James 1:15

Then (carnal) desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Sin is the Biblical definition of destructive conduct within relationships. The conduct includes behavior, thought, and attitude. The relationship is with the entire human race and the Triune God. It covers everyone and holds each of us personally responsible and accountable.

Initially God gave the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) through Moses for the people of Israel. These commandments outline the standards when broken will lead to destructive outcomes – Sin. The first four Commandments highlight our behavior toward God and the remaining six Commandments toward people.

Jesus summarized and expounded on the Ten Commandments with one new standard which is really the backbone of the Ten; that is to love one another as He loved us (John 15:12). His command expanded the Ten Commandments from not only behavior but how we think toward one another.

The basis of conduct within the Western world has been built upon these principles. Yet as people forget God and discard the Bible as an ancient book with no current relevancy, today’s culture is discovering the pain of sin.

The Sin Trap that we all have to avoid is thinking it doesn’t apply to us. We take hold of our pride and believe we have a better way of living out life which doesn’t include God nor the Bible. We fall into the false illusion that we can manage and control all our relationships. Or we falsely believe we are accountable to no one but ourselves.

If there is no God, then yes go and abuse yourself and everyone around you. However, if there is a God, then we all have a problem. A big problem. Since this is then HIS HOUSE, He makes the rules. If we don’t like those rules, he will gladly show us the way out. However, since he is a very generous host, we can be thankful he exercises patience with us.

Sin may be an old fashion Biblical term, but its negative impact is still real today. For those of us who understand and avoid their temptations, we have seen the joy and life’s fulfillment in the process. We have likewise when weak fallen into the trap felt the pain and destruction of our decision. When one seen both sides of the outcome, one is more bent on erroring on the side of love with its consequences rather than ignoring known destructive paths.

Sin is real. We witness the outcome everyday through our actions and the actions of others. When we think we are above such behavior, life has a way to bring us down. Yet, God has also given us a way out. His name is Jesus Christ.

When you look at the evidence of HIS life, everything HE did for you and I, you will call him LORD, GOD, and Savior. He provided the means to restore humanity’s relationship with our heavenly Father, and the means to live am abundant life surrounded by destructive, sinful behavior. He is God’s solution to sin.

The culture around you may throw sin in your face, and provide you with crazy solutions which only lead to more destructive behavior, but in your wisdom, you will note that two wrongs don’t make a right. Instead, as we mature in the faith, we come to realize Jesus has already provide us the means to avoid the Sin trap and live life to your full potential.      

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Money. Sex. Power.

Colossians 3:5

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

I am surrounded by a culture predominately immerse with money, sex, and power. Whether it’s portrayed in the movies, on the internet, or social media, I am constantly shaking my head asking myself how did we as a nation get here.

Why does this world seem to take what is good, wholesome, and beneficial for mankind and rampantly exploit their features? Like the sugar addict who can’t get enough, we as a people take what God has created for our good and dismantled it into a commodity. We buy and sell money, sex, and power because we can and we don’t even consider the downside and the pain and misery we produce along the way. All we care is we get our share and the hell with anyone else. At least that is how I have come to witness the culture being thrown in my face without my approval.

When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians church, God’s people were likewise dealing with similar worldly vices. In his letter, he emphasized that we do not control the world around us but we are responsible for our own personal behavior. And personally, we are instructed to kill our carnal desires.

Whenever any desire for a goal, commodity, or experience supersedes our desire for a more intimate relationship with the Triune God, trouble naturally follows. Throughout human history, most of us humans never seem to get enough money, sex or power. At least, my unscientific study seems to indicate that these are the three most abused desires; when run rampant, they leave a trail of destruction. We want more and more and more, but yet are never satisfied. Lives are shattered, families destroyed, and eventually nations crumble.

This is why a relationship with the Triune God is necessary. For you and I are wired to become one with HIM. When the Triune God is allowed to fully express HIS life in you and me, then HIS divine nature which includes self-control is a force to subdue our inner carnal desires. HE also gives us the knowledge through the Bible of what is good, but that alone is not enough. Mankind needs HIS Spirit living in us to fully control the dark side of human nature. And even then, we may occasionally fail, but HE in HIS divine grace, has already forgiven and restored us in Christ Jesus. We are included with Jesus in the Triune circle of life.

We don’t have to partake in this world’s culture of in-your-face excessiveness. Instead, we can quietly and humbly walk with our God, allow HIS Spirit to direct us toward living an abundant life full of real love, joy, and peace which the world truly wants but has no understanding of how to make it happen. Yes, you can even enjoy money, sex, and power bridled under the domain of God’s heart. Because after you had a taste of real life with HIM, you than come to know how to effectively manage and measure real satisfaction and fulfillment in your world.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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