Victorious Reward

1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

victory2

 

We all need motivation at times. When those dark days make their appearance, the quicker we recognize them, the faster we can move onward. Typically, these are the days where the sun is covered by clouds, the dampness of the air blows through my bones, and everything I touch seems to turn into another problem to resolve. In days like this, I sometimes like to read the two chapters in the Book of Revelations which the apostle John wrote while exiled on the island of Patmos.

These two chapters highlights the victorious reward that awaits you and I at the end of our journey in this age of humanity. The verses remind me there is effort on our part to pursue the victorious life and the reward awaits us as long as we finish. Whether we run the fastest marathon ever or simply come in last, we win. But without Jesus Christ there is no victory. He has gone before us and laid out the table and throne room for us to share with him.

That is one party I look forward to celebrate with everyone.

Take a moment, read these scriptures, and meditate on each one. They highlight the reward awaiting us for all our efforts here on earth at this time in this place.

 

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Rev. 2:7

The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. Rev. 2:11

To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. Rev.2:17

To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over

the nations—that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Rev. 2:26-28

The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Rev 3:5

The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 3:12

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Rev. 3:21

So, whenever you find yourself wallowing in a self-pity party of one, stop and remind yourself what awaits you for all the struggle, decisions, and effort you make each day for the kingdom of God. Yes, there are many days where the Spirit is rejoicing within you. But on those days where you simply feel tired, defeated, and unfocused, why don’t you remind yourself that the best still awaits us.

In those days when the motivation is gone, I am also reminded of Jesus’ words,

“He who endures to the end shall be saved.”

 And likewise, Paul’s words, “But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

 

Afraid to Pray?

1 Timothy 2:8

Therefore, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

pray2

Why should anyone be afraid to pray? To ask the God of creation to intervene. For help in solving a problem larger than us. Or maybe a blessing on our love ones. Yet I occasionally come across people who admit they are afraid to pray. When we dig deeper, we generally find the challenge lies in several spheres.

One, which is the general challenge for many pertains to change. We are so focus on our goals and priorities that we don’t want to change what we are doing but add a blessing on top of everything we are already in pursuit. If we surrender to God, we believe there goes our dreams.

Or, we don’t because only falsely believe only weaklings pray. Us self-reliant and intelligent beings have the delusion everything is under control. We don’t need any assistance. We can handle everything ourselves.

Or, there are those who feel unworthy to pray and come to the throne room of God. Who am I to petition God? We blindly disbelieve God has no time for us or what we request is not important in the scheme of world events.

Whatever the obstacle, Paul writes to Timothy and encourages him to remind us all to pray. Why? Because prayer is the means of communicating with the living God. Unless we pray, we will never know God as He wants to be known. You cannot have a personal relationship with anyone unless there are two-way communications.

Pray allows us to see God in action. When we pray and make our requests to Him, removing any personal expectations on how and when, we witness God’s reply. Sometimes the reply comes in a word, sometimes in a thought, sometimes from others speaking to us directly or indirectly. The Bible showcases people being responding by God through a vision, dream, and yes even through a donkey.

For those who are afraid to pray, I ask “how is it working for you?” For those who have surrendered themselves to King Jesus, I likewise ask “how is it working for you?”

When one repeatedly experiences answers to prayer, one learns to pray constantly and everywhere. How one looks or sounds or trips over their words in the process, doesn’t bother them any longer. The reason? Because they know Jesus and the Holy Spirit intercedes for them. Jesus knows what being human is like. He gladly takes our requests and intervenes to the Father on our behalf. When we come to realize this, we learn not to emphasize prayer, but the power of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we long to pray and be in communion with the living God: every day and everywhere.

Fear has to do with punishment. Prayer is the loving means to a loving God who wants what is best for us. Sometimes it requires change; other times it requires sacrifice, and other times it requires self-denial. But the Christ follower says Amen for they know the process of discipleship leads to Kingdom fulfillment and real satisfaction in this life and the next.

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

 

 

 

Thanksgiving is ALL I Have

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

What can I give to the Lord that is truly mine to give?

He is King of heaven and earth and therefore owns it all. He gives us stewardship responsibility for everything at our disposal. How we buy and sell anything is simply the means of exchange – He still owns it all. Yet the one thing I can give Him from my most inner being is the absolute appreciation for everything He has done, is doing, and yet to do in our world called life.

The Bible speaks about the sacrifice of thanksgiving which is our attitude and manner of expressing the gratitude to the one who owns it all.

When we initially focus our attention toward Him, we approach His presence through the doorway of thanksgiving. For thanksgiving:

  • Acknowledges Him for Who He IS.
  • Expresses our attitude of repentance.
  • Shows our gratefulness.
  • Reveals our inner heart.
  • Reflects on His story.
  • Reminds us He is our Lord and we are His servant.
  • Empties the self by replacing the self with Him.
  • Restores the mindfulness of His daily presence.
  • Helps us to focus on the important values of life.
  • Rejoices over His salvation for humanity.
  • Rejuvenates the soul.
  • Gives glory to HIM Who deserves ALL glory and honor and praise.
  • Everything else is His. But my response of thankfulness is all I have to truly give Him.

How do you express your thankfulness to 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

Easy

Matthew 11:30 

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Easy doesn’t mean no effort. But when compared to alternative options, Jesus’ “easy” is best for the long term. When you compare what Jesus requires from us with other “religious” institutions, is like comparing a walk through the park versus an Ironman event.

It takes effort to follow through on whatever choice you make. The question is how much effort?

The way Jesus exemplified his entire life is our example.

First, he surrendered to his father’s will. He came with a servant’s heart. Whether you were right wing or left wing, Pharisee or Sadducee, Roman citizen or Jew, rich or poor, male or female, employed or homeless, married or divorced, party goer or party pooper, he went right to your heart on every matter. No one was safe with him. Everyone had a problem and HE was the solution.

Belief without effort is an empty shell. Belief without passion is also an empty container. What you believe is how you will respond to a matter. If you believe it is all about you and what you have to do, you are placing the emphasis on the wrong side of the tracks. If you believe Jesus has made the road wide open and the options innumerable for you to pursue, you may be closer to the truth, but then again, the best pudding is in the taste.

Effort supports your belief. The stronger the effort, the more sureness of one’s convictions. The weak, feeble effort again also supports the hesitant, doubtful sureness of the matter.

Jesus’ way of life removes all the access baggage of human guilt, shame, and self-inflicting harm. Instead, His way is built on a meaningful relationship with a Man who has taken all of our pain, suffering, and stupidity upon himself so we don’t have to deal with all the consequences of the human condition. Yet it does take effort on our part to surrender and allow HIS presence and life take a hold of us and lead us to the promise land.

All HE expects from us is to demonstrate our trust in HIM through our everyday lives. To have a meaningful relationship with HIM and share our life with HIM as HE shares HIS life with us.

It’s as easy as sitting with your soul mate on your favorite beach and sharing the beautiful sunset together knowing all the other concerns of life will work out for the good. It may take a little effort to plan and follow through such an event. But it is a whole lot easier than going through your 613-item checklist fearing what you may have forgotten in the process and never enjoy the moment of the sunset because you are preoccupied with all the other details of life. They both require effort, but one places emphasis on completing the checklist and the other on enjoying the relationship.

Let’s place our effort and passion on building a relationship with HIM and really experience for ourselves what HE truly means by having an easy yoke and light burden.

Perfect Love

1 John 4:18

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

Anytime I think I am becoming more loving something happens to remind me that God is still perfecting His love in us and we still have a long way to go.

The other day I said a few words joking about our human condition with a very mature person of faith and they rebuked me. I was stun for the moment and then realized words so easily hurt people because as humans we are imperfect. Even though I the sender had no intentional reason to cause harm, the recipient received the words in their current state of being which, like all humans, is a smorgasbord of emotional baggage we carry.

It would be easy to justify my position as doing no harm, yet love leads and doesn’t intentionally want to cause harm. What the situation reminded me of was if we had perfect love, I wouldn’t have made the remark and the person receiving the remark would not have found it offensive. Yet because of our imperfections, we defend ourselves and throw additional words of harm toward the other defending our pride and insecurities.

Times like this also makes me think of God, who is perfect in love since HE is Love personified, must laugh at our inadequacies like a parent with their immature toddler. Yet as an apprentice of Jesus Christ, I watch, study, and learn from how HE engages with me and others to grow into the mature child of the King. I only wish I was a quick learner. Instead I have to repeat many situations over and over again until the light bulb goes on and realize we have to change something or I will continue to repeat the matter with a similar outcome.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is constantly weaving His tools through our heart, mind, and soul making changes and improvements after the image of our Lord. I look forward to the final product coming out of the spiritual assembly line when love will freely flow from this heart without any fear dangling alongside her. Imagine – what life would be like when we all relate with each other from a heart of perfect love without any fear?

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

But…God

Ephesians 2:4

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy…

If you want an encouraging Bible study some weekend, take the words “but God” and conduct a Scriptural journey through the Old and New Testament. You will recount all the difficult problems and impossible challenges others have faced with the only solution coming from God’s intervention. You will discover circumstances that would be ridiculous except for God’s hand on the matter. And you will find human platitudes renounced by God’s truth.

But God means there is a higher authority who has last say on the matter. But God gives hope when hope seems lost. But God establishes a standard higher than ours.

How often during our day we come across a challenge or difficulty which is humanly overwhelming if God wasn’t in the picture? If the solution was solely up to me, I would most often drop below the tank. But God reminds me who has last say on the matter.

But God allows us to witness HIS steadfast love and mercy in times of need and times of plenty. So, remember, no matter the challenge or problem, God has the last say. And you have a direct link with HIM. Engage HIM. You may not like HIS answer, but you will know in hindsight it was the best answer at that time and place.

Your Desires

1 John 2:16

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

1 John 2:17

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Ephesians 4:22

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

Galatians 5:17

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:24

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Ecclesiastes 6:2

a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.

Do you know the difference between God’s desires and worldly desires? Many times, we have a deep desire for something which by itself is probably an OK thing, but when that desire places God’s desires secondly, then we have placed ourselves in a position of compromise which most often isn’t very good.

As we are born again with a new spirit (God’s) and our soul is now surrendered to King Jesus who purchased our salvation from Satan, our desires begin to change. Instead of pursuing to satisfy our carnal, fleshy desires, or what seems appealing to our eyes, or doing what makes us feel important, we lean on accepting God’s heart on the manner.

His desires for us slowly becomes our passion. And as we pursue God’s intentional design for our life, His character traits are slowly being formed within the inner person. Yes, God will give us the desires of our heart. Even at times if those desires may temporarily hurt us for discipline sake. As we slowly learn to differential God’s desires from our carnal heart, we begin to choose more of Christ, and less of ourselves.

What eventually happens is our heart’s desire begins to mirror God’s holiness. When that occurs, our Triune God will surely grant us our heart’s desires. Why? Because it will glorify Him and He knows we will have the internal fortitude to properly manage whatever He gives us.

When Jesus made the comment that food and drink isn’t the problem, but what comes out of the heart. He was discussing how mankind’s heart is separated from God which is the storehouse of evil and harmful desires. When these desires are expressed, the outcome is painful for oneself and others.

Yet God has given us a clean heart through Jesus Christ. As we yield and allow His Spirit to morph us, we stand in awe of the marvelous work He is producing in and through His children.

Therefore, seek God’s desires in all things and let’s leave our carnal desires locked up with the old man.