The Core of All Relationships

John 15:1-8

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

We all have spiritual roots leading to Jesus Christ. He died for ALL mankind. And in his life, death, and resurrection, he restored what collapsed in the Garden of Eden. He redeemed mankind from the death trap solicited by Satan and again has given humanity direct contact with the Almighty.

Today, some may know Him better as a Friend, others as an Elder Brother, and others still as their Lord. Generally, most are originally introduced to Him as their Savior. And yet for many unbelievers, he is simply another historical figure with a few quips to live by.

Yet history and experience show when one accepts Him as He claimed to be, one begins to experience a richness of life that includes knowing God. With this understanding when one meets a stranger, one has a better understanding that Jesus Christ also died for this person; which means they also have direct contact with the Almighty but have either built walls to keep Him away or are simply ignorant of their relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

In other words, Jesus Christ directly involved Himself into every single person’s life whether or not they ask for his assistance, or even heard about him. And now he reiterates to his disciples the principle of mutual cooperation. He has already fulfilled his part. He now reminds us we need to complete our part.

Our part is to abide in him. To submit to Him. To allow Him to have access into our heart and mind. To follow Him wherever He goes. In the process we will become more like him in attitude and character. His Spirit will begin to transform us into His image. We will eventually spiritually morph from a caterpillar to butterfly. In the end, Jesus’ Father will be glorified.

So, the next time you meet a stranger, remind yourself Jesus has already committed Himself to help this person become more like Him. We are simply the conduit that may provide the hands, feet, words, or ear for them to learn more about who they are in Christ. They are already included in the circle of the Triune God. But like many, they are totally ignorant of the richness and quality of life that awaits them by engaging into the Man from Galilee who paid the supreme price for their benefit.

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

What is Your View of God?

Galatians 4:8

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.

Your view of God determines the outcome of your life. Your decisions, plans, and behavior are based on your worldview which includes your opinion and belief of who God IS.

If you believe God doesn’t exist, your life will be lived with relative morals, self-centered accountability, and an uncertain future without hope.

If you believe God is a cosmic force that feeds you with energy, then you will have an impersonal relationship with an electrical-like switch that you turn on and off at your will.

If you believe God is a capitalistic entrepreneur, then you will work your hardest to transact your efforts for the greatest return.

If you believe God is a stern judge waiting for you to mess up and then punish you for your failures, you will be fearful to risk taking chances in life.

If you believe God is a deist who created the world and then left everything behind for humanity to figure it out, then you probably allow your self-reliance blind you from developing meaning relationship with others including God for you will want to do everything yourself.

If you believe God is solely into justice, then you will focus so much on right and wrong that you will miss out on peace, mercy, and grace.

If you believe God is solely about love, then you will close your eyes to the destructive behavior of others within communities in the name of love.

God reveals Himself through the pages of the Bible and creation. When you come to understand that God is Triune, Father-Son-Spirit, then you begin to see the logical carryover into all creation.

The Bible is the means to the end, not the end of itself. Therefore, use Scripture to enhance your realization of who God IS. As you read the Bible, stop and ask yourself what does this Scripture tell you about God?

And as we come to better know Him, we also come to better know ourselves. Since we are created in His image, our talents, abilities, and makeup are pattern after Him. As we discover how He exercises these qualities, we emulate Him in small physical ways.

Jesus is our role model. He is our rabbi. We are his student. Learning who God IS begins with knowing Jesus. He reveals the Father and introduces us to the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, make Jesus your aim and central core in all your relationships and plans. You will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome of your life as you make Him the central focus of your life.

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

Blessed How?

Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

We all have different expectations when we hear that God wants to bless us?

Some think He will put the winning Powerball lottery ticket into our pocket. Others think he will open doors for us to build the next Google or Microsoft company. Others may be more personal like having good health so we can abuse ourselves eating all the ice cream, chocolate, and candy we desire without any ramifications. Or we will find Mr. or Mrs. Right and marry with a handful of children and a home second to done.

Now God may include these physical outcomes in the process, yet there is so much more about being blessed than the fulfillment of our dreams. The 34th Psalm hits the target right in the middle. When God is the center of our lives, when we run to him with all our problems and praise, and when we come to know Him as HE IS, we will experience the life He promises to humanity throughout Scripture.

Our challenge is focusing on the spiritual outcome rather than the physical means.

For many of us growing up in commercialism USA, we have the tenancy to associate blessings with physical or social outcomes. We want to be happy and believe certain “things” will make us happy. And we associate certain “things” with happiness. We have difficulty understanding this with-God life.

For when one begins to know God and experiences His life within you, you quickly realize that everything you ever wanted is already included with Him. He is the Source of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control. His presence alone generates all the positive feelings mankind seeks through physical means.

Security, self-actualization, acceptance, and all the other physiological functions are found in Him.

That is why saints of old have constantly repeated that HE is all they need.

The blessing is having a personal relationship with the living God and allowing Him to share His life with you as you share your life with Him. Through this relationship, you will experience a blessed life simply because He is a generous, outgoing Being who naturally loves and gives and shares His best for you. And yes, He tempers His generosity with the purpose of raising His children with godly character.

So, if you want to experience the blessed life, don’t focus on your dreams. Instead pursue God and let Him live His life in you.   

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

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

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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Desire God

Psalm 42:1

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 

How strong is your desire for God? Is it the strongest desire of everything you want?

When temptation comes, do you immediately lean on God or is it the second or third tactical move on your list of priority?

Is God our weekly desire or our minutely thirst?

Intellectually we all know that prayer is our immediate contact with the Almighty. But how often do we pray?

Or have you lived such a comfortable life as a Believer you now take God for granted?

You state you love God, but yet you continually do ungodly acts of spiritual terrorism.

Mentally you know God is your life source, full of grace and unconditional love, but you selfishly take advantage of His compassion.

You deliberately make unwise decisions to please your fleshly desires rather than deny yourself for God’s glory. You spiritually rape your sister or brother in the Lord to please your insecurities.

Instead of battling temptation with spiritual weapons, you deliberately succumb to your Biblical ignorance knowing God has already forgiven you.

Your passion for capitalistic rewards, the American dream, and personal fanfare is more important than maintaining an honest and open conversation with the living God. We quickly turn our head away from God because we want to please our eyes. Like a child stealing a cookie from the cupboard before dinner, we behave in the same fashion with God.

Yet our Triune God knows our weaknesses. He pours his grace upon us knowing we will eventually come to a place in life where our eyes are open, and we realize our attitude or behavior until then doesn’t successfully work, and therefore we need to change.

Repentance is changing our thinking and mental habits as we refocus our relationship with God. The decision to earnestly make God the center of our life – whether in the sinful pit of repeating temptation failures or recurring successes of victory – is the motivation to seek God. To love him more and more which means we come to know more about him today than yesterday.

Like a deer seeks to quench her thirst from a running stream of water, our soul needs to learn to thirst for God every day, every hour, every minute. Our heart needs to lay on the bosom of God as we come to know him in every detail of life.

So, the next time you seek to satisfy your inner desires with physical comfort, cry out to God and ask Him to intervene so He becomes your #1 satisfaction for living life.

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

Empty Words

Ephesians 5:6

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

You ever listen to a person speak for twenty-minutes and realize he didn’t say anything of substance? All you ever heard were many adjectives and action verbs with emotional tempos thrown between the lines.

Politicians are notorious for such gimmicks. Advertisers are a very close second. And you can throw in a few religious ministers who use the same worldly techniques. In fact, one career assessment guide includes all three personalities in the same classified box. The same skill sets are needed to be effective in each of these three roles.

Yet the Bible warns us not to be deceived by such people who may say much with great form but maintain no substance in the pudding. 

They tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to know.

They cover their words with strong emotional content so your mind becomes clouded with explosive nerve endings rather than a calm, logical reasoning conclusion.

They seek out your trigger points and use words to explode them rather than outline the cause and effect of their position.

They blind you from the best solution to move you down a path where they may best benefit themselves.

They flip-flop on positions or as the Bible calls it – being double-minded. It all depends who is their audience.

They may even change the definition of a word for their personal agenda.

They hide behind smoke screens of illusion; like magicians they have you focus in one area while they manipulate another toward their personal ambition.

Unless one is grounded in long-term, eternal values which outlasts all fads and temporary demands, one may quickly fall prey to their cunning deception. This is one strong reason to study the Bible and its historical significance as it relates to human affairs.

The Word expounds on values and principles which lead to more favorable outcomes in living. When one knows the truth, one quickly recognizes the lies and deception of the enemy. But unless one is grounded in the Truth, one may quickly fall prey to the cunning deception of the Evil One.

In most cases, when you come to know a person’s heart, and when you spend enough time with them to recognize that they actually walk the talk, it will take time to separate the facts from the illusions. But reading your Bible and knowing Him who the book points to, is one of the best tools to help us separate the truth from deception, form from substance, and real value from artificial imitation.

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

Temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13 

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Sin destroys relationships and life; and temptation is the doorway to sin. Temptation is not sin, but only the desire to commit an act which immediately or eventually leads to a destructive end result. Yet even before the sinful behavior takes place, many times the destructive attitude is already in place waiting to be released through an act of physical means.

Temptation is the circumstance you find yourself in that may consume into sin depending on how you handle the matter. Temptation is the test of your character. God knows who you are, and the outcome of the test only reveals to yourself where you stand. You either have the character to totally trust God or you do not. The outcome is your measuring bar.

The secret to avoid sin is to constantly pray beforehand that you are not led into temptation. Again, temptation is not sin, but only the test of your character. If you find yourself continually in situations repeating destructive vices, you need to change something.

Jesus recommends us to “watch and pray”; that our spirit is willing but our human flesh is weak. The Lord’s prayer even outlines we need to ask our Heavenly Father not to lead us into temptation (Matt. 6:13).

Temptation befalls all humans. It started with Adam and Eve who fell and led humanity into a broken, rebellious state of relationship with God. Jesus himself was tempted in the wilderness and came out victorious over Satan, and even today with yours truly who messed up again this morning. This time around I had to ask myself, what must I change. The answer: review what Jesus did in the wilderness.

First, he was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit knowingly to be tested.

Second, he fasted for forty days – leaving him in a physical weaken state but spiritually strong. As Paul writes in Corinthians, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When Jesus was confronted with three different options to satisfy his desires, he replied to Satan with Scripture that reflected his faith and trust in His Father. He denied himself and trusted God will provide rather than take matters into his own hand to bring about the results he knew was his immediately rather than wait unto Him.

Though unlike Adam & Eve in the garden, Jesus had total trust in His father to bring about the results he desired without destroying the relationship with Him. After the temptation, he was ministered and physically revised to commence his public ministry.

Temptation will come to all. And all will somewhere fail. Failure though allows us to experience the grace of God and help us realize the need for a savior. We become more grateful for Jesus Christ who lived a human vicarious life for us all. He was our substitute and knows the war between the flesh and the spirit.

He knows the flesh is weak. But if weak flesh and weak spirit is the culprit, what is the solution? How about weak flesh and strong Spirit?

When our eyes are on God and we truly seek to serve Him and bring glory to Him, temptation will have minimum influence and pull. It is when we allow our carnal desires to take the lead instead of the power of the Spirit that we fail.

Real freedom comes when there is no temptation because there is no desire to satisfy selfish needs. As perfect love has no fear, perfect love also has total trust in God’s deliverance. We may suffer through the process, but endurance builds godly character. We know our eternal Coach and Trainer is with us through the entire process as the foundation for godly fruit is being built through the entire ordeal.

Escaping temptation doesn’t mean we will not suffer; but shows we will not rebel against our Maker. We will endure; and we will trust Him who loves us more than anyone. For we know when this trial is over, we will stand stronger in Him than before.

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

Mindfulness

Ephesians 4:23

…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

Mindfulness is one of those 21st century buzz words that recently came on the scene but its history is as old as mankind. Mindfulness is nothing more but focusing on the now rather than tomorrow or yesterday. It is capturing the moment; focusing your time and energy on what is in front of you today.

Many people are thinking about tomorrow and add worry emotions on their sleeve. Others live in anger and bitterness of events of yesterday. Both focusing on tomorrow or on yesterday makes one lose out on what is currently happening right now in your world in front of you.

How often do we commute to work and after our arrival don’t recall any of the events during our trip? Our minds were so deep in thought about something else that we missed everything we passed-by, the music and discussions on the radio/iPod, and even the aggressive drivers along the way.

How often are we so self-absorbed that we don’t recognize what is happening in the lives of people around us? Too add another dimension, how about what God is doing around you?

Our Triune God is always at work in the lives and circumstances around us. One of His characteristics is to invite people to assist Him in His endeavors.

The next time you find yourself speaking with someone, ask God to show you what He is doing in their life. In fact, instead of spreading your influence upon others, ask Him to help you to listen, watch, and observe what He is doing around you. After a while, you may pleasantly find your commute to and from work more enjoyable, entertaining, and eventful than you could ever imagine. You will find yourself praying in meetings asking God to lead you to better serve others. You will become more focused on what God is doing at the moment rather than living in your isolated world.

Don’t worry about tomorrow; you can’t change the past, but you can live to the full today.  It all begins by being more mindful on what is happening right in front of you at this very moment between God, you, and others.

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