Spiritual Riches


Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…

Because we are included in Jesus Christ, we share with HIM a lot of blessings that we didn’t earn on merit nor receive by our obedience. God, by his amazing grace, before the foundation of the world, predestined mankind for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ.

When you read the first fourteen verses of the first chapter in the letter to the Ephesians by the apostle Paul, you obtain an overview of the gospel message. From redemption to forgiveness, from revelation of His will to His purpose of uniting everything in Christ, from learning His truth to being sealed by the Holy Spirit, you and I have personally been guaranteed an inheritance from God.  

No, you and I most likely will not gain material prosperity like the billionaires among us, nor most likely we will not gain celebrity fame, nor political power, nor the Nobel prize for academics. But we will gain today an inner peace and joy and love without the hassle of pursuing physical mountain tops.

Instead, we learn to walk and talk and dance with the God of ALL. He knows us, He disciplines us for our good, and He blesses us with His character and attributes. We learn to become more like Jesus who shares His chair at the table with us.

As God our Father gave Jesus all authority under heaven and over earth, Jesus himself gives us the opportunity to share in His work today. As He lives in us, and leads us, we listen, observe, and follow Him as He works in the lives of others around us. He gives us responsibility according to our gifts. We simply acknowledge those gifts and exercise them for His glory and kingdom.

Whether in the home, or at work, or in the community running errands, every person we meet, every task we serve, and every act we conduct, shows a small side of God to others. We know God lives in us, and we know the spiritual blessings we have received in the process, are not for our sole benefit but for the service of others. God’s riches are aimed to help everyone flourish.

So, if you are looking for something to be grateful today, thank your God for everything Jesus has done, is doing, and will yet do. Your rich blessings are solely because of 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

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Gifts from God


James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

There is an old classic hymn entitled “Count Your Blessings” that comes to mind when I read this sentence from the Book of James. The repeated refrain reminds us to count our blessings and name them one by one which reminds us with what God has done in our life.

As some of my long-time readers will know, I love to read the Book of Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament Bible on a regular basis. It helps keep me grounded whenever this world’s cultural system begins to pull me away from the Solid center of life. Lately when I read the twelve chapters, I happen to notice more than before the gifts God has bestowed upon us mere humans. Sometimes, if not most of the time, it is good to be reminded.

Chapter one is the prelude which sets the stage for life’s end result before one even begins living. But in chapter two we start to capture God’s design for mankind, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?(2:24-25)” Then again in chapter three the writer states, “I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man(3:12-13,22).

In chapter 5, “Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil – this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart (5:19-20).

Through the remaining chapters the writer emphasizes actions which lead to a more joyful and favorable life. Such as diligence is better than slothfulness (10:18); money is a solution to many physical outcomes (10:19); be generous (11:1-2); work your plan even though circumstances look bleak (11:4,6); invest time to pursue your goals and to rejoice every day in what you do, but remember you are being held accountable by God (11:9); don’t worry and maintain good health (11:10); and don’t over study a matter (12:12). These are only a few of the tidbits you find are golden nuggets for living an enjoyable and full life.

The bottom-line: Life is a gift. Enjoy your work, share life with others, and walk with your God. He designed life for you to enjoy His creation within the boundaries of His love – His good and perfect gift to us.

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

Jesus Paid Taxes

–>
Matthew 17: 24-27
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

When Peter was approached and asked by collectors of the temple tax whether or not Jesus paid the tax, he replied yes. However, as Peter usually did then, he quickly replied the affirmative without really knowing the truth. (The temple tax was for the maintenance of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by order of Julius Caesar and required for all Jews throughout the Roman empire).

So, when Jesus and Peter went into the house (scripture is unclear whose house – possible Jesus own a house?), Jesus took the initiative and raised a tax question to Peter (another teaching moment). Instead of focusing on the religious institution, He emphasized royal taxation by a king over his subjects. “Does the king collect taxes from his sons or from others?”

Peter replied correctly “from others.” Jesus point was the sons don’t pay taxes. And being the Son of the Owner of everything, He is not required to pay taxes. Yet, He didn’t want to offend anyone and again took the moment to demonstrate to Peter who He IS.

He told Peter to go fishing. The first fish he caught would have enough money in its mouth to pay the tax for Peter and Jesus.

The apostle Paul later writes in Romans 13:6-7 instructing believers to pay their taxes to the government. The government is an institution established by God for the benefit of mankind and believers need to monetarily support its operations. No where in the Bible does it say to withhold the payment of taxes.

Even Jesus who didn’t have to pay the tax because of His status as the Son of God, did so as an example for others to follow. So be it.    

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

Thank You Jesus Christ

1 Thessalonians 5:18

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

When times are good, how often do we thank God? Probably not as often as we can.

But when times are tough, do we also thank Him?

Those of us more mature have learned to thank God in good and bad times; in times of prosperity and times of poverty, in times of jubilant victory and also in times of sorrowful defeat. For we have learn that God is in work for our good through all circumstances.

We may not like the current circumstances, but trust that no matter the outcome, God is glorified and He will take care of all matters. Other time, we have also learned that maybe my suffering is not all about me, but also those around me.

Maybe God is using our situation to sharpen the love between others. Maybe His plan involves those not even born today, but the next generation. He may just be preparing a place for them through us. Maybe the wealth you are creating today is not for your children, but for the disenfranchised you haven’t even met yet. You may have plans you have been passionate about for years. And God is opening doors for you to favorably walk through. You may accomplish your dreams, but God has other plans with the results.

To give thanks in all circumstances is not for the faint-hearten. When you begin from the heart to make it so, then you know you care more for God’s glory then the achievement of your plans. You begin to know you trust God with the results no matter the outcome. If you have to suffer for a while, so be it. If you have to sacrifice everything, so be it. If you have to change life plans, so be it.

You give thanks to God because everything is His to give, share, and take back. You are simply thankful that you can live in His presence, share life with Him, and await for your completion into His eternal Home when the real fun begins.

Thank you 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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Lead Us

2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.

As many of the ballroom dance partners have shared with me, when one’s partner is a good leader, the joy from dancing increases substantially. The same can be said is true in our dance with the Almighty. When we follow His lead, the journey is more enriching and enlightening.

Likewise, Paul mentions in this Scripture how God leads them in harmony within Jesus game plan to let others know Him wherever they go. And Paul thanks God for the action. In other Scriptures, he shows how the Holy Spirit refrain them from going in a certain direction by closing all avenues. Instead he was shown in a vision the way to go into Macedonia where the gospel was effectively proclaimed.

Asking God to lead you everyday in every area of your life is a smart move. Whether we are speaking about relationships at home or at work, whether we are speaking about family or business decisions, or whether we are speaking about community or national agendas, asking and seeking answers from the Almighty makes the road more effectively to travel.

But like ballroom dancing, it takes two. As He leads, we need to learn how to best follow. Some of us are better at discerning the situation then others. However, skills can be learned over time. The more time you spend with someone, the easier it becomes to anticipate and participate with the other person. The same is true with the Triune God.

So, we can ask Him daily to be led away from temptations, from harmful circumstances, and from poisonous situations. The more we invest time communicating with Him, the quicker we will hear, see, and act from His perspective rather than ours.

It takes two to tango. One leads and the other follows. So, know your position on the dance floor, learn the steps, and let the arm of God gently sway you with the music around the earthly ballroom of life. There is great joy being led by the Creator of Life who knows you better than you know yourself.    

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

Stupidity

Proverbs 19:3

People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed? (Message)

We all have done stupid. Sometimes its planned stupidity, most often it is a quick, temporary, brain damaging decision with painful, down-the-road consequences. The mature person however will accept personal responsibility for their decisions and actions. The immature though will find someone else to blame. If they can’t find a human person close to the situation to blame, then they will look for the next best one. That one is usually God.

Some people hold a theological belief that God causes everything to happen – good and bad. That if the student receives a poor grade, it must be God who didn’t intervene and change the grade for the better. If a person is fired from a job for continuous tardiness, it must be God’s fault for not giving him special favor with his supervisor. If you are involved in an accident, it must be God’s fault for not protecting you as you race 20 miles above the speed limit weaving in and out of traffic. The list is endless.

When one realizes that we are in control of our responses in all circumstances, and we have no one to blame but ourselves, that is when stupidity dies. Albert Einstein is given credit for saying “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, if life keeps giving you lemons because of your stupidity, do you think it may be time to change something?

God is not out to destroy you. In fact, he wants you to live up to the potential He created you for. He knows who you are. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He doesn’t expect you to be anything else but you.

So rather than continue to blame others, take a time out, and look at the fruit of your life. What area of your life are you happy?  What area are you disappointed? Then take time to pray and thank God for the happy areas. For those areas you are unhappy with, ask Him to lead you toward fulfilling your potential as His child. But don’t ask if you are not willing to change and go places you have never gone before. Ask, Seek, and Knock.

As you ask Him, begin to seek his answers. It may take some sacrifice, hard work, and long hours of commitment, but with God walking with you it is only a matter of time before you will come to know Him better and see His work in your life.

But it all starts by accepting personal responsibility for the outcomes in your life. We have no one to blame but ourselves when stupidity strikes. However, God’s grace is sufficient to carry us through the brain damaging, ugly behavior that we all have a propensity to make happen. Focus on Him and He will lead you covered with His Grace.

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

Born Again

John 3:3

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Sometimes I wonder and speculate whether or not Jesus and Nicodemus were actually comparing the spiritual new birth with being physically pregnant. There are some Biblical scholars who believe the Greek word translated into “born” would be better translated as “begotten.” Again, I wonder.

To be born again implies more than the sperm and egg connecting within a Mother’s womb. As the fetus grows, an ultrasound would show the head, legs and arms of a child taken shape early in the pregnancy. Approximately eight weeks into the new life a heart beat is heard. Science will acknowledge that the child is alive at this time but dependent on their mother for nourishment. The process from the initial marriage of sperm and egg until the child’s birth into the world is approximately nine months.

What keeps the child alive is the umbilical cord connected to the Mother where the child’s nourishment is received. During these nine months the child is being formed and prepared for life outside their mother’s womb. The child isn’t considered “born” until the day they are birth into the world.

So, when Jesus said we must be born again, was he speaking about the sperm and egg becoming one or was he illustrating the resurrection when our bodies will be morph into a spiritual casing?

Again, I wonder. Isn’t “being born again” more like a child in the womb of a mother than the mature Christian we like to thing we are? As a child of God in the womb of the Church, am I not being slowly shaped into the image of Jesus Christ? Then one day, we will be raised with Christ and see Him as He truly is because we will be like him (I John 3:2)? 

Again, I wonder. Just like a child is protected within the Mother’s womb, are we also not protected within the arms of our God?

Again, I wonder. Like the umbilical cord connects and feeds the child in the womb, doesn’t Christ’s faith feed us through His Word?

Scripture doesn’t give us all the words spoken between Nicodemus and Jesus, but just the most important need to know phrases. But I do wonder and speculate at times…

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