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

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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

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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

The Best Vice is a Dead Vice

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25

What is your secret sin? The one vice you keep hidden in the secret chambers of your heart. The one act or thought you continue to practice that if anyone ever discovered would bring shame and dishonor to you and your family.

Name your preferred poison. Is it alcohol? Drugs? Pornography? Adultery? Fornication? Workaholic? Anger? Gluttony? Laziness? Envy? Lust? Greed? Lying? Pride? Apathy? Boasting? Vulgarity? Ignorance? Anxiety? Fear? Etc., etc., etc.

The list is long and not new for humanity. Since the beginning of the Bible, carnal desires have been expressed with its harmful consequences. Whichever way we turn, sin unfolds its poisonous venom.

Who is without sin? Who does not walk surrounded by sin? As ugly as sin is though, it is not the problem, only the symptom. The real problem is living outside the Will of God instead of being solidly centered in an abiding relationship within Christ. And we all have been there and even now occasionally find ourselves taking detours into these construction areas of pain and sorrow.

But Who will deliver us?

The author of Romans emphasizes how Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection has changed the outcome for mankind. Death is no longer a permanent state of being. Life apart of Sin is now a reality through Jesus Christ. He has overcome Sin on behalf of all humanity. And this includes you and me.

Yet physical death awaits us all. Pain from the consequences of sin still remains. Sin, which is the outcome of living outside the Heart of God, still haunts us. How do we reconcile the grace-filled life from the sin-filled life?

Grace is greater than sin. As Paul writes in Romans, the more we sin, the more God’s grace is poured out upon us. Yet sin’s consequences have a price to be paid. Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of us. But every sin we commit now, though paid for in advance, still has it repercussions. Sin typically destroys relationships and the quality of life for the individual.

Like a smoker who sneaks outside for a quick one, those around us can smell your breath and the stench on your cloths. Sin is the same way. You think you are being smart in hiding your vice. Yet those around you sense something. When you come to realize the cost of sin, the consequences of living a sinful life, and taste the graceful richness of God’s love, you will want to run away from sin’s pull.

Whatever your secret sin, it isn’t worth hiding. Expose it; seek help; confess to another, change your thinking on it, and surrender to the God who made you. Our time on earth is short; why destroy yourself before you realize your potential?

Remember, the best Vice is a dead Vice.

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

The Real Thing

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Gal 5:22-25.

In my early walk with the Lord, I took upon myself to start a self-improvement program to develop the fruit of the Spirit in my life. Like the eastern religions, I subjected my body through discipline to become more godlike. At the time I didn’t understand the workings of the Spirit but only that I wanted to experience the riches of God’s Spirit.

Eventually (some ten years later) God opened my eyes to His awesome work in me through the Holy Spirit’s influence on my heart. In hindsight, the first ten years of being a disciple, I was led through humanism to make myself into the image of God through the mastery of self-discipline. Like I have said elsewhere, I did become more loving, kind, and joyful but nothing compared to now by allowing the Holy Spirit to have full access into our heart and mind.

Humanism works through habitual discipline to change exterior behavior. God works through His Spirit to change the interior emotional heart that leads to changed behavior.

When you read the above passage in Galatians, you note that the fruit is not from one’s human heart but from the Spirit. When we deny ourselves and submit to the Spirit’s influence in our life, the essence of God becomes more alive in us. God’s Spirit intermingles with our spirit influencing our soul. The Source is God. The recipient is us and those who we come into contact.

Humanism works from the outside-in. God works from the inside-out.

Humanism is like the imitation wedding ring made from glass. It may look like a diamond, but is made with inferior material. A real diamond can cut through glass; a fake diamond cannot.  

Humanism likes to look good from the outside. It acts like the real McCoy, but lacks the internal fortitude. In many cases, it is all form without any substance.

God’s Spirit is the real deal. As we submit to His Will and lean on Him, He resides in us and allows His presence to be made known through us. After you experience the real thing, you will more quickly notice the illusions and fakes around you. If you are tired of working hard to experience God’s presence in your life, maybe you are trying too hard. Maybe its time to rest in Christ and ask Him to position you to experience the real deal.

You only need to ask 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

Being Fully Human

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
An Easter Message: Reprint from Feb 2015

In the Book of Genesis, we discover that God made man in His image after His likeness (Gen.1:26). In Psalm 8:4, King David asked the question “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” The writer of Hebrews in 2:6 likewise refers to the same question and adds more thought behind the remark. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes that life in Christ makes us a new creation.

What does this all mean for you and me?

There are times when I look at our culture, I cry. My heart hurts for the people who don’t really understand what Jesus means in their everyday life. For example, people may know about Him, the Cross and Resurrection, but not realize the importance of the Ascension.

The fact is Jesus ascended into Heaven not only as a divine being but also as a resurrected human. As a human, he experienced the same emotional, psychological, and physical stress that every person deals with on a daily basis. More so, hanging on the cross the sins of every person past, present, and future was transported into his inner humanity. He knows what it means to be human. He experienced the pain of sin without ever committing sin himself (Heb.4:15).

Our connection with Father God is through Jesus Christ. Jesus’ union with Father God is because of his divinity. His union with humanity is because of his bodily life. Mankind has union with Jesus because of His humanity. When we pray to our Father God, Jesus intercedes on our behalf. When we pray not knowing how and what to say, His Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-7). He is our High Priest.

He is more involved in yours and my life than you and I may ever realize. He cares about you in ways you haven’t even considered yet. He wants what is best for you. He knows what it means to be human. He is our standard for what it means to be human.

He wants you to experience the same love, joy, and hope he carried with him when he walked the earth. He wants you to grow and experience the same thrills he does. Jesus wants to hang-out with you.

When Father/Son/Spirit created the world, earth, and mankind, he said it was “very good.” He wants us to experience the same sense of accomplishment through our work. When Jesus healed the sick, he experienced the power of God changing people’s lives. He wants us to experience the same when we serve others. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he became the first fruit of a new creation. The merger of humanity with divinity. The physical merging with the spiritual. The future new heaven and new earth being lived in the present. Heaven on earth.

Being fully human is really living and experiencing everyday life in 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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved


Learning to Govern

Genesis 1:28 (NASB)

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the; sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

One theme which moves through the Bible is God’s intention of what he wants humanity to learn while stationed on this planet at this age. From Genesis where God instructs man and woman to rule the earth’s infrastructure, to Revelation 5:10 where John writes about Jesus’ end game and recognizes the saints in this life are being made to lead and serve in God’s Kingdom. Could it be that one of God’s purpose for you and I in this life is to learn how to best govern?

He initially placed Adam and Eve in a garden to manage it. He built a family unit starting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The family unit became a tribe and eventually the nation of Israel. During this time, he trained specific individuals for leadership position – Joseph, second in rank behind Pharaoh; Daniel, a president under the Babylonian system; David and Solomon, kings of Israel. There are many others – good leaders and bad rulers.

He designed the family unit where parents learn to govern their households; and children learn to follow and develop their personal governing skills. He led people to build institutions: business, education, medical, legal, entertainment, and yes governments. Each institution allows us to learn how to work with others to help a community to flourish. He also built the Church: a community of believers united within Himself.  

All these opportunities are simply a shadow to prepare you and I to govern within the Kingdom of God. God’s Kingdom is the Triune God’s family business. You and I as his children have been given the opportunity now to learn how to best govern the self and others for this purpose. We allow the Holy Spirit to work within us renovating our hearts to see and hear as our Triune God sees and hears. We govern with love and purpose allowing righteousness to flourish and evil to diminish. We serve our King bringing Him honor and respect and glory.

God has bigger plans for you and I than we will ever phantom on this side of heaven. For now, He gives us a small taste of His divine presence and fills our hearts with joy as we learn to govern His way for His people for His glory.

Life is a learning process preparing you and I for eternity. Run with 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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved