Saved by Grace Not by Faith

Ephesians 2:5 ,8

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Prosperity gospel preachers love to emphasize the need of faith to obtain all of God’s blessings. They constantly imply that faith is the cause of whatever you desire. And when you don’t get what you desire, the problem is because “your faith isn’t strong enough – you need more faith.” A misunderstanding of faith, your belief, has caused the harm of many disciples within the Church over the ages. 

First, your faith doesn’t save you. You are saved by the finish work of Jesus Christ. Before you even knew Him, before you even asked for forgiveness, and yes even before you realized what His life and death and resurrection meant to you and humanity, your relationship with God was already restored. You were just ignorant of the event.

Faith is the pathway to the promise land; the escalator to God. Grace is God’s unmerited favor upon you. God so loved you and me He orchestrated world events to restore mankind’s direct access to Him. Faith is the tunnel that gives you and I access to Him. And that tunnel is Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus Christ we have direct access with His God. When Father God looks at you and me, He is looking through the prism of Jesus Christ. This is why He considers you and me as righteous; because He is looking at you and me through the righteousness of Jesus.

When people ask me when was I saved. I tell them about 2,000 years ago when Jesus completed his human mission on earth. However, I didn’t start to accept that truth until my 17th birthday when I began to follow Him. Jesus restored humanity’s relationship with God 2,000 years ago and I didn’t become His apprentice until my late teen years. His grace and faith saved me. When my head and heart came to the realization of this truth, I began to walkout through faith His way of life – the Bible calls it “being saved.”

Yes, we all “been saved” by the Grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. And we are “being saved” as we follow Him and allow the Holy Spirit transform our hearts and minds into His image. And we shall “yet be saved” when our bodies are resurrected and changed into eternal souls.

So, remember you have been saved apart from faith; faith doesn’t save you. You and I have been saved by God’s unmerited favor upon us. However, faith is the pathway to see, understand, and experience the richness of God’s salvation now and into eternity.     

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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Enough Grace for Everyone

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Us humans, often mistakenly view life from a very limited perspective. We see all the limited resources around us and fight to grab a little piece for ourselves before the next person takes it from us and we are left with nothing.

And then there are some of us, who are so afraid of what so little we have, we want more and more until someone questions us that maybe we should have our own hoarder reality show. As a nation we recently witness the hoarding of toilet paper and cleaning supplies during the pandemic crisis.

Yet if God be our provider, why do we panic? Isn’t it true one’s character and heart are always revealed during a time of crisis?

When Jesus finished preaching to the crowd, he instructed his disciples to feed them. But his apprentices were dumbfounded. How could they feed 4,000 – 5,000 men, women, and children? All they could find around them was a young lad with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Limited resources compared with the problem to solve. Yet God’s grace was on display. At the end of the day, all the people were fed and 12 baskets of leftovers were collected.

Today some of us would have taken the lad’s food just for ourselves, or maybe only fed the disciples and left everyone else fend for themselves. But Jesus, showed that there is always enough for everyone when God is involved.

God is able to provide all our needs, in every area of our life, so we may continue be his witness as we work and share His goodness with others. God’s grace is not limited to only a few. He loves us all; and is willing to give us more than we deserve. Yet He is also very wise and knows how much we can manage without destroying ourselves and others.

So, don’t limit God. He makes the impossible possible. He has enough Grace to share with every single one of 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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Grace for All

Matthew 5:45 

…For he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

God chooses favorites. And the human race is His favorite.

Through Jesus Christ, He has inclusively brought all people together in Him as one.

Though many may ignore Him, disassociate themselves from Him, and even throw insults against Him, He still looks at us as His children because of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus gave His teaching on the love of God and how God demonstrates His love towards all, He is showing us His grace is open for all.

He wants all to know His kindness and generosity is for all of us to experience His way of life. Yet He also knows that some will choose the opposite. But still it doesn’t refrain Him from changing His character of showering us with His Grace whenever He chooses.

No one on earth has the corner market for God’s Grace. We can’t earn it through good work. We can’t control it through rituals or secret anecdotes. God gives as God chooses.

He doesn’t give out his grace only because you are a Christian. He bestows His grace on every person no matter their religion, political affiliation, nationality, ethic origin, sexual orientation, education bias, financial condition, or age.

When Jesus came walking on this planet, he hung around more with the undesirables rather than the elite, famous, or influencers of his time. His associates included women, fishermen, tax collectors, terrorists, the uneducated, and the working nobodies of the community. Yet He fed them with God’s words and teachings and gave them a taste of the Kingdom life. And yet, He also had contact with certain religious leaders and heavy market makers of his time. No one was left out.

God’ Grace is open for all.     

 

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Grace is God’s Favor

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Acts 6:8

When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose… Acts 11:23

So, they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Acts 14:3

Wherever God is, grace abounds. Grace is God’s unmerited favor upon others. Grace is God’s expression of His generosity and love for us.

Our view of grace is typically short-sighted and so often limited. We say prayer over dinner and call it grace. Others speak about God’s forgiveness of sin and call it grace. Still others receive an unexpected blessing and call it grace. How do you view grace? 

The Hebrew old Testament definition is “favor.” The Greek new Testament defines grace as “unmerited favor.” So hereafter whenever you see the word “grace” in any of my writings, you may know the general context refers to the “unearned favor from God.”

When some people speak about “karma” which is doing good and receiving a blessing in return for their action, a cause and effect relationship, they do not consider this grace but the result of the “universe” responding to their actions. The Book of Job discounts this theory. We can do everything perfectly according to God’s law of love and receive harm in return. God blesses because He chooses too; not because we earned it.

When one realizes that everything in this universe and on this planet is the result of God’s unmerited favor upon humanity, one gets a bigger picture than the religious connotations expressed within the spiritual world.

In churchie circles, grace is most often associated and limited within the context of the forgiveness of sins. Yet in the practical world grace abounds all around beyond forgiveness of sin.

For example, creation is an outcome of God’s grace.

The goodness that flows out of evil events is God’s grace in action.

The Spirit of real unity among people of differences demonstrates His grace upon us.

The changes in a person’s countenance from total self-selfishness to concern for others first is God’s grace melting the hardness of heart.

When pride is stripped away to open up a heart of humility is grace in action.

When food is place on the table to eat, think of the work of many hands coming together for the common good. The farmer planting and toiling the ground, the sun and water fertilizing and impacting the seeds; the machines and hands harvesting the crop; the truck drivers hauling the wheat and vegetables to market; the stores packaging and distributing the products for the people to purchase and prepare meals for their families; all are the byproduct of God’s grace. Without God’s approval, such could never happen. (Ever see how quickly a worldwide pandemic shuts down nations).

The business person who is on the brink of going out of business and laying off hundreds of family breadwinners receives a check at the last minute from an unexpected place to make payroll – experiences God’s grace in action.

The parent with a sickly child told by doctors there is nothing more they can do – but receives news from the nurses that the child “miraculously” woke up 100% healthy this morning.

And yes, when one’s eyes are open to capture a glimpse of God Almighty and the bountifulness of His generosity and love for us, is only His grace touching lives for His glory and our benefit.

So, remember grace comes from the central source of all creation – God. Grace is His expression of love and generosity so often expressed through the hearts and hands of people like you and me. Grace is God’s unmerited, generous favor!

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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God is Always with YOU!

Zephaniah 3:17 

The Lord youGod is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Amos 5:14

Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.

Isaiah 8:10

Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us.

1 Chronicles 17:2

Nathan replied to David, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.”

Exodus 3:12

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Genesis 21:22

At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do.

So many scriptures reference God’s presence in people’s lives. And the presence is so often noticed by those around them. One of the first awareness’s we come too when starting out on this journey of faith is the realization Someone is watching over you.

Circumstances and events occur outside of your control or knowledge which we come to call blessings and they reoccur over and over again. After the umpteen time, you begin to hilariously laugh praising God for the outcome.

Then there are those times when your back is against the wall; there is no easy solution and you don’t know which way to turn, when from an unexpected source a “miracle” occurs. You can’t explain it; science and logicians are dumbfounded. Yet looking back, you realize as helpless the situation you found yourself, there was an inner peace and comfort that kept assuring you everything will work out.

When you come to acknowledge God is for you and always with you, your demeanor changes. You find yourself at awe that the Creator of the universe actually wants to spend time with you. Not because of how awesome you are, but because He loves you as a grandparent loves their grandchildren.

God is working out a purpose that involves you and me. He enjoys sharing life with you and me. He gets excited as we grow and mature into the image of His Son. He has big plans for you and me. Maybe not what you may be expecting in this life, but most definitely for eternity.

Yet he knows we are only human. Born to eventually physically die.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed his one command, God didn’t abandon them. He evicted them from the Garden of Eden for their own sake. But He remain with them. He orchestrated all the human events from Abraham through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And He still is working out human events toward the culmination of all things. He has never left us nor forsaken us.

Even when misguided preachers speak about God turning his back on Jesus at the cross because of all the sins is a misnomer. God was always with him. Jesus, because of the blindness of all the sins of the world coming upon him, loss sight of God at that moment. But God was still with him. God never forsook Jesus. Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 which is the opening sentence that expresses mankind’s empty feelings when we feel God has abandon us. Yet Psalm 22 is followed by Psalm 23 which restores the confidence and faith that God is always with us.

So remember, no matter what you are going through, or how you feel about your relationship with the living God, HE is ALWAYS with 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!


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What is My Responsibility?

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mt 22:37, Lk 10:27, Mk 12:30

Heaven and Earth merging together is from Revelation 21 where the culmination of everything is taking place and God presents us with a new heaven and new earth merged together in the same dimension. All this happens after the return of Jesus Christ. In our Lord’s prayer we always ask “for God’s Kingdom to come and His Will to be done on earth as in heaven” and here it is finally, totally fulfilled.

Until then though, as Jesus followers, we are commissioned to serve our King by colonizing our corner of the world. How? By implementing God’s governmental (His Kingdom) way of serving others as Christ served His Father and others while he walked the earth.

In theological terms, when Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected, he rescued the human race. From a transaction view, he basically purchased us from Satan. From a relational view, he included the entire human race with Him in his finished mission at the cross. Therefore, every person we meet is connected to Jesus Christ whether or not they are aware of that truth.

Those of us who acknowledge that reality, and have surrendered to our King, are now engaged in full time service with our King. So, as we serve others (Matt 25), we are serving Jesus himself. On the other hand, those who are still ignorant of their relationship with Jesus, are still valued by Christ, and hopefully over time will come to realize who they truly are in relationship with Him, change their worldview (repent) and believe the good news.

Now there are those in the Reformed theological bent who strongly believe that God has left mankind on their own to bring about utopia. That God’s time table is predicated on how well we perform our responsibilities. On the other extreme there are those who believe that God is going to make everything happen no matter what we do. I believe the truth is somewhere in between.

The Book of Ephesians (2:10) reveals that each of us are created by God in Christ with unique talents and abilities for assignments prepared beforehand to do good work. As God opens our eyes to see the needs of people around us, we are to reach out and serve from God’s love for others in the same attitude Jesus describes in Luke 17:10. When the assignment is completed, we only did what is expected of us.

So, as usual, the questions and thoughts about our responsibility as Christ followers are never truly simple answers. My reply is a small smorgasbord of the bountifulness that is found in Jesus Christ. I have slowly learned however in my case, whenever I put more emphasis on me doing something rather than on Christ, I begin to drift away from the grace of God and become more judgmental of others in comparing the performance of others too my standard of Christianity. It always gets me in trouble. So, I like to always go back to Jesus and his relationship with His God and how Jesus served others. And even there I often get caught up in perceiving Jesus from my perspective rather than from the eye of Scripture.

When we recall our responsibility is to love God and others like Jesus loves us, and faithfully live it out each day, isn’t that asking for perfection? Yet isn’t that what God expects from each of us? And doesn’t that expression look differently for all of us?  That is why we all so often look at the same portrait and leave with differences of opinion. But then again, isn’t that what makes life so much more exhilarating and unpredictable when you know you are safe in God’s hand fully living out His purpose while your brother and sister is doing the same? Expressing God’s love with and through people comes in many forms. Your unique way is one way. So why do others believe everyone else must show God’s love the same way they do?

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Born 2 Die Trap

1 Corinthians 15:26

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

The day life began for you is the same day you entered a trajectory toward the day of your death. If you are reading this, then you haven’t yet arrived to that predictable event. A sobering thought we don’t want to face because of the many questions that arise; especially the big one. What is life all about?

Some of my neighbors believe there is no purpose for life except to enjoy oneself to the max because we are all going to die. Others believe there is a God and we must be good, follow the golden rule, and earn our way unto some next stage beyond death. And others still who believe life is a cycle of reincarnation and never ends. What is life all about?

There are those who we may know have done good their entire life and at the end are suffering with great intensity. Others have lied, cheated, and stolen their way along and now are enjoying their retirement with ease and comfort. What is life all about?

The last time I checked there is not one person who did not leave this planet without first experiencing death. Even Jesus Christ, the resurrected One, died.

Death is the enemy of all humans. We shall all die. But, then what? Why bother to live if there is no meaning, purpose, or something to gain between birth and death?

All these questions and more hit me as a seventeen-year-old senior in high school. Born with the internal clock and fortitude to always start with the end goal in mind led me to search for answers. In a way, it is how God led me to Him.

When you peel off the onion of life and seek logical answers, you find you are not alone. Much has been written by thousands of others who have travelled a similar journey. Some came back with the same conclusion as I; but others not. This is how my journey started and eventually led to become an apprentice of Jesus Christ.

The more we studied into His life and the more we focused to walk with Him, the more real His teachings become alive. With the hindsight of history to view the interconnecting points, and actually see a pattern of consequences turn into a path of spiritual fruit, one becomes more confident in a God who is working out some master plan between all the chaos and noise which surrounds each of us.

The Triune God becomes more and more real each day. Love, Joy, Grace are no longer words of the mind, but an inner treasure of riches longing to be distributed with others. The Master Designer is not way off in the furthest corner of the universe, but personally involved with each human child. He longs to dance, celebrate, and share His riches with each of us. But as a parent, He also wants us to grow up, enjoy the experiences of life, and be successful in all we do.

Death is only the end of one stage of God’s masterful plan for humanity. From the foundation of the world, His plan was to adopt humanity into the Triune fold. Sin is only a blip on God’s project plan. He has already taken care of the matter. Death is another blip on His master plan. He has also already taken care of that matter. When the music ends, what comes next?

You and I were born to live for eternity. God has placed that concept into our inner being. Like a fetus in the womb of a pregnant mother, humanity is waiting for the fullness of time when the baby is ready to escape from the inner chamber of a mother’s custody into a new world.

The trap is thinking that this life is all there is. No purpose; No meaning; No God. Such a life will miss out having a bonding relationship with their Parent, and the fruit which comes from such an interconnecting, social cord. My heart yearns for others who are missing out on experiencing the richness of life through the means God has given us. This is His story. His production. His plan. The sooner we come to realize who He truly IS, the quicker we shall experience and taste the fruit of how He always intended humanity to live.  

No trap; just an inner confidence to experience life today and forever with Father-Son-Holy Spirit and His adopted children in whatever He is preparing us for.

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!


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