Governmental Trap

1 Samuel 8:7, 10-18

 And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them…So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Governments are ultimately accountable to God (Romans 13:1). Christ-Followers are subject to governmental institutions per Peter’s letter to the Church (I Peter 2:13). When he wrote the letter, the emperor was a dictator ruling Rome. Yet Peter instructed the Church to enjoy their freedom to do good and put to shame the ignorance of foolish people. Christ-followers should be the most favorable citizens of a free world.

Yet governments are led by people. And people have the tendencies for corrupt behavior. As governments grow, corruption becomes more and more difficult to identify.

Back when Israel was a tiny nation being self-governed by the decree of one person (Samuel), the people enjoyed freedom and prosperity. However, when they complained that they wanted to be like the other nations around them with a King and his cohorts managing national affairs, God adhered to their request. But before then, HE instructed Samuel to outline the consequences of their decision.

Today’s Scripture shows what happens when one exchanges their personal responsibilities to a governmental body and how their individual freedom and prosperity dissipates. There is nothing new under the sun but technology and fashion. Governments have always existed in one form or another. But like Israel discovered, it was better for the people with less government and the acceptance of more personal responsibility rather than paying the price for a large overseeing body to manage national affairs.

The governmental trap is thinking the institution can do a better job than the collective individual who has personal investment in the outcome.

When the country’s workforce supports an incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy, it is only a matter of time for the nation to collapse.

Moral fiber is the glue that keeps relationships ongoing. When governmental distrust and bullying becomes the norm, than a revolution is waiting to occur. People will only tolerate mistreatment for a while. Then it gets ugly.

Personal freedom requires accepting personal responsibility for the outcome. Governments promise utopia and operate from a position of fear. Those who have found a leader in Jesus Christ as their King understand the difference between serving others or lording over others. Serving others is God’s way of leading. Lording over others is man’s inferior attempt to play god.

Allow God’s Kingdom to rule from your heart and set the boundaries of your actions and relationships and watch how your little world flourishes while those around you are burning with hatred and anger. God’s government is what we all need. But you first need to make the decision of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord in your life. When you do, and begin to imitate HIM and HIS ways, you will discover the difference between human governmental power and God’s gracious acts of justice, mercy, and forgiveness to engage people into a world that flourishes with freedom and fulfillment for all.

More God, less government is a better form of governance for all.  

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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The Last Grape Tomato

John 6:27

“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

I enjoy eating grape tomatoes. Most days I eat about ½ dozen of them with eggs in the morning and then again in the evening with a salad. So, when I woke up this morning, for whatever reason, the first thought in my head was, “when will I eat my last grape tomato?

Now I’m not sure what I was dreaming about when sleep was interrupted, but as an inexperienced amateur psychologist, I’m sure it must have been a correlation between grape tomatoes and the end of life.

For life as we know in this body will come to an end. And when life in this age ends, everything we may have enjoyed will likewise end. And that includes me eating the last grape tomato.

Yet, the Spirit that lives in us will continue. How do I know? Because Jesus exemplified the same when he died and committed his Spirit to HIS Father in heaven. And just like he was resurrected into a new body, I await for the same resurrection and new body to begin the next chapter and adventure with our Perfect Father and Elder Brother.

Meanwhile, I get to taste heavenly samples of God’s food today. Just like I enjoy the taste and nutritional value of grape tomatoes, I also now participate and enjoy the spiritual nourishment of eternal food.

For example, take God’s love which HE showers upon us daily. His love surrounds us through HIS creation. When like minded people with HIS Spirit touch our spirit, there is the fellowship and comradeship which enlightens the fire within us. Plus, God’s love being manifested through HIS constant grace granting us favor at times of need is a reminder HE truly cares for each of us. The assurance of HIS faithfulness and commitment that HE will complete the work HE has started in you and me gives more hope for the future.

As HIS love abounds in us, one cannot hold back to share HIS love with others. Through words, touch, and acts of service, God’s love is extended in the people we meet. They are introduced to a way of life that enriches the soul now and prepares the heart for a future of hope and joy.

Yes, the body needs physical nutrition. But likewise, the soul needs spiritual rejuvenation. And both are gifts from God for our enjoyment. As long as we live, we get to enjoy grape tomatoes. But one day, we will eat our last one.

Then all the unnecessary anxiety and worry we carried will be behind us. All the projects on our to do list will no longer matter. All the self-inflicted battles over our weight and physical challenges will be no more, and the much grace required people in our life will find rest without us.

Everything we enjoyed and suffered until then will be bundled up and put away. Instead, we will take up the mantle and begin a new chapter, with a new body, and a new assignment. We will take hold of all the spiritual riches which up to then we only tasted and begin to fully realize the potential God has given us to serve HIM and complete HIS plans as we move into the new age with our Lord.

Yes, this thoughtful reminder started first thing this morning when I considered the last grape tomato I will ever eat. Who truly understands how the Spirit really works through our minds?    

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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Expertise Trap

Proverbs 22:29

Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

One of the fallacies being spoken about by guru’s selling their services, is you can become anything you want. These charmers may persuasively convince you to purchase their seminar or videos if you truly want to succeed in life.

“Anyone can do it” is their typical sales presentation. You don’t need to listen to God and look at all the historical evidence. You are the exception. Just follow their plan and you will succeed.

Now what they say may be true for a few folks, but for the majority of us, they are only selling emotional utopia.

The few who may benefit from their program probably would become successful without their services. For they most likely have the DNA code with natural gifting which they only have to build a skill set around and practice until they become proficient to achieve their goal.

For example, how many people do you know can throw a 100-mph fastball at a target some 90 feet away? How many of us can throw a football 50 yards in a straight line at a moving target and hit it 9 out of 10 times? (and add a 400-pound wrestler in your face who is about to devour you for lunch at the same time). I don’t know too many who excel at that kind of work. Which is why only a few people are either pitchers or quarterbacks in professional sports.

The trap is thinking you can become successful in a professional field where you have no natural talent, bias character flaws, and an unhealthy work ethic. There is no shortcut to long-term lasting success.

Those who are the best in their career became so through hard work, self-discipline, and building a skill-set upon their natural inherent talent. And even they may fail to achieve their goal if the field is limited and there are others whose skills are more highly developed or surrounded by people who support them rather than you.

But just because your mother kept encouraging you to sing doesn’t mean you have the voice and talent to make a living at it. Or because your father kept pushing you in sports doesn’t mean you have the attributes to excel at the professional level. Competition brings out the best and worst of us all.

For example, when I had surgery a number of years ago, I searched out the best doctors in their field and traveled outside this country for a specific operation. There were many good doctors in the states, but the best identified by their peers in a specific field based on solid evidential performance reviews were located in Canada at the time.

Just because you feel you can, doesn’t mean you are capable of producing at a professional level.  There are many mediocre doctors who have their limitations and enough knowledge to satisfactorily serve their average patient. But in those unusual, unique situations, when it is you and you want the best in their field, you quickly identify them and hire them.

The best have crafted their skills and knowledge base. Their expertise shines above their peers. They have taken their God-given abilities and sharpen them for maximum output. They surround themselves with the best because they know their limitations and as iron sharpen iron, others help them sharpen their skills. Through trials, tests, and much practice, they gain confidence through proven results over time.

If you want to maximize your God-given natural abilities, discover what they are through tests, or trial and error, and receive true confirmation from those who really know you without bias. Then you can educate and train yourself to become one of the best in your field. And always make your choices built on the foundation of reality which may include your feelings along with God’s Word and solid evidence of historical proof from your life.

Otherwise, consider what you enjoy doing as a hobby to share with others. We all can’t become professional sport stars, but it is sure fun to play the game. Just know the difference where to invest your time, money, and energy for long term success and where the outcome really doesn’t matter.

So don’t fall into the trap of believing your feelings, dreams of ease, and polite words of illusions from those who don’t want to hurt your fragile ego. Whatever field you choose to become an expert, always remember who you serve and who you reflect and build your house on a solid foundation of reality.

Someone is always trying to sell you a shortcut to success. But long term, real success is primarily built on expertly serving others for their success, not yours. Take what God has given you and glorify HIM through your efforts in serving others as best as you can. Before you know it, you will be the expert others will recommend to their friends. And who knows, maybe one day you may even stand and serve before kings.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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