Culture Trap

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Today’s culture is more influential than ever before. The power of the media, internet, and technology has multiplied the number of influences in our lives. One hundred years ago, children were raised by parents, grandparents, and their siblings. The negative influences were more easily pushed away and hidden from children. As the child grew, they were slowly exposed to the vices that captured a person’s soul.

Now children are bombarded with the same temptations as the adults but without the defensive capacity to manage. If adults have very little strength to push back on the negative advertisements of culture, what can we expect from our children?

Today’s culture is the elephant in the room. We walk, talk, and move about marveling and taking for granted the accomplishments of industry, business, medicine, and education. Yet, at the same time we realize there is a swaying pressure so slightly pulling us toward a way of life which looks glamorous on the outside yet we know deep inside us the emptiness will never be satisfied by the glittering promises of these false prophets.

The cultural machine never stops, slows down, nor rests. Every minute, the machine is bombarding everyone within its sight with an influential message which is design to trap oneself within its grip. If you believe the culture is your friend and wants what is best for you, you have been deceived into its trap of enslavement. Thinking you are free; you have become a prisoner of others manipulating you for their personal gain; an unknowing pawn in someone else’s game board.

Yet as parents and young adults knowing better but struggling to fine oneself through this maze of visual stimulation, vocal noise, and an overwhelming burden of constant choices, where does one go for real, solid answers?

The Bible, a collection of short stories, biographies, letters, and essays written over a 3,500-year period by various authors with a transparent collected theme from beginning to end contains more lessons of human success and failures for the student to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of how life works.

When one begins to read and learn more about God’s character between the pages, the solid values HE emphasizes for relationships, finance, business, government, etc., and the timeless wisdom repeatedly proven through faithful actions throughout history in many lives, maybe there is something our children and young adults can learn to help them lead a more abundant life than the world’s culture offers?

Yet the best advertisement is a walking billboard of what is in the Bible. Sadly, there are not many highly visible people that our children witness as role models. Maybe each of us needs to form a committee of one and become that person.

One man many years ago, when he intentionally decided he needed a mentor to help steer him through the cultural traps, he wanted the best available person. His choice? Jesus Christ.

In hindsight, one of his best decisions. How about 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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Commitment Trap

Psalm 89:8

O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you?

One of God’s attributes that I admire most is His faithfulness to humanity. He is totally committed to bring forth the family He desires.

He created a Universe and took one ball of rock in one small solar system to build humanity’s habitat. He crafted and engineered all the details with practical function and beautiful form to what we call Earth. He created various life forms small and large each operating independently but also interdependently. And to top it all off, He capped His creation with Man and Woman – made after His image.

He has a vision and a plan which He started eons of time ago and slowly moving the pieces toward His ultimate goal. We witnessed how He introduced Himself to Abraham, and then his son and grandson. As the family grew into a tribe, He continued to move among them leading each generation until they became a nation.

When Adam & Eve rebelled against God, mankind’s Sin didn’t make God flinch. He could have immediately destroyed everything and started over again. But He didn’t. Instead He promised a Messiah to restore humanity back on the track He has always planned for them.

When Jesus appeared on earth, He continued God’s plan in fulfilling the prophecies of Scripture and making humanity more aware of who God IS and His plan for mankind. Not only did Jesus restore the relationship divide between God and humanity, but He also demonstrated what God is like in His actions, words, and teachings.

Today, two thousand years later, God continues to fulfil His commitment made at the beginning of creation. He continues to direct history toward the culmination of a new age when heaven and earth will be merged together into a new world order.   

Life without commitment is a purposeless one. God demonstrates throughout history He is totally committed for our success. Every time the nation Israel messed up, He was there to brush off the pain and restore the people. Every time you and I mess up, He is there too quickly respond at our request. In fact, He has already forgiven us before we even ask Him. He is totally committed toward raising children to become mature, seasoned adults in the world tomorrow.

How committed are we in our families, marriages, and relationships? Or do we shy away to make commitments because of the work involved or the risk of failure?

If you want to live a purposeful and meaningful life, then you need to make commitments. Rarely does anything good happen without commitment. A life without commitment is an irresponsible and cowardly act built on fear and immaturity. Without commitment, wars are loss, relationships are destroyed, businesses fail, nations disappear, dreams lie empty, innovation is a fantasy, and lasting failure becomes your friend.

Jesus is our role model. He made the commitment. He left heaven for earth, lived a vicarious life for you and I, fulfilled Scripture, raised a Church, and returned to heaven actively engaged intervening for humanity working toward the culmination of all things.

Remember, commitment is not the trap. The trap is the failure of living life without commitment. So what commitment are you afraid to make?

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

Faith Trap?

Matthew 17:20

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Sometimes the simplest of concepts are difficult to grasp.

Take for example, Jesus’ statement above. He associates faith with the smallest known seed of his time. He didn’t associate faith with the seed fully grown into a mustard plant; nor did He compare faith with the seed when watered and roots are developed or leaves bloom. Instead He focused on the seed itself.

Most often, those of us in the Western world emphasize faith as a mental exercise of what we know. We hear the phrase, “grow one’s faith” and think if we spent more time reading the Word or listening to tape sermons our faith will grow. Yet, when our prayers are not answered (we think), or God is not blessing us (our opinion), we fall into the trap of thinking our faith isn’t large enough to generate the results we desire in life.

To grow one’s faith isn’t necessary a mental exercise of enlarging our “faith muscle”. Instead to grow one’s faith is more of taking what little we already know and acting on it.

The Hebrew word most often translated faith is “Emunah” (Strong’s #530). It is an action-oriented word meaning “support”. Unlike Western thinking which places the emphasis on having faith in God, the Hebrew word places the action on the one who “supports God.”  It is not knowing that God will act or can act, but rather I will do what I can to support God.

So, if you want to grow your faith, it takes more than just reading the Bible and listening to Christian music and sermon messages. It’s about taking what you already know and living it out in your daily life.

The early Church didn’t have the tools (smart phones with Bible plans, YouTube with video sermon topics, Google and blogs of Biblical knowledge) at their disposal as we have today. Instead, they took the gospel message and found ways to express God’s Way through their everyday work, speech, and relationships.

To grow one’s faith is about becoming more like Jesus in everyday life. It’s asking God how can we support His Kingdom work right now from where we are currently residing. It’s about walking and communicating with your heavenly Father on a continuous basis.

When you act upon His vision and purpose of life in your tiny corner of the world, you will find yourself growing in faith. The fruit of your actions will exhibit the depth of your faith.

Head knowledge is valuable, but not enough. Heart knowledge is more meaningful, but still not enough. Yet when both are combined with action, supporting God’s vision and purpose for life, faith comes alive and grows.  

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

Enslavement Trap?

2 Peter 2:19

…For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Who owns you?

Latest stat that I saw this weekend shows that 78% of smart phone users are drawn to pickup their device the very first thing when they wake up in the morning. This past year phone users surpassed TV as the medium of choice to connect with social media. In my early days of youth, our household was limited to one hour of television watching per day. The rest of the time we invested in exercising, reading, and socializing in person. Today’s smart phone users daily spend over three hours of their time connected with social media. Who owns who?

About 45%-55% of us take time out each year to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Halloween. The candy and flower industries love these days. And then we wonder why approximately 75% of Americans are addicted to sugar. Who owns who?

Addiction to pornography, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, sugar, gambling, sports, work, family, social media, are all symptoms of enslavement to one’s passions. There is a deep longing within us for satisfaction. King Solomon writes about the well of eternity within all of us. We want more of life but don’t know where to go for it. Instead of going to the Source of life, we dabble in physical sensations.

We long too belong, and social media gives us a small taste. So, we connect. Before long, we are ensnared into a time stealer taking us away from real connections with caring people. Who owns you?

We desire intimacy but have difficulty communicating and relating with those who are most important in our lives. Therefore, the temptation plunges us into pornography and prostitution to quickly satisfy our desires. Before long, we are trapped into more and more without ever reaching the satisfaction we seek. Who owns you?

We need to prove our self-worth and therefore join the competitive world of sports and business. We climb, sacrifice, and manipulate our way to the top of our field, only to find the itch still remains within us. We therefore chase after more and more thinking the itch will go away. But no, after accomplishing all we desire the emptiness is still there and the battle scars of broken families, busted relationships, and failing health makes one wonder was it worth it.

Who owns you?

Jesus Christ made the claim he came for all mankind. Not only to fulfill a religious promise, but to draw all humanity to him. He paid the ultimate price for you and me. So much so He received from His Father and God the title King of Kings. With that title, He also received all the land, resources, and people as His subjects. Yet God did more, He adopted humanity into His family. He chose you to belong with Him.

Our challenge is to surrender our passion and desires for Him. When we do, He replaces our misguided emotions with His attributes. His Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control begins to work within us.

When we acknowledge He owns us, we find fulfillment and satisfaction for life not in the physical commodities of everyday living, but in the relationship of knowing Him and sharing life with each other. He becomes the center of all our desires and passion. The end result is real freedom with the wisdom, truth, and teachings He leads us through. 

Whatever temporarily situation you find yourself currently battling, you don’t have to remain there. Acknowledge who truly owns you and ask Him to restore you back into His graces. Breakaway from the traps that surround you and let Him lead you to people who want to see you succeed in life rather than those who seek out to entrap you into their snares.

Jesus owns you and wants you to succeed. But you have too do it His way.

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

Prayer Trap

Mark 11:24

Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

One of the challenges we all face is reading Scripture on a stand-alone-basis. For example, when one studies prayer and God’s purpose and response to prayer, we can easily become dishearten when we rely sole on one scripture to provide us the assurance we seek.

Today’s Scripture is a good example. By itself, the words imply anything and everything you ask God from a position of total conviction will happen. Yet the many other lessons of Scripture provide a more wholistic view.

Those who preach a wealth and prosperity gospel like to use this Scripture emphasizing one’s lack of faith if your request doesn’t happen per your expectations. Yet when you look at the prayers of Paul, Jesus, and his disciples, there is a contradiction.

Paul prayed three times to have God remove the “thorns piercing his flesh”. God’s reply: “my grace is sufficient.” The prayer was answered, but not according to one’s expectations.

The disciples in their early ministry with Jesus prayed to have a child healed but failed. Jesus came over and completed the task with the remarks that some situations requires prayer and fasting.  Again, the prayer wasn’t answered according to the disciple’s desire because there was something else they needed to do. Yet the prayer was answered through Jesus’ request.

Jesus in the garden before his crucifixion prayed that his trial be removed from Him and they find another way to accomplish the goal. His request was denied by God who allowed the events to occur for fulfilling Scripture. Yet Jesus established the attitude we all need to display when praying…’Your Will Be Done.

Throughout Scripture, Jesus’ prayers were always answered. But His prayers were to serve others and glorify God in the process. Even His request to change the events of the last torturous 24 hours finalizing at his crucifixion was Him complying with the desires of His Father’s heart. Though He desired not too, He yielded to His Father’s Will.

We likewise need to be careful when praying. Instead of falling into the trap believing all unanswered prayer is due to a lack of faith denies Scripture and who God IS. All prayers are answered; may not be according to our timeline, nor according to our expectations, nor according to our words. Instead, we make our requests relying on our high priest Jesus and Holy Spirit to intervene on our behalf for the best outcome of the situation we want changed.

At times God will immediately grant you your heart’s desire. Other times you may have to wait 20, 30, or 40 years for the answer. Some times God says no. And we may never know on this side of eternity if it was for our sake He said no, or for the sake of others. What we do know, God is good and loves to answer prayers so you may come to truly know Him more and more each time.  

Yes, we believe God can do the impossible since he is the author of impossibilities. But taking into account all possible outcomes if my desire is granted, He is better at that than I because he sees the future.  I appreciate His involvement and watching out for our best. And we have also come to appreciate praying with Him for the sake of others rather than constantly asking Him to fill my cup. He does that anyway because He is Good. He is just teaching us how to be more compassionate and caring for others through our prayers.

When we pray, we touch the heart of God. The real purpose of prayer is a means of communicating and building a relationship with your Father. We experience the inner character and attributes of coming to know who He IS. When we come to realize He is not a vending machine, genie, nor Santa Claus, but the God of the universe who wants to be your loving and caring Father, prayer takes on a whole new meaning.

The basis of prayer is belief. But a belief built upon a trustful, relationship with the living God, not only for your sake, but also for the sake of others, and always for the sake of His glory.

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

Belief Trap

James 2:20

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

Salvation begins with believing Jesus Christ is who He claims to be.

Belief is more than a wish or superstition. Real belief is built on facts, logic, and experience. Yet some people, after battling and working through the reasoning process, think that is all there is. Why? Didn’t Jesus himself say that if you believe on him you will receive eternal life?

From what I remember my psychology classmates telling me, belief is the centerpiece of action. Belief leads to action. We act upon what we believe. From our central belief system lies our values and worldview. But if we believe and do not act upon those beliefs, then do we truly believe?

James writes in his letter that belief without action is dead. He likens it to the body without a spirit: dead.

Belief is demonstrated through its fruit. An orange tree may have hundreds of green balls (the real color of oranges before the factories paint them for resale to the public) hanging on its branches, but when you take one from the tree and begin to peel it only to find dryness in the inside, don’t you throw it away? It may look like an orange hanging on the tree with other oranges, but is it a healthy orange?

Belief in Jesus Christ is like taking an escalator in a high-rise shopping mall. We start on the first floor and the moving steps take us higher unto other floors with more stores to discover. After we experience the 2nd floor, we take the escalator up to the next floor, and the next floor, and the next floor, where we discover more. Belief in Jesus Christ is, in a poor analogy, the escalator that takes you to places where you can experience real life.

Real life begins with believing Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised to the Jewish and Gentile nation back when Adam and Eve were discharged from the garden. When that fact hits us in the head and heart, our values and worldview begin to change and leads us to action which demonstrate our belief in Jesus Christ as King and Savior. Yet inaction may not tell the whole story on some who believe but are frozen from doing good work. Some may believe but be lazy; a character flaw. Others may believe, but are ensnared by the world’s glitter. And others may believe, but be angry with God and like a 2-year-old still pouting in the corner until lesson learned.  So, we need to be extra careful and not condemn the heart of others. Instead, let’s first pray for our brothers and sisters and let God lead us how best to relate with them. Maybe God will open a door for you to discuss the situation and help restore your sister/brother into a closer relationship with Him. Or bring another solution for their struggle. Either way, if God makes you aware of a problem, He will lead you.

Is that not what turning belief into action all about? Therefore, doesn’t our actions demonstrate our beliefs?

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

Greed Trap

Psalm 10:3

For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.

Somewhere I wrote a blog how marriage, ballroom dancing, and day trading has taught me more about God than all the other activities combined. When it comes to greed, trading the future markets with its quick turns and higher volatility easily brings out the best and worst of one’s character traits. As many a book records, two of the strongest emotions for day traders to manage are greed and fear.

Most traders eventually over time and practice learn to understand the markets, the setups, and the indicators they choose to use. Yet annually over 94% of traders will close their brokerage accounts within six months because they have run out of funds. The primary cause? They haven’t mastered their emotions.

Greed and fear are two opposites of the same coin. Both will throw you off your game. When you see your money plumbing downward in a spiral, many traders panic and get out taking a financial hit in the process. On the other hand, traders also try to squeeze out every penny of an upward move not knowing when enough is enough. Of the two emotions, most successful day traders will acknowledge greed is a bigger problem than fear.

If fear was their problem, they wouldn’t even attempt to play the markets. But with superb confidence in themselves, they jump in with all their bank accounts under the illusion this will be easy like everything else they have attempted and achieved. Being honest with oneself as one trades, will quickly allow reality teach lessons of life along with a greater respect for the markets.

Greed blinds oneself from reality. The desire for more, and more, without contentment places the focus on gain rather than mastering the process. The greed desire un-managed makes everything around you unimportant; including God, health, and family/friends. Time escapes into a greed trap where life becomes an addictive game of more, and more, and more for no greater purpose but to accumulate. Instead of enjoying freedom and its fruit, greed enslaves oneself within the limited confines of hell.

Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes greed is chasing after wind. You cannot ever catch it.

Jesus even commented on the subject when he stated “how does it profit someone to gain the whole world but to lose one’s soul”.

The objective is to better manage the ugly desire whenever it makes its appearance. One of the better disciplines to practice if you need help to better manage the greed desire is to practice giving without conditions. Whether you practice tithing or simply ask God to help you become a generous giver, you open the lid of the greed box and share yourself through your gain for the benefit of others who can’t ever repay you. When you realize you don’t need more stuff, but only enough, and you redirect your focus unto Jesus, then you will discover what He is trying to teach us all: life is more than having everything we desire; its about serving Him in His Kingdom for the sake of 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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved