Comparison Trap

2 Corinthians 10:12

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

Who do you compare yourself with?  Your neighbors?  Work associates? Family members? Your peers?

How does that make you feel? Superior? Proud? Or Cast down? Disappointed?

Comparing yourself one to another only leads to frustration and self-pity or if you are one of the select few, pompous and arrogant. It may take time or may occur immediately, but the end result is realizing we all don’t have it. Someone will always be #1 in your industry, your peer group, and your family. But eventually #1 takes a back seat to someone else in due time.

However, when you truly realize you are included in Jesus Christ which means your identity is found solely in HIM, you can breathe a sense of fresh air knowing you are worth more than you believe, and possibly if you hold a high opinion of yourself, less than what you believe. Jesus Christ evens out the playing field.

In Christ, we all have what God designed us for. He designed us for good work and equip us with the necessary abilities for successful fulfilling His desires for us. When you realize each of us are uniquely empowered to glorify God in our work, relationships, and conduct, the praise goes to Him and not ourselves. Only God truly knows the effort we have employed to take our natural abilities and align them with Him in support of His kingdom.

For example, John the Baptist’s public ministry preceded Jesus and was very short term – approximately one year. Yet he even realized that his service was secondary to Jesus and even commented that his ministry must decline so Jesus’ may increase. He didn’t get caught up with the comparison trap but instead fulfilled his unorthodox mission and gladly stood aside for God’s glory. Jesus’ own reply paid greater homage to John stating that no prophet was greater than him.

So, when you view the pages of your Facebook friends, or your associate gets the promotion you sincerely desired, or your neighbor drives home with a brand-new sports car that you always wanted, thank God. Thank God for your friends, associates, and neighbors, For, without them, you wouldn’t recognize how God’s Spirit of love was lacking in your heart without these events occurring. Thank God to make you aware so you can draw closer to Him until He becomes your prime joy and measurement of comparison. Then you will learn to walk humbly with your Lord, and serve Him, without expecting anything in return but to experience the love, joy, and generosity of your Creator. 

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

Church Trap

Matthew 6:24

No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and Mammon.

Are you serving the Church or the institution? Are you serving the Church, or yourself? Are you serving the Church or Christ? These three questions I have asked of myself a number of times over the years. And I didn’t like the answer most of the time.

When you truly understand Church are people and not the building, nor institution, nor any denomination, then you have a better grasp than I had back then. Over the years I have witness many heart-driven, God-loving servants slowly change their demeanor as they begin serving within their faith communities. Initially, their attitude is child-like and open to helping out wherever. But over time, as they are drawn into the various responsibilities of operating an institution, the business side begins to over shadow the people’s needs.

The A.B.C.s of operating a Church begins to become the measurement of success and the idolatry of self-importance. Attendance, Baptisms, and Cash become the units of measurement. Church slowly becomes a weekend hobby or sport to impose their brilliance in operations. People become the means of stroking their personal insecurities. Christ is no longer the center of anything but an icon to get what they want.

Transactional thinking becomes the norm. Relational giving a façade. The intense need to collect funds for large building debt and salaries becomes the principle driving force for weekend services. The gospel message doesn’t become the goal to communicate but the means for self-preservation. The switch from serving people for the Lord’s sake to serving a dream or goal for self-sake happens so quickly that most of us didn’t know it happened until 20/20 hindsight kicked us in the behind.

You cannot serve God and money without one having a greater priority than the other. Whether we act within our families, business, or the Church, the truth always is revealed through the actions of the heart moving the hands and head away from God. We can justify and put a spin at the moment of decision-time, but the truth eventually will slap us in the face.

Church is people serving people as the hands and feet of our Lord. Jesus Christ is the central-core of every meeting between two or more saints. The purpose of the Church is not the self-aggrandizement of the institution, but the love, freedom, and spiritual development of God’s children serving others as Christ serves us.

The trap is when all the activities, rituals, and traditions become the central-meaning of people gathering together rather than allowing the life-giving Spirit conduct God’s work in and through his people. When the trap door of cultural influence dictates the interpretation of Scripture rather than the proven historical facts built on the text, than in hindsight people wonder why their affairs are in a mesh. Whenever Jesus Christ is not the center of one’s motives, actions, and thoughts, the trap door initially looks very enticing but eventually leads to an empty grave.

So be involved with a faith community, but don’t get pulled away from who you are truly serving – Jesus Christ. Keep Him the as the central-core wherever you go and whatever you do and you will experience His abundance and not get trapped into the political, business side of Church. That is why I enjoy listening to the music group Newsboys sing one of my favorites “Wherever We Go.”  The words remind me what life is like when Jesus Christ is my central-core wherever I go.  I left the link below for those who enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music.

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

What Does the Bible Say About the Resurrection of the Dead?

RESURRECTION 2

I Peter 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for  you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

 *****

Matt. 22:29-32
Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.  At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 

 *****

John 11:24-26
Martha answered, “I know he (Lazarus) will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 *****

I Cor 15:12-57
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.  But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own turn: Christ, the first-fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  For he “has put everything under his feet.”  Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.  When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made  subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?  If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?  And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?  I die every day – I mean that, brothers – just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.  If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained?  If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God – I say this to your shame.  But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”  How foolish!  What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.  All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.  There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies in another.  The sum has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and the star differs from star in splendor.So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.   If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  So it is written: “The first Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.  The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.  The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.  And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, not does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.””Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!   He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 *****

Rev 20:4-6
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.  And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.  They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands.  They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

 *****

Acts 17:18-19
They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

 *****

Phil 3:10-11
I (Paul) want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

 *****

Acts 4:1-2
They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

 *****

Luke 20:35-36
But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels.  They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.

 *****

Luke 14:13-14
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

*****

How does your theology explain life after death in comparison with the resurrection from the dead?

All scripture taken from the New International Version Bible unless noted.

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

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 to 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 to 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