Power. Prestige. Possessions.

Luke 22:25-26

And he (Jesus)said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.

Luke 9:46-48

An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

Luke 12:15

And he (Jesus) said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Human desires have not changed since the first man and woman focused their primary attention on the fruit from one tree among thousands in the garden of paradise. Their desire to become like god caused them to lose the most important relationship in their life. Has anything changed since then?

You and I were designed in the image of our Creator. We are made to reflect his glory. Yet we stumble more times than not because of our ignorance of what is truly good. Instead of yielding ourselves to the authority of our Creator and waiting until HE acknowledges we are ready to accept more responsibility, we rebel because we want to do it our way now.  

In some cases, we may also hold to the false illusion we are different than others and have the capacity to better manage ourselves where they fall short. Yet time and our actions throughout history continually prove us wrong.

Somewhere I recall reading one of the self-help books where the author’s main point when selling anything to anyone was to take advantage of the need and desire people have to feel important. What life has shown me over time is some people have a greater need than others to be important in their eyes. The vicious trap of seeking self-importance through power, prestige, and possessions is the insecure game people play to compete against others for the top of the hill.

Now Jesus addresses these issues three different times with his disciples. For those who seek power, they should seek to become servants. For those who want to have the most prestigious position, they need to become like little children. And those who covet possessions, are battling against the spirit of greed within materialism and need to become rich toward God if they are going to save their soul.

The solution to break these vices are counter-intuitive to human nature. Our natural desire is for self-importance. But Jesus emphasizes humility. He instructs us to submit ourselves to HIS authority in life. When we do, HE provides us with HIS Spirit which empowers us to become more like HIM.

In HIS Kingdom, all power, prestige, and possessions belong to HIM. He is willing to share the same with others when they have the proven character to manage these items for HIS glory and for the sake of others. For example, power is typically noticed only when it is abused. In HIS Kingdom, serving others for their enrichment is the prime motivating factor. Not self-aggrandizement.

Leadership also walks in meekness. The role is to serve others, not for one’s glory, but for the glory of God and the benefit of others.

Likewise, possessions belong to King Jesus. Each child of God are stewards of HIS belongings. HE gives us the responsibility to manage them for our families and others who are in need.

HIS entire Kingdom is built upon HIS character and attributes. When we follow HIM in our walk with each other, we live in harmony with heavenly principles being acted upon on earth today. This is God’s way of living which again is counter-intuitive to human nature. To become effective saints living out God’s Way of life requires HIS Spirit and knowledge of HIM. Anything less is our guessing to live a productive life. Yes, we may become #1 in our hierarchy at the expense of all others. However, God’s way makes Jesus #1 and brings everyone else to join HIM at HIS table.

Yes, God, you, and all others participate at the victory table when we fully live out the Christian life.    

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager, Faith-Integrator, Scribbler

Available for Your Devotional Study: 

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!

Copyright 2013-Present | Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

The Real Issue

1 Corinthians 1:23

“…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles…(ESV)

Some days I shake my head in disbelief at the cultural confusion caused by illogical and unreasonable leaders pushing their personal agenda without considering the long-term consequences.

When a society bullies those who are less fortunate to maintain their positional status, then it is only time before they themselves experience the same fortune.

I remember in grade school playing a game called “king of the hill.” There was a four-foot mound of dirt that was considered the hill. Someone would stand at the top of this small hill and fight to keep everyone else off of it. The one who would knock the person off the mound would receive the right to stand on the hill and claim the kingship role. As young boys full of energy and rowdiness, we would spend lunch time pushing each other off to gain control of the top. The one who remained standing when the lunch period ended was considered the king for the day.

As an adult, I look at many of the games being played in the institutional, governmental, and business arena and I recall the king of the hill game. Young, immature boys and girls are still playing the same game, but the consequences and stakes are substantially higher. But now instead of finishing the day with a few people with torn pants and bruised shinbones, large groups of people are being displaced, families torn apart, and communities abandoned by those whom they need most.

Leaders find themselves in shock when people do not want to follow them. When leaders quit serving the people and become autocrats, they have lost their way. But even though many have told them that, they do not want to relinquish their position at the top of the hill. Instead, they keep fighting to stay at the top.

At the end of the day, I am more sure than ever before of the importance of Jesus Christ in one’s life. When you meet people who have accepted being accountability to Him, their lives take on a whole new venue. They are no longer blinded by their carnal desires. Instead, a new Spirit of service toward others and trust in a Master Designer who we call God has a purpose which He gladly shares with us, and we are humbly grateful for this opportunity.

Yes, many who do not know Him continue their blatantly destructive ways because He doesn’t have what they want. Rather than pursue Him and put Him to the test, they rely on their self-importance to get what they want from life – no matter who or what they have to destroy along the way.

Yes, the real issue is choosing to follow Him or not. For those who have chosen, they have found a richer meaning to life that pleasures of money or power, or fame cannot even come close to duplicate. For those who have not decided to follow the King of Kings, they keep stumbling around, showcasing their ignorance as brilliance, and fearful someone will soon knock them off the top of their hill.

Keep preaching Christ through your actions. Maybe use a few words when necessary. And hopefully, those around you will soon realize what the real issue is and make the decision to accept the reality of Jesus Christ. Yes, the Jewish faith can’t accept HIS accomplishment on the cross and likewise the Gentiles find the cross to be mentally foolish, but for those who acknowledge Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross can only marvel and humbly submit themselves under HIS authority.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager, Faith-Integrator, Scribbler

Available for Your Devotional Study: 

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!

Copyright 2013-Present | Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Satan’s Game Plan

John 8:44

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…

You may not believe in a devil. You may not believe in conspiracies. But Jesus does. In both of these Scriptures, Jesus outlines the characteristics of someone who lives outside of God’s divine nature and is scheming to destroy humanity. He is the devil. God’s adversary.

If you want to personify a person who is anti-God, the devil is your role model. Satan (the chief devil) lives life opposing God. His behavior and fundamental approach to life produces chaos. Unlike God whose character demonstrates harmony and order, the devil is everything opposite HIM.

God’s divine nature is built on truth which allows freedom, trust, and relationships to bloom. Satan’s way distorts reality, causes doubts, and subversives unity between people.

The Bible outlines God’s macro plan to adopt a family into the inner circle of the Triune life. Satan understands God’s purpose and angerly seeks ways to prevent humanity from participating with HIM. In fact, the devil seeks people to associate with him in the destruction of God’s plan.

He (devil) persuades others to pattern their life after his character. He naturally lies without concern for others. His natural tendency causes confusion, removes fundamental stability, and produces fear in the hearts of the spiritual weak. The more he can keep people’s minds away from the Triune God, the easier his work is magnified.

He (devil) is a natural thief. He only knows how to steal. Work is an allergy he avoids. He cannot build anything of long-term value. He takes from others and justifies his motives. His policies deliberately destroy lives. Wherever he can eliminate a life, he targets. In his eyes, life is not precious but an object to eliminate.

He is evil personified. The opposite of God. He allows us to witness the difference between beauty and ugly, harmony and disorder, flourishment and poverty, joy and indifference, purpose and wandering, diligence and laziness, humility and pride, servant-leadership and tyranny, peace and war, fulfillment and emptiness, etc. Whatever is good, comes from God. Whatever is evil, is a byproduct of the devil’s intentions.

The Book of Revelation highlights Satan’s end. Until then, God’s plan for humanity allows Satan to roam the earth causing havoc. Yet when we realize his nature and game plan, we are able to compare the surpassing ways of Almighty God with the destructive tendencies of Satan. Yes, choosing God’s Way is easier when one can repeatedly compare the outcome of divine nature against the devil’s character under historical evidence. Maybe that is why God allows Satan to continue his torrid ways.

When you know the devil’s routine, you can more easily ignore him by living under the authority of Christ. When we allow Jesus to confront the devil’s work before us, they flee. But if one does not live under the authority of Christ, then they are fair game for Satan to unleash his devious wrath upon them. Be safe and allow the love and hope of Jesus Christ always lead you. Let the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18) be your strong defense against the schemes of the devil to stand firm.

Remember, when history is completed, the evidence as prophesied in the last chapters of Revelation show God and humanity wins, Satan loses.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager, Faith-Integrator, Scribbler

Available for Your Devotional Study: 

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!

Copyright 2013-Present | Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved