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

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Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Biblical Bias

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28 ESV.

We all read Scripture from a personal bias. Which leads to the question, “what is yours?”  Over the years in different seasons of life, we probably have read the Bible from multiple worldviews. Most of us initially read Scriptures from a 21st Century western civilization thought pattern. Eventually over time, we may start to read the Word from a Jewish Christian perspective. Then again, others may read from a feminist or humanistic platform. Than others from a denominational background. Or more prevalent today, from a combination of multiple-denominational and non-denominational teachings. The question for today though is “what is your personal bias?”

It is good to know for two reasons. One, it helps you identify different positions that your brothers and sisters in the Lord have taken; and secondly, it helps you to stay humble realizing that there is a possibility you may be in error and therefore be open to learn from others.

Today I lean heavily toward a Jesus Centered, Incarnate Triune God worldview. This is my bias. So when I read Scripture, I use this as my filter to clarify those difficult sections and gain more knowledge and understanding of who Jesus is in relationship with His Father and with humanity.

For example, take the Scripture, “Greet one another with a holy kiss (Rom.16:16).” Depending on one’s view, a different understanding will arise on what a holy kiss looks like. Some of our Arminian friends may explain it as a righteous kiss since they associate holiness with righteousness. Again, our humanistic or feminist sister may view a holy kiss as one with passion or maybe one that shows respect toward others. Then again, some of our denominational buddies would say it is a command and should be done today. Others agree but establish other norms such as no kissing between the sexes. Some say it was a custom of Biblical times but in the western civilization of the 21st century we may shake hands or hug to show the same love and respect the holy kiss is meant to portray.

No matter one’s preference, one still needs to understand the culture of the time period being covered to determine the application for today’s Believer. Some principles are eternal and others are for specific events and times. The kiss is still the cultural norm in the middle-eastern countries today where men and women greet one another with a kiss on both cheeks. However in America, we typically hug or shake hands depending on how well we know the other party. So no matter what your preference, the principle is to extend a Godly greeting to the other. Since God is holy and holiness is a combination of love, joy, kindness, gentleness, and self-control (among a multitude of other positive attributes), the holy kiss of the 1st century is still a holy greeting in the 21st century. The attitude and heart of the greeting is the measuring stick; not the mechanical means employed.

So what does this all mean?  Simply know your bias and recognize the bias of others when you read and employ the Scripture in everyday life.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Discipleship 360
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Are You Stealing From God?

“You shall not steal. Exodus 20:15 ESV.

steal 1

When Sin is only the breaking of a principle or rule, it makes the transaction non-personal. However, when Sin breaks into the life of another person, than it becomes a relational issue.  It wasn’t until I saw Sin as doing damage between God and people that I made the firm commitment to stop hurting others in my world.

More so, when I realized that Sin is stealing from God’s goodness, I shuttered in horror.

In addition, when I realized that Sin is also stealing from my mate and daughter and brothers and parents and friends, I quickly repented and cried out for help.

We do not want to hurt the ones we love. In fact, we want to honor them and bless them with everything good within our means. So when we “break” one of the commandments of God it is no longer me just trying to manage another item. Instead, I now realize we are hurting others who may not even know of the situation but are simply the victim of my poor choices.

How long do you think we can go on stealing from God and succeed in life?

How long do you think we can go on stealing from our love ones and succeed in life?

How long do you think we can go on stealing from others and succeed in life?

You may see Stealing as a short-term solution to your current problem. However the long term impact is always more costly. Instead, do the more honorable thing. Do what is right before God. The consequences of not respecting God’s will is more painful in the long term than the short term inconvenience you may have to suffer. Sin is never a good thing.  It always negatively impacts your life and the lives of others.  You may not see it immediately, but in hindsight, you will only wish you could replay the event over again. Therefore why not choose the more honorable path today?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

Why God Allows Tribulations?

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold… He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. Job 23: 10, 14 NIV.

tests 1Earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes are some of the natural disasters that keep recurring throughout the world. Terrorist attacks, gang rapes, and robbery is a daily feature in the news. Divorce, unemployment, and poverty are social ills that continue plague mankind. Cancer, heart attacks, and unknown diseases hit homes each day. Accidents, thievery, and conflict occurs within our communities. There is no escape from the many trials and tests that life throws our way. But why?

Some say it is because of sin. Others because of our stupidity. And others still because of time and chance. Whatever the reason, if God is sovereign then why does He allow us unwanted trials?

Could it be maybe that God allows challenges in our life so something more positive may come from it? When times become tough, how do we respond? Do we toughen ourselves up, pick up our bootstraps and keep plugging away? Or do we finally admit to ourselves that we can’t do it any longer? That we are at the end of our hope. Without a miracle, “we can’t make it” becomes the focus. Then what happens? Suddenly, or maybe even decades later, circumstances,  people, or events occur that change everything. You are out of the mess you were in, and you don’t even know how to explain it to others.

How else does one become closer to God except when the bad times roll through? Maybe this is too simple for most, but isn’t it the trials and tests that allow us to either walk with God or run away from Him? When we choose to lean on Him, does He take the opportunity to build the faith he has given us by fixing the situation? Doesn’t He use these circumstances to transform our hearts and minds to become more like Christ? Maybe everything is not yet perfectly like we would want it, but one has to admit, it is better than before.

Life constantly throws lemons at us so we can learn how to make lemonade. We learn to make lemonade by leaning and walking with our Father-Son-Spirit. That relationship becomes closer, deeper, and more impactful as a result of surrendering the self and allowing the Triune God to lead us through the difficult maze we are seeking to come out of. Life is more about strengthening the relationship between God and you, than our comfort, pleasure, and goals. We are all being prepared to lead and serve for eternity as His children in His Kingdom. Today’s challenges are tomorrows trophies.

This may not take the pain away from your current ordeal. But at least you now know there is a greater reason and purpose for transforming lemons into lemonade.  It’s not about the drink, but the relationship that grows from it.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

 

How Do Blessings Come To You?

               In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Philippians 2:5 NIV

relate 1

Ever notice how God’s blessings come through relationships? The riches He shares with us are typically presented to us via people. If it weren’t people, how many of us would truly experience the vast array of God’s love-based arsenal?

Whether we are speaking about the relationship built within the bonds of marriage  and family, or the network operating within the business or social community, people are the means that God shares his attributes and wealth. Likewise, God works with people to disciple us, discipline us, and uplift us. He inspires people to share their personal wealth with us. He encourages people to reach out and support you & I during times of pain. He brings people into our circle to help us along the way.

When Moses was chosen by God to lead the Israelite’s out of Egypt, He brought Aaron along to assist him. When Ruth and Naomi found themselves without husbands and children, God brought them to a land to meet kinsman Boaz. When Saul became Paul in his early conversion, believers were unsure of his faith, so God brought Barnabas to him.

Throughout life, whether you lean on God or not, he brings people into your world at a time when you need help.

So cherish those around you. Greet everyone you meet as a brother or sister in Christ. Learn to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in your life. You may find yourself one day being a conduit for the living God as He blesses others through you.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

Education or Indoctrination?

“Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.”  And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matt. 13:51-52 ESV.

educate 7

It is rare today to meet an educated person. Yes, many people have college degrees. Many people have access to the internet with its smorgasbord of information. But most people we meet are like Johnny One Notes.

They like to sing but only know one song and that song only has one key. They fall in love with it and fail to realize that each note on a music scale has a purpose. There is great variety and options when one becomes expose to the vast array of music sounds. But if the only experience one receives is playing one note, how will they ever experience the classical masterpieces of yesterday? How will they ever enjoy the new sounds that are waiting in the future? Yet if one hasn’t been exposed to the great variety of choices, one will never know.

This is true in music and it is true in education. Most college students will enter the world with ideological ideas centered around a humanistic approach with life. Their center of the universe is themselves. Their code of conduct is based on personal experience. They have been indoctrinated with a philosophy of business, science, and humanities that excludes a Creator God.

When God is removed from the picture, people are left to design their personal faith. Generally speaking, that faith is built on their perception of reality. Truth becomes subjective. The old traditional values that have proven themselves over time are totally discarded. Instead, “if it is new, it must be better” is the mantra of each new generation.

Rather than exercise wisdom gain through the understanding of sound knowledge, feelings rule. “If it feels good, than let’s do it” becomes the pervasive religion. Who cares about the consequences. Or better yet, “I’m different. That doesn’t apply to me.”

If one wants to truly experience a taste of God’s Kingdom today, one must be willing to accept and apply the proven traditions of yesterday along with the Spirit led revelations of today and tomorrow. Jesus is making everything new. Yet the timeline of history teaches us that there is nothing really new today compared with yesterday when it comes to human nature and man’s relationship with the great Designer of Life.

Maybe you think you are the person who will prove me wrong. But Truth will always prove to be true. Our perception may change, but reality remains the same. We need not fear something new. Instead, we need to broaden our horizon, acquire the necessary knowledge and wisdom, and diligently walk with the God who created education. He is the source of all knowledge. He knows what is good for us and what causes harm. Don’t be like most of the educated and uneducated people in today’s world: trying to make it on their own. Instead of being indoctrinated in today’s cultural bias, maybe it’s time to become truly educated. It begins at the feet of the Great Designer of Life.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

Who Is God?

 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”  And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. Mark 8:28-33 ESV.

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Our concept of God most likely is incorrect. Peter’s was when he rebuked Jesus for portraying a Messiah that was not in agreement with his beliefs.

As the above Scripture indicates, Jesus asked the “Who Am I” identity question to his disciples. Peter correctly answered. However his concept of Messiah (Hebrew translation) or Christ (Greek translation) was distorted. He was taught and read only the Scriptures that identified the Messiah as a conquering hero. A person who was coming to re-establish Israel as the mighty empire it once was like during Solomon’s reign. So when Jesus revealed that he was going to suffer, die, and be resurrected, Peter confronted and tried to incorrectly correct Jesus.

Jesus’ reply must have caused whiplash to Peter’s mind. For Jesus sharply pointed out that his concept of who the Messiah is was incorrect. That Peter’s concept was the image of man’s interpretation based on humanity’s desires instead of the reality of God.

How many of us have the same, academic, partial portrait of God? We may read what others say about God. We may hear what others say about God. And we may even have our personal, third dimension perspective of Him. Yet, how many of us have a real, face-to-face, personal relationship with Him? How many of us know Him as we know our most intimate buddy? Not what people say about her, but what you have discovered yourself while sharing life together. Isn’t that what Jesus referred too when he corrected Peter?

Yes, Jesus is going to suffer, die, and be resurrected Peter. He is not going to play along with your distorted view of reality. Instead He wants you to hang out with him and experience a deep, abiding relationship with each other. Only when you live with a person will you learn what they are truly like.

Jesus the man was the perfect reflection of who God is. That is because Jesus the divine was God in the flesh. Peter’s perspective was a distorted view of who he perceived the Christ to be. How about you and I? Do we truly know who God is?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!