DOES JESUS RECOGNIZE YOU?

PRAY 9

Dear Wonderful Dad:

You are my success, joy, and recognition in everything I do. You surround me with your Grace and Presence each and every day. You give me more than I deserve. You make my cup overflow with your abundant riches.     Everything I own is a loan from you. You created everything for us to share in and we likewise share it with others. Without you there is nothing worth owning, possessing, or having. You add value to everything because you created value. I can never express my gratitude and thankfulness for your involvement in my life. Everything is because of you.

 

If I have not express my thanks to you today, let me say thank you again and again. If I have already expressed  my  thanks  to  you today, express it again. There is not enough time in a day to thank you for your Grace, your Gifts, but more importantly just knowing you. We humbly thank you and express our gratitude.

 

Thank you, Jesus.

 

 word 14

 

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  Luke 6:46

 

“>Why do you serve?

 

Do you want to let the world know how good of a person you are? Does it make you feel important? Or is it just a part of your nature? Do you truly believe it is more blessed to give than receive?

 

I just finished reading an old Discipleship Journal magazine which had an article entitled “Secret Service.” The article outlined how a few Christ-followers are serving others incognito. They practice the scripture of not letting your right-hand know what your other hand is doing in serving others. When they help others they do it either through a third party or in secret. At the end of the day, all glory goes to God and the act. They just receive the personal satisfaction of helping others without the fanfare. I love it.

Was Jesus’ primary attitude to draw attention to Him or to help others for their sake with as little fanfare as possible? Did Jesus die for us because He wanted to achieve personal glory or because He Loves us? When He walked the earth, who did He give the glory to?

 

As His disciple, I have learned that the glory and honor belongs to Jesus, my Heavenly Dad, and the Holy Spirit. All the glory and praise is God’s. I have come to realize that everything I accomplish, whether in service or for personal gain, I achieve only because of God’s grace. For starters, He gives me life itself. He gives me the air to breathe, makes my heart tick, and mind to operate effectively (unless I damage it). He  gives  me  His  Spirit  of compassion  and love. He allows me to work and earn an income. He allowed me to be born in America, the land of physical wealth and personal freedom. He blesses me so I can bless others. He provides me the opportunities to serve. He teaches me the joy and privilege of serving. No wonder all the praises and glory go to Him. Everything begins and ends with Him.

 

We don’t need  the  recognition  anymore.  Our recognition  comes from Him. We are His disciples and He takes exceptionally good care of us. All recognition goes to Him.

 

 

Dr. Mike

 

FAITH IN WHAT?

Whenever someone says that they have faith, the question arises, “faith in what or whom?”

If you probe enough in a person’s narrative, you will find the worldview that the person builds their reality from.  Is their foundation for “faith” in happen-chance? a “faith” in self? a “faith” in another person? a “faith” in “big brother?” or a “faith” in “karma?” Wherever the faith is focused toward reveals the person’s source of life and their reality.

In political slogans, we are asked to have faith. In business circles, we are asked to have faith. In relationships, we are asked to have faith. Faith is one of those words that has become a generic, abused child. However, when faith is properly employed, reality becomes more real in a person’s life. When faith is built on a true, solid foundation than kingdom reality becomes a life-giving source that makes oneself and those around him/her to flourish.

If someone is looking for a Biblical definition of faith, check out chapter eleven of Hebrews. If you want a another practical definition, substitute the words belief and trust in the work of the Triune God every time you come across the faith word. It will give you a more precise meaning of the word faith as used in scripture. But for those whose basis is not scripture, faith is only an empty cliché to distort the power and grace of God. Yet be not surprised, Biblical words and concepts have slowly eroded over time to become a water down version of its original meaning. That is why we all need to become practicing theologians to some degree.

faith

My belief and trust is in Jesus Christ. He allows us to take part with Him in His story which is restoring creation back to God’s original intent. He has my back. My belief and trust is built on His faith, His work of salvation, His plans for humanity, and His ability to make it all happen for  His goodness and the goodness of all under His dominion.

So the next time you hear someone mention faith, be sure you both have the same definition of faith in mind. Otherwise, who is being radical and missing out in the enjoyment of life in Christ?

Dr. Mike

MINISTRY INSIGHTS FROM A TENT MAKER

 theology 6

Paul worked for 1 ½ years with a husband and wife team (Aquila and Priscilla) while conducting missionary work in Corinth (Acts 18:2).  While working as a tent maker, he continued to teach the Word in the local synagogue.  It is of interest how he employed the word “work” throughout his life and teachings, especially in relationship to what God is doing and what His people are doing.  The importance of work is highlighted throughout his letters.

Luke quotes Paul in Acts 20:32-35, ”You yourselves know that these hands of  mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give, than to receive.'”

In the letter from Ephesians 4:28 Paul writes, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. In 1 Thess 4:11-12 he writes, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

In the above scriptures Paul emphasized the point of working to support oneself and one’s family rather than live as a beggar dependent on others for necessities. Paul himself demonstrated the importance of having a skill (tent making) that provides a service to others (shelter) and a livelihood for oneself. A Christian is to gladly work “unto the Lord” (Col 3:22-24).  The work one does should not glorify oneself, but God.  In addition, the work should be a means to provide for those less fortunate – “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Also, as work relates to fulfilling God’s plan, He writes in Titus 1:7 that “an overseer is entrusted with God’s work.” Barnabas and Paul was set apart by the Holy Spirit for this work (Act 13:2-3). And not only were they commissioned for this work, but had to support themselves in the process (I Cor 9:6).  He again writes how one’s work for the Lord must stand the test of trials, difficulties, problems,  especially when we shall all be evaluated at the end of this age (I Cor 3:10-15).

He was primarily focused on the Lord’s work and only labored to support himself and his team, not to gain riches. He practiced what he preached.  The work of the Lord was the priority in his life and for all those that the Lord calls (I Cor 15:58, 16:9,10).  While working his craft, he contemplated and compared the physical craft of tent making to the spiritual work God is completing in us as a church and as an individual. His analogy of the body working together as a team with all its parts supporting one another is but one example of lessons learned while working (I Cor 12:12-13).

All tent-makers need to stand up and rejoice.  It is an example for all people everywhere that the craft, skill, profession, and work we perform is more than just to feed ourselves.  It’s a means of grace that we practice.  When we work, we are able to support those less fortunate than ourselves and therefore practice love of our neighbor.  When we work, we learn how God operates in our lives.  When we work, we are able to compare and better understand the spiritual realities we face each day.  When we work, we are able to express ourselves by the results of our labor.  When we work, we contribute to the community we reside in.  There are many valuable lessons we learn while we work. To paraphrase Jesus, “God works, and so do I.”

What other insights of ministry do you think Paul may have received while engaged as a tent maker?

Dr. Mike

ENJOYMENT WITH PURPOSE

<!–[endif]–>

truth 7

Someone asked me this question other day; “isn’t enjoying life in Christ just being narcistic?” I had to smile and then refrain from going into a one hour sermon on the blessings of life in Christ. However, I could understand his/her dilemma. In our culture today, which is very probably more self-absorbent than our forefathers, being joyous is sometimes associated with having everything we want, when we want it, and how we want it. However, life in Christ is just the opposite when compared to the up-side down world we live in.

Enjoyment is learning to live with God in the center of everything we do. It is enjoying His creation and realizing the purpose behind it. It is being a faithful steward. It is realizing that God created everything in this world to be enjoyed and shared with others. He inspired Solomon to write that what is enjoyable for humanity is to experience gladness with the basic routines of life that includes eating, drinking, and working. The one who finds a good mate likewise receives a gift from God. That everything made under the sun was created for mankind’s enjoyment. The problem of course is the sinful nature that leads us to rebel against God’s ways. Because of sin and its effect upon a broken world, much of what God created for good becomes perverted and harmful against oneself and others.

Now we are not condoning harming others for our joy.  Real joy harms no one. Real joy uplifts the spirit and inspires everyone around. Real joy reminds us that God is good, loving, and full of radiant life himself. That He created everything to share with us. That everything He made was very good and for our good. Joy is one of the attributes of the Spirit. As the Spirit lives in us, His character, attitude, and divine nature rubs off against us, and like a contagious virus that fights against bacteria, His Spirit influences and impacts us along the way.

My apology for those who I may have offended by enjoying the life God has made for me.  My prayer is that our Triune God may likewise create a new heart in you so that your joy may likewise be full.

Enjoying Life in Christ,

Dr. Mike

IF HEAVEN IS THE GOAL…

Dear Heavenly Dad:

Thank you for giving us a reason, a purpose, a destination to live for. Apart from you there is nothing of value worth pursuing in this life. We long and wait for our time with you in our new body and eternal habitat.

 

Help me to continually capture the vision and peace of your heavenly domain. Let it reside in me today. We live in the midst of eternity today. Help us to live each day in your kingdom as Jesus lived while serving you on earth.

 

We await our time when we may see you as you are; without physical limitations. Keep us in your arms. Keep us on track. Keep us focused. Thank you, Jesus.

 word 14

“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that whereIam, there you may be also.” John 14:3

 

 

     What is your definition of heaven? Is it a place from where God rules the universe? Is it where the angels reside with God? Is it the place  where our souls go after our physical  death? Is it another dimension? Is it located near the north star?

 

     Jesus spoke about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. Are they different places or the same? He described heaven as having many rooms as a mansion. In the Book of Revelation, heaven is described merging together and residing on the new earth. One recent song describes heaven on earth is Jesus Christ. Some feel that heaven is only having a relationship with God. Others feel that heaven is a figment of one’s superstitious mind. There are many other concepts of heaven. What is yours?

    The best description of heaven that we have, of course, is found in the Word. I don’t know anyone personally who has gone to heaven and returned to describe it to me with the exception of Jesus and the inspired writers of the Word. Yet, as a Christ-follower, it is the end result of my life. It is the focus of my energy and the belief of my trust in Jesus that makes me pursue it with my whole being. As a Christ-follower, I have come to learn that faith not only moves mountains but also crystallizes hope in God; a hope in a generous God still creating His masterpiece. Not a physical masterpiece, but a spiritual masterpiece; a spiritual, eternal home for all His children to rule and minister with Him the work that He has planned from the foundation of creation.

     Heaven is God’s home from where He conducts His business of running the universe. Whatever description I have come up with is limited based on my physical senses and understanding. I know based on the Word that one must be born with a spiritual body to reside there. That of course means a body that is built to last for all eternity. I know that we will see Jesus as He currently is in all power and majesty as described in The Book of Revelation.

As a disciple of His, my goal is to be with Him.  It  doesn’t matter where or when. My only concern is that it will be. Some of my brothers make a strong issue of when. They argue that immediately after death one’s soul goes directly to heaven. Others feel that at death one’s soul sleeps until the resurrection. Both arguments can be substantiated through scripture. Which is the correct answer though will only be resolve after our physical life is over. Until then, does it really matter? Again, my only desire is to be with Him now and for all eternity. The little details will take care of themselves through time. Heaven is the goal.

Dr. Mike

WHERE DOES YOUR RECOGNIZATION COME FROM?

A DISCIPLE’S PRAYER
PRAY 9

Dear Wonderful Dad:
You are my success, joy, and recognition in everything I do. You surround me with your Grace and Presence each and every day. You give me more than I deserve. You make my cup overflow with your abundant riches. Everything I own is a loan from you. You created everything for us to share in and we likewise share it with others. Without you there is nothing worth owning, possessing, or having. You add value to everything because you created value. I can never express my gratitude and thankfulness for your involvement in my life. Everything is because of you.

If I have not express my thanks to you today, let me say thank you again and again. If I have already expressed my thanks to you today, express it again. There is not enough time in a day to thank you for your Grace, your Gifts, but more importantly just knowing you. We humbly thank you and express our gratitude.

word 14

 

“so we, who are many, are one body in Christ,
and individually members one of another.”
Romans 12:5

Why do you serve? Do you want to let the world know how good of a person you are? Does ii make you feel important? Or is it just a part of your nature? Do you truly believe it is more blessed to give than receive?
 

I just finished reading an old Discipleship Journal magazine which had an article entitled “Secret Service.” The article outlined how a few Christ-followers are serving others incognito. They practice the scripture of not letting your right-hand know what your other hand is doing in serving others. When they help others they do it either through a third party or in secret. At the end of the day, all glory goes to God and the act. They just receive the personal satisfaction of helping others without the fanfare. I love it.
 

Was Jesus’ primary attitude to draw attention to Him or to help others for their sake with as little fanfare as possible? Did Jesus die for us because He wanted to achieve personal glory or because He Loves us? When He walked the earth, who did He give the glory to?
 

As His disciple, I have learned that the glory and honor belongs to Jesus, my Heavenly Dad, and the Holy Spirit. All the glory and praise is God’s. I have come to realize that everything I accomplish, whether in service or for personal gain, I achieve only because of God’s grace. For starters, He gives me life itself. He gives me the air to breathe, makes my heart tick, and mind to operate effectively (unless I damage it). He gives me His Spirit of compassion and love. He allows me to work and earn an income. He allowed me to be born in America, the land of physical wealth and personal freedom. He blesses me so I can bless others. He provides me the opportunities to serve. He teaches me the joy and privilege of serving. No wonder all the praises and glory go to Him. Everything begins and ends with Him.
 

I don’t need the recognition anymore. My recognition comes from Him. I am His disciple and He takes exceptionally good care of me. All recognition goes to Him. What about you? Where are you in your relationship with Jesus?

 

Dr. Mike

 

DOES BEING WRONG EVER PRODUCE BETTER FRUIT?

Our Righteous, Loving Dad:

PRAY 9 

Thank you for loving us even in our ignorance. Thank you for loving us even when we suffer “brain damage.” Thank you for loving us even when we are wrong. Help us to love like you. Help us to love; to love; to love … So Be It.

 

 

 

word 14

“Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?”

Ecclesiastes 7:16

 Which is more important? Being right or keeping the peace? Which is more important? Being right or allowing love to have its way? Which is more important? Being right or experiencing supernatural joy?

 

When the above questions were first introduced to the me, I stumbled with the answers. Being brought up in a ”religious culture”, I was trained to first seek righteousness which translated for me meant to be right in doctrine (as I saw the answer to be). To be right in rituals (again, as interpreted by me). To be right in defining God (my view of course was always correct). It wasn’t until the above questions slapped my spiritual face that I had a rude awakening. Being right isn’t that important anymore.

 

With hindsight being one of the great teachers in life, I now see how God has allowed me to be wrong many, many, many times, yet He rarely immediately corrected me with “the answer.” Instead. He would allow me to experience His peace, love, or joy first before showing me a better way. His righteousness is far superior than any legalistic system we can every devise. His righteousness takes into consideration the entire internal spiritual dimension while we only focus on the exterior behavior. His ways are far superior then anything we have come up with in our man-made systems.

 

As a disciple of His, I want to learn how He relates with people and then emulate it. I want to learn how He works with people, and make it my method of operation. I want to learn how He loves people and love the same way. He is my standard. He is my model. He is my hero. His way is the way I want to walk in. And you are correct. We don’t have to be right in all things – only in the important one – Jesus.

 

Dr. Mike