Living Faith

James 2:26

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

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What is faith?

Faith is obedient action with trustful confidence in God’s character. It is the confident assurance that God is always working out the best solution for you and others.

Any problem with Faith is typically tied to our ignorance of God. We believe what others have told us about God rather than discovering Him ourselves. We typically project our dysfunctional souls toward God, rather than believe Him and His Word.

We don’t realize where we actually stand in His eyes. If we did, we would humbly and respectfully place all our being onto Him without concern with the outcome.

What is not faith?

Faith is not the inner belief of an outward expectation. Rather it is knowing Him with no concern with the results.

Faith is not the cause of your salvation; rather it is the umbilical cord which connects you with the living Source of Life.

Faith is also not the anecdote of your situation. God is. Faith is simply your worldview of God’s presence in the world and your role in His kingdom.

A living Faith is not necessary about moving mountains but more about healing your soul while serving others.

Through this graceful act of redemption and sanctification, you are being morphed into the image of Jesus Christ. A byproduct of this living faith is a more active and expressive fire within the deepest, inner workings of your soul toward others. It is a life not of empty motions but actions covered with inner joy. This outer behavior is a byproduct of the inner construct of a new creation. The work is being conducted by the Holy Spirit with your yielding cooperation.

This living faith is active, confident, and obedient to the Word and Spirit of God.  It is built on God’s viewpoint and not ours. The faith we trust in is not from us but is Christ’s own faith. Since God’s purpose for your life is a new creation according to His design, it involves His Spirit developing His character, eternal values, and divine love in you with all you speak, think, and do.

If this faith is not alive in you yet, pray and ask your heavenly Father to open your eyes to know Him better.  Pursue Him with all your heart. In the process, over time, Christ’s faith will become more perceptive and active in your assigned world. You will come to know Him and the workings of real, living faith. His faith will become your faith.

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 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

Hooks of Expectation

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3 ESV.

One of the best ways to build a strong relationship with our Heavenly Father is through prayer. To take the time and listen what He has for you and to empty your heart before him is a life-building relationship event. There is no better way to quickly capture the realization that God cares for you and wants what is best for you.

One of the obstacles though you will need to overcome is trapping yourself with your expectations. Many times we will go before our Father and ask for something specifically believing it is the best solution to the problem. However, instead of delivering the answer the way we expect, God maneuvers the outcome in a substantially different way. Because it is not the way we want it, we may quickly become angry with God and give up on Him. Yet in hindsight, we truly recognize that the outcome was better than we could have ever expected.

These hooks of expectations are both a blessing and a curse. To appreciate the blessing, we need to be open to the final outcome. If we limit God to workout events within our little box, it can easily become a curse. God is vastly larger than any box or solution we come up with. His ways impact a multitude of people and events and purposes. Yet He cares for you and wants you to join Him in His adventures. But you have to be flexible and open.

In Acts three, Peter and John went to the temple to pray. There they met a lame man. The lame man ask them for money. Based on Peter’s and John’s reply, he expected to receive some remuneration. However, instead of a monetary blessing, the man experienced complete healing.

The outcome was more than he expected. So when we go to God, don’t limit yourself with your expectations. Instead allow Him to share His generous heart with you. Not only will you be pleasantly surprised, but you will come to know Him who is more than you ever realized.

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

A Vicarious Life

“…that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…” 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NASB).

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The entire life of Jesus Christ is more than any one event or situation. For many believers, we seem to focus on his miracles, teachings, death, and resurrection. All these are important as they reveal what Jesus’ believed as He fulfilled Scripture as the Messiah. Yet when we focus only on portions of a person’s life, we may often leave out the larger impact they leave behind.

As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, God was reconciling the world to Himself through Jesus’ life. Theologians call this the vicarious life – living life as a substitute for another. In Jesus’ case, God became man clothing himself with humanity’s flesh and blood. He took on mankind’s skin.

What this means is that everything he did he did so for you and I. As he worked, played, prayed,  taught, and served others, he did so as our substitute and for our sake. For example, His obedience toward our heavenly Father’s Will He did for our sake. The faith he exercised, he did so for you and I. The love he shared with others, he did so for you and I. Ultimately, even his death he did for you and I. Everything he did, he did so as humanity’s substitute before the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

So now when our heavenly Father looks at you and I, He does so through the prism of Jesus’ life. It is not solely our obedience or faith he sees, but the obedience and faith of Jesus Christ. Even when we pray, Jesus being our High Priest, takes those prayers before His Father who hears them through the words of Jesus himself. Again, it is not our righteousness that the Father witnesses, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ that He sees.

Jesus Christ lived the vicarious life for you and I. Everything he did, he did so you and I can participate through Him with the Triune God in their eternal plan for mankind.  C.S. Lewis called it the great dance. Two beings, one leading and the other following to the rhythm of the music around life’s dance floor; life the way God originally created it to be. And we don’t have to be expert dancers to enjoy the journey. For He made it all possible. This is why we are thankful for the vicarious life Jesus lived for you and I.

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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

 

What Is Worship?

“We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” John 9:31 ESV.

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Worship is the outer expression of your inner values. Jesus taught “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (MT. 6:21).” Therefore, worship is expressing what you value most. The question is then: Who or what do you worship?

Every person worships someone or something. If you listen to yourself talk, you will quickly discover what you worship. If your conversations are always recurrently filtered with family, money, movies, people, sex, sports, self, business or whatever, you may have a hint toward what you consider most important in your life.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, our primarily focus is Him. As we invest more and more time with Him, we naturally find ourselves speaking about Him or his Domain or his Spirit. We become more and more attuned to his ways and can’t shut up if we tried. We want everyone to know Him and make Him known to others.

Whether we praise him in church services, through our work, or in our relationship with others, Christ-centered worship is simply recognizing God in the situation you are in and giving him the glory He deserves. When He is the center of every aspect of our life, then our life becomes a living sacrifice of worship to Him (Romans 12:1).

We worship Him as we pursue His Truth. We worship Him as we share our testimony with others. We worship Him as we surrender our lives to Him in service for others. As He matures us, we worship Him as His witness before others. Whatever we do in His Will, wherever we do it, and whenever we do it, we do so for His glory. This is our outer expression of the treasury in our inner heart toward Him. This is worship.

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

 

 

 

What Is Your Story?

(John)who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Revelations 1:2 ESV.

story 1

We all have a story to tell. You and I, our parents and their parents, our friends and neighbors, all have a story worth sharing with others.

The apostle John also had his story to share with others. His story was a living witness to the word of God and about the life of Jesus Christ. It was his testimony of Jesus Christ that finally resulted in his exile to the remote island of Patmos. The legend is the authorities tried to execute him several different ways but failed. Therefore, they simply expelled him to an isolated island where he spent the remaining portion of his life.

John, like many others who have encountered Jesus Christ, couldn’t shut up but had the driving force within them to share the message with others. So do you and I.

The fact is when one encounters Jesus, one’s life is never the same. Whether we disregard Him or ignore Him, He will not allow Himself to be treated indifferently. One must choose.

Either he is Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Savior of Saviors, or he is not. You may consider him a liar, a lunatic, or a loser, but you cannot come face-to-face with him and avoid an answer.

Whenever we tell something about our lives to others, doesn’t it include what Jesus has done for us? Isn’t He the reason we now live and breathe and have our hope? Isn’t He the central core of our life? How can we not share our story with others and not include Him?

In fact, isn’t that what evangelism is all about? One beggar sharing his story with another? So the next time someone wants to know something about you, how about including a portion of HIS story with YOUR story. Or in other words, how has Jesus Christ impacted your 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!

Pray For What?

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Mt. 6:7 ESV.

heart

“The best prayers are short and to the point.” Those are the words from one of my early mentors. Somewhere between then and a few years later, that advice was forgotten. I came to the point where I would pray, and pray, and pray, and pray heaping empty phrases on top of one another. Then one day a revelation.

God knows what we need before I even made the request. So why do we think with many more words we can manipulate God to grant us our wishes?

Don’t even go there.

Instead, pray like Jesus did. Pray for the Father’s heart.

God can do more and better than you and I anyway. When we realize that Jesus is our intercessor (Heb. 7:25) and perfects our prayers to our Heavenly Father, why heap more and more empty words on top of the other. Instead, ask your Heavenly Father in your own simple words. Jesus will improve them. And the Holy Spirit will likewise share in the process to make them more effective.

Remember, it is not about you or me. It is about the Triune God. Pray seeking His heart in all matters. In the process you will come to know God more abundantly, and you will experience his Will; which is even better than what you asked in the first place.

So what to pray for? How about His Heart on the matter.

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 some Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

Beaten, Busted, Broken

” For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.” Job: 3:25-26 ESV

job 3

Life has a tendency to throw us lemons. Those who are positive thinkers, state that we need to transform the lemons into lemonade. Yet what about us who are not equipped to make it happen? Not everyone has the talent or character to pick up one self and rise up to the occasion. Or maybe this time the challenge is larger than anything we have faced before and we don’t know where to turn to. Now what?

At times like this I am comforted by God’s reply to Job’s challenge. Job was the wealthiest person in his neck of the woods. He had a large family and was known throughout the community for his philanthropic work. He was the picture of success. Even God claimed that He was blameless.

Yet bad things do happen to good people. In Job’s case, he was the pawn in a wager between God and Satan. God gave Satan authority to do whatever he wanted but spare his life. So with his walking papers, Satan destroyed Job’s business, family, and health. By the time Satan was done, Job was beaten, busted, and broken.

He was physically disabled with chronic pain. He was financially ruined. His wife deserted him. His immediate family taken away. He was left alone beaten, busted, and broken. Yet he never disowned His God. In fact, besides his three companions who tried to comfort him, but ended up throwing spiritual daggers into his side, he spent the time seeking answers from God. As the events unfolded, God finally granted him his day in court where Job eventually repented from his thinking and acknowledged God’s greatness and faithfulness.

God restored Job with more at the end of his crisis than before his broken, busted, and beaten state. What is it that I find encouraging about the entire ordeal?

Simply that God was always with him. Even when God wages a bet with others, he does so knowing that the final outcome is going to be better than if He did nothing. For most of us, we shall experience a Good Friday event in our life. Hopefully, if we hang in there long enough, we shall also experience a Resurrection Sunday.

God is good. He wants what is best for all of us. The immediate future may look bleak. But God in all his glory will carry us through the situation and bless us with character, virtue, and reward.

Yes we may be beaten, busted, and broken at this time. But it only allows us to place our trust in the hand of who will rise us up and restore us to a place for his glory. With Job, his story has become an inspiration for millions throughout history. For us, our story may likewise become a living testament for others on the grace of God.

Again, being beaten, busted, and broken isn’t bad unless we neglect to lean on Him. Then pity on us. I choose to trust Him who raises the dead, walks on water, and turns water into wine.

There is a purpose and meaning behind the BBB of life. As we learn from it, grow from it, and glorify God through it, in hindsight, we may have a better understanding of why we went through it. But for today, let’s just be pleasantly surprised on how He will intervene and save us from ourselves, for the sake of others, and for His glory.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
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