What Do You Worship?

Matthew 6:21††††††††††††††

Sometimes I question my personal value system.

There are days when I would rather have a pizza to cover the emotional pain, than take up the matter with our Lord. On other days, I would rather watch an evangelical preacher on TV then attend a worship service at our church. Then there are days I scream and shout and dance around a football game, but almost stand listless during a church praise session. What does this tell me about my heart at the moment?

I am human. As a human I am created after the image of the Creator God. Yet, many times I fail to live up to HIS standard of holiness. One minute I get a small taste of heaven. The next minute, I feel the pangs of hell. One day I am full with the Spirit of God experiencing the full measure of HIS presence. The next day, I am tired and empty and don’t care about anything or anyone. When I find something that grabs my attention, I am focused, disciplined, and persistent. Yet, there is also something in me that wants to take the easy way out. I may know what is the best solution, but execution of the goal becomes insurmountable. Instead of rolling up my sleeves and delving into the opportunity or challenge, I give into my inner desires and escape with a bag of potato chips.

Comfort food is my escape for the moment until the belt line presses against my favor pair of pants. Then it becomes a battle of starvation. Mentally I know a little hunger will not kill me, but why suffer a little pain. So, I grab a donut.

Satisfied for the moment, but the consequences add up. Instead of tasting the sweet aroma of victory, we again lose the battle. How many battles I have lost in this lifetime is any one’s guess. But I know it’s a lot. Yet someone keeps me going.

His name is Jesus Christ. His Spirit resides in me. And there is a war taking place between my desires and his vision. I’m disappointed at times because instead of surrendering the battle with HIM, my desires win the short-term struggle which means I lose momentum for the long-term vision HE has for me. Yet HIS Spirit doesn’t give up.

As I focus my attention on HIM, acknowledge HIS authority in my life, express my gratitude for everything HE has done for me, is doing for me, and will yet do for me, for HIS namesake, makes me want to praise and worship HIM even more and more. Every time I fail to live up to HIS expectations, HE pours out his grace unto me; undeservingly and generously. He is my Savior, Lord, Hero, Friend, and Brother. He is King of Kings.

As we walk through life’s journey, HE is repositioning our value system to match HIS. The stretching, uncomfortable pain, and disappointments we encounter are the processes of being HIS disciple. And as we are being morphed into HIS image, the more we praise HIM and lift HIM up to everyone we meet. HE has captured our heart and is our Treasure. WE worship HIM because of WHO HE IS rather than what he has done for us. Defeat is a temporary setback and doesn’t define us. Our God, through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit identifies us and names us as HIS.

All glory, honor, and praise belong to HIM. Set your heart with HIM and let the treasures of HIS Kingdom always empower 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

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Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Ready, Willing, Able

Acts 9:10-12, 17

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”  And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying,  and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” …So, Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 

As you dance with the LORD, He is going to move you around the ballroom floor of earth with unexpected turns and twists. Are you ready? When your assignment is given, are you going to be physically and mentally able to accept and follow through? Have you enough trust in the LORD to willingly accept your assignment without fanfare and doubt?

Ananias was a disciple of Jesus. When he received a vision from him, he didn’t run or hide. Instead he had such a relationship with our LORD that he immediately recognized His voice. Now Ananias didn’t quickly accept his assignment. At first, he needed clarification that the person God had in mind was the same person who the saints were avoiding because of the harm he was doing to them. Saul was causing havoc among the disciples believing their destruction was best for the Jewish community. But God had other plans. So, God communicated his purpose for Saul.

Then Ananias got up, went and found Saul, and prayed laying his hands on him following God’s instruction. Saul, who later changed his name to Paul, regained his sight and became full of the Holy Spirit. God took a zealous enemy of the church and open the door for his purpose to continue.

Saul, with the pre-notification vision that a man named Ananias will lay hands on him and he will regain his sight waited in prayer. So, what do you think went through Paul’s mind when a disciple showed up in his house, named Ananias, with instructions from the Lord to lay hands on him so his sight will be restored?

Are we ready, willing, and able to serve God according to his desires and not ours?

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 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Mindfulness

Ephesians 4:23

…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

Mindfulness is one of those 21st century buzz words that recently came on the scene but its history is as old as mankind. Mindfulness is nothing more but focusing on the now rather than tomorrow or yesterday. It is capturing the moment; focusing your time and energy on what is in front of you today.

Many people are thinking about tomorrow and add worry emotions on their sleeve. Others live in anger and bitterness of events of yesterday. Both focusing on tomorrow or on yesterday makes one lose out on what is currently happening right now in your world in front of you.

How often do we commute to work and after our arrival don’t recall any of the events during our trip? Our minds were so deep in thought about something else that we missed everything we passed-by, the music and discussions on the radio/iPod, and even the aggressive drivers along the way.

How often are we so self-absorbed that we don’t recognize what is happening in the lives of people around us? Too add another dimension, how about what God is doing around you?

Our Triune God is always at work in the lives and circumstances around us. One of His characteristics is to invite people to assist Him in His endeavors.

The next time you find yourself speaking with someone, ask God to show you what He is doing in their life. In fact, instead of spreading your influence upon others, ask Him to help you to listen, watch, and observe what He is doing around you. After a while, you may pleasantly find your commute to and from work more enjoyable, entertaining, and eventful than you could ever imagine. You will find yourself praying in meetings asking God to lead you to better serve others. You will become more focused on what God is doing at the moment rather than living in your isolated world.

Don’t worry about tomorrow; you can’t change the past, but you can live to the full today.  It all begins by being more mindful on what is happening right in front of you at this very moment between God, you, and others.

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 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

The Best Vice is a Dead Vice

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25

What is your secret sin? The one vice you keep hidden in the secret chambers of your heart. The one act or thought you continue to practice that if anyone ever discovered would bring shame and dishonor to you and your family.

Name your preferred poison. Is it alcohol? Drugs? Pornography? Adultery? Fornication? Workaholic? Anger? Gluttony? Laziness? Envy? Lust? Greed? Lying? Pride? Apathy? Boasting? Vulgarity? Ignorance? Anxiety? Fear? Etc., etc., etc.

The list is long and not new for humanity. Since the beginning of the Bible, carnal desires have been expressed with its harmful consequences. Whichever way we turn, sin unfolds its poisonous venom.

Who is without sin? Who does not walk surrounded by sin? As ugly as sin is though, it is not the problem, only the symptom. The real problem is living outside the Will of God instead of being solidly centered in an abiding relationship within Christ. And we all have been there and even now occasionally find ourselves taking detours into these construction areas of pain and sorrow.

But Who will deliver us?

The author of Romans emphasizes how Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection has changed the outcome for mankind. Death is no longer a permanent state of being. Life apart of Sin is now a reality through Jesus Christ. He has overcome Sin on behalf of all humanity. And this includes you and me.

Yet physical death awaits us all. Pain from the consequences of sin still remains. Sin, which is the outcome of living outside the Heart of God, still haunts us. How do we reconcile the grace-filled life from the sin-filled life?

Grace is greater than sin. As Paul writes in Romans, the more we sin, the more God’s grace is poured out upon us. Yet sin’s consequences have a price to be paid. Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of us. But every sin we commit now, though paid for in advance, still has it repercussions. Sin typically destroys relationships and the quality of life for the individual.

Like a smoker who sneaks outside for a quick one, those around us can smell your breath and the stench on your cloths. Sin is the same way. You think you are being smart in hiding your vice. Yet those around you sense something. When you come to realize the cost of sin, the consequences of living a sinful life, and taste the graceful richness of God’s love, you will want to run away from sin’s pull.

Whatever your secret sin, it isn’t worth hiding. Expose it; seek help; confess to another, change your thinking on it, and surrender to the God who made you. Our time on earth is short; why destroy yourself before you realize your potential?

Remember, the best Vice is a dead Vice.

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 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

How Can You Best Serve God?

Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord]. AMP.

Everyone has a master. This may be shocking for those who live in the “free world” where one boasts of their independence and freedom. Yet even in the countries of northern America or western Europe every person has a master. Most often their master is not the governmental system or leader but themselves.

The truth be told each one of us either serves our passions and dreams and desires rather than someone else’s dictates. Yet Jesus himself states that a person cannot truly serve two masters. One will be more effectively served than the other. So how do you know you are truly serving your Lord rather than yourself?

First there are those who serve Jesus for their own self-centered purpose. Generally, they want something and believe if they serve Jesus, he will grant them their wish. Then there are those who have emptied themselves from personal ambition and truly find joy serving Jesus without a personal agenda. These are the ones who have matured through life realizing the relationship with God is more valuable than any personal goal.

The first group looks for ways to “buy” God through favors by servicing others. The second group builds a relationship with God to become more aware of His presence and joins him with their hands and feet in serving others. Typically, they don’t even know what they are doing and the impact their service for others mean. They simply and gratefully appreciate the opportunity to work along their Master.

Typically, the second group doesn’t look for additional work to perform for God. Instead they know God is already involved in the work they do; their service is to perform their daily routine for God’s glory. A mother or father caring for their children is already glorifying God through their loving responsibility for their children. The receptionist in the office is already serving God by being a joyful representative of His kingdom with everyone he meets. Likewise, the mechanic repairing the client’s automobile as if it was his own, being truthful and fair in the exceptional work they perform, is already serving God by witnessing His values before others.

The list is endless. We serve God best by doing what we do every day for His glory. When we exercise the gifts he has bestowed upon us into good, productive work, and perform our service for others in a saintly manner, being transparent and caring for their well-being, you are being a profitable servant introducing God’s kingdom to the world as His faithful witness.

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 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Hurricane IRMA Before Impact 

Psalm 107:43
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord. ESV.

Today we get to meet IRMA. Initially, IRMA was scheduled to visit the other side of the state. However, as usual the majority of the forecasters were incorrect and IRMA decided to flex her muscles. Therefore, two days ago we started our preparation. Besides hanging the metal storm shutters over all the windows, loading up with food and supplies, and making sure our neighbors were likewise prepared, we did a short Bible Study on storms.

Yes Jesus stilled a storm a couple of times, and God even spoke to Job through a storm. Yet it was Psalm 107 that I stopped and reread several times. This Psalm wasn’t about any physical storm per say. Instead, the writer gave several examples of life where God intervene in the storms of people’s lives. When the people acknowledged their hopelessness and cried out for HIS help, God intervened.

These were not righteous people, but sinners who have come to the end of their rope. People who were wandering lost in the desert, chained in prison, caught in the folly of their personal sin, and battered at sea by storm waves. The common thread is God heard their repentant spirit and redeemed them.

HE turned their world from desert to pools of water. He took them from where they were and blessed them right where they stood. Like He has done so many times over, He raises the needy out of affliction and makes their life to flourish. From these actual situations, we see the love of God in action.

Today we again get to see the love of God in action as we bunker down and hold on to HIM facing the wrath of IRMA.  Our prayer is simply for human life be spared and let God magnify HIS name through all the earth from this destructive act of nature. Until then, we have prepared ourselves as best as we can and now lean on HIM.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Discipleship 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 2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

Kingdom Actions #1

Romans 15:1
  • We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.ESV.

 

This morning while biking I experienced God’s Kingdom in action. The bike path takes us through a public park which maintains a 1/2 mile circular track for runners and bikers. No vehicles allowed. However today, a F-150 pickup truck decided to jump onto the track as a short-cut to the football field.  As the truck came toward me, it brought back memories of those early childhood bike games we played in the parking lot next to the library. It was called “chicken.”

Two 8 or 9 year old boys would line up their bikes across from each other on each end of the parking lot. We would count to three and ride directly toward each other at full speed. The one who chicken-out by turning away at the last minute to avoid a collision would be the loser. The other would be the winner through default.  I never avoided the collision as a youth.

Today as the maintenance truck sped toward me, my youthful “chicken” mentality initially kicked-in. However, the grown up adult mind quickly came back as I realized a bike collision into a moving truck would cause more damage to me than he. Therefore I was ready to get off the cement trail unto the grass knob and give the heavy metal truck the right-of-way. However, just then  the truck turned itself off the trail onto the grassy knob allowing me to continue without turning. The stronger gave way for the weaker.

A smile then crossed my face. I just witnessed God’s kingdom in action.  Those of us who are stronger, those of us in position of leadership, those of us who have more, need to serve those with less. When the opportunity presents itself, we are to step aside and help those who are weaker. Instead of lording over those who are weaker, we are to serve them.

It may have been a pickup truck and bike, but it was a friendly reminder that God’s ways work. How about your world? Where do you see God’s kingdom in action?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Discipleship 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 2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved