What You Believe Matters 

2 Peter 3:17-18 (AMP)

Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith], but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Why does what you believe matter?

Because you make decisions and act from your center of belief. If you believe it, you will act accordingly. If you have no belief nor opinion, you will simply be swayed by others who have a stronger belief system. So, you better know what you believe and why or otherwise you are not being true to yourself. You are then only like a slave following the beliefs of others.

Peter writes in his second letter to those who follow Christ and have accepted HIS spiritual influence in their life, a reminder to remain steadfast in their belief of God and Jesus Christ. His recommendation is for us to continue learning and growing in our walk with our Lord.

That is intentionally studying and living our lives as an apprentice of Jesus Christ. When we come to the realization who HE IS, what HE has accomplished for us, and what HIS macro purpose and plan is for all humanity, then everything you do each and everyday in your micro world begins to fall into a narrative which HE leads and fulfills. Your belief system becomes stronger as you grow your relationship with HIM. You eventually learn to dance with HIM around the dance floor of earth. You develop a holy swagger in your actions, thoughts, and deeds. Instead of being swayed by every fad culture throws your way, you become a representative of HIS Kingdom and a way of life that may lead through suffering and pain, but yet reflects genuine love and joy and peace that will make you stand-out-of-a-crowd. You are special and unique because HE has made you so.

Therefore, confirm your beliefs agree with HIS Word. And then follow through on those beliefs with action.  Why? Because your beliefs matter on who you are becoming; and you become by what you believe and how you act on those beliefs.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Thankful Heart

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
    for you have exalted above all things
    your name and your word.[a]
On the day I called, you answered me;
    my strength of soul you increased.[b]

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
    for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
    but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
    and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138: 1-8 (ESV)

A thankful heart is the expressive attitude of a follower of Jesus Christ. When one comes to understand who HE IS and what HE has done, and what HE plans to accomplish with you and me, one can only drop to their knees with a grateful heart and thank HIM.

A thankful heart is the byproduct of gratitude which also leads to a more outgoing concern for the needs of others; and the heartfelt compassion and generosity are also balanced with truth and justice.

A thankful heart acknowledges God has given you and me boundaries to operate with for our good and the good of others. Instead of ruling over others, we serve them. Instead of showering others with empty rhetoric and fortitude, the thankful heart understands the value of the individual human spirit facing challenges and encourages them to grow and mature.

A thankful heart is not swayed by pompous living and make-believe-utopias, but by the simple, natural understanding of human needs and the marvelous creation given to us to explore and experience.

A thankful heart bestows blessings on others without expectation of any returns.

A thankful heart knows when to lead and when to follow; and who not to follow.

A thankful heart loves to share their blessings with others.

A thankful heart sees the best in others.

A thankful heart also sees the lies, hypocrisies, and false impressions of others and avoids their delusional imprisonments.

A thankful heart is a repentant soul understanding their need for a Savior.

These are just a few of the thoughts that came across my mind this morning. For those who want to bathe their mind with more thankful thoughts, click on the links below to read past blogs:

Thanksgiving is All I Have

Thankfulness is Repentance in Action

Thank You Lord

Thank You Jesus Christ

Gratitude

Gratitude 101

Today I Get To…

PS: May You Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Discipline Yourself

1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So, I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

The Holy Spirit shares HIS character with us which includes self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). He provides us with the added resources and support to live the good life. However, we still have to make the choice. Yet how often do we waiver between two opposing options? We know what is the right thing to do but yet our carnal desire seeks the opposite. 

Paul compares the Christian walk to an Olympic event. The Christ-follower is like the athlete being trained to win a race or a boxing match. If you have ever played sports, you know the preliminary practice and training required to prepare the body and mind for actual competition. The Christian life is no different.

One of the life long battles with the self is disciplining the body to pursue godly attitudes and behavior. In our current culture overran with luxury and pampering, many of us are out of shape to enter any type of Olympic event. This is nothing new under the sun. The way our forefathers managed this process is through “the disciplines of grace” as Richard Foster describes in his book “Celebration of Discipline.”   

The disciplines he describes are simple exercises we intentionally put ourselves through for the long-term outcome of subduing the body into subjection of God’s grace. We train ourselves to yield our desires for a more eternal outcome.

For example, I love to eat. And of course, the foods I desire are typically high in calorie, sugar, and other ingredients which in moderation would be OK but in the hands of an addictive personality, very dangerous. To overcome and better manage the urge of gluttony, I turn to the discipline of fasting. Fasting is an old-time tradition that Jesus and his disciples spoke about as the Bible has much to say about its merit. Yet when practiced on a regular basis, science has demonstrated its effectiveness for physical health, and the Bible has shown its importance for spiritual nourishment.

Other disciplines include worship, giving, celebrating, silence, and at least another dozen that one can choose from to better help in managing the carnal desires of the body. The way to choose which discipline one practices most often is to understand one’s character defaults. For example, if friends and family members point out that you may over talk at events, then maybe one could better control the tongue by practicing the discipline of silence. Another example is if one finds it hard to donate money to others without any strings attached, then maybe the discipline of giving would help balance out the selfish heart.

There are many others options to choose from. The point is to make the intentional decision to practice the discipline one needs to better shape the character within you. For life has a way we either discipline ourselves or life will hit us from the outside with such a punch that we may find ourselves the victim of a knockout. I for one would rather be prepared for the unexpected.

The disciplines of grace help me better manage myself through the obstacle’s life throws us each and every day. I am sure you will find like many others who practice these disciplines they would also make a positive difference in your life. Take time this week to investigate. You may be pleasantly surprise in the difference they will make in your life.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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 2013-2021 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Renewal

Titus 3:5

…he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Yes, when you allow the Holy Spirit full access into your inner chamber of your thoughts, values, and possessions, only then real transparent, quality living begins.

And this new you being morphed isn’t because you earned more bonus karma points with all the good actions you have performed through life, but simply because our Triune God loves you and me.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord, HE introduces us to Father God and Holy Spirit. As we accept HIS authority in our daily life, all Three move into your inner neighborhood. The weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:16-17) is God living in you and me. 

I remember a time in my early twenties when I found myself exercising patience. Though at that time the naturally inclination was to be overly active and wait for no one, but this time I found myself at peace and contented. Totally out of character. This was the first time I realize God was creating something new in me that wasn’t there before.

Over time, the fruit of HIS SPIRIT became more and more naturally inclusive within my everyday life. I didn’t’ discipline myself to behave this way. It wasn’t my prime focus. But slowly over time, God’s presence in my life became more and more visible through the actions being expressed with the people and situation I found myself around.

As I invested more time with other brothers and sisters in the Lord, they also shared their experiences which mimic mine. God is creating a new human which Jesus Christ was the first fruit. He paved the way and equips us with the same Spirit. He continues to share truths of life and more importantly the reassurance of HIS Father’s love for us.

As Christ-followers, we are HIS students. The work being performed within us isn’t for our glory, but God’s. We are being renewed for the opportunity to do good work now for His Kingdom by serving others as He also prepares us for greater work in the world tomorrow.    

We marvel at the work the Holy Spirit conducts in the lives of people. While many of us delusionally pat our own backs as if we are the cause of the change, HE continues to shape, counsel, and comfort us through the daily routine of life. Over time though, most likely when we are older and look back, we have to admit most of life’s best changes came about without our direct influence – God in HIS loving way keeps birthing HIS character into our inner chambers.

Thank you, Father-Son-Spirit; continue your work in us, and help us to continue doing good work serving others for your glory and Kingdom.

   

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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 2013-2021 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Believe

John 17:8,20-21

“For I (Jesus) have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me…I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Yes, I believe. I believe Jesus Christ is who HE claims HE IS: The Incarnate Son of God, King of Heaven and Earth, and Humanity’s Savior. I believe the Bible is a recorded narrative of God’s relationship with mankind and written for our sake. We can choose to believe or not.

I didn’t believe all this at the beginning of my faith journey. All I knew was if there was a God, he needs to intervene or this young man’s life was not going to make it through his teen years. And HE did.

Every journey begins with a set of beliefs. Our actions, decisions, and choices are based on these deeply held perceived truths. The more we exercise them, and the results come true, the more confident we become in our beliefs. However, whenever our actions repeatedly fail, we eventually evaluate our belief system and discard the unreliable “truth” for another.

Over a life time, certain beliefs become our anchor – we have proven their fundamental truths over and over again with similar favorable results. Other beliefs are still being evaluated. How many of us though purposely select and choose our beliefs?   

Our initial beliefs are indoctrinated into our souls through family, friends, and teachers. In our early lives, we are typically ignorant of our surroundings and the makeup of our soul. Even as adults, the social and news media bombard us with the latest fads and the current fear factors which we subconsciously allow into our belief safe. 

However, one day (could be late teens or now-a-days even late fifties) we start struggling with our interval belief system. We start questioning everything we have been told. When reality sets in and the realization we have been lied too, manipulated by others for their sake, and then in those extreme cases, thrown out with the bathwater, we most often find ourselves angry and hurt.

Unless we are grounded on a bedrock of fundamental beliefs proven over eons of time, the majority of us will substantially modify our belief system. The transition though is most often costly of time, relationships, and money. The best prevention is having a healthy family upbringing by parents who are grounded in solid values and beliefs. Where does healthy values and beliefs come from?

The number one bestselling book of all time is still the Bible. There is a reason. Within its pages contains valuable principles and truths which have been proven over time to work. The Book also points to the importance of having a relationship with the living God. When one walks with HIM, one slowly becomes more and more like HIM.

Per Jesus’ prayer in John 17, we become one with our Father God and Jesus Christ. When we do, we learn the foundational truths of life; gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to manage everyday life; and find assurance and purpose for living.

Yes, beliefs allow us to focus and put structure into our world. If we don’t believe in the Triune God, we will never seek out what HE has for us. On the other hand, for those of us who believe, our focus is to seek HIM out in every day life situations. When we do, we begin to witness answers to prayer, reoccurring solutions from an invisible hand, and broken people healed from inside-out. Like the wind, which we may not see but only witness its impact, we likewise witness the effect when God’s Spirit is engaged with others.

In summary, in regards to the Triune God, to believe opens the window of opportunity to discover HIM and the truth; but not to believe, only closes the window of ever really coming to know HIM and a life built upon lasting truth.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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 2013-2021 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

God’s Government

Hebrews 8:10

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The prime message Jesus preached during his short stay on earth pertains to His Kingdom. The Bible identifies His government as the Kingdom of God. Jesus is King and we are His ambassadors of His domain.

The central core of His government is built upon His law of Love. He demonstrated His Love through acts of selflessness and humility without delineating from truth, mercy, and justice.   

The motivating intent of service for others comes from the centralized heart of a person. Either the person is serving for their personal gain without concern for the other guy or they are concern for the other person as well as their own.

Every person struggles with the battle between their carnal desires and God’s divine nature. With the soul acting as the governing agency, God’s Spirit influences our spirit. When we yield and marry our spirit with HIS, we become more like HIM in character and attitude. God’s Kingdom is managed through His Spirit influencing our spirit.

As we study HIS ways and teachings, our minds become more transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Our morals, values, and attitude become more like HIS. Instead of having ten thousand laws on the books to decipher and adhere too, we exercise HIS wisdom and insight to discern an appropriate response built upon the foundation of HIS love and justice. 

The message of God’s government is as important today as it was in HIS time two thousand years ago. Throughout history, people in power have abused their authority for personal gain at the expense of others. All the written laws cannot change a person’s heart. Only God through HIS Spirit living in you has the power to change you into the person you were meant to become.

No matter your political affiliation, the only thing which will unite people, limit governmental abuse, and usher governance that allows all people to flourish, is God’s Kingdom. Meanwhile, the result of a smaller role the Triune God is allowed in people’s life, produces mammoth government, less freedom, and more financial hardships. History demonstrates the best governed are the least governed when morality is the central hub all believe and follow. But when carnal desires lead, corruption, violence, and pain is the norm.

God’s government is available for everyone who wants too experience life to the fullest for themselves and others. Yet they must first personally surrender to King Jesus. When you yield to his authority in your life, you begin the process of relearning what is important and of value. Relationships are restored. People trust and cooperate with one another. You begin to view life through the eyes of God who created you for HIS good pleasure.

And HIS pleasure is to watch you grow and mature and succeed in HIS family business. And yes, HIS family business includes HIS government which is limited in structure but highly effective. And includes your business, family, and community.

Imagine a world without poverty, people fully engaged in uplifting their fellow beings, and one centralized government built upon God’s love. Yes, maybe you can now better understand why I believe mankind’s answer to their governmental problems starts and ends with Jesus Christ.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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 2013-2021 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

God Lives and Works Through His Church

Ephesians 2:18-22

For through him (Jesus Christ) we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by] the Spirit.

Where is God’s home?

Since HE is omnipresent, which means everywhere at the same time, we may not emphasize at times that includes within you and me – the Church.  For Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it.” In other places we are told:

  • Through the Holy Spirit, we are baptized into the Church. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  • Everyone who has the Holy Spirit living within them, belongs to Christ. (Romans 8:9-11)
  • You are God’s temple. (I Corinthians 3:17)
  • The Church’s mission is to recruit and train others in Christ’s teachings. (Mathew 28:19-20)
  • Jesus Christ is the head of HIS Church. (Colossians 1:18)
  • The Church is the “Body of Christ” – Jesus Christ’s hands and feet on earth today. (Ephesians 1:22)

The Biblical Church is not an institution, a denomination, nor a faith community. The Church consists of people allowing the Holy Spirit to live and work and lead through their heart, mind, and soul. And where the Holy Spirit is, so is Father God and Jesus Christ – the Triune God.

Yes, people attend a faith community which may consist of Believers full of God’s Spirit and also those who are seeking God. And yes, there are faith communities where God’s Spirit is dormant while people go about doing their business as they desire acting for God yet without following the lead of Jesus Christ. And yes, there are faith communities small in number but leverage their hands and feet to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit doing God’s work and reflecting HIS glory throughout their community. And everything in between.

We are all a work under God’s construction. Yesterday, I didn’t know God. Today, I know him a tiny more than yesterday. Tomorrow, hopefully we will grow and discover more about HIM. It is the same for all of us individually and collectively.

Some faith organizations are more vibrant than others. Some faith organizations are dead in Spirit and full of themselves. And many faith organizations are in between. But God’s universal Church, consisting of those with the Spirit fully living within their being, are actively reflecting the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  They gladly seek to be led by the Holy Spirit in service to God and mankind.

You shall know them by their fruit. (Matthew 7:20; Luke 8:14)

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved