Knowing God’s Heart Through Suffering

Romans 8:18
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.ESV.

Some Christians are drawn to God by obtaining a ticket to heaven. Others come to God by first experiencing the fruit of His hands. Yet most if not all will eventually come to truly know HIM through the pain in their life.

Suffering is an experience that most of us avoid at all costs. We find ourselves fleeing from those who may be hurting because of the uncomfortable feelings they reflect in us. Yet the Bible continually highlights how through suffering we cry out to God. Through suffering we realize our limitations and dependency on others. We come to see a side of life that our human side wants to avoid. Yet through pain, most of us learn to lean on God and actually see Him carry us through our ordeal. It is through the suffering that we really come to know the heart of God.

Since He lives in us, we are connected with Him through the Holy Spirit which gives us the privilege of calling Him Papa. Just like a blessed child sitting on the lap of their Daddy, being bounced and playfully being entertained, so is it with us. Yet most of us get so busy with life and forget the eternal relationship we possess with Him, we need a catalyst to draw us back. Without suffering, most of us would totally ignore God.

So instead of having a self-pity party with the pain you are going through, cry out to your Daddy. Be frank with Him. Be open with Him. Be totally transparent with Him. He may or may not change your circumstances, but you will discover the internal fortitude (shalom) He provides so you both may travel through the pain together. In hindsight, you will realize how the hand of God moves you to come to know His heart through your suffering.

God Almighty is your heavenly Dad. He cares for you and wants what is best for you. Like the athlete, short term pain leads to long term gain. Suffering is the least desired but eventually the most practical way for us to experience the heart of God in our life.  Therefore, the quicker you can learn to lean on him through the ordeal, the faster you will come to realize his hand in your life.

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
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Be The Message

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.ESV.

As a rabbi breathes the text, lives the text, and teaches the text, so do their disciples.  The most powerful sermons are always unspoken. The best disciple-making method is simply to be the message. Are you living the message?

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

Confidence

Hebrews 10:35
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.ESV.

Ever noticed how some people exude confidence no matter the situation? Whereas others fidget, hesitate, and cast doubt without any effort. Confidence is the assurance of knowing who you are; especially after your strengths and weaknesses are battle tested. But more importantly, great confidence comes when you truly know God really loves you, goes before you, and will carry you when times are tough based on continual experience. Real confidence is the balance between knowing yourself and knowing your Maker.

Today many people have a false illusion of how real confidence is developed. Parents raise their children under the illusion of self-esteem. Whether Johnny or Susie fail or succeed, they create the illusion that their child is the best. Johnny may run the race and finish last, but instead of facing the reality of failure and learning from it, parents discard the truth for wanting to make the child feel good about themselves. They confuse performance with self-worth and end up damaging the child’s natural inclination. Instead of helping the child discover their real identity in Christ, we create a platform of measuring their self-worth through performance.

The same in our relationship with Jesus. We grow in confidence as we lean on him and witness how he responds to our dilemma. He may not change our circumstances, but will always provide a way for us to move through it. Afterward we will come to know more about ourselves and substantially more about our Lord.

Confidence is developed when we fail, learn from it, and grow from it. We learn how to succeed and how to properly fail. We learn humility along with confidence. Humility in understanding who we are in Christ and always confident in Him.

No we don’t need false adoration, nor flattery to feel good about ourselves. We just need to know who we are in Christ and trust him to take us through the ups and downs of life. Through this sanctifying process, we gain confidence and assurance. We truly come to experience, realize, and know His grip on our life.

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

 

Faith, Freedom, Flourish

 “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 2 Peter 2:19 ESV.

Faith leads to freedom and freedom allows people to flourish. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians that “wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” He also wrote that “freedom is not to indulge the flesh, but to serve one another humbly in love” (Gal. 5:13).

 

Ever notice where countries have the freedom to live out their faith, the people usually flourish? Whenever you can choose your future without dominant external influences, you have the opportunity to fully express your God-given gifts with others. Otherwise, in countries (and companies) where people are controlled by others, the people’s behavior are typically measured without the activation of the inner heart. People may go through the motion without being engaged in the process.

Today many people may think they are free, but their actions truly define them. Ask yourself, are you the master of your smart phone or the slave of it? Are you free to select what you wear today or subject to the approval of others? Are you in control of your time today or do you allow your watch to dictate your every move?

These are only a sample of questions you can ask yourself to determine how free you truly are. No matter your answer, remember we are actually free in Christ. He made it so. You can choose to follow him or not. You can decide to live with Him or apart from him. You can surrender your desires to him or allow your lusts and cravings to rule you. You are free to decide and act upon it.

We all have more freedom than we realize. The question though are we truly living as free people and experiencing its rewards or have we blindly enslaved ourselves by living outside the faith of Christ. For remember, Christ-like faith leads to freedom and freedom allows people to flourish.

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

Building Trust

Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. Proverbs 16:20 ESV.

Trust is a two way street. You may want to trust the other person, but can they trust you? Former President Ronald Reagan loved to quote the expression “trust and verify.” In my experience with others, this simple advice truly works in today’s culture.

If you are having a trust issue with another person, you may want to use this approach. Don’t trust them with everything at one time. Instead, build trust one promise at a time.

Likewise if you want to be considered a trustful person, behave as one. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Instead, when you make a promise, keep it. Live your life with “yes” or “no” as your promise. You will find over time that when people trust your words, your character and ability, your influence for God’s Kingdom will be more quickly accepted because of your proven actions in the past.

Doesn’t God behave the same way with us? When he personally makes a promise to us, doesn’t he keep it? It may not be on our schedule (isn’t God always late in our human opinion), but in hindsight we will see how everything works out better than we could ever expect. Even when God put Abraham to the test in potentially sacrificing his own son, He was building a trustful relationship one act at a time. God knew Abraham’s heart; afterward Abraham knew his heart and God’s heart – leading to mutually trust which builds a stronger relationship.

We can do likewise. First become a person who can be trusted. Then work to build trust with others. And always lean on building trust with our Lord in everything you do.

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

 

 

 

Designed To Be Like God

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Gen. 1:27

Imagine a dog behaving like a cat. Or a lion acting like a monkey. Or an elephant like a snake. We would be concern that there was something mentally wrong with the animal. Yet when people behave ungodly, we have come to accept it as normal.

When we fail to pursue holiness, purity, or honesty, are we not being misdirected from our original design? God created humankind after His image; for God is love, full of joy and abundant in goodness. When we fail to live up to God’s design, aren’t we losing out on God’s best? Satan knows.

Adam and Eve had the opportunity to be more like God. But instead of trusting their Lord, they bit into Satan’s temptation that they may have it all now by taking things into their own hands.

Likewise Jesus knew his purpose and design. So did Satan. In the wilderness after Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led him into the desert to face the enemy (Luke 4). Satan made three offers to Jesus. Each was God’s destiny for Jesus. But Satan tempted Jesus to accept his destiny by disobeying His Father’s Will and take it all now. We know the event, Jesus resisted the tempter and continued to place His trust in His Father to bring about His divine purpose.

We are no different. God has made many promises for us; including to fulfill the purpose for what you were designed to be. But we must patiently wait on Him and resist the temptation to manipulate circumstances and situations as we believe they need to be.

Yes you are uniquely designed. You have a purpose. It may not be what you think it is. But when you lean on our heavenly Triune God, He will direct your steps toward its fulfillment.  In the late season of your life, in retrospect, you will recognize God’s hand in many of your life’s decisions. But meanwhile, while living through them now, you may question, doubt, and worry. Yet as you lean on Him, He will always be at your side reassuring you, coaching you, and creating His masterpiece in you after His image. For remember, ultimately in this life, it is your purpose to be molded and shaped into the image of Jesus Christ; to be His witness now and in preparation for eternity. Everything else is extra.

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!

Vocational Discipleship – Following Christ in the Workplace.

So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. Acts 17:17 ESV.

Church is in session. No, not just Sunday morning within your faith community, but also 24/7 within your workplace.

When you come to the realization that ‘Church’ as described through the pages of the Bible is not a building nor a institution, but people coming together in community, it changes everything. For starters, it unlocks one’s mind to the work of God. Typically, his saints assemble together to worship, pray, and learn the Word. But is the format followed by your local faith community the only way “to do church?”

If church is people, and people assemble together for various reasons, and people worship God in various manners, who are we to question the format that is followed? There are common themes mentioned throughout the Bible when saints come together. they may pray, sing, and share the Word with each other (Col.3:16). Jesus himself mentioned that real worship is done in spirit and truth (John 4:24). But how can this be done in today’s workplace?

What about the small group Bible study that meets once a week around lunch time? Isn’t this church in session? What about a private business whose executive team are strong believers? As they speak, make decisions, and serve their customers from a heart of godliness, are they not worshipping their heavenly Father by doing his Will on earth as in heaven? What about the prayers being offered for each other during the day? What about the music one is listening to with earplugs while preparing a financial spreadsheet? How about the mini-counseling sessions taking place at the water fountain where the foundation is God’s Word? And more importantly, how about the actions of believers being constantly displayed through the good times and tough times? Aren’t we witnessing the gospel message to others through our words, motives, and behavior?

The workplace is our mission field. But more so, where two or more are gathered together, a community of Christ-followers are doing Church with their Lord among them (Matt. 18:20). It may be unorthodox. It may not fit into a 20th century mold. But when a community of believers gather together and worship their God with the gifts and talents He gave us for His glory, isn’t this Church in session? When Biblical principles, attitudes, and behavior are displayed as a living testimony for others to witness, isn’t this Church in session? When the Word is being preached without being spoken, isn’t this Church in session?

Don’t limit God. Instead let the world see what Church is truly all about: the love of God in community serving others and praising Him for His glory. Yes, even in the marketplace.

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