Natural Evil

Romans 8:21

that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

The Bible places great emphasis on the consequences of moral evil. But what about natural evil?

Insurance companies call them “acts of god”. An event that directly results from the occurrence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution. These are typically your tornadoes, earthquakes, violent winds, and floods.

Generally speaking, it is agreed that moral evil is caused by direct human activity. A person doing harm toward another or refraining from doing good to another.  

However, natural evil is the open sport among philosophers and theologians. Some believe people cannot be held morally responsible for its occurrence and others believe because of man’s original fall from grace, natural evil is the result of man’s sin.

Then there are those who accuse God of manipulating nature’s forces to bring about destruction. Atheists like to use the argument that a loving God wouldn’t use force to destroy good people. Yet the Bible shows otherwise. One example, is the story of Job where Satan receives permission from God to destroy Job’s health, wealth, and family.

So, is natural evil God disciplining his children or just the systematic order of nature?

In order to answer that question, another one must first be asked. Is evil part of God’s plan?  Doesn’t God allow evil in the world? Could he eliminate evil from the planet whenever He desires? Yet He doesn’t, why?

I write this as the Corvid-19 pandemic circles the globe. Scientist have already acknowledged its presence came from a bat sold in a meat market in China. Isn’t it interesting that God in Leviticus outlines diet restrictions for his people Israel which includes not eating unclean foods? These unclean foods included garbage swallowers like catfish, pigs, and yes even bats. You think God may have knew something about certain animal species and what harmful viruses they may carry? 

I believe God allows natural disasters. He could prevent them from every happening. Yet He chooses not to. Why?

Maybe it has something to do with preparing people for eternity; building Godly character and trust in a loving Father. Maybe its to remind us we are not in absolute control of life. Pandemics occur. Tornadoes happen. Wild fires start. Doesn’t nature have a way to test us? To make us realize life is less about comfort and safety and more about dealing with crisis and challenges. Maybe major problems remind us we are not as strong and invincible as we may believe. Maybe there is Life greater than us.

I don’t have the answer. Only a whole lot of questions. But I do know God is working out something on earth that will culminate into one awesome, stunning event that will make all of history look at amazement at His finish work. But until then, we battle all evils of all kinds with an Almighty God. Then one day we will look back and the answer will be revealed. We will smile, acknowledge God’s wisdom, and move forward in greater expectation for what the future holds for us knowing He is in control and invites us to share in His work.    

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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“If Only” Trap

John 11:21 

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here…

One of the biggest traps that prevents a person from seizing the opportunity before them, is living the “if only” excuse. We play the recording so often that many of us are not aware what we are even doing.

If only I married the other person. If only I majored in accounting rather than biology. If only I said yes. Or if only I said no. We not only glance at life in the rear-view mirror, but we drive the car looking behind us rather than what is right in front of us. Try it some day and see how difficult and dangerous it is.

John writes in his gospel the story of Lazarus’ death. Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary and all three loved by Jesus. When Jesus delayed his coming by two days, Lazarus died. When Jesus finally showed up, Martha threw the “if only” card at Jesus. Jesus didn’t catch it but simply focused on the current situation and again rose someone from the dead. Jesus didn’t accept the ‘if only” card.

When we play the “if only” card, we try to justify it. The fact is, if we could have, we would have. But, maybe because of responsibility at the time, or health, or incomplete facts, we made a decision. Most likely, if you had the same information today that you had back then, you would make the same choice.

The next time you catch yourself stating the “if only” excuse, slap your face. Then was then; today is today. Learn from yesterday, plan for tomorrow, but live for today. All you have today is in front of you. Ask God for the wisdom to seize the opportunities that lie in front of you today. Learn to distinguish God’s activity at the moment, and look for ways to join Him.

As you mature in your relationship with our Lord, you will find yourself using the ‘if only” card less and playing the “what’s next Lord” track more. As a child matures into an adult, you will likewise mature in your walk with Father-Son-Spirit. You will receive constant reassurances during the day that you are important to Him and learn to trust Him more and more each day.

Again, forget the “if only” trap. Instead, learn to pray and walk with the “what’s next Lord” attitude. You will be pleasantly surprised by the transformation.    

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

Culture Trap

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Today’s culture is more influential than ever before. The power of the media, internet, and technology has multiplied the number of influences in our lives. One hundred years ago, children were raised by parents, grandparents, and their siblings. The negative influences were more easily pushed away and hidden from children. As the child grew, they were slowly exposed to the vices that captured a person’s soul.

Now children are bombarded with the same temptations as the adults but without the defensive capacity to manage. If adults have very little strength to push back on the negative advertisements of culture, what can we expect from our children?

Today’s culture is the elephant in the room. We walk, talk, and move about marveling and taking for granted the accomplishments of industry, business, medicine, and education. Yet, at the same time we realize there is a swaying pressure so slightly pulling us toward a way of life which looks glamorous on the outside yet we know deep inside us the emptiness will never be satisfied by the glittering promises of these false prophets.

The cultural machine never stops, slows down, nor rests. Every minute, the machine is bombarding everyone within its sight with an influential message which is design to trap oneself within its grip. If you believe the culture is your friend and wants what is best for you, you have been deceived into its trap of enslavement. Thinking you are free; you have become a prisoner of others manipulating you for their personal gain; an unknowing pawn in someone else’s game board.

Yet as parents and young adults knowing better but struggling to fine oneself through this maze of visual stimulation, vocal noise, and an overwhelming burden of constant choices, where does one go for real, solid answers?

The Bible, a collection of short stories, biographies, letters, and essays written over a 3,500-year period by various authors with a transparent collected theme from beginning to end contains more lessons of human success and failures for the student to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of how life works.

When one begins to read and learn more about God’s character between the pages, the solid values HE emphasizes for relationships, finance, business, government, etc., and the timeless wisdom repeatedly proven through faithful actions throughout history in many lives, maybe there is something our children and young adults can learn to help them lead a more abundant life than the world’s culture offers?

Yet the best advertisement is a walking billboard of what is in the Bible. Sadly, there are not many highly visible people that our children witness as role models. Maybe each of us needs to form a committee of one and become that person.

One man many years ago, when he intentionally decided he needed a mentor to help steer him through the cultural traps, he wanted the best available person. His choice? Jesus Christ.

In hindsight, one of his best decisions. How about 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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


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Christmas, Government, God

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

xmas1

U.S. News recently wrote an article regarding the mass social demonstrations taking place around the world. From Hong Kong to Europe, from Iran to South America, people are expressing their unhappiness with their situation against the government. Large crowds are showcasing their displeasure and frustration through the streets. Those in government realize they need to appease the people or they may lose their power. The question is how without surrendering their hold on the people.

Six hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, and approximately one hundred years before Israel was taken captive by the Babylonian empire, the prophet Isaiah wrote the above words which now is common verbiage with Hallmark cards. A prophecy that points to God’s government under the leadership of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus made his public appearance, his main message pertained to government. He spoke about the difference between God’s Kingdom and the current rule. Since the beginning of time, government has always been the issue between people. We have had families, tribes, nations, and empires with various forms of government. They have all failed in due time. The one government however that has outlasted all others is the Kingdom of God.

God’s Kingdom is a government based from the central heart of God via His Spirit. A government which provides law and order for relationships between people. Whether we are speaking about the law and order between individuals or nations, the Kingdom of God is relevant to how people maneuver between each other for the greater good and for self-interest.

God’s government is an outflow of His character. When we make the effort to put His ways before our natural inclinations, His impact is felt. Though short term there may be struggles and pain, the long-term outcome always flourishes. God’s way allows humans to flourish within boundaries established for the common good. Historically we have seen glimpses of His ways among the people. Daniel and Solomon from the Old Testament highlight people living within secular environments yet flourishing.

Christmas time reminds us that a world government with a benevolent King has already been born, prepared for leadership, and is now executing His plan to fully establish His law and order on His planet. Today, those of us who have surrendered to His kingship are experiencing the riches of His bountifulness. Tomorrow, everyone who chooses Him as their King will likewise experience the richness of His leadership.

Wherever you are, you have been given the privilege and honor to build a colony under the Kingdom of God. From your family to workplace, from your local community to national politics, you have been given all the resources you need to unlock God’s government with all the people in your world.   As Paul writes in Colossians, everything was made by Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ, and for Jesus Christ.  Christmas is a time to celebrate Him. Enjoy the day in Him.

Merry Christmas!

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

 

 

 

Victorious Reward

1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

victory2

 

We all need motivation at times. When those dark days make their appearance, the quicker we recognize them, the faster we can move onward. Typically, these are the days where the sun is covered by clouds, the dampness of the air blows through my bones, and everything I touch seems to turn into another problem to resolve. In days like this, I sometimes like to read the two chapters in the Book of Revelations which the apostle John wrote while exiled on the island of Patmos.

These two chapters highlights the victorious reward that awaits you and I at the end of our journey in this age of humanity. The verses remind me there is effort on our part to pursue the victorious life and the reward awaits us as long as we finish. Whether we run the fastest marathon ever or simply come in last, we win. But without Jesus Christ there is no victory. He has gone before us and laid out the table and throne room for us to share with him.

That is one party I look forward to celebrate with everyone.

Take a moment, read these scriptures, and meditate on each one. They highlight the reward awaiting us for all our efforts here on earth at this time in this place.

 

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Rev. 2:7

The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. Rev. 2:11

To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. Rev.2:17

To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over

the nations—that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Rev. 2:26-28

The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Rev 3:5

The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 3:12

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Rev. 3:21

So, whenever you find yourself wallowing in a self-pity party of one, stop and remind yourself what awaits you for all the struggle, decisions, and effort you make each day for the kingdom of God. Yes, there are many days where the Spirit is rejoicing within you. But on those days where you simply feel tired, defeated, and unfocused, why don’t you remind yourself that the best still awaits us.

In those days when the motivation is gone, I am also reminded of Jesus’ words,

“He who endures to the end shall be saved.”

 And likewise, Paul’s words, “But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

 

Easy

Matthew 11:30 

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Easy doesn’t mean no effort. But when compared to alternative options, Jesus’ “easy” is best for the long term. When you compare what Jesus requires from us with other “religious” institutions, is like comparing a walk through the park versus an Ironman event.

It takes effort to follow through on whatever choice you make. The question is how much effort?

The way Jesus exemplified his entire life is our example.

First, he surrendered to his father’s will. He came with a servant’s heart. Whether you were right wing or left wing, Pharisee or Sadducee, Roman citizen or Jew, rich or poor, male or female, employed or homeless, married or divorced, party goer or party pooper, he went right to your heart on every matter. No one was safe with him. Everyone had a problem and HE was the solution.

Belief without effort is an empty shell. Belief without passion is also an empty container. What you believe is how you will respond to a matter. If you believe it is all about you and what you have to do, you are placing the emphasis on the wrong side of the tracks. If you believe Jesus has made the road wide open and the options innumerable for you to pursue, you may be closer to the truth, but then again, the best pudding is in the taste.

Effort supports your belief. The stronger the effort, the more sureness of one’s convictions. The weak, feeble effort again also supports the hesitant, doubtful sureness of the matter.

Jesus’ way of life removes all the access baggage of human guilt, shame, and self-inflicting harm. Instead, His way is built on a meaningful relationship with a Man who has taken all of our pain, suffering, and stupidity upon himself so we don’t have to deal with all the consequences of the human condition. Yet it does take effort on our part to surrender and allow HIS presence and life take a hold of us and lead us to the promise land.

All HE expects from us is to demonstrate our trust in HIM through our everyday lives. To have a meaningful relationship with HIM and share our life with HIM as HE shares HIS life with us.

It’s as easy as sitting with your soul mate on your favorite beach and sharing the beautiful sunset together knowing all the other concerns of life will work out for the good. It may take a little effort to plan and follow through such an event. But it is a whole lot easier than going through your 613-item checklist fearing what you may have forgotten in the process and never enjoy the moment of the sunset because you are preoccupied with all the other details of life. They both require effort, but one places emphasis on completing the checklist and the other on enjoying the relationship.

Let’s place our effort and passion on building a relationship with HIM and really experience for ourselves what HE truly means by having an easy yoke and light burden.

Perfect Love

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Anytime I think I am becoming more loving something happens to remind me that God is still perfecting His love in us and we still have a long way to go.

The other day I said a few words joking about our human condition with a very mature person of faith and they rebuked me. I was stun for the moment and then realized words so easily hurt people because as humans we are imperfect. Even though I the sender had no intentional reason to cause harm, the recipient received the words in their current state of being which, like all humans, is a smorgasbord of emotional baggage we carry.

It would be easy to justify my position as doing no harm, yet love leads and doesn’t intentionally want to cause harm. What the situation reminded me of was if we had perfect love, I wouldn’t have made the remark and the person receiving the remark would not have found it offensive. Yet because of our imperfections, we defend ourselves and throw additional words of harm toward the other defending our pride and insecurities.

Times like this also makes me think of God, who is perfect in love since HE is Love personified, must laugh at our inadequacies like a parent with their immature toddler. Yet as an apprentice of Jesus Christ, I watch, study, and learn from how HE engages with me and others to grow into the mature child of the King. I only wish I was a quick learner. Instead I have to repeat many situations over and over again until the light bulb goes on and realize we have to change something or I will continue to repeat the matter with a similar outcome.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is constantly weaving His tools through our heart, mind, and soul making changes and improvements after the image of our Lord. I look forward to the final product coming out of the spiritual assembly line when love will freely flow from this heart without any fear dangling alongside her. Imagine – what life would be like when we all relate with each other from a heart of perfect love without any fear?

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