Undesirable Mike

Romans 7:14-20

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

The Bible speaks about the old and new man which is a metaphor of the person before and after conversion. Paul writes here in Romans approximately twenty years after his surrender to Lord Jesus, the internal battle between the carnal magnet of human passion and our heavenly desires.

I personally like to identify myself before conversion as undesirable Mike. He is the one that metaphorically has died. He is the old self. Full of carnal desires, lustful eyes, and a whole lot of pride for living. Whenever he comes alive, the stench even overcomes me.

We live in a cultural that glorifies sin. Greed, pride, and self-promotion are just few of the carnal desires that are magnified as OK. Sex outside of marriage, manipulating others for personal gain, and a me first mentality are politically correct attitudes accepted by the majority of people.

The problem is not having the correct knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of sin and its solution. Many religious institutions seem to emphasize the problem and understate  the solution.

Sin is the antithesis of God’s heart. When people live within the confines of God’s heart, they flourish. When we live outside of His attitude and character, people suffer. Yes, you may find short-term pleasure at the moment, but the long-term negative impact will eventually hit you and those around you. Sin isn’t just a personal act or thought, but a community suffering another a broken relationship.

The Ten Commandments outline behavior which is good for relationships between oneself and God, and oneself and neighbor. Trust, truth, and peace are byproducts of living within their boundaries. Yet the magnetic pull of Satan’s nature infiltrates our very being. We may come to know what is the best behavior in a situation, but the execution of what is good fails us. This is what Paul describes here.

The solution.

Jesus Christ open the doors for you and I to receive the Holy Spirit-God’s very own nature now lives within us. His presence and impact in our lives becomes more noticeable as we surrender ourselves to King Jesus. It is just not following his teachings, but acceptance of Him as your savior, lord, king, hero, friend, and brother. 

When you open your heart and head and soul to him, you begin a relationship that becomes the most important one in your life. You will place sin beneath your feet and God’s character becomes your banner lifted high above your head. Sin will not destroy His relationship with you, but its negative impact will rob you of a more fruitful, abundant life. Sin only blinds you from Him. He is always with you and only wants you to turn away from yourself to Him.

You discover the enemy is not primarily Satan, sin, nor the culture around you. Instead, you accept personal responsibility for your actions and realize your need to walk closer with your God. He becomes the center of your life.

Money, sex, power, and fame are small gods who will grab your attention. If the Triune God is not more important to you then them, they will destroy you. Father-Son-Spirit want to be the center of your life. When they are, and you exercise your natural God-given abilities for the service of others, you experience life the way God design humans to flourish.

Sin is living outside God’s design for you and I. When undesirable Mike appears, he is being his natural self. When God’s presence within Mike is given room to express Himself, God’s goodness arises. My wife, family, neighbors, and associates all love this Mike. But the undesirable Mike always seem to sneak into the picture for attention. The quicker I recognize him, and remove him from the action, the more blessed and happier life with myself and others become real.

Focus on the new you and let the old you die. Don’t try to improve the old you. Instead lean on Jesus to show you how you were designed by Him and then walk it out. It will take faith and trust, trial and error, and breakthrough and failure before one day you will wake up and recognize the work God is doing within you. You only wish you would have started earlier to capture the true meaning and purpose for your life.

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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Kingdom Thoughts on Marriage

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Today’s culture is winning the battle, but the war is far from over. In fact, victory is certain and on the horizon. For those who truly want the best, Jesus Christ has given mankind the opportunity to now experience human life to the fullest. Yet, many still don’t see it and fall back into the destructive tenancies this world calls happiness.

When one begins to strip away the lies, illusions, and facades, and see creation as an expression of God’s character, one gathers insight into God’s heart and purpose for you and me. The blessed life isn’t about wealth and prosperity, nor fame or power, but the realization and fulfillment of experiencing life with God – the most enjoyable, successful, Being in the entire universe.

God’s instructions to us, recorded through the pages of the Bible, outline boundaries, goals, and values which shadows the heart, mind, and will of the Creator. As one pursues the God-with life, Christ’s character and nature of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control rub off onto us. The book of Proverbs calls it “iron sharpening iron.”

To intimately know God as God knows us is the most powerful love relationship you will ever experience. The closest institution on earth which exemplifies such a relationship is found in a Christ-centered marriage between two people who get it. This binding, life-long commitment between two disciples of the opposite sex is a God ordain covenant rather than a self-centered contract.

God’s purpose in marriage is not only for the procreation of life on earth, but also the social foundation of family and the intimate workshop for love to bloom. When you study God’s entire creation, you notice how everything operates from order and continual self-renewal. When mankind deviates from God’s intentions, a heavy price is paid.

The primary, fundamental foundation of marriage is not love, but commitment. The same faithful, commitment that God lives out for humankind is what God wants us to learn through marriage. HIS covenant and faithfulness toward the Jewish race exemplified HIS love and commitment to us all. Even though HIS chosen people continued to rebel against HIM, HE was and is always faithful. Again, to reiterate, even though we are not 100% faithful to HIM, HE always remains 100% faithful toward us.

Marriage is not a contract between two business partners, but a life-long promise between two people and God. When God is thrown out-of-the-home, the marriage relationship is than built on human desires and purposes. However, when the Triune God is the central binding relationship within the marriage, then our Creator’s original intent for a man and woman is slowly realized as we are being shaped and nurtured into HIS image. For in the committed marriage relationship, one eventually learns and grows to experiences real intimacy, self-less service for another, genuine Christ-centered leadership, and God-centered community living. The fundamental building block of HIS eternal Kingdom is found within the ordain marriage covenant.

Today’s culture has blinded the eyes of people yearning for real intimacy and fulfilment. The media, entertainment, business, education, and governmental institutions have taken advantage of people’s fear of commitment, horrifying experiences of broken homes and relationships, and ignorance of God’s best for them. But when you turn away from the world’s smoke and mirrors, and diligently seek HIM, God promises to share HIS life with you and in your marriage.

This is one reason why I believe the marriage relationship is the bedrock of God’s Kingdom on earth and why covenant marriage is held in the highest honor among her constituents.

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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Priceless Grace

Luke 4:12

And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a book “The Cost of Discipleship” where he coined the phrase “Cheap Grace”. His intention was to emphasize discipleship which he felt was being neglected. Like we all do at one time or another, we emphasize one point while distancing others. He did the same.

Grace is priceless. All the money in the world cannot purchase it. Grace is the outer expression of God’s inner character. There is nothing cheap about God. His grace has been around as long as HE has.

When most of us write or speak about cheap grace, aren’t we speaking from our humanistic perspective? As mortals normally do, we place a value on everything from our view. Therefore, my purpose today is not to critique his book and concepts but simply borrow his phrase – cheap grace.

My definition: cheap grace is our lackadaisical attitude toward God when we intentionally, deliberately and repeatedly abuse HIS goodness in our life.

God is always good. His mercy and compassion are always overflowing. He wants what is best for us. Sometimes though, we take advantage of HIS kindness and love by placing ourselves in planned difficult situations which deliberately requires HIS intervention on our behalf.  

Like the little child desiring one of mom’s freshly baked cookies hidden in the upper cabinet of the kitchen, I am no different. As a child in great need to satisfy my sweet tooth, I would drag the chair over to the other side of the kitchen, place a box on top of the chair and then climb on top so I could reach the upper shelf where the cookies were hidden. I don’t recall how many times I fell or how many times I succeeded to obtain a cookie before dinner, but I do recall once falling and being caught by my mother before hitting the floor. I think the act of being caught hurt more than the spanking I received.

I’m not sure how long I continued to seek those cookies, but this I knew through it all. Mom still loved me even after my disobedience. And the price of hurting oneself for one of her treats was worth the risk.    

I still catch myself at times behaving the same way with God. I abuse his love more times then I can count. Jesus himself faced such a temptation from Satan at the beginning of his public ministry but never gave in. He was tempted by Satan to leap off from the top of the temple (commit suicide) stating that because He was God’s Son, God will catch him. But Jesus didn’t succumb to the liar’s temptation. Instead Jesus quoted Scripture reminded everyone that we are not to put God to the test.

God is always good. And knowing HE is always good allows the carnal heart to sometimes take advantage of HIS goodness. This attitude though runs the risk of slowly destroying one’s consciousness. The more times we give in to the temptation, the easier it becomes to fail the next time. And the more we become like that child thinking we are getting away with something in the short term but not realizing the next one may be life threatening.

Cheap grace is taking advantage of God’s love. The action is not from love, but of self-indulgence.

Thankfully though, Jesus Christ knows our human condition and heart. He has already forgiven us for our ignorant stupidity. And more importantly, loves us so much that he will continually discipline us until we change. So, the quicker we stop abusing HIS love and allow HIM to live out HIS life in us and through us, the richer life becomes and the deeper the relationship grows where our desire is to truly respect and honor HIM in every way.

Every test is an opportunity to grow stronger in HIM. The outcome is victory. The reward is a greater faith in HIM. The prize is to experience life more abundantly. The result is a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our King.

Yes, we are more than grateful for the priceless grace of God.

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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Home

John 14:23

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

The Christ-centered life is not a religion, but a relationship with the living God. When one focuses on the rules, tasks, and activity rather than the relationship, one has then diverted from the central core of a God-with life.

As a child of the living God, with a high worshipful and respectful love for Jesus Christ and His teachings, we are assured both God the Father and Jesus himself via the Holy Spirit are actively living within us. As they are always present, whether we are aware or not, are we truly enjoying God’s presence? Or do we take Him for granted?

Throughout Scripture you and I are described as God’s temple, His building, and His abiding place. Paul writes one of the greatest mysteries is about God living in you. How well does that sink in? His holy presence lives in you.

So how are you treating your royal guest?

Do you ignore Him? Do you take Him for granted? Or do you share your life with Him as He shares His life with you?

The Triune God wants an active relationship with you and I. So much so, He literally establishes a home with us. He has promised to always remain with us. No matter how often stupidity attacks us. He remains true and committed to the relationship.  

We demonstrate our love for Jesus by following his teachings. Whenever we are unsure of a matter, we discuss the matter with Him through prayer. Whenever we find doubt or are troubled on a matter, we may seek His advice through prayer and through other disciples of His. We follow the example of our Rabbi as outlined through the pages of the Bible.

We would rather error on the side of love then fail to follow through on a matter. But more importantly, we just enjoy hanging out together. There is something about home we take for granted. For home is the place we can relax, be ourselves, and enjoy the time without outside interference, calls, or distractions. Home is where we discover our true self. And home is where we can visit with our friends and share in life triumphs and defeats.

God has multiple homes. Two of those homes are with you and I.  Today our bodies are HIS temple; so, we are home. Tomorrow our new bodies will be in HIS presence; then we will likewise be home. Our home is with our Lord and His God and Spirit. Wherever they may be is where home is for you and I.

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

Inclusiveness of Jesus Christ

Matthew 6:9

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…

Is it too bold to state all humanity is included in the relationship Christ has with HIS Father? Didn’t HE teach HIS disciples when they prayed to address God as “OUR Father”?

Is it safe to say God will judge all humans through Jesus Christ as those who belong to God through Him? If so then, are not all humans, in spite of themselves, loved, forgiven, and included in Jesus Christ, who is their Lord and Savior?

Isn’t it also true, God’s love will never cease or diminish even for those who, denying the reality of who they are in him, refuse his love and consign themselves to hell?

If they choose not to enjoy the fruit of his salvation, will they not experience his love as wrath?

Doesn’t God discipline those he loves so that they will return to him and live? Isn’t HE portrayed in the Book of Revelations as standing at the door and knocking, urging people to open the door to his everlasting love?

In the end, doesn’t God’s judgment in Christ mean the ultimate end of evil and the renewal of the earth and all creation?

As the prophesied Savior of humanity, did he not suffer and die for all human sin, was raised bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven?

At the time, didn’t HE take on our broken and alienated humanity and included the entire human race in his right relationship with the Father?

At the time, didn’t his regeneration of our humanity allow us to share in his son-ship, being adopted as God’s own children in the Power of the Spirit?

Today as our representative and substitute, doesn’t HE stand in for all humanity before the Father, providing the perfect human response to God on our behalf and reconciling humanity to the Father?

Will HE not come again in glory as King of kings and Lord of lords over all nations?

When I read scripture, I read how inclusive Jesus Christ’s life and message pertains to all humanity. How we respond though is what separates us from HIM, not HIM from us. He died for all, but not all have accepted HIS reality. Have 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

Spiritual Riches


Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…

Because we are included in Jesus Christ, we share with HIM a lot of blessings that we didn’t earn on merit nor receive by our obedience. God, by his amazing grace, before the foundation of the world, predestined mankind for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ.

When you read the first fourteen verses of the first chapter in the letter to the Ephesians by the apostle Paul, you obtain an overview of the gospel message. From redemption to forgiveness, from revelation of His will to His purpose of uniting everything in Christ, from learning His truth to being sealed by the Holy Spirit, you and I have personally been guaranteed an inheritance from God.  

No, you and I most likely will not gain material prosperity like the billionaires among us, nor most likely we will not gain celebrity fame, nor political power, nor the Nobel prize for academics. But we will gain today an inner peace and joy and love without the hassle of pursuing physical mountain tops.

Instead, we learn to walk and talk and dance with the God of ALL. He knows us, He disciplines us for our good, and He blesses us with His character and attributes. We learn to become more like Jesus who shares His chair at the table with us.

As God our Father gave Jesus all authority under heaven and over earth, Jesus himself gives us the opportunity to share in His work today. As He lives in us, and leads us, we listen, observe, and follow Him as He works in the lives of others around us. He gives us responsibility according to our gifts. We simply acknowledge those gifts and exercise them for His glory and kingdom.

Whether in the home, or at work, or in the community running errands, every person we meet, every task we serve, and every act we conduct, shows a small side of God to others. We know God lives in us, and we know the spiritual blessings we have received in the process, are not for our sole benefit but for the service of others. God’s riches are aimed to help everyone flourish.

So, if you are looking for something to be grateful today, thank your God for everything Jesus has done, is doing, and will yet do. Your rich blessings are solely because of Him.

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

Thank You Jesus Christ

1 Thessalonians 5:18

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

When times are good, how often do we thank God? Probably not as often as we can.

But when times are tough, do we also thank Him?

Those of us more mature have learned to thank God in good and bad times; in times of prosperity and times of poverty, in times of jubilant victory and also in times of sorrowful defeat. For we have learn that God is in work for our good through all circumstances.

We may not like the current circumstances, but trust that no matter the outcome, God is glorified and He will take care of all matters. Other time, we have also learned that maybe my suffering is not all about me, but also those around me.

Maybe God is using our situation to sharpen the love between others. Maybe His plan involves those not even born today, but the next generation. He may just be preparing a place for them through us. Maybe the wealth you are creating today is not for your children, but for the disenfranchised you haven’t even met yet. You may have plans you have been passionate about for years. And God is opening doors for you to favorably walk through. You may accomplish your dreams, but God has other plans with the results.

To give thanks in all circumstances is not for the faint-hearten. When you begin from the heart to make it so, then you know you care more for God’s glory then the achievement of your plans. You begin to know you trust God with the results no matter the outcome. If you have to suffer for a while, so be it. If you have to sacrifice everything, so be it. If you have to change life plans, so be it.

You give thanks to God because everything is His to give, share, and take back. You are simply thankful that you can live in His presence, share life with Him, and await for your completion into His eternal Home when the real fun begins.

Thank you 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