The Ungodly vs. Godly Life

2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Want a description what life is like without accepting God’s authority in one’s world?

2 Timothy 3:1-5 outlines the characteristics one will exhibit when the power of God is absent in a person’s life. It is not pretty yet does describe many areas of our current political and university communities today. When God is thrown out of the equation, His values for peaceful cohabitation and social flourishing is buried beneath the ugliness of human nature. It takes the execution of real wisdom to navigate through the lies and hypocrisy which blind people to behave in such ungodly fashion. They are trapped in their ignorance of history, solid facts, and human nature to do Satan’s bidding for destruction of families, communities, and nations. There is nothing new under the sun which has already happened and will happen again by people being pawns in a global war to destroy what is good.     

I’ve rewrote 2 Timothy for myself taking into consideration the opposite perspective – what a godly life is like. Dr. Mike’s reverse translation:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

Yet Christ followers will continue to be lovers of God, generous with money, humble, meek, respectful, honoring their parents, grateful, godly, caring, satisfiable, commendatory, exercising self-restraint, hospitable, passionate for good, trustworthy, cautious for the sake of others, focused on factual reality, lover of God before pleasure, emphasizing substance of character rather than outward form of godliness, and allowing the power of the Holy Spirit into their lives.”

Wouldn’t you want neighbors with such attributes living in your community?  That is what Jesus Christ offers us in living out His Kingdom on earth today.

So, whatever “ISM” you may think is better, please review your facts and history. Those of us living in America have been privileged to live in a nation with freedoms unknown by most previous countries throughout human history. Yet freedom comes with a steep price. And many people are turning away from it. Real freedom comes from the Triune God. When we ignore His authority in our life, hell moves closer to the neighborhood. 

The outcome of a godless life is what Paul describes in 2 Timothy. As we see a nation focus more on race, gender, and Marxist values rather than the God of grace and His proven ways of flourishing for all, the more a nation will fit into the description of 2 Timothy.

Yet people can change. Nations can change. But are you willing to pay the price for freedom? Ask your heavenly Father what you can do to help build His kingdom in your little world today. And be ready for some adventure. It’s how we grow and how God is glorified. And how you and I and those around us benefit the most.

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

Born 2 Die Trap

1 Corinthians 15:26

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

The day life began for you is the same day you entered a trajectory toward the day of your death. If you are reading this, then you haven’t yet arrived to that predictable event. A sobering thought we don’t want to face because of the many questions that arise; especially the big one. What is life all about?

Some of my neighbors believe there is no purpose for life except to enjoy oneself to the max because we are all going to die. Others believe there is a God and we must be good, follow the golden rule, and earn our way unto some next stage beyond death. And others still who believe life is a cycle of reincarnation and never ends. What is life all about?

There are those who we may know have done good their entire life and at the end are suffering with great intensity. Others have lied, cheated, and stolen their way along and now are enjoying their retirement with ease and comfort. What is life all about?

The last time I checked there is not one person who did not leave this planet without first experiencing death. Even Jesus Christ, the resurrected One, died.

Death is the enemy of all humans. We shall all die. But, then what? Why bother to live if there is no meaning, purpose, or something to gain between birth and death?

All these questions and more hit me as a seventeen-year-old senior in high school. Born with the internal clock and fortitude to always start with the end goal in mind led me to search for answers. In a way, it is how God led me to Him.

When you peel off the onion of life and seek logical answers, you find you are not alone. Much has been written by thousands of others who have travelled a similar journey. Some came back with the same conclusion as I; but others not. This is how my journey started and eventually led to become an apprentice of Jesus Christ.

The more we studied into His life and the more we focused to walk with Him, the more real His teachings become alive. With the hindsight of history to view the interconnecting points, and actually see a pattern of consequences turn into a path of spiritual fruit, one becomes more confident in a God who is working out some master plan between all the chaos and noise which surrounds each of us.

The Triune God becomes more and more real each day. Love, Joy, Grace are no longer words of the mind, but an inner treasure of riches longing to be distributed with others. The Master Designer is not way off in the furthest corner of the universe, but personally involved with each human child. He longs to dance, celebrate, and share His riches with each of us. But as a parent, He also wants us to grow up, enjoy the experiences of life, and be successful in all we do.

Death is only the end of one stage of God’s masterful plan for humanity. From the foundation of the world, His plan was to adopt humanity into the Triune fold. Sin is only a blip on God’s project plan. He has already taken care of the matter. Death is another blip on His master plan. He has also already taken care of that matter. When the music ends, what comes next?

You and I were born to live for eternity. God has placed that concept into our inner being. Like a fetus in the womb of a pregnant mother, humanity is waiting for the fullness of time when the baby is ready to escape from the inner chamber of a mother’s custody into a new world.

The trap is thinking that this life is all there is. No purpose; No meaning; No God. Such a life will miss out having a bonding relationship with their Parent, and the fruit which comes from such an interconnecting, social cord. My heart yearns for others who are missing out on experiencing the richness of life through the means God has given us. This is His story. His production. His plan. The sooner we come to realize who He truly IS, the quicker we shall experience and taste the fruit of how He always intended humanity to live.  

No trap; just an inner confidence to experience life today and forever with Father-Son-Holy Spirit and His adopted children in whatever He is preparing us for.

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

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 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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved