You Are Included

Ephesians 2:8

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

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One of the main differences between Christian denominations is understanding when you are saved.

Arminianism theology believes you are saved when you make the election to choose God. Calvinism theology on the other hand believes God has already predetermined your life’s final destination. And Trinitarian theology believes God has already chosen you but you need to exercise faith to experience the fruit of salvation.

I find adoption theology gives a good example of explaining the differences.

Under adoption theology, God through Christ has adopted humanity through his life, death, and resurrection. Just like a parent adopts a child into the family fold, God has adopted humanity into the family circle. The child may either accept his position as a new family member and become engaged with the family culture, or not. The child is already included within the family whether or not she accepts her role. Her actions are either to accept the family or rebel. When she accepts, she enjoys the fruit of family living. When she rebels, she is still a family member, but lost from sharing life with the family and the family treasures.

Arminianism theology on the other hand teaches that the child selects the parent for adoption. You are not included in the family until you decide to make it so. The parent only offers adoption, and the child is the one who legally binds the offer. The weight is on the child choosing to be adopted or not.

Calvinism theology teaches that God has adopted some and has not adopted others. Some will experience eternity with God and others are predestinated for eternal lost. As a child, you have to figure out whether you are included or excluded from God’s family.

When you understand that salvation is what Jesus accomplished and not what we make happen, then we find salvation is more about a familial relationship with the living God rather than a business transaction. There are those who treat salvation as something you earn by achieving a goal, or something you acquire by keeping score of good behavior, or some noble actions toward others. When you realize its about being included within the Eternal God’s circle of Father-Son-Spirit, it changes your perspective of God, family, and life.

Paul writes that God chose humanity before the foundation of the world to become his children. When Christ rose from the dead, he not only defeated death for himself, but included all of humanity with him. Our home is with him. You cannot be lost unless you already have a home. Those who don’t truly know Jesus Christ yet have a home waiting for them. They have already been adopted into the family but don’t realize the riches that await them.  When they accept Jesus and His lordship, life changes. They become engaged in the Family business and enjoy the fruit of God’s redemptive plan. However, if they continue to rebel against participating in God’s family endeavors, and choose not to be engaged with Christ, there will be unpleasant consequences; including the loss of everlasting life.

Our chose is not whether or not we want to be adopted, our chose is whether or not we want to accept our position within the family and participate in the family business. You are already included. The question then becomes, what are you going to do about it?

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

Discover God in Your Brokenness

Psalm 34:18 NASB

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

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The one place many of us discover the real God comes through our brokenness. When we find ourselves at the end of our rope hanging on for dear life; when we are on the bottom of the barrel with nowhere else to go; when we just suffered a great financial or relationship loss and we don’t know what to do next; God gracefully and timely (not always my way) answers our prayer. It is from these experiences we learn ASAP – always stop and pray.

In my own walk, God became real and faith came alive during those unpleasant times of unemployment. It was in between jobs where I didn’t know how we were going to make the mortgage payment and put food on the table. It was these times when the answer from our prayer for daily bread became real. Thereafter, it became a family adventure to pray and watch how God was going to help us get out of this mess and other difficult situations.

When you read many of the classics of yesterday, you read about saints who expressed their joy of discovering more about God and His gracefulness during the difficult times of their lives. It seems most of us are too busy when times are good to see God’s presence in a situation. However, when times are bad and we have exhausted all our resources so there is nothing else we can physically turn to, God makes His appearance. (Though He is always already there).

It is typically during these broken times we discover who God is and come to appreciate knowing He truly cares for us. So, the next time you find yourself busted, broken, and beaten, stop and don’t rush through the process. Instead take the time to better develop the most important relationship you can have on planet earth. He will reveal Himself to you when you seek Him. And when we are broken, there are not too many distractions to prevent us from getting to know Him better.

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 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

#1 Sinner

1 Timothy 1:15 NIV

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

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When we foolishly compare ourselves with our neighbors and think we are better then they, beware the blindness! It is always much easier to see the speck in our neighbor’s eye rather than the plank that is sticking through ours (Matt.7:5).

Yes, we need to recognize sin and its ugly consequences. But when we approach our neighbors from a self-righteous attitude like we are better than them, we are only setting ourselves up for a humpty-dumpty fall.

The apostle Paul kept himself grounded by truly realizing and knowing he was and is the worst sinner of everyone. Yes, he no longer went about persecuting those who didn’t believe as he did. But like the reformed alcoholic, he knew he was one drink away from being led down the path of unwavering slavery to its addiction.

His answers always pointed to Jesus Christ.

Because Jesus fulfilled HIS plan of redemption for humanity, Paul realized his changed attitude and behavior was the result of the Spirit’s work in him. Paul didn’t take the accolades but gave them to whom it belong too – Jesus Christ. He was Christ’s workmanship. The good works, the letters, the words, and the final product was only because of God’s patience and mercy toward him and others.

So, just like how D. T. Niles stated “evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread,” relationships are likewise built by one sinner telling another sinner where to find a real, long term solution.

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 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

More Than You Expect

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us… Ephesians 3:20 NASB.

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Sometimes I stop and look back at the last forty years of life and shake my head in disbelief on how I failed to trust God in the difficult circumstances of everyday living. I believed in God most of my entire life but didn’t really believe Him until the second half of living. Again, if I could have, I would have. But life is a learning experience preparing us for eternity.

If we could reset the time, there would be a few (if not many) areas of life we would change. One area would be to remove the limitations I placed on God and myself.

I knew about God love, but how much he loved me was an issue. I didn’t know we are one of God’s favorites. My attitude was He constantly tested me for personal pleasure. He would throw me into situations that would take my breath away. He would challenge me with circumstances that would cause severe financial crisis’s. I didn’t receive blessings from Him (I mistakenly believed), but pain and sorrow.

However, in hindsight, I now realize how much He cared for me by protectively allowing one of his favorite children to go through trials, circumstances, and challenges that would strengthen me and learn to trust Him. I’ve also came to realize how many limitations we place on ourselves because we limit Him.

The more we came to lean on Him, the more we trusted Him; and the more we partnered with Him, the more He revealed Himself to me. Not with his physical Presence, but through the people, events, and circumstances of life – through His Creation.

Today, I am more amazed at how He works through others to reveal His blessings. The way He brings people into your life, the way He works out circumstances to bring about events which speaks to you, and the way He gives you the strength and courage to seek out the best.

Everything is possible with Him. He knows what is best for you. Yes, you and I have limitations. However, God has no limits. He is eternal. He is omnipresent. He made a commitment with you at creation. We just have to accept His authority in our life and get out of His way.

He is always going before you. Talk with Him. Ask Him how you can best present yourself to others. Trust Him. Lean on Him. He is doing a work in you for His glory, not yours. When you surrender to His goals and objectives, you allow Him to work through you. The result is a manifestation of His greatness. Your talents which He endowed you with and your skills which you have developed are join together with His purpose and His love for you. Together you will see more abundantly what He has in mind for you. And you will come to realize He has more in store for you than you can ever think, ask, or imagine.

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 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

1 Corinthians 6:12

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. ESV.

 

While driving your car in most states in America, you are allowed to make a right hand turn on a red light at an intersection after you stop your car. It doesn’t mean you have too, but you can.

In America, you can also apply for whatever job you want. You may not have the skills and temperament, but you can. Again, it doesn’t mean you should, or qualified, but you can apply.

Likewise in America, you have the right of free speech. The law allows you to express yourself with the protection of the government. Again, you have the right to say what you want but it doesn’t mean you ought too.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. At the intersection, someone may be crossing the street that if you turned there would be a major accident. Just because you can apply for a job, you would be short-changing yourself, your employer, and others if you weren’t fully qualified to manage the work. Again just because the person needs much grace doesn’t mean you have to verbally abuse or assassinate their character because you don’t agree with them.

Because you can doesn’t mean you should. Chocolate is a favorite food for many. But there are those like myself that can’t control the amount we eat. Therefore, rather than be a slave to its gluttony desire,  we find it best to stay away. Sex is a strong desire with much pleasure. Yet outside of a committed relationship within marriage, it becomes a physical addiction and not an intimate, relationship builder. You can also have as many gods in your war chest as you need, but if the Triune God is not before them, first, and central, you are wasting your time and energy on worthless idols.

The bottom-line: You can if you so choose, but are the consequences worth it?

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 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

 

Perfect In Christ

 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But when Christ  offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,  waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:11-14 ESV.

How many prayers must you offer to God so you feel cleanse of your sins? Or how many good acts of service must you perform so you feel worthy to approach the throne of grace? Or how many dollars must you donate to wash away the guilt that clings to your soul?

The answer: just one may be too many.

What Jesus accomplished at the cross was to free you and me from the daily rituals of sacrificing animals (or whatever) as a peace offering to God. Instead HE paid the price as our substitute one time only to make everything right before our heavenly Father. In Christ, we have been cleansed from all sin for ever more.

Yes we will continue to sin in this life. We will commit sins of omission and commission. We will be the target of sin from others. And we may have to pay the physical consequences of sin. However, our eternal home and relationship with our Heavenly Parent will always be available. There is nothing we can do to make it better or worst. Jesus himself has made it perfect for us. In Him, we have all the riches and treasures of heaven and earth at our disposal. Not because we are perfect, but because He is perfect and through His perfection we are known.

So enjoy your perfection in 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 2013-2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

 

Today, I Get To…

“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.” Ecclesiastes 5:18 ESV.

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Experience God’s love…

Play in our Dad’s worldwide sandbox…

Celebrate another day of discovery…

Communicate with the Creator of Life…

Enjoy the beauty of creation…

Serve others through work…

Work for his glory…

Earn income by serving others…

Pay bills…

Drink a cool glass of water…

Eat candy, cake, and cookies…

Smell chocolate covered raspberries…

Hug my bride…

Skype with my daughter…

Ride a bicycle for pleasure and health…

Drive a car to the supermarket…

Plant a shrub…

Wash the windows…

Re-set the remote controller…

Watch football…

Read a book…

Trade the futures market…

Study passages from the Bible…

Attend a small Bible Study group…

Pray for our family, friends, and country…

Rejoice with a friend’s accomplishments…

Grieve over the loss of a friend…

Exercise compassion for another…

Extend God’s love with everyone we meet…

 

What about you? What are you fortunate, blessed, and grateful to do today?

(Reprinted in honor of Thanksgiving – originally published 1/6/17)

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 2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved