Integrity

Proverbs 28:6

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

There are generally at least three types of authority in this world. Positional authority, expertise authority, and moral authority.

Positional authority is temporary. Your role as a supervisor, CEO, parent, or community leader is given for you to serve others. The authority you have is yours only because of the position you hold.

Expertise authority will last longer. Your knowledge of computers, your skill set to solve problems, repair automobiles, and build houses places you in the position of being an expert at your craft. People who take their natural abilities and develop skills upon their natural abilities, gain expertise in their field of study and become experts. They gain authority by their expertise.

Moral authority is yours for your entire life. People will follow you because of the fruit in your life. You may have position, be poor, lack knowledge in anything useful or practical, but your life enriches others simply by the way you live. Moral authority is built upon integrity. Doing what is right all the time even if it costs you. Whether or not someone is watching, people with integrity surround themselves with shields of conscience godliness. Integrity gives you moral authority.

You can build a successful career by exercising positional or expertise authority. However, without moral authority, your path will be short lived. Moral authority allows you to sustain yourself for the long term. People with integrity in the marketplace maintain relationships that helps each other grow for the long term. People without integrity slowly find themselves without associates who are willing to risk working with them because of the distrust of prior experiences.

Integrity is the backbone and foundation for a fulfilling life. Integrity demands the exercise of character. If you want a mate or friend with character, that you can trust and build a life around, analyze the fruit of their character. How do they manage in a crisis? What are they like when no one is watching? How do they relate with others, especially those who are different than them? Do they respect authority? What are the values they live by?  When you meet a person with integrity, count it a blessing and add them to your list of associates you want to spend time travelling through life. They will make you stronger and support you in the moral authority you flame.  

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Excellence

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

There are certain proven values pursued over time that produce the good life. When these nuggets of gold are placed at the top of your priority list, you will experience the tasteful fruit of your actions. Proverbs 22:29 reinforces that a skillful person in their work will stand before kings.

This is not a cultural thing; it’s not a racial construct; and it’s not an ethnic privilege. Instead, it is the outcome of a person exemplifying the attribute of the Creator.

Those in positions of authority seek out the best and most highly skill people to manage their enterprises. Whether they be kings, CEO’s, or parents wanting the best for their children, the people who have discipline themselves to focus and exert all their energy, strength, and mindfulness toward the work at hand typically produce the best outcomes.

If you had a brain tumor, wouldn’t you want the best surgeon to operate on you? Don’t you seek out the most qualified cosmetologist to bring out the best image of you? If you need help on a certain subject, don’t you shop around for the best tutor or mentor?

Yet to become that person requires developing your natural abilities into the necessary skill sets plus cultivating the attitude and desire to be the best at what you do. You don’t have to be the world’s #1 expert on the matter, as there is plenty of demand for those who do excellent work. You only need to develop the God-given abilities you were born with into marketable skills and find ways to serve the people around you. Overtime as you master your craft, you will be recognized for the work you do by your peers and God himself may even draft you into his service.

Then again, you may be serving him already and now have become better at what you do. Yes, for a good life, remember, whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.

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

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Matthew 7:15-20

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit…Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

These past few months I found myself negotiating with a very successful business person on the purchase of a large real estate transaction. The deal never closed. Throughout the discussions, they would negotiate a fair deal but never live up to any of their commitments. They made promises but not once delivered on their word. After several attempts to finalize the deal, we walked away. How can you negotiate with someone who isn’t honest and doesn’t live up to their word?

Jesus discusses in Matthew how to identify false prophets. You can recognize them by their behavior. Their appearance may impress you, but what is the fruit of their life?

You can use the same analogy toward any person who comes to you looking like a saint, speaking like a saint, but whose actions don’t live up to their appearance. These are people who promise you anything and everything to follow them. Their intention is very self-centered and they have no problem using you for their personal satisfaction.

Most of the people we meet in life, we quickly (and most often wrongly) judge them by their appearance. Most of the people who we come to know through the media are presented to us from the bias of the reporter. We quickly make assumptions based on which tribe or education or social position or economic status they seem to belong too.

Yet most likely we are wrong. Until you spend time with a person, getting to know their worldview, their values, their life goals and ambitions, and how they manage themselves through a crisis, you are only guessing. Until then, you can only watch how their actions align with their words.

Politicians are in many ways today’s false prophets. They promise you freedom, but implement programs that enslave you to the state. They cast visions of utopia for you if you elect them, but at the end, they are building their utopia at your expense.

The fruit Jesus speaks about is the character attributes of the Triune God: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, humility, honesty, freedom, good work, etc.  The fruit of a dead tree follows the attributes of Satan who is the antithesis of God. John records Jesus stating that the devil’s role is to lie, steal, enslave, kill, and destroy.

So, when you look at the fruit of people’s lives, what do you see?  A life flourishing with the treasurers of God or a life drowning in the destructive path of Satan? You will know them by their fruit.

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

Afraid to Pray?

1 Timothy 2:8

Therefore, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

pray2

Why should anyone be afraid to pray? To ask the God of creation to intervene. For help in solving a problem larger than us. Or maybe a blessing on our love ones. Yet I occasionally come across people who admit they are afraid to pray. When we dig deeper, we generally find the challenge lies in several spheres.

One, which is the general challenge for many pertains to change. We are so focus on our goals and priorities that we don’t want to change what we are doing but add a blessing on top of everything we are already in pursuit. If we surrender to God, we believe there goes our dreams.

Or, we don’t because only falsely believe only weaklings pray. Us self-reliant and intelligent beings have the delusion everything is under control. We don’t need any assistance. We can handle everything ourselves.

Or, there are those who feel unworthy to pray and come to the throne room of God. Who am I to petition God? We blindly disbelieve God has no time for us or what we request is not important in the scheme of world events.

Whatever the obstacle, Paul writes to Timothy and encourages him to remind us all to pray. Why? Because prayer is the means of communicating with the living God. Unless we pray, we will never know God as He wants to be known. You cannot have a personal relationship with anyone unless there are two-way communications.

Pray allows us to see God in action. When we pray and make our requests to Him, removing any personal expectations on how and when, we witness God’s reply. Sometimes the reply comes in a word, sometimes in a thought, sometimes from others speaking to us directly or indirectly. The Bible showcases people being responding by God through a vision, dream, and yes even through a donkey.

For those who are afraid to pray, I ask “how is it working for you?” For those who have surrendered themselves to King Jesus, I likewise ask “how is it working for you?”

When one repeatedly experiences answers to prayer, one learns to pray constantly and everywhere. How one looks or sounds or trips over their words in the process, doesn’t bother them any longer. The reason? Because they know Jesus and the Holy Spirit intercedes for them. Jesus knows what being human is like. He gladly takes our requests and intervenes to the Father on our behalf. When we come to realize this, we learn not to emphasize prayer, but the power of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we long to pray and be in communion with the living God: every day and everywhere.

Fear has to do with punishment. Prayer is the loving means to a loving God who wants what is best for us. Sometimes it requires change; other times it requires sacrifice, and other times it requires self-denial. But the Christ follower says Amen for they know the process of discipleship leads to Kingdom fulfillment and real satisfaction in this life and the next.

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

 

 

 

But…God

Ephesians 2:4

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy…

If you want an encouraging Bible study some weekend, take the words “but God” and conduct a Scriptural journey through the Old and New Testament. You will recount all the difficult problems and impossible challenges others have faced with the only solution coming from God’s intervention. You will discover circumstances that would be ridiculous except for God’s hand on the matter. And you will find human platitudes renounced by God’s truth.

But God means there is a higher authority who has last say on the matter. But God gives hope when hope seems lost. But God establishes a standard higher than ours.

How often during our day we come across a challenge or difficulty which is humanly overwhelming if God wasn’t in the picture? If the solution was solely up to me, I would most often drop below the tank. But God reminds me who has last say on the matter.

But God allows us to witness HIS steadfast love and mercy in times of need and times of plenty. So, remember, no matter the challenge or problem, God has the last say. And you have a direct link with HIM. Engage HIM. You may not like HIS answer, but you will know in hindsight it was the best answer at that time and place.

Your Desires

1 John 2:16

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

1 John 2:17

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Ephesians 4:22

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,

Galatians 5:17

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:24

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Ecclesiastes 6:2

a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.

Do you know the difference between God’s desires and worldly desires? Many times, we have a deep desire for something which by itself is probably an OK thing, but when that desire places God’s desires secondly, then we have placed ourselves in a position of compromise which most often isn’t very good.

As we are born again with a new spirit (God’s) and our soul is now surrendered to King Jesus who purchased our salvation from Satan, our desires begin to change. Instead of pursuing to satisfy our carnal, fleshy desires, or what seems appealing to our eyes, or doing what makes us feel important, we lean on accepting God’s heart on the manner.

His desires for us slowly becomes our passion. And as we pursue God’s intentional design for our life, His character traits are slowly being formed within the inner person. Yes, God will give us the desires of our heart. Even at times if those desires may temporarily hurt us for discipline sake. As we slowly learn to differential God’s desires from our carnal heart, we begin to choose more of Christ, and less of ourselves.

What eventually happens is our heart’s desire begins to mirror God’s holiness. When that occurs, our Triune God will surely grant us our heart’s desires. Why? Because it will glorify Him and He knows we will have the internal fortitude to properly manage whatever He gives us.

When Jesus made the comment that food and drink isn’t the problem, but what comes out of the heart. He was discussing how mankind’s heart is separated from God which is the storehouse of evil and harmful desires. When these desires are expressed, the outcome is painful for oneself and others.

Yet God has given us a clean heart through Jesus Christ. As we yield and allow His Spirit to morph us, we stand in awe of the marvelous work He is producing in and through His children.

Therefore, seek God’s desires in all things and let’s leave our carnal desires locked up with the old man.

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