Empty Words

Ephesians 5:6

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

You ever listen to a person speak for twenty-minutes and realize he didn’t say anything of substance? All you ever heard were many adjectives and action verbs with emotional tempos thrown between the lines.

Politicians are notorious for such gimmicks. Advertisers are a very close second. And you can throw in a few religious ministers who use the same worldly techniques. In fact, one career assessment guide includes all three personalities in the same classified box. The same skill sets are needed to be effective in each of these three roles.

Yet the Bible warns us not to be deceived by such people who may say much with great form but maintain no substance in the pudding. 

They tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to know.

They cover their words with strong emotional content so your mind becomes clouded with explosive nerve endings rather than a calm, logical reasoning conclusion.

They seek out your trigger points and use words to explode them rather than outline the cause and effect of their position.

They blind you from the best solution to move you down a path where they may best benefit themselves.

They flip-flop on positions or as the Bible calls it – being double-minded. It all depends who is their audience.

They may even change the definition of a word for their personal agenda.

They hide behind smoke screens of illusion; like magicians they have you focus in one area while they manipulate another toward their personal ambition.

Unless one is grounded in long-term, eternal values which outlasts all fads and temporary demands, one may quickly fall prey to their cunning deception. This is one strong reason to study the Bible and its historical significance as it relates to human affairs.

The Word expounds on values and principles which lead to more favorable outcomes in living. When one knows the truth, one quickly recognizes the lies and deception of the enemy. But unless one is grounded in the Truth, one may quickly fall prey to the cunning deception of the Evil One.

In most cases, when you come to know a person’s heart, and when you spend enough time with them to recognize that they actually walk the talk, it will take time to separate the facts from the illusions. But reading your Bible and knowing Him who the book points to, is one of the best tools to help us separate the truth from deception, form from substance, and real value from artificial imitation.

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

Mindfulness

Ephesians 4:23

…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

Mindfulness is one of those 21st century buzz words that recently came on the scene but its history is as old as mankind. Mindfulness is nothing more but focusing on the now rather than tomorrow or yesterday. It is capturing the moment; focusing your time and energy on what is in front of you today.

Many people are thinking about tomorrow and add worry emotions on their sleeve. Others live in anger and bitterness of events of yesterday. Both focusing on tomorrow or on yesterday makes one lose out on what is currently happening right now in your world in front of you.

How often do we commute to work and after our arrival don’t recall any of the events during our trip? Our minds were so deep in thought about something else that we missed everything we passed-by, the music and discussions on the radio/iPod, and even the aggressive drivers along the way.

How often are we so self-absorbed that we don’t recognize what is happening in the lives of people around us? Too add another dimension, how about what God is doing around you?

Our Triune God is always at work in the lives and circumstances around us. One of His characteristics is to invite people to assist Him in His endeavors.

The next time you find yourself speaking with someone, ask God to show you what He is doing in their life. In fact, instead of spreading your influence upon others, ask Him to help you to listen, watch, and observe what He is doing around you. After a while, you may pleasantly find your commute to and from work more enjoyable, entertaining, and eventful than you could ever imagine. You will find yourself praying in meetings asking God to lead you to better serve others. You will become more focused on what God is doing at the moment rather than living in your isolated world.

Don’t worry about tomorrow; you can’t change the past, but you can live to the full today.  It all begins by being more mindful on what is happening right in front of you at this very moment between God, you, and others.

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

The Best Vice is a Dead Vice

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25

What is your secret sin? The one vice you keep hidden in the secret chambers of your heart. The one act or thought you continue to practice that if anyone ever discovered would bring shame and dishonor to you and your family.

Name your preferred poison. Is it alcohol? Drugs? Pornography? Adultery? Fornication? Workaholic? Anger? Gluttony? Laziness? Envy? Lust? Greed? Lying? Pride? Apathy? Boasting? Vulgarity? Ignorance? Anxiety? Fear? Etc., etc., etc.

The list is long and not new for humanity. Since the beginning of the Bible, carnal desires have been expressed with its harmful consequences. Whichever way we turn, sin unfolds its poisonous venom.

Who is without sin? Who does not walk surrounded by sin? As ugly as sin is though, it is not the problem, only the symptom. The real problem is living outside the Will of God instead of being solidly centered in an abiding relationship within Christ. And we all have been there and even now occasionally find ourselves taking detours into these construction areas of pain and sorrow.

But Who will deliver us?

The author of Romans emphasizes how Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection has changed the outcome for mankind. Death is no longer a permanent state of being. Life apart of Sin is now a reality through Jesus Christ. He has overcome Sin on behalf of all humanity. And this includes you and me.

Yet physical death awaits us all. Pain from the consequences of sin still remains. Sin, which is the outcome of living outside the Heart of God, still haunts us. How do we reconcile the grace-filled life from the sin-filled life?

Grace is greater than sin. As Paul writes in Romans, the more we sin, the more God’s grace is poured out upon us. Yet sin’s consequences have a price to be paid. Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of us. But every sin we commit now, though paid for in advance, still has it repercussions. Sin typically destroys relationships and the quality of life for the individual.

Like a smoker who sneaks outside for a quick one, those around us can smell your breath and the stench on your cloths. Sin is the same way. You think you are being smart in hiding your vice. Yet those around you sense something. When you come to realize the cost of sin, the consequences of living a sinful life, and taste the graceful richness of God’s love, you will want to run away from sin’s pull.

Whatever your secret sin, it isn’t worth hiding. Expose it; seek help; confess to another, change your thinking on it, and surrender to the God who made you. Our time on earth is short; why destroy yourself before you realize your potential?

Remember, the best Vice is a dead Vice.

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

How Can You Best Serve God?

Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord]. AMP.

Everyone has a master. This may be shocking for those who live in the “free world” where one boasts of their independence and freedom. Yet even in the countries of northern America or western Europe every person has a master. Most often their master is not the governmental system or leader but themselves.

The truth be told each one of us either serves our passions and dreams and desires rather than someone else’s dictates. Yet Jesus himself states that a person cannot truly serve two masters. One will be more effectively served than the other. So how do you know you are truly serving your Lord rather than yourself?

First there are those who serve Jesus for their own self-centered purpose. Generally, they want something and believe if they serve Jesus, he will grant them their wish. Then there are those who have emptied themselves from personal ambition and truly find joy serving Jesus without a personal agenda. These are the ones who have matured through life realizing the relationship with God is more valuable than any personal goal.

The first group looks for ways to “buy” God through favors by servicing others. The second group builds a relationship with God to become more aware of His presence and joins him with their hands and feet in serving others. Typically, they don’t even know what they are doing and the impact their service for others mean. They simply and gratefully appreciate the opportunity to work along their Master.

Typically, the second group doesn’t look for additional work to perform for God. Instead they know God is already involved in the work they do; their service is to perform their daily routine for God’s glory. A mother or father caring for their children is already glorifying God through their loving responsibility for their children. The receptionist in the office is already serving God by being a joyful representative of His kingdom with everyone he meets. Likewise, the mechanic repairing the client’s automobile as if it was his own, being truthful and fair in the exceptional work they perform, is already serving God by witnessing His values before others.

The list is endless. We serve God best by doing what we do every day for His glory. When we exercise the gifts he has bestowed upon us into good, productive work, and perform our service for others in a saintly manner, being transparent and caring for their well-being, you are being a profitable servant introducing God’s kingdom to the world as His faithful witness.

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

Less Self, More God & Others

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

three focus

Being selfless isn’t reducing your worth as a human being. You are created in the image of God and your worth is hidden in Jesus Christ. You are priceless in God’s eyes. You are worth more than you even imagine. Your worth isn’t measured by what or how you do something; your value is in what Jesus has done, is doing, and yet will do.

However, we are instructed to focus our minds to look at others as more important than ourselves. What does that mean?

First being selfless doesn’t mean you think you are less important than others. It means you simply spend less time thinking about yourself and your needs and instead invest more time thinking how you may better serve others.

The best decisions you make will be a win-win-win scenario. You will follow God’s lead and Will, you will want what is best for the other person, and you will also want what is best for yourself. There most likely will be compromise. However, the end result will generally be fruitful for everyone involved. Sometimes one side must sacrifice more than the other. But when God is in the picture, sacrificial love is His specialty. And he has a way of rewarding us in serving with Him as He works in the lives of others.

In this world economy, many people have a limited pie view. They don’t understand God’s economy of multiplication. Jesus took five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000. He directed Peter and his fishing team where to find a large spool of fish that almost flooded the boat. He also fed millions of people during the Exodus where no grocery store was to be found in the area. When serving others, we know we are being held in His Grip. Though we may fall occasionally and be hurt, we also know he is always there to walk us through the situation.

Humility is simply knowing God and the value he places on all people which includes you and everyone you meet. Like Jesus, we wash the feet of others because that is the way of God. Our value is in Him. From that perspective, whatever he did and does is what we do. He emptied himself to become human and full of the Holy Spirit. We try to do and be likewise. As we empty ourselves, He makes his home in us and fills us with Himself, the Holy Spirit, and our Father God.

His Kingdom is built on service for others through Him by you. A threefold cord that works wonders in every aspect of 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 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Is God Unsafe?

2 Timothy 4:18

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

safe god

There is a human expression that occasionally makes its appearance during tough trials. This past week I heard it again. The saying is “God is not safe; but God is good.”

From a human perspective, one could quickly sake their head in agreement. Most often this thought appears when we are blindsided from events, and instead of God preventing such occurrences, He allows them to happen. These times usually are accompanied by pain, loss, and grief. However, when one begins to understand and live-out the love God has for us, when that love grows into uncompromising trust, no matter the circumstances, the goodness of God overflows even in stinking times.

God is not safe for us because at times instead of granting our expectations, he allows the opposite to occur. Instead of preventing bad things to happen to good people, he allows them to experience the impact of evil. So how can you trust a God who doesn’t meet all your heavenly expectations when you need it most?

Because He is GOOD!

In His unsearchable character, we capture a taste of his goodness throughout his creation. Like a prudent grandparent who knows when and what and how to best present a solution to a child’s problem, God knows you and what is best for you and your love ones and your community. I don’t understand how, but I’ve seen HIM do it over and over again in my life and in the life of others. One gains wisdom and trust with fifty plus years of hindsight.

He is unpredictable; otherwise He wouldn’t be God. We at times seem to think that we know what is best for us and everyone around us. We play god and forget that there is someone who is GOD. God is good. And the perspective he is unsafe comes when we haven’t totally yielded ourselves into the master craftsman’s hand.

This life isn’t meant to be permanent but a training ground for the new age tomorrow. You and I are being molded into the image of our creator. His character is slowly being morphed into you and I so one day we will stand with Jesus and serve His people with the same love, hope, and purpose as he serves us. This is His story and you are included. Complete your part and He will fulfill his.

Evil will come against you. God may not prevent it, but he will rescue you. And from this rescue, you will grow your trust in Him. If there was a better way, He would bring it about. But He knows what you lack and what you need. From a human perspective he may be unsafe; but He is a good God. Trust 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

 

The Difference Between Your Role and Your Identity

Ecclesiastes 10:10

If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.

identity

One trait that most people rarely develop into a positive habit is learning the art of turning failure into success. Like an old ax with a dull blade, we continue to exert more physical energy in its use rather than employ sound wisdom on the problem. Like the person who keeps trying to mop up the water in the bathroom without first turning off the faucet, we work harder rather than smarter. But sound wisdom is available for those who are tired of continually falling short of the mark.

To pursue any type of success without expecting setbacks is like running a marathon without expecting to take a drink of water. Life is not designed that way. The quicker one learns to turn lemons into lemonade, the more enjoyable life will become.

First failure is in the eye of the beholder. Thomas Edison failed over two thousand times to find the perfect filament for the electric light bulb. That is how an outsider viewed the situation. However, Mr. Edison himself simply viewed each test as one step in the process of eliminating what doesn’t work.

The largest reason, I believe, people are able to properly manage the mental anguish of failure is the ability to separate their identity as a person from the role they are working through. When you truly realize you are a child of the same God who holds the universe together, held in the grip of Jesus Christ, made and being morphed into his image, you have an eternal identity which no failure nor person can remove. However, when your identity is found in anything else (no matter how good it may look or be), you have made an idol that will eventually come crumbling down.

When you can separate your identity from your role in life, then you will find it easier to evaluate the situation and come up with more reasonable solutions to your dilemma. However, when you use your role as your identity cup, that cup will leave you totally empty when the role is over. Roles come and go but your identity in Christ remains forever.

You see this all the time. The person whose career is over becomes lost because their identity was solely buried in their work. The mother whose identity was found in her children becomes lost when the children leave home. The teenager whose identity is found with his friends becomes lost if not accepted by his peers or their friends move away. The athlete whose identity is found on the football field finds himself loss when he is discarded because of his age.

When you know who you are in Christ though, then each role

you accept becomes a learning process of developing the necessary skills needed to succeed in that role. No matter how well you succeed or fail to succeed, you are only defining your ability to manage that role. Your identity in Christ doesn’t change. Yes, you may be a lousy waitress, but you are an awesome child of God. Yes, you may be a lousy ballplayer, but you can improve by sharpening the necessary skills need to succeed. The same with any role you have chosen to pursue.

Of course, when you build your role upon the God-given gifts and natural abilities given, the path will be easier. Yet motivation and hard work developing the necessary skill set is also necessary and doable. You may not become the #1 rated person in your industry, but you will be greatly respected for what and how you do it.

So, the next time you find yourself short of your mark, thank God for the opportunity you have been given, find yourself a mentor, and know that failure only sets the bar for you to discover what you need to change to become more effective in the role you are working through.

Don’t confuse your identity with your role. Master your role. Keep centered in your identity. Then failure is only a holding pattern in a learning process of improving your role.

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