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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What Does God Hate?


Proverbs 6:16-19 
There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

Yes, God is love and expresses love. Yet He also disdains acts of unloving passion. Most of the time when the Bible speaks about God hating someone it usually means He removes His favor on someone. When someone acts opposite of love, He likewise looks at the act as uncharacteristic of His love. God’s way produces fruit for relationships to flourish. When we act outside of His character, we experience the effect of sin which is an action opposite of God’s nature.

So, when God hates certain actions, He knows the outcome produces harmful results which make it difficult for people to prosper within a community. When you look at these seven abominations through the eyes of God, their negative impact within a community is more easily recognized.

Haughty eyes are elsewhere written as the pride of life. It is viewing life from a superior attitude placing oneself in a godlike position. Pride comes before a fall. Pride led the angel Lucifer to become Satan. Pride blinds the self from seeing others from God’s point of view.

A lying tongue is the enemy of Trust. Trust builds strong relationships between people and nations. When trust is broken, justice is forsaken. When trust is broken, marriages crumble. When trust is broken, people fail to unite for a common cause which builds businesses, nations, and institutions for the common good.

Hands that shed innocent blood is destroying another person’s future and impact they have within their community. Life is sacred. When someone decides to murder another human being randomly to satisfy an inner evil desire, God hates. To destroy an innocent life is slapping God across the face in an arrogant manner. You are stealing from GOD when you take the life of another.

A heart that devises wicked plans is bent on destroying the life of others. Instead of building up others or helping others to flourish, this person focuses on lying, stealing, and destroying others for their personal reward. The impact of their actions on the community is irrelevant from their perspective.

Feet that make haste to run to evil are people who just love acts of destruction. Whether it’s a bar room brawl, a gang rape, or a drunken party, you will find them there. Instead of being the solution to a problem, they like to extend the problem.

A false witness who breathes out lies causes great harm in the judicial system. When lies allow innocent people to suffer, the nation begins to suffer. Again, trust is the backbone of all relationships. When trust is broken within the judicial system, the entire nation suffers.

One who sows discord among brothers creates an atmosphere of distrust and inward protection. When people work together knowing they have each other’s back, the team accomplishes more than when there is division and rivalry within the group. Gossip and bullying prevent the community from living up to its potential. Insecure leadership will not allow others to be more successful than themselves. But when leadership builds up and serves others to become more than themselves, the entire community prospers.

In summary, these seven things God hates and removes his favor from people who act in this manner. So, when one behaves in the opposite manner, you may expect God’s favor to be highly upon you.

When you walk humbly, speak the truth, save lives, make plans for others to also flourish, jump quickly toward activities that do good for others, speak loudly for justice, and build up your brothers and sisters with words and actions, you will experience seven things God loves to see. His favor will be with 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

Lead Us

2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.

As many of the ballroom dance partners have shared with me, when one’s partner is a good leader, the joy from dancing increases substantially. The same can be said is true in our dance with the Almighty. When we follow His lead, the journey is more enriching and enlightening.

Likewise, Paul mentions in this Scripture how God leads them in harmony within Jesus game plan to let others know Him wherever they go. And Paul thanks God for the action. In other Scriptures, he shows how the Holy Spirit refrain them from going in a certain direction by closing all avenues. Instead he was shown in a vision the way to go into Macedonia where the gospel was effectively proclaimed.

Asking God to lead you everyday in every area of your life is a smart move. Whether we are speaking about relationships at home or at work, whether we are speaking about family or business decisions, or whether we are speaking about community or national agendas, asking and seeking answers from the Almighty makes the road more effectively to travel.

But like ballroom dancing, it takes two. As He leads, we need to learn how to best follow. Some of us are better at discerning the situation then others. However, skills can be learned over time. The more time you spend with someone, the easier it becomes to anticipate and participate with the other person. The same is true with the Triune God.

So, we can ask Him daily to be led away from temptations, from harmful circumstances, and from poisonous situations. The more we invest time communicating with Him, the quicker we will hear, see, and act from His perspective rather than ours.

It takes two to tango. One leads and the other follows. So, know your position on the dance floor, learn the steps, and let the arm of God gently sway you with the music around the earthly ballroom of life. There is great joy being led by the Creator of Life who knows you better than you know yourself.    

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

Managing Body-Soul-Spirit

1 Thessalonians 5:23

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Scriptures indicate, we have all been born with a body, soul, and spirit. Each of us is a mini-trinity. My observation over the years is most of us totally fail to effectively manage the relationship between our body, soul, and spirit. This world emphasizes the body and doing everything for it. The soul and spirit are after thoughts. For many of us, we gain this understanding later in life and then begin the process of totally aligning the three spheres of human autonomy.

For most of us, the concept of body-soul-spirit has never been fully explained and therefore never entered our mind. Like most things, what we don’t know, we cannot do effectively.

A modern example of how the body-soul-spirit work together is to compare the human being with today’s computer. Like all examples, it has its limitations, but overall it provides a good glimpse of how the three work together.

The computer consists of three parts: casing, operating system, and applications. The casing relates to the body; the operating system is the soul; and the applications are the fruit of spirit. The casing comes in multiple sizes, shapes, and colors – like people. Marketers may emphasize the outer casing to attract certain people, but the real geeks know it’s the operating system that makes the computer standout. (I currently use Windows 10 on this computer). The operating system contains the memory (mind), a customizable font, look, and feel (personality/emotions), and operating boundaries (Will). The operating system is the soul of a computer.

However, without any software applications, the computer would be an empty box. Depending on your purpose, you will download various software so your computer will become a performance tool in your hands to serve a purpose. I have Word, Excel, Firefox, and a host of other applications which allows me to fully maximize the computer’s capacity.

The soul is your operating system. From your soul, decisions are made and activity spring forth (Mt.15:18). A healthy operating system allows all the applications to fully function. A healthy soul allows God’s Spirit to fully function within you. A healthy operating system is protected by security features which prevents damaging viruses to steal or destroy your work. Likewise, a healthy soul uses the empowering Word to protect you from destruction.

Just like there are multiple applications for a computer, there are multiple spirits for the soul. However, not every spirit builds up. There are many spirits whose purpose is to steal, lie, and destroy. The bible identifies them as demons. The Spirit that empowers and offers wise consul is the one you want fully operating to enjoy and live out your full potential as a person: The Holy Spirit.

This example is only to introduce you to better understand the workings between spirit-soul-body. As you walk out your faith with Christ, the various parts will become more noticeable. You will begin to take a more proactive, intentional role in managing what impregnates your soul, which spirit you allow entrance into your soul, and how to better steward your body’s workings with your soul.

When your soul is healthy, your body will follow and demonstrate through a more confident sureness and attitude which comes through via the Spirit that lives in you. Focus on developing a healthy soul and your soul will unleash the richness of God’s character residing within 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

Test & Learn

Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

In business, leadership continues to develop new products and services for their customers. Which one becomes successful and which one fails is often unknown at the start. Yet through testing and gaining feedback, the eventual one moves to the top and becomes most noticeable.

In scientific research the principle of testing and learning is the guiding force to seek out the truth. Albert Einstein tested and failed over 2,000 times before discovering the best solution for the light bulb. Yet when asked, he replied he didn’t fail 2,000 times, but learned what didn’t work.

As we walked with the Almighty, we are likewise instructed to test and learn what is good according to God’s character and desires. The Scripture identifies it as the will of God. But isn’t God’s will an outcome of His character and desires?

As we allow His Spirit to influence us, and become more aware of His presence in our life, and meditate on His creation and narrative, our minds become refocus away from this culture’s values and political correctness, and more toward knowing who God IS and what life with God looks like.

Whenever we are not sure, Scripture says to test and learn. We can learn through our own trials and errors or we can learn from the success and mistakes of others. The author of the Book of Ecclesiastes tested all avenues of life seeking answers. He pursued every desire in search of purpose and meaning for life. At the end, he came to learn after testing multiple “isms” God’s expectation for mankind while travelling through time and space.

The children of Israel tested God in the wilderness and took over forty years to learn the lesson of truly trusting Him. History is a vivid lesson for mankind to learn from the experiences of others who have failed and succeeded. So why create a new wheel when others have already gone before you?

The Bible is an excellent “history book” which identifies all the key players and life’s trails and errors made by many before you and I were even born. Yet there is nothing new under the sun except for technology and fashion. Otherwise, human nature repeats itself and God’s grace intervenes more than we may ever realize. So, if you are serious of learning the will of God in your life, first start by learning the lessons of all the players in Scripture. Then be open to test and discern the circumstances in your own life with the character and desires of God’s heart.

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 Goal

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Without goals, we will generally end up someplace. The question is where?

With goals, we have a target and focus for a planned, worthwhile outcome.

So, what are your goals?

Some people have goals for every area of their life. There are physical goals and spiritual goals. There are mental goals and social goals. There are health goals and financial goals. There are career goals and family goals. There are recreational goals and educational goals. There are goals for anything and everything that your passion will easily thrust you toward.

Yet without goals, you will end up someplace. But will it be your paradise on earth?

Studies show until a goal is clearly written it is only a wish. Real goals help you picture the future and gather the resources for your journey. The joy is found with the relationships you make and the people you meet toward your target. In hindsight, after you accomplish your goal, there is always a slight letdown as you prepare yourself for the next one.

Paul is his letter to the Philippians highlighted his primary goal of pursuing his relationship with Jesus Christ and to experience life with Him. To know Him and experience His power of the resurrection and suffering in his life now. He didn’t cry over the past, but kept his focus on the future. He didn’t stop thinking he has already arrived to his destination, but continually pressed himself forward until that day when he would be resurrected with a new body.

If you are young, and haven’t started your bucket list yet, start today. Take out a sheet of paper and dream the impossible dreams. List everything, no matter how unrealistic at the moment that you want to accomplish and how you want your life to look when it’s all done on earth.

I attended a seminar years ago where the speaker then in his 70s shared his list of 100 goals he wrote as a young man. He showed how 99 of his goals have been attained. The only one not achieved was a trip to the moon. My bucket list was written at the age of 25. Today 80% has been accomplished, some will never be because of change in values, and there are a few more than we have scheduled in the future if time and circumstances allow.

Life’s journey is more enjoyable when you see how God directs your steps toward those events and people who bring out the best in you and you bring out the best in them through the process of accomplishing your goals.

The most important goal though is your relationship with Jesus Christ. When He is the center of everything you do, think, and plan, you will find life more enjoyable, adventurous, and life-giving then you would ever imagine. Yes, there will be much trials, tribulations, and painful suffering in the process, but knowing like Paul, God is for you, with you, and will strengthen you as you press onward toward the goal to win the prize which HE has called you in Christ Jesus – definitely gives life more meaning and purpose than without.

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

What Do You Worship?

Matthew 6:21††††††††††††††

Sometimes I question my personal value system.

There are days when I would rather have a pizza to cover the emotional pain, than take up the matter with our Lord. On other days, I would rather watch an evangelical preacher on TV then attend a worship service at our church. Then there are days I scream and shout and dance around a football game, but almost stand listless during a church praise session. What does this tell me about my heart at the moment?

I am human. As a human I am created after the image of the Creator God. Yet, many times I fail to live up to HIS standard of holiness. One minute I get a small taste of heaven. The next minute, I feel the pangs of hell. One day I am full with the Spirit of God experiencing the full measure of HIS presence. The next day, I am tired and empty and don’t care about anything or anyone. When I find something that grabs my attention, I am focused, disciplined, and persistent. Yet, there is also something in me that wants to take the easy way out. I may know what is the best solution, but execution of the goal becomes insurmountable. Instead of rolling up my sleeves and delving into the opportunity or challenge, I give into my inner desires and escape with a bag of potato chips.

Comfort food is my escape for the moment until the belt line presses against my favor pair of pants. Then it becomes a battle of starvation. Mentally I know a little hunger will not kill me, but why suffer a little pain. So, I grab a donut.

Satisfied for the moment, but the consequences add up. Instead of tasting the sweet aroma of victory, we again lose the battle. How many battles I have lost in this lifetime is any one’s guess. But I know it’s a lot. Yet someone keeps me going.

His name is Jesus Christ. His Spirit resides in me. And there is a war taking place between my desires and his vision. I’m disappointed at times because instead of surrendering the battle with HIM, my desires win the short-term struggle which means I lose momentum for the long-term vision HE has for me. Yet HIS Spirit doesn’t give up.

As I focus my attention on HIM, acknowledge HIS authority in my life, express my gratitude for everything HE has done for me, is doing for me, and will yet do for me, for HIS namesake, makes me want to praise and worship HIM even more and more. Every time I fail to live up to HIS expectations, HE pours out his grace unto me; undeservingly and generously. He is my Savior, Lord, Hero, Friend, and Brother. He is King of Kings.

As we walk through life’s journey, HE is repositioning our value system to match HIS. The stretching, uncomfortable pain, and disappointments we encounter are the processes of being HIS disciple. And as we are being morphed into HIS image, the more we praise HIM and lift HIM up to everyone we meet. HE has captured our heart and is our Treasure. WE worship HIM because of WHO HE IS rather than what he has done for us. Defeat is a temporary setback and doesn’t define us. Our God, through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit identifies us and names us as HIS.

All glory, honor, and praise belong to HIM. Set your heart with HIM and let the treasures of HIS Kingdom always empower 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