Fear Not

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Hebrews 13:6

So, we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

2 Timothy 1:7

…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Ever notice throughout the Bible whenever angels appeared before humans, their first words are a strong command not to be afraid. Or when Jesus spoke with His disciples or someone approached him, he would reiterate “fear not” and then explain why.

Fear is a strong emotional spirit that is wired in us to protect us from potential harm. Those of us who have a strong creative imagination probably are more challenged to keep fear to a healthy manageable display, but everyone of us deals with the matter throughout our lives. Yet there are those who better manage the response of fear than others.

I have worked for business owners whose level of monetary risk was substantially greater than mine. As one explained to me, after you lost a few million, gone through bankruptcy, and still survive, your level of risk tolerance grows. The same is true of whatever we may fear. The more we face our fear and survive, the stronger we become.

Jesus would often imperatively command his listeners not to be afraid. The reason: because God cares for you and will help you walk through the ordeal. He would point to God as the one we should fear because he can destroy both body and soul; whereas people can only kill the body. In other places, HE chastises doubt away, and points toward God as the solution to overcome fear and anxiety.

Elsewhere in Scripture, the apostle Paul and John and the writer of Hebrews likewise poo-poo fear away by reminding us that God has given us through HIS Spirit the power and love and self-control to debunk the fear in our lives.

John highlights that God’s love is greater than any fear. As we allow HIS presence to live in us and transform us, we slowly see the fear dissipate from our lives. As we come to know HIM more and more each day, we become witnesses of HIS power to work in our life and the life of others.

The intensity of the fears we face each day are correlated with the presence of God in our life. As HE becomes more and more central in our life, the relationship grows and HIS attributes and worldview begin to dominate in our world. Whatever problem we see or ordeal we are living through is soon recognized as only a hiccup in HIS path.

Fear is a very powerful emotion God gave us to protect us from danger. Yet fear, unless bridled can cause greater harm than the trigger point of fear itself. Like all emotions, fear needs to be managed properly under the circumstances one finds themselves. The beginning of a healthy system to manage fear is with God who created the emotion for our protection. When HE becomes the central core of our emotions, the challenge and response become more controlled, healthy, and productive. So, fear not, and let God be your guide.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Discipline Yourself

1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So, I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

The Holy Spirit shares HIS character with us which includes self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). He provides us with the added resources and support to live the good life. However, we still have to make the choice. Yet how often do we waiver between two opposing options? We know what is the right thing to do but yet our carnal desire seeks the opposite. 

Paul compares the Christian walk to an Olympic event. The Christ-follower is like the athlete being trained to win a race or a boxing match. If you have ever played sports, you know the preliminary practice and training required to prepare the body and mind for actual competition. The Christian life is no different.

One of the life long battles with the self is disciplining the body to pursue godly attitudes and behavior. In our current culture overran with luxury and pampering, many of us are out of shape to enter any type of Olympic event. This is nothing new under the sun. The way our forefathers managed this process is through “the disciplines of grace” as Richard Foster describes in his book “Celebration of Discipline.”   

The disciplines he describes are simple exercises we intentionally put ourselves through for the long-term outcome of subduing the body into subjection of God’s grace. We train ourselves to yield our desires for a more eternal outcome.

For example, I love to eat. And of course, the foods I desire are typically high in calorie, sugar, and other ingredients which in moderation would be OK but in the hands of an addictive personality, very dangerous. To overcome and better manage the urge of gluttony, I turn to the discipline of fasting. Fasting is an old-time tradition that Jesus and his disciples spoke about as the Bible has much to say about its merit. Yet when practiced on a regular basis, science has demonstrated its effectiveness for physical health, and the Bible has shown its importance for spiritual nourishment.

Other disciplines include worship, giving, celebrating, silence, and at least another dozen that one can choose from to better help in managing the carnal desires of the body. The way to choose which discipline one practices most often is to understand one’s character defaults. For example, if friends and family members point out that you may over talk at events, then maybe one could better control the tongue by practicing the discipline of silence. Another example is if one finds it hard to donate money to others without any strings attached, then maybe the discipline of giving would help balance out the selfish heart.

There are many others options to choose from. The point is to make the intentional decision to practice the discipline one needs to better shape the character within you. For life has a way we either discipline ourselves or life will hit us from the outside with such a punch that we may find ourselves the victim of a knockout. I for one would rather be prepared for the unexpected.

The disciplines of grace help me better manage myself through the obstacle’s life throws us each and every day. I am sure you will find like many others who practice these disciplines they would also make a positive difference in your life. Take time this week to investigate. You may be pleasantly surprise in the difference they will make in your life.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & 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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Unity or Conformity

Ephesians 4:3

“eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

When leaders speak of unity, I cringe. The first question that comes to mind is how do you define unity? For most control freak managers and organizational leaders, their definition is really you being conform to their way of thinking.

For real unity is built upon the values and teachings of the Holy Spirit. Conformity is built upon the exterior facade of dress and behavior.

Anyone can look like they are in step with you by their appearance, words, or just high-stepping like the armies on parade. But are they in agreement with the values and principles which lay the foundation of unity?

As a Christ-follower, I am not impressed with empty rhetoric, but with actions built on spiritual truth. When a person has surrendered their Will and Heart and Mind to Lord Jesus, the Spirit becomes more and more noticeable through the mannerism and attitude of the Believer.

Instead of pride, humility becomes more and more noticeable. One doesn’t need to ridicule or disrespect the other so the self may feel justified. But God is allowed to become the center of the relationship. Humility is simply trusting God will deal with the situation better than you can.

Instead of lies to cover up, honesty with transparency is the norm. If people cannot handle the truth, then surround yourself with those who can. Healthy leadership admits one’s weakness and is not afraid of the consequences of revealing themselves.

Instead of uncontrollable behavior, self-control is practiced. For example, to live within one’s means rather than spend more than one earns, is stealing from others. When a country spends more than it receives from their taxpayers, they are simply stealing from future constituents. The same can be said with food. A glutton takes food away from others and only shows their lack of self-control. Without self-control, a person will eventually harm themselves and others along the way.

It is easy to nod your head in agreement, be politically correct, and drive the culturally impressive car. But is your heart ONE with God?

When two people are one with God, they may disagree on many issues. But they have deepened respect for the other person and seek to maintain peace with them. What unifies them is their God and the values HE represents. Rather than seek exterior conformity, they search for common ground being unified in Spirit. They realize the relationship is just as important than the facts. The challenge is to maintain the unity of the Spirit while seeking out the best solution.

When two people are not in agreement with the Spirit, the discussion first becomes a battle between values. If the values cannot be agreed upon, then force is required. Whenever power is exercised without agreement, war eventually ensues.

Conformity ignores the values and instead exercises force and power to get their way. In the short term, they will get their way. In the long term, it will lead to a revolution.

Bottom-line: Unity is built on values and the result is long lasting; conformity is built by force and is short lived and destructive in the long term.  As I have repeated witnessed and learned the hard way, everything worthwhile begins when the Triune God is the center of your foundation.

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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Conspiracy Theories

Ephesians 6:12

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Which conspiracy theory do you believe?

I recently saw a list of over 75 conspiracies which are currently being talked about throughout the internet. Whether you are into governmental agendas, global warming, UN refresh plans, immigration invasion, vaccine controls, or Elvis Presley faking his own death, they all have a common plot. What we are being told isn’t really the truth.

As a young teen, I learned that people found lies more believable than the truth. When I spoke the truth, people didn’t believe me. However, when I made up some story, they would easily nod in agreement. It wasn’t until my late teen years, after I accepted Jesus Christ, honesty became my bedrock.

I have witnessed the joy of working with others whose word could be trusted. However, I have also worked with those whose lies and half-truths are the norm. My one mentor whose memory wasn’t great would always remind me when you speak the truth it is easier to recall the facts. When you speak lies, you deceive yourself and others. Eventually, over time no one will believe what you say, whether it is the truth or not, and then they will simply learn to ignore you.

Yet there is a conspiracy that is raging throughout the world. One which seems to make circumstances and events come together for an evil purpose. Besides the above Scripture, the apostle Paul also writes in Ephesians 2:2 there is a spiritual force at work influencing people to follow their natural inclinations toward evil. These people unknowingly have become pawns in this world chess game.

The Book of Revelation points at the end time there will be a united world government in control. This government will not be friendly to Christ-followers. Personal freedom will become history and every person subject to the supreme ruler of the state. As we now witness different plots and conspiracy movements throughout the globe, I have to admit the spirit of Satan is very active. You can call it a Biblical conspiracy theory – Satan and his demons are globally moving people toward his goal of global control without God and truth as the foundation.

The good news is Jesus Christ will return and remove the Beast from his throne and restore HIS government on earth. The bad news though is the process from today till then will be a bumpy one with pain and suffering for many. This is what has happened throughout history when God is ignored and people place themselves in the seat of authority without the wisdom nor knowledge of lasting values which leads to a life for all to flourish.

Meanwhile, the only common link between all the conspiracy theories is the lies and unknowns generated by an evil spiritual force moving people away from the Triune God. Eventually, this leads to the inability of trusting one another because of the constant lies being told to hide people from the truth. Then without trust, the system stops functioning, which results in more chaos and untruths, and then brute force is required to make society function again. The end result is violence and destruction; even the downfall of a nation.

But remember, we may lose a few battles between now and then, the overall main stream untrusting culture may also become more and more pervasive, but the Good Book reveals God wins in the end. And we with 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

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Competency

Proverbs 22:29

Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

So, you want to change the world?

How best could you make that happen?

The Book of Proverbs has many tidbits of common sense and wisdom which when exercised leads to an impactful life. So, if you want to influence the culture around you, improve the lives of those near you, or simply have a larger platform to share your thoughts and ideas, just become good at what you do.

The concept is easy to understand, but takes the high road of character development to build the discipline and skill set to master. But when you develop the competency in your work where you become the teacher and authority of your subject, the world will eventually take notice.

For example, I dropped off my bicycle to be repaired this week. I have used the same shop for the last 5 or 6 years. There are other shops closer and less expensive, but I choose this shop owner because of his knowledge and skill-set of repairing bicycles. The person worked for one of the largest bike shops in the country for over 15 years and then decided to open his own business. He loves bikes and his work shows his love. He treats each bike as his own and answers my questions in a way that I can easily understand. He is very competent in his work.    

Back in Jesus time, a world without today’s social media, HE became known through his work. He was a super Rabbi. He spoke the Scriptures with authority and in ways that amazed the people. He walked the talk. He healed the sick. He judged with mercy and discretion where people from the far right and far left felt accepted by Him. He was known throughout the land by the common person and the leaders of religion and government. In other words, he was very good at what he did.

And you can do the same.

When you align your natural abilities with the accumulation of your specific field of knowledge, and reach a point of understanding all the finer details where you can quickly apply the wisdom to better serve others, you will be noticed. Why?

Because most people are lazy and don’t apply themselves. Or they take shortcuts to master the material. For example, many students learn the one concept taught by their professors and repeat the same words. There is no depth or constructive value in their work. They are parrots repeating the same jargon without fully understanding all the implications.

We see this within the religious community where every question is answered the same way. You can have twenty people answer the same question with the same verbiage. But the competent one, who has taken the time to fully learn and apply the Scripture, will answer the question in their own words and present the material in a way that allows the recipient to understand in their world of experience. This separates the student from the teacher.

If someone needs their bike repaired, I will easily recommend my person. You probably can say the same for those few certain people whose services you repeatedly use even though they may cost a few dollars more. What do they most likely all have in common?

I bet they are very competent in what they do. And you can do the same.

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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Values of Substance & Worth

Luke 6:48

…he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

How strong is the foundation of your life?

Jesus asked the same question to his audience back some 2,000 years ago. The conclusion of his spoken words is summarized in the above Scripture. When you study His remarks, statements, and stories, you obtain a short list of the important values of living which lead to a more productive, blessed, and fulfilling life.

Yet many people who poo-poo the Bible without ever reading the Book classify the sayings as old fashion, religious jumbo. Yet those who have digested its contents, and built their foundation of living upon the teachings and wisdom from the Book, can only smile.

You don’t need a college degree, nor even a high school education to gleam the values which a solid, successful life is built upon. The Book contains all the important lessons and tidbits of wisdom when put into practice leads to a life worth living even after all the worldly storms and ugly events dump on you each and every day.

Today’s media and advertisers influence people by emphasizing the outer form rather than the internal character of a person. Human nature wants to look good in the eyes of others. Therefore, we put on a show based on values of form rather than substance.

We put pictures on social media showing us having a great time as if our entire life was one big party. We drive a car which we cannot afford but it gives us the image we want to portray before others. We marry a trophy spouse rather than the one who brings joy into our heart because we are willing to sacrifice everything for them. We borrow funds to live beyond our means and then find ourselves in deep debt without the means to repay. We chase the good life without realizing what the good life truly looks like.

Jesus outlined throughout the Bible the good life. A life built upon the design of its Maker. When one aligns themselves with the Creator of the universe and builds their foundation on the same characteristics which Life originates from, one begins to truly experience and understand why substance is more important than form. However, God’s creation also reveals that form and substance go hand in hand. Without substance, form dissipates into oblivion.

Real lasting values which lead to the good life is patterned after the Creator of the universe. Study His creation and you learn how life successfully works.

Overly educated people have the tenancy to complicate matters by creating life models which seem doable until put into practice. When the abstract hits reality, and the formulas and assumptions fail, they cannot accept their error. But instead accuse others of improperly implementing their methods. However, when you ask the farmer or carpenter who works with their product each day, they can quickly tell you what is most productive and best for the long term. Their education is based on the practical, everyday reality of life.

When your life is built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, reality comes to the foreground. The values He instructed and taught His disciples are the ones which are built upon the characteristics of the Triune God. When implemented, one begins to experience life without the fear of having the ground below their feet taken away. The values HE emphasizes are the ones which are true in every generation. They have been tried and proven over and over again. Others may poo-poo them as outdated. But hindsight teaches us why history repeats itself; us humans quickly forget the past and keep repeating the same stupid errors because the superficial values we accept today may look good on the outside, but under a microscope the internal substance lacks long lasting strength and sureness.

Bottom-line: seek and build your life upon values which have been proven over time to bring about the good life – everything else is shifting sand.    

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!


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Three Success Factors: Character. Morality. Values.

Ephesians 4:20-24

But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. (MSG)

Character is built upon the foundation of your soul. Your personality and innate traits and abilities make you unique. When you allow God’s Spirit full access into your inner chambers, you then begin to experience a fundamental shift in your thinking and worldview. You begin to view life from God’s perspective. Let your character be shaped by the Triune God and experience life’s most precious commodity: real, authentic living the way you were designed to be.

Romans 8:5-8

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored. (MSG)

Morality is the bumper rail to keep you from destroying yourself and others. Like the bowling alley with rails to prevent the ball from leaving the lane, godly morals keep one from harming themselves or others in the long run. Morality keeps you in the game for the long term. Real freedom and a joyous life reside within morality.

Proverbs 3:13-18

You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom, when you make friends with Madame Insight. She’s worth far more than money in the bank; her friendship is better than a big salary. Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. With one hand she gives long life, with the other she confers recognition. Her manner is beautiful, her life wonderfully complete. She’s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her. Hold her tight—and be blessed! (MSG)

Matthew 13:44

“God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find! —and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field. (MSG)

Matthew 6:19-21

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse! —stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (MSG)

Values are the treasurers worthy to attain for an abundant life. What to pursue and knowing what is important, and which value leads to a more productive, fulfilling, and enjoyable life depends on your chosen selection. Everything has a price and return on investment. Everyone has an opinion, but God who created value sets the standard of rank. Certain values will look pleasant in the short term, but lead to a great fall and other values will initially look old-fashion but take you along the better route toward a life worth living.

Character. Morality. Values. Three friends you and I want to hang around with and get to better know each and every day. Choose wisely and these three will lay your foundation for a real, sustaining, fulfilling 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!


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