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!


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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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


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