The Reprobate Mind

Romans 1:28-32

And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practice them. (ASV)

Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best! (Message)

God uses multiple ways to train us through discipline. One way is by giving us what we desire even though HE has expressly instructed us such an item will negatively impact us. Yet because of our rebellious and prideful heart, HE may remove a portion of HIS favor upon us so we taste the world without HIM. The experience may feel like God’s wrath has come upon us, but in reality, HE is being merciful and teaching us by experiencing the pain of how life apart from HIM is unsatisfying for the long term.

The first chapter of the Book of Romans outlines how God deals with people who do not accept HIS authority in their lives. The Bible speaks about the wrath of God which is the attitude mankind has toward a God who doesn’t give them what they want.

Like a two-year-old who is upset and angry at their parents for denying them her desire because the parent believes it will be harmful for them, the child looks at the decision as an act of malice. She may call her parent mean and state she hates them, but is emotionally upset and may not understand the entirety of the situation. You and I as children of the living God may occasionally act the same way toward our heavenly Father.

Again, the first chapter of Romans shows that when God pulls his favor away from people, they begin to act with a reprobate mind; a worthless mind which loses any sense of value. The ability to determine right from wrong, good from evil, and up from down soon disappears. The person becomes like an animal without divine attributes.

We witness in the Book of Daniel, when God disciplined King Nebuchadnezzar by allowing him to experience life as an animal because of his prideful attitude.   After seven years, God restored his human spirit and the king glorified God learning from the ordeal. From a human perspective, one could easily get angry at God for such an act. Yet when understood over time, one learns that God has our best intentions in mind.

The first chapter of Romans also outlines the type of behavior one naturally craves when God’s unmerited grace is removed from everyday circumstances of life. Initially, one begins to worship the creation rather than the Creator (24-25). Soon thereafter, people forget what it means to be human. Instead of living life in the image of their Creator, they follow animalistic tenancies. Their sexuality becomes deprived (26-27). Soon thereafter their carnal, debased, destructive attributes become the norm (28-32).

A reprobate mind causes harm to the person and those around them. The love of God is missing. The care for human life is gone. The purpose of living and building a prosperous society for the next generation is replaced with a now only attitude. Fear becomes the standard measurement for decision making. Me, myself, and I become the three amigos which each person hangs around with. Marriage is replaced with unwritten partnership contracts; commitments last only as the feeling stays. The human race is subdivided into skin color or classes and pitted against each other. Though rich in material possession, the reprobate mind doesn’t know how to enjoy his riches in peace. The person is screaming for help but still refuses to turn to God who knows what is best for the person.

Like a prodigal child who takes his Father’s inheritance and spends it on himself until broke, busted, and beaten, he needs to burn himself out to truly realize what he needs and wants is a deep relationship with his Heavenly Father (Luke 15:11-32). Sometimes this is what it takes for us humans to fully understand our need for Jesus Christ.  

Mankind may think they know what is good, moral, righteous, and virtuous, but one’s opinion is another person’s anti-opinion. Unless there is a God with absolute, objective values who reveals HIS knowledge of goodness, men & women only think they know. Humans need Jesus Christ to fully understand the logic, meaning, and purpose of life. As many theologians and non-theologians have observed, if there was not a God, mankind would need to make one if they want to survive as a human race. The problem has always been to narrow the scope and identify the real deal rather than man-made religious beliefs. When one studies into the life of Jesus Christ, one can only leave with the understanding that HE is who HE claimed to be, or he was a liar or lunatic.

When history completes its final chapter, hindsight will reveal the answer for many who fail the choice to believe HIS claim. So rather than wait until then, if this be you, how about making today the first day of throwing away that reprobate mind and participate with Jesus Christ in HIS way of 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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


The Real Thing

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Gal 5:22-25.

In my early walk with the Lord, I took upon myself to start a self-improvement program to develop the fruit of the Spirit in my life. Like the eastern religions, I subjected my body through discipline to become more godlike. At the time I didn’t understand the workings of the Spirit but only that I wanted to experience the riches of God’s Spirit.

Eventually (some ten years later) God opened my eyes to His awesome work in me through the Holy Spirit’s influence on my heart. In hindsight, the first ten years of being a disciple, I was led through humanism to make myself into the image of God through the mastery of self-discipline. Like I have said elsewhere, I did become more loving, kind, and joyful but nothing compared to now by allowing the Holy Spirit to have full access into our heart and mind.

Humanism works through habitual discipline to change exterior behavior. God works through His Spirit to change the interior emotional heart that leads to changed behavior.

When you read the above passage in Galatians, you note that the fruit is not from one’s human heart but from the Spirit. When we deny ourselves and submit to the Spirit’s influence in our life, the essence of God becomes more alive in us. God’s Spirit intermingles with our spirit influencing our soul. The Source is God. The recipient is us and those who we come into contact.

Humanism works from the outside-in. God works from the inside-out.

Humanism is like the imitation wedding ring made from glass. It may look like a diamond, but is made with inferior material. A real diamond can cut through glass; a fake diamond cannot.  

Humanism likes to look good from the outside. It acts like the real McCoy, but lacks the internal fortitude. In many cases, it is all form without any substance.

God’s Spirit is the real deal. As we submit to His Will and lean on Him, He resides in us and allows His presence to be made known through us. After you experience the real thing, you will more quickly notice the illusions and fakes around you. If you are tired of working hard to experience God’s presence in your life, maybe you are trying too hard. Maybe its time to rest in Christ and ask Him to position you to experience the real deal.

You only need to ask 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

God’s Purpose For You

Galatians 4:19

My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you

purpose

Whenever we hear another message that God has a plan for you, I cringe. Most often, not always, but most often the message comes across that you are unique (true); you have one specific life role God designed you for (maybe); if you dream it, it must be from God (maybe); and your earthly destiny is already planned out (ouch).

Now we could discuss free-will and predestination, but will not because it becomes a never-ending discussion subject to your preliminary worldview. However, we will agree that God does have a plan for your life that involves every aspect of your goals, dreams, passion, and purpose. That objective is to form Christ in you!

Scriptures like Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 3:14:19, Ephesians 4:11-19, Philippians 3:21, and Colossians 1:28 record the apostle’s Paul emphasis on Christ being formed in you.

So, when you realize this, and you submit yourself under God’s authority in your life, Christ will continue to transform your character through the Holy Spirit, no matter what goals, dreams, and passions you pursue. When you live in the center of God’s Will, rarely will your choice be predetermined rebellion against Him. Instead your options are like Adam and Eve’s. How many trees were available for them to focus their attention on? Wasn’t the tree of life also in the garden with the tree of knowledge of good and evil? So, why did they select the one God told them not too? Life choices are many. But as long as you hold unto the One Who Is the Source of Life, you will be OK. God’s plan is to bring you unto maturity in Christ.

The God we serve is so much larger than you and I can ever phantom. He allows us to exercise free-will while He continues the process of changing us from a self-centered, self-ruled person to a Christ-centered, spirit-led adopted child of His.

If fact, the more Christ is formed in you, the more you come to realize there isn’t one physical goal, one dream, or one passion with your name on it. Instead you have the entire galaxy at your disposal. Only because of our limited thinking, doubtful trust in God, fear of failure, and shortsightedness, we narrow the possibilities in front of us.

Since God’s desire is to develop the leadership skills and Kingdom-centered values in you as you partner with Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit, bringing you to maturity in Him, exercise some personal judgement, gather counsel from your elders that know you, and choose the path your passion, talents, and love for others lead you. You can be assured God is always with you and will continue to form you in the image of His Son along the way.

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 Does God Generally Introduce Himself To Us?

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Rm 10:14 ESV.

intro 1

Through others.

Whether it is the spoken word, written word, or visual word, God works with and through people for humanity’s sake. As one listens and observes, we analyze and reach conclusions based on the evidence we acquire. Yet unlike all great scientists, our hypothesis is often built on faulty reasoning instead of objective reality.

Because of our inherent prejudices and bruised heart, we allow our hidden anger and pain to blind us from Him. We generally place God in a human box. Rather than opening our minds to the possibilities of someone more intelligent, more powerful, and more effective than ourselves, we look for the evidence from a limited mindset.

God is always here, and there. I don’t understand how. Maybe it is because I am a limited, tiny, physical spot in this universe. But through observation, I’m always pleasantly in awe while He is attending to my world, He is also working with my sister on the other side of the planet.

Since most of us are wired differently but alike, God meets us where we are at. Most of the time when we are broken and need a miracle, He comes along and we reach out for him. Since we can’t touch him or hold him we may still feel alone. Yet, after He responds and our circumstances change for the better, we may or may not stop to reflect on what just happened. If we did, we may truly experience for the moment what grace is all about. Him working, not us.

As we experience answers to pray, unusual circumstances coming together for a positive outcome, and unbelievable favor bestowed upon us by others, our eyes and mind become more attune to a Force at work. Welcome to the presence of God.

As we begin to discover ways to better communicate with each other, a trust building relationship is built over time. Yes God woos you until you notice Him. When you do, you will eagerly find ways to invest more time together like lovers of the night.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

 

Getting in the Way of God’s Spirit

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Acts7:51 ESV

stubborn 1

Stubbornness, which is a byproduct of pride and a heart that amplifies the self, has been the ruin of many people. As this scripture reveals through Stephen, the first known Christian to die a martyr’s death for Christ, aimed the above quote at the religious leaders of his day.

The problem which he identifies is the same one when dealing with religious and non-religious people today. I group them together because the issue is the same. They both have a hard heart and are convinced that their way is the only way of living a prudent life.

The religious person likes to emphasize the rules, the principles, and the methods. Whatever makes them feel good about themselves must be good for others. If it works for them, it must be good for everyone else. On the other hand, the non-religious person sees through their game playing, but likewise imitates them by throwing out the baby with the bath water. They see the hypocrisy and don’t want anything to do with it. However, instead of focusing on Jesus’ message, they only look at the misdirected fruit of religious people and close their eyes to everything else. Both sides miss the mark of realizing the problem is within them. As one person stated somewhere, ” when we point a finger at someone, three fingers are pointed back at oneself”.

Jesus once stated during a teaching moment, that a person pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). Most of us don’t look for God’s involvement in a situation until after the fact. By then, a difficult situation has become a worldwide crisis. Instead of asking, seeking, and knocking at the beginning of the process, we wait until after we have emptied ourselves with all our effort and resources. Only then do we begin to seek help from God.

However a person who looks past the human condition, who walks in the presence of the Triune God, is generally able to distinguish God’s work from man’s facade of righteousness. The reason is because that is where they came from. It takes one to know one.

The Holy Spirit is always at work. It is the Spirit that gives life (John 6:63). Like the wind, we may not see him, but we see the impact. However, we need to be attuned to him. We need to realize that God has given us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) that allows us to communicate and share in his fellowship. As we walk with Father-Son-Spirit, our harden hearts are displaced with the new heart that opens the pages of God’s universe and allows us entrance into his presence.

So the next time you think you are doing right, stop and ask God for confirmation. You may be pleasantly surprised with an answer that is more favorable for all involved parties. And yes, it is possible that you may not be initially correct. Yet with an open, attentive heart plugged into the Holy Spirit network, revelation in the workings of God has a way to change one’s opinion and worldview quicker than any other method. Or do you want to be known as the person who resists the work of the Holy Spirit?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

The Spirit of Christmas

christmas 3

Two of my most favorite movies to watch during this time of year is A Christmas Carol and christmas 4How The Grinch Stole Christmas. In both, we witness how the Spirit of the season renovated the heart of a self-centered person. We can relate to both characters. As we have grown from childhood to adulthood, our view of Christmas has changed. In the early years, it was about the gift giving. In the middle years, it was the festivities of the season. Now in the later years, it is more about the reason for the season.

Yes Christmas originally began as a pagan festival where people exchanged gifts with one another. But like the Spirit of Christ has done over the years, we take what is broken and mend it to pay homage and worship to Him who makes all things possible.

To realize that the Spirit of Christ becomes more impactful and noticeable during this time of season, is one of the best presents anyone can give and receive. To remember that the second person of the Trinity chose Himself to become a human being is mind-bending. Through this one act we witness the Spirit of humility, meekness, and servanthood.  We come to learn that it is not about giving, but more of sharing. Jesus Christ came to share the life that He has with our heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit with us.

When we witness the uplifting festivities, the display of lights, and the time with family, we behold the life that Jesus Christ came to share with all humanity.  He didn’t come to start a religion, but a movement of the Spirit. A newness of Life. A Spirit that rejoices with Christ. A Spirit that comforts us in our times of distress and pain. A Spirit that we have come to know as the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit expresses the fruit of God’s life: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control. These are the gifts that the Spirit bestows upon us each and every day.  We don’t have to wait until this time of year to experience the life that the Triune God gracefully shares with others.

Contrary to the two main characters from the above mentioned movies who are & were oblivious to what God is doing in the world, we can allow the Spirit to have His way with us. We can share the eternal abundant life with others.  In my opinion, He is the reason for rejoicing this season and every season. Unlike Mr. Scrooge and Mr. Grinch who didn’t publicly acknowledge because of political correctness that the one true bridge of the Spirit’s influence is the Triune God, you may openly share your story with family and friends in what Christ is doing in your life.

Will you join me this Christmas and share the story of God’s plan of redemption for all humanity with others?  What other gift lasts a lifetime plus?

OUR PRAYERPRAY 9

Our Triune God, thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you Heavenly Father for developing the strategy and implementing your universal plan of adoption of humanity into your eternal circle of life. Thank you Jesus Christ for displaying real life with us.  Thank you Holy Spirit for empowering us to experience the same life that you, Jesus, and the Father live each and every day.

Help us to live fully for you.  Help us to start with enthusiasm and finish with greater enthusiasm in everything we do for you.  Let nothing come between us.

Help us to keep  focused on what is always important each and every day.  Let each day begin and end with you.  Let everything sandwiched in between be lived with your approval.  Let us be true to you and honest with self in our pursuit of your kingdom.  Help us to rejoice and celebrate real life with you and others. Let your glory live in us forever!  Amen.

Merry Christmas!

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God

 

WHO ARE YOU FOLLOWING?

“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself;

he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.

Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.”

John 5:19 (Jesus’ reply to a question)

follower

            Isn’t it amazing that over a long-term relationship like marriage how two people can anticipate what the other is going to do or say while the statement or activity has just begun? We all know people who have been married for over fifty years and have become “one” in their mannerism, appearance, and focus.  Isn’t that same physical relationship a mirror image of the type of spiritual relationship that Jesus taught and managed to maintain with His Father?

Jesus was on a mission.  His entire focus was to complete and to fulfill scripture. In the process, He relied on following the lead of His Father. His personal ambitions were set aside (Luke 4:1:13) after the desert test. He denied Himself and followed the path of the cross towards His destiny.

Many local churches should find this encouraging that their mission is not to become a “great church” in the eyes of the world or community, but to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit.  Many times this may deny them of new buildings, programs or worldly goals, but in return, the Holy Spirit will lead them to serve unselfishly, humbly, without fanfare or worldly recognition as Christ did in His time.

Most recently in my own life I had a Jonah experience.  I was being led to except a new job assignment within an organization that operates in a Hindu culture. Like Jonah, I knew God wanted His message delivered but I didn’t want to be the person to deliver it. Instead, I made every excuse possible to avoid the situation.  The bottom line though, God has a way to accomplish His will and in His love and patience will work with the individuals involved.  Like Jonah, I finally made the decision to fulfill my part of delivering God’s word to people He has chosen. Life is much simpler when we step aside; seek God’s direction as He leads us and follow His work rather than build for our glory and image.  When the work is His, we will be truly amazed at what can be accomplished.

What is our Heavenly Father showing you at this time in your life that you may be fighting him to pursue?

Dr. Mike