Money Trap

…give me neither poverty nor riches;

    feed me with the food that is needful for me,lest I be full and deny you

    and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal

    and profane the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:8-9

Money is simply the medium of exchange between two parties. Somewhere back in time, someone came up with the inspiration that paper supported by something of value was easier to carry around for trade rather than livestock, land, and crops. Eventually, paper money became the norm.

Yet money is the god of many. Those who have it want more; and those who don’t have enough want more. And then there are those who treat money as an evil necessity and the cause of world problems who believe everyone should have more than enough without having to work for it.

Then there are times when our pride blinds us into thinking that money is evil and poverty is good. Others feel guilty they have abundance; they are OK with those less fortunate to rob and steal from others. Then there are others who make their life mission to earn more than they can spend in multiple lifespans. They never have enough and too much is their baseline.

Today’s Scripture came to my attention as a young man entering the business world. Still young in the faith, I wasn’t sure how to relate with money. This Scripture helped me to stay focus. I enjoyed working, earning, and spending on those items which brought me pleasure. Besides, food, shelter, clothes, car, and entertainment, I also gave to causes which were close to my heart. My desire was not to be wealthy, retire early, nor live a lavish lifestyle. Instead, I chose to walk with my Lord and learn how to live the life HE gave me.

In the prayer Jesus taught his disciples (Luke 11:3), he requests from his heavenly Father only food for today. He shared parables of people who invested their time accumulating food where they had to build larger barns (Luke 12:18) to store the crops for future period and emphasized they risk abandoning their walk with God. Jesus also said the rich will have greater difficulty entering God’s Kingdom (Luke 18:25). However, HE also emphasized that nothing is impossible for God.

Life is living between two extremes. Being rich or being poor are two extremes of wealth. For many of us, we will learn to live life in between. And I am OK with that. For it places us right where today’s Scripture highlights the better place to be. Enough for today so I continue to lean on the Triune God, favorably walk with HIM, and bring HIM no shame but honor and glory for WHO HE IS.

Money is a necessity in today’s world. God knows what we need and will always provide the means to satisfy our needs. The money trap is emphasizing the cash rather than the God of wealth.  God owns everything. He can easily open the gates of prosperity for you to enjoy. But HE also knows prosperity can easily destroy you unless you have the character to manage the wealth. HIS purpose is to prepare you for eternity; not live comfortably and satisfy every insatiable desire you have. When you come to know HIM, you will also come to know yourself and realize the wisdom of living between the two extremes.

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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The Victimhood Trap

Job 7:1

“Has not man a hard service on earth, and are not his days like the days of a hired hand?

1 Timothy 4:10

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Victimhood is anti-God. The mindset blames others for their situation and wants justice and compensation for their pain. Rather than accept personal responsibility and extend Godly grace toward the other side, they would rather play the martyr and exploit the sympathy of others.

Victimhood is a disease of the soul. The seed of human potential slowly dissipates and lays dormant under the mental chains of demonic slavery. The good works the soul was designed to produce for the benefit of others will never come about. Instead of being a contributor toward the future benefit of mankind, the person becomes a burden and expensive cost for society to manage.        

Victimhood is the mental curse of hopelessness. A mindset which steals one’s future. A person without hope lives a dark, shallow life. Fear becomes their companion. The alternative though is hopefulness; the catapult toward a richer life.

Wherever you place your hope, will be tested. You will either become stronger, or your hope will disintegrate before your eyes. Many a man and woman have experienced the painful darkness of emptiness where doubt and futility reign. Where hope for any favorable solution seems impossible.  Yet as Romans 15:4 reminds us, hope is always available.  One only needs to know where to look for real, lasting HOPE.

We can tell you where not to look for hope. They are the enemy of hope. They want to control and manipulate your attitude for their benefit. They will bombard you with negative, dark images to sway you away from your potential and leave you beaten from the anguish of your situation.

These are the many politicians, advertisers, and media influencers who use tools of deception and propaganda to sway your thinking toward them. They package their product, or their solution as your hope for the future. Yet as history has repeatedly shown, the majority of their promises only leads to more hopelessness in the long run. The best solution is to tune them out and refocus your thinking on where real hope is found.

The Book of Job is an excellent story of a man who was swallowed into the pit of hopelessness. Everything rich and near to him was taken away including his health. In self-pity and self-righteous indignation, the reader travels with him and his companions as his thoughts and actions take him from despair to the restoration of real hope. Through his entire ordeal he learns real hope is only found in God.

The first encounter with victimhood in the Bible is Lucifer being thrown from heaven for rebelling against God and becoming Satan. Instead of accepting personal responsibility for his ignorance and behavior, he blames God for his situation. His hope now is not in God but in his own ability to sway the human race to fight for him against God and for the delusional utopia he dreams of producing. This evil spirit is the main culprit behind the plot to steal your hope.    

Therefore, instead of following the pathway of false hope, secure real hope by placing your trust in Jesus Christ. He is mankind’s only proven hope. 

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 2013-2021 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

“If Only” Trap

John 11:21 

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here…

One of the biggest traps that prevents a person from seizing the opportunity before them, is living the “if only” excuse. We play the recording so often that many of us are not aware what we are even doing.

If only I married the other person. If only I majored in accounting rather than biology. If only I said yes. Or if only I said no. We not only glance at life in the rear-view mirror, but we drive the car looking behind us rather than what is right in front of us. Try it some day and see how difficult and dangerous it is.

John writes in his gospel the story of Lazarus’ death. Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary and all three loved by Jesus. When Jesus delayed his coming by two days, Lazarus died. When Jesus finally showed up, Martha threw the “if only” card at Jesus. Jesus didn’t catch it but simply focused on the current situation and again rose someone from the dead. Jesus didn’t accept the ‘if only” card.

When we play the “if only” card, we try to justify it. The fact is, if we could have, we would have. But, maybe because of responsibility at the time, or health, or incomplete facts, we made a decision. Most likely, if you had the same information today that you had back then, you would make the same choice.

The next time you catch yourself stating the “if only” excuse, slap your face. Then was then; today is today. Learn from yesterday, plan for tomorrow, but live for today. All you have today is in front of you. Ask God for the wisdom to seize the opportunities that lie in front of you today. Learn to distinguish God’s activity at the moment, and look for ways to join Him.

As you mature in your relationship with our Lord, you will find yourself using the ‘if only” card less and playing the “what’s next Lord” track more. As a child matures into an adult, you will likewise mature in your walk with Father-Son-Spirit. You will receive constant reassurances during the day that you are important to Him and learn to trust Him more and more each day.

Again, forget the “if only” trap. Instead, learn to pray and walk with the “what’s next Lord” attitude. You will be pleasantly surprised by the transformation.    

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Behavior Trap

Titus 3:5

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

In business, performance is the name of the game. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday, you are constantly being measured and compared with others. We see this in sports. To make room for someone else who is younger, stronger, and less expensive, people are traded or just given their unconditional release. We basically grow up in a world where our behavior is constantly being monitored and evaluated.

So, when people come together to form a faith community, some if not many of these same values are carried over from the world’s playbook into the Church. The result is another worldly system operating under the disguise of a faith community.

One such value is to solely focus on behavior. When you ask someone in your faith community “what saves you?”, the response hopefully is a quick Jesus Christ. However, when the person’s reply is anything else, then maybe one needs to investigate a little further to determine the person’s perspective and relationship with our Lord.

The behavior trap is when you totally focus on the behavior of a person without knowing the heart. A Believer walking with the Lord will express their relationship with the same humility and attitude as the Holy Spirit. However, when one doesn’t know the Lord, the only emphasis a person has is the outward appearance. Without knowing a person’s heart, one can quickly condemn another saint without justifiable evidence.

This is why we need not so quickly judge one another. The behavior is easily recognized. But the intent, purpose, and motive are much deeper. For example, when one sees a person’s driving substantially faster than the posted speed limit, one can quickly state they are speeding, but to judge them for their actions without all the facts is almost impossible to do. It is very possible, the person driving the car is a doctor rushing to a life-threatening moment. Or a parent rushing home to a tragic event, or and you can add any seriousness situation where even you would be doing the same. This doesn’t change the behavior; but does place motive behind the action.   

When you truly realize our salvation is what Jesus did for us, and that he included us with Him in His relationship with Father God before we even knew Him, before we asked for forgiveness, before we were even born, puts his accomplishment into perspective. He chose us before the foundation of the world means before we raised one finger or even had one thought.

For now, behavior is all we initially recognize. It’s the starting point. But to effectively evaluate the situation you need to get to the heart of the matter. And that takes time. So remember, God is always working in the lives of those around us and the same grace God extends us is the grace we need to extend them.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

The “Only One” Trap

Ecclesiastes 11:6 (ESV)

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

Some estimates state that us humans make about 35,000 decisions every day which equates to about 2,000 decisions every hour if you are one who sleeps around 7 hours a day. Many of these choices may already be habitual, but if a person doesn’t have a sound system for making decisions, the anxiety and worry could neutralize one’s response.

Early in my business career, a mentor taught me his technique of making a decision when one has many viable choices. He was a very successful real estate operator and basically would practice Ecclesiastes 11:6. He would list the top five possible options and then pursue each of them with a full gusto as if that one was the best solution. However, he wouldn’t make a final decision until the very last moment. When he came to the gate of the bridge when a decision had to be made regarding that one choice, he would again evaluate the choice with his other options. Many times, he would say no and keep pursuing the other four options with full intensity. Many times, the options would be 180 degrees opposite of each other. And we would pursue them as if each one was the best solution.

The bottom-line: Eventually the choices would narrow down to one or two strong possibilities. And then we would select one and work it with all the gusto and resources at our disposal. This practice taught me that there was more than one option to choose from and one never knew the outcome from the beginning until many years later.

Life is like that in many ways. Some people feel that there is only one person destined for them to marry. The fact is God has given us an abundance of selections. We can witness that in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve could eat from the thousands of trees except one. God gave them multiple options. But they kept coming back to the one which eventually led to the fall of mankind.

In business, we generally have many options to choose from but because of resource limitations, we select what will do the job. Many of the choices would probably work. Some may cost more than others; others may provide more convenient features. However, whichever one you choose, is the one you learn to make work and to maximize its capabilities within the working environment.

Only hindsight will dictate whether it was a good, better, or best decision at the time. But the fact is, there rarely is “only one” choice. It’s more about you making a choice and executing the plan. Socrates got it right when he quotes that hard work after you make your choice really determines the outcome of your decision. Think about that the next time you think you only have one choice on the matter.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Comparison Trap

2 Corinthians 10:12

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

Who do you compare yourself with?  Your neighbors?  Work associates? Family members? Your peers?

How does that make you feel? Superior? Proud? Or Cast down? Disappointed?

Comparing yourself one to another only leads to frustration and self-pity or if you are one of the select few, pompous and arrogant. It may take time or may occur immediately, but the end result is realizing we all don’t have it. Someone will always be #1 in your industry, your peer group, and your family. But eventually #1 takes a back seat to someone else in due time.

However, when you truly realize you are included in Jesus Christ which means your identity is found solely in HIM, you can breathe a sense of fresh air knowing you are worth more than you believe, and possibly if you hold a high opinion of yourself, less than what you believe. Jesus Christ evens out the playing field.

In Christ, we all have what God designed us for. He designed us for good work and equip us with the necessary abilities for successful fulfilling His desires for us. When you realize each of us are uniquely empowered to glorify God in our work, relationships, and conduct, the praise goes to Him and not ourselves. Only God truly knows the effort we have employed to take our natural abilities and align them with Him in support of His kingdom.

For example, John the Baptist’s public ministry preceded Jesus and was very short term – approximately one year. Yet he even realized that his service was secondary to Jesus and even commented that his ministry must decline so Jesus’ may increase. He didn’t get caught up with the comparison trap but instead fulfilled his unorthodox mission and gladly stood aside for God’s glory. Jesus’ own reply paid greater homage to John stating that no prophet was greater than him.

So, when you view the pages of your Facebook friends, or your associate gets the promotion you sincerely desired, or your neighbor drives home with a brand-new sports car that you always wanted, thank God. Thank God for your friends, associates, and neighbors, For, without them, you wouldn’t recognize how God’s Spirit of love was lacking in your heart without these events occurring. Thank God to make you aware so you can draw closer to Him until He becomes your prime joy and measurement of comparison. Then you will learn to walk humbly with your Lord, and serve Him, without expecting anything in return but to experience the love, joy, and generosity of your Creator. 

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Church Trap

Matthew 6:24

No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and Mammon.

Are you serving the Church or the institution? Are you serving the Church, or yourself? Are you serving the Church or Christ? These three questions I have asked of myself a number of times over the years. And I didn’t like the answer most of the time.

When you truly understand Church are people and not the building, nor institution, nor any denomination, then you have a better grasp than I had back then. Over the years I have witness many heart-driven, God-loving servants slowly change their demeanor as they begin serving within their faith communities. Initially, their attitude is child-like and open to helping out wherever. But over time, as they are drawn into the various responsibilities of operating an institution, the business side begins to over shadow the people’s needs.

The A.B.C.s of operating a Church begins to become the measurement of success and the idolatry of self-importance. Attendance, Baptisms, and Cash become the units of measurement. Church slowly becomes a weekend hobby or sport to impose their brilliance in operations. People become the means of stroking their personal insecurities. Christ is no longer the center of anything but an icon to get what they want.

Transactional thinking becomes the norm. Relational giving a façade. The intense need to collect funds for large building debt and salaries becomes the principle driving force for weekend services. The gospel message doesn’t become the goal to communicate but the means for self-preservation. The switch from serving people for the Lord’s sake to serving a dream or goal for self-sake happens so quickly that most of us didn’t know it happened until 20/20 hindsight kicked us in the behind.

You cannot serve God and money without one having a greater priority than the other. Whether we act within our families, business, or the Church, the truth always is revealed through the actions of the heart moving the hands and head away from God. We can justify and put a spin at the moment of decision-time, but the truth eventually will slap us in the face.

Church is people serving people as the hands and feet of our Lord. Jesus Christ is the central-core of every meeting between two or more saints. The purpose of the Church is not the self-aggrandizement of the institution, but the love, freedom, and spiritual development of God’s children serving others as Christ serves us.

The trap is when all the activities, rituals, and traditions become the central-meaning of people gathering together rather than allowing the life-giving Spirit conduct God’s work in and through his people. When the trap door of cultural influence dictates the interpretation of Scripture rather than the proven historical facts built on the text, than in hindsight people wonder why their affairs are in a mesh. Whenever Jesus Christ is not the center of one’s motives, actions, and thoughts, the trap door initially looks very enticing but eventually leads to an empty grave.

So be involved with a faith community, but don’t get pulled away from who you are truly serving – Jesus Christ. Keep Him the as the central-core wherever you go and whatever you do and you will experience His abundance and not get trapped into the political, business side of Church. That is why I enjoy listening to the music group Newsboys sing one of my favorites “Wherever We Go.”  The words remind me what life is like when Jesus Christ is my central-core wherever I go.  I left the link below for those who enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music.

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 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved