Thanksgiving is ALL I Have

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

What can I give to the Lord that is truly mine to give?

He is King of heaven and earth and therefore owns it all. He gives us stewardship responsibility for everything at our disposal. How we buy and sell anything is simply the means of exchange – He still owns it all. Yet the one thing I can give Him from my most inner being is the absolute appreciation for everything He has done, is doing, and yet to do in our world called life.

The Bible speaks about the sacrifice of thanksgiving which is our attitude and manner of expressing the gratitude to the one who owns it all.

When we initially focus our attention toward Him, we approach His presence through the doorway of thanksgiving. For thanksgiving:

  • Acknowledges Him for Who He IS.
  • Expresses our attitude of repentance.
  • Shows our gratefulness.
  • Reveals our inner heart.
  • Reflects on His story.
  • Reminds us He is our Lord and we are His servant.
  • Empties the self by replacing the self with Him.
  • Restores the mindfulness of His daily presence.
  • Helps us to focus on the important values of life.
  • Rejoices over His salvation for humanity.
  • Rejuvenates the soul.
  • Gives glory to HIM Who deserves ALL glory and honor and praise.
  • Everything else is His. But my response of thankfulness is all I have to truly give Him.

How do you express your thankfulness to 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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Easy

Matthew 11:30 

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Easy doesn’t mean no effort. But when compared to alternative options, Jesus’ “easy” is best for the long term. When you compare what Jesus requires from us with other “religious” institutions, is like comparing a walk through the park versus an Ironman event.

It takes effort to follow through on whatever choice you make. The question is how much effort?

The way Jesus exemplified his entire life is our example.

First, he surrendered to his father’s will. He came with a servant’s heart. Whether you were right wing or left wing, Pharisee or Sadducee, Roman citizen or Jew, rich or poor, male or female, employed or homeless, married or divorced, party goer or party pooper, he went right to your heart on every matter. No one was safe with him. Everyone had a problem and HE was the solution.

Belief without effort is an empty shell. Belief without passion is also an empty container. What you believe is how you will respond to a matter. If you believe it is all about you and what you have to do, you are placing the emphasis on the wrong side of the tracks. If you believe Jesus has made the road wide open and the options innumerable for you to pursue, you may be closer to the truth, but then again, the best pudding is in the taste.

Effort supports your belief. The stronger the effort, the more sureness of one’s convictions. The weak, feeble effort again also supports the hesitant, doubtful sureness of the matter.

Jesus’ way of life removes all the access baggage of human guilt, shame, and self-inflicting harm. Instead, His way is built on a meaningful relationship with a Man who has taken all of our pain, suffering, and stupidity upon himself so we don’t have to deal with all the consequences of the human condition. Yet it does take effort on our part to surrender and allow HIS presence and life take a hold of us and lead us to the promise land.

All HE expects from us is to demonstrate our trust in HIM through our everyday lives. To have a meaningful relationship with HIM and share our life with HIM as HE shares HIS life with us.

It’s as easy as sitting with your soul mate on your favorite beach and sharing the beautiful sunset together knowing all the other concerns of life will work out for the good. It may take a little effort to plan and follow through such an event. But it is a whole lot easier than going through your 613-item checklist fearing what you may have forgotten in the process and never enjoy the moment of the sunset because you are preoccupied with all the other details of life. They both require effort, but one places emphasis on completing the checklist and the other on enjoying the relationship.

Let’s place our effort and passion on building a relationship with HIM and really experience for ourselves what HE truly means by having an easy yoke and light burden.

Perfect Love

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.

Anytime I think I am becoming more loving something happens to remind me that God is still perfecting His love in us and we still have a long way to go.

The other day I said a few words joking about our human condition with a very mature person of faith and they rebuked me. I was stun for the moment and then realized words so easily hurt people because as humans we are imperfect. Even though I the sender had no intentional reason to cause harm, the recipient received the words in their current state of being which, like all humans, is a smorgasbord of emotional baggage we carry.

It would be easy to justify my position as doing no harm, yet love leads and doesn’t intentionally want to cause harm. What the situation reminded me of was if we had perfect love, I wouldn’t have made the remark and the person receiving the remark would not have found it offensive. Yet because of our imperfections, we defend ourselves and throw additional words of harm toward the other defending our pride and insecurities.

Times like this also makes me think of God, who is perfect in love since HE is Love personified, must laugh at our inadequacies like a parent with their immature toddler. Yet as an apprentice of Jesus Christ, I watch, study, and learn from how HE engages with me and others to grow into the mature child of the King. I only wish I was a quick learner. Instead I have to repeat many situations over and over again until the light bulb goes on and realize we have to change something or I will continue to repeat the matter with a similar outcome.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is constantly weaving His tools through our heart, mind, and soul making changes and improvements after the image of our Lord. I look forward to the final product coming out of the spiritual assembly line when love will freely flow from this heart without any fear dangling alongside her. Imagine – what life would be like when we all relate with each other from a heart of perfect love without any fear?

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.

Kingdom Thoughts on Marriage

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Today’s culture is winning the battle, but the war is far from over. In fact, victory is certain and on the horizon. For those who truly want the best, Jesus Christ has given mankind the opportunity to now experience human life to the fullest. Yet, many still don’t see it and fall back into the destructive tenancies this world calls happiness.

When one begins to strip away the lies, illusions, and facades, and see creation as an expression of God’s character, one gathers insight into God’s heart and purpose for you and me. The blessed life isn’t about wealth and prosperity, nor fame or power, but the realization and fulfillment of experiencing life with God – the most enjoyable, successful, Being in the entire universe.

God’s instructions to us, recorded through the pages of the Bible, outline boundaries, goals, and values which shadows the heart, mind, and will of the Creator. As one pursues the God-with life, Christ’s character and nature of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control rub off onto us. The book of Proverbs calls it “iron sharpening iron.”

To intimately know God as God knows us is the most powerful love relationship you will ever experience. The closest institution on earth which exemplifies such a relationship is found in a Christ-centered marriage between two people who get it. This binding, life-long commitment between two disciples of the opposite sex is a God ordain covenant rather than a self-centered contract.

God’s purpose in marriage is not only for the procreation of life on earth, but also the social foundation of family and the intimate workshop for love to bloom. When you study God’s entire creation, you notice how everything operates from order and continual self-renewal. When mankind deviates from God’s intentions, a heavy price is paid.

The primary, fundamental foundation of marriage is not love, but commitment. The same faithful, commitment that God lives out for humankind is what God wants us to learn through marriage. HIS covenant and faithfulness toward the Jewish race exemplified HIS love and commitment to us all. Even though HIS chosen people continued to rebel against HIM, HE was and is always faithful. Again, to reiterate, even though we are not 100% faithful to HIM, HE always remains 100% faithful toward us.

Marriage is not a contract between two business partners, but a life-long promise between two people and God. When God is thrown out-of-the-home, the marriage relationship is than built on human desires and purposes. However, when the Triune God is the central binding relationship within the marriage, then our Creator’s original intent for a man and woman is slowly realized as we are being shaped and nurtured into HIS image. For in the committed marriage relationship, one eventually learns and grows to experiences real intimacy, self-less service for another, genuine Christ-centered leadership, and God-centered community living. The fundamental building block of HIS eternal Kingdom is found within the ordain marriage covenant.

Today’s culture has blinded the eyes of people yearning for real intimacy and fulfilment. The media, entertainment, business, education, and governmental institutions have taken advantage of people’s fear of commitment, horrifying experiences of broken homes and relationships, and ignorance of God’s best for them. But when you turn away from the world’s smoke and mirrors, and diligently seek HIM, God promises to share HIS life with you and in your marriage.

This is one reason why I believe the marriage relationship is the bedrock of God’s Kingdom on earth and why covenant marriage is held in the highest honor among her constituents.

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

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!


Copyright 2013-2019 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved