Culture, Bible, Jesus

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Do you truly want to know how strong your relationship with God is?

You will discover the answer in hindsight when you have gone through a serious trial which tests your belief.

Most recently, the world experienced the Covid pandemic. How well did you manage the crisis? Were you internally at peace or frantically worried through the process?

As I write this, I have a friend who is dealing with the death of a mate, another one with the loss of a job, and another who is currently battling through a major health issue. Each will discover through the process how real their faith is compared to where they think it is.

Over the years, I have come to better understand myself and others as we face the calamities and chaos that life throws our way. For example, during the pandemic those who allow the cultural noise to influence their beliefs had the most difficulty dealing with the crisis. Yet those who had a close relationship with our Lord calmly walked through the valley of death knowing whether they lived or died, they were in good hands.

Likewise, when mentoring others, I first try to understand their worldview before developing a directional process. My initial attempt is to determine the central core of one’s current beliefs. From there, we can point them to the target steps they need to pursue in their walk with the Triune God.

Though most Christians have a belief in God, their relationship with HIM begins from a cultural perspective. All they know about God is the result of the world around them. The more secular the culture, the more distorted is their view. As they mature in the faith, they begin to acquire Scriptural knowledge directly from the Bible. Not being properly educated in theological discourse, most of us begin to interpret the Book from a current cultural perspective instead of a historical, chronological basis. The result is again a distorted view of God and reality. However, as a serious disciple of HIS, the more time invested in studying Scripture, in prayer, and service toward others, the more our faith and trust in the living God becomes deeper and stronger. We become more aware of HIS work in us and around us.

In my opinion, the biggest challenge most Christian’s face today is being married to the culture or to the Bible rather than engaged to Jesus Christ. When Jesus becomes our central core and reference point in everything we do, then reality more quickly becomes solid footing. The Truth becomes more recognizable and livable. The outcome is a greater experience of God’s Spiritual fruit in our lives.

The love, joy, and peace described throughout the Bible becomes the divine nature living in you and being expressed out from you. You begin to truly live out your life as an image bearer of God Almighty. You become a living billboard for God’s Kingdom. God touches the lives of others through your walk with HIM.

Bottom-line: let Jesus be the central core of your belief system built upon Biblical Scripture and influentially tested against the culture. As a result, you will receive your crown of life and introduce others to our Lord and King. A win-win for all parties.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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Substructures of Love

Matthew 19:4-6

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Everything God created HE made from HIS inner character which includes the manifestation of love. HE created the universe because Love wanted a family to encircle the Triune God. He selected the planet earth and inhabited the third rock from the sun with various forms of life. He created a precise and interrelated world which would sustain human life.

When HE came to create man and woman, the planet was ready for them. So, HE created the first human in HIS image. Therefore, mankind reflects his Creator. God’s attributes are revealed through the thoughts, imagination, and actions of each person. Though each person only has a limited portion of HIS attributes, collectively they reveal who God IS.

Along the way though, us humans also discovered the power of choice. When we choose wisely after the character of our Creator, life works out for the better. However, when we choose contrary to the Master Designer, the outcome is opposite HIS character. The Bible defines the outcome as sin.

God reveals HIS important values by HIS actions as HE relates with others. When the first humans disobeyed HIS one and only command, their continence changed as they tasted a side of God without the character to manage the experience. Instead of trusting God to determine what is good and evil, they will now discover for themselves through trial and error. The result is a broken world constantly shifting between good and evil by the choice humans make.

From the beginning of time, two of the substructures put in place which demonstrates God’s love is found in marriage and family. God’s ordain form of marriage is between a man and woman. As Jesus stated, when married the two become one flesh. The apostle Paul latter wrote this same picture also highlights the mysterious relationship between Jesus and the Church.

When a man and woman enter marriage, they begin a monogamous relationship where they learn the importance and value of persevering commitment and sacrificial love. The Biblical examples are displayed between God and Israel. No matter how often the people of Israel disobeyed and rebelled, God continued HIS covenant with them. Israel may have often failed in the relationship, but God always performed HIS part of the relationship.

The family is also God’s way for building up a social network which is good for both the individual and community. Social studies have likewise demonstrated the value of having a two-parent family to raise children and being the overall structure best produces successful, healthy, and contributing individuals into society.

God didn’t expect everyone to marry and have children. There are those who are happy and productive being single and maintain healthy relationships with others. They learn the importance of commitment and love through their everyday relationships. However, marriage and family allow a greater blessing for children and the more demanding process of maturity growth between couples.

As this world tries to figure out a better way of living than what God has already ordained and proven over time, those of us who practice Judeo-Christian values already have seen, practiced, and witness the joy and fulfillment of living God’s “old-fashion” ways. Earth’s first parents stepped outside of God’s instructions and paid a heavy price. Some of us keep thinking we can outsmart God. I myself, admit having tried many times to outwit God, but I have always repented and turned back to HIM.

Over time, I have also learned HIS ways are better than any man or woman has developed since the beginning of time. So therefore, I am blessed beyond measure; not because of my brain trust, but because of my willingness to follow the God-Man who made all this possible for me. I hope you see the same. For then it would be a better world for everyone to live in.  

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

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ed

Yes, Everyone

1 Thessalonians 5:15

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (ESV)

This Scripture reminds us that retaliation is not the behavior of a Christ-follower. Instead, we are to do good for everyone; including those who cause evil upon us. In fact, these Words enforce the fact that we are to be intentional in our behavior toward all people – doing something good for them.

In other words, every person you meet today is a candidate to experience goodness from you.

A few of the people you meet today will be those who you already know. Others will be total strangers. Those you know you will have the advantage of knowing how to best provide some “goodness” into their life. You will have a leg up to know what their love language includes (Dr. Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts). Whether they are words of affirmation, quality time spent with them, acts of service, gifts, or physical touch. If you don’t know which love language they communicate through, then you don’t know them as well as you think you do.

If they are strangers, you can simply express the love of God through good manners and behavior by showing them respect. Stepping aside and letting them go first is a simple gesture of a servant heart. Yes, that includes when driving the roads and allowing the aggressive ones jump in front of you. And also, a smile or word of acknowledgement goes a long way; especially for those waiting in long lines.

When you spend time with a person, and truly begin to understand them, your godly heart will begin to find ways to express the love of Christ through you. The challenge will come when those you meet have caused you harm in some manner. Your inclination is to return evil with evil. To retaliate in a revengeful mood is a continuation of evil. To break the chain of evilness requires the love of God in you taking the lead to extend grace upon those who don’t deserve grace: just as Jesus did for you.

So, if you are in a good mood today, or even woke up in a bad mood, take the challenge of looking today at each person you meet with the opportunity to do something of value. A good word, expression, attitude, or behavior response goes a long way in expressing the love of God with others. Isn’t that what an ambassador of God’s Kingdom is about? 

Everyone is a candidate today of being touched by God’s Spirit by you through you. Seek to do good to one another, and the Holy Spirit will lead you along the way.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books 

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


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