What Do You Desire Most?

Psalm 73:25

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

Ever wonder what is the primary difference between the person who says there is no God and the one who says there is a Master Designer? People have debated this for centuries without a universal, agreeable answer. So, I am going to add my two cents into the equation; not because anyone asked, but it has been on my heart lately.

I always thought it was an intellectual exercise to determine whether or not God existed. Most of the time we witness two people debating the issue on stage – one for and the other against. At the end of the day the audience wouldn’t change their mind. Whatever side they agreed too at the beginning of the debate is where they remained at the end of it. That is why I now wonder if it has little to do with intellect and more to do with one’s desire.

I look at my own life as an example. In my mid-teens, life was a total mess. Looking back, I was rebellious, angry, and troubled to the point if things didn’t change, I would soon be joining some of my associates either in prison or the cemetery. Out of desperation one evening, I knelt at my bedside and for the first time cried out, if there was a God, I needed him to save me from the mess I have gotten myself into.

Up to that point, I was probably more of an agnostic. But from that moment forward, I began to slowly change the course of my life. I started to read the Bible. I would go to the library and check out books on all the main religions and world known philosophers. Then one day in my senior year of high school, I found myself standing in the middle of the hallway between classroom changes just being mentally bombarded with the thought “what is the purpose of life?”

My intensity to discover the answer grew. I realized the first hurdle was to determine whether or not God was real. Because if there was a God, then the Master Designer would have had a purpose in mind. But if there wasn’t a God, then there would be no objective purpose for life.

The switch has been thrown. For the next several years, I lived life with one leg acting as if God existed and the other leg as if there was no God – no easy task. However, the more I read both sides of the argument and witnessed the lives of people who professed in a God, the more I began to realize if there was no God, life would be better with One.

So, I made the choice one day to begin living life as if God did exist. I searched out and became a member of a faith community. I began to learn to pray and study the Bible. (after reading other religious manuscripts, I most likely initially chose the Bible because of cultural acceptance). In many ways, those early years in my twenties, I still had one leg for God and the other leg being pulled for no God. But there was one scripture that became my marching order – Romans 12:2. I began to test God’s will.

Long story short. The more I looked for Him to act upon my prayers, the more I witnessed outcomes which made me stand back in awe. Initially I thought they were coincidental. But when favorable solutions repeatedly happened in a variety of unpredictable circumstances, you begin to take notice. You witness hearts and attitudes change in people who hated you.  You witness financial and physical intervention in your life and others which leave you scratching your head in amazement. You begin to witness invisible, life-giving forces weave through people’s lives which only makes you want to better understand its Source.

Over time, you begin to grow a relationship with an invisible God. You align what you read in Scripture with what you face every day. You realize you have taken what you have acquired in knowledge, learn to apply each day in your world, and grown from the experience. In hindsight, either you are crazy or you are truly experiencing the with-God life. I choose to believe the with-God life.    

Yes, the long journey included acquiring knowledge and experiencing God’s grace in action. But it all started with a strong desire to know whether or not God existed. Without that desire, it would have been easy to invest only one hour toward the study, reach a negative conclusion, and move on from there. However, with the scientific mind of starting off with a hypothesis, and then spending years putting God to the test, I can now say like David wrote in the Psalms, there is nothing on earth I desire more than knowing Father-Son-Spirit.

So, you can argue mentally all day long. But I now believe only when you have the intense desire to truly search for HIM, you will find him (Hebrews 11:6).  

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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Copyright 2013-2021 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Believe

John 17:8,20-21

“For I (Jesus) have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me…I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Yes, I believe. I believe Jesus Christ is who HE claims HE IS: The Incarnate Son of God, King of Heaven and Earth, and Humanity’s Savior. I believe the Bible is a recorded narrative of God’s relationship with mankind and written for our sake. We can choose to believe or not.

I didn’t believe all this at the beginning of my faith journey. All I knew was if there was a God, he needs to intervene or this young man’s life was not going to make it through his teen years. And HE did.

Every journey begins with a set of beliefs. Our actions, decisions, and choices are based on these deeply held perceived truths. The more we exercise them, and the results come true, the more confident we become in our beliefs. However, whenever our actions repeatedly fail, we eventually evaluate our belief system and discard the unreliable “truth” for another.

Over a life time, certain beliefs become our anchor – we have proven their fundamental truths over and over again with similar favorable results. Other beliefs are still being evaluated. How many of us though purposely select and choose our beliefs?   

Our initial beliefs are indoctrinated into our souls through family, friends, and teachers. In our early lives, we are typically ignorant of our surroundings and the makeup of our soul. Even as adults, the social and news media bombard us with the latest fads and the current fear factors which we subconsciously allow into our belief safe. 

However, one day (could be late teens or now-a-days even late fifties) we start struggling with our interval belief system. We start questioning everything we have been told. When reality sets in and the realization we have been lied too, manipulated by others for their sake, and then in those extreme cases, thrown out with the bathwater, we most often find ourselves angry and hurt.

Unless we are grounded on a bedrock of fundamental beliefs proven over eons of time, the majority of us will substantially modify our belief system. The transition though is most often costly of time, relationships, and money. The best prevention is having a healthy family upbringing by parents who are grounded in solid values and beliefs. Where does healthy values and beliefs come from?

The number one bestselling book of all time is still the Bible. There is a reason. Within its pages contains valuable principles and truths which have been proven over time to work. The Book also points to the importance of having a relationship with the living God. When one walks with HIM, one slowly becomes more and more like HIM.

Per Jesus’ prayer in John 17, we become one with our Father God and Jesus Christ. When we do, we learn the foundational truths of life; gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to manage everyday life; and find assurance and purpose for living.

Yes, beliefs allow us to focus and put structure into our world. If we don’t believe in the Triune God, we will never seek out what HE has for us. On the other hand, for those of us who believe, our focus is to seek HIM out in every day life situations. When we do, we begin to witness answers to prayer, reoccurring solutions from an invisible hand, and broken people healed from inside-out. Like the wind, which we may not see but only witness its impact, we likewise witness the effect when God’s Spirit is engaged with others.

In summary, in regards to the Triune God, to believe opens the window of opportunity to discover HIM and the truth; but not to believe, only closes the window of ever really coming to know HIM and a life built upon lasting truth.

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!


Copyright 2013-2021 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Belief Trap

James 2:20

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

Salvation begins with believing Jesus Christ is who He claims to be.

Belief is more than a wish or superstition. Real belief is built on facts, logic, and experience. Yet some people, after battling and working through the reasoning process, think that is all there is. Why? Didn’t Jesus himself say that if you believe on him you will receive eternal life?

From what I remember my psychology classmates telling me, belief is the centerpiece of action. Belief leads to action. We act upon what we believe. From our central belief system lies our values and worldview. But if we believe and do not act upon those beliefs, then do we truly believe?

James writes in his letter that belief without action is dead. He likens it to the body without a spirit: dead.

Belief is demonstrated through its fruit. An orange tree may have hundreds of green balls (the real color of oranges before the factories paint them for resale to the public) hanging on its branches, but when you take one from the tree and begin to peel it only to find dryness in the inside, don’t you throw it away? It may look like an orange hanging on the tree with other oranges, but is it a healthy orange?

Belief in Jesus Christ is like taking an escalator in a high-rise shopping mall. We start on the first floor and the moving steps take us higher unto other floors with more stores to discover. After we experience the 2nd floor, we take the escalator up to the next floor, and the next floor, and the next floor, where we discover more. Belief in Jesus Christ is, in a poor analogy, the escalator that takes you to places where you can experience real life.

Real life begins with believing Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised to the Jewish and Gentile nation back when Adam and Eve were discharged from the garden. When that fact hits us in the head and heart, our values and worldview begin to change and leads us to action which demonstrate our belief in Jesus Christ as King and Savior. Yet inaction may not tell the whole story on some who believe but are frozen from doing good work. Some may believe but be lazy; a character flaw. Others may believe, but are ensnared by the world’s glitter. And others may believe, but be angry with God and like a 2-year-old still pouting in the corner until lesson learned.  So, we need to be extra careful and not condemn the heart of others. Instead, let’s first pray for our brothers and sisters and let God lead us how best to relate with them. Maybe God will open a door for you to discuss the situation and help restore your sister/brother into a closer relationship with Him. Or bring another solution for their struggle. Either way, if God makes you aware of a problem, He will lead you.

Is that not what turning belief into action all about? Therefore, doesn’t our actions demonstrate our beliefs?

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

Faith of Christ

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16 KJV

faith 1

So many translations; so many different opinions. What is a person suppose to believe?

There is debate among Biblical scholars that the verse in Galatians 2:16 is correctly written in the King James Version. Newer Bible versions have altered the meaning by using the word “in” versus “of.” (I have underline the two places above). The problem is the meaning. When we use the word “of” we are placing the emphasis on Jesus’ faith. When the word “in” is used, we are placing the emphasis on our faith.

I will leave the scholarly details for those who are better trained to educate. Instead, I will simply say that I lean toward the KJV interpretation because it makes more sense from a holistic basis.

If I am justified based on my faith, than what is the difference between human works of law and human works of faith? Both employ an emphasis on saving oneself by oneself.

On the other hand, if I am justified by the faith of Christ, than it is not my work, but Christ’s work. He made it all happen and grants us the grace to accept it.

My part is to believe in Him. He lived, died, and was resurrected on our behalf. He is the cornerstone. The faith or trust that I have in Jesus is because He did it, is doing it, and will accomplish it. He made it all possible.

Even the faith that I have in him is a gift from him. Through the Holy Spirit, he has empowered us to believe. Yes, I had to acknowledge that Jesus is who he claims to be. Yes, I had to ask for the Holy Spirit. And yes, I submit to the authority of the Father/Son/Spirit.

It is a relief that my tiny belief is being upheld by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Isn’t that simply a breath-taking, grace-filled, and life-giving fact that makes one more thankful and grateful for our Triune God sharing His life with us without heaping religious burdens on us? I for one am more at peace for placing trust in Jesus’ faith than in my own. How about you?

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, 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