Thievery Against Marriage

Marriage has been under attack from day one. Since Adam & Eve, when Eve began to spend more time listening to the serpent rather than commune with Adam and the Lord, the temptation of grabbing the non-compliant fruit eventually turned into a path of alienation from God and a broken life.

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Jesus himself stated that in the beginning, God created the marriage relationship: one man with one woman (Mark 10:6-9). Yet mankind with his stony heart couldn’t understand and comply with God’s intent for the marriage relationship. So through the Bible He reveals how mankind is to behave toward Himself and others for our own sake.

The marriage relationship itself pictures the relationship between the church (you and me) and Christ. In addition, the marriage relationship bonded by love, mutual submission, and a lifelong commitment of faithfulness pictures the same relationship that Father God, Son, and Holy Spirit have with one another.

In many ways, the marriage institution provides a safe haven for two people to experience the abundant relational life that God Himself enjoys. However, if two people are simply in a contractual arrangement, than marriage becomes nothing more but a business enterprise; two people satisfying each other needs in exchange for services rendered. Which type of marriage relationship do you want?

God reveals the type of behavior and attitude that leads to a prosperous marriage relationship. His Word highlights what builds-up and what breakdowns the marriage relationship. They include external and internal factors.

Some external factors that break down the marriage institution includes: adultery, incest, same-sex relationships, pornography, and fornication. Internal factors includes non-submissiveness, selfishness, and ungodliness. All these factors are thieves of marriage blissfulness. The main text in the Bible that highlight marriage responsibilities and relationship builders include: Ephesians 5; 1 Corinthians 7; and Hebrews 13:4.

Marriage is the ideal place for two people joined together to experience the same relationship that the Triune God enjoys. Yet, as always, mankind wants to take shortcuts that benefit individuals at the expense of the community. God’s way may hurt a few upfront in the beginning of the process, but eventually leads to long term success and riches for the majority as well as the few.

It takes trust to know that the eternal values of God always leads to the best outcome in the long run. Marriage is no different. So if we want to enjoy a rich relationship that marriage brings, than let us begin by personally standing up as a committee of one and voice our disapproval whenever we notice thievery against marriage.  How? By simply witnessing what marriage pictures in our daily lives and if necessary, use words.

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 2

Holy Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for marriage and its solid foundation for a society. Thank you for your Word that explains how to make marriage a copy of your relationship with humanity and yourself. Thank you for your grace and mercy when we fall short of the ideal. Enrich us with your character, your attitude, and your heart in our marriages. Help us live and experience your life through our marriage. Thank you for everything.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God

If You Are Seeking a Devotional Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.

 

A Disciple on a Mission

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If today someone deposited $86,400 dollars into your bank account with instructions that you either use it or lose it, what would you do?  If at the end of the day you still had $20,000 in the account, could you afford to waive it good-bye?

What if $86,400 was deposited into your bank account everyday hereafter under the same scenario?  Whatever you didn’t use would be taken away at the end of the day.  How would you plan your life thereafter?  Would you see to it that the entire $86,400 is used or invested each day instead of taken away at the end of the day?  Could you choose to either use it or lose it?

Coincidentally isn’t the time in our life just as valuable?  There is 86,400 seconds in a twenty-four hour day.  Are we not given this time each day to use and invest accordingly?  Whatever time we don’t use. we lose.  So this begs the question, how do we invest the time in our life?  Do we squander the time away?  Do we waste the time on unproductive projects?  Do we find ourselves working on unimportant assignments?

Somewhere in our lives, we were probably introduced to the 80/20 concept. Simply stated, we produce approximately eighty percent of the results in our life from twenty percent of the activities.  Likewise, with the remaining twenty percent of results, we produce with approximately the other eighty percent of the activities.  Understanding this principle, wouldn’t we try to focus on the first scenario?

Suppose we write out what is important in our life, including our personal mission statement, and then proceed to select which activities would give us the greatest payback to achieve the desired results we want.  Some people could have this exercise made over night and be living totally focused the next day.  Others however may take a few extra days of planning and prayer to start the journey.  Either way, after we start there is no going back.  When one becomes focus on purpose, one begins to use every resource at one’s disposal to accomplish their goals.  Typically, our mission takes on intense concentration, focus, and passion.  We can’t slow down if we wanted to because we have made the commitment to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.  We know God is with us.  We know our hearts and desires are true and pure.  We know our motivation  is godly.  We know whatever difficulties come our way, God will give us the inner peace and comfort through the Holy Spirit.  We won’t let up, because we are on Kingdom business.  We are disciples of His with a mission.  His missions don’t fail.  Ours may fail, but when aligned with God’s, look out!

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 9

Our Eternal Dad, thank you for creating us and preparing us for eternity!  Thank you for answering our prayers in regards to managing the time in our life.  Help us always to redeem each minute.  Help us to focus our attention on all the important areas of our life.  Help us to focus on you, our health, our family relationships, our time being productive at work without wasting the day away.

Our time is yours.  You have redeemed us.  You have redeemed our time.  Help us use each minute of every hour glorifying you through our actions, thoughts, and accomplishments.  Let your name be praised every minute of every day.

Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

A Sign, a Sign, Everywhere a Sign

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A disciple’s life is always walking down a path with construction in progress.  Like most construction sites, there are warning signs instructing you to change your normal routine to better handle the congestion.  These signs warn you to change lanes or not to change lanes, to merge or to divide, to slow down or to stop, to switch lanes or to ride on the shoulder, and many other choices.  There are also those that read “Detour” meaning the road ends and you must take another route.  But the signs instruct you on which route to take.  Of course, the alternative route is not always the fastest or quickest, but the one chosen by some civil engineer that will effectively manage the traffic flow.  Most of the time however, especially if you are a local resident, you will take an alternative route that only the local drivers know.  The out-of-towners must follow the signs.  But the locals always know a better route.  Likewise, as a disciple of His, we will face detours in our life.  Signs will be placed in front of us by good, natured people who want to be helpful.  These signs will be the best that the world has to offer.  However, if one is not well trained in scripture, they may easily be misled.  When faced with a detour, a disciple will immediately turn to the best traffic officer on the beat: Jesus Christ.  In prayer, and possibly fasting or one of the other disciplines, a disciple will ask for directions.  She will trust the Holy Spirit to direct their path.  The Holy Spirit may lead them to seek counsel.  The Holy Spirit may lead them to a mentor.  The Holy Spirit could lead them to a mule or elephant.  Wherever the Holy Spirit leads you, the answer will be there.  The path to follow will be clear.  The detour will only be an inconvenient nuisance that probably will bear godly fruit in your life and the life of others that you may touch in your journey.

Our paths will have many detours.  But the detour is not the end of our journey, but the beginning.  It is the start of a temporary, new direction where you will meet new people, new encounters, new locations, and new events.  You may also meet your old nemesis the devil.  But you know how to handle him.  It’s a new route with new opportunities to fulfill your mission in life.  It may be only to serve someone that asked God for help and He is sending you there.  It may be only to lend an uplifting word to someone who is in trouble.  It may only be to direct your steps away from a potential problem and give your soul rest.  Whatever the results, some we may know instantly, some we may know many years down the road, and others we may never know until the Kingdom has fully arrived.  But this we do know, the Master Planner has everything under control.  As we have surrendered to serve Him, He will lead us in a direction that will prove most beneficial for those we come into contact with and for ourselves as well.  We will not be detoured.  Our mission goes forth no matter which way we travel.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 21

Our Masterful Dad, thank you for calling us out of this world and giving us real meaning and purpose to live.  Thank you for caring and loving us.  Thank you for giving us the encouragement to try different paths.  Thank you for the opportunities that you present to us.  Thank you for giving us the abilities and talents to choose our heart desires.  Thank you for allowing us to live true to our heart.

Yet help us to deal with the obstacles. trials, and inconveniences that come our way.  Give us the courage and conviction to live your truth no matter what problem arises.  Help us to transform all problems into solutions for your glory.  Let every road we travel down, every door we open, every window we look out from, every step we climb, and every task we accomplish be done in sharing the good news of your Kingdom for your glory.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

 

Our Power Is In Christ

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What price do you put on eternal life? What price do you put on having a relationship with the Almighty God? What price do you place on a righteous soul? What price do you place on freedom?

Every one of us has a price. We all have the tendency to place a monetary value on everything. Ask yourself, how much would you be willing to receive in exchange for committing a small sin? Not a “serious sin”, but a “small one.” What if someone would give you $10,000 immediately with no strings attached if you would only throw a brick through your neighbor’s large, living room window? You have no time to give him any warning, no time to negotiate with your neighbor, no time to exchange any information. You are not allowed to recompense him in any way. Just do it because you could profit from the situation. Now if $10,000 is not worth the inconvenience, how about $100,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, $100,000,000? You tell us at what price you place on righteousness and we will tell you how much value you place on godliness. We could easily justify the situation and convince ourselves that breaking a neighbor’s window is not a major crime. No person really was hurt. Unless, a person was sitting by the window when you threw the brick and the shattering glass stuck into the person’s body causing him to bleed profusely to his death. But, that would change the scenario around. Or would it?

We recall a story from a friend that occurred in his first year on the job.  His company sold some real estate and money was being transferred all around the country. He had wire transferred several million dollars before the end of the day prior to leaving the country that evening on vacation. The next day he received a phone call from his boss informing him that the money was missing. They retraced the steps and were able to locate it in an account of one of the banks. The financial institution misread one of the digits on the wiring instructions and the money was sitting in someone else’s bank account. However, it didn’t dawn on him until he came back to work that his boss had a little thought that he had absconded with the money. They laughed about it afterwards. But it made him ask the question, how much? How much would we have to steal and leave the country to make it worth the crime?

What we all soon learn is what Jesus taught us. What does it profit if you could have the whole earth, but lose your soul? What is of greater value? In this world we are slaves to the greed around us and within us. But as disciples of His, we have His assurance that He is always with us to the end of this age. He will provide for our needs. There is no monetary price on godliness. Godliness is priceless, and so are we. How does that compare to your value system?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 9

Our Righteous Dad, thank you for revealing your truth to us. Thank you for sharing your godliness with us. Thank you for revealing the fruit of righteousness in our life.  Great you are and greatly to be praised!

Help us in destroying our self-righteousness and replacing it with your righteousness. Help us to sprinkle your traits of godliness with all the people we meet. Let your godliness have its full empowerment within us. Help us to live a holy and righteous life. Let the joy of your salvation spring out lividly through your righteousness. Let godliness have its way with us.

Let Jesus also have His way with us. We ask all these things through Him and because of Him. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Encourager

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

Recruit, Commit, Coach

 

The general mission of the church is recorded in the last chapter of Matthew; to actively make disciples, to baptize them into the universal church, and to educate them in total surrender of Jesus’ teachings.great commission 1

In addition to the main mission, we each have our personal ministry. Depending on the season of our life and God’s Plan, it may change over time.  For most of us, our personal ministry is first with the immediate family and then to the building up of the church. The Church, of course, is not necessary the local faith community but the universal body of believers.  It would include the people from the local church that we attend on a regular basis and also the other churches in our community.  It would also include God’s work in the marketplace.  Again, our mission is to make disciples and to buildup fellow saints of God.

Since most of us are only a little, baby toe in the body of Christ without a visible, publicly noticed ministry, our work is done only visibly to our Lord who we serve.  This toe only touches the people who it comes into contact with.  It doesn’t seek public recognition, but believes that privacy has its greatest benefits in serving the body of Christ.

Now some of our brethren believe their mission is to win souls to the Lord.  We have a problem with that approach since the soul is a difficult portion of the body to evaluate.  The making of disciples is an easier concept to manage.  It is something that we have a greater control over to make happen than changing a person’s soul.  We believe conversion and sanctification is God’s department.  Our part is simply to recruit people who want to follow Jesus, coach them to acknowledge their commit to follow Christ, and then to teach them the Word.  The process of regeneration and salvation is the Lord’s.  That depends on the person’s relationship with God.  It depends on a person’s personal commitment.  We could recruit one hundred people who desire to become Christ-followers.  That doesn’t mean that all one hundred are going to faithfully endure to the end.  We are sure most will.  But there are always a few that would rather surrender their soul to this temporary world and its leader than to the Lord of eternity.

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We likewise have great difficulty believing that all those people who have lived the past six thousand years without hearing about the gospel of Jesus are doomed for eternity.  That doesn’t sound like the loving God we have come to know.  Because someone hasn’t been told, how can they be held accountable?

No, we believe the Son is the only way of salvation.  However winning souls is our Heavenly Dad’s responsibility who calls us to a relationship with Jesus (Jn6: 44) and the Holy Spirit that works in us today.  Our mission is clear: Recruit (Seek + Disciple), Commit (Baptize), and Coach (Teach).

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 1

Dear Merciful Dad, your plan from the beginning of creation was to reconcile all people to you.  You selected the nation of Israel as your initial people to work with and to reveal your ways.  Eventually. you sent us Jesus to open the door for all people from any nation, culture, ethnic group to become one with you.  Your plan is simple and straight forward.  Help us to be a part of it.

Help us to share the gospel of Jesus with others.  Help us to reveal you as we have come to know you.  Help us to teach your ways of abundant living to others.  Help us to direct others to a deep, personal relationship with you.

You are the source of our strength.  You are the passion of our life.  You are the desire of our dreams.  You are the hope of our future.  Let your life be revealed through our thoughts, actions, and deeds.  Let all we do be done for your glory.  Let others come to see your awesomeness as you have revealed yourself to us.

Everything is yours.  Thank you for sharing everything with us.  Help us share everything with others.  In Jesus we thank you and always pray in His name and authority.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Speaker

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God
Portal: Be Radical…EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

Lord, Help Us Follow Your Lead

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Who do you depend on in times of trouble?  Who do you turn to when you are unsure of a pending decision?  Who always proves faithful to you in good times and bad?  The theoretical answer is the Holy Spirit.  But is that your truthful answer?  Are you honestly following the lead of the Holy Spirit through life, or do you just think you are?  Have you totally surrendered your personal agenda and are willing to follow the lead of the Counselor of God?  If you are like most of us, the honest answer is no.  We probably have failed miserably.  Yes, He is always reliable.  Yes, He is always faithful.  Yes, He is always dependable.  But, we are not.

We may want to follow His lead in our life.  We, like many of our brothers, seek through prayer and meditation and in the Word for direction in our life, but slowly end-up pursuing the dreams and desires of our heart that we think are good for us.  And of course, over time we discover that we are off the trail again and need help to refocus in the direction that is best for us.

Our Guide is reliable, but we are not.  Our Guide is dependable, but we are not.  Our Guide is faithful, but we are not.  Our problem is to learn how to focus on His lead in our life every single moment.  It’s to be walking with Him in a single line following the path that He is making.  It’s to listen to His instructions and commands.  When you hire yourself a guide to lead you through the jungles of Africa, you seek out the best.  After you find the best, you place your trust in that person to lead you through the appropriate paths.  You don’t deviate off the paths because you have been warned of the dangerous animals and terrain that could severely harm you.  You stay close to your guide and follow all his advice.  Isn’t it the same with the jungle of life?  Our Guide is there to help us make it through the jungle of life.  He has proven Himself over time in assisting many people.  We have now learned to pray regularly, asking help to follow the Counselor’s lead in our life; help to focus on His route; help to be a real disciple of His.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Our Heavenly Dad and Holy Spirit, thank you for giving us a Counselor, Guide, and Trainer in your Spirit.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for making yourself available to us in leading us to Jesus and to the things of God.  Thank you for being patient with us and for having our needs in good hands.

Help us to learn how to follow your lead in our life.  Help us to see your work in our life.  Help us to submit to your lead in all we do, in all we seek, in all we think.  Help us to surrender our life to you and always to ask you to fill us with the seeds of your character.  Let us abound with your abundance.  Let us live as your servant and as your ambassador.  Show us how you communicate with us and help us to listen to your nudges.  Give us the faith to act on your instructions.  Help us in our unbelief.  Reaffirm your direction in our life in mercy and in compassion.

Let this life be your success story.  Thank you, Jesus, for caring.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Speaker

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God

Grace and Performance…

 

“For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”   

 Luke 11:10

 

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The journey in Christ is a constant relearning of the basics of the Kingdom of God.

Take for example the concept of grace and performance. We live in a performance-oriented society. Whether we are working or playing, performance becomes the standard of measurement. We don’t normally give positive rewards, promotions, or recognition for finishing last.  Yet the Kingdom of God is built on grace and not performance.  Grace extended is how the Triune God relates to us. Grace is the foundation of who God is. Jesus knows our fragility, weaknesses, and the internal strife of sin always knocking at our door.  So how do we express the Kingdom of God in our life when the world around us operates in a politically charged environment that clamors for winners?

Maybe the problem isn’t society around us, but the internal desires of our heart that competes with God. Can we truly say that we desire to truly please Him in everything we do? Or do we want God to bless us with everything we want because we deserve it?

Someone once told me to pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on me. I don’t buy that anymore. Instead, I acknowledge that God owns it all, has the capability to bring everything I need to my door, and has promise to provide. So now I ask, seek, and knock. I ask him diligently knowing he is the owner and provider of everything. I seek diligently and expectantly the answer to my prayers; always pursuing all opportunities that come my way no matter how large or small; constantly seeking confirmation. And when a door presents itself to me, I don’t force it open. Instead, I gently turn the knob and allow it to open from the outside-in. I have found out when I force the door open, it is only me still pursuing what I want. Instead, I allow the Spirit to move the door. Whenever I did this, the domino effect occurs; like the tumblers of a safe all falling into place. The door opens easily and the ride toward the goal is like canoeing down the rapids with very little effort on my path. I simply steer the canoe and enjoy the ride.

Yes, learning how to live a grace-based life instead of a performance-based life is a life time journey. Yet, isn’t what this life is? Are we all not being prepared for leadership and service with others as we walk this adventurous journey of transformation in Christ?

 

Dr. Mike

 

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God