Who Are You Lord?

 

And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 9:5 ESV.

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Which Jesus are you familiar with?

Do you know the gregarious, celebrating Jesus who was accused by the religious leaders as a wine bibber and glutton? Or do you recognize the weeping Jesus who cried prior to resurrecting Lazarus? Or maybe the healing Jesus who gave sight to the blind?

Then what about the beaten Jesus with bleeding cuts and bruises prior to his crucifixion? The hungry Jesus who fasted for 40 days prior to his confrontation with Satan? The popular Jesus who drew crowds of thousands to hear what he had to say? Or the controversial Jesus who questioned the religious teachings of his day?

Maybe you are familiar with the runaway Jesus who left his family at the age of twelve for three days discussing Scripture with the teachers in the Jewish temple? How about the Jesus who hung around prostitutes, thieves, and debt collectors? Or the wimpy Jesus who hung around women all day?

Many probably identify the teaching Jesus who took every event of the day to expound on his kingdom and way of life. Or the Jewish Jesus who kept the Holy days outlined in the Bible. Or the rebellious Jesus who broke the religious traditions of the times. Then there is the praying Jesus who would rise early in the mornings to spend time with His Father. Or the carpenter Jesus who built tables, chairs, and houses for people in the community.

Possibly some may even recognize the obedient Jesus who resisted the temptation of Satan and trusted God for His destiny. Or the suffering Jesus who took everyone’s Sin unto himself while focusing on the joy that laid before him. Maybe even the dying Jesus who was unjustly accused and sentenced to death by the government establishment.

My question for today though, is how many identify the living Jesus now sitting next to his Father in authority for heaven and earth? How many see Jesus now sitting at the table along with all our brothers and sisters? How many of us identify with the Jesus who is returning to complete the Triune Project started at the foundation of the universe?

Whichever Jesus you identify with is probably where you find him today in your life. And as the seasons change while we walk with our King, Savior, and Friend, He reveals himself to us as we need to know. Meanwhile, enjoy the journey, share the good news, and allow Him full access to make his imprint in your life story.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
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

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Overcomer

“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” 2 Peter 2:19 ESV

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Want to know how free you are as a person? Ask yourself, what enslaves you?

Are you a slave to your hunger? Do you have a constant appetite for sweets, salt, or chocolate? Are you enslaved by your thirst for beer, wine, or a strong alcoholic drink?

Are you a slave to your hobby? work? or family? Maybe you are enslaved by the culture around you? Or your government, employer, or client? Or are you simply a slave to either money, power, status, or fame?

The fact is before becoming a heir with Jesus Christ, we were all slaves to our emotional plugs. Sin reign in us without us even choosing to follow it. Yet, because Christ lived a free life for you and I, we now enjoy the same heavenly perks He manifested throughout His life. By submitting ourselves to the righteousness of Jesus Christ, we are given the freedom from all the addictions thrown our way.

It is not easy, but it is simple. As we abide in Christ, the Holy Spirit disarms the old man and allows the new man ample room to grow. By abiding in Christ our boundaries are eternally established and serve as a defensive shield. By obediently living in Christ, the Spirit breaks down the spiritual strongholds that unleashes the true you.As a branch feeds itself from the vine, so do we. As long as we continue to abide in Him, we begin to experience real freedom built on eternal values.

Unlike the world that teaches oneself to indulged yourself and pick-up yourself by the bootstraps, we deny ourselves. We overcome because He who lives in us has already overcome the world (Jn. 16:33) and His strength manifests itself in our lives. We overcome because we choose to follow Him. We overcome because our heart, mind, and soul is totally trustful in Him. We overcome because He does the work as we respond to His Will. We overcome not because of our character development, self-discipline, or sacrificial effort. Instead we acknowledge Jesus Christ lives in us, strengthens us, and creates within us His attributes. So that at the end of day, He receives the glory as we harvest the benefit. That is what makes a Christ-follower an Overcomer.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
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

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

 

Boxes or Circles

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV

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Are you living your life through boxes or circles?

We live in a culture that loves to place people and activities into tiny boxes so they can be better classified and managed. We have a box for family, friends, work, career, church, investments, play, education, etc. The list could be almost endless depending on one’s resource.

I was one who grew up living the highly productive life juggling boxes throughout the day. I had a box for every person in my life. My spouse, daughter, parents, siblings each had a box that I would place in priority each day and week. In addition, all my work functions and relationships had a box. Yes, even church and God had their own box.

As an executive, time was my enemy. The best way for me to manage the daily routine was through boxes. It wasn’t until later that I discovered circles. Instead of segmenting my life, I opened myself to allowing Jesus Christ to become the center of my soul, heart, and mind. When that happened, life began to significantly change. Instead of creating boxes that I would continue to juggle, I began to draw circles. Now instead of treating God like any other box fighting for my time, He always has top priority.

The center of the circle is now Jesus Christ. The next circle around Him is my health. Next is immediate family. Followed by a circle of other family members, friends and associates.

Now instead of juggling boxes and feeling guilty for not investing more time with God, I let him into every circle of my life. He is the center of all my circles. No longer is he an independent box fighting for my time and attention. Instead he dwells within me and I seek to allow him full access into every area of my life. No longer do I have to fight to make Him #1 in my life. He is the center of my entire life.

Maybe this may be too strong, but I believe the person who uses boxes to cope with life still hasn’t surrender their total being to our Lord. Yet God’s patience leads us to repentance. As we draw closer to him, he draws closer to us. Eventually we catch on to what he is teaching us. He may initially accept being placed into a box if that is one way to grab our attention. But eventually He is going to want to be the center of your life. So why not help speed up the process and exchange your boxes for circles? You may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
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

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

Being Jesus-Centered

“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11 ESV

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What is the foundation you build your life on?

Do you pick and choose from what you see in the culture around you? Do you adhere to a specific philosophy of a person or teacher? Whatever your reply, if the answer is anything other than Jesus Christ, you haven’t yet found your center for real, fruitful, enjoyable living. Not as the world shows it; but as God designed you and I for maximum utopia.

When you analyze many of the various religions, teachings, and beliefs around the world, most of them will have some Biblical truth included. That is why certain teachings agree with many of Jesus’ statements. For example, Confucius stated the Golden Rule hundreds of years before Christ. This isn’t anything new. The fact is Reality is built around Jesus’ existence; not the other way around. Since He lived before the foundation of the world as one of the Godhead, His truth has always existed.

To be Jesus-Centered is more than just making him #1 in your life. It is including him in every decision one makes. That includes all your relationships, business arrangements, educational goals, career paths, family ties, marriage partnerships, etc.

To be Jesus-Centered is allowing him full access into the secret chambers of your heart. You are free to stand physically, spiritually, and mentally naked before him. You are transparent. You open your values, beliefs, and goals for his redeeming work.

To be Jesus-Centered is viewing the world through his eyes. It is serving others from Christ’s viewpoint. It is letting him walk along side us through our daily routine. It is having a friend, companion, and associate with us throughout the day.

To be Jesus-Centered is already knowing His answer even while you ask.

To be Jesus-Centered is surrendering your rights in exchange for his imprint into your life.

To be Jesus-Centered is to be home with him in mind, spirit, and soul.

To be Jesus-Centered is to have the north star always shining brightly in your life.

To be Jesus-Centered is to find yourself emulating his spiritual power toward others.

Until one stops playing religion, throws out all the do’s and don’t of playing cultural niceness, and invites Jesus to become the center of one’s life, one hasn’t tasted the fruit of how life was truly designed for a more abundant experience. How about you? Have you asked our Heavenly Dad to show you how Jesus can become the center of your life?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
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

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

Head Butts

 

Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? Matthew 16:25 (MSG)

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How many of us spend the majority of our life butting our head against the wall until the light goes on?

We invest our time, energy, and resources in pursuit of relationships, fame, and fortune only to discover afterwards an emptiness in our soul. Then we seek more of the same thinking it isn’t enough; only to discover that wasn’t it either. Than we may go the other extreme and forgo everything; again only to discover that didn’t fill the cup either.

In my short life-time I have witnessed myself, friends and associates believe the “I am master of my own ship” motto. We made decisions that looked appetizing in the beginning but the returns bit us hard in the end.

What we all had in common was a strong focus on “self.” Everything we went after was because we wanted it and nobody could change our mind. We deserved it. We were willing to work hard for it. We made it our destiny.

The problem was we were following the wrong leader: ourselves. It wasn’t until we surrendered our life to the King of Kings that we fully understood what that meant. In short, it is refreshing knowing that I have a boss that cares about me and leads me through green pastures and fruitful fields. However, when I reject his leadership, he lets me experience the growing pains of doing it myself. I for one have come to truly appreciate His ways and am tired of doing it my way.

When we surrender to the King and learn the joy of serving others with Him for the sake of others and for His Kingdom, the rewards are more than money, fame, and worldly relationships can every bring. Blessed and happy is the man/woman who walks with the King! They shall enjoy His abundance (Jn. 10:10).

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Founder & Executive Director
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

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!

Entitlement

 ” …all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:15-17 ESV

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Where are we taught that the world owes us something?  That government, church, or business exists to satisfy our desires? What does life owe us besides our existence? Are we entitled  to fulfill all our dreams? These are some questions people may ask from the position of “what’s in it for me?”

Like a spoiled child, we believe all our desires and dreams should be instantly gratified.  When they are not, we become emotionally belligerent.  We turn our resentment against whomever has denied us our “rights.”  Whether it is our boss, mate, parent, government, and yes even God.  However, like a repented spoiled child, we learn over time to appreciate and be grateful for what we have. But for most of us, it takes time for the heart to morph into a channel of thankfulness.

One of life’s lessons we eventually come to realize is this world doesn’t exist solely for you and I. The Bible states that the world was created for Jesus Christ.  We are simply his invited stewards.

It is Jesus Christ who surrendered his eternal home on a mission for his Father. Faithfully and courageously he fought the battles of life to overcome Satan, Sin, and Death. He substituted His vicarious life for ours. He redeemed humanity from their initial rebellion against grace. His victory is humanity’s win. He earned the right for supreme leadership as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He is earth’s and heaven’s ultimate Ruler and Judge.

So what are we entitled too?

How about the opportunity to live?  Even though the quality and quantity is limited by many outside factors beyond one’s control, born in a favorable family or government increases ones odds. However, there is no guarantees under the sun. The results of what we pursue and chase after may or may not occur. Only physical death (and some say taxes, but if you have no qualified income, taxes are legally avoidable) is absolute.  Therefore, the only thing we are truly entitled too is the opportunity to live and die.

Everything else is only because of God’s unmerited favor. In fact, because of God’s grace, those who have gladly chosen to accept his authority have the guarantee of the 1st resurrection.  Otherwise, all other perceived entitlements are simply desires that blind and rob us from a more intimate relationship with our Creator: whose blessings are more than enough to handle in this life.

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, 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

 

 

 

Dancing with God

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,” Psalm 30:11 ESV

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Back before “Dancing with the Stars” made ballroom dancing a current fad, when ballroom dancing was only for the elderly, I learned to move my body within the framework and rhythm of the big band sound of the 1930s. But it didn’t happen overnight.

In high school, I was the quiet, silent type who hid behind a wide smile. Though socially backward and inept, I made up my mind to change. It started at the weddings.

I found out early in life that if you treated the ladies with respect and charm, you could usually move into their territory without fear or intimidation. While sitting at the family table with the band playing, I would look for the girls on the dance floor who didn’t have dates. Then I would join them at their table, start a conversation that eventually led to explaining my desire to learn how to dance. Eventually the girl would offer to teach me. Though I stepped on many a foot and tripped over my steps more often than not, they taught me as their #1 mission in life. That is how we started.

In my early twenties, I was also fortunate to meet a couple of young, culturally mature ladies, who likewise loved to dance. Whenever their dance partners were unable to go out that weekend, they would call me knowing that I wasn’t the best, but was an able learner. Through the Polish, German, and Italian cultural clubs, plus the big band nightclubs, we learn to polka, swing, cha-cha, and fox trot. In the beginning they would lead and I would follow. Eventually, I developed to the point where I led and my partner followed.

So what does this have to do with dancing with God? Everything. I find our relationship with the Triune God is one large dance. That Father-Son-Spirit move together like two partners on a dance floor; individually yet mutually together. That same togetherness is how God wants us to follow Him.

God leads, we follow. Individually, yet mutually together. In sync with the divine music. Sometimes it’s a fox trot. Other times, it is a swing. Then it’s a slow, hip-hop, tango. Whatever the beat, He leads, we follow. Together, the movement is one intimate, fulfilling dance that brings out the best in you and I.

So the next time you want to know what the relationship with God is truly like, learn to experience the thrill of moving around the world’s dance floor with your partner in hand swaying to the divine music He orchestrates throughout the day. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, 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