God’s Plan For You

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“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14 ESV

Every time I hear a message about God encouraging the nation Israel through Jeremiah with the above words, I cringe. Most of the time I hold my breath because someone most likely will extract a portion of this scripture to illustrate a point without fully expounding its ramifications. I have been taught to read scripture in context first, understand its cultural and historical significance in its time, and then expound its application into today’s world. Most of the time lately this scripture is used from the pulpit as a short cut to motivate people to trust in God with their future plans.

When read in context, one quickly recognizes that the Lord made a specific promise to Israel. After being disciplined through seventy years of exile, He will restore their nation. A specific prophecy for a specific nation for a specific time in history. What this scripture truly reveals is that the Lord’s purpose will always be accomplished.

What does this mean for you and me?
* God has a plan He started at the foundation of the universe that includes you.
* It is God’s plan, not yours or mine.
* Our plans most likely are not God’s plan.
* The earlier we learn to accept God’s plan and join him in it, the quicker we will experience a deeper relationship with Him.
* As we develop a deeper relationship with Him, the greater His Spirit lives in us, influences us, and empowers us to live life the way He originally created life too be.
* The brokenness of sin slowly dissipates from our lives and is replaced with the riches of His eternal glory.
* We don’t have to wait for heaven; heaven arrives now in Christ as He lives in us.

We do not have to take scripture out of context to make a point. God has a plan that includes you and me. His desire is for all humanity to join him within the Triune God circle. Today, we are heirs, children, and servants of the King of Kings. He joyously and lovingly invites us to now participate in His work to redeem all creation into His original intent (Romans 8:20-21).

So why misuse scriptures to make a point? Isn’t the truth already radical enough?

Yours 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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

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The Greatest Blessing

During a recent breakfast conversation, the question arose; “what is the greatest blessing you can receive in this life?” The answered varied depending on each person’s journey through life. Some answered “a large family,” another “financial independence,” yet another stated “totally in love with one awesome person.” Each person’s answer typically reflected their complex value system. For most of us though, the answer was the “one thing that would truly make us happy for the moment.” Yet would it?

The answer that grabbed my attention though was one that has taken years for this disciple to realize. In one of our recent small group meetings, one of the men (grandpa many times over) made the statement that he never realized until recently what life could be like living in a personal relationship with the living God. He grew up in a rule-oriented culture and didn’t experience the grace-based, life-giving life style until several years ago. Now looking back, he is amazed at the quality of life that fills his insides and expresses itself from the inside-out. For him life is not about the physical toys or accomplishments anymore (that is how he measured his life in the early days). Today it is about a personal relationship with the living King of Kings.

Yes the greatest blessing one can receive in this life is a personal relationship with the living Triune God. Yes, the same God who created the heavens and earth; implemented a plan for human redemption; and has big plans for humanity in a new age. A relationship built not on a contract but a commitment. Theologians like to name it a covenant. But a covenant is simply a committed promise between a faithful God and a double-minded mankind. God always fulfills His side of the promise no matter how many times we fail on our side. But more than his promises, the joy of knowing Him and Him knowing us is greater than any promise. Knowing Him is better than heaven, eternal life, or salvation itself. When one begins to enjoy hanging out with the living, Triune God for no other reason than the joy of the relationship, than one truly experiences the greatest blessing that this life has to offer. Anything else doesn’t even compare.

OUR PRAYER

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Holy True God, thank you for being true. Thank you for being real. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for designing our life to experience you more and more each day. Help us to become more intimate with you. No matter the circumstances, help us enjoy life the way you have created it to be. Help us to focus more of you and less of us each day. Whenever the circumstances may stink, help us truly to be grateful for life. You are always good. Let your goodness rub-off on us. Wherever we go, whatever we do, however we think, let it bring you glory. Let your blessings bless others. Help us to truly enjoy all of you forever and ever. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

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

Witchcraft in the Marketplace

Most of the time when we speak about witchcraft we think of potions, wands, and black pointed hats worn by ugly women with a bitter facial expression. We may recall witches from such movies as “Harry Potter and ….” or “Wizard of Oz.” For most of us, witches are a make believe fantasy. Yet, God’s word strongly recommends us to stay away from them (Deut 18:10). Are they for real or have witches gone away along with the devil in red underwear and pitchfork?
The Bible most often uses the word sorcerer or sorceress to identify people who practice black magic or wizardry. They are people who practice the art of dark magic, creating harmful illusions, or playing with ungodly spirits that point others away from trusting the Triune God. There base of operation is built on falsehood. The Bible gives unpleasant examples of sorcerers and their outcomes. There is Pharaoh & Moses (Ex7:11), Daniel & the Chaldean King (Dan 2:2), and Micah’s prophecy of the end times (Mic. 5:12). The Book of Revelations likewise mentions what becomes of sorcerers at the end of the age (Rev 22:15).
What does sorcery look like in the marketplace? It comes in many forms but here are a few examples: 1) The illusion of success typically built on the back of others (picture of a 20 story office building on a brochure as the corporate office when in reality one has only 500 SF rented space in the building). 2) The distorted numbers of monthly reports(government inflation and unemployment numbers is a good example). 3) Keeping two sets of books (One that the public sees and the other telling the true picture [Enron]). 4) Building a business organization through a Ponzi scheme. Typical in an investment community where new money must be attained to distribute to the earlier players. (examples too many to mention.) 5) Portraying the ideal through media and advertisement. (eg. glamor magazine touch-ups). 6) Happiness through materialism (name your favorite product). 7) Dress for success (focus on form rather than substance). 8) Lies in Advertisement (we see this come alive in political campaigns). The list is endless.
What witchcraft sells is falsehood. Witchcraft denies accountability to a Final Judge. It removes God from the picture, and pushes for personal agendas no matter what the cost or price. It typically places the outcome and means more important than people, truth, and God’s sovereign plan. In the end, it is a lie that eventually hurts and destroys individuals, families, and institutions. It is generally self-centered and does not take into consideration the ramifications and impact into the lives of others. It prevents people from having a truly authentic relationship with God and others. It destroys character, damages eternal values, and ruins lives in the process. As faith-builders in the marketplace, we are called to restore God’s Kingdom reign in the businesses we own, manage, and work in. It begins with one person’s commitment to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit within the marketplace. It begins with you and me. So next time when you see witchcraft within the workplace, call it out. Provide a better solution that is built on godly principles of honesty, truth, and authenticity. Your clients, supervisors, and peers may disagree with you, but at least you have taken a stand for Christ and those around you. In the end, your example may lead others along with you toward the real promise land.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 4

Holy Father, Holy Lord, Holy Spirit – thank you for revealing your truth to us. Thank you for giving us the scriptures to read, study, and learn about you and your ways. Help us to place into practice your righteousness. Help us to glorify you in the marketplace. Help us to glorify you in our relationships. Help us to glorify you with our words, thoughts, and actions. Help us be a beacon for you in the marketplace. Help us to restore the marketplace under your sovereignty. Help us.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

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

 

How Do Idols Hurt You?

When God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses He gave specific instructions that would benefit humanity. One of those instructions was to refrain from worshiping idols; or as the Bible emphatically states “You shall have no other gods before me”[Deuteronomy 5:6-8].
Now some of us may think that God is a jealous Being who does not tolerate us worshiping someone more than Him. Some may look at that commandment from a religious aspect which means it is what I have to do to receive blessings from God. Others may look at it strictly from an obedience view which emphasizes we only do it without contemplating the impact toward others. We even search the Bible which demonstrates what happens to a people when these instructions are ignored. In other circles, God is believed to be an ego centric Being that wants total domination over His creation along with total adherence to all the rules so He may better control us.
The plain truth of the matter is that God realizes if we don’t have a direct relationship with Him, we are then living and pursuing a lie that eventually hurts ourselves and the people around us. Instead of dealing with reality, idols drown us to live in a fantasy that will boomerang and hit us on the side of the head when we least expect it. Typically, it is a false, short term substitute.
For the record, idols are basically anything that comes between you and God. It is what we believe we want now and cannot wait for God’s timetable. It becomes our main focus, drive, and passion that we worship and adore it instead of the living God. Typically it is the false illusion of temporary satisfying our inner desires. It is something that has a hold of our heart and doesn’t allow the Triune God to lead the way. The end result leads to treading outside of His Will. When we live outside of His Will, we are on our own. Yes it may work out for the short term; and yes you may even blossom from it for the short term. But eventually the sour taste of sin and godliness will emerge. The outcome will not be as fully rich and abundant for all stakeholders as you initially thought.
Many of us eventually learn that idols are a poor substitution for the Triune God. We come to the place that the more we seek to walk with the real God, the stronger our faith becomes and the less we need idols in our life to provide the temporary pleasures and escapes that we seek. We become like the Thessalonians that Paul writes about in Chapter 1:9 “… and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” Like these Thessalonians, when one places the true God as the center and priority in everything we do, idols lose their luster and sway. The sooner one learns which idols are hurting the self, the sooner one discovers the intimate and enriching personal relationship one has with the Triune God. So, what idols are preventing you from walking in step with the Spirit? What are you going to do about it?

OUR PRAYER

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Holy Father, Holy Lord, and Holy Spirit: Thank you for revealing yourself to us. Thank you for pursuing us until we caught you. Thank you for opening our minds to understand the riches of your ways. Thank you for everything you do.
Help us to always aim our heart, mind, body, and soul toward you, your church, and your Kingdom. Help us to identify the idols in our lives and eradicate them out of our life. If possible, help us simply to place you ahead of our gods and submit our gods into your hands for your cleansing. You know what brings joy into our life. Bless us with your favor. Bless us for your name’s sake.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

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

 

 

Because I Can

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13 ESV

This morning I biked approximately twenty miles. When asked why I do it, my reply is simply, “because I can.” My wife mowed the lawn this past week. When our neighbors asked how come I don’t do it or hire it out, my reply is simply, “because she can.” When you asked my friend Frank, a paraplegic, why he rides his motorized wheel chair from his apartment to the local tavern (approximately 1 mile) for a beer, his reply is simply “because I can.”
Now someone else asked me the other day how come I don’t play professional racquetball. My reply, because I can’t. Time has passed up the season when I would have been able. Today, I simply play for pleasure; “because I can.”
A couple of weeks ago, a friend was involved in an auto accident. He was riding a motorbike perfectly following traffic regulations, wearing a helmet, and only one mile from his home when a person drove her car through an intersection and turned right into him. She claimed she didn’t see him. After multiple surgeries, the medical team believes he will walk again. However, the physical rehab is going to be long and strenuous. There is much he will miss this year – and in many cases his “because I can” opportunities will be limited. Yet as he states, there are things he will continue to do “because he can.”
As Christ-followers, we are blessed with the living God residing in us. As we desist and He increases, our faith, trust, and hope in Him is strengthen. We find ourselves listening more to his instructions and directions. We develop confidence in Him and look forward to the opportunities of living life for His glory. Every time we express a godly attribute, we recognize him more and more. Every time we accept a new challenge or take another adventurous journey with Him, our confidence and trust in Him becomes a force that breaks down fears, lies, and human pride. We find ourselves doing activities that are outside our normal sphere. When asked why, our reply is simply “because I can.”

OUR PRAYER

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Holy Father, Lord, and Spirit: thank you for calling us and giving us eternal life in Christ. Thank you for filling us with your Spirit. Thank you for giving us an attitude of “I can do all things in Christ.” Help us face the opportunities and challenges that life throws at us with a “because I can” attitude. But let it not be our pride or lust or desires that lead us. Instead, help us to desist and allow you to fully express yourself in us. Let your glory shine in us. Let your Spirit lead us. Let your fruit abide and grow in us. Wherever we go and whatever we do help us face life’s obstacles and roadblocks in Christ. Help us to come to know you and your life and your purposes. Let our expectations be your expectations. Help us not fool ourselves and blind ourselves. Instead help us always focus on you and your work in us. For it is only in you and through you and by you that we can say, “because I can.”

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

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

Happy Birthday!

 
When the day of your birth rolls around another year, how do you celebrate it? Do you throw yourself a party? Do you invite a few friends over for dinner? Or are you fortunate to have friends or family members that throw a party on your behalf? However you celebrate your birthday, you may want to consider this: you didn’t give birth, but your mother did. So on your next birthday, why not take an intentional moment and celebrate you birth with the person who gave birth – your mother. In other words, technically it is not your birthday, but your Mother’s.
The other person you want to thank and celebrate the day with is the Author of life, the Triune God. Without Him, you and I would not be here today. In fact, He gives us life, breath, and purpose. We are not accidents, but pre-planned living souls designed for His pleasure for all eternity. It all begins on the day your Mother gave birth and continues with His divine intervention on a daily basis.
So when your day comes, stop, thank your Mother, and celebrate your adventurous journey rooted in Jesus Christ with the Author of Life. What other way is better than this to celebrate and rejoice on your Birthday?

OUR PRAYER

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Heavenly Father, Lord, and Spirit: thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience life. Thank you for your intervention into our life. Thank you for just knowing you.
Help us to celebrate this life with you; to rejoice with you; and to offer this life for your service. We pray for our Mothers; shower them with your Almighty love and grace. Bless them for their sacrifice and nurturing intentions in raising us and giving us the opportunities we now have. Though they are not perfect and didn’t raise us perfectly, they did the best they could under the circumstances of their life. Simply bless them and let us celebrate you and them throughout this day. Amen

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

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

How Does One Become A More Effective Christ-Follower?

Last week we heard another message of how to live the transformed life. Over the years we have heard so many of these messages that we are beginning to believe that they may be one of the causes of why the Christian community is struggling to make a stronger impact on today’s culture.
If someone keeps selling you the importance of reading the Bible, listening to God, and building relationships (all very good), from a humanistic perspective, than why is God even necessary? It seems like we have to do it all our selves. But is that how God designed us?
Again the bullet points from the minister were very good. However, as usual it emphasized one person’s narrow perspective without the goal or purpose for the methods employed. The question that always seems to arise during these messages is why doesn’t the minister simply preach what the Bible says. We are referring to 2 Peter which main purpose is to highlight how a person can live a fruitful life in Christ.
The author of 2 Peter emphasizes the main reason for his letter is to encourage you “to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.(3:18)” Chapters one and two outline the details. In Chapter 1:3-8 we are told to build our faith (trust) upon love, brotherly affection, godliness, steadfastness, self-control, knowledge, and virtue. By pursuing these values from a Christ-centric perspective, the Bible states that we will increase in spiritual fruit and effectiveness. What many of us have come to learn is that the transformed life is more about God and less about us. When Paul wrote that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, he was emphasizing Christ and de-emphasizing you and me. We are repeatedly told throughout the letter the different means to expand our knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ.
Which leads us to the question: Isn’t the best way to truly come to know anyone is by living with them? When we walk with someone and share life with them don’t we eventually come to know who and what they believe in and how they approach life? Isn’t that the same with our Lord? Isn’t it when we study about the life of Jesus Christ, who He is, what he did, and what he plans to do, and begin to hang out with him, that we come to know him better? Don’t we grow as we walk through life and experience his grace upon us? And as we live in Him and as He lives in us, don’t we slowly grow in His grace and develop a more intimate relationship with Him? It seems what we really need to learn is how to love Him with all our heart, mind, body, and strength. When we do that, don’t we begin to experience the fruit of His Spirit? Isn’t it then when we step back and realize how we are being transformed into His image not by what we do, but by what He is doing? The truth dare to be told: we simply hang on to Him knowing that the best is yet to come.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 4

Wonderful Father, Son, and Spirit: Thank you for revealing yourself to us. Thank you for loving us and sharing your life with us. Thank you for being faithful and committed to us. Help us to focus all our strength, heart, mind, and soul toward you. In everything we say, think, or do let it be done for your glory. As you bless us, expand our world so we may be a blessing for others. Help us to be an effective disciple of yours. Help us be a “little Christ” toward the people we meet today. Help us to desist and you to fully express yourself in us and through us. Again thank you for your plan of redemption and allowing us to participate with you in your Kingdom and family circle. Help us be your light in today’s world. Help us to totally submit to your leadership, ministry, and calling. When we meet others, let them see you. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

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