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

 overcomer 2

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

circle2box1

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!

Who Are You?

“…you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:6-7 (ESV)

who 1

Whenever we meet someone new, the conversation eventually reaches the question, “what do you do?” Typically the reply is the job we have or the number #1 responsibility currently in our life like being a full time mom or a volunteer for a nonprofit. From this reply we quickly summarize a person’s identity and whether or not we have something in common to discuss. Yet what we do and who we are may not fit into the standard cultural box of the time. That sometimes leads to an awkward conversation with the new person in our world.

One of the challenges that many people face travelling through time and space is separating the roles in their life from their identity. We typically see this with people who identify themselves though their roles. If they have a great day at work, they feel good about themselves. If they have a bad day at work, they feel less worthy. If the current fad is to be a celebrity or entrepreneur , they will pursue it as the answer for their life. The struggle is realizing that the roles we choose will only temporarily fill our identity cup but will never sustain it.

One of life’s big questions is to answer “who am I?” What are my strengths, weaknesses? What is my purpose in life? Where do I fit in this world? The answer, as you may already be aware, is Jesus Christ. He is life’s reason. He is the central character of the Bible. All of life is built around Him. When we come to that realization, than and only then, will we discover our identity.

We will realize that He is the beginning of a new creation; a creation that includes you. You have an identity that is permanently engraved in heaven and in your heart through the Holy Spirit. No role can match it. Nothing in this world will complete you and fulfill you like He will.

Whatever role you may pursue is simply something you do, not who you are. In your role you can learn new skills and improve your performance. Who you are is not measured by performance, but by the grace of God. Who you be is expressed by who you follow and serve.

Performances may measure outcome, but grace identifies the heart. Both are needed to survive in today’s world. Yet, who you be will always survive your roles. Your role as a husband, wife, father, mother, executive, teacher, scientist, musician, athlete, actor, or whatever, will come to an end. However, who you are and be, will continue into eternity. God is more concern of who you are than the role you perform. His purpose is to prepare you for eternity, not necessarily for you to climb the corporate ladder, win the super bowl, or marry your childhood sweetheart.

Let’s not confuse our roles in life with our identity. It only leads to more frustration and heartache. However, when you accept and live life in Christ nothing will take away your identity. You are already included in the work Christ has accomplished. Therefore, enjoy your life in Christ and be thankful for the various roles you are able to perform for the glory of God.

 

Remember, we are always rooting for you!

 

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.

 

 

Follow The Money

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Luke 12:34

follow the money

Want to know where your heart truly stands? Just follow the money. Whether we are speaking about a business or a personal life, the principle is still the same. You can determine your values by how you spend your money.

Take the example of a business that boasts that their people are their most important asset. If you want confirmation, just find out how much of their operating expenses are spent for and toward their team. I can’t tell you the number of financial statements that I have analyzed which contradicted senior management beliefs on the subject. For a family, the income after the basic necessity of food, clothing, and shelter will give you a good snapshot of a person’s heart; what they value and consider important.

Jesus’ statement is still revealing today. What you value is where you will spend your time and money. However, when the Triune God is the center of your soul, He is also redeeming your time and money. It is a process, but over one’s life-time one learns that God owns it all and is simply sharing it with us all. That as stewards, we are accountable to Him. We thank Him for everything including the opportunity to express our hearts through the physical activities of life. Like Him, we open our resources to others. Our values begin to change as the Holy Spirit changes our hearts to reflect Him more and more. We become more Christ-like.

We all truly express ourselves from our inner being. It takes a spiritual rebirth to have one’s heart reshaped and molded into the image of the living God. When that happens, one then can say what the Bible states about King David. “He is a man after my (G0d’s) own heart.”

So if you are seeking a new adventure for life, ask God to reveal the condition of your heart. But more so, ask Him to change your heart to reflect His in everything you say, think, and do. Remember, He is rooting for you!

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.

 

The Ultra-Lean Years

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV)

seasons 1

 

Ever notice that there is a purpose for every season of one’s life?

Joseph was sold into slavery, imprisoned, and forgotten for thirteen years. Then through a series of “consequences” he became the governor of Egypt second in command to the Pharaoh.

David was anointed King of Israel at seventeen and wasn’t crowned until thirty. For thirteen years he lived in the fields with a bounty on his head from the current king. His companions were the undesirables of his day. Yet he was being prepared to lead a country as he followed God.

Moses was raised as a prince in the Egyptian household. Fleeing for his life at forty for murdering a fellow Hebrew, he took up the occupation of a shepherd for his father-in-law. The lowest of jobs in his time. For forty years he worked in the desert countryside until the Lord had prepared him at the age of eighty to lead his people back to their own country.

Each person had a call in their life from God, but the preparation time were the dry years. We would classify them today as the ultra-lean years.

When you look at the life of others throughout history, the down years were the building blocks for the next season of life. During these years, one learns to cry-out and trust their Maker. One also learns humility and living graciously in preparation for greater service. Though greater service may never come, one becomes available for more opportunities as one is being prepared.

In business, the lean years allows oneself to streamline operations, upgrade systems, and enhance the customer experience through more personal contact with less monetary costs. For those businesses that survive, they come out stronger and more committed in serving their customers and stakeholders. If they didn’t survive, maybe it was time to try something else. One never knows what good is going to come out of a bad situation until it is written in history many years down the road. Until then, we learn to trust our Lord and we walk with Him with our business and personal challenges.

In my own case, the best of times and the worst of times was in-between companies. It is during this time when cash flow dwindles, but the walk with God intensifies. At the end of day, when doors open again for the next opportunity, I always find myself stronger in my walk with our Lord and prepared to serve another employer with God’s gifts and love.

So remember, when you find yourself thinking you are forgotten by God, lean heavier. He is always there. He is simply preparing you for the next season of life.

Remember, we are always rooting for you!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Undesirables of Jesus

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Luke 7:34 (ESV)

 Undesirable people 1

 

How many of us would condemn a person who spent their time partying with the low-life of humanity? (There is no low-life in God’s eyes; but from mankind’s perspective, there is).

You would of course need to define low-life. In Jesus’ time, if you were not living the high-life, then you must have been considered the other.  The high-life would be the people who had all the material aspects that life makes available. They would be seen high on the social ladder. They would be formally educated and successful in what they did. They would be recognized throughout the community. They may even be highly respected in the neighborhood. On the other hand, the low-life would be the undesirables of their day. In Jesus’ time, that would include women, children, and the elderly. It would include slaves, the physically challenged, and the religiously inept. One doesn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a low-life; life happens. The result generally is a life without great purpose, meaning, or self-sustenance.  One has to rely on stealing, prostituting oneself, or obtaining help from others just for the basic necessities of life.

Yet Jesus not only conversed with the undesirables of his time, He loved them. He enjoyed spending time with them and was accused of being a “glutton and drunkard.” His circle of friends and acquaintances included tax collectors, prostitutes, adulteress’, criminals, and the working class. His greatest supporters were women who provided for Him from their means. In Jesus’ day, most women had no rights, couldn’t own property, and were treated as collateral on the household books. Yet Jesus loved spending time with them.

He didn’t spend time with them for a few moments as a political campaign video. He ate with them, drank with them, and conversed with them as a friend and teacher.  He healed them. He fed them. He cared for them. He shared stories, laughter, and tears for them. He demonstrated the love of God, the service of God, and the heart of God with everyone He met. He treated others with respect and dignity. Wherever and whenever He could, he changed their world for the better.

How about you and me? Who are the undesirables in your world? What can you do today to impact the life of another that you wouldn’t normally associated with in your daily walk?  What if the next time you drove to work or went out for lunch, you took a closer look at the people you came into contact with. Maybe you can ask God right then and there how you can participate with Him in the life of another. Just be ready for another adventure.

We are always rooting for you!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oops: Too Far?

Notice how some of us love to take things to the far edge? When driving the car, we speed along approximately 9.9 miles above the speed limit because we know that is the limit police radars are set. (Unless we drive through Ohio, in which case we set our speed control at .1 above the speed limit.) Or, since we know 3 beers is our limit before we begin to get tipsy, we stop ourselves at 2 3/4 bottles. We watch movies with violence because we know it is all make believe, yet we twitch in pain when the scenes are so graphic that our stomach turns somersaults. Yet do we ever ask ourselves how much violence is ok for the heart to absorb before it becomes numb?

My mother had a very low tolerance for risk in her children’s lives. She didn’t want us to get burn with our hand on the stove, so she would tell us not to get close to the stove. But how far is to close? four feet? two feet? six inches? The closer we came to the stove and nothing happened, the closer we came the next time until that one day when we realized it wasn’t how close, but how close without touching it. However, one day when I realized mother’s instructions weren’t true, that one could get close to the stove without any harm, I began to question her instructions of not touching it. If she lied about being harmed by getting to close to it, maybe she is also lying about touching it. So there was only one way to find out: I touched it. Truth behold, nothing happened. Was everything my mother told me a lie? So everyday thereafter I started each day with the habit of touching the stove. I was invincible. No stove could hurt me. Then one day, I skipped through the kitchen and reached out to touch the top of the stove. However, this time what I didn’t realize was the stove top was turned on. Of course, by this time I didn’t just touch the top of the stove with a finger or two; I would slap my entire hand on the circular outlines. I will spare everyone the emergency details, but it is safe to say I didn’t intentional ever do that again.

Yet isn’t that how we operate within our relationships, business transactions, and life’s decisions? We know life is a bell shape curve with the two extreme ends easily discerning what is good behavior and what is not good behavior. It is the middle 80% that is gray and subject to personal interpretation. It is in the gray areas that we push the limits or simply accept the results in gratitude as a gift from God.

Studying God’s Word though opens the door for us to obtain understanding and wisdom from His perspective. His perspective is an eternal one. We generally view life like a four-year old that must stand on his toes and reach over his head to touch the top of a stove. We don’t see what is up there, but must rely on someone we can trust. Most of the time we learn it is our misunderstanding through poor communications that leads us into trouble.

When the serpent tempted Eve by questioning God’s instructions (Gn.3:1-6), Eve could have taken the issue directly up to God. Instead of dealing with conflicting testimony by bring both parties together to find the truth, Eve made a decision apart from having the total picture. She took it upon herself, having only half the story, to divorce God. In management we call that a poor process of determining the best outcome. In counseling, we call that poor communications. In the Book of Proverbs (18:17) it states that one side seems right until the matter is heard from the other side.

Could Eve have been hanging out more with the serpent than with the Lord or Adam? How far is too far before one slides over the edge within a relationship? How close did she travel by the tree on her daily walks? How far do we push the limits before we go over the edge? Where is the edge? Are we absolutely sure or just guessing? What happens when we lose our balance near the edge? Do we have enough rope in place to pull us to safety? Tough questions that only you can determine the answer. We all have different levels of tolerance for risk in our life. My recommendation though is seek wise counsel from all sides before leaning too far near the edge. Also always remember, when Jesus is the center of our world, it is rare that we say oops: too far. For He keeps us balanced between the edges. That is why the relationship is more important than the rules. Rules will fail us; but He did not, does not, and will not.

OUR PRAYER

PRAYER 1

Our Heavenly Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for your Word. For sharing yourself with us. For opening our eyes to see our spiritual poverty and your riches. Help us to keep you always the center of our lives. Help us to walk with you. Help us to become more like you each and every day. Lead us away from temptation and risks that cause harm to others. Lead us to glorify you always. You are what we want to become like. Deliver us from our stupidity, temporary brain damage decisions, and insane risks that we take with your truth. Help us to desist and you to increase in our life.

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.