Being Aware of Our Need for Jesus Christ

There are two categories that we can place everyone on the planet into: those who are aware of their need for Jesus Christ and those who are not aware of their need for Jesus Christ.  For many of us who have already made a rational decision to follow Jesus, we likewise may fall into either camp. For those who haven’t yet made a decision for Christ, you may also fall into either camp. For what separates a person from one camp or the other isn’t a “decision” but living a life that is solely “aware of our need” for Jesus Christ 24/7.

What do I mean by being aware of our need? And why Jesus Christ?

Most people view Christianity from the outside-in without any knowledge of its roots, core, or vision. They simply disavow its importance in their life. They are typically satisfied with their lot in life and feel they need nothing. They are like the people described in the Book of Revelations, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,” but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,”(Rev 3:17). They typically believe themselves to be self-sufficient and believe they have everything under control.  For those raised in a “Christian culture” their battle is simply being overly familiar with Christianity or maybe having a poor demonstration of an actual, practical living example of how the disciple truly lives. Whatever the situation, the real answer typically arises only when we are confronted with a personal problem that requires a “miracle.” That miracle many times leads us to become more fully aware of our need for Jesus Christ.

Typically only when a person comes to the end of themselves are they open to start seeking answers to life’s Big Bang questions. For some it may be survival (ever became lost at sea in the middle of a storm?); for others it may be financial loss (bank accounts empty and no source of income); for others it may be health issues ( cancer before age thirty typically starts one to ask questions of life); the death of a love one (facing mortality raises many questions); or a breakup of a close, meaningful relationship ( divorce or a trusted friend robbing you of your emotional investment). Somewhere life’s unpleasant, broken events stop us to ask those important questions: Is there a God? Who are you God? What do you want from me? Is this all that there is? What is the purpose of life? We begin to ask these questions as we realize that there is a hole within our inner being that needs to be satisfied and there seems to be nothing that we have found on this planet that fulfills it. Or we realize that life is much bigger than ourselves and we cannot control every facet of it. Could it be possible that we were designed to have our inner cup filled through a meaningful relationship with the Creator? Is it possible that we were designed not to control life’s situation but to participate in life with the one who is in Control?

Why Jesus Christ?

Like many writers, authors, marketplace leaders, husbands, fathers, and brothers before me, Jesus Christ and His gospel logically explains life’s most important questions. The answers are not always what we want to hear, but they are answers that explain history and reveal God’s purpose. Though many of the details are still a blank page, the overall plan and spiritual fruit demonstrates its authenticity in the home, marketplace, and community – when allowed to flourish.

When one studies the life of Jesus Christ and His message, one either accepts His claim or denies it. There is no middle ground. Either Jesus is the divine being who help create the universe, chose himself to become human, died and was resurrected to fulfill scripture, and plans on returning as King of Kings, or he is either a liar or a lunatic as C.S. Lewis explained.  Either He is the mediator between heaven and earth, the one person both the Old and New Testaments point too, and the core reason why everything was created, ordered, and glorified for His namesake, or again, he is either a liar or a lunatic.  When one realizes who He is, one cannot accept anything less but realize how far we fall short of his Magnificence and acknowledge His authority, reign, and purpose in our lives. With the Holy Spirit given to us as assurance, we grow and become a trusted believer that eventually acknowledges that Jesus Christ is neither a liar nor a lunatic. He is who He claims to Be.

How aware are you of your need for Jesus Christ in your life?

OUR PRAYER

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Magnificence Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for revealing yourself to us through your Word and via your Spirit. Help us to become totally aware of our need for you. Help us to live our life resting in you. Help us to live our life glorifying you. Help us to live our life witnesses to others about you. You are with me each and every day. Help us live this life faithfully for you and totally aware of our need for you. You are our savior, king, teacher, brother, hero, and friend.

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.

Religiosity

When one reviews the pages of the Bible focusing on relationships, it seems the people who God had the greatest animosity against are “religious people.” From the Old Testament patriarchs to the New Testament saints, people who seemed to get God’s emotions to tilt are religious people preventing others from having an authentic, meaningful relationship with Him.

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Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees is a prime example. “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.” [Matt. 23:13 ESV] Jesus explodes with a verbal assault aimed directly at the Pharisees. They had become so self-righteous that they maintained a form of religion, but lack the power and love of God with it. They blinded themselves with a humanistic show of piety but the heart didn’t know God. They acted the part in form, but lacked the internal substance of genuine love. Whereas King David was a man after God’s own heart [Acts 13:22], the Pharisees were men after their idol’s heart.

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 16:18 “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” Throughout Paul’s ministry the struggle was with people who were deceived into believing an idol rather than the true God. For whatever one set’s their heart after that is not our Triune God is pursuing what the Bible defines as an idol; and idols have their followers and supporters.

Religiosity is simply the idol of mystical performance that looks sacred from the outside-in, but lacks the Spirit-filled heart that knows God and walks with God from the inside-out. Religiosity is the friend of humanism. It is designed to make man feel good, look good, and for a moment experience good. But the end result is another deceptive lie.

Jesus spoke about having a deep, meaningful relationship with Him. He didn’t act religious because God’s way involves being adopted into a family, a community, and a government built from the center of God’s heart, It is about everyday life; not a one-hour religious experience. It is expressing the love of God with your family members, work associates, and neighbors. The unity is not found in a bunch of do’s and don’ts [Col. 2:20], but in the Spirit of God within each person.

At the end of the day, one finds having a relationship with Jesus Christ is an adventurous journey through life with all the excitement of a Hollywood blockbuster movie. The difference though is you are not a spectator but a active participant in the plot and storyline. He assigns you a role that you were specifically designed to live and equips you for its fulfillment. It’s about everyday life: eating, sleeping, working, playing, dancing, singing, writing, loving and yes leading and serving others. When one discovers and experiences it, one quickly understands why Jesus became angry with the religious people of His day. You may want to take a hard look at oneself and ask in prayer: what religious games can I stop playing so we may draw closer to the living God?

OUR PRAYER

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Our Holy Father – Holy Lord – Holy Spirit: thank you for your honest feedback and merciful grace that strips us from our prideful acts of religious superiority. Thank you for making your home in us and patiently opening our eyes to see and ears to hear your wonderful life. Thank you for sharing your creation and your purpose and your plans with us.

Help us always to be authentic, honest, and generous to the people we meet. Help us to desist and you to exhibit your great power and love in us and through us. Let us not become a stumbling block for anyone but help us to lead and serve others in love with you. If they don’t know you, help us to gently and persuasively point them to you. Let your Spirit glow in the lives of your church.

Let everything we say, think, and do be done so in the love of Christ for the glory of Christ by the power of Christ.

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.

Is Your Jesus Dead or Alive?

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Easter is the time that traditional Christianity comes together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We in the faith may argue whether or not He died and was buried for a full three days or three nights as He prophesied, or whether they were portions of three days and nights. We in the faith may argue among ourselves in regards to the symbolism of the bread and wine; whether the bread is actually His body or simply a reminder of His human sacrifice. We in the faith may also debate whether or not communion is an institutional doctrine of the church to be taken only in a “Church Service” or more of simply Jesus’ method to remind us at each meal (Middle-eastern culture)when we break bread and drink wine to acknowledge what Jesus did and a reminder that He shall return.
No matter the discussions and disagreements, there is one universal truth among believers: Jesus arose from the grave and lives today!
He didn’t arise and simply disappear into heaven for His sake. He is now at the right hand of God the Father; intervening for humanity before our great God. He is working through the hands and feet of His body, the universal Church, preparing a people for His return. A time where the Bible describes a one-thousand year reign where Christ’ Kingdom will be visible; a time that will prepare the way for a new heaven and a new earth to finally merge together as one with God’s throne among all people visible for all to see.
How many people do you know live their life with a living Christ rather than a dead Christ? As we live each day in faith, trusting the Spirit to lead us into a deeper relationship with the living God, isn’t that where Christ becomes more real and alive in us?  However, if we try to do it all along, thinking that Christ is dead and is not coming back, doesn’t that leave one struggling with a dead faith?  Easter is a time to reflect on what Christ did, is doing, and will be doing as He moves history toward the restoration of all things. My prayer is that all may come to know and allow Christ to express Himself freely through us all.

OUR PRAYER

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Holy Father, Holy Lord, and Holy Spirit – Thank you for revealing yourself through creation, the Bible, and your involvement in our life. Help me every day to listen for your words of encouragement, love, and mission. Help me to come and know you more and more each day. Help me to hang out with you more and more each day. Let your resurrection power be expressed through me and toward others so they may also experience the great life you have to share with your children. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 

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 About Blessing Those You Are With?

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Someone once made the comment that if you have something to share with others, than you are actually one blessed person. In doesn’t mean you are super wealthy. It only means that you have more than you actual need at the moment. In fact, having something to share may be more than just material items. It may also include time, words, compassion, encouragement, hope, and maybe even a listening ear.
Have you ever considered that our God is in the blessing business?  So how about partnering with Him with the people around you at this very moment? What can you say or do that blesses the other people around you at this very moment? What can you say or do to bless those you meet during the day? What can you say or do to bless those who come within ten feet of you today?
In fact, how about asking God today to lead you to be a blessing for at least one person this day? and then one person everyday for one week? Afterward, you will experience what Jesus meant when he said it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35).

OUR PRAYER

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Heavenly Father, Son, and Spirit – Thank you for your blessings upon our life. Help us to be a blessing to others as you are a blessing to us. Continue to bless us so we may bless others. For every good thing comes from you. Help us to bring good things to others.

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.

More God Less Me

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“There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.” Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”
“How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?” Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.
“So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”   John 3:1-8 The Message

How does this born again from above process workout in everyday life? We read scripture where Jesus meets a religious leader at night and emphasizes that we must be born again. OK. Got it. Now what? Is this simply our meal ticket to the last great eternal party with Jesus? Or is there more? (Isn’t there always more?).

One of the great mysteries of life is the workings of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul writes that wherever the Spirit is, so is Jesus. Trinitarian theology also demonstrates that wherever one of the three, Father, Son, or Holy Spirit are present, so are the other two. In other words, wherever the Spirit is, Jesus and the Father are also there.

What does this all mean in a practical matter? It means that when you receive the Holy Spirit, you have also invited the rest of the Godhead. Jesus and our heavenly Father also make their abode in you. That is why the Bible says we are His Temple; we are also the Body of Christ: individually and collectively. So when we learn to let God fully express Himself in us and through us, we experience the adventurous ride of life with Him.

Paul also wrote that “when we are at our weakest, then we are at our strength (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Why? Because the more we elevate Christ in our life, the less our human nature shows. The more we elevate the Spirit in our life, the less our human tendencies get in the way. The more we elevate the Father, the less our human carnality is revealed. Learning to allow the Spirit of God, that includes Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to lead, to influence, and to teach, is the way to fully enjoy God and life. The more God and the less me in the daily decisions, thoughts, and actions may make me worldly weak, but kingdom strong in Christ.

Now isn’t that a little more radical than just allowing religiosity too have its way?

OUR PRAYER

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Heavenly Father, Lord, and Spirit, we thank you for your plan of life, redemption, and glorification. We thank you for sharing your life with us through your Spirit. Thank you for residing in us and making your home in us. Thank you for allowing us to share your home in the heavens in Christ.

Help us to listen and learn how to follow your Spirit in our life. Cleanse our hearing and open our hearts to see you and your work in our daily responsibilities and service to others. Help us to explore and enjoy you in our daily comings and goings. Help us as we help others. And help others as you help us. In everything we think, say, and do, help us to do our best for your glory.

So be it.

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 eBook:  Be Radical…Follow Christ.

Graceful Love or Legalized Affection

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Love is one of those expressive words that has been overused and underperformed in the 21st Century.Typically, if you asked 10 people for a definition of love, you would probably receive as many remarks.They would include such catch phrases as:

an emotion that makes one feel good

a decision to act

a sexual encounter

a worshipful moment

an exhilarating experience

an intimate friendship

a temporary relationship

a hookup

an act of giving

There are other statements you have heard that you could also include on the list. Yet, at the end of the day isn’t the best standard of love the source itself: the Triune God. We witness that love in the relationship between our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Both sides totally giving of themselves for the other. Not a 50%/50% partnership. But 100%/100% of total sacrificial blessing toward the other. Totally unconditionally as exemplified through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for humanity. He died for us while we were still rebelling against him. A graceful love is a totally, unconditional, freely given sacrificial expression without any strings attached.

On the other hand, how often have we experienced the legalized affection that some label as love. We have all witnessed that love somewhere in our lives. For example:

The parent that denies their emotional praise unless the child behaves according to specific demands.

The boss that manipulates others with a caring facade for the purpose of achieving their objectives; if not accomplished according to their desires, you end up in their dog house with no option for restoration.

The politician that kisses each baby in exchange for your vote. (every see a politician kiss a baby after the election?)

The wife or husband who refrains from sexual activity unless their mate meets their specific demands.

The little female princess that behaves accordingly to get what she truly wants from her Dad.

The neighbor who forcefully smiles across the fence at you yet internally mutters that life would be better off if you simply dropped dead.

The list is endless. The bottom line is we exhibit loving affection as long as others live up to our level of expectation. But the moment our standards are not met, we want to throw the bum out.

Legalized affection is “playing nice for what we want out of the relationship.” Graceful love is sacrificing ourselves for the betterment of the other with no other conditions except that God is glorified in the end. When God is glorified, Love gracefully wins. Which do you believe is the one God wants us to live?

OUR PRAYER

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Holy Father, Holy Lord, and Holy Spirit – thank you for revealing to us what makes love work. Help us out of our ignorance, pride, and lust. Let your heart manifest our actions, thoughts, and words so that you are always glorified. Whatever we lack physically, mentally, socially and financially, provide us with the means and the resources to bless others as you bless us. Thank you Jesus for showing us the way. Amen.

Yours In Christ,
Dr. Mike
Consultant, Coach, Encourager
If You Are Seeking a Devotional Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.