Feelings

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11 ESV

feeling 3

I don’t feel like it!

How often have we expressed the same?

What did we do with that feeling?

Did we follow through as a victim of our feelings?

Or did we balance the feelings with God’s Character?

Did we weigh the feelings with His Word?

What is the truth when you compare your feelings with His Word?

Yes, there are times when our feelings will be correct. Other times your feelings will blind you to the truth.

Be a wise person. Stop, pull back, and evaluate the situation. Don’t let your feelings lead you unless you already know they are built upon the foundation of God’s love, grace, and truth.

 

Rooting For You 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.

 

 

Jesus the Carpenter

carpenter 1

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?” Mark 6:3
“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:16-17

What we know about Jesus comes mostly from the gospels. He entered into public ministry around the age of thirty (Luke 3:23). Prior to that time, he worked as a carpenter in the family business (Mark 6:3). A carpenter during the first century was more general than today’s specialist. Today, carpentry is classified in multiple categories from rough carpentry to finish carpentry, from specializing in roof replacement to cabinet making. In Jesus’ time, carpentry involved everything including general contracting, cement block building, and wood carving. Jesus being the eldest most likely ran the family carpentry business after the death of Joseph.

What makes Matthew’s witness come alive at Jesus’ baptism is the statement that our Heavenly Father made BEFORE Jesus’ public ministry. The statement was that He was “well pleased with His Son.” The statement was made BEFORE his Messiah ministry. Father God made the statement after watching Jesus conduct the routine, everyday life of business, family matters, and personal engagements for approximately thirty years.

Our Father loved Jesus not because of what He accomplished or did not accomplish, or was planning to accomplish, but simply because He loved Him. Up-to-that-time, living a private life, before the fame, glamor, and public testimony, Father God was well pleased with Him. Before the miracles, the healing, the preaching, and the teaching, Father God was well pleased with Him. Before the Last Supper, trial, death and resurrection, Father God was pleased with Him.

Our Father God loves us so much more than we may ever recognize. Every sacrifice, every act of kindness, and every matter done for His glory is known by Him and doesn’t increase His love for us. It’s not about the praise nor fanfare. It’s not even about the outcomes. It is having a personal relationship with the God of the universe who knows you because He designed you, gifted you, and prepared a place for you in His plan.

We now live in Christ and simply looking forward to the time when the same words from Matthew 25:21 are spoken to us: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Imagine what a difference a carpenter walking with the Triune God could do today in his business, family, and community? Or is this simply just too radical for someone to believe?

I am rooting for you with Christ!
 

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.

 

Graceful Love or Legalized Affection

LOVE 8

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

prayer 5

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.

 

With God or Without God?

with god 4

Dallas Willard, author and minister, passed away last year. I for one truly enjoyed his work and will miss him. He was blessed with insight to take “religious concepts” and make them practical for us non-theologians.

One of his concepts was to explain life as “the with-God life.” A life centered in Christ and experienced through the Holy Spirit. The opposite would be a life apart from God.  So in reflecting, I wrote below a few reasons why I enjoy the with-God life.

With God we enjoy His Blessings; apart from God we are confronted by luck.

With God we experience His divine nature; apart from God we are left along with our human limitations.

With God we catch His Life; apart from God we are taught life.

With God we are found in Christ; apart from God we are lost in Christ.

With God we are comforted by his Spirit; apart from God we are left on our own.

With God we have purpose for life; apart from God, we act like an accidental blip that evolved from cosmic dust.

With God we realize our divine design; apart from God, we strive to make ourselves unfulfilled.

With God we discover wholesomeness; apart from God, we are never satisfied.

With God we participate in his Story; apart from God, we mess up our lines.

With God we have hope; apart from God, we walk plagued by fear.

With God we learn to love; apart from God, we are painfully lonely.

With God we are fully alive; apart from God, we are dead men walking.

You may notice, I have a bias toward enjoying life with God. How about you?  What else would you add to the above list?

OUR PRAYER

 

PRAY 9

 

 

 

Our Holy Father, Holy Lord, and Holy Spirit — Thank you for sharing your life with us and allowing us to experience life as you intended it to be.  Let our life glorify you.  Let your Kingdom be fruitful wherever we go.  Let your Spirit touch the lives of all with we come into contact.  Help us live our life with you.  Wherever you go; whatever you are doing in our little world, help us see and participate with you.  Whoever we can meet and speak about you, give us the wisdom, words, and grace to honor you.  Bless this life so we can be a blessing for others.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, and Encourager

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

How Do You Measure Success?

success 3

In the business world, everything that is important and valued is monitored, measured, and evaluated for improvement.  But in our personal walk with the Triune God, how do we measure real success?  For example, when we view the world’s religious landscape, what do we notice?

There are those who place emphasis on keeping rules.
There are those who emphasize a specific denomination.
There are those who observe special days.
There are those who place trust in Jesus plus…(something else).
There are those who place trust in their ability to do good work.
There are those who place trust in their service toward others.
There are those who place trust in pursuing causes for social justice.
There are those who place trust in maintaining a loving relationship with others.
There are those who place trust in yoga, in karma, or in the cosmos.
There are those who place trust in their ability to recall scripture.
There are those who place trust in attending church services on a regular basis.
There are those who place trust in participating in local, Christian fellowship.
There are those who place trust in observing unique rituals.
There are those who place trust in their ability to pray.
There are those who place trust…(add your own observation)

The point is many of us place trust everywhere but in Jesus. Yet, trusting His claim as Savior, Lord, and King from our heart, head, and will in everyday life’s circumstances is all we really have to show.  A total, dependent trust that His life, death, and resurrection gives us birth unto a new life. A life that we can taste now. A hope that we can believe.

The real measure of spiritual success is simply our faith (trust) in Him.  No matter the trial; no matter the situation; no matter the challenge we face, our faith is constantly being tested and strengthen through the circumstances of life.  Though we may fail to live up to our expectations, He is committed to being faithful and will complete the task. We simply have to hang in there with Him.
The fact is Christ knows our human condition. Most of the time we are simply discovering where we really do stand before God, and it’s not pretty. I am one believer who is very thankful that Jesus is my Judge and jury and He includes us within His story. We are simply his servants enjoying the ride.

How goes your trust in Jesus? Jesus himself wondered whether or not there would be real, trusting faith in this world when he returns (Luke 18:8).  However, no matter where you stand, Jesus loves you and enjoys you just as you are. He only wants you to truly enjoy spending time with him as he invests heaven’s and earth’s resources for your journey with Him unto the promise land.

Our Prayer

PRAY 4

Our Holy Father, Holy Lord, and Holy Spirit – Thank you for opening our mind and heart to come to know you. To know your love, joy, and peace. To know that no matter the situation, the struggle, or event, you are always with us. Whatever we lack in trusting you, continue to shower us with your favor and grace as you sanctify and grow us to always trust you no matter the circumstance. Help us to glorify your name every time we trust you for your intervention in our life. Complete your work in us; help us to participate with you in your Story for mankind.  Amen

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, and Encourager

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

People Who Need People Are the Most Blessed People in the World

blessed 4

What would your life be like without being involved with other people? As a child, how would it be like without having parents to deal with on a daily basis? As a sibling, what would life really be like with no brother or sister to argue with over petty differences? As a parent with married adult children, and no grandchildren to spoil on those special occasion? As a friend without companions to share those high moments of life? No close intimate relationship with someone that cares for you and you care for them?

Someone once wrote that no man is an island. That whatever success, comfort, or luxury we part take in this life is the by­product of someone’s labor. From the day we are born, until the day we die, our life is molded, shaped, and influenced by other people. Whether we like to admit it or not, isn’t that a fact?

Or do we think all we need is God? That people are a pain to live with and deal with on a regular basis. We all probably felt that way at times until we came to the realization that our concept of God is mostly shaped by relationships with other people. For example, as children don’t we picture God to be like our father or mother, or a grandparent, or maybe even just the opposite?  As a youth, didn’t some of us believe that family slowed us down from accomplishing our hearts desires? But as we mature and see the fruits of a healthy family, don’t our views change? As we age, doesn’t family become very important to our concept of self and of God? In most healthy families, don’t we support, encourage, and provide for the need of the other? Don’t we work to build up our relationships and not destroy them? Don’t we accomplish much together and likewise share in life’s joys and sorrows together? Don’t we anchor one another and hold a candle for each other? Isn’t our success now measured individually and collectively?. Don’t we sacrifice for our family and the family sacrifices for us? Don’t we learn what teamwork means and how cooperation produces greater results than individual selfish efforts?

Isn’t the Christian life a familial relationship where walking the journey alone is almost impossible? Doesn’t our faith require us to reach out and care for others? Isn’t it a selfless way of life?.A way of life that gives? And don’t we need recipients to receive what we give? Doesn’t that means then that there needs to be other people involved in our life?

God did not intend man to live alone; otherwise why create Eve? If there was no Eve, then to this day there would only be one person still on the earth, Adam (if God would allow one person to live that long all alone). But God doesn’t live in a vacuum. He enjoys sharing life with others. He created animals. He created angels. He also created us. We can choose to have a relationship with Him or choose otherwise. The choice is ours to make.

Remember Jesus Himself didn’t have a people-less ministry. He spent time with people. He surrounded Himself with others. His vision was that others continue to reach out. That the cycle will continue until He returns. Isn’t Jesus Himself only a part of the church? Yes, He is the cornerstone, the head of the body, our Chief. Yet, isn’t He only one of many? We each have been called and assigned a part in the family of God for the sake of others. Doesn’t our elder Brother want all of us to be a part of something larger than just ourselves? He has made it possible. We only have to choose. For truly, as that old melody slightly revised states “People Who Need People Are the Most Blessed People in the World.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 9

Our Heavenly Dad, we thank you for your love and concern for us each and every day. We thank you for giving us the gift of life and to share that gift with others. We especially thank you for the people in our life. Help us to appreciate them for who they are; your children. And more so, help us to serve them as you serve us. Help us to buildup each person in the Body of Christ. To be available always to lend a helping hand for a brother or sister in need. We thank you for the privilege of your calling and coming to know you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant,Coach, and Encourager

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

Are We Not His Masterpiece?

reflection 3

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees believed they were the righteous people known by God and everyone else rejected by God.  Jesus would illustrate many a parable to them drawing comparisons from everyday life contrary to their opinion.  In addition He would even illustrate where people performed miracles and works in His name but He didn’t even know them.

Can you confidently say to yourself that Jesus will have no problem recognizing you as His brother or sister when He returns?  Or is there some hesitancy?  Paul warned of being overconfident in our relationship with God.  He stated (1 Cor. 10:12) that we should be careful unless we likewise fall from His Grace.

Frankly, isn’t our hope that He recognizes us not because of our accomplishments or works, not because of our yielding attitude and trustworthy relationship built over time, but because of who He is.  If He is looking for us because of our accomplishments, then most of us may as well forget eternity.  Our best efforts probably haven’t generated much of a return.  Even in our relationship we may question our honesty and faithfulness.  How many times have we failed Him?  Like Peter during Jesus’ ministry, we may jump into activities with great faith only to have Him pull us to dry land.  Or we deny Him with our actions even when we know better.  Oh, how great is His Grace!

What we hope He sees in us is a reflection of Himself and our Dad.  We hope that He sees the spiritual masterpiece that He is creating and not what we have thrown together.  As we mature, it doesn’t become any easier for us to deny our self and allow Jesus through the Holy Spirit to have full access into our inner sanctuary.  Yet, isn’t it our heart, attitude, and soul that He is changing?  Oh saturate us Holy Spirit and change our heart to conform to Your will!

As a disciple of His we long to become like our Lord & King.  We may have an image of what that is, but over time doesn’t it change?  The Jesus that we knew yesterday is not the same Jesus we know today.  Isn’t He even greater?  Likewise, the Jesus that we know tomorrow, will he be more than the Jesus we know today?  Isn’t it an everyday process of search and discovery.  But isn’t this the one process that we are committed to living each and every day?  What else is more fulfilling than living a spirit led life rooted in Jesus Christ for the glory of God?  Can we agree like many others before us, that we have tried it all and nothing compares with it?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Our loving Dad, thank you for starting the task of producing a new creation within us.  Thank you for not allowing us to quit when we felt like quitting.  Thank you for being committed to our success.  Thank you for revealing to us what real success is all about.

Help us always to focus on your plans and work.  Let us not measure our success with our neighbors.  Instead, let us be thankful that you have uniquely designed us, gifted us, and disciplined us for your sake, for others, and for our self.  That you are preparing us for eternity for a special assignment that only you know for sure.  Help us always to trust you no matter what the circumstances or situation.  Let your faith, love, and hope always precede us.  We thank you Jesus and ask all this in your name.  Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant,Coach, and Encourager

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