God Speaks

“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:47 ESV

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How many different ways does God speak to us?

The Bible is the means that most evangelical Christians claim God speaks to us. This is true. Yet, is it the only way?

How about in prayer? (Psalms 66:19)
How about in our dreams? (Matthew 2:12)
How about through visions? (Luke 1:22)
How about through angels? ((John 20:12-13)
How about through other people? (Jeremiah 35:15)
How about through a burning bush? (Exodus 3:2)
How about through secular poetry? (Acts 17:22-31)
How about through creation? (Romans 1:20)

There are probably many other ways that don’t quickly come to mind. If you can add to the list, I would love to hear from you.

Bottom-line: don’t limit the way God speaks with you. He only wants an attentive, believing heart that makes himself or herself available to listen.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

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.

 

Our Coach Has Designed a Personal, Winning Training Program For You

Olympics 1As we write this, a documentary of the Olympics is taking place. The thought occurred that many of the athletes practice for this moment since the completion of the previous Olympics. Their steady diet of exercise, eating, and rehearsing their movements has been with them every day since they made up their minds to compete. Their daily routine to prepare for the games has been a long but rewarding time for many of them. Though not everyone will win a medal, just the opportunity to have the chance to compete is all they ask.

Likewise, as disciples of His, we are also involved on a daily diet of exercises to prepare ourselves for that day when our turn comes to enter the greatest event of all time. We prepare for the return of God’s Kingdom on earth in all its totality. When we will be changed into spiritual beings and live for eternity. The greatest competition is not against one another, but against Satan, against this world’s system, and against our self. We all run and we will all receive the prize. Our pace may differ. Our paths may differ. Our obstacles and challenges may differ. But our final prize will be shared with many.

Paul wrote in first Corinthians, chapter nine, starting in verse twenty-four that we need to be in the race to win. That everyone who competes also disciplines and trains their body for victory. Likewise in Hebrews, chapter twelve, verse one, Paul writes instructing us to run the race with perseverance removing every obstacle that comes in our way.

Our daily routine is built around seeking the kingdom of God. Our priorities are established not to seek fortune, fame, power, or whatever in this life. Instead, our priorities are set to pursue the kingdom of God. It is with our relationships family members, co-workers, neighbors, and everyone we come in contact with during the day. Some days we may become lazy and our Coach has to remind us of our commitment. Other days, our Coach has to remind us to slow down and not become frustrated for not establishing the kingdom today in every corner of the universe. He has set the course. We only have to run it at the speed that God knows is best suited for us. Isn’t it great to have a Coach and support staff that has guaranteed us victory as long as we follow the program?

OUR PRAYER

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Our Great Coach and Heavenly Dad, thank you for entering us into the greatest “game” of life – your kingdom.  Your kingdom is the solution for all worldwide, governmental problems. It is the answer for all peoples everywhere. It is your method of governing mankind.

Help us to learn more of your government, your kingdom, and your ways. Teach us your love and faith and help us practice it each and every day in all circumstances. Train us in all your ways. Discipline us to be one of the best in your kingdom. Let us make you pleased with all our work, thoughts, and actions.

Your government is our preferred one. Let your rule exemplify itself through our life. Let us be a living ambassador for your government while we walk on earth.  Answer this prayer and all our prayers according to your will. Amen.

 

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Speaker

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

 

Tired?

Keep On Keeping On

tiredSpeed is a relative term.  What may be fast for you may be slow for me. and what may be fast for me may he slow for you.  If we were all running in the one hundred yard summer Olympics race, we would all be measured under the same conditions.  There would only be one first place winner who would be considered the fastest person and everyone else would be slower in comparison.  Thank God that our Kingdom race doesn’t have only one winner.  For all who participate, receives the prize.  And the prize is not awarded to the person who gets there first, but the one who endures to the end.  So that everyone who enters the race is already a winner.

When I use to take my early morning six-mile walk around the public lake there were people who would jog, run, roller blade, bicycle, stroll. etc.  There were many times when these same people circled the lake two and three times while I would only complete one time around.  But we all finished.  The key is to just keep moving.  Find a steady pace that is acceptable to you and just keep moving.  You know when you are slowing down.  When you walk, the spring in your feet may be missing, the legs may feel tired, or the rhythm of your breathing may be erratic.  But when you become aware of it, you may do a little dance, stretch the legs, or do some deep breathing exercises, but you keep on moving.  Likewise. when we are spiritually slowing down, when the carnal self is taking charge of the situation; when we are not surrendering our will to God, when serving others becomes a chore, then we need to realize something is wrong with our relationship with God.  It’s then when we need to realize our communion with God has slowed down.  The spiritual disciplines have been reduced from a practical experience to a mental exercise.  We’ve slowed down our pace by not spending more time with God but by allocating less time with Him.  A dangerous position when you are a disciple of His.  Therefore, what shall we do?

We return back and emphasize the basic Christian disciplines: prayer, Bible study, fast, worship service, simplify, and celebrate. Not for the sake of exercise, but for the intense purpose of strengthening our relationship.  We pick up the speed again.  Our pace may be slow in comparison with some of our brothers and sisters, but then it may be fast for some of our other brothers/sisters; either way, it’s the speed we are comfortable to move at to maintain a deep relationship with our Heavenly Dad.  What speed are you moving at as a disciple of His?

OUR PRAYER

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Almighty Dad, thank you for calling us out of this world and allowing us to participate in the greatest race of a lifetime. We thank you for bringing people into our life to teach us the disciplines that allow us to keep focused on you.  Help us to keep in the race, not to detour or to quit, but to endure to the very end.  Let the speed that we move be at a rate that we can handle and not burnout.  Let our walk with you he steady and refreshing.  Let it always lift up you and me.  Let it always revive the soul and energize the spirit. Let it always change our heart to become more like yours.  Let everything we do, say, think, and breathe be done in your glory and honor. Our success is your success.  Your success is our success. Help us to be successful in your eyes. Again, thank you Jesus for intervening each and every day in every prayer in every way.  Amen.

Dr. Mike

A Disciple’s Prayer

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Oh Loving Dad,

Thank you for bringing Jesus into our life! He was God from the beginning of time. He emptied himself to become a human person, and humbly died on the cross. Yet today, you raised Him up and glorified Him. You made Him King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Savior of Saviors, and Friend of Friends.

Jesus, you are our King, Lord, Savior, and Friend. Thank you for loving us from the beginning of time and revealing to us your love now when we most need it. Help us to learn from you. Help us to live with you. Help us to love you.

Live in us as the Father lived in you while you walked this planet. Let your love abound in us. Let your peace surround us. Let your majesty precede us.

Thank you for hearing and interceding in our prayers. Thank you for all your help. Thank you for always being with us as a true friend. Help us be a friend for others as you are for us.

Thank you, Jesus.

MINISTRY INSIGHTS FROM A TENT MAKER

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Paul worked for 1 ½ years with a husband and wife team (Aquila and Priscilla) while conducting missionary work in Corinth (Acts 18:2).  While working as a tent maker, he continued to teach the Word in the local synagogue.  It is of interest how he employed the word “work” throughout his life and teachings, especially in relationship to what God is doing and what His people are doing.  The importance of work is highlighted throughout his letters.

Luke quotes Paul in Acts 20:32-35, ”You yourselves know that these hands of  mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give, than to receive.'”

In the letter from Ephesians 4:28 Paul writes, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. In 1 Thess 4:11-12 he writes, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

In the above scriptures Paul emphasized the point of working to support oneself and one’s family rather than live as a beggar dependent on others for necessities. Paul himself demonstrated the importance of having a skill (tent making) that provides a service to others (shelter) and a livelihood for oneself. A Christian is to gladly work “unto the Lord” (Col 3:22-24).  The work one does should not glorify oneself, but God.  In addition, the work should be a means to provide for those less fortunate – “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Also, as work relates to fulfilling God’s plan, He writes in Titus 1:7 that “an overseer is entrusted with God’s work.” Barnabas and Paul was set apart by the Holy Spirit for this work (Act 13:2-3). And not only were they commissioned for this work, but had to support themselves in the process (I Cor 9:6).  He again writes how one’s work for the Lord must stand the test of trials, difficulties, problems,  especially when we shall all be evaluated at the end of this age (I Cor 3:10-15).

He was primarily focused on the Lord’s work and only labored to support himself and his team, not to gain riches. He practiced what he preached.  The work of the Lord was the priority in his life and for all those that the Lord calls (I Cor 15:58, 16:9,10).  While working his craft, he contemplated and compared the physical craft of tent making to the spiritual work God is completing in us as a church and as an individual. His analogy of the body working together as a team with all its parts supporting one another is but one example of lessons learned while working (I Cor 12:12-13).

All tent-makers need to stand up and rejoice.  It is an example for all people everywhere that the craft, skill, profession, and work we perform is more than just to feed ourselves.  It’s a means of grace that we practice.  When we work, we are able to support those less fortunate than ourselves and therefore practice love of our neighbor.  When we work, we learn how God operates in our lives.  When we work, we are able to compare and better understand the spiritual realities we face each day.  When we work, we are able to express ourselves by the results of our labor.  When we work, we contribute to the community we reside in.  There are many valuable lessons we learn while we work. To paraphrase Jesus, “God works, and so do I.”

What other insights of ministry do you think Paul may have received while engaged as a tent maker?

Dr. Mike

ENJOYMENT WITH PURPOSE

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Someone asked me this question other day; “isn’t enjoying life in Christ just being narcistic?” I had to smile and then refrain from going into a one hour sermon on the blessings of life in Christ. However, I could understand his/her dilemma. In our culture today, which is very probably more self-absorbent than our forefathers, being joyous is sometimes associated with having everything we want, when we want it, and how we want it. However, life in Christ is just the opposite when compared to the up-side down world we live in.

Enjoyment is learning to live with God in the center of everything we do. It is enjoying His creation and realizing the purpose behind it. It is being a faithful steward. It is realizing that God created everything in this world to be enjoyed and shared with others. He inspired Solomon to write that what is enjoyable for humanity is to experience gladness with the basic routines of life that includes eating, drinking, and working. The one who finds a good mate likewise receives a gift from God. That everything made under the sun was created for mankind’s enjoyment. The problem of course is the sinful nature that leads us to rebel against God’s ways. Because of sin and its effect upon a broken world, much of what God created for good becomes perverted and harmful against oneself and others.

Now we are not condoning harming others for our joy.  Real joy harms no one. Real joy uplifts the spirit and inspires everyone around. Real joy reminds us that God is good, loving, and full of radiant life himself. That He created everything to share with us. That everything He made was very good and for our good. Joy is one of the attributes of the Spirit. As the Spirit lives in us, His character, attitude, and divine nature rubs off against us, and like a contagious virus that fights against bacteria, His Spirit influences and impacts us along the way.

My apology for those who I may have offended by enjoying the life God has made for me.  My prayer is that our Triune God may likewise create a new heart in you so that your joy may likewise be full.

Enjoying Life in Christ,

Dr. Mike