Grace and Forgiveness

Colossians 1:14

…in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Both my parents were prisoners of war during World War II. They each worked in separate labor prisons in southern Germany for a good portion of the entire war. How each responded afterward throughout their life from the negative impact of such an ordeal is a lesson I remind myself each day.

They both carried scars from their ordeal as slaves under the Nazi regime. Yet Dad’s was less noticeable than Mom’s. In fact, Dad seem to take those ugly events, put it behind him, and gracefully launch himself into a productive, fulfilling life even with health battles. Mom on the other hand, never seem to forget the past, continually blaming everyone whose hand she suffered under, and always considered herself a victim of circumstances. In hindsight, their 50+ year marriage is a good case study of the after effects between freedom and slavery.

Dad and Mom were both religious, but Dad quietly practice his faith while Mom only played the part.

As Dad would always remind us, God protected him so many times during the war and throughout life, he was grateful to live in America and build a comfortable home for his family. He only had an eighth-grade education, but a strong character developed through hard work, personal responsibility, and love of God which molded him and was expressed through his skills and temperament.

Mom though never let the past die. She was a very intelligent woman and hard worker likewise with only an eighth-grade education. She could speak five languages, and cook a banquet for an army. Yet her personal demons never died. She never forgave the people who hurt her, always blaming others for her suffering, and viewed the world from a victim mentality.  

Both Dad and Mom suffered similar trials. Yet both responded in different fashions. Dad yielded himself to God, besides praying twice a day on his knees in the living room early mornings and before bedtime in the evening, he related with others through a mirror of humility and strong character. He didn’t understand theology but knew His God was real and with him.

Mom believed God, but wouldn’t allow Him full access to change her from the inside-out. She always had to maintain control and her pride blocked anyone entrance into her heart. Like many people today who unbeknownst struggle with victim mentality, she had everything physically around her that was the good life, but inwardly continually and repeatedly fought a war which technically ended in 1945 but remained active in her heart and mind till her death some 70 years later.

People who haven’t learned the importance and necessity of forgiving others live lives being suffocated from their own bitterness and anger. Instead of accepting the beauty currently around them in the present, they keep reliving the past. They find it difficult to let go of the emotional hurt and gladly join others who share in the same misery. In many ways, they don’t realize or accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.         

As Christ-followers, we know our heavenly Father has adopted us into His family and given us a Spirit of freedom. But we need to allow His Spirit full access into our heart and mind to change our values, perspective, and worldview. Freedom requires personal responsibility and strong humility. Anyone can abuse freedom, but to maintain and unify relationships requires the freedom to respect others even when we don’t agree with the other. And most importantly, when we are done wrong, the quicker we learn to forgive and move on, the more freedom grows and opportunities abound.

I am thankful for Dad and Mom giving me life and allowing me to learn from them. I am also most thankful for our Great God who continues to shower His grace upon us and teach us how to live through the struggles, trials and tests of life that shapes and prunes the eternal character being developed within this soul. For the same reason, I believe you and I have more in common than we openly want to admit.  All because of the central work of Jesus Christ.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Uncommon Grace

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you… 

God pours His common grace upon the entire human race. Yet He also gives more or less to each person based on His purpose and decision. He provides an orderly universe and seasonal structure on the earth which provides sun, water, and air for all its inhabitants. Yet he also gives more or less unmerited favor to each individual for the work He would like done through them.

We have the example of Paul who asked God to remove the thorn in his flesh but God replied the grace He bestowed upon him was sufficient to carry him through each day.

We read other scriptures where God provides artistic abilities for individuals to complete their work, victory in specific battles, and food in time of need. These unmerited events come to us because of His unlimited love and care for each person of the human race.

He showers each of us specifically for the purpose and character being developed through us and for others. His grace is given not because of our obedience, or faith, or good works, but because HE knows what is best for you, what is best for those in your tribe, and how best to address each taken our limitations and potential into account.  

Therefore, when we compare ourselves with each other we are being foolish. Each of us are wired differently but yet similar in nature and design. Each have been given an opportunity to discover their purpose. But most of us are operating with only one-half of the resources at our disposal. The other half comes from God. His grace. His Spirit. His value system. When you and God come together, than the dance of wholesomeness and purpose and meaning for living becomes real and alive. Every moment is rich in love and joy and peace. Even the pruning moments where our character is being reshaped and our soul is being repositioned to serve others is a reflection of His glory.

The uncommon grace God gives to you is specifically for you alone. It may seem so little at times and other times so much, but it is being showered upon you as you need.

And only God knows what you are going through and the amount of intervention required to allow you to grow and experience the richness of His presence.

Come to know God and you will come to know His grace.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Saved by Grace Not by Faith

Ephesians 2:5 ,8

even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Prosperity gospel preachers love to emphasize the need of faith to obtain all of God’s blessings. They constantly imply that faith is the cause of whatever you desire. And when you don’t get what you desire, the problem is because “your faith isn’t strong enough – you need more faith.” A misunderstanding of faith, your belief, has caused the harm of many disciples within the Church over the ages. 

First, your faith doesn’t save you. You are saved by the finish work of Jesus Christ. Before you even knew Him, before you even asked for forgiveness, and yes even before you realized what His life and death and resurrection meant to you and humanity, your relationship with God was already restored. You were just ignorant of the event.

Faith is the pathway to the promise land; the escalator to God. Grace is God’s unmerited favor upon you. God so loved you and me He orchestrated world events to restore mankind’s direct access to Him. Faith is the tunnel that gives you and I access to Him. And that tunnel is Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus Christ we have direct access with His God. When Father God looks at you and me, He is looking through the prism of Jesus Christ. This is why He considers you and me as righteous; because He is looking at you and me through the righteousness of Jesus.

When people ask me when was I saved. I tell them about 2,000 years ago when Jesus completed his human mission on earth. However, I didn’t start to accept that truth until my 17th birthday when I began to follow Him. Jesus restored humanity’s relationship with God 2,000 years ago and I didn’t become His apprentice until my late teen years. His grace and faith saved me. When my head and heart came to the realization of this truth, I began to walkout through faith His way of life – the Bible calls it “being saved.”

Yes, we all “been saved” by the Grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. And we are “being saved” as we follow Him and allow the Holy Spirit transform our hearts and minds into His image. And we shall “yet be saved” when our bodies are resurrected and changed into eternal souls.

So, remember you have been saved apart from faith; faith doesn’t save you. You and I have been saved by God’s unmerited favor upon us. However, faith is the pathway to see, understand, and experience the richness of God’s salvation now and into eternity.     

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Enough Grace for Everyone

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Us humans, often mistakenly view life from a very limited perspective. We see all the limited resources around us and fight to grab a little piece for ourselves before the next person takes it from us and we are left with nothing.

And then there are some of us, who are so afraid of what so little we have, we want more and more until someone questions us that maybe we should have our own hoarder reality show. As a nation we recently witness the hoarding of toilet paper and cleaning supplies during the pandemic crisis.

Yet if God be our provider, why do we panic? Isn’t it true one’s character and heart are always revealed during a time of crisis?

When Jesus finished preaching to the crowd, he instructed his disciples to feed them. But his apprentices were dumbfounded. How could they feed 4,000 – 5,000 men, women, and children? All they could find around them was a young lad with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Limited resources compared with the problem to solve. Yet God’s grace was on display. At the end of the day, all the people were fed and 12 baskets of leftovers were collected.

Today some of us would have taken the lad’s food just for ourselves, or maybe only fed the disciples and left everyone else fend for themselves. But Jesus, showed that there is always enough for everyone when God is involved.

God is able to provide all our needs, in every area of our life, so we may continue be his witness as we work and share His goodness with others. God’s grace is not limited to only a few. He loves us all; and is willing to give us more than we deserve. Yet He is also very wise and knows how much we can manage without destroying ourselves and others.

So, don’t limit God. He makes the impossible possible. He has enough Grace to share with every single one of us.      

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Grace for All

Matthew 5:45 

…For he (God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

God chooses favorites. And the human race is His favorite.

Through Jesus Christ, He has inclusively brought all people together in Him as one.

Though many may ignore Him, disassociate themselves from Him, and even throw insults against Him, He still looks at us as His children because of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus gave His teaching on the love of God and how God demonstrates His love towards all, He is showing us His grace is open for all.

He wants all to know His kindness and generosity is for all of us to experience His way of life. Yet He also knows that some will choose the opposite. But still it doesn’t refrain Him from changing His character of showering us with His Grace whenever He chooses.

No one on earth has the corner market for God’s Grace. We can’t earn it through good work. We can’t control it through rituals or secret anecdotes. God gives as God chooses.

He doesn’t give out his grace only because you are a Christian. He bestows His grace on every person no matter their religion, political affiliation, nationality, ethic origin, sexual orientation, education bias, financial condition, or age.

When Jesus came walking on this planet, he hung around more with the undesirables rather than the elite, famous, or influencers of his time. His associates included women, fishermen, tax collectors, terrorists, the uneducated, and the working nobodies of the community. Yet He fed them with God’s words and teachings and gave them a taste of the Kingdom life. And yet, He also had contact with certain religious leaders and heavy market makers of his time. No one was left out.

God’ Grace is open for all.     

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Grace is God’s Favor

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Acts 6:8

When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose… Acts 11:23

So, they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Acts 14:3

Wherever God is, grace abounds. Grace is God’s unmerited favor upon others. Grace is God’s expression of His generosity and love for us.

Our view of grace is typically short-sighted and so often limited. We say prayer over dinner and call it grace. Others speak about God’s forgiveness of sin and call it grace. Still others receive an unexpected blessing and call it grace. How do you view grace? 

The Hebrew old Testament definition is “favor.” The Greek new Testament defines grace as “unmerited favor.” So hereafter whenever you see the word “grace” in any of my writings, you may know the general context refers to the “unearned favor from God.”

When some people speak about “karma” which is doing good and receiving a blessing in return for their action, a cause and effect relationship, they do not consider this grace but the result of the “universe” responding to their actions. The Book of Job discounts this theory. We can do everything perfectly according to God’s law of love and receive harm in return. God blesses because He chooses too; not because we earned it.

When one realizes that everything in this universe and on this planet is the result of God’s unmerited favor upon humanity, one gets a bigger picture than the religious connotations expressed within the spiritual world.

In churchie circles, grace is most often associated and limited within the context of the forgiveness of sins. Yet in the practical world grace abounds all around beyond forgiveness of sin.

For example, creation is an outcome of God’s grace.

The goodness that flows out of evil events is God’s grace in action.

The Spirit of real unity among people of differences demonstrates His grace upon us.

The changes in a person’s countenance from total self-selfishness to concern for others first is God’s grace melting the hardness of heart.

When pride is stripped away to open up a heart of humility is grace in action.

When food is place on the table to eat, think of the work of many hands coming together for the common good. The farmer planting and toiling the ground, the sun and water fertilizing and impacting the seeds; the machines and hands harvesting the crop; the truck drivers hauling the wheat and vegetables to market; the stores packaging and distributing the products for the people to purchase and prepare meals for their families; all are the byproduct of God’s grace. Without God’s approval, such could never happen. (Ever see how quickly a worldwide pandemic shuts down nations).

The business person who is on the brink of going out of business and laying off hundreds of family breadwinners receives a check at the last minute from an unexpected place to make payroll – experiences God’s grace in action.

The parent with a sickly child told by doctors there is nothing more they can do – but receives news from the nurses that the child “miraculously” woke up 100% healthy this morning.

And yes, when one’s eyes are open to capture a glimpse of God Almighty and the bountifulness of His generosity and love for us, is only His grace touching lives for His glory and our benefit.

So, remember grace comes from the central source of all creation – God. Grace is His expression of love and generosity so often expressed through the hearts and hands of people like you and me. Grace is God’s unmerited, generous favor!

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

More Than You Expect

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us… Ephesians 3:20 NASB.

more 1

Sometimes I stop and look back at the last forty years of life and shake my head in disbelief on how I failed to trust God in the difficult circumstances of everyday living. I believed in God most of my entire life but didn’t really believe Him until the second half of living. Again, if I could have, I would have. But life is a learning experience preparing us for eternity.

If we could reset the time, there would be a few (if not many) areas of life we would change. One area would be to remove the limitations I placed on God and myself.

I knew about God love, but how much he loved me was an issue. I didn’t know we are one of God’s favorites. My attitude was He constantly tested me for personal pleasure. He would throw me into situations that would take my breath away. He would challenge me with circumstances that would cause severe financial crisis’s. I didn’t receive blessings from Him (I mistakenly believed), but pain and sorrow.

However, in hindsight, I now realize how much He cared for me by protectively allowing one of his favorite children to go through trials, circumstances, and challenges that would strengthen me and learn to trust Him. I’ve also came to realize how many limitations we place on ourselves because we limit Him.

The more we came to lean on Him, the more we trusted Him; and the more we partnered with Him, the more He revealed Himself to me. Not with his physical Presence, but through the people, events, and circumstances of life – through His Creation.

Today, I am more amazed at how He works through others to reveal His blessings. The way He brings people into your life, the way He works out circumstances to bring about events which speaks to you, and the way He gives you the strength and courage to seek out the best.

Everything is possible with Him. He knows what is best for you. Yes, you and I have limitations. However, God has no limits. He is eternal. He is omnipresent. He made a commitment with you at creation. We just have to accept His authority in our life and get out of His way.

He is always going before you. Talk with Him. Ask Him how you can best present yourself to others. Trust Him. Lean on Him. He is doing a work in you for His glory, not yours. When you surrender to His goals and objectives, you allow Him to work through you. The result is a manifestation of His greatness. Your talents which He endowed you with and your skills which you have developed are join together with His purpose and His love for you. Together you will see more abundantly what He has in mind for you. And you will come to realize He has more in store for you than you can ever think, ask, or imagine.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
Great Business Emulates a Good God
Be Radical…Follow Christ!
Simply The Messenger
Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved