The Flourishing God

Have you ever met a person that exudes confidence with humility, love with justice, and strength of character with a compassionate attitude for others? I personally haven’t yet met such a human in my walk through life. But, as we read the Bible, commune with God, and witness His work in our life and in others, we become more amazed at someone such as this. The story of Jesus is such a person. What the writers of the gospels reveal about Him leaves us with an awe of wonder. He not only amazes us, but also gave us a glimpse of who the Father is like. When we look through the frosted lens of our glasses, we then truly realize why He is God and we are not.

Another attribute that astounds us of God is His life-giving nature. Wherever God goes, whatever He touches, it flourishes. There is a character in the “Lord of The Rings” series (book version, never made it into the movie) that the author portrayed him as a person who made everything around him to flourish. The Newsboys sang a song several years ago (that made it as my ring tone for the iPhone) entitled “Wherever We Go” whose words showcase how life blooms wherever they went: the grass grows greener, the stock market goes up, the sun shines, and the birds sing joyfully. The imagination only limits what the God-Life must be like.

Our narrow view of God limits us in our understanding of a life that flourishes. Typically in the western world we associate flourishing with personal material gain. Though it is a part, it is a small part. For God, flourishing involves so much more. It is an outer expression of His internal divine nature. It is the standard of who He IS. When he asks humanity to live up to His ways, it is because that is how he lives. It involves healthy, mutual submissive relationships; it emphasizes community along with the individual. Its basis is real love that sacrifices for the sake of others. It emphasis is not what is in it for me but how can I participate with God as He continues His work of completing His plan for humanity.

God wants us to flourish. However, he doesn’t want us to perish along the way. For most of us, we are like a rebellious teenager that wants to learn how to drive a car, but still lacks the maturity, responsibility, and accountability for his actions. As parents we want them to enjoy more, but providing gifts to early in one’s growth may quickly turn deadly for that person and others. Therefore, it is best to wait until the proper time. God is no different with us. His nature is to bless and share His world with others. Yet many of us are just not yet ready to handle a life that flourishes. But through time, discipline, and obedience we prove to Him that we are ready. Yet when we are ready, we have most likely matured at a level that it isn’t important for us any longer. We are thankful that God in His wisdom knows what is best for us at the right time.

OUR PRAYER

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Our great Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for hearing our prayers. Thank you for allowing us to know you. As we walk with you, open our eyes, heart, and mind to participate you as you bless others. As you bless us, in small ways and large ways, help us to likewise to bless others. Let you river of life continue to pass through us and into the people we meet. Let everything we do, say, and think bring glory to you and your kingdom. Let whatever we touch, magnify you. Let whatever we become involved with prosper for your name sake. Let this life flourish for your glory. Amen.

 

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.

Enjoy Life

When you take the time to look at people in your workplace, home, neighborhood, church, gym, or family, how many do you know that truly enjoy life? Doesn’t it seem like most people are hurriedly jumping from one activity to another without truly rejoicing in what they do? How many people do you know that truly sing when they are actively working? No, not listen to the music of others, but truly deep inside rejoice with beautiful (to them) joyful noise? Doesn’t it seem most people we meet have a plastic smile on their face as they force themselves to complete whatever they are doing so they can move on to the next item on their daily to do list? Then again, how many people say that IF they had a different job, or made more money, or were married (or single), or whatever, that they would definitely be enjoying life more? But would they?

There are many factors that may cause a person to lose their joy, and I am not going to dwell on all of them. But the one that I am going to shout out today is my personal favorite: Life in Christ. For most of us this is simply a religious expression within the Christian culture. For myself, it is the core of life. Life only makes sense when one truly comes to know who Jesus is, understand who He is, and apply His teachings in their daily life. When one comes to that point in their journey, one truly begins to be free, amazed, and rejoicing in life’s adventurous relationship with the Creator God.

When one walks with Him, one acknowledges that his purpose is supreme over any personal plans. And one rejoices that He allows us to participate with Him in His purpose. As we participate with Him, we begin to experience the freedom that comes from serving the King who made us all free from the darkness of Satan and the rebellion of godliness. Not only are we free, but gracefully amazed at His loving nature and supreme care for each of us. He will pursue us even if one of us leave the 100-fold in pursuit of our personal desires. But more importantly, after one has an intimate relationship with the Supreme Lover of the universe, who else is there? what else compares? When one reads such scriptures as:

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17

“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23-24

“These things I have spoken to you, that my (Jesus) joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God.” Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

These are only a few of the scriptures that immediately come to mind when we behave radically in Christ – that is enjoy life in Him. What if you became a committee of one and ask our heavenly Father to open the gates of heaven and earth so you may fully enjoy life the way He created life to be? And as you do so, and as you let His blessings flow to those you know and meet, what a wonderful testimony of Kingdom reality as God is glorified. So why not today, Be radical – Enjoy Life in Christ!

OUR PRAYER

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Our great Father God, Lord God, and Spirit God: thank you for everything you have provided to us at this time for our enjoyment. Thank you for our mates. Thank you for our children. Thank you for all the people in our little world. Thank you for our struggles and challenges that allow us to learn more from you and trust in you. Thank you for your words and promises of encouragement. Thank you for letting us to be grateful. Thank you for everything you have created for our enjoyment. Thank you for allowing us to share our joy with others. Thank you for everything you give and everything you provide and everything you are and everything you do and everything you share with us for your sake. Help us to truly appreciate and enjoy everything you have given us to enjoy. No matter how small or how large, help us always to be grateful. Amen. Amen.

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.

Joy of the Lord

“Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” Nehemiah 8:10

Israel was a nation chosen by God for His purpose of ultimately adopting humanity into the Triune God circle. With Abraham, God began moving history towards His foreordained purpose. From the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we have the twelve tribes of Israel; that turned into the nation of Israel under Saul, David, and Solomon; that eventually led to the birth of Jesus Christ and the redemption of humanity. So whenever we look at the nation of Israel and are honest with ourselves, don’t we view our own life through a similar mirror? How often do we look at the nation of Israel and shake our heads in amazement of their disbelief and behavior in their walk with the Lord? Yet if we be honest with ourselves, are we any different?

Around 500 B.C. Nehemiah was a governmental leader and Ezra the high priest. After the nation came out of another painful stupor of being disciplined, they rediscovered the Torah and the Words of God written for them. So on this day, the 1st day of their 7 month, they celebrated the Feast of Booths, a celebration of their harvest season. The feast was a seven day event followed by one last great day. The first and last day of the feast were Sabbatical Holy days and the nation would assembly and worship their God. This day though the nation rediscovered the Words of God and celebrated by reconfirming disciplines that they had previously stopped conducting.
In the midst of their celebration, Nehemiah expressed the concept that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” Not Israel’s joy. Not Nehemiah’s joy. Not anyone’s joy but the Lord’s. In fact, doesn’t this imply that our Lord has joy that he wants to share with others? Doesn’t this also imply that His joy is stronger and more effective than any joy we may experience apart from him? Also, doesn’t this imply that our Lord wants us to experience His joy?

A recent poll revealed that most parents want their children to grow up happy and successful. The poll didn’t ask the parents to define happy or successful, but that they wanted the best for their children. Yet many parents have difficulty in separating happiness from joy. Happiness as many of us old timers have discovered, is a byproduct of the surrounding circumstances and physical components in our life. The challenge is that many of the circumstances we desire and believe need to be happy are outside of one’s control and are dependent on physical stimulus or expectations that may or may not occur. In other words, happiness is a temporary condition that always seem slightly out-of-our-reach. Yet on the other hand, joy is the fruit of a Spirit that perpetually and naturally exudes real, in-depth rejoicing from the inside-out. It doesn’t rely on outside or physical stimulus to celebrate; it simply and naturally expresses itself because Joy is an attribute of the Triune God that lives in the soul of a believer.

So when we say our strength is in the joy of the Lord, we acknowledge that God’s Spirit resides in us, empowers us, and expresses His life through us. That our courage and backbone is found in Christ, celebrated with the Holy Spirit, and uplifted by the Creator’s own divine nature that passes in us, through us, and from us. As we desist, He increases. As we view life through His eyes, His plans, and His purposes, we rejoice with Him and He rejoices with us. We become one in Spirit and one in Purpose and one in Joy. And with such joy, wouldn’t that be a strong attribute that glorifies God and His people? Isn’t this the type of joy (and real happiness) we all truly want?

OUR PRAYER

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Our heavenly Joyous Father, Lord, and Spirit: thank you for expressing your life in us and through us and with us. Thank you for allowing us to experience your life in us and through us and with us. Thank you for sharing your life and especially your attribute of joy. Shower upon us you joy. Let your joy influence the people around us. Let your joy come alive and captivate the people we meet. Let your joy be contagious. Let others capture your joy and experience your love and peace along with it. Let everyone we meet; every place we go; every word we share; let it be sprinkled, covered, and saturated with your joy. Let your joy be our strength through calamities and trials and tests. Let everything we say, think, and do explode with your joy. Amen

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.

Happy Birthday!

 
When the day of your birth rolls around another year, how do you celebrate it? Do you throw yourself a party? Do you invite a few friends over for dinner? Or are you fortunate to have friends or family members that throw a party on your behalf? However you celebrate your birthday, you may want to consider this: you didn’t give birth, but your mother did. So on your next birthday, why not take an intentional moment and celebrate you birth with the person who gave birth – your mother. In other words, technically it is not your birthday, but your Mother’s.
The other person you want to thank and celebrate the day with is the Author of life, the Triune God. Without Him, you and I would not be here today. In fact, He gives us life, breath, and purpose. We are not accidents, but pre-planned living souls designed for His pleasure for all eternity. It all begins on the day your Mother gave birth and continues with His divine intervention on a daily basis.
So when your day comes, stop, thank your Mother, and celebrate your adventurous journey rooted in Jesus Christ with the Author of Life. What other way is better than this to celebrate and rejoice on your Birthday?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8
Heavenly Father, Lord, and Spirit: thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience life. Thank you for your intervention into our life. Thank you for just knowing you.
Help us to celebrate this life with you; to rejoice with you; and to offer this life for your service. We pray for our Mothers; shower them with your Almighty love and grace. Bless them for their sacrifice and nurturing intentions in raising us and giving us the opportunities we now have. Though they are not perfect and didn’t raise us perfectly, they did the best they could under the circumstances of their life. Simply bless them and let us celebrate you and them throughout this day. Amen

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.

Bless My Business

How many business operations do you know that actually glorify God in their service to others? How many of those are operated/owned by believers? How many are operated/owned by non-believers, but their work exemplifies quality of godliness? These questions challenged me when I completed my dissertation. The final results ended up in a book entitled “Great Business Emulates a Good God.”

One of the items that surprised me the most was how many non-Christian business operations practiced godly principles and exercised eternal values that magnified the qualities of the Triune God. Yet the main difference between the two pertained to motive. Christian-focused business’ operated to glorify God. Faith-neutral operations focused on glorifying their brand. Yet both sides operated businesses that the world would say were successful. At least from the outside looking in.

Why bring up these facts? Simply because we know people, if not ourselves at times, that want and desire God’s blessings on our business, but still operate with self-centered motives. We want God’s favor, but refrain from being honest with Him in our dealings with others. We typically haven’t come to a place yet where we have surrendered the business under the domain of King Jesus.

How do we know if we have surrendered the business to God’s domain? Do we actually operate under Kingdom economic principles or follow the ways of the world? Do we practice decision-making that benefits ALL stakeholders of the enterprise; that means partners, employees, vendors, government agencies, and investors. Do we actually seek God’s will before making decisions that impact the business’ mission? Is the business’ mission and aim to glorify God, serve the common good of others, and promote the well-being of all parties, or simply too benefit a few insiders?

These may be tough questions, but how can one expect to be blessed if one is conducting business outside of God’s character, nature, or will? The transition doesn’t happen overnight. But God is merciful and if our heart is open he will lead us to the economic promise land. For most of us, it is a process of repentance, change, and redirecting our hearts to see the world as He does. And even though we may fall far short from perfection, God rewards and blesses those that fulfill His purpose in life. Yes, catch His vision for your life and business and even your business will learn to rest in the favor of God and His graceful blessings.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Holy Father-Holy Lord-Holy Spirit: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to pursue a business that will create opportunities that will glorify you, serve the common good of others, and reward us for the risks that are taken. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all ungodly decisions. Help us to inspire those around us to follow your lead. Help us to walk with you through each business process, strategy, and client to glorify you. Help us to be true to you, our self, and others in building eternal relationships that buildup your Kingdom now. Help us to surrender our business for your glory. Bless us so we may be a blessing for 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.

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.