Christmas: Making All Things New

Revelation 21:5
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

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Christmas means so much more for me than a celebration of the birth of Jesus. The reason for the season is an annual reminder that God is still moving his story toward a happy ending! With the Son of God, now wrapped by human flesh sitting on his throne in heaven, with the commission of making all things new, mankind has just begun to witness the fulfillment of God’s strategy of expanding his Kingdom throughout the universe.

The birth of Jesus in human skin is God’s universal plan to unite divinity with flesh. In Christ, we are reminded that all life is important; there is purpose and meaning behind every human; and real, sacrificial love is the answer.

When Peter spoke his first public sermon on the day of Pentecost, the same day the Holy Spirit made his public appearance, he quoted from the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

As we look back in history these two thousand years, we witness the explosion of knowledge, sci-fi visions becoming reality, and advancements in the human domain where many nation’s largest challenges are not just feeding their people, but to provide avenues of education for each person to discover their purpose and potential in living a meaningful life.

We may disagree on methods, techniques, and strategy, but the God-centered life will continue to lay the foundation of common sense, place an extreme high value of life, and provide opportunities for others to discover the real meaning and purpose of life ordained from the foundation of the world.

Jesus Christ is on his throne and He is making all things new. He has purchased all humanity through his life, death, and resurrection. He is the only person who has demonstrated real leadership for the benefit of mankind as a whole. His heart wants all of us to partner with him in his work now and into eternity. But he will not force you to comply. He respects your free will, and wants you to know he is always there for you. He is rooting for you, and wants what is best for you.

He is making all things new and wants you to know you are included with him in his plans. So, celebrate the season, rejoice with Him, and let love always be your leading guide.

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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Real Freedom

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

Today is the fourth of July. A day that Americans celebrate their independence from Great Britain. A day this country became free from colonial rule. Now instead of taxation without representation, we have taxation with representation. Now instead of Boston tea parties, we have political tea parties. Instead of a nation where people died for their freedom, we have a nation where people die because of their freedom. Yet real freedom is more than law, rule, or independence. Real freedom is a matter of the Spirit.

When people are slaves of an ungodly spirit, it may look like freedom at the start, but leads to a spirit of addiction, greed, and narcissism. Likewise when the spirit lives in fear of poverty, unemployment, war, crime, or political unrest, can one truly be free? When housing is stolen through slack governmental regulations, is that real freedom? When basic healthy food is limited by top prices for only the financial able, is that real freedom?

Where can one find real freedom?

The apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian faith-community addressed a similar situation. He wrote about the veil that blinds people’s eyes from experiencing real freedom. What opens that veil? Paul speaks plainly when he states that the veil is only lifted through Jesus Christ. That Jesus Christ is the central core of life. He connects heaven with earth. He reveals what life is all about. He is the reason for life. He is the answer from addiction, self-harm phobias, and distrustful relationships. He is the author of freedom, lives freely, and shares His freedom.

His Spirit travels along with the Father’s Spirit via the Holy Spirit. This is the Triune God. Real freedom is found living within the Triune God circle. When we died to the self by surrendering to the King; we were spiritually re-born in Christ (Jn. 3:3-8). A new life began. A new creation started (2 Corinthians 5:17). A life that merges our personality and soul with the Spirit of the living God. A marriage between heaven and earth (Rev.21:1-5). The adoption into the family of God (Eph. 1:5). Included in this relationship is the joy of freedom.

Yes, real freedom is found only in Jesus Christ; not in a religion, crusade, nor great cause. So if you haven’t experienced real freedom yet, maybe it is time to do business with the Lord. Ask him, seek him, and knock on the door that he presents. He will lead you to experience the freedom that comes through an intimate relationship with Himself. He has been doing it for almost 2,000 years with a long list of testimonials. So unless you truly don’t want to be free, why not today? It is a great day to celebrate freedom.

OUR PRAYER

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Our real Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for everything you have shown us. Thank you for creating a new person from our brokenness. Help us to truly experience your freedom. Whatever we are currently enslaved with, help us break the chains. Shower upon us your grace. Help us to celebrate your freedom that lives in us. In everything we do, let us share your freedom with others. We glorify your name, your freedom, your Kingdom. For now and forever. 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 Faith-Building 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

prayer 5

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.

Patience Under Construction

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Remember in our early business careers how restless we became when events and situations didn’t occur as quickly as we had planned?  We would probably become frustrated and at times outwardly angry because of it. Some of us were probably even an explosive bomb with a very short timer. Then one day we found our self waiting in the lobby of a customer. Previously to this time, we would have waited for a few minutes and if the customer didn’t arrive, we would reschedule and move on to other important priorities of the day. But remember that first time when it was different? When we found our self waiting patiently for their late arrival. There was no frustration. There was no anger. There was no explosion. There was only calm, reassuring patience. We may have even forgotten to this day what was the result of our meeting except for the fact that we had exercised patience for the very first time in our life.

A friend shared this story with us a few days ago. He mentioned that at seventeen he started to realize he needed to change and to improve himself. So he began working on improving his character via the old Benjamin Franklin method. He would list the character traits that he knew needed improving and was working diligently to make himself a better person. But patience was not on top of the list. It was way, way, down on the list. There was what he considered more important items that needed to deal with. This is why he marveled. He didn’t do anything to change his behavior in regards to patience. His focus was working on other leadership traits that he considered more important. This was his first experience of truly marveling at the power of God working within him. He came to realize that the real permanent internal change was not caused by him building habits of success. But the real changes in his life came from the Holy Spirit creating within him a masterpiece that only He could produce. This time is was patience. He truly then realized that he is under construction and the Master builder is God.

Since that time he has come to realize that his priorities for spiritual growth are different than God’s plan for him. Why would a young man desire patience? Are there any other more important characteristics that he could use to shape the world? In his case, patience was the first fruit of the spirit that God must have considered more important in his life at that time. Now we see why.

It is through patience that faith comes alive. It is through patience that love is revealed. It is through patience that joy is expressed. It is through patience that peace rules. It is through patience that self-control is exercised. It is through patience that kindness is exemplified. It is through patience that goodness wins out. It is through patience that gentleness makes its mark.

To walk by patience is to walk with God. God is very patient with us. He wants us to learn from Him and to become like Him. As a disciple of His, we are also disciples of patience.  God truly knows what is best for us. Let us walk with Him and trust Him to patiently create His masterpiece in us as we live in Him.

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 8

Thank you Lord for building your patience in us. Help us in our lack of it. Let your Spirit fill us with the entire Fruit of your Spirit. You know which one we need most today. Let your glory and honor always be revealed in your children. Amen.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Coach, Consultant, and Speaker

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

 

Grace and Performance…

 

“For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”   

 Luke 11:10

 

Becoming 2.

The journey in Christ is a constant relearning of the basics of the Kingdom of God.

Take for example the concept of grace and performance. We live in a performance-oriented society. Whether we are working or playing, performance becomes the standard of measurement. We don’t normally give positive rewards, promotions, or recognition for finishing last.  Yet the Kingdom of God is built on grace and not performance.  Grace extended is how the Triune God relates to us. Grace is the foundation of who God is. Jesus knows our fragility, weaknesses, and the internal strife of sin always knocking at our door.  So how do we express the Kingdom of God in our life when the world around us operates in a politically charged environment that clamors for winners?

Maybe the problem isn’t society around us, but the internal desires of our heart that competes with God. Can we truly say that we desire to truly please Him in everything we do? Or do we want God to bless us with everything we want because we deserve it?

Someone once told me to pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on me. I don’t buy that anymore. Instead, I acknowledge that God owns it all, has the capability to bring everything I need to my door, and has promise to provide. So now I ask, seek, and knock. I ask him diligently knowing he is the owner and provider of everything. I seek diligently and expectantly the answer to my prayers; always pursuing all opportunities that come my way no matter how large or small; constantly seeking confirmation. And when a door presents itself to me, I don’t force it open. Instead, I gently turn the knob and allow it to open from the outside-in. I have found out when I force the door open, it is only me still pursuing what I want. Instead, I allow the Spirit to move the door. Whenever I did this, the domino effect occurs; like the tumblers of a safe all falling into place. The door opens easily and the ride toward the goal is like canoeing down the rapids with very little effort on my path. I simply steer the canoe and enjoy the ride.

Yes, learning how to live a grace-based life instead of a performance-based life is a life time journey. Yet, isn’t what this life is? Are we all not being prepared for leadership and service with others as we walk this adventurous journey of transformation in Christ?

 

Dr. Mike

 

Author of Great Business Emulates a Good God

 

 

FAITH IN WHAT?

Whenever someone says that they have faith, the question arises, “faith in what or whom?”

If you probe enough in a person’s narrative, you will find the worldview that the person builds their reality from.  Is their foundation for “faith” in happen-chance? a “faith” in self? a “faith” in another person? a “faith” in “big brother?” or a “faith” in “karma?” Wherever the faith is focused toward reveals the person’s source of life and their reality.

In political slogans, we are asked to have faith. In business circles, we are asked to have faith. In relationships, we are asked to have faith. Faith is one of those words that has become a generic, abused child. However, when faith is properly employed, reality becomes more real in a person’s life. When faith is built on a true, solid foundation than kingdom reality becomes a life-giving source that makes oneself and those around him/her to flourish.

If someone is looking for a Biblical definition of faith, check out chapter eleven of Hebrews. If you want a another practical definition, substitute the words belief and trust in the work of the Triune God every time you come across the faith word. It will give you a more precise meaning of the word faith as used in scripture. But for those whose basis is not scripture, faith is only an empty cliché to distort the power and grace of God. Yet be not surprised, Biblical words and concepts have slowly eroded over time to become a water down version of its original meaning. That is why we all need to become practicing theologians to some degree.

faith

My belief and trust is in Jesus Christ. He allows us to take part with Him in His story which is restoring creation back to God’s original intent. He has my back. My belief and trust is built on His faith, His work of salvation, His plans for humanity, and His ability to make it all happen for  His goodness and the goodness of all under His dominion.

So the next time you hear someone mention faith, be sure you both have the same definition of faith in mind. Otherwise, who is being radical and missing out in the enjoyment of life in Christ?

Dr. Mike

IF HEAVEN IS THE GOAL…

Dear Heavenly Dad:

Thank you for giving us a reason, a purpose, a destination to live for. Apart from you there is nothing of value worth pursuing in this life. We long and wait for our time with you in our new body and eternal habitat.

 

Help me to continually capture the vision and peace of your heavenly domain. Let it reside in me today. We live in the midst of eternity today. Help us to live each day in your kingdom as Jesus lived while serving you on earth.

 

We await our time when we may see you as you are; without physical limitations. Keep us in your arms. Keep us on track. Keep us focused. Thank you, Jesus.

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“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that whereIam, there you may be also.” John 14:3

 

 

     What is your definition of heaven? Is it a place from where God rules the universe? Is it where the angels reside with God? Is it the place  where our souls go after our physical  death? Is it another dimension? Is it located near the north star?

 

     Jesus spoke about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. Are they different places or the same? He described heaven as having many rooms as a mansion. In the Book of Revelation, heaven is described merging together and residing on the new earth. One recent song describes heaven on earth is Jesus Christ. Some feel that heaven is only having a relationship with God. Others feel that heaven is a figment of one’s superstitious mind. There are many other concepts of heaven. What is yours?

    The best description of heaven that we have, of course, is found in the Word. I don’t know anyone personally who has gone to heaven and returned to describe it to me with the exception of Jesus and the inspired writers of the Word. Yet, as a Christ-follower, it is the end result of my life. It is the focus of my energy and the belief of my trust in Jesus that makes me pursue it with my whole being. As a Christ-follower, I have come to learn that faith not only moves mountains but also crystallizes hope in God; a hope in a generous God still creating His masterpiece. Not a physical masterpiece, but a spiritual masterpiece; a spiritual, eternal home for all His children to rule and minister with Him the work that He has planned from the foundation of creation.

     Heaven is God’s home from where He conducts His business of running the universe. Whatever description I have come up with is limited based on my physical senses and understanding. I know based on the Word that one must be born with a spiritual body to reside there. That of course means a body that is built to last for all eternity. I know that we will see Jesus as He currently is in all power and majesty as described in The Book of Revelation.

As a disciple of His, my goal is to be with Him.  It  doesn’t matter where or when. My only concern is that it will be. Some of my brothers make a strong issue of when. They argue that immediately after death one’s soul goes directly to heaven. Others feel that at death one’s soul sleeps until the resurrection. Both arguments can be substantiated through scripture. Which is the correct answer though will only be resolve after our physical life is over. Until then, does it really matter? Again, my only desire is to be with Him now and for all eternity. The little details will take care of themselves through time. Heaven is the goal.

Dr. Mike