Who Are You Lord?

 

And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Acts 9:5 ESV.

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Which Jesus are you familiar with?

Do you know the gregarious, celebrating Jesus who was accused by the religious leaders as a wine bibber and glutton? Or do you recognize the weeping Jesus who cried prior to resurrecting Lazarus? Or maybe the healing Jesus who gave sight to the blind?

Then what about the beaten Jesus with bleeding cuts and bruises prior to his crucifixion? The hungry Jesus who fasted for 40 days prior to his confrontation with Satan? The popular Jesus who drew crowds of thousands to hear what he had to say? Or the controversial Jesus who questioned the religious teachings of his day?

Maybe you are familiar with the runaway Jesus who left his family at the age of twelve for three days discussing Scripture with the teachers in the Jewish temple? How about the Jesus who hung around prostitutes, thieves, and debt collectors? Or the wimpy Jesus who hung around women all day?

Many probably identify the teaching Jesus who took every event of the day to expound on his kingdom and way of life. Or the Jewish Jesus who kept the Holy days outlined in the Bible. Or the rebellious Jesus who broke the religious traditions of the times. Then there is the praying Jesus who would rise early in the mornings to spend time with His Father. Or the carpenter Jesus who built tables, chairs, and houses for people in the community.

Possibly some may even recognize the obedient Jesus who resisted the temptation of Satan and trusted God for His destiny. Or the suffering Jesus who took everyone’s Sin unto himself while focusing on the joy that laid before him. Maybe even the dying Jesus who was unjustly accused and sentenced to death by the government establishment.

My question for today though, is how many identify the living Jesus now sitting next to his Father in authority for heaven and earth? How many see Jesus now sitting at the table along with all our brothers and sisters? How many of us identify with the Jesus who is returning to complete the Triune Project started at the foundation of the universe?

Whichever Jesus you identify with is probably where you find him today in your life. And as the seasons change while we walk with our King, Savior, and Friend, He reveals himself to us as we need to know. Meanwhile, enjoy the journey, share the good news, and allow Him full access to make his imprint in your life story.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
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

Does a Friend need some Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

Undesirables of Jesus

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Luke 7:34 (ESV)

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How many of us would condemn a person who spent their time partying with the low-life of humanity? (There is no low-life in God’s eyes; but from mankind’s perspective, there is).

You would of course need to define low-life. In Jesus’ time, if you were not living the high-life, then you must have been considered the other.  The high-life would be the people who had all the material aspects that life makes available. They would be seen high on the social ladder. They would be formally educated and successful in what they did. They would be recognized throughout the community. They may even be highly respected in the neighborhood. On the other hand, the low-life would be the undesirables of their day. In Jesus’ time, that would include women, children, and the elderly. It would include slaves, the physically challenged, and the religiously inept. One doesn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a low-life; life happens. The result generally is a life without great purpose, meaning, or self-sustenance.  One has to rely on stealing, prostituting oneself, or obtaining help from others just for the basic necessities of life.

Yet Jesus not only conversed with the undesirables of his time, He loved them. He enjoyed spending time with them and was accused of being a “glutton and drunkard.” His circle of friends and acquaintances included tax collectors, prostitutes, adulteress’, criminals, and the working class. His greatest supporters were women who provided for Him from their means. In Jesus’ day, most women had no rights, couldn’t own property, and were treated as collateral on the household books. Yet Jesus loved spending time with them.

He didn’t spend time with them for a few moments as a political campaign video. He ate with them, drank with them, and conversed with them as a friend and teacher.  He healed them. He fed them. He cared for them. He shared stories, laughter, and tears for them. He demonstrated the love of God, the service of God, and the heart of God with everyone He met. He treated others with respect and dignity. Wherever and whenever He could, he changed their world for the better.

How about you and me? Who are the undesirables in your world? What can you do today to impact the life of another that you wouldn’t normally associated with in your daily walk?  What if the next time you drove to work or went out for lunch, you took a closer look at the people you came into contact with. Maybe you can ask God right then and there how you can participate with Him in the life of another. Just be ready for another adventure.

We are always rooting for you!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is Our Reference Point

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“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV

Most people quote the above scripture to emphasize that Jesus is the only way to salvation. I like to quote this scripture to let people know that it is through Christ that we have a relationship with the living Creator of the universe. When we have Jesus as our reference point, life begins to make sense. When we focus on developing a relationship with the Triune God, salvation is the byproduct. When people focus on salvation before the relationship, then it becomes a contractual arrangement. That is how many people may first accept Christ, yet is it the way He mentored?

In today’s world, relationships are being torn apart. Whether we speak about marriage, friendships, business partnerships, or treaties between countries, the emphasis is on satisfying the self before others. The reference point becomes the self. This of course leads to a world without godly influence. Without a godly influence, the reference point becomes a moving target. This is what has happened in our so called secular world.

The secularization of the western world has developed a culture without a reference point for making wise decisions. The spread of relative morals has likewise produced a culture without a reference point for logical decision making. By throwing the Triune God away from the public arena, youth and adults begin to question the value of God through the reality of the world around them. Life becomes meaningless. They question what good is it to have a relationship with a living God.

When people don’t have a reference point to refer too, anything goes. History demonstrates over and over again what becomes of a people who forget God. When Jesus said He is the way, life, and truth, He quickly summarized what He brings to the table for humanity. To follow Him, one gains the real treasures of life and builds on the foundation of reality. When He becomes your reference point, your life becomes more purposeful and meaningful. When He becomes your reference point, your ideas, values, and decisions have a measuring stick to associate potential outcomes against. When He becomes your reference point, you have a mentor, hero, and teacher to show you how to succeed in relationships, business, and personal agendas.

When Jesus is your reference point, you read the Bible hungry and thirsty to learn everything you can about Him, His plans, and His method of operations. You want to fully understand His Kingdom, His Church, and His Work. Over time you learn to appreciate everything He has done, is doing, and will be doing. You realize it takes time to build a relationship to know Him, walk with Him, and talk with Him. You realize how blessed you are to have Him as your reference point. Whether or not heaven arrives, all you know is that heaven is now when you are fully engaged with life in Christ. So ask yourself, which way will you choose to live: superficially or radically in Christ?

We are rooting for you!

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.

Being Aware of Our Need for Jesus Christ

There are two categories that we can place everyone on the planet into: those who are aware of their need for Jesus Christ and those who are not aware of their need for Jesus Christ.  For many of us who have already made a rational decision to follow Jesus, we likewise may fall into either camp. For those who haven’t yet made a decision for Christ, you may also fall into either camp. For what separates a person from one camp or the other isn’t a “decision” but living a life that is solely “aware of our need” for Jesus Christ 24/7.

What do I mean by being aware of our need? And why Jesus Christ?

Most people view Christianity from the outside-in without any knowledge of its roots, core, or vision. They simply disavow its importance in their life. They are typically satisfied with their lot in life and feel they need nothing. They are like the people described in the Book of Revelations, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,” but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,”(Rev 3:17). They typically believe themselves to be self-sufficient and believe they have everything under control.  For those raised in a “Christian culture” their battle is simply being overly familiar with Christianity or maybe having a poor demonstration of an actual, practical living example of how the disciple truly lives. Whatever the situation, the real answer typically arises only when we are confronted with a personal problem that requires a “miracle.” That miracle many times leads us to become more fully aware of our need for Jesus Christ.

Typically only when a person comes to the end of themselves are they open to start seeking answers to life’s Big Bang questions. For some it may be survival (ever became lost at sea in the middle of a storm?); for others it may be financial loss (bank accounts empty and no source of income); for others it may be health issues ( cancer before age thirty typically starts one to ask questions of life); the death of a love one (facing mortality raises many questions); or a breakup of a close, meaningful relationship ( divorce or a trusted friend robbing you of your emotional investment). Somewhere life’s unpleasant, broken events stop us to ask those important questions: Is there a God? Who are you God? What do you want from me? Is this all that there is? What is the purpose of life? We begin to ask these questions as we realize that there is a hole within our inner being that needs to be satisfied and there seems to be nothing that we have found on this planet that fulfills it. Or we realize that life is much bigger than ourselves and we cannot control every facet of it. Could it be possible that we were designed to have our inner cup filled through a meaningful relationship with the Creator? Is it possible that we were designed not to control life’s situation but to participate in life with the one who is in Control?

Why Jesus Christ?

Like many writers, authors, marketplace leaders, husbands, fathers, and brothers before me, Jesus Christ and His gospel logically explains life’s most important questions. The answers are not always what we want to hear, but they are answers that explain history and reveal God’s purpose. Though many of the details are still a blank page, the overall plan and spiritual fruit demonstrates its authenticity in the home, marketplace, and community – when allowed to flourish.

When one studies the life of Jesus Christ and His message, one either accepts His claim or denies it. There is no middle ground. Either Jesus is the divine being who help create the universe, chose himself to become human, died and was resurrected to fulfill scripture, and plans on returning as King of Kings, or he is either a liar or a lunatic as C.S. Lewis explained.  Either He is the mediator between heaven and earth, the one person both the Old and New Testaments point too, and the core reason why everything was created, ordered, and glorified for His namesake, or again, he is either a liar or a lunatic.  When one realizes who He is, one cannot accept anything less but realize how far we fall short of his Magnificence and acknowledge His authority, reign, and purpose in our lives. With the Holy Spirit given to us as assurance, we grow and become a trusted believer that eventually acknowledges that Jesus Christ is neither a liar nor a lunatic. He is who He claims to Be.

How aware are you of your need for Jesus Christ in your life?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 4

Magnificence Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for revealing yourself to us through your Word and via your Spirit. Help us to become totally aware of our need for you. Help us to live our life resting in you. Help us to live our life glorifying you. Help us to live our life witnesses to others about you. You are with me each and every day. Help us live this life faithfully for you and totally aware of our need for you. You are our savior, king, teacher, brother, hero, and friend.

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.

 

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

WHERE DOES YOUR RECOGNIZATION COME FROM?

A DISCIPLE’S PRAYER
PRAY 9

Dear Wonderful Dad:
You are my success, joy, and recognition in everything I do. You surround me with your Grace and Presence each and every day. You give me more than I deserve. You make my cup overflow with your abundant riches. Everything I own is a loan from you. You created everything for us to share in and we likewise share it with others. Without you there is nothing worth owning, possessing, or having. You add value to everything because you created value. I can never express my gratitude and thankfulness for your involvement in my life. Everything is because of you.

If I have not express my thanks to you today, let me say thank you again and again. If I have already expressed my thanks to you today, express it again. There is not enough time in a day to thank you for your Grace, your Gifts, but more importantly just knowing you. We humbly thank you and express our gratitude.

word 14

 

“so we, who are many, are one body in Christ,
and individually members one of another.”
Romans 12:5

Why do you serve? Do you want to let the world know how good of a person you are? Does ii make you feel important? Or is it just a part of your nature? Do you truly believe it is more blessed to give than receive?
 

I just finished reading an old Discipleship Journal magazine which had an article entitled “Secret Service.” The article outlined how a few Christ-followers are serving others incognito. They practice the scripture of not letting your right-hand know what your other hand is doing in serving others. When they help others they do it either through a third party or in secret. At the end of the day, all glory goes to God and the act. They just receive the personal satisfaction of helping others without the fanfare. I love it.
 

Was Jesus’ primary attitude to draw attention to Him or to help others for their sake with as little fanfare as possible? Did Jesus die for us because He wanted to achieve personal glory or because He Loves us? When He walked the earth, who did He give the glory to?
 

As His disciple, I have learned that the glory and honor belongs to Jesus, my Heavenly Dad, and the Holy Spirit. All the glory and praise is God’s. I have come to realize that everything I accomplish, whether in service or for personal gain, I achieve only because of God’s grace. For starters, He gives me life itself. He gives me the air to breathe, makes my heart tick, and mind to operate effectively (unless I damage it). He gives me His Spirit of compassion and love. He allows me to work and earn an income. He allowed me to be born in America, the land of physical wealth and personal freedom. He blesses me so I can bless others. He provides me the opportunities to serve. He teaches me the joy and privilege of serving. No wonder all the praises and glory go to Him. Everything begins and ends with Him.
 

I don’t need the recognition anymore. My recognition comes from Him. I am His disciple and He takes exceptionally good care of me. All recognition goes to Him. What about you? Where are you in your relationship with Jesus?

 

Dr. Mike

 

DOES BEING WRONG EVER PRODUCE BETTER FRUIT?

Our Righteous, Loving Dad:

PRAY 9 

Thank you for loving us even in our ignorance. Thank you for loving us even when we suffer “brain damage.” Thank you for loving us even when we are wrong. Help us to love like you. Help us to love; to love; to love … So Be It.

 

 

 

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“Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?”

Ecclesiastes 7:16

 Which is more important? Being right or keeping the peace? Which is more important? Being right or allowing love to have its way? Which is more important? Being right or experiencing supernatural joy?

 

When the above questions were first introduced to the me, I stumbled with the answers. Being brought up in a ”religious culture”, I was trained to first seek righteousness which translated for me meant to be right in doctrine (as I saw the answer to be). To be right in rituals (again, as interpreted by me). To be right in defining God (my view of course was always correct). It wasn’t until the above questions slapped my spiritual face that I had a rude awakening. Being right isn’t that important anymore.

 

With hindsight being one of the great teachers in life, I now see how God has allowed me to be wrong many, many, many times, yet He rarely immediately corrected me with “the answer.” Instead. He would allow me to experience His peace, love, or joy first before showing me a better way. His righteousness is far superior than any legalistic system we can every devise. His righteousness takes into consideration the entire internal spiritual dimension while we only focus on the exterior behavior. His ways are far superior then anything we have come up with in our man-made systems.

 

As a disciple of His, I want to learn how He relates with people and then emulate it. I want to learn how He works with people, and make it my method of operation. I want to learn how He loves people and love the same way. He is my standard. He is my model. He is my hero. His way is the way I want to walk in. And you are correct. We don’t have to be right in all things – only in the important one – Jesus.

 

Dr. Mike