MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG

World Events

Leadership

Relationships

Personal Growth

Resources

We welcome your comments, knowing that your words could very well inspire others.

LIFE-IGNITING AUDIO

Advent

Special Topics

Life of Christ

Understand Life

Interviews

Vision of Life

Clean Sweep

Book of Acts

ignite your life!

subscribe to our mailing list and receive a free download of our featured product

Page 1 of 812345...Last »
How To Keep Your Cool In A Nation of Brats

How To Keep Your Cool In A Nation of Brats

Is it just me, or does it seem like America has become a massive middle school of children without manners? No one seems to be able to have a civil discussion anymore unless everyone agrees on every point. Gone are the days of diplomatic disagreement – and it’s killing us. When people don’t get their way, they scream, holler, stamp their feet and shame opponents. It’s nonsense, for sure – but this is also what America has become. How can you keep your cool in a nation of hot-headed brats?

SOCIAL MEDIA OVERFLOW

Social media, texting, and email allow people to express themselves in ways they would have never adopted just a few years ago. But they do far more: they enable poor behavior. They’ve become breeding grounds for passive-aggressive behavior. A passive-aggressive person is someone who is nice in person, but who often resorts to underhanded, mean, or divisive behavior by other means. Email, texting and social media have become tremendous enablers for people to say and do things without tact, diplomacy, kindness and love. Are they signs of the times? I think so.

Jesus said that one of the characteristics of the world just prior to His return was an “increase in wickedness.” He said, “Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Is the world’s chilling wickedness being exacerbated and accelerated by social media, texting and email? I think it is. If you’re not careful, you your love is going to become icy, too.

” . . .we become like the people we spend time with.”

We are being bombarded every moment of the day with sensory stimuli that has no accountability when it comes to being kind. Think about it: social media, texts and emails are all designed for fast self-expression. It’s all about speed, not diplomacy. This has created a huge problem for all of us. The chickens have come home to roost.

THE CHICKENS HAVE COME HOME TO ROOST: We are seeing the negative impacts of emailing, texting and social media on a large scale basis.

HEAT UP YOUR RESISTANCE

In order to combat bratty behavior, you need to be on your toes, alert, and vigilant against your own love growing cold. Remember that hot food begins to cool down the moment it’s taken out of the oven. Likewise, your love and good manners will also wane – unless you take deliberate steps to keep it hot. So, what’s a person to do in order to ensure you don’t go along with the growing crowd that is absolutely wrong when it comes to manners, kindness and love?

The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Since we become like the people we spend time with, the most practical thing you can do to make sure you don’t behave like a spoiled brat is to spend time with God. He’ll rub off on you – and that will make you rub off on others.

You can cultivate your prayer life and Bible reading – but don’t just delight in the time you spend doing this. Get heaven-bent on putting what you’re reading into practice, immediately, in your own life. We have thousands upon thousands of Christians in America – but in the Book of Acts we see that it is the spirit-led Christians who are the movers and shakers of culture. Spirit-led Christians are the ones God moves through with consistent power. We need to rediscover the power of the Holy Spirit.

You and I need to not be satisfied with simply knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. We need to pursue spirit-led, spirit-empowered living. This is only possible through consistent prayer and Bible application. (Forget your Bible reading program if it isn’t leading you to applying what you read).

Yes, America has become a nation of brats. We’re like a group of middle schoolers without manners, and it’s time this nonsense stop. How about being part of the solution to our nation’s decline?

Spirit-led, spirit-empowered living is exactly what you need at this time in your life. It’s what our nation needs, too.

Now, it’s time for your thoughts. What can you do to be a person of manners in “Middle School” America?

 

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March 13, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

Is Porn Good For Your Relationship?

Is Porn Good For Your Relationship?

I RECENTLY READ AN ARTICLE THAT TRIED TO MAKE THE CASE THAT A COUPLE CAN BENEFIT FROM WATCHING PORN TOGETHER. With the growing acceptance of porn in the mainstream, more and more couples are turning to it to try and heat up their frigid bedrooms. But is it true? Is porn good for your relationship?

I want to give you a few solid reasons why porn cannot possibly be good for you or your relationship – ever – and how it will actually destroy your walk with God, hinder the development of real love in your relationship, and cost you dearly in light of eternity.

SHARE THIS POST WITH A FRIEND YOU KNOW WHO MAY NEED TO READ IT.
WHY NOT POST IT ON YOUR FACEBOOK WALL?

Here are just a few points that will bomb the myth of “good” porn to smithereens:

  1. When you watch porn, you are most likely watching unmarried people engage in sexual activity. In other words, you are watching people engage in what the Bible calls “sexual immorality,” or “fornication.” To watch is to celebrate, not flee, from sexual immorality. Consider 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 (NIV):

    “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

    And, if the people you are watching are married, having allowed themselves to be photographed or filmed, they are engaging in the sin of leading people astray by letting them watch what should only be shared between two married individuals.

  1. When you watch porn, you are lusting after the person/people you are watching – and lust is sin. Jesus said that to even look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery with her (same is true to look at anyone lustfully):

    “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’

    MARRIAGE IS FOR LOVE, NOT LUST . . .

    But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment … You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” — Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28 (NIV)

    Watching porn is a willful decision to personally engage in sexual immorality through the sin of lust. It is to fan the flame of sin when it should, instead, be snuffed out. Consider 1 Corinthians 6:18-19 (NIV):

    “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own . . .”We should not toy with sexual immorality. We should run from it full speed.

  1. When you watch porn, you are going to be tempted to covet your neighbor’s spouse, which is an overt sin (See Exodus 20:17). You are going to end up doing more than just being tempted – you are going to end up coveting, and that is a serious sin.
  1. When you watch porn, it is going to influence you in the wrong direction – to want your mate to be like the person/people you watch, and to lose their identity as the individual God created him/her to be. Unconditional (agape) love does not seek to change another person, but to accept, celebrate and nurture the person God created.When you watch porn, you will be tempted to compare what you see on your device, or television, to what you see in real life. The chances of you or someone else living up to how porn actors look, and what they do, are slim. You’re setting yourself up, and your partner, for failure.

    RELATIONSHIP KILLER: Porn will create distance between you and your mate. Run from it.

    Porn will devastate your understanding of what it means to be created, beautifully, in the image of God.

  1. When you watch porn, you may be unwittingly supporting even more diabolical forms of immorality such as child pornography. Jesus has harsh words for people who abuse children:

    “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea . . .” – Mathew 18:6 (NIV)

    You may say, “Well, I’m not watching child porn.” True, but you may be helping it happen without realizing it, and that’s the problem. Don’t be so naïve as to think major pornography producers limit their genre to what you’re watching. When you watch, you support an industry that has a diverse audience whose appetite it seeks to feed. Watching enables them to feed the lusts of people with twisted views on sex and sexuality.

    If you’ve watched porn, you may have indirectly, unwittingly supported things like child porn. Now you know, and that makes you responsible to make sure it never happens again.

  1. When you watch porn, you are going to be tempted to do things with your body, sexually, that you should not do. I don’t think I need to go into any detail about this, but here is a verse that will help drive the point home:

    “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” – Proverbs 6:28-29 (NIV)

  1. In the long run, watching porn will destroy your sex life and emotional intimacy with your partner. Pornographic scenes often depict unrealistic situations and behaviors that often cannot be

    PORN IS A GREAT WAY TO DEMOLISH YOUR RELATIONSHIP – AND YOUR LIFE.

    duplicated. Attempts to mimic what you watch end up dashing hopes, creating guilt and emotional distance. Emotional intimacy is one of the byproducts of a godly, loving relationship – and porn will obliterate that.Watch porn, and you’re going to end up sinning, one way or another.

  1. You are going to get addicted, and “addiction” is simply another word for “enslavement.” There are some things you cannot “unsee.” Porn provides a myriad of such opportunities that will lead you to thinking, fantasizing and fixating on things when you are not capable of turning them off. Want to put a ball and chain around your life? Watch porn.
CONCLUSION: Watching porn is sin – in multiple ways, with multiple consequences. Sin never moves us forward, but always sets us back, because sin is resistance to God, and no one who resists God ever comes out a winner. Sin always results in the loss, not gain, of God’s blessing, difficulty and devastation.
Remember these things next time someone who doesn’t have God’s interests – or yours – in mind, when they try to tell you that porn can be good for your relationship. It’s terrible for you, and you (and your partner) should run from it as if your life with Christ depends upon it. It does.

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM READING THIS POST? HOW HAS IT HELPED YOU?

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

Life is School: Pay Attention To Your Child Because Your Child Is Paying Attention To You

Life is School: Pay Attention To Your Child Because Your Child Is Paying Attention To You

LIFE IS SCHOOL, and if you have a child, you are their primary teacher, like it or not.The truth is that your children are watching you, and paying attention to you even if you are not watching and paying attention to them. Most lessons a child learns are not learned within the walls of a classroom, but from you, in the daily grind of life. This is the real classroom. Parenting is the most awesome responsibility this side of Eden. When you make the most of who you are, you improve the odds that your child will positively follow in your footsteps.

The public vs. homeschool debate is, in some ways, a mute point because every child is being homeschooled. Children watch how you interact with people – and from your interactions they will develop their own approach to mingling, conflict resolution, how to have a conversation and more. Your child watches how you handle stress – and by watching you they will develop their stress management (or mismanagement) skills. Your child observes how you use your time, money, and every other resource God puts into your hands. In other words, you are teaching your child how to live, for better or worse.

The fundamental question in child-rearing is this: Are you paying attention to your child, being intentional about how you are living so that what they learn by observing you is worthwhile and God-glorifying? If it isn’t, don’t blame your child. Start making changes with yourself, and you must may find that your child follows your lead.

YOUR CHILD IS FOLLOWING YOU — AND LEARNING FROM YOU — ALL THE TIME. IS HOW YOU’RE LIVING WORTH A FOLLOW?

You have already begun to teach your child about the following, and so much more:
  • The importance of the virtual world compared to the real world right before their eyes. How is your use of your smart phone, tablet, computer and television influencing your child? Do you look your child in the eye when talking, and when he/she is talking to you, or are you distracted by something else?
  • The value of money. Do you save, invest, spend carelessly? In watching you, what is your child learning about money? Does it grow on trees or come as a result of hard work? What are you teaching them about debt and freedom?
  • The irreplaceable value of time. What are you teaching your child about the most precious resource they will have, their time? Do you waste it or value it? Do you plan for meaningful times together, use a calendar and show them that time, once it is gone, never comes back?
  • Forgiveness and reconciliation. One of the biggest obstacles in all of life is created when we refuse to forgive people and pursue reconciliation. Are you a forgiving person, or given to bitterness? This one thing will be responsible for much of their happiness, or grief, in all of life. Do you want your child to be happy or miserable? Carefully consider, then, what you are modeling for your child about forgiveness and reconciliation.

The truth is that you child is watching you all the time. What are they learning? Even when you don’t realize it, they are watching you, developing their outlook on life, communication skills, financial strategy and just about everything — by watching you. Are you giving them good things to watch, so that you set your child up for success?

WHAT ONE OR TWO THINGS CAN YOU SIT DOWN AND FOCUS ON THIS WEEK IN YOUR OWN LIFE, START GETTING IN ORDER, AND IMPROVING? DOING THIS WILL NOT ONLY HELP YOUR OWN LIFE – IT MAY VERY WELL SAVE YOUR CHILD FROM A LIFETIME OF HARDSHIP. Remember, your child is watching you, and learning.

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

 

Secret Weapon: Charged, Fired Up, Fearless & Fruitful

Secret Weapon: Charged, Fired Up, Fearless & Fruitful

LIKE YOU, I LEAK. In fact, I’m so good at leaking that if I could patent the process I’d be a millionaire capable of turning my profits into one charitable success story after another. I’d have money to feed the poor, clothe the needy, fight human trafficking and more. My problem is that I seem to be wired with an autopilot feature that steers me toward embracing a life of comfort and convenience more than anything else – including the glory of God and His agenda above all else. What’s the cure? The filling with the Holy Spirit. When you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, you’ll be charged, fired up, fearless and fruitful. We need the power of God coursing through our lives. In fact, it is only when we depend upon the Holy Spirit that we can truly live for Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is God’s not so secret “secret weapon.” He transforms us from being walking contradictions into living sacrifices, people on fire for Jesus Christ, unafraid to stand up and speak out in a day of hate and fear. I’ve found that the real challenge begins with me, not what’s happening in the world. I need the Spirit of God to do a mighty work in me each day – moment by moment – so that sin in my own life is pushed back, and the agenda of God is somehow advanced through the most unlikely conduit – me.

WHY NOT SHARE THIS BLOG ON YOUR FACEBOOK WALL,
AND SHARE YOU COMMENTS BELOW?

PEER PRESSURE PETER
The same is true for you. It’s true for everyone. One of the things all humans tend to do is think we are unique, but we aren’t. We all face the same problems, though to different degrees. The solutions, therefore, often have similar ingredients. When it comes to overcoming sin in my life, the same solution is effective in your life: the Holy Spirit. He is one of the greatest gifts God gives the believer. Are you enjoying that gift?

Like you and me, Peter the Apostle had a propensity to give in to peer pressure — and peer pressure hinders the flow of God’s Spirit. He denied Jesus three times because he was afraid of people. But Acts 4:8 is a testimony of his transformation, courtesy of the Holy Spirit. It says, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!” He went on to testify fearlessly for Christ.

Peter’s transformation is striking, because he was already filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit …”

WHEN GOD LEADS, HE EMPOWERS. Why not let the Holy Spirit lead you in every area of life?

SPIRITUAL AMNESIA
How quickly we forget what the first believers understood: the filling with the Holy Spirit is not something that happens once and for all. It’s something that must happen perpetually if we expect to be charged, fired up and fruitful for Jesus.

So, how are we filled with the Holy Spirit? One of the lessons I’ve learned from my own failures is that I not only leak, but I’m also a magnet that attracts other things to take the place of what only God can satisfy. I not only leak, but I also get filled up on things I need to resist – because those things take up space that is best taken only by the presence and power of God. I’ve found that I leak less when I guard myself against things that don’t align with honoring God.

HERE’S WHAT WE CAN DO
I need to watch what I watch. This is true not only for the internet and television, but also for what I allow to play in the theater of my mind. The Bible says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). If this is true of my thought life, how much more true is it about what I allow my eyes and ears to feast upon?

Common sense tells us that garbage in will lead to garbage throughout. Do you allow yourself to watch, listen to, and think things that you wouldn’t if everything were out in the open before Jesus? Guess what? It already is. The good news is that the Holy Spirit can clean up our lives if we let Him.

In the end, we leak because we allow ourselves to fill up on things that don’t honor God. These are the things that end up coming our of us. The first step to being filled – perpetually – with the Holy Spirit, is to get into the daily and moment-by-moment practice of emptying ourselves of what dishonors God. When that happens, the leaks begin to take care of themselves.

IS THERE ANYTHING MORE I COULD SHARE THAT MIGHT HELP YOU IN YOUR JOURNEY? WHAT STRUCK YOU AS YOU READ? WE’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS . . .

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life I’ve learned through failure. I share them happily because doing so may spare you from making the same mistakes. I typically publish my blogs Tuesday through Friday, here and on Facebook. We welcome and read comments from readers just like you because they help us (and others) think and grow. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

My first book, published by Thomas Nelson, is slated for release in March, 2018. For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or to explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

Love, Lava and Crocodiles: Imagination In A World Captivated By Nonsense

Love, Lava and Crocodiles: Imagination In A World Captivated By Nonsense

LAST NIGHT, MY BOYS AND I TRANSFORMED OUR GUEST ROOM INTO A FICTITIOUS LAND OF BUBBLING LAVA AND CROCODILES. As we lay on the bed, I would give the suspenseful countdown signaling it was time to begin another round – ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two-and-a-half, two, one-and-a-half, one, GO! In our version of last man standing, each of us would then try and push each other off the bed (which had become a raft), and into the waters of the crocodile infested Amazon. When we grew weary of that version, the magical “raft” acquired heat-resistant qualities, and took us down a molten river of lava.

As our frenzied fun-fest began, we realized we needed to move all breakables into the hallway, safe from the harm of our havoc. Once we did, the fun went deeper. We yelled loudly (even screamed), and cried “uncle!” in despair – repeatedly. The sweat, pouring from our pores, coerced us to dig deeper and wrestle with greater fervor. We carried on, laughing hard as we slapped, pinched, and pushed each other off the bed and onto the floor that was only a “floor” in the real world we abandoned earlier. Never did a game of father-son conquest feel so good.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge,” said Einstein. “Knowledge,” he said, “is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Brother, was he ever right.

Life is so serious these days – and we’re so accustomed to be being entertained from without – that we’ve forgotten the incredible power of the mind to relieve stress, deepen our relationships and help us live and love. For all our achievements in the modern era, I think one of the most tragic is how we look for amusement outside of us, when all along it is within.

Life is short, and time flies fast. Before you know it, it will be over. People, not things, are most important. What matters most is how we love, because one day, nothing else will matter.

Slow down. Use that great mind God has given you. Love, love, love. And stop treating time as if it were in abundance. It is the most priceless, irreplaceable resource we have at our disposal. Dispose of it wisely.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? ARE YOU MAXIMIZING YOUR IMAGINATION?

Michael Anthony Blog - Godfactor.comABOUT ME: I hope my blogs give you a solid truth or two that encourage, challenge and inspire you to squeeze the most out of the only life you’ll ever have this side of eternity. I typically publish my blogs from Tuesday through Friday. Your comments are always appreciated because they not only encourage my family and me, but most likely others, too. Don’t be shy. Chime in.

For more about me, click on the image or here. If you’d like to request an interview, or explore the potential of my speaking to your group, click here.

 

Do This And You’ll Be Free

Do This And You’ll Be Free

When God breaks His silence, it’s because He has something big to say. One of the key traits of a Christ-follower is to develop the skill of listening to God – and to immediately adjust that part of life to what He says. If this is not a primary objective of your life, it’s a good indication you are not following Jesus Christ. 

The word that summarizes this approach to life is “repentance.” It is to a lifestyle of repentance that Jesus calls everyone when it comes to being His disciple. Without a lifestyle of repentance, it is not possible to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the final analysis, each day will take its place as a tile in the mosaic of our lives. We are either following Christ or someone –- or something –- else. The lie that we believe is that there is satisfaction apart from God. The truth is that God is the author of all satisfaction. To live a surrendered life is to live a life of divine satisfaction. When we compromise surrender, we forfeit fellowship with God, and with it the satisfaction that He alone gives.

SILENCE SPEAKS
There was a season when God was silent for 400 years.
The silence of God was between the time of Malachi and the opening words of Jesus Christ, recorded in Mark’s Gospel. (Malachi was the last Old Testament prophet of the book that bears his name. You can find it at the end of the Old Testament, right before Matthew’s Gospel.)

When God is silent, it is only because He is preparing to say something significant. In other words, the silence of God is the silver platter upon which the golden apple will be set. Never, therefore, belittle the silence of God. The Master, even in silence, speaks.

Remember, Jesus is indeed God, and it was not merely the Father, but also the Son who was silent for centuries. Jesus’ first words in Mark’s gospel are staggeringly significant. It is the way God broke His silence that should stop us in our tracks – and as a result, move us forward. Jesus’ words reveal our need for the transforming touch of God, and how fundamentally out of alignment we are without it. His words are simple, but by no means insignificant. They are meant to change everything about us, from the inside-out.

Here are the words, carefully selected and masterfully delivered by Almighty God Himself, when He came on the scene and broke His 400 years of silence:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;repent and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1:15 (ESV)

The verb tense in the Greek language that Mark used would be better translated into English as “repent and keep repenting” and “believe and keep believing.” This magnifies the significance of Jesus’ words. A richer, truer understanding of His words reads like this:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and keep repenting, believe and keep believing in the gospel.”

FIRST STEPS, NEW LIFE
Everyone who is now following Jesus had an initial moment of repentance and belief.
There is a first time when a person comes to terms with Jesus being God, Savior and friend. But that is simply the new beginning of an entirely new life – an entirely new way of living.

The life of a Christ-follower is to be characterized not merely by belief, but by daily, and moment-by-moment, repentance. Repentance, in brief, is a change of heart, mind and behavior. It is to do a “180,” walking away from the ways of the world, the desires of the sinful nature, and the temptations of Satan.

Everything a Christ follower does is to be marked by a continually turn from selfishness, worldliness and the pursuit of things that don’t matter, to selflessness and things that matter forever.

In short, we need to turn from the sins of self-glorification and of self-protection. All sin can be categorized into one, or both, of these practices. Everything we think, dream and do is to be marked by belief in the Son of God, Jesus, as our Master and Savior in everything. And, when we are really following Jesus, we can no longer take lightly the places we would otherwise go in our minds, hearts and walk. A newfound love for God compels the real Christ-follower to follow.

Surrendering fully to God never limits us. It sets us free. Perpetual repentance and belief are the new calling for the man, woman, boy or girl who has truly heard the Master’s voice and is responding in simple, but vital, obedience.

What about you? Are you repenting and believing throughout each day? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m sure others would, too. 

Page 1 of 812345...Last »