MICHAEL ANTHONY BLOG

World Events

Leadership

Relationships

Personal Growth

Resources

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

Advent

Special Topics

The Life of Christ
The Michael Anthony Bible Teaching Podcast

Understand Life

Interviews

Vision of Life

Clean Sweep

The Book of Acts: How Christians Live
The Michael Anthony Bible Teaching Podcast

ignite your life!

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

The Power of Preading

Special Message by Pastor Joe Ercoli Do you want to experience an ever-deepening relationship with God through His Word? Do you long to grow in intimacy with the Lord through prayer? If you’ve answered YES to either of these questions then message is for you! Don’t...

The Power of Preading

Special Message by Pastor Joe Ercoli

Do you want to experience an ever-deepening relationship with God through His Word? Do you long to grow in intimacy with the Lord through prayer? If you’ve answered YES to either of these questions then message is for you! Don’t miss out on learning how you can experience the power of preading in your own life!

George Washington Called: He Wants His Country Back

George Washington Called: He Wants His Country Back

If it were possible to resurrect our founding fathers, I’m certain that we would be reading headlines like: “George Washington called. He wants his country back.” I’m with him. I want my country back, don’t you?

YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO NEEDS TO READ THIS.
WHY NOT SHARE IT ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER?

Where is our republic anymore? Where is the courage we really need to turn things around? If you’re paying attention, you should be pretty peeved with what’s happening to your country right now — but being peeved won’t change anything. We’ve been suffering for so long without real leadership — on so many levels — that we don’t realize how leaderless we have become. It should awaken us — to the point of getting beyond useless complaining and into taking humble, honorable action. Yesterday, for instance, John McCain arose from his personal health struggles to make an appearance before congress. At first, it seemed very valiant and patriotic. He made a strong appeal for bipartisanship in the healthcare debacle — but then he voted along party lines. Really, Mr. McCain? Shouldn’t we put the brakes on the notion that a quick fix to this mess is possible?

Houston, we have a problem - Michael Anthony Courage Matters Blog

The actual phrase used by the Apollo 13 crew was, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

President Obama took over a year to court opponents and supporters before pushing to pass “The Affordable Healthcare Act,” (which is anything but affordable). He took the time necessary to ensure he had the votes to pass the bill — the one some people are now rightly seeking to repeal and replace (and if you’re upset with me for saying that, I’ll look for your comments, below). The current version is laden with so much government sugar, spice and regulation that it has literally choked the productivity of companies. It’s ruined insurance as we knew it. And, it’s stifled families, too. That’s not opinion; it’s fact. 

The bigger problem now is the big assumption: Government should take care of you from the cradle to the grave. In other words, the federal government is your new God. You can, and must, have faith in it to provide for you and save you from everything. Orwell’s 1984 is here, just a few decades late.

If you’re a millennial, put down that glass of Cabernet Sauvignon long enough to let that last paragraph sink in, because your generation is going to be more enslaved than any other in the history of America — because America’s lack of leadership is now a pandemic. If you’re not a millennial, then you should be concerned about your children and grandchildren, because unless we start standing up and speaking out, they’re going to have it even worse than the millennials. 

COMMENT BELOW AND MAKE YOUR CASE.
I’M LISTENING, AND I’M READY TO DIPLOMATICALLY DIALOGUE.

Houston, we have a problem* — and it’s not on the moon, but down here, on earth. More specifically, it’s in the White House and in both houses of congress. It’s a leadership void, and brothers and sisters, it’s massive. In fact, America is hemorrhaging, and if we don’t do something now, I’m afraid we’re going to bleed to death. What I mean is this: the slow and painful death of America is accelerating before our very eyes — and no one seems to give an old-fashioned darn. We’ve allowed love for our own reputations to surpass our love for country — and we’re all starting to drown as a result.

REMEMBER THAT THING CALLED NATIONAL DEBT?
In our personal lives, too much debt enslaves. It’s no different for a nation. It’s great to help people who truly need it. I’m a pastor, and I’m all for helping the poor, the needy and those who cannot help themselves — but even Jesus said, “the poor will always be with you” (Matt. 26:11). But are we actually creating a nation of slaves as a result? I think we are, and I’m not afraid to say so loud and clear. Do you really think the health care debacle our former president and congress created was really about helping the poor? I don’t buy it for a minute, and if you do, I want to challenge you to put partisan politics aside and look at the forest through the trees: I think it was really about getting more people dependent upon the sugar daddy called big government. Once you give a baby a bottle, fat chance of pulling it away without an earful of screaming. Hence the screaming about all those who will be left high and dry if we take away the bottle that President Obama fed America.

GIVE A CRYING BABY A BOTTLE AND TRY TO PULL IT AWAY. You’re in for an earful of screaming. Welcome to any attempt to repeal Obamacare.

I hope you don’t think this is a pro President Trump rant — because it’s far from it. I don’t think he’s handling this at all like a master negotiator and deal-maker would. And if Mrs. Clinton were in his shoes, I’m confident we’d be on an even faster track toward all-out socialism — in the name of fairness and equality, when it would really be about control. Socialism, if you know your stuff, is diametrically opposed to the Constitution, to America, to freedom and to liberty. It’s even opposed to Christianity, though many want you to believe it’s the closest thing to it, just without Jesus. It’s actually sinister. Socialism is legalized enslavement where the government determines what — and who — is important. Sorry, Senator Sanders, but it’s true.

The fact is that we can’t support everyone, but if we try, we’ll train everyone to keep their hands out for more, more, more. It will perpetuate the downward spiral. Human nature will welcome it. Let’s face it: if I can get something for “free,” I won’t care who paid the bill. I’ll just take all I can and enjoy the ride. The light at the end of that tunnel is an absolute train wreck.

GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR BUCKET
Personally, I’m appropriately angry that the lack of leadership by my generation (and the one before it) created a mess of a problem for millennials — and for everyone coming after them. My children, now thirteen and eleven, will have to be taxed so much that they will literally face an enslavement created by big government unlike any we have seen in our history.

It’s all happening right under our noses — because people like you and me have welcomed it by our complacency. You should write and call your congressman and the White House and humbly demand this partisan nonsense stop. you should consider running for office — and if you get elected, be a LEADER with the courage to make important decisions that may not be politically popular, but best for a free, democratic republic. I’m sorry, but America will never be great “again,” or greater than ever without real leadership. So far, we aren’t seeing real leadership very much at all.

“The time is long overdue for humble action. We can’t wait any longer. You may be a person of prayer, but a bit of elbow grease must often accompany bent knees.”

CHRISTIAN? Get your head out of your bucket. If you’ve been waiting for a divine bail-out from America’s problems, in the form of Christ’s return, I want to challenge you to consider that you may subconsciously be using it as a veiled excuse for being a courageous leader.

If you’re a Christian, I hope you aren’t sticking your head in a bucket, holding out for the Rapture or Christ’s return. Far too many are. Hey, I believe in Jesus’ return — but we Christians need to do a good bit of repenting for using the Rapture and the Second Coming as excuses for doing what we need to do to make things right. In America, we’ve been given a sacred trust, and by the looks of things we don’t seem to grasp the task. The time is long overdue for humble action. We can’t wait any longer. You may be a person of prayer, but a bit of elbow grease must often accompany bent knees.

The return of Christ may be a long, long way off. If you knew Christ’s return were centuries away, would you live with the kind of apathy many of his followers are displaying today?

Ben Franklin said it well: you “have a republic — if you can keep it.” We won’t keep our republic without solid, selfless, humbly courageous leadership. It’s time you become the solution we need by living commendably, courageously standing up and speaking out about the nonsense that has become the new America — before it’s truly too late.

*https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Houston,_we_have_a_problem: The origin of the phrase was in the past tense: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” The crew of the Apollo 13 moon flight, used it to report a major technical problem to the Houston base. The phrase is often misquoted as “Houston, we have a problem.”  See Houston, We’ve Had a Problem (NASA).

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. ARE YOU DOING YOUR PART TO BE A LEADER, TO HELP GET AMERICA ON TRACK? IF NOT FOR YOURSELF, HOW ABOUT FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN?

Michael Anthony and Family

ABOUT 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.

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself. This is all made possible by generous listeners, readers, and supporters like you. Please consider giving towards Courage Matters to ensure our nation has the opportunity to hear the message of TRUTH and LOVE. You can donate by clicking the “Give” tab on CourageMatters.com or on the Courage Matters app.

Did Jesus Judge? (How Seeing Red Misses the Black and White)

Did Jesus Judge? (How Seeing Red Misses the Black and White)

We’ve all heard it. We may even believe it: “Jesus didn’t judge.” It’s a huge claim, considering the life and teachings of Jesus. But is it true? The word “judge” means to “give an authoritative opinion.” For those who keep reciting the mantra that “Jesus didn’t judge,” and that his followers shouldn’t either, I have a humble message to deliver: Merriam Webster called. She wants her dictionary back. Did Jesus judge? All the time. In fact, you’ll never be able to love God, people, or yourself until you learn how to judge as Jesus did. 

Stay with me, because what you’re about to read could forever change your life. 

Did Jesus Judge? - Michael Anthony Courage Matters BlogThe “Jesus didn’t judge” argument is typically made by people who want to justify attitudes and behaviors long prohibited in the Bible. If you don’t know your Bible (and Jesus), the statement can freeze you, rendering you incapable of saying anything further — because it seems, on the surface, to be such a powerful statement of truth. In fact, it’s entirely false. When people use it, they reveal their lack of Bible knowledge — and lack of knowing the biblical Jesus. Notice I say “biblical Jesus.” It’s so important to do this nowadays, because so many have recreated Jesus in their own image. The end result is a Jesus who isn’t the Jesus of Scripture at all. In 1 Corinthians 11:4 (ESV) Paul warns us to resist this practice:

“For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.


FAKE vs. REAL JESUS

A non-judging Jesus isn’t Jesus. As a matter of historical fact, Jesus did judge — continually. He still does. The coy lie that Jesus didn’t judge, or that His followers should not judge, can only lead to the conclusion of tossing the entire Bible out the window — along with Christianity. To follow Jesus is to be judged and to judge – it’s simply a matter of how that judgment takes place.

WHY NOT SHARE THIS BLOG ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER?
SOMEONE, YOU KNOW NEEDS TO READ THIS.

The entire Bible is a book about judging attitudes and behavior in the here and now, so that they conform to what honors God. It is impossible to read or teach the Bible without quickly getting to the issue of morals — and morals deal with motives and behaviors. Passing judgment. The entire Bible is a book about reforming thoughts and behaviors so that they fall in line with God.

“God hates being separated from us, and that’s why he decided to do something about it. There has never been a more potent, simultaneous expression of hatred and love . . . justice and mercy kissed at the cross.”

What does this mean for Jesus’ followers? It means that it’s not possible to follow him without first judging ourselves. Then, and only then, can we be in position to help others change their ways, too. The key is to judge with true humility toward God and people. If you judge with arrogance, or a self-righteous attitude, you haven’t yet learned how to judge with the kind of humility Jesus calls each of us to.

Consider 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV), as one potent reminder: 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.” Is it possible to demolish an argument or pretension, or to take a thought captive without judging it? And if this doesn’t lead to reining in otherwise sinful behavior, then what’s the point?

NOT THE REAL JESUS: The idea that Jesus didn’t judge can only be supported if we throw away his teachings. To do so would give us a Jesus other than the one presented in the Bible.

THE CROSS
The cross is where God made his definitive judgment against sin. He hates it. But the cross is also his ultimate act of love toward sinners. God hates being separated from us, and that’s why he decided to do something about it. There has never been a more potent, simultaneous expression of hatred and love. In other words, justice and mercy kissed at the cross. The next time someone says, “Jesus didn’t judge,” ask them to think more — much more — about the cross.

COMING JUDGMENT — BY JESUS
In fact, one day we will all appear before Jesus — to be judged. Believers appear for a judgment of rewards. This is known as the “judgment seat” of Christ (Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10). Unbelievers will be judged at the “great white throne” judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15. The white throne judgment is not a judgment of rewards, because there is no reward for those who reject Christ. It is a judgment of eternal separation known as the “second death.” A simplified way to understand the great white throne judgment is that people who go through this life willingly rejecting God will get their desire granted, eternally, at the great white throne judgment.

The Bible presents right and wrong, good and bad. If Jesus didn’t judge, we would have no Bible — the Bible from which Jesus constantly taught. If Jesus didn’t expect us to judge each other and one another, then He would not have called anyone to preach or teach about Him. We wouldn’t even be able to read the Bible for ourselves, let alone others. If judgment weren’t part of the Christian turf, God would not have used human beings to plant a single church, where the Bible is to be taught, embraced and applied around the world. The fulfillment of the Great Commission would be impossible.

SEEING RED?
Keep in mind that the red letters found in some publications of the New Testament (intended to help readers quickly identify the spoken words of Jesus), were non-existent in Jesus’ day. He quoted and taught from the Old Testament. 
In light of this, it’s vital to understand that Jesus’ teachings go far beyond the red letters of the New Testament. They are contained throughout the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) reminds us that it is not just parts of the Bible that matter, but all of it:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”

It’s all the teachings of the Bible that are inspired, given to us by God — and continually quoted by Jesus. (Of course, some passages have a limited context in time and scope, but we must be very careful we don’t dismiss the obvious, ongoing application of the overwhelming majority of the Bible).

ERASING TRUTH: To think that only the red letters in a New Testament are the teachings of Jesus is to have the most elementary misunderstanding of Jesus’ words.

FOUR LETTER WORD
Think about this: the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) is to go into the world and not merely sprinkle or immerse people under water (baptize), but teach people to obey Jesus’ commands. Here it is, in all its splendor:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Notice the words “obey everything.” If there is no difference between a person who obeys, and a person who does not, then what’s the point? Obedience requires judging our thoughts and behaviors, and weighing them against God’s standards. Obedience requires perpetual judgment and adjustment.

SO, WHAT DID JESUS MEAN?
When Jesus said “do not judge or you will be judged” (Matthew 7:1-6), the context was a rebuke against a critical, self-righteous, legalistic spirit, not against judging with humility, using the plumb line of God’s word as the measure. Cults are formed and forge followings by taking words out of context. They lead people astray. Jesus’ words, “do not judge or you will be judged” are among the most out-of-context quotes in the history of civilization — and when we misquote them, we lead people away from Jesus in droves.

Consider Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (ESV):

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Did Jesus judge? If you’re still asking that question, you aren’t paying attention.

DO YOU KNOW PEOPLE WHO HAVE TOLD YOU, “JESUS DIDN’T JUDGE?” HOW HAS THIS POST HELPED YOU KNOW HOW TO ANSWER THEM WITH FACTS AND TACT?

[1] Italics emphasis mine.

Michael Anthony and Family

Simeon, Janet, yours truly and Titus

ABOUT 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.

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself. This is all made possible by generous listeners, readers, and supporters like you. Please consider giving towards Courage Matters to ensure our nation has the opportunity to hear the message of TRUTH and LOVE. You can donate by clicking the “Give” tab on CourageMatters.com or on the Courage Matters app.

The Book of Acts #24: Why No One Is Beyond Reach

The Book of Acts #24: Why No One Is Beyond Reach

By sharing a powerful true story of his own father just prior to his death, Michael shares the powerful truth that no one is beyond the reach of Almighty God. Do you know someone who seems to be so far from God that they seem to be beyond reach? They actually may be closer to God’s reach than you think. This message will inspire you to pray to God and trust him to use you powerfully in the lives of others you encounter – especially those who seem to be beyond reach. It will also help you be more cautious about being critical toward the Church – for a vital reason you may not have considered as carefully as you should. Get ready to have God change your perspective and your life through this powerful, life-igniting message.

Pause for Wisdom – You Need It

Pause for Wisdom – You Need It

You can never make a bad decision a good decision. While we can make the most of a bad decision, and God can even use a bad decision for His good, it’s not possible to change the fundamentals. I cannot emphasize this too strongly. Many people, many families, and many organizations, have made unwise decisions that affected them for the rest of their lives. It’s important that you pause for wisdom — today and every day — because you need it.

There’s a Proverb in the Bible that says it all: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight” (Proverbs 4:7 (ESV). This is especially true in today’s world where it’s become so hard to distinguish between falsehood and fact. The world seems to have gone crazy, but you can keep your cool — if you have WISDOM.

“I was terrible in Math, but I know that two wrongs never equal a right. If you’ve made a bad decision, the best thing you can do today is commit yourself to being wise, so that you don’t exacerbate your problems.”

If I’m honest, I’m a recovering dummy. If you’re honest, you are, too. We’ve all made our share of foolish decisions, and suffered the consequences. You may even be suffering the pain of a foolish decision made years ago. I want to encourage you: don’t add insult to injury. I was terrible in Math, but I know that two wrongs never equal a right. If you’ve made a bad decision, the best thing you can do today is commit yourself to being wise, so that you don’t exacerbate your problems.  If you don’t, then you haven’t learned a thing from your past mistakes — and that would simply make you a bigger fool.

And if you haven’t made a massive mistake, remember that you could and you will — if you don’t have wisdom. In fact, you may not make a massive mistake, but you could make a series of small ones that would add up to big problems. Wisdom is something we all need.

Why not share this blog on Facebook or Twitter?
Someone you know needs to read this.

 

HOW TO GET WISDOM:

  1. TALK TO WISE PEOPLE WHO KNOW HOW TO LISTEN. Proverbs 24:6 (NIV) says: “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers. Life today is nothing short of warfare. We are being enticed from every direction to think wrongly, act accordingly — and make one foolish decision after another. Who do you have surrounding you, whom you can ask for a listening ear, and their wise counsel as a result? I’m forever grateful for my wife, Janet, for lifelong friends like Trevor and Tom, and for the elders and pastors of the church I shepherd. If you don’t have at least two people you can bounce ideas off of, who genuinely have your best in heart and mind, you need them. Ask God to bring wise people into your life, who will help you navigate with wisdom. Don’t put this on the back burner of your life. You need wise people around you or you will eventually suffer the consequences.
  2. BE QUICK, SLOW, SLOW. There is no point in having wise people listen to you, and dispense their views for your best, if you’re not attentive. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,” says James 1:19 (ESV). God gave you two ears and one mouth on purpose. Use them proportionately. I like what the Dalai Lama said, “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Now, that’s wisdom.
  3. TAKE 24 HOURS AT A TIME. The elephant of life is eaten one bite at a time. Today will take its place as a single tile in the mosaic of your life. What kind of contribution will it make? If you function with wisdom, it will be a good one, regardless of the past. You don’t need wisdom for the rest of your life. You just need it for today. If you seek wisdom for today, and do so every day, your entire life will be one characterized by wisdom. Isn’t that a refreshing way to look at life?

I’m a pastor of a large church. I have a wife. And, I have a ministry called Courage Matters The pressures I face are enormous nearly each and every day. I often feel overwhelmed, out of my element, and desperate for wisdom — but I cannot afford to let them overtake me. Neither can you. I promise you that if you take today’s blog seriously, and apply what I’ve shared, you’ll be on your way to a lifetime of wisdom, regardless of your potentially foolish past.

ISN’T IT TIME YOU LIVE WITH WISDOM? DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS OTHER READERS COULD APPRECIATE? SHARE YOUR COMMENTS . . .

 

Michael Anthony and Family

Simeon, Janet, yours truly, and Titus. I love my family!

ABOUT 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.

If you like solid Bible teaching and want to enjoy God fully, you’ll appreciate the Courage Matters App, available on iTunes and Google Play. If you’re near York, Pa, come visit us on a Sunday at GenesisYork.com— and be sure to introduce yourself. This is all made possible by generous listeners, readers, and supporters like you. Please consider giving towards Courage Matters to ensure our nation has the opportunity to hear the message of TRUTH and LOVE. You can donate by clicking the “Give” tab on CourageMatters.com or on the Courage Matters app.

© Copyright, 2018 Courage Matters, LLC. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Contact | Sitemap