God Is Love

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Ever thought about it like this? That love connects and builds, while sin disconnects and destroys. What good is love if not used and demonstrated, and what value does sin present in our lives? Anything?

I John 4:8 says Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…, verse 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Conversely, it was sin that disconnected us from God since the beginning and it was Jesus’ dying on the cross for our sins that give us the opportunity to connect with God today. Jesus connects us with God and his love, so therefore Jesus is love, and the same as his Father who sent him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Want to be connected to Love? Receive and follow Jesus and you will have access to God and a love that changes lives. Let’s get filled with HIS love so we can give it away and love others. Be blessed today so that you may be a blessing to God and to others… Amen

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Surrender It ALL To Him

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Today’s message is to remember that whatever and whenever we surrender to our Heavenly Father, we place ourselves under the protection, covering, and blessed sovereignty of our Lord and Savior! A good exercise to be aware of what owns or distracts our heart, mind, and thoughts… Be encouraged today that “All things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

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I Will Make All Things New

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And the one sitting on the throne says, “Look, I am making everything new!” Rev 21:5

all things new 2014

Take a few moments if you haven’t already to reflect on 2013 and think about what new and good things you are working on a praying for in 2014.

What went well? What didn’t go well? What do you want to stop doing, start doing, and keep doing? What hurtful things are you going to let go of and give to God from last year? What new and hopeful things are you surrendering to HIM this year? What are your hopes and dreams for 2014? This could be a personal or family exercise; write this all down, pray over it and surrender it to God. Don’t look at this until next year at the same time and see what mighty, powerful, and miraculous things God did with your list.

John 14:13 says you can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father. James 1:6 But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea…

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… let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. Romans 12:2

Renew your Mind

Take some time this year to be intentional about the direction of your life. Go to the Father and ask him what he wants you to do and what he requires of you in 2014. Continue this prayer each day until he puts into your heart and mind the answer(s) that you are seeking. The bible tells us in Hebrews 4:16 …, So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There, we will receive mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.

If you need God today, go to him. He’s waiting for you… God bless and best wishes in 2014!

Having an attitude of Christ

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We’ve all heard before that attitude is everything, so what does this mean and what does it look like when it’s done right?

From a biblical perspective, start with Philippians 2:5 where it says “We must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Verse 14 of the same chapter says “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like the bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”

What was Jesus’ attitude and how do we mirror this?

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Matthew 25:40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ What attitude does this reflect?

There are many attitudes and positions in life to choose from, what comes to mind?

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1-What attitudes and position do you start each day with?
2-What are your attitudes with work, your spouse, your children, your friends?
3-What is the attitude you are known for?

Here’s an attitude about work:
Colossians 3:23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

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An overall attitude of gratitude and thankfulness:
Psalm 139:14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

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The thoughts that precede our developed attitudes:
Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

good thoughts

An attitude of trust and surrender:
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Trust God

There is more for us to study in God’s living Word. Seek out the attitudes that honor and glorify HIM and put into practice what he puts on your heart and mind. God bless you!

Applying The Law Of First Fruits

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The law of first fruits is this; give God the first and best part of everything you have and his word says he will pour out a blessing you can hardly contain. I first read about this in my bible when God received Abel’s gift offering and not his brother’s (Cain).

First Fruits

When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. Genesis 4:3-5

Why did this happen and what is the takeaway?

By bringing some of his harvested crop, Cain did little more that give God some of his leftovers and scraps. With Abel giving God one of his best first-born and best livestock, Abel gave God his first and best while Cain did not. How does this apply in our lives today?

It serves as a reminder to give God the first part of everything we make and have, so he will not only receive it, but so that he will bless us as well. Is there anything better than having God’s favor and provision in our lives? Is anything greater in life than the presence of God; does it not change everything?

Give God your all

Application: Give God the first part of our day in prayer, the first part of our year in a fast, the first part of our check in a tithe, the first part of our thoughts (consider him first in decisions), surrender to him our most valuable possessions.., involve him in all aspects of our lives. Do we not see him where we include him?

God says in his word to us, “test me in this” and see if I don’t pour out a blessing you can hardly contain!

Malachi 3:10 says this – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

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Proverbs 3:9-10 says Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

Part of the learning here is trust, part is obedience, and part is heart-condition. While we do our part (in effort), it is HE who gives us the strength and ability to do so. Let’s honor him together and be good stewards of the resources he gives and so he can enlarge our territory and give us dominion and stewardship over more. 90% is greater than 100% in God’s economy…, think about it. Test Him!

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Bless you and I pray that your heart and mind opens to the great things HE has in store for those who call him “Father”…

Restoring Your Life

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Taking care of my lawn has been harder than ever this year, I’ve had so many weeds and crab grass to deal with. While I was working on my lawn, it came to me how life’s challenges are so similar.

First, the nutgrass had to go so I bought something to take care of. It was fairly easy and taken care of within 3 days. I liken this to us simply being aware of how we want to live our lives each day. Or in other words, what do our words and actions say about us.., fairly straight forward in trying our best to make good choices each day.

Next, I pulled the large weeds, making sure to get it from the root so it wouldn’t come back. It left some big holes, but it’s not coming back.

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This can be like sin in our lives. Sin can do a lot of damage and leave some pretty big holes and if we don’t pull it by the root, it will remain there and cause havoc in our lives. And more, if we don’t replace that void in our lives with God’s mercy, love, and grace, it will either stay empty or something else might grow there. Like our own lives, where there is void, there is emptiness and and an overall feeling of un-satisfaction. Or worse, something we don’t want – may take root in our hearts or minds.

When it came to the toughest task, “the crabgrass”.., it was so mixed in with my good grass that you could hardly see anything good.

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When we get consumed by sin and all that it brings, it kind of takes over and the bad will outshine the good. For this task, only complete removal of these sections of grass (or our life) will fix the problem, leaving us to start over and re-plant the entire area with good seed.

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This is what our life can sometimes look like, right? .., when we’re trying to get better or do better? The process of getting better is ugly and takes time. And with purpose, patience, trust, and faith, it (and you) can and will be restored and made new again. I pray that you be restored today and that you can identify and remove anything that is coming between you and your Heavenly Father…

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Some scripture that I hope bless and inspire you – so that you may be complete in HIM, lacking nothing, and all that God has created you to be.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

James 1:4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Phillippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

What is faith?

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What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.

So how does this play out in our lives each day? Isn’t seeing, believing?

God’s word says in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please HIM without faith and that anyone who wants to come to him must believe not only that there is a God, but that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

So how do we get faith? How do we first believe before we can see? …, Ask for it!

Mark chapter 9:23-24 Jesus asks, “What do you mean, if I can?” “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father of the sick child then says “I do believe, but help me with my unbelief!”

Do you ever feel like that? .., wanting to believe but struggling with unbelief? When we do our part, HE does his part; so what’s our part? Believe, have faith, trust, demonstrate patience and endurance and behave in good character and integrity until HE moves. When you move, he moves and sometimes we’re required to do nothing and let HIM move. Either way, seek The Father – on whom our strength depends and he will encourage you and fill your heart and mind with what you need to get through your situation. He’s waiting for you, don’t wait…

Don’t force it, it will come…

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I’ve been working on some things in my life, things I want to happen, and things I want to materialize both at work and personally – and yesterday my lovely wife sends me just the right message at the right time.

It was perfect timing and a solid reminder that my job is to make effort and try and his promise is to use my effort, so it may be a blessing to others and myself. This morning I woke up with “What are we doing today Lord?” “What do you require of me today?” Today I remember and this morning I’m at peace knowing that my God is sovereign and has it all under control, and that when I do my part – he does his and I don’t need to sweat or worry about the details that make up the big picture. I just need to keep my eyes on Jesus, on whom my strength depends – and keep my eyes on the big picture and the prize that awaits me and every Christ follower.

On my way home Sunday there was this beautiful rainbow and I stopped to remember and recognize that God keeps his promises. He has a promise for me. He has a promise for you. Don’t forget he keeps his promises and hold on to what you know is true in and for your life. Has a blessed rest of your week….

What is love?

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In learning to be a “friend of God”, I work to discipline myself in his ways so that I can more like him and less like the man I was before I knew him. I don’t always succeed with this, but this is my life’s mission; to be as much like Jesus as possible. So what does that look like when I’m doing it?

I was thinking about this and thinking of how a parent roots for their kid in a sporting event and wondered if God does the same things. Of course he does. He’s up there rooting for me to be a good child to him, a good husband, a good father, a good friend, a good Christian. So what does this look like when I do it?

It looks like love. What does this look like? Love is patient, love is kind, it does not brag or boast, it is not proud. It doesn’t seek to dishonor others, and is not self-seeking, not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrong doing. It doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. You can read more about this in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13.

This seems so difficult to live out. The only place I get peace when thinking about this is to start with Jesus, because in him all things are possible and when I go to him for what I need, he supplies me with what I need for that situation, time, and place. I’m still learning to be loved by the Father through his son Jesus, and my goal is to give away whatever he gives me so that I may be blessed and be a blessing to those I do life with. Some loving encouragement for you today…

Three steps towards working on what lies before you

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My kids are still young enough at 10 and 13 to make birthday cards for me and this year didn’t disappoint. My daughter made a huge card out of 4 colored sheets of paper taped together with little tickets made for everything from back massages to washing my car. My son made a birthday booklet using three pieces of folded colored sheets of paper. The first page reads…Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Proverbs 4:25 Then in the middle of the card is said “Search for the Lord and his strength” Chronicles 16:11. He finished up with a verse in Psalm 118:4 Let all who fear the lord repeat, his faithful love and mercy endures forever.

I was amazed and thought to myself, wow, how does a 10 year old boy know how to do this and I asked him where he got those scriptures and how he picked them. He told me he found them in my bible and they just sounded good. He didn’t even know how much he was speaking into my life and to him it was no big deal, he was just loving on his dad.

I kept the card and take it with me when I travel, and find strength in my son’s words that day. And in thinking about the verses and the order they are in, it shares a commanding principle.

1-Focus on God, keep your eyes on Jesus (on whom our faith depends). Make your plans, God will determine our steps, and with his presence in our lives each day, we will journey in the right direction with his protection, guidance, provision, and favor.

2-Find your strength in HIM. Search for the Lord and his strength…, to mean that to journey on our own is a recipe for disaster but with God by our side and a daily walk with Jesus, when we are weak, he is strong and he will carry us during times of need. Jesus tells us if we need peace and rest to take his yoke for he is gentle and kind.

3-Find power in praise and prayer.., Let all who fear the Lord repeat “His faithful love (and mercy) endures forever.” This is a praise of all praise, and praise to God precedes victory in our lives. Praise him, thank him, glorify him, consider him, and fear him. You know, the kind of fear that makes you not want to disappoint The Father. This kind of fear is the beginning of wisdom, and this kind of wisdom from God lived out in our lives is the power of Christ in each of us.

I hope this word encourages and blesses you. Be strong in the Lord and look ahead to what lies before you, search for the Lord and his mighty strength, and continue to praise him and declare his goodness, grace, and mercy.., for there is more to come, and more God is doing with your special life.