Preparing for Greater things in 2016

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Friends, as we move towards the end of the year, together let’s take time to reflect on 2015, and prepare for 2016. God’s word says “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16.9 And while we are to make our best practical effort, we are also called to walk in faith, knowing he will guide and direct our path.

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This time every year, our family gets together and talks about how the past year has gone. We talk about the triumphs, victories, and successes, and we also talk about our disappointments, hurts, and failures. In doing so, we give it all back to Him. We give Him all the praise and glory for the blessings of the current year. And we give him all our hurts, worries, and fears, and pray for his guidance, wisdom, blessing, and favor for the year to come. And we know and have faith that by including and having relationship with Him, that His presence will change everything and be the difference in our lives. “God blesses those who realize their need for him.” Matthew 5:3

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As we move into 2016, Paul tells us this from the book of Philippians, “dear brothers and sisters, I have not yet achieved it, but I focus on this one thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians 3:13 No matter what the situation and results of 2015, together let’s press forward to what lies ahead. Hebrews 12:1-2 “And let us run with endurance, the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom or faith depends.”

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In the book of John, chapter 15 gives us wisdom and insight to think about things we should cut out in our lives, as well as things we should continue growing – for God’s glory and purposes. HE is the vine and WE are the branches…

verse 1-2: I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardner. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and prunes the branches that do produce fruit so they will produce even more.

What area of your life is growing and needs to be cultivated?
What area of your life is dying and needs to be cut off?
What greater thing is God preparing for you?

verse 4;7: Remain in me and I will remain in you. (Jesus tells us) For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!

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What do you take away from what Jesus is telling us here?
What immediately comes to mind?

Today I pray that you and your loved ones will be protected and blessed. I pray that he put on your heart and mind anything that needs to be severed or let go of. I pray that in making your effort and following the path laid before you, that you will hear God’s voice and know what he wants and requires of you. Then, I pray for blind obedience and faithfulness to the plan, where fruit will be produced and you will tangibly see the mighty power of God’s presence in your life. Then, you will know HE is God and you will have peace and joy knowing you are one of his and a part of the family of God, through his son and our savior, Jesus Christ.

Overcoming Strongholds

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Do you have a stronghold in your life? What is a stronghold?

MindWarBlog

By definition it means a few things; a fortified place, a safe place, a secure place, a castle; and in the ancient greek it also means prison, or something someone heavily relies or depends on.

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A stronghold in our lives is anything that exalts or builds itself up and pretends to be bigger or more powerful (more important) than God. A stronghold consumes our thoughts, dictates our attitudes and behaviors, and steals our focus and attention. It attempts to lead us and control us and gets us out of God’s willful plan and distracted by the plan of the world around us.

If we are to be in Christ and he is to be in us, shouldn’t we be led by the spirit and not by the world? Our mind (and thought-life) is the most challenging thing for us to control, and it’s also one of the easiest things the enemy uses against us, in order to control us. What is controlling us? What are we being led by? What are we allowing ourselves to be led by?

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Can we deal with these things in our human ability? Have we bought into the lies and deception of what’s true, true about ourselves, and true about God’s plan for us? What is the enemy holding your captive with? How is he using your mind to control you? What stronghold (prison of your mind) do you want freedom from today?

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2 Corinthians 10:4-5
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Ephesians 6:12
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

So how then do we fight this fight?

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Ephesians 6:14-18
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

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Just Push – A Message of Obedience

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In a message of obedience to whatever God calls each of us to do, I hope this MountainTopper encourages and inspires you in a new and positive way.

1 Samuel 15:22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.

Authur Unknown…

There once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared to him.

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The Lord told him He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown; his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.

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Seeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture – placing thoughts in the man’s mind, such as “Why kill yourself over this?, you’re never going to move it!” or “Boy, you’ve been at it a long time and you haven’t even scratched the surface!” etc. giving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn’t moving the massive stone.

God and Satan's voices

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he started to ease up in his efforts. “Why kill myself?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time putting forth just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.” And this he did or at least planned on doing until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.

“Lord,” he said, “I have labored hard and long in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

Do your best let God do the rest

To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. Yet still, you haven’t succeeded in moving the rock; and you come to Me now with a heavy heart and your strength spent. I, my friend will move the rock. Your calling was to be obedient and push, and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom, and this you have done.”

Hope

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If you find yourself hoping for something that you want to happen or has yet to happen, be encouraged today. God is a jealous God and wants us to put our HOPE, faith, and trust in HIM; not in people, places, or things. Together, let’s focus our eyes on Jesus, on whom our strength depends and we will be filled with what we need to endure our situations in a way that blesses and honors God…

Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
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Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Trust his will

Psalm 71:5 – For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Hope is in you Lord
Jeremiah 17:7 – “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.

Psalm 71:14 – But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
Want Victory in and over your life? Make HIM your Lord and Savior every day by the way that you live, praise his holy name, and you will see victory and his mighty hand at work…

Praise HIM

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

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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.

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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”…