Our Living Hope

One of the greatest strengths of our faith is the hope we have because of Jesus Christ.  When we read from God’s Word about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the way He lived when He was here on earth, we find there were many times when circumstances looked really bad and the people seemed to have very few choices of how to respond.  Yet Jesus would help and find new ways to work things out…not necessarily the way the people wanted but in a way that was better for everyone involved.  Just because we cannot see the way forward during trails and suffering does not mean the situation is hopeless, it just means we are not putting our trust in the Lord.  Look to Jesus in all situations good and bad and there we will find our Hope.  Amen.

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“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”

1 Peter 1:3

(This photo was taken in October of 2014 on the north shore of the island of Maui, Hawaii)

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Patience

During this Advent time of year, the Fruits of the Spirit keep coming into my mind.  We wait for the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  Nothing about His coming was designed by us, the human race.  This is a clear example of God at work for the good of all people.  We must be patient on our faith journey and not give up hope…no matter how bad things may get, in any situation.  Prayer…thoughtful, sincere, true and honest prayer, that is based in trust and belief in Jesus Christ is very powerful.  The answers to our prayers are not based on our plans or our desires and that is a good thing.  When you are discouraged or frustrated regarding a person or situation…take it to the Lord in prayer and remember when God was at work with His plan over 2,000 years ago, the results both then and now have been better than any human plan ever conceived.  I pray we all trust in the Lord and seek patience with His plan for our lives.  Amen.

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“And we know that in all things God works for the good of  those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)

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Faithfulness

Devoted…loyal…dependable…reliable…committed.  Faithfulness is another one of the Fruits of the Spirit.  To be faithful means there is a willingness to set aside ourselves as top priority, and put our focus on something greater.  Faithfulness may not be filled with excitement and adventure rather it is about being consistent and supportive in our values and beliefs.  Being faithful may not always fulfill all of our wants and desires, however, when faithfulness is given and received it does fulfill some of our greatest needs.  May we all take time to reflect on our relationships and give thanks to those who have been faithful to us and seek where we can serve others faithfully.  Amen.

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“…The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.”

Psalm 145:13

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the south shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)

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Goodness

This is one of the Fruits of the Spirit.  In our dictionaries it is defined as ‘the quality and state of being good.’  I see it as a summary word…things that go into goodness can include…being helpful, selfless, supportive, kind, generous, a good listener or serving the needs of others.  There are several ways to express goodness in our every day life.  It is up to us to choose an attitude that will reflect goodness in our actions and our behaviors.  I pray we all tune into the Holy Spirit living within us and seek goodness and righteousness wherever we are in life and the world.  Here is a quote associated to John Wesley that speaks about doing good:

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

John Wesley

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“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Matthew 5:6

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

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The Savior Of The World

Take time during this Advent season to reflect on what Jesus Christ has done for you and for me.  He came into this world as a baby, born in a stable…He came in peace, to teach us, to help those who are suffering and to reconcile the lost souls of the world to God.  He was rejected by many…He was beaten, crucified and just before He died He asked Father God to forgive us.  He has done and is continuing to do everything He can for you and for me, for our good…because He loves us.  This Christmas give thanks to Jesus Christ…Our Savior of the World.  Amen.

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“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:10-11

(This photo was taken in December of 2017 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)

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More And Less

As we pray and read and learn more about Jesus and the examples He has provided us for living, our spiritual life should take on greater significance.  The development on our faith journey could be referred to as an inside out process.  We profess our belief in Jesus Christ and open ourselves up and ask Christ to come into hearts…we receive the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us change our thoughts, our attitude and our perspective.  A surrendering of self-focused living and an increase in Christ focused living.  The stronger we become in faith the better prepared we are to share the Good News with others in this broken world.  First God restores us on the inside and then He sends us out to share what we have learned.  I pray for courage and wisdom for all of us to be persistent in growing and nurturing our faith.  Amen.

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“He must become greater; I must become less.”

John 3:30

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while driving through southern New Mexico)

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A New Self

There are many factors that play into how we think and behave in our everyday life.  Past experiences, our personal expectations and our routines all have a significant impact on us.  It is so easy to slip into a way of thinking, believing and living until we realize we aren’t really living we are just existing and going through the motions.  If we want to see things differently then we must be willing to change something in ourselves.  Change is difficult and uncomfortable, yet we must remember we are not alone.  God is with us and He will guide us through our efforts to change.  May we seek the will for God for our lives and be open changing our attitudes and perspective in developing a new self.  Amen.

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“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self…”

Ephesians 4:22-24

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 near Glacier National Park in Montana)

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Relationships

Communication…kindness…compassion…courage…commitment…time spent together…love.  There are so many things that can get in the way of this list of characteristics that support a strong relationship.  The world feeds us self-focused ways of living and that is exactly the opposite behavior needed for a strong relationship, yet people wonder why relationships are so hard?  The key to perseverance is building a relationship on a solid foundation.  That foundation is love.  More than a feeling, love is about behaviors and attitude…Jesus Christ has provided the example of love for us to follow and if we are willing to surrender self and live in this love we will begin to see our relationships get repaired, renewed and restored.  I pray we all seek the guidance of the Lord for our relationships.  Amen.

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“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32

(This photo was taken in March of 2013 at the Botanical Garden at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada)

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God Renews Our Strength

When I read God’s Word different verses and phrases will seem to stick out more than others from time to time.  This is our time to listen…God is speaking to us through the same words His Son spoke so long ago.  In the devotional bible I have been reading I have either highlighted or marked with little stars some of these verses…I have also taken time to make a list in the front of the book of the verses that speak to me the most or the most often.  This morning, on this day of worship, after completing my daily devotional I have read many of those on the list and in doing this I have literally felt peace and comfort washing over me.  If you are looking for something that seems to be missing in your life or in your heart, go look for it in the place God has provided…His Word of life.  I pray we seek the wisdom of God in His Word to renew our strength.  Amen.

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“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake place in central Minnesota)

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Put Your Hope In God

Good morning.  Welcome to a new day.  There are many things happening in your life today, yet God is still with you because He loves you.  Sharing the lyrics and music of the song on my mind this morning.  Here is “Find Rest” by Francesca Battistelli

“Find Rest”

He never sleeps, He never slumbers
He’s been awake at every hour
No tear catches Him by surprise
He’s never lost, He never runs out
He never lives in the shadows of doubt
No fear catches Him by surprise

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

He always is, He always will be
He always has been everything I need
How can this be catching me by surprise
He’s ever strong, He’s ever faithful
His love is real, now nothing is impossible
‘Cause nothing catches Him by surprise

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

I close my eyes, and I can see
The arms of mercy holding me
I close my eyes, and I can see
The arms of Jesus holding me

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

Put your hope in God
Put your hope in God

Songwriters: Francesca Battistelli / Ian Eskelin / Jared Anderson
Find Rest lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group

 

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“Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:11

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

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