The War Between Guilt And Grace

We are forgiven…Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins…we can let go of our guilt and live in God’s grace…because in the battle that rages on within us and within others…Grace wins everytime.  Amen.

Grace Wins by Matthew West

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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”

Ephesians 2:8

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconsin)

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Give Thanks And Praise

The Lord gives us blessings…He knows each of us and He cares for us.  Some blessings are talents or natural skills we can use to share abundance with others…some blessings don’t feel like a blessing but are intended for us to learn from, in these times it can be difficult to stay true to faith and to look for God in all of it.  He is right there with you, no matter what has happened, no matter who you have lost in this life.  Spiritual maturity comes by walking with God and trusting in Him.  Give thanks and praise Him for His love, His mercy, His forgiveness and His grace.  Amen.

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Arches National Park in Utah)

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Hope

Our faith relies on hope and our hope is eternal because of Jesus and what He has done for us.  The events and circumstances of our lives are constantly trying to snuff out all hope…if we get distracted and put ourselves in the center of our lives instead of Christ, it becomes difficult to see any hope.  When we choose to live this way, focused on the self, we will be frustrated, disappointed and feel hopeless.  When we turn our attention to the Lord, when we read God’s Word and we pray we can find hope once again.  As it is written in Matthew 19:26 “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  May the hope that is found in Christ be with you this day.  Amen.

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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

(This photo was taken in July of 2017 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconson)

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He Is With You

Trustworthy…reliable…constant…unwavering…unfailing…steady…faithful.  God is with you at all times no matter where you go.  All that is required is for us to come to the Cross and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  There is nothing, no place or no one on earth that compares to what you can have in a personal relationship with our Lord.  We often spend our lives looking for something or someone and we believe that if that place or person could be a part of our everyday life then we would be satisfied…Jesus Christ is all that we need.  Turn toward Him and give thanks for all that He has done for you.  Amen.

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Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling through Nebraska)

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God’s Word

When we open up and read the Word of God, we can sense the Spirit that God has planted within us.  Our faith is living and breathing and needs to be fed.  God’s Word renews us, encourages us and centers us on Him and His plan for us.  His Word is truth, it is fact based on actual events in history and His Word gives us life.  May God’s peace be with you and flow through you each day.  Amen.

Word Of Life by Jeremy Camp

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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1

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

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The Good Shepherd

Jesus is described as our shepherd in many places in the bible.  This is not a common occupation in today’s world, yet the description of who The Good Shepherd is and what it means for us is extremely accurate for our relationship with Him.  He watches over us and ensures we have what we need…He guards us and keeps danger away…He knows everything about us…and most importantly He laid down His life to save us.  You can read more about Jesus the Good Shepherd in the Gospel of John, chapter 10.  We live in peace with The Good Shepherd watching over us.  Amen.

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“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalms 23

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 while traveling through North Dakota)

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Trust

Even when you can’t see the result…even when it feels like everything is working against you, He is working for your good…even when your feel your desires, wants and temptations are pulling you away from God, turn towards Him and be patient.  This can be so difficult to live out each day, yet by reading God’s Word and spending time with Him in prayer, He will renew your strength.  May the peace of the Lord be with you.  Amen.

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The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalms 27:1

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)

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Love And Faithfulness

When we are able to surrender ourselves to God and His plan and we follow Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we will grow and mature spiritually.  We may believe we know a great deal about love and faithfulness and yet there is so much more God wants to show us.  It will not be easy and we should take nothing for granted.  Living in this world where sin and selfishness run wild, where temptations are lurking…we will never be perfect, so that is not a realistic goal and we are not to be the judge of others.  In the Gospel of John 13:34-35, Jesus gives us a new command of love, He is speaking about it at a time when one of His close disciples in going off to betray Him.  Love and faithfulness these are characteristics of the new creation God is making us to be.  Seek the Lord and the life He has planned for you.  Amen.

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Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

Proverbs 3:3-4

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

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Forgiven

As we grow on our faith journey it seems some behavior changes happen somewhat easily and for others, we keep going the wrong way.  We get stuck and feel powerless to change what we know needs to change.  It is at this point that the road to the Savior seems to narrow and we begin to see how truly amazing God’s grace can be…learning to have humility…to surrender…to admit we need Him even when we know we don’t deserve it…this can be a difficult step in our lives and it takes courage, yet it is the only way, Jesus is the only way to joy and everlasting life.  From the most tragic events can come the greatest joy…if you ever doubt it…remember what happened between Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday.  May God’s grace wash over you.  Amen.

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Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”

Psalms 51:1-2

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park near Bayfield, Wisconsin)

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Contentment

I hope you have enjoyed the music and listening for God in the talent of those who have been blessed to share the Good News through song over the last few weeks.  This morning I am struck by gratitude for all the good things God has given.  There is so much to be thankful for and yet we often choose to wish for things to be different or to have more or less of something.  It seems to be human nature to desire more in some way, however, true joy and peace is found only in contentment.  Think about how much we can enjoy the present moments in life each day if we begin with gratitude and thankfulness for what blessings we have been given and put Christ in the center of our lives rather than ourselves and our desires.  Thanks be to God for all He has done for us and may the peace of the Lord be with you.  Amen.

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“But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7

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

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