Our Hearts

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

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:3 NIV

God has given human beings free will and His Word gives us instructions on how we should choose to live…unfortunately too many of us have turned our backs on God and put worldly things before Him in our lives.  This choice by human beings of rejecting God is what invites evil into the world and evil comes to cause pain and suffering as described in John 10:10…“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”  We need to turn our hearts to God and do the things that He has told us to do.

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”[a]

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at a park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

One Hope

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV

Even when you feel surrounded by darkness and evil…we can find hope when we turn towards God and His Word and His Son.  We can find hope when we remember that after the brutal and tragic death of Jesus…God raised Him to life.  We can have hope because of what God has done and is doing in our lives.  It is up to us to seek Him.

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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 NIV

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

A Light In The Darkness

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?”

Psalm 27:1 NIV

When we wander off course or make poor decisions…when we go our own way instead of drawing near to God…life is harder, we struggle more and get discouraged and defeated.  When we turn towards God first with every decision, every day…the light of Christ will shine bright for us and illuminate our path.  When we choose to put God first and we will see a light in the darkness.  Thanks be to God for the Light of life.  Amen.

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“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV

(This photo was taken this morning at sunrise over a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Praise The Lord

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.”

Psalm 150:6 NIV

Thanks be to God and Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord.  We are forgiven and we are renewed…our purpose now is to love the Lord with all that we are and share the Good News of the Gospel with others.  We are to praise the Lord.  Amen.

Let Everything That Has Breath by Matt Redman

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“I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 18:1-2 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Character

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

Living life by faith is about who we are more than what we do.  Our behaviors, how we treat others and our interactions with others say more about us than our job or career path.  The world honors worldly things like wealth, awards, job titles and other self-oriented pursuits…these things are not considered to be wrong or bad…the issue is these things have become more important than God.  When self-satisfaction is more important than our relationship with God, we are going off course…to be clear we are all guilty of this sin, it is human nature in a fallen world.  The first step in repentance is awareness of the behavior and the next step is confessing to God and seeking to turn away from our sins, with God’s help.  As humans we all suffer from the same types of trouble…how we choose to respond is up to us.  May the peace of the Lord be with you. Amen.

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Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:3-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

God’s Faithfulness

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

No matter what we have done or left undone…God is with us and God is for us.  Even when we don’t see Him or the work He is doing in our lives…He is near.  Every promise God made has been kept…He is faithful and His only promise yet to be fulfilled is when Christ returns.  Trust in the Lord and His Word…He is trustworthy and faithful in everything.  Amen.

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“The Lord himself will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will never leave you. He’ll never desert you. So don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIRV

(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a field near Kimball, Minnesota)

Seek First His Kingdom

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33 NIV

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

James 4:7-8 NIV

The most important part of our lives is our faith…put and keep first things first.  When we put our trust in Him first and not as a last resort our faith will grow and our path will be clear.  Choose to believe and put your relationship with the Lord first in your life.

We Believe by Newsboys

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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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Living In God’s Love

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39 NIV

Who we are in our daily lives says a great deal about our relationship with God.  What we value and how we treat each other says more about us than our job title or the company we work for ever could.  Cherish each day and the people in your life that mean the most to you.  Live in God’s love.  Amen.

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Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIV

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

His Sacrifice

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14 NIV

God knows we are weak and unable to save ourselves from sin.  No matter how hard we try to do good things we slip and fall…we make mistakes even with good intentions.  God knows this and so He sent His Son to close the gap between Him and us.  Jesus has done what we are unable to do…we didn’t earn it and we don’t deserve it yet He took our punishment so that we can draw near to God.  Don’t take for granted what Jesus Christ has done and is doing in your life.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5 NIV

(This photo was taken in April of 2021 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Rest In Him

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8 NIV

Jesus calls us to rest and to learn from Him and His Way.  He set the example for us and provides guidance throughout God’s Word.  Trust in Him and come to Him and you will find rest for your soul.  Amen.

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Monuntain National Park in Colorado)