This is hard when things are difficult, when it feels like at every turn we try and failure is right there to greet us. When we commit to something we naturally put some level of our own expectations of how things should go or what we believe should be the outcome. Here is the issue with this approach…we are setting “our expectations” on the result with little regard for God’s will and God’s plan. Following our faith and trust in the Lord means we can be free from the limited results our own minds can generate and be open to new possibilities. For me this is hard to grasp and at times very difficult to embrace…even Jesus struggled in the last moments of His commitment to save us right before He was arrested and He prayed to His Father…“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” – Luke 22:42 Bring your commitments to the Lord in prayer and seek His will. Listen for Him and for the Holy Spirit to guide you…find your quiet place and quiet time and rest in Him. May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you. Amen.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)
The ways of the Lord are exemplified by the Fruits of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It is so easy to get derailed and off track with these ways because the world is pushing for self-centered behaviors of hate, anger, dissension, me first, greed, faster, get out of my way and other similar attitudes. God keeps His promises and He will encourage you, hold you up and strengthen you for every and any battle…it is up to you to be engaged in your relationship with Jesus Christ and for you to read the Word of God to gain the wisdom and understanding God provides. If we are unsure of where God is in our life then we should continue in prayer and wait for Him…He always shows up, always. I pray we seek to live the Fruits of the Spirit in our relationship with the Lord and with others. Amen.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
Everlasting…forgiving…strengthens us…deeper than any love on earth…reconciled…compassionate…is the light of life. God chose us, God chose you. He chose you out of love and He poured out His love for you by sending His one and only Son into the world. God’s love gave us our Savior, Jesus Christ and through His Sacrifice, we are Saved. Turn towards God today and thank Him for His love and for Jesus, ask Him to guide you to how you can show His love to others. Amen.
“This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:10
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)
These are two key elements that drive our thoughts, our actions and our behaviors. The amazing thing is we are in charge of our attitudes and our perspectives. Which also means we are accountable for the attitude we choose or the perspective we believe about everything. We try to blame the things we can’t control for why we choose the attitude or perspective we have, yet our responsibility is in how we choose to respond to events and actions or the behaviors of others. At this time I would like to share an item written by Charles Swindoll that states a similar perspective about Attitude…
by Charles Swindoll
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
I pray we look to the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us to choose our attitude according to God’s will. Amen.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico)
Where can you apply this phrase in your life? We get tired, we get frustrated and we get discouraged…and when this occurs it is important to remember with God all things are possible, even if and especially if we can’t see the way ahead or we can’t figure out how this is going to change or get better. Because there is hope we can keep going, keep trying, keep giving our best to that situation in our life…we persevere because there is hope. With God the most desperate time in human history when Jesus Christ was crucified, died and was buried became the greatest event of Good News. He was this baby born on Christmas morning who brought peace, healing and joy…He became a man performing miracles everywhere He went and then…He was gone…I can’t imagine what it must have been like for those days between His death and His resurrection. But because Jesus Christ has risen and He lives there is always Hope! May we all be strengthened and encouraged by the hope God has poured out for us through Jesus Christ. Amen.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love in to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
(This photo was taken in December of 2013 on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)
Posted in Faith Journey
Tagged Faith, Holy Spirit, Hope, Inspiration, Jesus, Learning, Life, Music, prayer, relationships, Truth
Not only is God with us each day and everywhere we go, He has also put other people in our lives. Think about the people in your life. I read this morning about three types of relationships…people we minister to and we receive very little from…people who minister to us and we give them very little back…and the people closest to us, the ones who nourish us and our spirit and we nourish them and their spirit equally. Who are the people in these groups for you? One is your ministry to others, the second is someone else’s ministry to you and the third group…these are the people that are with you during your highest highs and your lowest lows, the ones you want to notify first when something happens. We need to be sure we are investing the majority of our time and energy in the third group, after all it is God who put them there to assist us and for us to assist them no matter what may come our way. I pray we all reflect and recognize who “our people” are and we strive to give them our best. Amen.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
(This photo was taken in September of 2016 at a lake place in central Minnesota)
Where can we find peace? We look around at the world and the actions and behaviors of so many people and wonder, where can peace be found? So much anger, hatred, rage and darkness…people choosing to follow the evil desires of greed, lust and the sinful nature. It is written that the peace of God is found only one way…that is to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. It has been the way of peace ever since that baby was born in a manger over 2,000 years ago. We can have peace through Christ because of the grace of God and only by the grace of God is peace possible. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14) If we believe and accept that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord we will find peace and we will be prepared to share the peace of Christ with others. I pray we all turn toward Jesus to seek peace that is provided to us by the grace of God. Amen.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
(This photo was taken in February of 2013 in a neighborhood near Plymouth , Minnesota)
When life feels surrounded by darkness, when the light of life is dim and it feels like there are no answers…believe in Jesus. The most difficult part of surrender to God can be setting aside our desire to control the outcome. We say we believe, we pray like we believe and then we go out and try to ensure things end up the way we desire. Been there, done that…too many times. To believe is to trust that if I just do the best I can and offer the best version of myself and trust in God, He will take care of the rest. He always has and He always will. The best approach I have found to helping my belief is to memorize bible verses. Pick one or some that speak clearly to you, if you don’t know any, pick up the good book and read. I suggest starting in Proverbs. May we all pray a prayer of surrender and live our lives in way that shows we believe. Amen.
“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)
The people in our daily lives, the family and friends we interact with everyday, these are the people on earth who should know the most about us. How we treat each other, whether or not we trust each other, these are the cornerstones of our relationships. It is too easy to take others for granted or think they will always be there because for such a long time they have always been there. Yet things will happen in this broken and sinful world or time and age itself will catch up with every single person, and one day you may get a phone call that will change everything in an instant…they are gone. None us really knows what is in-store for us each day, only God knows. He doesn’t make the bad things happen, the sins of the human race has done that…however, He will bring comfort, He will bring courage and He will bring His presence to strengthen us. Let’s strive to not take people and relationships for granted, each day. I pray we attempt to live our best and present others with the light and love of Christ that we have so graciously received. Amen.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin)
Personality…nature…disposition…temperament…mentality…essence…identity…spirit. Our character is defined by who we are, how we relate and interact with others. This is at the core of who we are as a person. For some, their true character is only revealed to a few other people as they have fear and a lack of trust in others due to previous wounds and painful past experiences. The other reason fear exists in revealing our true character is our concern regarding acceptance. With the proliferation of social media sites, judgement or what is know as ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ has inappropriately become the measuring stick of defining who someone is…talk about judging a book by its cover! We can begin to get knowledge and a better understanding of our character by spending time with Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord and by accepting who we are according to God. Additionally, we can encourage and help build up others by taking time to listen and discuss the things that make us different. I pray we all examine who we are more than what we do and we lay our fears and worries at the foot of the cross. Amen.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
2 Peter 1:5-7
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)