The Holy Spirit Within Us

When we turn in faith to God and strengthen our relationship with Him, evil and darkness will increase its attacks on us.  The primary goal of this darkness is to have us turn away from God.  To distract us, to keep us focused on worldly values of wealth and possessions and a self-serving mentality.  Evil wants us to stir up anger, hatred, dissension and all the things we were not made to do.  God knows these will come, Jesus experienced these attacks personally when He was in the desert.  Knowing this God has provided us with the Holy Spirit.  In the Bible it says…“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)  When we stay focused on God and His Word, when we put our relationship with Jesus Christ first with devotions and prayers then we are equipped to fend off darkness.  Take courage in your faith and trust in God.  May the wisdom and peace of the Lord be with you.

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“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Ephesians 6:16

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at the Garden of Gods near Colorado Springs, Colorado)

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God’s Grace

He calls us…He is speaking to us in a variety of ways…He knows the mistakes we have made…He forgives us…He lifts us up…He loves us.  In all that comes at us on a daily basis in today’s world we are bound to mess up.  Whether we are trying to do too many things for too long or trying to control the outcome of events, we were not made to do things this way.  We have been given the gift of God’s grace…we don’t deserve it, we can’t earn it.  He gives it to us freely, it is up to us to turn to Him, to praise Him, to seek His guidance and know that He will carry us through anything in this life.  “Not to us, O Lord not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”  (Psalm 115:1)  God is our Creator and He loves us unconditionally, He wants us to have good things, take your burdens to Him.  May you know God’s grace and mercy in your life.

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“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park in New Hope, Minnesota)

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Walk In Love

The commandments that Jesus himself recognized as the greatest commandments are about love.  Jesus said…“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:37-40)  One the most popular parts of the Bible 1 Corinthians 13 is all about Love.  So what does it mean to walk in love?  It is about attitude and behaviors towards God, yourself and towards others.  It does not mean all behavior is permissible…sin is still sin.  However, we are all guilty, we are all broken and we all do not deserve His forgiveness.  No one sin is greater than another, that is worldly talk.  When you want a reminder of what it means to walk in love go back and read 1 Corinthians 13, it speaks specifically to us about what behaviors constitute love.  May God’s love be in you and flow through you.

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“And this is love:  that we walk in obedience to his commands.  As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”

2 John 6

(This photo was taken in July of 2012 on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

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All That Is Good Comes From God

Nothing is more refreshing for the mind and spirit than to take some time to sit peacefully, with nothing but the sounds of the world going on around you and to be with God.  I hope you have a time like that in your life, no matter if it is in the morning, midday or in the evening.  Whatever may work for your life, I can’t emphasize enough the difference it will make in every aspect of your life…it is something you must experience to understand…for me it is the single most important thing I have done to strengthen my faith and to change my life.  Our lives are about our experiences and learning and passing on that experience to others to help them.  Ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and mind, again and again and again and let the Holy Spirit be your guide.  If you are looking for goodness, kindness and compassion…all that is good comes from God.  May the love, joy and peace of the Lord be with you.

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“The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

Psalm 145:9

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

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Trials And Trouble

Have you ever thought…’why does this have to be so difficult?’ or ‘it seems like every direction I turn things go wrong!’  When dealing with such thoughts I am trying to learn how to step back, to stop doing the repeat cycle that builds up frustration.  As we review situations we should try to asses, ‘am I trying to control too many things?’, ‘am I trying to get things to line up for the outcome I prefer?’ and the most difficult thought, ‘where is God in this situation?’  We may be struggling because we have had an opportunity to learn from the past and as slow learner we need to see the lesson again in a different way to get it through our heads.  Unexpected things are going to happen to us, things will not go as we have planned, the key to growth and development is how you choose to respond to situations and learning along the way.  There is no place in the bible that it says, “have no fear life will be easy.”  We will face difficult times and situations and how we choose to respond will have a lasting impact on us and others.  May God’s peace and joy be with you.

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

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

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Learn To Be Content

The apostle Paul writes about this in his letter to the Philippians.  As I read this and other parts of the bible about contentment, I believe the message is intended for us when we are looking at ourselves.  When we are reflecting on the me, my life, my surroundings we need to learn to be content and know that no matter what our circumstances we will always have the strength to continue because God is our source of strength.  When we look at others, we should be looking at how we can be generous in all ways…spiritually, emotionally, physically, with our time and resources.  We must work hard to avoid the worldly perspective of always comparing ourselves to what others have and acting self-focused to try and change that comparison, this is a path to evil and dark behavior.  Be thankful for the blessings you have received and have faith in God to provide what you need.  May God’s mercy and grace be with you.

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“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:12-13

(This photo was taken in May of 2013 in a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

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Community

I am late in posting today because I went out for breakfast with two men who are my closest friends in the world.  Our time together on life’s journey began 30 years ago this fall when we all lived together when we were starting college.  We are all married, we all are Fathers and we all love the Lord.  We have grown and developed a deep love and respect for each other and we meet together to share stories, ask questions or just laugh about the things that have happened when we have been together.  The three of us are community for each other.  We all believe firmly that God brought us together to share this thing called life and we are all very thankful for our brotherhood.  It is so important to find your community whether it is big or small, to me it is a group of people where you give what you can and you receive what you need and it restores your soul to be apart of that group of people.  Thank you God for all the people that are community in my life.  May God’s peace and joy be with you.

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“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:24-25

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

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Music, Worship And Praise

Music has had a significant impact on my faith journey.  I began listening to Christian radio stations around Christmas time in 1998.  I think we all know the impact music can have on a person…when our favorite song of any genre is played it seems to be so powerful to us, it stirs us up in ways very few things can.  Music is a wonderful way to worship and to praise the Lord.  There are classic hymns and stirring contemporary music that can reach deep down in us and touch our lives.  The ability to create this type of music is a gift and I am thankful for people who have this gift and that they use it to honor our Lord.  Here are a few songs of praise…

God Of Wonders by Third Day

What A Beautiful Name – Hillsong Worship

Chris Tomlin – Forever

This is just a very small sample; what is your favorite song of worship and praise?

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“All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.”

Psalm 66:4

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

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God’s Peace

There will be times in life when we will be faced with our broken humanness.  It is unavoidable in this world.  We will be very conscious and aware of our inability to bring about change or peace.  These are the natural limits of our existence.  What we are not made to be able to accomplish can easily be handled by God.  The only way to achieve the peace our soul desires is to put our trust, our hope and our faith in the Lord.  Only God can provide true peace.  When we cannot see our way through or know what may or may not happen…true faith pushes on, not recklessly but faithfully in this darkness knowing that God will be there to lift us up.  Pray for God’s peace to be in your heart and continue to push on in faith.  May God’s peace and joy be with you.

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“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:15

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

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The Good Shepherd

The Shepherd, of all the roles on earth, we can read in several places in the bible that Jesus is the Good Shepherd (Psalm 23, Isaiah 40:11, John 10:11-18).  In today’s world a shepherd seems like a character in a story of a very different world, not an actual role in a society.  To understand more about why is Jesus the Good Shepherd we look more closely at Psalm 23.  Some of David’s words and descriptions of the Shepherd are as follows:  He leads me; He restores my soul; He guides me; I will fear no evil; they comfort me; my cup overflows.  A shepherd provides everything the sheep will ever need.  Leadership, a restoration hope, guidance, protection, comfort and blessings…love.  Most importantly for the sheep a shepherd will lay down his life for the sheep to keep them safe from evil.  Jesus Christ has done all things possible for you to have life, turn or return to Him as He is our Good Shepherd.  May God’s love and mercy be with you.

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“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

John 10:14-15

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 near the Minnesota and South Dakota border)

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