Spiritual Gifts

We all have been blessed with certain gifts, talents and abilities.  It is important for us to learn about our gifts in order for us to use them in the world.  There are an overwhelming amount of books and tests and profile charts created by people to sort out what  “tendencies” we each possess.  Another way to understand more about our spiritual gifts is to pay attention to what comes naturallly to us and what things other people sometimes point out to us as a real gift.  As with anything, a assessment of your spiritual gifts should be done in consultation with Jesus Christ.  If we go into and through this process without being led by the Lord then all we are doing is finding out what the world thinks of us or what the world thinks we should do.  We are all created for a purpose and only God can guide us to the truth about what that is.  May peace and joy be with you on your faith journey.  Amen.

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“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park on Madeline Island in Lake Superior)

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The Foundation Of Our Faith

Jesus Christ.  His birth, His life, His words, His teachings, His love, His grace, His mercy, His willingness to forgive us, His ability to take our punishment, His death, His resurrection.  If you are looking for answers, seek Him…If you are struggling with a situation, ask Him what you should do…If you are grateful and thankful for blessings in your life, thank Him.  He is our Light in a dark world.  Open yourself up to Him and you will find peace and joy.  Prepare The Way of the Lord in your heart.  Amen.

Prepare the Way – Holy Redeemer Church, Performer: Daniel Schmit

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“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Proverbs 18:10

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

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What’s Different?

How has your faith shown up in your daily life?  When you reflect on your attitude, your perspective and your daily living and compare it to a previous point in time, what do you notice has changed?  Some of our old ways have faded, some are taking longer to adjust…this is the process of spiritual growth.  Not everyone will encounter a burning shrub in the desert like Moses or directly encounter Christ on the road like Saul who became Paul.  Our journey will be different, yet our God who is with all of us is the same.  Be aware of who you are, the people in your life and what you can offer someone in need right where you are and pray.  Pray for wisdom and courage, pay attention to what God is up to in your daily life.  That alone will be different than the way we were before.  Amen.

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“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)

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True Hope

People are constantly seeking answers to difficult questions in life from a worldly point of view.  Approaching situations with this perspective and mentality leads to phrases like…’I don’t know what else to do’…’It will never get better’…’I have tried everything’…’I give up.’  We were not made to do things alone.  We are created out of love and that love is from God.  He wants a relationship with us, all that is good in our lives is from God.  Darkness and evil, the bad things in life, are rooted in sin which is the way of this world.  Our hope, our peace comes from God and our time spent in our relationship with Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord and Savior.  Be renewed by the hope that we have in Jesus.  Amen.

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“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-8

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Madeline Island in Lake Superior)

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Trust

Why is it so hard?  What are we trusting?  If my foundation of trust is related to how everything affects me…I will have very little trust of others…and they with the same perspective will have very little trust in me.  If everyone has a center of self, then we all will be disappointed, frustrated and unable to trust.  Stephen Covey talks about trust in relationships as an emotional bank account…with deposits and withdrawals.  These are the behaviors we exhibit in our relationships.  The faith perspective is what relationship is at the center of your life, your heart and your mind?  Is it you with everyone else…or is it Christ and your relationship with Him?  The world tells you that you are at the center of everything…the Scriptures tells us that Christ should be.  This is a change in values, a change in perspective, a change in attitude…it takes time and Jesus Christ will be there with you every single step of the way.  Amen.

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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

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

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The Cross

I offer to you today some praise and worship through music.  Think about the things that keep you distracted, struggling and full of worry…bring those things to the only place where you can find healing and peace.  The Cross.

The Cross Has The Final Word by The Newsboys

The Cross Has the Final Word
The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
Sorrow may come in the darkest night
But the cross has the final word
There’s nothing stronger, nothing higher
There’s nothing greater than the name of Jesus
All the honor, all the power
All the glory to the name of Jesus
The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
Evil may put up its strongest fight
But the cross has the final word
There’s nothing stronger, nothing higher
Nothing greater than the name of Jesus
All the honor, all the power
All the glory to the name of Jesus
The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
The Savior has come with the morning light
The cross has the final word
O-o-oh! Woah-o-o-oah!
All glory and honor is Yours
O-o-oh! Woah-o-o-oah!
All glory and honor is Yours
Is Yours!
The cross has the final word
The cross has the final word
He traded death for eternal life
The cross has the final word (oh nothing higher)
Oh, the cross has the final word (nothing better)
The cross has the final word (all the power)
The Savior has come with the morning light
The cross has the final word
Songwriters: Cody Carnes

The Cross Has the Final Word lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

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“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

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

 

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Devotion

Loyalty…faithfulness…commitment…dedication.  As we learn and grow in our spiritual lives we begin to see more clearly the differences between worldly goals and spiritual goals.  Eventually we all get caught in the middle of these differences for different reasons.  This is a battle that rages on for everyone.  The only answer I have experienced is trust in God.  We will not always be able to see the what or the why and that is incredibly frustrating…don’t let that hold you down.  Continue in faithfulness and not in worry, do your best in your situation and pray.  Talk with the Lord, not in memorized lines from childhood but with sincerity and true feeling because He is with you and He has shown His level of devotion to you by the sacrifice of His Son.  Amen.

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“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

 2 Corinthians 5:15

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

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Stay On Track

There can be so many demands on us in our daily lives.  It is easy to sink in to chaos and to feel overstretched, mentally thin and struggling.  This is the way of evil and darkness, the more it can distract you, the less time you will spend with God, reading God’s Word and in prayer.  Don’t lose sight of your faith journey in your every day life.  God is present and working in your life everyday.  He is not a God who just stops by and checks in at Christmas, Easter and on Sunday’s or Wednesday nights.  Just because we may not be paying attention to Him doesn’t mean He is not right there with us.  The whole reason I started this blog in the summer of 2013 and it’s title are based on a foundation that faith and our faith journey continues everyday, all the time.  Distractions will continue to fight to keep you away from God, don’t let them deter you and your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:11-12

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

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We Are In His Hands

No matter where we are, no matter what our circumstances, we are held in God’s hands.  He is our Creator, our Savior and our Guide for this life.  Things will go wrong, people will make mistakes and darkness will try to overcome all.  What we need to remember is God knows us, God loves us and He is working for the good in our lives today and everyday.  He can renew us, restore us and strengthen us…when we invite Jesus into our hearts and minds and trust in Him.  Let go of the things that are not for you to control and know God has you in the palm of His hand.  Amen.

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24

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

 

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The Gift

We have been given the greatest gift ever…the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Nothing compares to it.  He sacrificed His life in heaven to come down to earth and to be like one of us, He was beaten, tortured, spit on and crucified…then God did what only God can do…out of the worst of tragedies He brought about the most incredible joy.  Jesus Christ is alive and He lives today.  Don’t put off your relationship with Jesus, spend time with Him everyday, the Gift of Him is one that keeps on giving to you forever.  Amen.

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

John 1:14

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

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