Forgiven

We can not change the past.  We are not able to undo what has occurred.  Even still God has forgiven us for our sins…we can do better today, here in the present.  We can learn from the past, we can learn from the experiences of others.  If you are holding on to a mistake or a wrong done by you or by others bring it to the Lord.  Worry and anxiety are the biggest waste of time in life, yet so many of us have spent a significant amount of time doing it.  I have wasted an enormous amount of time in my life on worry about the past and about things that may or may not occur because of the past.  That is how I have not trusted God.  I am learning, slowly as usual, to bring it to God…all of it and that really means all of it.  Let it go, stay present in life and know that God forgives you for your sins.  He gave His One and Only Son to ensure we know of His forgiveness and His love.  May you sense the peace and comfort of God in your life.

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“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

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

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Surrender

Because a life of faith is a journey and not one event or moment in time we must come back to Jesus Christ and His life, death and resurrection.  I am learning that growing and developing or maturing in my spiritual life takes persistence and commitment.  If I reserve my time and faith in God for a few moments at church on the weekend and a few memorized prayers before I eat or go to sleep, I feel like I am just going through the motions and not connecting.  Coming to Christ daily, reading scripture and praying every morning before I sit down with this laptop and ask the Holy Spirit to guide my fingers to share the good news with you…that is how I am learning about new levels of faith and connecting more deeply with God.  We must be willing to give of ourselves, we must be willing to trust in God’s plan and we must be willing to surrender our own plan in order to experience the full glory of God in life.  May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you.

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“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said:  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me  and for the gospel will save it.”

Mark 8:34-35

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico)

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Living Hope

When we talk about hope, it mostly gets aligned with wishful thinking in general conversations.  This kind of hope is not sure, not firm and carries many doubts.  The hope talked about in the Bible is hope that believes and knows the Word of God and God’s promises for good things.  The hope we receive from Christ is a hope that knows that God is for us and working for our good, even when, especially when the visible evidence is against it. The hope in the Word of God tells us to not give up or surrender to sin, rather know that God is with you and you can trust in Him…not for the things you believe you should have but for the things God knows that you need.  May the God of all hope be present in your daily walk.

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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 September of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)

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A Sacrifice…Our Salvation

When you feel you are not sure where God is in your daily life…stop and take a moment to remember what God has done for you.  God is love.  He is our Creator and our Redeemer.  We are broken, all of us.  Me, you and everyone you know is broken in some way, even if it is unclear to you how someone else is broken or fighting a battle it is still going on.  God knows this, He knows our worries, our fears and He is doing good things.  It is all a matter of perspective.  If we reflect on what has been done already it will help restore our perspective and our knowledge that God is love and He loves us more than we can ever imagine…the proof?  The Cross.  May you know the love of God in your daily life.

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“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 October of 2014 at sunrise on the island of Maui, Hawaii)

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Perseverance

Steadfastness…persistence…determination…purposefulness.  The story of our lives is not about when or how often we will get knocked down.  It will happen and sometimes it will happen with increased frequency.  It is in how we choose to respond to these events that will shape and define our character and our relationships.  We only need to look to the Cross and the Resurrection for the example of what sticking with God and His plan can be.  From what was one of the greatest tragedies in history to an even greater story of new life, hope and joy.  As it says in Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”  We are His creation, He loves us and no matter what may trip us up along the way He will be with us.  May we all go out into the world today with the confidence that God is for us.

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“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Romans 5:3-5

(This photo was taken in April of 2016 at sunrise on a lake in central Minnesota)

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Everlasting Love

Friends the Lord is speaking again with hymns from my childhood and today on this day of worship this one is playing over and over in my mind telling me that no matter what you face the Lord loves you and you will find comfort in Him.  Here are the lyrics and a link to the song.

I Have Loved You

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.
Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his light and his peace.
I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.
Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his joy and his hope.
I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.
Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his care and his love.
I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.
Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 24:3
Michael Joncas
May we all know the love and peace of the Lord.
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“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”
Jeremiah 31:3
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling through southern New Mexico)
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Compassion

To be helpful…thoughtful…aware of the suffering of others…a desire to provide help and support…understanding the needs of another.  One of the strongest elements of humility is compassion.  Being aware that others are suffering and need assistance and then going and doing something that provides help and support.  We all have different roles in our relationships with others, which means there are many different ways for us to provide help and support depending on who needs us and what has happened to them.  When you know or get a sense inside you that you should do something for someone else but you are unsure what it is you should do, do not ignore that feeling, turn to the Lord and ask Him to help guide you to what the other person needs…then listen and watch for His reply.  Be careful not to do something you believe they need from your perspective, rather be sensitive and aware of what they say they need.  Compassion does not have to be something difficult and complex in order to be helpful…often times it is the simple and thoughtful things that make the biggest difference for others.  May God’s grace and mercy flow through us and into our relationships.

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“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

Psalm 145:8-9

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 near the border between Minnesota and South Dakota)

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Humble Yourself

Admit it when we are wrong…forgive others when they are wrong…be grateful…reflect and confess our sins to God…choose to serve the needs of others.  These are just some of the ways to practice humility.  The messages we receive all around us are ‘get more’, ‘climb higher even if it means running over others’, ‘me first’, ‘look out for number one’.  To guide us at being better at humility we should read the teachings of Jesus.  Work at simplifying our lives and living with the hope of eternal life.  The past five days for me and my family has included two funerals, difficult times, and yet this morning I am struck by the fact that there are others all around us that are suffering everyday.  It is so easy to get swallowed up by our own world of existence…however, God gives us community and fellowship with each other to help guide us.  Don’t try and go it alone, be willing to accept that we need each other…all of us do.  May goodness and kindness surround you in your daily life.

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“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:4

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

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Living Water

How are we going to get through this?  Now what?  I don’t know what to do?  Why is this happening?  The answers to these and many other questions is Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  The true source of all that makes life good is your relationship with Jesus.  Like any relationship we must invest time in meeting with Him, we must be willing to listen to Him, we should do our best to help support what is important to Him and be willing to introduce Him to others.  He supplies the living water of life.  The first step to staying connected or re-connecting with Christ is spending time reading the Word of God.  May God’s mercy and grace be with you.

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“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)

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He Knows Me

The One who created us knows everything about us.  Even if we haven’t spent much time with God in our life.  Even if we have put Him aside in our daily, weekly routine and have been trying to go it alone or do things our own way.  He knows you, He loves you and He wants to have a relationship with you.  If you want to seek more about this read Psalm 139.  Then pray and invite Jesus into your everyday moments.  God has a plan for you and your life and we must be willing to surrender our belief that we are in control and seek His Word.  God knows you, He loves you because He created you.  May our days be filled with the comfort of God’s presence.

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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 July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)

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