A New Creation

Ok, I accept that Jesus Christ died to save me from my sins.  I believe that he is my Lord and Savior…now what?  Faith is a journey, not a destination.  Coming to the point that has you turning towards God is just the first step on a new road.  If you go about your daily activities and schedule with no change of thought or actions then you aren’t really turning towards God and following…it is more like you stopped what you are doing took a longer than usual look at a new road and then kept going on the one you were on.  To be engaged in your faith journey means a new way of doing things, it means looking at the same things with a new perspective, it means commenting on situations with a new attitude…to be a new creation.  It will mean being different from the crowd, it most likely will mean meeting a new crowd, it will mean putting on a new self.  God is with you, He will guide you and keep you safe…He loves you and He is waiting to hear from you.  May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you.

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling through Nebraska)

Strength

God will renew our strength…He will provide our energy…the Lord is a strong tower.  Have you ever had it happen that when you turn towards God and sit with him, or truly spend time with Him you get this unknown source of energy?  Have you ever spent a great deal of time or effort on something and not felt exhausted?  And others say how did you spend so much time on that?  Have you ever heard it said or said yourself about someone…where do they get the energy to do that?  When we are aligned with God’s plan and doing things that He set out for us to do, He will supply the energy and strength we need.  We will not grow tired or weary, if we do, that is a message that we are spending our time on something that takes us away from God…this includes what we spend time thinking about in our minds.  Trust in the Lord, be faithful to His plan and you will not grow weary.  May you be blessed with wisdom and strength from the Lord.

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“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

Isaiah 40:29

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

A Quiet Place

Peaceful…Prayer…Meditation…Rest…Renew…Restore…Recharge.  Where and when are you spending time in a quiet place?  If you live a busy existence keeping schedules and deadlines for either the family calendar or a job you usually have to wait until late at night or early in the morning while others are sleeping.  I have had co-workers who prefer to get the office really early before others because it is quiet.  We need to have a balance of going and doing and being productive some of the time and being at peace and resting at other times.  If we don’t have both we will either become completely worn out from running around all the time with no rest or become isolated from community because we are always off on our own.  This isn’t a choice of which one should I be but more of a mindfulness of what does my mind and body need right now?  Go and do and then rest and recharge…(rinse repeat)  May you find peace and rest in the Lord.

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“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’.”

Mark 6:31

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

Holy Living

To know Him and to make Him known.  Love…Joy…Peace…Patience…Kindness…Goodness…Faithfulness…Gentleness…Self-Control.  These are all ways we can live a holy life.  We do not need to pound on people with bible verses as if they are the law.  God gave everyone free will, each person will either turn towards God or turn away from God by how they choose to live.  The attitude and behaviors they exhibit in everyday life.  I usually try to pick one of the nine fruits of the Spirit and make myself more aware of how am I practicing patience or how am I showing faithfulness and one of the hard ones for me…how am I doing with self-control.  The more we spend time with Jesus and the Word of God the better we get at holy living and the more prepared we become to share the Good News.  May you find joy and comfort in your faith.

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“Therefore, as God’s chosen people holy and dearly loved, cloth 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.”

Colossians 3:12-13

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

God’s Workmanship

We are His creation…we are created out of love…we are created to do good things.  When we are willing to come to The Cross and surrender, our plans, our ways, our timing for events in life and trust in Him to provide all we need, when we need it, then we will experience true joy.  It sounds so simple and yet it is extremely difficult to execute in everyday life.  We are made with free will, meaning we have a choice to pursue the sinful nature or to pursue a life following Jesus Christ.  God’s plan is so much greater than our own because He is the original Creator of all things.  Turn towards God and ask Him for wisdom about how He wants you to follow His plan for your life.  May the grace and peace of the Lord be with you.

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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 June of 2016 by a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Aspects Of Love

I think anyone who has attended more than one wedding has heard some or all of 1 Corinthians 13 from the bible.  The one that talks all about what Love is and the behaviors it emulates…yet most people can only remember the first few words of verse 4 (Love is patient, love is kind…) and the words of verse 13 (And now these three remain: faith, hope and love…)  There is so much more to 1 Corinthians 13, unfortunately like so many things in life, society has made these words trivial instead of heart felt.  If more people took the time to read and understand all the aspects of love and made it important to try to show these behaviors to others, the world would be a much different place than it is today.  The only thing we can do is to show up and be the change we want to see in the world…and yes, unfortunately those words have become trivial to some as well.  From my perspective we need all of us to show more of verse 5 (It is not rude, it is not self-seeking…) as much as every other part of these words.  I will share all of the verses below.  May you see and show the love of God every day.

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“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophecy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13

(This photo was taken in October of 2014 at the Nakalele Blowhole on the island of Maui)

Choices

We all have them…we have them for little things…we have them for big things…we have choices to make everyday…even not deciding is a choice.  We are bombarded with messages about what we “should” want, what everyone “needs” and the quick and simple things you can do to have it all.  Um No.  This is evil and the sinful nature constantly at work telling us me, myself and I are the only important things to focus on.  Every step we take towards the sinful nature is a step we choose to take away from God.  We need to focus on the fruit of the Spirit “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22-23)  These are free, they are choices we can make in our everyday interactions.  Choose a life based on the foundation of Faith and trust in Jesus Christ with every aspect of your life.  May you be blessed with wisdom in the choices you make.

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“Do not conform any longer tot he pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

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

Joyful, Patient, Faithful

Happy Friday…you know when you are having one of those times when it feels like something is going wrong with everything?  When you are able to take a step back and review you often find the one common thing is your perspective…I know, I know not what you wanted to read.  When things seem to pile up like this I have learned to immediately turn to prayer…stop what ever you are doing and ask God to intervene, to guide you and to cleanse your perspective.  Maybe it’s time for a new approach to something, to look at it differently or just to open your mind to new possibilities to old issues.  Whatever it is we don’t have to do it alone.  May God be with you and provide you comfort.

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Give Thanks

Grateful…to show appreciation…gratitude…content with what you have…to recognize others.  It is important to pause and to give thanks for what is good, for what we have been given or for what someone else has done for our benefit.  It is a choice of attitude to be thankful instead of feeling you deserve somethings or demand and expect things.  Choosing an attitude of gratitude focuses our thoughts the positive, the good and helps to drive a feeling of greater appreciation for something or someone.  Take a moment to look around you and around your life…who needs to know you appreciate them, who are you thankful for in your life.  Tell them, and remember Jesus Christ and what He did for you so that you could be reconciled with God…and tell Him how thankful you are for what He did and is doing.  May the Word of the Lord be planted in you.

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“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Psalm 100:4-5

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

The Road That Leads To Life

We all have different lives and different choices to make in our lives.  Depending on where we live, what the weather is like, the environment of our home and where we spend our days.  This can be all different…what is common among all people?  The place in our hearts that is made to be filled by God.  He is the Creator and He made us with this special space that can only be filled properly by companionship with Him.  Now that certainly hasn’t stopped the human race from trying to fill it with just about anything other than God.  If anything other than God is in that space you will not feel complete, content or know true peace.  Make time to be alone with God and invite Jesus into the place reserved for Him every day.  May you know God’s comfort and God’s faithfulness.

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“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in Madison County, Iowa)