Give Generously

When we talk about giving and generosity, society and the world focuses on money and wealth alone.  There is so much more to giving than money.  To give of your time, your talents or your gifts.  To give is about perspective, attitude and encouragement of the spirit.  So give whatever it is you have to offer and give to those who are in need in your daily life and surroundings.  Start by thanking God for whatever it is you have been blessed with and ask Him to guide you to how you can share it.  I pray each one of us seeks a generous attitude with the gifts and blessings God has given us.  Amen.

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“Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a Cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

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

The Greatest Commandment

When you wonder what should I do?  Choose to love.  When things are spinning out of control…choose to act in love.  When others attack and express anger…choose a response based on love.  We must be careful not to get caught up in the ebb and flow of the world and the information overload we are constantly presented.  The best we can do for ourselves and for the Lord is follow the command of Jesus.  He is the way, the truth and the life and as our Savior, He will light our path.  I pray we are blessed with the courage and perseverance to follow Jesus.  Amen.

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“Jesus replied:  ‘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 the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:37-40

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 in Madison County near Winterset, Iowa)

Be Humble

We have seen the example of what humility looks like when we look at Jesus Christ and His actions and behaviors while He was here.  He suffered as a human and yet was obedient to the will of God.  It was not easy, even for Him…He prayed so hard that it could go differently and then in the next breath gave everything to God.  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  -Luke 22:42  The only way we have a chance to learn about God’s will, is to be willing to surrender our own will.  One of my biggest obstacles in my faith journey is sustaining surrender…getting to the point of surrender is one thing, maintaining an attitude of surrender so God’s plan can unfold with His timing is yet another battle.  One thing I know for sure, as it is true for all of us…God’s not finished with me yet!  I pray that God will open the eyes of our hearts and wash over us with courage and patience.  Amen.

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“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:3-4

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

In The Midst Of The Storm

What is the storm in your life?  Think about a weather storm…what is the process people go through?  Prepare for the event…look for where are you going to be safe…ensure others have safety as well…ride out the most difficult and stressful action of the storm…after it passes, come out and assess the damage…clean up…begin the process of repairing, rebuilding, restoring…make things new again.

These are the same steps and a similar process we all go through for many different reasons on our faith journey and in our spiritual life.  Just like the weather you will not be able to completely avoid the storms and God knows this…He sent His Son to save us and He sends the Holy Spirit to guide us.  The storms of life can last for many years but no matter what the world throws at you…God is a refuge and a shelter in all the storms.  May we all seek to the Lord to get us through in the midst of the storm.  Amen.

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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 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

Distractions

It is so easy to get caught up in the things of this world.  So easy to lose focus from our purpose and why we are here.  The world is full of distractions and it is when we take our eyes off of Jesus and our faith that we begin to feel things becoming overwhelming.  We need to continually find ways to feed our faith and seek spiritual growth.  To build our relationship with our Savior and keep our focus on living a life centered on faith.  Jesus Christ is with you, even when you aren’t paying attention to Him…turn towards Christ and trust in Him to lead and guide you.  May the peace and love of Christ wash over us in our daily life.  Amen.

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“Lord if it is you,”  Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  ” Come,” he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried our “Lord, save me!” 

Immediately Jesus reached our his hand and caught him.  “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:28-31

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

Be Transformed

Changed…renewed…remade…to make new again.  How we live, the decisions we make, our purpose and perspective are continually influenced by our life in this world.  If we fail to spend time feeding our minds and spiritual being with the Word of God and if we don’t spend time in prayer in relationship and communication with God, we will become like the world.  Only God can make us new again, with forgiveness, wisdom, courage, knowledge, trust and faith.  There are people in the world striving for the Fruits of the Spirit in their life…you may have to look for them with new eyes and a new perspective and those are available to all of us because of Jesus.  I pray we feed our faith and strive towards God and His will and away from the sinful nature.  Amen.

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“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

Romans 12:2

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at City Park in Winterset, Iowa)

Redeemed

Saved…recovered…reclaimed…restored…changed…forgiven…set free.  The price has been paid for our sins.  Jesus came down from heaven and suffered to save us from the defeat of death in sin.  We are loved by God and that love conquers all things in this world.  We are reconciled with God and can pursue His will for our lives.  Sharing a song by the group Big Daddy Weave entitled “Redeemed”

I pray for God’s love to wash over the burdens in our lives and strengthen us in kindness, goodness, compassion and forgiveness.  Amen.

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

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“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at City Park in Winterset, Iowa)

 

Be A Light In The Darkness

One of the most difficult things for many of us is being different from our surroundings.  When our foundation for being different is rooted in God and the Fruits of the Spirit we can be sure we are standing on solid ground.  None of us is equipped to judge the actions and behaviors of others.  When we are confused or lack understanding that is a time to listen and learn.  It is hard to be different yet God created each of us to be unique so that together we could build community and use our gifts to strengthen the body of Christ.  I pray we all seek to learn how God wants us to use our gifts each day.  Amen.

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“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at one of the Covered Bridges of Madison County near Winterset, Iowa)

Do Not Be Afraid

Fear can be powerful, if we let it.  It can stop growth and progress, it can create major detours in our lives and relationships that none of us planned on taking.  It is a weapon of evil that is used frequently on everyone.  We can overcome fear, we can proceed with care and caution while still moving forward on the path God has put before us.  We can’t do this alone and the good news is we don’t have to.  God sent Jesus Christ into the world to save us and to teach us.  We are not alone and if you find yourself in circumstances wondering ‘how is this going to change or get better?’  Remember, all things are possible with God.  I pray we take our worries and our fears to the Lord and let Him guide our way.  Amen.

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“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Luke 2:10

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

The Message Of Hope

No matter what is happening…no matter the circumstances in your life and relationships…even when you can’t see the way…The Word of God provides the message of Hope and a future with the Lord.  The world will provide false truths and absolutes…through the prophets of the Old Testament, through Jesus and the disciples in the New Testament, God provides Hope.  Throughout human history there has been suffering, tragedies and evil, God knows these things will occur in a fallen world filled with sin.  Yet only God can take the broken, suffering, worn down people of this world and give them a new perspective, a renewed strength and a belief in the Hope of good things even in the darkest hours.  Jesus Christ experienced the worst suffering and treatment that humankind can offer and God used that event to provide the greatest moment of Hope the world has ever seen.  I pray we take time to read about God’s message of Hope and believe in what God has in store for us and our lives.  Amen.

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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 July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)