Life by the Spirit is a life that is conscious of our impact on others. It is not always looking inward and seeking to satisfy the self. It is a balanced life, aware of the present more then the past or future. It is a life that strives to put Christ in the center of everything…it is not easy to achieve in a dark and broken world nor are we able to do this alone. I pray we seek a life that is led by the Spirit. Amen.
“The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 while hiking in Wisconsin near Lake Superior)
The temperature has plummeted here in the upper Midwest…as I write this morning the temperature is -29 and the “feels like” temp is -50. Every day in every part of the world there are people in need…people who lack in some or all of the basics in life like food, shelter and water. No one person can help everyone, however, one person can help one other person. Don’t quit trying because the problem is too big…God loves every person in Creation…and every single person has something that can help at least one person, it is not all about possesions and things or stuff. Take inventory of your life and surroundings, give thanks for the blessings you have and seek wisdom to understand what God is asking you to share with those in need right where you are…you don’t want to miss being a person who can provide for the need of another. We are blessed to be a blessing. Amen.
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
(This photo was taken in December of 2013 in northwestern Wisconsin…that is a picnic table on a deck)
We have been saved…the battle has been won. Jesus Christ gave of Himself to save us and to reconcile us back to God. We are not made to do life alone, God our Creator made us out of His love and His Son sacrificed His life because of His love for us and the Holy Spirit is guiding us through our days with God’s love. We haven’t earned it, we don’t deserve it. It has occured because of the mercy and grace of God our Father. He is not a distant figure in the sky looking for ways to punish us for every mistake, He is doing everything for our good, not according to our plans rather according to His. We would do well to turn towards God and thank Him and seek to grow our relationship with Jesus Christ. Amen.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling through northern Colorado)
Life is not about what the world and other people are doing to us, it is about what are we doing to be a light, to encourage others, to be helpful and supportive, what are we doing to be different? Micah Tyler released a song last fall…he introduces the story behind the song in the video I am sharing today about change and being different.
Different by Micah Tyler
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
(This photo was taken in December of 2013 on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)
This statement is all about being focused on persistence and patience. We often get stuck on narrow minded results of our actions or words. We lose sight of the fact the God is working for the good of all people and each of us plays a role in a much larger story that we will not always be able to see the results of first hand. His will and His plans are so much greater than ours and so it comes down to our willingness to trust in God’s plan more than our own desires. We know what it means to do good, we understand how to bear fruit in our daily lives and it is our responsibility to strive to do those things and leave the rest up to God. As they say, God is good all the time and all the time God is good. May we be blessed to share the goodness of the Lord today and everyday. Amen.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 on the shore of Elliott Bay in downtown Seattle, Washington)
Lord, I thank you for the people you have put in my life. My family, my friends including all of those who help me to see things differently, the encouragement they provide and the joy and laughter we experience together. They help guide me through the rocky moments and events in life. Because of them I know you are near and I give thanks for your faithfulness and your love. Thank you, Lord…I love you…Amen.
“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)
May our faith help us to see and to know the presence of God’s love in our daily lives and relationships. Amen.
What Faith Can Do – Kutless
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2016 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)
To be generous is to be a giver, not just in terms of money. There are far more valuable things in life than money to give. A generous person has a certain mindset, an attitude and perspective about life and things. A generous person focuses very little time on what they receive or if they will receive, as that often takes care of itself because they are givers. Givers carry many of the characteristics related to the Fruits of the Spirit…they often exude kindness, goodness, gentleness, love, joy and patience. They are generous with their time and focus very little attention on what’s in it for me. To learn more about what it means to be generous, learn more about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ…you will find all you need to know in God’s Word. We are blessed to be a blessing. Amen.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)
We often believe the most difficult battles will come from what the world and others are doing to us. The actual battle that is most difficult to fight is within, it is the battle against the self. The self is stubborn, persisent and demanding, always wanting to be at the center of life regardless of how that impacts our actions and others around us. We are blessed with the opportutnity to choose our attitude, our behaviors, our values and our beliefs. Self-awareness is the first step in learning our tendencies and noticing the habits we have developed in our thoughts and actions. Self-awareness is learned through self-reflection, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, understanding your values and learning what situations and people bring about an emotional response from you. It often helps to keep a journal and it is important to invite God into the process…after all, He created you. The more you learn the better prepared you are to grow and change. Peace be with you on your journey. Amen.
“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 July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wiconsin)
When and where do you get quiet time in your life? We all have commitments and responsibilities and if we run ourselves into the ground just trying to keep up, we eventually become weary and ineffective at many things. The key is to find some balance, to prioritize, we can’t be all things to all people. This is why the story or analogy of the big rocks, the pebbles and the sand in a bucket hits home with so many people. We know that if we spend all our time on the sand and pebbles we will never get to the big rocks in life. For me this analogy is all about balance. Sometimes we can say yes and sometimes we need to say no or not right now…Jesus set the example for us, while He spent time teaching and speaking to the people He also would go off alone to pray and spend time with God our Father for hours…balance. Take time and rest in Him. Amen.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake place in central Minnesota)