No matter what has happened in the past, no matter what you are facing today and no matter what you are worried about for tomorrow…you can find rest for your soul when you put your hope in God. He alone knows what you are going through and He will never leave you or abandon you. Trust in God and trust in His Son Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Find Rest by Francesca Battistelli
“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.”
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)
The holiday season is a time to remind us to be grateful and to share with others where and when we are able. The challenge is to maintain a level of a giving mindset throughout the whole year. It is easy to slip into a self-oriented mindset for numerous reasons…the ability to stand firm and to change your perspective is possible by building and growing your relationship with Jesus Christ, every day. He knows what it means to sacrifice for others, He knows how to have compassion and to be humble even when, especially when we don’t deserve it. Ask God to help you find and maintain a giving mindset throughout the holiday season and beyond. May we all find moments of peace and joy and opportunities to help those in need. Amen.
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 while driving through Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)
Happy Thanksgiving! Take time today to give your thanks to God. Amen.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)
As the retail world bombards us with messages of the ‘greatest sale ever’…’lowest prices now’ and this year…’black Friday prices early’…it is a good time to seek contentment. This could be done by spending more time reflecting on all that we already have been given…realizing how much our needs are met each day and being…thankful. I find it interesting that the holiday intended to focus on gratitude is constantly getting pounded by the ‘get more’ self-focused attitude. Let’s work on becoming a new creation this holiday season and spend more time on being grateful for what we have, considering what abundance we can share with others and spend less time fulfilling our self-satisfying wants and desires. May the peace of the Lord be with you this holiday season. Amen.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
1 Timothy 6:6-9
(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
The ability to think and act using a combination of knowledge, experience, understanding, insight and common sense. Wisdom does not promote the self or self-intelligence…it is humble, compassionate, faithful and understanding of the needs of others. To continually seek to learn and grow and share what you have learned is to be wise. Seek wisdom from the Lord and you will find peace. Amen.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
(This photo was taken in December of 2018 on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)
He is with you…He knows everything about you and your life…He knows the struggles, the sorrows, the celebrations, the grief and mourning, the joyful gatherings, He knows the desires of your heart. To draw near to God is to seek Him daily, to turn away from sin and our sinful behaviors and to trust in Him…this is not a slick, quick, fast-food process…it is a journey, a journey filled with questions, doubts, sacrifice, repentance, surrender, peace, joy and love. And if you wonder why…the answer is found in His love. Amen.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you…”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota)
When facing struggles and suffering, we have a choice to act based on our faith or on our fears. Choose faith. Fear is a weapon of evil and a powerful one. When given the opportunity, faith can conquer fear. As with most things there is a certain amount of fear that is healthy, protective instinct and we all need that level for personal safety. An unhealthy level of fear is destructive and paralyzing and keeps us from the life God intends for us. Bring your fears to the Lord and let your faith be greater than your fear. Amen.
Fear Is A Liar by Zach Williams
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southern New Mexico)
Our spiritual life, our souls rely on being fed and nourished just like our physical bodies. If we take time to feed our faith, ask questions, seek to learn and grow through many activities, we are encouraged and our faith can grow stronger. If we set aside our faith and seek only self-satisfying activity our faith will be weak, withered and unable to stand up against sin and destructive behaviors. This is not about fitting time with God into our lives, rather it is surrendering and having God lead us and guide us to the people and activities that need us. Spend time with the Lord each day and be renewed by His presence. Amen.
“One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.”
(This photo was taken in April of 2016 at a lake in central Minnesota)
There are many people written about in God’s word. They were people with lives on earth and time after time we read about the things they did in their life…they did some really bad things…lived sinful lives and hurt themselves and each other…scroll through your social media feed…turn on the a news channel…how are we any different today? We all have the same human sickness…sin and sinful behaviors. One person in the Old Testament, David, is described in Acts 13:22 as ‘a man after God’s heart’ this same man committed terrible sins when it came to a woman named Bathsheba. When confronted about his sin David wrote the words of Psalm 51 as a prayer for forgiveness of his sins. I find verses 10-12 of this Psalm powerful verses to memorize as a prayer when you are tempted by sin. May God’s grace and peace be with you. Amen.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)
Put first things first…when you don’t know what to do…when a decision is lingering and you are procrastinating…turn towards God’s word and pray. The more we put our relationship with Jesus first, the better we will be able to function in our daily lives. Too often, we want to keep God in a box off to the side with a sign that states ‘In Case of Emergency Break Glass.’ God wants more of a relationship with you every day, for every part of your life. Assess your relationship with the Lord and make spending time with Him top priority. May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you. Amen.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2016 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)