Acknowledge…admit…regret…sorrow…to turn away from wrong doing…to change. The prayer I have prayed the most in 2019 is Psalm 51…it was written by David after he had committed terrible sins…we are all broken, every person since the beginning of time, the sooner we can acknowledge where we are wrong the more we can grow in faith…come near to God and He will come near to you. May God’s forgiveness and love flow through you in the new year. Amen.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9
(This photo was taken in April of 2016 at a lake in central Minnesota)
If you want to know the answers, you must be willing to ask the questions. If you have questions for God, Jesus encourages us to ask…seek Him and then pay attention for the response. Keep in mind He doesn’t answer questions the way we want, much like a parent doesn’t answer every child’s question the way the child wants. God loves you; He is with you and He wants good things for you…He has proven that by sending His only Son into the world to die on a cross for you. As we reflect and look ahead at this time of the year…look for where you have seen God in your life, give thanks and ask Him the questions you truly want to know the answers too. Amen.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in White Sands National Park in New Mexico)
The Holy Spirit will guide us and lead us to living a new life. A life of faith with Jesus Christ in our hearts. A life that strives to turn away from sin and sinful behavior…don’t think for a minute that evil and darkness will stop trying to deceive you and lead you astray. Put your hope in God and feed your faith so that it can grow. Pray to the Lord and seek His peace for every aspect of your life. Amen.
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)
To speak about faith as a journey is to remind us that it is ongoing…it is not a one-time event or ceremony…it is not something to ‘check the box’ as done and move on. It is a journey of good times and hard times. It is a daily recognition that we are broken and sinful and we live in a fallen world…it is about learning to surrender your plans to God and His plan…it is about finding the best version of you that God intended for your life. Pick up a bible every day and renew your faith for your journey. Amen.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 while standing on Beartooth Pass in Montana)
We have so much to learn…it is easy to think that we have lived our lives long enough to know what is right for us. We have experiences to draw on and we rely on feelings and emotions. Yet God knew all of these things before we were even born. He is our Creator and He loves us so much that He sacrificed His Son to save us…He knows what is best for us. For example, how many people would believe that Saul could become Paul…the greatest enemy of Christians would become one of the greatest disciples? You can read about it in Acts 9…this is the wisdom of God and it is far greater than any human wisdom. Trust in the Lord and seek His will for you and your life. Amen.
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
1 Corinthians 1:25
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in what is now officially White Sands National Park in New Mexico)
Which race are you running? The one the world lays out that is chasing after money, possessions and status among this world or the race that has been marked out for you by God? God’s gift of free will does give us a choice…it is important to keep in mind that all choices come with a cost. The world’s race has been called the ‘rat race’ and in order to run that race we have to make choices that leaves a trail of broken relationships…if we choose to pursue the race that God has marked out for us we will be persecuted by others for not conforming to the way of the world. Neither race is easier than the other, the biggest difference is that in choosing the race that God has marked out for us we will never be running alone and most importantly when it comes to the end of our race where we end up is significantly different. Seek God’s wisdom for the path that you are on and the race that you are running. Amen.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota)
Joy to the world on Christmas Day. He is truly the reason for the season.
Christmas Day by Chris Tomlin
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(This photo was taken in February of 2013 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)
At Christmas time and throughout the year put Christ in the center of your life…with Christ you will know Hope, you will know Peace, you will know Joy and you will know that the Love of Christ in your heart will help you overcome anything this world can throw at you.
May we all see and know God’s blessings in our lives this Christmas and carry them with us all through the New Year. Amen.
Christmastime by Michael W Smith
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
(This photo was taken in December of 2013 while on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)
These are the presents we receive from God, not only at Christmas, we receive these every day of our lives. It is up to us to accept these gifts and to trust in the Lord. We are forgiven because of Jesus Christ and we receive goodness from God’s Holy Spirit within us. All throughout the bible the miracles performed included Jesus involving someone else in completing the miracle. An example would be the little boy who had the fish and bread, that was to be multiplied for all to eat. God wants us to accept the gift of forgiveness from Jesus and to open our hearts and minds to the goodness of the Holy Spirit and God wants each of us to participate in the story. God loves you; God forgives you and He is ready to lead you to good things. Accept these gifts from God. Amen.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)
There is hope…even at times when it feels like there is no hope…God is still on the throne in heaven and even though things don’t go the way we want them to, or how we want them to, or things don’t happen when we want…we still have hope for the future because of Jesus Christ. No matter where you are or what is happening or not happening in your life, look around your life for what is good, look for what you can be grateful for and give thanks to God. Amen.
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:57
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)