It was 2 years ago today that Dad went home to be with the Lord. There was no warning, no diagnosis…there was no indication at all that on that day Dad would be leaving us. It happened around 12:30 in the afternoon…I received one of those phone calls…you know the ones I’m talking about, it was a phone call that would change life from that moment forward. The only way to go forward is with Jesus Christ, He comforts us in a way that exceeds human understanding. Thank you for comforting us Jesus. Amen.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3
(This photo was taken in May of 2020 from a spot Dad would have loved to sit, by a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 in the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior)
God’s love is for all of us…Jesus demonstrated God’s love by how He was willing to interact with and help people. He was criticized by others for who He chose to sit and eat with…Jesus loves you and He wants a relationship with you, meet with Him every day and listen for His response through other believers and by reading God’s word. Amen.
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling in Rocky Mountain National Park)
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-20
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Rocky Mountain National Park)
When we are in step with God and His plan we will not feel weary, we will not feel weak. Weariness is a warning sign that something we are doing or are spending time on is not part of God’s will for us. When we are walking with Him there is no weariness or exhausted feelings as He provides energy and strength that we never knew existed. Take time to assess where and how you are spending your time and pray to God to guide you to His will. 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.”
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!”
(This photo was taken in May of 2020 along the north shore of Lake Superior)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the 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.”
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2015 while on a mission trip in Denver, Colorado)
We learn from our experiences and by reading about the experiences of others. Many times, learning from our own experiences is a slow and difficult process as we are most stubborn with ourselves. Reading and learning from the experiences of others gives us new insight into how can we live going forward. God provides the greatest book filled with lessons and learnings, to help us as we live. Pick up a bible and learn from the experiences of those who came before us. Amen.
“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
(This photo was taken in September of 2016 at a lake in central Minnesota)
Jesus Christ came down from heaven to live as one of us…throughout the Old Testament there is a back and forth between God and humans as they would come close to Him and then wander off into sin. God would save them and they would come close again and then wander off again…and on and on it went. Then God changed everything by sending His one and only Son into the world. Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer, He has paid the price for our sins and reconciled us back to God, forever. Come near to God and stay close to Him…no matter what comes your way. Amen.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at Temperance State Park on Lake Superior)
Our failures in the past…our current worries…and our anxiety about the future. All of this He offers to reconcile for us…if we are willing to believe and trust in Him. It is right there in Scripture…
Our past failures:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 1:7
Our current worries:
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Our anxiety about the future:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
These are just a few of the assurances and promises the Lord has made…the Bible is filled with the very words of Jesus Christ telling us how much He cares for us and how far He is willing to go to show us His love. Trust in the Lord, read God’s Word and believe in our heavenly Father. Amen.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)