Amazing Grace

But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus. He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us. He was kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done.”

Ephesians 2:4-7 NIRV

As we close out the year, reflect on where you have seen God in the events of your life.  He was with you the whole time, even when you didn’t acknowledge Him.  God wants good things for you…all that is dark and evil in this world is because of our sin…yet God who is rich in mercy has saved us through His Son.  We are saved by God’s gift of Amazing Grace.  Amen.

Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin

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God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. 10 We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NIRV

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 near the border of Minnesota and South Dakota)

Persevere Under Trial

My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. Your faith will be tested. You know that when this happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. And you must allow this strength to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. If any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone and doesn’t find fault.”

James 1:2-5 NIRV

Don’t give up…keep praying…keep trying…be persistent…have courage…believe.  Everyone is challenged by something in life.  Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind.  It is in these situations that we can see the power of God, we can see His mercy and His grace when we shift our perspective off of worldly treasures and back on to Jesus.  God is holding on to you through everything the world is throwing at you.  Trust in Him and persevere through trials.  Amen.

I Am by Crowder

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“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 NIV

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

Seek First His Kingdom

Portions of this post were originally published in February of 2021…

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33 NIV

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

James 4:7-8 NIV

What is at the center of your life?  What do you value above all else?  If you are unsure, look at where you spend your resources of time and money.  As you reflect, where is God in your priorities?  I began this type of review and reflection process over 10 years ago in my own life…I did not feel good about the answers I was seeing then and have been working on doing better ever since.  This blog started in 2013 as a part of my journey and has grown and changed as I have over the years.  One of the very first aha moments in my faith journey was when a clear thought came to mind…‘it’s not about me’…the it is anything and everything.  When we strive to put Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him first in life, we will begin to discover a new life.  During this season of reflection what do you see?

We Believe by Newsboys

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Jesus Calls Us To Him

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.””

Mark 6:31 NIV

The pace of life always seems to be increasing, so we must make a conscious effort to live a balanced and healthy life. This includes more than eating right and physical exercise…we must also spend time nurturing our mind and our spirit. If we are always running at peak energy and activity we will eventually crash and the constant up and down of high’s and low’s is taxing on every part of who we are. We need to strive for balance…make time to go to a quiet place and rest. Jesus knows this is important for us and spoke about it in the Gospels. He calls us to follow His example…make time for rest. Amen.

““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.””

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

Open The Eyes Of My Heart

Portions of this post were originally published in July 2021…

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV

We typically are quick to judge the thoughts and actions of others without considering there is more to every person than just what you see on the surface.  We forget that God created all of us, everyone…even the people you struggle with or disagree with on most days.  I like to remember the quote…’be kind to others, because everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.’  When you find your thoughts making judgements…stop and pray for God to fill you with kindness and compassion.  Amen.

Open The Eyes Of My Heart by Michael W. Smith

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Love Conquers All

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Jesus Christ is God’s love sent down to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves…to save us from our sinful ways.  There is no person, place or thing in this world that loves you and cares for you the way that God does…put your trust in Him and you will see and understand that love, God’s love conquers all in life.  Amen.

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)

Merry Christmas

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.

Merry Christmas!

Christmastime by Michael W Smith

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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.”

Luke 2:11-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in December of 2013 while on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

Christmas Eve…A Silent Night

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

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“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Luke 2:6-7 NIV

(This photo was taken in December of 2018 on Paradise Island in the Bahamas)

An Invitation To Worship

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28 NIV

Christmas is a time to gather and praise the Name that is above every Name on earth…Jesus.  Throughout the Scriptures He invites us to come to Him and it is only with Him that we can find peace.  So, amid the busyness we bring on ourselves during this season…make time to stop…sit in the quiet and worship the coming of our Savior and Lord.  He came so that we could be with God.  In the spirit of the season, I extend an invitation to all of you.  No matter where you are in the world you can come to worship service at Christmas at the church my family attends.  Below is a link to times for both in-person or online worship services this weekend.  May we all know the peace that God provides by sending His one and only Son for us.  Merry CHRISTmas!

Eagle Brook Church

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2014 while traveling on the island of Maui, Hawaii)

The Light Of The World

Portions of this post were originally published in February of 2020…

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”

John 1:1-9 NIV

When we are discouraged and defeated it may be because we are clinging to the things of this world and therefore, we are living in darkness.  Comparing ourselves to others, believing our worth and our value comes from something or someone other than God.  If we are struggling to see, we need to remember the Light of the World…Jesus Christ…our Savior and Lord.  Let Him lead you and guide you…read God’s Word about His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection and remember He did it all for you.  Amen.

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“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 NIV

(This photo was taken in April of 2016 at a lake in central Minnesota)