Listen

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

James 1:19-20 NIV

Seeking help…it is hard to do for many of us.  First step, admit we need help.  Second step, seek assistance…first from God and then from others that God puts in our lives.  Last step, listen…the first two are hard enough many of us, if we get to the last step we often lose focus…we need to listen.  We often spend our listening time preparing our response instead of truly listening.  We can miss God’s will for us if we fail to listen.  May we all be better listeners in our daily walk.  Amen.

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Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)

Give Thanks

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 100:1-3 NIV

Take time to reflect on your life and remember what God has done for you.  Think about the storms you have already come through…how He protected you or guided you safely.  Remember that no matter what God loves you…He is with you and within you.  Jesus left the comfort of heaven to come down and live as one of us…He sacrificed Himself to be beaten and crucified and to pay the penalty for our sin so that we could have a relationship with God.  God will do for you that which you can’t do for yourself…put your trust in the Lord and give thanks to Him.

Forever by Michael W Smith

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Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:4-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling in northern Colorado)

Come Near To God

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.”

Psalm 145:18 NIV

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.

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“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

James 4:8 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at Temperance State Park on Lake Superior)

The Source Of Hope

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 NIV

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 NIV

Where does hope come from?  It comes from the Creator of everything and everyone…only God who can take on all our sins and overcome this world.  Only God can defeat death and evil that is so prevalent in this world.  Put your hope in God for He is the only true source of Hope each day.

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:1-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Always With Us…Always

“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.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

God the Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth wants a relationship with you.  Not only that…He has promised to be with you and never leave you.  If God feels distant look around at what you are doing or decisions you have made…it is most likely you that moved away from Him.  God is with you and He is within you…believe and proceed to live life guided by Him.  May the peace of God be with you and flow through you.  Amen.

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No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:37-39 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 while traveling through South Dakota)

Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 NIV

God has promised to be with you wherever you go…still when we look around at the world or our own worries, fears and frustrations…it’s easier to shrink back than to be bold and courageous, to go forward trusting in God.  That is how living by faith is different than living the way the world promotes life.  We are inundated with messages of self-center living and behaviors and it takes courage to strive to be different.  Put your hope and your trust in God and His promises…follow the example of Jesus Christ.  Be courageous.

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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass near the Montana-Wyoming border)

Gifts And Blessings

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV

As God’s creation, each of us has been blessed and have God-given gifts and abilities.  Our purpose in our lives is to love the Lord, love others and to learn about and use the gifts He has given us to serve in our communities.  What gifts has God given you?  What can you do or provide to others in your family, your neighborhood or your faith community?  If you are unsure, turn towards God in prayer and seek His will for you.  Amen.

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We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Romans 12:6-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Attitude

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”

Philippians 2:3-5 NLT

A way of thinking…a point of view…outlook…perspective…belief.  How would you define your attitude toward God?  What is His role?  How much time during a typical week are we thinking about God?  The Bible has many of examples of different people and their attitude towards God, it describes their beliefs and actions.  There is a lot for us to learn from those people.  From Genesis to Revelation, we read about those who put God at the center of their lives and those who did not.  The best example of an appropriate attitude towards God is that of Jesus Christ…He took time daily to walk with God and this is what He seeks from us as well.  Spend time with Jesus every day and pray about your attitude towards God.  Amen.

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“He has showed you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2012 on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

The Power Of Prayer

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:4-7 NIV

The power of prayer does not come from what words you say or what order you say them in…the true power of prayer comes from the One who answers prayers and whether you believe in Him.  A prayer offered with doubt and hesitation or out of routine is not the same as one offered from the heart with honesty, sincerity and belief in God.  Pray and believe.  Amen.

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“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:22-24 NIV

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

Wisdom

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools[a] despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 1:7 NIV

If you want to start reading the Bible but are unsure where to begin…try starting with Proverbs.  Guess how many chapters God has in Proverbs…the answer is 31, you can read one chapter a day and you would complete the Book of Proverbs in one month.  Not only that you will be reading the words of one of the wisest people that ever lived.  There is so much good to learn in Proverbs, it will help you in your daily life and grow your relationship with God.  God’s Word is a gift to us…pick it up and read.

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“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

James 3:13-18 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)