Prayer

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12 NIV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Philippians 4:6 NIV

No matter what the situation or circumstances, don’t stop praying about it.  Don’t give up when God doesn’t meet your timeline, He knows more about everything than we realize.  Rather choose to trust in Him and His Way…He loves you, He cares for you and He is with you every step along the way.  Amen.

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Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2020 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Christ-Centered

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV

One of the key elements in spritual growth is for each of us to learn and understand in life ‘it is not about me.’  Removing self-centeredness from our lives allows us to focus on being Christ-centered.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 NIV

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“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a park in Winterset, Iowa)

God’s Grace

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8 NIV

God’s grace is greater than all of our sins.  We know we are weak and we live in a fallen world…God knows us too.  He knew we needed a way of salvation and He provided it through Jesus Christ.  When temptation comes we need to turn towards God and His Word to strengthen us, the same way Jesus spoke the Scriptures when Satan tempted Him in the desert.  When you do make a mistake or fail to resist temptation call on God because His Grace is greater than our sin.  Amen.

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“God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Jenny lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)

Peace That Surpasses Understanding

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 NIV

There is one source for peace and we will not find it in anything the world gives.  Only in Jesus will we know peace.  Turn towards the Lord, bring your worries and concerns to Him.  Be still and wait for the Lord.  Amen.

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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness[d] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:4-7 NIV

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

Forgiveness

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:34 NIV

Jesus Christ was treated as poorly as any human ever has been treated by others in history to the point of death…and yet as He hung on the Cross in which He was crucified on for our sins, He spoke the words above…He prayed for forgiveness for others.

If we do not find the way to forgive others it is us who will be destroyed…not those who have wronged us…no matter what they did.

Forgiveness by Matthew West

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“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:37-38 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2015 while traveling in South Dakota)

To Know Him…

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

John 10:14-16 NIV

From the very beginning God created us out of his love.  As we try to find satisfaction and happiness in worldly things we will come to find that only by God’s grace will we find true joy and peace in life.  Wisdom is found in spending more time with God and reading His Word.  The more we know Him rather then just know about Him…the more our eyes are opened and the better we begin to understand that we are broken, sinful people in need of a Savior and Jesus Christ is our good shepherd and our redeemer.

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 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 1:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)

Integrity

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. 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.”

Romans 12:1-2 NIV

Honesty…honor…ethics…morals…decency…fairness…sincerity…truthfulness…trustworthiness.  It seems in the world of social media and the race to get more attention to the self; these characteristics have gone by the wayside.  The constant striving for likes, popularity, money and me first attitude have become overwhelming idols of this fallen world.  Now more than ever we need people turning towards God and transforming their hearts and minds to the purpose of life according to God.  It begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ, His Son, our Savior.  Wherever you are, whatever has been done turn towards Jesus and seek to know Him.  Amen.

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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 September of 2022 near Boysen State Park in Wyoming)

Be Strong And Courageous

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 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 1:7-9 NIV

It is so easy to get caught up in uncertainty…we want to take control and try to force our desired outcomes.  Many of us spend years trying to grasp that which is beyond our control and get anxious and worry when things don’t go the way we want.  In the Old Testament Moses and Joshua are excellent examples of trusting God with uncertainty, being obedient to Him and trusting His way even though we have doubts.  At the end of Deuteronomy and the beginning of the book of Joshua, Moses dies and Joshua is being promoted to fill his shoes.  Just like Moses was apprehensive to lead the people out of Egypt, Joshua is uncertain he should be the one to lead after Moses.  In both situations God reassures them to “be strong and courageous because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) We would do well to listen to these words when we are uncertain and have doubts about situations and events in our own lives.

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The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1-2 NIV

(This photo was taken in Spetember of 2022 in Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming)

Faith – Character

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.”

Romans 5:1-4 NIV

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:12 NIV

Who we are, our behaviors, our attitude…these are the things that define our character.  We have been taught by the bible how we should strive to live.  Reflect on your last few days, weeks and months…turn towards God and ask Him to help you with any of the fruits of the Spirit that have been lacking in your relationships with others.  God is with you and He is for you.  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 ESV

(This phot was taken in August of 2016 at a lake in Glacier National Park in Montana)

The Truth Will Set You Free

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 NIV

Faith in God means believing the truth.  The truth that God sent His only Son to save us from our sins.  If we allow temptation and sin to rule our lives…it will keep us away from God we will be inviting trouble into everything we do.  If we follow the truth and put Jesus in the center of our lives, we will know peace.

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana)