“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
Perseverance…determination…patience…endurance…dedication…commitment. Stay the course…don’t give up. This is what it takes to find what you are looking for…no matter what it is. Reflect on what you have been “thinking about doing,” what have you been “wishing were different” in your life…is it related to your finances? Is it related to your weight? Is it related to a relationship? Your faith? Something else? Begin again and this time bring it to the Lord first, seek His wisdom and be persistent. Amen.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Galatians 6:7-10 NIV
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(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)
“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.”
Romans 12:1-2 NIV
When someone is transformed, they appear new again. A transformation in the spiritual life means recognizing who and what we are and then humbly admitting that we need to be made new again. We must be willing to admit we are broken, helplessly chasing after the sinful nature…once we see and know the conviction of sin, we have the opportunity to be redeemed, renewed, and restored. A relationship with Jesus Christ is the Way to transformation. Seek Him. May God bless you with wisdom and peace. Amen.
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 11:19 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Luke 9:23-24 NIV
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 NIV
I Give You My Heart – Hillsong Worship & Delirious?
“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.“
Romans 12:1-2 NIV
(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at the High Falls in Tettegouche State Park in northern Minnesota)
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:9-10 NIV
We learn to build walls around the parts of our heart where the deepest and most vulnerable topics and issues, thoughts and feelings are hidden from others. We believe we are safe keeping these items locked away. There is a door in these walls and Jesus is on the other side. He is not locked out, we are locked in…think about this…we do not have to wait and hope that He will find us and help us or save us. He already knows about these things, He has done what He needed to do to save us. In His words, it is finished (John 19:30). We are the ones who need to take the next step, unlock the door to your heart for Jesus and let Him in. I like many people have been searching for the door in the wall, it takes persistence, discipline and courage to open the door and let go of those things keeping us trapped in destructive cycles…we need to let the fullness of Christ into our lives. May God’s peace be with you.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Revelation 3:20 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in Colorado)
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13 NIV
As of today it has been more than 2 weeks since Resurrection Sunday and we must caution against taking our salvation for granted. For most people by now they are focused solely on the tasks of work or daily tasks at home and the glory of Christ sacrifice for us is in the rear-view mirror. Our faith journey and spiritual growth is about so much more than checking in on Sunday or on certain holidays and checking out the rest of the time because we are too busy. Seeking your relationship with Jesus Christ every day and spending time with Him and in God’s Word is the Way to peace. God sacrificed His only Son to reconcile us to Him. Never forget the price of our salvation. Amen.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NIV
(This photo was taken in April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:7-10 NIV
Think about it…God sacrificed His one and only Son for other people just as much as He did it for you. He created all of us…yes even the person on your mind right now that chooses to reject God and shows it in their daily life. We are not here to be the judge of each other, we can’t because we are all sinful and we all need the Savior. Trust me I struggle with this in my faith as much as anyone else does…maybe that other person has never had anyone show them kindness, compassion or taken time to listen to them because society has decided they are not worth it. In the end it is not up to us…our purpose is to love God, love others and share the Gospel, that is how we can make a difference in our lifetime. Amen.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
1 John 4:11-12 NIV
(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)
“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. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:19-22 NIV
Listening is a skill we all need to use more often and a way of communicating that could get us much closer to peace in our life. If we were better at listening there would be less divorce and broken families…if we were better at listening there would be less violence and crime as hate and anger would not be stirred up so quickly. Listening involves taking time to understand what the other person is saying, it involves empathy. It means not being so quick to respond with your own will and desires as first priority…it takes humility to really listen…it takes a willingness to admit we don’t have all the answers. Think about recent interactions in your life…when are you hearing and when are you listening? I know I can do better. Lastly, communicating with God takes more than just talking, if we are doing all the talking in prayer when do we take the time to listen to Him? May we all be blessed with courage and humility to listen better. Amen.
“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Psalm 25:4-5 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
Romans 10:9-13 NIV
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? That He came down from heaven and sacrificed Himself to take the punishment you deserve? Do you believe that He has risen and lives in you today? What do you believe? Believe in Jesus…confess your sins…be certain about what you believe and trust in the Lord.
We Believe by Newsboys
“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. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
John 3:16-18 NIV
(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Big Sky Resort in Montana)
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:7-10 NIV
No matter where you are, no matter what you have done or have left undone…God knows all about you and He loves you. He knows you hurt and pain…He knows your joys and good times…He knows your struggles and difficulties and He knows your achievements and accomplishments. He has been with you the whole time and He will never leave you…put your trust and faith in God…no matter what your circumstances are…He knows.
He Knows by Jeremy Camp
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 near Arches National Park in Utah)
“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
Hebrews 2:18 NIV
If we seek God first and not the things that the world values we will find comfort with Him. God has done and continues to do more than anyone else for us. He loves us…He cares for us…He wants good things for us. Trust the God of all comfort. Amen.
“May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.”
Psalm 119:76 NIV
“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 1:3-4 NIV
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)