Spread An Attitude Of Gratitude

“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.”

Colossians 3:12-15 NIV

One act of kindness, compassion and thankfulness can set off a chain reaction…look for opportunities to offer goodness and gentleness.  Be aware of moments when you can exercise patience and point out reasons for gratitude in daily life.  As is often quoted, be the change you wish to see in the world.

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“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 NIV

(This photo was taken in February of 2013 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Be The Light

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.”

John 1:1-5 NIV

Jesus has won victory over sin and death.  He has reconciled us to God by His death…He took the punishment we deserve.  His resurrection gives us hope of eternal life.  Because of Jesus we can be transformed in our hearts and minds…not living for worldly values and possessions.  When we confess our sins and put our faith in Christ the Holy Spirit shines the Light of Christ into our hearts and minds and we in turn can be a Light shining in the darkness of this world.

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For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

What Are Your Distractions? Resolve Them ASAP…

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Colossians 3:2-10 NIV

Ever had one of those mornings or one of those days?  When you know you have things to do and you just can’t focus…you feel scattered?  Your mind keeps jumping from thought to thought and you have moments telling yourself, “c’mon stop it…focus on what you need to do!”  This is a perfect example of how we can’t overcome things on our own…we need help…we need God.  There is a sign in our home with the letters ASAP on it…yet it doesn’t stand for what you are thinking it does…this ASAP stands for “Always Stop And Pray.”  When you notice things going the wrong direction, always stop and pray…when you just don’t know what to do, always stop and pray…when life gets overwhelming, always stop and pray.  Distractions and taking our attention away from God will be constant in life…we can overcome our problems by remembering to ASAP.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“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.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:6-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Patience

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 ESV

When we believe and we trust in God we will be required to develop patience in this world.  Circumstances will often look hopeless and many people will despair and be engulfed in sadness and fear, that is the way of evil.  We must never give up hope, we must trust in God to continue working for the good for us and for everyone.  God does not make bad things happen, He is not tempting you with things that are not good…that is sin in the world.  God is at work in all the bad we have created to bring out goodness, kindness and love.  Believe in Him who created us, believe in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ and see the good things that can happen in your life in this world.  May God’s peace and joy be with you.  Amen.

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“I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

Believe

“When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [21] [a]

Matthew 17:14-21 NIV

We Believe by Eagle Brook Music

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“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:29 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Arches National Park in Utah)

Lay Down Your Burdens

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV

Come to Jesus…confess your sin and lay down all your worries and burdens at the foot of the Cross.  We are all sinners in need of redemption and God has sent His one and only Son to bring us back to Him.  Nothing is impossible for God and He wants to hear from you…He will carry you through anything you face in this life.  Amen.

Carry You by Amy Grant

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“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 May of 2020 along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Come To Repentance

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

Romans 2:1-4 NIV

We are so quick to judge others, yet that is not our purpose.  We were created out of God’s love to do good things…how we respond to His love will determine how we will be judged.  Come to repentance and you will find peace.  Amen.

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But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

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

Humility…Perspective

Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be humble. Value others more than yourselves. None of you should look out just for your own good. Each of you should also look out for the good of others.

Philippians 2:3-4 NIRV

“So make yourselves humble. Put yourselves under God’s mighty hand. Then he will honor you at the right time. Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NIRV

We are saved by God’s grace and we have a choice…we can accept that we are broken and sinful in need of our Savior and then seek Him in how we live.  Or we can reject God by focusing only on ourselves and following the desires of the world and our sinful hearts and minds.  We can see the choice made by others so easily…yet it is up each of us in our own lives…no matter what our circumstances are in this world we have a choice on how we will respond to God every day.

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“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.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIV

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

Be Different

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:15-17 NIV

“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 12:2 NIV

Wash your heart and mind with the truth in God’s word.  We all are broken and sinful in this world and we need Jesus.  The world will flood us with lies about what to believe and turn us away from God.  We need to seek the wisdom that comes from God not from the world…plant the Word deep into our hearts daily to guide our attitudes and perspectives and to live out the love He has given us in every aspect of our lives.  Amen.

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But that is not the way of life in Christ that you learned about. 21 You heard about Christ and were taught about life in him. What you learned was the truth about Jesus. 22 You were taught not to live the way you used to. You must get rid of your old way of life. That’s because it has been made impure by the desire for things that lead you astray. 23 You were taught to be made new in your thinking. 24 You were taught to start living a new life. It is created to be truly good and holy, just as God is.”

Ephesians 4:20-24 NIRV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at Falls Park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Open Your Heart

“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.”

James 1:21 NIV

Let the Word of the Lord wash over you and cleanse you…clear your mind and share what is on your heart with the Lord.  Spend time reading God’s Word…let the peace of Jesus into your daily life.  Amen.

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“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:15 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)