Patience And Persistence

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

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
    keep your foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:25-27 NIV

Keep going…learn from what has happened…know that God is working for good things in all situations…He is with you…it is His plan that is best…there will be plenty of opportunities to go your own way…stay on the path…walk with God.  Amen.

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The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

Psalm 145:8-9 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota)

He Knows You

 “I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come. 12 Then you will call out to me. You will come and pray to me. And I will listen to you. 13 When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIRV

Have you had moments like this?  “That’s not what I meant”…”I wish they knew me better”…”I don’t feel like I fit in”…”Nobody understands me.”  I have been there before.  You can be surrounded by people but feel like you are isolated.  God knows who you are, He knows what you can do, He knows how you think and He cares for you.  If you feel like you are off the rails in your life, it is time to get back to God.  He is waiting to hear from you.  He is the Creator, the one who formed you and has been right there with you every step of the way in life.  Turn towards God.  Trust in Him.  May you see the blessings from God in your life each day.

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  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 July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin)

Humble Yourselves

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 18:10-14 NIV

Jesus taught us about humility in the bible.  We need to remember…it’s not about me first.  There is a significant difference between self-care and being self-centered.  To be humble takes courage, to admit that we make mistakes and poor choices with an attitude that seeks redemption is a path to peace.

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“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

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

Trust And Pray

The Lord is gracious, kind and tender.
    He is slow to get angry and full of love.
The Lord is good to all.
    He shows deep concern for everything he has made.”

Psalm 145:8-9 NIRV

No matter what, anything is possible with God.  If you are discouraged or defeated and thinking this is never going to change or get better…turn towards God, put your trust in Him.  Confess your sins and make a commitment to change the way you live.  If you are frustrated and at your wits end with another person don’t give up…pray for them and be encouraged by story of Saul who became Paul…Saul was filled with anger and hate and he was leading the charge to kill believers in Jesus and yet this was the person God chose to change to help lead the charge to spread the Good News about Jesus.  You can read more about him in the book of Acts.  If God can change Saul to Paul, He can change you or someone you are praying for just the same.  Anything is possible with God.  Amen.

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“But I will bless anyone who trusts in me.
    I will do good things for the person who depends on me.
They will be like a tree planted near water.
    It sends out its roots beside a stream.
It is not afraid when heat comes.
    Its leaves are always green.
It does not worry when there is no rain.
    It always bears fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIRV

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

Walking In The Light

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.”

1 John 1:5-7 NIV

Walking with God is action…we have several examples in the bible of actions that indicate people are walking with God.  The Good Samaritan story in Luke 10 is the great example that faith is more than reading and learning about God.  While that is a critical step for building a foundation of faith, eventually our living it out in who we are and what we do is the next step.  Read, learn and be transformed…then begin to walk in the Light in what you do.  Amen.

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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV

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

Do What It Says

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35 NIV

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

Galatians 5:13-15 NIV

It is one thing to read or listen to the Word of God…it is the next step in your faith journey to do what it says.  We can go our whole lives reading the bible and listening to God’s word in church and if we never put it into practice in our lives…what have we accomplished?  The bible is filled with Action words and many of them came directly out of the mouth of Jesus Christ.  We are to go and do what He commands us to do.  May His peace go with you.  Amen.

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Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

James 1:22-25 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 on Beartooth Pass in Montana)

The Goodness Of God

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Psalm 34:8 NIV

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17 NIV

No matter where you are…no matter what has happened or been done…God’s goodness will conquer all things.  We know this because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.  From all that is broken we will see the Goodness of God.  Trust in Him…trust in His Goodness.  Peace to you. Amen.

Goodness Of God by Jenn Johnson | Victory

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

Romans 8:28 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 in Tettegouche State Park in northern Minnesota)

Be Thankful

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

What are you thankful for today?  How often do we take time to be thankful during difficult times?  It is not easy…yet it is a choice.  An attitude of gratitude may not come naturally to us but we should strive for it as it can make such a big difference in our lives.  We don’t have to do it alone…start by thanking God for Jesus Christ and what He did for you at the Cross and see where you can go from there.  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. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 while traveling through North Dakota)

Prayer

“When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful.”

Romans 12:12 NIRV

“Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to him.”

Philippians 4:6 NIRV

It is not about saying certain words or performing for others…prayer is about having an honest and sincere communication with God.  It is walking with God for every aspect of your life, the big things and the little things.  It is about being open and vulnerable with our Creator and trusting in Him and His way.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“Never stop praying.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIRV

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

We Have This 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

“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 NIV

Why should we have hope?  Because the God of the universe, our Creator, loves us and He wants good things for us.  How do we know?  Because He sent His Son as a sacrifice to do for us that which we cannot do on our own…save us from our sinful ways.  From the greatest tragedy, Jesus Christ death on the Cross, God brought about the greatest triumph, the resurrection of our Savior.  No matter what has happened, no matter where you are…whatever you have done or left undone…there is hope because of God’s love for you and because He wants good things for you.  Turn towards the Lord, He can make all things new.  Amen.

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Let us hold firmly to the hope we claim to have. The God who promised is faithful. 24 Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works. 25 And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching.”

Hebrews 10:23-25 NIRV

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)