Lay Down Your Burden

We have a Savior, born in barn over 2,000 years ago, because there was no room for Him in the world.  Yet He came to save us…He loves us, He forgives us and He will carry us through anything we are facing.  Turn to Jesus Christ and lay down your burden and trust in Him.  Amen.

Carry You by Amy Grant

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Cast your burden on the Lord,
    and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
    the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55:22

(This photo was taken in Augus tof 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

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A Different Way Of Living

Because God has given us free will, we can choose how we want to live.  It is not up to others, no matter how much we tend to blame them, we are responsible for how we respond to everything in our lives each and every day.  In the bible, John the Baptist is an excellent example of the characteristics of holy living.  You can read more about him in the Gospel of John.  John the Baptist makes a statement that truly shows his humility, in referring to Jesus he states…“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30) We can’t control what others will think, say or do, yet we do control how we choose to respond.  Choose a different way of living, choose to follow Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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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.”

Colossians 3:12-14

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

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The New Has Come

There is always hope for a new way and it begins by having a new attitude or new perspective.  If you wish things to be different or you believe there is something missing in your life and you are not sure how to find it…you must begin by changing you.  There is a phrase/quote that is used by some groups that sums this up really well…’the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.’  The bible also tells us this, we must become new again and see things with new eyes and a new attitude.  We don’t have to do this alone; we can begin by turning towards Jesus Christ and inviting Him into our hearts and minds.  May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you.  Amen.

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

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

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Self-Awareness

This is defined as knowledge of one’s own feelings, motives and desires.  If we are able to understand more about ourselves, we can become more confident in our values and purpose.  Being more self-aware will also improve our relationships and interactions with others.  For example, if our motives and desires center around self-satisfaction we will most likely have difficulty in relationships as we are not accounting for the needs of others.  There is a balance between self-care and helping others that we should strive for and we don’t have to do it alone.  God is with us and because of Jesus Christ we can ask for guidance in finding this balance.  May the Fruit of the Spirit be in you and flow through 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

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

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Advent Season

Today is the beginning of Advent.  The season of preparation and expectant waiting to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas and His return at the Second Coming.  We have many resources to help us observe this season, with calendars, candles, special devotionals, etc.  Observing the rituals is one part of the process, actually preparing our hearts and minds with the meaning behind these symbols will help us to grow in our faith.  For me the Advent wreath and candles are the symbols I choose to learn more about, there are four candles one for each week.  Some traditions include a fifth candle called the Christ candle.  As with many things different religions have different ways to celebrate these weeks.  My preferred 4 themes are:

Hope–Peace–Joy–Love.

Hope is confidence in God’s faithfulness…even when everything going on around us is telling us something different, we can have hope because we know that God is working for our good in all things.  Spend time this week reflecting on where you have seen God at work in your life or in the lives of others and renew your hope by remembering these things.  Remember with God all things are possible.  Amen.

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“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

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

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Put Your Hope In God

No matter what has happened in the past, no matter what you are facing today and no matter what you are worried about for tomorrow…you can find rest for your soul when you put your hope in God.  He alone knows what you are going through and He will never leave you or abandon you.  Trust in God and trust in His Son Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Find Rest by Francesca Battistelli

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Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 42:11

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

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A Giving Mindset

The holiday season is a time to remind us to be grateful and to share with others where and when we are able.  The challenge is to maintain a level of a giving mindset throughout the whole year.  It is easy to slip into a self-oriented mindset for numerous reasons…the ability to stand firm and to change your perspective is possible by building and growing your relationship with Jesus Christ, every day.  He knows what it means to sacrifice for others, He knows how to have compassion and to be humble even when, especially when we don’t deserve it.  Ask God to help you find and maintain a giving mindset throughout the holiday season and beyond.  May we all find moments of peace and joy and opportunities to help those in need.  Amen.

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“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:13

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

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Give Thanks To God

Happy Thanksgiving!  Take time today to give your thanks to God.  Amen.

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“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;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

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

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

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Contentment

As the retail world bombards us with messages of the ‘greatest sale ever’…’lowest prices now’ and this year…’black Friday prices early’…it is a good time to seek contentment.  This could be done by spending more time reflecting on all that we already have been given…realizing how much our needs are met each day and being…thankful.  I find it interesting that the holiday intended to focus on gratitude is constantly getting pounded by the ‘get more’ self-focused attitude.  Let’s work on becoming a new creation this holiday season and spend more time on being grateful for what we have, considering what abundance we can share with others and spend less time fulfilling our self-satisfying wants and desires.  May the peace of the Lord be with you this holiday season.  Amen.

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But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

1 Timothy 6:6-9

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

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Wisdom

The ability to think and act using a combination of knowledge, experience, understanding, insight and common sense.  Wisdom does not promote the self or self-intelligence…it is humble, compassionate, faithful and understanding of the needs of others.  To continually seek to learn and grow and share what you have learned is to be wise.  Seek wisdom from the Lord and you will find peace.  Amen.

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

(This photo was taken in December of 2018 on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

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