Stewardship

Guardianship…upkeep…safekeeping…managing…cherishing…protecting…preserving.  We are asked to be good stewards in our lives.  We come into the world with nothing and when we leave we can take nothing with us.  All that we receive is from God.  God owns everything and we receive so that we can be cared for and share with others.  The sinful nature would have us go after gaining more to keep and store up this turns us away from faith.  The world has been filled with more than enough resources to feed and clothe everyone, yet the human race has not distributed things properly so there is poverty everywhere.  Do what you can wherever you are to help those who need it most.  May God’s joy and peace be with you.

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“Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each one should give what they have decided in their heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)

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With All Your…

Distractions are everywhere.  Our focus shifts from one thing to the next so quickly, especially in the age of social media.  When I was young I remember people using a phrase attributed to Mark Twain, ‘If you don’t like the weather; wait five minutes!’  Well in today’s society it could be ‘if you don’t like the top story of the day; wait a few minutes!’  With schedules and activities; things to do; places to go and see and access to so much information, it is no wonder people are filled with worry, anxiety and feeling exhausted.  We end up putting any time with God and prayer as a line item in our never ending busy lives.   God is not looking for you to be a social media friend or follower, who checks in on your feed to see what’s what…rather He is asking for your full attention, daily.  Your all…your everything…everyday.  May God bless you with wisdom and courage.

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.”

Deuteronomy 6:5-6

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

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Courage

It takes courage to be a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.  It not always the easy way or even the logical way to live according to the world.  It means living with different priorities than many people.  It means there will be times when you must step out in faith and it means you must be willing to admit your mistakes.  One of the toughest parts can be gaining self-control and getting a handle on your emotions.  There are many examples in the bible of people who have made this journey and they did really well at times and they also stumbled and failed at times.  The lessons we can learn from their experiences are to be courageous, stand firm in your faith and trust in God.  Don’t look for things to always go the way you want or have planned, but seek His plan.  There is a phrase I think fits with faith pretty well…Faith – it’s simple but it’s not always easy.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on a hike near Bayfield, Wisconsin)

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Wait For The Lord

I find sometimes that there are periods of time when God seems distant in my faith journey.  A sense that things that were once clear and focused seem less clear and jumbled up.  It would be easy to fret and wonder why, what happened, what changed and of course, is it me, did I do something wrong?  These are not times to invite worries and anxieties into your life.  This is a moment to know and to trust that God is still on the throne in heaven and He will be with you.  Think of Job in the bible…he had everything and I mean everything taken from him in life, plus he had these great “friends” telling him he must have done something wrong for all this to happen.  Job did not give in and stop believing…he persisted in faith and the Lord restored him.  There are and will be times when the Lord seems far off, be patient, stand in faith and wait for Him.  May God’s love and comfort be with you.

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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

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 in the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior)

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Humility

To say there seems to be less and less of this in the world is an understatement…more then ever we are hearing about people shouting about their individual rights or their me and my group first mentality, which just drives the motivation of others to put themselves first, which does nothing more that create division and violence.  Imagine if more people were working for fairness for all people…instead trying to push and pull others down to get a step up.  My guess is that this is because of a lack of trust in society.  People can’t trust that other people will be honest and work for the best intentions of all.  Selfishness.  Think about what it felt like when someone did something kind and generous for you that had no benefit for them.  That is where God is.  The only one who can overcome the rule of self in the human race is God.  He can be trusted, He has kept every promise He has ever made and He has one promise left.  Turn to God and pray, trust in Him and He will bring you peace.

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“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:3-4

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

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Call To Serve

If you find yourself frustrated, anxious or worried more often than usual you may be spending too much time focused on things that are self-serving.  Typically I have found on my journey that contentment and joy come from serving the needs of another.  Providing help where it is needed most.  This does not have to be a major undertaking or monumental tasks…it can be what is most needed, when it is most needed.  Maybe someone needs a ride to get to work…holding a door open for someone who has their hands full with someone or something…preparing a meal…or just sitting and listening.  We all have gifts and abilities to share and we are called by God to serve one another.  May God bless you with wisdom and understanding.

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“You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

Galatians 5:13

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 in the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior)

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Every Generation

The cycle of life…we are kids playing in the sand…we learn to ride bikes and gain freedom…we experience our school years and activities…we learn to drive and get our first job…we make choices about post high school and become young adults…people our age are getting married…people our age our having kids and are off into their careers…everybody’s getting older…our parents begin to need more assistance…people our age are getting terminal diagnosis’…we are attending more funerals than weddings…we are slowing down…we go home to the Lord.  This does not describe every aspect of every life, just some of the stages in life.  Every single person you encounter is somewhere on the journey and every single person needs faith to help find the way.  As we learn and grow we need to be purposeful in teaching the next generation about a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Each one teach one to restore hope and to live in peace.  May your life be filled with contentment and joy.

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“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.  One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.”

Psalm 145:3-4

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Madeline Island at Big Bay Town Park in Wisconsin)

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Gratitude

I am thankful for God’s amazing grace.  I am grateful for His love.  Each morning when I get up I look forward to time with Jesus, my morning readings and bible verses.  I have a devotional bible that provides a writing from the perspective of a follower of Jesus and it provides bible verses as a reference for each day.  I began this practice over 8 years ago and every year I learn new things about myself and my relationships.  As long as we are here God is still working on us and when He believes we are ready He will call us home.  No one knows when that will be for anyone and everyone is working through some kind of battle or struggle.  Just because we don’t see it in them does not mean they aren’t struggling or fighting through something.  Give thanks to God for your life and seek His will for how to best use your gifts.  May God’s mercy and love be with you.

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“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”

Psalm 143:10

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

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He Knows You

That’s not what I meant…I wish they knew me better…I don’t feel like I fit in…Nobody understands me…have you had moments like this?  I know I have.  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

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

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Prayer

This is about communicating with God.  It involves more than speaking and it is not about saying the right words or phrases or using the correct gestures.  It is about being humble, trusting, honoring and giving thanks.  Prayer is about knowing how our spirit is fed and trusting that our greatest hope for anything is with God.  Even when things don’t go the way we want or the way we planned…that is just another reminder that life is not about us it is about our relationships with others, beginning with our relationship with Jesus Christ.  The path to joy, love, peace and forgiveness starts and ends with prayer.  May you be surrounded by God’s grace and peace.

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“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”

Psalm 143:8

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

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