The Presence Of God

Our faith becomes most real when we go through something that is difficult to explain with words…when a need is met in an unexplained way, when courage came at an unexpected time, when peace overwhelms us during a difficult time, when we are able to do something that we normally would not consider attempting if we had time to think about it and analyze it…when we get out of the way mentally and God is guiding us, only later do we realize that God came near to us.  These are not once in a lifetime experiences as God is with us in life every step of the way every day…we just need to be in communication with Him and trust in Him.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“The Lore replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give your rest.”

Exodus 33:14

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

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Come To Jesus

There can be great moments of peace in prayer and worship and one way of worshiping that makes a significant impact on me is listening to Christian music.  All my senses come alive through music and song…I want to share one simple and yet very significant song with you today.  The message is clear and the answers for many questions can be found in one place…with Jesus.  Take a listen and May God’s peace be with you.

Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp

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“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)

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Self-less

One of the most tragic afflictions of our time is selfishness or being self-focused.  The look at me, make sure I have more than others, constantly assessing my place compared to others and then determining my own value based on what others think or tell me they think about me mentality.  This perspective pushes God to the side and puts me first as the top priority.  This has always been an affliction on human society and it seems to have grown exponentially since the explosion of social media.  One of the world’s greatest needs right now is more humility and less selfies.  Imagine the impact on human relationships when people are looking to lift others up as often as they care for themselves.  I am not suggesting we ignore ourselves rather we strive for a better balance in the way we live.  I pray that we all take time to be humble and serve as much as we look to be served.  As usual with faith it’s simple but not easy.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“Do nothing out of selfish ambition of 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 August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)

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Living Faith

What does it mean to live out our faith?  What does it look like?  Questions like these make me and others stumble often…as if there is one way and only one way to be a person of faith and if we could just figure that out…man things would always be great and easy…uh no.  The life of faith is not presented as easy in the bible and I am pretty sure Jesus never said, come follow me and everything will be easy and you will always be happy.  Faith is a journey.  It is communicating with God, showing the fruits of the spirit in your daily walk, being thankful and having gratitude, being patient and trusting in God’s plan even when we don’t see it from His perspective.  It’s hard and Jesus knows this first hand, He was here, He lived it, temptations and all…He suffered too.  Then the next question becomes…Why? and at the core of faith is the one important thing that can answer the question of why…Love.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 4:6-7

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

 

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Prayer

Growing up prayer was about being able to memorize the lines of the Lord’s prayer, however, there wasn’t much talk about or at least I don’t remember hearing about the meaning of what we were saying and I don’t believe I was told that you can say other things or that you should take time to listen to God as well.  I was taught more about a one way street, me speaking to God, and most television shows or movies at that time would indicate that a relationship with God meant keeping Him in a box with a glass door that read “In Case of an Emergency Break Glass.”  Only in my adult life have I learned about a deeper prayer relationship and sitting in nature or in the quiet and listening.  The ability to communicate daily and to grow in your time with God is a blessing…in means slowing down and not taking your cues from the frenetic rush of society or social media.  It is about being present and aware of your surroundings and living each day.  Prayer is the place to start connecting or re-connecting with God.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

Psalm 103:8

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

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Servant Leadership

I have been doing some reflection on this phrase and what it is all about.  In my faith journey I have learned that Jesus while on earth was a servant leader.  He set the example for others, he was willing to humbly do and be what was needed to spread His message of love and service to grow the spiritual life of the apostles first and then to spread the Word to the far reaches of the world through them.  To be a servant leader is to be a listener, to have awareness of the needs of others, to have empathy, to build community and to enrich the lives of others so that they can achieve their best.  It is not about the individual as a leader in power over others…rather it is about serving others as the leader to help everyone achieve good things as a community.  The best way to learn about this is to study the best example we have…Jesus.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

John 13:15

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

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Each Has A Purpose

The makeup of a car engine has many different parts and all the parts work together to create a properly running engine.  The slightest malfunction of one part may stop an engine from running completely or will at the very least create a rough running situation that can damage the engine for the long term.  The bible talks about the body of Christ in the same way.  We are all members of the body of Christ and we all have different functions according to the gifts and blessings we have received.  In order to grow the body of Christ which is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ across the world we all need to learn and understand our part and perform it to the best of our ability.  What is your function in the body of Christ?  Seek it and live it.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

Romans 12:4-5

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

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Peace Of Christ

Each day can be filled with ups and downs, depending on where you focus your thoughts and your energy, a day can feel like quite a roller-coaster ride.  At the end of a day like this we are exhausted, tired and we just want some stability and peace of mind for a period of time in order to have a better balance to life.  I have found one way to access peace on a day to day basis and I have learned that you have to go get it, this is my time with the Word of God…the world is not looking to provide you peace of mind or time to rest.  The demands will keep coming from all areas of your life…be courageous and when necessary you can say no in order to defend your time.  For me a start to every day is coffee and with that coffee is time with God.  If something is planned for the morning I try to get up a little earlier or say no or reschedule if it will conflict with my time.  To be clear this isn’t always smooth and easy but what is significant is that it has become a time of priority for me and a time I look forward to every day.  Jesus sacrificed himself in order to reconcile us with God the Father, it is up to us to take advantage of this reconciliation and build our relationship with Him…every day.  May God’s peace be with you.

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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

(This photo was taken in April of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)

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Strength Of Character

When one describes the character of a person they talk about a list of elements that are a combination of a person’s behaviors and attitude.  I have often heard statements like ‘well this is just who I am’ or ‘that is just the way he is’ as if at some point in life our behaviors and attitudes have stopped forming, changing or growing and have now solidified and are permanent.  I have been guilty of this way of thinking myself at times.  However, in the study of faith and in God’s Word the message of hope and transformation are central to the spiritual life.  If anything our attitude and how we behave are two things we do have the ability to choose every day and these are influenced and can grow if we are open to it.  Don’t give up on hope and transformation for yourself or somebody else…things may not change in the way or at the time you would prefer but our life is not about everything being perfect according to our timing, rather it is about God’s plan and His time.  Trust Him and believe in Hope and Transformation…when you read about what He has done in the past you know He is working for the good of all people.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23

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

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Grace

To the Christian this is the free and unearned favor of God shown to us by the sacrifice Jesus endured to save us and it continues in the many blessings we have in our daily lives.  Too often I get lost in the minutia of life, focusing or worrying about something that at the end of the day really doesn’t deserve that much of my time and attention, either because it is not something I can control or more commonly it is in the past and it can’t be changed.  When we begin to spend time with the Word of God it will seep in to us in places we usually don’t like to acknowledge, deep in our souls to places we don’t show to the outside world.  God knows about these places and still He loves us.  We don’t deserve it, we didn’t have to pay for it…yet Jesus offered himself up and showed us…Grace.  Let Christ in to your heart and mind every day, He loves you and He goes with you everywhere you go.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in Colorado)

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