Perseverance

Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:3-5 NIV

When the world knocks you down, don’t stay down.  Get up, stand up for your faith.  God has told us we will be persecuted for following Jesus.  We should expect it…don’t quit praying, don’t quit sharing and trusting in the Lord.  He is working even when we can’t see it.  Be strong and courageous and push on…we know that Jesus Christ has already won victory for us.  Perseverance is about letting your faith be greater than your fear!

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James 1:2-4 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 standing on one of the Bridges of Madison County near Winterset, Iowa)

Work In Progress

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:4-6 NIV

Each day we are alive means God is still working on us.  He knows the number of our days and He is with us for each and every one of them.  It is up to us to seek Him…to acknowledge Him and His Presence…we are tasked with learning, growing and sharing as we go…it doesn’t have to be perfect and it never will be.  God tells us we are His work in progress and if we live our lives trusting, believing in and spending time with Him good things will come.  Amen.

God’s Not Done With You by Tauren Wells

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“For we are God’s workmanship, 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 August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)

Build My Life

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Colossians 3:16 ESV

The Word of God is a source of comfort…it renews us…it purifies us…it teaches us…it guides us.  If we plant the seeds of the Word in our hearts and minds it will be available to us at all times.  It can calm our fears…it can relieve our stress and it can provide unexplainable peace.  Read God’s Word every day, build your faith, seek His wisdom for your life.  Amen.

Build My Life by Housefires feat. Pat Barrett

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Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.”

Psalm 119:105 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park near Bayfield, Wisconsin)

Friendship

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:12-15 NIV

Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John that we are His friends.  Friends take care of each other, they are loyal, respectful, trustworthy and they support each other through difficult times.  Friendship is a two-way street…sometimes you are giving in your friendship and sometimes you are receiving.  Take time to reflect upon your friendships…especially your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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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 yesterday in Temperance State Park on the north shore of Lake Superior)

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?  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 on 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)

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)

Faith Over Fear

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

God is greater than anything we face in life.  No challenge or difficulty, no pain and suffering is too much for God to handle.  He is the Creator of the universe…He knows you…He loves you and He is with you every day, all the time.  Put your faith in God and let your faith be greater than your fear.

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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)

Keep Your Eyes Focused On Jesus

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:29-31 NIV

Don’t get distracted…do your best not to lose focus.  When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can find our way through anything.  It’s when we look away or focus our thoughts on the things of this world that causes us to sink.  Don’t give up, don’t quit…just focus on Jesus, He can lead you.

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

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

Spiritual Growth

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV

Stay committed, stay focused, stay patient and trust God’s way.  Spiritual growth is not about immediate gratification…it is a process of daily meeting with Jesus Christ in prayer and reading God’s Word.  Learning, asking questions of trusted advisors or mentors and spending time with God in whatever way works best for your spiritual growth.  Not sure how to begin?  Start by praying to God to help you focus on your spiritual growth.

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:1-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2015 while driving through South Dakota)

God’s Promises

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

2 Peter 1:2-4 NIV

God’s promises are many and they are throughout the Bible.  He promises salvation, to give you rest, to strengthen you, to provide for your needs, to protect you, to never leave you and so many more.  The key is do you believe Him and do you trust Him?  Consider what God has done, what He is doing and what He has promised will come.

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“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,…”

Isaiah 43:1-4 NIV

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