Love

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIV

Love is more than words or feelings…love is action!  We are told in the bible exactly what actions are love. Not only in 1 Corinthians, which is the most popular description of love.  Again, this is more than the words you hear at a wedding…think about what it takes to live it out.  When we review our life and our daily actions…how are we doing living out?  I know I have work to do to be better, which is why a relationship with God is so important.  We are broken, we are sinful and we need the Savior to keep us close to God and His love.  The best part is nothing can separate us from His love…nothing.  No matter where you are, no matter what your circumstances…turn towards the Lord and think about how you can act out in love.  Amen.

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No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:37-39 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Big Sky Resort in Montana)

The Truth About Love Is Actions

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

The truth about what and who we love comes forth through our actions and behaviors.  Love is so much more than feelings.  We can say what we love, yet it is what we do that tells the story.  With who and where we choose to spend our time shows what we value most.  Take time to reflect on your daily life and see what your actions and behaviors tell you about what you love.  No matter what you find, pray about it and ask God to lead and guide…after all His Actions and the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us on the Cross confirms how much He loves you.

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“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

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

Applying God’s Word To Our Lives

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 26:3 NIV

God provides us with everything we need…it is up to us to choose how we will live out our time in this world.  Will we seek a personal relationship with Him?  How will we treat others?  What will be the center of our lives?  Self or Christ?  God has given us free will…how will you choose to live?

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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 June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Redeemed, Renewed And Restored

You were living in your sins and lawless ways. But in fact you were dead. You used to live as sinners when you followed the ways of this world. You served the one who rules over the spiritual forces of evil. He is the spirit who is now at work in those who don’t obey God. At one time we all lived among them. Our desires were controlled by sin. We tried to satisfy what they wanted us to do. We followed our desires and thoughts. God was angry with us like he was with everyone else. That’s because of the kind of people we all were. But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus. He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us. He was kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. 10 We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.

Ephesians 2:1-10 NIRV

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“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.

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. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”

2 Peter 1:3-9 NIV

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

A Different Attitude

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV

A change in perspective…focusing on eternal values rather than worldly values…living with the Fruit of the Spirit in mind at all times…getting rid of pride, selfishness and worldly ambitions and being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Lord, help us to be different from the ways of the world.  Amen.

Different by Micah Tyler

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“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2 NIV

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

Saved By Grace

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV

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“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.

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. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”

2 Peter 1:3-9 NIV

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

Character

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 NIV

Living life by faith is about who we are more than what we do.  Our behaviors, how we treat others and our interactions with others say more about us than our job or career path.  The world honors worldly things like wealth, awards, job titles and other self-oriented pursuits…these things are not considered to be wrong or bad…the issue is these things have become more important than God.  When self-satisfaction is more important than our relationship with God, we are going off course…to be clear we are all guilty of this sin, it is human nature in a fallen world.  The first step in repentance is awareness of the behavior and the next step is confessing to God and seeking to turn away from our sins, with God’s help.  As humans we all suffer from the same types of trouble…how we choose to respond is up to us.  May the peace of the Lord be with you. Amen.

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Not only so, but we 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

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 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)

Stay Focused

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Romans 8:5 NIV

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.”

Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

Jesus Christ is the only Way to life with God.  Sin is what separates us from God and Jesus has conquered sin and death and filled the space between us and God with The Cross.  Peter learned while walking on water to never take your eyes off of Jesus…keep your eyes focused on Him…He is our Savior.  Amen.

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Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[a] 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

(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)