Spread An Attitude Of Gratitude

“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.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:12-15 NIV

One act of kindness, compassion and thankfulness can set off a chain reaction…look for opportunities to offer goodness and gentleness.  Be aware of moments when you can exercise patience and point out reasons for gratitude in daily life.  As is often quoted, be the change you wish to see in the world.

DSC06174 publish

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 NIV

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

Be The Light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.”

John 1:1-5 NIV

Jesus has won victory over sin and death.  He has reconciled us to God by His death…He took the punishment we deserve.  His resurrection gives us hope of eternal life.  Because of Jesus we can be transformed in our hearts and minds…not living for worldly values and possessions.  When we confess our sins and put our faith in Christ the Holy Spirit shines the Light of Christ into our hearts and minds and we in turn can be a Light shining in the darkness of this world.

DSC_0153 publish

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 NIV

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

Believe

“When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [21] [a]

Matthew 17:14-21 NIV

We Believe by Eagle Brook Music

DSC_1506 publish

“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:29 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Arches National Park in Utah)

Humility…Perspective

Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be humble. Value others more than yourselves. None of you should look out just for your own good. Each of you should also look out for the good of others.

Philippians 2:3-4 NIRV

“So make yourselves humble. Put yourselves under God’s mighty hand. Then he will honor you at the right time. Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NIRV

We are saved by God’s grace and we have a choice…we can accept that we are broken and sinful in need of our Savior and then seek Him in how we live.  Or we can reject God by focusing only on ourselves and following the desires of the world and our sinful hearts and minds.  We can see the choice made by others so easily…yet it is up each of us in our own lives…no matter what our circumstances are in this world we have a choice on how we will respond to God every day.

DSC_0604 publish

“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

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass near the Montana and Wyoming border)

The Narrow Path

“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:5-6 NIV

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”

Luke 13:24 NIV

Choices.  This way, that way.  Do this…don’t do that.  We are constantly given options and it can be overwhelming.  It would be so helpful to have a guide who is full of wisdom, who cares for our well-being and wants to see good things for us.  That is exactly who Jesus Christ is…He loves you so much He laid down His life to save you.  Everything about Him…His birth, the way He lived, His teachings, His death and His resurrection is filled with guidance for us on how we should live and the way we should go.  He is the Way and He instructs us in God’s Word and with the Holy Spirit and tells us that to follow Him is the narrow path and narrow gate in this world…yet it is the way we should go.  Trust in Him and what says and you will find peace.  Amen.

DSC06941 publish

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

(Thsi photo was taken in June fo 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Commitment

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Matthew 22:37-38 NIV

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23 NIV

What does it mean to make a commitment?  How much time does it take to honor a commitment?  What does it look like in your life?  Everyone has different answers on the how commitment works, yet the most important part about commitment is what is at the center of it.  Commitment takes dedicated time, communication and a willingness to make sacrifices.  Nobody ever said it would be easy, no matter what commitment you are thinking about as you read.  Jesus Christ made a commitment to reconcile us back to God and it cost Him His life on earth.   Take the time and the opportunity He has provided and make a commitment to follow Him and honor that commitment with how you live and your life.  Amen.

DSC02384 publish

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 NIV

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

Trust…Hope

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

One of the strongest drivers of action in our human lives is hope.  Hope is about ambition, desire, goal setting and most importantly hope is about trust.  Hope comes from belief and belief is driven by trust and trust operates very much like a bank account.  There are events that occur between you and another that are trust deposits and there are events that are trust withdrawals.  The tricky part is one withdrawal is typically larger than one deposit.  Trust also impacts what we give, if people make several trust withdrawals on us, we become guarded and we have very little trust to give to others.  We should reflect on our relationships and our trust accounts with others and know that no matter what the current balance is there is always hope to make it better because of Jesus.  We can trust Him…He only makes deposits in our relationship with Him.  May God’s peace be with you.

2012-07-28_06-10-38_909 (2) (640x361)

“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 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

The Power Of Prayer

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

Colossians 4:2 NIV

Opening your heart in honest, sincere transparency with God in a quiet time with Him is true prayer…an on-going conversation where you spend as much time listening as you do speaking on a daily basis is kind of prayer life that can change lives.  Amen.

Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:8 NIV

IMG_20141016_115809289 publish

Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2014 on the island of Maui, Hawaii)

All Things New

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

In this new year let us approach life focusing on God’s plan rather than making new worldly plans of our own.  Let us be filled with the fruit of the Spirit.  Let us run the race He has put before us.  He makes all things new in a way we could never imagine.  Amen.

All Things New by Steven Curtis Chapman

DSC_0176 publish

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Love Conquers All

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.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Jesus Christ is God’s love sent down to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves…to save us from our sinful ways.  There is no person, place or thing in this world that loves you and cares for you the way that God does…put your trust in Him and you will see and understand that love, God’s love conquers all in life.  Amen.

DSC_0176 (2) publish

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 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)