Advent – Peace

“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 NIV

In the world peace is defined as the absence of conflict.  The biblical definition of peace is more expansive and is speaking about having completeness or wholeness.  It is referred to as the taking of something that is broken and making it complete once again.  Jesus gives us peace by taking our broken relationship with God because of sin and restores it to completeness by His sacrifice on the Cross.  You can learn about this and other bible studies on a web site I hghily recommend…it is called the BibleProject

This is a great resource to spend time studying and learning about the bible through video.  May the peace of God be with you and flow through you each day.  Amen.

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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in the Black Hills in western South Dakota)

Our Hearts

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:3 NIV

God has given human beings free will and His Word gives us instructions on how we should choose to live…unfortunately too many of us have turned our backs on God and put worldly things before Him in our lives.  This choice by human beings of rejecting God is what invites evil into the world and evil comes to cause pain and suffering as described in John 10:10…“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”  We need to seek the Lord with all our heart and choose to live in a way that honors God.

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”[a]

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at a park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Change Lives With Prayer

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

Psalm 62:8 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.

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

Colossians 4:2 NIV

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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)

Be Thankful…Be Content

  “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

Jesus Christ suffered and died for you because He loves you.  He has risen…He is alive and wants to help you in this life and spend eternity with you.  Give thanks to Jesus, not only with words but with how you choose to live your life every day.  Amen.

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But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

1 Timothy 6:6-8 NIV

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

Living Sacrifices

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.

Do not conform any longer 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 12:1-2 NIV

Every one of us has a choice, every day…how will you choose to live this day?

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

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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 ESV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

The Attitude Of Gratitude

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1 NIV

Remember God is not distant…He will never leave you.  If God feels far off it is because we have wandered away from Him.  He is with you, He is for you.  No matter what happens, give thanks to God and strive to focus on an attitude of gratitude.

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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 August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)

Contentment And Generosity

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 NIV

Give of yourself and be content when your needs are fulfilled.  The world will tell you to want more and to get more.  God has provided more than enough for everyone.  Contentment and Generosity are topics that are about much more than money.  They are about all aspects of life…our time, our talents, our emotions, our faith.  The more we are able to be content the more we can share when we have received an abundance.  Take time to assess where you stand…where do you have more than enough on your hands and how can you share to help those who are in need?  May the grace and peace of the Lord be with you.  Amen.

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Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NIV

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

Trust…Refuge…Rest

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:5-8 NIV

Put your trust in the Lord.  Find your hope in Him.  He is our refuge, He is the source of our strength and with Him we will find peace.  Do your part…do your best…and leave the rest up to God.

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“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.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:4-9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2021 at The Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cementary)

Shine The Light

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

Our purpose is to learn about Him who loves us and sacrificed Himself for us… and then to shine the light of God’s love, God’s mercy and God’s grace for others to see, not for ourselves but for God.  We can show God to others by who we are in how we treat others and by our actions and behaviors.  Shine the light in this dark world and trust in the Lord.  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 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)

Walk 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.”

1 John 1:5 NIV

Our faith is about more than what we believe…it is also about how we put what we believe into actions.  A faith journey is best lived inside-out…start with you…what do you believe…what is your relationship with Jesus Christ…your sin…your confession…this isn’t a check the box type of thing, it is a daily surrender of self-centered desires.  As we build our faith on the foundation of coming to the Cross, we can take the things we learn and put them into practice in our daily lives and interactions…this is a journey that requires commitment, it requires a willingness to sacrifice and it provides peace and joy that is beyond our imagination.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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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 1:6-7 NIV

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