“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Romans 5:1-4 NIV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 NIV
Who we are, our behaviors, our attitude…these are the things that define our character. We have been taught by the Bible and shown by Jesus how we should strive to live. Reflect on your last few days, weeks and months…what do you see in your character? Turn towards God and ask Him to help you with the fruits of the Spirit that have been lacking in your behaviors, attitude and relationships. God is with you and He is for you. Amen.
“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 phot was taken in August of 2016 at a lake in Glacier National Park in Montana)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”
1 Peter 1:3 NIV
Hope in this world mostly gets aligned with wishful thinking in general conversations. This hope is not sure, not firm and is not based on belief. The hope talked about in the Bible is hope that believes and knows God’s promises for good things. This hope is supported by actions and behaviors. The hope we receive from Christ is a hope that knows and believes that Christ lives and that God is for us and working for our good, even when, especially when the visible evidence is against it. The hope from God’s Word tells us to not give up or surrender to sin and doubt, rather know that God is with you and you can trust in Him…not for the things you believe you should have but for the things God knows that you need. May the God of all hope be present in your daily life. Amen.
“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 September of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18 NIV
On this Memorial Day, remember this…love is action. Do whatever you can for whoever you can, whenever you can, wherever you are…show the love of Christ that is in you to others in your life. Honor those who have served to ensure freedom in this country and serve one another out of love. Amen.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 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.”
John 15:11-13 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2021 at The Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cementary)
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:8-9 NIV
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
Forgiveness is not saying the pain or the wrong done to us is ok…it is acknowledging that we have been hurt and that we are not going to allow bitterness and anger continue to impact us in the future. To learn about forgiveness seek wisdom in God’s Word…read or listen to the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis, chapters 37-50. See how even when people intend to harm you, God can use it for good.
“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah 53:4-6 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2016 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 27:1 NIV
Walking in the Light is walking with God, this means taking 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 in our faith journey. Read, learn and be transformed…then begin to walk in the Light with God in your daily life. Amen.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 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 sin.”
1 John 1:5-7 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 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 12:1-2 NIV
Jesus Christ is born…the promised Savior has come! Now what? What difference is He making in your life? Are you aware of God’s presence in your daily life? Believe…seek Him…pray…read God’s Word…pay attention to how God is at work in your life. Choose to live different…allow Jesus Christ to impact every area of your life.
Different by Micah Tyler
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV
(This photo was take in September of 2022 in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
The Bible is God’s Word given to us to lead us, teach us and encourage us in our lives. It is an instruction manual for life. Teaching us about how God wants us to live and about having a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. It has been translated in to languages for people all over the world and it is continuing spread so that one day every person from any walk of life can connect to God through His Word. We can do our part by learning about what is says and putting it into action. Read God’s Word…Do what it says…and you will enjoy God’s peace. Amen.
“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. 9 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 4:8-9 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
2 John 6 NIV
The commandments that Jesus himself recognized as the greatest commandments are about love. Jesus said…“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) One the most popular parts of the Bible 1 Corinthians 13 is all about Love. So what does it mean to walk in love? It is about attitude and behaviors towards God, yourself and towards others. It does not mean all behavior is permissible…sin is still sin. However, we are all guilty, we are all broken and we all do not deserve His forgiveness. No one sin is greater than another, that is worldly talk. When you want a reminder of what it means to walk in love go back and read 1 Corinthians 13, it speaks specifically to us about what behaviors constitute love. May we learn to walk in obedience to God’s Word. Amen.
“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
Romans 5:19 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2012 on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)
“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 turn our focus to Jesus, invite Him into our hearts and surrender our plans for His Will. Amen
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at a park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV
Who we are, our character…how we treat each other…what we do to help one another…how we behave in our relationships…that is love in action. God gave us the best example of love in action when He sent His Son to earth to die for you and me, so that our relationship with the Father could be restored.
“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)