Love In Action

“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

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.

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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)

Teach Me Your Ways

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.”

Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

God invites us into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.  It is up to us to respond to that invitation.  If we ignore God’s call and go our own way we will bring about more pain and suffering without God’s presence and guidance.  We need to be willing to open ourselves up to God’s way and His plan that happens on His timing.  It is a willingness and an ability to surrender our self-centered ways to Him…God is faithful and will guide you and lead you if you are willing to put your faith and trust in Him.

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I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Psalm 32:8 NIV

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

Allow Christ to Change Your Life

“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. 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

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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)

Love Others

“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

As stated earlier this week, 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.  Serve one another out of love.

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“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)

Advent – Love

“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 stated the most important commandments are to love God and love one another (Matthew 22:37-40).  So, what is love?  Love is action…it is not what the world defines as a feeling…the apostle Paul describes it for us in 1 Corinthians 13.  It is about our character and what we do when it comes to relationships.  So, when Jesus states it is the most important commandment…we should think about how to do we love God?  How do we love one another?  Love is God’s to define and to give and He makes it available to all of us by how He has acted towards us.  It is up to us to accept His love and to share it with Him and others.

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Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

1 John 4:7-12 NIV

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

Peace From God’s Word

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

The Bible is God’s Word written down and 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 have 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 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. 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)

Sharing God’s Gift Of Peace With One Another

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,…”

Ephesians 2:13-15 NIV

God has given us the gift of peace through the blood of Jesus shed on the Cross.  He gives us free will to decide whether or not we want to receive this gift and then share it with others in the world.  Many have chosen to ignore or reject God and His gift of peace…for anyone who seeks Him and choses to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, God instructs us to share the gift on peace with one another, by how we live and treat each other…every day all the time.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV

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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV

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

Living Hope Perspective

“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.

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“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)

Hope With Humility

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV

Character and attitude…how we treat each other in our daily lives.  These are the things that show that we believe.  Love is action.  Learn from the example that Jesus provided in His life, death and resurrection.  Amen.

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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

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling in northern Colorado)

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)