Greater Than…

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4 NIV

No matter what you are facing, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how bad the tragedy or trauma that has occurred…God is bigger than that…God is greater than anything you will encounter in this life.  Believe it and put your hope and your trust in God.

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“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

Persistence

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Do not give up…don’t assume you know the outcome…they say failure is a stepping stone to success…or the next attempt maybe the one that brings success.  We will always have the opportunity to stop trying to do something.  Maybe the answers for a situation are related to trying a new approach or a new way rather than quitting.  If we are able to surrender control and trust in God and His plan, we may find new outcomes we didn’t imagine were possible.  Bring your worries and struggles to the Cross and let Jesus lead the way.  Amen.

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“Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in Colorado)

He Gives Strength To The Weary

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

If you find yourself weary and weak…struggling and feeling defeated.  There is hope.  Check yourself by reviewing your relationship with God.  When have you last spoken to Him?  Is He a part of everyday or just here and there as needed?  I know I have found myself guilty of living distracted by my circumstances more often than I like to admit…walking with God takes time and effort on our part.  God offers us so much yet we still have to do our part to make a commitment to follow Him.  He will give you strength when you are weary and weak.  Trust in the Lord and you will find strength.

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“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

Jeremiah 31:25 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at The Chapel of Transfiguration in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)

When You Pray…

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6:5-8 NIV

Amazing things can happen that only God can do, when you pray.  It is not about the right words or the proper position…it is about what you believe!  Prayer is for all circumstances and is meant to be communication with God…not only speaking but listening and reading His Word so it can be planted in your heart.  Look at Jesus…when the devil tempted Him He responded with Scripture and when He was struggling to follow through on God’s plan He prayed…He prayed so hard that He was sweating blood.  When you do not know what to do, pray…when things are going well, pray…when you need help or to calm down, pray.  God is with you and He is within you…He is also waiting to hear from you.  So pray.

When We Pray by Tauren Wells

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“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:24 NIV

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

Always With Us…Always

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

God the Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth wants a relationship with you.  Not only that…He has promised to be with you and never leave you.  If God feels distant look around at what you are doing or decisions you have made…it is most likely you that moved away from Him.  God is with you and He is within you…believe and proceed to live life guided by Him.  May the peace of God be with you and flow through you.  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,[a] 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 June of 2018 while traveling through South Dakota)

Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 NIV

God has promised to be with you wherever you go…still when we look around at the world or our own worries, fears and frustrations…it’s easier to shrink back than to be bold and courageous, to go forward trusting in God.  That is how living by faith is different than living the way the world promotes life.  We are inundated with messages of self-center living and behaviors and it takes courage to strive to be different.  Put your hope and your trust in God and His promises…follow the example of Jesus Christ.  Be courageous.

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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

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

The Power Of Prayer

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 power of prayer does not come from what words you say or what order you say them in…the true power of prayer comes from the One who answers prayers and whether you believe in Him.  A prayer offered with doubt and hesitation or out of routine is not the same as one offered from the heart with honesty, sincerity and belief in God.  Pray and believe.  Amen.

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“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:22-24 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Believe…Pray

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:22-24 NIV

Prayer offered as a routine ritual is more about the ritual than meeting with God or crying out to Him.  Prayer that is sincere, honest and vulnerable is offered with belief and faith is the kind of prayer Jesus is talking about above in Mark 11.  Reflect on your prayer life and ask God to help and guide you.  Amen.

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If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:7-8 NIV

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

Freedom In Christ

My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love. 14 The whole law is fulfilled by obeying this one command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:1815 If you say or do things that harm one another, watch out! You could end up destroying one another.”

Galatians 5:13-15 NIRV

Many have been sacrificed for freedom to exist in the US…the most important sacrifice of life for the freedom of others came from Jesus Christ.  He came down from heaven, set an example for us on how to live and then died on the Cross so that we can be reconciled with God.  Let’s not take for granted what others have done for our freedom to exist…especially the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His saving Grace.  May we be filled with joy and peace and serve others with love because of Him who died to save us. Amen.

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Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 NLT

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

Overcoming Fear

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT

Don’t let fear drive your decisions…stop believing the lies of the evil one…trust in God and stay in the fight and He will guide you to be an Overcomer.  He promised He would and God keeps His promises.

Overcomer by Mandisa

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“All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 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 14:25-27 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)