What Are Your Distractions? Resolve Them ASAP…

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Colossians 3:2-10 NIV

Ever had one of those mornings or one of those days?  When you know you have things to do and you just can’t focus…you feel scattered?  Your mind keeps jumping from thought to thought and you have moments telling yourself, “c’mon stop it…focus on what you need to do!”  This is a perfect example of how we can’t overcome things on our own…we need help…we need God.  There is a sign in our home with the letters ASAP on it…yet it doesn’t stand for what you are thinking it does…this ASAP stands for “Always Stop And Pray.”  When you notice things going the wrong direction, always stop and pray…when you just don’t know what to do, always stop and pray…when life gets overwhelming, always stop and pray.  Distractions and taking our attention away from God will be constant in life…we can overcome our problems by remembering to ASAP.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“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.

Philippians 4:6-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Patience

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 ESV

When we believe and we trust in God we will be required to develop patience in this world.  Circumstances will often look hopeless and many people will despair and be engulfed in sadness and fear, that is the way of evil.  We must never give up hope, we must trust in God to continue working for the good for us and for everyone.  God does not make bad things happen, He is not tempting you with things that are not good…that is sin in the world.  God is at work in all the bad we have created to bring out goodness, kindness and love.  Believe in Him who created us, believe in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ and see the good things that can happen in your life in this world.  May God’s peace and joy be with you.  Amen.

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“I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

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

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.

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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 June of 2013 while on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

Persevere Under Trial

My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. Your faith will be tested. You know that when this happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. And you must allow this strength to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. If any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone and doesn’t find fault.”

James 1:2-5 NIRV

Don’t give up…keep praying…keep trying…be persistent…have courage…believe.  Everyone is challenged by something in life.  Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind.  It is in these situations that we can see the power of God, we can see His mercy and His grace when we shift our perspective off of worldly treasures and back on to Jesus.  God is holding on to you through everything the world is throwing at you.  Trust in Him and persevere through trials.  Amen.

I Am by Crowder

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“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 standing on one of the Bridges of Madison County near Winterset, Iowa)

He Calms The Storm

“Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up. They said, “Lord! Save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “Your faith is so small! Why are you so afraid?” Then Jesus got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop. It became completely calm.”

Matthew 8:23-26 NIRV

What is the storm in your life?  Where is your focus?  What waves are crashing against you?  Bring all of it to Jesus…bring it with confidence that He will protect you, give you wisdom and courage as long as you keep your eyes on Him.  Your faith can bring you peace…peace that surpasses human understanding…trust in the Lord and His way…He is working for good on your behalf, even if you can’t see it yet.  Jesus can calm the storm.  Amen.

Haven’t Seen It Yet by Danny Gokey

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“I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

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

Don’t Give Up

Portions of this post were originally published in February of 2018…

Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up. 10 So when we can do good to everyone, let us do it. Let’s try even harder to do good to the family of believers.”

Galatians 6:9-10 NIRV

Our lives are filled with moments and memories…some are good times and some are difficult.  We all tend to embellish a bit in our memories, the memory of good times seems to be really good and the memory of bad times seem to be really bad.  Sometimes our bad memories start to take a person down a road where even the present moments are seen through their eyes with a negative perspective.  This is a quick spiral downward and we can get stuck in the swirl of negativity.  We have to have the courage to choose a new perspective, a more balanced view things and we are fed that perspective when we read the Word of God.  When times are hard and it feels like you are making no progress on anything…don’t give up, keep pressing on, keep believing…that is your faith at work.  Goodness will come to those who believe in the hope that God provides through Jesus Christ.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:12 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

He Will Carry Our Burdens

Cast your burden on the Lord,
    and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
    the righteous to be moved.”

Psalm 55:22 ESV

How often do you feel like you have to carry something all by yourself?  That it all depends on you and what you do?  We all have moments and seasons of life like this and God knows we will face them…heck He is the one that told us in Scripture…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NIV

And He is the One who has given us the Way through these times in life…turn towards Jesus…tell Him about the things that you are carrying.  He wants to hear from you and He wants you to know He is  walking right along side you…you just have to acknowledge Him and seek Him.  He is with you and He is willing to carry your burdens for you.  May we find peace with the Savior.  Amen.

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)

Choose How You Will Respond

Portions of this post were originally published in May of 2018…

Don’t let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen. 30 Do not make God’s Holy Spirit mourn. The Holy Spirit is the proof that you belong to God. And the Spirit is the proof that God will set you completely free. 31 Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage. Stop all fighting and lying. Don’t have anything to do with any kind of hatred. 32 Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done.”

Ephesians 4:29-32 NIRV

With every situation in life, we are given free will by God which means we choose how to respond to what other people do or say.  This freedom also means we are accountable and responsible for our response even if we choose to do nothing.  If we are focused on ourselves more than anything else we will often choose a poor response as the self is only concerned with the impact on me without regard for others.  God created us out of His love and we were made to choose the Fruits of the Spirit in how we live our daily lives.  Be aware not only of ‘what’ you do and say, but also ‘how’ you do and say things when you interact with others.  Free will is a gift from God, how we respond to God’s Word with this gift makes all the difference in daily life.  May God’s joy and peace be with you.  Amen.

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“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1 NIV

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

Anything Is Possible With God

The Lord is gracious, kind and tender.
    He is slow to get angry and full of love.
The Lord is good to all.
    He shows deep concern for everything he has made.”

Psalm 145:8-9 NIRV

No matter what, anything is possible with God.  If you are discouraged or defeated and thinking this is never going to change or get better…turn towards God, put your trust in Him.  Confess your sins and make a commitment to change the way you live.  If you are frustrated and at your wits end with another person don’t give up…pray for them and be encouraged by story of Saul who became Paul…Saul was filled with anger and hate and he was leading the charge to kill believers in Jesus and yet this was the person God chose to change to help lead the charge to spread the Good News about Jesus.  You can read more about him in the book of Acts.  If God can change Saul to Paul, He can change you or someone you are praying for just the same.  Anything is possible with God.  Amen.

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“But I will bless anyone who trusts in me.
    I will do good things for the person who depends on me.
They will be like a tree planted near water.
    It sends out its roots beside a stream.
It is not afraid when heat comes.
    Its leaves are always green.
It does not worry when there is no rain.
    It always bears fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIRV

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

Praise The Lord

“Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his holy temple.
    Praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his powerful acts.
    Praise him because he is greater than anything else.
Praise him by blowing trumpets.
    Praise him with harps and lyres.
Praise him with tambourines and dancing.
    Praise him with stringed instruments and flutes.
Praise him with clashing cymbals.
    Praise him with clanging cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.”

Psalm 150 NIRV

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“Praise the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good.
    His faithful love continues forever.”

Psalm 106:1 NIRV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 while traveling through North Dakota)