An Encounter

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Faith is about trust and belief because we have experienced the Presence of God in our lives.  Has it happened to you?  It can be hard to put into words…unexplainable…one experience in my life was when I was putting together and delivering the eulogy at my father’s funeral.  This is not something I ever could have done on my own…when I think about that time my words to describe it are few, yet some that come to mind are comfort, unusual peace, clear thinking.  The process of putting together the words came naturally by talking with people from all parts of Dad’s life and God had prepared me to speak in front of others in several experiences in my past both in work and at church.  It was an incredible experience.  An example of an encounter with God from the bible is found in the book of Exodus…Moses was up on the mountain for 40 days with God without food or water, yet it does not say he felt any hunger or thirst.  Moses had all that he needed because he was with God.  An encounter with the Presence of God is unlike anything else you will experience in life.  Faith is about a personal relationship with God.  Where has God shown up in your life?  Think about it…give thanks and know that He has been with you.  Amen.

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“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2014 on a walk near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Do Your Best, Wherever You Are

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

Live out your day today…what is the next right thing to do?  Live in the present day, right where you are.  God is with you there…if we are always looking towards some where else or when this or that happens we may miss what is right in front of us now.  Do you best for God today, wherever you are.

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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

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

Power In The Name Of Jesus

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:9-11 NIV

When life is difficult and frustrating, where do we get the ability to move forward?  What could possibly renew us?  What makes some people so resilient?  It has been my experience that there is only one thing powerful enough to lift us up out of any tragedy or trial…and His name is Jesus.  A relationship with Jesus Christ in the way to strength in the battle and rest when we are weary.  To experience His presence, we must do our part and be willing to spend time in devotions and prayer building our relationship with Him.  God made a promise, He will never leave you nor forsake you and He always keeps His promises.  Invite Jesus into your heart and into your life daily and you will be renewed each day.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

There Is Power by Lincoln Brewster

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“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Proverbs 18:10 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)

Our Strength Comes From God

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Our faith becomes most real when we experience something that is difficult to explain with words…when a need is met in an unexplained way, when courage came at an unexpected time, when peace overwhelms us during a difficult time, when we are able to do something that we normally would not consider attempting if we had time to think about it and analyze it…when we get out of the way and God is guiding us. Only later do we consider and realize that God came near to us.  These are not once in a lifetime experiences, as God is with us in life every step of the way every day…we just need to be in communication with Him and trust in Him.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“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

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

Rest In Him

“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

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8 NIV

Balance…for every moment we are rushing and running at a chaotic pace we should have equal time to rest with God and renew our minds, body and spirit.  We are not made to travel as supersonic speed all the time every day…and those who try will crash and burn…physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Trust the Creator and His Word…don’t over schedule, strive to have balance, learn to say no to some things and listen to the Holy Spirit as your guide.  Walk with God.

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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.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Monuntain National Park in Colorado)

Comfort

May your unfailing love be my comfort,
    according to your promise to your servant.”

Psalm 119:76 NIV

Our God is the God of all comfort…there is nothing and no one in the world that can comfort us the way God can…turn towards God and you will find peace.

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)

The Peacemakers

“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

Our faith journey is a process without an end point on earth.  As we learn about Jesus and we read God’s Word the process begins by helping us transform on the inside…we open our hearts and minds to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit becomes our guide.  This is not the end of the process…as we continue to learn and grow the intention is for us to have this Spirit of peace and goodness flow through us to our neighbors and others.  We are not saved just to be saved alone…we are to become a channel of God’s peace every day.  The Light of Christ should shine through us so that others can see God in who we are and what we do.  Think about it…in what other person in your life have you seen God shining through?  May we be comforted by God’s peace.  Amen.

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Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Matthew 5:9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconsin)

Contentment

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

The worldly ways and worldly values say ‘get more’, ‘you need more’, ‘you are not enough’…this is evil working to keep us focused on ourselves and not on God.  The truth is we are not enough on our own and I am not talking about in the pursuit of worldly values…I am referring to our need for God and our relationship with Jesus Christ.  When we recognize that because of sin we will never be good enough on our own we can turn towards God who has saved us by sacrificing His Son and live content knowing we are saved by faith.

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I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

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

I Will Praise You In The Storm

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James 1:2-5 NIV

Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.”

Psalm 23:4 NIV

Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns

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But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…”

Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV

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

Rest In Him

“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

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8 NIV

Jesus calls us to rest and to learn from Him and His Way.  He set the example for us and provides guidance throughout God’s Word.  Trust in Him and come to Him and you will find rest for your soul.  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.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Monuntain National Park in Colorado)