Be A Light In The Darkness

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14 NIV

One of the most difficult things for many of us is being different from our surroundings.  When our foundation for being different is rooted in God and the Fruits of the Spirit we can be sure we are standing on solid ground.  None of us is equipped to judge the actions and behaviors of others.  When we are confused or lack understanding that is a time to pray, listen and learn.  It is hard to be different yet God created each of us to be unique so that together we could build community and use our gifts to strengthen the body of Christ.  I pray we all seek to learn how God wants us to use our gifts each day.  Amen.

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“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV

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

Don’t Quit

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)

Stay Close To The Word Of God

God has breathed life into all Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. 17 By using Scripture, the servant of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIRV

We are often easily distracted…taking our eyes off of Jesus and focusing on things we can’t control.  Much like Peter who stepped out of the boat to walk on the water by faith (Matthew 14:22-33)…we learn that as soon as he took his focus off of Jesus, Peter began to sink.  The first step of putting our faith in Jesus is extremely important that is how we get started on our faith journey…yet the next steps are just as important, keeping our eyes on Him, even when, especially when the winds of evil and darkness blow strongly against us.  Keep God’s Word close to you and within your heart.

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“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Psalm 119:105 NIV

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

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 August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)

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)

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)

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)

An Invitation

This is a follow-up on yesterday’s post…no matter where you are on your faith journey, now is the time to worship.

Here I Am To Worship / The Call by Hillsong Worship

This is an invitation for you to come to or come back to God in worship…my family and I came to find this church through an invitation and so this is what I am sharing with you.  Our church is starting a new message series this weekend September 11-12 and I invite you to check it out online…no matter what your circumstances are in life, no matter where you are in the world, come to worship.

Eagle Brook Church

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.”

Psalm 95:1-7

Eagle Brook Church

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“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Matthew 28:19

(This photo was taken in June of 2015 while traveling through South Dakota)

An Invitation

Today’s post is an invitation for you to come to or come back to God in worship…my family and I came to find this church through an invitation and that is what I am offering today.  Our church is starting a new message series this weekend September 11-12 and I invite you to check it out online…no matter what your circumstances are in life, no matter where you are in the world, come to worship.

Eagle Brook Church

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.”

Psalm 95:1-7

Eagle Brook Church

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“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Matthew 28:19

(This photo was taken in June of 2015 while traveling through South Dakota)

Fellowship

Today my post is happening in the evening for the first time…why?  Because I spent my morning in fellowship with a brother in Christ.  It was refreshing and brought about an unexplainable peace and joy to my soul.  This is such a critical part of our faith journey…meeting together, discussing life events, listening to other perspectives and encouraging one another.  Don’t put off meeting together with other believers…it is one of many ways we can feed our faith and nourish our spiritual growth.  Amen.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Hebrews 10:24-25

(This photo was taken in August of 2012 waliking along the North Shore of Lake Superior)