Living Sacrifices

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.

Do not conform any longer 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

Every one of us has a choice, every day…how will you choose to live this day?

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIV

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

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

Walking With God

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.”

Psalm 119:105 NIV

A faith journey.  It begins with belief, confession and prayer.  It grows as we read the Scriptures, as we spend time in devotions, when we engage in our communities and serve others…it transforms us with a new attitude centered on God and His will for us.  Trust in God, spend time on your relationship with Jesus Christ and pray about everything, every day.  Amen.

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He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”

Micah 6:8 NIV

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

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)

Gifts And Blessings

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV

As God’s creation, each of us has been blessed and have God-given gifts and abilities.  Our purpose in our lives is to love the Lord, love others and to learn about and use the gifts He has given us to serve in our communities.  What gifts has God given you?  What can you do or provide to others in your family, your neighborhood or your faith community?  If you are unsure, turn towards God in prayer and seek His will for you.  Amen.

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We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Romans 12:6-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

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)