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)

What’s Different? Perspective

Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply. Honor others more than yourselves. 11 Stay excited about your faith as you serve the Lord. 12 When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Welcome others into your homes.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIRV

How has your faith shown up in your daily life?  When you reflect on your attitude, your perspective and your daily living and compare it to a previous point in time, what do you notice has changed?  Some of your old ways have faded, some are taking longer to change…this is the process of spiritual growth.  Not everyone will encounter a burning shrub in the desert like Moses or directly encounter Christ on the road like Saul who became Paul.  Our journey will be different, yet our God who is with all of us is the same.  Be aware of who you are, the people in your life and what you can offer someone in need right where you are and pray.  Pray for wisdom and courage, pay attention to what God is up to in your daily life.  That alone will be a different perspective than the way we were before.  Amen.

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“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)

Be Different

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:15-17 NIV

“Do not conform 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 12:2 NIV

Wash your heart and mind with the truth in God’s word.  We all are broken and sinful in this world and we need Jesus.  The world will flood us with lies about what to believe and turn us away from God.  We need to seek the wisdom that comes from God not from the world…plant the Word deep into our hearts daily to guide our attitudes and perspectives and to live out the love He has given us in every aspect of our lives.  Amen.

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But that is not the way of life in Christ that you learned about. 21 You heard about Christ and were taught about life in him. What you learned was the truth about Jesus. 22 You were taught not to live the way you used to. You must get rid of your old way of life. That’s because it has been made impure by the desire for things that lead you astray. 23 You were taught to be made new in your thinking. 24 You were taught to start living a new life. It is created to be truly good and holy, just as God is.”

Ephesians 4:20-24 NIRV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at Falls Park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Sacrifice…Savior…Salvation

Portions of this post were originally published in March of 2019…

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5 NIV

The world tells us to pursue money, comfort and the easy life.  To look out for ourselves and satisfy ourselves first and most often, this is the sinful nature and it has taken hold in many people.  There is a way to be different and to live with purpose and it is based on your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He loves you, He gave His life to save you and His way is the only way to God the Father.  Spend time reading God’s Word and learn about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  May the peace of the Lord be with you.  Amen.

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“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)

Willingness To Be Different?

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:15-17

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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

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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

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling in northern Colorado)

Be Different

“This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24

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This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”

1 Timothy 2:3-6

(This photo was taken in May of 2021 at Caribou Falls in northern Minnesota)

Dare To Be Different

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

Genesis 6:8

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Colossians 3:2

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“Do not conform 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 12:2

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 along the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)

Be Different

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:15-17

“Do not conform 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 12:2

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“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at Falls Park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

A Different Way Of Living

Because God has given us free will, we can choose how we want to live.  It is not up to others, no matter how much we tend to blame them, we are responsible for how we respond to everything in our lives each and every day.  In the bible, John the Baptist is an excellent example of the characteristics of holy living.  You can read more about him in the Gospel of John.  John the Baptist makes a statement that truly shows his humility, in referring to Jesus he states…“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30) We can’t control what others will think, say or do, yet we do control how we choose to respond.  Choose a different way of living, choose to follow Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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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

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

What’s Different?

How has your faith shown up in your daily life?  When you reflect on your attitude, your perspective and your daily living and compare it to a previous point in time, what do you notice has changed?  Some of our old ways have faded, some are taking longer to adjust…this is the process of spiritual growth.  Not everyone will encounter a burning shrub in the desert like Moses or directly encounter Christ on the road like Saul who became Paul.  Our journey will be different, yet our God who is with all of us is the same.  Be aware of who you are, the people in your life and what you can offer someone in need right where you are and pray.  Pray for wisdom and courage, pay attention to what God is up to in your daily life.  That alone will be different than the way we were before.  Amen.

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“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)