Portions of this post were originally published in January of 2020…
“You have been raised up with Christ. So think about things that are in heaven. That is where Christ is. He is sitting at God’s right hand. 2 Think about things that are in heaven. Don’t think about things that are only on earth.”
Colossians 3:1-2 NIRV
Outlook…viewpoint…position…approach…frame of mind…attitude. What feeds your perspective? What are you consuming with your eyes, your ears and your mind? What experience or experiences are framing your view? All of these are inputs into your perspective and they shape your attitude. If we choose to allow our point of view to be shaped by what goes on around us in a world filled with me first, self-centered, get more attitudes we will become like the world. The best defense is to build a foundation within your heart and mind that is based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We can’t stop the world from trying to influence us, yet we can choose to turn away from the sin and run towards our Savior and Lord. Jesus said;
“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
Begin or continue to build a strong foundation for your everyday life…trust in the Lord and you will find peace. Amen.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconson)
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.”
“Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.“
(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 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.”
“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.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)
Change…conversion…revision…reshaping…remolding…rebuilding…reworking…renewing. God is our Creator and He made each and every one of us. He made us with a purpose and as we live our lives we get influenced and distracted by the world, by worldly desires and worldly expectations and we lose sight of what God made us to be. This is not about what you do as a job or career, that should not define you, rather it is about who you are as a person in your everyday life and interactions. Turn towards Jesus Christ and your faith, revisit the person God made you to be according to His plan. Amen.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconsin)
As we work to grow in our relationship with Jesus, we may begin to focus on offering ourselves up in prayer. To most of us when we think about prayer we thinking of speaking, however, as we can learn from our relationships with others, listening is a vital yet little used characteristic in the world. Every strong relationship involves communication two ways. Speaking and offering up your words and support verbally and then also taking time to sit quietly and listen. I have been doing my reading and devotions in the early morning for several years and I choose that time for me because the world is very still and quiet in my life in the early morning and I have found I can truly meditate on God’s Word and let it soak into to my soul. I start each day speaking and listening with the Lord and it sets my perspective and attitude for good things. Seek the Lord and listen for His voice. May God’s peace be with you.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
(This photo was taken in April of 2016 at sunrise at a lake place in central Minnesota)
Our journey is filled with these…moments where things are good, we are strong, confident, faithful and filled with hope and joy – Highs. We also have moments of fear, concern, sadness that are filled with despair – Lows. Every life has both whether you see it in others or not, they both exist for everyone. The key to living with all of this is how are you reacting to your highs and your lows? Reading and learning from God’s Word with the Holy Spirit as your guide is a great place to start. After that, the way to give and receive celebration for highs and support for lows is with Friends. Personal relationships, that is the key to living, learning and growing through out your life journey. Reflect on your personal relationships, with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as well as with your friends. Pray about them and find ways you can enrich those relationships. Faith is not a destination, it is a way of living through the Highs and Lows that come to all of us no matter who we are or what we are doing. May God’s peace and joy be with you.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
(These photo’s were taken in July of 2016 at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)
We will have what we need, we will not always get what we want (I am now hearing a Rolling Stones song in my mind), yet we struggle with worry and anxiety daily and that constant strain causes physical damage to our bodies over a period of time. God is our Creator and He knows exactly what we need. If we are saying it is not enough then we are too focused on our plans and not His. Before I started daily devotions just over 8 years ago I wasted a large amount of my time on worry and the worst part is, it was about things I can’t even control. As I have grown spiritually my perspective has changed for the better…I still pray a serenity prayer to help as old habits die hard. It is a test of faith to let go of the worries and to trust God with the answers and the outcome. May God’s grace and peace be with you.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
(This photo was taken in June 2018, last weekend, while driving to South Dakota)
The skill of listening is becoming less and less frequent in today’s world. It seems people are so intent on speaking and spend more time preparing a response then seeking to understand others. It is a form of selfishness. All of us are cursed with some form of selfishness…it does not go away or become less present over time unless we are actively working on reducing its presence in our lives. In order to strengthen our abilities to see things from the perspective of another person we can start by listening and seeking to understand them. Listening does not mean you automatically agree with them rather it means you are willing to consider more than your own opinion. We do not have all the answers, nobody on earth does…nobody. The only one who knows is God…and if we can’t listen to Him we will struggle more than is necessary. May God’s love and peace be with you.
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconsin)
The true form of joy comes from believing and knowing that the Lord your God created you out of love, knows the about the deepest part of you and will never leave you or abandon you. Faith has been and is the only thing that can overcome sadness, darkness and sin. Jesus came down from heaven and showed the power of faith by His actions and His sacrifice. He defeated sickness and illness, He defeated the devil in the desert, and He defeated death. He did it all for you and He did it out of His love…and that is why true joy is found only in Faith and nowhere else on earth. May you find joy in God’s peace and love.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:8-9
(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
One of the most sacred aspects regarding the creation of humans is free will. We are given the gift of free will by God to decide and to choose our behavior and attitude each day. How we choose to live is our responsibility and no one else’s. We choose to do good or to do wrong or we choose to do nothing. Everybody in the world is fighting a battle of some kind, real life is not what people are posting on social media, that is merely the book cover that people want to present to the world. We should not take our free will for granted, use the power to choose how you will live to do good for others, just as Christ did to save you. May God’s peace be with you.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling through southern New Mexico)