Believe

“When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [21] [a]

Matthew 17:14-21 NIV

We Believe by Eagle Brook Music

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“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:29 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Arches National Park in Utah)

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)

Praise The Lord

“Praise the Lord.

I will praise the Lord.
    I will praise the Lord all my life.
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Don’t put your trust in human leaders.
    Don’t trust in people who can’t save you.
When they die, they return to the ground.
    On that day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed are those who depend on the God of Jacob for help.
    Blessed are those who put their hope in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth and the ocean.
    He made everything in them.
    He remains faithful forever.
He stands up for those who are treated badly.
    He gives food to hungry people.
The Lord sets prisoners free.
    The Lord gives sight to those who are blind.
The Lord lifts up those who feel helpless.
    The Lord loves those who do what is right.
The Lord watches over the outsiders who live in our land.
    He takes good care of children whose fathers have died.
    He also takes good care of widows.
But he causes evil people to fail
    in everything they do.

10 The Lord rules forever.
    The God of Zion will rule for all time to come.

Praise the Lord.”

Psalm 146 NIRV

Let Everything That Has Breath by Matt Redman

Put your trust in God for everything…for anything.  Every day, every relationship, every worry, every fear, every moment of thanks…praise the Lord.  He is with, He loves you more than you know…praise the Lord.  Amen.

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“The Lord says,

“Those who trust in human beings are under my curse.
    They depend on human strength.
    Their hearts turn away from me.
They will be like a bush in a dry and empty land.
    They will not enjoy success when it comes.
They will live in dry places in the desert.
    It is a land of salt where no one else lives.

“But I will bless anyone who trusts in me.
    I will do good things for the person who depends on me.
They will be like a tree planted near water.
    It sends out its roots beside a stream.
It is not afraid when heat comes.
    Its leaves are always green.
It does not worry when there is no rain.
    It always bears fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:5-8 NIRV

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

It Takes Courage…

“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

Courage is not the absence of fear…Courage is the willingness to move forward without knowing the outcome…to admit we don’t know the answers…to be patient…to share and be vulnerable with another person.  Having courage is placing your trust in God ahead of fear…it is about not allowing fear to stop you or defeat you.  It takes courage to seek the Light…to surrender your plans for God’s plan…it takes courage to live the life that God has intended for you…and where can you find courage?  In a relationship with Jesus Christ.  There you will find strength and courage to seek His will and live with hope from God.  Amen.

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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)

Our Purpose

Love God

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIRV

What does loving God look like in your life?

Love God and Love Others

“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]””

Luke 10:27 NIV

How can we live out what Jesus has said are the first and second greatest commandments in all of God’s Word?  Who is our neighbor in the world and how can we show God’s love to them?

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Share The Good News

So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”

Matthew 28:19-20 NIRV

Love God…Love Other People…Share the Gospel

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

Daily Living By Faith

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

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

Each day is a new opportunity to live out our faith.  To surrender to the Holy Spirit that God has placed in our hearts and strive to live out our purpose.  God’s Word has told us to love God, love others and share the Good News.  He has given us the example of how He wants us to live in Jesus Christ…in the way that Jesus lived and by what He taught in His ministry.  God has prepared everything for us…and He has given us free will to choose how we want to respond…how will you choose to live your life today?

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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

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 during sunrise along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Commitment

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Matthew 22:37-38 NIV

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23 NIV

What does it mean to make a commitment?  How much time does it take to honor a commitment?  What does it look like in your life?  Everyone has different answers on the how commitment works, yet the most important part about commitment is what is at the center of it.  Commitment takes dedicated time, communication and a willingness to make sacrifices.  Nobody ever said it would be easy, no matter what commitment you are thinking about as you read.  Jesus Christ made a commitment to reconcile us back to God and it cost Him His life on earth.   Take the time and the opportunity He has provided and make a commitment to follow Him and honor that commitment with how you live and your life.  Amen.

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“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 NIV

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

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)

Surrender and Rest

This post was originally published in November of 2021…

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

Luke 9:23-24 NIV

The more we try to take control and hold on tight to all circumstances the more life slips through our fingers.  We were never meant to carry all of our burdens alone; we are not meant to fix everything or try to get things to meet our expectations.  God doesn’t need us to define our purpose in life, only our surrender to bring us to it.  Turn towards Him and daily give yourself to His way in your life.  Trust the Lord with everything.  Amen.

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“Come to me, all you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. 30 Serving me is easy, and my load is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIRV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)

Amazing Grace

But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus. He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us. He was kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done.”

Ephesians 2:4-7 NIRV

As we close out the year, reflect on where you have seen God in the events of your life.  He was with you the whole time, even when you didn’t acknowledge Him.  God wants good things for you…all that is dark and evil in this world is because of our sin…yet God who is rich in mercy has saved us through His Son.  We are saved by God’s gift of Amazing Grace.  Amen.

Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin

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God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. 10 We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NIRV

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 near the border of Minnesota and South Dakota)