Freedom In Christ

My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love. 14 The whole law is fulfilled by obeying this one command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:1815 If you say or do things that harm one another, watch out! You could end up destroying one another.”

Galatians 5:13-15 NIRV

Many have been sacrificed for freedom to exist in the US…the most important sacrifice of life for the freedom of others came from Jesus Christ.  He came down from heaven, set an example for us on how to live and then died on the Cross so that we can be reconciled with God.  Let’s not take for granted what others have done for our freedom to exist…especially the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His saving Grace.  May we be filled with joy and peace and serve others with love because of Him who died to save us. Amen.

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Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 NLT

(This photo was taken in June of 2021 at The Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cementary)

Overcoming Fear

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT

Don’t let fear drive your decisions…stop believing the lies of the evil one…trust in God and stay in the fight and He will guide you to be an Overcomer.  He promised He would and God keeps His promises.

Overcomer by Mandisa

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“All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:25-27 NIV

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

Pray

For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV

Prayer…it is our way to interact with God.  It is how we can build our relationship with Him.  Communication is the foundation of any relationship.  Anyone can do it…it is not about using the right words or being in a certain position…it is all about speaking sincerely and from the heart.  We can pray about everything in our lives and the best part?  God is waiting to hear for you…He will listen…He will respond…that doesn’t mean you should expect everything to go the way you desire…that’s not how it works.  But God promises no matter what you are going through He will be with you…it is up to you to do your part.  God’s peace be with you.

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Philippians 4:6 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2016 at a lake in central Minnesota)

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

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong

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“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

(This photo was taken in May of 2022 at Temperance State Park along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Applying God’s Word To Our Lives

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 26:3 NIV

God provides us with everything we need…it is up to us to choose how we will live out our time in this world.  Will we seek a personal relationship with Him?  How will we treat others?  What will be the center of our lives?  Self or Christ?  God has given us free will…how will you choose to live?

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“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Grace

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 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

It is because of God’s grace that the battle has already been won…we are forgiven…we are healed…we are saved by Grace.  Nothing can separate us from Him who loves us.  Praise Him for Amazing Grace.  Amen.

Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin

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“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Rocky Mountian National Park)

Living A New Way

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 4:22-23 NIRV

“When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here!”

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIRV

Every day brings new possibilities…don’t let the worlds values and the pursuits of ungodly things keep you distracted and lost.  Trust the promises of God…we will not find hope and fulfillment in other people because we are all broken and in need of Jesus.   The world is telling us we should value me first and live a self-centered life…not true.  A Christ centered life…meeting with Him every day and trusting His Way is the New Way to live…each day.  May the peace of God be with you and flow through you.  Amen.

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Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things. Do what you have learned or received or heard from me. Follow my example. The God who gives peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8-9 NIRV

(This photo was taken in April of 2016 at sunrise at a lake in central Minnesota)

With God In Control…

“I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13 NIV

We can be conquerors of sin…we can overcome obstacles…we can be blessed with wisdom to find our way. If we are willing to cast our worries and burdens on Him and trust His love for us anything is possible. There is nothing that can separate us from God’s love and God’s plan for us. Believe and you will receive.  Amen.

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“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37 NIV

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

Guard Your Heart

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

We all face trials and struggles.  The one thing we can control during these times and situations is how we choose to respond.  Many of us quickly try to gain control and take charge, determined not to let the situation get the best of us…others do an about face and get away from the situation as quickly as they can.  All of us can do better if we start with bringing the situation, the difficult time or difficult relationship to God first.  We need to stop waiting and trying to do things our own way…going into battle against darkness and evil without God is like a soldier heading into a battle without any weapon.  The more we turn towards God first, the more likely we will find peace and be able to overcome the troubles of life.  Amen.

“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

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2013 at the Botanical Gardens in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada)

God Is Walking With You

The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need.
    He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
    He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths
    for the honor of his name.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid.
    You are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff
    comfort me.”

Psalm 23:1-4 NIRV

“Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave. Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go.”

Joshua 1:9 NIRV

The peace and comfort we seek from worldly values and other people can only be found in our relationship with God and remembering that God has said that in this world we will have trouble but we need to remember He is walking with us through every moment of every day.  He doesn’t take away the suffering He gives us the strength and courage we need to go through it.  Put your trust in Him and give Him the worries and burdens of each day.

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So do not be afraid. I am with you.
    Do not be terrified. I am your God.
I will make you strong and help you.
    I will hold you safe in my hands.
    I always do what is right.”

Isaiah 41:10 NIRV

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