He Knows You

 “I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come. 12 Then you will call out to me. You will come and pray to me. And I will listen to you. 13 When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIRV

Have you had moments like this?  “That’s not what I meant”…”I wish they knew me better”…”I don’t feel like I fit in”…”Nobody understands me.”  I have been there before.  You can be surrounded by people but feel like you are isolated.  God knows who you are, He knows what you can do, He knows how you think and He cares for you.  If you feel like you are off the rails in your life, it is time to get back to God.  He is waiting to hear from you.  He is the Creator, the one who formed you and has been right there with you every step of the way in life.  Turn towards God.  Trust in Him.  May you see the blessings from God in your life each day.

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

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

Humility

One message in the bible is clear…we need to learn how to be humble.  Selfishness and self-serving behaviors are running wild in the world.  God knows it is a problem for the human race and He made sure it is talked about often in His Word…

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.”

Romans 12:9-10 NIV

“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”[a]

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:5-7 NIV

If you want to know more pick up a bible and dig into God’s Word about humility.  Turn towards Jesus our Savior and the one who set the example of how to be humble by caring for others.  Amen.

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Philippians 2:3-4 NIV

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

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)

Persevere

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James 1:2-4 NIV

Purposeful…dedicated…courageous…committed…determined…resolute.  It takes strength to run the race of faith.  The evil in this world will bring us many forms of darkness and struggle, it will work hard, very hard to keep us away from God.  We have to be willing to fight just as hard to stay close to God and trust in the hope that faith gives us…even when…especially when we can’t see it.  Don’t give up, keep the faith, when you get knocked back or pushed down trust in God and keep running the race of faith.  Amen.

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Hebrews 12:1 NIV

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

Patience

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 ESV

When we believe and we trust in God we will be required to develop patience in this world.  Circumstances will often look hopeless and many people will despair and be engulfed in sadness and fear, that is the way of evil.  We must never give up hope, we must trust in God to continue working for the good for us and for everyone.  God does not make bad things happen, He is not tempting you with things that are not good…that is sin in the world.  God is at work in all the bad we have created to bring out goodness, kindness and love.  Believe in Him who created us, believe in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ and see the good things that can happen in your life in this world.  May God’s peace and joy be with you.  Amen.

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“I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

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

Our Good Father

“I bow in prayer to the Father because of my work among you. 15 From the Father every family in heaven and on earth gets its name. 16 I pray that he will use his glorious riches to make you strong. May his Holy Spirit give you his power deep down inside you. 17 Then Christ will live in your hearts because you believe in him. And I pray that your love will have deep roots. I pray that it will have a strong foundation. 18 May you have power together with all the Lord’s holy people to understand Christ’s love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is. 19 And may you know his love, even though it can’t be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you.

20 God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. 21 Give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Give him glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.”

Ephesians 3:14-21 NIRV

We would do well to follow Paul’s example of prayer shown above when we pray for others to our Father.  Who do you need to come to the Father about in your prayers?  He listens…He wants to hear from you because He loves you.  Spend time talking with our good Father in heaven.  Amen.

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Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Ephesians 4:3-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2014 by a friend at a lake in central Minnesota)

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)

Don’t Give Up

Portions of this post were originally published in February of 2018…

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)

Holy Living

Portions of this post were originally published in November of 2018…

“Don’t live the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Romans 12:2 NIRV

The people in our daily lives, the family and friends we interact with every day, these are the people on earth who should know the most about us.  How we treat each other, whether or not we trust each other, these are the cornerstones of our relationships.  It is too easy to take others for granted or think they will always be there because for such a long time they have always been there.  Yet things will happen in this broken and sinful world or time and age itself will catch up with every single person, and one day you may get a phone call that will change everything in an instant…they are gone.  None us really knows what life has in-store for us each day, only God knows.  He doesn’t make the bad things happen, the sins of the human race have done that…however, He will bring comfort, He will bring courage and He will bring His presence to strengthen us.  Let’s strive to not take people and relationships for granted, each day.  I pray we attempt to live our best and show others the light and love of Christ that we have so graciously received.  Amen.

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“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

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

Our Good Father

“…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

1 Corinthians 8:6

“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”

Acts 17:27

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Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Ephesians 4:3-6

(This photo was taken in July of 2014 by a friend at a lake in central Minnesota)