God’s Grace

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8 NIV

God’s grace is greater than all of our sins.  We know we are weak and we live in a fallen world…God knows us too.  He knew we needed a way of salvation and He provided it through Jesus Christ.  When temptation comes we need to turn towards God and His Word to strengthen us, the same way Jesus spoke the Scriptures when Satan tempted Him in the desert.  When you do make a mistake or fail to resist temptation call on God because His Grace is greater than our sin.  Amen.

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“God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Jenny lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)

Forgiveness

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:34 NIV

Jesus Christ was treated as poorly as any human ever has been treated by others in history to the point of death…and yet as He hung on the Cross in which He was crucified on for our sins, He spoke the words above…He prayed for forgiveness for others.

If we do not find the way to forgive others it is us who will be destroyed…not those who have wronged us…no matter what they did.

Forgiveness by Matthew West

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“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:37-38 NIV

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

Come Near To God

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.”

Psalm 145:18 NIV

Jesus Christ came down from heaven to live as one of us…throughout the Old Testament there is a back and forth between God and humans as they would come close to Him and then wander off into sin.  God would save them and they would come close again and then wander off again…and on and on it went.  Then God changed everything by sending His one and only Son into the world.  Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer, He has paid the price for our sins and reconciled us back to God, forever.  Come near to God and stay close to Him…no matter what comes your way.  Amen.

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“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

James 4:8 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at Temperance State Park on Lake Superior)

The Truth Will Set You Free

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 NIV

The word ‘truth’ appears over 200 times in the bible.  Jesus often taught using the phrase ‘I tell you the truth’ or ‘Truly I say to you.’  On our faith journey we have to be willing to be honest with God, ourselves and with others regarding what we believe and what we say.  When we are ready to be truthful about who we are and who God is we are ready to walk in the light to the best of our ability in a fallen world.  It won’t be easy but we have been assured it will be worth it.  Amen.

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If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:8-9 NIV

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

Character

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 NIV

Living life by faith is about who we are more than what we do.  Our behaviors, how we treat others and our interactions with others say more about us than our job or career path.  The world honors worldly things like wealth, awards, job titles and other self-oriented pursuits…these things are not considered to be wrong or bad…the issue is these things have become more important than God.  When self-satisfaction is more important than our relationship with God, we are going off course…to be clear we are all guilty of this sin, it is human nature in a fallen world.  The first step in repentance is awareness of the behavior and the next step is confessing to God and seeking to turn away from our sins, with God’s help.  As humans we all suffer from the same types of trouble…how we choose to respond is up to us.  May the peace of the Lord be with you. Amen.

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Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:3-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

His Sacrifice

“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

God knows we are weak and unable to save ourselves from sin.  No matter how hard we try to do good things we slip and fall…we make mistakes even with good intentions.  God knows this and so He sent His Son to close the gap between Him and us.  Jesus has done what we are unable to do…we didn’t earn it and we don’t deserve it yet He took our punishment so that we can draw near to God.  Don’t take for granted what Jesus Christ has done and is doing in your life.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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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

(This photo was taken in April of 2021 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

The Past…Redeemed

I know that my redeemer[c] lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”[d]

Job 19:25 NIV

What has happened in the past is done and can’t be changed…we can learn from it…we can change today.  Don’t let what has happened be chains around you that you drag with you everywhere you go…Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins and He is our Redeemer…bring your past, your shame and your guilt to the Lord and He will set you free.  Amen.

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16-17 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a park near Winterset, Iowa)

Jesus Christ

“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

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me.”

John 14:1 NIV

Believe in Him…learn about His life, His teachings…give thanks to Him for what He endured so that you can be reconciled with God.  He is the reason why your faith should be greater than your fear.  Amen.

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But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”

1 Timothy 6:11-16 NIV

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

Redeemed

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9 NIV

We must be willing to give forgiveness, to let go of bitterness, anger and pain just as our Father in heaven forgives us.  Forgive, be forgiven and you will find peace.  Amen.

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

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For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)

Love The Lord

“We love because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19 NIV

When you start with this…everything else falls into place.  May His peace be with you.  Amen.

Lord I Need You by Matt Maher

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

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico)