Saved By Grace

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

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“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

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

Receive The Holy Spirit

“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 5:5

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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 14:26-27

(This photo was taken in April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Gifts And Blessings

As God’s creation, each of us has been blessed and have God-given gifts and abilities.  Our purpose in our lives is to love the Lord and to learn about and use the gifts He has given us to contribute to our communities.  What gifts has God given you?  What can you do or provide to others in your family, your neighborhood or your faith community?  If you are unsure, turn towards God in prayer and seek His will for you.  Amen.

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We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Romans 12:6-8

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 on a golf course in northwestern Wisconsin)

Different Gifts

We each have been made by our Creator God and we all have different gifts and abilities according to His will.  When each of us use our God given talent to the best of our ability our community is made stronger.  It does no good to compare ourselves to others and to covet their abilities.  God created you, He loves you and He wants good things for you in life…when things go sideways or off track that is our sinful nature leading us astray.  Turn towards Jesus Christ in prayer and seek God’s plan for your gifts.  Amen.

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We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Romans 12:6-8

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

Do Your Best

The struggle is real…we strive and we press to finish and to see the result…only to find the race is not over…there is more that needs to be done.  We were made for community to lift each other up and encourage one another.  Each of us has been given different gifts to offer to others, we can’t be everything to everyone and if we try, we will be going off course with God’s plan.  Learn what God has planned for you and the blessings and abilities He has given to you for this life.  Seek to do your best according to God’s will and you will find peace.  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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3

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

Forgiveness And For Goodness

These are the presents we receive from God, not only at Christmas, we receive these every day of our lives.  It is up to us to accept these gifts and to trust in the Lord.  We are forgiven because of Jesus Christ and we receive goodness from God’s Holy Spirit within us.  All throughout the bible the miracles performed included Jesus involving someone else in completing the miracle.  An example would be the little boy who had the fish and bread, that was to be multiplied for all to eat.  God wants us to accept the gift of forgiveness from Jesus and to open our hearts and minds to the goodness of the Holy Spirit and God wants each of us to participate in the story.  God loves you; God forgives you and He is ready to lead you to good things.  Accept these gifts from God.  Amen.

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

Gifts And Abilities

When you are unsure how you can best contribute…ask God.  How can I help?  Learn about yourself and your abilities.  What comes naturally to you?  What seems easy for you that others struggle doing?  What can you do that fulfills the need of another?  It can be anything.  God knows you and knows how He created you…don’t believe your value based on the world’s standards, let God be the judge.  Seek Him and His will.  Pray about it and pay attention for God’s answers in your everyday life.  Amen.

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Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

1 Peter 4:9-10

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 – the statue is called “Our Lady of the Rockies” and can be seen near Butte, Montana)

Gifts And Serving Others

Each person is unique is some way.  Everyone has a different combination of strengths and weaknesses.  No individuals were made to stand alone or to be isolated from the community.  We are designed to work together to use our blessings to help fulfill the needs of others and for others to help fulfill our needs.  The things that get in the way are sin…pride and selfishness, judgement and favoritism…these exist in everyone on all sides of every issue.  Each of us should assess ourselves and understand what are our strengths and gifts to offer…the important thing to remember is the value of our gifts in God’s eyes not value according to the world’s perspective…because even if what we can offer will change life for just 1 or a few other people, we are still changing the world for good in the eyes of God.  Peace be with you on your journey.  Amen.

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“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in is various forms.”

1 Peter 4:9-10

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

Contentment

Satisfaction…fulfillment…comfort…well-being…peace…serenity…tranquility.  This is not a popular word when it comes to many areas of society.  The messages are usually about more, more and more.  The perspective of faith encourages us to find contentment with worldly things and use our zeal in life to serve the Lord.  To be content does not mean to retract from engaging in or to stop pursuing something rather it is about priorities.  God can and does meet our needs, our job is knowing when we have enough and when we receive beyond that it is for us to share with others.  May the grace and peace of God be with you.  Amen.

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“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy 6:6

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

Spiritual Gifts

We all have been blessed with certain gifts, talents and abilities.  It is important for us to learn about our gifts in order for us to use them in the world.  There are an overwhelming amount of books and tests and profile charts created by people to sort out what  “tendencies” we each possess.  Another way to understand more about our spiritual gifts is to pay attention to what comes naturallly to us and what things other people sometimes point out to us as a real gift.  As with anything, a assessment of your spiritual gifts should be done in consultation with Jesus Christ.  If we go into and through this process without being led by the Lord then all we are doing is finding out what the world thinks of us or what the world thinks we should do.  We are all created for a purpose and only God can guide us to the truth about what that is.  May peace and joy be with you on your faith journey.  Amen.

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“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park on Madeline Island in Lake Superior)