Peace Through Jesus

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”

Colossians 1:15-18 NIV

Do you know Him or do you only know about Him?  Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with Him is the only Way to peace with God and the peace of God.  Spend time with Jesus…there is no better time than now to reflect of His birth, why He came and how He is your source of peace.

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For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Colossians 1:19-20 NIV

(This photo was taken in December of 2013 while on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

The Truth Brings Hope

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 NIV

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 NIV

Jesus Christ is the Truth…His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection.  He came to save us from our sins.  All of us are broken and need a Savior.  We all have an opportunity for Hope if we choose to believe and follow Him.

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Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.”

Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Hope From God’s Promises

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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

God promises to be with you and guide you, if you will follow Him.  If God feels distant or far off it is because we have wandered off not because God has abandon you.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

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So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

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

Prepare The Way For The Lord

“…as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”[a]
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”[b]

Mark 1:2-3 NIV

God’s story and God’s plan is greater than our self-centered desires…we are a part of His story, not the other way around.  We all have been given certain gifts to use while we are here…our job is to recognize the gifts we have been given and to use them to help others.  We are to do our part to Prepare the Way for the coming of the Lord.  Amen.

Prepare Ye The Way by Michael W Smith

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

John 1:1-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2014 at sunrise on the island of Maui, Hawaii)

Our Hearts

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

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:3 NIV

God has given human beings free will and His Word gives us instructions on how we should choose to live…unfortunately too many of us have turned our backs on God and put worldly things before Him in our lives.  This choice by human beings of rejecting God is what invites evil into the world and evil comes to cause pain and suffering as described in John 10:10…“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”  We need to seek the Lord with all our heart and choose to live in a way that honors God.

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”[a]

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at a park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Thanks Be To God

“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10 NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

1 John 4:7-12 NIV

Happy Thanksgiving!  Give thanks to God for all the gifts and blessings in life and for His presence to get us through the struggles and difficult times.  God is good…thanks be to God.  Amen.

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“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV

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

Trust In The Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”[a]

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Instead of trying to control things beyond your reach…put your trust in the Lord.  Trust His way…trust His timing and trust the outcome to Him who has done more for you than any person in your life.  He is with you, He is for you.

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“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

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

Ask…Believe…Receive

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

John 14:12-14 NIV

When you pray, do you truly believe what you are asking for will happen?  Or is it more like wishing for something that may or may not happen?  True transformation is when we believe what we ask for will happen and not on our timeline or according to our expectations.  As I look back over the early part of my faith journey, I remember prayers that were more just like going to a wishing well…speak it once and probably never think about it again.  This is not sincere, authentic praying.  Prayer is communication with God, it is about spending time with Him and our relationship with Him.  Jesus put it this way…

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6:6-8 NIV

The key to this statement is your Father knows what you need.  Ask Him for things, believe in Him and what He can do.  Then watch and listen for Him and you will receive.  Ask…believe…receive.  Amen.

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“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:24 NIV

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

God Is Good…Be Thankful

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:1-5 NIV

Take time to reflect on your life and remember what God has done for you.  Think about the storms you have already come through…how He protected you or guided you safely.  Remember that no matter what God loves you…He is with you and within you.  Jesus left the comfort of heaven to come down and live as one of us…He sacrificed Himself to be beaten and crucified and to pay the penalty for our sin so that we could have a relationship with God.  God will do for you that which you can’t do for yourself…put your trust in the Lord and give thanks to Him.

Forever by Michael W Smith

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“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.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:12-17 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling in northern Colorado)

To Follow Him

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

Luke 9:23-25 ESV

This is it…this is what we are told by Jesus in God’s Word.  “Follow me” He says to the tax collector and the individual promptly gets up and begins to follow.  We do have a choice in our lives…free will is very important to God.  He wants us to choose to follow Him.  In Matthew 19, a rich man is invited by Jesus to ‘follow me’ and rich man is sad because he has great financial wealth and does not want to give that up.  There is nothing in this world worth more than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Look for yourself…read God’s Word…chose one of the Gospels.  I recommend the Gospel according to John, learn about Him and then choose.  May peace be with you.  Amen.

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Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

John 12:23-26 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2020 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)