The Promised One

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.”[d]

Isaiah 7:14 NIV

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 NIV

God promised to send us a Savior, He kept that promise when He sent His one and only Son.  Jesus can do everything, anything.  We are not meant to be alone…we are made for relationship and God sent His promised One to earth to save us and be with us.  We have a Savior who sacrificed Himself for us and He is wating to hear from you…His name is Jesus.

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

DSC_0232 publish

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 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 1:9-14 NIV

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

What Do You Believe?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f]

Romans 10:9-13 NIV

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?  That He came down from heaven and sacrificed Himself to take the punishment you deserve?  Do you believe that He has risen and lives in you today?  What do you believe?  Believe in Jesus…confess your sins…be certain about what you believe and trust in the Lord in the New Year.

We Believe by Newsboys

DSC_0499 publish

“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. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

John 3:16-18 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Big Sky Resort in Montana)

Reflecting On This Year With Gratitude

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.”

Psalm 95:1-5 NIV

As we approach the New Year, take time to reflect on what has transpired in your life over the last 12 months…where do you see God?  Where do you see yourself in putting your trust in Him?  What difficult challenge did you face or are you still facing that you have had unknown courage to keep going?  Have you had any moments of unexplainable joy, contentment?  What situations worked out better than you expected?  There are so many ways both big and small that God has shown you He is with you…did you notice?  Give thanks to God for the gifts and blessings in your life and pray that He continues to help you see Him.  Most importantly give thanks to Jesus Christ for what He has done and continues to do for you every day.

DSC01182 publish

“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

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

Joy In God’s Promises

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e] will call him Immanuel.”[f] 

Isaiah 7:14 NIV

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.”

Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV

The promises of God are throughout the Bible.  God has kept every promise He made…the last promise that will be fulfilled is when Jesus returns.  One of the greatest promises God made and fulfilled is the promise of Jesus.  The Book of Isaiah spoke about the coming Savior 700 years before it was fulfilled…700 years.  Think about that…in the world today that is over 7 generations of a family.  That strikes me with awe and wonder about how our lives are only a moment in God’s amazing story.  It helps me reset my perspective…God is in control not me…His will, not mine.  He is the Creator and what is so incredible about that is He loves us and wants a relationship with us so much that He sent and sacrificed His Son to reconcile us to Him.  During this Christmas season, make time to think about the birth of Christ and the Joy we can have because of God’s promises. Amen.

DSC_1549 publish

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Luke 2:8-11 NIV

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

Joy Because Of Who God Is

Shout for joy, you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;
    burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”

Isaiah 49:13 NIV

We can have Joy because God is who He says He is…God’s character, His love, His grace, His mercy, His compassion and the comfort of His presence.  These things and many more things about God is why we can have Joy when we choose to believe in Him and have a personal relationship with Him.  Seek the Lord and you will know Joy.

DSC_0144 publish

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.”

Psalm 145:8-9 NIV

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

Happiness – Joy

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

Genesis 3:1-7 NIV

Happiness and Joy…what is the difference?  Happiness is a worldly pursuit for temporary pleasure…Joy is spiritual and the benefits are eternal.  Happiness relies on worldly circumstances and Joy is built on belief, faith and trust in God, no matter what your circumstances.  When you achieve happiness you don’t necessarily get joy…yet when you seek Joy…happiness gets added to you.  Seek Joy…not happiness.

DSC_0042 publish

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.”

Psalm 19:7-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a field near Kimball, Minnesota)

Advent – Joy

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

Luke 2:9-10 NIV

Joy…it goes deeper than happiness.  It is not about our circumstances…it is based on the foundation of faith and knowing that God is good and that He wants good things for us.  Our circumstances may not be very good at times yet joy in the Lord reminds us that we are not alone and that if we believe in Jesus and seek Him by reading God’s Word and growing in faith there is nothing or no situation He won’t help us over come.  Remember Jesus came to bring great Joy to all.

PXL_20220717_013758789.PORTRAIT-EFFECTS publish

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

John 15:11 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2022 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Peace From God’s Word

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 4:4-7 NIV

The Bible is God’s Word written down and given to us to lead us, teach us and encourage us in our lives.  It is an instruction manual for life.  Teaching us about how God wants us to live and have a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.  It has been translated in to languages for people all over the world and it is continuing so that one day every person from any walk of life can connect to God through His Word.  We can do our part by learning about what is says and putting it into action.  Read God’s Word…Do what it says…and you will enjoy God’s peace.  Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

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

An Encounter

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Faith is about trust and belief because we have experienced the Presence of God in our lives.  Has it happened to you?  It can be hard to put into words…unexplainable…one experience in my life was when I was putting together and delivering the eulogy at my father’s funeral.  This is not something I ever could have done on my own…when I think about that time my words to describe it are few, yet some that come to mind are comfort, unusual peace, clear thinking.  The process of putting together the words came naturally by talking with people from all parts of Dad’s life and God had prepared me to speak in front of others in several experiences in my past both in work and at church.  It was an incredible experience.  An example of an encounter with God from the bible is found in the book of Exodus…Moses was up on the mountain for 40 days with God without food or water, yet it does not say he felt any hunger or thirst.  Moses had all that he needed because he was with God.  An encounter with the Presence of God is unlike anything else you will experience in life.  Faith is about a personal relationship with God.  Where has God shown up in your life?  Think about it…give thanks and know that He has been with you.  Amen.

DSC09797 publish

“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2014 on a walk near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Seeking God’s Will

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 has given us the gift of free will.  It is up to us to choose…seek Him and His Word or follow the ways of this fallen world?  He tells us in the bible what will happen based on what we choose to believe and do.  What do you believe? What will you do today?

DSC_0090 (2) publish

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:1-2 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park near Bayfield, Wisconsin)