Make A Commitment

“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

How do we get better at staying the course?  This New Year’s resolution business is almost always a path to failure.  Some of the most common mistakes is over-committing to too many things or setting unrealistic goals and achievements.  Not to mention our lack of patience for change in this fast paced, immediately gratification world.  The biggest mistake we make is either not asking God to guide us or not listening and looking for His will for our lives.  We are easily distracted and believe we have to maintain everything on our own.  The best change we can make is turning towards God first and a make a commitment to follow Him in all aspects of our lives.  Amen.

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Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3 NIV

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

Purpose

Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 ESV

So why are we here?  Is it to seek money, possessions, comfort and happiness according to what the world values?  Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest person who has ever lived and he did try everything the world values.  Pickup God’s Word and read about it in the Book of Ecclesiastes…you will hear about all he pursued.  He declared worldly values as meaningless and a chasing after the wind.  His final thoughts about the point of life is listed above.  Throughout the Bible you will find many examples that clearly tell us what we are here to do, as well as what not to do…we are here to Love God, to Love Others and to Share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

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So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”

Matthew 28:19-20 NIRV

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

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?

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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)

Walking With God

“Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31

When we are in step with God and His plan we will not feel weary, we will not feel weak.  Weariness is a warning sign that something we are doing or are spending time on is not part of God’s will for us.  When we are walking with Him there is no weariness or exhausted feelings as He provides energy and strength that we never knew existed.  Take time to assess where and how you are spending your time and pray to God to guide you to His will.  Amen.

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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 March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

His Way Is Better Than Our Ways

“He must become greater; I must become less.”[h]

John 3:30 NIV

When you made a recent decision or were experiencing a crisis…did you meet with God about it?  Did you pray for guidance or wisdom?  It has taken most of my life and many “how did I get here?” moments to learn that I need to walk with God and not race out in front of Him thinking I have everything figured out.  His way is better…it won’t align with worldly views and perspectives…it will be different yet better.  Take everything in your life to God…the worries, the relationships, the decisions, the things you struggle with…everything and then the most important part comes next…look and listen for Him and His reply.  Amen.

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For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 while walking the dog in a neighborhood near Plymouth, MN)

Teach Me Your Way

Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.”

Psalm 27:11 NIV

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.”

Psalm 143:8 NIV

Following the Lord is not a one-time check the box task…it is a daily connection and communication with God.  It is putting your trust and faith in Him and His way…it is listening, learning and growing.  It is about being transformed from the inside out and putting what we learn into action in our lives.  It is not easy and success is not measured by worldly standards…we must remember anything is possible with God and He is with us and within us all the time.  Praise be to God.  Amen.

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Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3 NIV

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

Serve One Another

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 4:8-11 NIV

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

We each get to choose each day the attitude we will embrace and how we will act when interacting with others.  God has given us instructions in His Word and He has followed up His Word with actions that show His love, His grace.  Our job, our purpose is to seek Him and live out His will in our life every day.  Put your trust in Lord and choose to live as He has taught us.

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“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2 NIV

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

Living In God’s Will

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NIV

How we treat each other in our everyday lives says a great deal about our hearts.  Whether we are talking about family members, friends or complete strangers we encounter during a day…each interaction is an opportunity to live in God’s will…even when, especially when others don’t meet our expectations.  We are all human and we are all broken…remember every person you meet may be fighting a battle you know nothing about…just like you are fighting battles others don’t know about.  God knows and He wants to help us, all of us…it is up to us to choose Him and His way…let us set aside our selfish and pride filled ways and choose to live according this His will.  Amen.

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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 April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Open Ended Praying

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.”

Psalm 143:8 NIV

When you pray leave room for God’s will and God’s plan to be the way you should go.  We tend to think we have things all figured out and we just need to top it off with a quick FYI to God to get Him on board.  Surrendering to God’s will and God’s plan means we are open to a new way for things to go…maybe in a way we haven’t considered or thought about yet…be open ended in your prayers…make room for God’s way in your life.  Amen.

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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

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

Doing Good

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Galatians 6:7-10 NIV

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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 May of 2020 at the High Falls in Tettegouche State Park in northern Minnesota)