Faith – Character

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Romans 5:1-4 NIV

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Colossians 3:12 NIV

Who we are, our behaviors, our attitude…these are the things that define our character.  We have been taught by the bible how we should strive to live.  Reflect on your last few days, weeks and months…turn towards God and ask Him to help you with any of the fruits of the Spirit that have been lacking in your relationships with others.  God is with you and He is for you.  Amen.

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

(This phot was taken in August of 2016 at a lake in Glacier National Park in Montana)

The Truth Will Set You Free

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

Faith in God means believing the truth.  The truth that God sent His only Son to save us from our sins.  If we allow temptation and sin to rule our lives…it will keep us away from God we will be inviting trouble into everything we do.  If we follow the truth and put Jesus in the center of our lives, we will know peace.

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NIV

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

A Foundation Of Faith

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV

What is the foundation of your life?  What do you stand on?  Worldly beliefs and values that reject God or Jesus Christ and the Word of God?  We are all free to choose what we believe and our decision has a direct impact on our life in this world and in the life to come.  What is the foundation of your life?

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“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Matthew 7:24 NIV

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

Greater Than…

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

1 John 4:4 NIV

No matter what you are facing, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how bad the tragedy or trauma that has occurred…God is bigger than that…God is greater than anything you will encounter in this life.  Believe it and put your hope and your trust in God.

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“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

The Name Of Jesus

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:9-11 NIV

The one who took our punishment…we are guilty of sin, of doing things we should not do.  He was without sin and yet He came down from heaven to sacrifice Himself for us.  We didn’t earn it and we don’t deserve it…So why did He do it?  Because that is how much He loves you and wants a relationship with you.  His name is Jesus.  No matter where you are of what you have done, call out to Jesus.  He is waiting to hear from you.  Amen.

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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

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming)

The Hope Of The World

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”

1 Peter 1:3 NIV

“…the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.”

Colossians 1:5-6 NIV

God is greater than anything in this world.  It is in Him that we can find hope.

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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 NIV

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

The Voice of Truth

“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

In this world that is fallen and filled with sin and lies we have many thoughts and opinions speaking to us through many forms of communication.  Yet while Jesus walked on earth he taught using the phrase “I tell you the truth…”  He spoke this phrase more than 75 times as recorded in the New Testament.  With so much input coming at us in the world from so many sources it is important to seek the one voice of truth.

This is not always easy…in fact when Jesus spoke he knew not everybody would openly accept the truth.  In our lives, the hardest things to do are often really the right thing to do.  Truth takes courage, truth takes trusting that no matter what happens God has got you in the palm of his hand.  He knows what you are facing, He knows your fears and the temptations pressuring you…open your heart, mind and soul to Him.  He has the truth and His Son delivered the message of truth personally to us.

Voice Of Truth by Casting Crowns

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

John 8:31-32 NIV

(This photo was taken in the summer of 2013 at Falls Park on the Big Sioux River in South Dakota)

God’s Faithfulness

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV

God is bigger than any circumstances or situation you are facing.  He is the only way to bring real change into your life.  The more we keep doing the same things and reacting the same way to difficulties the more we will get frustrated and angry, wondering why this doesn’t change or get better?  Trying to control things is not what we were made to do…we were created out of love and made for relationship with God and others.  God is faithful, He will never leave you or abandon you…if God feels far away it is most likely because we have wandered off.  Turn back towards Jesus Christ and trust God’s faithfulness.

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“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming)

Surrender

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

James 4:1-3 NIV

When we pursue goals to satisfy the self, we will become frustrated and disappointed…wondering why things don’t go our way.  We must learn to surrender our desires for what God has planned.  He can see everything; we can only see a small part of our lives.  This doesn’t mean do nothing…our job is to learn from God’s Word and keep doing good things as best we can with what we have been given.  Submit whatever you do to the Lord and you will find peace.  Amen.

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Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

James 4:7-10 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Praise Him

“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.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.”

Psalm 95:1-7 NIV

King Of Kings by Hillsong Worship

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“Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.”

Psalm 150

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota)