What Is Faith?

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

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Belief…trust…hope.  Faith is about our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Learning about Him and what He teaches us in God’s Word…that feeds our faith.  If we choose to not exercise our faith muscle it will become shriveled and weak.  We will be spiritually dead.  The Good News is we have hope because of the death and resurrection of Jesus…He is alive, He is with you and He loves you.  Build up your faith, it will impact every area of your life when you put your trust in Jesus.  Amen.

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But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:4-9 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in White Sands National Park in New Mexico)

God’s Grace

“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 NIV

We see God’s grace on display in His actions…He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to save us…He gives us an opportunity to learn from Him through His Word…even while we are still sinners He forgives us…He gives us the Holy Spirit as a guide through our daily life…He will never leave us or abandon us no matter what.  That is truly amazing grace.  Amen.

This Is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham

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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephasians 2:8-9 NIV

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

Attitude

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

It is your choice what attitude you present in the world, what you believe and what actions you will take.  You can choose to let the circumstances in the world and what other people think, say and do drag you down and respond in an unpleasant way…or you can choose to believe in God’s Word and to follow Jesus Christ and His attitude and be encouraged by good things that you and others can do.  The choice is yours everyday with every sunrise.  Amen.

This Could Change Everything by Francesca Battistelli

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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 June of 2016 while traveling through western Minnesota)

Love The Lord

“We love because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19 NIV

When you start with this…everything else falls into place.  May His peace be with you.  Amen.

Lord I Need You by Matt Maher

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

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico)

Jesus

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.”

John 3:16-17 NIV

Immanuel…Light of the World…King of Kings…Lord of Lords…The Good Shepard…Bread of Life…Living Water…Prince of Peace…Wonderful Counselor…Lamb of God…The Truth…The Way…The Savior of the World.  Amen.

Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp

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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 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

God’s Grace

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

We can’t earn it…we don’t deserve it and yet God offers it to us.  God is holy and God is love.  Because He is holy our sin separates us from Him…because of His love He sent His one and only Son to take the punishment we deserve so that we can be reconciled with Him.  Choose to believe…confess your sins…give thanks to God for His grace.  Amen.

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“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16 NIV

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

Grace

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5 NIV

It is because of God’s grace that the battle has already been won…we are forgiven…we are healed…we are saved.  Nothing can separate us from Him who loves us.  Praise the Lord.  Amen.

Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin

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“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Rocky Mountian National Park)

Patience

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 ESV

When we believe and we trust in God we will be required to develop patience in this world.  Circumstances will often look hopeless and many people will despair and be engulfed in sadness and fear, that is the way of evil.  We must never give up hope, we must trust in God to continue working for the good for us and for everyone.  God does not make bad things happen, He is not tempting you with things that are not good…that is sin in the world.  God is at work in all the bad we have created to bring out goodness, kindness and love.  Believe in Him who created us, believe in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ and see the good things that can happen in your life in this world.  May God’s peace and joy be with you.  Amen.

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“I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

Humility…Perspective

Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be humble. Value others more than yourselves. None of you should look out just for your own good. Each of you should also look out for the good of others.

Philippians 2:3-4 NIRV

“So make yourselves humble. Put yourselves under God’s mighty hand. Then he will honor you at the right time. Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 NIRV

We are saved by God’s grace and we have a choice…we can accept that we are broken and sinful in need of our Savior and then seek Him in how we live.  Or we can reject God by focusing only on ourselves and following the desires of the world and our sinful hearts and minds.  We can see the choice made by others so easily…yet it is up each of us in our own lives…no matter what our circumstances are in this world we have a choice on how we will respond to God every day.

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“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass near the Montana and Wyoming border)

Amazing Grace

But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus. He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us. He was kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done.”

Ephesians 2:4-7 NIRV

As we close out the year, reflect on where you have seen God in the events of your life.  He was with you the whole time, even when you didn’t acknowledge Him.  God wants good things for you…all that is dark and evil in this world is because of our sin…yet God who is rich in mercy has saved us through His Son.  We are saved by God’s gift of Amazing Grace.  Amen.

Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin

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God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. 10 We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10 NIRV

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