Come Near To God

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.”

Psalm 145:18 NIV

Jesus Christ came down from heaven to live as one of us…throughout the Old Testament there is a back and forth between God and humans as they would come close to Him and then wander off into sin.  God would save them and they would come close again and then wander off again…and on and on it went.  Then God changed everything by sending His one and only Son into the world.  Jesus Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer, He has paid the price for our sins and reconciled us back to God, forever.  Come near to God and stay close to Him…no matter what comes your way.  Amen.

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“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

James 4:8 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at Temperance State Park on Lake Superior)

Attitude

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”

Philippians 2:3-5 NLT

A way of thinking…a point of view…outlook…perspective…belief.  How would you define your attitude toward God?  What is His role?  How much time during a typical week are we thinking about God?  The Bible has many of examples of different people and their attitude towards God, it describes their beliefs and actions.  There is a lot for us to learn from those people.  From Genesis to Revelation, we read about those who put God at the center of their lives and those who did not.  The best example of an appropriate attitude towards God is that of Jesus Christ…He took time daily to walk with God and this is what He seeks from us as well.  Spend time with Jesus every day and pray about your attitude towards God.  Amen.

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“He has showed you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2012 on a walk 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 by Grace.  Nothing can separate us from Him who loves us.  Praise Him for Amazing Grace.  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)

Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

1 Timothy 6:6-9 NIV

The worldly ways and worldly values say ‘get more’, ‘you need more’, ‘you are not enough’…this is evil working to keep us focused on ourselves and not on God.  The truth is we are not enough on our own and I am not talking about in the pursuit of worldly values…I am referring to our need for God and our relationship with Jesus Christ.  When we recognize that because of sin we will never be good enough on our own we can turn towards God who has saved us by sacrificing His Son and live content knowing we are saved by faith.

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I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

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

You Choose Each Day

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15 NIV

God created us with free will…the ability to choose our actions and behaviors.  The reason is because a love worth having is love that is chosen, however, the risk is people will choose to reject God.  We were created out of love and as we live we can choose whom we will follow.  How do you choose to live this day?

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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.”

Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)

His Sacrifice

“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

God knows we are weak and unable to save ourselves from sin.  No matter how hard we try to do good things we slip and fall…we make mistakes even with good intentions.  God knows this and so He sent His Son to close the gap between Him and us.  Jesus has done what we are unable to do…we didn’t earn it and we don’t deserve it yet He took our punishment so that we can draw near to God.  Don’t take for granted what Jesus Christ has done and is doing in your life.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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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

(This photo was taken in April of 2021 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

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)