Faith And Hope

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

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

It is a choice…it is your choice.  To believe or not to believe.  God gave you free will…He will not force you to do anything.  Faith is about belief and comes from the heart.  It gives rise to hope even when things look bleak and despair is spreading.  Seek wisdom, learn about God from His Word and chose how you will respond each day.  As for me, I chose to trust in the Lord.  Amen.

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“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Hebrews 6:19 NIV

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

Believe In Your Heart

“…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

Are we fully committed to putting Christ first in life?  Our actions will always speak louder than our words.  We know we can never be good enough on our own, yet we seem to keep trying to go our own way.  Thank you, God, for your mercy and your grace…because of His great love for us we can return to Him and confess our sins because we believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was crucified, died and has risen.  I know I struggle often when I reflect on my own actions…the things I have done and the things I have left undone.  It is at these moments that I imagine with my mind’s eye, kneeling at the foot of the Cross, laying down my sins and thanking Jesus Christ for His sacrifice.  God is with you and me, He loves us and only He can lead us through the events in our lives.  Amen.

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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.  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.”

Romans 10:9-10 NIV

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

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)

Open Your Heart

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

James 1:21 NIV

Let the Word of the Lord wash over you and cleanse you…clear your mind and share what is on your heart with the Lord.  Spend time reading God’s Word…let the peace of Jesus into your daily life.  Amen.

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“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:15 NIV

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

Open The Eyes Of My Heart

Portions of this post were originally published in July 2021…

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV

We typically are quick to judge the thoughts and actions of others without considering there is more to every person than just what you see on the surface.  We forget that God created all of us, everyone…even the people you struggle with or disagree with on most days.  I like to remember the quote…’be kind to others, because everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.’  When you find your thoughts making judgements…stop and pray for God to fill you with kindness and compassion.  Amen.

Open The Eyes Of My Heart by Michael W. Smith

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

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

Prepare The Way For The Lord

Portions of this post were originally published in December of 2020…

“…as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”[a]
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”[b]

Mark 1:2-3 NIV

God’s story and God’s plan is greater than our self-oriented desires…we are a part of His story, not the other way around.  We all have been given certain gifts to use while we are here…our job is to recognize the gifts we have been given and to use them to help others.  We are to do our part to Prepare the Way for the coming of the Lord.  Amen.

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In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through him. Nothing that has been made was made without him. Life was in him, and that life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness. But the darkness has not overcome the light.

John 1:1-5 NIRV

(This photo was taken in October 0f 2014 at sunrise on the island of Maui, Hawaii)

Choose How You Will Respond

Portions of this post were originally published in May of 2018…

Don’t let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen. 30 Do not make God’s Holy Spirit mourn. The Holy Spirit is the proof that you belong to God. And the Spirit is the proof that God will set you completely free. 31 Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage. Stop all fighting and lying. Don’t have anything to do with any kind of hatred. 32 Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done.”

Ephesians 4:29-32 NIRV

With every situation in life, we are given free will by God which means we choose how to respond to what other people do or say.  This freedom also means we are accountable and responsible for our response even if we choose to do nothing.  If we are focused on ourselves more than anything else we will often choose a poor response as the self is only concerned with the impact on me without regard for others.  God created us out of His love and we were made to choose the Fruits of the Spirit in how we live our daily lives.  Be aware not only of ‘what’ you do and say, but also ‘how’ you do and say things when you interact with others.  Free will is a gift from God, how we respond to God’s Word with this gift makes all the difference in daily life.  May God’s joy and peace be with you.  Amen.

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“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1 NIV

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

Peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 NIV

Lord, you will give perfect peace
    to those who commit themselves to be faithful to you.
    That’s because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 26:3 NIRV

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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 3:15-17 NIV

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

He Knows…

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

Psalm 139:13 NIV

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.”

Psalm 139:7-10 NIV

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Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 near Arches National Park in Utah)

Our Hearts

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

Deuteronomy 6:5

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:3

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

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“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at a park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)