Search Me

The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit,[a]
    exposing every hidden motive.”

Proverbs 20:27

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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

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

He Has Set An Example

Throughout history the phrase “What would Jesus do?” has shown up in popularity and faded and shown up again.  Taken at its most basic level the question is valid to reflect upon.  His behaviors, His kindness, His generosity, His goodness, His mercy, His forgiveness, how He treated others and especially, His love.  We would do well to learn more about what He would do according to the Scriptures.  May the peace of Christ be with you.  Amen.

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“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

John 13:15

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

An Invitation

Jesus invites us to follow Him.  God’s love gives us the opportunity to choose to follow Christ and to live eternally in heaven and God’s gift of free will means we have a responsibility to own our choices.  God wants a relationship with each one of us and a relationship is a two-way connection.  He wants to be in relationship so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son to provide The Way.  Take a look at Luke 5:27-28, Mark 10:17-31 as examples of Jesus extending an invitation to follow Him.  No matter where you are or what your life circumstances are, you are invited to follow Jesus Christ.  How will you choose to respond to His invitation?  Amen.

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Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Trust His Plans

We have so many thoughts and ideas about ‘how things should go’ or ‘ the way things should be done’…we put our own expectations on situations and interactions and how many times have we heard or thought, ‘well that is not how I thought that would go’ or ‘wow that was unexpected.’  Yet we still struggle to learn that we are not in control of anything other than our own actions, reactions, attitude and behaviors.  Take your worries, your burdens, your fears and your frustrations to the Cross…lay them down at the feet of Jesus and surrender your life to God’s will.  Amen.

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“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.”

Jeremiah 29:11

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at Clark Tower in Winterset City Park in Iowa)

Work In Progress…

We do not have all the answers…we do not know all the reasons why…whatever is happening, whatever is going on, we need to remember God is with us and as long as we are here He is not done with us yet.  God’s Word does not change but there is always more for us to learn from it.  Turn to God in prayer and ask Him to give you eyes to see His will for your life, this day and every day.  Amen.

Diamonds by Hawk Nelson

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“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

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

Spiritual Battle

The goal of the prince of darkness is to turn us away from God and keep us focused on other things.  He will use everything and anything available in this effort.  The more we choose the distractions and the less time and effort we spend on our relationship with Jesus and reading God’s Word the easier his job becomes.  God knows all about this battle and He provides us weapons of faith to fend off these attacks.  Take a look at Ephesians 6:10-18 and you will learn about the Armor of God.  Turn toward God in prayer and through the Holy Spirit, He will guide you during all the events in your life.  Amen.

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“Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

1 Peter 5:8

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

Ask Yourself

Is this how I would like others to treat me?  When we get into interactions and activity we can quickly lose sight of how we are treating other people.  Our emotions can blind us to our impact on those around us…the first step to understanding how we are being received is to observe closely the reactions of others to us and the next step then is to ask yourself how would I like someone to treat me in this situation?  If more of us would just take a moment to assess ourselves in this way, more often, things would be much different in the world…unfortuantely selfishness, pride and a host of other sins keep getting in the way.  Turn towards Jesus in prayer and ask Him to help you open the eyes of your heart.  Amen.

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“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Luke 6:31

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)

What Is The Cost?

The decision we make to follow Christ is ours to make…for free.  We have free will, a gift from God.  Now what?  We need to spend time learning about Jesus, His life and His message and how we can contribute.  We need to spend time reading God’s Word, we need to spend time in worship listening and we need to pray.  All of these things we help us grow stronger on the inside…on the inside, where selfishness and a desire to serve ourselves first has set-up base camp.  Here is where the battle gets difficult…in order to follow Christ we must be willing to make deciesions to deny the desires of self.  We must reject the negative thoughts and judgements in our minds, put to rest the anger and the selfish beliefs.  This is not an easy thing to do and don’t let anyone tell you it is, this is a battle and a struggle every day.  If you don’t believe it, look around the world…what do you see?  The decision to follow Jesus Christ is just the beginning…the cost to see it through is the rejection of sin and the sinful nature that the world promotes.  May God grant us wisdom, courage and strength to go with us each day.  Amen.

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“Then he said to them all:  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” 

Luke 9:23

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

Spiritual Gifts

We all have been blessed with certain gifts, talents and abilities.  It is important for us to learn about our gifts in order for us to use them in the world.  There are an overwhelming amount of books and tests and profile charts created by people to sort out what  “tendencies” we each possess.  Another way to understand more about our spiritual gifts is to pay attention to what comes naturallly to us and what things other people sometimes point out to us as a real gift.  As with anything, a assessment of your spiritual gifts should be done in consultation with Jesus Christ.  If we go into and through this process without being led by the Lord then all we are doing is finding out what the world thinks of us or what the world thinks we should do.  We are all created for a purpose and only God can guide us to the truth about what that is.  May peace and joy be with you on your faith journey.  Amen.

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“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park on Madeline Island in Lake Superior)