Easter Sunday – He Has Risen!

“The Spirit of the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. So the God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies. He will do this because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

Romans 8:11 NIRV

I am absolutely sure that not even death or life can separate us from God’s love. Not even angels or demons, the present or the future, or any powers can separate us. 39 Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can separate us. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love. That’s because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.”

Romans 8:38-39 NIRV

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

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“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.”

Mark 16:4-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in April of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)

Be Filled With The Spirit

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV

“The Holy Spirit is already in every Christian heart, and He intends to produce His fruit.  However, there must be a displacement.  A boat does not sink when it is in the water, but it does sink when the water comes into the boat.  We do not fail to enjoy the fruit of the Spirit because we live in a sea of corruption; we fail to do so because the sea of corruption is in us.”

– Billy Graham, Author of Unto The Hills

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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 NIV

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

Be Still

“Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[a] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Psalm 46:8-11 NIV

Be Still And Know by Amy Grant

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“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

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

Living By The Spirit

But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind.”

Galatians 5:22-23 NIRV

Life by the Spirit is a life that is conscious of our impact on others.  It is not always looking inward and seeking to satisfy the self.  It is a balanced life, living present and not dwelling more on the regrets of the past or trying to control the future.  It is a life that strives to put Christ in the center of everything…this is not easy to achieve in a dark and broken world full of distractions nor are we able to do this alone.  We need to remember God’s grace and receive the Holy Spirit in our hearts…so that His love can flow through us into every aspect of our lives.  Seek a balanced life that is led by the Spirit.  Amen.

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“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 while hiking in Wisconsin near Lake Superior)

Spread An Attitude Of Gratitude

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

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

Colossians 3:12-15 NIV

One act of kindness, compassion and thankfulness can set off a chain reaction…look for opportunities to offer goodness and gentleness.  Be aware of moments when you can exercise patience and point out reasons for gratitude in daily life.  As is often quoted, be the change you wish to see in the world.

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

Ephesians 2:10 NIV

(This photo was taken in February of 2013 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Be The Light

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.”

John 1:4-5 NIV

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7 NIV

Begin again…each day is a new opportunity to surrender our way for God’s way.  Our faith journey is about more than believing…it is about believing and then confessing our sin and then pursuing to live as God’s new creation.  He will give you a new heart…He will put the Holy Spirit within you…He will be with you every step of the way.  We are given everything and anything we need to be the Light and just like the miracles in the bible involved people of the world…God calls us to put on the armor of faith and do our part to tell others about the Kingdom of God.  Let the Light of Christ shine through you!

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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV

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

Trust…Hope

“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 NIV

One of the strongest drivers of action in our human lives is hope.  Hope is about ambition, desire, goal setting and most importantly hope is about trust.  Hope comes from belief and belief is driven by trust and trust operates very much like a bank account.  There are events that occur between you and another that are trust deposits and there are events that are trust withdrawals.  The tricky part is one withdrawal is typically larger than one deposit.  Trust also impacts what we give, if people make several trust withdrawals on us, we become guarded and we have very little trust to give to others.  We should reflect on our relationships and our trust accounts with others and know that no matter what the current balance is there is always hope to make it better because of Jesus.  We can trust Him…He only makes deposits in our relationship with Him.  May God’s peace be with you.

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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 June of 2013 while on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

Seek First His Kingdom

Portions of this post were originally published in February of 2021…

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33 NIV

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.”

James 4:7-8 NIV

What is at the center of your life?  What do you value above all else?  If you are unsure, look at where you spend your resources of time and money.  As you reflect, where is God in your priorities?  I began this type of review and reflection process over 10 years ago in my own life…I did not feel good about the answers I was seeing then and have been working on doing better ever since.  This blog started in 2013 as a part of my journey and has grown and changed as I have over the years.  One of the very first aha moments in my faith journey was when a clear thought came to mind…‘it’s not about me’…the it is anything and everything.  When we strive to put Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him first in life, we will begin to discover a new life.  During this season of reflection what do you see?

We Believe by Newsboys

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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

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Merry Christmas

At Christmas time and throughout the year put Christ in the center of your life…with Christ you will know Hope, you will know Peace, you will know Joy and you will know that the Love of Christ in your heart will help you overcome anything this world can throw at you.

May we all see and know God’s blessings in our lives this Christmas and carry them with us all through the New Year.  Amen.

Merry Christmas!

Christmastime by Michael W Smith

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Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:11-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in December of 2013 while on a walk in northwestern Wisconsin)

We Have This Hope

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 NIV

Why should we have hope?  Because the God of the universe, our Creator, loves us and He wants good things for us.  How do we know?  Because He sent His Son as a sacrifice to do for us that which we cannot do on our own…save us from our sinful ways.  From the greatest tragedy, Jesus Christ death on the Cross, God brought about the greatest triumph, the resurrection of our Savior.  No matter what has happened, no matter where you are…whatever you have done or left undone…there is hope because of God’s love for you and because He wants good things for you.  Turn towards the Lord and bring everything to him.  Amen.

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Let us hold firmly to the hope we claim to have. The God who promised is faithful. 24 Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works. 25 And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching.”

Hebrews 10:23-25 NIRV

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