“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”
1 Peter 1:3 NIV
Hope in this world mostly gets aligned with wishful thinking in general conversations. This hope is not sure, not firm and is not based on belief. The hope talked about in the Bible is hope that believes and knows God’s promises for good things. This hope is supported by actions and behaviors. The hope we receive from Christ is a hope that knows and believes that Christ lives and that God is for us and working for our good, even when, especially when the visible evidence is against it. The hope from God’s Word tells us to not give up or surrender to sin and doubt, rather know that God is with you and you can trust in Him…not for the things you believe you should have but for the things God knows that you need. May the God of all hope be present in your daily life. Amen.
“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 September of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)
“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
Not for your benefit, rather for the benefit of others. We reap what we sow in this life. This does not mean we can earn our way into heaven by doing the right things…it means whatever we go out and do in the world will come back around to us at some point and none of us knows or can control how or when that will happen. This is further proof that God is in control and it is our responsibility to choose our behaviors and our actions in our daily life. We cannot control what others will think, say or do, yet we can control how we respond. Let’s choose to keep doing good things. May the Fruit of the Spirit flow through us each day. Amen.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Galatians 6:7-9 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
Many aspects of life on earth can make us weary and tired, shaping our perspective to approach life with negativity, doubt and fear. We often forget, daily, that we can choose our attitude and perspective for this day. If we focus all our thoughts and energy on our problems and why me, then we may get stuck and begin to spiral downward. We can be renewed and draw strength by turning our focus to the Lord. No matter what you are facing remember God is in control and if you put your trust in Him, your strength will be renewed. Amen.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling through southern New Mexico)
“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.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:5-6 NIV
The world tells us to pursue money, comfort and the easy life. To look out for ourselves and satisfy ourselves first and most often, this is the sinful nature and it has taken hold in many people. There is a way to be different and to live with purpose and it is based on your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He loves you, He gave His life to save you and His way is the only way to God the Father. Spend time reading God’s Word and learn about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. May the peace of the Lord be with you. Amen.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NIV
“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.“
1 Peter 2:22-25 NIV
(This photo was taken in May of 2023 along the North Shore of Lake Superior)
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:4-6 NIV
Each day we are alive means God is still working on us. He knows the number of our days and He is with us for each and every one of them. It is up to us to seek Him…to acknowledge Him and His Presence…we are tasked with learning, growing and sharing as we go…it doesn’t have to be perfect and it never will be. God tells us we are His work in progress and if we live our lives trusting, believing in and spending time with Him good things will come. Amen.
God’s Not Done With You by Tauren Wells
“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 NIV
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 1:7 NIV
If you want to start reading the Bible but are unsure where to begin…try starting with Proverbs. Guess how many chapters God has in Proverbs…the answer is 31, you can read one chapter a day and you would complete the Book of Proverbs in one month. Not only that you will be reading the words of one of the wisest people that ever lived. There is so much good to learn in Proverbs, it will help you in your daily life and grow your relationship with God. God’s Word is a gift to us…pick it up and read and you will find wisdom from above. Amen.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
James 3:13-18 NIV
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
Psalm 32:8 NIV
Commitment is hard when things are difficult, when it feels like at every turn we try and failure is right there to greet us. When we commit to something we naturally put some level of our own expectations of how things should go or what we believe should be the outcome. Here is the issue with this approach…we are setting “our expectations” on the result with little regard for God’s will and God’s plan. Following our faith and trust in the Lord means we can be free from the limited results our own minds can generate and be open to new possibilities. For me this is hard to grasp and at times very difficult to embrace…even Jesus struggled in the last moments of His commitment to save us right before He was arrested and He prayed to His Father…“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” – Luke 22:42 Bring your commitments to the Lord in prayer and seek His will. Listen for Him and for the Holy Spirit to guide you…find your quiet place and quiet time and rest in Him. May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you. Amen.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
Psalm 143:8 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
The best things are built by starting out with the development of a strong foundation. A solid foundation helps to support missteps, mistakes and accidents along the way. If we try to build something without developing the foundation the endeavor will eventually fail and end up as a pile of rubble. The foundation of our faith is our relationship and daily interaction with Jesus Christ and the Word of God. These are the elements that will help us build and grow our spiritual life and sustain us through the most difficult things the world will throw at us. May the peace of the Lord be with you. Amen.
Build My Life by Pat Barrett (ft. Cory Asbury)
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
John 15:11-12 NIV
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(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:9-10 NIV
We learn to build walls around the parts of our heart where the deepest and most vulnerable topics and issues, thoughts and feelings are hidden from others. We believe we are safe keeping these items locked away. There is a door in these walls and Jesus is on the other side. He is not locked out, we are locked in…think about this…we do not have to wait and hope that He will find us and help us or save us. He already knows about these things, He has done what He needed to do to save us. In His words, it is finished (John 19:30). We are the ones who need to take the next step, unlock the door to your heart for Jesus and let Him in. I like many people have been searching for the door in the wall, it takes persistence, discipline and courage to open the door and let go of those things keeping us trapped in destructive cycles…we need to let the fullness of Christ into our lives. May God’s peace be with you.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Revelation 3:20 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in Colorado)
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 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.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:19-22 NIV
Listening is a skill we all need to use more often and a way of communicating that could get us much closer to peace in our life. If we were better at listening there would be less divorce and broken families…if we were better at listening there would be less violence and crime as hate and anger would not be stirred up so quickly. Listening involves taking time to understand what the other person is saying, it involves empathy. It means not being so quick to respond with your own will and desires as first priority…it takes humility to really listen…it takes a willingness to admit we don’t have all the answers. Think about recent interactions in your life…when are you hearing and when are you listening? I know I can do better. Lastly, communicating with God takes more than just talking, if we are doing all the talking in prayer when do we take the time to listen to Him? May we all be blessed with courage and humility to listen better. Amen.
“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Psalm 25:4-5 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)