It’s All About Jesus

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress;
    the godly run to him and are safe.”

Proverbs 18:10 NLT

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:9-11 NLT

The answer for everything and anything comes when we turn towards Jesus Christ.

Heart Of Worship by Michael W. Smith

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The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[a] and the horn[b] of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 18:2 NIV

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

Listening

“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.

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“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)

He Knows You

 “I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come. 12 Then you will call out to me. You will come and pray to me. And I will listen to you. 13 When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIRV

Have you had moments like this?  “That’s not what I meant”…”I wish they knew me better”…”I don’t feel like I fit in”…”Nobody understands me.”  I have been there before.  You can be surrounded by people but feel like you are isolated.  God knows who you are, He knows what you can do, He knows how you think and He cares for you.  If you feel like you are off the rails in your life, it is time to get back to God.  He is waiting to hear from you.  He is the Creator, the one who formed you and has been right there with you every step of the way in life.  Turn towards God.  Trust in Him.  May you see the blessings from God in your life each day.

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  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 July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin)

God’s Word

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

When we have questions or when we need guidance or when we seek comfort, the Word of God can provide for us in all these situations…as well as in every other situation we may encounter.  There is a sense of peace not found in the world that can come over you when you make time to read God’s Word and let it soak into your heart and mind.  There is guidance in there that we will not find anywhere else.  Spend time reading God’s Word.  May the peace of the Lord be with you on your journey.  Amen.

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“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Psalm 119:105 NIV

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

God Is Our Refuge

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1 NIV

Worries and burdens will pile up.  We set ourselves up for disappointment and regret when we try to go it alone.  God is our refuge, He is the stronghold of our lives.  There is more to our relationship with the Lord than Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings…there is more than quickly speaking memorized words before a meal or at bedtime.  Turn towards the Lord and seek Him.  Pray for His presence to be something you can see in your life and listen for His guidance in everything.  Amen.

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“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 62:1-2 NIV

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

Believe…Overcome

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.”

1 John 5:1-2 NIV

Believe in Jesus Christ, confess your sins and seek Him.  He is the Way…He is with you and He will strengthen you to overcome anything in your life.  Trust in the Lord and you will find peace.  Amen.

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In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

1 John 5:3-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)

Open Ended Praying

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 entrust my life.”

Psalm 143:8 NIV

When you pray leave room for God’s will and God’s plan to be the way you should go.  We tend to think we have things all figured out and we just need to top it off with a quick FYI to God to get Him on board.  Surrendering to God’s will and God’s plan means we are open to a new way for things to go…maybe in a way we haven’t considered or thought about yet…be open ended in your prayers…make room for God’s way in your life.  Amen.

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Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:4-7 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

God Is Love

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:8 NIV

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

1 John 4:11 NIV

It has been said that in order for people to receive and understand a message they must see/hear it a minimum of three times…may these verses help each of us to know and understand God is Love.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

1 John 4:16-21 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)

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)

A Strong Foundation

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:5-11 NIV

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)

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“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

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