“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 NIV
The word ‘truth’ appears over 200 times in the bible. Jesus often taught using the phrase ‘I tell you the truth’ or ‘Truly I say to you.’ On our faith journey we have to be willing to be honest with God, ourselves and with others regarding what we believe and what we say. When we are ready to be truthful about who we are and who God is we are ready to walk in the light to the best of our ability in a fallen world. It won’t be easy but we have been assured it will be worth it. Amen.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:8-9 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)
“Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up. 10 So when we can do good to everyone, let us do it. Let’s try even harder to do good to the family of believers.”
Galatians 6:9-10 NIRV
Our lives are filled with moments and memories…some are good times and some are difficult. We all tend to embellish a bit in our memories, the memory of good times seems to be really good and the memory of bad times seem to be really bad. Sometimes our bad memories start to take a person down a road where even the present moments are seen through their eyes with a negative perspective. This is a quick spiral downward and we can get stuck in the swirl of negativity. We have to have the courage to choose a new perspective, a more balanced view things and we are fed that perspective when we read the Word of God. When times are hard and it feels like you are making no progress on anything…don’t give up, keep pressing on, keep believing…that is your faith at work. Goodness will come to those who believe in the hope that God provides through Jesus Christ. May God’s peace be with you. Amen.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 27:1 NIV
We have been saved…we have a fortress of salvation…we have been delivered by Jesus Christ to eternal life. Trust in the Lord, there is no greater strength than the love of God. When we fall down He will pick us up, He renews us and restores us. His Word is a shelter from evil. When it feels like the world is crashing down around you look to the Lord for He is our Rock. Amen.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Psalm 18:2 NIV
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)
“God has breathed life into all Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. 17 By using Scripture, the servant of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIRV
We are often easily distracted…taking our eyes off of Jesus and focusing on things we can’t control. Much like Peter who stepped out of the boat to walk on the water by faith (Matthew 14:22-33)…we learn that as soon as he took his focus off of Jesus, Peter began to sink. The first step of putting our faith in Jesus is extremely important that is how we get started on our faith journey…yet the next steps are just as important, keeping our eyes on Him, even when, especially when the winds of evil and darkness blow strongly against us. Keep God’s Word close to you and within your heart.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
Psalm 119:105 NIV
(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 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.
“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)
“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
It is finished…Jesus, the Messiah, had been crucified and died. We all know the coming glory of tomorrow…however, when these events were happening, it is hard to comprehend the level of sorrow and sadness that had to exist on the day between His death and resurrection. Unfortunately, in the world today many of us suffer at a deep level of sorrow because of our sin and evil. Our saving grace and our truth is we know that from the most devastating tragedy, God will renew and restore us…Resurrection Day is coming. Trust in the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever. Amen.
“Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in the tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.”
Luke 23:52-54 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)
“My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. 20 Human anger doesn’t produce the holy life God wants. 21 So get rid of everything that is sinful. Get rid of the evil that is all around us. Don’t be too proud to accept the word that is planted in you. It can save you.”
James 1:19-21 NIRV
“Lord, show me your ways.
Teach me how to follow you.
5 Guide me in your truth. Teach me.
You are God my Savior.
I put my hope in you all day long.”
Psalm 25:4-5 NIRV
Wisdom is important in living…Wisdom comes from learning…learning comes from reading or listening to God’s Word…spend time with God, pray, be apart of worship in some way. Put God first in your life…look for Him…listen for His guidance and learn how He wants you to live. Amen.
“Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way.
It is like a light that guides me.”
Psalm 119:105 NIRV
(This photo was taken in July of 2019 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-4 NIV
Purposeful…dedicated…courageous…committed…determined…resolute. It takes strength to run the race of faith. The evil in this world will bring us many forms of darkness and struggle, it will work hard, very hard to keep us away from God. We have to be willing to fight just as hard to stay close to God and trust in the hope that faith gives us…even when…especially when we can’t see it. Don’t give up, keep the faith, when you get knocked back or pushed down trust in God and keep running the race of faith. Amen.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Hebrews 12:1 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 on Beartooth Pass in Montana)
“…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.
“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)
“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.
“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)