“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Romans 5:1-4 NIV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 NIV
Who we are, our behaviors, our attitude…these are the things that define our character. We have been taught by the Bible and shown by Jesus how we should strive to live. Reflect on your last few days, weeks and months…what do you see in your character? Turn towards God and ask Him to help you with the fruits of the Spirit that have been lacking in your behaviors, attitude and relationships. God is with you and He is for you. Amen.
“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 ESV
(This phot was taken in August of 2016 at a lake in Glacier National Park in Montana)
“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)
“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
When we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died and was resurrected to save us from our sins and we confess our sins to God…the Holy Spirit will come into us. It is not a feeling and not an emotional state of mind it is the presence of God living in us and working through us. When we surrender our old way of thinking (worldly values and self-centeredness) and we live with the Holy Spirit pouring through our hearts and minds the results will be the Fruit of the Spirit flowing through us in our thoughts, words and our actions. May the peace of the Lord be with you. Amen.
“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 July of 2016 while in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)
“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)
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18 NIV
On this Memorial Day, remember this…love is action. Do whatever you can for whoever you can, whenever you can, wherever you are…show the love of Christ that is in you to others in your life. Honor those who have served to ensure freedom in this country and serve one another out of love. Amen.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:11-13 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2021 at The Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cementary)
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103:8-12 NIV
Forever by Michael W Smith
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.”
Psalm 136:1 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling in northern Colorado)
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV
Love starts with God, it is God’s to define and for us to receive and give back out. He is the Creator and He established love from the very beginning. What is most incredible is that God’s love is unconditional…He loves us and has made the Way for us to have a relationship with Him…it is up to each of us to choose how we are going to live, each day. Love God, love others and share the Good News.
“This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
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.”
1 John 4:13-19 NIV
(This photo was taken in April of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 NIV
How we treat each other in our everyday lives says a great deal about our hearts. Whether we are talking about family members, friends or complete strangers we encounter during a day…each interaction is an opportunity to live in God’s will…even when, especially when others don’t meet our expectations. We are all human and we are all broken…remember every person you meet may be fighting a battle you know nothing about…just like you are fighting battles others don’t know about. God knows and He wants to help us, all of us…it is up to you and me to choose Him and His way…let us set aside our self-centered ways, our worldly values and choose to live according to His will and His way. Amen.
“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. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:12-17 NIV
(This photo was taken in April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
James 1:17 NIV
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
Malachi 3:6 NIV
God is faithful and trustworthy. He keeps His promises…He is consistent in character for all generations. All good things come from the Lord.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8 NIV
(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
“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)