Freedom In Christ

My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love. 14 The whole law is fulfilled by obeying this one command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:1815 If you say or do things that harm one another, watch out! You could end up destroying one another.”

Galatians 5:13-15 NIRV

Many have been sacrificed for freedom to exist in the US…the most important sacrifice of life for the freedom of others came from Jesus Christ.  He came down from heaven, set an example for us on how to live and then died on the Cross so that we can be reconciled with God.  Let’s not take for granted what others have done for our freedom to exist…especially the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His saving Grace.  May we be filled with joy and peace and serve others with love because of Him who died to save us. Amen.

DSC_0035 (3) publish

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 NLT

(This photo was taken in June of 2021 at The Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cementary)

Fruit Of The Spirit…Love

“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “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 22:35-40 NIV

The laws of God are the only laws that will can save us from our own destruction.  The rejection of God and His way is what has led us to this place.  It is not too late to turn towards Jesus and offer our love to God and to others.  That is the only way we will find peace.

Love God Love People by Danny Gokey

IMG_20141016_114917386_HDR publish

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[a]

Galatians 5:14 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2014 on the island of Maui, Hawaii)

Living In God’s Will

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 us to choose Him and His way…let us set aside our selfish and pride filled ways and choose to live according this His will.  Amen.

DSC_0062 publish

“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)

Our Hearts

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:3 NIV

God has given human beings free will and His Word gives us instructions on how we should choose to live…unfortunately too many of us have turned our backs on God and put worldly things before Him in our lives.  This choice by human beings of rejecting God is what invites evil into the world and evil comes to cause pain and suffering as described in John 10:10…“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”  We need to turn our hearts to God and do the things that He has told us to do.

DSC_0005 (3) publish

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”[a]

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at a park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Living In God’s Love

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39 NIV

Who we are in our daily lives says a great deal about our relationship with God.  What we value and how we treat each other says more about us than our job title or the company we work for ever could.  Cherish each day and the people in your life that mean the most to you.  Live in God’s love.  Amen.

DSC06492 publish

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2013 at the Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada)

His Love For You

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 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 15:9-13 NIV

God loves you.  No matter where you are, no matter what you have done or left undone…He loves you.  There is no love in this world as great as God’s love for you.  We don’t earn His love and we don’t deserve it…we can’t get more of it because we are good and He doesn’t withhold it when we sin.  He knows everything about you and your life and guess what…He loves you all the same.  The proof is found at the Cross.  Invite Jesus Christ into your heart and give Him thanks for His love for you.

DSC06483 publish

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:6-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2013 at the Botanical Garden in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada)

Our Purpose

Love God

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIRV

What does loving God look like in your life?

Love God and Love Others

“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]””

Luke 10:27 NIV

How can we live out what Jesus has said are the first and second greatest commandments in all of God’s Word?  Who is our neighbor in the world and how can we show God’s love to them?

DSC_0010 publish

Share The Good News

So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”

Matthew 28:19-20 NIRV

Love God…Love Other People…Share the Gospel

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

Love Conquers All

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Jesus Christ is God’s love sent down to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves…to save us from our sinful ways.  There is no person, place or thing in this world that loves you and cares for you the way that God does…put your trust in Him and you will see and understand that love, God’s love conquers all in life.  Amen.

DSC_0176 (2) publish

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 2021 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)

Love One Another

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. In the same way, I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that you will have the same joy that I have. I also want your joy to be complete. 12 Here is my command. Love one another, just as I have loved you.”

John 15:9-12 NIRV

Love.  Love is more than feelings…it is actions and behaviors.  The passage above refers to “If you obey my commands.”  Love is a choice.  Love means sacrifice, humility, serving others and being unselfish.  Love means being willing to admit…it’s not about you.  God has blessed us with free will, we can choose to love…Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself to save us, we are redeemed from sin, and the Holy Spirit is present within us to guide us, our future is secure.  Why?  Because God is Love.  How can you show Love to others this Christmas season?

IMG_20141016_114909746 publish

You did not choose me. Instead, I chose you. I appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit that will last. I also appointed you so that the Father will give you what you ask for. He will give you whatever you ask for in my name. 17 Here is my command. Love one another.”

John 15:16-17 NIRV

(This photo was taken in OCtober of 2014 at the Nakalele Blowhole on the island of Maui, Hawaii)

Unconditional Love

At just the right time Christ died for ungodly people. He died for us when we had no power of our own. It is unusual for anyone to die for a godly person. Maybe someone would be willing to die for a good person. But here is how God has shown his love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:6-8 NIRV

God loves us unconditionally.  We do not earn His love; we do not deserve it.  There are not certain things you must do or be to receive God’s love.  He offers it to us through His mercy and grace.  Our job is to seek Him, spend time with Him, communicate with Him.  We are to know Him and make Him known.  There is no greater gift you will ever receive in this life than God’s love…turn away from sinful thoughts and ways and trust in the Lord.  Amen.

DSC_0176 publish

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become a child of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. Here is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world. He sent him so we could receive life through him. 10 Here is what love is. It is not that we loved God. It is that he loved us and sent his Son to give his life to pay for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we should also love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love one another, God lives in us. His love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:7-12 NIRV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 along the North Shore of Lake Superior)