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 seek the Lord with all our heart and choose to live in a way that honors God.

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)

Purpose

Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 ESV

So why are we here?  Is it to seek money, possessions, comfort and happiness according to what the world values?  Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest person who has ever lived and he did try everything the world values.  Pickup God’s Word and read about it in the Book of Ecclesiastes…you will hear about all he pursued.  He declared worldly values as meaningless and a chasing after the wind.  His final thoughts about the point of life is listed above.  Throughout the Bible you will find many examples that clearly tell us what we are here to do, as well as what not to do…we are here to Love God, to Love Others and to Share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

DSC_0010 publish

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

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

Do What It Says

“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.”

Matthew 7:24 NIV

It is one thing to read or listen to the Word of God…it is the next step in your faith journey to do what it says.  We can go our whole lives reading the bible and listening to God’s word in church and if we never put it into practice in our lives…what have we accomplished?  The bible is filled with Action words and many of them came directly out of the mouth of Jesus Christ.  We are to go and do what He commands us to do.  May His peace go with you.  Amen.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35 NIV

DSC_0555 publish

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

James 1:22-25 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 on Beartooth Pass in Montana)

Love Is Action

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8 NIV

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

1 John 4:10-11 NIV

Love is not a feeling…it is action.  Love is grounded in behavior not emotions.  The description of love in the bible tells us how to live when we love.  It is not about approving or accepting others, rather it is about how we choose to live in our daily life and interactions.  How can each of us demostrate love today?

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

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Do Good Things

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”

Micah 6:8 NIV

Do good things every day. Do good in the everyday things in life right where you are…not for others to see, rather because it is what God has asked us to do. Hold a door open for others, give a word of encouragement to someone, be willing to sit and listen to what someone is going through without trying to ‘fix it’ for them. Be present right where you are with whoever you are near. Don’t always be looking for the miraculous…for it is in combining the good work of the little things together that create the greatest moments in our lives.

DSC_0499 publish

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Big Sky Resort in Montana)

Love One Another

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. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

1 John 4:7-10 NIV

Think about it…God sacrificed His one and only Son for other people just as much as He did it for you.  He created all of us…yes even the person on your mind right now that chooses to reject God and shows it in their daily life.  We are not here to be the judge of each other, we can’t because we are all sinful and we all need the Savior.  Trust me I struggle with this in my faith as much as anyone else does…maybe that other person has never had anyone show them kindness, compassion or taken time to listen to them because society has decided they are not worth it.  In the end it is not up to us…our purpose is to love God, love others and share the Gospel, that is how we can make a difference in our lifetime.

DSC_0071 publish

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 4:11-12 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)

The Spirit Of The Lord

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

God did not create us to live under the worries and burdens of this fallen world.  If we insist on prioritizing our circumstances over God, we will be discouraged and defeated.  It means we have allowed the devil a foothold in our hearts and minds.  He is the great deceiver and can keep us distracted for as long as we allow…the Spirit of the Lord brings freedom from evil.  Freedom from worldly pursuits and values.  Peace comes from choosing God first and giving all of our worries to Him…it doesn’t mean we sit and do nothing.  We step up and strive to know Him and to make Him known to others.  We speak the truth with kindness and respect. Every part of our lives every day can flow from knowing God and His Word.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

There Is Freedom by Josh Baldwin

DSC_0068 publish

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

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

God’s Love Changes Lives

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. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

1 John 4:7-11 NIV

God’s love is the most powerful thing in the world.  Nothing can compare to it…no matter where you are, no matter what has happened or is happening…God’s love can change what you believe is impossible.  Trust Him, seek His Word, believe, confess your sins and surrender your ways for His way.  Amen.

DSC_0661 publish

“We love because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

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)