Give of yourself and be content when your needs are fulfilled. The brokenness of this world will tell you to want more and to get more. God has provided more than enough for everyone. Generosity and contentment are topics that are about much more than money in life. They are about all aspects of life…our time, our talents, our emotions, our faith. The more we are able to be content the more we can share when we have received an abundance. Take time to assess where you stand…where do you have more than enough on your hands and how can you share to help those who are in need? May the grace and peace of the Lord be with you. Amen.
“For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.”
2 Corinthians 8:3-5
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. “
1 Timothy 6:6-9
(This photo was taken in April of 2016 at a lake in central Minnesota)
Have you ever been in a situation where someone you love has done something that offends you? I believe we all have this experience. We know what they did was wrong, they know what they did was wrong and yet we love them so much we forgive them. We go forward not holding the past against them…well as humans we are not quite that good at forgiveness…there seems to remain that little voice that says ‘remember what they did? they might hurt you again.’ It is hard to forgive because we are not sure we can trust again. Think about how hard this is for us…God has done this and will continue to do this for you everyday. We are sinners, we are broken and yet He forgives us our sins. We have never deserved it or earned it, yet Jesus Christ gave up His life to give it to us. May you find peace knowing you are forgiven in God’s grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
(This photo was taken in September of 2016 at a lake place in central Minnesota)
We all need need our Father’s, just as much as we all need our Mother’s. Unfortunately, Father’s and Fatherhood has been under attack for a long time. Many television shows and movies portray the Father as the doofus who just messes everything up or the stupid and incompetent one who is hardly necessary. When most of society sees this as the role of the Father, it is no wonder that the family structure is disintegrating in this broken world. If God is the God of everything then He needs to be the God of our families. No matter what the current status is of our relationships, we need to invite Jesus into them with our Father’s and with everyone else in our family. Honor your Father and Mother. God designed the family structure for a purpose and it is for our good to honor the relationships we do have. Love like God our Father loves us. May God’s love, peace and joy be with you.
“If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
One of my struggles in faith is opening up to the Lord for everything. Not only the parts of my life and my heart I think He wants to be involved in…that would be God on my terms. It does not work like that. God is the God of everything and Jesus Christ is Lord of all. All of creation, all people in all nations since the beginning of time and His love for everything, His grace and His mercy will endure forever. It is so difficult for my finite mind to comprehend the totality of God and His love. He is more than the God of Sunday morning or Wednesday evening…He is more than the God of when I really need help or a crisis is happening…He is more than a beautiful sunrise or sunset when we feel more of His presence. He is the Lord of housework, the Lord of daily errands, the Lord of trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, He is the Lord of where you work and what you do…He is the Lord of everything. Period. The best part of all of this means He is right there waiting to hear from you about all of it. He is your Lord and Savior and even though that doesn’t mean everything will be easy and good He is with you through it all everyday. May God’s presence, His love, His joy and His forgiveness be present in your life everyday.
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of the life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)
There is nothing greater in this world then a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Your relationship with Him is the foundation of your Faith. It does not mean life will be easy and it does not mean you will get everything you have ever wanted in life. The world and evil continues to send us messages that if what we are pursuing doesn’t end with convenience or an easy life it is not worth pursuit. Not true! True joy, peace and contentment does not come from chasing after things to satisfy the self. It comes from knowing that you are loved and you are saved from your sins no matter how much you mess up. True faith is built by spending time on your relationship with God everyday and by sharing the Good News with others, especially those in the next generation. May the peace and understanding of God in faith be with you.
“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!”
“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling through northern Colorado)
Just when we think, ‘I am sure God is upset with me’ or ‘why do I feel so distant from God’ or any other self pity thoughts about our relationship with God…He shows us again that His love is all around us. Either through nature or through another person God shows up and reminds everyone He will never leave you or abandon you. When we make an effort to start with gratitude for what blessings we have been given, we learn to better understand how God is working in our life. God is love and His love is never-ending for us. He gave His one and only Son to be a sacrifice for us, out of love, and He continues to know you and to bless you because His love endures forever. May you see God’s love and peace present in your life.
“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.”
(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake place in central Minnesota)
The skill of listening is becoming less and less frequent in today’s world. It seems people are so intent on speaking and spend more time preparing a response then seeking to understand others. It is a form of selfishness. All of us are cursed with some form of selfishness…it does not go away or become less present over time unless we are actively working on reducing its presence in our lives. In order to strengthen our abilities to see things from the perspective of another person we can start by listening and seeking to understand them. Listening does not mean you automatically agree with them rather it means you are willing to consider more than your own opinion. We do not have all the answers, nobody on earth does…nobody. The only one who knows is God…and if we can’t listen to Him we will struggle more than is necessary. May God’s love and peace be with you.
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconsin)
Relationships can be hard if we strive to seek power or control. If our self is driving during our interactions with others things will often end poorly. There will be bitterness, anger, frustration and all the things we don’t want to be a part of our relationships. There is a better way. There is love. Unconditional, never-ending love. This does not mean just let the other person walk all over you and do whatever they want whenever they want. This means both people do things to make life better for both of them. It is important in any relationship to build your time together on a foundation of faith. There will be times when each of you will need to lean on the Lord in prayer as each of you will have your moments when self will try to take over. Be strong together and God will watch over your life. Today my wife and I are celebrating 23 years in marriage, we were joined in marriage by God and nothing will keep us apart. We have had to fight some battles and we continue to get stronger as we go because we both know that there is nobody who will love us like we do each other. I am thankful for every day God gives us together. May you find God’s love and joy in your relationships.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
(This photo was taken in April of 2016 at a lake place in central Minnesota)