“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)
Portions of this post were originally published in February of 2018…
“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)
Originally posted in May of 2018…
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 and we humans invited that sin into this 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.
“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.”
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)
Today is recognized as Independence Day in the US. A holiday where people can gather and celebrate freedom. It is a day where we should give thanks to the Lord for all we have in our lives. Take a moment and reflect on your surroundings, people in your life…all of the good things are gifts from God. If it is difficult to see goodness, take some time to work on your relationship with God, talk to Him and listen in the quietness of time alone with God. You were created out of love by God, He is with you and you can have contentment, security, peace and hope for a future in a way that only God can provide by choosing to turn to Him and His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. God is good…all the time…and all the time…God is good! Praise the Lord. May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you.
“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)
Come to the Cross…A place to bring your burdens…Savior…Salvation…Forgiveness…Peace. The Cross of Christ, this is the place we should turn to in all situations. This is where God sent His One and Only Son to be crucified to save us from our sins. This is where our relationship with God is reconciled. There are problems and struggles everywhere you can’t change everything for everyone, but He can. You can’t change everything but you can change something, you can change one thing that will make a difference in the world…You. Jesus said ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:6) Open your heart and mind and invite Jesus Christ into your life everyday. This will make the world a better place. May God’s joy and peace be with you.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in Colorado)
Instructions…directions…guidance…wisdom…understanding. It takes a certain attitude to be willing to follow instructions, to accept wisdom from another or to trust the guidance of someone else. We have to be humble, willing to admit we don’t know our way around a situation or place. This is easy when we are using one of our devices of “convenience,” a cell phone, Ipad, computer, etc. It is more difficult when we start involving other people in our need for assistance. We are challenged to learn how to have humility, to accept our level of knowledge for what it is and to seek out wisdom and to learn from others in history. God’s Word is the instruction manual for life we all can use. It provides the Way to make it through this world, it does not say do this and life will be easy and always happy. It is more honest than that and more about providing wisdom and guidance as help from those who already have lived on earth and know the troubles human beings will have in life. Pickup a bible and seek the understanding that God provides. The test for this book is happening all the time in our daily life, how are you answering the multiple choice questions of your life? May God’s mercy and grace be with you.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)
I am finding myself seeing examples of the brokenness of people in my daily life interactions and experiences. Or at least I am more aware of these things than I used to be. It is discouraging. We are so willing to pull and push others down for a variety of reasons. It is so important to seek out what is good and what we have gratitude for in our lives. If we look around with the eyes the world wants us to, we will be very negative and feeling unworthy. If we trust in God and His goodness for our perspective it changes things dramatically. We are never going to know all the answers or understand them while we are here, however, if we trust in the Lord we know that He is working for the good in all things. May God’s joy and love be with you.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
(This photo was taken in June of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth , Minnesota)
The world can get us down if we let it. We see and hear the heart wrenching stories all too often. People seeking vengeance and hatred and trying to create their own version of “Justice”…it is not for us to avenge. We can choose to put our hope and trust in something way better than anything the world has to offer. Only the Lord can restore that which is lost to evil and darkness. Patience and persistence are the keys to faith, believe and we will see the goodness of the Lord. He will make all things new (See Isaiah 65:17). Here is a great song that speaks this message by Steven Curtis Chapman entitled All Things New
If you want to see a change in the world and a change in your life turn towards God and the you will begin to see the New things. May God’s love and joy be with you.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Arches National Park in Utah)
You may have heard someone say or you may have said it yourself, a phrase such as ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ This originated in biblical times after the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus appeared to the disciples at a time when Thomas was not with them. Even as one of the apostles who had been with Jesus he could not comprehend the resurrection and told his brothers…“unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (John 20:25) Thomas was so sure this could not be true, that Jesus had risen, that he made this statement basically saying to the others…prove it! Oh boy, I have been there before. The problem with this approach to our faith is it is not faith at all…if we have to see it to believe it, what do we truly believe in? A simple example is the wind…the air can move at very high speeds at different elevations and we know this not because we can see it move, what we can see is what it can do. Don’t get caught being a doubting Thomas, rather learn from him and have faith in the One who knows us and can see what He has planned for our lives. May God’s love and joy be with you.
“We live by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7
(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico)
Our journey is filled with these…moments where things are good, we are strong, confident, faithful and filled with hope and joy – Highs. We also have moments of fear, concern, sadness that are filled with despair – Lows. Every life has both whether you see it in others or not, they both exist for everyone. The key to living with all of this is how are you reacting to your highs and your lows? Reading and learning from God’s Word with the Holy Spirit as your guide is a great place to start. After that, the way to give and receive celebration for highs and support for lows is with Friends. Personal relationships, that is the key to living, learning and growing through out your life journey. Reflect on your personal relationships, with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as well as with your friends. Pray about them and find ways you can enrich those relationships. Faith is not a destination, it is a way of living through the Highs and Lows that come to all of us no matter who we are or what we are doing. May God’s peace and joy be with you.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
(These photo’s were taken in July of 2016 at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)