Do Good Works

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

Ephesians 2:4-5

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For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:8-10

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)

Love

God loves you.  His love means more and is more powerful than anything in this world.  Live at peace and share His love with others…how?  Start by picking up God’s Word and read His messages of love to you…His love runs throughout the bible.  Love is described in terms we can understand in 1 Corinthians 13…it explains you could have all the money and knowledge and power the world offers and if you don’t have love you are nothing…then it explains how to live out love…

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

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.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13

Happy New Year and may God’s love be with you and shine through you each day of your life.  Amen.

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“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

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

 

New Year’s Eve; Reflect…Forgive…Love

As the sun sets on another year today take time to reflect on your life and interactions with other people.  For the times you feel that you were wronged find a way to forgive others…not for them but for yourself…think also about how you will be a light of the love Jesus Christ gave to all us when he came down from heaven to save us.

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“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Colossians 3:12-14

As I close this year of devotions I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians…

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

2 Corinthians 13:14

(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)

 

The New Has Come…

It is a new day, a new month and a new year.  Be transformed…love God, love who he has made you to be and share His love with others.

Paul writes…

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-20

In the New Year…

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“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

                                                                                                      Psalm 51: 10-12

Peace be with you all through this New Year!

A New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

                                                2 Corinthians 5:17

“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’  I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

                                              2 Corinthians 6:2

Peace to you and Happy New Year!

Let Your Light Shine

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Now is naturally a time to reflect on the past year of things that happened in your life and in the world…it may be a time to be thankful for your blessings of the past and hopeful for the coming New Year.  For some it will be a time to say “I’m glad that year is over, I hope the next one is better!”  What I have learned when I am reflecting on the past or looking towards what lies ahead is my feelings or perspective say quite a bit about my attitude.

If I am ‘I’ focused and only thinking about what happened to ‘Me’ during the year it is easy to get discouraged.  As an example, if someone only thinks about ‘I didn’t get that job I really thought would be great for me’ then sure they will not feel good about that…if they think about things that happened in the days and weeks after not getting that job maybe that would be memories of how a friend or family member said or did something great and unexpected to lift them up.  Or while discussing the rejection with someone a new opportunity presented itself for a job.  It is all about perspective.  If we choose to focus our thoughts on what was wrong, bad or frustrating then we are sure to feel that negative energy in everything.  If we make an effort to find what was right, good or hopeful about a situation then that renewing energy will go with us.

This is true for any situation…I grant you it is not always easy to do and I battle with it myself.  However, we are not meant to do this alone.  Every single person has been blessed with gifts and talents and when they choose to use those blessings the way God intended them to be used they will see and feel the good that surrounds their life.  I recently read the following analogy…

Every individual is a flashlight…if we try to show our light but do not have batteries inside, if we are empty, then we will not work…if we have our batteries inside but they are not being used correctly we will not work, our light will not shine…only when we are filled with good stuff and we use it correctly will our light shine…we need the love from Jesus in our hearts and when we use that gift to make the world better for even one person then our light will shine as God intended it to.

I pray that we all choose to “Let Our Light Shine” today and all throughout the New Year!

Peace and Happy New Year!