Our Response To Trials

Believing in Jesus Christ and following God’s Word does not mean all of our troubles will disappear.  In fact Jesus stated the truth about our trials very clearly…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

So we know that we will face struggles and trials, how we choose to respond in these times can provide us a path to peace.  If we are praying for the trial to just go away…we need to go back to the verse above and remember that is not what we have been told.  As we read the Scriptures we learn that the only way past our trials is to go through them and we can do that because we are not alone.  When we follow Jesus Christ and the things He has taught us we can find our way through our trials and we can learn from them…and that growth will make us better prepared for trials we will face in the future.  Trust in the Lord…spend time in God’s Word everyday and He will guide you through all parts of your life.  Amen.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12

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

Our Call

How do we know what God is calling us to do?  For life decisions and direction?  If we use the world’s measuring stick of ‘what we should do’ we risk missing God’s will entirely.  To follow our call is to surrender self-serving desires, to be humble and patient and to have a foundation of a faith that is built on our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  That is what I have learned so far…nobody ever said it was going to be easy.  We will face trouble and struggles of every kind in life and if we are willing to stand firm on the foundation of faith, we will persevere.  Amen.

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“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconsin)

Wait Patiently

This can be very difficult…just about every single part of society is pushing to go faster, hurry up, cram more into less time.  Instant messaging, immediate gratification and my favorite at work…’did you see the email I just sent?’  At some point we will all encounter a situation or circumstances that will require patience and we will be poorly prepared.  If we fail to learn patience, we could be setting ourselves up for greater frustrations and disappointments.  Turn to God’s Word and pray for God’s help in teaching you patience.  Amen.

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Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”

Psalm 37:7

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park)

God’s Time

God is always working for our good.  Even when life seems hopeless and we feel the darkness of evil surround us…God is with us.  Reach out to Him in prayer…true, honest, sincere prayer that is delivered with belief that He is there listening to you.  If your heart doesn’t truly believe in God and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God than your words are just sound.  We get frustrated because God does not respond the way we want or the way we think He should…that is not trust in God.  God does answer our prayers and He does provide us guidance.  The only reason we miss it is because the self is powerful and stubborn and won’t get out of the way.  God created you, He knows all about you and what you are going through in this world…He loves you, surrender your situation to Him and listen…He is caring for you in a far better way than you can do yourself.  I pray we all do a better job of giving ourselves to God’s time in the New Year.  Amen.

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“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9

(This photo was taken in December of 2018 on Paradise Island, Bahamas)

The Road That Leads To Life

We all have different lives and different choices to make in our lives.  Depending on where we live, what the weather is like, the environment of our home and where we spend our days.  This can be all different…what is common among all people?  The place in our hearts that is made to be filled by God.  He is the Creator and He made us with this special space that can only be filled properly by companionship with Him.  Now that certainly hasn’t stopped the human race from trying to fill it with just about anything other than God.  If anything other than God is in that space you will not feel complete, content or know true peace.  Make time to be alone with God and invite Jesus into the place reserved for Him every day.  May you know God’s comfort and God’s faithfulness.

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“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in Madison County, Iowa)

Honesty And Integrity

In the world of constant information updates it seems to be getting difficult to know what is really true.  As we continue on our faith journey and study God’s Word we find the growth in ourselves when we are able to be honest with ourselves.  When we are truthful and accept who we are, who God made us to be, we can act with integrity and be honest with others.  I find it common in my faith journey the path to true joy is to get your relationship with God right first and take your worries, discouragements and concerns as well as your gratitude and joy to Him first and everything else will work itself out according to His plan.  My personal issue with that process…I need more patience.  So I am off to pray for patience in my day…May God’s grace and mercy be with you.

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“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:8-9

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Arches National Park in Utah)

Finding The Way

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“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:8-9

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

What Path Are You On?

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Life is full of choices and decisions.  We all have been given the gift of free will.  The hardest part of this isn’t necessarily making a decision, rather it is holding yourself accountable for what happens after your decision and being open to changing things as you move forward in life.

Look around you…take inventory.  How are things going in your life?  If it is not good from your perspective…look in a mirror…that is the best place to start to make a change in your life, start with you.  On the other hand, if things look ok or pretty good from your perspective, give thanks and praise and begin to think about how you can share and support others.

No matter what your result, good or bad, we all have made decisions in our past that have led to where we are today…right now.  I encourage you to think about what those decisions have been so you can identify what has put you on this path.  If it has been bad look for ways to improve on your current situation…I caution you here, do not believe you can go back to change a decision that occurred in the past to make things better now…instead, live in the present, learn from the poor decision and make new decisions to improve things going forward.  If you can identify decisions in the past that have been good and led to great things learn what you can and share to help others.

This reflection can be helpful because sometimes when we look back things have changed and what we thought was a good or bad decision at the time it was made might be different now and we can learn things for life going forward.  None of this is easy…we were never promised easy…we have always been promised Hope…and you can have Hope every day, if you choose to believe and follow Jesus.  As always the bible provides instructions in this matter…

“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

                                                                                                                Matthew 7:13-14

I pray we all ask for wisdom so we can make decisions that will lead to Life.

Peace.