“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
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.”
Proverbs 16:3 NIV
If we try to do things our own way for our own purposes all the time we will find discouragement and frustration. Our purpose comes from the Lord, our Creator. His purpose is based on love and if we are willing to follow Him we will find His way is better for us, His plan is for our good, we can put our hope in the Lord and trust His plan and purpose for our life. Amen.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Proverbs 19:21 NIV
(This photo was taken in May of 2020 along the North Shore of Lake Superior)
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
Psalm 32:8 NIV
Commitment is hard when things are difficult, when it feels like at every turn we try and failure is right there to greet us. When we commit to something we naturally put some level of our own expectations of how things should go or what we believe should be the outcome. Here is the issue with this approach…we are setting “our expectations” on the result with little regard for God’s will and God’s plan. Following our faith and trust in the Lord means we can be free from the limited results our own minds can generate and be open to new possibilities. For me this is hard to grasp and at times very difficult to embrace…even Jesus struggled in the last moments of His commitment to save us right before He was arrested and He prayed to His Father…“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” – Luke 22:42 Bring your commitments to the Lord in prayer and seek His will. Listen for Him and for the Holy Spirit to guide you…find your quiet place and quiet time and rest in Him. May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you. Amen.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
Psalm 143:8 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
James 1:12 NIV
Perseverance…determination…patience…endurance…dedication…commitment. Stay the course…don’t give up. This is what it takes to find what you are looking for…no matter what it is. Reflect on what you have been “thinking about doing,” what have you been “wishing were different” in your life…is it related to your finances? Is it related to your weight? Is it related to a relationship? Your faith? Something else? Begin again and this time bring it to the Lord first, seek His wisdom and be persistent. Amen.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Galatians 6:7-10 NIV
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(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)
“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.“
Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
Waiting…we don’t do this very well. The world constantly pushes a hurried, impatient agenda on us…’more convenience’, ‘save time’, ‘this is the fastest way to_______’, fill the blank with any worldly pursuit. It is so easy to get sucked in because it is going on all around us. Stay close to God and His Word…start or keep doing daily quiet time with God. Keep going to worship and put your faith and trust in God. Wait for the Lord.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9 NIV
While I’m Waiting by John Waller
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.”
Psalm 130:5 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)
“But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NIRV
Life by the Spirit is a life that is conscious of our impact on others. It is not always looking inward and seeking to satisfy the self. It is a balanced life, living present and not dwelling more on the regrets of the past or trying to control the future. It is a life that strives to put Christ in the center of everything…this is not easy to achieve in a dark and broken world full of distractions nor are we able to do this alone. We need to remember God’s grace and receive the Holy Spirit in our hearts…so that His love can flow through us into every aspect of our lives. Seek a balanced life that is led by the Spirit. Amen.
“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.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 while hiking in Wisconsin near Lake Superior)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-4 NIV
Purposeful…dedicated…courageous…committed…determined…resolute. It takes strength to run the race of faith. The evil in this world will bring us many forms of darkness and struggle, it will work hard, very hard to keep us away from God. We have to be willing to fight just as hard to stay close to God and trust in the hope that faith gives us…even when…especially when we can’t see it. Don’t give up, keep the faith, when you get knocked back or pushed down trust in God and keep running the race of faith. Amen.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Hebrews 12:1 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2016 on Beartooth Pass in Montana)
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:6-9 NIV
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3:1-4 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin)
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
John 10:14-16 NIV
From the very beginning God created us out of his love. As we try to find satisfaction and happiness in worldly things we will come to find that only by God’s grace will we find true joy and peace in life. Wisdom is found in spending time with God and reading His Word. There is a big difference between knowing Jesus vs knowing about Him. The more we know Him in a personal relationship rather than just know about Him…the more our eyes are opened and the better we begin to understand that we are broken, sinful people in need of a Savior and Jesus Christ is our good shepherd and our redeemer. Amen.
“ For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:13-14 NIV
(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
1 Peter 3:14-15 NIV
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV
(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at a park in northern Minnesota)