Choose How You Will Respond

Portions of this post were originally published in May of 2018…

Don’t let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen. 30 Do not make God’s Holy Spirit mourn. The Holy Spirit is the proof that you belong to God. And the Spirit is the proof that God will set you completely free. 31 Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage. Stop all fighting and lying. Don’t have anything to do with any kind of hatred. 32 Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done.”

Ephesians 4:29-32 NIRV

With every situation in life, we are given free will by God which means we choose how to respond to what other people do or say.  This freedom also means we are accountable and responsible for our response even if we choose to do nothing.  If we are focused on ourselves more than anything else we will often choose a poor response as the self is only concerned with the impact on me without regard for others.  God created us out of His love and we were made to choose the Fruits of the Spirit in how we live our daily lives.  Be aware not only of ‘what’ you do and say, but also ‘how’ you do and say things when you interact with others.  Free will is a gift from God, how we respond to God’s Word with this gift makes all the difference in daily life.  May God’s joy and peace be with you.  Amen.

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“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2016 at a lake in central Minnesota)

Fruit Of The Spirit…Love

“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “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.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:35-40

Love God Love People by Danny Gokey

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[a]

Galatians 5:14

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

Friendship

Friends are very important people.  A friendship is a relationship in which you give to and you receive from, it is an equal sharing relationship.  Give thanks to God for your true friends and pray for continued blessing on your friendship.  Amen.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24

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Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

(This photo was taken in August of 2012 along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Patience

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.

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“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.”

Psalm 27:13-14

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

All People

Are created by God.  He has a plan and He values all people.  If we choose to judge others by the standards of the world, we are forgetting about what God teaches us.  Often times we know very little about others we encounter in our daily life…yet we are quick to assume things about them.  Pick up God’s word and strive to see people through the eyes of Jesus.  Like many aspects of our faith journey it is simple, but it’s not easy.  Peace be with you.  Amen.

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Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

James 2:12-13

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a park in Winterset, Iowa)

God’s Timing

One of our greatest struggles is trying to control or believing we are in complete control of time.  If we live like this, we will experience tiredness, frustrations, fatigue and lacking energy because we are living apart from God’s will.  God gives us free will and we have a responsibility in how we choose to live our lives and those choices have consequences.  If you want to learn more about God’s time, pick up the bible, read Genesis or Ecclesiastes or whatever Book in the bible you choose…our time in life is about so much more than the numbers on our devices.  Spend time with God each day and learn about His love, His plan and His time.  Amen.

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Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:14

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 in a park near Bayfield, Wisconsin)

Serve Those In Need

Food, shelter, clothing, clean water.  Basic needs…these should be readily available to all people.  The world was created with more than enough resources to provide for everyone…yet the sinful ways of all humans in all parts of the world has created shortages.  If we have our basic needs fulfilled, we should take inventory of how we can help others and then give our time and resources to help those in need.  Ask yourself, ‘how can I help?’…pray about it, do your best and God will take care of the rest.  Amen.

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“…And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park near Bayfield, Wisconsin)

Self-less

One of the most tragic afflictions of our time is selfishness.  The me first with a lack of consideration for others attitude, constantly assessing my place in the world compared to others and then determining my own value based on what others think about me.  This perspective pushes God to the side and puts me first as the top priority.  This has always been an affliction on human society and it seems to have grown exponentially since the explosion of social media.  One of the world’s greatest needs right now is more humility.  Imagine the impact on human relationships when people are looking to lift others up instead of tearing them down.  I am not suggesting we ignore self-care rather we put God first to guide us in the way we live.  I pray that we all take time to be humble and serve others more than we look to be served.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“Do nothing out of selfish ambition of vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:3-4

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 at Sapphire Point near Dillon, Colorado)

Ask Yourself

Is this how I would like others to treat me?  When we get into interactions and activity we can quickly lose sight of how we are treating other people.  Our emotions can blind us to our impact on those around us…the first step to understanding how we are being received is to observe closely the reactions of others to us and the next step then is to ask yourself how would I like someone to treat me in this situation?  If more of us would just take a moment to assess ourselves in this way, more often, things would be much different in the world…unfortuantely selfishness, pride and a host of other sins keep getting in the way.  Turn towards Jesus in prayer and ask Him to help you open the eyes of your heart.  Amen.

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“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Luke 6:31

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)

How We Treat Each Other

The changing of the year signifies a milestone, a break point, a natural point in time to reflect and to begin again or renew or start over…we say things like ‘this year is going to be a good year’ or ‘I hope the next year is better than last year.’  We never truly know what the next year or even the next day will be like or if we even will be given the gift of life to live tomorrow, or next year.  We so easily slip into taking the days and life in general for granted…until something happens and you lose someone.  When 2018 started I had no idea we would lose 3 relatives this year…I did not know that the last time I said good-bye to my Dad on a Sunday in early August that he would not live to September.  In fact on August 30th, 2018 none of us knew, including my Dad, that Sunday August 31st was the day he was going home to the Lord.  Life is a gift…people and relationships are far more valuable than anything else this world offers you.  We are created out of God’s love to bear good fruit to others in the world and to be loved.  Life is a gift, let’s do our best not to take it for granted…every day we are allowed to wake up we should be thankful to God and treat others the way we would like to be treated.  Amen.

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“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 7:12

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