Ask, Seek, Knock…

“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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

Prayer and communication with God on a daily basis are key elements on your faith journey.  Prayer includes confessing our sins, expressing gratitude, listening and asking.  Keeping in mind that God is not a wishing well…rather He is your friend, your guide, your confidant.  He knows about every aspect of your life and He still loves you…so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son in order to reconcile you with Him.  God loves you…He is with you…He is wating to hear from you.

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“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

John 16:24 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

The Promised One

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.”[d]

Isaiah 7:14 NIV

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6 NIV

God promised to send us a Savior, He kept that promise when He sent His one and only Son.  Jesus can do everything, anything.  We are not meant to be alone…we are made for relationship and God sent His promised One to earth to save us and be with us.  We have a Savior who sacrificed Himself for us and He is wating to hear from you…His name is Jesus.

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

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“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:9-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

Make A Commitment

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”[a]

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

How do we get better at staying the course?  This New Year’s resolution business is almost always a path to failure.  Some of the most common mistakes is over-committing to too many things or setting unrealistic goals and achievements.  Not to mention our lack of patience for change in this fast paced, immediately gratification world.  The biggest mistake we make is either not asking God to guide us or not listening and looking for His will for our lives.  We are easily distracted and believe we have to maintain everything on our own.  The best change we can make is turning towards God first and a make a commitment to follow Him in all aspects of our lives.  Amen.

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Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3 NIV

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

Teach Me Your Ways

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.”

Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

God invites us into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.  It is up to us to respond to that invitation.  If we ignore God’s call and go our own way we will bring about more pain and suffering without God’s presence and guidance.  We need to be willing to open ourselves up to God’s way and His plan that happens on His timing.  It is a willingness and an ability to surrender our self-centered ways to Him…God is faithful and will guide you and lead you if you are willing to put your faith and trust in Him.

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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

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 along the North Shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota)

Perseverance

Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:3-5 NIV

When the world knocks you down, don’t stay down.  Get up, stand up for your faith.  God has told us we will be persecuted for following Jesus.  We should expect it…don’t quit praying, don’t quit sharing and trusting in the Lord.  He is working even when we can’t see it.  Be strong and courageous and push on…we know that Jesus Christ has already won victory for us.  Perseverance is about letting your faith be greater than your fear!

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James 1:2-4 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 standing on one of the Bridges of Madison County near Winterset, Iowa)

Work In Progress

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:4-6 NIV

Each day we are alive means God is still working on us.  He knows the number of our days and He is with us for each and every one of them.  It is up to us to seek Him…to acknowledge Him and His Presence…we are tasked with learning, growing and sharing as we go…it doesn’t have to be perfect and it never will be.  God tells us we are His work in progress and if we live our lives trusting, believing in and spending time with Him good things will come.  Amen.

God’s Not Done With You by Tauren Wells

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“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 NIV

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

Be Thankful

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:4-7 NIV

What are you thankful for?  How often do we take time to be thankful during difficult times?  It is not easy…yet it is a choice.  An attitude of gratitude may not come naturally to us but we should strive for it as it can make such a big difference in our lives.  We don’t have to do it alone…start by thanking God for Jesus Christ and what He did for you on the Cross and see where you can go from there.  Amen.

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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 while traveling through North Dakota)

Keep Your Eyes Focused On Jesus

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:29-31 NIV

Don’t get distracted…do your best not to lose focus.  When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can find our way through anything.  It’s when we look away or focus our thoughts on the things of this world that causes us to sink.  Don’t give up, don’t quit…just focus on Jesus, He can lead you.

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“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

(This photo was taken in April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Spiritual Growth

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV

Stay committed, stay focused, stay patient and trust God’s way.  Spiritual growth is not about immediate gratification…it is a process of daily meeting with Jesus Christ in prayer and reading God’s Word.  Learning, asking questions of trusted advisors or mentors and spending time with God in whatever way works best for your spiritual growth.  Not sure how to begin?  Start by praying to God to help you focus on your spiritual growth.

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:1-5 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2015 while driving through South Dakota)

God’s Promises

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

2 Peter 1:2-4 NIV

God’s promises are many and they are throughout the Bible.  He promises salvation, to give you rest, to strengthen you, to provide for your needs, to protect you, to never leave you and so many more.  The key is do you believe Him and do you trust Him?  Consider what God has done, what He is doing and what He has promised will come.

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“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,…”

Isaiah 43:1-4 NIV

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