Begin With Jesus

How can we start or restart focusing on our Faith journey.  We can grow up going to church or not, we can be someone who attended Sunday school or catechism classes or not.  We can be someone who has very little exposure or experience to organized religious practices…none of this matters when it comes to your Faith.  Faith is bigger than religion…religious practices, worship services and activities at church are things we do as a part of our Faith journey.  They can contribute to our learning and our spiritual growth along the way.  Our Faith journey is more, it is everything, everyday and every interaction with others…and it begins with Jesus Christ and your relationship with Him.  No matter what is happening, where you are or how you feel, turn to the One that God sends to save you, to strengthen you and hold you up…begin again with Jesus.  Amen.

IMG_20141016_094218884 publish

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he provided purification of sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of heaven.”

Hebrews 1:3

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

Praise The Lord

Today is recognized as Independence Day in the US.  A holiday where people can gather and celebrate freedom.  It is a day where we should give thanks to the Lord for all we have in our lives.  Take a moment and reflect on your surroundings, people in your life…all of the good things are gifts from God.  If it is difficult to see goodness, take some time to work on your relationship with God, talk to Him and listen in the quietness of time alone with God.  You were created out of love by God, He is with you and you can have contentment, security, peace and hope for a future in a way that only God can provide by choosing to turn to Him and His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ.  God is good…all the time…and all the time…God is good!  Praise the Lord.  May the peace and joy of the Lord be with you.

DSC_0021 publish

“Praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord, O my soul.  I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Psalm 146:1-2

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

The Cross

Come to the Cross…A place to bring your burdens…Savior…Salvation…Forgiveness…Peace.  The Cross of Christ, this is the place we should turn to in all situations.  This is where God sent His One and Only Son to be crucified to save us from our sins.  This is where our relationship with God is reconciled.  There are problems and struggles everywhere you can’t change everything for everyone, but He can.  You can’t change everything but you can change something, you can change one thing that will make a difference in the world…You.  Jesus said ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’  (John 14:6)  Open your heart and mind and invite Jesus Christ into your life everyday.  This will make the world a better place.  May God’s joy and peace be with you.

DSC07571 publish

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

John 19:30

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in Colorado)

God’s Word

Instructions…directions…guidance…wisdom…understanding.  It takes a certain attitude to be willing to follow instructions, to accept wisdom from another or to trust the guidance of someone else.  We have to be humble, willing to admit we don’t know our way around a situation or place.  This is easy when we are using one of our devices of “convenience,” a cell phone, Ipad, computer, etc.  It is more difficult when we start involving other people in our need for assistance.  We are challenged to learn how to have humility, to accept our level of knowledge for what it is and to seek out wisdom and to learn from others in history.  God’s Word is the instruction manual for life we all can use.  It provides the Way to make it through this world, it does not say do this and life will be easy and always happy.  It is more honest than that and more about providing wisdom and guidance as help from those who already have lived on earth and know the troubles human beings will have in life.  Pickup a bible and seek the understanding that God provides.  The test for this book is happening all the time in our daily life, how are you answering the multiple choice questions of your life?  May God’s mercy and grace be with you.

DSC_1554 publish

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Psalm 119:105

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

Trust God

I am finding myself seeing examples of the brokenness of people in my daily life interactions and experiences.  Or at least I am more aware of these things than I used to be.  It is discouraging.  We are so willing to pull and push others down for a variety of reasons.  It is so important to seek out what is good and what we have gratitude for in our lives.  If we look around with the eyes the world wants us to, we will be very negative and feeling unworthy.  If we trust in God and His goodness for our perspective it changes things dramatically.  We are never going to know all the answers or understand them while we are here, however, if we trust in the Lord we know that He is working for the good in all things.  May God’s joy and love be with you.

DSC_0011 publish

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

Matthew 7:7-8

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 at a lake near Plymouth , Minnesota)

On Believing And Seeing

You may have heard someone say or you may have said it yourself, a phrase such as ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’  This originated in biblical times after the resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus appeared to the disciples at a time when Thomas was not with them.  Even as one of the apostles who had been with Jesus he could not comprehend the resurrection and told his brothers…“unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (John 20:25)  Thomas was so sure this could not be true, that Jesus had risen, that he made this statement basically saying to the others…prove it!  Oh boy, I have been there before.  The problem with this approach to our faith is it is not faith at all…if we have to see it to believe it, what do we truly believe in?  A simple example is the wind…the air can move at very high speeds at different elevations and we know this not because we can see it move, what we can see is what it can do.  Don’t get caught being a doubting Thomas, rather learn from him and have faith in the One who knows us and can see what He has planned for our lives.  May God’s love and joy be with you.

DSC_0147 publish

“We live by faith, not by sight.”

2 Corinthians 5:7

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico)

Highs And Lows

Our journey is filled with these…moments where things are good, we are strong, confident, faithful and filled with hope and joy – Highs.  We also have moments of fear, concern, sadness that are filled with despair – Lows.  Every life has both whether you see it in others or not, they both exist for everyone.  The key to living with all of this is how are you reacting to your highs and your lows?  Reading and learning from God’s Word with the Holy Spirit as your guide is a great place to start.  After that, the way to give and receive celebration for highs and support for lows is with Friends.  Personal relationships, that is the key to living, learning and growing through out your life journey.  Reflect on your personal relationships, with God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as well as with your friends.  Pray about them and find ways you can enrich those relationships.  Faith is not a destination, it is a way of living through the Highs and Lows that come to all of us no matter who we are or what we are doing.  May God’s peace and joy be with you.

DSC_0815 publish

DSC_0769 publish

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.  Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:12-13

(These photo’s were taken in July of 2016 at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming)

The Foundation Of Faith

We often hear that it states in the bible if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains and nothing will be impossible for you (see Matthew 17:20).  Well that doesn’t sound too hard.  A mustard seed, that’s really small…oh but wait.  If it only takes such a small amount of faith to do such big things why isn’t everybody full of faith?  Take a look at your personal belief in Jesus Christ…when we face any issues, problems, concerns or difficult people are we able to approach all those situations with a belief and faith that Jesus Christ can do anything with that situation?  God is still working on me for this level of spiritual maturity.  This is a faith that points 100% to Jesus Christ and the belief in the saving grace that He provided at Calvary for every part of your life.  It is a belief that every person no matter how the world has judged them and cast them aside can be redeemed, if we are willing to believe Jesus can change that.  I am focusing my faith journey on more of this and less of me.  May God’s grace and peace be with you.

IMG_20141016_105740553 publish

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:  Do not think of yourself more highly that you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Romans 12:3

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

Father’s Day – Relationships

We all need need our Father’s, just as much as we all need our Mother’s.  Unfortunately, Father’s and Fatherhood has been under attack for a long time.  Many television shows and movies portray the Father as the doofus who just messes everything up or the stupid and incompetent one who is hardly necessary.  When most of society sees this as the role of the Father, it is no wonder that the family structure is disintegrating in this broken world.  If God is the God of everything then He needs to be the God of our families.  No matter what the current status is of our relationships, we need to invite Jesus into them with our Father’s and with everyone else in our family.  Honor your Father and Mother.  God designed the family structure for a purpose and it is for our good to honor the relationships we do have.  Love like God our Father loves us.  May God’s love, peace and joy be with you.

DSC_0166 publish

“If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

Romans 14:8

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

The Lord Of My Everything?

One of my struggles in faith is opening up to the Lord for everything.  Not only the parts of my life and my heart I think He wants to be involved in…that would be God on my terms.  It does not work like that.  God is the God of everything and Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  All of creation, all people in all nations since the beginning of time and His love for everything, His grace and His mercy will endure forever.  It is so difficult for my finite mind to comprehend the totality of God and His love.  He is more than the God of Sunday morning or Wednesday evening…He is more than the God of when I really need help or a crisis is happening…He is more than a beautiful sunrise or sunset when we feel more of His presence.  He is the Lord of housework, the Lord of daily errands, the Lord of trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, He is the Lord of where you work and what you do…He is the Lord of everything.  Period.  The best part of all of this means He is right there waiting to hear from you about all of it.  He is your Lord and Savior and even though that doesn’t mean everything will be easy and good He is with you through it all everyday.  May God’s presence, His love, His joy and His forgiveness be present in your life everyday.

DSC_1549 publish

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of the life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 23:6

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