He Is My Strength

It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.”

Psalm 18:32 NIV

Take time to sit in the presence of the Lord.  Whatever place and time works for you and your life…sit quietly and soak in His peace.  He will restore and renew you…if you will let Him.  There is no one and nothing in this world that can satisfy the deep desires of your heart…only God.  He is your strength.

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“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;…”

Psalm 46:10 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2021 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Redeemed, Renewed And Restored

You were living in your sins and lawless ways. But in fact you were dead. You used to live as sinners when you followed the ways of this world. You served the one who rules over the spiritual forces of evil. He is the spirit who is now at work in those who don’t obey God. At one time we all lived among them. Our desires were controlled by sin. We tried to satisfy what they wanted us to do. We followed our desires and thoughts. God was angry with us like he was with everyone else. That’s because of the kind of people we all were. But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus. He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us. He was kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. 10 We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.

Ephesians 2:1-10 NIRV

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“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.

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. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”

2 Peter 1:3-9 NIV

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

Saved By Grace

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV

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“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.

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. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”

2 Peter 1:3-9 NIV

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

Be Transformed

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV

Changed…renewed…remade…to make new again.  How we live, the decisions we make, our purpose and perspective are continually influenced by our life in this world.  If we fail to spend time feeding our minds and spiritual being with the Word of God and if we don’t spend time in prayer in relationship and communication with God, we will become like the world.  Only God can make us new again, with forgiveness, wisdom, courage, knowledge, trust and faith.  There are people in the world striving for the Fruits of the Spirit in their life…you may have to look for them with new eyes and a new perspective and those are available to all of us because of Jesus.  I pray we feed our faith and strive towards God and His will and away from the sinful nature.  Amen.

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“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

Romans 12:2 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at City Park in Winterset, Iowa)

Rest In Him

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8 NIV

Jesus calls us to rest and to learn from Him and His Way.  He set the example for us and provides guidance throughout God’s Word.  Trust in Him and come to Him and you will find rest for your soul.  Amen.

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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 4:6-7 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Monuntain National Park in Colorado)

Holy Saturday…Preparation Day

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

It is finished…Jesus, the Messiah, had been crucified and died.  We all know the coming glory of tomorrow…however, when these events were happening, it is hard to comprehend the level of sorrow and sadness that had to exist on the day between His death and resurrection.  Unfortunately, in the world today many of us suffer at a deep level of sorrow because of our sin and evil.  Our saving grace and our truth is we know that from the most devastating tragedy, God will renew and restore us…Resurrection Day is coming.  Trust in the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever.  Amen.

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“Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in the tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.  It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.”

Luke 23:52-54 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Surrender…Be Transformed

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Luke 9:23-24 NIV

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20 NIV

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Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at the High Falls in Tettegouche State Park in northern Minnesota)

Be Different

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:15-17 NIV

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2 NIV

Wash your heart and mind with the truth in God’s word.  We all are broken and sinful in this world and we need Jesus.  The world will flood us with lies about what to believe and turn us away from God.  We need to seek the wisdom that comes from God not from the world…plant the Word deep into our hearts daily to guide our attitudes and perspectives and to live out the love He has given us in every aspect of our lives.  Amen.

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But that is not the way of life in Christ that you learned about. 21 You heard about Christ and were taught about life in him. What you learned was the truth about Jesus. 22 You were taught not to live the way you used to. You must get rid of your old way of life. That’s because it has been made impure by the desire for things that lead you astray. 23 You were taught to be made new in your thinking. 24 You were taught to start living a new life. It is created to be truly good and holy, just as God is.”

Ephesians 4:20-24 NIRV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 at Falls Park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Seek Him

Turn to the Lord before it’s too late.
    Call out to him while he’s still ready to help you.
Let those who are evil stop doing evil things.
    And let them quit thinking evil thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord.
    The Lord will show them his tender love.
Let them turn to our God.
    He is always ready to forgive.”

Isaiah 55:6-7 NIRV

Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself to save you.  No matter what has happened in your life, no matter what you have done or left undone…He is waiting for you with open arms, to pick you up, to forgive you and restore you.  He is ready to do that for you and for others in your life because He loves you and He loves them too.  Jesus Christ is the way…He is the only way to fellowship with God.  Amen.

The Way by Housefires

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“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 NIV

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

Surrender and Rest

This post was originally published in November of 2021…

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

Luke 9:23-24 NIV

The more we try to take control and hold on tight to all circumstances the more life slips through our fingers.  We were never meant to carry all of our burdens alone; we are not meant to fix everything or try to get things to meet our expectations.  God doesn’t need us to define our purpose in life, only our surrender to bring us to it.  Turn towards Him and daily give yourself to His way in your life.  Trust the Lord with everything.  Amen.

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“Come to me, all you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Become my servants and learn from me. I am gentle and free of pride. You will find rest for your souls. 30 Serving me is easy, and my load is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIRV

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