Freedom In Christ

My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love. 14 The whole law is fulfilled by obeying this one command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:1815 If you say or do things that harm one another, watch out! You could end up destroying one another.”

Galatians 5:13-15 NIRV

Many have been sacrificed for freedom to exist in the US…the most important sacrifice of life for the freedom of others came from Jesus Christ.  He came down from heaven, set an example for us on how to live and then died on the Cross so that we can be reconciled with God.  Let’s not take for granted what others have done for our freedom to exist…especially the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His saving Grace.  May we be filled with joy and peace and serve others with love because of Him who died to save us. Amen.

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Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 NLT

(This photo was taken in June of 2021 at The Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cementary)

Jesus

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:9-11 NIV

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2022 at Temperance State Park along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Gratitude

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.”

Psalm 136:1 NIV

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24 NIV

One of the first steps towards a new attitude is starting with gratitude.  Give thanks for what you have received…instead of worrying about what you don’t have.  Appreciate what has been done for you…instead of worrying about what others don’t do.  Stop comparing…start praising!  The path to a new attitude begins with gratitude.

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See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)

The Light Of The World

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”

John 1:1-9 NIV

When we are discouraged and defeated it may be because we are clinging to the things of this world and therefore, we are living in darkness.  Comparing ourselves to others, believing our worth and our value comes from something or someone other than God.  If we are struggling to see, we need to remember the Light of the World…Jesus Christ…our Savior and Lord.  Let Him lead you and guide you…read God’s Word about His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection and remember He did it all for you.  Amen.

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“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 NIV

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

Fruit Of The Spirit…Faithfulness

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 NIV

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…”

Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

God keeps His promises.  We are responsible for how we live our lives and how we treat each other…God gave us free will.  If we do our part and put our trust in Him and walk in the Light of Christ, He is faithful and will forgive us our sins and restore us.

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This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:5-9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2020 at sunset at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Fruit Of The Spirit…Joy

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Joy is not something that will come from our worldly circumstances or pleasures…joy and peace will come from our relationship with Jesus.  Even in the worst of times this relationship will bring you through and comfort you.

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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 at Palisade Head along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

1 Timothy 6:6-9 NIV

The worldly ways and worldly values say ‘get more’, ‘you need more’, ‘you are not enough’…this is evil working to keep us focused on ourselves and not on God.  The truth is we are not enough on our own and I am not talking about in the pursuit of worldly values…I am referring to our need for God and our relationship with Jesus Christ.  When we recognize that because of sin we will never be good enough on our own we can turn towards God who has saved us by sacrificing His Son and live content knowing we are saved by faith.

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I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

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

You Choose Each Day

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15 NIV

God created us with free will…the ability to choose our actions and behaviors.  The reason is because a love worth having is love that is chosen, however, the risk is people will choose to reject God.  We were created out of love and as we live we can choose whom we will follow.  How do you choose to live this day?

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“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)

Humility Is Love

Pride goes before destruction,
    a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 16:18 NIV

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Philippians 2:1-4 NIV

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“…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”[a]

1 Peter 5:5 NIV

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

His Sacrifice

“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 1:14 NIV

God knows we are weak and unable to save ourselves from sin.  No matter how hard we try to do good things we slip and fall…we make mistakes even with good intentions.  God knows this and so He sent His Son to close the gap between Him and us.  Jesus has done what we are unable to do…we didn’t earn it and we don’t deserve it yet He took our punishment so that we can draw near to God.  Don’t take for granted what Jesus Christ has done and is doing in your life.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5 NIV

(This photo was taken in April of 2021 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)