Come To Repentance

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

Romans 2:1-4 NIV

We are so quick to judge others, yet that is not our purpose.  We were created out of God’s love to do good things…how we respond to His love will determine how we will be judged.  Come to repentance and you will find peace.  Amen.

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But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

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

It Takes Courage…

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 NIV

Courage is not the absence of fear…Courage is the willingness to move forward without knowing the outcome…to admit we don’t know the answers…to be patient…to share and be vulnerable with another person.  Having courage is placing your trust in God ahead of fear…it is about not allowing fear to stop you or defeat you.  It takes courage to seek the Light…to surrender your plans for God’s plan…it takes courage to live the life that God has intended for you…and where can you find courage?  In a relationship with Jesus Christ.  There you will find strength and courage to seek His will and live with hope from God.  Amen.

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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)

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)

God’s Love Changes Lives

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:7-12 NIV

God’s love is the most powerful thing in our world.  Nothing can compare to it…no matter where you are, no matter what has happened or is happening…God’s love can change what you believe is impossible.  Trust Him, seek His Word, believe, confess your sins and surrender you ways for His way.  Amen.

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For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV

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

The Narrow Path

“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

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

John 14:5-6 NIV

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”

Luke 13:24 NIV

Choices.  This way, that way.  Do this…don’t do that.  We are constantly given options and it can be overwhelming.  It would be so helpful to have a guide who is full of wisdom, who cares for our well-being and wants to see good things for us.  That is exactly who Jesus Christ is…He loves you so much He laid down His life to save you.  Everything about Him…His birth, the way He lived, His teachings, His death and His resurrection is filled with guidance for us on how we should live and the way we should go.  He is the Way and He instructs us in God’s Word and with the Holy Spirit and tells us that to follow Him is the narrow path and narrow gate in this world…yet it is the way we should go.  Trust in Him and what says and you will find peace.  Amen.

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“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

(Thsi photo was taken in June fo 2013 in Badlands National Park in South Dakota)

Daily Living By Faith

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIV

Each day is a new opportunity to live out our faith.  To surrender to the Holy Spirit that God has placed in our hearts and strive to live out our purpose.  God’s Word has told us to love God, love others and share the Good News.  He has given us the example of how He wants us to live in Jesus Christ…in the way that Jesus lived and by what He taught in His ministry.  God has prepared everything for us…and He has given us free will to choose how we want to respond…how will you choose to live your life today?

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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 during sunrise along the North Shore of Lake Superior)

Commitment

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.”

Matthew 22:37-38 NIV

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23 NIV

What does it mean to make a commitment?  How much time does it take to honor a commitment?  What does it look like in your life?  Everyone has different answers on the how commitment works, yet the most important part about commitment is what is at the center of it.  Commitment takes dedicated time, communication and a willingness to make sacrifices.  Nobody ever said it would be easy, no matter what commitment you are thinking about as you read.  Jesus Christ made a commitment to reconcile us back to God and it cost Him His life on earth.   Take the time and the opportunity He has provided and make a commitment to follow Him and honor that commitment with how you live and your life.  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 June of 2015 while traveling in South Dakota)

All Things New

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

In this new year let us approach life focusing on God’s plan rather than making new worldly plans of our own.  Let us be filled with the fruit of the Spirit.  Let us run the race He has put before us.  He makes all things new in a way we could never imagine.  Amen.

All Things New by Steven Curtis Chapman

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You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV

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

The Light Of The World

Portions of this post were originally published in February of 2020…

“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)