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)

The Past…Redeemed

I know that my redeemer[c] lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”[d]

Job 19:25 NIV

What has happened in the past is done and can’t be changed…we can learn from it…we can change today.  Don’t let what has happened be chains around you that you drag with you everywhere you go…Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins and He is our Redeemer…bring your past, your shame and your guilt to the Lord and He will set you free.  Amen.

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:16-17 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a park near Winterset, Iowa)

He Knows You

 “I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come. 12 Then you will call out to me. You will come and pray to me. And I will listen to you. 13 When you look for me with all your heart, you will find me.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIRV

Have you had moments like this?  “That’s not what I meant”…”I wish they knew me better”…”I don’t feel like I fit in”…”Nobody understands me.”  I have been there before.  You can be surrounded by people but feel like you are isolated.  God knows who you are, He knows what you can do, He knows how you think and He cares for you.  If you feel like you are off the rails in your life, it is time to get back to God.  He is waiting to hear from you.  He is the Creator, the one who formed you and has been right there with you every step of the way in life.  Turn towards God.  Trust in Him.  May you see the blessings from God in your life each day.

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on the shore of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin)

What Is Faith?

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Belief…trust…hope.  Faith is about our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Learning about Him and what He teaches us in God’s Word…that feeds our faith.  If we choose to not exercise our faith muscle it will become shriveled and weak.  We will be spiritually dead.  The Good News is we have hope because of the death and resurrection of Jesus…He is alive, He is with you and He loves you.  Build up your faith, it will impact every area of your life when you put your trust in Jesus.  Amen.

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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.”

Ephesians 2:4-9 NIV

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

God Is Our Refuge

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1 NIV

Worries and burdens will pile up.  We set ourselves up for disappointment and regret when we try to go it alone.  God is our refuge, He is the stronghold of our lives.  There is more to our relationship with the Lord than Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings…there is more than quickly speaking memorized words before a meal or at bedtime.  Turn towards the Lord and seek Him.  Pray for His presence to be something you can see in your life and listen for His guidance in everything.  Amen.

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“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 62:1-2 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Arches National Park in Utah)

He Makes 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

Each day we have the opportunity to live a new way, 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 One Thing

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Ephesians 4:4-6 NIV

“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10 NIV

The most important thing we need, is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior more than anything else in this life.  From that relationship all aspects of our lives will be impacted…that personal relationship with Jesus is the one thing everyone needs.  Amen.

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans 12:12 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at a park near Winterset, Iowa)

Easter Sunday – He Has Risen!

“The Spirit of the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. So the God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies. He will do this because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

Romans 8:11 NIRV

I am absolutely sure that not even death or life can separate us from God’s love. Not even angels or demons, the present or the future, or any powers can separate us. 39 Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can separate us. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love. That’s because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.”

Romans 8:38-39 NIRV

What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

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“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.”

Mark 16:4-6 NIV

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

The Greatest Story Ever Told…

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.”

John 1:1-5 NIV

“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

From Genesis to Revelation the over-arching theme of the Bible is God’s love…this love is not a guarantee that life will be easy and always pleasant…yet it is a love that is consistent, based on facts and comes to us directly in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Open your heart and mind to Jesus every day…everything He does is for you.  Amen.

End Of The Beginning by David Phelps

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17 NIV

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

Think About Him…

A huge cloud of witnesses is all around us. So let us throw off everything that stands in our way. Let us throw off any sin that holds on to us so tightly. And let us keep on running the race marked out for us. Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the one who started this journey of faith. And he is the one who completes the journey of faith. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. He made it through these attacks by sinners. So think about him. Then you won’t get tired. You won’t lose hope.

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIRV

Especially this week…when you are tired and run down or discouraged and defeated, think about Him…when you are frustrated or angry with others, think about Him…when you feel like there is no hope, think about Him…think about Him who endured death on a cross between two thieves, for us…think about Him who was spit on and had a crown of thorns pushed onto His head, for us…think about Him who had His beard plucked out and gave His back to the whip, for us…and think about Him who gave His blood and His life for us.  He did it because He loves you and He wants good things for you.  Turn your attention towards Him and give Him thanks and you will find peace.  Amen.

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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

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Colorado Springs, Colorado)