Guard Your Heart

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

We all face trials and struggles.  The one thing we can control during these times and situations is how we choose to respond.  Many of us quickly try to gain control and take charge, determined not to let the situation get the best of us…others do an about face and get away from the situation as quickly as they can.  All of us can do better if we start with bringing the situation, the difficult time or difficult relationship to God first.  We need to stop waiting and trying to do things our own way…going into battle against darkness and evil without God is like a soldier heading into a battle without any weapon.  The more we turn towards God first, the more likely we will find peace and be able to overcome the troubles of life.  Amen.

“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

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 March of 2013 at the Botanical Gardens in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada)

Seek First His Kingdom

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33 NIV

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

James 4:7-8 NIV

The most important part of our lives is our faith…put and keep first things first.  When we put our trust in Him first and not as a last resort our faith will grow and our path will be clear.  Choose to believe and put your relationship with the Lord first in your life.

We Believe by Newsboys

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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 July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Our Refuge

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

Psalm 46:1 NIV

The Good News is that Jesus Christ came down from heaven and sacrificed Himself to death to save us and reconcile us with God.  He did it because He loves you.  He has risen! He is with you.  He will guide you.  Turn towards Jesus for everything…anything.  He is our refuge.  Amen.

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Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 at a park near Plymouth, Minnesota)

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)

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)

Seek First His Kingdom

Portions of this post were originally published in February of 2021…

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33 NIV

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

James 4:7-8 NIV

What is at the center of your life?  What do you value above all else?  If you are unsure, look at where you spend your resources of time and money.  As you reflect, where is God in your priorities?  I began this type of review and reflection process over 10 years ago in my own life…I did not feel good about the answers I was seeing then and have been working on doing better ever since.  This blog started in 2013 as a part of my journey and has grown and changed as I have over the years.  One of the very first aha moments in my faith journey was when a clear thought came to mind…‘it’s not about me’…the it is anything and everything.  When we strive to put Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him first in life, we will begin to discover a new life.  During this season of reflection what do you see?

We Believe by Newsboys

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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 July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

God Is Love

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17 NIRV

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 “May you have power together with all the Lord’s holy people to understand Christ’s love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is. 19 And may you know his love, even though it can’t be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you.”

Ephesians 3:18-19 NIRV

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

Wisdom

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James 1:5 NIV

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“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

James 3:13-18 NIV

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

What Has Happened To The Seed Of Faith In Your Life?

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Matthew 13:1-9

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“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Matthew 13:18-23

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 while traveling through North Dakota)

Wisdom

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

James 1:5

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“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

James 3:13-18

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