Our Hearts

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:3 NIV

God has given human beings free will and His Word gives us instructions on how we should choose to live…unfortunately too many of us have turned our backs on God and put worldly things before Him in our lives.  This choice by human beings of rejecting God is what invites evil into the world and evil comes to cause pain and suffering as described in John 10:10…“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”  We need to seek the Lord with all our heart and choose to live in a way that honors God.

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”[a]

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at a park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

I Will Worship While I Wait

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

Waiting…we don’t do this very well.  The world constantly pushes a hurried, impatient agenda on us…’more convenience’, ‘save time’, ‘this is the fastest way to_______’, fill the blank with any worldly pursuit.  It is so easy to get sucked in because it is going on all around us.  Stay close to God and His Word…start or keep doing daily prayer time.  Keep going to worship and put your faith and trust in God.

“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 3:9 NIV

While I’m Waiting by John Waller

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I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.”

Psalm 130:5 NIV

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

Do Good Things

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”

Micah 6:8 NIV

Do good things every day. Do good in the everyday things in life right where you are…not for others to see, rather because it is what God has asked us to do. Hold a door open for others, give a word of encouragement to someone, be willing to sit and listen to what someone is going through without trying to ‘fix it’ for them. Be present right where you are with whoever you are near. Don’t always be looking for the miraculous…for it is in combining the good work of the little things together that create the greatest moments in our lives.

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“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Big Sky Resort in Montana)

Humility And Patience

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Luke 18:10-14 NIV

What we need in the world more than ever is less “look at me” thinking and more of a “how can I help” way of living.  Think about your daily life and what you do…how much is to serve just yourself and how much includes serving a community or group of people.  The best way to work on making this change in your life is to have time every day with God and His Word…reading, prayer and listening time with the One who is with you, loves you and wants to be a part of your daily life.  Turn towards the Lord, seek to learn about Him and He can lead you to humility and patience.  Amen.

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“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 3:9 NIV

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

Walking With God

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.”

Psalm 119:105 NIV

A faith journey.  It begins with belief, confession and prayer.  It grows as we read the Scriptures, as we spend time in devotions, when we engage in our communities and serve others…it transforms us with a new attitude centered on God and His will for us.  Trust in God, spend time on your relationship with Jesus Christ and pray about everything, every day.  Amen.

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He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”

Micah 6:8 NIV

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

Surrender

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

James 4:1-3 NIV

When we pursue goals to satisfy the self, we will become frustrated and disappointed…wondering why things don’t go our way.  We must learn to surrender our desires for what God has planned.  He can see everything; we can only see a small part of our lives.  This doesn’t mean do nothing…our job is to learn from God’s Word and keep doing good things as best we can with what we have been given.  Submit whatever you do to the Lord and you will find peace.  Amen.

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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. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

James 4:7-10 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Gifts And Blessings

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV

As God’s creation, each of us has been blessed and have God-given gifts and abilities.  Our purpose in our lives is to love the Lord, love others and to learn about and use the gifts He has given us to serve in our communities.  What gifts has God given you?  What can you do or provide to others in your family, your neighborhood or your faith community?  If you are unsure, turn towards God in prayer and seek His will for you.  Amen.

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We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Romans 12:6-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Serve One Another

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 4:8-11 NIV

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Galatians 5:13 NIV

We each get to choose each day the attitude we will embrace and how we will act when interacting with others.  God has given us instructions in His Word and He has followed up His Word with actions that show His love, His grace.  Our job, our purpose is to seek Him and live out His will in our life every day.  Put your trust in Lord and choose to live as He has taught us.

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“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2021 at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)

The Peacemakers

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27 NIV

Our faith journey is a process without an end point on earth.  As we learn about Jesus and we read God’s Word the process begins by helping us transform on the inside…we open our hearts and minds to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit becomes our guide.  This is not the end of the process…as we continue to learn and grow the intention is for us to have this Spirit of peace and goodness flow through us to our neighbors and others.  We are not saved just to be saved alone…we are to become a channel of God’s peace every day.  The Light of Christ should shine through us so that others can see God in who we are and what we do.  Think about it…in what other person in your life have you seen God shining through?  May we be comforted by God’s peace.  Amen.

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Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Matthew 5:9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2016 at a lake place in northwestern Wisconsin)

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)