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)

Keep Doing Good Things

 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 NIV

Not for your benefit, rather for the benefit of others.  We reap what we sow in this life.  This does not mean we can earn our way into heaven by doing the right things…it means whatever we go out and do in the world will come back around to us at some point and none of us knows or can control how or when that will happen.  This is further proof that God is in control and it is our responsibility to choose our behaviors and our actions in our daily life.  We cannot control what others will think, say or do, yet we can control how we respond.  Let’s choose to keep doing good things.  May the Fruit of the Spirit flow through us each day.  Amen.

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Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:7-9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)

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 turn our hearts to God and do the things that He has told us to do.

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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)

Humility

One message in the bible is clear…we need to learn how to be humble.  Selfishness and self-serving behaviors are running wild in the world.  God knows it is a problem for the human race and He made sure it is talked about often in His Word…

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.”

Romans 12:9-10 NIV

“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

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

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:5-7 NIV

If you want to know more pick up a bible and dig into God’s Word about humility.  Turn towards Jesus our Savior and the one who set the example of how to be humble by caring for others.  Amen.

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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 2:3-4 NIV

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

Waiting With Hope

Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;

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 40:30-31 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)

Doing Good

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Galatians 6:7-10 NIV

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“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:12-17 NIV

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

The Fruit Of The Spirit

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV

When we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died and was resurrected to save us from our sins and we confess our sins to God…the Holy Spirit will come into us.  It is not a feeling and not an emotional state of mind it is the presence of God living in us and working through us.  When we surrender our old way of thinking and we live with the Holy Spirit pouring through our hearts and minds the results will be the Fruit of the Spirit flowing through us in our thoughts, words and our actions.  May the peace of the Lord be with you.  Amen.

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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

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