Time Alone With God

One of the most important elements of a good and growing relationship is communication.  This includes listenting as much or more than speaking.  An acquaintance is someone you don’t know personally and someone you come in contact with in passing…God is more than that.  He is the Creator…

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.”

Psalm 139:13-14 NIV

He knows everything about you and yet He still loves you…

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8 NIV

The best thing you can do in your life is make it a priority to spend time alone with God…start today.  There is no right time or right words…it’s just you and Him…imagine sitting together and He asks, What’s on your mind?

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So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)

Developing Who We Are

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.[b] And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you. May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3-5 NLT

The faith journey takes us on a road of self-awareness and growth.  As we read God’s Word and the teachings of Jesus, we hear messages about our attitudes, our behaviors, our words and our actions.  These are all things that we can control in our everyday life.  Instead of wasting our time worrying and wringing our hands about what other people are doing, thinking or saying we would do well to focus that effort on developing the Fruit of the Spirit in our own lives and relationships.  After all, we have the most control over one thing more than any other…how we choose to respond.  May we strive to grow the Fruit of the Spirit in who we are in the world.  Amen.

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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

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

The Holy Spirit

“If you love me, obey my commands. 16 I will ask the Father. And he will give you another friend to help you and to be with you forever. 17 That friend is the Spirit of truth. The world can’t accept him. That’s because the world does not see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you, and he will be in you.”

John 14:15-17 NIRV

“But the Father will send the Friend in my name to help you. The Friend is the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

John 14:26 NIRV

With God all things are possible and all people can be redeemed…that is what Jesus Christ did for us.  Not only that, God’s plan goes on by sending us the Holy Spirit to live in us and lead us and guide us.  It is up to us to believe, to admit we are broken and in need and surrender our way for His way.

Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli

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“May the God who gives hope fill you with great joy. May you have perfect peace as you trust in him. May the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.”

Romans 15:13 NIRV

(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)

Humble Yourselves

“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

Jesus taught us about humility in the bible.  We need to remember…it’s not about me first.  There is a significant difference between self-care and being self-centered.  To be humble takes courage, to admit that we make mistakes and poor choices with an attitude that seeks redemption is a path to peace.

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“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

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

Living Water

“The Holy Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And the person who hears should say, “Come!” Anyone who is thirsty should come. Anyone who wants to take the free gift of the water of life should do so.”

Revelation 22:17 NIRV

The water of life comes only from Jesus Christ.  Just like our bodies must be fed and hydrated, we must feed and nourish our faith for it to be strong and to grow.  It is so easy to become too busy and to drift away from God with everyday life and events.  Our source of strength and hope is the living water that comes from Christ.  Amen.

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Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)

What’s Different? Perspective

Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply. Honor others more than yourselves. 11 Stay excited about your faith as you serve the Lord. 12 When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Welcome others into your homes.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIRV

How has your faith shown up in your daily life?  When you reflect on your attitude, your perspective and your daily living and compare it to a previous point in time, what do you notice has changed?  Some of your old ways have faded, some are taking longer to change…this is the process of spiritual growth.  Not everyone will encounter a burning shrub in the desert like Moses or directly encounter Christ on the road like Saul who became Paul.  Our journey will be different, yet our God who is with all of us is the same.  Be aware of who you are, the people in your life and what you can offer someone in need right where you are and pray.  Pray for wisdom and courage, pay attention to what God is up to in your daily life.  That alone will be a different perspective than the way we were before.  Amen.

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“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2016 along Beartooth Pass in Montana)

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)

Holy Spirit

“But the Father will send the Friend in my name to help you. The Friend is the Holy Spirit. He will teach you all things. He will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

John 14:26 NIRV

“If you love me, obey my commands. 16 I will ask the Father. And he will give you another friend to help you and to be with you forever. 17 That friend is the Spirit of truth. The world can’t accept him. That’s because the world does not see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you, and he will be in you.”

John 14:15-17 NIRV

Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli

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“May the God who gives hope fill you with great joy. May you have perfect peace as you trust in him. May the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.”

Romans 15:13 NIRV

(This photo was taken in May of 2014 at a lake in central Minnesota)

There Is Power In God’s Word

We have been told by Jesus that we will have trouble in this world.  So, because of free will, it is up to us to choose how we will respond when struggles and challenges rise up.  It is important to read and spend time in God’s Word and it is vitally important to choose a verse or some verses and memorize them…store them up deep in your heart and mind, so that you can recall them no matter where you are and whenever you need them.  When Jesus was tempted by Satan He responded with Scripture…we should be prepared to do the same…when we are tempted we need to recall the verse or verses we have in memory to turn our minds towards God.  There is power in His Word.  Amen.

God has breathed life into all Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right. 17 By using Scripture, the servant of God can be completely prepared to do every good thing.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIRV

Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way.
    It is like a light that guides me.”

Psalm 119:105 NIRV

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“The word of God is alive and active. It is sharper than any sword that has two edges. It cuts deep enough to separate soul from spirit. It can separate bones from joints. It judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12 NIRV

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

Transformation

 “I will give you new hearts. I will give you a new spirit that is faithful to me. I will remove your stubborn hearts from you. I will give you hearts that obey me.”

Ezekiel 36:26 NIRV

“The thoughts of a person ruled by sin bring death. But the mind ruled by the Spirit brings life and peace. The mind ruled by the power of sin is at war with God. It does not obey God’s law. It can’t. Those who are under the power of sin can’t please God.

But you are not ruled by the power of sin. Instead, the Holy Spirit rules over you. This is true if the Spirit of God lives in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. 10 If Christ lives in you, you will live. Though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life. The Spirit does this because you have been made right with God. 11 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 8:6-11 NIRV

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So from now on we don’t look at anyone the way the world does. At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don’t anymore. 17 When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here! 18 All this is from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ.”

2 Corinthians 5:16-18 NIRV

(This photo was taken in April of 2021 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)