An Encounter

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

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Faith is about trust and belief because we have experienced the Presence of God in our lives.  Has it happened to you?  It can be hard to put into words…unexplainable…one experience in my life was when I was putting together and delivering the eulogy at my father’s funeral.  This is not something I ever could have done on my own…when I think about that time my words to describe it are few, yet some that come to mind are comfort, unusual peace, clear thinking.  The process of putting together the words came naturally by talking with people from all parts of Dad’s life and God had prepared me to speak in front of others in several experiences in my past both in work and at church.  It was an incredible experience.  An example of an encounter with God from the bible is found in the book of Exodus…Moses was up on the mountain for 40 days with God without food or water, yet it does not say he felt any hunger or thirst.  Moses had all that he needed because he was with God.  An encounter with the Presence of God is unlike anything else you will experience in life.  Faith is about a personal relationship with God.  Where has God shown up in your life?  Think about it…give thanks and know that He has been with you.  Amen.

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“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2014 on a walk near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Walking With God

“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

When we are in step with God and His plan we will not feel weary, we will not feel weak.  Weariness is a warning sign that something we are doing or are spending time on is not part of God’s will for us.  When we are walking with Him there is no weariness or exhausted feelings as He provides energy and strength that we never knew existed.  Take time to assess where and how you are spending your time and pray to God to guide you to His will.  Amen.

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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 March of 2018 while traveling in southern New Mexico)

He Gives Strength To The Weary

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

If you find yourself weary and weak…struggling and feeling defeated.  There is hope.  Check yourself by reviewing your relationship with God.  When have you last spoken to Him?  Is He a part of everyday or just here and there as needed?  I know I have found myself guilty of living distracted by my circumstances more often than I like to admit…walking with God takes time and effort on our part.  God offers us so much yet we still have to do our part to make a commitment to follow Him.  He will give you strength when you are weary and weak.  Trust in the Lord and you will find strength.

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“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

Jeremiah 31:25 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at The Chapel of Transfiguration in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)

Renew Your Perspective And Strength

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

Many aspects of life on earth can make us weary and tired, shaping our perspective to approach life with negativity, doubt and fear.  We often forget, daily, that we can choose our attitude and perspective for this day.  If we focus all our thoughts and energy on our problems and why me, then we may get stuck and begin to spiral downward.  We can be renewed and draw strength by turning our focus to the Lord.  No matter what you are facing remember God is in control and if you put your trust in Him, your strength will be renewed.  Amen.

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“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  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 40:29-31 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2018 while traveling through southern New Mexico)

Rest With Him

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

We need to have balance in our lives…we need to be engaged, learning and growing and yet we also need time to rest, recharge and be renewed.  It is not easy in this world in this life to live in balance.  The first step to finding balance and peace is found in your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Where does that stand?  Start by meeting with Him every day and ask Him to guide you…remember he is present every aspect of your life and you can talk to Him about anything.

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“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4: 19 NIV

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

He Is My Strength

The Lord gives me strength. He is like a shield that keeps me safe.
    My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart jumps for joy.
    With my song I praise him.”

Psalm 28:7 NIRV

A close relationship with the Lord is uplifting, encouraging and provides strength to us.  God has told us we will get knocked down in this world and yet He is always there to help us up…to guide us and keep us going.  All things are possible with Him, even when…especially when we can’t see which way to go.

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He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.”

Psalm 40:2 NIV

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

Stay Committed In Faith

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.”

Proverbs 16:3 NIV

Success in life is most often tied to commitment…when you learn the details of a success story there is always a moment or moments along the way that a person had to make a choice to stay committed to a vision or mission in order to see it through.  It is a willingness to commit that leads to success in relationships and our everyday life.  When we reflect on our lives, we all are committed to something right now…what is it for you?  Then ask the question how does that commitment tie into my faith and my relationship with God?

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“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be people of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV

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

He Is My Strength

It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.”

Psalm 18:32 NIV

Take time to sit in the presence of the Lord.  Whatever place and time works for you and your life…sit quietly and soak in His peace.  He will restore and renew you…if you will let Him.  There is no one and nothing in this world that can satisfy the deep desires of your heart…only God.  He is your strength.

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“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;…”

Psalm 46:10 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2021 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

1 Timothy 6:6-9 NIV

The worldly ways and worldly values say ‘get more’, ‘you need more’, ‘you are not enough’…this is evil working to keep us focused on ourselves and not on God.  The truth is we are not enough on our own and I am not talking about in the pursuit of worldly values…I am referring to our need for God and our relationship with Jesus Christ.  When we recognize that because of sin we will never be good enough on our own we can turn towards God who has saved us by sacrificing His Son and live content knowing we are saved by faith.

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I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

(This photo was taken in April of 2020 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Cry Out To The Lord

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 27:1 NIV

When you don’t what to do next or how to respond to something…cry out to the Lord.  When you feel content and you can sense His presence in your life…praise the Lord.  No matter if things are good or difficult, for every season and for every reason turn towards the Lord.

Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher

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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 2020 at the High Falls in Tettegouche State Park in northern Minnesota)