God’s Love Changes Lives

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

1 John 4:7-11 NIV

God’s love is the most powerful thing in the world.  Nothing can compare to it…no matter where you are, no matter what has happened or is happening…God’s love can change what you believe is impossible.  Trust Him, seek His Word, believe, confess your sins and surrender your ways for His way.  Amen.

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“We love because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19 NIV

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

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)

Be Transformed

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV

Changed…renewed…remade…to make new again.  How we live, the decisions we make, our purpose and perspective are continually influenced by our life in this world.  If we fail to spend time feeding our minds and spiritual being with the Word of God and if we don’t spend time in prayer in relationship and communication with God, we will become like the world.  Only God can make us new again, with forgiveness, wisdom, courage, knowledge, trust and faith.  There are people in the world striving for the Fruits of the Spirit in their life…you may have to look for them with new eyes and a new perspective and those are available to all of us because of Jesus.  I pray we feed our faith and strive towards God and His will and away from the sinful nature.  Amen.

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“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

Romans 12:2 NIV

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 at City Park in Winterset, Iowa)

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)

God’s Love Changes Lives

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:7-12 NIV

God’s love is the most powerful thing in our world.  Nothing can compare to it…no matter where you are, no matter what has happened or is happening…God’s love can change what you believe is impossible.  Trust Him, seek His Word, believe, confess your sins and surrender you ways for His way.  Amen.

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For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV

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

Transformation

Change…conversion…overhaul…renew…remake.

When someone is transformed, they appear new again.  A transformation in the spiritual life means recognizing who and what we are and then humbly admitting that we need to be made new again.  We must be willing to admit we are broken, helplessly chasing after the sinful nature…once we see and know the conviction of sin, we have the opportunity to be redeemed, renewed, and restored.  A relationship with Jesus Christ is the Way to transformation.  Seek Him.  May God bless you with wisdom and peace.  Amen.

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“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them;  I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”

Ezekiel 11:19 NIV

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

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)

Change Starts With You

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24

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“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

1 John 1:5-10

(This photo was taken in October of 2018 near Winterset, Iowa)

Persevere…Be Transformed

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James 1:2-4

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12

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Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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 12:1-2

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

Stand Firm In Faith

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

1 Peter 1:6-9

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“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

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