Guard Your Heart

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

We all face trials and struggles.  The one thing we can control during these times and situations is how we choose to respond.  Many of us quickly try to gain control and take charge, determined not to let the situation get the best of us…others do an about face and get away from the situation as quickly as they can.  All of us can do better if we start with bringing the situation, the difficult time or difficult relationship to God first.  We need to stop waiting and trying to do things our own way…going into battle against darkness and evil without God is like a soldier heading into a battle without any weapon.  The more we turn towards God first, the more likely we will find peace and be able to overcome the troubles of life.  Amen.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NIV

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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

(This photo was taken in March of 2013 at the Botanical Gardens in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada)

Trust In The Lord

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

When you feel lost and alone…frustrated and disappointed…or uncertain and afraid turn towards the Lord in prayer.  Put your trust in Him, He is always with you.

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Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:3-4 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2022 at Temperance State Park in northern Minnesota)

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)

Faith Over Fear

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

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

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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 NIV

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

Trust In The Lord And Wait For Him

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

We are so impatient and so hurried and impulsive.  We all spend so much energy on trying to save time and want everything to happen on our own personal time table.  We were not created to go full speed all the time and to expect things immediately…the goal is not to fill time with life…we should strive to fill life by spending appropriate time in all areas of life.  Starting with relationships…we were made to be in communion and community.  In communion with God our Creator and in community with each other…focusing more of our efforts on our relationship with God by taking the first step (Love God) and then working on our relationships with each other (Love Others) will help us live in each moment trusting God’s will and waiting for Him to lead us.  Peace be with you.

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Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!”

Isaiah 30:18 NIV

(This photo was taken in May of 2020 along the north shore of Lake Superior)

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)

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)

A Light In The Darkness

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 we wander off course or make poor decisions…when we go our own way instead of drawing near to God…life is harder, we struggle more and get discouraged and defeated.  When we turn towards God first with every decision, every day…the light of Christ will shine bright for us and illuminate our path.  When we choose to put God first and we will see a light in the darkness.  Thanks be to God for the Light of life.  Amen.

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“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV

(This photo was taken this morning at sunrise over a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

God’s Faithfulness

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

No matter what we have done or left undone…God is with us and God is for us.  Even when we don’t see Him or the work He is doing in our lives…He is near.  Every promise God made has been kept…He is faithful and His only promise yet to be fulfilled is when Christ returns.  Trust in the Lord and His Word…He is trustworthy and faithful in everything.  Amen.

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“The Lord himself will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will never leave you. He’ll never desert you. So don’t be afraid. Don’t lose hope.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIRV

(This photo was taken in August of 2021 at a field near Kimball, Minnesota)

God Is Our Strength

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

What is on your heart and mind?  What is it that drains your energy?  What worry, concern or circumstance is all consuming in your life?  Bring it to God.  Open up your communication with the Lord…tell Him what it is…talk to Him about it.  Put your trust in Him for every aspect of your life…He is with you and He is for you…even though you have tried to go your own way.  Read God’s Word and seek Him…for He is our strength.  Amen.

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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

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