Persistence

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Do not give up…don’t assume you know the outcome…they say failure is a stepping stone to success…or the next attempt maybe the one that brings success.  We will always have the opportunity to stop trying to do something.  Maybe the answers for a situation are related to trying a new approach or a new way rather than quitting.  If we are able to surrender control and trust in God and His plan, we may find new outcomes we didn’t imagine were possible.  Bring your worries and struggles to the Cross and let Jesus lead the way.  Amen.

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“Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in Colorado)

Always With Us…Always

“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

God the Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth wants a relationship with you.  Not only that…He has promised to be with you and never leave you.  If God feels distant look around at what you are doing or decisions you have made…it is most likely you that moved away from Him.  God is with you and He is within you…believe and proceed to live life guided by Him.  May the peace of God be with you and flow through you.  Amen.

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No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:37-39 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2018 while traveling through South Dakota)

Trust In The Lord…Praise Him

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

Only God can do the things we wish we could control…only He can transform the way people think and change their hearts.  Faith is about trusting His way and His timing…be still and wait patiently for Him.  Keep doing good things according to His Word.  Amen.

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I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.”

Psalm 86:12 NIV

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

Surrender

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

Luke 9:23-24 NIV

God doesn’t need us to make the plans and try to control the outcomes…and frankly living this way often leads to disappointment and frustration.  I read some place last summer these words…God does not need our help or cooperation in establishing purpose in our lives…only our surrender.  This is true, we need to remember that God is with us and within us always and at all times…instead of thinking He is only near when we pay attention or recognize His presence.  What or how do you need to surrender to God?

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“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2019 at a lake near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Trust

Lord, those who know you will trust in you.
    You have never deserted those who look to you.”

Psalm 9:10 NIRV

Firm belief…confidence…faith…count on…believe in…truth…certainty…love.  The darkness and evil of the world are constantly working to turn us away from God and God is constantly speaking to us.  Seek Him, seek His will, believe He has good things planned for you and be patient.  Amen.

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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.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

(This photo was taken in July of 2022 on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)

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)

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)

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)

Trust And Pray

The Lord is gracious, kind and tender.
    He is slow to get angry and full of love.
The Lord is good to all.
    He shows deep concern for everything he has made.”

Psalm 145:8-9 NIRV

No matter what, anything is possible with God.  If you are discouraged or defeated and thinking this is never going to change or get better…turn towards God, put your trust in Him.  Confess your sins and make a commitment to change the way you live.  If you are frustrated and at your wits end with another person don’t give up…pray for them and be encouraged by story of Saul who became Paul…Saul was filled with anger and hate and he was leading the charge to kill believers in Jesus and yet this was the person God chose to change to help lead the charge to spread the Good News about Jesus.  You can read more about him in the book of Acts.  If God can change Saul to Paul, He can change you or someone you are praying for just the same.  Anything is possible with God.  Amen.

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“But I will bless anyone who trusts in me.
    I will do good things for the person who depends on me.
They will be like a tree planted near water.
    It sends out its roots beside a stream.
It is not afraid when heat comes.
    Its leaves are always green.
It does not worry when there is no rain.
    It always bears fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIRV

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