Living Sacrifices

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.

Do not conform any longer 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 NIV

Every one of us has a choice, every day…how will you choose to live this day?

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:9-13 NIV

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Glacier National Park in Montana)

God’s Love And 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 where we go or what we do God’s love and faithfulness are always more powerful than anything in this world.  We spend our days searching for something…happiness, justice, peace of mind and we believe we will find it somewhere on earth.  Yet the whole time God offers a path to find these pursuits.  It begins with a belief in God and His goodness.  Every promise He made He has kept and the last promise has yet to come, and Jesus Christ will come again.  I pray we have the courage to stop putting our faith in things created by mankind and put our trust and faith right where it belongs…In God We Trust.  May you see God’s love and faithfulness at work in your life.  Amen.

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“Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

Psalm 115:1 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2015 on the side of the road while driving through South Dakota)

To Know Him…

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”

John 10:14-16 NIV

From the very beginning God created us out of his love.  As we try to find satisfaction and happiness in worldly things we will come to find that only by God’s grace will we find true joy and peace in life.  Wisdom is found in spending more time with God and reading His Word.  The more we know Him rather then just know about Him…the more our eyes are opened and the better we begin to understand that we are broken, sinful people in need of a Savior and Jesus Christ is our good shepherd and our redeemer.

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 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 1:13-14 NIV

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

Power In The Name Of Jesus

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:9-11 NIV

When life is difficult and frustrating, where do we get the ability to move forward?  What could possibly renew us?  What makes some people so resilient?  It has been my experience that there is only one thing powerful enough to lift us up out of any tragedy or trial…and His name is Jesus.  A relationship with Jesus Christ in the way to strength in the battle and rest when we are weary.  To experience His presence, we must do our part and be willing to spend time in devotions and prayer building our relationship with Him.  God made a promise, He will never leave you nor forsake you and He always keeps His promises.  Invite Jesus into your heart and into your life daily and you will be renewed each day.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

There Is Power by Lincoln Brewster

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“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”

Proverbs 18:10 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2022 at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)

Our Strength Comes From God

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

Our faith becomes most real when we experience something that is difficult to explain with words…when a need is met in an unexplained way, when courage came at an unexpected time, when peace overwhelms us during a difficult time, when we are able to do something that we normally would not consider attempting if we had time to think about it and analyze it…when we get out of the way and God is guiding us. Only later do we consider and realize that God came near to us.  These are not once in a lifetime experiences, as God is with us in life every step of the way every day…we just need to be in communication with Him and trust in Him.  May God’s peace be with you.  Amen.

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 NIV

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

Be Still…Wait For The Lord

“Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
    do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
    but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

Psalm 37:7-9 NIV

Be Still And Know by Amy Grant

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“I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

(This photo was taken in September of 2016 at a lake in central Minnesota)

Seek First His Kingdom

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8 NIV

Living a life with faith first…it sounds so simple, yet living in this fallen world it is often hard to do.  The bible is a great guide for life…the world will tell you it is not…there are those who believe it is an outdated book filled with stories that are more like fairy tales…that the world is so different now than when it was written that it is not applicable to life today.  That is exactly what Satan wants us to think.  The fact is the bible is the truth, based on actual events and it is the Word of God…take time to read it every day and it will change your life.

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So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:31-34 NIV

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while driving in northern Colorado)

Stay Close To The Word Of God

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

We are often easily distracted…taking our eyes off of Jesus and focusing on things we can’t control.  Much like Peter who stepped out of the boat to walk on the water by faith (Matthew 14:22-33)…we learn that as soon as he took his focus off of Jesus, Peter began to sink.  The first step of putting our faith in Jesus is extremely important that is how we get started on our faith journey…yet the next steps are just as important, keeping our eyes on Him, even when, especially when the winds of evil and darkness blow strongly against us.  Keep God’s Word close to you and within your heart.

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“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Psalm 119:105 NIV

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

Listening

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

James 1:19-22 NIV

Listening is a skill we all need to use more often and a way of communicating that could get us much closer to peace in our life.  If we were better at listening there would be less divorce and broken families…if we were better at listening there would be less violence and crime as hate and anger would not be stirred up so quickly.  Listening involves taking time to understand what the other person is saying, it involves empathy.  It means not being so quick to respond with your own will and desires as first priority…it takes humility to really listen…it takes a willingness to admit we don’t have all the answers.  Think about recent interactions in your life…when are you hearing and when are you listening?  I know I can do better.  Lastly, communicating with God takes more than just talking, if we are doing all the talking in prayer when do we take the time to listen to Him?  May we all be blessed with courage and humility to listen better.  Amen.

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“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

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

Believe…Overcome

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.”

1 John 5:1-2 NIV

Believe in Jesus Christ, confess your sins and seek Him.  He is the Way…He is with you and He will strengthen you to overcome anything in your life.  Trust in the Lord and you will find peace.  Amen.

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In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

1 John 5:3-5 NIV

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