“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:8-14 NIV
Jesus came down from heaven and was born as a baby to reconcile us to God…to bring peace on earth. That peace only goes forth when we choose to live as Jesus lived and strive to let peace begin within us…by our actions, our words and our behaviors towards others. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with each us individually.
Glory (Let There Be Peace) by Matt Maher
“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
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
Peace Be Still by Hope Darst
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Colossians 3:12-15 NIV
(This photo was taken in September of 2022 in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming)
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Luke 2:8-11 NIV
Jesus Christ came down from heaven to live as one of us to save us from our sin. He is the Hope of the World!
One King by Point of Grace
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Romans 5:1-5 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 in Mitchell, South Dakota)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”
1 Peter 1:3 NIV
Hope in this world mostly gets aligned with wishful thinking in general conversations. This hope is not sure, not firm and is not based on belief. The hope talked about in the Bible is hope that believes and knows God’s promises for good things. This hope is supported by actions and behaviors. The hope we receive from Christ is a hope that knows and believes that Christ lives and that God is for us and working for our good, even when, especially when the visible evidence is against it. The hope from God’s Word tells us to not give up or surrender to sin and doubt, rather know that God is with you and you can trust in Him…not for the things you believe you should have but for the things God knows that you need. May the God of all hope be present in your daily life. Amen.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 NIV
(This photo was taken in September of 2016 on a lake in central Minnesota)
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV
Character and attitude…how we treat each other in our daily lives. These are the things that show that we believe. Love is action. Learn from the example that Jesus provided in His life, death and resurrection. Amen.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
(This photo was taken in June of 2013 while traveling in northern Colorado)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV
God promises to be with you and guide you, if you will follow Him. If God feels distant or far off it is because we have wandered off not because God has abandon you.
“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
“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 at sunrise in May of 2020 on the North Shore of Lake Superior)
“Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.”
Psalm 62:8 NIV
Opening your heart in honest, sincere transparency with God in a quiet time with Him is true prayer…an on-going conversation where you spend as much time listening as you do speaking on a daily basis is kind of prayer life that can change lives. Amen.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Colossians 4:2 NIV
“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
(This photo was taken in October of 2014 on the island of Maui, Hawaii)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Instead of trying to control things beyond your reach…put your trust in the Lord. Trust His way…trust His timing and trust the outcome to Him who has done more for you than any person in your life. He is with you, He is for you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
(This photo was taken in August of 2016 in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington)
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
John 14:12-14 NIV
When you pray, do you truly believe what you are asking for will happen? Or is it more like wishing for something that may or may not happen? True transformation is when we believe what we ask for will happen and not on our timeline or according to our expectations. As I look back over the early part of my faith journey, I remember prayers that were more just like going to a wishing well…speak it once and probably never think about it again. This is not sincere, authentic praying. Prayer is communication with God, it is about spending time with Him and our relationship with Him. Jesus put it this way…
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Matthew 6:6-8 NIV
The key to this statement is your Father knows what you need. Ask Him for things, believe in Him and what He can do. Then watch and listen for Him and you will receive. Ask…believe…receive. Amen.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Mark 11:24 NIV
(This photo was taken in July of 2021 in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado)
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
Luke 9:23-25 ESV
This is it…this is what we are told by Jesus in God’s Word. “Follow me” He says to the tax collector and the individual promptly gets up and begins to follow. We do have a choice in our lives…free will is very important to God. He wants us to choose to follow Him. In Matthew 19, a rich man is invited by Jesus to ‘follow me’ and rich man is sad because he has great financial wealth and does not want to give that up. There is nothing in this world worth more than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Look for yourself…read God’s Word…chose one of the Gospels. I recommend the Gospel according to John, learn about Him and then choose. May peace be with you. Amen.
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
John 12:23-26 NIV
(This photo was taken in September of 2020 at a lake in northwestern Wisconsin)