Guilty Passion

Written by Various Authors
on February 19, 2020 in Devotionals

“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.” Ecclesiastes 5: 18 (ESV)

King Solomon was possibly one of the biggest and baddest dudes to ever walk this Earth. He had crazy wisdom, mad power, and everything under the sun. He “did it all” and spent much of his life building an incredible kingdom. However, he knew none of that would last. Everything he built was pointless, and it saddened him in his last days. He gives us some awesome perspectives we should keep as we walk through the days God has given us on this earth. I know sometimes as a snowboarder, I feel guilty for pursuing pleasure instead of helping some orphan on the other side of the globe. I am not saying don’t take care of the orphan because that is a command from God. I am addressing our work and our pleasures. God has placed us in this world for a short time where we will work hard and play hard. But, know we can’t take any of it with us where we are going.

Each day will have its challenges, and we are to enjoy the passions, the work, the family, the task, the ministry, and the people God has put in our lives.

CHALLENGE


-What is the point of this life if it all goes away? 
-Are you praising God for where you are in life, whether you are in a van down by the river or working some top floor job in the city? 
-Are you using your passions to glorify God or are they pulling you away from God?

By Marcus Corey | Lincoln, NH

Posted in Devotionals

Life in the Valley

Written by Various Authors
on February 12, 2020 in Devotionals

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4

Ever made a plan or a promise at a retreat, conference, or summer camp just to come home and fall flat on your face? I know I have, more times then I’d like to count. We all have, but why? What’s the deal? After being in the Christian camping industry for 7 years the phase “a summit experience” makes me roll my eyes. However, these cliche’s though annoying–are true. When at the summit, your perspective is a grand view where problems seem small and possibilities seem big. Have you ever noticed though, that not much vegetation life is found at the summits of mountains? Summits are great places to visit but poor places to live. The Valley is where we live and good thing because it is in the valley that we find rivers, crops, and fruit. The view from the mountain top helps us shape our faith but the valley is where we put our faith into action. It is in the valley that love, hope, joy, peace, patience and the other fruits of the spirit are grown. Don’t avoid the valleys but let the “rod” and the “staff” guide and comfort you.

CHALLENGE


Pull out those notes and revisit some of the thoughts that you have had from a retreat or conference.  
Where have you seen the rod and the staff? 
How long has it been since your last summit?

By Marcus Corey | Lincoln, NH

Posted in Devotionals

Refining Grace

Written by Various Authors
on February 5, 2020 in Devotionals

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4 ESV

Grace can be simply defined as being given what one doesn’t deserve, while mercy is defined as the withholding of what one does deserve. In other words–by God’s grace, we receive forgiveness for our sins; by God’s mercy, we don’t receive the wrath we deserve for our sins. In the shred culture, grace might be someone letting you cut them in line on a powder day and mercy might be a ski patroller letting you keep your pass when you duck a rope. 

So often, we have this “warm and fuzzy” view of God’s grace. Phrases like “grow in grace,” or “grace upon grace” are printed on bookmarks, stickers, and various other things. When we hold this view as our only understanding of God’s grace, that is when bitterness and doubt set in–when life’s circumstances don’t seem “warm and fuzzy.” It leads to questioning God’s love, causing us to wonder how God could love us when our circumstances reflect the opposite of His love. Something my husband says a lot is this, “People always ask the question, ‘How is God a loving God when bad things happen to good people?’ My question is, how can people be forgiven if God is a just God?” 

Whether your trial is losing your job, people gossiping about you, sickness, death, a speeding ticket – whatever it is, God is using it for His purpose. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” But, we can’t stop at verse 28 if we want to know “his purpose.” Verses 29 says this, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” To be like Christ, THAT is the purpose. What does it mean to be like Christ? It means to be slandered and to experience suffering. What happened after Christ suffered and died? He was glorified and went to be with His Father in Heaven. We too have that same hope. Your trials are God’s grace because they are making you more like Christ. 

CHALLENGE


-What lies are you tempted to believe when you experience trials? 
-Find a passage of Scripture to read when you are tempted to believe that lie. 
-Seek Christian community in your suffering, ask others for prayer. Open up. Doubts arise when you aren’t in a Christian community. 

By Eunice Jenkins | Lincoln, NH

Posted in Devotionals

Trust: With Zero Visibility

Written by Various Authors
on January 28, 2020 in Devotionals

“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)

I remember the first time I experienced zero visibility on the mountain. I was a beginner snowboarder, riding Mt Perisher in Australia. My friends and I took the chair up to the highest point on the mountain. We’d left the bottom of the hill with pretty clear conditions, however, at the top of the mountain was a different story–zero visibility. The conditions were rubbish and I couldn’t see more than a couple of feet in front of me. A friend, who was more experienced than me, was wearing a fluro green jacket, so our strategy was to keep him in front, stay close and follow him down the mountain. I had to muster every ounce of courage I had. Honestly, it was terrifying. 

That was over a decade ago. Now it is 2020. We are a few weeks in, and as you look into the year ahead, how’s your visibility? How’s your vision? Can you see what God has in store for you over the next 12 months? I know for me, I look ahead and I see no plan, limited vision, and zero direction. And like being on a mountain with zero visibility, it can be pretty terrifying. 

When Moses passed on the baton, Joshua knew he would lead God’s people into the Promised Land. But let’s be honest, his visibility of what was ahead of him wasn’t great. He may as well have been wearing fogged up goggles! However, the God who called him is also the God who promised to walk with him, regards of what Joshua can see. What did God require of Joshua? To muster some bravery and step confidently with God, trusting that God knew what the future held.

As we step into a new year, God calls us to trust Him the way that Joshua did. Regardless of our current visibility, which, like on the mountain, can change so quickly. One minute our plans seem clear and the next minute–zero visibility. Not being able to see what’s ahead is scary. But as followers of the highest King, we can move forward with confidence, knowing that our God has a way planned for us. He might not be in a fluro green jacket, but he knows the way and he will guide you to safety. Let’s be brave dear friends, and let’s trust Him with our 2020; even if it means trusting Him when we have zero visibility. 

CHALLENGE


When you look into 2020 what can you see? What are God’s plans for you this year?
What does it look like to “be strong and courageous” in the next 12 months? What is God asking you to step into with Him? 
What can you do to actively trust God when you have zero visibility? 

By Anna Schrafft | New South Wales, Australia

Posted in Devotionals

Trust: Full Send pt 2

Written by Various Authors
on January 22, 2020 in Devotionals

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)

In life, we trust so many things! If you are NOT familiar with the jumps at a resort you probably will watch a local who has hit them before so you can see how they throw you. After doing a couple of warm-up laps you build up some trust that the park crew has done their job to keep you as safe as they can. If the jumps are made sketchy you probably aren’t going to go full send on them purely because you don’t trust how they are built. But, we trust things we ARE familiar with very easily. You sat on the chair you are sitting on without giving it a second thought.

The thing with action sports is that trust involves so many different factors that we as humans could judge wrong. Where the Christian life you trust a God who has never changed and never will change. Choosing to follow Jesus is one of the most intense decisions that you will ever make. It is a much bigger decision than when you decided to try your first 360 or backflip. 

The thing about the Christian life is that God doesn’t call us to trust Him a little, He asks us to trust Him with ALL of our heart. Every relationship requires trust. It’s easy to trust a chair because it is something that never changes. Sure they can look different sometimes but they always support our weight when we need rest. And, when you sat down, you probably didn’t spend 5 minutes checking the structural support and design of your chair, you just sat down. You trusted your full self into something without giving it a second thought.

The more we familiarize ourselves with Christ, the easier it will be to trust Him. Pray, read the bible, trust him with the little things. As you grow in familiarity, you will grow in trust. Think of your best friend and how much you trust them and how that trust keeps on growing because you are giving more of yourself over to them! Just like in any relationship if we just stay in one place and don’t try and get to know the other person more, the relationship will turn old fast.

I challenge you to trust in Jesus as you trust sitting on a chair. Work to grow in familiarity with Him. Welcome Him into every day of your life and enjoy transferring the weight of your burdens onto Him without a second thought.

CHALLENGE


Why is it hard to trust something you are not familiar with?
What are real ways you can grow in familiarity with Christ? 
What do you feel called to trust Jesus with today? 

By Michael Dyck | Capernwray, New Zealand

Posted in Devotionals

Trust: Full Send pt 1

Written by Various Authors
on January 15, 2020 in Devotionals

“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

Have you ever tried to do a trick and then at the last second decide you aren’t going to fully commit? You pause in the middle of the air end up bailing because you weren’t confident in your ability. You might ride away fine or you might end up breaking a bone. If we don’t commit to Jesus with ALL of our heart we also start to set up our life for the recurring bail. We won’t ever get anywhere and we won’t see any progress in our relationship with Him. What ends up happening if we only give Christ part of our heart is that we end up remaining stagnant in our relationship with Him. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 say that we need to trust in the Lord with ALL of our heart. Did you notice how it didn’t say trust in the Lord with some of your heart? The Lord is calling you to trust in Him with everything you have. Are you willing to give God your whole heart?

I encourage you to give the Lord ALL of your heart. This is so hard to do, but I have found it has to be done daily. Wake up each morning and ask God to teach you how to give Him all of your heart. If we are consistently giving ALL of our heart to God we no longer have to worry about the future of the present because in this verse it says if we look to Him; He will make our paths straight. He will lead and guide our life in a way we would have never of dreamed for ourselves. Even though it might seem like He is calling you to do something sketchy you can be confident as you trust in Him. If we decide to trust God will all of our heart we might not know the outcome of our life and it may be quite the ride! 

What I do know is that if you give God All of your heart you will live a life filled with peace, joy, excitement. There might be some “sketchy jumps” along the way but He will make your paths straight directing you to where you need to go; and He will give you the ability, strength, and wisdom to do what He has called you to do! Don’t be that person who always second guesses mid-trick! Trust Him with all of your heart and He will lead you where you need to go!

CHALLENGE


How can you be trusting God more in your day to day life?
Is there anything big in your life that you are trying to overcome on your own strength? 
How can you be pointing other people to Christ so they don’t lean on their own understanding? 

By Michael Dyck | Capernwray, New Zealand

Posted in Devotionals

Trust: Trust Me

Written by Various Authors
on January 8, 2020 in Devotionals

“Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” Job‬ ‭38:1-4‬-23 

At first glance, this verse appears like God is upset with Job. But when you see it as a loving father speaking to his son type relationship you start to see it in a new light. I believe what God is saying here to Job and to you and me is this;  “If I made the Earth’s foundation, then trust me with what you have going on in your life. If I created all, then is your health issue out of my control? If I conquered the grave, then is your financial burden really that great? If I loved you so much to send my son, then is your past really beyond me?  Brace yourself and tell me the answer if you know.”

I would challenge you today to take a few moments, read Job 38-40 and look at all the wonders God has done. After doing that, ask God to put into perspective your requests compared to who He is. You might just have a new outlook on what you are facing today.  

CHALLENGE


How does contemplating God’s handiwork help you trust him with your life?

By Josh Knipple | Johnstown, PA

Posted in Devotionals

Trust: The Lord is Not Restrained

Written by Various Authors
on January 1, 2020 in Devotionals

1 Samuel 14:1-23 

Ever been in a fight? The people of Israel we outnumbered 10 to 1 and without weapons. Their leader, Saul, just sinned against God and literally the Israelites were trembling, hiding in caves and under rocks in fear for their life. Then Jonathan says to his armor-bearer, hey I have an idea! “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us.” Now when he says cross over, he means walk through a ravine, climb up a rock wall to the military base that is strapped to the hilt with pro military men. Not the best attack plan. But hey, perhaps the Lord will work for us. Here is the kicker. The rest of verse six explains Jonathan’s reasoning for this idea: “the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.” So they send it, slay 20 guys and take the garrison! Jonathan is such a beast, but truthfully the Lord is the hero in this story. The Lord is not restrained! If the world is beating you down right now, know this truth. The Lord is not restrained! Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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.” God loves you and is not restrained to save you. So take a moment and turn to him, trust him. The Lord is not restrained!

CHALLENGE


What challenges are you facing today externally? How about internally? 
What is holding you back from trusting God completely with these challenges? 
Who can you encourage with this message of hope today? 

By Jonny Nelson | Minnetonka, MN

Posted in Devotionals

Advent: Christmas

Written by Various Authors
on December 25, 2019 in Devotionals

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

Advent is a time of waiting for something notable. At Christmastime, we await and celebrate the birth of our King. Merry Christmas! Jesus is born! Emmanuel, God with us! 

Isaiah spoke these hopeful, prophetic words to the Israelites in a time of darkness. They had to wait 700ish years for these words to be fulfilled through the birth of Jesus. Yet when Jesus arrived, people had difficulty accepting a mere baby as the fulfillment of this weighty Old Testament promise. Many were convinced they were awaiting a warrior, a hero, a king. They were so convinced of their own interpretation of the promise, that they refused to accept Emmanuel, God with us–Jesus–when He arrived as a humble infant rather than an adorned king. 

We wait for promises from our Father, prayers to be answered. But when He does finally answer our prayers and our waiting is over, sometimes we go on waiting because the answer He gives us isn’t what we wanted. The Pharisees, who knew Old testament scripture like it was their job (because it was…) refused to accept the coming of their Messiah because it wasn’t how they had pictured it. It didn’t fit right with how they thought things would go. 

Our Father answers our prayers too–just not always when or how we think they should be answered. Sometimes we are still waiting because God is still working. Or, sometimes we are still waiting because we didn’t like His answer when He gave it the first time. If he’s answered, you should proceed in trust. Or, if he’s making you wait, then wait patiently in trust. Either way, God will be with you. Emmanuel! The promised Christ has come! And he has promised to come again!

CHALLENGE


What promises are you waiting to be answered this year?
Have you already gotten an answer that you have dismissed because you didn’t like it? 
Why is it so humbling to receive an answer to a prayer that you didn’t want or expect? 

By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI

Posted in Devotionals

Advent: Love

Written by Various Authors
on December 18, 2019 in Devotionals

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16 (NIV)

The word “Love” is overused to the point of unimportance. I would argue the same is true for John 3:16. Most people have heard, or are familiar with this verse. We are regularly desensitized to these common, yet indispensable words.

The Bible says huge things about love. Google it. The scripture references, the different perspectives, and the lessons don’t end. Yet, John 3:16 is so famous because it summarizes the entire plot of the Bible in one go. Jesus’ birth that we celebrate during Christmas is the beginning of God’s redemptive love for His people, His children, YOU! Jesus was born in Bethlehem and died in Golgotha because God loves you.

But what does that mean for us and how we love? As Christians, we are called to love each other how God first loved us–through selfless sacrifice. For “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

My parents always encouraged the proper use of the word “love” in our household. “MOM, I LOVE THIS PUMPKIN PIE.” “You want to serve your pie?” “No…I think this pie is utterly delectable and I wish I could eat it every day.” “That’s more like it, here have another slice.” You get the idea. Love is the act of laying down your life for your friends–serving them. You can’t serve pumpkin pie… (unless it’s on a plate).

If we love someone as God loves us, we put their needs before our own. We honor them with our actions. Laying down your life for your friend is heroic and feels right. We all think deep down that we would have the courage to take a bullet for someone. But it’s a bit harder to weave this concept into the normalcy of everyday life: letting people drop in the park before you, not getting frustrated when someone cuts the lift line, opening doors for others, holding your tongue from gossip, cleaning up after yourself, and respecting ski patrol. C.S Lewis has been quoted saying, “Love is unselfishly choosing for another’s highest good.”

CHALLENGE


What/who are you serving right now?
Is it something valuable enough to serve, or is it “Pumpkin Pie”?
How can you love someone by serving them today?

By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI

Posted in Devotionals