Author: Philip Schulz

Trust

Written by Philip Schulz
on March 18, 2015 in Devotionals

March 18, 2015

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Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

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Trust

About a year ago around Christmas time several of my good high school buddies and I got back together and went riding at one of our local resorts called 49 Degrees North. I remember riding the chairlift and talking about life with my friend Nick Sackman (you probably know him). We were both in a position where we were working jobs that we didn’t like and we were frustrated about that and with life in general. We talked about how we didn’t understand what God was doing or where He was taking us. We talked about wanting to quit our jobs and do stuff that we were passionate about (shred ministry) but we didn’t see how that was a possibility.

If you’ve been a human for very long you probably know that a lot of life is like this. Things don’t go the way we plan them, life doesn’t happen according to our script. We lose jobs, we don’t get jobs, we lose relationships, we get bad grades, our cars break down, we don’t know what to do, where we should go, or where to live. How’s a dude (or dudette!) to figure it all out?

I recently read an article called “The Insanity of Leaning on Our Own Understanding.” In the article the author says this:

“We’re told not to lean on our “own understanding,” meaning conclusions based primarily on our own perceptions. Because our own understanding simply will not bear the full weight of reality. It was never intended to.

Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden. The one tree in the garden that humans were forbidden to eat from was not, interestingly, the tree of life (Genesis 2:9). It was not life that God denied human beings. He forbade them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).The point of this prohibition was not to keep humans ignorant but, as John Piper says, “to preserve [for us] the pleasures of the world.” It was as if God was saying,

If you eat of that one [tree] you will be saying to me, ‘I’m smarter than you. I am more authoritative than you. I am wiser than you are. I think I can care for myself better than you care for me. You are not a very good Father. And so I am going to reject you.’ So don’t eat from the tree, because you will be rejecting me and all my good gifts and all my wisdom and all my care. Instead, keep on submitting to my will. Keep on affirming my wisdom. Keep on being thankful for my generosity. Keep on trusting me as a Father and keep on eating from these [other] trees as a way of enjoying me.

You see, in order to handle the knowledge of good and evil, one must possess 1) the ability to completely comprehend all possible options and contingencies (omniscience); 2) the righteousness and wisdom to choose the right course; and 3) the power to make reality conform to the right course (omnipotence).

In other words, only God can handle such knowledge.

What this means is that it is not the one who trusts in the Lord that is irrational, but the one who leans on his or her own understanding. It is insane to trust such pitifully limited understanding when one can trust the unlimited understanding of God.

So many of the things that cause us the most difficulty and heartache in life, the source of so much of our anxiety, fear, doubt, and anger with others and with God, is the result of leaning on our own understanding.

God does not want us to be miserable, even in this fallen, futility-infected evil age. He wants to relieve our anxiety (Luke 12:12Philippians 4:6–7), fear (Psalm 118:61 Peter 3:6), doubt (Matthew 21:21Luke 24:38), and sinful anger (Ephesians 4:31). And so he gives us Proverbs 3:5–6 as a priceless gift.

In exercising faith — trusting fully in the Lord and not leaning on our own understanding — we’re not setting aside our intellect. We’re resting our intellect upon the intellect of God. Nothing is wiser or saner. To do so is to allow him to direct our paths, which not only lead to ultimate joy, but also make the journey itself, even when laden with sorrow, joyful (2 Corinthians 6:10). And it preserves for us all the pleasures God provides us in the world. To not do this is the height of foolishness and the path to misery.

So let us choose joy today by not leaning on our own understanding but in sweet, childlike trust on the sure foundation of our loving Creator’s omniscience.”

Less than a year (as I write this) after that chairlift conversation, the Lord lead Nick to quit his job, pack up his wife and dog, move to Colorado, and do full time shred ministry with SFC. Through God’s leading I’ve also quit my job and now work at my local ski resort and am pursuing full time shred ministry. There isn’t enough time to tell that whole story but the whole process was one of leaning on Jesus and trusting in Him, as it was one of the most uncertain times of my life. Whenever I leaned on my own understanding, fear, stress, and anxiety would creep into my life.  When I put my trust in God I had peace that He would provide for me and lead me.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Streams in The Desert by L.B Cowman.

“Trust… sees and feels, and leans upon a person, a great, true, living heart of love. So let us trust in Him, through all the delays, in spite of all the difficulties, in the face of all the denials, notwithstanding all the seemings, even when we cannot understand the way, and know not the issue; still “trust also in him, and He will bring it to pass.” The way will open, the right issue will come, the end will be peace, the cloud will be lifted, and the light of an eternal noonday will shine at last.”

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Application

No matter where you are in life God wants you to follow and trust in Him, even when it doesn’t make sense to our own understanding. The Bible is filled with people who doubted, struggled with, or flat out didn’t want to do what God wanted them to. They questioned, argued with, and sometimes ran away from God. But in the end, God’s way was always better. The same is true in our lives. Following Jesus isn’t easy, but it’s always better. Just think, in the book of Psalms it says that God created your inmost being, God literally knows you better than you know yourself. He wants you to follow, and Trust in Him.

Has there ever been a time when you’ve had to trust in God and he’s come through? Mind sharing?

Take Home: What areas of your life do you need to trust to God? Spend some time in prayer this week surrendering and trusting those areas and things to God.

Posted in Devotionals

Battle

Written by Philip Schulz
on December 31, 2014 in Devotionals

December 31, 2014

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Bible Reference

2nd Corinthians 10:3-4: For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

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Enter the battle

I was recently reading an article that popped up on my Facebook newsfeed entitled “Marriage on the Edge of Eternity” by Francis Chan. Mawwiage, It’s what bwings us togevah today. Wait, this is on marriage? Nope, it isn’t.

To summarize the article, Francis Chan talked about how married couples can get focused on how the Bible can improve their marriage and end up missing the big picture of what the Bible, and what LIFE is about. The same can be said for any of us when we look at the Bible and Christianity as a way to simply improve our lives. When we do this we are missing the bigger picture of the Bible and the mission that God has given us.

One paragraph towards the end of his article really jumped out at me. In it Francis says, “The Bible teaches that we are in a real war with a real enemy, God has given us a mission, so we cannot allow ourselves to get entangled in Civilian pursuits. Picture a nice house with a white picket fence and your happy family lounging inside. Now imagine a full-scale war unfolding just a few blocks away. Your friends and neighbors are fighting for their lives while you are remodeling your kitchen and hanging your new big screen TV. You have contractors installing better windows so you can tune out the noise. It is a pretty pathetic picture, but it’s an appropriate comparison for the lives that are offered to so many Christians. They are ignoring Jesus’s mission in hopes of enjoying this life. But don’t fall for it. Real life is found in the battle.”

Before Jesus ascended into heaven after his death and resurrection, He gave his disciples something called the great commission. To paraphrase, He told them to go make disciples of all the nations. Starting with the people around you and going on to the ends of the earth. So before we are to be snowboarders, skiers, college students, or whatever else, we are to be on mission for God to spread His Gospel. Jesus has committed His words of life to us, so that we can give them to the people surrounding us trying to battle through this life with no hope. Unfortunately, when we’re shredding, we are often times more focused on the tricks we are trying to land then the mission that God has given us.

I think another reason that we often don’t talk to people about Jesus is that it can be uncomfortable and scary. What will this person say or do or think about me? After Jesus gave his disciples His commission, they started telling people about Jesus’s resurrection and they also started doing the same miracles that Jesus was doing. Because of this they faced a scary and life threatening situation.

Let’s read about it in Acts 4: 1-31.

Shortly after this the Jewish religious leaders started having Christians thrown in jail, and killed. There efforts only caused the gospel to be spread more. Acts details this spread of the Gospel and the boldness displayed by these early Christians. These Christians understood that life is found in the battle.

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Application

Odds are you know people who need to hear the life giving message of Jesus. Odds are one or more of them are people you shred with and have a relationship with. This week try and introduce Jesus into a conversation with them. We have been gifted with one of the best ways to talk to someone about Jesus, it’s called the chairlift. I’ve found one of the easiest ways to get the ball rolling is to simply ask “what do you think about Jesus?” Everyone has an opinion and they usually don’t mind sharing it.

What are some of the things that prevent you from sharing with others about Jesus?

What would your Acts 4 prayer for boldness look like? Let’s pray it and ask for boldness to tell others in the shred culture about Jesus.

Posted in Devotionals

DA Truth

Written by Philip Schulz
on December 3, 2014 in Devotionals

December 3, 2014

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Bible Reference

3 John 4: I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in the truth.

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DA Truth

Not long ago I was reading through 2nd and 3rd John and I couldn’t help but notice how many times he used the word “truth”. John uses the word several times throughout these short books and sometimes multiple times in one sentence. In both of these books John uses the phrase “walking in the truth.” It seems that truth and walking in the truth was a pretty big deal to John so it’s probably worth talking about. My BIG question is, what is walking in the truth, and how do we do it?

Recently, I was reading an article about a poll that was given to self-identified Christians. The poll had fairly basic questions about who God is, Jesus, sin, and scripture. The results were a little scary! They showed that many Christians have misconceptions and sometimes are downright wrong on these topics. This really smart guy named R.C Sproul said about the poll “There are two primary problems: we don’t understand who God is, and we don’t understand who we are.”

In Johns day there was a pretty big problem in many churches. Randos off the street were coming in spouting off wrong things about Jesus, and the problem was that people believed them! This was why it was so important for the people in these churches to know the TRUTH and walk in it. Now, if you go to church I’m hoping that your pastor isn’t telling you lies about Jesus, but this still applies to us today. In our culture we are constantly bombarded with the “truths” of this world. Whether it’s TV, education, pop-culture, or shred-culture, we are constantly being told who we are and who God is. Often times we are told something different by each source. I don’t how many opinion pieces I’ve found talking about “who Jesus really was” in the religion section of popular news websites.

So this takes us back to the BIG question. What is walking in the truth and how do we do it? If we are being bombarded with the truth of this world how do we know what real truth is? Well the answer is actually pretty simple. In John 14:6 Jesus says “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” In John 8: 31, Jesus says “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Want to know truth? Look at Jesus!  Want to walk in the truth? Abide in His words.

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Application

What people or things influence us in what we believe and who we are?

What does walking in the truth practically look like for us?

In the book of Romans, Paul says in chapter 12, “Do not be transformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In other words, don’t be transformed to the truth’s (Lies) of this world, but transform and renew your mind to Gods truths. I would argue that the starting point and primary way to do this is through reading God’s word (the Bible). You see God’s already spoken to us about who He is, what He is like, what He has done for us, and about how He wants us to live. Through the Bible God speaks to us, and the Holy Spirit will use that to transform our minds, our hearts, and our lives. How is your Bible reading going? Are you letting it transform your heart, mind, and life? Over this next week try to spend some time every day with God by reading the bible and praying, and see what happens.

 

 

Posted in Devotionals