Category: Devotionals

Reasonableness

Written by Various Authors
on May 12, 2021 in Devotionals

“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” – Philippians 4:5 ESV

Paul writes in his letter to the Church at Philippi, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” (Phil. 4:5 ESV). Depending on what version you read the word reasonableness is also translated as considerate, gentleness, moderation. This word is embodied through the life of Christ and especially in the event when He showed gentleness to the woman who was taken in adultery in a set-up (John 7:53-8:11). Jesus shows us what holy gentleness looks like. 

I don’t think it would be a stretch for everyone to agree that tensions have been high for a while in our society, probably the whole world. Much of the tension has been focused on debates and opinions of what is true over a variety of issues. I must admit that during this season I have come to be thankful for the tension because it challenged me in how I should communicate with others when opinions are controversial. I want to be honest about my failures in this process as well. There is a price that comes with knowing the truth.

In the Christian faith we believe in objective truth. In our society there is a deep longing for the facts which is amazing, but operating principles of the Kingdom of Heaven are hard to be understood as truth when they are difficult to be presented with proof that many so desperately wish for. There can be great power and proof of the truthfulness of the Gospel when it can be witnessed lived out in the lives of Christians. 

This is the beauty of our life. God can be seen through an appropriate, gentle, reasonable, example in our lives. What if because of the tension and the difficulty of such polarizing conversations my focus was compromised from being gentle to being right? I am passionate for people to know the truth, I believe in objective truth, I believe the truth sets us free (John 8:32, John 17:17). I’ve learned recently though that communicating for the truth to be known, without a spirit of gentleness and consideration, can be a destructive work that tears down instead of builds up. 

Paul also reminds believers that the Lord is at hand, which means He is coming soon. This should make it all the more important and easy for believers to rejoice in Him and be gentle to all. We know that when He returns He will be the one to settle every wrong, so let us build others up in gentleness so that they may receive Him and know Him before it’s too late. I’m convicted in my desire to destroy the lies that may hold people captive, that my zeal has been out of balance with appropriate gentleness and wisdom. I see God’s heart in this and I repent, desiring to walk in gentleness like Christ. We have an open door to build people up in the truth with a pure and gentle heart. Now is the time for us to be a living demonstration of Christ to the world. 

Challenge:

How have you engaged the tension or difficult discussions this season?

Do you believe the Lord can use us to build people up with a pure heart?

Are there any people we could reconcile with?

By Mike Bailey | Washington USA


Posted in Devotionals

Stay Guarded

Written by Various Authors
on May 5, 2021 in Devotionals

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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

Here in Colorado, it’s May and it’s still snowing. In fact, it’s been the snowiest month of the winter. (Check on your Colorado friends. We are not okay.) The transition that happens between late April and early May is pretty disorienting. We go from having regular time on the hill and studying the bible with friends to the resort closing, seasonal friends leaving for their next job, and our regular bible study stopping. Overnight, everything is different. Summit County becomes a ghost town, and suddenly…we’re alone with our thoughts and nothing to do. 

Back in March, I started trying to read the bible every night before bed. I was reading through Philippians, and when I finished the letter early-April, I just couldn’t turn past Philippians 4. Highlighted on the page from years ago in college, my eyes were drawn every night to these familiar verses. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.Every night as I opened my bible and stared at those words, I felt my heart being reminded. It felt fresh, over and over again.

Whatever is on your mind, bring it to me. Whatever requests you have, bring them to me. You don’t have to solve them or avoid them, just present them to me. And my peace will guard your heart and your mind.

The benefit of reading one passage over and over again is that eventually, over time, the truth of it really starts to stick in your mind.  If I’m being honest, in this transitional season I’ve found myself being drawn to literally everything but what’s going to bring me peace. I want to shop. I want to watch netflix. I want to be busy, busy, busy. I want to order pizza instead of cooking myself a meal. I want to give into feelings of disappointment or bitterness. The pull toward these things has been STRONG.

Against everything in me, I sat down to read scripture and pray a few weeks ago. The benefit of starting a habit in a mountaintop season is that God uses it to carry you through the valley seasons. I started just by thanking God for the ways he’s been providing in this time and after a few minutes I started praying the real real things weighing on my heart. When I was done? Whew…peace. The truths in Philippians 4 were a reality to my heart. I felt guarded by God’s peace that no matter how lonely and snowy and ghost-towny this weird transitional time gets, my heart will be guarded from the pull toward laziness and apathy as I stay connected to the Lord. 

God really is kinder than I make Him out to be. He cares for us. He cares for the heavy thoughts weighing us down, and promises to bring us peace as we bring them to him. 

Challenge:

If you’re in a mountaintop season, what habits can you put in place now to stay connected to the Lord?

What things do you run to when you’re overwhelmed or feeling down? What do you believe they’ll bring you?

Take some time this week to read Philippians 4, then take a few minutes to pray and give God what’s weighing on you. 

By Alie Heenan | Colorado USA


Posted in Devotionals

Brighter and Brighter on the Hill

Written by Various Authors
on April 28, 2021 in Devotionals

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.Philippians 2:12-13

Since I started skiing in 2006 my only desire was to be on the mountain with my friends and have fun. I had an easy transition from ice skating and hockey to skiing so it was nothing incredibly challenging for me. I also didn’t challenge myself either to learn tricks or go out of bounds on advanced terrain. However, this year I tried something new and became a ski instructor. I realized very quickly that I had never considered what my body or feet were doing while I skied and that I had no ski vocabulary. Turns out instructing requires a lot of patience, grace, and establishing a safe place for mistakes to be made because perfection actually wasn’t the goal. I loved discovering and teaching the beauty of learning and growing in all humility for the fun of refining ones’ skill. Now imagine if this life lesson had spiritual implications and how I may have felt when I discovered I wasn’t extending the same grace to myself in my spiritual growth. Because of growing up in a strict religious background, I personally have struggled with being in control of my spiritual transformation. I consider myself to have been a Christian all of my life, even though I actually didn’t learn about God’s grace wanting to transform me until I was in my late 20s. I thought the transformation of my life was all on my shoulders. I want to share my favorite verse with you on why this isn’t true, and a perspective to keep us aware that transformation, refinement, and learning is a lifelong process (Phil. 2:12-13).

Society enjoys telling us that we are in control of our own destiny and that it is up to us to make this life what we want it to be. This type of thinking is contrary to what Scripture teaches us and it is the type of thinking that will actually work against what God may be trying to do in your life. When I try to take control of God’s plan for my life, He reminds me of Isaiah 45:9 “”Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?” ‭‭I think we all know we are the clay and He is the potter. We can truly trust God is working for us, in us, and for His glory. This means that as we grow as Christians we are not left on our own to do the growing, neither is it all of Gods responsibility. It takes all of God and all of me in this process of sanctification. My life gets exponentially easier if my mindset is believing God is leading me to accomplish His will and at the same time empowering me through the Holy Spirit. Unlike our worldly leaders, our King came with grace and mercy. He knows our weakness and wants to be the strength. My deepest and greatest desire is to be a light in the darkness, a true son of God. In order to do this I have to submit to His process and His plan even if it is unknown and I can do that because He provides me with amazing assurance that He will lead me and partner with me in the process, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13).

Therefore, as we step into working out our salvation let us consider it as the awareness that God is always refining our likeness of Him in us. A light made to get brighter. In this way we can trust that ALL circumstances are a cause for joy because they are for our good and His glory. So don’t shy away from the trial or be disheartened in hard times and open your heart to His help. Never forget He loved us before we even knew Him, so there is room for mistakes and failures, just keep on the way in growing more and more into His likeness. 

Challenge:

Do you recognize God developing your character by putting you in tough situations? A.K.A working out your salvation? This is also known as progressive sanctification.

Would you accept a challenge knowing He is with you and He’s only expecting you to learn and grow but to not be perfect? 

Are we arguing with the Potter and bringing the world into His heavenly mold? (Is. 45:9-12)

By Michael Bailey | Spokane WA


Posted in Devotionals

Waking Up Alive Again

Written by Various Authors
on April 21, 2021 in Devotionals

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians‬ ‭1:21‬

Well over here in Spokane our local mountain just closed, the temperatures are starting to reach the 70s and you can’t help but mourn the passing of our awesome winter culture we enjoy so much. I hope you are having an incredible end to your season and I also hope the Lord has deepened your relationship with the homies. As I transition to a new season, I find myself asking the Lord how He would like me to spend these off winter months and what would honor Him. Personally, there seems to be a lot on my plate and historically I tend to overcomplicate things, so as we read Philippians 1 together I would like to pull out some simple realities that keep me grounded and bring me joy in waking up alive each day.

Let’s get right to it–Paul boldly declares towards the end of the chapter, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬. Paul continues to describe how he personally wrestles with this reality and longs to be with Jesus, but for the sake of the gospel knows it is better to surrender his desire to be with Jesus and LIVE for Christ. Why is it better to die? According to the gospel, living is a sacrifice. Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” Everyday of my life for Jesus is to be included in His suffering? Well frick, that’s kinda gnarly isn’t it? Well, here comes the encouragement. You are a Son or Daughter of God and each day you wake up living for Christ is a day of life bursting with light for those who need hope! After Jesus returns there will never be another time when you can give back to the Savior who poured out everything for us. Also it’s not complicated, you don’t have to pre-organize your day of good deeds or check off a list each day. You just get to wake up alive and trust that God is using you by simply being yourself and staying yielded to His Spirit in you!

Fam, let’s purpose together each day as we wake up to not conform to the world but become fully aware we are ALIVE for Christ to be His ray of light, hope, and truth! He is so patient that none should perish and we are so blessed to be able to shine so others may see Him. Life will bring its difficulties and to live through it with hope and faith is a blessing and honor to our King!

Challenge:

Have you over complicated the beauty of our life in Christ like me?

Will you repurpose acknowledging this week each day simply waking up alive again is a joy to live for our King!?

Will you also consider Romans 8:18-25?

By Michael Bailey | Spokane WA


Posted in Devotionals

That Daily Renewal

Written by Various Authors
on April 14, 2021 in Devotionals

“…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” Ephesians 4.23-24

I take great hope and courage every day in the promise of God that He will never leave me or forsake me (Deut 31.6). What could be greater than to know that my God goes before me and is with me and will never depart from me? Yet even still, the promises of God go deeper than that. Not only is He always with me; He is also always working good things in me. In Ephesians 4 Paul discusses the new life of the believer. He tells the Ephesian Christians that they are now a part of the body of Christ, where there is no distinction between Jew or Gentile. Each person within the Church has become a new man and/or woman with an old self that has died—they are people whom the Spirit worked within by renewing their inner spirit, mind and person everyday.

Scripture is very clear that God is not just resting in believers but is at work inside them, renewing them from the inside out. In Psalm 51 David prays to God that He would “renew a right spirit” within him. (Ps 51.10) He seems confident that God is able and willing to do this. In his letter to Titus, Paul speaks of this renewal and its source by calling it the “renewal of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3.5) Ultimately it is the Spirit of God at work inside the believer. In 2 Corinthians, Paul claims that the Spirit is bringing about this renewal on a daily basis as he writes, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor 4.16)

You have been called to a new life while still living in a corrupted flesh and in the midst of a broken world. How is it that anything good might come out of you? How will you resist temptation? How will you serve any of God’s purposes? It is only by the promise and reality that God is always with you, and His Holy Spirit is renewing your person day by day. What an incredible truth, that God is with you and working in, on and through you.

Challenge:

  • What are some areas in your heart that need to be renewed?
  • What are some promises of God to help motivate you and encourage you toward renewal?

By Ryley Heppner | Christina Lake, British Columbia

Posted in Devotionals

A Law of Love

Written by Various Authors
on April 6, 2021 in Devotionals

Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5

Do you ever overcomplicate your Christian faith? Do you make it into this burdensome and complex system of do’s and don’ts, robbed of any joy?  Do you live by lifeless commands and call it the Christian life? Do you begrudgingly pray and call it a relationship? Do you cognitively believe and call it love? I wonder if you have ever realized how very simple and yet intensely sweet and abundant life with Jesus was actually intended to be.

Consider Joshua’s words to the three tribes beyond the Jordan in Joshua 22. As he calls the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh and urges them to return to their portion of God’s promised land, he warns them according to God’s commands. He says “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  (Joshua 22:6). God’s blessing depends on Israel’s obedience to His commands. That seems simple enough, just obey God’s commands. But what are His commands? Are they oppressive? According to Joshua, God’s primary commandment is that Israel love and serve Him with all of their heart and soul. God did not desire simple moral obligation or legalistic compliance but relationship. Tell me what could be more beautiful and life giving than that; a God who desired affection over appeasement?

In later years this commandment is reinforced when Jesus defines to a lawyer the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mt. 22:37) With Jesus came a new covenant, a new outpouring of God’s spirit and a new way to the Father. But the goal remained the same: to love God. The reason Jesus can invite His followers to come and take His yoke and thereby find rest for their souls (Mt. 11:28) is that His yoke is not burdensome and it is not dependent on commands except the one to love Him. His command is like if you took your friend to biggest and most beautiful mountain in all the world with the fluffiest powder you have ever seen and told them that the only rule is that they have fun. That’s not a rule! That’s a reward! If we could know this and pursue this I am convinced that service and obedience would follow in the right spirit. No burdens, no legalism, no oppression or dissatisfaction. But instead, joy, peace, passion and contentment.

Challenge:

Have you overcomplicated your Christian life? What does it feel like to you in this very season? Are there things in your life that you need to renew and rethink as you serve and follow the Lord?

Is your service to God joy giving or joy robbing?

Take some time this week to focus on heart health, maybe listen to “The Heart of Worship” and spend time praying and thinking about how to renew the worship of your heart.

By Nicole Heppner | Christina Lake, British Columbia

Posted in Devotionals

That Glorious Gospel

Written by Various Authors
on March 30, 2021 in Devotionals

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…” Ephesians 1.7-8 

I forget where I left my keys almost on a daily basis. You would think I would just start putting them in the same spot every time, but I never do. When it’s time to go, I spend the next ten minutes trying to retrace every step and praying that the keys would just appear before me. I am a forgetful person; we are forgetful people. I think Jesus was aware of this when He instituted communion. He knew we would quickly forget the cross, so He took some and bread and some wine and said “Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of  me.” (1 Cor 11.25) I think the apostle Paul was also aware of peoples’ common forgetfulness,  and so in every letter he writes to remind the Church about the basics of the Gospel. 

In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul writes to the Church, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…” (Eph 1.7-8). Paul writes, “in him” and thus signifying being in relationship with Christ in which we have redemption and forgiveness. Simply by being united with Him we are redeemed and set free from sin and death for the record of our sins is cancelled.  

The hope of the Gospel is only made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a victory that many of us will be rejoicing in this coming weekend. For many of us life is so busy, on and off the ski hill, and it’s so easy amidst the busyness to forget. To forget that glorious Gospel that has allowed us to know Christ. As Sunday approaches take some time to reflect– whether it is while you ski, melt wax, brush your teeth, make your coffee, sit on that chairlift, etc. Prepare your heart to remember and to rejoice and may that time bring new joy and refreshment to your spirit.

Challenge:
For the rest of this week aim to be intentional, whether with lots or little amounts of time, to reflect on the Gospel.

What are some key Gospel truths that you feel you may have forgotten? Take time to remember those truths!

By Ryley and Nicole Heppner | Christina Lake, British Columbia

Posted in Devotionals, Uncategorized

Know Who You Are

Written by Various Authors
on March 23, 2021 in Devotionals

At that time many nations will join themselves to me. And they will become my people. I will live among you. ’Says the Lord. Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you.” Zechariah 2:11 

When I am out on my skis in the mountains, it is vital to know who I am. I am not Travis Rice, therefore I cannot throw myself into every steep powder hillside or act against the forces of nature and physics. I will be sure to perish if I do that.  But I have a deep longing for adventure, a challenge and flow. I’m sure that I did my best in planning, training and preparing for this. I do know my limits and today I push my limits – drop in. 

The other day Dave Ramsey described a good leader to be someone with the following qualities–hungry, humble and smart. Talent is not enough to be successful as it can even be toxic by itself. It was similar in the Bible with Nehemiah. He was very passionate, smart, talented, and willing to take risks. But he forgot that God himself would carry out his plan. Zechariah 2:11 says “At that time many nations will join themselves to me. And they will become my people. I will live among you. ’Says the Lord. Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you.“ I am sure you know those days when you stand in amazement in the pow and you seem so small and insignificant. And in the next moment you experience the most beautiful feelings on your descent. It’s like the perfect interplay of your skills, conditions, courage, and awareness that you are not God. You are just grateful.

Challenge:

  • Are you still hungry to learn new things and act passionately?
  • When was the last time you were humbled in the mountains?
  • In which area of ​​life could you make smarter decisions?

By Micha Stücher | Leader of SRS Sports Ministry in Germany

Posted in Devotionals

The Glory of God

Written by Various Authors
on March 16, 2021 in Devotionals

“Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” Exodus 33:18

In this passage Moses has been trying to lead the people of Israel, who seem to ceaselessly turn their backs against the great God of their nation. For a moment let’s rewind to Moses’s experience in the desert with the burning bush. The Lord sent Moses back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from oppression without giving Moses a full revelation of who it was that was sending him. God sent Moses off with this, “Go, and say I AM sent you”. Who was this I AM? Since then, the heart of Moses just burned to know who the great I AM was, he yearned to see His glory. Moses begs, “show me your glory” and God responds, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence..” (Exodus 33:19) Moses cries out to see God’s glory and God is not messing around when He answers with, this is my name. For if you can grasp the name of God, then you have seen His glory.

Exodus 33 is a passage that reveals the nature of God’s character in how He dealt with the rebellious people of Israel. God delivers His word to Moses on the mountaintop and Moses descends to find the people in rebellion by worshipping a golden calf made in the image of God. The stones of written commandments get shattered and God’s wrath comes. However, God gives the people a second chance and allows for two new stone tablets to be created. Through this God displays His glory, however it was not in the miraculous signs and wonders one would expect. God reveals His glory to Moses by displaying His mercy and compassion through an act of forgiveness. 

Something I struggled with before I became a Christian was trying to find something to make me feel whole, something I could build my life and identity on, and for a while that very thing was snowboarding. I was seeking fulfillment and glory, not God’s, but of my own. As I gave my life to Christ and grew, I eventually had the realization of what I was doing. This happened around the same time I decided to become a missionary and moved to one of the driest and hottest places with no ski hill in sight! The desert of Baja CA Mexico would become my new home and with it came the sacrifice of winter and of snowboarding. God used that season to teach me what it meant to worship Him first and supremely and with that my love for the mountains and snowboarding changed. No longer chasing them to make me complete because Christ did that. God did eventually bring me back to the snow and the mountains and with that came a deeper awe and appreciation for Him.

Challenge:
It’s easy to worship and idolize the things we do and to find our identity in them–take time today to make sure your heart is focused on worshipping Christ and seeking to glorify His name.

Take time to enjoy His creation today and to praise Him for it, because it’s marvelous and there is no Creator like Him! Find ways today to give Him the GLORY that He deserves.

By Nicole Heppner | Christina Lake, British Columbia

Posted in Devotionals

The Center of His Will

Written by Various Authors
on March 9, 2021 in Devotionals

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who
are in Ephesus, and care faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and
peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ. Ephesians 1.1-2

Several years ago I was in Panama working with a group of students at a special needs orphanage. The founder and leader of this orphanage was a man from North Carolina named Matt. I can remember working alongside Matt and thinking, “He has it all. He is in fulltime ministry; he is feeding and clothing orphans, and he is doing it all in a tropical paradise.” One day during a lunch break, I had the opportunity to chat with Matt and I was
taken aback as he shared about the many difficulties and frustrations he had while living and serving in Panama. I learned it had taken him many years to be okay with staying and serving there. At the end of our conversation Matt simply said, “These days I am at peace about being here because I know it is the Lord’s will.” As I walked away I thought to myself, “Matt sounds an awful lot like Paul.”           

When the apostle Paul was writing to the Ephesians he was most likely in the midst of his first Roman imprisonment—chances are he was in a cell or under some type of house arrest. Whatever his living conditions were, this could not have been his first choice. Even though he was in custody, Paul seems to be at such peace throughout the entire letter as he never even asks for prayers of deliverance. Even though I am sure there were many factors to Paul’s peace, one of those factors must have been his confidence that he was a part of God’s bigger plan. Just look at how Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians, “Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” (Eph 1.1) Paul understands that God has sovereignly chosen, called and led him according to His will. As long as Paul keeps his eyes fixed on Christ he will remain in the center of that will. Even while in prison Paul knows that God is working out His will through him, and from that knowledge there is an unbelievable peace.           

Whatever our current situation is, no matter how difficult things seem or how frustrated we are with our circumstances, we can know for certain that as we obediently surrender and seek His Kingdom God is faithful to both reveal His will to us and begin working that will through us. There is not a more restful and satisfying place to be—in the words of
Corrie ten Boom, “There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”

CHALLENGE:

  • How have you been responding to your current situation or circumstances? In what ways can you see God’s hand in your life even through the hardship?
  • This winter season and even last may have looked very different for many of us. Has it made you doubt where God has you living and serving? If so, take some time today to obediently surrender and seek the Lord.

By Ryley Heppner | Christina Lake, British Columbia

Posted in Devotionals