Camping/Tramping Badge Devotions
Read Matt 8:24-27
We here in Omokoroa and the Bay of Plenty are surrounded by the sea. In fact, New Zealand is surrounded by the sea. We’re a nation of water lovers. Swimming, sailing, fishing, skiing, anything that involves the water will probably play a part in your life.
But what’s the most important thing to do before heading out for a sail or a fish on the harbour?
That’s right, check the weather report. We even have advertising on the telly that warns Kiwi’s to check the weather before heading out on a boat, and to wear a life jacket.
Unfortunately for the Disciples they didn’t have access to the Met Service website; nor could they check out what Jim the weather man has to say each evening. However, they were seasoned fishermen, they had lived and worked on Lake Galilee for most of their lives. They would have known what the clouds were telling them; they would have been able to read each ripple on the surface of the lake. They had knowledge and experience that had kept them safe countless times.
And life is like that. As you grow up you’re gaining in knowledge and experience. Your wisdom is increasing so that when you’re an adult and you’re independent you will be able to ‘read’ situations and hopefully make an informed or wise choice.
But every now and then a storm will come. There will be something that will happen that you’re not prepared for. It’ll be big, it’ll be scary and it’ll quite possibly be life changing. But you will survive it because as Jesus said to the Disciples in the boat “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” He says the same to us. When you’ve got Jesus on the boat you needn’t be terrified. When you’ve got Jesus on the boat you’ve got a strength that will conquer anything.
Do your best to be informed. Make sure you’ve got your life jacket on. You can do these things by knowing your Bible. And when the storm hits you remember who is in the boat with you. Have the faith that He will protect you, He will keep you safe and, when you ask Him, He will calm the storm for you.
There are many instances in the Bible where people have been stuck outdoors over night. In fact, most of the accounts of people being out in the elements tell us they were out there for not just days, but sometimes weeks or even years. They had to find a way to make a home they could take with them. Again, the differences between the times in the Bible and today are huge. The Israelites who managed to escape from Egypt and wander around in the wilderness for years couldn’t make a quick trip to Kathmandu or Fishing Camping and Outdoors to pick up a tent, primus stove and some insect repellent. Not only were they in a hurry to get the heck out of Egypt, these stores didn’t exist then.
Jesus went out into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. He didn’t have freeze dried food sachets to bung in a billy for his dinner each night. He didn’t even have ponga fronds to make a bit of a bivvy to sleep in.
Tonight you’re going to be discussing making shelters and building tents for when you’re off camping. How lucky we are to have ways of keeping ourselves warm and dry when we’re sleeping outdoors. And we’re just as lucky to have ways of keeping our spiritual selves warm and dry too.
Read Psalm 92:9-12
How awesome to think that God would put angels at the door of your tent to keep you safe. Isn’t it great to know that He would make sure you’re lifted up when you’re tired and in danger of tripping and falling. All you need to do is make God your dwelling place. Put Him first in your life and He will take care of where you will sleep, what you will eat, where you will go and how you will get there.
Put your trust in the Lord and all these things will come together. Build your spiritual shelter under the wings of God’s angels and sleep peacefully.
A Map for Life
Tonight we’re going to be looking at maps, how to read them, how to understand what they’re telling us, where they’re leading us, what to expect along the way.
I love maps as it’s easy to see how to get somewhere, which is the easiest way to get there, which is the shortest way, which is the nicest or most scenic way and, if you’re someone who likes a challenge, which is the most difficult way.
Sometimes in life, it would be great to have a map like that. Let’s say you wanted to be a doctor when you’ve finished your education. You could get out your map, look up “doctor” as your destination and then find the road that leads there. The key at the bottom might show you that you’ll have exams to study for. You might have lots of homework to get through. There’ll be the odd grumpy patient to deal with while you’re training. You could clearly see what you would need in your pack before you set out on that journey.
However, we don’t have a map like that in life. Or do we?
I couldn’t come up with one verse for tonight’s devotion because our map for life is the Bible as a whole. The Old Testament has great things like the Ten Commandments told to Moses by God. There are the Psalms that show us how to praise God. There are people like Job who show us how to still hang on to faith in God when life is truly difficult.
The New Testament has letters to people just like you and me that give clear instructions on what God expects of those who love Him. Jesus own words are recorded and He tells us how to use our faith, keep our faith and share our faith. But there’s one catch with an ordinary map and the Bible as our life map. You have to open them both to figure out where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Trust me, unless you open that Word and read it and learn it will be impossible to know where you can and can’t go. Psalm 119:97-105 shows how important it is to know the teachings of God’s word and Verse 105 says “Your word is a lamp that gives light where ever I walk.”
Make 2013 the year that you get to know God’s word, reading a little each day, and giving light to the path ahead, learning to read your map to life.