Devotional Blog

Back to School

I was thinking of this time of year and how it is the time that all of the students go back to school. Summer seems to have passed very quickly this year and I hope all the kids going back have had a restful time along with looking forward to the future school year. I know as a kid I did not always look forward to going back to school but I just wanted to encourage you in this time of your life as you grow. I had to think of the verse in Timothy 4:12, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." Don’t underestimate the impact that you have on others. Be the light in the darkness for those around you and I will be praying for you as you continue to grow and shape your lives!

By: Michal Troyer

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Laughter

After a stressful morning, I went to get a bite to eat. Upon entering the restaurant, I heard laughter, and realized two employees were having a good laugh about something. Hearing that laughter helped to lighten my heart and the stress I had been experiencing. I was reminded of the scripture in Proverbs 17:22 that says “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” This scripture says a joyful heart is good like a medicine and laughter helps to encourage us. Laughter can be healing both mentally and physically and I was encouraged by the two employees’ laughter.

Laughter is a God given gift that each of us has been given. Too often we allow our circumstances to weigh us down and we forget to enjoy life and laugh. Laughter is a tool that we can use to battle against stress, anxiety, fear, or worry. When did you last laugh? I mean really laugh until it hurt. If it has been a while, I encourage you to try it and allow it to lighten your day. Here is a little laughter for today: At a party, a young wife admonished her husband, “That’s the fourth time you’ve gone back for ice cream and cake. Doesn’t it embarrass you?” “Why should it?” answered her spouse. “I keep telling them it’s for you.” (Selma Glasser, Good Housekeeping)

By: Elton Gingerich

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I Am... I Will

10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)


The God of the universe, even the Creator of the universe is WITH us. That’s what He said. Then He went on to give us several more promises just in this one verse! He’s not just with us, He will HELP us. Friends, it doesn’t get any better than that. Think for a moment about your worst day. Was God with you? I think He was.

Now, think for a moment about things to come. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but we can find rest in the promises in this one verse. If we search the Scriptures, we’ll find thousands of additional promises. One source states that there are 7,487 promises from God to His children (while I haven’t independently confirmed that, there are certainly thousands of promises). How many can you find? We all have days of uncertainty, and some might even say that we live in a day of complete uncertainty, but let’s remember God’s promises and cling to them, because those promises are certain.

By: Marcus Steury

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Seeing Through the Lies of the World

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16


Over the last couple of months we have been going over a study with the youth and junior youth by Ken Ham called Demolishing Strongholds. It has been a growing experience for both me and Lydia. The study looks at the theory of Evolution and the many lies that the world uses to trick people into believing that evolution can sum up all of creation. The study demonstrates the tactics that are used to “prove” evolution, thereby eliminating the need for God, when science “sums up” everything. It has been a really neat study and one thing they point out is the fact that the “evidence” that evolutionists use is all about perception. In one of the sessions, the speaker showed a pile of dinosaur bones and explained that this set of bones was put together by 5 different scientists. After the bones were in their correct places, each scientist wrote about what the bones showed. Most of the scientists saw only one type of dinosaur, but the other 2 scientists believed the bones showed an evolving stage in 2 distinctly different types of dinosaurs. Ultimately none of the scientists came to an agreement about the bones and just agreed to disagree. This was a perfect example of how when we as humans define our past, we can come to so many different conclusions. However, when we look to God and His word for wisdom of the past, He is never changing and His truth is always consistent. This reminds me a lot about our moral values and standards as well. When we as humans attempt to define what is morally right or wrong, we are definitely going to have many, many, many differences among people. But God’s word is ultimate truth and can give us the guidance we need to live virtuous and holy lives! Praise the Lord for His Word and the fact that we can always count on Him for truth!

By: Pastor Kevin Troyer

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"... a long obedience in the same direction."

I've discovered that one of the more unique aspects of parenting is how much God uses my relationship with my son to teach me about Himself. Currently, we are working on the necessity of my son's response and obedience when he is called. I’ve been utterly astonished at how many little detours he is able to take on his way to obey my summons: down the stairs, over the couch, under the high chair, and around the table — all while being able to insist that he is indeed responding to my call. How delightful a journey for him and how frustrating for the ones who are waiting! 

As Renita and I were discussing this stage of his development I was reminded of a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche that well-known pastor Eugene Peterson has popularized over the past several decades as a description of Christian discipleship: “a long obedience in the same direction.” I’ve always found that phrase sort of cool. We experience many fits and starts in our faith journey and yet the long term trajectory is one of obedience and submission to God. And sometimes I’ve even arrogantly presumed that God should be delighted by my “long obedience.” Well, all of my own pride came tumbling down as I realized that my obedience looks very much like my son’s “longgg” obedience. I sometimes can take a very long circuitous route when obeying God, rather than immediately responding to His call. A “long obedience” is wonderful in regards to persevering until the end. Matthew 24:13 states “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” However, our relationship and obedience to Christ ought to be more in line with Psalm 119:60 ​​”I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.” May our obedience be quick and our perseverance long, as we keep our eyes on the One who saved us!

By: Pastor Jay Mast



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We Are God's Jars

We are right smack in the middle of canning season. My wife and daughter-in-law take all kinds of veggies, process them, and put them together to make vegetable soup. Then they put them in jars. Next there is a time of pressure to seal the jars for later use.

This reminds me of the Christian walk. It may not be in the same order of making veggie soup, but God brings all kinds of items into our lives. Times of suffering, rejection by others, lots of pressure and Paul talks about the sealing of the Holy spirit in our lives. (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13)

 God even calls us His jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7–11 (NLT)

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.)

The writer goes on to talk about the pressures and dangers of life, even deaths that are put in our beings so that we can show the world Jesus.

By: Pastor Steve Eicher

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A New Nature

I have been helping my parents build their new house lately and they needed to tear down the old house in order to start building the new one. Ephesians 4:22-24 states "throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy" (NLT). Out with the old and in with the new! Just like the old house can not be used any more, our decision changed about fixing it. We need to be all in for Jesus and make a daily conscious decision to follow his plan for our lives.

By: Michal Troyer

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Goodness of God

There is a popular song entitled “Goodness of God” in which the lyrics say: “I Love you Lord, For Your mercy never fails me, All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands. From the moment that I wake up Until I lay my head, Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God. And All my life you have been faithful and all my life you have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God.” This song reminds me as I look back on my life, how good God has been to me over and over. He has faithfully walked with me through all of the good times and difficult times. It is good for me to look back and see how he has led me through these times.

In Psalm 145 David tells us to reflect back on our lives and think about the goodness of God. He tells us to praise God for his greatness, compassion, and faithfulness. However, sometimes you may not feel like praising God. It could be that as you look back on the last year or two of your life you may not feel like He’s been good. It may be that your life was impacted by circumstances you never anticipated. If you are feeling like this, I encourage you to look back on your life and focus on the hand of God who has provided everything you need. We are assured in God’s word that no matter the circumstances of our lives, God never leaves us. He has given us the greatest gift, his Son, Jesus. In Romans 8:32 Paul says: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” We can hold onto this promise that God will take care of us and be with us. Let’s reflect on His goodness in our lives.

By: Elton Gingerich

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God Alone

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62:5-7 (ESV)


Is God alone our refuge, our mighty rock, our fortress, and salvation? Ponder these verses today to decide if God alone is all of these things for you. That means we fully rely on God, and we don’t have a backup plan, just in case God doesn’t do what we think He should. This passage certainly challenges my faith. How much do I put my trust in God? Do I wait in silence before him, and recognize that my hope is from Him?

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “No eloquence in the world is half so full of meaning as the patient silence of a child of God. It is an eminent work of grace to bring down the will and subdue the affections to such a degree, that the whole mind lies before the Lord like the sea beneath the wind, ready to be moved by every breath of his mouth, but free from all inward and self-caused emotion, as also from all power to be moved by anything other than the divine will.”

This imagery of lying before the Lord like the sea beneath the wind is powerful. Wind creates waves. That’s it, just wind. All of those millions of drops of water that make up waves don’t control where they go – the wind does that. Are you willing to be like one of those drops of water, relying solely on God to move you? God is faithful, and will guide our steps if we rely on God alone.

By: Marcus Steury

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Stepping Out of Comfort in Faith

Imagine living the same day over and over again with nothing new occurring. You wake up, eat breakfast, take a shower, drive to work, go home from work, eat dinner, and go to bed. Over and over again. Imagine how boring life would be - not to mention, how little you would learn or grow if you did the same thing everyday. It would be a pretty miserable life. You would learn very little, you would meet no new people and you would have a very simple life. Now take this same scenario, but think about it in the context of your spiritual life. You don’t do any extra devotions, you don’t ever step out of your comfort zone (even when God calls you too) and you never take any new leaps of faith. You sadly wouldn’t grow a whole lot closer to the Lord, if you just did the same things over and over again. 

God not only wants us to grow closer to Him, but He wants us to step out in faith and trust Him. We are so blessed to live in America where so many things come easy, but it’s easy to get caught up in the same day to day things without ever really stepping out of our comfort zones. God doesn’t call us to be comfortable, He calls us to be obedient and to bring Him glory with our lives. Isaiah 43:7 tells us, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” God made each of us and He certainly has a purpose for us as well! We just have to trust Him, step out in faith and do what He calls us to do, to ultimately bring Him the glory He deserves! Think about your life this week and maybe take a chance or take a step out in faith. See what God wants to show you. God bless!

By: Pastor Kevin Troyer

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