Snowmobiles and Signs

Living in Minnesota means snow. This year’s snow and temperatures are bad enough to make a polar bear look for a coat. I’m not really complaining, just enlightening.

A fun part of the winter though is riding snowmobiles. I grew up on it. I haven’t gotten to do much of it over the years. This year I found a snowmobile on Craig’s List and added it to our family. It’s an older, used one but it can get going, and it’s Ethan’s main thing!

Our neighbor saw our new snowmobile and invited me on a late-night ride through trail in our community. I put my gear on and with a couple of other guys, off we went.

It was snowing again (go figure). Watching the snow fall down in the beam of my headlight was fun. Since the trail was new to me, every turn was a new picture.

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photo credit: mercedesbbk via photopin cc

When you ride trails, you stay as group in case someone’s snowmobile breaks down, someone falls off (it happens), someone gets lost, etc. At night you keep an eye out for the taillight of the person in front of you and the headlight of the person behind you. If you can’t see the sled behind you, you stop until they come into view. If they don’t, you turn around to find them.

It’s like not leaving family behind.

The other part of riding at night is trusting the leader and the signs that mark the trail. It’s the leader who makes the turns that everyone else follows. If he is unsure, he stops so we all catch up and make a group decision. The bottom line is it all comes down to looking for the signs and trusting the signs.

On our ride home, we decided to take a different route than when we left. The snow was falling harder but we felt good about where we were going. We were looking hard for some specific signs to know where to turn. Understand these signs are small, orange signs with black arrows. They can be every 100 yards to every ½ mile apart. Somewhere we got turned around and felt we were going the wrong direction. We stopped a couple times to agree on where to go next.

Being off-course was a bit unsettling because we were afraid of being lost and running out of gas. Out on trail are gas stations unavailable.

We decided to follow the signs running along side a highway until we realized where we were: the complete opposite direction of where we wanted to go. Eventually we made it home and had a blast doing it.

Here is the part you need to hear: We were never really lost!

Sure we had gone the wrong direction but we were always following the correct signs. We only looked for snowmobile trail signs and not other kinds of signs because the signs we needed where snowmobile trail signs.

Listen my friends, so often we get worried about making the right decisions and looking for the perfect direction from God. I’m glad you want to do that as we all need to seek His face and His Will!

In God’s amazing grace and sovereignty, as we make choices in our lives, as long as our passion is for Jesus, He will keep us on track and bring us to where He wants us. He is that good.

They key is look for His signs, His word, His voice. And don’t take that lightly. God really has plans for you (Jer. 29:11-13) and they are good plans (Phil. 1:6)

Sometimes a different trail is just part of the adventure God uses to teach us about Him.

It was fun to figure out how to get back. The peace we had is always having the right sign in our sight even if it was a little different journey.

Are you watching the right signs today? Remember He is before you, behind you, beside you, in you, through you, and for you!

Watch the signs.

God is good all the time

Peder

Devo for the 3rd Sunday of Advent: Joy

While on Christmas tour, my son Ethan, 11, called me with some fun news to share. He had spent all day Saturday, from 8am to 5pm, taking a class required by the state of Minnesota to drive a snowmobile! It was a long day of rules, information, and training. Then on Sunday at 1pm, the day he called me, he took his driving test to attain his snowmobile license. The news was good news indeed.

He passed and was now legal to trek across the globe on a snowmobile (kinda).

What caught my heart was as I was talking to him, he seemed like he was trying holding something inside. It was actually when I said to him, “Dude, you should be proud of yourself.” He said back to me, “I am, Dad. It’s just hard to talk because I can’t stop smiling.”

Ethan's face of Joy

Ethan’s face of joy

That’s fun!!!

Webster’s dictionary says the word “joy” is a noun defined as: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect possessing what one desires.

Ethan was experiencing some real joy!

So how does that happen during Advent? We sing “Joy to the World” and “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” yet for many joy is way down the to-do list. All the stuff going on drains the tank. For some of us it is a really hard season for any number of reasons like a loss in the past, to fears of loneliness, hardships in the present time, and so on. I get that…

Ok, so if you’re not feeling the well-being, success, or good fortune, how do you find the joy that’s makes it hard to not smile?

First, look into the manger and see the very face of the One who is the giver of real joy and peace and realize you bring Him joy. Remember a verse like Zephaniah 3:17:

“The LORD your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with his love; He will rejoice over you with singing.”

That perfect God with no reason to fulfill a duty or obligation and has no needs, looks at you and me and takes delight in us. It’s like that we are His favorites…because we are.

Now, take that truth of how your Heavenly Father looks at you and live in it. When you know that the most powerful God of all is proud of you and adores you, no matter what you’ve done or how messy it is, what does that do inside of your heart?

Doesn’t it make it hard not to smile? Isn’t that the prospect of possessing what one desires? That desire being love.

Ok, so here is your assignment: As soon as you are done reading this, pick a Christmas song that brings you joy. Whatever song it is, TURN IT UP! And then…are you ready?

DANCE! Dance a weird dance; dance with someone in your house. Dance with your eyes closed like no one can see you. Just dance, friend.

You are allowed to dance and enjoy it. It will be really hard not to smile.

It’s a good taste of joy.

God is good all the time.

Peder