A 10-day reading plan to help campers turn formational experiences at camp into an ongoing lifestyle of Bible engagement. Featuring devotions written by trusted ODB authors and Christian Camp and Conference Association professionals.

How to get the most out of using these special devotionals each day:

  • Select a time and place. Choose a specific time and place to get into Our Daily Bread each day.
  • Read the Bible verses. Begin your time with God by looking up the Bible verses (Today’s Reading). Scripture is the most important part of your daily Our Daily Bread experience.
  • Note the key verse. It points to the article’s theme and provides a good launching point for reading the article.
  • Read the article with expectation. As you read, seek to learn more about God, your relationship with Him, and how He wants you to live.
  • Take time for the reflection questions. The questions will help you apply what the Scripture and article present.
  • Take time to pray. After working through the article and its features, feel free to talk with God about what you’ve just learned and experienced. There’s a suggested prayer to get you started.
  • Share it with others! Look for opportunities to share what you’ve learned in Our Daily Bread with others. Help them get to know God better by using Our Daily Bread each day!

Read: Deuteronomy 11:16-21

So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

While we often talk about God at camp, recent research found that people generally don’t talk about Him much. Only 7 percent of the people who took the survey said they talk about “God stuff” regularly. And people who go to church aren’t that different. In the survey, only 13 percent of the church attendees said they had a God-related conversation about once a week. Why do you suppose that is?

One possibility is that God is important to us and talking about important things is harder than “Did you finish the math homework?” or “Are you going to the party?”

Another possibility is that in some parts of the world talking about God can be dangerous and lead to attacks or imprisonment. Maybe it even feels dangerous in your neighborhood.

God taught us that talking about Him can be a normal, natural part of everyday life. God’s people can talk about God’s ways with friends and family, older people, and even kids—“when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up” (Deuteronomy 11:19). Like riding a bike or using a computer program, talking about God is a skill to learn and then practice.

God wants us to talk about Him. Take a chance, rely on God’s Spirit, and try letting God become a normal, natural part of your everyday conversations.

How could you work God into a conversation about what you did last night, what you study at school, or what you plan for the weekend? Look for an opportunity to talk about Him today.

Dear God, please help me to talk with others about You today. Please lead me by the Holy Spirit to share what You’ve done for me.

Read Ephesians 3:14–19

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. (Ephesians 3:19)

I’m not sure what I was expecting the first time I went caving, but a small gap between two large boulders was not it. Is this the right place? I wondered. Seconds later, our guide slipped through the gap and disappeared into the inky blackness. Our group followed, and for the next several hours, we walked, crawled, and climbed through a seemingly endless network of tunnels and passages. When we exited the cave later that day, I looked again at the small opening. It didn’t look like much from the outside, but that cave was bigger than I ever imagined. That cave reminds me of God’s love. We might think we understand the love that Jesus has for us, but “it is too great to understand fully” (Ephesians 3:19). It’s wider, longer, higher, and deeper than any other love we’ve ever known (V. 18). Just like that cave, the more we explore God’s love, the bigger we’ll find it to be. Even though we can’t fully comprehend the love of Christ, we can experience it (V. 17). I hope you felt that love at camp, but it doesn’t have to end there. God’s love can meet every need you have, fill the longing in your soul, and carry you through the most difficult times. His love never fades, never hesitates, and never runs out. No matter what happens in life, you can always know that God loves and is with you.

– Steve Collins, South Mountain Christian Camp

How does God’s love for you change the way you view problems? Is there something you can do today to share God’s love with others?

Loving God, I want to experience more of Your love every day. Help me to remember Your love when I’m lonely, when I’m worried, and when I’m afraid.

Read: John 9:1-12

“This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” (John 9:3)

Why is it that when we hear about someone suffering in some way, we’re often more interested in the details of what happened than we are in how we can help?

When Jesus’ friends passed a blind beggar (John 9:1), they talked about why he was suffering—not about ways they could actually help him. “Rabbi,” His disciples asked Him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” (V. 2). They were curious and wanted to know who was to blame. They didn’t seem to be thinking about how they could show God’s love to the man. Did they really need to know the answer to their question? How would that help anyone?

Thankfully, Jesus chose to live out care and love for the man. Instead of gossiping about what had happened to this man or why, He helped. Jesus made God’s love known as He took time out to heal a man most people probably ignored or just gossiped about every day.

Are you feeling curious about somebody’s problem—perhaps someone you met at camp? Shift into like-Jesus mode to move past curiosity. Swap curiosity for compassion. Find out how you can give practical help. Maybe with homework, with chores, or with patient listening. Let prayer be your first step, but not your only step. Show the compassionate love of Jesus. Not sure how? Ask.

What’s your natural reaction to hearing someone is suffering? How can you avoid gossip and other harmful things and allow God to show you ways you can show His love to the person?

Dear Jesus, I need You to help me guard my words today. I don’t want to gossip or hurt others by what I say.

Read: Hebrews 12: 1-11

Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. (Hebrews 12:1)

When you turn a shark upside down it enters a state of apparent paralysis. I don’t know how to turn a shark over without it biting off my arm, but I’m glad somebody can stop a shark in its tracks simply by flipping it upside down. It’s called “shark tonic or “tonic immobility.” The shark is unable to move for about fifteen minutes.

Sin (disobedience against God’s instructions) is like that. Our ability to know God, please Him, and live for Him—the whole reason we were made in the first place—can be put into tonic immobility by the tangle of sin. The writer of Hebrews wants us to take action so that sin goes into paralysis instead of us going into paralysis: “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

We can refuse to let sin take bites out of us. If we want to run the race of the life in Jesus well, we must flip sin before it flips us. Little selfless acts can become ways of life that pull us toward God and His ways. We can wrestle aside the things that turn us away from Him— starting today. Maybe memorize Hebrews 12:1 to remind you how to immobilize sin before it immobilizes you.

List a few sins that just won’t leave you alone. Ask God to throw those sins into immobility by the power of His Holy Spirit within you. 

Loving God, thank You for giving me what I need to resist sin. May I do so today by Your power.

Read: Matthew 25:31-40

If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you! (Proverbs 19:17)

Geoff chose to live like a homeless person. He spent three days and two nights living on the streets of his city, sleeping outside in below freezing temperatures. Without food, money, or shelter, he relied on the kindness of random passersby for his basic needs. On one of those days his only food was a single sandwich, bought by a man who heard him asking for stale bread outside a café.

Geoff told me later that those three days were some of the hardest he’d ever lived, yet it changed how he viewed people and their troubles. Some of his best help came from other homeless people. He spent the days following his experiment trying to find and thank the people who’d been kind to him during his time on the street. He both thanked them and tried to find respectful ways he could help them in return.

Geoff’s experience reminds me of Jesus’ words: “I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. . . . When you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:36, 40).

Whether we’re encouraging a friend at camp or school, helping out around the house, or looking out for younger kids, kindness to others is kindness to Jesus.

How does God use our hands and words to care for people? How have you been cared for in little ways that made a difference? What can you do for someone else this week? 

Dear Jesus, I desire to serve others the way You did. Please give me Your heart for those around me.

Read: Psalm 91:1-16

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

It was campout night at camp, and the girls and I had packed our food, filled our water bottles, and hoisted our backpacks onto our
backs. We hit the trail for our short hike to the campsite, and crested our first hill and turned toward the woods. Just then a black bear ambled down the trail in front of us! After reporting the bear sighting to camp staff, they gave us some safety tips, assured us we would be fine, and sent us back out to continue our campout. I tried to put on a brave face, but I was scared! In fact, I didn’t sleep well that night—sure that every cracking branch or rustling of leaves was the bear coming back to pay us a visit!

Fear is a terrible feeling. Fear for our safety, fear about the health of a loved one, or fear of not fitting in can fill us with worry or cripple us with its weight. When I start to feel its grip, I have to remind myself that God tells us over and over in Scripture not to be afraid. Psalm 91 covers many different reasons we could be afraid, but God says in verse 15, “When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble.” He’s always with us, and He’s greater than anything we might face. Those are good reasons not to fear!


What causes you to be afraid? How does God help us in our fears? 

Loving God, thank You that You’re always with me and help me deal with my fears. Help me to trust You with them more and more each day.

Read: Romans 12:3-8

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. (Romans 12:6)

Bison are made in such a way that they naturally look down; the design of their necks makes it difficult for them to look up. But giraffes are designed so that looking up is easy; the way their necks are constructed makes it difficult for them to look down. Two creatures created by the same God but with necks that work just right for their needs. Giraffes eat leaves from the branches above. Bison eat grass from the field below. God provides food for both, and neither has to become like the other to eat.

As we look at people around us, we can know that God created us too. We were made in His image. That means we can have amazing friendships, solve problems, attend camp, go to school, and build families simply because we have God’s creativity and intelligence in us. We can put aside selfishness to focus on others. We can use our talents and skills to enhance another person’s talents, rather than competing. We can be true to the natural abilities God created in us.

On the other hand, we betray our Creator when it’s all about showing off what we can do. We betray our Creator when we assume we have to be like somebody else to be valuable. How silly would it be for a bison to try to eat from a tree? Let’s be ourselves as God leads us, and let’s be our best selves in His power, building up the good in others.

When have you felt that you need to be like somebody else to be valuable? How does God help you be true to the goodness He created in you? Take a moment to thank Him for that.

Creator God, You’ve made me for a purpose and have given me an identity based in my being made in Your image. May I reflect You today!.

Read: Psalm 119: 129-135

The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand. (Psalm 119: 130)

It’s hard to believe, but phones used to be for making phone calls. That was it. Nothing else! Now we live our entire lives on our smartphones. With all the apps out there, we can do just about anything—access social media, research anything, check on our dog, find a date, listen to music, buy movie tickets, register for camp, or pick a new hairstyle. We can barely imagine life without our smartphones.

Long before smartphones were used to manage our lives, God gave us “apps” through the Bible—direct notes from Him to help us research anything, connect with people, solve problems, and more.

Take Philippians 2, for example:
• The “getting along” app (VV. 2–4)
• The “standing out” app (VV. 14–15)
Or look at the apps of Ephesians 5:
• The “imitating God’s love” app (VV. 1–2)
• The “conversation” app (VV. 4–7)

And the book of Proverbs? It’s full of apps!

You don’t have to wait to download this stuff or free up storage for it—though you can use your phone to access it. Just open the Bible and see the hundreds of ways to apply God’s apps to your everyday living. Got a question about friends or school or other parts of your life? Search the Bible. The answers are there, waiting to be discovered.

What do you trust more—your phone or your Bible? Which is more practical for everyday life? Do you have a Bible app on your phone?.

Dear Jesus, as I open the Scriptures today, please help me to see the amazing things You have for me within them!.

Read: Matthew 7: 7-12

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. (Matthew 7: 7-12)

A few years ago, a man set out from base camp to make his third attempt to reach the peak of Mount Everest. He actually reached the top, but on his way down he ran out of oxygen. As he lay on the side of the mountain, dying, forty climbers passed by him.

Some say that at such dangerous heights, rescues are too risky. But others say that climbers are too eager to reach the top and too
selfish to help others in trouble.

I wonder what would have happened if someone had decided, “I’ll look after him the way I would want to be looked after if I were
in his position.”

In Matthew 7:12 Jesus gave His friends the secret that sums up all the teachings God had given them in the Old Testament: love others and look out for them. This was just one of many radical things Jesus taught in this one sermon (read the full message in Matthew 5–7).

As difficult as it is to live for the good of others, that’s the way Jesus taught His followers to live. The better we know Jesus, the more we’re able to care about others.

Loving God and loving His people isn’t about following rules; it’s about knowing Jesus and letting Him change us from the inside out. If we’re Jesus’ followers, let’s walk in His steps—showing love to others for their good.

When do you tend to look out only for yourself? What would change in your actions if you let God change you from the inside out?.

Dear Jesus, help me to love You and others well. Thank You for the love You’ve extended to me.

Read: Luke 9: 21-24

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Three fighter jets screamed through the sky as they practiced for a local air show—flying in formation so close together they looked like they were one plane. I thought, How can they fly so close together and not lose control? One obvious reason is they do what the lead pilot directs. The wing pilots give up any right to switch course or question their leader’s path. Instead, they get in formation and follow closely. The result? The formation works.

Trusting in just any leader won’t cut it. I’ve discovered that I can trust some people and that other people will cause me to crash. One leader I can trust is Jesus. He said, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Luke 9:24). Jesus’ path of self-denial and suffering initially makes me want to fly a different direction. But then I watch how His ways work. The evidence leads me to follow His lead more willingly.

It’s quite a sight, this humbling walk with Jesus. Following His lead and staying so close can look risky. But I’ve flown enough formations with Him to discover that setting aside selfishness is a great course to “saving my life.” May we all surrender to His life-giving lead. Then the world won’t see us, they’ll see Him.

What are the secrets to matching course and speed with Jesus? How does this apply to losing your life to find it?

Dear Jesus, help me to submit to Your lead today. Keep me from crashing because of pride or anything that could keep me from humbly following You.

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