Sunday Devotional: Exodus 33:13-14

“Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”  And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.””  (Exodus 33:13-14)

At this point, Moses is having a conversation with God about the Israelites.  They had gotten out of Egypt and Moses knew that they couldn’t get to the Promised Land if God wasn’t there with them.  So he pleaded with God that wherever they go, that God was with them.  God’s response to Moses reassured him that he would be with them.  Not only that, but that he would give them rest.

There is a calm reassurance being with God.  We can rest in Him knowing that He is in control.  We can trust Him to lead us in the right direction when we follow Him.  So this Labor Day Weekend, let us enjoy being with God and find rest in Him.

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One Year Later

First birthday cupcake

Today is the one year anniversary of the beginning of the journey of this blog.  August 28, 2013 was as the title of that first post “The First Step” on the journey that this blog would take.  One year ago today I started this blog.  This is my 4th blog, after my LiveJournal, Xanga, and Blogspot.  Each of those blogs were different.  LiveJournal was my first ever blog that I started back in 2002 and new to blogging so it was all over the place.  The Xanga blog I started about a year to so later and was really more an online journal about my day to day life.  It went with me all over the country and overseas and lasted until last year when Xanga shut down.  The Blogspot blog was one that was started after a suggestion from a friend in Seattle to do a Sports and Faith blog.  That blog ended in part due to circumstances which led me to the point of starting this blog.

When I started this blog a year ago, I didn’t know what all this would be.  I had an idea but mainly I was looking for a fresh start to write.  A place to combine all my interests and talk about them.  A place where I could share about my journey and all that entailed.  That included such things as my faith journey and my creative journey.

Now, one year into the journey of this blog, I can look back and see a lot of cool things with this blog.  I don’t know how many people read this on a regular basis.  But I know for me it has been beneficial.  This blog has been a helpful tool along my journey the past year.  I’ve learned from those other blogs and they help contribute to what I feel is a more improved blog.

I don’t know what the future holds for the next year of this blog.  There are several weekly posts such as “Sunday Devotional” and “Thursday Quote Day” that help to bring some structure and regularity.  And I’m sure as things pop up along the way, there will be inspiration to write on them.  Whatever the case, I’m looking forward to what’s in store.

For those that have been on this journey with me, thank you.  I hope that you will continue with me.  For those that are just starting, welcome.  Feel free to comment here and share thoughts.

I’ll end with a quote (fitting for a Thursday).  It’s the same quote that I ended with a year ago, from the book The Hobbit.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

Having a Heart While Not Losing Heart

simple-red-heart

It’s not easy to love one another.  It’s not easy to love one’s enemies.  As followers of Jesus, we are called to that.  It is a calling card of a Christian.  It is what we are to be known by because that is what Jesus is known for.

That involved people and people are messy.  We are messy.  Others are messy.  And sometimes that messiness leads to hurt and pain.  And it’s not fun to be hurt, to be in pain.  After awhile of this, the tendency is to want to shut off, to close ranks, to withdraw, to not feel.  But that is not what should hold us back.  Granted, it’s never fun to be hurt by people, regardless of whether they’re enemies or friends.  But it’s good to remember in those times that Jesus knows what it feels like to be rejected, to be hurt by his enemies and his friends.  But he still loved and cared for those around Him.

The Apostle Paul twice in two different letters to two different churches wrote “Do not grow weary in doing good” (to the Galatians and the Thessalonians).  It’s easy to lose heart in situations where we get beat up emotionally while following Jesus in loving others.  But it’s important to remember that we are not alone.  We have the Holy Spirit, we have fellow believers to lean on and help to love others.  We can continue to have a heart for those around us without losing heart because we as Christians follow the one who gave us a new heart.

Sunday Devotional: 3 John

“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.  The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.”  (3 John verse 11)

The apostle John always made it a point in his writings to emphasize a few things.  To love one another, to test the message to make sure it’s true, the assurance of forgiveness with repentance and that the relationship with the Father will spur on good actions from those who follow Jesus.

We are to imitate what is good.  If we are followers of Jesus, we are to imitate Him.  We are to serve one another.  We are to love one another.  We do this not because we have to or because we’re trying to earn our salvation.  We do it because of the overflow of abundance of grace and mercy shown to us by God.

Let us this week reflect the love that has been shown to us by God to others.  Let us imitate what is good, because we follow the one who truly is good, Jesus.

The Doctor and Me

doctorwho

The new season of Doctor Who is set to premiere this weekend.  With the premiere, there will be a new Doctor.  There have been 12 previous Doctors (if you count the War Doctor) and Peter Capaldi will now play the Doctor.  I’ve talked about on this blog before about regeneration and the Doctor so if you want to check out that post, feel free to check the archives.

Now you may (or may not know), starting around January 2013, I started watching the show.  I didn’t just start with the 2005 revival.  I started all the way back to 1963 with the first Doctor, William Hartnell.  I watched on DVD and Netflix Instant Streaming from the first Doctor onward.  Granted, there have been some serials and episodes that have been lost in time, but the majority that are out there I’ve seen.  Aside from 8 classic serials and 1 modern Christmas special, I have seen all the Doctor Who episodes that are out there.  Last month I finished up with season 7, the 50th Anniversary episode and the Christmas episode.

At the end of the Christmas episode, there was a line that really stuck out to me that the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith) said just before his regeneration.  He said this:  “We all change.  When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives.  And that’s okay, that’s good.  You got to keep moving so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.”

That quote really stuck out to me because it’s true.  I’m not the same person I was a year ago.  I’m not the same as I was two years ago.  I’m not the same person I was when I was in seminary, nor am I the same person that I was in Seattle.  I’m not who I was in graduate school just I’m not the same person I was in college or high school.  Those are different people than who I am now but they are also still me.  Just like the Doctor was still the Doctor throughout the years even though his appearance and personality would change, he was still the Doctor.

There are some people out there that just know me as “High School Michael” because that was when they interacted with me the most.  There’s some that know me as “College Michael”, some as “Grad School Michael”, and so on and so forth.  I think in some ways we all tend to do that.  We have some friends in the past that we just know them in that context and if we saw them now they would still fit that context even though they’ve changed and we’ve changed.  And like some of the Doctor’s companions, there are those friends in our lives that have seen more than one version of us, have seen the difference but still know it’s us.

I hope that I’ve gotten better.  That this version of me right now is better than what I used to be.  I also know that I’m not done changing.  I will be a different Michael in a year, five years, ten years down the line.  But I will remember all the different versions of me.  I will remember all the people that I used to be.  Because they are a part of who I am and they always will be.  But they will not always be all that I am.

Time will tell how the new Doctor will be.  In some ways, the same could be said for us as well.