Sunday Devotional: Psalm 95:1-7a

“Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord,
shout triumphantly to the rock of our salvation!
Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving;
let us shout triumphantly to Him in song.

For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
The depths of the earth are in His hand,
and the mountain peaks are His.
The sea is His; He made it.
His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
and we are the people of His pasture,
the sheep under His care.”  (Psalm 95:1-7a)

It is so important to remember who God is and where we are in relation to Him.  When we remember, we are able to worship Him for who He is and able to trust and follow Him.  He is great and greatly to be praised.  He created the universe and everything in it.

With all that He has done (and all He has done for us), we can shout joyfully to Him.  We can give thanks.  We can sing praises.  So this week, let’s remember that we are under His care and that He is our God.

Sunday Devotional: Hebrews 2:14-18

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.  For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”  Hebrews 2:14-18

It is such a blessing to know that Jesus knows what we go through.  He took on flesh and blood.  He became human.  He understands our struggles.  He understands our temptations.  He understands our needs because he lived it.  But the awesome thing is He never lost is divinity while being human.  He was fully God and fully man at the same time.  And because of that, he was able to take on sin and death and the devil and defeat them.  Because of that, we are able to have a renewed relationship with the Father.  We are able to be called children of God.  If we follow Jesus, we do not have to fear death because we know the one who conquered death.

This week, it’s good to remember that as we struggle with tough times, that we follow one who knows all that we go through and can help us to overcome.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 100

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!  Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!  Know that the Lord, he is God!  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to him; bless his name!  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”  Psalm 100:1-5

Sometimes (well really all the time) it’s just good to take a step back and appreciate and worship who God is and what He has done.  The Psalms are super helpful in doing just that.  Psalm 100 is a well known one and there are numerous hymns and choruses that take verses and put them to music.  The words are easy to sing but they mean a lot.  Take some time to meditate on the words of this psalm this week.

Thursday Quote Day: Michael Kelley

It’s time for another Thursday Quote Day.  For this week’s quote, it is from the book Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal by Michael Kelley.  I’ve shared a quote from that book before and here is another good quote from that same book:

“Everyone hurts in one way or another. The question is what you do with that pain.”  (Michael Kelley Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal)

Lesson from Yoda

TPM-CGYoda

Most everyone knows I’m a huge Star Wars fan.  I’m more of an original trilogy fan and not so much of the prequels.  However, there are some good things in the prequels.  Yes, there are even some good things in Star Wars:  The Phantom Menace.  Some of those things include the pod racing scene, the lightsaber duels between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan & Darth Maul and there are some quotable quotes.

Jedi Council

One scene that sticks out in my mind from that film is where young Anakin is brought before the Jedi Council by Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan.  The council senses that Anakin is afraid of losing his mother (and he admits that he misses her).  Anakin asked what the big deal was about that.  Yoda then tells Anakin that fear is the beginning down a dark path.  The path to the dark side.  Yoda then says the following:

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

This is true for us.  We tend to fear what we don’t know.  If that fear persists, then anger can develop.  If anger develops and grows, it leads to hate.  Hate that persists leads to suffering.  Maybe it’s not fear that leads to anger but something else.  Regardless if anger persists to hate, hate will inevitably lead to suffering.

The suffering is not only those around you but the suffering is inside you as well.  As we learn in Star Wars:  Revenge of the Sith, Anakin becomes Darth Vader and from that lots of people suffered but he suffered greatly as well.

It is a lesson from Yoda we should learn.  Our sinful nature can easily lead us down the wrong path and cause pain and suffering.  But the great thing is that in knowing and following Jesus, we don’t have to fear.  We don’t have to go down the wrong path because when we follow Jesus, we’re going in the right direction.

Sunday Devotional: Hebrews 1:1-4

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”  Hebrews 1:1-4

These opening verses to the first chapter of the book of Hebrews is a great look into who Jesus is.  It shows not only the status of Jesus but also the role that He plays.  He is the Son of God.  He was there at the beginning when the world was created.  His death paid the price for our sins.  After resurrection, Jesus now has returned to His proper place next to Father.

These few verses capture the majesty of Jesus as well as begin what will be a book that will delve deeper into this.  This week, let us remember the majesty of Jesus and let that dictate how we live our lives throughout the week.

Fitting In

I was driving around the other day and flipping through the radio stations.  I came across a song and listened to it.  It was catchy and got stuck in my head.  It was from the band Echosmith and the song is called “Cool Kids”.  The chorus goes like this:

“I wish that I could be like the cool kids cuz all the cool kids, they seem to fit in
I wish that I could be like the cool kids, like the cool kids
I wish that I could be like the cool kids cuz all the cool kids, they seem to get it
I wish that I could be like the cool kids, like the cool kids”

Growing up, I wasn’t necessarily a “cool kid”.  I was smart.  I wasn’t that big.  I wore glasses.  When I was a teenager, I wore braces.  On top of all that, I grew up about 30 minutes from where I went to school in another town.  So add all that together and I didn’t run in the “popular” crowd.  But growing up, I wanted to be a part of the popular crowd.  I wanted to fit in with them.  Now eventually as I grew up and matured, I eventually became friends with the popular kids and when I was a senior I was “cool” in my own right but that feeling of being on the outside still lingered.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen how there are still times when I feel out of place, when I don’t feel like I fit in.  I think that’s a part of life.  It’s something we all go through.  We all see people we know who seem to be the “cool kids”.  The ones that seem to have everything going their way.  They seem to know what is going all and get it.  But the thing is, they have struggles too.  We may not be able to see it but they struggle with feeling like they’ve got it or that they fit in with whatever crowd they spend time with.

It should be in those time where we feel alone, where we feel like we don’t fit in, that we should seek out friends to encourage and to share with our struggles.  We’re all in this together.  Especially as Christians, we’re called to be in community, to be a part of a church family.  If there’s anyplace we should be able to fit in, it’s the church.  Because we’re all on the same level when it comes to following Jesus.