Sunday Devotional: Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  (Hebrews 13:8)

It has been said that one constant in life is that everything changes.  Circumstances change.  We change.  As time goes by, things change.  However, one thing that doesn’t change is Jesus.  He never changes.  We can trust that He will always be there.  That He will always be faithful.  That He will always be true to His word.  In this season of Thanksgiving, that is something to truly be thankful for.

Updated 2014 Book List

Here is an updated list of the books I’ve read this year.  It looks like it will be the fewest amount of books I’ve read since I began keeping track of books I’ve read since 2005:

Fantasy Life:  The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports From the Guy Who’s Lived It by Matthew Berry

Before You Make Your Own:  50 Video Games Future Developers Need to Play by Bradley Metrock

Saving Mr. Banks The Official Multi-touch Book

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

Console Wars:  Sega, Nintendo and the Battle That Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris

Star Wars:  A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

The long awaited teaser trailer for the new Star Wars:  The Force Awakens has just been released online and will debut in theaters today as well.  Just some quick thoughts after just seeing it…

1) “This is awesome”.  That was my thoughts over and over again after just one viewing.  Even with just a teaser trailer, there was a lot of cool stuff in there.  I loved the X-Wings flying over the water and seeing the Millennium Falcon in a fight with some TIE fighters.  I loved the cool voiceover for the trailer.  It was awesome.

2) It felt like the original trilogy.  Like I’ve said before, I don’t have anything against the prequel trilogy.  I just like the original trilogy better.  Those 88 seconds felt like the original trilogy.  And to me that’s a good thing.

3) Finally, simply put.  I can’t wait for next December.

Star Wars and Following Your Path

With news about the new trailer for Star Wars:  The Force Awakens debuting this weekend, I’m amped up to get back into counting down to a new Star Wars film.  As with that, it’s a good reminder of the films that I know and love, which mainly is the original trilogy (not that I hate the prequels but I grew up on the original trilogy).

As I have from time to time here, I like to look at scenes from the films and reflect on them and the messages that they convey.  One that I recently have been pondering was from A New Hope.  The Rebels were gathered in their base on Yavin IV as they prepare to launch an assault on the oncoming Death Star.  Their hope was to destroy the space station before it could get in range to destroy the planet.

Luke Skywalker was prepared to fly into battle but before he left he tried to convince Han Solo to come with him.  At that point, Han was focused on collecting the reward for rescuing Princess Leia and getting him and Chewbacca out of there.  Luke was disappointed and left Han and Chewie.

As he was making his way to his X-Wing, Luke ran into Leia.  Here was the exchange:

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Leia:  “What’s wrong?”

Luke:  “It’s Han.  I don’t know.  I really thought he’d change his mind.”

Leia:  “He’s got to follow his own path.  No one can choose it for him.”

As much as Luke wanted Han to join in the fight for the rebellion, Luke couldn’t make Han do it.  Han chose the path in which he took.  Granted, he would join the fight at just the right time to help Luke out of a tough spot and would go on to join the Rebels in their fight against the Empire.  But he had to make that choice.

Many times, we interact with those we care about (either in person or in some cases a far through social media) and we feel like Luke.  We want them to come with us.  But as much as we want them to come with us, we can’t make them.  They have their own path to follow.  Sometimes, like Han, they do end up coming alongside.  Sometimes, though, they don’t.

When they don’t, it doesn’t mean we stop caring about them.  It does mean that we understand and still be there for them.  Who knows, they may surprise you like Han did.

Sunday Devotional: Hebrews 11:13-16

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”  (Hebrews 11:13-16)

These verses are a part of the “Hall of Faith” chapter in Hebrews 11.  It is in the middle of the chapter and is kind of an aside to the description of the the heroes of faith in the Old Testament.  Those in the Old Testament lived by faith of the hope that was to come.  That hope was fulfilled in Jesus.  They didn’t get to see that hope fulfilled on Earth in their lifetime but they trusted God and had faith.

Let us have that kind of faith.  Let us trust in that kind of hope.  We serve the same God.  Let us remember that our home is not here and now but that God is preparing a home for us together with Him.

The Peanuts Movie Trailer

Everyone that knows me knows how I’m a huge fan of the Peanuts comic strip/cartoons.  I enjoy reading and watching Charlie Brown, Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang.  So when I heard that there was going to be a new animated movie in 2015, I was super excited.  Today a teaser trailer for the film was released.  Check it out:

Sunday Devotional: Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

This is a well known section of the book of Hebrews.  These verses follow an entire chapter that features men and women who exhibited great faith in the Old Testament.  The writer of Hebrews highlights the faith that these people showed and that they endured to the end.  This was a point throughout the letter that he wanted to convey to his readers, to endure by faith to the end.

In these verses, we are encouraged to keep running the race of life with endurance.  We have the testimony and encouragement of those who have come before us.  More importantly, we have Jesus.  He is the founder (the beginning) of our faith and he’s the perfecter (the ending) of our faith.  His work on the cross allows us the access to come to the Father and to have a renewed relationship with Him.

This week, when things are tough and feeling bogged down, remember Jesus and focus on Him.  Keep running the race, keep fighting the fight, keep following after Him.  Let us run the race that is set before us and let us run with endurance.

The Flash and Trying to Outrun Pain

The-Flash

One of my favorite new TV shows is The Flash.  I’m a huge fan of the comic book character and I am really enjoying the TV show.  It tells the story of Barry Allen, a scientist who works for the Central City Police Department.  He gets struck by lightning and the mix of the lightning, chemicals and a blast from a particle accelerator grant him the ability of super speed.  He uses his new found abilities to fight crime in the city.  He also is dealing with the death of his mother as a child and his father being wrongfully accused of the death.

In one of the first few episodes of the show he made the following statement:  “I thought being the fastest man alive would make my life easier.  That I could outrun anything.  Turns out, no one can outrun pain.”  Through the course of the episode he was trying to “outrun” or not deal with pain which included still wrestling with the loss of his mother.  But by the end of the episode he realizes that even the ‘fastest man alive’ can’t outrun pain.

We all want to outrun pain.  We all have something or someone that hurts us.  And we want to run away from the pain and not deal with it.  But like Barry Allen, we can’t outrun pain.  It’s there and it’s something that we have to deal with.  But the good news is we don’t have to deal with the pain alone.  God knows this and He’s right there with us.  He sends the Holy Spirit to us.  Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to comfort us, to be with us when we are hurting.

We may not have super speed like Barry Allen.  But we do know what it feels like to deal with pain, whether it’s physical or emotional.  And we know that we can’t outrun pain.  But it’s great to know someone who understands pain.  Someone who has dealt with pain and who can sympathize and empathize with us.  And we know that we are not alone and have to deal with the pain by ourselves.  We have Jesus with us.  There’s no pain and no problem that can get ahead of Him.