Sunday Devotional: Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.” (Psalm 23)

This chapter of Psalms is one of the most well known chapters in all of the Bible.  It is also one of the most comforting chapters.  That assurance that God watches over us like a shepherd.  That He is there to lead us through the hills and the valleys of life.  We have that assurance that He is there to comfort us when we need comforting.

We can trust that He is there for us, that He wants what best for us if we follow Him.  We can have the joy in knowing Him and dwelling and abiding in Him.  This week, let us remember and dwell on that.  Sometimes it’s good to go back and reread Scripture such as Psalm 23.  It gives us that reassurance that He is watching over us, that He is caring about us and that He loves us.  Let us share that news with ourselves and with others.

Friday Favorite: Favorite Super Mario Game

It’s Friday and I thought I would bring back “Friday Favorite”.  For this edition, I thought I would share my favorite Super Mario Bros. game.  I grew up playing video games and so I have played my fair share of Mario games.  But I would say that my personal favorite would have to be Super Mario Bros. 3:

Super_Mario_Bros_3

Super Mario Bros. 3, released on February 12, 1990 in North America, was the third game in the Super Mario series to be released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  It was one of the most anticipated and hyped games of that generation.  Clips of the game were featured in the film The Wizard and kids were super excited for the game to release.  I was one of those kids.  I got the game for my birthday (which happens to be in February).  From the moment I put the cartridge into the system, I was hooked.

The game tells the continuing adventures of Mario and Luigi in the Mushroom Kingdom.  Bowser (aka King Koopa) has once again kidnapped the Princess (Princess Peach).  This time around his children, the Koopalings, have aided him by turning some of the other leaders of the Mushroom Kingdom into animals.  It’s up to Mario and Luigi to return order to the Mushroom Kingdom and save the princess.

The graphics for the game were state of the art at the time.  The gameplay was some of the best for any NES game and the feel of the game was just right.  To this day, I can play that game and get the same joy as I did back in 1990.

There have been a lot of great Mario games and worth playing.  But for me, Super Mario Bros. 3 is by far my favorite.

The Redemption of Kylo Ren?

There was an article that was posted online ast week entitled “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?”  My friend Liz Tailor tweeted about it and I had a chance to read it.  It sparked the creative juices and so I wrote up an article that Liz posted over on her blog.  You can go read my thoughts on the possibility of Kylo Ren’s redemption here and be sure to read Liz’s thoughts when she posts her article.

Sunday Devotional: Luke 18:1-8

“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.  And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’  For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”  And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)

Jesus loved to tell parables to help teach truths and this is another example of a parable that he told.  In this parable a widow had been wronged and went to the judge in town to get justice.  This judge, however, was not one who “feared God nor respected man” as Jesus described him.  Yet the widow kept going to him repeatedly seeking justice.  Finally the judge relented.

Jesus tells the disciples and those listening to the story that if this unrighteous judge listened to the widow and did accordingly, how much so will God who is righteous listen to his children?  Sometimes we may be praying and it seems like the widow waiting for our prayers to be answered.  But we can trust that God will answer them and that He wants us to trust Him in that.

This week, let us keep seeking the Lord in prayer.  Let us not grow weary in praying.  Let us trust in Him to answer in due time.

Sunday Devotional: Romans 8:31-39

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We have the assurance as followers of Jesus that we can overcome.  We have that assurance because of Jesus himself.  He came to Earth and died for us.  He paid the price for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to.  On top of that, He rose again and He intercedes for us on our behalf.  We have someone who knows what we go through and speaks for us.

Because of this, we are able to overcome.  We are able to endure.  We are able to do this because of Jesus.  Because He is there for us through everything and there is nothing that can separate us from Him if we are His.  This week, as we go through whatever we may encounter, let us give thanks for His love for us and let us continue to strive to serve Him because we know that through Him we are able to overcome.