Happy Leap Day aka My Birthday 2016 Edition

leap-day

Today is February 29th also known as Leap Day.  Today is also my birthday.  Today is my 9th birthday (you can figure out my age based off of that).  It is always special to actually get to celebrate my birthday because it comes around only once every four years.  So I definitely appreciate birthdays more so than most people.  I’m grateful when they come around.

How did I celebrate today?  Well I went and saw Star Wars:  The Force Awakens for the 4th time.  I also got a free cookie cake from Great American Cookies.  So not a bad way to celebrate the day.

I never know where I’ll be at when I celebrate my birthday but I appreciate each one when it comes along.  I hope that Leap Day treated you well and that you enjoyed this extra day that comes around once every four years.

Sunday Devotional: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

“I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.  And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—  and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.  On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—  though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.  So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

The Apostle Paul was one of the most faithful followers of Jesus there has ever been.  He was a great leader in the church and one that did many things for the Lord.  But even he struggled at times.  In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Paul shared some of his struggles with the church in Corinth.  He told them about his weaknesses and how he had a “thorn in the flesh” that gave him much grief.  But even in all his struggles, Paul had someone to turn to who listened and cared.

God told Paul “My grace is sufficient for you.”  Because God is so great and powerful, what He gives is sufficient for us.  And God does love us so much.  When we feel beat down and hurt, he is there to comfort us and help to lift us up.  We can boast in Christ.

This week, whether things are going great or we’re struggling in pain and hurt let us remember God’s love and grace is sufficient for us.  Let us remember that His love covers us.  And let us boast in his love and grace.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 37:3-4

“Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

We are called to trust in the Lord.  Sometimes that is easy and sometimes that is hard.  Regardless, we are called to do that.  And we are able to trust in Him because He will never let us down.  He always has what’s best for us because He knows us and loves us.  When we trust Him and follow Him, we learn and grow.  We are able to grow in faithfulness.  We are able to enjoy where we are because He’s there with us.

And more so, when we delight in Him, we are changed.  We begin to desire more what He desires.  We are able to do that because of the work the Holy Spirit is doing inside of us.

This week, let us trust God more.  Let us delight in God more.  And let us share that with others.

Sunday Devotional: 1 Corinthians 13

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  (1 Corinthians 13)

This chapter is one of the most well known chapters in the Bible.  It is also one of the most quoted as well.  These verses provide a great reminder of what love truly is.  God has loved us so much and from that we are able to love.  May we show the love that God has given to us.  May we be patient and kind with others.  Let us be humble.  Let us rejoice in caring for others.  Let us endure in love.

This week, let us be mindful of these verses.  Let us have faith, let us hope and let us love.

Requiem for a Dragon: Reflecting on the Retirement of Daniel Bryan

Yesterday was a bittersweet day.  The news broke on twitter that Bryan Danielson aka Daniel Bryan was announcing his retirement from professional wrestling.  This was inevitably due to injuries, specifically to concussions.  He gave a heartfelt retirement speech on Monday Night RAW last night and was thankful of all the fans and was in his words “grateful”.

Daniel Bryan retirement

I have been a fan of Danielson’s work for many years, long before he came to the WWE.  I have had seasons where I’ve gotten in and out of watching professional wrestling.  One of the times I got back into was the mid 2000’s.  It was during this time that I learned about an independent promotion called Ring of Honor.  They had some really cool wrestlers that are well known today.  One of those was Danielson.  He had the nickname “The American Dragon” and his wrestling style was very old school in the vein of a Bret Hart, Dean Malenko and Shawn Michaels (who initially trained Danielson).

Bryan Danielson

Along with being such a cool wrestler, he had the best entrance music.  His entrance music was Europe’s “The Final Countdown”.  And fans would chant along when it got to line “It’s the final countdown!”  It was pretty sweet

Throughout his run in WWE, he was really the “ultimate underdog”.  Even though he had tremendous success in the independents, he had to earn everything including respect from the bosses in WWE.  Because he didn’t have the size that is known for the company, he became a star because of how well liked he was and that he really was a great professional wrestler.  It all culminated at Wrestlemania 30 when he became the only man to win 2 matches at Wrestlemania on the same night and became the WWE World Heavyweight champion. (Well I should say 2 matches not involving a tournament, Macho Man Randy Savage won 3 matches back in Wrestlemania 4)

Daniel Bryan Wrestlemania 30

Danielson is from Washington state.  He was born and raised in Aberdeen, a city I visited several times when I lived in Seattle when I would travel to the coast.  He’s a huge Seattle Seahawks fan like myself.  He’s a guy that I never got to see wrestle live in person but I have watched a lot of his matches.  It is bittersweet that his career is over but he has the next phase of his life to succeed.  And he did provide one more thing that is pretty cool.  And that is the “Yes!” chant.  So to you “American Dragon”, this one is for you.  “Yes!  Yes!  Yes!”

Yes

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 43

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
    against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
    deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
    why have you rejected me?
Why do I go about mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?

Send out your light and your truth;
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
    and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.”  (Psalm 43)

There are times when we get discouraged.  There are times when we feel beat down by life.  We feel cast down.  We feel in turmoil.  But the good news is we don’t have to be alone in this.  We can turn to God.  He can give us refuge in those tough times.  He can comfort in those times of mourning.  He can lift us up when we feel cast down.  He can give us peace when we are in turmoil.

We can hope in God.  We can praise God because of this.  He gives us salvation.  He gives us rest.  This week, no matter what you’re going through, you can hope in God.  Give thanks for Him and who He is and what He has done and will do.