Four Year Anniversary

Today is the four year anniversary of the introduction of this blog. There are times it doesn’t seem like it has been four years since this blog began. I am glad for this blog as it has been helpful in getting me through some of the toughest times I’ve had.

I hope that in this upcoming year there will be more ups than downs. I hope that there will be more creative posts. But above all I hope that my thoughts and feelings that I share here will be an encouragement and a blessing to someone.

If this is the first time you’ve read a blog post here, thank you and welcome. If you have been reading regularly the last four years, thank you as well for being a part of my journey.

Sunday Devotional: Luke 11:1-4

“He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “Whenever you pray, say:

Father,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves also forgive everyone
in debt to us.
And do not bring us into temptation.” (Luke 11:1-4)

These verses in Luke are part of the “Model Prayer” that Jesus shared with His disciples.  The disciples asked Jesus about prayer and how they should pray.  Jesus shares with them this short prayer as a model for how they should pray.  They should acknowledge God the Father as holy.  They should ask for daily provisions.  They should ask for forgiveness and repent of their sins and to show forgiveness to others. And they should ask for help in dealing with temptation.

We all have times when we struggle to pray.  Sometimes it is hard to have those moments to sit and pray.  But the good thing is God listens to our prayers big or small.  He wants us to have those conversations with Him.  And thankfully when we’re struggling with prayer, we have this model prayer that Jesus shared to go back to and have a starting point.

This week, let us commit to prayer. No matter how big or small, let us take time to have those conversations with the Lord.

Updated 2017 Book List

Here is the updated list of books read for 2017:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed The Movies by Mark Clark

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 27

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?
When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh,
my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
Though an army deploys against me,
my heart is not afraid;
though a war breaks out against me,
still I am confident.

I have asked one thing from the Lord;
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord
and seeking Him in His temple.
For He will conceal me in His shelter
in the day of adversity;
He will hide me under the cover of His tent;
He will set me high on a rock.
Then my head will be high
above my enemies around me;
I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Lord, hear my voice when I call;
be gracious to me and answer me.
My heart says this about You,
“You are to seek My face.”
Lord, I will seek Your face.
Do not hide Your face from me;
do not turn Your servant away in anger.
You have been my helper;
do not leave me or abandon me,
God of my salvation.
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord cares for me.

Because of my adversaries,
show me Your way, Lord,
and lead me on a level path.
Do not give me over to the will of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing violence.

I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous.
Wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:1-14)

This is one of David’s well known psalms that he wrote. In this psalm, David speaks not only to the struggles that he faced but the hope that he held in the Lord. Though there may be armies surrounding, he was not moved. Though there were struggles inside of him, he continued to hope and believe. He knew God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness. He had experienced it firsthand. And he believed and trusted that God would continue to be faithful and good.

Though we may be going through our own hard times and troubles, let us be like David.  Let us wait on the Lord, let us trust in His work.  Let us never give up doing good and following Him.

Sunday Devotional: Zechariah 7:8-10

“The word of the Lord came to Zechariah:  “The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another.  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.”  (Zechariah 7:8-10)

Zechariah was a prophet of the Lord.  He was given the task of sharing the words of the Lord to the people after their return from exile in Babylon.  Some of these words are in the passage here.  The Lord wanted the people to remember these things.  To be fair in their decisions.  To have love and compassion for one another.  To not be oppressive to those hurting or those in need.  And to not plot evil against one another.

These words, written down thousands of years ago, still hold true today.  God still wants those that love and worship Him to do these things.  He wants us to “make fair decisions”.  He wants us to “show faithful love and compassion to one another.”  He wants us to “not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor” and to “not plot evil” in our hearts towards one another.

We see today much anger and hurt and sin around us.  There was much anger and hurt and sin in Zechariah’s day.  But just as God called the people in Zechariah’s day to this standard of fairness, compassion, love, grace and mercy, we are called to do the same.  So this week let us not be about anger and hate and division.  But let us be about fairness and love and compassion and hope.  And we are able to have those things because of Jesus Christ.

Updated 2017 Book List

Here is the updated list of books read for 2017:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Thursday Quote Day: Mark Batterson

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from pastor and author Mark Batterson:

“But I’ve come to realize that getting where God wants me to go isn’t nearly as important as becoming who God wants me to be in the process.  And God seems to be far less concerned with where I’m going than with who I’m becoming.”  (Mark Batterson Wild Goose Chase)