Of Devotionals & Men

I start my morning off with a short one-paged devotional from a 365-day book titled “Daily Wisdom for Men: 2017 Devotional of Inspiration,” that I picked up at Cracker Barrel, of all places! It was on clearance (that’s not why I picked it up,) and has been a great inspirational morning starter.

YouVersion’s Bible app also has a 2017 reading plan that I believe has been mentioned here before. The daily devotional that accompanies each day in it is much longer than the one I start my day with. It goes into detail on the Scripture you’ll be reading for the day, presents the themes and discusses briefly the history and research that might apply to a particular passage or overall theme. It’s very well done, I think, but then again, this is my first Bible-In-A-Year read through! Each day includes a Psalm or Proverb, a section of New Testament Scripture, and then a section or two of Old Testament Scripture that usually parallels or relates to the new reading. It’s become very interesting to read it like this, for me, and opens up doorways of thought that I’d never considered or even noticed before.

A co-worker and I were discussing last night how many people say that they’ve “read” the Bible, and they just don’t get it. What the big deal is. What it’s suppose to inspire in people. “It’s just a book.” I’ve had this same reaction, so I’m not going to fault anyone for that opinion, but my current outlook is clearer, in my mind, at least. To just sit down and read the Bible from front to back like a regular book … well it’s going to be dry, boring and not really satisfy you, I imagine. That was my experience the one or two times I attempted to read through it in my younger days.

What a serious and thoughtful read-through of the Bible requires is an understanding of what you’re reading. An appreciation. A … well, a true desire to read, and learn, and a willingness to study what you’re reading. I’m not going to use the Shrek onion comparison, but there are many more layers to just reading Scripture and taking anything away from it. Again, I’m just speaking from my own experience. I’m no scholar or preacher, but as a Christ follower, and believer that the Bible is the inspired word of God, that’s my take on getting any understanding out of a reading, or read through.

The thing I am appreciating about the Bible-in-a-Year readings is that comparison to how Old Testament sets up the New Testament. How the prophets of old and the events that transpired directly set up and foretold of the coming of Christ as the sacrificial lamb that would die once for all. But I believe most people who claim they find no understanding in reading the Bible are ones who initially start reading it just to read it and “see what the big deal is about.” They initially may have no real interest in learning or digging deeper, they just know what they’ve heard, or what they don’t believe to start with, and are looking to disprove it further.

So, before I get too deep into a theological hole that my inexperienced hands can’t pull me out of, I’ll just go ahead and wrap this post up. If you have no real desire at this moment in life to understand or follow God, Jesus or accept the Holy Spirit into your life, then I doubt you’ll be open to anything you read in the Bible. It’ll continue to be dry and empty in one’s mind. I’ve been there, brother, I know the feeling. I know what my life was like at that point, too. I thought I was on top of the world. I also know the feeling when everything comes crumbling down and you lose all hope. I know what it’s like to realize there is an answer, but to fight against it because it’s not something you’ve ever been open to before. But, more importantly, I know what it’s like to finally drop your shields, to let yourself be saved, to accept the sacrifice that was made for YOU by Jesus on the cross, and to go under the water to come back out, born again. It isn’t any easier on the other side of the acceptance, but with daily prayer, Bible reading and study, and just giving it all over to God, you’ll find the changes in your life happening. You’ll find the joy that peace in Jesus’ name brings. It may not all come at once, but it’ll come as long as you’re invested in it, and Him.

I was about to apologize for the preaching today, but I deleted that. I’m not sorry. I’m no expert on the subject, just a regular man who turned his life around a couple of years ago. There’s still a lot I don’t know, a lot I don’t understand, but there’s also a lot that’s happened since then that defies all logic. Some folks don’t understand. Even some other fellow Christians look at me funny because even they may not have experienced certain things, yet. So I don’t apologize. Some of you reading this may even understand what I’m saying. Others may think I’m crazy. Others may try to be sentimental and say, “Oh, I’m glad you found what works for you. There’s so many variations of responses that one can offer, even other Christians. But this is my journey, my experiences, and my sharing with you. Your milage may vary.

Have a great rest of the week!

#InsomniacPod

I follow several people who do shows within a podcast network. They are very tight knit in their little community of podcasts, and constantly shoutout and promote one another in their daily podcast listening. They’ve taken to branding these listening sessions with hashtags including their name and “pod.” For example, #InsomniaPod, followed by what they’re listening to. What a great way to promote a podcast, aside from just retweeting a link to a new episode. You’re actually letting people know when you’re taking the time to work that podcast and episode into your busy day.

Do you do anything special to promote your podcast listening pleasures? I know a couple of podcasts use to even recommend burning some of your favorite episodes onto a cd, or flash drive, and just leaving a stack at your favorite comic shop, hobby shop, etc. Or pass them out to friends or coworkers. Interesting ideas!

I also have the Podcasts Worth a Listen page above that is occasionally updated to show my current interests. Feel free to head over to that page and comment with your own podcast suggestions! Maybe someone else will pick up a new show, thanks to your recommendations.

Logan (R)

Logan (2017) – 2h 17min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Synopsis: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.

MPAA: Rated R for strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity

Logan is the final run (as far as we know) of Hugh Jackman as the iconic X-Men character, Wolverine. Taking place in the future (2029, to be exact), Logan focuses on a battered and worn out Logan who may age differently from his peers, but is slowly starting to suffer consequences of his weakening healing factor. He works as an Uber driver to support much needed medication for an even worse off Charles Xavier. Charles has succumbed to Alzheimers and occasionally has seizures that can paralyze – and potentially kill, we’re lead to believe) people within a fairly large radius of his location.

The story of Logan is the swan song of Wolverine as we’ve known him since 2000′s X-Men debuted at the theaters. He’s held the role and done well for the character, despite some pretty bad movies that have been released starring the mutant characters.

In Logan, our two remaining heroes are just trying to eek by as something has happened in the past, which is referred to several times, but never explained, and seemingly eliminated all mutants. No new mutants have been born in over 10 years. Then a little girl shows up who displays the same abilities as Logan, himself.

The movie is awesome. All the online hype is well deserved as the director, who is also the writer, seemed to be given full control on what he brought to the screen. Story is great, acting is top notch, action is brutal and doesn’t pull any punches or fake cutaways. If I say anything negative, it’ll be that the only thing that really drew me out of the film was all the language. I believe it’s the fact that we have been handed these subpar films with PG-13 ratings and mild profanity, but Logan is a hard R for violence, gore and language. Hearing Prof. X string along a series of F-bombs while describing a situation is way out there, in my mind, and it was uncomfortable for me to hear, personally. Yet, oddly enough, I wasn’t bothered a bit by the violence and gore. That seemed perfectly fitting for a character that has metal coated bone claws that shoot out of his knuckles.

Logan deserves all the attention it’s getting. It raised the bar for all future X-Men movies going forward. They should only hope to reach this level of quality. One of the few movies I’ve been to where the theater cheered, laughed, and even cried.

Kong: Skull Island (PG-13)

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Kong: Skull Island (2017) – 2h – Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Synopsis: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language.

Kong: Skull Island is, 3 months into 2017, the best movie I’ve seen this year. Understand, however, that I’ve only seen 2 movies this year. Of those two, this one is amazing. There’s actually a good story, great acting, and it’s played as a serious action drama, not cheesy and goofy like the 2005 version. In fact, I’d just like to forget that one even exits, especially after seeing this film.

K:SI continues in the Cinematic Universe creation process of slowly merging with other monster films. As many fans of the monster movies know, there’s going to be a new American Godzilla coming in a year or two, and this film serves as a continuation point from the 2014 film and lead-in to the next big screen version in 2018 or 19. In fact, stay until after the credits (which seemed incredibly long) to see a setup for future films.

Kong would have been perfect as a Summer blockbuster because it had all the makings. Big guns, explosions, action, Samuel L. Jackson, you know, the things you just expect in a movie these days! The characters were totally believable, the details of Monarch and their mission, the military involvement, the true purpose of their visit, etc, are excellent reveals and draw out the story. I’ve never even been a huge fan of John C. Reilly, but he was fantastic in Kong.

Great movie, great story, great characters. Go see it, it’s pretty … great.