Digging in Deeper: James 1:19-20

“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever experienced the letdown of unmet expectations? I’m sure you have. We all do from time to time. Sometimes that’s our own fault because we placed too much hope in the wrong things. Sometimes it is the fault of someone else who sold us more than was available to buy. Oftentimes it’s a mixture of both. I recently experienced a theatrical letdown. My hopes were high for a great film, but it just didn’t deliver. This morning, we’re going to talk about the latest offering from Marvel Studios: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and why it just wasn’t what I expected. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, proceed with caution because I will include spoilers.

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Digging in Deeper: 1 Peter 4:15-16

“Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in having that name.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The story of God lies at the heart of all of our stories. Because He is the creator of all there is, and because He left His fingerprints all over it, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. What this means in practice is that if you pay attention to the stories we tell, you are highly likely to find at least a whisper of the Gospel in them somewhere. Perhaps the authors intended to put it in, but far more often, it is there without the authors’ even being aware of it. This past week, I found yet another example of this. Come back with me to the series, Young Justice, and let’s talk about why the end of the third season was the best moment of the series so far.

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Morning Musing: Psalm 40:1-3

“I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and they will trust in the Lord.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I haven’t done this for a while, but this morning is going to be a bit of a grab bag. Honestly, that’s because I didn’t know what I was going to write until I got up this morning. That’s sort of true every day because I tend to write each post the same day it goes live, but most days I’m only completing a thought I first started sketching out two to three weeks before writing. Fridays, though, are for taking a break from the rest of the week and reflecting on something different. I spent the time I lay in bed awake last night prayerfully pondering what I would write about this morning. So, we’ll call this morning an answer to prayer. Perhaps it’s an answer for you. Here’s to a bit of a stream of consciousness morning.

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Digging in Deeper: Daniel 9:4-5

“I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: Ah, Lord – the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps his gracious covenant with those who love him and keep his commands – we have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly, rebelled, and turned away from your commands and ordinances.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things I have encouraged you to do time and time again when it comes to the media content you consume, is to not watch it uncritically. I understand there are times you simply want to disengage and zone out in front of a screen, but media is intended to send a message. That’s why it exists. We absorb these messages whether we are conscious of that or not. For the sake of our souls, it is better if we engage with them aware of what we are consuming in the same way you don’t (or shouldn’t!) eat junk you can’t identify. If you are a follower of Jesus, this means you watch and read and listen with a Christian worldview lens in place. Well, this is not just something I preach. It’s something I practice. That’s why I do these reviews on Fridays. So today, I have another review for you. And because I’m a nerd, this one is another superhero show. This time we’re talking about HBO’s flagship superhero series, Titans. Let’s dig into it.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 10:29-31

“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are wroth more than many sparrows.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would happen if someone knew everything? I mean everything. Every decision you make; every word you speak; all known completely before you do them. What would that mean for your life? Would you really have any free will? Or would you simply be doing what this person wanted you to do? This week the latest Marvel Disney+ series, Loki came to an end. As has become the case for nearly all of their work, the show’s creators invited viewers into Marvel’s fantastically impossible world of superheroes and villains, of incredible technology and magic (but I repeat myself), and now of time travel and multiple realities. The story the comics giant has been telling for 13 years was not just continued, but launched in a whole new universe of directions. It personally left me as excited as I can be for what comes next. But as is equally true for nearly all of their content, it invited viewers to consider some of the big questions of life. Specifically, what would it mean for our lives if there was someone who was truly sovereign over them? This morning, let’s talk about Loki and how we as Christians should think about the questions it asked. By the way, this conversation will be filled with spoilers for the last episode, so if you plan on watching it, go do that first.

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