Thursday Quote Day: Tim Keller

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features another quote from pastor and author Tim Keller:

“Trials and troubles in life, which are inevitable, will either make you or break you. But either way, you will not remain the same.” (Tim Keller Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering)

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 18:1-2

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:1-2)

When we put our trust in God, he becomes our everything.  He becomes one in whom we can take refuge in times of trouble and anger.  He is the strength that helps us through the times when we are weak.  He is the rock that we can cling to through all the storms in our lives.  He is the shield that protects us from all the dangers that can attack us.  He is our stronghold that we can settle and live in hope.  Let us have that trust in the Lord.  Let us hope in Him.  Let us follow after Him.

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 63

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
    they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.” (Psalm 63:1-11)

This week, let us seek the Lord out with all our heart and soul.  Let us be satisfied in Him.  Let us sing out like David did about how much we cling to Him.  Let us remember that is love is better than life.

Thoughts on the Second Trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Today was the beginning of Star Wars Celebration, the Star Wars convention that brings people around the world together for all things Star Wars.  As part of the kickoff to the weekend, they premiered the new trailer for the upcoming film Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  After just watching it, here are some quick thoughts:

1) There was more depth to the trailer (which was to be expected).  The initial shot of the crashed X-Wing which then revealed the crashed Star Destroyer was pretty epic way to start it off.

2) Love the voiceover by Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.  This trailer tied a little more into the original cast but still left a lot in mystery.  There’s a shot of Luke hooded (with his robotic hand no longer covered) with R2 & later handing someone a lightsaber.  And at the end of the trailer there’s the awesome shot of Han Solo & Chewbacca with Han saying “We’re home.”  Where is home?

3) Lots of action with the new cast.  It’s safe to say that John Boyega, Daisy Ridley & Oscar Isaac are going to have huge roles in this film and they look like they’ll be great in carrying the film.

I’m so looking forward to December.

Sunday Devotional: Isaiah 55

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
    and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

“For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”  (Isaiah 55:1-13)

We all have times and seasons of hurt.  But God is there through all of it.  He promises to help us to deal with our pain.  He promises to help lead us out of that into peace.  We have to be willing and open to seeking Him, to trust in Him.  He’s waiting for us to do that.  He will take our hurts and our pains and use them to build us up for His purpose and his glory.

This week, whether you’re going through good times or rough times, remember to seek the Lord.  Trust in Him.

Thoughts on Furious 7

Yesterday I went and saw Furious 7 at the movie theater.  I’m a fan of the franchise so it was a given that I was going to see this movie and wanted to share some thoughts about the film and franchise up to this point.

The film itself was good.  You know going into this film what it’s going to be like and true to form that’s what it was.  It continues the story of Fast & Furious 6 with Dom, Brian and the gang having to deal with the brother of the villain from the previous film.  The fact that it’s actor Jason Statham means it’s a villain to reckon with.

Like some of the recent previous films, there’s a lot of jet setting around the world with crazy stunts & fight scenes.  A lot of these center around revenge (Shaw getting revenge for his brother, Dom getting revenge for Han) and protection (protecting a hacker named Ramsey & protecting the family from Shaw and his “friends”).

I enjoyed the film for what it was and the story it told.  Granted, there were some nitpicking things.  One being that Dwayne Johnson was more of a cameo role of sorts and I like the character of Hobbs.  Though I will say he did have some good scenes in his limited role.  I guess the major nitpick thing was not what you would think.  Given that actor Paul Walker died while the film was in production (which led to the delay in it’s release), there was use of digital work and stunt doubles to help fill in scenes.  But honestly, I didn’t notice which ones they were.  What did stick out to me was a scene in Japan.

Those that know the franchise know that the last several films have been “prequels” in a sense.  In the timeline technically this film follows The Fast and the Furious:  Tokyo Drift (which came out in 2006).  The end of the film featured Dom in a drag race against Sean Boswell (played by Lucas Black) who was a friend of Han.  So in this film to tie it together, they bring back the scene from 2006 where Sean is told someone wants to race him.  Then a few seconds later (after the race) Dom and Sean are talking (filmed present day).  You can tell that Lucas Black has aged (and also cut his hair) but I guess if you weren’t paying attention you wouldn’t notice it but it just stood out to me.

Overall, I enjoyed the film and I enjoy the franchise.  It’s wild that the franchise started in 2001…when I was in college.  I remember going to the movie theater to see that one (well I’ve went to the movie theater to see all of them).  I will say the first film is good in it’s own right then it dropped off some before really gaining steam from the 4th movie onward.  I don’t know if they will continue to make films in this series (given Walker’s death but they did write off the character in a nice way, and I do think that would’ve been the plan anyway given the trajectory of the character of Brian and Mia) but if they do I’m on board for it.  They’re movies that you can take two hours and just go along for the ride (sort of speak).

If you’re curious, here is how I rank the film series including the newest film:

1) Fast Five

2) Fast & Furious 6

3) Furious 7

4) Fast & Furious

5) The Fast and The Furious

6) 2 Fast 2 Furious

7) The Fast and The Furious:  Tokyo Drift

Sunday Devotional: Matthew 28:1-10

“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10)

Today is Resurrection Sunday.  Today is the day that we as followers of Jesus celebrate the hope of new life because of Christ rising from the dead.  He is risen!  He is risen indeed!