Action Comics #1000

April 18th, 2018 is the 80th anniversary of when Action Comics #1 was published and also is the day that Action Comics #1000 was released. When I first started this blog Action Comics #900 was going to be released and I wrote a small piece about it which can be read here. I’ve commented before that if their were three pop culture franchises that I would consider important to myself they would be: Superman, Star Trek, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m not really sure why I always gravitated toward Superman but I always have.

Action Comics 1000

My first exposure to Superman was through cartoons that we watched on our old black and white TV. The only thing that I can seem to remember is that Superman fought a man made out of kryptonite and seemed to die at one point during the episode only to come back and save the day. To me it’s okay if it seem ridiculous. I was a kid and the plot of the episode was directed towards me.

I think what I’ve always liked about Superman was his secret identity as Clark Kent. Over the years different writers have asked the question who is the real character and who is the secret identity: Clark Kent, Kal-El, or Superman? It’s always been Clark Kent. Clark is who he is. Superman is the costume that Clark puts on so he can use his super abilities to save people. Kal-El is who Clark was when he was on Krypton, but he doesn’t have any association with his Kryptonian identity, other than what has been revealed to him through after he had already lived as Clark Kent. Clark Kent is an alien from Krypton and his Kryptonian biology is what allows him to have super powers on his planet. But his identity, who Clark is? That was formed on Earth while he was living in Smallville and being raised by John and Martha Kent. Clark Kent is who he is.

To me Clark Kent is someone that I can identify with. He is a shy reserved kid who grew up on a farm and then he becomes a writer, just like me. Now when Clark decides he is going to become Superman he starts to wear glasses as Clark Kent, wears the wrong size clothes to hide his physique, hunches over, and puts on an act to appear as if he isn’t very confident. This is when being Clark becomes more of a disguise, but Clark Kent is the true identity, the real person.

Anyway, I picked up Action Comics #1000 at my local comic store. It is an 80 page comic book with a price tag of $7.99. The entire issue is a celebration of Superman. I would recommend this issue to anyone that is even a casual fan of Superman. Many of the stories inside this book are the creators telling us what they love about Superman and what makes him special. It’s because the creators love the character so much is what makes the issue so special for me as a reader and I greatly enjoyed it.

Hopefully Superman has another 80 years and another 1000 issues in him.

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Found a few old comic strips I made

Several years ago I had a Photobucket site where I posted all of the images that I used in my blog posts because Photobucket allowed free third party photo hosting. Unfortunately, Photobucket no longer does third party photo hosting for free and you’ll find that several older blog posts on here have no image to display. I’ll have to download the pictures from photobucket and link them through WordPress in order to fix this issue and it’ll take some time.

Anyway, a conversation about the “ROCKzilla” comic strips came up the other day and I thought about how I wished I had done more with the comic strip. The original idea behind the comic was that their would be a website where a musically influenced comic book strip and a review of a music album would be posted. Unfortunately, other than the two comics posted below nothing much more came out of it. Perhaps the characters can be revived and used in a different manner.

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The next comic strip is a funny one about Odd Jobs that Superman might make a sidekick do if he had one. I think it’s pretty funny even if it isn’t the most visually appealing.

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Originally posted on allnerdity.com (now allnerdity.wordpress.com)

This last comic strip… I created when I became frustrated with the writing style of Brian Michael Bendis which now is pretty funny because he is going to be taking over the writing duties for both Action Comics and Superman, two monthly titles which I read. Superman is going to be an action oriented title and Action Comics is going to focus more on Clark Kent and him working at the Daily Planet. I am, at this point, excited for both titles. I am more excited for Action Comics, as I am looking forward to these down-to-earth type stories with Clark Kent. Hoping for the best… We’ll see though…

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What I’m Thankful For (2017 Edition)

Typically, if I would do this blog post I would be writing it in November but I haven’t been writing too many blog posts this year for a variety of reasons. That being said 2017 has been a challenging year but it still leaves several things to be thankful for.

1) Health:

I spent some days in the hospital because of an infection that I got in my hand. I was blessed with several people’s prayers and a cool get well basket that included snacks, word searches, and comic books. Being in the hospital flat out sucked; however, the surgeon was an Eagles fan so he gave him some good-hearted ribbing for being an Eagles fan but never having lived in Philadelphia.

Colton had some health concerns this year to which we never got a clear diagnosis. Several sleepless nights worrying about what was going on caused ample amounts of stress. Thankfully, whatever the issue was seems to have passed. Hopefully, it never comes back. Throughout the process of investigating this situation I was made aware of some family history that was a little hard to swallow, but ultimately there is nothing that I can do about it.

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2) Family & Friends:

Oh man, life is hard sometimes. Sometimes, you can’t stand the people that are supposed to mean the most to you. Good thing we are all willing to work through the issues and find a compromise and move forward. There are just those days when it doesn’t make any sense when you ask yourself “if this person cares for me, if this person loves me, then why did they do that?”

You can spend a lifetime psycho-analyzing someone to figure out their motivations and ultimately where does that get you?

Sometimes, we just don’t think decisions through.

Sometimes, we are just selfish and we don’t think how it well effect someone else.

Sometimes, we think we are doing the right thing but “ripping off the proverbial Band-aid” but sometimes we just have to be the one that talks less and listens more. We can offer a person the best advise that we can, and if they don’t take it then it’s on them, and when it comes back around to realizing that we were right all along, you don’t rub it in their face or gloat.

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All that being said, my wife was in the hospital with me when my hand was infected. I tell my wife what my goals are and why they are important to me and we try to work together to do as much as we can towards achieving those goals. My friend stopped at the house twice a day for a few days to help me change the bandage on my hand while my wife was out of town for work. They also made a spaghetti dinner for me and the kids. Both the kids were so happy when I was finally home. I attended my first-ever Friends-giving this year and it was pretty awesome. My brother from another mother, who currently lives in another state, always gives me a good sounding board whenever I need to talk something through. He also keeps me up-to-date on all the hot new music ;)…

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But, not to trash psychoanalyzing… do you think a lot of our world’s problems are related to how much influence social media has in our lives? I mean, if Hillary Clinton lost the election because Russia posted Facebook content that influenced us to vote for Donald Trump, doesn’t that really reflect poorly on us as Americans? Are we really that gulliable? Fooled by a Facebook post…?

3)Employment

I am thankful to have a job that I don’t hate to go to everyday.

4) Gwen

My dog Chip died this Spring when he got into the trash and ate a can of tuna fish that I had thrown out because the tuna fish was spoiled. The can was full of mold and mold is highly toxic to dogs. Chip is by far the best dog that we ever had. That same can of tuna that killed Chip also poisoned one of our foster dogs a little puppy called Elle. Elle acted so much like Chip, especially after he was gone. I wanted to adopt Elle but she was already spoken for. We found Gwen and oddly enough the people that had the litter of puppies are a family relation. We picked Gwen out of the bunch. Gwen is no Chip for sure, but she is still a darn good dog.

So, in conclusion 2017 has been a tough year for a lot of people, but we’ve got to look for the good and hold onto hope.

In Memoriam: Chip 2004-2017

In Memory of Chip

Chip, you were the best dog I ever had. We lost you so quickly that sometimes it feels like it isn’t real. But it is and it hurts knowing that I’ll never get to see you again. You were with us for 12-1/2 years and I’ll cherish every day of it.

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I remember when we got you from the breeders. We had to drive through a security check point because we were near the Canadian border. The police officers made us pull over and searched the car because they said we were acting nervous. We were nervous. We didn’t know why there was a check point or what going through one entailed. We told the police officers who searched the car that we were on our way to get you. When we came back through the check point the same police officers were still on duty. They recognized us and  waved us through. Aimee waved your little paw at the officers as we drove through. They smiled.

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When we were at the breeders they had you in a pen with your brothers and sisters. I was shocked at how you were almost twice the size of all your brothers and sisters.  The breeders laughed and said “yeah, he likes to eat”. For your entire life your favorite thing to do was eat.

 

When we first got you, your eyes were very blue. We had already named you Chip, but your eyes were so strikingly blue that Aimee had talked about changing your name to pay homage to Frank Sinatra. I’m glad we never changed your name. Chip was a name that fit you. The two best parts of a cookie are the chocolate chips and eating them. You liked eat. You would eat anything and you would eat all the time if you could. You were a Chip. It was the perfect name for you. The color of your eyes changed to brown anyway.

 

Like all dogs there were times when you got loose and we had to try and catch you. Most times it involved getting your attention by shaking a bowl of dog food and you would come running back. Usually if you got loose that meant Abbie got loose too and she would run faster than a rabbit and to wherever she wanted to go. She isn’t as easily swayed by a bowl of dog food. Abbie misses you too. She didn’t eat for a few days, and has been walking around the house looking for you. At 13-1/2 years old, Abbie is old but it never really showed on her. The past few days as she’s been mourning you it seems that her age is catching up with her quickly. Abbie loves you too.

 

You were young when we brought baby Makenna home from the hospital. You were so sweet with her. She could climb on you and pull your ears. You didn’t care. She dressed you up. She painted your nails. You let her do whatever she wanted. You were so good to her. You were much older when we brought home baby Colton from the hospital. You were sweet with him too. You patiently endured another round of being climbed on and having your ears pulled. Both of the kids love you too. Makenna has carried around your collar. Colton doesn’t quite understand what has happened, but he knows you aren’t here and he asks where you are.

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You were a good cuddler too. While Abbie has to lay where and how she wanted, anyone could grab you and pull you towards themselves. You would just lay there curled up against them and find a way to fall asleep. When the other dogs would run into the bedroom and sleep with Aimee when she went to bed you always stayed by my side. It didn’t matter what I was doing. If I was reading, working on the computer, or just watching TV; if I was sitting on the couch you would sit next to me.

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You would sit through re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation and episodes of The Flash with me when everyone else would just roll their eyes and go into the other room. Don’t worry Chip, Barry won’t let Savitar kill Iris, and Caitlyn won’t be Killer Frost forever.

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You had two little spots of lighter colored fur right above your eyes. It made you look like you had eyebrows. You had this little gesture where you appeared to “raise your eyebrows” and then look to the side. I have always told people that you were “giving the side eye”.

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When my hand was infected you knew something was wrong and you knew I was worried about it. You stayed right by my side no matter what I was doing or where I was.

 

You loved to give kisses. As your teeth started rotting your breathe got so horrible that no one really wanted your kisses anymore but that didn’t stop you from trying to give them. I would rub my finger on your nose and you would lick my fingers. No one in this house ever doubted that you loved us.

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While you weren’t my first dog Chip you were my best dog and I’ll never forget you. I hope that you enjoyed your life and that you feel that we did as right as possible by you for the time that you were here. I love you Chip. I miss you, and I’ll never forget you.

The Importance of Fellowship

The Importance of Fellowship

Last Saturday I started my day in a doctor’s office and ended it in a hospital bed. Whether I cut my hand or was bit by and insect no one will ever know, but either way my hand was infected. So when I say that I’m happy to be here with you guys today I really mean it. Hospital visit or not I’m happy to be here today because I’m here having fellowship with you and today I’d like to talk to you about why fellowship with fellow believers, such as being here right now, attending a small group bible study, attending church with other believers, attending a Men’s Retreat (if your able), or just sharing a cup of coffee and the word of God with someone who is more mature in their walk with Christ than you is so important.

Origin of Fellowship

Fellowship comes from the Greek word, KOINONIA (Pronounce Coin-non-ia, if I pronounced it wrong it’s Google’s fault, since I had Google Translate say it for me several times…), which means “to share in common.” Christian fellowship is more than attending Church — it is “assimilating” into the body of believers, becoming “one” in worshipping, loving, caring and sharing.

Fellowship is not an optional matter for believers, in 1 John 1:7, John says “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 (NIV). When it says “if we walk in the light” it is referring to having fellowship with God. The outcome of this fellowship is, “the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin”. Having fellowship with other believers is vital to our walk of faith.

We were made for fellowship

When God created Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden he quickly decided that it wasn’t good for him to be alone. In Genesis 2:18 (NIV) the Bible says “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone…” Genesis 2:18 (NIV). So God created Eve and from that we have many people around us, both believers and non-believers to fellowship with. In 1 John 4 we are given a very direct command 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-21 (NIV).

As believers the expectation for us is made very clear: we are to love our bothers and sisters-in-Christ. In 1 Peter 2:17 Peter says17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:17(NIV). So when it comes to our church family we don’t get to pick and choose whom we love. We are called to love all believers, even the ones that annoying personality traits.

The people we surround ourselves with influence us

In Proverbs 13:20 it is written “20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20 (NIV), and in 1 Corinthians 15:33 it is written “33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV).

For a moment think about how you feel or act after spending a day around people that are motivated and excited. Typically a person would feel motivated and excited themselves. The feeling is contagious. Now imagine you are surrounded by people with foul mouths, who tell all sort of crude jokes and use curse words like they are going out of style. It’s not that hard to imagine is it? We’ve all probably been in a workplace where our co-workers are a little rough around the edges despite Human Resources’s policies. If you are only around these types of people after a while you might have noticed that it doesn’t shock you so much if you use a curse word yourself or a crude joke slips out of your mouth easier than it should. Imagine yourself surrounded by people that have no hope and are depressed all the time? You probably aren’t feeling very chipper yourself, do you?

Now imagine yourself surrounded by passionate Christians that are devoted to seeking God every day. That are devoted to reading their Bibles, praying, and teaching other’s about Jesus. What type of influence do you think they would have on you?

You can’t control the people that surround you at your workplace but you can surround yourself with fellow Christians to help offset their effect. As you continue to mature as a Christian it shouldn’t be shocking to see God use you to influence those around you.

We share our burdens together and pray together

In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 Paul writes “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV). Now earlier I told you that I ended up in the hospital and while I’m not looking for any pity, it was only one of the difficult things that happened to me this week. Yesterday, my dog got into the trash and ate an entire can of moldy tuna fish. Mold is extremely toxic to dogs and we ended up having to put our dog Chip down last night. I bring this up because it illustrates how unpredictable life is. I didn’t know I would be in the hospital. I didn’t know my dog was going to die, but it happened back-to-back. While it’s tough to process these situations that are completely out of my control I know that if I’ve cultivated a fellowship with other Christians that if they are aware of my situation they are praying for me whether I’ve asked them to or not. That’s extremely comforting because on days when I just don’t feel like I can pray, I know that others are lifting me and my situations up. I also know that I have the responsibility to do the same for others. There is nothing more comforting than a fellow brother or sister-in-Christ telling you “I’ve been praying for you”.

In Galatians 6:2 Paul writes “2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV).

We mature as Christians together

In Hebrews 10:24-25 Paul writes 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV). One of the most important things for me is to have friends that are fellow believers that are encouraging me and holding me accountable. I’ll admit that there are times when I’m not very good at praying or reading my Bible. If we are being honest here, we might as well say that at times I’m downright horrible at it.

I need fellow believers that will ask me how I’m doing. I need fellow believers to encourage me to pursue my walk. I need fellow believers that will encourage me to be more active in prayer. It’s not that I don’t want to have an active prayer life and pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s just that sometimes I’m not very good at it and I need the extra push from others. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.

As Proverbs 27:17 says “17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV). We need other believers to help us become more mature as Christians.

And Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. “ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)

The Early Church devoted themselves to it.

In Acts 2:42 Luke writes 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42 (NIV).

It shouldn’t surprise us that the early church devoted itself to the “the apostles’ teaching” and “to prayer”. Apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit, these are the two most important means of growth, power, and effectiveness in the Christian life and this fact is evident everywhere in Scripture.

But Luke tells us these early Christians also devoted themselves to fellowship. They just didn’t have fellowship; they devoted themselves to it. This means that fellowship was a priority and one of the objectives for gathering together. They made fellowship a priority.

Shouldn’t we make fellowship a priority too?

Conclusion

Fellowship is important because God made us for fellowship, we surround ourselves with people that will influence us in Godly ways, we share our burdens and pray together, it helps us to mature as Christians, and the early church did it. We are sitting in a room surrounded by people that we all have something in common with: we all are brothers in Christ. Because of our unity in Christ we are obligated to fellowship together. Don’t let today or Sunday mornings be the only time that you interact with other believers. Protect and grow you walk of faith by attending a Men’s retreat and/or joining a small group Bible study. Fellowship is too important to be ignored.


This is the devotional that I gave at the Men’s Breakfast last Saturday. I was inspired by Dale A. Robbins writings “What Christians Need Fellowship” (http://www.victorious.org/pub/need-fellowship-103) and discussions my Dad and I had on a road trip.

The Value of Life’s Trials: A Meditation on James 1:1-8

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THE VALUE OF LIFE’S TRIALS

A Meditation on James 1:1-8

What I wanted to talk about today is the value of life’s trials. Now before you all collectively roll your eyes and walk out I want to say that I am in no way attempting to trivialize the trails that you’ve faced in your past or are currently facing. What I hope to accomplish is to encourage you by what is written in James Chapter One versus one through eight.

Why did I decide that I wanted to talk about trials today?

Trials are something that we all have in common. In the past six months my wife has had two different surgeries which resulted in two different periods of missed work, recovery, and weight restrictions from lifting. Having a two year old son and a weight restriction don’t go together very well. She couldn’t pick him up nor could she wrestle him to try and dress him or change his diaper. Missed work also meant financial hardships. And most recently my son has experienced a mysterious medical situation that has resulted in two different emergency room visits, multiple tests, phone calls, and as of right now mostly unanswered questions. After my wife’s weight restriction from the second surgery was lifted I excitedly thought: Great! Things can finally get back to normal!” The issues my son is currently facing started shortly thereafter. Well, the reprieve was nice while it lasted… Now I don’t say these things so that you’ll feel bad for me. I say these things to illustrate a point: We all will inevitably face trials.

In verses 1 and 2 James says:

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”

Notice he says “whenever you face trials” not “if you face trials”. As much as we would love for God to put a protective bubble around us it’s just not something that God does. Read the book of Job if you don’t believe me.

James’s letter is written to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations. What he is referring to is believers you have become dispersed because they were facing persecution because of their faith. These believers had to leave their homes and jobs and flee with their families because of their faith. These people were definitely facing major trials in their lives. Trust me it wasn’t like the time when the cable went out and you had everyone over to watch the big game.

Looking again at verse 2, what type of attitude does James says we should have towards trials?

Verse 2 says “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”

Pure Joy?! Pure joy is not what comes to mind when I think of obstacles and trials in my life. Usually I think about how quickly can I get it over with and how can I make sure it never happens again. We know that trials are an inevitable part of life but the real issue is: what is our attitude like during the trial? Are we speaking doom and gloom or are we speaking of the hopeful expectation that God will see us through all trials? Do we resent God for the trial in our life or do we still continue to seek him through reading the Bible, praying, and fellowshiping with other believers? After a particularly frustrating visit with a neurologist regarding my son where we expected the visit to result in some sort of answers but we didn’t get anything I was feeling pretty dejected and downtrodden. While driving into work the next day I prayed “God, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to think. This is what’s going on” and I proceeded to list all the challenges going on in my life and ended with a simple “please help us”. Later that day a prayer was answered and a need was met. I worshiped God with my prayer by acknowledging that I needed his help. I worshiped God by seeking him and not hiding from him. I worshiped God by thanking him for answering a prayer and meeting a need.

It’s not easy to be joyful or worship during a trail but let’s look at versus 3 & 4 and see what James says.

3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James is giving us a sequence of events here. First we have faith. (Our faith is that we believe in God and we believe that God is our father and that he loves us.) Then we are tested. (Somehow our faith is challenged.) The testing leads to perseverance (or as the ESV translation of the Bible puts is: steadfastness), which is the ability to stand firm and strong no matter what our circumstances. And then perseverance leads to maturity and completeness. As a Christian we want to be mature. We don’t want to feel strong in our faith on day and then doubting God’s existence the next. We want to be stable and mature. James view of trials is that they aren’t obstacles to spiritual growth, rather they help us grow spiritually.

Don’t assume that God threw a trial at you to grow you spiritually, but be confident that God will work all things for his perfect will and glory, and that when you face a trial you will grow spiritually because of it. And don’t go looking for a trial just because you feel that you are stagnating spiritually… Trust me, trials can find you well enough without you going to look for them.

As we read verses 5 through 8 ask yourself: what is the key ingredient that we need in our lives if we are to live by James’s formula for Christian maturity?

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all that he does.”

Wisdom! What is wisdom?

Wisdom is understanding. Wisdom is seeing things from God’s perspective. Wisdom is the knowledge and ability to make the right decisions as you navigate through a trial.

How should we obtain wisdom?

We should ask God for it. And as James says God will give us wisdom generously and without finding fault. If you ask God for wisdom he will give it to you.

It doesn’t matter that you have already asked a million other times.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve already asked, received, and then squandered gifts that God had previously given to you.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve failed to truly appreciate the gifts that God has given to you.

That’s the beauty of our relationship with God. Our past doesn’t matter. We are living in the present and if you ask God for wisdom he will give it to you.

Why do we need wisdom?

We need wisdom to see the bigger picture of God’s will.

We need wisdom to know how to behave when we do face a trial.

Don’t forget that God uses all things for good.

God doesn’t give to us because he is expecting something in return but because it is God’s nature to give us good gifts. God is utterly sincere and pure in his intention and he wants us to grow in our faith and is not going to withhold anything that we need for growth.

What type of attitude should we have when we ask God for wisdom?

We must sincerely expect a response from God.

In verses six through eight James says that when a man asks God for wisdom he must believe and not doubt. What he is saying is that we must be sincere towards God. How can we expect to receive anything from God if we doubt God’s compassion for us or his ability and willingness to bless us in times of need? Are we wholeheartedly focused on having a relationship with God or are we leaving the door open for worldly living? James calls a man who is unwilling to choose between God or the world a “double-minded man” and characterizes him as being a wave that is blown every which way by the wind.

Let me ask you a question: how would you characterize your relationship with God?

If you say that it’s an old car that you bought with the intention of restoring it but haven’t looked at in years, and now it sits out behind the garage rusting away then I want to encourage you to roll up your sleeves and get to work on it.

If you got your car stuck in a snowbank who do you want to show up: a person in a Ford Escort with only baling twine to pull you out? Or a person with a four wheel drive diesel pickup truck with a tow chain? You would want the person with the big truck and the tow chain because you know they will get you unstuck.

So in the same light, do you want to be confident that you have a strong relationship with God or do you want to repeatedly doubt your salvation or if God actually loves you? Folks, they say that showing up his half the battle, but that’s all it is, half of the battle. There is still the other half to fight. Showing up to church is good, but intentionally showing up to church with the desire to meet God is better. Owning a Bible is good, but intentionally reading your Bible with the desire to meet God is better. Make your relationship with God a priority and begin to intentionally seek out God.

We know that we are going to experience trials in our lives, but we can be confident in the truth that God is with us during the trial. As uncomfortable as the trial may seem God will use it for his glory by developing us into mature Christians. God gives us wisdom so that we can gain his perspective on our situation and wisdom on how to handle it. God is with us. Never leaving us. Never forsaking us. God wants us to be mature Christians, steady in our faith, and engaged in a vibrant and growing relationship with him.

To close, let’s hear the words Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 11:

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”


This devotion is heavily influenced by notes graciously provided by Larry Nemitz and the Wesleyan Quarterly study by the same name. This devotion was created and read at a recent gathering.

Nickelodeon announces new series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for 2018

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1987’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Image courtesy of the Internet)

Nickelodeon recently announced that they are working on a new 2D animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon with the working title Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which will premiere in 2018.

Nickelodeon provided this official synopsis:

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will follow Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo on all-new adventures as they seek to unlock the mystical secrets of New York City. From the tallest skyscraper to the dankest sewer drain, the Turtles will encounter absurd new mutants and battle bizarre creatures all while enjoying their favorite slice of pizza. Tapping into mystic, ninja powers they never knew existed, the four brothers must learn to work together and navigate the perils of the modern age and hidden realms in order to fulfill their destiny to become a team of heroes.

Now, I’ve been a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever since I was first introduced to them while watching the original animated cartoon which aired on Saturday mornings on CBS. Of all the incarnations of the Turtles that have ever existed the only ones that I didn’t have a level of excitement about were the live action Next Mutation series and the Coming out of Their Shells Tour.

The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons was my gateway to TMNT, which then got me interested in the toys, and then as a birthday present I was given two issues of the first Mirage comic book series. A reprint of issue number three and a first edition of issue number twenty one, part three of the Return to New York where SPOILER Shredder dies a second time.

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Going from the goofy adventures of the cartoon to the gritty comic books I was instantly hooked and actively sought out other issues. My mom was able to find four collected editions through the local library for me which collected somewhere between 16 to 20 issues of the original comic book series. I was in my glory reading these books. In fact as an adult I sought these books out and bought them from an eBay seller and still own them to this day.

When the new animated cartoon debuted in 2003 I would record them so that I could watch the episodes later. Having become such a fan of the original series of comic books I was very excited when I saw how much the series was influenced by the original comic books.

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But getting back to the new series, what I am excited about the most:

New Toy Designs: With the new cartoon their will be new toy designs, which means toy hunts and looking for something cool.

New characters: Every incarnation of the TMNT has brought new characters to life. By far the best new character of the current TMNT series is the villian Tigerclaw. I can’t wait to see which new characters will be created for this new series.

New Stories: Of course we want new stories. That’s what this is all about for us as fans. We want new and interesting stories.

Now the new series doesn’t debut until 2018 but in the meantime we get the fifth season of the current CGI series which has been re-branded as the Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and which I’m led to believe will feature a story arc with Usagi Yojimbo and the turtles as samurais. The toys to support this story arc were displayed during the recent Toy Fair and they look amazing. My fear; however, is that the production copies won’t look anywhere near as good as the models that were on display… (but that’s on Playmates Toys not Nickelodeon).

What are you looking forward to the most about season five of the current series and the new series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?