The AWANA Grand Pre !

Greetings! Nothing deep and heavy today. No differences in translation philosphies. Just good old light and fluffy stuff for me today! :) One of the things that really drew my wife and I to the area we now live, and the church we now attend, is the loads of family activites that we can get not ujst ourselves involved in but our children as well. Tomorrow is just one of those events. Our church sponsors a pine-box car derby. Although this will be the second year my kids have gone to this - this one will be my first. Although both times I have had fun with the kids. We've gone shopping for the pre-formed cars, bought 'special colors' (red makes the cars go faster! ;-) ), and had fun just making the cars. I am seeing my oldest take it a little more serious this year than last, but he's still in it just for the fun. Especially in light of apparently how serious some of the fathers take this whole event. I have heard of some really creative cars like an ice cream sunday, or a hot dog shapped one. And since I've not seen it first hand I am not sure, but allegations of fathers making the cars for their kids has come up. :D No matter, it should be fun. I've even gotten into it a little bit this year. I've got a pich-up truck shaped body. Drilled 2 holes to put in some additional weights (the body only weighs 2 oz, and the cars can weigh up to 5 oz.). Now, there will be no way that I will be able to compete with the things I have heard, but I really enjoy model building so I am going to have fun. My truck will not be ready this year, but I will send it down the track primed, and the wheels loosly fitted so I can continue to play with it this year so that it will be "fully" ready for next year. Oh, and this year I will be helping out with the computer. I hope to take some pictures, and hopefully I will learn how to post some pics here for Monday! May you all have a blessed and Spirit filled weekend. Verse for today: Proverbs 15:1-10 esv A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. A fool despises his father's instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent. In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked. The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves him who pursues righteousness. There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die.


Translation philosphy

I wanted to take a moment to address a concern of a fellow "Christian samurai" in regards to the modern translation philosophies of the Bible. I agree with "Deff Jeff" that the Bible should not be changed at all. That each word is the inspired word of God and thus has meaning. We should not be casual in our handling of the scriptures. It is important to remember however, that unless you are reading the scriptures in Hebrew and Greek - you are reading a manuscript other than the original, and thus has been changed in some degree.

The Legacy of the King James Version The King James Version (KJV) was the standard Bible used by the English-speaking world for almost four centuries. It was the one Bible that united the Church, strengthened believers, and brought untold millions of souls to Christ. Its literary beauty helped to shape the English language more than any other printed work before or since. Adults and children studied it and committed its verses to memory. It is still among the top-selling Bibles on current bestseller lists.

The translators of the KJV understood the value of the English translation work that had been done before their time, and they wisely referred to the earliest English Bible translations, dating back to William Tyndale’s 1526 New Testament, in addition to the manuscripts in their original languages.

- quoted from The Standard Bible society

When the King James Version (KJV) was commision it was told to pay particular attention to the original texts and to be a literal as possible. That is to essentially be a "word for word" translation. The result has been marvelous. The KJV is essentially the standard Bible for the English speaking world. It is important to note however that although God's Word never changes - man's does. Human communication, and English in particular (since this is my native tongue), is a dynamic form. Despite English being a 'standard' language for the world as we know it today it is not a stagnant form of communication. Just look at how the 'main' countries that use it differ... The U.K., Australia, and the U.S. all speak English however, the words and phrases are vastly different - and yet all three countries essentially originate from the time of the KJV's commision. The reason I use the English Standard Version (ESV) is that it too seeks to be as faithful to the original texts that the KJV sought to be, but using English in its modern form.

Translation Philosophy The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on “word-for-word” correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages. Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original.

In contrast to the ESV, some Bible versions have followed a “thought-for-thought” rather than “word-for-word” translation philosophy, emphasizing “dynamic equivalence” rather than the “essentially literal” meaning of the original. A “thought-for-thought” translation is of necessity more inclined to reflect the interpretive opinions of the translator and the influences of contemporary culture.

Every translation is at many points a trade-off between literal precision and readability, between “formal equivalence” in expression and “functional equivalence” in communication, and the ESV is no exception. Within this framework we have sought to be “as literal as possible” while maintaining clarity of expression and literary excellence.

Therefore, to the extent that plain English permits and the meaning in each case allows, we have sought to use the same English word for important recurring words in the original; and, as far as grammar and syntax allow, we have rendered Old Testament passages cited in the New in ways that show their correspondence. Thus in each of these areas, as well as throughout the Bible as a whole, we have sought to capture the echoes and overtones of meaning that are so abundantly present in the original texts.

As an essentially literal translation, then, the ESV seeks to carry over every possible nuance of meaning in the original words of Scripture into our own language.

- quoted from The Standard Bible Society

The subject of Bible translations is indeed a touchy subject in the world of Christianity. I have seen Christians act out in very UN-Christian like ways in defense of their positions - on whatever side of the debate they are on. And the world has seen this. Not just from the few debates I have seen, by from Christians in general. And the enemy has siezed upon such divisions and twisted it to try and discredit our witness to the world. I encourage any and all who read this to research it. Do not take my word for it. I take my walk with the Lord very seriously and seek to do due diligence to my own reading. If a reader here uses the "The Message" to try and learn about God, and God is speaking to you then I am excited. For me this translation is not good for indepth study as it is to 'free' with the translating. If a reader here uses the NIV and God is using it in your life to help you get to know the Savior deeper than I rejoice. It too has become a little too 'loose' in its translation and my desire to know the "word for word" and original context. However, I know how mightly God used this translation in my life. The church I now go to also uses this version primarily. If a reader here uses the KJV and God is speaking to you and you are growing in your walk with Christ than nothing could be better. But until one can read the scriptures in their original Hebrew and Greek we are all using a translated text. We meed to each be seeking to know what God is saying to us through His Word. And not what do we think it means, but what is God saying in His Word. Too many cults have put their own meaning to God's word, and the result has been devistating to the body's witness to the world. The Bible we hold in our hands today is not just a copy of what men have written. We as Christians know that it was God who used men to copy His words. But it is more than that even. From a human perspective the Bible is the most accurately recorded and translated book in the history of the world. There are literally thousands of copies of the original scrolls. Where the Bible leaves literary works of the world behind is not just in the number of copies, but in the accuracy across those copies. And not just the copies found in one location. From the scrolls used to translate the KJV, to the Dead Sea Scrolls found around a century ago. The accuracy across these source materials is greater than 95%! No other literary work that the academic world holds as great works can match this. I want every one here to Love their Bibles. I want them to read it. I want them to memorize it. I want them to pray over it. Seek to know how it came to be. Was it copied at the local Kinko's or was it commisioned by King James. Well, I have rambled on long enough. Again, my stance on this is that the best translation of the Bible is the one that is used by its reader. The one that God is speaking to them through. The one that is transorming the reader's life. But at the same time - never be complacent. Always seek (especially with careful prayer) to know more. Verse for today: The Bible - read it. :)


The ESV translation of the Bible

Recently a 'Christian teen' asked my why I used the ESV translation versus the KJV translation. I appreciate their intention to "...not start a fight or anything...", and since this can be a pretty heated topic I wanted to be thorough in my reply. Let me say up front that this is not a topic that gets me all that 'hot and bothered'. It is a serious one IMO, but not one that gets my feathers ruffled. When I first became a Christian the Bible I used was the NIV. It was easy to read, all of the people I went to church with used the NIV, and more important to me was that the Pastors to whom I was seated under - they used it from the pulpit. I will not get into why they used this version, etc. as I cannot really speak to that. But no matter. What is important was that God spoke to me through these men, and that version of the Bible. Latter in my walk as a Christian I would get challanged about this translation of the Bible, and although I was never convinced that the NIV was not the inspired translation of the Bible I did learn a few things about it. Essentially the NIV is a "phrase for phrase" translation of the Bible. The translation was begun in the early 1960's (if my memory is rememboring this correctly) by a team of scholars that used many resources to include some of the Dead Sea Scrolls to ensure that they were going back to as close to the original sources as possible. This was generally good enough for me until the day the Pastors at my church announced that they would no longer be using the NIV as their point of reference during sermons. They would be using the English Standard Version (or ESV) from the pulpit. Now, they were able to put it a lot more eloquently then than I am here now. :) However, I did not rush right out and purchase an ESV either. I wanted to learn more about Bible translations in general - because I am sure several of my brother and sisters in Christ have also heard - about the Bible just being a bunch of stories and men being falable probably messed it up, blah, blah, blah. So I dug seeper - a little - as to how the ESV was brought about. Before I put down my version of events I want to provide the link to the translators own webpage... http://www.esv.org/about/intro This way others can read it own their own as well. After reading about how the translators came about with the ESV I liked what I saw and was hooked. Since I was saved in 1989 and used a 'modern' language translation in the NIV it made the transition a little easier. And I had a hard time understanding what I read in the KJV. There were a lot of times that I just couldn't quite fully appreciate what I was reading because my mind could not seem to "get it". What I really liked about the ESV was that it was not a "phrase or phrase" type of translation, nor was it an "idea for idea" type of translation as a lot of the other more modern translations use. ESV is a word for word, or literal, translation. During my walk with the Lord I had come to respect several of the men on the translation team through either secondary sources (such as men I did respect speaking highly of team members), or I had actaully read some of their books, or heard some of their sermons. I have learned about the care they took in their translation work, the resource material, their attention to detail that they took. Well, I can see my mind is not staying as focused as I would like so I am going to be just summarizing more here...Essentially I see the ESV as a 'child' of the KJV as opposed to another translation. As my own children have been going to school (sunday and elementary) as they have been forced to memorize scripture in the KJV they were not able to tell me what the verses meant. They could quote the scripture, but they did not comprehend them. When they were given the same verses in a 'modern' translation (either NIV, or NSV) I could ask them questions about what they were learning and they could tell me (as well as a child can) what and why. The ultimate kicker was when the NIV translation team put out their most recent translation with their gender "nuetral" version. To me this became less defensable for a variety of reasons. The gospel is offensive and we should not try and sweeten it up just to try and win over hearts at the cost of not winning over their minds as well. I have seen literally every translation be used by, and of God. I have learned about men being converted by another man who was paraphrasing what he learned while he was intoxicated (let alone KJV, NIV, NSV, ASV, or whatever). I have known men and women who were converted hearing the scriptures in Latin, or in song. Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit that opens our hearts and minds to God's word. To condemn people for a translation that they read from is at it's best a misinformed concept, and at its worst is akin to what the pharasees and seducees were doing with Jesus. The KJV is a wonderful translation. I have learned of the care that was taken in its commision, in its translation, in its wording. I believe it still has a place in todays pulpits and pews. The NIV (not the current version, whos initials escape me now) is also a good phrase translation. It uses a version of english that many minds can grasp easily. And while it is not a litteral translation, it is pretty faithful in expressing the concepts of the scriptures. I have not really gotten into the NKJV so I can not speak to this translation. As I have attempted to learn more about the modern translations of the scriptures (to include the KJV) I have come to my current preferences of - litteral - and at the same time mordern language - translation. In the end the scriptures are a gift to us from God. They are to be reveared and respected. They should be studied and memorized. But at the same time we also need to know that it is God who ultimately does the translating and opening our minds and our hearts. I am sure you all have heard this but I will repeat the idea here. the scriptures are easy enough that a child can understand them, and deep enough for the most learned scholar to never come to the end of learning and study in them. Any attempt to say that God is not in a particular translation (to include the newest NIV version - which I am personally disgusted with) is to try and say that God is somehow limited in His resources. That is a rather long winded attempt on my part to relate why I prefer the ESV over say the KJV. I am confident that it was a rather poor attempt on my part to express how I came to my current preference. I encourage everyone to read about the philosphy and methodology of the ESV translation team. They can, and do, express its merits far better than I ever could. No matter how this fell on my reader's ears I pray that God is speaking to you through some version - any version - of the Bible. Ultimately the best translation of the Bible is the one that is being picked up and read and prayed over by its reader. Verse for today: 2 Timothy 3:12-17 esv Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.


Working early

Well, It is a little after 1 AM here where I live while I write this. This is my second time in the last 7 days that I am working an hour I am normally not accustomed to. It is to continue to perform work for the IOS issues I may have mentioned in an earlier Blog. No matter. I was thinking on the way into work this morning that I am prone to complaining about my work. Maybe having to work late. Perhaps having to do something I don't agree with, but the boss seems to find important for some reason known only to him and to God. But then I remembered that this is a part of the fall. And that I am to work as unto the Lord - with joy. And that all my labors for the Lord will not always be as they are today. Since I will be too tired to post a blog entry tomorrow, my verse for today is: Genesis 3:17-19 esv And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wifeand have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Revelations 14:12-13 esv Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”


Scrambled brains

Well, I had a really good idea for a blog today - but then life happened. :) My beloved and I have been getting up an hour early twice a week to work out. Arobics for her, running for me. It's been nice. Then I get to work and there are several spinning plates for me to attend to here at work. Then I am in the middle of a meeting at work when I get paged out for a flat tire on our van. Run out to take care of that, then back to answer the dozen or so e-mails that arrived while I was out, plus the "action items" from the meeting so this will have to do for my blog today. :) May the Lord bless each and everyone of you that stopped by today. :) Verse for today: Psalm 115 esv Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say,“Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold,the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them. O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!He is their help and their shield. You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great. May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth! The heavens are the Lord's heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!


More than tongue can tell

When I was a child my mom would offen tell me and my brother that "I love you more than tongue can tell". When I was a kid I thought it was really nice, but I'm pretty sure I never really grasped what she was trying to tell me. Last night while I was tucking my own children in bed it just sort of struck me. I was overwhelmed by the love I had for each of my children. I struggle to express my love for not just my children, but my wife as well. I feel it deeply. It moves me. It affects me, but I just cannot adequetly express it to them. At times I try and make it up with tell them "I love you" often, and over and over. Sometimes to the point my beloved will tell me, "thanks, I got it". :) I just pray that they feel it too. That's all I have for today. God bless... Verse for today: 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 esv If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.



Well, last night I shared this blog address with two of the Pastors at my church, and then the team leader of the small group leaders. This morning I am questioning my motive. I think it has more to do with feeling like they do not know me very well. I am questioning my 'legitimacy' as a small group leader, let alone as a 'lay leader' in some form of ministry. I want to know that I am not stepping out into the line of fire - where I will pull other people down, instead of building them up in Christ. I am solomnly aware that a leader at any level is been given a charge to present Christ... I guess I just want them to know me, and if the Holy Spirit reveals some form of concern to them, that they could present it to me... Now I am even questioning my motives in typing this up... In truth only charecter and deeds observed over time can build an accurate picture. Round and round we go... Verse for today... Luke 6:43-45 esv “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.


The concept of time and justice

I am not sure how well I will do with this blog today, but I wanted to take a minute to try and reply to some feedback I received from a brother in Christ to my blog from Saturday. As Christians one of the deeper topics we wrestle with is God's sovereignty and man being held accountable for his actions. The Bible does indeed teach both, and yet they seem mutually exclusive. They come to a head and - hopefully - can be seen in the judgement to come. One one hand we see man, and the in the fall displayed, an ability to choose to not obey God's commands (i.e. sin). God was pretty clear, "...the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen 2:17 esv) And yet man does eat of it. Man choose to disobey and suffered the consequences. The immediate affects were for him to no longer live on and on. He would now suffer death. The entire Bible testifies to this affect. Man sins and will ultimately pay the price unless a substitute death is offered. As Christians we have Christ paying this price for us. We may suffer some consequences in this life, but for the life to come it has been paid in full. On the other hand we have God's sovereignty. And to be honest this is the one we have the most difficulty grasping. Another thread through out the Bible is that God is sovereign. The winds, the stars, none of it escapes His notice or control. But the 'difficulty' comes with the interaction with man. Two different ideas have come to my mind in this regard. Bear with me. :) One is that of a scientist performing maze experiments with a mouse. The mouse has to navigate the maze in order to reach the prize. At no time does the scientist tell the mouse to go one way or another, and yet the scientist can change the maze itself, can drop crumbs of cheese to encourage which way to go, etc. The scientist is altogether seperate from the maze, and yet can control it. I think in many ways parallels can be seen between man and God. God does not make us perform a certain way - although He has, and does - intervene in our journey through this life. He never forces us to comply, and he allows for our free decissions. The other image I have is of God existing outside of what we conceive as time. Time is a created thing. It is clear that God has always been. There is no beginning of God. He was there before the world was created. He sees the end from the beginning. "All the days of my life were written in Your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139). In the judgement we have the diffinetive example that no sin goes unpunished. It does not escape His attention. One of the comforting things for a Christian is that we are not the ultimate judge of others. That those that seem to sin and get ahead in life will ultimately pay for such arrogance. So now I come back to how can God allow sin and yet remain sovereign? It comes down to a matter of perspective. We see only the here and now (in relation to eternity). When we see God allowing sin and not doing anything about it we hear that God must not be sovereign, or that He is some how a guilty party in the said sin. And yet we are not taking into account the judgement. In God's soveregnty He is able to both allow the sin - to help mold us into the image of his Son (Romans 8) - and yet He is not guilt of sin. After all He did not perform the sin - her merely allowed it for a time so that we can see the consequences in a finite form. In the end all sin will be accounted for. Does God have the ability to just stop all sin in its tracks? Surely, but if He was to do so creation would no longer exist. But how can God's righteousness and mercy be displayed for all eternity through robots that were just picked to follow Him? And how can God be sovereign and all powerful if anything is beyond His control? As finite beings we see things in shades of white to grey to black. But in God it is truly black or white. God is sovereign, is perfectly just, is perfectly holy. I hope this was helpful. I've never actually tried to outline it out before. By God's mercy this has been something that has intrested me for sometime. If this has not been helpful please let me know. But ultimately it is something each of us has to pray through. I doubt that I have this all wrapped up either. But at least I get to roll it around in my mind like a 'Rubik's Cube', and on some level interact with my God. :) For further study I highly recommend "Bible Doctrine" by Wayne Grudem. This is the "Reader's Digest" version of "Systematic Theology" by the same author. Verse for today: Romans 8:18-25 esv For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.


Fixing things that work

Well I am on day 10 of my work week with only 2 days off in the last 27, and looking at another 6 days before my next day off. But I am not actually writting to complain about that. Yesterday I actually had two entries, the one you see now, and a second one. The second one I expressed a thought about how we deal with trials in our lives. Essentially my thought was along the line of when we complain about the circumstances in our lives we essentially complaining that God is not taking care of us. That we feel that we are getting a raw deal, or that in essence we know better than God what is good for us. I mean really - if you break it down to a common denominator think about it. If we say that we do not like having to work overtime - as in my case - we are saying that God is treating us infairly. If God is sovereign, and He dictates to what extent the enemy of my soul can tempt me or afflict me, then He is ultimately in charge of my life. He is not surprised my my work week, and His Word is pretty specific that we are never tried beyond what we are able to bear. And that He has us in His hand. So when I complain about my circumstances I am ultimately saying that I am not trusting in what He is either doing directly, or what He is allowing to happen to happen in my life. I am then saying in essence he is not Lord in my life. And that is a scary thing to say. We need to remind ourselves - as a pastor once told me in a sermon - we need to talk to ourselves (essentially preach to ourselves). In Job (13:15) we hear him say "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him". Job goes on to say that he will argue his case before the ultimate judge of all creation... but remember that in the end God tells Job, "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me." God never answers Job why these afflictions happen to him. We get to see it because of God's Word, Job never knows while he is in the midst of his trials - most of us never will either. But we know in whom we do trust... and this life is but such a sliver in light of eternity. Our hope is in One who is perfect in justice and mercy. Well, my issue has been resolved. I am out here till tomorrow. May the Lord shine upon you all. :)


If it ain't broke don't fix it

I am a little frustrated at work right now. About 2 months ago my group was get pushed on from on-high to get some specialized configurations uploaded to the network to enable QoS (quality of service - basically garunteeing certain applications a certain amount of bandwidth, and others just get "best effort", but a bit more complicated than that). Well, that has been a series of headaches ever since. First we went around and around about the configs not working. It was determined that the current IOS would not support the commands needed. So in the routers that could support we were to proceed. Then the routers that could support the IOS, the hardware could not. H/W upgrades are in process, and IOS upgrades are in process. Then capacity issues on the core... now we are having issues with some 'legacy' configurations are not happy with the new IOS. *sigh* Six weeks this has been going on... I'd feel some satisfaction in that I was trying to express caution at the get go and was ignored - but I am the one that is getting the ulcer trying to get it all to work (not just me, but I am involved in the group that is resposible for this sort of thing). And now, they are talking about some more security upgrades. Configurations as well as a whole new IOS. The current problems are with only 80 some devices. The new changes will be upon over 200! Ok, I am complaining and venting... but the fact is, this is what I get paid to do so I need to just get back to work now. For my career is indeed a gift from the Father. It is how I provide for my family. :) Thank you all for listening to my venting. :) Verse for today: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 esv I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Amen


Too much scrambled brains

It's been a chaotic couple of weeks. With my having to do a conference call this Sunday that will make 4 weeks in a row that I will miss church... *sigh* Although it probably shouldn't bother me I can tell when I am getting out of sorts. I will need to catch a Wednesday night or possibly even a Sunday night service - and soon. Well I have been talking with my beloved and there are 3 things we want to do to our house this year (besides painting a few rooms). 1) We desperately want to put a patio in. For the past 7 years we've not had a deck or a patio. So I have contacted a contractor to put in a "Stamp-crete" patio. A co-worker had about 2000 square feet worth done and he loves it. It's also fairly economical compared to some other things I've heard about. 2) My love really wants to put in a simple playset for the kids to play on. Something for them to get out of the house and away from the TV. 3) We could use a small shed to store the lawnmower, gas, and snowblower in. Maybe big enough to work on the various things as well. We are having the contractor come around, hopefully this weelend to give us an idea of how much it should cost. My co-worker was telling me between $11 and $15 a square foot - depending on the design, etc. We are also hoping to go visit an Amish store to check on the playset and shed. We'll see... Not much else roaming around the old noggin today. God Bless you all. :) Verse for today: Psalm 81:1-7 esv Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob. He made it a decree in Joseph when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a language I had not known: “I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah (meditate and dwell on this thought)


The will to (not) do

My wife and I have sort of been watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy - extended version of course - recently, and last night something sort of hit home. How often do we do something that is wrong to try and accomplish something that is right? A little white lie won't hurt anyone. Maybe speeding to get to work on time. In the movie the Ring is the temptation all of the charecters in the movie must recon with. Several charecters (Gandalph, Aaragorn, Galadriel, and Faramir come to mind) all have the ring within their reach. But they know that if they compromise disaster would await them, and all that they truly hold dear. Others find the temptation too great and are ruined by it. Boramir betrays the trust Frodo has in him. The steward of Gondor goes made because of his dealings with Sauron and his desire to bring "the weapon of the enemy" to Gondor for his "personal safe keeping". And what about Golum. His entire person is so thoroughly corrupted by it that when he falls into the lava his last thoughts are not of his own passing, but a vain attempt to save the Ring. And what about the sturdiest of caretakers of the Ring, Bilbo and Frodo. Dispite their ability to resist the temptations of the Rind they are still slowly corrputed by it. Bilbo can't help himself struggles mightly to leave it behind for Frodo, and when the two are reunited it is ever on his mind to ask about it - to "see it one more time". And poor Frodo who we witness throught the entire movie struggle with his burden - which in the ends actually wins and dominates his spirit. If not for Golum Frodo would not have been the hero he became. And yet "it was meant to be" for the two to carry the ring for so long so that the Ring could ultimately be destroyed. And that was a cheerful thought. I guess what is remarkable to me is how often I will make an ever so slight compromise. Maybe not tell the whole truth about something to elicit a favorable response in some way. Or maybe slide through a stop sign. Whatever it may be. How often do I hold onto something that the Lord might be gently trying to release from my grasp - to free me - but I can't bear to be apart from 'it'? More often than I really care to think about. Some are called to carry such burdens, but never forever. God has told us that we can release them to Him, and He will releave our distress. His burdens are light and His worries are few. He will never tempt us beyond what we are able to bear - but we need to trust in Him to bear them successfully. Rely upon His provision of grace and strenght. Do not allow yourself to listen to the enemies lies - "did god really say" and "it will not _____" are two of his favorites. Well, that is my thoughts for today. :) Hope I've not confused you all too much with my ramblings. Verse for today: Matthew 11:25-30 esv At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


Busy Day Working for the Man

Sorry, nothing of import to report today... I am up to my eyeballs in fires to put out at work. Several of you have been in my prayers already today. May you all feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and the joy of the Lord this day. :) Verse for Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 esv We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.


A Whole lot of Nothing

Well it was my drill weekend once more. On Saturday, due to my recent promotion, I had to take the "Big Three" certification test. In the artillery the E-7's are responsible for essentially using survey-like equipment to position the howitzers. This includes using an aiming circle which is pretty much like a survey tool. It has a magnetic needle and is measured into 6400 units known as mils (instead of 360 degrees). There is also a written exam of many different areas covering ammunition, positioning techniques, recorde keeping, and many other skills. Well, I did ok on the written exam. About 90% on my first time through. This allowed me to continue on and correct the problems I missed until I achieved 100%. After that we did the hands on portion of the test. We had to go out to a prepared test sight where we had to set up the aiming circle within 3 minutes. I missed my first attempt, practiced a few more times, and then made the time on my second try. After that I became what I'd like to call a "chicken noodle on rye". I had taken these series of tests once before when I had to cover for our battery's E-7 while they were all at school (great planning, eh). But then I had had more time to practice and get comfortable with the equipment. By the end of the day on Saturday I was coming around. The Master Gunner for our Battalion did not give me a "go" (nor do I think he should have), but I was starting to grasp the tool and how to get it to do what I needed it to. Next we were tested on a newer version of the aiming circle. This one has a computer, some GPS capability, etc. Now this is a tool I can wrap my mind around! :) If not for a simple aiming error on one of the tasks I would have passed the written and this portion of the testing. As it stands I will need to retest on both of these aiming curcle tools. I also found out that I will have to go on the advance party for our unit in May, as well as do two annual trainings this year. *sigh* One is for 9 days in June, the other is for an NCOES in late July/early August. That one is for about 15 days. Neither training is going to be really physically challanging. It's just having to be away for those days. Over all I was disappointed but it was not a bad weekend. The ray of sunshine was when the battalion sergeant major drew me aside to ask about my military career and what my intentions moving forward might be. I told him I aiming for January 2008, and when he asked about when I would reach my "20". I told him this summer, and that my wife would prefer that I get out this summer. Well, he was encouraging that he thought I would make a good First Sergeant (E-8), and that I seemed to be a soldier than enjoyed being in uniform as opposed to one what was just there for the money or benefits. Not knowing what else to say I said "thank you". Verse for today: 2 Samuel 22:32-37 esv For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.


A little bit of green running through my veins

Recently while driving my oldest to do some errands at Lowe's (I've got to train him about housework sometime :) ) he requested a CD that I'd not listened to in a long time. It is one of Irish Folk music, and it was a favorite of my mother before she died. In the Fall of 2000 I took my family down south to visit my mom and brother and his family for Thanksgiving. We spent a few days traveling and visiting, one of which included a trip to Kevin Barry's Pub in Savannah Georgia. My mother was disappointed to find out that there was no live performances scheduled for that evening, but we had a great time anyway. The time came and we made the 12 hour trek back north that Sunday. On Tuesday I get a call from my brother telling me that mom was in the hospital (long story, but she had pretty bad lung problems) and that it did not look good. Well, my family has a history of shall we say, "expanding upon the truth". Especially when it came to medical issues. I basically told him that I appreciated the heads up, but I did not make any plans to make another trip back down right away. I get another call the very next day from my brother telling me that the doctors are telling him she only has a few more days. I basically told him that I wanted to talk to the doctors before I made such a trip again. To my brother's credit he did not get upset with me, hung up, tracked down the doctor's telephone number - the hospital's telephone number - and the extension for the nurses station, and called me back. Things being what they were it took me until Thursday to get an understanding of how grave my mother's condition really was. The next day I packed up the family for yet another 12 hour trip, our 3rd in 8 days. I am so grateful to God that I got there when I did. She got to see the entire family and we visited for about 15 minutes before her pain meds put her to a comfortable sleep. To make this long story shorter, I was able to visit with her over the next couple of days. On one occasion I was reading to her out of Romans - not sure why I chose that book - and in the middle my then sister-in-law came in. Talked about some sort of new age philosophy. It just felt like my skin crawled, but after she left I asked my mom if she new there was a difference between what she was talking about, and what I believed and was talking about. All my mom could muster was a slight nod of the head, and when I asked if she wanted me to keep reading she nodded again. That was the last communication I ever had with her. Over the next few days she struggled to keep going, and to keep our minds off of the innevitable my brother and I took our families back to Kevin Barry's. This time there was a live band - and to my discredit I cannot remember the name. It was solomn, but we enjoyed ourselves again and I purchased the CD mentioned above. I will listen to it again from time to time, and the time just before my son asked for it it brought tears to my eyes as I remembered those dinners. My son told me last night, "I like this music. It makes me feel, I don't know, comfortable in a wierd way." I smilled and put it in for him. Verse for today: Revelations 21:1-8 esv Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”


Dealing with Disappointment

I once heard someone say, "Disappointment occurs when expectations exceed experience". I had the day off yesterday and my beloved had told me that she wanted to have some "special" time. She wanted to essentially return in kind my Valentine's day gift to her. The day started a little rough. I got up to get the boys ready for school, and then get them too school. Due to my inexperience we were a little late getting out of the gate, but both boys made it to school on time - even earlier than they are used to. When I returned home she wanted to workout - which I expected so I gave my darling daughter a bath, and prepared to jump in the shower. Well, my wife was on the phone for a while, and I was not exactly racing through the bath sequence for our daughter. It was my day off after all. So by 10:30 the wife has not started her workout yet. By this time I am already thinking that our "special" time was not going to happen. We don't leave to go out to lunch until 12:30 - and we don't get home until 2:30. She needs to leave to pick up the boys from school NLT 3:05 - so she leaves me in mid-massage to get a nap and for her to get the boys. She returns at 3:40, but does not even come upstairs until 4:15ish. And we need to get two to music classes soon. My beloved gives a great back and leg massage, but with four kids running around the house on the other side of the bedroom door... We get home from music classes at 8:30 - and low and behold niether son has their homework done, and one of them still needs a shower. Oh, and there are 3 loads of laundry to fold. By the time all kids are in bed, and the laundry is folded it is now 10:30 and mom and dad fall asleep in very short order. Litterally by 10:30 yesterday morning I already anticipated that our "special" time would be pushed by the wayside. I was still disappointed, but I was still able to enjoy the day. When my beloved asked me both last night and again this morning if I enjoyed our day together I replied that I had fun. She seemed upset with that answer. I told her that I was disappointed about our interupted time, but that I still enjoyed our time together. With being honest with her it seemed to make her disappointed, but at the same time I want her to know that id she desires "special" time with me, that I need for her to make it a priority and not just me. At the same time I am trying to encourage her in the things she is doing. Sometimes I worry that things will fold up and we will become a "stereotypical" old couple, but then I see signs of things to come and I rejoice. Verse for today: Song of Solomon 6:2-3 esv She My beloved has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to graze in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies.


The Cyberthief and the samurai

The title of my blog today is sort of a play on words. I have been reading the paperback book by the same name. It is about two men. Kevin Mitnick and Tsutomu Shimomura. Kevin was an 'hacker' who seemed to have made enough enemies that he back infamous and was one of the most wanted cyber criminals just as the WWW was kicking off. Tsutomu was the computer expert (and that is a very broad definition) who helped the authorities to finally track Kevin down. The play on words comes from my fondness for working on computer networks and my self reference as a samurai. I have a facination for computer networks, things like hacking or cracking, and cyber security. But for many reasons I will not begin to compare myself to Kevin, let alone Tsutomu. I am an adequate router jockey that has been blessed by God so that my supervisor has given me very favorable ratings for many, many years; however, I am honest enough with myself to know that I am just not in the same league as those who prefess to be hackers (or whatever the current slang may be). Those that are serious about hacking, and those dedicated to the defense of their computer systems are the true experts. Computer networks today are so vastly different than they were 20-30 years ago. I person can be an expert in say PC's, or routers, or firewalls, and know very little about the other areas. To be a true computer network expert one must be at least familiar with each component on a network, what it does, how it works, and how it interacts with the other pieces to the puzzle. And well, the samurai portion... my affinity for the samurai has very little to do with my computer part of my life. As I've mentioned before it has to do with how I see my relationship with Jesus Christ. I would love to learn more on how modern hackers operate, but I could just see my company's admin coming to me and saying, "Mr. 'samurai', why were you visiting hackers.com and crackers.org (note: i just made up those site names - I don't even know if they are real sites). I see you were visiting them for the past several weeks. What exactly were you doing there?" Or worse yet having a few people knock on my door at home... Anyway, ramblings are done for today. Verse for today: Proverbs 6:6-19 esv Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summerand gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.


The Layman

As of this morning I had no idea what to blog about. Just too many "plates spinning" around in my head I guess. Well, while I was chatting with a friend she encouraged me to either just pick a word and expound upon what it meant to me - or perhaps just blog about a meeting I am going to have tonight. I've opted to chat about the meeting - it was easier for me to come up with words for. :) Well, tonight is the start of the fulfillment of a very long desire I've had for essentially lay preaching - and posssibly more. When I was a new Christian I had a deep desire to delve deep into the scriptures - as do most new Christians. I attribuited it to just new found enthusiasim. It never really abaited, but I was moving along in life. New jobs, a love interest, etc. Well, when I met my future wife in the fall of 1991 I distinctly remembering feeling an impression - almost an audible voice in my head - that God had wanted me to bring the experience I was having in my home church, out to where I would be moving to go to school after I got married. Well, life continued on its merry way and some half hearted attempts on my end never produced much fruit. After five years of spinning my wheels spritually my beloved and I started commuting an hour and a half back to my home church so that we could be where we were being fed spiritually. In 1999 I moved my family closer to the church we were attending after praying about it for about eighteen months. Although it was difficult to be involved much more than we were previously we got involved as much as we could. And after much prayer, and some prodding from God (I believe) I started to petition the church to have a church plant in the city we were then living. I really felt like God was moving in that direction. That perhaps I was being prepared for something in that city. Well, five years later and the 'parent' church still did not see a calling to plant a church, and with having to still commute 40 minutes or so to attend services and be a part of the various ministries I began feeling a tug back to the region where I first met my beloved. And you know what - late last year my old church announced a church plant in the very city I had been pleading with them about! :) It will be planted this spring, and I am very excited for them. So in 2004 we moved back - to where I am living now. I am now 16 years into my walk with the Lord, and my desire for delving in the deep waters of His Word is still there, and I do not satiate this desire near often enough for my tastes. Well, a few weeks ago while attending small group leaders meeting our Pastor (Ed) announced that he had a desire to mentor a handful of men and women who feel a call for "lay pastoring". Well with no other way to put it, my heart quickened and I felt a little faint. I have prayed since then and feel that I should participate in these meetings - which start tonight. There is more. On a few occasions, two of which come to mind readily, there have been words of prophecy prayed over me. I am nervous, and humbled that God would even consider using me. I truly am a no body. I have not performed feets of spiritual strength. But I feel a burden to be a man that preaches Christ, and Him crucified in glory. I don't know where this path will lead six months, let alone six years, from now. But may it be to the glory of Christ. Maybe I will be preaching from a pulpit somewhere. Maybe a small home church (or caregroup), or perhaps I will be only the preacher for my family. Only God knows. Verse for today: Isaiah 46:3-13 esv Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose, calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.”


Being On-Call

Well, it is Sunday afternoon and I am finding myself at work. It is part of my job description and being in IT I have realized that IT does not sleep. Little 1's and 0's run between computers 24x7x365 and things do not always go as they are "supposed" to. :) Although I missed church this morning, and a good part of my weekend because of this I am not unhappy. Don't get me wrong, I am disappointed because I will now miss church 3 Sunday's in a row because of my empoyers, but how can I be mad? God has provided me with these jobs and it is by His hand I am able to provide for my family. With the National Guard I was just an irrisponsible young man. I had never held a job down for more than 3 months and as I submitted applications for jobs they began to notice. Some highlights of how God used the Guard in my life... 1) The Guard has given me some discipline in my life. I have been with the guard for 20 years this July, and with my current civilian employer for over 10 years now. 2) It has allowed me to serve others during times of crisis. 3) On one instance it helped me with a medical problem that would have cost me a lot of money, but was covered. 4) It will provide for me in retirement. With my civilian job I rejoice the most for it is through this job that I most clearly see God's hand in providing not just for me, but for my family as well. I was hired by the job I held previously by strictly being able to know how to use windows. From there my employer taught me about networking (x.25 anyone) as well as some other skills. When I obtained a CNA for Novell in 1996 I was encouraged by my then current employer to seek employment elsewhere (long story, but not fired). I only sent my resume to one company - and was hired mostly because my previous employer used the same ticketing system (and still does 10 years later !?!), and the CNA. Well, I have been with them eversince. With my current job I am able to provide for my family of 5 and allow my beloved to stay home with our children. My current job I could not have obtained by my design. I lacked the knowledge as to how. Both my current and previous employer brought me in with minimal skills and trained me. My journey to this point in my life is an oddesy - no doubt. But for me there are signs if Providence along the path - and I rejoice in His mighty hand of provision. Verse for today: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 esv As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.


Smeagol and the Christian

Many of you are familiar with the Lord of the Ring Trilogy - either in book form or the one put on the screen by Peter Jackson. (I highly recommend the books of the two, but I love the movies too!) Well, I cannot remember when the thought actually first occured to me, but I seem to feel an affinity for the charecter Smeagol - also known as Gollum. Stay with me here. I am not talking about crawling all around on all fours, or eating raw fish. But within each of us, I believe, there is a Smeagol. One who wrestles with temptations. Maybe a ghastly deed that is now buried deep and hidden. A sin that we struggle and fight with, or a past sin we feel that could never fully be forgiven. When the movies were released on DVD I just had to have the collectors sets. The ones with the statues in them. The Fellowship of the Ring set had the two statues that the charecters float between. They make very nice bookends. The Return of the King set included a small replica of the city and was sort of a small jewlry box. But the Two Towers set had a statue of this despicable creature. My wife hates that statue. I confess the charecter has very little to offer in the way of appeal. And although he is instrumental in the completion of the quest to destroy the ring of power, it is only by his own downfall that this is really accomplished. I keep that statue in a place where I can place my eyes on it from time to time. I want to remind myself that unless God had called me I am that creature. I am willing to do almost anything to get my hands, my heart, and my mind wrapped around whatever 'precious' that strikes my fancy. My 'ring of power' if you will. I'd like to think that I would never murder anyone, but without the grace of God can I really say that? How many times do you hear friends and family of some murderer say, "he was such a nice man...."? I do know that I have coveted. I would lie to keep it. I would strike out to protect my 'precious'. If not for God, and what Christ has accomplished for me, I am that creature. Bent on the reclamation of my 'precious'. And in the end that which I would so desire would have dragged me down into the pit of fire. Instead, I get to live akin to the elves that were leaving the shores of Middle Earth. And that - not of my own hands. Verse for today: Isiah 61:1-4, 10-11 esv The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.


Sleeping in the Bed we have made

This may come across as a little - well, odd. But I am pro-sex. That is I like sex, and believe it is perhaps the most beautiful thing a man and a woman can be a part of. But, it is only beautiful when it is engaged in the way that God has intended it to be. When we pursue Godly sex within our marriage we are honoring the marriage bed that He has given to us. Today, speaking only for America since that is the scope of my experience, sexual exploits are openly encouraged. Advertising, sit-coms, movies, all seem to say that meeting someone and jumping straight into bed is fine, good, and encouraged. As a Christian I know that this is wrong. God has intended sex to be within the context of marriage alone. And yet the churches opposition to it over the past - I don't even know - has led my society to where it is today IMO. Once the church started to basically say that sex was something to - essentially - be tolerated, only done to procreate - the enemy jumped on it. Just read "Song of Solomon" (or sometimes refered to as "Song of Songs") and see what God has for married sex. But instead of promoting sex as something good, and something to be encouraged, it has been diminshed and supressed. As a result the enemy has taken a truth, and twisted into something that it is not intended to be. The enemy is masterful at doing that. Taking a truth of God, and putting a seed of doubt, or a question about it, and then twists it out of what it is supposed to be. If you are married and are reading this rejoice in this gift of God, and ask for God to open the heart and mind of not only your spouse, but of yourself. We each have a view of this like we see Christ - as if in a mirror, and that dimly. but the great thing is that we can get to practice and slowly be conformed into what God has for each of us. If you are not married, I want to encourage you to save sex for marriage. It is not that I want to try and deprive you of something exquisite - quite the opposite. I want to encourage you to seek to save such an experience for the one to whom God will bring to you. When we do things outside of what God has designed, it is then that we really get to know the "evil" side of the fruit from the tree in the garden. The enemy will tell you that it is cruel to withhold such a beautiful thing, but in reality it is the enemy of our souls that wants to turn something beautiful into something ugly (and we the church has allowed this in so many ways), and so that when the time does come it's beauty has been tarnished. Not that sex will never be what God intended, but the sin will increase the burden and make it harder to achieve all that God has intended in the contect of our marriage beds. --- And I tell you this from personal experience to my shame. I may not have done all that God would have me do, but by His grace I am being conformed into the image of Christ. I am shedding the burdens of my sins by laying them at His cross. And he is healing my heart and mind (as well as my beloved's) and we are growing towards that image put forth in His Word. Healing is always possible. :) Verse for today: Song of Songs 1:2-4 & 2:2 SHE: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine; your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out; therefore virgins love you. Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers. HE: As a lily among brambles,so is my love among the young women.


Moving Day

Well, my office is moving today. Kind of a long story but it will be a long day from a employment perspective. I am not one who likes change too much. I can do it if I must, but I realy like things staying the same. Routine is fun for me. :) Anyway, I have been formulating an idea for a blog, but I just don't have time to flesh it out today. May God be with you all today. :) Verse for today: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 esv For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.