Happy Thanksgiving

Greetings from cyberland... I am taking a much desired long weekend to spend with the family but i wanted to stop in and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. There is much to be thankful for as a person, as a family, as a state, as a nation, and as a Christian. The coming of the "white man" to what is now known as America was a blessing to many, and a disaster to many others. Please take time to give thanks for what you do have, and ask for forgiveness where you have done wrong.


After eleven weeks the NASCAR Division is showing to be a formidable foe

After twelve weeks of play (eleven games plus the bye week) the NFC South has a combined total of two (2) loses at their respective homes. The New Orleans Saints, who currently occupy the 4th place within the division. are 6-5. The only other division that can boast a similar record is the AFC East (but I am not sure about the home win-loss record). With five weeks left to play and each NFC South team having at least two divisional games left - it is still wide open. For the Panthers to come out on top they had better find their run defense again, and the passing game had best pick up on offense. The game in Green Bay this week is going to be a tough go. Carolina is 1-3 at the "Frozen Tundra", 3-7 overall life time. Oh, and one last thing... this past weekend both the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints sported their all black uniforms. (Since I do not have permission from the NFL to repost pictures you will have to click on the teams respective links to see what I mean.) If there is ANY team in the NFL that should sport an all black uniform it would HAVE to be the Carolina Panthers! I mean, come on! Their mascot is a BLACK CAT for crying out loud! LOL Ok, on to more serious pursuits. Late last week I was approached, by who I am assuming is a young man, to see if I would be willing to answer a few questions regarding my belief in Christ and how I see myself as a samurai in the Lord's service. I answered two questions for him so far, and have hopefully left the door open for further interaction. Here are the two questions posed to me, and my corresponding answers:
  1. when it comes to complete devotion: Jesus already died for our sins, so do you think it is more of Disrespect and basically outright dis belief to be so willing to die for Christ?

I think your perception of what is happening may be a little off. There is a big difference between what Christ’s death did accomplish, and what our death would accomplish. Christ’s death was for the atonement of our (mankind’s) sins against a Holy and Righteous God.

“For Christ also suffered[1] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit”

--- 1 Peter 3 : 18, ESV ([1]Some manuscripts died)

Our death would be in service to Christ. Not as an atonement, but in submission for what He has done. Often our “death” is not to be in the termination from this world, but a “death” to our preferences.

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

--- Luke 9 : 23-24, ESV

So, to answer your question, “Do you think it is more of disrespect and basically outright disbelief to be so willing to die for Christ?” I would say this: I do not find my willingness to die for Christ as a sign of disrespect or disbelief because such an act could never be a substitution for His death. I am in no way trying to put my act (or works) in place of Christ. His act provided my complete justification before God. My act would be a minor part in my sanctification. Now, if I were to view my death as to some how being a part of my salvation, then yes it would be disrespectful. It would be saying, “Christ, what You accomplished on the cross was insufficient. It is incomplete until I add my part to it.” But that is not how I view it, nor should anyone. We serve not because we earn, we serve because we have been given.

  1. "denounce faith or die": In the book Silence, the author talks about how Christians were forced to step on a picture of Christ, or else they would be killed. This is the kind of thing that God would not be *mad at you for doing (*I don't know how to say that). In this situation, God would rather you step on the picture than die, right?

There is a verse that speaks directly to this question:

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

--- Matthew 10 : 32-33, ESV

What this act is signifying is the denial of Christ. The person is rejecting Christ and His teachings before those men who told them to do this. I would also refer back to Luke 9 :23-24…

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

--- Luke 9 : 23-24, ESV

How we view Christ, who He is, what He has done, our response to such things, is of the highest importance.


Foggy bottom and long weekends

I just had one of my more productive weekends. I managed to get all but one end of one joist secured down for my deck project. Once i drive those last few nails i will be able to contact the county and get the final inspection scheduled! \o/ The Panthers got they tailed chopped off and handed to them in Atlanta yesterday. 45-28 - ouch. Well, i had refused to get my hopes up until i saw how the team performed over this stretch, and i think i may have my answer - unfortunately. Maybe they will get their act together and turn perform much better over the next five weeks, but i am going to remain skeptical. I am still hopeful for an NFC South championship, but it is now a long shot IMO. I spent a couple of hours in a bowling alley for my DD's birthday party. If you ever think a child's party is loud... try and do one at a bowling alley! :) A good time was had by all though. Late last week i was approached about how i see my service to Christ in the terms of considering myself a "samurai" in service to Christ. The questions are pretty good ones and i hope to share them in a future post sometime soon.


Weekend ramblings

What a crazy week... i have had to burn some midnight oil twice this week and i just don't bounce back like i used to. It feels good to shake off some of the rust, but tiring at the same time. Let's see... with the mind all cloudy i am just going to ramble some... My new/used laptop arrived earlier this week. I have the battery all charged up, but i haven't powered it up yet. Just too many other priorities. :) If all goes well, and there is time after DD3's birthday party, working on the deck, helping with DS1's science fair project, etc. i am hoping to get Fallout 3 loaded. Before i jump in there are a lot of things i want to get set up on there. Some pinball sims, some story outline software, and music all loaded up. It will take a while, but it's nice that it is here. I'm not sure who is more excited... me, or DS1. *chuckle* The Panthers are going to have a couple of serious tests in the next two weeks. On the road in Atlanta where historically they have struggled. Even with winning the last 4 times they are still overall at a disadvantage in their dome. Then next week they head out to Green Bay. I know the Panthers are the #2 team in the NFC right now... but i want to see how well they do in these last six games. It doesn't matter what the record is, it only matters how well you can play other good teams once the post season hits. Will the Panthers roar into the post season, or limp? If they want to go far then they need to be able to step up their play, and these next two games could be pretty good indicators on how satisfied i with the 2008 season as a Carolina Panthers fan. I caught wind of a 5 min. trailer for the upcoming Terminator: Salvation movie, but so far have not been able to find it on the web. I've also heard that the director (maybe it was the producer), have two more ideas for possibly a second trilogy of the series. \o/ wOOt! The I have also heard about another movie, "The Road"... I've never read the book, but it appears to be a Pulitzer prize winner so maybe i need to do that. Well, I am out of time for today... but i would encourage any one who reads this to spend some time in the Word of God this weekend...


Music Monday - 20081117

What a crazy year this has been. It just does not seem to slow down - and from what I've been told it never really does slow down. :/ Yesterday I had the chance to visit with my Grandmother, which was really nice because she is my last living Grandparent. While we were sitting around watching her Cincinnati Bengals take the Eagles to a tie her cell phone rang to the tune of When the Saints Go Marching in... so that is my song for today. :)
When the Saints Go Marching In We are trav'ling in the footsteps Of those who've gone before And we'll all be reunited, On a new and sunlit shore, Oh, when the saints go marching in, Oh, when the saints go marching in Lord how I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in And when the sun begins to shine And when the sun begins to shine Lord, how I want to be in that number When the sun begins to shine Oh, when the saints go marching in, Oh, when the saints go marching in Lord how I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call Lord, how I want to be in that number When the trumpet sounds its call Oh, when the saints go marching in, Oh, when the saints go marching in Lord how I want to be in that number When the saints go marching in
I've always liked that song. Of course it is a reference to our being called home and being reunited with our brothers and sisters who have been called home before us, where we will go and worship the Lord together and finally in His presence.


Football and/or Fallout Fridays

This Sundays game against the Detroit Lions is a dangerous game for the Panthers in my opinion. Last week was an amazingly bad game for the offense, but the defense and special teams played well enough to salvage the win. The Lions have nothing to lose. They are already 0-9 and although they are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, hell has a better chance of freezing over (in my mind). The Lions are playing to salvage their pride right now, the Panthers have (in the past) a tendency to get over confident. And that is not good with both the Buccaneers and the Falcons breathing down their necks (both are are 6-3). Even still, the Saints are really not all that far behind at 4-5. With seven games still left to be played... and four of the last six being on the road... the Panthers have an uphill climb to the post season. I found the laptop that i wanted, for the price i wanted to pay. The only 'downside' was that it had slightly less RAM than i wanted (2GB vs 4GB), but i can upgrade that later if i so desire. Again, i know that i am not going to be able to play this game more than a handful of hours per month... but everything i am seeing in the reviews and on You Tube makes me excited about getting to play it in the future. One thing i was a little disappointed with was the "Making Of" DVD. I was hoping that it was a little more on how games were made so that DS1 would have a chance to get an idea as he wants to be a game designer in the future. Overall the laptop is not just for Fallout 3. I want to use it to write my short stories on, to use as a portable DVD player for vacations, and to generally keep track of things that i can seclude from the kids. When you are not in complete control of a system you cannot always maintain a secure and uncorrupted set of files (backup, backup, backup!). Any way, i feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Before i go i wanted to answer the call from a fellow blogger and answer a bunch of questions for fun: What is your writing process? --- I used to just start at the beginning and just type and type until i was finished. Now i am more apt to write an impromptu outline and use that to guide my stories. But when it comes to my blog it is still start and write until done. What are your greatest creative inspirations? --- That depends on what i am writing about. Since most of my short stories are set in a fictitious game world (Necromunda) the game itself, several books written in that setting, and many movies from the post-apocalyptic genre: The Road Warrior, The Postman, etc., and now Fallout 3. What are your greatest creative barriers? --- Time is the biggest one. Right now my priorities are my family. My oldest is a pre-teen (soon to be an actual teen), my #2 is a "Special Needs" 'Aspie', and my daughter is still wanting to spend time with her parents (she's six). All of that, plus my actually wanting to spend time with my beloved wife and maybe even get some projects done around that house (such as a deck ;-) ). what is your favorite word? --- asamatteroffact - ok, technically that is a jumble of words, but my beloved tells me that i say it all the time. What is your least favorite word? --- I'm not really sure... a lot of that depends on the situation. What sound or noise do you love? --- I love instrumental types of music. From classical to fusion to jazz. For me words get in the way of my enjoyment of music. What sound or noise do you hate? --- The slurp of the straw hitting the bottom of a glass of whatever i am drinking at the time. Usually ice tea. I could skip meals if i have enough ice tea to drink and granola bars to snack on. What is your favorite curse word? --- Hmm, such things are distasteful to me... however, to be completely honest... i am not a rock. I do use the foul language from time to time... but it is nothing that i am proud of, nor will i share what my most commonly used word is... :( A song/band/type of music you'd risk wreck & injury to turn off when it comes on the radio? --- Rap music for the most part. Mostly becuase a lot of it is foul mouthed and disparaging towards women and authority. Best show on television? --- Hmm, for me it is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but The Unit is a very close second. But now that i think about it... if there is an NFL game on any channel everything else will take second place if i am controlling the remote at the time. Favorite movie? --- This is a tough one... i have way too many... but if i had to pick one above all the rest it would be The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I mean come on, they are really just one long story. Favorite room in your house? --- If you asked my beloved she would say the bathroom, but it is actually our bedroom. I watch my favorite movies in there, it's where i am the most creative, it is where i keep my trinkets. Best concert? --- I've only ever been to four concerts in my entire life. Mostly they are way too loud for me. I think i would like to go to a symphony some time. Brass or strings? --- Depends on my mood. Generally i prefer brass (flutes, piccolos, etc.) but i also really enjoy the harpsichord and violin from time to time as well. If you could have anything put on a t-shirt what would it be? --- Wow... um... that is way too open of a question. The best part about being your age? --- I like the amount of life i have experienced so far and knowing that, God willing, i still have so much more to come. Favorite Girl Scout cookie? --- Trefoils, hands down. I love shortbread cookies! Poker or gin or bridge? --- Poker because i like the gambling aspect of it. How confident are you that you have the best hand? There is a reason i don't frequent areas where it is legal though. Shower or bath? --- Shower for the every day, but when you are bone tired there is something to be said about a good 100+ degree soak. Favorite pajamas? --- Pajamas? What's that? Nightmare job? --- I'm not sure but i am confident that it would be in the restaurant industry. Long hours during the times i would like to be home, inconsistent pay, and having to deal with rude customers. A talent you wish you had? --- I wish i could play a musical instrument. Dream vacation? --- I would like to be able to go to a historical place with just me and my beloved. I would like to be able to leisurely stroll and sight see. Be able to stop and read plaques and take small tours. I love my kids and really enjoy going places with them, but i am usually more frazzled when we are done than rested. What's on your nightstand? --- Alarm clock, notebook, CCNP study guide, basket to hold remotes, a book light and a coaster. I could really use a lamp. 3 weird things about you: --- Weird is a relative term, but i will try and think what might be weird to other people. 1) I have an a fascination for post-apocalyptic genre. I like books, movies, games, etc. I doubt i would personally survive such a situation though. 2) I enjoy things like finite math. I am often recalculating drive times, gas mileage, etc. on long drives with the family or alone. 3) I compare myself to the samurai of old. Not so much as a true samurai as the world pictures them, but one who is dedicated to my Lord, Savior, and God - Jesus Christ. He is my Lord, i owe everything to Him and am nothing that He hasn't given or guided.


Uncertanty in an uncertain time

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, are the first set of meetings to begin the process of the next major transition on the network i work on. It's a pretty big network, so there is going to be a lot of work to be done - especially in the time frame they are wanting. But the big thing for me is that the company i work for did not win the contract for this next phase. :/ I am not overly worried as my "handlers" have expressed the desire that the entire team i work with be picked up by the incoming company(ies). This could take up to eighteen months. Not great, but as long as i am drawing a paycheck and i have a place to work that is a good thing. Besides, once we get through this transition process i can have a job for at least the next ten years - baring some unforeseen event. That is a great thing. On a bummer note - I found out that my application for a government position didn't even make it through the screening process. I have a pretty good peace about it though. Which is amazing for me. There was more... but i am out of time for today...


Forty day fast

Ok, i do not have the will power to do a traditional fast of a single day, let alone forty. So, what i have in mind instead is a forty day fast of Facebook. To be honest - i have spent WAY too much time there any way and i feel like the Holy Spirit has been convicting me that i have not been a good steward of my time and not a good employee either. :/ So... today is day one. I will update my status via my phone as i have friends that i would not otherwise keep in touch with, but that will be all. (The phone is a good in this regard as i am not able to run the applications from there... and if anyone knows how to... DON'T TELL ME! Ok, for the next three days i am going to be in meetings and will probably not update the blog any more this week. God Bless


In the market for a laptop

Buying a computer is both mind numbing and frustrating. It is mind numbing when you are looking for not just a certain amount of RAM, but a certain chip set. The processor just HAS to be Duo 2 with 2.0+ GHz, and of course 3GB of RAM, and then the video chip set HAS to be... you get the idea. Well, i have been biding my time in my search... a few times i have seen the system in the configuration i would like, only to see the cost about $100 more than my budget can bear. More than one friend has told me to just wait... the Christmas season is not looking good and there should be a good deal on the horizon. I struggle with impulse control... LOL. I want to buy the computer now... but i know that i need to wait, to be patient. I have this same issue whenever i try and deny myself anything... soda pop, whatever. *sigh* I get so fed up with myself...


Music Monday - 20081110

Things continue to "storm" around me in several areas of my Spiritual walk with Christ. I am not going to expound on that further here. But i heard this song on the way it work this morning...
I Can't Do This by Plumb on the Chaotic Resolve album I woke up late Guess I’m never really early I hesitate, only to fail I get so tired, of procrastinating I need a change Chorus: I can’t do this I can’t do this I can’t do this by myself I can’t do this I can’t do this Oh God I need Your help I’m standing still I’m oh, so peaceful I can’t pretend, that I’m fine I get so ill, crazy agitated When I’ve not really died Chorus: Press into me Breathe me in Bask in me You’ll be free, to do anything Chorus: (2x’s)
I know these feelings are not unique to me, but there are times when i just get so overwhelmed by circumstances. I still remember having to type up an essay for a Political Science class. I knew what i wanted to say, but had no clue as to how to say it. My poor beloved worked with me for hours until we were done. It took me four tries to get through English 010. I have similar problems with trying to work on my certifications for work. I just get so overwhelmed that i effectively just run away. Verse for today: Deuteronomy 31 : 6, ESV Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”


Come on people, are we still in High School?

I have seen comments like, "R.I.P. America! July 4, 1776 - January 20, 2009", and "Welcome to the Socialist States of America". Has it really come down to adults calling each other names (note: I didn't post those kids of quotes on purpose) and declaring that the sky is falling? I know many of these are rhetorical over stated sarcasm - BUT - do we resort to such things when it doesn't go our way? I mean, really? A look at some numbers showed that registered Democrats went to the polls in record numbers while registered Republicans attendance was way down. It sounds like they had given up before the votes were even counted. Without everyone participating it's hard to tell if the outcome would have been any different - but to not even show up. Those of you who didn't vote really have no right to complain about the outcome. Now, that does not mean you don't have a voice. You can make sure your elected officials know your opinions on the legislation that comes up. They may not vote the way you want to as an individual, but don't remain the silent "majority" because a "majority" that is not heard is irrelevant. You will have a another chance to change things in two more years when 34 seats will be coming open in the Senate. Considering the slide of the Republican party of late... it would be a good idea to get started on cleaning some things up. Stop just pointing out what the other guy is doing wrong or incapable of and start taking care of business. During this campaign I did hear some valid points about how the Republicans had tried to reign in Fannie and Freddie. I especially liked a commentator on CNN Tuesday night, "One of the primary jobs of the President is the protection of the United States. Can we at least acknowledge that security is not one of the top concerns of the American public"? After that man left the stage the Democratic supports among them continued to make "points" about what the exit polls were saying about this or that. The IQ and the ability of those who get in front of the cameras, especially in politics, is considerable. These are smart people. Intentional or not - they have an agenda, just like their opponents on the other side of the aisle. As a Christian we need to stop listening to such rhetoric. We need to get our noses back into God's word. We need to quiet our hearts to the noise of the world and seek first the Kingdom of God and listen for His voice. As God places things on our heart (whether it's abortion, or national security, or moral standards regarding local laws) and vote accordingly. For us it's not about how much money the government takes in taxes, or even how welfare is distributed (at least not directly). If we, as God's people, take care of the business He has for us - the rest will be taken care of. Yes we need to participate. God has given us the privilege of living in this time and place (whether the reader of this lives in the United States, the United Kingdom, Asia, Africa, wherever). We all have our limitations that we live in and under. We need to seek out how to make such 'limitations' can be worked, how we can best work within them, and if we have the God given ability to make a change to such things - we should do that. I have my concerns about where this country is headed. My ability to affect change on a national scale is quite limited, but the ability to affect change within myself (with the help of the Holy Spirit) and my community is not. Stop you complaining America - and roll up your sleeves and get back to work! Verse for today: 2 Chronicles 7 : 12-22, Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’

“But if you [2] turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you [3] up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’”


And a new season begins

The United States of America has elected a new President, and more of a shift within both the House of Representatives and the Senate. I liked what i heard in Senator McCain's concession speech - but i need to be honest - i fell asleep before President elect Barrack Obama acceptance speech... :( There are reasons that i am not in public office. 1) I do not have any real idea how to deal with the issues that trouble our land, and 2) I do not really know anyone who knows how to deal with them either. I voted based on my moral choices, and those who i felt best represented what i feel God would be most glorified through. In the end the man who sits on the hill and in the office will get my support. I may not agree with everything, and i am allowed to disagree vocally, but they are still my leaders. I don't know what motivated others to vote, but when the vote is based off of skin color - either way - it is a racist vote. If a person voted because of their pocket book then it was based off an idol (IMO). When need to seek first the kingdom of God first.


Music Monday - deferred - 20081104

Before i get into my blog for today i want to encourage everyone in the United States to get out and vote! I was playing catch up on a lot of things yesterday and i forgot to even try and get here to update my blog! :/ And this one will be quick too...
I Will Not Be Moved by Natalie Grant I have been the wayward child I have acted out I have questioned Sovereignty And had my share of doubt And though sometimes my prayers feel like They're bouncing off the sky The hand I hold won't let me go And is the reason why... [Chorus:] I will stumble I will fall down But I will not be moved I will make mistakes I will face heartache But I will not be moved On Christ the Solid Rock I stand All other ground is sinking sand I will not be moved Bitterness has plagued my heart Many times before My life has been like broken glass And I have kept the score Of all my shattered dreams and though it seemed That I was far too gone My brokenness helped me to see It's grace I'm standing on [Chorus] And the chaos in my life Has been a badge I've worn Though I have been torn I will not be moved [Chorus]
Verse for today: Psalm 19 : 1-6, ESV The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above [1] proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice [2] goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.