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Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 - 1:59 AM

"Just Playing Around"

pointless

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Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 - 12:22 PM

"The Deadening Snow"

One horrible consequence of the recent snowstorm was not being able to get to church. Well, at any rate, church services were canceled two weeks in a row. I'm somewhat disappointed because we missed the second half of the four Advent series. The first two were awesome to say the least. There is no making up those last two either because they were seasonal. The appropriate time is past.

Ah, but there is good news still! After what felt like an eternity, I was blessed to meet with my spiritual family this Sunday. It doesn't really even seem possible, but each service I attend at Ethnos seems "better" or more timely than the one before.

Dave's sermon was Kick-Butt Kirkpatrick. I'm serious, man! It was awesome. I'm being challenged and broken every single time I go. I can't stand missing a service. It's like eating only once a week - there's starvation in-between. Even though I listen to the Bible quite a bit and sense the Spirit at work in my life, I especially feel reliant on our weekly meetings and long for more. I really want to get the sermon recording soon, for there is MUCH I must review in great detail. I want to follow up on what was produced in my heart while it is still fresh.

Not only was the service freakishly awesome and impacting to me in every way, but the rest of the evening was glorious as well. Every Sunday someone offers the lot of everyone to come over for fellowship. I rarely go because of my lack of sensible transportation (and I get sick of being so reliant on everyone for a ride).

Fortunately Grandma let me borrow her car to get groceries this weekend. I drove all the way to North Portland to the Glathar residence. There was food aplenty and perfect company. I'm so glad I went. For the most part I absolutely SUCK in social situations. I guess I was so desperate to be with my family this week that I didn't care much about my ineptness. I felt right at home. Thanks guys, for opening up your home at just the right time. You have a beautiful home à mon avis.

Again, I hope to write a few "side stories" or spiritual reactions that resulted from Sunday. Consider this the "brief summary" to give context to the rest.

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Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 - 2:29 AM

"He Knows My Name"

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

Grandpa's situation weighs heavily on me. He eagerly awaits the moment he is freed from his frail body. Surely he wants to see, to hear, to walk and run like never before! I want it for him as well. Yet my emotions get the best of me. Sometimes I am selfish for him. I want to see what he can yet do. Perhaps we hold him back. My heart most certainly does.

Grandpa might be legally blind and nearly deaf and immobile. I tell you he has been for much of his life, though his recent and sudden decline has been shocking. Even so, in whatever condition dealt to him in life, he presses on. His Spirit surely shines brighter than most in the Realm of Light and Shadows. Where the infinite and spirits dwell, Grandpa is a force to be reckoned with. He wields all the necessary weapons like a mighty champion. Like Nimrod, He is a mighty warrior before the Lord!

For over a week Grandpa has been immobile in the hospital. Grandma and my parents have faithfully visited him every day, looking for hope, signs of revitalization and reconnection. The last couple days have been what we have come to call "good days". Thanks most likely to prayers of some of you, Grandpa has at least temporarily snapped out of his near coma state for bits of time here and there. He has spoken words that show signs of awareness.

On my birthday I receive good tidings. My parents and Grandma inform me that on more than one occasion when I was not there to visit Grandpa called out for me by name, "Phil". Why me? I don't know. I feel unworthy of such concern and care... to be called by name. In fact it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart with joy to be on the mind of my precious grandfather, especially considering the apparent fragile state. Who am I to be so named? If I am thought of in the dark, confusing moments... if I am prayed for by a man so great as Ward Honey... if I am sought for whatever reason, in all this I am blessed. I can ask for no greater blessing from Grandpa. If only I was there to hear it. Who am I?

Some months ago I was led by the Spirit of God to ask for Grandpa's blessing - Old Testament style. He graciously honored my request and prayed over me. I have yet to share that story completely. I believe I now have some of the same power and blessing that God's Spirit gave to my Grandpa. Perhaps I'm more sinful and more frail than he is. Undoubtedly I err more easily even with my functioning eyes and ears. Surely I'm quicker to speak and slower to listen. Maybe this blessing is better "invested" in more fertile soil. Even so, the Spirit of God is upon me. For a number of reasons and in many ways I am new. This is just the beginning of a report how Grandpa has blessed me. I cannot adequately describe his positive influence.

If I can better love or bless Grandpa one more time - or a hundred times - while he yet waits in the flesh here on earth... Lord use me to do so. Forgive me for not serving better. I am a horrible beast of a man, bound by the flesh to serve my own interests. I try to shred away from myself and be lost in the Love that is Jesus Christ. Yet I fail so many times, so miserably. Forgive me if I have not loved you well, whomever reads. I am just a man with a broken heart and a wave-tossed spirit.

How can my life be made more readily available to the Lord of Hosts? Why does my stupid side always get in the way? How few days or hours pass between His powerful and rich blessing and restoration, and then I fail to obey again! What a wretched blood that pulses through my veins. Without the blood of Christ, I am lost every day. His sustenance and continual flow keep me alive. He alone can feed my famished spirit. In a world where darkness still holds sway, Lord let my soul be ruled by Light! Extend the boundaries of Your kingdom to include me completely. Don't let me dwell on the borderlands. Swallow me into the thick of it so I cannot fall away. Surround me completely. Make me less and less distinguishable, as You receive whatever glory from me You can.

My heavenly Father knows my name. He knows it well. He knew me fully before I was born. As God called out to Adam who hid from Him in the garden, He calls my name as well. I am lost. I have turned my back on Him and have eaten forbidden fruits. Disobedience has marked my way continuously. A blotted cloth was my garment. Yet these wretched features are replaced. Unworthy to take a step, but crawl: He lifts me up. He lifts my head to meet His eyes. I cannot look. He's too much for me. Even so I dare not look away, for all else is rot!

I wait to hear my name called out. I am not vain, nor do I love the sound of the letters or how they flow together. Rather, it is because I am nothing that I love to hear the sound of what to me is nothing. Who remembers one such as me? Or who can love one like me? Yet my name has been called more than once, and who will answer if I do not? Will I wait for the name to change, and He pass me by? I will not wait for the third or fourth call. No more counting games! Here I am Lord. Your servant is listening.

Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.

Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, "Here I am!" and ran to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down.

And the LORD called again, "Samuel!" and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the young man. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant hears.

I Samuel 3:1-10 ESV

"Big deal," you say. So my ailing grandpa called my name. That's right, it IS a big deal! So it is a big deal that the Lord of heaven's armies calls my name. Do you want Him to call your name as well? What if He already has? Don't get so wrapped up in the things of this world that you risk missing it. Quiet yourself, or ask Him to. Don't miss out. It is a beautiful thing to hear your name called by someone greater than you are. It is humbling, but you can't help but bubble up with joy and gladness!

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Monday, December 29th, 2008 - 10:04 AM

"Mighty to Save"

I just got a nice birthday e-card from my Brasilian Mom. It had a great Bible verse in it. Why not share the blessing? If it can be said of me, it is surely for everyone!

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

My American Mom also left a phone message for me this morning. It is her custom to sing to me on my birthday. The standard "Happy Birthday" along with this one:

A happy birthday to you
A happy birthday to you
Every day of the year
May you feel Jesus near
A happy birthday to you
A happy birthday to you
And the best one you've ever had!

Combine the two concepts of the two birthday presentations. It is pretty nice to hear someone who loves you (and whom you love) sing a song for you. Zechariah speaks of the LORD rejoicing and singing a song for His people. You and I, as believers in Jesus Christ, have been grafted into the tree. There is a new man that has been formed from the two. We are children of Abraham, children of the promise by grace through faith. Can you imagine the God of the universe rejoicing over you... and even taking the time to write a song and sing it for you? Too lofty for me... yet I long to hear His song. I can't imagine how beautiful angelic choirs must sound. The Master and Creator of music arises to shame them all with His refined voice... and He sings for you and me! Beauty that would rip my heart and soul in two. He knows my name and calls me by name. If only I could correctly call Him likewise. Teach me Your name, O Lord!

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

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Saturday, December 27th, 2008 - 3:28 AM

"Pictionary Pages"

"Pictionary Pages, Pictionary Pages, time to get your Pictionary Pages. Time to get your paper and your pencil!"

My dad dropped me off at the Rueck household this evening. Dave, Tiffany, Shaun and I went to Red Robin. Afterward we all went to Tiffany's house and played a game of Pictionary while the dogs jumped crazily around.

One of Dave and my goals when playing Pictionary is to use only one piece of paper (only one side too) if possible. We achieved it this game. I decided to keep the sheet, and here it is for your (not) enjoyment.

Pictionary Pages

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Friday, December 26th, 2008 - 4:26 PM

"On the Thirteenth Day of Christmas"

Grandpa's grip

Mom, Dad, Grandma, and I went to the hospital again today to visit Grandpa. He remains mostly unresponsive to stimuli. Every once in a while, for not more than a few minutes (usually but a few seconds) he snaps out of his unconsciousness and interacts with a few words. He seems to be able to regularly show signs of life through his hands though. If you hold his hand, he'll hold yours back, with a discernible grip.

We were able to wake Grandpa from his "out of it" state long enough to get some soup down. He hasn't been eating otherwise because of his lack of responsiveness. It hurts us all to see our precious Grandpa (husband, dad, etc) in this state. We are not sure what to do. Please continue to pray.

There's still snow on the ground today, especially on the side streets. In fact, it's hardly changed around my parents' house. The main streets are pretty clear for the most part.

Grandma and Grandpa

Grandma and Grandpa

feeding Grandpa soup

snowy streets in front of my parents' house

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Thursday, December 25th, 2008 - 8:07 PM

"Bunch of Snow Pictures"

I finally got all the rest of my snow pictures up. For a while my little zoom program that allows me to do panoramas wasn't working right. Now I fixed it so it "works".

See the pictures on EsoShow

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 - 12:15 PM

"C2F I.T. Department Christmas Lunch"

Oops. Forgot. Last Friday our department had our annual Christmas potluck thingamajig. Yummy food. I brought a simple bean dip I learned to make some years back, along with chips. We grazed all day, and as the result I was pretty full even come dinner time.

C2F Christmas lunch

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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 - 1:28 AM

"Sparks a Flying"

I was really bored late last night. Seeking things to do, I randomly picked up my camera and started playing with silly techniques, most relating to experiments with long exposures. I hope you enjoy the images. These are not doctored on the computer. I always correct lighting a bit on digital photos, but otherwise, this is how they looked when shot. Well, I also cleaned up some of the horrible digital RGB noise, since my camera is so old and junky. I can't take night shots (long exposures) without getting all sorts of gross digital noise.

See the full set of photos on EsoShow.

long exposure experiments

long exposure experiments

long exposure experiments

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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 - 1:18 AM

"Doorguap"

I like'a the Doorguap, how about you?

Doorguap

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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 - 1:01 AM

"Woo Hoo, Presenting Tripod"

Tripod

Tripod

A week and a half ago, I broke my trusty Brazilian tripod. My dad came to the rescue by letting me know about a possible replacement. I received Papa's (my dad's dad) old tripod as an early Christmas/birthday present. Woo hoo!

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure if something with such age would be suitable for my needs. I pictured something really bulky, extremely heavy, with cumbersome controls. Papa's tripod shot down my pessimistic expectations. The release and adjustment controls are astonishingly well designed. The entire tripod is metal. This means it's not likely to fall apart like my past tripods. It's not nearly as light as my previous tripods, but it's not as heavy as it looks being made of metal - must be aluminum or something.

I put Tripod to immediate use, taking all sorts of snow pictures. I went out for a walk this evening, taking tons of night shots. I'll post those a bit later.

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Monday, December 22nd, 2008 - 11:26 PM

"Prayer for Honeys Due"

Grandma and Great Grandma
My Great Grandma, Pauline Shanks, is another of those who has been greatly influential on my life. She passed away when I was quite a bit younger, but I have never forgotten her example. I couldn't help take this picture. I thought it was cool that Grandma was reflected near her mother's picture.

Grandma and Grandpa Honey have been staying with my parents for over a year now, since they gave up their home in Gold Beach. Of course one of the things prominent on my mind this year is a bit of sadness that we will not be traveling to Gold Beach for Christmas this year - probably never again. Of course it is important to note that my grandparents are now far more accessible, right across town. Nevertheless, the Gold Beach experience will be sorely missed. Grandma's house has been accessible my entire life. Now Grandma's house is my parents' house. No separate, special entity to itself. The trip was half the fun too. We had our traditional stops along the way, eating at Dairy Queen in Gold Beach, walking along the pristine surf, going to Corner Drug for the after Christmas sale, and so on.

My Grandpa, Rev. Ward Honey, is in what appears to be physical and mental decline. He has always been challenged with his eyes and ears. In recent months he has become almost completely blind and deaf. He also struggles greatly to get around. The most recent manifestation has been some times of "mental check out". During these bouts, it is as if Grandpa is in another place.

Grandpa is in the hospital right now. My Grandma is beside herself with worry because of the separation... and of course it is nearing Christmas. After the doctors make some assessments of Grandpa's condition, it is likely he will go through some weeks at a secondary facility for physical therapy. After that, it will have to be decided if he is in a condition where he can return to my parents' house. It may soon become necessary for him to live in a long term care facility near my parents.

I admit freely that it crushes me at times to see this painful stuff going on. I love my grandparents very much. Their life together has been a great and shining example to me. Grandpa Honey's 40 plus years of ministry are one of my strongest inspirations. I hate to think what type of person I'd be without such a priestly example. I look up to Grandpa greatly, for he is a exemplary man of God who knows the Bible and lives humbly like few others can.

I would ask those who know my Grandpa and Grandma, Ward and Eunamae Honey, to pray for them fervently in the coming weeks and months. Even those who are not acquainted, please consider how much you care for your loved ones and pray with me for mine who are in much need. Yet all is not hopeless and a loss. Far from it! My God is faithful to the end, even if the rest of us blokes are not! He will be faithful to His servants, even, if not in particular Grandma and Grandma. Yahweh is Lord and Father of all!

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Sunday, December 21st, 2008 - 2:57 AM

"Do Something Fancy"

My sister wrote a nice note on my Facebook wall:

thinking of you :) wanting you to do something fancy for me :)

In answer to that question, I immediately jumped up and took these pictures. I know she is hinting at a favor that is for now not mentioned... but I couldn't resist answering prior to knowing what the question is :)

Something Fancy!

I guess you could call these my Batman/Ninja/Christmas tree stances.

...well, at least the first two. The third is "Contemplative T'ai Chi", the fourth "Listening Lester", and the last "Chicken-wing Chester".

something fancy

something fancy

something fancy

something fancy

something fancy

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Saturday, December 20th, 2008 - 5:56 PM

"Got Blast?"

Listen

as waddle: adverb

Also. In addition. Origin relates to pronouncing "as well" in an Irish accent, so there is almost a "rolling R" or "D" sound. However, there is no trace of such an accent, but rather the described attribute, which becomes quite literally pronounced as the English word, "waddle".

Additional Information

Portland Arctic Blast 2008

I've been spending the weekend with my good friend Dave and his family. Friday night Dave and I went over to Jibbidex Pribu's place (aka Mr. Pukis, Hannon, and a plethora of other mostly random names). We played video gabu and ate candy junk (Davenai, not Jim so much).

I decided to spend the night at Dave's house, since my weekends are otherwise boring and uneventful. I also considered the likely possibility that if I went "home" to Beaverton Friday night, I'd likely not see anyone for the rest of the weekend (ew, horrid thought these days). Even church will likely be canceled for the second week in a row... must... get... spiritual recharge... soon! (Captain Kirk style)

Today the snow blast finally came in. It's been snowing continually all day, albeit it tiny flakes and windy gusts. The accumulation might not be extremely deep as far as inches or feet, but the wind makes for some fairly impressive drifts.

Dave and I went out to lunch with his sister Toff, Shaun, and Allie. We went to Wei Wei, a local favorite restaurant of theirs. Albert, the owner, always comes over to their table and talks with them for a considerable time because they are such regulars. Great food. Yummy to my tubby tummy arterummy (huh?).

I'll probably end up spending the night again here at the Ruecks'. Otherwise, I might see if someone might venture me over to my parents' house a bit later... but it's of little difference to me at this point in time. Don't really want anyone to endanger themselves on my account, so I'll probably just stay put. I just like to be in proximity with people of virtually any manner - well, people that I know and love is generally a good condition, but yeah.

OK, scratch that. Ken, Dave's dad, took me over to my parents' house. Dave came along for the ride as waddle . The three of us, my parents and Grandma visited for a while. We ate popcorn and yummy cookies and drank hot chocolate (with marshmallows and candy cane mixed in - yum!).

Yet another slew of pictures of Arctic Blast 2008 (aka Deep Freeze) on Esoshow.

I'd say the storm is finally worthy of such silly monikers. While our snow accumulation or temperature lows might not compare to other parts of the country, this latest wintry onslaught is indeed impressive for us.

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Saturday, December 20th, 2008 - 11:36 AM

"Arctic Blast 2008"

Exaggeration supreme. The local news media labeled the first snowstorm of the year, "Arctic Blast 2008". It's been somewhat humorous because their forecasts have been pretty extreme, yet mother nature hasn't delivered for the most part. For example, yesterday we were supposed to get two to four inches of snow. We got zip. What fell seemed only to melt what was already stored up on the ground, as if the flakes were composed of magical heat energy thermal inversion emitters. Basically, by the end of the day, all the roads were bare asphalt, and the rest of the ground was mostly exposed as well.

Supposedly we are going to get six to ten inches today. Everyone is kinda making fun of the forecasts, and it seems pretty unlikely we will get that much snow. At any rate, the consistency of snow has been significant. We rarely get snow for more than one or two days in a row in the Portland area. It is more likely for us to be plagued by a horrible icy freeze than an extended dose of snow.

I threw up: BLEWKARUG! No, I'm not sick. I threw up some more snow pictures though.
See them here on EsoShow

Snow cars on off
Yesterday on my way out the door I noticed the interestingly perfect "shadow" left by a car that had shielded the ground from the snow. As I looked down the line it was interesting to see how there was a perfect on-off pattern, as if every other car was invisible or something (but still cast a shadow). Not a likely occurrence, so I took a picture.
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Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 - 4:36 PM

"OK, Who's Praying?"

I'm suddenly feeling better. It's bringing tears to my eyes. I'm trying to work here! Is someone praying for me? I don't really understand why this is happening. I guess a good explanation is that I am again listening to the Bible. I was taking some time off because I felt it was distracting me. It was so powerful that it filled my mind with thoughts, and the Spirit was present in everything I did. What a fool I was to stop. I refuse to stop now. the Word of God is powerful!

Thank you, if you were praying for me between 2:00 and 5:00 today. May God bless you too.

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 - 4:14 PM

"Hit Me Again"

Here I am sitting innocently, working on switching over the pricing from one promotion to another. Not really paying close attention to the Bible that I'm listening to, suddenly something pops into my ears.

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!"

Luke 7:14 NIV

Wow, this hit me like a brick again today. I actually had to sit there for several seconds and allow the power of the feeling to sink in. It felt like there was a pressure all around my head, especially on my forehead. This verse is really powerful to me. I wrote about it already once. If there is a verse to slay me, this is one of them. Though, I admit there are many others. I'm amazed this particular verse had the power to move me. I don't know how to explain it. It seems as though the voice of Jesus is speaking these same words to me... and the same authority of His voice that can raise dead to life can somehow punch my soul. It's amazing!

I'd love to be slain by the sword, the Bible, the precious Word of God. If I was to die, I'd love it to be in this way. Not because it is evil and will murder me... but because it is so divine and powerful that I can barely stand it! His words are like silver refined seven times by fire!

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Sunday, December 14th, 2008 - 10:34 PM

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"

Friday

After work Dave took me to his parents' church along with his family to watch Portland Christian Center's Christmas concert. Truth be told, I invited myself. It had been a number of years since I had gone to see the performance. I've been in the mood to do some standard Christmasy things lately. I am trying to enjoy the holiday season in spite of recent unfortunate and painful happenings. It's been hard, but I guess I'm doing OK. We all went out to Jin Wah for dinner, and I spent the night at Dave's house.

Saturday

Saturday Dave, Hillary and I finally watched all three Lord of the Rings movies. Obviously we've all seen them before. The idea was to have a marathon, watching all three extended editions in one day. Dave and I got up pretty early (for a Saturday) and headed up to Vancouver. Hillary's aunt and uncle have a nice house with a great theater room. The picture and sound were awesome.

Everyone except me played quite a bit of RockBand on the XBox 360. Those aren't my type of game, though it looked somewhat fun. I suppose I might be interested in trying it if I knew the songs. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to standard rock music though. Obviously there aren't any Christian songs that I might know.

Dave dropped me off at my parents' house. Rather than making my dad take me home at 2:00 in the morning, I opted to spend the night.

Sunday

I slept well Saturday night. Dad knocked on the basement door around 12:30 in the afternoon. Lunch was being prepared. There was much snow outside by this time, the first of the season. We ate a yummy lunch that Grandma prepared. Dad took me home in the afternoon, and I've been relaxing ever since. Church was canceled today due to the wintry weather. I'm kinda wishing work will be closed tomorrow, but I doubt it will be. I'm sure I'll be walking in the ice and snow. I don't think I'm daring enough to attempt biking in it. Yippy Skippy.

I had my mom take a few pictures of me. I was pleased my parents bothered to decorate their house. I haven't done much decoration at home. It's hard for me to feel motivated to do it this year because I have no one to share it with. How I long to have someone special here to share life with, even simple things like decorating a Christmas tree. It's impossible to list the things I miss.

I try not to let loneliness get the better of me, but I'm no bastion of strength. Even so, it was a blessing to my eyes to see my parents' Christmas tree this weekend! Some day I trust Yeshua my King will restore all things, make them new. Until that day, I will ounce, cup, pint and quart my trust in Him, the measurements of my hope equally as senseless.

Thank you God, that I still have my extended family. Not everything is a total loss, for You have blessed me with life and enough gifts for any man to rejoice in! I am blessed way more than others who suffer more greatly than I do. Forgive me for my sins and my weakness, Lord.

Thank you, family, for loving and keeping me, even if parts of me are imperfect and undesirable. I need this kind of love, and your expressions and supply to me are like seeing the very face of God where otherwise pitch black darkness surrounds. And you, my extended family in Christ, you too are a rich blessing from the Lord. Returned blessings to all in Christ. If His power and love flow out from me in the form of something good, I share with you all. Merry Christmas.

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Friday, December 12th, 2008 - 9:18 AM

"Oh, For Christ's Sake!"

In recent years criminals have resorted to stealing baby Jesus from many public nativity displays across the country around Christmas time. This year some churches have installed GPS devices in their babies, so the offenders can be tracked down and Jesus recovered.

I find it strange that people would take just the Jesus figure. I can't imagine it would have a lot of value without the "the complete set" in most cases. I guess it goes to show you that, perhaps more than ever, people really need Jesus! I know I certainly do. Good News is that you don't have to steal a figurine to "get" Him.

Jesus stolen

Nativity recovered

Jesus stolen

Jesus stolen

Jesus stolen

Jesus stolen

Jesus stolen

Jesus stolen

Jesus stolen

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Thursday, December 11th, 2008 - 2:25 PM

"Mr. Pukis Requests Anecdotes, We Deliver"

anecdotes

Dave and I have been working more on jimguys.com lately. For the most part, I'm the designer on the project (proud of my awesome work - check out that home page!). Dave and Marquis are the developers. Mr. Pukis requested the first official feature of the site. We created some screens that allow short anecdotes to be written. They appear on a separate page here. Feel free to read and consider them. Don't think too deeply. Your head might explode trying to figure out some of them.

Mr. Pukis made this little animation seen here. For the record, he says it's a mouth opening and closing, not some weird nose muscle or hair follicle.

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Thursday, December 11th, 2008 - 12:47 PM

"Good Fortune, Believe It or Not"

I'm not sure if I'm becoming more superstitious or just more sensitive. I don't believe in Chinese astrology, nor do I believe the little papers in fortune cookies have magical powers to tell your future. Even so, I always look forward to see what my fortune will be, often taking note of them here.

The last five fortunes have been very fortunate indeed. Usually the fortunes are fairly vague and somewhat worldly in nature (or just outright stupid!). These last ones almost feel like messages of diving encouragement to me. Now, I'm not about to go all mystical, but I couldn't ignore these. I didn't cherry-pick. I didn't leave any out. These were the last five in a row, from two different restaurants.

It's interesting to me how the messages on these five fortunes totally relate to my current situation. I am in much need of hope and encouragement. Even the services at Ethnos have focused heavily on this topic through the Advent season. Though I'm not one to support the ideas of spiritism/mysticism or fate/destiny, I reserve the slight possibility God used these five fortunes to show His sovereignty over all things to offer encouragement to me, His child. Even if that's not the case, they are good messages nonetheless. I will keep them and consider them a blessing.

For the record, the image below was formed by scanning the five fortunes in and superimposing them over a stock image. Oh, and for those who are truly superstitious: no, you cannot have the lottery numbers on the back of these five. Don't waste your money!

Five good fortunes

  1. Good things come to those who wait. Be patient.
  2. You will soon receive help from an unexpected source.
  3. You will soon be receiving some good written news.
  4. He who has hope has everything.
  5. You will overcome difficult times.
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Thursday, December 11th, 2008 - 12:36 PM

"More Workplace Decorations"

Apparently my mom wasn't satisfied with my lights and snowmen. When I had lunch with her yesterday, she came bearing gifts. Now I have more decorations to show. Thanks, Mom!

Christmas decorations from Mom

Christmas decorations from Mom

Christmas decorations from Mom

Christmas decorations from Mom

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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 - 12:28 AM

"Christmas Decorations at Work"

I put up my basic Christmas decorations at work today. Just some lights. A coworker lent me her snowmen to add to the lights. I took a few pictures.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

my desk with lights

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Sunday, December 7th, 2008 - 2:29 AM

"Oh Man, the Impressiating Stuff"

Dudes and Dudettes, the most wonderful web site you have ever seen is now in formation. We are using the most impressive technologies known to designers and developers across the world to produce the greatest web site known to mankind. Prepare to be depressed! Oops. I mean impressed. Too bad I don't know how to press the backspace key and go correct that horrible flaw in my sandwichery.

View the glorious updates to jimguys.com!!! (WOW!)

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Friday, December 5th, 2008 - 12:04 PM

"My Prayer From Psalms"

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD - how long?

Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?

I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.

Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

Psalm 6 ESV

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Thursday, December 4th, 2008 - 2:53 AM

"JimGuys Mega-Updated"

Now our collaborative web site is really shaping up. Take a look at all the content we added: jimguys.com.

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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 - 11:14 AM

"Still Desperately Listening"

Papa Smurf is blue, and my soul is painted with midnight pain. The first modern Batman movie was released in 1989, and my heart is as broken and confused as his. Spoons are containers while forks are not, and my eyes are weary and unable to contain the well of tears no longer locked within. I've been listening to You Are a Holy God again today. I can't get enough of it. I want to be in the presence of my God. I am weary of this world. No kidding young men grow weary and faint. Teach me how to wait upon You, Lord. I'm a dreadful temple, a weak pot, a lump of clay and dust.

Several links (in case one of them breaks, since Youtube content is unreliable):
You Are a Holy God (beautiful voice and person!)
You Are a Holy God (the "original" singers - love it!)
You Are a Holy God (originals again)

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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 - 2:01 AM

"The Angel of Death Need Not Kill You"

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people."

And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"

Matthew 14:1,2,12 ESV

It has occurred to me before that Jesus is the Passover Lamb. Those with a decent understanding of the Old Testament are probably immune to the significance of such a symbol after much "Sunday Schoolesque" repetition. But hey! Wow! Jesus is the fulfillment, the completion of the Passover... He IS the Passover Lamb!

I find it a fresh thought to consider the history of the Passover. Jesus wasn't kidding at all when He said Moses spoke of Him. Indeed the entire Old Testament points to Jesus. It is tragic to miss this point. I am amazed that something instituted hundreds of years before Jesus' advent so powerfully mirrors the work He accomplished. I suppose that serves as a lesson to us. Don't get wrapped up so much in a tradition that you forget the reason for it. The Jews missed the arrival of their true sacrificial Lamb. Such is an eternal tragedy, rendering the faithful practice of tradition over the years pointless.

In the same way that a lamb's blood painted over the doorways of the Israelites saved those inside from the firstborn killing death angel, so Jesus' blood saves us from the wrath of God. We all deserve death, every last one of us. We have each sinned our share, and even the smallest sin separates us from the holy God and Creator of all.

If you have declared the Lordship of Jesus Christ over your life and believe in His death and resurrection, you have a sealing mark on you. The blood of Christ separates the fierce anger of a righteous God from destroying you. You have not earned this safety by your works. It is a free gift.

God Himself has patiently stored up His great wrath through all time, waiting for His elect to be revealed to the full number. His fury will be poured out in bowls in the final days. These bowls (read Revelation for details) will be a fearsome display to say the least. God's wrath can be avoided by each person who paints the Lamb's blood or who hangs a piece of red thread on their doorpost (Joshua 2:4-21 ESV). Jesus Christ is both the Lamb and the Thread. He stands at the door and knocks. Will you let the Thread in, will you let Him paint the blood? He was already lifted up on a tree like the snake in the desert (Numbers 21:5-9 ESV John 3:14 ESV).

The work is done. God wants you to be saved, so that you don't fall under His terrible wrath. God wants to pass over you, but you need to DO something to escape. Are you so lazy and "partying" inside that you aren't willing to do the simple act required of you, an act of faith? Or are you simply asleep inside, snoring away?

During the Last Supper Jesus alluded to His death on the cross - the ultimate Passover act. It is no mistake in timing that Jesus was crucified on the eve of a Passover. The blood was ready to redeem even on the darkest night in human history. It's also not coincidence that the angel of death in the Exodus account killed the firstborn of each household not covered by blood. Jesus is God's only begotten Son, and is the firstborn from the dead, having defeated death by His resurrection. As all the firstborn died in Egypt, Jesus the firstborn died in our place. His blood is our covering.

The celebration of the Passover is no longer necessary because Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to end all sacrifices. It would be interesting to see a "modified" celebration that recognizes Jesus as the ultimate Passover Lamb. I suppose Communion replaces the Passover for Christians in this respect.

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

1 Corinthians 11:23-24 ESV

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Monday, December 1st, 2008 - 9:02 AM

"How Long, O Lord?"

Hopefully this isn't vanity or pride in my own words. I don't think so. I was in one of those "inspired" moods last night and stuff was flowing freely. This has happened a lot since God's victory over my darkness has been revealed. I figured I'd share the little ditty I shared on my church forum simply because I feel it reflects much of my own emotion and thought of late - which I like to be recorded here so I can chronicle my spiritual journey with Christ. I'm sure there are others who can associate with the emotion contained in it. This is a difficult age we live in. Yet our hope is in Christ. Jesus Christ is coming soon! And even now He gives us strength while we wait.

How Long, O Lord?

How long, O Lord, how long? I long for Your embrace. I long to see Your face, O Jesus. Deliver us from this darkness! We all groan and weep in dismay. We need Your hand of deliverance. You are faithful even when we are not. Restore Your people, Father. Lift up our weary heads, Abba. Create in us a joy and victory even amid the toil and dread. You are Master and Lord of all, even our broken hearts. We hold the pieces out in our hands, ready for You to work Your magic touch, Fixer of all! Great are You Lord and infinite is Your wealth and fame. We make ourselves poor in the things of this world so we can gain Your lasting riches. Fill us. We need You desperately. You are the Coming King. Come soon, yet show your mercy to the lost. Call them to Yourself with urgency, even using us, and them come like lightning!

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

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Monday, December 1st, 2008 - 12:59 AM

"We Are Gideon's Battle Lamps"

Lately I've been thinking a lot about spherical orbs of light. I've become a spiritual warrior of light for Christ Jesus and God Almighty Most High. Surely my invisible companions are angelic captains who wield weapons of divine power! Whether it's accurate or not, sometimes when I pray specifically against the forces of darkness, I picture the spiritual world. I see our spirits as Christians shining brightly, filled with the Light of Christ. Then, when we pray or intercede, a sphere of light surrounds us, as a shield (yet a weapon of some sort, drowning out the darkness within it's "range"). As we pray more intently, it grows even larger, so the power of our influence is more intense and widespread.

I know, it's just an imaginary vision. I don't actually know what the spiritual world "looks like". But these sort of thoughts help me visualize the power given us in Christ to vanquish the darkness. There is no force too great that has not been put under His feet. All power and authority has been given to Jesus Christ. He is pleased to give us this power by proxy (or rather by Himself who lives within us and is our Life!). In Jesus name no power of darkness can prevail! Holy God Almighty, He's awesome! His dominion and kingdom have no bounds! We will rip a wound in the deep. By the Word of His mouth, light will come from darkness. Wisdom and love will vanquish sin and death! Jesus Christ is Lord.

I see this world as a dark and empty palette. There's all sorts of evil running here and there spreading disease, death, destruction and deception. We are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. We are salt and light. Lately I've been picturing us as spheres of light, and so I decided to whip up a quick 3D rendering which sort of represents the image in my mind.

I remembered the image of Gideon and his army of 300 going out to meet Midian's thousands. God proved His power by fighting the battle for the Israelites. Part of the story tells of the men carrying lamps and jars - probably to appear as a larger number spread across a hillside, approaching the enemy's camp. This image of lights spread across a hill in darkness also inspired this image. We wage an equally dangerous battle as Gideon did, and the odds are not in our favor anymore than they were in his. Yet the Lord our God promises to give us the strength we need. I believe He will fight our battles alongside us. Mighty is His arm! He will crush the endless flow, He will put an end to the onslaught. No one will escape, not one. This is the Lord of Hosts, the One who empowers us by His Spirit. Let's wage war with our spherical orbs of light! Darkness beware, the King of Ages is near, and His servants are gearing up for battle.

I think of an image like this too, when I visualize Christians spread across a city or the globe. If enough of us step out and "do stuff" for the Kingdom, we can light up the entire landscape, our shine zones fully overlapping! This is one of the things I think when I go out to my Outdoor Chapel. I hope others will do something similar. Though it could simply mean being more intentional about one's interactions at work or school. It doesn't need to be the chapel sort of thing. I'm not even sure what that's all about yet. I'm just doing it - for whatever reason... mainly to meet with God. Yet I believe it will somehow have an effect on the community as well.

Let Your Light Shine

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