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Friday, January 30th, 2009 - 10:57 AM

"I Like Brazilians"

Mercur Eraser

I like Brazilians so much, I married one :) Right now, there are two Brazilians at my work. They are meeting with a buyer to present their wares. They work at a company called Mercur Erasers. It's a worldwide known company based in Brazil. Needless to say, they sell erasers. In fact, I just so happen to have a green Mercur eraser on my desk. I don't use it much but rather kept it as a decoration (because I like bright green), and as a reminder of nouns I love (people, places and things).

I totally interrupted the buyer's meeting and spoke with the two Brazilian guys for a couple minutes in Portuguese. I simply couldn't resist! I knew that, since they're Brazilian, it would be OK.

I'm wishing I could go talk with those guys instead of working today :) Or better yet, I wish I could go be in Brasil right now - to mingle, relax and live. Adoro os brasileiros e o seu país.

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Friday, January 30th, 2009 - 9:20 AM

"I've Been Googlified"

Gmail

Unfortunately this idealist finally decided to take the plunge. I am now using Gmail, Google's email service. I had resisted the urge to switch all this time, in spite of the obvious benefits. I already use many of Google's web application services and don't like to put my eggs all in one basket. I generally think Google knows far too much about us already.

I don't particularly have anything to hide, but neither do I like the idea of some powerful entity other than God peering into my every action. Any such power will NEVER use this information responsibly. Eventually the amount of information stored about us will be enough to describe our habits and exact whereabouts within a complicated formula or data structure. Privacy and freedom will cease to exist if this information is used for the wrong purpose by the wrong people. This may be quite a way out, but it is consistent with sociopolitical trends and isn't at all out of line with Biblical prophecy. I don't particular see Google itself as evil or malevolent or some future world power (they're a private company, and I use many of their products), but they have set many precedents concerning the "value" and freedom to collect exorbitant information, a trend that will likely only multiply in the future.

That said, I've not been satisfied with the web mail options provided by my web hosting company. Since it is possible to use Gmail to manage email for an owned domain, I experimented with setting up a Google Apps Mail account and pointed my server's mail MX records there. It works like a charm. All my email client woes are now a thing of the past, and I don't have to bother with changing my email address. If I want, at any time I can switch back to managing my email with my hosting plan.

By the way, why on earth is the most wonderfully simple, lightning fast, feature-rich web email service still in Beta? What more can they add or iron out before it just is?

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 - 1:15 AM

"The Garlet Sky, I Mean Scarlet Guy"

I'm loosely connected with a team of guys at Ethnos who are redoing the church web site. I say loosely connected because a certain guy named Matt is graciously and fortunately very excited about the project and has so far done all the noteworthy work. At any rate, I'm trying to help here and there with a few suggestions and artistic contributions. Unfortunately for everyone asking things of me, I've not been feeling very inspired lately, but rather extreme in the ADHD department like never before in my life.

Anyhoo, a vague image popped into my mind of Christ's hand outstretched. I'm starting with that image in mind as the "goal" and will see where I end up. First step is to start with a suitable hand. I borrowed some cloths from church again cuz the image in my mind has fabric foldy stuff. I took some image tonight that I'll work with when I have time. I thought the poses and shadows looked kinda interesting, so I figured I'd share them here. Obviously the final images will be all cropped out, and you won't be able to tell it was my arm and such. These photos are more for inspirational reference on the shapes and angles.

Scarlet Guy

Scarlet Guy

Scarlet Guy

Since I had the cloths, I couldn't help but take a couple extra photos that will NOT be used on the Ethnos web site. I traveled far to get them though. I wanted an authentic period feel, so I went to where it all began in Israel (all in one evening after work - I'll be especially tired tomorrow!).

Scarlet Guy

Scarlet Guy

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Monday, January 26th, 2009 - 1:31 AM

"The King's Friend"

Ha! Cool. I have kind of a hard time concentrating on some parts of the Bible, especially genealogies. Parts of I Chronicles are almost as "boring" as that, listing people and their various assignments in David's kingdom. It's somewhat interesting to think of all the assignments and their significance, but it's not easily attainable from a fairly relaxed read. However, something blasted off the page near the end of Saturday's reading (I just read it, because I was a day behind). After a huge list of groups of thousands of people and more significant leaders and their assignments, look at what is listed at the end of I Chronicles chapter 27:

Ahithophel was the king's counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king's friend.

How interesting! It is definitely the "assignment" that stands out from the rest or doesn't belong in a group of fairly official titles. It is fascinating that such a thing is listed here. How cool would it be to be listed as "the king's friend"? Surely King David had others who could be counted as friends, but this man was singled out. Very curious and heartwarming. It is quite probable that this word was used to signify some sort of official position, like "this man is a friend (loyal) to the crown". Still, I can't help but notice the intriguing read.

In like manner, I hope Jesus and/or God count me among His friends. I know I wouldn't be a very good candidate for such a title (after all, what could such a High God - the Only One who created all things and is so far above it all - gain out of such a "friendship"), but I know I call Him my Friend. He is also my King, my Lord and my God. Yet I couldn't ask for a better friend. He has stuck with me through thick and thin.

In fact, God is the only One whom I cannot live without. He's the One I wish to see when I die, whose name I want to be on my lips, and whose hand I wish to hold. In some ways, my desire for Him rival what one would say of a "Lover"... though not with the weird connotations that the world thinks of with such a word. There is no greater Friend than Him. I need Him to complete me.

I wish to be a friend TO God also, even if He needs me not! I am humbled that, even if "need" doesn't describe his connection to me, "want" or "desire" seems to. That He would send His own Son to die for me is pretty ridiculous. No one does that! And God Most High!? Astounding. He must hold me with some value - measureless if it cost His SON!?!?!? - for whatever reason that makes no sense at all to me. He loves me SO much.

Don't think you are off the hook! He thinks and does that same thing for you too! Are you the King's friend? He died to make it possible. He doesn't ask much of you in return. He's the Friend of friends, and I highly recommend getting to know Him.

and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness" - and he was called a friend of God.

James 2:23 ESV

Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

2 Chronicles 20:7 ESV

But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend;

Isaiah 41:8 ESV

Friend envy. I want Abraham's Friend to call me "friend" too! I guess "son" is good enough... but somehow "friend" adds something special. Lucky Abraham! :)

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Friday, January 23rd, 2009 - 12:09 PM

"Hawaii Rainbows: Big Mistake!"

Wizard of Oz

Here I was, innocently investigating the strangeness of my recent fascination with The Wizard of Oz, and I am taken captive by something completely different. For the last couple weeks I've had Wizard of Oz on my brain. It started with the last snowfall earlier this month. For no apparent reason I started whistling "If I Only Had a Brain" along with the snow pelting my eyes. The theme continued later until I talked to someone at church, giving them the nickname "Mega Oz", bringing a flood of Oz-type thoughts back to my brain (like big green heads shrouded in smoke, charming little old guy behind the curtain pulling levers, and hot air balloons). The topic of discussion came up again briefly last night at the Smith community group.

Finally, for several days I've had the song "Over the Rainbow" stuck in my head. I don't even know where it came from. I wasn't even thinking about Ozness for a couple days. This is weird. I'm thinking I need to watch the movie. I own it, so it wouldn't take much effort to throw in the disc and press play. However, what a shame that would be. Maybe we need to make a movie night out of it, so the experience isn't "wasted".

Israel Ka'ano'i Kamakawiwo'ole

OK, I was reminded again of the rainbow song and decided to look it up on Youtube so I could listen to it. BIG MISTAKE! The first search result that popped up was a version sung by a man, Israel "Iz" Ka'ano'i Kamakawiwo'ole. I'm ashamed to say I didn't know who this singer was prior to having discovered this video. I listened to it once, and now I'm listening to it over and over again. Ah... good. Some of the videos on Youtube show Iz and his people in their natural Hawaiian element. By the way, now that the song is already stuck in your head, you may as well look it up on Youtube and get the full experience!

Oh man it makes me wish I had darker skin and was born elsewhere - where the palm trees grow. To experience simpler, finer, more relaxing and important things. To be free from the concrete jungle and never-ending drudgery. To be part of something so unique and great. Now I'm wishing I could go to Hawaii! Aaargh! I have felt the same about Brasil... I've been there four times now, and I feel the culture and people are a part of me (well, in reality, this is true). There's something unique and beautiful about these types of cultures, especially around the coastal cities. It's pure magic. Lately I've been thinking specifically about Fortaleza. I wish I could go there again. SOOOO many good memories in that city! (perhaps my cousin Mila can relate to some of these inner yearnings?)

Ummm... the sun's shining, it's Friday, and I'm listening to a big Hawaiian man with an addictive persona singing a great song. I'll have a hard time getting back to work after lunch :) Thanks, Iz. I wish I could have met you in this world. You seem like an interesting person. I'm sorry you had to leave your family behind. I pray for those - all those - who are close to death (we are all a breath away). May they find peace with the God who made them. The God who declared the rainbow as a sign of peace between Him and mankind. This peace ultimately comes through Jesus Christ. Know Him. He's waiting for you with open arms if you will listen to what the Father says of Him and believe what is said.

Over the Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Rainbow

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Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 - 12:59 PM

"Possessed by a Spirit"

including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

Romans 1:6 ESV

I like the sound of this verse. Though I'm not the original "addressee" of the letter to the Romans (verse 7), this verse describes every one of us who has given himself to Christ at His call, leaving all to follow Him, given a new life and heart. That be me too! It is thrilling to consider those words "I belong to Jesus Christ". It goes back to verse 1, "a slave of Christ Jesus". I am possessed by Jesus. I am His possession. I am His. He owns me. He bought me. I am not my own.

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Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 - 12:42 PM

"Jesus, The Son of God"

and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Romans 1:4 ESV

Jesus was declared to be or designated as or shown to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead. I wonder if this language is the description of a happening or simply an evidence or affirmation. To me it reads as a proof. It confirms what was already known or stated by Jesus, that He is indeed the Son of God.

The reason I even ponder or review this distinction is because for the last year or so I've wondered what it means when it says in the book of Hebrews (quoting the Old Testament):

You are my Son, today I have begotten you

I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son

Hebrews 1:5
Psalm 2:7
2 Samuel 7:14

The Messianic passages in the Old Testament often baffle me because they have a historical meaning in their original context in addition to their prophetic quality, referring to the Messiah.

In this case it sounds as if Jesus becomes the Son at a given point in time - human history. It is important to point out the perfect clarity that Jesus always was. He was not created, nor did He come into being.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-14,14 ESV

My question is not concerned with Jesus' eternal existence or equality with God. Hebrews 1 makes me wonder if "The Word" was always referred to as "the Son" or if the title and position became His when He was born into this world. Certainly His name "Jesus" or "Yeshua" and His becoming a son of David were not always so from eternity (though the knowledge and plan of such always existed in the mind and heart of God).

Romans 1:4 speaks of yet another "Sonship" or "bornness". When Jesus, by the power of the Spirit of holiness (an "indestructible life"!!!!!!!) raised from the grave, He became the firstborn from the dead... with many brethren to follow.

And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared:

"You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek."

Hebrews 7:15-17 NIV

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Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 - 12:24 PM

"The Holy Bible"

the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures

Romans 1:2 NIV

God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.

Romans 1:2 NLT

(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

Romans 1:2 KJV

I like that all three versions I'm looking at while here in the laundry room refer to the Biblical writings as "the holy Scriptures". Perhaps it can come into question the authenticity or authority of the Bible. Most people do not highly regard the words of the Bible. An unfortunate movement of the current generations (post modern and relative thinkers) reduce the inspired Word of God to a collection of literary writings with some interesting and valuable teachings.

There is a reason 2 of the 3 Bibles I'm using today actually say "Holy Bible" on the cover or spine. If not from elsewhere, Romans 1:2 justifies such a title. It is not some random publisher's agenda to present some old book as more than it truly is just to impress, influence or make a buck.

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.

I Timothy 3:14-17 ESV

The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

Psalm 12:6 ESV

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished."

Matthew 5:17-18 ESV

"The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

Luke 16:16-17 ESV

knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:20-21 ESV

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Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 - 7:02 PM

"So Begin the Epic Tails of Hair"

For years I've toyed with the idea of growing out my hair. I've tried a couple times but gave up. The intermediate stages of semi-long, scrappy-looking hair annoy me. Who knows if I'll "succeed" this time. Why am I doing it? No idea. I guess it's that random person in me - or rather, I'm pretty random. I decided to take a few pictures so y'all can see the progress so far (not much to see yet).

Phil's hair

Okay, a bit too normal! Now for what you've all been waiting for... Big Hair McCoy!
P.S. It's a good thing I'm not running for public office... I might just get elected.

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

Phil's hair

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Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 - 1:22 AM

"Fun With Cubes"

I decided to spend a bit more time than usual creating an image for today's ad. Every once in a while I am inspired by a random idea and decide to just go for it. So often I feel lacking in the inspiration department, so when creativity or motivation comes, I try to take advantage of it.

The product in the ad I was to work on was a square pad of paper (or rather 2 pads). An image of a cube came to mind, so I jumped on it like spatulas on a wind chime.

I wanted the cube to have a fairly convincing 3D look. I remembered that Inkscape has a pseudo 3D tool. I've not been overly impressed with this particular tool's implementation and was reminded why when I tried it today. The angles simply don't look right to me. It's like viewing the rectangular solids through a fish-eye lens or something - too exaggerated and hard to correct.

It was then that my mind turned to Bryce. It's easily the 3D graphics tool I'm most familiar with. I am somewhat familiar with Blender and a couple other products but haven't streamlined my productivity for producing quick results with them. Bryce is stinking easy and there are so many wonderful presets to work with. A simple scene usually only requires a few minutes to produce, something that might take hours using comparable software. At the same time, Bryce has some severe limitations, especially in the object modeling department. Basic 3D primitives are easy though, and fortunately a cube was all I needed today. A few clicks, and there I had it - a box, water, sky, and light.

Bryce cube rendering

Next I imported the Bryce rendering into Inkscape. I quickly outlined the four cubes with purposefully sloppy strokes, to work the beginnings of a sketched look.

Inkscape calligraphy lines

Here's the Inkscape paths back on top of the rendered Bryce image.

Inkscape paths over Bryce rendering

I was recently impressed with the latest build to the GIMP open source project. Until yesterday I had not been overly impressed with the software. It has a lot to offer as far as features go - most everything that is expected in a bitmap creation / photo editing application. However, the user interface leaves much to be desired in comparison to industry standard tools. Maintaining efficient workflow in graphics is very important, and the GIMP is simply not up to speed in this key area. Even so, version 2.6.3 that I downloaded last night corrected a major foul. It used to be that, in order to access the tools and property panes, pressing ALT+TAB was necessary. They didn't remain on top of the drawing window (BAD!). This recent version finally keeps the tools on top where they belong. Giant leap forward, with still a long way to go.

Yesterday in my fiddling with The GIMP, I found a filter to my liking: Line Nova. It produces a radial pattern of tapered lines that come to a central focus - much like can be seen in Manga style comic books to indicate zoom, forward movement or emotional emphasis on a character. I added a couple of these novas to my drawing and warped them with several tool swipes and filters to produce this image.

GIMP warped line nova

To give the lines a tad more rough, grungy or sketched look, I used Adobe Photoshop's displacement map filter to distort the line layers a bit.

Photoshop displacement map

A couple additional Photoshop filters brought it all together. I rotated the hue to a bit more purple and blue range, and voila.

final rendering

As you can see, I have very little brand loyalty. I use each tool for what they are best, often combining them on single projects as seen here. I have been using graphics programs for almost 20 years and know my way around getting them to do what I want. My problem is usually the imagination and inspiration to get started. Here's the "final image" for the most part how it will appear in the ad. I know, why bother, when I just cover it up anyway? Sometimes I want to make the product photos really small so as to show off my cool backgrounds... but I have to resist such temptation, since the purpose of the ads is to feature the products, not my artwork! :)

Pentalic square sketch pads

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Monday, January 19th, 2009 - 12:11 PM

"Slavery Can Be a Good Thing"

Martin Luther King Jr. Barack Obama

SHAZAM! How's that for a blog post title - especially considering it's Martin Luther King Jr.'s special day! Well, this post has pretty nothing to do with slavery based on socioeconomic status, racism or power. Praise God for people like Doctor King who in effect said to the world, "Wake up, O Sleeper". Politics aside, thank God for giving a man like Obama the same chance and opportunity we all should have, given talent and dedication. Judging or devaluing a man by his skin color is STUPID waste extraordinaire! Happy MLK Jr. Day, and congratulations, Mr. Obama - soon to be "Mr. President"! "I have a dream" indeed.

Even so, I'm not talking about that sort of slavery, but rather voluntary slavery. To follow are some thoughts I wrote down while considering Romans 1:1.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

Romans 1:1 ESV

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

Romans 1:1 NASB

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle
and sent out to preach his Good News.

Romans 1:1 NLT

"A slave of Christ Jesus". The word "slave" has a pretty negative connotation in our minds today as Americans. For good reason, I believe. All should be free to pursue life and provision through freedom. I myself would not choose to have anyone "under" me. I don't like the idea of being "over" anyone. Yet don't we so often live as if our way is right, that our intellect rules supreme, or our ideas are worthy of exclusive attention or acceptance? I know I am guilty of this at times.

If you want to be great in God's Kingdom, learn to be a servant of all. Honestly, I don't even want to be great in God's Kingdom. I do want to learn to be a servant of all while here on earth - not so I can one day be called or awarded "great", but because my Master, Lord of all, made Himself nothing, washed my feet, and died in my place. He took my deserved death penalty on Himself. No servant is greater than his master. It is enough that a servant be like his master. If the Lord Jesus Christ - the Son of God - became obedient even to death, and this (He) the very image and Word of God, even God Himself... who am I, who am I, who am I to desire a title or position?

Lord, forgive me! Behold, I am but dust. I am animated dirt. What is this, that the Creator of all things should become flesh? Flesh is low and created. You did the impossible and insomuch suffered and died for us all! Thank You, humble King, who rides on a donkey and is not ashamed to mix with crowds of the lowly and rejected.

Don't let me be made much of at the cost of Your glory. I accept anything You freely give and do not reject the Gift, for I am truly needy. Even so, I give You praise and credit for any good thing born in me, for without You I am nothing. Aside from the sustenance of Your hand I am filthy and wicked. My sin is my own shame and my good is Your glory. I am naked before you; I hide away. Yet You lift my head and shine in my eyes. You clothe me with Christ and fill me with the Spirit of whiter than white to cleanse me.

At this Lord, I long to be Your slave! I once was a slave to the dark ways of this world and the lusts of my flesh. Because of my unrighteous acts and unwholesome heart I was perishing in my way.

If there is truly free will, I have come to realize the significance of it. God could by his sovereignty make us all subject to His will. He also could have created us as beings incapable of choice or will. Because love is a choice, God gave us the opportunity to choose, even to choose disobedience which is sin that leads to death and separation from God. Without this opportunity to choose we could not love God.

Sometimes I wish that becoming a new creature in Christ severed us from our ability to choose sin. I wish to become a robot to His will. Yet even though Jesus' blood makes us righteous in the sight of God, our flesh remains. We must still choose to love, to believe and to obey.

Somehow Paul is a slave of Jesus Christ. Though the world has cast a very negative shadow on this word, I long to be a slave of Christ, along with whatever that entails by God's infinite wisdom and design. I have seen the ends to the means of being my own master. The results are not good. The lie that serving oneself brings happiness and satisfaction are insidious. Being made subject to God and His plan is what brings completion and joy to man, in spite of the struggles and pains that will come as the result of such a choice. The suffering of this world is not worthy comparing with what God has prepared for those who choose to love Him.

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Sunday, January 18th, 2009 - 9:02 PM

"Laundry Room Bible Study"

Last week Elder Dave said he wanted to go through the book of Romans with me. He and I have been meeting weekly for about 5 months now. By the way, thank God for this - and thank you Dave of course! I recently expressed my wish for our meetings to develop into some sort of discipleship format. One of several results of a sermon a couple weeks prior was the conviction to become a more intentional disciple of Jesus Christ (or one at all, since I'm not worthy of the title). Dave concurred and had come to the exact same conclusion. Romans it is.

I made several attempts to start reading the first chapter of Romans this week and failed miserably. I read all the way through once and listened to the audio about a dozen times. In spite of all that, I couldn't get my brain to focus on extrapolating details and applications.

One thing I was getting caught up on was Dave's instruction to carefully consider the verses and write down everything that occurs to me for discussion. I debated with myself: does this mean I should 1) write down all thoughts both simple and complex that I've ever had before about these verses, 2) write down anything new that occurs to me this time I read, or 3) outsource by looking up in a commentary to get an "expert" and exhaustive analysis? At first I didn't like the pressure of coming up with a bunch of thoughts and fought with myself over it. I didn't want to seek "impressive" insights to score some sort of spirituality points or other vanity. I don't want to impress, but to grow and learn.

Finally I decided I would just do it. My desire is not to come up with deep theological observations to show off my intellect. That's not why I've been spending so much time in the Bible, writing on my blog, and so forth. In truth, I'm pretty slow and dull of heart. My intellect leaves much to be desired. Thankfully for me this allows God's Spirit to really shine and fill in the gaps.

I'm sick of head knowledge about God. I don't want to lose this knowledge, but I want also to be changed so I'm less recognizable each time I encounter the Spirit of Truth. I'm sick of being a mere hearer and student of the Word. My goals for 2009 relate not to empty religious devotion, but to becoming a doer of the Word, a disciple of Jesus Christ, to read through the Bible and become more passionate about it all the time, to be fervent and constant in prayer for everyone I know who needs it, to be a servant of all, and to crucify my flesh (I know, lofty).

Late last night I decided to combine my Bible study efforts with doing laundry. I was quite astounded how I was able to focus much better in the laundry room. I get distracted with all my things around me in my apartment. The results of this "Laundry Room Bible Study" are several observations written in my journal that I'll share over the next few posts.

For the record, my method involved reading a verse at a time in three different translations: NIV, NLT and KJV. As related verses popped into my mind from memory, I looked those up to shed further light on each verse in Romans 1. Of course if I had a computer, I could have simply done a search to find even more related verses. The limited concordance in the back of my NIV Student Bible sufficed. Because of my slow process and snail-paced journal writing, I only got to verse 4. Me is slow.

laundry room Bible study

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Saturday, January 17th, 2009 - 2:13 AM

"There's Nothing More Masculine Than He-Man"

He-man

Except perhaps for He-Man-Male-Guy-Boy-Lad-Dude-Stud-Bloke-Chap-Feller.

I was just reading my daily devotions and found myself in I Chronicles. I had no idea He-man was in the Bible!

So David left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister regularly before the ark as each day required, and also Obed-edom and his sixty-eight brothers, while Obed-edom, the son of Jeduthun, and Hosah were to be gatekeepers. And he left Zadok the priest and his brothers the priests before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon to offer burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar of burnt offering regularly morning and evening, to do all that is written in the Law of the Lord that he commanded Israel. With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and expressly named to give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever. Heman and Jeduthun had trumpets and cymbals for the music and instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were appointed to the gate.

I Chronicles 16:37-42 ESV

By the way, Obed-edom and his sixty-eight brothers?! That's a lot of brothers! Possibly not literal brothers. Don't know. If so, must have been by more than one wife/woman.

He-man

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Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 - 1:46 AM

"Sorry, Cactus"

I had to clear off my deck today because the apartments are being remodeled, or so the story goes. Last night I brought my barbecue inside. Don't worry, I won't be using it. It just needs to be cleared off the deck for construction. I noticed Cactus has seen better days. It looked to me like most of the leaves were shriveled. I made the judgment not to spare the plant. It's been a grand cactus, but I think the best part of its life was taken by Arctic Blast 2008. Cactus is officially retired, I'm sad to say. It was a good cactus, with a good name. Good bye my yellow blooming friend.

Sing a dirge with me, folk. I now have no offspring to carry my name. My only other posterity is a tripod, which has not the breath of life in it :) Parents are not supposed to outlive their "children". Well, I still have one surviving plant with me, but it does not have a name. If I grow attached to it, perhaps I'll "adopt" it. Right now I'm getting perturbed by a bunch of small fly-like things nesting in the soil - annoying!

good bye Cactus

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Monday, January 12th, 2009 - 2:17 AM

"The Best of Kinship"

Palfeniers

Praise the Lord! I finally got to meet with Al and Margaret. We have been going back and forth, playing phone tag and email tag. Margaret let me know that Saturday was open, and I jumped at the chance. It has been WAY too long since I've seen these precious folk. Saturday night I spent a wonderful evening with this couple, these my elders in the Lord. Margaret served up yet another ridiculously delicious meal, and the three of us had wonderful fellowship, catching up after a couple years of silence. My eyes well up with tears as I look at this here picture. Because these two are so special to me. They are indeed my family. Thank you Lord, for this opportunity to see Al and Margaret again! I am blessed beyond words. You have done a great and mighty work in them, and You have much remaining to do. Please bless them a hundredfold to how they have blessed me and so many others. Meet all their needs according to the riches of your monetary wealth as well as Your spiritually soft wings of infinite love and care. You are so good to us, You our heavenly Father.

As soon as I finish writing this I will be forced to return to my knees, my eyes flooded with tears: where I have longed to be for the last few days. I've failed to be there too long. Someone must have prayed, or God answered a prayer unprayed that my heart not be so dull any longer. It is open again, and Lord flood in!

Some time later ...don't know what just happened exactly, but I was just slain. As I said, I felt the need to drop to my knees again - partially inspired by memories of this picture, partially by hearing of Yoshi's tears, partially out of continued grief, partially realizing how much the flesh has hold of me and what I am capable of without God, then in awe of the awesome God who delivers me.

Then what do I see when I turn around in preparation to kneel? I see the perfect place to put my knees. You see, I borrowed some things from church tonight for the purpose of taking some photos of them. I might use some of the textures of these objects as inspiration as I'm trying to be of assistance with the future web site redesign. Among the artifacts, I brought a couple of the kneeling pillows. I made use of them this night. Now I will sleep, feeling covered with the powerful, protecting, purifying blood of Christ and filled with the Spirit of God. Whom shall I fear!? Thanks, whatever and whomever helped all that craziness to happen just now. Praise be to God, Grand Orchestrator of all things good!

From my recent devotional ESV reading - no surprise it applies and comes to mind, because God is good:

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Be gracious to me, O Lord!
See my affliction from those who hate me,
O you who lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may recount all your praises,
that in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in your salvation.

Psalm 9:9-14 ESV

I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

Psalm 3:5 ESV

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8 ESV

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Sunday, January 11th, 2009 - 9:39 PM

"C2F Winter 2008 Web Site Theme"

Winter 2008 Catalog Cover
Jeff's cover design

I'm quite late on the delivery of the latest C2F web site iteration. This new design relates to "winter" in name only. My designs mirror the seasonal promotional catalogs, winter being one of those annual seasons. Rather than a snowy or otherwise seasonal theme, the marketing and art departments chose to promote our sustainable products this winter.

I totally appreciate the simplicity of Jeff's cover design. Obviously it is to be seen both as trees and as a hand. The message of the image is that we too are a part of the environment and are responsible for treating it well.

While fiddling with the design elements, I got lucky to fall on two other potential uses of the box and scribble elements. By changing the green vegetation white, and the brown trunk blue, it can represent fluffy white clouds in a blue sky. Then there is the gray clouds pouring down rain. I would say I'm proud of myself for this cool little discovery, but it was only half intentional, the other half accidental.

C2F Winter 2008 theme
web site theme adaption

What continues to make these quarterly theme changes fun for me is to see how my original XHTML template accommodates a wide variety of possible appearances. I admit to modifying it slightly over the years, but the modifications are very minor. The choice to separate structure from appearance way back when has been a rewarding experience. The only down side to this approach is that it speeds up the process too much! I would prefer to spend more time on this, my favorite aspect. Using common includes and efficient code makes it too quick a job each time! I spent a bit more time on this theme because I had to create quite a number of graphics for the various widths of the windows. Normally I create components for the window elements that are "stretchy". Since the scribbles had to span the entire width of the windows without breaking up, they couldn't be reasonably composed of tiling parts. I had to make separate graphics for each width and color of window.

Click here to see the theme in action

Ah cool. Apparently I didn't make any changes to the XHTML source since the last theme (I was thinking I had). The markup is exactly the same, and the theme simply works. Cool, cool. Fun stuff.

Previous Posts About C2F Themes:

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Saturday, January 10th, 2009 - 3:04 PM

"HB2ME"

My I.T. department at work wished me a belated birthday on Friday. Our tradition is to go out to lunch within reasonable proximity of the date. I chose to again go to Red Robin. Everyone seemed okay with that. I think I've had my fill (fix) of Red Robin for a while.

Happy Birthday to me

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Wednesday, January 7th, 2009 - 3:44 AM

"I Choose Personal Theocracy"

Psalm 2

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
"Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us."

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
"As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill."

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

I have little control over what my government chooses. It is true that I have some persuasion via my vote as a citizen. Even so, in truth I have very insignificant ability to affect the spiritual direction of this country, prayer being the exception.

I don't see it as my personal mission of holiness to rid my government of anyone who does not wholeheartedly serve my God and King. I do not expect the government of the United States to model a perfect theocracy. Such a lofty hope will end in constant disappointment and disillusion. Our leaders in general are not led by a conscience that is fully subject to the God of Israel, nor is Jesus Christ (the King of kings and Lord of lords) their heralded and unquestionable Lord. In fact, Psalm 2 is probably an unfortunately accurate description of many of our leaders and the condition of their hearts. Power breeds corruption, and no earthly government is free.

While I live in this world, my flesh abiding in a particular country of residence, I am am subject to its laws. I must respect the appointed leaders and abide by their laws unless I am forced to break God's higher laws.

While I cannot change the allegiance of my entire nation, I can control my own choices. I can choose to set God as my King and supreme Commander. Each choice in life can be broken down into two essential possibilities. Am I acting with an attitude of "breaking God's chains", or am I "kissing the Son"?

Most of the time I know what the right thing to do is. I know God's law far better than I know the endless laws of my earthly country or state. The law of the Lord is written in my heart, so I have no excuse. When I choose to sin, I am acting as foolishly as a corrupt leader who raises his fist to God to defy Him. In these moments, I am committing the same atrocity Israel did when they asked Samuel for a king to rule them. In a brief moment, the allegiance of my mind and heart are lost, and my theocracy broken. Sometimes I choose to "break God's chains" and set myself up as a temporary king. Sometimes I think my way is better than His. In my supreme foolishness I fail to trust God to meet all my needs and seek instant gratification.

Lord God, you have kissed me with Your Spirit. When I chose to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord by virtue of His victory over death, I officially crowned Him as King of my heart and life. As Joshua said, I attempted to repeat, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord".

Master, forgive my pride. Many times I have pretended that You do not see. The things I do and the choices I make do not always reflect the changed heart You have created in me. When I sin, it is like jumping, grabbing for Your crown. Forgive me, your foolish child. I want to kiss your ring again and bow before your majesty. You are the King of kings. Everyone will bow before You when you return in power. It is inevitable. I pray that I need not such an event to pledge my allegiance. Subjugate me now by accepting my humble request to take over. Fill my empty hands, lift me up. If I am Your child and brother, give me a purpose in Your Kingdom that brings honor to You. In spite of the honors You bestow on me as Your child, I am not Your equal. I reject my pride and offer my life in servitude. Thank You for being a loving and merciful Master.

Why should I break Your chains when You have already broken mine? You have set me free! I am compelled to use my freedom to serve You. I don't want to be free of You. To lack You as my Lord and pursue my own way is not freedom, but bondage. Perhaps that is why You laugh at the nations who plot in vain. Their plot against You is a plot for their ruin. The chains they seek to break are the last ones holding them up as they swing over the abyss. Hosanna! Save us Lord from our folly!

As for You, You have set Your King on Zion, Your holy hill. As for me and my house, we will serve this King.

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Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 - 1:25 AM

"If I Only Had a Brain"

It snowed Sunday night for the third time here in Beaverton - the third stretch or patch of time, with gaps and melt-downs in-between. When I arrived at church around 3:00 p.m., there was no sign of snow. The service got out around 7:30 or so, the ground completely white. I'd guess there was about an inch of snow or a bit more. Riding home in the snow was actually quite enjoyable, despite the snow pelting my eyes and impairing my vision slightly. For whatever reason, the song that came to mind was "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz. I don't know the words, so I whistled it as I rode home in the dark.

It wasn't actually this light outside when I took these pictures, and that light is not the sun! They were taken with a 4 second exposure using my trusty old Tripod.

third snow of winter 2008-09

third snow of winter 2008-09

(Scarecrow)
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain
And my head I'd be scratchin'
While my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain

I'd unravel any riddle
For any individ'le
In trouble or in pain

(Dorothy)
With the thoughts you'd be thinkin'
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain

(Scarecrow)
Oh, I would tell you why
The ocean's near the shore
I could think of things I never thunk before
And then I'd sit and think some more

I would not be just a nuffin'
My head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain

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Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 - 1:10 AM

"Read the Bible in 2009"

Elder Dave invited us all at Ethnos to join him in reading the Bible this year. I've been listening on and off to the Bible, but have been thinking it would be nice to have some sort of structure to my daily reading. It's been a number of years since I've gone through the entire Bible, so it's about time. I'm going to be following the English Standard Version Study Bible Devotion schedule. I have come to like the ESV Bible quite a bit. Their web site is especially useful. In particular I enjoy the ability to listen to audio online while reading the words on screen. The narrating voice is pleasant, rather than annoying like some I've heard. I decided to catch up on the days I've missed and will be reading 2 days' worth of devotion each day until I get caught up for January's reading. At that point I'll go to one a day.

I encourage you to read the Bible more. Take it very seriously. I can honestly say that spending more time in the Word of God over the last 5 months has transformed my heart and sustained me through the worst times of my life. Conversely, the days and weeks that I've slacked in my reading/listening have indeed been unbearable.

The Spirit of God will be present in the words for you if you ask Him to be. Believe it and receive. Persist, don't give up! Be blessed this year! If you decide to "up your level" of seriousness or intentionality concerning reading the Bible - or already have recently - please let me know. It would be an encouragement to hear. Share your story if there is one to tell of why you are deciding to make an increased commitment in this area. I would like to pray for you personally, that the Spirit bless you as He has blessed me through His Word. It is possible to know the Living God!

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Monday, January 5th, 2009 - 12:11 PM

"Visited Evangel"

Last Saturday I biked and took the MAX over to my parents' house. My plan was to spend the night and visit Evangel Baptist Church in the morning. Evangel is my former church community where everyone is like family. It is the church that sent us out on a missions trip to Brazil. It was nice to see many familiar faces once again.

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Monday, January 5th, 2009 - 1:17 AM

"Legos For Christmas"

Angie surprised some of us at church last Sunday with a very nice present. She took the time to make a baggie of all the Lego parts necessary to build a 4-wheeler buggy thing. Along with the parts was a step-by-step instruction guide to make sure we assembled the buggy properly. A very creative gift. Thanks, Angie, I enjoyed it very much! My little Lego guy is traversing some rocks just under Josiah's unique song and piece of string combo decoration.

Lego buggy

Big Face McCoy
No digital editing necessary
to create those wacky facial shapes.
It's the real McCoy!

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Friday, January 2nd, 2009 - 2:30 AM

"Grandpa Had a Good Day"

Grandpa drinking water

From our estimation, Grandpa had an amazingly good day today. He was unconscious for the bigger part of his former stay at the hospital. Even in the new care facility, his condition has not greatly improved. Today was special and different.

I am SO glad I went with Mom and Grandma to say good night to Grandpa this evening. It's impossible to describe how good it was to see him today. For the entire half hour that we were with Grandpa, he was fully conscious. He was moving his arms. He was talking extremely clearly. He was answering questions and having conversations with very little of anything that might be conceived as off-the-wall comments that didn't relate to what was being said. He was able to grip a cup of water on his own and sip it down slowly. He ate a significant portion of all his meals today. This morning he actually tried to get out of bed on his own and ended up falling on his knees. Thankfully he was not seriously injured, and caring staff was in the room promptly after the incident. In short, Grandpa was fully with us today, though in a continued weak physical state.

I wish I would have had the foresight to bring something to record Grandpa's words today. He was very alert and fairly contemplative. When I realized the opportunity, I wrote some things down on a used Post-It note in my wallet.

Among many other things, Grandpa said, "The last two nights have been bummers. But we'll make it. If we don't, we'll go home." (going home, meaning heaven, where he is a citizen and son) These were great things to hear from Grandpa. I've not seen him in this good of spirit for perhaps a year or so. His inability to hear, see, fend for himself and interact has been of incredible discouragement to him. Imagine sitting around in a chair every single day for a year, not able to hear or see what's going on. The highlight of your day is the meals prepared for you, as you are wheeled out in a chair to the table. Someone has to bathe you and move you about. Misery. I have been mourning for him for many months. Yet today I saw some smiles, and Grandpa showed some signs of being encouraged. Thank you for your prayers, people. See their effect!?

It was by divine providence that I was there this evening because there was some interaction destined for me. Grandpa seemed very pleased that I was present. As soon as he was aware of my presence, he began speaking to me. A care person was moving him around on a unique recliner wheelchair. Grandpa was speaking quietly, we were in motion, and I didn't catch everything he said.

One quote that came through loud and clear was this: "Phil, you have been a source of encouragement to your ole Grandpa." Holy smokes, music to my ears. What in the world anyway? I have hardly interacted with Grandpa in a significant way for several months (other than when I asked for his blessing). Sure, I've been around, and he's been on my heart until weeping... but "an encouragement"? Wow... how?

I assured Grandpa that he was a great encouragement to me as well. He said something like, "It's good for us to uplift each other". It was as if for a moment, he was fully there again. I can't say how glad I am to have been there! It was one of those "divine appointments" as Pastor Jack would say.

Grandpa, Grandma and Mom

I don't know how to explain it, but apparently I'm not the only one who senses I have some sort of special connection with Grandpa. Normally I wouldn't express something like this publicly. I don't say it to brag or impress. I don't even know what it is or if it's even possible. Without being prompted or asked, Grandma, Dad and Mom each told me today that they have sensed a mysterious spiritual connection between Grandpa and me. I write this even now with tears... for such things are too lofty for me to understand, and I feel unworthy of such a possibility. I admit I have wanted this my entire life, as long as I have observed Grandpa! Is it possible God has heard this, my unexpressed heart's desire? I'm crushed and broken to even consider the notion.

In my absolute wretchedness, when I cannot even do one good deed as the fruit of my free will, I am one worthy of eternal punishment. Yet my God sees fit to bless me again. Mercy undeserved. I'm the least among all I know, and yet sometimes I act as if I'm the greatest. Again, who am I? Why should I get to witness such great things as these?

If the Lord should desire a return on investment, shouldn't He choose a suitable instrument? I feel as a pot spun to throw garbage into... when on other shelves sit noble and beautiful vessels. Yet my Master is good... let it be as He wills - whatever that is.

If only I could submit to God and not hold back! If only I could sin no more and be rid of this stupid flesh, fear and doubt! Sometimes I feel as though my movements and actions are destining me to being thrown away and broken - unsuitable for any use.

Grandpa, if I can somehow transfer to you by a mysterious spiritual connection, take the AMAZING encouragement I have been given in the last 5 months. Take a portion of it for yourself, but leave some for me :) If the God of all comfort has bestowed a bountiful supply on me - and my cup overflows - take your share of the spoils. You deserve it, for you have unknowingly invested greatly in me by your priestly example.

Grandpa, you have run the race and finished well. You have overcome. We don't know when your time will be up, but we know your witness for Godness sake. No one can condemn this man of God. His robe will be whiter than white, his bestowed crown of great splendor, and his position significant in glory. For he was entrusted with some, and he has made much of it.

Among other things, Grandpa, you will...

  • be granted to eat from the tree of life
  • receive the crown of life
  • not be hurt by the second death
  • be given some of the hidden manna
  • receive a white stone with a new name written on it that no one except you will know.
  • be given authority over the nations over which you will rule, your authority from Christ Himself
  • receive the morning star
  • be clothed in white garments
  • walk with Him in white
  • have your name written in the book of life, never to be blotted out
  • have your name confessed by Christ before God and the angels
  • be a pillar in the temple of God, never to go out
  • have the name of God, the name of the city of God, and the new name of Jesus written on you
  • sit with Jesus Christ on His throne
  • declare "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" and "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
  • serve God day and night in his temple
  • be sheltered in God's presence
  • hunger and thirst no more
  • avoid the strikes of sun and scorching heat
  • be shepherded to springs of living water
  • have your tears wiped away by God Himself
  • be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb
  • no longer experience mourning, crying or pain
  • be God's son, and He will be Your God
  • freely enter the New Jerusalem
  • worship God
  • see God's face
  • have God as your light source
  • reign forever and ever

...your promises taken from the Book of Revelation

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Friday, January 2nd, 2009 - 12:33 AM

"2009, the Year of Prayer"

I was going to wait to write some of this until I had this Sunday's sermon to review. I'm afraid I'll forget what I was going to say, so here goes. Perhaps I'll write a redundant blog entry later when I have the sermon, or at least point back to these others.

I'm not one who makes New Year resolutions. I never have done it and probably never will. This year I'm doing something that resembles a New Year resolution. I think of it more as some spiritual goal that just so happens to coincide with the timing of the calendar rollover.

One of the awesome things that came out of Dave's sermon was a challenge. His message challenged us. His first challenge was to make 2009 a year of prayer. I am in agreement with him that it seems very apparent the hour is late. We are indeed living in the last days before the second advent of Jesus Christ!

For the last 5 months or so, prayer has been on the forefront of my mind. I pray numerous times throughout the day as the Spirit of God weighs heavily on me this need to communicate with Him. I've felt a ridiculously strong impression directly from God Himself to pray. To hear much of the same from my elder was music to my ears. I suppose I could be smug and say, "Amen! I'm already doing that, brother!" Well, glory to God alone. Even so, I feel called to pray even more! Somehow I even sense that I am also to use my zeal to help activate other brothers and sisters to also be more prayerful. Lord, help us to pray! Teach us what we should pray.

prayer journal portrait

I decided to start a prayer journal a few days ago. I've been exposed to quite a number of prayer requests lately. I'm having a hard time keeping track of them all. Hopefully this prayer journal will help me record the requests as they "occur". I guess the more challenging aspect is to be faithful in praying for the requests. Here goes something (rather than "nothing"). Let's make 2009 the year of prayer!

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Thursday, January 1st, 2009 - 11:57 PM

"Happy Birthday"

Well, I noticed the ID of this blog post is 711... and while the circumstances for this wish are not ideal, I still love her and wish her the best.

This is your number forever. God bless you, the one whom I love. I miss you. I wish things had turned out different - a lifetime of birthdays! I know our life together was blessed. At any rate, you have been released to your will. I have done all I can to love and restore. May it be recorded that I have loved, and I have done it well to the end, God as my Witness, Source and Strength (enough). I held you in my hands for a time, as long as you were mine to hold. Now I release you into God's hands. Not because I want to (never ad infinitum), but because I can do no other. For this I will never stand condemned. The Alpha and Omega Himself has called me by name and declared long ago of His work, "It is finished." Amen!

Have a good year... and well, a good life. Continue to trust and serve the One who has sustained you from birth.

Ah, Lord God
Thou hast made the heavens and the earth
by Thy great power
Ah, Lord God
Thou hast made the heavens and the earth
by Thine outstretched arm
Nothing is too difficult for Thee
Nothing is too difficult for Thee
O great and mighty God
Great in counsel and mighty indeed
Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing,
Nothing is too difficult for Thee

The Lord giveth, and He taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

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Thursday, January 1st, 2009 - 11:36 PM

"I Guess It's a New Year Now"

Happy New Year everyone! See, Jesus is making all things new. Allow Him to bless You this year. Pray for it. Seek Him earnestly. Do not give up no matter the trial that comes your way. If you do not give up, every promise that is given in the book of Revelation awaits you. Read it - again if you can't list all the promises verbatim from memory - you don't want to forget a single one!

I rang in the new year with Grandma and my parents. We rented a couple movies and played their new Wii. Yeah, that's right, my dad bought a Wii for him and my mom. It's something fun for them to do together. While I've had some exposure to the Wii (of course Marquis and Mr. Pukis each have one), I haven't had much time to master the controls. As far as video games go, I've become more of a spectator than a participant in recent years.

It has been fun to play the Wii sports games. Tennis is my favorite, then bowling, then golf, baseball and lastly boxing (can't get the controls to respond properly - annoying!). The first time through the fitness program, I scored a ripe 66 years old! After a couple days of practice, just today I scored a 20! Woo hoo, I just dropped 10 years (or 46 years from my horrible first test)! And here I was thinking I just turned 30.

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.

Revelation 21:5-7 ESV

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