Monday, March 27, 2017

The Red Bird

I hear she's as light as a feather but she never seems to fly away. Ouch, my neck.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


This life is nothing compared to eternity, but it feels long while you're in it. Sometimes it feels like it will never end because you have so much you want to do. Other times it feels so long because there are things you want to no longer endure. Sometimes you want it to end because you have a glimpse of how excellent the next life will be in the presence of the Lord. Maybe you've lost someone and you can't wait to see them again. Sometimes the Accuser of the brethren tells us "this life is unbearable, so how could the next one be good enough to last forever?" Don't listen. James 3:17 "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable,  gentle, open to reason. .  " Open to reason. Just ask our heavenly Father for the grace and the understanding that it will be beyond comparison. We never know what we don't know until we know it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

To Please Him

                  2 Corinthians 5:9 

"So whether we are at home or away, 
we make it our aim to please him (the Lord)."

                  Hebrews 11:5 -6

"By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should no see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

                  Proverbs 17:16

"When a man's ways please the Lord,
 he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."

                  2 Timothy 2:4

"No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, 
since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him."

Is your aim to please the Lord? Are you seeking to please him first, or please him if it pleases you? I know I often am found doing what I want to do. "I'll do that if I feel like it," enters my thoughts quite frequently. I'm sure it's true that anything we think of doing in disobedience or avoiding doing will give us no joy or satisfaction relatable to the Joy we get from his good pleasure. That's why Paul could say "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." He says this in Romans 8:18. Not worth comparing. 

Do you think Jesus knows how to have a good time? Do you think he can actually dance and sing and laugh? Does the Jesus you know do these things? The real Jesus does. He is anointed "with the oil of gladness beyond (his) companions." Hebrews 1:9 tells us this is the Son of God. Jesus himself. Anointed joy. What does that look like? Freedom. Complete happiness. I want to see him like that. I want him to be like that when he thinks of me. 

What pleases the Lord? The Spirit will show you if you're willing to listen. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Is It All Real?

Yesterday was a great time in the prayer room, a Tuesday. Glenn King led the group, him singing and playing guitar, Mandy Fisk and I singing, Justice Perhay playing the keys, Korey playing the electric bass, Jake Gerst playing the drum kit, and David Gregory playing the caj√≥n. John Kennedy was prayer leading. Glenn’s gotten into singing a bit weird lately. I’d set up my recorder and microphone but between all the sound checks I guess I didn’t actually record the two hour set. Sad, because it was quite enjoyable.

We sang from Romans 5:1 for the first set and Romans 5:2 for the second set.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Paul mentions this “grace through faith” in Ephesians 2 but I’ve always found it confusing and confess that I therefore could never remember if the grace came through faith or the faith through the grace. I guess it would clearly have to be the one way that it is but none the less, I didn’t get it all that well until last night.

Ok, so why did I title this little journal entry “Is It All Real?” Should I apply a question mark to the outside of the quotes since it is a question quoting a question? Guess I don’t really know the answer there and I’m not all that interested in looking for the answer. One never knows the tangents One might find themselves on. Welcome back to the circle. In the few hours since I got off work I have listened to an album, an EP really, from Jon Rizzo called Just the Way You Are and a message by Allen Hood about Jesus sending out the 70 in Luke’s gospel. And then I listened to the song Zion and Babylon by Josh Garrels and I just felt like I really needed to stop playing the nearly-mindless game I’d been playing and write about the past couple days.

So why do I mention something from yesterday and then jump into a short list of things I’ve heard? How are they connected? What’s the point? Here it is, what is this faith that I’ve become a part of? Romans 5 and Ephesians 2 make it clear that the grace comes from the faith. We sang about it and I got it in a way that I never did before. Once Mandy described to someone what we do in the prayer room as “a bible study that we sing,” which I find to be pretty accurate. I have faith that Jesus was the Son of God, that he died for me, and that I am justified before my Holy Father, and I find the grace to live that way. “Access by faith, into this grace,” Paul wrote long ago. This was a new and amazing revelation. We believe in what happened and therefore we are a part of it. The belief brings the strength.

You know, just yesterday I woke from my nap at the end of my lunch and I didn’t feel depressed. As I got into mounting some picture I found myself asking, “Why am I so happy?” I was feeling good. I was feeling the joy of the Lord and I’d done nothing to get it. How about I give you a little backstory to fill you in? I take a nap every day at work on a mat and under a blanket in whatever time I have left in my hour-long lunch. I do this because I seem to be tired all the time. I really am tired all the time because I don’t go to sleep at night, who would have thought? When For the past several months when I woke up from my daily nap I would feel depression. I really didn’t want to work the five more hours that were expected. I didn’t really want to live anymore. I would feel overwhelmed with a desire for my going-nowhere life to end. But I didn’t feel that at all yesterday. I didn’t feel it at all today either. But yesterday is when I found myself asking the question, “Why am I so happy?” The night before I hadn’t gone to prayer until it was over because I’d wanted to read a novel instead. I hadn’t done anything to earn this good feeling. How incredibly wrong my thinking has been. I could have told you I didn’t earn such things, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t seem to think so on a lower level. He gave me that good mood, Jesus gave me that good mood as a gift. The Holy Spirit made me free to be happy. It lasted all afternoon and I was enjoying working enough that I could have kept going after five.

I’d woken up to my alarm yesterday feeling tired (reading that novel far too late of course) and really didn’t want to go to the prayer room at night. Usually it’s a “not really” wanting to go to the prayer room and then a “pretty glad” I went. Yesterday was more of a “really not” and then a “really glad” I went. I Have been justified, purely by his blood.

So that gets me back to this faith. What is faith? Faith is the belief in something, or someone. My faith is in the work Jesus did and he’s constantly bringing my faith into closer understanding of the actual truth. What is He asking me to actually believe? He is God, he came down to earth as a man, he lived a sinless life, he died on the cross, he took all (repeat, ALL) of my punishment for my past and present and future sins, he took the curse for me, I can’t pay what I owed in any form or fashion, he was dead three days, and then he rose again to life and right now he is interceding for me and he speaks to me and he loves me. There’s a summary of my faith. And through it, I have access to the grace that keeps me standing until that glory of God is revealed.

Today work was great. A month ago I would have said that work was not great and that my nights and weekends were far better. That’s what I was living for. But the past week or so I’ve had a bunch of opti mounts to make (image mounted to the back of Plexiglas, makes it really shiny and nice) and I’ve also felt like I can make them well and Jesus gave me a good mood. It has been great being busy with them. Stacey and I put over ten on the wall today and it went smoothly. I went home and found this Jon Rizzo CD on my desk. I’d gotten it for just $2.00 at OneThing almost three months ago and just decided to listen to it. Jon Rizzo makes some pretty unique songs. There were only four but I certainly liked them. I like the one the title is named after, Just the Way You Are. Jazzy.

The Allen Hood message was all about that sending out and he says something about Luke 10:21-22 where Jesus “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you Father . .” Allen was all excited about how Luke gives us almost no details. Surely the Son of David would out-do David in his dancing. What does that look like? Surely Jesus was just so full of Joy at what the 70 (or 72, whichever) experienced and learn of their names being written in heaven. Jesus was excited! He is still excited! He is anointed with the oil of joy above his companions! He rejoices over me! I’ve been pretty darn excited before, but it is nothing compared to Jesus!

And then Zion and Babylon. I love this song. I can sing all the words. But this time it was different for me. I’ve wanted to do a short drama using it because it has two parts and would look cool. First, there is a guy singing about his sinfulness ending his part with “Oh my Lord, I’m your enemy.” Then the Father is singing. “Come, to me, and find your life. Children sing, Zion’s in sight.” and he describes Zion. Near the end is where it was happening.

My kingdom’s built with the blood of my son,
selfless sacrifice for everyone,
Faith, hope, love, and harmony.

All you slaves, be set free
Come on out child and come on home to me.
We will dance, we will rejoice
If you can hear me then follow my voice

It really is going to happen. The sons of glory are going to be revealed. I am going to have a mansion. I am going to have an excellent and joyful time with my Lord and God forever. It will not be boring. It will not get old. It is currently indescribable. I only got a little bit more of a glance of it. I won’t feel like I’m not really part of the group anymore. The trials were as nothing to glory yet to be revealed for Paul because he really got it. It is better. Oh Lord, show me more and more how it will be every bit worth it. This earth: not worth comparing.  It’s all real.

Being a Christian isn’t about your friends making you feel good. It’s about knowing Jesus, and he is so real. Faith gives access to grace; grace gives strength to get to the Glory. Jesus is glorious. I will see it and I will love it. My heart will be fully satisfied. He is the deepest of mysteries. Who is God? He is three and he is one. Father, Son, and Spirit. And they made me. And they made you. Will you seek him? Maybe he’s more than your mind has ever conceived.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Some Gifs

Embarrassed at the proposal

"Now just look" 

I'm in trouble.

Happy to hold her fuzzy dog.

The Things I Own: Hardy Boys Books

Many people have heard of the Hardy Boys. In case you haven't, they're two brothers who are sons of a famous detective and they solve mysteries. They always seem to be 17 and 18 years old even though they solved 58 mysteries. I might be 26 but I like reading these books and buying used ones I don't currently own because I like the sense of adventure they have. I must also mention that they were all written in the 1940's by Franklin W. Dixon. So there's a nice mix of an absence of technology as well as exploring interesting places. My favorite ones involve houses with secret places and traveling to different places. They're fun stories and they really don't take all that long to read.

The Things I Own: Camelbak "eddy" Bottle

Easily held with one finger while walking

I got my first Camelbak waterbottle from Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico back in 2007. Or rather, I got my first one like this. Before this one it was just a bottle but then that straw thing got me. I got my second one, this one, back in 2013. These bottles are tough and you can use them in a bicycle, lifting it up and taking a drink without taking your eyes off the road or whatever. But that's not the reason I own this bottle and still really like it. I barely ride my bicycle. 3/4 of a liter of water you can take with you simply. I used to go on long walks and I would take this bottle. The handle makes it quite easy to just hold with my middle finger and nearly forget about it while I'm going. Water. Bottle. Waterbottle.

There's the name

Yes, it's awkward holding it in front of me and taking a picture with a big camera

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Things I Own: small Vornado heater

This is my Vornado heater. I have a long-standing habit of laying down in front of a heater. Soon after adding a second decimal to the number that described my age I started sleeping down in our furnished basement on a sleeping bag with my feet on the front of a dehumidifier. It was nice and warm for my feet. I moved to sleeping in front of of space heater, one of those boxy gray Patton ones that looked like it could catch on fire. I say that because . . . it did. In fact, I was attached to that $20 heater enough to "fix" it for a short while before finally replacing it with this Vornado. Yes, it left burn marks on the inside of it's gray shell and I decided it was too much of a fire hazard. 

So now I own this little Vornado. It is a bit expensive for a small heater (~$75) but well worth it for me. It is advertised as having such a powerful fan it pushes the air all around the room and really it works quite well at doing this. It feels like the vent in your house blowing gentle, warm air at you but you can keep it on whenever you want and move it around. This little heater is also quite safe. It has a little button on the bottom that will shut it off if tipped and the grill is pretty tight. Three heat levels. It's a pretty nice heater and keeps me warm.

The Things I Own: Nitecore HC90 headlamp

Of course it can do green also and the red is the only color
I actually use, but I felt like blue for this picture

Anyone who knows me knows I like flashlights. I enjoy being to wield their powerful beams in the darkness and see the water molecules and dust floating in them. I own this headlamp because I thought "I own and have owned many flashlights but never a headlamp. I should get a good one." I didn't think I'd like having one all that much because of the feeling of wearing one, but I can tell you it is great. I would say that this is the best flashlight I own with all features considered. If I were to go into a cave and could only bring one light and the end of the adventure wasn't certain I'd want this one.

First of all you don't have to hold it, given that it's a headlamp. But also you can adjust how bright it is. Sure, the slider can come on somewhat easily on its own, but it's easy enough to just turn back the battery holder so this doesn't happen. All this means is you can make the light dim and the 18650 will last a very long time. This light also has a built in charger, which other lights have. But this one is set apart because it charges via micro usb. If you can charge an Android, you can charge this light. And finally, other than the red light (and green, but who really Needs that?), it is waterproof. How great is all that?

HC90, 'tis the way to go for the ultimate headlamp.