Mar 6

Asking

“Ask(and keep on asking), and God will give to you. Search(and keep on searching), and you will find. Knock(and keep on knocking), and the door will open for you. Yes, everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened.

If your children ask for bread, which of you would give them a stone? Or if ask for a fish, would you give them a snake? Even though you are bad, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more your Heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask Him.” – Matthew 7:7-11

As a parent the second half of this verse stands out more to me now than it ever had before. I also added the (and keep on) bits to be more accurate, and give perspective to those who do not know that in the Greek those words were written in the present participial for those grammar nerds out there… which means they are ongoing actions, not just something you do once. The second half of this verse is a bit more interesting to me though… For a couple of reasons. First off Jesus gives examples of what a child may ask for, but doesn’t say that is necessarily what they will get. I know my son asks for ice cream, and candy a lot. And while I don’t hand him stones and snakes, I also don’t give him the ice cream and candy as often as he asks… more often than not I give him carrots and kale (yes my son actually likes fresh kale, at least what we grow). A lot of times we make assumptions about this verse based on our limited knowledge, and our limited English language. God will not necessarily give you what you ask Him for, but as He is able to see through our requests to our needs and true desires He will give us what satisfies and sustains life.

Feb 22

Why I beat your child up at the park…

It’s been pretty cold out lately, so I haven’t been to the park for a while… I just got a good reminder today of who I really work for. Okay, so I’ve been working on maxing out some freebies online, the original reason why I split off to work on these freebies is so that when I get AgapeBeacon.com up and running I can use these freebies to spread God’s word. As a stay at home father I don’t have tons of my own money to give away, our family doesn’t have a huge expendable income. There’s nothing wrong with using the money corporations give out to get users to spread the love of Jesus in practical ways… it’s just that I got very focused on these freebies. There are people out there that make a living by collecting and promoting freebies like this, couponers, and what not. The problem is I really don’t need to be focusing on this stuff right now, it’ll be good to be able to use in the future, but for now I need to keep my focus on developing AgapeBeacon and encourage others to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Anyways, so I got a reminder of this today. I got reminded that I need to play the background because it is not my schemes that will bring Glory to God, but His will. Christ is life, all else is a vain pursuit… so where does the park come in. Well as I was thinking about this my mind wandered to one of my favorite things, when my son lets me play with him at the park. Most of the time when we go to the park he wants me to sit by as he plays with the other kids, but occasionally he wants me to play. When I do play with him it’s inevitable that I will be dragging around 3-10 other peoples kids that I don’t know. I chase other peoples kids, I wrestle with them, I drag them around clinging to my ankles… I have fun with it when other kids want to play with us. Their parents sometimes get angry, either at their kids or me. And with the stories you hear of violence all over the news often against little children… I get it.

About those kids I have to occasionally beat up at the park. You can always tell the kids who don’t get to rough house at home with their parents, those kids are always just a touch too violent, I keep them at arms length which typically frustrates them. A lot of the kids who don’t get to rough house at home don’t get the unspoken rules of rough housing… primarily that it must be fun for everyone, and in that one cannot win all the time. When a child I’ve never met before gets too rough with us at the park, hitting where they shouldn’t, kicking, biting, etc. I grab them, wrestle ‘em to the ground and put enough weight on them that they can’t move much, but not so much that they are hurting or can’t breathe. When I let them go I take a couple of steps back and wait for their response… most kids “get it”. What do they get? Well it’s a simple message that kids who get to rough house often inherently know. I am bigger than you, and I am holding back so that you don’t get hurt, I will play with you and have fun, but if you cannot keep it fun you need to find something else to do. Most kids will stand up, calmly look you in the eyes, and give you a little head nod to let you know they understand the message.

So why would I bother playing with other peoples children? I mean, it’s exhausting, you’ve got to deal with kids who don’t know the rules, and it’s more about the fun of the other kids… so why not focus on my own? I believe in rough housing… there’s a lot of good research that shows that rough housing teaches more than just exercise… and contrary to what some believe it actually discourages violence. I love rough housing with my son, and I know there are a lot of kids who just don’t get that kind of attention at home. Psalm 68:5 says that God is the father to the fatherless, Jesus tells us to Agape our neighbors (I say Agape instead of Love because the type of love He is speaking of is an action, a type of love that is practical, and intentional). Jesus wants us to show our neighbors His practical, intentional love… That’s why I will gladly beat your child up if I see them at the park ;-)

Feb 21

Moving to a new server!

Okay, so 1and1 has lowered the prices of their servers, of course that doesn’t automatically give me a lower price *grumble grumble* but I can repurchase the same package at a lower price… It’s a pain, but it is definitely worth it seeing as I can save $20 a month just by doing this I’m going for it! I could save even more if I go with a lower package… which is kind of tempting. I actually think I might go with their new Intel Atom server which would save me nearly $40 a month. It still has 8GB of RAM (currently on 12GB of RAM) and 8 cores instead of 4 (lower clocked, and I’m sure they are limited in other ways… who knows). Anyways, I’ve lost about $40 of advertising dollars over the last couple of months so it’s hardly a savings :-( but it will do for me for now. Now if only Amazon Affiliates would open shop again in Missouri… yeah, that’d give me my income back too.

Jan 26

People will see what they want to see

So recently an ancient Mesopotamian text (on a stone tablet) was discovered or rather decoded, it was discovered a while ago. A stone tablet that depicts “Noah’s Ark” as a round ship. It was actually a fairly common type of ship from Mesopotamia. The author that deciphered the text wants people to see a discretization of the Biblical account of Noah’s Ark, and he expects outrage from Christian’s… I don’t feel the need to give him such satisfaction. He says the Jewish culture likely copied the story after hearing it from the Mesopotamians… I see a different possible account for the story. Noah was supposed to have landed in or near Iraq I don’t know off the top of my head the exact modern day location… but it is very close to where this clay tablet was found. And if the earth was truly repopulated by Noah’s descendants wouldn’t they have likely known the story, at least for a time? I don’t see this tablet as discrediting anything from Christ’s word, but rather as a validation. As is usually true, the Bible’s account of the flood is the only one that gives a full explanation of events that can even account for these other records of the event.

In high school we studied an ancient pictograph text of a Native American creation story (I don’t remember exactly which one but both Apache myth 1 and Chippewa myth 2 from this page http://www.crystalinks.com/nativeamcreation.html have similar elements to the story I read back then). Anyways, we know that the Native American’s didn’t have direct contact with the Jewish culture, and these stories were told long before English settlers came. I only see these stories similarities to the Bibles account of creation as affirmation of its truth.

Jan 20

Good morning world!

Well, I have finally been able to lay down some code for AgapeBeacon again. I have been busy with a lot of other things around the house, and the wife had a long stretch off work so it makes it very difficult to get time to myself to be able to add code to the site. Over the next couple of days I need to organize my thoughts, and get a plan in place that will let me efficiently get a couple of releases to the site. I did get a few essential things taken care of.

Jan 19

Hypnosis… and Christians

Okay, I honestly just learned that there are Christians who have huge issues with hypnosis… Like it makes them violently angry. Well, I say that, but I’m a Christian and I’ve never really heard anything bad or evil about hypnosis until now. Here’s the deal as I see it though, hypnosis hasn’t been fully explained by science… it truly seems magical in many ways being able to control subconscious behavior like blood flow, and pain in patients on the operating table. It’s easy to label something that we cannot explain as heresy and throw it out the window…

Now it’s obvious that this world is full of evil, and sin… so much so that the greatest things we do, if we do them for the sake of being good and trying to earn our way to heaven at least, are as offensive to God as if we were trying to pay a blood debt with used menstrual rags. I see hypnosis as a gift, one that we can use to change evil subconscious behaviors in ourselves, and add to the good we do for God’s glory in this world… I also see sex as a gift from God to give us a glimpse of the affection He has for us. Just because some use sex for evil purposes doesn’t make it any less of a gift… and just because hypnosis is used for evil some times doesn’t make it any less of a powerful gift for us. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind where you can change subconscious behaviors, and it works much like meditation… because hypnosis is a relatively new term, you won’t see it in the Bible… but that doesn’t mean that the Bible doesn’t mention it. There are several references to meditation and prayers that drove the person into a deep trance… in modern terms they very likely entered a hypnotic trance, and there’s plenty of evidence pointing to say that is the case.

Jan 16

Matoes!

Well, I got some new gardening equipment on the way… Seedling lights, even some new tomato seeds for tomatoes larger than I can grow in containers… which of course our HOA requires, nothing in the ground. Anyways, I’ve got some garden space to use as well so this summer I should have a huge quantity of tomatoes coming in! I also got a setup with four T5 grow lights and a small fixture. I am hoping to use it to grow spinach, lettuce, herbs, and a few other things all year round. At least that is the idea, we will see how that all goes.

Jan 5

The value of ideas

When I was younger I thought my ideas were the most valuable thing I had to offer this world. In fact I even thought my ideas were more valuable than others work they were doing… and while this is certainly an affliction our society suffers from… it wasn’t until recently that I even realized that such thinking was a problem. I even told one of my bosses this as I was leaving… I didn’t have enough time to complete a project I had been working on before moving on… and the message I left with it with what I had done, and the notes I had while building it was that the idea was more valuable than the work I had done… Seriously… the audacity!

Yeah, well as it turns out, ideas without action have very little value. Everyone needs goals and ideas to keep them on track, but you must put action to those goals and ideas or you’re just spinning the wheels in your head!

Jan 4

Keep your resolutions quiet

It’s good to have goals and plans for the future… but studies show that you should keep them a secret.

Here’s the deal, talking about your dreams and goals for the future is like using a credit card. You get attention, and admiration from your peers for the grand schemes you have laid out. This emotional high you get from the attention of revealing your goals is like the instant gratification you get from buying some toy with a credit card… you get the enjoyment now, but later you must go to work to pay for the toy. When the work you do to accomplish your goal isn’t emotionally satisfying you take out another line of credit from your friends by revealing another goal… now you’ve got twice as much work to do… but you’ve already had the fun so the goals that you have revealed become a heavy burden, and eventually it becomes “cheaper” to file for emotional bankruptcy and give up on your goals.

There is nothing wrong with having accountability… but it is best if you tell only one trusted individual who will hold you to your goals, encourage you when you need it, and not get overly excited about ideas that have had no action put to them.

This is why people who publicly proclaim their new years resolutions are far less likely to accomplish those goals versus those who quietly write them down and keep it to themselves.

Jan 2

Will you communicate by morse?

Well, I’m listening to Ylvis – what does the fox say? for like the billionth time, and I thought that’d be an appropriate title :-P So yeah, I don’t have much to really say here… but I do need to drop an update every day. I need to start treating my website design work more like a 9-5 job… well 8 hour a day, very split up and crazy… but we do need a second income and it is partially possible with what I’ve got. I’ll spend my days doing my Bing Rewards program (which with all my accounts comes out to $25 of Amazon Gift Certificates a month), then i-Say surveys for whatever that’s worth (by my early estimation $10 a month), unfortunately I can no longer do Amazon Affiliate program… hopefully it comes back, but for now it’s useless. I can also make a little from Google Adwords, or is it Adsense, whichever one makes me money, not the one that bleeds my bank account dry. So during the day I keep my sites up to date, posting to my blogs, etc. Stuff that doesn’t take too much brain power, and can be done while Connor watches his stuff. Then at night I can work on AgapeBeacon and AnimationCoalition. I think the hypnosis downloads are very helpful… even if its just 15-30 mins a day of meditation on things that I want to accomplish it gives me the motivation to keep going on my projects, better than I have ever in the past, so that is good :-D