13 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: Mxpx - Slowly going the way of the Buffalo
wow, i have topics galore . . .
Day 10: Done.
12 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: Rich Mullins - Songs 2
yes! i mean it! yes! i got the job!
Now, i'm hoping to be short today because i have a lot of stuff going on. i'm trying to update the websites i've been maintaining (all of which can be accessed here ). Anyway, besides all that i still have a long way to go so i can hit the ground running when i do switch over to my new job. God has given me the gift of a chance and i need to make sure that i glorify him by putting forth my best effort.
What's been gnawing at my thoughts lately is the distinction between being satisfied and being content. I am content with my life (current job, relationships, social status, etc.) However, I am not satisfied with the current state of my life. Some of you will immediately tell me that i just contradicted myself. Others will say that i am merely picking at words. Naturally, i beg to differ.
If you look these two words up, you'll find similar definitions. In fact, Merriam-Webster's Thesaurus actually lists satisfied as a synonym for content. BUT, again, i beg to differ. If you stop to think about it, and as an English and Writing major, i've had plenty of time to consider words and their meanings (at least it's somewhat using my English degree), they are drastically different. Lost track of that sentence right? Here it is off the rocks. If you stop to think about their meanings, they are drastically different.
To be contented implies the acceptance of your situation. Paul learned to be contented in all situations and he had some tough ones. Now i, on the other hand, am content in most situations, a trait that i am not satisfied with in myself. To be contented, you must first accept that you cannot control the circumstances in which you are encircled all the time. Also that God can and does, and that He will work all things to the good of those who love Him. In short you are accepting that which you cannot control and, rather than complaining, working around obsticles and using that which you do have in your control to improve the circumstances around you.
OK. Being satisfied, on the other hand, deals with what you can control. For instance, if i were satisfied with going to work and sitting there all day, doing no work, and drawing a check, i would not have been seeking other employment. Satisfaction breeds inaction. If you are satisfied with the way things are, why bother trying to improve? a.k.a. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If we are satisfied with our lives, we would realize that we all fall short of the glory of God, and He still loves us, so there would be no reason to strive to attain God's glory. This happens in marriages a lot. We become satisfied with our marriage (or other relationships)and then we stop working to make it stronger, and then it falls apart.
Consider this: A boy sets out to build a model boat. He gets it all put together and is ready for the last step, waterproofing it so that he can sail it in the pond. Suppose his neighbors come by at this stage and begin complimenting him on his creation. "Wow what a great boat . . .etc." And he becomes satisfied with the results. So satisied that he feels he has accomplished what he set out to, because everyone says it is done. And he never applies waterproofing. When he sails the boat, it floats for a while, then slowly sinks.
The fact is, satisfaction leads to failure. It leaves business unfinished. Don't mistake contentment with satisfaction. We all have areas in our lives to improve. We need to "waterproof" these areas to keep from sinking into sluggishness. Let's finish our business.
Day 9: Done. (and i said it would be short.)
11 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: John Reuben - are we there yet?
If you want to be a good cook, you must have a good recipe.
Sure, that makes perfect sense. Why then do we so often fire up the oven and throw together a stew and hope it comes out okay? Of course, i'm not talking just about cooking or baking (i make the best snickerdoodles and haven't used a strict recipe for 10 years). But, if you want positive results, you must be working according to a success-inducing plan.
As i watched a football game yesterday (my wife makes me watch football every Sunday afternoon), i saw the team i had hoped would succeed fall further and further behind. Why? Well, i'm sure they have plenty of excuses, new coach, new plays, injuries, whatever. Here's what i saw . . .
The quarterback was sacked five times. This was not because of the offensive line, this was because of a poor recipe, a poor gameplan. It seemed that every play that was called involved all the receivers running deep routs. The QB has a great arm to throw the long pass, but by the time the receivers made it downfield he was already on the ground. Also, the other team's secondary was nothing to sneeze at. While this team continually looked for the "big play", the "long bomb" that would break the game open, they failed to notice that they were getting blown out largely because any professional team's defense will have no problem stopping an ill-planned "schoolyard" offense with only one play on their mind. No one plans to fail, but you will when you fail to plan.
As in the case of my choice of football teams, in life you must plan your actions strategically if you plan on achieving a positive outcome. Any successful business person will tell you the same. Now comes a dilemna. My SS class has almost condemned goal-oriented thinking. I have honestly heard in the class that naming a goal and putting together a plan based on your abilities and talents was a "secular" mentality. Naturally, i disagree. I posit that no method in itself can be either secular or Christian. (this is usually the argument that comes out when the condemnation of Christian rock or rap bands occurs.) Honestly, that belief is poorly thought out and foolishly devised. i'l get into that later.
As far as planning goes, i think if you read through Proverbs, you will quickly realize that planning is a part of living. There are some points to consider as you set about planning though.
Anyway, planning is a wise way to go about living, but it is important to consider that the outcome is in God's hands and not ours. Don't try to connect on deep routs every play, mix up the gameplan with some screen plays, play-action passes, and run plays. In life, every yard counts and it is God who is counting.
Day 8: Done.
8 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: Big Tent Revival - Choose Life
Chaos. Everywhere you turn. there is chaos. so much to do, so little time. traffic jams. unbelievably crowded malls. etc.
In my SS class we've sort of been discussing what exactly differentiates a Christian from a non-believer, how those differences are shown and how to show them in your daily life. much of the discussion has been inconclusive and i've even heard common cop-out excuses for not showing the qualities that we should. you know the ones, "it's too hard", "there's nothing i can do about it", "i'm trying" and on and on etc. . let's just look at these three for examples.
"It's too hard" Too Hard? to live the way God asks us to? To not let the affairs of this world get you so bogged down that you forget that it's not going to last? i don't buy it. If it's "too hard" than why bother quoting Paul when he says he can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens him. Oh, right it's much easier to follow the ways of the world and forget Christ when it comes to real life. here's a hint. if you're walking in your own strength, you're going to trip.
"There's nothing I can do about it" let me clarify this one. i have heard too many times that there's nothing we can do to be holy because we have a sinful nature. Right, our nature is sinful, but remember the part about being born again? something about the sinful nature dies ("Old things are passed away") and we are renewed and restored . . . Life is not a buffet folks, there aren't as many choices to make as you think there are. i'm not talking about choises like 'what outfit . . ', 'what do i eat?' i'm talking choices of consequence and you know how many of those you have to make? one. that's right one. Will i live as God says or will i live as the world says? that's it. once you make that choice everything else is pretty obvious. the questions of should i? or shouldn't i? are already answered. and by making the right choice, we can become holy in His sight (which is what matters anyway).
"I'm trying" If you've seen Star Wars, you'll recognize this line. "There is no such thing as trying. there is only doing or not doing." Wow. that's pretty harsh. Yep. but name one incident in the Bible where someone did what God told them and failed. You know why? He will not let you fail. the only way to fail is to stray from His path and His plan. "but i don't know where He is leading me." that's right. Psalms says 'Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path.' that means you have to be trusting in God FOR EACH STEP. He won't show you everything that's ahead further down the path. You need to be with Him and focus on every foot fall. (here's where it comes together).
Why a step at a time?
So, how do we control the chaos all around us? We can't. but if we are walking with God as we should be, it will have little effect on how we act and what we do. We may not even notice it.
Jeepers! another whopper! well, like it says up there. CD reviews are coming soon. make sure to check back.
Day 7: Done.
7 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: Riley Armstrong - Riley Armstrong
Nope, Not yet. Not gonna worry about it it's in Gods hands and that means, it's in control. That being said . . .
The attainment of knowledge or new skills commonly carries with it a certain degree of impresiveness (what i call impressivity ), both to yourself and others around you. This case is no different. I'm pretty impressed with what i've learned and i think my wife is, too. You get a sense of accomplishment, of greater self-worth, and, possibly of pride. Now, there's nothing wrong with accomplishing new things, or even with feeling good about it, but if pride starts to creep in, look out. i find that i can so easily fall into the trap of pride, that i often hit the other extreme and degrade myself thinking a low self esteem is the anti-pride. Not so, in actuality all this accomplishes is driving my wife crazy and irritating her.
So what then to do with pride? It's near impossible to never stumble into it every once in a while, i don't care who you are. it's kinda like if you say you never lie, you're lying right then and you blew it. Well, if you say you have no pride, then you are boasting on your humbleness and boasting comes from pride so . . . you get the idea. So, we need to handle it whenever it comes around.
I have come to the realization that no matter how much i learn, it's not the greatest accomplishment in the world. Why? Well, take the English language. you're reading this right now, so you have pretty much learned the English language, right? Me too. I have a degree in it. Two actually, one for knowing it and one for knowing how to write it. But you know what? English or any other language would be as good as Gibberish (which i also know pretty well), if it weren't for brilliant people that have gone before us and thought, 'Hey, i need to communicate with this guy over here and all this pointing and grunting is getting annoying'. And you know what they did? they created a system of words and sophisticated communication techniques ad ex nihil (out of nothing).
As far as my computer languages, same deal. Somebody had gone before me and created this whole complicated language, designed the structure, established a work arena, and developed funcionality to it all. Because of this, i am able to pick up a book and learn how to utilize this funcionlity and make words bulge out at the touch of the cursor. I've learned something that's been done many times over already. It's still an accomplishment, but if i go around bragging about it, i can quickly be humbled if i run into someone who knows it better (and there are a lot of people that know it better). Therefore, i choose to humble myself to avoid the fall that is promised in Proverbs. For the creators of these computer languages, i believe a fall is inevitable because they are truly at the top of the knowledge escelon and have no counter balance to humble them. (i'm just kidding).
Some of you know where i'm going with this. Many times i feel good about my life. I work hard, i have a great marriage (mostly my wife's effect), i tend to show patience, i get along well with others. To some extent, i have learned how to live well. But you know what. All that is because God has gone before us all and created life, the funcionality, the languages, the everything. And he's given us a text to read to help figure it all out and get better at utilizing the life he's given us. "if i boast at all let me boast of God."
wow, that was long! maybe it's better when my mind is all over the place.
Day 6: Done.
6 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: The Deluxtone Rockets - The Deluxtone Rockets
It's Wednesday . . .
nope, i still haven't heard about that job. i did get an email from someone where i had taken my Oracle class asking me to tell her what happens, "because [they] love to brag."
my mind is really going miles and miles a minute, right now . . . i'm not likely to put anything with proper fluidity down here at the moment. So many things I want to get out of my head . . .
why is it that people seem to go out of their way to test your patience ?
Why don't parents take responsibility for the fact that they "can't control their children"? i'm constantly reminded of that old school anti-drug commercial where the father confronts his son and the kid's like "i learned it by watching you, dad" is it that hard to realize that your kids are watching YOUR actions to determine theirs? of course, it doesn't help when you're not there, is money really worth that much?
Define happy. anyone? anyone?
i don't know where i'm going with this so i guess i'll leave it a that.
Day 5: Done.
5 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: OC Supertones - Supertones Strike Back
Well, happy Tuesday all. i must say, i did a pretty good job on the Christmas cards yesterday. There are only three left! which brings me to my thought today . . .
Why is it that when we near completion of a task, we naturally tend to slack off and let it go. It's as if we realize there isn't much left so there's no point in doing it right now. These cards, for example, do you really think that i couldn't do the last 3 yesterday when i did the rest? Did i run out of time? nope. I willfully made the choice to stop working on them thinking to myself, 'i did quite a bit today', 'there's only a few left,' ' i can finish these up in no time at all . . . LATER'. i don't quite understand it myself, but i do things like that all the time. i start writing, and then i'll get to a point where i say, that's enough for now. job well done. and maybe it is a job done well, but it's not a done job.
My point is this. (And maybe i'm the only one that has these tendancies, but i'd like to think elsewise.) Wouldn't it be great if the reason for our meager and lackluster efforts to witness to those around us was because the job is "almost done"? That, we've done a good job and most of the world has already heard. Well that's not the case.
We are called to be the salt and light in the world, to share the good news with all the world and yet, most of the time, we keep quiet. Certainly, there are excuses, but not one will stand up in the High Court. All i'm saying is that we've all been given the opportunity and the ability to do our part and sadly, many of us are falling short, myself included.
It's time to finish those last three cards.
Day 4: Done.
4 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: Seven Day Jesus- Seven Day Jesus
First off, let me apologize if you have had difficulties getting here. And thank you for persisting. Not that it's my fault, i have been experiencing all kinds of faulty service from homepage over the last couple days, but i totally understand how bothersome it all is. Anyway, it's a new week and it's a new chance to get things off my mind. Being that it is the Christmas season, there is as always the hustle and bustle of chores to do in order to ensure the perfect holiday. This week i'm working on my share of the Christmas cards. Of course, my wife has already finished her part, and i have yet to start mine. But, that's how some things go.
i am also trying to keep my prayers going constantly as i am awaiting news on whether or not i will be starting a new job. The news is set to come in sometime this week. with bated breath i attempt to remain patient, knowing that God is in control of the whole thing anyway, but as i mentioned to my wife the other day, sometimes it's hard to determine if i let God have the control of my life's outcomes or if it's just because i failed at my efforts of controling them myself and He has just picked up the pieces in loving empathy, shaking His head and sighing, knowing i will try again to do it at my break-neck pace in my own stubborn will. Anyway, it's easy to lose sight of His hand in everything i do when i think i'm doing well.
This week i've got a lot going on upstairs and i hope to get it all out here in a somewhat organized fashion. some things to look for this week. Controlling the Chaos (how to keep proper priorities and focus during the holidays), some thoughts about the music industry, more on the giving and taking of control of your everyday life. Also i'm working on a few side projects and there will likely be some exerpts popping up here and there. (A short story, an essay and , of course poetry) for now, let me get to these cards. peace.
Day 3: Done.
2 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: Flight 180 - Lineup
Hooray for Saturdays. i got to sleep in today which is always good although i've already received 2 telephone solicitations, what a pain. and on was from the policeman's fund, so of course, you're like well, am i going to pulled over a lot more if i don't give or what? anyway, i thought i had gotten a third one but it was my buddy from VA Beach. i had called him before T-day but we've both been busy and we finally hooked up. i should be going down to see him for New Years. Another good thing about today (actually the best) is that i woke up next to my wife. She had to go out of town for a convention and of course, it's not easy falling asleep without your spouse if you have one. ( i never believed it before but it's true.) But anyway, she's back and that being said, i'm going to sign off now and spend my saturday with my sweetie. what? that's not wimpy. stop groaning.
Day 2: Done.
1 Dec. 2g
CD of the day: KJ-52 - 7th Avenue
What a day to start this. First i wake up late. near panic attack, then i calm down and get to gettin'. So i'm up, dressed, packed up and out the door in 15 or less. No biggie. Even remembered to turn off the heat. Come out to the car to find that one of my neighbors has chosen to park a little closer than is necessary for free door opening tactics. Reminded me of a sign i saw once asking a driver to leave a can opener next time they parked so close. Anyway, i can deal with it. i go around to the passanger side and slip my pack into the seat before getting in the driver's side. to get on the raod. Problem is, when the door closes, my coffee cup on the roof of the car (no place else to put it) begins it's "slow-motion" ice-capade skate to it's death. By the time i get to the other side of the car, it had skated off the frost-covered roof and fallen to the pavement, skipped over a few feet to rest eternally squared center under my new friends car. All that remained was a coffee-blood stain and shards of plastic that used to make a mug. No Coffee. No More Mug. After a quick executive decision, i ran back into the apartment and grabbed a dew. (they actually charge employees for coffee where i work.) Then i'm on my way. Oh, the kicker, there's a Bible sitting in the back seat of my neighbor's car, in plain view, ABS's TEV. Maybe i shouldn't get so disgusted when i see "Christians" act like jerks. Sure, i'm a jerk at times, but i try not to be. Is it wrong to expect better from a man if he claims Christianity? Paul didn't seem to think so. One of my new favorite verses is where Paul accuses the Church of acting like "Mere Men". What a concept. I love the boldness. (i'll let you find the verse. hint. think NEW testament) So i drive to work marinating on a convo i had just finished with my man last night about the music biz. i'll hit that another time. anyway, lots to talk about so keep checkin' back and if you got something you want to hear about, let me know. in the guestbook.
Day 1: Done.