Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I was planning on going and playing some tackle football with the Dortignac's (they have 14 kids) this morning, but it sounded like not many people were planning to show up, so I decided to play basketball instead. I think we won about three games and lost one. I had an appointment concerning my coming jaw surgery this afternoon. I must admit, it is a bit crazy. Basically, they will cut my jaw vertically in half, then slide the outer half forward to fix my over-bite. Then they will secure it with two titanium plates screwed into my jaw. If all goes as planned, I'll have my wisdom teeth taken out at the same time. We met this guy that had the surgery done six weeks ago, and he basically said that I would lose a lot of weight. He said he is just starting to chew on soft foods. He gave us all the real information. He said that I wouldn't even feel my wisdom teeth removal afterwards. I guess that means that the jaw surgery is just that much more. The oral surgeon said that I would be on a liquid (or nearly liquid) diet for six weeks. Not my idea of fun. The good news is that they don't like wire my jaw closed or anything. Also, he said that when they do that, the nerve is cut and so I won't feel my jaw for like 3 months. He said that this is actually a really good thing because that means that it doesn't hurt. I'm not sure if I like that or not. As much as I don't want it to hurt, I don't exactly like the thought of drooling for 3 months (haha). I guess it won't be the end of the world... just almost. This will probably take place in June sometime after I am out of school. After the appointment, we went over to the Dortinac's house and played some tackle football. It was a ton of fun! I haven't played tackle football in forever! There were a couple really funny plays. One of the guys was calling for the ball, but the quarterback was looking into the sun. He fired it toward the silhouette of the guy that was calling and hit him in the back of the head. haha There was another play where I was tackling a guy and I tried to strip him (create a fumble). Well, dad decided to help... and tackled both of us. I was expecting dad to grab the fumble... not take me down! I ended up getting out of that pile and running for a touchdown. :) I won't mention that I threw way too many interceptions. I did get quite a few interceptions and touchdowns though, so I guess it balances out to some degree. We visited my grandparents for a couple hours tonight. We watched this young man on TV that was attempting to break the world record for the longest jump on a dirt bike. He did break the record (322 ft and 7.5 in). As the reporter asked him what he thought, He said that He was a bit disappointed that he didn't go further (there was a head wind). Then he told everyone to clear off the landing because he was going to do it again. I couldn't believe it! How could he be so passionate about this, that he would risk his life a second time just because he thought he could go further than he did? Then I was thinking of my life. If this young man was willing to risk his life for this world record, I should be all the more passionate about Christ and what He has done for me. That is infinitely more important than being famous for a world record. He has a discontentment for not meeting up to what he thought his potential was. I want this same attitude toward my relationship with Christ. I don't ever want to get to the point where I am satisfied with my relationship with Christ. I want to grow daily. I was thinking about what I would like to read in the Word as we enter 2008. I had to go back to the theme that I have set for myself in Philippians 3.

Verses 7-14
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Verses 20-21
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

This is my desire for 2008... that I would count worthless things as worthless so that I would see the infinite worth of Christ, that I would remember that my citizenship is in heaven, that my heart would be filled with a passion for pressing on toward the goal for the prize because of these amazing truths.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pursuing righteousness, holiness, and purity

Church was really good this morning. Music went pretty well except for the fact that no one plugged in the pulpit mic. It all worked out though. Recently, I've found myself unexcited about things that I wish that I was excited about in God's Word. One of my friend's described it as "desert moments." I was actually thinking about this when I was driving yesterday. I said to God, "I am so sick and tired of sin!" Well, Pastor Tim talked about this exact thing today. The message was on 1 John 2:28-3:3.

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
I love when God speaks through people like that! On earth, our calling is to abide in Him. This comes by pursuing righteousness, holiness, and purity. The reality is that these are not always fun things to pursue. So how can we keep that passion burning? We do it by meditating on who Christ is, the amazing reality of the gospel, the fact that we are His children, the indescribable love that He has poured on us, the reality that we will have a perfect body when we see Him face to face. We need to have a godly discontentment for sin. If we are not in awe at what God has done, we really need to be filled again with the knowledge of God through His Word.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The mustang lives again

The good news is that the car did get fixed. The bad news is that it wasn't what we expected. The intake manifold had a crack in it. For those of you that are like myself and don't know exactly what an intake manifold is, it is the network of passages that direct air or air-fuel mixture from the throttle body to the intake ports in the cylinder head. The flow typically proceeds from the throttle body into a chamber called the plenum, which in turn feeds individual tubes, called runners, leading to each intake port. Engine breathing is enhanced if the intake manifold is configured to optimize the pressure pulses in the intake system. Basically, it is the main thing that everything connects to. Here is a picture of what one looks like. It ended up coming out to $960--ouch! There are some good things though! I called up the dealership to see what they would charge, they said $1400. This makes me very happy with $960! My grandpa called and offered to pay $500 of it. That is a huge blessing! I was able to go to the batting cages today with Jeff from church (and his dad). It was a lot of fun! Afterwards, Mr. Babb suggested that we go to a field and do some fielding practice. That was very good for me as I have not really fielded like that in a couple years. We might do it again sometime this next week. I didn't get much out of Jeremiah 19 today. God is basically telling Jeremiah to warn Judah (the Southern kingdom) that they are going to be totally demolished. Let us be obedient to what He has called us to do so that we do not receive similar messages.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Car is back in the shop

I didn't get as much done at work today, but what I did get done was important. It involved a good bit of research to figure it out. On the way home, I was stopped at a signal about three cars back when I saw smoke coming out of my hood. I decided this wasn't a good thing. I instantly turned off my car, set the parking break, turned on my emergency flashers and got out of the car. The smoke stopped, so I popped the hood to see what was happening. I am still not sure what it was, but I am definitely leaking a good amount of engine coolant. After looking for several minutes, I decided it would be okay to drive the two hundred yards to the gas station. There were several blessings in this though. I talked with my grandpa about it, and he said that it shouldn't be too expensive to fix, so that is a major blessing. Another huge blessing is that the smoke came when it did. If I was going at a high speed, I probably wouldn't have seen it since it was on the passenger side. It was also a blessing that I wasn't on the side of a freeway or something, I was able to whip a u-turn and park on the side of the road. A young guy that was walking on the sidewalk stopped to look at it. He used a lot of words that are in the four letter variety, but it was nice of him to offer his help anyway. Another blessing is that I got paid today. I wasn't expecting to be paid until the end of next week, but my boss wrote me a check today. It is a bit of a bummer that I'm having to put out more money on the car, but there were big blessings as well. As I sat in my car, I started reading some more in Jeremiah. I was reminded again to trust in the Lord. As I continued reading in chapter 18, verses 4-6 really caught my attention.
But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.

I think of how I like to see my plans work, when God's plans are best--always! When I put my plans before God's, my heart is hardened to the work that He is trying to do in my heart. I want with all my heart to be soft and changeable by God for His glory.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back to work

I was able to work all day today. I didn't know what project I would be working on, but I was really happy to work on a project that I had worked on a year ago or so. It is a somewhat low priority project because we aren't really making money off this upgrade. Basically, it is computerizing all of the forms for building inspectors. There is a version from several years ago that is way out-dated, so my job is to basically reprogram the whole thing so that it is up-to-date. I did the majority of this project, so I really would like to see it get finished. If you are interested, there are some screenshots of the old version here. God really blessed my efforts today. I got a whole lot done! Mom had prepared my favorite meal--spaghetti. After dinner, we took down the outdoor Christmas lights and played some games together. I found Jeremiah 17:5-8 to be quite refreshing.
Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD. "For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

None of us would say that we want to be a bush in the desert, but how often do we trust in our own abilities? I love the fact that we have a God that is totally dependable. He promises that we will not cease to yield fruit if we place our trust in Him! I really do want to produce good fruit, and yet it is so hard to continually trust in Him. I like to know everything in advance, but He tends to give me just enough light for my next step. I know this is part of strengthening my faith in Him. I will trust in Him!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

He sees it all

We took down almost all of the Christmas decorations today. We usually wait until after New Years, but there is a lot of stuff going on with my sister's baby shower and all in January. Dad and I played some baseball again today. I have been concentrating on hitting the ball more in the sweet-spot on the bat. I feel pretty good about how the hitting practice went today. I want to go to the batting cages sometime and get some 80 mph practice. I am looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. The office is only going to be open Thursday and Friday of this week and next week, so I'm going to try to get in as many hours as I can. When I read Jeremiah 16:17 today, I was again reminded that He always sees everything!
For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.

Because of God's abundant grace and mercy, I often take advantage of it. I end up living for myself because there are no immediate consequences. Looking at how God treated sin in the Bible and knowing that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever is something that should put a godly fear in our hearts. There were several people that were killed instantly because of their sin. That is what we deserve! Let's not take God's grace lightly.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


It was a very relaxing Christmas. I really didn't do too much. We had good family devotions both this morning and this evening. We went to the park and I hit some baseballs. We enjoyed some family time. It was nice to not have anything to do for once! I spent some time looking into random grad schools. I figure that I should be doing some of that this year if I plan on going to one after I graduate. I am taking a detour from Jeremiah today. During our devotions, we talked about 1 Samuel 16:1.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.

This verse really caught my attention. For some reason, I tend to hang onto things that God has already given me a clear no answer on. This is part of the reason that I have chosen the title "Pressing On Toward the Goal." Sometimes God says no when I am looking for a yes, and then I decide that maybe that answer wasn't from God. I must learn to stop blinding myself with my own desires, and listen to God's perfect plan, and obey His voice without delay.

A fun weekend...

We left on Thursday night to go to my sisters house in Northern CA. We arrived at about lunch time on Friday. We went out to a Mexican food place with my sister. Bryan (my brother-in-law) was still at work. Deborah had been preparing chili all day long. It was amazing! We unloaded the van with all the baby stuff. We set up the crib and the stroller. They really make strollers complicated these days! The air mattress that Jonathan and I slept on went flat during the night which meant that I was on the ground and he was still up (because I weigh more). We went ice skating on Saturday. Jonathan was pretty much amazing at it. My feet hurt so bad, I could barely stand up. I went and got different skates... what a huge difference! I got hockey skates, and they were way easy! I probably took the most falls of anyone of us, but they weren't hard falls (unlike Christina and dad). The air mattress went flat again on Saturday night. Oh well... I lived! :) We went to my Uncle Kevin's church on Sunday morning. Deborah had prepared a very good chicken lunch for all of us. We watched some football, and then played a little bit of football in the parking lot. We left about 6:30 pm and dad drove until 10 pm or so. I drove until 1:15 am which we arrived home.

This afternoon, we had Grandma & Grandpa over for dinner and gift opening as is traditional. Pastor Tim and family joined us at 3 pm. It is always fun having them over. They are a great blessing to us all. I am pretty much exhausted, so I'm going to cut this short. In Jeremiah 15:19-20, God promises to protect Jeremiah if he is obedient to what God tells him to do.

Therefore, thus says the LORD, "If you return, then I will restore you--Before Me you will stand; And if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, But as for you, you must not turn to them. "Then I will make you to this people A fortified wall of bronze; And though they fight against you, They will not prevail over you; For I am with you to save you And deliver you," declares the LORD.

This is a great encouragement to me! Sometimes we can feel so alone when being obedient in hard situations, but God is always with us! It is His job to protect us, it is our job to be obedient!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


We are off to spend the weekend with my sister and her husband. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

God's grace

It was nice to be able to sleep in a bit today. I woke up thinking about what classes I had today, then I remembered that I was done. I really didn't do much today. I spent a lot of time with my family which is always fun. Mom hasn't been feeling 100% for some reason, so I did some driving around to get some stuff that she would have normally gotten. I had to find a couple cards. I was actually surprised that she liked them. It took forever to find anything good! Jonathan and I are going skiing tomorrow! I am so excited. Actually, I should be in bed right now since we are leaving at like 5:45 am. I want to get there when they open if possible. As I was reading Jeremiah 14 today, I found it difficult to read. God's judgement on the land of Judah was very real. The thing that gets me is that I don't know what keeps God from doing that to me. I deserve judgement just as much as they do, yet He has shown such amazing grace. I definitely take His grace for granted. I have no idea what God's judgement really looks like (I don't really want to know either). I am just overwhelmed with God's love, forgiveness, and grace in my life when I deserve the opposite.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

God still works miracles!

I spent most of the morning studying. I needed to catch up on some sleep, and I figured that one hour of sleep would be more beneficial than an hour of studying. I finished creating my study sheet and then started working on understanding what each of the variables in the formulas stand for, and how to apply them. Honestly, I fully expected to fail this final. I really wanted to get an 'A' in the class though. I know that many people were praying for me. I told many people that it would seriously take a miracle for me to get 85% or better on this final. As I kind of expected, when I tried to do the first problem, I got stuck. After several minutes of struggling to figure out where to start, I moved on to the second problem. Again, I wasn't getting anywhere. I started flipping until I found one that I knew how to do. I found one and started working on it. Surprising, I understood what I was doing! I went on to another problem that I knew how to do, and that one also went smoothly. I heard some guy across the room muttering about how he hated partial derivatives... I was thinking YES! I know how to do partial derivatives! So I found the problem with partial derivatives and solved that one. Then I picked the easiest of the remaining three problems and got about half way into it when God intervened. The power went out! We were told that the school was closing down, and we had to leave. Our teacher was considering having a make-up final which would mean we would have to do a completely different exam. We all wanted to be done, so he decided that he would just grade based on our best three problems. I finished off the fourth problem and turned it in. God is amazing!!! All the glory goes to Him (Jeremiah 13:16). Thank you all for your prayers--they work in spite of my lack of faith!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Almost done!

I think my calculus final went very well. I know I messed up on one problem, but I think I did fine. I was planning on getting two wisdom teeth out on Thursday, but it looks like I'll be getting all four of them out and have my jaw extended in June or something. I am thinking that it won't be pleasant, but I'd much rather have it all at once than three different times. Another praise is that it goes on our medical insurance rather than dental, so we have better coverage! I finished my study sheet for physics, so I am going to head to bed in a minute. I am definitely not ready for this exam, but I will do what I can and leave the rest to Him! I got the much dreaded note in the mail today--jury duty. I am scheduled for January 7th, which is the first day of classes. If you could pray that I would be able to reschedule this for sometime during the break, that would be awesome. Having jury duty during the school year would be very difficult since I am taking so many classes... and baseball. The first half of Jeremiah 12:3 caught my attention today.
But You know me, O LORD; You see me; And You examine my heart's attitude toward You.

This is always a good reminder for me. Sometimes I feel like I am working in vain, but He sees it all! I am reminded of the passage in Hebrews that talks about how He is the High Priest that can identify with our weaknesses. It is such a blessing to have a God that understands everything, and has a perfect plan for us if we will just be obedient to Him!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Crazy Saturday

My older sister called me at 7:30 this morning. Usually I am pretty good at sounding awake even if I had been woken up by a phone call. I really don't mind being woken up by phone calls, so I don't want people to feel bad about it. Well, when I am sick, my awake-ness sound just doesn't work. I think I sounded like I was on my death bed or something. I was getting up at 8 anyway, but oh well. It was great getting to talk with her as always. After I got off the phone with her, dad and I went over to the field and I hit a bunch of balls. I am really looking forward to playing baseball! As soon as we finished that, Jonathan had a meeting for All-stars. Yes, Jonathan made all-stars!!! I am one proud older brother! He worked so hard this year. I realized that my tire had gone flat, so I got out the little pump and pumped it up enough to drive to the gas station and fill it up the rest of the way. Mom was doing some shopping at Costco anyway, so we went together. My tire was under warranty, so they would fix it for free. Well, it turns out that my rim had cracked somehow, so I needed to replace the rim. We called a bunch of places getting prices around $340 for the rim and they didn't have any, so they would have to order it--ouch! I started looking online and found one on eBay for $110. I called the guy to get some measurements and make sure that it would work. It turns out that he lives like an hour and a half away from me, so I went down there to pick it up. I found out later that he was a Christian, so that was an added blessing. Since I picked it up, he gave me a $10 discount which was also very cool! From there, I went over to a Costco in the area, and they put the old wheel on the new rim and balanced it. When I got home, I replaced the spare with the newly rimmed tire. It is slightly different, but hardly noticeable. Definitely not worth the $240. God was good! I didn't get a whole lot out of Jeremiah 11 today, but it definitely was a reminder that God takes sin very seriously.

Friday, December 14, 2007

God's Power

Calculus class was good this morning. We reviewed for the final exam. I'll probably spend the majority of Sunday afternoon studying for that final. We had practice this evening for small group. Small group is something where the majority of us high school and college students as well as some of the adults sing somewhat like a choir (just smaller). We are singing Agnus Dei which means Lamb of God. It has some other songs mixed in with it--really cool arrangement. Anyway, that was a lot of fun. I was filled with awe of God's power as I read Jeremiah 10:12-13.

It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses.

If you have ever been next to a huge waterfall, or had a near direct hit with lightning, you know how loud that is. I can't even imagine a voice that could sound that powerful. God is full of power! He is worthy of our praise!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Boast in the Lord

I did my sign language final today. I would say it went well. I wasn't feeling too well last night, so I decided my blog could wait. I woke up feeling quite poorly, but God is good. I calculated my grade out today and figured out that I need a 85 on my final to get an A in physics. This may not sound hard, but I would say that getting a 60 on this exam will be hard. There is just so much to know! 35 on the exam gets me a B, so I don't really have to worry about getting worse than a B, but I really do want to get an A if I can. I am really looking forward to the break except for the fact that I am getting 2 wisdom teeth out next Thursday. I guess that will make up for all the fun I have on Wed. if I go skiing. I read in Jeremiah 9 today and verses 23 and 24 really caught my attention.

Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.

It is so easy for me to try to take the credit that belongs to God. For some reason, we tend to think that we deserve praise for what we have done, but every good and perfect thing comes from God (James 1:17). I struggle a little bit with the concept of boasting in our understanding of God as these verses say, because we cannot understand God unless He has revealed Himself to us. I think that this verse is saying that we should be examples in these areas of our life, and encourage others to do likewise. He alone is worthy of all of our praise!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Preparing for finals

I was able to practice doing the "Three Little Pigs" in sign language. I am pretty much ready (I think). Now I just need to study for the vocabulary and other conceptual things for the final. I decided that I am going to put most of my studying into sign language and calculus because I am really not seeing physics as very doable. We covered two more chapters today. There is no way that I can learn that amount of material in such a short time, so I think I need to focus on doing well in my other classes, and do what I can in physics after that. This is not a fun experience, but God is in control. When I came to Jeremiah 8:12 in my reading today, I was saddened by the truths of this verse. I definitely see this in the average Christian.
"Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They certainly were not ashamed, And they did not know how to blush; Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time of their punishment they shall be brought down,"
Says the LORD.

I see a huge movement toward unashamed sinfulness, especially among college aged kids. I just found out today that a guy in my sign language class is a Christian. I almost wish that I hadn't found that out, because he is constantly using really inappropriate language. I will see him one last time on Thursday, and I am praying about speaking with him about this. Now that I am aware of him professing to be a Christian, I think it is my responsibility to address this issue. Prayers for wisdom and good timing would be great! May God shine His pure light on our sinfulness so that we are ashamed and turn from it with our whole heart.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More paperwork

Today was a mournful day. I learned the last section of my calculus book. Honestly, Calculus III was definitely more fun than either of the first two. I am in the midst of studying for my sign language final which I am taking on Thursday. I really don't want to wait until the 20th to take it. I went to La Sierra today to work out some more paperwork. Unfortunately, I will be paying a lot more than I did in the past. It's going to be a bit rough, but God will provide! He has blessed me a great deal. It is only by His grace that I have been able to make it financially in school up to this point. The one thing that I have missed about commuting a long distance to school is the time alone with God. I had a wonderful time of prayer the entire way to school and back. The commute is a bit tiring for sure. This next quarter is probably going to be the most difficult 10 weeks of my life (when it comes to school). I know that I will need to depend on God for strength. This is a good thing. At the same time, I need to do my best for His glory. Honestly, I am not as diligent as I should be. If you would pray for God to help me in this area, that would be great. School is frustrating right now. I feel like physics is impossible. There is so much to know that I don't even know where to start. I need a heart transformation! I need to see school as a privilege once again. I read Jeremiah 7 today. I am convinced more than ever that God really takes sin seriously. I have been praying that God would take away the attractiveness of sin and show it for what it is, and this is definitely an answer to that prayer. Praise the Lord!

The Messiah

Church went well today. We studied spiritual gifts in a way that I have never studied them before. We are looking more at the foundational things rather than what each gift is and how to define each gift. The reality is that we don't need to know the name or definition of our gift in order to use it. This evening Christian sang Handel's Messiah with Cal baptist. It was truly amazing. It gave me a glimpse of what heaven will be like when we are all singing praises to Him! He is all powerful and will reign forever!

I wanted to post a quick note about these shootings that have been going on. For those that don't know, there were two shootings today in Colorado in addition to the one in the Omaha mall a few days ago. These are really sad situations. We must not take our safety for granted. Your life could end at any moment. Are you ready? I think if people were ready, the responses would be a bit different. Obviously I don't know the entire situation, but I don't see any reason that a guy should be able to go into a mall and shoot over 20 shots without someone taking him out. I think the problem was a lack of men to step it up and take the risk of losing their lives. Personally, I'd rather it be me than someone that isn't saved. This life is but a vapor in comparison to eternity. Giving up this short life for someone else's eternity is an easy decision. As Christians, we have no need to fear death. To live is Christ and to die is gain! I pray that God would give us courage to do anything at any cost for His glory. May these shootings be something that strengthen our faith and commitment to Christ.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Good withheld

A guy at church (Mike) needed some help moving furniture this morning. It was good to spend a little bit of time with him. He feels that God is leading him to go back to school to be a teacher. I can't imagine how hard it must be for him to leave California without the completion of the dreams that he had in coming here, but God is always faithful. God works for our good even when our plans don't match His! We put up the Christmas tree this afternoon. I am really looking forward to having a few weeks off! I am in need of refreshment. Honestly, I'm tired of school right now. I really lack the desire to do my work. I am just doing it because I know I need to. I really need an attitude change. I know what it needs to change to, but I am having a hard time with it. I was reminded in Jeremiah 5:24-25 of our proper response to God, and the consequences for responding inappropriately.

They do not say in their heart, "Let us now fear the LORD our God, Who gives rain in its season, Both the autumn rain and the spring rain, Who keeps for us The appointed weeks of the harvest." Your iniquities have turned these away, And your sins have withheld good from you.

We should be thankful for every blessing that God pours out on us. This is virtually impossible when we are focused on ourselves. Instead of being content with the abundance of blessings that God has poured on me, I desire things that He hasn't given to me. I must learn to be content in whatever situation God places me in (Philippians 4:12-13). There is absolutely no reason for me to even think about wanting more than He has given to me. As this verse points out, our sins withhold good from us. Not only does sin hurt God, others, and myself, but it even holds back the good that God wants to give me. May God wipe away the blindness that we have for sin, and show us what sin really does to us.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Amazing night of worship

Calculus class went well this morning. It looks like we are going to finish a day early (which means 2 days of review)! I had lunch with pastor Tim today. He continues to be an amazing blessing to me. His spiritual leadership is something that I want to follow. I spent much of the day preparing music for this evening. We were planning on doing a prayer walk and worship thing, but we ended up staying out of the cold to do the prayer and worship. Just a quick side note... I realize that worship is not just about singing, but that is generally how we use the word. Worship should involve every aspect of our lives (Romans 12:1-2). I enjoy worshiping the Lord in song. The heart is what matters, but it is an added blessing to sing with a bunch of people that sing well. It has been neat to see what God has done over the course of the semester. God has answered many prayers. God blessed me with a larger scholarship than I was supposed to get. It was a simple mistake that the school made, but the man in charge of financial aid decided to honor the mistake anyway and add that money to a different scholarship that I had. God is amazing! Tonight was a bit of a sobering night when it came to prayer time. There are a whole lot of needs, but I know that God is always faithful (even when I doubt it). It is such a privilege to take these things and lay them down before God. He is truly indescribable!

I didn't read Jeremiah 5 today like I was planning on doing. I ended up reading through Romans 12 again. I didn't really feel up to tackling the hard stuff in Jeremiah. I probably should have done it anyway, but I didn't. I was reminded in Romans 12 that we are all given gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. I think it is important that we also look for opportunities for others to serve their their gifts. We need to encourage others to use their gifts even if we could do a better job. Same concept as letting a child help mow the lawn or something. Of course it is easier to mow the lawn when they are out of the way, but then you are not helping them grow into maturity. In the same way, we need to allow others to serve the Lord without our hindrance.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

School stress continues

Classes today went quite well. Our lab actually came out nearly perfectly. Our highest error was 1.6% I consider that amazing. :) I have a lot of music to prepare for tomorrow night. We are doing something different at Bible study tomorrow. We are doing a prayer walk thing around campus, and singing a lot of songs. I am really looking forward to it, but I have a lot of preparation to do. I have a ton of work to do. It looks like we are cramming five chapters in before the final. I really don't know how I am going to make it. I could use some prayer in that regard. I really need to get a lot done in shorter than normal time. I really need God's help in understanding these concepts, and remembering how to solve the different types of problems. I must say that Jeremiah is not a pleasant book to read. At the same time, it contains some very good warnings for us. Take a look at God's plea to Israel in verses 1 and 2 of chapter 4.

"If you will return, O Israel," declares the LORD, "Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, And will not waver, and you will swear, 'As the LORD lives,' In truth, in justice and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, and in Him they will glory."

We want to be blessed and bring God glory, but we let ourselves get in the way. I find it so easy to be self-centered. Jesus was so focused on the needs of others. My prayer is that I would become keenly aware of the needs of others and have a constant awareness of where my heart is--focused on myself, or on God.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

God's response to repentence

Right after Calculus this morning, I went to Cal baptist to the Christmas chapel. The different music groups perform Christmas music. Everyone did a great job. I have a ton of stuff to do, so I am going to make this short. If you could keep me in prayer, I have a ton of very important paperwork to fill out, and financial aid stuff to work out. It needs to be done this next week and I have finals coming up, so time is limited. In Jeremiah 3:15, I am reminded of God's grace to a repentant heart.
Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.

After God has done so much, and we have been disobedient, He will still put someone in our lives that will help us grow closer to Him. We don't deserve a second chance any more than we deserved the first chance, but God is full of grace! God wants each of us to be men and women after His heart, to help feed others with knowledge and understanding just like we are being fed.

Getting off the throne

I have been on time to all my classes this semester, but I made up for that today. I managed to be late to both classes. The first one, I had a good reason--Christina had an orthodontist appointment that went long. I didn't miss anything important though. :) I decided to take a nap in the afternoon, and mom called at about 3 pm to ask me a question. I was half asleep when I was talking to her. She told me that I had class in 30 mins. Somehow I managed to mix what she said into my dream. I had the idea that she was in a different time zone; therefore, my class wasn't for another 3 hours. I woke up 1 minute before class started... got to class about 7 minutes after it started. So I was reading Jeremiah 2 today and verses 27 and 28 really caught my attention.
Who say to a tree, 'You are my father,' And to a stone, 'You gave me birth.' For they have turned their back to Me, And not their face; But in the time of their trouble they will say, 'Arise and save us.' "But where are your gods Which you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you In the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.

This really points out the stupidity of how we live at times. I find it so easy to depend on worthless things. I think of my time spent with God, and my time spent on thinking about other things. God should be part of everything that I do, yet so often, I take Him off the throne, and I get on the throne. How awful would it be to call out to God in time of need only to hear him respond with something like, "Daniel, aren't you smart enough to handle this?" When I place my trust in myself, I am telling God that I don't need Him. I may not have a problem with graven images, but when it comes down to where my heart is, I need to keep God on the throne of my heart.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The joy of paperwork

I apologize for not posting for the last few days. I had company, so I didn't think it would be very appropriate to spend time here rather than with them. On Friday night, Joe (a guy from Bible study) came home with us for the weekend. He was definitely a blessing to us. I brought him back to school yesterday afternoon, and then a drama team from Bob Jones University came to our church, and we had the privilege of hosting two guys from that team. They were such an encouragement to me. It was really refreshing to see some college guys that really were trying to live for Christ in everything that they did. After seeing the average Christian guy in the dorms at Cal baptist, and then seeing these guys, it really makes me think that BJU does have good stuff going on. I realize that they are very conservative, beyond what I would enjoy; however, I think it is better to sacrifice some freedom for godliness. There are godly and ungodly people anywhere we go, but environment is a huge thing. I would say that the environment at BJU is better even though there are regulations that I wouldn't agree with. I was talking with Jon (one of the guys from BJU) last night, and he was telling me that he really does disagree with quite a few of the rules, but it has challenged him to be submissive to authority. Someone explained to him why those rules were there. They said that there may be rules that apply more to some people than others. For example, one guy may struggle with dressing appropriately, and another guy my struggle with listening to inappropriate music. As I see it, BJU's solution to this is to limit both freedoms in order to maintain a high standard among all. While we should be mature enough to make these decisions on our own, if we look at the freshman dorms at almost any school, we clearly see that this is not the case! Just something to think about when choosing a college. I am not saying that any school is perfect, but I am do think it is important to see how people are coming out of different schools. Today, I tried to register for classes, and ended up spending a couple hours running around campus getting different paperwork to get filled out. I still haven't been able to register. I actually had to fill out a reapplication form because I took a semester off. I am working on my application for graduation which is due before the start of this next quarter. Hopefully, I'll be able to register tomorrow for my classes. I read Jeremiah 1 which reminded me a bit of Joshua 1.

Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." Then I said, "Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak. "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD. Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. "See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."

What amazing words of courage! When we are weak, He is strong! Just as Joshua needed God's encouragement to do what God had called him to do, we need to be reminded who we are doing this for. If it is God's will, of course He is going to help us accomplish the task that He tells us to do! How amazing it is that God would stoop down to help us... that He would know us by name. Let us be people of courage that depend on Him for strength!