Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Did I mention how much I love this site?

Thoughts from the wise.

Still, you need to do that not merely by flexing your power, but
mainly by being a consistent example of Christlike service and humility. Of course, that's just what every Christian in the secular workplace should endeavor to do. In the words of 1 Timothy 4:12, "in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe."

I think about this in light of the trip I am about to take, in light of the work I do every day.

And again from John Piper...

Acclaim for Christ should be the driving motivation for everything that I do. May I consider that as the chase trip arrives in less than two weeks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I am often amazed and ashamed at the foolishness of my own heart.

And really, that should make Christ all the more lovely to me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Keep watch

[Mark 14:37-40]
And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?

38"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

39Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words.

40And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.

On humility

It is the soul occupied with God in His wonderful glory as Creator and Redeemer that will truly take the lowest place before Him.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Think about these two passages:

[Luke 18:1-8]
1Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. 3"There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me legal protection from my opponent.' 4"For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'" 6And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8"I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"

[Matthew 6:25-34]
25"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28"And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' 32"For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

More on Sin

Do you mortify;
do you make it your daily work;
be always at it while you live;
cease not a day from this work;
be killing sin or it will be killing you.

John Owen on the process of mortification:
It is, indeed, meritoriously, and by way of example, utterly mortified and slain by the cross of Christ; and the "old man" is thence said to be "crucified with Christ" (Rom. 6:6), and ourselves to be "dead" with him (Rom. 6:8), and really initially in regeneration (Rom. 6:3-5), when a principle contrary to it and destructive of it (Gal. 5:17) is planted in our hearts; but the whole work is by degrees to be carried on toward perfection all our days.

The mortification of indwelling sin remaining in our mortal bodies,
that it may not have life and power
to bring forth the works or deeds of the flesh,
is the constant duty of believers.

John Owen on the daily work of mortification:
-The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin.

-He that is appointed to kill an enemy, if he leave striking before the other ceases living, does but half his work.

-When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone; but as sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still, so ought our contrivances against it to be vigorous at all times and in all conditions, even where there is least suspicion.

-He that stands still and suffers his enemies to double blows upon him without resistance will undoubtedly be conquered in the issue. If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and always at work in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, foolish, in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable event?

-The saints, whose souls breathe after deliverance from its [sin's] perplexing rebellion, know there is no safety against it but in a constant warfare.

-Sin will not only be striving, acting, rebelling, troubling, disquieting, but if let alone, if not continually mortified, it will bring forth great, cursed, scandalous, soul-destroying sins.

I think you get the picture.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Heaven Taken by Storm

I just got my copy of this book in the mail. It was published by Don Kistler's publishing house Northampton Press.

I have to take the time to admit to you that part of the enjoyment of buying books online is having the package carried to and placed on my desk. *grin*

In light of what I've been struggling with and searching out lately, the back of the book jacket gave a pleasant expectation of things to come:

Many today believe that the Christian life is rather easy to obtain and live. But the Puritans saw it as warfare, as wrestling, as "holy violence," to use their term. The Apostle Paul spoke of beating his own body into subjection.

And this holy violence is to be brought not only against one's own self, but against Satan, the world, and heaven, too. And in this confrontation, we must use the weapons God has given us -- reading the Word, hearing the Word, prayer, meditation, self-examination, and the due observance of the Lord's Day.

Allow Thomas Watson to be your guide through the minefield that lies between us and heaven.

It's a hard-back book, too.... *grin*

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Look out you truckers. I'm licensed to ham.

Now I have to buy my outfit. I'm looking at this one.

I am so thankful for the wisdom God grants my brothers and sisters. JD Hatfield is one such brother. Here is something from his own blog that I found poignant and timely.

You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires,
(Ephesians 4:22 – NET)

It is not true that there are no absolutes, no black and white, right and wrong issues and areas within our world, there surely are. But we must also realize that in many areas of our own lives, of all of our lives, we must learn to surf our way through the gray before we can get to the solid rock of understanding what is right and wrong. To deny the complexity of the problem is to deny the reality of the situation.

Sometimes there are so many chains attached to our souls that they must come off one at a time, and we must continue to be on the lookout for what may be dragging us down. As we do, we can then make our movement at a greater speed toward what God wants us to be. The transformation of a renewed mind is the development in the discipleship process. It is not an overnight thing, or a simple decision we make, but a process with progress. We have to realize what lies we have believed that have made us bound by the deceitfulness of sin.

When we encounter such people with many chains, first help them see their burden, and help them lift the load, before renouncing them for their lack of progress. We must be helpful to those who are truly trying to make it, lest they drown in despair. As they swim toward the ideal, let us cheer them on, and not be so quick to say, “Why aren’t you at the other end of the pool yet?”

On affections

As I read through Bradstreet and Owen, I notice a distinct emotional affection toward the Lord that I find missing in a lot of academic treatises on doctrine. However, if anything, I have determined that right doctrine informs right affections.

I continue to remark how overcoming sin is not an end in itself or the only goal of Christianity. It is one goal of many, but an important one. I lay in bed this morning reflecting on the order and necessity of all of the various parts of the relationship we have with God.

Regeneration precedes faith.
Faith is the sum and substance of our salvation.
Faith without works is dead.
Sin stands in direct opposition to good works. Where there is sin, how can we walk in the good works prepared for us to do before the foundation of the world?
True good works (that we should be walking in) come out of a love for God. Otherwise, they are selfish. No one can serve two masters, after all.

There will be people who deny any effort in pursuing good works. There will be people who pursue good works for pursuit's sake. Both of these are wrong, I believe.

The root of the tree that bears good fruit will find itself deeply and firmly holding fast to a love for God. The fruit will include things like thankfulness and praise to God borne out of a heart of deep admiration, great fear and love for Him.

So, how does all of this happen you may ask? When WE seek after the Lord, HE puts His love into our hearts. We cannot sit and conjure up that love, as if we had the power to do this on our own. No, we must submit ourselves to Him first. I think sometimes we hesitate to take the first step because we doubt God and His promises. We don't see how we could get ourselves to the second, third, fourth and any steps thereafter... Because, quite honestly, we cannot do it, so of course charting a course that far ahead is futile. But we must know who God is in order to know what to trust. So, right doctrine is absolutely necessary. That right doctrine informs us that when we submit to Him, He will fill our hearts with His love and power to obey. He fills our hearts with the DESIRE to obey.

After considering and experiencing all of this, it saddens me to see so many Christians selling their God short.


I continued to read through OST last night until my eyes became heavy with sleep. I didn't have time to blog about it this morning, so perhaps I will later (after I return home from my amateur radio exam).

I've been skimming through the books on my shelf, anxious to have uninterrupted time with them. I look back at the last few months and wonder where the time went, but know that so much has been accomplished in them that I ought to take leave of any further consideration. A few books that I have that I am pulling off the shelf are about and by a lady named Anne Bradstreet. Here is one of her meditations. Note how it builds and ascends.

Lord, why should I doubt when thou hast given me such assured pledges of thy love? First, thou art my Creator, I thy creature; thou my master, I thy servant. But hence arises not my comfort: thou art my Father, I thy child. Ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Christ is my brother; I ascend unto my father and your father, unto my God and your God. But lest this should not be enough, thy maker is thy husband. Nay, more, I am a member of his Body; he, my head. Such privileges, had the Word of Truth not made them known, who or where is the man that durst in his heart have presumed to have thought it? So wonderful are these thoughts that my spirit fails in me at the consideration thereof; and I am confounded to think that God, who hath done so much for me, should have so little from me. But this is my comfort, that when I come into Heaven, I shall understand perfectly what he hath done for me, and then shall I be able to praise him as I ought. Lord, having this hope, let me purify myself as thou art pure, and let me be no more afraid of death, but even desire to be dissolved, and be with thee, which is best of all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Be still my beating heart...

Now is the time I say things like "bow echo" and "outflow" and "severe wind event".

On Wisdom

Getting to the riches found hidden deep within the earth is hard work, says Job:

1"Surely there is a mine for silver
And a place where they refine gold.
2"Iron is taken from the dust,
And copper is smelted from rock.
3"Man puts an end to darkness,
And to the farthest limit he searches out
The rock in gloom and deep shadow.
4"He sinks a shaft far from habitation,
Forgotten by the foot;
They hang and swing to and fro far from men.
5"The earth, from it comes food,
And underneath it is turned up as fire.
6"Its rocks are the source of sapphires,
And its dust contains gold.
7"The path no bird of prey knows,
Nor has the falcon's eye caught sight of it.
8"The proud beasts have not trodden it,
Nor has the fierce lion passed over it.
9"He puts his hand on the flint;
He overturns the mountains at the base.
10"He hews out channels through the rocks,
And his eye sees anything precious.
11"He dams up the streams from flowing,
And what is hidden he brings out to the light.

But unearthing the riches of wisdom is even harder, he continues:

2"But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13"Man does not know its value,
Nor is it found in the land of the living.
14"The deep says, 'It is not in me';
And the sea says, 'It is not with me.'
15"Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it,
Nor can silver be weighed as its price.
16"It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
In precious onyx, or sapphire.
17"Gold or glass cannot equal it,
Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold.
18"Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned;
And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.
19"The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
20"Where then does wisdom come from?
And where is the place of understanding?
21"Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living
And concealed from the birds of the sky.
22"Abaddon and Death say,
'With our ears we have heard a report of it.'
23"God understands its way,
And He knows its place.
24"For He looks to the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.
25"When He imparted weight to the wind
And meted out the waters by measure,
26When He set a limit for the rain
And a course for the thunderbolt,
27Then He saw it and declared it;
He established it and also searched it out.
28"And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.'"

Proverbs 4:7
"The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.

The bottom line

Mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world. --John Owen

Knowing and Loving your God

Continuing through Overcoming Sin and Temptation, Justin Taylor writes on the more crucial aspect of the mortification of sin. This isn't a fleshly exercise. It must be borne out of a love for God, or it is useless. He writes:

- Affirming the importance of honest introspection does not blind Owen to the fact that this exercise will lead a person to despair if it is not also paralleled with a study of the grace of God.

- Obedience rightly understood is always a response to God's love.

- True and lasting resistance to sin comes not through willpower and self-improvement but through the Spirit who empowers believers with a knowledge and love of God.

- The fundamental difference between Owen's proposal and self-help programs is that he believes that only as the Spirit communicates the grace and love of the Father to us can we experience genuine relief.

- Sanctification involves both putting sin to death and becoming free to love and obey.

Daniel at Doulogos once tackled this very subject in a few posts here and there. This is one I found to be particularly helpful.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Think you have what it takes to become a Ham?

Try your skill.

The reading list

Upon my arrival at home, I decided to read two things:

The first of which was The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry. I had forgotten how truly well that man wrote. I suppose he was an absolute hoot to be around in the jail. He reminds me of those incredibly intelligent boys who have the vocabulary and wit to outmatch any Editorial columnist, but with too little motivation to do anything about it. So he does what any brilliant and unmotivated person would do: he gets into trouble with the law. Cell bars have to power to force one to focus on tasks with greater gusto, it would seem, and we have a very entertaining anthology of wit and irony in the end.

The second book is a bit more weighty. Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen. It comes upon the heels of (and perhaps in the midst of) my own battles with sin as its presence is greatly magnified in my life. However, I am quite confident that this is not for the purpose of despair as it is for the purpose of sanctification and rejoicing and growing in grace. I like what John Piper said in the Foreword:

As I look across the Christian landscape, I think it is fair to say concerning sin, "They have healed the wound of my people lightly" (Jer. 6:14; 8:11, ESV). I take this to refer to leaders who should be helping the church know and feel the seriousness of indwelling sin (Rom. 7:20), and how to fight it and kill it (Rom. 8:13). Instead the depth and complexity and ugliness and danger of sin in professing Christians is either minimized-- since we are already justified--or psychologized as a symptom of woundedness rather than corruption.

This is tragically light healing. I call it a tragedy because by making life easier for ourselves in minimizing the nature and seriousness of our sin, we become greater victims of it. We are in fact not healing ourselves. Those who say that they already feel bad enough without being told about the corruptions of indwelling sin misread the path to peace. When our people have not been taught well about the real nature of sin and how it works and how to put it to death, most of the miseries people report are not owing to the disease but its symptoms. They feel a general malaise and don't know why, their marriages are at the breaking point, they feel weak in their spiritual witness and devotion, their workplace is embattled, their church is tense with unrest, their fuse is short with the children, etc. They report these miseries as if they were the disease. And they want the symptoms removed.

We proceed to heal the wound of the people lightly. We look first and mainly for circumstantial causes for the misery--present or past. If we're good at it, we can find partial causes and give some relief. But the healing is light. We have not done the kind of soul surgery that is possible only when the soul doctor knows the kind of things Owen talks about in these books, and when the patient is willing to let the doctor's scalpel go deep.

What Owen offers is not quick relief, but long-term, deep growth in grace that can make strong, healthy trees where there was once a fragile sapling. I pray that thousands--especially teachers and pastors and other leaders--will choose the harder, long-term path of growth, not the easier, short-term path of circumstantial relief.

Life keeps getting more interesting

A request for photo rights in a magazine called "Shock".

Actually, with a name like that, I'll be "shock"-ed if they ask at all...

Psalm 136

I've come to realize that sometimes I focus a lot on the severity and gravity of life. Even when I focus on the love of God, I am made even more aware of my sin, and the need for repentance. But truly, God is love, and He has manifested His love to all creatures, even those who reject Him. For those who have submitted to His authority He lavishes even more grace. Sometimes it is a good idea to just focus on His lovingkindness to us. It engenders thankfulness, gratitude, and a desire to continue on faithfully serving Him and those around us.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2Give thanks to the God of gods,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
3Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
4To Him who alone does great wonders,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
5To Him who made the heavens with skill,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
6To Him who spread out the earth above the waters,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
7To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
8The sun to rule by day,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
9The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
10To Him who smote the Egyptians in their firstborn,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
11And brought Israel out from their midst,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
12With a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
13To Him who divided the Red Sea asunder,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
14And made Israel pass through the midst of it,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
15But He overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
16To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
17To Him who smote great kings,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
18And slew mighty kings,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
19Sihon, king of the Amorites,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
20And Og, king of Bashan,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
21And gave their land as a heritage,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
22Even a heritage to Israel His servant,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
23Who remembered us in our low estate,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
24And has rescued us from our adversaries,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
25Who gives food to all flesh,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
26Give thanks to the God of heaven,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I am learning through valuable experience that sometimes there are just hard jobs to do. Even the most "fun" things can be taxing.

I'm thinking about the storm chasing week this summer. I am thinking about the long hours on the road, upwards of 12-14 hours at least. I am thinking about the constant awareness not only of the sky, but the tourists as well. I am thinking of the edge I will need to be on for a few hours at a time. It used to be "fun". But now it is a job. I enjoy a great deal of it, to be sure, but I'm considering the way I've changed and grown and learned to see things as a part of life, rather than an exception to it.

And honestly, I've learned that the very last thing I want to do, is usually the very first thing He asks me to do. That is the power of sanctification, and the manifestation of His pure love toward me. THAT is G R A C E.

Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings. Because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.

Truth is the most glorious thing; the least filling of this gold is precious. What shall we be violent for if not for truth? Truth is ancient; its grey hairs may make it venerable; it comes from Him who is the ancient of days. Truth is unerring; it is the star that leads to Christ. Truth is pure (Psalm 119:140). It is compared to silver refined seven times (Psalm 12:6). There is not the least spot on truth’s face; it breathes nothing but sanctity. Truth is triumphant; it is like a great conqueror; when all his enemies lie dead, it keeps the field and sets up its trophies of victory. Truth may be opposed, but never quite deposed…When the water in the Thames is lowest, a high tide is ready to come in. God is on truth’s side, and so long as there is no fear it will prevail.” -- Thomas Watson

1 Peter 3:14-16

14But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED,

15but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

16and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

At the feeder

During lunch today, this bird dropped by. Seems it's from Senegal. Maybe someone's lost pet?

A Vacation Paradise!!!

I was in the air on Thursday when the apartment office called me. I had a package! With the busy schedule, I completely forgot until today. I walked in and she handed me an FTD box. Flowers! Oh no!

I opened them to read my lovely chase partner, Jenna's, congratulatory note on my accomplishment. "Congratulations, Architect Perez! I am as proud of you as there are square miles in Cherry County! Love, Jenna."

Cherry County, NE, the largest county in Nebraska, has been the bane of our existence on the plains (although it is a self-proclaimed vacation paradise), and we've had the luck (?) of driving through it each year we've gone chasing. Tour director Bill Reid loves it. We think the sandhills are a wee bit too monotonous. And the road network is very poor. Can you guess which highway we've had the luxury of traveling through each year?

And the orchids and roses are yet another example of the marvel of God's creation.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Who do we think we are?

Do we think we could do this?

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

12But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,

13and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

14We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

15See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

16Rejoice always;

17pray without ceasing;

18in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

19Do not quench the Spirit;

20do not despise prophetic utterances.

21But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

22abstain from every form of evil.

23Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

25Brethren, pray for us.

26Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

27I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.

28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I know there is no reason for this, and it isn't right.

But I'm absolutely scared to death of being an architect at the moment.

I'm looking forward to a bike ride and feeling better in the morning.


Okay, scratch that. I'm fine.

I'm just going to need a lot of file folders, a morning bike ride every day, decaf coffee, and maybe a house.

Because I got a nice raise.

A quick rumination on global warming

I had the luxury of the window seat on my return flight from DC Saturday morning. I had many thoughts as my mind drifted from the view of the rolling hills below back to my ARRL exam material. One stemmed from a conversation I had over dinner with my client Friday night. He asked me my thoughts on global warming. Now, Scott isn't a believer, but he's pretty conservative for the most part. I told him that there was not enough evidence, that even the young PhD I knew was not convinced, and that besides, God wouldn't allow it. I think that last statement threw him.

But as I looked out over the surface of the earth from a height of 35,000 ft, I realized that there wasn't much there. Comparatively, the volume of the atmosphere from the ground to the highest plant or structure was minimal compared to the remaining volume extending to the edges of our planet's atmosphere. At that moment, global warming and human impact on the planet seemed to be the most absurd thing to me. I already know that weather is created and affected by more than just local construction. Warming at the Tropics and cooling in the Arctic come together on the high plains and mix and balance each other's energy with no help from us, and from no harm by us. Hills do not stop tornadoes. City downtowns do not stop them, either. We'd like to think they do. Maybe an EF0 to EF2 would see some disruption to the lowest level of the flow, but a wedge would eat a downtown for lunch, for sure. There is just so much going on miles above the atmosphere that keeps the tornado going, especially if all of the right factors are there, that it is so arrogant to think that human activity a mere few feet above the surface of the ground could possibly affect storms, or the global weather patterns for that matter.

It just all points to my OWN thoughts on 666 being the number of a man. We are seeing ourselves being put on the pedestal and locating ourselves further inside the temple, in the holiest place, because man is quickly abandoning its gods for itself. If we were to really look inside ourselves and view what induces sin in our members, we would see that it is our desire to put ourselves above God in everything. In our love for others, in our trust, our desires, our worries, how we spend our time, etc... We treat God as an extension to our lives instead of the center that He must be.

So, what IS required of us? Obedience. To follow His commands, the greatest of which being love, and the HARDEST of all to pin down. It's not cheeriness. It's not forgetfulness of wrongs done. I think CS Lewis had some great things to say about this in Mere Christianity. But I think he made a mistake concerning personalities and attitudes being separate from the work done within by the Holy Spirit, because love, obedience, they are required of us and are all to be evident, even if minutely. We cannot go into this expecting to change the world, nor expecting anything! And that is, I think, the point of self-denial and service. It first requires faith, and that faith gives rise to obedience and good works.

Not eliminating poverty from the face of the world, or stopping global catastrophes. Not solving all the problems from the top down and getting all our ducks in a row before moving close to the people around us and loving them. It starts from the bottom up, leaving the big picture to God, and trusting Him enough with the big picture to move closer to individuals and building relationships with them that are for the purpose of encouraging and edifying the body. Because they are part of MY body. And I ought to treat them as I treat my own body, which I fed, showered, and took to the dentist this morning, then took to work so that it could do work in order to generate a paycheck to keep me warm and dry and able to be carted around in my car.

So, let's stop considering what's going on in the upper miles of the atmosphere, and start concerning ourselves with the lowest six feet or so, perhaps just as many feet across, with what is going on there.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man,
the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the security of
the believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding,
its decisions are immutable. Read it to believe, believe it to
be secure, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct
you, food to support you and comfort to encourage you. It is
the traveler's guide, the pilgrims's staff, the pilot's compasss,
the soldier's sword and the Christian's charter. Here paradise
is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed.
Christ is its grand subject, our good its design and the glory
of God its end. It should fi ll the memory, rule the heart and
guide the feet. Read it slowly, daily and prayerfully. It is a
mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of joy. It is
given you in life, will be opened at the judgement and will
be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility,
will reward the greatest labor and will condemn all who
trifl e with its contents.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Ruminations from D.C.

Honestly, I can't believe I am in Maryland. I didn't even think I would get here. Finding out hours before I took off that both my flights had been cancelled, I tried booking on another airline due to the AA debacle. No one from AA would answer our phone calls. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I yelled "wish me luck!" over my shoulder to my co-workers, took my packed bags to the airport and went to the ticket-counter. "Can you board in 15 minutes?" Um, yeah! I don't know how I got on so fast when others weren't able to get on. I guess they were all standby. So, what began as an I-can't-believe-this-is-happening day turned out very well.

God is good. That's all I can say about this.

I found out at the gate counter that they had already booked me for a Saturday morning flight back, and had to extend my car rental and hotel. But after I checked in, got dinner and found my way around, I took the Metro to DC and walked around as the sun set. I had visited the Lincoln Memorial the last time I had visited, so this time I went down to the Capitol building. I had to touch it; I like old things. It is a mammoth complex. In the dark, I could barely make out the old city planning practices L'Enfant incorporated in his design. The views illuminated by traffic lights are probably not what he had originally envisioned, though. The architecture fronting the mall was like walking through my arch history books. It was as if the myths had been confirmed: that kind of architecture really does exist. The national air and space museum was also enjoyable to walk by at night. All of the airplane parts and aluminum foil-looking space craft hanging from the ceiling. A retirement center for airplanes. And the tree on the Hill that looked like it belonged in a storybook, nothing but roots and branches 4 feet wide. Probably an original. The metal gratework that reminded me of art-deco. The ADA ramp built over stairs so as not to mar the original architecture (I found that painfully ironic on the Hill in DC, is anyone with me?). Thinking about all of the machinery that was NOT at their disposal to move the dirt and build the Capitol building. Wondering what we did before streetlights, and if I were to slip past the barriers at the bottom of the Capitol steps would I make the headlines the next day (if I wasn't shot first)? Marveling at God's gifts. The knowledge He gives men to allow them to do what they do, to do what they have done. Nations rise and fall. And our Lord moves them all. They are as a drop in the bucket to Him. Our nation's Capitol is imposing, but we who are God's children have nothing to fear. Nothing about what is going on around us will harm us.

There is no structure we could build on earth that could pay tribute adequately to the God we serve. There is no architecture beautiful enough to capture Who God is. No, WE are God's temple, and I began to understand that last night as I despaired to think of anything we could create with our hands that would pay tribute adequately to God, to the Kingdom we are a part of. We are the temple, and our love to others and to God is imposing enough in the face of the evil that is in this world. Just as architecture is an order rising out of the chaos of the wilderness, so are Christians to be that order that rises out of the chaos of the wickedness that resides in men's hearts. I thought deeply of that while here, away from everything I knew, away from distractions. We are to accept that we are spiritual strangers to the world. We are dead to it. To its customs, its ways, its laws... We are to live to God in everything that we do, in everything we do to others. It results with discussing sin, and it results in serving... But it starts with living to God and dying to self. THAT is the Kingdom, and that is its architecture, its body, its temple.

I have realized lately that unless I put off ALL of me and live to ALL of Him, I will never be satisfied. Because I will still be pursuing what I think will satisfy me. But it never will. And it will continue to make me miserable, as I seek to spend what I ask for on my own desires, as it says in James. Also, if I decide to live to Him because it will satisfy me, as Paris Reidhead says "You're just a Levite working for ten shekels and a shirt." No, I have learned that living to God results in peace and blessings, but those blessings come only after I've decided that I'll live to God even if it results in pain and hardship. Because He's worthy.

So, a paid trip to DC. A car rental guy who was from the town I was going to, and who gave me quicker directions. A hotel within walking distance to my meeting. Cherry blossoms. Greenery. Quiet. God is amazing beyond words.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Design Wind Load

Last night, I was awakened by the sound of wind and fury rushing around my apartment building as a squall line approached from the West. Not long after I was awakened, I began to hear what sounded like a rushing sound from all sides of the apartment building. There was no way to determine from sound what direction it was coming from. It was definitely rushing along all sides. The speed: 90 maybe. It was loud, slightly frightening. But what happened next will be indelibly etched in my memory. The apartment building began to shake. My bed swayed for a heart-stopping three seconds. The building. Well-built, 80s maybe. Two units deep with, I'm hoping, sufficient shear wall bracing.

and it moved.

I will never forget that feeling.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Photos from Lake Murray

There wasn't much more to show than this, unless you wanted to see the inside of my cabin. Next year, I'm going to build a fire. (BTW, evolution could not have created Canadian Geese, I'm quite positive of that.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'm listening to the nickel sized hail fall from the sky onto my balcony. Watching the cells pass overhead. Previously I was watching the anvil crawlers snake across the sky, sure evidence that the cell is dissipating. But I don't know now as I hear a close strike of lightning...

*deeply inhales the wet, exhilarating spring air*

Gonna go get a hailstone. Connie, this one's for you!!! (seems I have many to choose from)

Okay, getting a hailstone had to wait. It all came down so hard. Don't want to be that idiot who gets killed trying to get a piece of hail. But I have pictures of the balcony covered in hail now. Texas Snow. Love it.

I lay down and looked at the tiny hailstones. They look like little eggs, with a dark nucleus. The broken ones revealed concentric rings as the ice froze and thawed as it was hurled up again into the atmosphere to receive another treatment. I gazed at them and thought, "this piece of hail has been up higher in the atmosphere, at lower pressures and temperatures than I could stand, and here it is, in my hand." The ice machine made a visit to my house. They're beautiful. I'm so glad I was awake to see it all. God's creation, what a marvel.

Oh, and did I mention I'm glad I parked the car under the carport? Yeah. *wink* I'm that good.


So, who needs writers and on-air personalities? Nothing is as interesting as listening to yourself talk! If only there was a way the rest of the world could share those nuggets of brilliance... Ah hah! The internet!! Write your daily thoughts on your blog and prepare yourself for the overwhelmingly positive response.

"Wow, I've never agreed with anyone as much as you on anything. Are you one of those think-tank people?"

"Your thought process differs from anyone else I've ever known. If I may ask, what do you do for a living?"

You could answer right away or wait and let the suspense build. Give in after a few dozen requests...


Yes, it's official. *grin*

Happiness is

Thunderstorms in the morning. A brief rain shower. Looking to the east to see the tight towering CU, its edges glinting with sunlight. Remembering the first commandment of chasing.


It is also looking at two days in a row of Moderate Risk Outlooks. YEEE-OWWW!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Childlike Trust in the Lord

Psalm 131

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
2Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me.
3O Israel, hope in the LORD
From this time forth and forever.

Praise to the LORD, the Almighty

This is a repost from October. It seemed fitting given the occasion.

I've had the privilege recently to understand AGAIN through practice what it means to let go of something with a complete lack of understanding ANYTHING, save the necessity of obedience. Truly, I spent the next few days pondering that to accept all of life's joys and none of its sorrows is nothing less than spiritually immature. Things had been going so well in my life, I appreciated the small jolt back to reality: that we live in a fallen world cursed by sin that reaches even to the smallest and most helpless of its creatures. NONE can escape its grip except for those whom the Father has chosen from the beginning of time to reveal as His sons. In the middle of the sorrow, God was quite gracious to extend to me His love and care through the truth and knowledge of Him and His reign over all things. Nothing escapes His notice. Furthermore, looking to the experience that brings the pain to look for some measure of comfort is futile. One can ONLY find healing balm with one's eyes fixed on the Father. Let this be a lesson to me that no matter WHAT painful experience occurs, I MUST keep my eyes fixed on the LORD who orders all things for my good and for His glory, which brings inexplicable comfort and peace.

Praise to the LORD, the Almighty, the King of creation!

O, my soul praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near, join me in glad adoration.

Praise to the LORD, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
shelters thee under his wings, yea so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e'er have been granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the LORD, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee!
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
ponder anew what the Almighty will do, if with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the LORD, who with marvelous wisdom hath made thee,
decked thee with health, and with loving hand guided and stayed thee.
How oft in grief hath not He brought thee relief, spreading His wings to o'er shade thee!

Praise to the LORD! O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the amen sound from His people again; gladly fore'er we adore Him.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Update on moi

Hello, my faithful readers. All two of you.

There has been a lot going on lately.

First, I passed my January exam. I am awaiting news on only one more exam before I can jump up and down in excitement, stall in bewilderment, then pass out in shock. I have a little something to break the news with, too, but that will have to wait until it's official. The two of you will have to come back then.

Other things include a short vacation to Lake Murray, Oklahoma, where I saw, of all people walking by at breakfast, Phil Johnson! I had no idea he was going to be there; I confess, my blog reading has been a bit lax of late. He came to the evening service at Countryside, and I asked him "did I see you...?" Yep, I had. Small world.

The vacation was intended to be a chance to do some hiking and canoeing and horseback riding. Well, I got to ride a horse. And if you want to count walking up the steep incline to the nature center "hiking" then I did some of that, too (saw what was billed as a meteorite, as well as some radioactive uranium; very interesting). The rest of the day was drizzly, cold and foggy. I took some lovely pictures of the fog, but I decided to leave the rest of the photo opportunities until another time when I could return. It was quiet, though; I stayed in my cabin and got a lot of reading done. As crazy as this sounds, I came back refreshed, energized, and not in need of another "vacation." Had things gone the way I had planned, I might have returned exhausted.

There's the Ham Radio exam which I'm targeting April 12th at 9:00 am for. The good news is that it's $14, and if you fail, they hand you another test and let you try it again. Probably for another $14. If only the ARE was this easy. Goodness!

Anyway, mix in upcoming trips to Maryland (work-related, but I'm going to visit the Cherry Blossom Festival at the National Mall if the weather holds up, and maybe even the Smithsonian) and Kansas City (to see my lovely sister, meet my future brother-in-law, and see his kids) and some things I am not at liberty to discuss at the moment, and you have a very busy life.

Right now, I'm flexing my growing architecture guns with a project due at a city planning office before the clock strikes noon on Friday. Gotta run.

Your Weather Hint of the Day

A cap is a layer of air that prevents convection or limits dynamic lifting. Another way of describing a cap is that it is a layer of stable air aloft.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It Was a Lot of Work

What is it about me (I'm trying not to generalize, but if you'd like to insert yourself here, feel free) that thinks that difficult things won't take hard work? And I'm thinking specifically where spiritual growth is concerned. I recognize a sinful pattern in my life, and "hope" that it will one day be gone "by the grace of God" and pray for that transformation, and in the meantime continue to indulge that sinful pattern. Then I throw up my hands in despair, or reach for Psalm 138:8 "Do not abandon the work of your hands".

I thought that architecture was hard work. I thought that grad school was grueling. The registration exams? Don't even go there. Much blood, sweat and tears were exacted by those trials. But sin? Wasn't it God who saved me? And wasn't He who would preserve me? So, isn't working a "work-based righteousness"?

No, and I keep forgetting that. It's painful to stop doing something. It's, at a minimum, uncomfortable. You know that Bob Newhart counseling video that circulates the internet? Yeah, it ought to go a little something like that: Stop It! Only with the grace of God can any change take place, any lasting change, but still it must start with "stop".

A sentence from one of Kim's posts stood out to me: "It took a lot of work." And it was as if either a light bulb went off, or I was hit by a truck. Either way, the reality was undeniable. Some things take a lot of work. So, thanks, Kim, for reminding me that these things take a lot of work, aren't to be taken lightly, and ought to be engaged with the same amount of grueling effort that I funneled toward other difficult tasks in my life.