My communion meditation for today.

I was happy, then I was sad, then I was very happy.

First, I thought I found a new proof for God’s holiness and perfection. I was praying through the Lord’s Prayer – not just repeating the words, but praying it, chewing on it, meditating on it. “Our Father, who art in Heaven“ – and that’s where I stopped to think. God the Father is in Heaven – that’s what it says. And we know Heaven is perfect, so therefore God must be perfect.

I was pretty proud of myself for a few days. A new proof that God is perfect, from little old me. Pretty proud of myself, yep.

Until I started thinking of the implications of that. If God needs Heaven to make Himself perfect, then God must not be perfect on His own, and I know that’s not right. So therefore it must be God’s perfection that makes Heaven perfect.

BOOM – there goes my brand new proof, my shot at being included in theology books going forward. So I was sad.

But as I kept on thinking about it, rolling it over and looking at different perspectives, I was really happy. Because when I bring it down to a personal level, I don’t have to be perfect for God to come live in my heart. In fact, I can’t be that perfect. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“.

It isn’t my perfection that spills onto God. It’s His perfection that fills me, that spills into every part of my life, that overflows onto others.

There was only one perfect man, and that was Jesus. His perfect and sinless life, His death on the cross, and His resurrection – that is what we are celebrating now with the wafers and the juice. My imperfection covered by His perfection.  That makes me very happy.

Let’s pray.

Lord God, it’s all about You. If you had not sent Jesus to die for me, I wouldn’t be here today. Thank You for creating a perfect plan, carried out by a perfect man – a plan that does not depend on my own unachievable perfection. Thank you for Jesus. It’s in His name I pray. Amen.

Today I turned 57.  A lot of varieties, a lot of years.

Instead of a maudlin post about how great it’s been (I thought of that) or how bad it’s been (less thought there) or remembering people, I decided to do another round of sayings that I found interesting.  Previous entries here, here, here, here, and here.

Sep 14: Don’t buy the house, buy the neighborhood

Oct 14: Too many rules are legalism.  Too much grace is enabling.

Nov 14: There is no substitute for genuine lack of preparation

Dec 14: The best thing about getting lost is what you find while you are there

Jan 15: Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon

Feb 15: Learning binary is as easy as 01, 10, 11

Mar 15: I’ll have a piece of cake.  It’s gotta be somebody’s birthday somewhere.

Apr 15: Don’t anthropomorphize computers – they hate that

May 15: Water pressure doesn’t matter if the faucet is closed

Jun 15: Green is not a creative color

Jul 15: You can write FORTRAN in any language

Aug 15: There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

Sep 15: Anything can happen in the next half hour

Oct 15: Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty

Nov 15: I have OCD and ADD. Things have to be perfect, but only for a couple seconds.

Dec 15: One candle loses nothing by lighting another

Jan 16: If you don’t like change, you’re going to HATE irrelevance

Feb 16: If you can’t play with words, what good are they?

Mar 16: There is no failure, only learning

Apr 16: We prepare for glory by failing until we don’t

May 16: Fools ignore complexity.  Pragmatists suffer it.  Some can avoid it.  The wise remove it.

Jun 16: The best of men is a man at best

Jul 16: The river is calm. There may still be crocodiles.

(My communion meditation for today.)

A few weeks ago, I got sick on a Friday. Head cold. Rough weekend. By Tuesday I was really tired of it, and declared myself well. Wednesday I declared myself completely cured. Thursday I said I was in the best health in decades.

Friday I went to the doctor, who told me I was sick. Bronchitis. Bummer.

He gave me a prescription, I took it, and I got better.

At one level, this can be seen as a guy who wouldn’t face reality about being sick. At a spiritual level, this applies to all of us. We all think we’re strong, think we can do it on our own, think we can declare ourselves spiritually well. But the Great Physician knows our disease – sin – and He is the cure.

As we take the wafer and the juice, symbolizing His broken body and spilled blood, let us remember that He is the cure, and he paid the complete cost, now and forever.

Let’s pray.

Lord, Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. We didn’t even know we were sick. Remind us, now and always, of the terrible price Jesus paid for our sins. Thank you for His precious blood that cleanses us from that sin. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Or political typography. Not sure which way this one goes.

This isn’t a post about politics. The news story linked is about politics. You have been warned.

That New York-based bastion of journalism, the Daily News, has a story about Mr. Trump’s trials in Arizona, where protesters blocked a highway to keep him from getting to a rally.   In the story they reference footage obtained from a helicopter.

Arial

“Arial video”. I would have thought Mr Trump was more of a Times New Roman guy.

No, this is not some strange yoga position.  Nor is it about calling the Republicans to be more vocal (though there are some RINOs that are plenty loud).

I use a CPAP machine to help maintain my breathing through sleep apnea.  I have been doing it for 1001 days, according to the cool SleepyHead software by which I monitor myself at much closer intervals than the office’s six-month checkups.

CPAP machines have a hose by which they deliver air to your face.  The hose is a little bigger around than a Hula Hoop’s tube, and much more flexible. It is also connected at both ends, since they haven’t figured out how to deliver air wirelessly.  Yet.

I used to have the hose running down past my chin, tucked under me as I slept, and that worked fairly well. hose down  Not perfectly, mind you – I would wake up several times a night because the hose had shifted, or the weight was pulling it away from my face.

I didn’t want to get a hose stand – I don’t want more clutter. hose stand

What I came up with, after reading about other technologies, was to turn the world upside down.  Make the hose go up, almost like a snorkel tube. hose up I tuck it between the headboard and mattress.  It stays out of my way, and I sleep better.

 

 

 

So I grant to the world the name “Trumpeting Elephant” as a great description of an existing method.  Long may it roar!

trumpeting elephant

 

Chipotle has been going through a rough time recently.  Multiple outbreaks of serious diseases traced to their doorstep.  Not good (although I have experienced shorter lines because of it – but that still isn’t a good business strategy).

Seems like the local media is piling on, and I suspect incompetence rather than malice.

WCPO has a Chipotle story that includes an interactive map, to let you see how your local Chipotle has done in food inspections.  I applaud this – journalism for the people, beneficial, encourages improvement in the failing restaurants.

Here’s a shot of the map this afternoon:

chipotle

Hmmmm – up near where I work, there’s a lot of red – the one closest to me is green. So I should eat Chipotle from the one closest to home, right?

Nope.  Look at the legend – green is a critical violation, red is a non-critical violation.  Why would something as obvious as the color indicate the severity?  Just because traffic lights and stop signs have red meaning stop/danger/no!, why should other people follow the same silly convention?  Just because green means yes, go ahead, growth – why shouldn’t they throw off the shackles of conformity and – well, you get the picture.

Gently, Steve.  Maybe the colors were chosen automatically by Google and are unchangeable.  Well, maybe, yes.  And if that’s true, then maybe they could have sorted their data so the red indicates badness.

I really do suspect ineptitude, not thinking about the consequences and implications, rather than a malicious attempt to steer people towards a less-safe restaurant.  That’s a guess, not a fact, and is based off Hanlon’s Razor.

Still, guys, you had one job to do . . .

(another communion meditation)

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s a new year.  This is the first Sunday of the new year, the third day into the year, and all of two thousand sixteen is bright and shiny.

So what?  Isn’t this the same way we saw last year, and the same way we’ll see next year?  In Ecclesiastes 1:9, Solomon says

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.

But that isn’t the end of everything.  Lamentations 3:22-23 says

Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

So is everything changing every day?  Yes and no. James 1:17 says

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

So things do change – we get gifts, perfect ones, from God, and He doesn’t change.  And what is the best gift?  Something new, of course.  1 Corinthians 11:23-26 says

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Let’s pray.

Lord, in Your wisdom you made the earth to rotate around the sun, marking days and seasons and years. In Your wisdom, You made a way for us to change from darkness to light, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  And in Revelation, the One who sits on the throne says “Behold, I am making everything new.”  Thank You for Jesus’ perfect life and atoning death.  Thank You for our new life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I didn’t do this because it’s a new year – they just happen to coincide.

I won’t mention names, but several of my parents donated some liquid funds to my account at Christmas.  Thank you, unnamed parents!

That, and a little bit of recognition money from work allowed me to browse the SSD recommendation page of my never-met friend and technical adviser Dave Farquhar.  I ordered through his links, splashing him a bit of the money that Amazon collected.

The drive came in on the last day of the year.  I let it warm up overnight (winter finally arrived – we’re in for a swing of freezing nights) and dropped it in today.

I had downloaded the Windows 10 disk image and installed it straight to the new drive.  You will need the old license key (I got mine in Cleveland) to activate it.

It went smooth.  I had worked on my church’s new Win10 computers, and I use Classic Shell, and I turned off a lot of Microsoft’s telemetry.

Downloaded a lot of programs fresh, and I know I still have some setup to do.  Overall, a nice way to spend a few hours – and get Microsoft to quit bugging me about upgrading.  That wasn’t the only reason, but now I don’t have to deal with the nags anymore.  Caving in?  Practicality?  You decide.

My communion meditation for November 22, 2015.

I was in a city I hadn’t been to in a long time, walking along a sidewalk, when I saw a sign.  It had been put up by the city fathers, and seemed like it would have good advice.  I read the sign and followed the advice.  It said “DON’T WALK”, and I didn’t walk.  That saved me from a lot of harm and pain.

In I Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul says

“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

That’s what we are doing now as we celebrate communion.  The Heavenly Father put up the sign.  We read it, and we are following the instructions.  And unlike the traffic light, these instructions never change.  Let’s pray.

Lord, you have made it so simple for us – see the sign, do the sign.  Hear the message, do the message.  And yet without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, without the Holy Spirit’s power, we couldn’t do this at all.  Thank you for the reminder, for the call to remember.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Ice cream is good.  Ice cream in itself is not sinful – it can be a blessing.  But not always.

Let’s look at three different reactions to wanting a bowl of ice cream

One friend tells you “I want a bowl of ice cream, but I’m going to a birthday party tomorrow.”  You think to yourself, “Fifty-fifty chance they’re having ice cream tonight, maybe sixty-forty.”

Another friend tells you “I want a bowl of ice cream.  However, I’m trying to lose ten pounds for the holidays.”  You recognize there’s different motivation, and think there’s a decent chance your friend will go without ice cream.

A third friend tells you “I want a bowl of ice cream.  Nevertheless, I’m diabetic, and I ran out of the medication, and I don’t want to die.”  There’s motivation, and conviction, and strong willpower. No ice cream for that friend.  No way.

But.    However.    Nevertheless.   Three words, all in the same group, with different intensities.

Jesus, on the night before He was crucified, had a talk with His Father.  In Mark 14:36, He prays, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.

Abba means Daddy – that’s very intimate.  The cup is not a glass, not the wine from the Last Supper – it is the cup of pain, suffering, and dying on the cross.  Nevertheless means that God the Father makes the decision.  Jesus carries it out.

And that’s what we’re celebrating here – the grape juice that symbolizes Jesus’ blood, the wafer that symbolizes His body.  Because regardless of what Jesus wanted, He did what He had to. All who have said “The world pulls me.  Nevertheless, I choose Jesus” are invited to partake.  Let’s pray.

Father God, the pull of ice cream, the pull of the world is strong.  You are stronger.  Thank you for the Holy Spirit strengthening Jesus, and us, in times of testing.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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