Campfire is the place where warriors gather after days battles to talk about daily happenings. This section is similar to Ramblings but it will be strictly for spiritual updates. I will be posting here anything interesting that is happening in my spiritual life; hopefully it will be helpful for some of you and if not, at least it will serve as a timeline of my progress for my own reference.
Uncertainty [October 2, 2008]
WARNING: This is a "To be continued..." story and as of now there is no happy ending yet.
One of the things I love about being a Christian is the confidence I feel when I know what God's plan is for this period of time in my life. Sometimes you get a really clear vision of what is coming - those times are amazing. Sometimes you get a general idea and it still is very nice. But sometimes you get just enough information or even just a feeling to take your next step and that's it. You have no clue what the step after next one is. Those are the times when your faith is really being tested.
These last two years have been like that for me with my job. Before we left California I had a plan of what I was going to do in North Carolina. By that time I've been working with networks and routers for about 3 years and have enjoyed it. When we came to NC, I was going to take a Cisco Certified Network Administrator class, pass the test, get my certification and get a job as a Network Admin / Network Tech. Then I was going to spend about 2 years studying to become a Linux Engineer while working as a Network Admin and gaining experience. After I had my Linux Engineer certification, I was hoping to be promoted or start looking for a job as a Linux / UNIX Systems Administrator. Another 3-5 years and I was hoping to finally achieve my long-term dream - to become a Systems Analyst.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
I took the Cisco class and the test. I failed the test 1 answer short of passing. I studied some more and took the test again. Failed again, 1 answer short. Lowering my head like a bull with a "let's see who breaks first" attitude I prepared to run towards that wall the 3rd time when Chuda pointed out that likely this is not my lack of studying or knowledge but rather a direction from God. After thinking about it for some time I had to agree - 1 answer out of 60 both times was way too close to be a coincidence.
If that was a sign that I should change direction, where should I go? I was reminded that years ago I felt that I should be studying Linux. While I liked Linux a lot and have worked with it whenever I could, it was more of a hobby and I didn't really have that much time to learn it more seriously. Red Hat is the biggest Linux company in the US and their RHCE - Red Hat Certified Engineer - certification is one of the most respected. I didn't feel that I knew enough about Linux to study for RHCE so I planned to study for RHCT - Red Hat Certified Technician - then work as a Linux Admin for a year or two, gain enough experience and then go for RHCE. Sounds familiar? Well, it's basically my original plan minus the Cisco / Network Admin detour I was planning to take for financial reasons.
Everything seemed to "click" - Red Hat released their newest Enterprise Server version just a few months ago and a brand new RHCE/RHCT study guide was just published for that version. In addition, my Mom was coming to visit for a month so I could leave taking care of our kid to Chuda and her and focus solely on studying for the test. After breakfast I would lock myself upstairs and do nothing but study until night time with a break for lunch.
I was going to be done with studying for RHCT by August but all the test slots were taken, the earliest available slot was at the end of November. It seemed silly to waste four months so with Chuda's encouragement I decided to study for the engineer test and take that in November. RHCE test is a hands-on test and has 4 parts, two are for RHCT and two are for RHCE. If you pass the first two parts you get RHCT certification; to be an RHCE you have to pass all four. I doubted that I could pass all four the first time since I've never taken it before but at least I would have an idea what the test is like.
I took the test and passed both RHCT parts and one RHCE but was about 12% short of passing the last one. I had my RHCT certification but since my results were way better than I expected, I was pretty sure that with a bit more preparation I could pass the RHCE test. I scheduled one at the earliest available date - January 2008 - and passed it. Clearly, now I was ready to get a job as a Linux Admin or even a Jr. Linux Engineer. Not so fast.
To be continued... [you've been warned]
On Religious Traditions [April 5, 2004]
When I became a Christian, I started asking a lot of question. Why are we doing this? Why does it have to be done this way and not the other? A lot of times the answer that I got was, "We have always done it this way. Our fathers did it this way, their fathers did it the same way and we shall continue in that tradition." There were some that didn't care at all, and rare few that were able to explain things to me and point me in the right direction. After some thinking, I decided that people that go to church can be divided into three categories:
- Those that have no interest in the Bible at all and couldn't care less about applying its principles to their lives. They do not study themselves and find any excuse to not apply even the things that they hear in church.
- Those that would like to apply Bible principles to their lives but find it too difficult to find time to study or do not press forward past the occasional "boredom" stage. These tend to listen to preachers and try to apply what they hear to their own life.
- And finally those that do read the Bible, pray and think about what the have read and with the help of the Holy Spirit transform themselves and their lives to reflect the truths that they learned.
While most would agree that the first type can hardly be called Christians, there are those that think that becoming the 3rd type is too costly and decide to settle for the 2nd type. Why is that so bad you ask?
- For one, there are more bad teachers than there are good ones. The bad ones can be divided into two categories: those who intentionally teach the wrong things in order to profit from it and those who think they preach what is right but do not know the Bible well enough themselves and end up leading people astray.
- And two, because God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him, one-on-one. That's the main reason Jesus died on the cross, to eliminate the gap between God and men and to allow God to live in the hearts of those who choose to become His sons and daughters. I believe that for Christians the main question that God will ask us when we meet will not be, "How many poor people have you fed, how many tracks have you passed around, how much money have you donated to church?" or any other one. Instead it will be, "What kind of relationship did you have with Me?" If we have a close relationship with Him, everything else will follow. If we do not, everything else is hardly of any use.
Being led by bad teachers [either the first type or the second] will at some point cause people to go in the wrong direction and not having a personal relationship with God eliminates the possibility of them getting back on the right track. I have met people that have been going to church for 20+ years and their understanding of God and the Bible has reached a plateau in the first or second year of their Christian walk. They follow traditions set by someone in the past without understanding the reason for them. It is just like the story of Israel and the bronze serpent.
"So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He may take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent..." Numbers 21:6-9
Now, this is all fine. People rebel against God, He is forced to remind them that He is God after all and will not tolerate rebellion, people repent, God helps them yet again. Problem is in the following verse.
"... Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign ... And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord ... broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days ... Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan [Bronze Thing]." 2nd Kings 18:1-4
God gave them something for temporary use but they continued to worship it for many years, even though its usefulness expired long ago. Worse yet, where in the past instructions for its use were clear - "...it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live" - over time it has been turned into an idol, something God explicitly said never to do!
I imagine that this has not been happening during the times of Moses or even Joshua, I don't think they would allow this to happen. I'm guessing they decided to keep it as a reminder of the good [healing] and the bad [punishment for rebellion against God.] However as years and generations came and went, information became corrupt after being passed from generation to generation and finally instead of giving their praise to God who delivered them, they started worshipping the instrument that God used.
As it often happens, people start preferring dead rituals to a real relationship. After all, it is much easier to complete a ritual than to maintain a relationship. Just like between a husband and a wife, making their relationship work and getting full benefits from it requires time and patience, so is a relationship with God. And just like a lot of married couples try it and decide that it is easier to simply live together but never really connect on a deep level, in the same way a lot of people decide that it is too costly for them to have a truly deep relationship with God. They would rather have rituals and traditions.
On Investing and Stock Trading [September 2, 2003]
About two weeks ago I learned a valuable lesson, two in fact. First one is related to investing into stocks [in case you couldn't tell by the title :)] and second one helped me understand and hear God better.
About 2-3 years ago, I read on a website that a Linux company was going to sell their shares to the public. A few Linux companies that went public prior to this had their share prices double and in some cases triple within a period of a couple of weeks. That opportunity seemed to be too good to pass up. After praying about it and not hearing a "No", we decided to buy some shares as soon as they became available.
After we bought the stock for $19 per share, within a couple of days it did go up to $30 but I decided to wait a bit longer and see if it goes any higher. It never did and a few weeks later it was down to $5. Thinking that it will go up still, we held on to it as it dropped lower and lower and finally they had to do a "reverse split" twice just to keep it's price around $2 :)
We prayed and asked for direction but didn't really hear anything and at this point selling it was only going to get us enough money to buy a couple of pizzas so I decided to hold on to it just to see what happens. A couple of months later, God said to sell all of our shares and close the account. I needed to understand why this whole thing happened so I went away to pray.
At first my initial "What was this whole thing for?" returned no answer. I decided to start analyzing this situation and see if He would guide me to an answer. As I processed every step that we took and our reasoning behind each one I came to understand that what we did was hardly different from overhearing someone at the horse races talk about a particular horse being a "sure winner" and betting on that horse. It was no different than gambling.
As often is the case with people, I started worrying about others :) "So what about all the other people that make money in stock trading? Are they gambling too?" The answer was His usual self, "Let's leave others alone and focus on you. Investing is a legitimate way to make money. What you did was gambling, but if you were to spend the time to research necessary information about that company and made an informative decision, I would have blessed your investment and given you wisdom to know what and when to buy and when to sell."
Since I wasn't really interested in making stock trading my priority and had zero interest in spending the time to research all this information before each investment, I agreed that the best thing to do was to sell our shares. Interestingly enough, C*O's of that company were selling their shares at the same time. The price was up to $10 [that's after that double-reverse-split. If your math is at least at a high school level, there is enough information here to figure out how much we invested initially and what we ended up with at the end.]
In case you missed that second lesson, here is a short version. If you do not hear a clear answer from God on a particular subject it doesn't necessarily mean that He doesn't want you to have it. Try digging deeper and start analyzing that situation with Him. It seems that sometimes He doesn't just give us an answer because we would miss out on a lesson.
On Communion And Being Worthy [August 4, 2003]
When I was a kid, I noticed that my Dad at times would not take part in the communion that we had at our church. When I asked him why, his reply was that he did not feel worthy and suggested that I listen a little more closely to the pastor when he reads a passage from the Bible regarding who can take part in the communion. The part he was reading, was 1st Corinthians 11:27-29:
"Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty... But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."
Apparently my Dad didn't feel worthy because he had done something that he knew was not right in God's sight. For some time I did not agree with that interpretation of that passage and yesterday was the day I had to act according to my belief. If we read the verses above and below, 1st Corinthians 11:20-22 and 11:33-34, we notice that Paul was not talking about feeling guilty for our past sins but rather the way they were eating the bread and drinking the wine during the communion. That's what was improper.
Once we honestly ask God to forgive our sins/mistakes, they are forgiven and any guilty feelings we may still have are either from our conscience trying to catch up to what has already taken place, or worse yet, the Devil using our feelings to discourage and keep us down. Our sins are not forgiven based on how long we feel guilty and whether we punish ourselves by being sad about it or not. They are forgiven because of God's mercy and Jesus' sacrifice. Once we take both of these things into consideration, it is clear that as long as we keep in mind the reason for the communion, we are free to partake in it, regardless of whether we feel guilty of something we have done the day before or not.
Bible notes on 1st & 2nd Samuel and 1st Kings [June 29, 2003]
Lately I've been reading a lot of Old Testament stories. I started from 1st Samuel some time ago and arrived to 2nd Kings two weeks ago. As I read it, I find some things to be truly amazing, some I just don't understand and others are very inspiring. Below are my observations on the stories in those books.
Things I do not understand
- God's mercy and patience with Ahab. After everything Ahab has done - kill almost all God's servants in the land, cause the whole country to worship idols and live in sin, rule unrighteously and with cruelty - God still gave him many opportunities to repent, even gave him a couple of miraculous victories over his enemies. And all that without Ahab showing even a slightest sign of remorse. After God finally pronounces His judgement over Ahab and his household, Ahab repents and God forgives him! And that comes right after there is a description of Ahab's cruelty and deceitfulness. At that point I could not read any more and had to stop and go for a walk. In my book, there is just no forgiveness for such a person but I am glad that God has His own rules and chooses to be so patient and willing to forgive us at any time.
- Samuel and his sons. How could he allow them to become so corrupt and still retain their high positions as judges, after he saw what happened to Eli and his sons?
- One of the other things that puzzles me are "casual miracles" in the Bible. Things that really didn't seem to require a miracle and yet a miracle did happen. Elijah wanted to cross a river and instead of using a bridge or a boat, stopped the river just so he could cross it. I can see the need for it with Moses and Joshua but this? Elisha and the axe that was dropped in the river and was brought back to the surface. OK, the axe was borrowed and maybe they would have to pay for it, but it's hard for me to believe that all of them could not collect enough money to pay for one axe. Those are just the ones that I read about lately.
Here is something that made me quite sad: out of three great prophets, Samuel, Elijah and Elisha, only one of them left a disciple to carry on his anointing. At first I thought that maybe it was their fault somehow but then I was reminded that even Elijah's anointing was going to be lost, was it not for God telling him to go find Elisha and pass it on to him. Was there not one person in the land at the time worthy or willing to carry on the anointing that Samuel and Elisha carried?
Many people seem to be concerned with being rewarded for their good deeds. In 2nd Kings 4:13-17 I found a great example that no good deed done to a man of God go unrewarded. Someone who decided to do good to a prophet and didn't even ask for a reward of any sort, God could not let them be without one. And if that wasn't enough, there is a "bonus gift" in 2nd Kings 8:1 and 8:6.
This above-mentioned woman and her faith were also a great inspiration to me. The story starts in 2nd Kings 4:8 and goes on to 4:37 with an additional note in 8:1-6. The short story is that after she did some good things to Elisha, God rewarded her and her old husband with a son. However as it often happens, with a miracle comes a trial, a test of faith. Well, this woman passed it with an A+. Here are a few lessons I learned from her:
- After miracle-given son passes away [2nd Kings 4:20] she refuses to say that he is dead [4:23,26], still believing that there is a chance. Way too many of us nail a coffin lid on our miracles with our own mouth.
- She did not whine or curse God for being so cruel to her as many do. Instead, she still has faith that God is a good God and goes for help and advice to someone she trusts and knows to be God's servant [4:21,22,24].
- Up until the point that she had Elisha's attention, she did not talk to anyone about what happened. She only opens up to someone that will understand. It is important to know who you can trust with serious spiritual matters in your life. In difficult situations talking to the wrong people can get you in trouble and their negative mouths can pour a bucket of cold water on that spark of hope that you still have.
WWJD - What Would Jesus Do [March 3, 2003]
This phrase/abbreviation seems to have taken over the Christian world. It's everywhere - backpacks, bracelets, necklaces, hats, jackets - and I am really glad that it is so, especially if all the people that wear it really follow this. However as with anything good, Devil tries to get in there, twist it and use it for his own purposes.
I was reminded of that when I saw another phrase, HCYAWJWDIYDKWHD - How Can You Answer What Jesus Would Do If You Don't Know What He Did? Indeed, the only way we can "follow in someone's footsteps" is if we study that person's life. Otherwise we would only be doing what we imagine that person would do and a lot of times we will be very wrong.
Once I was at a youth Bible study and heard their leader explain how we can follow in Jesus' footsteps in our everyday life. "It's too hard to imagine what Jesus would do" he said, "so I just think if my mother would approve of what I'm about to do or not." This was said by someone over 30 years old and who has been a Christian for most of his life! It sounded like a good idea to the whole audience, including me.
Thankfully I've grown-up and matured somewhat since then and now I can see why it was such a bad suggestion. Let's analyze this for a bit. Thinking about your mother/father and their approval may work for a short while if your parents are good Christians but even then, once you get past the baby stages of your Christian life it is time to follow Jesus and not "your mother." For one, no person is perfect but God. Following blindly in someone's footsteps will cause you to limit your spiritual growth to whatever your "example" achieves.
Because of differences in character you may not even be able to achieve those heights. Just think of someone who is called to be a prophet that has set an evangelist as his/her life example. They will never be able to become as good as their "example" and will hardly advance in their own calling. Hopefully if they at least imitate that person's prayer and Bible study time, God will intervene and get them on the right path. But if that was done blindly there may not be such a happy outcome.
Secondly, we really don't have to "imagine" what Jesus would do. We have the Bible to study what he has done and based on that we can easily see what he would do in our situation. And for those times that we are faced with something that the Bible doesn't have a clear example of, we have this promise:
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."
John 14:26 NKJV
Since Jesus said this in reference to a time when he will be taken back to heaven, that means that this promise has already been fulfilled [you can check the first chapter of Acts to see how it happened] and I can gladly testify to that. There are many, many times in my life when I need direction and I am happy to say that He has never let me down. Some times those directions are easier to get than other times but whenever I come to Him for help He always answers, one way or another.
There Are Times When Ignorance Is Bliss! [February 18, 2003]
A few weeks ago I was listening to one of the monthly tapes that we receive from Joyce Meyer. She mentioned something that I didn't understand and couldn't agree with. She said that it is better for us not to know some things. This sounded kind of like the in/famous phrase, "What you don't know won't hurt you." I think that is one of the silliest quotes I've heard in my life. Ask any general whether he would be satisfied with not knowing what the enemy (or even his allies) are doing. So many resources are spent to gather as much information as possible.
After listening some more, I understood that wasn't what she meant. Her message was closer to Ecclesiastes and his, "For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." Ecclesiastes 1:18. That too I could never agree with so I started praying for understanding, since this was as good of a time as ever to understand that verse. A few incidents and prayers/talks with God later, I think I finally got it.
It is important to know things when you are the decision maker, but with Christians it is God and not us that is/should be making major decisions in our lives. Better to let Him choose what to reveal to us and not try to find out ourselves, otherwise we end up worrying about issues that we can't do anything about or worse yet, start messing with things that are none of our business. Poking your nose into things will only waste time, cause frustration and possibly will mess things up. I never really liked discussing other people [gossip] but didn't mind listening to it. This has changed my mind and will be a good reminder to focus on things that God gives me to do and leave other people to their own business,unless God tells me to help them.
Protection [May 18, 2001]
Not long ago, I watched a special on TV that talked about microwaves and safety. Apparently, if you put a cup of water in the microwave for a long time [longer than 3 minutes] at some point it will reach boiling temperature and still not boil. Instead the temperature will keep rising and water won't boil still. However if you take it out of the microwave in that condition, the water explodes! They showed some people that were really burnt by that and it reminded me how God is watching over His children.
You see, I like to drink tea at work. I used to either bring a thermos from home or just use hot water that we had at work. However a few days before that TV special the heating element died so we couldn't have hot water and on top of that I forgot my thermos. I put a cup of water in the microwave and turned it on for about 3 minutes. I went back to my computer and forgot about it of course.
Some time later I came to check on water and it was only warm. I turned it on again for 5 minutes and went back. Same thing happened, I forgot and by the time I got there it was only warm. I turned it on for 10 minutes! I came to check on it about 5 minutes later and it wasn't even boiling! So I let it sit for the next 5 minutes in there and forgot about it again! :-] Anyway, by the time I remembered, about 15 minutes or so passed after microwave turned off and the water was just hot.
Watching that thing on TV reminded me of that incident and how I could have burned myself badly and all the other times something bad almost happened to me. At times I start to worry, seeing accidents and other bad things happening to people everywhere. But then peace comes, when I remember that He is the one who holds my life in His hands. Without Him I am nothing, but with Him I am a very happy man, living peacefully, safely and practically covered in blessings! How is your life going? Let me know.
Beer, Football And Spiritual Growth [May 06, 2001]
Looking over this page I noticed that it's been two months since I posted my last update here. That reminded me of something I've been learning lately - most things in life that really matter take time. You can't really rush them, with some you have to be very careful and take your time, otherwise you will mess up big time [the first one that comes to mind is marriage.] Other things simply have to run their course - your spiritual growth for example.
I remember how right after my salvation/spiritual birth I was learning so many things and everything seemed to be going at incredible speed. Now it seems like everything is just crawling... After I prayed about this, I understood that in the beginning there are many things that need to be changed and learned, however once that level is passed, there are less things to learn and fix, but they are bigger and harder things and take a lot more time. Agree/Disagree?
For the last few months we've been having Bible studies with my cousins. They seem to be going very well, we have a great time sharing things with each other. It helps a lot to realize that most of the things that you are going through someone else is going through also, then they don't seem to be so painful. Helps to understand that most wives have the same habits and similar character traits that differ a lot from ours.
However I think we are passing the stage of simply talking about life and are ready to start focusing more on the Bible and our spiritual lives. Maybe start inviting more people to join us. I guess it is similar to when guys get together to drink some beer and watch football/baseball. Now I can understand the reasons they do it, even though I still will take our Bible studies over that, but the basic principle is there, we just get more out of this than they, some spiritual growth on top of "guy bonding" :-]
Current state of affairs [March 02, 2001]
There are two main things I am learning nowadays. Number one is fasting - what is a successful fast, what is the point of fasting, etc. I've been thinking about it on and off for the past 3 years or so, but lately a few things happened and I think I just might come to the real understanding.
Second thing is 30-60-100 fold return on the money that you give to God as offerings. The Bible does talk about God blessing you abundantly in return for whatever investment you make in His kingdom, be it financial, emotional, etc. And there is also a mention of 30-60-100 fold returns. My questions are whether we really should expect such huge returns on every offering that we give, or will some of it come back as a blessing in other areas of our lives?
To run a small test, I told Him my thoughts on that and said that I really don't have the faith now for a 100-fold return, so how about a 10-fold? I gave $10 of my allowance and expected a return. In the next 2 weeks I came across a deal, where I was able to buy two motherboards for $15 each. Brand new Intel 810e motherboards, with audio, video and network on the board. They sell at Fry's for $150 each.
However, after I got all excited and gave $20 to get $200 back, I got nothing. :-] God is very interesting in the way He teaches me things. He usually shows me something but then I have to find the way to it. That first present showed me that it is possible, however there are other principles involved seems like and so now I am trying to figure out what they are. As soon as I do I will let you know! What have you been learning lately? Let me know, I would be very happy to hear from you...
Wisdom vs. Revelation [January 14, 2001]
Lately I have been thinking about my job and possibly changing the direction of our business. While talking to God I asked Him to give me wisdom to make the right decision. His response was that I didn't need wisdom in this situation but I needed a revelation. After considering it for a while I had to agree.
"And the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in every work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, of your cattle, of your land, for good; for the Lord will again delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers.
If you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your being."
The Bible says that whatever we [His children] do with our hands will be blessed. When we work on something we should ask for His wisdom to accomplish the task. However before we start doing a task we should ask whether we should do it or not in the first place! I have a few examples of this in my own life. Here is one of them.
When we came to this country I already had finished high school and had to think about where I wanted to work. After a little research I decided to try computers and I enrolled in a beginning programming class. It was fun and I was very successful [I got an A+ and was one of the top 3 students in that class.] However I wasn't sure whether it was what God wanted me to do in my life and after I asked Him I knew for sure that it wasn't.
If I was to make a decision with my mind only, without consulting God first I surely would have become a programmer. But would I be successful in the long run? Even if I did become a good programmer and was successful financially I wouldn't fulfill the vision that God had for my life. If nothing else, I would be sidetracked for a while.
Mind is a great tool that God gave us and we certainly should use it and sharpen it. But there are some things in life that are impossible to figure out with our minds alone and require divine revelation. The great news is that God is very close to us and all we have to do is ask.
"Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things..."
Daily Bible Study and Prayer Time [December 01, 2000]
One of the quotes ["You are what you do repeatedly"] that I posted not long ago made me seriously think about my spiritual life. I've been struggling with getting a routine for my Bible study and prayer time for a while. Whatever I tried seemed to work only for a short period of time.
I tried doing it at night but either I kept forgetting or something would come up - Chuda would stay up late, I would be too tired, etc. [I have the most productive time and the most fun with God when we are all alone.] Finally about a week ago I got an idea. What if I would wake up early and do it while Chuda is still sleeping?
If this seems simple to you and you are surprised why it took me so long to come to this, that's because you don't know me. I am a very heavy sleeper. I tried turning on radio to the highest volume but I still wouldn't wake up. Most of the time it takes Chuda 10-15 minutes to wake me up. Now you see why that was my last resort and in fact I would need a miracle to do that! :-]
And that miracle came. We found out that if Chuda was to make some coffee or tea and bring it up to me, I wake up the moment I hear her and smell the coffee! [Get that grin off your face!] That actually was a big surprise for us. And Chuda is really wonderful for agreeing to do that for me every morning. [Early on we found out that it is a lot of fun to spoil each other.]
One of my most favorite teachers/preachers is Roberts Liardon. Once, while driving, on my way to work, I was listening to one of his tapes. He mentioned that God promised him a jet eight years ago and now finally he got it. He decided to ask why it took so long. God's answer was, "Because it took you eight years to realize that it is a tool and not a social status thing."
That reminded me about something I thought of before. Some of the most powerful computers are servers that serve hundreds and thousands of users. No one in his right mind will put a 1GHz Alpha processor, Ultra 2 Wide SCSI hard drive and 1GB of memory in a computer that is used only for browsing the Internet and typing letters.
God is not going to give you a jet if the only thing you do is try to please yourself. You do not have a need for it and in this case he has no desire to reward you with things that you don't need, since you are so focused on pleasing yourself already. But if you serve other people and work hard at it, he will make sure that you have enough and more than enough power and tools to do that.
One last thing. Sometimes if administrator sees that server needs more memory or hard drive space, he/she may take some out of computers that are not used very much. Just something to think about... This is the case of "use it or lose it..."
While listening to one of Joyce Meyer's tapes some time ago; she was talking about God giving us his grace for different things in our life at different times. For example, he gives grace to some to be praying or reading the Bible for hours and if you try to do it on your own you won't last long.
I have noticed that in my life too. Sometimes he gives me grace to do things that normally I would not be able to do. This is only fourth week as I started reading the A+ study guides and I already finished 600 pages of the Core module and over 300 pages of the DOS/Windows module. I am ready to take the tests already! Yes I did know a lot of it already but I didn't really skip any pages when reading, just to make sure that I won't miss anything important. It is pretty amazing I think. I do like reading books, but not that much.
I also think that this is what religion tries to use in order to kill the possibility of a great relationship with God. I see so many people trying to be so "spiritual" and earn God's approval by reading the Bible a lot or praying a lot, but they miss the whole point. He already loves you and he won't love you any more if you torture yourself. Why don't you go to him and just do what he suggests? It will be a lot more pleasing to him and a lot easier for you since he will provide you with enough grace and strength to do whatever task he assigns to you. I found life to be so much easier and happier ever since I realized that.
When God created each one of us, he had a plan for our lives. Being the creator, he knows our talents, strengths and weaknesses. Knowing all that, who else but him would be able to put it all to good use? So, if you were to achieve your highest highs and use all your talents to their fullest, you have no other choice but go to him and ask what the plan is. Don't worry, it will be a great plan, much greater then you can imagine. You might have guessed what your calling in life is; in that case he will help you get there quicker, discovering a lot of interesting things along the way.
Since I was a teenager I was wondering what the purpose of our life is. I thought about it, asked almost everybody around me and never really got a satisfying answer. I really liked my Mom's answer, "My purpose in life is to raise my children." OK, and what is their purpose? If it's the same, then it's just an endless loop and I see no reason for living. Becoming a Christian was one of many steps on my way to finding my purpose. It was not until a couple of years later, that I got the vision for my life.
A few weeks after becoming engaged to my future wife, I started thinking seriously about our purpose in life as a couple. We had to have a plan for our lives, for I knew that "without vision people perish." During one of our conversations with God, I voiced my concerns. In his usual calm voice, he told me something that made me loose my breath for a while and made my heart beat twice its normal pace. The plan was great and I knew that there was no way we could accomplish it by ourselves. But with his help it would come to pass... Because of this vision I keep perspective and am able to make right decision. Realizing that computers were a part of this vision and not just a hobby made me very happy!
Whenever I observe people around me, most of the time it makes me sad. There are so many people that don't have a worthy goal in their life. They try to make up a goal, then at the end of their life when they actually get it, they feel like fools, because it was not worth it. Do you really think that "I want to get rich and retire when I'm 30-40" is a worthy goal? There is nothing wrong with being rich or wanting to live a good life, it is just silly to set it as your lifetime goal.
Even most Christians, whose main goal is to get to heaven, have no idea what they are suppose to do here, until it is time to go. And a lot of them have no idea why they want to get to heaven other than that the other alternative doesn't look very appealing :-) It is definitely not the way it's supposed to be; sadly, it is the case with many people.
I have not met one person that would be disappointed after talking to The Big Guy about the plan. There are some that choose to go their own way after all, because greatness requires sacrifice and some people are just not willing to pay the price. There are others that do choose to follow the plan as close as they can; they are the ones who enjoy their life the most and are remembered by many.