Jeff's Amazing Weblog!

Stuff I write about stuff I write about!

This is my general blog. I don't use blog software, I just write in HTML. I don't have anything set up for comments. If you want to comment, mail me and let me know if I can post it on the page. If you think I need to enable comments, complain and I'll try to work something out.
Deuteronomy 1:41-46
Wed Nov 9 12:31:10 EST 2005

I've started studying Deuteronomy lately. I like the old testament a lot and this is one of my favorite books. It does a good job of summarizing the first 4 books (which can get long and boring in places), and finishes up Moses' story before he passes the torch to Joshua. I journaled a bit this morning on what I read today, and figured it was worth putting here.

Deuteronomy 1:41-46 Realizing what they had done, the Israelites tried to make it right. They got their weapons and went to the hill country where God had originally commanded them to go in order to take the land. Moses gave God's warning that they should not go because God was not with them, but they didn't listen. Because God was not with them, they were severely defeated.

The people of Israel seemed to want to make things right, but they still didn't understand. God told them that they would not take this land because of their disbelief, and he meant it. Often we think we can take things into our own hands and fix them, but without God it doesn't work. It seems to me that God gave them an opportunity and when they failed to obey he took the opportunity away. This seems harsh, especially since God decreed that no one of that generation would enter the land (except the 2 who were faithful), but God must have had good reasons. This was the culmination of a long journey. The whole purpose of the people being in the desert was to leave Egypt and go to the land God would give them. He had demonstrated his ability to provide for them. He had defeated kings for them, he had destroyed the army of Egypt for them. Now was the time for God to fulfill his promise, and he gave the command to go take possession of the land. The people sent scouts ahead to be more certain about what they were walking into, but when they believed the fears of their scouts and started disbelieving God, that was their error. After his repeated demonstration of his faithfulness, the people not only didn't believe he could help them take this country as their new home, they accused him of bringing them here to kill them.

We all doubt and fear, and God demonstrates his ability to be patient with us. Moses is just one example. When God called him to go down to Israel and bring the people out, he made excuses 4 different times. Still God was patient and gave him assurances and helped him get over the fear. It's obvious, though, that at some point our disbelief that leads to disobedience has to be punished. God understands our fear, but he wants us to trust him. He demonstrates that he is worthy of trust, but he expects us to trust him in a way that's dangerous to us personally. If the Israelites had gone into the land and God wasn't worthy of trust, they would have died. If Moses had gone to Pharaoh and God wasn't with him, he might have been killed. It's not really faith if you have a plan "B." We have faith in something that's worthy of trust, but at some point we have to lean on that faith in a way that's final. We have to take steps that demonstrate that we believe strongly enough that if what we trust fails, we're ruined. And when we do come to those times, depend on God and he comes through, there's no better feeling.

Katrina: Surprise?
Fri Sep 9 11:55 EDT 2005

I'm reluctant to join the blame-fest surrounding the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, but I saw something today that I think is worth talking about. Here is an article from National Geographic magazine that describes in detail a hurricane coming and hitting New Orleans, along with the aftermath and destruction that would bring. What's interesting about that? This article was published October of 2004. Read the first couple paragraphs and it's hard to imagine this is a prediction rather than a description of actual events.

The article goes on to talk about the erosion and desctruction going on in the Mississippi river delta and Louisiana wetlands that demand action in order to prevent disaster. Industrialization is threatening a lot more than just New Orleans, and it's been common knowledge for years. Many people have predicted a disaster just like Katrina.

A group including the Army Corps of Engineers put together a plan to deal with the problem that would have cost $14 Billion over 30 years. Per the article "the Bush Administration balked at the price tag, supporting instead a plan to spend up to two billion dollars over the next ten years." President Bush can't claim he didn't know. We may not have known this hurricane was going to cause this much destruction, but we knew it was coming sooner or later.

New life begins, old ends
Mon Aug 1 09:51 EDT 2005

This weekend I more or less completed my move to Theresa's place. I've been living in her basement since Saturday night. It's a little disorienting because I'm in someone else's house and have no real place of my own. The basement is pretty much my "room" for now, and I have my bed there. I've also got the office set up with a desk and my computers, so I'm starting to feel at home.

Moved the final aquarium last night (I'm down to 2 now). It was quite an ordeal because a 40 gallon tank with gravel, plants and some remaining water is big and heavy. I'm glad it's done. I had one casualty. It was a bristlenose plecostomas, which has been with me pretty much from the beginning of my fishkeeping experiences. There was another aggressive, territorial pleco in the holding tank, which attacked it. A couple wounds plus the stress of the move was too much.

It's really great being in my new home. Theresa is great, and I'm so thankful to have a partner through all this.

There is just too much that was bad about my old life. Too many bad memories and problems. This is just symbolic of the changes God has been making in my life the past few years. I used to think I'd cheated the system because I had lived life my own way for so long, and now I'm enjoying the benefits of the Christian life just like someone who has been faithful their whole life. It's not true, though. There are definitely long lasting effects and scars from that way of life that I'm still healing from. Things don't change over night. I'm sure God could change me overnight if he felt like it, but it's the experience of working through the change that makes us better people. I also think it's his nature to change us through experiences and other people rather than by just waving some holy magic wand. Real life is more complicated than Harry Potter.

Galatians 4:8-11
Sun Jul 3 14:20:01 EDT 2005

I'm studying Galatians right now and trying to journal a bit on what I'm reading. My eventual goal is to compile all this stuff and post it or something. What I read today especially impacts where I am right now, so I thought I'd put it up. See what you think.

Galatians 4:8-11 Paul again addresses his prime concern: that the faithful in the Galatian church were turning back to their old ways and falling away from his teaching. There must have been strong pressure to go back and give up this new way of life. Paul points out that the things they worshiped before were weak and powerless, and now they have known the power of the true God. How can they now wish to turn back?

I guess it's easy for me to sympathize with their confusion. It's easy to long for the old way even though the old way is bad. Giving up old habits to live the life of a Christian certainly isn't easy. The things I put my trust in before, and the things I looked to for comfort may have been worthless and destructive, but they worked well enough. Drinking and drugs and sex got me through, and brought me what I needed at the moment. When you're in pain or under pressure or just looking for a way out, it's hard to remember how destructive the old lifestyle was. It's a lot easier to remember how good those things felt. It's hard in the moment to remember the despair that lifestyle brings when all you want is relief right now.

So I can see why the Galatians were so tempted and so ready to turn back. Sometimes it gets to the point where it seems like too much work to change. The old way worked and I can trust it. It's predictable. God promises change and lasting satisfaction. He promises to make old things new, and complete the good work he has begun in us. He promises to never leave nor forsake us. I guess it just comes down to one question: do we really trust him to keep all those promises?

New bloggage for my new site.
Thu Jun 30 00:48:27 EDT 2005

OK, so I've had this site up for about a month now, and haven't gotten a blog together yet. I guess it's time. Strangely enough, it's been exactly a year since I last blogged. I'm still a pretty busy boy, but work is settling down just slightly. I'm trying to keep sane.

Erin, the wife of Dann from The Linux Link Tech Show has a blog, and I found this post to be particularly entertaining. I'm of the opinion that one of the worst things about our society is the way we allow marketing to target women and make them so insecure about their looks that they'll buy anything or try anything to look better. Vaguely on this topic, Erin does a great job of poking fun at famous people who think blonde hair automatically makes them look better. I think this whole piece is spot on.