18 years

Though technically it is tomorrow, my wife and I are celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary today. It’s been an amazing trip. We came from being two good church-going kids to sinking into sin, repentance, and now sanctification. God has been more kind to us that either of us deserve. I couldn’t tell you why but I’m extremely grateful. My wife is an amazing woman. I’m looking forward to many more years with her.

Christ’s death and resurrection: sufficient and effective

One of my sticking points with Calivinism is the concept that Christ’s death was sufficient to save all people but is only effective for the elect. My incredibly patient pastor is trying to work through this with me. I think I know what Calvinists are trying to say there but it doesn’t seem to come across well. However this is my forum so I shall muse on this.

Scripture states that Christ died to pay our penalty for not obeying God’s commands. Or as Paul puts it in 1 Timothy 2:6 “who gave Himself as a ransom for all men” I submit that Jesus did in fact pay that penalty for all men. His death was sufficient to retract the death sentance all humantiy had on it from Adam’s first act of disobedience. So through Christ’s death everyone shall be made alive again and everyone shall live forever. Hallelujah!

Now. Where are we going to spend that eternity? If you believe in Jesus, confess yourself a sinner, turn from your sinful life, confess him Him before others, and strive to do His will, you will spend eternity joyfully in His presence. If you don’t believe in God, if you do believe in Jesus but you don’t really want to do all that “Bible stuff”, if you live a double life: Christian on Sundays at church, devil during the week when no one’s looking, well, you’re going to spend eternity cast out of God’s presence. No one knows what that’s like because no one has ever experienced it. God has always made His presence felt since time began. He makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on both the evil and the good. I have no idea what such a situation is like. I hope you never find out either. A merciful god wouldn’t do that you say? What about a just god? His mercy is perfect but so is His justice. Besides if you don’t believe in God how merciful would it be to have you stand in the presence of the deity you spent your life demanding didn’t exist? For eternity! Wouldn’t that be humiliating? But He is also just. He’s got rules. You’ve got to follow them.

Turn to Jesus. Accept His sacrifice. When He died for you He ensured you would live forever. You will have to pay your penalty once but you will be raised from the dead. Where will you be? Come to Jesus. He desires that you be saved.

Banging my head against a wall

I’ve spent almost the entire day trying to upgrade Symantec Antivirus 9.0 to 10.0 on one of our servers at work. You see, when I’m not a reformed Christian aviator, I’m a server and network geek. I spent the whole day getting nowhere. Three installs with subtle differences in each approach yielded nothing.

Some of my co-workers were pretty annoying today too. Nobody wanting to step up to the plate and take responsibility for a system problem that’s completely unrelated to anything I do. So I stepped up, made a couple of phone calls that anyone could have made and found the problem in short order — a server problem at another site.

Finally this fancy new VPN appliance we bought for a branch office isn’t working as well as I’d hoped. It requires user intervention to establish the connection with the main site. It needs to be automatic. It does not appear to work automatically. Frustrating.

So… why am I so happy? I am, I really am. Not like Paxil happy, just content, not worried, going with the flow, cool. I have a feeling my God is playing a big part in this. If I rest in Him and allow Him to have control of my life things just seem to work out. It really frustrates the people around me.

“How can you be so relaxed??” they demand to know. “What do you mean you just ‘figured it out’? How??”

I’ve found that God even helps me with my little petty mundane problems if I just lift them up to Him. God has ordered me to work. So I work. If I work as if working for Him (which admittedly I don’t always do) He helps me. He helps me because I am doing his will. I’m not out there scouring the streets for converts or feeding thousands of people. I just try to perform my own quiet service to Him and those He has created. Perhaps they will see me and jealously wish to have what I have. Perhaps they will ask and I will tell them. If it is God’s will, they will believe and be my companions forever.

It could happen.

A Day At The Races

Just spent the day in San Francisco with my wife and kids. We went to see the finals of the Red Bull Air Races and the Blue Angels. I see all kinds of flight demonstration teams but there is just something special about the Blue Angels. You just feel it when you see them fly. Anyway the Red Bull races were pretty cool. The contestants have to fly around an obstacle course, between some inflatable pylons, at over 200 MPH. They also have some mandatory aerobatics to perform. These races really push the limits of man and machine. They are just a hoot to watch.

I’ve never seen Aquatic Park so packed full of people. I didn’t think that many people in San Francisco really liked the military all that much. It just really touched me to see the parade of ships and all the young sailors. It really gives me hope for tomorrow.

Thank goodness it was chilly. Kept the ladies (and the not-so-lady-like) pretty much covered up for the day. Finally didn’t have to guard my eyes so much today.

Stark realization

I’m stubborn. I’m sure God could use a man like that. I’m sure He’s planned to use me all along. I find myself having to come to the stark realization that maybe the Calvinists are right. I’ve embraced everything about Reformed theology except that one last point. The P-word. That’s predestination for you Arminians out there.

Nothing else can explain the events of my life. Nothing else can explain why God has patiently taught me through the reading of His Word and the gentle coaxing of my Pastor and the Elders. Why when I was bound and determined to enter a life of sin would God keep goading my conscience? Because He chose me long ago and therefore nothing will separate me from His love.

I don’t know whether to feel profound relief for my salvation or profound sorrow for those who are not saved. Couldn’t God elect everyone? Paul writes in Romans 9:20 that I really don’t have a right to expect an answer from God when questioned about decisions. I still feel a sense of loss for my family, the majority of which are not saved.

*Sigh.*

But then, I guess I don’t really know what’s in their hearts. Nor do I know who God’s elect are. My hope rests in the sacrifice Jesus made for me, His blood that was shed for me, God’s grace, and His ultimate and perfect mercy.

Good journey fellow traveller. I hope to see you on the far side of Judgement Day.

My dinner with Paco

My wife and I invited my co- system admin at work, Paco, home for dinner. Paco’s wife and children are attending a funeral in Central America. Paco has seemed a little lonely and is having trouble sleeping at night. We are hoping that a warm, home-cooked meal and the antics of our children will cheer him up. I just want to do a better job of spreading around what God gave me. He gives me peace and joy through my family. I want to show hospitality to the lonely. I want to be the light that God designed and intended me to be.

The Neighbor’s Car – Part 2

What a jerk is absolutely right! Except it’s not him, it’s me. I put aside my foolish pride today and actually took the opportunity to meet my neighbor. He’s a big guy, very intimidating, doesn’t smile a lot. He commutes 80 miles one way to work. I wouldn’t smile much either. After introducing myself and talking to him for a little bit he volunteered why he was parking in front of my house. There is a street light in my front yard. His car has been broken into several times. He started parking under the streetlight in an attempt to discourge the car thieves.

Apparently he comes from a bad neighborhood and had high hopes when he moved to our neighborhood. He wanted to live with nice people in a nice neighborhood. Well, I guess we really showed him. Looks aren’t everything. Whether it be tough-looking neighbors who are actually very nice or a nice-looking neighborhood that really isn’t. My apologies, neighbor. Welcome to the neighborhood. I’ll help keep an eye on your car.

Thank you Lord for keeping an eye on me. As always, I am in your debt. Gloria Patri! Soli Deo gloria!