From Novice to Master, and Back Again

So awesome.

D-Mac's Stuff

In 1985, I was a freshman at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. The college had a VAX 11/780 running 4.2BSD and a PDP-11/70 running v7 with some Berkeley and local code hacked in. It was my first experience with multi-user systems other than dialing into an MS-DOS BBS or two.

The college’s Academic Computing Center had printouts of the 4.2BSD manuals, plus some home-grown documentation, available for sale so students could learn how to use UNIX. One week I sat in the Science Center terminal room and started going through the alphabetical list of the commands available on the VAX, trying each one and reading its man page to learn what it did.

Eventually I got to “su”. “Become the super-user”? What’s that? Does it involve wearing a cape? Sounds interesting, so I tried it. To my disappointment, it just asked for a password, and wouldn’t do anything.

Shortly thereafter…

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Midnight ramblings of a spiritual feeler.

So, I am a spiritual feeler. I am not as sensitive as some people that I know, but I am sensitive enough to have to learn how to control my reactions to what I feel. If you are not a spiritual feeler, learning to control reactions to feelings is a foreign and maybe even completely ridiculous concept. For me, this is such an important skill, that my inability to communicate how I think on the subject is super-frustrating.

In my mind, part of learning to control reactions to feelings, is the understanding that my emotions can be played with. The spiritual atmosphere in an area can cause me to feel a certain way or a spirit being of some type can produce emotions of different varieties. These emotions and feelings do not originate from within me so I must learn to differentiate them from my own. Being able to discern what is my emotion and what is enacted upon me is HUGE. When I recognize that an emotion I am feeling is not my own, I, being a son of God, and in full control of myself, have a choice whether I let that emotion affect me or choose a different emotion.

Unfortunately, emotions are connected to EVERYTHING. I feel my own emotions DEEPLY. So, when I am seemingly unfeeling about something, I have consciously or subconscionsly chosen to do so. That can be healthy or unhealthy.

And that is the key: choice. God created us with the ability to choose, and I believe choose almost everything as it pertains to our own sphere of control, which in reality, is just us. We get to choose how we feel, how we react, if someone else gets to affect our emotions, our responses to their actions, etc… The most fortunate part of being a “spiritual feeler” is that, if we want our sanity then we can choose to learn to choose. The unfortunate part of not being a spiritual feeler is that most of you think I am crazy in thinking that I can choose how I feel.

Example? We all seem to have hot button topics that really set us off and make us angry. If I set out to purposefully push your buttons, you have, in that moment, a choice to make. Do you let that button-pushing make you angry or do you choose to not get angry? If you do let it make you angry, do you choose to sin in your anger or not sin in your anger?

I believe the order of the Fruits of the Spirit as listed in Scripture is key to self-control being possible. Jesus told us about the first and second greatest commandments and those boil down to love. Love is also the first Fruit of the Spirit listed and I believe making the choice to love in all things and at all times enables: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And that. of course, ties into 1 Cor 13 but that is a whole other sermon.
I think that it is our God-given right and responsibility to learn how to control what we let affect us and I believe Jesus modeled this for us; He did it by the Fruit of the Spirit of self-control. If Jesus did that as a baseline, then we can do at least that. After all. the same Spirit is in us as was in Him.

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Quick thought on decisions

The absence of uncomfortable emotions is not peace. Don’t make decisions based on what doesn’t feel right. Rather, push through the uncomfortable and figure out the why and come up with a solution. Make positive decisions based on discernment, wisdom, sound judgement, and most importantly, conversation with Holy Spirit.

Don’t be like an ox that has to be led by the nose. Be a king/queen of the Kingdom and make decisions based on more than just a gut feel. If you don’t, you will have to rationalize the results later. Be in conversation with Holy Spirit and don’t just decide by what you feel may not be right. He is more interested in you understanding the why than He is in telling you not to do something all the time. It’s a factor of maturity.

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Mystery

It is my opinion that, “God works in mysterious ways” and the various ramifications of that thought, is one of the biggest lies one can believe. Scripture tells us that the “mystery of God” is Christ revealed. Don’t attribute evil things to God as “God’s mysterious ways.” Jesus Christ is the revealed nature AND will of the Father, the exact representation of Daddy God. There is no mystery here and the Good News (Gospel) is that God is good and in Him is no darkness (or evil) at all.

I believe that while God redeems the crap that goes on in our lives, He still hates that it is there. If we really knew how much we effect we have on everything around us, we would blame less, pray more (and more directed) and have more manifested peace. It would be a different world if we really get how much God put us in charge of and how that really works.

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The Promised Update

So, here I sit, listening to Counting Crows and writing you. I promised a blog update a couple of months ago and since I have been rather melancholy of late, here you are.

It’s been an exciting and somewhat ridiculous time since the beginning of September 2013. First off, I get accepted into BSSM in a flurry of heightened activity and triumphs; the word of God was that He would pay for it. Since I wasn’t working, it would be interesting to see how He would pay for our monthly needs plus BSSM tuition. Oh, and in September we found out we were having a baby.  We were rocking along until sometime in October when our direction got altered a bit; get a job was the word no matter if I stay in BSSM or not. We decided to obey and I started looking for work and attending BSSM. That proved fraught with difficulty since the BSSM schedule is not conducive to school, family, work and life at the same time. I looked and applied and pursued anything I could find that seemed like was a good fit. Nothing happened but we were still obedient, remembering the lessons of our engagement that obedience is better than sacrifice. At one point in October, we didn’t have any money for food or rent and a good friend took up the cause and gathered donations for us. We had so much food donated to us that we didnt’ HAVE TO go grocery shopping for almost 3 weeks. This was the life of faith that we were living.

November rolls around and the money stopped flowing in, the job hunt was still on but only a few interviews were to be had. Nothing was bearing fruit. It was becoming harder and harder to go to school every day, knowing my family wasn’t being taken care of and I was in a school that, for all intents and purposes was, for me, about the Revival Group more than the books or teaching or anything that could be gained in the “corporate” setting. Then, finally, when we could take no more we put out a “final ultimatum” with Papa God, that if He wanted me to continue on with BSSM that He would have to provide by a certain Sunday night. We had been several weeks behind on rent and our bills every month since August and it kept getting tighter. Sunday night came and went with no money coming in, no new word from Papa and our requirements met. Sunday night, I informed my Revival Group Pastor and a few close friends what was happening and that Monday morning’s RG meeting would be my last.

With a really heavy heart (and with tears in my eyes right now), I went to that meeting and got the best send-off of my life to date. I have left many jobs, organizations and homes in my very short life but that send-off was the best. I really miss those guys and gals even though I get to see them from time to time. They rocked my world with prophetic words, encouragement, tears and even a bit of cash. They are so very generous and hold a very special place in my heart.  I have thought about God’s promise to pay for BSSM a lot and have come to the conclusion that Papa God didn’t lie. He did pay for BSSM, but He never told me how long I would stay. I am very thankful for the experience, knowing that I could actually do well there and hang with those amazing students. I am thankful seeing what it is and learning what learned. There was so much I gleaned that I have journaled about and would love to talk with you about, if you are really wondering.

And so, I withdrew from class and got a refund of my tuition which, par for course, was enough to cover our expenses for November and even some for the first part of December.

At this point, I really have to thank my parents and especially my Korean mother. Her generosity and help during this whole time has been such a boon to my spirits and helped keep my hope alive. Thank you, Cho Cobb. I want to be a lot like you when I grow up. As part of this whole process, we finally applied for government assistance in November and got approved for food stamps in December. In December, several friends awarded me paid computer work which helped pay bills and rent along with money that was originally set apart by donators as Christmas gift money. That part was tough on Cherie since we haven’t been able to make it back to Virginia since we’ve been married, for Christmas or any other occasion.  We haven’t been able to make it back to Texas since we moved to Redding for that matter. Anyways, gifts, decorations and snow really help Cherie feel like she is having Christmas and this one was rougher than when we lived in Cottonwood I think. We did get to have a Christmas celebration though, and it all worked out as well in the end. In December, I didn’t get the job(s) I thought I would and that was a blow to my self-confidence and direction.

The last part of 2013 was a doozy and I realize that I have my long-time request from God; that we would “get” to follow Him and let Him provide for us. Psalm 91 would be our lifestyle. Of course, I had no idea what that would look like. Each month, we have been taken care of by God through people, selling items, random work, and more. The help from peopl was the most aggravating and surprising part for us. We don’t like asking people for help and we really don’t like being on government assistance. I, especially, do not like not having control or know where provision is coming from or when. I know that I am always surprised and feel awkward when people help us out as I don’t know how to receive gifts very well. My biggest disappointment so far is the lack of “purely supernatural” assistance that I have heard so many stories about. I can’t tell you how many testimonies I have heard of gold teeth being given, gems and cash materiaizing out of thin air, debts being paid off, houses being given, bank accounts being filled up and more. Having these supernatural occurences happen are still a dream of mine.

So, here we are in January of 2014. I was awarded a contract for some IT work on the 2nd day of the year and I can see some light in the distance in that arena but am still applying for jobs. Cherie is pursuing some opportunities so she can get out of the house more and be her extrovert self. Eventually this year as we are planning, Savannah will be in some form of day-care/pre-school so she can socialize, we can work and everyone can grow past this season.

It’s been a rough month for my emotions and hope but Cherie is doing well. However, it’s been solidified more and more that Who we are following is more important than our circumstances. We cannot follow jobs, money, churches, movements, family, friends or anything/anyone other than the One who holds our affections and hearts. Jesus is the one who laid it all down for us and we will do what it takes to follow Him. Our current afflictions pale in comparison to the afflictions of others but relative to us, this feels a lot like dying daily so that we can follow Him. He holds the keys to our hearts and if we ever want to glorify Him by being fully alive, we must follow Him. He is The Way, The Truth and our Life. He is the Light of the World shining through us. For us to shine without hindrance, we must throw off that sin that so easily entangles, self-seeking, to run our race and finish well. If He returns before our race is finished in our eyes then at least He will find us.

Our course is set, our Pilot is in charge and no matter how much sense it makes to the patterns of this world, we will go as long as He is with us and for us.

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Damn the torpedoes!

We’re at the Jordan River, waiting to cross over into the Promised Land. The spies have returned and told us there was opposition; giants they said. I look back at the 400 years my family was enslaved In Egypt and all God has done to bring us here. I look at the size and quantity of the fruit the spies brought back. Joshua and Caleb, they believe. My family is the least in the tribe and our only weapon is joy.

I look at the Jordan and the crossing in flood season is scary.

Damn the Jordan.

Damn the giants.

Forget those who won’t go with us.

Cast off those who would stop us.

I don’t care if the whole of Christendom turns away in fear. As for me and my house, we are following Jesus.

We may starve, we may die, but we will more likely prevail. Giants are big but my God is bigger.

We’re going in, we’re crossing over. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

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What a day!

What a whirlwind day for us!

Today was registration day for BSSM 1st year. When I first woke up, we had almost no money (less than $1) in our accounts and soon we will be going to bed with even less. Yet, we had $1500 flow through our hands as if it wasn’t ours because in truth, it wasn’t. A few days ago I helped some friends with a task and they blessed us with $200. The first thing I thought after thanking Papa God was what Patricia King says, “If it’s too small for the need, then it’s seed.” When you are trusting God for EVERYTHING then it’s just a bit easier to not hold on tightly to what is His anyway.

Today, I woke up and checked my e-mail as I often do and I had an e-mail from Craigslist from someone interested in buying our Blazer. We have been trying in VAIN to sell it for at least 3 weeks and we had not had ANY serious offers. Today, by the time I left the house for registration, we had 3 buyers lined up all with cash and wanting to come see the Blazer today and tomorrow. Then I went to registration.

After going through the process, I met with my Revival Group Pastor, Ben Armstrong and he handed me a card. This card was a prophetic word from someone in his revival group from last year. On the envelope was a drawing of me.

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Here is the photo that Ben and team compared it to.

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Before I had even quit my job at the paper and before I ever even thought about going to BSSM, God knew where He was going to send me and that He was going to provide for it. WOW! I mean really, WOW!

Then I left the Civic to go meet a friend and after receiving a LARGE amount of food stored in his garage from another friend, he handed me a check for $300. WAY more than I had ever expected to receive. So, I drove home thanking God because with the sale of the Blazer, that gave us $1500 for rent and all of our other expenses for the month. I was excited. I was tasting the Outback lunch we had talked about celebrating with. I was seeing my wife’s new sneakers. I was seeing the house Papa God started talking to me about. Then I texted a friend to see if he had made it into 1st year.

As it turned out, he needed $1500 today to get into school. Then Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “I have $1500.” Well, shit… that $1500 wasn’t ours to use; it was seed to sow. As I drove home and wrestled with it, He told me He would give us $3000 if we would invest the $1500. I got home and told Cherie what had happened and we couldn’t deny the leading of our best friend, Holy Spirit. We invested the money. I wrote a check and then the Blazer sold for $900. I gave $20 for another friend to get gas. I helped a lady I met this morning get a bed so she didn’t have to sleep on the floor. Why would we do all this? Love. We love not our own lives, even unto death (if that’s what it takes) for the sake of the One who paid for it all. We have freely received so when He tells us to, we freely give.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Follow Jesus (seek His kingdom), no matter the personal cost and tell the story later of Him doing what He loves to do (provide).

Now we get to rest and wait on Papa to do what He said He would do and do what His nature is and provide again. What a day!  🙂

Today we got to be a blessing to more than we expected. Today was a good day.

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