Friday, March 18, 2011

Direct from Japan

One of the members of the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club has a friend who is in Japan right now.  He posted this message on our club forum giving a first hand account of what life is like over there.  Thought I would pass it along so folks could get a little more insight as to what is going on in Japan as opposed to what we hear through the news channels.
Dear friends,

Thank you again, everyone, for your thoughts and continuing pray. It's almost 1 week from last Friday.

For many of those who have been asking me update, I will some.

Nuclear plants issues we hear each hour have been unbelievable and shake my heart. There was another really big earthquake last night near Mt.Fuji that we also felt a lot even in Shiga, and that area also has nuclear plants. Weather has been also absolutely unusual these days. It's snowing here over the last couple of days as we had about 10cm snow this morning (in the middle of March!!), so this means the devastated area have more snow and cold. This unseasonable coldness put people inside of their houses/buildings where they would use so much electricity to stay warm. That makes much huge scale of blackout. Can't provide enough power to the damaged area... Vicious circle... Everything is just completely unexpected and scary.

Thank you also for sending hundreds rescue teams & specialists from all of your countries, They have been wonderful support.

After that biggest earthquake, hundreds of bigger aftershocks in whole norther east parts (Tofoku) & Tokyo area -> bigger 3 and more in Nagano -> many here and there includes a smaller one but heart-shaking one in Shiga -> a couple of in Gifu where is just east next to Shiga -> a really big one near Mt.Fuji -> another bigger one in Nagano -> A big one in Tokyo area yesterday -> many smaller but really close to us... Just too many aftershocks everywhere and too scary. Next one can be at any time anywhere. When you open the earthquake record in Japan, you see over 200 aftershocks each day still now. So, in whole nation, people tends to feel like "It's coming this way!!!!!!!", you know. It has been making people get crazy as they go and buy anything before something happens around them, any kind of food, water, drink, battery, candle, gasoline, blanket, tissue, toilet paper, under wear, spare outfit, just anything to live!, as if they are forgetting all the victims have been in much MUCH MUCH needs of those things for further looooong time. Absolutely chaos we have never ever seen before, in all over the country. With this speechless & measureless fears, thousands of foreigners living in Japan are leaving for their safer home. Can't complain at all.

These too much craziness are shame, but on the other hands every single people personally and most of Japanese companies are supporting the victims and the disaster sites and the rescue teams in many ways they can, like saving unnecessary electricity at any buildings(so that we can assist the damaged electric power company in Tokyo), reducing all kinds of power, raising donation money/goods, stopping unnecessary/non-urgent business trips then send the saved-money to the devastated area instead, etc.

Also I am very proud of Japanese people and being a Japanese. Tears come down unconsciously with many of these sweet messages.
Yes, we all Japanese will cope with, helping caring each other as we are always.

Scheduled blackout has been done in whole area in Tokyo and several major prefectures around. It's been making more chaos with million people. However, it is not as much as we expected. Surprisingly but as we could imagine, people have been caring each other very well. No car accidents with no traffic lights-on with million cars driving by in such major cities. This is impressive. Yes, people's kindness and caring are shining through in this crisis.

My brother's LakeStars has been doing great as well in this time. All their games were canceled this past weekend by the league decision as other all pro sports events were same, but instead, they had charity at a gym near here where they were supposed to play games, in order to raise donation money & goods. Since I have been so irritated not to be able to do anything for the victims and the damaged places, I grabbed my sister and collected as much money & new practical goods as possible we could get from our houses, then went to the gym. Guess what? Almost 5000 fans came up and LakeStars raised 5,300,000yen($53000)!!!! and a gym-full donation goods over the weekend. (they raised 1,500,000yen more during this past Mon-Wed!!!, so they totally did over 6,000,000yen($60000)). All of them were sent to the damaged cities today. Best team! Best fans! Again, yes, I am so proud of Japanese people and being a Japanese.

Some of you asked me if I could get through my friends in Sendai yet, where is one of the most damages cities. Thank you for your thoughts. I tried to call them many times since then, during lunch time from work, at night from home. But phone line had been too busy, and it took me 5 days, and I finally was able to hear from them last night!!!!!!! What a great relief... They live very close to the local airport where was sank by Tsunami & rubble but fortunately the flood didn't reach their house. Thank God. However, they lost many friends and relatives and neighbors, have no water, no gas, no gasoline, yet, though only electricity is back from yesterday. They say their area looks like a hell (TV shows only "nicer" issues...) but people there will never give up and carry on. Please keep praying for their further future. Other our friends in Tokyo area are all safe.

Many of you asked how you could help Japan. Maybe one of the ways is donating to Japanese Red Cross.
That would be so much helpful.

My family and myself have been doing well. Everyone is terrifying to see any videos about the devastation, but we have been saving any kind of power and money and goods to send them to the victims again. It's been extremely cold for March, roads got icy and bumpy, but we don't complain at all thinking of all the victims evacuating in much colder air.

We feel all of your thoughts and that make our hearts so warm.
Thank you so much. We truly appreciate.

Stay safe.
Thinking of you all,


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BSM Colossians Study - Wk 2 Pt 3

OK, so time got away from me this past week and this final entry is late, late, late.  But it was worth it as I went ever so slightly off on a tangent that was quite rewarding for this final part.  I actually started this last post of this week's study last night.  It started out addressing the question of what Paul is needing clarity about in v4 of our key passage for the week (Col. 4:3-4) -
3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison — 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

The question really goes to what "it" is referring to in the sentence.  But before I get into that (hint - covered in the first two parts), I took a look at some translations to see how the word "clear" came out.  For this particular passage it tended toward one of two words:
Col. 4:4 (ESV) - that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak

Col. 4:4 (ASV) - that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

Col. 4:4 (TNIV) - Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

Col. 4:4 (NKJV) - that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

We have clear/clearly or manifest.  I decided to look up manifest.  My initial thought is to define manifest as making something tangible, but that doesn't really fit in this context.  The definition I found was "easily understood or recognized by the mind".  So by this, Paul is indicating he wants to make "it" easily understood.  That makes sense and it works if we use the translation of "clear" as well.  So looking up a word I thought I knew pays off!

Oh, but I wasn't done yet.  I decided to do a search on the Greek lemma for φανερόω.  This returned 49 hits in the ESV (and I decided to search for it in the NKJV as well and got 49 hits there as well, although the verse count differed - 44 verses in the ESV and 43 in the NKJV).

There was quite a bit of variation in how the Greek was translated as well - manifest, appear, reveal, seen, show, display, known, visible, plain and a few others.  Although there were lots of different translations for this one Greek word, I think we can see the concept is very similar.  And if I kept the definition of manifest in mind - making something easily understood - it added some richness to the reading of some other passages.

For example, in another passage from one of Paul's writings, Titus 1:2-3 -
2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 3 and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior

we see the claim that God "made clearly understood" the hope of eternal life through Paul's preaching (and note how this is similar to the ideas I am studying in this week's Colossians passage).  But it was not just Paul who used it in this way.  Check out these passages from Peter and John -
1 Peter 1:20 - He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

1 John 1:2 - the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—

At least for me, if I read those passages and use this idea of something being made easily understood or known in place of manifest, it helps me understand a little better what the writers were trying to communicate.  I even found a passage where Jesus used the same word (John 17:6) -
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

We see Jesus in this prayer indicating that he has made God's name easily understood and known to the people.

It is not without some sense of irony that I note how much studying I've had to do to get to where I understand things are to be easily understood.  I tend to think this is probably due to all complications we humans bring to the table.

Building on my earlier work, the "it" refers to the mystery of Christ - that is, God's plan for us and his creation as revealed through Jesus.  And if we each believe in Jesus as our savior, God's plan is with each of us.  We are not cut off from it nor do we have to go through others - all we have to do is turn to God's Word in order to understand it.

The BSM study asks a couple concluding questions for the week.  First, how can we experience the mystery of Christ more often?  Second, what would change about our current circumstances if we experienced the mystery of Christ of more often?  The answer that immediately comes to my mind is to spend time reading the Bible, some time in prayer, and some time thinking about (and doing!) how we can follow the model revealed to us through Jesus.  I suppose everyone's circumstances are different so the change will be very different for everyone.  I think at the very least everyone would experience some more peace in their lives no matter what circumstances they are dealing with.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 14, 2011

BSM Colossians Study - Wk 2 Pt 2

A short post this evening to follow up on Part 1 of the second week of my Colossians study.  When I left off, I was exploring the concept of Christ as mystery.  The BSM study guide concludes the study of mystery with the question of what Paul's understanding of the mystery of Christ prompted him to do and helped him to understand.

I think the answer to that question is probably found in Eph. 1:10 in which God's plan includes "unite all things in him".  Paul is able to see that this includes Gentiles as well as Jews.  In taking the Gospel to the Gentiles, Paul was willing to go to prison and suffer persecution to try to help "all things" become united with God.  In my next part, I'll take a look at what we may be able to do now with this understanding.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More GTD Mods - Adding Superfocus to the Mix


One of the recurring topics here on the blog is my attempt to improve my productivity.  My main method for staying on top of everything I have to get done is the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology.  My last mention of it was when I got my new HTC EVO a couple months ago and the search for a replacement app for ToDo by Appigo.  After some testing, I ended up going with Got To Do.  It has served as a more than capable replacement.

Outside of the digital search, something else I had done was introduce a new context - Actions - Urgent, for things I really needed to get to during the upcoming week.  In general, I felt like that was a positive change.  For the most part, the things that need to trickle up to the top of the list do so.  And it has caused me to be much more diligent about conducting my weekly reviews. The only problem is that over time the line has been blurring between items that are really urgent and need to be completed in the upcoming week and those that are just next actions.  This has resulted in some frequent adjustments to the tasks.

One of the mailing lists that I am on is a GTD list and a recent discussion had to do with a comparison of the Do It Tomorrow methods with GTD.  So I did some research into this methodology created by Mark Forster and just finished reading Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management.  There were some interesting concepts in there, especially on tips and techniques to stay on task and to avoid the effects of procrastination.  Also some interesting bits about two "parts" to our brain - the rational part and the reactive part.  The reactive part is what wants to avoid work, so the rational part has to use some tricks to get past those defenses.  Can't really say there was a whole lot as far as a methodology.  I'll probably be able to use some of it in my work.

Of more use has been something I found on Mark Forster's web site about a concept called SuperFocus.  I gather from some of what I've read, this is a successor to another methodology he created called AutoFocus (maybe up through version 4?).  You can read the web site for information on how the system works.  One downside to it is that there is a dearth of apps for SuperFocus.  I did find one for Android - ActionFocus - but I still haven't fully tested it.

The system seems to be much more centered on a low tech paper and pen approach.  And here I am on a paperless digital life list as well, introducing a paper system into my life.  Anyway, I invested in a MoleSkine pad and a dedicated pen.  At this point, I am basically taking the items from my Actions - Urgent context in GTD and moving them over to the first column of the SuperFocus pad.  I've been using the system for about a week now and I do think I managed to complete more than I normally would have.

The strength of the system seems to be in helping me to focus on the activities and tasks that I really need to get done instead of them getting lost in the relative noise of the GTD system.  Combined with some of the techniques from DIT, I think I can squeeze even more productivity out of myself.

Of course, there are some weaknesses to the system as well.  First, the aforementioned low tech approach.  That leads to the second weakness - I can really only use the Moleskine for one folder.  In this case it is work.  It does not really seem suited to adding in tasks and actions from some of my personal activities without introducing a new Moleskine (ideally, one per folder, but I could possibly limit it to a second "Personal" folder and combine stuff from GTD).

Early indications are that the SuperFocus technique will be an effective extension of my GTD methods and will help me get things done once they have trickled up to be at or near the center of my focus.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

BSM Colossians Study - Wk 2 Pt 1

Clearly I'm late in posting anything this week, but I'll still have at least a couple posts as I continue my study of Colossians.  This week started with another reading out loud from Colossians.  This week it was Col. 1:1-4:4.  Our main passage of focus this week is Col. 4:3-4 -
3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison — 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

The first question to address as we reflect on this passage is what should we be praying for.  I could possibly go into the answer being an ability to "declare the mystery of Christ" - that is, sharing our testimony and our faith that others may receive the Word.  I think the more immediate answer comes from "for us", in which Paul is asking those in Colossae to pray for him.  I would suppose by that extension, "us" also includes those who may be in prison with him or elsewhere "on account" of their preaching.  So one possible group we should be praying for are those who are persecuted for their faith.  The second possible group would be those who are "leaders" in the church.  Paul recognized that, even in his position, he still needed the prayers and support of others.

The second question is "who opens doors".  The answer to that should be pretty obvious - God.  I was a little surprised the BSM study guide didn't ask what was meant by "a door" in v3. (Note - add that to my GTD someday/maybe list of items to study).

Moving on, the next point to study is the term "mystery" that Paul uses to describe Christ in v3.  A search on the Greek μυστήριον resulted in 27 hits in the NT.  Pretty consistently, the word is translated as either mystery, mysteries, or secret.  Paul uses the word earlier in Col. 1:26 -
the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.

and again in Col. 2:2 -
that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,

Again we see in this second passage that it is pretty clearly indicated that Christ is the mystery.  Not Christ is a mystery - Christ is the mystery.  So what is this mystery?  A word study indicates mystery usually refers to some unknown that can only be discovered through some divine revelation.  In the OT, this was usually accomplished through some designated intermediary (Myers, A. C. (1987). The Eerdmans Bible dictionary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans).

This quality of the mystery being obtained only through revelation is reinforced in the NT in Eph. 3:3 -
how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.

where we see Paul indicating that the mystery was made known to him through revelation.  The BSM study guide included that passage along with others in Ephesians (Eph. 1:9, 5:32, 6:19) that may help us understand Paul's use of the word mystery.

Another quality frequently associated with the idea of the mystery is that it is eschatological in nature.  That is, it has to do with end times.  Not in the sense of us knowing when the end may occur, but more in the sense of what God's ultimate plan may be.  We find a clue to this in Eph. 1:9-10 -
9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

We see here the plan is to unite all things, both in heaven and earth.  Trying to piece this together, we get a sense that the idea is that the mystery has to do with how God will ultimately reconcile his creation back to a state of holiness with him.

While we now have some understanding of what the mystery is, I suppose the question still remains as to how Christ is the mystery.  According to Opening Up Colossians and Philemon, (McNaughton, Ian S. Opening Up Colossians and Philemon. Leominster: Day One Publications, 2006), Christ represents the mystery in that Jesus can now dwell within each of us.  So within each of us, through our faith, we can access the "love, joy, and peace" of God.  Note the difference between this and the earlier note about the OT mystery only being accessible through intermediaries.  There are no walls or veils to separate us from God.  Christ provides each of us access to God.

Quite a bit to ponder with this post.  There is a bit more to this particular topic of the mystery of Christ, but I think I will leave that for the next post.  Until then, enjoy pondering these questions yourself!

Monday, March 07, 2011

BSM Colossians Study - Wk 1 Pt 4

This is the final entry for week 1 of the BSM study of Colossians.  Unlike the last three where I had to do some actual research and writing, this is a pretty quick post.  Really it just consists of some questions to ponder and a challenge for the upcoming week.

First, name four things to be thankful for.

Second, name three things to watch for.

Then consider how your life might be different if you were to focus on these things and even make changes in your life based on them.  Would things be different?  Would you be a different person?

BSM suggests doing/considering these seven items for a week to see if any habits develop (way too short a time for a habit to develop imo).  Reflect and pray not only on these questions during the upcoming week, but think about some of the ideas I've written about in the first three parts.

Be on the lookout for the week 2 postings to start in a day or two.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

BSM Colossians Study - Wk 1 Pt 3

Our next step in this week's study of Colossians is to consider the idea of "being watchful" as found in Col. 4:2 -
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

My study guide mentions it doesn't mean "worryiing".  I found that a little odd as I wouldn't have thought of that as the meaning anyway.  A search on the Greek word (really the lemma) used in the passage (γρηγορέω) resulted in 22 matches in the NT.  A search of the ESV resulted in 37 matches.  The Greek meaning comes back to four primary ideas - "stay awake", "watch", "be alert", "wake up".

Should be pretty clear this is a word that may be of particular note in the context of this blog (see Mark 13:34-37) which uses the same word that Paul uses in the Colossians passage.  Besides the Gospel use of this word, I found a similar usage in Rev. 3:2-3 where the church in Sardis is given a similar warning about waking up so that they will not miss the return of Christ.

The BSM study guide suggested reading Gal. 5-6 regarding this word, which did not pop up in my search on the Greek, but it did when I was searching the ESV.  In Gal. 5:15 we read:
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

and in Gal. 6:1 we find:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Both of these passages seem to focus more on watching out for our own actions and attitudes so as not to fall prey to earthly problems and temptations.  Not so much watching for the return of the Master.  So it is a different spin.

I think one reason the BSM study guide is connecting these Galatian passages with Col. 4:2 as it seems to fit the context of Paul's writing.  As you may recall from my previous post, when writing this letter Paul was aware of divisions in the church at Colossae.  So we have two passages that have to do with watching our brothers (note - in a spirit of gentleness).  This is for the purpose of helping avoid temptations.

If we were to take that concept and apply it to prayers being done while watchful, we might be able to conclude that Paul is urging those in Colossae to use their prayers in a way that will help them not fall into the false teachings and in a way that will support each other.  This might also serve them to avoid approaching prayer from the perspective of supporting their own position - that is, avoiding the trap of division that Satan may be laying for them.

Se we have two possible ways to engage in prayer in a way that is watchful.  One is to help us avoid the temptations of this world.  The other is to help us remain ready for the return of Christ (which might be an extension of avoiding the power of this world).

Ponder on this and the previous postings.  I'll have one post related to Week 1.  Until then, reflect and pray on what I've covered so far.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

BSM Colossians Study - Wk 1 Part 2

Yesterday's post laid out the start of this Bible study I am trying to pursue for the next eight weeks.  Yesterday's post described a quick survey of the words thankfulness and thanksgiving in the NT, keyed off of Col. 4:2.  Tonight we continue to the focus on thanks, but limiting it to three passages in Colossians. They are the previously mentioned Col. 4:2 -
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Col. 1:3 -
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,

and Col. 3:15
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

The study guide asks us to ponder Paul's view of thankfulness, when he is thankful and why he is thankful.  A couple "setting" issues may be helpful to our understanding.  First, Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote this letter.  And we should probably keep in mind that not only was he in prison, he was in prison because of his faith in Christ.  The second item of note is that the church at Colossae was having some trouble as well.  The commentaries I got through all indicate this was due to a faction that was perverting the Gospel, some specifically calling it out as Gnostics doing this.  By Gnostics, the reference is to some believers who believed in a dualism between the spiritual/heavenly world and the material world.  Probably most concerning to Paul were some of the teachings of these Gnostics that one had to achieve a special knowledge in order to be "saved".

So, Paul was located in a bad place physically (prison) and dealing with the hardship that entailed.  And he was trying to deal with a group of people who were causing all sorts of drama and strife for a church (to put it mildly).  It seems to me it would be easy for someone in that situation to "write off" the people at the church.  I know sometimes when I have to deal with people causing problems, especially when it is not something directly affecting me, it is very tempting to treat them as "out of sight, out of mind".  Why waste my time on them, right?  And for someone in prison or some other difficult situation, it becomes even easier - "hey, I have my own problems to deal with."

But in v1:3, we see Paul still giving thanks for those in Colossae when he prays.  In v3:15 we see him urging those he prays for to also be thankful.  Note that being thankful is included in this passage along with letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.  It is not just having that peace - it is being thankful also.  And finally, we see in v4:2 that he urges believers to include thanksgiving when praying.  And since prayer is a continuous action, thanksgiving is a continuous action as well.

I will note that the commentaries I reviewed mentioned one of the concepts I noted in last night's post - the idea that prayer and thanksgiving go hand in hand with each other.  And as we see, always praying and giving thanks, includes those times and situations when we think we are burdened and it should include others who are struggling.  As one commentary put it, giving thanks is:
a biblical world-view that God is with us and for us even amidst the difficulties and circumstances of this fallen world!
Utley, R. J. D. (1997). Vol. Volume 8: Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison (Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, then later, Philippians). Study Guide Commentary Series (45). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

As I close out this installment, I think the one issue that could use a little more reflection is why Paul is thankful.  I think I may sleep on that and see if something makes more sense to me tomorrow night.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

BSM Colossians Study - Wk 1 Part 1

OK, I really have no idea of what I am about to write or how this is going to pan out.  As you might have figured out from the title, this is not only the first of what I anticipate to be several posts on this subject, this is the first week of several weeks.  Is that how it will work out?  I do not know.  But I am just going to start writing and maybe this will turn into something that actually requires multiple parts.  And rest assured, for this particular entry I have a few notes put together, but I haven't really given any thought to structure, so who know how disjointed this will be.

Now that you've been warned that you may be wandering in circles in the forest if you try to follow along with me, onto a description of the content.  I recently started receiving Bible Study Magazine.  Each issue (well, the two I've received so far) has an 8-week Bible study plan in it.  I'm going to give this issue's study plan a try and I figured I would share the journey via some blog posts, maybe some Twitter and FB updates.  With this being the second day, I'm already seeing I could spend a whole lot more time on each topic, but I'll try to keep the pace BSM has established.

This particular study plan is titled "Being Like Jesus" and is a study in Colossians.  The first week is on Why We Pray.  The first step is to read the entire book of Colossians in one sitting.  But there is more.  It should be read out loud (that is how it was originally meant to be communicated).  I did that last night after giving my wife fair warning that I had not lost my mind (after all, how many times do you hear anyone read more than a couple sentences of anything out loud).

On this second night, the first item to address is Colossians 4:2:
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

I did compare this text from the ESV with some other translations.  A frequent translation for "continue steadfastly" seems to be "devote".  Watchful tends to be the same although I found a translation that uses "alert mind".  Thanksgiving is kind of all over the place - thankful, thankful heart, thanks.

BSM indicates the ideas of thankfulness and watchfulness are key concepts.  So the first stop is to do a little more research into the idea of "thankfulness".  I did a search of the NT on thankfulness (which also returned hits on "thanks") which yielded 56 results in 53 verses.  A few common threads seemed to emerge:

  • Thanks was used during the miracle of the loaves and fishes;

  • Thanks was used during the institution of the Lord's Supper;

  • Throughout the NT it was frequently used to express thanks to God;

  • It was also used when urging believers to give thanks for each other;

  • Many passages use wording similar to Colossians 4:2 in that thanks are given as part of prayer and that prayer should be an "always" activity.

A coupld passages did stand out to me.  First was Romans 1:21 -
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Here Paul was describing unbelievers and I noted that they failed to do two things - honor God and give thanks.  Combined with their foolishness, they are headed down a dark path.

The other passage was 1 Corinthians 14:17 -
For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up.

I found this interesting in that one of the results of giving thanks should be to build up others.  To me, this starts to touch on the ideas of mission and the Great Commission - part of our duty to call others.

With all of these passages, I noted that Philippians 4 did not pop up and BSM had specifically mentioned this as a chapter to consider.  Looking at it, I decided to do an additional search on the word "thanksgiving".  This yielded 13 results.  Of these, once again two passages seemed particularly noteworthy.  First up is 2 Corinthians 4:15 -
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Here we see that an increase in thanksgiving is connected to the glory of God.  That probably struck me after studying the doctrine of Soli Deo gloria last year.  The other passage is Philippians 4:6 -
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

This passage describes how our prayers are to be done with thanksgiving, echoing the same idea found in Colossians 4:2.

And that is where I will leave things at the end of this night.  If all goes well, I suppose I will have another entry tomorrow night that continues this study.  If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

What Do You Mean, "Throttle back"?

Seems so much effort is put into doing things faster, more efficiently, with more power, etc., it is an oddity when I have to seek out a solution to a problem that requires slowing things down.  But I just had to do that recently with my laptop.  Seems I have a fan that has gone bad and when the cpu gets used intensively, it heats up to the point the laptop will shut itself down in an effort to save itself from turning into a molten pool of electrical bits (and possibly burning down something like say, our house, in the process).

I have a challenge though with some software I run - Logos Bible Software - that I use for Bible study.  Whenever the indexer runs, it will peg the cpu at as close to 100% as it can get.  Only a few minutes of this will raise the cpu temp to a critical level.  This is normally not much of a problem as once the indexer runs the "first time" it doesn't have to do much after that.

However, the "first time" occurs after the software is updated in a way that requires a new index to be built.  That happened this week.  So now the indexer is starting from scratch.  I figure it would normally be about a 2 hour job to index everything if the fans were working properly.  No telling how long it would take if I had to sit here and keep pausing and restarting it.  In about 30 minutes last night I made it through about 7%.  But killing the indexer causes it to start over.

This led me to look for something to help control how many cpu cycles are being consumed by the indexer process.  My first try was to just try to set the priority lower (to the lowest level available).  That worked a little bit, but eventually it wound itself up into the 80%+ range which is enough to raise the cpu temp to the critical level given enough time.

A search of the web led me to Battle Encoder Shirase (aka BES), a small utility that let's you place a limit on a process.  I put that on and set it to limit the indexer to no more than 60% cpu usage.  Thus far it seems to be working well.  cpu usage is limited as it says it does and the cpu temp is holding in an acceptable range.  The drawback is the indexing is a lot slower.  In roughly 45 minutes it has completed about 15%.  But at least I can step away and work on some other stuff.

So nothing really amazing, but just wanted to report on an issue and a solution.  Never know when it might help someone else.