In Matthew 8, a Centurion asked Jesus to heal a servant of his, and insisted that Christ need not see the servant in person but need nearly say the word for the servant to be healed. Jesus said that he had come across no man before with such great faith.
If you have faith in God’s ability to heal, you need nothing more.
Matthew 7:16-17, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”
What type of fruit do you bear? Can people see Christ’s goodness through your actions?
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Cause money can’t buy me love!
Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
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Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
I think we could all do with a little more prayer, and praying for Christ’s presence in the lives of those who are persecuting others is an amazing thing to pray for. Think about it. What if your prayer was enough to evoke God’s influence in someone’s life and change them forever?
Matthew 5:15-16 “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
If Christ is in your life, let others know!
In Matthew 5:11-12, Jesus gives us the command to “rejoice and be glad” when people persecute us and wrongly accuse us of evil because of our faith in him. Why on earth would we do that? Well, I guess that’s the point. There is no reason on earth to do that. The reason is “because great is [our] reward in heaven”. If you’re looking for instant gratification, you won’t find it here. We are in it for the long haul. Our suffering now is nothing compared to the eternity we are promised in the presence of God, and so we can always rejoice and be glad.
At the end of Matthew Chapter 4, Jesus goes around preaching and healing people. More and more people hear about his power of healing, so they come from all over to be healed. In turn, Jesus had the opportunity to preach to them.
If you’re not a hermit, people probably come to you for something. Probably because you have a job and they are seeking your services in something, just the way people went to Christ to be healed. When people do come to you for your assistance you try to help them with what they need. Do you take the opportunity to share with them the Good News of Jesus? After all, isn’t that what we all need the most?
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In Matthew Chapter 4, Jesus is walking around by the Sea of Galilee and just starts calling people out to follow him. How often do we call others to follow Christ? What’s keeping us from doing it?
Okay I’m all settled in with my new job and stuff, so I guess I should stop slacking and pick up my bible. I think I’m going to try to do a study specifically on Jesus’ life this time, so I’ll see if I can’t find some interesting stuff to talk about. I’ll probably end up repeating things that I’ve mentioned in other posts, but you probably won’t remember them from that long ago so it’s okay :P
Starting in Matthew, the temptation of Jesus is the first place where Jesus is really actively doing anything. There are probably at least a zillion different things that you can take away from this encounter, but I’m going to list the two steps that Jesus employs to counter Satan’s temptations.
Step 1: Remember, God provides. Man does not live on bread alone.
Step 2: Understand the context of God’s words, so that you know how to apply them.
I’m pretty sure that any time you hear these verses there is some message about knowing scripture. But what is it that we need to know about scripture? Just knowing what it says isn’t enough. People who know exactly what the bible says argue about what it means all the time, so what’s really important is understanding the context of a given verse so that you can understand what it’s significance is there. For Step 2, we need to know the who, what, when, where, why and how of God’s word so that we can apply it to our lives the way it is meant to be.
The first step is pretty straight forward, in theory. When you are weak it’s hard to think about anything other than satisfying your needs, so you have to remember that God will provide for you if you rely on him. This is something that I definitely have trouble with. For example, I went for a run on Saturday morning since it was pretty nice outside, and it was my first run probably since June or July last year. I just moved here a week ago so I was checking out a trail near my new place and knew where I could loop around to head back but didn’t really know exactly how far it was. Inevitably, I got to the point where everything hurt and I wanted to stop. I started thinking “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and was able to keep going for a bit, and then the thought popped into my head “shit, whenever I get to the point where I have to rely on God to help me finish a run then I’m pretty screwed”. What. Where did that even come from. I made it back, of course; I was only about a mile away from chez moi at the time.
Then it occurred to me, it is really easy to rely on God when you have no control over a situation. No matter how it turns out, there was nothing you could have done about it and the result is just “God’s plan”. What’s /really/ hard, is relying on God when you /can/ change your situation. When you have the option to take an easy way out. When relying on God doesn’t seem to promise an immediate release from whatever situation you’re in. And you know what? God doesn’t always change your course immediately, but he will always step in before you get to the point where you can’t handle it any more. If you keep your faith in those times when it’s hard to trust God, you will always find that he provides. He has proven that time after time. In scripture. In my life. In your life, if you let him.
“You’re too young to be that sarcastic.” - New employee training, got my badge, met my research advisor, got my computer accounts set up, did some reading up on the computing facilities, checked out the library and walked around enough to get lost a little bit.
“I have no idea how to do that…” - Spent the morning getting my computer accounts actually set up, computer security training etc. Met my group leader, got a key to the room with my workstation and ran my first process with MPI!
“What’s all the fuss about” - Spent the day reading about MPI, met the two high school interns who are also working with one of my advisors and got to attend a colloquium from the associate director of the NIF!
“okay, sounds good” - Finished up reading about MPI and then spent the whole day reading through the simulation code…
“He didn’t get anywhere with it…” - Finished going through the code and then sat down with my group leader while he gave me a private lecture for about an hour. We talked about the way the software works and now I finally have things to be working on! Also slipped out early to attend a technical talk on the main campus from someone who works at DIII-D. Also randomly met the lab director while trying to find the conference room.
“And now powerpoint has decided to quit…” - Did some reading about flux coordinates in the morning and brushed up on tensor calc. Spent some time reading about classical and neoclassical transport, and went to another seminar on campus in the afternoon.
“I assume you know how to make this work?” - More reading about neoclassical transport and looking through the code to figure out what’s what.
“‘When you’re young you should do that thing with numbers.’ ‘Math?’” - Submitted my first task to the supercluster! Spent the day playing with the simulation code, figuring out how the queue for the supercomputer cluster works and looking at the output results.
“Segfault” - Spent the morning working with the code and spent the afternoon working on Fulbright stuff because apparently the room with my workstation is also a teleconference room.
“Process ended” - Spent all day trying to implement a restart function and left an hour early because my brain couldn’t handle looking at code any longer.
“Man, there’s a lot of cars in the parking lot, I thought it was National Skip Day…” - My life is fortran. Also the system I was submitting my tasks to was really busy so I didn’t get to run a lot of code.
“Have you read the books? Only one and two? Oh…” - My life is still fortran, except I started cheating and using the GPU server not connected to the queue system. Making progress.
“You definitely don’t want to recompile every time.” - Finally solved the problem! Got the restart function correctly implemented and tested, just need to finish benchmarking its consistency.
“Makin’ booze” - Finished verifying the changes to the code and wrote up a final report on it. Spent the afternoon reading about classical and neoclassical transport.
“I declare a holiday, fall asleep, drift away” - Spent most of the day reading, and finished the day with a colloquium on magnetic waves in rotating plasmas.
“And you already know the meaning of time.* *Time is money” - Spent the day reading and playing around with MPI and different ways for timing code. Finished the day with a colloquium on the history of magnetic fusion research.
“Never parallelize for threads.” - Spent the day reading up on OpenMP and other high performance computing topics. Also spent some time playing around with code.
“I don’t understand. The good thing is that nobody else does either.” - Did a little bit of programming. Snuck along on a new employees tour in the morning and got to see the entire lab site, which was super cool. Went to a seminar in the early afternoon about ELMs and finished the day with a colloquium about old-school climate change.
“I don’t have any idea why that’s in there.” - Spent some of the day playing around with Fortran and OpenMP and spent a pretty good portion working on Physics and Society newsletter stuff as well.
Out of town for Easter!
1 week out
So I’m officially being funded by the DOE to go work at Princeton for the summer! God Provides!
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A summary of the notes I made reading through the bible. Not necessarily representative of the whole story, just the things that stuck out at me the most.
Creation is the greatest miracle in history, and our unique existence allows us the opportunity to have a meaningful relationship with our Creator. Our free will gives us the ability to choose whether or not we want to live our lives by the rules of the Creator, but temptations to play by our own rules are unavoidable and we must train ourselves to not succumb to them. When we choose to follow God, he blesses us in many different ways.
God always listens and will respond when you call on him for help. God’s plan might not always make sense to us and might not always occur on the timeline we want, but if we are willing to follow his lead then through us he can accomplish great things. Following God requires obeying his rules, but the rules are designed to draw us closer to him and keep us from harm. Repentance of sin is necessary to form a relationship with our perfect Creator, and a sacrifice must be made in order to atone for our sin.
God’s rules are pretty simple in principle, but sometimes he has to lay them out in full detail for us to realize that following him is something that should be reflected in every part of our lives. Although we are now without obligation to follow a lot of the old law rituals, we can still get a better understanding of who God is by taking the time to study his commands.
God has a plan, and there is no task too difficult for him to accomplish. Sometimes all we need is faith and patience.
When God makes a promise, he keeps it. If you are faithful to God, you will be blessed.
God is faithful, and there is no greater gift than his love.
Don’t forget how you arrived at wherever you are now. Set your mind on God and don’t let earthly things distract you from seeking him. Don’t let others steer you away from God.
Even the details you wouldn’t expect to be significant can play an important part in God’s plan.
1 Samuel -
You don’t have to be the biggest or the strongest to be successful, you just need to be fighting for God.
2 Samuel -
God works in our lives in many different ways, and the most amazing ones are where we don’t realize he is working until we arrive at our destination.
1 Kings -
Wisdom from God is an extraordinary gift, but doesn’t make you impervious to sin. When sin comes into your life you need to get rid of it asap, because your time on earth really is limited and if you let sin stick around you will miss out on the blessings God has planned for you. Choose to follow God.
2 Kings -
Sin tears us away from God and brings death. In the end, everyone is accountable for their actions. But if you choose to follow God, he will be there for you.
1 Chronicles -
When God is with you, you will have the courage to take action.
2 Chronicles -
God will always put you somewhere that you can be an effective witness for him, but your time in that position may be very limited. Also, it is easy to be lead astray when you are young and inexperienced, so you should seek God to gain the wisdom you need to make the right choices.
No matter how badly you screw up or walk the other way, God loves you and wants you to return to following him.
God’s biggest role in our lives is through our hearts and attitudes.
When God wants to get something done, he gets it done.
God is in control, but he does not cause evil. You can’t blame light for causing darkness. God doesn’t let us end up in awful situations unless they are ones that we can make it through with his help. Following God should be your reaction in any situation, regardless of whether it’s good or bad.
God’s love is unfailing, and trusting in him brings strength and joy.
“let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance”
Life is meaningless without God.
Song of Songs -
This tells the hearts and attitudes of two people truly in love.
God has a plan for salvation. Our Creator cares about us. Seek God’s help, because without him our actions are pointless.
Keep God in your heart, let him be your motivator.
God is faithful, ever-present if we choose to accept him.
Don’t let sin drag you away from God. He will try to bring you back to him, but won’t do so forever.
Even when you find yourself in a bad situation, if you are faithful to God he will set your circumstances so that you may be successful. Seek wisdom from God.
God doesn’t want you to perform mindless traditions, he wants you to pursue a real relationship with him.
If anyone is worth your heart, God is.
God is all-powerful, but only you are in control of yourself.
Pride is dangerous, so always remember that God can take it all away just as easily as he gave it to you.
When God calls you to go on a mission, he doesn’t mean later, he doesn’t mean never, he means now. Your comfort is not more important than someone else’s salvation.
You know what God asks of you, so even if you have fallen down, he will help you back up again if you seek him.
God will take care of you if you trust in him.
When you hear what God has done for us, you will be in awe.
God is offering his mercy to you, and wants to have a real relationship with you.
Without God, you will never be satisfied.
God is all about justice, mercy and compassion.
God is worth your best.
Be a light and serve others as did Christ, the son of God.
Prayer strengthens us and our relationship with God.
Christ came as a perfect example and to separate out those who are obedient to God. If you follow God, he will provide for you.
Christ’s sacrifice is God’s greatest gift to us: salvation.
Share Christ’s message with the world. You will face discrimination, but God is in control.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
1 Corinthians -
God is power, and through him anything is possible.
2 Corinthians -
God should be at the front of your mind always.
Serving Christ means loving others.
This gives some qualities that you should develop, such as patience.
Ask God for help, he will give you strength.
Set your heart on God.
1 Thessalonians -
If God is in your heart then you will always be thankful for what you have and desire to share your happiness with others.
2 Thessalonians -
Let God guide your heart.
1 Timothy -
Set an example for others by living your life as Christ instructed.
2 Timothy -
Scripture is useful for instruction, but as you teach it to others do not argue with them. Arguing is not teaching.
Devoting yourself to God is the most productive thing you can do with your life.
If you want to really understand your faith, share it with others.
Encourage each other in your faith.
Life is filled with so many things. The future isn’t set, so take action to share God’s word and persevere through whatever obstacles arise.
1 Peter -
Serve others as Christ did. Love others as Christ did.
2 Peter -
Strengthening your faith comes from loving others.
1 John -
God is light and truth and love. Because of his love he offers salvation through Christ. The best way that we can love others is to share God’s love with them.
2 John -
Love is obedience to God.
3 John -
Always treat others with God’s love, regardless of whether you know them or not.
Prayer helps build faith.
God is the beginning and the end. Although we may not always understand how he chooses to communicate with us, we can be sure that he has a plan, and that his unending love for us is guaranteed. Eternal life in heaven is gifted to us for accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and for choosing to follow his example.
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… and decided to do it all over again! Who’s with me? :)
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My verse for today is Malachi 1:8, which says “‘When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?’ says the Lord Almighty”. God wants your best and nothing less. Isn’t the Creator of the universe worth it? Hint: yes he is.
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My verse for today is Zechariah 14:9, which says “The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day, there will be one Lord, and his name the only name”. Some day, God will separate us from sin and then he will be the only thing that matters. His name the only name. But unless you let God into your heart, when the sin is removed there will be nothing of you left to be kept in God’s presence. If life without God is all that you are, then it is all you will be for eternity. Make the choice to let God into your life. You will see the difference and never regret the decision.
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