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Category Archives: Faith

Anything pertaining to my God and my walk to glorify him.

As is the case with everything it starts with God.

I’m speaking to believers here of course, but take the time to really reflect on God and who he is.  Infinite, immutable, omnipotent, righteous, perfect in every way.

Really get in there, think about this.  Sovereign, in control of everything.  Knowing the end from the beginning, working all things to his glory and to the good of those who love him.  The only thing in existence worthy of praise, because through him all things are made.

Now, stop and look at yourself.

Whoring ourselves out to anything that can offer you a quick fix to your immediate pleasure.  Even in our most righteous state, we are still unimaginably self centered and dirty.

Really get in there, into the darkest recesses of your mind where no one but you can hear the most intimate desires of your heart.  Really focus on that for a second, is that desire for God?  Is that desire wholesome?  Is that desire a desire you honestly believe God looks favorably upon?  Sin, is in the heart, not the act.  By sheer desire for a thing, apart from God, we have committed idolatry.  Like disobedient children, we choose our own way, completely defiant and ignorant to the right punishment we deserve.

The wages of sin is death.  There is no other way to look at that.  Now hold that thought for a moment.

Perfect God, compared to fallen man.

Focus on this now for a moment.

We deserve nothing, nothing but wrath.

Really stop and be honest with yourself, innocence vs. guilt.  The guilty should die no?

Yes, by all rights we should die.  Yet, instead of wrath, instead of death, instead of destruction, we receive mercy?

Not only mercy, but we receive God himself, as a living sacrifice to atone for our sins.  To not only die for us, but to live the life we couldn’t possibly live.  One of perfection, of righteousness, then obediently take death on a cross, and separation from the perfect communion with the God head.

We not only received this INCREDIBLE salvation, but we also received a place alongside God as co-heirs to the throne.

We are not worthy.

We will never be worthy.

We owe our everything to God, for his mercy, for his steadfast love, for his promise, for his good nature, for himself.

So how do you love your neighbor?  The same way it began with God, and ends with God.  You love them the way God loves you.

Unendingly, sacrificially, mercifully.


On a more regular basis I’d like to keep a stream of technical write ups, gaming news, theological thoughts, and or general “what’s going ons” with me and my family.  However with a work trip to Houston last week and general slap busy nature of my work since returning home; I’ve not had any time to collect some thoughts and formulate them into a blog post.  I want to hit some high points, and perhaps elaborate on them more in future posts.

High point #1 Samba DC

Ok, so people who have known me for any extended amount of time (from the age of 16 to 30) knows that I’m a Linux fan.  My work and lively hood mind you thrive around a Microsoft world, but I will never sell Linux short, nor fail to marvel at the amazing things that a thriving community of passionate individuals can create.  I also maintain a Linux server out of my home to manage DNS, DHCP, VOIP (TeamSpeak) and File sharing (NFS, iSCSI, and SMB).  I will also, on occasion, bring up outward facing game servers.  Just recently I decided to convert that server into a SAMBA DC for my, primarily, Windows 7 environment at home.

I run CentOS as my server distribution, which is a downstream of RHEL.  I’m running Samba version 3.5.4, at the time of this writing 3.6 is the latest stable release but didn’t offer enough improvements for me to go outside of my natively distributed yum version.

Also, aside from a few changes to the registry and local security policy that had to be made on the client side of the machines, the migration was fairly painless.

The first change resolves the issue of Windows 7 being able to find the domain for insertion, and the security policy solves the issue of Domain Trust at login.  It’s also wise to disable the password reset of the machine to DC to avoid potential relationship issues.  I’d not seen this issue myself, but until I see a confirmation it’s resolved (supposedly coming in samba 4) I’ll err to the side of caution.

My next step will be to integrate Open LDAP functionality into the DC, and an Apache http server.  I assume these will be fairly painless projects, but for risk of breaking my current domain environment I’ll need to wait till I have the time to deal with a potential ldap migration failure.  I also don’t have a strong enough list of pros for it since this is just a home network.  Mind you it’s more sophisticated than the average home network, it just seems a bit over engineered.  As for the Apache server, I really want to get back into some web development so I’d like the internal server for development purposes….

 

service httpd start

Ok, so now I’m running an Apache server off my server as well.  Linux is so hard.

 


 

High point #2 Admin Studio 10

So I was in Houston last week.  I’m now “officially” trained to use Admin Studio 10 for package (msi, app-v, xenapp, and thinapp) development, repackaging, and migration.

So what does that mean?

Well as most of you know I work with a product from Microsoft called SCCM.  One of the primary features of SCCM is application deployment.

So what is application deployment?

Simply put, it’s installing applications to multiple machines over a network.

Ok, I think I see.  So why would you need to do package development to deploy packages?

Well, you don’t have to.  One could feasibly shoehorn an installer given by a vendor, but ideally you want to build out a standardized installer or load for your company.  For us that means I’ll be building MSIs, MSTs, and App-v packages.  As well as isolating application installs that might otherwise break functionality of OTHER applications they share hard drive space with.

Wait, what?  Isolate, break, huh?

Almost all applications rely on libraries.  Think of them as a set of shared instructions that applications go to when asked what to do.  Well in most cases these libraries are shared by multiple applications.  And, sometimes one application wants a vanilla library, and another wants a chocolate.  Well these apps will fight, and one of them will win and another one will lose.  By isolating them I can give them what they want so they don’t break the system, or each other.

Our company will also leverage App-v packages which are essentially virtualized installs of these applications that, although they run locally on the machine, they are actually virtualized (or encapsulated) and are separate from the actual operating system.  Xenapp and Thinapp do the same thing.  I’m particularly excited about application virtualization, it can come with a bit of overhead, but it’s nice and contained.

Ok, I stopped caring somewhere around chocolate and vanilla.

Yea I figured as much.  Either way, it is a tangible notch to my hard skill set and I’m glad that I was able to get it done.

 


 

 High point #3 Gospel in Life

What does a Gospel centered life look like?

What does it mean to be in the world but not of the world?

Is the Gospel as narrow minded to culture as people often proclaim it to be?

What does a Gospel centered community look like?

These are part of the current bible study I’m involved in with my brothers and sisters in Christ called Gospel in Life by Timothy Keller. It’s a great study that forces you to take a look at your heart, your life, and your community and compare it to what and how it is defined in the Gospel. I would recommend this study to anyone who is a believer. Even if the information isn’t new to you, as most of it hasn’t been for me, it’s still food for the soul. A reminder of the higher purpose we are called to as Christians.

Truthfully, I’d encourage non-believers as well to read this study. If for nothing else, than to hold Christians accountable to the teachings that we claim to believe.

 


 

High Point #4 Ignoring my Family

I’ve taken way to long to blog this, and my wife has informed me that I should blog about how I’ve ignored my family, to blog.

When she’s right she’s right.  Thank God for her gentle reminders.

 


/begin spill

I’m not really sure where to start on this, but I feel compelled to talk about how incredible my wife is. 

She consistently supports me when I feel like I’m in over my head.  She allows me to lead, and remains respectful in her dissent.  She maintains and controls what would other wise be anarchy in the home.  She’s an amazing mother, nurturing, and disciplining in equal and proper proportion.  Selfless in her service to her family.  She seeks to find what it is that brings myself and her children the most joy, and works towards those ends.  Her love is a beautiful and humbling thing to behold. 

My wife has a bead on me, and is truly my best friend.  She challenges me to push beyond what I would normally settle for, and is continually used to temper and humble me.  She’s the one person I want to go to bed with, and the one person I want to wake up next to.  I can’t imagine being apart from her, or trying to face this world without her.

Do we fight?  Yes.  Do we always agree?  No.  Do we both love God and trust him to lead us?  Yes.  Do we face trials? Yes.  Does that matter?  Yes. 

God knows what he is doing, and he knew what he was doing when he brought us together.  It pains me greatly that knowing joy through my wife, and my children, I would so quickly have (and did at times) settled for less growing up.  It also makes me realize, this joy pails in comparison to that which I will feel when in the presence of our father.

/end spill

The job market continues to dwindle, government spending continues to rise, and people continue to go hungry.  Marriages crumble, lives are shattered, and hearts are broken.  Wars continue, and families fear for the safety of their loved ones.  Housing market falls, your monetary value shrinking with it, and your bills increase.  Traffic’s at a stand still, gas cost way too much to refill, and it’s all starting to make you feel ill.

So, let me ask this.  What is going right?

Two things we discussed yesterday in church, and it’s wholly gospel related.  Sovereign God, and God Centeredness.

As we see what is falling apart around us, failed machinations that our own sin filled hands have wrought, do we see what he is building?  If God is good and His will is perfect for the good of those who He has called to His purpose (glory); why aren’t we lamenting at his great work in us and around us?  If God is sovereign and we profess his sovereign nature, why don’t we get excited about the possibilities of what is to come when those derailments happen?  Why do we worry so much when we know that He is enough, and that our needs will be met. 

The answer?  God is not enough.

At least that is what our actions and our thoughts cry out as we fight and worry and complain about what is upon us, as if it were something we could control to begin with.  The chief end of man at that point becomes, survive at any cost.  Your focus is you and you’ve abandoned the God who made you.  I’ve abandoned the God who made me.

The truth of that statement is so simple, yet so profound, to realize that you continually fail.  That thought should invoke inside the Christian a heart of repentance and an awe for the grace that has been bestowed upon us.  To realize that we are incapable of saving ourselves, of being righteous and as God centered as we should.  We should be bursting at the seams with joy, to know that we are truly loved and forgiven.

So why aren’t we?

The only answer I have for that is one I find through prayer and scriptural meditation.  I’m designed to worship, but my sin nature drives me to seek immediate gratification.  I want the next best thing, not the one right thing.  My heart is fickle and prone to wander; and love like anything important, requires work.  I have to continually seek his face, to focus on what was done for me, and take stock of what is being done FOR me, and shift the perspective away from done TO me.  We also need to break away from our relative view of what is best for us and understand that we can’t know all angles.  Our God is good, and what is in store for us will be of like nature, and that is something we can rest in.

First I want to define a few things up front before I begin.

 


Grace: Mercy, forgiveness, freely extended to individuals who deserve only wrath.

Belief/Faith: Treasuring Christ above everything, and living in a manner that reflects outwardly the inward Joy of that profession.

Weight: Value or cost of something. Not necessarily a burden, although the cost or value to one might seem burdensome given it’s elevated cost to the one who assumes that weight. (it will make more sense as you read)


 

Recently (this past Sunday) I began a discussion with a friend of mine from church regarding God’s Love vs. His Justice.  I want to outline this briefly to provide a basis for further development.  We know that God’s Justice is perfect, and that our trespasses against an infinitely worthy/innocent/glorious God carries the penalty of death and eternal separation from God.  We also know that by Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice at Calvary we, upon accepting and having faith in him, have his righteousness imputed to us.  This is a legal action, nullifying our transgressions before God and allowing us to be in his presence in fellowship forever.  The question this raises is, why? 

Why would God in his perfect justice offers us, horrible sinners (yes all of us), a free pass?  This we define as Grace, and is fueled by one of God’s other characteristics, his Love.  Stick with me, this isn’t a Rob Bell moment.  We know that Hell is real and not all will receive this pardon or Justification.  So it’s safe to assume at this point, that there is a weight to Grace.  Freely extended, but not freely applied?  Yes, I believe that. 

It all sounds so simple, say a prayer, make a profession, and I’m safe.  True believers know this isn’t the case.  Like the man who finds the treasure in the field and gives away everything so that he can have that treasure.  Did he get more than he gave?  Did he make these sacrifices in sadness?  No, he assuredly received more than he gave, and did so gladly and without regret.  The faith runs deep, is transformational, and works in an equivalent manner.  No, our faith is not works based.  Yes, our works are faith based, and faith is the price of our salvation and reception of this imputed righteousness.

So lets evaluate Faith, and I will keep it very simple here.  Faith as I stated above with belief is placing Christ above everything, including yourself.  The truth is, this manner of living is not unlike living in servitude.  You seek to please your master, with love, through service in accordance to His Will.  You also, were bought and paid for, with his blood which he in turn paid lovingly for you.  Now to a non-believer this cost seems amazingly high.  Both the fact that Christ had to die, and the idea that servitude is the path to freedom.  The truth of the matter is, you are already in slavery before becoming a servant.  If you weren’t, no cost would have been paid for you.  We were all slaves to sin.  That sin drove us to place ourselves above that which deserves Glory (God) and heaps it upon ourselves.  I liken this to slavery, because in this scenario, we are not truly accounted for.  We are another slave, fighting for our own portion, which is maggoty bread compared to what rests on the masters table.  Yet as a servant, we are at the table with our master.  In servitude one is looked after, their best interests met in order for them to greater serve.  It’s a bond of love, and fellowship, sealed in service.  It is symbiotic in a sense, and provides what Sin so readily destroys, harmony or shalom/peace.  (do not read that God NEEDS us so much as he WANTS us)

So what is the weight of Grace?  That isn’t so easily defined, but one could surmise, the weight of Grace is:

The most heinous act in history; which merits the most glorious freedom for the believer.  That price was paid at Calvary, and the price for the believer is: Love, faith, and service for the one who died, and glory for the One who sent Him. 

As John Piper said in a sermon once, (an excellent sermon if you have an hour to listen) and it rings true here.

“We get the savior, He get’s the glory.  We get the great Joy, He get’s the honor.  Is that ok?  Good knight that’s ok!  It can’t be any other way if there is a God and a sinner like me.”

 


 

Parting thought on being a servant…

Lets take a moment to address something else for those who find the idea of being a servant repulsive or indignant. 

In our western culture the idea of “servitude” seems like something that devalues an individual.  We as believers are called into adoption, as heirs, to the throne.  We are not equal, but, part of the family.  How often do you cringe at the thought or service to your parents?  Siblings?  Cousins?  Children?  These are intimate relationships and fellowship, just as the relationship that is formed with the believer and Christ. 

You are cared for, provided for, and loved; but your worth does not exceed the worth of your master.  That does not diminish a thing.  I fully believe that every human is built with a desire to serve, it’s intrinsic to our nature and our happiness.  I do not think this is a coincidence. 

So with that; who or what are you serving?

So our little Maggie moo has had to get splints for her hands to wear while she sleeps.  The purpose?  To encourage her to keep her hands open more often.  The result?  She won’t sleep, at all.  She’s been making a lot of progress and has been very responsive to her physical and occupational therapy, but she has clearly drawn a little baby line in the sand on this one.

On the bright side, it does appear she’s keeping her hands open more, so they are working.  They are also helping us all suffer from sleep deprivation.  Will, having returned from a previous week with Grandma’s (the week before my lan party which was on the 3rd) has finally started to normalize from the spoiling that went down.  I love when he gets to spend time with his extended family, but I loathe trying to get him back into alignment afterwards.  It’s usually not accomplished without me being a iron wall, which no parent truly wants to be with their child.  Poor Amanda hasn’t been as lucky in terms of his best behavior in my absence.  It appears that we are at the point of: “Just wait till your daddy gets home”.  He is our little man though and we love him, he’s tons of fun, full of humor.  Right now with Maggie’s therapy, we are certain he is feeling a bit neglected.  It’s hard to explain to a 3 year old why their sibling is getting more attention than them.

Pray for them both and my wife as well.  These are trying, stressful times for all of us.  There are days where we feel absolutely broken.  We are still blessed, but the world has a way of blinding you from that.


In other news, I’m officially doing OSD testing and building as of the past two weeks.  So another SCCM feature/function/tech that I’ve had the chance to use in an applicable fashion.  So far I’m enjoying it, the initial building and testing though is very time consuming.

I’ve mostly been toying with MDT then applying what I see/learn from there to my SCCM builds.  It’s interesting, but I will assume it becomes less intense after I configure a baseline.

I’m also down to (started at 178) 164 lbs now and down 2 pants sizes from my workout regiment and dietary change. 

That’s all I have for now, for this disjointed blog post.

So as I sit here, still stuck on an energy rush from this weekends excitement and the one to come, it hit me. 

How easily do things grab hold of us and jerk us into new directions.  I’m generally a very focused worker.  I’ve lately been a bit stand offish about my video game play, and been anti gadget.

Yet, here I am, tinkering endlessly with this modified nook, anticipating long hours of play with my friends this weekend, and unable to focus on my job.  Albeit I’m doing my job, its with great determination that I remain on task.

How much more or less is our faith a part of our being when we are so easily pulled this way and that? That our hearts and minds are so easily redirected.  I’m thankful to say that I’ve continued to read the word, remain in prayer, and give glory to God in what I’m doing and in what is being done for me… this time.  This isn’t always the case for me, or for others.  To witness that these idols come and go, serves as an amazing contrast to Gods steadfast nature.  Why would we need anything more? Why do we forget that?  That answer is both simplistic and complex, sin, or that our chief idol is ourselves and not our Creator. 

I’ve always been a bit of an older person at heart.  I never really wanted to be the age I was, but older.  Even as I passed what most people consider the milestone ages; 16, 18, 21, I just wanted to be over 30.  Now I’m not saying 30 is old, quite the opposite these days, it tends to be when most individuals in our country begin to hit their stride.

What’s humorous to me now about the pending 30 is that, I’m not really sure why I ever cared?  My age since 25 (lower insurance premiums, yes) has been a number, and of no value to me.  The thing I see now, in looking back, is God’s grace in getting me here.  I can’t boast in anything I’ve done, I am merely a vessel.  With that, I can’t help but approach this milestone age with some regret that it took me over 26 years to find what I have now, not what I’ve established materially, but spiritually.  I’ve an eternal legacy that’s been building now for 4 years.  That’s infinitely more exciting to me than my born on date passing a 30 year mark. 

To so many people that sounds so foreign and I’m sure a little nuts.  If you are one of those people, I ask you this: What’s your legacy look like?  Surely you feel that desire to be, more?  Why is that?

So my wife and I have been waiting for today.

No, it’s not a holiday or anything special like that.  Today is the day that we take our sweet little girl Maggie to her occupational therapist for review.  This is the day we find out the extent of her trauma from birth.  This is the day that we cling to God the tightest.

We are fearful of what we might find out, we are excited about being taught how best to work with our beautiful little girl.  In the end, God is enough.  We pray that what afflicts our daughter is manageable.  That her quality of life won’t be jeopardized by the news we find out today.  We know that all things to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.  We know that His grace is sufficient.  We know that he is our strength and our portion forever.  So even though our flesh or our children or our jobs or our world may fail us.  He will not.

God will be glorified in no matter what comes from today, I pray that our daughter is healed for his name sake.  That we might proclaim his miraculous work through our daughter.

If you are reading this, please take some time today to pray for us. 

This is so much bigger than us.

 

-Daniel, a loving father


So it’s my 6 year anniversary with my beautiful and loving wife.  My helper, my bride, my best friend, my lover, and my rib.

Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. -Genesis 2:23-25

God has given me more than I could ever have hoped or prayed for in a mate, and I praise him for that.  Through every trial we’ve been through in the past year and are going through this year, I couldn’t imagine anyone better fit to keep me grounded in faith and love than my dear sweet Amanda.

This anniversary was a bit lack luster, we spent most of it doing stuff with our kids as opposed to focusing on us.  There is good reason for that, but I still want to take the time to at least voice my undying love for the woman whom I left behind my mother and father for and become one flesh with.

Happy Anniversary, may we reach 60!