And whatsoever ye do..

Stress has been a common theme in my life lately. I’m preparing to get married on July 31st, and have some very ambitious goals at work. I’ve realized lately that my attitude toward all of this work has neither been God-honoring nor Christ like.

In Genesis 3:17-19, God cursed the ground. Perhaps, though, God not only cursed the ground, but man’s labor in general. One could interpret these verses to apply to all work man attempts. Therefore, man’s work will always bring sorrow, and there will be thorns along the way. Work will always be tough.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

However, God, in His abundant mercy and grace also provides man the ability to enjoy his labor. It’s important to note that God gives man the power to eat, take his portion, and rejoice in his labor, as stated in Ecclesiastes 5:18-20. These gifts come from no where else, and every man would do well to remember that. I am dependent on God to grant me the power to enjoy work.

Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

Paul gives the excellent example of being content in whatever circumstance in Philippians 4:11-13. This verse does not only apply to being content with the good, but with the bad also. When all seems to be going wrong, and there’s stress at every turn, I would do good to follow Paul’s example: be content and find strength in Christ.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Finally, Colossians 3:17 reminds me to do all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God. That’s a tough one; I need to have a spirit of thanksgiving in all things I do.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Work is a blessing that may be suffering under a curse because of sin.

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Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Things cannot love you back

I occasionally read “The Simple Dollar” blog, and found this article to be particularly profound:

“There is no material item on earth that can compare to being cared for by others – and caring for them, too, in a mutually healthy relationship.”

Read the whole thing..

Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bible Translations

The study of the origins of our modern day New Testament translations has intrigued me for the last few weeks. Just as a pass-time, I’ve been researching and considering whether or not one version can be better than another. Personally, I have always favored consulting multiple translations when studying the Bible, as described in an earlier post.

There are certain translations I value over others for different purposes. For example, I’ve always known that some translations tend to be more conservative and translate as accurately and directly as possible from the original Greek. Others use more modern language and sentence structure. I find the latter more beneficial for general overview and getting the big picture quickly. These translations are good for reading large portions of Scripture. I consult the more literal translations for in-depth study of topics or small passages.

I believe each has its place, and as many as possible should be consulted to understand a verse or passage best. However, I have found that many disagree, and that’s where I became interested.

Published in: on November 25, 2008 at 12:27 am  Comments (2)  

Our Leaders

I found this morning’s breakpoint message very interesting and applicable, and I’m reminded of these verses as the election comes to a close:

  • Romans 13:1 – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-4 – I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
  • Philippians 3:20-21 – For our conversation (NIV:citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
  • Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Making Windows XP Tolerable

I can’t help but to share my experience with different operating systems. Technology is something we all need to use at some point in today’s world, and currently, there’s just three different system options. Almost everyone is familiar with Windows, but Macintosh and Linux computers are becoming more and more popular. And, we’re also starting to see some serious cross-functionality.

After using a Mac for an extended period of time, one comes to realize there’s a lot of usability functions and general “eye-candy” missing from Windows. Microsoft made an attempt at fixing this with Windows Vista, but there’s a lot of reasons why I won’t upgrade yet, the first of which is program incompatibility.

There’s a few things that can be done to make Windows XP tolerable.

Themes
A few themes are available that didn’t ship with XP. Typically, themes need to be digitally verified or signed by Microsoft before they can be added. There are ways around this, but they typically involve modifying XP in unsupported ways or installing third-party software.

There are two themes I found that require no modifications, hacks, or third party software.

Application Dock
Apple Macintosh computers have a unique feature called a dock for all applications. The dock exists in place of a Taskbar (which is the bar that includes the start button, quick launch toolbar, running applications, the notification area, and a clock on Windows computers). There are two solutions that provide the same functionality for Windows. Once a dock is installed, the taskbar can be hidden if desired.

Search & Launch
Spotlight is an amazing tool on Macs. It’s an application launcher and search tool all in one. The closest match for something like this in Windows (so far in my web experience) is:

Adium
I miss the Adium chat application! It allowed me to sign-on to all of my chat services at once. Luckily, there was a similar application for Windows:

  • Pidgin – Pidgin requires a lot of configuration before it “looks good”, but all of the same functionality is there. I’d recommend changing the theme by launching GTK+ (which comes with it). I would also recommend unchecking the “Buddy Details” option under the Buddies > Show menu. There’s a few fancy options (such as Transparency) in the Tools > Plugins menu as well.

Enjoy. I hope all of my playing around helps someone in their quest for Windows usability.

Published in: on October 13, 2008 at 5:55 pm  Comments (1)  

First Experience Overseas

Finally, I found some time to post about my experience overseas. Quite honestly, the task has seemed daunting for the past month. There’s so much to say, and so many different things happened. For a while after the trip, I fought with the pictures I, and a few others, had taken. Just organizing them into a few presentations was rough, and I still don’t feel done, yet. Regardless, I felt I needed to get some of my thoughts out there.

About a month ago I had the opportunity to travel, with a few members of my church, to London and to Turkey. Everything about the trip was fast paced, and the 11 day trip seemed to be over much sooner than expected.

London

London was incredible, and I’ve decided that I should return there again, sometime. When we landed, our intention was to use our seven hour layover to briefly tour London, while leaving time to go through airport security twice (once to go out, once to come back in). It was a very ambitious goal, and after security checks, a restroom stop, and underground/tube/train travel, we had just about an hour, maybe an hour and a half to see London. When we got off of the underground train, we walked toward Buckingham Palace, our first stop. After less than five minutes of walking, we started to hear this consistent booming sound. Then, we began to see many people traveling in the same direction we were. We asked a couple near us what the sound was, and they explained that it was the Queen’s birthday and that was the 21 cannon salute. Haha, what timing! We quickly walked the rest of the way, saw a very impressive air show, Queen Elizabeth II, and of course Buckingham Palace. We proceeded to quickly visit Westminster Abbey and saw The Clock Tower (Big Ben). As we finished up and were on our way back, we thought that we should write a book on how to see London in an hour. Everything about what we saw was perfect for the timing.

Turkey

I was amazed at Turkey. It is a very unique place. The purpose of the trip was to serve in a children’s program for parents who attended a conference.

Turkey is, how do I say this, in the middle. It seemed so many different countries and places were within reach. There were so many different people too; a friend and I counted nine different languages. Those were just the languages we heard, too.

On one of the first days there, I went to the beach and saw the coastline trailing into the distance. There were so many houses, so many people, and I was struck by the vastness of the world. I was amazed at the thought that God knows each person, everywhere, and that’s not the end. He knows everything about each “no-end”, creative being.

Later, we began our children’s program, and had a great time. It wasn’t without challenges, though. There were four different teams of people watching over 78 children. Two were assigned to ages up to 2, and the rest cycled through teaching, crafts, and games by their age group. Two people led teaching, one crafts, and three for games, and one other helped as needed. Quite honestly, I don’t think we could have arranged a better team.

Yes, they dumped water on me first, lol.

We also had a chance to go into the city, Istanbul, three times, but every time we went, we didn’t have enough time to see everything we wanted. We saw: the Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Bazaar. Everything was incredible, and I could probably fill an entry the length of this one for each, but that may have to wait..

Overall, the trip was invaluable to me, I had an awesome time and enjoyed both the service aspect as well as the opportunity to tour and see new sites.

Published in: on August 2, 2008 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  

The Gospel

I went to a Catholic service today, with some members of my extended family, and thoroughly enjoyed it, which is strange.  I grew up as a Catholic and eventually found a number of points I disagreed with.  By the grace of God, I found a different church which is more in line with my beliefs.  However, the message preached today was very good.  It was a simple message about faith versus the flesh (this world), and children.

We are instructed to have faith as children have faith (Mark 10:13-16) and avoid the things of the flesh (our sinful nature – Galatians 5, Romans 8).  The faith children have is simple, not weighed down by logic or philosophy.  Don’t misunderstand, I do value logic and philosophy, as well as a good debate, but it is so good to return to a simple strong faith.  It’s good to return to the roots of faith.

I longed to hear the gospel (“good news”) after the service was over, and I was tempted to ask the priest to explain it to me, just to hear what he would say.  This is an area where I could improve in, knowledge of the gospel, that I may explain it with clarity and urgency.  I’m curious, too, if Catholics share the same basis for their faith.

I was reminded of this site.  It has an excellent explanation of the basics of Christian faith and the good news of Jesus Christ.  I was also reminded that Awana has a PDF that explains the gospel very well.

Published in: on July 6, 2008 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Redefining

What’s Going On!?

My life has changed too significantly in the past year to leave this blog the way it has been.  God has consistently challenged me and caused me to grow in my faith, and there is so much more I’d like to share.  I’m now in the middle of life before the middle of my life.  It’s meant to be ambiguous, but you know, it’s where a person is an adult, and just barely has a grasp on what that means.  Where many things make sense, but there is so much room for change.  I like the word quarterlife, but it’s not my word and it has too much associated with it.  Still, some speculate about a quarterlife crisis many in my generation experience.  Maybe that’s why there has been so much change, or maybe, I’m just now starting to understand who I really am or who God want’s me to be.

Sometimes, everything just makes sense, and I know exactly what I want to be involved with.  Most of the time, I’m realizing, I pursue too much.  There’s something about being passionate about having an effect on the world that causes stress.  Who would have guessed?

In this stage of life, I’ve recognized personally that I’ve started to want to make a difference concerning the issues that are closest to my heart.  My worldview is formed and solid.  It’s been challenged so many times before and by God’s grace the core of what I believe has stood firm.  I’m not claiming I have it all together.  I’m just very comfortable with what I believe, and I love talking to anyone about it.

I love this song; it explains exactly how I feel:
“Honesty is a hard attribute to find, when we all want to seem like, we’ve got it all figured out.  Well let me be the first to say that I don’t have a clue.  I don’t have all the answers; ain’t gonna’ pretend like I do.”  – Trying by Lifehouse.

Attitude

Apparently, I’ve become an extrovert.  I was shocked and amazed to find that the once shy daydreamer I was has become the exact opposite.  I find myself asking, is it possible to be both introverted and excited about one’s faith?  One thing is sure, I did not intentionally attempt to change myself.  I was changed by that which I believe in.

Work

This change in direction in my life has both caused, and has been helped by, a change in focus at work.  I started as an applications developer, but grasped the “bigger picture” over the last two years.  There were so many ideas I had, but it was hardly appropriate to act on them.  Since, I’ve distanced myself from programming, for better or worse, and have started managing.  I’m extremely fortunate, thoroughly enjoy my job, and wouldn’t trade this opportunity for any other work experience right now.

Some of the change at work is spilling over into this blog.  Everyone who reads it had to have noticed that the theme changed.  Some probably also noticed the domain name changed too.  I’ve made the switch completely now to WordPress.com from my own site, and while I can’t play with the code anymore and customize to my heart’s content; this is so much easier to manage.

Pride

Redefining my life in this way has created new challenges.  I’ve found new temptations around every decision, every corner.  Feeling more comfortable socially isn’t an easy change and it doesn’t reduce the responsibility to keep control over words said.  Too often, I’m convicted that I’ve unintentionally thought too highly of myself or too less of others.  Pride is such a slippery, shape shifting sin.  Even if it lives in the sub-conscious, it still manages to find its way into my life.  May God grant me grace and those I interact with patience.

This Blog

I expect I’ll still write, as available, about my faith, but there’s so much more I’d like to share in this blog.  This is why I’ve moved and changed the title.  I need the freedom to write about everything that I’d like to share; that’s really what blogging is all about, right?  With that, I look forward to everything ahead.

Philippians 1:6 is my prayer as these changes occur in my life.

Published in: on May 17, 2008 at 11:24 am  Comments (1)  

Self Control

Understand that as I write on self control, I consider myself not to be the best candidate to do so. This is an area in my life in which there is much room for growth and strengthening. However, as I pursue it, I have learned an incredible amount about myself and what I hope to be principles that can help others.

Self control is both a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) and an attribute of a Christian leader (1 Tim 3:2, Titus 1:7-8). It is highly encouraged for all believers (1 Thessalonians 5:8). I’m sure there’s many books on the definition of self control, but for the purposes of this article, I’ll define it simply. It is will over self, the ability to rule or regulate our lives. I’m sure we can all relate it to our tempers, our eating habits, or our addictions.

I’ve realized that there are a few things that help tremendously, and I’m not sure if some are wholly good.  Fasting from food is invaluable for learning self control.  It’s odd that something as simple as not eating food can teach so much.  Through a three day fast, I became more aware of my sinful desires, and awareness of my own thought process allowed me to question whether or not the thought was beneficial.  I had complete faith that God would answer this prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” in Psalm 139:23-24Philippians 4:7-8 was His answer, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  Thinking about all of the things mentioned here is such a great benefit.

Published in: on May 4, 2008 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Moving to WordPress.com

I previously have used wordpress.org (the do-it-yourself version of WordPress) to manage my blog at matthewkeefe.com/blog, but I’ve noticed it’s hard to keep up with updates.  I’d rather focus on the content of this blog than be concerned with the way it looks.  As a result, I’ve made the decision to move to wordpress.com.

Published in: on April 4, 2008 at 7:41 am  Leave a Comment