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Below are the 8 most recent journal entries recorded in Robert(Bob) Smith's LiveJournal:

    Sunday, October 31st, 2004
    18:26
    Red Sox and the book of Judges
    I had always wondered how the Israelites could repeat the cycle of slavery, freedom, fall back into sin, go back into slavery, over and over in the book of Judges, and never catch on to what they were doing. Then last week, I was able to see the Boston Red Sox win the World Series, and I got an idea of maybe what happened to the Israelites. You see, to the Red Soxs fans, they were just given a blessing and "freed from slavery". I then got to thinking about what people will think in 5 year... 10 years... 15 years... will they start to forget how special the win was? Will it will lose some of its miracle? Could this be what happened to the Israelites? Were they freed and over time forgot what God had done for them? Had they started to rationalize away their blessing?

    I then started thinking about all the great things in my life which I now take for granted, and I saw that I'm not so different myself. Do I think about the day my daughter was born? Do I think about the day my son was born? Do I remember cutting the cords? Do I think back on my wedding day? Do I remember each day all the friends I have been given?

    Side note: I don't mean to imply that it was God's will that the Red Sox won, and I don't mean to imply that their win was as important as being freed from slavery. *Smiles*
    Sunday, October 17th, 2004
    19:53
    Grand Lodge of Ohio 2004
    I just got back from Grand Lodge in Cleveland, OH (which was held Friday and Saturday), and was honored to receive a commission as a district deputy grand master for Ohio's 3rd Masonic district... installation will be on November 20th. Now, if I can catch up on my sleep before I leave for Montreal tomorrow, I should be fine (I had to get up at 3:30 AM Friday morning to make the drive to Cleveland.)
    Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004
    21:38
    Perl - Problem with HTTP::Request
    When I got to work this morning, Alice (a Unix admin) asked if I would take a look at a problem she was having with a perl install for the engineering department.

    It seems they were trying to use a script they obtained from "somewhere", but when it was executed, it would return an error with the HTTP::Request module. Thinking this would be a quick module install and move on, I told her I would take a look at it. The first thing I did was throw together a quick test script to make sure I could recreate the problem outside of the downloaded script.
    #!/usr/bin/perl
    use strict;
    use warnings;
    
    use HTTP::Request;
    use LWP::UserAgent;
    
    my $ua = LWP::UserAgent->new;
    my $r = HTTP::Request->new(GET => 'http://www.perlmonks.org/');
    my $resp = $ua->request($r);
    
    print $r->as_string();
    if ($resp->is_success())
    {
      print $resp->content();
    }
    else
    {
      print 'Error getting page...',"\n";
    }
    

    I ran the script, and I got the error. I then began to work on the problem... I did about everything I could think of (including reinstalling all the modules), and could not get the script to work. One "interesting" thing which I could not figure out was that the error was with Apache::Request even though I was using HTTP::Request. This afternoon it finally clicked, and I realized what was wrong — some goof had created a symlink for the HTTP directory (under the perl install) which pointed back to Apache directory. I renamed the link, reinstalled the modules, and everything worked fine. I spent way too much time on a simple issue. *Smiles*

    Current Mood: nerdy
    Monday, September 20th, 2004
    10:00
    Trying to understand Calvinism
    Dan Gildner (the youth minister at the church) gave me a copy of an article called "Examining Calvinism" from the September/October 2004 issue of Good News. Until this reading, I had never (that I remember at least) read/seen the five points of Calvinism. Here is what I understand them to be:

    1. Total depravity - We are unable to do good or love God apart from the grace of God.
    2. Unconditional election - God picks who he saves
    3. Limited atonement - Jesus died only for those who God picked in his unconditional election.
    4. Irresistible grace - Those who God picked in his unconditional election "will not be able to resist God's sovereign choice to save them."
    5. Perseverance of the saints - "those who are chosen will persist in faith." — "God in his sovereignty will sustain them in faith and accomplish the final salvation for which he elected them."

    I have been thinking about these five points off and on for a week and a half now. I'm sure there is an explanation, but I don't see how a Calvinist can resolve two of the parables from the new testament.

    From the parable of the prodigal son, we are shown how much happiness there is when one of the lost is found. Given this as true, how would a Calvinist explain the parable of the sower? I'd think the seeds which were eaten by the birds is the message which was heard by those not elected, and the seeds which fell on fertile soil is the message heard by those who were elected. How about the seeds which fell on the shallow soil or the plants which were choked out by the thorns? To a non-Calvinist, these are those who received the message, but later make the choice to "leave the path". However, to a Calvinist (if I understand the five points correctly), these people would have to be in the group which was not elected by God because of the "Perseverance of the saints" (5). Does this, then, imply that these last two groups are people who heard the word, and responded to it, but because God did not elect them, were not able to persist in their faith? Would a Calvinist believe God pulls a "psych-job" (for lack of a better term) on these people? "I thank you for responding to me, but, sorry, you were not picked". I know I'm probably WAY over-simplifying that, but those two parables seem to conflict when viewed as a Calvinist.

    Current Mood: contemplative
    Friday, September 3rd, 2004
    22:26
    Bible - Jude
    My latest reading comes from the book of Jude. Contained within this short book is one passage which has struck a chord with me:
    And now, all glory to God who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy.Jude 1:24 (NLT)
    I used to think when a person became saved, there was some magic light that turned on and they were, from that point forward, non-sinners. I now know that not to be the case. Each day I have to ask for God's help to do what is right, and even when I try not to, I still find myself doing wrong. All I can do is ask for forgiveness, try to learn the lessons God is trying to teach me, attempt to do better, have faith in God's love and thank Him for his limitless grace.
    Wednesday, September 1st, 2004
    20:45
    Bible - 1 John
    Tonight, I read 1 John. Part of chapter 2 reminded me of the song "American Dream" which I listed yesterday.
    Stop loving this world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)
    Love of the world and the comforts and pleasures it offers is a sure path away from God. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us:
    "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one, and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.Matthew 6:24 (NLT)
    Does this mean all Christians should be poor? I don't think so. Look at Job — he was a man of wealth, and he was also a man of God. The problem is in priorities. Your priorities reflect you heart... it shows who you serve. If your priority is in the accumulation of wordly things, then you do not serve God. If your priorities are in serving God, it makes no difference if you have wealth (Job) or not.
    Tuesday, August 31st, 2004
    14:34
    Perl - Special Thanks
    I would like to add a quick thanks to dragonchild from Perl Monks for showing me a better way of initializing the TRUE and FALSE constants I often use in my perl scripts.

    My old method was:
    use constant TRUE    => 1;
    use constant FALSE   => 0;

    The new way is:
    use constant TRUE    => !!1;
    use constant FALSE   => !!0;
    This not only sets the constants to perl's intenal "boolean" values, but will also make sure I do not use them in mathematical operations.

    Current Mood: thankful
    12:01
    Current music
    Three CDs seem to be getting played more than anything else -- "Conversations" (Sara Groves), "The Other Side of Something" (Sara Groves), and "Casting Crowns" (Casting Crowns)

    First off, I must say that Sara Groves' music is pretty amazing -- I can relate to many of her songs ("Conversations", "Hello Lord", "Painting Pictures of Egypt", "How Is It Between Us", and "What I Thought I Wanted" just to name a few.) As for Casting Crowns... I originally picked up the CD for "If We Are The Body" (which I had heard on the radio a few times and really liked), but I really enjoy the entire CD. I also ended up relating to one song I had never heard -- "American Dream".

    It seems many of us buy into the "American Dream" -- to work hard and have all the things we want... to "keep up with the Jones'" The unfortunate thing is while we are our trying to accumulate more "stuff", we miss out on what is really important.

    American Dream
    All work and no play may have made Jack a dull boy
    But all work no God has left Jack with a lost soul
    But he's moving on full steam
    He's chasing the American dream
    And he's gonna give his family the finer things

    Not this time son I've no time to waste
    Maybe tomorrow we'll have time to play
    And then he slips into his new BMW
    And drives farther and farther and farther away

    So He works all day and tries to sleep at night
    He says things will get better;
    Better in time

    'Cause he works and he builds with his own two hands
    And he pours all he has in a castle made with sand
    But the wind and the rain are comin' crashing in
    Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands
    His kingdom stands

    His American Dream is beginning to seem
    More and more like a nightmare
    With every passing day
    "Daddy, can you come to my game?"
    "Oh Baby, please don't work late."
    Another wasted weekend
    And they are slipping away

    'Cause he works all day and lies awake at night
    He tells them things will get better
    It'll just take more time

    He used to say, "Who ever dies with the most toys wins"
    But if he loses his soul, what has he gained in the end
    I'll take a shack on a rock
    Over a castle in the sand

    Now he works all day and cries alone at night
    It's not getting any better
    Looks like he's running out of time

    'Cause he worked and he built with his own two hands
    And he poured all he had in a castle made with sand
    But the wind and the rain are coming crashing in
    Time will tell just how long his kingdom stands
    His kingdom stands

    All they really wanted was you
    All they really wanted was you
    All they really wanted was you
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