The Highs and Lows

21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing. – 1 Kings 18:21 (NIV)

The showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal ended with God answering with fire from the heavens. The people believed that the Lord is God on that day and the prophets of Baal were slaughtered. The Kishon Valley ran with the blood of four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. God had answered Elijah’s prayer in verses 36 and 37:

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

God answered another prayer that day, as a heavy rain began to fall, ending what had been a severe drought.

What did Elijah do after standing up for the Lord? He ran (vv. 45-46) and soon begged to die (19:4).

while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

He will meet you where you are.

I am not sure where you are in your journey in life. I am not sure whether you are on a mountain, like Elijah, experiencing a closeness to God. You know that He is 100% there. I am not sure whether you are down in a valley, like Elijah, feeling a part from God and perhaps wanting to just give up. Check out how Elijah’s account continues:

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.There he went into a cave and spent the night.

Note that God takes care of Elijah by meeting his needs, where he is. I take comfort in the fact that God will also take care of me when I am walking through a valley. When I am ready to give up and call it quits He will give me the strength to continue onward…if I ask.

Boom Beach

BoomBeach_GamePage_TitleScreen_Logo-1440
Build a base. Attack neighboring islands. Wait, in real time, for unit/building upgrades to complete. Purchase gems to experience instant gratification. Ah, the good life of Boom Beach.

Supercell’s Boom Beach is the tropical cousin of their 2012 hit, Clash of Clans. Beyond the change of scenery, Boom Beach and Clash of Clans are pretty much the same game. Both feature:

  • Strategic base building.
  • Freemium-based gameplay hooks designed to encourage the purchase of in-game currency.
  • The destruction and death of cartoon property and beings. (There should be an organization formed against such things.)

My first base.

My first base.


Life in the Feedback Loop

I am not sure why I flirt with games like Boom Beach. Perhaps it is the initial rush from the positive feedback loop they provide?

A positive feedback loop can be thought of as a reinforcing relationship. Something happens that causes the same thing to happen again, which causes it to happen yet again, getting stronger in each iteration – like a snowball that starts out small at the top of the hill and gets larger and faster as it rolls and collects more snow.  [1]

The problem with the feedback loop is that after the tutorial levels, the game levels off. That wonderful pat on the back, which happened often in the beginning of the game, starts to take longer. I find myself losing interest as I have to wait for units/buildings to complete their building cycles. As a long time gamer, the in-game timer and time associated with how long a unit/building takes to complete comes across as arbitrary. Yes, I know that games such as Boom Beach are made to be played on a mobile platform. Mobile platforms are perfect for quick gameplay experiences as you are standing in line at the bank–do people do this?–, or so I’ve been told.

Disrespectful Tides

If I was one of the gifted, one of those who owned a smart phone, I would be shelling minutes of my life away to a game like this. The problem with Boom Beach and Clash of Clans is that they eat away time much like channel surfing. Instead of dedicating a set amount of time to a game, like one would to watching a specific TV show,  players spend a few minutes here and a few minutes there battling and upgrading their minions. This nickel and dime style of gameplay causes players to spend untold hours on a game. I don’t think this is respectful to the player. Add in optional push notifications and the game becomes like a second child.

I am still not sure why I flirt with games such as Boom Beach. Such games have no place in my life with their disrespectful underpinnings. Even though they are fun, for a season.

Footnote:

[1] Level 4.4: Feedback Loops

Confidence

“Our confidence is not in ourselves but in Jesus and His promise to return at just the right time.” – Hebrews 10:37

Yesterday, I was given a list of specific pages that needed to be scanned. Today, I was asked why I had not scanned the entire document. The rules of the game are constantly in flux, in my workplace. What was once true one day becomes no longer true the next. I crave solid rules; solid ground.

Living day-by-day in this situation is enough to shake a man’s confidence. But if my confidence is founded in Christ, can it be shaken? No. Too often I find that my confidence is based upon myself.

Just a reminder to myself, and perhaps you, that our foundation needs to be constantly redirected towards Jesus Christ.

His timing is perfect and His expectations do not shift like the sands of the Mohave.

Happy Thursday

Great Texas Balloon Race – 2014

Saturday night, the family and I buckled in and headed out to the Great Texas Balloon Race for the balloon glow. 10368391_10154436237110521_5710903903240490913_n There is nothing like standing among 30-40 hot air balloons and feeling the heat come off their burners as they all fire in unison. 10553322_10154436238020521_3377637352394727598_n The weather was cooler this year than in years past where we’ve experienced 90 degree heat. Couple the outdoor temperature with the heat from the balloon burners and suddenly you feel like you are in an inferno of sorts. 10525713_10154436236985521_3051195024239664992_n Until next year.

Behind the Scenes

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43: 18-19 (NIV)

Came across the above verse this morning that I wanted to share. I love how God is telling Israel not to dwell upon what has already happened. Verse 19 begins with the gentle reminder that God is always working, even when we can’t see Him, God is going before us. Reminds me of Jesus’s words in John 14:3 -

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

There is comfort in knowing that God is constantly at work and going before us–reminds me even further of Haggai–. Whether you are dealing with an unstable job situation–like me–or just life in general, take comfort in knowing that God goes before us just like He did for Israel and Joshua when they set forth into the Promised Land.

I know that it is really easy to read what I have written and just dismiss it. But this is truth. Throughout the Bible, God constantly reminds us that He is there, working. Do you believe that? Better yet, are you listening/watching for His response?

What is God teaching you?