20050429

Revenge of the Scythe

I won't be going to see the Dark Side unleashed. "Don't you like Star Wars movies?" I loved Star Wars like a maniac! I wonder now, as I type this, if it's really worth missing out on all the "innocent fun." What will my friends think? Will I have any "friends" if I act like this? The scorner's voices come to my mind: "You self-righteous hypocrit. You're just trying to look better than the rest of us. You need to loosen up. Have some fun." The fact is, there's nothing, and nobody worth loving like a maniac, except one person. Jeremiah 10:16
The portion of Jacob [is] not like them: for he [is] the former of all [things]; and Israel [is] the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts [is] his name.
Jesus Christ Himself is Everything. There was a man, born to a virgin, at just the right time. He is the Chosen One. He loves a real living person, whom He seeks for Bride. The Church, His Bride's body, is made of the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ called out into Assembly together. Her single Spirit, the Holy Ghost, makes Her alive. We aren't earthlings. We've been adopted, and spiritually reborn into the family of The King of Kings Who sits in heaven. There is a war going on in the stars. We wage war on our enemies, the kingdom of darkness, under The Lord's banner of Love. Our story is ancient, from long, long ago, and beyond the farthest reaches of outer space. Only we True Believers bear the Sword of the True Word of God, which is a fiery, flaming sword of Light. We run without getting weary, and walk without fainting. The vengeance and darkness is coming. There is an evil deceiver, in charge of the realm, the prince of the power of the air. According to the Bible, he is "the god of forces." He has purposed to hunt down and destroy every last one of the Knights and Princesses of Light. He uses anger, and hatred, and fear. We, alone, have The True Love of God! We're willing to give up everything, even our own lives so that senseless fools who hate us, may win, and live, and be blessed! You can get all there is, and be miserable still, be nobody can stop you from giving. This is real and true. There's a reign in the Millenial Council reserved just for those of us who are beheaded by #666! #666 will come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. He will show all kinds of signs and lying wonders. He will make fire come down out of heaven in men's sight. His false prophet will bring his image to life, and the living image will speak. He will have a wound in his head as if he'd been killed, and people will wonder that he's yet alive. He will look stronger than his peers. His empire of claws and iron teeth will be exceedingly dreadful and fierce, to tread down the whole earth, and tear it to shreds. He will rule over every kindred, and tongue, and tribe, and nation. They will stomp on the stars (extra-terrestrial objects,) like treading on the ground. He will cause some of us to fall by the sword and the flame. Welcome to real life in Christ. Real people are laughing. Real people are crying. Real people are loving. Real people are dying. How can I find the hours of violent lust, murder, and cursing, to be entertaining? Whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things. We have A New Hope now, because we have The Plan!

20050428

Believe in Jesus!

WHO?

God Himself took on a real human body, and came to the earth in flesh and blood. Even though He's God Himself, He also came as the only begotten Son of God, The Lord Jesus Christ.

WHAT DID HE DO?

Jesus suffered the terrible death on the cross, to save us from our sins. He took our punishment instead of us, because He loves us.

Jesus overcame death when he raised himself back up to life! Now God offers us the free gift of eternal life through His Son Jesus.

WHAT MUST I DO?

The way to be saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus. One way you can make a public confession of your faith is to admit out loud that Jesus is The Lord. Speak to him and ask him to save you.

If you confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9

 


Here is the printable (PDF) file to hand out. Please feel free to download and distribute the file. You can print it out and fold it up. Then you can hand it out to people, to share how to be saved by believing in Jesus.

How to fold it up after you print it:

  1. Fold it in half first, the top back down around to the bottom
  2. Fold it in half one more time, this time from side-to-side

Lead me to The Rock

I've tasted a shadow of the joy of having Christ Jesus! I race toward the High Prize of the Upward Calling of God! I stumble, weeping blindly, in darkness, knowing not even the next footstep to take, or why to believe. I'll never turn back from my single, whole hearted pursuit of the name of my Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Boring Computer Bugs

There are other new things,
that I wanted to do, but, instead,
These same little jobs,
I must repeat till I'm dead.

I exercise myself,
to build myself up,
into a stronger young man,
till I'm done.

It's ironic, but true:
What I don't like, I do;
And I do what I don't like,
just for fun.

Richly to Enjoy

It was yesterday morning when I got to work. Oh, no, I thought. I remembered my jacket and everything, except I forgot to bring my lunch. It's not that important, just a little inconvenience. I didn't worry at all, because I've already learned:

The Lord supplies all your need now, and if your need gets greater, so will the supplies.
-Mrs. Jones

People usually don't bring food to the office, except there is usually some candy around. But when I haven't had time to eat breakfast or bring lunch, sometimes somebody has brought a snack.

Yesterday, a company sent over a few cookies and strawberries, which were really good. One of my coworkers also walked in with some DQ ice cream bars!

Snow in April

Snowflakes were falling lightly when I got to work this morning :-) A splendid treat, rare, here, at this time of year.

I'm glad I have my jacket today, and I think I'll get myself a nice hot cup of coffee.

Have you ever tried to take a picture of yourself drinking a cup of coffee before? :-)

20050426

Down Right Discouraging

Jeremiah 8:22
[Is there] no balm in Gilead; [is there] no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
I thought Isaiah was a hard book until I came to Jeremiah. Do you know what it's like sometimes? You look for Christ, and find distraction? When you look for wisdom, and find confusion? When you look for strength, and find your weakness? When you look for comfort and find conviction? When you look for joy, and find sorrow? Sometimes our warfare can be down right discouraging. Verse 15:
We looked for peace, but no good [came; and] for a time of health, and behold trouble!
Why, why, why?! Verse 14b:
...because we have sinned against the Lord.
What can we do?! Psalm 61:2:
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock [that] is higher than I.
Do you have any idea what it will be like to be with Him? There is fullness of joy. I'm not very good at music, but this song has been coming together in my mind: When my heart is overwhelmed within me, lead to the rock that is higher than I. A higher rock than I, to which I cry, and- A higher rock than I, reaching to the sky, and- In thy presence is fullness of joy, there's fullness of joy in thy presence. There are pleasures in thy right hand, there are pleasures for evermore. Me Quietly Whistling Sort of the Tune (I don't want to sing it here at work!)

E-Mail From God!

A few days ago (on the 18th,) I was praying at lunch hour. I was sitting at my desk in my office. I asked the Lord to show me, clearly, directly, and specifically, in His Word, the answer to my question. That moment, at about 12:39, my computer made a ding, to tell me that a new email message had arrived. It was an email message from my brother, titled "Some verses." The message simply contained six verses from the Bible, and that's all. Seriously, in those verses was the clear answer to my question. I have a hard time appreciating what the answer was, but it's God's Word, and I was encouraged to hear from Him.

20050420

Return Unto Me

Jeremiah 4:14
O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
What can we do about misery? Why do we ever fear or cry? Why are we ever weary, sad, spoiled, desolate, or forsaken? How can we escape God's fierce anger and fury? How can you "break up your fallow ground?" Turn to the Lord. What does "Return Unto Me" mean? How can we put our abominations away out of His sight? He sees our hearts, and that's where the wickedness of our ways and doings has reached. We need to wash our hearts. Our understanding and knowledge needs to be to do good instead of evil. Forget about your vain and wicked thoughts and imaginations. In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore. All things, which He has richly given to us to enjoy, are just a shadow of things to come. His full goodness hasn't entered into any of our hearts yet. Since the beginning of the world, men haven't heard, or seen with their eyes, or perceived with their ears, what Our Lord is preparing, and has in store for us who love Him and wait for Him.

Learning Hebrew

I've been learning Hebrew lately.
Here's one picture of the Hebrew version of the alphabet:
Hebrew Aleph-beis
I printed out this graphic on a full page, folded it up, and carry it around with me.

It's from The Interactive Aleph-beis (Fair Use) - a great resource to learn Hebrew!

In the Old Testament, you can see the original Hebrew in the Blue Letter Bible, by clicking beside the verse on the little blue Lexicon / Concordance button, which has the letter "C" on it.

20050419

A Window Into My Work Day

WARNING: Highly technical stuff ahead. Do not proceed without a pocket protector.

Here's a good puzzle for you. How do you use a literal quotation mark in quoted XML text in a string wrapped by the same kind of quotation mark in an XPath query?

If you say:
comments[text()="There's a 48" door."]

The quotation mark after the 48 ends the text quotation, and the final part of the string (" door.",) is unexpected, and causes a syntax error. Simple enough so far, right?

A literal quotation mark in an XPath string is NOT automatically escaped to it's character entity to indicate a literal quotation mark. Instead, it's naturally used as part of the XPath code, to break the XPath string.

Your first impulse might be to switch quotation mark types. I disdain the switching of quotation mark types. In my opinion, the double quotation mark should always be used to indicate a string quotation, and if it must be escaped, it should be escaped. Some people prefer to use the alternative single quotation mark, but as I'll demonstrate, that doesn't really get you anywhere. It generally just makes things more complicated. Consider our example.

To solve my problem, you might try changing the query to:
comments[text()='There's a 48" door.']

This was a great thought, because now the double quotation mark in the quoted text won't be used to terminate the XPath string, like it was before. Astute observers, however will instantly discover another problem. The single quotation mark, used in our example for an apostrophe, WILL terminate the string, which is now wrapped in single quotation marks, and we're back at square one.

Switching between wrapping a string in double and single quotation marks, doesn't solve the problem of how to indicating that a double or single quotation mark is to be taken as a literal part of the string, instead of as a string terminator.

No problem, I told myself. I'll just use the special XML character entities to escape the literal quotation marks. XML defines two character entities to indicate that a quotation mark is a literal part of the string instead of a string terminator. The entities are " for a double quote, and ' for a single quote.

So I fixed my query like this:
comments[text()="There's a 48" door."]

I thought that XPath string should now literally contain my quotation marks. But then I was really shocked. I don't know whether this is an error with my XPath implementation, or what, but now the real fun begins.

Naturally, XPath assumed I couldn't possibly be wanting to put a literal ampersand character in the string, and start an entity. What? How am I supposed to indicate an entity within an XPath string? XPath promptly converted the ampersands to the XML character entity for literal ampersands, &.

The query, of course, only matches strings that actually look like this:
There's a 48" door.

I wonder why it took me so long to realize this now obvious rule:

Ampersands, along with less than, and greater than symbols, ARE automatically converted to their literal character entities when used within XPath strings, because XPath queries themselves are XML strings.

Wow. Doesn't this present a blissfully fun, uniquely challenging puzzle? This is the kind of thing we programmers really like.

Two ideas immediately hit me to solve this problem. First, I figured, why not just double-escape the quotation marks by escaping the characters in the escape sequence?

Now my query starts out like this:
comments[text()="There's a 48" door."]

We're getting in deeper!

When the query is converted into an XML string, I assume it will come out like this:
comments[text()="There's a 48" door."]

When the XPath string is actually processed as part of the XPath, I assume the new ampersands will be converted back to real literal ampersands in the query itself:
comments[text()="There's a 48" door."]

And then the ampersands in the string will indicate literal ampersands to the query processor, like this:
comments[text()="There's a 48" door."]

And the query processor will process the string as an XML string when it's querying the XML, so the entities will be un-escaped again, and match text like this:
There's a 48" door.

Which is what I wanted all along. But, I was wrong again. The selectNodes and selectSingleNode DOM methods don't use XML strings, so it still doesn't work.

Another idea I've had to far is that maybe one of the processing layers will skip numeric character code entities, instead of treating them the same as the named character entities, and so I'll be able to indicate literal quotation marks using the character code numbers in numeric XML entities. How would that work?

How about if I catted the entity together, like this:
concat("&nb","sp;")

Would that help? What would that do?

Otherwise, the thing left that I can think of to do is to put the XPath string in it's own node or param/variable, and refer to the variable/param/node from the XPath. But how do I use a variable with the selectSingleNode method?

I found out that somebody else had the same problem.

Just a little thinking out-loud, and a little window into the world I work in all day.

Oh, uh- did I mention what Blogger does when you try to put all these escape characters and escape codes for escape characters, and everything, in your blog? Let's just say it adds even more fun. Maybe I'll post another message later about the Hebrew language I'm learning- that shouldn't be too much more complicated to understand.

20050418

Out The Window By My Office

On Wheels

Watch out when you're on or near the road-

I've been driving!

I've been practicing in traffic more and more, and had all kinds of good experience- driving at night, switching lanes, curves, bumps, other crazy drivers screaming their heads off at me, water (a lot of water,) a little wind, gravel, pedestrians, and a little black squirel. I actually had the discipline to ignore him and not swerve or anything- Thank the Lord the cute little guy happened to get away. On the other hand, I saw a few bumper stickers on vehicles I wanted to hit... but resisted.

I was worried because my learners permit was set to expire on a certain date. But then when I got it out that day, thinking, Oh Brother, now it's expired, I was surprised that it had more time left on it.

I had forgotten that when the DMV had my name spelled wrong, and I got a new card to correct it, they gave me more time. Praise the Lord, that was His goodness. By the way, the reason I capitalize the two A's in the middle of isAAc is so people will be able to spell it correctly.

I've been praying for safety when I drive, and so far I haven't had an accident- even going 45mph (where it was legal, of course.) I might have to replace the tires on the left side of the car though- hitting all those curbs is rather tough on them!

20050413

The Bible Podcast

I found The Bible Podcast, check it out!

20050407

A Standard Against The Enemy

Isaiah 59:19
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
The enemy has been attacking like an overwhelming flood. A little while ago, I remembered this promise, praise the Lord. Yesterday I started praying that the Lord would keep this promise and lift up a standard against the enemy. Before I fell asleep last night, I was praying, Lift up a standard against the enemy, Lift up a standard against the enemy. I was surprised and delighted to find this very verse in my Bible reading for today, because I had no idea where this verse was in the Bible. Yesterday I said Amen when I was praying with a friend, who prayed, "show us a token for good." God has shown me His Love, once again! Despite my sins and slothfulness and weakness and fears and confusion, He's shown me He's real, and true, and living, and active! He's worth my trust, and He delights to hear my voice and answer my prayers! Everything the Lord does is good. Let the Lord be magnified!

20050405

Dwelling in The Holy Place

Isaiah 57:13
When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take [them]: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
The Lord was angry with us because of our covetousness and sinful hearts. He smote us and hid His face from us. But He won't let our spirits and souls which He's made fail before Him. Put your trust in the Lord, with a humble and contrite heart. Regret and be sorry for your sins. He will heal us and give us peace, but there's no peace to the wicked. Isaiah 57:15
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

20050401

Forsake Unrighteous Thoughts

Isaiah 55:7
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Would you like goodness and delight for your soul, life for your soul, His everlasting covenant, and sure mercies? Would you like to be glorified? Would you like to find the Lord? Diligently listen to the Lord, call on Him, and forsake your wicked way and unrighteous thoughts. The Lord will abundantly pardon you! Isaiah 55:12
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap [their] hands.
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