I am posting this blog on May 5th (5/5). It is a big holiday south of the U.S. border where Cinco de Mayo is observed. To me, it is a notable day for another reason. The number 5 signifies Yahweh’s grace and I have known a double portion of grace of late. One week ago my notebook computer crashed. I took it to a local computer repair shop this morning to see if it is economically feasible to repair it. I use a computer intensively. I actually had to purchase some small stick on letters to place on the keys of the past two laptop computers I owned because I have done so much typing that the numbers were no longer readable on some of the keys.
The notebook computer I had been using, a Samsung Series 7 Chronos, has been a very good system. It will still be useful for many things if it is reparable, but its crashing seems to have served a purpose in Yahweh’s plan. I have had the laptop for just over two years, and although it was a very capable system when I purchased it, it did not have the hardware needed to perform some of the tasks I anticipate doing in upcoming weeks and months, such as video and audio editing.
(Note: I formerly worked as a computer manager, and later taught computer management and repair at a local technical college. I find that my inclination to teach is not confined merely to truths related to the kingdom of God. This post will combine a bit of both. If you are not interested in the computer information, you can skip over it.)
The Samsung computer had a powerful i7 Intel processor, but it came with a fairly slow hard drive. After I had the system about ten months I upgraded the hard drive to a Samsung 500 GB solid state drive. The SSDs are basically a big memory chip. They have no moving parts like the older platter drives. They are tremendously quicker, and with their prices dropping significantly I suspect that the days of platter drives are limited. They will go the way of the floppy disk and the CRT monitor. The solid state drive I purchased 15 months ago cost $354 dollars. A faster drive with the same capacity from the same manufacturer sells now for around $259 dollars. I cannot think of an upgrade that makes a bigger difference in a computer’s overall performance than changing from the old style mechanical platter drive to a SSD.
Once I replaced the drive, I checked the Windows Experience Index which shows how capable a specific computer system is for running programs. The one remaining item that lagged far beyond the other components was the video card. The Samsung came with an integrated Intel graphics card that was fine for common computer tasks such as word processing, e-mail, and browsing the Internet, but it was a laggard when it came to editing videos. This is one of the reasons I have not produced any additional videos since I posted the one titled A Man’s Message to All Christians back in July of last year.
In considering a replacement computer, one specification I had in mind was that it must have a faster and more capable graphics processor. Generally, to get a high performance graphics processor in a laptop, a person needs to look for a system with a discrete graphics card as opposed to an integrated graphics card. Integrated graphics come built on the motherboard of the computer. In some cases they are actually built into the main computer processor, such as a CPU from Intel. Discrete graphics cards plug into a slot on the motherboard, or use a soldered connection to the motherboard. They have faster, more capable graphics processors (GPUs). Some notebook computer systems have both types of video capabilities, as my new computer does. This is so that the laptop can reduce power consumption when it is being used for purposes that do not require the advanced video card’s capabilities.
One downside of the faster discrete video cards is that they consume more power, sometimes significantly more. This shortens battery performance as well as generating more heat inside the system. A person can get a desktop system that runs faster and cooler at less cost than a laptop, but they take up more space and are not portable. Since I live in a motorhome, and at times may use my computer for presentations to small groups, a laptop system remains my best choice.
When I began to look at computer systems I did a search on “gaming laptops.” These are systems that are marketed to that segment of users that play computer games that have intense graphics requirements. Although I don’t need advanced graphics for playing games, the features of a gaming computer also make them suitable for editing videos, audio files, and working on images that are related to website design and blog posting.
The day that my computer crashed I had spent a couple hours online looking at computers to see what was available, and the cost involved. At the time I did not have the funds on hand to purchase a replacement system, but I made it a matter of prayer and asked the Father to guide me. I wanted to know His mind regarding my computer crashing, as nothing happens by chance in the life of one of Yahweh’s sons or daughters. I wondered if He wanted me to take a break from the Internet ministry; if this occurrence was some type of correction (discipline), and if so, what the reason for it was; or whether it was a bump in the road and Yahweh wanted me to trust Him to direct and provide for this particular need.
As I looked to the Father to guide me, I was impressed by two particular signs that day. Yahweh often speaks to me through numbers. These numbers are at times impressed upon my mind as I am drawn to look at the clock at random times of the day. I want the reader to understand that I do not intentionally use the clock to “divine” the mind of Christ. I don’t make a deliberate attempt to look at the clock to see whether there might be some significance to the numbers, or to know what God is speaking. I think that would be rather presumptuous. Rather, what occurs is that there are simply occasions when my mind is drawn to observe the time and there is a spiritual impression that God is speaking to me through the number. We all look at the time many times during the day. Most of the time (pardon the pun), we see nothing spiritual in what is observed. There are times, however, when there is a distinct impression upon one’s spirit that God is communicating something. Yahweh simply “quickens” our spirit to events and signs that we would otherwise consider common.
After I had prayed on the morning that my computer crashed, and was considering why it had crashed and what my response should be, I experienced one of those spiritual quickenings. I looked at the time and observed that it was 11:23. The number 11 relates to Joseph, for he was the 11th son of Jacob, and the number 23 has been used by the Father many times in my life to denote His provision. He has related this to Psalm 23 which begins, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want (lack for any necessary thing).” I had a distinct impression that the Father had drawn my attention to the time at that moment, and He was saying that He was going to manifest His provision that I might continue in that ministry He had appointed to me. I immediately thanked Him and shortly after that a number of saints began sending in financial gifts through PayPal.
That afternoon I checked my PayPal account and saw that there was sufficient money in the account to order a replacement system. Once again my attention was drawn to the clock and the time was 5:55 P.M.. I knew that the Father was manifesting an abundance of grace and had quickly moved upon people’s hearts to send contributions.
One brother that was moved to send a contribution shares the same first name as myself. This other Joseph had sent a sizeable gift of $900 during the afternoon. I contacted those who sent gifts and thanked them. I specifically mentioned to this brother how the Father had drawn my attention to the time of 11:23 in the morning, and how I sensed it had a double meaning. Not only was a Joseph receiving provision, but a Joseph was sending provision. When this brother replied back, I was even more impressed, for he shared with me that his birthday is on 11/23 (November 23rd).
Shortly after 5:55 P.M. I prayed again and asked the Father to guide me in selecting a computer system that would meet the needs of the things I anticipated doing in upcoming days. I had been overwhelmed by the great variety of systems available, and thought that I might need to get out a pen and tablet and begin writing down system specifications and comparing them. I had a number of criteria in mind. I wanted a system with a discrete graphics card, a fast processor, and ample memory. I did not necessarily need a system with a fast hard drive, for I still had the SSD from my Samsung. I could easily transfer it to the new system. I also wanted a larger screen and decided to search for systems with a 17.3 inch screen which is significantly larger than the 15.6" screen on the Samsung system that I had been using.
I logged onto Amazon, typed in some keywords for a search, and the third item on the list drew my attention. It is the system pictured at the top of this article. This notebook computer met all the criteria I had in mind. It also had excellent reviews. One of my concerns was that the system should run cool, for many gaming laptops suffer from overheating problems that cause them to experience hardware failures. I was happy to note that repeatedly in the comments, buyers of this computer remarked at how cool it ran. The manufacturer also emphasized the superior cooling features of this laptop. It has two large copper heat sinks, one for the CPU and one for the GPU, as well as separate fans and two large vented cooling ports at the back of the system.
Although some may consider it silly to pay attention to the name, or advertising details of a computer system, I find that I automatically scrutinize such things. I would not make a purchase decision simply based upon its name or advertising, for Yahweh is able to overrule any prejudice in my mind. Nevertheless, there are certain systems that I put in the category of “Do Not Buy,” and they remain there UNLESS Yahweh tells me specifically that He wants me to purchase that one. Some examples of this are the HP Envy series of notebooks, or computers with names such as Cobra, Python, or Diablo.
I was pleased that the computer I was drawn to avoided these evil associations, but I was cognizant that ASUS’s line of gaming computers bore the tagline “Republic of Gamers.” I pondered this. In one sense, playing games bears a negative connotation. It can represent one whose life is focused on leisure and entertainment. I sensed, however, that this was the computer system I was supposed to purchase, so I went ahead and placed an order.
After having done so I received a correspondence from Eliana Yoseph, the young woman from England who has gone alone to Mexico to serve Yahweh in whatever missionary capacity He calls her to. Eliana and I had communicated a couple weeks before about her creating a customized poster for me. Eliana has a gift for artwork. She has a number of posters she has created that she is offering for sale as a form of “tent making” to generate financial support while she is following the Lord on her missionary journey.
Eliana wanted to do a custom art print for me, and asked me to consider what I would like on it. I contemplated the matter and decided that I wanted an art print that would encourage me to walk as an overcomer in some areas of my life that I have struggled with. The matter of ruling over the flesh, buffeting my body and keeping it under subjection, has been an issue the Holy Spirit has kept before my mind for many years now. I have not yet attained perfection (maturity) in the area of ruling over the appetites of the flesh. One example of this is the Father’s instruction to me that I reach a body weight of 165 lbs., or less, and stay there. It troubles my conscience to know that I have not fulfilled this requirement of the Father. I sense the need to maintain a daily focus on obedience in this area. I thought it would be helpful would be to have a daily reminder to be conscious of this matter.
I told Eliana that I would like to have the following Scripture passage on an art print.
I Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
I informed Eliana that, along with this Scripture, images of runners in a race, as well as butterflies as a symbol of the believer being transformed from a fleshly being like a caterpillar, into a heavenly creation, would be very appropriate to complete the theme. I am very pleased with what Eliana came up with. She gave me permission to post this image, saying it is mine to do with as I please. I am posting it in a large format in case any readers desire to have a copy of the image for themselves. I do have it in an even larger format if any reader wants a copy of it.
(Click on image to view larger)
You can see that there are two numbers in this image. One runner has the number 5 on his shorts, and another the number 22 on his shirt. These numbers represent grace (5) and flesh cutting (22). When I received an e-mail from Eliana a couple days ago, I was able to understand the connection between the “Republic of Games” tagline and the promotional banner that says “The Choice of Champions” on the computer. When I read over this Scripture again the phrase stood out to me that says, “everyone who competes in the games...”
As we enter the end of this age we should all have the mind-set of an athlete who is competing in the games. Paul had in mind the Olympic Games when he penned these words. We are all nearing the end of this race. The return of the Lord is near at hand. We should use our remaining time to reach that mature image of Christ that our Father in heaven desires for each of us. As the apostle Paul stated elsewhere:
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Yahshua Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
It is important that we all finish our race well. The apostle referred to the imagery of an athlete competing in the games in many of his writings. In meditating upon the self-discipline of a champion there is much instruction for us.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...
I need to literally lay aside some weight. The Father has given me sufficient opportunity for exercise with mowing the lawn here, daily bike runs with Champ, and longer rides to town when it is needed. Where I lack discipline is in overeating, or making some poor food choices. I am making progress in these things. When I look back I can see significant progress, but I am not yet perfected in these matters. When I finish this race, I want to end my days having the knowledge that I fulfilled every obedience the Father laid upon me.
In two more days (May 7th) I will observe my 53rd birthday. Birthdays are a good time to reflect on how we are doing in our walk with Yahweh. Have we made progress in our sanctification in the past year? Are there besetting sins that continue to hinder us? Are we walking as overcomers in Christ, or are we living a life of defeat?
As I look at this past year it is a mixed bag. There has been triumph and obedience, and there has been sin and shortcomings. I sense that the Father is extending grace to renew our commitment to running this race as champions.
When Yahweh brought to me a dog two years ago in response to the prayer of an elderly sister in Christ, I did not choose his name. I initially thought about calling him “Buddy.” That did not seem right, however. I sensed that Champ was the name appointed to him. Champ is a runner. He delights to strive for the goal. When he is hooked to my trike by his harness, he is single-minded in his determination to pull me along as fast as he can.
Champ has made noticeable progress in the past year. A year ago he would run from me when I called him. This made it difficult for me to let him off the leash when I would take him on bike runs. If a car should come along, the chances were very good that I would not be able to catch him and hold him to the side of the road until the vehicle passed. Now he is much improved. When I tell him to stop he will do so. When I stand up off of the trike he will stand still and let me approach him and lead him back to the bike tow leash. He used to snap at my hand when I attempted to do this. He does not resist my will to the degree he did a year ago. He is not perfect, but his obedience is improving.
May Yahweh find that it can be said of all of His sons and daughters that their obedience is improving. May He be able to declare in all sincerity and truth that our attitudes and actions now are much better than they were a year ago. As we look forward to the next year, let us determine that we will acquit ourselves as champions. Let us set our focus on the prize of being numbered among the firstborn.
I want to express my gratitude for those who have sent financial gifts recently. I was enabled to not only purchase a very capable replacement computer system, but was able to update a number of software programs that were incompatible with Windows 8.
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